וְלֹא תֵלְכוּ בְּחֻקֹּת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מְשַׁלֵּחַ מִפְּנֵיכֶם כִּי אֶת כָּל אֵלֶּה עָשׂוּ וָאָקֻץ בָּם:
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
וְאִם הַעְלֵם יַעְלִימוּ עַם הָאָרֶץ אֶת-עֵינֵיהֶם מִן-הָאִישׁ הַהוּא בְּתִתּוֹ מִזַּרְעוֹ לַמֹּלֶךְ לְבִלְתִּי הָמִית אֹתוֹ:
וְשַׂמְתִּי אֲנִי אֶת-פָּנַי בָּאִישׁ הַהוּא וּבְמִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ וְהִכְרַתִּי אֹתוֹ וְאֵת כָּל-הַזֹּנִים אַחֲרָיו לִזְנוֹת אַחֲרֵי הַמֹּלֶךְ מִקֶּרֶב עַמָּם:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
On a fundraisng trip for the yeshiva, R' Shliomele visited R' Shimon Wolf Rotschild, of the wealthy and famous Rotschild family. R' Shimon Wolf showed R; Shloimele around his beautiful estate, finally pausing beside a house built of the main house.Have a chag kasher v'sameiach!
"And this," R' Shimon Wolf gestured proudly, "this is my Pesach house. I built it jut to be used on Pesach. The rest of the year it is kept locked."
R' Shloimele just shrugged his shoulders. R' Shimon wondered why he wasn't impressed.
R' Shloimele explained that his holy grandfather -- the Sanzer Rav - though not a wealthy man would have spent anything any amount of money to perform a mitzvah properly. Had he felt hat keeping Pesach properly necessitated building a separate house, he would have done so. Therefore, if he feels he needs it, why shouldn't Baron Rothschild?"
Thinking on the matter further, R' Shloimele saw a downside to a Pesach house:
"The gemara says that chumetz can be interpreted as to the yetzer hu'reh. Our searching for chumetz and destroying it is a mushol for searching out and destroying the yetzer hu'reh, thereby doing teshivah. We know that the only way to do complete teshivah is to put ourselves again in the same situation where we have done an aveirah and, when the opportunity presents itself, not repeat that aveirah. Therefore, it is only fitting that the house where had eaten chumetz be cleaned out and used for mitzvos -- the mitzvos we perform at the seider, the mitzvos we perform during Pesach. Having a separate house set aside for Pesach does not accomplish that purpose."
Friday, April 11, 2014
The Shulchan Aruch devotes a siman to telling us that Shabbos is called "Shabbos haGadol." We expect the Shulchan Aruch to tell us do's and don'ts -- l'mai nafka minah that the Shabbos has a special name? I saw R' Chaim Kanievsky quotes from R' Elyashiv that you should wish people "Good Shabbos haGadol," not just "Good Shabbos," because of this din.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
לפיכך כשסועד אדם בלילה הזה צריך לאכול ולשתות והוא מיסב דרך חירות
ת"ר הכל חייבין בארבעה כוסות הללו אחד אנשים ואחד נשים ואחד תינוקות א"ר יהודה וכי מה תועלת יש לתינוקות ביין
ואחד התינוקות. שגם הם נגאלו
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Monday, April 07, 2014
Friday, April 04, 2014
To the Editor, Hamodia
There is what seems to be "a statement of authentic Torah-true hashkafah" that appears occasionally in Hamodia (the most recent on the 4th of Adar II) and in other publications, that I believe must be examined very closely and dispassionately. The pronouncement raises extremely serious problems of a religious nature.
The Hamodia article quoted a rav who said, "The most difficult golus to endure is a golus suffered from other Jews and therefore we plead for a final redemption from this terrible golus." I experienced a great deal of personal anguish just writing that sentence. First of all, it's absolutely false. We are not in Czarist Russia, Inquisitionist Spain, Crusader-ravished Rhineland, Cossack-scorched Poland, nor fascist Nazi Germany, nor assimilation-ridden America. Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael is experiencing the most magnificent era in 2,000 years.
Rav Avraham Pam movingly put the present period in time in its proper Jewish-Torah perspective. He said that a rule in Jewish history is that following every period of suffering comes an era of Hashem embracing His people, comforting them, and pouring out His goodness, just as a father whose son has suffered will embrace him and console him. Rav Pam highlights four such historic episodes. The fourth one, Rav Pam said, was, that following the worst horror of all, the Shoah, Hashem embraced us with "hakomas Medinas Yisroel" (precisely his words).
Hashem does not embrace His people by casting them into the worst golus of all. To say that, is a denial of Hashem's goodness, an ugly rejection of His benevolence, and shameful ingratitude.
Three months after the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, Rav Dessler wrote that he who does not see the dramatic change and the complete reversal of the fate of the Jewish people, "min hakatzeh al Hakatzeh, "from one extreme of six million slaughtered to the other extreme end "the settling of our people in their own medina in our Holy Land" is blind. "Woe to one who will come to the Day of Judgment still blind and not having been able to see something so real." (Michtav M'Eliyahu, Volume 3, page 352)
Rav Dessler wrote this at a time that the infant state was locked in a struggle for its very existence. No one then could predict the outcome, yet he rejoiced. He did not predict that the State wouldn't last for ten years.
The plain facts are that the greatest growth of Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel in just about every conceivable area has been mind-boggling. Little Israel whose air force ranks after the United States, Russia and China. Way up there with the biggest. An army whose might is so clearly the result of the efforts of "He who gives you the strength to be mighty." Agricultural accomplishments of global proportions. Israel is a world agricultural power. It staggers the imagination. (Google Israel – Agriculture and read Wikipedia.) It would help if you have a TaNach handy to see the prophecies fulfilled before your very eyes. Focus on Yechezkel chapters 36, 37 and 38.
For me, every visit to my local fruit and vegetable store is a powerful religions experience. In the middle 50s I learned in Ponovitz and subsisted on tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon. Today, in my local store I am overwhelmed by the dazzling amounts of produce. If this is golus then I can't begin to imagine what geulah is. I once said that every rabbi is zocheh to one good line in his career. Min is, "If you want to speak to G-d go to the Kotel, but if you want to see Him, go to Shuk Machaneh Yehudah."
Little Israel is a world leader in medicine, science, technology, and so much more.
And – the greatest explosion of Torah learning in Jewish history has taken place here with the generous help of the secular Zionists, and the religious Zionists (the Mizroochnikim).
And this you call "golus by Jews." We have never had it better.
Now take a closer look at that "great article of faith" and you should be struck by the realization that for that statement alone the charedi community should be held in absolute contempt. The ugly assertion that we, your fellow Jews, impose upon you an exile worse than any you have ever experienced, is more than enough reason for us to reject you and all you supposedly stand for. That despicable hashkafah is not Torah.
Furthermore, if the golus you suffer by the hands of fellow Jews is so bad, in fact the "worst golus," why don't you leave, run away, save yourselves from "this terrible exile." Breath the fresh air of France, the tranquility of the Ukraine, join the Moslems of England. Save your souls from enslavement to us. The "goldeneh medina" beckons. Be free of the yoke of tziyonim and mizroochniks, get a green card. Boro Park here we come. Why stay here and suffer. Go be rid of us.
Come to think of it – since the Eritreans and Sudanese like it here so much, so maybe an exchange of populations can be arranged.
I am very surprised that the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation did not soundly condemn this "hashkafah" which can only be described as mega-loshon hora against Klal Yisrael for subjecting their brothers and sisters to such awful golus.
There is, of course, a secondary gain from this statement that is warmly welcomed. The people of Chutz L'Aretz don't even have to consider aliyah at all. Who would willingly subject his family to the "worst golus of all."
Take note: the ugly "golus by Jews" hashkafah places you right down there with the world's anti-Semites, who accuse Israel of apartheid.
I suspect that the purveyors of that lie have been entrapped in the web of their own extreme rhetoric, "gezeras hashmaed," "destroyers of Torah," "chareidi haters." You have begun to believe that it is really so. What a pity.
I suggest that Hamodia publicly disassociates itself from that abhorrent, poisonous hashkafah, asks for forgiveness from all of us, and expresses thanks and gratitude to Hashem for all His kindness. If you may be in a truly penitent mood, ask yourselves whether you are really the victims of unbridled, undeserved hatred, or have you contributed in great measure to what may be a reaction to your own contempt for everything that is sacred and holy to the "people who reside in Zion." Think about it. Think about it honestly and seriously.
The nation's flag is "a shmatteh on a shteken" ("a rag on a stick"), the national anthem was written by a drunk. As a matter of fact, the flag is beautiful, and a study of Hatikvah will reveal its power to move a nation.
Yom Haatzmaut is nothing, Yom Hazikaron raises the serious issue of, chas v'shalom, standing for two minutes silence of which you have made into some bogus nonsensical crime (you really made many friends with that). Yom Hashoah is all wrong. Even Yom Yerushalayim is unknown in your community. You don't say the Prayer for the Welfare of the State, nor do you pray for the safety of the soldiers who protect you so that you can learn Torah (that one really made you very popular). In fact, I can't think of a single area in which you participate with the rest of Klal Yisrael. In one of my more aggressive moments I asserted that since the State and the IDF have been doing so well for 66 years without your prayers, let's better leave it that way. We don't want to rock the boat, you know.
An absolute rejection of the ugly hashkafah will hopefully signal the beginning of a new era of love and friendship between Jew and fellow Jew. When you truly see the hand of Hashem in action for the past sixty-six years, you will want to say with great kavanah the prayer for the State and for the soldiers who risk their lives day and night so that we can all live safely in G-d's land.
16/9 Agassi St.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
אמר רב חסדא מצורע שנכנס לפנים ממחיצתו פטור שנאמר בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו בדד ישב לבדו ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו הכתוב נתקו לעשה
Why is it considered nitak l'aseh when this pasuk of "badad yeishev" is not written anywhere near the lav of "v'lo yitamu es machaneihem?" Rashi gives two explanations:
ואע"ג דלאו בתר לאו כתיב ע"כ לנתוקי לאוי אתא דקי"ל לאו שניתק לעשה אין לוקין עליו דאי לאטעוניה עשה ול"ת הא כתב ביה עשה אחרינא וישלחו מן המחנה אבל זבין וטמאי מתים לא נתקו לעשה ואע"ג דעשה יתירי כתיבי כל חד וחד למילתיה מדריש בספרי ועוד דבהאי כתיב כל ימי אשר הנגע בו וגו' משמע כל ימיו בבדד ישב קאי דאם עבר ונכנס יחזור ויצא ואין בו עונש אחר כדדרשינן כל ימיו דאונס את הנערה במס' מכות (דף טו.) כל ימיו בעמוד והחזר קאי ומנתקינא ליה ללאוי:
1) "Badad yeishev" is an extra pasuk because we already have an aseh of "V'ishalchu min hamachaneh..." The extra words tell us this is a lav hanitak l'aseh.
2) "Badad yeishev" is a continuous chiyuv. Were the metzorah to walk back into the machaneh yisrael, he is obligated to immediately leave and return to that state of "badad yeishev."
It sounds like the two expanations reflect two different models of the mitzvah in lomdus. According to the first explanation of "badad yeishev" it seems that once the act of leaving is done, the mitzvah is over. According to Rashi's second explanation, it seems that the mitzvah is not the one-time act of leaving, but rather is about maintaining the state of being "badad yeishev."
Why do Chazal record this episode? Obviously there must be a better reason than giving us a chuckle at the expense of the simpletons in Pupunya?
R' Chaim Kanievsky explains b'shem R' Yisrael Salanter that Chazal are showing us what emunas Chachamim means. We've all baked matzah or seen matzah baked. Little kids go on trips to the matzah bakery before Pesach. Imagine a Rav comes into your local shul before Pesach, a visiting scholar in residence, and tells everyone a din in baking matzah that no one has heard of before. Does anyone really think people will immediately change what they've always done? Or would the reaction be, "Our parents baked matzah, our grandparents baked matzah, we've been doing this for years and no one has ever heard of such a crazy thing!" The people of Pupunya must have baked matzah in years past before Rav Masna arrived on the scene. Nonetheless, after they heard his derasha, they lined up next day for his water, as they misinterpreted "mayim she'lanu." They were willing to accept on trust that Rav Masna knew what he was talking about even if it flew in the face of their past assumptions.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
עשה תולדה של אב זה ותולדה של אב זה בהעלם אחת. יראה לי שהוא חייב שתי חטאות
If you do two different tolados from two different avos, the Rambam says "yireh li" a chiddush din that you are chayav two chata'os.
It's pretty rare for the Rambam to write "yireh li." I imagine you can find in one of R' Chaim Kanievsky's seforim exactly how many times he says it, but even without knowing the exact number, we all know it's not too common. The Rambam usually sticks to bringing down only what is explicit in sources in Chazal. What is striking about this halacha is not only that the Rambam says a chiddush of "yireh li," but that he didn't have to say it -- the halacha he paskens is mefursh in Bava Kamma daf 2. You could be learning in the slowest moving shiur and would get this far : )
ומאי איכא בין אב לתולדה נפקא מינה דאילו עביד שתי אבות בהדי הדדי אי נמי שתי תולדות בהדי הדדי מחייב אכל חדא וחדא
The meforshim have all kinds of creative solutions as to what the Rambam added that is not in the gemara, or why the gemara does not mean what it seems to say or might not be aliba d'hilchisa. I don't see how you can say any of those wonderful answers when the Rambam himself was asked by his son what he meant here and he replied. What he says is remarkable. Quoting Kesef Mishneh:
ומ"ש עשה תולדה של אב זה וכו' יראה לי שהוא חייב שתי חטאות. מצאתי כתוב שנשאל ה"ר אברהם בנו של רבינו למה אמר יראה לי והלא גמרא ערוכה בריש ב"ק מאי איכא בין אב לתולדה נ"מ דאי עביד שני אבות בהדי הדדי א"נ שתי תולדות בהדי הדדי מיחייב תרתי א"כ מאי יראה לי דקאמר. והשיב לא אמר בגמרא שתי תולדות של שני אבות ולפיכך אמר יראה לי שאפשר לומר דהאי דאמרינן בגמרא שתי תולדות של אב אחד לאו אליבא דהלכתא ואפשר שנתעלם זה המקום ממנו ז"ל בעת שכתב יראה לי ומ"מ הדין אמת ואליבא דהלכתא עכ"ל.
In short, the second answer is that that maybe the Rambam simply forgot! I can't recall seeing something like this, but maybe those of you who have more bekiyus will point me to other places
What confuses me is that if I'm not mistaken, the Rambam did multiple drafts of Mishneh Torah. You would think that at some point in looking back at what he wrote he would have remembered and fixed the mistake. In any case, it's good that the Rambam himself said this, because if you or I had said it we probably would have gotten thrown out of the beis medrash. Whenever Tosfos asks questions from all over sha"s on Rashi, instead of looking at a Pnei Yehoshua or other meforshim, life would be easier, albeit less intellectually challenging and stimulating, if we could say sevaros like "Rashi forgot." But that's just not done, unless I guess a Rishon does it for us.
You could highlight a different angle here and emphasize the gadlus of the Rambam: even though he did not have the sugya in mind, he still was mechavein to the right halacha. There is an intuitive sense of halacha that great talmidei chachamim have that goes beyond knowing sources. I remembering once hearing that the Chasam Sofer would pasken shaylos between Mincha and Ma'ariv and only afterwards write out the teshuvos. He trusted his sense of what the outcome would be even before he consciously mapped out how to get there.
The gemara needed an explanation according to RShb”G for why Moshe needed to teach halachos of Pesach Sheni 30 days beforehand. But no explanation is required for why Moshe taught hilchos Pesach from Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Even were it not for the kiyum mitzvah of learning halachos in preparation for the chag, Rosh Chodesh Nissan is the beginning of the spiritual birth of Klal Yisrael, and that process of creation could only take place through the teaching of Torah.