Volume 30 Number 36
                 Produced: Thu Dec 16  6:41:00 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dispersion of the Frum/Orthodox Jewish community
         [David Maslow]
         [Gershon Dubin]
         [Bob Werman]
Rabbanim and Supervision (4)
         [Carl Singer, Shlomo Godick, Stuart Wise, Donnie Stuhlman]
Shliach Mitzvah Money
         [Chaim Shapiro]


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 08:23:55 -0500
Subject: Dispersion of the Frum/Orthodox Jewish community

I have been following the recent thread on where we should live, and
would like to raise an ancillary point.

Not that many years ago, the American Orthodox community was centered in
the New York City metropolitan area, both in terms of population and
infrastructure, with some pockets of strength in Baltimore, Cleveland,
Chicago and possibly Los Angeles.  While these communities still remain
strong, thriving albeit smaller communities now exist in many more
places, in part because of outreach activities by some Yeshivot.  The
question I raise is whether the National Orthodox Jewish organizations
have appropriately included these newer communities in their
organizational planning and decision-making?  How many have developed
means, in this electronic age, of including individuals living outside
the metropolitan area as active, regular participants in policy-making
bodies?  How many consider the special needs and circumstances of these
communities when making public statements, involving the organization in
the political arena, or even scheduling meetings or other events?  How
many allocate their spending and staff effort to serve the full spectrum
of the national community?

I have lived in Brooklyn, a very small community, and now in a
mid-sized, but strong community.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses,
but it does not serve the overall development of the American frum
community for its organizations to remain so New York-centered.  I
considered including examples, but they would remain only anecdotal and
might serve to defame unjustly organizations that do much good, even if
they do not live up to their claim to be national in more than source of

David E. Maslow


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 00:13:08 -0500
Subject: Kolelniks

> From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
<<Why should I support kollelniks beyond a certain point / age.  If they
have rich parents, fine they can live in a Kollel 'til they're 120  but
from a practical point of view, how do they enhance my community>>

	I seem to recall a definition in the Gemara of apikorsus as
being someone who says "Why do we need the rabanan?  They learn for
themselves and do nothing for anyone else."  So this is hardly an
attitude I would be proud of.  I believe it a fairly well known axiom
that Torah learning improves the world, both the world at large and the
immediate surrounding community.

[Gershon (or anyone for that matter), I would be very interested in
seeing how early there is significant support for what we call Kollel
today in Jewish sources. What I mean by that, is the idea that there
should be many (i.e. much more than a minyan worth, e.g. the gemarah
about asarah batlonim - the 10 who are able to refrain from working - if
you interpret that to mean a "kollel" type existance) people who
maintain that lifestyle for many years, and even more so that there is
any obligation on the working individuals to support such people. I'm
pretty sure I can bring early reshonim (e.g. the Rambam) who are quite
vocal against it, and a framework of halacha that describes what
advantages in the business world we need to give those who spend much of
their time learning, but I have strong suspicions that our Kollel system
is less than 200 years old. A quick check of the archives shows that
this topic was discussed in detail at the end of volume 22 and
throughout the first 30 issues of 23. Mod]

<<do they lead shuirrim for us balabatim, do I feel welcome if I choose
to daven with them; do their wives babysit?  Do they even say Good
Shabbos to me when they see me on the street. >>

	In most cases, yes they do.  No group, kollelniks, baalei batim,
or anyone, has a perfect record of accomplishment in any area, including
midos.  Most kollelniks, however, are as friendly and welcoming as, if
not more so, than the general population.  If you have had a bad
experience with one or one group of kollelniks, this is no reason to tar
them all with the brush of being antisocial and nasty.  It just ain't

<<There are exceptions, but many Kollel leyteh bring their Brooklyn
Midos with them>>

	Aside from the obvious that not all or even most kollelniks come
from Brooklyn, how exactly are you defining Brooklyn midos?  The very
use of the phrase bespeaks a somewhat less than objective viewpoint.

<<or are taught the same by their Rebbeim, and everyone outside the
Kollel is traif.>>

	I see, the first lesson to be inculcated into the kollel
yungerman is that everyone outside the kollel is traif and must be
treated as such.  Which kollel includes this in the curriculum?  Which
rebbeim teach this?

	I will not comment on the balance of your post as it seems to be
informed by similar prejudice.  I am sorry to see such venom; I pray
that you find it in your heart to be a little more open minded towards
those who perform such a vital function as limud haTorah and, yes,
harbotzas haTorah in Klal Yisrael.



From: Bob Werman <RWERMAN@...>
Date: Mon,  13 Dec 1999 8:58 +0200

For a more Jewish view of life after death, read my description of a
1977 personal experience in _Living with Heart Disease_ by R.Werman and
G.M.  Philips, Hampton Press, 1995.

__Bob Werman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 13:36:58 EST
Subject: Rabbanim and Supervision

Multiple standards, be it food or eruv, etc.  are problematic.  

As I've said perhaps too many times, the meat I ate in my home growing
up was kosher because my dear Mother bought it from Mr. Schreiber the
butcher, who also happened to be a shayneh Yid who davened in our shule.
5 Plumbehs, 10 purple stamps, 15 fancy hashochas on the label and 20
Tuodot in the store window aren't the equivalent the a balabatish
butcher who you trust.

Re: individual standards, the story is oft repeated of the poor woman
who goes to her Rabbi with a shaylah on a chicken that plans to cook.
Her economic means IS a valid consideration in the halachic
determination.  No less so for a community or segments of a community.
Tough questions, such as in Philadelphia of 20 years ago -- does a V'ad
permit 2nd and 3rd generation butchers to be under Hashkocha even though
some may not be Shomre Shabbos?

Our moderator, modestly didn't mention his own Grandfather, Rabbi
Ephraim Ha"Cohen Yalles, ZTL, who for many decades was the Chief Rabbi
of Philadelphia.  Like many of his generation, a man of great learning,
understanding, warmth and compassion, who had to face these difficult
decisions.  It's not as black and white as some of our new black hatters
would posit.

A friend recently told to me what is, to me, a tragic example of this
narishkite.  (And this is only hearsay -- perhaps someone from Toronto
can clarify.)  In Toronto with the passing of Rabbi Felder, the
mechitzah which for so many years had his endorsement, is suddenly
considered "traif" Why?


[As Carl correctly deduces, my earlier response is based on experiences
and conversations with my grandfather ZTL. As those on the list who may
have known him can imagine, he had a number of chumrot as well as
kabbalistic practices that he kept by. However, he was scrupulous when I
was there as a young child and later when I lived in Philadelphia during
graduate school, to always pasken for me in his house according to my
father's derech (path) and explain to me why he may choose not to eat or
act that way. The two clear issues that I remember relate to chalav
yisrael, which he held as a chumrah and in the early days was very hard
to get in Philadelphia, so he had chalav yisrael in the house for his
coffee, but when my family came, we would buy regular milk in the
supermarket. The other had to do with various shechita chumrot he had,
so he used to get most of his meat from specific shochtim that he had
worked individually with. In the Philadelphia area, he gave hechsharim
to a number of butchers, which included some of the second/third
generation butchers that Carl referred to. There were many people in
Philadelphia (which did not have a history of a very strong orthodox
community, but a very large liberal Conservative community) for whom if
the butcher were to lose the hechsher would just as easily have gotten
their meat from the supermarket, but as long as the butcher they knew
had a hechsher, they would go to him. By enforcing that these butchers
maintained a standard that met the "shulchan aruch" level of kashrut,
these people all kept some level of kosher in their homes. However, to
members of his shul and to the other Rabbis in town (and 20-30 years
ago, there were not that many) he made known which stores they (and I)
should frequent. Is this ideal? Obviously not. To a new "frum" person in
town, there was no obvious way to know where to shop. Within the context
of a "small town" environment, the information passed in the "mimetic"
manner, but today that would clearly not be acceptable. However, in the
overall context of Philadelphia 20-30 years ago, my grandfather's
opinion was this was the best solution for the community as a
whole. Mod.]

From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 01:42:07 +0200
Subject: re: Rabbanim and Supervision

In Israel the situation is even more complicated.  By law or by
ordinance (I am not sure which), a local rabbinate *has* to give a
base-level (non-mehadrin) hechsher (= kashrut certification) to food
products and restaurants using ingredients that have the hechsher of
other local rabbinates, even if the kashrut of those ingredients may be
questionable in the eyes of the particular rabbinate giving the final
hechsher.  I heard from an avreich in Rehovot that Rav Rubin of Rehovot
(who is considered to be one of the leading experts in kosher food
technology in the world and whose hechsher l'mehadrin is of the highest
quality) almost left the rabbanut (this was many years back) because of
this.  To this day, all kashrut certi- ficates hanging on the walls of
restaurants in Rehovot and having base-level kashrut only (not mehadrin
or glatt), bear a prominent message in red letters, to the effect that
certain products used in the restaurant bear the hechsher of various
other local rabbinates, and the responsibililty for the kashrut of those
products lies with those rabbinates *only*.

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick

From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 10:14:52 -0800
Subject: Rabbanim and Supervision

With all respects to Russell Gold, I think his response is an attempt to
"dan l'caf zchus" -- to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Kashrus is a
highly charged political issue, and I would suspect there WERE other
considerations (maybe the store owner was an influential shul member of
relative or friend of the same).  But endorsing leniency in Kashrus is
dangerous because once that is allowed, no one can be certain where
something not kosher can creep in.  In one community (not in New York)
rivaling Orthodox rabbis "forbid" their respective members to eat from
food establishments supervised by the other (totally political!)

While it may be admirable to protect a persons livelihood, such person
should be morally responsible to uphold his end of the bargain -- he
takes our money in exchange for the advertised service.  There should be
only one kosher.  I had a similar experience years ago at a bar mitzvah
of a relative who is modern orthodox (whatever you wish that to mean),
and my yeshivish brother went to the mashgiach when he saw something
questionable on the tables --chinese vegetables. My brother asked if
everything was reliable and the mashgiach said, "Everything is OK EXCEPT
for the Chinese vegetables."  How is a guest supposed to suspect that!
Nowadays, food establishment post with pride that their products are
checked, yoshon, whatever.

Rabbis sometimes are fearful to take a stand, and with good reason, but
one would hope that would stick to their convictions.  I don't blame the
women in the Wenger anecdote for not asking that rabbi another question.

[One possible problem is how the term "reliable" is
understood. Obviously, I was not there, but I could easily imagine two
different scenarios. If asked "Is the food being served Kosher according
to the Halacha?" and the mashgeach answered that everything except XX is
kosher, you have a serious problem here. However, if the question is
(and this is often not asked explicitly, but is often rolled into a term
such as "reliable") "I keep Chumrah X,Y,Z, does the food here meet all
those chumrot as well?" and the answer is "everything except XX", then I
do not see any real problem here. Mod]

> *she* asked the wrong question. Her question was tantamount to "are you
> going to make a public announcement that the kehilla should shun this
> establishment?" and the rabbi's response was appropriate. Now, had she
> asked, "should *I* eat there?" I would have expected him to say no.  I
> infer that the rabbi felt that the kashrut was now questionable and
> should be avoided by those who wished to be careful (as indicated by
> their willingness to ask), but was not so clearly trefe as to be
> forbidden to those inclined to be lenient. Further, beyond the parnassa
> issue, I assume that there would be problems with him making an
> announcement to people who might not be inclined to listen.

From: Donnie Stuhlman <ssmlhtc@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 09:49:04
Subject: Rabbanim and Supervision

>Reply to: Deborah Wenger 
>A number of years ago, for example, a food establishment in NY was cited
>for violations of the state's kashrut laws ... . A woman I know asked her
>LOR if he was going to tell
>the members of his kehilla not to patronize this establishment. He
>replied that he would not, because it would affect the owner's parnasa ...

There are a number of issues here.  Most professionals involved with
kashrut supervision will not call something claiming to be kosher,
"trief" They will use the language "not recommended" This is done to
avoid law suits or making mistakes.  If the New York State authority has
cited an establishment for a kashrut law violation, that is sufficient.
The rabbi need not say more.

Donnie Stuhlman
Chicago, IL 60645
<mail to:<ddstuhlman@...>


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 17:57:14 EST
Subject: Shliach Mitzvah Money

  The concept of Shliach Mitzvah money is, to say the least, an
interesting one.  Several questions arise.  #1 Does the giving of a
dollar or two for tzeddakah make one a Shliach Mitzvah?  If someone
gives me a Mitzvah to do, should I not do it right away?  Shouldn't I
put the money in the first tzeddakah box I see, even if it is before my
trip (invalidating the purpose for which it was given)?  If the argument
is made that the money was intended to be given after the trip, is there
a time limit for its deposit?  Can I hold it indefinitely, using it for
future trips as well?
    #2 Can a spouse make his or her partner a Shliach Mitzvah considering the 
money comes from the same source?


End of Volume 30 Issue 36