Volume 32 Number 35
                 Produced: Wed May 31  6:00:34 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yisrael Medad]
Conferences on Shabbos
         [Alan Davidson]
Cotton Seed Oil
         [Boruch Merzel]
Cottonseed Oil & Coke for Pesach
         [Rabbi Tzvi Liker]
How we treat REASONS for Minhagim-relationship to practice
         [Russell Hendel]
Name of Avraham Avinu's mother
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Not eating Nuts on Yomim Noraim
         [Daniel Katsman]
Pre-Nuptial Agreement (2)
         [Chaim Mateh, Catherine S. Perel]
Seder on Motzei Shabbat
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 20:31:37 +0300
Subject: Bookburning

Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...> wrote:

"Contrary to my usual practice, I did not respond immediately to Zev Sero's
posting concerning bookburning, hoping against hope that someone else
would feel the need to respond to his seemingly matter-of-fact acceptance
of bookburning as a part of Jewish practice"

The discussion was *not* whether bookburning was correct, acceptable or
otherwise in a value-sense but rather whether it is an historical fact.
I was the one who noted that I heard that "if one could burn books" then
a certain book would be a candidate.  The resultant postings then
pointed out that there were indeed such actions.

The discussion then could have gone three different ways:
a)  the "historical" record is wrong, factually;
b)  the record is correct and therefore can be practiced or not practiced;
c)  is this or that particular book a candidate for burning.

Now that I hope that is clear, let me say that I am not in favor of
bookburning, although there are some books that should not have been
published (would Diamond not be in favor of burning, say, Mein Kampf or
Protocols of the Elders of Zion?)

Yisrael Medad


From: Alan Davidson <perzvi@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 22:39:55 -0400
Subject: Conferences on Shabbos

For starters, find out as much information about the shabbos
accessibility of the hotel as possible -- some hotels still have a
limited number of rooms with traditional door locks (and then you can
arrange to leave the key at the front desk if you wish to go to shul
Shabbos.  Also, many hotels will acccomodate your request for a room on
a lower floor (you might/most likely will have to arrange to have a
security guard open the fire escape for you to go up and down the steps
as many hotels don't usually let guests routinely use the fire escapes).

As for the logistics of the conference, it is probably easiest (in my
experience) to be away from the conference as much as possible on
shabbos -- not so much to avoid active shabbos desecration as much as
passive shabbos desecration (asking people for papers, business cards,

Also, not to mention how long I have subscribed to mail jewish from
different e-mail addresses but a similar issue was discussed around 5 or
6 years ago and perhaps Avi can find them in the archives.

[The discussion is in volume 14, the question raised in issue 70, with
replies in 72 (including yours, Alan), 74,75,78,84,90. Mod.]


From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 18:06:05 EDT
Subject: Re: Cotton Seed Oil

Eli Turkel writes:
<<  Since cotten seed is
 kitniyot for the laws of kilayim it is also prohibited on Pesach. >>

The Rambam at end of 2nd Perek of Hilchos Kilyaim defines kitniyos as
vegetation ( beside the 5 grains) whose seeds are the edible parts of
the plant. e.g beans, rice, sesame.  This is the only specific
definition of Kitniyos of which I am aware.

Based on this definition, there is no way, that I can see, that cotton
seed can be considered Kitniyos, The cotton plant is grown for the
cotton itself and the oil pressed from the seed is a mere by-product.
The seed is not "food for man" as the Rambam phrases it.

As R. Moshe Feinstein states in his T'shuva we are not to add to a
G'zerah (rabbinic decree) that which was not included in the original.
Certainly neither corn (maize) nor peanuts were included in the original
g'zerah , since peanauts were not considered edible at that time (if
they were even known then, remember George Washington Carver?) and Maize
is a product of the Western Hemisphere which had not yet been

Early rabbonim in America were lenient in permitting peanuts and
certainly peanut oil based on these facts.  In fact my wife has in her
posession at this time 2 bottles of Rokeach peanut oil Kosher for Pesach
with the O-U.  In my younger days ( a long time ago) peanut oil was
widely used through out the frum world on Pesach.

 Maize,( which is real Kitniyos, according to Rambam's definition) or
corn and corn oil , however, were treated differently and, to my
knowledge were never granted any hecsherim for Pesach.  I believe this
was so because the word "corn" in Yiddish (and English, too) was a
generic term for "grain".  The Hebrew word "Dagan" (grain) was always
translated as "corn".

 There was the misunderstanding of word "corn" (on the part of the
ordinary Jew), the fear ( on the part of the rabbinate) of confusing
people, because of the word "corn", and the fact that Maize is actual
kitniyos that kept the rabbonim from issuing any hecsher permitting even
the by-products of maize.

Boruch Merzel


From: Rabbi Tzvi Liker <liker@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 09:10:39 +2
Subject: Cottonseed Oil & Coke for Pesach

In the Minchos Yitzchok (3:138:2) from Dayan Weiss of the Eidah
Chareidis cottonseed oil (CSO) is "problematic", which is why the BaDaTZ
will not approve it.

Rav Landa (RL) does not follow that opinion, and when there is a demand
he produces it under his hashgocho.  I asked one of his aides why CSO is
not available every year.  He told me that RL gives hashgocho when asked
to.  If someone wants to produce CSO with hashgosho he will do it, if
not, he doesn't.

Regarding Coke for Pesach, the aide told me that diet coke contains
Aspartame (OUP) which is a kitniyos derivative, which Rabbi Landa will
not use.

Tzvi Liker


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 23:25:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: How we treat REASONS for Minhagim-relationship to practice

I have just finished reading the responses in Mail Jewish Volume 32
Number 27 to why we abstain from eating nuts on High Holy days. Of the 6
respondents (Bill Scherman, Hillel Markowitz, Shlomo Abeles, Ken Miller,
Roger Kingsley and Mordechai) only one gave the 'correct reason'. I was
further amazed at the amount of time spent discussing Gematriahs.

Note that the issue in question--the prohibition against eating
nuts---is neither Talmudic, Geonic, or in the Rishonim. I therefore
would like to seriously raise the issue of whether we are obligated to
ABSOLUTELY follow such prohibitions when they occur in the shulchan
aruch or whether we can follow them as ADVICE CONDITIONAL ON FULFILLMENT
OF REAL REASONS. Furthermore do we have the right to decide which
reasons in the Shulchan Aruch are 'real' and which are just cute memory
devices (Gematrias). Let us review the 3 reasons given for this

The first reason was that CHAIT and EGOZ are numerologically
equivalant. But if that were the SOLE reason for the law then it would
be Biblically prohibited to follow it since it would fall under the
prohibition of SUPERSTITION (Rambam Idolatry 11:4 --e.g. I shouldn't go
out todya because my sandwich fell (seems to me no different than 'we
atone for sin today so I will abstain from nuts which numerically equal

The second reason was increase of saliva. But I don't know any Doctor
who would concede that if eg you ate nuts Rosh Hashana night that you
would have more saliva the next day during davening. Are we obligated to
follow something so iffy where no medical expert agrees.

The 3rd reason was advanced by Mordechai 'Nuts can cause physical
discomfort (ie intestinal gas)' which would intefer with prayer'.  This
is the correct reason---but this raises questions. (1) If I personally
eat nuts the whole year on Friday night and have no problem on Shabbath
would it be prohibited for me to eat nuts Rosh Hashana (ie is the
prohibition absolute or dependent on reason); (2) If I do experience
personal discomfort is it permissable for me to eat nuts on Friday night
(the rest of the year)

I personally would like to see a thread discussing our views on reasons
in halachah and how absolute our obligations are to non talmudic

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; <RHendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 10:10:25 EDT
Subject: Name of Avraham Avinu's mother

Menucha Chwat (v32n33) asks:
<<As a childbirth educator and labor coach I've heard that it's a sgula
for a woman having a difficult birth - maksha laledet- to say this name
17 times.  Does any one know why?>>

The source for the recitation of the mother's names in Bava Batra 91a is
as follows:

Rabbi Avraham b'rav Yitzchak, Chief Judge of the Rabbinical Court at
Narbornne (c.1110-1179), teacher and father-in-law of Rabad from
Posquire, sought to give mystical meaning to the incomprehensible names
in Bava Batra 91a. According to him, incantation of Abraham's mother
name 17 times would aid one in finding favor of the government,
Recantation of the other mothers' name would aid one in other tasks, but
none of them is in the area of <<sgula for a woman having a difficult
birth>>, so this is a misquote. Rabbi Avraham writes that he saw the
explanation of these names in "Sifrei Merkava".  Source: M. Y. Blau,
ed. _Shitat Hakadmonim, Masechet Bava Batra_ (NY, 1981), p. 375.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Daniel Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 23:30:18 +0200
Subject: Re: Not eating Nuts on Yomim Noraim

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote:

>The gematriya of egoz (aleph gimel vav zayin) is 1 + 3 + 6 + 7 = 17
>The gematriya of cheit (ches tes aleph) is 8 + 9 + 1 = 18
>Many gematriya accept the within one as they add one for the word

The fact is, however, that the actual gematriya of "cheit " (18) is the
same as that of "chai"!  A good darshan ought to be able to make a lot
of this.

(It reminds me of the gemara -- I don't remember where -- that at the
beginnining of the Bayit Sheni the Anshei Keneset ha-Gedola prayed for
the yetser ha-ra to be destroyed.  Their prayers were answered, but had
a serious side effect: without the yetser ha-ra, nobody had the energy
or ambition to get any work done.  They prayed again, and G-d brought
back the yetser ha-ra for everything except idolatry.)

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 23:41:52 +0300
Subject: Re: Pre-Nuptial Agreement

In vol 32 #29, Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...> wrote:

<<In order not to belabor the point, which is that a Prenup is NOT a
"common practice among American Orthodox Jews," .....  I have been told
that Rav Dovid Feinstein, Shlita, disapproves of the Prenup.  AFAIK, the
Chassidish and Yeshivish world also do not use it.>>

And  Michael Feldstein <MIKE38CT@...> wrote:

<<To their credit, there are several Orthodox rabbis (Rabbi Haskel
Lookstein is one) who do require a couple to sign a pre-nuptial agreement
before agreeing to perform kiddushin, but they are a very small minority at
this time.
 I implore Rabbi Willig--with the utmost respect that I have for his
halachic knowledge and reputation as a rabbi--to take the lead and require
that any couple who he marries sign the pre-nuptial agreement. Hopefully,
this will convince the other roshei yeshiva at YU and members of the RCA to
follow--so we can begin to make a dent in solving the thorny issue of

It appears that the above two comments complement each other.  IOW, if
only (or mainly) YU and RCA Rabbis use the PreNup, and only a "very
small minority" of them use it at this time, and if most if not all
Chassidish and Yeshivish Rabbonim do not use the PreNup, then my
conclusion is that Sheldon's original assumption (that a Prenup is NOT a
"common practice among American Orthodox Jews,") is indeed correct.

So what, and now what <G>?

Kol Tuv,

From: Catherine S. Perel <perel@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 22:45:28 -0500
Subject: Pre-Nuptial Agreement

Excuse my ignorance on this issue, but is not the Ketubbah a pre-nuptual
agreement.  I know it doesn't match what modernity considers a
prenuptual agreement, but does it not set out what the wife shall
receive after the get has been accepted by a bet din and othe issues?

If true, what is the problem with a modern pre-nuptual

   Catherine Perel
*Remember T4 ... and whence and from whom it came!*


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 20:44:21 +0300
Subject: Seder on Motzei Shabbat

Jay Kaplowitz <iii@...> wrote:
>Rabbi Billet, who was then a RIETS student,
>quotes a psak from Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayim,
>section 1, number 155) that egg matzah may be used for the first two
>Shabbos meals providing that the second meal is completed before the
>time when Chametz becomes prohibited.  While I can't say what "most"
>Ashkenazim do, Rav Moshe's psak certainly suggests that the practice of
>using egg matzah is acceptable to Ashkenazim.

Despite this, I do think most Ashkenazim would have a psychological
difficulty in eating any type of Matza on the day prior to the Seder.
This would be an interesting case in which even when a major Posek says
it's okay, the majority of the community would reject the option,
probably because the other options aren't that difficult to observe.

And I recall to all that my wife (shetichyeh) pointed out that pittot
are even a better option in that they produce less crumbs than

>On another issue, Yosef [that should be Yisrael  ;>) ] Medad wrote, 
>"The other major discomfort (besides the vatikin minyan) is that the
>chametz left over is to be hidden and burnt after Chag."
>Now wait a minute!  

Actually we don't have that many minutes.

>You may not have to daven Vatikin.  You could daven
>about 7 a.m., which would be about the time many Hashkamah Minyanim get
>underway.  As was the case this year, Erev Pesach next year will falkl
>out during Daylight Savings Time, which means that the deadline for
>eating Chometz will be about 10:30 a.m.  

Well, let's clock it.  Start at 7AM.  Finish by, what, 8:45 - 9?  In
Galut, you'll arrive home at 9:15-9:30?  Kiddush and Motzi and Birkat
Hamazon and it's 9:45?  Then wash, Motzi, eat a bigger meal and Birkat
HaMazon.  Will you really be finished by 10:30AM?  Will you not have a
stomach ache?


End of Volume 32 Issue 35