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