Volume 52 Number 86
                    Produced: Thu Oct  5  5:33:10 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another approach to Kosher Food
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
Case of the non-kosher chicken could spark changes in industry
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
Monsey Meat Debacle
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Suffering and Reward (2)
         [Eitan Fiorino, Avi Feldblum]
Sukkah Raincover
         [Akiva Miller]


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 18:02:23
Subject: Re: Another approach to Kosher Food

>From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
>> In Israel, one can obtain real Beit Yosef glatt beef for 24 NIS/kg
>> [$2.50/lb].                                                     ^^

Jack Gross doubted my calculations:

>-- Stop right there.  The FX rate is 4.3 NIS/USD

To convert kilograms to pounds you have to divide the sum (24) by 2.2.
Thus the price in Israel (in NIS) per pound is 10.90 NIS. To convert
funny money [tm] into dollars you divide 10.90 by 4.3 and you get $2.53.

You're doubting someone with an MBA from the Max Bialystock School of
Business Administration ? :-) And "noch" Summa Cum Laude ?


Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

[Similar responses from:

Fiorino, Anthony <AFiorino@...>
Robert Israel <israel@...>
Carl Singer <casinger@...>


From: Arieh Lebowitz <ariehnyc@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 04:53:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Case of the non-kosher chicken could spark changes in industry


Case of the non-kosher chicken could spark changes in industry
By Jacob Berkman
NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (JTA) A recent case of retail fraud could lead to
wholesale changes in the kosher meat industry. The changes were discussed
at two recent meetings of high-level rabbis and kashrut supervisors, one
at the Orthodox Union headquarters in Manhattan and another in the
heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn. The meetings
came after a kosher grocery in Monsey, N.Y., was found selling non-kosher
chickens under a kosher label in early September. According to reports,
wholesaler Shevach Meats was stocking the shelves of its Hatzlocha
Grocery with cheaper, non-kosher chicken that it repackaged and labeled
as kosher. The owner of Shevach Meats was outed after a slaughterhouse
that was one of his suppliers realized Shevach Meats was still selling
its product - even though the slaughterhouse had stopped supplying
Shevach, according to Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of Kashrut supervision
for the Orthodox Union. Shevach Meats is supervised by a private rabbi in
Monsey, not by the Orthodox Union. The discovery caused a panic in areas
that Shevach serves, ranging from Rockland County, a half-hour outside
New York City, to upstate New York. But what happened in Monsey could
lead to tighter supervision at kosher retailers across the country - and
that added supervision could end up costing consumers at the checkout
line. Orthodox rabbis in Monsey and nearby Spring Valley told everyone in
the community to re-kasher any silverware that could have come in contact
with meat from Shevach for the past 10 years. Leaders of the area's
Orthodox community also called for a public fast before Yom Kippur as
atonement for eating treif, or unkosher, meat, even though if community
members ate the meat they did so unknowingly. "For these people, it's a
terrible tragedy," Genack said.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 13:59:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Monsey Meat Debacle

> From: <dovb@...> <dovb@netvision.net.il>
> Some posters seemed to be focusing on the butcher as the guilty party.
> It would seem to me the Rav Hamachshir (supervising Rabbi) and the
> mashgichim (kashrut supervisors) are at fault. This is their province,
> what they get paid for!!!
> It seemed it was very simple to determine the meat was traif once the
> question was raised. So what were they the Rav Hamachshir and the
> mashgichim doing for 10 years? They never checked the meat they were
> supposed to be supervising in ten years? What were they being paid to
> do?

Not exactly.  I know people in the food industry and they have said that
if they wanted to be dishonest they could fool the mashgichim.  The
point was that once the suspicion arose, the mashgichim could take
extraordinary steps to determine the truth.  However, these steps cannot
be done all the time.

Here in Baltimore, one butcher shop was caught when the Rav Hamachshir
walked to the store on Yom Tov and checked the garbage.  The Rav of my
shul has told us that his father hired a private detective when he
became suspicious of a particular butcher (not in Baltimore).

The whole point of the articles is that normally "due diligence" is
sufficient as everyone wants to make sure that things go well.  When
someone tries to be dishonest, then they can usually succeed.  One Rav
told the story of a wine factory in Russia that produced Tokay.  The
mashgiach was the only one who had the key.  One Pesach, as the Rav
opened the door, one of the workers said good morning.  During the few
seonds that the Rav looked up to respond, another worker flipped a loaf
of bread into the wine vat to give it the "proper" taste.

> I guess a simple kosher hechsher (non glatt and with no hiddurim ) can
> be better than glatt chickens with a super-frum hechsher - which are
> simply "glatt-treif".

That depends on the people involved.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore."
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water.


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 09:18:56 -0400
Subject: RE: Suffering and Reward

> > Because of the latter purpose of directing the future of klal Yisroel, 
> > tzadikim are at times chosen to take on a burden of great suffering in 
> > order to effect a positive transformation for the Jewish people.
> > Their suffering is particularly powerful in this regard precisely 
> > because of their merit.  These people understand this role and 
> > undertake it willingly.
> So the 6,000,000 were all Tzadikim?  I know the 1.5 
> kinderlach were. But this is indefensible.
> <snip>
> From: <feldblum@...> (Avi Feldblum)
> . . . . to deny the concept of tzadikim willingly undedrgoing
> suffering for a purpose related to /impacting all of Klal Yisrael, is
> not consistant with traditional Jewish halachic thought, as I under
> it.

Avi, sorry but I am going to ask for some sources here.  What you have
said in effect that not believing in the concept that tzadikim willingly
suffer to benefit klal yisrael is kefira (this is how I interpret your
phrase "not consistent with traditional Jewish halachic thought").  Even
if you didn't mean heresy per se, you seem to at a minimum believe be
saying "to deny this puts you outside the bounds of the halachic

OK, we can debate about the Rambam's ikurim being the final word in what
a Jew must believe (see the debate on this in the pages of the Torah
uMadda Journal a few years back).  But it is a very good place to start.
Believing that tzaddikim suffer for the good of klal yisrael is not
among the 13 concepts articulated by Rambam.  There's nothing even
remotely resembling this.  It is hard to imagine what sources you might
muster that could render this concept as anything more than a "safek
ikur."  Moreover, when chazal discuss the sufferings of individuals,
they direct the individual to view his/her suffering as a tool for
directing a cheshbon hanefesh, to find flaws in one's personality and
behavior, and to improve it - and if one cannot find flaws, then to view
the suffering as "yissurin shel ahava" - chastisements of love.  Perhaps
there are other sugyot on suffering in which chazal offer this concept
of suffering of tzadikim as a tikun (though again, given its failure to
make it into the ikurim, I think one would be hard pressed to deny a
person membership in the halachic community based on denying belief in
the concept).

Furthermore, the concept of the "suffering servant" is heavily laden
with Christian overtones - in fact this is the quintessential concept of
Jesus and his role on earth.  I'd guess that the kabbalists introduced
this concept to Judaism - that one would call a Jew a heretic for
denying a fundamentally Christian concept is most surprising!

I for one don't think we ought to make excuses for why God allows
suffering - to call it some kind of tikun just whitewashes the
injustices in the world, just simply plasters over the difficult
question of tzadik v'ra lo, it lets God off the hook far too easily.


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thurs, 5 Oct 2006
Subject: RE: Suffering and Reward


You are reading a lot more into what I wrote than I meant. So let me try
and clarify. I am definitly NOT saying that the idea that Tzadikim may
willingly accept suffering is an ikur amunah, and that to deny it would
put you outside the bounds of halachic judaism. I was trying to say the
opposite in respond to Jeanette. To state that Tzadikim
willingly accepting suffering as some aspect in the purpose / direction
of Klal Israel is "indefensible" is not valid. There are serious
mainstream halachic Jewish thinkers who maintain this position. A valid
line of discussion is who they are, what exactly they hold and how much
a part of the much larger question of both suffering in the world and
Tzadik v'ra lo is this.

Since I have the Machzor with me now, the following is a short excerpt
from a recent book that I have not read of the Rav's thoughts called
"The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways", J. J. Schacter ed, KTAV 2006.

On the phrase "Kiblu Aleichem" - Accept it upon yourselves: The
sacrifice of the Ten Martyrs was voluntary. The fact that R' Yishmael
was able to purify himself and ascend to Heaven suggests that they could
have escaped if they had wanted to, but they did not. The meaning of the
above phrase is "accept it voluntarily." Their sacrifice was more
sublime since it was the result of a voluntary decision. The death of
the righteous as a voluntary act to comply with the inscrutable will of
Hashem is very exalted (The Lord is Righteous, p.256).

I do not kno the details of the Rav's position, but I plan to get hold
of the volume and read it.

However, in terms of the larger discussion here, another of your
comments is one that I would like to focus on for just a moment (any
longer, and I will not be able to get this issue out this morning). The
case of the voluntary suffering / death of the righteous is the
exception, not the norm, I think. The more relevent topic is how should
we, as individuals and communities, respond to suffering. The
fundimental approach is what I think Eitan states: 

> when chazal discuss the sufferings of individuals, they direct the
> individual to view his/her suffering as a tool for directing a
> cheshbon hanefesh, to find flaws in one's personality and behavior,
> and to improve it.

I do not have clear sources for this, but I do not think that this is
meant to be taken as a cause and effect statement. It is not relevent
whether the flaw in your personality/behaviour that you find is actually
the "real cause" in your suffering. Chazal is telling us that by using
the suffering and the subsequent chesbon hanefesh to improve ourselves,
we end up as better people and thereby merit better treatment by
Hashem. Fundimental to this approach is that one needs to look for flaws
within oneself. To ascribe the suffering to something that someone else
did is to totally negate what Chazal was doing here. Where this gets a
little more difficult is where there is a communal rather than
individual suffering. Here we are looking to our leaders to help drive a
communal, rather than individual chesbon hanefesh. But here too, the
resulting identification of flaws must be ones internal to the group, so
that the group can grow spiritually. It is, in my opinion, meaningless
and even counter to its purpose, to ascribe suffering to flaws in other
groups and thereby "blame" them for "causing" the suffering. This is
where we get to the questions of "how do you know what Hashem purpose
plan is?" If what we are doing is using the suffering to grow as
individuals and communities, then it is not relevent whether this is the
"true cause" of the suffering.

Hopefully this clarifies my thoughts a little. Now back to your
submissions and getting this out.

Avi Feldblum


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 20:56:32 GMT
Subject: Sukkah Raincover

Last year, my son Avi and I designed and built a rain cover for our 
sukkah. It cost us about $60-80, covers our 8 by 20 foot sukkah, and 
can be opened and closed on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Just one person can 
set it up when the rain starts; the cover itself is on an incline so 
that no puddles accumulate; and just one person can put it away when 
the rain ends. (Actually it would be easier with two people, but for 
a smaller sukkah one tall person would be enough.)

We just finished putting it up for this year, and I took some 
pictures which I can email to anyone who wants, with explanations of 
what we did and how it works. The 7 pictures total 2.9 MB in size. I 
realize it is very close to Sukkos now, but if anyone wants these 
pictures and explanations, just write to me at <KennethGMiller@...>

Chag Sameach to all!
Akiva Miller


End of Volume 52 Issue 86