Volume 30 Number 51
                 Produced: Tue Dec 28  7:42:24 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov Yisroel (4)
         [Avi Feldblum, Mordechai, Yosef Braun, Carl Singer]
Chumrot (2)
         [Moshe and davida Nugiel, Andrew M Greene]
Eli`ezer vs. El`azar
In the Middle
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 07:00:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

On Thu, 23 Dec 1999, eliezer shemtov wrote:
> The Alter Rebbe responded that in all likelihood the child was given Cholov
> Akum and Cholov Akum provokes Sfeikos in Emunah!
> 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?

In trying to understand the groups that do not insist on Cholov Yisrael, I
think the fundimental issue resolves around the word "benefits" above, and
the phrase in Eliezer's second article "the first question is what does
'Hashem want and prefer?'". The question one needs to ask is whether the
halachot surrounding Cholov Yisrael / Cholov Akum represents a
metaphysical / Kabbalistic approach to the benefits / impacts of the
Cholov Yisrael / Cholov Akum, or is it simply a question of factual
situation related to the kashrut state of the milk at hand. If the
framework accepted is the first, and that is clearly the opinion of the
Alter Rebbe, then one can possibly state that what Hashem prefers is
Cholov Yisrael. If however one's perspective is that the question is what
is the halachic kashrut status of this milk, then one is of the opinion
that what Hashem wants is for us to only eat/drink Kosher and may have no
opinion on the topic of Cholov Yisrael / Cholov Hacompanies. One next
would want to understand what was R' Moshe's reasoning behind viewing
drinking Cholov Yisrael as a chumrah. The purpose of chumrot should not be
simply to forbid extra things on ourselves, as mentioned last month by R.
Dweck in a posting, and as brought down by the Rambam in his Shemonah
Perakim, quoting the same Gemarah R' Dweck did. One can then evaluate
whether the reason for the chumrah will add to your particular avodat
hashem and choose to accept it or not.

Avi Feldblum

From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 11:38:24 EST
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

Eliezer Shemtov uses the term 'chalav akum' (milk of idol and planet
worship / worshipper) for commercial milk that is not 'chalav Yisroel'
(Jewishly supervised). Isn't the correct term 'chalav stam' (general,
non - Jewish milk)?

One should use proper and accurate terminology when discussing
things. All the more so in a case involving Torah discussion. Also - in
a case like this, when you substitute the (to my knowledge) incorrect
term of 'chalav aku"m' for 'chalav stam' , you are wrongly giving the
impression that this milk has some kind of association with idolatry
(avodas kochavim umazolos) and idolators, which tends to make Jews
instinctively recoil from it and find it repulsive. A term that includes
'aku"m' in it carries very heavy negative baggage with it - with is not
associated with the term 'stam' (We also have this type of situation, I
believe, with wine. There are two terms used there - yayin nesech for
wine connected to avoda zara and stam yaynam for other general non -
Jewish wine, not connected with worship. Just as it not correct and
proper to label and burden stam yaynam with the much harsher term and
category of yayin nesech, so too with regard to milk.).

In order to have a proper halachic discussion and be more likely to
reach an accurate conclusion , we should avoid terms that, in addition
to being inaccurate, pose a danger of tilting us toward one side of the
issue, possibly without justification.

Also - being that he is in Uruguay, I think it is possible that the
government inspection system and media, etc. there may not be as well
developed as in the USA for example, where they exert pressure on milk
companies to keep their product pure.

Perhaps in such places (as in the Czarist Russia of the 'alter rebbe')
there is more reason to insist, even more strongly, upon cholov yisroel,
than in other places (e.g. the USA). Of course, baal nefesh yachmir al
atzmo (on himself) and 'tavo alav bracha' (may he be blessed). The
question is, whether everyone must adopt this practice in all cases.


From: Yosef Braun <yb770@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 13:10:36 EST
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

in a recent posting Eliezer Shemtov writes;
>	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.

 A nice thought, but not the meaning of the story he quoted. In the
story (Sefer Maamarim Yiddish p. 57 ) the individual partook from chalav
akum erroneously. Also it was an adult (a son-in law brought to the
Alter Rebbe by his father-in law) not a child as he quotes.
 Regarding R' Moshe Feinstein's heter, it should be pointed out that in
his most recent teshuvah (vol. 8 p. 161) he restricted his heter to
shaas hadchak only! "vlo bishvil yoker me'at" i.e. the minimal
difference in price isn't a factor in using this heter. Upon who does
modern orthodoxy rely on if R' Moshe himself doesn't allow it? The
Melamed Lho'il, one of the fathers of modern orthodoxy forbids it
categorically. The Chazon Ish (y.d. ch. 41) deals only with milk powder
and during time of war as his brother-in-law, the Steipler,
testified. (See other testimonies about the Chazon Ish's position in
Teshuvos Cchelkas Yaakov). So why are so many people lenient?  It's time
to review this permissiveness.

Yosef Braun

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 16:47:47 EST
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

I would respectfully agree with and disagree with Rabbi ShemTov's

First, I whole heartedly agree with the importance of Chinuch and the
importance of examples that we set for our children.  I remember, for
example, when living in Edison and one evening getting several carloads
of mischlochim at the door -- some of questionable vintage -- trying
very hard to maintain the positive attitude (Here's an opportunity to do
the mitzvah of tzedukah.) vs: the negative (Is this guy for real, does
he think I'm made of money?)  I remember when my children would run to
the door because the Rebbi collecting tzedukah would always have a few
kind words and a brucha for them.  And I needn't tell any parent how
perceptive children are.

BUT -- here's where I disagree -- hiddur mitzvah is not necessarily
"harder" mitzvah, and proper adherence is not necessarily adherence to

Case #1 - Specific to Chalav Yisroel, in today's Jewish consumer
friendly world, (in New Jersey, not Montevideo) it's actually easier for
me to get Chalav Yisroel (because I go to the local kosher store
regularly) than to get Chalav Akum (I'd have to go across the street to
the QuickCheck.)  And the cost differential is negligible.  Not to twist
the logic, but should I go for Chalav Akum based on it being more
difficult to obtain -- clearly not.  I base my decisions on what I
learned in MY parents' home and since.

Case #2 - Using an Eruv.  Is it harder to "not carry" then to "carry" on
Shabbos?  Does not using the community Eruv signify that I'm frummer
than my fellow Jew who uses it.  What do I teach my children when I walk
down the street with my Tallis on my shoulders, while other Frum Jews
carry their tallis.  Do I say that I hold a "different minhag" or a
"higher minhag" -- does my child grow up thinking of people who do use
the eruv as goyim?  How does my not carrying impact my wife who's now
stuck at home with the baby, and we can't accept meal invitations (and
social interaction with other people on Shabbos) because we have a baby
at home.

There's an old Yiddish adage that siz schver tzu zayn a Yid -- it's
difficult to be a Jew, this is oft misinterpretted.  Adherence to
halacha has strong components of discipline, attention (focus),
propriety and learning -- BUT unlike many other religions, adherence to
Jewish religious is not based on self-deprivation and "doing without."
I don't "do without" lobster; I just don't eat it because it's not the
proper derech for a Yid.  (Whether lobster tastes good or not is
irrelevant -- I don't know and I don't care.)

Ours is a loving G-d who wants us to thrive and enjoy the richness and
beauty of the world that He created for us, not one who wants us to
suffer in order to prove our loyalty.  "Harder" is better may on the
surface sound right, but it's wrong.

Carl Singer


From: Moshe and davida Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 22:12:33 +0200
Subject: Chumrot

  Eliezer Shemtov argues that chumrot in general, (and cholov yisroel in
particular) are what Hashem wants of klal Yisrael.  The core of the
argument is the following sentence:

<<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. >>

The implication here is that "BEST way" = chumrot, and "EASIEST" way =

Unfortunately for Reb Shemtov, the ba'ale Tosafot argue exactly the
opposite.  In their explication of the phrase " Koach d'hereta adif"
[the strength of [an argument based on] permitting is preferable {Beitza
2b}] they explain that in order to allow something, one needs to base
his arguments upon proofs and reasons (i.e., the BEST way for thinking
people) while one needs no reasons at all to be strict with himself (the
EASIEST way for non thinking people.)

To believe that Hashem wants us to be automatically machmir (strict)
ignores the subtleties of the give and take of the entire shas.  Now
that's an EASY approach to halacha, and one which I would presume is not
what Hashem wants.

I think I'll teach my kids to think, thanks.

Moshe Nugiel

From: Andrew M Greene <agreene@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 07:43:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Chumrot

In MJ 30:48, Eliezer Shemtov wrote a well-thought-out message on the
subject of why one would "look for a Heter". I would like to respond
with an additional thought.

I quoted Mr. Shemtov's phrase "look for a Heter" because it conveys a
certain assumption. Later in his article, he also uses the phrase
"Finding a Kulo." The implication (not just of these phrases, but of the
whole posting) is that whenever one is given a choice between a meikal
[lenient] and a machmir [stringent] position, that the more-stringent
position is ipso facto preferable, and the more lenient position must
only be used as a concession to some other mitzvah.

I respectfully disagree with that position. Halacha is a system in which
certain things are permissible and others are forbidden.  To *always*
rule l'chumrah is to move things from the permissible category into the
forbidden category, which, I believe, is a violation of bal tosif [do
not add new commandments to the Torah].

While there are, no doubt, people who seek out the easiest way to follow
halacha, it does not follow that we must seek out the most difficult way
to follow halacha. And to suggest that those who follow a less machmir
position must be seeking the easy way out is divisive and smacks of
disrespect for people who make an earnest effort to live according to
the mitzvot.

- Andrew Greene


From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 11:57:21 -0800
Subject: Re: Eli`ezer vs. El`azar

More on Eli`ezer vs. El`azar.

A quick check in the Even-Shoshan Concordance of the Tana"ch shows that
both names, Eli`ezer and El`azar, appear numerous times in the Tana"ch.
Furthermore, there are many distinct people who bear these names, not
just El`azar ben Aharon and Eli`ezer ben Moshe. There is not even one
case where a person named Eli`ezer is referred to as El`azar and vice
versa. So in the Tana"ch these two names are absolutely distinct, as
opposed to Yonatan and Yhonatan, where both forms refer to one and the
same person.

On the other hand, the confusion between El`azar (no yod) and Eli`ezer
(with a yod) is clearly evident in old manuscripts of the Mishna, not
only in ms. Haggadot that I mentioned previously.

Why this confusion? I have no idea. One speculation that I have heard is
that, in Yiddish, both names are abbreviated to Leizer and so the
distinct spelling and pronunciation of the two names is lost.

Yosef Gilboa (with thanks to Dr Zvi Betzer of Bar Ilan University).


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 00:46:04 +0200
Subject: In the Middle

Yosef Gilboa wrote:

"One practice that has not been mentioned yet is to kiss the tsitsit only
at "v-haya lachem l-tsitsit". The other three occurrences of the word
"tsitsit" are in the middle of a phrase, where stopping to kiss the
tsitsit would interfere with the proper continuity of the recitation of
the parasha. "V-haya lachem l-tsitsit", on the other hand, is a complete
phrase, as is clearly shown by the t`amim (munah zarqa sgol), therefore
it is appropriate to pause briefly to kiss the tsitsit."

Logically, then, should we not beat our breasts during Amidah at the
sixth bracha of  "slach lanu"?  Do we "inappropriately pause" when we 
fall on our arms at the begining, middle or end of the verse at Tachnun?
I am sure, although the source is not now at hand, that one can make
hand signs during t'fillot so why not kiss the tzitzit - as the major Poskim


End of Volume 30 Issue 51