Volume 29 Number 49
                 Produced: Thu Aug 12  6:52:58 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Being Strict vis a vis Lefnei Iver
         [Moshe & Davida Nugiel]
Hashgacha for more than Food (2)
         [Joseph Geretz, George Fairdshmecker]
Kashrut Supervision and Shabbat
         [Josh Hoexter]
Kosher pigskin?
         [Neil Parks]
Legal Fiction - Selling of Chametz
         [Zev Sero]
Lifnei Iver
         [Israel Botnick]
Religious Organizations Mandated to Control
         [Carl and Adina Sherer]
Use of Contract law to answer the Kosher Supervision Question
         [Russell Hendel]
What is "Higher Morality"
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Moshe & Davida Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 14:22:04 +0300
Subject: Being Strict vis a vis Lefnei Iver

In his recent posting (Vol. 29, # 37),  Binyomin Segal makes the following

> further, and perhaps more crucially, he [R' Moshe] suggests (i
> believe here he quotes r. akiva eiger) that one can/should use a cost
> benefit analysis in regard to mesayah (though this analysis would be, it
> seems invalid if the prohibition were really the torah prohibition of
> lifnei iver).
> should a situation of true lifnei iver present itself, it
> seems clear that it would be forbidden for the caterer to enable a
> prohibition of any kind.

It doesn't seem so clear.  The implication of these points is that where
the issur d'orita of lefnei iver is concerned, one has no ability to
"use a cost benefit analysis."  However, this conclusion seems to ignore
the ground-breaking p'sak of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that one is
permitted to give food and drink to a guest of whom it is known that he
will not make a bracha.  The concern of lefnei iver here is mitigated by
the fact that not giving food/drink will probably engender in the guest
an antagonism towards the Way of Torah, and that is deemed the greater
evil to be avoided.  Therefore, we learn that we have to weigh the
definite transgression of lefnei iver against the possible harmful

I feel compelled to make this point since I have found on the list
numerous examples of a hashkafic approach which I feel is problematic,
namely, that it's always better to be machmir (strict.)  This may be an
issue which the list members might wish to pursue, but my understanding
is that there are enough sources in the gemora, and in p'sak halacha
(decisions of law), to say that this is at least a matter of machlokut
(disagreement), and should be identified as such.  Upon review of the
sources, one might even hold that the preponderance of support is for
the opinion which holds that it is better to be lenient, although this
suggestion seems to be anathema nowadays.  Anyway, I believe that the
readers of this list are continually growing in their knowledge, and
deserve a balanced view.

Moshe Nugiel


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 11:03:19 -0400
Subject: Hashgacha for more than Food

Warren Burstein wrote:
> Other people have, a number of times, asked if a mashgiach should give a
> hechsher to a strip club.  I would like to suggest that the line, for a
> regular heschsher, should be drawn at establishments that a regular
> person (not a tzaddik, not a person without any standards, and not
> someone for whom any mention at all in the media is considered positive
> publicity) would not want to appear in the news going through the door.

I'm just a regular guy (really :-) and I would not wish to be seen
entering a restaurant which features mixed dancing. Thus, I
wholeheartedly support the actions of the supervisory authorities who
withdrew their supervision from Glatt Yacht, even though it featured
'just' mixed dancing.

Seriously though, if we are going to get into a debate about what is
acceptable 'in the norm' we can ask 3 different people and get 3
different answers. (Maybe even 4 different answers.;-) This only
acceptable authority to define permissibility is Halacha, not a
subjective definition of 'normal' or 'regular'. At this time I don't
want to debate the Halacha in the absolute, but we have to respect the
freedom of any organization to follow its own conscience in matters of

> I would not mind if Binyomin Segal's suggestion of a "good Jew seal of
> approval" hechsher was created (although I would phrase it differently),
> so long as it wasn't the only heschsher in town.

Even if it were the only hechsher in town, you or anyone else would be
free to start a competing hechsher according to a different set of

Kol Tuv,
Yossi Geretz

From: George Fairdshmecker <george.fairdshmecker@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 11:51:05 -0400
Subject: Hashgacha for more than Food

There have been instances of regular Rabbanut withdrawing supervision
from establishments due to female singers, and inappropriatly dressed
female entertainers.

The stated reason was not that the entertainment was against the rules
of the hashgacha, but rather that the supervising staff refused to enter
the stablishments with such on display.

George Fairdshmecker


From: Josh Hoexter <hoexter@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 11:01:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Kashrut Supervision and Shabbat

My understanding is that a Jew who is mechalel Shabbos befarhesia
(transgresses Shabbat in public) is considered like a non-Jew in these
matters. Why would "drop-in" supervision suffice for a Dunkin Donughts
owned by a non-Jew but not for one owned by a Jew? My comments were meant
to add to those mentioned by another poster who mentioned the supervision
problems. I would assume that a full restaurant and certainly a meat
restaurant (which requires full-time supervision) could not be open on
Shabbos even if it were owned by a non-Jew. I was thinking of the Dunkin
Donuts type cases.

> From: David I Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
>     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.


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 14:58:50 
Subject: Kosher pigskin?

The NFL has a new rule this year.  The placekickers must use new
footballs especially reserved for them.

The reserved balls are identified by a K inside a circle--the familiar
kashrus symbol of the O.K.!

Considering what animal footballs are made out of, I thought that was
pretty funny.


From: Zev Sero <zsero@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 14:31:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Legal Fiction - Selling of Chametz

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:

> If you check, you will note that the halakha is quite clear that one who
> considers selling his hametz as a legal fiction is not considred to have
> sold his hametz.  Rather, it must be regarded as a legally binding, true
> sale.

If you sell your house, and then it transpires that you regard this as a
`legal fiction', is the house still yours?  Can you go back on the
transaction because you didn't take it seriously?  The halacha is
`thoughts are not words' (devarim shebelev enam devarim), and the sale
is valid no matter what was going through your mind.  Only if *at the
time* of the transaction your words and deeds indicated clearly that you
were under a misapprehension as to its nature can it be annulled.

Many poskim explicitly approved of arranging the sale of chametz by
businesses whose owners are not observant, even when the owners plan to
keep the business open on Pesach, because it is clearly stated in the
bill of sale that this is not a fiction but a genuine transfer of
ownership, and it doesn't matter what the seller is thinking in his own
mind.  At *most*, perhaps when the business owner takes an item that
doesn't belong to him and sells it, that particular item might be
considered to revert to his possession, but at least he didn't own it
until then, and he doesn't own all the inventory that he'll end up not
selling on Pesach.

Zev Sero				 Harmless Historical Nut


From: Israel Botnick <icb@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 16:07:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Lifnei Iver

On Tuesday, 10 Aug 1999, Eli Clark wrote:
< 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.

I think that giving the ginger ale would certainly involve lifnei iver.
Convincing or motivating someone to do an aveira is also Lifnei Iver,
even if the person is physically able to do the aveira anyway.  The
gemara in Kidushin says that if a father needlessly angers his son by
destroying objects, and it causes the son to get angry, then the father
has violated Lifnei Iver. Despite that the aveira was enabled only

There are discussions in the poskim[halakhic decisors] about selling a
forbidden item at a lower than standard price. If the lower price will
Convince people to buy it, (who otherwise stayed away b/c of the price)
then it is lifnei Iver.

>> 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 Pri Megadim (orach chaim 163), and the Teshuvas Toras Chesed say
that the Shulchan Aruch is only talking about serving food to someone
for free.  If you sell it to them, it would be OK, even if they won't
say the blessings.  This is because by selling it (at a standard price),
it is lowered to the level of mesayeia, which is allowed by a rabbinic
prohibition.  I beleive that all kosher restaurant owners rely on this.

Israel Botnick


From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 09:50:34 +0300
Subject: Religious Organizations Mandated to Control

Israel Rubin writes:

> 1) Regarding the "right" of a kashrus organization to interfere with
> matters not related to food supervision, I think the same rules should
> apply to them as apply to any other institution, or private person, for
> that matter.  Everyone has the right to do business in any matter that
> they feel, & if these kashrus organizations do not feel like giving
> supervisions to any class of business, they have the "right" to do
> so. As long as the only pressure applied by the organization is the
> withholding of their supervision, they are well within their rights.

I have no doubt that this is correct when it comes to a private Kashrus
organization. But I think that there are several people on this list who
would argue that where the Rabbinate is supported by taxes (as is the
case in Israel), it has no right to do anything beyond its formal
mandate. I don't agree with those people, but that's the
argument. Because of that factor, much of the Kashrus set-up in Israel
is very different from the Kashrus set-up in Chutz LaAretz (outside

-- Carl M. 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.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:21:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Use of Contract law to answer the Kosher Supervision Question

Eli Clark in v29n31 gave a very eloquent defense of the "two sides" to
the Kashruth issue. On the one hand the orginazations were simply asked
to certify food as Kosher while on the other hand they could be
perceived as being asked to certify that the entire atmosphere of the
restaurant is OK

Unfortunately such a perspective proves that there is only one way to
act!  It is a universal principle in contract law that whenever a
contract is ambiguous then it is interpreted restrictively not
liberally. For example, suppose I sell Joe my field. But I have 2
fields. Then Joe gets the field of inferior quality because the contract
is interpreted restrictively not liberally. This principle "The owner of
the document has the lower hand" occurs in several places in commercial
law (the only exception being the case of gifts) (See e.g. Loans 27:16
or Sales 21:17-21).

It immediately follows that if my contract with an orginazation reads
"Supervise Kashruth" then that contract MUST be interpreted
restrictively (Kosher food) and not liberally (Kosher atmosphere).

Let me summarize the above with principles that I think everyone (!?!?)
might agree on:

1) We all agree that if the Jewish community were structued with two
types of orginazations (one that certified food and one that certified
atmosphere) then no one would object to each orginazation doing their

2) Similarly we all agree that people can contract with whom they wish

3) So the only place of disagreement is where there is one type of
supervisory orginazation (For KASHRUTH) and they already contracted with
the restaurant and then want to withdraw their Kashruth because the
atmosphere of the restaurant is bad (because of live singing).

But then the whole issue is whether the owner of a contract can
interpret liberally vs restrictively which contradicts the whole of
Jewish commercial law.

In closing I think all the postings till now have done alot of good..for
they have spoken about WHETHER we should have orginazations that
supervise atmosphere. But the issue of whether an orginazation can
withdraw because it wants to expand its role I think is clear cut.

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA;
Moderator Rashi Is Simple;


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:16:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: What is "Higher Morality"

Just a quick answer to Joel Rich who asks for a characterization of
"higher morality" (V29n32).

Rabbi Professor Beryl Septimus of the Judaica department at Harvard
wrote when he was a graduate student a beautiful paper entitled
"Obligation and SupraObligation in Halachah". It was published in some
student publication (I think Yavneh). This articles deals exactly with
the topic of "what is 'higher morality'".

If someone knows whether this article is available anyplace it would
be appreciated as it was excellently written

Russell Hendel; Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


End of Volume 29 Issue 49