Volume 25 Number 68
                      Produced: Sat Jan  4 20:37:14 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chamar Medina (2)
         [Sam Saal, Akiva Miller]
Chamar Medinah
         [Elozor Preil]
Cheese (2)
         [Leonard Oppenheimer, Akiva Miller]
Gevinat Akum
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Incorrect Pronunciation
         [Les Train]
MALACH: Trup on Tehillim
         [Russell Hendel]
Proper Pronunciation
         [Arnold Kuzmack]
Proper pronunciation of "O"
         [David Oratz]
Wine at Havdallah
         [Cheryl Hall]


From: Sam Saal <saal@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 08:58:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Chamar Medina

Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...> brings up a good point. He wrote:

>Please be careful about using the word "soda".  In the U.S., soda
>usually refers to a sweetened, carbonated beverage (Coke, Pepsi, etc.).
>In Israel, soda refers to soda water or seltzer.  Were the above poskim
>refering to Coca-Cola or seltzer?  (If Rav Elyashiv actually used the
>word "soda" in his psak, then he certainly intended to mean "seltzer"!)

For those of you who "hold by" soda as an acceptable Chamar Medina, does
type/brand matter?

For example, Coke vs Pepsi vs lesser known cola brand?
Cola vs orange or root beer?
And what about the fancy, new, natural sodas?

Does communal acceptance matter? Would viewing and using what's served at
kiddush be an accepttable indicator?

Sam Saal      <saal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 09:16:01 -0500
Subject: Chamar Medina

In MJ 25:60, Dr. Steven Oppenheimer noted that <<< No one has even
discussed the shiur ( amount ) that needs to be consumed and the use of
whiskey for example poses special problems in that there are poskim,
Mishna Brura, for example, who require a revi'it. >>>

One of the members of my shul came up with (what seems to me) an
ingenious solution to this problem, as well as the problem of whether or
not soda is a chamar medina: He poured a certain amount of liquor (I
think it was whiskey) into a soda (Coke), and referred to it as a
"highball". I'm no bartender, but he considered it to be no different
than any other popular mixed drink such as one would get in a bar, and
would therefore count as a chamar medina. On the other hand, it was not
so powerful that drinking a full reviis of it would pose a problem.


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 03:09:15 -0500
Subject: Chamar Medinah

Shlomo Godick wrote:
Please be careful about using the word "soda".  In the U.S., soda
usually refers to a sweetened, carbonated beverage (Coke, Pepsi, etc.).
In Israel, soda refers to soda water or seltzer.  Were the above poskim
refering to Coca-Cola or seltzer?  (If Rav Elyashiv actually used the
word "soda" in his psak, then he certainly intended to mean "seltzer"!)

This would really be surprising, since seltzer is nothing more than water
with CO2 (indeed, in Israel a device exists to make your own seltzer from
water), and all poskim agree that water is never permissible as chamar

Kol tuv, 


From: <reblen@...> (Leonard Oppenheimer)
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 97 21:57 PST
Subject: Re: Cheese

> In #62, Gershon Klavan <klavan@...> writes:
> > When I was learning Yoreh Deah in Israel, I was told that in Israel today,
> >  (or at least a few years ago) that all cheese made in Israel used
> >  synthetic (non animal) rennet except for during the Pesach season.  I
> >  would assume (probably for cost reasons) that the same is true in the USA
> >  but a kashrus organization would be able to give a better answer for that.
> Avi Feldblum writes:
> This then brings us to the interesting question of whether the decree of
> Gvinat Akum [cheese of a non-Jew] is a purely kashrut question, i.e. you
> cannot eat cheese that is made by a non-Jew because it may contain
> non-kosher items, e.g. rennet. This would make Gvinat Akum very similar
> to Chalav Akum - milk of a non-Jew. The other possibility is that there
> is simply a decree not to eat the cheese of a non-Jew regardless of it's
> kashrut content, similar to Bishul Akum - the cooking of a non-Jew. In
> this case, the reason is to limit social contact.

I work three times a year at the Tillamook, Oregon Cheese factory,
making some of the finest known Kosher Cheddar as a mashgiach for the
Kof-K.  I had the same question: why are only the kosher runs that I
pour the rennet for considered kosher, if most rennet is vegetarian OU

Two facts that I found:

1) Animal rennet is alive and well in US production.  I am told by the
master cheesemakers that there is no vegetable or synthetic rennet that
can produce the truly sharp or tangy cheeses.  The vegetable rennet is
generally used for only the milder cheeses (light/medium cheddar,
American cheese ...)

2) The amount of rennet needed to cause the milk to coagulate is truly
astounding -- 70 oz of rennet is sufficient for a vat containing 55,000
gallons of milk!

I assume that the prohibition of gvinas akum comes from this fact.  The
rennet is
a) expensive
b) easy to procure from unkosher sources, and untracable after the fact
c) only tiny amount needed.

Because of this, and because the laws governing a "Dovor HaMa'amid"
(catalyzing agent) are so strict (does not follow usual laws of bitul,
because every part of mixture is said to be influenced by the catalyzing
agent), I imagine that this is why our sages made the decree against
gvinas akum.  (I have not researched this in the Rishonim and Achronim,

Rabbi Leonard Oppenheimer
Portland, Oregon

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 11:03:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Cheese

Our moderator wrote, in MJ 25:65 ---
<<< This then brings us to the interesting question of whether the
decree of Gvinat Akum [cheese of a non-Jew] is a purely kashrut
question, i.e. you cannot eat cheese that is made by a non-Jew because
it may contain non-kosher items, e.g. rennet. This would make Gvinat
Akum very similar to Chalav Akum - milk of a non-Jew. >>>

There is a big difference between non-Jewish milk and non-Jewish cheese
which is not solved merely because most (or even all) cheese producers
might use acceptable rennets. Namely, the federal government prohibits
the use of the milk of any animal other than a cow (unless clearly
labelled otherwise). That is the major (or perhaps only) argument to
allow unsupervised milk. But there are no government inspectors insuring
that only vegetable rennets are used; on the contrary, the ingredients
list simply mentions "rennet" of no specific kind. Therefore, the law of
Gvinas Akum, which states that a Jew must personally watch the kosher
rennet being added to the production, still stands in full force.

On the other hand, please note that the Smart Beat company is now making
(with the Kaf K on the label) a dairy product which is fat-free,
cholesterol-free, and lactose-free, which looks, melts, and (in my
opinion) tastes like cheese. When I noticed that the ingredients did not
seem to list rennet of any kind, my wife responded (parodying the recent
imitation shellfish products), "It's Not Cheese!"

Akiva Miller
(now at both <Keeves@...> and at KGMiller@DatacorInc.com)


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Thu,  2 Jan 97 09:53:30 PST
Subject: Gevinat Akum

The Ben Ish Hai states some things about Pat Akum which may be helpful in
the discussion about Gevinat Akum.  In Parshat Hukat, 2nd year, 
letter Bet, he says the following:  1.  The prohibition of Pat Akum did
not spread throughout all of the Jewish communities except in the form of
prohibiting the bread of a regular homeowner and not of a professional
baker. The reasons given are the difficulty of everyday living, the
centrality of bread in people's diet and the lack of Jewish bakers.  When
one buys from a baker there is no "keruv da'at" which will lead to social
interaction.  2.  There are those who even buy bread from a non-Jewish
baker when there is a Jewish baker in town and he says that this is the
practice in Bagdad.  

Name: Michael Menahem and Abby Pitkowsky
E-mail: <pitab@...>


From: Les Train <ltrain@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 00:22:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Incorrect Pronunciation

Lou Isenberg states that the oi for o pronunciaiton is 'incorrect', and
wonders where it comes from.

The long vowel o in biblical hebrew is a dipthong (more correctly - was
a dipthong). This means it was originally pronounced as an o with a w
glide after - making it a long vowel, as in the Englishword "Coke", as
opposed to cock (short vowel). In most parts of the world where Jews
settled after the diaspora started, the w glide either was not used at
all, or hardly at all.  However, to maintain the proper length of the
vowel, and its dipthong nature, the w changed to its common counterpart
- the Y. Thus, in French,for example, the name is Andrei (pronounced,
but not spelled tht way), while in English it's andrew. Interestingly
enough, the French do have a w, yet still change to y sometimes.

Referring to the ayin in Hebrew; does Lou differentiate between the ayin
in ayin - well, and the more guttural ayin in azza (Gaza)? Or the
difference between the tav and the tet. And if he did, would anyone -
other than a native Arabic speaker - notice?

Dialects and pronunciations change over time and in diferent lands, but
I don't think it fair to label some 'right' and some 'wrong', especially
when some traditions have over 1000 years of history behind them, and
greater people than ourselves used them.
  Les Train


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 13:13:56 -0500
Subject: MALACH: Trup on Tehillim

A quick but simplified answer to some of Itzhak Fingers questions on
trup in tehillim and Hefsek words [V25 n 65] are as follows:

1) Baer wrote an excellent book on Tehillim trup in 1860 (the library of
Congress is the only place I know where you can get it).  Much of the
material in this book was incorporated into Mordechai Breuers 2nd
edition of his book on Teamim.

2) WithOUT getting very technical we can safely say the following: Trup
come in two kinds: connectors (mshareth) and pauses(mafsikim). The major
PAUSE trup in Chumash are ethnachta, sof posok, katan, tipchah,
revii. The major PAUSE trup in Tehillim are ethnachta and sof posok
reviia, tipchah and revia mugrah.  NOTE: The reviia in Tehillim
FUNCTIONS the same way the KOTON does in Chumash This tends to cause
some confusion since Revii in chumash has a weaker pause capacity.  As
Itzchak correctly notes the Tipchah in tehillim is printed at the
beginning of the word (and is in fact called a tchi..."pushed" because
it was pushed to the beginning of the word).

3) PAUSE FORM: Again, as Itzchak notes certain words (like Malach) have
an ordinary form (patach kamath) and a PAUSE FORM (kamatz kamatz).  The
question then becomes when is the PAUSE FORM used. Here is the answer

4) The PAUSE FORM is almost "always" used on strong PAUSE accents(like
ethnachta and sof posook). It is "sometimes" used on weaker pause
accents (like tipcha and koton). Some good examples to understand this
principle are words like KTN (katan vs Katon) VYMR( vayomer vs VAYOMAR)
IMC (imcha vs imach). Use of a konkordance will show how this "always vs
sometimes" principle explains alot.

Now we can answer Itzchaks questions. The PAUSE FORM of mlc was used on
the PAUSE accents.  As a further comment this should not surprise us
since Reviiah in tehillim is like a ktn in chumash. For more details on
the "degree of pause" in the various pause forms one should read the
above cited books.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d.,ASA
rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Arnold Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 01:08:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Proper Pronunciation

Lon Eisenberg wrote about some patterns of errors in Hebrew by Ashkenazim:

>  1. pronouncing a milra` (stress on last syllable) as mil`el (stress on
> penultimate syllable), a common mistake in so-called Ashkenzic
> pronunciation
>  2. pronouncing 'aleph as `ayin and `ayin as 'aleph (the halakhah is
> that such a sheliah zibur [prayer leader] is disqualified), also typical
> of so-called Ashkenazic pronunciation
>  3. adding yods (that are not written) after waws (oy, oy, oy!) [Where
> does this come from?]

fI can't comment on the halakhic aspects, but I can clarify the sources of
these speech patterns, which are derived from or at least parallel those
in Yiddish.

1.  Milra as melel:  Yiddish words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin are
generally pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, e.g.,

          khAsene v. xatunAh (Yiddish v. Israeli Hebrew)
          tOYre v. torAh
          OYlem v. olAm

2. Alef v. ayin:  As far as I know, Yiddish speakers just do not pronounce
the ayin sound.  The same holds for Israeli Hebrew, of course. 

3.  Oy vey: The Hebrew vowel kholam, the little dot over the vav, is
pronounced as oy in Hebrew/Aramaic words used in Yiddish (see examples
above).  It is also used in reading Hebrew.  I don't know the origin of
this pronounciation: in particular, did it develop in Hebrew and get
picked up in Yiddish, or vice versa?

Arnie Kuzmack


From: David Oratz <dovid@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 22:14:38 +0200
Subject: Proper pronunciation of "O"

In MJ 25 #65 Lon Eisenberg asks where the "oy" sound for a cholom comes
from. I don't have a clear answer to that specific question, but one
thing is certain: Pronouncing "Lamed - Aleph" as "loy" has a far older
pedigree than pronouncing it as "low". Until the American Golus, it was
never pronounced that way, and it was only the pronunciation of the
American O that affected the pronunciation of the Cholom. The Sephardic
pronunciation, by contrast, is a blend of "Low" and "Law (and closer to
the latter!) Put in phonetic terminology, there is a dipthong in the
American pronunciation of the cholom (as in "Low"), the East European
Askenazi (as in "oy") -- and even in the Yekki (as in "ouch") -- but not
in the sephardic pronunciation.
 For my part, I think I prefer the company of those who for generations
"mistakenly" said the Cholom as in "Oy" to those who mistakenly say it
as in"low"!  By the way, Rabeinu Bechaye (or Bahye, if you choose),
whose Sephardic ancestry is unquestionable, condemns (in the beginning
of parashas Vayera) the incorrect pronunciation of Komatz as Patach
(what we refer to as the sephardic pronunciation). He explicitly writes
"Yesh Hevdel Beineihem Bamivto"[there is a diference of pronunciation
between them] and "Hamachalif Patach beKomatz ... o [Oy?} yaharos
hakavono, o yovo lidei kefiro" [He who substitutes patach for komatz
 .. either destroys his devotional intent or comes to apostasy]...



From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Wed, 01 Jan 1997 20:11:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Wine at Havdallah

I am curious regarding the reason people are not using wine for
havdallah. I know I frequently use juice because of the effect the wine
has on me. For Kiddush on Shabbat... it seems appropriate, That's
probably why there are those Shabbat naps. I hadn't really given this
that much thought before, as grape juice was very commonly used.

Cheryl <CHERYLHALL@...> Long Beach CA USA


End of Volume 25 Issue 68