Volume 65 Number 98 
      Produced: Thu, 13 Oct 22 04:44:35 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A sukka under a high tree 
    [David Ziants]
An Approach to Simchas Torah 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Coughing and Sneezing 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Eating at other people's homes (3)
    [Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]
Mapik Heh 
    [David Olivestone]
    [Joel Rich]
Whose Hashgacha Does It Have? 
    [Prof. L. Levine]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: A sukka under a high tree

It is a well known halacha, that one is not allowed to build a sukka under a
tree. Where I live there is a big tree in the garden of the apartment block, 
and my sukka, although in my private garden, is also much covered by the 
branches of this tree, so only part of the sukka that is not under this is
kosher, and one year I showed my sukka to my Rav to check the issue - and he
said it was fine.

As I treat my sukka as a three wall sukka which starts where the branches of the
tree stop (more than 4 amot so cannot be considered "dofen akuma" which I will
explain below) and then am under kosher s'chach [covering of the sukka]. The
whole area of the physical sukka is covered by schach, including what is under
the tree, so one has to look high from outside to see the tree branches there.

My Rav did not say that I needed to make any sign or mark where the kosher part
of the sukka ends, although it is not always obvious how far the tree branches
reach. I do alert any guests, which part of the sukka is definitely kosher.

I am also thinking of a neighbour whose sukka is also affected by this tree -
and they need to consider this part of the s'chach (less than 4 amot) 
as "dofan akuma" - having only three physical walls in the other direction and
less width.

There is a "halacha leMoshe miSinai" [a well founded halacha in our oral law]
that we are allowed to build a sukka such that there can be up to 4 amot (6
meters) of pasul [invalid] schach [and assume also taken to mean "no schach" -
for example concrete there] around the perimeter (the suka itself has to be a
certain total size - and in my question it is).
See Talmud Bavli Sukot 6b and this is brought as halacha in the Shulchan 
Aruch, Orech Chaim 632:1 

So this is a "dofan akuma" which means "bent wall" - despite this part 
of the ceiling is fully horizontal.

Since I do not have any question concerning my sukka (my Rav had authorised it),
and it is neither for me to question my neighbour's - but am curious to find out
whether in either of these scenarios, where it is not obvious what parts of the
sukka are under the tree, there are poskim that say there should be physical
signs to indicate what section of the sukka is kosher and what is not. If so, in
my neighbour's scenario, could there be more reason to be lenient, despite that
one is not allowed to eat and sleep under the "bent wall" bit?

David Ziants


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: An Approach to Simchas Torah

The following is from page 584 of Rav Schwab on Chumash.

After Sukkos, he (Rav Shimon Schwab) wrote the following thought in his notes to

Chazal do not require us to add songs on Simchas Torah during the hakafos, as we
do today. Because if a person would merit to be able to hold onto a sefer Torah,
embrace it in his arms, kiss it, and pick up his feet and dance with the sefer
Torah with joy and with great love, and at that moment he would call out with
all his heart, "Ana Hashem, hoshiah na, ana Hashem, hatzlichah na - 'Please,
Hashem, save us. Please, Hashem, answer us on the day that we call unto You"';
even if a
person said this only one time with proper concentration, I believe that this
sweetness, this feeling of closeness to Hashem, would be sufficient to last him
for an entire year.

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Coughing and Sneezing

Carl Singer writes (MJ 65#94):
> 1. This question is not Covid related

So he would like to believe. A friend of mine who works as PA in a local
(Brooklyn, NY) "urgent care" office reports that about 25% of patients who come
in with upper respiratory symptoms test positive for COVID on a rapid test. He
says that it is impossible to distinguish the symptoms of one from the other.


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

I am thinking it should be rather simple:

If one receives an invitation to eat at someone's home, and one has stringent
kashrut standards that are unyielding, then either the host details what his/her
standards are when extending the invitation or the guest inquires what they are.
In a community, it should be understood that that's the procedure. If you don't
like the standards, don't accept the invitation. If one side feels the food is
not up to standard (and the same goes for special dietary needs like vegetarian
or certain types of food), then one doesn't accept the invitation. The only
awkwardness I have come across is Chabadniks demanding their shechita for the
meat. Of course, purchasing special salads and the like is no problem. The
problem is either a certain shechita and/or pots used for the cooking/baking.

Yisrael Medad

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

David Ziants wrote (MJ 65#97):

> The moderator remarked concerning my response (MJ 65#96) to what Joel Rich
> wrote (MJ 65#94) asking about eating at homes of other people in one's
> community - that he was asking about a rav of a shul or kehillah rather than a
> private individual ... and I quoted the position of Rav Eliezer Melamed now
> published in his Pninai Halacha.
> I do not see, at least in those chapters, that he makes a distinction between
> the rav of the community and anyone else concerning accepting invitations.
> According to the parameters he gives, it seems that the rav of the community
> need not be any different to any other member of the community with regards to
> flexibility vs following one's family custom when eating out, and I understand
> from this it would even be a mistake for the rav to act differently from what
> is demanded from anyone else, because many community members might want to try
> and emulate the rav with regards to this. I also had a quick look in his
> chapters on shelichut (becoming rabbanim in communities abroad), but did not
> see anything on this point.

There may not be a difference as regards the halachah in Yoreh De'ah between
a rav and a private individual but there could be differences arising from
'political' circumstances.

As he writes:

> I also understand Joel's question with regards to communities - especially
> outside Israel - where many of the members are less knowledgeable in Jewish 
> law and would come under Rav Melamed's definition of "m'sorati" (traditional) 
> or even lower - rather than "dati" - but the person thinks that he does 
> everything perfectly due to this lack of knowledge. 

This is the situation outside Israel where many traditional Jews are members of
synagogues and think they do everything perfectly due to lack of knowledge,
though anyone with even a cursory knowledge of halachah would realise that there
were many problems with their 'kashrut' - such people often take offense if the
rabbi won't eat in their houses. Their shul membership is more a means of Jewish
identification than a sense of religious obligation. In Israel, they probably
would not join a shul, considering their living in a Jewish state as sufficient.
In any case they would have little connection with the rabbi, who has a less
formal role than in the Diaspora, so the whole question does not arise there. 

I think Mark Goldenberg's rabbi got it right as he wrote (MJ 65#96):

> When our Rabbi assumed the position 35 years ago, he announced he would not
> eat in anyone's home unless it was catered or delivered by a kosher restaurant
> or caterer. He would also come for dessert if he was invited. With those
> guidelines, if you wanted to invite the Rabbi, you could conveniently do so.
> And that way, he didn't have to pick and choose or insult any family if
> invited. It has worked well all these years.

It is always best to tell people up front what is one's policy before any
embarrassing situations arise so nobody can think "he eats at so and so's
house but not mine" and feel demeaned.

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

We have been talking about "Eating at other people's homes" for the last couple
of issues (MJ 65#94-97). Allow me to add a couple of ideas.

The issue about eating in someone's home is based on the concept of Eid Echad
Ne'eman B'isurin, that one witness is believed in all issues of issur vehetter
[what is forbidden and what is permitted] (see Tosafot Gittin 2B towards the
bottom of the page for two discussions of the topic).

Kosher food is primarily a negative mitzvah.  We may not eat: certain species of
animals/birds/fish etc., neveilah (meat from animals not slaughtered by
shechitah), treifah (meat from animals that suffer from certain (fatal) physical
defects), meat with milk, t'rumah (for non-kohanim), ma'aser sheini outside
Yerushalayim, orlah, bikurim, chadash, etc. etc. So how do we know if we can eat
the food in front of us?  If there is one Shomer Shabbat (Shabbat observing)
adult around who has witnessed what is going on, be that person male or
female, we believe him or her, accept his/her testimony and partake to our
heart's (and waist's) delight.  It is this halakha that enables us to eat in
other people's homes and synagogues.

BTW, I was mentioning this halakha to someone who recently completed all of
Shas. His response?  No! No! No!  Women can't be witnesses!  I said, "You may be
right.  But if you are right, then a man could never eat in his own home nor
could he sleep in his own bed."   My friend thought for a moment and his
negativity turned into an "Aha!" moment. [This halakha is derived from the law
of a zavah, specifically a woman, that she counts her shiva neki'im (seven clean
days) for herself and is BELIEVED - MOD]

Side note: the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi Soloveitchik zt"l, allowed a woman
in our hometown of Boston to be the mashgiach (kosher supervisor) of a factory
because he felt she could do a better job at supervising the kashrut there than
a man could. 

Joseph Kaplan (MJ 65#95) quoted Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who said (correctly in my
humble opinion) that "the purpose of kashrut is for Jews to eat together [and]
not to see how many houses of Jews you can't eat in".   In other words, as Rabbi
Riskin said to me, if your kashrut is based on chumrot (strict rulings), then
kashrut devolves into a system of one-upmanship.  You can eat in my home, but I
can't eat in your home because you don't accept the same chumrot I observe.

Going back to the discussion on the topic, I detected an undercurrent that some
MJ members are unhappy that their rabbi wouldn't eat in their homes.   This is
more of a political reality than a kashrut issue.   Many synagogues have both
Shomrei Shabbat (Sabbath observers) and M'chalelei Shabbat (non-Sabbath
observers) in their membership.   If Mrs. Cohen who is non-observant sees Rabbi
Akivah eating in Mrs. Levine's (who is observant) home for a simchah
(celebration), then she is going to want Rabbi Akivah to eat in her home for a
simchah.  Now, Rabbi Akivah knows Mrs. Cohen is not Shomeret Shabbat.   The only
way he can keep Mrs. Cohen happy is by not eating in any of his congregants'
homes.   And so, he must decline everyone's invitation, including Mrs. Levine's,
to save his job.  That is the situation in most cases mentioned.

I personally do not make use of one of the five major kashrut organizations here
in the U.S.  So, I once spoke with Rabbi Hershel Schachter, the YU Rosh
Hayeshiva and the posek (final halakhic arbiter) for the OU, RCA, YU and, to an
extent, the Young Israel communities, and asked him what I should do when I am
at someone's home for dinner and I see they are using a hashgahah I have
effectively made an oath not to use?   His response?  "Eat it!"   And, for the
record, I was once at the home of a friend who was hosting a fund-raising
program for Ezras Torah, a Jewish relief organization for needy families, where
Rabbi Schachter gave a shiur and made an appeal.  Following the program, there
were refreshments.  And, yes, Rabbi Schachter did partake of those refreshments.
 But then again, as a Rosh Hayeshiva and a magid shiur, as opposed to a pulpit
rabbi, he had that luxury of not having to answer to an angry congregant.  

B'virkat Torah and Moadim L'Simhah,
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikhael, Israel


From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Mapik Heh

I am constantly surprised by how many baalei tefillah [leaders of the davening]
do not know how to pronounce a word which ends with the letter heh with a mapik
(dot) inside it. I am thinking specifically of the name of God when spelled
aleph, lamed, vav, mapik heh, which is found several times in the Rosh
Hashanah/Yom Kippur davening and, of course, in many other places. As has been
pointed out previously in this group, the mapik indicates that the vowel
(patach) beneath the heh should be pronounced before the letter, so its not ha,
but ah. 

Also, almost everyone seems to ignore the fact that the accent is on the second,
i.e., the penultimate, syllable (milel), not at the end of the word; thus its
not EloAH, but eLOah.

Finally, when we say this word in a non-davening setting (chol), we replace the
h sound with a k so as not to pronounce Gods name unnecessarily. Shouldn't we be
consistent and say not Elo-ka, but Elo-ak?


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Priorities

Pastor Timothy Keller wrote:

"Unless you love God the most, you will turn your children or spouse or job into
a kind of god that you will expect to completely fulfill you, he explains. This
is a recipe for dissatisfaction, he adds, and often alienates those we love by
burdening them with unreasonable expectations."

Dr. Keller often quotes C.S. Lewis: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown
in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

Do we reflect this? Should we?


Joel Rich


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 12,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Whose Hashgacha Does It Have?

Recently a frum woman sent her son-in-law to buy bread. He brought back a loaf
from a "kosher" bakery in Brooklyn.  When I asked her, "Whose supervision does
it have?" she replied, "I have no idea." She was comfortable with her lack of

I know that this bakery is used by many in the Orthodox community in Brooklyn. 
However, it is not under a supervision that I personally use.

I cannot understand how anyone can buy anything without knowing whose
supervision the product has.

Professor Yitzchok Levine


End of Volume 65 Issue 98