Rabbi Aharon Daniel Malach, an expert on shechita (kosher ritual slaughtering) who worked in the profession for more than 40 years, passed away on April 22 after battling COVID-19.

Working in a difficult and complex rabbinic field, Malach was proficient in the laws and practice of shechita and bedikah—the examination of an animal for any disease, wound or abnormality that wouldn’t allow it to live naturally for another 12 months.

In an earlier era, Jewish women would typically purchase a chicken or two and bring it to the town shochet to slaughter. Then it would be brought home to be kashered (salted in accordance with Jewish law to remove all blood) and examined. If anything didn’t look right, the particular organ (often, the lungs) or entire animal would be brought to the town rabbi so he could render a decision on whether or not it was truly kosher.

With the post-war commercialization of kosher meat in the late 1940s and the burgeoning growth of the U.S. kosher-meat market, rabbis trained in the slaughter and examination of kosher meat grew in demand.

Malach supervised kosher slaughter operations throughout the United States and the world, particularly Argentina. He trained many young men in the field, and was a trusted authority on matters of kosher meat.

Malach (Hebrew for “angel” or “messenger”) was known for his exemplary “fear of Heaven”—a must in his line of work—and his kind, compassionate ways with all.

He is survived by his wife and children.

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