Volume 6 Number 16

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beacons Cherry Fizzz Pops
         [Moises Haor]
Chadash and Yashan (2)
         [Benjamin Svetitsky, David Sherman]
Chadash, Tuna Fish and Number of Pasukim
         [Jeremy Schiff]
Conservative Judaism and halachah
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Driving on Shabbos
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Pierced ears for women
         [Mike Gerver]
Sheva Brachot
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Takanot for Synagogues
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: <mhaor@...> (Moises Haor)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 22:18:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Beacons Cherry Fizzz Pops

In connection to BEACONS CHERRY FIZZZ POPS they are under the HASHGACHA
of the Johannesburg Beth Din, even though there is no offical stamp/seal
on the wrapper. This is common practice in RSA.


From: Benjamin Svetitsky <FNBENJ@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 07:11:11 -0500
Subject: Chadash and Yashan

Regarding the statement:

>I find it hard to believe that the majority of observant Jews
>are not particluar about eating wheat which is guaranted chodosh.

Perhaps a poll is called for.  I can throw in my two agorot, and state
that of the people I know both in the US and in Israel, perhaps one (1)
per cent worry about chadash/yashan.  Half of these are Sepharadim.
As for:

>... its (sic) generous to say that nowadays a yoreh shomayim (sic)
>would not eat chodosh...

all I can say is, CYLOR.  

Ben Svetitsky        <fnbenj@...>

From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 14:30:51 -0500
Subject: Re: Chadash and Yashan

Zvi Basser writes:
> After the psak of the mishna berurah, it's generous to say that nowadays
> a yoreh shomayim would not eat chodosh--. WE can store flour, buy at
> yashan bakeries, even by yashan flour, or american flour.-- There is no
> excuse for canadian Jews to be lax in what many major poskim see as a
> torah law in these days.

I've been buying at kosher bakeries in Toronto for 15 years, and only
recently had ever *heard* of Yashan -- some bakeries now have signs up
indicating they use such flour.  In the recent discussions in
mail.jewish that focused on whether or not we are today require to eat
Yashan, I don't recall seeing anything going back to first principles.
What's the basis in Chumash for it being prohibited?


From: <schiff@...> (Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 14:05:02 EST
Subject:  Chadash, Tuna Fish and Number of Pasukim

A few points on recent discussions

1. Chadash. As has been mentioned the stances of all poskim on this issue
   have to be understood in line with agricultural conditions at their
   spacetime locales. In the US today I have heard claims ranging from
   "chadash flour is widely on sale by the end of the summer" to "there
   is never a problem of chadash because the US has vast grain supplies
   and everyone gets rid of their yashan before their chadash". With
   regard to the fundamental p'sak as to whether chadash can be eaten today
   in chutz laaretz there are three basic opinions: "yes", "no", and "no
   but you mustn't tell anyone else not to, because some people hold you
   can, and anyway people might not listen to you". This third opinion is
   widely held.
2. Tuna fish. Rav Schechter's teshuva, the basis for most OU tuna fish,
   revolves around the reliability of the companies and individuals
   involved. Since the writing of the teshuva, a number of serious 
   indiscretions (mostly concerning unacceptable fishing techniques)
   have been revealed by environmental activists at all the major companies - 
   they always apologize, and stamp one more assurance/picture of a dolphin
   on their cans each time it happens. Those who approve of OU tuna can say
   it is now even safer than before, and those who disapprove can look at
   the problems that were and say "I told you so". Rav Tendler's point 
   - that for a few more cents you can avoid the whole issue - seems 
   sensible to me.
3. Numbers of Pasukim in the Torah. Once on Friday night at Munk's I found
   a fascinating sheet filled with info on this subject (maybe one of our 
   guys there can find it - from 1984 I would guess). The vav of "gachon" in
   parshat shemini is supposed to be the middle letter of the Torah; in the
   gemara in kiddushin it is aksed whether it is the middle from the left or
   from the right (? - why did they assume the Torah had an even number of
   letters?)...the gemara reports how they could not decide this (because
   we are unsure of where vavs and yuds should occur). But according to this
   sheet "gachon" is over 2000 letters off!! It seems in fact many of our
   traditions on these subjects are incorrect, presumably because of missing
   and superfluous yuds and vavs. Two I remember actually trying to check -
   the aseret hadibrot (10 commandments) should have 613 letters, and indeed
   has (within experimental error at least); parshat mikketz should have 
   2025 words (8*the gematria of "ner" + 25) and is short.



From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 14:08:48 -0500
Subject: Conservative Judaism and halachah

> As I understand it, the Conservatives accept torah shebiksav and not the
> oral torah.

First, it is probably inaccurate to speak of "Conservatives" as a
monolithic block; there is probably a wider variety of belief and 
practice among Conservatives than among any other type of Jews.

It is absolutely inaccurate to say that Conservatives accept torah
shebiktav and not the oral torah.  The Conservative movement certainly
believes in a halachic process.  One major way in which they differ from
Orthodoxy, however, is in their approach to halachic decision-making.  A
conservative "psak" might involve sifting through the sources until one
can find a minority, rejected opinion on which to reverse later
decisions.  They are also inclined to weigh social and historical
factors very heavily when determining the validity of earlier opinions.
Neither of these approaches is acceptable in Orthodox halachic
decision-making.  There are compilations of Conservative responsa
published by Ktav (hoboken, nj), and probably by others as well.

> what is the basis for the American Conservative heter for driving on
> shabes.

I don't think there is any "heter" for driving on shabbos; my
understanding is that the position is "If someone is driving to the
store and to the golf course anyway, why prohibit such a person from
coming to shul as well."  It may be the case that the Conservative laity
has interpreted this as a heter, but I don't think it was ever intended
that way.

[I believe the above is not correct, that there is an early Conservative
responsa on driving to shul, and ONLY to shul, done in the format of a
"hora'at sha'ah", something permitted only due to the existing
circumstances (of the suburben living) of the time. It is in this
context, that I think the issue raised by the Israeli branch as
basically saying the "hora'at sha'ah" no longer applies, while the
American branch does not appear to have reviewed the matter, that may be
of interest here. Anyone with good and accurate information on this is
welcome to submit it.

REMINDOR: While this mailing list is committed to Halakhic (Responsa)
Judaism, flaming etc. is absolutely out. In addition, trying to
understand the positions vis-a-vis halakhic matters of various groups of
Jews is, in my opinion, a valid topic of discussion, but does not mean
that we accept that opinion as halakhically valid. As Yosef says below
(maybe a tad to strongly for this forum), no halakhic authority has
taken this responsa seriously.

Avi Feldblum - Moderator]

Eitan Fiorino


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 14:46:19 -0500
Subject: Driving on Shabbos

        The Conservative "Responsa" on driving to shul on Shabbos are
published in the Rabbinical Assembly yearbook for, I believe, 1950.
Their "position" is that since the internal combustion engine did not
exist at the time of Mattan Torah, it does not fall into the d'orysa
category of forbidden Ha'varah (lighting fires on Shabbos). No serious
Posek has ever bothered to waste time refuting this untenable
"position" in writing that I know of.


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 93 00:16 EST
Subject: Pierced ears for women

I doubt if there is any widespread opinion prohibiting women from
piercing their ears on the basis of considering it to be mutilation.
There are plenty of very frum women with pierced ears. My grandmother
a"h had her ears pierced as a child in Russia in the 1890s, and said
that all of the Jewish girls did, at the age of four or five. This was
in an observant community, they were not maskilim or anything.
Personally, though, I find the idea abhorrent, and would not let my
daughters do it.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 03:02:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Sheva Brachot

      The verse "vehitkin mimenu binyan adei ad"  refers to G-d's
creation of woman - not procreation.


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 93 02:13:17 -0500
Subject: Takanot for Synagogues

I have been entrusted with the task of composing *takanot* (rules &
regulations) for our synagogue here in Shiloh.  I am looking for advice
and examples.  At the Hebrew University Library I've located takanot for
the synagogues of the British Empire from 1848, the Mizrachi Schule of
Kosovov 1932 and have other takanot from Kfar HaRoeh, Kfar Maimon and
Tirat Tzvi.

If anyone knows of other examples or literature concerning takanot, please
send references, v'yavo al s'charo [and he will be rewarded] by doing a

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 6 Issue 16