Volume 25 Number 71
                      Produced: Tue Jan  7 22:15:28 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Beer for Havdala motzei pesach
         [Benjamin Waxman]
Chamar Medina and Seltzer
         [Carl Singer]
         [Carl Sherer]
Communal Fasting and non-Orthodox Jews
         [Robert Kaiser]
Drinking on Purim (2)
         [Yeshaya Halevi, Binyomin Segal]
Fasting on Taanis Esther
         [Moishe Friederwitzer]
She'hechiyanu on Yom Tov
         [Jonathan Katz]
Soda as Chamar Medinah
         [David Oratz]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 22:10:02 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all,

Welcome to secular year 1997. I'll try to put together a more formal
"State of the mailing list address" in the next few days. I did want to
take a few minutes to address a couple of items. The list continues to
grow, and we are hovering now around 2000 members. Shamash has had a bit
of a rocky road this last 12 months, but appears to be stable and
growing now. We will be expanding the mail-jewish family of lists this
week with the addition of the mj-machashava list, which you will hear
more about in the next day or two. At the end of this volume, I will be
resending the Welcome message as a #0, but one issue that has come up a
few times recently is the issue of the use of untranslated Hebrew
terms. Here is what I have written in the Welcome message:

3) Hebrew

  All transliterations of hebrew words, except those that are "common",
  should also be translated. The members of the mailing list span a wide
  range of knowledge and background, and we would like things to be
  understood by all. Words such as Torah, Shabbat, Mitzvah fall in the
  catagory of "common". If you are unsure, it is better to err on the
  side of including the translation. If the translations are missing,
  the moderator will either supply the translation, clearly marking that
  the translation was added by the moderator, or will send the
  submission back to the submitter for translation.

I've been letting a lot of stuff through, I will resume enforcing this
in the near future. Make my job and your's easier by trying to follow
this rule in the future.

I would like to thank all the people who have sent in their subscription
contributions. The mail-jewish family will be joining Shamash as a full
consortium member in the next few weeks, so look forward to our new web
address as we get our own virtual address. I'll be contacting several of
you who have indicated interest in helping upgrade the mail-jewish home
page, and expect to see some good changes over the next few weeks.

I want to remind everyone that there is an associated list, mj-announce,
where all announcement type submissions are sent. So if you sent in an
announcement about a lecture or new list, a request for information
about kosher and jewish facilities in some city or other submissions
that I deem to be announcements or requests, are likely to be posted to
this list rather than mail-jewish. To subscribe to mj-announce, send the

subscribe mj-announce Your_Name

to: <listproc@...>

where you replace Your_Name with your real name (not email
address). Another associated list is mj-ravtorah, where Josh Rapps and
Izzy Rivkin send out a weekly dvar torah based on Dr. Rivkins notes of
shuirim of the Rov that he attended for many years. Subscription to that
list is similar to the above:

subscribe mj-ravtorah Your_Name

to the same address.

OK, this is enough for now, but I will be back in this spot in the next
day or two.

Avi Feldblum


From: Benjamin Waxman <benjaminw@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 08:44:58 +0200
Subject: Beer for Havdala motzei pesach

The origin of drinking beer for havdala at pesach is in the Rama, Orach
Chaim, the laws of Havdala (sorry I can't remember the exact chapter).
there he says that there is such a minhag.  The idea behind the minhag
is-once hametz is permitted you should eat it. Doing this you give boundries
to the holiday and show, in an inverted way, the importance of not eating
hametz during pesach.  As for the technical problem of where to get the
beer-if it was sold to a non-jew before Pesach, with the stipulation that
beer reverts to its original owner immediately after the holiday, then there
is no problem.
Ben Waxman, Technical Writer
<BenjaminW@...>, www.livelink.com
        Tel. +972-2-6528274, Fax. +972-2-6528356
                   LiveLink Systems Ltd.
        World Leaders in Hyperlinking Technology


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 97 15:20:06 UT
Subject: RE: Chamar Medina and Seltzer

>  since seltzer is nothing more than water with CO2

I know the above is out of context re: discussion of chamar medinah
(I've recently joined list and missed most of previous discussions.)
But on another subject I want to caution against a simplistic view of
seltzer -- the Carbon Dioxide may be produced via rather complex
industrial processes.  These processes may involve fermentation and
result in issues re: Kashruth, especially re: Chometz.  Unfortunately,
little in today's commercial food chain is as simple and straightforward
as we might like.  That's in essence why reading ingredient labels
without prior information is insufficient.


From: Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 22:31:58 +0000
Subject: Cheese

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.

An article dealing with this question appeared in the Journal of 
Halacha and Contemporary Society, Volume V at page 92.  The article 
was written by Rabbi Alfred S. Cohen and is called "Chalov Yisrael".  
At pages 102-106, Rabbi Cohen reviews the various views regarding 

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: <KAISER@...> (Robert Kaiser)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 13:53:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Communal Fasting and non-Orthodox Jews

Russell Hendel, on 1/2/97, writes:

	Jewish law is very clear that when the community has a need
	it should proclaim a public fast, examine its sins, repent 
	and then has the right more or less to expect that G-d will
	answer them.......
	(2) Why should conservative and reform join a fast?
	ANSWER:  They can join the fast without fasting and 
	participate in the communities repentance.

	I concur with Russell that communal fasting and teshuvah might
be an excellent idea with regard to the matter of Hevron and the outcome
in general of the Oslo peace accords.  However, there are two
problematic statements in his post that I would like to address, as they
have some serious bearings on Orthodox relations with non-Orthodox Jews.

	First, he lumps Reform and Conservative Jews together in the
same category, at least regarding fasts, and this is wrong.  Although
there are differences between Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, it is
important to accept that -both- consider halakha as binding.  I
recognize that this list is not for debating C. vs. O. issues, and I am
not attempting to convince people here that C. Judaism's decisions are
within the halakha.  However, it is important to accept that practicing
Conservative Jews accept halakha as binding.  Don't get me wrong; For
people here to say that Conservative Judaism is incorrect or mistaken is
legitimate, and a valid opinion.  But to imply that Conservative Judaism
does not hold halakha as binding is just plain wrong.  Conservative
Judaism is a far cry from Reform Judaism, which denies that halakha is
binding.  I refer readers of this list to Rabbi Issac Klein's "Guide to
Jewish Practice", which explicitly proclaims and outlines the binding
character of halakha for Jewish law.

	Second, why would an Orthodox Jew encourage Jews -not- to follow
halakha, and -not- to participate in a communal fast?  This post is very
much like one I read on the newsgroup society.culture.jewish, in which a
putatively Orthodox Jews proclaimed that she could not understand why
any non-Orthodox Jew would study, disucss, or follow halakha, and
implied that all such Jews should -not- follow halakha.  I hope that I
have misinterpreted Russel's post.  Perhaps he meant to say that he did
not expect a high percentage of compliance among non-Orthodox Jews; If
so, this may well be correct.  At present there is tension between the
Orthodox and non-Orthodox rabbis - and Orthodox rabbis aren't helping
when they refuse almost any kind of cooperation at almost all levels.

	Still, this brings up a question: Is Halakha binding or isn't
it?  If it truly is binding, shouldn't all halakhic Jews -encourage- the
study of Torah and halakha, the discussion of halakha, and the practice
of it?  More and more I am seeing the attitude among many Orthodox Jews
that it is better for non-Orthodox Jews -not- be learned or observant,
and I truly think that such an attitude is an outright Chillul HaShem.

	I think we all can learn from a position taken by the Union For
Traditional Judaism, in which they point out that the terms 'Orthodox',
'Conservative' and 'Reform' are all new, and that these words themselves
have no halakhic significance.  What is valid is the halakha.  When a
Jew keeps kosher, she keeps kosher.  When a Jew dons tallit and tefill
and davens Shachrit (morning prayers), he davens Shachrit.  Nu?

Robert Kaiser


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 23:09:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Drinking on Purim

Rachi Messing (<rachim@...>) writes:
<<I know it's a bit early, but a friend of mine has to do a paper for
school on drinking on Purim.  If anyone has any ideas (legal
ramifications, underage drinking, sleeping instead) that they could
please Email to me it would be greatly appreciated!>>

	Purim is a time when alcohol flows and common sense dries up.
Here's a brutal reminder to the many well meaning, hospitable people who
pour the wine, beer and stronger spirits:
	Be absolutely sure that the drinkers you host will be delivered
safely to their homes.  If you pour the alcohol which results in a car
crash or having your guests walk into an oncoming car, you could well
have more than "just" moral responsibility. Many, if not most states
make you financially responsible for the damages, under a law known as a
"Dram Shop Act." This law treats hosts as tavernkeepers who should know
when to say no to a guest.
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)

From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 1997 22:55:33 -0600
Subject: re: Drinking on Purim

*I know it's a bit early, but a friend of mine has to do a paper for
*school on drinking on Purim.  If anyone has any ideas (legal
*ramifications, underage drinking, sleeping instead) that they could
*please Email to me it would be greatly appreciated!

i just found a 2 volume work in hebrew published in 1982 by the
"Research Institute for Current Halachik Issues" called Shtiyah
V'Shichrut B'Halacha - it was sitting around at Moznaim, i bought a set
but they still have 1 or 2 sets



From: <zaidy@...> (Moishe Friederwitzer)
Date: 2 Jan 1997 21:47:06 EDT
Subject: Fasting on Taanis Esther

My wife will be leaving for Eretz Yisroel erev Taanis Esther. When
should be begin the fast?
Moishe Friederwitzer


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 1997 08:53:35 EST
Subject: She'hechiyanu on Yom Tov

I learned recently that it is not recommended for one to bless a
"she'hechiyanu" after lighting candles for Yom Tov [see, for instance,
"Shmirat Shabbat C'hilchita" in the section dealing with candle lighting
on Yom Tov]. Yet, as we know, most peple today _do_ say this bracha.

Why is it recommended that this bracha not be made? And, why has it
become almost a universal custom to say the bracha anyway?

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive - Room 233F
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: David Oratz <dovid@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 1997 22:13:06 +0200
Subject: Soda as Chamar Medinah

 With all the discussion in recent issues about soda as chamar medina,
especially the discussion concerning what Rabbis Sheinberg and Elyashiv
Shlitah meant, I was amazed that nobody -- not even the Israel and
Jerusalem addresses -- thought of asking them directly. Both are
accessible (even if Rabbi Sheinberg is far more accessible) and Rabbi
Sheinberg even has hours each day in which he can be reached in person
or by phone (I can supply any individual with his phone number and the
 I asked Rabbi Sheinberg's grandson and close confidant, Rabbi Shea
Chaitovsky, to ask him the question. The following is a fairly accurate
transcript of the questions and answers:

Q. Can soda be used for Havdalah? 
A. If it is Chamar Medinah [!!!] 
Q. What makes something a Chamar Medinah? 
A. If it is considered a Mashkeh Chashuv [an important 
drink]. Coca Cola is a Mashkeh Chashuv. 

and that is all Rabbi Sheinberg would say. 
 It goes without saying that seltzer would not fit into that category. I
might also add to you chutzniks that most of the colas (including the
other famous American name brand) are considered by most people here to
be far inferior to Coca Cola. It is my impression that other non-colas
are considered less "chashuv" as well.  So Rabbi SHeinberg can be cited
as the source for making havdalah over Coca Cola ONLY. As to Rabbi
Elyashiv, any of you care to ask him directly?



End of Volume 25 Issue 71