Volume 53 Number 17
                    Produced: Thu Nov 30  5:25:56 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat (2)
         [.cp., Mark Goldin]
Inspecting tefillin at airport security (5)
         [Joseph Ginzberg, Frank Silbermann, Ephraim Tabory, Avi
Feldblum, R E Sternglantz]
looking for a Journal issue
Lost Kesuba
         [Gershon Dubin]
Not Liking Meat (2)
         [Leah S. Gordon, Avi Feldblum]
Sefer Hatapuach?
         [Ben Katz]
Torah and Ideal State
         [Joel Rich]


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 15:06:20 -0800
Subject: Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat

The Nazir of Yerushalayim was a talmid muvhak of Rav Kook.  Acording to
the Nazir's daughter-in-law Rav Kook was not a vegetarian.


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 08:55:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Halacha, R. Kook and eating Meat

>>From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
> One of his great disciples was R. David Cohen, "Rav HaNazir", 
> who was a strict vegan who avoided wearing as well as eating 
> anything derived from animals.

>>Did he wear non-woollen tzitzit?  What about tephillin?  And how would
>>one make a Sefer Torah, a mezuzah or a megillah without using that
>>animal product known as parchment?  What about a non-animal shofar?
>>As I mentioned in an earlier posting, eating meat is mandatory at
>>least once a year with the Korban Pesach, and as written above there
>>are some things which absolutely do require animal products.  (I think
>>that discussing the use of animal products might be deviating from the
>>original topic of eating meat, though.)

Good questions.  I asked the same once of a prominent, vegetarian Rabbi,
and he told me it was possible to find skins from animals that died
naturally.  Personally, I make a distinction between "using" and
"killing" and also between "killing" and "killing with cruelty", but I
also struggle with korbanot.  Even though I pray daily for the
restoration of the temple and all its rituals, I am troubled by the sea
of blood that would ensue.  But who said being a Jew was easy?



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:02:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

Mr. Jack Stern O"H, a New Yorker who lived in New York and commuted to
South Africa for some years in the 1970's, had his t'filin pried open in
U.S.  customs once, because his frequent trips to diamond-mining areas
aroused suspicion that he might be a smuggler.

His response was to buy another pair so as to have one in each country,
and to schedule trips so as to not need them en-route.

This type of behavior may perhaps explain why his two sons are both
roshei-yeshiva, while his daughters both married incredibly outstanding

Yossi Ginzberg

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 15:16:50 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> V53 N16:
> I did hear a story (possibly apocryphal) about the same situation ....
> It was customs, not airport security, that was looking through
> someone's baggage and found the tefillin.  The customs inspector asked
> what they were and what was inside, and the man patiently explained.
> The inspector asked the man to open them, and he said that he
> couldn't, because one needed to be a trained scribe (sofer) to do so.
> So the inspector, said, "OK, we'll get a scribe then".  Somehow, the
> customs people got hold of a sofer, who came to the airport, opened
> the tefillin, and they were full of diamonds.

That sounds like a number of hassidic tales I've heard.  What, according
to the story, did the man do to merit such miraculous great good
fortune?  I can barely imagine how I would feel if the next time I had
my tefillin inspected they were discovered to be full of diamonds!

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee	<fs@...>

From: Ephraim Tabory <tabore@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:47:27 +0200
Subject: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

> I recently flew on several domestic flights in the US.  I was
> invariably stopped at security, because my tefllin were suspicious to
> the security personnel.  They went through my hand luggage, opened my
> tefllin case, looked at the tefillin, then let me go.  I don't
> particularly like strangers handling my tefillin.  Does anyone have
> advice on how to avoid these checks?

I do not like anyone handling my freshly ironed shirts, but for the sake
of security I realize that this might be an impossible request.  Would
we prefer that security people refrain from examining tefillin at all?
If members of other groups have religious articles that are problematic
to open, would we want them to be automatically granted a blank
exemption from any check?

>I did hear a story (possibly apocryphal) about the same situation
>happening but not such an innocuous ending"

It is disturbing enough that some of the "facts" presented on
Mail-Jewish are questionable, but to present a story that even the
writer states might be apocryphal?  Aside from that, is there really any
question that a closed tefillin box can be used for nefarious purposes -
whether they are smuggling or violence?

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 04:35:14 -0500
Subject: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

In response to questions on whether the smuggling diamonds in tefillin
is purely urban legend or has basis in actual events, I quote the
following below:

>From an article of R. Broyde: Informing on Others for Violating American
Law: A Jewish Law View

Endangering the community is not limited to cases of communal
punishment, or immediate short term danger. Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein
notes the following incident recounted to him by Rabbi Mordechai
Kaminetsky, in the name of Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky.

      There was a period in the 1970's when a group of rogues were
      smuggling valuables in tefillin (phylacteries) and other religious
      articles that would usually evade inspection; thus the thieves
      assumed their scheme would be successful. Often they would send
      these religious articles with unsuspecting pious Jews and asked to
      deliver them to certain locations near their final
      destinations. When United States customs officials got wind of
      this scheme they asked a few observant agents to help crack the
      ring. In addition to preserving the sanctity of the religious
      items, the customs authority felt that Jewish religious agents
      would best be able to mete out knowing accomplices from
      unsuspecting participants who had been duped into thinking they
      were actually performing a mitzvah.

      The Jewish custom agent in charge of the operation decided to
      confer with my grandfather, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky on this
      matter. Though his advice on how to break the ring remains
      confidential, he told me how he explained how the severity of the
      crime was compounded by its use of religious items.  "Smuggling
      diamonds in Teffilin," he explained, "is equivalent to raising a
      white flag, approaching the enemy lines as if to surrender and
      then lobbing a grenade. That soldier has not only perpetrated a
      fraud on his battalion and the enemy; he has betrayed a symbol of
      civilization. With one devious act, he has destroyed a trusted
      symbol for eternity -- forever endangering the lives of countless
      soldiers for years to come. "These thieves, by taking a sacrosanct
      symbol and using it as a vehicle for a crime have destroyed the
      eternal sanctity and symbolism of a sacred object. Their evil
      actions may cause irreparable damage to countless honest religious
      people. Those rogues must be stopped, by any means possible," he

From: R E Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 06:18:11 -0500
Subject: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

This does not address the practical issue of airport security and
tefillin, but the possibly apocryphal story about tefillin, Customs, and
diamonds got me to thinking about the original poster's presumption that
he was being stopped by security officers and hand-searched each time
*because* his tefillin seemed suspicious. I think that this may be a
fallacious presumption.

As soon as something triggers a "watch" on your name on a passenger list
(and this may be because you're flying on a passport that was stamped in
a certain country, or because your name is really similar to someone on
a watch list, or myriad other reasons), you will be targeted for hand
inspection of your carry on luggage every time you go through
security. I know of several women (not traveling with tefillin) who have
had this experience. And I personally know of many people who have flown
in and out of airports all over the US whose carry on luggage (including
tefillin) has never been hand inspected. So tefillin per se are not an
airport security trigger. But if they do a hand inspection of your carry
on luggage and that includes tefillin, they're going to be hand



From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 14:45:43 -0800
Subject: looking for a Journal issue

[I am looking for the] second volume of the Journal of Halacha and
Contemporary Society (1981) 



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 14:22:20 GMT
Subject: Lost Kesuba

You can use a fill in the blanks form of kesuba d'irchesa (lost kesuba)
but this is NOT a do it yourself project-get thee to a Rabbi and take
care of it ASAP.

It's not a big deal but does need to be done right.



From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 06:20:36 -0800
Subject: Not Liking Meat

Ok, all factory-farming or Rav Kook anecdotes aside, am I correct to
assume that a person who dislikes the taste of meat (or who feels sick
when eating it) can freely choose to abstain from it?

I always get confused when this topic surfaces on M.J - there seems to
be a stated objection to abstaining from meat for "extra-halakhic-moral"
reasons, but sometimes that is phrased as how you're supposed to eat
meat on chag or shabbat.  And I'm never sure whether that argument is
meant to say, "see, meat isn't immoral for Jews" or to say, "all must
eat meat".

--Leah S. R. Gordon (who doesn't like meat except craving it when pregnant)

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 04:35:14 -0500
Subject: Not Liking Meat

I believe that there are two different issues, and sometimes it might
not be clear which issue a particular poster might be addressing. 

One issue is whether it is valid, from a halachic / torah philosophic
point of view, to say that one is vegetarian because we as humans do not
have the moral right to kill other creatures for our purposes (meat,
hides etc). I believe the consensus of halachic opinions is that the
above position is contrary to the halachic / torah philosophic point of
view. The Torah clearly states that we have that right, and to argue
that killing animals for human purposes is immoral is tantamount to
saying that your own sense of morality superceeds the Torah. I believe
we reject that as a valid position.

A second issue is for someone who is not argueing the moral right
position, but simply does not like the taste of meat. Is there any
halachic obligation to eat meat. If there is, then by definition, one
cannot be a strict vegetarian. It seems clear that in the time of the
Beit HaMikdash (Temple) the answer is clearly that there was an
obligation to eat meat. At a minimum you have the Korban Pesach, you
also likely have the Korban Chagiga during each Yom Tov. In the post
Temple era, I believe the issue is less clear, with some poskim holding
that the halacha of simcha (joy) on Yom Tov requires the eating of some
meat on Yom Tov, others who may not view it as a requirement, but do
view it as a positive element of the observance of Simchat Yom Tov,
while yet others would hold that if the eating of meat does not give you
joy, then it is not a fulfillment of Simchat Yom Tov.

A third issue is whether from a purely halachic / torah philosophic
perspective, is the eating of meat not as part of a Korban something
that is permitted but is viewed as non-ideal. This is based, at least in
part, on the language in the Torah where the permission to slaughter and
eat meat outside the Temple is described. The simple reading of the text
would indicate that while it is permitted, the ideal would be to refrain
from any meat that is not part of a Korban. Even if this reading is
correct, it is also a question whether this applies only during the time
when there is a Beis HaMikdash, or even after that period.

A fourth issue (likely related to the above) is whether there is a
kabbalistic approach that would say that the ideal situation would be to
not eat meat. I am not familiar with this, but is has been brought up in
the discussion here.

A fifth issue, which is what started this last discussion, is whether
the large majority of commercial meat should be avoided, not because of
the eating meat issue, but because of an extension of the ban from
poskim in the middle of last century on buying / eating white veal, due
to the extreme cruelty of the meat farming process. The arguement being
made by some is that all meat farming today is equavalent to the
conditions of white veal meat farming of the mid/late 1900's. This
contention has been challanged by a number of list members and no major
Halachic posek has been identified who supports this contention, as far
as I can see.

So, to your question, like most such questions, the technical answer is
likely to be that it is a matter of different opinions. Thus like all
other such issues, the answer is: consult your local halachic
authority. However, based on my understanding, if you do like meat,
there is no problem choosing not to eat meat, with the possible
exception of a requirement / strong suggestion to have a small amount of
meat three times a year. If you are made sick by meat, I would tend to
guess that it would nullify the requirement / positive aspect of Simchat
Yom Tov. Does anyone know whether there are responsa on what the
situation would be in the time of the Temple for someone made sick (but
not dangerously) by meat in terms of the requirement for Korban Pesach?



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 11:21:15 -0600
Subject: Re: Sefer Hatapuach?

I have a question for the learned members of this group.  Anyone ever
hear of a Sefer Hatapuach?  You may reply on or off list.  Thanks either

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 05:31:42 -0500
Subject: RE: Torah and Ideal State

> Furthermore, when the Torah was given there were commandments that were
> not yet relevant, such as those pertaining to the Land of Israel, which
> had not yet been conquered.  So, the Torah could have been given to Adam
> for him to pass down the generations until it became (for want of a
> better word) relevant.
> As for the second point of being able to deduce the Torah on one's own,
> how would that work with statutes, e.g. the Red Heifer?  By definition
> these are beyond human understanding, so how can anyone work them out on
> their own initiative?

Similar questions are asked on how the avot kept all the torah. Suffice
it to say there are answers given. I have a pdf of mareh mkomot on the

Joel RIch


End of Volume 53 Issue 17