Volume 30 Number 48
                 Produced: Mon Dec 27  6:42:10 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov Yisroel
         [Eliezer Shemtov]
Cholov Yisroel 2
         [Eliezer Shemtov]
Jews of Yesteryear
         [Carl Singer]
Kids at Risk
         [Aviva Fee]
Torah is m'Sinai
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Eliezer Shemtov <shemtov@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 17:42:10 -0200
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

In MJ Vol. 30 No. 42 the following exchange between Oren Popper and the
Moderator was published:

Cholov akkum is definitely not as acceptable, though there are heterim.

[At least in America, outside of Chabad, many if not most people I know
consider cholov ha-companies (what we would call commercial standard
milk) as kosher, based on R. Moshe's psak. Cholov Yisrael is still
prefered, but at the chumra level, not the halacha level. Mod.]

I would just like to comment that I do not think that it is only Chabad
that is Machmir, although Chabad may be an example of extreme adherance
to this position regarding Cholov Akum.

The contrast is interesting: There are many Frum Jews who drink Cholov
Akum even though they live in NY, whereas a Lubavitcher Chosid will not
drink Cholov Akum nor give it to his children even though he and his
family may live in Omaha, Nebraska or Beijing, China.

What is this inflexibility based on?

Besides the Halachic consideractions (even Reb Moshe, z"l, who permitted
drinking Cholov Hacompanies in extenuating situations, drank only Cholov
Yisroel himself), there is a story about the Alter Rebbe which is the
real basis for this strict adherance in Chabad. I think it is important
for people to know this story.

There was a chosid whose son had strayed from the path of Torah and
Mitzvos.  The distraught Chosid went to see the Alter Rebbe to find out
why did this happen.

The Alter Rebbe responded that in all likelihood the child was given
Cholov Akum and Cholov Akum provokes Sfeikos in Emunah!

I think that if people were more aware of what the implications of
Cholov Akum are, they would reconsider the decision to drink Cholov Akum
and especially giving Cholov Akum to their children. This is especially
true in a time when we and our children are faced with a constant
onslaught of Kfirah. We can use all the help and vaccinations available.

True, there are heteirim (bedieved and in certain extreme cases). But
why transform a bedieved situation into a lechatchilah standard and
forfeit the benefits of the lechatchila option?

Eliezer Shemtov
Cholov Yisroel consumer in Montevideo, Uruguay


From: Eliezer Shemtov <shemtov@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 19:27:36 -0200
Subject: Cholov Yisroel 2

	In my post regarding Cholov Yisroel, I did not want to mix my
personal pirushim into the story that I mentioned. I do think, however,
that besides the mystical and holy reasons for the connection between
Cholov Akum and Sfeikos in Emunoh, I can understand the connection in a
very practical way.

	What are the reasons to look for a Heter?
	There are 2 reasons.

	Sometimes one finds oneself in an UNUSUAL situation where a
Chumroh might lead to a kulo or even an Isur. In such a case, one looks
for a Heter, so that he or she can fulfill what is expected of him or
her by Halachah in the best way. For example: supposing one finds a
question regarding the Kashrus of food prepared for Shabbos. There is
nothing one can do to correct the situation on Shabbos. He is then faced
with the choice: either find a Heter or suffer the consequences that may
be severe (for example, Sholom Bayis).  Adhering to a Chumroh in such a
case leads to a kulo or even an Isur.  Finding a Kulo regarding the
Kashrus will help adhere to the Chumroh of Sholom Bayis (for example).

	There is, on the other hand, a radically different
approach. 'Why look for chumros and complicate life? Why pay retail if I
can get wholesale or 'below cost'?'

	Let us examine the dynamics behind and the implications of these
two approaches:

	When one is faced with a choice between an easier option or more
optimal option in Halochoh, what does one choose? It depends on why one
is keeping Torah and Mitzvos. If one does it out of a sense of
obligation, then, of course, the less obligations one has, the easier
life is. If, however, one keeps Torah and Mitzvos because he/she wants
to do what Hashem wants, then one will choose the BEST way and not the
EASIEST way. In other words, is one looking for a way IN or for a way

	This is where the connection between Cholov Akum and Sfeikos in
Emunah comes into the picture. If a child is brought up knowing that
although it is easier to drink Cholov Akum - and there are even Heteirim
available to do so - nevertheless his or her parents choose to go to the
greatest lengths and inconvenience in order to drink only Cholov
Yisroel, just because Hashem PREFERS it so, then the child gets
accustomed to the idea that the main consideration in choosing to do
something or refrain from doing it is HASHEM's preference and our
ability to comply and not OUR preference and His ability to comply. In
other words, the first question is what does 'Hashem want and prefer?',
not 'What do I prefer?'

	If, however, a child sees that the main concern of the parents
is what is easier for THEM, why shouldn't the child think about what is
easier for HIM?  Once the criteria of 'easier' and 'personal
convenience' come into the equation, there is no telling where that will

	Just a thought.....

	Eliezer Shemtov
	Cholov Yisroel (exclusively) consumer, father of, kein yirbu,
seven Cholov Yiroel (exclusively) consumers.
	Montevideo, Uruguay


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:47:39 EST
Subject: Jews of Yesteryear

Yashir koach to Meir on his posting.  There is a growing nonsense in
parts of today's "frum" society that things were always as they are
today and that if Jews (ordinary or Gadol) of yesteryear didn't follow
today's social minhagim they must have been doing something wrong or had
special hetterim.

This growing ego-centrism seems to be built on several fundamental myths.  
(1) That we can look accurately through history with today's filters;  
(2) that today's standards are relevant to the circumstances of yesterday's 
and  (3) that outward symbolism is the key to Yiddishkite.

I recall a Rabbi, a talmud chuchum and real mench stating publicly, that
when he was growing up, "Tootsie Rolls were kosher."  Unfortunately,
some people don't understand the import of that statement.

And not to take any parnoseh away from any sheitelmachers, but my wife
covers her hair with mail-order synthetic hair wigs.  When I offered to
buy her a human hair wig she replied that we should instead, send
another $1000 to our favorite Yeshiva.  She's always been much smarter
than I am.  (But apparently she doesn't know the cost of sheitels, $1000
doesn't cut it any more.)

Carl Singer


From: Aviva Fee <aviva613@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 10:51:55 PST
Subject: Kids at Risk

The November issue of "The Jewish Observer" (magazine of the Agudas
Israel of America) had an issue dedicated to the topic of children at

Modern culture has brought problems such as addiction (drug, alcohol,
sexual), suicide, spousal abuse, crime, etc. into mainstream American
Orthodoxy.  While the numbers may be relatively small, the problem is
copious enough that the Jewish Observer spent 75 pages discussing the

Yet, in my extremely humble opinion, while the Jewish Observer is aware
of the problem, they do not have a clue how to solve it.

I see the problem as follows:

In today's yeshiva society (I define this abstract term as those whose
children attend institutions such as Torah V'Das, Mir Brooklyn, Yeshiva
of Spring Valley, Bais Yakov, etc.) a boy basically has one choice, and
that is to go into kollel.  College or vocational learning is not an
option since there is tremendous pressure to stay in learning.

[It should be noted that the English language Yated Ne'eman newspaper
occasionally runs a paid ad whose text states that it if forbidden to
attend college, even places such as Touro College, which is run
primarily for religious students].

Now if these yeshiva boy wants to stay in learning, he has two options,
rely on his parents or his in-laws for support.  This in turn has
created the situation where many girls from poor (or even middle-class)
families can not find an acceptable shidduch.

Yet while the Shulcan Oruch clearly opines that one should ideally marry
the daughter of a talmud chocham (Torah Sage) and not marry for money,
the exact opposite has come to fruition.  The kollel and mechanchim
(educators) people who are marrying off their children are now finding
that they can't since they do not have the money to support their
married children.

The mixed message is that the boy who wants to stay in learning becomes
completely dependent on a working person.  He can't become working
person himself given the societal pressure against that.

This is turn leads to the situation of :

Boys feeling they have no option whatsoever except to stay in learning.
And when they do stay in learning, it is not because of ahavas ha'torah
(love or Torah) rather due to societal pressure.

Any comments?


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 15:27:25 EST
Subject: Torah is m'Sinai

Rena Freedenberg (MJ#30-39) says:
<<What are "modern Biblical scholars"? I believe that one of the
premises of this list is that the Torah is m'Sinai. I always learned
that it says in the Torah that we are forbidden to add or subtract even
one word -- how could it be possible that there would be "editors" who
would excise any phrases? This would render the Torah unfit! I must be
misunderstanding what you are saying.  Please explain.>>

Our belief system is both in Torah shebichtav and Torah shebealpe. If we
accept only the Torah shebichtav we will be labeled Zedokim/Karaim
etc. Our understanding of the Torah shebichtav is based on the Torah
shebealpe. The Talmud discusses the Torah shebichtav and explicitly
tells us that it is not identical to the original one, and that is
exactly also why the "codes" cannot and do not work. Note that Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein recognizes this fact and ruled on its implication for
the minimum length of Torah reading (in some cases 2 long pesukim
instead of three!). If an archeologist will find miraculously the
original Torah, we probably will not accept it for many reasons but this
is an entirely different issue for future discussions. For one thing it
will probably render every sefer Torah in our hand today to be passul.

Since Chazal discussed also the LXX (Septuagint) (B. Megila 9a) and the
miracle of making the very same changes to the translation of several
pesukim in order to avert problems, I would not dismiss this translation
out of hand.  Although, I do not know if the current LXX is in fact the
very same one that our sages translated in Alexandria, Egypt in the 3rd
century BCE, maybe some member/s of this group will be able to shed
light on the authenticity of the current LXX.

I agree that the term "editor" which you quoted above is problematic. It
should have been stated instead that copying the Torah text over several
millennia caused some errors in the copying process as the Talmud noted,
rather than intentional changes by an "editor." The Talmud recognizes
these transmission problems. See also the "daka" vs. "dakah" [one spells
it with 'aleph,' the other with 'hey'] (Devarim 23:2) difference between
Sefaradim and Ashkenazim. Obviously the Torah leMoshe miSinai was only
one of the above not both.

I have posted the section below with some modifications in MailJewish
and Torah Forum several years ago and I am bringing it back since it
discusses in details some of the sources used above.

Many point out to the flaws in the numerology of the various masoritic
pointers, such as "vav DeGachon" (VaYikra 11:42) which is supposed to be
the middle of the Torah in letters, and is off by about 5000 letters,
and other similar examples. Indeed, the Talmud in Kidushin 30a, where
this assertion is made, already concludes that "Inhu bekiey be'chaseirot
vi'yeteirot - anan lo beki'inan" They [who made this statement] knew all
the lettering variations - we [who are discussing this subject here] are
no longer knowledgeable in the subject of full and deficient lettering."
The Talmud is therefore stating that even in their [Talmudic] time, they
lost the ability to follow these numeric rules.

The preservation of the masoritic text was very important to ba'alei
ha'mesorah, and these numeric rules were used to preserve the texts in
the most accurate way. The word "Sofer" (scribe) comes from counting the
letters of the Torah "Nikreu sofrim shehayu sofrim ha'otiyot shebatorah"
(Kidushin 30a). Another method of preserving the accuracy of the Torah
was by comparing it to "Sefer Ha'Azarh", a Torah which was kept in the
Azarah (courtyard) of the Temple, and which was considered a flawless
Torah. (Moed Katan 12:2; 3:4; See also Rambam, Hilkhot Tifilin 7:2).

"The numbering of chapter and verse in the Bible was introduced for
Christians (probably early in the thirteen century) by Stephen Langton,
Archibishop of Canterbury" (Notes on the new translation of the Torah by
H.M. Orlinsky, JPS, 1970, pp. 20-21) The verses discussed in the Talmud
are not necessarily the same verses used today. In addition, the Talmud
itself notes that there were variations in the division of verses
between Israel and Babylonia (Kidushin 30a).

R. Moshe Feinstein says that if one reads two long verses for an aliya
he may be OK [according to Halacha, three verses must be read - but a
long pasuk (verse) might actually be two short ones]. R. Feinstein
states that one should make a distinction between long and short pesukim
especially in the second half of the Torah since "ve'hitgalach" is
supposed to be the midpoint of the Torah in pesukim, and we found it in
[parashat] Tzav [i.e., not in the middle] (Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim,
1:35).  [from Torah-Forum vol2/0171]

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 30 Issue 48