Volume 62 Number 96 
      Produced: Wed, 17 Aug 16 07:15:53 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Davening on a Plane 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Gender Relationships 
    [Martin Stern]
Life saving vs. Torah Learning? 
    [Joel Rich]
Salad certification (2)
    [Isaac Balbin  Chaim Casper]
Shifchah - a family member? 
    [Martin Stern]
    [Irwin Weiss]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 7,2016 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Davening on a Plane

The following was posted in the Weekly Halacha Discussion by Rabbi Doniel
Neustadt for Parashas Devarim,

Question: What is preferable  davening Shacharis at the airport or on the
plane at the proper time (after sunrise), or davening at home or in shul
before sunrise but after alos amud ha-shacher?

Discussion: Although, generally, the preferred time to recite Shacharis
Shemoneh Esrei is no earlier than sunrise, this rule is waived for one who
is embarking on a trip. It is lchatchillah permitted to put on tallis and
tefillin and daven from the time of misheyakir (approximately 60 minutes
before sunrise) for someone who is travelling.16 Since it is difficultfor
several reasonsto daven and concentrate properly while davening at the
airport or on an airplane, it is preferable to daven at shul or at home,
even though one would be davening earlier than the ideal time for davening
Shacharis. (Mishnah Berurah 89:40)

Question: While flying on an airplane, is one obligated to join a minyan
which is being organised on the plane?

Discussion: Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 90:9. See Shulchan Aruch ha-Rav 90:17)
rules that all men should make every effort to daven all tefillos with a
minyan, for tefillah b'tzibbur is much more than a preferred course of
actionit is a rabbinic obligation. (Igros Moshe, O.C. 2:27; 3:7; 4:68;
Minchas Yitzchak 7:6; Peninei Tefillah, pg. 119, quoting Rav Y.S. Elyashiv.
There are dissenting views that hold that tefillah b'tzibbur is not an
absolute obligation; see Orach Yisrael, pgs. 535-538, for a review of all
the opinions.) 

Still, everything has its time and place. Many people just cannot
concentrate properly while standing in a busy aisle way or passageway,
valiantly trying to keep their balance. Sometimes there is turbulence in the
air and the captain orders those standing to immediately return to their
seats, which certainly interferes with ones concentration. Being able to
concentrate properly often overrides the importance of davening with a
minyan. (Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:7; 4:20)

In addition, davening while standing in an aisle surrounded by other
passengers, could entail the prohibition of davening in the presence of a
woman who is not properly dressed or whose hair is not covered. Those who
remain in their seats do not encounter these problems, since they need only
look straight ahead, close their eyes or focus entirely on the siddur in
front of them.

But there is yet another point to ponder: Some airlines welcome public
prayer and permit the passengers to daven in a minyan while flying. Others,
however, object to this practice and resent the fact that the orthodox Jews
are taking over the plane. Passengers may become upset from the noise and
the tumult created by the makeshift minyanim. Since there is a strong chance
that a chillul Hashem will result, many poskim recommend davening
byechchidus while remaining in ones seat, being careful to keep a low
profile and to create the least disturbance possible.

Question: How does one daven Shemone Esrei in his airplane seat?

Discussion: He should sit up as straight as possible with his head slightly
bent downward; his feet should be placed together. (Mishnah Berurah 95:2) He
should rise slightly from his seat onto his feet when it comes time to
bending his knees and bow, and to take the three steps backwards. (Rama,
O.C. 94:5.)

Question: What should one do if he stood up for Shemoneh Esrei and, while
davening, the captain turned on the seat belt sign ordering the passengers
to return to their seats?

Discussion: He should finish the brachah reciting, take three steps back,
and then walk back to his seat and resume davening. He must be careful not
to speak at all on his way back to his seat, since it is strictly forbidden
to talk during Shemoneh Esrei. (See Shaarei Tehuvah 104:1 and Mishnah
Berurah 96:7) In addition to the safety issue involved, an Orthodox Jew who
fails to return to his seat when ordered to do so by the airline staff could
very well be causing a massive chillul Hashem, which must be avoided at all

While I broadly agree with what he writes, I know others may differ and call
on them to make their own comments.

Martin Stern


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 2,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Engagement?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 62#95):

> R" Y Katz recently wrote the following:
> "These are trying times for Modern Orthodoxy. Our safety net is porous; many 
> are falling through the cracks. The under-40 crowd rarely participates in our
> communal shiurim, few of them attend daily minyan. When they do show up to 
> shul they are not interested in debating the intricacies of philosophy and 
> Jewish esotericism."
> I'm curious if this is consistent with what folks are seeing in their local
> communities.

I do not see it in my community. In my shul, we have members of all ages. It is
common to see three generations of people at minyon. My generation founded the
shul, our children now run it and their children are active. One of my sons
lives in Passaic and when I visit there I see a similar situation. In fact they
have a number of daily minyanim for Shaacharis, Mincha and Ma'ariv.

Of course the problem may be the definition of "Modern Orthodoxy". There are
people who regard it from the "right" and others who regard it from the "left".
It may be that what I called "Modern Orthodoxy" is not regarded as such by the
younger generation.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 15,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Gender Relationships

I am sure that Rabbi Doniel Neustadt's Weekly Halacha Discussion for
parashat Va'etchanan will be controversial and generate some discussion.

Question: If a lady fell and the only way to help her up entails touching
her, may a man (literally) give her a hand?

Discussion: It goes without saying that if she fell and finds herself in a
life-threatening situation, anything and everything must be done to save her
life (Sotah 21b). While affectionate physical contact between the genders is
strictly forbidden (See Shaarei Teshuvah 3:80 and Beiur Halachah, 339:3,
s.v. Lehakel)  indeed, at times it falls into the category of yehareig
vaal yaavor (Rama, Y.D. 157:1; Chayei Adam 21:13; Nidchei Yisrael 19:2) 
when the contact is not of an affectionate nature (derech chibbah) it is
permitted (Shach, Y.D. 157:10; Igros Moshe, E.H 2:14). The same halachah
applies if the lady is in danger of losing a limb or if she were to suffer
any other permanent disabling injury. Even if she is not injured but simply
cannot get up by herself due to infirmity, a man may extend a hand to help
her rise and steady herself, especially if there is no one else around to
assist her.
The halachos apply equally in reverse  if a man falls, and only a woman is
available to assist him.

Question: May one accept change from a cashier if he is concerned that his
hand will touch hers in the process?

Discussion: If ones intention is merely to receive the change, he need not
be concerned about any unintended touch. Obviously, if ones intention is to
touch her hand and to enjoy the sensation, it is strictly forbidden.

Question: Is it ever permitted to shake hands with a woman? Is there a
dispensation to do so if otherwise one would suffer a substantial loss or
would embarrass the woman, possibly causing a chillul Hashem?

Discussion: As mentioned earlier, physical contact between the genders is
strictly forbidden when it is an expression of affection. When it is clearly
not so, it is permitted. Shaking a womans hand in a social setting, e.g.,
at a wedding, or in order to establish a friendship or a personal
relationship is strictly forbidden according to all views, and at times
falls into the category of yehareig vaal yaavor. Even if the woman
extended her hand first, one must not shake it; rather one must decline in
the most sensitive and gracious way possible. The concern that she will be
embarrassed if the man does not shake her hand is of no consequenceit
remains strictly forbidden (Oral ruling in the name of the Chazon Ish,
quoted in Karyana Digarta 162 and Moadim uZmanim 4:316).

There are, however, some situations where a handshake is offered as a matter
of protocol, such as an introduction to a customer or an employer, to a
doctor or to a distinguished politician. In these situations, the handshake
is not a sign of affection, friendship or a personal relationship and would,
theoretically, be permitted. Still, the poskim are in agreement that one
must do whatever he can to avoid shaking hands under these circumstances as
well. This is because the yetzer hara for arayos is overwhelming. An
innocent handshake may lead to a casual embrace; a harmless introduction may
blossom into a full-blown illicit relationship. It is extremely difficult to
define what is and what is not derech chibah when it comes to a handshake,
and it is, therefore, the consensus of the poskim to be stringent in this
matter (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:113; E.H. 1:56; E.H. 4:32-9; Rav Y.Z. Gustman,
quoted in Halichos Yisrael, pg. 281; Az Nidberu 2:73.6).

Under extenuating circumstances, e.g., one would lose his job were he not to
shake hands with a female customer, or if, by refusing an extended hand, one
would publicly humiliate a prominent personality, there are some poskim who
find some room for leniency to return a handshake, if the hand is proffered
in a manner which is clearly not affectionate (See Nishmas Chayim (Rav Chaim
Barlin) 135; Teshuvos vHanhagos 4:300, quoting an oral ruling from Rav M.
Feinstein; Emes lYaakov, E.H. 21, note 4; Rav C.P. Scheinberg, quoted in
Halichos Yisrael, pg. 282). All poskim agree that one must do whatever he
can to avoid being caught in such a situation. All of these halachos apply
equally to men and women.

Question: What, if any, are the restrictions on affectionate physical
contact [putting arm around shoulder, stroking cheek, hugging, kissing,
etc.] between a man and his female relatives?

Discussion: For the purpose of these halachos, we shall divide relatives
into three separate groups:

1) Affectionate physical contact between a man and his mother, daughter,
granddaughter, or sister under the age of 11 is categorically permitted.

2) Affectionate physical contact between a man and his sister over the age
of 11, or a blood aunt [his fathers or mothers sister] is neither
strictly forbidden nor expressly permitted. Rather, in the words of the
Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 21:7) it is most deplorable, a prohibited (type of)
action, and an act of foolishness. (Igros Moshe, Y.D. 2:137 explains that
the Rabbis have deemed it deplorable and foolish because it may lead to
physical contact with other relatives with whom physical contact is strictly

3) Affectionate physical contact between a man and all other female
relatives (such as cousins, nieces or in-laws) over the age of 3 is strictly

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 15,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Life saving vs. Torah Learning?

I read this on R' Aviner CPR Course:

Q: What is preferable - a CPR course or learning Torah during that time?

A: Learning Torah, which resuscitates the soul. Learning Torah is equal to them
all. HaRav Moshe Feinstein wrote that while it is a Mitzvah to save people,
there is no Mitzvah to study medicine (see his Teshuvah on whether or not it is
permissible for a Cohain to study medicine. Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:155).

Interesting use of word 'preferable vs. 'required/forbidden'.  What "dvar
reshut" (elective choice, if you believe it exists) would ever be preferable to
Torah learning?

Joel Rich


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac.balbin@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 2,2016 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Salad certification

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 62#95):

> We recently purchased some prewashed salad which had both the "usual" star-k
> certification plus a local certification sticker as well. Does anyone know if
> this means two sets of mashigichim at the plant or does one organization rely on
> the other's mashigichim and do the organizations' standards differ on the actual
> salad inspection process?

It is certainly the case that one authority has looked at the practices of
another authority and then gives their approval to their Hashgocho.

In Melbourne, for example, we work from a list in the main. It is an app and a
book. Symbols are not used often on labelling. I do know that the Badatz, trust
Kosher Australia to be at the same level as Badatz Mehadrin and will not second
guess or check them.

That the local hashgocho puts their symbol doesn't necessarily mean two sets of

There are Hashgochos that are not trusted by the mainstream frum world. I
believe in the USA you have Triangle K. In Melbourne we have my classmate, R
Meir Rabi's Kosher Business, which isn't trusted by anyone in the frum world
(including his family!) in Melbourne. (He's also the one who 'disappeared' as
Rav Hamachshir from a Ben Pekuah business start up, which he is now restarting
apparently on his own despite many letters of opposition from all sectors of the
Rabbinate in Melbourne, Rav Schachter from the OU and elsewhere)

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 4,2016 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Salad certification

In reply to Joel Rich (MJ 62#95):

I submitted this question to one of my friends who works for one of the five
major kashrut organizations here in the US.  His off the record response was
that all prewashed salads are supervised the same way, namely yozei v'nikhnas
(spontaneous, unannounced inspections).   The visiting mashgiah (supervisor)
representing the rav hamakhshir (the actual rabbi or organization certifying the
product as kosher) will pull a sample of the vegetables in question out of the
system (after they have been cleaned) and first visually inspect them and then
check them again using a loupe.  If it passes this test, then the hashgahah
stays on.  

And my friend left me with the understanding that while two or more hashgahot
may be printed on the label, they operate independently of each other but in
full knowledge that the other organization(s) will be doing their own check. 

Now I know some of my readers will object to a loupe being used as we all have
the understanding that only bugs visible to the eye are forbidden, but if you
can't see them with the naked eye, then they are not considered as being
there.   (My friend had the same question even though he knows this is the
standard process for certifying salads.)    

I would suggest that not everyone has 20/15 vision; most people need something
to clarify their vision for something small and for something that blends into
its background (e.g. a green bug blending into a green lettuce leaf).  My friend
concluded with a suggestion I offer to the chevra: Why not ask the five major
organizations for an official response to be printed in our proceedings? 

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 15,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Shifchah - a family member?

A few days ago, somebody pointed out to me that the words 'shifchah' and
'mishpachah' seem to come from the same root 'shin - peh - chet' and wondered
if they were somehow conceptually related. My first reaction was that this was
fortuitous but I decided to investigate further. I found that Rav Hirsch
suggests that there may be a linkage and that this root represents the
underlying idea of 'inrease' in that a shifchah is added to a family which
itself is an increase from the original parents but this strikes me as homiletic
rather than expository. Has anyone any further ideas on this?

Martin Stern


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 17,2016 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Vaccinations

I received at my house a flyer urging people not to have their children
vaccinated, citing the Torah commandment "Venishmartem Me'od Lenafshoteichem"
(Devarim 4:15)

It says the benefits and risks of vaccination is a much debated topic in medical
and scientific circles.  (No authority cited for this proposition). It implores
that people not vaccinate their children, when a parent has reasons to believe
that his children are sensitive to vaccines.  It says that anyone coercing
someone to vaccinate a child against his better judgment becomes responsible
before Hashem for any adverse reaction.  Ridiculously, the flyer says that,
although one may follow the opinion of most doctors and choose to vaccinate his
children, the individual who has done his research has the obligation to act
according to his knowledge.   It is true that the overwhelming majority - truly
overwhelming - of doctors have the opinion that vaccinations are safe and

This handout contains, for me, offensive anti-scientific statements, which could
cause great harm in the community.  I have no trouble looking to trained Rabbis
for Halachic advice, but prefer to look to normative medical professionals for
medical advice. The statement bears the seal of Rabbi Eliezer Dunner of Bnei Brak.


Irwin E. Weiss,
Baltimore, MD


End of Volume 62 Issue 96