Volume 30 Number 56
                 Produced: Thu Dec 30 17:48:02 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov "Stam"
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Cholov Yisroel (3)
         [Ahron Wolf, Isaac Balbin, Mark Steiner]


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 00:08:23 +0000
Subject: Re: Cholov "Stam"

Mordechai's criticism of the use of the term "cholov akum" where "cholov
stam" is meant, is unfortunately founded on a misunderstanding of the
term "cholov akum."

There is no connection whatever between such milk and idolatry. "Cholov
akum" is shorthand for "Cholov shechalavo akum v'ain Yisroel roayhu"
(milk milked by a non-Jew, without a Jew seeing him), which Chazal
prohibited. Cholov Yisroel refers to any milk which is not chalav akum.
There are no intermediate types of milk: it is either chalav akum or
chalav Yisroel.

Normally, when Chazal prohibited an object or an action for a reason,
the prohibition applies even in an instance where the reason does not.
Thus, when the decree was made that a woman whose marriage was
terminated must wait three months before remarrying, to prevent
questions of paternity from arising, the prohibition applies equally to
a woman of child-bearing age and to, say, a centenarian who has
undergone a hysterectomy.  The paternity problem is the *reason* for the
prohibition, but the prohibition was that remarriage for a woman is
forbidden for three months.

The reason for the prohibition of Cholov akum was concern that the
non-Jew might adulterate kosher milk with milk of a non-Kosher species.
By the argument of the previous paragraph, then, it should be prohibited
even in circumstances where the non-Jew is deterred from adulterating
by, e.g., USDA inspection and sanctions.

However, cholov akum is unique in that there is a built-in exception.
The Talmud states that it is not necessary for the Jew to witness the
milking; it suffices if the non-Jew is aware that at any moment the Jew
might enter and witness any attempts at adulteration.  The question then
arises: is this the only exception, or is it a general rule that where
fear of being caught exists, the prohibition was not imposed?

To those who take the first view, commercial milk is Cholov akum.  To
those who subscribe to the second opinion, it is cholov Yisroel.  The
term "cholov stam" is not a halachic one, but is a recently invented
term for milk whose status is in Halachic dispute -- neither clear-cut
cholov akum nor definite cholov Yisroel.

For undisputed cholov akum, milk produced without Jewish supervision and
with no governmental fear, there is no question that it is prohibited
acording to all Halachic opinions.

For wine, on the other hand, the question is one of yayin nesech, wine
used in the service of idolatry, as opposed to stam yaynum, a Talmudic
term, referring to wine touched by a non-Jew, which was prohibited
because it might be yayin nesech.

(Incidentally, the grammatically correct terms are "chalev akum" and
"chalev Yisroel."  "Cholov" means "milk;" "chalev" denotes "milk of.")


From: Ahron Wolf <awolf@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:21:31 -0500
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

According to what i heard on a taped lecture by rav schechter on the
minhogim of rav soloveitchik in yore dea, both rav soloveitchik and the
chazon ish hold there is nothing to be machmir about when it comes to
drinking cholov yisrael today in america or israel. it is mutar gomur.


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:00:17 +1100
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

>From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
> 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.

According to ALL opinions Hashem requires Cholov Yisroel. Hashem prefers
us to adhere to his and our Chazal's Gzeros.  Chalav Yisroel is a
requirement. Period. There is no argument from anyone about this. The
questions that come to mind are whether today's milk in the USA are AS
GOOD AS DRINKING Cholov Yisroel from the perspective of Halocho and the

>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.

I don't understand. Reb Moshe held it was Ikkar HaDin. Reb Moshe was
asked whether in the face of Chalav HaCompanies in the USA whether one
could use this INSTEAD OF Chalav Yisrael. As you will know, Reb Moshe
has hundreds and hundreds of Psokim where he Paskens, and then says,
that a Yireh Shomayim should consider doing otherwise. There is nothing
particularly unique to the Cholov Yisroel Psak in this respect.

>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.

For the record, I am Machmir on Cholov Yisroel over Chalav HaComanies
(here in Australia) not because I believe there is anything metapysical
to gain and not because I care about being labeled. I don't care for
labels and don't care who labels me. The reason I took it up was because
I was thereby supporting a group of people from an economic perspective
who wished to have it because their Rabbis didn't follow Reb Moshe's
Psak. I knew then, that in Melbourne, all the Litvaks and all the
Chassidim used it (and not just Lubavitch) and by buying it and using
it, the chances are that the price would become more affordable for
them. I strongly believe that we should do likewise for Cholov Yisroel
cheese etc. Melbourne is not as small now as it was then but if one can
afford the extra expenditure I feel it benefits consumers.  (As far as
Lubavitch are concerned, most don't follow the dictum of the Alter Rebbe
anyway because there is a specific Chumroh in Lubavitch about heating to
a higher temperature. In most Chalav Yisroel around the world it is not
heated to this temperature and Lubavitchers the world over use it)

From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 17:13:25 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

About the Hazon Ish's position on cholov yisroel, no testimony could be
as clear as his analysis in Y.D., which he states as "amitah shel

In the first place, he could not have LIMITED the psak to powdered milk,
because he states quite clearly that there is NO DIFFERENCE between
ordinary and powdered milk (against those who argued that powdered milk
is in the category of butter or cheese, about which there were
authoritative opinions that neither could be made from nonkosher milk
and were permitted, so long as no trefa rennet were used).  Thus, the
fact that he is talking about powdered milk has no relevance.

Second, the Hazon Ish gives a brilliant halakhic analysis, in which he
distinguishes between various kinds of gezeiros.  One kind is where
Hazal forbade A lest one come to do B.  In this kind, no leniency is
possible, and the gezeira can be abrogated only by a greater Sanhedrin
than the one which enacted it, an impossibility today.

Another kind of gezeira is that in which Hazal laid down that one is not
allowed to rely on the principle of "rov" (statistics).  In what is
called in the Talmud "milked which is milked by a Gentile where a Jew is
not watching" and is often called "cholov yisroel" for short today,
Hazal enacted that even if most of such milk would be kosher, one must
be stringent.  The same goes for cheese made by Gentiles.  The same goes
for drinking water which has been left overnight (gilui) and other
substances which Hazal deemed "dangerous."  Same for mayim aharonim.  In
these cases, the Hazon Ish argues, the original enactment was simply
that one take special care and not rely on statistics.  Relying on
government supervision, when reliable, is such a case of taking special
care.  Hence, milk in the US "is" cholov yisroel in the original sense
of Hazal.  I wouldn't call this a "heter" at all.

No unverifiable testimony can contradict this brilliant analysis, which
has nothing to do with wartime etc.  Furthermore, the Hazon Ish tended
to rely on his own analyses as the truth as he saw them.  Note that his
analysis also explains the opinion of the Ashkenaz rishonim who did not
use mayim aharonim as explained in the Tosafos.  No other one will,
because the nonexistence of Sodomite salt in Europe does not abrogate an
enactment of the rabbis.  Incidentally, some of the postings on mayim
acharonim missed an important point.  When one's hands are dirty, all
agree that mayim aharonim is a necessary condition for "benshn".  So
that when yekkes say that they, unlike the Eastern Jews, use silverware,
and are thus exempt from the requirement, they are telling only half the
story.  The other half is, as the Hazon Ish explained, since Hazal were
concerned about Sodomite salt getting into the eyes, one must either
wash one's hands or else make sure in some other approved way that no
salt is on the hands.  Since the Tosafos ruled that such salt simply
does not exist in Europe, this ruling becomes the functional equivalent
of mayim aharonim.

Actually, yekkes who are strict about cholov yisroel and lenient about
mayim aharonim, according to this analysis, are contradicting
themselves, unless, of course, they believe on factual grounds that
government supervision is not reliable, because of the lack of
enforcement, etc.  But note that even cholov yisroel may not be
reliable, because of the halakha that the mashgiach need not even be in
the line of sight continuously as the cows are being milked.  I myself
have witnessed such hashgacha, and frankly, if there really were a
problem with milk coming from pigs or donkeys, this sort of hashgacha
would not prevent such fraud.

I actually posted on this subject some years ago, and ended with the
thought that going through the Hazon Ish on this (and every) subject
will do more for your soul than any beverage--I recommend it highly.

Mark Steiner

	This is a P. S. to what I wrote on this subject in the name of
the Hazon Ish.  A recent participant in the discussion wrote:

" 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?"

With all due respect, this argument is seriously flawed.
1.	In Y. D. part 3, chapter 16, R. Moshe writes that drinking "milk of
the companies" is not forbidden "midina", "ela rak min haraui lhahmir
levaalei nefesh", i.e. is not forbidden at all in point of law, but it
is appropriate for pious Jews to be stringent. (p. 241)
In that same teshuva (which is argued in great detail) he concludes that
even "baalei nefesh" need not be machmir for cheese made from "company
milk" (R. Moshe never calls this milk "cholov akum".)  The reason for
this is that even if the cheese is made from real "cholov akum" i.e.
where there is no government supervision, it is still permissible
"lekhatkhila".  (p. 240).  Of course we are speaking of cheese where
there was a hashgacha on the manufacture of the cheese to make sure that
the rennet was kosher.  This ruling is based on the Talmudic principle
that cheese cannot be made from nonkosher milk.

2.	The letter in vol. 8 is not a teshuva at all, but a short letter
written in an attempt to give chizuk to a kosher dairy in Toronto.  It
was not published by R. Moshe, but appeared posthumously.  The editors
point out that it contradicts many statements in writing that were
published by R. Moshe zatzal.  It is not clear that R. Moshe would have
published this letter himself.

3.	But even if you argue that R. Moshe changed his mind, the argument
cuts the other way, because the letter in vol. 8 is dated 5728, while
the long teshuva I just cited is from 5735!!  So if he changed his mind,
it is lekula.

4.	R. Moshe did not write his teshuvos for "Modern Orthodoxy."  He wrote
them for Jews.  There's enough division among Jews, and I think the tone
of the posting should be reconsidered.

5.	R. Moshe did not publish all his lenient opinions.  (For example, he
hints here and there that there is no prohibition in turning off the gas
on Yom Tov (and extinguishing the flame) for reasons he does not want to
publish.  I have heard from witnesses that that's exactly what he did
his own home.  Those who didn't, however, hear it directly from him or
his talmidim should (IMHO) continue what they have been doing up to now,
since we must respect R. Moshe's reason for not publishing this as a
teshuva.)  When, however, R. Moshe publishes a lenient opinion, it is
only after thinking over the matter thoroughly.

	Mark Steiner


End of Volume 30 Issue 56