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.