Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hiatus

I AM GOING ON an indefinite hiatus from posting here. Thank you to all of the readers and commenters. Please feel free to contact me at beismedrashblog@gmail.com; I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meat & Dairy In the Same Oven


I RECENTLY CAME ACROSS a couple of blog posts dealing with the question of using the same oven for dairy and meat, or using an oven previously used for non-kosher items.[1] Both noted the somewhat lenient view of R. Moshe Feinstein[2] which differentiates between dry and wet items. His position is that with dry items one need not be concerned about any vapor remaining in the oven that might be capable of transferring flavor to another item, because such vapor is minute and insignificant, while with wet items this is a genuine Kashrus concern that needs to be dealt with accordingly. From personal experience, most people I have spoken to think this view is either normative or a bit too lenient. It seems that most people I have met think that using the same oven for wet meat and milk products, even one after another, is a major leniency not worth relying on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Notes On YD §89:1


THIS IS A BIT of an obscure post, but I am publishing it in order to defend my Dairy Non-Dairy Creamer post against statements made here which imply that I may not have done my due diligence in my understanding of YD §89. The following are my notes from the relevant portion of the siman.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dairy Non-Dairy Creamer


I WAS AT WAWA a while back and I needed a coffee. Having just eaten meat, I was looking for an alternative to my usual half-and-half. I saw they had a bottle of non-dairy creamer, and was about to pour myself some, when I noticed an OU-D. Undeterred, I glanced at the label to check if there really was milk in the ingredients. Alas, there it was. It was in the “contains less than 2%” list, but it was there alright. So I was stuck without my coffee, and bought a Red Bull instead.

One day it hit me. I could absolutely have used that OU-D non-dairy creamer in my coffee after eating meat!

Why? It's simple, really. I mentioned that the ingredient panel said that it contained less than 2% milk. As I realized then, that is not good enough to be batel – 1/60 is about 1.6%, so going in on “less than 2%” would be a bit of a gamble. But what I realized was that I obviously wasn’t going be to drinking the creamer straight; I was putting it into my coffee. That means that at the end of the day there was no chance that the milk wouldn’t go under 1.6% of the total volume, which means it would automatically be batel! So it turns out that I could’ve had my coffee after all. Oh well.









                                                           

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In Vitro Meat: Why Your Grandchildren will be Eating Pork if They are not Vegetarians


IN FIFTY YEARS from now, most observant Jews will either be vegetarians or they will hypothetically have no Halachic objection to regularly consuming pork. Here’s why.

Scientists are currently working on developing in vitro meat. From Wikipedia: “The process of developing in vitro meat involves taking muscle cells and applying a protein that helps the cells to grow into large portions of meat. Once the initial cells have been obtained, additional animals would not be needed – akin to the production of yogurt cultures. Conceivably, one animal could provide more than a billion pounds of in vitro meat to feed the world's population for at least several hundred years.”

They have been successful, but at the moment the meat they’ve produced is prohibitively expensive. However, as the Wikipedia article suggests, in the future “the price of in vitro meat at retail outlets like grocery stores and supermarkets may decrease prices to levels that middle-class consumers consider to be "inexpensive" due to technological advancements.” This seems fairly reasonable.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Attn: Seforim Collectors / People Who Know Stuff

IF ANYONE CAN find me an original first edition (Prague 1756) of this page or a photocopy of it, so that I can know the exact size of the diagrams as they appeared in the first edition, I’d be extremely grateful.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hot Water Taps & Kashrus


Here is another one from the Mi Yodeya files. This is the long version of my answer here.

QUESTION: Many offices have a water dispenser (with hot water spout) or a hot water tap next to a sink. Is this hot tap Kosher? Assume for a moment that someone uses the tap to dispense hot water into a cup of non-Kosher instant soup or non-Kosher instant hot chocolate. Does the steam from the cup make the tap non-Kosher? – Seth J

ANSWER: You may use the water from the tap.

The following is the basis for my answer:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Showering & Changing Clothes During the Nine Days

QUESTION: Is it permitted to shower or change clothes during the Nine Days?

SHORT ANSWER: It is a mitzva to shower as one normally does on every day other than Tisha Bav itself, and changing shirts, socks and undergarments as one normally does for cleanliness is permitted – better yet, it is expected – even on Tisha Bav itself.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Few Points Regarding Some Laws of Niddah

I COMMONLY FIND that when one thing bothers me a million things bother me. Chana Gittel over at JMVHO has posted a number of complaints about certain Halachic standards found within her community. Some of the things she mentions are being done in compliance with Halacha, and some aren’t (in my opinion). So while I won’t be able to make everything go away, I’d like to address her points and clarify which things are ‘real’ and which aren’t, and outline what is required by Halacha and what is not.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Staring at the Kohanim


THERE IS AN INTERESTING new site that opened up called Need An Eitzah. It is similar to the stack exchange site Mi Yodeya with the exception that it allows for opinions as well. I think it’s a great site. Here is a quick bit of Halachic information that I posted as an answer there today:[1]

The Gemara says that someone who gazes upon the Kohanim in the Beis HaMikdash while they are standing on their platform and blessing the Jewish People; such a person’s vision will fade.