Volume 35 Number 28
                 Produced: Mon Jul 30  4:13:03 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Health reasons vs Mystical Reasons in Jewish Law
         [Russell Hendel]
Incest, DNA & Judaism
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Nursery Rhymes
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
OU and Kashrus
         [Zev Sero]
Program being run in Passaic
         [Yitz Weiss]
Torah and Sefer Yehoshua
         [Ed Werner]
Vsen Tal Umatar
         [Zev Sero]
Why does the Torah request "meitav haaretz" payment?
Request: San Francisco
         [Carl Singer]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:40:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Health reasons vs Mystical Reasons in Jewish Law

I would like to generalize the discussion on eating from unshelled eggs
left overnight (see v35n10: Backon, Wells, and Bernstein). First however
let me review the unshelled egg issue.

As was pointed this is probably a health prohibition. Let me elaborate:
Reviewing Rambam Chapters 11:12 we see many prohibitions based on health
considerations (such as drinking water left uncovered overnight lest a
snake injected its venom or eating nibbled fruit lest a rat had eaten it
& transferred disease). Allow me to connect the unshelled issue to the
similar prohibition of eating nibbled fruits. PERHAPS a rat or rodent
licked the unshelled egg and transferred disease!

So we now understand Rav Moshes responsum: Most people live in rodent
EGGS.  We are not worried about rodent lickers. BUT (and here there is
novelty) if you live in a rodent infested house then I believe Rav Moshe
would support the idea that YOU SHOULD avoid unshelled eggs left

Now let me generalize. There are many laws that have sound
interpretations in terms of health and damage but current folklore
attributes them to demons and evil eyes. I would like to see a mj
discussion about what we can do to educate people to see the true
reasons in laws. Let me close with two short examples & I invite

to avoid demons or is the purpose to force the congregation to stay over
so that latecomers should not go home alone and be exposed to
unnecessary danger (Rambam, Prayer 9:10-12 and Mishneh Lemelech) (b) WHY
it because of evil spirits or is it because we would make them the focus
of the shule and erode their privacy?(See URLs below for sources)

Russell Jay Hendel;http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm SCROLL DOWN TO DEFENSE
or http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj27-13a.htm and ../mj33-50b.htm


From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 18:05:46 -0700
Subject: Incest, DNA & Judaism

Shalom, All:
Everyone who makes every effort to find a Jewish m'kor (source) for such
modern topics as artificial insemination and its possible future
consequences, God forbid, on the slightest question of incest when
children become adults, have overlooked the obvious solution.

I submit to you that modern DNA testing can answer who is or isn't the
father or mother of an individual ready to marry, despite the question of
donor sperm or eggs, with an astounding degree of accuracy. Thus, if
Miss, Ms. or Mrs. A wishes to marry Mr./Rabbi B, a DNA test can quell any
doubts as to whether they're biologically related, and even the mere
suspicion of both sharing a biological parent can be put to rest.

There is current precedence for this method. After all, we rely upon
modern Tay-Sachs tests to tell us before a wedding if the prospective
bride and groom will have joy or tragedy in the matter of children. If we
rely upon those scientific tests, as many do, to make or break a shidduch
(matrimonial match), why not rely upon DNA testing to see if science says
the couple share a sperm or egg donor, thus making them, unknowingly,

Has anybody asked their local Orthodox rabbi AND a geneticist about this
matter? It is of grave importance, and must not be overlooked.

Yeshaya Halevi (<chihal@...>)


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 14:44:28 +0300
Subject: Nursery Rhymes

>How nursery tunes are appropriated for liturgical use is another story
> Alan Cooper

i think i once mentioned this maybe almost a decade ago but you can get
worked up if you want to over singing Adon Olam to the tune of
Hernando's Hideaway as we did in Holliswood in the late 1950s.

Yisrael Medad


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 20:20:47 -0400
Subject: RE: OU and Kashrus

Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>

> Zev responds, correctly, I believe to my post about the OU and
> Kashrus.  However, when I did email the exact OU quote to the FDA,
> they responded to my query with the information contained in my
> original post.  So either the FDA contact was wrong, or their site
> is wrong.

Do you really expect some person in the public relations department to
be an expert on what the regulations really require, let alone that
they'll give you the correct answer all the time?  The IRS gives answers
out to the public on tax law, which matters to most people, and they're
wrong more often than they're right.  Try going into tax court and
saying that you called the IRS hotline, and they told you what to do,
and you did exactly what they told you; it won't help in the least, if
you're in the majority who get the wrong answer.  Why do you expect the
FDA to be any different?

More importantly, actual manufacturers in actual factories look at the
regulations themselves, they don't get their information from whoever
answers emails from the public at the FDA, and if there's any ambiguity
in the regulations, the manufacturers and their lawyers will take the
most lenient interpretation that they think will hold up in court,
should it ever get there.  Even if the FDA takes an official position
that the regulations mean A, if what they actually say could reasonably
be read as B, then they can't punish a manufacturer for doing B.

> But this raises another question.  Zev paraphrases the FDA's policy
> that only trace elements need not be listed.

The word is `incidental', not `trace'.

> And it is perfectly acceptable for all Kashrus agencies to have the
> policy that any product with any non kosher products in it at all
> will not be certified (as I have heard).  The OU, however uses this
> trace element possibility as a reason to not walk into store, pick
> up a product and buy it based on the ingredient label.  As a private
> citizen, who is truly concerned about Kashrus, couldn't I assume
> that a product with all kosher listed ingredients, no artificial
> flavors, etc., is still kosher because any traces are Butul Bshesim?

What ruach hakodesh tells you that 2% is too much to count as

The OU doesn't tell you, as a private citizen, what to do.  If you want
to guess that a product does not contain more than 1.6% of a treife
ingredient (or any amount of those treife ingredients that are not
batel), go right ahead, the OU doesn't station policemen in the grocery
to stop you.  But you will pardon me if I choose not to eat at your
house, and counsel others to do the same.


From: Yitz Weiss <YitzW@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:32:07 EDT
Subject: Program being run in Passaic

This is a copy of a flyer being distributed in Passaic, NJ. If other
communities want to follow suit, this would be a SUPER program to

We're all aware of the need to express support for our Jewish brothers
& sisters living in Israel. If not for the financial challenges, no
doubt we would all be making solidarity trips to Israel.  But what if
there was a way for your family to send someone to Israel for only $300?
What if your family could send someone to Israel for only $100?  Now we
can! These weeks before Tisha B'Av we have an opportunity to create a
tremendous amount of achdus & unite the Jewish community of
Passaic/Clifton in this effort! Let's send representatives of our
community to Israel!

We are calling upon the Jewish families of Passaic & Clifton to support
this drive and purchase "tickets" to send people to Israel with the
RCA/OU Solidarity Trip. The trip will leave on Sunday, August 12th and
return the following Sunday. The more "tickets" sold, the more people we
will be able to send! The individuals will be selected at random from
all participants and will represent the Passaic/Clifton Jewish community
as our emissaries to the people living in Israel.  Our message will be
clear: Whether or not we support the politics in Israel, we are joining
together to support our brothers and sisters living there!  Kol Yisrael
Aveivim Zeh LaZeh!  Here's our chance to make a difference!

Yitz Weiss


From: Ed Werner <edwerner@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 04:20:28 +0800
Subject: Re: Torah and Sefer Yehoshua

Mike Gerver wrote:

> Ed Werner, in v35n05, seems to be looking for a book which 1) presents
> evidence that Noah's flood occurred at the date that is traditionally
> assigned to it, and 2) uses only ordinary scientific evidence, which
> necessarily assumes that the present laws of nature operated unchanged
> from that time until the present.  I believe I can show that what he
> wants is impossible.

Well, let us leave the date issue for now (although the question of
Jewish traditional chronology of the Persian period is quite interesting
in itself). I would be satisfied if somebody led me to evidence that
Noah's Flood occurred at any reasonable date (i. e. from the emergence
of humanity on Earth until the present day).



From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 17:12:09 -0400
Subject: RE: Vsen Tal Umatar

Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> wrote:

> I just would like to bring to peoples attention an obscure Rambam in
> Prayer 2:16-17 which gives 3 cases (A) In Israel we ask for rain (VTEN
> TAL UMATAR) from 7 days in Marcheshvan (B) In countries surrounding
> Israel we ask 60 days after Tekufat Tishray (C) On the far out islands
> where rain is only needed in the Summer, they pray for rain when they
> need it and they pray in the blessing SHOMAYAH TEFILAH.

These are not three distinct cases.  What you call cases A and B deal
with the question of when to pray for rain in Birkat Hashanim, and there
are only two customs in this regard: 7 Marcheshvan in EY and 4/5
December everywhere else.  What you call case C is an *addition* to this
system.  In places where they need rain during a time when one does
*not* pray for it in Birkat Hashanim (because all of Chu"L, including
the Southern hemisphere, follows the seasons of Bavel in this regard),
they must pray for it somewhere else, and that somewhere else is in
Shomea Tefilla.  In effect, the Rambam's point is that these places do
*not* make an exception, they do *not* follow their own seasons as logic
would dictate, they do *not* pray for rain when they need it in the
appropriate bracha, but rather they treat their need for rain the same
way that they treat every other need which has no specific beracha, and
include it in the general beracha of Shomea Tefilla.

> Does anyone know the halachic applications of Case C.

IIRC this is cited as law in Shulchan Aruch, but this `out-of-season'
prayer for rain is regarded as a private prayer, so it should only be
said in the silent Shemone Esrei, and not in the chazan's repetition.
As a result, many people in these places don't know about this law
(since they never hear it from the chazan), and don't do it.  IMHO it
would be appropriate for a special effort to be made in those places
every year to publicise this law.


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:33:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Why does the Torah request "meitav haaretz" payment?

I wonder about this for years. After all, seemingly, a $1,000 prime
property, and a $1,000 poor property have the same value, $1,000.
Presumably the appraisal is done under the supervision of Bes Din. As I
have become more involved in Real Estate I have come to understand it
better. To give an example: land in upstate NY sell for $500 an acre. A
lot if Flatbush goes for $450,000. So 900 acres in upstate NY has the same
value as a lot in Flatbush. The difference is, it may take you a few
years to sell your acreage in upstate NY (all the while your incurring
holding costs like property tax and insurance). The lot in Flatbush you
can sell in a few weeks.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 07:43:48 EDT
Subject: Request: San Francisco

I will be running a Thursday/Friday Seminar in downtown San Francisco in
October -- please contact me off-list, if you know the particulars of
nearby communities.

Thank you,
Carl Singer


End of Volume 35 Issue 28