Volume 6 Number 13

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

# of verses in each Parsha (V6#1)
         [Sol Lerner]
Book on gelatin
         [Gerald Sacks]
Driving to Shul, American and Israeli Conservative View
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
Ethics & Kashrut (Dolphins, babies, etc.)
         [Justin Hornstein]
Flights to Far East
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Moving raw chicken on Shabbos
         [Marc Meisler]
Science and Halacha
         [Robert Gordon]


From: <sl05@...> (Sol Lerner)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 09:41:24 -0500
Subject: Re: # of verses in each Parsha (V6#1)

>My understanding is that the number of verses in the entire Torah or the
>half way points are not the same as mentioned in the mesorah. I would
>appreciate any help in locating such comparisons.

In Gemarah Kiddushim, Daf 30., there is a discussion of the midpoint of
the Torah for the number of letters, words, and verses.  The discussion
concludes that we (i.e. the Amoraim) are not knowledgeable enough to
even count the verses in the Torah.  As an example, they quote a verse
(from Yitro) that we know as one verse but in which there is an opinion
that it is actually 3 verses.

Sol Lerner
GTE Laboratories


From: Gerald Sacks <sacks@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 08:42:04 -0500
Subject: Book on gelatin

Rabbi Sheinkopf, unlike all major kashrus organizations in the U.S.,
holds that gelatin made from neveila [animals not slaughtered properly]
is kosher.  All neveila gelatin products that I've seen have his
hashgacha.  Rabbi Sheinkopf's father gave his hashgacha to Ko-Jel (which
used to be made from neveila gelatin), and he took over after his
father's death.  Ko-Jel is now made from a vegetable substance and has
mainstream hashgacha.


From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 93 16:33:17 -0500
Subject: Driving to Shul, American and Israeli Conservative View

David Kramer writes:

  There is no relationship between the 'Judaism' of the American
  Conservative Movement and the perhaps incomplete but deeply sincere,
  authentic Judaism of Israelis (mostly of 'aidot mizrach' origin) who
  consider themselves 'mesorati'. 

  Despite this fact the Conservative Movement in Israel has adopted their
  title - calling themeselves the 'Mesorati Movement'. They have used this
  clever name to falsly claim that they have a huge number of followers

I have two questions related to the above point.  I have often wondered
what the basis for the Conservative heter to drive on shabes is based
on.  As I understand it, the Conservatives accept torah shebiksav and
not the oral torah.  If so, then driving should be forbidden, since
there is at least the issur on lighting a fire that is being violated
(which is biblical).  So what is the basis for the Conservative heter on
driving on shabes?

Some time ago, I read in the NY Times that the Israeli branch of the
Conservative movement (this is what the Times called it, although it did
also add that the Israeli branch is independent of the American
Conservative establishment) had paskened that driving on shabes was no
longer permitted; the reason given was that biblical laws were involved,
and there were shuls available in all neighborhoods--hence there was no
justification any more for driving on shabes.  Since my understanding at
that time was that this Israeli brand of Conservatism was based on the
same principles as the American brand, how could the American
Conservatives drive on shabes, since even if shuls are not available
aplenty in this country, the Biblical prohibitions are still involved.
(Of course, that raises the question of how the Israelis permitted it in
the first place; since the ruling brought in the question of Biblical
prohibitions, I presumed that it was necessary for the argument to
withdraw the original heter.)

Anyway, so my two questions are: 1) what is the basis for the American
Conservative heter for driving on shabes, and 2) what underlies the
philosophy of the Conservatives, American and Israeli, and what is their
precise relationship?



From: <jmh@...> (Justin Hornstein)
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 93 10:14:21 EST
Subject: Ethics & Kashrut (Dolphins, babies, etc.)

My understanding is that the O-U has an advisory board of Rabbis and
non-Rabbis that sets policies for social and corporate standards of
companies receiving the O-U hashgacha (oversight). A company would
probably have to be pretty far outside the realm of honesty and a social
pariah in order to be denied certification based on meta-kashrut issues,
but they are taken into account, either on their own because of direct
halachic issur (prohibition) or their compromising of proper
certification. An example might be a company controlled by organized
crime, or that wantonly destroys life or property in unregulated
countries (the Nestle issues are difficult, but they might not put the
company outside the pale of humanity). One of the decisions made (I'm
not sure if it is still in effect) was to deny O-U certification to
German products.
					Justin Hornstein <jmh@...>


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 93 15:09:54 -0500
Subject: Flights to Far East

        This question must be answered on two levels:

a) Mi'd'Rabbanan at least, one must keep Shabbos every seventh day.  This is
based on the Gemara in Shabbos perek Klal Gadol about one lost in a desert, and
is discussed by RavZevin in his essay in "L'Or HaHalacha" on  the Kuzari.

b) In the opinion of the Chazon Ish, who represents the mainstream of psak in
the International Dateline issue, one must keep Shabbos in Japan on Sunday


From: Marc Meisler <0004857437@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 93 22:31:15 -0500
Subject: Moving raw chicken on Shabbos

This past Shabbos our Rav was going over Hilchos Shabbos regarding
muktzeh (things that cannot be moved on Shabbos).  He quoted from, I
believe, the Shulchan Aruch, although I am not sure exactly where.  He
said that raw meat is considered muktzeh since there is no use for it on
Shabbos.  Thus, if it falls out of your freezer on Shabbos you cannot
pick it up even though it may cause you a financial loss.  He said that
raw chicken is different because, according to the source, some people
used to eat raw chicken.  My question is does this still hold true since
we now know that one can get salmonella poisoning from eating raw
chicken?  This goes back to the discussion of whether something that was
permitted a long time ago when a particular reason was given still holds
true today when we know that reason is no longer valid.  Any ideas?


From: <U08383@...> (Robert Gordon)
Date: 17 January 1993 11:39:35 CST
Subject: Science and Halacha

About a month ago the question was raised as to whether scientific
knowledge can make a halacha obsolete.  The example given is the killing
of lice on Shbabbat.  Since lice were thought to be born by spontaneous
generation, killing them is permissable.  Since we now know this to be
false, the permission to do so is invalid.  The question rasied was
whether an obligation to do something may also be nullified in specific
instances where a specific reason is given for a halacha, and that
reason is now knowm to be incorrect.

In Moed Katan (18a), Nida (17a) and in the Mishna Brura (halacah 261) it
is stated that a chasid should burn his fingernail clippings, a tzadik
should bury them, and a rasha is one who throws them away, because they
can cause a pregnant woman to miscarry.  It is stated that if they were
discarded indoors and then later swept outside, they will have lost
their potency and will no longer cause a woman to miscarry.  Since we
now know that there is no cause and effect between fingernail clippings
and miscarriage, shouldn't we abandon this practice?

Robert Gordon


End of Volume 6 Issue 13