Volume 44 Number 70
                    Produced: Fri Sep 10  4:44:12 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Art Kamlet]
"chumra" on milk
Elite -  Parve and Milchik
         [Yaacov Gross]
Elite, Parve, dairy allergy
         [Leah S. Gordon]
How Halachah can be forgotten
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Ma'asei Rav (formerly Chumrot at Other's Expense)
         [Martin Stern]
Messianic musings
Reason for Minyan (2)
         [Mike Gerver, <chips@...>]
Stringencies, Arrogance, and Religiosity
         [Russell Jay Hendel]


From: <Artkamlet@...> (Art Kamlet)
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 01:03:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Abomination

In a message dated 9/6/2004 1:16:02 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<meirman@...> (Meir) writes:

      In the Davka Tanach CD, there are three different Hebrew words in
      the written Torah translated as abomination.  Toevah and sheketz
      and pigul.

      Sheketz is used for those animals that are intrinsically not

As is to`evah - see Deut 14:3


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Sep 2004 12:10:37 -0700
Subject: Re: "chumra" on milk

>  >This is exactly the situation, though, that prevailed in the household
>  >of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. (R Moshe Feinstein considered his use of only
>  >Cholov Yisrael to be in the nature of a Neder, which of course does not
>  >apply to anyone other than the person making the vow. He did not
>  >consider this halachah at all, not even a Safek (doubt)
> Using only Chalav Yisrael is Halacha, not a chumra!  What you are likely
> confusing is the heter Rav Moshe gave to allow regular milk products in
> the U.S. based on government supervision ( I believe it was in response
> to a shayla from an elementary school).  Halachically, then the milk
> could be considered acceptable as Chalav Yisrael.  But he chose to use
> Chalav Yisrael with direct Jewish supervison himself.

Maybe this would help explain:

`Chalav Yisrael` is a requirement, the question is what does the term
mean. Rav Moshe held that the milk produced by major dairies is to be
deemed `Chalav haCompanies` and *not* `Stam Chalav`. Further, Rav Moshe
ruled that `Chalav haCompanies` is a subset of `Chalav Yisreal`.

So, before drinking milk outside of the USA , you would need to make
sure there is a standards body like the FDA and that they have at least
the same rules.  Note that this also means one cannot just drink milk
from a private farm unless there has been a frum Jewish watcher.


From: Yaacov Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 08:50:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Elite -  Parve and Milchik

>From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
>The amount of dairy to trigger an allergic reaction is very small and
>can get in to properly supervised pareve products.   ... This also argues
>against the microscopic standard for bugs and other things in vegetables.

No.  Traces of milk in nominally pareve chocolate are mixed in while the
product is liquid.  The principles of "taaroves lakh be-lakh" [mixtures
of liquid in liquid - Mod.] apply: the component loses its identity (and
does not impose it on the overall mixture) if it falls below a certain
threshold (either nosein taam or echad beshishim).  That's a "bitul"

Tiny visible insects, and body parts thereof, remain "be-ayin" --
distinct -- (unless the product is subjected to a really thorough round
in the blender) and thus the bitul thresholds do not apply.  The issue
is then
    (a) whether the "defects", by themselves, are prohibited.
    (b) whether processing of the product has reduced the likelihood
that any such "defect" is present is a given portion below some
statistical threshold.

The "microscopic" threshold is relevant to (a), and applies to the
creature in its complete state.  If individual protozoa are invisible to
the naked eye, then a cupful of them is also permitted.

On the other hand, if (say) the antennae of a (just barely) visible
sheretz are too small to be deemed "visible", they remain prohibited,
just like a shred of bacon.  (If this were not so, then there would be
no such thing as a treifa pot.)

Consideration (b), which is the basis for claims that packaged salads
"require no inspection", is applied even though the insects, when
present, are of visible size.

Incidentally (as Rabbi Yisrael Belsky once pointed out at a public
forum), we all rely on (b) in many areas.  Without it, we would not be
allowed to drink milk without slaughtering the cow after milking to
inspect its lungs, since some percentage of cows have lesions that
render them treifa.

-- Yaakov Gross


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Sep 2004 03:34:42 -0700
Subject: Elite, Parve, dairy allergy

>From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
>Today's Israeli press contained a story about an Elite Company product,
>claimed to be Parve, which turned out to be Milchik. The product was not
>This fact emerged when a child allergic to dairy products reacted after
>eating the so-called Parve product.

I was under the impression that there exist 'ok' tiny amounts of dairy
that could have been nullified or "washed away" and the food is still
religiously parve...?

Didn't someone post on m.j about a year ago, explaining that when
something is defined as kosher, its metaphysical status is then kosher,
even though theoretically a human error could have been made and it is
chemically nonkosher (or dairy or whatever)...?

In any case, it seems to me that a severe allergy would be in some sense
stricter than the kashrut regulations as far as actual amounts.

I have a severe food allergy (though it is to certain tree nuts, so
there is no kashrut application except reading labels really carefully
at Pesach), and I can state with confidence that if there was a nut near
the food, I will get itchy and have a very sensitive "nut detector"
response.  But the reaction is almost surely to a microscopic protein.



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 03:15:33 +0300
Subject: How Halachah can be forgotten

My first position was teaching at the Yeshiva of Central Queens, whose
principal for many years (in the 1950s and early '60s) was Rabbi
Charney. I forget his first name.

After he retired and moved to Israel, he was sent by the Jewish Agency
to (possibly) Teheran, to work with the people there.

On Shabbat, someone received an Aliyah, pledged a certain amount of
money, and took it out of his pocket and paid it on the spot. This was
evidently the "custom" there, as all did it. These were all people who
kept Shabbat - not irreligious people.

Rabbi Charney investigated and found out that these people had lived in
a walled city for so long that they had totally become unaware of the
prohibition against carrying, and handling money was just the next step.

Needless to say, Rabbi Charney taught them the applicable Halachot.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 2004 08:49:14 +0100
Subject: Re: Ma'asei Rav (formerly Chumrot at Other's Expense)

on 6/9/04 6:13 pm, Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...> wrote:

> There's a story I heard about a public gathering of some sort which R.
> Moshe attended.  In front of him were two cartons of Chalav Yisrael, one
> from one dairy and one from another.  R. Moshe was seen to lift up one
> carton, hesitate, and put the carton down.  He then lifted the other
> carton and poured himself some milk from it.  A rumour started that the
> hechsher on the first dairy was not good, Fortunately, before the first
> dairy lost many of its customers, someone asked R. Moshe why he didn't
> drink from the first carton.  He replied that it was empty, so he took
> from the second!!

Unfortunately this story illustrates how unwarranted 'minhagim' and
'chumrot' can arise.

Many years ago a rav of a suburban London congregation, a bit distant
from the main strictly Orthodox area, told me of a similar incident that
occurred to his wife when they were at an Orthodox summer camp. On
Shabbat afternoon she arose from her rest a little early and, feeling a
bit thirsty, decided to go down to the dining room where there was an
urn available for participants to make tea or coffee whenever they
wanted. Being reasonably well versed in hilchot bishul, she took a cup
and went to the urn (kli rishon) to fill it as a kli sheini. There was
an elderly rebbetsin sitting there who stopped her before she could turn
the tap (spigot in US English?), took the cup away from her, opened the
lid of the urn and proceeded to put the cup into the boiling water to
fill it. She was a bit surprised but assumed that this must be some new
chumra which had not yet percolated to their suburbs. Obviously she did
not want to appear ignorant so she mentioned it to her husband who was
equally mystified. He in turn made a point of sitting next to that
rebbetsin's husband at shalosh seudos and steared the conversation round
to hilchot bishul mentioning his wife's query regarding taking water
from the urn and querying the halachic propriety of preferring to dip
the kli sheini into the kli rishon. The gentleman immediately responded
"The tap of the urn is broken!".

The lesson is obvious.

Martin Stern


From: cp <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 18:17:27 -0700
Subject: Messianic musings

In this weeks haftorah , 62:11, the Novi says that God's voice declaring
the salvation would be heard to the ends of the earth. Now-s-days, this
is easily understandable what with the communication systems now in
place. But how did previous generations understand this?

Off the bat , I could think of 2 ways:
   1: as an allegory, like "The Shot Heard Around the World" [ bobby
   thompson's homerun :) ] 
   2: it would be The Voice and since space and vocal strength is not a
   Godly issue, it would be a miracle voice as like on Sinai. 

Another thought that occurs to me is that the coming of Moshiach has a
qualitive aspect to it. Aside from whether the Moshiach would come
through our goodness or because Moshiach must come becuase of dire
situation, there are aspects of the Deliverance that can be different in
those catagories.
The longer it takes for Jews to bring about the Deliverance, the less
miracles will be attached to it and the less benefits. The differing
opinions on what will constitute the Messianic period may all be
correct. The way it comes out may depend on how long it takes us. 


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 14:19:27 EDT
Subject: Reason for Minyan

Paul Ginsburg writes, in v44n63,

      The requirement of a minyan for davening is derived from the story
      of the Spies. Why is something so fundamental to our relationship
      with G-d, such as Minyan and davening, derived from such a
      negative event?

I always thought it was derived from Gen. 18:32, where G-d tells Avraham
He will not destroy Sodom if it has even ten righteous inhabitants, but
doesn't make this offer for any lower number.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Sep 2004 11:53:19 -0700
Subject: Re: Reason for Minyan

We don't derive the requirment of a minyan from there, only that it
takes 10 to make up a minyan.


From: Russell Jay Hendel
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2004 17:59:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Stringencies, Arrogance, and Religiosity

Several postings in v44n60 continue the thread of how observing many
stringencies should be held (Rabbi Teitz, Riceman,Segal and Shinnar)

I would like to suggest a wholistic solution. After all---there are
clearly situations when all would agree that a stringency-observer is
simply showing off. Similarly there are situations in which all would
agree that the stringency observer is genuinely more religious. Finally
I think it is clear to everybody that there are certain situations where
people are perceived as simply observing something different rather than
being arrogant or showing off. It seems therefore that we should develop
criteria to evaluate how to perceive the stringency.

I suggest that 3 criteria be used to evaluate stringencies: a) Hardship
on the observer b) Benefit /harm to others /self c) the number/severity
of stringencies.

A simply example where we would want to judge a stringency-observer as
more pious occurs in Rambam, Monetary Torts, Ch 13--- "The pious would
not just toss away in their garbage broken glass SINCE OTHERS MIGHT
ACCIEDENTALLY BE HURT--rather they would either bury it, incinerate it
or bury it in the ground more than 3 handbreadths. Here the criteria of
a) hardship on the observer b) benefit to the community c) no possible
harmful effects to the observer or community seems determinative.

I cant find a precedent in Jewish law for issues of quantity but I am
thinking eg of someone who is particular about shalah-sheudos (The 3rd
meal on shabbos) or on some type of dish on shabbos or on buying for
shabbos. If a person just has 1-2 extra stringencies which they observe
I would argue, that even if it is done publicly, there is no need to
classify this person as either more religious or arrogant.

Similarly if a person observers say Chalav Yisroel (they only drink
milk, milked in the presence of a Jew). If this is the only stringency
they observe there is no reason to consider them arrogant or
religious---after all the issue is not whether we can be lax about
kashruth--no one says that---rather the reason behind Rav Moshes
Responsum on this matter is that we have grounds, because of the
Governments supervision of food, not to worry about the Kashruth (That
non-cow milk would be used). Thus this is simply an issue of
estimation--not an issue of stringency.

On the other hand in those areas where stringencies, even though the
observer makes significant sacrifices, MAY lead to harm or burden on
others, then perhaps we should not call these people religious. (Whether
we call them arrogant or not is a different issue--I suggest a different
approach below)

To give two controversial examples take the person who is so involved in
learning that they become a burden on the community for economic support
or take the example of a person who is so involved in modesty that their
marriage appears to suffer. In this case the aspiration to religious
observance must be balanced by what we see as possibly bad consequences
on other people.

THere are several ways to deal with this situation: We can call these
people arrogant. OR, we can praise as religious those who dont observe
these stringencies (E.g. a person who learns only 3 hours a day and
works 8 could be praised as equally learned to someone who learns 9
hours a day). The goal in all our statements should be to warn others
and ourselves that the stringency is two-sided.

I think such an approach using distinctions and criteria may help
resolve some of the contradictory statements made both in the postings
and in our sources.

Russell Jay Hendel;


End of Volume 44 Issue 70