Friday, June 29, 2012

Regarding the Kashrus of Flavored Electronic Cigarettes

THE CRC HAS RECENTLY issued an alert regarding the use of flavored electronic cigarettes. Their Twitter feed linked to a FAQ page on their website which states as follows:

Electronic cigarettes convert a specially formulated liquid into a vapor which the person inhales in a manner that mimics the way one inhales from a traditional cigarette. The liquid (which is sometimes called “juice”, “smoke-juice” or similar names) typically includes kosher-sensitive ingredients such as glycerin and flavors, and since the person imbibes the liquid/vapor, Rav Schwartz said that the liquid must be certified as kosher. We contacted a number of manufacturers who claim to use only kosher raw materials but there is no independent agency who certifies that claim, and therefore we are unable to recommend those products. [As with all medical issues, one should consult with their doctor before deciding to use or not use electronic cigarettes.]

Based on something I wrote in the previous post (Synopsis of YD §108), I disagree. For the record, I am simply elaborating on what I have already written here and here.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Synopsis of YD §108

א) אין צולין איסור והיתר בתנור אחד אם האחד שמן אע"פ שאין נוגעין זה בזה, אא"כ אחד מהן מכוסה. ואם צלאן מותר. כתב הרמ"א די"א דאף בדיעבד אסור [ולע"ד אפילו בגדול עיין ד"מ] אא"כ התנור פתוח קצת, דאל"כ יש אומרים שדומה לפת חמה וחבית פתוחה (סעיף ד), אבל אין להחמיר במקום הפסד מרובה. ותחת מחבת אסור אפילו בה"מ [– כן נראה מדבריו עיין ביאור הגר"א, וצע"ק].

אם שניהם כחושים מותר לכתחילה, עיין ש"ך וט"ז.

כתב רמ"א דגוי שאפה פת עם איסור אסור לקנותה אם מצוי לו פת אחר בריוח וכן פת שאפאה אם הצלי אסור לאכלה אם יש לו פת אחר משום דכ"ז מקרי לכתחילה, הגם שבד"מ הסכים לסברת ב"י דכל זה חשיב דיעבד. ובת"ח מיהא כתב להתיר לכתחילה לקנות אגוזים שנתבשלו בסתם כליהם. ונראה לומר שהחילוק בין ריחא לשאר דברים הוא דבשאר דברים גזרו מחמת איזה חשש או מחמת דבר אחר וכיון שכבר עשה הדבר א"א לקרותו עדיין לכתחילה, משא"כ בריחא נראה שגזרו משום דמיחזי כטעם ולכן כל כמה דאפשר להרחיק מן הדבר שנבלע בו הריח מקרי לכתחילה, ודו"ק.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Authority of the Talmud

SOMEONE RECENTLY POSED the following question on Mi Yodeya:

There is a known rule that Rishonim cannot argue on the Gemara when it comes to ‘Halachic’ drashos. For example, a Rishon will never give a different answer to a question which the Gemara already answered (Tosafos may ask why the Gemara didn't give that other answer, but he will never give his own answer without more). This is true whether the Gemara's subject is practical Halacha or not.

However, when it comes to Aggadic drashos on Tanach, we find Rishonim ‘disagreeing’ with Midrashim and late Acharonim disagreeing on Rishonim. Why do Rishonim feel freer to disagree on an explanation of Chumash than to disagree with a Gemara?

This was my answer:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Just thought I might share this. Yasher Koach to R. Gil and all those who are involved in this endeavor.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The wisest of the philosophers asked: “We admit that our predecessors were wiser than we. At the same time we criticize their comments, often rejecting them and claiming that the truth rests with us. How is this possible?” The wise philosopher responded: “Who sees further, a dwarf or a giant? Surely a giant, for his eyes are situated at a higher level than those of the dwarf. But if the dwarf is placed on the shoulders of the giant who sees further? …So too we are dwarfs astride the shoulders of giants. We master their wisdom and move beyond it. Due to their wisdom we grow wise and are able to say all that we say, but not because we are greater than they.” – R. Isaiah di Trani (Rid)[1]

I posted the following on Mi Yodea[2] and I got voted down twice (as of now). Vote “shvache maysehs” here if you dare. I’m more interested in hearing your opinion though. This was my post:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Secular Music

When asked to support their position, opponents of secular music invariably cite the Sha’ar Hatziyun, who writes as follows:

כבר הזהיר השל"ה ושארי ספרי מוסר שלא לזמר שירי עגבים לתינוק שזה מוליד לו טבע רע. ובלא"ה נמי איכא איסורא בשירי עגבים ודברי נבלות דקא מגרי יצה"ר בנפשיה ושׁוֹמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ יִרְחַק מזה ויזהיר לבני ביתו על זה [מאמר מרדכי].

The Shlah and other mussar books have already warned not to sing songs of passion to a child for this develops a bad nature within him. And without this there is also a prohibition with songs of passion and foul language for they cultivate the evil inclination in one’s soul, and he who guards his soul will distance himself from this and warn the members of his household about it (Ma’amar Mordechai).[1]