Volume 58 Number 17 
      Produced: Wed, 26 May 2010 21:23:49 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

chumrah (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
cohabition outside of marriage (3)
    [Russell J Hendel  Avraham Walfish  Avraham Walfish]
kashrut agencies (2)
    [Harry Weiss  I. Balbin]
Log Ba`Omer, ministry of education announcement 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
minkha gedola 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]
treif grape juice (3)
    [<Smwise3@...> Ira L. Jacobson  Michael Rogovin]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, May 6,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: chumrah

Carl Singer wrote:
> Is more restrictive necessarily more (properly) observant?
This reminds me of the story of the Brisker Rav who was asked about a
particular ruling involving Shabbos and Pikuach Nefesh (saving a
life). He answered, "I am not maikil (lenient) on Shabbos, I am
machmir (strict) on Pikuach Nefesh". That is machmir is not
"restrictive", it should be translated more as "strict". That is, if
it is required to do something (rather than refrain - which is
restrictive), then it is machmir to do it.

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

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, May 9,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: chumrah

This is an anecdote involving marketing trends. At one point Manischewitz wine
began a marketing campaign to nonJews. It turned out that this campaign
actually caused a drop in the amount of wine purchased by people who kept
kosher. Similarly, kosher hot dogs were being sold at nonkosher venues (such
as baseball stadia). This actually caused people to suspect that the
hashgacha [kosher certification] was not trustworthy. Once the rumors or
word of mouth start, it is hard to maintain a share of the kosher market.

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


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

Carl asks, in v58n14, for a resolution of the contradiction that a) Jewish law
prohibits premarital sex but b) sexual relation, at least biblically, is a means
of entering a marriage!

The answer is quite simple. Sexual relation only creates a marriage when there
is a prior WITNESSED DECLARATION. For example, If Abe states to Isaac and Jacob,
"This woman, Sarah, is bethrothed (mekudesheth) to me by virtue of this coming
relation, according to the laws of Moses and Israel," and then, before the
witnesses, goes with Sarah into an apartment, (and has relations - the witnesses
do not have to see the relations but do have to see them going into an
apartment), then Sarah is legally BETHROTHED to Abraham. (They can then recite
the so called SHEVA BERACOTH (seven blessings) in a quorom of 10 AND give the
marital contract and she would be married).

Several points are in order here. (1) Legally a man may not have further
relations with his bethrohed woman UNTIL the marriage is complete. (2)
Rabbinically, bethrothal by relations is prohibited (Note: If the couple
violated the prohibition and did the above then they are bethrothed) Today we
use a RING to accomplish the bethrothal. (3) Very very important: A marriage
must have a "marital contract." 

Let us examine #3. What is to prevent me from wanting a woman, marrying her, and
then a month later "moving on." After all I have the right to divorce her
AGAINST HER WILL. To remedy this situation the Talmudic Rabbis (Some say the
Bible itself) instituted the "marital contract." The marital contract OBLIGATES
the husband if he divorces his wife to support her (alimony) and any offspring.
In other words the marital contract is a contractual obligation to accept a
monetary penalty for divorce. By discouraging divorce in this way, the Talmudic
Rabbis prevented legalized premarital sex.

The above is all "legaleze." I think it important to answer Carl
philosophically. What after all is the difference between a) Premarital sex and
b) bethrothal through sex? One difference is frequency (After bethrothal further
relations are prohibited till the marriage ceremony is done) But most
importantly the difference is the "marital contract" - COMMITTMENT. In fact the
reason we council girls not to premaritally involve with men is because they
dont realize how easy it is to DUMP someone and leave them stranded. So here the
law beautifully mirrors ethical concerns. Sure it is ok to have sex...but COMMIT
yourself to your partner. Or, the contrapositive, if the man wants the right to
opt out and dump his partner (for a prettier one) that is OK (really), but let
him be adult enough not to have relations. Either way, the "woman is protected"
by the laws.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.rashiyomi.com/

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

I'm sorry that Jay Schachter seems to feel that, in order to defend the
thesis that more women go to the mikveh than Anonymous counted, he has to
slander other women. Insofar as, in his view, Torah-observant women will
normally be "either pregnant or nursing for most of her childbearing years",
insofar as "artificial contraception is rarely permitted", he concludes that
frequent use of mikveh represents a decline in Torah-observance due to
placing career before family. This is gross oversimplification of a complex
topic and casts aspersion on many observant God-fearing Jewish women.
Rabbinic permission of contraception is far more frequent than Jay seems to
think - and, to forestall doubts as to which rabbis I am referring to,
before my marriage I consulted with my teachers Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and
Rabbi Soloveichik on the topic. I don't want to detail what they told
me, because these are questions that should be answered on an individual
As far as nursing is concerned, even women who don't work during their
nursing months rarely experience cessation of menstruation throughout their
nursing, as was true at the time of Hazal. Moreover, current child-rearing
wisdom does not recommend, and certainly does not require, nursing for a
full two years, as was the case in the pre-modern world.
Finally, Jay indicates that proper observance of halakhah requires engaging
in marital relations every night, unless the husband has tiring labor, or
unless the wife's waiver of her conjugal rights indicates that the husband
has failed to properly express his marital love. The halakhot governing
frequency of sexual relations are, as he noted, designed to safeguard the
wife's conjugal rights, and are highly sensitive to changing conditions and
mores. There can be many legitimate reasons why a couple will decide to have
less frequent sexual relations than stipulated in the halakhah. Adopting a
judgmental attitude towards this is unwarranted and violates the Torah's
injunction not to cast aspersions on observant Jewish communities.

Rabbi Dr. Avraham Walfish

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

It is simply untrue to state, as Russell asserts, that ALL AUTHORITIES
PROHIBIT ALL FORMS OF PREMARITAL SEX. All authorities do indeed agree that
premarital sex violates the positive commandment of performing kiddushin
before sexual relations - and some authorities feel that any non-marital
relations violate Torah prohibitions regarding prostitution.  However, it cannot
be denied that some authorities make an exception for *pilegesh*, in which the
sexual liasion has been contracted in some way other than the normal Jewish
wedding. According to Rashi (Bereishit 15:6), *pilegesh *means* *that the
relationship was formalized by means of kiddushin without a ketubah, and this
would fit Russell's thesis.

It has been speculated that this was Rashi's girsa of the talmudic definition of
*pilegesh* on Sanhedrin 21a (see Rivash, no. 395), and may have been the girsa
of the Rambam. In any event, the Rambam seems to permit *pilegesh* only to a
king (Ramban reads Rambam differently), and this too fits Russell's thesis. But
most texts of the gemara in Sanhedrin read that a *pilegesh *has neither
kiddushin nor ketubah, and many rishonim accepted this definition - most
famously, the Ramban (Torah commentary to Vayikra 19:29, Sefer Hamitzvot, end of
shoresh 5 and negative commandment 355). What the Ramban prohibits as
prostitution (and this is the simple reading of the Raavad as well) is only
promiscuous sexuality, i.e. maintaining a sexual relationship with more than one
man simultaneously. As long as the woman intends to maintain the sexual
relationship with only one man at a time, this is defined as *pilegesh* and
permitted by Ramban. There is absolutely no indication that Ramban requires
some form of formalization of the relationship - the fact that the woman
lives with one man, in their common home, and maintains fidelity to him as
long as they are living together is sufficient.

For these and other sources, as well as full-dress discussion, see Rav
Elyakim Elinson's book, *Nissuin Shelo Kedat Moshe Veyisrael*.
Avie Walfish


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Sun, May 9,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: kashrut agencies

Akiva Miller wrote:
>> The OU/RCA did 2 things: (1) they only certified glatt meat and
>> (2) they perpetuated the myth (directly and through their member
>> community rabbis) that only glatt meat was reliably kosher.
> Can you offer any evidence for this?
> Back in the 70's, and perhaps even later, the OU certainly did certify 
> non-glatt meat, although I concede that I do not remember the brand names.

There were a number of factors that caused the shift.  The first one was the 
establshment of Prime Kosher (Weiss packing) out of Pittsburgh followed by 
Rubashkin.  Before these companies  (actually Prime going national)  kosher 
meat was generally sold to butchers in hanging quarters.  This required it 
to be soaked and salted either in the customer's home or in the butcher 
shop.  There were additional issues during transport.   I remember my father 
getting numerous calls to go out to a truck stop to wash meat before the 72 
hours expired.

Prime started shipping their meats in cryovacced primal cuts that were 
already soaked and salted.    This improved Kashrut from several standponts. 
1.  All meat was soaked and salted before it reached the retalier, 
eliminating the 72 hour problem. The meat was also trimmed, had all 
forbidden fats, veins and sinews removed under appropriate supervision in the 

On a more practical level it also reduced shipping costs since waste 
portions were not shipped and allowed less skilled meat cutters to cut meat. 
These companies happened to be glatt.  What  happened in short run is that 
most shomer shabbos butchers used these products and the other non Glatt was 
dominated by non shomer shabbos butchers  (the stores were closed, but many 
of the butchers were not)

BTW, the last brand of OU non glatt I remember is 999 which eventually 
became totally glatt.

> That is history as I remember it. And if those memories are accurate, then 
> the changes were not rabbi-driven, but market-driven. Can Mr. Rogovin offer 
> any examples of where the OU said to a non-glatt company, "You're going to 
> have to upgrade to glatt, or we'll drop you as a customer," or where they 
> told anapplicant, "Your procedures are fine, but we can't accpt you because 
> you're not glatt"?

An interesting case  would be David's.  It was the non Glatt version made by 
Rubashkin, but had the supervision of Rabbi Zeliogold of Upper Midwest 
Kosher, not the OU or Rabbi Weissmandel.

From: I. Balbin <Isaac.Balbin@...>
Date: Thu, May 13,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: kashrut agencies

Mordechai Horowitz wrote:
> I object and I won't buy the inedible passover food marked non gebrochs [not
> containing matza that has been dampened]. If a cake or cookie isn't made with
> matzoh meal I won't buy it because it tastes horrible.  Last time I checked
> one shouldn't do "chumras" [stringencies] that cause people to violate Torah
> commandments such as rejoicing on Yom Tov.

Hardly. People might consider making their own cakes and cookies.
Is that a "hardship"? Some always did/do this.
Perhaps the "reform" in Judaism is that we have to have everything made for us
and that there is some special mitzvah in having EVERY type of food known to
mankind kosher lepesach. In former days when gebrochts [the custom of not eating
matza that has become wet --MOD] was freely available
those who didn't use it made their own food. Some only eat their own food.
This issue is about business sense (or nonsense according to you), not some
stricture in Yahadus [Judaism --MOD].

>  As it's a Torah commandment to
> rejoice on Yom Tov and part of that Torah commandment is enjoying the food,
> eating food that tastes bad because of a chumra that is not part of non
> chassidic Jewish tradition seems to be a violation of Torah.
If you are in Melbourne on Pesach, and you eat out, you can come to our house
and I assure you my wife's cooking will delight you. We don't use gebrochts
though because my father doesn't. You won't get fresh garlic, or herring, or a
few other things but it will be good nonetheless.

> I also won't buy spoiled "chalav yisrael" milk [where the milking is
> supervised by a Jew].  Not sure why some people consider it more religious to
> drink spoiled milk because a unemployed yeshiva student was hired to watch
> the gentiles hook up the machines to milk the cow but don't think there is a
> religious obligation to ensure the "Jewish" milk is properly refrigerated
> before it is sold to hard working Jewish people to feed to Jewish children.

Indeed. You could buy long life if it was a problem. I know some people can
taste the difference; it doesn't bother me. At the same time, buy normal milk
(that you also know is kosher; some milks have additives) before Pesach and
follow your Rav.  Who is forcing you to drink Chalav Yisrael?

> In the Torah I learned H-shem considers Jewish money precious and would 
> consider it thievery. So when these "frum" companies don't take care of the
> milk and it spoils after 1 or 2 days after a consumer buys it they are
> violating a Torah prohibition.

If they do things intentionally, I'd agree with you that they may possibly be
involved in a prohibition. In the least; G'neivas Daas [fooling people] if the
used by date is not real. On the other hand, if the used by date is realistic,
the buyer beware.

>  And if G-d forbid a Jewish child gets ill from this spoiled
> milk we have another major violation of Torah law which requires us to eat
> healthy food.
If a child gets ill from this spoiled food then the parents are responsible
especially if they know what you claim.

> Lets stop treating this chumras as if they are Torah.  They aren't.  I 
> would say in most cases they are violations of Torah.

You have no evidence for chumras being a violation of Torah. That's ridiculous.
Every time R' Moshe talks about a "Baal Nefesh" [someone who is punctilious] do
you ascribe a violation of Torah to their Chumrah?


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 29,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Log Ba`Omer, ministry of education announcement

Yesterday (Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010), the Ministry of Education in Israel made the
following announcement to its regional directors:

"The Chief Rabbinate has drawn our attention to the fact that the 
Chief Rabbis' office has received numerous complaints.  These 
complaints have been sent by parents with a Traditional-Religious 
lifestyle, who complain that their children have been invited to Log 
Ba`Omer campfires in the framework of their schools, and the 
activities are slated to begin during the Shabbat.

"We request you to instruct the schools to avoid desecration of the Shabbat."

One can only guess just how much hillul Shabbat would be avoided if 
the campfires were delayed by 24 hours, as I had suggested.

>From Jerusalem Kosher News:369

>To avoid chilul shabbat (shabbat desecration) on motzei shabbat Lag 
>B'Omer, the Chief Rabbinate calls on people to have their 
>traditional bonfires on Sunday, not Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night).

(For the original announcement [in Hebrew], see 
http://www.jerusalemkoshernews.com/wp-content/uploads/04-28-10.pdf [or 
http://tinyurl.com/2bo5g5h ], just above the signatures.  --Mod.)



From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Wed, May 5,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: minkha gedola

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind asked (Volume 58 Number 08) asked:
> I thought that for calculation of Mincha Gedola (the earliest time to
> pray the afternoon prayer) one waited 30 minutes after chatzos (midday
> between sunrise and sunset), not 6.5/12 of the time between sunrise and
> sunset, which would be the logical result of using sha'ot zemaniyot
> (hours calculated relative to the length of the day/night).

Given:  minkha ketana is calculated using shaot zemaniot [halachic hours MOD] -
not clock hours.

The gemara states that the interval between minkha gedola (6.5 hours) and minkha
ketana (9.5 hours) is 3 hours.

Question 1 - does this statement of the gemara apply year round or only on a 12
hour day?

Question 2 - are we using the calculation for the hours of the day commonly
called the approach of the Gaon (sunrise to sunset) or the calculation commonly
called  the Magen Avraham (alot hashachar [daybreak MOD] to tzait hakochavim
[appearance of stars MOD].)?

Only if we are following the Gaon - using sunrise to sunset to times - AND we
assume the gemara refers only to a 12 hour day, is your conclusion correct.

However, if we assume the statement applies year round or we are calculating in
accordance with the Magen Avraham, 30 minutes is NOT standard clock time.

Practically, we might take the maximum of (30 clock minutes and .5 of a shaah


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, May 6,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: treif grape juice

Anonymous of the treif grape juice wrote :
> Re.  education, there is no way I would ever refrain from exposing my  
> children to as large/significant body of knowledge as, say, Greek  Mythology.  
> What a loss for them that would  be! 
I am mystified by this comment. Perhaps you, as a frum person, could share  
with us the loss in not reading Greek mythology.  I fail to understand  
your passion on this topic

Stuart Wise

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, May 14,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: treif grape juice

Akiva Miller stated in mail-jewish Vol.58 #13 Digest:
>although we may not drink non-kosher wine itself, it does not render 
>utensils non-kosher.

An intersting halakhic discussion of this subject can be found at 


From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Fri, May 14,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: treif grape juice

Akiva Miller wrote:

> I'm actually surprised that that he said to throw out the juice. Most
> kosher grape juice is pasteurized, which (according to many rabbis) puts it
> in the category of "yayin mevushal" - "cooked wine", which remains kosher
> even if handled by an actual idol worshipper. Perhaps the particular grape
> juice you used was not pasteurized, or perhaps your rabbi does not consider
> pasteurization equal to cooking in this context.*** Perhaps it is because
> the kosher status of wine has nothing to do with any of the non-kosher
> animals or mixtures mentioned in the Torah, but is a distinct anti-idolatry
> law, and applies only to the wine itself, not to any utensils which absorbed
> that wine. I hope that someone else can remind me whether or not this is
> correct.

Perhaps the issue is yayin nesech (wine used in idolatrous worship) and stam
yayin (wine produced by non-Jews). Both are prohibited, but the rules
regarding the former are more strict since the prohibition is (IIRC)
d'oraita [from the Torah], whereas the latter is rabbinic. Also, while boiling
renders wine mevushal, (cooked) which means anyone can handle it and Jews can
drink it, it has nothing to do with yayin nesech or stam yayin (I think that
some ruled that boiling stam yayin makes it permitted, though that is not
normative halacha AFAIK).

I suspect, though do not know, that making any kosher wine an offering to a
false god may make it yayin nesech. As with stam yayin (or vinegar made from
stam yayin) it would not make dishes non-kosher, but it would be prohibited
to drink it. I would also think that, given the seriousness of the
prohibition against idol worship even a safek (doubtful case) would lead to
a ruling to throw out the wine, unless a great loss was involved.


End of Volume 58 Issue 17