Volume 28 Number 33
                      Produced: Wed Nov 25  8:17:12 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

7 children
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Avraham and Yishmael
         [Joel Rich]
Chalav Yisrael
         [Perets Mett]
DNA testing
         [Israel Pickholtz]
Eruv use
         [Melech Press]
Milk in Chutz L'Aretz
         [Zvi Weiss]
Request for kosher food
         [Janice Rosen]
The time of the Molad
         [Lee M. Spetner]
various replies
         [Shlomo Pick]
Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?"
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Yitzhchak and Yishmael
         [Steve Gindi]


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 20:51:32 -0800
Subject: 7 children

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu wrote:
>A man is Biblically obligated to support his children 
>till they are 6; after 6 however, he is rabinically obligated
>and it is considered an act of Tzedakah 
>          (Paraphrase of Rambam, Marriage, 12:14-15)
>Thus a person who has 7 children is continually performing charity and
>therefore gets a share in the next world.
>The gmarrah probably chose "7 children" because at the "7 children mark"
>most people enter a status of "not being economically able to support
>all 7 children (under ordinary work conditions)" and therefore his

I would think that the 7 mark would indicate that at least one child must
be more than 6 years old...assuming the Gemarrah isn't talking about
the McCaugheys...and therefore is the time at which the charity would
be beginning.

--Leah Gordon


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 09:51:44 EST
Subject: Re: Avraham and Yishmael

> Another explanantion I heard from a colleague at work is one that
> requires us to look at midrashim not in their literal sense, but rather
> as metaphors in a more global sense.  This interpretation says that
> Eliezer represents Christianity and Ishmael represents Islam. In that
> case both representatives of the 2 leading religions were present and
> witnesses to the fact that indeed Yitzchak was the chosen heir to
> Avraham's legacy. Moreover both had been candidates in the past to be
> potential heirs, and here they are recognizing Yitzchak's supremacy. 
> Esther Parnes

Rav J.B. Soloveitchik on "chamesh drashot" offers another metaphoric
explanation. That Eliezer and Yishmael represent the non-Jews in the
world and that they share and have a role in part of our journey but in
the end they must stay behind(shvu lachem po im hachamor) while we
fufill our ultimate destiny.

Kol Tuv, 
Joel Rich

Ps please forgive my inability to fully articulate the Rav's tora-I'll
be glad to send copies of the complete section to anyone who desires


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 98 14:10:07 +03d0
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisrael

Steven White writes:

>4. There are two reasons that this is really a kula at all, rather than
>spot- on normative halacha.  First, it is always preferable to have an
>observant Jew as mashgiach (supervisor) rather than to rely on others.
>Second, it reminds one to be sure that reliable government regulation is
>really in place.  This kula is widely accepted to apply in the US,
>Canada, UK, Australia (and I think New Zealand), but there are other
>countries where one cannot necessarily rely on "stam" milk.

It is by no means clear that Reb Moyshe zts"l 's p'sak applies (or even
was meant to apply) outside the US. In the UK, for example, it is not
clear that government regulations forbid the mixing of milk from other
animals than cows. Nor is there evidence that MAFF (Ministry of
Agriculture Fisheries and Food, which regulates the food industry in the
UK) has any controls or supervision to prevent other milk being sold.

Finally what does "widely accepted" mean? What proportion of shomrei
shabbos in England drink unsupervised milk? I think it is far smaller
than in the US. I query the basis on which such a statement is made -
even though cholov yisroel is significantly more expensive than ordinary
milk in England.

Perets Mett


From: Israel Pickholtz <p2o5rock@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 15:43:36 +0200
Subject: DNA testing

A few days ago when the radio spoke of a burial of soldiers' body 
parts that had been missing, Rav Yaacov Ruja of the Tel-Aviv 
Hevra Kadisha was interviewed.  Among other things, he said that 
DNA testing on body parts is acceptable.  He wasn't asked 
sources, but from previous encounters I know that he always has 

Israel Pickholtz


From: <mpress@...> (Melech Press)
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 01:28:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Eruv use

The discussion recently of Eruv use raises once again the question of
"chumras" that comes up every so often and that is embedded more in
psychological than halakhic questions.  Many of the issues that are
discussed under this rubric embody ancient arguments in Halakha that
will never be resolved. In such cases it is perfectly appropriate for
individuals to choose to be stringent while not in the least denying the
rights of others, including their own family members, to disagree and to
rely on the poskim favoring leniency. The Eruv is such an example,
though in addition to the basic disagreement it also includes some of
the technical and educational themes already discussed by recent
posters.  The core issue, however, lies in the definition of a public
domain (reshus horabim).  The Shulkhan Arukh and Remo accept the more
lenient definition of the reshus horabim, thus permitting the
construction of "Eruvin" (more properly tzuros hapesakh) in contemporary
cities as was done in the major cities of Europe.  Most Rishonim,
however, appear to accept the more stringent definition of such a domain
and according to them it would be improper to construct an Eruv. This
debate involves an issur d'oraisa (Torah prohibition) and various great
decisors have previously ruled not to rely on the Eruv, in accordance
with the principle that a doubt in a Torah prohibition should be
resolved stringently.  It is perfectly appropriate for anyone to say
that I choose not to violate the possibility of a Torah issur while
fully respecting your right to rely on the leniency of the Shulkhan
Arukh.  It is even acceptable for a family head to say that he chooses
to be stringent but does not expect others in his family to do likewise,
since they need not be bound by his doubts.  The appropriateness of
refusing to use the Eruv is supported by the other poskim who object to
our Eruvin for other reasons (the Rambam, for example).  It would seem
that those who conclude that every "chumra" is intended to insult the
mekilim should at least learn to discriminate between stringencies with
minimal foundations (black vs. gray hats, for example) and those that
grow from long-standing Halakhic disputes; the majority of such issues
discussed on mail-Jewish have been of the latter type. 

Melech Press
Professor of Psychology and Deputy Chair, Touro College
1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-252-7800, ext. 275


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:42:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Milk in Chutz L'Aretz

> From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
> But more to the point, I work now in a dairy farm in Israel, and have a
> question I don't remember seeing brought up when I lived in the States
> (where I happened to work as a mashgiach kashrut). Tnuva (the
> agricultural cooperative to whom we sell our milk) has a policy that we
> should consult with their rabbinate (the Rav of Tnuva is R' Zev Whitman
> (sp?)) about any surgical procedures done on cows -- Caesarean sections,
> etc. This is because of the risk that these procedures can cause the cow
> to no longer be kosher.
> Is this a concern in Chutz L'aretz as well? If so, that could cause
> significant problems -- since I assume most dairies don't have that
> level of supervision and cooperation with kashrut authorities. I have
> heard that this is a relatively new psak -- does anyone know the
> background to it? Are there opinions who say it is not a concern?

  Who remembers the Great Milk Scare of not that long ago?  The problem
was almost EXACTLY what the poster mentioned here.  That a surgical
procedure was being done on cows that could make them (according to at
least SOME opinions) be considered "Treife" -- and the milk would then
be prohibited since milk from a Treife cow is -- itself -- nonkosher.
There was quite a bit written up on the matter with material from
R. Belsky (who was lenient) and others who wanted to be more
stringent....  I received form the "New Square Kollel" a write-up that
discussed this in great detail and seemed to conclude that this is
another reaosn to be careful to drink "real Chalav Yisrael" since THOSE
cows are more carefully monitored for just this sort of thing....



From: Janice Rosen <janicer@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 14:35:41 +0000
Subject: Re: Request for kosher food

Responding to: <Edgm1@...> (Gerry Sutofsky)
> Requests are made for kosher food from teachers who
>are Jewish but not frum and who eat tref all year round. As our kosher
>food costs more and might be a burden on our PTA, these teachers are
>told that kosher food is only for teachers who "require" not request. My
>question is do we deny a Jew the opportunity to eat a kosher meal
>because the teacher in charge of getting the kosher meals feels that it
>isn't right to ask for a kosher meal if you are not really frum and
>don't require it or should an effort be made to get kosher food for all
>those who request it. Is there a specific halacha involved here?  

I think more is at issue here than the "halacha" of eating kosher
food. The question to ask is why would a teacher order a kosher meal
without sufficient motive? Having eaten both categories of food myself
(not at Brooklyn PTA meetings, but in general) I can't see someone
insisting on kosher food just as a luxury perk. It could be out of a
desire to show more "Jewish unity" among a mixed crowd, and that is
probably a good thing. And maybe these non "frum" individuals really do
watch watch the categories of food they permit themselves. Frumkeit is
not an absolute, it's a process. By questioning their level of
observance in refusing them the chance to order kosher food, they are
being alienated from the possibility of greater Orthodox practice. There
must be something halachically wrong about _that_.


From: Lee M. Spetner <lspetner@...>
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 20:13:39 +0200
Subject: The time of the Molad

Alexander Heppenheimer wrote regarding the announcement of the Molad. He

>... for new references check out the
>TorahTidbits mailing list sent out by Phil Chernofsky of the NCSY in
>Jerusalem ...  This shabbos he stated that the molad will be at
>8:23 AM Yeruashalayim Solar time which would be 8:03 AM Israel Standard
>Time (on the clock - which is 1:03 AM Eastern Standard Time). 

What appeared in the Torah Tidbits is incorrect. Mean Solar noon is not
always at 12:00 noon in Cairo. To convert the Molad time to standard
time correctly, one must subtract the difference between 12:00 and the
time of Chatzos in Jerusalem in standard time. The latter can be found
by taking the midpoint between sunrise and sunset in Jerusalem for the
day on which the Molad occurs. One can see that this difference is not a
constant 20 minutes as the Torah Tidbits erroneously states.


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 09:33:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: various replies

1.  As while back a question was asked conserning kavanah during the
prayers. I wanted to simply note the shaarei teshuva to orach chayim
52, note 1.
2.  re: driving and davening.  I don't recall anyone mentioning that the
first verse (and some say even a bit more than that) requires special
kavanah (see mishne brurah to 5:3 and 60:11).  With that in mind, see
Mechaber, orach chayim, 63:3 that one who is walking should stop and say
the first pasuk of shma. see the mishne brurah ad. loc. what happens if
he didn't stop. when one is a passenger, he not stop, however, if he
were the driver, then it would appear to be similar to the case of
riding an animal where the mishne brurah 63:10 is stringent and poskens
that he should stop, due to the problem of kavanah. hence, it would
appear that even if one could say pesukei dezimra by heart without any
special kavanah and likewise with birchot keriyat shma, and certainly 2
parshot of shma, the first pasuk would require pulling over to the side
of the road, stopping and conentrating with all the necessary kavanah to
fulfill the reading of shma.
3. re:getting olam haba for doing a mitzva. the primary example is
reciting ashrei three times a day and  a person is assured of getting
olam haba - based upon the gemorrah at the beginning of BT brachot 4b. 
I would like to point out the beit yosef to orach chayim 51, s.v.
vetzarich pointed out that saying ashrei three times a day every day is
not a guarantee for olam habah, but if one's scales are in balance, then
ashrei everyday 3 times a day will tip the scales towards olam haba.
apparently, other similar real statements by chazal would have the same
4. re: titharu. and finishing the pasuk. I just wanted to point out that
the paytan apparently changed the mishna in bt yoma 66a which had the
entire pasuk with tithaur and then vehakohanim....  All those who have
asked about it, baruch shekevantem to the Mikra'ei Kodesh of  Rav Zvi
Pesach Frank zt"l on Yamim Noraim, pp. 168 f. He suggests that the poet
changed it so that the chazzan should say it out loud Titharu  which at
that point would mean (also) Be purified! and it is similar (or in lieu
of ) the High Priest who also blessed the Jews Titharu.  He actually
suggests that the chazzanim should not say that part with the
congregationm but repeat it with this in mind. His two page essay is
worth looking up.


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 11:11:58 EST
Subject: Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?"

       Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...> notes that at the
Akeida Yeetzchak was 37 years old and Yishmael was 50.  Even if these
figures are not exact, the general consensus is that neither was a
youngster at the time, but long past the age of adulthood.
       That being the case, how could they be the ones referred to as
"Avraham took shnay **na'arav** eeto?"  A naar is a lad, not a
50-year-old or a 37-year old!
    Yeshaya Halevi


From: Steve Gindi <steve@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 06:30:49 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Yitzhchak and Yishmael

I have an old drash from a couple of years ago about this complicated

You can find it at 

Steve Gindi - http://www.milknhoney.co.il
<steve@...> tele/fax 972-2-999-1554
PO Box 291 - Jerusalem, Israel


End of Volume 28 Issue 33