Thursday, August 29, 2019

makom asher yivchar Hashem -- a player to be named later?

"Lo ta'asun kein l'Hashem Elokeichem" (12:4)  What is the "kein" that we are not supposed to do in our avodas Hashem?  The previous pesukim told us to destroy the altars, the asheirot, the matzeivot from all the many places where idolaters worshipped.   Tzror haMor explains that it is the multiplicity of places and types of worship that the Torah is warning against.  For us, there is one place.  We are one nation, united in one type of avodah directed to one Beis haMikdash.

Speaking of the Beis haMikdash, interestingly it is never mentioned in the parsha.  Instead, the parsha refers to " im el ha'makom asher yivchar Hashem Elokeichem m'kol shivteichem," the place that Hashem chose from among the shevatim.  (12:5)  Again, a few pesukim later, "V'haya ha'makom asher yivchar Hashem..." (12:11)  And again, "Ki im ba'makom asher yivchar Hashem b'achad shevatecha..." (12:14)  There was a mesorah from the days of the Avos as to where the Beis haMikdash would be; Moshe Rabeinu surely knew where it would stand.  Why then not name the place?  Why couch it in terms of a place to be chosen (like saying a player to be named later), as if there was some mystery, some doubt as to where exactly that would be?

I saw in R' Reisman's discussion on the parsha he raises this question and offers an answer and refers to the Kli Yakar who asks it as well. I don't know if R' Reisman has a taste for chassidishe seforim, but the same question is asked by the Tiferes Shlomo as well, and it's his answer that I will leave you with.  Rashi already points out that in 12:5 the Torah refers to the Mikdash coming "m'kol shevatecha," from all the shevatim, but in 12:14 the Torah tells us "b'achad shevatecha," that the Mikdrash was built on the land of only one sheivet.   The Tiferes Shlomo answers that geographically, the land of the Mikdash may have belonged to one sheivet; however, it was the desire for a Mikdash on the part of the all the shevatim that brought it into being -- the "mem" in "m'kol shevatecha" is being used in the sense of "because of."  "Kol zman she'lo hayu ha'retzonos v'hatefilos b'shleimus al binyan Beis haMikdash," writes the Tiferes Shlomo, "Lo haya klal ba'olam ha'makom shel Beis haMikdash."  The Har HaBayis is just a mountain, just a point on a map.  What makes it the makom Mikdash is our desire to have a Mikdash there.  When Moshe Rabeinu was addressing the Jewish people, that desire had not yet come to fruition -- it was still just a place that Hashem will choose, but not yet in existence.  It took all the years of Yehoshua, of the Shoftim, of Shaul, until David haMelech finally brought that desire for a Mikdash to its culmination and the place became a reality. 

In our time yet again, Hashem awaits our tefilos for a Mikdash.  When we arouse that desire though our derishat Tzion, then instead of a point on the map, instead of a mountain with a golden dome travesty on it, we will once again have a makom Mikdash.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

tefilah = dependency

The gemara (Kesubos 62) relates that after his marriage, Rebbi's son went off to learn for 12 straight years. As a result of his being gone for so long his wife ended up becoming infertile and was unable to have children. Rebbi debated with himself what he could do. To have his son divorce her was not fair, as his poor wife had waited for him faithfully for 12 years while he was learning. To have his son take another wife to be able to have children also was not a tenable solution wither, as people would assume the wife with children is the "real" wife. Having no way out, Rebbi davened for his son's wife and miraculously she was healed and was able to have children.

Rav Yisrael Meir Druk (in a parsha sheet on P' VaEschanan) asks why Rebbi needed to go through this whole give and take with himself, exploring different possibilities of what he could do, before davening for his son's wife. If his tefilos could heal her, then why did Rebbi not just daven right away?

Rav Druk explains that the gemara is revealing to us a key insight into the concept of tefilah. So long as a person thinks that he/she can fix a problem, then there will be something lacking in his tefillah. They are not really turning the reigns over to Hashem and 100% asking for His help because they still think they can fix the problem themselves. Rebbi therefore first made a cheshbon to himself and contemplated what he could do to solve the problem at hand. Only once he took to heart that there was nothing in his power that would work could he daven effectively.

Tefilah is called avodah, work. Chazal derive the obligation to pray from the pasuk in our parsha, "U'l'ovdo b'chol levavchem." Saying words is not laborious. Where is the hard work involved? The answer is that there is nothing harder for a person and nothing that requires more work than accepting being dependent. We hate when things are out of our hands to fix and out of our power to change. Tefillah ultimately means accepting that EVERYTHING is out of our hands. Without Hashem's help, we are nothing.

The Sefas Emes uses this idea to interpret these pesukim:

"Ki tomar bilvavcha, 'Rabim ha'goyim ha'eileh, eicha uchal l'horisham?'
Lo tira meihem: zachor tizkor es asher asa Hashem Elokecha l'Pharoah..." (7:17-18)

The parsha does not simply tell us that Hashem will help us conquer Eretz Yisrael. Instead, it tells us that we will wonder to ourselves, "How are we ever going to get the job done?" and in response, Hashem offers his help. Why does the parsha not just cut to the chase and tell us that Hashem will take care of things for us?  Answers the Sefas Emes: Hashem does not offer his help until we first realize that without that help, we can't do it ourselves.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

land of milk and honey

Ramban (11:6) points out a very strange omission in our parsha.  After relating the great miracle of the destruction of the Egyptian army at Yam Suf, the parsha then speaks about the midbar and focusses specifically on, "v'asher asa l'Dasan v'Aviram…" who were swallowed up by the earth.  Why does the parsha zero in on Dasan and Aviram and completely ignore the instigator of that whole rebellion, Korach?  Why focus on the supporting players and leave out any mention of the star of the show?

The Oznayim laTorah offers a brilliant analysis that takes us back to the story of the meraglim.  When the spies return and report, they tell Moshe and the people, "V'gam zavas chalav u'devash hi," (13:27) that Eretz Yisrael is ***also*** a land of milk and honey.  To the Jewish people at the time, the land of Egypt was the most beautiful, sophisticated society that they could ever imagine. If not for their being enslaved, it would have been the greatest place to live.  So when the spies report, the best thing that they could say about Eretz Yisrael is that it's also good -- Egypt is of course great, and is the standard by which we measure everything else, but (and this was their one bit of truth) Eretz Yisrael is nothing to look down on either.  From there on, the report was all downhill and led to the people rebelling against going.

Yehoshua and Kaleiv responded that G-d will bring them into (14:8) "...Eretz asher HI zavas chalav u'devash," ***IT***, Eretz Yisrael is the land of milk and honey.  "HI" in the pasuk is a miyut -- only Eretz Yisrael, no other place, can be described as the land of zvas, chalav, u'devash.  Forget Egypt -- we are promised a much better place.

This was the shakla v'treya that led to the punishment meted out to the meraglim.  Is Eretz Yisrael THE land of milk and honey, or is it A land of milk and honey -- one of many possibilities.

This set the stage for Dasan and Aviram, who went even further than that and challenged Moshe, "Ki he'elisanu mei'eretz zvas chalav u'devash la'hamiseinu ba'midbar," (16:13) "You took us out of the land of milk and honey" -- i.e. Egypt! -- "in order to kill us in the desert."  They don't equate Eretz Yisrael with Egypt, but instead reverse things completely and identify Egypt as THE true land of milk and honey. 

This is a completely different argument than that advanced by Korach, one that cuts to the heart of where Klal Yisrael should make their future homeland.

This is the argument that Moshe once again is addressing himself to in our parsha, on the doorstep to finally entering the Land.  Having just spoken about the destruction of the Egyptian armies, Moshe turns to address the question that nagged at the people's heels during these past episodes.  If Egypt was such a wonderful place if not for the fact that they chose to enslave the Jews, why not simply return there once the Egyptian army was destroyed and the Jews freed?  Why travel through the desert to some uncharted new territory when the height of culture and civilization was now open?   Why search for a new "eretz zvas chalav u'devash" when there is one already available?

That's exactly the sin of Dasan and Aviram, Moshe reminds the people.  There is only one land that is THE land of zvas chalav u'devash.

Based on this reading of the Oznayin laTorah, the conclusion of the parsha fits perfectly.  "U'shmarten es kol hamitzvah... lama'an ta'arichu yamim al... eretz zvas chalav u'devash." (11:8-9)  But why  not Egypt?  "Ki ha'aretz asher ata ba shama l'rihsta lo k'Eretz Mitzrayim hi..."  Because Eretz Yisrael is not like Egypt.  It's irrigated by rain, it's got mountains and valleys and beautiful land, it's got hi-tech (OK, I threw that one in), and most importantly, it's "eretz asher Hashem Elokecha doreish osa tamid."  (11:11-12) 

There is no other land like that. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

ha'zan vs nodeh lecha -- the perspective of Moshe vs that of Yehoshua

Chazal tell us that Moshe composed the first bracha of birchas ha'mazon; Yehoshua composed the second.  The Ishbitzer (Mei haShiloach vol 2 on P' VaEschanan) points out that in the first bracha we refer to Hashem in third-person -- ha'zan es ha'olam, etc.; the second bracha, however, switches to second person -- nodeh lecha, etc. Moshe Rabeinu was forced to remain outside Eretz Yisrael and ha'dar b'chutz la'aretz k'mi she'ain lo Eloka -- in chu"l G-d appears distant; it is hard to see his presence in day-to-day life.  We can only speak of Him in the abstract.  Yehoshua took us into Eretz Yisrael.  In our own land G-d in there with us as we work the fields, as we build bridges and trains, as we build a country.  We switch to second person to show G-d's direct involvement in every detail of what happens.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Va'Eschanan -- the parsha of nechama

Rambam (Tefilah 13:2):

עזרא תיקן להם לישראל שיהו קורין קללות שבספר ויקרא קודם עצרת ושבמשנה תורה קודם ראש השנה. והמנהג הפשוט שיהו קוראין במדבר סיני קודם עצרת. ואתחנן אחר תשעה באב. אתם נצבים קודם ראש השנה. צו את אהרן קודם הפסח בשנה פשוטה. לפיכך יש שבתות שקורין שחרית שני סדרין כגון אשה כי תזריע וזאת תהיה תורת המצורע. אם בחקותי עם בהר סיני וכיוצא בהן כדי שישלימו בשנה ויקראו אותן הסדרים בעונתן:

We all think that you have to lein Devarim before Tishba B'Av and get in the pasuk of "Eicah esa livadi..."and m'meila, it just happens to work out that Va'Eschanan then falls out the week afterwards.  Rav Soloveitchik showed from this Rambam that just the opposite is true.  The reason we end up leining Devarim before Tisha b'Av is because Va'Eschanan always has to come after Tisha b'Av.  Va'Eschanan is the nechama for destruction as it tells us that even though there may be galus and churban, ultimately we will enter Eretz Yisrael. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

carry the vision with you

1. "Va'Eschanan el Hashem ba'eis ha'hi..."  Why did Moshe choose to daven davka then, ba'eis ha'hi, at that moment?  Rashi explains that since Moshe had entered the land of Sichon v'Og, he was already part of the way there into Eretz Yisrael, and therefore he thought he could ask Hashem to let him go the rest of the way.  It was an opportune moment to see if he could get what he wanted.  Netziv offers a different explanation.  Moshe foresaw that the splitting off of the tribes of Reuvain and Gad after the defeat of Sichon and Og and their settling in Eiver haYarden would lead to eventual galus.  The only thing that preserves Klal Yisrael in galus in Torah.  Therefore, Moshe wanted to enter Eretz Yisrael so that he could help reveal the torah of Eretz Yisrael, which is, as we learned last week, qualitatively different, deeper, more profound, than Torah learned elsewhere. 

2. Moshe Rabeinu is nitzchiyus.  Moshe Rabeinu brought down the Torah for us from Har Sinai and Torah is ours forever in its same immutable form.  Moshe Rabeinu at the beginning of our parsha davened to be able to enter Eretz Yisrael because had he done so then Eretz Yisrael would have been ours forever -- no galus, no Tisha b'Av, game over, complete geulah (see Ohr haChaim 3:25).  Why should Klal Yisrael have to wait for geulah?  "E'ebrah na v'ereh es ha'aretz…"  Rashi says "na" here is "lashon bakasha," like saying please, but, as the Sifsei Chachamim points out, that's not what the word "na" usually means.  What it usually means is "now," which is how the Targum translates the pasuk.  Moshe said, "We want geulah now!" -- not in a few thousand years.  And had Moshe entered the land, then it would have been the geulah right then.

Hashem responded to Moshe's prayers by letting him see Eretz Yisrael.  He couldn't physically go there, but he would have a vision of the land, something to carry in his mind and heart.  Sefas Emes explains that because Moshe is nitzchiyus, this too became ours forever.  Wherever we may be in galus, no matter how long we may be in galus, we will always  have in our minds a vision of Eretz Yisrael.  

3. The Torah ends its record of Moshe's tefilah and Hashem's response with the pasuk, "Va'neishev ba'gai mul Beis Pe'or." (3:29)  The Kotznitzer Magid writes that the Torah is not switching gears here and going from the report of the dialogue between Hashem and Moshe back to a note on geography, where Bnei Yisrael were camped.  Rather, this too is part of the dialogue, part of what Hashem said to Moshe.  "Va'neishev" -- we sat, in the plural.  Hashem is telling Moshe, "Don't think you being left all alone.  I am here with you -- va'neishev -- we will together sit here.  Just like you, Moshe, are waiting here in galus until the day that you can lead the Jewish people back into the land for a geulah of nitzchiyus, I'm here with you, waiting for that day as well."  

Nachamu Nachamu ami...  The process of return has started, the revelation of toras Eretz Yisrael grows every day.  We need to appreciate the special gift that we have!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

batzar lecha... v'shavta

I am not aware of any day of the year when the people of Greece gather around the Parthenon and sit and mourn the ruins of their empire.   And I don't think the people in Rome ever walk by the ruins of the Forum and say to themselves, "Od yeishvu zekeinim u'zkeinos…" and there will be children playing and this place rebuilt.  It's ruins of the past -- great for tourism, a place to visit, a place to learn ancient history, but completely irrelevant to the life of anyone in any real way.  

Someone not yet religious went on a trip to Israel.  

"So how was the trip?"

"OK, nothing so great."

To that person unfortunately it's like going to Greece to see the Parthenon or going to Rome to see the ruins there or anywhere else.  It's just a question of where the hotel is nicer and the food better.

For us, it's not like that.  We have a Tisha b'Av because for us it's not just ancient history and it's not just ruins.  It's something that matters very much to us ad ha'yom ha'zeh.

We just read this morning, "Batzar lecha u'metz'ucha kol hadevarim ha'eileh v'shavta ad Hashem Elokecha."  The Chasam Sofer in his Derahos explains that "batzar lecha," if it bothers you -- not just the antisemitism of galus, but it bothers you that there is no Mikdash, it bothers you that we are not in Eretz Yisrael, and if you are in Eretz Yisrael it bothers you that we don't yet have a full hasra'as haShechina -- then that very fact that you are bothered is a sign of teshuva, "v'shavta."  People are not bothered by ancient history and don't sit on the floor and say kinos for it.  If we are bothered enough to do that, then we are on the right path.

"Kol ha'misabel al Yerushalayim zocheh v'ro'eh b'binyanah."  The SIfsei Chaim points out that it doesn't say "yizkeh v'yireh" in the future tense -- it says "zocheh v'ro'eh," present tense, here and now.  The very act of crying over Yerushalayim, appreciating Yerushalayim, is part and parcel of rebuilding Yerushalayim.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

the torah of Eretz Yisrael

1. On 9 Av: My wife had an interesting thought on the connection between Yitzchak Avinu and 9 Av here.

2. B'eiver ha'Yarden b'eretz Moav ho'il (Rashi: hischil) Moshe be'eir es haTorah ha'zos...

What does the pasuk mean when it says that at that point Moshe started to explain the Torah?  Hadn't he been teaching Torah for the past 40 years?  (See post here).

Moshe was now standing in Eiver haYarden, which, if it is not Eretz Yisrael proper (see Meshech Chochma at the beginning of next week's parsha), is the front door to Eretz Yisrael.  Explains Sefas Emes, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael is a completely different Torah than the Torah of chu"l.  Our understanding of the dvar Hashem contained within Torah, the spirituality that is revealed when one learns Torah, is completely different when one learns in Eretz Yisrael.  Therefore, although Moshe had been teaching Torah for 40 years, this was a new start and a fresh beginning.

When the gemara (Taanis 5) tells us that galus is the biggest bitul Torah, it's not just because it's hard to learn when you suffer pogroms and persecution.  You can be living in luxury in the 5 Towns or Englewood or some other American suburb and it's still a galus of bitul Torah because whatever you learn, it in no way compares to the Torah of Eretz Yisrael -- the cheftza shel Torah is a qualitatively different cheftza shel Torah.  The spiritual plumbing in galus is blocked up and the shefa cannot flow down in the same way.  Just ask any high school kid who when he graduated could barely read a pasuk and now after shanah beit or gimel or however many years in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael he now is a transformed person and can immerse himself in a sugya.   

Everybody asks why is it that in the haggadah shel Pesach we don't answer the ben rasha -- "af atah hakhei es shinav" the haggadah tells us -- but if you look at the pesukim in the Torah, the chumash does offer an answer: "V'haya ki yomru aleichem bneichem mah ha'avodah ha'zos lachem, v'amartem zevach pesach hu la'Hashem..."  Rav Moshe Avigdor Amiel in his Derashos el Ami (derush 25 p 255) explains that the answer lies in the beginning of that pasuk: "V'haya ki tavo el ha'aretz... u'shemartem es ha'avodah ha'zos..."  When we are living in Eretz Yisrael, when we have a Mikdash and are offering a korban pesach, then we have the kelim to answer and respond to a ben rasha.  We have the torah of Eretz Yisrael to offer him.  But when we are living in galus, as the ba'al ha'hagadah was, as we see from the story of R' Eliezer and R' Akiva and the other zekeinim who were learning in hiding in Bnei Brak, then all we have is "hakhei es shinav." 

On 9 Av we still have a lot of mourning to do.  We still await a Mikdash, we still await the full hashra'as haShechina in Eretz Yisrael.  But when we get up in the afternoon and start thinking about nechama, let's also remember that we live in a generating privileged to once again taste the flavor of the torah of Eretz Yisrael, as the process of our return and redemption has begun. 

eicha as a kinah

A few years ago I suggested that the reading if Eicha is a kiyum of kinos, not a chiyuv of kri'as hamegilah like other megilos. This is why the mes sofrim brings down that the reading must be accompanied by targum so that everyone can understand the message, and why women are obligated as well as men, and why it is read at night when our mourning is most intense, unlike other megilos that are read during the day. The mes sofrim writes that the megilah is read "b'bechi u'b'yilalah" -- perhaps there is no formal trop, but rather a chiyuv to read in a crying manner because it is a lamentation.

I saw in Rav Shternbruch's teshuvos another chidush din along these same lines. He suggests that there may not be a din of shomea k'oneh by eicha because kina is a personal expression of grief -- someone else can't express feeling or grieve on your behalf.  I like the idea, but the mes sofrim sounds like there was a chazan who read on behalf of everyone. Perhaps the idea in the mes sofrim is that aside from our grief as individuals, there is a concept of communal mourning. The reading of Eicha is not meant to fulfill our individual chovas hayachid of kina, in which case you would need to debate whether shomea k'oneh applies, but rather is a kiyum of a chovas hatzibur of communal mourning.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

failure to learn from mistakes

Rashi explains that the list of places in the first pasuk in our parsha all are allusions to sins done in the midbar which Moshe was giving tochacha for. "Chatzeiros" alludes to the episode of Miriam's lashon ha'ra which the meraglim should have learned from but didn't. 

Mizrachi asks: Rashi comments that "Paran," mentioned earlier in the pasuk, alludes to the cheit hameraglim. Why do we need two allusions -- Chatzeiros and Paran -- as tochacha for this same sin of the meraglim?

Maharal in Gur Aryeh answers (see Mizrachi for a different answer) that there are two different aspects to the meraglim episode, each of which independently is deserving of tochacha.  The first sin was the act of sending the spies, which demonstrated a lack of emunah -- Paran.  The second sin was the failure to take heed and learn from the example of Miriam -- Chatzeiros.  It's one thing to do wrong, but it's a far worse thing to do wrong when one should have known better.  The failure to learn a lesson is itself a crime.

The Sefas Emes writes that the tragedy of churban bayis sheni is more serious than churban bayis rishon (compare the 2000 years we have been in galus with the mere 70 years of galus between bayis rishon and bayis sheni) because before churban bayis rishon the people could perhaps have rationalized dismissing all the warning and nevuos -- they really believed the Mikdash would never be destroyed.  Yirmiyahu (7:4) quotes the false prophets who told the people, "Heichal Hashem, Heichal Hashem, Heichal Hashem!"  This is G-d's house -- nothing can happen to it.  Later, as Radak explains, Yirmiyahu (22:29)echoes back to them, "Eretz Eretz Eretz shim'i dvar Hashem..." that destruction will indeed come.  (BTW, there is one more pasuk in Tanach where you have a refrain repeated three times -- I'll leave it to you to figure out where it is.)  In the days of bayis sheni, those rationalizations could not hold water any more.  Once you see that the Mikdash can be destroyed, then you have no excuse not to think that it can happen again.  More than that -- failure to learn from what happened only compounds the sin the second time around.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

al tifrosh min ha'tzibur

The Chayei Adam points out what seems to be a stirah in MG"A.  In hil Tisha b'Av the MG"A writes that if you are in the middle of eating a fleishig shalosh seudos and shavua she'chal bo starts that night (assuming you only stop eating fleishig during shavua she'chal bo or rosh chodesh falls on Sunday), you have to stop eating once the tzibur starts maariv.  You can't march to your own drum and extend your meal and your shabbos until whenever you want.  However, in hil tefillin (siman 30) the MG"A writes that if you have not yet put on tefillin that day, even if the tzibur davens maariv, you can still do your own thing -- so long as it is still not really night, you can put on tefillin.  Why, asks Chayei Adam, is night defined based on when the tzibur davens maariv with respect to the start of the 9 days, but not with respect to the last zman to put on tefillin?  

(I keep feeling like I am missing something in the question.  I would say that when you stand to lose a mitzvah d'oraysa like tefilin, then we are lenient and the individual is not schlepped along with the tzibur.  However, if all you stand to lose is an extra bite of fleishig, then we say stop eating.  On the other hand, I guess one could also argue that if one is not forced to be part of the tzibur when it comes to the issur derabbanan of putting tefillin on at night, then kal v'chomer one should be able to do what one wants when dealing with only a minhag like not eating meat during the 9 days.  The Chayei Adam offers neither sevara, just the question.)

In the Sha'ar haTziyun the M"B buries a teirutz to this question that is probably more important as a matter of hashkafa than a matter of halacha (the view of MG"A is not accepted).  He answers that ain hachi nami, just like with respect to tefillin, if you don't want to daven maariv yet then it's not night, so too with respect to fleishig, for you it's not night yet.  However, even if it's not night -- even if shavua she'chal bo has not officially started for you -- since for the tzibur it has started, since they are in more intense aveilus, you have a chiyuv to be mishtatef in their pain.  A person cannot be poreish from the tzibur when they are suffering!

Maybe this why the Rama paskens that the minhag is for pregnant or nursing mothers to fast on a regular fast day unless or until they feel unwell or incapable of doing so.  My brother asked me the following question: if Chazal never included pregnant women or nusing mothers in the takanah to fast, then what do they gain by doing so?  I would say that that argument holds water viz a viz the chiyuv ta'anis, but there is an additional chiyuv here of not being poresh min ha'tzibur.  Even if you are exempt -- for you it's not the 9 days yet, it's not shavua she'chal bo, you are not included in the chiyuv ta'anis -- since the tzibur has a chiyuv, you have to do something to show that you empathize with their pain and share in their suffering.

Even they believe in the koach of tefilah

News reports say that Jordan forced a group of tourists to remove their kipot and tzitzis  and expelled them for  the crime of praying at the kever of Aharon in Petra.  We know that Jews are barred from praying on Har HaBayis.  It goes without saying that were the shoe on the other foot and we barred others from worship, we would never hear the end of it.  

Did you ever wonder what they are so afraid of?  

They seem to take our tefilos pretty  seriously and think that whatever we are doing has some meaning. Maybe something for us to take to heart.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Ptur ones in kiyum Hamitzvos (II)

Coming back to the question from earlier in the week: according to the Mordechai's opinion that you can wear a 4 cornered garment on shabbos without tzitzis because the issur of tying gives you a ptur ones from the mitzvah of tzitzis, why can't you use a kli that you have not toiveled on shabbos since you are ones and cannot bbe toivel the kli?

Rav Gestetner surprisingly does not point out that a similar question was already asked by R Shlomo Eiger (YD 28:20).  The SA paskens that you can't shecht unless you have dirt prepared for kisuy ha'dam.  Why not shecht and then if it turns out that you have no dirt, eg it is Yom Tov and you did not prepare any dirt in advance to not be muktzah, so what -- you are in a situation of ones and are therefore exempt from the mitzvah.  What's the difference between putting on a talis knowing it has no tzitzis and you cannot tie any on and shechting knowing you have no dirt?

The Steipler (printed in Baba Basra in the new editions) says there is a big difference, and this will answer R Gestetner's question was well.  Even if you put tzitzis on that talis tomorrow, it can't help you with the mitzvah of tzitzis that you have today.  Tomorrow is a new opportunity to do tomorrow's mitzvah, but in terms of today, you lost the mitzvah.  The same is not true of kisuy ha'dam or tevilas kelim.  The mitzvah in those cases is to be toivel the kli, to cover the dam -- the mitzvah is on the cheftza, which will be the same tomorrow as it is today.  If you delay the shechita or delay using the kli you haven't lost a mitzvah opportunity, you've simply postponed the same opportunity for a different time.

(Consider this a starting point on the issue.)

Thursday, August 01, 2019

lo tisov nachala l'mateh acheir -- keeping the land ours

The leaders of Menashe complained to Moshe that giving land to Bnos Tzelafchad opened the door to the possibility of their tribe losing territory.  Were Bnos Tzelafchad to marry outside their sheivet, then their husbands from another sheivet might inherit their property.  In response, Hashem commanded, "V'lo tisov nachala l'Bnei Yisrael mi'mateh el mateh..." (36:7) that the Bnos Tzelafchad or any bas yoreshes should marry only within their own sheivet.  The parsha then continues, "V'lo tisov nachala mi'mateh el mateh acheir...," (36:9) almost word for word a repetition of the earlier pasuk.  Why reiterate the same point?

When Bnos Tzelafchad came before Moshe in Parshas Pinchas to request their father's portion of land, the Torah introduces them as "Bnos Tzelafchad ben Cheifer ben Gilad ben Machir ben Menashe l'mishpachas Menashe ben Yosef." (27:1)  Rashi explains that the Torah traces their lineage all the way back to Yosef because they were following in the footsteps of Yosef who  also exhibited great love for Eretz Yisrael. Yosef demanded that Bnei Yisrael promise to remove his bones from Mitzrayim and carry them with them to Eretz Yisrael when they would leave.

The complaint of the leaders of Menashe stemmed also from this great love of Eretz Yisrael that was built into the DNA of the offspring of Yosef.  Their story is a parallel to the story of Bnos Tzelafchad: the complaint that they would lose a portion of land, and Hashem's response with a law that had not yet been revealed to Moshe.

(Interesting that if you count Matos-Masei as one unit, this is the 9th parsha we will read in BaMidbar.  The Ishbitzer in Mei HaShiloach in P' Balak writes that the 9th pasuk of any parsha contains a deeper meaning al derech sod (see also Mei HaShiloach on next week's parsha of Devarim).  Nine is the midah of yesod which corresponds to Yosef ha'tzadik, who hid his tzidkus while outwardly acting like an Egyptian viceroy.  So perhaps the ninth parsha contains the sod of Yosef ha'tzadik as well in the form of Yosef's love of Eretz Yisrael while living in galus.)

The Radomsker in Tiferes Shlomo writes that just like the complaint of  "lamah nigara" gave rise to the laws of Pesach Sheni and the opportunity to bring a korban even after the fact, so  too, the complaints of Bnos Tzelafchad and the leaders of Menashe is what gave rise to Hashem giving these halachos that would ensure they receive their portion.  It's the desire for the land, it's the strength of the claim one advances, which itself gives rise to Hashem's response of giving the land and guaranteeing its possession.

 "V'lo tisov... mi'mateh el mateh," is talking about the inter-sheivet transfer of land.  But the parsha is also telling us something else, writes the Radomsker.  When our love for Eretz Yisrael is so great that we are not willing to give up any portion of what should be ours, then "lo tisov... mi'mateh el mateh acheir," then Hashem will ensure that the land remains ours and never is taken by an "acheir," an outsider.  You want to see a Jewish Yerushalayim, not a Jewish quarter, or a Jewish Chevron, or to again have a Jewish Gush Katif?  Then increase your love of Eretz Yisrael and demand it.

"Sha'alu shlom Yerushalayim yishlayu ohavayich" (Teh 122:6)  Radomsker explains that it's cause and effect: when will it be that we will live in shalvah, tranquility, in our land?  When we are "sha'alu shlom...," when we ask Hashem to give us our land back, when we complain loudly enough about it not being ours. 

It's no coincidence that these themes come up during the three weeks.  Sefas Emes in P' Pinchas writes that we read the parshiyos of korbanos at this time of year because it reminds us that we need to aspire to have a Mikdash back where we can do avodah.  Perhaps here too, the episode of Bnos Tzelafchad, of Menashe, reminds us that we need to cherish Eretz Yisrael and demand a return to our Land.