Volume 35 Number 16
                 Produced: Wed Jul 18 21:20:00 US/Eastern 2001


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artificial Insemination (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Stuart Wise]
Ashkenazi vs Sepharadi
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Botul B'shesheem
         [Carl Singer]
Chas VeChalila
         [Mordechai]
Hebrew Haskamot to English Language Books
         [Akiva Miller]
Interpretation of Symbolic Passages
         [Russell Hendel]
One Hebrew Word A Day
         [Mordechai]
OU and Kashrus
         [Zev Sero]
Random Kashering Question
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Sephard Customs
         [Eli Turkel]
Talmidim Chachamim
         [Netanel Livni]


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From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 13:22:02 +0200
Subject: Artificial Insemination

All the postings on this topic in v35n13 seem to take it for granted
that when a child is conceived by donor sperm, the genetic father is the
father for halachic purposes.  Is this obvious?  I'm pretty sure I read
somewhere (I think it was in mail-jewish not long ago) that there is no
problem of adultery or mamzerut when donor sperm is used.  So perhaps
there is no problem with paternity either, from a halachic point of
view?  It is not at all obvious to me that genetic paternity has
anything to do with halachic paternity.  One could ask the same question
about genetic vs. halachic maternity-- is a child conceived by donor egg
considered to be the child of the genetic mother or the gestational
mother?

I remember hearing in a shiur many years ago that (I think according to
Rav Moshe Feinstein's ruling) one can assume that anonymous donor sperm
comes from a non-Jew if the majority of sperm donors in that locality
are non-Jews.  If the halachic father were defined as the genetic
father, and there were an issue of incest at stake, I would think that
you couldn't rely on this principle of "Rov."

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

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From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 10:38:12 -0700
Subject: Re: Artificial Insemination

I remember hearing a lecture on this topic, and it seems that with the
latest technology, it is more likely than ever that the husband of the
woman undergoing the artificial insemination would be the donor.  Even
men who have low sperm count, or underdeveloped sperm are able to be
donors by treating the sperm to extract only the most active and mature
and then inseminating with those or extracting the sperm from its
original source.

The person who gave the lecture said that when he asked the halachic
question of whether a non-husband donor can be used, there was a
difference if the couple already had children.  In the event they did,
an unknown donor was prohibited.

The entire process, however, raises the question of women who are not
married and still want to have kids ^ should they be allowed undergo
artificial insemination in order to have a child out of marriage?

Given the centrality of the family in Judaism, it would seem that
creating a situation where there is no father involved would preclude a
woman from doing it - but I wonder what the halachic answer is.

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From: Joseph Mosseri <JMosseri@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 07:39:38 -0400
Subject: Ashkenazi vs Sepharadi

Regarding Howard Berlins posting in mail jewish vol. 35 no 12.

The best source that details and explains the differences in prayers and
customs not only among Sepharadim and Ashkenazim but also local or
particular customs for certain cities or regions is the 7 volume Keter
Shem Tob by the late Rabbi Shem Tob Gaguine.

Joey Mosseri

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From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 17:33:32 EDT
Subject: Botul B'shesheem

Time and again I hear different definitive(?) statements regarding botul
b'shesheem (and for that matter, botul b'rov) -- but sticking stictly
with botul b'shesheem --

The halachos of an "accidental mixture" usually characterized as
resulting from an accidental event such as "some milk splashed and a
drop ended up in the (fleisheg) soup" seem to be clear -- or are they,
what constitutes an "accident" --

1 - "splashing" -- that is a physical accident causing the unwanted
mixture.

2 - reaching for and using the wrong ingredient -- for example, someone
reaches for the parve box of instant mashed potatoes and inadvertently
uses a milchig box of (butter flavored / butter added) instant mashed
potatoes.

3 - finding out after the fact that something was mislabeled.  I.e., you
learn after using same, that the parve box of instant mashed potatoes
was mislabled and was really dairy.  -- the difference here is that you
purposely did what you did -- it was the information that was bad.

The recent posting about the OU-D tuna fish, seems to refer to a
purposeful / deliberate mixing -- that is people are asking if this
deliberate mixture (addition) of milk can be nullified (considered
botul.)  By extension this would seem to imply that if one takes a ten
pound box of mashed potatoes -- adding water, one now has, say 1 gallon
(volume measure) of mashed potatoes -- is the implication that one could
then add up to 1/64th of a gallon (1/4 cup) of butter and still consider
the mixture milchig -- not to pasken, but this is absurd.

Does anyone care to provide sources re: the purposeful, deliberate
mixing of dairy and meat -- both re: the D'oroysah of doing so and the
halachas of eating such a mixture.

Kol Tov,

Carl Singer

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From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 00:29:16 EDT
Subject: Chas VeChalila

<< From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
 I was wondering what the phrase "Chas VeChalila" Actually means.  I know
 we use it as a form of "G-d forbid" or "Perish the thought."  But what
 do the word Chas and Chalila actually mean?  When is the earliest
 mention that we have of the phrase?>>

Chas (of Aramaic origin) means pity / rachmonus and Chalila means far
away / distant (of Hebrew origin, e.g. see Bireishis 18:25).

I don't know when 'chas vechalila' together, as an expression, first
appeared.

Mordechai

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From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 21:41:12 -0400
Subject: re: Hebrew Haskamot to English Language Books

I'm a little behind in my reading of Mail Jewish. Andrew Klafter asked
in MJ 34:87 for examples of "pseudo-haskamot". I am flattered that in MJ
35:4, Michael J. Savitz saw fit to suggest the "Halachos of Xmas"
written by my wife and me a few years ago.

It can be found at
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ridge/6661/other/xmas.html. At the
very top of that page, I have such a paragraph, compiled from four real
"haskamot", and a few lines that I made up on my own. The four real
"haskamot" are named at the very *bottom* of that page. Please look them
up, and decide for yourself whether they are haskamot or pseudo-haskamot.

Akiva Miller

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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 22:42:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Interpretation of Symbolic Passages

Mordechai in v7n5 states
>>>>>>
Anyway, summing up, it seems that some people may have confused the
symbolism of the possibility of a pomegranate having 613 seeds on
occasion into a belief that all pomegranates have 613 seeds. Perhaps it
has persisted and spread, due to it not being tested often - perhaps due
to the difficulty and patience necessary to count hundreds of small,
slippery seeds which can stain people and clothing in the process, in
our busy world.
>>>>>>

Mordechais complaint can be generalized. 

Certain passages in the Bible and Talmud are naturally symbolic.  One of
the primary vehicles for translating symbolic passages is to use
techniques of exaggeration and non-literalism.

But many people are relunctant to use broad methods of interpretation on
the Bible or Talmud.

In the case at hand it should be "obvious" that it is not necessary to
accept the 613-seed-pomegranate agaddah literally.

What then can be done to educate the general Jewish community on this?
One answer lies in sources. Rav Hirsch wrote a beautiful
work--groundlines of jewish symbolism (Which can be found in Feldheims
translated works of his). It is a must for anyone who wants to
understand symbolism. One can also review my succinct summary of this
beautiful essay in my paper on Genesis 1, whose url is given below.

I would invite other discusion on this

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/gen-1.htm

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From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 23:41:50 EDT
Subject: One Hebrew Word A Day

The idea is a good one.

There has been, for some years I think, a segment on Israel radio's
second network ('reshet bet') called 'rega shel ivrit' (minute / moment
of Hebrew) which discusses language matters.

Also, there are a number of good books (one that comes to mind is
'Hebrewspeak' -by Joseph Lown I believe) along such lines.

Also, the academy for the Hebrew language has a website
(http://hebrew-academy.huji.ac.il/english.html) and there are other
websites that deal with the Hebrew language.

I wish you Hatzlocha with your goal(s) in this area.

Mordechai

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From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 18:23:31 -0400
Subject: RE: OU and Kashrus

Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...> wrote:

>>The OU claims that
>>  "A. The law does not always require listing ingredients or all
>>   ingredients used, especially when used in relatively small amounts
>>   or in amounts less than the law requires to be listed on the
>>   package. "  (Kosher Primer available on their website).

> I emailed the FDA.  They assured me that this is not the case 
> in the US.
> 
> Yes, certain foods may be listed under the heading of flavoring or the
> like, however, there are only a limited number of ingredients that can
> be so listed.  All ingredients not covered by flavorings, etc, must be
> listed no matter what their percentages!  I invite all interested
> parties to check for themselves at FDA.GOV

This is simply not true.  If a substance is an incidental additive and
has no function or technical effect in the finished product, then it
need not be declared on the label.  There is no specific regulation on
how small something must be before it can be counted as `incidental'.
The FDA has recently proposed an amendment under which certain common
allergens will have to be listed if they appear at all, even in tiny
amounts, since they do have a visible effect in the finished product,
i.e. they cause an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive to them.
But even if and when that amendment is made, it will only affect a
handful of ingredients, and most additives will not have to be listed,
if the manufacturer considers them `incidental'.

See, e.g. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/flg-4.html 

Zev Sero
<zsero@...>

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From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 09:13:57 -0700
Subject: Random Kashering Question

Theoretically, would it be "kosher" to use a non-water liquid for
boiling/kashering?  E.g. boiling oil, or boiling detergent (both have
higher boiling temperatures).  I don't intend to *do* anything like
this, but I was wondering.  I guess one real application would be if you
pour boiling [parve, kosher] soup in the sink; have you kashered it?

--Leah Gordon

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From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 10:58:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sephard Customs

>From: Howard M. Berlin <berlin@...>
>My question is this. Is there a book or reference that details/explains
>the many of the differences in the minhagim between Sephardim and
>Ashkenazim?

There is a small book by Marc Angel and some more in depth historical
works by Zimmels

> If I recall correctly (I may have confused him with another gadol), the
> Chasam Sofer's Rabbi in Germany, I believe Frankfurt, davvened an
> Ari-style davvening with his own minyan. It caused such a controversy he
> had to flee the city. This may account for some of the Casam Sofer's
> friendly attitute towards Chasidim.

The Chatam's Sofer's rebbi, Rav Noson Adler davened Sefard in his Bet
Medrash.  He also hired a sefard rabbi to teach him the correct
pronunciation according to edot mizrach. As stated he was eventually
driven out of Frankfurt.  However, this had nothing to do with any
chassidic elements.

> Finally, I have heard that 'nusach achid' was not universally accepted.
> Perhaps our chaveirim in Israel can report to us about the status of
> 'nusach achid' today.

On a personal basis in many shuls I have never seen Nusach achid.  What
is common is that chazan chooses whatever nusach he wants.  This is done
in the minyan in tel Aviv University and in many places that have a
mixed crowd that can not be split into individual minyanim.  In home
communities it is becoming more popular to split the community into
distinct davenings based on Nusach.

Eli Turkel

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From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 11:27:40 -0700
Subject: Re: Talmidim Chachamim

Michael Szpilzinger writes:
>He carried this principle a bit further and mentioned anecdotally that
>he was in the presence of a group of Rabbis when he staunchly used the
>term "Talmidah Chacham" referring to a female as opposed to what he felt
>was the incorrect "Talmidah Chachamah". This was met with mild derision
>but Rabbi Pruzansky still defends his position.

Wouldn't the correct form be "Talmidat Chacham" and not "Talmidah Chacham"?

Netanel Livni

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End of Volume 35 Issue 16