Volume 37 Number 45
                 Produced: Sun Oct 20 12:51:43 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Business Ethics (2)
         [Michael Rogovin, Carl Singer]
Crock Pot - Hatmana?
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Dr. Feng Shan Ho and writing Visa's during WWII
         [Shlomo Pick]
Erev Shabbos
         [ben katz]
What is Cypress wine?
         [Frank Silbermann]
What Was That Fruit?
         [David Waxman]


From: <rogovin@...> (Michael Rogovin)
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 8:51:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Business Ethics

Carl Singer writes:

> I've seen situations where merchants offer not to charge tax if 
> they are paid in cash. Are YOU as the consumer thus violating 
> the civil law by abetting the merchant (who, likely, wants cash 
> to "hide" revenue from his books to thus avoid taxes.) What are 
> the halachik implications regarding dino malchuso dino -- laws 
> of the land.

The purshaser is obligated to pay sales tax; the merchant is obligated
to collect it on behalf of the state and pay it to the state on behalf
of the purchaser. As a general rule, I refuse to pay in a way that
avoids my payment of sales tax (if the merchant keeps the money it is
his sin, not mine). Of course, if you pay a "tax discounted" amount by
paying cash, as far as the state is concerned, the merchant did not
discount the tax, he discounted the item. Sales tax would still be due,
but on a lesser base amount. 

Failing to pay sales tax which is a significant source of revenue to the
government shifts the burden to other taxpayers, forcing the government
to charge more than it would otherwise have to (just as insurance fraud
raises the cost of insurance for everyone). When "observant" Jews commit
tax fraud (as merchants or purchasers), it is a big chillul hashem. 

Michael Rogovin

From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 07:43:30 EDT
Subject: Re: Business Ethics

      In such a store one should be careful not to ask to pay with a
      credit card for an amount below their minimum charge, lest you
      entice them into violating their agreement witht he credit card
      company.  To save them from sin you should offer only cash if the
      amount is small.

To do so I am incurring an economic cost.  That is the cost associated
with the inconvenience, danger(?), loss of interest, etc., required to
carry sufficient cash to deal with this merchant and others who practice
similarly.  I'm subsidizing his actions.  The amount being small or
large only impacts the amount of cash I need to carry and the amount of
my loss.

More generally, there are complex economic issues with credit cards and
in some communities "mitzvah dollars" (whatever they're called locally)
where a yeshiva demands that parents buy scrip which stores accept and
return to yeshiva at a discount.  One can argue several ways here:

1 - for large store (national supermarket chain) its a marketing decision
and doesn't impact their prices.

2 - for smaller store (say local pizzeria or "kosher store") that the
increased business justifies this  


3 - that since the merchant only gets 95 cents for every dollar of scrip
that he ups his prices accordingly and that I, who by the way has no
affiliation with that yeshiva, am paying an economic penalty.

Carl Singer


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <eifrah@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 10:13:56 +0200
Subject: Crock Pot - Hatmana?

A complete halachic survey of the status of the crockpot on shabbat was
published by Rabbi Daniel Rabinowitz in the Journal of Halacha and
Contemporary Society, vol. XXXIV (Fall 1997).

In summary, what the author says is that Hatmana is indeed the major
problem for the crockpot (even though not the only one).

On this issue, the discussion is based on a Rema which allows partial
hatmana. According to the Mishna Berura's interpretation of what partial
hatmana is, the use of a standard crockpot on shabbat would be forbidden
and according to the Chazon Ish it would be permitted.

The psak of R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach quoted by one of the contributors
is also referred to in the paper. According to R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
placing an empty can between the pot and the heating element of the
crockpot proves that the status of the crockpot is one of an oven, in
which placing food during shabbat is not considered hatmana.

As an aside, as the whole permissibility of the crockpot relies on a
specific interpretation of the Rema, it seems to me that for sefaradim
to use such a device is questionable. I made a small chakira but did not
find an authorized sefaradic opinion ruling like Moram in this case.

Emmanuel Ifrah


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 13:46:35 +0200
Subject: Dr. Feng Shan Ho and writing Visa's during WWII

Mention has been made of the Japanese consul and the Mirer Yeshiva.  The
following is an excerpt from a speech made a couple of years ago by my
father, Mr. Harry K. Pick, concerning his flight from Vienna to Shanghai
during the period of fall 1938 - summer 1939:

         "Rumours [for obtainin visas] were flying like wildfire through
the Jewish community of Austria, particularly through Vienna.  None of
them proved to have any substance.  --Except one!  ---The Chinese
Consulate was issuing visas for Shanghai.  Now who in their right mind
would want to go to such a God-forsaken place at the end of the earth.
---But a visa stamped into your German passport with the red "J" would
guarantee a ship's ticket and free your loved one from the clutches of
the Nazi prison.  So off the Jewish women went to number 3 Beethoven
Square,to see Dr. Feng Shan Ho, the Consul General of the Chinese
Embassy in Vienna.

"It is only fitting and proper at this point to say something about the
man who was one of the first diplomats to help the desperate Jews and to
save them.  Others would follow in his footsteps: the Japanese Consul in
Wilna, who issued visas to Japan and was instumental in saving most of
the students of the Mirrer Yeshiva who ultimately, in 1942 ended up in
Shanghai.  The Papal Nuncio in Turkey, Monsignor ....., who later would
become Pope John XIII. Last not least Raoul Wallenberg who saved
thousands in Budapest.

"But to Feng Shan Ho goes the credit of pointing the way for others.
His name means "Phoenix of the Mountain".  Born in the rural town of
Yiyang, in the Hunan province of China.After the death of his father he
attended a Lutheran MIssionary School.  In 1926 he graduated from the
Yale-In-China College.  In 1932 he graduated with a PhD in Political
Economics, Magna-Cum-Laude, from the University of Munich, in Germany,
and returned home to China.  In 1935 he entered the Diplomatic Service
of the Republic of China and in 1937 he was posted as First Secretary to
the Chinese Legation in Vienna.

"In May 1938 Dr Ho is appointed Consul General, reporting to the Chinese
ambassador in Berlin.  ---Seeing the desperate straights the 200,000
Jews of Austria are in Dr Ho begins to personally authorizes visas to
enable Jews to escape to Shanghai, China, and elsewhere.  By the end of
July 38 the Chinese Consulate has issued 1200 visas to Shanghai.
Inmates of Dachau and Buchenwald, my late Uncle Paul Singer among them,
are released on the strength of Dr Ho's visas.  Though challenged by his
superior, the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, Feng Shan Ho continues his
liberal visa policy and undauntedly issue thousands of visas to the Jews
of Vienna.  But beyond that his actions were instrumental in saving many
of the 30,000 Jews who where arrested throughout Germany, Austria during
the pogrom of November 9-10, known as Crystal Night, the Night of Broken
Glass.  Because soon letters came from Shanghai to friends and relatives
in Austria and Germany that Shanghai had been occupied by the Japanese
and had an International Settlement and that no visa was required to go
there...just a ship's ticket.  ----So in Vienna the offices of the Lloyd
Triestino, the Italian shipping line with service to Shanghai are mobbed
as are the offices of German shipping lines throughout cities in

"A ticket to Shanghai had become a ticket to freedom.  My late
father-in-law, Isidor Hirshfield, was released from Buchenwald when his
wife, Paula, showed such a ticket to Gestapo headquarters in Koenigsberg
where the Hirshfield family resided.

"By September 1939, the outbreak of WWII, almost 18,000 Austrian,
German, Polish and Czech Jews had flooded into Japanese occupied
Shanghai.  My parents, myself, my uncle, my wife Eva Hirshfield, her
parents and extended family among them.  We would survive the terror of
the Sho'ah in relative safety thanks to Feng Shan Ho. --- It would be
nice to be able to conclude how recognition came to the man in his
life-time.  ---But alas!  Dr Feng Shan Ho died on September 28, 1997, at
the age of 96, in San Franccisco.  After serving the Chinese Nationalist
Diplomatic Service for more than 40 years he had retired to San
Francisco.  The Chinese Nationalist authorities in Taiwan discredited
him and denied his pension.  In 1990 he published his memoirs: "Forty
Years of My Diplomatic Life."  He died at home, surrounded by his wife
and daughter.  His spirit remained undeminished to the end.  Why was
Feng Shan Ho willing to help the Jews when most others would not?  His
reason was simple: "I thought it only natural to feel compassion and
wanted to help.  From the stand-point of humanity that is the way it
should be."

"The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, representing the Communist
government sent a wreath to his memorial service.  The Chinese
Nationalist government, whom he had served honorably for a lifetime,
made no mention of his passing.

"On April 1st, last year Dr Ho was honored, posthumously, in Visas for
Life: The Righteous Diplomat exhibit at the United Nations in New York
City.  I honored his memory last April at a special exhibit in
Connecticut College in New London."

I think that Mail-Jewish should also honor this righteous Gentile and
publish this informative excerpt on Sukkot, the Holiday that includes
the Righteous Gentiles of the World.

Waiting for a Geulah Shleimah

Shlomo H. Pick


From: ben katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 09:41:29 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Erev Shabbos

>From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
>I know it goes against the idea of using all of Erev Shabbos to prepare
>for Shabbos, but I kind of welcomed the change that hapenned when we
>moved from Eretz Yisroel to America.  In Eretz Yisroel I had off from
>work on Friday but had to work on Sunday.  In that situation, I frankly
>found Friday to be a very boring and rather unproductive day.  We
>couldn't really justify going anywhere or doing anything on Friday that
>wasn't Shabbos-preparation oriented.  And since we had the whole day, it
>just seemed like everything took much longer than it really needed to.
>Now, in America, I have work on Friday, so the Shabbos preparations are
>much more rushed but more time-efficient too, since time is very
>limited.  Having Sunday off instead of Friday is a real blessing in my
>opinion, because we can use the time for family connection, such as fun

   Mr. vanderhoof makes a very important and not-much-discussed point.
I have heard Rabbi David Bleich refer to sun. as "shabat sheini shel galut"
and I believe he is correct.  Sun. allows us to do all the weekend things we
can't do on shabat.  In the old days people often did all their work in 6
days and rested on the 7th.  in an advanced society what we do all week
often has very little to do with our subsistence, thus we need a day for
shopping, laundry, sports, etc.  in addition, relatives don't live right
nearby and visiting requires significant travel, again not the way it used
to be. In Israel most people work at least half a day Fri., which is not the
same as having a whole day off, esp, when shabat is coming.   i have often
said that more israelis would be shomrei shabat if they had sun. off.
Finally, his point about efficiency is also well taken.  now that many men
and women work, housework (excluding child care)  probably takes no more
than about 5 hours per week. when more women didn't work, it tended to fill
more of their available time.  rushed preparations are not necessarily bad,
when it allows more time for other things.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 08:47:51 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  What is Cypress wine?

In V37 N37 Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
writes about "Mei Raglayhim" in the production of ktoret

> Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel ... put in the reason for the Cyprus wine
> (To make it more sharp or pungent)...  `And if you don't have Cyp[rus
> wine than you bring strong white wine.'

What is Cyprus wine?  Was it actually imported from Cyprus, or was that
just the name of a _kind_ of wine?  (If it was imported from Cyprus, how
did they ensure it hadn't been offered to idols?)

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 16:58:40 +0200
Subject: Re: What Was That Fruit?

>A recent post on a completely different subject mentioned that according
>to some the Pri Eitz Hadas was an esrog.  I remember hearing there were
>three opinions on this: esrog, grape, and wheat(!).  Sorry I do not have
>a source for this as I heard it about 15 years ago.

Brachot 40a gives three opinions: grape (R' Meir), fig (R' Nechemya),
and wheat (R' Yehuda).  I don't know the source of the etrog opinon.

Reasons given by the gemara:
1. Grapes got Noach in trouble.
2. Odom and Chava made their coverings from fig leaves (as you said.) That 
is, the correction comes from the thing that brought the problem.
3. A child cannot call for his mother and father until he tastes wheat.

> My question is why Rashi does not mention esrog and why the Gemoro (I
> believe the source for what I mentioned at first) does not list fig as a
> possibility.

Rashi cites the fig opinion following the verse that says that they
sewed their garments from fig leaves.


End of Volume 37 Issue 45