Volume 32 Number 66
                 Produced: Wed Jun 28 21:33:05 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bateil B"rov
         [Art Roth]
Gas ovens (3)
         [David Charlap, David Cohen, <FriedmanJ@...>]
Halakhically Legitimate Heterim --- Why Not?
         [Mark Steiner]
Kosher L'Mehadrin
         [Rose Landowne]
Selling Chometz
         [David Cohen]
Shabbat question
         [Gershon Dubin]
Tevilah of Commercial Kelim
         [Jonathan Grodzinski]
Tikun Sofrim (2)
         [Mark Steiner, David and Tamar Hojda]


From: Art Roth <AJROTH@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 15:25:57 -0500
Subject: Bateil B"rov

An anonymous poster inlcuded, as a relatively incidental item in his
posting, a remark about being permitted to eat a piece of meat that is
most likely (but not certainly) kosher, based on the principle of bateil

Rabbi Fred Dweck wrote a very complimentary response to the anonymous
poster but took issue with the above remark.  In support of the
anonymous poster, I am almost certain that I recall learning a Gemara
(in the last half of Sanhedrin, I believe, though I'm not completely
sure) about a piece of meat found in the street equally close to three
butcher shops, two kosher and one treif.  The Gemara concludes that the
meat is permissible based on the principle of bateil b"rov.  (Of course,
almost nobody today would actually eat such a piece of meat in practice,
which is exactly the sort of thing that both the anonymous poster and
Rabbi Dweck were bemoaning as an insult to Hashem on the grounds that it
says we know what is right better than He does.)  At any rate, I agree
that, as Rabbi Dweck has stated, this same principle can validly be
applied to cases of accidental mixtures of kosher and treif, but I don't
think it is restricted solely to such cases.

Art Roth


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 04:01:21 +0000
Subject: Re: Gas ovens

Aliza Fischman wrote:
> One Shabbat recently, my husband and I ran into an interesting
> predicament.  We have a gas powered stove and oven.  The oven has it's
> own pilot light.  On the stove, the two left burners share one pilot
> light, and the two right burners share a pilot light.  When any of the
> three flames go out, gas leaks, and you can smell the gas.  On a
> recent Shabbat the left burners' pilot light went out.
> As we saw it, we had a few options:
> 1. Relight the pilot with a tranfered fire (light the match from the
>    right burner).
> 2. Relight it with a new flame (strike the match).
> 3. Try to move the oven and shut the gas valve. (But the stove is very
>    hard to move).
> 4. Try to block the gas leak and then relight it after Shabbat.
> My husband came up with the last one.  I was a little bit worried
> about that one with a 20 month old in the house, aside from the two of
> us.  I was nervous that it would just block the smell and lower the
> amount of gas leaked, but that it might build up and explode when we
> tried to relight it.
>  As it happens, we went with that option (#4) anyway, and it worked.
> In your opinions, what should we do if it happens again?


2: The amount of gas leaked by a pilot light is very small.  The pilots
   light on my stove have occasionally gone out, and I didn't realize it
   for several hours.  There was a small smell of gas, but the
   concentration in the room never got dangerous.  There was no
   explosion when I re-lit it later.  (Of course, your oven may be

3: If you believe there to be a serious threat to you family's safety,
   then by all means relight the pilot!  Halacha allows you to violate
   Shabbat if it is necessary to save a life.  Some may suggest
   relighting it in an unusual manner (say, by bringing the flame from
   the other pilot) when doing this.

4: You can't just "block the smell" without blocking the gas itself.
   The smell of gas is a chemical called Ethane Thiol.  It is
   deliberately added to gas in order to make it detectable.  I don't
   think the two can be separated from each other through any means as
   simple as trying to plug a leak in a pipe.

-- David

From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 13:50:53 -0400
Subject: Gas ovens

In vol. 32 # 58 Aliza Fischman asked what she should have done when her
pilot light went out on Shabbat.

In my humble opinion, (of course, after the fact consult with your LOR
for a psak halachah), re-light the pilot immediately. It is a serious
"pikuach nefesh" situation. Natural gas is poisonous and explosive, and
there was no assurance that Aliza's husband's solution would work.

David I. Cohen

From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 03:34:36 EDT
Subject: Re: Gas ovens

re the lighting of the pilot:  It is pickuach nefesh to fool around with gas. 
It kills. Light the pilot next time. and keep all the windows open


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 09:24:13 +0300
Subject: Re: Halakhically Legitimate Heterim --- Why Not?

One participant wrote:

> On the other hand, if there is a halakhically legitimate heter that
> would make it bateil even in the eventuality that you are worried about,
> then there is no longer any possible way that you could be doing
> anything improper.  I'm of course not in favor of inventing bogus
> heterim.  But if a heter can be found based on legitimate principles,
> why shouldn't we be willing to rely on it, especially when the issur is
> only a possibility?  The same God who told us what foods are prohibited
> is also the God who gave us various heterim --- bateil, notein ta`am
> lifgam, sfeik sfeika, etc. --- under which we don't have to worry about
> these issurim.  So if we're going to abide by His rules, we should be
> willing to accept ALL of the ones that He gave us.  In fact, it seems to
> me that REFUSAL to use the heterim He gave us is awfully xutzpadik ---
> it is basically telling Hashem that His rules are not good enough for
> us, and we know better than He does what is REALLY the right way to
> conduct ourselves.

Another, responding, wrote:

> Clearly, then, G-d designed the Torah in such a way as to leave room for
> actions beyond the bare minimum required by halachah, and He approves
> such actions. Again, then, the argument can be raised that one's concern
> for the neshamah (i.e., level of being a baal nefesh) should be at least
> proportional to one's concern for the body and its comforts; how to work
> this out is a matter for personal evaluation with an appropriate guide.

    It is interesting that both philosophies appear in the Mishnah (Sukkah,

    "Once they brought a dish [not containing flour] for Rabban Yohanan
Ben Zakkai to taste, and to Rabban Gamliel two dates and a pail of
water, and they said: Bring them up to the sukkah [even though none of
these things had to be eaten there, and this was a humrah, cf. the
Gemara there].  But when they gave R. Zadok food [i.e. bread] less than
the size of an egg, he took it in a napkin [i.e. he didn't wash his
hands] and ate it outside the Sukkah, nor did he recite the Grace After
Meals [birkat hamazon]."

R. Zadok agreed with our first poster--the Torah does not require
reciting birkat hamazon or eating in a Sukkah unless the bread is the
size of an egg, hence a talmid hakham who knows Torah [and may I add,
learning Torah is the really ultimate humra] need not do more than the
Torah requires.

Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai and Rabban Gamliel felt that what the Torah
requires is the minimum required of a Jew--and as the Ramban also states
in many places, a Jew must sanctify himself as much as possible.

Note that Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi cites both philosophies without a
comment, and approves of both--as long as each side is motivated by love
and fear of Heaven, both are "right."  I believe this is an important
lesson for us on this list.


From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 16:26:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Kosher L'Mehadrin

Now that we have clarified the difference between Mehadrin and Rabbanut
hashgacha in Yerushalaim, can someone explain the differences between a
Teudat Kashrut and an Ishur Kashrut?  

Rose Landowne


From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 09:05:58 -0400
Subject: Selling Chometz

I don't want to belabor the point further as I believe any number of
posters have adequately covered the issue of the validity of the
sale. Obviously, the key is that the sale should be taken seriously, not
only on our parts, but on the part of the non-Jew as well.
    A true story --- Our local LOR in his first year wanted to make sure
that the sale of chametz would be valid. He asked me if I could find a
non-Jewish colleague to buy the chametz, as he wanted someone who would
understand the legalities of the procedure, rather than using the local
shul janitor.  I was able to find someone who was thoroughly intrigued
by the idea. Besides signing the standard shtar, the Rabbi had each
person sign a legal power of attorney which listed the location of and
nature of the items being sold. He provided the non-Jewish buyer with
copies of these documents in addition to an English translation of the
actual shtar.
    During that Pesach, the non-Jew was sitting in his apartment telling
some friends about his participation in the sale of the community's
chametz, and he showed them the documents. A friend noticed that one of
the people who had sold chametz actually lived in the apartment
building. You can guess the rest. The non-Jew and his friends trooped
over to the neighbor's apartment, documents in hand, demanding access to
their chametz, which of course, after some initial shock, was gladly
allowed(It is disputed whether they actually helped themselves to a six
pack or not) .
    That year the Jews in our community knew that the chametz had truly
been sold.

    David I. Cohen


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 17:35:27 -0400
Subject: Shabbat question

From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
<<I have a question for you.  Over Shavuot the eruv was down where I

	The general rules are that no eruv (eruv= shared meal which is
kept in one of the houses which the share the common area) is required
if the yard belongs to one owner and is enclosed.  Thus, a shared
driveway, a shared hallway in a multiple dwelling (two family house,
apartment house), etc.  require an eruv.  The area must still be
enclosed halachically.  I won't go into details here, but the commonly
called "eruv" or poles and string, is actually NOT an eruv, but part of
the above mentioned enclosure.

	If, however, the yard is owned by one owner (one family back
yard with a fence, etc.) no eruv is required.  A deck, if it is more
than 40" above ground, is considered ipso facto to be enclosed and
therefore requires no further action if it belongs to one owner.  This
is true even if the yard which the deck overlooks is not enclosed.



From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 01:29:27 EDT
Subject: Tevilah of Commercial Kelim

I recently heard that Kelim (vessels) used in a commercial situation do
not require tevilah (immersion)

I have now read Rav Tzvi Cohen's book (in English) on the subject of
Tevilas Kelim (Immersion of food vessels in a Mikva), but cannot find a
source given, although the assertion is repeatedly made, that Kelim
(vessels) used in a commercial situation do not require tevilah

Can anyone give me an unassailable source for this?

Jonathan Grodzinski (London UK)


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 09:37:28 +0300
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

Gershon Dubin wrote:

> IIRC, it was the Chazon Ish who did not approve of changing girsa'os
> (text versions) on the basis of new manuscripts found in genizos,
> because they were put into the genizos for a reason-perhaps for that
> very "error" which modern day scholars consider an improvement.

    Gershon remembers correctly, but this is not the opinion of all the
gedolim by any means:

1.  I believe that the Hazon Ish was talking about the Munich Manuscript
of the Talmud (which he said should be returned to the genizah).  Yet
this, like most mss., are not from any genizah--they were stolen from
the Jewish people by Christian hooligans during pogroms, and ended up in

2.  R. Refoel Rabbinovicz, in his Dikdukei Sofrim, published the variant
readings from this ms. and other mss. he found in other libraries such
as that of Oxford University.  Some of these variants are significantly
different from what we have in the Vilna Shas, but are attested to in
the rishonim or Rabbenu Hananel.

3.  Unlike the Hazon Ish, of blessed memory, the following immortal
gedolim of the 19th century gave their haskamot in writing to the
Dikdukei Sofrim: R. Shlomo Kluger, who states that the Munich ms. was
attested to by the Hida, and praises the work of Rabbinovicz in the
highest terms.  R. Yosef Shaul Nathanson, who adds to the above also the
attestation of the Korban Nesanel.  R. Yaakov Ettlinger, the Orukh
Laner, who states that "a number of difficulties" will be resolved by
this ms.

4.  Hebrew writings during the period of the rishonim were most often
put into genizah for the same reason as today: they were worn out.
Though, as I wrote above, most of the variant readings in the Talmud do
NOT come from a genizah, sometimes one sees variant readings that are
attested to also in ancient seforim.

    I mean no disrespect for the Hazon Ish, Heaven forbid, who, like the
Vilner Gaon, to whom his work has been compared--did not hesitate to
emend the texts of seforim (though not on the basis of mss.).  But his
letter about the Munich ms.  has not prevented the Dikdukei Sofrim from
lying on my table, not far from the sefer Hazon Ish.

From: David and Tamar Hojda <hojda@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 23:04:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

> From: Jack Stroh <jackstroh@...>
> With all of the discussion on this important topic, are there
> authoratative seforim which discuss this issue? Also, the issue of
> phrases in the Chumash such as "and the Canaani were then in the
> land" to which Ibn Ezra states "vehamayvin yavin." Thanks.

1) A sefer called "Rashi HaShalem" deals with this at length and with
great authority and scholarship, on the pasuk with Avraham's waiting for
HaSHem.  In short, they do not agree with the radical interpretation of
tikkun soferim in Rashi and bring substantial ammunition to make their

2) The Ibn Ezra is authoritatively discussed in the sefer Tzafnas
Poneach.  You should know, by the way, that the Ibn Ezra consistently
AVOIDS using the explanation of taken soferim, even where chazal have
done so, and goes to great lengths to offer an alternative resolution of
the textual problem.

Kol Tuv,
David Hojda
Kiryat Sefer


End of Volume 32 Issue 66