Volume 41 Number 24
                 Produced: Fri Nov 21  4:18:11 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chafetz Chaim and Bars
Chazaka that clothes do not have sha'atnez (3)
         [Immanuel Burton, Art Werschulz, Mike Gerver]
Gevinat Akum
         [Sam Saal]
Hozer V'niar
         [Rose Landowne]
Male Life Guards
         [Michael Kahn]
Men in pants
         [Carl Singer]
         [Allen Gerstl]
Women seeing Men in Pants
         [Bernard Raab]
Women shaking Hands
         [Rabbi Ed Goldstein]


From: <DTnLA@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 09:46:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Chafetz Chaim and Bars

<rjhendel@...> (Russell Hendel) writes:

> Finally let me cite a well known story. The Chafetz Chaiim once walked
> into a bar.

Do you have any more information about the kind of bars the Chofetz
Chaim would frequent?


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 14:41:09 +0000
Subject: RE: Chazaka that clothes do not have sha'atnez

Just to add to the thread about checking for sha'atnez: My sister has a
friend who bought a sweater labelled as 100% Shetland Wool, but
sha'atnez was nevertheless found.  I'm not sure where the sha'atnez was
found, but it was probably in the threads holding the various parts of
the sweater together.

In MJ v41n21, Chaim Tatel wrote:

> Basically, if there is wool or wool blend in the ingredient list, I
> check it.

People I have spoken to say they use the same policy.  What about if the
label mentions linen?  I personally avoid garments that state "other
fibres" on the label, although I do send suits and coats for testing.

The prohibition of sha'atnez also applies to upholstery into which one
sinks.  This is because the Torah says, "u'beged kilaim sha'atnez lo
yaaleh olechoh", usually translated as, "a sha'atnez garment shall not
come upon you" (Leviticus 19:19).  On the face of it, why should
upholstery be included in this prohibtion, if the Torah is talking about
garments?  Could it be that the word "beged" here doesn't mean a garment
but is being used in the same way that the Mishnah uses the word to mean

Has anyone on MJ ever had to return a garment to a shop and found
themselves having to explain the prohibition of sha'atnez?

Immanuel Burton.

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 09:53:34 -0500
Subject: Chazaka that clothes do not have sha'atnez


David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote:

> BTW, most of the time I have heard about sha'atnez tests, it has
> been in conjunction with suits and jackets, which I do not own and
> do not wear. 

I own two kilts, which are made of wool.

At some point, it occurred to me that they should be checked for
sha'atnez.  The Ancient Lindsay kilt (from the first bagpipe band in
which I played) was sha'atnez-free.  However the Carnegie kilt (I went
to Carnegie-Mellon U.)  had sha'atnez that could be removed.  ISTR that
the Lindsay was made in Scotland, whereas the Carnegie was made in

FWIW, the rabbi at the sha'atnez lab said that this the only time he had
been asked to check a kilt.  I suspect he doesn't get a lot of this kind
of business ...

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 17:40:34 EST
Subject: Chazaka that clothes do not have sha'atnez

David Ziants writes, in v41n20,

> The issue of lab testing clothes for sha'atnez (Torah prohibition of
> wearing clothes made of both with wool and linen) seems to be very much
> the domain of the chareidi (ultra orthodox) community.

and then goes on to tell how a non-chareidi rabbi once told him that he
did not have to check a linen shirt for shatnez because of a chazaka
[legal presumption] that it was not shatnez.

I don't think this is a chareidi vs. modern orthodox issue. My
understanding (and I am certainly not an expert on this) is that in
practice, certain types of clothes are known generally not to be
shatnez, and other types of clothes are known to sometimes have problems
with shatnez, and those are the ones that people check, whether they are
chareidi or not. Several years ago I bought a wool overcoat, made in
Czechoslovakia, had it checked for shatnez (by my cousin, Nisson
Fischer), and found out that the felt lining of the collar had linen in
it, making the coat shatnez. Nisson told me that this is quite common in
coats made in Eastern Europe.

Perhaps Nisson (a long-time lurker on mail-jewish), who IS an expert on
this topic, would care to comment.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 13:35:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: re: Gevinat Akum

Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...> responds to
Steven Oppenheimer <oppy49@...> writes:
>> Only people who could appreciate the intricacies of the law were
>> informed of the lenient view if they asked.

>Many issues have an aspect of 'ein morin kein', and I'd always taken it
>for granted, but how could this ever be the policy while avoiding the
>appearance of hypocrisy?  Some areas are fairly private, but food is
>relatively public --- either one is seen buying cheese that people
>think is treif, or one goes to the out-of-the-way grocery to buy the

I held off responding to Steve because I could not think of a good way
to broach the subject. Thanks, Janet.

I'd go a step further in terms of the ma'arit eyin questions that arise
for me. Kosher cheese, at least in my experience, is more expensive,
poorer quality, worse tasting, or some combination of the three. If only
those knowledgable enugh are worthy of the advantages of this psak,
isn't there also a question of elitism or economics? The person in a low
paying job who works and supports a familty but didn't happen to get to
the relevant area of Halacha is not worthy of saving money? I'll even
grant the value of protecting the jobs in the kosher cheese industry,
but why on the backs of the indigent? I also value Judaism as a
Torah-based meritocracy. I look to Torah-knowledgeable leaders to guide
me (and, of course, our community/communities). I was surprised to see
this as part of the reward of that system.

Sam Saal


From: <ROSELANDOW@...> (Rose Landowne)
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 07:20:01 EST
Subject: Re: Hozer V'niar

I checked. Actually we learn it from Orla, not Trumah.  Also, you can't
throw in the extra pieces on purpose, it's only if it happens by
accident.  Rose

<< No. It only works as long as the permissible meat is the majority, after
that the forbidden quality of the originally traif meat reawakens and
causes the whole mixture to be forbidden. (hozer v'niar). (We learn it
from Trumah flour...) Rose Landowne >>


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 00:43:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Male Life Guards

>According to the strict law male life guards can guard women, because
>it's pikuach nefesh.

I've seen this psak before but I don't understand it. It is only pikuach
nefesh once you have people in the pool. What gives these women the
right to place themselves in a danger if it requires men to watch them?
Deal with the pikuach nefesh by not going swimming. I think I saw this
objection too.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 12:14:36 -0500
Subject: Men in pants

Speaking with no psych background (beyond Psychology 101, circa 1965 or
so) I believe that since in our society (ordinary) men's pants are
pretty much common dress that they and those who wear them are pretty
much taken for granted by others.  I imagine of a man today wore a full
length toga it might be noticed and perhaps lead to other feelings.

Carl Singer


From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 21:51:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Pesak

Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...> Wrote:
>Just to clarify, I was not suggesting that the P'sak was based on the
>principles of Safek. I was suggesting a parallel between Safek and
>P'sak. In both cases we are unsure how to act and a halachic mechanism
>tells us what we may/should do, clearly the operation of the halachic
>mechanism differs. However, in both cases the "answer" may be wrong.

Sorry, I misuderstood the point made by Simon. However, let me have
another try at this topic which I find most important.

The point made by Simon, IIUC, is that a posek may perhaps be wrong as
to the law (on an absolute basis) just as in the case of a safek [doubt]
as to fact he may find that he was objectively wrong.

I do not believe that such analogy need be necessarily made, as I shall

Simon is drawing an analogy between a safek [doubt] as to objective
factual issues of affecting the Halacha, which may be practically
resolved by the application of the rules as to safek and the resolution
of (legal-) Halacha issues. Thus in the case of a doubt as to the facts,
while the objective reality may not be readily ascertainable there can
be only one such objective reality, however the Halacha allows us to act
in accordance with practical rules for determining the most probably
correct fact, notwithstanding that we might actually be wrong. Similarly
when a posek decides an issue of Jewish law he may decide an issue
notwithstanding that there are more stringent opinions and that he might
be wrong in his more lenient decision. If his decision has been made in
accordance with the proper procedure and thus it does not violate the
rules as to the binding nature of a Devar Mishnah [the standard accepted
halachic texts such as the Gemarah] and he has carefully considered
(without necessarily following) the Sugyah de-Alamah [the generally
accepted opinions among other poskim as to an issue of his time] he has
paskened properly. However his pesak while proper may still be wrong on
an absolute basis just as a decision as to fact may be wrong

However, such supposes that there is such an analogy betweewn disputed
fact and disputed law; that is, and that thus there is an absolute

That there is indeed an absolute Halacha appears to follow from the
opinions of the Ravad II, the Gaonim and the Rambam. However such does
not follow from the opinion on this point of the Ramban and his talmidim
[students].  They held IIUC that poskim when deciding Halachic legal
issues in accordance with proper Halachic principles cause the Halacha
in such cases to be constituted at the moment of decision. (Furthermore,
IIUC, the Ritva, who was of the Ramban's school, held that on an
absolute level, there may be a number of simultaneously correct answers
to a Halachic problem.)

I base the above on a paper by Moshe Halberthal of Hebrew U, where he
explains that the Gaonim and the Rabad II, held that all details of
Halacha were originally given to us and that differences in Halacha
occur because, some details having been forgotten, we now attempt to
reconstruct the original Halacha by using the Halachic process. In so
doing, there may be disagreements as to the correct result; however
there is still in each case an absolute halacha-the original one given
to us.

The Rambam also holds that there is an absolute Halacha but for a
different reason. He holds that we were originally given (and have
retained) the principles of Halacha but that we were not given the
details. Decisions in each case must be logically ascertained.
Differences of opinion occur only due to application of logic. There
thus could be only one correct (absolute) answer in each case and all
other opinions are wrong on such absolute basis.

So, at least according to the opinion of the Ramban and his talmidim
there is a spectrum of opinion within which poskim may decide and they
determine the Halacha by their decisions, which then become the absolute
Halacha for the questioner. Several absolute Halachic truths may thus
co-exist within the bounds of normative Halacha and to follow the
decision of a posek would be to following the absolute Halacha.



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 14:07:44 -0500
Subject: Women seeing Men in Pants

> From: Leah S. Gordon

> Well, I can speak only for myself and my group of female friends whom I
> interviewed these past few days.  :) Our consensus is that if women
> weren't aroused by sight or sound, there would be a lot less sexual
> activity in the world.  As for 'kol ish,' one of my friends mentioned
> Barry White singing in that context.
> <snip>
> Since I can't believe that there would be such widespread lack of
> awareness, is it possible that instead, there is no halakhic 'problem'
> with women getting aroused?

Well, I suspect that Leah has hit on the answer, and also revealed the

Certainly, the Rabbis understood that women could be aroused by sight or
sound, but relied on the assumption that they are far less likely to act
on this feeling than are men. I suppose this has been a valid assumption
for centuries (any anthropologists out there?), but is rapidly becoming,
or has already become, a falacious assumption in our day and age. It is
my distinct impression from today's media that the roles are being, or
have already been, largely reversed in the last 20-30 years. Perhaps
less so in our more traditional society, but is this only a time lag
phenomenon? If I am correct in this analysis, then perhaps the Rabbis
need to react to the new reality.


From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Rabbi Ed Goldstein)
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 08:43:43 EST
Subject: Women shaking Hands

Is there a discussion in modern poskim (R' Moshe, e.g.),,, about whether
it is permitted for men to shake hands with women?

Rabbi Ed Goldstein


End of Volume 41 Issue 24