Volume 63 Number 48 
      Produced: Wed, 09 Aug 17 16:36:58 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A matter of doubt? (3)
    [Carl Singer  Joel Rich  Susan Buxfield]
Kashrut status of leniencies for those observing stringencies (4)
    [Martin Stern  Bill Bernstein  Dr. Josh Backon  Chaim Casper]
The Dweck affair 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 11:01 AM
Subject: A matter of doubt?

At the risk of being the third person in (In Hockey one who enters a fight
between two players is penalized as the third man in), there is no quick and
dirty response. We may need to distinguish between:

Belief and behavior -- the two are frequently in harmony -- but when not we can
have serious dissonance.

Also, distinguishing between thoughtful behavior and rote behavior.

Lastly between blind faith and thoughtful faith.   (Similarly, knowledgeable as
opposed to uninformed.)

Add a cup or two of peer pressure -- and we begin to see some of the dimensions
between doubt and certainty.

Carl A. Singer

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 01:01 PM
Subject: A matter of doubt?

In response to my posting (MJ 63#44):

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 63#47):

> Susan Buxfield wrote (MJ 63#46):
>> Joel Rich (MJ 63#44) wrote:
>>> ... 
>>> Question to all - what percentage of the frum world have no doubts? How many
>>> don't think about it at all?
>> There is a basic difference between those who doubt whether the frum 
>> lifestyle is for them but don't reject the divine ethos and those who
>> philosophically doubt that there is a divine entity that created the world
>> and as a follow-on requires the observance of divine commands.

> I would not have thought of either of those possibilities in response to
> Joel's question - rather, it seems to me to describe the extremely common
> phenomenon of those who loyally follow a "frum" lifestyle, but have doubts as
> to the existence of an all-powerful G-d.  I suspect there are many, if not a
> majority, of such people.

This is what I was thinking about

Yisrael Medad also responded (MJ 63#47):

> Does he really think any one of the list members can answer that
> authoritatively, with even 50% precision? Make that 10% precision?
> I doubt that.
> Odd that he should even try to ask. Perhaps he should, first of all, define 
> what he means by 'frum'.

Actually I purposefully left it up to the reader to define frum and provide an
estimate based on whatever criteria they chose.

Joel Rich

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 02:01 PM
Subject: A matter of doubt?

In response to Leah S. R. Gordon (MJ 63#47):

"extremely common phenomenon" and "have doubts" is suggestive of intellectual
dishonesty. As Trump would tweet : "False News".

And perhaps: "I suspect there are many, if  not a majority, of such people" is
also a fantasy illusion.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Kashrut status of leniencies for those observing stringencies

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#47):

> My question is: if I accept a stringent position, is it permissible for me to
> eat in the home of someone else who doesn't (if I can avoid the forbidden
> food), or must I treat that home as traif?
> ...
> (2) Non-glatt kosher meat. I believe the Talmud refers to glatt kosher (the
> animals' lungs have no adhesions) as a stringency, and at least in pre-war
> Europe I"m told that glatt kosher meat was uncommon. In the U.S., apparently,
> glatt is default standard: if meat is found not glatt, mainstream will have
> nothing to do with it. But, hypothetically, what if I satisfy myself that the
> supervision for this non-glatt meat is acceptable?

This might come under the general heading of a personal neder [vow of

If Orrin ate only glatt under the impression that anything else was not
kosher, then he would be permitted to eat non-glatt meat (with suitable
supervision) as being a neder beta'ut.

If, on the other hand, he knew that glatt was a chumra [stringency] and,
nonetheless, took it on himself then he would require chatarat nedarim
before eating non-glatt meat.

Either way, provided the non-glatt meat was from respectable supervision, he
should be permitted to eat non-meat products in the houses of those who use
it and does not need to worry about possible beliot [absorbed taste] in
their cooking vessels.

> (3) Gelatin from non-kosher animals. No mainstream kashrut agency in the U.S.
> will certify it, or any food that contains it, but the Israeli chief rabbinate
> will. Its consumption as food was permitted by Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, a
> widely-respected scholar in pre-war Vilna.

There are several ways for producing gelatine and the halachic status may
depend on which was used. The hetter depends on the concept of 'nishtaneh
[that a substance has completely changed its nature through the production
process]. Some methods of gelatine production involve use of powerful
chemicals to extract it but at that stage it is 'eino raui le'achilat kelev
[completely inedible even for a dog] whereas in others the bones are only
boiled under pressure which would be more problematic.

A further consideration for allowing even the latter is that the resulting
gelatine is tasteless but not everyone is happy with this leniency - but
that might allow one to ignore any beliot from it when a guest in the house
of someone who relies on the Israeli chief rabbinate's ruling.

> (4) Cheese made by non-Jews from microbial rennet. The Shulchan Arukh forbids
> consumption of gevinat akum (cheese made by non-Jews), and I take it that the
> position of the small minority of kashrut agencies (none mainstream) that
> certify it is that this gezera (decree) applies only to cheese made with
> animal rennet.

I think this latter assumption cannot be correct since rennet is a "davar
hama'amid [setting agent]" which cannot become nullified in a mixture. So
when the Shulchan Arukh forbids consumption of gevinat akum, it must refer
to cheese made with rennet of non-animal origin (i.e. of an intrinsically
kosher nature). The underlying reason is that such rennet was exceptional
and so Chazal forbade all unsupervised cheese as a precaution.

> According to various sources online, R. Soloveitchik would personally eat such
> cheese when "kosher" cheese was not available.

I suspect this is based on a misunderstanding. The prohibition of gevinat
akum only applies to 'set cheeses' and not to the soft ones like cream
cheese and cottage cheese which are usually not made with rennet (thereby
not requiring Chazal's precautionary decree). Probably R. Soloveitchik
relied on this when necessary but I find it difficult to believe he ate
non-Jewish 'hard cheese'.

One can generally assume that one's host, if aware of one's personal stringency
regarding a matter of dispute, will not feed him that item. In all such
situations, there is also the consideration that one should avoid creating
ill-will through personal chumras (as opposed to definite prohibitions whether
Torah or rabbinic).

Martin Stern

From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Kashrut status of leniencies for those observing stringencies

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 63#47) asks about people, who hold certain stringencies in
kashrus, eating in the homes of people who don't hold those particular
stringencies, or who hold leniencies that are generally uncommon. 

I don't really understand his question. To my knowledge the permissibility to
eat in someone's home is defined by his "ne'emonus [reliability]" which is
chiefly determined by his being shomer Shabbos, not by what stringencies or
leniencies he holds by in kashrus. 

A person who holds such positions could say he won't eat, e.g. non-Cholov
Yisroel milk, but he would eat fried chicken. In practice I think this varies
across the board. Some people won't eat anything in someone's house if the host
doesn't use only Cholov Yisroel, others won't eat anything dairy, others simply
eat non-dairy regardless.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN

From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Kashrut status of leniencies for those observing stringencies

Orin Tilevitz (MJ 63#47) mentioned 4 kashrut "leniencies".

CHALAV STAM: I'm embarrassed that Rav Moshe Soloveitchik accepted as true an
insane story related by a Yekke businessman vacationing in Switzerland in the
late 1920's where a young Swiss milkmaid told him that the milk she was carrying
in her milk pail was donkey's milk. And Rav Breisch (Chelkat Yaakov) accepted
the story as true. The story appears in the Chelkat Yaakov YD 34 (2nd page). 


At least Rav Moshe Feinstein in Iggrot Moshe understood what REAL US government
supervision of milk entails and OKd "chalav ha'companies".

GLATT: Glatt meat is discussed in the Shulchan Aruch YOREH DEAH Simanim 37-39
(referring to treifot in the lungs. The halacha is quite clear: an animal that
has a hole or perforation in its lung is not kosher. There is a difference of
opinion over whether all animals with loose tissue in their lungs are also
non-kosher. The question revolves around whether there can be loose tissue
without there ever being a perforation. Checking the lungs for a perforation is
based on a gemara in Chullin 12a. There are three levels of kosher meat:

   1) if there is found loose tissue in the lungs but no hole, the Bet
   Yosef (Sephardi ruling) deems it not kosher; the Rema (Ashkenazi)
   rules leniently and deems it kosher since the custom was to actually
   feel the loose tissue and inspect it by inflating the lungs (see YD
   39:13: Rema "v'yesh matirin" quoting the KOL BO). The Pitchei Tshuva
   rules that if the adhesion came off through the massaging of the tissue
   by the Bodek but there was no time for inflating, the lung having been
   torn or lost in the interval, we pronounce the animal kosher if there
   is HEFSED MERUBA [financial loss]. Yet the TAZ rules that one does NOT
   massage a lung adhesion which comes out of a swelling (BU'AH) or hard
   tubercule (TINNARA). It was only the BACH (TUR Yoreh Deah 39) who
   permits massage of *any* lung adhesion even if there isn't a great
   financial loss (as per the leniency of the REMA).

Translation: anyone who says non-glatt (but following the rule above) is not
"kosher" is in massive violation of halacha.

   2) Glatt REMA: bumps in the lung which seem to be from loose tissue but
   which are actually found to be *smooth* (that's the meaning of GLATT)

   3) Glatt BET YOSEF (which is *required* of all Sephardim): perfectly

GELATIN AND RENNET:  Do we follow the Noda BYehuda (Yoreh Deah Siman 26) who
reads the Rambam (Maachalot Assurot 14:10) as following  Rabbi Meir in the
gemara in Avoda Zara 67b [re: the stomach lining of a nevela] and thus, only the
rennet derived from a kosher animal is permitted for making cheese] ? Or do we
follow the Rema YD 87:10; Pri Chadash 103:2; Pitchei Tshuva 87:21 who follows
the Shach YD  114:21 and the ROSH on Avoda Zara 2:34, who say that even from a
nevela [a kosher animal that was not slaughtered, or a nonkosher animal] there
is no Torah prohibition if the stomach lining was completely dried out like dust
? Since the Mechaber follows the Ri MiGash that davar ha'maamid is mi'derabban,
we can be lenient.

Even though there is a rabbinic prohibition of eating food that is unfit for
human consumption (see: Minchat Cohen Hilchot Taarovot Chelek Aleph 9; Pri Toar
103; Shaagat Aryeh 75; Pri Megadim Shaar Ha'taarovot 5:6) this is not the case
if the material was in a mixture YD 103) [zeh v'zeh gorem, muttar].

Josh Backon

From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Kashrut status of leniencies for those observing stringencies

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 63#47) asks, "if I accept a stringent position, is it
permissible for me to eat in the home of someone else who doesn't (if I can
avoid the forbidden food), or must I treat that home as traif?"

I haven't eaten one of the five "pillars" of American kashrut for over 30 years.
Because of their position in the kashrut industry, I am sure their products
are used unchecked in kosher restaurants and catering halls throughout the
country.  And I am in the minority of American Orthodox who don't use this

So I asked HaRav Hershel Schachter, shlit"a, "If I am invited for Shabbat lunch
in someone's home, and I see they use this hashgahah, what do I do?  I have
taken a neder (vow) not to eat it."   His quick and simple response was, "Eat
it."   I assume his meaning was since my hosts are shomrei shabbat (Shabbat
observers), their food is kosher without any of the minutiae that go into a
discussion such as this.   

Orrin then offers four leniencies/stringencies:

> (1) Chalav stam (milk from a kosher animal produced without the presence of a
> Jew, or a religiously observant one), at least in the U.S.: R. Moshe Feinstein
> permitted its consumption.

True, Rav Moshe, tz"l, permitted this.   Rav Moshe was following the lead of the
Pitchei Tshuva who said that if you are sure that the milk you are drinking is
not adulterated with non-kosher milk (e.g. pig milk), then you could use the
plain milk which would solve the gemara's original concern. But Rav Moshe added
a caveat: He himself used only chalav yisrael and he said schools should also
only serve chalav yisrael.   And he encouraged others to use only chalav yisrael. 

> (2) Non-glatt kosher meat...[W]hat if I satisfy myself that the supervision
> for this non-glatt meat is acceptable?

Glatt has become the standard because the people who do the slaughtering and
supervision are usually beyond reproach.  That's what the market demands. We are
long past the era where a Jew bought his/her meat from a kosher butcher with lax
standards because that was the Jewish thing to do, is long gone.  So nowadays,
if you walk into a store and see it's glatt, you have every reason to believe
everything was done k'dat k'din (appropriately).   Now, if you can find meat
that is not glatt but is supervised by a reliable rav hamachshir (kosher
supervisor), the issue of ne'emanut (believe-ability or reliability) has been
solved as he as researched the meat and concluded that it is acceptable. Without
this independent third party verification, one would not be allowed to
eat any meat.

> (3) Gelatin from non-kosher animals.
Yes, Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzinski permitted the use of any gelatin.   And so in the
U.S. in the 40s, 50s, 60s and even into the 70s, one could buy in the US a brand
of kosher gelatin entitled "Ko-Gel".  It was produced under the supervision of
the Belgium rabbinate and they said they used only (non-kosher slaughtered) cow
bones.   This was gelatin based on Reb Chaim Ozer's heter (permissive ruling).
(Is Jello brand gelatin the same stuff?  I don't know.)   But the US Orthodox
community of 2017 is not the same as the Orthodox community of 1967.  Because
the community has moved to the right, I do not know of one kosher supervising
agency that would allow the use of KoGel if it was still being manufactured. I
used to see it all the time in the supermarkts.  Now, I can't find it even on
ebay or Amazon.com   

> (4) Cheese made by non-Jews from microbial rennet ... animal rennet ... R.
[Joseph Dov HaLevi] Soloveitchik [aka the Rav"] tz"l would personally eat such
cheese when "kosher" cheese was not available.

I think Orrin is mixing up a couple of things.   Tosafot in Hullin permit
vegetable (or microbial) rennet.   This is what R` Caro forbids in the Shulhan
Arukh.  But the Rav's issue was with Borden's and Kraft American Cheese which is
made with animal rennet.  Theoretically, the same heter above for gelatin would
apply to rennet.

Rabbi Beryl Levy, z"l, (of OK Kosher fame) told me that he was at the Rav's
house when the Rav opened the refrigerator.  Rabbi Levy saw that the only cheese
there was Haolam brand, a chalav yisrael, kosher brand cheese.   Rabbi Levy said
he said to the Rav, "It is well known that the Rav permits Kraft and Borden's
cheeses so why is there only Haolam there?"

The Rav responded, "I never said such a thing.  Kraft and Borden's are gevinat
akum (cheese made by a gentile and hence are forbidden)."

On the other hand, Rabbi Hershel Cohen, z"l, the former associate rabbi at
Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York, told me that the Rav told both him and his
mother that "If you started on Kraft and Borden's, you can continue to eat those
brands.   But everyone else must use kosher cheese."

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


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 9,2017 at 01:01 PM
Subject: The Dweck affair

In MJ 63#47, Leah Gordon wrote:

> 2. Please will Sammy provide any reference whatsoever of a connection
> between incest and homosexuality

A google search reveals:

* Cameron and Cameron, "Does incest cause homosexuality?",
  Psychol Rep. 76(2):611-21 (1995):
   - "These findings are consonant with those of other studies in
     which disproportionately more incest by homosexuals was reported."

* Robers, Glymour, and Koenen, "Does maltreatment in childhood
   affect sexual orientation in adulthood?", Arch. Sex.
    Behav 42(2):161-71 (2013).
   - "Our results suggest that causal relationships driving the
     association between sexual orientation and childhood abuse
     may be bidirectional..."

* Alvy, Hughes, Kristjanson, and Wilsnack, "Sexual Identity Group
   Differences in Child Abuse and Neglect" Journ Interpersonal
   Violence 28 (2013)
 - "heterosexual women reported significantly less childhood abuse
   and neglect than did women who identified as mostly heterosexual,
   bisexual, mostly lesbian, or lesbian.

I suspect that someone in the field could find many more.


End of Volume 63 Issue 48