Volume 40 Number 43
                 Produced: Sun Aug 24 12:41:29 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are Jews Ethically Challenged?
         [Bernard Raab]
Blessings of Thanksgiving
         [Perry Zamek]
Eruv Strings (2)
         [Gil Student, Chaim Tatel]
Info on kosher etc.. in Rochester, Minnesota
         [Stuart Cohnen]
         [Sam Saal]
Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food (4)
         [Stan Tenen, Perry Zamek, Edward Ehrlich, Shimon Lebowitz]
On-Line Torah (3)
         [Menashe Elyashiv, Josh Backon, Jacob Mayteles]


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 23:57:22 -0400
Subject: Are Jews Ethically Challenged?

 >This group deserves termination plus trial by a beis din leading toward
 >excommunication if their defense cannot present some mitigating factors.

to which Yakov Spil replies:

>I sure am happy none of us are the authors of Jewish Law.  That someone
>can say this with such seriousness as it SHOULD BE the din, is as
>blasphemous to me as it is outrageous to him that Jews could do this.

>I shouldn't have to say it, but of course this is wrong.  There is no
>excuse for it.  Jews SHOULD do everything that is a Kiddush Hashem.
>Jews should never do anything that is against halocho or gives the
>appearance of any impropriety, but to demand cherem for this?  Have we
>gone mad?? We can all be so high and mighty to make such demands on our
>fellow Jews- when somewhere along the way we are halachically challenged
>in some other area- like davening with a minyan, saying birchas hamazon
>with kavana, or being careful with all the intricacies of borer on
>Shabbos as well as other melachos- I'd like to see how demanding we are
>in those areas. And that's before any discussions of chumros and all
>that that seems to be so popular here.

Allow me to restate the original (possibly hypothetical) event: A group
of "religious" Jewish employes at the same company want to take off to
attend a wedding on an ordinary workday. Instead of asking for personal
or "sick" time, they tell their boss that it is a religious holiday and
they must be absent. There was no suggestion in this account that this
might be a "semi"-holioday such as Rosh-Chodesh or Purim.

This story so outraged me (on the assumption that it is not
hypothetical) that I suggested the drastic punishmernt quoted above
might be in order. I don't know which aveira among the many candidates
would be most operative here, and whether the "correct" punishment is
cherem. I just felt that this sort of thing is a paradigm of "chilul
ha-Shem" and deserving of severe sanction.

If I understand Yakov correctly, we lowly sinners have no right to
criticize any behavior that we may regard as shameful. Of course that
would cut back a lot of M-J discussion--maybe not such a bad thing. But
what I find so interesting about his response is that every example of
"halachic challenge" that he mentions is "bein adam le-Makom", which I
take as a signal of where he feels our priorities must lie. Needless to
say, this mindset is precisely what gets us into such trouble in the
"other" realm of "adam le-chavero".  Is it really so unreasonable to
demand that our fellow Jews act *honestly* and *honorably* in the
workplace? I am really troubled by how mant listers seem to want to
equivocate on this issue!


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 15:15:58 +0200
Subject: Blessings of Thanksgiving

No, I'm not writing about the November festival.

Here is a question that occurred to me:

When one hears good news (e.g. "You've inherited a fortune"), one makes
a bracha - either "Shehecheyanu" or "HaTov VeHaMeitiv," depending on the

What if one is a contestant on one of those "Millionaire" games. At each
stage, the contestant wins a certain amount (doubling, approximately,
for each level). Is the contestant required to make a bracha each time
he jumps a level during the same show (i.e. when he hear's "You've won
$50,000" and again when he is told "You've now won $100,000")?

Perry Zamek


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:16:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Eruv Strings

>A friend tells me that he read that some communities are not accepting
>the typical monofilament line for eruvim.  That it's a minority opinion
>that holds it is ok.

There is an excellent book on this topic, Contemporary Eruv: Eruvin in
Modern Metropolitan Areas by R' Yosef Gavriel Bechofer. An early version
of the book can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/rygb/eruvp1.htm.  See
chapter 1, section 3.

Gil Student

From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:41:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Eruv Strings

Meir (<meirman@...>) wrote:
>A friend tells me that he read that some communities are not accepting
>the typical monofilament line for eruvim.  That it's a minority opinion
>that holds it is OK.

I have been involved with eruvin for many years (including design,
construction, inspection, and repair).

Rav Shimon Eider was the initial Rav HaMachshir for our Eruv in
Seattle. He allowed us to use the monofilament line is several places
where it might be dangerous or difficult to use cable or other wires.

We were told by various manufacturing professionals that due to the UV
rays, we could expect "at most" 9 months of use from the filament. Some
of these lines actually stayed "healthy" for over two years.

My designs of eruvin in Richmond and Vancouver, BC also included some
filament lines to be strung, but I don't know what they used.

The gemara in Eruvin does not give a required thickness or strength for
any component of the tzuras hapesach.

I don't know where your friend got his information. I would have to say
that I do not believe it.

Chaim "Eruvrav" Tatel


From: Stuart Cohnen <cohnen@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 11:37:20 -0400
Subject: Info on kosher etc.. in Rochester, Minnesota

I am looking for info on kosher resources, minyan etc in the neighborhood 
of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I am aware of the Chabad House 
there. Please contact me privately offline.
Stuart Cohnen


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:39:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: Kosher?

Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

>The latest "Newsweek" has an interesting tidbit for those who try to
>keep kosher in a traif place.  Towards the end of the article about the
>obesity epidemic, it states that only recently MacDonalds revealed that
>the "fries" are fried in meat fat.

Newsweek often gets its facts right but often not in a timely manner.
Vegetarians in India sued McDonald's over this some time ago.

Batya's reminder to mail.jewish, however, is well founded.

Sam Saal


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 09:43:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

>From: Morton Trainer <morton.trainer@...>

>Yesterday I had an unsettling experience.  On a Continental Airlines
>flight from Chicago to Newark, the flight attendant handed me and my
>neighbor our special "kosher" meals.  Each of the two packages had a
>piece of paper taped to the outside indicating our names, flight #, etc.
>My neighbor's package contained the familiar Weiss Catering meal, with
>the hechsher from the Rabbinical organization prominently displayed.
>Mine contained a cellophane-wrapped sandwich with only the words "Halal
>Chicken Breast Sandwich" on it.  Without opening it, I brought it to the
>attention of the flight attendant.  She told me that this is the
>"kosher" meal that she was given.
>I'd like to raise a fuss to try and ensure that this mistake doesn't
>happen again.  Does anyone have suggestions whom to write to?

The short answer is, forget it -- they're not listening.

Several years ago, my family and I were stranded at Heathrow. (Our original 
flight arrived very late, and so we were bumped to later flights on all our 
connecting flights.) British Airways/United offered everyone food 
vouchers.  The only thing kosher available to buy at the terminal at that 
time was the beer.  (Not the best nutrition after spending 20 hours on a 
plane.)  Of course our succeeding flights didn't have the kosher meals we 
had ordered available (I think we ate the peanuts).

Then in Amsterdam, after having gotten off a plane that had no kosher food, 
we made the rounds of the supervisors' stations in the hope of finding 
something kosher to eat.  The BA/United people were unctuously 
pleasant.  They would do anything to help us.  One very well-intended 
steward-person went to the trouble of finding the ingredients for and 
making us a fresh, clean ham and cheese sandwich so that we could have our 
kosher food.  These people, who were trying to be helpful, didn't have a 
clue, and weren't sufficiently well-educated to be able to explain anything 
to. Their impression was that Jews are just picky and ungrateful.  We 
shouldn't have even asked them.

But we persisted, and eventually as I recall, a more intelligent 
steward-person went to a KLM plane (I think) and brought us a prepackaged, 
sealed kosher meal.


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:34:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

The first thing to do is to call (or write to) the airline's customer
service division, and inform them of the facts (without "raising a
fuss").  Point out that there is a difference between Kosher and Halal,
and ask if the two types of meals are coded differently in the airline's
computer system. If you are a regular (and generally satisfied)
traveller with Continental, mention this as well, and say how
disappointed you are that this happened to you. You might find them
quite helpful. You may be entitled to some credit/upgrade/benefit as

If the flight was booked through an agent, have the agent follow it up
as well.

Also, don't be afraid to move up the management chain until you get
someone who will listen and understand. In these days of tight airline
finances, they are going to want to try to keep you as a customer.

Just my few agorot's worth.

Perry Zamek

[Just a quick note on the above: Kosher and Halal are coded seperately
by Continental. If you are a freq flyer member and have set up web acess
to your account, you can access your flight information and click on the
meal to see what is set for your meal. You can then choose to change and
see all the standard choices. While they are not 100% accurate, I have
found that as long as you put the request in more than 24hours in
advance, and then check to make sure it got listed on your itinuary they
usually get it OK. Any flight changes within 24 hours, you have little
chance they will get it correct. Avi]

From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 19:30:44 +0300
Subject: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

I think that the providing Kosher meals is a private matter of the
airlines.  I would contact Continental Airlines and explain that while
those who eat only Halal will also eat Kosher, the opposite is not true.
It was most likely an honest mistake.

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

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 23:22:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

> Yesterday I had an unsettling experience.  On a Continental Airlines

Well, I see that Continental still has problems with kosher food, like
it had last time I was in USA and flew with them.

Denver to NY with 4 little kids and no *edible* kosher food (ordered and
confirmed!!) was *not* much fun. What do I mean by edible? It arrived
frozen solid just before takeoff, wrapped in cellophane which could not
be put in their oven.

It was still not defrosted when we landed. Since we just wanted to get
back to Israel as soon as possible, I cannot say whom to write to.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 19:25:20 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: On-Line Torah

J. Rosen (JM 40/42)asked about online Jewish periodicals - see

From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  19 Aug 2003 14:50 +0200
Subject: Re: On-Line Torah

You must be referring to http://www.hebrewbooks.org which has over 1000
sifrei kodesh (as well as halachic journals) in PDF
format. Incidentally, there is a free downloadable computer program
called VARDA LIBRARIAN that allows Hebrew text searching in PDF
files. It's available on the website www.vardagraphics.com

Josh Backon

From: Jacob Mayteles <Jacob_Mayteles@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 16:20:38 -0400
Subject: On-Line Torah

in Vol. 40 #42 Joseph Rosen asked about a website that had links to many
Torah journals such as Machanayim etc.
the website is daat.ac.il


End of Volume 40 Issue 43