Volume 9 Number 19
                       Produced: Mon Sep 13 19:03:00 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Book from the Warsaw Ghetto
         [Jeff Mandin]
Book(s) on Eruv Building
         [Daniel Friedman]
         [Eli Turkel]
High Tech Yichud
         [Israel Botnick]
Kashrus Standards
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Kashrus Symbol
         [Nadine Bonner]
Reliability of a mashgiach
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: Jeff Mandin <jeff@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 93 10:58:52 -0400
Subject: Book from the Warsaw Ghetto

Sol Lerner records an interesting drasha by R. Yitzchak Twerski:
> He quoted the Eish Torah, a book of Divrei Torah given by a Rabbi
> (unfortunately, I don't remember his name) in the Warsaw Ghetto during the
> holocaust.  

I think the work is actually the "Eish Kodesh", written by the Pacetzna
Rebbe, who also authored Hovas Ha-talmidim and Hachsharas Ha-Avreichim.


From: Daniel Friedman <danielf@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1993 22:13:10 -0400
Subject: Book(s) on Eruv Building

Does anyone know of a source, possibly mail-order, for obtaining Rabbi
Shimon Eider's book "Halachos of the Eiruv"?  I believe that this book
is out of print, but may be mistaken.  Perhaps someone could suggest
another book regarding the halachic and practical considerations of 
constructing an eiruv/tzurat hapetach ("form of a door", to enable
carrying on Shabbat within an area surrounded by such structures).

L'shana tovah tikatayvu v'taychataymu.

Daniel Friedman (University of Maryland at College Park)


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 93 11:16:13 EDT
Subject: Disasters

Kibi Hofmann writes:

> We live in a time where there are still many people alive who lost close
> family members to the Nazis and, no matter how true the particular
> claims about the the reasons for it may be, the majority of people are
> probably not "ready" to hear them. Perhaps with the perspective of
> history it will be blindingly obvious to us why these terrible things
> happened, but for now it seems the only thing to be gained from such
> speculation is the the distancing of the "finger pointers" from the
> "pointees".

   I feel that Kibi is being overly optimistic. We know reasons for the
destruction of the Temple only because they are mentioned in the Talmud.
Even in this case they are general sins not groups of people. No where
does it say that the Temple was destroyed because the Saducees were wicked.
For later events we don't have even this. There is no authoritative reason
why Jews were massacred in the first crusade or by Chelminiski in 1648 
etc, and I don't expect any real reasons to arise for the Holocaust until
the Messiah arrives.

Eli Turkel


From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 93 14:09:32 EDT
Subject: High Tech Yichud

< My question is the following.  Suppose she had stayed in the room, but
< closed the door.  Would this constitute yichud [privacy between an
< unmarried man and woman]?  Or, would the presence of a group of people
< in another city interacting with us over video constitute enough of a
< presence to nullify the Yichud?

It would seem that this High Tech question is very similar to another
question that is discussed by contemporary poskim. If a man and woman
are secluded together in a house, but they are standing in front of a
window (talking to somebody outside the window), R. Moshe Feinstein ZT'L
(igros moshe Even Ha-ezer volume 4) ruled that this situation would
constitute yichud since the man and woman are technically secluded
(since they are alone in the house), and even though they don't have any
privacy in front of the window, they could just move away from the
window.  Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach shlita (quoted in Nishmat Avraham,
on Even Ha-ezer siman 22) argues that as long as they are still in front
of the window, there is no yichud prohibition since at that time there
is no privacy. Only once they close the shades, or move away from the
window, would they be violating the prohibition of yichud.  The video
link is just a high tech glass window.  (there are other issues here of
course such as whether the camera has a view of the entire room, and
whether the people on the other end would immediately enquire as to why
their counterparts have moved away from or turned off the camera).

Israel Botnick


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 7 Sep 1993 10:07:01 U
Subject: Kashrus Standards

Yesterday, I attended a lecture given by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Kaganoff of
Congregation Darchei Tzedek here in Baltimore.  His subject was "the
difference between reliable and non-reliable hasgachas."  Since there
has been some discussion of this issue in m-j, I will summarize a few
of his key points.

    Rabbi Kaganoff said that there are three main differences between

1.  Possible differences in halachic position on certain issues.
2.  The method of monitoring the product producers.
3.  How problems are handled.

He said that, in general, it is the latter two factors that result in
most of the differences.  He then went on to give some examples.  In
**no** case did he identify any of the hasgachas involved.  Here are a
few of the cases I remember:

1.  A particular food production facility is visited by the Rav
HaMachsir only once per year.  The Rav schedules his visit in advance,
is met at the airport by representatives of the company, and is then
driven to the facility (about an hour drive) at which he spends only
about 10 minutes inspecting the plant before returning to the airport.

2.  R. Kagonoff was asked about a particular product.  He contacted the
manufacturer who informed him that they had hasgacha and they sent him
a teudah (document of certification) by the Rav HaMachshir which was
written on the stationary of a nursing home.  Assuming that the Rav
also certified this nursing home, he looked further into the matter and
discovered that the Rab was a  **resident** of the nursing home.  He
also said that there was some difficulty in determining whether the Rav
was still living.

3.   In response to a call from a person who wished to visit a certain
hotel in the Catskills, he called the Rav HaMAchshiir.  The
conversation went something like this:

R. Kaganoff:  Where does the meat come from?
Rav HaMachshir: (names a source of meat)
R.K.: Does it come treibered [with non kosher fats and other parts
removed] and kashered [soaked and salted]?
R. HM.: No, that is done here.
R.K.: Are the butchers who treiber the meat Shomer Shabbos?
R. HM.: No
[Comment by R. Kaganoff: this is in itself not necessarily a halachic
problem if there is good supervision]
R.K: What is the situation with the wine?
R. HM.:  None of the wine is allowed into the kitchen.  Only kosher
cooking wine is used in the kitchen.
R.K.:  How is food heated on Shabbos?
R. HM.: Just a minute, is this for a frum person?
R.K.:  Yes.
R. HM.: Tell him to go to the Homowack!

4.  R. Kaganoff said that he once thought that any hasgacha with the
name of a "chassidishe" Rav was reliable.  He then went on to tell a
story of a cheese plant that had scheduled a special run of cheese that
was to be cholov yisroel under the hasgacha of a chassidishe Rav.  The
run was to take place over the two days of Shavous and the following
day which was Shabbos.  He was asked to help find a Mashgiach who would
be willing to spend the three day Yom Tov at the plant.  When he
couldn't provide one, an Israeli was found who stayed at the plant for
the first day of Shavous and then, with the permssion of the Rav, left
on the second day (which he did not keep since he is an Israeli).

5.  On the bright side, he told of one case in which a large company
received an ingredient that did not have the usual hasgacha on it. 
They called the Rav MaMachsir and told him that without this ingredient
they would have to shut down production and incur a substantial
financial loss.  There was room to be maikeil (lenient) on a halachic
basis, but the Rav nevertheless said that he could not allow this to be
done under his supervision.  Rabbi Kaganoff gave this as an example of
a hasgacha that could indeed be trusted.

    In addition to these stories, he spoke of additional complexities with
regard to standards.  For example, in Baltimore, the Vaad HaKashrus
would not give hasgacha to a bakery that was not Shomer Shabbos.  There
was a case, however, in another city in which there was absolutely no
source of Kosher bread.  A Rav in this city gave his hasgacha to a non
Shomer Shabbos and non Shomer Pesach bakery, with strict declaration of
which products could be bought at which times.  He pointed out that
this is entirely within the bounds of halacha, since there was no other
way of assuring kosher bread for the community.  Thus, halacha may
require differing standards for differing conditions.

Towards the end of the talk, I asked him about the frequenly heard
statement one often gets in asking about a hasgacha: "Yeshivishe people
don't eat from it."  He agreed that this can be a very unfair
statement, and that it can be based upon inuendo and deprive a
legitimate businessperson of his livelihood.  However, he also added
that it is not really possible to alway state outright what the problem
is with a particular hashgacha since there are problems of lashon harah
(especially in cases in which it is a matter of a "lax" standard, and
therefore a slightly grey area.)  Therefore, one must ask a Rav that he

Hasgacha is (according to R. Kaganoff) a big money issue.  There are
some very reliable people out there, and some who are lax.  There are
even a few outright frauds.  So--I guess the bottom line still is: ask
your LOR.  


From: <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner)
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 93 06:31:00 BST
Subject: Kashrus Symbol

Sam Zisblatt asked about the ko in a square symbol.  I looked it up in an
issue of "Kashrus" Magazine, and the sybmol belongs to "KO" Kosher Service
of Philadelphia.  The Rabbis in  charge are Maurice and Sholom Novoseller.
These rabbis were reprimanded a few years ago by the Philadelphia Board of
Rabbis for sponsoring bingo games at a church on Friday nights.  The story
received extensive coverage in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent at the time,
so I don't think it is hearsay or lashon hora to pass it on.  Although the
rabbis themselves were not present at the bingo games, their shuls did
receive the profits. Given that background, you can make your own decision
about whether you would trust their kashrus supervision.
 Nadine Bonner

[My grandfather zt"l was the Rav and Av Beit Din in Philadelphia for
many years. While he took many stringencies upon himself, and also
"advised" certain stringencies for his family, he would try and tell
someone asking him about kashrut based on fundimental halakha, and then
might tell him that there also are these stringencies that the products
supervisor does not require. At the time when I remember this coming up,
about 10 years ago I think, he was clear that in his opinion the
supervision should NOT be relied on. Although he did not give any
reason, it was widely reported within the Orthodox community one of the
brothers (or cousins, I forget) was "nichshul" (what's a good
translation? fell into doing a prohibition?) in a non-kashrut issue on a
regular basis where he had financial gain through it. If true, this
would make any supervision work he did, at least at the time, subject to
extreme suspicion. Avi Feldblum, Mod.]


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 93 13:29:02 -0700
Subject: Re: Reliability of a mashgiach

	>From: Yisrael Sundick <sas34@...>

	Just recently, I heard indirectly, that R' Dovid Feinstien has
	said that since we allow R' ... to sit on the Beit Din for
	Gittin (Divorce court) we should also trust him for Kashrut.
	the line of reasoning is simple.  If we really believe he is
	not a trustworthy witness, then ANY divorce he has sat in on is
	INVALID. Needless to say this brings in a large scale problem
	of Mamzerut. Very simply, we can't have it both ways either R'
	... is a reliable witness or not. R' Feinstien also said in
	this context "there is alot of Lashon Hara in the Hasgacha

(Let me preface my comments by stating that I am not commenting on any
particular mashgiach specifically, and thus I have removed the name of
the subject Rabbi from the above quote. My comments are general comments
about the qualities required of a Mashgiach.)

IMHO, this does not necessarily follow. A person may be a well,
respected pious, G-d fearing individual, knowledgeable in all relevant
areas, and still not be a reliable MAshgiach -- although he is certainly
a valid witness in all aspects of Jewish Law.

While these aforementioned qualities are a prerequisite for a Mashgiach,
unfortunately, in today's day and age they are insufficent. When dealing
with unscrupulous individuals, which alas exist in our day and age, a
Mashgiach must also posess a sixth sense which will help him identify
possible cases of fraud. Thus, Moses himself - who is certainly the most
reliable and trustworty individual on the face of this planet, might not
be a good mashgiach if he did not possess this quality.

Some people, by their very nature, are very trusting individuals.
Others, are the opposite who tend to suspect everyone of attempting to
lie and cheat them. This is an aspect of your personality which you
cannot change - either you are or you are not. Unfortunately, in today's
day and age, a mashgiach must be of the latter type.  If he is not, no
matter how knowledegeable and trustworthy he is, he will not make a good
Mashgiach (in general).

Hayim Hendeles


End of Volume 9 Issue 19