Volume 65 Number 03 
      Produced: Fri, 24 Sep 21 11:36:33 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Baring shoulder during mourning 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Covid Has Killed About As Many Americans As The 1918-19 Flu 
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]
COVID in Israel: Unvaccinated Drive Slight Increase in Serious Cases  
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]
Demystifying OU-D 
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]
Lakewood Rabbonim Oppose The COVID-19 Jab 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Prominent anti-vaxxer dies of coronavirus 
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]
Reciting L'Dovid Hashem Ori, A Secret History 
    [Martin Stern]
The Fifth and Sixth Chabad Rebbes Were Not Anti-Vaxers 
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]
When Was the Zohar Written? 
    [Prof. Yitzchok Levine]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 9,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Baring shoulder during mourning

Dov Bloom wrote (MJ 65#02):
> Ben Katz wrote (MJ 64#99):
>> Jewish law definitely evolves .... Here are just a few examples:
>> 1. Baring one's shoulder during mourning was prescribed in Talmudic
>> times; no one does this today.
> I was recently at a funeral for a Yemenite (held in the ancient cemetary of
> Hevron) and some of the mourners/children did halitzat katef, bared his
> shoulder, during the funeral.
> I guess it is one more thing where only the Yemenites held on to ancient 
> customs and halachot.

it should be noted that Yemenites are quite Rambamistic (see Shoftim, Avel,
Chapt. 11:1-2).

Jastrow noted that nakedness was a sign of mourning in Arabia which might
be the origin of the persistence of this among them. See  


Yisrael Medad


From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 22,2021 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Covid Has Killed About As Many Americans As The 1918-19 Flu

COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu
pandemic - approximately 675,000.

The U.S. population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today,
meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But
the COVID-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right,
especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and
the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time.



IMHO anti-vaxers are responsible for too many of these deaths.



From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 22,2021 at 10:17 PM
Subject: COVID in Israel: Unvaccinated Drive Slight Increase in Serious Cases 

Israel recorded 4,800 new COVID cases on Tuesday, with more than two thirds of
them among unvaccinated people, according to the latest Health Ministry data
released on Wednesday.

Although only about 17 percent of eligible Israelis did not get vaccinated so
far, they accounted for 67-69 percent of new cases this week, according to
official figures for Monday and Tuesday.



Sadly,  I do not think that anyone can convince the anti-vaxers to change their
position. From what I have seen, they fall into the category of "My mind is made
up, do not confuse me with the facts."



From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Sat, Sep 18,2021 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Demystifying OU-D

Manufacturers are allowed to label products 'non-dairy' even if they contain
dairy ingredients - see the article from KosherKopy: Demystifying OU-D - Jewish
Action, where it states:

> The label OU-DE (Dairy Equipment) signifies that although the product itself
> does not contain any dairy ingredients, it was produced on equipment that
> also produces dairy products with no kashering taking place between runs
> (which would remove the dairy status of the equipment).
> ...
> When reviewing a label to see if a product contains any dairy ingredients,
> one should be aware that many products contain a seemingly innocuous
> ingredient called “natural flavors,” which may indeed include dairy
> ingredients.
> ...
> Although flavors usually constitute a tiny amount relative to the total
> ingredients, they contribute substantially to the taste of the food because
> they are highly concentrated. Thus, while a ratio of 60:1 generally suffices
> to nullify a non-kosher, or in this case dairy, ingredient, flavors cannot be
> nullified since they are noticeable.
> However, there are cases where a product labeled OU-D is really only DE. To
> find out if a product contains a dairy ingredient or is just made on dairy
> equipment, please contact the OU’s Consumer Hotline
> ...
> Manufacturers are allowed to label products “non-dairy” even if they contain
> dairy ingredients. This is the result of regulations passed by the FDA years
> ago. The FDA forbade the use of the word “dairy” as a descriptive term when 
> the dairy content of an item is below a certain level. For example, some 
> varieties of “non-dairy” margarine contain butter or other dairy ingredients 
> that one might not be familiar with, but in small enough quantities that the
> manufacturer can label it as “non-dairy.”
> One cannot rely on reading the description or ingredients on a label to
> determine if a product labeled OU-D is pareve. If you suspect that a product
> does not contain any actual dairy ingredients and was only labeled OU-D 
> because it was made on dairy equipment, you can confirm this by contacting the 
> OU’s Consumer Hotline.

For further details, see


Any comments?



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 9,2021 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Lakewood Rabbonim Oppose The COVID-19 Jab

Prof. Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#02):

> A sign consisting of a kol koreh of Rabbonim opposing the COVID-19 jab was
> recently hung in shuls around Lakewood.
> Free translation:
> "Behold, regarding the new vaccines which were released recently for corona, 
> our opinion in this is that, being that ample time has not yet passed to see 
> and know the nature and outcomes of these vaccines, and moreover, recently,  
> we have heard of many serious adverse reactions which have occurred to
> individuals who have been vaccinated, and there those who have died shortly
> after being vaccinated, therefore we are instructing those who ask us for now
> to abstain from taking these vaccines.
> "And may we have faith in Hashem that He fix the problems in our midst and say
> enough to our tzaros."
> ...
> While I cannot make out the signatures at the bottom,  I am certain that each 
> of these rabbonim has extensive training in the medical area of infectious
> diseases. If not, I am sure they would never make such assertions.

Do the rabbis supporting the COVID vaccines need extensive training in
infectious diseases in order to support the vaccines?  I would imagine that each
rely on medical sources that they trust and make their decisions accordingly.

The more interesting question, to my mind, is

(i) to what extent should rabbis accept specific medical advice as a matter of
halacha, and

(ii) to what extent should rabbis even opine on medical issues.

Prof. Ari Trachtenberg            ECE, Boston University
<trachten@...>                    http://people.bu.edu/trachten


From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 13,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Prominent anti-vaxxer dies of coronavirus

Further to the thread "Lakewood Rabbonim Oppose The COVID-19 Jab", this report
appeared on Israel National News:

> Hai Shaulian, an Israeli anti-vaxxer prominent on social media, dies of
> coronavirus after his condition deteriorated quickly.
> "Dear friends, my condition is extremely critical," he said in the Facebook
> video. "I am in very serious condition, I'm not able to speak or respond to
> people. I have no oxygen and I'm not managing to stabilize. This morning I woke
> up, I was soaking wet as if with several buckets of water, with no oxygen. It
> took me about an hour to understand who I am, where I am, and what I'm doing
> here. A lack of oxygen is a horrible and terrible thing."

See <https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/313394> for more.

These words should be read many times by anti-vaxxers.  Perhaps it will bring
them to their senses and they will get vaccinated.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 12,2021 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Reciting L'Dovid Hashem Ori, A Secret History

Prof. Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#02):
> Many people have the custom to recite L'Dovid Hashem Ori at this time of year.
> On the other hand, minhag Frankfurt and (I believe) Sanser Chassidim and
> others do not say it.

The minhag of not saying L'Dovid Hashem Ori was not restricted to
Frankfurt-am-Main but common to many other kehillot in Germany. The probable
reason is that it was based on the anonymous kabbalistic work Hemdat Yamim which
was suspected of being a Sabbatian work because it contained several poems with
the acrostic Natan HaAzati. R. Yaakov Emden suggested that its author was
identical with the foremost propagandist of Shabbetai Tzvi of that name as part
of his controversy with R. Yonatan Eybeschutz over the latter's alledged

Martin Stern


From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 22,2021 at 10:17 PM
Subject: The Fifth and Sixth Chabad Rebbes Were Not Anti-Vaxers

Documents Prove Rebbes Rashab and Rayatz Were Vaccinated.

A document that the Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Rayatz filled out when they visiting
Wurzburg, a town in Germany in 1907 reveal they both were vaccinated against a
disease. The document was found by the Shliach in Hamburg.

It was published in the Sukkos edition of the Kfar Chabad magazine, the
documents note that both the Rebbe Rashab and the Rebbe Rayatz were "vaccinated"
with 2 portions, described as "Vaccinated times two".

The magazine wrote that "Apparently, these are the vaccines against the
"smallpox" disease, which killed not long before, at its peak towards the end of
the 18th century, more than 400,000 people in continental Europe each year."

This content was published at 




From: Prof. Yitzchok Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 17,2021 at 11:17 AM
Subject: When Was the Zohar Written?

Many claim that the Zohar was written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochoi, who lived in
the second century.

The Zohar refers to the second day of Shemini Atzeres as Simchas Torah. However,
the name Simchas Torah does not appear in sources until after the time of the
Geonim. Based on this, R. Avraham Yaari in his sefer Toldos Chag Simchas Torah
comes to some interesting conclusions about when the Zohar was actually written,
namely, it must have been well after the time of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochoi.



for more details.



End of Volume 65 Issue 3