Volume 7 Number 67

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Claire Austin]
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Torah and Secular Knowledge (2)
         [Morris Podolak, Benjamin Svetitsky]


From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 08:33:12 -0400
Subject: Glatt

> In his account of the hesped for the Rav given by R. Shachter, Eitan
> Fiorino, in v7n46, says that 90% of shechted cattle would qualify as
> glatt. I have heard this somewhere before, but somewhere else I have
> also heard that 90% of shechted cattle would not, strictly speaking
> qualify as glatt, and that this is even true of beef that is sold as
> "glatt"

Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz in "Is it Kosher?" published by Feldheim
Publishers, 1992, discusses this on page 53, 54:

"Until about 500 years ago, only meat from animals free of adhesions
("glatt") was used.  Later, however, there were halachic (legal)
authorities who permitted eating meat of animals with small adhesions on
particular sections of the lung in case of dire need.  If the adhesions
are small, easily removable, and the lungs prove to be airtight (by
inflation under water), the animal may be declared to be kosher, but not

"Adhesions are not common in chickens in the USA and Canada.  Therefore
ALL chicken meat here is considered glatt kosher."

"Nowadays, one cannot even be sure that the 'glatt kosher' meat one buys
is truly 'glatt'.  Since only a small percentage of animals are truly
'glatt' (sometimes only one in 20), there is a shortage of true glatt
kosher meat.  Therefore, most suppliers have "watered down" the term
'glatt' to include those animals which only have a few small adhesions,
and some have diluted the term even more.  Accordinly, it is possible
that non-glatt meat of a shochet who is scrupuously precise with the
glatt terminology may have fewer adhesions (i.e. be more glatt) than the
boldly advertised 'glatt kosher' meat of another.  Even if the glatt
label is accurate, that alone does not guarantee the meat to be of the
highest kosher standards, since glatt does not, for example refer to the
quality of the shechita itself.  Meat should only be bought from a
source certified as kosher by a reliable rabbinic authority, whether the
meat is glatt or not.  When there is any doubt concerning the
reliability of any particular kosher establishment, a reliable rabbinic
authority should be consulted."

  Rabbi Eidlitz, a former student in the Ponevez Yeshiva in Bnei Brak
  who received his ordination from Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman zt''l at
  Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, is currently Director of
  Development at Emek Hebrew Academy in North Hollywood, California
  and Rabbinic Administrator of the Kosher Information Bureau.

Claire Austin


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 28 May 93 18:05:46 -0400
Subject: Tolerance

I would like to respond to my own posting regarding the use of Sanhedrin
74b as an argument against marching in the Israeli day parade.  (The
gemara is gezerat hamalchut, that one is required to give up one's life
rather than transgress even a minor commandment in a time when Jews are
oppressed.)  I had argued against Josh Rapps use of this gemara as a
potential source for not marching in the parade with homosexuals marching
as well; I felt that this was a too broad application of the gemara. 
Well, Josh is in some pretty good comapany.  In the book _The Sanctity of
the Synagogue_, there is an address of the Rav reprinted in which he
interprets the gemara of gezerat hamalchut:  he says that it requires a
heroic stand in times of adversity, and that this applies "not only to
political or religious persecution, but also to situations in which a
small number of G-d fearing and Torah-loyal people is confronted with a
hostile attitude on the part of the majority dominated by a false
philosophy."  This interpretation was used to demand action against those
who were moving to do away with the mechitza in Orthodox shuls.

Can we apply this gemara in a similarly broad manner to the case before
us?  I don't think that the homosexuals wishing to march in the parade is
analagous to the anti-mechitza movement for several reasons.  First, the
anti-mechitza movement was within Orthodoxy.  When the Rav applied gezerat
hamalchut to the idea of opposing the removal of the mechitza, it only
applied to those people who wanted to change the character of Orthodox
shuls.  It could have no impact on non-Orthodox shuls; they already
existed without mechitzot.  He clearly meant that any attempts to alter
the synagogue from _within Orthodoxy_ should be met with the response that
one would require in a time of gezerat hamalchut.  In our case, the
homosexual Jews already exist.  It is _not_ the case that a group of Jews
within Orthodoxy is challenging the idea that homosexuality is assur or
trying to make an Orthodox synagogue into a gay synagogue.  The challenge
in this case is coming from outside of Orthodoxy, from a group which has
already come into existence.

Second, in spite of his application of gezerat hamalchut to the
anti-mechitza movement, the Rav still matired participation in certain
interdenominational groups such as the Synagogue council and the NY Board
of Rabbis.  This meant participation, on an institutional level, with
movements who in fact opposed the very concept of a mechitza.  In fact,
the Rav is well known to have held that it was more appropriate to daven
alone on Rosh Hashana than to hear shofar in a Conservative shul.  Thus
again, the parade situation differs from the anti-mechitza situation: 
while opposing the anti-mechitza movement within Orthodoxy, the Rav still
allowed some sort of association with movements outside of Orthodoxy which
did not believe in the mechitza.  The parade, in my opinion, seems more
like this second case -- an association where a common goal is shared and
where there is an opportunity for drawing others near and setting an example.

I also fail to see the argument that distinuguishes between the gay
synagogue and any other Reform or progressive synagogue; the gay synagogue
to me seems to simply be a particular varient of a progressive synagogue. 
R. Norman Lamm, in his article "Judaism and the Modern attitude to
homosexuality," (in Jewish Bioethics, ed. by Rosner and Bleich), states
that the gay synagogue in LA was constituted as a reform congregation with
the help of the Pacific S.W. Council of the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations.  The NY group, who claimed to be justified by the
philosophy of Reform Judaism, was given space in a reform congregation
before they had their own synagogue, the president of which was quoted as
saying "G-d is more concerned in our finding a sense of peace in which to
make a better world, than He is in whom someone sleeps with."  A gay shul
can exist only because of Reform Judaism.  While one might say that they
are dedicated to a specific aveira, the fact is that having sex with
members of the same sex is simply not a sin in Reform Judaism.  If we can
march with the Reform, then we are saying that we can march with Jews who
do not recognize what we know to be sins.  To march with gays is not
adding anything to that statement.  R. Lamm argues that there can be no
recognition of gay synagogues, but I still fail to see the distinction
between different shades of progressive synagogues.  None are acceptable,
but all contain Jews.

In his article "Loving and Hating Jews as Halakhic Catagories" (In Jewish
Tradition and the non-traditional Jew, ed. by Schacter), R. Lamm quotes Rav
Kook (Iggerot Reiyah 1:21) as referring to the tosafot on sanhedrin 26b and
on gittin 41b, that some forms of sexual immorality can be classified as
an oneis (compulsion) -- the "the Zietgeist acts as an evil intellectual
temptress who seduces the young men of the age with her charm and sorcery.
They are truly coerced and G-d forbid that we judge them as willful
heretics."  Also, R. Lamm quotes the Chazon Ish: "In a time when G-d's
Providence is hidden and when the masses have lost faith, the act of
eradicating unbelievers does not correct a breach in the world; on the
contrary, it creates a larger breach, for it will appear to others as
nothing more than wanton destruction and violence, G-d forbid.  Since [the
purpose of the law of destruction of heretics] is meant to repair, this   
law does not apply when it fails to repair.  We must instead woo back with
love . . ."

This reasoning leads to the classification of contemporary non-observant
Jews not as heretics, but rather as those raised in captivity, who act
under oneis.  This understanding is why it is permissable to march in the
parade at all, why it is permissable to even associate with today's
non-observant Jews.  There is no reason to exclude practicing Jewish
homosexuals from this category.  Since they too have been "raised in
captivity," we are still required to love them and we are still required to
be m'karev them, and we are forbidden from hating them.  Thus, in my
opinion whatever heterim have allowed Orthodox Jews for years to march in
the Israeli day parade with non-observant Jews, even those proclaiming
their non-belief in the ikkarim, apply equally well to those Jews
identifying themselves as gay, in spite of Rava's dictum that there is "no
oneis by erva," which does not seem to apply across the board (there is at
least one, maybe 2, exceptions of which I am aware).  If one attempts to
exclude homosexuals from the category of "raised in captivity," then one
will have to exclude a great many of today's heterosexual non-observant
Jews as well.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 07:01:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Torah and Secular Knowledge

 With regard to Eitan Fiorino's posting about secular studies, I think
the quotes from the Gemara are not relevant to the issue.  The first
dispute mentioned between Rabbi Yismael and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
relates to work, not study.  According to Rabbi Shimon, you should not
take any time away from Torah study, even to earn a living.  He does not
define precisely what constitutes Torah study (I'll get back to that
later).  The Gemara adds, that many people tried following Rabbi
Shimon's advice, and it didn't work (i.e. they couldn't survive without
working for a living).  Those who followed Rabbi Yishmael's advice did
succeed (i.e.  managed to learn Torah as well).
 The second dispute revolves around the study of "Greek Wisdom".  We
don't know exactly what this is, but it need not refer to science.
Indeed we have stories in the Gemara (sorry, no sources) where chazal
went to scientific meetings to keep up with the latest discoveries.  The
point is not whether science may be studied in addition to Torah.  If
someone were to ask me that I too would hesitate.  Science is part and
parcel of Torah.  If you see them as separate then you are indeed taking
time away from Torah and all sorts of questions arise.  If you study
science to better understand how G-d made His world, then Torah and
science merge.  There is an excellent article by Rav Kapach in one of
the volumes of Techumin (vol. 2 I think) on the RAMBAM's view of secular
studies that makes this point quite strongly.
 What about the "Greek Wisdom", then.  I suggest (and I think I saw it
some- where) that the reference here is to sophistry, a method of
argumentation that supposedly allowed you to win whether you were right
or wrong (it's described like that in one of Aristophene's plays).  If
that is correct it would explain why Rabbi Yishmael wasn't too keen on
having people study it.
 P.S.  I suppose that reading Greek literature is to be considered bitul
Torah (taking time away from Torah study), but in this case perhaps it 
helps understand a Gemara??

From: Benjamin Svetitsky <FNBENJ@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 03:08:49 -0400
Subject: Torah and Secular Knowledge

I must take issue with Eitan Fiorino's evidence regarding the value
of secular learning.  His first source, the argument between R' Yishmael
and R' Shimon bar Yohai, is not about knowledge, but about one's daily
activity -- should one work to support oneself, or should one study all
the time, depending on sustenance derived from miraculous sources.
(Or from others' work, i.e., handouts.  I think having a whole nation
living off nothing but handouts would be nothing short of miraculous.)
I believe the scope of one's study -- what is Torah and what isn't --
is not at issue.

The second source, where R' Yishmael allows you to study Greek wisdom
during hours that are neither day nor night, runs into the old puzzle
of what, exactly, is Greek wisdom.  The Gemara at the end of Sotah implies
that it is some kind of secret mysticism (maybe the Mysteries?) that
enable one to send secret or veiled messages, among other things.

And didn't you notice, Eitan, that you placed R' Yishmael squarely on
both sides of the question?

Ben Svetitsky    <fnbenj@...>


End of Volume 7 Issue 67