Volume 17 Number 46
                       Produced: Fri Dec 23 14:43:46 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conservative Kosher (2)
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg, Lou Rayman]
         [Danny Skaist]
Relativistic Halachah
         [Micha Berger]
Shahak story
         [Elhanan Adler]
         ["Yaakov Menken"]


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 10:40:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Kosher
Newsgroups: israel.mail-jewish

In v17n42 Jim Phillips asked about the kashrus of a Conservative shul,
where the Rabbi of the shul (a friend of Jim's apparently) is the

For three years I was the Mashgiach at Camp Ramah in Canada (sponsored
by the Conseravtive movement).  Jim should beware that there are
"teshuvos" in the Conservative movement that permit certain foods,
that most "frum" people would not eat.  For example:

1.  All wine produced in North America is kosher (teshuva written by
Rabbi Israel Silverman of Ontario, Canada)

2.  The renit in non-kosher cheese is botul, and therefore all cheese
is kosher

3.  There is another "teshuva" permitting any bread to be eaten

Jim should also beware, that the teshuva on kashering China plates
(leave it unused for 12 months) which is accepted in many frum
circles, tends to be WAY over used (abused!) in the Conservative
kitchens that I have seen or worked in.  Virtually anything non-metal
that became treif, they would just throw in a box, and take it out one
year later for use (they used this for ceramic, wood, and plastic
utensils).  The teshuva ONLY applies to things made of china.

Although "my" kitchen at the Camp was legitimately kosher (the Camp is
the most traditional of the Ramah camps, and attracts a large Bnei
Akiva crowd, thus keeps a strict kitchen), I would prepare separate
meals for frum people who visited the camp (Rabbi Shlomo Carelbach
zt'l came there to visit his daughter one summer, for example), just
to be safe.  

Also, I have never seen a Conservative kitchen which toyveled
[immersed in a mikvah] their metal and glass utensils.  This does not
make them un-kosher, but is just another consideration.

I am no posek, but based on my connection with Conservative kitchens,
I would not eat there.

Gedaliah Friedenberg

From: <lrayman@...> (Lou Rayman)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 11:02:07 +0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Kosher

One theoretical question regarding the "thorny question" about the
Conservative Rabbi who is also the mashgiach of a catering hall.

> I am invited to a Bar Mitzvah party for the son of a
> Conservative Rabbi who is a friend. This Rabbi is the mashgiach of his
> Shul, but similar to many other Conservative Rabbis he uses a microphone
> on Shabbos. As I understand the hallachah, one can only depend for
> Kashrus on one who is Shomer Shabbos, hence I should ask for a glatt tv
> dinner and not eat the food that he supervises

Does using a microphone make one a full-fleged Mechlel Shabbos in the
eyes of halacha, with all its consequences?

Before everybody jumps down my throat...

I know the overwhelming majority of poskim hold that one should not use
a microphone on shabbos.  But, assuming that there is a legitamate
dissenting opinion that permits microphones under certain conditions (I
don't know if one exists), would an individual who chooses to follow
the minority be stuck with the label of Mechalel Shabbos?

Louis Rayman


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 94 14:03 IST
Subject: Pi

>Hayim Hendeles
>Sure it's a nice tidbit to know that PI is really irrational, whose
>value is in the neighborhood of 3.14, and Chazal only used an estimation
>when using the value 3, but I don't follow the poster's point that
>"this establishes the importance of the study of science to Torah".

Chazal did not "use an estimation".  Pi MUST be rounded off at a certain
point. Chazal learned from this pasuk that for hallachic purposes it is
rounded off at exactally 3. (Otherwise, after so many years of chumras we
would be using 3 l'kula and 4 lchumra. And the Chazon Ish would use 5. :-).)
Rashi and Tosephat (in Baba Basra I believe) use different values for Pi.

If you didn't know that Pi was 3.14 you might think that the relationship
varies from circle to circle.  After all why did the pasuk give you BOTH
measurements (diameter and circumference) ? If all circles are standard it
just had to write one and I would know the other.  Basic pshat in the pasuk
requires you to know that PI is not 3 in any case other than hallacha.

If you didn't know that PI was 3.14 then you couldn't understand the
explaination in the kri/ktiv (read/written) in Kings 1 7:23. The pasuk which
describes PI as 3 states that the line (v'kav) going around was 30 amos. But
the word kav is spelled with an extra "heh" which is not vocalized (i.e.

Now the value (gematria) of v'kav is 112 the value with the extra "heh" is

  112/117 (vkav/vkavh) is  .957
  3/3.14   (3/pi)      is  .955.

As if to say "we know the proper proportion, but Just use "3" for hallachik



From: Micha Berger <berger@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 08:31:07 -0500
Subject: Relativistic Halachah

Mechy Frankel (v17n41) poses the following question:
>                                                         So consider a
> guy on a spaceship who writes a get for a woman on another
> spaceship/planet. (I'll assume further that the get is accepted on the
> first spaceship by the women's shaliach). The women (calculating from
> her perspective when the shaliach received the get) remarries on this
> basis and produces a child. However, from the perspective (coordinate
> system) of the interplanetary bais din, the second marriage may have
> taken place before the first one was ended. Is the child a mamzer?

As Mechy points out earlier, the theory of relativity prohibits
information from traveling faster than the speed of light (unless you
want to throw away causality). Therefor, the earliest the wife could
know about the get is the distance from the husband to her (d) divided by
the speed of light (c).

There is a principle in halachah called "chazakah dimei'ikarah"
(lit. grabbed on from before). What we say is that the state of
something is unchanged until we learn otherwise. To give the classic
example, lets say we check out a mikvah and find it contains the
requisite 40 s'ah (a unit of volume) of water. Later, after the mikvah
is used by a number of women, we find that the level is down to 39
s'ah. The mikvah is halachically kosher for the entire interval in the
middle. (We don't take some position like each woman removed so much
water, so the mikvah was invalid after n women.)

I would think that the same rule is applicable here. In this case, the
wife's state is unknowable until d/c. By chazakah dimei'ikarah, she
would have the state of married until it was possible for us to know
otherwise. The chalos (no good translation. "Effectiveness" or
"validity" come to mind) seems to depend on when we determine the
change of state. This would mean that the chalos of the get depends on
distance from the husband. It would sort of radiate outward at a speed
of c. (Following the light cone, as physicists would say.)

Similarly, Mechy's other cases. If someone declare a field hefker
(public domain), we can't act on that knowledge until we can resolve
the chazakah. Therefor, someone using it before we could possibly find
out about the hefkeirus would be violating the chazakah, and would be

Of course, ask your LOR if you have such questions in practice. :-)

Micha Berger                    red---6-murder---kindness-Abraham-body---nefesh
<berger@...>  212 224-4937   green-7-incest---Torah----Jacob---mind----ruach
<aishdas@...>  201 916-0287   blue--8-idolatry-worship--Isaac---soul-neshamah
	<a href=http://www.iia.org/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Elhanan Adler <ELHANAN@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 4:45:17 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Shahak story

Warren Burstein asked:

>We've discussed this before, I hope not to repeat the entire
>discussion.  As I recall, one saves the life of a non-Jew on Shabbat
>"mipnei darchei shalom".  However, I found the following on another
>mailing list.

and then continued with the well-worn Shahak story:

>he [Shahak] says that he witnessed "an ultra-religious Jew refuse
>to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath in order to call an
>ambulance for a non-Jew who happened to have collapsed in his Jerusalem
>neighborhood".  He says further that he sought an opinion from members
>of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem on whether this person's behavior
>was appropriate and, "They answered that [he] had behaved correctly ...
>and backed their statement by referring [Shahak] to a passage in an
>authoritative compendium of Talmudic laws".   Shahak says that this was
>reported by him in Ha'aretz at the time and "the story caused a media

This was indeed discussed about a year and a half ago - in that discussion
I had posted the following (in reply to a question raised by Warren)
More recently - about 30 or so years ago there was a story publicized in
Israel about a non-Jew who was injured in an accident on Shabbat in
Jerusalem and was refused help by religious Jews (I believe the story
was later proven to be false). A reason was advanced that in Israel we
do not have to be concerned with evah (creating hatred against Jews). At
the time, Rav Unterman z"l (then chief Rabbi) came out with a psak that
given the state of world-wide communications and international media,
acts done by Jews in one place on the globe could easily cause real
danger to Jews elsewhere. I remember Rav Unterman visting YU (early
1960s) and giving a shiur on this topic.

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel          *
* Israeli U. DECNET:      HAIFAL::ELHANAN                                  *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *


From: "Yaakov Menken" <ny000548@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 13:49:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Torah-Forum

>Nicolas Rebibo writes:
>> I just cannot understand the aim of this new list. I always considered
>> mail-jewish as being that "on-line Bais Medrash".
>Avi Feldblum responded:
>Let me say what I understood Menken to be setting up. If I have
>it incorrect, then I invite Yaacov to correct me.
I'm afraid that Avi may have indeed misunderstood my comments, which 
emphasized differences in purpose.  The reason for the emphasis was 
simple: I respect Avi and mail-jewish a great deal, and Torah-Forum is 
not intended to "compete".  However, there _will_ be a certain amount of 
inevitable movement, which isn't necessarily negative - we _all_ want to 
at least keep constant if not reduce the volume here on m-j.

I think it would be incorrect to describe mail-jewish as an on-line Bais 
Medrash - mail-jewish has a different style and greater reach.  We 
frequently discuss intra-Orthodox issues that have little to do with 
learning and have less than zero appeal to a non-Orthodox person.
Torah-Forum should be just that:  a _forum_, where there will indeed be 
a back and forth - but of Divrei Torah.  And many interested in 
exchanging Divrei Torah and with no interest in Jewish politics may 
indeed send them to that address.  We're not interested in only 
presenting one perspective, and yet we are aiming for some sort of 
Rabbinic control.

It is a perhaps obvious point that a traditional Bais Medrash has a 
Rosh Yeshiva.  Avi is not out to police us, because we all have our own 
poskim upon whom we rely - this is _not_ true for every Jewish explorer in 
CyberSpace, so Torah-Forum will for their sake more clearly delineate what
is limud (learning) and what is psak (Halachic ruling).

Discussing wife-beating will only go on after a clear announcement that 
across the board, no Rabbi or Rabbinical court permits wife-beating of 
the variety that has encroached upon us from the secular world.  _Now_
let's look at the Rambam and other sources where one might get a 
different impresion.  Everyone can agree that a married woman who wears
a sheitl (wig) has many great people upon whom to rely.  _Now_ let's 
discuss the sources that have compelled some to forbid this (according 
to Shaul Wallach, Rav Ovadiah Yosef included).

This does _not_ mean that only traditional/right wing positions will be 
expressed, not at all:  a variety of Halachic perspectives can be 
clearly expressed along with an understanding of their sources.  We 
might indeed have a long back and forth about the positions taken by 
Rabbis from across the spectrum concerning military service. We _will_ 
try to keep the discussion to issues of learning, and therefore
what will be conspicuously absent is an assault on the Chareidi 
community for "lacking Hakarat hatov" when they choose to rely upon 
their poskim.  

The "board of editors" will remain anonymous not because of potential 
complaints about what will be censored, but because of what some 
Chareidi Rabbis might have to say about what will _not_ be censored.
[I'll just say:  I'm relying on a board!]  The three editors, 
incidentally, are all fine Talmidei Chachamim (Talmudic scholars) - one 
who has been on m-j frequently in the past, one who only occasionally 
appears, and one who - to the best of my knowledge - has never appeared 
here.  Participation in Torah-Forum should be much the same.

Less than one week after the announcement, we already have 140 subscribers
(at current rates, probably 150 by this reading)... so obviously someone
thinks the new list is needed!

Yaakov Menken
Project Genesis


End of Volume 17 Issue 46