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