Volume 13 Number 26
                       Produced: Mon May 23 17:58:56 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov Yisrael
         [Ben Berliant]
Chumros & Jules's Post
         [Susannah Greenberg]
         [Jerome Parness]
Chumrot & Kulot continued
         [Ben Berliant]
Minimum Standards
         [Gedalyah Berger]


From: Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 11:23:46 -0400
Subject: Cholov Yisrael

<david@...> (David Charlap) writes:

>I believe the intent is to ensure that no non-kosher ingredients gets
>in the milk.  In Europe, it was (and may still be) fairly common for
>milk from non-kosher animals to be sold as "milk".  As far as I know,
>"Chalav Yisrael" means Jewish supervision of the milk-production, from
>milking to bottling - sort of "shmura milk".

	For "Europe" please substitute "eretz yisrael in the time of
Chazal".  The non-kosher animals that chazal were concerned about were
most likely camels, which, I believe, were domesticated, and which are
capable of giving milk in sufficient quantities to be a concern.
	Some years ago, when I was in Antwerp, I discussed the issue
with the LOR there.  He had asked a farmer about the possibility of
getting milk from a pig (the only domesticated non-kosher animal) and
the farmer laughed and said "I just hope she has enough milk for her
piglets." So, in most western countries, there does not appear to be any
source of non-kosher milk, at least not one that could be exploited
	David is correct that the heter for non-cholov yisrael milk is
based on the strictness of the FDA inspection and oversight.  Government
regulations -- violation of which would result in a severe penalty -
provide a severe economic disincentive for a milk supplier to cheat on
the rules.  Halacha permits us to rely upon such disincentives, where it
is clear that the potential penalty is far greater than any short-term
					BenZion Berliant


From: <sjg@...> (Susannah Greenberg)
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 12:48:57 -0400
Subject: Chumros & Jules's Post

After reading Jules's post, I think that something is being lost here.
According to the definition of the word, a chumra is when one is taking
a more stringent (& more widely accepted) view of a particular Halacha.
The reason that one would CHOSE this interpretation is as the Mesillas
Yeshorim (by Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzatto) explains, in one's "search for
spirituality" (Jules's words), one seeks to please one's creator, and be
sure not to do things that would cause separation from one's creator. We
believe that all of the opinion's mentioned in the Gemara and Poskim are
each true in some sense and each point out in some way, what is
appropriate behavior to Hashem.  The Shulchan Aruch has decided what is
appropriate for Klal Yisrael as a whole. It is not meant to exclude
people accepting a more stringent view when it is feasible for them.

Now comes the TV issue. To an observer, it may look like the house
without the TV thinks that G-d wants man to be ascetic for the sake of
being ascetic.  However, here are just a few of the Halachos (and their
corollarys) that I believe come into play and drive the decision not to
have a TV:

	1. Bittul Torah (Wasting Time that could be spent learning)
	2. Nibbul Peh  (Unclean Language - One ought not listen to it either
		if one can avoid it, as one is more likely to repeat it)
	3. Tznius  (Immodest Dress etc )
	4. Violence (When one sees violence on TV regularly, one hardens one's 
		     heart to it, we are supposed to have feeling sensitive

Everyone will agree that there are certain TV shows that don't have
Halachik problems, and most people do NEED some time to relax and can't
physically learn 100% of their "free" time.  However, to avoid entering
the realm of question {"will show X contain Nibbul Peh or immodesty",
"could I be doing something more spiritual/productive with my time"} and
temptation, many will chose not to bring it into the house at all.  I
think that this approach can be understood by children.  My son is too
young to ask yet.  When he does, ask "Why do the Klien's have a TV", I
expect to say something along the lines of the Klien's are working on
being close to Hashem, in their way (perhaps their focus is doing a lot
of Chessed, etc).  This is one way that we have chosen, and these are
the Chumros that we have accepted. Of course, if the Klien's are
watching (and allow neighborhood children to watch) shows that
definitely cross the line of Halachik propriety, I will have to use a
different tactic.

Susannah Greenberg


From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
Date: Fri, 13 May 1994 15:28:32 -0500 (EDT)
Subject: Chumrot

   This posting is in response to Michael Lipkin's response to my posting on
Chumrot. Actually, Michael and I agree on a lot of his points, but disagree
on rather few. I don't want this to be overly long, so here goes.
   1. My major problem with glatt kosher is that intellectually, glatt kosher
does not require much knowledge to pasken, yet is held as a higher standard
than what requires greater b'kiut. What is more is less, and costs more too.
This does not mean that there are not problems with non-glatt schechthauses
selling treif for kosher, but it also does not mean that glatt schechthauses
or butchers do not do the same - for those of you who may remember the Cross
Brothers scandal in Phila, and the Washington Heights/Adas Yeshurun butcher
scandal of some ten years ago. Wherever there is a potential profit from
doing the wrong thing, one must be doubly careful.  This glatt thing can also
be taken from the sublime, to the ridiculous. Like a glatt kosher fish store,
etc. Though the need for glatt arose out of an historical necessity for MOST
ASSUREDLY kosher meat, the concept of 'glatt' has become confused with 'most
assuredly'. And it's been incorporated into a system of humrot that says if
you buy meat that comes from a non-glatt butcher, that means that the butcher
or the schochet is a priori less meheman (believable or trustworthy) because
he is required to know more. That doesn't make intellectual sense, and should
be changed.
   2. In defense of Esther Posen, Michael also asserts that Humrot do bring
one to feel closer to Hashem. (Having read Esther's postings, I am sure that
she can defend her views as well). I agree with both of you, as individuals.
But if you as individuals understand that someone else who doesn't accept the
reason you need to feel closer to Hashem in the acceptance of this or that
minhag or hiddur mitzvah is no less religious than you, and I personally
don't care if you wish to use the term frum or not,  than I have no problem
with that. If, on the other hand, you use that custom or hiddur to separate
yourselves from others who are also halachic Jews, than I think you are
making a big mistake - creating divisions where none should be. A prime
example of this is Eruv shel Shabbat. In my town there is an eruv, the Rav
and his family do not use it for educational reasons for their children and
family, not because he holds that the concept of eruv is not kasher. There
is no division that results from his not using the eruv. It is not a dividing
statement. If, on the other hand, one would stand on the corner screaming goy
at you because you used the eruv, and the eruv was paskened kasher by a
recognized authority, even if you as an individual did not agree with that
authority, than that would be divisive.  I have problems with individual
Humrot becoming community standards of frumkeit. 
   3. Michael quotes my query re: if you knew a person who wore a kapoteh,
but was guilty of embezzelment and throwing people out of work, would you eat
in his home? to if the same person wore a knitted yarmulkeh and jeans, etc
and did the same thing would you eat at his home?  To this argument I would
venture to say that that there is no difference between the two. Whatever
degree of loss of ne'emanut (trustworthyness) one would infer from the
illegal behavior of the individual as it is reflected in their practices
"bain adam lamakom" should apply equally to both.  The societally perceived
notion that Hasidische dress, in this particular instance, imparts a greater
degree of societally perceived frumkeit, is by no means valid.  It is simply,
IMH"O, a reflection of the lengths one will go to to maintain "minhag
avoteino b'yadenu" (the customs of our forefathers are in our hands) - and
at that level of observance, not a universally held halachic requirement, and
in reality, no more a religious Jewishly identifying emblem than a leather
kippah, a felt kippah, or a kippah s'rugah worn with a Pierre Cardin suit. 
   You must understand that I have no difficulty with any orthodox jew
dressing the way they want, as long as they are identifiably orthodox jews,
and that their manner of dress is within the general confines of halachic
requirements of tzniut, etc.  Manner of dress per se should not be perceived
as a mechanism of separation and division, however.  It should not be
translated into holier than thou sectarianism that becomes historically and
socially transmissable.  All that type of attitude does is increase the level
of sin'at hinam in the world.  We don't need more of that, we need less.  I
have no problem with anyone taking any humra they want upon themselves in
order to feel closer to G-d, as long as they do not hold themselves up as the
standard below which one is not considered a religious (frum) individual. 
The Torah gives us the chance to express our individual needs to accept
Humrot upon ourselves in the concept of N'zirut.  Halacha has NEVER held the
nazir as the community's example of the perfect FRUM jew.  As a matter of
fact, n'zirut was discouraged - and a nazir had to bring a karban hatat (a
sin offering), if I remember correctly.  I do not need to pilpulize further
on this subject. Vehamayvin yavin.  (This is not an argument against
community wide Humrot for specific reasons in historical time made by
Halachic authorities, eg. R. Gershom, etc.).

   Hag Sameach
Jerome Parness MD PhD         Internet: <parness@...>
Depts of Anesthesia & Pharmacology   Voice: (908) 235-4824
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  FAX: (908) 235-4073
Piscataway, NJ 08854


From: Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 11:34:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Chumrot & Kulot continued

	Esther Posen's latest posting finally puts the issue of
Chumrot vs. Kulot in proper perspective.  

>...I accept the premise that many people who keep chumrot do so
>out of yirat shomayim (fear of g-d) and ahavat hashem (love of g-d).  I
>continue to be amazed that this is a controversial premise.

	Amen, v'amen.  I hope that Esther will agree with me that, the
fact that someone has accepted a particular kula (leniency) does not
impugn that individual's yirat shomayim or ahavat hashem.  

	Esther's explanation to her children that:  "Hashem told all
people that they don't have to eat cholov yisroel, but that we think he
will like it better if we do" is a pretty accurate rendition of Rav
Moshe's original heter.  I wish that all Jews, of whichever milk,
understood it as well.

>I am sure that many MJ subscribers will take umbrage at the answers I
>give my children.  I, however, do not think they are the divisive
>answers.  The divisive answers are "they are goyim", "we are frumer than
>them" etc.

	I can't speak for other MJ subscribers, but this MJ'er couldn't
agree more.   When confronted with variations in standards of dress,
behavior, etc, I try to explain to my children the halachic basis for
our practice, including the notion that variant opinions may exist. 
Even when it comes to blatant activities, such as outright chilul
shabbat, I try to avoid divisive answers.  I prefer to tell my children
that "That person wasn't lucky enough to have a Rebbe who explained to
him about Shabbos."    

>But here is my question.  What do some of you out there in MJ land tell
>your children when they ask you "How come the Xs eat cholov yisroel,
>don't have a television etc."

	Those are good examples. When my kids ask about Cholov Yisrael,
I explain about the original gezeira, and Rav Moshe's Teshuva.  (I may
also add that, if ch.y. were available at the local supermarket, then I,
too, would prefer it to cholov stam.)

	As far as TV -- whenever I think of that issue, my eyes mist up,
as I wistfully await the day when our set will break -- and I will keep
"forgetting" to call the repairman...

				Shabbat Shalom,

				BenZion Berliant


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Sat, 21 May 1994 22:12:50 -0400
Subject: Minimum Standards

I found Esther Posen's posting in #16 about chumrot particulary
eloquent; as far as I'm concerned, it said it all.  (And this is coming
from someone by no means in her "camp" (I hate that word).)  If everyone
would raise their children with the kind of sensitivity she described,
we'd be in much better shape.  Yasher kochaich.

Just one point:
> Onto minimum standards... I believe they exist.Isn't anybody who keeps
> Shabbos, Kosher and Taharat Hamishpacha considered "frum"?

This is probably true, but only because of the unfortunate fact that
"frum" has become not a religious but a sociological term.  I don't think
anyone really believes that keeping shabbos, kashrus, and taharas
hamishpachah mark one as necessarily having passed some minimum standards
of religiosity.  An anecdote: Two and a half years ago I was at a sheva
berachot in Yerushalayim (at the home of a mail-jewish participant);
someone at the table told an awful story about a man in (I think) New
England who had murdered his wife and his parents.  The person went on to
say that the man was "frum."  The ba`al habayit remarked, "I don't know
exactly what your definition of `frum' is; I think he was lacking a bit in
his bein adam lachaveiro!"  But everyone at the table indeed understood
what the story-teller had meant; as I said, these days "frum" is a
sociological term which almost by definition means "shomer shabbos,
kashrus, and taharas hamishpachah."  I don't think there are any sources
which define religiosity based more on kashrus than, e.g., ve'ahavta
lere`acha kamocha or sha`atnez. 

Kol tuv,
Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


End of Volume 13 Issue 26