Volume 18 Number 54
                       Produced: Tue Feb 21  0:36:40 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ancient Non-Biblical Game
         [Joe Wetstein]
         [Warren Burstein]
Kashrut in Israel
         [Elhanan Adler]
Mi Sheh-Beyrach for non-Jews
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Minimally Kosher (2)
         [Binyomin Segal, Warren Burstein]
Shavuos or Pentacost?
         [Laurie Solomon]
title Rabbi
         [David Saelman]
Worchestershire Sauce
         [Eliyahu Teitz]


From: <jpw@...> (Joe Wetstein)
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 00:06:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Ancient Non-Biblical Game

Does anyone recall the rules for the game played with five little metal
blocks sometimes called 'kugulach' or 'chamesh avanim'? There are _many_
levels of the game, and I would like the details of each.

Some friends of mine and I were trying to recall the game from our 
elementary school years, but can't remember. Any help would be appreciate.

Yossi Wetstein


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 10:06:00 GMT
Subject: Re: Hashgachot

>There have been numerous cases cited in the Jewish Media on this issue
>during the past few years.  The most famous case I can remember have to
>do with clubs or halls in Tel Aviv which had belly dancers.  The Court
>ordered the Rabbanut to certify these as kosher, despite the Mashgiach
>being unable to enter as a result to modesty issues.  There have also
>been a number of cases involving Shabbat observance.  I do not save old
>issues of the various papers so I don't have additional specific

All that is needed is to have no food brought into the hall while the
immodest display is going on (what's in there can stay, we don't have
to suspect that the guests brought in treif food in their pockets).
Now can you cite a case where there was a real impediment to
hashgachah but the court ordered it to be certified as kosher?

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


From: Elhanan Adler <ELHANAN@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 10:35:24 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Kashrut in Israel

Harry Weiss in his comments is narrowing in on one aspect of a wider 
phenomenon. I would like to add some perspective with the following notes:

1) The State of Israel is a secular country and seems highly likely to
remain so for the forseeable future (or until coming of the Mashiah
bimherah be-yamenu)

2) The Rabbinate of Israel could have opted to be the Rabbinate of the
religious only (as is the Orthodox Rabbinate of virtually every other
country in the world). This would have meant giving up all resposibility
for the rest of Israeli Jewry - and creating a situation of mass civil
marriage and divorce.  The Rabbinate preferred to work within the
system. The state - under it's own secular laws - grants the Rabbinate
authority in various matters. Therefore, a Jew in Israel cannot marry or
divorce except through the Rabbinate (this *could* have been a great
opportunity for kiruv - unfortunately it is often the opposite - but
that's another story)

3) This has been, ever since the founding of the state, a cause of
friction.  The Rabbinic courts feel (correctly from their standpoint)
that they are independent and able to take a stand on *any* matter. The
secular courts feel (correctly from *their* standpoint) that the
Rabbinate's authority over the public at large is limited *only* to
those areas which the Knesset has legislated.

4) The supreme court of Israel has over the last few years issued
several decisions limiting or overruling the authority of Rabbinical
courts. From their standpoint they have the authority to do so. This is
particularly true in cases where the Rabbinate has tried to use it's
authority in one area to influence another area where they do not have
*secular-law authority* such as using kashrut certification to regulate
moral behavior (the famous belly dancer case) or Shabbat observance in
hotels. The courts have never legislated kashrut per-se and I highly
doubt they would.

5) This attitude on the part of the court cannot be simply explained as
anti-religious. The supreme court of Israel has, in recent years, become
much more activistic in all its decision making - intervening in cases
it never would have touched 10 years ago. In recent years the court has
instructed the attorney-general to reopen criminal cases he decided not
to prosecute, has ruled on the fitness of various government
appointments, on coalition agreements, etc. Court intervention in cases
where they think the Rabbinate has overstepped its secular-law mandate,
or acted irrationally should be seen as part of this trend.

6) As for the belly dancer case itself (I believe it was in Ashdod) -
let's face it - claiming that the mashgiah would have to run out of the
hall and therefore leave it unwatched is a rather weak excuse. We are
talking about a 15-20 minute "show" towards the end of the wedding - in
the main hall, and the mashgiah is usually in the kitchen the whole time
anyway. Not that I am justifying or recommending belly dancing - the
Ashdod Rabbinate wanted to use kashrut certification to control public
morals and when the court demanded they prove a link between the two -
that was the best excuse they could come up with.

7) The so-called "status quo" in Israel has been under continuous strain
ever since the state was founded - and, like all compromises, leaves
both sides unsatisfied. It does allow all of us here to live together in
a framework where Shabbat (and not Sunday) is the general day of rest
(however people may interpret it), where the national holidays are ours
(and not *theirs*), where a religious Jew can serve in the army without
compromising his beliefs and where the problems of mamzerut are
practically non-existant compared to the U.S.

8) As for kashrut: Yes there are different standards, humrot, etc. You
can't enforce maximum kashrut (whatever that is) throughout a state wide
system. In Israel there is hardly a public institution or major place of
work whose lunchroom isn't kosher - i.e. the people who eat there are
not eating treif (even if relying on leniencies I might personally
prefer not to use). You would have to really go out of your way to in
Israel to find really non-kosher food ingredients (try to find something
really non-kosher in an Israeli supermarket). Don't knock a situation in
which the vast majority of Israelis are eating basically kosher
food. The more observant Jews are aware of this and pickier in terms of
what they buy and where they eat. Orthodox tourists should be aware of

9) The Rabbinate (State Rabbinate) in Israel has managed, mostly
successfully, to influence the critical areas of Jewish life in
Israel. It would have been much easier to just take care of the Orthodox
community (as some of the specific non-state groups do) - and which many
non-religious Jews would prefer they do. Minimal kashrut is one of the
big success areas - I prefer this state to one where 20% of the public
is eating 100% kosher and 80% is eating 100% treif - it's called being
responsible for your fellow jew (kol yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh)

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Tel.: 972-4-240535  FAX: 972-4-257753    *
* Israeli U. DECNET:      HAIFAL::ELHANAN                                  *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 12:59:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Mi Sheh-Beyrach for non-Jews

someone posted that it would be comical to say john ben mary in a mi
sheh-beyrach.  on the contrary.  i find it comical when a gabbai does
not know the hebrew name of a jew and assigns him one based on his or
her english name.  it would be much more correct imho to use the english
name which correctly identifies him and not some assumed hebrew name
(this is in fact done on gittin, where an incorrect identification
invalidates the get ).

eliyahu teitz


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 15:38:30 -0600
Subject: re: Minimally Kosher

 Lon Eisenberg writes about his dismay that the religious should suffer
 inconvienence to prevent the non-religious jew from sinning - eating
 non-kosher, violating shabbos, etc.

My first reaction was to write a scholarly essay about what exactly our
obligation is. The more I thought about it, the less prone to non
emotional writing I became.

One of the big underlying topics on this list that sneaks up all the time
is ahavas yisroel (loving fellow jews) and achdus (unity). We might ask
ourselves - exactly what is "Jewish Unity"? Chazal's formulation is - Kol
Yisroel Areivim Zeh LaZeh (Every Jew is A Guarantor/CoSigner One for the
Other). This is understood quite literally (sorry no sources handy). If I
do not do everything in my power (and defining that is quite a trick I
admit) to insure every other Jews Shabbos observance, then my personal
Shabbos is not complete.

Recently here on mj I believe we heard a story about the relationship of
Shabbos observance in Berlin & Kotsk (Avi - do you remember this?
[Sorry, my brain is currently somewhat fried from overload. Mod.])

Another interesting example can be found in Navi - Yehoshua loses the
battle at Ay. He goes to G-d and G-d tells him - the Jewish people
sinned, they took spoils at Yericho. Now we - who read the earlier parts
know that G-d seems to be lying - only 1 person took spoils! Yehoshua
seems to understand G-d's meaning right away he knows that only 1 person
took spoils! He understood something very essential about the
relationship of the Jewish people.

Imagine a young child takes a cookie without permission - on being
caught s/he says - but it was my right hand that took it - not me! That
is _exactly_ what happens when we try to disassociate ourselves from the
Jew who chooses not to keep Shabbos.

I understand that there are limits to what we can do - there are times
when we must "merely" put up our hands to Hashem and ask Him to help our
unfortunate right arm - but emotionally we _must_ recognize them as part
of ourselves - Yisroel af al pi shechata Yisroel ho - (a jew who sinned
is still a jew) - and as such we must feel the need to go out of our way
to save them from sin.


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 09:54:48 GMT
Subject: Re: Minimally Kosher

Lon Eisenberg writes:
>Is the rabbinate providing kashruth certification for the hilonim

Although one might get the impression that the Israeli public is
divided into Datiim and Chilonim (sometimes just Haredim and
Chilonim), there is *spectrum* of practice.  There are even those who
consider themselves to be Dati who have no problem with Rabbanut
hechsherim, and do not appreciate being treated as if they don't

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


From: Laurie Solomon <0002557272@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 15:38 EST
Subject: Shavuos or Pentacost?

We recently had some family and friends over (both Jewish and
non-Jewish--the friends not the family) and someone brought up that they
read a book called "Ask the Rabbi", by Rabbi Yeckiel Eckstein, the head
of the Fellowship of Christians and Jews.  The book is a series of Qs
from Christians and As from the (Orthodox) Rabbi.  The book had a
chapter on Jewish holidays, where the three Festivals are discussed:
Passover, Pentacost and Tabernacles.  They were wondering what
Tabernacles was and if Pentacost was both a Jewish and Christian

I told them that I had never celebrated Pentacost, but that I believed
it was Christian, sometime around Easter. Feast of Tabernacles, is the
english translation for Sukkot.

As a generic/non-religious source, we looked it up in Webster's
Dictionary, and sure enough, the first definition listed was just the
word "Shavuot".  The second definition discussed it as the 5th Sunday
after Easter (hence the penta-) when "the spirit" descended on his

What I want to know is, is this truly a Christian holiday/period, or is
it or was this a Jewish holiday/event?  With the word "penta-" it would
correspond to Shavuos being the 50th day after Pesach.  Maybe Shavuos
used to be called Pentacost in Greek days, and the Christians took it
from us?

Anyone know?
Laurie Solomon Cohen


From: David Saelman <david_saelman@...>
Date: 17 Feb 1995 10:54:07 U
Subject: re: title Rabbi

For at least the last 200 years it seems that there is little
correlation between the title of 'Rabbi', and one's credentials or
ability to give a 'psak'.  Of course it is poshet that a person who gets
ordination from a Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Secularist,
or any other institution that is outside the realm of normative
traditional Judaism is not really a real Rabbi in the halachic sense.
However, there have been cases in Russia during the last 80-120 years
were individuals with little or no halachic background were given
Simicha by some Rabbis so that they would be able to avoid the brutality
and hardship of serving in the Russian army (Which was notorious for
being an institution where a significant number of men did not return).
This was done because of 'pekeuch nefesh'.  For more detail on this one
can listen to the Jewish History tapes on this period by Rabbi Berel

David Saelman - <dsaelman@...>#000#


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 12:59:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Worchestershire Sauce

andy goldfinger writes that the baltimore vaad told him that the steak
sauce has an amount that is deemed insignificant as far as the meat it
wil be put on and therefore does not have a fish classification.

the question i ask is this: do the regular rules of bittul ( less than
1/60 for example ) apply to matter deemed dangerous ( sakana ) or are
there more strict rules regarding this area?

eliyahu teitz


End of Volume 18 Issue 54