Volume 23 Number 38
                       Produced: Sun Mar 10 12:03:03 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bugs in Vegetables
         [David Mescheloff]
Celebrating This Year on Purim
         [Elanit Z. Rothschild]
Machtzit HaShekel
         [Carl Sherer]
R. Yaakov Kamenezky
         [Shalom Carmy]
Shabbat Yitro - 4th commandmentU
         [Hillel E. Markowitz]
Starbucks coffees
         [Ruth Roxane Neal]
Traits of Hashem
         [Gershon Dubin]
World-wide tehillim project for women
         [Sharon First]


From: David Mescheloff <meschd@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 1996 01:42:12 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Re: Bugs in Vegetables

In the above issue, anonymous wrote about bugs in vegetables, stating:  
"personally, I have never found a bug of any kind in my lettuce except 
for one ant that  was about a centimeter long."
I have been living on a religious kibbutz in Israel over 6 years.  The 
previous rabbi established the kitchen's policy of serving only whole 
leaves of lettuce in the dining hall, after washing, so that each member 
could take personal responsibility for checking the lettuce he eats.  The 
kitchen staff is overworked and could not undertake this task.  Thus we 
have no lettuce salad, etc.  Many years of experience have taught me that 
lettuce almost invariably has aphids which are physically easy to see by 
the naked eye, but which are in fact very difficult to find because 
their green color - identical to that of the lettuce leaf - is a superb 
camouflage.  I long ago gave up eating lettuce, except the kind specially 
raised here in Israel, in hothouses fitted with special netting that 
keeps the aphids out, and that usually only for Pesach.  I persuaded the 
kibbutz to supply only that special lettuce to the members for the seder 
for the past several years.
Just a few weeks ago, one of the more religiously scrupulous members - a 
gardener who knows all about aphids, said to me, almost word for word, 
what "anonymous" said in his posting.  
My response:  "If you have never found them, then you have surely eaten 
them."  He was incredulous, but accepted my suggestion to inspect the 
lettuce leaves together with someone I know checks well.  It was not long 
before he returned, to show me the aphids I had described - and which he 
kept "losing" on the leaf, every time he looked away.  He has stopped 
eating the lettuce.
"Anonymous'" Rabbi suggests dividing "bugs" into 3 categories: the "big" 
ones which are clearly forbidden, the "tiny" ones you don't have to worry 
about, and "the tiny specks of something you can see with the naked eye 
but which you can't identify as a bug unless you look at it with a 
magnifying glass".  This last group, he suggests, must be all right, 
because otherwise Jews could never have drunk water in the past, since it 
must have been dirty, before modern municipal filters came into use, and 
it was not possible to inspect every grain of dirt.
Well, the rabbi's third group is not properly defined.  As defined above, 
it really is just identical with the second group, the "tiny bugs".  A 
more appropriate definition would be "the insects that you can see with 
the naked eye if you know what to look for and how to find them, but 
which are difficult to see if you don't know what to look for and how to 
find them."  While, indeed, someone who eats such "bugs" might not be 
considered a "mayzid" (intentional transgressor), yet there is no 
question that such "bugs" are not permissible for  eating.  The Halakha 
does specify under what circumstances such "bugs" must be looked for, and 
letting onesself off by saying "I don't see it, so it isn't there", when 
in fact one could see it if one would only look, can not be an acceptable 
approach to Jewish living.  In the past, water has not generally been one 
of those food items halacha required inspecting.   Parenthetically, I am 
apalled by the similarity between the argument that suggests our 
ancestors were primitives who drank dirty water and arguments by 
anti-halakhic Jews about how advanced we are in comparison to our 
ancestors.  Frankly, there are many reasons to believe they drank water 
generally as clean as ours, if not cleaner - but I am trying to be brief.

I have a several hundred page detailed guide to vegetables and the 
various types of infestations common in Israel, with both checking and 
cleaning instructions.  Of course, the majority of vegetables, and 
fruits, normally marketed are generally clean of forbidden animal life.  
But several types are known to be very difficult problems.  Besides 
lettuce, there is cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, and an assortment of 
others, which I prefer not to detail here and now.  The guide was 
composed by Rabbi Moshe Vaya of Jerusalem, a well-known expert in the field.

I don't think the "bugs" of recent generations have gotten smaller, as 
anonymous asks - although it may be that a generation of Jews got used to 
not inspecting produce after world war II, when widespread use of 
pesticides guaranteed almost "bug"-free produce.  We live in a world now 
where resistance to pesticides has grown, and where pesticide use has 
been reduced.  So we have to be alert again.  How the rabbis of the 
Talmud checked and cleaned their produce undoubtedly depended on the real 
circumstances of infestation in the various times and places they lived.  
I rather suspect they would not be happy to be used in an argument which 
ridicules contemporary attempts to observe this Torah prohibition in the 
context of known infestation of produce in our times and places.

In the second section of the Kuzari, towards the end, Rabbi Yehuda Halevy 
wrote of how Jews must master all forms of knowledge in order to live as 
Torah-true Jews.  Ridiculing the need for some knowledge of agriculture 
and entomology seems to me out of place.  Is observance of kashruth 
appropriate only when it is easy?  Is the only way we are to approach 
mitzvah observance to consider when it conforms to our familiar habits?  
I think not.  If a new awareness of reality reveals we have to be careful 
of what we eat in order to keep G-d's mitzvot - then let us learn, and do.

David Mescheloff


From: <Ezr0th@...> (Elanit Z. Rothschild)
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 11:45:24 -0500
Subject: Celebrating This Year on Purim

In a message dated 96-03-09 16:17:45 EST, you write:

> Do we curtail our celebrations/observances to the minimum required by
>halakha, or is this davka a time when we must push ourselves to

A little insight from what we, at Bruriah High School for girls did-  the
administration was thinking of cancelling our simcha celebrations, i.e. a
band for israeli dancing and skits, on Shushan Purim, but they came to this
conclusion:  by not celebrating, we are giving in to the terrorists
themselves.  The act of celebration on a day like Purim, or Shushan Purim,
"nehepochu", shows that despite our rage and anguish, we must give thanks to
Hashem and show our commitment to the Torah and Hashem.  By celebrating
Purim, in my opinion, we are at the same time davening to Hashem and showing
Him that we still believe in Torah Judaism and that we will prevail.

Elanit Z. Rothschild


From: Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 08:31:24 +0200
Subject: Machtzit HaShekel

Danny Skaist writes:

>There is a minhag in Israel to give the worth of half a shekel of silver
>for Mahtzit hashekel (appx 7 grams I believe).
> ...
>I know that there is a disagreement among Rishonim, one opinion does
>hold that as a rememberance of the Half-shekel, we are required to give
>the current value of the half-shekel coin used in the beit hamikdash. It
>is a minority position and hallacha is that we use 1/2 of the "coin of
>the realm" and give 3 of them.
> ...
>Four Palestine Pounds was considered a reasonable salary.  Which created
>the problem of having to give well over one third of a months salary for
>machzit hashekel.  A situation in which this hallacha was impossible to
>keep without impoverishing the Yishuv.
>The solution was found by creating a heter [leniency] based on the
>minority opinion found in the rishonim and permiting giving the worth of
>7(?) grams of silver.

Sorry this response is too late to be of any use for this Purim.  While I
can't vouch for when the heter was found, the Rav of our shul discussed this
last year and if I remember correctly, he suggested that it would be best to
fulfill *both* minhagim (i.e. to give both the worth of the seven (?) grams
of silver and three half shekels in the local currency which happens to be
called the shekel, or more formally the New Israeli Shekel).  

-- Carl Sherer

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 11:18:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: R. Yaakov Kamenezky

R. Yaakov's published works EMET L"YAAKOV often cite his book on Nakh. 
Has this volume been published?


From: Hillel E. Markowitz <hem@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 00:05:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Shabbat Yitro - 4th commandmentU

On Fri, 8 Mar 1996, Claire wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 23 #35 Digest 
> Aish HaTorah's dvar Torah for Shabbat Yitro (found on shabbatshalom)
> translates the fourth commandment as:
[deleted to save space] 
> 	...Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself; thou
> 	mayest give it unto the convert that is within thy gates that he
> 	may eat it.

Logically the term "ger" must mean a nonJewish stranger in this pasuk in 
the same way that we were "gerim" in Egypt.  A "convert" is only allowed 
to eat kosher meat and could not eat teraifah.

|  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|   <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |


From: Ruth Roxane Neal <rln@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 22:28:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Starbucks coffees

In a recent posting, T. Arielle Cazaubon stated:
> Starbucks flavored coffees have some sort of unauthorized kashrut symbol on
> them, but the OU has announced that they are definitely NOT kosher

I am curious and concerned as to which flavors are considered "flavored"
coffees at Starbucks.  I have never seen anything which appeared to be a
"flavored" coffee (e.g. vanilla, irish creme, hazelnut-coconut-rasberry-
macadamia-fudge, or whatever bizarre concoction you want) at the Starbucks
outlets I have frequented in the Los Angeles area.  The issue is important
because some people I know rely on the absence of flavored coffees to be
able to buy coffee that is put through the grinder at the Starbucks stores.

Ruth Neal


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 96 01:03:00 -0500
Subject: Traits of Hashem

> described by Israel Rosenfeld in his posting.  The Ramban suggests
> that to state that G-d is merciful (or, for that matter, any other
> specific character trait) would impose a "limit" on the limitless
> Creator.  My understanding of this position is that if G-d were to be
> intrinsically merciful, it would be in some fashion difficult for Him
> (G-d forbid that we think such a thing) to act otherwise than
> mercifully. 
> Because G-d is, however, all powerful, He is above and beyond any
> limiting attribute, regardless of whether or not mortals would deem
> such character trait to be meritorious.

How does this fit in with the characterization of G-D (e.g. in the 
thirteen attributes) as merciful?  Are you saying that He is not in fact
merciful (intrinsically?) but only wants us to be?

<gershon.dubin@...>        |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG   |


From: <SharnF@...> (Sharon First)
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 1996 14:22:47 -0500
Subject: World-wide tehillim project for women

In response to the tragic events of the past few weeks, the women and older
girls in numerous Jewish communities around the world will be getting
together to say tehillim this Tuesday night, March 12.

This effort has the haskama of gedolim including Rav Avraham Pam, Rav Shmuel
Kaminetsky, Rav Yaakov Perlow, Rabbi Chaim Benoliel, Rabbi Yosef
Harari-Raful, Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz  among other  gedolim, both ashkenazi and
sephardi.  There is an ad in this week's Jewish Press (march 8th)  on page 13
regarding a related kinnus for women that night in Brooklyn.

The goal is for women around the world to doven with one voice on the
same day.  At these gatherings, women should say tehillim together, hear
a speech or shiur on ahavas yisrael, and give tsedaka.

These are the communities that have already committed to this effort:
 Baltimore, Toronto, Staten Island, London, Australia, Monsey,
Morristown, Crown Heights, Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, Scranton, Upper
West Side (Manhattan) and Washington Heights, and many communities in
Israel.  We are trying to find people to organize similar programs in
other communities.

Please e-mail me directly if you would like information on where the
program is in your community.  And if there is not yet a program
organized in your community, and you can help organize one or know who
can -- please e-mail me directly.

We can fax the flyer from brooklyn or fax letters of haskama if neccessary.
 To get information by fax, contact Raisie Horowitz by phone at 718-972-3047
; or fax her at 718-851-2803.


End of Volume 23 Issue 38