Friday, February 28, 2014
R' Shmuel Eliyahu asks: We differ with the chareidi world in our attitude toward army service, toward the state, and in other areas as well. Why should we, Roshei Yeshiva of hesder, join with the chareidi world in their million man protest? (I have read elsewhere that Rav Aviner, Rav Tau, and Rav Shapira are all participating as well). Why should our talmidim, most of whom serve in the army, participate?
For me, the important part of the answer was this:
הסיבה השנייה היא הכבוד לעולם התורה של הציבור החרדי. אנשים שמקיימים את המשנה באבות כפשוטה, "פַּת בַּמֶּלַח תֹּאכֵל וּמַיִם בַּמְּשׂוּרָה תִּשְׁתֶּה וְעַל הָאָרֶץ תִּישָׁן וְחַיֵּי צַעַר תִּחְיֶה וּבַתּוֹרָה אַתָּה עָמֵל". גם אם אני חלוק עליהם בכמה דברים אינני יכול להתעלם מהמסירות נפש שלהם לתורה. על זה אמר דוד המלך בתהילים: "חָבֵר אָנִי לְכָל אֲשֶׁר יְרֵאוּךָ".
הסיבה השלישית היא הכאב. אי אפשר להתעלם מכאב של מאות אלפי אנשים שנשבר מטה לחמם בעקבות הקיצוץ החריף שיאיר לפיד כפה על תקציב הישיבות. אי אפשר להתעלם מכאב משפחות שלמות שנשארו בלי פת לחם וטיטולים. גם אם אנחנו לא מסכימים עם אחינו בכל, אנחנו לא יכולים להתעלם מהכאב. "עימו אנכי בצרה".
We do not have to agree with the chareidi world, but we can still respect their committment to Torah and their self-sacrifice. We can still empathize with the pain of their community as families struggle to make ends meet in the face of government cutbacks in funding.
I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think the dati-leumi Rabbonim who participate will get any more kavod from the chareidi world for their stance. They have nothing to gain other than doing what they think is right simply l'shem shamayim. And to me, that's what makes their position admirable.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
"תמיד ידענו, שהעקימות השכלית, העיוות הדבילי, העיוורון התלמודי - כל מה שיוצר את הטפיל התורני המורה בתורה שלא כהלכה - הם המחלה הממארת של רבים מקרב ראשי ותלמידי ה'הסדר' ודומיהם במגזר הדתל"י..."
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
מפסיקין למועדות, וליום הכיפורים, וקוראין בעניין המועד, לא בסדר השבת. ומשה רבנו תיקן להן לישראל, שיהיו קוראין בכל מועד, עניינו; ושואלין ודורשין בעניינו של יום, בכל מועד ומועד. ומה הן קורין: בפסח, בפרשת המועדות שבתורת כוהנים. וכבר נהגו העם, לקרות ביום טוב ראשון "משכו" (שמות יב,כא), ומפטירין בפסח גלגל; וביום טוב שני, "שור או כשב" (ויקרא כב,כז), ומפטירין בפסח יאשייהו. בשלישי, "קדש לי" (שמות יג,ב); ברביעי, "אם כסף תלווה" (שמות כב,כד); בחמישי, "פסול לך" (שמות לד,א); בשישי, "ויעשו בני ישראל את הפסח, במועדו" (במדבר ט,ב). ביום טוב אחרון, ב"ויהי, בשלח" (שמות יג,יז) עד סוף השירה, ומפטירין "וידבר דויד" (שמואל ב כב,א); ובשמיני, "כל הבכור" (דברים טו,יט), ומפטירין "עוד היום, בנוב לעמוד" (ישעיהו י,לב).
The Rambam continues and goes through the leining on the other Yamim Tovim as well.
ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי פורים שחל להיות בשבת שואלין ודורשין בענינו של יום מאי אריא פורים אפילו י"ט נמי דתניא משה תיקן להם לישראל שיהו שואלין ודורשין בענינו של יום הלכות פסח בפסח הלכות עצרת בעצרת והלכות חג בחג
Maybe this same idea is what the Rambam (Megillah 2:18) brings based on the Yerushalmi:
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
ד"א ראו קרא ה' בשם בצלאל בן אורי בן חור מה ראה להזכיר כאן חור אלא בשעה שביקשו ישראל לעבוד עבודת כוכבים נתן נפשו על הקב"ה ולא הניחן עמדו והרגוהו אמר לו הקב"ה חייך שאני פורע לך משל למלך שמרדו עליו לגיונותיו עמד שר הצבא שלו ונלחם עמהם אמר להם על המלך אתם מורדים עמדו והרגו אותו אמר המלך אילו ממון נתן לא הייתי צריך לפרוע לו עאכ"ו שנפשו נתן עלי מה אני עושה לו אלא כל בנים שיצאו ממנו אני מעמידם דוכסים ואפרכים כך בשעה שעשו ישראל העגל עמד חור ונתן נפשו על הקב"ה אמר לו חייך כל בנים היוצאים ממך אני מגדלם שם טוב
(Update: R' Chaim Kanievski explains the Midrash based on the Yerushalmi Yoma 4:4 (23a) that one of the typea of gold used in the Mishkan was processed by being eaten and expelled by the na'maiyot birds. Since the work on the Mishkan had to be done lishma, the animal needed to have intelligence.)
Thursday, February 20, 2014
1) MG”A – you have to drink the wine for kiddush, you have to eat matzah, but if you enjoy fasting on Shabbos more than eating there is no reason not to do so. In other words, there is not really a chovas hagavra to eat; the chiyuv is to enjoy shabbos however you like, even fasting.
2) Taz – A person starting the meal with wine or eating matzah is out of the ordinary and is therefore clearly a kiyum mitzvah. Seudas shabbos, however, is a meal like any other.
2b) This may be no more than a reformulation of the Taz, but I'll give it it's own spot nonetheless: matzah is a cheftza shel mitzvah; wine is the cheftza shel mitzvah of kiddush. The individual piece of challah is not the cheftza shel mitzvah of seudas shabbos – it is just one part of the meal as a whole, which is the mitzvah.
3) Pri Megadim has one of those sha”s klalim here that you want to put in your back pocket for other discussions. He suggests that the principle of arvus may only apply to a mitzvah spelled out in the Torah, but not something learned through a derasha or a halacha l’moshe m’sinai. Since there is no specific mitzvah to eat bread, arvus does not apply to ha’motzi. You are going to jump and say that there is no specific mitzvah to drink wine at kiddush either (see Rashi/Tos Nazir 4a)? PM”G answers that since there is a din derabbanan to drink the wine, and all derabbanans fall under “lo tasur,” it is as if drinking the wine was spelled out as part of the mitzvah. The same cannot be said about seudas shabbos, which is only m;’divrei kabbalah based on oneg. Based on this you have a big counterintuitive chiddush: dinim derabbanan are more chamur than derashos in this respect -- obviously a bigger discussion for another time.
4) YU guys would be upset if I neglected to mention RYBS’s chiddush (in Shiurim l'Zecher Aba Mori) from R’ Chaim that the bracha of borei pri hagefen in kiddush is a birchas hamitzvah, not a birchas hanehenin. You still need to come up with something to say for matzah…
5) Finally, and this is why I am writing this up now, we have an answer the Kozhiglover quotes from the Avnei Nezer on this week’s parsha. The Sochotchover suggests that the reason arvus works is because we are all spiritually united – see yesterday’s post and the comments re: Klal Yisrael being one organic unit both spatially and temporally. When speaking of spiritual neshoma-mitzvos, your mitzvah is my mitzvah and vice versa because we are spiritually all one unit. Not so when it comes to the guf – here each of us is a distinct entity.
The mitzvos of kiddush, of matzah, are spiritual/neshoma mitzvos and hence arvus applies. The mitzvah of seudas Shabbos is a mitzvah that pertains only to the guf, and hence there is no arvus.
What exactly does he mean by that? Wine and matzah are also consumed by the guf – how exactly is seudas shabbos different? It could be that it’s not eating and drinking per se which is the focal point of kiddush or matzah, but rather the food and drink in these cases is just a means to an end, either to formalize and lend sanctity to the shabbos meal or to help re-experience yetzi’as Mitzrayim. Not so seudas shabbos, where the meal is an end in itself.
Or it could be even simpler than that: when it comes to kiddush and achilas matzah, it is the act of consuming the matzah or the wine which is all that counts. You don’t have to do it with a smile. When it comes to seudas shabbos, the mitzvah is oneg – enjoying it is the whole point.
With that, I think we can explain the Rashi we started with. Rashi only invokes hidur mitzvah when the mechanical act of eating and drinking is the mitzvah; physical enjoyment, “l’teyavon,” is icing on the cake that qualitatively adds something. When it comes to seudas shabbos, on the other hand, the enjoyment is not a hidur – the enjoyment is the mitzvah itself.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
1) Earlier in the week we spoke about the Ramban’s question of why Moshe Rabeinu did not object in Parshas Mishpatim when Hashem said that he would send an angel to guide Bnei Yisrael, but now, after the cheit ha’eigel, when he is in a far worse bargaining position, Moshe insists that Hashem himself guide them. Another approach: We know from the Haggadah shel Pesach that the redemption from Egypt was also not done via a malach or any other intermediary, but by Hashem himself. When there is such a strong force of tumah, like in Egypt, even an angel is in danger of being sucked in; Hashem himself must intervene. Here too, when Klal Yisrael first accepted the luchos, they were on a tremendously high level. Being led by an angel in those circumstances was acceptable. But now, after the cheit ha’eigel, davka because Klal Yisrael had fallen to such depths, Moshe had to call on Hashem himself to pull them out.
Even if G-d forbid a person has fallen to a place that even angels would be sullied were they to tread there, there is still hope. G-d himself is willing to go down and pull a person out of the filthy quicksand when it needs to be done.
2) The word “ach” is usually darshened as a miyut, a limitation. Rashi comments that the word “ach” in “Ach es shabsosai tishmoru,” teaches us that building the Mishkan is limited to weekdays and cannot be done on Shabbos. Ramban asks: the word “ach” in the pasuk refers to Shabbos; therefore, the derasha should tell us some limitation of Shabbos. According to Rashi, the pasuk is telling us a limitation in the mitzvah of building Mishkan, not Shabbos?
Shabbos elevates a person, but where Shabbos takes you depends on what you put into it. Around where I live there is one street where on nice days there is a seder kav’ua for a Shabbos pickup basketball game. Some people have a seder kavu’a in the beis medrash, or at a tisch. Imagine what Shabbos would be like if we could combine the holiness of Shabbos with the holiness of doing mitzvah of building Mishkan – that would be one special Shabbos! But the Torah tells us, “Ach es Shabsosai tishmoru,” we have to celebrate Shabbos on its own terms without the mitzvah of Mishkan, even if it means Shabbos itself is lessened as a result. [Why this should be so is something to think about...]
3) Why was the kiyor placed betweeh the mizbeyach and the Ohel and not closer to the entrance to the Mishkan, so that kohanim could wash themselves as soon as they walked in the door? The Targum Yonasan in Parshas Pikudei tells us that the kiyor represents teshuvah -- the kohanim cleansing themselves for avodah represents washing off the shmutz of aveirah. It is very hard to do teshuvah alone in a vacuum; the inspiration and energy of others is needed to move forward. Just as the kohen must pass the mizbeyach to get to the kiyor, a Jew needs to see the fire and sacrifice of others to help him get back on track.
4) Unlike the first luchos that came directly from G-d, the second luchos were made by Moshe. However, let's get rid of the misimpression that there was no miracle involved. Rashi writes on “Psol lecha…” that Hashem showed Moshe that there was a sapphire mine in his tent that had the stones he needed. Obviously, the mine being located right there was a miracle. Once G-d was making a miracle anyway, why not just deliver the luchos the same way as the first time around?
We've been hitting this theme all week -- one more time won't hurt. The Torah here is telling us that the miracle of the luchos now has an address; it comes into the world only through the tent of Moshe. For there to be luchos, there has to also be chachmei hamesorah to help deliver them.
5) “V’kasavta al haluchos es hadevarim asher ha’yahu al haluchos ha’rishonim…” It doesn’t say v’ksavata… KA’devarim,” words like you wrote the first time, but rather “HA'devarim,” the words, i.e. the exact same ones as before. Chazal tell us that when Moshe broke the first luchos the letters jumped off and floated away. Those exact same letters now came down and were engraved on the second tablets.
I don't know if this is what the Shem m'Shmuel wants us to take away from this vort, but this is what I take away: Klal Yisrael has had more than its fair share of periods of "sheviras haluchos." David HaLivni has a book called, "Breaking the Tablets: Jewish Theology After the Shoah." Baruch Hashem, we survive, we rebuild. But there are those who always argue that "mai d'hava hava" and we need a new "torah" for new luchos. There are those who argue that we cannot remake what once was even if we wanted to - if a Rembrant or Vermeer gets damaged, it can be restored so it looks like the original, but it will never be Vermeer's paint or Rembrant's brushstrokes. When it comes Torah that's not how it works. The tablets may be different, but we can and must inscribe "HA'devarim," the exact same ideas, ideals, and traditions as before onto them. We can bring the past back to life.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
You can't ask for a better illustration of the dangers of the slipperly slope than Rabbi Lookstein's argument: "Today, my granddaughter, Julia Straus Baruch, is learningTorah and Halacha in Nishmat, preparing to be a Yoetzet Halacha, something which would have been inconceivable in the time of the Aruch Ha-Shulchan, 150 years ago. Why is tefillin different?" I don’t know what learning Torah has to do with putting on tefillin, but once you are headed down the slope and are matir X, then why not Y? In 10 years from now (and I’m pretty confident we won’t even have to wait 10 years) I wonder if we will be hearing the following argument from the pulpit of KJ or other synagogues: “Women wearing tefillin was once inconceivable. Now every other girl in our school is wearing them. Why should X be different?” Fill in the blank for what X is.
Rabbi Lookstein's remark shows his admiration for the Nishmat program and the openness shown by R’ Yehudah Herzl Henkin, the Rosh Yeshiva of Mishmat and the posek who stands behind the Yoetzet program, to women’s participation in advanced learning. Yet, interestingly (as noted by Rabbi Eli Mansour), R’ Henkin himself addresses the question of whether a woman may wear tefillin in his teshuvos (Shu”T Bnei Banim vol 2, #3) and prohibits it. Clearly Rabbi Henkin, a noteworthy posek in his own right, does not join Rabbi Lookstein's in making the leap from Torah study to tefillin.
I already linked to Rabbi Shachter’s response to this issue. Rabbi Shacter’s point was not, as one Rabbi tweeted (quoted with a response here), “The shorter version of R. Herschel Schacter's missive (it's not a 'teshuvah') is that the greatest sin a Jew can do is disagree with him.” This individual objects to the “imposition of select religious authority” – “select” I assume, given R' Shachter's point, meaning “competent.” Should we instead allow anyone armed with a passing grade on a smicha test the right to determine right from wrong for his constituants, no matter how delicate or complicated the question, and no matter how far and wide outside the community (given the speed at which news travels on the 'net) the repercussions may be?
This Rabbi caught R’ Shachter as omitting sources: “He does not cite Tosafot B. Berachot 14a which records that it was once prevalent for women to put on tefillin, even with a blessing, just as they shake the lulav on Sukkot.” Indeed, it’s not just Rabbi Shachter who does not cite this Tosfos -- neither does the Rama. In fact, there are hundreds of other places in the Shulchan Aruch that the Rama chooses to decide Jewish law like one set of Rishonim against others, sometimes even against Tosfos. Do we now have the authority to rewrite 500 years of Jewish law and custom and choose, absent any compelling need or argument, to adopt views that the Rama rejected? Or is the Rama perhaps just one “select religious authority” who has no right to impose his views on us either?
Not content with Rabbi Lookstein’s leap from the apples of women learning Torah to the oranges of wearing tefillin, this Rabbi argues that, “Furthermore, someone who has access to a Bar Ilan CD (and know for what to look) can easily find examples where the current Ashenazi practice does not follow the Ramo…” One exception to paskening like Rama invites others, irrespective of custom and tradition, or context for that matter. The slippery slope revisited.
I have to say I am disappointed. Originally I had a degree of sympathy at least for the dilemma faced at SAR -- kick kids out of school, or make an exception and allow girls to wear tefillin -- irrespective of whether the conclusion was the wrong one. We were talking about a sha'as hadechak that demanded an ad hoc resolution. Now, we are far beyond a conversation about what may or may not be appropriate for a particular school in a perhaps unique situation. Now, the sha'as hadechak is being championed as an ideal and being turned into a fight about halachic authority. The arguments being tossed about are broader and broader in their strokes, and in turn, are less and less credible. If this is the best those who champion the cause of women being allowed to wear tefillin can muster, I'm afraid their arguments carry little credence.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The Sochotchover makes a guarantee: any Jew who has a true “teshukah,”a thirst and desire for G-d, will not end up in gehenom. That desire will carry them out of there.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Rav Hershel Shachter, writing in response to the tefillin issue (link):
וכל שאלות קשות שכאלו [דלפסוק נגד רמ"א המפורש בשו"ע ,בודאי שאלה קשה היא ,אשר בודאי צריכה כתפיים רחבות], צריכים להציע בפני ת"ח מורי הוראה שיש להם היקף בידיעת ההלכה ,ואין לכל מוסמך או רב מקומי ,אף אם כוונתו לטובה ,לחוות את דעתו בשאלה שכזו ,וכ"ש שלא לפרסם את דעתו הפרטית דרך התקשורת או האינטרנט ,כי שאלה חמורה כזו נוגעת לכל כלל ישראל הנאמנים למסורה ,ורק גדולי ההוראה רשאים להכריע בה. ואין תלונתנו בזה בכלל על הנשים שהתנדבו לקיים מצות תפילין ,אלא על הרבנים (שהוסמכו כולם מישיבתנו) שחיוו את דעתם המוטעת בזה ,מבלי להתייעץ עם מורי ההוראה שאליהם אכן פונים לשאלות אחרות ,ושפרסמו את דעתם כאילו הדבר פשוט להיתר.
Are there are no gedolim to ask these shaylos to in the modern orthodox community, or people know what the answer will be from those gedolim and therefore deliberately prefer to ask others?
I know that sounds a bit harsh. Unfortunately I can't think of a way to soften the point : (
Friday, February 07, 2014
Thursday, February 06, 2014
I hope I am not being "kol hamosif gore'a" but there is so much more to be said on this topic and so much more needs to be said because it's not just about women's issues. That's just one symptom.
I believe the Piecezna already makes the point that nature abhors a vacuum; if the mind is not filled with Torah, it will find something else to fill itself with. If you are not excited by learning gemara, so you will find excitement somewhere else. The truth is that it’s already a Rambam: at the end of Hil Issurei Bi’ah the Rambam tells us “yefaneh atzmo u’machshavto l’divrei Torah” because immorality strikes at a “lev panuy min hachochma.” Now we understand, says R’ Ya’akov Shapira, the gemara’s lashon of “panuy ha’ba al ha’penuya.” I recently heard R’ Eli Mansour say that people who say they don’t want their kids to learn Torah are just kidding themselves. Their kids will learn Torah whether they like it or not, just instead of being Torah emes, it will be the torah of the street, the torah of drugs, the torah of licentiousness. So true.
ואתה תצוה הה"ד (ירמיה יא) זית רענן יפה פרי תואר קרא ה' שמך וכי לא נקראו ישראל אלא כזית הזה בלבד והלא בכל מיני אילנות נאים ומשובחים נקראו ישראל בגפן ותאנה שנאמר (תהלים פ) גפן ממצרים תסיע תאנה שנאמר (הושע ט) כבכורה בתאנה בראשיתה כתמר שנא' (שיר ז) זאת קומתך דמתה לתמר כארז שנא' (תהלים צב) כארז בלבנון ישגה כאגוז שנאמר (שיר ז) אל גנת אגוז ירדתי וקראן בכל מיני שלחים שנאמר (שם ד) שלחיך פרדס רמונים ובא ירמיה לומר זית רענן יפה פרי תואר אלא מה הזית הזה עד שהוא באילנו מגרגרין אותו ואח"כ מורידין אותו מן הזית ונחבט ומשחובטין אותו מעלין אותו לגת ונותנין אותן במטחן ואח"כ טוחנין אותן ואח"כ מקיפין אותן בחבלים ומביאין אבנים ואח"כ נותנין את שומנן כך ישראל באין עובדי כוכבים וחובטין אותם ממקום למקום וחובשים אותן וכופתין אותם בקולרין ומקיפין אותן טרטיוטין ואח"כ עושין תשובה והקב"ה עונה להם
Well, that’s a nice heartwarming message for you! Beat us up enough and we eventually scream “Uncle” and do the repentance that G-d wants. How inspiring!
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Monday, February 03, 2014
Yesterday we passed through one supermarket parking lot and I saw a guy outside with long boxes. I thought maybe it’s an early sale on lulavim, but no, it was just a guy standing outside with the huge (and they were huge) hero sandwiches people had ordered and were awaiting pickup. I felt bad for the poor guy I saw inside with a few Italian breads and a big bag from the deli counter. Nebach, he had to put the meat and mustard on the bread himself.