Avodah Mailing List

Volume 34: Number 2

Tue, 05 Jan 2016

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Rich, Joel
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 2016 14:36:18 +0000
[Avodah] takanot by chazal

Anyone have any shiurim/sources on the establishment of takanot by chazal? I'm specifically looking at two questions:
 1) How often does the specific application turn on an individual's
 specific circumstances? (e.g. a wealthy person might be allowed to pay a
 ransom but not a community)
 2) How often did measures turn on the individual in question vs. "the
 average Yossi"? (e.g. how we determine for an individual if he has eaten
 sviah (enough to be full)).
Joel Rich

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 2016 10:22:24 -0500
Re: [Avodah] ?poteach et yadecha?

On Fri, Jan 01, 2016 at 02:34:34PM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
: The S"A points out that one must say the verse "poteach et yadecha"
: with specific intent, yet the commentaries disagree as to whose "ratzon"
: the verse refers. So what do you have in mind?

When I fulfil this din, a number of them. It requires repeating the
phrase over, emphasizing different words, etc...

As for the actual content, see http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol25/v25n051.shtml#11

    I might suggest that "yadekha" is meant in contrast to yeminkha -- ie,
    midas hadin in particular. Perhaps it's not a request that HQBH start
    giving as much as that He stop restraining Himself. The right hand,
    chessed, is always trying to give. Din, the need to let His children
    be their own people and suffer from their own mistakes, stops it.

    Umasbia lekhol kai ratzon

    This is grammatically difficult. As an adverb modifying "umasbia"
    it would be "beratzon". RMPoppers and I batted around RSRH's take,
    but all in all, I recall the following different peshatim:

    - and willingly satisfies all living things
    - and satisfies the desires of all living things
    - and satisfies through the bestowing of His Ratzon, all living things
    - he satisfies all people by making them desirable
    - and he satisfies all living things by giving them desires, Something
      to pursue and thereby have a goal, rather than falling pray
      to innui.


Micha Berger             Good decisions come from experience;
mi...@aishdas.org        Experience comes from bad decisions.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Djoha, from a Sepharadi fable
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 3
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 2016 11:07:18 -0500
Re: [Avodah] kosher marijuana

R' Eli Turkel asked:

> why does marijuana need a hechsher?
> In cigarette form it should be no different than tobacco
> cigarettes (do they have a hechsher?)

Medical marijuana is *not* in cigarette form. The manufacturer's website (
http://vireohealthny.com/for-patients/) shows several different
administration methods:

> Vaporizer
> Vaporizers gently heat the oils in the cannabis-derived medicine
> until they evaporate and can be inhaled. ...
> Solutions, Tinctures
> Solutions and tinctures are liquids made of cannabis-derived
> medicine that can be placed in the mouth and either swallowed or
> absorbed to some degree in the mouth itself. ...
> Pills, Tablets & Capsules
> These types of medicine, like the liquids, ...

One might argue that a medicine that is smoked or vaporized doesn't need to
be kosher, but when ingested orally as a liquid or solid, there is ample
precedent to say that hashgacha is - at the very least - recommended.

It is worth noting that the OU has been giving hashgacha to vitamins for
many decades. (Freeda Vitamins has been all-kosher for over 80 years.
https://oukosher.org/companies/freeda-vitamins-inc/) I think it is more
recent that they've been certifying prescription and over-the-counter
medicines, but this product is certainly not the first one.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 4
From: Prof. Levine
Date: Sun, 03 Jan 2016 15:45:01 -0500
[Avodah] Seudas Bris Milah

See http://tinyurl.com/gqdveq7

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Message: 5
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2016 18:07:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] tinok shenishba

R' Saul Newman wrote:

> in an offline conversation, a list member included a remark
> that 'the tinok shenishba excuse is wearing thin' ...

Why would anyone care about the definition of a tinok shenishba? As far as
I can see, that status is relevant only because halacha places certain
sanctions against sinners, and the "tinok shenishba" status can exempt a
sinner from (some of) those sanctions. If so, then I think that a
discussion of this status might be more productive if we compare it to
other similar statuses.

For example, halacha makes a distinction between a Mechalel Shabbos
B'farhesya and a Mechalel Shabbos B'tzin'a. The former is considered
similar to a non-Jew, while the latter is treated more leniently. Why does
the halacha make that distinction? I was taught that a Mechalel Shabbos
B'tzin'a is embarrassed to sin in public, while the Mechalel Shabbos
B'farhesya has no shame and doesn't care who sees him acting like that.

But why are embarrassment and shame relevant? When we ostracize the
Mechalel Shabbos B'farhesya to the point of denying him the privileges of
his Jewishness, what is our goal? What are we hoping to accomplish? Suppose
he relents, and stops his public flaunting of Shabbos, but continues to
violate Shabbos in the privacy of his home. Is that really such a positive
step that we would allow him to be counted for the minyan again? Have we
really made this person into a faithful Jew? Have we significantly improved
the chances that his children and grandchildren will be faithful Jews (or
Jews at all)?

These questions are relevant not only today, but I ask them about Jewish
communities of centuries and millennia past as well: If the sinners of
Europe or of Bavel had flaunted halacha only at home, is that really reason
to be lenient? (Please note that I am focusing only on the distinction
between Mechalel Shabbos B'farhesya and Mechalel Shabbos B'tzin'a. I am
emphatically NOT asking about Mumar L'tayavon and Mumar L'hach'is. It is
obvious to me that we are lenient on the Mumar L'tayavon because we are all
weak-willed to some extent.)

I can't help but suspect that the difference between Mechalel Shabbos
B'farhesya and Mechalel Shabbos B'tzin'a has nothing to do with being loyal
and faithful to Hashem, and actually has everything to do with maintaining
order and not rocking the boat. I hope I'm wrong.

It seems to me that the answers to these questions should help us define
the Tinok Shenishba. With a clear understanding of WHY the halacha puts
sanctions against a Mechalel Shabbos B'farhesya (and not a Mechalel Shabbos
B'tzin'a), we should better understand whether or not those sanctions
should be applied to a Jew who has a limited exposure to what the Jewish
community and/or Hashem expects of him.

Akiva Miller
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2016 15:12:44 -0500
Re: [Avodah] kosher marijuana

On Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 02:52:29PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: "hana'as haguf", and includes rechitza and sicha.  "Lechol nefesh"
: comes to include all needs of the body...

For that matter, "derekh achilah" doesn't mean achilah either, it means
the normal manner of obtaining hana'ah.

Pesachim 76b has a machloqes about two food that are cooked together
in the same small sealed oven, one kosher, one not. Rav says that the
kosher item is not flavored by the reicha, Levi says reicha lav milsa
hi. (RZS already cited the latter posission as what we all hold.)

AZ 66b as a machloqes Abayei veRava about a bas tiha (Rashi describes
what I think is called a bung hole). If an aku"m smells a Jew's wine
through the bas tiha, the wine is still permitted (not stam yeinam)
but if the Jew smells the aku"m's wine... Abayei says assur, Rava says
mutar, reicha lav milsa hi. Rava then brings another example, of bread
baked by burning terumah cumin. But Avayei says that the bread is mutar
because all it absorbed was reicha, not ta'am. Abayei says the case is
difference, because the assur item was destroyed.

Rashi and the Rif take these gemaros as pieces of one sugya. Therefore,
we follow the rule that we hold like Rava over Abayei. Thus,
the SA does hold mutar (YD 108:1).

However, Tosafos (AZ 66b "Abayei amar") hold both like Rav, that enhailed
reicha imparts issur because it's like drinking, but like Rava in the
case of bas tiha, because of the specfics of bas tiha -- the smell hits
you like a hammer, umaziq.

The long Rama tells us that except in cases of hefsed meruba, we should
be chosheish for Tosafos.

The MA (210:9) discusss the need to make a berakhah on smoking. He
considers pipe smoking (osan shenosenim eisev sheqorim "tobaq" lesokh
hashefoferes...") as tzarikh iruin. Is it like to'eim upoleit, or
like raiach -- or even more than reiach, since harbeih sevei'im
mimenu, and therefore the guf gets hana'ah. He refers you to
SA OC 216:13, a discussion of mugmar.

Both possibilities (to'eim upoleit or mugmar) remove smoking from the
domain of kashrus. Even if we follow Tosafos, the MA would be saying a
smoker is "to'eim upoleit" the reicha.

The Gra (YD s"q 3) limits reicha lav milsa hi to bedi'eved. The Shakh
(s"q 27) excludes items make lehariach (eg roses, hadasim) from RLMH.
Both would require cigarettes or e-cigs be kosher.

The AhS (s' 25) assumes that besamim of AZ, kela'ei hakerem and orlah
are assur because they are issurei hanaah "ve'afilu leman desevira lei
reicha lav milsa" this is not true of something made lehariach. So,
the does NOT assume we hold RLM. But more to the point, he prohibits
smoking tabacco that was flavored by an issur hanaah for the same reason
(although flavored by stam yeinam is an exception).

So the AhS does require kosher cigarettes, says so explicitly -- at
least avoiding things that are assur deOraisa. (Or whatever criterion
it is that stam yeinam lacks.)

Among contemporary posqim who require that an inhaled vapor be kosher
is a FAQ e-teshuvah on the cRc web site, besheim R Gedaliah Schwartz
<http://www.crcweb.org/faq/faqanswer.php?faqid=69>. Quoting in full:

   Does the juice or flavor for electronic cigarettes pose kashrus issues?


   Electronic cigarettes convert a specially formulated liquid into
   a vapor which the person inhales in a manner that mimics the way
   one inhales from a traditional cigarette. The liquid (which is
   sometimes called juice, smoke-juice, or similar names) typically
   includes kosher-sensitive ingredients such as glycerin and flavors,
   and since the person imbibes the liquid/vapor, Rav Schwartz said that
   the liquid must be certified as kosher. We contacted a number of
   manufacturers who claim to use only kosher raw materials but there
   is no independent agency who certifies that claim, and therefore we
   are unable to recommend those products. [As with all medical issues,
   one should consult with their doctor before deciding to use or not
   use electronic cigarettes.]

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Friendship is like stone. A stone has no value,
mi...@aishdas.org        but by rubbing one stone against another,
http://www.aishdas.org   sparks of fire emerge. 
Fax: (270) 514-1507                  - Rav Mordechai of Lechovitz

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Message: 7
From: Micha Berger
Date: Mon, 04 Jan 2016 13:57:02 -0500
[Avodah] phys.org: Why too much evidence can be a bad thing

From http://phys.org/news/2016-01-evidence-bad.html
(Jan 4, 2016
by Lisa Zyga) 

The article opens: 

    (Phys.org) -- Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial
    was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect
    was acquitted. This reasoning sounds counterintuitive, but the
    legislators of the time had noticed that unanimous agreement often
    indicates the presence of systemic error in the judicial process,
    even if the exact nature of the error is yet to be discovered. They
    intuitively reasoned that when something seems too good to be true,
    most likely a mistake was made.

    In a new paper to be published in The Proceedings of The Royal Society
    A, a team of researchers, Lachlan J. Gunn, et al., from Australia
    and France has further investigated this idea, which they call the
    "paradox of unanimity."

    "If many independent witnesses unanimously testify to the identity of
    a suspect of a crime, we assume they cannot all be wrong," coauthor
    Derek Abbott, a physicist and electronic engineer at The University
    of Adelaide, Australia, told Phys.org. "Unanimity is often assumed
    to be reliable. However, it turns out that the probability of a
    large number of people all agreeing is small, so our confidence in
    unanimity is ill-founded. This 'paradox of unanimity' shows that
    often we are far less certain than we think."

However, lehalakhah, we do require uanimity in eidus, and even if the
kat is a hundred eidim. The author is comparing observation in science
to opinion in halakhah where the closer matches don't work.

Still, I thought it interesting. And yeyasheir kochah for pulling a little
Torah into a science journal.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "I hear, then I forget; I see, then I remember;
mi...@aishdas.org        I do, then I understand." - Confucius
http://www.aishdas.org   "Hearing doesn't compare to seeing." - Mechilta
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "We will do and we will listen." - Israelites


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