Volume 31 Number 18
                 Produced: Tue Jan 25 21:48:59 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anonymous Poskim, etc.
         [Jonathan Katz]
         [Shlomo Pick]
         [Chaim Mateh]
         [Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson]
         [Irwin Lowi]
Source of Phrase (chazak chazak vinischazek )
         [Jack Gross]
Washing for the Shmorg (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Carl and Adina Sherer]


From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 17:00:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Anonymous Poskim, etc.

I was the one who had originally asked the question regarding the
existence of "anonymous poskim" over the Internet. Since my decision to
use such a posek has been roundly criticized on this forum, I would like
to ask a few questions regarding this topic:

The list members are operating under the assumption that one should
establish a single Posek for oneself. Why must this be the case? Of
course in the time of the Talmud, students would have one Rav whose
opinion they would follow, but times were different then, because we are
talking there of a student-teacher relationship, not a Rav - congregant
one! Who knows what the "common people" in the time of the Talmud
did. Perhaps they had one Rav per community, but certainly that is not
the case anymore.

Settling on one Rav raises a number of philosophical problems. First of
all, what is wrong with "posek shopping" (not ethically speaking, but
L'phi HaDin, according to the letter of the law)? Aren't both opinions
equally valid and equally right? If I had only asked one Rabbi's
opinion, I would not be blamed for following his advice; why, then,
should I be blamed for asking two Rabbis and following the advice of the

Secondly, how is "posek shopping" defined? We all choose our posek to
some degree based on his previous Psaks - otherewise why not just choose
someone randomly?! And once this is the case, it becomes a fine line
between choosing a Rav because of his hashkafa (philosophy) and choosing
a Rav because of his psak on a similar question.

Furthermore, for those who are m'dakdek [strict] on establishing one
posek, what do you do when you move? Grow up? Change Hashkafa?

I live in NYC, and as a (for now) single Upper West Sider I don't feel
particularly affiliated with any one shul. I don't have a relationship
with any Rav locally such that I would feel comfortable calling them up
out of the blue and asking a question. What else can I do but turn to an
Internet Posek?

(not that this is an issue anymore - I already asked the question I needed
to an Internet Rabbi and got a psak...)

Jonathan Katz


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 12:02:00 +0200
Subject: Chazak

in response to the following statement:
> I believe that German - Jewish Congregations (e.g. Khal Adas Jeshurun
>[KAJ] of Washington Heights, NYC) say only Chazak vinischazeik - not
>chazak chazak - based on a verse in Samuel 2 , 10 : 9. Certified
>'Yekkes' - please confirm. :)

the verse quoted is incorret and should read 2 Samuel 10:12 and hence
the last word should be pronounced "venischazAk" - and that i heard in
the yekke shul in bnei brak, KAJ of rechov hagra, by the midakdikim. and
if that verse is the source, that's how it should be pronounced.
regarding this very custom, see the article by Yaakov Spiegal, in
BAR-ILAN, Annual of Bar-Ilan University Studies in Judaica and
Humanities, XXVI-XXVII (this volume is in honor Y. Gilat), 1995.  The
article is entitled: "Saying Hazak! and Yishar Koah!", pp. 343-370
(hebrew) with and an English summary (p. xiv). On p. 358 he quotes the
Rav zt"l from the volume entitled: MeBeit Midrasho shel haRav
(jerusalem, 1978), p. 12.

bebirchot haTorah


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 23:21:09 +0200
Subject: Kollel

In v31#10, Stuart Wise <swise@...> wrote: 
<<Like the Bais Yaakov indoctrination, it appears that yeshivos also
push the idea of kollel without considering future implications, such
as, eventually how to support your family when you leave kollel and not
trained in any skill. (Note: learning in kollel doesn't automatically
qualify someone to be a teacher, though there are a number of former
kollelniks who do become rebbeim.)>>

What is wrong with learning a trade _after_ one leaves Kollel.  Or even
during the last few years of Kollel?

<<The message yeshivos should send out is that for most people there is
life after kollel and those sitting and learning should have a plan
before making their decisions that affect not only themselves, but their
parents and their future children.>>

What plan should they make?  That they will learn in Kollel for 5 years
and then go into business?  Or then take a computer course, or an
electricians course?  Or that they will learn in Kollel for 10 years,
the last 4 of which he will go to night college?  I don't see anything
wrong with these "plans" although there also isn't anything wrong with
him today (when he enters Kolel) not deciding which profession he will
go into 5-10 years hence.

Kol Tuv,


From: Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson <Mackerso@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 18:03:13 -0500
Subject: Poskim

As a hospital Rabbi I often come up with problem of Rabbonim who make
piskei halacha concerning medical issues and have no facility in medical
questions.  It is a regular discussion topic amoung our physicans many
of whom are frum as well.  Hopefully ones Rav has informed his
congregants of specializations that he will refer out because they are
technical and need specialization.  Where a Rav knows he doesn't really
know and paskins anyway it is a chillul HaShem and could cause serious
health danger to the patient which has happened more than once. When I
was in smicha we were always taught that you didn't need to know
everything and that there was no sin in saying I don't know. The key was
saying let me look that up or ask someone who may know the answer.
Those rules seem to be getting ignored more and more as Rabbonim and
their congregants think they do and should know everything all the time
and on all subjects.

Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore


From: Irwin Lowi <abpf@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:47:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Scotch

Dear Sirs/Madams;
 I have devoted quite a bit of time to the full understanding of the
issues of sherried casks and their impact on the scotch itself. The
discussions I've read from Y.Medad, A.Feldblum,C.Singer, et.al., are
interesting, yet each carries points to be addressed. First things
 1)The only scotch under supervision that I am aware of is HaMashkeh,
which is barely potable. All the major distilleries were offered
supervision for $2500/yr and none were interested. (Save Glenfiddich
which only wanted it on the product in the sherry casks, which the
kashrus org. refused to give.)Rabbi Riskin's reliance on "someone" in
the kashrus field in England/Scotland is fine to print, but I would hope
he did more than what was implied by Mr. Medad.
 2)Recent articles in the Malt Advocate and Whiskey Magazine tell a
fairly strong story of the impact of sherry on scotch. The head
distiller for Macallan, with whom I have spoken about this issue says
for the record that about 10% of the chemical agents that are involved
in taste can directly be traced to the sherry in Macallan scotch.
 3)In a recent conversation with the head of Maltings for United
Distillers, I was told that the average breakdown of flavor is 40%
ingredients, 60% wood specie.( Yes, they do put coloring in the scotch
besides what the charring of the barrel gives off, and the impact of the
sherry or bourbon that may have been in the cask. In EU countries it is
listed as zuckorcolour.)When I asked why then do they promote specific
brands as sherry, port , or madeira, his response was that only has an
impact if it is first fill. By the second fill there is no taste
left. For this reason the posek for the Chicago Rabbinical Council will
not allow first fill scotch.( it may have been the reason behind Rabbi
Riskin's attitude toward 3rd fill)
 4)Rav Moshe Feinstein's psak of btul in 1:6 was rendered before the
current explosion of price for sherry casks. The current disparity is 10
times as much for the sherry cask as bourbon. One could legitimatly ask
why would anyone pay that difference if there wasn't a real taste
difference. If so perhaps the sherry cask has become more like an
ingredient, in which case there is no btul for it.
 5)I have spoken with Dayan Ehrentreu on this issue. It is true that the
London Bet Din is relying on Dayan Weiss. However, Dayan Ehrentreu told
me that LBD is setting down it's own sherry casks, specifically to end
use for scotch. If it is not necessary, why go through the bother, when
Macallan's economy of scale will make it cheaper?
 6)If you speak to Rabbi Rosen of the Star K he is familiar with these
issues as well. His review was written before I sent him my 25page
review of this question. I believe he has tempered some of his views.
 7)With the profligation of so many independent bottlers, Cadenhead,
Murry McDavid, and Hart Brothers to name a few, it is possible to even
get Macallan produced in non-sherry casks. Why risk it?
 Irwin Lowi


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: 24 Jan 00 11:13:06 EST
Subject: RE: Source of Phrase (chazak chazak vinischazek )

I missed Sherer's original post, but I recall recently seeing a Rema in
Orach Chaim to the effect that the cong. says "Chazak" to the
*"mashlim"* -- leaving unclear whether this refers to the final aliyya
each week, or to Mashlim HaSefer, 5 times a year.  In any event, no
mention of a nusach longer than that single word.

I suspect that the additional "...Chazak VeNischazzek" (itself a
Biblical quote) came about as a *response* of the Oleh to the chorus of
Chazak's, and only once the 3 words made their way into print did they
get combined into a single utterance as in today's general practice.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 09:52:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Washing for the Shmorg

> From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
> What about the issue of hefsek in places (like New York) where the
> shmorg is traditionally before the chupa? Unlike your shul banquet, not
> only are you stopping your meal, you are also getting up and leaving the
> place where you started eating and not immediately going to eat
> elsewhere. To me that at least may be a hefsek that requires you to
> bentch and then wash a second time after the chupa.

My thought was that if you wash with the intention of going into
different rooms, then since your original intention was that it is not
to be considered a hefsek, then you are not required to wash.  Since it
was some time ago that I learned this inyon, I probably should ask again
to make sure that I did not misunderstand something.

> If you hold that this is not a hefsek, then what do you do when Erev
> Pesach comes out on Shabbos and in order to get in a third meal with
> motzi before zman achilas chometz (the time after which it is forbidden
> to eat chametz on Erev Pesach - generally between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. in
> most cities), some people eat a meal, bentch, walk around the block and
> wash and eat another meal. Do you hold that is not a hefsek and
> therefore the bentching (and by extension the subsequent washing and
> haMotzi) is a bracha l'vatola (an unnecessary blessing)? Unless you
> daven at netz (sunrise) you are unlikely to have more than half an hour
> between meals - probably about the time most chupas take.

Since it is a matter of your original intention, then the fact that you
wash with the original intention of treating the walk around the block
(which by the way is leaving the building rather than going into a
different room) as a hefsek would make a difference.  I would consider
that if when you wash you have intention that the expected break is not
a hefsek, then you are OK.  If, on the other hand, you do not have the
original intention, then by default, a break would be a hefsek.

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun

From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 00:34:10 +0200
Subject: Washing for the Shmorg

Harry Weiss writes:
> I think the issue is one of intent.  AFAIK it is okay on Shabbos to wash
> and make Hamotzei at kiddush at shul and finish the meal and bentch at
> home.  

That assumes that you have pas (bread) at home (Mishna Brura 184:9) and
that you not wait so long that you become hungry again (Mishna Brura
184:10). It also assumes that you have not stopped eating for an amount
of time in excess of 72 minutes (Biur Halacha 184 s"v Im Aino Yodea).

> Thus at a wedding one has in mind to include the full meal both
> before and after the Chupa.  

I'm not sure this helps if the amount of time between when one finishes
the shmorg and when one starts the meal exceeds 72 minutes. (See
above). If you add the time for the bedekin, going to wherever the Chupa
is, walking down (which isn't generally done here in Israel, but which
is quite common in the States), and the Chupa itself (not to mention if
someone speaks under the Chupa), I suspect you will be awfully close to
72 minutes. CYLOP, but I suspect that it is at least better to bentch at
the end of the shmorg.

> On erev Pesach one has specific intent not
> to include the second meal and to end the meal prior to the short walk.

 From my reading of the poskim, it seems to have nothing to do with your
intent. Rather it has to do with whether your short walk is really a
"hefsek" because otherwise you are making a bracha she'aina tzricha (an
unnecessary blessing), which is also not allowed. Cf. Mishna Brura
294:14, 444:8.

In the Sefer "Erev Pesach sheChal Lihyos b'Shabbos" by R. Zvi Cohen, he
brings two opinions as to how long one should wait in order for the
hefsek between the two meals to be a real one. He quotes the Darchei
Chayim v'Shalom who says fifteen minutes, and he quotes the Chazon Ish
(1:188) as saying half an hour.

How the same person can go to a wedding one week and spend an hour and a
half going to a bedekin, chupa, etc. and say that is not a hefsek, and
then the following week bentch, wait fifteen minutes and then claim that
is a hefsek is up to your LOP. Personally, I would not feel comfortable
doing both, and would suggest that at the least you take some kind of
after dinner mints to suck on during the chupa. Then again, I am not a
posek, etc. etc.

-- Carl M. Sherer
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son, Baruch Yosef
ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


End of Volume 31 Issue 18