Volume 45 Number 35
                    Produced: Sun Oct 24 10:19:08 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are these quotes genuine?
         [David Charlap]
Chodosh in the US
         [Rach Elms]
Electricity on Shabbat (6)
         [Abbi Adest, Tzvi Stein, Akiva Miller, David Cohen, Tzvi Stein,
David Charlap]
         [Mark Steiner]


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 16:42:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Are these quotes genuine?

Stan Tenen wrote:
> Are these quotes genuine?

I don't know about the first quote, but I have a translation of Moreh 
Nevuchim (Dover edition.  A republication of a 1904 translation by M. 
Friedlander.) that I will check against the second quote.

> 2) "Men like the opinions to which they have become accustomed. . . and
> this prevents them from finding truth, for they cling to the opinions of
> habit." -- Maimonides, Guide to the Perplexed, 1:31

These phrases appear, but with the missing context, the quote is almost
meaningless, or worse, delivering an incorrect meaning.

The first part of your quote is in the first paragraph, below ("... We
nturally like...") and the second half is in the second paragraphs ("...
This is likewise one of the causes which prevent men from finding

	... Alexander Aphrodisius said that there are three causes
	which prevent men from discovering the exact truth: first,
	arrogance and vainglory; secondly, the subtlety, depth and
	difficulty of any subject which is being examined; thirdly,
	ignorance and want of capacity to comprehend what might be
	comprehended.  These causes are enumerated by Alexander.  At
	the present time there is a fourth cause not mentioned by him,
	because it did not then prevail, namely, habit and training.
	We naturally like what we have been accustomed to, and are
	attracted towards it.  This may be observed amongst villagers;
	though they rarely enjoy the benefit of a douche or bath, and
	have few enjoyments, and pass a life of privation, they
	dislike town life and do not desire its pleasures, preferring
	the inferior things to which they are accustomed, to the better
	things to which they are strangers; it would give them no
	satisfaction to live in palaces, to be clothed in silk, and to
	indulge in baths, ointments and perfumes.

	    The same is the case with those opinions of man to which he
	has been accustomed from his youth; he likes them, defends
	them, and shuns the opposite views.  This is likewise one of
	the causes which prevent men from finding truth, and which make
	them cling to their habitual opinions.  Such is, e.g., the case
	with the vulgar notions with respect to the corporeality of
	God, and many other metaphysical questions, as we shall
	explain.  It is the result of long familiarity with passages of
	the Bible, which they are accustomed to respect and to receive
	as true, and the literal sense of which implies the
	corporeality of God and other false notions; in truth, however,
	these words were employed as figures and metaphors for reasons
	to be mentioned below.  Do not imagine that what we have said
	of the insufficiency of our understanding and of its limited
	extent is an assertion founded only on the Bible; for
	philosophers likewise assert the same, and perfectly understand
	it, without having any regard to any religion or opinion.  It
	is a fact which is only doubted by those who ignore things
	fully proved.  This chapter is intended as an introduction to
	the next.

	(End of chapter 31)

-- David


From: Rach Elms <rachelms79@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 14:18:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Chodosh in the US

>From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
> > Can anyone explain why yashan is considered, in the US at least, as a
> > chumrah by large segments of the Orthodox world, including the major
> > kashrut supervisory organizations?

I don't think the issur of chodosh is ignored by the kashurs
organizations.  A google on yoshon and OU or yoshon and star-k will
get several hits,
eg. http://oukosher.org/index.php/articles/single/40:
"OU-certified products which are marked as "yoshon", "kemach yoshon"
or "made with yoshon flour" contain only yoshon grain and derivatives
and are manufactured on equipment a) used exclusively for yoshon
production, or b) which was down for over 24 hours since non-yoshon
production ceased."

>"The Kashrus Manual" by Shmuel Rubenstein (pub. University of Toronto
>Press Incorporated, 2000) gives three solutions to the issue of chodosh
>[wheat from the current year] in the US:
>(1) There are two Jewish companies that use only yoshon [wheat from the
>previous year], namely Streits Kosher Food Products, and Kemach Kosher

This statement is true, but a bit misleading.  For this year, Kemach
_oatmeal_ cookies are chodosh starting with a date code of 4336.  I'm
not aware of any Streit's products that are chodosh.

>(2) Much of the spring wheat (of which 92% is planted after the second
>day of Pesach and so would count as chodosh) harvested is kept in silos
>for two or three years before being sent to the market for baked and
>cereal goods.  As Pesach has already passed, the grain is permitted.
>The source quoted for this is Rabbi ARyeh Levkowitz in Shv'is.

This may have been true 30 years ago, but to quote The Mashgiach's Guide
to Yoshon and Chodosh, by R. Yoseph Herman, available via email to

In general, it is not true that old grain is totally used up before the
new Chodosh grain. Today's scene is governed entirely by marketing
economics.  Purchasers of grain usually only specify certain quality
factors and will not care which crop year is delivered. If the new crop
that is already loaded onto a truck at harvest satisfies the customer's
needs and the crop in storage is not near the end of its storage life,
then it is cheaper for the sellers to ship the Chodosh directly and keep
the old Yoshon in storage.

During the pre 1970 era, there were huge surpluses of grain in the USA,
swelled by government subsidies that encouraged overproduction. At that
time, most of the grains that were being sold at any time of the year
where primarily Yoshon.  Then in the 1970's grain exports increased, for
example to Russia and China.  At the same time, the government started
cutting back on its subsidies. The net result is that for almost all of
the past twenty four years, spring wheats, oats and barley have been
more than 50% Chodosh during the Fall-Winter Chodosh season. Over the
past several years, the numbers have been progressing closer to being
almost entirely Chodosh.

>(3) According to many authorities, the wheat of non-Jewish farmers
>outside Israel is not included in the ban of chodosh.
>Immanuel Burton.

This is the opinion of the Bach, but the Shulchan Aruch itself plus the
majority of nos'ei keilim and acharonim rule otherwise.

Perhaps one reason why it seems that the issur of chodosh is largely
ignored is because (IIRC) the Baal Shem Tov had a heavenly vision in
which he was told that the halacha is like the Bach.  Thus IIRC chasidim
generally hold like this Besht and are not makpid on chodosh.


From: Abbi Adest <abbishapiro@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 14:46:17 +0200
Subject: Electricity on Shabbat

The reason that I've heard that Jews, frum or not, are allowed to use
electricity on Shabbat is that since private homes share the grid with
hospitals, which have to be run for pikuach nefesh purposes, one is
allowed to use the electricity b'dieved.

If this reasoning is incorrect, please let me know.

Abbi Adest

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 09:33:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

> From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
> I know very little about transmission of electricity, but it seems to me
> that even if no individual actually made use of electricity on Shabbat (
> not even to start your heat in the winter), they would still need to
> keep the grid running, so that your individual consumption of
> electricity does not a cause a Jew to work. It is the existence of the
> grid that does.

You are partly correct, in that even if no one were to use electricity,
the electrical workers would still have to keep the grid running.
However, when people *do* use electricity, the various shifts in demand
cause the workers to do more work than they would if no one was using

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 09:56:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

I too know little about the subject, but I have heard this argument used
by both sides of this dispute. Namely, because the hospitals need the
electricity, and they are part of the grid, it is therefore -- because
of pikuach nefesh -- allowed for Jews to perform the necessary actions
in the power plants on Shabbos. The other side points out that it is
possible to disconnect parts of the grid, so there is no permission for
non-hospital residents to participate.

I suspect that resolution of this dispute hinges on various practical
details (such as "Would the power plant workers end up doing less work
if the power went only to the hospitals, or it is the same activity?")
and on various halachic details (such as "If they workers are working
only for the hospitals, and don't do anything extra for the
non-hospitals, can non-hospitals use the surplus electricity?").

The practical questions probably have definitive answers, but the
halachic questions might be answered differently by different rabbis.

Akiva Miller

From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 13:46:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

From: "Tzvi Stein" <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> You are partly correct, in that even if no one were to use
> electricity, the electrical workers would still have to keep the grid
> running.  However, when people *do* use electricity, the various
> shifts in demand cause the workers to do more work than they would if
> no one was using electricity.

I am not sure that's a correct statement. (If there are any electrical 
engineers on the list, please jump in)

1) any increase in demand is handled automatically withour human

2) No one person's electricity usuage would cause any noticeable deamd
increase, so that the electrical use would not be gorem any work.

3) Since no one observing Shabbat increases their use of electricity on
Shabbat itself, no one is creating an increased demand that was not
present before Shabbat.

David I. Cohen

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 17:48:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

1) That is not completely true.  There are some automatic processes in
place to handle shifts in demand, but human intervention is not
completely eliminated.

2-3) The problem is not that the frum Jew is being *gorem* (causing) the
other Jews to do work on Shabbos.  It is the fact that a frum Jew is
*benefitting* from work that another Jew is doing.  Since demand may
shift on Shabbos (due to non-frum Jews, goyim, whatever), the Jews at
the Electric Company may do work.  That work will keep the grid
operating, which will benefit the frum Jew on Shabbos, since his lights
will stay on.  It does not matter that the frum Jew did not cause the

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 18:48:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

Perets Mett writes:
> The electricity issue is one of a different order. To keep the grid
> running, Jews work on Shabbos. So, as a consumer of electricity on
> Shabbos I am a cause of a Jew working - now, this Shabbos. It seems to
> me to be perfectly legitimate to desist from using such electricity on
> Shabbos.

There's another fact that might be significant here.

Operation of the power grid on Shabbat is critical, for reasons of
pikuach nefesh (saving lives).  The grid provides power to hospitals,
air conditioners in elderly people's homes, police departmets, etc.

Given the critical nature of these services, if non-Jews are not
available to run the power grid on Shabbat, then one could argue that a
Jew must do the job.

Now, assuming that the above argument is valid, is there any problem
with non-critical services also using the electricity?  The work to keep
the power grid running for critical services may not be substantially
different from the amount/nature of work needed to provide power for all

In other words, if there is no aveira in running the plant (because of
pikuach nefesh), is there any aveira in others (not directly involved in
pikuach nefesh) also benefitting from that work?

-- David


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 23:24:22 +0200
Subject: RE: Kiddush

I was away from my computer (and from my country), so just saw Eitan's
queries.  The sources are (quoting from memory, always dangerous): Rashi
holds that shomea k'oneh is not literally speaking, but the EQUIVALENT
of speaking.  Rabbenu Tam holds the opposite and thus holds that it is
an interruption of the tefila to concentrate on the kaddish etc.  The
sugya is in Tractate Sukkah--I'm too tired to look up the page reference
(just came off the plane a while ago), but the subject matter is hallel
and having the shaliach tzibbur say it for the congregation.  I believe
that the dispute can also be found in Berakhot.

The reason that the word "oneh" is used, is because in the sugya referred
to, the principle of shomea keoneh is used to rule that one has fulfilled
one's obligation to recite hallel, a beracha, etc., even if one has omitted
the mandatory congregational response ("halleluyah," "amen," etc.).

Mark Steiner


End of Volume 45 Issue 35