Volume 46 Number 68
                    Produced: Thu Jan 20  4:47:56 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beauty in Marriage (2)
         [Harlan Braude, David Curwin]
Blended Whiskey
         [Mark Steiner]
The Fifth Plague
         [Matthew Pearlman]
         [Y. Askotzky (STAM)]
Peanuts and Peanut Oil on Pesach
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
query: BARAH
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Salting Meat
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Sold on a savior ["The Sabbatean Prophets" by Matt Goldish]
         [Joseph I. Lauer]
Tehillim request
         [Leah Perl]


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 08:13:13 -0500
Subject: RE: Beauty in Marriage

> reading of the Torah reveals that every aspect of Yaakov 
> Avinu's family relationships was motivated only for the sake 
> of Heaven, and not for any personal gain, benefit or pleasure.
> situation being described by the text. Do not assume that the 
> Avos thought about mariage, family and life in the same 
> manner as we do.

OK, but why, then, does the Torah bother to mention physical beauty when
describing Rachel?

From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 21:53:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

> From: <Rabbihg1@...> (Heshy Grossman)
> Russel Jay Hendel wrote: "In passing: That is exactly what 
> the Bible states about Jacob...he did marry her for her 
> attractiveness"
> The Torah says no such thing, nor does it ever imply that 
> Jacob was attracted to her physically. In fact, a careful 
> reading of the Torah reveals that every aspect of Yaakov 
> Avinu's family relationships was motivated only for the sake 
> of Heaven, and not for any personal gain, benefit or pleasure.

 The Radak discusses this exact question (Bereishit 29:18), and has a
different conclusion -- (my translation):

"You may ask.. why would a tzaddik court a beautiful woman, when their
intention is not for ta'avah (lust)?  And Yaakov Avinu chose Rachel
because she was beautiful, and worked seven years for her, and became
angry at Lavan when he gave him Leah, since she wasn't as beautiful as
Rachel. And we should say that this is a good intention -- for a
beautiful woman arouses ta'avah, and in order to encourage many
children, they (the tzaddikim) want to increase their ta'avah. And also
they should have beautiful sons and daughters that look like them. Also,
a beautiful figure is pleasing to the human heart, and certainly the one
that is always with him (his wife), and (if she is beautiful) his joy
will be with her always.

And a person should always be happy in his world, and in the place that
God gave him, for God gives us joy. And He provided the tzaddik (Yaakov)
with a beautiful wife, just as he did for the other Avot and the rest of
the tzaddikim, so they should be happy in their lives, and have children
like themselves."


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:45:23 +0200
Subject: RE: Blended Whiskey

 I would like to add to my previous posting about blended whiskey, that
the dispute whether wine is nullified in the amount of 1 in 60 (as other
cases) or 1 in 6, is a dispute about mixtures of wine with WATER.
EVERYONE agrees that when wine is mixed with a "tavshil" (cooked foods)
we require 1 in 60.  Thus, Rav Moshe's psak on blended whiskey involves
not only taking sides in the former dispute, but an extremely conversial
ruling that whiskey (and other drinks) should be treated as WATER, and
not as a "tavshil."  Not only this, he brushes aside the possibility
that there might be (animal based) glycerine in the whisky by saying
"kol harabbonim shosim zeh," i.e. the glycerine does not add any flavor
at all to the whiskey (eyno noten taam).

When I learned this teshuvah (as an application of the sugya I was
learning in Hullin) I was astounded at the greatness of R. Moshe's
Torah, in that he was willing to make three separate controversial
rulings on one shot of whiskey.

I think we can all agree that the OU and other kashrus organizations
should not put an official stamp on a drink that could have two "treyf"
products in them.  We are all free to, and I have not the slightest
hesitation in, following R. Moshe's opinion--e.g. making a lechayim on
blended whisky rather than insulting someone--because by doing so, I am
giving kovod hatorah in the true sense--"R. Aha, son of Rava PREFERRED
[mehader] using on Sukkot a hadas (myrtle) that was not "meshulash"
(triple) because a permissive ruling on the matter came out of the mouth
of his rebbe, Rav Kahana [even though his rebbe would obviously accept a
"meshulash"]."  (Sukkah 32b) Rav Aha may not have been one of the
"mehadrin" when it came to the Four Species, but he certainly was a
"mehader" when it came to kovod hatorah.

Mark Steiner


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 10:12:24 -0000
Subject: The Fifth Plague

The fifth plague is traditionally known as "dever". I have a fundamental
problem with this, but I have not found anyone who discusses this, and I
would be grateful if anyone has any pointers.

The term "dever" appears many times in the Tenach and is a generic term
for death and destruction. Indeed, it is even used just before the
seventh plague to refer to the general destruction of the last few
plagues; and similarly in the preamble to the plagues (Shemot 5:3). It
is certainly not restricted to an animal disease as in the fifth plague.

Further, the specific names we attach to the ten plagues are mostly
obvious from the language of the Torah. For example the word "dam"
appears 5 times in relation to the first plague; "tzefardea" appears 11
times in relation to the second plague. However, the word "dever"
appears only once in the fifth plague, and as mentioned above appears
once more in the story of the plagues with a different meaning. If I
were to choose a name for the fifth plague, I would probably choose
"mitat hamikneh - death of the cattle" which more closely resembles the
repeated language in the Torah's description of this plague.

Any thoughts



From: Y. Askotzky (STAM) <sofer@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:30:34 +0200
Subject: Mezuzah

It is certainly gezel to take the mezuzah from the non Jews house w/o
permission yet you have an obligation to ask. I don't see an issue with
leaving the case behind, if need be. Preferably it should be taken down
since it is a tashmish kedusha. I think, in most cases, if you use some
creativity and wit you can get them to allow you to take it down.

kol tuv,

Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer & examiner
<sofer@...>  www.stam.net  1-888-404-STAM(7826)  718-874-8220


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 13:51:51 +0200
Subject: Peanuts and Peanut Oil on Pesach

Richard Schultz writes:

> When I was growing up -- not a very long time ago -- just about
> everyone in the U.S. used peanut oil on Pesach.  Now Rav Feinstein
> wrote a teshuva in which he stated that it is permissible to eat
> *peanuts* on Pesach; how much more permissible should peanut oil be.
> Shortly before I made aliyah, I remember being at a synagogue in the
> U.S. at which the rabbi (by and large fairly liberal, btw) was
> discussing laws of Pesach, and he stated "if your family has a
> tradition of using peanut oil on Pesach, then you may continue doing
> so," with the clear implication of "if you come from a family of
> apikorosim. . ." -- since nearly every family in the U.S. has such a
> tradition, why would the statement need any qualification at all?"

I believe Mr. Schultz should follow the dictum of our Sages, that "Lo
ra'eenu ayno ra'ayah" - the fact that one has not seen something does
not mean that it doesn't exist. The fact that Mr. Schultz never saw this
custom does not mean it doesn't exist among some people. In fact, the
Teshuvah of R' Moshe (Responsum 63, Orach Chayim Vol. III), which
permits the use of peanuts states specifically that there were places in
Europe where peanuts were eaten on Pesach and places where they were
not. Thus we have evidence of two separate Minhag streams. Accordingly,
I wonder on what basis Mr.  Schultz states that "nearly every family in
the U.S. has such a tradition."  And indeed, I have friends in the US
whose families do not eat peanuts or use peanut oil on Pesach.

Incidentally, Rav Moshe did NOT give blanket permission for one to eat
peanuts on Pesach. He specifically limited this permission to those
whose family Minhag is to eat them on Pesach. If one's family's Minhag
is not to eat them, that Minhag must be maintained (see the above

Also, if as we saw there are indeed different Minhagim about this, the
claim by Mr. Schultz that the rabbi's comment implied that those who use
peanut oil are apikorsim would be a totally unwarranted implication.

As I believe that Mr. Schultz cannot prove his allegation that nearly
every family in the US uses peanuts on Pesach, it would appear to me
that his conclusion, namely that "this is just part of the trend toward
pseudo-religiosity," is simply unsupported by the facts. There might
indeed be such a trend, but I do not think that this case has relevance
to this issue.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 10:06:31 -0000
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"?

Just to note that Ibn Ezra (on Bereishit 1:1) says that "bara" does not
mean creation "yesh me-ayin" (ex nihilo - something from nothing) but
rather means "ligzor v'lasum g'vul nigzar" loosely "to define the
borders of an object".

This has been taken as potentially part of a much bigger debate as to
whether creation ex nihilo is a fundamental part of our belief.



From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 10:18:46 -0500
Subject: RE: Salting Meat

> From: Jack Stroh <jackstroh@...>
> How exactly can we explain the chemical process of salting 
> meat to remove its "blood"? Salt acts to dessicate the meat 
> (pull out liquid) and probably dries out the red blood cells 
> within. We know from Mesorah that this process kashers the 
> meat. However, salt does not pull out blood, just some of its 
> water. Any chemists out there?

I think your analysis is correct.  It is my understanding that blood
that is withing (visible) blood vessels and on the surface of the meat
must be removed.  The majority of intravascular blood is removed
during/after slaughter.  The process of soaking/salting/rinsing removes
the surface blood (probably a function mainly of the soaking, though one
can imagine the osmotic stress of massive fluctuations in salt
concentration probably contributes to the lysis of the red blood cells
stuck to the surface of the meat). One would not really expect this
process to remove blood contained within the piece of meat itself, and I
don't believe this process halachically is supposed to do anything to
blood within the meat.

The same question, perhaps more pointedly, can be asked about broiling
as a form of kashering.  I think these are cases in which the halacha
defines the metziut - chazal established methods for kashering meat -
these methods were not based on scientific investigations of the most
efficient way of removing every red blood cell, but rather on received
mesora and halachic principles.



From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 16:15:02 -0500
Subject: Sold on a savior ["The Sabbatean Prophets" by Matt Goldish]

    The January 17, 2005 Books section of The Jerusalem Post On-line
Edition has a review of Matt Goldish's "The Sabbatean Prophets" (Harvard
University Press, 240pp., $39.95).  Matt Goldish, is a professor of
Jewish history at Ohio State University.

    The review, entitled "Sold on a savior", is by Paul Shaviv, Director
of Education at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto.

    The review includes: "The rise and fall of the false messiah Shabtai
Zvi in 1665-1666 left resounding echoes in Jewish history, which if the
late Gershom Scholem is to be believed, can still be faintly heard
today. Unlike later movements (for example Hassidism, the Reform
movement, even Zionism), Sabbateanism infected Sephardim and Ashkenazim
alike. More recent examples from Brooklyn notwithstanding, it is always
a puzzle to understand how so many Jews, in so many communities,
actually believed that this obscure and exotic personality was the
messiah of the Jews and even of the world, to the extent that they gave
up the practice of Judaism and followed the bizarre variations of Jewish
practice that he prescribed. *** Concentrating on the carriers of
Shabtai Zvi's message, the "prophets," he shows how the receptivity of
Jews (and Christians and Muslims) to the message of Shabtai Zvi was
shaped by a whole range of phenomena and movements in the Christian,
Muslim and Jewish worlds. He teaches us that Jewish history, to be
really understood, has to be taught in the widest possible context. ****
Sabbateanism was both a symptom and a cause of the radical
destabilization of the Jewish world at the beginning of the modern
age. That destabilization, involving the undermining of rabbinic and
communal authority, enabled the panoply of movements and philosophies
that constitutes Jewish modernity to emerge. That is as true of the most
Orthodox as it is of the most heretical. Matt Goldish's book is an
outstanding description of the process."

    The review's URL is

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York 


From: Leah Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 20:47:42 -0500
Subject: Tehillim request

Dear all:

Forgive me for taking advantage of your time (and mailing list).  The
husband of a friend of mine was in a serious car accident in Israel, and
has had both of his entire legs amputated.  He will not be able to use a
prothetic device.  He has a wife and seven children to support.  Clearly
he will be in the hospital for quite some time.  Please mention his name
in your prayers/psalms.  Thank you, and may we only share good news from
now on.

==> Refael Avraham ben Ora Yuttel   ("Refael" was just added in the last

Leah Perl Shollar 


End of Volume 46 Issue 68