Volume 7 Number 84

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Pepsi (2)
         [Nachum Issur Babkoff, Warren Burstein]
Shemot (4)
         [Benjamin Svetitsky, Gerald Sacks, Anthony Fiorino, Shoshanah
Techeles (3)
         [Warren Burstein, Mike Gerver, Ezra L Tepper]


From: <babkoff@...> (Nachum Issur Babkoff)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 07:33:51 +0200
Subject: Pepsi

There have been about four postings on this issue, but two of them
presented opinions I feel should be responded to or at least addressed.

The comon denominator between Yaacov Fenster's and B Lehman's
submissions was as the latter put it: "You want us, that's fine, but
accept our standards". I couldn't agree more, where the issue was THE
PRODUCT ITSELF vis a vis the laws of Kashrut. In other words, where a
particular beit din represents a particular standard of KASHRUT, they
certainly have the right, the OBLIGATION to moraly protect their
standards of kashrut.

However, that is NOT the case here. Here the Bada"tz (the Ultra
Orthodox Court of Justice) is NOT claiming that Pepsi does not meet
the "Kashrut" standards of the Ultra Orthodox community. No. Quite the
opposite! Pepsi DOES conform with their stringent standards, for they
were granted the Bada"tz seal of aproval until now. Now the issue is,
that they don't aprove of the lifestyle of the Israeli market. The
claim: "you want us accept our standards" has no borders if taken in
this context. What if Rav Shaul Yisraeli Shlit"a, a staunch resister
to the land for peace ideology (from a Halachic standpoint), decided
not to give a hechsher to food products produced in Kibbutzim that
support territorial compromise, a stand that is contrary to his
understanding of the halacha? And what's to prevent any group from
denying a hechsher to food products or hotels run by people who wear
different "kippot" (yarmulkas)?! 

I humbly submit, that Kashrut aside, and "standards" aside. When
people who attend "Guns n' Roses" purchase a can of Pepsi, even if the
seal of kashrut is on the product, NEVER assume that that seal means
that the concert is endorsed by the Bada"tz.

Another fact that was ommited, was that this story between the Bada"tz
and Pepsi did not begin with the aforementioned concert. When Pepsi
first arrived, one of the first posters depicted a monkey slowly
evolving into a yuppie in a suit with the caption: "Pepsi, the choice
of a new generation". Right there and then, the Bada"tz threatened to
remove its aproval unless those posters were removed. Pepsi complied.
Does that too fall under the catagory of "accepting our standards"?

As for the news flash reported by Rabbi Shlomo Pick, whereby the
Rabbanut was going to remove its hechsher as well, I find that hard to
understand. The Israeli High Court of Justice ruled three years ago,
that the Rabanut may NOT remove its aproval from any institution or
product for ANY reasons other than pure Kashrut issues.

All the best...

                           Nachum Issur Babkoff

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 15:24:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Pepsi

    concerning the rabbanute and pepsi - in last week's hazofe - the
    mizrachi daily - on thursday, there was an announcement by R.
    Landmann from Holon who gives the Rabbanute hechsher for pepsi, that
    he too was removing it from pepsi for approx. the same reasons as the
    bedatz. so if he is not giving also, than who is?

If this is the case, the mashgiach is in violation of the Israeli
Kashrut Supervision law.  While I respect anyone who feels that their
principles prevent them from giving hashgacha to a product, if someone
works for the Rabbanut, I expect them to perform their job in
accordance with the law or to seek employment elsewhere.

 |warren@      But the principal
/ nysernet.org is not all that worried.


From: Benjamin Svetitsky <FNBENJ@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 04:09:33 -0400
Subject: Shemot

I too was struck by the late unlamented David Koresh signing letters
with the Tetragrammaton.  It recalled the problem we had when I was an
undergraduate and a local eccentric would stuff mailboxes with leaflets
which were chock- full of shemot (applied to himself).  The decision in
that case was that the letters were meaningless because the writer
wasn't a ba'al daat, a thinking person. It's as if a bird scratching in
the dirt were to make a pattern that happened to resemble a holy Name;
it wouldn't have kedusha.  I think that describes Koresh pretty well.  I
don't know what to do about shemot in a novel, though.
             Sara Svetitsky

From: Gerald Sacks <sacks@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 15:06:40 -0400
Subject: Shemot

Ira Taub asks about shemot in secular literature, etc.  There's a discussion
of shemot in "messianic" literature in mail.jewish vol 6, #80 and #84.

Some major university (Yale? [probably Columbia, see posting below.
Mod.]) uses the tetragrammaton in its insignia, so presumably its
letterheads have the same problem (if there _is_ a problem).

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 14:52:44 -0400
Subject: Shemot

Other interesting problems with G-d's name appearing in unlikely places--

The seal of Columbia University -- this appears on their sweatshirts (can
you wear them into a bathroom?) and on the floor of a building at Columbia
(hundreds/thousands trample across G-d's name each day -- this seems like
a real problem to me.)

Biblical Archaological Review recently published photos of some ancient
scrolls (in the ancient Hebrew script) in which G-d's name appears.

Eitan Fiorino

From: <sbechhof@...> (Shoshanah Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 17:45:19 -0400
Subject: Shemot

The recent postings on the issue of shemos suggested to me that I ask for
input on a question I have been having difficulty locating an answer for. 
As a Navi teacher, I teach section of Amos in which Amatzia tries to have
Amos killed.  The pronunciation of the city from which Amatzia came, Bais
(K)el, is something which I always assumed to be similar to Yisrael (not
yisrakel) but lately my students seem to be careful to say Bais Kel. Any
ideas on the proper pronunciation?
                                     Shani Bechhofer


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 93 19:09:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Techeles

I recall that the Gemara has (I'm sorry I don't recall where) a
discussion of the "tachash" from which one of the coverings of the
Miskan was made, in which it is declared to be a now-extinct (or
now-unknown) kosher animal, because everything in the Miskan was made
from kosher sources.  Since techelet was also used, does it not follow
that the source of techelet would have to be kosher as well?

As some of the suggestions for the source techelet are nonkosher, do
those that make these suggestions say that the halacha is not
according to the above?

 |warren@      But the weeder
/ nysernet.org is ***.

From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1993 4:30:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Techeles

Lon Eisenberg asks in v7n64 why we shouldn't wear tzitzit dyed with the
Radziner "techelet", since it can't do any harm, and might be real
techelet.  Sheldon Meth, in v7n73, states that some authorities say that
"it appears from the Rambam" that tzitzit dyed with any dye, even not
techelet is not meakev [invalidating] the mitzvah of tzitzit, and Lon,
in v7n78, takes this as confirming his idea that it cannot do any harm
to wear tzitzit dyed with Radziner "techelet."

That's not the way I understand the situation, based on what I know of
the halacha and on Sheldon's remarks, but I don't have the ability of
the time to go through all the sources, and I hope that Sheldon, or
someone else who does have the time, can do so and summarize the results
for us. The first mishna in perek daled of mesechta Menachot states that
techelet does not meakev lavan [the white threads of the tzitzit] and
lavan does not meakev techelet [the blue thread]. In other words, there
are two separate positive mitzvot, one to wear white tzizit, and one to
include a thread dyed with techelet among the white threads. Because
techelet became so difficult to find and/or afford, the rabbanim gave us
a heter not to do the mitzvot of including a thread dyed with techelet.
It seems to me there could be two problems with using a dye that is not
really techelet. One, from the language of the mishna, it is not obvious
that using another color thread does not meakev the white threads; maybe
it is only the case that having all white threads does not meakev the
mitzvah of having white tzitzit. If "it appears" that the Rambam did not
hold that way, it sounds as if there are other people who do hold that
way. Second, even if having a thread dyed another color does not meakev
that mitzvah of the white threads, maybe it does violate the mitzvah of
the techelet thread. We have a heter not to have any dyed threads at
all, which would be a violation of the positive mitzvah of techelet if
we didn't have that heter. But does that heter also extend to allowing
us to dye one thread with dye other than techelet? If not, then we would
be violating a positive mitzvah from the Torah by doing so, and it would
not be harmless. My understanding from the discussion in Yehuda Feliks'
"Nature and Man in the Bible" is that the gemara specifically prohibits
(in the gemara following the above mentioned mishna in Menachot 38a-43a,
as well as in Baba Metzia 61b) the use of kla-illan [indigo, according
to Feliks] for dyeing tzitzit, and heter to not dye tzitzit at all may
have been motivated by the fact that many people _were_ using kla-illan.
(The tzitzit found at Masada were dyed with indigo.) If so, the heter
would only have been to have all white tzitzit, not to have a thread
dyed with something other than techelet.

This line of reasoning, coupled with Feliks' scientific arguments
against the Radziner's conclusions, leads me to believe that one should
_not_ wear Radziner tzitzit. But my reasoning may be all wrong, and I
would like to see a summary of an analysis of all relevant sources by a
competent person.  Certainly one should not wear Radziner tzitzit
without asking one's rabbi.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>

From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 93 23:46:19 +0300
Subject: Techeles

Lon Eisenberg (m.j 7#78) writes:

>                     . . . Given that no dye invalidates the zitzit,
>it would seem that we should all use the dye that the Radziners use.
>At worst, it is not the right tekhelet; at best, we would be performing
>a mitzvah from the Torah that was previously lost.  Why is this not the

Although I am not a posek, it seems fairly obvious that Jewish law does
not prescribe that the public at large performs a positive command when,
on one hand, there is presently no accepted custom as how to so and, on
the other hand, the suggested act itself is only doubtfully correct (a
_sofeq_). For example, we have many doubts about the correct manner of
blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashonah. There is, of course, an accepted
custom of every community. However, in general we don't wait after
synagogue to hear someone blow in all the various combinations and
permutations to perform the mitzvah according to all opinions. (In fact,
I was once in a yeshiva that did just that -- a "concert" taking about
an hour.) Also there is the question of wearing the tefilin of both
Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. Individuals can accept these practices upon
themselves, but the rabbis do not make the whole community carry out
positive mitzvahs when the performance is carried out by a doubtfully
correct practice. In fact, I think we had some postings in yesteryear
regarding the Vilna Gaon who said that he only put on Rashi's tefilin
because if all the doubtful practices of tefilin observance were taken
into account one would have to put on 32 (?) different pairs.

But getting back to tekhelet, research carried out in Israel by dye
chemist Dr. Israel Zeiderman has shown that the Radziner tekhelet is in
all likelihood not the tekhelet of the Bible, which he identifies as
coming from a completely different sea creature. So aside from the fact
that the Radziner tekhelet can at most be _sofek_ (doubtful) tekhelet,
most authorities have good grounds for rejecting it as tekhelet at all.

Ezra L. Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>


End of Volume 7 Issue 84