Volume 29 Number 44
                 Produced: Tue Aug 10  6:48:07 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kashrut Supervision and Shabbat
         [David I Cohen]
Lifnei Evair (4)
         [Israel Botnick, Joseph Geretz, Eli Clark, Zvi Weiss]
Previous Generations (3)
         [David I. Cohen, Zev Sero, Richard Wolpoe]


From: David I Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 13:46:19 EDT
Subject: Kashrut Supervision and Shabbat

Although this topic has been exhaustibly many able posters, there is one
possible misconception that should be addressed, that is the issue of
whether an establishment that is open on Shabbat can and/or should be
able to get kashrut supervision.
    Here we must distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish owned
places. When a place is owned by a non-Jew, there is no issue of
"neemanut" (ability to rely on the person) since one cannot rely on the
non-Jew in kashrut issues, and therefore a certain level of supervision
is necessary (depending on the type of establishment). However, if the
place is owned by a Jew, then the issue of the owner's Shabbat
observance becomes extremely important in determining how far the owner
can be trusted to maintain kashrut, and would also determine to a great
extent the level of supervision necessary. Thus, a restaurant owned by a
Jew open on Shabbat would possibly require full-time supervision, which
is difficult if not impossible on Shabbat. Therefore, its being open on
Shabbat precludes proper kashrut supervision.
    Opening on Shabbat is a kashrut issue, not an issue of whether a
kashrut supervising agency is enforcing other halachot. This can be
seen, for example, in many reputable agencies supervising Dunkin Donut
stores, owned by non-Jews that are open on Shabbat. This despite the
fact that many Jews might buy there on Shabbat.
    I think we should all try to keep the issues clear.
    David I Cohen


From: Israel Botnick <icb@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 16:59:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Lifnei Evair

On Friday, 30 Jul 1999, Avi Feldblum wrote:

<< The difference between eating without a bracha, and mixed dancing is
<< that the former is a rabbinic prohibition whereas the latter is
<< potentially de-oraisa (biblical). The Responsa Toras Chesed (R. Shneur
<< Zalman Fradkin ) talks about owning a restaurant where patrons don't say
<< brachos. He is lenient only because the lack of saying brachos is a
<< rabbinic prohibition.  For aiding in biblical prohibitions he doesn't
<< allow it.  (although birchat hamazon is biblical if the person ate a
<< complete meal, that is a positive commandment as opposed to the mixed
<< dancing which is negative. This distinction is also relevant by mesaya)

< (I included Birchat hamazon specifically to avoid the rabbinic/biblical
< issue. The positive/negative commandment distinction is something I need
< to think about, is that discussed in responsa you quote above? Avi)

The distinction between assisting others in violating positive as opposed to
negative commandments [i.e. that it is allowed in some cases to assist
is not mentioned in the responsa quoted above (as far as I can remember).
I have seen this distinction elsewhere, but I couldn't locate the source.

The reasoning would be, that the prohibition of assisting in a transgression,
stems from our obligation to prevent transgressions of others. Since The
obligation to prevent violation of negative commandments, is stronger than
with positive commandments (where it is more of a communal responsibility),
the distinction spills over to the question of assistance.

Israel Botnick

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 10:15:34 -0400
Subject: Lifnei Evair

Avi Feldblum wrote:
> I'm personally not sure how to
> balance that ethical concern with the argument that by focusing purely on
> the issues related to the permissability of the food to be eaten, it is
> likely that many people who otherwise would eat non-kosher, as a result of
> this establishment would now eat kosher.

There is I think, another practical concern which needs to be addressed
here. How will a Kashruth organization with a certain standard for
Mashgichim (supervisors) be able to place a reliable Mashgiach in an
environment which is forbidden to them? And the consideration of preventing
others from sinning needs careful evaluation for there is a well known
principle from the Gemara. V'chi Omrim L'Adam Chatei K'dai SheYiske
Chavercha? Translated as Do we then tell a person 'Sin, in order that your
friend should gain [by not sinning]' ? (This question is rhetorical, the
clear statement being that we do NOT tell an individual to sin in order to
prevent his friend from sinning.)

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz

From: Eli Clark <clarke@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 14:33:00 -0400
Subject: Lifnei Evair

Zvi Weiss writes:
>> From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
>> I don't know how much of a clientele there is for (glatt) kosher food
>> followed by mixed dancing (which is why I'm surprized that someone tried
>> to set up such a setting in the first place), but
>> I would suppose that they could eat a (glatt) kosher dinner at a
>> restaurant and then go somewhere else to dance.

> That is NOT the same as having a "mixed dancing affair" *where* one is
>eating.  The notion of having a "dinner party" seems to be that people
>want to dance *where they eat*.  So, the alternative cited above does
>not seem to avoid the issue of lifnei ivair.

I agree with Warren.  Whether or not some people like to dance where
they eat is irrelevant, I think.  Mixed dancing, in those cases where it
IS prohibited, is prohibited because of the contact involved in the
dancing.  Lifnei iver therefore relates to enabling a person to engage
in mixed dancing where that person would otherwise be unable to do so.
Outside of Saudi Arabia, Afaghanistan and Iran, there are very few such
places.  It seems to me that Zvi's suggestion that enabling dancing
where people eat makes sense only if mixed dancing ONLY occurred (or
could only occur) where food is served.  To my knowledge, that is not
the case.

To illustrate my point, let us consider the classic case of lifnei iver:
serving wine to a nazir.  The Talmud draws a distinction between giving
wine to a nazir across a river, where no wine was available on the
nazir's side of the river.  However, where wine is available on the
nazir's side of the river, one has not violated lifnei iver (according
to Ran and Tosafot; Rambam disagrees).  What if the nazir in question
would only drink wine with a chaser of ginger ale and has wine but not
the ginger ale?  If Zvi were correct, then giving the nazir wine and
ginger ale would violate lifnei iver.  I think that is incorrect.
Similarly, I think that enabling mixed dancing at a restaurant, where
mixed dancing is possible elsewhere, does not violate lifnei iver just
because some people prefer to dance where they eat.

>The point is that without the one
>violating Lifnei Ivair, the "sinner" would NOT BE ABLE to sin and you
>are now making that a real possibility.

I agree with this.  But it seems to support the proposition I outlined

> There have been shailot about food being served where there may not be
>berachot made... the answer seems to be that eating food -- per se -- is
>OK and the lack of Berachot is not considered a "lifnei ivair" issue
>(for various reasons).

Really?  I did not know this.  To the contrary, the Shulhan Arukh states
in Orah Hayyim 169:2 that one may not serve food to a Jew unless one
knows that he or she will recite the appropriate blessing.  The source
of this ruling appears to be R. Yonah (see Bet Yosef there).  There is
an exception to this rule when the food is given to a poor person.
Also, in our day R. Shelomoh Zalman Auerbach z.t.l. wrote that one may
serve food to a non-observant person who is interested in donating money
to a yeshivah.  I think this principle could be expanded to other
situations of kiruv, but it seems that the general rule is contrary to
what you wrote.

> I am not sure if this can be compared to mixed
>dancing where MOST FORMS are not allowed and only a narrow subset would
>be "permittted" (maybe -- it appears that our CURRENT poskim do not
>allow even husband/wife mixed dancing in public.

I am not sure why it matters whether mixed dancing is or is not
prohibited more than 50% of the time.  But in any case it seems clear
that eating food without a berakhah is prohibited all of the time.

Kol tuv,

Eli Clark

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 23:28:26 +2000 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Lifnei Evair

> From: Mark Feldman <mfeldman@...>
> I believe that based on this tshuvah, there is no problem of lifnei iver
> or misayei'ah in a hashgacha giving a hechsher to the Glatt Yacht.  My
> understanding is that the hashgacha was withdrawn for "public policy"
> reasons (i.e., not strictly halachic reasons).  Personally, I believe
> that those objectives (as I understand them) would have been equally
> accomplished by simply posting a notice at the entrance to the Glatt
> Yacht stating "Hashgacha X does not endorse mixed dancing" and perhaps
> citing the halachic basis for the issur.

 That may be.  As I orignally noted, I felt that data was missing here.
For example, if a "yacht trip" was being offered and -- as a "side point"
-- it was mentioned that Kosher food would be available, I think that
would be closer to R. Moshe's case.  OTOh, if the "basic event" was
adverstised as "glatt", there may be more serious issues.  Because I do
not know how this was packaged, I let it as "doubtful".... 

> In another issue, Zvi wrote:
> <<BTW, I am not sure that there is a heter for public mixed dancing even if
> it is restricted to married couples... One item that comes to mind is that
> some of the women may not be tehoros at the time -- but be a bit
> "ill at ease" publicizing their status by sitting out all of the 
> dances...>>
> I find Zvi's reasoning unpersuasive.  Do we forbid husbands from passing
> objects to their wives because we are afraid that other wives, who are
> niddot, would then have their status be "uncovered?"  In addition, the
> fact that a husband may choose not to dance with his wife does not
> necessarily indicate that she is a niddah.  He or she may be a poor
> dancer, have a foot problem, not enjoy dancing, etc.

 I believe that there may be a distinction between a "Harchaka"
(passing something back and forth) vs a "real" prohibition.  Forbidding
one would not automatically mean that we should forbid the other.
As to the "non-dancing", that is certainly true in terms of OTHER people
judging why a couple is not dancing, that does not mean, however, that the
women may still be ill at ease sitting out the dances because of their



From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 14:04:52 EDT
Subject: Previous Generations

    During the "Glatt Yacht" thread, it has been posited that 40 and 50
years ago in America, the Gedolim of that time allowed (or did not try
to stop) much of what the "fruhm" community did that seemingly would
violate todays norms in the fruhm world. This was claimed in regard to
mixed dancing, head covering by married women and "kol isha" among
    I find this astonishing to say the least. Is there any written
source from that time that actually says that these things are forbidden
by we're not going to tell the religious community for fear of
alienating them? If this is true, why did they stop there and not turn a
blind eye to those that worked on Shabbat "out of economic necessity"?
This happened a lot in those times, yet there is much written by the
Gedolim on this. It is a historic fact that many orthodox institutions,
Young Israel synagogues, orthodox camps, etc., actually sponsored
dances, talent shows, etc., as a way for fruhm people to socialize! If
these halachot were such serious violations (including the claim that
mixed dancing is a capital offense which requires martyrdom) you would
think that at the very least religious institutions would not be a party
to them.
    While I do not have the expertise to debate the halachic aspects of
the enumerated halachot, one must concede that there are many many
people who are scrupulous in observance of such mitzvot as Shabbat and
kashrut and taharat hamishpacha, who do not, for example, cover their
hair. Does that make sense?  Especially if these halachot are serious
enough violations? After all, there would have been no Glatt Yacht (or
Glatt Yacht controversy) if there were not substantial number of people
who were interested in glatt kosher food, under reliable supervision,
who also thought it was perfectly OK to dance.
    Were our parents (or grandparents), many of whom studied at yeshivot
and received semicha just plain wrong?
    Frankly, I don't get it.
    David I. Cohen

From: Zev Sero <zsero@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 19:22:52 -0400
Subject: Previous Generations

You assume that it was the Rosh Yeshiva's decision what his wife wore
or covered.  In the previous century in Europe this was certainly not
the case.  It was a well-known `makat medina', or more accurately `makat
hador' that the women dressed as they pleased, and not always in accord
with what the men would have liked.  Even R Akiva Eger wasn't able to
get his wife and daughters to dress in accordance with the highest levels
of tzniut.

From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 11:28:21 -0400
Subject: Previous Generations

From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
> While this might well be a true and logical differentiation, it does not
> explain the fact that the wives of certain great Roshei Yeshiva (where
> both husband and wife were born and educated in Europe) did not, in the
> 1930's and into the 1940's, cover their hair, and only began (or resume)
> doing so at a later time..  And that was certainly not a question of
> lack of education.

FWIW, according to my Mom, her maternal grandmother told her daughter
(my maternal grandmother) that once in the USA, hair-covering was no
longer needed, etc.  As if to say, "Yes keep Shabbos and Kosher, but
hair covering was just a "minhog" tied to Eastern Europe, and therefore
no longer applicable here in America." I am not saying this was a
scholarly perception, but it was probably a popular one nevertheless.

Rich Wolpoe


End of Volume 29 Issue 44