Volume 37 Number 57
                 Produced: Mon Oct 28 22:37:00 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Correction:  Rav Babad
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Hamar Medina
         [Mark Steiner]
Latitude 'Allowed' in Originating New Drash
Medical intervention prolonging suffering (3)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Edward Ehrlich, David Waxman]
Moris Ayin
         [Bill Bernstein]
Shema yisael Torah network
         [Tuvia Lent]
Whiskey aged in empty wine casks
         [Bernard Raab]


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 16:40:43 +0200
Subject: Re:  Correction:  Rav Babad

Dear Andy,

You wrote to Mail Jewish:
    << In a previous posting on the post Yom Kippur "Slach Lanu," I
quoted a Rav Vavad ZT"L from Sunderland.  I would like to thank Peretz
Mett for correcting me: the correct name of the Rav is "Babad.">>

   Actually, the family is quite a well-known one.  I don't know what
the "bet" stands for, but the "abad" part means "av bet din"-- i.e.,
they were dayanim and rabbanim going way back.  The author of Minhat
Hinukh was a Babad.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 14:17:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Hamar Medina

      Not for the "serious" qiddush on leil shabbat.  One who does not
      have wine may make qiddush then on bread, as brought by the
      Mehaber quoting the Rosh in OH 272:9.  The Rema goes even further
      and rules that if wine is available anywhere in that city (as
      amplified by the Mishna Berura 272:24), and the one making qiddush
      does not drink wine because he has made such a vow, he should
      nevertheless recite the blessing on wine, and someone *else*
      should drink it.

      And even with regard to havdala, the Mishna Berura states (296:9)
      that one should use wine rather than any other beverage, and use a
      substitute *only* if he has no wine.

    One must distinguish between two completely different questions:

(a)  What is the definition of hamar medina;
(b)  Is hamar medina allowable for havdala and kiddush.

    Examination of the Talmud and rishonim (rather than just the
aharonim) yields the following surprising result: the term hamar medina
means "a wine substitute."  This is of course completely different from
the usual definition, but I invite investigation of the sugya in Pesahim
and the rishonim there.  The Mishna Berura's remark on the availability
of wine, and also that of the Rema, is based on that definition.  Yet
the Mishna Berura just a little later, after the quoted remark, seems to
contradict himself by then allowing whiskey to be defined as s hamar
medina, since the greatest poskim (such as the Maharshal) were known to
have used whiskey for kiddush in the morning EVEN though they had wine
in the house.  The Mishna Berura states that the rationale for this is
the high cost of wine, even though he himself had previously written
that high cost is no reason to define something else as hamar medina.

    Thus: the original (Talmudic) definition of hamar medina was the
drink used in a society to replace wine, when there was no wine.  This
definition was apparently changed later to reflect practice.  Today the
definition seems to be "social": hamar medina today means a drink that
serves the same social function as wine.  The Mishna Berura does not
seem to make any attempt to resolve the internal contradiction in his
own words, since he seems to adopt both definitions.  Nevertheless, he
"inherited" the contradiction from the Mogen Avrohom, as you can see by
looking it up.  I myself have no way of resolving this contradiction.

    (Those who take up my invitation to do research on this fascinating
topic, should be aware that the term "shekhar" which is used in the
debate about hamar median also changed meaning through time.  In the
Bible it is a grape derivative, as seen from the fact that a Nazarite
cannot drink shekhar, but in the Talmud it is the fermented juice of
other fruits.  Later still it is used for beer, but not in the Talmud.)

    Aside from the question: what is hamar medina, we have the question:
can hamar medina be used?  For havdalah, most commentators accept that
the Talmud permits it.  But the Talmud is quite skeptical about its use
for kiddush.  So we have a debate in the rishonim--some say that the use
for havdalah implies also the permissibility for kiddush, and some say
there is no possibility to make such an inference.

    There is also a debate about the use of bread for kiddush.  Rabbenu
Tam forbid the use of bread, but the accepted opinion is lenient based
again on the sugya in Pesahim.

    Where wine is not available, what then should be used for kiddush?
If you look in the Rosh you will see that his view is more of a piece of
advice than a hard decision.  Since bread seems to be more of a
consensus item than hamar medina, Rabbenu Tam being distinctly in the
minority, bread should be used--at night.  In the morning, however, the
Rosh advised NOT to use bread, because since one makes hamotizi anyhow
during any meal, there is no appearance of kiddush.  Using hamar medina
before the meal would add the "shabbesdik" appearance to the meal.  Note
that in any case you are eating bread, as Rabbi Chipman once pointed out
to me.

    In summation: there seems to have been a change in the definition of
"hamar medina" from the period of the Talmud to the 16th century.
According to the Talmudic definition, NO beverage but wine could ever be
permissible, even for havadalah, where wine is available.  According to
the later definition (the social one) wine would still be PREFERABLE for
havdalah, but other beverages that have the social function of wine
could be used (this is the practice today).  The Mishna Berura does not
point out this change, but in different places defends different
definitions..  In any case, this is the conclusion I came to after long
study of the sugya and trying to make sense of what happened.

    A final note: in these comments I have ignored the views of the
Rambam, because the mainline poskim do not endorse his approach to the
entire question of hamar medina.


From: <avirab@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 17:13:18 -0400
Subject: Latitude 'Allowed' in Originating New Drash

Although usually Rashi relied on Midrash and Ramban on Kabbalistic
teachings, traditional Bible commentators do not usually give sources
for their interpretation, and do not make it clear whether they are
repeating a teaching supposed to have come from ancient times, or are
originating a new drash.
What is the latitude they allowed themselves, and others, in originating
novel interpretations? Were any guidelines ever discussed or agreed
upon? (obviously there was opposition to some, such as to Rambam in his
time). Do there exist guidelines that we today are 'expected' [a
loaded word, depends on who is doing the expecting of course] to follow
in creating drash? What's a good reference discussing this issue? 
[BTW, what's the best counter-work to Heschel's 'Aspeklaria'?]


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 07:49:29 EDT
Subject: Re: Medical intervention prolonging suffering

      From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)

      A friend, Jewish but not observant, has asked me what halacha has
      to say about using or refraining from using medical intervention
      in the case of a patient who is in pain, or who otherwise has a
      poor quality of life that is not expected to improve. This friend
      is thinking about her parents, who have Alzheimer's. At present
      their quality of life is still reasonably good, so the issue
      hasn't really come up yet, but she thinks it may come up in the
      future, and wants some basis for making medical decisions.

      Can anyone recommend books, in English, on this topic? Can anyone
      (e-mailing me directly) give me the name of a rabbi, or perhaps a
      rebbitzin, preferrably in the Philadelphia area, who could discuss
      these issues with my friend in person, in a sensitive way?

According to the Talmud, one does not put salt on a dying man's lips
(ie.  you don't go to extreme measures to prolong life).

My father was dying of cancer and my mother wanted to put a
hyperalimentation shunt into his neck because he was literally starving
to death. I had had a discussion with him months before about this, and
he told me that morning, "dayenu."

The first person I called was Rabbi S.Z. Lieman, and then I called Reb
Moishe (this was jan, 1982). As a result the doctors called us into
thier consulting room and told us "You don't put salt on a dying man's
lips," and two days later, erev Shabbos, he was gone, having had the
time to make his peace, say viduy, etc.

Extreme measures are not called for. Dying with dignity is.

Jeanette Friedman

From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 16:08:57 +0200
Subject: Medical intervention prolonging suffering

Alzheimer's is a horrendous disease that causes much pain to the family
of the patient, but not to the patient him or herself.  The family not
only has an enormous burden of caring for the patient but must deal with
the pain caused by someone they love not even recognizing them.

I wish Mike's friend both the strength and wisdom to deal with such a
difficult situation, but please keep in mind that an Alzheimer's patient
apparently does not suffer and is oblivious of the suffering of others'.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel

From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 16:17:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Medical intervention prolonging suffering

One title is 'Modern Medicine and Jewish Ethics', Dr. Fred Rosner.  It
includes a few essays on this topic.

In Philadelphia, Dr. Danny Eisenberg is well versed on the subject and 
knows the local Rabbis.  Contact him at <seforim@...>



From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 08:41:47 -0500
Subject: Moris Ayin

Several posts have been made on this topic.  I am still trying to figure
out the one about leaving laundry in the dryer.  I would think that for
there to be moris ayin there must be at least "moris" that is, something
visible.  In our washer and dryer (at least) there is no window so no
one knows whether there is laundry there or not.  As some have
mentioned, it is irrelevant where someone actually does see it because
in a situation of moris ayin it would be forbidden even in the innermost
recesses of one's house.

In thinking about the piece in Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Deah that mentions
MA in regard to cooking meat with almond milk, it would seem that MA
occurs where the normal, regular action is prohibited (e.g. here, where
milk is/was much more common than the parve substitute) but the
individual is able to do the action in a way that is otherwise
permissable.  It is this "otherwise permissable" action that becomes
forbidden due to MA.  One case I saw mentioned is in B.Metzia 90a (no, I
am not an expert in the gemoro--I just happen to be learning in this
place) where 2 "chassidim" had their bulls stolen and castrated, and
then returned.  They exchanged animals so no one would think they had
castrated them.  From the Gemoro this is clearly an act of chassidus and
not actual requirement.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Tuvia Lent <sld11@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 10:26:43 -0400
Subject: Shema yisael Torah network

I would like to find out from the community if anybody is familiar with
the Semicha program offered online by the Shema Yisrael Torah network.
They offer shiurim online with periodic online tests and a final test in
Haifa leading to a Yoreh Yoreh Semicha. It is geared for those who work
full time but also want to learn on a part time basis Yoreh Deah. I am
not naive enough to think that this is comparable to the Semicha that my
father got from the Rav. However, by learning Shulchan Aruch this way
with a goal in mind i think it will me learn it better with more
retention.I am curious whether anybody has gone through there program
and what did they think about it. The site is
http://www.shemayisrael.com/.  This is not a spam letter and I am not
connected with them at all.

                                                 Kot Tuv
                                        Tuvia Lent


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 14:27:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Whiskey aged in empty wine casks

From: Avi Feldblum
>This is a disgreement between the kashrut supervising agencies, and was
>just covered by Kashrut Magazine. Star-K is of the opinion that aging
>Scotch in sherry or port casks is a problem, and thus lists the
>Glenmorangie as "not-recommended". The posek for Yeshivas Birkas Reuvan,
>which Kashrus Magazine uses, does not agree, thus they say all scotches
>are acceptable. This was discussed in Volume 30/31 (see for instance
>v30n80 and v31n18).

Some years ago a big brouhaha arose regarding the kashrut acceptability
of the Grossinger Hotel, of blessed and lamented memory. Although it had
become generally regarded as totally acceptable kashrus-wise, some New
York rabbis were declaring it totally unacceptable over the issue of
"non-kosher" wine. Apparently, such wine, long available in the nite
club, was seen being brought into the dining room by some guests without
challenge from management. My Rav at the time, a highly-respected posek
and the supreme kashrut authority in his city, whose name I have not
sought permission to use, saw no problem at all. When asked about the
possibility that some such wine might spill onto the dishes, or better
yet, onto "my" dish, he suggested wiping away the spill before eating
from the dish!

Although we call acceptable wine "kosher", this is really a shorthand
designation, and should not be confused with the laws of kashrut and


End of Volume 37 Issue 57