Volume 46 Number 39
                    Produced: Thu Dec 30 22:50:53 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bread At Seudah Shlishith
         [Binyamin Lemkin]
"Chatzitza"  on Arm
Cost of Simchas (3)
         [<TLent3192@...>, Wendy Baker, Mimi Markofsky]
Ezrat Nashim in the Beit Hamikdash
         [Nathan Lamm]
Fish Eyver min HaChai
Pareve Cheesecake (2)
         [Alana Suskin, Mark Steiner]
Recipes - treif -> kosher
         [Carl Singer]
Warming Tray on Shabbat
         [Aliza Berger]


From: Binyamin Lemkin <docben10@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 01:57:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Bread At Seudah Shlishith

Over the years I've noted that some will eat mezonoth at seudah
shlishith instead of bread. I spoke recently with Rav David Bar
Hayim(www.torahlight.com or www.halachaonline.com) and he said that all
three seudoth are equally important and require bread. Does anybody know
what those who do otherwise base themselves on?

                   -Binyamin Lemkin


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 21:09:40 -0800
Subject: Re: "Chatzitza"  on Arm

> Is a watch (or a watchband) a "chatzitza" [barrier] that blocks the
> strap on hand Tefillin?

Is there any issue with "chatzitza" for the tefilin shel'yad aside from
the bayit?



From: <TLent3192@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 11:56:23 EST
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> One great thing I saw in Israel is that they give the excess food to the
> poor.  Somehow it hasn't caught on in the U.S. (probably because of
> government regulations)

  I am making a wedding here in Brooklyn and spoke to the caterer about
all the extra food at the wedding especially at the Shmorg. He said his
policy is to let Tomchei Shabbat come after all the people go to the
chupa to take all the leftovers to distribute. This is a policy that
could change throughout the world if the Baal Simchas would insist on
the caterer doing likewise and let the local Tomchei or another Tzedakah
take the leftovers

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 12:35:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Having acted as mashgiach at some 'fancy' weddings I have noticed that a
> large part of the food is not consumed and is simply thrown out at the
> end which might partially explain the excessive charges made for the
> catering.  This might also possibly violate the prohibition of bal
> tashchit (unnecessary waste).

Martin, in his post, has hit one of my buttons, the enormous waste of
food at all kinds of simchas.  I am involved in food reclamation that
was originally stimulated by observing a caterer's kitchen after a
smorgasbord and saw them scraping the platters of food into the garbage.
In New York City, at least, there are now services that come to collect
this kind of leftovers for soup kitchens and other places that serve the
poor and hungry.  It did take some caterers many years to accept this
service, as they were afraid it might cost them money in the form of a
few minutes of time.

There is something disturbing to me, to see huge amounts of money being
spent on, not only weddings and bar mitzvahs, but also shul and
organizational dinners ; over $100 for food alone!  In a time of rising
costs for schooling, with many having difficulty funding their
children's educations, why is so much going for an oversupply of fancy
food that is not even eaten.  Remember, what is left on individual
plates can go nowhere but into the garbage.

A lovely simcha with lots of music and dancing, flowers, etc is lovely
and festive, but need the food be so overwhelming?  Could we not reduce
the costs and better the society by cutting back on the food and, if we
have enough money, making a donation to a worthy cause, indicated by a
note on the table.  Let people compete not on food, but on how many
scholarships they can provide or how many poor families were helped to
meet their food needs.

Sorry, but this has always bothered me.

Wendy Baker

From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 20:50:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

I have been following, with great interest, the discussion regarding
costly smachot. As a kosher caterer, I find that my clientele spans both
ends of the spectrum - those who can afford and those who can't.
Obviously, it is my parnasah and would be to my advantage to sell them
everything I possibly can.  However, I try to impress upon them that
they can make a beautiful, balabatish (sp?) simcha without going
overboard and putting themselves into a financial strain.  The hardest
group to convince are those who want everything for nothing so they can
keep up with the proverbial "Jones'".  When will people come to realize
that each of us is the Jones' and we do not have to live up to someone
else's standards?  It is what we, as individuals, CHOOSE to spend within
our own financial realm rather than what we can spend to show off to
others.  In the long run, nobody remembers if you served a single entree
or offered 3 different options.  And I find that people don't really
care about French vs. Russian service at tableside.  If they are there
to be m'sameach, the food is secondary.

I find that the only time I have guests leave before they eat their
actual meal is at frum smachot.  When I cater an affair for members of
the Conservative or Reform movement, they always stay for the meal but
often leave before the sweet table (Viennese to the east coast crowd) is

Mimi Markofsky
Elite Kosher Catering

[One point in Mimi's posting that I found somewhat ironic (not sure what
the correct term here should be), especially given the name of her
business. There was a Kosher catering business in Highland Park, NJ -
also called Elite, and the main person there recently closed the
business down. A major reason - the number of frum people "who want
everything for nothing". My understanding is that he now working as a
chef at the Waldorf Austoria in NYC. Avi]


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:22:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ezrat Nashim in the Beit Hamikdash

With all due respect to R. Lieberman, I too cannot understand this. The
Beit Hamikdash was not a Beit Knesset; while we make comparisons between
the two, they're mostly symbolic. Simply put, there was no Ezrat Nashim
in the Beit Hamikdash of the type we know, where men daven in one place
and women in another. In fact, there was no tefillah b'tzibur as we know
it there either. During the Simchat Beit HaShoeva (and, most likely,
Hakhel) the people would gather in the "Ezrat Nashim", and, at some
relatively late point, it was decreed that women would be above, in the
balcony, and men below. (This may be why it was called "Ezrat Nashim";
alternatively, it may have been called that because while men routinely
went further into the Mikdash, women did not usually do so unless there
was a need to.)

So if this was R. Lieberman's position, there are two problems:

a) When men and women *were* separated in the Beit Hamikdash, there
*was* an actual physical separation, either a balcony or the wall
between azarot.

b) The reason for a mechitza and/or separate seating in modern day shuls
is mostly independent of the situation in the Mikdash.

Perhaps what is meant is that *shuls* in the time of the Bayit had no
mechitza, as, indeed, they did not.  (This seems within R. Lieberman's
area of expertise mentioned.) Indeed, until recently, many shuls had no
Ezrat Nashim. If a woman had to enter to, for example, say Kaddish, she
would simply stand at the back. In fact, in his recent book on American
Judaism, Jonathan Sarna posits that widespread attendance of women at
tefillah is a reflection of 18th Century American Protestant practice.

Nachum Lamm


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 21:09:39 -0800
Subject: Re: Fish Eyver min HaChai

> I've seen / heard of recent culinary practices that make me wonder --
> does Eyver Min HaChai (as in the 7 Noachite Laws) apply to fish?

I think it was covered in MJ volume 42.



From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 09:08:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Pareve Cheesecake

NO, this just isn't true. There's a bakery in Jerusalem
which makes a tofu cheesecake, whichi I think actually
tastes better than one made with real cheese. Of
course, I can't figure out how to replicate it, and
I've been trying for years. But there's no question of
low standards!
Alana Suskin

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 08:32:14 +0200
Subject: RE: Pareve Cheesecake

Just a note on parve cheesecake.  There are a number of bakers here in
Jerusalem, who make a tofu "cheesecake" which is absolutely delicious.
Honestly, I think it tastes better than the real thing!  And it is much
lighter, too.

Mark Steiner


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 21:25:05 -0800
Subject: Re: Recipes - treif -> kosher

>> "Most simple/basic recipes can easily be made kosher.  The problem's
>> with those inherently traif ones like veal parmejan.  And do you
>> really want to imitate something so traif?
>  ...
> As to her first point, sure, why not?  There is no rule or even
> suggestion that we should not "imitate something so traif".  If a food
> or recipe is tasty, and can be kosher, then go for it!  I was under
> the impression, furthermore, that we're not supposed to think, "how
> yucky that traif food seems," but rather, "how delicious that traif
> food seems, but we're not allowed to eat it".

I used to think the same way. Then about 5 years ago a mother mentioned
to a cousin of mine that she doesn't bring in or eat out for the 'fake
treif' because she didn't want her kids to be tempted to taste and
compare the fake with the real.  (to long time readers, yes I did
mention this before and it did start a flame war about how the mother
had more important things to worry about with her kids and/or if such a
thing was going to lead them astray they would go astray anyway)



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 06:32:58 -0500
Subject: Smoking

I'm not an anti-smoking zealot -- I can almost understand the argument
that smoking is addictive and thus banning smoking for those who already
smoke may have halachic issues.  But (given our CURRENT knowledge about
the harmful effects of smoking*) can someone point out any halachic
reason for NOT banning starting to smoke -- that is if you don't already
smoke then you may not do so?  This might also require some behavior
modification in Rabbaim / teachers who come in contact with and are role
models for young people -- i.e. don't smoke in front of your students.

* There were Rabbi's many generations ago who, like their
contemporaries, extolled the curative effects of smoking and how it
aided digestion -- I would submit that their psak re: smoking should be
taken with a grain of (low-fat, low-carb) sand.

Carl Singer

[I believe this is the position of a number of Yeshivot, at least
officially. They will not stop someone from smoking who enters the
Yeshiva already smoking, but it is forbidden for a student to take up
smoking once he gets to the Yeshiva and is not a smoker. I have no idea
whether they are successful or not in enforcing this rule. Avi]


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 08:07:41 +0200
Subject: Warming Tray on Shabbat

[The questions relating to what exactly is permitted and not permitted
in the topic of placing items to be heated / re-heated on Shabbat is a
complicated one and one in which there are many opinions. As always, for
practical halachic decisions, one is advised to consult your local
Halachic advisor. In addition, as there may be community standards, even
if your halachic advisor is not your local Rabbi, you may want to check
with him to ensure that you understand what the local community standard
are, if they exist. Avi Feldblum]

1) Is there any procedure (e.g., using the stove burner on top of the
warming tray, as Batya Medad mentions) that would allow one to take cold
solid food that was NOT on the warming tray when shabbat came in, and,
on shabbat, warm it up? Or perhaps no special procedure is even
needed. Is this different between Sephardim and Ashkenazim?

2) Batya mentions using a metal item with holes. Are the holes so that
less heat gets to the food? My understanding was otherwise: that this
procedure makes it clear that you are not cooking, since it looks so
strange. If I'm right then an item without holes could be used, e.g. an
upside-down pan. Or, when the rabbi on the link says "the warming tray
is designed only to warm, not to cook," does that imply that this extra
procedure is unnecessary, i.e.  that the warming try itself is

3) Is the purpose of putting tomorrow's food on the blech/plata when shabbat
comes in to actually warm the food up, or just symbolic? It would seem that
this would be a big pile of stuff, and the stuff on top wouldn't get warm.

4) As a practical matter, say you have 5 pots and your plata fits 4. Do you
have to maneuver somehow to get all 5 on at once (like put one pot inside
another???), or can you switch them around (maybe, after you light the
candles but before you say kabbalat shabbat?) Can there be a flexible
definition of "shabbat coming in" in this case?

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
Director, English Editing: editing-proofreading.com; Statistics Consulting:


End of Volume 46 Issue 39