Volume 12 Number 35
                       Produced: Thu Mar 31 22:11:50 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ethical Issues
         [David Charlap]
Falsifying Torah
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Genetically altered Pig Enzyme is Kosher?
         [Francine S. Glazer]
Kosher Enzymes
         [Anthony Fiorino]
         [Uri Meth]
The kashrut of Beer
         [Saul London]
To be a Ben-Torah or not to be a Ben-Torah
         [Brian Sprei]


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 94 13:19:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Ethical Issues

<tmdivine@...> (Tom Divine)
>     (2) A pregnant woman is carrying triplets.  Her doctors advise her
>that a continuation of the pregnancy without intervention will almost
>certainly lead to the birth of the babies before any is able to sustain
>life.  The doctors wish to kill one of the babies in utero in order to
>permit the other two to live.  Neither the life nor the health of the
>mother is compromised under either scenario.  Is it halachically
>permissible to kill one foetus that the other two might live?

Ask a rabbi for a real answer.

In my (limited) opinion, I think it would be permissible.  Here is my

Abortions are permitted when the mother is endangered because
  - the fetus is less-alive than the mother, and
  - the fetus is a "rodef" - something pursuing the mother, in an
    attempt to take her life.
  - one is permitted to kill a rodef to protect oneself

In the case of the triplets, all three are rodfim, pursuing each other
to take their lives.  So, I would think it permissible to kill one so
that the others may live.

Unlike when the mother's life is in danger, however, we would not be
obligated to carry out this surgery.

(We know that halacha finds the fetus less-alive than the mother,
because if that would not be the case, the mother would not be allowed
to enlist a third party (the doctor) to perform the abortion.  If
someone is trying to kill you, you can kill him to defend yourself,
but I don't think you can hire a third party to kill him for you.)


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 13:41:52 -0500
Subject: Falsifying Torah

In MJ 12:31 Rabbi Adlerstein notes that Reb Moshe took exception to the
Yam Shel Shlomo's radical position on the prohibition of falsifying
Torah. I certainly did not mean to quote the YSS as halacha l'ma'aseh,
and fully accept that we don't pasken like him, and only posted his view
as a contribution to our understanding of how careful one must be in not
distorting Torah.

However, l'hagdil Torah u'l'ha'adir I would like to question reb Moshe's
proofs from censorship caveats about goyim placed in seforim in places
where they obviously were not relevant:

a) Isn't the prohibition on JEWS presenting false impressions to Goyimf,
whereas in these cases the Goyim were doing the distorting?

b) Isn't this different in any case because everyone knows that these
disclaimers were required by censors?

c) Perhaps in any event there is an overriding value in preserving the
chain of Torah transmission by publishing Torah texts despite the
censorship which distorts portions of the book. we see in Shas that r.
Yehuda b. baba gave his life to preserve the institution of semicha, so
it would seem that certain forms of Torah preservation are valid
criteria for mesiras nefesh. Maybe even the YSS would concede that
within reason the preservation of Torah transmission overrides the ban
on moderate distortion, a la Gittin 60 and "es la'asos?"

continued Chag Kosher v'Same'ach to all!


From: <fglazer@...> (Francine S. Glazer)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 21:18:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Genetically altered Pig Enzyme is Kosher?

Eric Burger asks how a genetically altered pig enzyme could be
considered kosher al pi halacha (according to halacha), and points out
as a contrast, lehavdil, that hallal (the muslim dietary laws) do not
consider the same enzyme to be fit for consumption.

I have not seen the washington post article he refers to, so I am
assuming that in saying "genetically altered pig enzyme", the
alteration he is referring to is cloning (isolating) the gene that
produces the enzyme, and artificially producing the enzyme in bacteria
or yeast.  

If this is the case, then the actual enzyme that is being made and
used is not a product of a pig, but of a yeast (or bacterial) cell.
The genetic information used to make the enzyme did originally come
from a pig, but has since been copied billions of times by that first
original yeast cell into gazillions of others.  Plus, the synthetic
machinery that reads the genetic information and synthesizes the
enzyme all is yeast machinery, not pig machinery.

fran glazer

[Similar response sent in by Gary Fischer <gfis@...>. Mod]


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 13:15:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kosher Enzymes 

Regarding the question of the use of a pig enzyme for kosher cheesemaking:

1.  A general point is that a food that has become unfit for even a dog to
eat no longer falls into the category of "food" and kashrut laws may no
longer apply.

2.  In this case specifically, it is important to note the source of the
enzyme.  Based on the brief description contained in the posting, it
sounded to me like a gene for a pig enzyme was cloned, genetically
altered, then placed into some system for production of the protein.  If
the manufacturers were interested in producing large quantities of this
recombinant enzyme (since this is a commercial product, one must assume
this is the case), they would most likely place the gene into an organism
that would produce a large quantity of the enzyme in relation to other
proteins produced, and an organism that is easy to grow in large
quantities with little care -- ie, bacteria.

In this case, the enzyme is a bacterial product, not a pig product. 
Interestingly, the kasrut/hallal machelochet regarding the permissablility
of this item revolves around the the issue of how one defines the
"treifness" of a pig.  Either (a) the products that one might extract from a
pig are treif, or (b) products identical to pig products, even if they are not
from a pig, are treif.  Those authorities who declared the product kosher
held by the first view -- this enzyme, though it is made by pigs, is not
inherently trief, and thus when made by bacteria, it can be eaten.  The
Muslim authorities who declared the enzyme forbidden held by the second
view -- this enzyme has some essential quality of "pig-ness" that clings
to it no matter what organism produces it.  The question remains as to how
one defines this "pig-ness."  If the enzyme were altered so that it was
identicle to a cow enzyme, or if were a completely novel form of the
enzyme, would that alter the Muslim ruling on the matter?

Eitan Fiorino


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 08:55:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Mishpatim

In v12n31 Seth Magot writes on Parashat Mishpatim:

>I was reading mispatim (nothing like being behind the times :-) ) when I
>came across the famous "eye for an eye"; I then came across the 'if an
>ox that is known to gore, gores, its owner is also put to death'
>(approximate overview).  How does mishnah/halacha deal with these

All one has to do is look at Rashi on the spot.  In reference to the
passage "eye for an eye" he says (and I paraphrase) 'If one blinds the 
eye of his freind, he gives him money for the value of the eye, the value 
that a slave would be worth in the market (value of complete slave - value 
of slave missing eye = payment), and similarly for all cases of causing 
one to lose a limb the payment is money and not bodily infliction on 
the attacker'.  This is derived from a Gemara if Bava Kama 84.

Similarly for the next passage 'if an ox that is known to gore, gores, 
its owner is also put to death', Rahsi writes on the phrase 'its owner
is also put to death': 'By the hands of heaven'  This is derived from a
Gemara in Sanhedrin 32.

These two verses show how dangerous in can be to learn Torah Shebichtav
(the written law) by just "reading" it and not learning it together with
Torah Sheba'al Peh (the oral law - Talmud, commentaries).  Rashi is
always a nice first place to look, he usually clears up the confusion.

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100, Warminster, PA 18974


From: <saul@...> (Saul London)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 11:24:45 -0500
Subject: The kashrut of Beer

Joe Bachman quotes from an alt.beer posting:
> ... I know of no animal
> products that are used in the production of Miller products, including
> isenglas and/or gelatine.  So I believe that vegetarians should feel
> free to drink Miller products without concern.

I happen to have a copy of "Halacha" by Yechiel Galas, Judaica Press, 1979
which contains the following related discussion on page 112:

> However sometimes beer contains
> a refining agent known as "isinglass" which is made from the
> dried and shredded swim bladder of the sturgeon.
>     As the sturgeon is thought to be a treifah [not kosher] fish, the
> halachic problem arises whether or not we are allowed to drink beer
> which contains this treifah ingredient.
>     We find an identical case in the Noda Biyehudah (first ed.
> Yore dea 26).  The author there was asked whether or not one
> may drink mead as it contains the dried bladder of a treifah fish
> for refining.  After long deliberation, he comes to the conclusion
> that mead is allowed for the following reasons:
> 1)  Since the bladder has to be dried [before] it is put into the drink,
> it is no longer treifah ...
> 2)  Even if it were treifah, the quantity is very small and becomes
> neutralised by the bulk of the drink ...
> 3) The rule that one may not neutralise the forbidden food
> deliberately, does not apply here because the intention is not to
> make the forbidden food kasher, but only to use it as a refining
> agent (N.B. not a binding agent).
>      It would appear, by analogy, that beer is allowed provided
> we are sure that the bladder is dried thoroughly and is present
> in very small quantities.  Even if we cannot be absolutely sure
> of this, it would appear that beer would still be allowed for it
> is not  at all certain that the sturgeon is really a treifah fish.


From: Brian Sprei <D7PCBDS@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 1994 12:25:51 -0500
Subject: To be a Ben-Torah or not to be a Ben-Torah

> The situation in the American Yeshivot are pathetic, there (sic) a ghetto 
> of galut in Eretz Yisroel and deny from (sic) themselves the true worth 
> of Eretz Yisroel..."

"Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't..."

It is my humble opion that the focus and prime directive of yeshivos,
whether Israeli or American, whether they have an American or an Israeli
program, is to help/guide the person to being a true Ben-Torah.  A Ben-
Torah being defined as one who is shomer Torah u'mitzvos [follows Torah
and the mitzvot - Mod.] ( to the exclusion of a nivul b'rishus ha'Torah
[one who is a "disgusting" (there must be a better translation, but I'm
blocking on it right now) while remaining within the bounds of the
letter of the Law - Mod.]).  I suspect that there are people out there
who have never participated in any Israeli program, who attended an
American program, and are Benay-Torah.  I find it inappropriate to paint
yeshivos with American programs as pathetic.  While the rewards of one
yehiva(os) *in one's opion* outweigh the rewards of another yeshiva(os),
it may very well be the "other yeshiva", is another's vehicle to become
a real Ben-Torah.

Perhaps I am grounded by my "galut mentality" and can not soar above it, I 
learned in an American program in Israel as well as in America, it is my
belief that being shomer Torah u'mitzvos is paramount not whether one
attended an Israeli program.  What would be if someone felt he would
prosper in learning/becoming a Ben-Torah in an American program as opposed 
to an Israeli program, would it be proper to advocate this individual
to attend an Israeli program?  Obviously not.  The interest should focus
on the growth potential of the individual.  The growth of an individual
is not driven by whether the program/yeshiva is Israeli or not.  The title
"Israeli" and the attending environment and learning does not automatically 
make that the optimal place for every person.

Why are American yeshivos a "ghetto of galut in Eretz Yisroel" ?  Isn't
galus (galut) defined as being outside the boarders of Israel as defined
by the Torah?  If one is sitting in Israel one is not in galus.  While
one may use the term esoterically, only Hashem is bochayn kla'yos, only
the Boray u'Manhig Haolam knows what an individual's true feelings are.
>From these "ghettos of galus" come many olim.  It's there and at home
where one's love of the land of Israel fosters and grows.

The bottom line is whichever is a vehicle to becoming a Ben-Torah, a
shomer Torah u'mitzvos, kedoshim ti'heyou, a member of the "goy kadosh
u'mamleches kohanim", etc. is the "right" yeshiva.


End of Volume 12 Issue 35