Volume 62 Number 20 
      Produced: Fri, 13 Jun 14 01:59:48 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Katz, Ben M.D.]
Dairy on Shavuos 
    [Robert Schoenfeld]
Darwinian Evolution (2)
    [Robert Schoenfeld  Martin Stern]
    [Eliezer Berkovits]
Kosher without a hechsher - label story is now more than thirty years 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Matnas Yad / Yizkor. 
    [Immanuel Burton]
Rabbi Rosenberg of the OU a'h 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Tachanun on 29 Iyar--shouldn't it be omitted?  
    [Harry Weiss]
    [Martin Stern]


From: Katz, Ben M.D. <BKatz@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 3,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Akdamut

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#16):

> Can anyone suggest why, of all the piyutim, it [Akdamut - MOD] has retained its
> its popularity?

Probably because of the pleasant melody and rhyme.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 6,2014 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Dairy on Shavuos

There is a relatively simple explanation for eating dairy on Shavuos teat I was
taught when I was very young.

Before Moshah Rabeinu went up Har Sinai to get the Luchos he tolld Klal Yisrael
not to slaughter any animals until he returned. As you know he was there a long
time and Klal had to eat and the only food they had was milk and soft cheese.
(You do remember the golden calf dont you?)



From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 6,2014 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Darwinian Evolution

There are two modern examples of evolution that are very obvious today:

1. There is a current project in Russia which has turned wolves into dogs. They
took the tamest of a litter of wolves for several generations and now have
animals that look and behave like dogs.

2. The growth of several new breeds of dogs that did not exist 100 years ago.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 6,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Darwinian Evolution

Reuben Freeman wrote (MJ 62#19):

> In MJ 62#18 Martin Stern summarizes that his objections [to Darwinian
> Evolution} were to:

>> 1. its treatment as absolute truth...
>> 2. teaching it at the primary school level (under 10s)...
>> 3. government insistence on doing this...
> But
> -1- ALL scientific models - not just Darwinian Evolution - are tentative.
> Indeed Popper has characterized the essential characteristic of a scientific
> theory as the possibility of its being refuted (and not as being provable)...
> Unfortunately, non-scientists tend not to understand what science is. Maybe
> more science exposure -and not less - at an earlier age would help.

I made precisely that point in MJ 62#16 as an objection to the way evolution
tends to be taught.
> -2- the tentative nature of a scientific theory or paradigm is not subtle but
> an essential characteristic of the scientific approach...

This would be fine if teaching, say, 16 year olds but when presented to 8
year olds the message tends to be "this is how things are".
> -3- I suspect the real reason for opposition to exposure to Darwinian
> Evolution is not that it represents an difficult assault on our value system.
> It doesn't, as other MJ respondents have indicated .  

Correctly understood; it does not, but, in the hands of politically motivated
secularists, it can be used for that purpose.
> So why the fierce opposition? Perhaps the answer lies in a general aversion
> in certain Jewish circles (primarily hared) to teaching children secular
> subjects, even subjects that can be taught in a Jewish context...

As a (retired) mathematics lecturer I do not oppose secular studies provided
that they are taught correctly. In fact I am probably as disturbed as Reuben
by the attitude of certain groups in the chareidi community in Israel which
is part of its ongoing Kulturkampf with Zionism. Personally I think this
eschewing of all secular studies, however pareve they may be from a
religious standpoint, is a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's
face. However government pressure to change this is counterproductive since
it causes a knee-jerk response and hardens attitudes in the chareidi camp.

The trouble is that some subjects are not taught in a correctly critical
manner and it is to such a tendentious approach that I am objecting. For
example, a certain Jack Cohen, described as "a retired professor of
pharmacology, biochemistry and molecular biology" wrote in the Jerusalem
Post (Evolution in schools, June 6):


> I was gratified to read that the Ministry of Education has finally taken the
> decision to teach evolution at the middle-school level (Middle-school pupils
> to learn evolutionary theory, June 2).
> To  those who doubt the basis of evolution I would point out that evolution is
> not a  theory. It is a fact. In other words, species have evolved and changed
> over long  periods of time. What is theory is how the process occurred.
> Some might think God was responsible, a theory called creationism. But
> Charles Darwins  theory of survival of the fittest and adaptation by means
> of natural  selection, which he published in On the Origin of Species in
> 1859, is as far as  we know correct.
> ...
> It is only  ignorance that leads people to still deny evolution. We must
> ensure that in this  modern world our children are not brought up ignorant of
> one of the most  important issues of our time, namely, how man and animals
> have  evolved.

Such uncritical statements are expressions of a "religion" of "scientism",
aiming at the proselytisation of young people, rather than a true scientific
approach. It is this that raises the hackles of those with an alternative
"religious philosophy". All I wrote regarding evolution is that it is
essential to point out its weaknesses, something that is rarely done in the
school situation, in which Professor Cohen's approach almost always is

Martin Stern.


From: Eliezer Berkovits <eb@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 2,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Dinosaurs

Leah R Gordon wrote (MJ 62#17):

> 5. I find it extremely problematic that Jewish schools in the UK are
> following what in the US is concentrated mainly in Christian Fundamentalist
> communities, i.e. to refrain from teaching about dinosaurs/evolution.
> Don't we want our young people, whatever country they live in, to know the
> science?  To be able to interact and converse intelligently with the
> society at large?  They will grow up to be ignorant bumpkins if we withhold
> knowledge like this.

To state that without knowing about dinosaurs/evolution, our young people will
be unable to interact and converse intelligently with society at large, is
frankly a quite astonishing claim.

In any case, I am merely curious if there is any practical Torah discussion
(Halachic/Hashkafic) of this subject; specifically, the following 2
(independent) points:

(1) confirming that dinosaurs did at one point roam the earth 

(2) if 1 is correct, that this did happen millions of years ago

> 6. The most important issue here is that there is no contradiction with
> Torah in any way, when we accept and refine scientific knowledge.  Rambam
> was a big supporter of this.  The scientific evidence overwhelmingly
> supports evolution.  By neat coincidence, or according to Orthodox Jews, by
> divine knowledge, the Torah's order of Bereshit neatly follows what
> scientists think happened in the Big Bang and following evolution.

I was not referring to evolution, so I don't know why you brought it up. I asked
about dinosaurs. Are the two inextricably linked?

> Let me close by saying that if any school my children attend were to teach
> anti-evolution or anti-dinosaurs, I would be removing my children as soon
> as possible.

I struggle to understood why this reaction would be necessary. Why is the
teaching of evolution/dinosaurs so very important to a child's education?

Eliezer Berkovits


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 6,2014 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Kosher without a hechsher - label story is now more than thirty years

In MJ 62#12 and #13 I mentioned a story somebody had heard Rabbi Harvey Senter
(the head of the Kof-K) tell at a lecture over 20 years before November, 2013

"he described a company that had prominently 100% vegetable shortening on its
label. When he went there, there was not 1 drum of vegetable shortening in the
plant, lard (pig fat) was all there was. He asked them what happened, and they
said that they changed their recipe to lard, and the government lets them use up
the old labels because it is not an allergen concern."

Jeanette Friedman wrote to me off-line that story is over thirty years old and
also that labels that had a hechsher on them could not be re-used, which is not
what this story involved.

I wrote that indeed I thought it was old (I really hadn't been clear enough
about that) and also that I thought this didn't sound like a case of a company
that had lost its hechsher, but one that never had one and wanted to get one.

It turns out in fact, that, in fact, that is exactly the way it was, only there
are some other differences between what the person writing on Mi Yodeya
remembered, and what actually happened.

It wasn't Rabbi Senter who visited the plant, but Rabbi Rosenberg of the OU. And
the original incident took place, not just a little before or just a few years
before, twenty years ago. It could not have happened later than 1972, when Rabbi
Alexander S. Rosenberg, Rabbinic Administrator of the OU Kosher division from
1950 to 1972 died, but it probably happened no later than about 1960

Chana (Anne) Senter from the Kof-K wrote me on Friday, May 9:

"The story came from Rabbi Rosenberg, a"h of the OU much more than 20 years ago.
He visited a cookie company which had no hechsher but wrote 100% pure vegetable
shortening on the label. In the plant he found only treyfe shortening. He asked
why the label says 100% pure veg. shortening when they are using animal
shortening. They answered that they made a corporate decision to switch to the
treyfe shortening the week before because the cost was much cheaper. The
government allows them to use the old incorrect labels as long as it does not
impact on allergy related ingredients i.e. milk, wheat, nuts etc. If
there is a kosher symbol on the packaging, they are also not permitted
to use the old packaging. Hope this clarifies the problem."


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 8,2014 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Matnas Yad / Yizkor.

A friend is looking for an article which he believes he read online but may have
been in print.

The subject of the article was Matnas Yad and detailed its history, the reason
for it and how Yizkor evolved from it.

If anyone could guide me to it I'd be grateful.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 10,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Rabbi Rosenberg of the OU a'h

When a Rabbi Rosenberg of the OU was mentioned by Chana Senter, I was curious to
find out who he was, and I did.

Rabbi Berel Wein, who was Rabbi Rosenberg's deputy and successor, wrote an
appreciation of Rabbi Rosenberg. I don't know how long ago he wrote
it, but it is at


He compared him to the anonymous wise man in the parable in Kohelet,
who saves the besieged city through his advice and wisdom but is later
forgotten by all who benefited from his wisdom and skill. He said Rabbi
Rosenberg was like that as far as establishing reliable kashruth in the United
States, although he may still be remembered by the older generation of rabbis in
this country and Israel.  But he said he was now at best a half-sung hero.

He was also written about not so long ago (Fall 2013) in Jewish Action:


This article was written by Timothy D. Lytton, who also wrote a book
about the history of Kashrush certification in America called "Kosher: Private
Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food" (Harvard University Press, 2013) and
the article seems to be derived from the book, which has a lot about him and others.

Rabbi Rosenberg was one of the founders of the Rabbinical Council of America's
executive committee, and when Kashrush certification by the OU was reorganized
in 1950, he was put in charge.  He was also a shul rabbi because he considered
that nobody should call himself a Rabbi who didn't have a shule, and was in that
position until he died in 1972, not yet seventy. Rabbi Alexander Rosenberg's
successors at the OU were Rabbi Berel Wein (1974-1977),  Rabbi Yaakov Lipschutz
1977-1980, who also worked under Rosenberg, and Rabbi Menachem Genack, 1980 to date.


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 3,2014 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Tachanun on 29 Iyar--shouldn't it be omitted? 

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 62#18):

> Martin Stern (MJ 62#17) offered an alternative option to my post (MJ > 62#17)
> about whether Av Harahamim should be said on Yom Ha'm'yuhas.   [I said it 
> should not be said, Martin said it should be said.]
> Martin may be correct about the genesis of Av Harahamim.  But in terms of
> practical halakhah that, while the Arukh Hashulhan, the Mishneh Brurah and 
> Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim [which really is a record of what they did in 
> Europe] all mention that Av Harahamim is said on Shabbat M'vorhim of the 
> Omer; they make no mention of what should be done if Yom Ha'm'yuhas falls on  
> Shabbat.  Given that omission, it seems logical to me (and to others -- see  
> below) that since Sivan 2 is not a day  upon which tahanun is said, then  
> similarly Av Harahim should not be said.
> So my research continued to the Ezras Torah Luah.  For those not familiar 
> with the organization, Ezras Torah "is a nonprofit Jewish relief organization 
> that specializes in supplying funds to needy Torah families primarily in 
> Israel" according to their website, www.EzrasTorah.org.   One thing they do 
> to raise money is that they produce a year round, day by day luah [calendar] 
> of synagogue and home protocol; the luah is based on the piskei halakhah  
> [rulings] of Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt"l, (1881-1973).   This luah is used 
> in many (if not in the majority) of Orthodox synagogues in the US and Canada, 
> including all the synagogues I have been blessed to daven in from Boston to 
> Providence to New York to Miami to Cleveland to Chicago to Los Angeles and 
> all in between.   Both the Hebrew version of the luah:

As you said Ele V'elu.  I usually daven at Chabad on Shabbos (though I am 
planning on being in your shul in Miami 2 week for this Shabbos)  and they 
did not say Av Harachamin last Shabbos.     Last summer I visited Stassbourg 
for a Shabbos together with Rav Shachter Shlita and was surprised that they 
did not say Av Harachamin being only a few miles from Mainz, Worms etc which 
was the inspiration behind Av Harachamin.   Rav Shachter said Mnhag 
Frankfurt was only to say it during Sefilrah.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 2,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Tahanun

Roger Kingsley wrote (MJ 62#18):
> Martin Stern (MJ 62#17) wrote:
>> Though the original Ashkenaz minhag was to say tachanun on Pesach Sheini,
>> those who follow the Pri Chadash, and omit it, also still say it at the
>> preceding minchah.
> I heard many years ago from Rav Slushtz a good explanation for this.  He said
> that the minhag is to skip tahanun for one tefilla before a celebratory date.
> In the case of both Pesach Sheni and Erev Yom Kippur, the "chag" is in the
> afternoon, so this is fulfilled by skipping tahanun on that morning.

This sounds very good but leaves a problem with Erev Rosh Hashanah, where
there is no "chag" in the afternoon and we say tachanun in selichot but
not after shemoneh esrei in the morning. Why is it different from Erev Yom
Kippur in this respect?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 20