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Volume 16 : Number 142

Monday, February 27 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 18:44:16 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: the Mabul

On Tue, Feb 28, 2006 at 01:53:55AM +1100, Joe Slater wrote:
: If this sort of stuff is to be learned from Christians it is ipso-facto
: not Torah...

That's not sufficient reason. After all, there are Xian charities we
could learn from. But that's not grounds to write tzedaqah out of
the Torah....


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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 19:24:10 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Emunah and Machashavah

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 08:31:54PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
: This is a bit off topic but I don't see emunah peshuta as opposing
: machshava amuka. I don't even know of any source for emunah peshuta the
: way the term is used by the hamon am....
:                             IOW, "just believe blindly", is a Christian
: concept....

I don't know how the hamon am uses the term, but to me, the concepts
are dissimilar.

Emunah peshutah is Tevya the milkman's perpetual dialogue with G-d. He
didn't "just believe blindly"... Hashem was a real presence in Tevya's
life, no less real than his wife or friends.

The possible conflict with machashaveh is that the more one focuses
on the Philosopher's G-d, the One Who is above time and space, one is
left with a perception of the Creator that is so Other that an intimate
relationship is impossible.

This is why I proposed, as in the blog entry excerpted earlier, that
they must be worked on simultaneously. That a relationship operates on
the level of middos, which often operates disjointly from intellectual
thought. One can actually leverage man's ability for ambivalence to
master both. Secondly, since emunah /is/ a middah rather than a thought,
the means of building it must reflect that. It's not through proof --
that would develop machashavah, not emunah.


Micha Berger             The waste of time is the most extravagant
micha@aishdas.org        of all expense.
http://www.aishdas.org   			-Theophrastus
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 04:46:07 -0500
From: "david guttmann" <david.guttman@verizon.net>
Shiras Hayam

R.S.Coffer wrote:
>If you are correct that all nissim have to be specifically written into
>MB, then why did the Medrash pick only 10 things (pi habi'er, pi ha'ason
>etc.) that were written in pre the culmination of MB? (granted kriyas
>yam suf wasn't one of them but Rav Hutner has another source for that)

Rambam in avos 5:5 asks this question and answers that these were Friday
afternoon while the others were created at time of creation. The way I
understand it is that if R.M.Narboni, Shem Tov, Avarbanel (the latter two
disagree with Rambam) are correct in understanding of Rambam that the
six days are a sequence of cause and effect as RDE suggested,(Prof. Sarah
Klein Braslavy in her book on Briat Haolam agrees)the farther down the
chain the rarer the event as it needs more sequences and combinations to
occur, Friday afternoon make them into unique and extremely rare events,
( they all are unique except for the Keshes - which I still cant figure
out- and the shamir - unless there was only one as it was nignaz ). Kryas
Yam suf (water splitting) happened four times as Rambam enumerates here
and in MT (Yesodei hatorah 10:1)Moshe, Yehoshua, elyohu and Elisha thus
is not listed among those on Friday PM.

David Guttmann

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 11:40:27 -0500
From: "David Guttmann" <david@ihwusa.com>
Kol hacholek al rabo kecholek im hashchinah.

In a discussion on Areivim which I joined in the middle (I am new there
too) the issue was the difference between how Chareidi society regards
pronouncements from Gedolim v.s. the MO. R.SBA gave Rambam T.Torah 5:3
as the reason for the Chareidm's position. In the context RSBA reads
Rambam to include non halachik pronouncements. I disagreed as follows:

From: "david guttmann" <>
>>"Kol hacholek al Raboy kecholek im HaShechina"
>> [Sanhedrin 110a and Rambam Hil. Talmud Torah 5:3] ==== This is a typical
>> yeshivish misinterpretation and use of Gemoro and Rambam without
>> discrimination to further an erroneous shita. Learn next halocho in Rambam
>> "Eizehu cholek al rabo zeh shekovea lo medrosh vyoshev vedoresh umelamed
>> shelo bireshus rabo verabo kayom etc." Clearly that only applies in halachik
>> issues, without his rebbi's permission and while he is alive .

> Of course I saw the continuation.
> But 'ein hamikra yotze midei peshutoy' and cholek al raboy - means
> exactly that - cholek al raboy.

> What is written later is IN ADDITION to the obvious meaning...

I beg to differ. Rambam was very careful with his words and he is quite
clear especially if you go back to mekoros. 

BTW there is a teshuvas harivosh regarding a similar but different
issue from a halachik point of view, where the godol in France died
and his son wanted to take over while one of his talmidim vied for the
same position. He went to the godol in Germany who supported him. Rivosh
argues that semicha bizman hazeh is only to get permission from his rebbe
not to be moreh horo'oh befonov. Thus Germany has no jurisdiction over
France. ( I am sure you know the tshuva. I am in my office. If you want
I will give the reference when I get back home tonight.)

The Rishonim were not as fast to jump to generalizations as are the
current Poskim. I am sure it has to do with es la'asos in view of the
Shoah. I wonder if there is going to be a new generation, 50 years later,
that will change the whole mentality.

David Guttmann

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 21:23:48 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Studying non-Jewish religions

I am looking for sources that explicitly prohibit studying non-Jewish
religions and their texts.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 19:16:08 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Shiras HaYam

On Sat, Feb 25, 2006 at 09:26:29PM -0500, S & R Coffer wrote:
:> Aren't all nissim written into ma'aseh bereishis? 

: Perhaps the answer is that there are certain nissim that constitute such
: a dramatic change to the course of teva which Hashem established for post
: MB activity that Hashem had to kavayachol write them in to MB in advance
: such that they could also subsequently be considered teva. This has a dual
: effect...

: If you are correct that all nissim have to be specifically written into
: MB, then why did the Medrash pick only 10 things...

(Not medrash, Avos 5:6.)

This question was discussed 2 years ago. The Rambam discusses it in
Peirush haMishnayos (5:5, as numbered there). There he explicitly says
that all nissim were written into MB. It's not that these 10 are uniquely
created during MB, but that they're uniquely created at the tail end
of it. The Rambam's example is the sun standing still for Yehoshua' --
it was written into the creation of the sun on day 4. Similarly, the
splitting of the Yam Suf and the Yardein was put into place on day 2.

Nor is it clear that all these precreated items are nissim. Otherwise,
every sofeir would be defying teva.


Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 23:01:22 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Tal uMotor

bdcohen@optonline.net wrote:
> RM Bluke wrote:
>> "The Gregorian calendar fixed this drift, however, our calculation for
>> the tekufa was never updated and therefore does not actually fall on
>> the equinox."

> While this is an accurate explanation of why the change to tal u'matar is
> Dec. 5, it really makes no sense. I assume that originally the beginning
> of tekufah=solstice. The solstice was labeled, originally by the Julian
> calendar as approx. Sept. 21. The solstice is constant, the drift is
> in the labelling. So now, after the Pope Gregory fixed the labelling,
> the beginning of tal u'mator should be sixty days after the solstice. the
> date/label should be irrelevant. What am I missing?

The fact that we take no notice of Gregory's reform. The minhag
in Bavel became to begin saying Tal Umatar on 21-Nov on the Julian
calendar (or 22-Nov in a leap year, keeping in mind that the year used
not to change until after the leap day), and that is still the minhag.
The original reason for linking the minhag with the Julian calendar
was convenience; the ordinary person, who cannot be expected to perform
calendric computations of any complexity at all, can simply look at a
goyishe calendar, or ask a goy what the date is.

When, ~1500 years later, Gregory changed the goyishe calendar, we simply
ignored him, for the same reason that the Protestants and Orthodox ignored
him, because who was he to change our minhagim? If you think this makes
no sense, bear in mind that we're talking about a practise that me'ikara
makes no sense. We don't live in Iraq, and it makes no sense for us
to continue a minhag that was based on the climate in that country.
But we do it anyway, because that's how everyone else does it, and the
Rosh decided that having one minhag for everyone was more important than
having a minhag that makes sense.

It makes no *less* sense to start on 4-Dec Gregorian than it would to
start on 21-Nov Gregorian, since our need for rain doesn't start on that
date either; and any modern effort to change the minhag would surely be
even less effective than the Rosh thought his efforts would be, so it's
best to just let the minhag be.

Zev Sero

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 08:06:41 -0600
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
RE: Tal uMotor

R' David Cohen wrote:
> While this is an accurate explanation of why the change to tal u'matar is
> Dec. 5, it really makes no sense. I assume that originally the beginning
> of tekufah=solstice. The solstice was labeled, originally by the Julian
> calendar as approx. Sept. 21. The solstice is constant, the drift is
> in the labelling. So now, after the Pope Gregory fixed the labelling,
> the beginning of tal u'mator should be sixty days after the solstice. the
> date/label should be irrelevant. What am I missing?

What you are missing is that Shmuel provided us with a calculation
to figure out when the tekufa is. This calculation happens to be the
same as the Julian calendar. We are still using Shmuel's calculation tp
determine the tekufa. In other words, we start saying it 60 days after
what accorrding to Shmuel's claculation was the tekufa. Unfortunately,
this calculation is innacurate. Until it is decided not to use Shmuel's
calculation this will continue.

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Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 23:29:20 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: chametz

Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote:
> AFAIK, this is a ma'hloqet. Sefardim tend to believe that 'hametz is
> defined as flour of the 5 grains mixed with water, while some Ashkenazi
> authorities maintain that with fruit juice, the whole thing becomes
> 'hametz even faster. Since I didn't check these sources (a wedding
> prevented me from properly preparing that shi'ur), I can only speculate
> about what the latter authorities do with the Talmud's statement about
> mei peirot einam ma'hmitzim.

It's pretty clear. Everyone agrees that mei perot on their own do not
make chametz, but that a mixture of mei perot and water does, and may do
so faster than pure water. Ashkenazim avoid matza ashira, except when
necessary, out of fear that a drop of water got into the mixture; Sefardim
are confident enough of their ability to keep water out of the mixture.

Zev Sero

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 11:14:55 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: Kashrus reliable enough

I wrote:
> Now, a person who is muchzak b'kashrus to make the effort to buy items
> which are considered kosher "in the general frum world" may not be
> undertaking certain chumros.

On 2/27/06, Prof. Levine <llevine@stevens.edu> wrote:
> At the risk of belaboring a point, I must again ask you what is meant by
> "considered kosher 'in the frum world'"? I doubt that you could get 10
> people to even agree on the definition of the word "frum." Indeed, if I
> recall correctly, there were many on this list who said it had to do with
> externalities. I find the word Ehrlich more to my liking. In today's
> environment "frum" is really a "pareve" term with no "punch to it."

But that is exactly my point. Go back to the Aruch HaShulchan that
I quoted. He does not require that the person be known be Ehrlich.
All that is required is that the person consider himself to be a religious
Jew bound to keep halacha. I would say that anyone who is Shomer Shabbos
qualifies in this regard. For the sake of clarity, henceforth I will
not use the term "frum" but Shomer Shabbos.

> I think that many people decide to eat or not to eat in a person's home
> based on "gut feelings."

Again, there are two issues here. I would not voluntarily bring a stam
Shomer Shabbos person's food into my own house without asking him some
questions to ensure that his standards meet my own standards. However,
I would eat in his house if my not eating could cause him embarrassment.

> Sadly, we had the infamous Kosher Spot incident
> here in Flatbush some time ago. The person who ran this establishment had
> all of the "right" signs. I personally would have vouched for his
> reliability when it came to kashrus based on my years of dealing with him.
> Nonetheless, he was caught selling non-glatt (according to some perhaps even
> non-kosher) meat  as being glatt.

This is irrelevant to our discussion. Go back to what I wrote at
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol16/v16n127.shtml#02>. The overwhelming
majority of kosher certified establishments do not do these things.
Therefore, they all have a chezkas kashrus. We are permitted to rely on
chazakos even if it is possible that sometimes we are fooled. There is no
requirement that we ensure that there is not even a 1/1000 of 1 percent
chance that the food is not kosher.

In a separate email, Prof. Levine wrote:
> I just read some of the discussion on Areivim about a person dancing with
> his wife in public. Do those who do this qualify as being "frum?"

So long as the person is Shomer Shabbos and kashrus, it makes no
difference that he is meikil with respect to issues which he believes
are not chamur. See I what I wrote in the name of the Aruch Hashulchan:
"It may very be that such a person is suspected of violating certain
issurim which *he* considers to be light; nevertheless, with respect to
all other issues he is considered a muchzak b'kashrus."

Kol tuv,

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 11:44:49 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: Kashrus reliable enough

From: Yitzchok Levine <llevine@stevens.edu>
> At 01:29 PM 02/26/2006, Moshe Feldman wrote:
> >I really should have used the term "muchzak b'kashrus."
> ...

> I must say that this confuses me. He is "muchzak b'kashrus," if he eats
> kosher. According to whose standards?

If he is offered to eat a meal in a non-kosher establishment and he says
"No, I can't, I keep kosher" then he eats kosher.

That is the whole point of the rule-of-thumb.

What are the outer limits of his kashrut keeping (which chumrot he keeps)
are a matter between him and HKB"H.

The idea is that if in his mind he eats kosher, then he will not knowingly
or willingly serve non-kosher, and if someone tells him that an item is
not kosher, he won't serve it to others who keep kosher.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 12:30:41 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: Kashrus reliable enough

I wrote:
> I would say that anyone who is Shomer
> Shabbos qualifies in this regard.  For the sake of clarity, henceforth
> I will not use the term "frum" but Shomer Shabbos.

On 2/27/06, y_levine <ylevine07030@optonline.net> wrote:
> Here in Flatbush we have 3 Eruvim. Some rely on one or more of the, others
> do  not.  Most of the Chareidi community does not carry on Shabbos.

> So, I have to again ask you to define your latest criteria - Shomer Shabbos.
> According to whose standards? In Flatbush there are those who consider using
> the Eruv to be Chillul Shabbos.

I think that if you reread my quote of the Aruch Hashulchan, the answer is
apparent: " It may very be that such a person is suspected of violating
certain issurim which *he* considers to be light; nevertheless, with
respect to all other issues he is considered a muchzak b'kashrus."

So the point is whether the person subjectively believes that he is
keeping mitzvos (rather than just going through the motions in public
because of community pressure). Anybody who carries within the Flatbush
eruv but does not carry in a place where there is no eruv is "muchzak

Kol tuv,

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Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 23:06:21 -0000
From: "Chana Luntz" <chana@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Kashrus reliable enough

RHW writes:
>In the last few years there has been a reliable non Glatt around. That
>brand is from the largest Glatt producer in the US. (it is marketed under
>a different name and under a different hashagacha.) These are apparently
>those that are rejected as Glatt, but do qualify as plain kosher.

>These do not have the sfeik sfeika that is referred to above. Would Rav
>Yosef allow that beideived or not?

Assuming that the reason why all of these meats were rejected as glatt
but accepted as plain kisher is because of the difference between
the Shulchan Aruch and the Rema when it comes to sirchos, then *if you
knew that this meat came from this hechsher* then I am pretty confident
that ROY would not permit it to be eaten. ie I can't see the difference
between knowing that the meat has this hechsher and knowing that in fact
sirchos were found in this particular animal.

Note however that even in a situation where the person knows that sirchos
were found in this particular animal, the suggestion appears to be that,
one should not tell the host that the guest does not want to eat it
because it is not glatt, but should find some other reason "siba acheret".

However, if one does not know whether or not the particular hechsher of
the meat happens to be this hechsher, or maybe it is some other hechsher,
does one have to ask? That would seem to get us into the meaty part of
the teshuva on the requirements and the limits of enquiry.

The interesting thing about the subject matter of this teshuva, ie glatt
meat is this. According to the Sephardim, any meat that is not glatt is
mamash treif d'orisa (we are not even talking about d'rabbanans here).
According to the Ashkenazim, eating glatt is a chumra. It may be a
chumra with impeccable ancestry (as ROY so carefully brings), it may
be a chumra that makes more sense than most given the extensive source
material, but fundamentally that is what it is. If an Ashkenazi person
falls back on it, he is eating kosher m'ikar hadin. Somebody Sephardi is
basically eating treif. One has to bear that in mind when reading this
teshuva (and also the fact that there is no suggestion in the teshuva
that the family of the fellow asking the teshuva is anything other than
Sephardi - it is not as though he is asking about attending the simcha
of his wife's Ashkenazi family).

Now one of the things about the way ROY constructs his teshuvas is that
they are made up out of linked quotations - rishonim and achronim, and
sometimes, especially if one cannot check the underlying source material
(which is often difficult given the obscure achronim he quotes) it is
hard to work out how much of this is in the original underlying source
and how much of it is ROY commentary explaining how he understands the
source to have learnt the way he does. Therefore, in trying to give
of flavour of the discussion, I am pretty much leaving out the names
of the various people he quotes, and just linking the ideas that ROY is
linking (if that makes any sense) - so here is my best go at it (without
attempting to list absolutely everything):

ROY starts out by bringing the case (actually a psak by "Dvar Shmuel
Abuhav") of a person from a Sephardi city who travels to an Ashkenazi
city, but who has the intention to return, can such a person eat the meat
of the Ashkenazi city - with the answer being that if he knows that the
particular animal has sirchos then he should refrain from eating that
animal, but without explaining the reason, but rather find some other
excuse, but for stam basar kasher he can eat it in that place and the
clear psak was that there is no need to be machmir lest their might be
a problem in the particular animal he is eating. And this is because
the requirement to check the lungs is d'rabbanan and if a dog or non
Jew came and grabbed eg the lungs before the lungs could be checked,
and one therefore could not check the lungs, the meat is mutar (as the
Shulchan Aruch poskens). And even more so here because there is a safek
sfeka maybe there were no sirchos and maybe the halacha is like those
who permit. And similarly if one is at an inn or on the way, one does
not have to investigate into the question of sirchos.

But one can ask a question from the din that if somebody rents a house on
the 14th of Nissan and the landlord is there, one is required to ask him
whether or not the place has been searched for chametz, and one cannot
rely on the chazaka that the house has been checked (even though if
the landlord is not available one can indeed rely on this chazaka) and
isn't there a contradiction between this din regarding chametz and the
din that an animal that has been geshochten "bechezkas heter omedes".
And doesn't that mean that while if a dog ran off with the lungs one
could rely on the chazaka, if it is possible to ascertain matters,
does one not have an obligation to check? And there appears to be two
distinctions drawn in the various sources - the first is that searching
a house is dependent on an action by a person, and while most people
search their houses, there might be some reason why this particular
person did not, while the case of an animal the status of the lungs (or
whatever) is intrinsic to the animal, and the chazaka is not created by
the action of a person and the second is that during most of the year,
houses have the status that they have not been searched for chametz,
and contain chametz, and it is only when checked that they fall within
the status of a checked house, while the normal state of an animal is
not to have a chezkas treifos.

And you can see that the same rules applied vis a vis a live animal and
a shochet. Because the halacha is that a live animal is deemed to have a
chezkas issur until it is shechted. And the din is that if the shochet is
not around one can rely that he knew how to shecht and schected properly
but if he is around, one is required to satisfy oneself by inquiring
of the shochet - and that is either because the act of shechting is one
of a ma'ase or because the normal state of the live animal is of issur,
and it is the act of schechting that turns it into something mutar.

So then the question is raised about why in neither the chametz case or
this case can we just rely on safek d'rabbanan l'kula which ROY deals
with [and then there is a discussion distinguishing this from the case
of the para aduma, which again would lead one to believe one needs
to investigate].

So when it comes to most treifos, a shechted animal has both a chazaka
that it is kosher, and a rov, that most animals do not have these treifos,
and that is why we do not have to check for most treifos. However, the
reason we do need to check the lungs is because it is common to have
problems in the lungs. But once the lungs have indeed been checked
by a mumcha and we have eliminated other problems (eg that would also
not be acceptable to Ashkenazim) and it has been brought to the house
of somebody who is muchzak b'kahrus we are not required to investigate
further because of the safek sfeka that we started with.

But he goes on to dicuss maybe we can say that one can ((inter alia due
to a Rashba) only rely on a safek sfeka in a situation where it is not
possible to ascertain the situation by investigation, but if one can
ascertain by investigation one cannot rely on a safek sfeka - but he
brings a whole list of sources which show that one can indeed rely on
a safek sfeka even where it is possible to investigate (and that would
seem to be the opinion of the Rashba elsewhere).

So while ROY then goes on to say that in most cases the baal habayis
himself does not know whether the meat is glatt or not unless he goes
off and asks the butcher - which might add a further leniency (which is
not present in the case you present where the hechsher is probably on
the packet and the baal habayis therefore "knows" unless he has thrown
the packet away), since if the food is in front of the guest, and he
has to go to the trouble of enquiring of the host, that would already
seem to be a step of investigation, then such investigation would not
(IMHO based on the reasoning above) seem to be necessary according to ROY.

ROY goes on to throw in our old friends "and since there is in this
mishum kavod habrios if he refrains from eating there and also many times
there will occur chashash aiva u'machlokus" one can [should?] rely on
the safek sfeka to be makil.

[he then goes on to discuss the question of the keilim].

As I said, one of the things that is particularly interesting about this
teshuva is that it is not like the case that ROY opened with, where we
have Sephardim travelling to an Ashkenazi city, ie where the host is in
fact acting in a perfectly mutar way according to the way his rabbaim
poskin, but, it would seem, a case where the host is a Sephardi fellow,
who therefore is, by definition, being lax in the way he is operating.

Note that in addition, and this is clearly explicated in the teshuva,
the whole incident is taking place in Eretz Yisroel, and we know from
many other teshuvas of ROY that he holds that even Ashkenazim should hold
like the Shulchan Aruch in Eretz Yisroel, on the grounds that ROY holds
that the minhag hamakom is and is required to be like the Shulchan Aruch.

So it is not just, according to ROY, that the host is being lax in the
meat he is purchasing, but the shochtim and rebbeim who are allowing such
meat out there into the market are doing the wrong thing by following
the Rema rather than the Shulchan Aruch, because we are talking about
Eretz Yisroel (something he would not hold about Europe, or presumably
America) - although of course he would have to acknowledge that there
are other great talmid chachamim who hold differently.

And even so, he holds that in the circumstances the fellow can rely
on the safek sfaka and eat. And he talks about the baal habayis being
muchzak b'kashrus.

Chana Luntz

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