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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

74 comments

  1. T’ Romm on conversion-times change, people change. Yet how many other places could we say that but we levae the halacha as is in the S”A because he didn’t specifically note that it was time/place based?
    KT

  2. I have no problem with quinoa as long as its triple checked just like Sephardim do with rice. Since Ashkenazim have no clue how to triple check and probably lack the desire to do so, I would recommend against eating it without a reliable Passover Hashgacha. Does anyone know of any?

  3. R’Tzvi,
    Is that based on miyut hamatzui/some examination of the mitziut?
    KT

  4. Regarding RHS “…they don’t tell them the poshut p’shat. I think it is a problem with Chumash as well…”.

    RNS covers this from time to time on his blog. I am sympathetic, but beware of unintended consequences. The poshut p’shat, particularly in Chumash, can open up difficult questions.

    On the other hand, these questions will never go away for anyone who takes mikra seriously, so really understanding the poshut pshat needs to be part of one’s education – the only question in my mind is the timing.

  5. It seems to me the Quinoa kerfuffle is just the edge of the whole kitniyot machloket. Those against see it as a slippery slope to eliminating the ban on kitniyot (and all its more modern chumras); and, those for are registering a rebellion without having to make a hard decision.

    Now, pass me the kids’ meharin kasher le’Pesach breakfast cereal, please…

  6. I’m not so sure. I’m against new leniencies in kitniyos but I’ll eat quinoa.

  7. “What happened to the Shulchan Aruch? When did accepted practice so far outstrip the demands of the classical sources that they no longer resemble the authoritative Code of Law in any way? Rabbi Romm answered simply and I think correctly, that the times have changed. People have changed. During the lifetime of Rabbi Yitzchak Caro (the author of the Shulchan Aruch), things were different in a number of different ways: ”

    Interesting that Gil quotes R Spolters blog on one matter-the same logic could equally be applied on other matters.

  8. R’IH,
    Unless it’s improved dramatically, I’d pass over the cereal (unless you like the taste of sawdust)
    KT

  9. No idea how? I suppose not how to triple check, but we can be taught how to check quinoa.

    http://www.crcweb.org/alerts.php

    March 28, 2011

    The cRc approves the use of whole grain quinoa for Pesach on the following conditions:

    The quinoa is imported exclusively from Bolivia and packed by companies that pack whole grain quinoa exclusively.

    While there may be others, Ancient Harvest and Trader Joe’s are two brands that only import quinoa from Bolivia and only pack whole grain quinoa.

    The quinoa must be carefully inspected by hand before Pesach.

    * This is done by spreading one layer of quinoa at a time on a board or plate and checked to be sure that there are no other grains or foreign matter mixed in with the quinoa.

    This does not apply to Quinoa flour, pasta or any other version of quinoa which are not permitted on Pesach.

  10. “joel rich on April 18, 2011 at 8:43 am
    T’ Romm on conversion-times change, people change. Yet how many other places could we say that but we levae the halacha as is in the S”A because he didn’t specifically note that it was time/place based?
    KT”
    Your comment did not show up in my browser until after I posted 955AM. Baruch shekivanti. Or is it that halacha changes if your Rebbe says it should and then it is not called changing it is an application of halacha to new situations by ones own posek. Ones own posek good everybody elses bad.

  11. “He said that people exaggerate how hard it is to drink the Arbah Kosos. “If it wouldn’t be Pesach night, there wouldn’t be a yeitzer harah not to drink, so they would be able to drink Arbah Kosos.””

    I agreed with the rest of RHS piece-but found this too cynical and not understanding of some people-it is an unnecessary added thought-the previous paragraph is sufficient about the nature of the mitzvah of Arbah Kosot and then the obvious addition could have been anyone who perceives a problem should ask a sheilah like any perceived problems in any halacha.

  12. R’ Mycroft,
    You’re scaring me :-). Truth is I have no problem with the subjectivity as long as we call it such (of course, I’d prefer an explanation of why a choice was made in a particular case) and not pretend that “my hands are tied” (except when they are not)
    KT

  13. I know that the Newsweek list of rabbis is utterly silly but at least this year they acknowledged RHS (#14) and not just the normal laundry list of left wing Orthodox who are pushing the envelope and the Wisenthal Center crowd. Don’t worry all those are still there (R Avi Weiss, R Dov Linzer, R Lookstein, R Schneier, R Hier, R Cooper) but its nice to at least have some recognition for one of the gedolei ha’dor.

  14. I have to confess that I don’t understand the entire checking issue. I have no dog in this fight – I wouldn’t eat quinoa on Pesach just because it would harm my simchas Yom Tov – but if it’s not kitniyos, why is any check necessary? The reason that quinoa might be kitniyos derives (according to this reason) from the mixing-with-other-grains doubt. So let’s decide: either there is or there isn’t a mixing issue here. If there is, it’s kitniyos, and Ashkenazim can’t use it on Pesach. If there isn’t mixing, though, it should be completely permitted – period. It seems that some of the rabbanim are creating a new category here. Or is there a precedent in the halachic literature for something kitniyos related that Ashkenazim can eat on Pesach only after checking?

  15. R’ Steve,
    Hence my miyut hamatzui question
    KT

  16. Yes, R’ Joel. I realize that in retrospect, you set me off on that line of thinking. 🙂

  17. R’Steve,
    Sorry, I just meant that I was trying to quantify what would be the measure (e.g. why don’t we say it by potato – is it that they aren’t grown near grain etc. (my early years of watching “the modern farmer” at 7am didn’t stick on issues such as this – all I remember is that the USDA agent is my friend)
    CK”VS

  18. See: http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-quinoa.htm

    Kosher for Passover Status: Quinoa was determined to be Kosher L’Pesach. It is not related to the chameishes minei dagan-five types of grain products, nor to millet or rice. Quinoa is a member of the “goose foot” family, which includes sugar beets and beet root. The Star-K tested quinoa to see if it would rise. The result was as Chazal termed, sirchon; the quinoa decayed – it did not rise. However, recent investigations have found that there is a possibility that Quinoa grows in proximity to certain grains and processed in facilities that compromise Quinoa kosher for Passover status. Therefore, Quinoa should only be accepted with reliable Kosher for Passover supervision.

    Without a reliable heksher, you have to check it yourself, much like Sephardim check their rice.

  19. Rav Schachter on teaching Chumash:
    “I think we should try to straighten out the yeshivos and the chinuch, and the day schools…should teach the poshut pshat, without the gematrios and without the roshei teivos. They should know what the pirush hamillos is.”
    Wow! Kol Hakavod! I could not agree more!

  20. R’Tzvi,

    I had never heard until now that Sephardim check their rice, but it still doesn’t make much sense to me. Again, here’s the logic: 1) one of the reasons for kitniyos is that it gets mixed with actual grains. 2) Sephardim eat kitniyos, so they’re not concerned about this chashash. 3) Ergo, they shouldn’t need to check the rice for other grains.

    And the same logic should follow for quinoa.

    Or what am I missing?

  21. See the following from Rabbi Eli Mansour: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/displayRead.asp?readID=537

    Here is a relevant excerpt:
    Nevertheless, as mentioned, the accepted custom among most Sepharadim (including our community) is to allow eating rice on Pesah, on condition that it is first checked three times to ensure that there are no wheat kernels. Although it is unclear how and why wheat kernels make their way into packages of rice, this does happen on occasion, and therefore one may not eat rice on Pesah unless it has been carefully inspected. One spreads the rice out on a white surface, so that any dark kernels will be visible and evident, and he checks the rice three times. It is preferable not to perform all three inspections in immediate succession, as he may grow fatigued after the first or second time and not inspect properly. One may not trust a minor below the age of Bar Misva or Bat Misva to perform this inspection.

    Quinoa is not Kitniyot because we have no minhag that it is and, as was quoted above, one does not add to the list of items that are kitniyot. Yet, there is a real chashash that it might have grains interspersed in processing (see my Star K article above). Therefore, one either eats quinoa with a reliable hashgacha or one triple checks it before using as Sephardim do with their rice.

    By the way, when I taught in a Sephardi school, students would bring large bags of rice and aluminum trays to school for the week preceding Pesach so they could triple check the rice during school. This I witnessed with my own eyes.

  22. R’ Tzvi,

    Understood- but I must be missing something-why does “this does happen on occasion” rise to a prepesach requirement for checking?

    Side question – I think it’s agreed that if a little bit(batel bshishim) of chametz were in a prepared dish prior to pesach, you would be allowed to eat it on pesach. Does this hold for something that is in an uncooked mixture that is later cooked on pesach (e,g say you had a bunch of cut up fruit from before pesach which turns out to have a kernel of grain. If you made cooked fruit compote prior to Pesach you could eat it on pesach iiuc, on pesach iiuc you could eat it raw (assuming you can’t see the grain), I assume (but don’t know), you could eat it cooked on pesach as well?
    KT

  23. ” Truth is I have no problem with the subjectivity as long as we call it such (of course, I’d prefer an explanation of why a choice was made in a particular case) ”

    As long as the psak was not dependent on to whom the psak was given. To whom I mean the person-not the situation ie a classic example of a total illegitimate psak would be if the psak was done on the basis of does the person help me or my mosdos enough, or will the psak rather than following what Torah should require is concerned about “kavod hatorah” and professional, finacial gain of Rabbininc/RY/chinuch professionals.
    Obviously, psak is human not left to the Watson’s-IBMs of the world-as obvious to a child of 2 Mycroft can’t object to dealings with Sherlocks confidant Watson.

  24. I agree with YU Talmid’s assessment of the Newsweek list. One wonders who Newsweek would have included from the Charedi Yeshiva world, if it had been even doing a serious list.

    FWIW, RHS has advocated teaching Pashut Pshat, as opposed to Gematriyos, etc for many years in his shiurim.

  25. As a thought experiment – please don’t respond – just consider the poshut pshat of דברים פרק ו:

    יד לֹא תֵלְכוּן, אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים–מֵאֱלֹהֵי, הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר, סְבִיבוֹתֵיכֶם.
    טו כִּי אֵל קַנָּא יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּקִרְבֶּךָ: פֶּן-יֶחֱרֶה אַף-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בָּךְ, וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ, מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה.

    in contradistinction to ויקרא פרק כו:

    א לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם אֱלִילִם, וּפֶסֶל וּמַצֵּבָה לֹא-תָקִימוּ לָכֶם, וְאֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית לֹא תִתְּנוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶם, לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת עָלֶיהָ: כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה, אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

    No drash, nor interpolation of the English distinction between God and god(s); just the plain meaning of the words.

  26. Regarding Gil’s silly editorializing in the link to “Newsweek’s silly list of 50 most influential rabbis”

    in•flu•en•tial
    adjective /ˌinflo͞oˈenCHəl/
    1. Having great influence on someone or something

    Given that Orthodoxy is less than 10% of American Jewry, is the kvetch really warranted?

  27. IH-Sorry-what RHS understands as Pashut Pshat does not mean “the plain meaning of the word.”

  28. Hirhurim on April 18, 2011 at 9:55 am
    I’m not so sure. I’m against new leniencies in kitniyos but I’ll eat quinoa.

    new leniencies in kitnyos..?? I submit this phrasing is perfectly reflective of the sea change in hashqofoh/approach to qitniyos over the last decades (accelerating since the death of r moshe?) that has overtaken ashkenazim who have lost fidelity to actual traditional practice. peanuts anyone?

    re RHS’s innocuous remarks (he thinks kids should learn more plain p’shot. stop the presses) i think the actual message – which I haven’t been able to decipher – has been missed. it’s not the words. it’s the venue for reporting the words. i mean, matzav.com. someone’s gotta be kidding or they’re making a statement about something.

  29. Steve — thanks for the drash on the meaning of “poshut pshat” 🙂

  30. Mechy: There are indeed new leniencies coming out of Israel, including those who say to ignore the entire custom but also some who are unusually lenient. Such as here: http://matzav.com/this-years-reformer-efrat-rabbi-tilts-against-passover-food-restrictions-for-ashkenazi-jews

  31. “One wonders who Newsweek would have included from the Charedi Yeshiva world, if it had been even doing a serious list.”

    For what I consider important in Rabbanus I agree with Steve but they use different criteria-per their criteria it makes sense

    “As in past years, this list remains subjective, unscientific, and somewhat mischievous in its conception. We’re interested in sparking discussion as well as showcasing, for the uninitiated, both the machers and the up-and-coming trailblazers on the Jewish landscape. The criteria remain the same:

    – Are they leaders—innovatively and/or spiritually—within their communities?
    – Are they considered leaders in Judaism or their denominations?
    – How large are their constituencies?
    – Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career?
    – Have they made an impact beyond the Jewish community?
    – Are they known nationally/internationally?
    – Do they have political/social influence?
    – Do they have a media presence?”

    BTW-the Rav to the best of my recollection only had acouple of major profiles in the American media when he was alive-I believe there was one in the NYTimes and another major one in Time magazine.

  32. “RNS covers this from time to time on his blog. I am sympathetic, but beware of unintended consequences. The poshut p’shat, particularly in Chumash, can open up difficult questions.

    On the other hand, these questions will never go away for anyone who takes mikra seriously, so really understanding the poshut pshat needs to be part of one’s education – the only question in my mind is the timing.”

    IH,

    One can run into serious questions anywhere, with any serious study. The question is whether there are rewards and positive results from such serious study. In my opinion, the rewards for a “poshut pshat” approach study method are many, and the dangers are not as numerous as you might think. The poshut pshat approach to tanach learning has been in eveidence in MO and many RZ communitites for a few generations now; I have not witnessed a mass “DH-driven defection” as a result. Perhaps you have?

  33. “In my opinion, the rewards for a “poshut pshat” approach study method are many…”

    aiwac: I agree, but I don’t think Steve B would from his comments here (or in a previous exchange he and I had on Shir ha’Shirim), but I’m sure he will correct me if I have misunderstood his position.

  34. MiMedinat HaYam

    1. the israeli quinoa comes from bolivia and says “l’ochlei kitniyot bilvad”, a contradiction in terms. and it says to triple check. (i’ll ignore the badatz hechsher for the rest of the year.)

    2. r gil — i’m surprised you’re the one who posted about abolishing the kitniyot restrictions. i was awaiting the usual annual comment here on the issue, but didnt expect it from you. however, i did develop this idae disproving it (at least as far as america is concerned): the usual commenter (citing his rav) claims trhat the american custom was sfardic — to eat kitniyot, and those of us who do not are viloating the american minhag. however, they are wrong. those 27 jews who came to new york after their boat blew off course, etc were met by two jews already here, one an unnamed dutch official of the dutch east india company that owned the new amsterdam experiment, and a lithuanian jew (the litvaks akways manage to ruin things) who wAs also a shochet, and presumably in charge of kashrut in new amsterdam, named asser levi, and presumably maintained the ban on kitniyot. so those sfardim who eat kitniyot should now be banned from doing so, by this same rav.

  35. MiMedinat HaYam

    so newsweek turns over their 50 influential rabbi list to “the daily beast” and a pogrebin (?sp?) and you think they wont become even more leftist than it was in the past? ok — they added RHS to the list, but still…

    2. and i doubt most of those “young us rabbis” knew to lean either way last nite, let alone lean left.

    3. the aleppo codex article — nothing new, just a good summary of “new” developments. by prof melech shapiro.

  36. MiMedinat HaYam

    matchmaking crisis: “The Sanders Passover table tonight will include his two single daughters, … , who says finding a match isn’t easy in an era when men and women have little chance to mix.”

    should have said are virtually (by societal reasons) forbidden to mix, and meet.

  37. A few points about the Shapiro piece:

    “Leave the subject alone. You don’t want to know. It’s a very dirty story.”

    I’ve heard this before. I’d *love* to hear what it means (not least because it seems to indicate that the missing pages are out there).

    “But, in a scholarly discovery inadequately discussed in Crown of Aleppo, the Israeli scholar Jordan Penkower was able to find…”

    Prof. Shapiro is just as guilty, as he doesn’t mention that there is much, much evidence of what was in the missing sections, so much so that we can reconstruct it rather well.

    “Instead they were confronted with conflicting scrolls and masoretic works”

    …And there’s nothing wrong with that. A scientific-minded person such as Prof. Shapiro should appreciate that even the Codex is not Torah MiSinai. It’s not like Moshe (or, say, the Dead Sea Scrolls) had nekudot or teamim or set spaces. The entire thing may only be a few centuries older than the codex, and the Ashkenazi (and Sephardi!) authorities aren’t that much later. They have their traditions too. Although, of course, the Codex is certainly the most “accurate,” one must ask what “accurate” means here and how that affects the question.

    “which incidentally was very close to the Yemenite tradition”

    Actually, I believe the Yemenite tradition (being big chassidim of the Rambam) is close to the Codex, not the other way around.

  38. >including those who say to ignore the entire custom but also some who are unusually lenient. Such as here: http://matzav.com/this-years-reformer-efrat-rabbi-tilts-against-passover-food-restrictions-for-ashkenazi-jews

    What part it “unusually lenient”. The part where he doesn’t adopt the insane chumra of a כל שהוא of kitniot in a product should not render it just כשר לאוכלי קיטניות בלבד but rather kosher for everyone? Isn’t that just a faithful application of the halachot of issur veHetter???? The so called kitniot traditionalists who label rapeseeds, cottonseeds as kitniot are the true reformers but no one says anything because reform leHumra is somehow ok.

  39. [Crosspost as a tangental response to Nachum on the Aleppo Codex]

    On Erev Pesach, I was reviewing Mishna Pesachim Perek 10 in the (1977) Kehati edition and noticed a small comment on mishna 3:בנוסחות אחרות אין התיבות: ושני תבשילין. And sure enough, it is missing in the Kaufmann Manuscript of the mishna: reproduced in Appendix B of Bokser, or now online in better resolution: http://kaufmann.mtak.hu/en/ms50/ms50-061r.htm.

    It also turns out that, but not mentioned in Kehati, that mishna 4 – which includes the proto Ma Nishtana – is also slightly different in the Kaufmann MS as can be seen on the next page. In the Kaufmann MS: 1) matbilim, 2) ochlim matza, 3) basar tzali; whereas, in our “standard” printed mishna, the order is: 1) ochlim matza, 2) ochlim maror, 3) basar tzali, & 4) matbilim.

    Now that I’m looking, the online Mechon Mamre (and Snunit) Mishna complies with the Kaufmann MS text for this case. I hadn’t looked before, but their online version is based on another MS – “לפי כתב היד המיוחס לרמב”ם”.

  40. The Shapiro piece is fine as far as it goes, however my eye was caught by the puzzling caption to the reproduced photo which asserts it to picture a group of early 17th century Aleppan scholars. since most of the world believes the first crude photographic images were only invented in the second or third decade of the 1800s, this would be quite remarkable.

  41. Michael Rogovin

    Hirhurim on April 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    There are indeed new leniencies coming out of Israel, including those who say to ignore the entire custom but also some who are unusually lenient.

    As I read them, some of these are actually OLD leniencies, or not leniencies at all but simply the norm, without adding additional chumras to a chumra. For example, mei kitniyot was widely accepted by the OU and others until the 1950s or 1960s. Out went corn syrup and corn/soya oils, in came cottonseed oil. Peanuts were ruled by RMF as not being kiyniyot for the majority of Ashkenazim and permitted their consumption by all except those with a specific, known tradition to refrain (the minority). Although the OU never certified peanuts (not clear why), they did certify peanut oil until the 1990s (they stopped when confusion over the issue killed sales, not because the psak changed). AFAIK, a small amount of kitniyot inadvertently (ie bedieved) in an otherwise KP mixture should not render it prohibited (batul b’rov or b’shishim), nor should processing on kitniyot equipment (just like I can eat in a sephardi home) since there is no prohibited ta’am by kitniyot. IOW, many or most of these concepts were accepted for generations and it is the stricter views that are new, not the leniencies.

  42. MiMedinat HaYam

    to michael r:

    you are right about “mei kitniyot”, though today’s machmir culture will prob not allow it anyway. (i’ve been told i cant eat at a sfardi’s home cause the pot was used with rice without kashering. of course, i ignored.)

    as far as peanuts are concerened, the dominant custom thoroughout europe was not NOT to eat peanuts / peanut oil. but because i RMF’s town (“lyuban”) they did, we all now eat. (and they prob stopped certifying cause alternative — walnut oil, rape / grape seed oil, and canola, i guess — came around, and peanut oil adds a distinctive (bad to me personally) taste, unlike other oils (and unlike the whole idea of using an oil), so it prob lost its (overall, not pesach) advantage. and jimmy carter didnt help sales, though its now a big export item.

    2. i note the trend to be “machmir” on kitniyot derivatives and questionable kitniyot items, and compare it to the dominant “mekil” practice of not wearing tfillin on chol hamoed, also based on (non) tradition.

  43. Lawrence Kaplan

    MMHY: But since the practice of not wearing tefilin on hol ha-Moed among ashkenazim is hasidic, by definition it can’t “meikkil.”

  44. Michael Rogovin

    MiMedinat HaYam on April 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    …they prob stopped certifying cause alternative — walnut oil, rape / grape seed oil, and canola, i guess — came around, and peanut oil adds a distinctive (bad to me personally) taste, unlike other oils (and unlike the whole idea of using an oil), so it prob lost its (overall, not pesach) advantage….

    Well, they have now banned rapeseed (canola) oil even though rapeseed is not edible. Grape seed oil is usually expensive, though less so this year. Walnut is fine, but it too has a strong flavor and low flashpoint, whereas peanut has a high flashpoint (better for deep frying at a higher temperature. Peanut oil is a key ingredient in some dishes, particularly in Asian cooking. It is also sometimes added to make creamy peanut butter.

    The OU doesn’t say why they no longer certify peaneut oil but in the past they stated that it was because people stopped buying it due to confusion over the OU’s listing of peanuts as kitniyot — “why should peanut oil be different from other kitniyot oils?” Sales declined and there was no reason for companies to go to the expense. The OU’s policy seems to be when something is potentially confusing, rather than educate, they prohibit (cf. labeling DE products D, such as Oreos and sorbet).

  45. MiMedinat HaYam

    yes michael r: kashrut is political, even more so at the o-u.

    ?sales declined? to the big corporate producers? i’m sure manischewitz doesnt care for the slight drop when they still make egg matzot.

    but sorbet often really is dairy (milk added; supposedly a federal rule. but if so, how are there still pareve sorbets available?). slight exception. but i completely agree with you as far as d-e is concerned.

    and to l kaplan — you’re right as far as american “heter” on tfillin. but my personal heter is different, since the rule in israel is that ‘ “no one” wears tfillin on chol hamoed in israel’ (as my father came to america via israel.) and of course, this “heter” extends to no sukkah (in america) on shmini azeret.

    going from kitniyot, to shmini azeret.

  46. IH: Fascinating! I knew the bit about the questions but not the two tavshilin. Thanks for referring me to mechon mamre.

    Mechy Frankel: The Maharal had a camera. 🙂

    MeMedinat: Not sure how you can say that about tefillin when virtually all communities (e.g., Sephard/Ashkenaz) don’t wear them.

    This should address an old complaint of mycroft’s:

    http://www.yutorah.org/therav/

  47. Joel re passover cereal:

    Unless it’s improved dramatically, I’d pass over the cereal (unless you like the taste of sawdust)

    Every year I get a box of sugar-free passover non-gebrox (you can’t hardly get any gebrox baked goods any more) cookies. On Pesach, they taste OK, sorta. The day after Pesach, they become sawdust.

    Tzvi Pittinsky re: kosher quinoa: Lincoln Square Synagogue’s rabbis recommended two brands, a few years ago, which are KP and you don’t have to check. I don’t remember one, but the other is Ancient Grains.

    Mechy quoting Gil:

    Hirhurim on April 18, 2011 at 9:55 am
    I’m not so sure. I’m against new leniencies in kitniyos but I’ll eat quinoa.

    new leniencies in kitnyos..?? I submit this phrasing is perfectly reflective of the sea change in hashqofoh/approach to qitniyos over the last decades (accelerating since the death of r moshe?) that has overtaken ashkenazim who have lost fidelity to actual traditional practice. peanuts anyone?

    Agree with Mechy (big surprise). How on earth could quinoa be a “new leniency” when it was never classed as ossur in the first place? If anything, banning quinoa would be a new chumra.

    Qitniyoþ are like birds (and birdseed?): there is no agreed-upon quantifiable definition of them, describing what is and what is not in the class. So we wind up relying on “tradition” – what do people accept as being part of the class? And when enough people start including a foodstuff as part of the class, it becomes generally thought of as part of the class, and becomes ossur.

    And then everyone who still uses it, is stuck, because the manufacturers stop certifying it for Pesach. Like peanut oil. I haven’t seen a KP bottle of it for years, not since the Kosher Plaza supermarket, which property is now Pomegranate.

    P.S.: the new letter I’m using for /th/ is the þorn, used mostly for Old English. I figured it was better for transliteration into English than using a Gk. theta. Confusion over the thorn led, I believe, to the expression “ye olde” – because it was “the olde” (English used to have gendered nouns/adjectives) but a proper old thorn looks much like a ‘y’. þe olde curiositye shoppe.

  48. Nahum,
    Yes, apparently (without telling me :-)) they’ve loaded up a lot of what appear to be the Nordlicht tapes- I’ll get on in right away chief 🙂
    KT

  49. thanbo: It just looks pretentious.

  50. Lawrence Kaplan on April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    MMHY: But since the practice of not wearing tefilin on hol ha-Moed among ashkenazim is hasidic, by definition it can’t “meikkil.”

    as a practical matter these days i’m sure this is true, at least in the us (with ashkenazi neglect in israel due to other reasons), and it would also seem true that the oldest ashkenazi minhog was to wear t’filin. nevertheless long before the modern chasidim, from the days of the first baalei tosefos there has always been a minority minhog not to wear them – with a lot of chizuq for those so disinclined once the zohar with its violent antipathy to chol hammoeid t’filin hit the street a few generations later. the story has been recounted by jacob katz in a hebrew article on chol hammoeid t’filin included in his compilation “halokhoh v’qabboloh”.

  51. >>“Leave the subject alone. You don’t want to know. It’s a very dirty story.”

    >I’ve heard this before. I’d *love* to hear what it means (not least because it seems to indicate that the missing pages are out there).

    That has got to be one of the silliest, most uncritically reported things I have ever heard. As for the Mossad guy, he sounds like Inspector Clouseau.

    As for the book, unfortunately it’s mostly a history of the synagogue in Aleppo, tediously and repetitively described.

  52. “Lawrence Kaplan on April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    MMHY: But since the practice of not wearing tefilin on hol ha-Moed among ashkenazim is hasidic, by definition it can’t “meikkil.””

    Way beyond any expertise of mine but I believe that I once read that no rishon befroe the Zohar was written approx imately 1285 said that one should not wear Tfillin chol hamoed-some said yes and some were silent-it was the writing of the Zohar that had fundamental change in a lot of customs. Experts here could correct me.

  53. The Behag is quoted by Tosafot Moed Kattan 19a “Rabbi Yose” as forbidding it, although apparently this can’t be found in our texts of the Halachos Gedolos. Although I’m not an expert in Tosafos source criticism, this appears to predate 1285 – but even if it doesn’t, the Zohar could hardly have influenced such a statement.

  54. “Tzvi Pittinsky re: kosher quinoa: Lincoln Square Synagogue’s rabbis recommended two brands, a few years ago, which are KP and you don’t have to check. I don’t remember one, but the other is Ancient Grains.”

    That would be Ancient Harvest, and the other would be Trader Joe’s, which is made by the same folks but under the generic name.

    These are the same brands that the CRC has decided one needs to check, despite seeming to say in the same press release that there’s no way those brands have ever even waved hello to grains, let alone mixed with it.

  55. “S. on April 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm
    The Behag is quoted by Tosafot Moed Kattan 19a “Rabbi Yose” as forbidding it, although apparently this can’t be found in our texts of the Halachos Gedolos. Although I’m not an expert in Tosafos source criticism, this appears to predate 1285 – but even if it doesn’t, the Zohar could hardly have influenced such a statement”
    i’M CERTAINLY NOT AN EXPERT-but per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosafot-some Tosafot are from beyond 1285-but no one is claiming there wasn’t a viewpoint not to wear Tfillin on chol hamoed-it is a machlokes in shas with no psak-but my impression before the Zohar it was not an opinion in play-the Zohar changed a lot.

  56. IH: The difference is that “dati lite” belong to fully religious families, and their families and community want to remain welcoming despite their deviance from some details of halacha. “Mesorati” come from “mesorati” families.

  57. Shlomo — you seem to have missed the sociological point the author was making in the 3 paragraphs under the heading לא ידעו שהם מסורתיים.

    I have no opinion on this topic, but found it interesting.

  58. MiMedinat HaYam

    s on his hesitation on the allepo codex story:

    typical of syrian retelling of history. they (even the non charedi syrians) must have learned such practices from the charedim. or perhaps vice versa.

    esp since, as you say, they are repeating parts of other stories (synagogue, etc.)

  59. IH – that question is semantic. Moroccan Jews who smoked on Shabbat may once have defined themselves as “dati”, but clearly they did not mean the same thing that Ashkenazim meant by “dati”. It’s only natural that different words evolved to describe the two sets of practices.

  60. typical of syrian retelling of history. they (even the non charedi syrians) must have learned such practices from the charedim. or perhaps vice versa.

    I doubt it. It seems more likely that such practice develop naturally among any group which considers themselves to be the highest caste.

  61. Hol ha’Kavod to R. Yitzchak Peretz:

    בין החותמים על המכתב, רב העיר יצחק פרץ, יו”ר ש”ס ושר הפנים לשעבר. למרות היותו בן עדות המזרח, הוא מקורב מאוד להנהגה הליטאית הנחשבת ל”קנאית” יותר ביחסה לרפורמים. הוא הוסיף בכתב ידו: “דרכיה דרכי נועם”.

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4057994,00.html (Hebrew);
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4058163,00.html (English)

  62. http://www.vosizneias.com/82048/2011/04/22/new-york-met-council-ceo-says-ny-times-kiryas-joel-article-quote-taken-out-of-context

    i’d appreciate someone with an economics background reviewing the original article and providing a theory that would explain the low average income coupled with the lack of obvious signs of poverty.

    moadim lsimcha

  63. MiMedinat HaYam

    shlomo– higher caste — you are right, but they still got the concept from charedim.

    dati and mesorati — add “half shabbas” to the same concept.

    also, the article should have dfferentiated from the israeli conservative org hijacking the “mesorati” title.

  64. MiMedinat HaYam

    to joel r:

    a quick read of the original article, and relevant quotes (note — a: most of them actually do speak english (personal dealings) and b: the very last comment, meant to criticize, is actually a good evaluation, but they meet the bureaucratic criteria and c: wr’s comments may or may not be true, but the residents nevertheless meet the bureaucratic criteria and d: the picture of the matza bakery is of a private seforim store):

    “They are clearly not wealthy, and they do have a lot of children. They spend whatever discretionary income they have on clothing, food and baby carriages. They don’t belong to country clubs or go to movies or go on trips to Aruba.

    “They’re not scrounging around, though. They’re not presenting a picture of poverty as if you would go to a Mexican neighborhood in Corona. They do have organizations that lend money interest-free. They’re also supported by members of the community who are wealthier — it’s not declarable income if somebody buys them a baby carriage.”

    David Jolly, the social services commissioner for Orange County, also said that while the number of people receiving benefits seemed disproportionately high, the number of caseloads — a family considered as a unit — was much less aberrant. A family of eight who reports as much as $48,156 in income is still eligible for food stamps, although the threshold for cash assistance ($37,010), which relatively few village residents receive, is lower.

    Joel Steinberg, who lives in the village with his family and works as a comptroller for a real estate firm, said that before Passover, “the No. 1 project in the community was raising funds for food.”

    Most residents, raised as Yiddish speakers, do not speak much English. And most men devote themselves to Torah and Talmud studies rather than academic training — only 39 percent of the residents are high school graduates, and less than 5 percent have a bachelor’s degree. Several hundred adults study full time at religious institutions.

    Still, the Census Bureau’s latest poverty estimates, based on the 2005-9 American Community Survey released last year, do not take into account the community’s tradition of philanthropy and no-interest loans. Moreover, some families may be eligible for public benefits because they earn low salaries from the religious congregations and other nonprofit groups that run businesses and religious schools. Nearly half of the village’s residents with jobs work for the public or parochial schools.

    “They may be truly poor on paper,” Ms. Calhoun said. “They are not truly poor in reality.”

  65. r’mmhy,
    yes, I read the article too. so is the understanding that even though the average reported income(which takes into account those who would give tzedaka) is so low, somehow the residents do not live in poverty? i would imagine the average cost of living is not less than for other “poor”, so how is the hole filled?
    KT

  66. “Moreover, some families may be eligible for public benefits because they earn low salaries from the religious congregations and other nonprofit groups that run businesses and religious schools”

    My hunch would be that the salaries could be approximately the amount to maximize the amount of earned income credit minus any minor income tax due. When I was in Israel-I saw ads in the Anglo frum press reminding learners about the Earned Income Credit-no reason not to expect a kal vachomer in the American frum.

  67. “i would imagine the average cost of living is not less than for other “poor”, so how is the hole filled?
    KT”
    Joel:
    Use your imagination about what the data includes and doesn’t.

  68. MiMedinat HaYam

    you must also include donations / support from outsuide kj sources. eg., willy, etc.

    also, note how this is the same strategy used in israel by these same groups. and no allegation of improper income there.

    2. as for the israel “earned income credit”, there is no allegation of misteported income there. its just that they meet the bureaucratric criteria, and there is no requirement to live in the fifty states. in fact, under certain / many circumstances, they must file 1040’s, so you cant call it improper to file a 1040 when they get $ back. thats how the system works. (maybe it shouldnt, but it does.)

  69. “as for the israel “earned income credit”, there is no allegation of misteported income there. its just that they meet the bureaucratric criteria, and there is no requirement to live in the fifty states. in fact, under certain / many circumstances, they must file 1040′s, so you cant call it improper to file a 1040 when they get $ back. thats how the system works”

    As stated I would have no problem-but I would have a problem if income and a W-2 were generated for those who would benefit by the W-2 and were not generated for those who would not benefit.
    Also, since when has stipends received for learning in a Kollel been considered income-if so are they treated consistently so?

  70. MiMedinat HaYam

    is an israeli w2 generated (i believe its all automated there, but the idea remains)?

    and its a form of earned ncome. would be interesting. i’ll look it up after chag.

  71. Apropos of the “SUSY versus the Creator: An Update” thread:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/life-and-physics/2011/apr/24/1

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