Volume 11 Number 97
                       Produced: Thu Feb 24 12:44:16 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"not-Kosher" (2)
         [Gedalyah Berger, Morris Podolak]
Morman Software
         [Robert A. Book]
Snacking Before Mussaf
         [Moshe Shamah]
Stern College
         [Susan Slusky]
Times for Starting and Ending Shabbat
         [Gedalyah Berger]


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 94 16:20:53 -0500
Subject: "not-Kosher"

In #87, Janice Gelb wrote:

> There are certainly examples to support Robert Tannenbaum's contention,
> from the Israeli rabbanut at least. Just a few months ago we heard
> about a yogurt product that the rabbinut removed hechsher from because
> its container art featured dinosaurs. Ditto the Michael Jackson/Pepsi
> case. 

I am fairly certain that both of those cases involved not the rabbanut 
but one of the Badatzes (either of the `Eda Hacharedit or Agudat Yisrael, 
but probably the former).

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS

From: Morris Podolak <morris@comet>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 94 04:09:10 -0500
Subject: Re: "not-Kosher"

Janice Gelb writes:
> There are certainly examples to support Robert Tannenbaum's contention, 
> from the Israeli rabbanut at least. Just a few months ago we heard 
> about a yogurt product that the rabbinut removed hechsher from because 
> its container art featured dinosaurs. Ditto the Michael Jackson/Pepsi 
> case. And I know of a case from the 1979 where the International 
> Convention of Gay and Lesbian Jews was supposed to be held at a 
> kibbutz outside of Jerusalem and the rabbinut told the kibbutz 
> that the hechsher would be removed from their candy factory if they 
> carried through with these plans. So they had to revoke the contract 
> with the gay and lesbian group only 6 weeks before the convention 
> was to be held. I'm sure there are numerous other examples.

Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn't think it necessary to write in
that I think the examples above are not good, but I have an additional
point to make, and this provides a good opening.  All the cases Janice
cites are cases where a hashgacha has been removed.  As far as I know,
no authority has said these products were not kosher.  There is a very
big difference!  First, let me point out that the giving of a hechsher
is a relatively recent invention.  In fact, hard as it is to believe,
100 years ago in Europe (and even after that) there was no OU, and
people actually bought things and ate them!! :-) In particularly
sensitive matters, such as shechita, the shochet was a person above
reproach, and was trusted implicitly.  The minute he stopped being above
reproach he was removed.  Less sensitive products, like cheese, milk,
fruits, etc. were bought from people whom one trusted.  Just like today,
I will eat at a friend's house if I know he keeps kosher.  I don't need
to see a certificate from his rabbi.
 When products began to be manufactured by large companies, and the
ingredients and the entire procedure of manufacture became so complex
that it was hard to judge the kashrut of a product, it became important
to know if a given product was kosher.  In principle, if I know and
trust the owner of a company, and he tells me his product is kosher, I
can eat it.  The trust, comes from two things: 1. That he is not
concealing anything from me, and 2. The he is sufficiently well versed
in halacha that his (honest) opinion is worth anything.  Having heard
Rav Rubin of the Rehovot Kashrut Department lecture on the subject, the
second problem is very serious.  So much so that local LOR's may not
realize that some industrial procedure is problematic.  Nowadays you
really have to be an expert in chemistry, engineering, and physics as
well as halacha.  So a hechsher is important.
  The lack of a hechsher does not mean that the product is not kosher,
however.  All it says is that this particular organization does not want
to be associated with a particular product.  Suppose a Nazi organization
were to produce an ice cream that was 100% kosher.  Suppose they used
chalav yisrael, and separated trumot and ma'asrot from all the fruits
and vegetables they put in.  They sold their chametz before Pesach, and
immersed all their dishes in a mikve.  Their product is fine
halachically, but I don't want to have anything to do with the company,
so I don't give them a hechsher.  But it doesn't mean the product is not
kosher.  Lets not get to carried away with the "trappings and the suits
of" Torah.  


From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 94 17:23:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Morman Software

Sue Kahana <SUE%<HADASSAH@...> writes:
> I have lately learned that both WordPerfect and Novell are products
> of Mormons.  In this case, there obviously is less of a problem than with
> geneological software where they are tracking Jewish families.  However,
> the problem that I heard is that, at least the owners of WordPerfect,
> tithe to their church.  This means that if I, as a customer, buy their
> product, 10% of the price goes to a missionizing, possible a.z. church.
> Does anyone have any ideas?

1)  I think that software produced by individuals who happen to be
Mormons is not the same as the geneological software, which is
produced by the LDS ("Mormon") church itself.  In the latter case, you
would be doing business directly with the church, rather than with a
secular corporation which happens to be operated by people who are
members of that church, and located in an area where 50% of the people
are members of that church.

2)  Almost all products produced in the United States which are not
specificly of a Jewish nature are produced by companies owned by
non-Jews.  Many of these non-Jews are Christians.  Many Christians
donate to their churches.  If this is a problem with WordPerfect and
Novell, then it is also a problem with all products produced in the
USA (or, for that matter, anywhere else except Israel) unless it is
known that a specific company is owned/operated by Jews.

3)  The above (#2) applied to all companies, including food companies.
But, many products produced by companies owned by Christians, including
Mormans, have reliable hechshers, indicating that it is permitted to
buy them.  This even applies to food that would come under #1, for
example, food produced by the Loma Linda company, which is owned by
the Seventh-Day Adventists, is under the hasgacha of the O-K.

Since this does not seem to be a problem with food (not including
wine), I don't see why it should be a problem with software or any
other product.  This is unless that product itself is of a specific
idolatrous nature -- but that is not really the same question, since
in that case it would be the product, not the manufacturer or seller,
which is the problem.  (For example, you couldn't buy a statue of an
idol from a Jew, either!)

--Robert Book


From: <MSHAMAH@...> (Moshe Shamah)
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 1994 12:21:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Snacking Before Mussaf

Snacking Before Mussaf

Joseph Mosseri claimed that kiddush is unnecessary before snacking
Shabbat morning between shahrit and mussaf.  This is not the
accepted halakha in most communities except in cases of duress. 
There have been poskim who maintained that the obligation for day
kiddush is only after mussaf, and prior to that the halakha is
similar to pre-shahrit.  There also have been poskim who permitted
"tasting" before daytime kiddush even when the time for kiddush
arrived.  However, Shulhan Arukh does not posek like either of
these views.  

Shulhan Arukh's formulation in OH 289:1 makes clear that once the
time for kiddush arrived, kiddush is necessary before "tasting". 
When Shulhan Arukh in OH 286:3 states that a snack is permitted
after shahrit before mussaf it is coming to exclude the opinion
that prohibits having a snack before mussaf; this is not a kiddush
halakha at all (see Bet Yosef).  This is the unambiguous
interpretation of Shulhan Arukh and p'sak of most of the leading
poskim including: Birke Yosef, Mishna Berura, Arukh Hashulhan and
Kaf HaHayim.  (All on OH 286)



From: Susan Slusky <segs@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 94 09:47:01 EST
Subject: Re: Stern College

I've lost the original message, so I can't quote the posting verbatim,
but a recent posting as stuck in my mind long enough that I feel compelled 
to write in. The message was the question about opportunities for women to 
engage in serious Torah study while pursuing a secular university
education. The message included a put down of Stern College saying
that she'd heard from YU undergrads (presumably Stern women and YC men)
that Stern was a place where women go for an MRS.

It seems to me that through life I've heard two kinds of put downs of
of university women, depending on the university, but not depending on
whether it was a women only or coed school nor a secular or Jewish one.
Either the women are damned because they all look like pigs, they never
date, and they're terrible grinds. OR they're damned because they're not
serious about their studies, all they're interested in is their MRS.
Actually there's a third category of put down, the sluts.
There's never a mixture of the possible types of 
female university student at any one college nor, of course, any other
types who might be more successfully combining the social and 
academic aspects of their lives. The idea that women can't succesfully
combine social and academic aspects of life is peculiar and old-fashioned.
It harkens back to the 19th century worries that if women were allowed to
attend university they'd become infertile.

I was not a Stern undergrad, nor am I closely in touch with Stern campus
life today, but it seems to me to be unquestioned that Stern College is
doing a superb job of providing a place where women can engage in serious 
Torah study and pursue a secular university education. There's no reason 
to think that the women who attend are female eunuchs however. And the
Torah they study tells them that when they find themselves seriously 
attracted to a man, moving in together and trying things out for a few
years is not the A-answer. So it seems quite natural that many (more than
in the general population?) get married during or immediately after their 
college years. To then say that because these women want to form such
attachments, they are not serious students, is insulting to them.

I would recommend that the woman who was shopping for a place to study
Torah, investigate the educational opportunities available at various
institutions. Also, investigate the rules that the institution imposes on
its students that limit their social life. Then judge from there. 


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 94 22:00:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Times for Starting and Ending Shabbat

> A few days back, Gedalyah Berger was writing about someone who had already
> been Mekabel Shabbos (accepted that Shabbos had started) asking someone
> who had not yet been Mekabel Shabbosto do a Melacha. - and similarly
> on Motzae Shabbos (Saturday night); if someone who was keeping, let's say
> Rabbenu Tam time, could ask another yid who had already taken Shabbos
> out (e.g. R'Gra time)to do a Melacha (work).
> As far as I know, it is 100% halachically ok in both cases - in other
> words let's say I go to a 7pm minyan Friday night (summer time!)and
> come home from shul before it is actually sunset, and my neighbour is
> going to a 8pm minyan - I can ask him to do a melachah for me as long as
> it is not yet Shabbos m'deoraysoh (sunset - a few minutes tosefes shabbos).
> Similarly Motsae Shabbos, if my neighbour keeps Rabbenu Tam's z'man, and
> I don't; he can ask me to a melacha for him.
> It's not a contradiction in terms because we are fully entitled to
> accept either zman; and nobody would say that just because I wish to be
> machmir and keep Rabbeinu Tam's longer shabbos, that everyone else around
> me is Chas VeShalom being mechallel shabbos! (breaking Shabbos).
> Benjamin Rietti, London

What you say is correct only if you don't *really* pasken like Rabbenu 
Tam; as you say, you are being "machmir" to end Shabbos later according 
to Rabbenu Tam, but really hold like the Gr"a.  Someone who really holds 
like Rabbenu Tam doesn't have a "longer shabbos," because he *starts* Shabbos
later too.  Would you feel comfortable asking someone who holds like R. Tam to
do a melachah for you on Friday night after the Gr"a's tzeit hakochavim, when 
it is still vadai yom (definitely daytime) according to R. Tam but it is 
Shabbos mide'oraisa according to you?  I think you would not, and for good 
reason; at that point you *would* think that he is being mechallel 
shabbos.  The same would be true on motza'ei shabbos after the Gr"a's 
tzeit hakochavim, but in the reverse - he who actually paskens like R. 
Tam would view the "rest of the world" as mechallelei shabbos.

I should point out, though, that there is virtually no one in the world 
today (as far as I know) who actually paskens like R. Tam and practices 
according to him even lekula (for lenient rulings).  This, by the way, 
represents a very interesting quirk in the history of halachah, as most of
the rishonim held like R. Tam and the Gr"a's shitta was a chiddush.

Finally, as I said in my previous post, the case of someone who accepted 
Shabbos early is completely different; there everyone agrees on the 
halachic principle and the difference arises only from a difference in 

A Freilechen Purim

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


End of Volume 11 Issue 97