Volume 47 Number 80
                    Produced: Fri Apr 29  5:57:08 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Developing Halacha
         [Bernard Raab]
Interesting Letter From MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project
         [LEMKIN B]
Quinoa for Pesach
         [Martin Stern]
Tzur Yisroel
         [Art Werschulz]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 05:44:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

I hope everyone has had a very good Pesach and sedarim, and my wishes
for a fine final day(s) as well.

As a number of you noticed, you recieved a blank issue yesterday. For
those interested in the details, the code I use to create the issue
checks for two items when I try and send out an issue, size and time
since the issue was started. In general, only size is a concern for
mail-jewish. So when I run the send script, I check to see what size it
reports. If it is over 100% of target, the issue goes out. If it is
below, but close, then I can use a force arguement to the script to send
it out anyhow. What happened yesterday, is that I ran the script, it
reported less than 100% but close enough that I wanted to send it out
anyhow. So I ran the script again with the force option. I was not fully
paying attention to the message the script came back with the first time
I ran it, however. It told me that I reached the queue time of 5 days
(Shabbat, two days yom tov and two days chol hamoed trying to catch back
up at work etc so I did not get to mail-jewish) which is what the other
condition was set out. So the full issue went out the first time. When I
reran it as a forced send after that, it sent out the empty issue
next. I'm going to leave the numbering alone, since some scripts depend
on the issue numbering (e.g. archive scripts, etc) so this will be issue
80 and 79 will remain as an empty issue. However, no messages have been

A good moed to all,

Avi Feldblum


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 14:16:08 -0400
Subject: Developing Halacha

>From: David I. Cohen:
>Bernard R. wrote:
> >"The question, then, is this: Did no orthodox Jew sign an organ donor
> >card in advance of R. Moshe Feinstein's ruling? Or did they act without
> >even suspecting that it might be controversial? And did they weigh the
> >arguments of those poskim who continue to oppose brain death as a
> >definition of death? Two more examples of many out there:
> > * The first Jews who bought a refrigerator were certainly unaware that
> >opening its door on Shabbat might be forbidden, since it could cause
> >the motor to come on. Was there a heter in place to allow it? Of course
> >not. When the issue was raised, did anyone stop using the refrigerator
> >on Shabbat? I seriusly doubt it: what choice was there?  Eventually,
> >the heterim followed."
>It is hard to prove or disprove this jaundiced view of the halachic
>process with out some actual specific proofs rather than specualtion.
>But the underlying assumption, i.e. that halachically committed Jews go
>ahead willy nilly and do what they want even when halavhic problems
>surface and hope that the psak will "catch up" with theri practice, is,
>IMHO, a libel on much of our community.

Did I actually write "willy nilly"? I don't think so. In fact, we go to
considerable lengths and expense to stay within the bounds of the
accepted norms of halacha. We hook up time clocks, some of us have even
wired our entire homes with computer-controlled switches, we pre-tear
paper towels, we walk great distances to shuls, we sit at business
lunches without touching the food, etc., etc. But, from time to time, an
issue surfaces which cannot be resolved with a "heter-mechirah"; with
some device to avoid facing the actual issue.

>To take the refrigerator issue as an example, it could certainly be
>true that the first users of the refrigerator on Shabbat did not
>perceive a halachic issue, but that is a far cry from stating that once
>the issue surfaced, that same observant person would ignore the issue
>no matter what psak eventually came out. And, further, positing that
>the poskim would permit its use because if they did not, they would be
>ignored, denigrates our poskim, and our community, with no proof.

Actually, I think it honors our poskim to think that they would work
very hard to solve a problem which they know requires a solution to keep
our people from committing aveirot.

>While it is certainly meritorious for a posek to find a heter
>(permission) for an activity if it can be done, that in no way implies
>that our Poskim are agenda driven in their decisions.

I don't know why some respondents insist on attributing a political
"agenda" to what I perceive to be an intellectual/historical discussion.
OK, I will confess my *agenda* here: I was prompted to begin this
discussion by the suggestion that was made on these pages that some may
regard going to a ball game forbidden by halacha (chas v'shalom). Now
this was serious. I merely pointed out that such matters can be
influenced or controlled by public behavior...and it took off from
there.  To continue:

>Bernard R. wrote:
> >"However, when "casual" travel to Israel became possible in the jet
> >airplane era some 50 years ago, and this practice came into increasing
> >question, I suppose the existence of that earlier opinion of the
> >Chacham Tsvi gave impetus and validation to the desire for change
> >(although it took about 30-40 years of frequent-flyer miles to
> >percolate). And yes, the observance of 2 days of yomtov for chutzniks
> >was very well-established, and still is, I believe, in many quarters,
> >although I believe that the pace of change in this practice in the last
> >10 years has been nothing less than astonishing."
>Again, there is a lot of supposition and speculation without any facts
>to back it up. The issue of how many days of Yom Tov for a chutznik to
>observe in Israel (or vica versa) has been the subject of many diverse
>halachic opinions and continues to be so today., despite the ease of
>travel. So, where is this so-called "pace of change"? What has changed?
>Are more poskim now changing their opinions? For example, are the
>student of Rav Soleveitchik no longer holding his so-called "day and a
>half" rule?  If your empirical evidence is that people are ignoring the
>psak of their posek, the the issue is better framed: why are so-called
>observant Jews not following their posek?  IOW, the fault is in the
>community. But to say that the poskim bend to the prevauiling
>wind....that's a huge (and IMHO unfounded) accusation.

David wants "facts" and "proofs" and, alas, all I can offer is the
experience of (too) many years. When my family and I first travelled to
Israel some 35 years ago I asked my LOR about 1 vs. 2 days of Y"T, and
he had no hesitation in telling me that we had to observe 2 days. He
was, incidentally, a talmud of the Rav, and quoted him extensively in
his shiurim. Plus, it was clear in Israel, that basically all travellers
were given the same psak. The "many diverse halachic opinions" had not
yet surfaced.

Fast forward to 1994. I was spending Pesach in Israel, and davened in
the Bais Medrash of the YU (Grus) Kolel in Yerushalayim. On the 8th day
of Pesach, the rabbeim of the kolel had their own weekday minyan, and
the talmidim, who were all there for at least a year and some for
longer, had their own Y"T minyan. So much for the Rav's "day and a half"
rule.  Incidentally, to occupy myself during the "slow" times and sichot
meant for the talmidim, I found a sefer in the bais medrash on the inyun
of: One vs. Two Days of YomTov! It was then that I became aware of the
psak of the Chacham Tsvi, and the author's very clear admonition that he
was a yachid in this halacha and in no way to be followed. I am pretty
sure there was no discussion of the Rav's "day and a half" rule. I would
definitely have remembered that.

David asks a few questions. I will attempt to answer, IMHO:
 *  What has changed? I think a big part of the answer is that many of us
    have family in Israel with whom we stay on Y"T, rather than in
    hotels. When your son/daughter eats chametz and goes to work on the
    8th day of Pesach, you start to ask: Isn't there another way?
    Shouldn't I be putting on t'fillin? That's when the Rav's psak of
    "day-and-a-half" was suddenly discovered.
 *  Are more poskim now changing their opinions? You bet they are. Or
    perhaps a new generation of poskim just sees things differently. At
    the time of our first trip to Israel, 99% (not a "fact", just my
    impression) of American rabbis were paskening as our rabbi did.
    Today, I suspect the number is closer to 50%. Are they "bending to
    the wind"? Which trees survive?
 *  ...are the students of Rav Soleveitchik no longer holding his
    so-called "day and a half" rule? See above.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: LEMKIN B <docben10@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 08:31:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Interesting Letter From MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project

Here's an interesting letter which I received:

Dear Jew of Ashkenazi extraction:

Do you suffer needlessly on Pesach, unable to eat foods readily consumed
by your religious Sephardic neighbors & friends? Do you find it absurd
that they can eat foods comprised of kitniyot and you can not?

Does this reduce your ability to be as sameach as you could potentially
be during the chag? Are you tired of being bound to what seems like a
diet of matzah and potatoes for seven days?

Do you feel that now that Jews from various places of galuth are back
together in Eretz Yisrael that it makes little sense to remain
compartmentalized in accordance with our galuth identities?

Do you feel that there is an inherent absurdity that observant Jews
living in the same building in Ashdod will not eat at each others' homes
because of the Ashkenazi-Sephardi divide?

MiAvdut LeHerut-Kitniyot Project is here for Ashkenazim who who wish to
follow those rabbis (www.torahlight.com) who believe that our arrival in
Eretz Yisrael must signal a change in those modalities of the galuth
which impede our ability to move forward as a nation. If you are
interested in more information please e-mail us at <kitniyot@...>

-Yonathan Ben Shimshon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 16:57:37 +0100
Subject: Quinoa for Pesach

on 20/4/05 9:29 am, Aliza Berger <alizadov@...> wrote:
> Someone who wanted to remain anonymous sent me a screen print from the
> cRc website for Pesach. The screen print said that quinoa is kosher for
> Pesach if it has the half-moon K hechsher. He also wrote
> "I know that last year they announced here in Chicago that it's not kitniyot
> and OK to use (unless processed on chometz kailim)."

That person also sent me the same communication.

This whole problem is dependent on the parameters of the minhag to
abstain from kitniot, which are far from clear. There would appear to be
two underlying criteria:

1.      Seeds which can be ground up to make flour

2.  Seeds which can easily be confused with or easily contaminated with
the five species which can become chamets.

About the only thing that is clear is that it does not cover 'seeds' of
trees i.e. nuts.

There seem to be many opinions as to what is defined as kitniot which
can be summarised in increasing level of stringency as:

1.      Rice, millet and pulses (peas and beans)

2.      Any plant seeds known at the time (early mediaeval period)

3.  Any plant seeds that can be ground to flour even if only introduced
later (i.e. including maize, lima beans etc. which were brought from the

4.      Any plant seeds whatsoever

There is also a dispute as to whether the oil extracted from kitniot
(whatever level of stringency is held) is included in the minhag. The
same applies to other derivatives, other than flour itself, such as
lecithin which are completely changed in the course of manufacture. This
appears to be the reason Diet drinks which carry Rav Landa of Bnei
Brak's hekhsher during the year do not carry it on Pesach, but do carry
that of the rabbanut instead.

As far as I can understand it, the authority giving a hekhsher for
quinoa must hold opinion 2 but this is not universally accepted. An
article putting the other case is to be found in this year's Pesach
issue of the Israeli English language weekly Yated Ne'eman, also posted
on their website http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/index.htm.

Incidentally it should be noted that the Chayei Adam wanted to ban
potatoes as kitniot, even though they are not seeds, since flour is
extracted from them but his opinion was not accepted.

The whole subject is very confused but I think there are two trends in
current halachic approach to the custom, one towards greater chumra, the
other to try and minimise its scope. The permission for quinoa seems to
reflect the latter.

Martin Stern


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 11:28:05 -0400
Subject: Tzur Yisroel

Lawrence Myers <lawrence@...> wrote:
> Could someone then please explain why, in the paragraph immediately
> before the Shacharit Amidah, Tzur Yisroel, in the middle of a sentence
> most siddurim have the word " chinoome'choh", which is a pausal
> form. Only Singers AFAIK has the non pausal form " chinoomchoh". 

The new version of the C siddur "Sim Shalom" has "chinoom'chah".
I have yet to meet *anybody* who uses that pronunciation.

Art Werschulz
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


End of Volume 47 Issue 80