Volume 14 Number 9
                       Produced: Mon Jul 11 18:31:56 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Moshe Kahan]
Chumros Revisited
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Daas Torah
         [Robert Klapper]
Kabbalat Ol Malkhut Shammayim
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Tarot card readings and fortune telling
         [Warren Burstein]
various on mj vol 13 no.71
         [Yitzchak Unterman]


From: Moshe Kahan <kahan@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 1994 01:51:21 -0400
Subject: Abbreviations

I was reading through a Jewish weekly when I noticed an an ad for the
upcoming Shloshim for the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal. The ad when
referring to the Rebbe used the abbreviation Hey Chaf Mem which I am
unfamilar with and couldn't locate in my Otzar Roshei Teivot [Collection
of Abbreviations]. I was just wondering if there was someone out there
who could explain the abbreviation and why it is used rather than a
standard Zatzal. I would be much obliged.

Moshe Kahan


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Fri, 08 Jul 94 01:15:40 -0800
Subject: Chumros Revisited

As the discussion on chumros seems to be drawing to an end, a few more
offerings before the poor subject gives up the ghost.

1) They can't be all that bad.  See Tosfos Eruvin 72A s.v. nahagu, in
which it is apparent that we allow a community to retain a chumra
concerning an issur d'rabbanan [rabbinic prohibition], even though this
will lead in some cases to a kula [leniency] in an issur d'orayso [Torah

2) For a traditional hashkafic (tinged with a bit of kabbalah)
justification for the proliferation of chumros through history, see
SHaLa"H HaKadosh, Beis Chochmah, s.v. od eva-er ha-inyan.

3) It seems to me (although I will admit to being an inveterate peruser,
and may have missed something), that the discussion on glatt/ non-glatt
missed what may be the most important point: market conditions.

My information comes from a friend and colleague, but dates back some
fifteen years.  Things may have changed, although I doubt it.  My friend
was a young talmid chacham at the time, who had semicha from YU, but
managed (on the basis of his talent and his unmistakeable qualities as a
Ben Torah) to work his way into part time employment as a shochet in
even the "frumest" (and most anti- YU) places.  His reports opened my

Remember, even if there are many who insist on glatt for the wrong
reasons, all those who do are willing to shell out more $$$ for the
stuff, as long as it comes with the proper frum trappings.  And even if
there are many who would eat non-glatt for all the right reasons, there
are also a considerable number who just want something with a Rabbi's
name on it, and don't want to know anything beyond that.  Remember also
that there are reportedly NO kosher slaughterhouses that are Jewishly
owned.  Kosher producers work inside treif plants, and merely send back
to the "other side of the wall" any of the kill they do not want.  What
determines the internal conditions of the kosher production is therefore
the expectation and sophistication of the consumer!

He reported for example, a discrepancy between groups of
slaughterhouses.  Some slaughterhouses were close to Jewish urban areas.
Now, it turned out that the non-glatt plants were in rural Midwest
cowboy country locations in Nebraska and Iowa.  (It saves transportation
costs to slaughter near where the animals are raised.)  There were no
minyanim there; there were no places of Jewish refuge after a long day
at the office.  Only the local bar, with the real cowboys.  You stayed
for a few weeks or months, and didn't see your family throughout.  Which
kind of shochet came here?  Often, the guy desperate enough to put up
with it for a while in order to make a few bucks.

Then there was the other group.  (You guessed it - the glatt places!)
They were near East coast Jewish urban areas, within range of returning
home to family every few days.  Why?  Because the shochtim here insisted
on it.  They weren't willing to compromise on their minyanim, or on the
other accoutrements of frum life.  So which kind of shcohet would you

There were more differences.  The kill rate (number of animals processed
per hour) was significantly greater at the non-glatt places.  That means
LESS time to check each animal and decide its kashrus.  It means fewer
checks of the knife.  It means more pressure on the shochtim.  And
pressure yields mistakes.

Does it have to be this way?  Of course not.  The Adas Yeshurun Kehilla
maintained a non-glatt production of the highest caliber.  But for the
most part, if an owner is going to upgrade to a higher standard, why
would he want to be non-glatt?  Why wouldn't he want to include that
huge market of chumra-people who will pay extra?  And if he doesn't want
all the encumberances of the better shochtim and halachic rigor, he
still has all those customers who will buy non-glatt for the wrong,
non-discriminating reasons.

You decide whether glatt in America is just another pietistic exercise.
Or whether the cards of the market are stacked against non-glatt.


From: Robert Klapper <rklapper@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:46:06 -0400
Subject: Daas Torah

       I understand Rabbi Adlerstein to have stated in several postings
that he is proudly a member of the daas torah camp, which believes that
gedolim have a unique perspective on communal issues and should be
consulted for their unique but by no means infallible and or binding
advice.  Were the daas torah position to match what I understand as his
position, i think we'd all be proud to join.
	My understanding of the position, however,(and i think it would
be useful if someone were to produce official Agudah statements in this
regard), is that all communal issues should be decided by the gedolim.
It further seems to me that this position is not unreasonable - all such
issues have both practical and halakhic/moral aspects, and while the
gedolim (and I don't want to discuss their identity or identification)
may not be expert on the practical matters, they are on the
halakhic/moral, and it's not clear to me why we should allow the
practical men to make the decision as guided by the moral framework
provided by gedolim rather than allowing the gedolim to make the
decision as guided by the practical framework provided by the, for
example, generals.
	It also seems possible that the whole concept of binding psak
involves an elemnt of daas Torah as defined here, as every psak involves
both a determination of law and its relevance to a certain set of
circumstances.  If rabbis had no authority to determine facts, no psak
could be binding, as anyone could claim that he simply felt the legal
determination irrelevant to his circumstances.
	I should note, however, that Yevamot 92a seemingly suggests that
a psak based on facts one knows to be inaccurate is not only not binding
but may not be followed.  The case in question is a rabbinic
determination that shabbat has ended when in fact the sun is merely
obscured by clouds.


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 3:52:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kabbalat Ol Malkhut Shammayim

In v13n31, Yosef Bechhofer comments on Fred Dweck's earlier posting in
which he said that mitzvot do not have to be done if they are
uncomfortable, and mentioned dwelling in the sukkah as an example. Yosef
takes issue with the idea that this example can be used to support
Fred's generalization, and mentions the pasuk from the Shma`, that you
should love G-d "bekhol levavkha, uvekhol nafshekha, uvekhol me'odekha"
[with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength] as an
indication that mitzvot must be observed even if it is very difficult.

Yosef's comments bring to mind a drash that Chaim Citron gave about 1975
when he was a Chabad House rabbi in Berkeley. This drash was one of
those handful of things you hear or read which always stay with you
because they are constantly relevant to your life. In connection with
some parsha, I don't recall which one, he spoke about a kabbalistic idea
that the first two letters of the name of Hashem, the yod and the he,
represent negative mitzvot, and the last two letters, the vav and the
he, represent positive mitzvot. The negative mitzvot represent a higher
level of kedusha precisely because we do not enjoy doing them. And the
highest level are those mitzvot which we do not even get even spiritual
enjoyment from doing, which do not make us feel good about ourselves,
but which we do only because they are mitzvot.

Perhaps someone could point out the source of this drash.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:44:42 -0400
Subject: Schools

> From: <dlm@...> (David Lee Makowsky)
> 	Now, if a community needs more schools because the exisitng
> schools cannot handle the demand then I am all for building more
> schools.However, some schools get built simply because one "sect" does
> not trust/like/respect/etc. another sect, so they just build themselves
> another school.
> 	This is leades to the increased costs that forces each family to
> come up with more and more money.I consider that nothing less then
> gneiva (theft), pure and simple.Not just from the families but also

What do you suggest alternatively?  Should someone send his child to a
school that he does not trust or respect?  Furthermore, if it is an
issue, as you mention of different "sect"s, then there is very often a
fundamental hashkafic (ideological) difference in approach; a person is
obligated to educate his child in what he believes to be the proper
approach to Judaism.

On the other hand, in cases where schools are opened solely because of
trivial machlokos (disagreements), I agree with you.

Gedalyah Berger


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 08:30:21 GMT
Subject: Re: Tarot card readings and fortune telling

My objection is that astrologers, card readers, and fortune tellers
are either self-deluded or charlatans.  Whether or not one may consult
them, one should not consult them, any more than one would go to other
fools or liars for advice.

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: Yitzchak Unterman <Yitzchak.Unterman@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 04:40:46 -0400
Subject: various on mj vol 13 no.71

I get mj at the office and do not usually have time to reply to any
postings, but since I seem to have no work this afternoon I've taken the
opportunity to respond to some points contained in one of the latest
mailings. (I basically chose this mailing at random).  I follow the
order of the writers in that volume.

1 Eli Turkel explains why there should be no concern at the fact that a
mamzer is tainted because of his parents' sins, but then seems to
consider that his view will not satisfy everyone.  I cannot see why this
should be.  It seems clear that in the same way that G-d created the
world in such a way that children, through no fault of their own, are
born with a physical or mental disability, so too the rules of the world
function so that some children may be saddled with an halachic
disability in that they cannot marry a non-mamzer.  In both cases the
Creator has designed the world with such inequities, and it is no more
appropriate to decry, or attempt to change, the latter case than it is
to do so in the former.  Similarly, the fact that I am not a Cohen means
that I am forbidden from eating Trumah.  This is an inequality to which
I was subject at birth, but I cannot do anything about it.  The
important thing is that all people are as capable as everyone else to
reach their own full potential and that is what we were created for.

2 Ezra Rosenfeld discussed "gedolim ratings".  He says that tens of
thousands of Bnei Torah regard (Hagaon) Rav Yisraeli as the Gadol
Haposkim, and the same number do (Hagaon) Rav Elyashiv.  I imagine the
numbers are not equal, but that is irrelevant.  There is so much more
(obvious to me) material to explain on this, but one observation I can
be bothered to make is that most "Bnei Torah" are ignorant of who is a
Gadol.  Most are unaware of the stature of those outside of their
immediate circle and most of us couldn't judge greatness anyway.  One
way to become acquainted with who really is top rank is to ask the
opinions of these Geonim themselves, but even a person who does that is
being small minded.  I do not know who is "the" gadol but at least I
know that I am ignorant and I do not think it matters much anyway.

3 Sam Juni refers to the debate about whether disputes in the Talmud are
over facts and purports to inform us that there is one type of argument
which is clearly one of fact, namely where two scholars argue what it is
a previous scholar said.  This is not relevant to the previous
discussions, nor would the statement that amoraim dispute historical
events such as who wrote certain books of the Tanach be.  The principle
that the Talmud does not contain arguments about mezius ( empirical
fact) is limited to those occasions where the fact would be verifiable
at the time of debate so that all the disputants would have had to have
done would be to go out and check (puk chazi) .  A previous scholar's
statements cannot be ascertained at the time of argument as the scholar
has by then passed away.  This is obvious.

4 A M Goldstein requests reactions to his dilemma in view of the fact
that he is in the 12 months of mourning.  I can see that there is a
concern in relation to the lunch as it would be a Seudas Mereim
(convivial meal/dinner-party).  But why is there no concern at the very
fact that he is attending a pleasure trip.  Is this too not forbidden
for an avel? he cannot attend the group lunch.  Secondly, why are the
concerns at possibly missing mincha at shul on the day of his trip a
concern particular to an Avel.  Every male jew has an obligation to
daven Mincha in a minyan, I do not think the fact that he is saying
kaddish is relevant.  Besides, there are plenty of minyanim in Jerusalem
which daven mincha before late afternoon (1.15 ish, depending on the
first time for mincha gedola, is popular).

Itzik Unterman, Clifford Chance, London


End of Volume 14 Issue 9