Volume 45 Number 48
                    Produced: Sun Nov  7 14:08:16 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alzheimer's Progress Report
         [Stan Tenen]
Changes in Liturgy
         [Shalom Krischer]
The Cockerel has Binoh?  Really?
         [Jeremy Rose]
Electricity on Shabbat (3)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Avi Feldblum, Bernard Raab]
Finding out about reliable Kashrus
Recanati Wine - Hechsher Information
         [Avi Feldblum]
What is / is not a Daas Torah?
         [Carl Singer]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 07:24:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Alzheimer's Progress Report

At 05:30 AM 11/1/2004, Anonymous wrote:
><snip> My wife is often alone in the house, and she is usually unable
>to keep track of separating milk and meat pots, dishes and cutlery.
>  My wife forgets that it is Shabbos, and often turns lights,
>appliances, heat or air conditioning on or off.

I don't know the financial or nutritional situation of Anonymous.  So, I
can't say if these comments will be helpful.

With regard to milk and meat: Unless you or your wife have a particular
nutritional need for dairy, it is completely avoidable today without the
need to give up much of anything.  There are many brands of very
realistic-cow-milk-tasting soy "milk" that are readily available.  Some
are made on dairy equipment, but some have hechshers and are entirely
pareve.  There is also a wide variety of extremely tasty soy yoghurts,
and some not-quite-so-tasty soy cheeses.

In other words, it's possible to completely do without dairy, and not
notice it.  Likewise, it's also possible to do without meat, if you
don't consider meat necessary on Shabbos. Pareve meat substitutes are
available in wide variety also, but in my opinion they're only rarely as
good as actual meat.

With regard to lights, appliances, et al., if you can afford it, you can
have an electrician put in a "Shabbos circuit" that you can turn off at
the circuit breaker box.  If you can't afford it, and you're only
talking about a few lights (you can put the appliances in a locked
closet if you have to), you can use a properly rated extension cord for
all of these, and plug it in in another room or closet which can't
easily be reached.  This could cut down on most mistakes.  (You can also
remove the switch from some lamps, so that when they're plugged in,
they're on at all times.)

There must be many people with similar problems.  Perhaps there are
pre-existing support groups in the Torah community, or perhaps it might
be time to start one.

I'd like to thank Anonymous for his posting.



From: Shalom Krischer <PGMSRK@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 15:29:56 EST
Subject: Changes in Liturgy

> From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
> With regard to the recent addition of fairly sizable pieces of the
> liturgy owing to the influence of the Lurianic school of kabbalists: I
> have often wondered, in the face of such late and large-scale
> alterations/additions to the liturgy, how it is that some poskim point
> to the "unchangeability" of the liturgy as a halachic basis for
> forbidding various liturgical innovations.  I am not arguing the merits
> or lack thereof of any particular innovation (and I hope that this
> comment does not lead to a thread in that direction).  I simply find the
> halachic argument that the liturgy is fixed and unchangable because the
> way we currently pray has the status of an established minhag to be
> completely ahistorical and therefore unconvincing.  I would be
> interested in hearing how one might reconcile the historical record of
> liturgical innovation with the halachic claim that the liturgy - more
> precisely, the synagogue service - has the status of an established and
> unchanging minhag.

But the liturgy DOES change.  On a macro level, how else would we have
different nusachot (version/custom) (eg Ashkenaz, Sefard, etc)?

Of course we do not want it to change "easily", but changes do occur.
If your shul says the "prayer for the US Government", that cannot be
more that 225 years old!  (Although you might argue that a "prayer for
SOME government" was always said.)

And then there are censorial changes such as the elusive phase in Aleinu
that some put in now, and some do not.

And the phrases that have been discussed here in the past dealing with
the destruction and waste which was once Jerusalem.

May it be rebuilt speedily in our days!

--Shalom Krischer


From: Jeremy Rose <jeremy@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 23:21:52 +0000
Subject: The Cockerel has Binoh?  Really?

In Birchas Hashachar, we thank Hashem for giving the cockerel the
"binoh" to distinguish between day and night.  Really?  Binoh?  The
expression "le'havchin" also implies a significant level of analysis -
not what would be expected of a cockerel.

Rashi / Ibn Ezra in Iyyov (38:36 qv "Sechvi vinoh") suggest that
"sechvi" is the heart (loshon ha'mikroh rather than rabbinical Hebrew)
which seems to be more poshut.

The Baer siddur suggests that either is possible - adding that we're
thanking Hashem *davka* for the cockerel because, either, (a) otherwise
we wouldn't know what time to get up for Shacharis and/or (b) even
someone in a dark place where daybreak couldn't be seen could still hear
the cockerel's sound.

But, has anyone got any thoughts about why the translation as cockerel
seems to have stuck?

Kol tuv, Jeremy


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 16:19:50 +0200
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

Avi Feldblum stated the following, in response to my thought:


      nothing is ever turned on at just the same time that something
      else is turned off.
      turning on and off lights at similar times, means that the load
      increases and decreases significantly over the course of the day.


      it would seem to me that the question is likely to be, what is
      the probability that my individual action is going to cause a
      change in the state of the system that will require an individual
      to do an action that will involve chillul shabbat. If the answer,
      due to the net effect of all the inputs to the system is that the
      probability is minimal, then we clearly do not have "psik raisha".

If you and I do a hillul Shabbat together, that changes it from a Torah
prohibition to a rabbinic prohibition.  Is that perhaps what Avi was
getting at?

And let me restate my point.  On a hot summer Shabbat, many Shabbos
clocks are causing air conditioners to start up, and then turning them
off later in the day.  I believe that these constitutes significant load

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 16:19:50
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

No, that is not at all my point. Ira had replied to a posting that
stated that due to the multiple activities taking place in the system,
there was no "psik reisha" involved. The way I read Ira's response was
that since the events did not take place at the exact same instant, you
could not take advantage of the multiple activities. My basic point was
that it did not matter that the activities occured at slightly different
points in time. If the net result is such that there is no direct cause
from any individual activity on the person at the power station, then it
is not clear to me that there is any issue with using the electric power
on Shabbat. The fact that there are overall load variations on the
sysetm does not cause the power to be the clear result of Chilul
Shabbat. There are those who either or of the halachic opionion that it
is the result of Chillul Shabbat and do not use the system, but it would
seem to me that it is by no means clear that the normative psak should
follow that opinion.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 02:51:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Electricity on Shabbat

Michael Mirsky wrote:
>       On a very large power system, people are always turning things on
>       an off at all times.  It is very likely that at the exact same
>       time when you turn something on, someone turns something off.  The
>       net effect is no change to the output of the generators for
>       switching on small loads.  So it isn't a "psik raisha".

From: Ira L. Jacobson:

>In the real world, things never occur at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME.  At best
>there will be only a few seconds or even a fraction of a second between
>one operation and another.  So that speaking precisely, nothing is ever
>turned on at just the same time that something else is turned off.

This would be irrelevant to a central-station power system. There is a
level of "inertia" in such systems such that small high-frequency
changes would not be recognized or responded to.

Nevertheless, it is true that: 
> the load increases and decreases significantly over the course of the day.

and from Avi Feldblum:

>While Ira is correct that in any individual case, there is not exact
>canceling out, from a halachik perspective it would seem to me that the
>question is likely to be, what is the probability that my individual
>action is going to cause a change in the state of the system that will
>require an individual to do an action that will involve chillul
>shabbat. If the answer, due to the net effect of all the inputs to the
>system is that the probability is minimal, then we clearly do not have
>"psik raisha".

It seems that what we have learned to date is that actions of individual
actors turning on lights or air conditioners, etc. over a short period
cannot affect the state of the central station generator
system. However, over the course of a day aggregate power demand
typically changes. But Michael Mirsky explained that such changes are
normally handled automatically, not requiring human intervention,
although fuel consumption varies with demand. Nevertheless, human
operators are required at all times in the power control center to
monitor the system and to take action when necessary. But these actions
are never in response to individual demand; only in response to gross
changes, and also because of system faults or changes not related to
demand.  We also know that some of this power is required by equipment
used to preserve life. Bear in mind that such life-preserving equipment
(e.g., dialysis machines) is in use in private homes as well as
hospitals.  Assuming that I have summarized the situation accurately,
can we not conclude that Jewish operators should be required to maintain
the system on Shabbat as well as on weekdays, and that other general
uses of the system are also permitted on Shabbat?

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 18:07:39 -0800
Subject: Finding out about reliable Kashrus

How is one supposed to find out if a Rabbi gives a reliable hechser,
reliable meaning that one wouldn't hesitate to feed the head of the
Rabbinical Council of America meals from this hechsher.

In particular, is the hechsher of Rabbi Harry Cohen good? He is the Rav
haMachsher for Aaron's Gourmet in RegoPark. I have no real access to

[As I have a similar request below, I will make clear here what the list
policy is. The fundimental question about is hechsher A reliable,
probably an unanswerable question, and as such replies will not get
posted on the list. However, the basic question of how do I know whether
I should rely on a given hechsher is a valid question. In general, the
first mode of attack for that question is to ask your Rabbi or if the
question is about feeding someone else, the person involved. In my case,
it is for a shul function, and I asked the Rabbi and he is not familiar
with the hechsher. In the case above, I would have to assume that you
are feeding the head of the RCA, otherwise I do not understand why you
reference him. Anyhow, if the first line of attack fails, I feel the
list is a viable second approach. Responses can only be off-line,
(i.e. if sent to me, I will just forward to the person asking, not put
on the list) and the most valuable type of response is that the hechsher
is accepted as reliable by organization A or Rabbi B. This way, if the
person asking the question is familiar with the standards of this
organization or Rabbi, they can then make more valid assumptions about
the standards of the unknown hashgacha.



From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2004 13:23:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Recanati Wine - Hechsher Information

Hello All,

I am interested in information on the Hechsher of Recanati Wines prior to
2002 (in 2002, the OU took over the hechser). The hechsher is given by
Rabbi Wiess of Kfar HaRoeh. If anyone is familiar with the hashgacha, I
would appreciate it if you could contact me off line at <feldblum@...>
[and you can see my earlier editorial note on what type of off-line
information is most valuable]

Thanks in advance,



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 09:21:37 -0500
Subject: What is / is not a Daas Torah?

I got into a rather heated discussion the other day regarding "Daas
Torah."  A few frummer then me Jews told me that I may not question but
MUST obey a Daas Torah from a Gadol HaDor.

I questioned (as I always seem to) whether what occurred was really a
"Daas Torah" and how applicable it was to me (jurisdiction?)
Furthermore I noted that we are blessed with multiple Gadols (Gadolay?)
HaDor -- and they don't always agree with each other.  In this case many
were silent on the subject.

I would appreciate comments.

Carl Singer

BTW -- for those who are interested this all focused around an email
that said that Rav Elyashiv issued a Daas Torah that all Jews must vote
for George Bush. Long after the heat of the discussion had died down, I
located a more exact reporting of what had been said.

 From 10-27 issue of Ma'ariv:

Leader of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) movement, Rabbi Yossef
Elyashiv, has called on Haredis who have US citizenship to vote for
President George Bush in the upcoming US elections. "It appears Bush is
a greater friend of Israel and that's is why he must get the votes",
Rabbi Elyashiv said in response to a query posed to him by an American
rabbi. A number of heads of yeshivas, which have a large percentage of
US citizens, recently convinced Rabbi Elyashiv that it was possible to
influence the outcome of the US elections. The rabbis checked and found
that there were about 15,000 Haredis who have a US citizenship,
including 2,500 from the state of Florida, which is considered a key
state in the race to the White House. In response, Rabbi Elyashiv called
on all US citizens in Israel to vote for Bush. "Everyone who has voting
rights, must vote", he ruled.


End of Volume 45 Issue 48