Volume 12 Number 48
                       Produced: Mon Apr 11 18:49:17 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bateil Be-Shishim
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Cremation -- ANONYMOUS
electricity on Shabbat
         [David Lee Makowsky]
Israeli vs. American programs
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Oats, old and new
         [Joshua W. Burton]
The mitzvah of matza and omer customs
         [Warren Burstein]
Two topics: cremation, and finger pointing
         [Mitch Berger]
Wheat oil


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 1994 10:17:09 -0400
Subject: Bateil Be-Shishim

> It is forbidden for a Jew le-Chatchilla to nullify in 60; however, if
> you buy the product after the producer has already nullified it
> be-Shishim then the food is kosher. The problem with gelatin or certain
> Red food coloring (sometimes derived from a beetle) is that they are
> often used to give a product its shape or color and are not Bateil
> (nullified) at all even if 1 in a 1000.

A friend of mine once mentioned to me that there is no gemara about a
substance that is not nullified because it give a product color.  So,
I am curious.  What are the qualities, which, if a substance give them
to a product, it is not bateil?  One of these is the quality of
chametz, rising, is one, so that e.g. sourdough of terumah that falls
in dough of hulin in sufficient quantity to cause rising is never

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


Date: Fri, 1 Apr 94 10:07 EDT
Subject: Cremation -- ANONYMOUS

In V12N37, Yitzchok Adlerstein responds to

>To "Anonymous," who resonded to the inquiry about cremation:
>Surely you must be unaware that the "guy" who issued the psak about not
>observing aveilus for a cremated relative was Rav Shlomo Zalman
>Auerbach, Shlit"a.

Having had some private correspondence with the original poster, Steve
Edell, I am now, although I was unaware of this before.

>The suggestion to look around for another psak is limited
>by this fact.  Everyone recongizes that "shopping around" for the
>decision you want makes a mockery of halacha and is never valid.  Asking
>for another opinion when a particular decisor doesn't know all the facts
>- either the existence of other valid  halachic arguments, or all the
>parameters of individual feelings, mitigating circumstances, etc. that
>also enter into the halachic process - does have validity.  But these
>considerations  hardly apply when one deals with the handful of world
>class poskim who stand at the very top of the halachic mountain.

The suggestion to look for someone who would issue a psak the person
could live with was prompted by a very keen awareness of the nearly
IMPOSSIBLE situations some baalei teshuva occasionally find themselves
in, not having the secure, well-ordered, comfortable frum support
system enjoyed by some frum-from-birthers. People often find
themselves in situations where WHICHEVER thing they do, they are going
to be wrong, or perceived as wrong, by someone, whether their family
or their new reference group.  In such cases it seems that the lesser
of two evils is to find a psak you can live with, instead of just
saying, I can't take it any more, the hell with the whole thing.

>I'm also sure that you didn't want to give the impression that EVERY
>halachic question has alternative, more "palatable" (my word, not yours)
>solutions.  If there are such solutions, then halacha demands nothing at
>all.  Part of kabalas ole [accepting the Yoke of Heaven] is recognizing
>that the Ribbono Shel Olam asks us to do things that we find
>uncomfortable.  Contrary to current rumors, a woman who wishes to have
>an affair with another man cannot find halachic sanction by selling her
>husband to a goy.

I do not see what the last sentence has to do with the issue at hand.
It looks to me like a rhetorical device making a completely
unreasonable association of a very terrible sin (one of the "big
three") with something which isn't even prohibited in the Bible

The cumulative effect of responses such as Mr. Adlerstein's on at
least some of us baalei tshuva is not a happy one.


From: <dlm@...> (David Lee Makowsky)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 11:11:11 -0500
Subject: electricity on Shabbat

	I heard a lecture a year or so ago from a Dr. Boddenheim (sp?)
who is frum and has a PhD in physics.  He works at one of the
religious/technical institutes of higher education in Israel (I forgot
which one).

	His argument was that some of the new technologies which use
electricity do not qualify as boneh and would not have been prohibited
on Shabbat by the Chazon Ish.  However, since the ruling has been made
we have to live with it.

	I remember him commenting that we should not rush to the
Poskim once a new technology comes around.  The technology should be
allowed to mature.  In my opinion he believed that if the Chazon Ish
were around now he would not issue a blanket prohibition against all
uses of electricity on Shabbat (Obviously some, probably most, uses
would still be prohibited.).



From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 10:52:40 -0500
Subject: Israeli vs. American programs

Just another thought.

I learned at a certain yeshiva/machon/whatever in Yerushalayim for about
six months.  I specifically requested to be placed in the Israeli part
of the program wherever possible (due to the level of my Hebrew, certain
shiurim, etc. were out of the question).  I was also placed in an
Israeli apartment.  I found that ahavat eretz yisrael and zionut where
strongly stressed in both programs in this particular institution.
 I found that the antagonistic/hostile attitude of the majority of the
Israelis in the program to rich spoiled Americans (boy, I sure wish I
fit that bill:-) was such that it made that whole part of the experience
very difficult, as prejudice always does.  The "American" program
(really, non-native Hebrew speakers program) in contrast, was much more
a cooperative effort, with students helping each other--both with
learning, and in coping with life in Israel.
 So, there may be another side to this coin, as well.
Hag sameach!
Elisheva Schwartz


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 94 17:58:02 EDT
Subject: Oats, old and new

Ari Kurtz remarks:

> The problem is that what is called today oat is not necessarily the
> "shibolet shaul " quoted by Chazal . In fact Proffessor Felix who has
> written books on identifying the animals and vegetation mention in the
> Torah and by the Sages ZL' . Actually highly doubts that oat is shibolat
> for the simple fact that oat was only discovered in America and there is
> no proof that oat ever grew in the Middle East . This arises the
> question is oat one of the five speices or not even though shibolet is
> commanly translated to oat .

I'm afraid this is just wrong.  Every Californian knows that the wild oats
(or `Spanish oats', as they are still occasionally called) that now cover
the hills are an exotic import from the Old World---a wildly successful one,
to be sure:  I doubt there is an intact square mile of native grass and 
sedge left anywhere in the state.  The rule is that trees, whose ancestors
date back to before the two land masses separated, usually have close 
relatives in the other hemisphere, while grass, which is only about 20-25 MY
old (as is the horse that depends on it!) is usually on one side or the other.
Barley, wheat, oats, rye, rice, millet, and sorghum (plus kasha, which is
not really a grain at all) are Old World; corn, amaranth, quinoa, and wild
rice are New World.

So why don't we think of oats as a `classical' grain?  Well, for one thing,
they seem to be the youngest of the lot, in terms of human cultivation,
dating only to classical times.  (Barley and wheat both go back to the dawn
of agriculture.)  Both Theophrastus and Pliny mention the oat as a medicinal
weed, and it sure looks to me (a complete novice) as if they are talking
about genus Avena---spreading tip, two florets per spike.  However, they
both thought it was a diseased form of wheat, since it was apparently found
in single tall weedy strands mixed in with the domestic wheat crop.  It needs
a lot of water to grow well, so it didn't really come into its own until
the moldboard plow and modern horse-collar opened up the dank forests of
northern Europe.  Also, it's quite fatty for a grain, and accordingly has
a tendency to go rancid unless steam-treated (oatmeal) or separated from
the bran (Cheerios).  Also, oats are pretty strongly flavored---Dr. Johnson's
dictionary has that famous jape about oats being horsefeed "which in Scotland
supports the people".  To this day we don't grow much---per capita worldwide,
perhaps 20 lb. a year, against 250 lb. of wheat, 200 each of rice and corn,
80 of barley, 40 of millet and sorghum, and 15 of rye.  And enough of the
oats go to animal feed that I bet humans eat several times as much rye as oats.

One more thing:  oats, though rich in protein, have almost none of the 
glutinous protein that stretches elastically and holds in the air bubbles.
So while oats can certainly become hametz in a halakhic sense, they can't 
rise even to the limited extent that rye or corn can.  This, of course, is
precisely why they are so attractive to people on a gluten-restricted diet.

                    _._ _  _ ___ _ ___   _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _  _ _ _ _._ ___ _ 
Joshua W. Burton     | |( ' )   |.| . |  ( ' ) | | | | | |   \  )( (  ) |   | |
(401)435-6370        | | )_/    | |___|_  )_/   /|_|   | |  __)/  \_)/  ||  |  
<burton@...> |                          ..      .     -    `.         :


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 08:35:31 GMT
Subject: Re: The mitzvah of matza and omer customs

> and it's *impossible* to go more than three days without sleep.

I know that this is the opinion of the rabbis (and the source for the
halacha that someone who takes a vow to not sleep for three whole days
has made a vow that is impossible to fulfill), but I recall reading
about an experiment where someone stayed awake for much longer, I
think it was for something like two weeks.  By the end he was
hallucinating, but it's not *impossible*, just very difficult.

 |warren@      But the principal
/ nysernet.org is ***.


From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 1994 10:17:06 -0400
Subject: Two topics: cremation, and finger pointing

First, a depressing sociological observation. I used to think the
furthest Jewry had reached from Halachah r"l, was when the ADL embraced
the cause of gay rights.

After following the recent discussions about cremation, I realize I was
very wrong. At least the homosexuals have a taivah [lust/desire] for
what they do. Things have gotten far out of hand when even death ritual
is tampered with. You would think that this is the one time that
people's tendencies would be to become more religious. But our people
are so out of touch, they aren't even in tune to the Jewish
understanding of death.

On a totally different subject... I am tired of hearing speakers talk
about which problems in Kilal Yisra'el [the Jewish community] are to
blame for our problems in Eretz Yisra'el [the Land of Israel].

So far I heard a modern Orthodox Rabbi tell me it is the sin'as
chinum [unwarranted hatred] between followers of Rav Shach shlit"a
and Chassidei Lubavitch.
One US kiruv [outreach] worker talked about the hedonism of the Israeli
chiloni [secularist] culture.
I heard an Israeli blame NY Jewry for not realizing we live in galus.

I have my own theory. Our problem is that when something goes wrong,
everyone wants someone else to do teshuvah [repentance] to
prevent it.

| Micha Berger       | (201) 916-0287 | On Torah, on worship, and |    |  |   |
| <mberger@...> |<- new address  |   on supporting kindness  |    |  |   |


From: <zsuldan@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 1994 14:02:53 -0400
Subject: Wheat oil

> Subject: Wheat Oil
> Danny Skaist asks why not use wheat oil for Pesach. In theory one
> could, however, each kernel of grain would have to be checked to see
> if it had become moist and fermented, i.e., became chometz, which is
> impossible unless the grain is watched from the harvest (when dealing
> with large volumes).
And then later responds:
>Yechiel Pisem asks how we eat shmura matza. Shmura matza is watched
>me'she'as ketzira (harvest) to insure that it comes into contact
>with no moisture so such fermentation cannot occur. To the best of my
>knowledge, although I am not sure of this, all modern matza is
>similarly safeguarded, just not l'shem mitzva.

I'm still a bit confused as to why this would eliminate wheat oil as a
viable alternative. If the restrictions on the oil are the same (or at
least similar) as for matzoh, then any company that makes Pesach matzohs
should also be able to make Pesach wheat oil. No?



End of Volume 12 Issue 48