Volume 34 Number 33
                 Produced: Thu Mar 22  6:35:59 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Blech for sealed glass top range
         [Bernard Raab]
Ending on a high for the name of G-d
         [Paul, Judy or Miriam Shaviv]
Heter Mechira
         [Meir Shinnar]
How to kasher a sealed glass top stove
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Mechiras Chametz best effected in person
         [Nosson Tuttle]
Selling Chametz
         [Eli Turkel]
Some more sources/responses on Magic
         [Russell Hendel]
You can pray for others to get your prayers answered
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 17:26:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Blech for sealed glass top range

>From: Daniel Mehlman <Danmim@...>
>Does one need a blech for shabbos for a sealed glass top on the
>range. If one does put a blech on this glass surface it will
>break. thank you.

Manufacturers of sealed glass cooktops caution against covering the
glass top in such a way as might introduce unusual thermal stresses in
the glass.  However, the heating elements are not in contact with the
glass top. The heat is transferred through the glass, which could be
viewed as a "kli-sheni". When I pointed this out to our rabbi (a
well-respected posek) he approved its use on shabbos without an
additional blech. Nevertheless, we generally used a separate hot tray on
shabbos because without a blech to spread the heat, the heat was too
localized to be very useful.


From: Paul, Judy or Miriam Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 20:45:44 -0500
Subject: Ending on a high for the name of G-d

The invariable practice in England was/is to end any Aliyah that ends
with the name of G-d on a high note, and the reason I learnt was that of
'not saying the name of G-d on a descending tone because of kavvod".
The English tradition in many ways - especially for nusach - derives
heavily from the German (probably the influence of Chief Rabbi Adler z'l
in the 19th century - whose life and works should be properly
researched). The custom seems to be unknown in many other communities,
including Toronto where I now live. Thirty or forty years later I still
wince when I hear the baal koreh end such aparsha with a regular,
descending ending.

Paul Shaviv


From: Meir Shinnar <Chidekel@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 21:41:27 EST
Subject: Heter Mechira

R Elazar Teitz argues against the reliance on heter mechira as follows:
The citation from HaRav Shlomo Aviner, regarding reliance on the heter
mechira (sale of Israel to a non-Jew, to avoid the prohibitions of
shmitta) contains arguments which appear to be halachic, but are
actually arguments based on rhetoric and emotion rather than halachic

WADR to Harav Teitz, I believe that the attack on Rav Aviner is
unjustified, and somewhat puzzling for a talmid chacham.

First, with regard to the comparison on relying on the heter mechira and
relying on mechirat hametz, he argues that most halachic authorities
recommend relying on heter hametz only for rabbinic hametz, rather than
d'oraita level.  However, he agrees that rabbinic authorities do allow
relying on mechirat hametz in cases of major financial loss.  The
farmers who sell the land clearly are comparable to those with a major
financial loss on Pesah, such as breweries, so it seems clearly
comparable.  Furthermore, if the consumers would not buy, it would also
cause a major financial loss to the farmers.

Second, he argues against the validity of the sale.  However, (and here
is the major problem) with regard to the heter mechira, there are two
very separate issues.

1) Should the sale be done and is it valid?  Here, there are clearly
major poskim who argue against doing the sale, and his arguments about
the fact that the sale may not be valid is a halachic argument (there
are counter arguments, but that's a different issue.)

2) Even if one believes that there are significant halachic issues with
the sale, may one still use produce from the sale?  After all, most of
us are not farmers, and the issue is not whether one should sell, but
rather should buy?

Here, the argument that this is contrary to the majority of the accepted
poskim is, I believe, wrong.  Of course, how one defines accepted poskim
and majority is problematic.

 However, it is fair to say that RSZ Auerbach z"tl was the accepted
posek for much (most?)  of the haredi community in eretz Israel.  In
Minhat Shlomo 1:44, he specifically writes that it is muttar to buy
fruits and vegetables from a store that relies on the heter mechira, and
says that there is no problem of strengthening the hands of sinners.  He
even says that most of those who are machmirim (strict) on heter mechira
do not hold to be a certain issur (prohibition), as they do not prohibit
the utensils used for cooking fruits of the heter mechira.  Indeed, even
the Chazon Ish, while he was very opposed to the heter mechira, said
that bdieved the fruits are not forbidden, and are permitted for others
to eat.

Therefore, according to RSZ Auerbach, it seems that there is no problem
with buying the fruits of the heter mechira.

lastly, R Teitz accuses R Aviner that "Here the argument leaves Halacha
and becomes demagoguery."  This is his argument about strengthening the
hands of the Arabs.

Again, with all due respect, I find the argument puzzling, and demeaning
to a major talmid chacham.  Rav Aviner is articulating a public policy
perspective on the necessity, given the current political and economic
realities, not to support those with whom we are currently at war.  One
may disagree with this assessment, but it is a reasonable assessment,
held by many.  Clearly, public policy perspectives do (and should)
influence halachic decisions (as Rav Teitz recognized in the mechirat
hametz for breweries), in deciding whether to rely on a kula.

I think that what Rav Teitz;s psak reflects a persistent problem - the
isolation of much of the haredi rabbinic community from the political
and economic realities in Eretz Israel.  Furthermore, there is a
persistent thread of opposition to the rabbanut, regardless of the
metziut.  I say this with some surprise, as Rav Teitz is known and
respected as being very involved in the realities of his own community.
However, the last part of the letter, dealing with comparing the shmitta
of this year to the shmitta of past years, misses a fundamental part of
Rav Aviner's position.  The issue is not merely supporting the Jewish
farmer, an issue which is arguably no different or even weaker than in
past shmittot.  This year, those who do not use the heter mechira in
eretz Israel are actively supporting a population with which we are at
war, and this is very different than in past shmittot.  Therefore, those
in Eretz Yisrael who do not use the heter mechira, by supporting our
enemies, are relying on a far greater kula than those who rely on the
produce of heter mechira.

It is part of the major problem in Eretz israel that a significant part
of the haredi community does not participate in the general life and
problems of the state, and is indeed in many ways poresh midarche
tzibbur.  The insistance on the use of Arab produce, in spite of the
current problems is emblematic of this separation.

Meir Shinnar


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 22:26:19 -0800
Subject: How to kasher a sealed glass top stove

Can anyone tell me, is it possible (and if so how) to kasher a sealed
glass top stove?

 Leah Gordon


From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 17:54:26 -0500
Subject: Mechiras Chametz best effected in person

>From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
>I was thinking of doing Mechiras Chametz for my shul online meaning that
>the people would input their name, address and all other relevant
>information needed for the mechiras chametz form, it would be inserted
>into the form and then emailed to the rabbi involved.

>Are there any halachic problems with this?

You still want the Rav & congregants to establish a Kinyan (symbolic
acquisition procedure).  Technically, the document for Mechira could be
done online, but actual creation of agency for transfer of the Chometz
would be done in person with the Rabbi.

This is generally done through a "Kinyan Chalipin", or barter: The Rav
has an item (e.g. picks up a handkerchief) which the Chometz-owner then
acquires (picks the handkerchief up after the Rav puts it down).  The
Rav and congregant may then shake hands as the "deal" has been completed
and the Rav has now been made an agent to transfer the Chometz before
Pesach begins.  The congregant may also traditionally leave a few
dollars for the Rav, since he is being employed as an agent in the
transfer (but he is not considered to actually be buying the Chometz!).

In the context of the "online sale", while an online form may be used to
generate the document, it seems best if the document is present (and
signed) at the time the Kinyan is made.  This way, it is clear to all
who may witness the kinyan (witnesses are not actually necessary for the
transaction) exactly what the kinyan was made for.  Of course the
document may be viewed by the Rabbi on a computer monitor at the time of
the kinyan rather than as an actual paper document.

The other issue with an online kinyan would be civil legality.  Besides
issues of Halachic legitimacy (this being resolved by use of the
Kinyan), the document for Chometz sale must be enforceable by a domestic
court.  This means that the non-Jew takes real possession of the Chometz
during Passover and is within his rights to access it and do with it as
he wishes.  If the transaction is done online without producing an
actual, enforceable document, there must be a verifiable digital
signature (perhaps a credit card number) so that the transaction would
be enforceable in a court of law.

For whether any of statements in the three above paragraphs may be
relaxed, see a Rav.  At any rate, while it is possible (according to
many Poskim) to appoint a rabbi to sell Chometz by phone, mail, or
e-mail, it is probably better to see a Rav and establish a Kinyan for
the sale in person.  Since owning Chometz is a stringent prohibition, it
is best to get rid of it as completely and legally possible.  There
certainly would be no problem with creating the document online,

-Nosson Tuttle


From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 11:11:45 +0100
Subject: Selling Chametz

> Most halachic authorities recommend relying on the sale of Chametz
> only where its ownership is prohibited rabbinically, such as chametz
> utensils and products containing mixtures of which some ingredients
> may be chametz.  It is not recommended, except in cases of major
> financial loss (e.g., bakeries, breweries, etc.) to rely on the sale
> for breads, cakes, noodles, cereals, etc., whose ownership on Pesach
> is biblically prohibited.

What about whiskey? I assume that whiskey is real chametz (chametz gamur)
and yet almost everyone sells the liquors they have for Pesach.

Eli Turkel 

[Some discussion on this in Vol 32 in the issue numbers around 43-48. Mod]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 15:24:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Some more sources/responses on Magic

Several issues of Volume 34 issues 27-34 brought at least 5 insightful
postings on my original statement that magic is prohibited. Allow me
to summarize them and add a few more sources.

First at least 3 sources against performing and/or watching magic shows
were brought from the Bach, Shach(Zev Sero), and Lubavitcher Rebbe(Barak
Greenfeld). Barak also cited an ambiguous Rav Moshe on the subject

Next several postings questioned whether the prohibition should apply to
stunts of stage magicians(Elie Rosenfeld, David Charlap).  Elie made a
nice distinction: Why not apply the prohibition to Mediums and psychics
but not to jugglers and magicians.

Finally David Herskovic questioned my reading of the Ralbag, questioned
whether Magic was real, and asked where I draw the line in prohibiting

The above comments/questions can be supported by further sources. The
Kesef Mishnah explicitly deals with the problem of whether the
prohibition of magic refers to something real (Rambam Idolatry
11:15). After all if it wasnt real there couldnt be lashes. The Kesef
Mishnah concludes >But certainly magicians DO SOME ACT by which they
convince viewers that they have performed a trick even though the trick
is in appearance and not in reality. For this ACT, theoretically, the
magician should be lashed twice-- once for the prohibition of ASTROLOGY
(11:9) and once for the prohibition of WITCHCRAFT (11:15). HOWEVER
lashed once for violating the prohibition of astrology (which includes
making magic) but is not punished for the additional magic violation
subsumed by the witchcraft prohibitions<

So the Kesef Mishnah explicitly tells us that MAGIC refers to a real act
which appears to accomplish something but doesnt. As to the eloquent
arguments that people know that magicians use tricks the Rambam already
hinted at a response by classifying the prohibition under the ASTROLOGY
IF NO ACT IS DONE (11:9) (and even though the reviewer knows that
astrology is not real) SO TOO MAGIC WOULD BE PROHIBITED even though the
viewer knows that sleight of hand is used.

Finally to answer David Herskovic who suggested that my reading of
Ralbag that seance makers cause Hallucinations was inconsistent with the
Ralbags rationalist approach, I would refer to the additional
description of KOSAYM in 11:6 (I didnt mention this last time) --- the
description of KOSAYM is identical with the description of induction of
HYPNOTIC TRANCES. This identity was a strong support in my
interpretation of the Ralbag that seance makers cause hallucinations (In
other words David is correct that the text is ambigous but there are
other sources).

Finally to answer David Herskovic on >where do you draw the line< I cite
11:16 which contains an additional prohibition in the form of advice
>The above practices are stupid and foolish and Jews who come from a
great and wise culture should not be engaged in them<. This advice is
neither Biblical or Rabbinic. Hence if you feel that there is redemptive
value in reading your children conventional fairytales you may be on
permissable grounds.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 15:24:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: You can pray for others to get your prayers answered

Chaim Shapiro in v34n28 asks about the Talmudic statement (also brought
by Rashi) that >Whoever prays for his friend will have his own prayers
answered first<

Chaim asks >Can a person use this as a better method to get his prayers
answered, thinking that I will pray for Sholom so that my tefillah will
be answered?<

Several people have already answered this in the negative.

I beg to differ. It is a CLEAR and EXPLICIT principle of Jewish Law that
> a person should do good acts even for altruistic motives since by
doing the act for an altruistic motive the person will ultimately come
to do the act for its own sake <. Thus Jewish Philosophy clearly and
unequivocally states that this type of activity is OK and SHOULD BE

Here is a scenario: A persons son is sick. The person prays that other
peoples sons get better but his sole goal is that his own son gets
better.  Because of his public prayers this person begins to visit other
peoples sick and gets involved with them (all this to help
himself). Perhaps he does a few right things that help the sick and gets
complimented. After a few years this person may really start believing
that it is good to pray for other peoples sick EVEN if his own son is
not sick.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


End of Volume 34 Issue 33