Volume 30 Number 67
                 Produced: Tue Jan  4 17:26:06 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov Akum/Cholov Stam
         [Bill Bernstein]
Cholov Yisrael
         [Susan Shapiro]
Cholov Yisrael and Categories of Gezarot
         [Mark Steiner]
Eating in a Supermarket
         [Yossie Abramson]
R. Moshe's lenient opinions
         [I. Balbin]
Rabbinic decrees and Cholov Yisroel
         [Isaac A Zlochower]


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 10:42:46 -0600
Subject: Cholov Akum/Cholov Stam

In MJ 30.48 one poster in South America writes about the advantages of
using only cholov Yisroel.  The issue has been discussed with a
tremendous thoroughness (as far as I remember) in past issues.  Yet he
raises a couple fo issues that could use comment.  His reasons for using
cholov Yisroel exclusively seem to revolve around 2 major reasons:
 1) A story from the Alter Rebbe (Lubavitch) is reported to have said
that cholov akum causes "sfeikos in emunah" and
 2) That using cholov stam is taking the easy way out and teaches
children that the should act with their own convenience in mind.  Using
cholov Yisroel is also "what Hashem prefers".

As I think was established by past discussion, Reb Moshe's heter was not
just for a shas had'hach situation but could be "normative" halacha.
Most of the major kashrus agencies have accepted this and give hashgacha
to cholov stam products.  As far as I have seen, halakha is not normally
established by stories from Rebbe's, although these may be useful in some
circumstances.  Cholov Yisroel is also far more expensive and may impose
a burden on consumers.  Further, the extra expense could be used for may
other purposes, e.g.  tzeddaka.  And as far as being "what Hashem
prefers," I am not aware of any sources for this statement.

Disclosure: I live in a very "out-of-town" community and use only cholov


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 13:24:51 EST
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisrael

<< What is the significance of heating in regards to milk? I understand
that Lubavitchers hold a higher temperature is necessary in order to
achieve a state of Mevushal (cooked) for wine, but I don't see the
significance of heating milk in regards to any sort of Kashruth issue >>

I'm not a Rabbi, but my understanding is that the 180 and 212 issue is
not for heating the milk, but for kashering the utensils from non-Chalav
Yisroel to Chalav Yisroel, or from treif to kosher.  As for the wine,
boiling temperature is boiling temperature, and according to my husband,
the idea is that it "ruins" the wine and makes it so a non-Jew wouldn't
use it for idol worship.

Susan Shapiro, S. Diego


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 16:08:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisrael and Categories of Gezarot

Binyomin writes:

> There is another logical possiblity. Although many poskim do agree in
> theory to the idea of these two categories (or at least something akin
> to these two categories) deciding which geziros fall into which
> category is not simple. Hence, although the Hazon Ish puts Chalov
> Yisroel into the "changeable" category he may (or may not) agree that
> mayim achronim is in that category.

My opinion is that any gezeirah which is regarded as not applicable
because of changing times, even though a Sanhedrin has not been convened
to abrogate the gezeirah, must be in the "second" category of gezeirah.
(For the simple reason that there is no other reasoning which could
permit the abandoning of a gezeirah.)  Mayim aharonim is certainly in
this category, according to most of the Ashkenaz rishonim and the Remo
(hence the practice of the Yekkes).  The hiddush of the Hazon Ish is
that "industrial milk" is also in that category.  However, a number of
rishonim cite the example of cheese with vegetable rennet which was
manufactured (I seem to recall) in Italy.  And cite an opinion that
gevinas akum is also in the category.

In the case of "cholov yisroel" (and I agree that this is really a
misnomer, falsely implying that a Jew milked the cows)it is clear that
the gezeirah is of category two, i.e. not to drink unsupervised milk,
even though one would usually rely on the statistics (that most milk is
cows' milk).  That is Hazal themselves called for a 'humrah.'  It is not
a gezeirah of not drinking unsupervised milk, lest one come to do (out
of weakness) something different--for example, reading by an oil lamp on
Shabbos, lest one come to make it brighter.

Thus, according to the analysis of the Hazon Ish, there is really no
choice but to put this gezeirah into category two.

Of course, you can reject the analysis of the Hazon Ish, but then you
will have to explain the rishonim who allowed mayim aharonim, mayim
megulim, doing business with Gentiles on their holy days (despite the
explicit Mishnah to the contrary), selling and buying "stam yaynam"
(even though, contrary to common opinion, Hazal regard stam yayin as an
issur hana'ah), etc., etc.  (the list is very long).  All of these were
permitted explicitly because of changing times making the extra caution
not necessary.  Note that *drinking* of "stam yayin" remains forbidden,
because it is a gezeirah of type one (tp prevent assimilation) and thus
can be abrogated only by the Sanhedrin, whose reestablishment we pray
for three times daily (not, I hope, for this reason).

On mayim aharonim, as I pointed out, the rishonim ascertained formally
that there is no Sodomite salt around today [in Europe?] and hence the
gezeirah is fulfilled (NOT abolished).  Though it is true that there is
another reason for mayim aharonim given by the Talmud, namely the verse
"vehiskadishtem vehyisem kedoshim," the Tosafos in Berachos point out
that this verse also mandates the application of fragrant oil to the
hands before benshn, which "nobody" in Ashkenaz does, so there cannot be
a true obligation to wash mayim aharonim either.

On the other hand, if one's hands have come in contact with food, they
must be washed "midina", this is an an absolute requirement for reciting
the Birkas Hamazon.

Mark Steiner


From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 15:48:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Eating in a Supermarket

> From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
>  Can one eat or drink from a product they intend to purchase at a
> store before they actually pay for it?  Truth be told, before paying,
> the product still belongs to the store.  Does the intent to purchase
> allow its use prior to ownership?

Actually, according to Halacha, once a person picks up the product it
belongs to him. You acquire an object by picking something up (a
yarmulka at a wedding for example). You just have to pay in order for
the owner to allow out the store without shooting you. However, in a Mom
or Pop store, if you take a can of soda, or give some candy to your
child, nobody raises an eye, as long as you remember to pay. The only
problem about doing this in a supermarket, is that by the time you get
to the cashier, you may have already finished up your product, and
either threw the wrapper in the garbage or stuffed it in your
pocket(book). For that reason alone, alot of people will just wait till
they leave the store before partaking of the food.

Yossie Abramson


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 10:11:42 +1100
Subject: Re: R. Moshe's lenient opinions

> 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

I believe that the Halocho is that you either have had to have had such a
Psak made directly to you, OR you were allowed to see the Rav do it in his
own house without him saying "you don't do this." My understanding is that a
Talmid of a Rav cannot under such circumstances pass on the Psak to another
person (or generation) because there was technically no such Psak to other
people. The exception is when the Talmid of that Rav paskens for himself
(with his own Shakle VeTarye (analysis) and then uses his Rav as support).
Accordingly, only someone who SAW Reb Moshe (eg his family) do such a thing,
or someone who had this paskened for them specifically can do such things.
A Posek who wants to make his opinion known generally and publically is well
aware of how to do it, and is not afraid. Compare Tshuvos where it is
apparent that Reb Moshe thought that Rav Henkin's Psak on something was
Machmir, and Reb Moshe was Meikel. Reb Moshe paskened Lahachmir, in
deference to Rav Henkin, but wasn't afraid to tell us his own view *when he
wanted to*. When Reb Moshe didn't tell us his view (or any Posek for that
matter) we should respect it. I had heard uncorroborated views about
electricity on Yom Tov and Rav Soloveitchik. A similar rule would apply.


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 21:35:46 -0500
Subject: Rabbinic decrees and Cholov Yisroel

Rav E. M. Teitz and Prof. Steiner have introduced the more general
question of the nature of talmudic decrees in their illuminating
discussions on the issue of Cholov Yisroel.  They have shown that the
various exceptions that the talmudic sages made to the decree
prohibiting the use of the milk of a Gentile have put this decree in a
special category which allows for the possibility that generic milk in
the US and in other countries with adequate adulteration laws may be
used, if necessary - or, even, a-priori.  Prof. Steiner cites the
"Chazon Ish" (R' Yeshaya Karelitz), the outstanding scholar of Vilna and
Bnei B'rak, to the effect that a number of talmudic decrees, including
the prohibition of the milk, cheese, and some solid and liquid foods
(including water) of Gentiles only require something better than a
greater probablility of kashrus over tarfus or a health danger.  For
milk, the fear that the Gentile would have in adulterating the product
due to the presence of a Jew (even a child) in the vicinity (or the
penalties against adulteration) is sufficient to give us the assurance
(chazakah?) that the milk is kosher.  The case of the other
prohibitions, cheese and exposed food (water) is less clear.  The cheese
prohibition was issued as a blanket decree with no explanation by the
earlier Mishnaic sages (Rabbi Yehoshua).  The sages of the Gemara, the
Amoraim, have advanced various explanations for the above decree without
forming a consensus opinion.  Such cheese is therefore generally
considered forbidden without adequate Rabbinic supervision, even in
areas where only kosher ingredients and curdling agents are known to be
in use.  That is, the halachic consensus seems to oppose the view of the
leading Tosafist, Rabbenu Tam (R' Ya'akov ben Meir), and to insist that
cheese is a talmudic decree that can not be ruled inapplicable to
particular situations.  Does the Chazon Ish differ with the Shulchan
Aruch in this matter?  If so, how does he infer the basis of the decree,
given that the promulgators did not reveal their reason.  [I,
personally, suspect that it was aimed at reducing socialization with the
Roman rulers (and other Gentiles) who had recently put down the Jewish
rebellion with great cruelty and had destroyed the temple.  The
reticence about revealing the reason for the decree, in my view, was
both to avoid punishment by the authorities and the accusation of the
people that the Rabbis were not satisfied with the 18 decrees of the
Shammai school limiting socialization with the Gentiles, that they now
felt the need to add more to the large list.  This reasoning is, of
course, speculative, but would suggest that the prohibition of cheese
made by Gentiles is due to some consideration other than kashrus.]  If
so, then an assurance (chazakah) that the cheese is kosher with the need
for Rabbinic supervision may not be adequate to circumvent the decree.

Concerning food and water that may have been left uncovered outdoors,
the concern was always the safety of such food.  In talmudic times, food
and water toxicity was attributed to the injected venom of poisonous
snakes that may have gotten into the food or water.  In actuality, the
toxic agents were bacteriological, fungal, or viral.  The Rabbenu Tam in
12th century northern France, however, takes the talmudic reason
literally, and concludes that in the absence of such snakes in his part
of Europe, the prohibition is inapplicable.  It is further argued that
the original decree concerning possibly exposed foods was only
promulgated in countries having poisonous snakes.  One may differ with
this line of reasoning, but this view has become accepted, and the
talmudic prohibitions against such food have fallen into disuse.  Does
the Chazon Ish advance any new claims regarding this issue?

The general question about the talmudic decrees lies in the degree of
freedom that later halachic decisors have in judging the applicability
of such decrees to their situation, and their freedom to reinterpret
those decrees.  Judging from the above cases, there is no consistent
pattern.  However, the views of the Chazon Ish may change this

Yitzchok Zlochower


End of Volume 30 Issue 67