Volume 31 Number 03
                 Produced: Tue Jan 18  6:58:41 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholov Yisroel (3)
         [Carl M. Sherer, Meir Shinnar, Isaac A Zlochower]
Cholov Yisroel and chumros
         [Ken G. Miller]
Halakhic Reality
         [Art Roth]
Saying 'I like ham but God forbade me'


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 18:10:35 +0200
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

Moshe Rappaport writes:

> I recall reading an article in the New York Times about 2-3 years ago
> (in their section on Media and Advertising) about 2 milk companies that
> were slugging it out for market share in the Western Massachusetts area.
> One company ran an ad showing a vial of yellowish liquid and claimimng
> that the competitor was putting this much fish-derived vitamin 
> supplement into each quart of milk.

The name of the Company was Garelick Farms, they were in the Boston
area, and the whole thing was discussed at length on this list (sorry, I
don't have the cite handy). 

[Thanks to Barry's excellent search engine, I can tell you that it is
v25n81. Mod.]

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: Meir Shinnar <Chidekel@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 11:11:43 EST
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

It has been persistently posted by several posters that Rav Moshe
Feinstein zt"l only allowed regular American milk (some of them even
called it halav akum) bish'at hadhak (in cases of great difficulty) as a
kula (leniency), rather than insisting on milk that a Jew watched being
milked as a humra in several cases, as that is the way that they
understand his tshuvot.  My understanding from reliable sources is that
several members of Rav Moshe's immediate family, who were in a good
position to know rav Moshe's real feelings, themselves drank regular
milk, and indeed, bought regular milk when milk that a Jew watched being
milked was available for equivalent prices.  (Rav Moshe himself only
drank halav yisrael).

This seems to be a continuation of an earlier thread - to what extent do
we trust ma'ashe rav versus our understanding of the sources.  However,
given the relationship of the ma'aseh rav to the source being cited, I
find this case particularly puzzling.

Meir Shinnar

From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 21:36:26 -0500
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

There has been much debate recently in this forum on the issue of
unsupervised milk in this country without resolution or any apparent
change in the attitude of the disputants.  This contribution is not
primarily aimed at changing minds, but at clarifying the history of milk
consumption in the US by Orthodox Jews.  I am not aware of any
commercial cholov yisroel milk before the 50s.  Those of us who grew up
in large cities such as NY in the 30s and 40s had no real access to
cholov yisroel, and, consequently drank generic milk both at home and in
the yeshiva lunchroom.  Only a few dedicated individuals "shlepped" out
to a farm (very few people had a car) to watch the milking and return
with a gallon or so of raw milk for their families.  The 50s saw the
first commercial cholov yisroel (the initial product was inferior to
standard milk), and the 60s witnessed the arrival of cholov yisroel that
was entirely comparable in quality to regular milk (Goldenflow was
actually superior to most milks).  The initial responsa of Harav Moshe
Feinstein on this question are from 1953 when cholov yisroel first
became available.  Until then, few thought to raise the question since
milk was considered a necessity, it was deemed to be a kosher product,
and there seemed to be no practical way of fulfilling the letter of the
talmudic legislation against cholov akum.  Rav Moshe's responsa clearly
justify that attitude.  Does the consumption of generic milk by
generations of American Jews prior to the 50s and 60s make those
generations defective in faith as a few of our disputants seemed to
suggest?  These are now the people who head the yeshivot, who are the
major poskim, and head many of the kashrut organizations in this
country.  I recognize that Hassidic Jews, in particular, are greatly
concerned about the issue of giving babies and children milk that is not
cholov yisroel.  That is not a justification, however, for propagating
distortions of Rav Moshe's views by citing unsubstantiated anecdotes
such as claims that he regretted his various published responsa on this
subject.  Rav Moshe clearly recommended that cholov yisroel be used
since it was now available, but he never wrote that commercial milk in
the US was forbidden.

One of the disputants intimated that there is an additional problem with
commercial milk; some of the cows undergo or have undergone a procedure
which involves puncturing a stomach to relieve gas pressure.  This is
deemed to render the cow a "treifa" and prohibits the use of her milk.
This issue arose in the early 90s and has, apparently, been
satisfactorily resolved.  Rav Yisroel Belsky, the main posek for the
Orthodox Union, has a lengthy article on this subject in Tradition, I
believe.  In any event, the gassy cow situation was even more of a
problem for some cholov yisroel companies that obtained their milk from
small dairies than for large non-cholov yisroel dairies.

[For those that want, the issue has been discussed at length at the end
of volume 14, beginning of vol 15. I would suggest v15n11 for a good
review of the issue by Rabbi Fruendel. Mod.]

Yitzchok Zlochower


From: Ken G. Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 13:09:27 -0500
Subject: Cholov Yisroel and chumros

In Mail-Jewish 30:97, Chaim Mateh writes at length about Rav Moshe
Feinstein's views on "cholov hacompanies":

<<< not only does Reb Moshe _repeatedly_ say that a Baal Nefesh should be
machmir, he also refers to his ruling that cholov hacompanies is OK, as a
_kula_ (leniency)! The main Reb Moshe tshuva on cholov Yisroel is Igros
Moshe Yoreh Deah part 1, #47, in which Reb Moshe wrotes: "and therefore,
he who wants to rely and be lenient (lehokel), he has a big reason and is
permitted... But even so, for baalei nefesh it is worthy to be
stringent... and so I do to be stringent for myself, but he who wants to
be lenient, he is doing as the din is...". In Tshuvos 48 and 49 he
continues the discussion.  He always refers to his original psak (in #47)
as a leniency (lehokel) and always says that it's worthy for a baal
nefesh to be stringent. >>>

Please note that there are TWO ideas here: (1) That drinking such milk
is a leniency for those who want to be lenient, and (2) That avoiding
such milk is a stringency for a baal nefesh. The way Mr. Mateh brings
it, we see only the extremes, and do not have much clue regarding what
Rav Moshe held as the bottom-line, basic halacha.

I believe that the reason we don't see the bottom-line, basic halacha,
is that Mr. Mateh chose to translate only selected phrases from that
paragraph. Two weeks ago, in Mail-Jewish 30:63, I posted a translation
of that same paragraph, but in *full*. I believe that a reading of Rav
Moshe's full words will give a clearer indication of his views, and so I
will repost it again here:

<<< And so, the milk which they forbade was only where a non-Jew milked
it without a Jew watching. We can allow it allow it where the Jew has a
clear knowledge, which is like seeing. As far as they might mix in
[non-kosher milk], they will be fined and would have to close their
business, so [using only kosher milk] is a profit of many thousands. The
government watches over them, and this is definitely a clear knowledge,
which is like seeing that there were no forbidden things involved. Also,
this is according to all opinions, and there is no reason to argue with
this. And therefore, one who wants to rely and be lenient has good
reason and is allowed, just as most people who are Shomrei Mitzvos, and
also many rabbis, and Chas V'Shalom to say that they are acting against
the law. But nevertheless, for Baalei Nefesh it is proper to be strict,
and this does not constitute "showing off". And that's how I act, to be
strict on myself. But one who wants to be lenient is following the law,
and should not be considered as a m'zalzel b'isurin [one who treats
prohibitions lightly]. >>>

Please note the final sentence of this paragraph: One who wants to be
lenient in this should not be considered as one who treats prohibitions

It is clear to me, from this paragraph, and from everything else Rav
Moshe wrote on this subject, that the Ikar Din, the main halacha, is
that Cholov Hacompanies is kosher and allowed, and that baalei nefesh
should go above and beyond that basic halacha, to avoid such milk. His
use of the word "lenient" is only meant to contrast with what the baalei
nefesh should do, and is not meant in any way to imply that it is less
than the basic halacha.

(The above paragraph also applies to Igros Moshe YD 2:35, which
Mr. Mateh quoted, because that teshuva was addressed specifically to
yeshivos and baalei nefesh, not to the basic halacha.)

Akiva Miller


From: Art Roth <AJROTH@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 15:38:13 -0600
Subject: Halakhic Reality

>From Zev Sero:

> But in other cases the facts themselves don't lead to a clear
> conclusion, and one must rely either on educated guesswork (e.g. rov,
> chazaka, etc) or on deciding among conflicting poskim (e.g. by the
> majority or by community tradition); in such cases, while a halachic
> decision has been properly arrived at, and a person has every right to
> rely on it, the fact remains that there really is still a doubt.  It is
> possible that this piece of meat was bought in the minority of shops
> that are treif, or that the reasoning which permitted it was faulty.  A
> chasid/baal-nefesh goes `inside the line of the law', and does not rely
> on such heterim; instead, he follows the old Jewish maxim that `a shayla
> macht treif', and avoids the situation.

I can accept this kind of argument only with respect to doubts regarding
PHYSICAL reality.  For example, no sensible person would eat a piece of
food that has even a 1% chance of containing arsenic.  Even though it is
probably safe, eating this food will kill you if you are unlucky, and as
unlikely as this might be, it would be foolish to take such a chance.
The reality is that either there is arsenic or there isn't, and if there
is, the effects are no less harmful just because you had reason to
believe that this was unlikely to begin with.

HALAKHIC reality is another matter.  Here we are dealing with spiritual
poison, which has the potential to injure our souls rather than our
physical bodies.  This is VERY serious and should by no means be taken
lightly.  In fact, most of us, as religious Jews, believe that this sort
of harm may be even more damaging than physical harm.  Nevertheless,
there is a crucial difference.  A piece of treif meat is poison to our
souls.  But if that meat gets mixed up with a large majority of kosher
meat, ALL of the mixture is just as kosher as if it had the most
reliable hashgaxa imaginable.  This piece of meat may still be from the
animal which, for example, was shot dead with a gun instead of
undergoing proper sh"xita.  But HALAKHICALLY, the spiritual poison is
all gone.  It is 100% kosher to eat, and our souls are safe from harm.
Yes, there is still a doubt about the PHYSICAL reality of the situation.
But so what?  Why should we care?  Why should a ba`al nefesh go out of
his way to avoid such a doubt?  HALAKHIC reality doesn't always
correspond to physical reality.  In such a situation, as long as the
spiritual poison has been removed, the physical reality should no longer
make any difference.  There is still a physical doubt, but there is no
longer any risk.

IMHO, acting otherwise would be the same as
  1. telling Hashem that we know better than He does, and
  2. rendering useless all the discussions in the Talmud regarding doubts
about anything at all by simply saying that anything which is in doubt is
not allowed.

Art Roth


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 04:00:47 EST
Subject: Saying 'I like ham but God forbade me'

With regard to the famous teaching of Rav Elazar ben Azaryah, brought in
Rashi in the end of parshas Kedoshim (VaYikra 20:26) from the Sifra,
etc., that a person should not say that Pork is disgusting to me -
rather, I would like to eat it, but my father in heaven commanded me not
to, which was recently brought up here...

I have wondered why one doesn't hear of this being done nowadays, by
gedolim and / or regular folks, e.g. when they pass a McDonald's (though
one shouldn't tarry there perhaps, lest they inhale the aroma of
'treife'). I don't recall seeing / hearing it being done - either now or
in past. Why is such a well - known teaching seemingly disregarded by
many observant Jews?

My initial reaction was that perhaps the teaching is not accepted
lihalacha (as a matter of Jewish law) (exactly why that might be, I am
not sure.....) .  I don't believe that it's brought as law in the
'codes' e.g. Shulchan Oruch.

Another idea that came to me is that perhaps it is / was viewed as a
potentially dangerous prescription for some of the general Jewish public
(esp. nowadays perhaps) - if people start talking like that, perhaps
some might develop an actual desire to sample non - kosher food and
might have a tough time controlling themselves....perhaps that's why
it's not recorded as law. Perhaps it might be a midas chassidus (a
practice for those on a high spiritual level) - but not a horaah lirabim
(prescription for the masses) ?  Or is it perhaps rejected entirely?

I looked a bit in commentaries about it, but didn't see this point
addressed.  Comments?



End of Volume 31 Issue 3