Volume 61 Number 16 
      Produced: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 18:32:42 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Benching gomel (3)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
Kashrus Of Canned Tuna (4)
    [Martin Stern  Harry Weiss  Harlan Braude  Robert Israel]
Meat after Tisha B'Av 
    [Martin Stern]
Men in the Ezras Nashim (3)
    [Martin Stern  Carl Singer  Joseph Kaplan]
Reporting Crimes committed by Jews 
    [Elliot Berkovits]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 16,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 61#15):

Martin Stern asks (MJ 61#14):
>> This (Thursday) morning we had a troop of people come up one after the other
>> to bench gomel, delaying the davenning interminably. IMHO it would be much
>> better if the gabbai would call out before the first one that he would be
>> doing so in order to be motsi (exempt) everyone else present and not permit
>> this tircha detzibbura. What do others think?
> While I sympathize re: the tircha detzibbura (even more-so if I were in
> attendance). To me it would depend on the circumstances --

> (a) some people bench gomel in almost a perfunctory manner whenever they fly
> overseas.

> (b) In other circumstances gomel is both halachic and emotional -- illness,
> car accident, birth .... 
> I believe the former case (a) could warrant the solution which Martin suggests
> - that is someone being motsi the others. In circumstance (b), however, I
> would be willing to miss my train if that's what it took.

In the case I mentioned, it was a matter of case (a), people were coming
back from their summer holidays. 

When we go away for Pesach, we encounter a similar problem (probably with around
100 people who should bench gomel) but, there, there is a further worry that
some people do not realise they are obliged to do so. I introduced the practice
of the gabbai calling out that one person would be motsi everyone (including the
women who generally do not do so for reasons I cannot understand). Obviously one
cannot force everyone to avail themselves of this but, in practice, almost
everyone does.

An added advantage of this group gomel benching is that it allows those who have
to bench gomel after release from prison, having served their sentence for a
crime :-(, the ability to do so without it being too embarrassingly obvious to
everybody :-)

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 61#15):

> In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):
> The standard wording of the bracha declares that the speaker, as a sinner,
> was undeserving of the good that G-d bestowed on him.  That seems
> inappropriate when one says the Beracha on behalf of others.

I think that the word 'chayavim' here should be rendered 'undeserving'
rather than 'sinner'. Nonetheless the text "who bestows good on the
undeserving" would seem as appropriate for a group as an individual though
it might be argued that 'shegemalani [who has bestowed on me]' should be
altered to 'shegemalanu [who has bestowed on us]'.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Benching gomel

Stuart Pilichowski wrote (MJ 61#15):
> In reply to Martin Stern (MJ 61#14):
> I think you first need to define "tircha detzibbura." You make the
> assumption that 'delay' =  tircha detzibbura. If that were the case, then
> many parts of our present tefillah that aren't obligatory should be
> excluded. Also the Rabbi's sermon, bar/bat mitzvah speeches, mi shebeirachs,
> kids singing beginning from Ein Kelohaynu, Aleinu - singing in general,
> announcements (instead of a simple printed handout). I'm sure I left out
> other common examples.

As should have been obvious from my original submission, I was referring to
a weekday (specifically Thursday) when, IMHO, any delay is a tircha
detzibbura. The sort of things Stuart mentions all apply to Shabbat and Yom
Tov when time constraints are not usually so pressing though, IMHO, it would
be better if some, especially over-long mi shebeirachs, were severely

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kashrus Of Canned Tuna

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 61#15):

> I have recently seen articles on the web sites of various kashrus
> agencies about canned tuna, and why the prohibition of bishul akum
> [cooking by a non-Jew] is not applicable.
> The rationale that I've read is that bishul akum applies only to food
> that is fit to be served to a king, which canned tuna is not. Does this
> rationale actually work?  I am sure that it is reasonable to assume that
> fresh tuna would be fit to be served to a king, which means that tuna
> per se is fit to be served to a king.  Does the method of production,
> i.e. canned versus fresh, change whether bishul akum applies?  Would
> bishul akum apply to a fresh tuna steak but not to canned tuna?
> A list of FAQs on the Web site of the United Synagogue (of Great
> Britain) cites an opinion of the Chazon Ish, who forbade tinned sardines
> on the basis that "the King of England eats sardines for breakfast".
> This list of FAQs can be seen at:
> http://www.theus.org.uk/jewish_living/keeping_kosher/keeping_kosher/faqs/c-352
> /kosher-faqs/
> I was a bit surprised not to see a different reason for why bishul akum
> doesn't apply to canned tuna.  The rule of bishul akum doesn't apply to
> foods that are eaten raw, e.g. carrots.  Given that raw tuna is used in
> sushi (specifically a type of hosomaki called tekkamaki), wouldn't this
> reason by itself be enough to exempt tuna from the prohibition of bishul
> akum (even, perhaps, according to the Chazon Ish)?

I remember going to a shiur on the subject of bishul akum given by a dayan
who specialises in kashrut supervision where it was explained that one
hetter, which probably would be applicable to all canned goods, is that the
'cooking' is done by steam and this might be similar to smoking to which the
restriction of bishul akum does not apply.

Martin Stern

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kashrus Of Canned Tuna

In reply to Immanuel Burton (MJ 61#15):

I heard (I think on an OU Kosher Tidbits recording) that Tuna in not cooked 
by direct fire, but in the can through steam that is pumped into a machine.

That may not be considred halachically cooking for the purposes of bishul 

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kashrus Of Canned Tuna

In reply to Immanuel Burton (MJ 61#15):

Apparently, this isn't the opinion of all kashrus agencies. Here are 
excerpts from an article posted by the Star-K of Baltimore, MD, found here:
"Since fish is a variety of food that is "oleh al shulchan melachim", a food
that is served at a state dinner or wedding, bishul akum would be a problem with
fish in any form, canned tuna not withstanding"

and, regarding Star-K policy:

"Once the fish arrive, they are cleaned, scaled and gutted. They are then laid
on trays and are ready to be cooked. To meet the requirements of bishul Yisroel,
the mashgiach puts on the steam after the fish has been rolled into a cold oven."

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Kashrus Of Canned Tuna

Immanuel Burton (MJ 61#15) wrote:

> A list of FAQs on the Web site of the United Synagogue (of Great 
> Britain) cites an opinion of the Chazon Ish, who forbade tinned sardines 
> on the basis that "the King of England eats sardines for breakfast".  

According to

Her Majesty the Queen likes to have Corn Flakes or Special K for breakfast. 
Does this have implications for the kashrut of those cereals?

Robert Israel
University of British Columbia


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Meat after Tisha B'Av

Josh Backon wrote (MJ 61#15):

> When I was giving a course on evidence-based medicine: diagnosis and therapy
> at the Faculty of Medicine of Hebrew University, I used to relate the
> following anecdote to my med students. My grandmother a"h, a Holocaust
> survivor who was born in Andrychov Poland in 1889 and passed away 20 years ago
> at age 103 in Brooklyn, was definitely charedi. Until age 97, she used to fast
> the full 25 hours on Yom Kippur (until her doctors forbade her to fast). Like
> many others of her generation, she used to break the Yom Kippur fast after
> Neilah by downing a shot of brandy. All her doctors were horrified.
> I know one thing: she OUTLIVED FIVE OF HER DOCTORS!!!

Clearly a case of "shomer peta'im Hashem [G-d looks after the simple, i.e.
straightforward people who follow ancestral customs without worrying too

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Men in the Ezras Nashim

Bill Coleman wrote (MJ 61#15):

> No one is questioning that the halakhic obligations of women differ from
> those of men.  The issue is whether or not shuls ought to, or even need
> to, accommodate women who wish to daven on weekdays.  Some apparently feel
> that the cost of such accommodation is substantial.  I view it as trivial
> and am inclined to attribute the willingness to turn away women to other
> factors.

It all depends on the layout of the premises. In some shuls the beit
hamidrash might be quite small, and only have just enough room for the men
who come, so it might then be impractical to set up a mechitzah to leave
space for women. One shul I go to is like this and it is a big headache to
find any space for women - which means that they usually have to stand in
the hallway. This is certainly not ideal but it would require major building
work to provide accommodation for them and for the one or two times a year
that any come this is really too much of a financial burden.
> One such factor is something I have often observed in my own shul, which
> has a spacious beis medresh and a permanent mechitzah enclosing a ezras
> nashim which easily seats at least ten people.  While women do appear
> occasionaly, it is certainly true that, more often than not, no women are
> present.  What does this mean?  It means that hardly a day goes by that
> one, two, three or more men set up shop in the ezras nashim.  It's not
> because the men's section is full or even remotely close to being crowded,
> because it is neither, it's because for whatever reason they like to sit in
> the back behind the mechitzah.  When a woman shows up they generally clear
> out quickly, but sometimes this happens while they are davening shemonah
> esrei and I have overheard complaints that the women in question had no
> business entering until the men had finished and left.  This to me is real
> chutzpah and an indication of how these characters feel about women.

I could not agree more and would suggest that any man going into the ezrat
nashim be told to get out by one of the gabbaim, or any other man present.
They have no business to be there and, in any case, it is not entirely
certain that they can be considered as part of the minyan if they are in
what is, to all intents and purposes, a separate room - they might therefore
be forfeiting tefillah betzibbur. This is quite apart from stealing the
women's designated places.
Martin Stern

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Men in the Ezras Nashim

In reply to Bill Coleman (MJ 61#15):

I, too, have seen this phenomena -- at times people have been asked to join
with the rest of us by someone in shul's leadership.

The only justification I've ever seen for men in the Ezras Nashim is on
Chol HaMoed Shacharis if no women are present we have someone who wears teffilin
on Chol HaMoed and he's reluctant to stand out from the majority of the
congregants who don't -- so he goes to the Ezras Nashim. (BTW -- I see this
voluntary separation is not universal.)

When my wife has come to shul during the week to say kaddish on her parent's
yahrzeit -- she has arrived to find, on occasion, men in the Ezras Nashim. She
just quietly goes to her seat and ignores them.  What they do is irrelevant.

Carl Singer

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Men in the Ezras Nashim

In reply to Bill Coleman (MJ 61#15):

That happens from time to time in my shul.  The last time it happened when I was
at morning minyan, a man came in around borchu and set up shop there.  After I
finished shmoneh esray I went over to him and, politely I hope, pointed out that
it was the women's section and that there were seats available in the men's
section.  I noted that women might be uncomfortable going into the section if he
was there.  He responded that it was already pretty late.  I couldn't resist so
I said, again hopefully with a smile, that he had come to shul late; perhaps a
woman might come even later.  By kedusha he was in the men's section.



From: Elliot Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 17,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Reporting Crimes committed by Jews

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 61#15): 

> I've heard too many times from others that one shouldn't masser another
> Jew [denounce a fellow Jew to the civil authorities], regardless -- and
> it seems to me that this is misguided.

Unfortunately the Issur of Mesirah has been blown out of proportion in
recent times and is often applied, even if not relevant, as a kneejerk

I was the victim of an unscrupulous builder who caused me much financial
damage, part of which came about by using unqualified plumbers/electricians.
When I threatened to report him to the official bodies (Gas Safe, here in the
UK) his immediate response was that it was Mesirah (suddenly he's worried about
Halocha!). I found a Teshuva by the Minchas Yitzchak concerning a Jew whose
dangerous driving was a threat to pedestrians. He Paskens that (first Rabbonim
must warn him to stop) but  - if memory serves me correctly  - if he pays them
no heed it is allowed to report him to the relevant authorities.

NB It has been reported that Rav Elyashiv ztl paskened that sexual predators
could be reported to the authorities. I will see if I can find the source.

Eliezer Berkovits


End of Volume 61 Issue 16