Volume 13 Number 80
                       Produced: Mon Jun 27 18:18:55 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baby Toys (2)
         [Sam Gamoran, Warren Burstein]
Better or Correct in Halakha (2)
         [Jeremy Nussbaum, Danny Skaist]
Compromising Decisions
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Use of water taps(faucets), refrigerators, etc (2)
         [Michael Chaim Katzenelson, Sam Saal]


From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 03:13:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Baby Toys

Susan Sterngold <ss117@...> writes:

> thanks to all w\for your help with the baby toy dilemma. But I have a 
> question-when an animal is not kosher, does that apply to more areas than 
> eating it? Does it mean that you should not have a non kosher animal in 
> your life in any capacity? 
> susan

While today there might be those who would suggest this attitude - there
has never been a kosher shepherd dog or a kosher pack horse and these
animals were clearly essential.

Sam Gamoran

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 10:50:40 GMT
Subject: Re: Baby Toys

Please!  Don't say that unless it's qualified as being a Chabad
practice.  People in my community have no problem with pigskin shoes,
pet cats and dogs, or teddy bears.  Chabad does.  I have no problem
with that so long as no one allows it to be thought that I ought to
have a problem with that, too.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon."
/ nysernet.org                       Stuart Schoffman


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 09:38:29 -0400
Subject: Re: Better or Correct in Halakha

> From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
> > My first impression was that, "Better" is not a word that can be used
> > for "Kosher" or any other hallachicaly defined obligation.  It is
> > strictly a case of "right or wrong", not "good or bad". 
> Someone who learns for an hour a day and otherwise keeps all
> mitzvos is doing things "correct".  What if that person then begins
> to learn two hours a day?  Is that not "better"?  Was what he was
> doing before "wrong"?
> Why can the same principle not be applied to kashrus or other mitzvos?
> I.e., X is kosher, but Y is preferable?

As the mishna that we read every morning says:
THESE are the are things that have no limit: "Peah (leaving the corner
of the field unharvested for the poor), bikurim (bringing the first fruits
of the crop to Jerusalem), ra'ayon (going up to Jerusalem) 
gemilut chasadim (acts of kindness) and talmud torah (study of torah)."

Exactly what is special about these is an interesting question, but it is
clear that there is a difference between studying more Torah, and say,
rejecting certain hechsheirim or even rejecting certain leniencies
in what one eats.  Possibly the difference is that there is no limit to
the positive effects of increasing these actions, while with other areas
there are both positive and negative effects.

With regard to kashrut, there are certainly tradeoffs in "stricter"
observance, or in rejecting certain food items others accept:
1. One limits the foods available
2. One increases the money paid for the food, and thereby lessens the
	amount available for e.g. other mitzvot
3. One limits the opportunities for socialization with people who don't
	keep the same strictures.  Fine if you look down on them,
	perhaps a problem if you don't.  (Just like e.g. the wine of non-Jews
	was forbidden because of their daughter, so too perhaps the effect
	of banning "their" shechita is that opportunities for socialization
	and friendships are limited.)
4. There is the opportunity for people to confuse halacha and chumra,
	and/or to relate to others who follow legitimate rulings that
	their community rejects, as treif people.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)

From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 09:29:02 -0400
Subject: Better or Correct in Halakha

Using this logic ... I used to eat 3 kosher meals a day, now I eat 6 kosher
meals a day. Is that better ? :-)

There seems to be more than one mitzva regarding learning torah, I am not
clear on the whole issue [maybe it is a good topic for discussion].  But
learning torah is unbounded, it is not that clearly defined in hallacha. (If
he learned only one hour out of two is there bitul torah? isn't that wrong?)
"Kosher" IS strictly defined, in a large number of sforim.

Is eating Kosher a mitzva ? Or is the mitzva "not eating non-kosher" ?
If the mitzva is "eating kosher" than how can there be something preferable
to "eating kosher".
If the mitzva is "not eating non-kosher" then you have to introduce "Z",
Most preferable i.e not eating at all. This removes all questions and
doubts.  (In Israel, there are more questions about fruit and vegetables
then there are about meat, so there is no way out in that direction.)



From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 94 22:21:41 -0800
Subject: Compromising Decisions

Disagreeing with Dr. Turkel is not the unpleasant experience that
it is in taking on others.  He is always so courteous and well-
reasoned.  But disagree we must.  Dr. Turkel wrote:

>     I fully agree that one must be aware of the consequences of
>ones actions and take them into account. Nevertheless, I do not
>feel that one must stop some action because of possible
>retribution against other Jews. In the newspapers now are threats
>of a terrorist organization against Israel because the Israeli
>army went and captured a terrorist in Lebanon. The Israeli
>government is well aware of possible consequences. However, it is
>inconceivable that the Israeli government simply throw up its
>hands and surrender everytime some group says that it will
>retaliate. Similarly, I find no reason that the zionists of the
>1940's had to give up their plans because the Mufti of Jerusalem
>said he would join with the nazis as a reprisal.

I still cannot see how one must "be aware of consequences" and yet
not have to take those consequences into account, when they effect
the lives of other Jews.  Of course Dr. Turkel is right - this
argument is not meant to paralyze all activity for which there can
be untoward consequences.  I only meant that SOMETIMES the halachic
cost-benefit analysis we do will yield a decision to desist from
something we ordinarilly would do, in order to prevent harm to some
other individual or group.  (See, for example Gilyon Maharsha to
Yoreh Deah 157:1 s.v. anasim, that it is forbidden to redeem a
captive, if it is known that the captors will replace the captive
by seizing another.)  This analysis is complex, as much halacha is,
but IMHO it is not accurate to say that we do not give any weight
to the possibility of reprisals.  It is quite possible that a
halachic answer to the question of continued zionist agitation at
in the face of threats of nazi collaboration by the Mufti (yemach
shemo) would be to go ahead anyway: the Jews of Palestine were at
risk even without the Mufti; the success of the zionist platform
might hasten the salvation of the very Jews threatened, etc.  Then
again, other responses are also conceivable.  If I am not mistaken,
various gedolim DID oppose some anti-Hitler (y"s) demonstrations in
the 30's precisely because of the fear of repisals against Jews in

I supported my argument with the gemara in Pesachim.  Dr. Turkel

>      I interpret the halacha of the captives, that Rabbi
>Adlerstein quoted, as stating that we do not always save the
>individual when the community might be endagered. We do not give
>in to demands of extortionists  to save the few when it will lead
>to more problems in the future.

I do not understand this.  We do not listen to the demands of
extortionists.  We listen to the voice of halacha, that calls
redemption of captives a mitzvah.  And we refrain from performing
that mitzva when it will indirectly invite the further taking of
captives in the future.  This supports my contention entirely.

Dr. Turkel continues:

>     As to who should make these life and death decisions it leads
>us back to the debate over "daat Torah". I will just point out
>that the last Jewish government with any real power was the
>exilarch in Babylonia. There it was clear that the exilarch and
>not the heads of the yeshiva made political decisions.

I cannot understand what this has to do with anything.  The Daas
Torah camp (with which I proudly affiliate) does not argue that in
a model State Rav Shach would be the Prime Minister.  That job
indeed would go to someone with a political bent.  All that would
happen is that Rav Shach (or which ever gedolim seemed to rank at
the top) would be consulted.  And this indeed was the case at many
times in Jewish history.  Gedolim were consulted because of the
recognition that a Torah mind has a special insight into all
matters, including political ones.

Obviously, there will be no quick resolution of this last issue. 
My advice to the reader is to CYLOGH  (...local Orthodox Gadol
Hador :-)  :-) :-)   

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Yeshiva of Los Angeles


From: nelson%<bnlmcn.dnet@...> (Michael Chaim Katzenelson)
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 10:10:41 -0400
Subject: Use of water taps(faucets), refrigerators, etc

Two issues were recently suggested that seem should be cleared up.

  1) thermodynamic work verses malacha on shabbos.

  2) causing a device to operate for additional time

Regarding the first point:

 The definition of the term "work" (malacha) in halacha, is not that as
 used by thermodynamics. For example, walking across the room is clearly
 thermodynamic work.  But it is generally not a prohibited activity on

Regarding the second point:

 The case was brought where somebody opens a refrigerator door while
 the motor is running. The concern was that opening the door may cause
 the motor to run longer.

 A related example may be the case of a mechanically adjusted electrical
 timer. It seems that one may adjust the timer to turn the lights off or
 on later, but not earlier.

 It seems that the basis for this is found in the large Shulchan Aruch.
 The issue has to do with causing a flame to go out sooner than it would
 on its own. I apologize that I do not have the relevant cites with me.

 One wonders if these arguments might be applied to holding the
 refrigerator door open, assuming that it was opened while the motor is

 In practice we see that poskim may advise us to open the refrigerator
 door while the motor is running.  We don't hear of poskim advising not
 to open it.

From: Sam Saal <SSAAL@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 94 08:31:00 PDT
Subject: RE: Use of water taps(faucets), refrigerators, etc

In mail.jewish Vol. 13 #58 Tom Anderson (<MNAF@...>) writes:

> Looking at the tap(faucet) situation as a thermodynamicist, the work is
>done even if the meter is mechanical as the measurement of the flow will
>be by some variant of rotameter which turns and therefore "does work",
>whether or not you have intended this. A problem also arises in trying
>to circumvent turning on the thermostat (spark) or motor (work) when
>opening the door of a refrigerator. One method, requiring patience and

There is a problem with looking at this as a thermodynamicist  and Tom has 
hinted at it.  Many fields of endeavor have their own definitions for 
certain terms.  "Work" is an excellent example.  He gave the definition as a 
thermodynamicist; a lawyer might define work as "anything for which one is 
paid." In halachic discussion, the word "melachah" is often translated as 
"work" but because of some of the connotations (for example the 
thermodynamicist's definition), is probably best defined in its own 
environment.  Specifically, melachah is defined as the 39 labors (and 
"labors" might be a better translation than "work") forbidden on Shabbat. 
These labors may seem illogical. For example, one could, technically, build 
up a sweat carrying and rearranging furniture in your own home on Shabbat, 
but without an eruv, carrying a tissue in your pocket in the street would be 

So the question of water meters must be discussed not in terms of 
thermodynamic's definition of "work" but in halachah's definition of 

[Similar posting from: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)]


End of Volume 13 Issue 80