Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Purim Thought from Rav Yonason Eibshitz

I was going through the peirush of Rav Yonason Eibshitz on the Megillah and noticed a few interesting ideas.

1) When Haman made his lottery it says "m'yom l'yom u'm'chodesh l'chodesh". Rav Yonason Eibshitz explains that Haman made two sets of lotteries. He first wrote the 12 months on 12 pieces of paer and picked as month. Then he wrote the numbers 1-354 on 354 pieces of paper. This represented each day of the year. He then picked a day. If the day of the year fell out in the month he picked then he would know the lottery was correct. In this case the day he picked fell out in the 12th month so he knew the lottery was going to work.

2) From the time that Haman sent out his letters until he was hanged was 4 days. Yet Mordechai didn't send outhis letters until Sivan, 70 days later. Why did Mordechai wait so long to do this?

Rav Yonason Eibshitz gives a few answers.

1) He shows that Haman waited 70 days from the day he came to power until he came to Achashveirosh with his plan (I forget his cheshbon, but it was an interesting cheshbon). It must be that the reason Haman had to wait was because when a person first comes to power, he is not really accepted until 70 days into his rule. So too with Mordechai. He took over for Haman and he also had to wait 70 days until people accepted him. Once he was accepted he could send out his letter.

2) The 2nd answer he brings is that Mordechai wanted there to be an Adar Sheini. Adar Sheini has no mazal so teh koach of Haman would be diminished. (I saw the B'nei Yissascher says the same idea). However, in order for there to be an Adar Sheini he had to have the Sanhedrin in Eretz Yisroel do it. It took 70 days for his request to reach Eretz Yisroel and to get a reply back. Only after he knew for sure that there was an Adar Sheini did he send out his letters.

One ha'arah on this is that my chavrusah told me that there is a Levush that says Adar Rishon has no mazal. This is based on the metzius that if there was no extra month then all the constellations that makes up the mazalos would be off and the mazal of dag would be in Nisan. By adding an extra month we ensure that Adar Sheini gets the mazal of dag while Adar Rishon would fall out partially in Shevat's mazal (d'li).

The kasha on Rav Yonason Eibshitz and the B'ne i Yissascher would be that how could you say Adara Sheini has no mazal-the metzius is that the constellation of dag falls out in Adar Sheini.

A simple teretz is that when the seforim discuss mazalos they don't necessarily have to tie it into the constellations. However, I am not sure if this is a correct understanding of mazalos.

Another possible teretz could be based on a Chasam Sofer. The Chasam Sofer writes that Tu B'Shvat is thetime when the sap begins to flowe in the trees. In a leap year al pi teva this should happen in February which is Adar Rishon and not Shevat. However, teva follows the Torah, and in a leap year the sap will flow in January/Shevat. We could say the same for the constellations. Al pi teva the constellation of dag should be in Adar Sheini but since al pi torah there is no mazal it is in Adar Rishon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Parshas Vayikra/Zachor:Milchemes Amaleik

This weeks' shiur was on the nature of Milchemes Amaleik

There is a machlokes rishonim what exactly is the geder of this mitzvah.

1) The Yeraim (435) holds it is a mitzvah on the king. His rayah is from the fact that there are 3 mitzvos that apply when B'nei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel. 1) set up a king 2) wipe out Amaleik 3) buiild the Beis HaMikdash. From the fact that you need a king to defeat Amaleik we see it is a mitzvah on teh king

2) The Chinuch writes it is a mitzvah on the tzibbur as well as on each individual.

Rav Yitzchak Sorotzkin in his sefer Gevuras Yitzchak writes that the mekor for the Chinuch is the fact that there are 2 parshiyos. Beshalach discusses the idea of waging war on Amaleik. This is a miyzvah for the tzibbur. Parshas Ki Tzeitzei just says to destroy Amaleik. This is a mitzvah on the individual.

3) The Rambam seems to pasken that it is a chiyuv on the tzibbur. At the end of Sefer HaMitzvos the Rambam writes that the three mitzvos of 1) setting up a king 2) wiping out Amaleik 3) building the Beis HaMikdash are mitzvos on the tzibbur.

There is also a diyuk in the Rambam Hil Melachim Perek 5. The Rambam says by the 7 nations who inhabi ed Ertez Cana'an if an individual has the opportunity to kill one of the members of these 7 nations and you don't you are m'vateil an aseh. However, by Amaleik the Rambam doesn't say anything. This implies that Amaleik is only a mitzvah on the tzibbur.

However, there are some who learn the Rambam that it is also a mitzvah on the individual.

One nafka mina can be found in Kovetz Chiddushei Torah from Rav Soloveitchik zt"l in the piece on Milchemes Mitzvah. The Rambam says that even by a milchemes mitzvah (a war against Amaleik or the 7 nations) we tell people they don't have to fight. The question is that by a milchemes mitzvah everyone is obligated to fight. So why do we read the pesukim letting people know that they don't have to go. The answer is that there are 2 dinim to a milchemes mitzvah. There is a chiyuv m'din milchama but there is also an individual chiyuv that the king can force people to go. The reason we read these pesukim is because m'dinei milchama certain people don't have to go. They only have to go because of the individual chiyuv that comes from the king forcing them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Early Purim thoughts

I thought I would just mention a couple of thoughts that came to me this week regarding Purim.

1) Most people are familiar with the shitta of Rabbeinu Tam (brought in the first Rosh on Megilla) that Ta'anis Esther commemorates the fasting the B'nei Yisroel did on 13 Adar before they fought their enemies.

It just occurred to me (and I don't know why I never made this connection before) that this means they were fasting while they were fighting. Imagine fighting on an empty stomach.

2) My daughter asked me this week why it is called Megillas Esther as opposed to Megillas Mordechai or some other name. I number of answers come to mind but what I found more interesting is that at the end of the megilla the possuk says that Mordechai wrote evrything down. Rashi says that this refers to our megilla-meaning that Mordechai wrote the megilla. However, the gemara writes that it was Esther who had an arguement with the Chachamim regarding what status the megilla should have. I found it interesting that it was Esther who made the arguements even though Mordechai wrote the megilla.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Parshas Pekudei/Shekalim:Katan Donating Shekalim

The Mishna in Shekalim (1:3) says that a katan is patur from donating a 1/2 shekel to teh beis HaMikdash. The Bartenura says it is referring to someone under 20 years old. This is the Chinuch's opinion as well. Tosafos Yom Tov argues and says it refers to someone under 13. Anyone over 13 must contribute. The Rambam (Hilchos Shekalim) and the Ramban also hold anyone over 13 must contribute. The mishna also says that if a katan donates we accept it from him. The achronim ask how can we accept the money from a katan, m'd'oreisa he can't be makneh an object and therefore the money m'd'oreisa will never belong to hekdesh. It would then come out that the korbonos bought with the money are korbonos yachid and not korbonos tzibbur.

There are a few mehalchim to answer this question.

Sha'ar HaMelech

The Sha'ar HaMelech (Shekalim 1:5) writes that the coin the katan gives is batul with all the other coins. Even though Tosafos in Me'ilah says money is not batul, nevertheless this is only m'd'rabanan. The Rashba says that m'd'oreisa bitul applies to everything. Therefore, in our case the katan's kinyan works m'd'rabanan and on a d'oreisa level we can rely on bittul.

Avnei Miluim I

The Avnei Miluim (siman 28) argues on the Sha'ar HaMelech. He says that bittul does not work by money. The reason is because by money we are dealing with ownership and you can't be m'vateil someones ownership of something. (There is no bittul of teh cheftza like by issurim). The Avnei Miluim answers that at worst the coin the katan gave to hekdesh doesn't belong to hekdesh and hekdesh is stealing the coin. However, when hekdesh buys something with that coin whatever it bought belongs to hekdesh. For example, when you buy a lulav, there is no chiyuv to make sure the mony you use belongs to you. The reason is because if the money is not yours, the lulav becomes yours. Whether the money is yours or not is irrelevent. The same thing here and therefore the animal hekdesh buys is korbon hatzibbur.

(it is not so pashut whether the Avnei Miluim is correct in understanding bittul by money. The Bikurei Ya'akov on Sukka disagrees)

Avnei Miluim II/Ketzos

The Avnei Miluim (also found in the Ketzos) suggest a different answer. He raises the question whether a kinyan d'rabanan can work for a d'oreisa. (For example, ma'mad shalshtan is a kinyan d'rabanan and the question is raised whether you can use the object to marry a woman). He brings a rayah from our case that it works. The kinyan from the katan is only d'rabanan yet it works to make it a korbon tzibbur m'd'oreisa.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Parshas Vayekheil: Women Building The Beis HaMikdash

The Rambam paskens in Hil Beis HaBechira 1:11 that women are obligated to help build the Beis HaMIkdash. The Kesef Mishna writes that the m'kor is from Parshas VaYekheil which states that women contributed to the Mishkan. However, the Rambam also paskens that you can't build the Beis HaMikdash at night nor on Shabbos and Yom Tov. If so that would mean building teh Beis HaMikdash is a mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama and women should be patur. Why then are they chayav.

There are a number of approaches to this question

Sefer HaChinuch

The Sefer HaChinuch writes that building the Beis HaMikdash is a mitzvah on teh whole tzibbur and not on individual. Also, the Rambam at the end of Sefer HaMitzvos counts this mitzvah as one of those mitzvos applying to the whole tzibbur. If so one can argue that it is irrelevent whether this mitzvah is a mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama, since it applies to the tzibbur.

Beis Yitzchak/Turei Even

The Beis Yitzchak (Orach Chaim Siman 3) answers the question based on a Turie Even. The Turei Even in Chagiga 15b says that the issue of mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama only applies when teh zman is mevateil the mitzvah. However, when it is only mafsik/interrupts the mitzvah then mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama doesn't apply. For example, there is a question whether women are chayav to do semicha on a korbon. The Turei Even asks why don't we say it is a mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama since you can't do it at night. He answers that the mitzvah of semicha on a particular korbon only applies once in a person's lifetime. Once you do the semicha on an animal you never need to do it again. Therefore, if you don't do semicha on Monday and Monday night comes, the semicha of Tuesday is not a new mitzva-it is the same mitzvah which you didn't do yesterday. The only reason you couldn't do it Monday night was because the nigt interrupted your performance of the mitzvah. However, by tefillin, the mitzvah of Monday is notthe same mitzvah as Tuesday. It is a totally new mitzvah. When Monday night comes, the night is mevateil your Monday mitzvah-you can never do it again.

The Beis Yitzchak says that building the Mikdash is like semichas hakorbon. It only applies once-after it is built the mitzvah is over. Night is just an interruption not a bittul.

Kehillas Ya'akov

The Steipler has a similar mehalach in regards to why the petur of Shabbos doesn't make it a mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama. He quotes a Sha'ar HaMelech at the end of pesulei hamukdashin (in discussing nosar) that if the mitzvah applies on Shabbos just that you can't do it because of issurei Shabbos then it is not a mitzvas aseh sh'hazman grama. In theory the mitzvah to build the Beis HaMikdahs exists on Shabbos it is only because of issurei Shabbos that we can't. This is not like tefillin where there are no issurei Shabbos preventing you from putting tefillin on. Rather, the Torah says the mitzvah itself doesn't apply on Shabbos.

Klei Chemdah (Ki Sisa)

The Klei Chemdah answers that it is only a mitzvah to have the Mikdash built and not too build it. Therefore, it can apply to women. (He actually rejects this answer but I mentioned it anyway)