Avodah Mailing List

Volume 09 : Number 050

Sunday, June 23 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 00:30:24 +0300 (IDT)
From: Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il>
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


>> 1. While all Tnuva warehouses take Trumos and Maaseros before releasing
>> for sale to grocery stores, there are some warehouses, notably Tel Aviv,
>> who remove the prerequisite Trumah Gedola and then toss it back into the
>> container, since the halacha states that if seperated Trumah Gedola gets
>> mixed up (and obviously by accident..) with the maasered produce and it is
>> less than 1 in 200 then the whole produce is allowed.
>
> Why wouldn't that fall under ain m'vatlin issur l'chatchila?

ain m'vatlin issur l'chatchila is a true concept, but since the separation
was done the produce is no longer Tevel since it is Botul BeRov

> What's worse, can you correct it by re-separatingon your own?

Nope

> IIRC that's a machlokes tanaim....

What is the source?

The secondary separating done at home w/out bracha is Al Tenai that the
first separating perhaps was not done at all and not that it was done in
an incorrect manner.

Daniel


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 14:03:13 +0300
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


On 20 Jun 2002 at 0:30, Daniel M Wells wrote:
>>> 1. While all Tnuva warehouses take Trumos and Maaseros before releasing
>>> for sale to grocery stores, there are some warehouses, notably Tel Aviv,
>>> who remove the prerequisite Trumah Gedola and then toss it back into the
>>> container, since the halacha states that if seperated Trumah Gedola gets
>>> mixed up (and obviously by accident..) with the maasered produce and it is
>>> less than 1 in 200 then the whole produce is allowed.
>>
>> Why wouldn't that fall under ain m'vatlin issur l'chatchila?
> 
> ain m'vatlin issur l'chatchila is a true concept, but since the separation
> was done the produce is no longer Tevel since it is Botul BeRov

True. But you'd still be mixing trumah and chulin, and while the trumah
is batel b'meah (subject to taking out 1 out of 101 from the mixture
assuming that the trumah is 1 and the chulin is 100), what are the odds
that most people actually would (know to) do that? Moreover, all the
Mishnayos that talk about chullin becoming mixed with trumah talk about
"nafal." That implies that it fell, not that it was put there (as you
note above). So what heter is there for putting the trumah back?

By the way, this is all nogeah to me l'maaseh, because the peaches are
ripe in our backyard and I plan BE"H to pick some tomorrow....

>> What's worse, can you correct it by re-separatingon your own?
> 
> Nope
> 
>> IIRC that's a machlokes tanaim....
> 
> What is the source?
> 
> The secondary separating done at home w/out bracha is Al Tenai that the
> first separating perhaps was not done at all and not that it was done in
> an incorrect manner.

But what you're saying is that - at least in this instance - the second
separating won't help in any event.

-- Carl


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 16:09:46 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


Someone wrote:
<<< there are some warehouses, notably Tel Aviv, who remove the
prerequisite Trumah Gedola and then toss it back into the container,
since the halacha states that if seperated Trumah Gedola gets mixed up
(and obviously by accident..) with the maasered produce and it is less
than 1 in 200 then the whole produce is allowed.>>>

Several people seem to be discussing this situation from an actual
L'Maaseh perspective. I don't see how we can do that.

If the poster truly meant what he wrote, then it is somewhat irrelevant
whether the Terumah Gedolah is batel or not, because the Maasros have
not been removed. Perhaps what the poster meant was that whole produce
will *become* allowed if the consumer takes his own Maaser Rishon,
Trumas Maaser, and Masser Sheni/Ani.

And if the situation is that all hafrashos are done properly, but the
Termuah Gedolah and Trumas Maaser are together thrown back into the
chullin, then you have far less than 200x of chullin present (closer to
99x, actually) so the terumah will not be batel.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that perhaps the poster meant this
scenario: All the maasros are taken, but in small batches. Then the
Terumah Gedolah and Terumas Maaser are not thrown back into *their*
chullin, but into a much *larger* pile of chullin. If the chullin is
*more* than double the size of each maasering batch, then you will have
the requisite 200x bittul criteria.

And THEN you can discuss whether or not the bittul works at all.

Akiva Miller


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 15:21:50 +0300 (IDT)
From: Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il>
Subject:
Separation


>> ain m'vatlin issur l'chatchila is a true concept, but since the separation
>> was done the produce is no longer Tevel since it is Botul BeRov

What I had meant to say is "and it is now Botul Berov".

Thus if you have three pieces of meat and you know one is treif, but you
have no way of assertaining which one it is, then by not eating any of
them, because you are afraid of eating traif, you are denying the Torah
principle of Botul BeRov.

> True. But you'd still be mixing trumah and chulin, and while the
> trumah is batel b'meah

And thus looses it status. The apple before separation was tevel but
not Trumah. After separation from the rest of the apples, that apple is
Trumah. Once it is no longer identifiable amongst all the other say 100
apples, it becomes chulin and permitted to be eaten by an Israel.

> (subject to taking out 1 out of 101 from the mixture assuming that the
> trumah is 1 and the chulin is 100), what are the odds that most people
> actually would (know to) do that?

As I said it can be eaten.

> Moreover, all the Mishnayos that talk about chullin becoming mixed with
> trumah talk about "nafal." That implies that it fell, not that it was
> put there (as you note above). So what heter is there for putting the
> trumah back?

None whatsoever. But if separation was done according to halacha, and
then it was thrown back in, then except for the culprit, I believe that
all are allowed to eat that what was trumah and is now no longer.

> By the way, this is all nogeah to me l'maaseh, because the peaches are
> ripe in our backyard and I plan BE"H to pick some tomorrow....

I hope, that if Neta Revai, T&M, and bug infestations (see Rav Vyer's
comments) are not problematic, then that the government agents won't
track you down as an illict peach producer bypassing Tnuva.....<grin>

Do you use your own coin or the keren haMaaseros's?

You don't happen perhaps to have a distillery for peach liquor. My
rebbitzen simply adores the stuff. <second grin>

> But what you're saying is that - at least in this instance - the
> second separating won't help in any event.

If it's been separated, and then lost or not lost, the whole is permitted
and any further separating is doing absolutly nothing.

But if not separated according to halacha and by an adult (frum?) Jew
then the whole remains tevel until maasered.

Daniel


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 20:50:43 +0300
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


On 20 Jun 2002 at 16:09, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
> If the poster truly meant what he wrote, then it is somewhat
> irrelevant whether the Terumah Gedolah is batel or not, because the
> Maasros have not been removed. Perhaps what the poster meant was that
> whole produce will *become* allowed if the consumer takes his own
> Maaser Rishon, Trumas Maaser, and Masser Sheni/Ani.

While you're correct regarding Trumas Maaser, I think you're mistaken
regarding the rest.

Maaser Rishon only requires kriyas shem b'zman ha'zeh because of Ezra's
knas to the Leviyim during the times of Bayis Sheni and because of
HaMotzi mei'chaveiro alav ha'ra'aya (go prove you're a Kohain). There
is no issur in eating Maaser Rishon even for a tamei Yisrael.

As to Ma'aser Sheini, we take a ma'shehu and are mechalel it.

I'm not sure about Ma'aser Ani - the trees in the backyard just became
mutar (some were netah revai last year; some are this year) so we haven't
been through a Ma'aser Ani cycle yet, but again, there's no issur in
eating it yourself so I don't think you have to actually separate it
out. (Normally we buy things at Badatz stores to avoid T&M problems).

> And if the situation is that all hafrashos are done properly, but the
> Termuah Gedolah and Trumas Maaser are together thrown back into the
> chullin, then you have far less than 200x of chullin present (closer
> to 99x, actually) so the terumah will not be batel.

200 is a shiur for Orlah.

The shiur for Truma is 100. And keep in mind that Truma Gdola is a
ma'she'hu d'oraysa, so the only thing for which you have to separate a
real shiur is Trumas Ma'aser (1/100).

-- Carl


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 18:49:27 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


R' Carl Sherer wrote <<< While you're correct regarding Trumas Maaser,
I think you're mistaken regarding the rest. Maaser Rishon only requires
kriyas shem b'zman ha'zeh ... There is no issur in eating Maaser Rishon
even for a tamei Yisrael.>>>

True, provided that he has also physically separated the Trumas Maaser,
and it wasn't clear from the original post that they're doing that. And
if he did take the Trumas Maaser and threw it back in, then he has only
99-to-1, which is not enough to be mevatel it.

RCS: <<< As to Ma'aser Sheini, we take a ma'shehu and are mechalel it.>>>

You physically pull off a mashehu? I never heard of doing that. I thought
that we are korei shem on it (slightly less than 9% of the entire original
batch) and are then mechalel all of that. Did I misunderstand something?

RCS: <<< I'm not sure about Ma'aser Ani - the trees in the backyard
just became mutar (some were netah revai last year; some are this year)
so we haven't been through a Ma'aser Ani cycle yet, but again, there's
no issur in eating it yourself so I don't think you have to actually
separate it out.>>>

True, there's no kedusha in Maaser Ani. But you do have to be korei shem
on it, and it wasn't clear to me (from the OP) that they're doing that.

Mentioning trees in the backyard raises another issue:

Most consumer maasering is done to safek tevel (which is NOT the same
thing as demai!), and has a whole bunch of kulos because of the safek,
such as what R' Carl mentioned about not giving the Maaser Rishon to
a Levi unless he proves that it really is Maaser Rishon. Same logic
applies to Maaser Ani from safek tevel.

But when you have trees in your backyard, that's Vadai Tevel, and many
of the rules change. It's not merely that you can now say a bracha on
the hafrasha, but some of the usual kulos are no longer available. I
was never in that situation, so I cannot say for sure, but it seems to
me that one *would* have to give the Maaser Ani to a real ani in such
a case. If anyone has ever asked that as a parctical shaalah, I'd love
to hear the answer.

RCS: <<< 200 is a shiur for Orlah. The shiur for Truma is 100.>>>

Thanks for the correction.

RCS: <<< And keep in mind that Truma Gdola is a ma'she'hu d'oraysa,
so the only thing for which you have to separate a real shiur is Trumas
Ma'aser (1/100).>>>

And once you've done that, you're left with less than 99% of the original
batch, which means there's not enough there to be mevatel the trumah,
which was my original point.

Akiva Miller


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 23:30:10 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


On 20 Jun 2002 at 18:49, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:

> R' Carl Sherer wrote <<< While you're correct regarding Trumas Maaser,
> I think you're mistaken regarding the rest. Maaser Rishon only
> requires kriyas shem b'zman ha'zeh ... There is no issur in eating
> Maaser Rishon even for a tamei Yisrael.>>>
> 
> True, provided that he has also physically separated the Trumas
> Maaser, and it wasn't clear from the original post that they're doing
> that. And if he did take the Trumas Maaser and threw it back in, then
> he has only 99-to-1, which is not enough to be mevatel it.

Correct. In which case, I don't see how the mixture could be eaten. 
It would be meduma. 

> RCS: <<< As to Ma'aser Sheini, we take a ma'shehu and are mechalel it.
>>>>
> 
> You physically pull off a mashehu? I never heard of doing that. I
> thought that we are korei shem on it (slightly less than 9% of the
> entire original batch) and are then mechalel all of that. Did I
> misunderstand something?

Nope. I misspoke. 

> RCS: <<< I'm not sure about Ma'aser Ani - the trees in the backyard
> just became mutar (some were netah revai last year; some are this
> year) so we haven't been through a Ma'aser Ani cycle yet, but again,
> there's no issur in eating it yourself so I don't think you have to
> actually separate it out.>>>
> 
> True, there's no kedusha in Maaser Ani. But you do have to be korei
> shem on it, and it wasn't clear to me (from the OP) that they're doing
> that.

Actually, if it's vadai, I think you have to give it out. Of course, 
most people - even here - rarely come into contact with vadai tevel. 
Unless they have a backyard (as I do) or an orchard.
 
> Mentioning trees in the backyard raises another issue:
> 
> Most consumer maasering is done to safek tevel (which is NOT the same
> thing as demai!), and has a whole bunch of kulos because of the safek,
> such as what R' Carl mentioned about not giving the Maaser Rishon to a
> Levi unless he proves that it really is Maaser Rishon. Same logic
> applies to Maaser Ani from safek tevel.
> 
> But when you have trees in your backyard, that's Vadai Tevel, and many
> of the rules change. It's not merely that you can now say a bracha on
> the hafrasha, but some of the usual kulos are no longer available. I
> was never in that situation, so I cannot say for sure, but it seems to
> me that one *would* have to give the Maaser Ani to a real ani in such
> a case. If anyone has ever asked that as a parctical shaalah, I'd love
> to hear the answer.

You're right about Maaser Ani (I am now home and have the sefer put 
out by the Machon l'Limud Mitzvot Ha'Tluyot Ba'Aretz). I'm not sure 
what other kulos you're referring to. The Chazon Ish paskens that you 
don't have to give Maaser Rishon b'Zman ha'Zeh because the Kohanim 
and Leviim get their status by their own testimony and not through 
eidim or Beis Din. (CI Shviis 5:12). 

> RCS: <<< And keep in mind that Truma Gdola is a ma'she'hu d'oraysa, so
> the only thing for which you have to separate a real shiur is Trumas
> Ma'aser (1/100).>>>
> 
> And once you've done that, you're left with less than 99% of the
> original batch, which means there's not enough there to be mevatel the
> trumah, which was my original point.

That appears (to me at least) to be correct. 

Perhaps the person who posted the story could explain why the produce 
could still be eaten with the Truma and Trumas Maaser thrown back in 
(if in fact it could be eaten). 

May the merit of learning Hilchos Eretz Yisrael go for those who were 
victims of the terror attack in Itamar this evening (four dead - two 
of them children R"L - and four wounded of whom two are critical and 
one of those is a child). 

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.


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Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 20:55:30 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
Re: OU and Israeli produce


I wrote <<< But when you have trees in your backyard, that's Vadai
Tevel, and many of the rules change. It's not merely that you can now
say a bracha on the hafrasha, but some of the usual kulos are no longer
available.>>>

R' Carl Sherer: <<< You're right about Maaser Ani ... I'm not sure what
other kulos you're referring to.>>>

Yeah, you're right. The bracha and the Maaser Ani might be the only
ones. I think I confused the kulos of safek tevel with the kulos which we
can use because (rov poskim hold that) it's only D'Rabanan nowadays. In
a few years, we may see Rov Yisrael Yoshvin Ba'Aretz, and then a lot
may change.

I'll look up examples if requested, but off the top of my head, I have
vague recollections that the D'Rabanan status is the only reason one can
leave Yerushlayim while his Pruta Chamura is in his pocket. Being tamay
wouldn't help you with your Maaser Sheni money, I think, since a tamay
coin could be used to buy tahor Maaser Sheni. It's a long time since I
learned this stuff; l'tzaari, the last time I was in Yerushalyim, that
Keren Maaser Sheni (or whatever that organization is that holds the coins;
someone mentioned its name a few hours ago) had not been started yet.

Another example might be giving only a mashehu for Trumah Gedolah (instead
of the proper 1/40, 1/50, or 1/60), but I think that's a combination of
both being d'Rabanan and that no one can eat it.

Akiva Miller


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Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 21:42:30 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Subject:
Re: The OU and Israeli produce


R' Moshe Feldman quotes Amcha as writing <<< The OU does not allow
its caterers to purchase Israeli fruits and vegetables because its
mashgichim (rabbinical supervisors) would have to make sure that the
produce is properly tithed (terumah and maaser). The OU calls this
process difficult. In reality, all it consists of is separating a
little bit more than 1/100 of the produce and reciting a ritual formula.
The whole process should take no more than 60 seconds. For maaser sheni
(another tithe), it should take around another 60 seconds. >>>

Sounds accurate to me, if they would have added "per type of produce". And
dropped the Maaser Sheni time to "another four seconds".

A long, long time ago (around 1978 or 79), in a place far, far away (Super
Tzach, in Arzei Habira) I was the mashgiach for the Eida HaChareidis,
maasering their fresh fruits and veggies every morning for a year or so.

True, taking trumah and maaser for one type of produce is not so
tough. But for a supermarket's entire produce section, I think it took
about 45 to 60 minutes each morning. I wonder how many different kinds
of Israeli produce is available in the US that Amcha would like to see
used at catered affairs.

I expect that the mashgiach who salts my meat knows more about melicha
than what one reads on the side of a Kosher Salt box. So too, the
mashgiach who maasers my veggies should know more than what one reads
in an Israeli siddur. To ask the OU to come up with mashgichim who know
these halachos overnight is not realistic. It could be done over time,
I suppose, but I don't know the ins-and-outs of the mashgiach training
business. (Does anyone know how long it took the OU mashgichim to learn
how to check for bugs?)

Disposing of the trumah is another problem. 1% of a single salad is
close to nothing. But from an entire catering order, it can be quite
a bit. Are there any caterers among us? How many tomatoes do you go
through in a week?

(If anyone is curious, each morning I had enough trumah to fill a
plastic kitchen garbage bag more than halfway. IIRC, I triple wrapped it
(both for kavod to the trumah and to prevent leaks) ad left it in the
dumpster. I think aniyim would occasionally go for it after I left,
but the Eida said not to worry, as long as I tried to be discreet.)

There's also the problem of keeping the already-maasered veggies
identifiably separate from the new stock, but I suppose the OU already
has meat-related experience with that.

<<< Please call the OU and ask them to change their policy. Call the
head of the OU directly: >>>

Personally, I think it is a great idea. I'd love to see us support the
country that way. On occasion, I've even bought Israeli tomatoes at the
supermarket myself, and maasered them at home. If we're only talking
about fifty pounds of tomatoes per event, and the mashgichim already
know how to do it, then sure! But I'd hate to see the OU (or anyone
else) get bullied into doing something against their better judgement,
simply because people in a letter-writing campaign don't understand the
issues involved.

Akiva Miller


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Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 16:05:37 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Subject:
RE: What We DO NOT say about the RADBAZ ZY"A


From: Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer
> Nope, these cases are NOT in point. Even concerning Rabbeinu Tam's Motzo'ei 
> Shabbos shitta, where there are metzi'us questions, we are loathe to 
> say"wrong", "mistake, kal va'chomer ben beno shel kal va'chomer concerning 
> history - which (and there is no more avid history buff than 
> me!) is NOT metzi'us.

Why isn't history metzius? If we were to take a time capsule, go back
to the 15th century and find that--
<<There were Jewish influences on ALL the Christians living in Ethiopia.
These Christians saw themselves as the real Bnei Yisrael (Children of
Israel); they did no work on the Sabbath; they ate no pork. In the 15th
Century a new ruler took over Ethiopia and forced the general populace
to give up these *jewish* customs. Some resisted for *political reasons*
and these people lost their right to own property. >>
-- wouldn't it turn out that the Radbaz was simply given incorrect
information?

In contrast, the case of Rabbeinu Tam, the issue is not only metzius
but also how the Amoraim were kovei'a halacha in connection to their
understanding of metzius. Even if they made a mistake, the Chazon Ish
would say that their kevi'as halacha counts. I don't think we would
give such deference to the Radbaz.

Kol tuv,
Moshe


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 12:42:53 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
Subject:
mistakes of rishonim


<Translation: they're not Jewish. The RADBAZ assumed that because they
were called AHUDAI they, in fact, were Jews. What a mistake! We do
NOT say some 20th or 21st century historical researcher has
proved the Radbaz wrong R"L.
Please rephrase.>

The Rash says that the Pythagoras Theorem is wrong. Bet Yosef already
points out that the Rash made a mistake. There are reasons to doubt
that Rashi knew Phytagoras' theorem.

Rishonim learned non Jewish facts from many places - I don't see any
reason to assume that they did not make mistakes based on the fault of
other investigators. We don't accept the medical facts of Rambam and
not necessarily the historical facts of Raavad I. So what?

--
 Eli Turkel, turkel@math.tau.ac.il on 06/23/2002


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Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 16:14:57 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Subject:
Re: Kavana in Shma


See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 5:1 that when saying the shem adnus one
should have in mind that Hashem is the master of all and that He was,
is, and will be. When saying elokim one should have in mind that He is
all-powerful and the master of all forces.

The Gra in his biur there says that this applies only to Kerias Shema
and not to all berachos.

Gil Student


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 00:52:38 +0200
From: Jessel <jessel@softhome.net>
Subject:
Kavana in Shma


When this discussion winds down, I hope that Carl will post his revised
list of kavanahs. I would like to print it and keep in with my siddur.

Shlomo Zalman Jessel


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 11:39:55 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Subject:
re the need to wear a tallis when being oleh letorah


From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
> We also follow a minhag that whoever has a tallis on for krias Hatorah -
> even the gabai and baal koreh - does not remove it until after kedusha.

I should have made clear that the above refers to the Kriah of Shabbos
Mincha.

SBA


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 01:09:06 +0200
From: Jessel <jessel@softhome.net>
Subject:
Age of Majority for nonJews


About a year ago, I was asked by some observant Bnei Noah about holding
some kind of coming of age ceremony. I asked Rav Yoel Schwartz about it,
and relayed the following response from him.

A Bar Mitzvah/Bas Mitzvah ceremony is a good idea. Actually, it might be
best to do it as some sort of graduation ceremony. The age that it should
occur is when the person reaches a certain stage of intellectual maturity.
"Clever" was the rav's word. This varies from child to child. However,
it is around age 11 or 12 for regular boys and girls. This marks the
beginning of maturity. So perhaps a graduation ceremony around that age
would be good.

For a Jew, it's different. A boy becomes a bar mitzvah at age 13. This
is a law that was received from our teacher Moses at Sinai and handed
down generation to generation.

Shlomo Zalman Jessel


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Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 20:49:56 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Black Jews


In a message dated 6/22/02 4:24:15 PM, Moshe Feldman writes:
<< Why isn't history metzius?  If we were to take a time capsule, go back to 
the 15th century and find that--
<<There were Jewish influences on ALL the Christians living in Ethiopia.
These Christians saw themselves as the real Bnei Yisrael (Children of
Israel); they did no work on the Sabbath; they ate no pork. In the 15th
Century a new ruler took over Ethiopia and forced the general populace to
give up these *jewish* customs. Some resisted for *political reasons* and
these people lost their right to own property. >>
-- wouldn't it turn out that the Radbaz was simply given incorrect
information?

In contrast, the case of Rabbeinu Tam, the issue is not only metzius but also
how the Amoraim were kovei'a halacha in connection to their understanding of
metzius.  Even if they made a mistake, the Chazon Ish would say that their
kevi'as halacha counts.  I don't think we would give such deference to the
Radbaz.>>

To which one might respond, so what? Let's say, just for the sake
of discussion, that there was a point in history Ethopians were
neither Christian nor Jewish. Then they were converted to some form
of Christianity; then for sociopolitical reasons (what other reasons
are there, in the real world?) they were re-converted to a different
form of Christianity that emphasized Jewish customs; then the Christian
aspects of this hybrid religion disappeared, leaving the Ethiopians with a
quasi-Jewish minhag, with which they lived for countless generations. They
saw themselves as Jews, and they lived lives containing many elements
of halachic belief, custom, and worship.

So, what are they? I dunno. Ask the Radbaz. The better question is:
What are WE? How many of us of Ashkenazic descent really believe that
as an ethnic or anthropological fact we are all Jews descended directly
from the dark-skinned refugees who huddled at the feet of Moshe Rabenu
when he delivered the Law? Come on. We're all converts, of some sort,
under some vague and forgotten political circumstances that most likely
did not start with a kosher Beis Din and a mikva bath.

We Ashkenazim simply don't have the evidence -- the metzius, if you
will -- to say we're any more Jewish than the Ethiopians. Eventually,
our ancestors acculturated themselves to different sorts of formalistic
Judaism, so we get to delude ourselves into thinking we are real
hereditary Jews, which, compared to the Sephardim, we really are not. The
Ethiopians lived in more primitive and isolated circumstances that
prevented them from adopting the specific formalisms of North Africa. That
doesn't make them less Jewish. It makes them candidates for Aliyah and
acceptance of formalistic Judaism, just as our ancestors did in the
Caucasus or elsewhere in southeast Europe before the migrated to the west.

I think that the major reason some religious Jews are unhappy with the
psak on the basis of which Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel is that
these Jews don't like Black folks. Specifically, they don't want some
Gadol telling them that as a religious matter, it's okay for their
daughters to marry an observation Black Jew. Or am I being simplistic?

David Finch


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 12:02:26 -0400
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
Subject:
Falasha (Beta Israel)


Josh's recent citation of the views of a Prof. Kaplan on the supposed
origin of the Falashas (Beta Israel) in the 15th century as a Christrian
tribe in Ethiopia with some Jewish customs proves nothing. The citation
is disdainful, even to the extent of attributing their rejection of
absorption into the general Christian populace as politically motivated,
and does not correspond to other accounts that I have read of Falasha
history. These other accounts speak of the speak of the appearance
of the Falashas as a distinct community which had some basic Jewish
practices such as circumcision, shabbat observance, and not intermarrying
with the surrounding peoples long before the 15th century.

No account mentions any belief in Jesus as a god, messiah, or even
prophet - a fundamental characteristic of any Christian sect. I am
puzzled why anyone should be so dismissive of the ruling of a major
posek concerning the Jewishness of the Falashas on the basis of the,
apparently, idiosyncratic views of some historian. A psak, even if
some supportive argument is questionable such as the alleged Danitic
origin of the Falashas, may still be valid. Certainly, the opposing
thesis that the Beta Israel are not Jewish is not obvious. The fact
that there are Jews in Ethiopia (Cush) who will be returned in messianic
times is not conjecture. It is the evident meaning of Isaiah 11: 11,
"In that day, G-D will , again, resume to gather in the remnants of His
people who remain in Assyria, Egypt,.., Cush..."

Yitzchok Zlochower


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 23:32:06 +0200
From: "Shaul Bacher" <sbacher@icon.co.za>
Subject:
Body Piercing and Halacho


Could anybody assist to clarify if Body Piercing is an Issur or just
not done because of Miuskeit etc.

Kol Tuv
Shaul


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Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 23:11:43 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Body Piercing and Halacho


On Sun, Jun 23, 2002 at 11:32:06PM +0200, Shaul Bacher wrote:
: Could anybody assist to clarify if Body Piercing is an Issur or just
: not done because of Miuskeit etc.

I think you mean assur from some specific issur, or assur because of
bal teshaqtzu.

How could body piercing be under a specific issur, eg those involved
in cosmetic surgery, and ear piercing not?

-mi


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