Volume 17 Number 20
                       Produced: Tue Dec 13 22:49:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Inspiration from the Torah!
         ["Rabbi Kalman Packouz"]
Kashrus Questionnaire
         [David Steinberg]
Kashrut standards
         [David Maslow]
RAMBAM and the value of PI (repeat)
         [Abraham Lebowitz]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 09:42:32 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

I knew there was something I meant to add to the last
Administrivia. There was a temporary problem with the bishul.txt file
not being found in the archive area. If you requested the file and got
back an error message, please try it again. The file is back there now
and all appears to be working. Sorry for the confusion for some of you.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: "Rabbi Kalman Packouz" <ny000982@...>
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 94 14:19:01 -0500
Subject: Inspiration from the Torah!

The following Dvar Torah is by Rabbi Gedaliah Glatt, a noted lecturer
and teacher in Miami Beach.  I thought you might enjoy the following
Drasha which exemplifies the essential qualities a Jew should emulate.


     In Parshat Naso we read "A man's holy things shall be his, and what
a man gives to the Kohen shall be his".

     What are a man's "holy things"?  The Torah is referring, for
example, to "Terumah", the portion of grain which must be set apart for
the Kohanim.  Yet, one who is not a Kohen may not eat the Terumah.  In
what sense then is it considered "his" ?  To the contrary, he must give
it away!

     In the plain sense, we are being taught that the farmer who
separates the Terumah retains the right to decide which Kohen to give it
to.  In that sense, the farmer still retains ownership rights.  It is
"his" to decide who will receive it.

     A Medrash quoted by the Chofetz Chaim * provides us with another
beautiful way to learn this pasook, sentence : "A man's holy things
shall be his . . ."  What is truly one's possession ?
 Something that stays with him forever.  And the only thing that stays
with us forever, past this transitory world and into the world of
eternity, are the "holy things", our Torah and Mitzvos.

     This point is illustrated by a parable.  There once was a man who
had three friends, on whom he lavished great time and attention upon; a
second whom he devoted less time to, and a third whom he thought about
hardly at all.  One day the man received an urgent message - the King
demanded to see him at once.  "What would possibly be the reason ?" the
man thought, terrified.  "Perhaps someone slandered me before the King
?!"  Realizing that he needed an advocate to defend him, the man raced
to his dear friend and asked him to accompany him.  To his sorrow, this
"dearest of friends" refused to go !  Crestfallen, the man went to his
second friend.  The response there was a bit better, and not what he had
hoped for.  "I'll accompany you to the palace, but I won't go in with
you," his friend declared.

     Practically without hope the man trudged to his third, most
insignificant friend.  To his joyful surprise, the man listened as his
friend said, "Don't worry, I will go with you straight to the King, and
I will speak in your behalf so that no evil befalls you."  That is what
happened - the friend least thought about was the very agent that saved
the mans life.

     The parable refers to three aspects of mans life.  The "first"
friend is a man's money, upon whom he lavishes his time and attention.
He spends his life pursuing his fortunes.  Yet, when the time comes to
leave this world for the world of eternal rest, all of his wealth stays
right where it is.  It accompanies him not at all.

     The "second" friend is one's family.  They accompany him to his
grave.  Alas, however, they must depart.  They can go no further.

     The "third" friend, the one that he devoted the least attention to,
is Torah, Mitzvos, and "Teshuvah" (correcting one's ways and returning
to H-shem).  These go with us beyond the grave, straight to the Heavenly
Court, to speak eloquently in our behalf.  Indeed, there is a sentence
in the Torah which states this plainly: "And your righteousness will go
before you."  (Isaiah 58:8).

     The King in the parable refers to the King of the Universe, H-shem,
who ultimately calls all men before Him to give an account of their
lives.  The only advocacy acceptable before Him is that of the "third"
friend - the spiritual gains made during life.

     We now see a new way of understanding the aforementioned pasook: "A
mans holy things shall be his . . . " - the spiritual, "holy"
achievements of life are truly "his", a man's ultimate possessions, his
most important "friends".  It behooves him greatly to try to increase
the number of these allies as much as possible.

     We may understand the second half of the pasook, the same way: "And
what a man gives to the Kohen shall be his."  Actual material wealth is
meaningless to a man after he passes this world.  What is truly "his" in
the eternal sense is the Tzedakah that he's given during his lifetime.


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 1994 14:03:37 +0000
Subject: Kashrus Questionnaire

Last week I proposed a Kashrus related project for mj.  Based on the 
feedback I've gotten so far, I see that I have not adequately clarified 
my objective.   Restating the  objective for the project, I would like to 
develop a database of OBJECTIVE information of organizations that provide 
hashgochos (kosher supervision).  

For the database to be useful it must meet certain criteria:

1.   The data must be objective.
2.   Each entry must contain enough information so that the user, 
possibly in conjunction with his/her LOR, is generably able to decide 
whether to rely on the hashgocho.
3.   If a user determines that additional information is required, we 
point the user to the best source(s) for that information.
4.   It must be comprehensive -- include data on the most domestic orgs.
This will serve as an inducement for the hashgochos to participate.

Below is my first proposal on a standard questionnaire.  I'd appreciate 


Name of Organization:
Phone Number:
Fax Number:

Not for Profit (Y or N) ?

Parent Organization:


Rav HaMachshir:
  -  Ordination:

  -  Ordination:



Minimum Requirement for Mashgiach:



Glatt Required ?

Shechittas Accepted ?

Allow Washing Meat to Defer Salting?


Vegetable Inspection Requirements:

Israeli Produce:



Cholov Yisroel ?

Pas Yisroel ?


Supervision Practices for Retail Establishments (including Restaurants)

Meat - Owned by Shomer Shabbos:

Meat - Owned by Non- Shomer Shabbos:


Policy on Caterers using Non-kosher Facility:


From: David Maslow <MASLOWD@...>
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 94 00:39:00 est
Subject: Kashrut standards

[I think this shows some of the problems with trying to set up the kind
of Kashrut organization information sheet that is being discussed. Mod.]

In M-J vol 17, no 4, David Charlap gave an example of how to fill out his 
proposed Kashrut organization information sheet, and stated in the exception 
>For instance, Chassidim don't accept OU-certified meat, but only meat from 
>groups that demand the higher tolerances of kashrut that Chassidim demand.

While I would welcome information from more knowledgeable experts, it
was my understanding that the difference between Chassidishe shcita
(ritual slaughter) and others is the way the knife is sharpened and the
shape of the finished cutting edge.  If this is true, and I am not
discussing glatt vs.  non-glatt, then it is wrong to suggest that
Chassidim "demand...higher tolerances of kashrut" when all that is
involved is a different interpretation.  All too often, the
non-Chassidic world accepts itself as being a little less careful than
its Chassidic counterparts rather than affirming its strict and positive
approach to halacha.


From: <aileb@...> (Abraham Lebowitz)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 00:34:15 +0200
Subject: RAMBAM and the value of PI (repeat)

   In Mail-Jewish Vol. 16 No. 59, Jonathan Rogawski wrote:

   >The speaker, a prominent physicist (I don't know if he is
   >Jewish or not), wanted to emphasize how a group of
   >physicists early in the century had proposed some erroneous
   >ideas, so he referred to their theories as Biblical
   >theories".  To emphasize his point, he went so far as to
   >show a slide of the Hebrew text in the Book of Kings in
   >Hebrew (ch. 7, verse 23: (Solomon's building of the pool)
   >which seems to indicate that the the value of PI is 3
   >(instead of 3.14159...)

   In fact, not only does that verse ("Then he made the tank of cast
metal, 10 cubits across from brim to brim, completely round; it was
5 cubits high, and it measured 30 cubits in circumference.") yield
a value of 3 for PI, but the Talmud explicitly gives this value.  The 
Talmud in a Mishnah in Eruvin 13b (and in a number of other places) states: 
"Anything which has circumference of 3 tefachim has a diameter of one 
tefach."  The RAMBAM (Maimonides) in his Perush ha-Mishnayot (Explanation 
of the Mishnah) explains:

   "You should know that the ratio of the diameter of a circle
   to its circumference is not known and can never be stated
   with accuracy.  This is not due to any lack of understanding
   on our part, as is thought by the sect called ghly"h (I do
   not know to what sect the RAMBAM is referring), but it is in
   the nature of the thing itself that it is not known and can
   never be determined (in our terminology: PI is an irrational
   number).  However, it can be known approximately and
   mathematicians have written publications on the determination
   of the approximate value of the ratio of the diameter to the
   circumference.  The value which scholars attribute to this is
   one to three and one seventh.  A circle which has a diameter
   of 1 cubit will have a circumference of approximately 3 1/7.  
   As this can never be known except as an approximation 
   they (chaza"l, the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Gemara)
   rounded it off the to the nearest whole number and said that 
   "anything which has circumference of 3 tefachim has a 
   diameter of one tefach" and they rely on this wherever the 
   Torah requires a measurement."

   In addition to the subject matter this also provides one more
indication, as if that were needed, of the RAMBAM's study and
knowledge of the science available in his day and of the importance
of the study of science to the study of Torah.

                         Abe Lebowitz
Abe & Shelley Lebowitz			<aileb@...>


End of Volume 17 Issue 20