Volume 50 Number 78
                    Produced: Tue Dec 27  6:17:50 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Frum and ...unconventional
         [Frank Silbermann]
Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?
Minhag Eretz Yisrael
Question not about homophobia
         [Paul Azous]
Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs (2)
         [Daniel Nachman, Avi Feldblum]
The shtrayml--again
         [Frank Silbermann]
         [Saul Davis]
         [Nathan Lamm]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 18:40:32 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Frum and ...unconventional

Lisa Liel <lisa@...> V50 N74;
> I hear that a lot.  "Fine, but do you have to *flaunt* it?"
> Here's the thing, though.  Frum Jews are invasive.  I'm sure many
> communities are, but the frum community is the only one I really know.
> It's not in a bad way.  It's in a caring way.  People ask questions,
> because they want to know about other people, and that's simply a sign
> of Ahavat Yisrael.
> But it puts us in a situation where we need to either lie or evade or
> tell the truth.

I guess an example evasion might be to say, "I'm not married now, and
due to a medical problem which I do not wish to discuss, I cannot marry.
The same is true of my friend, so to avoid loneliness and to help me
raise my daughter we've established a joint household."

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: <shimonl@...> (Shimon)
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 18:56:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?

>> However, in the Al HaNisim prayer we say that Mattityahu was a kohen  
>> gadol. How does that fit in with our historical understanding of the  
>> time?  

> Al HaNissim doesn't say that Mattitiyahu was a Kohen Gadol.  It does say  
> that he was the son of a Kohen Gadol.  It can actually be read either  
> way, but I don't believe there's any source that says Mattitiyahu was a  
> Kohen Gadol.  

Interesting! To tie the two together (`al hanisim and the historical
shiur), was Matityahu's father the (in)famous Yochanan Kohen Gadol
who... became a tzduki? (and was he only elevated to that post *because*
he did so?)



From: <shimonl@...> (Shimon)
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 13:07:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Minhag Eretz Yisrael

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

> For example, it is considered minhag EY to add the word 'kadisha" in
> the kaddish derabbanan ("atra kadisha haden"), yet I heard this
> formula among Jews of North African origin while visiting France.

I don't understand why anyone would call France an "atra kadisha". ;-)
On the other hand, I have often heard Sefardim here in EY say "oraita
kadishta, di vechol atar ve-atar". In other words, the adj. kadish(t)a
applying to the Torah, not the place.

Chanukah sameach,


From: Paul Azous <azous@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 03:45:30 +0000
Subject: Re: Question not about homophobia

In regards to what Ira wrote about sex change operations:

Off hand I do not remember the exact volume, but in Tradition (I think
in the late 1970's) an article was written on parts of this topic,
namely sex changes. There are several points the author makes, one that
is interesting for this discussion, and the only one I slightly

There is a machloket between Rashi and Rambam regarding someone who
either has an intentional sex change, or for who lost his private parts
in battle. The machloket revolves around the beracha in Birkot Hashacar
regarding "Shelo Asani Isha", or "Sheasani Bitzalmo". If a sex change
takes place which beracha does the person now recite in the morning?

Rashi is of the opinion (and I am summarizing) that you are what you are
that day. If you were a man on Monday and you woke up a woman on
Tuesday, you would say "Sheasani Betzalmo."  Rambam maintains that your
human status is decided at birth and can never be changed; hence even if
one had a sex change, whether intentional or not, he would make a "Shelo
Asani Isha".

Possibly, your final questions can be answered, at least according to
Rashi and Rambam, by their view. Hence, one who had a sex change and
then entered into a relationship with a man possibly could be viewed as
a homoxexual union by Rambam, yet by Rashi (and I am just conjecturing),
it may be permitted. Follow the same criteria for your subsequent



From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>
Date: Tues, 27 Dec 2005 
Subject: Re: Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs

On 12/23/05, Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...> > wrote:

      I would not put Daniel's example into this same catagory. The
      status of issur due to a mixture in itself not a measureable
      physical reality. If the halacha is that when two items of certain
      characteristics mix, they create a new status of issur, and that
      under the conditions that one of the items is "rancid (notein
      ta'am lifgam)" the status of issur does not take effect, I do not
      see that as an issue of physical vs halachic reality.

I think the theme of this thread so far has been looking at instances
where, halachically, bugs might not considered bugs and blood might not
considered blood.  That is to say, there is a seeming discrepancy
between the halachic din and the objective, scientific reality.

If I understand the halacha of "notain ta'am lifgam" correctly, it seems
like an analogous case, where bacon is not considered bacon.  That is to
say, not only is the mixture that tastes like bacon permitted, any bacon
itself in the mixture that cannot be removed is (theoretically)
permitted.  Scientifically, the bacon is there, but because of the ta'am
lifgam (the spoiled flavor), we say it's not bacon anymore.  This holds
b'rov, so even if the mixture is 49% actual treifus, we still say
(theoretically) it's permitted, as long as the food cannot be separated
from the mixture and it adversely affects the taste of the food.

One could argue (as I think you are proposing, if I understand your
objection) that rather than saying "it's not bacon," we say "it is
bacon, but because of the circumstances of the mixture its status has
changed from issur to heter."  In other words, this is just an issue of
halachic status rather than a question about reality.  That's fair
enough, but I'd suggest that the same line of reasoning also holds for
the other examples mentioned in this thread (bugs and blood).  Do we
say, "it's not blood," or do we say, "it's blood, but it's permitted"?
That ambiguity applies to all the examples brought in so far.

channukah sameach,

D. Nachman

From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 22:10:26 -0600
Subject: Re: Reality, Halachic Reality, and Bugs

I went back to Andy's original article, and first found that Andy had
already listed my example as a prime example of what he was asking
about. To me, there is a fundimental difference between Andy and my
example on one hand, and the issue of nosein ta'am lifgam on the
other. As far as the case of blood is concerned, I was trying to get a
clarification from Elozor on his submission to understand what his
position was.

Let me try and clarify what I see as Andy's question. Andy is free to
clarify his position, at most this will then become my position.

There are items that are clearly purely Halachic reality only. The
status of Tomeh / Tahor, Issur / Heter etc are purely halachic
concepts. The idea that a mixture of milk and meat become a item of
issur is clearly a halachic reality. As part of determining halachic
reality, Chazal determined certain rules. At times, at least, it appears
that these rules are based on physical reality. The challange to me is
to understand the cases where these two appear to contradict.

Let's start with the concept of mixture. If there is a mixture of Issur
and Heter (or milk and meat), then under certain conditions, the
admixure of issur into a pot of heter causes the pot of heter to take on
the status of issur. Two of the halachic parameters regarding this
mixture is that the issur impart a flavor on the heter, and that the
flavor imparted is not a 'nosen ta'am lifgam'. This is simply, to me,
the axioms of the halachic structure and have no "connection" at this
point with "physical reality". The connection comes as we try to
determine what physical acts result in "imparting a flavor". This, to
me, implies something that should be able to be measured by physical
instrumentation. The halacha early on decides that we do not purely
determine this by tasting the resulting mixture and seeing if the flavor
has been imparted, but determine based on how much of the issue has been
transferred to the heter, using a 1 in 60 ratio for what imparts
flavor. Here is where I have some difficulties / need better
understanding of a case where halacha says it imparts a flavor, yet
modern physical science can show that this is not possibly "true". In
terms of nosen ta'am lifgam, I'll need to review your cases, but I do
not see any similar issue there.

Andy's case is somewhat different, but related. It has to do with how do
we view statistical information within a Halachic context. I've run out
of time this morning, but hope to get back within the next day or two to



From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 18:34:48 -0600 (CST)
Subject: The shtrayml--again

> Yossi Ginzberg writes:
> 	there was an emphasis on dressing differently from the non-Jews,
> 	making it unlikely that they would copy a totally gentile style
> 	of dress, noble or not.  Particularly if you consider that
> 	Chassidus stresses so much it's adherence to old style, it is
> 	hard to believe that a voluntary adaptation of such a style
> 	could occur.  It would be akin to a Rebbe of today starting to
> 	wear a tuxedo, something that presumably cannot happen.

Most NON-Chassidic rabbis today dress much as did the upper-class
Europeans and Americans of the middle-20th century -- i.e., suits, ties
and fedoras.  Fedoras have already gone out of fashion among gentiles,
and the wearing of suits-and-ties seems to be in decline, yet this style
of dress seems to be more and more a standard among non-chassidic frum
Jews.  If this population were to grow increasingly separated
(psychologically) from the general population, I could well imagine this
becoming known as "the distinctive traditional frum garb."

Rabbis might even write homilies about the spiritual symbolism of the
fedora.  "With its brim down in front and up in back, it symbolizes the
goal of the Jew to raise the spiritual level of every part of the world
he passes by."

I suspect that the same kind of process occured during the early days of
hassidism.  The hassidic movement did its heaviest recruiting among frum
non-hassidic Jews during the first half of the 19th century.  Assuming
that these Jews were like frum non-hasidic Jews today, they probably
tended to dress much the upper-class gentiles around them, albeit in a
very conservative, i.e. somewhat old-fashioned way.

I don't think it was a case of Chassidic rabbis getting a sudden
inspiration to imitate the clothes of Polish nobility.  I think they
simply decided not to change their way of dress when upper-class gentile
fashions changed.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: Saul Davis <saul.davis@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 22:44:34 +0200
Subject: Shtreimel

As far as I am concerned the shtreimel (and bekeshe, spodik, kapota
etc.)  is a non issue. People can wear what ever they want. Do not
suggest that there is something innately Jewish or religious about
shtreimelech. I have even heard that wearing a shtreimel in the summer
is mesiroth nefesh, when it can, and should, be simply be removed from
the head when the weather is too hot! The passage of the shtreimel from
the (often anti-Semitic) Eastern European upper-class to poor hasiddim
is obscure but has examples in other places. Jews have copied the
headgear of the local upper-classes and kept it even centuries
later. Until quite recently in many frum shuls in the British
Commonwealth rabbis and gabbayim wore top-hats and I saw in a Sefardi
shul in Nice, France, the shamash wearing a tricorn (like Napoleon
wore)! People of the same tribe/sect/gang/regiment etc. often wear a
uniform and this might account for the long-standing popularity of the
hassidik and other haredi Shabbath clothes. Jews do tend to be very
conservative about clothes, especially hats; it doesn't make anyone any
frumer. Once hasiduth was an almost revolutionary, renewal movement in
Judaism - sadly no more.  Hasiddim are often the most reactionary of all
Jews and as a movement (with the usual exception of Habad) have not made
any new contribution to Judaism in recent years (about a century). Eg
today the hassidik yeshiva is hardly any different from the litvishe
yeshiva and the roots of the movement, outreach to the simple Jewish
masses, is all but lost.

Saul Davis


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 16:21:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tuxedos

Noyekh Miller writes:

"And it's true that I never saw an O rov in a tuxedo."

At Kehillath Jeshurun, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Rav, his
assistants, and officers of the shul (at least them, maybe others as
they desire) wear formal morning clothes (cutaway, ascot, top hat, etc.)
on Shabbos, and tuxedos on yom tov.


End of Volume 50 Issue 78