"Regarding your request to deliver Dawson's fish to AKSE. The answer is no. You were permitted to do this as a convenience for AKSE members while you were employed at AKSE. Now that you are no longer employed at AKSE, I cannot allow you to continue this practice."
Thus came Rabbi Joel's update on the delivery of certified Kosher fish to AKSE, though I think the actual certification may be his rather than the Vaad's. I've never bought fish from Dawson's. Next week we read the section on kashrut which includes the pasuk on what constitutes a Kosher fish:
I'm quite content to eat whatever has fins and scales, irrespective of its origins and whatever else the equipment that gutted the innards and removed the required s'napir v'kaskeset may have sliced. There are some who are more meticulous, striving for a loftier perch of frumkeit,sometimes even hypercorrect which I usually regard as a variant of wrong. While I never purchased anything from Dawson's, I also never deleted the weekly message as Mr. Kessler transitioned from Cantor Joel chess maven to Rabbi Joel pursuer of the visibly Orthodox trappings. Fish prices are best at Trader Joe's. People from AKSE purchase these aquatic critters prepared in the most meticulous way. It's addition added something to a small cadre of members who set aside some of their druthers to stay with AKSE, compromising on things they might really liked to have had from a mechitza to a closed shabbos parking lot to a Rabbi who attended RIETS or Chovevi but would not show us interest amid our customary practices. Issues of genevah or even Elmer Gantry parallels aside, if Rabbi Joel's departure creates a schism it will be the purchasers of Dawson fish who decide that a Shteible atmosphere, or in current parlance "post-denominational", might be their darchei noam. They may very well conclude that they can purchase a lot of personally gratifying Judaism on their own for $2625 less a certain amount of more nominal contribution to operating expenses that do not include salaries or much in the way of postage.
I am hard pressed to think of what good can come of banning the fish deliveries. These people in quest of frum are the often underserved members that one would most want under AKSE's roof as much as possible and with minimum recruitment contact with the former Cantor. Discouraging that seems unwise. Even the manner in which it was quoted has some theological problems for AKSE as a Torah driven organization.
Taking reprisals has the same prohibition as eating crustanceans. True, lo tikom would me a mishpat which has some means of understanding while s'napir v'kaskeset is a chuk which seems more arbitrary. Not permitting somebody who developed a program to advance Kashrut in the community to include AKSE in its continuance diminishes AKSE. And maybe that is what makes v'lo titor a mishpat. Its negative consequences to the people acting petty exceeds its restraint of the intended target.