Thursday, June 08, 2006

ChaNaH - Challah, Nidda, Hadlakas Ner Shabbos

My wife has a posting (click link) on those who treat the mitzvah of hafrashas challah as some type of magical segulah, akin to wearing one of those red string things. Clearly, the mystical and magical have an attraction that plain vanilla rational Judaism does not – but I’ll leave the sociology to her. I will just add that poskim (Mishna Berura 242:6) advise that even if one eats pas palter (bakery bread) during the week, one should aim to eat pas yisrael on Shabbos and Y”T. This is one reason why the custom of challah baking for Shabbos developed (and my wife does a good job spoiling me most weeks with home baked challah and cake).
My wife mentions the three mitzvos (nida, challah, ner shabbos) that are the “women’s domain”. There is much to say on this, but very much b’kitzur, the cheit of Adam created a ta’aroves of tov/ra that requires birur, separation, in order to correct. The common denominator of these three mitzvos is the idea of separation. The three mitzvos correspond to the classic paradigm of olam (matter), shanah (time), and nefesh (soul): ner shabbos represents separation in time between kodesh and chol, challah represents the separation of matter into kodesh and chol, and nidda represents the separation of the nefesh, the husband-wife unit, from itself. Why this tikkun was given to women and how it works is for another discussion, but for those who want some homework: see Rashi on the pasuk where Rivka enters the tent of Sarah after joining Yitzchak and you will find a parallel between the three miracles of the imahos tent and these three mitzvos.


  1. >the cheit of Adam created a ta’aroves of tov/ra that requires birur,

    R. Chaim I enjoy many of your posts but when you make these type of statements I remember a coversationI had with R. Simcha Wasserman A'H when I told him over a bnei Yssachar, he said to me "Gut ,Gut ober farvos ken ehr nisht zogen dos in Poshete verter?".

    What exactly does that mean? how was it related to Chei Adam and chava? What was the cheit?

    I have an idea what you are referring to but are you referring to the same thing I am?

    That is my problem with all the mystical stuff. I sometimes wonder if the cryptic concept expounded is not CV Kefirah!

    I imagine you are referring to the two parts of man physical and sechel. Pre Chet refers to sechel alone, chet refers to physicality in humans with both parts of our nature in evidence. If one does a Mitzvah and at the same time thinks about the giver of the mitzvah one engages the sechel in/thru a physical act.

    Now you were trying to explain how when doing each of these mitzvos a different aspect of abstract thinking that connects one to HKBH is triggered. If that is correct please say so and don't use these abstract terms.

    Sorry but I get frustrated and I see you are a thinking person so maybe Keshem ... does not apply and it will be a dovor hanishma.

    Keep on posting good ideas clearly and sorry for the criticism.

    Gut Shabbos.

  2. Point taken, but in my defense, I did start with the preamble 'There is much to say on this, but very much b’kitzur...'. My agenda was not to explain ta'aroves tov/ra, birur, or tikkunim of adam's cheit, terms which can be found in seforim and which do need an arichus devarim. I just wanted to add the parallel to olam, shanah, nefesh, which I have not seen others develop. Maybe bl"n I will write this up better another time.