Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. I must admit I am surprised I have been around this long.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Pri Migadim and Tadir

As mentioned previously, R'Chaim Brown has a post about hadlakas menorah and tadir v'sh'eino tadir.

I would just like to add 2 points to the discussion.

1) The Pri Migadim in Siman 689 writes that really Ner Shabbos should be lit before Ner Chanukah due to tadir. We don't do it like this because we are m'kabeil Shabbos when we light Ner Shabbos. He gives an eitzah of how to remove this problem of tadir by saying that you should not have the Shabbos candles set up when you light the Menorah. Then you have no shailah of tadir.

The question I have on this is it seems the Pri Migadim holds that tadir doesn't apply if it is a z'man chiyuv for two mitzvos. Rather it only applies if both mitzvos are mamash in front of you. When you light Ner Chanukah, isn't it also the z'man for lighting Ner Shabbos? What difference does it make if the Shabbos candles are not set out in front of you. It is still the z'man for lighting Shabbos candles.
Also, would it make a difference if the Shabbos candles are in one room and the Chanukah candles in a different room? L'fi the Pri Migadim would that be an issue of tadir?

2) There is a shittah (I believe that both R' Moshe and R' Ahron Kotler held this way) to light the menorah around 15-20 minutes after sh'kiah. The question is , would it be necessary to daven ma'ariv beforehand or since it is not the z'man for ma'ariv there is no issue of tadir.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hadlakas Menorah on Erev Shabbos

My good friend R'Chaim Brown has a post about hadlakas menorah on Erev Shabbos as viewed through the lens of tadir v'sh'eino tadir.
I would like to look at it through a different angle.

Here are a few questions.

1) We pasken that Ner Chanukah is before Ner Shabbos. Why don't we say that the woman of the house should first light Ner Shabbos and tehn the husband can light Ner Chanukah since the husband is not m'kabeil Shabbos when his wife lights Shabbos candles. Also, a woman who lights Shabbos candles can ask her husband to do melacha for her.

2) When we light candles Erev Shabbos before Sh'kiah is that considered the z'man hadlakah? If it is not the z'man hadlaka and we only light before sh'kiah because ein berierah then how does this work since we hold hadlaka oseh mitzva. We are lighting before the z'man chiyuv and we l'chorah didn't do a proper hadlakah.

I don'thave time to answer these questions now but here are a few mareh mekomos to chew on.

1) Siman 679 and nosei keilim there
2) Siman 673:2 and the Taz in 673:2
3) The Ran and Shitas B'Hag on the sugyah of kavsa ein zakuk lah
4) Terumas HaDeshen Siman 102
5) Shut Pri Yitzchak Chelk 2 Siman 8

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Parshas VaYishlach:Hakamas HaMatzeivah

Last week's shiur dealt with the issue of putting up a matzeivah. The obvious m'kor for this inyan is this past week's parshas when Yaakpv put up a matzeivah for Rochel. However, it i snot so pashut that this is the m'kor.

There are 2 gemaras that deal with the sugyah. The gemara in Moed Katan learns that it is a halacha l'moshe m'sinai to mark the graves so a kohein won't become tamei. However, from this gemara all you see is that there is an inyan to mark the graves and not put up a matzeiva. There is also a Yerushalmi in Shekalim (2:9) that has a machlokes over what to do with the leftover money collected for a meis. Do you give it to the yorshim or do you build a matzeiva. The gemara has a third opinion that you don't build a matzeiva for tzaddikim since their ma'asim serve as their rememberance.

The Rambam paskens like this third shittah which then leads to the question why was Yaakov putting up a matzeiva and why do we build matzeivos for tzaddikim.

The Ksav Sofer answers that there are really 2 reasons for a matzeiva. One is for the meis, so that people will be able to daven for the niftar by his kever. The second reason is for the people who are alive to enable them to visit the kever. When the Yerushalmi said we don't build a matzeiva for tzaddikim, it meant because reason #1 doesn't apply, there is no chiuv to build it. However, if one wants to they could because of reason #2.

Rav Moshe has a similar answer in Y.D. chelek 4. He says Ya'akov built the matzeiva not because of kovod to Rochel but so that future generations would be able to find it. There is no issur to build a matzeiva for tzaddikim but it is not a chiyuv. He also adds that the whole binyan on Kever Rochel b'zman hazeh is definately not l'kovod Rochel but it was built to make it easier to daven there. Interestingly, in an earlier teshuva in Y.D. chelek 3, Rav Moshe gives a different answer. He says that certain dinim that only pertain to tzaddikim don't apply today and this is one of them.

In general we see that it wasn't always the minhag to put up a matzeiva. The poskim discuss cases where the minhag hamokom was not to put up a matzeiva, are you allowed to collect money to put one up or is it solely up to the yorshim. However, Rav Moshe writes that b'zman hazeh it is definately a chiyuv of kovod hameis, both here and in EY since this is how the minhag has evolved. However, it is not on teh same level of a chiyuv as oteh rtzarchei hameis. I am not sure if Rav Moshe means to say that although we collect money for tzarchei hameis, building a matzeiva is not included.

Finally, one last point. The Maharam Shik screams against the minhag of putting a secular date on a matzeivah. A matzeivah represents the idea that the nefesh will come back. A secular date is antithetical to this idea. Also, reading a secular date is an issur d'oreisa of avoda zara and by putting a secular date on a matzeivah you are causing people to be nichshal. (I wonder what the minhag is in different circles regarding secular dates)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Renting A House In Order To Light Menorah

I saw a teshuva from Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding someone who doesn't have a house, does he have a chiyuv to rent a house so he can light the Menorah. Rav Chaim Kanievsky wantedto pasken you have no chiyuv and the rayah is from the fact that Chazal were m'sakein birchas haro'eh for someone not lighting (ayin Rashi). He then quotes his father in law Rav Elyashiv, that there would be a chiyuv. The rayah from birchas haro'eh is not a rayah because that is a case of oneis.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky then says it could be a machlokes Rishonim. Tosafos in Sukkah equates hadlakas menorah to mezuzah and there is no chiyuv to rent a house to put up a mezuzah. However, the Rambam in Hilchos Berachos writes there are two types of mitzvos. One catagory is a "chovah" that you are obligated to run after like tefillin and lulav. The other catagory you only do if circumstances dictate it like mezuzah or ma'akeh. Then the Rambam says these two catagories apply on a d'rabanan level as well and he puts hadlakas menorah in the "chovah" catagory. This seems to indicate you would have to go out of your way to light the menorah (including renting a house so you could light).

Siyum Mazal Tov

For the last 4 1/2 years I have been learning mishnayos on the train during the morning commute with several people. This past Motzei Shabbos we finally made a siyum on Shas Mishnayos. Mazal Tov to everyone involved and if anyone wants to join us, just come to the front car of the 8:19 train out of Passaic.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Parshas VaYeitzei:Talmud Torah and Kibbud Av V'Eim

This past weeks shiur was about whether talmud torah is doche kibbud av v'eim.

The gemara in the end of the first perek of Megillah says that Ya'akov wasn't punished for being away from home for the 14 years he spent in Yeshiva. From here we see that "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim"

In siman 240 the Mechabeir paskens "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim".

The question is what are the parameters of this halacha.

There are three different scenarios which have to be addressed.

Scenario 1: Stopping your learning to serve your parent:

The Perisha (YD 240) writes that if you are learning and your parent asks for a drink of water you don't have to stop since "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim". The Pischei Teshuva (YD 240:8) quotes the Pri Chadosh who disagrees. "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim" only allows you to leave town and avoid kibbud av but in our case you must stop your learning. The Pischei Teshuva points you to YD siman 246 and I understand him to be saying that in this case kibbud av is no different then any other mitzvah. In siman 246 the Shulchan Aruch paskens that you must stop learning to do a mitzvah which no one else can do. kibbud av is no different then any other mitzvah and since noone else can do it you must stop learning.

Scenario 2: Leaving town to learn and avoiding the mitzvah of kibbud av:

As mentioned above the Pri Chadosh holds that this is what the statement "godol talmud torah m'kibud av v'eim" refers to. Noone seems to disagree with this. The only question is, why is leaving town to learn docheh kibud av, but if you are in the same town you must stop learning.
I thought you could answer t he following. We find that talmud torah can be docheh the chiyuv to get married. Rav Moshe in the Dibbros Moshe Kiddushin Siman 43 explains that there are two facets to learning, quantity and quality. If someone feels that his quality of learning will be affected he is patur from getting married. Perhaps the same idea can be applied here. To stop learning for 5 minutes and get your parent a drink won't affect the quality of your learning, but if you can't leave town and go to the Yeshiva of your choice that definately impacts your quality of learning. The Minchas Ahsher has a similar sevara but he phrases it a little differently. ayin sham.

Scenario 3: Leaving town to learn against your parents wishes:

The Shulchan Aruch brings this as a separate halacha in 240:25. The question would be why is it necessary to have 2 separate halachos. Also, the other question is is this a violation of kibbud av v'eim? Who says there is an obligation to listen to ones's parents. I recently heard a shiur from Rabbi Willig where he quoted a Gur Aryeh in Kedoshim that not listening to one's parents is a violation of moreh av. Just like you can't contradict your parents, so too you would need to listen to them. Obviously there are (many) situations where this would not apply but the point is that from a halachic perspective one has to take into account the violation of moreh av v'eim.

The Terumas HaDeshen(quoted by the Shulchan Aruch) writes that in this case one does not have to listen to one's parents and you can go away to a Yeshiva against their will.

Contemporary Poskim

I was given in article on this subject and the article quotes Rav Zilberstien as paskening that if your father is sick and he wants you to visit him then if you are in town you must go. If you are learning out of town you don'thave to go. However, if there is noone to take care of your parent you must go.

Rav Shternbuch is quoted as saying that if you are in the same town you must help your parents. However, if it will really affect your learning then you are pattur. (which seems like a rayah to my chiluk of quality vs quantity). Also, if your parent is sick you must help even if they are out of town but you shoul dtry to minimize the bittul torah as much as possible.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Standing For A Parent

In looking at Hilchos Kibbud Av V'Eim (Y.D. 240) I noticed something interesting. The Shulchan Aruch list those activities that constitute honoring and fearing a parent. However, standing for a parent is not part of the list. It is a separate halacha listed later. Why is that? Furthermore, the Shulchan Aruch paskens that one is obligated to honor his father in law. Would this include standing up for him?

Making a Beracha On A Takana D'Rabanan/Minhag

y good friend the Divrei Chaim has a post discussing the issue of Chazal adding an extra criteria to a mitzvah. This reminded me of something I saw this past Shabbos in a sefer Ohr L'Avraham on Chanuka by Rav Avraham Gurwitz (Rosh Yeshiva of Gateshead). He discusses the question of whether one would make a beracha on Megillas Antiochus in those communities that read it. If I remember correctly this is what he says. The consensus was not to make a beracha. The question is why would this be any different then making a beracha on Hallel Rosh Chodesh or Haftorah on a Ta'anis? He answers that it depends on how we view the takana? If it is based on a previous din then it would require a beracha. Therefore, Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is based on Hallel on Yom Tov and the Haftorah during the week is based on the Haftorah on Shabbos. Therefore, we make a beracha. However, reading Megillas Antiochus is a new minhag and not based on anything and therefore does not require a beracha.

Although he doesn't say it in so many words, I believe he is saying that it is a question of extension vs creation. If the minhag is an extension of the old din we can make a beracha but if it is a new din by itself (creation) we don't make a beracha.

NOTE: I am writing from memory and I could be missing some nuances. If it doesn't make sense it is my fault.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mitzvas Kesivas Sefer Torah

There is a lot to say on this topic, but here is one ha'arah. Rashi in Menachos (30A) holds that you are yotzei the mitzvah if you buy a sefer torah. The achronim (ayin Minchas Chinuch mitzvah 613) ask that the gemara in Sanhedrin (22b) says you are not yotzei the mitzvah if you inherit a sefeer torah. What's the difference whether you buy it or inherit it?

The simple answer would be that when you are buying it, you are doing something, making a hishtadlus to get it. Inheriting it doesn't require any effort. I saw in a sefer a sevarah to why this chiluk would be true. The mechaber of the sefer writes that he heard from R' Elchanan Wasserman that the torah doesn't require a person to write a get himself because if it did then a person with no hands could never get divorced. (Shlichus would not help since there is no chalos involved, unlike teh nesina where you can rely on shlichus). This same idea can be applied to kesivas sefer torah. If the torah required that you must write the sefer torah, then how could someone with no hands write a sefer torah. It must be that all the torah requires is that you expend effort to get a sefer torah. This is accomplished by buying it.

Just curious if any of the lamdanim out there like this sevara.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Parshas Chaya Sara: Ein HKBH Meivi Takala L'Tzaddikim

This weeks chaburah was on the topic of "ein HKBH meivi takala l'tzaddikim", Hashem will see to it that tzaddikim don't sin.

Machlokes Rashi and Ramban

After Eliezer meets Rivkah, it says in the possuk (24:32) "vayiftach hagemalim". The question is, what does this mean. Rashi explains that Eliezer unmuzzled his camels. Until now the animals had muzzles on so they wouldn't eat grass that didn't belong to them. The Ramban quotes a medrash that asks, why would we assume that the camels would "steal" grass? The gemara in Chullin 7a describes how the donkey of R' Pinchas ben Yair refused to eat tevel and how we see from here that HKBH will prevent the animal of a tzaddik, and kol sh'kein a tzaddik himself from doing an aveirah. Why wouldn't this also apply to Avraham and his camels? Therefore, the Ramban explains that "vayiftach hagemalim" means that the animals were tied together and Eliezer untied them.

Understanding the Machlokes

Shittas Tosafos

Tosafos in Chullin (5B) asks that how can the gemara say that HKBH will prevent a tzaddik from doing an aveirah, we see many cases in the gemara where an amora did an aveirah. (ayin sham for examples). Tosafos answers that this klal only applies by food related aveiras, in other words where the aveirah comes from eating forbidden foods. Since these aveiros are more chamur than other aveiros, Hashem will see to it that a tzaddik not stumble. I saw two reasons given for this. One reason is that ma'achalos asuros is m'tamteim the lev. The second reason is given by the Meromei Sadeh in Yoma that a person's body is made up of the food he eats and Hashem does not want a tzaddik to have this food in his system.

Shitta HaRan

The Ran argues on Tosafos and says that if the tzaddik is posheia-he negligently places himself in a position to do an aveirah, so then he won't be protected. Hashem will protect a tzaddik for any aveirah if he does his best not to do the aveirah.

Shut Marhasham

With this the Maharsham explains the machlokes between the Ramban and Rashi. Rashi holds like Tosafos. Since stealing is not a food related aveirah, Avraham would not be protected and his camels might eat stolen grass. Therefore, they had to be muzzled. The Ramban holds like the Ran that this klal applies by all aveiros and there was no need to muzzle the camels.

Rav Elchanan's Teretz

R' Elchanan in Kovetz Shiurim (Chullin Siman 112) has another answer. He writes that both Rashi and Ramban hold like Tosafos that the klal applies only to food aveiros. However, the question is does a stolen item turn into a cheftzah shel issur. According to the Ramban, the stolen grass becomes a cheftzah shel issur and if teh animals would eat it they would be doing an aveirah with food. Therefore, Hashem would prevent Avraham from being nicshal in this aveirah and there is no need to muzzle the animals. Rashi holds it doesn't become a cheftzah shel issur and it is necessary to muzzle the animals.

Another Nafka Mina

I saw brought down in a sefer Chavatzels HaSharon on the parsha that this question of whether a stolen iten becomes a cheftzah shel issur could have another nafka mina. The Biur Halacha is mesupak over the following case. Reuvein steals tztitzis strings from Shimon and attaches it to his beged. Then he pays Shimon for the stolen strings. Is this a chisaron of ta'aseh v'lo min ha'asoy. L'chorah you can claim that the shailah can only start if you assume the stolen strings become a cheftzah shel issur. (ayin afikei yam chelek 2 siman 31).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

He'oros On The Akeidah

I was looking through the Minchas Asher on this weeks parsha and he had some interesting he'oros from a halachic perspective.

Here are a couple.

1) Why did Avraham not ride on the donkey all the way to Har HaMoriah?

Chazal say that the Akeidah took place on Yom Kippur. Therefore, it would be assur to ride an animal for fear of breaking a branch. Furthermore, even though two people can ride an animal because they will remind each other not to tear off any branches, Avraham realized that on the way back he would be by himself.

Another answer is that there is a whole discussion in the Shagas Aryeh whether shevisas beheima applies to Yom Tov and Yom Kippur. Avraham was being choshesh for shuch a shitta.

2) Why did Yitzchak not ask where the animal for the korbon was until they got within eyesight of Har Hamoriah.

It is only assur to bring a chayah on the mizbeiyach. On a bama it is muttar. Yitzchak thought they were going to bring a korbon on a bama so he figured they would catch an naimal in the forest. When he saw the mokom hamikdash he realized the korbon would be brought on the mokom hamizbeiyach and they would need a beheimah. So he asked where the animal was.

The Meshech Chochma in Parshas Noach explains the reason for the difference between the mizbeiyach and bama. The Torah didn't want anyone getting hurt/killed by chasing an animal in the forest. Therefore, only beheimos could be brought on the mizbeiyach. The Meshech Chachma explains that this did not apply to Noach after the mabul. Noach brought chayos on the mokom mizbeiyach. Since all the animals were there already there was no chashash that he would get hurt chasing them.

Mila: What Was Avraham Waiting For

Various achronim discuss the kasha, why did Avraham not give himself a bris mila before Hashem commanded him to. If Avraham kept the whole torah, he should have given himself a bris right away.

There are a number of interesting answers to this kasha.

1) Brisker Rav: The classic Brisker answer is that Avraham didn't have a "shem oreil" until the command. If he didn't have a "shem oreil" then there would be no reason to give himself a bris

2) The Hafla'ah in Panim Yafos writes that there is an issur chavalah on a ben Noach. As long as there was no command to give himself a bris, it would have been chavalah to do so. Therefore, Avraham had to wait for the command.
One could ask that Avraham could have done the mitzvah as an aino mitzuva v'oseh and that should be enough to remove the issur chavala. L'chorah you have to be say that Avraham had dinim of a ben Noach l'chumrah and he had to be machmir and not be oveir the issur chavala even though he could have done the mitzvah as an aino mitzuva v'oseh.

3) The Sefas Emes writes that the sod of mila was so great that Avraham didn't understand it until Hahsem explained it to him. Using this S'fas Emes perhaps we can say that the reason Avraham didn't do mila is because he wasn't even aware teh mitzvah existed. Every other mitzvah Avrham figured out on his own. When it came to mila, Avraham couldn't figure it out until Hashem told him about it.

4) A saw another chassidishe answer similar to what I wrote in #3. Each mitzva is k'negged an eiver in aperson's body. However, when it came to mila, the orlah blocked the kedusha of that eiver and prevented Avraham from realizing there was a mitzva of mila.

5) Mila is a k'risus bris. A bris needs two parties. If Avraham did the mila on his own, there wouldn't have been a k'risus bris

Monday, October 30, 2006

Parshas Noach:The Status of A Ger Toshav

This weeks chaburah was on understanding the status of a ger toshav.
Note: Due to the nature of this topic I am being m'katzeir and providing mareh m'komos. v'hameivin yavin. (If you can convince me that I am being overly sensitive I will provide greater detail).

The gemara in Avodah Zara (65b) brings a machlokes in understanding what makes a ben noach into a ger toshav. The Rambam (Hil Avodas Kochavim perek 10 and Hil Issurei Biah 14:7) paskens like the chachamim that a ger toshav is a ben noach who accepts on himself in from of a beis din that he will keep the 7 mitzvos b'nei noach. The Rambam also adds (Issurei Biah and in Melachim Perek 8) that one who accepts on himself to be a ger toshav is from the chasidei umos ha'olam and gets olam haba. However, if a ben noach keeps the 7 mitzvos on his own then he does not get the special status of a ger toshav.
The Ritva in Makkos (9B) also writes something similar ayin sham. A ger toshav is a metzuvah v'oseh and a ben noach is aino metzuvah v'oseh.

In terms of what special laws apply to a ger toshav, ayin the Chazon Ish Baba Kama Siman 10:16.

The Brisker Rav (mechtavim in Chiddushei HaGriz, last letter) explains that the status of ger toshav was created after mattan torah and he bases this on the gemara Baba Kama 38a and the Ritva mentioned above.
The lomdus boils down to whether it is a real geirus or just a kabbalah in beis din. The Brisker Rav feels it is just a kabbalah to keep teh 7 mitzvos and it brings with it certain dinim. The Mishans Ya'avetz (Y.D. Siman 3) brings many ra,ayos to show it is a type of geirus and the cheftzah of the ben noach is affected. Rav Asher Weiss in Minchas Asher brings many of the ra'ayos of the Mishnas Ya'avetz (but he doesn't quote the Mishans Ya'avetz so presumably they are his own ra'ayos as well) and then shows how they are not ra'ayos.

The nafka mina would be could a ger toshav be chozer and are his children geiri toshav. The Brisker Rav writes explicitly that a ger toshav can be chozer by not keeping the mitzvos since it is not a real geirus and jsut a kabbalah.
If it is a real geirus then the children should also be geiri toshav

The Chazon Ish writes a ger toshav can be chozer but he also says the small children of a ger toshav are geiri toshav. This seems to be a bit of a stirah. (Although tzarich iyun why davka the small children and not all children)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Techiyas Hameisim and Noach

The thought occurred to me last week, what will be the status of Adam and Noach after techiyas hameisim. When it comes to the Avos and Shevatim, one could get into the whole discussion whether they have a status of Yisroel or not. (ayin Parshas Derachim). However, everyone agrees that Adam and Noach do not have the status of Yisroel. Will they need to be m'gayeir after techiyas hameisim, will it be optional ? Just wondering.

Parshas Beraishis:The Mitzvah of Peru U'revu

Last Shabbos I gave my chaburah on the obligation of peru u'revu. I mainly focused on whether women and b'nei noach are obligated in this mitzvah. I have already written about this topic over here, so I won't add much. I will just add that I believe the lomdus is based on how one understands the nature of "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah". Is this an independent mitzvah besides the mitzvah of peru u'revu, or is it part of peru u'revu and is the reason why peru u'revu is a mitzvah rabba.

One nafka mina would be if someone already was m'kayeim peru u'revu, would there still be a mitzvah of "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah". If they are two independent mitzvos, then one could argue you still get a mitzvah for having more kids.
Another nafkah mina would be that even though women and b'nei noach don't have a chiyuv of peru u'revu they still might have a chiyuiv of "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah"

This seems to be a machlokes rishonim. Tosafos in Gittin 41b asks 'why did the gemara say you must free an eved because of "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah" , why don't we say we should free the eved so he can be m'kayeim the mitzvah of peru u'revu? Tosafos gives 3 answers., one of them being that an eved has a chiyuv to have children because of "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah". The Chasam Sofer understands all 3 answers of Tosafos as saying that "lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah" is an independent mitzvah from peru u'revu. Others like the Chelkas M'chokeik in Even Ezer Siman 1, learn it is a machlokes within the answers of Tosafos.
Tosafos in Chagiga 2b seems to learn it is all one mitzvah.

I think one can possibly be m'dayeik in the Rambam that he holds "lo tohu bera'a" is part of the mitzvah of peru u'revu. The Rambam paskens that a women is patur from peru u'revu. If lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah is an independent mitzvah, shouldn't he write that women are chayav because of this reason? Furthermore, the Rambam writes that even if you have been m'kayeim peru u'revu, there is a mitzvah m'divrei sofrim to have more children in order to bring more Jews into the world. Why didn't the Rambam write it is a mitzvah because of lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah? Possibly, the Rambam held lo tohu bera'a, lasheves yatzarah is part of peru u'revu.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Shailos and Torah From Yom Tov I

I hope everyone had a nice Yom Tov. Over Yom Tov I heard some interesting divrei torah and soem interesting halachic shailahs. I will try and write about them in the next few days.

Shailah I:

This year, Shimini Atzeres was Shabbos and Simchas Torah fell out on a Sunday. This raised the interesting question of whether one would be allowed to move the lichter from the sukkah into the house on Motzei Shabos. The issue is that the lichter was muktzah the whole Shabbos, including bein hashemoshos Shabbos evening. We have a klal that something that is muktzeh during bein hashemoshos is muktzeh the whole day. Therefore, why don't we say that since the lichter was muktzah during bein hashemoshos on Erev Simchas Torah, it is muktzah the whole Simchas Torah and one can not move it until after Simchas Torah.

The answer is actually pretty simple and is a b'feirush Tosafos in Beitzah (Daf 6 and 30). Tosafos says a klal that we don't say "migo l'yom sh'avar". In other words we don't say that if something is muktzah bein hashemoshos due to the previous day that it is muktzeh teh next day as well. Therefore, in this case the lichter is only muktzah bein hashemoshos because of Shabbos and therefore would not be muktzah on Sunday, Simchas Torah.

What is more interesting is some of the discussions in the achronim regarding this topic.
Rav Akiva Eiger (Siman 6) brings to proofs to this Tosafos. He writes that at one point it was possible for YomKippur to fall out on Friday. If we didn't say "migo l'yom sh'avar" then we should say that the food is muktzah bein hashemoshos of Friday evening and then it would be muktzah the next day on Shabbos. How would it ever be possible to eat on Shabbos? From here you see we don't say "migo l'yom sh'avar".

Another nafka mina that Rabbi Akiva Eiger brings is when Shabbos is the day after Pesach. Can one eat chametz on that Shabbos. Again, since we don't say "migo l'yom sh'avar", the chametz would not be muktzah on Shabbos.

The Shemiras Shabbos (Perek 22 very end of footmote 1) does bring a case where there is a problem. When the lichter is still lit bein hashemoshos of Friday evening (eg. a yartzeit candle) , he quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman as saying it could be muktzah on Shabbos. The sevara to say it is assur is because it would be similar to a sukkah on the eigth day Sukos. Tosafos writes (Beitzah 30) that even though we don't say "migo l'yom sh'avar", since one has a chiyuv to sit in the sukkah bein hashemoshos because it might be Sukkos, the sukkah is muktzah. The yartzeit candle could be similar to this case however, the Shmiras Shabbos leaves it a s a tzarich iyun. ayin sham.

Another interesting mareh mokom on this sugyah is the Kehilas Yaakov in Beitzah Siman 2.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Making A Koton Pay A Fine

I recently heard of a story where a teacher disciplined the children in her class by making them pay a quarter when they did something wrong. Without getting into a discussion whether this make sense from a chinuch perspective, I was wondering if one could do this al pi halacha. Can one k'nas a koton and make them pay money. I was also wondering if it could be tied to inyanei d'yoma regarding the machlokes whether a koton can be makneh a lulav.

Anyone have any thoughts.

(Note: I really am not interested in discussing whether this is good chinuch so I respectfully ask that no comments be posted regarding that area. Thank you.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Issur Melacha and Issur Achila On Yom Kippur II

One more interesting he'arah on this topic.

Rav Shirkin in the Harirei Kedem (Siman 49) brings a Beis HaLevi (Chelek 1 Siman 18) that jsut like if one does melacha on Shabbos he is a mumar l'kol hatorah so too if one does melacha on Yom Kippur he is a mumar l'kol hatorah. (The rayah is from the Rambam Hil Geirushin 3:19 that if one who writes a get on Shabbos or Yom Kippur the get is batul and the kesef mishna explains because he is like an akum). Rav Shirkin then writes that Rav Moshe Soloveitchik added that since the issur achila and issur melacha of Yom Kippur comes from the same kedushas hayom, then just like if one does melacha on Yom Kippur he is a mumar l'kol hatorah, so too if one eats on Yom Kippur he is also a mumar l'kol hatorah.

Rav Shirkin asks on this Beis HaLevi, why is this whole idea true. B'shlama by one who does melacha on Shabbos, we can understand why you are a mumar l'kol hatorah because as the Rambam writes in Hil Shabbos (30:15) Shabbos is an os that HKBH created the world. However, what kind of os is represented by Yom Kippur? He leaves it as a tzarich iyun.

The Mesoras HaRav Machzor actually brings down this exact question on the Beis HaLevi and gives the following answer. The Rav compares Yom Kippur to Shabbas. Why is Yom Kippur called "shabbos shabboson". The Rav explained that whereas Shabbos represents the idea that HKBH created the world thru middas hadin, Yom Kippur represents the idea that the world is created thru middas hachesed. The medrash says that the "yom echad" in the possuk "vayehi erev vayehi boker yom echad" refers to Yom Kippur. Teshuva was created before the world and is a necessary component in sustaining the world. This is why keeping one who violates Yom Kippur is a mumar l'kol hatorah. Yom Kippur also represents a fundemental idea about HKBH and the creation of the world, just like Shabbos.

Issur Melacha and Issur Achila On Yom Kippur

I saw an interesting chiddush in the Mesoros HaRav Machzor, the new machzor just published that contains the torah thoughts of Rav Soloveitchik about Yom Kippur.

The Rav writes that we find in the piyutim that Rabbi Eliezer HaKalir refers to Yom Kippur by three names: a)Yom Kippurim b) Tzom HaAsiri c) Shabbas Shabboson. However, the Rambam in Hil Shivisas Asar only refers to two names a) Yom Kippurim b) Shivisas Asar. The Rambam seems to fuse the names Tzom HaAsiri and Shabbas Shabboson into one name. The Rav explains that the machlokes between Rav Eliezer HaKalir and the Rambam is how to understand the nature of the issur of eating and drinking on Yom Kippur. The Rambam holds that it falls under the same issur as doing melacha. Therefore, he fuses the name Tzom HaAsiri which represents the issur achila with the name Shabbas Shabboson which represents the issur melacha.

Interestingly (although not surprising) , Rav Shirkin in Harirei Kedem (Siman 49) says the exact same thing although he doesn't bring it as a machlokes between the Rambam and Rabbi Eliezer HaKalir and he doesn't mention the point of calling Yom Kippur, Tzom HaAsiri. Also, Rav Shirkin writes that the Rav heard this idea either from Rav Chaim or Rav Moshe Soloveitchik. The way Rav Shirkin brings it is that the issur achila comes from the same kedushas hayom as the issur melacha.

The rayah to this comes from the Rambam in Hil Avodas Yom Kippurim (3:7). The Rambam writes that the shaliach responsible for taking the Azazael to the midbar can eat if he feels weak. The Rambam is mashma that we don't require that the shalaich be in a matzav of pikuach nefesh, but only that he feels weak. How does the Rambam know this? Based on the above yesod, we can understand this halacha. The issur achila of Yom Kippur comes from the same kedushas hayom as the issur melacha. Therefore, just like you can do melacha for the avodas hayom, you can also eat to enable you to complete the avodas hayom.

The above rayah is found in both the machzor and in Harirei Kedem. Rav Shirkin adds in another rayah from the fact that the Rambam writes (Shevisas Asar 1:5) that the mitzva to refrain from eating and drinking comes from the possuk "shabbos shabboson". The mitzvah of shabbson implies a mitzvah to keep the kedushas hayom and the same kedushas hayom that assurs melacha also assurs eating and drinking. Therefore, we can learn out issur achilah from "shabbos shabboson"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Teshuva For Violating An Issur M'D'Rabanan

Must one do teshuva for doing an aveirah that is only m'd'rabanan? The Gevuras Yitzchak in his sefer on Yomim Noraim brings down A Nesivos in Siman 234:3 that one is not punished for violaing an issur d'rabanan b'shogeg. Thereforfe, the Nesivos writes that you don't need teshuva or a kapparah.
The Rambam in Hil Teshuva (1:1) writes "kol mitzvos sheh'b'torah" require teshuva. The question is, can one be m'dayeik in this Rambam in favor of or against the Nesivos. The Gevuros Yitzchak writes that on the one hand "kol mitzvos sheh'b'torah" could imply only issurim m'd'oreisa (like the Nesivos) . However, if that is true the Rambam should write that an issur d'rabanan b'meizid does require teshuva.
One could also say that the Rambam really holds like the Nesivos and he is l'shitaso that by violating a d'rabanan you are oveir on an aseh of "asisa k'chol asher yorucha" and a lav of "lo sasur" (ayin Hil Mamrim 1:2). Therefore, when the Rambam writes "kol mitzvos sheh'b'torah", he is including even an issur d'rabanan. But again according to the Nesivos the Rambam should write that issurei d'rabanan b'shogeg don't require teshuva.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kesiva V'Chasima Tova

I just want to wish everyone a kesiva v'chasima tova. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my divrei torah. We should all be zocheh to have a healthy year and grow in torah, avoda and yiras shamayim.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Parshas Nitzavim-VaYeilech:Davening At A Cemetary

This weeks shiur was on the sugyah of davening at a cemetary. The Shulchan Aruch brings down the inyan of davening at a cemetary in 3 places. In Hilchos Ta'anis it is quoted as one of the halachos that a tzibbur should do when there is a ta'anis for rain. It is also mentioned in Hil' Tisha B'Av and finally in Hilchos Rosh Hashana. Although everyone agrees one should or could go to a cemetary there is a machlokes about why we are going.

The gemara in Ta'anis 16A brings two reasons why we go to a cemetary on a fast day. One opinion holds it is to arouse in ourselves a feeling of teshuva by saying that if we don't do teshuva we are like meisim. The 2nd opinion is that we are davening to the meisim that they should intercede on our behalf. The gemara says the nafka mina is whether one should go to a non-Jewish cemetary if no other cemetary is available. Acc. to the first reason one could go but not according to the 2nd reason. Tosafos writes from here we have a minhag to go to the cemetary on Tisha B'Av.

Also the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch seem to pasken like the first reason (to arouse in ourselves a feeling of teshuva).

Davening To Meisim


Shittas HaMachmirim
The question is, is there anything wrong with davening to the meisim. The Bach (end of Y.D. 217) brings a shittah that it is assur to daven to a meis and to do so is a violation of "doresh el hameisim". The Be'er Heitev in Hil Rosh Hashanah (581:17) also quotes a Maharil who holds it is assur and the only reason to go to a cemetary is because it is a mokom kodosh v'tahor. Teh Maharil writes that a person is only allowed to daven to Hashem and not to any other intemediary. The Bach also points out that even though we find that Kaleiv davened in Chevron by the Ma'aras HaMachpeila (Sotah 34b) he wasn't davening to the avos. Rather, since a cemetary is a mokom kodosh v'tahor it is a place where ones tefillos will be readily accepted.

Shittas HaMeikilim

There are poskim who hold that it is muttar to daven to meisim. It should be pointed out that there is a similar machlokes regarding davening to ma'lachim (eg. machnisiei rachamim in selichos). However, as we will see one can be m'chaleik between davening to a meis and davening to a malach. The Maharam Shik (O.C. 293) writes that it is muttar. He asks how is it possible to ask a living tzaddik to daven for us? He answers that when the tzaddik hears our problems the tzaddik himself is in paon. Therefore the tzaddik is really davening that HKBH should help him (i.e. the tzaddik). It just happens to be that the way to ease the tzaddik's pain is by helping the other person. This sevara would apply to a meis as well. The meisim know what is going on in this world and when they hear we are in pain they will also be in pain. Therefore, they can ask HKBH to heal their pain (i.e. the pain of the meis) and m'meilah the pain of the other person will also be healed. Although the Maharam Shik doesn't mention it, I saw brought down in the Minchas Yitzchak (Chelek 8 Siman 53) that this idea is found in the Chasam Sofer (O.C. 166) who was actually the rebbi of the Maharam Shik. The Chasam Sofer used this sevara to distinguish between davening to malachim (which he held was asasur) and davening to a live person (which is muttar) . It seems the Maharam Shik took itone step further and applied it to meisim as well.

The Minchas Elazer (Chelek 1 Siman 68) has a lengthy teshuva why it is muttar. He quotes many gemaras and medrashim as proofs. Rav Moshe (Igros Moshe O.C. chelek 5 Siman 43:6)
also discusses this issue. However, Rav Moshe doesn't seem to come out with a final psak. He just says that the machlokes is based on whether meisim are better than malachim.

I would like to say that maybe we have a rayah that Rabbi Akiva Eiger held it was muttar. In Hil Rosh Hashana the Magan Avraham writes that the minhag to go to a cemetary is found in the gemara. But he doesn't say which gemara. The GR"A points you to the gemara in Ta'anis. However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger says that the MG"A is referring to the gemara in Sotah about Kaleiv. Why did Rabbi Akiva Eiger choose this gemara? It could be that Rabbi Akiva Eiger held it was muttar to daven to meisim and therefore he chose the gemara in Sotah which clearly states it is muttar (unless you learn like the Bach that it was a din in the mokom).

One more mareh mokom to look at (which I didn't get a chance to see) is an article in Techumim vol 21 by Rav Moshe Tzuriel. (also see here at the end of the article)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lo Sasur II

The Derashos HaRan (in Derasha 5,7 and 12) discusses the issur of "lo sasur". Interestingly, he seems to say the same idea as R' Elchanan but in a slightly different manner. The Ran writes that the koach to decide halacha was given to the chachamim and the halacha follows the majority. This is learnt from the passuk "acharei rabim l'hatos". In other words the obligation to listen to a majority consensus is based on this possuk. Then in the same sentence the Ran equates this obligation with the issur of "lo sasur". However, the Ran understands "lo sasur" as only applying to derashos and gezeiros decided by the Sanhedrin in the Beis HaMikdash. It would seem that both R' Elchanan and the Ran hold there are 2 dinim. One obligation is to listen to the Sanhedrin which is based on "lo sasur". The other obligation is to listen to the majority. The Ran learns this from "acharei rabim l'hatos" and R' Elchanan learns it is part of lo sasur.
Am I reading to much in to the Ran or is my understanding correct?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lo Sasur-When Can One Argue

My good friend Chaim Brown has posted about Lo Sasur on his blog over here . In looking up the Rav Elchanan (Kuntres Divrei Sofrim 1:35-39) that he quoted, I noticed another Rav Elchanan that was also interesting. R' Elchanan in Siman 2 discusses how is it possible to argue on a psak if there is an issur of "lo sasur". R' Elchanan explains based on the Rambam in his intorduction to the Yad and the Rambam in the beginning of Hilchos Mamrim that there are two qualifications for a psak to be included in "lo sasur". The first is mefurash in the Rambam in Hichos Mamrim that it has to be a psak coming from the Sanhedrin located in the Beis HaMikdash. (Exactly what type of psak is a different question all together, and maybe I will discuss it later). The second qualification is that if teh majority of the chachamim decide a halacha then one is not allowed to go against it. The source for this is based on the loshon of the Rambam in his hakdamah to the Yad. R' Elchanan then adds that with this we can explain why the amoraim were not allowed to argue on the tanaim. (This is the Kesef Mishna's question in Hil Mamrim Perek 3). Since the chasimas hamishna was established by rov chachamim, it comes out that to argue on the mishna would be a violation of lo sasur. The same reasoning would explain why we can no longer argue on teh gemara after the chasimas hatalmud.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kedushas Beis Keneses

The gemarah in Megilla (Daf 26-27) discusses the laws behind selling a shul. The question addressed in the Rishonim is what kind of kedusha does a shul actually have. The Ramban (brought in the Ran) holds that a shul doesn't have any intrinsic kedusha. It is considered tashmishei kedusha like a lulav and sukkah. Once people decide that they no longer want to use the shul, it loses it's status of tashmishei kedusha. The Ran on the other hand understands that a shul does have kedusha which can't be taken away without some type of pidyon.

There are several nafka mina between the 2 shittos.

1) The status of the money: Everyone agrees that the money you received has some sort of kedusha the only question is why. The Ramban understands that everything revolves around the da'as of the community. Once they decide they don't want to daven in a shul the shul loses any kedusha it has. However, this da'as does not extend fully to the money. Their da'as is that a lesser kedusha extends to the money. The Ran on the other hand holds that since the money is in effect a pidyon for the shul, there is kedusha on teh money. However, it is a "kedusha kilisha", a lesser kedusha since this money was never designated as a davar sh'b'kedusha.

Interestingly, both the MG"A and Taz in O.C. 153 hold that the money has no intrinsic kedusha.

2) The gemara says that if you sell a shul with "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir" then you can use the money for whatever you want. Once again the question is why. The Ramban understands that since you have "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir", this means that teh community does not want any form of kedusha to remain at all, even on the money. Since no kedusha remains you can use the money for whatever you want. The Ran understands the reason to be that it is a special halacha that with "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir" you can remove the kedusha from teh money without having to transfer it anywhere (kedusha paka b'k'di).

3) Giving a shul as a matana. The gemara brings a machlokes whether a shul can be given as a matana. The tzad that itis muttar is because you are getting some ha'na'ah by giving it away. The Ran understands this k'peshuto. Since you need to redeem the kedusha of a shul, in this case you are redeeming it with the hana'ah. Furthermore, we are dealing with a case where it was given with the consent of "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir". You need this p'rat because the hana'ah is going to chullin and is not remaining kodesh. The Ramban understands that you are actually getting some d'var mitzvah back and that is what causes the community to give it away. Also, you don't need "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir" since you only need "7 tuvei ha'ir b'ma'mad anshei ha'ir" to remove the kedusha from the money which doesn't apply here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Doing Laundry Motzei Tisha B'Av

Because Tisha B'Av falls out on a Thursday, we don't have to wait until chatzos 10 Av to bathe, do laundry and get a haircut because of kovod Shabbos. (see MG"A 558:1). The question is can one begin even Thursday night. I don't have time to go thru all teh mareh m'komos that I found so I'll just tell you to look at the Taz in 551:14 who brings a Tosfos that allows you to start washing and getting a haircut after chatzos of 9 Av! Although the Taz doesn't pasken like that Tosafos, nireh li that the Taz agrees to the sevara that once things are muttar l'kovod shabbos it doesn't have to wait until Friday morning. From here it would be mashma one could start Thursday night. The Piskei Teshuvos brings numerous poskim who all say you can start Thursday night.

However, before you fire up the washing machines there might be one caveat. The Shmiras Shabbos brings down from Rav Shlomo Zalman that the heter is due to kovod Shabbos. Therefore, only laundry needed for Shabbos can be done before chatzos on Friday. This might get into the question whether kovod Shabbos removes the whole "issur" of 10 Av or we just say that the issur is there but for a mitzvah (i.e. kovod Shabbos) it is muttar.

One could also ask whether even l'fi Rav Shlomo Zalman would one be allowed to mix weekday and Shabbos clothing in the same machine. M'sevara I would say no since it is not a tircha issue but a nihug aveilus issue.

L'ma'aseh I don't know what people do. I assume most people don't follow this psak of Rav Shlomo Zalman but I could be wrong. My Rav thought one could do all laundry not like Rav Shlomo Zalman.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shabbos Chazon:HKBH's Watching Us

The Aish Kodesh (Rav Klonomous Kalman from Piaczena) asks why is the Shabbos called Shabbos Chazon? The obvious answer is that it is named for the haftorah, but this just leads to the question why is this Shabbos named for the haftorah. He answers that there are different madreigaos of nevuah. A nevuah that starts with "chazon" means that the navi actually saw the nevuah that he received as opposed to just hearing about it.

Seeing something has a much more powerful effect on a person than just hearing about something. That is why the amoraim said that they did not wish to see the chevlei moshiach because it would be too hard for them. What difference does it make if they saw it or not-they undoubtallyt were aware of what would happen during chevlei moshiach. If they could handle knowing about it why could they not handle seeing it. The Aish Kodesh answers that it is because seeing something has a much more powerful effect on a person than just knowing about something.

Shabbos Chazon represents the idea that the tzorus of golus will be seen. In other words, HKBH Himself will come down to see the tzorus and not just "hear" about it in shamayim. The result will be that HKBH will feel our pain more acutely and will be more affected by our tears. This will lead to HKBH having rachmanus on us and taking us out of this golus.

We have had a lot of pain over the years and it continues even today. May HKBH see our tzorus and feel our pain and bring the geulah shlaima b'korov.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Mazal Of Av Part II

There seems to be a machlokes what exactly the reason is for the halacha that we don't go to a din torah with non Jews during Av. The gemara in Taanis 29A says "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha". Immediately afterwards the gemara quotes Rav Papa that therefore we don't go to a din torah with non-Jews. The mashmaos is that because of "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha" we don't go to a din torah with non-Jews. Tosafos however says that Rav Papa is referring to an earlier gemara. The gemara earlier says that we know the second bayis was destroyed on 9 Av because "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav"-since 9 Av is a yom chov we assume other bad things happened that day.

The Ritva seems to disagree with Tosfos. The Ritva puts the gemara of "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha" together with Rav Papa's haalcha of going to a din torah with non Jews. He seems to understand the gemara k'pushto and not like Tosafos.

Nireh Li that there are two nafka mina between Tosafos and the Ritva.

1) The Ritva asks why are we concerned with the bad mazal of the Jews, don't we say " ain mazal l'yisroel "?.
The Ritva gives two answers. a) The months of Av and Tamuz are different. b) mazal is lav davka but it means gezairos.

The Maharsha gives a different answer. He says that since "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav", we have to be worried about losing a din torah. The Mahrsha seems to mean that this halacha has nothing to do with mazal but is a function of a different klal called "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav".

It could be that the Ritva and Maharsha are l'shitaso. The Ritva holds this halacha of going to court in Av is a function of "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha". Therefore he gives his answer of why we don't say " ain mazal l'yisroel " as being due to the nature of the month. The Maharsha however holds like Tosafos that this halacha is a function of "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav" and therefore his teretz is based on understanding how "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav" works.

In general the Ritva is a little shver. Why is this halacha a function of miyut in simcha. L'chorah it is a "mazal related" halcha. How does simcha fit in. You could say that the miyut b'simcha isn't a siba but a siman. It is a siman for what kind of month it is. From here we see that this month is a bad time to go to court as well.

You could also ask on the Ritva why this halacha doesn't apply to Tamuz as well.

2) Another possible nafka mina is a machlokes MG"A and Korbon Nesanel. The MG"A quotes Rabbeinu Yeruchom that we don't go to a din torah the whole month of Av. The Korbon Nesanel disagrees and says this halacha is based on "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha" and the miyut in simcha is only until 10 Av. Therefore, the halacha of going to court is only until 10 Av.

Now it seems there are 2 ways to understand this machlokes. It could be both Rabbeinu Yerucham and the Korbon Nesanel learn this halacha is based on "mishenichnas Av mima'atin b'simcha". We already saw from the Ritva that the mazal of the whole month of Av is affected. Therefore, according to the Rabeinu Yerucham this halacha would apply to the whole month. The Korbon Nesanel would argue and say that it is a function of the miyut in simcha which only goes until 10 Av. The question on the Korbon Nesanel is why is this halacha a function of miyut in simcha. You couldn't necessarily give the same teretz I gave in the Ritva cause according to that teretz this halacha should apply to the whole month and not just until 10 Av.

The other way to explain the machlokes could be that Rabbeinu Yerucham holds like Tosafos. This halacha of going to court is tied to "m'galgilin yom chov al yidei chayav" and this affects the whole month. The Korbon Nesanel clearly holds like the Ritva that it is tied to miyut b'simcha and only applies until 10 Av.

I will admit that I am not sure if any of my lomdus will stand up to close scrutiny. I invite you to let me know if you think I am totally off base.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Mazal of Av

I am sure everyone is aware of the halacha that one should not go to court with a non-jew during Av. I was wondering how far this concept goes. For example, lets say someone has a salary review coming up, should one try and schedule it before Av? Another question that I was wondering about was whether this would apply to going to court against another Jew. On the one hand the reason for this halacha is that the mazal of the Jewish people is not positive. The mashmaos is that the non-Jew would win the court case not because it is a better time for non-Jews but rather because it is a bad time for Jews. That being the case, when 2 Jews go to court it is equally bad for both of them and they are on equal footing. However, could one argue that in a klaliyus sense it is a bad time time for the Jewish people, but in terms of how bad the mazal is for each individual, that is determined for each individual. Consequently, if you go to court against another Jew, who is to say that your mazal during this time isn't worse than your fellow litigant. (Although, you would also have the possibility that your fellow litigant has a worse mazal than you.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lo Tohu Barah, LaSheves Yatzara

The gemara in a few places raises the concept of "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" which means the world was created to be inhabited. One place is in Gittin 41B where the gemara says that the master must free a chatzi eved chatzi ben choren since in his present state he can't marry anyone. The reason we want the eved to get married is because "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" Another gemara that discusses this concept is in Megillah 26B. The gemara says one can sell a sefer torah to learn Torah and get married. The importance of getting married is due to the fact that "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" The question is does this concept apply only to men or even to women?

One nafka mina is the halach in Orach Chaim Siman 152:6. The Mechabeir paskens that one can sell a sefer torah to help someone learn or to marry off an orphan. The nosei keilim understand that this is a corollary of the gemara in Megillah that one can sell a sefer torah so you could learn or get married. The question is can one sell a sefer torah to marry off an orphan girl? Thisis a machlokes between the Magan Avraham (O.C. 152) and the Chelkas Mechokeik and Beis Shmuel (Y.D. 254). The MG"A holds that "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" applies to women as well. Consequently, one can sell a sefer torah to marry off an orphan girl. The Chelkas Mechokeik and Beis Shmuel disagree. (Although truthfully the Beis Shmuel is a little unclear some achronim understand him to be disagreeing with the MG"A).

Interestingly enough both sides bring a rayah from the same Tosfos. Tosfos in Gittin 41b asks 'why did the gemara say you must free an eved because of "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" , why don't we say we should free the eved so he can be m'kayeim the mitzvah of peru u'revu? One answer of Tosfos is that an eved is patur from peru u'revu and therefore there is no reason to free the tzad avdus of the eved to be m'kayeim a mitzvah he doesn't even have. However, ""lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" does apply to the eved and since in his present state he can't get married, we free him to be m'kayeim "lo tohu barah". The MG"A says we know that a woman and an eved have the same level of chiyuv. So just like an eved is in the parsha of "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" , so too is a woman.

The Chelkas Mechokeik argues and says from the other teretz of Tosfos we see not like that. The other teretz of Tosfos is that peru u'revu is not enough of a reason to free an eved. It has to be a mitzva rabba and only because of "lo tohu barah, lasheves yatzarah" does it turn into a mitzva raba.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger in Y.D. also brings a Teshuvas HaRan that is mashma a women is not b'geder "lo tohu barah". The Ran learns that a woman is m'chuyuv to marry from the 2nd perek in Kiddushin and doesn't bring the sevara of "lo tohu barah". It must be because he holds it doesn't apply to women.

The Chasam Sofer in O.C. writes an interesting idea. "lo tohu barah" applies to men and women. However, by a man "lo tohu barah" . turns the mitzva of peru u'revu into a mitzva rabba. Really if I sell a sefer torah I can't use the money for anything else because "ma'alin b'kodesh v'ain moridin". The only reason I can use the money to get married is because peru u'revu combined with "lo tohu barah" is a mitzva rabba and it is considered "ma'alin b'kodesh". This only works by a man. By a woman who only has "lo tohu barah" , it is not a mitzva rabba and because of "ma'alin b'kodesh" you can't use the money of a sefer torah to marry a woman off.

What really still needs to be discussed is the lomdus (if there is any) behind the two shittos. I'll leave it open for suggestions.

Monday, July 17, 2006

HaShomer Shabbos Meichalilo-Al Tikri Meichalilo Ella Machul Lo

Last week I mentioned a chiddush from the Chovos HaLevovos in Hilchos Teshuva that I saw brought down by the Sidduro Shel Shabbos. The basic idea is that even if it is not in a person's power to do a complete teshuva, HKBH will soemtimes help you out. The Sidduro Shel Shabbos uses this idea to explain the gemara in Shabbos 118B. The gemara quotes the possuk in Yeshaya (56:2) "'hashomer shabbos meichalilo'-al tikri meichalilo ella machul lo". The meaning of the gemara is that Shabbos has the koach to have a person's aveiros forgiven. The Sidduro Shel Shabbos explains that we are talking about someone who prepares himself before Shabbos and does teshuva before Shabbos (This is the geder of "one who prepares Erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos). However, even if someone does teshuva, there are certain aveiros that don't have a kapparah until Yom Kippur, so how can it be that Shabbos alone can cause your aveiros to be forgiven? He answers that this is where the idea of the Chovos HaLevovos comes in. As long as you do everything in your power, thru the koach of Shabbis, HKBH will forgive you for all your aveiros.

The question remains what happens after Shabbos? So if you are able to refrian from other aveiros then you will be able to tain the kedusha of Shabbos and your aveiros will be forgiven. Otherwise, when you go back to doing aveiros the kedusha of Shabbos will leave and the ramifications of your previous aveiros will come back. The kitrug of ones aveiros are onlyheld in check kol z'man you have the kedusha of Shabbos. Once the kedusha of Shabbos leaves the kitrug comes back.

This is also the idea of the ma'amar chazal that Moshiach will come when we keep two Shabbosim. The idea is that the first 3 days after Shabbos are tied to the previous Shabbos. The last 3 days of teh week are tied to the following Shabbos. If you refrian from aveiros the whole week, then the kedusha of the previous Shabbos joins with the kedusha of the following Shabbos to create one long week of kedusha. This week of kedusha is strong enough to be mesakein the cheit of Adam who created a p'gam in the 6 days of the week and this kedusha can bring Moshiach.

Fixing a pool on Shabbos

This past Shabbos an interesting shailah came up in our bungalow colony. Apparently there was a leak in the pool and the owner of the colony had asked the pool repairman to come on Sunday and fix the pool. Well, instead of coming on Sunday, he decided to come on Shabbos. The only reason we knew about it was because after he fixed the pool he turned on the water to refill the pool. In this particular colony our water pressure is so great that when you fill up the pool noone has water in the bungalow. When we saw that we had very little water in the bungalow we checked the pool and sure enough it was being filled up. A little investigation revealed that some kids had seen the repairman come in and fix the pool. The shailah that I raised was could one use the pool after Shabbos being that it was fixed on Shabbos.

The halacha is that you can give work to a non-jew to do on Erev Shabbos as long as you don't need him to do the work on Shabbos. For example, you can bring clothes to the cleaners right before Shabbos since you don't need it until Monday and he could do the work on Sunday. However, the Rema paskens that if you know the non-jew did the work on Shabbos then l'chatchilah you can't get benefit until k'dei sh'ya'su. The Biur Halacha points out that this is only for issurei d'oriesa but for an issur d'rabanan you can get benefit right after Shabbos.

In our case of the pool, I think there are two issues here. The first is the actual repair of the pool which could involve an issur d'oreisa (depending on what was done). The second issue is filling up the pool which in my opinion should be an issur hachana. However, I think hachana is only a d'rabanan. (Please correct me if I'm wrong). Now, the actual repair took no more than 1 hour so for that you would only have to wait an extra hour after Shabbos intil the pool is used. (and since noone was going swimming until the next day it wasn't a problem). Regarding the hachana issue, since it is only a d'rabanan you would not need to wait at all and you could use the pool right away.

I was also wondering that maybe there is even a better heter. You can't get hana'ah from a melacha a non-jew does for you on Shabbos. But maybe swimming in the pool is not called getting hana'ah from the melacha. The melacha was fixing the pool. Maybe swimming in the pool is an indirect hana'ah and not tied to teh melacha at all. Especially in this case the pool had a leak the last few weeks and was usuable even with the leak. The owner just decided to fix it now for some reason.

Finally, a second question that I had was a general question of how to define k'dei she ya'asu. Let's assume filling up the pool was d'oreisa and one needed to wait k'dei she ya'asu even on filling up the pool. When do you wait? It takes around 24 hours to fill a pool and the first 9 hours of the filling was done on Shabbos. For example, the pool was filled from 1 pm Shabbos afternoon thru 1 pm Sunday. Do you have to wait an additional 9 hours after the entire pool was filled (from 1 pm Sunday until 10 pm Sunday) or just wait 9 hours after Shabbos (9:30 pm motzei Shabbos until 6:30 AM Sunday morning) even though the pool was still filling up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shlichus Causing A Siman Ra

I just noticed an interesting mishna in Berochos 5:5. The mishna says that if a shaliach tzibbur makes a mistake it is a siman ra for the tzibbur because "shlucho shel adam k'moso". Now without this last part of "shlucho shel adam k'moso" I would have said it is a siman ra for the tzibbur since the fact the chazzan made a mistake is a bad reflection on the tzibbur. But the mishna doesn't say that. Rather it says the reason is "shlucho shel adam k'moso" which implies that the siman ra goes on the tzibbur thru hilchos shalichus. How is this different than "ain shaliach l'dvar aveirah"? When you appoint a shaliach to do an aveirah we don't say that you get punished for the aveirah, but the shaliach gets punished. So over here why does the siman ra go on the tzibbur?

One possibility off the top of my head is that "ain shaliach l'dvar aveirah" is based on the idea of "divrei harav divrei hatalmid divrei mi shomin"-in other words if Reuvain tells Shimon to do an aveirah, who should Shimon listen to, HKBH (the rav) or Reuvain (the talmid). By the case of tefilla you don't have such a sevara. The tzibbur never told the chazzan to make a mistake, it was all accidental. Since the sevara of "divreri harav" doesn't apply the shelichus can kick in to cause the siman ra to fall on the tzibbur.

Teshuva with HKBH's help

I was learning a piece of Siddura Shel Shabbos recently and he quoted a very interesting idea from the Chovos HaLevavos. When a person does an aveirah, there are times when a person can not do a complete teshuva because the residue of the aveirah is still around. Teh examples brought are someone who has a relationship that creates a mamzer. You can do teshuva for the aveirah but there will always be a blemish on your record kol z'man the mamzer is alive. The Chovos HaLevavos says an incredible chiddush. HKBH can step in and cause the mamzer to die so that you will now be able to receive a complete teshuva. To me this is a big chiddush-someone will die so you can benefit from a complete teshuva. The Siddura Shel Shabbos brings a less radical example of someone who steals money and doesn't know who to return the money to. HKBH will cause the nigzal to decide to forgive the robber and be mocheil the money.

With this understanding the Siddura Shel Shabbos explains the pesukim in Netzavim of "lo nifleisi hi mimcha...". (I don't recall the exact place where it is discussed. I will look it up and add it here).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hilchos Techum Shabbos

For better or for worse, my family is spending the summer up in the Catskills or the "country" as native New Yorkers like to call it. (Derech agav, my Shabbos shiur is on hiatus until after the summer so I will no longer be posting summaries of my shiurim until after the summer). One of the more popular shailos wich comes up in the bungalow colony that you usually don't have the rest of the year are the halachos of techum Shabbos. B"H this year we are in Monticello so we don't have any major issues, but a few years ago we were in an isolated colony and we had to deal with it. Yesterday I went to hear a shiur from Rabbi Reisman on this topic and he had a couple of he'oros that I found interesting.

It might be a little confusing, but I will try and write it clearly. Also, I apologize if my drawings don't come out so well.

First a short hakdama.

When calculating the techum you start counting 2000 amos from the edge of the city. A city in halacha is defined as all the houses in an enclosure or an eruv as well as all the houses that are within 70.66 amos of each other. From the edge of the city you draw straight lines and "square off" the city. It should look something like this. (The "xx" represent houses within 70.66 amos. Your techum starts at the edge of the sides of the rectangle.
[ xx xx x x ]
[ x x xxxx ]]]]]
[xx xxxxxx]

1) What happens if you have a house (we'll call it House A) that is within 70.66 amos of the squaring off but it is more than 70.66 amos from the last house. In the diagram below, House A is more than 70.66 amos from House Y and Z but it is withon 70.66 amos of the edge of the rectangle.

[xx xx
[ Y
[Z xx

Can you extend the city borders down to House A (the blue lines) ? The question is based on how do you view the area that is squared off? Is the corner area of the rectangle considered part of the city or do we say that it is not part of the city, but when it comes to measuring where the techum starts, Chazal tell us you don't have to start counting until the edge of the rectangle.

Apparently this was a big machlokes in Lakewood about 10 years ago and the practical nafka mina was whether one could walk from Lakewood to the hospital on Shabbos.

2) When you have 2 cities whose squared off area overlap you can count them as one city.

This is one reason why you can walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Apparently, when you square off Manhattan you will wind up on Ocean Parkway and when you square off Brooklyn you will wind up on the Upper West Side. Since these areas overlap you can count Brooklyn and Manhattan as one city.

3) There is another reason why Brooklyn and Manhattan are counted as one city. There is a halacha of "triangulation", where you have 3 cities that from a triangle.


The halacha is that even though city Y and city Z are more than 70.66 amos apart, we can "move" city X in between them and if by moving X, the distance between Y and X and X and Z would be less than 70.66 amos we can look at it as one big city.

In our case, Roosevelt Island is between Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you moved Roosevelt Island down you would be able to create one big city from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Lifnei Iveir On Shabbos

My brotehr in law asked me this interesting shaylah last week. Someone asked him if they could borrow his stroller on Shabbos. Now my BIL lives in Flatbush and does not hold of the eiruv. Obviously, his neighbor does hold of the eiruv. Is my BIL allowed to lend out his stroller knowing that it wil be used for what he feels is an issur?

Would it make a difference if you hold the other tzad is a shittah that you don't pasken like or if you hold the other tzad has no standing at all.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Parshas Shelach:He'oros on Challah

I will be giving my shiur this week on the mitzvah of challah. Here are a couple of he'oros that I found.

Note: For some other he'oros on this mitzva check out here and here.

1) The Noda B'Yehuda (YD Tanyina Siman 201) discusses the issue of how is it that you are mikayeim the mitzvah of hafrasha with a chita achas yet the nesina (amount given to the kohein) needs to be a shiur chashuv ( by challah 1/24). He writes that he has a chiddush that is not found anywhere, namely that the mitzvah of terumah,challah etc is one mitzvah with 2 inyanim a) to be mafkia the tevel b) the nesina which is the ikar mitzvah. Therefore, to be mafkia the tevel you only need a hafrasha of chita achas but the nesina needs a shiur.

The hagahos from his son points out that the Noda B'Yehuda doesn't mean that I can be mafrish a chita and give more than that as the nesina. Rather, only what I am mafrish I need to give. It comes out that l'chatchilah in order to be m'kayeim the nesina of a davar chashuv I need to be mafrish a perutah also.

The Noda B'Yehuda uses this yesod to explain the Rashi's in this weeks parsha.
Ayin sham kol hadevorim.

2) The Minchas Asher points out that the Shoeil U'Meishiv in his hagahos to the Noda B'Yehuda writes that this chiddush of the Noda B'Yehuda is actually a Tosfos Rid in Kiddushin (Daf 58)

3) The Marginisa Tuva writes in interesting chiddush in Sefer HaMitzvos Shoresh 12. He says that the hafrashas teruma is really being given to Hashem. When the kohein gets his cheilek he is not getting it from teh Yisroel but rather he is getting it "m'shulchan gavoha". That is why there is no mitzvas nisana on the Yisroel, since the Yisroel doesn't gibe teh kohein anything.

4) There is a diyun in the Achronim whether hafrasha counts if you have no intention to give it. The Har Tzvi (Zeraim Siman 44) has a whole arichus on it. It is nogeia b'zman hazeh where we destroy the teruma we separate. The Har Tzvi understands that this is called doing a hafrasha w/out intent to give it to anyone.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Parshas Be'ha'alosecha: The Chashivus Of Limud HaTorah

In this week's parshas we read about Pesach Sheini. A few members of Klal Yisroel who did not partake in teh 1st korbon pesach came to Moshe with a ta'anah of "lama nigara". Rav Gedaliah Schorr (Ohr Gedalyahu Chelek Moadim Pesach Sheini) has a very interesting p'shat in their ta'anah.

Rav Schorr quotes a zohar that brings the following story. A child once met some Tanaim who were coming back from doing a pidyon shevuyim. The child accused them of not having read kriyas shema. The Tanaim answered that they were patur because of oseik b'mitzvah patur min hamitzvah. The child responded you might have been patur but I can still see on your faces that you didn't read shema. Rav Schorr explains this zohar that even if you are patur from a mitzvah, you are still missing out on not being able to perform that mitzvah. In fact the only reason HKBH put you in a matzav in which you were patur is because of your chisranos. If you didn't have any chisaron HKBH would have removed the petur and enabled you to perform the mitzvah. RAv Schorr goes on to explain that this idea especially applies to limud hatorah. Limud HaTorah is the ultimate form of serving HKBH. Granted there are times when other tzrachim or mitzvos come up which make you patur from learning. However, sof kol sof you are still missing out on the zechus of learning and you are affected. Furthermore, as we see from the zohar it is only cause of your chisronos that you were put in a situation where you became patur from learning.

Getting back to our parsha, these people involved in Pesach Sheini were tzaddikim. Because they were oseik b'mitzva acheres, they were patur from the 1st korbon pesach. However, they looked into their actions and couldn't discover in themselves any chisaron which would have caused HKBH to make them miss out on the 1st korbon pesach. Therefore they came to Moshe with the ta'anah of "lama nigara".

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Uniqueness of Geirim

I just came back from Rav Dovid Feinstein's chumash shiur and he had two interesting he'oros on geirim.

1) Moshe Rabbeinu tells Yisro that he should come to Eretz Yisroel with the B'nei Yisroel. Why was Moshe so insistent that Yisro come? Since when is there a mitzvah to activelly encourage geirim to join Klal Yisroel?

Rav Dovid answered that when Moshe told Yisro ""al kein ya'data" he was saying that you can't leave us because Hashem has gone out of His way to show you all the nisim that have happened in the Midbar. If HKBH took teh time to show you His gadlus and to be m'orer you, you are not allowed to turn away. If HKBH didn't want to give you teh zechus of being m'gayeir, he would never have ensured that you witness His gadlus.

Rav Dovid added that HKBH (for reasons only known to Him) will select the people who he wishes to become geirim and gives them the hisorurus to make the decision. In fact the gemara says if a person receives this hisorurus and doesn't become a ger, even if he becomes a ger at a later point intime, he loses the zechus and schar that he would have gotten. Even Rus was on some level selected by HKBH to recieve the hisorus that led her to becoming a geyores. If HKBH goes out of his way to give you the hisorurus you have to take the plunge.

Side note: I asked Rav Dovid why this doesn't go against the idea of bechira. He answered that ultimately the decision is yours but the hisorurus to even consider such a decision is given by HKBH.

2) Moshe tells Yisro "v'hayisa lanu l'anayim".

Rav Dovid explained this to mean that geirm help us recognize the nissim and special gifts we get from HKBH. During the z'man of the Beis HamMikdash, when nissim happened everyday it was hard to appreciate the specialness of it. A ger who has not experienced it before can help us realize that what we have is truely special. This is why Yisro was the first to give HKBH a bracha over the nissim in the Midbar. B'nei Yisroel were so used to the nissim that they didn't fully appreciate them and consequently did not thank Hashem properly. It was only Yisro who came as an outsider who was able to fully appreciate the nissim and give proper thanks.

Dovid HaMelech was able to write Sefer Tehillim which praises HKBH, only because his grandmother was RUs, a geyores. She taught him to appreciate all the things that HKBH does for us. Although Dovid was the one who wrote the Tehillim on paper , it was Rus who was the spirit behind it.

Side note: I asked Rav Dovid if both ideas above would apply to Ba'alei Teshuva as well and he said certainly it would.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Parsha Chabura Naso: Does A Non-Kohein Have A Mitzvah To Hear Birchas Kohanim?

This weeks chabura discussed whether a zar (non-kohein) has a mitzvah to hear birchas kohanim.

NOTE: Thi seems to have been a "hot" topic this past week. See here and here

The Biur Halacha (Beg of Siman 128) quotes a Sefer Chareidim that says it is a mitzvah for a Yisroel to be be bentched by the Kohanim. There are actually three different ways to understand this Sefer Chareidim.

1) Hafla'ah (Kesuvos 24B): The Hafla'ah seems to understand that there is a chiyuv for a yisroel to go and here birchas kohanim. This means that if you are at a minyan which has no kohanim you should go to a minyan that does. The Hafla'ah seems to learn this from a drasha of "Emor Lahem". This implies that you need a conversation between the kohan and the yisroel. The kohein gives the bracha and the yisroel listens.

(The Hafla'ah uses this to answer a stirah from gemara in Kesuvos 24B and Shabbos 118B. ayin sham. Also, teh Hafla'ah has an interesting dimyon to yibum-there is a mitzvah on yavam and yavama even though the Torah only mentions the mitzvah on the yavam. Same thing here.)

The Chasam Sofer (OC Siman 22) also understands there is a chiyuv on the yisroel to go and here birchas kohanim. This is why there is no issur of beracha l'vatalah if a kohein would duchen at two different Shachris minyanim provided that the people at the 2nd minyan had not heard birchas kohanim. Since the kohein is helping the yisroel be yotzei his chiyuv there is no beracha l'vatala.

2) The D'var Avraham (Siman 32) disagrees with the Hafla'ah. He brings a Ritva in Sukkah that states there is no chiyuv for a yisroel to hear birchas kohanim. This seems to be against the Chareidim. He answers that ain hachi nami, it is against the Hafla'ah's understanding of the Chareidim, but that is not p'shat in the Chareidim. The actual p'shat in the Chareidim is that only if the yisroel is standing by birchas kohanim is there a mitzvah to listen. But there is no mitzvah to search out birchas kohanim. This p'shat is not against the Ritva.

3) Rav Asher Weiss in MInchas Asher quotes a Mahari Asad that a yisroel's chiyuv is just to help the kohein fullfill his chiyuv. I was told that the Torah Temima says something similar but I didn't see it.

The kasha is asked (by the D'var Avraham and Minchas Asher) that if noone is in shul, the kohanim bentch the people in the fields. According to the Hafla'ah's understanding how are you doing the mitzvah since l'chorah you need to be tehre. Rav Weiss wants to say that there is a chiluk between the beracha and the kiyum hamitzva. The kiyum hamitzva requires you to be there but the berach is chal even if you are in the fields. The D'var Avraham suggests this but says it is dochek without explaining why.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Beis Medrash or SHul:Which has greater kedusha

The gemara in Megilla (27A) brings a machlokes between Rav Yochanan and Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi over which has more kedusha a beis keneses or a beis medrash. The nafka mina is the question they deal with over whether you can turn a shul into a beis medrash or a beis medrash into a shul. If you hold a shul has more kedusha you can only turn a beis medrash into a shul (Rav Yochanan) and similarly if you hold a beis medrash has more kedusha then you can only turn a shul into a beis medrash (RYBL).

The main question on this sugya is what is the nekudas hamachlokes. To that I have no answer.
However, there is an interesting Meshech Chochma in Parshas Titzave (29:42). There is a machlokes between Rav Yochanan and Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi whether HKBH spoke to Moshe from the koperes on the aron or from the mizbayach. The Meshech Chochma explains that they are l'shitaso. Rav Yochanan held tefilla is more important and therefore HKBH spoke from the mizbayach (mokom tefilla). Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi held torah is more important and therefore HKBH spoke from the kapores (mokom torah).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tashmishei Kedusha:The Status of an Aron HaKodesh

The nosie keeilim in Shulchan Aruch (OC 154) and the poskim try to understand why an aron hakodesh is considered tashmishei kedusha. from the gemara in Megillah (26B) it is clear that in order to qualify as tashmishei kedusha the object must touch the davar she'b'kedusha. An aron does not touch the sefer torah, so how does it become tahsmishei kedusha.

Some achronim (Pri Megadim) make a chiluk between something used for kavod and something used for shemirah. The gemara in Megillah is only referring to an object that is used for shemirah. In such a case it must touch the sefer torah. But if it is used for kavod it doesn't need to touch. (A possible nafka mina would be a safe used to store a sefer torah-the poskim discuss does it have a din of tashmishei kedusha).

I saw in the Harirei Kedem (vol 2) that Rav Shirkin brings a different approach from Rav Soloveitchik zt"l. (Interestingly, my chavrusah pointed out that Rav Shirkin also has a similar piece in the sefer zikaron for Rav Moshe zt"l, but there it is not attributed to Rav Soloveitchik zt"l)
The Rav zt"l wanted to say that an aron has a special din of being the makom of the sefer torah. This is learned out from the aron in the mishkan which had a unique status as being the mokom for the luchos, besides being one of the klei mishkan. Consequently, the fact that the aron is designated as the mokom of the sefer torah gives it a status of tashmishei kedusha even if the torah doesn't touch the aron.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rav Wolfson: Shavuous

Note: HaRav Isser Wolfson shlita is a noted talmid chacham, dayan and posek. The shiurim were transcribed by me and reviewed by Rav Wolfson. What you are reading is just an excerpt and not the whole shiur. I have also taken the liberty of making some slight editorial changes to the original version in order to make it read better. This week's excerpt is from 5763.

Although every korbon has a requirement of tenufa, The requirement of tenufa by both the korbon omer and shtei halechem is differnet than the tenufa of other korbonos. By the omer, the Lechem Mishna writes that the parsha of tenufa is separate from the parsha of bringing the korbon. From here we see that the tenufas ha'omer is the major part of the mitzvah and is a special avodah that is different than all other tenufos that we find by other korbonos. Also, by the shtei halechem the tenufa on the animal is done while it is still alive., unlike other korbonos where the tenufa is done after the animal is dead. The reason for this is because the shtei halechem also has its own special avodah of tenufa.

The question remains however, what is the purpose of this special tenufa and what does it represent? The gemara in Menochos (62) explains that the tenufa represents a form of tefilla in that we are asking HKBH to send us good wind and dew to help our crops. Tosfos points out that this special tenufa was only done for the korbon omer and the shtei halechem since the korbon omer was brought on Pesach k’neged the tevuah and the shtei halechem was brought on Shavuos k’neged the fruits. With this we can now understand why the korbon omer and the shtei halechem each had a special avodah of tenufa. Unlike the other tenufos done year round which were just a minor part of the avodah, these special tenufos represent a ma’aseh tefillah. where we are asking HKBH to help out our crops.

We also find this idea in the Rambam. The Rambam (Ma’aseh Korbonos Perek 6) paskens that all the tenufos were done in the six directions. (From the Rambam we wouldn’t have the rayah we brought from Tosfos). The reason is because the yesod of the tenufos is that it is a bakashah that calamities shouldn’t happen. Again we see from here that the tenufa represents an inyan of tefillah. Furthermore, the Rambam (Ma’aseh Korbonos Perek 3) connects smichah to tenufa. We can say that just like smichah is a ma’aseh tefilla, since this is where vidui was done, so too the tenufa is a ma’aseh tefilla.

The complement to the is the lulav that we take on Sukkos. The possuk says that we should take the lulav in order to be “samechtem lifnei Hashem” and we learn out from here that there is a chiyuv d’oraisa to shake the lulav in the Bais HaMikdash as a form of simchah. We see from here that just like on Pesach and Shavuos there is an inyan of tenufa as a form of tefillah (through the korbon omer and the shtei halechem ), so too on Sukkos there is an inyan of tenufa through the lulav to show our simchah.

Finally, we can also add that the mitzva of Bikkurim can be done until Sukkos. So it comes out that from Pesach until Sukkos we have the tenufa b’derech tefillah and then starting on Sukkos we have a tenufa b’derech simchah.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Brief Hiatus

Unfortunately, I will be traveling next week (work related) and will not have a chance to post anything. But don't worry I will return.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rav Wolfson:Parshas Bechukosai

Note: HaRav Isser Wolfson shlita is a noted talmid chacham, dayan and posek. The shiurim were transcribed by me and reviewed by Rav Wolfson. What you are reading is just an excerpt and not the whole shiur. I have also taken the liberty of making some slight editorial changes to the original version in order to make it read better. This week's excerpt is from Bechukosai 5763.

In the parsha HKBH promises to destroy the bais hamikdash if the B’nei Yisroel doesn’t listen to the Torah. There is a machlokes in the Toras Kohanim whether Nevuchadnetzar destroyed the first bayis entirely or if he just knocked down the walls but he left the yesodos. The Rash (Para 3:3) brings a Yerushalmi that Nevuchadnetzar only destroyed the walls but he left the yesodos. This is actually hinted to in the possuk “zechor Hashem livnei Edom es yom Yerushalayim v'omru arur arur ad hayesod bah”. Only Edom/Rome was able to destroy the yesodos of the bais hamikdash while Bavel only succeeded in knocking down the walls.
The Gemara says that even after the first churban, Yerushalayim still retained its kedusha. Tosfos Zevachim (Daf 60) asks why is this so? If there is no bais hamikdash how could Yerushalayim still retain its kedusha? Perhaps we can answer that there were really two kedushos to the Bais HaMikdash. The first kedusha was done thru Dovid HaMelech when he built the yesodos of the mikdash. The second kedusha was done thru Shlomo HaMelech when he built the rest of the bayis. Based on what we said above, the yesodos of the bayis were never destroyed. Therefore, this kedusha was never batul and consequently Yerushalayim can also retain its kedusha. It wasn’t until Edom destroyed the yesodos by churban bayis sheini that Yerushalayim lost its kedusha. This is also meduyak in the possuk we quoted above. The possuk says “zechor Hashem livnei Edom es yom Yerushalayim v'omru arur arur ad hayesod bah". Not only were the yesodos destroyed thru Edom but also the “Yom Yerushalayim” or the kedusha of Yerushalayim was destroyed as well.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mazal Tov

MAzal Tov to my sister on the birth of a baby boy. May they have much nachas from him and he should grow l'torah v'chupah u'ma'asim tovim.

For those keeping score at home, that makes 3 nephews and 1 niece born since this blog started. In the last year (since July 8th when my daughter was born) my siblings and I have all had children born to us, 2 girls and 4 boys.

Parsha Chabura AchareiMos/K'doshim: Avoda of Kohein Gadol on Yom Kippur

This weeks chaburah discussed the role of the kohein gadol on Yom Kippur. The gemara in Yevamos (33a) learns from a g'zeiras hakasuv that the kohein gadol had to do the avoda on Yom Kippur. The question is, exactly which avoda is this referring to.

Shittas Ba'al Hamaor

The mishnayos in Perek 2 of Yoma discuss the four lotteries that were held everyday in the Beis HaMikdash. The Ba'al Hamaor in the beginning of Yoma asks why was it necessary to hold a lottery on Yom Kippur if the kohein gadol did all the avoda. He answers ain hachi nami there was no lottery on Yom Kippur.
Tosfos (20b) also quotes a shitta like this and brings the following rayah. The terumas hadeshen wasnormally done at alos hashachar. On Yom Kippur it was done at midnight due to the weakness of the kohein gadol. Tosafos writes that they didn't want to overtax the kohein gadol so they had a kohein hedyot do the terumas hadeshen and since a kohein hedyot couldn't do any avoda on Yom Kippur, they had to do it at midnight.

Shittas Ramban/Rambam

The Milchamos argues and says that the machshirei avoda was done by a kohein hedyot. The lotteries were to decide which kohanim got to do the machshirei avoda (ayin Tosfos Yom Tov 2:2 for a synopsis of the Ramban). Furthermore, the terumas hadeshen is an avodas liela and could be done by a kohein hedyot. They did it at midnight to give the kohein gadol more time to do the rest of the avoda on Yom Kippur.
The Rambam seems to agree with this but is mashma that there were only two lotteries not four (ayin avodsas yom kippur 4:1)

Shittas Ritva Yoma 12B

The Ritva says m'd'oreisa there was a chiyuv for the kohein gadol to do the special yom kippur avoda. It was only a mitzva for the kohein gadol to do the rest of the avoda which would have taken place even during the week (korbon tamid). However, Chazal created a chiyuv d'rabanan on the rest of the avoda but this chiyuv did not extend to the machshirei avoda.

He'oros/Nafka Mina

1) The Sha'ar HaMelech (Avodas Yom Kippur 1:1) has a long discussion whether a kohein hedyot who does the avoda on Yom kippur is chayav misa. Since he is considered a "zar" maybe this state of "zarus" creates a chiyuv misa (also see D'var Avraham Siman 23:14).
One could argue that according to the Ritva this kasha only applies to the avoda specifically done on Yom Kippur. For the other avoda even if it is a mitzva for teh kohein gadol to do it, a kohein hedyot could still do it and not be chayav misa.

2) The Chiddushei R' Aryeh Leib discusses the nature of kiddush yadayim v'raglayim on Yom Kippur. He writes that in actuality as long as you do one kiddush at the start of the day, the rest of the avoda isn't pasul even though you really need to do 10 kiddushins. However, the kiddush done for the treumas hadeshen (assuming the kohein gadol did it) would not work cause you need a kiddush yadyaim that was done for the Yom Kippur specific avoda-this is in line with the Ritva who he actually quotes.

3) I am not sure if the Ohr Sameach (Avodas Yom Kippur 4:1) agrees with this Ritva. The Ohr Sameach writes that when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, the musaf for Shabbos must be brought by the kohein gadol. The reason is that all the korbonos of that day get the status of a "Yom Kippur" korbon even if the reason they are brought is not because of Yom Kippur. This would imply that even the non Yom Kippur specific-avoda must be done by the kohein gadol and it is not just a mitzvah for the kohein gadol to do it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Gabbai Shailos III

1) Calling up one's father

I always assumed that when one called up one's father you should just say "ya'amod avi mori" and not mention is name because of kibud av. However, I just saw in the Piskei Teshuvos (139:3) that he brings from a few sources including Shut Eretz Tzvi (Chelek 1 Siman 97) that you should say "ya'amod avi mori yosef ben shimon". I looked up the Eretz Tzvi and this is his reasoning. (derech agav I bought this 2 set DVD of 1800 shailos u'teshuvos for $36 from $36 I ever spent)

1) The Birchas Yosef (Yoreh Deia Siman 240) says it is only assur to call your father by his name if you don't say "avi mori" first.

2) The Yam Shel Shlomo brings a rayah from Kiddushin 31 that even if you say avi mori first you can't mention your father's name. However, the Eretz Tzvi says the rayah from Kiddushin is only where it is possible to avoid saying your father's name. By an aliyah you have to say the person's name. My understanding of this is that it is more of a kabbalastic/toras nistar reason as opposed to a halachic reason. Therefore, one could say avi mori followed by his name.

Personally, I am still not convinced that everyone says to do this.

2) Calling up the Ba'al Korei

This seems to be pretty straightforward. The Rema (139:3) says you shouldn't call him up at all since he is already there. However, I have never seen anyone follow this Rema. Maybe it's just out of ignorance. The Piskei Teshuvos also says the minhag is to call the ba'al korei up by name and it again seems to be based on this inyan of mentioning a person's name. However, he brings down that you should not say "ya'amod" because he is already there. It seems to me that most gabbaim call up the ba'al korei with "ya'amod yosef ben shimon". It could be out of ignorance or that is just minhag ha'olam.


I had a chance to hear Rav Dovid Feinstein's chumash shiur today. (Yes I do work but on slow Friday's I take my lunch break a little early and walk over to MTJ). I ask3ed him about the Rema and he said that minhag haolam is not like the Rema and we call up the ba'al korei by name.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Gabbai Shailos

I had a discussion today regarding on which side of the bima should the gabbai stand. It seems that in some shuls the gabbai stands to the right of the bima and in some shuls he stands to the left. Which is correct or are both correct.

The Shulchan Aruch in 141:3 writes that if the gabbai (or sirser as he is called in the Shulchan Aruch) gets an aliyah you should have someone else stand up by the bima. Both the Mishna Berurah and Aruch Hashulchan explain based on a Yerushalmi that ideally you need three people by the bima. The reason is because k'riyas hatorah represents mattan torah and at mattan torah there was HKBH, Moshe and B'nei Yisroel. The ba'al korei reprsents HKBH, the oleh represents B'nei Yisroel and the gabbai represents Moshe.

It seems everyone agrees the oleh stands to the right of the ba'al korei. Although the Mishan Berurah doesn't tell you where the gabbai stands the Aruch Hashulchan quotes a Levush that the gabbai should stand to the right of the bima. In other words the oleh is sandwhiched in between the ba'al korei and the gabbai. I had thought this makes sense m'sevara because the oleh represents B'nei Yisroel and it seems they should be in the middle between Moshe and HKBH.

The Piskei Teshuvos brings down another opinion from the Siddur Ya'avetz that the gabbai should be to the left of the bima and the ba'al korei should be in the middle and the oleh to the right of the ba'al korei.

The bottom line is there seems to be no right (or wrong) answer. Also, since most shuls have a gabbai sheini standing on the opposite side of the gabbai rishon it would seem you are yotzei both shittos. (Unless you say the gabbai representing Moshe has to call people up but I'm not sure if that makes sense)

I have one more shailah but I will get to it tomorrow. The shailah is a) how does a gabbai call up the ba'al korei and b) how how does a gabbai call up his father

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Parsha Chabura Tazria/Metzora:Koton She'Higdil Toch Sefirah

This week's shiur was on the status of a koton who becomes Bar Mitzvah during sefirah. Do we say that the counting he did when he was a koton was meaningless, and since he missed some days he can no longer make a beracha or do we say he still retains the "temimus" and he can make a beracha.

The Achronim point out that this question is only according to the B'Hag who holds all of sefirah is one long mitzvah. If we assume not like the B'Hag that each day is independent mitzvah then of course he can make a beracha.

The Minchas Chinuch (Hil Sefiras HaOmer) addresses this issue and mentions two reasons why there is no chisaron of temimus.

1) A koton has a chiyuv m'd'rabanan of chinuch and his chiyuv d'rabanan can take care of his chiyuv m'd'oreisa. The Minchas Chinuch proves this from a Mordechai in Megilla (discussed in a previous post)

2) Even if there would be no chiyuv d'rabanan on the koton, at the end of the day he still had counted. He would not lose his temimus just because he counted as a koton.

The K'sav Sofer (Siman 99) also adresses this issue and makes a couple of poins.

1) Whether or not the koton has a chiyuv of chinuch is a machlokes Rashi and Tosfos (Berachos 48a). Rashi hold sthe chiyuiv chinuch is on the father and Tosfos holds it is on the koton. Furtehrmore, Tosfos holds a chiyuv d'rabanan can't be motzei a chiyuv d'oreisa. Therefore, according to both Rashi and Tosofos the koton's counting did not fulfill his chiyuv d'oreisa. According to Rashi a chiyuv d'rabanan CAN be motzei a chiyuv d'oreisa, HOWEVER a koton has no chiyuv chinuch. According to Tosofos a koton HAS a chiyuv chinuch but a chiyuv d'rabanan CAN NOT be motzei a chiyuv d'oreisa.

The K'sav Sofer concludes that we pasken like Tosfos and a koton has a chiyuv chinuch and since sefirah b'zman hazeh is only m'd'rabanan, the koton's counting will fullfill his chiyuv.

2) The Ksav Sofer also agrees that even if there was no chiyuv on the koton, he still counted and did not lose his temimus. However, he quotes a Noda B'Yehuda who argues (nafka mina by an onein who is patur from mitzvos, the Noda B'Yehuda holds he loses his temimus)

The final psak of the Ksav Sofer is that a koton who becomes Bar Mitzvah can count with a beracha. At best it is a s'fek s'feika. Safeik maybe we don't pasken like the B'hag and even if we do maybe we pasken like Tosfos and the koton has a chiyuv chinuch.

I saw brought down in the Piskei Teshuvos 3 shittos

1) the approach above that koton does not lose his temimus
2) his temimus only starts when he becomes a godol. Even if he did not count as a koton he can still make a beracha upon becoming Bar Mitzvah
3) the koton loses his status of temimus