Volume 12 Number 38
                       Produced: Fri Apr  1  8:32:13 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

ANONYMOUS post clarification re: Cremation
Chumrot and Kashrut
         [Frank Silbermann]
Electricity on Shabbos & Yom Tov
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
         [Adam Aptowitzer]
Glatt Pots.
         [Benjamin Svetitsky]
Money in Ketubot
         [Janice Gelb]
         [Anthony Fiorino]


Date: Thu, 31 Mar 94 11:24 EDT
Subject: ANONYMOUS post clarification re: Cremation

(This is from the sole anonymous poster to mail-jewish re Steve's
question about cremation.  Normally I'm pretty outspoken and willing
to take whatever flak comes from what I have to say; but I just didn't
feel like exposing my mother's memory to... whatever.  Not that I'd
expect people to "flame" her, of course, but to criticize her, even in
her absence, for beliefs or attitudes different from those of the frum
community, of which she had never been a part, having not been brought
up that way, seemed inappropriate, to say the least.  Indeed, I saw to
it that on my mother's tombstone was inscribed, both in Hebrew and
English, the phrase "... and the principal remains for him for the
world to come"... she was the first person on the block to look after
a sick neighbor's children, etc. (indeed, one of them spoke about it
at her funeral), looked after her own orphaned siblings for some
years, etc.  Although not every aspect of her behavior or beliefs was
halachic, she not having been brought up in it, I could certainly do
worse than to emulate her.)

Hi Steve, glad to see you back on line!

Just one small correction... You attribute two things to "Anonymous2";
one is mine and one is someone else's.  Doesn't really matter that
much as Avi is the only one who knows I'm the anonymous poster to
mail-jewish; but the other quote definitely wasn't mine; I NEVER would
have said things like:

>>From Anonymous2:
>     I <would be> prepared to tell her that what she was doing was wrong and
>     comparable to eating chazer or eating chometz on pesach, or even that
>     she might have to suffer the shame of not being buried in the cemetery.
>     Also, she might get punished in the heavenly court. IF I were in your
>     shoes, I would do everything to prevent your mom from following thru
>     with this terrible aveira. Tell her she should not make the last act of
>     her life a sin. I assume she is not frum, but she probably fasts on Y'K.
>     Tell her doing this is like eating on Y'K- a terrible sin. In addition,
>     even lie if need be to prevent this aveira.
>     Does she have this written in a will? If she doesn't, just act like you
>     didn't know these were her wishes. Even if she does have it in a will,
>     who says you have to carry out her wishes? If you have other siblings,
>     just tell them what a great sin it is, and that you should all refuse to
>     carry out the instructions.

THIS was mine...

>I have another question for the list.  Anonymous2 said:
>     The funeral was in a nearby state but not near enough to where I live
>     that my regular "chevra" came to the funeral.  I sat shiva with the
>     family for the first 2 days, then went home for Shabbos and sat at home
>     for the rest of it.
>I asked Anon2 if a Rabbi was consulted before going home for Shabbos after 2
>days, and the answer was, yes, a Rabbi was consulted.  When I looked through
>Kolitch's book, I saw that he DOES mentions several "Heterim" [leniencies]
>whereby someone can go home.

Thanks very much for taking the trouble to summarize; I found Ruth
Neal's piece particularly helpful and illuminating (I don't use that
word lightly, either).  Reminds me of a friend who once commented
after her mother's funeral that, just as Kaddish separated different
parts of the davening, the prayer service, saying it in connection
with a person's death could be seen as indicating a separation between
different parts of a person's life, here and olom haba.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 06:28:24 -0500
Subject: Chumrot and Kashrut

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

> 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!"

In vol.12 #28 Leora Morgenstern responded that few non-glatt butchers in
America are reliable.  I would like to hear more about this.

Leora added:

> Another issue that comes up here 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.

I am skeptical of the wisdom of this reasoning.  Suppose I take on a
Chumra to be better accepted by a local community, but then my
grandchildren decide that they'd rather not keep it.  Considering the
importance of keeping the Minhagim of one's fathers, exactly how much
freedom will my grandchildren have to drop this Chumra?

To bind my descendents for perhaps thousands of years, unnecessarily, to
an additional rule for the sake of my own personal convenience and
popularity seems to me to be more than a little selfish.

In the same vein, in a time when our leaders do not consider themselves
great enough to overturn gezerot of earlier generations whose reasons no
longer apply, shouldn't we be ultra-cautious about accepting _new_
gezerot which might cause similar problems in the future?

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 94 23:04:12 -0800
Subject: Electricity on Shabbos & Yom Tov

Alan Mizrahi writes:

>Many poskim permit turning electric lights on and off on Yom Tov,
>due  to the idea that it does not create a new fire.  Does the
>heter extend  to all electric appliances, or is it only lights? 

To the best of my knowledge, the phrase "many poskim" may not be
justified.  I am aware only of the Aruch HaShulchan, who sent an
opinion to a newspaper in New York in the first decade of this
century.  This view was roundly rejected by all poskim I have ever
come across.  Rav Chaim Ozer claimed that the Aruch HaShulchan
failed to comprehend the nature of electricity.  To demonstrate
this, he made a point of making havdalah with a light bulb to
publicize that he (Rav Chaim Ozer) held that an incandescent bulb
should be seen as aish [fire] on the d'orayso [Torah] level.

To most of us, all of the above should be largely irrelevant.  It
is widely accepted by poskim that the use of electricity even
without the production of heat and light is prohibited on Shabbos
(and therefore Yom Tov as well) because of the argument of the
Chazon Ish.  The latter saw an issur [prohibition] of boneh
[construction] involved in the actualization of any circuit.  This
argument has made quite an impact on acceped practice and the
decisions of other poskim.  Even those who question this line of
reasoning theoretically (e.g., Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, shlit"a,
in several works) are loathe to disagree with the Chazon Ish in
practice, noting that by now, a firm concensus of several
generations of poskim has evolved, banning all creation of electric
circuits on Shabbos.

Yitzchok Adlerstein
Yeshiva of LA


From: Adam Aptowitzer <aaptowit@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 94 21:32:46 MST
Subject: Euthanasia

I am in the midst of reading a book by Dr. Fred Rosner entitled
"Modern Medicine and Jewish Law", it covers many fascinating
topics and I encourage anyone interested in the Jewish view of
some of today's most controversial procedures. I however am
wondering about the Jewish view on Euthanasia. I understand that
while we are not allowed to do anything to hasten death (ie give
someone a cyanide pill or the like) we are allowed to remove any
obstacles from the natural course of ones dying. My problem comes
in the understanding of the boundary, at what point does
removing obstacles become murder. For example, if one is brain
dead, are we allowed to "pull the plug" on the machines keeping
that person alive, even though that would amount to killing the
person? And what about drugs, if all that is keeping one alive is
drugs, are we allowed to stop giving it to them. These are only a
couple of the situations that are puzzling me, but please don't
just limit yourself to answer of these questions. 

Adam Aptowitzer


From: Benjamin Svetitsky <bqs@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 12:50:24 -0500
Subject: Glatt Pots.

Some of the postings on this subject really got my goat.  As of seven
years ago, when we lived in Boston, there was no problem with inviting
Glatt friends over for dinner -- they ate Glatt meat or chicken off our
pots and dishes, in accordance with the p'sak halacha of the Bostoner
Rebbe shlit'a, to the effect that non-Glatt is NOT tref.

Why does it get my goat?  Because, where do you get off refusing an
invitation from a Jew who is shomer mitzvot??  Can you PROVE that his
meat is tref?  Can you PROVE that he violates any mitzvot whose
violation makes his kitchen untrustworthy?

Let's look at the bare bones of the halacha.  "Ed echad ne'eman
be-issurim."  One witness is sufficient in matters of prohibition.  This
means that if a shomer-mitzvot Jew tells me that some meat is kosher, I
can eat it.  Now there are two reasons you might not want to.  One is
that you, personally, don't like the looks of the witness, and would
rather eat elsewhere.  In that case, it's your money, spend it where you
will.  The other reason is that you follow certain chumrot regarding
preparation of meat, which the witness doesn't.  Again, it's your money,
spend it elsewhere.  But by what right do you call the meat tref?  If
it's not a question of spending your money, by what right do you insult
your friend?  And by what right can you force your non-Glatt friend to
spend money to get new dishes?

In Israel, you sometimes see notices posted by the Rabbinate announcing
the withdrawal of supervision from some establishment.  That means, for
all intents and purposes, that you can't shop there anymore because the
meat might be tref.  What about your pots?  The posters invariably say
that you should inquire further if you have such problems.  This means
that even though there is a possibility of actually tref meat having
been bought, it is not obvious that the dishes should be replaced.  And
if it is ruled that the dishes should NOT be replaced, then I'm sure
even the Rav rendering this decision will eat off them.

The situation in Israel is actually more difficult than in galut.  I'm
not referring to meat, but to produce.  It all has to be tithed, and
the penalty for eating tevel--untithed produce--is probably karet
(death at the hands of God), a situation which I believe is impossible
in galut.  But the halacha is that I don't have to worry when I eat in
somebody else's house, and God forbid that I ask a shomer-mitzvot Jew
whether he tithed his vegetables correctly.

Let's hear more about chumrot regarding sinat chinam, shall we?

Ben Svetitsky    <bqs@...>  (temporarily in galut, and
					   getting sick of it)


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 94 11:14:48 PST
Subject: Money in Ketubot

In vol 12, #31, Gerald Sacks <sacks@...> says:

> Janice Gelb recounts in vol 12 #17 a digression during the reading of
> a ketuba about old vs. new shekels.  I think the unit of currency in a
> ketuba is the zuz, so I don't understand the story.

I must admit I wasn't paying strict attention to the Aramaic so it could
be that the presiding rabbi started joking about how much a zuz would be
in new shkalim vs. old. In any case, it was a definite hafsaka in the
reading of the ketubah.

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 12:47:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Soap

A recent posting contained the statement that the Nazis made soap from
human fat.  I have seen noted in many places that this particular
atrocity in fact never took place.  I mention this only as a point of
historical accuracy.

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 12 Issue 38