Volume 40 Number 67
                 Produced: Fri Sep 19  5:50:55 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bugs in Corn-on-the-cob (4)
         [Mike Gerver, Gershon Dubin, Benschar, Tal S., Batya Medad]
Coverage (2)
         [Sam Saal, Martin D Stern]
Follow Halacha too far
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
         [Martin D Stern]
Motion Sensors - A simple solution?
Suit for goods Israelites took leaving Egypt
         [Immanuel Burton]
Women talking to women
         [David Prins]


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 19:33:32 EDT
Subject: Bugs in Corn-on-the-cob

Gerson Dubin writes, in v40n60,

>      The halacha is that a whole bug is not batel.  However, the
>*taste* of a bug is not only batel, it does not need shishim since it's
>a disgusting taste.

Who says that bugs have a disgusting taste? True, the idea of eating a
bug, or anything that a bug was in contact with, is disgusting, not only
to Jews, but to Westerners in general. (Actually, the idea of eating a
kosher locust is not disgusting to Jews who eat locusts, but I assume
that they would also be disgusted by the idea of eating the kind of bugs
that inhabit corn cobs.)  But that is a cultural phenomenom, not an
intrinsic feature of bugs and people's taste buds, so I'm not sure that
it is the relevant criterion. In Stephen Pinker's very entertaining book
"How the Mind Works," he quotes an anthropologist who has studied
various societies where people do eat insects, and who has tasted them
himself.  This anthropologist reported that most insects were quite
bland, tasting something like lettuce, and that a certain species of
giant waterbug found in Laos was very tasty, reminding him of gorgonzola

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:52:52 GMT
Subject: Re: Bugs in Corn-on-the-cob

<<Who says that bugs have a disgusting taste?>>

I don't disagree that there may be cultures that enjoy eating bugs
(although the pesukim describing them as sheketz seem to indicate that
our yuck factor is not aberrant).

The formulation that I quoted is from the Shulchan Aruch.  If one
chooses not to agree, it will work out to a chumra in that the taste of
a bug would be subject to the usual rules of bitul beshishim.

I would not suggest that based on someone somewhere enjoying the taste
of bugs, that we be machmir.  If you truly enjoy the taste of bugs, then
certainly, this chumra is for you.

Oh, and don't invite me for supper <g>.


From: Benschar, Tal S. <tbenschar@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 18:31:01 -0400
Subject: Bugs in Corn-on-the-cob

With respect to part of an insect being battel and nosain ta'am lifgam
(giving a bad taste), I think at bare minimum there needs to be bittul
berov -- meaning that the majority of the substance is kosher (e.g. the
corn) AND that the issur (here an insect) is not discernible (i.e. not
nikar).  Otherwise, one would be eating the mamashus (loosely
translated, the actual body) of the issur.

As I understand it (although it's been some years since I learned Yoreh
Deah) for every issur, there is mamashus (the actual body of the issur)
AND the taste (ta'am) of the issur.  Generally, the mamashus is battel
berov.  Where the mixture is of the same substance (for example, produce
which is kosher and produce which is tevel), bittul be rov is sufficient
on a deoraisa level.  On a derabannan level, a higher level is required
(usually 60, but occassionally higher, such as 101 for terumah, 201 for
orlah, etc.)

Where the mixture is of different substances (e.g. nonkosher meat in
potatoes), there is another principle called ta'am keikar, which means
the taste is treated like the issur itself.  There is a lively debate
among the poskim whether this principle is deoraisa or derabannan
(although we generally assume it is deoraisa), its source, and its

I recall a fascinating explanation by R' Chaim Brisker of a Rambam,
which is basically that ta'am keikar is a completely new issur with new
halakhic parameters.  The old issur of the mamashus of the issur is gone
-- it has been battel berov.

The insect case illustrates this point well.  Since the eating of
insects is expressly forbidden by the Torah, this prohibtion applies
notwithstanding their disgusting nature and bad taset.  This must be an
exception to the general principle in ma'achalos assuros (prohibitted
foods) that only foods fit for human consumption are forbidden (ra'uy

However, when it comes to the ta'am keikar of insects (i.e., the body of
the insect is battul, but the taste remains) then many poskim do apply
that principle and rule that nosain ta'am lifgam is permitted.  Thus the
"new issur" of ta'am keikar is limited by the general principle of ra'uy
leger.  (R' Chaim made a very similar argument with respect to how the
Rambam treats the issur of basar bechalav and the ta'am of basar be

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 17:01:39 +0200
Subject: Re: Bugs in Corn-on-the-cob

      I have no idea what the status of the bugs running away is.

A bug stays a bug as long as he stays on the corn or whatever.  Whether
he's running or sleeping or dead, if he's there, the corn's infested.



From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 08:27:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: Coverage

>Some years ago when my wife was teaching in a religious school a women
>walked into the lunch room severely dressed in a black and white outfit
>-- tight skirt and blouse, go-go boots, etc. -- a stunning outfit, long
>sleeved, covering that which needs covering, etc., but not a lunchtime
>school outfit -- my wife commented to a fellow teacher -- who's the slut
>who just walked in.  She was informed by her colleague that it was the
>Rebbetzin such-and-such.

Andy Levy-Stevenson <andy@...> and Batya Medad
<ybmedad@...> said much of what I was thinking, but I'd like
to extend it.

I'm glad others on this list appear to feel as uncomfortable as I did
about Anonymous' anecdote that a teacher in a "religious school" would,
even in private conversation, think to call a person a "slut" without
any knowledge about this person except her clothing. What about dan
l'kaf z'chut (giving the benefit of a doubt)? I've seen a number of
examples of yeshiva and religious schools' teachers and administrators
displaying poor midot (moral attributes) and I wonder how appropriate
midot are passed to the students in their respective schools.

While I'm certainly not advocating inappropriate dress, I find a
discussion of dress secondary to a concern about the midot we are or are
not passing to children. I suspect were we to work harder on midot,
fashion would fall into place in an instant. After all, one of our most
lauded midot is modesty itself!

Shana tovah tikateivu v'taichatemu

Sam Saal

From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 01:21:43 EDT
Subject: Re: Coverage

In a message dated 16/9/03, <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver) writes:

<< It seems bizarre that any Orthodox girl would dress like this, but I
guess it is not surprising that teenagers are more strongly influenced
by the fashions of their peers than by the dictates of their
parents. And "fashion" in this case includes not just other Orthodox
girls, but, at least to some extent, the non-religious world as
well. None of us is living in a hermetically sealed off box. >>

    This was noted already by the Sefer Chassidim who writes that one
should try to live in a place where the non-Jews live relatively morally
because their standards always 'rub off' on us. There was an old saying
"Wie es Christelt, so Judelt es auch" which carries the same
message. Failure to do this was part of the criticism of Lot who chose
to live in Sdom where the contrary was the case.

    Martin D Stern 


From: Jeffrey Woolf <woolfj@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 09:21:25 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Follow Halacha too far

My rebbe, Rav Gedaliah Felder zt"l, the Av Bet Din of Toronto and a well
known and respected Poseq, once asked me if I thought microscopes and
such should be used to look for bugs. I was still thinking it over when
he pulled down a sefer (I wish I had taken the time to otice which) and
emphatically noted the author's positio that 'En LaDayyan ma she-eynav
ro'ot' (literally WYSIWYG).  So much for the magnified tiyomet.

Jeffrey Woolf


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 01:34:10 EDT
Subject: Re: Kaddish

In a message dated 17/9/03 , Shmuel Norin < <ENGINEERED@...> writes:

<<I have another question about saying Kaddish.  In many schules, there is
some learning between Mincha and Marriv followed by the Rabbi's Kaddish.
Marriv follows immediately after this Kaddish.  My question is whether
this Kaddish should be said by one have Yahrzeit ending with Mincha or
by the person with a Yahrzeit starting with Marriv? >>

    Surely it is the one who participated in the learning. This kaddish
can be said by anyone, not necessarily an avel. The point of kaddish is
to get the tsibbur to reply "Amen, yehei shmeih rabba". On the
other hand there is a tendency to overdo saying kaddeishim (marbeh
bekaddeishim). Strictly, only one need be said each day and it is no
great honour for the departed to go around looking for extra optional
ones. Any idea that it raises the soul from Gehinnom backs my
point. After all, saying more than necessary implies that the departed
was exceptionally wicked and needs the extra ones to drag them out!

    Martin D Stern


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 22:47:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Motion Sensors - A simple solution?

Shalom, All:

	Yehuda Landy, responding to my simplistic suggestion of asking
the hotel management to deactivate motion sensors in a room, for
Shabbat, Said >>I also suspect that the management might pretend to be
accommodating and promise the world, but who is to guarantee that they
actually deactivated the sensors?<<
	If I were in this situation I would say to the tech/room service
person, "Of course, since I'll be in and out here I'll certainly know if
this is indeed deactivated. But it's very important to me to know
beforehand, so please just tell me right now: is it 100% deactivated
until I request reactivation?"
	Of course, this is an issue best tackled (a) before choosing the
hotel, or (b) at least a day before Shabbat.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 09:36:03 +0100
Subject: RE: Suit for goods Israelites took leaving Egypt

If the Bible is to be used as evidence to support the claim for
compensation for goods taken when we left Egypt, is it also to be used
as evidence for our claim to the Land Of Israel?

Immanuel Burton.


From: David Prins <prins@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 17:06:58 +1000
Subject: Women talking to women

A few years ago, a friend pointed out to me that there are very few
recorded conversations in Tanach that involve only women.  To date I
have found only the following.  I can hardly believe that there are so

1. Lot's daughters (Bereishit 19:31, 32, 34)
2. Rachel and Leah (Bereishit 30:14-15)
3. Pharaoh's daughter's conversations with Moshe's sister and mother
(Miriam and Yocheved) (Shemot 2:7 onwards)
4. Naomi's conversations with her daughters-in-law (Ruth and Orpah)

It has surprised me over the years that I have failed to find more
examples, even though I have asked others to help as well.  The search
criterion I am using is that it has to be a recorded conversation in the
text (not Midrash) that exclusively involves women - no men.  In my
count, I am disallowing conversations that involve women with even one
man included.  Thus for example I would not include Tselaphchad's
daughters talking to Moshe, or Rivka's mother and brother talking to
her.  The nearest anyone has come to persuade me of a valid 5th instance
is some pesukim in Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs), but I see that as
allegorical and being a very different kind of literature - not the
standard narrative type of story.

I would be delighted if any reader (a) can come up with any more than I
have and/or (b) if anyone knows of any source that addresses this point.
There are, in my opinion, some interesting connections between the four
instances that I have found, but I would like to see if there are any
more before I draw what might be an unwarranted conclusion.

Very crudely, I can link these conversations as follows: 1 and 2 are
about who will spend the night with a man for the purpose of having a
child.  3 is about preserving the life of a baby.  4 also leads to the
birth of offspring.  4 is also linked to 1 because Ruth and Orpah are
descendants of Moab.

I am looking for something deeper than that.  If there are so few
recorded conversations exclusively between women I feel there must be a
purpose and something deeper to learn from that, which currently eludes

David Prins


End of Volume 40 Issue 67