Volume 37 Number 59
                 Produced: Mon Oct 28 23:40:36 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chosing a baby's sex
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Hamar Medina (3)
         [Andy Levy-Stevenson, David Ziants, David Ziants]
Maachal Ben Drosai
         [Chaim Tatel]
Need to be half cooked for Shabos
Question on Rav Shach zt"l
         [Yakov Spil]


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 01:00:30 EDT
Subject: Chosing a baby's sex

I just heard a fascinating case that was decided in Israel.  As it was
described to me, a Charadei couple discovered that the husband was
incapable of having children.  The route the Rav recommended was IVF (In
vitro fertilization) through the use of a non Jewish sperm donor.

Recent scientific advances allow for the predetermination of the sex of
an embryo prior to implantation.  Israeli courts have allowed this
procedure to be used, and the embryos of one sex or another discarded,
if and only if there was a genetic reason to do so (e.g., the father has
the probability of passing along a disorder only to his male children).

This Charadei father is a Cohen.  The family has decided it in their
best interest to not inform any one of the paternity of their children.
The father is aware that his children will not be Cohanim.  At a male
child's Bar Mitzvah, it would become obvious that the child is not a the
natural child of the father when they call him up for an Aliyah as a

The Courts in Israel have decided that this couple may predetermine the
sex of their embryos and only implant females.  Thoughts?

On a side note, one interesting thought that was brought to my attention
was that this plan may yet backfire if the daughter in question marries
a Yisroel and has a first born son who would require a Pidyon.

Chaim Shapiro


From: Andy Levy-Stevenson <andy_twrr@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 10:56:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Hamar Medina

Judith Weil quoted (sorry, can't remember original source):

<<(5) Black coffee and and sweet tea should only be considered hamar
medina in an emergency and there is no other choice, as there are
sources to rely on this (eg Aruch HaShulchan). Coffee is better than

And Judith then responded:

<When I grew up in England tea - with milk - was considered preferable
to coffee as the national drink, because it is indeed the national
drink there.>

And now I chime in:

It's our family custom to make havdalah on tea (with milk, of course
 ... I'm English after all) because, as I learned it, one measure of a
beverage being hamar medina is whether or not one would serve it to
royalty. I have no doubt that the British royal family, whatever their
other shortcomings (!), are steadfast in their devotion to tea. I can
even bring a source as follows!


Judith continued:

<I nevertheless always wondered about tea on Shabbos, because
halachically it was impossible to make tea on Shabbos the way it should
be done, and tea (English tea, with milk) made on Shabbos was always
extremely inferior to tea made during the week.>

And I once again add my 2 cents (or perhaps, in context, pence):

Shabbat tea is unquestionably below par, but why would that be an issue
for havdalah? One of the greatest pleasures of motzaei Shabbat is that
first cup of properly made tea, on which we make havdalah. Perhaps I
misunderstood Judith, or am I doing something wrong in my observance?

Andy Levy-Stevenson

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 19:57:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Hamar Medina

I will try and answer, as best as I can, the points as they are
presented, with the information from the article as I understand it.

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
> David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote:
> >Firstly, in the body of the article he discusses at length the well
> >known halacha that alcoholic drinks can be a wine substitute
> 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.  .... Snipped ...

Obviously we are talking about the situation when hamar medina is
allowed, which excludes kiddush on leil shabbat. According to the
Rambam, Shabbat 29:17, hamar medina is allowed for havdalla only.
According to other rishonim, hamar medina is also allowed for day
kiddush and birkat hamazon on a "cup".

> 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.

This is well known. The Rambam (Shabbat 29:17), as a minority opinion,
doesn't state this condition for havdalla.  The other rishonim disagree
whether "he has no wine" means there is no wine in the country/state
(possibly implied by Rabeinu Hannanel Pesachim 107a), city (Rashbam) or
[not immediately available as]is only available in the shop (Shulchan
HaAruch HaRav 272:10 basing himself on the Rambam's opinion).

> The Mishna Berura goes on to quote from Sha`arei Teshuva, who quotes
> Birkei Yosef that one may not make havdala on milk or oil.  And he
> restates that in Mishna Berura 272:25.
> I checked the Birkei Yosef 296:2, who does indeed state that many people
> misunderstand the Mehaber's statement that liquids other than water
> would permit them to make havdala on milk or oil.  But the Birkei Yosef
> calls this an error!
> >In the conclusion to the article, where he summarises the less obvious
> >issues, his opinion is that:
> >
> >(1) Milk - Seems from the Birkat Yosef
> I thought that this was perhaps a typo for Birkei Yosef, but reading
 .... Snipped ....

This is my typo. It is the Birkei Yosef that is being mentioned.

On a rudimentary reading of the Birkei Yosef, you are correct, but this
is a common misunderstanding.

The point is that the Birkei Yosef is referring to *his* country and
time, as milk then was generally not drunk.  He did not mean this as a
general fixture of law.

This is from the Maharsham Da'at Torah 296:2 and his notes on Orchot
Chaim (296,ot4). The Mishneh Berura qualifies his words that "(milk) is
generally not drunk today", i.e. where it is drunk, this *can* be hamar

The reason why the Birkei Yosef has to be understood this way, is
because the subject of milk is brought in the g'mara (Kritut 13b) as
permitted. Even though, it is said that the milk in the time of the
g'mara had alcoholic properties, alcoholic properties is not an
essential necessity (according to most opinions) for hamar medina, thus
in principle any milk is permitted *provided* that it is an important

> >(Orach Chayim 296:3) that this is
> >chamar medina especially as in the Gemara Kritut (13) milk used to be
> >alcoholic, and those who disallowed it was because it wasn't a common
> >drink in their locale. The matter still needs research for today, as
> >milk is not served at parties etc.
> This seems to be the opposite of what the Mishna Berura thought that the
> Birkei Yosef said.  I have not checked the primary source and would be
> grateful to anyone who does so and reports to us.

See above.

> >Shoko [= chocolate drink] made from a mixture of milk cocoa powder and
> >sugar, however, is an "important" non-thirst-quencher drink, and is
> >chamar medina. Although it is not drunk so frequently this isn't an
> >issue in societies where "important" drinks are drunk less often (Aruch
> >HaShulchan 272:14) .
> Please clarify.  You might describe the Aruch HaShulchan's general
> thesis here, and how it differs from that of the Mishna Berura.

The point of the mishneh b'rurah is that milk, unlike water, is not
intrinsically disallowed for hamar medina, but is just disallowed for
his locale. It might still be in dispute that milk is allowed for my
locale today (Israel) or other places around the world, and it is the
sensitivity to this issue, that by adding sugar and cocoa, we are making
a drink which would not be in dispute for most countries around the
world where we live.

It is for the same reason that it is better that coffee should have milk
and sugar as this becomes a drink which is no longer solely based on

The Aruch HaShulchan sees yay"sh (=yayin saruf=whiskey) as the only real
hamar medina in his place. Because yay"sh is difficult to drink at
havdalla, he feels that milk and sweet tea can in dire emergency be used
because these can be called a Drink (note my capital "D") as drunk by
the masses and are not water. The fact that the ingredients are
considered "cooked" is an issue.

> The Mishna Berura 296:10 (based on the Turei Zahav) disqualifies drinks
> or soups made from beets or sorrel even in an emergency, since, although
> they are drunk by the masses, are not regarded as important.

The Mishneh B'rurah here seems to come in opposition to the Chayai Adam
(Shabbat 8:13) who allows this. The MB sees these drinks more like
water. The MB adds at the end of his words, that if they are made as
important drinks, like beer, and it is drunk by the populace, then
possibly this is what the Chayei Adam is referring to (and so could be

> >(2) Natural juices are called hamar medina.
> *All* natural juices?  For example, the juice of a vegetable that no one
> present has ever tasted and grows only in a faraway land?

 From the article, my understanding is that they have to be drunk in the
locale, for them to be hamar medina. I think this is a priori, although
to what extent they have to be drunk is debated.

David Ziants,
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 17:21:20 +0200
Subject: Re: Hamar Medina

From: David & Judith Weil <weildj@...>
> I refer to the statement that:
> > (5) Black coffee and and sweet tea should only be considered hamar
> > medina in an emergency and there is no other choice, as there are
> > sources to rely on this (eg Aruch HaShulchan). Coffee is better than tea
> When I grew up in England tea - with milk - was considered preferable to
> coffee as the national drink, because it is indeed the national drink
> there.

 From a logical point of view, this seems to make sense, especially if
the tea is brewed from tea leaves and there is no difference in the type
of cooking etc. between this and coffee.

Myself also being originally from England, I asked last week, very
briefly, the author of the article (Rav Y. Katz) on this as a
theoretical question (as it can only be theoretical outside England),
explaining to him how tea is drunk in England.

He pointed out to me the opinions that are lenient on both tea and
coffee in case of emergency, but was not able to tell me that tea can
have priority on coffee when both are equally available.

David Ziants,
Ma'aleh Adumim


From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 06:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Maachal Ben Drosai

From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Subject: Maachal Ben Drosai
> What exactly is the temperature of a cooked chicken anyway?

Per the USDA: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/thermy/bro_text.htm#chart

What is a safe internal temperature for cooking meat and poultry?  Most
pathogens are destroyed between 140 and 160 F. However, for best
quality, meat and poultry require various temperatures for "doneness."
See the chart: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/thermy/bro_text.htm#chart
listing safe internal temperatures for many foods, is part of the
brochure Use A Food Thermometer, featuring Thermy. For more
information, visit the Thermy Web pages.  The temperatures on the
chart are recommended for consumer cooking. They are not intended for
processing, institutional, or foodservice preparation. Food service
professionals should consult their state or local food code. [Sources:
Kitchen Thermometers; Use a Food Thermometer]



From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 21:14:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Need to be half cooked for Shabos

Is this correct? I thought that if an item was totally uncooked it was ok
to put it on right before Shabos started.

>Examples (over simplified) - one is not allowed to leave a cholent on an
>uncovered flame unless it is half way cooked.


From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 00:02:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Question on Rav Shach zt"l

>Did Rav Shach ever actually state that it was permissible to attack Jews
who are not Shomer Shabbos? <

It being Rav Shach's yahrtzeit, it gives me enormous pleasure to be able
to discount such a statement.

But I must first label the entire idea as being beyond the pale.  There
is no godol that has ever sanctioned such hooliganism.  The Torah is the
Torah and the Halocho is the Halocho and despite the fact there are
those who appear to be adherents, it is the halocho that determines the
rightness or wrongness, not their actions.  I had to learn this lesson
long ago, and it has saved me much angst over the years because there
has been no shortage of Chilul Hashem in this regard and others.

Now, to your question.  I can say without a doubt that Rav Shach could
never have said such a thing because I specifically remember reading an
incident that occurred with him when he was asked how come the influence
of the shmiras Shabbos in Bnei Brak had not carried over to the
neighborhood down the way, Ramat something, please forgive me for
forgetting the name.

He responded, when our shmiras Shabbos is solid here, it will be solid
there as well.  He was the consummate baal mussar.  He never spoke of
the wrongs of anyone else without reflecting the issue back to "those
who should know better."  He certainly had his share of criticism of the
Israeli world at large and beyond but he held the yeshiva world to very
high standards, and he was unrelenting.  In all of his speeches, when he
saw the need to speak out about any issue, the message always was- I
wouldn't have to speak about this if we were m'chazek our own avoda in
whatever area.

I hope this puts your concerns to rest.  You are to be praised for
asking a thorny question in a way that did not impugn the reputation of
the one you were asking about.  Others, I have noticed, do not share
this couth!


Yakov Spil


End of Volume 37 Issue 59