Volume 46 Number 62
                    Produced: Sat Jan 15 21:45:58 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arba Kanfot made from Mesh
         [Daniel Geretz]
Imitation Traif Food (3)
         [Esther Zar, Andy Goldfinger, Tal Benschar]
Kosher Food Anywhere, Anytime (2)
         [Andy Goldfinger, Stuart Feldhamer]
query: BARAH (2)
         [Sammy Finkelman, Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Daniel Geretz <dgeretz@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 12:08:32 -0500
Subject: Arba Kanfot made from Mesh

I did a quick check on the internet, and apparently, Judaica sellers of
the "reputable" sort do have in stock and sell 100% polyester mesh

One could subscribe to the "caveat emptor" philosophy, so that one would
push the responsibility to make halachic decisions about the merchandise
for sale to the individual consumer.  Or, one could posit some other
halachic opinion which permits arba kanfot made from synthetic

Option one is much less attractive to me, because it is disharmonious
with Orthodox SOP.  I can imagine my local kosher butcher/grocery
selling merchandise with a triangle-K or half-moon-K - which are not
generally acceptable *in my community* - and saying, "it's up to the
individual consumer to decide their level of kashrut". On the contrary,
I would say that a kosher establishment in my community would sell only
merchandise that met general community standards.  Al achat kama v'kama
(how much more so) would I expect the same to be true when dealing with
a possible d'oraita violation of Shabbat (wearing a non-kosher arba
kanfot outside an eruv) or the fulfillment/non-fulfillment of a mitzvah
d'oraita to wear (kosher) tzitzit.  Yet I see these mesh tzitzit for
sale in the local Judaica store operated in my community.

Furthermore, wouldn't selling polyester mesh tzitzit constitue a
violation of "lifnei iveir lo titein michshol" (do not put a stumbling
block before a blind person), inasmuch as *anyone* who goes out of their
way to buy arba kanfot is already, by force of logic, doing so not for
"show" as much as out of a personal desire to fulfill the mitzvah of
tzitzit?  Why should they be prevented from doing so in the best
possible way, and possibly led into violating an issue d'oraita due to
their lack of knowledge about the products being sold?  Shouldn't the
merchant say something?  Better yet, shouldn't the merchant just not
stock arba kanfot which are not halachically ok?

Danny Geretz


From: <estabestah@...> (Esther Zar)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 17:51:41 EST
Subject: re: Imitation Traif Food

There are certain halachot (statutes) which fall into the category of a
chok (statutes with no given reason).  Things that fall within that
category are generally meant to be followed out of pure devotion, and no
substantive logic.  Any given reason is meant to be supplemental rather
than the reason for that chok.  The halacha of Kashrut which includes
basar bechalav (meat in milk), and treif (non-kosher) is considered a
chok.  There is a famous gemara that says "efshi le'echol basar chazir',
etc....elah efshi  aval avinu shebashamayim gazar alai...' (I want to eat
pork, but what can I do, being that my father in heaven decreed on me not
to do so.....).  What this demonstrates is that one has every right and
(even receives merit for craving) to crave non-kosher food and
concoctions, however since G-D decreed it as being assur (forbidden) we
are simply asked to withstand those urges.  Therefore, opinions and
"feelings" have absolutely nothing to do with following the guidelines of
Kashrut.  That restaurant that went out of business in the 70's could
very well have closed because tofu just ain't meat, people weren't as
health conscious, or Jews just weren't interested, but to say that
manufacturers of such foods are doing anything wrong in the least is
completely erroneous in my opinion.  They are simply creating a kosher
alternative for the ones who are truly experiencing that feeling of
"efshi aval avinu shebashamayim gazar alai" every time they walk by a
McDonald's Big Mac Double Cheeseburger.

From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 08:27:15 -0500
Subject: Imitation Traif Food

Janice Gelb writes:

" I'm not sure precisely what this means - I can understand people who
do not care to eat food that appears to be outright treif, like
imitation shrimp, but what makes pizza "not Jewish"? Jews from Eastern
Europe tend to think of roast chicken, kishke, etc. as "Jewish food" but
Jews from other parts of the world have their own traditions and
standard food items that do not resemble foods from Eastern
Europe. Would this Rav also object to felafel as "not being Jewish," for

Indeed, she makes a good point.  I work with a woman who is a non-Jewish
Lithuanian, and she brought in a Lithuanian cook book to show me.  Among
the recipes were "kugali," which was potato pudding, and "chraini,"
which was grated horseradish.  Of course, the Jews in Eastern Europe
appropriated local food customs, much as Asheknazic Jews obtained the
word "pareve" from some Slavic language (according to Rabbi
M. Heineman).

Perhaps the statement of the Rav I quoted, who did not eat Pizza, should
be seen in an emotional context.  Certainly, he would not say that Pizza
is ossur (forbidden), but TO HIM certain foods seem to have a Jewish
feel that is quite precious to him.  And -- to him there is value in

(I should mention that my wife and I really like hamburgers and french
fries ("chips" to those of you on the other side of the pond.)
Sometimes, when we are alone on Friday night, we will serve this for our
Shabbos Seudah.  We call it McDonald's Shabbos.  For us, it is oneg
(enjoyment of Shabbos).  For others, it would be a negative experience.)

-- Andy Goldfinger


My Lithuania co-worker told me on a Friday that some family members were
going to visit for the weekend.  On Monday, I asked her how the weekend
went.  She said, "you know how it is when you have a house full of
Lithuanians -- drinking, partying, dancing, singing all day and night!"
Now -- this was not exactly my stereotype of the "Litvak."  It shows
that the Jews in Lita were indeed not part of the surrounding culture.

From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 10:12:01 -0500
Subject: Imitation Traif Food

>I know of another major Rav in New York who has publicly stated that
>after 120 years he will be able to say to the bais din shel maalah
>(heavenly court) that in his whole life he never ate Pizza -- only
>Jewish food.

This may be a ma'alah to brag about, but I suspect never speaking lashon
hara would be a better ma'lah.


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 08:39:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Kosher Food Anywhere, Anytime

Mimi Markofsky recommends LaBriute slef-heating meals.  Indeed, they are
tasty and convenient.  But -- PLEASE! -- speak with a flight attendent
before using one on an airplane since they generate steam, and I
hesitate to think what panic this might cause on a commercial flight if
people don't know what is going on!

-- Andy Goldfinger

From: Stuart Feldhamer <Stuart.Feldhamer@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 10:13:08 -0500
Subject: RE: Kosher Food Anywhere, Anytime

In response to the two posts on LaBriut;

LaBriut is a great innovation but I wish all their fleishik foods didn't
have either potatoes or potato starch (as I am allergic)...

Most common question I hear about my allergy: "What do you do on



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 05 01:38:00 -0400
Subject: query: BARAH

From: Andrew Heinze <heinzea@...>

<< Can someone help me understand what it means that in Marcus Jastrow's
lexicon, the verb "barah" is said to have had, in Biblical Hebrew, the
meaning "to hollow out"?

Is that correct? Is there a connection between that root meaning and "to
create"? >>

I don't see that in copy of Jastrow I have (Sefer Hamilim) Volume I
Aleph to Kaph. Are you sure that is the same book?

There are two separate words with the root Barah (with an Aleph) One of
them means something like outside or forest and the other one means to
create. One usage of tthe first (other) Barah is in Shabbos 106a - Puk
Tani Lvarah - go and teach it in the street (in other words not in the
school (academy yeshiva or whatever word you would use) - in other words
you could say that where nobody knows anything.

The subject matter there has to do with what is the definition of a
melachah on Shabbos - or more precisely who is puter - and puter is not
the same thing as mutar I heard. Putar means there is no punishment, not
that it is permitted, but I am not sure about that actually.

The Mishnah said anyone who tears in anger or (rips Kriah) for the dead
and all who could damage are putar (I think that's the source for
allowing any kind of destructive tearing on Shabbos) but as for someone
who causes damage in order to (later) repair it is the same thing as
repairing. So Rav Abbuhu said before Rav Yochanan (the famous Eretz
Yisroel Tannah of the mid-200s - and this sounds like he was reciting it
in order to teach - I think he would start a lecture by having someone
else recite a Braisa - most Braisas come from his school) So he said all
who cause damage are putar except he who wounds (maybe because that
might be considered a different melachah) and he he who sets fire (the
Av nezik - one of the four main types of damages - probably because he
should [not] do it in the first place. Maybe his idea was - maybe for
both of them - anything that is prohibited in general on weekdays would
be melachah on Shabbos - it sounded like that) So Rav Yochanan said to
him: Go and teach it in the street. - wounding and setting fire is not a
Mishnah (Mishnahs were still recited orally evidentally to a
considerable extent) and if you says it is a Mishnah, wounding refers to
someone needs it for his dog and setting fire to someone who needs the
ashes. (Even if there was some kind of Mishnah like that, that's what it
would mean)

But Barah as hollow out? That seems related to Bor - a pit - relayted tp
teh root Barar or Ba-ar Beis Aeph reish. Meaning to make open, clear

Anyway I don't know where Jastrow says what you said. What book are you
using. I have a two volume book with a preface dated Philadelphia May
1903 (this is a reprint done by the Int Hebrew Book Inc Brooklyn New
York 11218)

[From next submission. Mod]

Let me finish the Inyin (as I wrote I get to understand this better by
the way. The exceptions R Abbahu as citing were two Av melachos I see)

In spite of what R Yochanan said, the Genmorah seems to assume the
validity of that Baraisa (which R Yochanan called a Mishnah)

Later on I guess anything not approved by Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi was called
Braisa. R Yichanan was teaching somewhat fuller Mishnahs.

The Gemorah hypothesises that what R Abbahu recited would be according
to Rabbi Shimon while what we have is according to Rabbi Yehuda.

Now what would be R Shimon's reason? The reason for not including
wounding in the destructive tearing that is permitted is because a
special Posuk is needed to permit a Bris Milah on Shabbos. And because
burning the adulterous daughter of a Cohen also can't be done on Shabbos
he including setting a fire (Q. what about the fact that setting a fire
on Shabbos is singled out as a Melachah in Parshas Vayekel - why does
someone have to reach so far to find an explanation for making an
exception to the exception in the case of setting a fire? I think I have
the answer at the end - they are looking for specific examples of
actions where something would be a melechaha and yet be destructive and
yet not be permitted)

The next question in the Gemorah is why then does Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi
not make wounding aand setting a fire an exception to the exception?
Because in those cases (a Bris Milah or an execution) you'd be doing an
improvement. Then there's a note that this is what Rav Ashi said and it
quotes him. (As for The singling out of Fire In Parshas Vayekhel I guess
you could say that has somne other purpose, and the principle that doing
a Melachah in order tp destroy something is putar applies just as well
to setting a fire as it does to woundinbg or any of the other 37
melachahs on Shabbos.

[From next submission. Mod.]

-> Let me finish the Inyin (as I wrote I get to understand this better
-> by the way. The exceptions R Abbahu as citing were two Av melachos I
-> see)

Wait that's wrong. Burning is one Av Melachah but Hachovel - wounding is
not. It might be a derivative of slaughtering. The list of Melachos is
in Shabbbos Perek 7 Mishnah 2 - un the Gemorah Sahabbos 73a at the end

I notice that in the case of tearing it specifies, tearing in order to
sew (at least) two threads.

The exceptions Rav Abbahu had were not Av Melachos as I was beginning to
think, but two specific things - one an Av Melachah the other a
Toldah. Now you can't have an exception - it is not logical - that
consists only of the Toldah Melachah - no wonder Rabbi Yochanan objected
so strongly, feeling that it could not possibly be right.  (I have a
feeling that that maybe is not right - as to exactly what set him off -
maybe it was the idea that there were any exceptions to this principle
that tearing into in order to destroy is putar.  (Rashi seems to think
the objection is the other way - to the idea that destrction is putar
but that can't be right so is Rashi really saying that?)

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 09:21:35 EST
Subject: query: BARAH

Andrew R. Heinze (MJv46n57) asks:
<<Can someone help me understand what it means that in Marcus Jastrow's
lexicon, the verb "barah" is said to have had, in Biblical Hebrew, the
meaning "to hollow out"? Is that correct? Is there a connection between
that root meaning and "to create"?>>

There are several meaning to Bet, Resh, Aleph. The most common one is to
create "Bereshit bara Elokim" (Gen. 1:1), and the second manning is to
cut trees and empty (i.e., hollow) the place where they grew "ale lecha
ha-ya'ara uVereta lecha sham" (Josh 17:15). The Gur dictionary suggests
that the second meaning is rather Bet, Resh, Hey.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 46 Issue 62