Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parshas Vayeira and Chaya Sorah: Hachnosas Orchim and Mincha Ketzara

I figured I would combine 2 weeks into one post since neither topic has a lot on it.

Parshas Vayeira:Hachnosas Orchim

 I spoke about the mitzva of hachnasas orchim. I basically went through the Chofetz Chaim in Ahavas Chesed and pointed out how the mitzva is done. Here are a few ha'aras.

1) The Chofetz Chaim learns all the halachos from the actual pesukim that describe what Avraham did. He explains that the reason the Torah tells us in detail how Avraham took care of his guests is to show us what the mitzva entaiuls. For example, Avraham told his guests to sit down and rest before they ate. From here we learn you should let your guests catch their breath and relax when they come in before serving the meal.

2) The Rambam paskens that escorting the guests on their way out is teh most important part of the mitzvah. The shiur he gives is different for a rebbi/talmid or a regular guest but it could be up to 2000 amos. The question is why we don't do it today. The Chofetz Chaim suggests that m'ikkar hadin the shiur is 4 amos. Everything else is just lifnim mishuras hadin. Therefore, it was only necessary to escort them to the edge of the city or 2000 amos when the roads were dangerous. In todays times where people are on the street so you just need to the escort them 4 amos.

3) The question is asked if talmud torah is docheh the mitzva of hachnasas orchim since the gemara says taht hachnasas orchim is equal to hashkamas beis medrash.  The Chofetz Chaim says that in this regard hachnasas orchim is equal to all other mitzvos.  By all other mitzvos the halacha is if the mitzvas can be done by someone else then talmud torah comes first. .Similarly by hachnasas orchim if someone else can take care of the guest as well as you then you can go learn. An example that comes to mind would be if a chashuv guest comes, so if your wife or kids take care of the guest it might be a slap in the face to the guest. In such a case you would have to stay home and care for the guest.

Chaya Sorah: Mincha Ketzara

Since Yitzchak was misakein mincha I spoke about heichi kedusha. I always thougt (ignorantly as it turns out) that heichi kedusha stands for "half kedusha". However a quick google search taught me that "heichi" is yiddish for loud and since the chazzan says the first 3 berachos out loud it was called "heichi kedusha". the actual halachic term is "mincha ketzara"

Here are a few he'oros.
1) There are actually 3 ways brought down how to do it.
The Beis Yosef quotes a Shibulei HaLeket (in siman 232) that if time is short and it is almost past zman mincha you can have everyone daven shemonah esrei and the chazan should just say the 1st 3 berachos and kedusha and not the whole chazaras hashatz. This is how the mechabeir paskens in Siman 232.

The Darkei Moshe in Siman 124 quotes a Maharil that the chazzan starts off saying the first 3 berachos out loud and the tzibbur says it with him word for word including kedusha. Then after kedusha, everyone continues quietly on their own. This is how the Rema paskens in Siman 232 and 124.

The Mishna Berura in Siman 124 and Siman 232 based on the Beer Heitiv in 124 says that the Rema's way should only be done if you are really pressed for time. However, if you will not miss zman mincha o it is better to let the chazzan say the 1st 3 berachos out loud and say kedusha and then everyone should start saying their own shemoneh esrei quietly from the beginning.

How do we do it?  Well it depends where you went to Yeshiva. Most of the velt, ( at least as far as I know) follows the Mishna Berura. This is how it is done in MTJ and other places I have been in. However, in YU they follow the Rema. This is because Rav Soloveitchik held the Rema was correct for teh following reason. This is brought down in Nefesh Harav p.124. The Rav felt that chazaras hashatz has a din of tefillas hatzibbur which he explained to mean that the chazzan as representative for the tzibbur is saying over a communal shemonah esrei. He is not just repeating shemoneh esrei to be motzi those who can't read, but rather it is a shemone esrei that everyone is a part of. He compares it to bringing korbonos for the tzibbur. The kohein brings teh korbon but it is on behalf of the whole klal yisroel. Furthermore, the Rav felt that every person has to say kedusha in his own Shemone Esrei. (He doesn't say why this is true, he just states this as fact). However, we don't do that. So how do we accomplish this? Through chazaras hashatz which is tefillas hatzibbur it is as if when we say kedusha that we are saying it as part of our shemone esrei. Based on this, if we follow the Mishna Berura's approach, you will not have said kedusha in your shemone esrei. Therefore, you must do it like the Rema, and your kedusha is now part of your shemoneh esrei.

2) It is clear that heichi kedusha is not ideal. So why do yeshivos do it (MTJ does it every day). Some say because of bittul torah. However, Rav Yaakov Kamentzky in Emes L'Yaakov on Shulchan Aruch (Siman 124) gives a novel reason. He says the whole point of chazaras hashatz is to be motzi those who odon't know how to read. However, in yeshiva, everyone knows how to read so there is no need for chazaras hashatz. .However, you still need to say kedusha. By doing heichi kedusha we accomplish the saying of kedusha without chazaras hashatz. By shachris we can't do it cause you need semichas geulah l'tefilla and if everyone waits for the chazzan to say the 1st 3 berachos and kedusha it will be a hefsek. (acc to the Rema's way this might not be a problem).

3) There is an interesting teshuvas Radvaz brought down that quotes the minhag of the Rambam in Mitzrayim. Apparently, the Rambam set up that the chazzan should say shemoneh esrei out loud and everyone should say it with him through kedusha. Then the chazzan would continue the rest of shemoneh esrei out loud and those who knew how to read would say it to themselves. The reason for doing this was because when everyone first said shemoneh esrei quietly and then had chazzaras hashatz, people would start talking and not pay attention. (Some things never change). Those who didn't know how to read and needed chazaras hashatz to be yotzei were not listening and being yotzei. Therefore, the Rambam set it up teh way he did. The Radvaz was discussing whether they can go back to the original takana which is more ideal or would it be disrespectful to the Rambam. He answers that the Rambam clearly indicates that his takanah was a shas hadchak and now that people in Mitzrayim are frummer and don't talk they can go back to the original takana of chazal of having a silent shemone esrei and chazaras hashatz. ( As a side not it is interesting how history never changes-there are always tekufos where people are not so midakdeik in mitzvos and then people get more educated and are more midakdeik).

4) I heard a psak mipi hashemuah from Rav Dovid Feinstein that it is better for an aveil not to daven a heichi kedusha since the whole point of an aveil davening for the amud is to say more berachos for the niftar's zechus ( by answering amein to the berachos). Davening heichi kedusha doesn't accomplish that

Parsha Cakes

Last year my sister would bake a cake every Friday based on that weeks parsha.
Here are her cakes.
 She inspired my daughters to do it this year. I must admit that my daughters can be very creative. Here are some pictures of the last few weeks cakes.

This is from Lech Lecha, Avraham and Sorah going down to Mitzrayim. I will take partial credit for this since on Friday Parshas Lech Lecha my wife called me up to tell me that the cake fell in and they were trying to figure out what to do. I told her they should make Avraham and Sorah going down to Mitzrayim since there was already an indentation in the cake.

This is from Vayeira, Lot's wife turned to salt. Originally, my daughter drew a shape of a person with blue icing. When I came home from work, I decided that the person had to look like a woman (and she needed a skirt to be tzniyus). So they added the red icing for a skirt and long hair, (What would my kids do without me :-)  )

This is Chaya Sorah, the wedding of Yitzchak and Rivka. My only contribution to this one is that I was in the store and helped my daughter find the doilies that she used.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parshas Lech Lecha:Mila and Bein HaShemashos

Parshas Lech Lecha (and Vayeira) are always good weeks to talk about the inyanim of bris mila. This week I spoke about a few interesting shailos regarding Bris Mila and Bein HaShemashos.

Just as  a brief hakdama, there are two main opinions regarding when nightfall starts. The shitta of the Geonim (and the GR"A) is that we hold that tzeis is 3/4 of a mil after shkiah and Bein Hashemashos lasts for 3/4 of a mil and is the time between shkiah and tzeis. . Rabbeinu Tam however holds that tzeis is 4 mil after shkiah and Bein Hashemashos is the last 3/4 of a mil before his tzeis. The time before Bein Hashemashos (3 1/4 after shkiah) is considered day.

To put this in terms we can understand, let us say a mil is 18 minutes. Also, lets assume sunset (what we call shkiah) is 6:30. According to the Geonim, Bein Hashemashos lasts for (3/4) * 18 or 13.5 minutes, which means tzeis is 6:43 and 30 seconds. According to Rabbeinu Tam, tzeis is 4 mil or 72 minutes after shkiah which would be 7:42. Bein Hashemashos doesn't begin until 3 1/4 mil or 58.5 minutes after shkiah. So Bein Hashemashos for Rabbeinu Tam is from 7:29 30 seconds until 7:42. The time between 6:30 and 7:29.30 is daytime according to Rabeeinu Tam.

Now for the questions. Assume shkiah is 6:30.

We pasken that if a baby is born Bein Hashemashos, the bris is the next day.

1) Let's say a child is born Tuesday night 5 minutes after shkiah at 6:35. According to the Geonim, the baby is born Bein Hashemashos and the bris should be Wdnesday. According to Rabbeinu Tam, the baby was born on Tuesday and the bris should be Tuesday. Rav Moshe writes that this is a case of sefek sfeika. Safeik who we pasken like and even if we pasken like the Geonim, it is a safeik what day it is since it would beBein Hashemashos acc. to Geonim. Rav Moshe wants to say that a safeik in din and safeik in metzius creates a sefek sefeika. Therefore, Rav Moshe says the bris should be Tuesday. However, if the baby was born Motzei Shabbos at 6:35 then Rav Moshe says because of chumra of Shabbos we don't make the bris on Shabbos but do it Sunday. But if one wants to do the bris on Shabbos we don't stop them.

This case happened to me. My son was born a few minutes after shkiah on Thursday, but the Rav I asked said the bris should be on Friday.

Also, Rav Moshe's sefek sfeika would not apply when the baby is born at 7:00. In this case according to the Geonim it is night and Rabeeinu Tam it is day so there is no sefek sefeika.

2) Let's say the baby was born Friday night at 7 pm. According to the Geonim the bris is Shabbos and acc. to Rabbeinu Tam the bris is Friday. The father follows the Geonim and wants to make the bris on Shabbos. However, the mohel follows Rabbeinu Tam. Can the mohel do the bris since it would involve chilul Shabbos. Rav Yechezkel Roth at first says the mohel can't do the bris. But  then he says there is a shitta of the Re'ah that if a mohel does a bris sh'lo bizmano on Shabbos it is only mikalkeil. Only the father has a mitzvah on a mila shelo bizmano and since there is no mitzvah for the mohel it is mikalkeil. Therefore, the mohel could do the bris in our case. I don't understand it since mikalkeil is still chayav m'd'rabanan.

3) If a baby is born Friday before shkiah but after you were m'kabeil Shabbos the bris is Friday. Kabbalas Shabbos is meaningless in this case. We follow the day. A similar question is if a Friday bris was delayed and you were mikabeil Shabbos before shkiah and then you were able to do the bris. Do you do the bris? The Taz paskens in Siman 600 you do the bris. However, the Minchas Kohein in Ma'mar 2 Perek 1 disagrees and says you are machmir for chilul Shabbos.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Parshas Noach:Ben Noach and Holchin Acheir Rov

Does a Ben Noach have the right to use a concept like rov? The Pri Migadim in  Teivas Gomeh and Pesicha L'Taaravos Chakira 3 discusses the question of a piece of eiver min hachai that is mixed with other meats. Can a Ben Noach use bittul b'rov to eat the mixture? The Pri Megadim assumes that you can't use rov since the dinim of rov are learned from Sanhedrin and Kodshim/Korbonos. Since these halachos don't apply to a ben Noach, they have no mekor for rov. The Pri Megadim does have a safeik that maybe we still say mi ikka midi d'yisroel mutar u'ben noach assur and therefore the ta'aroves is muttar to a ben noach.

The Noda B'Yehuda (Mahadura Tanyana Even Ezer Siman 42) also holds like this. However, he does say we follow rov l'chumrah. Therefore, we use the rov of rov bi'ilos achar haba'al to say we know who a ben Noach's father is and therefore he is assur to his father's wife.

The Pri Yitzchak (Chelek 2 Siman 60) disagrees and says from the fact that dinei yerusha apply to a ben Noach and a son inherits his father, we see that we use rov and we say rov bi'ilos achar haba'al .

The Chasam Sofer (Yora Deia Siman 71) also holds we say rov by a ben Noach.

There are a few nafka minas.

1) The gemara in Avodah Zara 6B says a ben Noach can bring a korban but he can't bring a treifa as a korban. The only reason we don't say that every animal brought is a safeik treifa is because we use a rov of rov b'heimos k'sheiros. If a ben Noach can't use rov, maybe we should say that a ben Noach can never bring his own korbon on his private bamah beacuse maybe it is a treifa.

One approach to answering the kash ais to say that the only animal that a be nOach can not bring is an naimal that woul dbe posul for a Yisroel to bring. So since a stam animal is muttar for a Yisroel it is also muttar for a ben Noach. Only a definate treifa is a problem.

2) The Minchas Chinuch (Mitzva 32) says that an asufi who lives among rov yisroel can assume he is a yisroel. But if a ben Noach doesn't have rov how can he keep Shabbos since goy sheshavas is chayav misa.

3) The Rambam paskens if B'nei K'turah and B'nei Yishmael get mixed up you give the whole group a bris mila. The Sha'agas Aryeh asks, why don't we go after rov and rov are from Yishmael. His rayah that the Rambam holds we go after rov by a ben Noach is that the Rambam paskensthat  if a ger from Amon comes to us we say Sancheirev mixed everyone up and since rov non Jews are not from Amon we can assume this ger is not from Amon and he can marry a Jew.

The Noda B'Yehuda answers that there is no rov by a ben Noach. But in the case of the ger, since he already converted he is a Jew and he can use rov.

The question on the Noda B'Yehuda is so why don't we say any ben Noach is chayav mila since maybe he is from B'nei Keturah and we can't use rov. Also, why did the Rambam only use a case of B'nei Keturah mixed with Yishmael.

One answer I saw is that since other goyim don't have a mesorah to do mila we can assume they are not b'nei Keturah. It is only Yishmael who also has a mesora for mila that we have to worry maybe they are b'nei keturah.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Sukkah and the Rain

I hope everyone had an enjoyable sukkos and is ready to get back to the regulat grind.

The first night we had a massive downpour right after maa'riv which of course leads into the question of what is one supposd to do when it rains the first night. Basically, there are 2 shittos in the Rishonim. Some Rishonim hold that the first night one has a chiyuv to eat in the sukkah even if it rains. The petur of mitzaeir does not apply the first night. Other Rishonim hold that the petur of mitztaeir does apply the first night and one does not have to eat in the rain. What is the lomdus of the machlokes? There are actually a couple of ways to learn the machlokes. One way is to say that they argue in how to understand the chiyuv of eating in the sukkah the first night. Teh gemara says that we have a gezeirah shava of 15-15 from Pesach to teach us that eating in the sukkah the first night is not optional. Just like one has a chiyuv to eat matzxah the first night so too one has a chiyuv to eat in the sukkah the first night. The question is what is the chiyuv. Does the gezeirah shava just tell us that one has to eat bread the first night and since you can't eat outside the sukkah you have to eat it in the sukkah. However, there is no specific chiyuv to eat in the sukkah. The other way to understand the gezeirah shava is that the limud is telling us that there is a specific chiyuv to eat in the sukkah. It is not enough to eat bread but that bread must be eaten in the sukkah. One nafka mina would be how much bread does one have to eat. If the chiyuv is just to eat bread then one can argue you only need to eat a k'zayis. (You woud then also need to say that the achilas k'zayis on the first night becomes an achilas keva and m'meilah you would require a sukkah for the k'zayis.). According to the 2nd tzad, the chiyuv is to davka eat in the sukkah and since an achilas sukkah is a beitzah, you need to eat a beitzah of bread.

A second nafka mina is our case. Does the petur of mitztaeir/rain/teishvu k'ein taduru apply the first night. If the chiyuv is just to eat bread and you only need a sukkah to allow you to eat the bread so there would still be a petur of mitztaeir/rain/teishvu k'ein taduru and you would be able to eat the k'zayis of bread in the house. According to the 2nd tzad, the chiyuv is to davka eat in the sukkah and one could argue that there is no petur of mitztaeir/rain/teishvu k'ein taduru and one would need to eat the bread in the sukkah even in the rain.

I would just point out that one could argue the two sides differently-ayin Aruch Hashulchan.

What does one do l'halacha? The truth is that even according to the tzad you have a chiyuv to eat in the sukkah in the rain, the chiyuv only applies to the first beitzah/k'zayis. So in reality one could make kiddush in the house, eat the meal and see if it stops raining. If it stops you can go outside eat in the sukkah and be yotzei both shittos. If it doesn't stop raining you could still go outside eat a k'beitzah in the rain and be yotzei the shitta that you need to eat in the rain. The problem is what to do with the beracha of shehechiyanu. The beracha of shehechiyanu goes on the yom tov and on the sukkah. If you made kiddush in the house the shehechiyanu only goes on yom tov. Therefore, the Mishna Berura and other poskim like the Mateh Efraim and Pri Megadim reccomend waiting an hour or two before making kiddush.

I actually had decided to start eating around 9:30 and right when I was ready to make kiddush teh rain stopped. We had our whole meal in the sukkah.

Waiting until Chatzos

There is a shittah brought down to wait until chatzos. It is quoted from the Maharil, although the Sharei Teshuva says that in the Teshuvas Maharil he writes noone did this and the Teshuvos are the ikkar.
The Bekurei Yaakov and Chayei Adam also say to wait until chatzos. The Chayei Adam says you can make kiddush in the house after 2 hours but you should try to stay up until chatzos to eat a k'beitzah in the sukkah.  . The Bekurei Yaakov (639:33) says the reason is based on the Magen Avraham that if you don't have wine for kiddush  one should wait until chatzos to see if we can get wine. So here too we wait until chatzos to see if we can eat in the sukkah. My problem with the Bekurei Yaakov  is that according to all shittos, if it would not be for the beracha of shehechiyanu,  you can really make kiddush in the house as long as you eventually eat a k'zayis in the sukkah. So really the only reason you are waiting to make kiddush until chatzos is to get out of the problem of shehechiyanu. But that does not seem to be what the Bekurei Yaakov is saying. He seems to be saying we should be willing to wait until chatzos for it to stop raining to start the entire meal cause we wait up to chatzos to do the mitzvah-just like kiddush. This implies we need to wait up to chatzos for the atual mitzvah not just for shehechiyanu, but then why can't we start the meal earlier and just wait until chatzos to eat a k'beitzah
I think a possible hesber is the following. The GR"A says that the reason you are patur when it rains is caause there is no shem sukkah. In other words, the petur of mitztaeir and petur of rain are not the same. By mitztaeir I have a perfectly good sukkah outside to use, however since to sit in it would not be k'ein taduru I am patur. By rain, the reason I can't sit in the sukkah is because I don't have a sukkah to use. The rain takes away the shem sukkah. According to this, on the first night I really am chayuv to sit in a sukkah. the only reason I can't is because I don't have a sukkah to sit in. I can't eat in the house because I am really chayuv in sukkah. So how long must I wait to get a sukkah? We learn from the  Magen Avraham that just like I wait until chatzos to see if I can get wine for kiddush, hu hadin I wait until chatzos to ss if I can get a sukkah-if it stops raining I'll have a sukkah. I think this also explains another part of the Bekurei Yaakov. He throws in the idea that if you are mitztaeir to wait you can eat. But what does he gain by this/. How is this different than the petur of rain? The answer is that they are 2 very different peturim. Mitztaeir is a petur in yeshivas sukkah while rain says I don't have a sukkah to sit in.