Volume 12 Number 28
                       Produced: Wed Mar 23 19:45:58 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

'Glat' pots
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Chumrot and Kashrut
         [Leora Morgenstern]
Hirsh on Moshiach
me-erot of the Tefilla of Aneinu
         [Naomi G. Cohen]
         [Fred E. Dweck]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <LEBOWITZ@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 1994 14:06:12 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Glat' pots

Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...> wrote:
> I offered to serve only chicken, but she still objected,
> saying, "But you'll still use the same pots!"
> 	If a well-educated woman, product of well-known yeshivot cannot
> distinguish between halacha and chumra, what hope is there for the rest
> of the world?

without getting into chumros as a whole, i know that it is very common
among those who keep 'glat' to only eat from 'glat' pots and dishes.
so - firstly, this lady was not just dreaming it up.
secondly, i even heard a rational explanation. a person who is
'noheg' (keeps the custom of) glat is in effect accepting a 'religious vow'
(neder), and food which a person has forbidden to him/herself by virtue of
a vow is prohibited 'benotein taam' (residual taste?)

i had to look into this when planning my wedding, (no i am not newly married!)
as there were 'glat' relatives, and i needed a 'glat only' caterer.

chag kasher vesameach!
Shimon Lebowitz                         Bitnet:   LEBOWITZ@HUJIVMS
VM System Programmer                    internet: <lebowitz@...>
Israel Police National HQ.              fax:      +972 2 309-888
Jerusalem, Israel                       phone:    +972 2 309-877


From: <leora@...> (Leora Morgenstern)
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 94 16:59:56 EST
Subject: Chumrot and Kashrut

Ben Zion Berliant writes (vol. 12, no. 22):

>   Many years ago, when I was single, I lived across the hall from
>a frum couple, both highly educated, who frequently invited me to their
>home for Shabbat meals.  After many such invitations, I felt impelled to
>reciprocate, so I invited them to join me for a Shabbat meal.  The woman
>declined, explaining that they ate only Glatt, and they knew that I
>didn't.  I offered to serve only chicken, but she still objected,
>saying, "But you'll still use the same pots!"
>   If a well-educated woman, product of well-known yeshivot cannot
>distinguish between halacha and chumra, what hope is there for the rest
>of the world?

I sympathize with Ben Zion, but I can also understand the other point of
view.  I know the difference between halacha and chumra, but I wouldn't
want to eat chicken prepared by people who didn't keep Glatt -- at
least, not in America.  The reason is that I don't know any butchers
whom I trust who sell non-Glatt meat.  I haven't come across many such
butchers, but those that I have have been very problematic for some
reason or other -- e.g., they are not Shomrei Shabbat.  (This is
something I've noticed not only in New York, but in smaller communities
as well.)  So I would wonder if the meat that is sold is Kosher
(l'halacha, not l'chumra): has the salting been done properly?  the
treibering (deveining)?  Have the chickens been salted properly?  Even
if one knows that the sh'chitta is perfectly reliable, there are many
important functions which the butcher performs, and it is important to
have complete trust.

(The point is not that non-Glatt butchers are necessarily untrustworthy;
my understanding is that as Glatt has become more popular in America,
many of the most reputable Kashrut organizations have made a policy of
giving their hashgachot only to places that carry only Glatt meat.  So
the butcher shops that care about reliable Hashgachot carry only Glatt
meat.  So by inference, the other butcher shops, carrying non-Glatt
meat, are the ones that don't care so much about Hashgachot.  I realize
this is a gross oversimplification; for one thing, Glatt meat is more
expensive and this may be a reason for carrying non-Glatt, but given the
much greater market for Glatt these days, this is probably less of a
concern than it once was.)

So, I'd also have a problem eating other foods at a home that used
non-Glatt meat; I'd wonder: don't they care if their butcher is
reliable?  Perhaps they don't know?  Either answer wouldn't make me feel
too comfortable.  I realize that this is not the situation in Israel,
where there are very reliable hashgachot for non-Glatt meat, and it may
not have been the case at the time when Ben Zion's story took place.
It's also possible that there are perfectly reliable butchers that sell
non- Glatt meat today in America, of which I'm not aware, which might
also alter the situation.

Another issue that comes up here, with some justice, is doing what the
rest of the community does.  If the entire community does something that
you feel is a chumra, it sometimes makes sense to keep that chumra
anyway, just in order to avoid situations like this, just because you
want to be part of the community.  If you davka don't keep that chumra,
there may be some perception that you don't care all that much about
belonging to that community.  The flip side is that when people in a
community see that you are careful about their chumrot, they may be more
likely to trust you and accept you as part of their community.  In some
ways, this sounds terrible, but it's also somewhat understandable.

There are all sorts of issues that relate to this -- issues of trust and
tolerance and pressure and hurt feelings.  Sometimes people may just use
a particular chumra as an excuse; the real reason they don't want to eat
at your house is that they don't trust you. It feels terrible when you
realize this, after offering everything under the sun. (" You keep
chalav yisrael? Fine, we'll buy Haolam cheese, we'll get a new toaster
oven, use new foil pans and paper plates and plastic cutlery ..")  But
at bottom line, it's their prerogative.  I wouldn't want to pressure
someone to eat if he's not comfortable doing so.  There have been
situations (concerning non-Glatt households) where I've felt a lot of
pressure, and I've wondered: who's being intolerant?  I, for insisting
on a particular standard?  Or they, in insisting that good relations can
be preserved only if I eat their cooking?

I don't know if there are any easy answers to these situations.  Is it
better to use excuses, or just to say: "I'm sorry, but I'd feel more
comfortable if I didn't eat at your house" ?  How do issues of Shalom
Bayit relate to this?  I think that there are practical solutions --
eating take-out, e.g., -- but they won't work if the underlying hurt
feelings aren't resolved at some level.  It would be great if we could
all resolve not to feel hurt about this: if we'd only feel hurt if
people refused to eat our cooking *after* they'd tasted it.


From: sg04%<kesser@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1994 12:37:35 -0500
Subject: Hirsh on Moshiach

In parshat Vachi (Bereshit 49:10) Where Yaakov is blessing Yehudah:

Ad Ki Yavo Shilah. Shilah can be derived from Shol, the lower hem of a
garment, and denote the extreme end. Yaakov is lying here on his death
bed, at the very fist beginning of the nation which the foundation
stone has hardly been laid, and looks down the centuries at the last
"sprout from the stem" of Yehudah. The suffix (vav) is written with a
(hay) to indicated weakness (feminine I.L.) and by calling the last
generation Shilah, Yaakov says: -- the time will come when the Malchus
Bais David will appear at its lowest deepest end, and Yehudah no longer
as Ari, stong as a lion, bug femininely weak, and one will think that
it has reached its final stage where Yehudah's strength and virility
will almost have disappeared, and then -- just then -- when the
undertakers of world-history will already have ordered the coffin for
Yehudah's body apparently coming to its end, Lo Yikahat Amim, it will
manfully arise and to it the Yikahat Amim [effete weakness of the
nations] will come.

Accordingly: the time will come when the spirit of Judaism seems to
have come to its end, and the world at large, have become worn out and
dull, have lived through everything, tried and tested everything, feels
that some new regenerating spirit must come, and this, that last sprout
from the stem of Yehudah will bring.


From: Naomi G. Cohen <RVOLF01@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 94 15:56:52 IST
Subject: Re: me-erot of the Tefilla of Aneinu

I think that the `me-erot' of the Tefilla of Aneinu means curses -
and hence is correctly feminine. Hag Sameakh, Naomi



From: Fred E. Dweck <71214.3575@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1994 18:26:24 -0500

I am a new subscriber to Mail-Jewish, and therefore am a little bit late 
getting into this disscussion. However, I have retrieved all of the 
articles pertaining to this issue, and thought I could help clarify the 

I *did* grow up in the Syrian community in Brooklyn. I studied, from 
1953-1961 (peshat) and 1961-1968 Kabbalh, with Rabbi Yaakov Kassin 
Shlit"a. I received Smichah (ordination) from him, in 1959. Rabbi Kassin 
has been the Chief Rabbi of the American Syrian Jewish Community since 
1932. He is an Ab-Bet Din, Shochet, Mohel, Sofer and one of the most 
highly recognized scholars of Halacha and Kabbalah in the world (both 
Sephardic and Ashkenazic) today . 

Rabbi Kassin was the initiator and author of the initial ban on not  
accepting converts. It was agreed to and signed by all of the rabbis of 
the community, including my grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Gindi A"H. It has 
been renewed several times since. The latest being about 7 years ago.

This ban was imposed because the rabbinate of the community realized 
several things. Firstly, that they did not trust themselves to be able to
recognize when a person was converting "leshem shamayim" and they felt 
that they did not want the responsibility  of converting a person, or of 
allowing by their acceptance, a convert who was doing it with ulterior 
motives, such as for marriage. 

Secondly, the general Jewish population does not understand the 
socio-religious aspects involved. In the Syrian Community, being 
ostracized by the rabbinate is tantamount to a social death sentence. 
Most of the community is, at least outwardly, observant. Ex: No one would
ever dare to drive to shul on Shabbat or Yom Tob. Anyone married to a 
non-Jew or a convert is shunned by the community, both generally and by 
the individual members. All of the people who do marry non-Jewish spouses
or converts are forced (by being shunned) to leave the community.

Thirdly, the community, at the time of the original ban, had an 
intermarriage rate of less than 1%. As they say, the proof is in the 
pudding. Because of this ban, while the intermarriage rate in the general
Jewish Community is over 50% (may Hashem save and forgive us), the 
intermarriage rate in the Syrian Jewish Community is under 3% (yes three 
per cent).

In answer to the question about adoptions, even though the language of 
the ban includes all converts, it is a fact that adopted converts 
(adopted at infancy) are and have been accepted. This is so, since, when 
adoption is necessary, we prefer that the couple adopt a non-Jewish 
child. The reason behind that can be found in a pesak by another of our 
very great rabbis; Rabbi Matloub Abadi A"H, in his book "Magen Ba'adi." 
His pesak, in fact, is the law of the land, concerning adoptions, in 
Israel. Also children born to "gerie tzedek" (true converts), who were 
converted by a recognized Orthodox Bet Din, are accepted.

Several years ago a case arose where a man married a non-Jewish woman, 
and wanted her to be converted. At that time the Rishon Le Zion Harav 
Obadiah Yosef was visiting in New York. The family approached him and 
asked him to intervene on their behalf. He had previously released a 
pesak saying, in essence, that if someone was already married and there 
was no chance of them separating, and they wanted to bring up their 
children in Judaism, then it would be proper to convert the non-Jewish 
spouse. He repeated this when he was approached. The entire rabbinate of 
the community was irate. They so much as told him to keep his nose out of
their community, and that he had no right to be "more' halacha" against 
the ban of a local Bet Din. He accepted! He then suggested that the 
couple go to Jerusalem and be converted there, which they did. The couple
has not been accepted into the community until today.

I can surely understand the horror of the general Jewish Community to  
this stand. Especially when we see mitzvot like "Veahavta et hager" (You 
should love the convert), and what the Rambam has to say about it. 
However, there is no question that a local Bet Din is allowed to issue 
decrees to protect its constituents. In this case, however, as unsavory 
as the decree might seem to the liberal thinking public, the decree has 
done what it was meant to do. I would hope that there is not one 
observant Jew who would prefer that the ban be lifted, only to witness an
explosion of intermarriages in the Syrian Community. 3% compared to over 
50% who of you would care to accept that?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to do uncomfortable things in order to 
safeguard Judaism and the Torah. As Rabbi Kassin said to me, when I 
questioned him about it: "If a person has Cancer in his arm, it is 
preferable to cut off the arm rather than to let him die!!!"

This is *NOT* the minhag of the other Sephardic Communities. Most of them
do accept "Gerie Tzedek." (True converts).

Marc Shapiro wrote:
<<<Everyone has discussed the Syrian ban on converts. I can understand 
that they are entitled to reject potential applicants for conversion and 
send them to Jerusalem's Bet Din, however, once the conversion has been
properly carried out by the Jerusalem Bet Din, I do not understand how
they can reject the convert. This seems to go against explicit halakhot
re. how one treats converts. Not to mention the fact that such an
approach is immoral. The Syrians are no better than other Jews and that
includes converts. I fell very strongly that their approach is

Maybe now, he and others will understand the justification. He is right. 
The Syrians are no better than other Jews and that includes converts. 
However, saying that their approach is misguided and/or immoral, is a 
very shortsighted pronouncement! This ban, as distasteful as it may seem,
*is* halachically correct!!

I would be happy to hear from anyone wanting more information on this 
matter, either by direct e-mail, or through Mail-Jewish.

Shabbat Shalom!
Fred E. Dweck


End of Volume 12 Issue 28