Volume 66 Number 08 
      Produced: Wed, 26 Oct 22 15:01:38 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chamar medina (was Yash for kiddush) 
    [Perets Mett]
Education data? 
    [Joel Rich]
Haredi (was Rav Schwab) 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Labeling Orthodox Jews 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
What Should the Nature of Mail-Jewish be? (2)
    [Prof. L. Levine  Irwin Weiss]
Yash for kiddush (2)
    [ Ari Zivotofsky  Chana Luntz]


From: Perets Mett <pmett99@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 04:17 AM
Subject: Chamar medina (was Yash for kiddush)

David Ziants  (MJ 66#07) wrote:

> Thus there is a debate on what is preferable for havdala
> during the 9 days of mourning in the month of Av.

If there is such a debate please quote sources

The Shulchan Oruch (OC 551:10) mechaber and RMO both say to make havdolo over
wine in the Nine Days

Perets Mett


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Education data?

In his Q and A (to Stern College IIUC) R Asher Weiss stated that one's
childrens' chinuch was a reason not to make aliya. Wouldn't that imply that
the US MO community should commission a study of educational outcomes in
the US and Israel to give its constituents base rate information (paging
Kahnemann/Tversky) for decision making? (Of course this would require some
definitions of desired outcomes - might that be too scary?)

Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Haredi (was Rav Schwab)

Prof. Levine takes issue with my description of Rav Shwab as "Haredi"
and writes (MJ 66#07) in response:

> I have to take issue with his implying that Rav Shimon Schwab, ZT"L, was
> Hareidi. Rav Schwab was a unique blend of the Torah Im Derech Eretz and the
> Lithuanian Yeshiva approaches to Yahadus.

To help me better understand the term, would anybody on this list presume that
Rav Shwab was NOT Hereidi, and why not? Was he "unique"? What would make other
Rabbis unique?

Yisrael Medad


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Labeling Orthodox Jews

In Orthodox circles there is often an attempt to label an Orthodox Jew. One
hears Modern Orthodox, Chareidi, yeshivish, chassidic, etc.

Some web sites dealing with shiduchim have even more designations - Modern
Orthodox liberal, MO machmir, MO middle, modern yeshivish, heimish, toirahdig,
observant, ..

I ask you, "Can you define any of these labels precisely?"  I think not!

Rav Mordechai Gifter, ZT"L,  refused to be called Orthodox. He often pointed out
that Orthodox was a pejorative name originally given to observant Jews in the
19th century. "I am a Torah-True Jew," he would bellow.

People seem to be obsessed with labels, despite the fact, that IMO, they are
really meaningless.

I do have one precise tongue in cheek definition for MO.  Anyone who keeps
Shabbos and has indoor plumbing is to be considered MO.  What do others on Mail
Jewish think?

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 25,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: What Should the Nature of Mail-Jewish be?

Professor Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 66#07):

> The Moderating Team wrote (MJ 66#07):

>> In response to Prof. L. Levine's critique in this issue, we would like to
>> clarify that the "Mail Jewish format" ...
>> As always, we would welcome comments and feedback.

While the above is, I am sure, your view of what Mail-Jewish should be, I have
to ask, "What is the basis of what you wrote?"  This view may have been valid at
the inception of Mail-Jewish and for a number of years after this, however, it
may well not be valid today. I see no mention in your comments about educating
list members by referring to articles either online or by respected rabbis. I
personally think that a key role that Mail-Jewish can play is to expose its
readers to thoughts and articles that they may very well not be aware of. (Keep
in mind that I am a retired educator.)

And I have to question how much active discussion most of the posts you allow
actually generate. WADR, IMO, you are not even totally achieving the goals you
state above.

From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: What Should the Nature of Mail-Jewish be?

Prof. Levine asks this question (MJ 66#07):

First,  I think Martin Stern and Ari Trachtenberg, and whomever else have been 
moderators, do a wonderful job in editing and in putting out this list.  Kol
HaKavod to them.

Second, Prof. Levine's appearance on the mail-jewish list is relatively recent,
I think.  I am not technologically competent to go back and see whether he first
posted on Vol 65 or 64 or whatever, but the mail-Jewish site has been ongoing
for many years. [AFAIK his first submission was in MJ 64#92 which was issued on
16 Feb. '21 but I am open to correction - MOD]

I do value Prof. Levine's insights and find them stimulating to my thinking,
though I don't necessarily agree (or understand) his comments.

In my view, Mail-Jewish should be what it always has been: a place to ask
questions, to get responses, to provide assistance (such as "where can I get
a Kosher meal in such and such location") or to comment on the confluence or
clash between modern day issues and Halacha (such as the question of
carrying guns on Shabbat at one's shul, or the Halachic issues, if any, with
regard to Covid vaccinations). 

Basically, I like Mail Jewish just the way it is, and, once again, thank
Martin and Ari for their efforts.

Irwin Weiss

Baltimore, MD USA


From:  Ari Zivotofsky <Ari.Zivotofsky@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Yash for kiddush

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 66#05):

> Meir Shinnar wrote (MJ 66#04):
>> My father told me that several communities in Galicia had communal takanot
>> mandating that everyone use yash rather than grape wine for kiddusha rabba
>> (daytime kiddush).  This was a social takkanah - as only the rich could 
>> afford wine - so was meant as an equalizer ... At the stage he was able to, 
>> he deliberately chose using yash for kiddusha rabba, and this is my mintage 
>> too.
> My thanks to Meir [Shinnar] for this explanation. However, I cannot see why
> it would justify deliberately using schnapps rather than wine under
> present-day conditions where it is more expensive than grape juice, which
> would qualify as wine but was not readily available in earlier generations.

I wrote an article on this, Shabbat Morning Kiddush over Schnapps in a
Plastic Shot Glass, published in volume 72 (Fall '16, pp. 21-36) of the
Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.


In it, I discuss, inter alia:

(1) the use of whiskey [chamar medinah] for shabbat morning kiddush and
havdalah rather than wine,

(2) the use of a cup holding less than a revi'it and drinking less than m'lo
lugmo [cheekful],

(3) the use of a paper or plastic disposable cup instead of a reusable
respectable utensil.

Ari Zivotofsky

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 26,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Yash for kiddush

In response to Meir Shinnar (MJ 66#04):

I think what we are grappling with here is the reality that certain established
minhagim [customs], at times, directly cut across the din halacha.

How we deal with situations where the minhag seems to directly cut across the
halacha is a fascinating one.  But this is by no means an isolated case. In
fact, particularly in Ashkenaz, it is really rather common.  Let me give two

a.	The minhag in Ashkenaz NOT to sleep in the Sukkah - see Shulchan Aruch Orech
Chaim Hilchot Sukkah siman 639 si'if 2.  The din halacha is that
sleeping is part of the essence of keeping the mitzvah of sukkah.  The Rema and
other commentors there spend a lot of time trying to justify the already
established minhag.  It is clearly, however, not about allowing for not sleeping
in the sukkah l'chatchila [ab initio] by analysis of the texts.  It is about
accepting that this is indeed the custom of Israel in Ashkenaz and attempting to
find some justification within the halachic framework. 

b.	The minhag in Ashkenaz to eat non-glatt meat - see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah
Hilchot Treifot siman 39 si'if 13.  Again, even the Rema there acknowledges "And
even though this is a great leniency already we are accustomed in all these
lands, and one should not protest after there are those on whom to rely ."

And while the Sephardim do this far more rarely, they are not exempt from it
either.  For example take the keeping of two days by tourists in Eretz Yisrael.
 Clearly this was not done at the time of the Beit Hamikdash - where those who
were oleh regel [who made the pilgrimage for the festivals] from Bavel did not
stay an extra day in Jerusalem as against those who make the pilgrimage from
Eretz Yisrael.  And of course by keeping second day Yom Tov in Eretz Yisrael,
men at least are mevatel [nullify] the mitzvah of tefillin when it would
otherwise apply as well as a host of other issues that would seem to be somewhat
problematic in halacha.  And yet in Shut Akvat Rochel [Teshuvot of Rav Yosef
Karo the author of the Shulchan Aruch] siman 26 - he accepts the practice,
noting regarding forming second day minyanim and davening the Yom Tov davening
publicly  "and this matter they have done from the earliest days before the
great ones and no-one raised any quibble in this matter".

The issue of using yash for kiddish minhag would seem to be just a slightly
later version of these kinds of minhagim. Which leads us in to a statement
in Mesechet Sofrim perek 14 halacha 16:

"And the people are so accustomed, that the halacha is not established until
there is a custom, and this is what they say that custom nullifies halacha, an
old custom, but a custom that does not have a proof from the Torah, this is
nothing but a mistake in the weighing of opinion."

i.e. it is not so much that those who are supporting the minhag are "basing
themselves" on a Taz, but are using a Taz to attempt to justify (i.e. provide
the necessary proof for) an already established minhag by using existing
halachic logic, just as the Rema and other commentators do regarding not
sleeping in the Sukkah or eating non-glatt meat (noting that the level of proof
required for using yash for kiddush is of necessity lower because in the case of
not sleeping in the Sukkah or eating non-glatt meat, the din halacha is d'oraisa
[from the Torah], whereas making kiddush, particularly during the day, is at
most a rabbinic and hence so are the essential requirements, such as the amount
required to be drunk).

Some of this I suspect points back to the idea I quoted in (MJ 65#63)
"l'Yisroel, im ain neviim hem, bnei neviim hem [the Jews, even if they are
not themselves prophets, are the children of prophets]" (Pesachim 66a).
If there is a widespread practice, there is a sense that it was probably the
right thing to do.

And note there is yet another factor to consider. The Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah
hilchot Nedarim siman 214 Si'if 2 rules: "The acceptance by the multitude
creates an obligation on them and on their children, and even with matters that
the people of the city did not accept on themselves by agreement but they
[merely] conducted themselves to do it as a fence and boundary for the Torah. 
This harks back to the discussion in the Gemara Pesachim 50b and the Bnei Bashan
who were "were accustomed not to go from Tzur to Tzidon on erev Shabbat. Their
children came before Rabbi Yochanan.  They said to him: "For our fathers it was
possible for them, for us it is not possible for us".  He said to them:  "Your
fathers have already accepted it upon themselves as it says, 'that
you should hear, my son, the musar of your father and not forsake the Torah of
your mother'".   The Shach Yoreh Deah siman 214 si'if 7 adds on the Shulchan
Aruch above  "They are obligated to do like their enactments: - anyway this
is specifically with an important custom that they are accustomed so according
to a Scholar".

So if Meir Shinnar's father (as quoted above) was right that there was a local
takana [enactment] requiring yash in Galicia in order not to differentiate
between rich and poor (a decision presumably made by the Rav of the town/area
despite knowing the other halachic considerations in terms of wine and the
amounts required for kiddush) and accepted by the people there, then that custom
would seem potentially binding on the descendants of the inhabitants of Galicia
- or at least those who know and identifiy as such, based on the gemara in
Pesachim, the above Shulchan Aruch and the Shach, despite it also being correct
that the din halacha is not in accordance with the minhag.




End of Volume 66 Issue 8