Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 101

Tuesday, January 29 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 20:08:37 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Piece by Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky

I thought the chevra would be interested in a beautiful piece by Rav
Yaakov Kamenetsky on last week's parasha (that is, Bo) which my father
pointed out to me in context of a discussion R' Arie Folger, R' Yitzchak
Zirkind, and Rav Y. Hirsch had at the MM concerning lashon Arami:

Rav Yaakov begins by questioning why the names of the months which we
currently use, were instituted to substitute for the previous system of
numbered months beginning with Nissan (hence, the piece is on Hachodesh
hazeh lachem). Not only is this in contradiction to the idea of "lo
shinu es shemam" which was a zechus for Kelal Yisrael in Mitzraim,
but at least one of the names is an actual shem avodah zara (Tamuz).

In order to answer this, he brings the mishna in Shekalim about the cohen
who found a tile in the floor of the Bayis Sheni which was apparently the
door to where the aron was nignaz. If they knew that, why didn't they put
it where it belonged? Clearly a conscious decision was made NOT to do so.

His explanation is that at the time of the binyan Bayis Sheni they
knew that it would not stand forever. Their return to E"Y at this
time was to prepare the nation for the very long galus ahead of them.
Shuras hadin would have required them simply to stay in Bavel, but HKB"H
saw that after only 70 years there there was so much intermarriage and
assimilation that hundreds and thousands of years in galus there would
have finished us off as a nation.

Hashem therefore had rachmanus on us and took us back to E"Y for a
temporary return, in order to strenghen us for the galus which lay ahead.
(the editor cites, in a footnote, a piece by RYK on Avos which says
that the siddur of Torah Sheb'al Peh and the gezeros of pitam veshamnam
were also part of this process. The intent was to fortify us (TSBP) and
isolate us from the umos (pitam veshamnam) as preparation for the future.

RYK also mentioned the founding of the State of Israel in a similar
vein, as a means of HKB"H encouraging us after the churban in Europe
and the loss, to a large extent, of Russian Jewry, that we not become
discouraged with the length of the galus.)

Therefore, as a consequence of the recognition by the olei Bavel that
this was not the final geula, they instituted certain practices to
remind themselves of this. Hence the shemos hachadashim, also the
practice of speaking Aramaic rather than leshon hakodesh which would
have been more appropriate for a final geula. This also explains the
use of Aramaic in the Talmud Yerushalmi which, in contrast to the Bavli,
should really have been in leshon hakodesh. Also the use of names of
many Tanaim and Amoraim which were Aramaic rather than authentically
Jewish names (which RYK said is not appropriate bizman hazeh. Aderaba,
we should be more concerned about maintaining our Jewish identity; they
were more concerned about preventing ye'ush among the hamon am. I'm not
sure how this conclusion follows [GD])

This also explains why no king of the malchus beis David was appointed
during the time of Bayis Sheni. To do so would have ascribed a more
permanent status to the geula than was appropriate. The Chachamim
likewise did not initially criticize the Chashmonaim for assuming the
melucha for this reason.

Therefore, the kelim whose whereabouts they knew, were not placed in
their permanent locations. The editor references RYK's explanation in
sefer Shemuel that after the churban of Shilo, the aron was not brought
to the mishkan in Nov and Givon but stayed in beis Avinadav for 20 years,
since Nov and Givon were only meant as temporary waystations on the way
to the Beis Hamikdash.

This further explains why the nevua of Yechezkel, which foretells the
Bayis Hashelishi, precedes that of Chagai which deals with the Bayis
Sheni. Now it is clear: Yechezkel meant to encourage Benei Yisrael
about the ultimate geula, while Chagai told them to, in the interim,
build the Bayis Sheni despite its temporary status.

In another footnote the editor mentions RYK's explanation that this is why
Shimon Hapekuli included binyan Yerushalayim in his 18 berachos despite
his having lived during Bayis Sheni. Even while the Bayis Sheni stood,
they knew it would not last and did not represent the geula acharonah.

Finally he explains with this the pasuk in the shiras hayam "ad ya'avor
...ad ya'avor" which the Gemara in Berachos takes as a reference to biya
shenia. Thus, if not for geram hachet, there would have been no need
for more than two biyos-one in the time of Yehoshua and one in the time
of Moshiach. The chet referred to is the assimilation and intermarriage
which necessitated a third, interim biya, in the time of Ezra.

Yehi ratzon milifnei Avinu Shebashamayim shenishma venisbaser besoros
tovos yeshuos venechamos vikabetz nidachenu me'arba kanfos ha'aretz.

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Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 21:36:20 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Chalav Yisrael

I am often surprised at the disdain people have for those who do not drink 
strictly Cholov Yisrael.  No one on this list, of course, is like that but 
there are those in the community who are.  As I wrote a few digests ago, 
there is a machlokes among the poskim whether there was a gezeirah against 
chalav akum or the prohibition is just a matter of safek issur.  Here are 
some rishonim and early acharonim who paskened that when there is no chashah 
of non-kosher milk then chalav akum is permitted.

Rambam, Hilchos Ma'achalos Assuros 3:13 
Rashbatz, cited by his son (next reference)
Rashbash, Shu"t 554
Radbaz, Shu"t 4:74
Pri Chadash 115:6
Or HaChaim HaKadosh, Pri Toar, 115:2
Mahari Bruna, Shu"t 78
(see also Tosafos, Avodah Zarah 39b who *might* be permitting this as well)

This is not a complete list of the matirim.  On the other hand, there are 
plenty of osrim.  I am not claiming that the halachah is in favor of 
permitting such milk but that there is substantial basis for a minhag to be 
matir.  When there is such a minhag, as there undoubtedly has been and is in 
America, such a minhag has a strong basis (see the Chida in Shiyurei 
Beracha, YD 115:1).  There are plenty of minhagim (even among Chasidim) that 
rest on much less than the minhag to drink chalav akum when there is no 
chashash of a ta'aroves issur.  See Darchei Teshuvah 115:6 for a long list 
of poskim on both sides.

Gil Student

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 20:56:17 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Testing for treif milk

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Subject: Re: Chalav hacompanies

>>>, SBA wrote:
: However, a milk mashgiach here informs me that he has firm information
: from the authorities that no such check is made in Australia.
: Similar, I have been told, is the case in UK (where treif milk was found
: to have been added to cows milk].

According to their web site, your information about the metzius in the UK
is incorrect. (I would therefore also double-check what you were told
about AU).<<<

I now have a copy of a fax from a local firm Dairy Technical Services Ltd
stating "...This laboratory is unaware of any testing being performed to
detect the presence of milk from other animals in Cow's milk..."


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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 17:53:18 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: CY - ChC

RKGM wrote
> Yes, perhaps at some point in history, the goyim were adulterating the
> milk supply by mixing pig milk into the cow milk, so Chazal... Well,
> I'm not sure what it was that Chazal did.

I remember reading a number of years ago that a group started promoting
camel farming in the middle east. The group may have been active in EY
and/or Egypt. What struck me is that camel's milk can turn into cheese
and butter.

You may recall that in my original post I suggested that the ChC issue
could be traced back to Ramo, and that he only was mattir in Europe,
because the European behemot tmeot do not cheese and butter yield. Well,
when I wrote that, I was thinking of the above story. Thus butter won't
be permissible in the Middle East, unless a new 'hazakkah comes about
as a result of an FDA style organization.

Arie Folger

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 18:40:51 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: CY vs. ChC

RSBA wrote:
> The ChC hetter is that the FDA checks the milk to ensure that it is 100%
> cows milk.
> However, a milk mashgiach here informs me that he has firm information
> from the authorities that no such check is made in Australia.
> Similar, I have been told, is the case in UK (where treif milk was found
> to have been added to cows milk].

You are right, and indeed hashga'hot do check out individual countries'
regulatory agencies before ruling their ChC is as good as CY (leshitat
hameikilim). I asked rav Claude Spingarn, mara deatra of Oratoire
de l'Esplanade in Strassbourg (I know him personally) and he told me
he checked out the matter in France, and their gov't gives very good

As far a sother countries, I recall once, in Venice shebeItalia, meeting
people (incl. the parents of an Oveid) on a tour managed by the Grand
Deli guys, featuring rav JJ Shechter as tour guide. They told me the
hashga'hah had permitted ChC in Italy, but explicitly not in Spain
(the tour passed through both countries).

Arie Folger

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Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 01:22:06 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Chalav hacompanies

> Wouldn't the correct description (leshitas hamatirim) be: "...is kosher"
> or "as kosher [b'shaas had'chak] as CY?
> How can "cholov shecholvo akum" become CY!?

Reb Moshe says that our clear knowledge that the farmers are afraid
of being caught is halachically equivalent to actually seeing the
milking. Thus the prohibition of chalav akum does not apply to commercial
milk where this is true.

e.g., YD I #47 page 82 YD I #48 page 83

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 18:35:18 -0500
From: "LMReisman" <LMReisman@msn.com>
Dairy inspections in Great Britain

Micha wrote that "According to their web site, your information about
the metzius in the UK is incorrect. (I would therefore also double-check
what you were told about AU).
"See: <http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodfrm.htm>
"The site also discusses inspection of dairies. A quick once-over found

I was not able to find anything on either site as to dairy inspections
in GB. Since I was the one who told SBA about the British situation,
let me say that it happened almost 30 years ago. Further, while it
would appear that the government is inspecting dairies, what exactly
are they inspecting. According to a "farm boy" who once learned in
Rabbi Weiss's Yoreh Deah shiur, in the United States, every truckload
of milk is inspected for bacteria content before it gets processed. The
inspection is able to pick up milk other than cows milk in proportions
of as little as 1:75000. My informant on this said that Rabbi Weiss's
reply was "If this is the case, then there is a basis for those who say
one does not have to drink cholov Yisroel in America." Seriously, though,
until you know exactly what the authorities are inspecting for and how
effective the inspection is, I don't think you can rely on a web site
that merely says the government inspects dairies.

Levi Reisman

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Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 10:46:58 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Chalav hacompanies

SBA wrote:
>[BTW someone has brought to my attention, that RDZ Hoffman z'l, rav of
>the Adass Yisroel Kehilla in Berlin pre-war, writes in Melamed
>Leho'il - YD s. 36 - that only 'kalei hadaas' were meikil in CA in

There are two ways to know that this is false. The first is knowing that
this remark would be entirely uncharacteristic of RDZ Hoffman. The second
is looking up the teshuvah and seeing that he said no such thing.

I would also point out that RDZ Hoffman was more than the rav of a
kehilla in Berlin. He was the head of the Hildesheimer Institute and a
member of Agudas Yisroel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 16:16:25 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Dairy inspections in Great Britain

On Mon, Jan 28, 2002 at 06:35:18PM -0500, LMReisman wrote:
: Micha wrote that "According to their web site, your information about
: the metzius in the UK is incorrect...
: <http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/agendtwo/strategy/bulletin/bulletn3.pdf>..."

: I was not able to find anything on either site as to dairy inspections
: in GB...

You're right, they updated their collection of bulletins. I collected
that URL before my trip to London in November. DEFRA's farm relief section
did mention reducing the cost of such inspections. (IIRC, RYGB can attest to
that -- he's the one I collected the URLs for!)

Also FWIW, RSBA is researching as to whether rabbanim in the UK found that
such inspections are really being carried out. He has reason to believe
they are not -- regardless of what's in the law books.

At this point, though, we've drifted from Avodah's territory to Areivim's.


Micha Berger                     Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                    Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org                   The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                    - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 13:34:34 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Lower Criticism

We have, in the past, discussed textual criticism of the Bible and
particularly the issue of chaseiros and yeseiros. See the archives
under this title.

I came across an approach that I have not seen quoted in any recent
literature so I'll share it with the chevra. The issue comes up in
Kiddushin 30a when the Gemara says that "vav of Gachon" is the middle
of the Torah. Rav Yosef asks whether it is the end of the first half or
the beginning of the second half (leaving out the possibility that it is
precisely in the middle). The Gemara suggests taking out a sefer Torah
and counting. Rav Yosef answered that we are not experts in chaseiros
and yeseiros.

The Magen Avraham (143:7), Binyan Tzion (98), and Noda BiYehuda
(2:YD:178) understand the Rama (OC 143:4) as saying that if a Torah is
found to have a mistake in a chaseir or yeser another Torah is not to
be taken out because <underline>there is a likelihood that the other
Torah also has a mistake in a chaseir or yeser</underline>. In other
words, Rav Yosef was saying that our scribes are not experts in writing
Torahs with the proper chaseiros and yeseiros. The masorah itself is
not defective in its transmission of chaseiros and yeseiros. Rather,
the problem is with the scribes who write Torahs and inadvertently make
frequent mistakes in chaseiros and yeseiros. That is why taking a sefer
Torah out and counting the letters would not solve Rav Yosef's question.
The sefer Torah likely had a mistake in it.

This is not necessarily consistent with how rishonim understood this
Gemara and does not deal with the fact the "vav of Gachon" is not the
middle of our Torah. It is, however, a novel interpretation of the
Gemara implicitly offered by gedolei Torah.

Gil Student

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 18:56:38 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: halakhik methodology

RRW wrote:
> Where the GRA did NOT get it was re: Mayyim Acharonim {MA}.  Tosafos was
> not being mevateil MA, he was defending - post facto - what was being done
> already.

Nu, does Breuer's send around the MA set at seuda 3?

I think you shouldn't go to the other extreme and see minhagim with
ibscure sources everywhere. Sometimes poskim may have felt that the
supposed source for a minhag is strong enoungh that there is no need to
maintain/enhance the minhag in certain circumstances.

Arie Folger

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 12:11:48 -0800
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@colorado.edu>
Ethopian Jews

RHS also adds a nice little quip. He quotes a TuM article about using
genetic testing to prove that the Ethopian Jews are either halakhikally
not Jewish, or from another shevet, and a reply to it (whose author he
mentions by name!). RHS then says about the reply that claimed that the
Rav would not endorse using science to investigate this matter,

I vaguely remember that some poskim did rely on scientific evidence
about the Ethopians. Can anyone verify this one way or the other

Eli Turkel, turkel@colorado.edu on 1/28/2002

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Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 21:26:55 -0500
From: "yosef stern" <avrahamyaakov@hotmail.com>
Eid Mipi Eid BeIssurim

After all is said and done you MUST say that in general Eid Mipi Eid
BeIssurin HAS TO BE believed, as you find all over in Shas: Omar R. x Omar
R. x "this is Mutter/Osur/Tohor/Tomei".

And if Eid Mipi Eid BeIssurin was not believed how do we accept the

kol tuv
yosef stern

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 11:02:58 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
FW: HALAKHA62 -10: Kohanim Flying On Airplanes

A topic we've discussed on Areivim.  (Forwarded with permission)



		    Shiur #10:  Kohanim Flying On Airplanes
			       By Rav Daniel Wolf

A dead body generates a special form of tum'a which does not apply
to other sources of tum'a (with the exception of a metzora): tum'at
ohel. There are three cases in which tum'at ohel applies: 1] when a
person, utensil or food are under the same ohel ("tent") as the corpse;
2] when the corpse is above any other object; and the one we will deal
with here: 3] when one goes above the corpse. In each of these cases,
any objects or individuals become tamei. The definition of an "ohel" is
"tefach al tefach al rum tefach" - a structure of a volume of one square
handbreadth with a space of a handbreath between it and the corpse. An
ohel can have two functions:

1] The spreading of tum'a: someone who is under the same ohel as the
corpse is tamei, even if he is not directly above or below the corpse.

2] Separation: somebody situated above the ohel is tahor, even if he is
directly above the corpse.

There are some ohalot that serve both functions, some that only spread
tum'a, and some that do neither. (See Ohalot ch. 8.) Another aspect
unique to corpses is the prohibition against kohanim coming in contact
with them. Although there is a minority opinion that since kohanim are
already assumed tamei, there is no prohibition against their contact with
corpses, this opinion has been roundly rejected halakha le-maaseh. (There
are two possible explanations: 1] the contact itself is prohibited,
regardless of any additional tum'a; 2] immediate contact results in
an intensification of the tum'a). This is one of the few practically
relevant, halakhic ramifications of taharot. (The other areas are netilat
yadayim, sekhakh and ketamim of a nida.)

The gemara in Berakhot 19b relates that under certain, extenuating
circumstances, kohanim may walk over coffins since in most coffins
there is an ohel of a handbreadth. Unfortunately, according to the
vast majority of rishonim that provision does not apply to a tomb.
Any closed building containing a dead body is defined as a tomb for
purposes of this halakha. Hence, the space of a tefach does not block
the tum'a and it extends skyward to anything situated directly above the
tomb. Rashi in Nazir (52b) represents the dissenting view, but the Rambam,
Ra'avad, Rashba, Tosafot, Ramban, et al cite strong proofs against Rashi's
position from various texts. The tum'a of a tomb thus extends skyward -
much to the consternation of priestly travelers.

Could the plane itself block the tum'a for the kohen? Two different
approaches need to be investigated: 1] ohel; 2] tzamid patil. As
we mentioned before, an ohel can separate from or block the tum'a.
Can the space at the bottom of the plane, since it measures more than a
handbreadth above the source of tum'a, serve as an ohel to block it? This
heter encounters two problems: 1] ohel zaruk; 2] anything that is tamei
cannot block tum'a. Let us deal with each problem separately. The mishna
in Ohalot (ch. 8) addresses a situation of an ohel in motion, such as
large boxes during transport, and determines that such an ohel loses its
formal status as such. It is considered an ohel for neither spreading
nor blocking tum'a. The gemara in Eruvin (30b) determines that this
issue is debated by the tanna'im. Tosafot and the Rambam concur that an
ohel in motion cannot block tum'a. Though there might be some exceptions
(see Tosafot there), it is unlikely that any would exclude an airplane.
However, the Rashba prefers the opinion that an ohel in motion can block
tum'a; according to the Rashba, then, this problem (of ohel zaruk) is
solved. The second problem arises from the general rule that anything that
is tamei or can become tamei cannot block or separate from tum'a. Can an
airplane contract tum'a? Rav Moshe Feinstein deals with this issue (with
regard to the related issue of a corpse transported on the same plane as
a kohen). The question revolves around the issue as to whether aluminum,
which, together with its alloys, constitutes 80% of a plane's weight
(my thanks to Dr. Farber, an eminent metallurgist), is susceptible to
tum'a. On the one hand, metallic utensils are generally assured capable
of contracting tum'a. On the other hand, the Torah mentions only the six
metals that were known to man at that time. Can tum'a apply to metals
that were discovered only after Matan Torah? Rav Moshe wavers on this
very issue, and also questions whether aluminum is a new metal or a
combination of the six mentioned. Scientifically, we know that aluminum
is, in fact, a new metal, and not a composite of other metals.

As for Rav Moshe's first question, this point is not new and seems to be
a dispute between the Rambam (who holds that all metals are tamei) and
Rashi (who limits tum'a to just the six mentioned). The Vilna Gaon and
Tiferet Yisrael concur with Rashi, and in the introduction of the Tiferet
Yisrael to Taharot, a parenthetical comment of unknown origin questions
the limitation to the six metals. (Interestingly, in another responsum
about tevilat kelim, Rav Moshe determines that aluminum is not tamei as
a metal utensil, but it nevertheless requires immersion as it is included
in the rabbinic requirement to immerse glass utensils.) Therefore, there
is a clear opinion that aluminum objects are not tamei. The existence
of rivets or other parts of the plane can be overlooked so long as all
the major components are aluminum or carbon composites. There might be
another possibility, that ships are not defined as "utensils" capable of
contracting tum'a because of their size; this may apply to airplanes, as
well. As this possibility is speculative at best, it certainly would not
merit a heter on its own right, but it may be included as an additional
consideration when reaching a final conclusion ("senif le-hakel").

In order to accept this heter, both assumptions must be correct. We must
assume that an ohel in motion is an ohel, and that airplanes are tahor
(for any reason). As we noted, however, both assumptions are not at all
clear; this heter thus leaves much to be desired.

Another possible heter involves the halakha of "tzamid patil."
I struggled to come up with a proper translation and eventually gave
up; I will nevertheless try to explain it. If a sealed utensil is in an
ohel with a corpse, it and its contents remain tahor. Of course, this
is not so simple. There are certain prerequisites for the application
of this halakha:

1] The utensil cannot be mekabel tum'a from its exterior. This halakha
is thus limited to earthenware utensils (which contract tum'a only from
the inside) and utensils which are not mekabel tum'a at all, such as
stone or mud utensils. The inclusion of aluminum planes, then, depends
on our previous discussion as to whether they are susceptible to tum'a.

2]It must be closed and sealed with a lid and a material such as mud,
wax, dough, etc. We may consider several reasons why such a seal is
required. Two logical reasons might be a requirement for a hermetical seal
or for a seal which is not easily opened. One could reasonably argue that
the seal of airplanes fulfill this requirement since the door seals are
hermetic (hopefully) and cannot be opened during flight. However, given
the subject matter in question, it is hard to rule out the possibility
of a gezeirat ha-katuv - that the requirement for a seal made from
the aforementioned materials - provision constitutes an edict with
no explanation. I have not found any definitive indication in either

In summary, there are two possible bases for a heter: 1] ohel 2] tzamid
patil (a sealed utensil). Both, however, are faulty on two accounts,
one that they share in common and another unique to each. The common
problem involves the tum'a of airplanes themselves. The heter based on
ohel encounters the problem of an ohel in motion, and the tzamid patil
heter raises the question regarding the nature of the seal required.

How, then, should we deal with this question in pesak, in determining the
final halakha? Although it is hard to consider either heter as certain,
perhaps both together should yield a lenient ruling. At first glance,
the operative principle we should follow here should be "safek de-oraita
le-chumra" (we rule stringently in situations of doubt concerning
Torah law). On the other hand, perhaps we may consider this issue a
situation of sha'at ha-dechak, extenuating circumstances, which allows
reliance on a minority opinion. A leniency on these grounds, however,
would naturally apply only to travel for certain purposes and barring
reasonable alternatives. We might also consider the rule, "safek tum'a
be-reshut harabim tahor" - any questionable instance of tum'a in public
areas is considered tahor. However, the application of this rule to
our case is far from clear. Although the plane is considered a public
area, we must take into account two other issues: 1] does the prohibition
against kohanim coming in contact with dead bodies follow the guidelines
of the laws of tum'a, or of standard issurim? The Minchat Chinukh leaves
this as an open question; the Marcheshet and the Noda Be-Yehuda took
compromise positions regarding this issue. The provision of "safek tum'a"
would apply in our case according to the Noda Be-Yehuda, whereas the
Marcheshet would render it inapplicable. Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor
applied it hesitantly (if two other authorities would agree) to the
issue of trains riding over cemeteries. Our issue, regarding airplanes,
bears some similarity to the issue of trains (ohel zaruk and the dispute
between the Rashba and Tosafot), but, in some respects, differs. Some
of these differences render the situation of planes more problematic
(trains have direct contact with the ground), while others render it
less problematic (planes have a better chance of being tahor since they
contain major components of aluminum). There seems to have been a minhag
in Jerusalem for kohanim to place a board underneath their car when they
traveled to Jericho, a trip that required passing over part of the famed
cemetery on Har Ha-zeitim. This minhag is more difficult to justify than
either allowing one to travel without a board or forbidding the trip
even with a board. Some Acharonim (Penei Yehoshua and Shevut Yaakov)
claim that on the level of Torah law, an ohel in motion is an ohel;
it is only as a result of rabbinic enactment that we do not consider
it as such. This would thus allow room for leniency in cases of doubt.
This position, however, though widely quoted, seems to my mind very
doubtful. If this were true, then an ohel in motion should spread
tum'a, just as it blocks it (recall our earlier discussion as to the
two different roles of an ohel), and this is clearly not the case.

Where does that leave us, if not altogether confused? Hopefully, it leaves
us with an understanding of both positions and a bit more knowledge of
the fascinating and complex world of taharot. Sometimes it is better to
be perplexed and confounded rather than confused.

The proposed solution of wrapping oneself in a large bag on the plane
would encounter both problems discussed. One needs a "utensil" which is
not mekabel tum'a (a large plastic or nylon bag would do) and it must be
sealed; the easiest method would probably be to seal it with duct tape. Of
course, we are not interested in producing another corpse on the plane. We
may, however, propose an ironically simple solution. Paradoxically,
only the opening must be sealed; there can be multiple holes in other
places of the "utensil." Thus, one can simply cut holes in different
places in the bag.

That is as far as the dry halakha is concerned. The gemara in Sanhedrin
relates that Rebbe Yehuda Hanasi refused to grant Rav the authority to
rule on certain matters even though he knew the halakhot perfectly well,
as he was afraid that he would be misunderstood. In the position of
posek, one must consider the public effect of his decisions. The gemara
on many occasions rules, "halakha ve-ein morin kein" - the halakha is
clear but we must not issue such a ruling. Perhaps today the danger is
greater, as we, as observant Jews, and, more seriously, the halakha and
Torah are constantly subject to ridicule (by both the malicious and the
ignorant). I am sure the original rabbis who issued the edict would have
done otherwise had a reporter asked their opinion, but it was in any
event inevitable that such a psak would be publicized. If the posek can
find no way to allow travel over cemeteries, perhaps alternate routes
could be explored, but the proposed solution is a nonstarter for reasons
of chilul hashem. In Avot (1:11) Avtalion says: Wise men, be cautious
with your words, lest... the name of the Lord be desecrated."

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Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 02:46:01 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
inyan of 'Machlokes lishem shmayim' no longer exists?

From: Steve Brizel Zeliglaw@aol.com [on Areivim]
> << The best way is to NOT CONTINUE a thread which one consideres divisive. >>

> According to the Noda BYehudah and others, the concept of a machlokes leshem 
> shmayim died with Hillel and Shammai. While this may be difficult to apply at 
> times, one cannot sacricie midas haemes on the all so PC platform of shalom. 

Where does the Noda biYehudah say that, who else says that and where?
Please elaborate on the reasoning behind any such positions....


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Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 10:14:02 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: ayin tachath ayin

I'm not really happy with any of the answers that I got. Let me explain
why not, in the hope that someone will propose a better answer. I wrote:

>   Imagine the following situation.  Shimon blinds Reuven.  Reuven comes
> to the town beith din and asks them to blind Shimon.  They say "no,no,
> we have it direct from the Sanhedrin that we can only fine Shimon."  He
> says "But I learned in kindergarten that the humash says ayin tachath
> ayin, and you yourself told me that the humash trumps the Sanhedrin."
>   What's wrong with Reuven's argument?

Of course there's a machloketh rishonim whether a person can ignore the
Sanhedrin only l'chumra or in any direction, but I chose what I take to
be the straightforward reading of the g'mara. It leads, however, to a
problem: how is one to regulate a person's rejection of the Sanhedrin's
position? The gemara merely says that a talmid rauy l'horaah can reject
anything he thinks is wrong, and a normal person can reject akirath
kol haguf and devarim shehatzedukim modim bo. How is a person to decide
whether to reject the Sanhedrin when the Sanhedrin gives an anomolous
reading of the humash?

People gave three answers (and, as an extra bonus, I'll add a fourth):

1. ayin tachath ayin is not akirath kol haguf. The problem with this
is that it is davar shehatzedukim modim bo.

2. Reuven is not saying pshat. This, of course, begs the question.
If the Sanhedrin has ruled wrongly do they really believe they ruled
agains the pshat? If so, one could never ignore a psak of the Sanhedrin,
vitiating the whole structure of halacha that I'm trying to understand.
In addition, see #1.

3. One may not ignore the Sanhedrin when they are expressing a tradition
rather than an opinion. If the respondent had said peirush mekubbal
miSinai I might have agreed. Why, however, should a previous Sanhedrin
be any more privileged than the current one? How is one to distinguish
a peirush mekubbal MiSinai from a more recent one (especially in the
light of the sugya in Hullin about gevinath akum)?

4. As Reuven understands the din it is a law concerning punishment,
not compensation. It is therefore not his responsibility to enforce it;
it is that of the beith din. This would be possible if all cases where
chazal were oker the pshat (WADR to respondent #2) were dinim addressed to
the beith din. Even so, however, what if the beith din thinks Sanhedrin
is wrong?

David Riceman

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Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 21:18:39 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Finding Spiritual Meaning in the Workplace

I promised a summary of my talk at the MM. But first, some other comments.

My recording setup died after finishing the recording
of R' Yisrael Hirsch's speech. You can listen to it at
<http://www.aishdas.org/articles/ryh_mm.ram>. Here's an index:

    0:00 RGS's intro, including "what is AishDas" and what is "Shaarei
    6:13 R' Chaim Yaakov Hirsch's (ShSh's founder's) greetings.
    8:15 RGS's intro for RYH
    9:21 R' Yisroel Hirsch's talk
The recording runs 35 min.

Second, I was surprised that no one discussed Ya'aqov going back for the
pachim qetanim, and Chazal's lesson that there is qedushah in masah umatan
be'emunah. I was also surprised that no one addressed the dichotomoy
between "vekivshuha" - which implies positive import to working, and
"bezei'as apekha tokhal lechem" -- that the need to be busy with anything
but limud Torah is an onesh.

So much for what was not said.

I beg RYGB and RSC to post summaries of their talks. Here's mine (not
too summarized, though).


Compare "reishis chochmah yir'as Hashem" with "eizehu chocham? halomeid
mikol adam." It would appear that what we are being cajoled into learning
from "kol adam" is something that starts with learning yir'as Hashem.
Including those we encounter at the workplace; even the believers in
shutfus (lefi Tosafos) or my fellow programmers who are Hindu.

A: Learning from business techniques

The Dubno Maggid often uses a melech and am or melech and ben-melech
in his meshalim. Because the people of his day knew what malchus was,
and could draw from that to The Melech. I contrased the Ibn Ezra's
approach to "lo sachmod", which assumed that chemdah for the bas-melech
would never cross the reader's mind with the tabloid treatment of
contemporary royals.

We therefore need to rely on something closer to R' Yochan ben Zakkai's
"havei morah shamayim alecha kimoreh basar vadam".

At the very least, one needs to accord HQBH the qavod one accords one's
boss, and avodas Hashem the attention one gives work.

Therefore every time we learn a business technique, we need to also ask
"Can this also be used in my avodas H'?"

Action Item 1: Timeliness for a seder shouldn't be inferior to timeliness
to work.

Action Item 2: Planning, scheduling, laying out and allocating resources
are done for software projects. Why not for new sedarim, or new chessed
(including qiruv) projects?

Action Item 3: We gather our thoughts and take notes to meetings. Why
can't we do the same for davening. Before tefillah, list -- perhaps
even jot down -- things you wish to be mechavein for. Spend some time
going through the siddur and insure you bring one new thing to the

B: Learning from peers

I told a couple of stories to illustrate my point for this part, I'll
quickly outline one. A woman ahead of me on the ferry was missed by
the person collecting fare tickets. She ended up resorting to pushing
her ticket into his hand rather than collecting a free ride. At the
time I was impressed, and went over to her to say so. I then wondered
why I was impressed, and started watching what I do to see if this
kind of thing was above my norm (and therefore impressive).

The story stuck in my mind because I did three things:
    - I noted the event and its significance
    - I verbalized what I noted
    - I looked to see how I could use it.

When I noticed these steps, the first thing that came to mind was its
similarity to a memory trick my father taught me for remembering names:
    - Make sure you listen to the name (most names that we "forget"
      we never bothered to listen to to begin with)
    - Repeat the name as soon as you hear it
    - Try to use it in the subsequent converation

As I bounced this outline off R' Shalom Simon, it came to me that this
pattern corresponds to 3/4 of that of an oft-quoted formula for
    - charata -- noting the cheit and realizing its significance
    - azivas hacheit -- has no paralel, this isn't your cheit
    - vidui -- verbalizing the observation
    - qabbalah al ha'asid -- looking to use this new behavior

Action Item 4: It would seem, therefore, that at least these three
elements of teshuvah are usable in other venues of internalizing a
new middah -- including ours.

One can similarly learn from observing what /not/ to do. This is roughly
the same, except that one might see someone mirroring one's own actions,
and therefore be truly doing teshuvah. In any case, two warnings:
- It's a fine line between judging the action as one to avoid, and judging
  the person.
- Oi lerashah oi lishcheino -- If you're finding yourself doing this often,
  perhaps the environment is unhealthy. At some point, some assimilation
  of surrounding behavior will occur.


Micha Berger                     Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                    Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org                   The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                    - R' Binyamin Hecht

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