Wednesday, July 23, 2014

חגי בן חנה

Please daven. Father of three. Injured at war.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Did Yitzchak's Bracha To Yaakov Take Effect?

לרפואת מרת הענא מרים בת חנה ומרת גיטל מירל בריינדל לאה בת מורנו הרב יוחנן בתוך שח"י

"Hakol kol Yaakov vi-hayadayim yedei Esav". Why did Yaakov not impersonate Esav's voice as well?? If he is already DRESSING UP as Esav, he might as well speak like him too. We see that his insistence on speaking with his own voice and with his own form of speech made Yitzchak very suspicious. Why put himself in hot water like that??

The Baalei Mussar say that if he would speak like Esav he would almost become Esav and that was too much for Yaakov to handle. So his compromise was wearing Esav's clothing and speaking like Yaakov. There is a LOT to say about that but not for now.

The Rogochover has a different and completely original approach. Let us ask: Since the bracha was given under mistaken pretenses, how did it count at all?? If I have in mind to bless one person and actually bless another, the whole deal is off. Just like if I intend to marry one girl and find out that another one was standing next to me under the chuppah [my glasses were off so as not to look at a girl...:-)] - we are not married [which brings up the question of how the union between Yaakov and Leah was sealed being that it was also under mistaken pretenses]. Mekach Ta-us - man!  [Now I speak like Esav:-)].

THAT was why Yaakov spoke like Yaakov and not like Esav. He WANTED that Yitzchak should have a doubt in mind so that he would not be decisive in his desire to bless Esav. Now his intention will be that whomever is standing before me [according to the clothing - Esav. By voice - Yaakov] will receive the bracha!!

The Rogochover doesn't suffice with this and quotes THREE different gemaras to prove his point. He doesn't actually quote them. He just references the pages and leaves it up to us to figure out what he means. Bava Basra 142, Nedarim 87b, Krisus 24. After the last citation he adds - דכל היכא דחזינן דאין ברור לו ומ"מ עשה נחית לספק ולא קפיד - Whenever we see that he isn't sure and nevertheless acts - he is acting with his doubt in mind and doesn't care if it isn't as he might assume.

Let's get to work...:-).

The gemara in Bava Basra [142a] teaches that if one made a kinyan over the possessions of a ger that dies [and he has nobody to inherit him] and then finds out that his wife was pregnant and then she subsequently miscarries - a second kinyan must be done. Why was the first kinyan not sufficient? The fetus was never born to inherit, so the property should belong to the person who made the kinyan without the need for a second kinyan? The gemara answers that since he made the first kinyan with a doubt in mind that maybe the ger's wife was pregnant it is not an absolute kinyan. So too, since Yitzchak had a doubt in mind that the person standing before him wasn't Esav - Esav never received the bracha. [It would seem according to this that Yaakov would have to get another bracha just as this person had to make another kinyan. The answer is that Yitzchak DID give him another bracha when he said after he realized his error גם ברוך יהיה - Yaakov is indeed blessed.]

The gemara [Nedarim 87b] says that if one rips his garment over the passing of a relative without being sure which relative of his died but assuming that it was his father and it turns out that it was his son - he is yotzei his mitzva of ripping. Since he wasn't sure he left his options open and didn't resolve to rip ONLY over his father. Similarly - Yitzchak was blessing with the intention that it is probably Esav but even if it is Yaakov it should count. Such a bracha is effective no matter which son was really there.

The gemara in Krisus [24a] says that if one separates two korbanos for an Asham Talui, one to bring and one as a backup, even the backup-pinch-hitter-korban has the status of an Asham Talui. By separating it he is showing that he is not certain that he will bring the first animal and therefore his true intention is to sanctify both. So we see that even though he didn't actually have to bring it, since it was set aside out of doubt, that is sufficient. So too, Yitzchak blessed his son out of doubt as to which son was standing before him so whichever son is the lucky one gets the bracha.

The Rogochovers power of associative thinking was astounding - to say the least.

What took me about 750 words to say the Rogochever stated in about 3 and a half short lines. Pilei Plaos!

Five Minute Torah Video

Great Torah [about Rav Ovadiah] from the Beis Medrash where I became me, here. [In Hebrew].

Hefker Of Peiros Shviis - Part 3

לרפואת א"מ הענא מרים בת חנה בתוך שח"י ולהצלחת חיילי צה"ל

Two more proofs that the hefker of Shmitta is not humanly activated, אקרקפתא דגברא, but rather אפקעתא דמלכא - a Divinely ordained hefker.

1] In the Yerushalmi Peah [5/1] there is a discussion if hefker beis din absolves one from the obligation to give maaser. [The Chazon Ish explains the safek of the gemara as being whether hefker beis din is a bona fide hefker that devolves on the cheftza of the fruits or maybe it is only a din on the gavra, that the person must relate to his fruits as if they are hefker and there is no issur gezel but in reality they are still his and he must separate maaser.] The gemara proves from the added month in a leap year in the seventh year of shmitta that he is patur from maaser, for in this case it is hefker beis din [for they added the extra month] and he is patur, so too, in any case of hefker beis din . The gemara then rejects this proof and says that adding a leap year is actually not a case of hefker beis din but mi-dioraisa [see there with the commentary of the Mahar"a Fulda].

If you assume that the law of hefker on Shmitta is אקרקפתא דגברא, how could the gemara logically compare hefker beis din to the added month of the leap year? The added month of shmitta is אקרקפתא דגברא while hefker beis din is the doing of beis din?! This compels us to conclude that Shmitta is indeed אפקעתא דמלכא - coming from a higher source and can thus be compared to hefker beis din which is also coming from a higher source. This proof was cited by the Chazon Ish in the name of the Radbaz and he said that it is a ראיה אלימתא - a very powerful proof.

2] In Nedarim [42b] the gemara says that if one is מודר הנאה [forbidden to derive benefit] from his friend, on shmitta he may eat his friend's fruits because they are hefker but he may not enter his friend's field. The gemara asks why this is so. Just as his fruits are hefker, so is his field? The gemara offers two answers: 1] The fruits are on the border of the field and the field is only hefker for the pupose of picking the fruit, so it is not necessary to enter the field. 2] There is a decree forbidding him from entering the field, lest he enter for longer than necessary in order to pick the fruits.

A simple reading of the sugya would indicate that the hefker status of the field is a general one and not dependent on the will of the owner [even though the language of the gemara is אפקרה, which means that the owner was mafkir, nevertheless the text of the Ran and others reads "רחמנא אפקרה"].

From all of these proofs concludes the Minchas Asher [Shviis 7] that EVERYBODY holds that hefker peiros shviis is not at all dependent on the hefker of the owner but a Divine mandate - אפקעתא דמלכא. Let us carefully examine the language of the Beis Yosef "אע"ג דרחמנא אפקרה כיון דאיהו לא אפקרה חייבת". It is clear that he holds that Hashem is doing the hefker. What the Beis Yosef holds is that if the owner is not mafkir the field and locks it up then the fruits are חייב in trumos and maasros [even though מדין תורה the fruits are hefker].

The explanation is as follows: If someone makes his field hefker and then locks the field up and allows nobody to enter, the fruits will be patur from maaser since the fruits are hefker. But Shviis is different because the Torah did not remove the field from the person's possession in the seventh year. The Torah just permitted anyone to come and take from the fruits. Hashem doesn't need to remove the field from a person's possession in order to allow people to take. In the seventh year the field remains in the owner's possession but anyone is allowed to enter and help themsleves. Since there is not a monetary, mammonis-dik removal from the owner, the Beis Yosef was mechadesh that if the owner doesn't allow people to enter the fruits remain obligated in maaser. If it were hefker gamur then it would be a different story. Whether people may enter or not doesn't matter because the fruits have no owner. This is then included in the drasha of the gemara that says that one must give shevet levi the fruits because he has no portion in the land [כי אין לו חלק ונחלה עמך]. But if the fruits are completely hefker then he DOES have a portion and the fruits are thus patur from maaser. But on shmitta where the land is formally still in the possession of  the owner and he also refuses to comply with the din Torah that he must let everyone in, we cannot say that the Levi has a portion and the fruits are patur from maaser. No way! The fruits are the owners and the Levi is practically being refrained from entering. Hence, the ptur from giving maaser doesn't apply.

This also explains the gemara [Peah 6/1] that says that on Shviis the fruits are hefker for the animals as well. How is it possible to talk about monetary rights for animals [such as Hamas...]? The answer is that the hefker we are discussing here is not a formal, legalistic type of hefker but a practical "Let everyone in to eat your fruits". This can apply to animals as well.  Even according to this thesis, if the person WAS mafkir the field and let eveyone in, the field becomes a mamoness-dike full-fledged hefker.      



Selling A Mezuza To A Gentile

I am a sofer. No, I am not. But let's say that I am. A man walks into my shop and he looks as Jewish as the Pope. On his lapel there is a sticker that says "Paul Christinson, Fargo North Dakota." Now there is surely a lovely Jewish community in Fargo - consisting of the Chabad Rabbi and his wife and children. But no more. Anyway, Paul doesn't look like a Chabad Rabbi and even less like his wife.

So he says "Can I buy a "my zuzer."

"What?", I ask.

"You know, a "my zuzer" to hang up on my door post to guard me from harm."

Uh oh. May I sell it to him?

Answer: I should really try not to. The Maharatz Chayes [simman 32] says that it is forbidden to sell a mezuza or Sefer Torah to a Gentile. If he would get really angry, my advice would be to sell him a beautiful mezuza case without the "Hebrew instructions" that come inside.

Not only that but Rav Moshe Feinstein [Igros Moshe Yo"d 1/174] rules that one should not sell a Sefer Torah to a Conservative or Reform congregation because they might not treat it with the required sanctity.

A Potential Beis Hamikdash

Rav Yochanan, relates the Medrash [Vayikra 22], would make noise before entering his home. Why? Because it says "Vinishma kolo bivo'o el hakodesh" - He would make noise when entering the holy. In fact the gemara elsewhere [Pesachim 112] says that everybody should knock before entering.

Who is this pasuk talking about and in what context? It is talking about the Kohen Gadol entering the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur [he had bells on his garment that made noise]. What does this have to do with us??

From this we see, said the Alter Mi'Slabodka the Giant of Mussar Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, that every person can elevate himself to the level of a Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur and that every home can be on the level of the Holy of Holies.


Newspapers On Tisha B'av

It is forbidden to learn Torah on Tisha B'av [except for certain sections such as Eicha and parts of Yirmiyahu etc]. The reason is that Torah makes one happy "pikudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev". This would certainly not apply to newspapers. Au contraire [did I spell that right?], newspapers are quite depressing. The Mordechai says that one shouldn't "hang out" on Tisha Báv. But the reason given by the Beis Yoseph is not because one might forget about the aveilus but because it might lead to levity.This would also not apply to reading a newspaper.

Rav Ovadiah Yoseph Shlita rules [Chazon Ovadiah page 315] that according to the strict letter of the law it is therefore permitted to read a newspaper on Tisha B'av. However it is preferable not to do so as the Machzor Vitri writes that one shouldn't be involved in dvarim btailim on Tisha B'av. It is better to learn permitted Torah or to read a book about the Holocaust.