Volume 60 Number 77 
      Produced: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 13:10:26 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Frum" products downsizing 
    [Harlan Braude]
    [Carl Singer]
Jewish Sectarians in the 600s? 
    [Robert A. Book]
Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh 
    [Tal S. Benschar]
Make-up laining? 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Out of synch (2)
    [Harlan Braude  Haim Snyder]
Qumrun and Tefillin 
    [Sammy Finkelman]


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: "Frum" products downsizing

In MJ 60#76 Digest, Carl Singer wrote:

> 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.
> [...]
> do we have an issue of genayvas da'as? If so, how do these items still 
> retain a hechsher?

First, I applaud Carl for raising our awareness of the kosher product size
reductions. I, for one, hadn't paid attention to notice the shrinkage.

However, as to the question of "genayvas da'as" - despite our indignation -
I think the definition of "genayvas da'as" is more complex. The probative
question is not whether a group or individual is unaware of a price increase
(being charged the same or more for less product) but whether the consumer
could/should be aware of this on their own (caveat emptor).

The magazine Consumer Reports has complained for decades about product
shrinkage from way back in the days when Hershey bars first got smaller.
They contacted manufacturers for their "spin" and were informed that rather
than encounter a clear price increase, it was the consumers' *preference* to
pay the same unit price at the expense of unit size (in other words, they're
doing us a favor). I think that's when genayvas da'as occurred. Now, it's 
just "accepted" industry practice.

The follow-up question - which is what I think Carl is asking - is: must 
"frum" manufacturers adhere to a more stringent pricing strategy than their 


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Crackers

If I might clarify -- the product that I described are matzoh baked and
intended for use as such. The term "crackers" was used by some as a disparaging


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Jewish Sectarians in the 600s?

Robert Schoenfeld wrote (MJ 60#76):

> 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.

Depending on which theory you believe about how the Beta Israel of
Ethiopia ended up in Ethiopia, it is possible that they were separated
from the rest of Klal Yisrael several centuries before the
codification of the Mishna and the promulgation of many of the
halachos d'rabbonon (rabbinic laws).

If that's the case, the fact that they didn't follow rabbinic laws
would not be sufficient to qualify them as "sectarians" (if the word
is used to imply deliberate dissent or rebellion).


From: Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Low Gluten or Gluten Free Matzoh

The matzoh bakery in Lakewood made spelt matzohs, both hand and machine.  They
were only about 10 to 15 % more expensive than the equivalent wheat matzos, and
I am sure were made lishmah.  (Whether you rely on machine or only eat hand for
the matzos of the mitzvah is a separate question -- both options were
available.)  My brother-in-law's parents were at our house for a meal, the
mother is gluten intolerant, and she brought a box of the machine spelt to
lunch.  The website also lists oat matzoh, but it is much more expensive ($26
per half pound for hand, $26 per pound for machine).

The bakery's Website: <http://www.lakewoodmatzoh.com>.

Tal S. Benschar


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Make-up laining?

Stuart Pilchowski asked (MJ 50#76) whether he must make up the layning of
Shemini he missed when he returned to Israel immediately after Pesach. My
recollection -- I have no sources handy, but I seem to remember having read
something in the Shaarei Ephraim -- is that whether layning is incumbent on the
individual or the congregation is a matter of dispute. But there is a solution
to his problem, although he is too late to take advantage of it. Many years ago
I spent a Shabbos at the Bostoner Rebbe's house. Someone was returning to Israel
some time after Pesach in a year where the last day of Pesach was Shabbat, and
so at mincha they layned the entire sidra for the following week; the extra
stuff was in the third aliya. This year, I prevailed on our rabbi to do the same
thing for one of our guests. (It had a side benefit. The baal keria was a bar
mitzvah boy, due to layn all of Shemini next week, who had asked to layn at
Shabbos mincha before this came up. He leaped at the chance to do a dry run.)


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Out of synch

In MJ 60#76 Digest, Martin Stern wrote:

> 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.
> [...]
> Does anyone know of any reasons for these choices?

See the last page of this treatment: 

I think the question is better than the answer, though. :-)

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 20,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Out of synch

In MJ 60#76, two questions were asked as a result of the fact that the 22nd of
Nisan fell on Shabbat this year. This fact meant that in Israel, it was a
regular Shabbat and the Torah reading was parshat Shmini, whereas outside of
Israel, it was the eighth day of Pesah with the appropriate Torah reading for
that holiday.
Question 1 came from Stuart Pilichowski who asked about someone who is in both
locations during the period in question. The simple answer is that each
community must read all of the parshiot in the correct order during the year,
but an individual has no obligation to hear all of them.
Question 2 came from Martin Stern, who asked why the "out of synch" situation
isn't corrected at the earliest possible opportunity. My late father-in-law,
Rabbi Jacob Mann, told me that we don't make changes in the "normal" order of
reading until we absolutely have to. Since the first constraint that we come to
in the order of the readings is that the parsha before Shavuot has to be
Bamidbar, no change is made until parshat Behar in Israel.
Bear in mind two facts: (1) until a hundred forty years ago, there wasn't a
major Jewish community in Israel; and (2) travel is much easier today, meaning
that the problem didn't effect many people at the time that the rules were made.
Without a Sanhedrin, we can't expect a change in these rulings.
Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 19,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Qumrun and Tefillin

In MJ 60#72, Robert Schoenfeld wrote:

> According to Professor Lawrence Schiffman of NYU (expert on the Dead Sea
> Scrolls and Jewish history of the period around the destruction of the
> Second Temple era), the Qumran site was a Sadducee retreat and as such those
> Tefillin that Yigdal Yadin found would be according to Sadducee ideas.

My rabbi, Phillip Harris (Pinchas) Singer ZT"L was of the opinion that the Dead
Sea Scrolls were shaimos. This makes a great deal of sense.

Although now shaimos aren't as carefully taken care of as the manuscripts found
in the desert, there was an opinion that that's what you should do. Also, I
think all the manuscripts contain the name of God. And there are no personal

It is an extremely mixed bag. Everything has some kind of error in it, or what
can be considered an error, even the Isaiah scroll (which contains numerous
corrections in the margins so it is something somebody might have put away for

The book of Esther, which does not contain the name of God, and re which there 
was some dispute as to whether it is "metameh yadayim," is not there [but
at least fragments from all other books of Tanach have been found -

There was no community of course at Qumran. It was used as a place to stay when
going to a cemetery.  There are a lot of bodies buried nearby too. But that
doesn't mean that anybody lived there. There would have been people who held
that this is best place to bury people - far away from a city, especially from

This was all done about 30 years before the destruction of the Second Temple,
and it couldn't have been done in a rush either.

There is a little reference to this in the Gemorah at Shabbos 13b. Rav
Yehuda in the name of Rav said the name of Hananiah ben Chizkiyahua
ben Garon should be remembered for good (cf. Neh 5:19 phrase) because
if not for him, Sefer Yechezkel (Ezekiel) could have been hidden. Only
he spent nights resolving the contradictions. This is also mentioned
at Menachos 45a and Chagigah 13a (at the end of the page) where an
additional story is told.

This makes sense if there was a whole purge going on at that time. It wasn't
limited to Yechezkel. As Josephus writes in his Against Apion 1:8,

"For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us,
disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,]
but only twenty-two books...."

They collected all kinds of "extra" books of the Bible that had been
written in the past 250 years or so, and such things as the Damascus
document which dated from over a century before, and even Ben Sira.
Some of those scrolls were found about 1,000 to 1,200 years ago or so
and copies derived from them wound up in the Cairo Genizah.

There was another thing. Manuscripts of Tanach common in Israel were somewhat
different from what was common in Bavel, and the ones in Egypt had even more
differences. Bavel was considered where you had the most learning so they were
also attempting to get rid of "bad" manuscripts.


End of Volume 60 Issue 77