Volume 7 Number 52

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Question regarding Kashrut
         [Scott D. Spiegler]
         [Eli Turkel]
Shavuot as Z'man Matan Torah
         [Yaron Elad]
What to do with old books
Chiming in during Shabbos Mincha
         [ALLEN ELIAS]
quotes needed
         [ALLEN ELIAS]


From: <cs004201@...> (Scott D. Spiegler)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 17:46:25 -0400
Subject: A Question regarding Kashrut

I was discussing a point with a friend relating to different ways treif
dishes and brand-new dishes can be kashered. One of the ways I've heard
about kashering has to do with treif plates which are ordinarily too
porous to kasher, but replacing them would either be a financial or
emotional hardship on its owners. The case I am referring to relates to
a person who has expensive dishes who would experience undue financial
hardship to replace them, so instead can store them away for a year- at
which point, the dishes are thought to have lost their treif qualities.

I hope I've understood the scenario properly, and if I have- It somehow
is a very unsatisfying answer to think that after a year, the treif has
somehow just disappeared??! Frumkeit always seems to be so careful about
what they will do and won't do, but this din seems very matter-of-fact
to me. Can somebody please elaborate more on this?

Thanks, Scott

[Note: You have understood the scenario properly, but I want to
re-emphasize that in questions of practical halacha, and in particular
in relating to the halacha discussed above, a question to a competent
halakhic authority must be asked. To just touch on the issue (I'll leave
a more full elaboration to someone else) in a case where the only
kashrut issues are rabbinic, there are additional rabbinic rules as to
when the rabbinic decree is to be used. In the case of Hefsed Meruba -
major financial loss, certain rabbinic kashrut laws are waived. Since
the Rabbies made the rules, they can also make the exceptions. What
constitutes a "major loss" is, however, something that a posek must
determine, so that is why I say you must ask a Rabbi on an individual
basis as to what can be done. Mod.]

From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 11:47:12 +0300
Subject: Shavers         

      Bob Klein asked about shavers and we also got the
beautiful picture from Zev Farkas. There was an article in the
latest volume of Techumim (13) by Rabbi Rappaport (Rosh Yeshiva
of the hesder yeshiva in Efrat and son-in-law of R. Moshe tendler).
Since there is a lot of confusion I will summarize the article.

1.  Gemara Makkot 21a: One cannot shave with a razor but can shave
    with scissors. One can also use a powder even though it completely 
    destroys the hairs.

    The Gemara (Niddah 6,12) has a discussion of the minimum length of a
hair for the halakhah of Nazir. Only here does the gemara refer to a scissor
that is like a razor (Tosafot: a scissor that also uproots the hair).

Two related questions: What is the difference between a razor blade and
scissors? Also what about very sharp scissors that cut close to the
skin (mis-parayim ke-ein ta-ar) ?  Is there a minimum size for the hairs
to still be considered as hairs in regard to these prohibitions?

2.  The Shulchan Arukh (R. Yosef Karo and the Ramah -Yoreh Deah 181)) and the 
    commentaries (see especially the Vilna gaon) all assume that razor-like 
    sharp scissors are okay for the beard but questionable for the sideburns.

3.  The Noda be-yehudah claims that there is no connection between Nazir
    and shaving with a razor and one violates the issur of shaving with
    a razor even if the hair on the head is very short.

4.  The Chatam Sofer says that the Noda be-Yehuda was not really serious
    in this objection. In fact he claims that the permission of the
    Noda be-Yehudah to shave on chol hamoed was really done so that those
    who shave with a razor would not have long hair after chol hamoed.
    The Chatam Sofer himself (responsa Orach Hayim 154) himself feels that
    the  difference between a razor and scissors is that scissors do not
    cut very close and that the minimum shiur for hair is that one can
    bend it over to its root. However, any scissor that cuts closer than
    this would be prohibited similar to a razor blade. Thus the Hatam Sofer 
    disagrees with the Shulchan Arukh.

5.  The Ktav ve-ha-kaballah explains the difference between a razor and
    a scissor that a razor blade is made to cut many hairs together while
    a scissor cuts individual hairs. 
    Based on this R. Rappaport says that a razor blade works against the
    friction of the skin and so a razor blade needs to be very sharp.
    Scissors work with 2 blades and so are limited to cutting the hairs
    bewteen the two blades. R. Rappaport then brings other proofs to this

6.  Modern shavers: The hairs are caught between the blade and comb
    (see picyure of farkas) and so acts a sharp pair of scissors. R. Rappaport
    then brings down a letter from the manufacturing head of Phillips to R.
    Tendler (May 28, 1992) describing their "lift and cut system". 
    There are 15 sets of blades  the front blade begins to cut the hair
    but due to the resistance of the hair the blade is forced backwards.
    Because of the spring system the blade cannot go backwards and instead
    goes into the shaver with an acceleration of 8000 G pulling the hair
    with it. The comb blade now cuts the hair closer than the first blade
    did. This results in a very close shave.
    R. Rappaport concludes that a examination of the blade shows that it
    is not sharp enough to cut a hair using only the resistance of the skin.
    It is thus capable of cutting only one hair at a time just like any
    other shaver. It cuts many hairs only because of the speed of the machine
    not because intrinsically it can cut more than one hair at a time.

    R. Rappaport also says that many Japanese companies have advertisements
    about how their shavers are different and even use shaving cream. However,
    this is only commercials and in reality they work like any other electric
    shaver and the cream is for advertisement only and contribites nothing.

    His conclusion is that according to the Shulhan Arukh all electric
    shavers are permitted including Norelco etc. According to the Hatam
    Sofer no electric shaver is permitted.

7.  Rabbi Weisz in Minchat Yitzchak (Vol 4, #113) srtongly feels that all
    electric shavers are forbidden. He has a relatively long responsa
    comparing cutting of hair for a nazir, a metzora and cutting peyot
    (corners of the head). At the end he brings many other authorities that
    also prohibitted all electric shavers including the Hazon Ish and
    R. Aaron Kotler. His only possible "heter" is based on R. Zvi Pesach Frank
    who said that if the blade does not touch the skin then it is considered
    scissors and not a razor. He also brings a story from Tosafot that they
    insisted even when using scissors to make sure that the lower blade
    was stationary. R. Weisz discusses the new (1966) Shicj shaver which has
    it problems. R. weisz concludes that if one does use an electric shaver
    the outside cover should be as thick as possible.

     Question: According to the Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh Deah 181) the minimum
     length of the sideburns is to beloW the ear. The general custom seems
     to be to cut them in the middle of the ear at the point where the
     two bones meet? Does anyone know the basis of this custom against
     a very clear Shulchan Arukh. I have been told that if one looks at
     pictures of Yeshiva boys in Vilna in the early 1900's they are all
     clean shaven (except for the Rosh Yeshiva who has a beard) and the
     sideburns go to the middle of the ear!

Eli Turkel


From: Yaron Elad <elad@...>
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 12:06:28 -0400
Subject:  Shavuot as Z'man Matan Torah

[Note: I'm putting the following to correct, I think, some
mis-information. I'm not sure what Yaron's Rabbi meant by "late
rabbinic", but a source, if not the main source, of Shavuot being Z'man
Matan Torah is the Gemarah in Shabbat around 86-87. If there are any
earlier sources, feel free to send them in. Discussions on why there is
no mention in the Torah that Shavuot is Z'man Matan Torah are fine, as
well as the "one day discrepency" (The Torah was given on 7 Sivan and we
celebrate 6 Sivan). Mod.]

With Shavu'ot approaching I seem to recall my undergraduate Hillel rabbi (at
UCLA) once telling me that the tradition of Shavu'ot being Zeman Matan
Toratenu (the time of the giving of the Torah) was some sort of late rabbinic
compromise to give more meaning to the holiday.  In other words, the
rabbis apparently felt that Shavuo't simply being one of the Sheloshah
regalim (three pilgrimages to the Holy Temple) described in the Torah was
not sufficient and that there had to be some deeper significance. 
According to my rabbi at Hillel (YU semikhah, but now liberal), the
rabbis chose to give Shavu'ot more meaning by assigning it as the date
when the Torah was given at Har Sinai.  Does anyone know any details about
this idea?  Sources?

Yaron Elad


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 21 May 1993 3:41:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: What to do with old books

Victor Miller asks (v7n47) what to do with old books, such as some he
discovered in his shul which were about to be buried. In the case of
"Tsena urena", which is in Yiddish, he could send them to the National
Yiddish Book Center, 48 Woodbridge St., South Hadley, MA 01075. This
fine organization, which is worthy of support even if you don't have any
books to send them, rescues old Yiddish books from garbage dumps and the
like, looks through them for rare books that may be of interest to
libraries, and donates the more common books to newly organized Jewish
community centers in the former Soviet Union, and to other organizations
that may want them. They might even be interested in machzorim with
Yiddish translations on the bottom, as most older European machzorim
have. You should call them and find out. They might also know of people
who could use old Hebrew books even without Yiddish translations in
them, or perhaps could directly convey them to the same groups that are
interested in old Yiddish books.

On a personal note, if anyone ever comes across a siddur or machzor that
belonged to the Meshbisher shul at 47 Orchard St. in New York, please let
me know. This shul, where my grandfather went as a boy, was dissolved in
about 1950, and the siddurim were sold to other shuls. I have been trying
to find out whether they davened nusach Ashkenaz or nusach Sephard.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 22 May 93 15:52:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Chiming in during Shabbos Mincha

Response to Joel Storch vol.7 #49
Chiming in during Shabbos Mincha.
The Shulchan Aruch (124:4) in Hilchos Tefila says the congregation
should keep quiet. The Mishna Brura explains this to mean not
to sing along with the Chazen.
Allen Elias,


From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 20 May 93 15:23:10 EDT
Subject: Quotes Needed

Response to Dov Krulvich: quotes needed, Try looking for one of the
better versions of Likutei Moharan by Rabbi Nachman of Breslav.  My copy
is full of quotes on the subjects you mentioned, including exact
Allen Elias


End of Volume 7 Issue 52