Volume 60 Number 74 
      Produced: Thu, 05 Apr 2012 10:57:10 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Kosher lePesach soap and shampoo 
    [David Tzohar]
Low-gluten matza 
    [ Leah S. R. Gordon]
Quinoa 2012 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Tefillin (3)
    [Robert Schoenfeld  Mark Steiner  Jack Gross]
What Are They Reading? (4)
    [Yisrael Medad  Orrin Tilevitz  Mark Steiner  Michael Rogovin]


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 31,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Kosher lePesach soap and shampoo

For many years I adhered to the machmir opinion that soaps, shampoos
and cosmetic products had to be certified KLP. This goes according to
the opinion "sikha keshtiya" (anointing is like drinking), since
the body actually absorbs the substance through the skin. Therefore
since the alcohol used in these products may be distilled from grain,
the product is chometzdik. Recently however I heard a shiur on this
subject given by R' Avraham Yosef ShLITA Chief Rabbi of Cholon (and
youngest son of R' Ovadia) where he proved conclusively that the
alcohol used in the cosmetic industry is not considered chametz.
After hearing this I did hattarat nedarim, so this year I don't have
to search for deoderant with a hechsher. Baruch sheptarani [Thank G-d for 
exempting me... --Mod.]!

David Tzohar


From:  Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 3,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Low-gluten matza

Martin Stern (MJ 60#72) suggested that "gluten-free matza" might be made of
oats, lower in gluten than wheat. I don't know if this is true, and
certainly oat matza is sold. However, my sister, who has a gluten
allergy/intolerance, needs to eat spelt matza rather than either wheat or oat 
(both of which give her symptoms). I believe that spelt is the one of the "five
grains" that has the least problems for those such afflicted.

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 30,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Quinoa 2012

In doubt re what to do and having not been terribly enlightened by replies to my 
posts here, I called the CRC -- here is what I was told:

Yes, in Israel one can buy quinoa with the hechsher [imprimatur, NOT supervisions] 
of the chief rabbinate and with instructions to check it 3 times before pesach. 
But that is the same set of instructions that the rabbanut gives to sefardim who 
are buying rice for pesach. So the rabbanut isn't distingishing between quinoa, 
which ashkenazim could eat, and kitniot, which they can't. Also, from talking to 
people at the rabbanut it is not clear that they are aware of the problems the 
Star-K came up with. Or, for that matter, where it comes from, so eating Israel-
source quinoa may be worse for an ashkenazi than ordinary Bolivian quinoa with no 

So I am left with the following: in eating quinoa in the past I have relied on the 
CRC and the Star-K telling me that I could without further ado. The Star-K has now 
said that those reasons don't apply anymore. Even if the Star-K's thinking now 
seems to make no sense, since I was relying on them in the first place to eat it I 
really have no choice, in the absence of any other authority, but to look for the 
single lot of Star-K supervised quinoa.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 4,2012 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Tefillin

That Judaism of the second temple period was very fluid was acknowledged by Dr. 
Schiffman in several of his books. I only suggest that the sectarianism of that
time may still have existed even until the time of Rabbinue Tam, hence his
tefillin. For instance it has been suggested that Mohammed learned about Judaism
as told in the Qura'an from sectarians.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 4,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Tefillin

Re Schiffman's characterization of the Qumran tefillin as sectarian, Ben Katz 
states (MJ 60#73): 

> Much as I respect Dr. Schiffman as a scholar, if he actually said this, it
> is an example of a no-win situation.  Had the tefillin matched, one could say,
> "Look - our traditions have been unchanged for 2 millennia!  Since they
> didn't match, they were obviously sectarian." (I am not even sure Saducees
> wore tefillin, but that is separate issue.)  

My recollection is that the tefillin in question included the Ten
Commandments as part of the "Shma" section (in the Torah, the 10
Commandments appear before Shma in parshat Vaethanan).  The Talmud
explicitly states that including the Ten Commandments as part of the
recitation of the Shma is a sectarian idea, and that although the
Commandments were actually recited in the Temple, this was abolished because
of the sectarians (minim).  So if my memory serves me (and I am getting on
in age), Prof. Schiffman is correct from independent evidence.

There is an interesting replay of this in the Middle Ages, where Ibn Ezra
attacks the Karaites for putting the Ten Commandments in the mezuzah, based
on the verse "vehayu hadevarim ha'ele" ("And these words shall be [on your
heart]") -- the Karaites (and now, we see, the sectarians in the Second Temple)
interpreted "these words" to mean the Ten Commandments, which appear right
before the Shma.  Hazal understand "these words" to be, self-referentially,
the Shma itself only.

There is a dispute among scholars about the historical relationship between
the sectarians and the Karaites, and I believe the Qumran tefillin shed
light on this dispute.

Mark Steiner

From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 4,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Tefillin

No discussion of Rashi vs. R' Tam is complete without a review of the
evolution of Rambam's opinion.

His final opinion, appearing in Mishneh Torah (Ahava, Hil. Tefillin 3:5), is
identical to Rashi's -- viz., the sections (parshiyot) are to be arranged
"k'sidran", in their natural order (the order in which they appear in the
Torah), in both tefilla shel rosh and tefilla shel yad.  

But this was not Rambam's original position and practice.  R' Yosef Karo
(Kesef Mishneh) quotes an exchange between Rambam and "Chachmei Lunel" (the
school of Baalei Tosafot in Lunel, France).  The French group questioned
Rambam's decisions in Mishneh Torah on several issues relating to
construction of Tefillin, including the order of the parshiyot.  Regarding
order of the parshiyot, Rambam replies that he had originally followed a
different opinion (akin to what we identify with R' Tam).  He states that in
his youth he, like all those in the "West" (apparently including his father,
R' Maimon), followed an opinion set forth in a locally popular work, which
reverses the order of the final two sections (like R' Tam).  Rather
incredibly, the author of said work was another individual named "Moshe bar
Maimon", of Cordoba.

Among Rambam's evidence for his final position:  Even in the practice of the
"West", the order in which the sections in the Shel Yad were arranged was
the "natural" order; only in the Shel Rosh did they permute the last two
sections.  Rambam argues that it is preferable to explain the Talmudic
discussion in a manner that introduces no distinction between the order in
the Shel Yad and the Shel Rosh.

Karo notes that Tosafot supports the practice of using *two pairs* of
tefillin, in order to satisfy both Rashi and R' Tam.  In fact, the ordering
for the Shel Yad is not explicitly addressed by R' Tam in Sefer haYashar.  

But it is clear from the Rambam's responsum that, in the *only* attested
community in Jewish history that *exclusively* followed R' Tam's approach,
they applied it only to the Shel Rosh (where the sections are physically
separated, in for compartments) and not to the Shel Yad (where they occupy a
single compartment and are physically connected).  It would follow that one
who wishes to fulfill the obligation according to both opinions should need
two tefillin shel rosh (one per Rashi, and one per R"T), but only one
tefilla shel yad.


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 3,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: What Are They Reading?

In MJ 60#72, Martin Stern writes:

> a) Laws of Sneezing
> This seems a rather strange subject; I would not have thought there was
> enough material to merit a full work. Perhaps it is a kabbalistic treatise.

No.  Straightforward compendium of Halachot.  A Shulchan Atchoo.

> b) Laws of the Breastfeeding Woman
> This might be useful to a lady who is about to, or has recently, given
> birth since presumably it collects together in a handy format all the
> relevant halachot [laws].

I could go back and leaf through the many pages - it is a book, not a
pamphlet - but I might be arrested.

> c) Laws on Commercial/Employment Matters Between The Jew and the Non-Jew
> I am therefore grateful to Yisrael for drawing my attention to the new
> volume, which I intend to obtain in due course.

Glad to be of help.

> d) Laws on Taking Care While Travelling/Crossing The Street

> If it reduces reckless driving and other dangerous behaviour it will have
> greatly improved the situation.

Yes but you would have to wade through over 400 pages of laws, stories, tales,
and otherwise commonsense instructions.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 3,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: What Are They Reading?

To all of you who participated in this thread I heartily 
recommend Ephraim Kishon's essay entitled "How to Review Books 
Without Really Trying" [see http://books.google.com/books?
id=DWvgtVWvMr0C&pg=PA26&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false (or 
http://goo.gl/2FrAD ). --Mod.]. (It was published in "Noah's Ark Tourist Class"
[Atheneum, New York, 1962].)

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 4,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: What Are They Reading?

On "laws of crossing the street" (MJ 60#73): 

Recently I saw a "pashkevil" (wall poster) in Mea Shearim whose entire content
was to warn people against crossing the street when the light is red. Obviously,
Israeli "law" was not any consideration; on the contrary, the poster was meant
to explain that despite the origin of the law, the convention of red lights must
be observed by a Torah Jew.  What is fascinating about the argument was that it
didn't even bother to mention "venishmartem...lenafshotekhem" ("take care of
yourselves"), the usual verse quoted in this connection.  Rather, the pilpul was
based on a different verse: "velifnei iver...", thou shalt not put a stumbling
block before the blind.  The idea is that if you cross at the red you are
causing careless drivers to murder...you!

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 4,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: What Are They Reading?

In 60:73, I wrote what was, in retrospect, a comment that seems a bit
snide. It may well be that some of these volumes are not as bad as was
implied by my original post. Certainly if this is the way that yeshiva
bochrim learn how to behave, and assuming that the books actually do
contain accurate and helpful information, they may not be such a bad thing
after all. If they promote road safety, good hygiene and proper nutrition
for infants, all of this could be for the good. I regret my impulse to
disparage others, though I do still feel that the yeshivas are
oversubscribed -- but that is a different discussion.

Chag Kasher v'Sameach
Michael Rogovin


End of Volume 60 Issue 74