Volume 60 Number 76 
      Produced: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:28:30 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Frum" products downsizing 
    [Carl Singer]
FW: the Seforim blog - Between the lines of the Bible by Yitzchak Etsh 
    [Ben Katz  M.D.]
Jewish Sectarians in the 600s? 
    [Robert Schoenfeld]
Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh (2)
    [Josh Backon  Martin Stern]
Make-up laining? 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Metzitzah BePeh 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Out of synch 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 16,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: "Frum" products downsizing

Now that we've put away the Passover pots and dishes, perhaps it's time to
look at the kosher-for-Passover products that are marketed (in some cases
manufactured) by the various "frum" labels.

Did you notice that a jar of borsht is only 24 oz, that's 3/4s of a quart?  Pasta 
sauce is now 26 ounces.  Many formerly-8oz containers were now downsized to 7 
ounces.  The list goes on.  First we had the downsizing that resulted from the 
change to metrics.  Instead of increasing a quart to a liter, suppliers reduced to 
750 ml -- and in some cases 650 ml.  Now it's gotten even worse.

Beyond modifying recipes (7/8ths of an egg?) and running short (only 3
glasses of borsht instead of 4) -- do we have an issue of genayvas da'as?
If so, how do these items still retain a hechsher?

[Mod.'s note: Internet resources explaining the prohibition of g'neivas da'as 
include http://torah.org/advanced/business-halacha/5757/vol2no30.html .]

Carl Singer


From: Ben Katz  M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 16,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: FW: the Seforim blog - Between the lines of the Bible by Yitzchak Etsh

Dear MJ'ers:

Attached is a recent review I wrote that was published on the Seforim blog.
Hope you all had a good hag.

Ben Zion Katz
Between the lines of the Bible by Yitzchak Etshalom - book review
Between the lines of the Bible: Exodus:
A study from the new school of Orthodox Torah Commentary
by Yitzchak Etshalom
a review by Ben Zion Katz, Northwestern University
Ben Zion Katz is the author of the forthcoming book A Journey Through Torah: A 
Critique of the Documentary Hypothesis (Urim Publications, Fall 2012)

Between the lines of the Bible: Exodus: A study from the new school of Orthodox 
Torah Commentary, by Yitzchak Etshalom (Urim/OU Press, NY 2012) is a thought-
provoking look at the second book of the Torah. One can tell that its author, a 
Rabbi and Tanakh educator in North America, is a dynamic teacher, because the 
book is quite engaging. The "new school" of the book's subtitle seems to refer 
to a mainly literary approach to Torah, familiar to those who study midrash, and
popularized by figures such as Robert Alter, beginning with the Art of Biblical
Narrative (Basic Books, NY 1981). Etshalom also seems to be clearly in the
"modern" Orthodox camp, as he is not afraid to criticize the patriarchs (eg 
Jacob for his lack of parenting skills [p. 29], or Joseph indirectly leading to 
the enslavement of the Israelites [p. 31]), to say that the Bible needs to be 
interpreted in the context of its time (p. 139) or to be unhappy with an 
explanation of Rashi and offer his own (chapter 13).

The book begins with a chapter on methodology and then marches through the book 
of Exodus, with 13 chapters covering Exodus 1-24 and the last 5 chapters dealing 
with the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-40). Some of the best chapters in the book, which 
make excellent exegetical observations, include chapter 2 where the author 
compares Joseph's brothers casting him into the pit with Pharaoh's casting the 
Israelite infant boys into the Nile; how Moses, who was pulled out of the water 
will pull the Israelites out of Egypt (chapter 3); how Pharoah's wizards (the 
hartumim) are foils to both Joseph and Moses (chapter 6); the connections 
between the paschal offering, tefillin and the brit bein habitarim (covenant 
between the pieces; chapter 8); the contrasts between the Israelites crossing 
the Re(e)d Sea with their war against Amalek, and the first plague of blood with 
the sweetening of the waters at Marah (chapter 10); explaining why the term "a 
priestly kingdom" is rarely used to refer to the Israelites later in the Bible 
after its first appearance in Exodus 19 (chapter 11); and explaining the theme 
of the book of Exodus in the final chapter.

The book is not without its flaws or omissions, however. For example, Ibn Ezra, 
one of the greatest p'shat (straightforward interpreting) Bible commentators 
would not agree with Etshalom (see Ibn Ezra's comments on Exodus 20:1) regarding
the differences between the Sabbath commandment as it appears in Exodus and
Deuteronomy that "shamor (keep) ... and zachor (remember) were said in one
voice" is p'shat (p. 141). Defining melakhah as a creative act would go a long
way to explaining why these acts are prohibited on Shabbat and derived from the
building of the Tabernacle (p. 193). Etshalom argues that Moshe was the first
prophet (p. 51) even though the Bible itself refers to Abraham as a prophet
(Gen. 20:7). In chapter 9, the author tries to explain one of the most difficult
questions in the Exodus narrative: why Moses (and ultimately God) deceived
Pharaoh (and perhaps the Israelites themselves) into thinking the Israelites
would only be leaving Egypt for 3 days? Etshalom posits that "[they] had to see
how he (Pharaoh) would respond to their fleeing ...to understand that they had
no future [in Egypt]..." But how would anyone expect Pharaoh to react when he 
realized that he had been deceived? Only if Pharaoh had attacked the Israelites 
after agreeing to let them go permanently would his hypocrisy be self-evident. I 
am also not sure it is correct to say with Etshalom that the Tabernacle was 
meant to be "clothed in the mystery of seclusion and private revelation" (p. 
190) for then why have it be the locus of the sacrificial service and why make 
it look like a house with lights (the menorah) and food (the showbread)? 
Finally, the reason huchal has a negative connotation according to Rashi and 
Sadia Gaon (but see the comments of Seforno and especially Ibn Ezra) in Gen. 
4:26 (p. 206) is because they associate it with the root for "unholy" (hol or 

Despite the issues raised in the previous paragraph, however, I learned a lot 
from the book and it is a pleasure to read. I recommend it to anyone who wishes 
to gain a deeper understanding of the book of Exodus and look forward to future 
books in the series.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 14,2012 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Jewish Sectarians in the 600s?

More fuel for the fire: Shortly before Mohammad was born there were Jewish 
kings in both Arabia and Ethiopia. And we know that the Beta Israel of 
Ethiopia did not follow Talmudic rules. That there were Jewish rulers 
was testified to in both Arabic and Ethiopian Christian chronicles.



From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 14,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh

MATZA AT THE SEDER AND CELIAC DISEASE: I went on a "fishing expedition" and 
think I may have a new powerful treatment for celiac via an extremely potent 
PPAR gamma agonist (email me <backon@...> for the entire file with 20 
journal references) BALSAMIC VINEGAR ! (It was found in July 2009 that plain old
vinegar is a very potent peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma 
agonist (and balsamic vinegar also contains highly bioavailable resveratrol 
[Sirtuins].) Do a search on http://scholar.google.com for: PPAR GAMMA VINEGAR .

Read the following:

PPAR Signaling Pathway and Cancer-Related Proteins Are Involved in Celiac
Disease-Associated Tissue. 
De Re V, Simula MP, Cannizzaro R, Pavan A, De Zorzi MA, Toffoli G,
Canzonieri V. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Sep; 1173:357-64.


Celiac Disease, Inflammation and Oxidative Damage: A Nutrigenetic Approach 

Celiac disease (CD), a common heritable chronic inflammatory condition of
the small intestine caused by permanent intolerance to gluten/gliadin
(prolamin), is characterized by a complex interplay between genetic and
environmental factors. Developments in proteomics have provided an
important contrib...



Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 18,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh

Carl Singer (MJ 60#75) wrote:

> In M-J V60#74, Leah Gordon (60#74, thread "Low-gluten matza") discusses spelt
> matza as a potential solution for those who are gluten-intolerant:
> ...
> I applaud her seeking a solution.   When researching this subject on behalf
> of a friend who is gluten-intolerant, I was appalled to find a barrage of
> negative warnings carping on how such "crackers" are not halachically
> suitable for the Seder, etc.   It would seem that since gluten intolerance
> is not uncommon, that some food scientists and some Rabbis would focus
> positive energy on solving this problem by creating an halachically
> suitable, gluten-free matzoh.

To be suitable for the matzot mitzvah consumed at the Seder, the matzot must
be made with the intention that they be used to fulfil the mitzvah. That
might explain the negative warnings that crackers are not halachically

Here in England, gluten free oat matzot are produced for those who are
gluten-intolerant though, because of the technical problems in manufacturing
them, they are expensive. However, apart from the Seder, and possibly the
Yom Tov meals requiring lechem mishneh [consumption of bread], one is not
obliged to actually eat matzah at all during Pesach (as opposed to
refraining from chametz), so the amount that must be purchased can be

Martin Stern


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 15,2012 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Make-up laining?

I'm in the US for Pesach. I missed hearing sidra Shmini on Shabbat. It was the 
last day of Pesach in chu"l. Do I have an obligation to hear the reading of
Shmini on my own? Or is my obligation to hear kriyat hatorah three times a week
+ mincha shabbat - if I'm in shul and part of the tzibur (congregation)? Must I
hear all the sidrot in the course of a year? Or is the obligation only on the
kahal to read all the sidrot in the course of a year? Sources please. 


Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Apr 16,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Metzitzah BePeh

See the following letter recently published in the Jewish Press
articulating the dangers confronting our observant community if we continue
to refuse to acknowledge the morbidity associated with unprotected
Metzitzah BePeh (MbP).  The letter poses serious questions as to why people
would accept a medical da'as yachid supporting unprotected MbP when so many
other medical experts have expressed grave concerns regarding the practice.
 This argument is especially cogent when one realizes that alternatives
such as using a glass tube (sanctioned by Rav Yitzchok Elchanan Spector,
z"l over a century ago) exist.
Metzitzah B'Peh - Where We Are And Where We Need To Go | JewishPress

Will we continue to lag behind reality in this and other issues such as
child abuse until, R"L, the numbers pile up to the point that even those
who have difficulty facing reality become frightened by the damage done to
our children?  I would ask what is an acceptable number of severely
injured or dead children, lo aleinu,  before it is deemed appropriate to
make changes!

Hashem yerachem!
Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Out of synch

This year, the seventh day of Pesach falls on Friday, so in Israel the
following day is Parshat Shemini, whereas for those outside Israel it is the
eighth day of the festival. That means that the two communities will be out
of synch for some time. Someone asked me why the Israelis do not split
Tazria and Metzora, which would be the first opportunity to get back in
synch, but wait until Behar and Behukotai, four weeks later. Furthermore, the
latter are relatively short at least compared to the former. The only
explanation I could think of was that Tazria and Metzora (and also, for that
matter, Acharei Mot and Kedoshim) are much more closely thematically linked.

Something similar happens when Shavuot falls on a Friday (and Shabbat
outside Israel) where Chukkat and Balak are split by the Israelis, but
combined outside Israel, rather than their splitting Mattot and Massei, which are
considerably longer.

Does anyone know of any reasons for these choices?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 60 Issue 76