Volume 8 Number 75
                       Produced: Mon Aug  9 12:32:21 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

KM & KD on Products
         [Elliot Lasson]
Possibly Questionable Hechsher
         [Roxanne Neal]
Shabbos in Dallas
         [Harold Gellis]
Spiritual Heights
         [Lawrence J. Teitelman]
Studying Tanakh
         [Elhanan Adler]
Women's Hair Covering
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Women's Zimun and Minhag
         [David Kessler]


From: Elliot Lasson <Elliot_David_Lasson@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 93 20:24:28 -0400
Subject: KM & KD on Products

Mony Weschler writes in a recent MJ about KM & KD on products. This
was a source of confusion for me with a certain product. There is an
iced cappacino on the market, made by Maxwell House called Cappio.
(The company also has a powdered mix under the OK, but that is not
what I am referring to.) Anyway, the product had a "KM" on the bottle.
Upon some investigation, this product (as many plain "K's" on other
products) is Rabbi Ralbag from NY. The generic reliability of this
hechsher aside, the "M" in this context must stand for "milchig", as
the product is dairy (contains milk). This designation is certainly
not the mainstream for a dairy product. What is also confusing is that
Rabbi Ralbag's "triangle-K" which appears on some of the old Nestles
candy wrappers, had a "D" next to it (the more conventional dairy
designation). So, why the "KM" on the "Cappio"? The Cappio (I think)
is a more recent product on the market than the Nestles candies! So
why introduce this strange "KM"? Any triangle-K insiders out there?

Elliot Lasson
Oak Park, MI (<FC9Q@...>)


From: <rln@...> (Roxanne Neal)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 93 00:39:45 PDT
Subject: Possibly Questionable Hechsher

[Note - Several other replies about KOA have come in. I will try and
summarize the new information from those submissions in one of the next
two issues. Mod.]

The mashgiach [supervisor - Ed.] for KOA (Kosher Overseers of America)
is a Rabbi Dr. Scharfman who is located here in Southern California. I
do not know anything about him, or if he does anything else except
hashgacha. I once wrote him with questions about his hashgacha, but
did not receive an answer. He has published a book about kashrut and
the products he supervises (I don't remember the nameof the book).

About the hechsher: I have asked several reliable Orthodox rabbis, and
have never found one who accepted his hashgacha. Rabbi Eidlitz in his
book "Is It Kosher?" does not include him in the list of generally
reliable hechshers. I have heard Rabbi Eidlitz say, however, that one
may buy items with the "halfmoon K" _if_they_don't_require_a_hechsher_
anyhow... i.e. it doesn't harm the product, but it doesn't (by R.
Eidlitz) make it kosher either(!). (N.B.: I noticed the half-moon-K
several years ago on items, including sour cream, that contain "kosher
gelatin" --whatever that is.)

There is an accepted hechsher that looks similar to the KOA one -- it
is a plain K inside an outline map of the US, and it is from Rabbi
Bukspan, whose hashgacha is widely accepted in the LA Orthodox
community. It should not be confused with the KOA symbol (which was
reported on mail.jewish to be a KOA inside a map).

This is a case, I think, of "aseh lecha rav" (find yourself a Rav). No
rabbi I have asked has been willing to give me specifics of exactly
what is wrong, presumably because they are trying to avoid needless
lashon hara. Rather the wording is something like "There are other
reliable hechsherim" or "People don't hold by that hechsher," etc.
Back in the days before I had a rav and I insisted on trying to figure
out everything by myself, this wasn't a satisfactory answer as far as
I was concerned. Now I have a rav I trust, and I take his word for it.
I don't feel the need to know the details; if my rav says it's not
used, that's good enough for me, and in any case, nobody in my
community would eat by me if I used that hechsher, so what would be
the point?

=Ruth Neal=


From: Harold Gellis <GELYC@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 93 00:09:32 EDT
Subject: Shabbos in Dallas

I will be visiting Dallas during the weekend of August 27-29. Can
anyone advise me of a place to stay near a shul, or a family to stay
with for that particular Shabbos. Also, are there any kosher eateries
in Dallas?

Please respond to me directly.

Heshy Gellis
Internet: <GELYC@...>
Voice: (718) 275-8751


From: Lawrence J. Teitelman <csljt@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 93 17:08:02 EDT
Subject: Spiritual Heights

Scott Spiegler wrote:

> The [Bretslover] article made the statement that since we are all given
> Divine souls, the spiritual heights we can achieve *are* as great as
> those of the Avos and the Imos [the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs - Ed.]
> That point of view seems to be saying something very different than what
> I originally understood do be the Torah point of view.

and Len Moskowitz responded:

> Rav Khayyim Volozhin says much the same thing in his Nefesh HaKhayyim.
> We all have the capability to rise to heights of the Avot, though not
> as high as Moshe Rabbainu who rose yet higher.

The Rambam writes that every person can, in theory, reach the heights
of Moshe Rabbenu. The Gemara, however, tells a story about Rav Zusha
who said that in Heaven he will not be asked why he was not like Moshe
Rabbenu but rather he was not like Rav Zusha (i.e. did not accomplish
as much as he potentially could have accomplished given his own
abilities). A friend of mine pointed out this apparent contradiction
to Rav Ahron Soloveitchik shlita, and Rav Ahron responded, "That is a
very strange Rambam; Rav Zusha was right!"

Larry Teitelman


From: <ELHANAN@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 93 05:08:02 -0400
Subject: Studying Tanakh

Further to the subject of studying TaNaKH:

The gemara (Kiddushin 30a) states that one should devote 1/3 of his
learning time to Mikra [Bible - Ed.]. The Rambam brings this as a
binding halaka (Hilkhot Talmud Torah 1/11) with the addition that this
ratio is until he has mastered Mikra.

Unfortunately (IMHO) Rabbenu Tam let the Ashkenazim off the hook by
saying that since the Talmud contains various Biblical verses,
Talmudic study fulfills the obligation of Mikra study as well.
(Tosafot Kiddushin 30a).

I say unfortunately because: 1) individual psukim [verses - Ed.] are
invariably learned out of context, and 2) Talmudic citation of psukim
is often for midrashic purposes (both halakhic and aggadic), and there
is a tendency to forget that the pasuk has a simple, peshat meaning as

Even today, Sefaradi yeshivot put more emphasis and value on studying
Mikra per-se than do Ashkenazi yeshivot (see also Yoreh deah 246/4 -
Shulhan Arukh follows the Rambam, Rema cites Rabbenu Tam).

Elhanan Adler                    University of Haifa Library
Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel  Tel.: 972-4-240535 FAX: 972-4-257753
Israeli U. DECNET:               HAIFAL::ELHANAN
Internet/ILAN:                   <ELHANAN@...>


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 93 06:32:13 -0400
Subject: Women's Hair Covering

From: Rachamim Pauli

Shaul Wallach commented in volume 8/48 on the fact that people should
be covering their eyes and not their mouths while blessing. I
mentioned the same subject to HaRav Saadia Nefesh and he also
commented in the same way Shaul did. I know that some of the fellows
kept their eyes glued to the book containing the blessings. I
personally shut my eyes as Shaul suggested. The discussion that Rav
Nefesh was concerned about making the prayer for going on a journey
inside of a city or not. I told him that Rav Shlomo Izakowitz of
Rehovot always makes the blessing at home because of halachically
immodest dress of women on public transportation in Israel. -

Rachamim Pauli


From: <kessler@...> (David Kessler)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1993 09:53:13 +0300
Subject: Women's Zimun and Minhag

In response to Susannah Greenberg's quote of R. Scheinberg: "The
minhag [custom - Ed.] is not to do it (i.e. women's zimmun [saying
grace in company - Ed.])" - The statement of "the minhag is x" is
minimally a sociological statement - namely that the current practice
in most communities is to do x. The question of what PRESCRIPTIVE, as
opposed to descriptive, force the statement carries is much more
difficult. For example, the minhag is not to stand for Kriat HaTora
(Torah reading) and Chazarat HaShatz (Reader's Repitition of the
Amida) - however, in both cases there are halachik opinions which
mandate standing and in fact there are those who, for whatever
reasons, have adopted the stringency of standing for one or the other.
Thus, in both cases when the Rama notes that the minhag is not to
stand, he is saying that a) people as a rule do not stand, and this
practice is halachikly acceptable - a valid minhag b) people should
not feel obligated by those minority opinions which mandate standing.
However, he is not saying that it is forbidden to stand (though one
could make such a case on 2 grounds: 1) Lo Titgodidu - It is
preferably to have a uniform standard as far as public ritual pratice
is concerned, as in the classic case of wearing T'fillin on Chol
HaMoed [intermediate days of festivals - Ed.] 2) Yehora - conspicuous
religiosity beyond the accepted norm is frowned upon ) and so one
finds that there are those (and to my eyes an increasing number) who
stand. In fact, if sufficiently large numbers of people adopt the
practice, it is conceivable that the minhag might eventually change.

I believe that women forming a Zimun is very similar - there are
strong halachik reasons to do so, but for whatever reasons the minhag
currently is not to. Thus, a women need not feel obligated to be
m'zamen, but those who chose to be stringent are not precluded from
doing so, and such action is praiseworthy. And in fact, there are
growing numbers of women who are m'zamen - and eventually here too the
minhag might change - just as now the minhag is for women to hear
shofar though earlier the minhag was for them not to hear shofar.

David Kessler                     Dept. of Physics, Bar-Ilan


End of Volume 8 Issue 75