Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 117

Sunday, February 5 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 22:41:07 +0200
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: Chezkas Kashrus - Is it still valid?

On 2/3/06, Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> wrote:
> Given the fact that today we get our food from all sorts of places and that
> there can be all sorts of problems, is it possible that the concept of
> Chezkas Kashrus may not be applicable in our times?

A rav ha'machshir who is a talmid chacham should be relied upon at
his word when he says that something he supervises (even through an
intermediate mashgiach) is kosher unless you have concrete information
indicating that he's not a yirei shamayim. If someone has publicized
a mistake made by that kashrus, you should not consider the kashrus
unacceptable me'ikar ha'din unless you have concrete information that
the rav ha'machshir's operation is inherently deficient. After all,
no kashrus agency is 100% mistake-free.

Now, you may ask, what about the fact that we hear of problems all
the time? If one kashrus agency must rely upon many others for various
ingredients, doesn't that multiple the chances that something can
go wrong? I.e., if there is a chain of 10 agencies dealing with one
product, and each has problems 5% of the time, does that mean that one
should not be able to use the product because there is a 50% chance of
something going wrong?

I believe that the answer should be that each kashrus agency should be
judged individually to see whether or not it has a chezkas kashrus.
If each agency does have a chazakah, then each is considered 100%
reliable halachically. Thus the conglomeration of 10 agencies shouldn't
change the halachic status.

In addition, I highly doubt that a reliable agency has problems 5% of
the time--we hear more about the problems than about the things that go
smoothly. If there is a problem in one production run of a product, there
are many thousands of runs which have been problem free. I invite people
in the kashrus industry to provide actual statistics on this matter.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 15:11:19 +1100
From: "meir rabi" <meirabi@optusnet.com.au>
Cheese & Enzymes, not prohibited by Torah Law

RaMBaM Ma"Asuros 3:13 says 
    "that by the rule of Halacha, all milk from Goyim should be prohibited
    as it may contain milk from non-kosher animals. However all cheese
    from Goyim should be acceptable since any non-kosher milk in the mix
    will not curdle and will seep out of the finished cheese. However in
    the times of the Sages of the Mishnah a decree was made to prohibit
    cheese since (acc to the RaMBaM, see Raavad) they use the skin of
    the animals of their slaughter. And if you will ask, but it is
    such a tiny amount why should it assur the cheese? The answer is;
    since it is MaAmid the cheese."

As far as our Torah is concerned there is no problem using the stomach
of Neveilah to make cheese.
Perhaps this is a decree that applies only to cheese, it is incorrect
to draw a rule from this decree that a MaAmid (enzymes) emanating from
a non-kosher source makes its final product unacceptable, just as we
see with honey.


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Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 10:52:36 -0500
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Re: Enzymes in Honey & Cheese

> On Mon, Jan 30, 2006 , R. Meir Rabi wrote:
> : Now that we've figured out that honey is kosher in spite of its being a
> : product created/converted only through an enzyme of a non-kosher species,
> : we may wish to explore why cheese created/converted through an enzyme
> : is different.

> and on Tue, 31 Jan 2006 our esteemed moderator R. Micha Berger wrote: 
> : IOW: Why is there usually a kelal of davar hama'amid that doesn't apply
> : to bee enzyme?

R' Shalom Kohn wrote:
> Forgive my apparent confusion, but the language in both the gemara and
> shulchan aruch (YD 115:2) is that cheese is made using "OHR keivat
> neveilah" -- in other words, with reference to the actual stomach,
> and not the rennets, which AIUI are the digestive juices mixed with
> the stomach's contents. The Taz loc. cit. refers to the meat aspects
> of the OHR. [This is also a bit confusing, as kosher cheese would
> seem subject to the same meat/milk prohibition.) 

There is no Issur Basar B'Halav because the meat is Botel b'Shishim
k'Negdo and is not Nosen Ta'am and for the Issur of Basar b'Halav it
needs to be NT otherwise it doesn't satisfy the prerequisite of Derekh
Bishul, however the Issur N'Veilah is not Botel because the Keivah is
a Davar Hama'amid, and Davar Hama'amid has no Bittul, so even in its
minutest form you would still have non-meat N'Veilah in the cheese.

> Per the mechaber,vegetable-made cheese (which I understand to be the
> prevalent mode of
> commercial cheesemaking, at least in the US) is prohibited rabbinically,
> again (per the Taz) because of the prevalence of the practice of using
> the OR, which the Taz states is still practiced, at least in his time.
> (If it is only a problem with the OHR, and that is no longer practiced
> today, the question arises whether the entire prohibition on vegetable
> rennet may be lifted. See the logic of the Taz there.)

There are many Shittos about the Ta'am for the Issur of Gevinas Akkum,
ranging from Giluy to outright social ban. If your assumption is that
the Issur is Kashrus related, then when the practice has ceased you may
have a point. The Rambam discusses this very specifically and concludes
that the G'zeirah was absolute and applies to vegetarian cheeses as well.

> I haven't had the opportunity to explore the general question of whether
> stomach contents of a neveilah are prohibited (and concomitantly,
> whether contents of a kosher-slaughtered animal are ipso facto kosher,
> like the insects in a chicken's stomach??), or to research the matter
> beyond the SA, but thought I'd pose the question to the list of whether
> enzymes are indeed probematic, as has been assumed.

The stomach of a properly slaughtered animal is kosher, if not slaughtered
it remains N'Veilah and therefore Assur. Not because of NT as I mentioned
earlier, but because it does not nullify regardless of its size, because
of Davar Hama'amid.

Which leads me to an interesting question. What is the Halakhic status
of an inedible, N'veilah derived 'enzyme' ? Is this still considered
N'Veilah, or is it its own product? I'm aware this could lead to gelatin
territory... But assuming (For academic purposes) that gelatin is Muttar,
would that change the dynamic in the discussion of G'Vinas Akkum, if
the rennet is inedible versus actual Keivah which was edible?

Furthermore, considering that there are many Rishonim that do not accept
the Ta'am of G'Vinas Akkum to be Kashrus related, can we assume that
they do not (altogether) accept the K'lal of Davar Hama'amid which
results from that Sugya? Or does Davar Hama'amid have another source,
universally applicable? (Which would bring into question how it wasn't
an Issur D'Oraisa to eat G'Vinas Akkum before the G'Zeirah ?)

Jacob Farkas

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Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 13:55:57 -0500
From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
A Question about Tzadakah

I lived in Elizabeth, NJ from 1968 to 1974. I distinctly remember Rav
P. M. Teitz, ZT"L, saying once during a drasha,"I have been in Elizabeth
for over 30 years. During this time I have been asked all sorts of
halachic questions about all sorts of subjects except for one. No one
has asked me a question about Tzadakah! It seems that when it comes to
this area, everyone is an expert!"

Well, I have a question about Tzadakah that is bothering me more and
more. The following story will illustrate what I am concerned about.

A few weeks ago a fellow rang my doorbell. When I answered, he told
me that he had a girls' school in NJ, and he was collecting for it.
Perhaps I should have given him a small donation and sent him on his
way. Instead, I said to him, "Why should I give money to your girls'
school when I have granddaughters in a school not far from here?
Shouldn't any donations I give to girls' schools go to their Bais Yaakov."

The poor fellow was taken aback for a moment. Then he said, "The community
that my school is in gives a lot of money to mosdos that are outside
of it." I replied, "Well, that is your problem! Instead of giving to
institutions that are outside of your community, people should channel
Tzadakah to mosdos in your city."

I then went on and said, "When I lived in Elizabeth, Rav Teitz had
a firm policy that all Tzadakah was to go to the city's Orthodox
institutions. There were no parlor meetings for yeshivas or for this or
Chesed organizations that were located outside of Elizabeth."

Recently, every time I get a phone call, every time I receive an appeal
in the mail, every time I get invited to a parlor meeting, I wonder
if the well-intentioned people who are making these appeals are doing
the "right" thing. Do not get me wrong. I am certain that all of these
organizations are worthy of support. But are they worthy of support in
today's climate when parents are struggling to pay tuitions.

If a family has 6 children, and they have to pay on the average of
$4000.00 per year per child (this is low, I know), that is $24,000
in after tax dollars! Then there are such things as housing costs,
food costs, shoes, clothes, medical expenses, etc. I often wonder how
parents with school age children are able to live today.

Is it "right" for me to attend a parlor meeting and give a donation to
a yeshiva that is not one that my grandchildren attend? I have been told
that there is a yeshiva in Brooklyn that is 6 months behind in paying its
rebbeim. If my grandsons attended this yeshiva, would it be appropriated
for me to give money to a well-known yeshiva in EY instead of giving it
to this yeshiva?

I am well aware that there is a hierarchy in Shulchan Aruch that specifies
who one should give to first, second, etc. Rav Teitz also knew these
halachos well, and yet he did not allow any appeals for any Mosdos save
for those in Elizabeth. Should communities adopt his approach today
and insist that there be no public appeals for institutions outside of
the community?

Yitzchok Levine

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Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 12:48:42 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Creation & allegory

Can someone explain the apparent neglect of the Moreh Nevuchim 2:30 
where the Rambam seems to assert that the sequence of the days of 
creation are not necessarily relective of the historical order of 
events. I don't recall seeing it cited in the various discussions of 
Bereishis and historical reality.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 10:01:35 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: the Mabul

On Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:31:02PM -0500, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: R' Simcha Coffer wrote:
:> I happen to be speaking to RJO and he mentioned that the law of
:> gravity would make 7:19...

: But as has been mentioned, parts of Eretz Yisrael are below sea level,
: and yet they are not inundated with water...

Thu, 2 Feb 2006 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> And the teiva wasn't big enough to hold all the animals.
> Why are we analyzing a neis for how it could work beteva?

But the Ramban himself, who is the one who says that the teiva's ability
to hold all the creatures must have been a neis, does otherwise analyze
other factors of the account al pi teva. For example, regarding the
recently discussed issue of how deep the ark was in the waters, and
the natural flow of the floodwaters from the rest of the world into
Eretz Yisroel. And he uses both factors to challenge some literal takes
of Chazal!

Unless you're framing an internal kushya on the Ramban.

But along the lines of how I think the Ramban is taking it, that we
only resort to saying a particular part of the event was miraculous,
where one must, I would like to query any meteorologist-minded members:

IF there would be a 40-day-and-night rain (even if only al-pi-neis), (and
let's say, for argument's sake, originating only over the Mesop. region)
what, al-pi-TEVA, would be the extent of the flooding? (I realize tast
there may be many variables involved, but let's take the extremes of a
40-day-and-night drizzle and a 40-day-and-night violent storm, and for
now let's leave out the bursting forth of the waters of the deep.)

Zvi Lampel  

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Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 14:56:43 +0200
From: "Akiva Blum" <ydamyb@actcom.net.il>
Re: Niftar on Shabbos

[R' Yaakov Feldman] YFel912928@aol.com wrote:
>I understand the logic behind the idea that a Shabbos death is chashuv,
>since it indicates that the neshama goes straight to Shamayim. My
>thinking is, though, (along the lines of my respondant's last thought)
>that indeed a late erev Shabbos petirah *that's followed by a pre-Shabbos
>kevurah* would be better, since the neshama would indeed go straight
>to Shamayim. A death on Shabbos without kevurah would seem to be to a
>nshama's *dis*advantage.
>Does anyone have any sources one way or the other?

Rashi Shabbos 30a "omus be'echod beshabbos" - so they can deal with me
and my hesped.

Dovid hamelech didn't wan't to die on Shabbos.He prefered to wait till
Sunday only for the above reason, and then, when that wasn't posible,
Friday - but not Shabbos!

Akiva B.

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Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 13:47:36 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Rape of Dinah

Yesterday, I asked:
> Why is the section of Devarim 25:11-12 needed at all? If it
> teaches us that the woman must pay for the embarrasment she
> caused, don't we already know that from the general halachos
> of nezikin?

The obvious answer came to me earlier: In the specific scenario described
by the Torah there, the woman is defending her husband in a fight. One
might think that this is a justifiable act, especially if her husband
is determined to be the right one in the fight. The Torah is therefore
teaching us that this is a line which she should not cross: Punch the
guy in the stomach or poke him him the eyes and you'll be patur, but
grab his genitals and you'll have to pay.

Or so I'd guess.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 20:03:38 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Kashrut reliable enough

Rabbiner Arie Folger wrote:
> The truth of the matter is that unfortunately, not all mashgi'him
> are talmidei 'hakhamim, and many do not know enough about their
> responsibilities. Thus, many mashgi'him know too little about
> hafrashat 'hallah and ma'aserot, which, in Israel, is serious
> business.

Not only in Israel, but elsewhere too. At certain times of year, certain
Israeli crops are easily obtainable in supermarkets and from produce
distributors. In my work as a part-time mashgiach for a local
institution, I happened to notice two cartons of Israeli peppers last

It is one thing to tell your manufactured-items wholesaler, "Don't
deliver any itemss unles they have Symbol X Y or Z printed on them." It
is quite a different matter to tell your produce guy "Nothing from
Israel, please". I am NOT gonna be the one to say such a thing, but
fortunately, I do know how to take tru"m, and I stop by frequently enough
to catch it when such deliveries arrive. But I worry about mashgichim who
are not familiar with these halachos, or where the mashgiach figures,
"Ehh, it's just milchigs; why do I need to go there so often?"

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 12:32:35 +1100
From: Joe Slater <jdslater@gmail.com>
Re: Slavery

Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> If some country
> where Jews live should one day legalise slavery, or if one of the
> countries which today unofficially allow slavery, e.g. Saudi Arabia,
> should one day become hospitable to Jews, I see no reason why a Jew living
> there should not buy slaves. 

How about, because it's wrong and it corrupts the slave owner as well as 
denying human rights to the slave? The Greeks praised slavery as a noble 
and natural practice; I can't recall our sages doing the same.


Go to top.

Date: Sat, 04 Feb 2006 22:23:39 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Slavery

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> ... Assuming the country's slavery laws made halachic slavery, complete
> with its humane treatment of slaves, possible. Saudi Arabian law
> would not.

Halachic slavery isn't particularly humane. You can't kill or seriously
injure your slave, but you have essentially no obligations to him at all.
You can even say "asei imi ve'eni zancha", and all halacha does is call
you a cruel person.

Zev Sero

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Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 06:38:58 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva.atwood@gmail.com>
Re: Slavery

> ... Assuming the country's slavery laws made halachic slavery, complete
> with its humane treatment of slaves, possible. Saudi Arabian law
> would not.

Why not? Does it MANDATE un-halachic treatment of one's slave?


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Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 03:35:05
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Re: Chezkas Kashrus - Is it still valid?

Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> asked:
>Recently there has been considerable discussion on Avodah and Areivim
>about the concept of Chezkas Kashrus regarding hashgachas and eating in
>other's homes. I have been wondering the following;

>Given the fact that today we get our food from all sorts of places and
>that there can be all sorts of problems, is it possible that the concept
>of Chezkas Kashrus may not be applicable in our times?

Look in the Mechaber and Aruch haShulchan YOREH DEAH Siman 119 about
how one is "muchzak b'kashrut". AH YD 119 #3 "v'im huchzak she'eino
kasher v'lo m'dakdek bidvarim eilu assur l'hitareach etzlo" And 119 #9
"...v'chein haminhag ha'pashut bechol tfutzot yisrael k'sh'echad she'ein
makirin oto she'hu muchzak b'kashrut heyvi yayin or gvina v'chem'a o
kemach pessach ....u'basar me'ushan v'kayotzeh ka'eilu, meyvi imo ktav
hechsher m'rav ha'yoshev al kisei ha'hora'a u'b'yichud bizman ha'zeh
she'ravta ha'pritzut v'ha'minut, assur likach me'adam she'ein makirin
oto belo ktav hechsher.

"kol she'mitnaheg al pi dat yisrael; meyniach tallit u'tfillin u'mitpallel
3 p'amim bechol yom, v'notel yadav l'achila u'manhig et bnei beito
b'kashrut din torateinu ha'kedosha, ZEH NIKRA MUCHZAK B'KASHRUT..."

CHASHUD: it can even be a rumor (AH YD 119 #20).


My take on this is as follows. If the husband goes to shul and to
regular shiurim ("knows" how to learn), his kids go to day schools and
yeshivot, and your wife sees that his wife buys kashered glatt meat at
the local mehadrin supermarket, buys insect-free (Gush Katif) vegetables,
insect-free sifted flour, etc. and your wife volunteers at the women's
mikva and knows so much about everyone else that she could write a CIA
dossier on them :-) then you can be rest assured that the other couple
is muchzak b'kashrut.

That's for inviting other couples over for a kiddush or meal and likewise
being invited over to their homes.


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Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 10:39:37 +0000
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Kashrut reliable enough

On Sunday, 5. February 2006 00:33, Avodah wrote:
> If there is evidence that a kashrut agency is inappropriate and not doing
> its job, then of course it can't be relied upon - and no one questions
> that if there are documented problems, it may not be relied upon.
> Those are the cases that you bring.

However, not all information is freely available. Some of it is only
shared with insiders, some issues can only be imagined by those with
practical experience in institutional or industrial kashrut. Jochanan
"Sixpack" Cohen doesn't necessarily know what kind of information to
look for. I myself was very surprised at the low level of training of
mashgi'him in some kashrut organizations. In addition, the pressure
institutions put on their mashgi'him can be enormous.

Anyway, the information about hekhsherim is often out there, but one
needs to know where to get that information. A well connected rav is
often the best reference.

> However, most of the times, the problems are not documented - and even
> worse, frequently the people raising the issues have financial stakes
> in raising the issues.

Regarding documentation, see above. The second point is, unfortunately
real, and a big qitrug on kashrut professional. I am just happy not to
have to deal with that problem: there is only one and a half hekhsherim
in Basel: ours (both kehillos, Austritt- and grosse Gemeinde together)
and ours (just the grosse Gemeinde). Godaul hasholaum :-)

Kol tuv,
Arie Folger

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Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 08:58:40 -0500
From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
Ikkar Ha Din an Chezkas Kashrus

Rabbi Y. Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah V'daas and one of the two people
who paskens shailos for the OU, has made a series of tapes on the topic
"Daled Chelkei Shulchan Aruch." These tapes are distributed Irgun
Shiurei Torah.

Some of them deal with kashrus. I have been told that on some of these
tapes he definitely says that restaurants need a Mashgiach Temidi. Yotzei
V'Nichnas is not enough, even though the owner is an observant Jew.

The OU requires a mashgiach Temidi in all of its restaurants all
year-round. See http://www.ou.org/oupr/2005/PesRestaurant65.htm where
it says

"As Passover approaches, Rabbi Schreier returns to finalize the game plan
with management and with the mashgiach temidi, the rabbinic overseer
who by OU regulations must be present /at all times an OU certified
restaurant is open/."

Now, if in today's world Chezkas Ha Kashrus is, according to Ikkar Ha
Din, "reliable enough," then why does the OU require restaurants owned
by observant Jews to have a Mashgiach Temidi? Why isn't the OU satisfied
with Yotzei V'Nichnas? Why require observant restaurant owners to bear the
additional expense of a mashgiach Temidi? Could it be because the OU no
longer feels that Ikkar Ha Din and Chezkas Kashrus are not enough today?

Yitzchok Levine

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Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 19:22:11 +0200
From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@gmail.com>

> This whole conversation mystifies me. Does no one remember that there is
> a Meseches Demai (currently being studied as the Daf Yomi Yerushalmi)?
> Ne'emanus is not automatic by any stretch of the imagination. It is a
> privilege that is earned (Chaveirus) not an automatic right.

A chaver normally refers to halachot of terumah/maaser and also tumah.
I know where it also refers to shemitta. In all these cases the rabbis
assumed that the am haaaretz is not careful.

Is there any gemara that an am haaretz is not trusted on kashrut or
shabbat or other halachot?
As RYGB notes am haartez in the gemara is not what we refer to as am
haaretz. It seems that chaver is a technical term for people who were
very stringent and formally took on certain rules.

It does not seem to be a general problem of neemanut in the entire torah

Eli Turkel

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