Volume 48 Number 39
                    Produced: Mon Jun  6  4:55:23 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yisrael Medad]
Artichoke Hearts
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Martin Stern]
Beans, Beans...
Broccoli (2)
         [Orrin Tilevitz, .cp.]
Bugs in Vegetables
         [Abbi Adest]
Checking Vegetables
         [Mimi Markofsky]
Shul - Hopping


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 14:12:08 +0200
Subject: Appointment

Ari Trachtenberg's comment and not feeling right having a candidate
interviewed on the Shabbat recalled to me the dilema of a Rav who only
"worked" on the Shabbat when, as a part-time Rav, gave a shiur, led the
congregation and gave a sermon.  Thus, all his work was on the Shabbat.

Should he have been paid then?  Or was he "m'chalel shabbat'?

Of course, a post-Shabbat interview is the resolution but nevertheless,
yes, the Rav is on a test during the Shabbat. Maybe in the Aibershter's
eyes, we're also on test during Shabbat?

Yisrael Medad


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 14:07:52 +0200
Subject: Artichoke Hearts

Martin makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the
matter of bugs when he writes:

> I think the Medads have hit the nail on the head: 40 years ago people
> were simply unaware of the existence of infestation unless it was so bad
> as to be immediately obvious

While this is true, my specific surprise on artichoke hearts perhaps was
written too concisely.

Obviously, the artichoke hearts in cans must be kosher for eating.  They
have been prepared, washed and soak in the can so that if one simply
rinses them when they come out, there should be no problem of bug

As for "live" artichokes, as anyone knows who eats them, the hearts are
at the very bottom of the vegetable and are 'covered', first by bracts
(the thistle leaves) and then, by a layer of thick but delicate feathery
crowning growth. The "heart" is the central top of the stem that
supports the rosette.

In my experience, the heart is so "protected" that I have never seen
bugs or even dirt, which many people take for bugs, in the heart.

That is why I was so surprised.

Yisrael Medad

p.s.  as for the time element, I found that Globe artichokes were first
cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 15th century, and are said
to have been introduced to France by Catherine de Medici, in the 16th
century. The Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were
growing in Henry VIII's garden at Newhall in 1530

A single artichoke is actually an unopened flower bud from a
thistle-like plant with the Latin name of Cynara scolymus. Each green
cone-shaped bud consists of several parts: overlapping outer leaves that
are tough and inedible at the tip, but fleshy and tender at the base; an
inedible choke, or thistle, which is enclosed within a light-colored
cone of immature leaves; and a round, firm-fleshed base. This meaty
base--informally called the "heart," but technically called the
bottom--is the part that you work your way toward when eating a large


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 13:27:50 +0100
Subject: Asparagus

on 3/6/05 11:30 am, Israel Caspi <icaspi@...> wrote:
> <chips@...> wrote:
>> ...the OU (among others) stated that ... asparagus was so problematic
>> that it was better to just use the stalks and to throw away the leafy
>> part.
> Our LOR, apparently following the OU, **requires** the caterers under
> his supervision to cut off the leafy part of the asparagus and allows
> the use only of the stalk.  Imagine my surprise when I attended a family
> simchah, where the caterer was under the Star-K, to find the whole
> asparagus -- leaf and all -- being served.  I questioned the (Chabad)
> mashgiach who said that he was aware of the issue but that the Star-K
> does allow the leafy part to be used.

Generally our BD does not allow asparagus at all because of the problems
in checking for thrips. These are tiny insects, which look like a piece
of thread, but are visible to the unaided human eye.

One caterer insisted that she must have them and agreed to buy only the
top quality ones and allow their thorough checking. I occasionally stand
in as a mashgiach and once was asked to do this for her. Admittedly
these particular asparagus were quite clean but I did find a thrip on a
cloth through which I had filtered the water in which I had washed
them. However, if I had not known what I was looking for, I would almost
certainly not have noticed it, even though it was very much alive and

I think that is the problem with bugs, it is not the larger ones that
everyone recognises but those that are so small that they are easily
mistaken for 'dirt'. Previous generations may also not have been aware
of their existence which would explain their use of some vegetables we
are advised to avoid nowadays.

One should remember that eating one thrip involves more prohibitions
than eating a slice of ham and bittul cannot be invoked because this
concept is inapplicable to a whole creature (beriah).

Martin Stern


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 17:56:27 -0500
Subject: Beans, Beans...

Shalom, All:

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I remember we always had Heinz's baked
beans in our strictly kosher house. Not having consumed any in decades,
I went to the Heinz web site (for the U.S.) and saw they have a tab
marked "Kosher Tradition." At that locale I saw the following
fascinating statement:

>>This philosophy also led to the company's development with the
Orthodox Union in 1923 of the "Circle U" symbol, making Heinz the first
brand of processed foods to carry the symbol.<<

Wow! The first O-U big-brand hechsher was for - baked beans?

As for said beans, at http://heinz.com/jsp/kosher.jsp#10 I found the
following listings under "Heinz Kosher Products:" Beans in Molasses
Sauce, Vegetarian Beans in Tomato Sauce and Beans in Tomato Sauce

I leave it to others to unearth which beans carry a hechsher in
countries outside the U.S.

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 12:26:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Broccoli

Wendy Baker asks:
>what did [people] do before DDT and other insecticieds were developed
>in the mid--200th century?  Didn't people eat broccoli and asparagus?

I just found out a few interesting things.

1.  An elderly Jewish lady whom I know, and her mother who was born in
Poland, came to NYC from Europe in the 1920s.  The mother bought all
sorts of vegetables, but her daugher does not remember eating broccoli
until some time in the 1950s.  She surmises that broccoli was
unatainable or extravagantly priced.

2.  The family did eat spinach, and her mother taught her to look
carefully for bugs in all vegetables, including dried peas.  This was an
observant but not charedi household.

3.  An elderly Jewish gentleman I know grew up in the midwest; his
parents were from Russia.  He does not remember eating broccoli until he
came to NYC.

4.  A friend of mine immigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1989 after
college.  She had never eaten broccoli until she came here, and at age
12 did not know what it was. (Her family did eat cauliflower.)

5.  A 1949 Jewish cookbook, "Jewish Cookery", mentions broccoli in the
context of "you ought to eat vegetables", and provides a single recipe,
cream of broccoli soup.

I'd guess that, until recently, broccoli was not available in any of
eastern Europe, and therefore that Jews who came to the U.S. from there
(the large majority of U.S. Jews, at least until recently) had never
seen it until they came here.  I'd also guess that broccoli was not
commonly eaten by any U.S. Jews until well after WWII, not because of
bugs--which they would have looked for-- but because broccoli was either
unavailable at a reasonable cost or was simply something that Jews had
never eaten before.  I'd guess further that the Jews who came to the
U.S. after WWII from eastern Europe and their immediate descendants
would similarly not have eaten broccoli, at least for many years,
because it was foreign.

I'd guess further that those who would forbid broccoli or who readily
agree with its banning emanate from or at least identify closely with
this latter group.  I'm sure someone will find some rosh yeshiva who
will say "I used to eat broccoli, but I stopped when I found out about
all the bugs", but I wonder just how common this is.  It seems to me
that finding reasons why something can't be eaten is a lot easier when
you don't eat it anyway, and perhaps even believe, subconsciously or
otherwise, that it's somehow not a "Jewish food".

From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 19:42:10 -0700
Subject: Re: Broccoli

>In my experience, on rare occasion a large green worm will emerge from
>broccoli florets when it is soaked in salt water or when it is cooked.
>I have seen this only in farmer's market broccoli.  I have never seen
>small bugs, in the water or when I pull the florets apart.

   I question if that is a proper method of checking in broccoli (&
califlower).  Neither the salt or cooking will lossen certain bugs
footholds within the flowrettes.  A small amount of liquid soap will
slide bugs off. I don't know if oil would work or not, but I doubt it is
as good or easy to use as soap. (soap is easy to wash out).

  As for asparagus, iirc, one really had to get into flower part
  manually to see if bugs set up house.


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 13:12:51 +0200
Subject: Bugs in Vegetables

Martin Stern wrote:

>Even today many either are unaware of, or choose to ignore, this
>problem which explains Yisrael Medad's conundrum

With all due respect, this psak regarding artichoke hearts is
problematic for two reasons. One, it's illogical. Artichoke hearts,
unlike asparagus leaves, broccoli and cauliflower flowerets, are a solid
mass. All one has to do is remove the leaves and the hairy choke and you
end up with a solid piece of vegetable, similar in texture to a hard
summer squash. You can even cut it in half to check inside if you really
want to be careful, but then you'd lose a nice base for stuffing.

If you want to leave the vegetable whole, I'm not sure why soaking them
in salt/lemon water is not sufficient the way it is for broccoli and

The second reason is that it happens to be a very popular Sephardi
vegetable, particularly here in Israel, as Yisrael noted. The psak just
wouldn't hold much water for many Jews here. I don't know if this is
quite on the same scale, but a comparison can be made to forbidding the
eating of fish on Shabbat because the rabbis didn't trust people enough
not to be over on borer. I think everyone would agree that borer is a
serious problem where fish is concerned and it's puzzling to me why the
rabbis never forbid it to save everyone the hassle, as is the common
practice today (since I read Haym Soloveitchick's "Rupture and
Reconstruction" I know the answer to this connundrum).

Psak halacha, despite the fact that many people here insist otherwise,
has as much to do with what the community will tolerate as it does the
available information. Cigarette smoking has been brought up as an
example of this numerous times as well.

Shabbat Shalom
Abbi Adest


From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2005 12:56:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Checking Vegetables

The Star-K has a very in-depth but easy to follow guide for checking
vegetables.  This is the standard that my moshgeach from the Va'ad of
Detroit follows in my professional kitchen.  It's tedious but we can use
asparagus with the tips on!

Mimi Markofsky
Elite Kosher Catering


From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 14:07:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Shul - Hopping

Our shul seems to provide services to most of the people in our
neighborhood during the week, even though there are five other shuls in
the neighborhood (of which three are only open on shabbatot and
chagim). So a few years ago we instituted the concept of "amit" or
fellow, and asked that mitpallelim who utilize our shul and benefit from
its services (a/c, lights, aliyot, sheurim, etc.) all week should pay a
reduced fee (we set nis 250/yr, whereas regular membership is nis
850/yr, and we don't bother the amitim when we schnorr for the building
fund). It was a suggestion, not a demand, for those who considered the
idea reasonable and there were quite a few people who paid. There is
also a separate kupah in shul labeled "beit knesset" which also does
ok. I try to follow this concept when I am away, or davening mincha
during the day away from home, and put money in the kupah of whatever
shul I happen to be in.



End of Volume 48 Issue 39