Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Another two prakim!

A few years ago, I visited a certain yeshiva, where some students there told me the following story (unconfirmed, so for all I know, an urban legend):

A student who attended the yeshiva had special milk he would drink (perhaps he had a milk allergy and drank goat milk, I don't know the specifics), which was expensive and difficult to get. He kept the milk in the public refrigerator, and other students, not appreciating that this milk was limited, expensive, and hard to come by, would use the milk. This happened week after week. He tried putting up signs, first with a request not to drink it, then when that did not work, explanations about why they shouldn't drink his milk. Finally, he tacked on a sign saying that he did not give reshut for them to use his milk, and it was geneiva, etc. All to no avail. Finally, someone gave him some advice. He tacked on a sign that said: "Warning: This milk is NOT Cholov Yisrael." And nobody touched his milk.

The more things change the more they stay the same...

A few days ago I was reading the 8th perek of yerushalmi terumot, which relates that Rabbi Chiyya Rubba's daughter used to poke holes in the figs she left for her father in the bet midrash so that the benei hayeshiva [Chavrayya] would not eat them. (The holes in the figs made them look like they had been eaten by an animal, perhaps a snake, which would inject its poison into the food, and so it would be assur to eat.) The gemara continues to elaborate that Rabbi Chiyya knew why the holes were there, and his daughter was on gaurd that no actual snakes were eating them, so he was permitted to eat them.

Of course, the obvious distinction is Chamira Sakanta MeIssura, danger to life carried more stringencies than regular prohibitions, so the students in the bet midrash of Rabbi Chiyya Rubba would be faced with the Sakanta of possibly poisoned food.

On second thought, though, Cholov Yisroel might also be Sakanta. There is a dispute (also in 8th perek yerushalmi terumot) about the reason Cholov Akum is problematic. One opinion is that the fear is that the Akum will mix milk from non-kosher animals in. Another opinion is that the Akum may leave the milk uncovered, and a snake may come and sip from the milk, and spit back poison. Thus it would be the same reason as that of pierced figs.

הדרן עלך האשה שהיתה אוכלת!
הדרן עלך הזורע תרומה!
(8th and 9th perek yerushalmi terumot)

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