Volume 53 Number 15
                    Produced: Mon Nov 27  6:31:36 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat
         [Binyomin Segal]
LED Flashlights
         [Michael Mirsky]
A not-so wayward kohen
         [Carl Singer]
question regarding Megillah 18b
         [Art Werschulz]
R. Kook and vegan
         [Eli Turkel]
Torah and Ideal State
         [Avi Feldblum]


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 08:53:37 -0600
Subject: Re: Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat

Mark wrote:
>>  c) causing prolonged animal suffering is completely forbidden and one
>>  should therefore do one's best to not contribute to it.
>>  Practically speaking, if one can't bear to give up meat, keep it to a
>>  minimum, and look for reliable, kosher, free range and other non-
>>  factory farm sources.

To which Avi responded:
> The second point in c) above is one that I am not at all convinced has
> halachik standing. If we were to posit that the livestock owner is in
> violation of Tzar Baalei Chaim, does that result in any halachic
> requirement to avoid purchasing meat that originates from that livestock
> owner? 

I am surprised that no one yet has mentioned Rav Moshe's tshuva that
speaks directly to this issue. He discusses the production of white
veal. He clearly states that the production of white veal violates the
prohibition of tzar baalei chaim (causing pain to living creatures), and
that production is therefore prohibited. Additionally, he encourages
people to avoid eating white veal, in part because of the tzar baalei
chaim issue, though he does not prohibit it. He does not explicitly
discuss why this is not a problem of misayeh lovrei aveira (aiding those
that are performing a sin).

In a vaguely related tshuva, Rav Ovadia Yosef discusses participating
and viewing a bullfight. He states that participating in a bullfight is
tzar baalei chaim, and is therefore prohibited. He continues to say that
aiding or participating by going and paying an admission fee is also
prohibited because of misayeh.

I have always supposed based on these tshuvos that Rav Ovadia would
prohibit buying white veal.

I am not however willing to concede the point that regular meat
production violates tzar baalei chaim.

Rav Moshe points out that the prohibition is not simply "causing pain to
animals" but rather, causing unnecessary pain to animals. Any time the
pain is a direct consequence of human "need" we know that it is
permitted. We know this, he says, because the Torah gives us the
mitzvahs of slaughter, of kilayim b'bhaima (not to yoke two different
animals together), and prikah u'teenah (aiding in the loading and
unloading of distressed animals) which show us that using animals in
these ways (eating, plowing, and carrying) and in ways similar to them
is permitted.

To Rav Moshe eating meat was by definition a "need" sanctioned by the
Torah. However he saw white veal production as causing pain beyond what
was needed for food production. I imagine he would agree (for example)
that force feeding geese to produce fancy liver would be prohibited. But
he clearly distinguishes between white veal as an extreme and other meat
production as a human need that is ok by definition.

To sum up:

Rav Moshe says that eating meat that is the product of tzar baalei chaim
is permitted but less than ideal. While an arguement could be made that
Rav Ovadia Yosef would forbid such consumption. On the other hand, it
seems to me that Rav Moshe explicitly sanctions normal meat production.


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 10:47:58 -0500
Subject: LED Flashlights

Aryeh Gielchinsky & Jonathan Baker both make good points about boneh and
soter with respect to opening and closing electric circuits on Shabbat.
I once attended a shiur given by someone from the Institute of Science &
Halacha that made the same points.  In the end, it appeared that
according to them, there likely is only a problem with electricity in
the case of an incandescent light bulb because it's a hot as (and
therefore halachically like) fire.

Yet they still developed devices for use on Shabbat using the gramma
switch.  Hmmm. That was a number of years ago when there weren't LEDs.
Wonder if they still feel that switch is needed for LED powered
earscopes etc.

All I can say is that as an electrical engineer specializing in electric
power systems I can bring to the table knowledge of how the system
works.  Obviously the halacha is for poskim to decide.

Interestingly, I had a sevorah of my own why battery power might be OK
compared to power from the electric utility.  I know that the power
system must be in constant balance of supply and demand.  So when you
turn on something, a generator out there has to give an extra kvetch of
power and burn some more fuel (unless all the power comes from
hydropower).  So I was convinced that even by turning on an LED device,
you are causing more fuel to be burnt and so was assur - in fact a psick
raisha (inevitable consequence). The person giving the shiur refuted
that by pointing out that throughout a large power system people are
turning on and off devices, so maybe at the exact moment you turn on
your light, someone else turns off an identical light.  So the generator
output stays the same.!

In the end, as always, we follow the poskim.  So I guess the question
remains about an LED flashlight on Shabbat.

Michael  <mirskym@...> 


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 21:44:31 -0500
Subject: A not-so wayward kohen

It seems everyone agrees that if (or because) this kohen is heading off
to care for his children all is meritorious.  Let me quibble --
shouldn't he stay until layning has concluded?  Given this would require
only a 5 or 10 minute delay and that this would not cause his wife to be
late for shul* then shouldn't he do so.

*in my community the hashkoma minyan is 2 hours ahead of the "regular"
minyan (7AM vs 9AM) Layning concludes in - plenty of time to get home in
time to allow one's spouse to get to shul.


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 21:45:57 -0500
Subject: question regarding Megillah 18b


On the fifth wide line of Megillah 18b, we are told: "R. Meir went to
Asya to intercalate the year, and there was no megillah there, and he
wrote one out from memory and read it."

I don't understand this passage.  If he was going to intercalate the
year, he would need to arrive before Adar Sheini.  Wouldn't this give
him enough time to get back home, or at least to some place that did
have a megillah?

Moreover, if Asya was so desolate that it didn't have a kosher megillah,
why did R. Meir take the trouble to go there specifically to intercalate
the month?


Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 22:15:32 +0200
Subject: R. Kook and vegan

> Did HaRav Kook eat meat? He did write a pamphlet called Hazon Hasimhonut
> (vegetarianim utopia). However, his student, R. David HaCohen, aka the
> nazir, was a vegetarian. So is his son, R. Shar-yashuv HaCohen (Rav of
> Haifa). So was his son in law, R. Goren.

This is still all hearsay. The fact that some talmidim were vegetarians
says zero about R. Kook himself. As stated his book is about Utopia.
From everything I read there is absolutely no evidence that R. Kook
himself was a vegetarian.

Eli Turkel


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 05:43:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Torah and Ideal State

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      Immanuel Burton wrote that
      >If the state in which Man was first created is the ideal,
      then does
      >that mean that not having the Torah is the ideal?  After
      all, the Torah
      >wasn't given to Adam.  In fact, he didn't even have the
      seven Noahide

One explanation I have heard is that the "ideal" state indeed is one in
which the Torah would not have to be "given", but rather that man would
be able to derive what is the proper path without being given all the
details. The initial commandment, not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge,
should have been sufficient to allow Adam to realize that there are those
actions which are forbidden and others which are then permitted and
positive. Adam was supposed to be on the level to be able to derive the
Torah way of living from that, but either he or the following generations
were not able to derive / maintain the proper state. Following the flood,
a second opportunity was given to Noach, where a somewhat more detailed
set of laws were given. They now went from the purely abstract of the
concept of permitted / forbidden to a set of specific commands that
covered a wide range of human behavior. That too did not prove adequate,
which eventually required the giving of the detailed torah and halacha we
have today. An interesting thought is what was the source of the
information that the Avot used, according to the opinions that they
fulfilled all the details of the Torah. Did they derive it themselves or
was it taught to the Avot by Hashem? If one uses the Midrash that they
learned it from Shem, who learned it from Noach, that just moves the
question back a few generations.



End of Volume 53 Issue 15