Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 095

Saturday, January 21 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 05:57:24 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Fwd: Racism

The following is from the author of the JO letter. I am forwarding it
with the author's reshus (by his request, even).


Forwarded message:
> Or <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol12/v12n064.shtml#06>, which IIRC,
> JO declined to publish because it came across as possibly attacking the
> author of an earlier article.

The article was not rejected because the author of the earlier article
might feel attacked (said author in fact encouraged publication of the 
letter), but rather because a member of the JO's editorial board (not 
the editor!) stated that since the letter was not going to have an 
effect anyway, we should not wash our dirty linen in public.

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 05:59:28 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Fwd: Racism

On Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:57:24AM -0500, Micha Berger wrote:
: The following is from the author of the JO letter. I am forwarding it
: with the author's reshus (by his request, even).

Sorry, forwarded it to the wrong email list!


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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 05:59:28 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Fwd: Racism

On Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:57:24AM -0500, Micha Berger wrote:
: The following is from the author of the JO letter. I am forwarding it
: with the author's reshus (by his request, even).

Sorry, forwarded it to the wrong email list!


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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 05:35:10 +0200
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Re: Tefilas Haderech nowadays

R' Ken Bloom wrote:
> You're confising Tefillat haDerech with Birkat HaGomel. According to the
> literal reading of the Shulchan Arukh, you need to say Tefillat HaDerech
> when going just a few miles out of town. City limits in this situation
> is computed based on the density of houses, similar to what is used when
> computing the techum on shabbat.

That is not so clear, for example RSZA writes that a highway that is well
traveled (and even more so if patrolled by the police) is considered to be
as if you never left the Yishuv and therefore there is no chiyuv to say
Tefilas haderech. Others say just the opposite that a highway is always
considered outside the city because it has no relation to the houses.

One more point, the majority of Ashkenazi poskim hold that 4 mil is
distance, this includes the Mishna Berura, therefore it is hard to see
Ashkneazim relying on ROY.

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 03:31:50 -0500
From: Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@juno.com>
Re: Tefilas Haderech

On Jan 19, 2006, at 9:33 PM, [RnTK] wrote:
>> 3. There is little or no danger of robbers and wild animals....

> There may not be highway robbers holding up the stagecoach but there are
> certainly robbers in places like motels and rest stops. As for chayos
> ra'os, I've heard that this can refer to criminals and terrorists.

I've actually heard that _hhayot ra`ot_ is a early medieval Ashkenazic
term specificly refering to werewolves, of all things. That phrase isn't
in the version of Tefillas Haderekh recorded in the Gemara in Berakhot
(i think the 'highway robbers' are also missing there. Of course, the
fact/theory that it means 'werewolf' makes me *more* inclined to include
it, and not less...

 -Stephen 'Steg' Belsky

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 18:15:36 +1100
From: "meir rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Maris Ayin of the Ben Pekuah

A ben pekuah requires shechita miderabbonon bcs of maris ayin. However
if it has even a single fused hoof then the rabbonon waived the shechita
as people will remember that this blemished animal is/was a BP. The remo
adds to this based on a hagohos ashri, that any small indication will
do. Where do we find such leniencies in the halochos of maris ayin.

Placing almonds in almond milk to be used with meat is fine bcs it
indicates that this is not cow's milk (same for scales in fish blood
- YUM), but would putting the milk in an almond shaped container be
satisfactory? Yet we are permitting even less with a fused hoof (which
reminds people rather than indicates the true nature of the BP) and the
Ramo goes further by permitting SHUM DAVAR TAMUAH.

Would it permitted to cook/serve meat and almond milk provided it is
served in an almond shaped container?

The BP that req no shechita, however has nothing that indicates it is
a BP. We have only a reminder that this is a strange creature, it has
a fused hoof. This will in turn remind people it is/was a BP. A fused
hoof indicates nothing about it being a BP. So the equivalent would be
serving the meat cooked in almond milk in an unusual container.

What would be included in the Ramo's "SHUM DAVAR TAMUAH"? How about
snipping the BP's ear or attaching a tag in its ear or nose?

I would appreciate any observations on this matter.

meir rabi

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 13:51:32 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: Kashrus which became: Bal Tashchis and burning Chometz

This question is addressed directly by both Rav Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer
part XX siman 51) and by Rav Shmuel HaLevy Wozner (Shu"t Shevet HaLevy,
part IX siman 120).

The question is what to do with food stuffs that are mixed with Chametz
(fish, meat etc.) when one has a minhag not to sell Chametz, but throwing
them out may conflict with Bal Tashchit.

The answer is basically that there is no chashash of Bal Tashchit if
there is To'elet or Halacha involved (in this case, Bi'ur Chametz).

But, both of them raise the issue of Mechirat Chametz as a viable
solution, while not a mitzva to sell Chametz it is acceptable.
And that especially nowadays, when Mechirat Chametz is done publicly
(and not privately by each person with their own goy), and great rabbis
have been known to write Shetarot Mechira that allow even selling of
bread, especially for stores etc. And therefore Mechirat Chametz is an
acceptable solution.

Rav Wozner writes that nowadays even if one sells Chametz Gamur --
"Ein BeYadeinu Limchot Bo".

Rav Waldenberg adds one more sentence, that from some aspects it is more
Hiddur to burn the Chametz.

Shoshana L. Boublil

Here is one of the shu"t (assuming you can read Hebrew on the net):
?©?•"?ͺ ?¦?™?₯ ??œ?™?’?–?¨ ?—?œ?§ ?› ???™?ž?Ÿ ? ? ?“"?” ?‘) ?›?€?™ 

?‘) ?›?€?™ ?©?™?“?•?’ ?? ?• ? ?•?”?’?™? ?œ?”?§?€?™?“ ?©?œ? ?œ?ž?›?•?¨ ?—?ž?₯ ?ž?ž?© ?‘?’?™?Ÿ, ?›?š ? ?”?’?• ?’?“?•?œ?™ ?™?©?¨??œ, ?•?”?“?‘?¨ ?ž?€?•?¨??? ?ž?”?’?¨"? ?–?¦"?œ, ?•?”?¨?‘?” ?˜?’?ž?™? ?œ?“?‘?¨ ?’? ?ž?©?•? ?”?€?™?§?€?•?§ ?©?‘?’?¦? ?”?ž?›?™?¨?” ?•?’?•?“ ?›?™?•?¦"?‘. ?•?€?’?ž?™? ?¨?‘?•?ͺ ?? ?• ? ?©??œ ?ž?? ?©?™? ?©? ?©??¨?• ?œ?”? ?“?‘?¨?™ ?—?ž?₯ ?©?”? ?™?§?¨?™ ?’?¨?š ?›?ž?• ?ž?•?¦?¨?™ ?‘?©?¨ ?•?“?’?™? ?ž?•?§?€??™? ?©?ž?’?•?¨?‘?™? ?‘?—?ž?₯, ?•?"?› ?ž?—?“ ?’?™??? ?ž?™ ?©?™?¨?¦?” ?œ?”?—?ž?™?¨ ?•?™?–?¨?•?§ ??ͺ ?”?ž?•?¦?¨?™? ?”?œ?œ?• ?”?¨?™ ?œ?›??•?¨?” ?™?’?‘?•?¨ ??œ??• ?ž?”"?ͺ ?“?‘?œ ?ͺ?©?—?™?ͺ, ?•?ž??™?“?š ?’?™??? ?”?¨?™ ???•"?? ?™?© ?ž?¦?•?ͺ ?‘?™?’?•?¨ ?—?ž?₯, ?•?”??™?š ?™?© ?œ? ?”?•?’ ?‘?›?’?•?Ÿ ?–?”. 

?ͺ?©?•?‘?”: ?“?’?‘?™?“ ?›?ž?¨ ?’?‘?™?“ ?•?“?’?‘?™?“ ?›?ž?¨ ?’?‘?™?“, ?•?”?ž?—?ž?™?¨ ??™? ? ?• ?’?•?‘?¨ ?›?œ?œ ?•?›?œ?œ ?’?œ ?‘?œ ?ͺ?©?—?™?ͺ ?“??™?Ÿ ?›?œ ?ž?¦?•?” ?œ?ž?›?•?¨ ?—?ž?¦?•, ?•?ž?§?™?™? ??™?€?•? ?’?™?§?¨? ?“?“?™? ? ?”?ž"?’ ?“?ͺ?©?‘?™?ͺ?•, ?•?”?ž?§?™?œ ?’"?› ??™? ? ?• ?’?•?‘?¨ ?’?œ ??™???•?¨, ?•?—?•?₯ ?ž?” ?©?¨?•?‘? ?“?¨?•?‘? ??™? ?©?™, ?›?‘?’?œ?™ ?”?—? ?•?™?•?ͺ ?•?”?“?•?ž?” ?œ?”? ?ž?•?›?¨?™? ?‘?ž?›?™?¨?ͺ? ?’? ?—?ž?₯ ?‘?’?™?Ÿ, ?•? ?•?ͺ? ?™? ?œ?”? ?›?ͺ?‘ ?”?›?©?¨ ?©?ž?›?¨?• ?—?ž?¦? ?›?“?™?Ÿ, ?™?“?’? ? ?’? ?‘?ͺ?œ?ž?™?“?™ ?—?›?ž?™? ?•?’?“?•?œ?™ ?ͺ?•?¨?” ?’?•?“ ?ž?”?“?•?¨ ?”?§?•?“? ?©?ž?›?¨?• ?’? ?—?ž?₯ ?‘?’?™?Ÿ ?•?‘?ž?•?¦??™ ?—?’ ?”?€???— ?”??—?¨?•?Ÿ ?”?™?• ?ž?›?‘?“?™? ?‘?”? ?‘? ?™ ?ͺ?•?¨?” ?©?‘??• ?œ?›?‘?“? ?•?œ??—?œ?, ?’? ?¦??ͺ ?”?—?’. 

?ž?•?‘?Ÿ ?©?ž?›?ž?” ?‘?—?™? ?•?ͺ ?™?•?ͺ?¨ ?ž?Ÿ ?”?”?™?“?•?¨ ?”?•? ?–?” ?©?ž?‘?’?¨?. 

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 14:13:58 +0200
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Tefilas Haderech nowadays

R Marty Bluke wrote:
<<Given the above R' Shachter (in Nefesh Harav) says that R' Soloveitchik
did not say tefilas haderech when he commuted from Boston to NY to
give his shiurim. He felt that because it is a tefila b'es tzara (it is
pretty clear from the context of the gemara in berachos on 29b and 30a
which discusses the din of tefilas haderech, that tefilas haderech is
a tefila b'es tzara.

When we discussed the issue in Rav Meir Lichtenstein's (son of RAL) shiur
in Bet Shemesh (which is I highly recommend), he said that the issue
is whether you *subjectively* feel that there is a danger in driving
on the road. As I recall, he said that if you feel that driving on
Israeli roads is dangerous because of the high rate of auto accidents,
then it is proper to say tefillas ha'derech even on shorter trips.
As I do have such a feeling, I say tefillas ha'derech even when driving
from Neve Daniel to Alon Shevut (a 7 minute drive on Route 60) given
the conduct of drivers that I see on that route.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 06:59:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Timtum Halev - Tie in to "Shelo asani..."

T613K@aol.com wrote:
> In Avodah V16 #92 dated 1/19/2006  R' Samuel Svarc writes:
> > And the fact that men have more mitzvos then women (thus "forces"
> > that get in the way of sechar...) doesn't bother you? And if you answer
> > that a women can reach the same level of sechar with her (fewer) mitzvos
> > then what are men making a berocha about?

Exactly. Thank you RSS for making the point that I've been making on
this issue which therefore begs the question of: why... the Bracha SheLo
Asani Isha.

> I am not sure whether women can or cannot achieve the same level of schar
> as men, but for argument's sake, let's say men cannot get more schar
> even though they have more mitzos. They might nevertheless be happy
> to have more mitzvos, simply because they love the Torah so much.

So... men make a Bracha because they love Torah so much? Why would they
love increased ritual without any benefit what-so-ever to the soul? Lest
you say there ...IS... benefit, than that ...IS... the Schar. Why do a
Mitzvah if it doesn't benefit you in some way, either in Olam HaBah or
in Olam Hazeh? It makes no sense.

> You
> hear stories about the great rebbe who sold his olam habah for an esrog
> or some such thing and was overjoyed at the opportunity to do a mitzva
> purely lishma, without schar.

I would not be a Chasid of that Rebbe. But I'm sure the story never really
happened. It is probably just a parable to demonstrate the Rebbe's love
of doing Mitzvos... a really bad one.

I maintain that the link between Schar and Mitzvos is inseparable.
Once you establish a link, only then Chazal can tell you to do a Mitzvah
Lo Al M'nas L'Kabel Pras. What this means is that the higher Mitzvah
is to do it without consideration as to how much... or what the Schar
is whether B'Hai Alama or ...later. If there would be no Schar at all
there would be absolutely no reason to do any Mitzvah

> Also a man + a woman = one unit and the woman gets schar as an
> enabler.

I don't know about this "unit" S’vara... but enablers are not
exclusively women. They apply to rich father-in-laws... or any
Zevulun in the Y/Z relationship.

> > And why would Hashem make a neshoma that will be (as a woman)
> > inherently unable to reach the level of sechar of another neshoma
> > (man)?

This is exactly my biew and therefore why I have never received a
satisfactory answer as to why: ...the Bracha SheLo Asani Isha.

> Again, I don't know if women can or cannot get as much schar as men,
> but this question is not a good one. 

If you concede that women are inferior in the Schar department because
they do not have as many Mitzvos as men, then the Bracha makes sense. But
then the bigger question arises as to why this is fair. It also raises
the question about why a woman should need to get the same Schar as an
enabler for her husband. What's the point? Certainly enabling isn't the
same as doing. Why the need for Chazal to explain that somehow, it is
the same in terms of Schar since women can’t ever make the same ultimate
grade as men anyway, being inferior to them in Mitzvah activities? Why
equate them in this mitzvah.

> Why would Hashem make neshamos
> for goyim, or retarded children, or children who don't live to bar
> mitzva age? Obviously He has a purpose for all these people He created
> and they have value in His world. There are a million things He does
> that seem to us "unfair" but we take it for granted that there are
> limits to our human understanding. 

Fine. That is pretty much my own approach as it should be for
everyone. You can't know the mind of God. But when it comes to
Brachos... written by man, the question is more significant. I do not
understand the reason why R. Meir authored the Bracha SheLo Asani Isha.


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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 13:29:54 -0500
From: Shmuel Weidberg <ezrawax@gmail.com>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

On 1/18/06, T613K@aol.com <T613K@aol.com> wrote:
> The fact that they lived for millions of years --

This is an interpretation of evidence that could be differently interpreted,
so not a fact.

> that there are so
> many layers of fossils,

Are there many layers of fossils? Is it clear that fossils at different
strata have meaning?

> way too many for just a few thousand years --

This is an interpretation of facts. There is more than one way to understand
many layers of fossils.

> and the fact that they did not co-exist with human beings.

Lo roisi aino raaya.

Kol Tuv,

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Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 20:49:23 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Length of Maaseh Breshis

On January 18, 2005, T613K@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 1/18/2006 8:27:28am EST, [R Simcha Coffer]
> rivkyc@sympatico.ca writes:
>>Why do you believe this? What's wrong with saying they existed 5766
>>years ago and subsequently went extinct? What empirical scientific
>>evidence forces you to jump through the nebulous hoops of boreh olamos

> The fact that they lived for millions of years -- that there are so
> many layers of fossils, way too many for just a few thousand years --

How do you know that? No body claims that the depth of fossils alone
proves age. There are many factors that can cause fossils to be buried at
depths of hundreds of feet. Not to mention the biblical flood. Fossils
can only constitute proof of evolution if you can observe "lower" life
forms "descending" (common descent) to "higher" life forms as they ascend
the geological columns. According to most paleontologists, there are no
transitional fossils whatsoever between the layers. I'm sure you wouldn't
contradict the experts, right?

> and the fact that they did not co-exist with human beings.

Once again, who says? Here in Canada they are constantly finding Dinosaur
bones on upper levels of the geological columns and in fact some have even
been mistaken for bison bones because they were laying out in the open.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 00:50:21 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Everyone on same level

At 03:56 PM 01/17/2006, Moshe Feldman wrote:
>>Of course, based on what I wrote in the name of RSZA, this is not 
>>really such an issue.  So long as you know that the person your dealing 
>>with is a yirei shamayim and is likely to make an effort to fulfill his 
>>*own* standards, then even if you and he don't share the same 
>>standards, you're OK, because you're allowed to rely on other people's
>>standards when eating at their homes.

RYL writes:
> I do think that people should keep in mind that how RSZA conducted 
> himself was not followed universally by others. I know, for a fact, 
> that Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT"L, never ate anything outside of his home 
> except for some herring and matzo that he ate on Shabbos in his shul 
> for Seudah Shlishis.  Rav Manis Mandel of the Yeshiva of Brooklyn 
> also does not eat anywhere except in his own home. There are others, 
> I am sure.

It is probably also worth being aware, however, that the reason why
these people did not or do not eat anywhere except their own home may
well have nothing to do with kashrus concerns (which was the issue that
RMF was addressing in the paragaph above).

The Rambam in Hilchos Deos, perek 5 - where he is describing proper
conduct for a talmid chacham writes at the end of halacha 2: "And the
Tzaddikim and Chassidim rishonim did not eat from a seuda that was
not theirs".

This is based (see the Kesef Mishna there) on the gemora at the bottom
of Chulin 7b where it states: "And it was said about R' Pinchas ben Yair
that all hi s days he did not make hamotzi on bread that was not his,
and from the day he was grown up (omed al dato) he did not derive any
benefit from the seuda of his father".

Further up the daf on 7b you can see a story about how Rebbe invited R'
Pinchas ben Yair to eat with him, and while R' Pinchas initially accepted
he ended up not eating with him.

This conduct has more to do with the problematic nature of having hana'ah
from others - the gemora in Brochos 10b uses the fact that Elisha was
willing to stay by the Shunamite woman to prove that one is allowed to
have ha'anah -but one is not required to do so, as is shown by Shmuel -
because R' Yochanan learns from a pasuk regarding Shmuel, that wherever
he went he took his home with him. Note that it is particular concern
of anybody involved in dayanas, as Shmuel was, as the rules regarding
what is a bribe are very strict, and if you are likely to be having to
judge people it is particularly problematic to be having any kind of
hana'ah from them.

That is not RYL's concern, however (ie not to be nehene from others)
as he was willing, while sitting shiva, to eat food provided to him
as a gift which had been ordered from catered establishments where he
approved of the kashrus.

On this topic of gedolim eating in other people's housesI note that
there is a Sde Chemed (marechet aleph siman 116) who quotes from "haRav
Zachor L'Avraham" who appears to have been asked by somebody who was most
dismayed that certain of the gedolei yisroel of the time (including the
Matne Efraim), even though they were careful with regard to food that
was heated/reheated on shabbat in their own houses, would eat in the
houses of ordinary people [baalei battim] who reheated food on shabbat -
and the questioner appeared dismayed that since it is forbidden to eat
such food on shabbat, how could these gedolim eat at the houses of these
people on shabbat. The response of the Zachor L'Avraham was to quote the
Beis Yosef (in Yoreh Deah siman 112) who brings an "Ashkenazi teshuva"
in the name of Rabbi Simcha that it is permitted to eat the bread of
a non Jew even in circumstances where non Jewish bread is forbidden
(rabbinically) if one is together with people who eat such bread with
the reason one can partake mishum aiva, - as we see from the Yerushalmi
in Demai that permits in the case of a seudas mitzvah.

The relevant Mishna in Demai(perek 4 mishna 2), states that, despite
the fact that if one buys produce from an am ha'aretz one is required
to tithe it, and cannot eat of it until it is tithed (because their is a
rabinical prohibition on the produce until retithed, because a minority
of amei ha'aretz were lax about tithing) , if one is invited by an am
ha'aretz in circumstances in which one is unable to tithe (ie on shabbat)
one can still eat his food. The Yerushalmi on this mishna appears to
clarify this by explaining that it is referring to a wedding feast or
such like and the reason it is permitted is meshum aivah. However the
Rambam in hilchos ma'aseh perek 12 halacha 3 appears to take the view that
not just a wedding feast falls within this category but on any shabbat
(see the comment of the nose kelim there and elsewhere).

The Rema brings this l'halacha in Yoreh Deah siman 112 si'if 15 "One who
is careful regarding the bread of non Jews and eats with others who aren't
careful, it is permitted to eat with them mishum aivah v'katita [quarrel]
since if he did not eat bread with them since it is the essence of the
meal they permitted it to him mishum aiva, but we don't learn from here
to other issurim."

The Shach explains this reference to "other issurim" as being even butter
of non Jews and similarly where the custom is to forbid even though we
are lenient in relation to this issur as we learn above in siman 115,
but it is davka with bread that there is aivah because "al lechem chai
adam" but not other foods because there are many people who do not desire
to eat butter and the like.

The Gra's comment on this siman is similar: that butter is forbidden in
this situation but that bread is different because it is the essence
of the meal and we say in perek 4 of Pesachim that even to be lenient
we change minhagim because of maklokus etc because it is not an issur
d'orisa [Torah prohibition] like the Rosh says (51b it relates to the
importance of not letting minhagim get in the way of darkei shalom)
But in the case of butter it is the opposite because there are many in
the marketplace who won't eat butter.

Note that the Zachor L'Avraham (as quoted above in the Sde Chemed) holds
that what the Beis Yosef is allowing is only eating of bread (or in the
case of the gedolei yisroel eating food on shabbat) where there is a
chance [chashash] that that particular food falls into this category,
because these people tend not to be careful about these things, but not
where it is known that this particular item suffers from this defect.
And in addition he holds that this is in a case where the guest asked
the host whether this food suffered from the defect and was told that
it did not (he bases this on the fact that the mishna in Demai referred
to as the source for all this refers to the am ha'aretz stating that it
has indeed been tithed, and holds that, despite there being no reference
to this requirement to ask and be told it is OK in the Beis Yosef or
those who quote him, because it is all based on the mishna in Demai,
it cannot go further than the mishna in Demai).

However you should also note that the Sde Chemed disagrees with the
Zachor L'Avraham there and holds that there is a general principle that
aivah pushes away d'rabbanans (see there).

Not that this was a problem in the particular case that RYL described
on areivim either, because those sending the food to him as an avel
never knew that their food ended up in the garbage, so whatever other
issues there may be, problems of aiva are not one of them. But it might
come into play in some of the other eating out scenarios that have been
discussed on areivim.


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Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 01:56:33 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Re: Kashrus which became: Bal Tashchis and burning Chometz

RYL writes:
>>But throwing of edible food into the garbage would seem to be something 
>>of a different story.

> All of what you have written ignores what I posted on Areivim 
> (V16 #357) about giving food away to gemachs and homeless 
> people. A friend of mine who works for an organization that 
> collects left over food from caterers and restaurants and 
> then distributes it to the poor made it very clear that there 
> are real health dangers is taking food from private homes and 
> giving it to a Gemach or a poor or homeless person. His 
> organization has a very firm policy of not accepting food 
> that is not prepared in a commercial facility that is under 
> the supervision of the Department of Health in NYC.

I am not disputing that giving the food away to gemachs and the homeless
may not be a solution.

> If I was not going to eat it, and I could not give it away, 
> then what was I supposed to do with the food? Again, from a 
> health standpoint, giving the food away is problematic. Was I 
> supposed to go against my own private standards and eat the 
> food? Should I have let it rot, and then throw it away? Is 
> this better than simply putting wrapped food into the garbage?

All I am pointing out is that, as is so often the case, adopting a
chumra in one area may well lead you to a kula in another, as it would
have seem to have done in this case.

Regarding leaving it to rot, when it came to similar problems with shmita
produce, we were told it was indeed better (it never occurred to me when
I sent my parents up to buy some potatoes from the local shop here in
England during shmita year that they would come back with Israeli produce.
But of course potatoes are shvichin, and unless we were going to rely on
the heter mechira, which seemed a bit extreme here in England, we had
a problem. We were told to put them out in the garden for the birds
and animals, as the best that could be done, but that was clearly a
b'dieved situation). People in Israel are careful even with the peels
of shmita produce not to throw them in the garbage (although RZSA says
that is really only necessary if the peels etc are fit for animal food).
However with shmita there is a din of shmira on the produce that there
is not here.

> Furthermore, is putting wrapped food into the garbage really 
> "the height of b'zayon?" 

Sorry I was probably not clear. The Shulchan Aruch collects together
a list of halachas that appear apply *lest* the food become disgusting;
such as, not doing mayim achronim until the house is cleaned; not putting
a cup over the food lest there be spillage and not throwing food, lest
it thereby be rendered disgusting. But in none of these cases is it
by any means guaranteed that the food will be rendered disgusting (the
mayim achronim might miss any bread around, the cup might not spill,
the food thrown might be fine). But, I find it difficult to think of
a way of better guaranteeing that food will become disgusting than by
throwing it into the garbage. This is coupled with the attitude towards
the garbage which applies vis a vis shmita produce (which obviously
has a much higher level of kedusha, but still, it gives an idea of the
hierachy in terms of treating food). It may be that it being wrapped
helps avoid the problem, as maybe it takes it out of the category of
making the food disgusting directly, and makes it indirect, but we do
seem to be scratching around for a heter here. The ideal as it comes
through the sources would seem to be that one should eat good food that
is not already disgusting (note that food left by another person having
already eaten or drunk from it would seem to fall within this category
see Orech Chaim siman 171 s'if 16 and particularly the Taz there).

But I agree, the situation this created for you was not ideal.

Possibly you could get a dog (although there are halachas about why
that is problematic as well). While with shmita there are issues of
switching between human food and animal food, I don't think that applys
to regular food.

Other than that, you are probably caught between being makil on these
halachas in the Shulchan Aruch or doing hetaras nedarim to allow you to
eat the food.

On the subject of doing heteras nedarim in similar circumstances, this
reminds me of what happened to friends of ours. He used to have a similar
chumra of not eating out, although his chumra only applied to pesach.
Except that, on first night pesach around ten or so years ago, his house
caught on fire in the middle of the night. They had one of these fire
alarms, which woke them and they managed to lead all six children to
safety and no one was hurt. But they literally walked out of there
with the pajamas they stood up in. He had to constitute a beis din
to do hetaras nedarim so that he could have breakfast the next morning
(not to mention seder the next night).

I don't think however that your suggestion that people should be
required to ask about such chumras before sending from home to aveilim
is a correct approach. Sending food to an avel is the minhag haolam.
I have seen it practiced on, I think, five continents, and amongst
Ashkenazim and Sephardim alike. Personal chumras of this nature are
one thing, but I would not have though they should operate to undermine
a minhag kadosh like this.

In fact (although this may be a Sephardi thing) when my husband was an
avel, one of my jobs as daughter-in-law in charge of all the running
around was to find the neighbour who was to provide the meal for the
avelim on their return from the levaya. And the instructions from the rav
in charge was that I should ideally have the next door neighbour do it,
and only if there were real problems with that, work my way outwards,
house by house, until I found the nearest neighbour. Luckily next door
to my late mother-in-law lived a lovely Chassidishe family - and the lady
of the house, despite being from a completely different generation and
background, was delighted (not that is the right word in the context)
to be so designated and more than willing to help (despite her preparing
the sort of Ashkenazi food that was probably never found
in my mother-in-law's house in all of her days).

And of course (for those of you who have never been to a Sephardi shiva
house), unlike at an Ashkenazi shiva (which is what I was used to, and
where the converse it true) it is considered a big zchus for the meis for
those coming to be menachem avelim to eat and thereby make brochos in the
house (which is why one of my other jobs was making sure that we always
had enough food so that everybody could make a mezonos, ha'atz, ha'adamah
and a shehakol, so as to maximise the number of brochas which were said
in her honour - it seemed very weird to me at first, especially as we had
only been married a year and a half and this was the first Sephardi shiva
I had ever been to - but if kaddish can be said to assist the neshama of
the meis, why not brochos said by all those who come to be menachem avel).

NB, I think a couple of wrong references in the previous post: -in one
place I refer to Brochas 52b and in the second 42b, both should have
been 52b. And I refer to siman 181 where the correct siman should have
been 180 (the si'if references were correct, I just looked to quickly
at the top of the page).

Shavuah tov

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