Volume 13 Number 51
                       Produced: Sun Jun  5  9:05:45 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Barry Freundel]
Chalav Yisroel
         ["Hillel E. Markowitz"]
Chumrot no sign of worthiness
         [Mark Steiner]
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Ruach Hakodesh
         [Barry Freundel]
The Earth Was Always Round
         [Eliyahu Zukierman]
Yosef and bitachon
         [Art Kamlet]


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 15:10:05 -0400
Subject: Astrology

Jewish views on Astrology range from the rambam's statement to the
Rabbis of Lunel that practice of it was the cause of the destruction of
the first Temple to Ibn Ezra calling it the sublime science. I would
just add that if you look at the stories in which it appears in midrash
in almost all cases the astrologer is right except for one detail that
makes all the difference (e.g. Abram will have no children, BUT it turns
out Abraham will, Mose will fail because of water BUT its the water of
the rock not the Nile) thus making the system unreliable and therefor
unusable. Finally Torah umaddahniks must IMHO reject it if the Madah
part has any meaning as there is no halachik imperative to believe anhd
strong scientific evidence to debunk.


From: "Hillel E. Markowitz" <HEM@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 1994 22:58:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisroel

I don't have the original message so any quotes are paraphrased from a
hard copy of the message.  Regarding Chalav Stam and Chalav Yisroel, I
asked my LOR Rabbi Kaganoff of Baltimore about a couple of issues that
had been raised.  The following is a summary of what he said.  Any
errors are my misquotes or misunderstandings.

Shalom Kirscher <PGMSRK@...> made the comment that all
other things being equal it would not matter which you buy.

Rabbi Kaganoff said that Rav Moshe's psak was that one *should* buy
chalav Yisrael and it is only when things are *not* equal that chalav
stam can be purchased.  Apparently, even when chalav yisroel is more
expensive one should still get it but I don't know the parameters of the

In fact there is a tshuvah of Rav Moshe to a Yeshiva telling them that
they had to use chalav yisroel even if it was more expensive.  They had
wanted to buy chalav stam in order to save money.  The reason had to do
with chinuch.

Claire Austin <czca@...> asked about not being allowed to
eat food on dishes used for chalav stam or prepared in those pots.

Rabbi Kaganoff said that even one who treats chalav stam as maachalos
asuros (forbidden food) can eat chalav yisroel food in pots that have
not been used for 24 hours without a problem bedieved (if the food had
already been prepared for one).

In that case, one would have to kasher to utensils if one indeed held
that chalav stam was completely asur.  However, Assering food that had
been made already would certainly be going too far halachically.  Being
machmir when the pot had been used within 24 hours does have a source
(though he would not be machmir in that way) but more than that has no
source in halacha.

In general one should not be makpid (picky?, insistent?) on the matter.
That is, while one should use chalav Yisroel, one does not have to
refuse to eat at the home of someone who uses chalav stam.

Personally, I do not think it is like the difference between Ahkenazim
and Sephardim regarding glatt kosher meat.

Rabbi Kaganoff said that in Europe they are much more insistent on
chalav Yisroel than here in the U.S..  However, they are much more
lenient in the use of vegetable oils than we are here.  I wonder if this
has something to do with historical usage.

In a previous issue, someone brought up the likelihood of pig's milk
being used based on the minimal amounts produced.  I would say that in
Europe the main nonKosher milk would have been from horses just as in
the middle east it would be from camels.

However, I saw a story (I think it may have been from mj the last time
the thread was brought up) that Rav Soloveitchik was once in Switzerland
and saw the milk maids carrying pails of milk down from the high
pastures.  He wondered how they kept the milk from foaming out due the
the lower air pressure and asked one of them.  The woman answered that
she gave it a shot of pig's milk to prevent foaming.  The point was that
even in Switzerland where they are fanatic about cleanliness and
adulteration this arises, kal vachomer elsewhere.

|  Hillel Eli Markowitz    |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|  <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 1994 06:35:15 -0400
Subject: Chumrot no sign of worthiness


     Mishnah, Hullin 89b: Butchers are not trusted with the removal of
forbidden sinews (gid hanasheh), says Rebbi Meir [because R. Meir is
strict with respect to digging out *every piece* of the gid, cf. Hullin
92b]; the sages say, they are to be trusted..."
     Gemara, 93b: Said R. Hiyya Bar Abba: [the sages] reversed
themselves to say they are not to be trusted.  Said R. Nahman, nowadays
[however] they *are* trusted.
     --Have the generations then become worthy?
     --[Not at all:] In the beginning, [the sages] held with R.  Yehudah
[who is lenient with respect to removing the gid hanasheh]; then they
reversed themselves and held with R. Meir; while [the butchers]
remembered R. Yehudah they could not be trusted; now, however, since the
strict opinion of R. Meir has taken hold, they are to be trusted.

     The obvious question is: if our generations have adopted a humra
(strict opinion) they are, after all, more "worthy" than the previous
generations!  The obvious answer is: not so.  A "worthy" generation is
one which can be *trusted* to fulfill all the requirements of the
halakha, whether strict or lenient.

Mark Steiner


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 16:25:31 -0400
Subject: Posekim

I *really* don't want to restart the gedolim discussion, but I was 
troubled by part of Yosef Bechhofer's posting in #45:

> I will not comment here on the status of the Poskim that Zomet asked.
> It is clear that Ezra recognizes that they are not of Reb Shlomo
> Zalman's preeminence, and, what is critical here, is that Reb Shlomo
> Zalman forbids such microphones. Well, let's be reasonable.If the
> greater Posek said "No" and the lesser one said "Yes", what is the safe
> bet?

First of all, I find the tone of the last sentence quoted above
unnecessarily condescending to the gedolei Torah to whom you are

Second, I disagree with your basic premise that every rav must follow
the pesak of the "most preeminent" posek (whatever that means).  If that
were the case, then he would have to refer every shaila to that posek,
which is obviously not how communities are supposed to run or how they
have run in the past.  (And if you think that he does not have to refer
such shailos, only that he must follow the pesak if he knows of it, then
I don't really understand how that's a legitimate distinction.)

Third, I don't see how such an approach is consistent with the way
halachah has developed over the last few hundred years.  It is generally
accepted that one does not pasken against all of the rishonim.  The
Shulkhan `Arukh / Rama / nose'ei keilim (their commentators) have been
accepted as the basic starting point for pesak.  As far as I understand,
such status has not been assigned to any posek of the last three hundred
years, including living posekim.  Why should rabbis study for years to
get semikhah if they aren't going to pasken based on what they believe
is true anyway?

Finally, I am wondering if you would say the same thing lekula - is it 
unreasonable to be more machmir (stringent) than the world's "preeminent" 
posek?  If the logic is based on the assumed greater truth of his pesak 
(the "safe bet"), then it should work both ways.

Kol tuv,

Gedalyah Berger


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 15:10:11 -0400
Subject: Ruach Hakodesh

If Ruach Hakodesh is defined as intuitive finfing of a source it may
work in opposite directions to help two different individuals support
their differing halachik positions from the sources


From: <EZX4975502@...> (Eliyahu Zukierman)
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 94 10:36:52 EDT
Subject: The Earth Was Always Round

In reference to Dr. Sam Juni's posting in MJ 13:36 addressing Mitch Berger's
posting regarding academic research, in conclusion to the posting he asks:
"Do you think that Ezra or even Moshe Rabbeinu knew of microorganisms or that
the earth was round?"
I most certainly do.  The fact is that there is a Klal (rule) that the
further away from the Relevation at Sinai the scope of knowledge is less.  
I cannot say anything about microorganisms but I can cite a source from the
Gemara which one of my rebbeim tlked about in one of his lectures that the
Sages knew of many things that we are just finding out now one of the
examples he gave was that the fact that the world being round was known.  See
Mesechta Avoda Zorah 41a , the Mishna on 40b says that "All images are
prohibited....the Rabbis say the prohibition is only if the image of a hand
and in it...a sphere ('Kadur' - ball )...etc."
The Tosefot on 41a beginning 'k'Kadur' states ""SheHaOlam Ugul' Because the
world is round...etc" citing  the Talmud Yerushalmi that Alexander the Great
( of Macedon) rose to the sky ( I believe that it was in a balloon; I did not
look up the Yerushalmi) until he saw the world as a globe ...etc.
The Tosefot is commenting on the Gemara and the Gemara is commenting on the
Mishna it all goes back to the Torah, so it was old news.
He also mentioned that they had telescopes, complicated machinery and more.

Eliyahu Zukierman
Brooklyn, NY


From: <ask@...> (Art Kamlet)
Date: 5 Jun 1994   0:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Yosef and bitachon

> "Yitzchok Adlerstein" <ny000594@...> writes:
>Rightfully so, recent correspondence about Yosef and his extra two
>years in captivity reflects much of the common confusion about the
>mitzvah of bitachon - of trust in Hashem and His Providence. 
>Several participants have questioned the assumed error in Yosef's
>soliciting the help of his cellmate, and Hashem's subsequent
>displeasure.  I hope that the following, based on the works of Rav
>Eliyahu Dessler and the Bais HaLevi, will be helpful.
>Yosef is not faulted for asking the help of his cellmate.  We are
>supposed to be active.  But Yosef was on such an advanced level of
>bitachon, that the amount of effort he put in was perhaps beneath
>him.  He should have enlisted the aid that he did.  But knowing how
>Hashem stood behind him, he should not have felt a heightened sense
>of expectation of release that he did.

Someone as Moshe Rebennu, leader of all of Israel, who spoke face to
face with G-d, would clearly be expected to have an advanced level of
bitachon.  But even Moses needed evidence; the burning bush may have
been a bit dramatic, but Moses must have needed convincing.  The
manifold ways to use the rod, that too was most convincing.

Look at Joseph.  Not a leader.  Thrown into a pit by his own brothers.
Sold to be a servant to Potiphar.  Victim of lies which has now gotten
him a long jail term.  No evidence he talked with G-d.

The Torah teaches us how to behave, how to act in given circumstances.

If this were you or I, instead of Joseph, what evidence would we have
that G-d would release us soon?  Would release us without our trying to
help ourselves?

The next time I find myself in a bad situation, how do I know how much
to help myself and how much to sit back, do nothing, and hope G-d will
work things out?

This is why I'm trying to understand how or where Joseph had been given
any reason to think G-d expected him to sit back, relax, take no action
himself, and that his reward would be that G-d would release him early.

>After two years he learned his lesson.  Thus, when he is brought
>before Paroh, and once more given an opportunity to manufacture his
>own release, Yosef acts very differently.  Yosef's ability to
>interpret dreams has been hyped to a worried and sleepless Paroh. 
>He's heard that Yosef can be effective.  "Biladai," says Yosef. 
>"It's not me.  I can do nothing.  It all comes from Hashem." 

I do not understand why he "acts very differently."  Two years earlier,
when he first was asked to interpret the butler's and baker's dreams, he
says ( Gen 40:8 ) "...  interpretations belong to G-d " To which Hertz
comments: "it may be that G-d who sent the dreams will give me the
interpretation of them."

So why wait two years?  Joseph had learned that interpretation of dreams
comes from G-d before he asked the butler to put in a good word for him.
He does not seem to be acting very differently.  He says before the two
years: G-d interprets dreams.  Having spent two more years in jail for
trying to help himself, he is finally released, and he says: G-d
interprets dreams.  How does Joseph saying It all comes from G-d, teach
us he has learned anything?

And most importantly, how does the Torah teach us how to act if we were
falsely accused of a crime, and imprisoned, and saw a chance to get a
good word about us to the outside?

Art Kamlet   AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus   <ask@...>


End of Volume 13 Issue 51