Volume 6 Number 4

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bibliographic Notes
         [Yosef Branse]
Bitul B'Shishim (2)
         [Yosef Bechhofer, Joe Abeles]
Conservative Kashrut
         [Jonathan Stiebel]
Hypothetical v. Real Questions
         [Gary Davis]
Las Vegas
         [Barbara T Blaustein]
Salt Lake City
         [Shoshanah Bechhofer]


From: <JODY@...> (Yosef Branse)
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 93 08:21:24 -0500
Subject: Bibliographic Notes

Here are brief bibliographic addenda to recent items:

1) In 5/77, Freda Birnbaum mentioned an article on the hymn "Ma'oz Tzur"
that appeared some years ago. Here are the details: "A Meditation on
'Maoz Zur'" by Ismar Schorsch, in Judaism, Volume 37 Number 4 (1988),
pp. 459-64.

2) There was an ongoing discussion of gelatin. The topic was treated in
great detail in the book "Issues in Jewish Dietary Laws: Gelatin,
Kitniyyot and Their Derivatives," by Rabbi David Sheinkopf. (Ktav
Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1988). The article on gelatin includes a
description of the processing involved in making gelatin as well as a
survey of the halachic literature. I found it pretty dry reading (well,
gelatin IS made from bones, isn't it? :-) but it is informative if you
are looking for a thorough treatment of the subject.


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 93 00:11:52 -0500
Subject: Bitul B'Shishim

        There is no concept of 1:60 ratios in Biblical sources, the
d'orysa standard is that of "nosen ta'am", i.e., if the forbidden
substance leaves a trace taste in the permissible substnce the mixture
is forbidden. Of course tasting the mixture to check on its taste is not
a viable alternative, because you thus may inadvertantly transgress the
issur. A non-Jew is not necessarily reliable in these matters either, so
Chazal reckoned the ratio of 1:60. Spices of course are more pungent,
and therefore may not be battel unless a much higher ratio is achieved.
Of particularinterest is a three way THEOLOGICAL argument as to whether
it is a legitimate chumra to refrain from eating a mixture that is
battel b'shishim, apikorsus to refrain a mixture thati s battel
b'shishim, or a mitzva to eat a mixture that is battel b'shishim!
(Darchei Tshuva Yoreh De'ah 116:109 concerning the Pischei Tshuva there
se'if katan 10)

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
From: Joe Abeles <Joe_Abeles@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 93 20:38:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Bitul B'Shishim

"I know of one example where you are permitted to add meat to milk
INTENTIONALLY if the proportion is less than 1/60, and that's the
manufacture of cheese." (writes Ben "Doorknob" Svetitsky)

A related situation occurs in the manufacture of maple syrup, which in
its 100% pure, connoisseur, form is nothing more nor less than the sap
of maple trees boiled down to eliminate moisture and concentrate its
essence.  (Maple syrup is very similar to honey, produced as bees
collect nectar from flowers and evaporate most of the water in that
instance by separating it into small bits to increase surface area and
thus enhance evaporation--though some have said here recently there are
"bee enzymes" in honey as well.)

To eliminate 80 to 90% of its moisture, sap is placed in a stainless
steel pan which is very wide and long (4 feet by 10 feet is typical) but
rather shallow (to enhance the evaporation process).  It is heated from
beneath and moisture is vaporized.  However, in this process sap has a
tendency to froth.

To prevent wasting sap as it spills over the side of the pan (if you
haven't heard this before, I recommend you fasten your seatbelts) a bit
of pork fat is touched to the surface of the boiling sap.  For reasons
which a surface chemist might wish to explain, this is said to minimize

The amazing thing is that in spite of the inclusion of the pork fat, all
Vermont maple syrup is nevertheless considered, by at least one major
kashrus authority who I heard speak during the past year (and who is
strict about many other items), to be kosher without hashgacha

The pork fat adds no taste to the maple syrup, is not intended to add
any taste to the syrup, and is added only in extremely trace quantities.

Sounds similar to the situation with cheese.  One difference, however,
is that in no respect is the pork fat necessary to make the syrup.  (It
allows the syrup to be produced more economically.)  A remaining factor
is that the pork fat is still in the form of food as it's used to treat
the boiling sap, and a "halachic dog" might still be interested in
eating it.

The process I've described is used in Vermont, which, as is well-known,
is the primary maple-syrup producing State here in the U.S.
(Incidentally, I believe that maple syrup may only be available in the
U.S.  A new hire from England fell in love with the stuff and used to
guzzle it.  If it's indeed produced or sold elsewhere in the world, I
would like to hear about it for the sake of general knowledge.)

--Joe Abeles


From: <stiebel@...> (Jonathan Stiebel)
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 93 17:55:41 +0200
Subject: Conservative Kashrut

I am renting an apartment belonging to Israeli-Conservative
(Yeminite-type) Jewish people.  It belongs to an old woman who used to
live there until a month ago.  It is important to her that the tenant is
religious and will keep the kitchen kosher.  There are two sinks in the
kitchen, a microwave, an oven, gas top, refridgerator.  She has many
dishes (separate milk/meat).

To what extent can I trust her kashrut as relates to utensils, appliances?
What things must I kasher and how?
How is the answer different if the family were American-Conservative?
What food of theirs can I eat? (aside from cold veges & cheese).
  e.g. I'm told Tea is ok, because the kum-kum is used only for water.
  The veges are probably dmai.  Perhaps the fruit is orla?

They have a relative who is Charedi.  They respect religious people, but
find him quite hard to deal with.  How can I avoid insulting them?

-- Jonathan Stiebel

[I strongly suspect that the answer here is AYLOR - Ask your local
orthodox Rabbi. This is both due to the potential complexity and
specificity of the question, and as it is truely Halakha La'maaseh and
this list is not designed to be able to actually pasken in an individual
case. Responses should try and focus on what are the generic issues
raised by this specific question. Mod.]


From: Gary Davis <davis@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 93 20:39:03 -0500
Subject: Hypothetical v. Real Questions

The recent discussion on hypothetical ethical and moral questions has for
some reasing been nagging at me, so I have decided to share this feeling
of uneasiness.  I wonder if the discussion of hypothetical moral questions
is strictly appropriate given our duty of dealing with real humanity.  For
reasons I cannot identify, a discussion of hypothetical questions of
moralty seems to be an unnecessary diversion from the duty of dealing with
the sufficient supply of real dilemmas in the world.  Perhaps someone can
(a) help me understand why I feel this way, and (b) correct me if I am
wrong in this feeling.


From: <btb@...> (Barbara T Blaustein)
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 93 11:51:12 EST
Subject: Las Vegas

  I'm posting this for a friend who will be in Las Vegas over Shabbat
(Jan. 22-23, I believe).  I would appreciate receiving information on
kosher food, orthodox shuls (and hotels near them), etc.
  E-mail responses to <btb@...> are appreciated.
  --Barbara Blaustein


From: <sbechhof@...> (Shoshanah Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 93 21:56:11 -0500
Subject: Re: Salt Lake City

Our cousin, Sharon, and her husband Benny Zippel (we think that's the name)
recently moved to Salt Lake City to run the Chabad house.  If you look up
"Chabad" in the phone book you should find them, and if there are Jewish
amenities in the city, they will know.

Shani Bechhofer


End of Volume 6 Issue 4