Volume 35 Number 73
                 Produced: Tue Dec 25  8:11:26 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Exploitation/Salary Analysis
         [Leah S. Gordon]
For Sacramental use only Grape Juice
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Hair Conditioner- Mikva
         [Y. Askotzky]
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
         [Zev Sero]
Maoz Tzur
         [Louise Miller]
Peanut oil
         [Eliezer Finkelman]
peanuts, peanut oil, and kitniyot  on pesach
         [Meir Shinnar]
Rachel tending sheep (2)
         [Isaac A Zlochower, Michael J. Savitz]
Rivka at the well
         [Hannah and Daniel Katsman]
Torat Emet: Defending the Faith
         [Netanel Livni]


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 06:20:05 -0800
Subject: Exploitation/Salary Analysis

>> You simply cannot live on $12000 a year (to cover
>> food, auto, rent, medical etc).
>As a graduate student not too long ago, I lived perfectly well on
>12k/year, and that included book costs in addition to food, medical,
>dental, and rent costs (auto is not a necessity).  In fact, I was able
>to save about $1,500/year, after taxes.
>Thus, it is very possible to live on $12,000 a year...but it depends
>where (probably not Boston, for example) and in what environment.

But Ari, (and granted I have insider information on your case), living
in a small midwestern college town, with no children and readily
available affordable housing, is a completely different situation than
living in New York (Long Island?)  as in the cleaning-person's story.

Also, whether or not a car is a necessity absolutely depends on the
nature of one's work and city.  If the cleaning-person were to earn her
$12K by working 50 weeks a year, 40 hours a week, at $6 (as was
suggested), she would have to travel all over to fill up the time with
clients.  Again, this requires significantly more transportation than
does working in a graduate school context.  (Even when I was doing
graduate field work that required travel, it was not six or eight
different sites in one day, every day for a year--but if it had been, I
would have needed a car.)

My personal opinion is that it is exploitative to pay someone so little
for as onerous as task as house-cleaning.  (And I'm surprised that
someone would put up with such a job, because when we hired professional
house-cleaners in the Boston area, it was closer to $20 per hour.)

The question these employers should be asking themselves is, "would this
wage be enough to pay *me* for cleaning my *own* house?"  If the answer
is no, I think it is highly improper to ask the other person to do
it--because not only is the work the same, but it's not her house, and
she has to transport herself, etc.

(Isn't minimum wage higher than $6 per hour?)



From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 09:28:07 -0500
Subject: re: For Sacramental use only Grape Juice

Are you sure it's not left over from Prohibition days?  That would be 
one explanation.

But seriously, it can't be Shmitta related.  If it's the Kedem brand,
all their grapes are U.S. grown so it wouldn't have anything to do with
Shmitta.  My guess is they make a special run for Shul's that sell Wine
and Grape juice to their congregations.  I understand that Quebec has
controls on where you can buy Wine, and that Jews in Quebec buy their
Kosher wine through their Shuls (or sometimes from the trunk of
someone's car).  I suspect that the "Sacramental use" disclaimer allows
them to sell it without tax in those states with the Alcohol
restrictions if it is sold through the Shul.

Joshua Hosseinof


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 15:55:38 +0200
Subject: Hair Conditioner- Mikva

I have heard that the reason why conditioner should not be used prior to
the mikva is that it leave s a film on the hair even after rinsing and
could be a question of separation between the body and the waters of the
mikva. I an certain this is discussed in the various halacha books on

kol tuv,

Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner
<sofer@...>   www.stam.net   1-888-404-STAM(7826)


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 21:04:30 +0200
Subject: Kissing

A MORE BASIC question that Joel Rich's pointing out of the Kissing act
is what did he kiss?

Of course, given the Halachic stricture today, this would be a major
issue.  But if it was a kiss on the hands as a recognition, as in many
societies of nomadic or agrarian character, this may not have been an
extreme act.

> From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
> A more basic question can be found in Bereishit 29:11 Where Yaakov Avinu
> KISSES Rachel Imeinu well before any dating or marriage plans.  As with
> the prior thread there are midrashic explanations as to why this was
> acceptable.  The issue that I think a lot about in Bereishit is why
> present the "stories", which according to chazal were meant to transmit
> the ethical attributes of our forefathers in a way that simple halachik
> rules could not, in a way that one must often turn away from the simple
> understanding of the text.  Somehow the answer "those who want to
> misunderstand will do so anyway" is not entirely satisfying to me.  Any
> thoughts?


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 19:37:06 -0500
Subject: RE: Kitniyot

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

> in any case, most of the usual reason given for not eating 
> kitnyot would probably not apply to peanuts.

Nor do they apply to mustard, which is nevertheless forbidden.

> And it's true that there are sources which allow the use of oil
> derived from "kitniyos".

The Rama implicitly forbids it, when he permits using it for lighting
lamps on the table, on the basis that even if some accidentally gets
into the food it will be batel.

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:

> Rav Moshe Feinstein discusses peanuts vis-a-vis kitniyot in (among
> others) Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim III, p. 370. There, he points out
> that the prohibition against kitniyot is based on what the local 
> custom was, and one does not add anything to this list. He stresses
> that last point at length. One does not add to the list based on
> "logic."

But the Rama says that mustard is kitniyot *because it is in the class
of seeds that grow in a pod*, implying that we can and must apply the
same rule to any seed that grows in a pod, including peanuts.  If it
were a strict list, with no underlying rationale, and no further
inclusions, then how did corn end up forbidden?  When the original list
was compiled corn was unknown.  (The same argument puts paid to those
who claim that the only reason potatoes are not kitniyot is that they
were unknown at the time of the original gezera - if that were the case,
then corn should be permitted too.)

Zev Sero


From: <daniel@...> (Louise Miller)
Subject: Maoz Tzur

The question was asked whether it was true that one of the more popular
melodies for Maoz Tzur comes from a church hymn.

I am of course referring to the melody for which the words "Rock of Ages
let our song..." fits.

It is an unusual melody for a Jewish tune, since it is in major rather
than the more common minor modality.

Using several church hymnals as reference (sorry gang - I went to music
school!) th melody is used frequently, and every where I have seen it,
the source is given as "Jewish melody."

There is another popular church hymn called Rock of Ages, but amusingly
enough it is a different melody.  "Rock of Ages, cleft for me" (Whatever
THAT means!)

Louise in La-La-La Jolla, CA


From: <Finkelmans@...> (Eliezer Finkelman)
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 13:12:38 EST
Subject: Re: Peanut oil

Dear Mail-Jewish:
Avi Feldblum, in a recent Mail-Jewish, properly reminds us that some
authorities permit using peanut oil on Pessah for those who refrain from
Kitnyot, because they classify peanut oil as a mere derivative of
Kitnyot.  Note, however, the responsum of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Orah
Hayyim 3:63, vol. 5, page 371), in which he argues that when some Jews
developed the custom of avoiding certain foods (Kitnyot) they did not
have a custom to avoid peanuts, and now we should not add to the original
custom, unless you already have a custom for strictness..  In short,
Rabbi Feinstein believes that the term "Kitnyot" does not have an
objective definition, except as determined by Jewish custom, and he does
not believe that custom has put peanuts into the category of "kitnyot."

Eliezer Finkelman


From: <Chidekel@...> (Meir Shinnar)
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 10:29:48 EST
Subject: Re: peanuts, peanut oil, and kitniyot  on pesach

With regard to peanuts and peanut oil:
There are two separate issues:

    1) Is the halachic definition of the term kitniyot identical to the
botanical definition of legume, or is it circumscribed by the tradition
of what it was that was actually included in the original gzera?  The
original gzera was really to limit confusion over what people might come
to eat grains, and therefore was not a decree on the intrinsic nature of
    My understanding is that Rav Moshe Feinstein held that peanuts were
not included in the original gzera, so that they are not considered
halachically kitniyot.  Similarly, my LOR told me that string beans did
not use to be considered kitniyot before the 1950s, and may be used
under some conditions (prevailining custom has become very strict about
these matters.

    2) Even for real kitniyot, there is a difference between derivatives
of kitniyot and kitniyot themselves, and there is a machloket in the
poskim about the derivatives of kitniyot - whether we assur them
completely, we matti r them if processed in such a way that if they were
grains they wouldn't be hametz (eg, dry pressing them rather than wet
pressing them), or even if processed in such a fashion that the
rationale of the original gzera - leading to confusion - may no longer

Meir Shinnar


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 21:52:39 -0500
Subject: Rachel tending sheep

This post addresses the question raised on this forum on Ya'akov kissing
Rachel when he first met her.  First consider their ages.  Ya'akov was
77 years old at the time.  Rashi gives the accounting.  Ya'akov was 130
when he journeyed to Egypt.  Yosef at that time was 39.  Yosef, in turn,
was born on the 14th year of Ya'akov's stay in Aram.  130 -39 -14 = 77.
Rachel, who was tending her father's sheep at the time of their meeting,
must have been a minor.  Why else would Ya'akov initiate the offer of
working 7 years for Lavan in order to win Rachel's hand in marriage?
Would not a shorter work period have sufficed?  At the least, Ya'akov
could have tried to negotiate a shorter period.  It is reasonable,
therefore, to assume that Ya'akov wished to wait 7 years in order for
Rachel to reach marriageable age.  If Rachel is a young girl and Ya'akov
is her first cousin who had never seen her, then it should not be
shocking that he would kiss her in greeting.  Let's not project the
mores of a later age onto the patriarchs.  What Ya'akov did in all
innocence was, presumably, consistent with the mores of his times.  That
should be good enough for us.


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 11:51:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Rachel tending sheep

<< A more basic question can be found in Bereishit 29:11 Where Yaakov
Avinu KISSES Rachel Imeinu well before any dating or marriage plans. >>

Other examples:
- Avraham Avinu marries his half-sister.
- Yaakov Avinu marries two sisters.
- Amram marries his aunt.
- Avraham Avinu serves dairy and meat together, to the 3 travelers.


From: Hannah and Daniel Katsman <hannahpt@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 23:01:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Rivka at the well

Saul Davis wrote:
> A.M.Goldstein _presumed_ in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #63 that Rivqah and
> Yethro's daughters' fathers were "well-to-do^.
> Why make this presumption? Not everyone is comfortable - not then and
> not now.  There are good people who are poor and bad ones that are
> rich. Avraham seems to be wealthy: he had servants and wives and Eliezer
> his servant had expensive jewelry to give to Rivqa. The fact that the
> young Rivqa herself was sent to draw water shows that she was from a not
> rich household. But she did have a servant/nurse who went with her.

Rivka's family was well-off enough to provide food and lodging for ten
camels and their drivers (Bereshit 24:32 - "water to wash his feet and
the feet of the men that were with him").  In addition, Rivka traveled
not only with her nurse (24:59) but with an entourage of servant girls
(24:61 - "Rivka and her maidservants got up and rode on the camels").

The fact that a family was wealthy does not seem to have hindered their
young women from being sent to draw water.  In fact, Avraham's servant's
prayer is predicated on his having a "choice" of all the women in town;
it would have been strange if the prayer had limited him to girls from
poor families or slaves!

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 10:49:08 -0800
Subject: Re: Torat Emet: Defending the Faith

>>What I am proposing is that our frum internet community garner its
>>collective resources and respond to the website.
>Maybe I missed something... but my basic reaction to this proposal is:
>"Why bother?".
>The world is, and always has been, full of assorted heretics,
>blasphemers, missionaries, etc etc etc.
>Why would I waste my time trying to answer them all?

it says in Avot:
"Da ma leHashiv leApikorus." Know how to answer a heretic.

You can not be passive in the face of the world's evil.

Netanel Livni


End of Volume 35 Issue 73