Volume 7 Number 97

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dolphins, tuna, and babies, revisited
         [Mike Gerver]
Rabbi Soloveitchik / YU
         [RON KATZ]


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 02:52 EST
Subject: Dolphins, tuna, and babies, revisited

[I am making good progress on working on the backlog. June through today
is basically all out of the queue, so here is something that has "aged"
enough that it is again "current" re the Pepsi discussion. Mod.]

As usual, given my busy schedule and procrastinating nature, I am only
now getting around to responding to a topic that has died out some time
ago, viz. the responses to my "Dolphins, tuna, and babies" posting. I 
must say that I am disappointed overall by the responses, which I think
say something deeply disturbing about the frum community, and I do not
exclude myself. 

	The original posting, for those who have forgotten or
did not subscribe then, was a response to some earlier postings about
the propriety of eating tuna that is caught in nets that also catch 
dolphins, both from an ethical point of view, and with regard to kashrut
(i.e. is it possible that some dolphin meat gets mixed in with the
canned tuna?). In my posting, I pointed out that, according to the Nestle
boycott people, the Nestle Company, as well as American Home Products, is
engaged in selling infant formula to underdeveloped countries using
marketing techniques which result in millions of mothers using infant
formula with unsafe water supplies, and that this could cause the deaths
of possibly as many as a million babies each year. I invited comments
about the propriety of giving kashrut certification to Nestle products
under these circumstances, as the O.U. recently did. I offered the
suggestion that perhaps one could argue that the O.U. should stick
strictly to the kashrut of the product, since it would be a tricky
business to decide when the business practices of a company were so
socially irresponsible that they should not receive certification, but
that in the case of Nestle, if the claims were true, people should
refrain from using their products. 

What were the responses? Someone said that it would be too difficult to
sort out the conflicting claims of the Nestle Company and the boycott
people (Action for Corporate Accountability), so that he wouldn't do 
anything. Someone else said that the O.U. did _not_ have a policy of 
sticking strictly to the kashrut of the products, that infact they do 
take into account the nature of the manufacturer, and will not give
certification in certain cases, e.g. if the company is controlled by
organized crime, or if it is a German company. Someone else referenced
an issue of the liberal Jewish list where questions of ethics and kashrut
were discussed. After a while, the discussion died down, in about the
same amount of time that it took the discussions on fingernails and on
grasshoppers to die down. 

Doesn't anyone else feel that there is something deeply wrong here? A
serious claim is being made that someone is causing the deaths of many
thousands of babies a year, but we don't do anything because it is
too much trouble, and maybe it's not true? Does that sound familiar?
I generally disapprove of facile comparisons between the Holocaust and
every real or imagined injustice in the Third World, and certainly the
motives of the alleged perpetrators are different in this case, but as a
way of pointing out the nature of our reaction to it, I think the analogy
is justified here. My own reaction has not been any better, all I have
done is send an occasional contribution to Action for Corporate Account-
ability. How are we going to explain our behavior to our grandchildren,
let alone before Hashem after we're 120?  What would it take to get
the Orthodox community, or individuals, to do anything about this
issue? Would there have to be a rumor that the babies are being ground
up and added to the chocolate bars, before we would feel that we shouldn't
be eating them? Does it have to be left only to the Reform Jews to take
a stand on this, just as only Abba Hillel Silver organized public
demonstrations against the Nazis? What does that say about the meaning
and purpose of being Orthodox?

A specific suggestion: If the O.U. does, in principle, take into account
the social responsibility of the company in deciding whether to give
kashrut certification, is there a committee or individual in the O.U. who
is responsible for looking into these questions? Does anyone know who they
are, and where I can reach them? Does anyone have any influence with them?
What Nestle is accused of doing seems to me to be similar to what organized
crime does (totally disregard human life in order to maximize their
profits), although on a bigger scale, and seems to be worse than anything
that Germany is doing _now_. Maybe the O.U. has the resources, or could
raise the resources, necessary to seriously investigate the claims and
counter-claims of Action for Corporate Accountability and of Nestle, as
well as American Home Products, and could consider withdrawing their
kashrut certification if the accusations are true? Or better yet, in
coordination with Action for Corporate Accountability, they could threaten
to take away their hasgacha unless they met certain changes in their
marketing practices by a certain date. I realize there would be a cost
to the credibility of the O.U. if they withdrew certification from a
company that did not violate the terms of their contract, and all this
would have to be taken into account. I assume that the contracts the O.U.
negotiates are for a limited period, with the right to make changes when
the contract is renewed.

For those of you who wish to do something now as individuals, or want to
obtain more information, I will repeat the address of Action for Corporate
Accountability: 129 Church St., New Haven, CT 06510, phone (203)787-0061,
fax (203)787-3908. There are related organizations in other countries,
whose addresses they can give you.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: RON KATZ <71062.3011@...>
Date: 13 Jun 93 23:17:48 EDT
Subject: Rabbi Soloveitchik / YU

The recent passing of Rabbi Soloveitchik zt'l sparked discussion about 
whether the "right" showed adequate respect for Rabbi Soloveitchik.  The
discussion snowballed into Rabbi Soloveitchik's shita's, YU's shita's,
and which YU shita's Rabbi Soloveitchik agreed to. I find it
interesting to see how differently different people view the same
reality. But most interesting is that many people do not seem to
understand how HUGE the gap is between YU and the "right". Many people
on the "right" VEHEMENTLY oppose everything YU stands for, or at least
what they think it stands for and will not give any respect to anybody 
or anything connected to it. I have heard extremely harsh 
statements by both groups about the other. Very few people in these 
opposing groups seem to recognize any good the other accomplishes. 
Anything good that happens in this world seems to be because of "their" 
group's accomplishments; any evil is the "other" group's fault. I heard 
the following poem at a recent Bar-Mitzva celebration.


       "yeshno am echod m'Foozar umi'forud"

       To all of "us", from one of "them".

       By Rabbi Yitzchok Feigenbaum


       T'was the night of the geulah,
       and in every single shteibel,
       sounds of Torah could be heard,
       coming from every kind of Yeidel.

       This one in English,
       some in Hebrew, some in Yiddish,
       some saying pshat,
       and some saying chiddush.

       And up in shomayim,
       the Aibishter decreed,
       "The time has come
       for My children to be freed.

       Rouse the Mashiach
       from his heavenly berth,
       have him get in his chariot
       and head down to Earth."

       The Moshiach got dressed,
       and with a heart full of glee,
       went down to the Earth, and entered
       the first shteibel he did see.

       "I'm the Moshiach,
       Hashem has heard your plea,
       your geulah has come,
       it is time to go free!"

       They all stopped their learning,
       this was quite a surprise,
       And they looked at him carefully
       with piercing sharp eyes.

       "He's not the Mashiach!"
       said one with a grin,
       "Just look at his hat,
       at the pinches and brim!"

       "That's right!", cried another
       with a grimace and a frown,
       "Whoever heard of Mashiach
       with a brim that is down?!"

       "Well", thought Mashiach,
       "If that is the rule,
       I'll turn my brim up
       before I go to the next shule!"

       So he walked on right over
       to the next shule in town,
       confident to be accepted
       since his brim was no longer down.

       "I'm the Mashiach!", he cried
       as he began to enter.
       But the Jews there wanted to know first,
       if he was left, right, or center.

       "Your clothes are so black!"
       they cried out in a fright.
       "You can't be Mashiach --
       you're much too far right!

       If you want to be Mashiach,
       you must be properly outfitted."
       So they replaced his black hat
       with a kipa that was knitted.

       Wearing his new kipa,
       Mashiach went out and he said,
       "No difference to me
       what I wear on my head."

       So he went to the next shule,
       for his mission was dear,
       But he was getting a bit frustrated
       with the Yidden down here.

       "I'm the Mashiach!" he cried,
       and they all stopped to stare.
       And a complete eerie stillness
       filled up the air.

       "You're the Mashiach?!
       Just imagine that.
       Whoever heard of Mashiach
       without a black hat?!"

       "But I do have a hat!"
       the Mashiach then said.
       So he pulled it right out
       and plunked it down on his head.

       Then the Shule started laughing,
       and one said, "Where's your kop?
       You can't have Mashiach
       with a brim that is up!

       If you want to be Mashiach,
       and be accepted in this town,
       put some pinches in your hat,
       and turn that brim down!"

       Mashiach walked out and said,
       "I guess my time hasn't really come,
       I'll just have to return
       to where I came from.

       So he went to his chariot,
       but as he began to enter,
       all sorts of Jews appeared,
       from left, right, and center.

       "Please wait, do not leave,
       it's all THEIR fault!" they said
       And they pointed to each other,
       and to what was on each other's head.

       Mashiach just looked sad,
       and said, "You don't understand."
       And then started up his chariot
       to get out of this land.

       "Yes, it's very wonderful,
       that all of you learn Torah,
       But you seem to have forgotten,
       a crucial part of our mesorah."

       "What does he mean?
       What's he talking about?"
       And they all looked bewildered,
       and all began to shout.

       Mashiach looked back and answered,
       "The first place to start,
       is to shut up your mouths,
       and open up your heart.

       To each of you, certain Yidden
       seem too frum or too frei
       but ALL Yidden are beloved,
       in the Aibeshter's eye."

       And on his way up he shouted,
       "If you want me to come,
       try working a little harder
       on some ahavas chinam."

       (c) YZF Toronto 1992. This may be freely reproduced and 
       distributed under the following conditions: 1) That it is 
       reproduced EXACTLY as it appears here, including the heading on 
       side one, ALL 30 stanzas, and this note; 2) it is distributed 
       free of charge; 3) it is not used by ANY organization or 
       promotional purposes. Any breach of these conditions shall 
       constitute gezel and a breach of the copyright.

       LI'N Yikuse'el Zussman B"R Yitzchok Z"L and Pesha B"R Avrohom 
       Halevi Z"L


End of Volume 7 Issue 97