Volume 41 Number 15
                 Produced: Sun Nov  9 15:44:40 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baby Formula updates, NOT poisoned (3)
         [Josh Backon, Batya Medad, Shayna Kravetz]
The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"
Children in Shul (Go Home)
         [Yisrael Medad]
Using water on Shabbat (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Sun,  9 Nov 2003 21:22 +0200
Subject: Re: Baby Formula updates, NOT poisoned

The REMEDIA soy based baby formula was not poisoned. The official line
from the Ministry of Health is that the manufacturer in Germany left out
thiamine in the formula. I won't repeat here what I told 2 top officials
at the Ministry: you'll have to rewrite all the textbooks on beriberi
(thiamine deficiency) since only 15 infants out of a few thousand were
hospitalized. Experts here are considering a rare (Jewish) genetic
effect (MLL gene) on susceptibility to topoisomerase inhibitors (found
in soybeans).  BTW Friday night ambulances driven by gentiles were
broadcasting the warning message (to immediately stop using the baby
formula) to Charedi neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 2003 21:48:18 +0200
Subject: Re: Baby Formula updates, NOT poisoned

It's not from Israel; it's from Germany and sold in Israel and maybe
other places.  In the end it was discovered that it's not "poison" in
the classic sense, just severely unhealthy, lacking essential vitamins
for proper nutritional development.  The sick and dead babies suffered
severe malnutrition.  (An probably many others less severely.) This
formula is strictly parve and popular with the religious and chareidi
communities, not only for babies unable to digest lactose in cow's milk,
but also for the convenience of the parve and the absence of milk
products which may be chalav akum (non-chalav yisrael).  That's where we
get into the halachik aspect.  The soy products are very far from animal
milk, human, cow, goat, etc.  It's sometimes necessary for babies who
are allergic to animal milk to drink something totally artificial and
inferior, but why give a baby inferior milk, just to keep the bottles
parve?  Or isn't it pikuach nefesh to allow non-chalav yisrael milk
powder to an infant if it'll make him healthier, and what about
encouraging longer breast-feeding?  If a widow with an infant isn't
allowed to marry until her baby reaches a certain age, doesn't that mean
that birth control should be used until a baby reaches that age?  Many
halachik authorities permit it; maybe they should recommend and
encourage it.


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2003 15:03:46 -0400
Subject: Baby Formula updates, NOT poisoned

Yes, there is a serious problem but this is a terribly misleading post!
The formula has not, chas v'shalom, been poisoned and this rumour will
do terrible damage to the company.  There is a problem with one type of
Remedia product--the soya-based formula--a kosher version manufactured
at one plant in *Germany* for the Israeli market.  It does not contain
the necessary vitamin B1, even though it's listed as an ingredient. The
absence of B1 can cause brain damage or even death (God forbid) and so
the product has been recalled.

But it has not been poisoned.  There is no suggestion that anyone has
set out deliberately to harm children or to sabotage an Israeli
industry.  I think that this is a very important difference.

A complete report can be found at

God willing, Klal Yisrael's children should stay safe and healthy.

Kol tuv
Shayna in Toronto


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 11:05:06 
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

Akiva Miller wrote:

>The halacha is quite explicit that a convert does NOT say "Who has not
>made me a gentile".
>After the Shulchan Aruch (Rav Yosef Karo) list the three "Who has not
>made me" brachos (Orach Chayim 46:4), the Rama notes: "And even a
>convert can say these brachos, except for 'shelo asani akum', because he
>*was* an akum at the beginning."
>The Mishna Brurah (46:18) comments: "In other words, he should say
>'she'asani ger' (Who has made me a convert), because it (conversion) can
>be called 'making', as it is written (Gen. 12:5) 'the souls which they
>*made* in Charan'. Others disagree on this (and say that the bracha must
>be skipped entirely -A.M.), and their reason is that it is not relevant
>to say 'Who has made me', because the conversion would not have happened
>if not for his own good choice of the Jewish religion."

These statements are in contrast to the position of the Rambam in his
teshuva to Ovadia the convert, in which he explicitly states (based on
the Yerushalmi) that a convert should not change the words of tefilot:
"in the same way that every Jew by birth says his blessings and prayers,
you too shall bless and pray, whether you are alone or pray in the
congregation."  The positition of the Rambam is consistent with the psak
that I received with regard to "shelo asani goy" and I know other gerim
who received a similar psak.

What is going on here theologically?  It is that the convert, upon his
or her acceptance into klal yisrael, is considered as if he or she has
been a member of the nation forever.  In the words of Rav Aharon
Lichtenstein: "in the aftermath of his admission into knesset yisrael,
the ger identifies with its past, with its triumphs as well as failures,
no less than he does with the present; with eschatological vision as
with current vibrant reality.  The ger is born both as a servant of G-d
and as a citizen of the nation . . . "

Moreover, the comment of the gemarra in Yevamot that a ger is like a
newborn is not aggada - it is halacha.  The convert is newly born into
yehadut - and in that sense it is completely appropriate for the ger to
recite "shelo asani goy" because, indeed, the ger has been reborn and
has been newly created, not as a gentile but as a Jew.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 14:04:11 +0200
Subject: Children in Shul (Go Home)

Picking up two threads from Rhonda Stein's posting:

a) in my schule there is a family with a child suffering Down's Syndrome
and somehow, must of what she does in the way of noise and disturbance
is, for the most part, if not always, overlooked.  In other words, the
physical and psychological situation is well understood by the
congregants and a lot of leeway is given, although to a certain extent.

I guess, then, that the very low tolerance for the other children is
predicated on the assumption that they can be taught to be better
behaved by their parents.  Again, I repeat an earlier remark: the
parents bear the responsibility and the children should be treated with
sensitivity unless, of course, they've just thrown candy at the Rav.

b) I have little sympathy for those men who, on holidays and Shabbat and
especially the High Holy Days, daven at a vatikin minyan then go home to
sleep, still leaving their wives with the problem of what to do with the
kids and those who are old enough and wander into the schule unattended
is really an irritant of the parent.

Yisrael Medad


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <hsabbam@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 16:34:08 -0500
Subject: RE: Using water on Shabbat

>From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
>Ari Trachtenberg (vol 40, issue 99) raises some questions on the use of
>"city water" on Shabbat.
>I have often wondered about the transfer of "waste liquids" from homes
>to the public water system on Shabbat.  Surely that is transfer from a
>private domain to a public one that may, ultimately, be many miles and
>even governmental units away.

I would say this is not a problem as one is not carrying from rshus to
rshus.  The prohibition involves lifting an object in on rshus (domain),
carrying it into a different domain, and setting it down.  In the case
of the water, one is not doing that.  Thus it is not prohibited.

Another example would be dropping a ball on the floor and having it roll
out into the street.  One has not violatied "carrying" at all.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahillel@...>

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <hsabbam@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 09:08:44 -0500
Subject: RE: Using water on Shabbat

>===== Original Message From "Maslow, David (NIH/NCI)"
>Thank you for answering my query.  To further your analogy, if I threw the
>ball out the door, would it not be "carrying?"  By flushing the toilet I am
>forcing water out of my house into the public sewer system. I read in a
>Journal of Halacha and Social Responsibility article a while back that
>because the water flows underground it is not a problem.  Seems like a
>halacha (wisely) developed to meet the reality and need.

I don't think it would necessarilly be called carrying.  As I recall
from a shiur in shul, the issur requires

1. Lifting the object in Reshus Hayachid/Reshus Harabim

2. Transporting it (four amos) into the other reshus

3. Putting it down in the new reshus.

If the throwing of the ball so it lands in the reshus harabim is called
"putting it down", then perhaps.  IIRC the mishna in Shabbos deal with
two people, one inside and one outside and discusses which one (if
either) has violated the prohibition if one hands something to the

Part of the shiur involved what do you do if you are walking and realize
that you have keys in your pocket.  I think that one piece of advice was
to go back into the house *without stopping at all* so that you would
not have violated (according to the Torah) carrying.

This is from memory only, so I would need to check with the rabbi for
details. However, from what I understand, I think that the flowing
underground may only be a matter of the definition of reshus harabim.  I
think that even if the water flowed into reshus harabim, it would not
violate "carrying".

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahillel@...>


End of Volume 41 Issue 15