Volume 30 Number 78
                 Produced: Sun Jan  9 10:36:19 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Airline meals
         [Richard Schultz]
Eating in a Supermarket (3)
         [Akiva Miller, Daniel Israel, Shmuel Himelstein]
English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy
         [Stephen Phillips]
Hagbah - Acquiring and object by picking it up
         [Lee David Medinets]
         [Carl Singer]
Shliach Mitzva Money
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Tearing toilet paper on Shabbat
         [Rose Landowne]
Women as Mohalot (3)
         [Joseph Geretz, Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer, Chaim Mateh]


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 16:24:22 +0200
Subject: Airline meals

My airline meal story is a bit different than the ones I've seen here.
Once, due to a family emergency in the U.S., I had to fly from Israel to
the U.S. on chol hamoed Pesach.  This was the overnight flight to JFK on
an airline with the same number of initials as the airport.  The
"kosher" breakfast came with a certificate from the mashgiach at Ben
Gurion airport in English and Hebrew.  The English side was proudly
emblazoned "this meal is kosher for Passover."  The Hebrew side said
"kasher l'Pesach l'ochlei kitniyot," [kosher for Passover for those who
eat legumes].  I was not amused by the distinction.

					Richard Schultz


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 11:35:33 -0500 
Subject: Eating in a Supermarket

It never dawned on me that the act of picking up an item (with intention
to buy it) would constitute a kinyan, even prior to my placing it in my
shopping cart. This brings two related questions to mind:

1) Having made that kinyan, how is possible to change my mind and put it
back on the shelf? One answer could be that returning it to the shelf
constitutes payment for the item. But my guess is that picking up an
item constitutes a kinyan *only* if the person had intended to acquire
it at that point, and it is a reasonable assumption that most people do
not have that intention, and explicitly intend to acquire it only upon
payment. This would allow one to pit it back on the shelf, and forbid
one to eat it prior to payment.

2) What happens when I put an item in my cart, and then the package
breaks, ruining the food? Who did it belong to at that point, and whose
loss is it? If my kinyan was valid, then *I* must suffer the loss, and
make good on my debt to pay for that item. The supermarket might have
the good will to forgive that debt, but I must at least offer to pay for
it, because it is a debt which I have already incurred. On the other
hand, if the kinyan takes effect only upon payment, then it becomes a
much more complicated question of whose actions or negligence
contributed more to the breakage.

Of course, all the above applies only within the context of the store's
return policy. I have seen supermarkets with large signs which describe
their return policy as being so generous that (direct quote here, as
best as I can remember it): "Your purchase is not complete until you
bring it home and are satisfied with the quality". Such an explicit
declaration on the part of the seller would surely override halachos
designed for more typical situations.

Akiva Miller

From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 12:36:59 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Eating in a Supermarket

It seems to me that most stores (at least in the states) are makpid on
not allowing this (may have signs to this effect).  I would conclude
that the chazaka is that stores don't want you doing this, which would
make it a definie lack of derech eretz, a possible chillul HaShem, and
perhaps (but I'm no expert on this one) a transgression of dina malchusa

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 15:30:15 +0200 
Subject: Eating in a Supermarket

Even if picking something up as a Kinyan would make it mine Halachically
wouldn't Dina d'Malchuta Dina apply, whereby (at least in those
countries where there are supermarkets), I do not acquire possession
until such time as I've paid for it?

And even if this has nothing to do with Dina d'Malchuta, isn't it
clearly that for a person to acquire possession of an object there must
be the relinquishment of possession by the original owner? And isn't it
totally obvious that no supermarket will relinquish possession until
such time as an object is paid for?

And to take it one step further - if I pick something up (and thereby
"acquire possession"), would my putting it back afterwards because I
changed my mind mean that it is now ownerless, now that I have
"relinquished possession"?

As to "grazing," if it's from an open display (where one will not even
pay for it), it would appear to me that this is nothing less than Gezel,
especially if we consider that a Prutah was worth about 1/6 of a US cent
when I went to Yeshiva in the early '60s.

And even if one "grazes" from a package which he/she intends to buy, as
long as it has not been bought - and hence still belongs to the store -
isn't that Gezel at that time as well?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 13:04 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy

> I would recommend two books by Louis Jacobs: The Book of Jewish Belief 
> and The Book of Jewish Practice.  They are inexpensive paperbacks 
> published by Behrman House.
> Cordially,  Alan Cooper

Rabbi Louis Jacobs, as many of you will know, is the religious leader of
the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in the United Kingdom and has
written in various of his works that he does not believe that the Torah
was given by Hashem word for word to Moshe. I would therefore hesitate
to recommend any of his books, especially for someone with little
knowledge of the Jewish religion.

Stephen Phillips.


From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 19:14:06 -0500
Subject: Hagbah - Acquiring and object by picking it up

>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 you out of the store without shooting you.

It is my understanding that a person does not acquire an object by
lifting it unless both he and the prior owner of the object intend that
this lifting will accomplish the kinyon (transfer of ownership).  The
problem in the supermarket is that normally neither the owner nor the
shopper intends the shopper to own the groceries until after they have
checked out.  For example, if you realize you were supposed to get the
giant economy size, and not the large family size box of cereal, you can
take the box out of your cart and place it on the shelf.  You don't need
to find a store clerk to pick it up for the owner.  Perhaps you will say
that by returning the object to the shelf, the store shelf re-acquires
the object for the store.  I cannot prove otherwise, but I don't believe
that is what happens.  I think that the store owner would say that his
intention is to continue owning the object until it has been paid for,
and I think most shoppers would not disagree.

The problem of eating food in the store is not so simple, however.  In a
restaurant (the kind where they give you a check at the end of the
meal), you can eat the food before you pay for it because both the owner
and the patron understand that the patron is allowed to acquire the
object before he pays for it.  So picking up a fork full of pie and
putting it in your mouth is a pretty good kinyon.  But what about in a
store?  It seems to me that if both the store owner and the patron
understand and agree that it is o.k. for the patron to eat food in the
store, then it is no worse than a restaurant.  Without the store owner's
consent, I don't see how it could be permitted.  With his consent I
don't see how it could be a problem.

Dovid Medinets


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 12:11:23 EST
Subject: Re: Poskim

Ellen Krischer asks several relevant questions:

Many deal with mitzeah and context -- what I might restate as can a
distant Posek know enough about your situation and the situation
surrounding the question to effectively answer it.  I.e., sufficiency --
can he do a good job?

But there are two other issues of local vs: distance in the following

>3) As long as you are going to a posek consistently, does it really
> matter if it is a local Rabbi or one in a distant place - maybe your old
> Rosh Yeshiva or former chevrusa (learning partner) or someone else with
> whom you've established an ongoing relationship?  What relationship must
> pre-exist or be formed (if any) to qualify as a "posek relationship"?

1 - Community Standards - I think it's stretching a point to presume
that a distant Rabbi can address this correctly

2 - Proper Derech and Koved for local Rabbi (Rabbaim) -- there is a
proper way of doing things, and skirting one's shule Morah D'Asrah is
improper.  Again, if that person feels himself out of his depth or
comfort level, he can take the question forward to those who are more

i.e. - appropriateness -- is this the proper derech?

We undermine the local community and avoid building relationships with
local Rabbaim when we grab the phone or the net.

Carl Singer 


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 18:31:53 +0200
Subject: Shliach Mitzva Money

> Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:
> When given the money, as "shaliach mitzvah money" you are being made a
> shaliach (messenger) to take the money to Israel and give it there.
> Thus, you would not be allowed to give it elsewhere.  

Hillel notes something here that is quite ironic - most of us give
someone Shliach Mitzva money only when they are travelling to Israel. I
say it is ironic, because I heard from one of R. Yaakov Kamenetsky
zt"l's grandsons that R. Yaakov held that a trip to Israel was the one
trip for which one did NOT need to be a Shliach Mitzva because going to
Israel was a mitzva itself.

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...>  or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 10:51:01 EST
Subject: Re: Tearing toilet paper on Shabbat

The simplest (though not cheapest) solution is just to keep a box of
tissues there.
 Rose Landowne


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 23:08:12 -0500
Subject: Women as Mohalot

Ed Norin wrote:
> This last Shabbot Sh'mot, we read how Tsipporah saved Moshe and her
> son's life by circumsizing her son.  I have never read anything
> criticizing Tsipporah for her actions.  Therefore, can a woman be a
> kosher moyel.  Does it matter if the Father is not able to fulfill his
> obligation?

It seems to me that a female is a perfectly valid moyel. Besides for the
precedent established by Tzippora, consider a contemporary case of a
widow with a newborn child. The widow will certainly appoint a moyel to
perform the circumcision. A fundamental precept of Halacha states that
one cannot appoint an agent to perform any action which they themselves
cannot perform.  So the very fact that a woman can appoint a moyel,
indicates to me that a woman can perform the circumcision herself. (I've
never heard that the beis din steps in on behalf of a widow to appoint
the moyel.)

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.

From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 14:36:52 +0200
Subject: Women as Mohalot

On the question of Women as Mohalot and the evidence from Tzippora: see
Talmud Bavli, Avoda Zara 27a:
 "But does anyone hold that a woman is not [qualified to perform
circumcision]. Does not scripture say, 'Then Zipporah took a flint [and
cut off the foreskin of her son]' (Ex. 4:25)?! - Read into it, 'she
caused to be taken'. But it also says, 'And she cut off'! - Read into
it, and she caused it to be cut off, by asking another person, a man, to
do it. Or you may say it means that she only began and Moses came and
completed it."

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 22:38:18 +0200
Subject: Women as Mohalot

The Gemoro Avoda Zara 27a discusses whether a woman can be mohel.  There
is a difference of opinion between Rav and Rabi Yochanan: one says she
is permitted and one says she is not.  The one who says she is not
permitted, gives two explanations for Tzippora's supposed mohel of her
son: (1) She told someone else to do it, or (2) she started and Moshe
finished.  The words in the Chumash are explained to fit both

The Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 264:1 rules like the view that permits a
woman to be a mohel, while the Rema says that she shouldn't be a mohel
and "such is the custom to have a man [be the mohel]".  The Rambam
Hilchos Mila 2:1 rules that a woman can mohel if there isn't a man
available.  The Rif at the end of the 19th chapter in Maseches Shabbos
(Rabi Eliezer deMila) says that if there isn't any men who know how to
do the mila and a woman there does know, and she did do the mila (sounds
to me like a bidi'eved case), it's a kosher mila.

Kol Tuv,


End of Volume 30 Issue 78