Volume 58 Number 37 
      Produced: Mon, 05 Jul 2010 14:15:57 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Sephardic segregation. 
    [Martin Stern]
certification of scotch whisky (5)
    [Perets Mett  Josh Backon  Ira L. Jacobson  Immanuel Burton  Dr. William Gewirtz]
kashrut certification and politics 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
kosher in Arizona 
    [Ed Greenberg]
magical influences on halacha 
    [David Tzohar]
Sephardic segregation. 
    [Stuart Wise]
Southern Comfort issues 
yehi ratzon/acheinu kol Beit Yisrael (2)
    [Immanuel Burton  Eitan Fiorino]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 1,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject:  Sephardic segregation.

On Sun, Jun 27,2010, Shmuel Himelstein wrote:

> The statement was made, a few issues of MJ earlier, that:
> "Until this law suit came into being, the school had 2 tracks - the
> religious track which serviced the religious girls i.e. the Slonimers and a
> handful of Sefardi girls who are religious - and the non-religious track
> which serviced the non-religious girls - all of them Sefardim."
> That statement is wrong.

Shmuel is correct here since about 30% of the chassidic stream were
Sephardim, whereas 30% of the other were Ashkenazim, and no Sephardi girl
who wished to join the chassidic stream was refused. This shows that all
claims that this was a case of ethnic discrimination are unfounded.

> The consensus is that the dispute centered on two issues related to the dress
> code:
> a) whether the girls' shirts must be buttoned up to the very top or whether
> the top button can be unbuttoned.
> b) whether the sleeve must go down to the wrist and be buttoned, or whether
> the sleeve can be 10 centimeters (2.5 inches) below the elbow.
I am not sure whether Shmuel is entirely correct in his assertion that these
were the only points at dispute. From what I have read, it seems that
the absence from their homes of Television and Internet access were others.
There may well have been other stringencies but I do not see why a chassidic
school should not have its own more stringent religious criteria even if I
do not accept the necessity for them. (Incidentally 10 centimetres is more
like 4 inches than 2.5)

> Thus, to call these Sefardic girls "non-religious" is incorrect.

By our standards, Shmuel is correct but by that of the Slonimer chassidim it
is only a slight exaggeration. Their stringencies do have a halachic basis even
if they go beyond the generally accepted minimal halachic standards to which he
refers for female attire. But do we have the right to impose our views on them
any more than they have the right to compel us to accept theirs?

While it is undeniable that ethnic discrimination against Sephardim does
exist in Israel, it is far more prevalent in secular society than among the
chareidim. By its own criteria, the Israeli Supreme Court must be far
more guilty of such discrimination, in that only ONE out of 14 of its
permanent members is of Sephardi origin.

Martin Stern


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 29,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

Mark Steiner wrote:
> But do you expect the OU to give a hechsher to a beverage that has FIFTEEN
> PERCENT nonkosher wine?? 

Where on earth do you get the idea that whisky contains 15% wine?  or even 1.5%

Perets Mett

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 30,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

Dr. Steiner wrote:

> There is another issue which I have heard in the name of "Hungarian" rabbis,
> but I am not able to give source.  According to this "Hungarian" idea, the
> entire Yoreh Deah rules for nullifying mixtures apply to what happens by
> accident--a drop of milk falls into the soup, and the like.  In the case of
> manufactured foods, even by non-Jews, these laws do not apply, and we should
> treat, say they, such a mixture, as though a Jew deliberately threw milk in
> the cholent, in which case there is no possibility of nullification.

This is based on the halachic concept of "ein mevatlin issur (d'oraita)
l'chatchila" [one cannot nullify in advance a nonkosher mixture by
deliberately adding the kosher ingredient in order to increase the ratio
of the volume to 60:1] (see: Yerushalmi Terumah 5:3 as per the Taz in
Yoreh Deah 99 s"k 8). The question revolves around to WHOM is the
new mixture forbidden? According to the Shach there (YD 99 s"k 11):
the person who deliberately added the kosher ingredient and whoever
he was *mevatel* the prohibition for. However, according to the Taz
(YD 99 s"k 10) and Meharshal (7:59) the people he nullified the mixture
for are only forbidden to benefit if they KNOW about the nullification
and agreed to it.

The next question is what level of prohibition is involved. According to
the Raavad it is a Torah prohibition. However, according to the Shach
(s"k 7) [based on the Ran and Tosafot] it is a rabbinic prohibition. According
to the Noda B'Yehuda (Mahadura Tinyana 45) bitul of the taam (flavor) is
a rabbinic prohibition.

All the above refers to an issur d'oraita (Torah prohibited mixture).

According to my reasoning, if you'd ask 100 novice drinkers of  whiskey
what's inside, 99% would never guess it contains wine (or even notice
any taste of wine). Ergo, there's no *taam k'ikkar" [only if the taste of the
forbidden substance is discernible is the mixture prohibited]. In addition, the
wine is *stam yeinam* which according to the Rema YD 134:2 is batel b'shishim.
And the mixture is "min be'she'eino mino" [2 dissimilar substances in taste].

PEYRUSH RASHI: if you have no idea there is wine in the whiskey, you 
didn't put it in, you can't even taste it, and the wine is *stam yeinam*, I can
see why Rav Moshe permitted this blending.

BTW even if yayin nesech (forbidden by Torah law) falls into kosher 
wine and there is a ratio of 60:1 of permitted to forbidden wine, the mixture is
permitted (see: Beer Heitev  YD 134 s"k 1). See also Pitchei Tshuva YD 134:1
about pouring yayin nesech on to kosher wine. Regarding blends of grape hulls
(shemarim) with drinks (Rema in YD 114:6) it is certainly permitted
in a ratio of 60:1 of permitted to forbidden since there is no discernible
taste. Incidentally, it's my guess that in blending small amounts of wine into
whiskey, the way it is blended is that the wine is poured into the whiskey.

CYLOWM  (see your local Orthodox whiskey maker) :-)

Josh Backon

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 30,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

Mark Steiner stated in mail-Jewish Digest Vol.58 #35:
>   I believe the OU did not always have this standard, and allowed 
> animal gelatine (Baron's candies),

To the best of my recollection, the gelatin in Barton's candies was 
unlike the gelatin in such products as Jello.  While the latter was 
from non-kosher animals, Barton's was prepared only from kosher 
animals, slaughtered in Western Europe (Belgium?).

>as did many individual European born rabbis, on the basis of a 
>responsum by R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky allowing it. R. Aharon Kotler 
>wrote a very long teshuva refuting (or attempting to refute) R. 
>Chaim Ozer's heter, and my feeling is that he had a big impact on 
>the OU.  The rabbanut in Israel still relies on this heter, which 
>means that visitors who do not eat gelatine made from non-kosher 
>animals cannot rely on the rabbanut without further investigation.

I heard a shi`ur from the late rav of Ramat Gan, Harav Ushpizai, 
nearly 40 years ago, in which he pointed out the problem and said 
that they were trying to solve it.  He supervised Elite.  I am not 
aware of any progress in the intervening period, but there are 
companies in Israel today that use fish gelatin and have a mehadrin hekhsher.


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 1,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

In Mail.Jewish v58n35 it was written:

> I plead "not guilty." By "lesser standing," I was not referring to the
> level of  qualification, but to level of acceptance, and it is unquestionable
> that in the US, where the largest kosher market for the product is located,
> the OU is more widely accepted than the LBD.

I'm afraid I don't see the distinction or understand this clarification.  To
start at a basic level, why should the LBD not be as widely accepted?  The fact
of the matter is that Glenmorangie is produced in a country with a local Beth
Din, the LBD (as well as several other kashrus licensing authorities), and so
should have the local hechsher on it.  The argument presented in the above quote
seems to be saying that since the OU hechsher is more widely accepted in the US
it should have an OU hechsher rather than an LBD one.  If that is indeed the
case, where should one draw the line?  If a British couple get married under the
auspices of the LBD in the UK and then move to the USA, should they have to get
remarried under the auspices of an American authority?  Should British converts
have to "re-convert" if they move to America?  Should LBD divorces not be
accepted in the USA unless an American get [religious bill of divorce] is also
arranged?  And why stop at the LBD?  Maybe all non-American kosher products
imported into the USA should be required to have an OU hechsher.  Come to that,
why an OU and not a different American hechsher?

If there is nothing wrong with the LBD hechsher, then what's wrong with
publicising the fact and educating people accordingly so that it will be
accepted in the USA?  If there is something wrong with the LBD hechsher, then
please explain what.  If the OU hechsher is more widely accepted than the LBD,
then what is the LBD doing wrong?  As a newcomer to Canada I am still getting
used to the variety of kosher symbols on products, and if I see one that I do
not recognise or which I haven't seen before I make suitable enquiries as to its
reliability, usually by first asking my Canadian wife.

It was further written:

> In any event, the main thrust of my posting was that the accusation
> leveled at the OU that it pirated away a hechsher from the LBD is
> without basis in fact, since the OU's Kashruth Division does not, and
> has no reason to, seek out new products for its supervision.

How does this logic work?  On what basis are you saying that the accusation
levelled at the OU is without basis in fact?  How do you know they do not seek
or have reason to seek new products?  My original quote cited Rabbi Yitzchok
Shochet, whose column I read regularly, and who I do not believe would make any
false statement, especially one of this nature.  

With regards to the LBD symbol appearing on products in the UK, I believe that
in some cases this is by the choice of the manufacturer rather than any other
reason.  I was once present at a talk given by Rabbi Jeremy Conway, head of the
Kashrus Division of the LBD.  A member of the audience asked why the Weetabix
breakfast cereal is available in Israel with the LBD logo on the packet, but not
in the UK.  Rabbi Conway replied that the manufacturers of Weetabix had decided,
for whatever reason, not to put the LBD logo on their British packaging.  I have
also heard that Mars did not want to put the LBD logo on the packaging of Mars
Bars (which obtained LBD supervision sometime round June 2009) as that would
open the floodgates for other organisations, e.g. suitable for vegetarians,
hallal, etc, also wanting to put their symbols on their packaging, for which
there was little spare room.

The LBD also publishes a book (with email updates) of kosher certified and
supervised products.  This book includes items certified as kosher by other
Rabbinical authorities, so a bit of reciprocation in recognition wouldn't go amiss.

The other question that I raised in my original posting on this topic was why
all of a sudden whisky with a hechsher is deemed necessary.  Will people deem
this a trend setter, and next thing we know all whisky will be required to have
a hechsher?

Immanuel Burton.

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 2,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

1) I have been told by a reliable source that R. Moshe Feinstein ztl considered
taam [taste - MOD] from casks unlike an admixture of wine, to be entirely
permissible and not even an area for a baal nefesh [a person who is particularly
careful - MOD] to be machmir [stringent]. 

2) Some evidence from experiments is that the type of sherry (more or less
sweet) has little impact on the scotch. This is a long topic for discussion and
I have no knowledge, but I have heard the impact of wine casks is not direct ta'am. 

3) does "ain mevatlin issur lekhatklhilah [one may not deliberately nullify a
prohibited substance in a mixture]" apply to a mixture already created (by a
non-jew in this case) prior to purchase? I believe R. Moshe Feinstein ztl
says it does not, unlike the "Hungarians" Mark Steiner quotes. I do not have an
Iggros Moshe handy.


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 4,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: kashrut certification and politics

If anyone is doubts the seamy historical underside of the kashrut business, read
about Rabbi Jacob Joseph, the first and last Chief Rabbi of New York, who got
involved in the kashrut industry and paid a dear price for it.  You can find
some of this at (of all places) the Jewish Press web site (search for Dr.
Yitzchok Levine's articles on Rabbi Jacob Joseph from 2008).  There is also some
discussion of these issues in Aaron Rakeffet's books on Bernard Revel and
Eliezer Silver.  Rav Soloveitchik's kashrut battles are documented in Seth
Farber's "An American Orthodox Dreamer." There is an out-of-print book called
something like "Fraud, piety and politics" about the nasty early history of the
kashrut industry in New York. I have searched for it to no avail, because I
think I've got the title wrong (if anyone knows the book, please post the
correct title).

I think one would be naive to imagine that the kashrut business, like any other,
is immune to improper and unethical business practices - both on the production
side (well, we all know that already) and the supervision side.  It would be
nice if it were not so, but we also know (sadly, very sadly) that neither
semicha [rabbinic ordination - MOD] nor being osek betzarchei tzibbur [working
for the good of the community - MOD] provides protection against moral and
ethical lapses.



From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 1,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: kosher in Arizona

Batya Medad wrote:

> I'll be in the Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix AZ area in two weeks for a few
> days and would appreciate all information concerning kosher restaurants,
> stores, coffee places etc.

This page lists what the Vaad Hakashrus offers: 

In Scottsdale, Chabad of Scottsdale certifies, and links to 

This thread from Chowhound has relevance: 
And this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/273840

There was a page of Yahoo Local regarding kosher food, but it linked to 
non-kosher places, so be cautious.

Side note to Sabba: Tucson is several hours drive, and a different city 
entirely. The Phoenix metro area is so large that opposite ends might be 
considered too far away :)



From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 1,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: magical influences on halacha

Eitan Fiorino complained that "despite a much better understanding of  how
the world works we have huge sections of Jewry believing in magical concepts"
and that "this represents a major failure of Jewish education...we have failed
to teach both proper Jewish thought and belief"

In contradistinction to Eitan's view the Torah greats from Chazal through the
Rishonim {perhaps with the exception of RAMBAM} the Gra, Baalshem Tov down
to Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe all believed in a spiritual world
parallel to our material world. It is difficult for the Western educated Jew
to accept a concept that cannot be proven empirically, but that is what
belief is all about. I fail to see why it is more difficult to believe in
the existance of angels and other spiritual beings than it is to believe in
an invisible G-d who intervenes in human affairs. I think that modern man has
much less of an understanding of how the world works since he is less in
touch with the spiritual. As someone who has witnessed moftim (miracles)
brought about by one of the great Rabbis of our generation, Rav Mordechai
Eliahu,ZYA, things that in no way could be explained rationally, I can no
longer dismiss the spiritual dimension simply because it is unproven.
I also think a little anava (humility) is in order before deciding what is
"proper Jewish thought and belief"

David Tzohar

From: Stuart Wise
Date: Tue, Jun 29,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic segregation.

Alan Ash writes:

> With  this recent news of the school segregation -- why would we want
> Sephardic children to be brought up and educated through the Ashkenazic 
> school system anyway.  The Sephardic kids would loose all identity -  
> thought process - customs- proper reading - tradition of being open and
> worldly. Teaching them to be Ashkenazim would be a disaster.   

> How can anybody in America or Israel defend that -- hopefully all 
> yeshivot will have to come to reality.

I don't know if you are serious, but to me the real, sad issue is that the  
Ashkenazim want to segregate because they are so insecure in their own 
ability to raise their kids that they fear that exposure to anything different 
immediately will undo all that they instilled in their children. Of course, 
things do happen, but why have so little faith in their parenting ability or 
in their children's commitment that they should have such fears.  Maybe 
deep down they are insecure about their commitment to Yiddishkeit.
Stuart Wise


From: Chips <chips@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 30,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Southern Comfort issues

Before drinking any type of it, anywhere - ask a Rabbi who knows the situation
if the drink you want to have is Dairy. Some Southern Comfort is make with dairy


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 1,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: yehi ratzon/acheinu kol Beit Yisrael

> What is the original source for these additional paragraphs added on Monday
> and Thursday after Kriat HaTorah [Torah reading --MOD]? Are they from the
> same source? When were they added to the tefilot?

According to The Encyclopedia Of Jewish Prayer by Macy Nulman (pub. Jason
Aronson Inc, 1993), these paragraphs appear in the Seder Rav Amram Gaon (9th
century) and the Kol Bo.  One possible reason given for saying the prayers on
Mondays and Thursdays is that tradition regards Mondays and Thursdays as
special, favourable days for God to respond to our pleas.  The source cited for
this reason is Tractate Baba Kama page 82a, Tosfos with the heading "Keday Shelo

Immanuel Burton.

From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 4,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: yehi ratzon/acheinu kol Beit Yisrael

To add to Martin's comments (Volume 58 Number 35) - the yehi ratzons are first
found in the Seder of Rav Amram Gaon.  The Machzor Vitri has them also, but said
after mincha on Shabbat.  The Italian nusach has them in the same place as
Ashkenaz, whereas the Romaniote (Greek/Byzantine) nusach follows the Machzor
Vitri.  Interesting to note Ashkenaz and Italy following Rav Amram Gaon here,
and Sepharad diverging - Rav Amram Gaon is considered an (the) early source for
the Sephardi nusach.  Our texts of Rav Amram Gaon are somewhat corrupt, however,
and it is hard to know sometimes if a prayer was added by a later copiest.  



End of Volume 58 Issue 37