Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Parshas Mattos:Kashering Keilim by Midyan

The Ramban asks why did B'nei Yisroel only get the mitzvah of kashering the keilim by Milchemes Midyan and not previously after Milchemes Sichon V'Og.

The Ramban answers that during war all issurim are muttar. We learn this from the possuk in Va'eschanan "U'batim mileim kol tuv". The gemara in Chullin 17a writes that even chazir is muttar during battle. Therefore, by Milchemes Sichon V'Og the b'nei Yisroel were allowed to use the pots they took. However, the Ramban explains that this heter only applies by kibush Eretz Yisroel. Milchemes Midyan was not kibush EY (ayin http://www.divreichaim.blogspot.com/ for the Rogotchover's mehalech in being magdir this war). Therefore, issurim were assur and mimeilah they needed to be told to kasher the pots.

L'ma'aseh the Ramban is l'shitaso in Parshas Va'Eschanan. There the Ramban explains that the heter b'sha'as milchama applies to everyone and even after the war the spoils of war are muttar even if they are assur (orlah, chazir). However, the Rambam disagrees. The Rambam paskens (Melachim 8:1) that this heter only applies to the army and b'sha'as hadechak when they are hungry. (In fact the Chasam Sofer in Chullin equates the heter of issurim to the heter of yifas toar-i.e. dibrah torah kneged yetzer hara). The Minchas Chinuch in Shoftim discusses this machlokes Rambam and Ramban.

According to the Rambam how do you answer the Ramban's kasha-why didn't  the get a mitzvah of kashering keilim by Sichon V'Og.

There are several ways to answer this kasha.

1) Daas Zikeinim writes that Sichon V'Og took place in the fields so there were no keilim. Midyan took place in the cities where they took keilim from the houses.

2) Several Achronim (Lev Aryeh in Chullin 17a and Tzlach in Chullin) write the Rambam is l'shitaso. In Pesachim there is a machlokes if ta'am k'ikar is min hatorah or midirabanan. Rabbi Akiva holds it is min haTorah and the rayah is that we had to kasher keilim of Midyan. The Chachamim hold klei midyan are no rayah since that whole sugyah is a chiddush cause keilim were nosein taam lifgam. The Rambam paskens ta'am kikar is d'rabanan so he holds klei midyan were a chiddush. Once you say it's a chiddush then you can't ask why davka by Midyan they got the mitzvah-the whole thing is a chiddush.
The Achronim want to take it a step farther and say that the Ramban holds ta'am kikar is d'oreisa, and mimeila he has to hold by milchama that all issurim are muttar in order to answer his kasha. However, I saw the Chasam Sofer holds the Ramban says ta'am kikar is dirabanan.

3) The Chavtzeles Hasharon doesn't like this pshat because the Pri Megadim says that even though the Rambam holds ta'am kikar is dirabanan, nevertheless kashering keilim is d'oreisa. So again why didn't they have the mitzvah by Sichon v'Og.

He answers that the Chazon Ish (OC) writes that Moshe got all the mitzvos at Har Sinai but was not told to tell B'nei Yisroel certain mitzvos until later. Could be this is one of those mitzvos and HKBH decided not to tell B'nei Yisroel until Midyan for some reason only known to HKBH.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Bris drasha

Here is the speech I said today at my son's bris. We named him Michoel Dovid after my mother's father (Michoel)  and my father in law's father (Dovid)
There is an interesting aspect of the bris milah that does not get a lot of attentiion. It is brought down that after the bris the minhag is to bury the orlah in the ground. The Ksav Sofer says that the mekor for this minhag is based on a medrash in this weeks Parsha. The Medrash says that when Bilam saw the orlos in the Midbar he said who can stand against klal yisroel who have the bris mila that they bury in the dirt.

Bilam, then went ahead and gave klal yisroel the beracha  "Mi mana yaakov K'afar"  who can count the dust of Yaakov and the seed of Yisroel.

The Ksav Sofer concludes that frm here is the minhag to bury the orlah in the dirt.

The Avudraham brings a different mekor. He says that the reason we bury he orlah is based on the havtacha that HKB”H made with Yaakov on the way to Lavans house. HKB”H promised Yaakov that his children will be like the dirt of the ground.In truth these 2 mekoros are actualy in sync with each other. There is another medrash in parshas Bamidbar, ( and I would like to thank my father in law for pointing out to me this medrash). The Medrash says that Hahsem promised Avraham that his children will be k’kochvei hashamayim. He promised Yitzchak they will be k’chol hayam. And to YTaakov he promised that they will be k’afar haertz. The medrash then concludes that the havtacha to yaakov was fullfilled b’zman of  Bilaam when he blessed B’nei Yisroel "Mi mana yaakov K'afar"

So we see that the m’kor of the Ksav Sofer which is learnt from the possuk "Mi mana yaakov K'afar" is the kiyum of the havtachah of `k’afar haertz. which is the mekor according to the Avudraham. It
would seem then the key to understanding this minhag of burying the orlah in the ground is to understand the beracha of k’afar haertz.

The medrash says that there are 3 characteristics that dirt has that are found in Klal Yisroel. First
of all just like dirt is always stepped on and trampled on so too Klal Yisroel is always stepped on. Second of all just like dirt can never be totally destroyed-as much as you grind up dirt all you are left with is more dirt, so too Klal Yisroel can never be destroyed. And finally jsut like when you water dirt it has the capability to grow and produce so too Klal Yisroel has the capacity to grow and grow.

It is interesting that the first characterisitc is the total opposite and even contradictory to the last 2. How is it possible for something that is constantly being steeped on to a) never be destroyed and b) contine to flourish? The meforshim point out that Yaakov was the prototype of the Jew in golus and the havtacha of k’afar haertz. given to Yaakov was a beracha meant precisely for golus. Even in golus when we are in a matzav of being beaten and stepped on we will still grow.

This is what the medrash is telling us- we are like dirt always being stepped on but we are also
like dirt that even in such a matzav not only do we survive but we also grow.
The question still remains how does this happen? I think the answer comes from the second half
of the possuk. Hashem tells Yaakov "ufaratzta yama vakedma tzofona vnegba" The gemara in Shabbos says that from here we learn one can be zocheh to a "nachalah bli mitzarim" We see from the gemara that the havtacha of k’afar haertz is  a havtacha of "nachalah bli mitzarim". It’s a havtacha that klal yisroel has the ability to transcend the limitations of the natural world and go l’ma’leh min hateva. This is precisely why even in golus, in a matzav of k’afar haertz. we are able to survuve and even grow-because we were also blessed with the beracha of "nachlos bli mitzarim"-the ability to go against the natural teva.

I think with this yesod we can now explain why the mila is covered in dirt. We know that a bris

mila takes place on the eighth day. One of the reasons given is that 8 represents l’ma’aleh min

hateva and a bris milah is l’ma’aleh min hatva. I mentioned at the shalom zachor that we see

from the parsha of mei meriva that when the water from the well came b’zechus Miriam, Moshe

had to hit the rock. However, at mei merivah when the water was coming b’zechus Moshe, all he

had to do was speak to the rock. The Chasam Sofer writes that the ma’aleh that Moshe had over

Miriam was his bris milah. The zechus of bris milah allowed Moshe to accomplish more. We see

from here that a bris milah allows one to go l’ma’aleh min hateva.

Furthermore, as we mentioned klal yisroel itself is a nation l’ma’aleh min hateva and the bris

mila is a baby’s entrance into klal yisroel. Not only is it the first mitzvah that will be performed

with this child but also, Rav Elchanan writes that Avraham was the first member of klal yisroel

and he became a memeber through his bris mila. It would seem then that it is only fitting that the

orlah of the mila which represents that aspect of a Yid that allows him to go l’ma’aleh min

hateva and represents that teh child is a member of a nation that is l’ma’aleh min hateva should

be buried in the dirt which is representative of the havtacha to klal yisroel that because they are

l’ma’aleh min hateva not only will they neevr be destroyed in golus but they will also grow in


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Shalom Zachor

This past Shabbos I had a shalom zachor for my new son who was born last Monday. Below are the 2 divrei torah I said over.

1) The Chasam Sofer (Chukas) brings a medrash that when the"mem" of the mateh aharon v'moshe was nifgam then the "mem" of the bris mila was nifgam.

The Chasam Sofer explains that HKBH told Moshe to talk to the rock ancd instead Moshe hit it. Moshe's kavanah was that he felt bad for Miriam. Originally the rock produced water b'zechus Miriam. However, in order to produce the water Moshe had to hit the rock. Now that the rock was producing water b'zechus Moshe all Moshe had to do was talk to it. This would indicate that Moshe was on a higher madreigah than Miriam. In order to protect the kovod of Miriam, Moshe hit the rock.

The Chasam Sofer explains that Moshe's cheshbon was wrong. The Medrash says that if you have a man and woman with equal level of tziddkus and on the same madreigah the man could accomplish more because of his bris mila. The reason Moshe only needed to speak to the rock while for Miriam, Moshe needed to hit the rock was because of Moshe's bris mila and not because Moshe was on a higher madreigah.

The Chasam Sofer then says that maybe Moshe understood this, but he felt if he used the ma'aleh of bris mila it would look bad for Klal Yisroel who didn't have a bris in the midbar. Therefore he chose to hit the rock.

2)  Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky in Emes L'Yaakov writes that the chok of para aduma is m'galeh on the whole torah that we only keep mitzvos because of gezeiras hashem.
We find that one of the mitzvos given at Marah was Para Aduma. Rav Yaakov explains para aduma at that time had no purpose-it wasn't a practical mitzvah. Yet it was given to teach klal yisroel the ikar of learning is l'shma even if it is only theortetical.

We know that a baby is taught kol hatorah in the mother. Why? In reality all the Torah it learns is impractical and not l'ma'aseh. There is no Shabbos or Kashrus inside the mother.
But maybe that is gufa the idea-to teach the baby the ikkar is torah lishma just like we learn from para aduma.