Volume 58 Number 40 
      Produced: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 00:02:30 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

certification of scotch whisky 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
daughters of Zelophchad (4)
    [Art Werschulz  Jack Stroh  Martin Stern  Russell J Hendel]
interesting Tefillin custom 
    [Martin Stern]
kashrut of Kahlua (3)
    [Stephen Colman  Harlan Braude  Haim Snyder]
photograph of birchat hakohanim 
    [David Ziants]
Sephardic segregation 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 4,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

In reply to the M-J V58#35 responses of Elazar M. Teitz and Mark Steiner:

Let's keep it simple. I would have thought that the issue with blended
whiskies and non-blended ones which are left in casks previously used
to store wine is a question of "ain mevatlin issur lechatchilah," one
may not nullify a prohibition ab initio.  This is a huge subject, a  
summary of which can be found in the Sefer Kesef Nivchar pp.16-18.

If I understand the poskim [Halachic decisors -- Mod.] correctly (including the 
"Hungarians", one of whom was my father's and my halocho rebbe's rebbe i.e. 
Dayan Weiss - the Minchas Yitzchok), when a non-Jew has nullified a rabbinic
prohibition it is considered annulled be'di'avad (post facto) and therefore
permitted lechatchilah [ab initio -- Mod.] to Jews.  Even the OU accepts this,
as did all the Batei Din of Europe and Israel.

The Chida [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Joseph_David_Azulai -- Mod.] 
writes clearly that anyone who rejects the laws of nulification is "kofer
beChazal," denying the authority of the Talmudic rabbis! 

So this is an area where one should be careful not to try and be "holier than
thou" and certainly not holier than the late posek hador [decisor of the 
(entire) generation --Mod.] Rav Moshe Feinstein zatza"l!

It would also seem logical that as a rule, products should be supervised by the
local Beth Din, and if necessary for wider distribution a further hechsher
[kosher supervision --MOD] added, as is the case in Israel and Europe.

Finally, I should like to give eyewitness testimony that I saw some of
the greatest rabbis of their generation, including Dayan Weiss, Dayan
Grossnass, Dayan Golditch, Rav Koppul Kahana (a Talmid of the Chofetz
Chayyim [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yisrael_Meir_Kagan --Mod.]), Dayan 
Fisher (also a Talmid of the Chofetz Chayyim), Rav Turetsky and Rav Lieberman 
all drink whisky without a hechsher.  In fact I would go so far as to say that 
anyone who puts a hechsher on whisky (or bottled water for that matter - which I
have also seen!) is guilty of genevas daas (misleading the public) and genevas
mamon (stealing money) as well.


Rabbi Meir Wise
One of the rabbis of lesser standing in London.


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 12,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: daughters of Zelophchad


Irwin Weiss wrote:

> Toward the very end of Parshat Mas'ei the daughters of Zelophchad are listed by
> name. The order is somewhat different than when they are first mentioned in
> Parshat Pinchas.
> I remember reading somewhere something about the change in the order, but cannot
> find it. Can anyone enlighten me with an explanation for why the daughter's
> names are in different orders in the two places, and provide a source?

In Numbers 27:1, it's in order of wisdom; in Numbers 36:11, it's in order of
age.  Moreover, a baraita says in the name of R' Yishmael that they were all
equal, based on the word "va'tih'yena".  See Bava Batra 120a.

Art Werschulz

From: Jack Stroh <jackstroh@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 12,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: daughters of Zelophchad

The different order at the end of Sefer Bamidbar has them in age order, 
the order in which they were married to their cousins per the word of 
Hashem via Moshe. The earlier order goes in order of chochma [wisdom - MOD].

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: daughters of Zelophchad

On Fri, Jul 9,2010, Irwin Weiss wrote:

> Toward the very end of Parshat Mas'ei the daughters of Zelophchad are listed
> by name. The order is somewhat different than when they are first mentioned in
> Parshat Pinchas.
> I remember reading somewhere something about the change in the order, but
> cannot find it. Can anyone enlighten me with an explanation for why the
> daughters' names are in different orders in the two places, and provide a
> source?

Rashi on Bam. 36, 11, based on Bava Batra 120a, writes that they are listed there
in the order of age as that is the order in which they married and
elsewhere in the order of their wisdom. The Gemara there says that the
varying orders is to show that they were equally righteous. Rashi continues
to say, based on Sifri 133, that it is to show that they were all equally

Martin Stern

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: daughters of Zelophchad

Irwin Weiss, v58n39, raises the fascinating question of the meaning of sequence
in compound subjects and objects. The official Midrashic rule (e.g. Rashi
Nu36-11a citing Baba Bathra 120a) is 
> If the Bible **always** uses **one** sequence then that sequence indicates
> importance; however if the Bible **alternates sequence** it thereby indicates
> that all members of the compound subject/object are equal in importance.

Rashi, as is his custom, **amplifies** on this Talmudic Midrash: 
> Sometimes the Scripture enumerates them by their rank in intelligence and
> other times by their rank in age thereby implying that they are all equal. 

In other words, Rashi, accepting that alternate sequencing implies equal
importance, nevertheless, points out, that the difference sequences can still
indicate different rankings.

This Rashi principle is brought on the Rashi website at

A major purpose of the Rashi website is to explore and verify Rashis by
providing **lists** of examples.  There several compound subjects are explored.

For example: 

A) Heaven/earth (Gn01-01, Gn02-04), 
B) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Dt34-04, Lv26-42), 
C) Tzlafchad's daughters (Nu26-33, Nu36-11), 
D) Mishpatim/Chukim (Lv18-05, Dt08-11), Sign/Strong Hand (of God) (Dt26-08,

all have sequence alternation indicating equal importance. 

By contrast certain pairs like 

A) Moses/Aaron (Lv11-01, Lv13-01, Lv14-33, Lv15-01, Nu04-01, Nu04-17) 
B) Jacob's wives (Gn29-31) 

are always listed in a specific order thereby showing that Moses had more
importance than Aaron and Rachel more importance than the other wives. 

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. ASA; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: interesting Tefillin custom

On Sun, Jul 11,2010, Shmuel Himelstein asked:

> When we were in the Golan Heights, praying at a synagogue of one of the
> hotels there, I noticed a man who took out a standard-size tefillin bag,
> opened it, and then proceeded to take out a smaller cloth bag which
> contained only his tefillin of the hand. After putting that on, he proceeded
> to take out another little cloth bag with the tefillin of the head.
> Has anyone seen such a custom or have an explanation of it?
> Of course this might be a single person's action, with no corresponding
> precedent elsewhere.

Shmuel's surmise is most likely correct but one could suggest reasons
underlying this person's action. One might be that the two inner bags might
have helped distinguish the two tefillin so as to avoid taking the wrong one
out first. Another possibility is that he has the tefillin double wrapped so
that, if the bag were dropped, he would not have to fast that day. One might be
able to read even more into this 'custom' but I very much doubt if such
considerations were in the person's mind.

Martin Stern


From: Stephen Colman <stephencolman2@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: kashrut of Kahlua

Moshe Bach asked about the kashrut of kahlua

I just checked the London Beth Din site and it lists Kahlua as approved kosher
Parev - except when purchased in the USA

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: kashrut of Kahlua

Maury (Moshe) Bach asked about the kashrut of kahlua

I last contacted the OU regarding the status of Kahlua in 2009 and was 
referred to their Kahlua guy at that time, Rabbi Dovid Polsky 

Contact him directly to get the facts directly from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Good luck.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 13,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: kashrut of Kahlua

Moshe Bach asked for the current status of the kashrut of Kahlua. I queried
the OU and here is their reply:

We do not have any knowledge about the Kashruth of Kahlua, even when it is
manufactured in Mexico, as the OU has not been asked to certify it as

It is the policy of the OU not to render opinions on the Kashruth of a
product if the OU does not have full access to information about the makeup
of the product nor about the plant where the product was produced. 

This is the story about Kahlua. 

The Kahlua Liqueur that was produced by Hiram Walker had been certified by
the OU. 

Several years ago the Hiram Walker Company that produces Kahlua liqueur and
as well as other liqueur products under the Hiram Walker brand, notified the
OU that they would be producing a series of new liqueur products (among
others some with dairy ingredients) on the same equipment that they use now
for the brands that were OU certified. 

We explained to the Hiram Walker company that this change in their
production plans involved a number of serious production changes such as
Kashering the equipment after some of the new product runs, and that they
would have change the label on the Kahlua liqueur to indicate that it was
now OU-D. 

Subsequently, Hiram Walker said that they would rather not go along with the
OU's insistence on making this an OU-D product, nor would they accept our
request to allow us to Kasher between production runs. 

Since Hiram Walker stuck to their decision, the OU had no choice but to
discontinue its certification for Kahlua, as well as for all other Hiram
Walker Liqueurs. 

As it stands now, the Kahlua and the Hiram Walker Liqueurs are being made
without any Hashgocha. 

Unfortunately, there will be some people who will continue to use Kahlua -
believing that if it was Kosher till now, there 'is no reason to believe the
formula has changed' and that it could still be considered Kosher'.
Regretfully, such thinking ignores the realities of the alcohol beverage
industry. Until now, the OU restricted the company to a list of ingredient
suppliers because these and only these were Kosher certified. Not having to
submit to the OU's rules, now allows the company to get their ingredient
supplies from whomever they want - whether Kosher or not. Liqueurs are made
with flavorings. Many flavorings in the market place are not Kosher. 

There is another reason why uncertified Kahlua presents Kashruth concerns.
On the same distilling equipment, the company now makes many products
including new variations. Who is to say that these new products don't have
non-Kosher ingredients (like non-Kosher flavorings, or Grape extracts - a
common additive to liqueurs)? 
Any bottle of Kahlua that bears the OU symbol is Kosher and Pareve as it was
distilled while it was still under the OU's certification.


Haim Shalom Snyder


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 12,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: photograph of birchat hakohanim

There is an ancient custom of not to look at the Kohanim whilst they 
bless the people in the bet hamikdash [= Holy Temple]. It is said 
something of the effect that the Kohanim reflect the shechina, thus 
looking at the kohanim can cause blindness. Although the blessing of the 
kohanim, these days, is of a lesser status (but still an important part 
of the tephilla [= prayer service]), we still have the custom of not 
looking at the kohanim, so we should look towards the floor or cover our 
eyes with tallit (but not turn our backs).

Is there an issue not to photograph birkat hakohanim [= blessing of the 
kohanim] (for example at the kotel)?

Assuming that there is no issue, or it was done anyway, is there an 
issue not to look at such a photo? Has this been discussed by any 
contemporary poskim [= Rabbis who can give rulings in Jewish Law].

(PS My question is obviously relating to weekdays, and in most parts of 
the Land of Israel, birkat hakohanim is done every morning.)

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 11,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

In M-J V58#38, Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> wrote:

> Martin Stern wrote:
>> 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.
> Could you please provide your source for these figures?

Further to my recent reply to Janice, I have just seen an opinion piece in last
Friday's Jerusalem Post ["last Friday" would be 09 Jul 2010 --Mod.], a paper 
from which she has herself quoted but which is often marred by an anti-haredi 
point of view:

"TO THE HAREDIM, who make up about 10 percent of the country's population, the 
fight in Emmanuel was over religious freedom, the right to educate their 
children as they see fit and the authority of their rabbis over that of Supreme 
Court justices. To Israelis at large, it was a fight to maintain Ashkenazi 
dominance -- a misperception fed by the mainstream media -- and to enforce the 
haredi minority's tyranny over the state.
"For three years, events in Emmanuel had been building up to that moment. A
'new element' had moved to the West Bank haredi settlement, including many
'hozrim b'tshuva,' or newly devout Jews. Dozens of Beit Yaacov parents
claimed that the newcomers' daughters were introducing 'immodesty' in dress
and language to the school and loosening its rigid standards of religious
observance and scholarship.
"So these parents separated their daughters from the mainstream of Beit
Ya'acov pupils, putting them in new classes run according to strict hassidic
rules. At first the parents, with the school authorities' acquiescence,
divided the Beit Ya'acov building with a wall and set up their own separate
classes on one side of it. When Shas activists petitioned the court against
this arrangement, Levy agreed that the makeshift hassidic school was
discriminatory against Sephardi pupils, and he ordered Beit Ya'acov
"But the separatist parents set up a pirate school, after which the court
found them in contempt. Then they tried sending their girls to a hassidic
school in Bnei Brak, but the Education Ministry blocked that move.
"As the affair gathered headlines, these Emmanuel parents increasingly
became a symbol of haredi bigotry in the eyes of the general public. But to
Ashkenazi haredim, as well as many Sephardi haredim unaffiliated with Shas,
they became a cause celebre. A few days before the court decision, a council
of the haredim's most exalted rabbis called on their followers to
'strengthen the hand of the parents in Emmanuel' and to 'stand guard on this
holy wall.'
"Of the 35 fathers who sat in prison, 11 were Sephardim, says Krimalovski
[one of the imprisoned fathers (of 9 children) and an Emmanuel town
councillor -- MDS]. Off the top of his head, he names 10 of them: 'Ziv Cohen,
Shimon Levy, Meir Elmaliah, Shmuel Naimi, Yitzhak Naimi, Amos Meirav, Rabbi
Eliahu Biton, Hanoch Beit Ya'acov, Avraham Baruch and Menashe Alali, who
changed his last name to Klein at the request of his in-laws, who didn't
have a son to carry on the family name.' He can't remember the 11th Sephardi
"That has been one of the most overlooked aspects of the Emmanuel affair -- 
that a sizable minority of the separatist 'Ashkenazim' are actually
Sephardim. In 2008, the Education Ministry appointed a former high official
of the State Comptroller's Office, Mordechai Bass, to examine the dispute,
and he found that 27% of the pupils in the breakaway hassidic school were
Sephardim. While criticizing the walled division of Beit Ya'acov as illegal
and improper, Bass also wrote that it was done 'without the intent to
discriminate between pupils on the basis of ethnic background, and no such
discrimination exists there in practice.' <<rest of article snipped>>"

The full article is available on line at:

Whether one agrees with the religious stringencies of the Slonimer chassidim is
irrelevant - they certainly have the right to conduct their lives as they see
fit and not according to the dictates of the Supreme Court or its ONE (out of
16) Sephardi member. 

If one thinks of what happened to conscientious objectors to state policy like
Sir Thomas More or Archbishop Cramer, one cannot help thinking how lucky the
jailed parents are that Israel is not Tudor England.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 58 Issue 40