Volume 29 Number 53
                 Produced: Fri Aug 13  7:08:43 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Babies and Basar B'chalav
         [Moshe Feldman]
Explaining Yesh Mei'Ayin to a 6 year old
         [Rachel Rosencrantz]
Further Comments about Forced Mishebayraches/Vows
         [Russell Hendel]
Slavery and a higher morality
         [Isaac A Zlochower]


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 18:00:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Babies and Basar B'chalav

Two posters suggested that it might be a good idea to have separate
trays for baby high chairs in order to separate milk and meat.  I do not
believe this to be common practice, and I believe that this is not
required halachically for two reasons:

1.  Rabbi Eliyahu D. Teitz pointed out that in order to have a mixture
of milk and meat which creates a prohibition, they must have been
"cooked" together, which on a practical level means that they were
heated to the temperature of yad soledet bo--the temperature at which
one's hand would recoil upon touching the object.  Shmirat Shabbat
K'hilchata quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as saying that this is no
less than 45 degrees centigrade, i.e., 113 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rav
Forst, in Pitchei Halacha Hilchot Kashrut (which has been translated
into English by Artscroll) quotes others as saying that the temperature
is no less than 115 degrees.  (I say "no less than" because it is
possible that the temperature is much more than these numbers, but proof
can be brought that less than these numbers do not constitute
"cooking.")  Since babies often touch food with their hands, parents are
generally careful to ensure that the temperature of foods they serve
their babies is not too hot to the touch, that is, not yad soledet bo.
Even if a parent made a mistake and gave too-hot milchig food to the
baby, so long as the parent does not make a mistake again within 24
hours and give too-hot meat to the baby, a forbidden mixture of basar
b'chalav will not occur because of the rule of notein ta'am lifgam [food
absorbed prior to 24 hours will not be able to inject its flavor into
other foods].  Therefore, so long as parents make sure to thoroughly
clean their babies' trays, there is no reason not to use a single tray.
I would add to R. Teitz's analysis that even if the mistake happened
twice within a 24 hour period, while we are generally stringent to
forbid the hot food which touched a treif surface, it is probably not
truly a non-kosher food, just that we are not willing to rely upon a
non-Jew to taste the object [te'imat k'feila] to determine whether there
was truly an imparting of taste.

2.  Even in the rare circumstance where it turns out that the food is
truly non-kosher, we need not worry.  This is because, as Rabbi Simcha
Bunim Cohen (who is a product of Lakewood) notes in his book "Children
in Halachah" (an excellent book, which I highly recommend especially for
the copious Hebrew footnotes and because he generally tells you of both
stringent and lenient opinions), technically it is forbidden only to put
treif food into the hands of a child under the age of chinuch [the age
at which parents try to educate their children in the performance of
mitzvot], but there is no prohibition if the child picks up the food
with his own hands.  The prohibition of putting a forbidden food into a
child's hands derives from the pasuk "lo tochloom" (which deals with the
eating of a rodent), which the rabbis in Yevamot 114 explained as "lo
ta'achilum"--you shall not feed [foods] to them [i.e., to children].
[This prohibition is expanded to apply to directly causing a child to
violate any prohibition.]  See generally Shulchan Arukh O.C. 343.  The
age of chinuch for negative commandments is probably no earlier than the
age of four (depending on the intellect of the particular child), though
there is a view that it is 5 or 6.  True, there is the mystical concept
that dvarim hatmei'im mitamtimin et ha'lev v'gorem lo teva ra
[non-kosher foods dull the heart and cause the child to have an evil
nature], which is why ideally a baby should not suckle from a non-Jewish
wet-nurse if a Jewish wet-nurse is available.  See Shulchan Arukh
Y.D. 81:7.  However, since here there is only a small safek [doubtful
chance] that the food is non-kosher, we should not have to worry about
timtum ha'lev.

With regard to waiting time between serving meat and serving milk to a
child, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen quotes the Debreciner Rav as follows:

a.  A child under the age of three may eat dairy products immediately after
eating meat.  The child's mouth should be externally cleaned of any meat
b.  A child between 3 and 6 should wait, if possible, one hour after eating
c.  A child who has reached the age of 6 should wait the full adult amount
of time.  However, if the child insists on eating dairy, one may be lenient
and wait only 1 hour, providing that the child is less than 9 or 10.  The
child should rinse his mouth of all meat residue.

Kol tuv,


From: Rachel Rosencrantz <rachelr@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 00:08:06 -0400
Subject: Explaining Yesh Mei'Ayin to a 6 year old

>From: Steve Pudell <Gmachine9@...>
>I knew that someone would object to my characterization of my daughter's
>question as yesh mae'ayin.  But to a certain extent that's what it was.
>That is, she thinks that everything needs a creator.  The fact that
>Hashem always existed, is in fact, a problem of something coming from
>nothing.  We try to resolve this by positing that Hashem always existed
>(whichwe believe He did).  But, nonetheless, the problem my daughter had
>with this is that while Hshem created the world, who created Hashem.

Boy...my first response would be to learn "Shaar Ha Yichud vEmunah" (the
second part of the Tanya by the Alter Rebbe) with her.  However, she's 6
so I don't know that that's necessarily the best answer.

The answer is that nothing created Hashem.  Futhermore, even though
everything that exists comes from Hashem (because there was nothing
before but Hashem, so all somethings are in essence from Hashem) Hashem
is not affected or even changed by the creations.

One thing to think about is that "Who created Hashem" implies a "before
Hashem".  Hashem created time itself.  There was no time "before" time
was created.

I think that it is very important _not_ to teach that Hashem is a case
of Yesh M'ayin.  There was no place to "poof" into and there was no
"poof".  He was, He is, and He will always be.  At some point there is
the something that created everything.  Hashem is that something.  I
think you should ask her to trust you on it that Hashem was not created,
and tell her that you two will learn more about it together.

In any case, I recommend that you learn Tanya, and particularly Lessons
in Tanya, because it talks about this in depth, and yet applies it in
very practical ways. As you learn you can teach her more.

You can get Lessons in Tanya from Kehot Publishers, they will ship it to
you.  Their phone is: 718-778-0226.  For a study partner if there is
Chabad near you give them a call.

Hope this helps,


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:22:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Further Comments about Forced Mishebayraches/Vows

I recently suggested that a forced donation from a Mishebayrach creates
no obligation for giving because a gift follows the PERCEIVED INTENT OF
THE GIVER (Rambam Gifts 6:1) and the person only made the MiShebayrach
to escape embarassment. Alex Hoppenheimer retorts that the particular
Rambam I cited deals with a person who gives away his entire estate
because he thougt he was dying;this would not apply to someone giving a
small amount.Alex also cites the fact that a promise to give is a neder
(Charity 8:1) and is like forcing someone to give a sacrifice (14:8).

These are all answerable objections. Rabbi Bechoffer already pointed out
that the person doesn't make the neder himself (someone else makes the
MiShebayrach--all he has to do is not say Amen).

Furthermore (Rambam Vows 4:1-2) explicitly says that Vows done for
emphasis ("I vow not to eat by you"--so stop pestering me) or for sales
("I vow not to take less than $100") have no validity since he "didn't
really intend to keep the vow." How does this differ from a person on a
Bimah who is being embarassed in front of the whole shule if he donesn't

I looked up Sacrifices 14:8 "Those who are liable to Offerings, we take
it from them by force because they really want to" and do not see the
relevance to the current situation.

Finally although Gifts 6:1 does indeed speak about a person who "gave"
his whole estate nevertheless the principle I mentioned applies to many
cases (As I stated in my original posting). For example

* If I send gifts to "my boys" then if there are female gifts among them
(like jewelry) then then they go to the girls (Gifts 6:14)

* A deathbed wish to give a daughter a $400 present for her Ketuvah is
interpreted as a $200 present if the local custom is to exagerate by

* A deathbed wish to give my children $100 a week is interpretd as
$2-300 if that is what they need (The person used a $100 to indicate to
be thrifty) (Gifts 11:21,23--note deathbed wishes are like "deeded

Finally if Rabbi Bechoffer brought in his synagogue experiences I should
bring in my actuarial experiences...In practice way under 50% of even
Yom Kippur donations are ever sent in (or so people have told me). Such
a statistic helps justify the "he didn't really mean it" interpretation.

Russell Hendel; Moderator Rashi is simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 23:20:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Slavery and a higher morality

The topic of the morality of slavery is basically a subtopic on the
existence of a morality outside of halacha.  Is there a requirement to
go outside the limits of halacha in accordance with our own sense of
right and wrong?  Are we intitled to our own subjective moral
judgements?  Is slavery in an halachic framework morally wrong today or
in some ideal future?  There are those who appear to believe that things
permitted by the Torah and the talmudic sages are morally correct, by
definition.  Our subjective notions of morality and those of society are
irrelevant, in this view. Since slavery under some conditions was
permitted by the Torah and the oral law, then they view it as morally
acceptable now or in the future.  Others are less sanguine about
reintroducing slavery today, but seem to have no problems with such an
innovation in an ideal future.

I am troubled by this attitude.  Are the proponents of a strictly
legalistic morality not bothered by the talmudic category of "a
scoundrel with the sanction of the torah" or the very idea of acting
"outside the letter of the law" or the statement by the leading Amora,
Rav that mitzvot were given to refine people?  The latter sage was also
the one who ordered his disciple to pay the wages of hired porters
despite the monetary loss they caused by dropping a wine barrel at the
end of a hard day of work.  Is that the halacha, the disciple asked
incredulously?  Yes, Rav answered, it falls under the biblical command
of doing what is good and proper before G-D!  What is good and proper is
not explicitly defined in the Torah.  It depends, instead, on a
sensitivity to what G-D really expects of us.  That is necessarily a
subjective matter.  The parameters of acting beyond the strict
requirements of halacha are also undefined and subjective.

One principle that is very relevant in discussions on slavery that is
not beyond the requirements of the law, but is, rather, a key halachic
requirement is the idea of avoiding a desecration of G-D's name.  How,
then, can one speak in a public forum of the possibility or even
desirability of reintroducing slavery, when such ideas have been
rejected outright as cruel and ignoble by the greater society?  When the
nations become enlightened by the Torah in Messianic times, are they to
reintroduce slavery and go" from a greater sanctity to a lesser one"?
Is the auction block for slaves to reappear again?  The Torah sanctioned
slavery in biblical times under strict rules designed to ameliorate the
lot of a slave, particularly a Hebrew slave.  Slavery was then
considered an economic necessity.  What legitimate function could it
have now or in the future?  The idea of using servanthood to
rehabilitate a Jewish thief who cannot repay his theft is a nice thought
which does not fit very well with the fact that the master (who is not
required to have any training in Torah or social work) can force the
servant to live with his gentile maid and produce offspring who are born
into slavery.  Nor does it account for the oral law which excludes
Jewish women from such servitude for theft ("his theft, not her theft").
Certainly, the current penal system is little concerned with
rehabilitation.  I would like to think that in a more ideal society a
truly rehabilitative system could be developed.  Concerning selling
oneself as a servant out of poverty, I would hope that in a Messianic
age, a better solution to poverty could be found such as job training
and placement.

There are other examples of things permitted by the Torah that can
hardly be called good and proper in some absolute sense, such as a
father selling his minor daughter as a servant, or bringing a captive
woman back from war, or polygamy.  Here the Torah seeks the best way of
handling bad situations under the conditions of the times.  There is
little point in creating laws that will not be observed.  In the
patriarchal society that existed in biblical times and long after, a
father's authority was considered near absolute.  If a father could not
legally sell his daughter to someone who might treat her better, then he
might turn her out into the street and to prostitution.  If a soldier
could not bring home a captive woman under certain rules designed to
allow him to come to his senses and to prevent abuse, then he might well
act according to impulse.  If polygamy was generally practiced by
"important" or wealthy men - including some of the patriarchs (Abraham
and Jacob - under extenuating circumstances) then how could the Torah
prohibit it?  Instead, the Torah acknowledges human weaknesses and the
mores of the society, but strives to guide the people of the covenant to
a lifestyle that can become the model for all peoples to emulate.  In
doing so, it sets out guiding principles such as the good and proper
actions cited above, the verse near the beginning of Genesis about a man
attaching himself to his wife to form single, intimate unit (not
possible in a polygamous relationship), always keeping in mind how we
felt as slaves in Egypt, and emulating G-D.

The idea of striving to go beyond the requirements of halacha is a key
feature of both the Hassidic and Mussar movements.  The senior Rabbi in
my community told of a talk given by the "Chofetz Chaim", a revered
figure in recent European history, in which he disparaged those who
contend that they observe halachic requirements to the letter, and
ranked them akin to the table in front of him.  I also heard the late
Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel, Rav Ya'akov Weinberg, speak of someone who
observes only the letter of the law as akin to a gentile who has taken
on "the yoke of heaven".  We can do better.

Yitzchok Zlochower


End of Volume 29 Issue 53