Volume 48 Number 64
                    Produced: Sun Jun 26 11:34:52 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kavod Habriyos and Aivah
         [Chana Luntz]


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 22:16:37 +0100
Subject: RE: Kavod Habriyos and Aivah

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> writes:

>  If the host is someone who will not listen to such instruction, you
> shouldn't be eating in his house in the first place.  (Josh Backon
> wrote me that he DELIBERATELY quoted from the Arukh Hashulhan and the
> Minhat Hinukh--a landsman of mine, by the way--and not the Shulhan
> Arukh to show that these laws have not changed in the modern age, even
> though the definition of a public sabbath desecrator may well have.)

Well the slight problem with quoting the Aruch Hashulchan is that he is
pretty explicit that he does not consider that the definition of public
sabbath desecrator has changed (admittedly he was 120 years ago, so you
may want to argue a change since then).  He quotes verbatim in Yoreh
Deah siman 2:11 that being a sabbath desecrator (he later explains this
is in public) is like a violator of all of the Torah, and his halacha is
like a non Jew because the Torah equates idol worship and desecration of
the sabbath to all of the Torah and so even if he does this l'tayavon
[out of desire] his status is like a non Jew.  (And eg Orech Chaim 55:16
that those who violate all the Torah cannot be counted in a minyan).

The Aruch HaShulchan does appear to have a particular view, as Josh
brought, that if somebody puts on tallis and tephilin, davens three
times a day, washes his hands before bread and instructs his children to
keep kosher, he is deemed to still retain the status of having a chezkas
kashrus, even if he is over on particular known issurim even if he is
not the greatest tzadik..  It is actually a fascinating position - and
is brought, it would seem, to counter those who would cast aspersions on
the chezkas kashrus of ordinary frum Jews - and interestingly enough, in
response to those who want to learn from the demai case that one should
not eat anything from somebody who might be ignorant and/or over on
specific issurim.  He stresses that the demai gezera was instituted
after Chazal searched throughout Eretz Yisroel and saw that generally
people were being lax about tithing (which of course is an issur d'orisa
and that you cannot learn from that case to the more general about
generally frum people who are lax is this or that issur.

BTW the idea that you cannot eat in the house of somebody who is over on
a particular issur (because they might substitute) is not, as you can
see from the quote I brought last time from the Shulchan Aruch, the
position of the Shulchan Aruch, but would seem to be the position of the
Hagos Ashri (as quoted in the Taz) - that if somebody is suspected of
being over an issur, then you cannot even eat by him things that are
permitted lest you would come to eat things that are forbidden..

The place where this question most critically comes up is this.  Young
person (eg goes to Israel) and becomes a BT and comes home again.
Parents/relatives, desperate to keep BT at home/keep contact, agree to
kasher their house, but:

a) BT has only a little bit of knowledge and parents have less - the
chances they are doing things properly vis a vis d'rabbanans is probably
pretty small (d'orisas are harder to violate and easier to teach at
least vis a vis kashrus);

b) parents/relatives may have agreed to keep the kitchen kosher, but
they are certainly not giving up eating in treif restaurants with their
friends (to which they may well have publicly driven on shabbas).

Can BT, on any halachic grounds continue to live in the
parents/relatives house, eat with them etc?

Pure answer based on Yoreh Deah siman 119, and the Aruch HaShulchan, no
way!!  Probably (according to the Aruch HaShulchan) even if he/she has
his/her own pots and pans unless he/she keeps them under lock and key
and does his/her own cooking.

Does that mean that every BT who has every eaten in their parents
kitchen (and there are thousands and thousands out there) is in
violation of the halacha (as are their rabbeim who may have advised

What I am trying to show is that this is not necessarily the only
halachic answer (although it certainly is an answer - as I tried to show
regarding public sabbath desecrators that from the sources there are
very strong arguments to treat them as non Jews in all respects), and
that the BTs and their rabbaim who have advised them do have halachic
grounds to stand on.

>        In answer to Chanah's questions: both demai and pas nochrim
>happen to be special cases, that do not reflect the general attitude of
>the Torah to prohibited food:

The reason I brought the various achronim commenting on the demai/pas
nochri case was to show that this is not view held by, in no particular
order, the Shach, the Gra, the Sde Chemed and the Zachor L'Avraham.

I agree that Aruch Hashulchan, does view both demai and pas akum as a
special cases.  But I never said that it was not possible to find a
position on the other side (just as it is on the public sabbath
desecration side), just that there are arguments within the sources that
would seem to disagree.  You certainly don't have to hold this way.  The
question is, to what extent are you (or the original poster who insisted
that there was no possible halachic justification for the previous
poster's position that he would eat food that a non religious Jew who
kept kosher claimed was kosher rather than embarrass him/her).

 >(a) Demai is produce which according to the usual rules of halakha is
 >permitted, since most amei ha-aretz DO tithe.

This strikes me as a rather strange argument, as this is no more than
any other case where rov (the majority) is permitted under Torah law,
bittel b'rov [nullification in the majority] is the standard d'orisa
concept of bittel. Thus according to the usual rules of [Torah] halacha,
bittel b'rov is permitted, and the extra rabbinic prohibitions should be
just as much a special case (and why is this different from the rabbinic
ban on chicken, which also from the Torah is permitted and is again
enacted as a fence to prevent violation).  The fact that the rabbis
enacted enactments in situations where d'orisa it was permitted, but
there was a smaller than rov but presumably real risk would seem to be a

 >  Some of the exceptions could be because of animosity (eivah).
 >Some might even be because of kovod habriyos, but these exceptions
 >cannot be extended to unsold hametz, an issue which has nothing to do
 >with relations with the AH.

Kovod Habriyos is a separate case from the discussions of demai/pas
akum, with separate sources - as I brought.  It is a general provision
that says that in cases of kovod habriyos, d'rabbanans can be set aside.
That is all d'rabbanans, demai, pas akum or otherwise. The fundamental
question in the case of kovod habriyos is not whether or not d'rabbanans
can be set aside, but whether a kovod habriyos case can ever be deemed
to halachically occur in relation to the offering food.  That I have
asserted all along is the real question.  You appear to be stating
emphatically that such a concept cannot be applied to the offering of
non kosher food - but it seems to me, based on the various teshuvas that
do exist on kovod habriyos, that it may not be a stretch.  For example,
I would not have said that kovod habriyos was the obviously applicable
consideration in the case I brought from the teshuva of Rav Ovadiah
Yosef (where the issue was preventing dissension between husband and
wife if he knew that she had a non frum past that had involved an
abortion) but he applied it there.

The demai issue only came up in terms of discussing aivah.  Could
questions of aivah be used vis a vis rabbinic non kosher food or is it
just demai/pas nochri?  This is exactly what the Pri Megadim had a doubt
about.  The Sde Chemed argues that the answer to is this doubt is yes it
is of general application. The Zachor L'Avraham appears to argue that
the answer to this doubt is - not if it is absolutely known, but if
there is a strong doubt about the food yes.  Ie what I was trying to
show was that there are those who hold that the situation with demai,
pas nochri and aivah could indeed be extended.  The fact that there are
achronim on the other side (such as the Aruch Hashulchan) means that a
posek may have to chose between opposing views, as he has to in the MSB

 >Now let's look at the difference between kovod habriyos and eivah:

 >Kovod Habriyos is a moral imperative we owe to all Hashem's creatures
 >(including non-Jewish, who are briyos), to treat them with basic human

Matter of dispute, actually - but I believe Rav Lichtenstein of Gush
Etzion argues for this.

 >Mishum Eivah is purely prudential, not moral.  The earliest mention of
 >eivah is that between Man, Woman, and the serpent, and from this we see
 >that eivah is strife that could lead to violence, and in some cases
 >pikuach nefesh.

I think it is more than positive than that.  Chazal instituted various
takanos vis a vis a man and his wife m'shum eivah.  From the way you
phrase it, you would be saying that in fact Chazal were scared that men
might beat up their wives and therefore they put these takanos in place
to pacify these aggressive men (over whom they had no real control or

An alternative way of understanding precisely the same gezeros is that
the preventing of animosity and strife is also moral imperative, and one
in pursuit of which Chazal enact gezeras and limited those that they had
enacted. Preventing animosity is a step towards creating peace and
harmony, ie, in relation to husband and wife, to creating shalom bayis,
and in relation to others, to creating darkei shalom.  Darkei shalom the
Rambam appears to link to imitatio Dei (see hilchos melachim perek 10,
halacha 12), and, as we know, to preserve shalom bayis, Hashem is
willing to have his name blotted out.  It is hard to see that as
anything other than a moral imperative.  And note that the same
Yerushalmi that explains the Mishna in Demai regarding eating by an Am
Haretz as being "mpnei aiva" in the first part under the mishna,
explains this as "darkei shalom" in the rest of the gemora..

 >         To explain this difference I'll conclude with a story I heard
 >about Professor Shaul Lieberman of JTS, author of Tosefta Kifshuta,
 >which is used in major yeshives like Ponevez (I know what I'm talking
 >about), when covered with brown paper.  He was asked by a priest whether
 >Jews are supposed to treat Gentiles morally because of an ethical
 >imperative, or mishum eivah.  He answered, "because of a moral
 >imperative, of course."  When the priest left, SL turned to his
 >disciples and said, "And THAT, I told him mishum eivah."

You appear to be contradicting yourself somewhat, because you said above
that "Kovod Habriyos is a moral imperative we owe to all Hashem's
creatures(including non-Jewish, who are briyos), to treat them with
basic human dignity".

I heard the story slightly differently (in a way that would take you out
of your contradiction) , that SL was asked whether he would save the
life of the non Jew by violating shabbas because of "respect for me as a
human being or mishum eivah", he responded, "because of respect for you
as a human being", and then afterwards he said to his disciples that he
said *that* mishum eivah.

I think the second story is more believable - but it points to something
pretty fundamental.  The halachic reason we save the life of a *Jew* on
shabbas by violation of a d'orisa is not because of a moral imperative
or because of respect for that Jew as a human being (remember kovod
habriyos does not push away d'orisas) but so that Jew can keep future
sabbaths.  That is, it is done for the sake of the sabbath (whose
violation is, as we have discussed extensively, a denial of Hashem) and
*not* for the sake of the Jew.  To the extent that you allow positive
violations of sabbath d'orisa obligations mishum eiva you are clearly
going beyond where the general moral imperative extends also in the case
of a Jew.  In that context, yes you have to come on to an idea that if
this action were not done, at some amorphous future time there would be
less sabbath observance (in a not totally dissimilar way, although more
indirectly) than in the case of a Jew (since Jews keep the sabbath, then
risks to Jews means risk to the sabbath) - but in both cases it is
instrumentalist only.

But I don't think that this lessens the fact that mishum eivah is in the
general case a moral imperative - as in fact I think SL demonstrated.
The comment that SL made saying "and THAT I told him mishum aivah" (ie
that he was allowed to not state the strict truth) could almost be put
in the mouth of Hashem to the angels when he told Avraham that Sarah
said that she was old, omitting her negative comment about Avraham - ie
"And THAT I said mishum shalom bayis" or the mouths of the brothers to
Yosef when they claimed that Ya'acov had commanded something that in
fact he hadn't for reasons of shalom.  Sometimes for shalom purposes we
are allowed/required to withold the truth, precisely because there is a
moral imperative to minimise strife and to promote peace.



End of Volume 48 Issue 64