Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 16

Mon, 21 Jan 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Arie Folger <arie.fol...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 15:07:07 +0100
Re: [Avodah] economy101

R' Eli Turkel wrote:
> Western society has learned over the years that price fixing never
> works. In Israel when bread products were price controlled it was
> found thatpeople used bread for many other things simply because
> bread was cheaperthan other alternatives because its price was fixed.
> So I again come back to my original question that the takanah of
> Shmuel goes against basic economic in a modern capatalistic society.
> Drug companies charge a lot because they investigate many options
> 99% of which don't work. Accordingly this would not be an accepted
> expense since it is not directly connected to the drug one buys. I
> would hope that all the testing done for this drug can be included.

Yours is a very one sided view. The question of whether there are staples
for which price fixing is called for, is very complex. The French live
longer than Americans, have medicine more readily available, despite
spending significantly less. Same for the Swiss, which is a major producer
of brand name medicine.

Arguably, the market for medicine is rather asymetrical (when you need
antibiotics, you don't really haggle, when you need anestesia, you
definitely don't haggle). Likewise, maximum prices for staples are widely
used in the Western world. Of course, any time you interfere in the
market,s there are unintended consequences, but they are often worthwhile
to pay.

> So a general question is that the are many economic takanot that no
> longer make economic sense in a modern society. Would a Torah
> society still follow these takanot?

Pitchei Choshen cites poskim who say no, we need takanot that are
appropriate for here and now, and are not required to keep those from a
very different society. This is probably a din unique to dinei memonot.

Kol tuv,

with kind regards,
Arie Folger

visit my blog at http://ariefolger.wordpress.com/
sent from my mobile device
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Message: 2
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:41:10 -0500

On 17/01/2013 6:40 PM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
> I have always presumed that the phrase "chalav stam" means exactly the
> same thing as "chalav hacompanies". It is*NOT*  milk which has no
> supervision at all, but rather it is milk which lacks Jewish
> supervision but does have government supervision. Milk which has no
> supervision at all is called "chalav akum" or "chalav nochri". (In
> fact, when I explain Chalav Yisrael to people, I am careful to say
> that ALL poskim require the milk to be supervised; the machlokes is
> whether the supervision must be Jewish, or whether the government is
> adequate.)

I must repeat what I've written before, that this is a misunderstanding
of RMF's position.  He does *not* accept gov't supervision instead of
"yisrael ro'ehu".   Rather, he holds that the fact that the government
sends inspectors to the processing plant and imposes fines if they find
any hanky-panky, together with the fact that there is no money to be made
from tampering with the milk at the plant, allows *us* to be the remote
mashgichim, using the principle that if we are 100% certain of something
then "anan sahadi", it's as if we literally witnessed it.  He derives
this from the fact that eidei kiddushin are eidei kiyyum, not eidei birur,
and yet the eidim for kiddushei biah don't actually see anything.  It's
their absolute certainty that if the couple informed them what they were
about to do, and remained alone for long enough to do it, then they must
have done it, that allows them to be eidim.  By the same principle, if we
can be just as certain that the milk has not been messed with then we can
be the Jewish supervision that the halacha requires.

Note that the mere presence of a government inspection regime is not enough,
since inspectors can be bribed, or can simply miss things.  It's a chazakah
that people can and will evade government supervision to do all sorts of
dishonest things.  What makes this different is 1) in a large plant many
people would have to be paid off, and 2 and most importantly) there's no
profit to be made from it, so the cost of the necessary bribes and/or the
risk of detection, couldn't possibly be worth it to anybody.  He explicitly
says that at a private farm, where inspectors don't come very often and the
farmer may happen to have some treif milk that he could tip into the tank
and earn an extra dollar, we cannot be eidim that it didn't happen, however
unlikely we think it.

But if you look at the long teshuvah, the third in the series in YD vol 1,
you will see that all this analysis of inspectors and risk and benefit is
ultimately irrelevant, provided that we buy from a non-Jewish retailer.
If you buy a carton of milk from the bodega, there is no need to go into
any of this, because RMF's big chiddush, which ultimately serves as the
basis of his whole shitah, is that this absolute certainty that amounts to
"eidus" is only necessary with respect to the last nochri who owned the
milk before it came to yad yisroel.  If we can be certain that it was not
tampered with from when he bought it until he sold it to us, then we don't
need to worry about what happened before he got it.   So we don't need to
go into the government inspection at the plant, and how effective it is,
and how much it would cost to bribe or evade it, or any of that.  We know
that the bodega received the milk in a sealed container, and it is still
sealed now, so we are *just as certain* that he didn't tamper with it as
we are with respect to the container of "cholov yisroel" that sits next to
it in his fridge.  If we can't be certain that he didn't open and reseal
the normal milk, then we have the same problem with the CY!

So all the discussion that focuses on the previous points turns out to be
irrelevant, unless we buy from a Jewish retailer who got it directly from
the manufacturer, so that the manufacturer is the last nochri who owned it,
and thus the one to whom the gezeirah applies.  If one accepts RMF's
shitah in principle, having been convinced by his logic, but doubts his
practical conclusions about the efficacy of gov't supervision, then one
can easily remedy the problem by making sure to buy milk from nochrim.
The real sticking point, then, is not the metzius regarding gov't
supervision, but the lomdus; does one accept his chiddushim or not?

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 3
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:07:21 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Hanaah from Chametz

On 17/01/2013 6:44 PM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
>>From there, my mind jumped to another situation which seems very
>>similar. Suppose one is in an ordinary non-Jewish supermarket on
>>Chol Hamoed Pesach, and a non-Jewish shopper asks me, "Sir, I
>>cannot reach those cookies. Could you please hand me that box of
>>cookies?" Being a nice guy, it is my nature to want to be helpful,
>>and so I cheerfully pass it to him. Was that mutar or assur?
> The two cases seem very similar. In both, I took chametz which did not
> belong to a Jew, and I gave it to someone/something who is allowed to
> eat it, and I did so because I like doing that. The only real
> difference that I can see is that the dog eats it immediately, but the
> supermarket customer will eat it later. But I don't see why that
> should make a difference.

A possible chiluk: your hana'ah, to the extent that you have any, is from
handing him the box, not the contents; it would be the same regardless of
what the contents were.  He could just as easily have asked you to hand
down a box of matzah, or a roll of toilet paper.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 4
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 00:35:55 GMT

R' Joel Rich asked:

> What would the halacha be "back in the day" if I lived in a town
> where 80% of the dairy herds were owned by Jews and I found a
> recently filled container of raw milk in the street?  And what
> label would you put on it?

I'm not sure what you mean by "back in the day". If you are referring to a
situation where there is no government supervision, such as was the
situation for thousands of years, then 80% would not suffice. Some poskim
would allow such milk if 100% of the local dairies were Jewish, but even
that was a machlokes.

For sources, see (for example) Rabbi Doniel Neustadt's column at http:
//www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5760/vayikra.html in the
section beginning, "Is chalav akum ever permitted?" You can also look at http://www
.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-issues-cholovYisroel.htm in the paragraph
beginning, "A few centuries ago", though no actual sources are cited there.

Akiva Miller

Fast, Secure, NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband. Try it.

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Message: 5
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 00:50:42 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Is Panentheism Heresy

R' Jonathan Baker wrote:

> Terminology debate: Lisa says Kabbalah is equal to Jewish
> mysticism of all schools, I say ... that it's the subject
> matter of the Zohar, the Bahir, etc.  texts from the 1100s
> onwards.  We disagree, I think we should just leave it.

This is how getting hung up on terminology confuses things. Like Lisa, I
too have always lumped "Kabbala", "Zohar", and the topics mentioned in "Ein
Dorshin" in pretty much the same category. Which is NOT to say that they
are the *exact* same category. It is clear that there are some differences
between them. And if one wants to talk about what we are allowed to learn
or forbidden to learn, one should very precisely explain which is being

Then again, what do I know? Until I joined Avodah, I thought that the term
"Chazal" referred to ALL of our Chachamim, zichronam livracha, regardless
of when they lived (i.e., even very recent ones).

Akiva Miller
Woman is 53 But Looks 25
Mom reveals 1 simple wrinkle trick that has angered doctors...

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Message: 6
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bl...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 17:00:18 +0200
[Avodah] Final letters in Hebrew and ksav ivri vs ksav ashuri

Recently the Daf Yomi (Shabbos 104a) learned about the letters that have
final letters (mem, nun, tzadik, peh, chof). The Gemara states that the
tzofim (Rashi - Neviim) came up with the extra letters. The Gemara then
asks how could they do that, a Navi is not allowed to add anything
to the Torah? The Gemara answers that they were forgotten and the Neviim
came and restored them, forgotten, meaning that they did not know which
were the final letters and which were the non-final letters. The Rishonim
in Megilla 3a (where the same statement appears) bring in the Sugya
in Sanhedrin 21b where the Gemara has a dispute about whether the ksav was
changed by Ezra (they ask how come that is not an addition by a Navi, see
Rashba, Tosafos and others for answers). R' Yosi holds that until Ezra
everything was written in ksav ivri and Ezra came and switched to ksav
ashuris and R' Elazar Hamodai states that the ksav never changed it was
always ashuris.

The Rishonim (and Acharonim) are very bothered by R' Yosi's opinion, many
ask how could it be that Ezra changed the ksav from what Hashem used
for the luchos? Others ask what about the Gemara in Menachos 29b which
describes Hashem adding Tagim to the letters, however, these don't exist in
ksav ivri. In fact, a whole group of Rishonim and Acharonim claim that it
must be that at least the luchos were given in ksav ashuris, however, there
is an explicit Yerushalmi that contradicts this.

There are a number of very fundamental questions that need to be asked
about this.
1. How could they forget which form was the final letter and which wasn't?
Why didn't they simply look at the existing sifrei torah, tefillin, and
mezuzos?Moshe Rabenu wrote 13 sifrei torah before he died 1 for each shevet
and 1 for the azara, why wouldn't they use these as a reference? (See the
Pnei Yehoshua Megilla 3a)
2. Were all the sifrei torah, tefillin, mezozos) at that time
(before the Neviim reminded them what was what) pesulim (they may have
used the wrong from of these letters)?
3. How could there be a dispute about whether Ezra changed the ksav?
Changing the ksav is not a minor event, it is very major. All sifrei torah,
tefillin,mezuzos had to be rewritten. How was there not a clear mesora of
what happened? The tannaim lived only a few hundred years after Ezra,
didn't they have any seforim from that time or earlier? This is a major
dispute about how all of the sifrei torah, tefillin, mezuzos were written
from matan torah until Ezra. Did no one remember?
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Message: 7
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 13:49:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Q&A: Isn't Wearing a Wig Over Hair Pointless?

From http://tinyurl.com/a7zmlt8

Dear Jew in the City,

For the Orthodox ladies who wear a wig and claim part of the reason is for
modesty, isn?t wearing a wig over hair kind of like wearing a t-shirt with
a naked body printed on it? (Sorry for the crude example.) Wouldn?t it be
better to cover the hair with a cloth? I know some Orthodox ladies do, and
this seems to make more sense to me.



Dear D.V.,

Your question is an excellent one, and I was asked a similar question by a
friend who upon hearing that I wore a wig over my hair told me that it was
like wearing a prosthetic nose over my nose! His question bothered me for a
while. I do NOT like having philosophical quandaries floating around in my
head that I don?t know how to answer, so after a bit of thought, I came up
with something, and I think it applies to your question as well.

See the above URL for more. YL
Would poskim agree with this statement: In terms of covering hair with a
wig, the hair in the wig is not explicitly sexual as we already said, but
at the same time it does create a barrier so that the actual, free-flowing
hair of the woman is not available for public consumption. It's somewhat
similar to wearing a t-shirt with flesh covered sleeves. As long as the
material is opaque, wearing such a shirt is totally fine.

Joel Rich
distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
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Message: 8
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjba...@panix.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 19:40:56 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Q&A: Isn?t Wearing a Wig Over Hair Pointless?

From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
>  From http://tinyurl.com/a7zmlt8
> Dear Jew in the City,

I'll tell you what's pointless.  Wearing a fall or half-wig, and combing
one's own hair OVER it.  Kinda obviates the whole point of the wig, to cover
one's hair.

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: jjba...@panix.com     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com

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Message: 9
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 00:03:43 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Q&A: Isn?t Wearing a Wig Over Hair Pointless?

A while back I suggested that the reason why women cover their hair is
because of a gezeiras hakasuv from a pasuq about sotah -- "ufarah es
rosh ha'ishah" (Bamidbar 5:18). As it says in Kesuvos 72a "roshah parua'
deOraisa hi".

What then about "sei'ar be'ishah ervah" (Berakhos 24a)? I suggested
that's a /consequence/ of the issur deOraisa. Because it's supposed
to be covered in public, uncovered hair becomes a sign on intimacy,
a statement that "you're not stam 'public'." And that would explain
why sei'ar is different than the other items in the gemara's list
in only applying to married women, unlike shoq and qol.

See earlier versions of this discussion, 
a number of threds with similar names starting at
and <http://j.mp/V0JLxV> or

In any case, if this way of explaining the two gemros is correct, then
we're talking about a gezeiras hakasuv, and there is no way to pasqen
from a taam hamitzvah.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Take time,
mi...@aishdas.org        be exact,
http://www.aishdas.org   unclutter the mind.
Fax: (270) 514-1507            - Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv, Alter of Kelm

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Message: 10
From: Harry Maryles <hmary...@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 07:28:53 -0800 (PST)
Re: [Avodah] Q&A: Isn?t Wearing a Wig Over Hair Pointless?

--- On?Sun, 1/20/13, Micha Berger?<mi...@aishdas.org>?wrote:
What then about "sei'ar be'ishah ervah" (Berakhos 24a)? I suggested
that's a /consequence/ of the issur deOraisa. Because it's supposed
to be covered in public, uncovered hair becomes a sign on intimacy,
a statement that "you're not stam 'public'." And that would explain
why sei'ar is different than the other items in the gemara's list
in only applying to married women, unlike shoq and qol.-----------------------
IOW the Se'ir of a married woman is like a wedding band.
I would not think that is the reason it should be called Erva.
I have always had problems with this issue - especially the Stirah between married and unmarried women.
You can't have two physically identical things and say one is Erva and one is not.
In fact Chasdic communties tend to braid the hair of Penuyos in a effort to
somehow apply Seir B'Isha Erva to them too - in at least a minimal way. I
guess it bothers them too. But their solution is to be Machmir. The rest of
Orthdoxy is not.?
I am not saying it's Mutar for married women to not cover their hair in
public. But I agree with Rabbi Michael Broyde's analysis which factors in
societal attitudes about covered hair.


Want Emes and Emunah in your life? 

Try this: http://haemtza.blogspot.com/

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Message: 11
From: Marty Bluke <marty.bl...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:57:52 +0200
[Avodah] Can Eliyahu Hanavi decide halachic questions?

Recently in Daf Yomi (Shabbos 108a) the Gemara discussed whether Tefillin
can be written on the skin of a Tahor fish. Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak says
if Eliyahu will come and tell us that it is good then it is kosher. The
Gemara asks so what if Eliyahu tells us, Rashi explains that Heter v'isur
are not decided by Eliyahu because lo bashamayim hee, in other words
Eliyahu Hanavi cannot answer any halachic questions.

How does this Gemara fit in with all of the places where we say that
Eliyahu Hanavi is going to answer our halachic questions, etc.?
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Message: 12
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 08:40:12 -0800
[Avodah] yeiush hameshulach


a meshulach  doesnt  own the money, so he  cant  have yeiush on it....
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Message: 13
From: saul newman <newman...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 09:12:10 -0800
[Avodah] the mitzva of voting

on whether  a chattan yotzeh mechupato  to vote....
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Message: 14
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 09:27:13 -0500
[Avodah] Additional Information for Tu B?Shevat

 From http://tinyurl.com/az7dm85

Following are links providing additional 
information regarding information pertinent for 
Tu B?Shevat, which will be observed G-d willing 
this coming Shabbos, 15 Shevat 5773, Parshas Belshalach.

The ?Torah and Land Institute? in Hebrew: 15 Shevat pamphlet ? 5773 ? 2013


Badatz Eida Chareidit ? Hebrew: Eida Tu BShvat 5773 Hebrew


Badatz Rav Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau Shlita: Tu BShvat 5773 ? Landau Hebrew


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