Volume 48 Number 51
                    Produced: Fri Jun 17  6:31:37 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Is he a gonnif and what should I do about it?
         [Yitzchak Scott-Thoennes]
leave a shul?
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Public Sabbath Desecrators
         [Yehuda Wiesen]
Relying on the Mashgiach? (6)
         [Mark Steiner, Stephen Phillips, Andy Goldfinger, Immanuel
Burton, Akiva Miller, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Second wine for guest (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Yakir]
Yiddish (2)
         [Sholom & Esther Parnes, Ira L. Jacobson]


From: Yitzchak Scott-Thoennes <sthoenna@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 18:57:47 -0700
Subject: Is he a gonnif and what should I do about it?

> One day someone I don't know, but recognize by face, asked me if they
> could borrow my pen -- I handed them my pen -- a cheap "stick" pen --
> like you get in hotels, etc.  That person did not return the pen to me
> after davening

No answers, just questions:

If there was no time period specified, isn't it just borrowed, not

Does it become his property next at the end of the next shemitta year
(assuming Carl intentionally doesn't include it in any pruzbul).


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 09:31:58 -0400
Subject: Re: leave a shul?

> From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
> How can you daven in a shul (and feel comfortable there) with the kind
> of questions you're asking?
> It seems to me you have no choice but to leave this because you feel
> yourself to be an honorable and ethical person and clearly the
> leadership of the shul is not acting in consort with your hashkafah.

I would argue to the contrary that one has a responsibility ("arevut")
to stay in such a shul and try constructively to improve it.  If all the
"honorable and ethical" people leave, only dishonorable or unethical
people will remain, feeding off each other's tendencies to the detriment
of the Jewish people.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Yehuda Wiesen <wiesen@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 17:13:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Public Sabbath Desecrators

At 06:15 AM 6/9/2005, Mark wrote:
<<even today when we have no actual libations...

I have personally witnessed libations of wine (in rural Africa).

Yes, some hold there are no true idolaters today, at least none similar
to those contemplated in the Torah and Talmud, but there are people
today who worship idols and make libations.

I would not be surprised if there are some in the USA who worship idols
and make libations.  Probably not many, but some.

Shabbat Shalom,


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 22:35:28 +0300
Subject: RE: Relying on the Mashgiach?

Shmuel Himelstein says:

> A close friend of mine told me of a story which happened to him. He was
> invited to a Simcha, and when he went there he found the Mashgiach was
> someone he knew.
> The Mashgiach went over to him and expressed surprise that my friend was
> there, and told him: "You can't eat here."
> To me, that's the height of hypocrisy.

	I assume that this happened in Israel.  In many cases the
mashgiach does not take overall responsibility for the kashrus of an
establishment--the rabbanut does.  The said mashgiach, for example, may
be hired to work from 8 to 2 and has no control over what goes on later.

	Why doesn't the mashgiach resign?  You could say that he feels
that if he did the situation would be worse, and many more Jews would
eat forbidden foods.

	All this I say in order to alleviate the sins of the mashgiach,
but as far as everyone else is concerned, it is clearly forbidden to eat
in a place which the mashgiach says is questionable, because:

(1) Either the mashgiach is reliable or not.

(2) If he is reliable, then he can be relied on when he says the place
is not kosher "enough."

(3) If he is not reliable, then the food in the establishment is
certainly questionable../

From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 12:10:19 +0100
Subject: Re: Relying on the Mashgiach?

Perhaps the Mashgiach knew that this guest only ate (say) Glatt Kosher
meat and the supervising authority permitted non-Glatt meat to be

I'm sure many other reasons could be thought of. One must, after all, be
Dan Lechaf Zechus [give people the benefit of the doubt].

Stephen Phillips

From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 08:34:44 -0400
Subject: Relying on the Mashgiach?

I was once in a shul that had a brunch.  Clearly, I was a little unsure
about the hashgacha of the food.  The Rav came up to me and said "I see
you are wondering about the kashrus.  I assure you -- everything here is
under my personal supervision.  You probably don't want to eat it."

He then went on the explain that he was "a makeil min ha makilim" [very
lenient] (his words)and that many of the "frummer" Jews do not rely on
his hasgacha.  I thanked him, and chose not to eat.  I greatly respect
him as a sincere and honest man, and not at all a hypocrite!

-- Andy Goldfinger

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 12:02:10 +0100
Subject: RE: Relying on the Mashgiach?

I don't necessarily believe this to be hypocrisy.  For example, say the
caterers for the function are not particular to use Cholov Yisroel, but
the mashgiach knows that his friend is particular to consume only Cholov
Yisroel, then of course his friend can't eat at the function.  This is
not to say that the food is not kosher.

A more esoteric example could be if the food served includes turkey, as
there are those who don't eat turkey - there was a boy in my class in
high school whose family did not eat turkey.  There are probably other
kashrus stringencies that people have, e.g. to eat canned tuna only if
it has a hechsher, which do not detract from the overall and possibly
generally accepted standard of kashrus of the function in question.

Immanuel Burton.

P.S. For those curious about the stringency of having canned tuna only
if it has a hechsher, the reasoning I have heard for this is as follows:
If one buys cuts of fish (as opposed to whole fish), then one should
ensure that some of the skin is still attached.  This verifies whether
the fish has scales, and since all fish with the kosher types of scales
also have fins, the attached skin is enough to verify the fish as being
kosher.  Of all the kosher species of fish available in cans, tuna would
appear to be the only one which does not include any skin.  Since the
canned tuna does not have any skin, some people avoid it unless it has a
hechsher.  (Please don't blame me if there is anything wrong with this
reasoning - I am just relaying the explanation that I have heard.)

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 13:44:19 GMT
Subject: Re: Relying on the Mashgiach?

I'd like to point out two terms which many people confuse. Namely,
"mashgiach" and "rav hamachshir". For example, many people might phone
an establishment and ask who the mashgiach is, when actually they want
to know about the rav hamachshir.

Definitions: "rav hamachshir" = literally "the rabbi who makes it
kosher", or less literally "the rabbi who certifies it as kosher". This
is the rabbi who decides the policies for the establishment, such as
which products are acceptable, and so on. The "mashgiach" = "supervisor"
is merely an employee or representative of the rav hamachshir, and it is
his job to inspect and watch what goes on, to enforce the policies of
the rav hamachshir, report problems to him, and so on. Often there is
just one person doing both of these jobs, but in other cases the rav
hamachshir will certify a large number of establishments, and he has a
team of mashgichim under him.

It is entirely possible that a mashgiach has higher standards than the
policies of the rav hamachshir. For example, the rav hamachshir might
allow government milk, while the mashgiach drinks only chalav
yisrael. Some people see a problem with this, because the mashgiach
might be tempted to be lax, knowing that he'll never eat that stuff
himself; others are not bothered, because the mashgiach views the
policies merely as lenient, but still at a reasonably mainstream level
of kashrus. I would *not* refer to such cases as "the height of

But sometimes the mashgiach views the rav hamachshir's policies as
beyond the pale, as treif or practically treif. It is in these cases
that I think the charge of hypocrisy might apply. But even there, one
can argue -- provided that there is *some* way to kvetch out the rav
hamachshir's leniences -- that the mashgiach is not being hypocritical,
as he is merely enforcing the rav's policies.

However, I'd add a condition to this: The mashgiach must know his
place. He must never say that the establishment is kosher; he must only
say that it is kosher *according* *to* Rabbi XYZ.

Akiva Miller

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Jun 2005 10:04:03 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Relying on the Mashgiach?

You did not give sufficient details for this case to be hypocrisy.  Just
off hand I can come up with several valid reasons for this statement.

The main point would be if your friend does not eat from certain kulos
(leniencies) that the particular rav hamachshir is using.  For example,
if your friend was makpid (stringent) on chalav yisroel and this was a
dairy meal.  Or perhaps your friend was stringent on pas yisroel and
this meal used pas palter.

Please do not explain that the above cases do not apply as they are just
obvious examples.  Since your friend knows the mashgiach (and obviously
trusts him) it appears that his presence would normally allow your
friend to eat there.  Additionally, it is obvious that the food is not
"so treif" that the mashgiach cannot certify it at a valid level for
other people.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 21:48:53 GMT
Subject: Second wine for guest

From: .cp. <chips@...>

<<The host plans to serve a second , different type bottle of wine at
the meal. When the wine is brought to the table the host obviously does
not make a `tov umeitiv>>

Not at all obvious. O"Ch 175:1 says that if you had two wines and you
brought out one and then the other you make hatov vehametiv.

The Mishna Berura se'if katan 4 says that if he has two wines and plans
to drink both; however the second one was not on the table at the time,
one makes hatov vehametiv.  He does bring an opposing opinion but he
explains in the Shaar Hatziyun that even that opposing opinion refers to
knowing that he would drink the wine, but the second wine is not yet in
the house *but is in the wine cellar and he plans to drink it*

The Aroch Hashulchan says that if you have both in front of you but want
to drink first the white wine, for instance, that the red wine *which is
on the table at the time* gets hatov vehametiv.

The guest would make the beracha under the same circumstances provided
he has free access to as much of the wine as he wants and not depending
on the host to dole it out. See Mishna Berura s"k 15.


From: Yakir <yakirhd@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 12:07:37 +0200
Subject: Second wine for guest


>Is a guest's knowledge of the available wines for a meal `botul` to
>that of the hosts?  The host plans to serve a second , different type
>bottle of wine at the meal. When the wine is brought to the table the
>host obviously does not make a `tov umeitiv`. But what about the guest?

IMHO - directions to the answer.

FWIR (from what I remember) the halacha based on the Talmud (Berachot ?,
Arvei Pesachim?) is that a guest even makes a second "hagafen" on the
same wine (if he had no reasonable presumption that he would be offered
a second glass at the time he was offered a first one). Thus it is
dependant on the knowledge/presumption of the guest not the
knowledge/intention of the host.  Based on this I would say that the
guest would make a "tov v'hameitiv" on a second wine (if it meets the
conditions - but that's another story).

Chag Sameach,
-- Yakir.


From: Sholom & Esther Parnes <merbe@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 11:09:40 +0200
Subject: Yiddish

Further to Mark Steiner's post about Yiddishisms with Hebrew roots;

I once heard that the Yiddish term "fahr-hiyert" meaning married (for
females) is actually a corruption of "Harai Aht...." mikudeshet li.

So when one asks, is she "fahr-hiyert" ? , one is asking if she has gone
through the Kiddushin ceremony.

I have no idea if this is etymogically true. Comments ?

Sholom & Esther Parnes

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 08:37:33 +0300
Subject: Re: Yiddish

Ben Z. Katz, M.D. stated the following:

      3. It is surprising that there is no Hebrew or Aramaic word for
      the concept of pareve, a point I DO remember Dr. Steiner making in
      the past.

There is a word, stami (from stam), but it is Modern Hebrew.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


End of Volume 48 Issue 51