Wednesday, March 31, 2021

kinyan chal on shabbos

The Mishna in Pesachim already deals with the problem of how to be mafrish challah when you are baking fresh matzah (as they did in the times of Chazal) on Y"T.  R' Shternbruch in Moadim u'Zmanin (vol 4 #285) deals with a similar case where a person finds himself on erev pesach she'chal b'shabbos with matzah which he forgot to be mafrish challah on.  He cites an interesting solution suggested by the Maharil Diskin: give some of the matzah to a 12 year old muflah ha'samuch l'ish for his own use and allow the child to be mafrish challah from his batch for all the matzah on Shabbos.

How can we encourage or even allow the child to be m'chalel shabbos?  A few years ago we dealt with the gemara that says a katan can eat from the korban pesach even without minuy, the "reservation" that a gadol would have to make to be able to eat from the korban.  The Rishonim ask: if a gadol would not be allowed to eat from the korban, then wouldnt feeding it to a katan be like giving him maachalos assuros?  Ran (Nedarim 36) explains that minuy is only required for someone who has a chiyuv to eat korban pesach.  Since a child has no real chiyuv, no minuy is necessary.  Tos (Pesachim 88) disagrees and writes that a katan in theory does require minuy to be able to eat from the korban, but for the sake of chinuch in the mitzah of achilas korban pesach we dispense with that requirement and allow a katan to eat.  This Tos is the foundation for Maharil Diskin's argument: for the sake of chinuch in a kiyum mitzvah we are even allowed to cause the katan to violate what otherwise would be assur.

(It's worth noting that the Minchas Chinuch (end of mitzvah 7) writes that Tos should not be taken at face value as meaning a katan has carte blance to violate issurim so long as it is l'shem doing a mitzvah for chinuch.  The whole point of chinuch, writes the M.C., is to train the katan to do a mitzvah in the way he would have to do it as a gadol.  A gadol does not do issurim to accomplish a mitzvah, so neither can a katan.  Tos has to be taken in context.  The reason minuy failed in the gemara's case is because by definition, a katan is excluded from minuy -- it is his age which is the barrier.  Had the katan been over bar mitzvah, the minuy would have worked.  He is doing the mitzvah exactly as he would have to as a gadol.  See Meishiv Davar I:41 )

R' Shternbruch raises many, many arguments against this chiddush.  Tos is speaking about giving korban pesach to the katan on pesach -- that is the only possible time for chinuch in that mitzvah.  In the case of hafrashas challah on shabbos, there is no reason to be mechanech a child in the mitzvah of hafrashah then and there.  

One argument he raises that is relevant to most of us this year is attack on the idea that a katan can be mafrish for someone else on Shabbos.  R' Akiva Eiger (159) raises the question of whether a kinyan made during the week can be chal on Shabbos.  Why should doing business be different than any other melacha?  I can start my washing machine on Friday so it finishes a load on shabbos, I can set a timer on Friday to turn on a lamp on Shabbos, so why can't I close a business deal with a clause so the sale takes effect on Shabbos?  The Avnei Nezer explains that the washer will finish no matter what, even if the owner of the clothes dies; your timer on your lamp will continue to operate even if you leave the house, sell the lamp, and run away; however, a business transaction does not work that way -- there has to be a buyer and a seller, the transaction is inextricably linked to the actors involved.  You cannot separate the action that occurs on Shabbos from the person.  If you empowered your Rabbi to sell your chametz, one of the issues he would have to deal with is this R' Akiva Eiger.  Can the mechiras chametz be done on Friday and take effect on Shabbos, or must the sale be completed before Shabbos with a loophole to exclude the chametz needed for Shabbos?  Getting back to the Maharil Diskin, R' Shternbruch writes that the hafrashas challah done by the katan works through zechiya, i.e. the katan is acting on behalf of the owner of the challah with his approval.  If a random person were to take challah from dough without the owner's consent and permission, it would be meaningless.  So here too, like in a business transaction, the concept of ownership, or owner's consent, means the person is inextricably linked with the act.  It is not at all clear that this should be permitted. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

the taste has to linger

I saw someone explain that the command given to Bnei Yisrael not to leave their homes on Pesach night in Mitzrayim is because a person might be thinking it's the last night here in Egypt, let me go for a stroll and take one last look at the old neighborhood, let me grab a few memories for old times sake to take with me, etc.  The person who thinks that way shows in his heart of hearts that he still is connected to the old neighborhood -- he feels some pain, even if only a bit, at having to leave.  Hashem comes and says let that not be you.  Leave b'simcha, with no regrets, no last look back.  

I was thinking of that last night as everyone tries to get in a last pizza, a last morsel of chametz, before Pesach kicks in.  It's like our last look back before we have to start on the matzah.  

Rashi comments at the beginning of the parsha צו את אהרן – אין צו אלא לשון זרוז מיד ולדורות.  Chasam Sofer explains that if something happens infrequently, it is out of the norm and it generates its own excitement.  If the Mets were to make it to the World Series, everyone is interested, everyone is excited.  If the Yankees make it, it's just the same old routine.  When you have a command which is מיד ולדורות, that will continue for generations into the future continuously, then we need  לשון זרוז so it doesn't become stale and boring, so that the excitment continues.  

This is the question of the chacham at the seder.  "Mah ha'eidus.... asher tzivah Hashem eschem."  Pesach comes once a year and the whole house gets turned upside down. It's exciting!  Why do you need tzivah = tzav לשון זרוז here?

To which we answer, "Ain maftirim achar ha'pesach afikoman," the taste has to stay with you.  Today it's exciting because the whole house is covered in tin foil and we are sitting at a seder, but what about tomorrow when things are back to normal?  What about the next day after that?  How do you keep the taste in your mouth, how do you preserve the excitement?

This is the daunting challenge facing us on leil ha'seder and in reality, all year.  The goal of v'higadta l'bincha is not just to tell a story, to give a speech like all the other speeches you give your children about what they should/should not do.  It's v'higadta l'bincha... leimor -- the goal is to implant the message so that one day they can say it over to their children.  The mitzvah of leil ha'seder is  מיד ולדורות, so that taste will last for generations.  "U'lfi she'hotzi atzmo min ha'klal kafar b'Ikar v'af atah."  The "v'af atah" is the end of that sentence, not the start of a new sentence.  The rasha was kafar b'Ikar and you sat by and watched and didn't try to do anything!?  "...kafar b'Ikar v'af atah," then you are just as guilty as he is.  The effort may not be successful, but at least you have to try.  

So we try to fulfill V'higadta l'bincha as best we can, and if you want some chizuk, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe says to look at the end of that pasuk.   When we left Egypt we were spiritually in the sub-basement, below the ground floor, "v'at arom v'erya," lacking any mitzvos.  Hashem gave us just 2 mitzvos to start with, pesach and milah, and that alone was enough to bring us to geulah.  So when you face the disaffected "aino yode'a lishol" who is too disinterested to ask on his own, "at psach lo," start with something, "v'higadta l'bnincha leimor," saying whatever you can, and Hashem will give you siyata d'Shemaya from there.  We then quote the end of the pasuk as proof: "...baavur zeh asa Hashem li b'tzeisi miMitzrayim," geulah started with our taking just a baby step of mitzvos, and Hashem jumped in and helped with the rest.  So start with a baby step of teaching something, with a pesach maybe the size of a needle opening, and Hashem will take care of the rest.

Chag kasher v'sameich, and hopefully we will all get the siyata d'Shemaya we need to fulfill vhigadta and all the mitzvos haPesach properly.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

mitzvos lav l'henos and the brachos on matzah

The gemara (Nedarim 15b) writes that if a person takes a neder not to have hanaah from relations, his wife becomes prohibited to him.  The Rishonim ask why this is true.  We have a principle that mitzvos lav l'henos nitnu, and when a person is with their wife it is a kiyum mitzvah of onah, so where is the prohibited hanaah here?  Ran answers that mitzvos lav l'henos nitnu just means that the schar of the mitzvah is not considered hanaah, but certainly if there is physical pleasure associated with a mitzvah it is considered hanaah.  For example, the gemara (R"H 28) writes that a person who took a neder not to bathe in a spring cannot go to mikveh when it is hot outside.  Even though the person may be going to mikveh l'shem mitzvah, the physical pleasure that he gets is still hanaah that is prohibited.  Rashba gives a different answer: the mitzvah of onah is part of the shibudim obligations of a husband to a wife.  Since the neder breaks this shibud, m'meila there is no mitzvah.  (It is a bit hard to understand why exactly the neder breaks the shibud).  

Achronim (e.g. Avnei Miluim 28:60) assume that Rashba avoids Ran's answer because Rashba interprets mitvos lav l'henos very broadly as allowing any and all hanaah that comes as part and parcel of doing a mitzvah.  

We discussed this machlokes a long time ago, but since it is close to Pesach, here is the Maharatz Chiyus' hesber based on Tos (Pesachim 46a): Tos writes that point under debate in the machlokes whether nedarim/nedavos can be offered on Y"T is whether the heter to eat meat from the korban is just an incidental side benefit and ignored, or whether it allows the hakrava to fall under the umbrella of ochel nefesh.  So too here, the Rashba holds that physical benefit that results from a kiyum mitzvah is just incidental to the mitzvah act and therefore ignored, while Ran disagrees.  (There are many other hesbeirim, e.g. the machlokes Rashba/Ran is whether you say psik reisha by issurei hanaha -- the physical hanaah is a psik reisha of the maaseh mitzvah.)

If you are still with me, based on this Rashba that says even physical hanaah from a kiyum mitzvah does not count as enjoyment, R' Hutner asked: why do we need to say a birchas ha'nehenin when we eat matzah?  Mitzvos lav l'henos and the enjoyment of the food [you mean some people enjoy eating matzah?] counts for nothing, it's just a maaseh mitzvah, so just say a bracha of al achilas matzah and that's it?!

(R' Michael Shiloni has a long arichus on this in his sefer Maarachei Moed, but I'll leave it for you to enjoy thinking about.  There are many ways out of the problem...) 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rambam/Raavad on dunking matzah in charoset

Rambam (Cu"M 8:8)

בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאֵין שָׁם קָרְבָּן אַחֵר שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם חוֹזֵר וּמְבָרֵךְ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה. וּמְטַבֵּל מַצָּה בַּחֲרֹסֶת וְאוֹכֵל

Raavad on the spot argues and writes in very strong language (as Magid Mishne takes note of), "she'zeh hevel."  

Sefer haManhig writes that matzah and charoset cannot go together, as matzah is a symbol of freedom, but charoset is a symbol of slavery, as it relates to the mortar used for bricks.

What is this argument all about?

In his sefer on inyanei Pesach, R' Wahrman z"l quotes the hesber of the Aderet that tries to make this l'shitasam:

The Rambam and Raadvad in Hil Teshuvah (ch 6) discuss (see here) why the Mitzrim deserved punishment when Hashem had decreed that BN"Y would have to serve as slaves in galus.  Rambam says that although the BN"Y were destined to be slaves to the Egyptian nation, each individual Egyptian had the choice whether he would be one of the people who would enslave a Jew or not.  Raavad answers that although there was a Divine decree of slavery, the Egyptians went above and beyond the norm in the harshness of their persecutions. 

We know that Klal Yisrael spent only 210 years, not 400+ years as slaves in Egypt.  The reduction in the number of years happened because the Egyptians worked us so intensely that those 210 years were the equivalent of 400 years of servitude (see this post).  

The Rambam l'shitaso views the harshness of the slavery as the key that unlocked the door to our getting out of jail earlier, and therefore, the charoset, the reminder of the bricks and mortar, goes with the matzah as a symbol of freedom.

Raavad sees the harshness of the servitude in a purely negative light, as the mechayeiv of the Egyptians.  Either he holds we got out earlier for some other reason than the severity of the slavery, or even if this is the reason, the unwarranted and unjust pain and suffering outweighs the positive outcome of leaving early.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

mitzvah habaah b'aveira by dinim derabbanan

 he Yerushalmi (Shabbos 13:2, 72a in Vilna ed) suggests that if an aveil tears kriya on Shabbos, they are yotzei the mitzvah kriya.  The Yerushalmi then asks: how is this different than a person who stole matzah and ate it on leil Pesach, in which case they are not yotzei the mitzvah?  

The gemara cryptically answers:

אמר לון תמן גופה עבירה. ברם הכא הוא עבר עבירה. כך אני אומר הוציא מצה מרשות היחיד לרשות הרבים אינו יוצא בה ידי חובתו בפסח

By kriya,  עבר עבירה; by matzah, תמן גופה עבירה.  

Whatever exactly that distinction means, the Yerushalmi demonstrates that the cases are not comparable by bringing in another example: surely if a person carried matzah from a reshus ha'yachid to a reshus ha'rabim on Shabbos and then ate it, they would be yotzei the mitzvah of matzah.  The case of kriya is just like this case.

R' Akiva Eiger asks: when you are done carrying the matzah, the aveira is over before you do the mitzvah.  When you tear kriya, the aveira and mitzvah occur simultaneously.  What's the comparison?  How does this latter case prove what the din is by kriya?

So much for trying to understand the answer of the Yerushalmi.  For now, let's back up and take a closer look at the question.  

The Bavli (Sukkah 30) quotes a machlokes whether the psul of mitzvah habaah b'aveira applies only on the first day of Sukkos or on all the days of the chag. 

קא פסיק ותני לא שנא ביו"ט ראשון ולא שנא ביום טוב שני בשלמא יבש הדר בעינן וליכא אלא גזול בשלמא יום טוב ראשון דכתיב לכם משלכם אלא ביום טוב שני אמאי לא א"ר יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי משום דהוה ליה מצוה הבאה בעבירה... 

  ופליגא דר' יצחק דא"ר יצחק בר נחמני אמר שמואל לא שנו אלא ביום טוב ראשון אבל ביום טוב שני מתוך שיוצא בשאול יוצא נמי בגזול 

Tosfos explains there is no psul on the latter days of the chag because the chiyuv of lulav on those days is only derabbaban:

. הכא דווקא שהוא מדרבנן לא חייש אמצוה הבאה בעבירה

The Yerushalmi (Sukkah 3:6, 15a top of the page) quotes this this second view stama, as if there is no debate on the matter:

רבי יצחק בר נחמן בשם שמואל כל הפסולין אינן פוסלין אלא ביום טוב הראשון בלבד.

And we see from the Rambam that this rule does not just apply to psulei hidur, but to all psulim, even a stolen lulav, as he writes (Hil Lulav 8:9)

כל אלו שאמרנו שהם פסולין מפני מומין שבארנו או מפני גזל וגניבה ביום טוב ראשון בלבד אבל ביום טוב שני עם שאר הימים הכל כשר.

If so, the difference between the din of kriya and the din of matzah should be obvious: kriya is a din derabbanan, matzah is a chiyuv d'oraysa.  You shouldn't need some cryptic answer to distinguish between the cases -- the question shouldn't even get off the ground!

The Kaba d'Kushyasa similarly asks on the Shulchan Aruch: the S.A. paskens (Y.D. 349) that you are not yotzei kriya on a stolen garment (it's just like trying to be yotzei with stolen matzah) -- there is a psul mitzvah habaah b'aveira even though kriya is derabbanan.  Yet the S.A. paskens (O.C. 649) that you are yotzei with a stolen lulav on all the days of Y"T except the first -- there is no psul of mitzvah habaah baveira by dinim derabbanan.  How do you get these two halachos to fit together?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

the price of admission is a bit of humility

 וַיִּקְרָא אֶל משֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ – מִכָּן אָמְרוּ כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ דַעַת, נְבֵלָה טוֹבָה הֵימֶנּוּ, תֵּדַע לְךָ שֶׁכֵּן, צֵא וּלְמַד מִמּשֶׁה אֲבִי הַחָכְמָה, אֲבִי הַנְּבִיאִים, שֶׁהוֹצִיא יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְעַל יָדוֹ נַעֲשׂוּ כַּמָּה נִסִּים בְּמִצְרַיִם וְנוֹרָאוֹת עַל יַם סוּף, וְעָלָה לִשְׁמֵי מָרוֹם וְהוֹרִיד תּוֹרָה מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְנִתְעַסֵּק בִּמְלֶאכֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְלֹא נִכְנַס לִפְנַי וְלִפְנִים עַד שֶׁקָּרָא לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא א׳:א׳): וַיִּקְרָא אֶל משֶׁה

The end of last week's parsha tells us וְלֹא־יָכֹ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד כִּֽי־שָׁכַ֥ן עָלָ֖יו הֶעָנָ֑ן, Moshe could not enter the Ohel Moed because the cloud of Hashem's presence enveloped it.  That's why he waited until Hashem called to him to enter.  Where is the display of daas (which here seems to mean something like derech eretz, not IQ points) -- Moshe had no choice in the matter?

Sometimes the Torah uses the words lo yachol or lo tuchal and it does not mean the thing cannot be done, i.e. it is practically impossible, but rather it means the thing may not be done, e.g. it is assur or not the right thing to do.  We discussed this once before in the context of the Torah's command לֹא-תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ, מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ, וּבְכֹרֹת בְּקָרְךָ, וְצֹאנֶךָ; וְכָל-נְדָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּדֹּר, וְנִדְבֹתֶיךָ וּתְרוּמַת יָדֶךָ, to eat these items in Yerushalayim when you make aliya la'regel, not at home or on the road.  Rashi there comments that lo tuchal doesn't mean it's impossible to do (as the literal translation suggests), but rather that it's assur.  So why does the Torah use an expression that needs a peirush rashi instead of some other expression that clearly means it's assur?  Tiferes Shlomo explains that the Torah in hinting that you should feel that it's something impossible to do, that when you've experienced the kedushas Yerushalayim, you should say to yourself, "How can I possibly choose to eat these foods at home and not here in holiness?" 

So too here, explains the Sefas Emes, וְלֹא־יָכֹ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד כִּֽי־שָׁכַ֥ן עָלָ֖יו הֶעָנָ֑ן does not mean that it was impossible for Moshe to enter Ohel Moed because of some barrier stopping him, but rather he could not enter because mentally and emotionally he felt that he had no right to be in a place with such holiness.  His own mind was the barrier.  That's daas -- to understand where and when you belong and where and when you do not.  Moshe Rabeinu, for all his gadlus -- the man who took us out the Egypt, who split Yam Suf, who got the Torah, the greatest of nevi'im -- felt that he had no right to walk through the door of the Mishkan uninvited.  

A proof: the gemara (Sukkah 45b), speaking about Rashbi and his son, tells us:

וּדְמִסְתַּכְּלִי בְּאַסְפַּקְלַרְיָא הַמְּאִירָה מִי זוּטְרֵי כּוּלֵּי הַאי וְהָא אָמַר אַבָּיֵי לָא פָּחֵית עָלְמָא מִתְּלָתִין וְשִׁיתָּא צַדִּיקֵי דִּמְקַבְּלִי אַפֵּי שְׁכִינָה בְּכׇל יוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אַשְׁרֵי כׇּל חוֹכֵי לוֹ לוֹ בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא תְּלָתִין וְשִׁיתָּא הָווּ לָא קַשְׁיָא הָא דְּעָיְילִי בְּבַר הָא דְּעָיְילִי בְּלָא בַּר

Rashi explains: עיילי בלא בר. בלא רשות מועטים הן ובהנהו קאמר אני ובני מהם

I'm not interested now in the stira between whether only Moshe was zoche to ispaklarya ha'meira, as other gemaras indicate, vs what Rashbi was zoche to.  These things are above my pay grade.   But what we do see clearly is that Rashbi and kal v'chomer Moshe did not need permission to come in and go out!  They had reshus to come and go as they pleased.

Al korchacha וְלֹא־יָכֹ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד is not because Moshe was not allowed to enter without permission, but rather because he could not bring himself to enter.  And that's the lesson we should take away for ourselves.

Maybe it wouldn't be an idea to put a plaque up at the entrance to shuls with this pasuk לֹא־יָכֹ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה לָבוֹא֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד כִּֽי־שָׁכַ֥ן עָלָ֖יו הֶעָנָ֑ן.  A person goes to a neighbor or friend's house, he knocks at the door and waits for the host to invite them in, he waits to be offered food and drink, etc.  However, comes Shabbos morning, people walk into a shul and slam the door open to make sure eveyone takes note of their (late) arrival, they march right in like a melech, and the truly brazen feel free to stop off in the kitchen for a shot of schnaps and a piece of kugel along the way or when they need a break.  It's only Moshe Rabeinu who stands at the door trembling because he knows maybe coming into such a place of holiness is above his madreiga, but Joe Ploni barges in like he owns the place.  

That's just an extreme example, of course.  There are many more subtle examples of people thinking they are a bar hachi for whatever, they are ba'alei komah and such-and-such is befitting them, all because they lack the daas to have a little humility and tremble a bit.  Everyone can think on their own and apply the idea as they see fit.

The Kozhiglover quotes the Rashi לכל דברות ולכל אמירות ולכל ציווים קדמה קריאה and writes that the price of admission, so to speak, to Torah, to the amiros and tzivuyim and dibros, is feeling a sense of unworthiness, of humility.  That's why there is a little aleph in VaYikra, to hint to the smallness of ego that has to precede everything.  You wait to be called, you don't barge in.  That's how Moshe approached every encounter.  As Rashi writes later in Shmini (9:7), שהיה אהרן בוש וירא לגשת, אמר לו משה: מה אתה בוש לכך נבחרת.  L'kach nivcharta = because שהיה אהרן בוש, because of the humility, the lack of feeling entitled.  

Davka those who feel unworthy, those who feel a sense of awe and reverence, are the ones Hashem calls to and draws close.  

what was the raavya's fourth question in mah nishtana?

 Aruch haShulchan (472:3)  

ודע שהטור כתב בשם ראבי"ה, דבזמן הזה במדינתינו שאין רגילין לאכול בהסיבה – אינו צריך להסב, עיין שם

There is a machlokes between the Raavya and everyone else whether haseiba is required in our days.  Raavya says that since when people dine in luxury they no longer eat that way, there is no point to do so at the seder.   

Ah"S brings a proof against the Raavya:

וראיה לזה: שהרי במשנה (קטז א) בשאלת "מה נשתנה" – לא הוזכרה שאלת ההסיבה, ובנוסחא שלנו ישנה. והטעם דבזמן המשנה לא היתה שינוי, ולא היה לבן מה לשאול על זה. אבל עכשיו שואל על השינוי, ולכן העיקר כדברי רוב הפוסקים שחיוב יש בהסיבה

The reason the Mishna does not mention the question of "Why do we we eat b'haseiba on this night..." is because in the days of the Mishna everyone always ate b'haseiba.  It was not something a child would remark on.  It's davka in our times when we do haseiba even though people do not eat that way, contra to the Raavya, that it elicits the question.  

When the Raavya asked Mah Nishtana, what was his fourth question?  Since he held there was no chiyuv haseiba, how could he ask about it? 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

ikar poteil es ha'tafeil -- chakira of the emek bracha

An interesting question to think about:

If a person ate matzah but it was tafeil to some other food so no bracha needed to be recited on it, is a person yotzei the mitzvah of achilas matzah?

A few months from now you can discuss the same question by sukkah: if a person ate bread on leil sukkos but it was tafeil to some other food so it did not require a bracha, is a person yotzei the mitzvah of eating a meal in sukkah?

What's the safeik?  Saying a bracha is not m'keiv the mitzvah?  

The issue is how to understand the din that ikar poteir es ha'tafeil.  The Emek Bracha (and others) make the following chakira: is it that the tafeil is its own achila and should get its own bracha, but the halacha of ikar poteir es ha'tefil tells us that the bracha on the ikar suffices, or does the din of ikar poteir tafeil mean that the achila of the tafeil is not an achila -- it's like you just ate the ikar, and that's why only the ikar gets a bracha.

There are ra'ayos both ways, among them the simple diyuk in the language of ikar POTEIR es ha'tafeil, which implies there is a chiyuv bracha on the tafeil that is being fulfilled, not that there is no chiyuv.  

In any case, the sefer where I saw this question raised wanted to say that the issue by matzah or sukkah hinges on this chakirah.  If the achila of the tafeil is not an achila, then you haven't been yotzei matzah or sukkah; if it is an achila, just the bracha on the ikar suffices, then you would be yotzei.

I leave it to you to mull over whether the chakira fits and what the proofs are one way or the other.

aseres ymei teshuvah in Nisan

Shem m'Shmuel, last piece on Vayikra 5671:

 יש להבין למה הקדים לאמור להם מצות הפסח בר"ח מאחר שמקחו בעשור ובמכילתא שדווקא בעשור ולא מקודם, והביקור הי' אחר הלקיחה דווקא ולמה הקדים כ"כ, אך י"ל דעשרה ימים אלו הם כנגד עשרת ימי תשובה וכמו ששם הוא עשרה עמקים היינו לבוא לעומק הלב יום אחר יום עד נקודה הפנימית, כ"כ עשרה ימים אלו שנאמר משכו ידיכם מע"ז ובכלל ע"ז כל הרצוניות שלא לה' המה בכל יום ויום להשגיח היטב על יחוד המעשה לה' יום אחר יום עד נקודה הפנימית שבלב, זה הי' עבודתם בעשרה ימים אלו, וכן נשאר זה לדורות, ולעומת טהרת הלב ויחוד המעשה שבימים אלו זוכין אח"כ להארה אלקית בימי הפסח:

Monday, March 15, 2021

motivation to give

 וַיִּקְח֞וּ מִלִּפְנֵ֣י מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֵ֤ת כׇּל־הַתְּרוּמָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֵבִ֜יאוּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לִמְלֶ֛אכֶת עֲבֹדַ֥ת הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ לַעֲשֹׂ֣ת אֹתָ֑הּ וְ֠הֵ֠ם הֵבִ֨יאוּ אֵלָ֥יו ע֛וֹד נְדָבָ֖ה בַּבֹּ֥קֶר בַּבֹּֽקֶר(36:3) 

Why mention that the donations for the mishkan were given specifically in the morning?  

Maybe zrizim makdimim, people wanted to rush to do the mitzvah first thing.

Netziv suggests there is something more to it.  

There is something else that happened every morning -- the mon fell.  In fact, we even have in connection with the mon the repetition of the same phrase "ba'boker ba'boker":  וַיִּלְקְט֤וּ אֹתוֹ֙ בַּבֹּ֣קֶר בַּבֹּ֔קֶר אִ֖ישׁ כְּפִ֣י אׇכְל֑וֹ (16:21)  

Netziv writes:

 ויש להוסיף, לפי שהיה נודע לכל ישראל בבוקר איך הוא נחשב לפני ה׳ ע״פ ירידת המן, כמו שכתבתי לעיל (טז,ו), על כן היתה ירידת המן בבוקר גורמת להרבות נדבות.

Every morning, as soon as they got up, each person was reminded that Hashem cares about them.  Every morning, there was that pile of mon waiting that showed that Hashem was there to address their needs.

When you wake up to that, then wouldn't you be motivated to do something more in return, to give more in return? 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

negating the opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah - Minchas Chinuch

Good Chodesh -- chodesh ha'geulah!  Time to focus on Pesach!

The Minchas Chinuch has a tremendous chiddush (Mitzvah 2:22 in the new editions): The mitzvah of milah can only be done on the 8th day and not earlier, and can only be done during the day, but never at night.   M.C. writes that if someone were to cut off the orlah of the baby at night or before the 8th day, they have not done anything wrong.  When the 8th day or daylight comes, the baby will have no orlah so there will be no mitzvah to do, but so what?  Who says there is anything wrong with removing the opportunity to do a mitzvah before the mitzvah kicks in?  

He contrasts this with the din by korban pesach, where the gemara (Pesachim 41a) darshens the command to eat korban pesach at night, "v'achlu es ha'basar ba'layla ha'zeh," as implying that there is a prohibition of eating the korban earlier (according to Rambam it is an issur aseh; according to Ramban it is an actual lav), before night.  We never find a similar derasha that "bayom ha'shmini" prohibits cutting off the orlah earlier, so we have no right to invent such a din.  

Cutting off the orlah before the mitzvah kicks in is like rounding off the corner of a garment so it does not have 4 corners and is exempt from tzitzis.  The gemara says that at times of Hashem's anger avoiding the mitzvah is not a good thing to do, but otherwise, there is no issur.  

Shu"T Chavatzles haSharon (Y.D. 78) points out that the M.C. seems to contradict himself.  The din is that someone who is "b'derech rechoka" (machlokes Tanaim what the shiur is) is patur from korban pesach and gets pushed off to pesach sheni.  The Tzlach writes that a person who lives far away and fits the category of "derech rechoka" doesn't have to do anything about his situation -- the Torah exempts him from any chiyuv.  Minchas Chinch (5:13 in the new edition) disagrees.  M.C. goes back and forth trying to prove his point from various Rishonim (see Rashi d"h onesh kareis Pesachim 69a which implies that before 6 hours of the day "lo ramya chiyuva alei," there is no issur kareis, but there is a chiyuv to try to being the korban), but his strongest argument in the end is based on logic.  A person has a mitzvah to be noteil lulav, hear shofar, eat matzah.  Can a person just sit back and do nothing and then when R"H, or Sukkos, or Pesach comes, claim that they are not responsible for not doing the mitzvah because they lack the means to do so?  Of course not!  Each mitzvah implicitly requires that a person make the needed effort **beforehand** to have the means to fulfill it in the proper time.  So too when it comes to korban pesach, a person who lives outside Yerushalayim has to make an effort to travel there so that when 14 Nissan comes he has the means to fulfill his obligation, not sit home and do nothing and claim an exemption.

By the very same logic, argues the Chavatezels haSharon, shouldn't a person have to avoid cutting off the baby's orlah in advance so that when the proper time comes, he can fulfill the mitzvah of milah?  Isn't that part and parcel of making sure one has the means to do the mitzvah once its time comes?

Ad kan the kashe of the Chavatzelesh haSharon (who BTW took over as Rav in Tarnipol after the M.C.'s son).

I am just going to add 2 trivial cents: Tos RI"D (Kiddushin 29) holds that the mitzvah of milah is not classified as zman gerama (see Tos Kid 29a, and R' Chaim in the stencils) because even though cutting the orlah can only be done during the day, the mitzvah is actually to make all the necessary preparations for that to happen (e.g. hiring a mohel, ordering the bagels, etc. : ), and those preparations can be done both by day and at night.  Cutting off the orlah ahead of time would surely seem to negate the chiyuv to prepare for the mitzva.  What I don't understand is if there is an implicit obligation by every mitzvah to make sure one has the means to fulfill it, as M.C. writes by k.p., what is the chiddush of milah acc to Tos RI"D?  

Final note: no, I am not a super baki that knows the Shu"T Chavatzeles haSharon, but R' Ovadya was, and he refers to it in Yabi'a Omer 6 23:3  

Nu, so Nisan is here -- go out and start shopping and cleaning to make sure you have the means to do all the mitzvos of leil ha'sder b'hidur!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

don't just give -- collect

Just because I had the Oznayim laTorah open and I know everybody loves hearing a story with R' Chaim, here's another piece about an episode R' Sorotzkin says that he remembered from when he was learning in Volozhin.  This comes up because he is bothered by the second pasuk in the parsha קְח֨וּ מֵֽאִתְּכֶ֤ם תְּרוּמָה֙.  Everyone is there -- remember,  וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל, Moshe is speaking to the ENTIRE Jewish people -- so who exactly are they being told to collect from?  If every single person is collecting, who are the givers?  

The yeshiva in Volozhin was short cash and deep in debt, so R' Chaim Brisker went to Minsk to meet with some heavy hitters to try to raise the necessary funds.  R' Chaim was put up in in the home of one of the wealthy askanim who offered to go out and raise the funds while R' Chaim sat and learned.  After a week or two R' Chaim asked what the story was, and this person said not to worry, he had half the money raised.  R' Chaim went back to learning.  A month went by, and again, R' Chaim approached his host and asked what's going on, and this time he was told that the entire sum had been raised.  R' Chaim was overjoyed, and he returned home.  

Some time later a din Torah was brought to the Rabbonim in Volozhin by the gvirim in Minsk against R' Chaim's host.  Apparently his host had donated the entire sum the yeshiva needed from his own pocket, and the other wealthy people were upset that they were deprived of the opportunity to bail out the great Volozhiner yeshiva (if only every din Torah was like this one... right?)  When R' Chaim heard the issue, he went back to his former host and told him he was confused.  "If you were going to donate the entire sum out of your pocket," he asked, "Why did you keep me sitting in your house for a month?"  To which R' Chaim's host answered, "Do you think giving that kind of big donation is easy!?  First I worked on myself and talked myself into giving half of what was needed.  Then I worked on myself some more, and after a month I talked myself into writing a check for the whole amount."  

R' Sorotzkin writes that this is קְח֨וּ מֵֽאִתְּכֶ֤ם -- you have to work on taking the $ from yourself, on collecting, not just give the first amount that pops into your head.  When it came to the mishkan it was "ish k'terumas yado," whatever every individual chose to donate, no outside coercion.  But that doesn't mean a person could not coerce himself/herself to take a little more out of his/her pocket than he/she ordinarily would do.  

Don't just be be a giver -- be a collector and twist your own arm.  

no sneaking out

1) The fact that Rashi does not comment on the repetition of all the details of the mishkan that we find in Vayakhel/Pekudei seems like a glaring omission.  The case of the dog that didn't bark, as Sherlock Holmes might say.  Rashi comments on the repetition of the story of Eliezer's encounter with Rivka (Braishis 24:42), so why is the repetition here any less bothersome, any less deserving of explanation?  

(The L. Rebbe speaks about this question.)

2)  וַיֵּ֥צְא֛וּ כׇּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִלִּפְנֵ֥י מֹשֶֽׁה׃ (35:20) 

The Torah ordinarily does not mention that class was dismissed, so to speak, and the people went home when Moshe was done speaking.  It goes without saying, or should go without saying.  So why is it mentioned here?  See Netziv.

My son on his blog writes:

Rav Elya Lopian says that you could tell on the faces of Bnei Yisroel that they just left Moshe.  Being in the presence of a Moshe Rabbenu changes a person and that change must be present in the viewer's life.  He says this a mussar for the end of the zman.  Those entering bein hazmanim must carry with them the appearance of those that just came out of yeshiva.  

(See there for an amazing pshat on parshas Shmos based on the same idea.)

Fair point, but why does the Torah single out this instance to bring it up?  The same point could be made any time Moshe spoke to the people.  

Also, compare with "Vayeitzei Yaakov mi'Beer Sheva..."  There Rashi comments that the departure of the tzadik left an impact on the place he departed from.  Here, the idea is the opposite -- Moshe left an imprint on the people with their departure from him.  

R' Eliezer Sorotzkin (quoted by his son here) also addresses this question and suggests that the yetzi'a here is not just a "davar shlili," which would not be worth mentioning, but the yetzi'a is significant because it is to do a dvar mitzvah, to collect for and start building the mishkan.  The Torah is telling is that Bnei Yisrael took heed of Moshe's words and carried out his instructions.

Still a bit difficult because it was not leaving Moshe's presence which was the mitzvah, but rather the positive act of engaging in making the mishkan.  So why not emphasize the positive and tell us something like "Va'yasu Bnei Yisrael..." or "Vayeilchu Bnei Yisrael...?"  

There is a comment from another Sorotzin -- R' Zalman Sorotzkin, in Oznayim laTorah -- that sheds more light on things.  The Oznayim laTorah raises another interesting question:  The parsha opens by telling us that Moshe gathered all of Klal Yisrael to speak to them,  וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֑ם.  He then speaks about Shabbos, and then 4 pesukim later we again have  וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶל־כׇּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר, and Moshe starts to speak about the mishkan.   Why do we need this second וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ?  The whole point of gathering all the people (see Rashbam, Ramban), as mentioned in that first pasuk, was to speak about the mishkan.  Pasuk 4 is not a new idea, but is a continuation?

He suggests as follows: when it comes time to give a fundraising speech, no Rabbi calls together his congregation telling them that's the topic.  Who would show up knowing that's the agenda?  What the Rabbi does is give a nice derasha on some other topic, and then once he has the audience hooked, he sneaks in the appeal.  

וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֑ם to give a nice shiur in hilchos shabbos.  Now that Moshe had his audience captive,  וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶל־כׇּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר he switched topics and hit them in the pocketbook to appeal for funds for the mishkan.

The thing is, as clever as the Rabbi is, the audience knows this trick as well, and so what happens is that as the Rabbi meanders through his opening topic, the crowd will begin to dwindle.  This guy has an important phone call to take, the next guy davka then has to rush home to help watch TV his kids, another guy suddenly remembers he set up a seder with some chavrusa that he hasn't met in a year, but no time like the present, etc.  By the time the Rabbi gets to the appeal, he is talking to the few stragglers who probably are not the people who can write the big checks.

יֵּ֥צְא֛וּ כׇּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִלִּפְנֵ֥י מֹשֶֽׁה׃ -- here, EVERYBODY got up to leave at the same time, at the end of the speech.  No one snuck off in the middle, before the appeal started or was over.  Klal Yisrael was willing to listen to Moshe hitting them up for money, and they proved more than willing to give.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

onshei beis din on Shabbos

 1) אלה פקודי – בפרשה זו נאמרו ונמנו כל משקל נדבת המשכן לכסף ולזהב ולנחשת, ונמנו כל כליו וכל עבודתו.

I don't understand what this first Rashi in Pekudei is doing.  It's like an introduction to the parsha; it tells us what the parsha is about.  But what is the difficulty in the parsha or pasuk that prompted the comment?  Rashi doesn't give an introductory comment like this is any other parsha as far as I can recall so why here?

2) The gemara in Yevamos 6 learns from לֹא־תְבַעֲר֣וּ אֵ֔שׁ בְּכֹ֖ל מֹשְׁבֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם בְּי֖וֹם הַשַּׁבָּֽתthat there is a special issur of B"D carrying out capital punishment on Shabbos:

 מכדי שבת חובת הגוף היא וחובת הגוף נוהגת בין בארץ בין בח"ל מושבות דכתב רחמנא בשבת למה לי משום רבי ישמעאל אמר תלמיד אחד לפי שנאמר וכי יהיה באיש חטא משפט מות והומת שומע אני בין בחול בין בשבת ומה אני מקיים מחלליה מות יומת בשאר מלאכות חוץ ממיתת ב"ד או אינו אלא אפילו מיתת ב"ד ומה אני מקיים והומת בחול ולא בשבת או אינו אלא אפילו בשבת ת"ל לא תבערו אש בכל מושבותיכם ולהלן הוא אומר והיו אלה לכם לחוקת משפט לדורותיכם בכל מושבותיכם מה מושבות האמורים להלן בב"ד אף מושבות האמורים כאן בב"ד

The Rambam for some reason counts this as a separate mitzvah in his minyan ha'mitzvos and extends it to all punishments, even malkos (Shabbos 24:7):

אין עונשין בשבת אף על פי שהעונש מצות עשה אינה דוחה שבת. כיצד הרי שנתחייב בבית דין מלקות או מיתה אין מלקין אותו ואין ממיתין אותו בשבת שנאמר לא תבערו אש בכל מושבותיכם ביום השבת זו אזהרה לבית דין שלא ישרפו בשבת מי שנתחייב שריפה והוא הדין לשאר עונשין:

The Avnei Nezer writes that even putting someone in cheirem would be prohibited on Shabbos according to the Rambam.

(If someone refuses to do a mitzvah, B"D has the right to coerce the person to do it.  See Kesubos 86: תנינא במה דברים אמורים במצות לא תעשה אבל במצות עשה כגון שאומרין לו עשה סוכה ואינו עושה לולב ואינו עושה מכין  אותו עד שתצא נפשו:   The Pri Megadim in his Pesicha haKolleles points out that B"D seems to be allowed to do this even on Shabbos/Y"T --  עשה סוכה ואינו עושה לולב ואינו עושה.  Apparently this does not fall under the category of "punishment."  

The Mishneh laMelech similarly has a safeik whether it is permitted to kill a rodeif who is about to violate an issur arayos on Shabbos.  This is the classic chakirah of whether taking out the rodef is a form of punishment, or simply a means to the end of saving the nirdaf.)

The difficulty is the din in Yevamos appears in context of the gemara trying to prove that an aseh can be doche a lav that is a chiyuv kareis.  The gemara continues:

מאי לאו רבי נתן היא דאמר לחלק יצתה וטעמא דכתב רחמנא לא תבערו הא לאו הכי דחי 

Rashi דאמר הבערה אב מלאכה היא ובכרת ואפ"ה אי לאו דאשמועינן ה"א אתי עשה דוהומת ודחי ליה

Meaning, there is a machlokes Tanaim as to why the Torah singles out hav'arah in our pasuk.  R' Yosi holds that the Torah is teaching that hav'arah is only a lav, unlike the other melachos of Shabbos.  R' Noson holds that by singling out one melacha we learn that each melacha individually is mechayeiv kareis; you don't have to do all 39 to be chayav for chilul Shabbos.  According to R' Noson, even though hav'arah is a chiyuv kareis, if not for a special limud, we would say that the aseh of B"D carrying out punishment should be doche it.  QED, that an aseh can be doche even a chiyuv kareis.

According to the Rambam, what's the gemara's proof?  Maybe the aseh is not doche the chiyuv kareis of Shabbos, but you still need the extra pasuk to teach you the chiddush din that you can't administer any punishments on Shabbos, even if they don't entail any chillul Shabbos?

Monday, March 08, 2021

a chasm that cannot be bridged?

David Bernstein asks in his blog on The Times of Israel, "Is non-Orthodox American Judaism doomed?"  Bernstein writes, "...What animates many non-Orthodox Jewish families is not Judaism, but “social justice.”  ...For that matter, there are quite a few people who conflate Judaism with progressive social justice ideology, which is itself a problem."

I don't think this argument is a chiddush.  In the past it was humanism, liberalism, other -isms that served as the substitute for G-d, now it's social justice.  Nothing new.  

Non-Orthodox religion is like decaf coffee -- no matter how much you drink in the morning, it's just not going to give you what you need.  Everyone would be better off just taking off the coffee label and enjoying it for what it is without trying to pretend it's the real thing.  Have you ever heard a non-Orthodox person say "I can't do X" not because it's not right, not ethical, not just (all of which are important), but simply because my religion does not allow it?  The concept does not exist.

Anyway, I was not reading TIE when I came across Bernstein's article, but rather got the link from a secular site.  The comments there interested me more than the article.  One of the more amusing ones (I assume this had to come from a fellow member of the tribe) just said two words and linked to a video:

The two words: "The future:"

The video:

Obviously there are many degrees between non-Orthodoxy and R' Melech Biderman's tisch, but I think there is more than a little truth to the point being made.  The Orthodox Judaism of the future does look like it will be a more parochial, isolated, insular Judaism.  It also looks like a more uplifting, spiritual, emotion driven Judaism.  As the non-Orthodox move to jettison more and more of those values traditionally associated with religion because they do not square with progressivism, Orthodoxy will head further and further in the opposite direction and be forced to reject progressivism for exactly the same reason.  Caught in the middle is modern Orthodoxy, which for all intents and purposes has already ceased to exist as an intellectual movement (people like R' Aharon Lichtenstein were exceptions and exceptional and I doubt YU will produce any similar personalities any time soon to fill the void ) and is basically RW Judaism lite.  Those on the left end of the MO world will keep trying to square the circle and explain away their support for BLM and the like as consistent with Jewish values, but at some point even they will succumb to the incompatibility of the two systems.  

The exception seems to be in Eretz Yisrael, where the dati leuni/chardal world has managed to retain some vibrancy and dynamism, but I am hesitant to say any more on that without better information.  

I would be very happy if everything I just wrote proves to be wrong, but it's hard to find much cause for optimism.  


I wish I had even a percentage of this women's bitachon and gevurah:

Friday, March 05, 2021

leich alei -- staying where you are will not work

 After Moshe begs Hashem to forgive the cheit ha'eigel, Hashem responds (33:1-3):

 לֵ֣ךְ עֲלֵ֣ה מִזֶּ֔ה אַתָּ֣ה וְהָעָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶֽעֱלִ֖יתָ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם אֶל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִ֠שְׁבַּ֠עְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָ֨ם לְיִצְחָ֤ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹב֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְזַרְעֲךָ֖ אֶתְּנֶֽנָּה

וְשָׁלַחְתִּ֥י לְפָנֶ֖יךָ מַלְאָ֑ךְ וְגֵֽרַשְׁתִּ֗י אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ הָֽאֱמֹרִ֔י וְהַֽחִתִּי֙ וְהַפְּרִזִּ֔י הַחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃

אֶל־אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָ֑שׁ כִּי֩ לֹ֨א אֶֽעֱלֶ֜ה בְּקִרְבְּךָ֗ כִּ֤י עַם־קְשֵׁה־עֹ֙רֶף֙ אַ֔תָּה פֶּן־אֲכֶלְךָ֖ בַּדָּֽרֶךְ

Why do we have a repetition here of the promise of Eretz Yisrael and the command to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan?  Ramban explains that Hashem was telling Klal Yisrael that although cheit ha'eigel was not completely forgiven, 1) zechus avos is still intact, hence the reference to Avraham Yitzchak, and Yaakov; 2) the promise to bring Klal Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael is still intact; 3) kedushas ha'aretz is still intact intact, and therefore the nations must be driven out שלא תשחת הארץ ולא תחנף תחת יושביה מפני חטאתם, 

The Ramban emphasizes the positive, but one could read the pasuk in the opposite way (see Tzror HaMor), as saying that because of the cheit Klal Yisrael was not really deserving of Eretz Yisrael if not for zechus avos, and (Tzror haMor does not say this part, but I think it is a logical extension) that because they were so easily led astray they need to be extra careful to drive out the idolatrous nations that were already there.

Either way, the pasuk is like a damage assessment after the cheit.  In R' Shlomo Amar's sichot on the parsha he points out that Targum Yonasan suggests something deeper:

ומליל ייי עם משה איזל איסתלק מיכא דילמא יתקף רתח רוגזי בעמא ואישיצינון בגין כן טייל אנת ועמא דאסיקתא מארעא דמצרים לארעא דקיימית לאברהם ליצחק וליעקב למימר לבנך איתנינה.

According to T.Y., the pasuk is a tikun for Hashem's anger caused by the cheit. 

Hashem was telling Moshe that were Klal Yisrael to remain where they are, Hashem was liable to grow angry at them again and there would be consequences.  

The solution is to make aliya, begin the journey to Eretz Yisrael.  That's the game changer that causes Hashem to set aside his anger.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Micheini na mi'sifricha asher kasavta

Chazal tell us (Avodah Zarah 4b) that Klal Yisrael sinned in order to teach the possibility of teshuvah for the community; David sinned in order to teach that teshuvah was possible for the individual:

א"ר יהושע בן לוי לא עשו ישראל את העגל אלא ליתן פתחון פה לבעלי תשובה שנאמר מי יתן והיה לבבם זה להם ליראה אותי כל הימים וגו' והיינו דא"ר יוחנן משום ר"ש בן יוחאי לא דוד ראוי לאותו מעשה ולא ישראל ראוין לאותו מעשה לא דוד ראוי לאותו מעשה דכתיב ולבי חלל בקרבי ולא ישראל ראוין לאותו מעשה דכתיב מי יתן והיה לבבם זה להם ליראה אותי כל הימים אלא למה עשו  לומר לך שאם חטא יחיד אומרים לו כלך אצל יחיד ואם חטאו צבור אומרים (לו כלך) אצל צבור

Rashi explains:

 לא עשו ישראל את העגל. כלומר גבורים ושליטים ביצרם היו ולא הי' ראוי להתגבר יצרם עליהן אלא גזירת מלך היתה לשלוט בם כדי ליתן פתחון פה לבעלי תשובה שאם יאמר החוטא לא אשוב שלא יקבלני אומרים לו צא ולמד ממעשה העגל שכפרו ונתקבלו בתשובה: 

Maharal has problems with the idea of  גזירת מלך היתה לשלוט בם.  Did G-d decree that they would sin?  Was there no bechira!?  Maharal (in Tiferes Yisrael) explains that what the gemara means is that Klal Yisrael and David haMelech were on such high levels that they should have been afforded extra protection from the yetzer hara.  Torah protects a person from sin and doing mitzvos protect a person from sin.  However, when it came to cheit ha'eigel and the episode with Bas Sheva, Hashem did not intervene and afford that extra protection.  Klal Yisrael and David where left to battle the yetzer hara without any defenses to help them.

Even though there are countless pesukim in navi exhorting Klal Yisrael to do teshuvah, we still need these exemplars of teshuva because a person has the ability to explain away any and all proofs to justify avoiding changing their behavior.  Whatever pasuk you might quote, whatever the navi might say over in the name of Hashem, the sinner will reinterpret and (mis)interpret to mean something else.  The yetzer hara that fights against teshuvah corrupts not just a person's actions, but it corrupts a person's thinking and a person's ruchniyus, to the point that like Acheir, he might even hear a bas kol telling him that teshuvah is not possible.  Meaning, the very religiosity that should inspire a person to teshuvah can be used by the yetzer hara to undermine teshuvah, telling a person that his sins have doomed him and any proofs to the contrary are just false hope, a mirage.  Comes David haMelech, comes the episode of the eigel, and they show us concrete proof, maaseh rav, to the contrary.  (see Michtav m'Eliyahu vol 5 p 248)  

This is the background and context to Moshe's argument to Hashem that if he does not forgive Klal Yisrael, וְאִם־אַ֕יִן מְחֵ֣נִי נָ֔א מִֽסִּפְרְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֥ר כָּתָֽבְתָּ(32:32)

The gemara writes that before R"H there are three books that are opened.  G-d inscribes the perfect tzadikim into the Book of Life and signs it.  G-d inscribes the wicked into the opposite book and signs their decree.  Those in the middle are written into the Book of Beinonim and their judgment is suspended until Y"K -- no sign off on anything yet.

Why does there have to be a book for the folks in the middle?  Since they will eventually share either the same lot as the tzadikim or as the reshaim, let them not be written anywhere until their fate is determined?

"B'makom she'baalei teshuvah omdim afilu  tzadikim gemurim einam yecholim la'amod."  The answer is that the Book of Beinonim is not the same as the book in which the tzadikim are inscribed -- it is greater.  To be written in that book and then take advantage of the opportunity to do teshuvah is the highest level possible.

Maor vaShemesh explains that Moshe Rabeinu threw his lot in with the Jewish people and said to G-d that the whole point of this episode of the eigel, the whole point of a distinct book for Beinonim "asher kasavta," that you write but don't seal and sign off on, is to teach the greatness and power of teshuvah.  If you won't forgive, if you don't want to prove that repentance is not only possible, but can raise a person to the greatest heights, then erase me from that book, because it has no value and is unnecessary.