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Editorial Correspondence.

Rev. Mr. Rice’s Letter.

My Dear Friend,

Your resolve not to admit any farther articles on the subject of Lard Oil, prevents me from replying to Mr. Falkenau’s letter, whilst, at the same time, I agree with you that the public discourse of this point would lead to nothing positive.

I, however, think it my duty to call your attention to a subject on which I have kept silent hitherto, from the sole motive that some one might believe me speaking from interested motives. It is to urge upon the Jews in the United States the great importance of selecting a spiritual chief, or Beth Din, for the purpose of regulating all our spiritual affairs, and before whom all religious questions might be brought for decision. How easily may not a far more important point of discussion arise than the one which I have discussed in your periodical, and the people may not know whose decision they are to obey. How long will the entire Jewish population in this country delay to fill up this defect which is so injurious to our religious interests? And it surely is necessary to prevent the uninitiated from giving their crude decisions which are but too well calculated to do a permanent injury to our faith.

But, before I close the present, I believe it necessary to add one more closing observation to our discussion, which, on account of its importance, I trust you will not refuse; namely, the words נותן טעם לפגם “imparting a vitiating taste” have been wrongly applied, since the modern chemical discoveries in the production of lard oil exceed all older experience, and the “late Rabbi of Vilna” maintains, on occasion of another important subject, in his work Chaye Adam, 126 § 3, that “we cannot draw any conclusion from former times to our own age, and not from one country to another.” The same principle is laid down in Peri Chadash, with reference to sugar on Passover: “Every thing depends on the custom of the country, and the manner of preparing the sugar.” With those few observations I dismiss the subject altogether, and remain very truly your friend,

A. Rice. Baltimore, Feb. 3d, 5605.