Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Sha'agas Ayeh - Make Sure People Don't Suspect You

Yesterday [כ"ה תמוז] was the yahrtzeit of the Shaagas Aryeh zt"l. 

Here is a story told about him by Rav Nosson Geshtetner ztz"l:




שרה אורה בת שרה

Please daven for Sarha Orah Bas Sarah who was diagnosed with cancer. 

Immersing Aluminum And Electric Pans



From "halacha yomit". 

[Note - Copying over the halacha does mean that necessarily I agree or that you should necessarily follow what it says. If you have a shyla you can speak to those who know. I post it להגדיל תורה and not because it is necessarily what I think....Keep in mind that this is written by and for our holy Sefardic brothers and sisters].

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic.

Regarding plastic vessels, we have already mentioned in previous Halachot that the reason earthenware and clay vessels are exempt from immersion is because when the Torah discusses this obligation in reference to the vessels of Midyan, only metal vessels were included in this commandment. The Gemara tells us that Rav Ashi says that since when glass is broken, it may be repaired by melting it down and forming it into a vessel, it shares the same law as metals. We see then that according to our Sages, glass vessels must likewise be immersed. Based on this, it would seem that the same should apply to plastic vessels; since they can be melted down and formed into vessels, they should be comparable to glass and require immersion in a Mikveh.

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that since glass only requires immersion by virtue of a rabbinic enactment and not by Torah law, only a substance that existed during the times of our Sages can be included in the enactment requiring them to be immersed. Plastic, however, which did not yet exist in the times of our Sages cannot be included in this enactment although they are indeed similar to glass vessels in this aspect. On the other hand, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss zt”l, head of the rabbinical court of the Eidah Ha’Charedit, rules in his responsa that plastic vessels indeed require immersion. Nonetheless, he later writes (in his Responsa Minchat Yitzchak, Volume 4) that after seeing the opinion of Maran zt”l, he has changed his mind and now rules in accordance with Maran zt”l that plastic vessels do not require immersion in a Mikveh and they may be used immediately after purchasing them.

Regarding porcelain vessels and dishes, the Sefer Kenesset Ha’Gedolah (authored by Hagaon Harav Chaim Benbenishti zt”l, pupil of Hagon Harav Yosef of Tarani, who lived approximately four-hundred years ago) writes that the custom is to absolve them of immersion, for only vessels which are actually glass and are able to be repaired by melting them down and forming them into vessels require immersion since they are similar to metals; however, since porcelain vessels cannot be repaired once they are broken, they are similar to wooden and earthenware vessels which do not require immersion.

Therefore, porcelain vessels (i.e. genuine porcelain; not all glazed earthenware or china vessels or dishes are considered porcelain) do not require immersion and one may be lenient and use them immediately after buying them.

We will now discuss the law regarding disposable aluminum vessels (such as pans, cookie sheets, and the like) and whether or not they require immersion in a Mikveh.


We find a similar discussion regarding the Mitzvah of Kiddush on Shabbat which must be recited on a cup of wine. The Poskim discuss whether or not a disposable cup can be considered a “vessel” regarding this matter. If a disposable cup is considered a “vessel” regarding Kiddush, it should follow that the same is true regarding immersion in a Mikveh. If so, disposable aluminum vessels would halachically require immersion.


Maran zt”l discusses this topic in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat (Volume 2) and he concludes that disposable cups are indeed valid for the Mitzvah of Kiddush according to the letter of the law as they are indeed considered “vessels” and the same would hold true regarding the status of disposable vessels with regards to immersion in a Mikveh. Nevertheless, Maran zt”l adds that since there are several Poskim who differentiate between the laws of Kiddush and immersion, such vessels should be immersed without reciting a blessing in order to avoid a possible blessing in vain.


We must nevertheless point out that many aluminum vessels produced in Israel are not produced by non-Jews; rather, they are manufactured by Jewish companies. Even regarding aluminum vessels produces outside of Israel, there is indeed basis to exempt them from immersion in a Mikveh, for aluminum was a metal which was not yet discovered in earlier generations and the Torah does not delineate an explicit commandment to immerse aluminum. Maran zt”l himself uses this rationale to rule leniently on an unrelated matter (regarding the laws of impurity of a corpse, see Chazon Ovadia-Avelut, Part 2). He quotes that Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l rules likewise. Thus, one need not protest vehemently against those who customarily use such disposable aluminum vessels without first immersing them in a Mikveh, for they indeed have on whom to rely (this is especially true if one is unsure if the owner of the company is Jewish or not).


An Electric Kettle

The Poskim disagree whether or not an electric kettle requires immersion, for we have a rule that anything attached to the ground does not require immersion in a Mikveh since a vessel which cannot become impure does not require immersion and anything attached to the ground cannot become impure. Thus, several Poskim, including Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l,write that since the primary usage of an electric kettle is when it is plugged into the outlet, it is considered attached to the ground and does not require immersion. However, halachically speaking, even Hagaon Harav Auerbach did not wish to rely on this reason alone to exempt electric kettles from immersion, for they are used even when they are not connected to the outlet.


Indeed, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that it is preferable to act stringently and immerse an electric kettle in the Mikveh. If one is worried that immersing it in water will ruin it, one should give it to a non-Jew as a gift and then ask him to lend it back to him, for one who borrows or rents a vessel from a non-Jew need not immerse the vessel since he has not purchased them fully and this is no longer comparable to the vessels of Midyan which the Jewish nation took full ownership of. [My not: If the goy thinks you are weird - don't worry about it.:-)]  

Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach adds another way to exempt the electric kettle from immersion and that is by giving it to a licensed Jewish electrician who will then take it apart in a professional manner that not just anyone could try at home. The electrician should then put it back together and this will be considered as though one had purchased the kettle from a Jew and it will not require immersion.

MY NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU DO EVERYTHING NOT TO GET ELECTROCUTED!!! חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא!!

Summary: Disposable aluminum vessels produced outside of Israel require immersion in a Mikveh without a blessing. (Some rule leniently on this matter.) An electric kettle likewise requires immersion without a blessing. One can exempt it from immersion by giving it as a gift to a non-Jew and then asking the non-Jew to lend it back to him. Another way to exempt the kettle from immersion is by having a Jewish electrician take it apart in a professional manner and then putting it back together again.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Woman's Role - Part 6

It is assumed by many that today things have changed. Woman are no longer the weak creatures they once were who need the strength of  man to keep them going. Today women are strong, educated and independent. There was a saying popularized in the 60's when the feminist movement took off [led of course, by Jews - as is just about every movement except for Nazism]: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle".

I never knew how much fish needed bicycles...

The reality is that society has changed but a woman's basic nature has not. 

Let me illustrate. Sheryl Sandburg is by all accounts a very strong, independent, free thinking, outspoken woman. She is the COO of Facebook and she has over a billion more dollars than either of us. Power, prestige, influence and, the most important in our crrrrazzzzy world - MONEY!!!

What does she lack??

Ask her. She would tell you that she lacks her husband who suddenly died in 2015 and would give up her job, prestige and money to have him back. She describes him as being her "rock", a strong person who was there for her whenever she needed him. She gets teary eyed in front of millions of people talking about him.  

Facebook, Shmacebook. She remains a woman and a woman needs a strong man. She wrote a book about dealing with her loss and grief. She speaks of how shattered she was and how hard it was to continue. What gives her strength to move on is - here is another womanly attribute - her children. Now she is actively looking for another husband because a woman needs a man like fish needs water. And a man without a woman is not a person!! [Yevamos 63] 

The healthiest thing for society would be to encourage women to cultivate their feminine traits and to let the men be men. This world needs manly, masculine men and feminine women. 

It is bad for everyone when gender lines are blurred.

This doesn't mean that men shouldn't help take care of their children or cook meals or women shouldn't go to medical school. But it does mean that by being who one is and not who society dictates that they should be is a great boon to mental health and personal satisfaction.  

The Use Of Language - Part 3

Another misleading use of language is when people are called "very religious" or "really frum". Very often, this is just a description of their external appearance. If a man is wearing black and white, with a black hat, beard and peyos or a woman has her hair completely covered and is wearing long sleeves with a long skirt and high neckline, the assumption is that they are very pious. 

Sometimes this is true. Other times, it is not. 

There are countless middos and mitzvos and wearing a certain type of clothing doesn't cover the entire gamut but is rather a tiny minuscule fraction of what is required of a person [sometimes - it is not even required]. 

Middos - honesty, care, compassion, empathy, patience, anger, generosity, warmth, arrogance, humility, desires [food, women etc.], jealously, simplicity, gratitude, sensitivity, orderliness, cleanliness, calm, focused etc. etc. etc. Every person is on a different scale on every individual middah and only G-d knows where they are holding.

The same goes with mitzvos. Some people are more lax about wearing tzitzis but are extremely careful about honoring their parents. Some people are super careful about keeping Shabbos but speak lashon hara or waste a lot of time they could have spent learning. 

You can have a simple Jew who has a bigger heart and is more generous than a great Rosh Yeshiva who is far greater in Torah learning. I have a friend who is very lax about much of what it says in the Mishna Brura but is far more kind hearted and generous than a lot of people I know who wear black hats and walk around with a Mishna Brura [or the like] in hand. 

You can have a clean shaven guy, accountant, rabid Knicks fan, who never gets angry, while a big Rav with a long beard who never wastes his time with the frivolities of the NBA occasionally lets off steam on innocent members of his family. 

One guy never misses a minyan but he often misses his wife's birthday while another misses a lot of minyanim but EVERY DAY he makes his wife feel as if she were the queen of the universe. 

Who is greater? Who can ever know all of a person's deeds and thoughts? 

Nobody except for Him. 

Life has taught me that externals are important but often misleading.  

Please Daven

Boundaries

I heard that a study was conducted where they checked the health situation of parents who had to establish boundaries for their children. They discovered that the feeling was as someone who was about to have a heart attack. 

Meaning - the parents felt powerless and sick. 

We live in a generation where the boundaries are falling everywhere. 

That is Facebook and twitter. Everybody wants to follow and be followed every second of the day. 

No boundaries.

The most important thing to establish in every relationship is boundaries. Not too close - but never too far. 

Big topic. Once gave a long lecture about it. 

Then I retired [or was retired:-)].

Gotta run:-).