Avodah Mailing List

Volume 28: Number 3

Thu, 06 Jan 2011

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 22:17:11 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Upsheren Custom of Hassidim

On 5/01/2011 5:27 PM, Prof. Levine wrote:

> A very significant consideration is also the question if there is a
> problem of /'chukos hagoyim'/ with the custom.

The holy Baal Shem Tov approved of it, and that should be enough to
dismiss any question about its propriety.

Zev Sero                      The trouble with socialism is that you
z...@sero.name                 eventually run out of other people?s money
                                                      - Margaret Thatcher

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Message: 2
From: "The Goldmeiers" <gldme...@rcn.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 23:11:20 -0600
[Avodah] nittel nacht

So, I'm confused, which is normal really.  On Yom Hashoah, where we ask that 
everyone stop for a moment of silence, That gets an argument of Bitul Torah 
(let's ignore the other argument of chukas hagoyim for now).  But an entire 
night of bitul is ok?

Shaya Goldmeier 

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Message: 3
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 03:28:23 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Rabbinate banning non-chalavyisrael products?

R' SBA asked:
> Is there any difference (to those who aren't makpid on Cholov
> Yisroel) between the various following types of milk:
> Chalav stam, chalav akum, chalav nochri, chalav hacompanies ?

My understanding is that there is no difference between chalav akum and
chalav nochri. The halachos relating to the kashrus of milk are based on
trustworthiness and reliability, and I'm not aware of any difference
between a practitioner of Avodah Zara and other non-Jews. As a general
rule, their milk is assur. However, there are exceptions.

One exception is chalav hacompanies, which was ruled by Rav Moshe Feinstein
and others to be muttar. This was based on the idea (if I understood
correctly) that as long as we are sure that the milk is kosher, that is
just as good as if a Jew had actually watched the milking.

A less well-known exception is milk powder; I understand this to be the
psak of Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank. Another exception, whose details I've
forgotten, has to do with the milk used for making butter and cheese. In
these cases, it is based on the idea that these things simply cannot be
made from non-kosher milk.

My understanding is that "chalav stam" is a colloquial term, having no
specific halachic meaning. I suspect that it was coined by some
well-meaning individual who was trying to describe the "ordinary milk" seen
in American food stores, which was accepted as kosher by everyone who
wasn't makpid on chalav yisrael. It is very unfortunate that he did not see
the circular illogic of that definition. He thought that *all* "plain milk"
was kosher for the non- chalav yisrael crowd; he never realized that what
the "plain milk" was not plain at all, but was supervised and certified to
be pure cows' milk (albeit by the government instead of any Jew), and that
this removed it from the categories of chalav akum and chalav nochri
according to those poskim.

Akiva Miller

Globe Life Insurance
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Message: 4
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 00:22:24 EST
Re: [Avodah] attending a C service [was: More on Reviving a

From: Isaac Balbin <Isaac.Bal...@rmit.edu.au>
>> I draw your attention to the recently published Divrei  HaRav, where an 
ex-C B'aal Tshuva asked whether he should attend the C service  for his 
brother's Bar Mitzvah. RYBS was very very uncomfortable, and to be sure,  you 
*can't* learn from one situation to another, but his advice was to daven  
beforehand in a proper minyan, attend, but never answer Amen, and stand when  
they sit, and sit when they stand! This might even be interpreted as being  
mekayem the mitzvah to be moche! <<

My father (R' Nachman Bulman, for newbies) held that it is assur to  enter 
a C or R sanctuary for any reason.  He, and much of the RW Torah  world, 
sharply disagreed with RYBS and parts of the MO world on this  issue.  (At the 
same time he held RYBS in great esteem -- he was a student  of RYBS and 
never denied the Rav's greatness.)
Personally R' Bulman dealt with numerous individuals, probably  thousands 
over the years, who had serious family conflicts with non-O relatives,  non-O 
simchas and occasions, visits home to non-O parents and so on.  He  guided 
them step by step as to what to say and how to behave in order to be  
mefayes their disgruntled relatives.  But bending on principle was not part  of 
the allowable spectrum of reaction to these painful family situations.   With 
tact and patience, and enough time, the non-frum relatives can eventually  
be won over and will ultimately respect you for sticking to your  principles.
My father did not consider his stance to be a policy decision but a  
halachic decision.
Not only did he consider it halachically wrong to enter a C sanctuary, he  
also considered it wrong -- a violation of midvar sheker tirchak -- to 
secretly  daven at home and then pretend to pray in the C synagogue.
On that latter point at least it seems he would have agreed with RYBS not  
to answer Amen in a C sanctuary, not to stand when they stand and so  on.  
If a person was going to violate the first issur by entering the C  sanctuary 
for a family bar mitzva, he should at least not compound his sin by  
appearing to pray there, i.e., he should not even open a siddur in the C  
sanctuary but should sit in the back obviously not praying.
However, a BT should /not/ cut his ties with his family and should not  
write them off.   That's a subject for a another thread, maybe for a  book.  
Harsh and angry words from the non-O relatives should be met with  soft and 
loving words, and patience.   The work you do on your  own middos will 
ultimately do much more to win their affection and respect  than any attempt on 
your part to meet them on their turf.

--Toby Katz


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Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 06:18:22 -0500
Re: [Avodah] People of the E-Book? Observant Jews Struggle

On Wed, Jan 05, 2011 at 12:18:56PM -0800, Simon Montagu wrote:
: IMHO another reason why there is no ketiva by computers and ebook readers is
: that there is no direct human action that forms the letters -- the operating
: system copies bits from one part of the memory to another, and any changes
: in the memory that make things that look like letters appear on the screen
: are caused by human interaction only after many levels of indirection.

Hitting the "next page" (or clicking on the book title, or...) triggers
that action. If the indirection is instananteous and pretty much
inevitable, it's pesiq reishei.

You raise an issue that I mentioned in passing. Does kesiva necessarily
require writing each letter? Does this depend on the same issues as
question of whether R' Abadi's stenciled sifrei Torah are kosher?
Or are kesivah WRT sta"m and WRT melakhah defined differently?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
mi...@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Message: 6
From: "Akiva Blum" <yda...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 09:32:48 +0200
[Avodah] There was no mechitzah at the Kotel

From: Harry Maryles [on Areivim -micha]
Sent: Thursday 06 January 2011 12:47 AM
> R' Micha just said something similar and to be honest, I'm not sure. Does a
> place that was never intended by it's builders to have Kedushas Beis
> HaKenesses just because a few people decide it should? I doubt that there
> was ever any consultation with all those who use the Kotel Plaza to vest it
> with Kedushas Beis heKeneses. The Kotel Plaza ia a public domain isn't it?
> Do I have the right to declare any place I wish in a public domain - a Shul?
> Can I plunk down an Aron Kodesh in Times Square and set up a Mechitza there
> just because a few people think it's a good idea?
> I have been told in the past that the authority oover the Kotel Plaza had
> been granted to certain people and that theyhave the right to declare what
> they want. Who said that the State of Israel can give away the rights of
> other citizens who may oppose a mechitza to those who support it?

The gemorah states (megilah 26a): The Chachomim say that the street has
no kedushah (and therefore may be sold). What is the reason that R'
Menachem bar Yossi (says it does have kedushah)? Because they daven there
on taaniyos and maamodos. And Rabonon say no, that is only temporary
(akrai bealma). Rashi: eino tadir.

So it follows that any place that the tzibbur uses permanently for
davening, automatically has the status of beis haknesess.


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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 09:42:02 -0500
Re: [Avodah] There was no mechitzah at the Kotel

RAB already brought to Avodah the discussion of whether the current
plaza has more qedushah than the area had in 1918.

There was also a second thread of discussion in the general topic:

The local gov't's didn't allow a mechitzah to be put at the kotel,
for fear it would trigger riots. (Rather than trying to contain the
criminals. <sigh>) And in fact, the British finally allowed a mechitzah
in 1929, which did indeed led to rioting across EY -- most notoriously
in Chevron, Hy"d.

Does this qualify as she'as hadechaq or ein danin es ha'efshare mishe'i

Others, including myself, argued that since there is no chiyuv to
daven at the kotel, or for the women to be there during minyan, with
all those other shuls Y-m had at the time (how far away are the four
shuls of the rova?), had davening without a mechitzah been a problem,
they simply wouldn't have davened there. The presence of alternative
locations removes the dochaq-ness.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When one truly looks at everyone's good side,
mi...@aishdas.org        others come to love him very naturally, and
http://www.aishdas.org   he does not need even a speck of flattery.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Rabbi AY Kook

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Message: 8
From: "kennethgmil...@juno.com" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 13:23:06 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Rabbinate banning non-chalavyisrael products?

> From: Ben Waxman  [on Areivim]
> http://www.dat.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/F715F6E8-3AC1
> -44D9-A43C-17ACD704D2F2/0/006SCH.pdf
> This document states the rules about chalav nochri.
> [URL reduced to <http://bit.ly/etLwqz> -micha]

As a possible example of the implementation of those rules, I'd like to
tell you about the can of made-in-USA (but obviously exported to Israel)
"Sour Cream & Onion flavored Pringles" which is in front of me.

On the can, in three lines of a progressively less bold font, it reads:

> kasher chalavi l'ochlei avkat chalav nochri
> kasher b'hashgachat OUD
> b'ishur harabanut hareshit l'yisrael

("Kosher dairy for those who eat chalav nochri milk powder. Kosher under supervision of the OUD. Certified by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.")

It seems to me that by specifying "powder", the Rabbinate is telling us
that they would *not* approve liquid milk, even liquid chalav hacompanies.
They seem to totally reject the heter of chalav hacompanies, but are
willing to certify the powder of chalav nochri. And, at first glance, that
is exactly what I read in items #1 and #2 of the document mentioned at the
top of this post.

But let's analyze it a bit more carefully. My translation of those items would be:

> 1) In general, the use of milk from a non-Jewish dairy, for
> imported products or local manufacture, is not certified,
> whether as liquid milk on its own, or as one of the ingredients
> of the product.
> 2) Use of chalav nochri powder, or powdered ingredients derived
> from chalav nochri, such as: milk protein, milk sugar, machmatzot
> [enzymes?], etc., which were produced under a kashrut certified
> by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, are allowed provided that they
> be marked with this text: "Kasher chalavi, mechil avkat rechivei
> chalav nochri - kosher dairy, containing powdered ingredients of
> chalav nochri."

(Translator's note: Is there any significance to the term "chalav neegar"
[liquid milk] in note 1? I'm not used to that word, and would have expected
"chalav nazil".)

But compare that with the ingredient list provided by the manufacturer,
which mentions these ingredients among many others: "... whey, ... nonfat
milk, sour cream (cream, nonfat milk, cultures), cultured nonfat milk, ...
sodium caseinate ..."

I'm no food scientist, but I wonder about the sour cream used here. Does
cream have the same heterim that butter does, i.e., that it can't be made
from tamei milk? What about the "nonfat milk" used in the sour cream and as
a main ingredient -- should we presume this to be shorthand for "nonfat dry
milk", which would be a powder, or might it simply be liquid skim milk?

On a practical level, these questions do not bother me, inasmuch as I do
drink chalav hacompanies and I rely on the OU. But I'm still interested in
the shitos of the Chief Rabbinate, and I can't help but wonder if they
might rely on the heter of chalav hacompanies, at least in borderline

Akiva Miller

Mortgage Refinance Today
Refinance rates as low as 3.750%. Get a free quote w/ no SSN.

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Message: 9
From: Michael Feldstein <michaelgfeldst...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 12:56:12 -0500
[Avodah] B'dieved or l'chatchila

T'isn't I who is missing the point.? Your assertion that having a mechitza
nowadays is a new frumkeit, unheard of in the past as per that video, is
simply not true.? They did not leave out the mechitza because it wasn't
necessary but because they were not allowed to put one up.
In fact, they did attempt on many occasions to put up a mechitza for
davening but the Turks/Brits tore them down.

prove his point.  He is saying that there is no halachic need to put up a
mechitza in the Kotel Plaza, a public square.  Just because there
were attempts by Jews in Palestine to put up a mechitza when it was under
foreign rule does not necessarily mean that it was the halachically proper
thing to do.  That could have been false frumkeit too.  The davening without
a mechitza that was in the video might be a b'dieved...or then again it
might be correct l'chatchila, as Harry has suggested.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT
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Message: 10
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gershon.du...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 19:10:55 GMT
[Avodah] B'dieved or l'chatchila?

R' Harry was ostensibly not just expressing his opinion.  He certainly has
a right to do so, but he was asserting that the video proved his point.  As
you say, it ain't necessarily so.  Which leaves us with his opinion, sans
proof. QED. Gershon
Globe Life Insurance
$1* Buys $50,000 Life Insurance. Adults or Children. No Medical Exam.
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Message: 11
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 09:53:36 -0500
Re: [Avodah] There was no mechitzah at the Kotel


Others, including myself, argued that since there is no chiyuv to daven at
the kotel, or for the women to be there during minyan, with all those other
shuls Y-m had at the time (how far away are the four shuls of the rova?),
had davening without a mechitzah been a problem, they simply wouldn't have
davened there. The presence of alternative locations removes the

Tir'u baTov!

Raises an interesting (to me) question - we know there is an "inyan" of
davening in a shul, even byichidut, versus davening elsewhere.(sidepoint
-IIRC R'HS has said that a mechitza is required for a minyan (or makom)
kavua, but not strictly required for an arai minyan)  What would the shikul
hadaat be for davening in a shul alone	where the moveable mechitza is not
up and there is a woman in the back far corner of the room, properly
dressed and reading a tanach  vs. davening at home alone?
Joel Rich
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Message: 12
From: Saul.Z.New...@kp.org
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 09:14:23 -0800
[Avodah] worst aveirah

the gmara often lists  ,  eg  acts that can   as a single  act  genrate 
multiple chiyuvim of  chatat for example.   and  there is  a  general 
sense of intensity of sin  thru the punishment -- payment, makot, mitat 
beit din, etc
i think other  religions  have considerations  of what is the  WORST sin 
one  can commit.

i wonder if  we have  a WORST.   i thought   chillul  hashem is the worst. 
 but  i have  also come  across shichvat  zera levatala  as the  worst  . 
[ this would  be  interesting if  true, since  the  tora  doesnt  mention 
it  directly post-sinai, nor  list  a punishment  [? un-atonable?] ...

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 14:31:50 -0500
[Avodah] Arbaah Rashei Shanim Heim

First, my wishes for a "Shanah Tovah" to any Shamutim in the chevrah.

I recently posted the following observation on scjm:

> The Jewish year begins in Tishrei, the beginning of the fall. Just as
> things are going dark. And our day begins at sunset. A second definition
> of day is used WRT sacrifices, sunrise to sunrise. And we also have a
> second definition of year used for counting months -- from spring to
> spring. Both start with the start of light. (Perhaps: usually we rest in
> order to produce, so the sleep cycle or farmer's slow season is before
> the active part of the day. In the sanctuary, we aren't looking at prep,
> only the work itself???)

> "April Fools" were originally those pagans who celebrated the New Year at
> the Spring Equinox, who the Christians felt were fair game for trickery.
> Before the slippage, the equinox was on April 1. No idea when their
> day started.

> The Chinese New Year is always within a day of either Rosh Chodesh
> Adar or Adar II. Their calendar has the same 19 year leap-month cycle,
> although they aren't in the same place in the rotation. Their New Year
> is always in the spring, and the calendar day changes at dawn.

> The Gregorian New Year is around the shortest day (was once actually on
> the shortest day) and it changes date at midnight.

> A pattern.

Someone replied:
: 2. Please, for completeness, expound on the 4 (Jewish) New Years.

To which I wrote:
> I don't have a more full theory than that. Thus the "Perhaps: ...???"

> Abe is referring to the first mishnah in Tractate Rosh haShanah:
>     There are four New Years:
>     On 1 Nisan is the New Year for Kings and for festivals.
>     On 1 Elul is the New Year for the tithe of animals. Rabbi Eliezer
>     and Rabbi Shimon say, "on 1 Tishrei."
>     On 1 Tishrei is the New Year for years, for Sabbatical years, for
>     Jubilee years, for planting, and for vegetables.
>     On 1 Shevat is the New Year for trees according to Beis Shammai. Beis
>     Hillel say on the 15th of it.

> I just commented on the more used two -- 1 Tishrei and 1 Nissan, because
> that's the only two definitions of day. 1 Tishrei is how we count years,
> both Anno Mondi and when dating contracts by non-Jewish ruler. 1 Nissan
> is how we count months and date constracts when using years of rule of
> Jewish kings. They mean something calendrical.

> The other two are also more functionally defined, which may explain why
> they're the subject of debate. 1 Elul (or 1 Tishrei) was the end of the
> birthing season, 15 Shevat (or 1 Shevat) the beginning of the emergence
> of crops. Both chosen to define when nature finished producing that year's
> material, for the sake of knowing how to assess donations.

> But really, this is just excusemaking. I simply don't have a more full
> explanation. Just our two definitions of day, the Chinese day, and
> the Gregorian day.

So, does anyone have a maqor for saying that 2 of the four Rashei Shanah
are more "real" than the other two?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
mi...@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 14
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 15:21:24 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Categorical imperative

Picking up on our conversation of a year-and-a-half ago about the
relationship between intuitive ethics and halakhah (in contrast to
"Divine Command Theory" -- that "ethical" *means* "that which Hashem
commanded"). Which began with Kant's Categorical Imperative...

Categorical Imperative:
    Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time
    will that it should become a universal law.
        -- Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, tr James E Wellington

Well, I found a maqor in the Yerushalmi. Chullin 4:5, 28a:
    R' Shim'on bar Kahaneh was giving physical support to R' Liezer
    [while walking]. They passed by a fence. He [R' Liezer] said to him,
    "Bring me a splinter so that I can pick my teeth." Then he returned
    [to speaking] and said, "Do not bring me anything." He said, "Because
    if each and every person did like this, the person's [entire] fence
    would leave!"
    R Chagai was giving support to R' Ze'ira. They passed by someone's
    stack of beams. He [R' Ze'ira] said to him, "Bring me a splinter so
    that I can pick my teeth." Then he returned [to speaking] and said,
    "Do not bring me anything." He said, "Because if each and every
    person did like this, the person's [entire] stack would leave!"
    It is not that R' Ze'ira was being all that kahser. Rather, he was
    latting them hear the words of their Creator from his actions.

Both stories are pretty clearly laying out the Categorical Imperative.
People aren't maqpidim on splinters, so lehalakhah it's okay.

Notice that the idea of R' Ze'ira following the Categorical Imperative is
assumed to make him more kosher. (Even if the gemara concludes that R'
Ze'ira wasn't so kosher as to follow the Categorical Imperative as an
ethical guideline, but was "just" doing so because he knew that people
learn from his behavior in particular.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
mi...@aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 15
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2011 15:22:27 -0500
[Avodah] Rabbi Chiyya Ruba

On the same amud, Chullin 28 (as explained by the Leiv Y-m), R' Ba Mari
says that R' Chiyya Ruba -- as he is called in the Y-mi -- is allowed
to argue with a mishnah. That he is called "Ruba" because R' Chiya was
what we on Avodah have called a "throwback" to an earlier era of rabbinic
authority. The way followers of the Gra and the Besht said about their
respective rabbeim arguing with rishonim. With one major difference --
the Chazon Ish's argument about the 2,000 years of Torah cutting the
line between tannaim and amora'im would make this statement about R'
Chiyya much more of a chiddush than the convention that divides rishonim
and acharonim.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When a king dies, his power ends,
mi...@aishdas.org        but when a prophet dies, his influence is just
http://www.aishdas.org   beginning.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                    - Soren Kierkegaard


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