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?