Volume 47 Number 98
                    Produced: Fri May 20  5:54:52 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Insurance in Jewish Law
         [Russell J Hendel]
Insurance Query (Car Damage)
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Intellectual Ferment
         [Louis Finkelman]
Marrying one's late wife sister
         [Frank Silbermann]
MiAvdut leHerut-Kitniyot B'Pesach
         [Binyamin Lemkin]
         [Perry Zamek]
Religious Non-Zionists
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Taharo Customs


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 08:58:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips

 --- Frank Silvermann wrote:
> > ... Every year, a friend and I have a contest for the least-necessary
> > kosher l'Pesach food ...
> >
> Aside from the fact that making things Kosher l'Pesach is expensive, why
> would unnecessary food products be more of an issue on Passover than at
> any other time of the year?
> I understand that Pesach brings its own requirements, but is there some
> special Pesach spirit of denial or asceticism that I should know about?

I wouldn't argue for asceticism. On the other hand, the number of foods
that are avaiilable kosher for Passover from the few suppliers that
provide such food are limited, and to spend resources on making things
kosher for Passover that one is unlikely to eat during the year on a
daily or even weekly basis seems odd. I'd rather have them spend those
resources on things that are actually useful for Passover cooking, like
canned pineapple slices and crushed pineapple, which were
uncharacteristically missing this year.)

Plus, just speaking personally, the idea of "lechem oni" and cotton
candy is jarring.

-- Janice

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 08:13:21 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips

>From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
>Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> V47 N88:
>> ... Every year, a friend and I have a contest for the least-necessary
>> kosher l'Pesach food ...
>Aside from the fact that making things Kosher l'Pesach is expensive, why
>would unnecessary food products be more of an issue on Passover than at
>any other time of the year?
>I understand that Pesach brings its own requirements, but is there some
>special Pesach spirit of denial or asceticism that I should know about?

As I would understand it, the idea is that there are some foods that are
really not "required" and might not even be considered "nice to have".
An example would be junk food or some types of snacks that a person
might go for significant times without eating.  In that case, the
question would be, is it worth the extra time and money to search out or
make a special run of that food.  It is often expressed as "So you can't
go eight days without ..."  In this case, it appears to be a joke
between the two people involved.

I might try to come up with a moch "treif" product.  As the idea of a
kosher cheeseburger in which it is the "burger" that is milchik (dairy)
and the "cheese" that is pareve.  Since I think they are made from
kitniyot, you can then come up with a mock (kosher l'pesach) mock

A cute story involves a rov in the 1800's who arrived in America from
Europe and had never seen bananas. He was asked if bananas were kosher
for Pesach or not (of course a certain amount of cluelessness has to be
assumed).  Since he had no idea what they were, he asked "So you can't
do without for eight days?"  Of course it was then reported that bananas
were indeed forbidden for Pesach just as kitniyot are and that became
the custom in that community.

Since this is probably a joke, I will refrain from naming any community.
The name of the community probably changes to fit the story.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 22:34:24 -0400
Subject: RE: Insurance in Jewish Law

Many comments have been made on the "insurance" thread. I would like to
add some insights that dont seem to have been fully explained yet. (This
addresses Bernies recent argument in v47n91).

What bernie says is true FOR DAMAGES: A damager only need pay the
difference between the full value and the value remaining after damage.

But INSURANCE is separate from DAMAGES. The idea of insurance is to
REPLACE the object. Insurance as such IS mentioned in Jewish law
(Rambam, Theft, Chapters 12 and 13 "Shippers can agree to an insurance
contract. If one of the agreeing parties loses his ship, PROVIDED he
wasnt reckless(go to a place where ships get recked), then the others
must replace the ship" FUrther laws are given there.

Of course this does not solve the problem: Bernie in fact can ask on
this Rambam as follows: "What is the authority for Rambam or Talmud
stating this...dont we agree that torts pay DIFFERENCES from full values
and not REPLACEMENT". SO the overall issue is as follows: "What is the
AUTHORITY for insurance in Jewish law"

I am not totally sure but a parallel authority occurs in SALES chapter
14,15. There, the Rambam speaks about the right of a profession to
establish prices and "days of sale". The head of economic affairs in the
state if such a head exists can also regulate commerce.

So one approach is that the talmud allows or recognizes the governments
right to regulate commerce Another approach could use the catch-all of
"partnership stipulation". We can simply regard all insurees as partners
who have stipulated among themselves that replacement will be given (not

I should emphasize that this is not a faceitious approach. A general
principle of Jewish law is that "all stipulations in law are
binding". The purposeof law is to identify ownership when there has been
no prior stipulation! As such the Rambam in Thefts can be perceived as a
statement of what the default insurance contract means (unless stated

This is different than stipulating against the laws of the Torah: The
Rambam gives the following example to illustrate this distinction (See
Sales 13). A person who states "We stipulate that there is no theft
between us" has stipulated the abrogation of a Torah commandment and
hence his stipulation is null. By contrast a person who stipulates "We
stipulate that we can borrow each others property in a common house and
use it as we see fit" is a binding stipulation(The Rambams actual
example has to do with the prohibitions of overcharge in the market)

I believe that the above can point the insurance conversation in a new

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 21:36:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Insurance Query (Car Damage)

In US law there is also a concept of "meeting of the minds" ... if one
party in a contract has so much more leverage over the contract than the
other party, then certain clauses in the contract can be deemed void (I
belive the term is "unconscienable" or such, but I'm not a lawyer).  I
seem to recall a similar halachic concept, but I can't quite put my
finger on it ... do you know?  



From: Louis Finkelman <louis.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 10:06:12 -0400
Subject: Intellectual Ferment

Dear Mail-Jewish:

Suppose someone has a package of ale yeast, a product designed for use
in brewing.  This package lists as ingredients "yeast" and "emulsifier
e491."  The hero of our story wants to use the yeast to brew mead, an
alcoholic and fizzy beverage made from honey, water and spices.

A quick visit to the Internet shows that emulsiifier e491 = sorbitan
monostearate, which chemists can derive from synthetic, vegetable or
animal sources.  When it comes time to rehydrate the yeast, this
emulsifier tends to help the yeast develop more healthy cell walls.  So
say my internet sources.

Now for some halakhic questions:

Does anyone in Mail-Jewish know:
    1. If there exists a convenient way of checking whether this particular 
batch of e491 has animal (presumably non-kosher) sources?
    2. Even if the emuslifier comes from an animal source, do the usual laws 
of bitul ought to apply to an emuslifier that helps reconstitute the yeast 
to make the honey solution ferment? If so, we might view it as a tiny amount 
of emuslifier in a large batch of mead, even though someone added it on 
                A. On the one hand, perhaps the chemical does not have the 
status of food at all.
                B. On the other, perhaps we should think of applying the 
legal category of daver hamaamid to this stuff, and then not applying bitul 
at all.
    3. By the way, should the usual use of this yeast (and its probable 
source) have any implications for the laws of hamets?  Assuming that the 
yeast has no grain ingredients at all, would halakhah allow one
                A. To drink the mead on Pessah?
                B. To own the mead over pessah?
                C. To own the yeast over Pessah?
    4. The local home brewery supply store also sells wine yeast.  Would the 
usual use (and probable source) of this product in stam yeinam have any 
implications for someone using wine yeast to ferment mead or wine at home?

In advance, I thank Mail-Jewish participants for any informed responses to 
my questions.
Eliezer Finkelman


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 08:36:14 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Marrying one's late wife sister

Yisrael Medad:
>> my grandfather, when widowed, went back to Brody in Poland in 1932 to
>> marry the younger sister of his late wife

Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...> V47 N92:
> ... not (only) is it permissible to marry one's wife's sister
> after the death of one's wife, but it is considered meritorious.
> Is there a halachic basis for this?

I, too, would be interested in hearing a halachic basis.  Perhaps it
developed in imitation of the practice of a man marrying his late
brother's widow to "build up his brother's house."

A secular argument based on sociobiology or social Darwinism would note
that an aunt is more likely to show concern for the orphaned children
than would an unrelated stepmother.

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>


From: Binyamin Lemkin <docben10@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 07:22:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: MiAvdut leHerut-Kitniyot B'Pesach

For those who are interested in the kitniyot on Pesach topic there is a
shiur on this issue by Rav David Bar Hayim at www.torahlight.com.

Binyamin Lemkin


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 14:29:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Quinoa

Martin Stern wrote:
>Furthermore, botanical categories may not be entirely equivalent to 
>halachic ones, any more than 'work' has the same meaning in regard to 
>Shabbat as it has in the science of mechanics or, for that matter, a 
>reshut harabbim has the same halachic significance in hilchot Shabbat as 
>in hilchot tumah vetaharah.
>That quinoa resembles millet might suggest that, had it been available at 
>the time, it would have been included but, whether to do so, can only be 
>decided by a qualified Orthodox rabbi. At present this is a matter of 
>dispute but a consensus might be expected to be found in the near

As I recall, someone already posted that a qualified Orthodox rabbi
paskened, on the basis of data ("botanical categories") provided by the
Vulcani Institute, that quinoa is acceptable. Thus, it should not be a
"matter of dispute".

The only reason that I can see for people suggesting now that "perhaps"
quinoa should be considered kitniyot, is that they feel uncomfortable
with permissive rulings in general, and are seeking a chumrah. A form of
reverse psak-shopping?

Perry Zamek


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 15:26:28 +0300
Subject: Re: Religious Non-Zionists

Jeanette Friedman stated the following on Thu, 12 May 2005 06:51:22 EDT

      My uncle, Baruch Yerachmiel Yehoshua Rabinowich, the Admor of
      Munkacs, was made "ois rebbe" and now the chassidim say "Yemach
      Shmo" because he was a Zionist.  As far as I am concerned those
      who use that phrase regarding my uncle, well, the less I say what
      I think about that, the better.

That is little short of amazing.  In Petah Tiqwa there was a Munkacser
Rebbbe with a very similar name; viz., Morenu Verabbenu Harav R' Barukh
Yehoshu`a Yerahmi'el Rabinowitz ztz"l.  And his grandson, R' Asher, was
groomed to be the next rebbe, but for some reason he chose to leave the
Land of Israel for Brooklyn.  And thereby seems to have forfeited his
claim to the title.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 22:40:32 +0200
Subject: Taharo Customs

 Perets Mett in 47/93:
>I too have heard similar stories - from people who have never seen a
>taharo.  Maybe there is, or was, a custom to pour the tisho kabin
>backhandedly in some communities.
>All I can say is that, in 32 years as a misasek in a chevra kadisha
>(a) I have never seen a taharo performed with a drinking glass, and,
>anyway (b) the water is poured in a normal, forward fashion.
>I can only guess that in former times buckets did not have handles,
>necessitating backhanded pouring.

i read this, and know that i, too, have been nudnikking my kids, and
everyone else in sight, for years, not to pour "like that" because
"that's the way they pour when they do tahara".  i can't let this one
go. i tried my sefarim on aveilut - no go. surfed the net, several good
articles, but nothing specific on how the water is poured.

unfortunately, there is little opportunity in israel's cities (as
opposed to smaller towns, kibbutzim, moshavim and the like) to be a
member of a chevra, which are professional organizations with salaried
workers, who, for the most part (with some irritating exceptions), do
their work with compassion and care (if there were, i believe that i
would welcome the opportunity to do chesed shel emet). so i called a
friend who is a senior member of the largest chevra in Jerusalem and he
said - yes, i've heard that people say that, but it's nonsense!

thank you, Perets, for setting me straight.  



End of Volume 47 Issue 98