Avodah Mailing List

Volume 05 : Number 073

Tuesday, June 27 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 10:14:20 -0400
Re: Foie Gras

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> We were discussing on scj, the permissability of eating foie gras (fatted
> goose). The question is roughly parallel to white veal, in that the animal
> is treated in ways no one would consider humane.

Just my two cents, but my father, zt"l used to stuff (i.e. forcefeed) geese
as a child.  His family was in the business.  It seems that no one every
considered the issues listed below.  Indeed the Rav of his town and the
dayanim and shochtim all bought their geese from my grandfather, including
the fatted liver.  I once asked my father if the geese suffered from the
stuffing, and he told me that no goose ever ran away when they saw him
coming with the corn meal, and that they did not seem to be in pain at any

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 10:46:15 -0500
From: acl100@juno.com
Re: Areivim V5 #152

The RAv on Torah Umadah

Shiur HaRav Soloveichik ZT"L on Parshas Ki Teytze

[This shiur was given by the Rav ZT"L in the 1950's, I do not have a more
accurate date for it...]

The concepts and ideas represented by the prohibition against Klayim (grafting)
are far greater than what the abstract Halacha presents. The abstract presents
Klaay Kerem, Klaay Begadim, Klaay Zeraim, Klaay Behayma. Everything in Maasey
Breishis has its own unique morphological identity. Be it fruit, animal, plant
kingdom. Klayim is a synthetic creation. When man mixes things and makes Klayim
he takes characteristics from different individual pieces of Maasay Breishis
and combines them into something synthetic. The resulting product exhibits
characteristics of both contributors. He combines forms and appearances that
mixes things that Hashem instilled in Maasay Breishis. He removes boundaries
that Hashem created as part of Maasay Breishis, Eruv Gevulim. Each aspect
of Maasay Breishis has its own boundary and purpose. Every aspect of Maasay
Breishis has its unique purpose and Gevul. For instance Chazal said that
certain vegetables will play a role in convicting the wicked. Chazal were
saying that they have a specific role to play in Maasay Breishis. The
whole world must follow the natural order that Hashem has created. Only
man resists the natural order of Maasay Breishis. For example the nature of
spring flowers will not permit them to bloom in fall and visa versa. They
must submit to nature as ordained by Hashem. All of creation submits to
the natural order set forth by Hashem. Only man has the ability to subvert
this. The Torah says Haazinu Hashamayim, have you ever seen the sun rise
in the west and set in the east? Have you ever seen rain fall in Eretz
Yisrael in the summer? Have you seen a rock resist gravity and rise upwards?
Everything must obey the will of Hashem. Each object was endowed with its
own nature and characteristics as part of Maasay Breishis. When man grafts
two different things in an attempt to synthesize a new object, he subverts
this natural order by making a new fruit that does not follow the natural
order that Hashem intended. He subverts the original grafted fruits.

We find another type of Klayim in the Torah, The Torah describes at great
length the Machanos in the Midbar and the separation they had to maintain. Each
individual had to know his place, whether it was in the Machane Leviya or
Machane Yisrael. Each Shevet had its own place in the marching order and a flag
to identify their unique identity and place. In the service of the Mikdash,
the different families within Shevet Levi had their unique jobs which other
families were not permitted to do. Kohanim have their responsibilities and
Leviim have theirs. Just as in nature we find specific patterns in objects,
so to Hashem has ingrained skills and talents in each person. A person has
talents in one area but not in others. In order for a society to live in
harmony, each person must learn to distinguish his capabilities and to know
what he can and can't do. Man must identify his strengths and weaknesses. Some
people think they are all capable while others lack self confidence to the
degree of complete self doubt.

Hashem wants each member of Knesses Yisrael to realize that he cannot be an
expert in everything, he must strive to develop his special talent. Ish Al
Machanayhu Vish Al Diglo. Only then can the community move forward. Only
Hashem is all-knowing and all-powerful. Every Jew must recognize that he
has a strength and role for which he is qualified. Each Shevet had its own
flag that identified its strength. If one concentrates on developing his
strengths, then he will be successful. If he concentrates on areas where he
is not qualified, he will inevitably fail. The Torah says Vayavedu Es Bnay
Yisrael Bfarech, the Midrash says that the Egyptians made the men perform the
job of women and women do the job of men, the old did the tasks of the young
and the young those of the old. By forcing them to perform work that they were
not suited for, they broke the spirit of the people and destroyed their will.

This notion of recognizing and concentrating on the specific talent and skill
is not confined to the individual. The nations of the earth must follow this
as well. A nation may have a natural advantage and skill in certain areas
while not in others. For example one nation may be skilled in technology
and engineering, another in science, another in math, or physics or the
arts. But we don't find all these qualities in evidence at their highest
levels in a single nation. A nation must be honest with itself and recognize
its skills. Some nations believe that they are the best at everything. This
is a ridiculous, haughty notion. People, as well as nations, fall victim
to the idea that they are all-capable. Sometimes the haughtiness of an
individual or a dictator leads him to believe that he is infallible. Other
times an entire government or nation will believe that they are supreme.
Inevitably their arrogance causes great disasters and holocaust.

Behanchel Elyon Goyim Bhafrido Bnay Adam, each nation was given its own
territory in terms of its own genius and skill. Just like Hashem gave talents
to each person, so to the nations were given skills. Just like the Shevatim
were given different skills as represented by the Degalim, so to the nations
have unique talents and skills that they should concentrate on developing.

What is the special, unique talent of the Jewish Nation? It is our ability
to communicate with and find Hashem. The dual relationship manifests in
Hashem demanding from His people that they follow a specific way of life. The
Bays Yosef called one part of the Shulchan Aruch the Orach Chayim. The Jew
must have a separate way of life in prayer, business, and in living that is
different from the non-Jewish world. If we recognize the closeness we enjoy
with Hashem and the specific way of life that Hashem prescribed for us as our
skills and talents and we follow Torah and Mitzvos, we will be successful.
If we first develop our unique skills, we set the stage to allow other skills
in other areas to shine through as well. An overflowing well that is allowed
to gather strength will overflow into canals and deltas and create a beautiful
system of lakes and streams. If the well is bottled up and does not develop,
neither the beauty of the main stream that emanates from the well or the
secondary system of canals will be attained.

In order to attain his potential, man must be careful to first develop
completely his own unique talent and skill, for only then might he be
successful in developing other skills as well. If man concentrates on his
secondary talents before concentrating and developing his main skill he will
not be successful. The Jewish nation in Eretz Yisrael must be careful to
first develop their genius, of closeness to Hashem and following their Orach
Chayim. Only then will their main genius spread itself out and manifest in
other areas as well. Otherwise they will not succeed in secular areas at all.

Interestingly, the Torah never forbade Jews from learning from their
surroundings. For example, when they went to Mitzrayim, they left an
agricultural society and entered the most advanced technical and artistic
society. They learned from their environment. The Egyptians had great
architects and artisans and Betzalel must have learned from them to became
skilled in working with wood and metals so he could build the Mishkan.
Jews have never been forbidden to learn math, medicine, or science from
the non-Jewish world. The Rambam (Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh) writes that
truth is acceptable and should be sought after no matter where it comes
from. Knowledge, truth, can be learned from anywhere, even the secular world.

But Jews must be very vigilant and circumspect to accept new things when we
talk of Kedusha. When it comes to Kedusha, we must be ever vigilant against
allowing the growth of Klayim. Yenika, drawing from the ground that contains
different things in proximity yet separated by a sufficient distance is
fine. There are practical things that may be absorbed from the non-Jewish
world. However we must be careful to maintain our distance so that we do not
also imbibe the poisons that are part of that world and become Klayim. There
is no shortage of vulgarity, egotism or impurity in that world. When learning
from the non-Jewish world, the Jew must discriminate, be Mavdil, between
drawing from the good and rejecting the filth and corruption in that world.

The Torah in Parshas Ki Teytze describes the eternal war between the Jews
and the nations of the world. Conflict erupts between people who have some
relationship with each other. Agudah has conflicts with Mizrachi but not
with the communists. Why? Because there is a common interest between Agudah
and Mizrachi. Conflict erupts between 2 groups that are close to each other
yet relate differently to common situations. Conflict does not occur between
people who have no common points of interest. Hasidim and Misnagdim engage
in conflict however Hasidim and Reform Jews have no common point of interest
from which to engage in conflict. Two groups in conflict with each other must
get close to each other, They must understand each others plans, strengths
and weaknesses. They spy on each other in order to learn their opponent's
ways and weaknesses to exploit them in battle. The spying country learns
from the other country and begins to emulate its ways. The same applies
between people in conflict as well.

The Torah warns us that when we go to war and, hopefully with the help
of Hashem, we will be victorious in battle we will find something in the
culture of the people we conquered that will entice us. The fact that we
were recently mortal enemies of this nation does not inoculate us from
this enticement. Inevitably we will see something that appeals to us,
symbolized as a Yefas Toar. The Torah says that before you bring the Yefas
Toar into your house, you must be able to distinguish between two cardinal
situations. Sometimes the Yefas Toar, the Yafyuso Shel Yefes, represents some
acceptable aspect that behooves us to emulate. There will also be enticing
yet corrupting aspects to these nations that we must distinguish among and
discriminate against. You should recognize that beneath her pretty hair and
long nails lurks great corruption and moral perversion.

The Torah tells us if you are only interested in is the long hair and
pretty nails you should know that the beautiful long nails will scratch
you. Before you can bring her into your house you must first remove her
enticing exterior. She must first shave her long hair and remove her
attractive fingernails. You must be careful to discriminate and draw
boundaries around their customs. You may benefit from their scholarship
but you should be careful not to adopt along with it their evil ways of
corruption and moral decadence, their customs and marriages. Remember that
beneath the exterior of the Yefas Toar lies an extremely vulgar person.
If she presents something useful and nice you must first be certain that
you are not bringing a vulgarity to your home. Judaism never prevented the
Jew from learning good things from the nations of the world. But the Torah
wanted us to always be vigilant to be a Mavdil Bayn Tahor Ltamay.

If a Jew marries this woman because of her long hair and pretty nails he
will fail and produce a Ben Sorer Umorer. One of the greatest of men failed
because of this. King David married a Yefas Toar and he ended up falling
victim and had a Ben Sorer Umorer. Why? Because Dovid was not Doresh Semuchin
(in Sefer Devarim we learn special things from the juxtaposition of Parshios,
and the Parshios of Yefas Toar and Ben Sorer Umorer are juxtaposed) he
fell victim. Had David thought clearly and been careful he would have seen
that she was a vulgarity. He would have realized that it is impossible for
a Yefas Toar to be the mother of a Melech Byisrael. There is a concept of
Yaft Elokim Lyefes Vyishkon Bahalay Shem. A Torah can be written in Greek,
by those that are capable of distinguishing between the good and the vulgar,
like the Rambam and Rav Saadia Gaon. They were capable of distinguishing
between the flowers of Greek Scholarship and its fruits. Others who were
not capable attempted to rewrite the Torah in Greek and perverted the Torah
by adopting the ways of the world. Such failure results in Klayey Hakerem
that causes both the food and the grapes to be prohibited. Chachmas Yevanis
alone is good and Torah alone is good. But if one tries to mix the two and
does not know how to mix them, the product is a terrible hybrid.

One can try to mix things in the every day world, only after carefully
studying the Parshas Yefas Toar. You must be careful to bring in the good
aspects, the Yafyuso Shel Yefes and to reject the vulgar aspects. However
in Kedusha there can be no mixing. Most American Jews do not understand
the culture of the country, the Yafyuso Shel Yefes. American Jews are
typically exposed to two types of Americans: the vulgar politician and
the egotistical businessman. The typical Jew does not learn the beautiful
traditions of America. Instead he is exposed to the lies of the politician
and the egotism of the businessman. He gravitates to the vulgar night clubs
and movies instead of absorbing the good basic qualities of America.

The Torah warns us that we should not explore how the nations that were to be
conquered and expelled by the Jews on entry to Eretz Yisrael, practiced their
religion (Devarim 12:31). Rashi is of the opinion that this prohibition is
related to Avoda Zara. The Ramban disagreed. If a Jew enters a church and
sees how the non-Jew practices his service he may find it appealing and will
want to adopt some of these practices in his service. For example, non-Jews
allow mixed seating at their services, the priest faces the audience, they
play the organ and they have a mixed choir. These might sound appealing and
the Jew will want to adopt these practices. The Torah says Lo Taasun Ken,
there is a special prohibition against adopting forms of worship from non-Jews
no matter how nice they may appear. It is forbidden to incorporate any of
their religious practices in the Mikdash and in our Batei Knesses. Such
an introduction is considered Klayim of the most horrible sort that ruins
everything. No mixing of Kedusha with the Darkei Umos Haolam is permitted.

There were 2 Korbanos based on the new wheat, Chodosh. The Omer permitted
new wheat in all of Eretz Yisrael except the Mikdash. The Shtay Halechem
permitted the new wheat in the Mikdash. Why distinguish between the use in
the Mikdash and everywhere else? The Rav gave as an example the case where
a slave who has never tasted freedom is set free. When he leaves his ghetto
he looks at how the free men behave and he decides that he wants to emulate
them. The Torah says Vlechem Vkali Vkarmel Lo Tochlu Ad Etzem Hayom Hazeh. It
is forbidden to introduce Chadosh, new practices, into Kedusha.

The Torah says Kmaaseh Eretz Mitzrayim Asher Yeshavtem Bah Lo Taasu. Mitzrayim
had their specific national genius from which we could learn useful
things. But we must be careful not to mix up Yafyuso Shel Yefes with the
Yefas Toar. However, to learn Midos from Mitzrayim? To learn Mussar from
Mitzrayim? Chas Vsholom that we should learn our national genius from them!
Even though Chodosh was permitted in the Gevulim, in the Mikdash it was still
forbidden. That is why Chodosh was brought as the Shtay Halechem on Shavuos,
it was not offered on the altar, it had to be brought as Chametz. In fact
if you offer the Shtay Halechem on the altar you receive Malkos. Because
the Mikdash represents Kedusha, Torah and Mitzvos and Avodas Hashem. These
are our national strengths. We may not introduce foreign ideas and customs
to the Mikdash, even new wheat as a regular sacrifice, in order that we may
preserve the sanctity of the Mikdash.

Thisis why we must be ever vigilant when it comes to Shemiras Hakodesh in the
Beis Hamikdash. If a Jew does not build the Beis Hamikdash he transgresses a
positive Mitzvah. However if a Jew has a Beis Hamikdash but he is not vigilant
over it, he violates a prohibition of Shemiras Hamikdash. In the first case,
the Jew does not have the Beis Hamikdash at all, he is missing the Shechina
that is associated with the Beis Hamikdash. However, it is much worse to
have a Beis Hamikdash and not be careful to maintain its sanctity. Wen we
have a Beis Hamikdash and we allow a Tzaruah and Zav to enter the Mikdash,
or include foreign customs and practices in our Avodas Hashem we violate the
prohibition of Shemira. For that is the way that the non-Jewish world behaved,
to combine the Tahor and the Tamay. When something has a higher level of
Kedusha it is more susceptible to corruption and spoilage. The greater the
Kedusha, the greater the need to protect it. An animal of Chulin has no time
limit on how long it can be eaten. A Korban has a time limit and if one even
thinks of eating it outside of the appropriate time it becomes Pigul. We must
be diligent and careful to guard its sanctity, The synagogue and religious
life become Klaay Hakerem if non-Jewish practices and customs are introduced.

The Korbanos of Yom Kippur (except for the Sair Lazazel) and Rosh Chodesh
atoned for the sins that related to Kedusha, Tumas Mikdash. It was Mechaper for
sins that were committed Bkodesh, not in Chol. The violation is introducing
and mixing Tumah with Kedusha. This is the same concept of Siddur Machanos
that the Torah describes in such detail. Without the concept of separation
of levels, we could not maintain Kedusha.

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 12:19:32 EDT
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Areivim V5 #152

In a message dated 6/26/00 9:00:38 AM US Central Standard Time, 
acl100@juno.com writes:
>                                                            When man grafts
> two different things in an attempt to synthesize a new object, he subverts
> this natural order by making a new fruit that does not follow the natural
> order that Hashem intended. He subverts the original grafted fruits.

What is the halachic position on genetic medicine? On organ transplants
from animals? On the use of medicines derived from animal tissue or animal
hormones? As to fruit, what is the halachic the position on hybridization
designed to make a heartier fruit (less prone to bruising during transport,
for example) as opposed to a "new" fruit? At contemporary levels of laboratory
sophistication, what, in fact, is the real difference between an "improved"
peach and and new fruit? Do the answers to these questions really pivot on "the
natural order that Hashem intended"? Aren't early death, disease, spoilation,
etc., part of such an order? Or is it possible that HaShem's "natural order"
includes that which man, with the gifts granted him by HaShem, might devise?

David Finch

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 13:28:49 -0500
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Email file (FOIEGRAS.TXT)

Courtesy of DejaNews, the following is what I posted on soc.culture.jewish
on the subject of foie gras:

   Based on a biblical verse (Exodus 3:5), the Talmud (Shabbat 128b;
   Bava Metzia 32b) prohibits cruelty to animals and this prohibition was
   codified by the Rambam (Hilchot Rotzeach 13:1) and the Shulchan Aruch
   (Choshen Mishpat 272:9). However, the Rema there (CM 272:9) indicates
   that if there is any human need, the prohibition is overturned (see also:
   Biur haGRA there s"k 40, and the Noda B'Yehuda Mahadura Tinyana Yoreh
   Deah 10 as brought in the Pitchei Tshuva YD 28 s"k 10). See also: Shvut
   Yaakov III 30, Chelkat Yaakov I 30, Sridei Eish III 7, Chiddushei Chatam
   Sofer on Messechet Shabbat 154b, Binyan Tzion 108, Tzitz Eliezer XIV 68,
   and the Trumat haDeshen Psakim uKtavim 105.

   It just so happens that force feeding geese may induce a state of *neveila*
   rendering the animal not kosher (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, Hilchot
   Treifot 33:3 re: "turbez ha'veshet" [perforation of the pharynx] and
   YD 33:8 in the Rema. HOWEVER: the Rema in the next paragraph 33:8 rules
   leniently re: geese that are force fed since "it has been the custom in
   our city [Krakow] to be lenient in the case of geese that are being fed
   by hand for the purpose of fattening them because there is an ordinance
   in the city which requires that geese be examined for perforations of
   the esophagus..". The TAZ there explains why it is permitted to force
   feed the geese. HOWEVER: he requires that only finely ground food is
   fed to the geese to prevent any perforations.



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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:08:22 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Nevi'im and Kesuvim

*WITHIN THE ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE*, how and by whom were the books of nevi'im
and kesuvim written and edited. The famous gemara in Bava Basra tells
us that many of the books were written by more than one person. What did
the Anshei Kenesses HaGedolah do? Did they do a final edit on the books?
Is it possible that later variant readings are based on pre-editing versions
(like the famous passage in Shmuel)?

Must the books have been written at one time or could they have been written
over long periods of time (similar to one opinion about the Torah - megillah

Are there any *good* books about this from a frum (rabbinic) perspective?

Thank you,
Gil Student

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:34:26 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Foie Gras

In a message dated 6/26/00 9:57:08 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
micha@aishdas.org writes:
>  2- Is it tza'ar ba'alei chayim?
>  2a- If the answer is yes, then is creating and contributing to a kosher foie
>      gras market a violation of lifnei iver?

This is discussed at lentgh in Y"D 33 starting with the Ramoh in Si'if 9 and 
the Klei Nosi'im and in the Darkei Tshuvah.

>  2b- Should one assur it anyway, even if not lifnei iver and not technically
>      tza'ar ba'alei chayim on the grounds that it's neveilus birshus haTorah
>      to make a delicacy out of tortured geese.

See Ramoh E"H 4:7

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:34:25 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Areivim V5 #152

In a message dated 6/26/00 11:00:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time, acl100@juno.com 
> There were 2 Korbanos based on the new wheat, Chodosh. The Omer permitted
>  new wheat in all of Eretz Yisrael except the Mikdash.

The Omer was brought from barley, (this doesn't change the Inyan).

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:34:27 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: nikkur

In a message dated 6/25/00 3:28:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
dbnet@barak-online.net writes:
> A matter of information: There is no question that nikkur was the norm in 
> Israel. 

The Minhogim regarding Nikkur of Chelek Achurayim cabn be found at lentgh in 
the Darkei Tshuva on Y"D 34:7

Kol Tuv
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:13:05 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Foie Gras

On Mon, Jun 26, 2000 at 01:28:49PM -0500, BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il wrote:
: (Choshen Mishpat 272:9). However, the Rema there (CM 272:9) indicates that
: if there is any human need, the prohibition is overturned ...
: It just so happens that force feeding geese may induce a state of *neveila*
: ...               Rema. HOWEVER: the Rema in the next paragraph 33:8 rules
: leniently re: geese that are force fed since "it has been the custom in our
: city [Krakow] to be lenient ...                because there is an ordinance
: in the city which requires that geese be examined for perforations of the
: esophagus..".

IOW, to address my questions:
1- The Crakow city gov't was checking for ba'alei moom (shades of "chalav
   hacompanies! <grin>)
2a- Tzorech removes tza'ar ba'alei chayim

The only question the Rama does not directly address is 2b, whether this
would be neveilus birshus haTorah. OTOH, he does imply that foie gras was
a staple of their diet. In which case, it's unlike the American situation
where it's going out of your way to do so for an epicurean delicacy.

Something I should have made clear is that the local rav in question -- who
wanted to assur on grounds of 2b -- is fully capable of crossing the line
between moreh halachah (being a poseik) and moreh derech (speaking in terms
of mussar and appropriate chumros for the individual sho'eil). Menuval birshus
haTorah (whether or not the same as "kedoshim tihyu") tends to /more/ involve
the person's context than most other she'eilos. (As a relative statement.)


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 26-Jun-00: Levi, Sh'lach
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 27b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 15:57:07 -0400
From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky" <azz@lsr.nei.nih.gov>
Re: Nevi'im and Kesuvim

[I deleted the advertising for B&N -- micha]

Gil.Student@citicorp.com wrote:
> *WITHIN THE ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE*, how and by whom were the books of nevi'im
> and kesuvim written and edited. ...
> Are there any *good* books about this from a frum (rabbinic) perspective?

The classic work on this is by Prof. Leiman.

Here is the Barnes and Noble entry on it:
> The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture: The Talmudic and Midrashic Evidence
> Sid Z. Leiman
> ISBN: 1878508040

> Synopsis
> Leiman rejects the modern scholarly consensus which places the closing of
> the biblical canon at Jamnia ca. 90 C.E. Instead, he points to a series of
> stages in the closing of the canon, noting that the initial, most significant
> stages preceded Jamnia by 200 years, while the final stage post-dates Jamnia
> by a similar number of years.

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 16:47:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>

In line with some previous discussions.
Does anyone know what is done today if a descendant of
marranos wants to get married?
i.e. what proof that he has to bring that he is Jewish etc.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 20:52:05 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Science and Masorah

I know we have rehashed this topic numerous times, but I found some evidence
in favor of RRW's position.

To recap: The question was what to do with a p'sak, say something written
in the gemara, was based on a scientific opinion which has since found to be
false. R AY Kook (like the Gra) is concerned that perhaps the p'sak has other
motivations that are not recorded. Therefore RAYK ruled that while the sevara
itself is upruled, this could only impact the p'sak lechumrah. Takkanos are
a separate subject, for example, medicine on Shabbos is still assur (usually).

R' Dovid Lifshitz found justification for matiring maggots found inside meat
even in without belief in abiogenesis. I do not know what he would hold if
no such justification could have been found. Or even if R' Dovid believes
that it will always be possible to explain a p'sak halahchah, because the
p'sak is backed by si'ata diShamaya -- it's guaranteed to be right, even if
said for the wrong reasons.

RRW disagreed and said that like takkanos, piskei halachah have a life of
their own. That legislative power alone makes the p'sak authoritative.

Looking up something about techeiles in R' Herscel Schachter's Nefesh haRav,
I found his discussion of RYBS's position on a related question: recreating
lost masorah through scientific means (pp 52-54). He gives four instances.

1- R' Yosef (Kiddushin 30a) asks whether the vuv of "gachon" is the last
   letter of the first half of the Torah, or the first letter of the second
   half. (Presumably: or the middle of an odd number of letters). He holds
   that the question is unanswerable, because we aren't beki'im in chaseiros
   viyseiros. We don't have a seifer Torah that you can count out the letters
   and check.

   The Rama (O"Ch 143:4) holds that if a missing or extra semivowel is found
   in a Torah scroll, we do not put it away to read from another. After all,
   we aren't all that accdurate on the topic anyway. R' Chaim Brisker says
   that today we are accurate and malei vichaseir, and therefore we can't
   hold like the Rama on this -- the Torah must be replaced with a kosher one.

   R' Moshe Soloveitchik then asks, but what about our gemara which says
   the knowledge was lost?

   RMS explains that there is a difference in kind between the original
   knowledge as to which side of the middle the vuv is on and the same
   knowledge if recreated through counting. The first, being part of masorah,
   is Torah, the latter is a clever trick.

2- RYBS continued this idea to the question in Tosafos (Berachos 37a,
   "tiyuvta") as to whether the gemara's "orez" is rice, and therefore
   whether rice is a mezonos. RYBS commented that even though today we know
   through other languages what "orez" is, still it's not a masora, and has
   no halachic import.

3- The Beis Haleivi rejected Radziner techeiles. According to the Brisk version
   of the reason is like above -- there is no masorah as to what is the
   chilazon. The ability to recreate the information through zoology does
   not change the halachah.

   (The Radziner version of the Beis Halivi's objection is that since the
   cuttlefish and its dye were known, but there was no masorah that it is
   the chilazon, we effectively have a masorah that it wasn't.)

4- Last, RYBS explains the list of unkown words in Megillah (18a) that were
   resolved by asking a matron of Rebbe's palace. He asks why they didn't ask
   a professional or a dictionary? RYBS explained that they turned to someone
   who heard Rebbe and the other leaders of the generation speak. They sought
   the masorah's answer for how to define the words, not a linguist's.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 26-Jun-00: Levi, Sh'lach
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Yuma 27b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 14:29:45 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Foie Gras

RM Berger wrote:
> 2- Is it tza'ar ba'alei chayim?

I don't know the metzius.

> 2a- If the answer is yes, then is creating and contributing to a kosher foie
>     gras market a violation of lifnei iver?

I don't see how it could be lifnei iver.  It is too far removed.  Perhaps 
mesaye'a or machazik yedei ovrei aveirah.

> 2b- Should one assur it anyway, even if not lifnei iver and not technically
>     tza'ar ba'alei chayim on the grounds that it's neveilus birshus haTorah to
>     make a delicacy out of tortured geese.

How can you legislate "kadeish es atzmecha bemutar lach"?  Doesn't that detract 
from its status of optional?
> My poseik wanted to assur on the lattermost grounds, and therefore didn't 
> get into the more black-and-white issues.

Did he assur it or personally suggest not to eat it?  The Torah did not 
declare the results of every aveirah to be assur behana'ah.  Why should we?
Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 09:02:26 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>

In reviewing my manuscript on Shoftim, I came across a contradiction in all the
Targumim on the translation of "nezem". In Bereishis by Eleiezer and Rivka and
most places the Targumim render it "kodshaya", which I assume is a lashon of
"kedeisha" as it casues attraction (like nezem, which Mandelcorn derives from
"zamam" or muzzle, acutally likely come from "zima") - but by the ma'aseh
ha'mishkon it is rendered "shivchin". Any ideas?


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