Volume 15 Number 81
                       Produced: Tue Oct 18  0:54:24 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Beautiful Moment
         [Andy Goldfinger]
funeral of Nachshon Wachsman
         [Moishe Halibard]
judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming
         [Richard schwartz]
Shaatnez and Women
         [Chaim Schild]
Trick or Treat.
         [Michael Lipkin]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Vegetarianism and Sources
         [Doni Zivotofsky]


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 17 Oct 1994 13:38:49 U
Subject: A Beautiful Moment

During the reading of Lech Lecha in shul this week, I recalled a very
beautiful moment that occurred a short time ago in our community.

By way of background: in Baltimore there is an organization called the
Northwest Citizen's Patrol.  This is a volunteer group that patrols the
streets in cooperation with the police.  The patrol has been organized
by Agudath Israel of Baltimore, and almost all the patrol memebers are
"yeshivish, black hat" types.  Once a year, there is a fund raising
Melavah Malka, and prominent members of the police force and city
government are invited.  Typically, there are after dinner speeches, and
the proceedings are then declared closed, except for those who wish to
remain for a separate "religious lecture."  At this point, the police
and politicians leave and the remaining people bentsch and a short drosh
["religious lecture!"] is given.

One year, an invitation was given to the chief of police to speak
following the meal.  It was well known that this gentlman, Commisioner
Woods, was a religious Christian and a member of a promininent local
Black congregation.  So here was a Black Southern Baptist about to
address a room filled with about 300 Agudah members.  Now, Commisioner
Woods was also known as a man of great personal integrity and certainly
would not be a person to compromise his own religious beliefs.  There
was some tension in the room.  What would he say?

   He went up to the podium, and said the following (I paraphrase): "It
says in the Bible that the Lord promised Abraham that he would make of
him a great nation, and that He would bless those who bless them and
curse those who curse them.  And so I say  -- G-d bless you all."

   At this point he sat down.  The good feeling that ensued from this
delicately handled moment has remained with me to this day.


From: <halibard@...> (Moishe Halibard)
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 1994 12:56:13 +0200 (WET)
Subject: funeral of Nachshon Wachsman

On Motzei Shabbat I attended the levayo of Nachshon Wachsman (may G-d
avenge his blood. ).  It was a truly remarkable event, and indeed makes
one proud to belong to a nation which can so identify with the suffering
of others.  I arrived about twenty minutes early, and already the whole
of Rechov Herzl was streaming with tens of thousands of people , who
continued to arrive until the levayo started at almost
midnight. Nachshon's coffin arrived draped in a large flag.  The service
began with a recital of psalm 83, which could have been written for the
occasion : G-d do not stay silent ,mute or still...etc.  There were
three short hespedim , the third being the most moving.  In it, the Rav
said he visited the Wachsmsan home on Friday night after the news
arrived , and said to Mr Wachsmsan that all his life when he davened he
felt he was answered , yet this time he davened so much and was not.  Mr
Wachsmsan told him that he was wrong, he was answered , and the answer
can sometimes be -'no'.
 It was almost unreal to be in a crowd of so many adults, all unashamed
to be crying loud in public.  Just before the actual burial a three gun
salute was fired.
 I presume many of those present were , like myself, also at the Kotell
on Thursday night , when about 60,000 joined in what was probably the
most fervent mass tfilla ever said there. One of the psalms said, which
could also have been written for the occasion said 'save me from the
evil man'-ish CHAMASim.
 As a new arrival in this country, the crisis of the last week was a sad
way to start, and yet, it was heartening. Which other nation on Earth
could , for a whole week, become members of the Wachsman family? Which
other nation on Earth could , for a whole week, cry with them ,pray with
them, and feel, not for them ,but with them? 'Who is like Your people, a
unique nation on Earth'.

I earnestly pray that this will be the last national crisis here in
Israel, and that my new begining will bring only happiness -'He who
plants in tears shall reap in joy'.


From: Richard schwartz <RHSSI@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 94 14:59:05 EDT
Subject: judaism and Vegetarianism (3) Factory Farming

     Judaism has very powerful teachings with regard to treating animals
with compassion.  according to a midrash, Moshe Rabbenu was deemed
worthy to lead the Israelites out of Egypt because he showed great
tenderness and concern in his treatment of a lamb. Rivka was considered
a fit wife for Isaac, because of her consideration of thirsty
camels.Many Torah laws mandate proper treatment of animals.  One is to
see that his/her animals are fed before sitting down to a meal.  The Ten
commandments indicates that animals, as well as people are to be
permitted to rest on the sabbath day.  Psalm 145:9 indicates that G-d's
tender mercies are over all His creatures, and Proverbs12:10 indicates
that the righteous individual is concerned about the lives of his/her
     In view of these powerful teachings, the ways in which animals are raised
today on factory farms is scandalous.  Here are just a few examples:
 1. Many farm animals are confined in cramped pens, where they are
denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, or any meaningful connections with
others.  This is in contrast to Rashi's commentary (on Exodus 23:12)
that animals should be free to enjoy the bounties of G-d's earth on the
Sabbath day.
 2. Veal calves are taken away from their mothers after a day or two of
nursing, and then kept in pens where they can't even turn around.  They
are made anemic by a diet free of iron.  The calves crave iron so much
that they would lick their own urine if they were able to turn around.
 3. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated annually, so that they'll be
able to produce large amounts of milk.  This is just one of many ways
that we have interfered with the natural sex lives of animals.
 4. Chickens are confined in spaces so small that they are unable to
raise their wings.  Because of the very unnatural conditions in which
their basic instincts are thwarted, chickens tend to harm each other by
pecking.  To avoid this, chickens are debeaked, a very painful process.
 5.  Newborn male chicks (since they cannot produce eggs) are
immediately tossed into plastic garbage bags where they slowly suffocate
and are then discarded.
 6. Some cattle are dehorned so that they won't injure one another.
Male calves are castrated to make them more docile and to improve the
quality of their meat
     Many more examples could be given, but the essential point is that,
contrary to basic Jewish values, animals are treated like machines on
factory farms, and virtually everything seems to be acceptable, as long
as it enhances the profit of the venture.
     There are many books and videos that explore these issues in much
detail.  Ideally, "the souls of all living creatures will praise G-d",
but what must G-d think about the incredibly brutal ways in which
animals are treated today on factory farms.
    I hope that the Jewish community will fulfil our historic role as
merciful children of merciful ancestors, and thoroughly investigate all
the ramifications of modern livestock agriculture.
      Richard Schwartz     <rhssi@...>


From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 1994 08:42:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shaatnez and Women

Continuing Yisrael Sundick's "precious article" argument, Midrah Midrash
Mishlei (quoted in Jacobson's perush on the siddur) attributes each line
to a different woman and this (Marvadeen ....) passuk refers to
Bathsheva who is praising her son Shlomo the King whose is wearing this
garment referred to by the Ralbag.  Does any one know where is nach it
is stated that he does wear such a garment ??



From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 1994 15:10:02 +0500
Subject: Trick or Treat.

Every year around this time we are faced with a dilemma.  Should we or
should we not, give out candy to the local kids when they come trick or
treating on Halloween.  I've done both and it feels wrong either way. I
consider the following to be issues:

- It's a Christian/Pagen Holiday and we should have nothing to do with
  it period.  
- Lifney Iver (putting a stumbling block before the blind), i.e. though
  most people on our block are not frum, many are Jewish.  By giving
  these kids candy we are helping them participate in this non-Jewish
- Then again we are making sure they get at least somekosher candy.  
- Maaris Eiyen (suspicion), i.e. through our "participation" others
  might think that we, as observant Jews, approve of celebrating this
- Chillul Hashem (desecration of the name), i.e. our non-participation
  in what many consider just an American holiday may cause them to think
  ill of all of Judaism.
- Darche Shalom (ways of peace), i.e. just plain old being neighborly.  
- Fear of vandalism.

Aside from the Israel crowd telling us to make Aliyah (which I know is
the real answer), I'd like to know if anyone has any thoughts on this
matter.  The whole thing spooks me! :)



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 12:02:15 -0400
Subject: Vegetarianism

The BIG problem that I have with Richard Schwartz is that he is
campaigning to forbid something that Hashem has EXPLICITLY permitted.
Cf. the Parsha in Noach where Noach and his children are now permitted
to eat meat.  I find it difficult to believe that Hashem would allow
something that is hazardous.  I find it incomprehensible that Hashem
would mandate korbanot -- which require human consumption if they were
inherently unhealthful to ingest. (And please do not cite the Rambam who
states that Korbanot were just to wean the Jews from Avoda Zara... First
of all, the VAST majority of Rishonim disagree; Second, the Rambam has
the halachot of Korbanot in the "Yad" -- which he would not do if he did
not think that they were still applicable; third, I heard Rav
A. Lichtenstein say years ago that that part of the Moreh was written in
an "apologetic" manner...).
 The fact is that (a) we are all required -- at the time of the Beit
Hamikdash may it be speedily rebuilt -- to participate in the Korban
Pesach (on pain of Karet if we do not do so); (b) anyone who visited
Yerushalayim with Ma'aser Sheni money is told by the Torah to invest it
in food INCLUDING (explicitly) MEAT; (c) CHAZAL were quite explicit when
they stated that there is no simcha w/out "Bassar V'Yayin" -- true that
this refers to the meat of Korbanot BUT it also means that Simcha is
experienced by the consumption of MEAT.
 The fact is that we do not keep the laws of Kashrut because of
HEALTH... We keep them because of Hashem's Will and -- we beleive --
that Hashem will not prescribe anything that will kill us.  It is in
this context that I find the comparison to smoking PARTICULARY
obnoxious.  To compare a food item permitted by Hashem to a known toxin
is an supreme insult.  To cite Nathan Pritkin as an "authority" on
Jewish matters of ANY sort is repulsive.
 The fact is that in halacha we DO emphasize "moderation" and not to be
a "glutton" ... there IS a thread that minimizes the importance of
"B'sar Ta'avah" -- Meat eaten solely out of a desire to eat meat -- but
that is a far far cry from stating that meat is inherently unhealthy.
 Finally, to IGNORE all of the Talmudic material and snidely remark that
the reason this is not an issue is because we eat meat and that THIS is
what influences our response is slanderous.  It slanders EVERY single
Posek who has ever eaten meat -- and who is just as "aware" as Schwartz
of the ramifications of eating meat...

I will be much more interested in hearing Schwartz's ideas re eating
meat AFTER he is able to come to terms that it is not up to HIM to
condemn that which HAshem has permitted or even commanded us to enjoy.



From: <DONIZ@...> (Doni Zivotofsky)
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 22:14:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism and Sources

     In response to R. Schwartz's "fleishick bashing" post.
     Recently, an M-LJer (I think Rabbi Broyde) advocated that posters
support their halachic assertions by citing relevant sources.  I think
this would be a good idea regarding scientific/medical information as
well.  This is particularly true when asserting that based on the
scientific "data" cited halacha expects a certain behaviour.  The first
three examples that he cites regarding the relationships between certain
populations, their diets and their incidences of "degenerative diseases"
(a vague reference to conditions unnamed) is at best speculative and not
supported.  Richard Schwartz, himself, cites in each example other
health sustaining behaviors and factors which would affect the relative
health of these groups.  Similarly, in example "4" what were the real
risk-reducing factors; the diet?, stress reduction?  exercise?.  The
burden of proof to force a change is upon those who advocate the change.
If the medical community were convinced of this information it is likely
that our doctors would advocate vegetarianism as they preach maintaining
a moderate weight, exercising and not smoking.
     The consumption of meat is not "arguably worse for human health
than smoking".  Two statements from Rabbi M.D. Tendler (that I remember
from my days in his class) relate well to these issues.  With regard to
smoking he referred to one of the greatest "controlled studies" ever
conducted. He was referring to the female population in the USA that for
many years did not smoke.  When many of them then began to smoke, the
incidences of lung diseases in their population began to approach those
in the male population ( I don't want to ignore my own suggestion about
real sources.  The dangers of smoking are well accepted.)
     When teaching the basics of nutrition Dr. Tendler explained that in
order to obtain the nutrients that our body needs we would do best to
consume that which most closely resembles our own composition.  We, of
course, don't eat people.  But, plants can uniquely use sunlight and raw
materials in the earth to synthesize nutrients.  In turn, fish and
grazing animals can consume plants and convert them to flesh not unlike
our own. We can then eat them to obtain the best possible "nutrition".
     The fact that most Jews eat meat and don't smoke is not the reason
for our acceptance of one and not the other. When the rest of the
populace smoked so did the Jews and as the general populace has
struggled to kick the habit, so have the Jews.
     In all due respect and without entering into a protracted argument
that may not belong on this list, the eating of milchix, fleishix and
(gefilte or other) fish are hardly the cause of a myriad of the worlds
problems listed at the end of the letter (i.e.  pollution, water and
energy shortages, world hunger and cruelty to animals.)


End of Volume 15 Issue 81