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.