Tuesday, February 01, 2011

odds and ends and some chizuk

A few odds and ends:

1) A short while ago a fellow blogger put up a post, since taken down, about people introducing sports team cheer song melodies into nusach hatefilah. I don’t know why he took the post down, because I would expand the point further. Why is every kosher takeout in my neighborhood now offering super bowl halftime party packages? Is everyone having a party except me? Maybe subconsciously I'm writing this post because I'm jealous that no one has invited me to their party (...yet - there’s still time!) Rather than emphasizing greater heights of kedusha, modern frumkeit often amounts to nothing more than finding ways of being matir and machshir the lowest elements of modern culture. On Rosh Chodesh Adar the Beis Din would make announcements about shekalim and kilya'im. R' Ahron of Karlin explains that the shekelim used for the purpose of korbanos, to come closer to Hashem, go hand in hand with the birur of avoiding kilayim, a mixture of ideologies, tov and ra.

2) Jumping from low culture to high… (the amazing thing is that you can easily get a big glatt hechsher on your superbowl party hero, but art and literature are always treif gamur, but that's another discussion). For those in NY, the Met currently has on display two items of interest. One: a stone floor mosaic found in Lod in Eretz Yisrael dating from the third century and remarkably well preserved. Nice website here. Second: a 12/13th century copy of the Rambam which happens to be open to the Rambam’s description of the bigdei kehuna, so it’s inyana d’yoma.

3) With all the bad weather (and yes, I know compared to Chicago we are getting off easy) I was wondering if rock salt is muktzah on Shabbos. It seems to be like stones/gravel, which would be off limits barring any preparation, but if you know the storm is coming and you have in mind before Shabbos that you need it, is there any reason why the rock salt should still be muktzah? My son mentioned to me that he saw in some English language book that you can salt because of sakanah, which I don't understand. Plenty of people rush off to work before salting their walk; no one rushes home from vacation to salt their walk -- what happened to the sakanah in these cases?

4) Last but not least, a little chizuk to get through mid-week: Eveybody asks why the pasuk says, “V’Yikchu li terumah m’eis kol is hasher yidvenu libo,” when it should say, “V’Yitnu” – you give terumah, you don’t take terumah. The Chasam Sofer explains that there were people who really wanted to give to the Mishkan – they were “nediv lev” – but they didn’t have what to give or what was needed. The Midrash says that when the man fell, these people discovered along with their portion that Hashem had also given them precious gems to donate. These are the people whom the pasuk is addressing: those who desire to give, “V’Yikchu,” should take these special gifts from Hashem, because he wanted to enable them to fulfill their desire to give back.

The obvious lesson here is that if one truly desires to be a nediv lev and give, whether it be to give charity, to give over Torah, to give in some other way, “V’Yikchu,” we will be able to take from Hashem the kochos and materiel we need and be able to fulfill that desire.


  1. Anonymous12:56 AM

    For 3 see here also available to download audio


  2. I took the post down because I was getting hits from people in my neighborhood who are totally not interested in divrei Torah, and I assumed they were getting themselves riled up in preparation for a mature and thoughtful reaction of "if you don't like it, leave." Which I wouldn't mind, except that I like my shiur, and davening in the kollel is glacial.

    As for salting steps and sidewalks, it's been seven years since I saw it, but the Gemara in Zevachim talks about doing it for the kevesh, which can get really slippery in the winter, especially when you're carrying a big dripping piece of animal in front of you. At the time, I think I saw that the Shmiras Sh Kehil, and I think the Minchas Yitzchak, are mattir, as long as you do it in a way that reminds you that it's shabbos. They're mattir shoveling, too, but I might be misremembering.

  3. I said it was seven years since I last saw the Gemara about putting sand or salt on the kevesh. I should say it's been seven years, and fourteen years, and twenty one years.................

  4. What's the issur with salting?

    Most poskim I have seen are matir it. Shmiras Shabbos is matir it.

  5. BTW your invited to my super bowl party.

    The only thing I ask is for you to bring the food and TV.

  6. Molid, for one thing. Ashvuyei Gumos, for another. Heavy duty uvda de'chol, too, but I know that uvda de'chol is an orphan halacha.

  7. Who says they used rock salt for the kevesh? Kosher salt is edible -- rock salt I assume is not (we were wondering on Shabbos if that was true, but my wife insisted that I not experiment by dunking a piece of challah in and tasting it). That's why I am raising the question specifically about whether the rock salt is muktzah.

  8. CM -- thank you for the invite! And BTW, on a totally unrelated note, I'll beat you to reminding me about the hakdamah to the Shev Shamaytza re: v'yikchu li terumah.

  9. Anonymous7:40 PM

    The shiur addresses all these questions

  10. I listened to the relevant parts of the shiur. He says it's not muktzah, because you prepare it for the purpose. By the way, rock salt is regular salt, only less processed, but I don't think it would hurt you to eat it. He says it's not an issue of zilzul shabbos, because of the danger to people, like Gacheles. I don't think ice is on the level of gacheles, but that's what he said and quotes some local poskim. He says it's not meraseik because it's mimeila and holech le'ibud. Ibud is debatable, because we're machmir on bathing because of towels and hair, and that's also holech le'ibud. Anyway, he's meikil on all the issues.

  11. Again re; Rabbi Pearl's shiur, here is a clearer and more thorough exposition of his and contrary shittos:

  12. >>>Shev Shamaytza re: v'yikchu li terumah

    Thanks for the reminder. I thought about it earlier this week but forgot to remind you.

    Anyway, what time are you coming Sunday? Before kickoff or after kickoff? :-)

  13. Regarding the sakanah of ice, I know two people this year who broke bones by slipping on the ice. One person developed complications and was in the hospital in the ICU for a few weeks.

    I don't think you can minimize the inherent danger of an icy sidewalk.
    The fact that people go to work and don't shovel doesn't make it less of a sakanah.

  14. So did you have a minyan when it was icy? What happened to venishmartem? Was it a mitzva haba'a b'aveira? Implicit answer- people know there's ice outside and deal with it. Gacheles, on the other hand, is unexpected.