Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Parshas VaYigash:Loshon HaKodesh

Thw Winner Is...

I decided to speak about Loshon HaKodesh this past week. Thanks for all the suggestions from everyone and especially to Chaim Brown (aka the Divrei Chaim) for suggesting this topic.

Why is it called Loshon HaKodesh

There are 3 opinions why the language is called loshon hakodesh.


The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (2:8) writes that it is called loshon hakodesh because there are no words in this language that describe the reproductive organs of a person.


The Ramban in Shemos (30:23) argues on the Rambam. HE says according to teh Rambam it should be called loshon nekiah or loshon taharah. Rather it is called loshon hakodesh because this language is used for devarim that are kodosh. HKBH created the world with this language, the Torah was given with this language, nevuah was said in this language and malachim speak this language.


On a deeper level the Shelah writes that all the letters of loshon hakodesh have an effect in shamayim. The letters and the words which these letters make up form the essence of each object and it is an expression of what that object represents in shamayim. For example, a table is called a shulchan. The word shulchan is not just an arbitrary word, but rather the letters "shin", "lamed", "ches" and "nun" (and in that order) represent the spirtual force that makes up a table. This is why the language is called loshon hakodesh.

This idea of the Shelah is found in many sifrei machshava. This is also the explanation given to explain what it means that Adam named all the animals. Adam knew the essence and spiritual makeup of each animal and consequently he gave them the hebrew letters that correspond to them.

Mitzvah to learn loshon hakodesh

Is there a mitzvah to learn loshon hakodesh? There is a Sifri in Eikev on the possuk "v'dibarta bam" that one is obligated to teach his child loshon hakodesh and torah. The Torah Temima writes that from here we see there is a mitzva to learn loshon hakodesh and he expresses astonishment that it is not counted as one of the mitzvos nor is it brought in Shulchan Aruch.He references a sefer he wrote on the topic called "Sefah L'Ne'amanim" which I actually found here The Torah Temima brings a few rayos to his idea. One raya is from the Rambam on Avos 2:1 The mishna says one should be careful to fullfill a mitzva kala like a mitzva chamura. The Rambam says a mitzva kala is learning loshon hakodesh.

Although noone says it is a mitzva to learn loshon hakodesh, Rav Moshe in Even Ezer 3:35 does say that it is a mitzvah to speak loshon hakodesh. However, Rav Moshe also says there is no issur to speak other languages as we see many gedolim spoke other languages.

The Chavas Yair (Siman 120) also writes it is important to learn the laws of dikduk but one should not spend an inordinate amount of time on it.

Kedushas HaLoshon

Although the language is called loshon hakodesh, it is clear from the Shulchan Aruch and poskim that the language itself has no inherent kedusha. The Tashbetz and the Sh'ailas Ya'avetz both poin to out that the Shulchan Aruch (85:2) says you can speak loshon hakodesh in the bathroom. From here we see that unlike a sefer torah, there is nothing inherently kodosh about the language. The MG"A does write that the Sefer Chassidim says one should be makpid not to speak loshon hakodesh in the bathroom. The Chasam Sofer (notes to Shulchan Aruch Siman 85) says that there was an old minhag not to teach small children loshon hakodesh so they won't come to speak it in the bathroom.

Loshon Hakodesh in Halacha

One other are of halach that loshon hakodesh is discussed is in Siman 307:16, The Rema writes that even though certain books are not allowed to be read on Shabbos, if they are written in loshon hakodesh it is muttar since one can learn fromn the language. This is similar to the hetter to read a Get on Shabbos since one can learn Hilchos Gittin from it. The Taz and MG"A disagree with this Rema and the Mishna Berura is machmir.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Experiment

I've never done this before but I thought I would try it as an experiment.

I am trying to come up with a topic for this week's shiur and I can't find anything that I haven't spoken about and grabs my attention.
Therefore, I am asking all my readers (which probably amounts to 1 or 2 people) for suggestions. The only requirement is that it has to somehow tie into the parsha and it should be halacha or lomdus oriented.

I can't promise that I will use any of the suggestions but I will definately consider any suggestion that I get.

Thank you in advance.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kedushas Levi on AL HaNisim

I promised a machshava vort on Al HaNisim. Although this is not what I had originally intended to write, I really liked this vort.

The Kedushas Levi asks that we say in Al HaNisim, rabim b'yad ham'atim..reshaim b'yad tzaddikim. We can understand how rabim b'yad ham'atim is a neis but how is reshaim b'yad tzaddikim a neis-isn't that supposd to happen. He answers that there can be 2 reasons why HKBH decides to punish tzaddikim. Either it is because he is mad at them for being reshaim and he wants to punish them or it is because they are fighting the tzaddikim. He compares it to a father who sticks up for his sons when they are being beaten up. In teh case of Chanuka, HKBH destroyed the reshaim precisely for this reason-because they were beating up the tzaddikim. The message is that we see how much ahava Hashem had for us that he caused these nisim to happen precisely for our benefit. The reason HKBH showed this level of ahava is because we went out of our way to be moseir nefesh in keeping the Torah.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Al Hanisim in Hashkafah and Lomdus

Being that it is Chanukah here are 2 vorts on Al HaNisim. One b'toras lomdus and one b'toras hashkafa

first the lomdus.

There is an interesting difference between the addition of Al HaNisim. and the addition of Ya'aleh V'Yova which we add for Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov. When we say Al HaMichya we add in a line for Rosh Chodesh/Yom Tov but we don't add anything in for Chanukah or Purim. Why not?

Rav Shirkin in the Harirei Kedem explains that Al HaNisim is added as an extension of the berachas hoda'ah. It is not a separate tefilla but rather Chazal lengthened the bracha of hoda'ah in tefilla and in bentching by including this prayer. Ya'aleh V'Yova on the other hand is an additional tefilla which was added as a stand alone prayer.
Al HaMichya is a shortened version of bentching. Chazal took the words of bentching and condensed it into a short paragraph. As we said Al HaNisim is just an extended part of berchas hoda'ah and therefore when Chazal shortened this beracha amongthe words that they took out (or left out) was the Al HaNisim part. Ya'aleh V'Yavo or mentioning Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov on the other hand is an additional tefilla. Just like it was added to bentching it also has to be added to Al HaMichyah. That is why we have a line in there about Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov.

Stay tuned for the Hashkafa piece.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Parshas VaYeishev:Ta'anis Chalom

The sugyah of ta'anis chalom is an interesting one. The gemara mentions it in 3 places. Ta'anis 12b and Shabbos 11a both say fasting over a bad dream is a good thing even on Shabbos. Teh gemara in Berachos 31b says if one fasts on Shabbos a gzar din of 70 years is torn up. Most Rishonim (the RAshba and Rivash) learn this gemara is referring to a ta'anis chalom and that otherwise it is assur to fast on Shabbos.

The obvious question is what is gained by fasting for a dream. The Ritva in Ta'anis (12b) provides a clear hesber. He says that we find some gemaras which indicate dreams are meaningless. However, from this gemara it seem that there is truth to dreams. He answers that when a dream personally affects a person then there is room to worry. It should lead a person to teshuva. Therefor, if one has a bad dream one has a right to worry that it is a message telling you to do teshuva. The appropriate response is to fast.

The question remains why one is allowed to fast even on Shabbos. The Ritva (as well as the Rashba in Berachos 31b) explains that not being able to fast over a bad dream will cause a person tzar. He will be so upset that he can't do teshuva that he will have no oneg Shabbos. For him fasting is an oneg Shabbos. However, according to the Rashba he must make up for not eating by fasting another day.

There is a machlokes Rishonim if this ta'anis is a chiyuv. The Rashba (Shut Rashba 132) says itis not but the Lechem Mishna (Ta'anis 1:12) understands the Rambam that it is a chiyuv.

As far as b'zman hazeh, the Aruch HaShulchan (Siman 120) writes how we are not on teh madreigah for our dreams to mean anything. At most it is not a message from HKBH but from "sheidim" created by our aveiros and therefore one does not need to fast. The Piskei Teshuvos brings the Chazon Ish and Steipler who say the same thing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Making Havdalah For My Daughters II

As I mentioned previously the issue of making the beracha of borei mi'orei haeish for my daughters is more complicated.

Issue #1. Even if a woman is chayav in havdala is she woman obligated to make this beracha.

Issue #2: The Chazon Ish writes in Orach Chaim Siman 37 that there is no arvus by the beracha of borei minei besamim or borei mi'orei haeish. Therefore, by besamim someone who has already made havdala could not make this beracha for someone else unless he also smells the besamim. However, when it comes to the beracha on fire it is not a berchas hanehnin and therefore getting ha'na'ah from the fire would not help. According to this you could never make the beracha of mi'orei haeish for someone else if you already were yotzei in havdala.

I should point out that it seems the Mishna Berura would argue on this. The Mishna Berura writes in the Sha'ar HaTziyon in Siman 297 that one could make a beracha on the aish even if you already heard havdala.

It would seem the following would come out based on the above.

a) if you are making havdala for a woman, since anyway it is a shaylah if she should make the beracha on fire and according to the Chazon Ish there is no arvus by this beracha, perhaps she should make the beracha herself or don't make it at all.

b) if you are making havdala for a man, then according to the Chazon Ish there is no arvus by this beracha and the person you are making it for should say it himself. (whether you can answer amein is a shaylah in the Shmiras Shabbos due to hefsek). It would seem according to teh Mishan Berura that you could make the beracha for someone else.

c) Making it for kids: This same Chazon Ish points out there is a difference between making a berachas hanehnin for an adult and a child. By an adult unless you get hana'ah you can't be motzei someone else in this beracha. By a child you can make this beracha m'tzad chinuch even if yuo get no ha'na'ah at all. Therefore, by the beracha on aish even if there is no arvus you can make it for a child since you can make the beracha m'din chinuch.

It would seem thast even for a girl you can make this beracha m'din chinuch on the tzad that woman can make this beracha. The Children in Halacha book actually says you can make this beracha for kids and doesn't differentiate between girls and boys. It might be better for the girl to make this beracha herself but I can hear more of a reason to make it for a girl than for a woman.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Making Havdalah For My Daughters

I just realized I haven't posted anything since Parshas Lech Lecha. I have been busy at work and I was out of town last week. Hopefully, things are calming down and I should be posting more frequently.

This past motzei Shabbos my 2 older girls both under bas mitzvah missed havdala and I had to make it for them again. However, I initially wasn't sure if I could make it for them. (The truth is in retrospect I am not sure why I was so mesupak but here is what I found). The first question I had was the age old question of making havdalah for a woman when you have already heard havdalah. It is questionable if a woman has an obligation to hear havdalah. Therefore, if a man has already fullfilled his obligation, arvus might not apply and he might not be able to be motzei a woman. The Mishna Berura brings down both opinions and says it is better for the woman to make it herself. It wasn't clear to me what the Mishan Berura would say where the woman can't make havdalah. I wasn't sure which side the Mishna Berura liked better. (Maybe someone out there can convince me either way). The Aruch HaShulchan however is very adamant that if the woman can't make havdalah then a man can make it for her.

What was also interesting is how th e Mishna Berura and Aruch HaShulchan both viewed the "issur" of a woman drinking the wine. The Mishna Berura quoted an acharon that asked how can a woman make havadala if she can't drink teh wine. The obvious answer (at least to me) would be to say that what kind of question is that, not drinking wine is only a minhag and of course she can drink the wine when there is no other choice. This is what the Aruch HaShulchan says (using strong language). The Mishna Berura on the other hand seems to accept the question as legitimate.

The next question that I had was does the fact that my girls were not bas mitzvah make a difference. Again I am not sure why I thought this would matter but for some reason I was bothered by it. I found that when it comes to the beracha of besamim, if you are smelling the besamim then you can make the beracha. However, if for some reason you can't smell them, then the Shmiras Shabbos says that the ketanim should make the beracha after havdalah. Teh idea is that for them to make the beracha in the middle of havdalah would be a hefsek. (I have to look it up again to see what the sevarah is).

The beracha on the fire was also a little complicated and I need to look it up again before writing it down here. Stay tuned. Hopefully I will get back to it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Parshas Lech Lecha: Safeik Mila on Yom Tov Sheini.

Last week for Parshas Lech Lecha I spoke about the halacha of a baby born bein hashemashos and the bris would fall out on Yom Tov Sheini. By Shabbos (for example the baby was born Friday night bein hashemashos) or the first day of Yom Tov we don't do the bris until after Shabbos or Yom Tov. How about a case where the 8th day would be Yom Tov Sheini (for example the baby was born Monday night bein hashemashos and Yom Tov Sheini is Tuesday).

This is a machlokes between the Rosh who holds we don't do the bris and the Rambam who holds we do the bris. The Mishna in Shabbos says clearly that wed on't do a safeik mila on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashana. The Rambam learns from here that this halacha only applies to the second day of Rosh Hashana but on any other Yom Tov Sheini we do the bris. The Rosh holds that the reason the mishna did not mention Yom Tov Sheini was because the mishna was written in Eretz Yisroel. They only had an issue with 2 days Rosh Hashana. Having 2 days for Pesach,Sukkos, Shavuous was never a problem and therefore the mishna did not address that issue. . However, in Chutz L'Aretz where we have Yom Tov Sheini we don't do a safeik bris.

L'ma'aseh the Shulchan Aruch paskens like the Rosh not to do the bris and the Shach paskens like the Rambam.

The gedolei haposkim like the Noda B'Yehuda, Chasam Sofer and Rabbi Akiva Eiger all say we should do the bris. Interestingly, their reasonings are all different but their conclusion is the same. The Noda B'Yehuda calls it a s'fek sfeika (safeik if bris is today or yesterday and even if bris was yesterday maybe today is not Yom Tov). The Chasam Sofer says that the safeik d'oreisa of a bris should be docheh the safek d'rabanan of Yom Tov. Everyone does agree that if it is a vadai mila shelo b'lo b'zmano ((for example the baby was born Monday night bein hashemashos and Yom Tov Rishon was Tuesday. We don't do the bris Tuesday and even on Wednesday which is Yom Tov Sheini we don't do the bris since on Wednesday it is definitely not the zman for the bris.)

I also saw that Rav Ahron Kotler (Mishnas Rav Aharon Siman 11) says l'chactchila the bris should be done on Yom Tov Sheini. The sefer Yom Tov Sheini K'hilchaso quotes both Rav Shlomo Zalman zt"l and Rav Elyashiv shlita as saying you should do the bris.

However, I spoke to a moheil and he told me noone does a bris on Yom Tov Sheini. I don't know why given the fact that most poskim hold you should do it.

Is anyone aware of a safeik bris that was done on Yom Tov Sheini?

A Mazal Tov and Catching Up

First of all I wqould like to wish a mazal tov to my sister in law (my wife's sister) on her recent wedding. May she and her chasan be zocheh to build a bayis ne'eman b'yisroel.

I have been very busy with work and I have not had a chance to post recently. I mentioned previously that I would discuss a Kresi U'Pleisi that is a nafka mina between the Rambam and Tosafos regarding whether Adam was able to eat meat. There is a machlokes rishonim whether a mifarcheses (shechted animal that is still moving) is assur to a ben Noach. It is mutar for a Jew to eat a mifarcheses, but it is a machlokes by a ben Noach. The RAmbam paskens it is assur for a ben Noach to eat a mifarcheses since it is eiver min hachai. The Kreisi U'Pleisi explains that there are two drashos how we know eiver min hachai is assur for a ben Noach. One drasha is from "ochal tocheil", a posuk by Adam and the other posuk is "ach b'damo lo yishafeich" which is by Noach. If you learn it from the 1st posuk, then it is only a remez and in order to figure out what the posuk is referring to, you have to look at what a Yisroel is allowed to eat. Since a Yisroel can eat a mifarchese, you can't say it is assur for a ben Noach. However, the Rambam holds Adam never had the issur of eiver min hachai and m'meilah he wouldn't use the posuk of "ochal tocheil" (which is by Adam). He must use the posuk by Noach. The posuk by Noach is self contained and we learn directly from that posuk without having to learn anything out from dinei Yisroel. M'meila, you can make a split between a Ben Noach and Yisreol and say mifarchese is mutar for a Yisroel and assur for a Ben Noach

Monday, October 15, 2007

Parshas Noach: The Heter To Eat Meat

So how long did Mesushelach have to wait before eating dairy?

I asked my kids this question at the Shabbos table. The answer depends on the shiur I gave this past Shabbos.

In Parshas Noach, Noach was given the heter to eat meat. What exactly was teh nature of teh issur before the mabul is a machlokes Rishonim.

Tosafos and Rashi
The gemara in Sanhedrin 59B says that Adam wasnot allowed to eat meat. Tosafos (56b) as well as Rashi ask that if Adam was not allowed to eat meat, why was he given the issur of eiver min hachai? Tosafos answers that it was only assur to kill an animal but if the animal died on its own then you could eat it. However, if the limb of an animal fell off while it was alive then it would be assur because of eiver min hachai.

Shittas HaRambam/Yad Rema

The Rambam paskens that only Noach had the issur of eiver min hachai. Adam was only given the other six mitzvos B'nei Noach. The Kesef Mishna explains that the Rambam based himself on Tosafos' kasha. However, the Rambam did not like Tosafos' teretz since the Rambam held all meat was assur to eat even if it died by itself.

Shittas Yidei Moshe al HaMedrash

The Medrash Rabba in Beraishis 16:6 brings a drasha on the possuk "ochal tocheil" that from here we see the requirement of shechita and the issur of eiver min hachai. The Yidei Moshe explains that we learn two things from this medrash 1) only basar ta'avah was assur to Adam but meat from a korbon was muttar and 2) every korbon required shechita otherwise you couldn't eat it.

Nafka Mina

There are several interesting nafka mina between the shittos.

a) Ta'am HaIssur: There are different reasons given why Adam couldn't eat meat. The Ramban writes that before the mabul the animals had a ma'alah to them. However after the mabul since they were only saved through Noach they lost this ma'aleh and Noach could eat them. The Klei Chemda points out that this reason works well with Tosafos. I think what the Klei Chemda means is that since these animals had a ma'alah it wasn't right for Adam to kill them. However, if they are already dead then there is no reason not to eat them.

b) Mashkeh Yisroel: There is a concept found in Pesachim 56 called "Mashkeh Yisroel". This means that food that can not be eaten can not be brought as a korbon. The achronim ask, (ayin Rav Menachem Zeimba in Zera Avraham siman 13) how could Adam, Hevel or Noach before the hetter bring a korbon, they couldn't eat the meat.

If you hold like Tosafos or the Yidei Moshe then it is not a kasha, the meat was not totally assur, there were times it was muttar. However, according to the Rambam and Yad Rema you have a problem.

i) You could say that Adam only brought an Oleh and not a Shelamim. This is a machlokes in the gemara. You would also have to say that the only issur was to eat the animal, but to kill it for any other reason is muttar. The Aruch LaNer in Sanhedrin says this. He holds Adam was allowed to kill animals for their skin.
ii) The Klei Chemda answers that the reason Adam could not eat meat was because he first needed permission from HKBH. To take meat without reshus is stealing, similar to the gemara in Berachos about why we make a beracha. However, when you bring a korbon, you are not taking the meat from Hashem but rather you are giving it back to Him. Therefore it is muttar.

(I am not sure if this totally answers the question since how could Adam eat the meat? You could say that Adam only brought an Oleh but then that itself answers the question)

iii) In the sefer Chavtzeles Hasharon, he has a whole diyun on this topic. One approach he takes is that the issur of "mashkeh Yisroel" is an issur cheftzah. Meaning if the meat itself is assur (like treifa) then you can't bring it as a korbon. But if there is nothing wrong with the animal but the issur is on the person then you can bring it as a korbon. By Adam, there was nothing b'etzem wrong with the meat, it was just an issur gavrah on Adam. Therefore, the issur of "mashkeh Yisroel" doesn't apply
iv) Finally, a fourth teretz is the the issur of "mashkeh Yisroel" is based on what is muttar or assur to a Yisroel. Since meat is muttar to a Yisroel it doesn't apply to Adam. The Chavtzeles Hasharon eventually brings ra'ayos to reject this teretz.

One final very interesting nafka mina is found in the Kreisi U'Pleisi Siman 27:2. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Parshas Bereishis:Adam and the Onesh of Misa

Last week I spoke about the onesh of misa that Adam HaRishon recieved. Rav Elchanan in his Kovetz He'oros , Chelek Aggadata Siman 3 asks why wasn't Adam HaRishon's teshuva enough to remove the gezeirah of misa.

The answer can be based on the following chakira-was the gezeira of misa an onesh or was it just a change in the metzius of the world. Lmashel if one is allergic to nuts and eats nuts and then breaks out in a rash, would we say that the rash is an onesh? More likely we would say that it is a metzius-it is a reaction to the fact that you ate nuts. So too, when Adam ate from the Eitz HaDa'as he changed the metzius of the world and now al karchach there was misa.

Most mefarshim I saw held that misa was not an onesh but a change in metzius. However, ayin the Targum Yonasan ben Uziel that says it was a chiyuv misa.

1) Derashos HaRan: Rav Elchanan quotes the Ran to answer his question. The Ran learns that before the cheit, the nefesh was the dominant part of a person. Therefore, a person could live forever. After the cheit a person's nature changed and the guf became the dominant part and m'meilah people had to die.

Side note: I was told b'shem Rav Aharon Soloveitchik zt"l that this Drashos HaRan is a chiddush not found in Chazal and you only find this idea among the Spanish Rishonim as a reaction to the ideas found in society at that time.
I have no idea if Rav Aharon actually said this but this is what I was told. Clearly, Rav Elchanan had no problem with this Ran.

2) Nefesh HaChaim: The Nefesh HaChaim learns that after the cheit a zuhama shel ra entered a person. Since HKBH is a meitiv, he wanted to provide a tikkun for people. This tikkun is misa. Only through death can this zuhama shel ra be removed.

I would add that this is slightly different than the Ran. Acc. to the Ran a person's nature changed and misa was a direct by-product of this change. Acc. to the Nefesh Hachaim, it is a tikkun from HKBH.

3) The Netziv in Bereishis and in hi Sh'iltos has an interesting m'halach. He says (more clearly in the Sh'iltos) that misa was actually created during the creation of the world. We know that there are people like Chanoch and Eliyahu who can reach such a high madreiga that they can no longer be a part of the physical world. Before teh cheit, Adam was also on this madreigah but with one difference, He was able to be on this madreiga and still live in this world. This was possible due to the nature of the food available to him in Gan Eden (see the Ramban that it was a special type of food). If there was no cheit, Adam would have continued on this madreiga in this world and m'meila he would never had died (as long as he was on this madreiga). Also, anyone else who would reach this madreiga would also live forever (presumably everyone else would die). After the cheit, the only way to continue on this madreiga
was to leave the world (like Eliyahu). Since Adam sinned he was no longer on this high madreiga and al korchach he had to die.

Interesting Shailah from Sukkos

I haven't had a chance to catch up on my bloggiong since Sukkos so here is an interesting Sukkos question.

Someone made a mistake on Yom Tov and instead of davening Yom Tov mussaf they davened Yom Tov shachris/mincha (shachris and mincha is the same tefilla) . They then remembered and davened mussaf. It is now time for mincha.The question is that when this person mistakenly davened Yom Tov shachris/mincha instead of musaf, it was after zman mincha, therefore maybe this tefilla should count for mincha. Do they have to daven mincha again?

The Ishei Yisroel brings this halacha down. Interestingly, it is a teshuva in the Igros Moshe. R' Moshe paskens that one does not need kavanna for which tefilla you are davening, therefore the person would not need to daven mincha again. Rav Moshe bases this on a MG"A that says if you daven Shabbos musaf instead of shachris you don't need to repeat musaf. Even though when you davened mussaf your kavanna was for shachris, kavanna is not m'akeiv.
The Ishei Yisroel does mention that the Shoeil U'Meishiv argues on this point.

Friday, September 21, 2007

More On Eating The Azazeil

Just one quick follow up to my previous post.
I saw some achronim discuss the Minchas Chinuch's shailah. Notably the D'var Avraham (cheilek 2 Siman 8 anaf 4) and the Kehillas Ya'akov (Chullin Siman 11 and Asher L'Shlomo Siman 1) . The Steipler quotes the Achiezer who has a whole piece on the nature of Melika in Y.D. Siman 7. The Achiezer says that b'etzem melika is not a mattir l'achila like shechita. Rather it is a gezeiras hakasuv that allows the kohanim to eat the korban. However, the bird is still not a neveilah because we have a rule that anything done "derech avoda" is not m'tamei. The Steipler applies this reasoning over here and therefore even though pushing the goat off the cliff is not a ma'aseh shechita to allow you to eat it, it is derech avodah and therefore not m'tamei.

The assumption that the dechiyas ha'sa'ir is called derech avoda might be debatable, but that will have to wait for another time.

Anyway wishing everyone a g'mar chasima tova. If a somehow insulted anyone through these posts and/or comments ask mechillah,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Eating The Sair L'Azazeil

The Rambam paskens (Hil Avodas Yom Kippur 5:17) that throwing the sa'ir off the cliff was a form of shechita (d'chiyaso hi shechitaso)? Therefore, there is an issur of "oso v'es b'no" and if the mother of the azazeil was shechted for a choleh on Yom Kippur, the azazeil could not not be used.

The Minchas Chinuch raises 2 interesting points.

1) There should be no tumas neveilah either The Rambam paskens by eglah arufa (Hil Avos HaTumah 3:13) that there is no din neveilah. The question is why teh Rambam didn't mention this by the azazeil as well.

2) Would one be allowed to eat the azazeil. If the azazeil doesn't die after being thrown off, you kill it anyway you want to. The Minchas Chinuch writes you can even shecht it and eat it since it is muttar b'hana'ah. The Minchas Chinuch then is mesupak that even if it died after being thrown off, you could still eat it since the Rambam paskens that d'chiyaso hi shechitaso. This should be similar to melika where you can eat the bird even though shechita wasn't done-the Torah tells us melika is enough. The Minchas Chimuch leaves it as a kasha.

Post Rosh Hashana Thoughts

I don't really have too many he'oros on Rosh Hashana since for the most part I was busy with my children while my wife took care of the baby and rested. But I figured I had to post something.

1) I bought an interesting sefer this year called Moadim L'Simcha that was put out by the editors of Otzar HaPoskim. It has a collection of essays on the various minhagim of the Yomim Tovim (selichos, tashlich, kapporos, hakafos etc). One of the articles was on the tekios d'm'umad and tekios d'm'yushav. Here are a few interesting points

a) There is a machlokes rishonim exactly when this taknah was developed. The Ramban understands it started with the amoraim while other rishonim hold it started with the tanaim.

b) The reason given for having 2 sets of tekios is "l'arveiv hasatan"-confuse the Satan. The Ramban explains that the point of confusing the Satan is so that he should not be m'katreig on our tefillos. In other words, we blow before musaf so that when it comes time for musaf the Satan will have already been m'katreig on us and he won't be around to stop HKBH from hearing our tefillos.

c) Many Rishonim (the Ramban and others) hold that there are really 2 issues going on. One is the mitzva d'oreisa to hear the shofar and the other is a takana d'rabanan of blowing shofar in the middle of davening but lav davka 30 kolos. This takana is not limited to Rosh Hashana but also applies to a ta'anis tzibbur as well. Originally, once Chazal set up this takana of blowing shofar in the middle of davening, they decided that we should blow 30 kolos to be yotzei the d'oreisa as well. These tekios are known as tekios d'm'umad. At a later point in time, Chazal also instituted tekios d'm'yushav in order to confuse the Satan.

For a more lomdishe approach to this sugyah take a look at my friend the Divrei Chaim.

Og and Sichon-Were they brothers

This post has nothing to do with the Yomim Noraim or Aseres Yimei Teshuva. The only relevence to these days is that my son mentioned it at one of our Rosh Hashana meals. (Now why he mentioned it now as opposed to last month when he learned it in camp is beyond me, but being that my son is only 7 I'll give him some leeway).

My son mentioned that his rebbi in camp told them that Sichon and Og were brothers. (This is actually a gemara in Avoda Zarah 65a). The question is that Chazal tell us that besides Noach and his family, the only other person saved was Og who hung onto the side of the teiva. If that is so, how were Sichon and Og brothers? If Sichon was born before the mabul, then he would have died. If he was born after the mabul, then he would have had different parents (since Og's parents would have died in the mabul).

My son claims that his rebbi did not have an answer. However, when I told this kasha to a friend of mine, he pointed to the Da'as Zekeinim M'Ba'alei Tosafos at the end of Chukas. The Da'as Zekeinim says that Og's mother was pregnant with Sichon when she went to live with Cham. Since she was now Cham's wife she was allowed on the teiva and she was saved. Sichon was born on the teiva. I later found that the Maharsha brings down a similar answer as well.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mazal Tov IV

Mazal Tov to Me! And my wife and children on the birth of a new baby girl. She was born
Thursday afternoon at 12:48 PM. For those keeping score at home that makes 4 girls and 2 boys. It looks like there won't be a Rosh Hashana bris after all. (For some strange reason, I was actually looking forward to a bris on Rosh Hashana but it was not meant to be)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Parshas Ki Tzeitzei:Shiluach HaKan In The Backyard

Well, the new z'man has started and I am back to giving my parsha chabura. This week's topic was on whether one can do the mitzvah of shiluach hakan on a nest in your backyard.

The gemara in Chullin learns out from the possuk "ki yikarei kan tzippur"-p'rat l'mezuman. A nest that is considered m'zemun is pattur from shiluach hakan. The question is, how does one define mezuman? One could argue that mezuman is a din in ownership. If you own the nest than it is mezuman and you can't do teh mitzvah. However, another way to look at it is that mezuman is a metzius-if the nest is right there for you to access, even if you don't technically own it, you are still patur from the mitzvah.

This question is a machlokes haposkim.


Rav Shimon Sofer in Shut Hisorures Teshuva brings a rayah that mezuman is tied to ownership. The gemara in Chullin 142B says that if one has doves in his courtyard then you are chayav in shiluach hakan and you are also chayav for stealing them because of darkei shalom. The gemara asks, why are you chayav in shiluach hakan if we have a rule that "chatzar shel adam koneh sheloh mida'ato". The gemara answers that we are talking about a case where the mother is hovering over teh eggs. Since you can't be koneh the eggs while the mother is hovering over them, so too your chatzeir can't be koneh them either. Rav Shimon Sofer says from here we say a clear rayah that mezuman is tied to kinyan. It is only called mezuman if you own it, if you don't own the nest it is not mezuman.


The Imrei Yosher (Rav Meir Arik) in a teshuva to Rav Shimon Sofer disagrees. He says that mezuman can't mean kinyan but rather it means that the nest is easily accessable. If this were true then why does the mishna say you are pattur if the nest is mezuman, the mishna should say that you are pattur if the nest is not hefker. Furthermore, why does the gemara say that in order to do shiluach hakan one should go into the mountains and valleys? Why don't you just go into your backyard and be mafkir your chickens. Finally, the rayah from the sugyah of "chatzeir shel adam koneh sheloh mida'ato" is not a rayah. In that case yuo were never aware that the eggs were laid. If you don't know the eggs are laid that is not called mezuman. However, if your chatzeir is koneh then that creates mezuman as well. In other words the main defintion of mezuman is access, however if you own them then it could also be mezuman.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l (Minchas Shlomo Chelek 2 Siman 97) also brings a rayah to this tzad from the fact that the gemara says if the nest is "b'yadcha" you are pattur. Acording to this, being mafkir the nest won't help since one could go into their backyard and acquire the nest at any moment. The nest is always considered "b'yadcha".

(Also, ayin Rashi on b'yadcha that it means a) mezuman b) kinyan. )

Halacha L'ma'aseh

Can one be mafkir a nest in the backyard in order to do the mitzvah of shiluach hakan?

It seems this is a machlokes haposkim. As mentioned, the Imrei Yosher and Rav Shlomo Zalman both hold it isn't a halacha in kinyan and therefore hefker won't help-it is still mezuman. (Rav Asher Weiss also agrees with this).

However, Rav Moshe (Igros Moshe Y.D. cheilek 4 Siman 47), the Steipler, Chazon Ish, Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Sheinberg all say hefker works. (the Steipler, Chazon Ish, Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Sheinberg are brought down in Shiluach Hakan - A Practical Guide By Naftali Weinberger. This is a very nice sefer that includes written p'sakim from Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Sheinberg). According to this tzad, a person can have in mind that he doesn't want his chatzeir to be koneh any nests and then he can do the mitzvah. Also, even after you do the mitzvah, you can be mafkir the nest and let someone else do the mitzvah. This seems to have been the practice of the Chazon Ish and the Steipler.

A more important chiddush mentioned by Rav Moshe and Rav Chaim Kanievsky is that b'zman hazeh one doesn't even need da'as that his chatzeir should not be koneh the nest. Since most people don't like nests in their yard because the birds make noise and cause a mess, we assume a person never wanted to be koneh the nest in the first place.

It would seem from the book I mentioned that the common practice is to follow the opinion that mezuman means kinyan and hefker works. (If anyone knows differently please let me know)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yiras Shamayim While Sleeping

Can one be considered in a state of yiras shamayim while sleeping.? After all when you are sleeping you are removed from any "hevlei ha'olam" and not involved in any form of "kalus rosh".

Sounds like a big chiddush? Well this idea is actually found in the Emek Bracha on Hilchos Tefillin (p. 26).

The gemara in Menachos (36b) says that a person should touch his tefillin when wearing them. The Rosh and Rabbeinu Yona explain that there is a problem of having hesech ha'da'as while wearing tefillin. The reason for this is because if you are masiach da'as from your tefillin it will lead to kalus rosh. Tehrefore, by touching your tefillin you will not be masiach da'as and you will not come to kalus rosh.

The Shagas Aryeh (Siman 40) disagrees with this understanding of why hesech hada'as is assur. He brings a rayah from a Rambam and Ramban to show that the din of hesech hada'as is a halacha in tefillin, that you are always supposed to be conscious of wearing tefillin. It has nothing to do with kalus rosh. The Ramban writes that an aveil is pattur from tefillin since he will be masiach da'as from his tefillin while the Rambam also writes one who is mitztaeir is patur from tefillin since he will be maseiach da'as. In both cases there is no chashash of kalus rosh, yet there is still a din of hesach hada'as.

To answer this kasha the Emek Bracha says the whole point of teh Rosh is that one has to be in a state of yiras shamayim (his loshon is "matzav shel yiras shamayim"). In both the case of the Ramabm and the Ramban since you are not going to forget hevlei ha'olam there is a concern you won't be in this state of yiras shamayim. The Rosh does say that a temporary sleep (shinas arai) is muttar while wearing tefillin. The reason is that while you are sleeping you are forgettoing heveli ha'olam and you are in a matzav of yiras shamayim.

What comes out from this Emek Beracha is that on some level one is m'kayeim yiras shamayim while sleeping. I am not sure if he would say you fullfill a mitzva but at the very least there is no negative yiras shamayim.

(I am not sure what he would say about your dreams-why does that not have the potential to negate your yiras shamayim)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mazal Tov V

Another Mazal Tov goes to my wife's sister on her recent engagement. May she and her chosson be zocheh to build a bayis ne'eman b'yisroel.

(I would put up a link to but I think she would not be too happy).

Mazal Tov IV

I just wanted to wish a Mazal Tov to my other sister ( not this one, but this one) on the birth of a baby boy and his bris which will be tomorrow. May they have much nachas from him and he should grow l'torah v'chupah u'ma'asim tovim.

For the record this is Mazal Tov IV since this blog started.

Mazal Tov I, Mazal Tov II, Mazal Tov III

UPDATE: The Bris was this past Friday. Mazal Tov to Chaim Shlomo and his parents on his bris.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Ramban and "al pi derech hapshat"

I noticed this week that there is an interesting machlokes how many aronos were made in the Midbar. (which hopefully will be the topic of another post). The Ramban brings a pshat based on Chazal that there were 2,1 Moshe made temporarily and one that Betzalel made. Once Betzalel made his , the aron Moshe made was hidden.

The Ramban then says "al pi derech hapshat..." there was only one aron -the one Betzalel made.

How is one to understand the Ramban when he says "al pi derech hapshat". Is he arguing that the metzius was not like Chazal?

Coincidentally (although it is probably more of a case of hashgacha than coincidence) for an unrelated reason I decided to take a look in the Sifsei Chaim on Emunah and Hashgacha this week and lo and behold he discusses this issue. He brings another case where the Ramban argues on Chazal al pi derech hapshat-in Vayigash when Ya'akov comes down to Mitzrayim. Chazal say that the famine stopped when Ya'akov came down and the last five years started after Ya'akov died. The Ramban says al pi derech hapshat it doesn't make sense but rather even after Ya'akov came down the famine went on for 5 years.

The Sifsei Chaim asks, hayitachen that the Ramban would argue on Chazal ? He goes onto explain that even when the pashut pshat in the posuk contradicts the halacha or the metzius, it is still important to know the pashut pshat so we can learn a lesson from it. For example, by the eved nirtza-it says bring the eved to the mezuza or door. Halacha l'ma'aseh we bring him to the door not the mezuzah. If that is so why does the pashut pshat tell us to bring him to the mezuzah? The answer is to remind us of the mezuzah by yetzias mitzrayim that had dam pesach and that we should be an eved l'hashem and not to people.

In a nutshell the Sifsei Chaim understands that even the Ramban would be modeh that the metzius is like the drashas Chazal i.e. the famine stopped right away when Ya'akov came down or in our parsha that there were 2 aronos. The only reason the Ramban writes al pi derech hapshat is to help us learn a lesson from the pshat. (although what exactly the lesson is in these 2 cases isn't clear)

I told this over to someone and he said it makes no sense - how can you say the drasha is more emes than the pshat. I figure that the academics, intellectuals and rationalists would totally reject this approach especially the part where he says that the Ramban would never argue on a drashas Chazal. I am curious what people have to say about this.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Laylah Lav Z'man Teffillin-Shittas HaRambam

The gemara in Menachos (36b) has a discussion whether one can wear tefillin at night. L'ma'aseh there is a machlokes rishonim over how to pasken. Tosafos (among others) holds "laylah z'man tefillin" while the Rambam paskens "laylah lav z'man tefillin". However, even according to the Rambam this halacha only applies to putting on tefillin at night. If one is already wearing tefillin then one can keep it on, but this is "halacha v'ein morin kein"-we don't tell someone they can keep it on but m'ikar hadin one is not obligated to take them off.

One interesting kasha that is asked on the Rambam is from a gemara in Berachos 44B. The gemara says that the b'nei ma'arava (people in Eretz Yisroel) would make a beracha before taking off their tefillin. Tosafos says that we don't make a beracha because laylah v'Shabbos z'man tefillin and there is never any chiyuv to take off our tefillin. However, the Rambam paskens laylah lav z'man tefillin so why doesn't he say to make a beracha on removing tefillin?

There are a few answers to this question.

1) The Beis Yosef (Siman 29) and Yam Shel Shlomo (Chullin Perek 6 Siman 2) answer very simply that since according to the Rambam you can leave on your tefillin that you were already wearing, no beracha is recited upon removing them. The B'nei Ma'arava held that it is even assur to keep your tefillin on when it becomes night.

2) The Netziv in Parshas Lech Lech Perek 17:13 in the Harchev Davar has another answer. According to one shitta in the gemara the chiyuv to remove tefillin at night is learned from a posuk "v'shamrata chuka m'yamim yamima". The gemara then has a machlokes whether "v'shamarta" is an issur aseh or a lav. The Netziv says that the B'nei Ma'arava held that it is an issur aseh and therefore you make a beracha on it. The Rambam holds it is a lav and therefore you don't make a beracha.

What is this Netziv doing in the middle of Parshas Lech Lecha in the parsha of mila?

The Netziv writes that there are 2 mitzvos in mila 1) to do the mila 2) an issur aseh on the father not to cover up the mila. The beracha of "l'hachniso l'briso shel Avraham Avinu" is a beracha made on this second mitzvah. The Netziv then asks, that this mitzvah is a shev v'al ta'aseh and where do we find that one makes a beracha on an aseh that is shev v'al ta'aseh?
The answer is from the sugyah of tefillin. We see the B'nei Ma'arava made a beracha on the aseh of not putting on tefillin. Even though it is shev v'al ta'aseh we can still make a beracha.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Value of Bayis Rishon

I was wondering just how much it would cost to build the 1st Beis HaMikdash today. Admittedly, I am not an economist or an expert on the commodities market. What follows is a very superficial and generalized calculation.

In Divrei HaYamim Perek 29, we find that between Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech they spent 15000 kikar in gold, 10000 kikar in silver and 18,000 kikar in copper. (Although the Navi says that Dovid contributed 3000 kikar gold and 7000 kikar silver the Medrash says that the silver was really gold. It was called "kesef" because it put the other gold to shame ("hichsif").
I found on the internet on 2 different websites that 1 kikar= 30 kg.
Now, as of today (July 18, 2007) an ounce of gold (really a troy ounce which is 1.097 regular ounce) is worth $665.90. An ounce of silver is $12.91 and a pound of copper is $3.5562.

Given that 1 kg = 35.2 ounces, we can calculate the following.

1 kikar gold= $642,275 and 15,000 kikar gold = $9,634,131,972
1 kikar silver = $12,452 and 10,000 kikar silver = $124,519,842
1 kikar copper = $235 and 18,000 kikar copper = $4,224,766

This gives a grand total of $9,762,876,580 or $9.76 billion.

This does not include the 100,000 kikar of iron or the wages for all the workers and the lumber used.

Of course this all is based on the price of gold and silver. 5 years ago gold was only $300 an ounce.

If anyone has a better way of calculating the price let me know.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ein Ma'avirin and Tefillin

(This is for my BIL who complained to me that I was taking a break from posting)

The gemara in Menachos (36a) writes that you must put on the tefilla shel yad before the tefilla shel rosh because of the order of the pesukim (it says u'keshartem al yadecha and then "totafos bein einecha"). Tosafos asks a question on Rashi in Yoma (33b). The gemara in Yoma applies the concept of ein ma'avirin al hamitzvos to tefillin. Rashi explains that it means you must put on the shel yad first because you touch that first. Tosafos asks, why does Rashi need to use ein ma'avirin to tell you this halacha, we know it from our gemara in Menochos based on the order of the pesukim. Tosafos learns the gemara in Yoma as teaching us that we should make sure to put the tefillin away in a manner that we will take out the shel yad first. Since if you take out the shel rosh first, you would still need to put on the shel yad, you will wind up violating ein ma'avirin.

There are a couple of he'oros on this sugyah.

1) The way Tosafos understands Rashi is not so pashut. Tosafos assumes that Rashi in Yoma means that since you touched the tefillin shel yad first, you have to put it on first. However, if you look at Rashi in Yoma it doesn't appear that he says this. Rashi seems to say that since your hand is closer to you than your head, by default the mitzvah of shel yad applies first. The Meiri in Menachos learns like this as well. However, the Shut Radvaz (Chelek 1 Siman 529) learns like Tosafos in Menachos.

The nafka mina between these two p'shatim would be if you touched the tefillin shel rosh first. According to the way Tosafos and the Radvaz understand Rashi, you would have to put on the shel rosh first. (which is what the Radvaz says explicitly). However, according to the Meiri and the pashtus of Rashi, you would always put on teh shel yad first since your hand is always closer to you than your head.

2) According to Tosafos, even if you touched the shel rosh first, you still put on teh shel yad. It is mashma from Tosafos that even though you violate ein ma'avirin, the gezeiras hakasuv tells us to put on the shel yad first. However, one could say (and the Radvaz says this from Rabbeinu Yerucham) that because there is a gezeiras hakasuv to put on the shel yad first, there is no issur of ein ma'avirin since it is not the zman of shel rosh.

3) How would Rashi answer Tosafos question. I saw that the Siach Yitzchak in Yoma as well as Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita in his sefer on Meseches Tefillin give the following answer. Rashi would tell you that from the derasha in Menachos I know that l'chatchila I must put on shel yad first. But what would the halacha be if I already put on the shel rosh first? I might think that you just go ahead and put on the shel yad. Comes along the din of ein ma'avirin to tell you that you must take off the shel rosh and put on the shel yad first.

L'chorah we see from this a chiddush in ein ma'avirin. Yesh Lachkor, is ein ma'avirin just an issur meaning that you are not allowed to bypass a mitzvah, and if you do, you did the wrong thing or is it part of how you are m'kayeim the mitzvah. In other words, ein mavirin tells me the mitzvah must be done in this order and if I mess up I must go back to the beginning and redo it.
It would seem that acc. to the above m'halach in Rashi, that Rashi holds the second tzad.

I haven't gone throuh it yet but I think the Turi Even in Megillah (6a) is supposed to have a similar idea.
Also, a similar question is found in the Rema 688:2. On Chanuka/Rosh Chodesh you are supposed to lein Rosh Chodesh and then Chanuka. What happens if you mess up the order?
The Rema quotes the Avudraham that you start over from the beginning and lein Rosh Chodesh and then Chanuka. I think the achronim equate this to the above chakirah.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer hiatus

Once again my shour is on hiatus for the summer. I will try and post on other topics every so often.

Enjoy the summer.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Parshas Chukas:Thoughts on the parsha

1) In his weeks parsha the B'nei Yisroel complain about the mon calling it "lechem haklokeil".
Rav Dovid Feinstein had an interesting p'shat on why it is called "lechem haklokeil". The mon fell every day and in order to receive the mon the B'nei Yisroel had to constantly make sure they deserved it through teshuva and tefillah. On Rosh Hashana we say "teshuva, tefillah and tzedakkah ma'avirin hagezeirah". In most machzorim, above the word "teshuva" is the word "tzom" and above the word "tefillah" is the word "kol". The gematria of "tzom" and of "kol" is 130. The word "haklokeil" is "kuf","lamed","kuf","lamed" which is 130 twice. This hints to the teshuva and tefilla the B'nei Yisroel had to do everyday. They were complaining why do we need to be on our best behavior everyday, just give us a whole week's portion once a week (like on "Mon" day -that was Rav Dovid's pun not mine) and then we won't have to do teshuva everyday, just once a week.

2) Moshe sent Malachim to Edom with a message asking to cross through the land (20:14). Moshe ended the message "atta yada'ata kol hat'la'ah ha'zos". Rav Dovid Feinstein explained that the gematriah of hat'la'ah is 441. Ya'akov and Eisav both knew that whoever got Eretz Yisroel would have to be in golus 400 years. Eisav didn't want that and he gave away his right to Eretz Yisroel. In reality the B'nei Yisroel were in golus for 441 years beacuse they spent an extra 40 years in the midbar. (although they only spent 210 years in Mitzrayim it was as if they spent 400 years there). This was the message to Edom-you know we were in golus for 441 years and now we came to get Eretz Yisroel.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Covering Tefilin Shel Yad

There is a concept that tefilin must be uncovered. Tosafos in Menachos 35a has a question whether this only applies to the Shel Rosh or even the Shel Yad. The Rema writes that we are not makpid to keep the shel yad uncovered. However the Arugas Habosem says we should be machmir for that opinion in Tosafos. However, Tosafos does say that you can avoid the problem by leaving two sides uncovered.

Most people have a cover that goes on top of the Shel Yad. Should one be makpid not to use it? Since our cover has a hole where the kesher meets the bayis this could solve the problem. Especially since the space opens up two sides of the Shel Yad. It is not clear to me from Tosafos if he needs two opposite sides uncovered or any 2 sides. Also, some covers have a hole on top. I saw in the Sha'arei Aharon on Hil Tefillin that the Steipler said that this is suffcient to avoid the problem. However, he also brought down that the Chazon Ish was makpid to remove the covering.

Gold Tefilin

The mishna in Megillah says that if you cover your tefillin with gold it is posul. I always thought that it meant that you put a layer of gold over your batim. I just saw that although the Tur holds it means you painted it gold, Rashi and the Ran hold it means you made gold batim. This is nogeia to the question whether you can paint your tefilin with black paint or dye. The Chayei Adam in the Nishmas Adam Klal 14 has a machlokes with his rebbi the Noda B'Yehuda. The Noda B'Yehuda (Siman 1) writes that Rashi and the Ran is a rayah that you can put a black paint on your tefillin. The only problem with gold tefillin is when the batim are gold, but not when the batim are leather and you paint it gold.

The Nishmas Adam argues and says that the Tur is against this. Plus there is a separate issue that the tefillin have to "see" the air and can't be covered. Putting on a black paint that can't be scraped off is a problem. Also, even if it can be scraped off, the Nishmas Adam feels it is a problem. The Nishmas Adam at the end writes that he sent his teshuva to the Beis Meir who agreed with a lot of what he wrote and the Beis Meir also told him that Rabbi Akiva Eiger also held similarly.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gabbai Shailos IV

This past Shabbos an interesting question came up during leining. The ba'al korei said "posach" (with a kametz) instead of "pesach" (with a segel). He then started the next posuk, stopped and went back to the word "posach" in the previous posuk and corrected his mistake and continued from there. Towards the end of the aliyah someone came over to me and said that since the ba'al korei had started the next posuk before correcting his mistake, he should have gone back to the beginning of the previous posuk and not just start from the word "posach". Being that I really had no idea if this was a legitimate ta'anah and since this person was adamant that he knew what he was talking about, I made the ba'al korei go back. (I always try to err on the side that will give me the least amount of grief and preserve shalom).

Anyway, the question is what should I have done?

After looking into it, I decided there were really 3 issues.

1) Was it necessary to go back for that mistake.

Answer: NO.

The Shulchan Aruch/Mishna Berura is quite clear that for a mistake that does not change the meaning of the word, there is no need to go back. A mistake of "posach" and "pesach" seems to fit that catagory. Even though the Sha'ar Tzion quotes the GR"A who is makpid, most poskim hold there is no need to go back and b'dieved you are definately yotzei. Certainly in this case where the next posuk had already been started it probably would have been better to just continue.

2) In general if you are correcting a mistake do you have to repeat the full possuk or just go back to that word.

Answer: I didn't find anyone in the Shulchan Aruch or Mishna Berura who discusses this. However, I found a Chayei Adam (quoted in a Shut Tzitz Eliezer) that discusses this . He says one might think that you have to start from the beginning of the posuk because of "kol pasuk d'lo pasak Moshe anan lo paskinan"-basically we can't create our own pesukim and we must follow the pesukim that Moshe set up. However, in this case you are only repeating the words "l'hashlim" to finish the posuk and it would not be considered as creating your own posuk. Therfore one could just go back to the word you made a mistake in.

I would say that based on this, the ba'al korei should have finished the posuk he was in the middle of before going back since by stopping in the middle of the posuk he was creating his own posuk.

3) The 3rd question is that would the Chayei Adam apply in this case where you already started the next posuk. Would the Chayei Adam say that even here you can go back to the word you messed up, or maybe since you started the next posuk you need to go back to the beginning of the previous posuk.

Answer: I don't know. I can hear both sides of the issue and I didn't see anyone talking about it.

To sum up, l'chatchila, once the ba'al korei started the next posuk I should have told him not to go back. I still don't know if there was a problem of going back to the middle of the previous posuk after starting the next posuk. Anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tumah and Korbon Pesach

Someone asked me an interesting question – we see that by the korbon Pesach in the Midbar the Bnei Yisroel were not tamei (since it was necessary for some to have a Pesach Sheini). How about in Mitzrayim? It seems that there was no halacha against being tamei while eating the korbon Pesach in Mitzrayim. Why not? Was it because tumah hutrah b’tzibbur, was it a special din by pesach Mitzrayim that tumah didn’t apply or maybe b’chlal there was no din tumah/taharah before Matan Torah.

Interestingly, if you look in the Chiuch and the Rambam you don’t see any special commandment not to eat the Korbon Pesach b’tumah. The way the Rambam formulates the halacha it seems the only reason not to eat the Korbon Pesach b’tumah was because in general all korbonos are not allowed to be eaten b’tumah. The only thing Pesach Sheini was m’chadeish was that if someone was tamei and couldn’t eat the Korbon Pesach he had a way of making it up.

It could be that since b’etzem there is no special halacha of tumah that applies to a Korbon Pesach so if before Mattan Torah there were no dinei tumah or taharah, then it wasn’t necessary for B’nei Yisroel to be m’taheir themselves before eating the Korbon Pesach in Mitzrayim.

Does anyone have a rayah either way if before Mattan Torah there were any dinei tumah or taharah,

Parshas Naso: Understanding Nezirus

This week’s shiur focussed on the status of a Nazir. The gemara and Rishonim discuss the difference between a neder and a shevuah. The gemara calls a Neder an issur cheftzah and a shevuah is called an issur gavrah. This means that when making a neder not to have hana’ah from a pieceof bread, the piece of bread is a davar hassur and is assur to you. However, if one makes a shevuah not to eat a piece of bread the whole day, the bread idoesn’t become a cheftzah shel issur. Rather, you have imposed on yourself certain restrictions-namely not ot eat bread. The question is, how do we view a Nazir. Is it an issur cheftzah, in that the wine becomes a cheftzah shel issur, or is it an issur gavrah, that you are imposing on yourself certain issurim?

Issur Gavra

The Maharit (Siman 52 and 53) has a lengthy arichus on this topic. He brings several Rishonim that seem to hold that Nezirus is an issur gavra. He quotes the Ran and the Rosh as both saying that a nazitr is an issur gavra. Tosafos in Shevuos 25a `also seems to hold it is an issur gavra. The gemara learns from two different pesukim that both nedarim and nezirus is chal on a davar mitzvah. Tosafos asks why do we need two pesukim, just learn nazir from nedarim. Tosafos answers that a nazir is an issur gavra and therefore you can’t learn it from nedarim which is an issur cheftzah..

Issur Cheftza

The Minchas Aher writes that the Rashba ssays nezirus is an issur cheftzah. (also ayimn Maharshdam Y.D. 76 that holds it is an issur cheftzah). The Rashba in answering Tosafos’ question above says that if I didn’thave a posuk I might think nazir is an issur gavra. Therefoere the posuk tells me it is chal a n a devar mitzvah to show it is an issur cheftzah.

Nafka Mina

There don’t to be too many nafka mina in this chakirah, but one nafka mina discussed in the poskim is where someone is m’kabeil nezirus using a loshon neder or using a loshon shevuah. Is the nezirus chal. The Mahrit and Maharshdam write that it could depend on this chakirah. If nezirus is an issur cheftzah then using a loshon shevuah won’t help. If it is an issur gavra than using a loshon neder won’t help. you hold

Shittas Maharit

Finally, there is a third shitta introduced by the maharit. The Maharit writes that nezirus is neither an issur cheftzah or gavrah. Rather it is a status one accepts upon himself that brings with it various dinim, namely that it is assur to drink wine, become tamei or get a haircut. This is similar to a kohein who has a certain status of kedusha and consequently is assur to become tamei.

The achronim us ethis Maharit to explain several sugyas.

The lav of Bal Yeichal

The Rambam paskens that if a nazir violates his nezirus by l’mashel drinking wine , not only is he oveir the lav of drinking wine, but he is also oveir the lav of bal yeichal-which is the lav for violating a neder or shevuah. Rabbi Akiva Eiger asks (Michtavim in Derush v’Chiddush siman 5) why are you also not chayav a korbon? If one violates a neder or shevuah he is oveir on bal yeichal and chayav a korbon. Why does this not apply by Nezirus?

Rabbi Akiva Eiger answers using the yesod of the Mahrit. (He doesn’t quote the Maharit but it is the same yesod). Nezirus is not a shevuah or neder, rather you have accepted upon yourself a certain status. Violating this status is not considered violating your neder or shevuah since nezirus was never a shevuah or neder in the first place.

Of course the question is if nezirus was never a shevuah or neder, why are you oveir on bal yeichal? Rabbi Akiva Eiger says it is a gezeiras hakasuv that the torah imposes upon you this lav.

Miktzas Nezirus

The halacha is if you say “I am a nazir not to drink wine” you are a nazir for everything since “ain nezirus l’chatzain”-there is no such thing as a half nezirus. The Minchas Chinuch asks, if you become tamei, why are you oveir on bal yeichal? Bal Yeichal is an issur for violating what you said. You only mentioned nezirus on wine not on being tamei. So why is there an issur bal yeichal on being tamei? The Kehillas Ya’akov (Nazir siman 2) answers with the Maharit. Nezirus is a status and not a shevuah. In truth there should never be an issur bal yeichal-but the torah imposes it upon someone who violates his nezirus. So here too it is imposed by the Torah even though you didn’t specifically mention tumah.

Issur Kollel

If one says “I am assur to wine” and then says “I am a nazir” he is not a nazir since he is already assur to wine and ain issur chal al issur. The achronim ask why don’t we say issur kollel-that by being a nazir he is adding tumah and haircutting so the nezirus should be chal. The Shut Avnei Miluim writes in Siman 15 that we only say issur kollel when the additional issurim are imposed by the person.. But if they are imposed by the Torah we don’t say issur kollel. Acording to the Maharit that Nezirus is just accepting a status so it comes out the issurim are imposed by the Torah-once you accept this status, m’meilah you have these issurim. Since you never imposed them upon yourself we don’t say issur kollel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The 70 nations and Matan Torah

I am sure most people are familiar with the ma'amar chazal that HKBH offered the Torah to the other nations first. The gemara in Avodah Zara (2b) has the girsa that HKBH went to all teh nations. However there is another girsa that says HKBH went to Eisav and Yishmael. This is based on the possuk in V'Zos HaBeracha of 'v'zarach misa'ir lamo...". I haven't found where this girsa is but I saw it quoted from a Zohar in Balak. (derech agav if anyone knows where this ma'amar is please let me know).

Anyway, over Yom Tov someone commented to me that the nations that HKBH went to were specifically Eisav, Yishmael, Amon and Moav. This person wanted to say that the reason these nations were chosen is because these nations are not part of the 70 nations. The 70 nations were defined at the Dor Haflagah and these nations didn't exist until afterwards.

This leads me to my question. (Actually 2 questions)

a) Is there such a ma'amar Chazal that HKBH only went to Eisav, Yishmael, Amon and Moav. The gemara in AZ mentions all the nations and the Zohar I saw quoted only mentions Eisav and Yishmael.

b) Is true that Eisav, Yishmael, Amon and Moav are not part of the 70 nations. Intuitively it doesn't make sense to say they are excluded from the 70 nations, but m'sevarah it seems they are not part of the 70 nations. To add to this question, there is a GR"A that writes that Eisav was the head of 35 nations and Yishmael the head of the other 35. This is based on the posuk "eileh varechev v'eileh basusim", eileh= 1+35. This implies that in fact Eisav and Yishmael are not part of the 70 nations. But I am not sure if I am remembering the GR"A accurately and it could be the GR"A means they are part of the 70 but they are the leaders. Also. what about Amon and Moav?

Furthermore, the Ramchal in Derech Hashem writes that the spiritual status of the 70 nations was sealed at the Dor Haflagah. As a chesed at Mattan Torah, HKBH opened up the opportunity for them to improve their status by offering them the Torah. Again, how does Eisav, Yishmael, Amon and Moav fit in to this if they were not around by the Dor Haflagah.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chag Kosher V'Sameach

I would like to wish everyone a Chag Kosher V'Sameach. Enjoy the Yom Tov.

Parshas Naso/Shavuous: The Status of B'nei Yisroel at Mattan Torah

The Rambam in Perek 13 of Issurei Biah writes that there were three things necessary for B'nei Yisroel to enter into teh bris with HJBH. 1) bris mila which took place by Mitzrayim 2) tevillah before Mattan Torah 3) bringing a korbon before Mattan Torah. The Rambam then writes that from this we learn that anyone who wants to be come a ger must have these three things. The mashmaus is that the B'nei Yisroel became geirim at Mattan Torah. If this is true then there are a couple of questions that can be asked regarding this geirus.

a) In Parshas Behaloscha the Torah tells us that the B'nei Yisroel complained about the mann and their families. The gemara in Shabbos 130 says that this refers to the fact that the B'nei Yisroel were upset that some of their wives were now assur to them and that they had to divorce them. (In fact the Da'as Zekainim writes that Amram divorced Yocheved since she was his aunt and she was now assur to be married to him).

The question is that we have a klal "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami". A ger is considered like a newborn child with respect to the fact that he is no longer halachically related to any of his previous relatives. If this is true then after the geirus of Mattan Torah, each and every Jew should not be related to any other Jew and they should be able to marry whomever they want. So why did they cry over the wives they would have to divorce?

b) The second question is regarding the k'tanim. We have a concept in Kesuvos 11a that "ger katan matbilin oso al da'as beis din"-a katan becomes a ger through beis din. There is a machlokes rishonim if this is a dinm'd'oreisa or only m'd'rabanan. The Ramban asks that if one holds it is only m'd'rabanan how were the k'tanim able to become geirim m'd'oreisa at Mattan Torah?

There are four different m'halchim to answer this question. (found in Sefer Mo'adim U'Zmanim)

Meshech Chochma

The Meshech Chochma in Parshas V'Eschanan writes that ain hachi nami, the B'nei Yisroel were geirim and the concept of "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami" does apply. The reason the B'nei Yisorel were crying was because in the future they couldn't marry certain women.

Maharal/Shev Shmaytsa

The Shev Shmaytsa in his hakdama (os 9) quotes the Maharal in Gur Aryeh parshas VaYigash that asks this question. The Maharal answers that the only time we say "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami" is when the geirus was done willingly. Since the geirus of Mattan Torah was against the will of the B'nei Yisroel, we don't say "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami".

The Shev Shmaytsa explains that what the Maharal means is that they realized the world could not surevive without the Torah and therefore in a sense they had no choice in tha matter. He adds that with this we can understand why the complaint happened at the same time they complained about the mon. The mon was a spiritual food which gave them the ability to see things clearly and realize they had no choice but to accept the Torah. Since the mon was the cause of why "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami" didn't apply, the complained about both things together.

3) Rav Soloveitchik

In Harirei Kedem, Rav Shirkin brings a pshat from the Rav. The Rav wanted to say that the geirus of Mattan Torah was a geirus on teh entire tzibur together and not a geirus of individuals. Therefore, since the whole tzibbur was m'gayeir together the concept of "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami" doesn't apply. His rayah for this is teh fact that the possuk the Rambam brings to show that the korbon they brought was part of the geirus is written in the plural form. The reason is because the geirus was on the tzibbur so the korbon was a korbon hatzibbur.

With this you can also answer how k'tanim became geirim. Since it was a geirus on the tzibbur, the whole tzibbur was involved including the k'tanim.

4) Moadim U'Zmanin

Rav Shternbach has another mehalach. His mehalach is different in that he says that in truth there never was a ma'aseh geirus at Mattan Torah. The Ramban at the end of Parshas Emor writes that once Avraham had a bris mila his children were m'yuchas as Yisroel. They didn't have the mitzvos but they still had a yichus of being "zera Avraham". Rav Shternbach explains further that there are two things that are accomplished by geirus. One is that you remove the tumas akkum and the second is that you become part of Yisroel. The Jews before Mattan Torah already had the yichus of being part of Yisroel. The only thing they needed was to remove the tumas akkum. Therefore, the whole concept of "ger sh'nisgayeir k'katan shenolad dami" did not apply since there was no geirus that needed to take place. Also, there is no question on k'tanim because since there was a yichus of zera Avraham they were Jews at birth.

He does point out that it could be the Erev Rav needed a formal ma'aseh geirus and their children might not have been able to be geirim until they grew up.

He also explains why this complaint took place by the complain about the mon. He says that even though the B'nei Yisroel separated from their assur wives, they didn't kick them out and these wives lived with them in teh vicinity. However, when the mon came down the mon did not fall for these wives since they were not really part of the family. It was only then that they were forced to send them away.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Parshas Behar-Bechukosai: Going to a doctor

This week's shiur discussed a very interesting Ramban. The Ramban in Bechukosai 29:11 writes that in an the ideal world, one should not be going to a doctor. Rather, one should search out a navi to ask him what aveirah you did to cause the sickness. The Ramban brings a rayah to this from the Navi's description of Asa HaMelech. In Divrei HaYamim the Navi rebukes Asa for going to the doctor when he got sick. The Ramban understands this to mean that Asa was not just rebuked for not davening to Hashem, but he was rebuked for actually going to a doctor.

The Tzitz Eliezer in the beginning of his kunteres Ramat Rochel writes that the Chovos HaLevavos disagrees with the Ramban. The Chovos HaLevavos in Sha'ar Bitachon Perkek 3 (Hakdama Shlishis) that one should only place their trust in HKBH and not view people as partners with Hashem. This was Asa's mistake. Rather than viewing the doctor as a shaliach of HKBH, he raised the doctor to a level of a shituf with HKBH. According to the Chovos HaLevavos, there is nothing wrong with going to a doctor, you just have to have the right perspective.

(More to come)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Looking for a possuk

I am wondering if anyone out there can help me out. I am looking for a possuk that describes the following characteristic.

"Her capacity for help (kindliness, strength) is boundless"

It should reflect an essence of character of someone who is driven to help others and uses their energy and adaptability to help others.

This is for a matzeiva.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Standing Up: Part 2

Yesterday I mentioned a chakirah (found in the first Brisker Rav) regarding the halacha of standing up for a rebbi muvhak. Is it an extension of "mipnei seiva takum" or an independent chiyuv of kibud/moreh rav. There are a couple of nafka minas to this chakira.


The Rambam writes that a rebbi muvhak can be mocheil on his kavod while a regular talmud chacham can not. The Brisker Rav explains that the kavod of a rebbi muvhak is an independent chiyuv of kavod. Therefore, the rebbi muvhak has the right to be mocheil. However, the kavod shown to a regular talmud chacham is a gezeiras hakasuv of "mipnei seiva takum" and it is imposed by the Torah. It is like any other mitzvah a person is obligated to do. Therefore, he can't be mocheil.

It also comes out that the talmid of the rebbi would still have the chiyuv of standing for his rebbi muvha b'geder "mipnei seiva takum" but would not have the additional chiyuvim that apply to a rebbi muvhak.

Someone pointed out to me that this could also explain the GR"A's shitta that a kohein can't be mocheil on his kavod. It is not his kavod-it comes from "v'kidashto" and therefore he can't be mocheil.

Just to note that l'ma'aseh the Shulchan Aruch paskens any rebbi can be mocheil not just a rebbi muvhak.

Requirements of Standing Up

The chiyuv to stand up for a rebbi muvhak is from the time you first see him in the distance. The chiyuv for a talmud chacham is only when he gets within 4 amos. What is the difference? The Ran explains that the possuk says "mipnei seiva takum v'hadarta p'nei zakein" which teaches us the standing up has to show hiddur. Hiddur for a rebbi muvhak is when you see him and for a regular talmud chacham it is 4 amos. The Ran learns these 2 halachos are from the same source. However, according to the Rambam we could say that there are 2 different chiyuvim. In fact the Rambam writes that the chiyuv for a parent is patterned after rebbi muvhak-so we see he holds rebbi muvhak is a kovod/yirah issue.

Father Standing Up For Son Who Is Rebbi

The gemara discusses whether a father must stand up for his son when the son is his rebbi and whether the son must stand up for his father. The gemara never answers the question and the Rosh paskens l'chumrah in both cases. The Ran paskens that the son must stand for his father but a father does not have to stand for his son. His rayah is from a Yerushalmi that says how Rav Tarfon showed kavod to his mother and his mother allowed it and didn't show kavod to him. The Ran then writes that a rebbi muvhak is the same as a regular chacham. I believe the Ran is saying that clearly Rabbi Tarfon was not his mother's rebbi muvhak. However, since a regular talmud chacham and rebbi muvhak have the same din we can learn the halachos of rebbi muvhak from the Yerushalmi. The Rosh might argue and say there is no rayah from teh Yerushalmi to a rebbi muvhak because a rebbi muvhak has a different din then a regular talmud chacham.

The only problem with this is the Rambam paskens like the Ran and based on my explanation, he should not have a rayah from the Yerushalmi.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Parshas Acharei-Mos Kedoshim: Standing Up

Well after a short work related hiatus, I hope I am back to regular posting. I'd like to publicly thank my personal blog Mashgiach for making sure I get back into it.

This week's shiur dealt with the mitzvah of standing up for various people.

Standing For A Parent

The Shulchan Aruch paskens that one must stand up for a parent. The question is, what is th em'kor for this halacha? When the gemara in Kiddushin lists those actions which are considered a part of kibbud av v'eim and yiras av v'eim, standing up is not mentioned. However, if one looks in the Rambam, he lists it as part of showing kavod. The Beis Yosef writes that the m'kor is from a gemara in Kiddushin that mentions how Rav Yosef would stand up when he heard his father coming.

Standing For A Talmud Chacham/Zakein

There is also a mitzvah to stand up for a talmud chacham or zakein. The m'kor is this week's parsha, "m'pnei seiva takum". The gemara has a machlokes whether this halacha only applies to a talmud chacham or even a zakein who is not a talmud chacham. L'ma'aseh we pasken it applies even to a regular zakein.

The Chinuch gives an interesting reason why this halacha would apply to a regular zakein. The whole point of this mitzvah is to show honor to someone who has acquired wisdom, since acquiring wisdom is one of the primary purposes of being created. Someone who is elderly has lived a long enough life that he by default has acquired chachma and therefore we are supposed to stand up for him.

Standing For A Rebbi Muvhak

There is also a mitzvah to stand for a rebbi muvhak. The question is, what is the reason for this chiyuv. Is it an extension of the chiyuv of standing for any talmud chacham or is it a different chiyuv.

If one looks in the Chinuch and the Rambam Sefer HaMitzvos (Aseh 209) it seems that they learn the chiyuv of a rebbi muvhak is just an extension of standing for a regular talmud chacham. Part of this extension woud also include other areas where one is obligated to show respect to his rebbi muvhak (not arguing with him, sitting in is place etc). The Ran in Kiddushin (daf 14 in the Rif) also seems to hold this as well.

However, the Brisker Rav (1st piece in the sefer) that Tosafos in Bava Kama as well as the Rambam in Mishna Torah seem to learn standing for a rebbi muvhak is an independent chiyuv not related to satnding for a zakein/talmud chacham. This independent chiyuv is learnt from the drasha of "es Hahshem elokecha tira-es l'rabbos talmidiei chachamim". Tosafos in Bava Kama asks why do we need this drasha of "es l'rabbos talmidiei chachamim" why not use the possuk of "mipnei seiva takum" Tosafos answers that es l'rabbos talmidiei chachamim refers to a rebbi muvhak. The Rambam in Hilchos Talmud Torah writes that the chiyuv to show kovod and yirah to a rebbi muvhak is learned from kibud av v'eim. We see that they hold standing for a rebbi muvhak is a special din of kovod and yirah that is not related to standing for an elderly person.

Stay tuned for the nafka minas to these chakirah.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Post Pesach Wrap Up.

I hope everyone had a nice Pesach. I saw and heard some interesting divrei torah over Pesach. Here are a couple of highlights.

1) If you rent a hotel room on Pesach that has a mini bar, are you a) chayav in bedika b) obligated to get rid of the chametz in the mini bar.

I saw that Rav Asher Weiss talks about this and he takes it as a davar pashut that not only are you chayav in bedika but you must get rid of the food in the mini bar. His reasoning is that you have been m'kabeil acharyus on the food and the halacha is that if a Jew has chametz of a non Jew in his reshus and he is m'kabeil achrayus on the chametz then he has a chiyuv bedika.

When looking into the sugya a little a did find that it is a machlokes Rambam vs Ra'avad where the non Jew imposes a chiyuv achrayus ba'al korcha. However, it might not be nogeia to this case because my understanding of that machlokes is that it is a situation where the non Jew is acting against the laws of the medina. (The case in the gemara is where the army forces the city to host the army against the laws of the land). It could be my understanding of the machlokes is not accurate and it is nogeia are case but on the surface it doesn't seem to be.

I spoke this issue over with a noted Talmud Chacham and he was mesupak. He said it probably depends on what exactly your obligations are to the hotel regarding the food.

2) I spent the last days in Flatbush and the Rav of my in-law's shul spoke a little about Yom Tov Sheini. He raised in an interesting shailah discussed in the Sha'arei Teshuva. Can a ben Chutz L'Aretz cook for a ben EY on Yom Tov Sheini. The two reasons the Rav mentioned was a) it is not "lachem". Just like you can't cook for a non Jew because it is not "lachem" so too you can't cook for a ben EY since it is not Yom Tov for him b) there is an issur hachana. For the ben Chutz L'Aretz it is Yom Tov and for the ben EY it is a weekday. When you cook for the ben EY you are cookimg on Yom Tov for a weekday.

I looked up the Sha'arei Teshuva and he just quotes this opinion withouit bringing the reasons so I didn't have a chance to see these reasons inside. (Although the Rav mentioned that it is discussed in the sefer Yom Tov Sheini K'Hilchaso. In any event I think one can be choleik on both reasons.

As far as the reason of "lachem", it would depend on how you learn the nature of the drasha. Is it excluding anyone who is not keeping Yom Tov, or is it excluding only those who are not in the parsha of Yom Tov. A ben EY has a mitzva of Yom Tov, just today it happens to be a weekday for him. So maybe it is still called "lachem".

Regarding the reason of hachana, I don't see how it is hachana. L'ma'aseh the ben Chutz L'Aretz is cooking on Yom Tov for today. Just because it is not Yom Tov for the ben EY doesn't mean you are cooking for a different day. Why look at the gavra you are cooking for, look at which day you are cooking for.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Inyanei Pesach:Chametz In A Different Time Zone

This past Shabbos I discussed the question of what to do if you are in on etime zone and your chametz is in a different time zone. Does the issur of chametz follow the gavra or the cheftza?

This question is discussed in the Shut Oneg Yom Tov. He says that the issur follows the cheftza of chametz and therefore even if you are in a place that is not Pesach the chametz is still assur. His rayah is from the gemara that discusses what the halacha is if you eat chametz shel terumah. If you do it b'shogeg you pay keren and chomesh and b'meizid you are patur because of kim lei b'd'rabba minei. The gemara brings a rayah that you value teruma eaten based on volume eaten and not based on the value from the fact you pay for chametz teruma. If you paid based on value, teruma chametz has no value. The Oneg Yom Tov asks if the issur chametz follows the gavra then we can say the gemara is discussing a case where the teruma was eaten on 7th day of Pesach and the owner of teruma was in a location where Pesach was over. For the owner the teruma does have value. From the fact the gemara doesn't say this you see we follow the cheftza shel chametz.

The Chessed L'Avraham disagrees and says the issur of ba'al yera'eh follows the person. His rayah is from the gemara that says if you are away from home and after the 6th hour you remember you have chametz you can be m'vateil it. The gemara asks how can you be m'vateil it, it is already assur. The gemara could have answered that the chametz was in a different time zone where it wasn't Pesach. Since it didn't say this you see the issur follows the gavra.

The Mikroei Kodesh says maybe they don't argue. The Oneg Yom Tov could be talking about the issur hana'ah from chametz and the Chesed L'Avraham is talking about the issur of ba'al yera'eh. He also quotes from the Sefer HaYomom from Rav Yechiel Michel Tuchitchinsky (available for download at (p.92) ) who addresses this question posed to him by Nathan Lamport's son in law. Rav Yechiel Michel Tuchitchinsky writes that the chametz itself is an issur cheftza and assur to eat and assur b'hana'ah. However, the issur of ba'al yera'eh is an issur gavra.

Rav Yechiel Michel Tuchitchinsky then writes an interesting idea. If someone is in EY and the chametz is in NY, you coul dbe m'vateil the chametz because it is similar to a case where you are m'vateil chametz before it is chametz. The halacha is that if you are mixing flour and water on Pesach you can say any crumbs which will be chametz are batul since it is not yet chametz. Here too the bread in NY doesn't have a "din" chamez so you can be m'vateil it. Now if you are in NY and teh chametz is in EY, we can also say that bittul works. The reason is because the only reason bittul won't work on Peasch is because the Torah puts it into your reshus against your will. In this case since it is not Pesach for you, the chametz isn't being put into your reshus and you could be m'vateil it. L'ma'aseh he says there are opinions that it is the issur hana'ah which prevents the bittul from working so l'chatchila we should be machmir. Howeevr, b'dieved the chametz is not assur after Pesach.

The Mishnas Ya'avetz wants to say that this question depends on whether chametz is an issur gavra or issur cheftza. He learns the Rambam that it is an issur gavra and therefore the issur follows the person. (However, ayin Brisker Rav that even after the 6th hour the chametz is an issur cheftza)

Rav Moshe (Cheelk 4 Siman 94) paskens that the issur follows the gavra but we should be machmir to follow the cheftza shel chometz. However in Siman 95 he seems to say it follows the cheftza. Tzarich iyun in Rav Moshe although the maskana is clearly to make sure you get rid of all chametz in a way to satisfy both time zones (whether selling or buying back the chametz)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shoveling Snow on Shabbos

Most of us in the NY/NJ area "enjoyed" one last snowfall this past Shabbos (hopefully it will be the last snowfall of the winter). This of course led to the question whether one is allowed to shovel snow on Shabbos. It seems after looking at the contemporary halacha books that there are three issues raised. (I will add one caveat that this is all from memory so I might have misquoted something-so if you catch me on a mistake let me know)

Is snow muktzah?

Whether snow is muktzah is a machlokes between Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l and Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l. Rabbi Bodner in his Muktzah book quotes Rav Moshe as saying that snow is muktzah machmas gufo since there is no intrinsic use for snow. The Sh'miras Shabbos quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman as saying that snow is not muktzah-just like rain that falls on Shabbos is not muktzah.

Issues of Soseir

Rabbi Ribiat in his Hilchos Shabbos book brings from the Har Tzvi (In his section on 39 melachos). that hold shoveling snow could violate the issur of soseir. The Har Tzvi discusses a case of whether you could remove snow from your roof. He says it could be the snow is attached to the roof and it is soseir. The m'kor for this is a Magan Avraham (brought in the Mishna Berura 320:30 that one is not allowed to chop up ice over a river. The Mishna Berura writes most achronim disagree with the Magan Avraham).

Interestingly enough, the Piskei Teshuvos quotes this Har Tzvi as being meikil and allowing you to shovel the snow while Rabbi Ribiat seems to be machmir based on the Har Tzvi. The answer to this apparant contradiction seems to be based on the fact that there is a footnote in the Har Tzvi which explains that you can't compare the psak of the Magan Avraham to this case. The Magan Avraham was referring to a case where the ice formed mechitzos so you would be making mechitzos by chopping a hole in it. Shoveling snow however would not be a problem. I guess the disagreement between Rabbi Ribiat and the Piskei Teshuvos is based on whether the Har Tzvi would agree or disagree with the footnote.

Issues of Tircha

Rabbi Ribiat also writes there could be an issur of tircha to shovel snow. L'aniyas da'ati I am not sure how one goes about catagorizing what is an issur of tircha and what isn't.

Halacha L'Ma'aseh

If you assume there is an issur of tircha and/or soseir than shoveling snow should be assur. This is the position of Rabbi Ribiat although curiously I believe he allows one to chop ice on the sidewalk.

If you assume there is no issur of tircha and/or soseir than shoveling snow should be muttar even if you hold snow is muktzah . That is because one is allowed to remove muktzah if it might harm someone. This is the position of the Piskei Teshuvos. I guess a difference in whether snow is muktzah or not is regarding how much can one shovel. If snow is not muktzah you might be able to shovel the whole walk. If it is muktzah you would probably only be allowed to remove enough so it is not dangerous.

I was told that one prominent Rav in a community allowed peopel to shovel the snow because it was dangerous.

I found it interesting that the Sh'miras Shabbos did not discuss it but he does say you can put salt down to melt ice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Parshas Ki Tisa: Saying Ptitum HaKetores

THis past Shabbos I spoke about the ketores. I didn't really say over any chiddushim, but at leats now I have a better understanding of what we say in "Pitum HaKetorees". The ketores has to have 11 spices and if you leave one out you are chayav misa. There is a machlokes Rishonim what the chiyuv misa is for. Rashi (K'risus 5a) learns that it is specifically referring to teh kohein gadol bringing the k'tores on Yom Kippur. If you leave out one spice so the kohein gadol has entered the kodesh k'dashim for no reason ("bi'ah reikanis") and is chayav misa. The pashtus in the Rambam (Klei Mikdash 2:8) seems to be that this is a halacha that applies all year. If you bring the ketores that is missing a spice you have brought an improper ketores and you are chayav misa.
There is a nafka mina l'ma'aseh. The Beis Yosef quotes the Terumas HaDeshen that one suld not say "Pitum HaKetores" every day since we are in a rush and if you forget one spice you are chayav misa. The Beis Yosef asks, that according to Rashi the chiyuv misa is only for Yom Kippur. Also, the Beis Yosef understands the Rambam like Rashi. (The Mishne L'Melech argues on the Beis Yosef's understanding of the Rambam). It coms out the machlokes between nusach sefard and ashkenaz over whether to say "Pitum HaKetores" everyday is based on the machlokes how to understand the chiyuv misa of leaving out a spice.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Exploring the Mystery of Wine

Here is the vort I wrote up on Purim.

Getting Drunk on Purim

The גמרא מגילה דף ז: brings the famous halacha that חיב אינישׁ לבסומי עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן וברוך מרדכי a person is obligated to get intoxicated [with wine] until he doesn’t know the difference between .ארור המן וברוך מרדכי

There are a couple of questions that one can ask on this גמרא..

The first question is why does the gemara use the term לבסומי? If the gemra is telling us that there is a mitzvah to get drunk, why not use the term להשׁתכר?
The second and more important question is, why does this מצוה exist? This whole מצוה seems to go against everything the Torah stands for. The Torah always seems to stress how we need to be in control of our faculties and that even when we partake of the physical world, it should be with the mindset that our ultimate goal is to serve HKBH. Therefore, isn’t the whole notion of getting drunk totally antithetical to what the Torah wants?

The Dual Nature of Wine

The key to answering these questions lies in understanding the power of wine. If we look in the גמרא in סנהדרין ע. we can find that wine has contradictory aspects to it.

א"ר חנן לא נברא יין בעולם אלא לנחם אבלים ולשׁלם שכר לרשׁעים שׁנאמר תנו שׁכר לאובד ויין למרי נפשׁ.
א"ר יצחק מאי דכתיב "אל תרא יין כי יתאדם? ....רבא אמר אל תרא יין שׁאחריתו דם ["אל תרא" רשׁ"י פירשׁ: כלומר אל תתן עיניך לימשׁך אחריו].
R. Hanan said: The only purpose for which wine was created was to comfort mourners and requite the wicked, for it is written, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish [i.e., the wicked], and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. R. Isaac said: what is meant by, Look not thou upon the wine when it is red? ... Raba said: look not upon it, for it leads to bloodshed [dam].

From this גמרא we see that wine has a negative effect on a person. The only redeeming quality of wine is that it helps a person forget his problems and drinking too much wine can lead a person to murder.
However, in the next piece of גמרא we see a different side to wine.

רב כהנא רמי כתיב תירש וקרינן תירושׁ. זכה נעשה ראשׁ לא זכה נעשה רשׁ. רבא רמי כתיב ישׁמח וקרינן ישמח. זכה משמחו לא זכה משׁממו
והיינו דאמר רבא חמרא וריחני פקיחין.
Rav Kahana raised a difficulty; The Bible writes tirash [for wine], but the word is read tirosh. If one has merit, he becomes a leader, if not, he becomes impoverished. Raba raised a difficulty: The Bible writes, [and wine] yeshammah [the heart of man], but it is read yesammah. If one has merit, it gladdens him; if not, it saddens him. And thus Raba said: wine and spices have made me wise.
Once again we see from this גמרא that wine can adversly affect a person either by cause poverty or sadness. However, unlike the previous גמרא, we also see that wine has positive qualities. It helps you become a leader, it causes you to rejoice and it makes you smart. How are we to understand this dual nature of wine? What is it about wine that can cause such extreme results in a person?
The Maharal in his Chiddushei Aggados on this גמרא explains as follows.
פירושׁ היין אינו ראוי לעולם הזה. כי היין ישׁ בו ענין אלקי שׁהרי הוא משמח אלקים ואנשׁים. ודבר זה יכול האדם לדעת ולהבין שׁהוא יוצא מן הפנימית הענב שׁהוא נסתר מערה על שׁהיין ישׁ לו מקום נסתר אינו מן העולם בנגלה. ...ועוד רבא רמי כתיב וכו' וכל זה כמו שׁפרשׁנו כי היין הוא נסתר, וכל נסתר ישׁ לו שׁתי בחינות כי מצד שׁהוא נסתר ישׁ לו מדריגות השכל שׁהוא נסתר ומצד שׁאינו נגלה אינו נמצא ונעדר...וכבר אמרנו כי היין ישׁ בו ענין רוחני שׁהרי הוא משמח אלקים ואנשׁים. וכל דבר שׁהוא חשׁוב וישׁ בו ענין אלקי אם ישׁתמשׁ בו כראוי קונה ע"י זה מעלה. ואם אינו משׁתמשׁ בו כראוי קונה ע"י זה מיתה. ... וכן כאשׁר ישׁתה היין כראוי מפקח אותו ונותן לו השכל העליון, ואם אינו כך רק שׁשׁותה וישׁתכר מביא יללה ומיתה ואין להאריך בזה. The Maharal is saying that the reason that wine causes two extreme reactions is because in essence wine is a very spiritual food. It has the ability to cause a person to connect to HKBH and to achieve a level of shlaimus in one’s soul. It is through achieving this level of shlaimus that a person can reach a state of simcha. This is the simcha that comes from drinking wine. However, because wine in essence is spiritual and non physical, it also has the ability of causing the opposite effect. If a person uses wine improperly then it will bring destruction upon that person.
The Aveirah of Purim
The גמרא in מגילה says that there was a discussion between רבי שׁמעון בר יוחי and his talmidim regarding why the בני ישראל deserved to be punished through Haman. One suggestion given was because they were נהנה from the seudah of Achashveirosh.The question is, what was so terrible about this aveirah that the whole nation deserved to die? The food was kosher and there were many reasons why the Jews should have been allowed to attend. Even if they really shouldn’t have gone, was the crime that great to deserve such a terrible punishment?
Rav Dovid Cohen in his sefer ימי פורים brings down an explanation from the גר"א. The גר"א writes that the source of bad in עשו comes from his כח התאה, his desire for worldly pleasures. However, it is not just עשו’s desire for worldly pleasures that sets him apart, but rather it is his desire for worldly pleasures to the exclusion of anything else, even spirituality. This is highlighted by the story in פרשׁת תולדות where עשו sold his birthright to יעקב. The גרא writes that the Torah uses the loshon of הלעיטני נא to describe עשו’s request for food. This לשׁוןof הלעיטני נא tells us that עשו was only concerned with his own physical pleasures and desires and he had no use for anything spiritual, like the בכורה that he eventually sold. This midda of עשו was passed down and inherited by his grandson עמלק.
With this idea we can understand why the aveirah of eating from Achashveirosh’s seudah was considered so terrible. By partaking in the seudah, they weren’t just eating a meal but rather they were eating in order to fill their desire for a good meal. Their whole eating wasn’t done to raise themselves closer toהקב"ה , but rather it was done just for their ownהנאה . It comes out that by eating at Achashveirosh’s seudah they were utilizing the midda of עשו/עמלק of following their desires to the exclusion of any spiritual purpose. Since they were joining up with what עמלק represented, הקב"ה gave Haman the ability to destroy the בני ישראל. (This idea is also found in the Sefas Emes regarding the connection betwen המן and the עץ הדעת )
Celebrating the Yeshua of Purim
Once the B’nei Yisroel were saved, Chazal wanted to commemorate the neis in a way in which the B’nei Yisroel would not forget what caused them to be in this predicament in the first place. Therefore, the גר"א writes in אדרת אליהו פרשׁת האזינו that they created a Yom Tov whose entire day revolved around eating and drinking. However, unlike the eating and drinking of Achashveirosh’s seudah, this eating and drinking would be for the purpose of serving HKBH. The partaking of the gashmiyus would be only in order to serve הקב"ה. In fact the Sefas Emes also writes that Purim was a zman of being m‘sakein the guf and by serving הקב"ה through eating and drinking the B’nei Yisroel accomplished a true תשׁובה מאהבה where the original חטא was transformed into a zechus.
The Role of Wine
We can now understand why Chazal were m’sakein the chiyuv of mishteh v’simcha through wine. As we mentioned above in the name of the Maharal, wine has a dual aspect to it. On the one hand if it is misused it has the ability to bring a person to destruction. This is in fact what happened to the B’nei Yisroel by Achashveirosh’s party. By partaking in the seudah and misusing the wine they cause a gezeirah to be placed on Klal Yisroel. However, wine when properly used, also has the ability to raise a person to a high spiritual madreigah. After בני ישראל did teshuva and rectified their misdeeds, they needed to take that wine and use it to elevate themselves. As mentioned, the whole inyan of mishteh v’simcha on Purim is to take the koach of gashmiyus and elevate it to a higher spiriual level, where we are only indulging in the physical world in order to serve הקב"ה . It would stand to reason that the vehicle through which we do this is the food that was created for this purpose, namely wine.
Understanding לבסומי בפוריא
Finally, we need to answer why the גמרא uses the לשׁון of "בסומי בפוריא".
ואיתא חייב אדם לבסומי וכו' כי מהתקרבות דברי עוה"ז להקדושׁה ישׁ תוספות ריח. כי באמת עניני עוה"ז אין בהם ממשׁות קדושׁה רק שׁע"י הביטול נתוסף מהם ריח טוב...שׁכל ענין הריח נעשה מהתכפיות סט"א להקדושׁה וזהו לבסומי (שפת אמת שׁנת תרמ"ד)
The Sefas Emes is saying that the word בסומי is found by perfumes to mean that a perfume spreads it’s smell. Gashmiyus by itself has no kedusha. It is only when it is connected to ruchniyus does the smell of ruchniyus spread to the gashmiyus. Chazal are telling us that even though we need to drink and make merry, we should not forget the ultimate goal-to infuse the gashmiyus with a sense of kedusha.