Volume 28 Number 20
                      Produced: Thu Nov 12  7:26:14 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avraham and Battle with the Kings
         [Mark Dratch]
Avraham and Ishmael
         [Yitzchok Zlochower]
Avraham the Warrior
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Chalav Yisroel
         [Aaron D. Gross]
Chinese Auctions
         [David Shamah]
Chlov Yisrael and Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal
         [Ezra L Tepper]
M-F Equality
         [Janice Gelb]
Male and Female Souls V28 #15
         [Neil Parks]
one more thought on Akedat Yits'hak
         [Thierry Dana-Picard]
Seek analysis of chalav yisrael machlochet
         [Zvi Weiss]
Sodom & Avrohom
         [Richard Wolpoe]


From: <MSDratch@...> (Mark Dratch)
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 09:46:20 EST
Subject: Re: Avraham and Battle with the Kings

In a message dated 11/6/98 Saul Mashbaum writes:

<< According to one opinion in the midrash (Bereshit Rabba 44:5),
Avraham had doubts as to whether his actions in the battle against the 4
kings were totally justified; he wondered if he killed someone who
should not have been killed. Hashem assured him that he has no reason to
fear, and that his actions were fully proper. >>

Although Mail Jewish is not a forum for drush, I can't resist-- besides
the dvar Torah is based on halachic reasoning.  Rabbi Yehoshua Baumol,
zt"l, author of Responsa Emek Halachah, explained: Avraham was indeed
afraid that he was no better than the kings against whom he fought. See
Gen. 14:17- Abraham meets the king of Sdom in Emek Shavei (lit., the
valley of equals).  But Malkitzedek immediately (14:18) brought Avraham
gifts of bread and wine.  Why bread and wine?  R. Baumol explained: Most
foods, when their form is changed, go down in the specificity of the
brachah recited.  For example, while an apple requires "borei p'ri
ha-etz", apple juice requires the more generic "sheh-hakol".  There are
two exceptions to this rule.  While grains require "mezonot", bread, due
to its importance, requires the more elevated blessing of "ha-motzi".
And while "ha-etz" is recited over grapes, wine is not downgraded to
"sheh'hakol," but, rather, is elevated to "ha-gafen."  Yes, said
Malkitzedek to Avraham, you have changed!  But you have elevated
yourself like bread and wine and are deserving of more elevated


From: <zlochoia@...> (Yitzchok Zlochower)
Subject: Avraham and Ishmael

It is contrary to the evident sense (pshat) of the biblical narrative
about Avraham and Ishmael to assert that Avraham was prepared to see
Ishmael and Hagar die in the desert when he sent them away at G-D's
bidding.  Avraham was told explicitly at that time (Gen. 21:13) that
Ishmael, the son of the maid, would be formed into a nation.  That
promise reinforced earlier promises that foretold a great future for
Ishmael (Gen. 17:20).  Avraham had therefore no concern that Ishmael and
his mother would not survive the trip.  He, therefore, only supplied
some initial essentials.  He could not send them off properly with an
escort since he had been instructed by G-D to listen to Sarah and she
was intent on driving them away.



From: Carl M. Sherer <carl@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 17:59:14 +0200
Subject: Avraham the Warrior

Saul Mashbaum writes:

> After the battle against the kings, Hashem tells Avraham not to fear. It
> is not clear from the text what Avraham had to be afraid of. According
> to one opinion in the midrash (Bereshit Rabba 44:5), Avraham had doubts
> as to whether his actions in the battle against the 4 kings were totally
> justified; he wondered if he killed someone who should not have been
> killed. Hashem assured him that he has no reason to fear, and that his
> actions were fully proper.
> Obviously, this rabbinic opinion explicitly rejects the premise that the
> Akedah is a 'tikkun' for Avraham the warrior.

While I'm not sure about the theory of Avraham needing the akedah 
as a tikkun for having killed in the war of the four kings, I think this 
theory goes too far in ascribing to the writer of the Medrash an 
opinion which he may not have held. 

It is possible that Avraham legitimately and justifiably killed 
someone, and yet still needed a tikkun for doing so. For example, 
a Cohen who has blood on his hands is not allowed to duchan, 
whether or not the reason that he killed is a justifiable one. 

-- Carl M. Sherer

Carl M. Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima
for my son Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya. 
Thank you very much.


From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 10:27:24 -0800
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisroel

A question.  Did anyone ever SEE Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, drink
non-chalav yisroel milk or use non-chalav yisroel dairy products?

---   Aaron D. Gross -- http://www.pobox.com/~adg


From: David Shamah <shamah@...>
Subject: Chinese Auctions

>There is a problem of Ribis (interest) when you offer something for a
>pre-publication price. The rational behind this is that the money is
>not a purchase, it's actually a loan to produce the object. Therefore
>when the customer receives the product, he is receiving something of
>greater value than what he "lent."

1. The products offered at Chinese Auctions are usually donations, so
the organization sponsoring the auction can offer them at any price, so
there should be no question of ribit because the winner is getting a
better bargain than s/he would in a store. If the shul/yeshiva wants to
sell a microwave oven for $25, well, it's their microwave to sell. 
2. Anybody who buys tickets to a Chinese Auction does it with the
intention of giving tzedaka, otherwise you'd go to a store and buy
whatever it is you had your eye on. The only real chashash of ribit is
in the event you win. I once won a very expensive Shas at an auction,
worth much more than the tickets I purchased, and was told by a Rav when
asking about this issue that the proper thing to do would be to donate
10% of the value back to the organization, implying that the transaction
of the purchase of the tickets and the winning of the Shas were
completely separate. The 10% was a ma'aser for the prize and the tickets
were tzedaka. I have been told that the same practice is common with
raffle prizes.  



From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 98 18:11:54 +0200
Subject: Chlov Yisrael and Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal

Many years ago a friend attending the Lakewood Yeshiva in the 1950's
told me that when Rav Aharon Kotler zatzal started up the yeshiva, they
served regular milk, despite the availability of supervised milk.

When one of the students asked him why they used the regular milk, he
said that Reb Moshe was the posek and if he said it was permissible in
the U.S.  it was permissible.

My friend told me that only when some hasidim started studying at
Lakewood and felt uncomfortable with the regular milk, the Rosh
Hayeshiva started bringing in the chalav yisrael.

Things must be put into their proper perspective.

Ezra L. Tepper


From: Janice Gelb <janice.gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 08:58:00 -0800
Subject: Re: M-F Equality

Frank Silbermann <fs@...> wrote:
> Feminism does not complain about women being insufficiently valued, but
> rather about women having fewer social options and opportunities for
> leadership (i.e. less power than men).  The feminist ideal of treating
> women as being completely interchangeable with men is incompatible with
> Judaism.  (On the other hand, we need not limit women's roles any more
> so than that which halacha makes absolutely mandatory.)

I have been *desperately* trying not to respond in this thread but I
really must correct the above misapprehension that "the feminist ideal"
is "treating women as being completely interchangeable with men." The
feminist ideal, as I and other women understand it, is that neither
women nor men should be limited by their gender to certain social roles.
Therefore, if some women are inclined by their nature to create a home
and raise children, feminists say kol hakavod. If other women are not so
inclined, they should not be told that these are things they *should*
want just because they are female; if they have other talents and
interests, they should be able to pursue them. (Ditto if a man wants to
stay home and raise the children.)

Ultimately, the message is that not all women are alike in their
talents, interests, or inclinations just because they are all women; nor
are all men alike.

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 98 13:13:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Male and Female Souls V28 #15

>From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
>For that matter, how come we don't all say, She Asani Kirtzono, since
>all of us, and all our souls, are different, and some men's souls are
>better than some women's and the other way round as well, and this would
>cover everyone.

A man cannot say "he made me according to his will", because when a
Jewish boy is born, he is "unfinished" until the bris milah.  But a
girl is complete at birth, already made according to Ha-Shem's will.

NEIL PARKS      Beachwood, Ohio
 mailto:<nparks@...>       http://www.en.com/users/neparks/


From: Thierry Dana-Picard <dana@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 09:21:51 +0200 (IST)
Subject: one more thought on Akedat Yits'hak

The first pasuk of Parashat Haakeda begins with "after these events";
Rashi skips the previous chapter and explains this with respect to one
chapter before, and according to some midrash.

The Rashbam on the same pasuk says that these events is the covenant
made by Avraham with Avimelekh melekh Pelishtim.

Erets Israel has already been given to Avraham's posterity (see
Lekh-lekha). Afterwards, Avraham signed an agreement with Avimelekh,
leaving him sovereignty on the land for some generations, against G-d's
will. Thus the Rashbam sees in Akedat Yits'hak some kind of punishment
for this covenant: the land has been given to Avraham's posterity
(le'olam); if Avraham abandons it to a foreigner, so he doesn't need a
posterity. As Harav Y. Ashkenazi (Manitou) said, "you don't want Erets
Israel, so give Me Yits'hak back".

Thierry Dana-Picard                                  tel: 972-2-675-12-78
Department of Applied Mathematics                    fax: 972-642-20-75
Jerusalem College of Technology


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 16:35:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Seek analysis of chalav yisrael machlochet

> From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
> My rabbi says emphatically that ordinary O-U Dairy products are kosher,
> and that in America it is a chumra to restrict one's dairy products to
> those marked "Chalav Yisrael."

 That appears to be R. Moshe's opinion.  However, it ALSO seems to be a
"chumra" that r. Moshe approved of.  Also, r. Moshe stated that --
yeshivot SHOULD have the "regular" chalav yisrael for purposes of

> In contrast, the local Chabad rabbi insists that avoidance of O-U dairy
> products is normative Halacha, and that the Orthodox Union is misusing a
> Rv. Moshe Feinstein heter that _merely_ permits a mother to feed her
> baby tref milk if kosher milk is unavailable -- and that even when the
> heter is _properly_ relied upon, ordinary USDA-inspected milk still
> trefs one's dishes.

 Regardless of Chabad's own p'sak, it appears that the "local Chabad
rabbi" is misrepresenting R. Moshe's p'sak in a major way.  Note that this
is NOT the first time that I have seen a Chabad Rep attempt to put THEIR
p'sak re Chalv Yisrael as if it was normative.  R. Moshe is quite emphatic
in his responsa that milk *in this country* is to be treated as "kosher
milk" because we have sufficient yediah ("knowledge") that it was not
adulterated by the farmer.  Not only does R. Moshe make this point
originally, he repeatedly defends it in succeeding responsa AND in later
responsa refers back to it (for example, I think he refers to it when he
later discusses cottage cheese).  In any event, r. Moshe did NOT say that
USDA-inspected milk made one's dishes treif.

> I'm not asking for a psak din, nor am I interested in tallying votes on
> who is right and who is wrong (although quoted responsa of prominent
> poskim are useful).  What I _do_ seek is a gamara-style discussion of
> the issue.  I want to know how each side in the debate arrived at its
> position, and how it counters the other side's objections.

 I think that it is quite serious to misrepresent someone else's p'sak
in an attempt to support one's own p'sak halacha.  A good "gemara-style"
discussion can be seen just in the "chain" of responsa that followed r.
Moshe's original responsa.

> Since advocates of each side are well-meaning and intelligent, I suspect
> that the disagreement over O-U dairy products stems from some
> philosophical disagreement over meta-halacha -- i.e., the nature of the
> halachic process itself.  If so, I'd to pinpoint the source of the
> disagreement.

 For starters, it is really important to go back to original sources.
The disagreement over whether to accept R. Moshe's p'sak (NOT what the
responsa stated) appears to revolve around (at least) two points:
a. does one accept the concept that our yediah is sufficient when based
upon USDA inspections and sanctions?
b. Is there a *practical* deterrent here or not?



From: <richard_wolpoe@...> (Richard Wolpoe)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 05:34:27 -0500
Subject: Sodom & Avrohom

I have a slightly different peshat as to why Avrohom was "asked" by
Hashem to defend Sodom.  Think of putting a Rosho on trial.  Most people
would not want to see that Rosho have the best attorney lest he get off
scott-free due to a technicality.  In fact Jewish lawyers have been
criticized for definding Nazis.  There's one problems with this, if the
Rosho is convicted because he was defended by a mediocre attorney, we
still have a small doubt in our minds that he got a fair trial

Hashem wanted just the opposite.  He wanted THE best lawyer in the world
to take on Sodom's case.  As a direct result of Avrohom's persistent
negotiations, we are left with the stark reality that Sodom had
virtually zero redeeming social value, and that no one may now cast
aspersions upon Hashem's judgement.

(Even Lot probably was resuced not due to his Middos but because he was
related to Avrohom and still had to father the Moshiach...)

Richare Wolpoe   


End of Volume 28 Issue 20