Sunday, September 30, 2012


"I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to stop going to those places.”

Taanis 2a - Two Obligations To Say Mashiv Haruach

 There is a difference between nusach sfard and nusach ashkenaz with respect to the saying of "Li-Dovid Hashem". Nusach sfard stops at Hoshana Rabba while nusach ashkenaz continues until Shmini Atzeres. The explanation of this difference is the question of whether the judgement on the water ends on Hoshana Rabba or continues into Shmini Atzeres which is connected to Succos but also an independent holiday [as the gemara says in "paze"r kashe"v"]. A deeper look will reveal that this difference is rooted in a machlokes Rashi-Tosfos….

The mishna in Taanis asks when we should start saying mashiv haruach ["gvuros geshamim"] and offers two tannaic opinions [either from the first day of Succos or according to Rebbe Yehoshua until the last day of Succos - Shmini Atzeres]. The gemara [2a] asks how we know that we have to mention rain at all that prompted us to ask from when we begin. If it is because the mishna in brachos says that we praise Hashem for rain in the bracha of מחיה המתים then, by golly, put this mishna in Seder Zeraim with Brachos and not in Seder Moed. The gemara concludes that we are basing ourselves on the mishna in Rosh Hashna that says that on Succos we are judged on water.

The question however still irks us  - put this mishna in Brachos after we talk about the obligation to praise Hashem for rain? [See Tosfos] That would be its natural place more than after mentioning the judgement on water.

Rashi writes that we have to "appease" [לרצות] Hashem when it is judgement time on the water by praising Him [see lashon Rashi in Taanis].

Kumpt ois - it emerges from Rashi that there are TWO obligations to praise Hashem or rain. There is a din klali - a general obligation during the entire rainy season. In addition, there is a specific obligation to begin that applies at the time of judgement on the rain. That is why it would not have sufficed to put the mishna in Seder Zeraim because then we would have only known the general din of mentioning rain and not the specific din of mentioning rain at judgement time which is unique to the moed of Succos. Hence, its appearance in Seder Moed where we learn both dinim in one shot.

So we have an explicit mishna which teaches us that according Rebbe Yehoshua the din on rain extends until Shmini Atzeres which he call  יום טוב האחרון של חג. Meaning that the din goes through Succos all the way until the end. So how GORGEOUS is it that we continue saying Li-Dovid Hashem through Succos until and including Shmini Atzeres.

That is all Shittas Rashi.

Uber Tayyyyyyysfisssssssss - Taysfiss halt andrish. Tosfot holds differently. They say that since we are judged about rain on Succos it must be the period before it is supposed to rain and therefore now is the time to start mentioning rain [but not that the din is actually on Shmini Atzeres]. According to them, there is no reason that would compel us to continue saying Li-Dovid Hashem on Shmini Atzeres, as is the custom of nusach sfard not to say Li-Dovid on Shmini Atzeres. 

פלאי פלאות ממש.

עפ"י ספר מרבה טובה עמ' קלו-ז מאת מו"ר הרה"ג ר' יעקב דוד המניק שליט"א

And after Yuntiff I have a treaaaaat for you from the same sefer. But for now, the sun will soon be setting on Givat Ze'ev Hachadasha - ועוד חזון למועד!!

The Fourth Wall

לרפואת מרדכי שמואל בן חיים פרץ בתוך שאר חולי ישראל
ולע"נ מרדכי גימפל בן אברהם משה שבתור בחור הזמינני להיות אצלו בסוכות יחד עם בני משפחתו שיחיו

A] There is a famous Tosfos [Definition: Tosfos that I know] in Rosh Hashana [כח: ד"ה ומנא תימרא] that talks about the איסור of בל תוסיף. They say that doing a mitzva more than once is NOT בל תוסיף. They add that the same applies to lulav. Only if he adds another species does he transgress the prohibition but not if he adds a second lulav or more hadassim and aravos. [See Minchas Chinuch mitzva 454/4 who wonders how Tosfos compares doing a mitzva twice to adding to the number of lulavim. The former is not בל תוסיף while the latter may well be עיי"ש].

Tosfos [at the end] tries to prove that one may add to the requisite number of Aravos from the law of succah where all one is required to build is two walls and a third that is only a tefach and still if a person builds four complete walls he is not עובר on בל תוסיף. Tosfos rejects this and says that there is no proof from Succah because the added wall[s] enhance the Succah as they make it more תשבו כעין תדורו.

עומק דברי התוספות - There is no specific number of walls that the Torah requires. The halacha of two regular walls and a third a tefach long is what makes the Succah meet the requirement of תשבו כעין תדורו - the Succah becomes like one's home. If he builds four complete walls he is NOT adding on to the fundamental obligation of the Torah. He is just meeting the requirement of תשבו כעין תדורו in an enhanced form. IF the obligation of the Torah was 3 walls and he built a fourth then we may have a problem but that is not the case. 

B] We see from Tosfos that the wall is a חפצא דמצוה - a bonafide mitzva object. Otherwise there would be no בל תוסיף to talk about. This is significant because there is a machlokes rishonim if the wall is a חפצא דמצוה - See Rabbi Genack Shlita in his Gan Shoshanim [סימן לה].

C] One contemporary sefer wanted to suggest that Tosfos accords with the Shlah who says that building four walls is a הידור מצוה. However, MaRan HaRav Hutner in his shiurim on Succah [סימן ד and Rav Yaakov Chaim Sofer in his עוז יעקב] correctly points out that Tosfos never calls it a הידור מצוה - just more תשבו כעין תדורו. When the gemara in Shabbos [קלג] gives examples of הידור מצוה it significantly omits the notion of building a fourth wall for the Succah.

D] The mishna in Tomid says that the Kohanim would guard in three specific places. Rav Moshe Rosen [who was the Rav of the town where the Chazon Ish lived and they had a chavrusa together. He penned a multi-volume set on shas] asks why a specific number is given. Just tell me the places and I can count how many there are?! He suggests that that mishna is telling us that if the kohanim guard in more than three places it would be בל תוסיף. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank [הר צבי פרשת במדבר - thanks to you-know-who-you-are who recently gave me the sefer as a gift] rejects this based on our Tosfos. Having more than three places guarded is not בל תוסיף  but enhanced שמירה just as more walls is not בל תוסיף but enhanced תשבו כעין תדורו.

Halacha li-maaseh - Ideally one's Succah should have four walls either because it is more תשבו כעין תדורו or because it is hiddur mitzva. So paskens the Chaye Adam and others [See עוז מלכו סי' ח].

Something to talk about at the table tonight when Avraham Avinu joins you and delights in all of the goodies that emerge from one small line of Tosfos.

Torah is GESHMAKKKKK!!!!!

See here where I delve into this Tosfos with Hashem's limitless help....

עיין עוד בספר משנת חיים ע"ס דברים סי' עא לג"ר חיים מאיר הלוי שטיינברג שליט"א

A צדקה Day

The mekubalim say that on erev succos we should give tzedaka. This makes sense because on the first night we invite Avraham Avinu into our Succah and how will he come in if we haven't first fulfilled his middah of צדקה. [Also, we remember the Pre-Yom-Kippur discussions of the tikkun habris accomplished on Yom Kippur. When Avraham sees that we have fixed "his" bris he wants to come right in and join us.]

A hint to this.....

A kosher succah is minimally 7 by 7 tfachim. All together - 49 square tfachim. Two of the walls must be 10 tfachim high. Multiply these 10 tfachim by 7 two times and you get 140 [70 square tfachim per wall]. We are at 189. Then the third wall must be a tefach wide and ten tfachim high - another square 10 tfachim. 189+10=199.

199 just happens to be the gematria of צדקה.


עפ"י הספר להורות נתן והספר אוצרותיהם של צדיקים

Did The Jews Wear Tfillin In The Desert?

Did the Jews wear tfillin in the desert??

Of course they did! Why wouldn't they?? Well, two of the parshiyos in the tefillin weren't said until right before they entered into Israel in the 40th year of their sojourn in the desert. Some want to suggest that tfillin were worn in the desert that contained only two of the four parshiyos [kadesh and vi-haya ki yiviacha, excluding shema and vi-haya im shamoa]. This is difficult to say.

There is a Rashba in Menachos [34a] who says in his first approach that the parshiyos of shema and vi-haya im shamoa were not given until the end of the forty years, while according to his second approach these two parshiyos were given already when they left Egypt and were only said in the Torah much later. Accordong to the second approach it would seem that they were obligated in tfillin from the beginning. According to the first approach, since they didn't have the necessary parshiyos it would seem that they were exempt [although he doesn't say so explicity and one could argue that they were obligated in tfillin with the first two parshiyos].

The Yalkut Shimoni [Shlach remez תש"נ] clearly states that they wore tefillin in the desert as do other medrashim [Shir hashirim 4/2 and 6/6]. That would fit in nicely with the second approach of the Rashba.

In Menachos there is a machlokes how we know that there are four compartments in the tfillin. According to Rebbe Yishmael we know this from the fact that it says טטפת three times - once [in Dvarim] with a vav and twice [once in Shmos and once in Dvarim] without a vav. According to Rebbe Akiva we know that there are four parshiyos from the fact that טט menas two and פת means two, equaling 4. It would emerge that accoרding to Rebbe Akiva there were already 4 parshiyos from the very beginning [in Parshas Bo where it first says טטפת]. According to Rebbe Yishmael the four parshiyos were only derived from later psukim and thus tfillin as we know them didn't exist until the end of the 40 years in the desert.

עיין בספר משנת חיים ע"ס דברים סימן כז, שו"ת דברי יציב ליקוטים סי' ו, הדרת מלך [זילברברג] סי' כה, חבצלת השרון פרשת בא, קובץ קול התורה סג, וגם האדמו"ר מחב"ד דן בזה בכמה מקומות בשיחותיו, משאת כפי עמ' קפט


 "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance."

Will Durant

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Are We Judged Individually Or As A Unit?

The mishna in Rosh Hashana says bi-arba prakim haolam nidon – during four periods the world is judged. On Pesach for the grain, on Shavuos for the fruits of the trees but then, instead of simply saying that people are judged on Rosh Hashana, it says "kol bnei haolam ovrim lifanav kivnei marom". We note the change in language with respect to Rosh Hashana. Also, at the end of the mishna with respect to Succos it says "nidonin al haayim" – We are judged [in the plural form] on the water. Why is Succos in the plural form while the other judgements are framed in the singular form ["haolam nidon"]?


We must say that it is a continuation of  the previous sentence "Bi-Rosh Hashana kol bnei haolam" etc. referring to the masses, so it continues talking about Succos in the plural.


On Rosh Hashana we are judged "kivnei maron" meaning as many individuals [see the gemara] and on Sukkos as well we are judged not communally [which is how we are judged on Pesach and Shavuos, as indicated by the word "nidon" – everybody together] but individually [as indicated by the word "nidonin"]. That is the seder of the mishna.


This is a source for our minhag to continue saying "Lidovid Hashem" until Shmini Atzeres, as the judgement of Rosh Hashana continues on the individuals through Sukkos. [Rav Hutner explained the mayim is called "mayim chaim" so we see that the Succos judgement on mayim is bound up with the Rosh Hashana judgement on chaim.]
עפ"י הספר מרבה טובה על מס' ביצה פרק שני ממו"ר הרה"ג ר' יעקב דוד המניק

Would Rabbeinu Tam Wear "Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin"??

I love Judaism!!

There is a famous machlokes between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam concerning the order of the parshiyos of the tefillin. Rashi says that the correct order is as they appear in the Torah - Kadesh, Vihaya ki yiveeacha, Shema, Vihaya im shamoa. Rabbeinu Tam argues that the correct order is Kadesh, Vihaya ki yiviacha, Vihaya im shamoa, Shema [called "Havayos ba-emtza" because the "vihaya's" are in the middle]. There argument is rooted in a differing understanding of a gemara in Menachos 34.

There is another machlokes between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam - whether the parshiyos must be laying flat or standing up. Rashi holds that they must lay flat while Rabbeinu Tam says that must be standing upright. What is so fascinating is that in our Rabbeinu Tam tefillin where the parshiyos are according to his order, the parshiyos lay flat like Rashi.

So it emerges that according to Rabbeinu Tam one is not yotzei with Rabbeinu Tam tefillin:-).

The reason we follow Rashi even for Rabbeinu Tam tefillin is explained by the Noda Bi-yehuda in a teshuva [ח"ב סי' ד].

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Simcha Of The Klal

The gemara says that the chasidim and men of good deeds were the ones who would dance in the beis hamikdash during the simchas beis hashoeva on Succos and the rest of the people would watch. The reason for this is that there was a concern that the other people would transgress the sin of מורא מקדש. Simchas beis hashoeva is the only mitzva of the heart that is limited to a circumscribed place. 

It would seem that the reason is that this simcha is unique to כלליות כנסת ישראל  the entire Jewish people [as we explained in a different place] and therefore the Beis Hamikdash is the place.

In the same vein we can explain that Dovid Hamelech הקים עלה של תשובה - raised the yoke of teshuva and serves as the paradigm for the world that an individual may do tshuva. Dovid was a king whose heart is the heart of the entire Jewish people [לבו לב כל קהל ישראל - רמב"ם] and is most fitting to pave the path of teshuva.

מאמרי פחד יצחק טו

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Not You?

Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?

Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?

Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?

Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?

Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?

Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?

Today is a new day!

Many will seize this day.

Many will live it to the fullest.

Why not you?”

― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Don't Underestimate

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

― Leo Buscaglia

A Dream

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the size of their boom box.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

[I altered that last part of the sentence because I am feeling positively goofy.]

3 Times - A Chazaka

Three times makes a chazaka - an established fact. By posting the following quote three times, I enisure that all of my readers will be themselves.

Remember - NOBODY can be you better than you can:-).

Love and blessings!!

The Easiest Thing To Be

"The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.”

The Easiest Thing To Be

"The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.”

The Easiest Thing To Be

"The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.”
“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned.
Adult. You have become adult.”

Harlan Ellison

Look For The Hidden Blessings

“What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well...” 

Antoine De Saint Exupery
The Little Prince


It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”


Don't Worry Be Happy

לזכות ולברכה לשמואל אלכסנדר בן נעכא גיטל

Rashi says [Bamidbar 29/18] that the 98 lambs we bring on succos are in order to cancel out the 98 curses in sefer dvarim. The Sochochover Rebbe explained  that the reason for all of the curses is because we didn't serve Hashem with simcha, and succos is "zman simchaseinu" so we fix it.

נאות דשא עמוד 247

Building A Succah Right After Yom Kippur

Sent by a friend who requested anonymity.

The רמ"א writes (הל' יוה"כ, סי' תרכה);


"והמדקדקים מתחילים מיד במוצאי יום כיפור בעשיית הסוכה כדי לצאת ממצוה אל מצוה"


Questions: 1) Why out of all the Mitzvos that we could do after Yom Kippur, is building a Succah chosen? Why shouldn’t it be the Mitzvah of Tzedaka for example that we should do right after Yom Kippur?


                  2) To deepen the question, the Netziv writes that the Mitzvah of Succah isn’t your typical מצות עשה מן התורה, rather it is a הכשר מצוה הכתובה בקרא, meaning it is really a preparation for the eventual Mitzvah of living in the Succah but not a Mitzvah in of itself. If so, doesn’t it seem strange that if after Yom Kippur we would want to bring out the idea of being involved in Mitzvos, to go from 1 Mitzvah to another, we would do a Mitzvah which is a השכר מצוה? Shouldn’t we do something that in of itself is a full fledged Mitzvah?

Explanation: Perhaps we can explain based on the following Mashal: There were two juniors in high school who both wanted to play on the varsity basketball team, Jack and Anthony. Anthony was considerably more talented than Jack was. However Jack spent the entire summer before tryouts, working out, exercising & developing his basketball skills. He would rise at 4 in the morning to go for an early run and take 1,000 jump shots and by the end of the summer he was just as good as Anthony. Anthony, confident in his skills, spent his summer tanning at the beach. When the day of tryouts came, despite Jack played extremely well but still Anthony’s natural talents were visible to all and he outplayed Jack. However the coach chose Jack.

Why would he choose Jack if Anthony played better? It’s simple, the coach had been aware how each of them had spent there summers. He saw Jack’s effort and his commitment to making the team in the fact that he spent the whole summer before the season practicing & trying to improve his game. This is the type of player the coach wanted on his team.


We can bring this idea into understanding part of what our Avodas Hashem should be after Yom Kippur. Coming off a day where Hashem in His great mercy has forgiven us for all out sins, we want to show Him we are committed. We are on His team. A great way to show commitment is showing up to the show early. We want to show Hashem that we are committed not just to keeping each Mitzva but that we want to be involved in His Torah so much that we run to do the actions which are the preparatory steps for those Mitzvos.

That very point that building the Succah is a Hechsher Mitzvah is the exact reason why it should be the Mitzvah we run to after Yom Kippur since it shows our commitment to Hashem in not only doing the Mitzvos but preparing & committing our free time to the Mitzvos as well.


May we all take this message to heart in our preparation for the Yom Tov of Succos and further deepen our relationship with Avinu She BaShemayim.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beitza 16a And Basra Basra 10a - Mezonos From Rosh Hashana To Rosh Hashana

    לזכות רפואת מרדכי שמואל בן חיים פרץ בתוך שאר חולי ישראל  Beitza 16a:

The entire sustenance of man [for the year שיהא ניזון משם - he should eat from there - Rashi] is fixed for him from New Year's [Festival] to the Day of  Atonement,
except the expenditure for Sabbaths and the expenditure for Festivals and the expenditure for the instruction of his children in the Law; if he [spent] less [for any of these] he is given less and if he [spent] more he is given more. Said R. Abbahu:
 What verse of Scripture [supports this]? ‘Blow the horn at the new moon at the full moon for our feast-day’.  Which is the Festival on which the moon is concealed? Say, it is New Year;
 and it is written [with respect to this Festival]: ‘For it is a statute [hok] for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob’. How is it implied that [the word] hok connotes sustenance? For it is written: ‘And did eat their portion [hukkam] which Pharaoh gave them’. Mar Zutra says, [It is inferred] from here: ‘Feed me with mine allotted [hukki]  bread’.
Why do we need a special sugya to teach us that a person's sustenance is fixed from Rosh Hashana when we already have a gemara in Rosh Hashana [8a] that teaches us that EVERYTHING is determined on Rosh Hashana? Rashi emphasizes that it is a special din for one's sustenance as he writes   שקוצבין מזונות בראש השנה
Why is this special din necessary?

We move to a parallel sugya in Bava Basra 10a.

R. Judah son of R. Shalom preached as follows: In the same way as a man's earnings [שכר  שיתפרנס ממנו   - the salary he will receive as sustenance - Rashi] 
are determined for him from New Year, so his losses are determined for him from New Year. If he finds merit זכה [to have good mazal - Rashi], then, ‘deal out thy bread to the poor’; but if not, then, he will ‘bring the poor that are outcast to his house’ [tax collecters]. A case in point is that of the nephews of Rabban Yochanan b. Zakkai. He saw in a dream [on motzei Yom Kippur - Rashi] that they were to lose seven hundred dinars in that year. He accordingly forced them to give him money for charity until only seventeen dinars were left [on erev Rosh Hashana - Rashi]. On the eve of the Day of Atonement the Government sent and seized them. R. Yochanan b. Zakkai said to them, ‘Do not fear [that you will lose any more]; you had seventeen dinars and these they have taken.’ They said to him, ‘How did you know that this was going to happen?’ He replied, ‘I saw it in a dream.’ ‘Then why did you not tell us?’ they asked. ‘Because,’ he said, ‘I wanted you to perform the religious precept [of giving charity] li-shmah.’
A number of questions:

1] Rashi in Rosh Hashana writes that the determination is שיהא ניזון משם - he should eat from there, and למזונות while in Bava Basra he writes שיתפרנס ממנו - What is the reason for the difference?

2] The gemara in Bava Basra says that one's parnassa is determined on Rosh Hashana, so why does Rashi say that Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai's dream was on Motzei Yom Kippur [the Bach changed the text in Rashi because of this question]?

3] The gemara says that 17 dinars remained and they were taken away on erev Yom Kippur. So why does Rashi explain that they remained with 17 dinars on erev Rosh Hashana?

4] It says in the gemara that if he finds merit זכה - he will give it to the poor [and if not he will give it to the tax collectors]. Rashi says זכה means for a good mazal. Usually זכה means something spiritual such as mitzvos or zchus avos. What compelled Rashi to change the meaning here to mean "good mazal".

5] The whole sugya is difficult because if there was a decree on Rosh Hashana to lose this money, how come nothing happened until the following year on Yom Kippur?

6] Why didn't he at least tell his nephews at the end of the year to give the money to tzedaka. Better that than the tax collectors taking it??

We have to say that he must have assumed that they would give it to tzedaka on erev Yom Kippur as is the Jewish custom. His reasoning was that since he had the dream on motzei Yom Kippur he assumed that they could give until motzei Yom Kippur of the next year.

That is exactly what happened because in practice בפועל they didn't lose their dinars until erev Yom Kippur. The reason they didn't give it on time is because that זכה to give it on time is only until Rosh Hashana and not Yom Kippur.

That is why Rashi explained that the money remained with them erev Rosh Hashana. Because even though the decree in practice בפועל was until Yom Kippur nevertheless the זכות of giving to tzedaka and not to the king is only until Rosh Hashana.

The explanation is that they were judged on Yom Kippur and not Rosh Hashana because they were בינוניים whose judgement hangs in limbo from Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur [Rosh Hashnana 16b] and therefore their judgement lasts a full year until the following Yom Kippur.

This is in contrast to זכה which is dependent on the mazal, and the mazal follows the natural course of the year of Rosh Hashana until Rosh Hashana, which is what compelled Rashi to explain זכה as mazal.

The logic why זכה depends on good mazal and not the merit of a mitzva or zchus avos may be that since the main judgement of Rosh Hashna concering sustenance is dependent on zchus or chova [as we see that בינוניים hang in limbo until Yom Kippur]  we can't change this decree throughout the year with zchus or chovah but with good mazal.

Since it is all dependent on mazal another person could have an influence as Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai did. Just he thought that he can have an impact the entire year of the decree and didn't know that he can only have an impact throughout the year of the mazal, from Rosh Hashana until Rosh Hashana.

Now we can say that this is why Rashi in Bava Basra wrote that a person's sustenance is determined etc. שיתפרנס ממנו - meaning general parnassa and not food - מזונות as would be the simple meaning of the gemara's words [as he wrote in Beitza] because the gemara says that his losses are also determined on Rosh Hashana. This is in the realm of zchus and chova, gains and losses, which apply to general earnings and not to mezonos specifically [people don't generally "lose מזונות"].

However in Beitza the gemara is talking about מזונות ממש - real food, [as Rashi writes ניזון ממנו] and that is a different din that we learn from the pasuk כי חק לישראל. [Rashi didn't quote the pasuk in Bava Basra because the gemara is not talking about מזונות as we are in Beitza].

MAYBE the din of מזונות ממש is not dependent on zchus and chovah but Hashem the Creator is responsible to feed his creations, as we see in various maamarei chazal, and is similar to the responsibility of a king to feed his citizens, which is why the gemara quotes the pasuk about Paroh 'and they did eat their portion [hukkam] which Pharaoh gave them’ .

We learn a big yesod in how Hashem runs the world from a careful reading of the two sugyos.  

עפ"י ספר מרבה שלום סי' לד ממו"ר הרה"ג ר' יעקב דוד המניק שליט"א מצפון חוף מיאמי
עיין היטב בספר זאב יטרף ר"ה סי' יח-יט
וע"ע ספר דברי שלום ח"ג סי' ל"ד

Tuesday, September 25, 2012







More On Yom Kippur And Shmiras Habris

Are the Yomim Noraim UNIVERSAL days of awe or are they parochial and specifically Jewish?

They are both [typical Jewish answer]. On Rosh Hashana the ENTIRE world is judged by Hashem but Yom Kippur is a special day JUST for the Jews. There are two covenants Hashem made with the Jewish people according to Kabbala. One is the ברית המעור - the bris mila, and the other is the ברית הלשון - the convenant with our speech. These two covenants are represented by Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  Rosh Hashana is the ברית הלשון which is why we blow Shofar as sound is the root of speech and at Sinai we heard a Kol Shofar at which time we were given the Torah which is learned by mouth. Yom Kippur is the ברית המעור - that special seal which was given only to the Jews. In fact, according to the Medrash, Avraham Avinu had his bris on Yom Kippur.

The pasuk says כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו - The matter is very close to you, in your mouth and heart to perform. The "mouth" is the ברית הלשון while the "heart" alludes to the ברית המעור [as the pasuk says ומלתם את ערלת לבבכם - the heart requires circumcising].

This reminds us of the Torah that was first given as the aseres hadibros with SPEECH and then as luchos which were INSCRIBED with the words of Hashem [as the bris is inscribed upon us]. A hint to this is in the pasuk concerning Yom Kippur מכל חטאתיכם לפני י-ה-י-ה - The last letters of those four words spell מילה.

That is why the second luchos were given on Yom Kippur which is a seal on the hearts of the Jewish people and is like Olam Haba which is why we do it on the eighth day which represents Olam Haba. Yom Kippur called שבת שבתון is also a taste of the world to come. No eating or drinking - just basking in G-d's light.The Satan takes the day off [השטן = 364 but on the 365th day he is off duty. That day is Yom Kippur] just as in the future there will be no evil.

The pasuk says אנכי אנכי מוחה פשעיך - I I erase your sins. Why the double אנכי? One for the aseres hadibros which were verbalized and the other for the luchos [representing the ברית הלשון וברית המעור as we explained]. The more we immerse ourselves in the Torah which is called water, the more our sins will be erased.

[Based on Sfas Emes שנת תרנ"ו - There is SO MUCH MORE. עיין שם.] 

Monday, September 24, 2012

וכל מאמינים - Really? A Story for יום כיפור.

I thank D.R. for translating this story from Hebrew proving that being Canadian and knowing Hebrew [in addition to Canadian] is no contradiction. 


Numerous Jews were exiled to Siberia during and after WWII, many of them from the (now former) Soviet Union.  Among them was a special man by the name Rabbi Mendel Futerfas, a Chabad chassid (who would later become a well-known Chabad Mashpia) interned there in a detention camp.  What occupied him - on regular days but particularly around the chagim - was the need and desire to keep to the Torah and mitzvot, even out in the snowy forests of Siberia, including arranging davening both on chol and chagim.

This was particularly challenging during the yamim nora'im, because while the Jewish prisoners knew the regular tefillot by heart, they had difficulty remembering the many piyutim and additions of the yamim nora'im.

 And so there were a handful of Jews there in the camp during the yamim nora'im, with neither tallis nor machzor, minyan, nor shofar, and they tried to draw from their memories what parts and pieces of the tefillos and piyutim they could, eventually managing to recover at least some of the tefillos.

The one benefit - if you can call it that - was that in such a situation, every section of tefilla takes on new meaning, deeper and clearer; and after pouring such effort into recalling it, it acquires a greatly increased value in the mind of the man who remembered it (as it says in ב"מ לח ע"א, that a man prefers one קב of his own to nine  קבין of his friend, and Rashi explains there that a man values what he has invested himself in).

As they attempted to recall the tefillot, Reb Mendel came to the well-known piyut "וכל מאמינים", and was filled with longing for the past.  He went over and over the familiar words, in their special tune, paying great attention to the meaning of the words.

  And then, in the middle of the niggun, a thought came to him:

Really? He asked himself.  All those Bolsheviks, Communists and atheists surrounding me every day in this camp - the majority of whom, unfortunately, are children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov, and who imagine that they are going to remake the world in the communist image, ה' ירחם - are they also מאמינים?  וכל מאמינים, really?  Are all those under whom I suffer daily, these people who step on all that is holy and dear to the Jewish people, who scorn everything holy and claim that that religion is nothing but "the opiate of the masses", חלילה - are they also believers "שהוא ואין בלתו", "שהוא כל יכול", "שהוא מלך עולם"? [As it says in the piyut.]

Reb Mendel, as a Chasid and a ma'amin, did not let this thought rest long in his heart, but immediately rejected it, saying, "If it is written in the machzor, "וכל מאמינים", this must indeed be the case.  Despite the fact that to the eyes of flesh-and-blood it appears otherwise, still surely כולם מאמינים."

Nonetheless, the thought gnawed at his heart: וכל מאמינים? He saw the exact opposite before him.

And so several days passed, until one night after Yom Kippur, Reb Mendel was lying on his bunk in the prison cabin, late at night and noticed a man on one of the upper bunks staring at him intently.

He began to be afraid, because this was a place where a man's life was not worth much, and murder among the prisoners was commonplace.  The enormous man could crush a "flea" like him, he thought; his face seemed like that of a robber and a murderer.  The man suddenly descended and began to move towards him, and Reb Mendel was filled with dread that his life would shortly come to its end, חלילה. 

And then the man asked in a rough voice, "Are you a Jew?"  Reb Mendel responded in a whisper, "I am." 

To his wonder, the fellow replied, "So am I."

Reb Mendel was struck speechless.  After a pause, the fellow said to him excitedly, "You know, I fasted on Yom Kippur!  I didn't know when Yom Kippur was, and didn't even think of it, but when I was with my work group, I saw some Jews who had received permission to walk around the yard for a quarter of an hour under heavy guard.  Their heads were down, and their hands behind their backs... and I heard one whisper to another: Tomorrow is Yom Kippur.

"When I heard that, I remembered the holy day, and I decided that davka here in the detention camp, I would fast on Yom Kippur.  I pretended to be ill, and didn't go to work, and nobody suspected a thing, because I don't look Jewish at all.  I fasted and lay all day on my bunk."

  Reb Mendel's fear had turned to wonder, but he marveled even more as the man continued.

"I wanted to daven," he said, "but I didn't know any tefillot at all.  I strained my memory, and suddenly recalled one of the tefillot that my grandmother taught me to say when I get up in the morning - a tefilla only twelve words long: מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקיים שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה רבה אמונתך.  So I lay in bed all day, repeating    מודה אני thousands of times.  Here, I spent Yom Kippur like a Jew."

Reb Mendel heard his story, and the last of his doubts disappeared.  If even this character, who to all appearances had abandoned faith completely, believes and awakens thus, it is clear that indeed it is true:  וכל מאמינים.

Mechila Before Yom Kippur

A מבהיל-דיגא Sfas Emes: In the eighth perek of Yoma he writes that before Yom Kippur one must ask mechila from his friend who is angry with him EVEN IF THE ANGER IS NOT JUSTIFIED. So if my friend is annoyed with me for not giving him a loan of ten thousand dollars when he needed it, when the fact was that I don't have ten thousand dollars and he has no right to be angry with me - I still have to ask him for mechila before Yom Kippur. The rest of the year you don't have to ask but Yom Kippur is different.

The Rebbe mentioned this in his shiur tonight and said מצוה לפרסם.


The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they're ok, then it's you.”
A shiur here on Rebbe Akiva and   אור זרוע לצדיק

The Holy Seir La-azazel

The major avoda of Yom Kippur is making a lottery over two goats - one to Hashem and the other one to throw over the cliff לעזאזל - to azazel, the powers of evil. Which is the primary goat? The word לעזאזל appears four times in the parsha [and makes no other appearance in Tanach]. Four times לעזאזל is bi-gematria שעיר. Since the word שעיר has four letters each one represents לעזאזל. So the primary goat is לעזאזל - not the one offered in the beis hamikdash.

The gemara in maseches yoma says that the שעיר לעזאזל atones for מעשה עוזא ועזאל. These two angels descended into this world and were involved in illicit desires and פגם הברית [blemishing the bris]. As it says in parshas Beraishis הנפילים היו בארץ בימים ההם וגם אחרי כן אשר יבאו בני האלהים אל  בנות האדם - The fallen ones were in the land in those days and also later, when the sons of the powerful came to the daughters of man. The way to fix an illicit desire is with fast - צום, as is alluded to in the words הנפילים היו בארץ the last letters of the three words are .... צום.

The פגם הברית corrupts the soul completely and that is why מעשה עוזא ועזאל is bi-gimatria 613. Yom Kippur atones for these תריג מצוות. On mincha of Yom Kippur we read the parsha of forbidden relations and when the kohen gadol went in to the holy of holies he wore the bigdei lavan which atone for פגם הברית [the bigdei zahav atone for avoda zara]. Specifically, the pants of the kohen gadol atone for revealed gilui arayos and the שעיר לעזאזל atones for hidden gilui arayos [meaning the penetration of the פגם הברית to the inner reaches of the soul, the deep subconscious].

The ultimate tikkun is not just the purity of Yom Kippur but reaching Kedushas Habris in married life, which is why Yom Kippur was one of the two days a year when the men would choose wives from among the dancing girls. There cannot be a Yom Kippur if the kohen gadol is not married - וכיפר בעדו ובעד ביתו - זו אשתו. If his wife dies on Yom Kippur he stops everything and marries another woman [Yerushalmi quoted by Tosfos]. The five immersions  - ה' טבילות and the ten times he washes his hands and feet - י' קידושי הידים ורגלים  symbolize the י and ה which are found in the words איש and אשה.

[Based on a shiur given by Rav Yitzchak Ginsburgh as recorded by R' Itiel Giladi]

This Torah should be a zchus for JAKEY BERMAN and DAHLIA HONIGSFELD upon their engagement. They are two of the most special and holiest people I know and it is apropos that they became engaged as we prepare for Yom Kippur. I owe each of them a tremendous debt of gratitude so this is my opportunity to say  - Thank You.

MAZEL TOV!!!!:-)   

Sunday, September 23, 2012

גר קטן

These are some thoughts on the sugya of ger kotton [כתובות יא].  My computer broke in the middle so I have a special simcha that thanks to a computer repairman on 68th and broadway, I retrieved the Torah and then finished the article despite the myriad of things that have been occupying my time recently.

May Hashem allow me to learn His Holy Torah בהרחבת הדעת ובשמחת הלב!!

I bless you sweet friend with the same:-).

I welcome any comments and corrections....

Receiving From A Rebbe

In the Pachad Yitzchak shiur we were zoche to give yesterday he said something דרך אגב which we glossed over because it wasn't a central point but it has been on my mind so I share. 

באופן דהידוק ההתקשרות היתירה של התלמיד לרבו אינה באה בתור שמירה מכח הסותר אלא היא באה בתור התקשרות לשם עצמה, התקשרות לשם התקשרות, בכדי שהחבור והזווג עם הרב יורגש יותר ויהיה מוחשי יותר, וממילא יתרחב כלי הקיבול שלו
In such a way, that the extra connection of a talmid to a Rebbe doesn't come [merely] to prevent an breakdown of the relationship but as a connection for itself, connection for the sake of connection, in order that the connection with the Rav should be felt more and be more palpable and inevitably [the student's] capacity to receive from his Rebbe will be increased.
[Pachad Yitzchak Yom Kippur Page 62-63]
Let me expand a bit: A good Rebbe has so much to offer a student both emotionally, spiritually and academically. The more the student connects to the Rebbe the more he is going to absorb. Every movement, word and action of the Rebbe will be a source of enlightenment and edification [we are talking about an ideal Rebbe and ideal talmid of course]. The weaker the connection the less the talmid will be able to receive. That is why Elisha didn't just learn Torah from Eliyahu Hanavi but actually took care of his Rebbe's physical needs [see Brachos 7b]. This expanded and deepened his connection beyond just the regular "Rebbe says shiur-Talmid copies into his notebook". I see the difference between people who are deeply connected to a Rebbe and those who are not. It is often a difference between being a seriously committed Jew and the opposite.   

Kedushas Eretz Yisrael Of Olei Bavel - Part Two

The Raavad [shmitta vi-yovel 4/ 28] is of the opinion that the עולי בבל did not sanctify Syria. If so, asked Rav Chaim, why does the gemara wonder whether the כיבוש יחיד of Dovid is considered a כיבוש . The first קדושה is no longer extant and Syria doesn't have [according to the Raavad] the second קדושה so what the law is with respect to Dovid is irrelevant? Answered Rav Chaim and [Rav Aharon] that the discussion in the gemara if כיבוש יחיד is valid  or not revolves around the question of whether a גוי can remove the קדושה of the land [ יש קנין לגוי להפקיע הקדושה] and even though we rule that אין קנין לגוי להפקיע that only applies to ארץ ישראל but Syria is different since כיבוש יחיד is not considered a כיבוש we say יש קנין לגוי להפקיע ממצות התלויות בארץ. Apparently the distinction is that because ארץ ישראל has קדושה מדאורייתא because of the כיבוש the קנין of the גוי doesn't have the power to be מפקיע whereas Syria only has קדושה מדרבנן since כיבוש יחיד is not considered a כיבוש and therefore the קנין הגוי מפקיע. The Sefer Hatrumah added that בזמן הזה when trumos and maasros are only מדרבנן even in ארץ ישראל the קנין הגוי can be מפקיע.

However the Rambam holds [תרומות א] that only in Syria יש קנין לגוי להפקיע but not in ארץ ישראל even בזמן הזה. But that is not a question because according to the Rambam the קדושה שניה wasn't בטלה and the קדושה of ארץ ישראל is מדאורייתא [and the only reason we are not חייב in Trumos and Maasros מדאורייתא is because we require ביאת כולכם which we didn't have] and a גוי doesn't have the power to be מפקיע a קדושה מדאורייתא.

Even according to Tosfos who holds that קדושה שניה was בטלה it is clear that אין קנין לגוי להפקיע as the Chazon Ish [שביעית א] proved from numerous gemaras including the gemara in gittin which had to establish the those places where a גוי has a קנין as Syria and not ארץ ישראל בזמן הזה. What is the reason that even according to Tosfos there is a distinction between ארץ ישראל and Syria with  respect to קנין הגוי להפקיע?

Explained R' Chaim and R' Aharon that the foundation of the law of whether יש קנין לגוי להפקיע is not contingent on the question of whether the חיוב is מדאורייתא or מדרבנן but rather any place that is a חפצא of ארץ ישראל because of the קנין ישראל we say אין קנין לגוי להפקיעו and any place that is NOT  a חפצא of ארץ ישראל we say יש קנין לגוי להפקיעו because it is חוץ לארץ. Therefore ארץ ישראל בזמן הזה even though קדושה שניה בטלה with respect to the מצוות התלויות בה is nevertheless considered a חפצא דארץ ישראל because of the קנין האבות [and that is why according to the Tosefta the moment the Jews entered ארץ ישראל they were already חייב in ערלה - because that stemmed from קנין האבות]. Thus, even if there is only a חיוב מדרבנן we say אין קנין לגוי להפקיע ממצות התלויות בה since it is considered ארץ ישראל מדאורייתא. Only in Syria according to the צד that כיבוש יחיד לאו שמיה כיבוש a קנין הגוי is מפקיע because it is not considered a חפצא דארץ ישראל. That is what the gemara is discussing when talking about whether כיבוש יחיד שמיה כיבוש or לאו שמיה כיבוש - if it is considered a כיבוש then the areas that Dovid captured are viewed as a חפצא דארץ ישראל for all purposes because an area captured with כיבוש הרבים is considered a חפצא דארץ ישראל and this קדושה is never בטלה even if a גוי is קונה. This explains why all areas captured by the עולי מצרים through a כיבוש רבים are considered eternally ארץ ישראל and a קנין הגוי can't be מפקיע [this is against the מעדני ארץ and חזון איש who hold that even in those areas we say יש קנין לגוי להפקיע but a simple reading of the Rambam (Trumos 1/10) bears out what we are saying] because even though the קדושה ראשונה בטלה the status of being ארץ ישראל never goes away.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two New Yom Kippur Shiurim - By Special Request

Pachad Yitzchak on Yom Kippur Maamar Dalet here and here.

It is VERY disturbing to me that Rav Hutner is no longer with us.

מי יתן לנו תמורתו.

Brachos 41a - חביב עדיף

According to most poskim if you have various fruits in front of you that have different brachos, you make a bracha on the fruit that you like the most [חביב]. If you have grapes [which is העץ] and pineapple [האדמה] and you like pineapple more, you make the bracha on the pineapple first even though grapes are one of the seven species with which Israel is blessed and their bracha is more important than the bracha on the pineapple.  [עיין שו"ע רי"א סעיף א ומ"ב סק"ט]

However, if you have before you two fruits that have the SAME bracha you DON'T make the bracha on the one you like more but on the fruit that is one of the seven species. For example - if you have grapes and apples, even if you prefer apples to grapes you still make the bracha on the grapes first since the grapes are one of the שבעת המינים.

Now let me get your head to spin.

What is the halacha if you LOVE apples a lot, you really like pineapple, and grapes are nothing you get excited about? "Nu-Nu" in the vernacular.

The Rebbetzin of the home brings out a beautiful fruit platter with those three fruits [and you are eating 'em all. Don't want to offend the Rebbetzin...]. What do you do now? If you take the apple [that you love most] then we will tell you to put it back and take a grape instead. שבעת המינים. When you take the grape we will request that you put it back and take a pineapple. You like pineapples more than grapes and it has a different bracha so it takes precedence. But then we will tell you that if you are in the realm of what is more חביב - take the apple again because you like that more than pineapple. But then when you take the apple we will tell you to take the grape again. Same bracha but שבעת המינים so it comes first.

Ad infinitum.

Ehrman goes Latin.

This is a halachic catch 22 [there are many and it fascinates me so much that I wanted to write an article on the topic but it mamesh makes me intellectually dizzy:-)].

ZUGT THE STEIPLER!!! The whole discussion is based on a mistaken premise. Indeed it is so -  If you are about to eat a pineapple and an apple, and you have two brachos העץ and האדמה you should first make a bracha on the fruit that you like more and if you like the pineapple you should make האדמה. However, when the bracha on the two fruits is the same, the העץ that he makes on the grape counts for the apple as well and not just for the grape. It emerges that in this case the halacha of making the bracha on the better liked fruit [apple] is fulfilled. So he should take the grape, make the העץ and we won't tell him to take the pineapple because of its חביבות, because when making the העץ he is essentially making a bracha on the most חביב of all as well - the apple.

עיין ספר זכרון חי סי' ב ובספר וזאת הברכה סי' מ"ז     

Starting Again

בר"ה עיקר המבוקש אינו זכויות העקידה אלא כאילו עקדתם את עצמכם היינו משום שענין ראש
השנה הוא התחלת ההתהוות וענין זה של כאילו עקדתם את
עצמכם הוא שכבר הגעתם לכליון ומתחדשים מחדש
On Rosh Hashana we don't ask Hashem to have mercy on us in the merit of the Akeidah but "as if we tied ourselves up [in order to be brought as a korban]".  Rosh Hashana is the beginning of existence and this matter of being as if we have been brought up as a korban means that we reached the end of our existence and are starting all over.
מאמרי פחד יצחק עמוד ר

Brachos 29a - Nine Brachos On Rosh Hashana

The gemara says that the nine brachos we say on Rosh Hashana correspond to the nine times Chana mentioned Hashem's name in her tfilla עלץ לבי [as explains Rashi, that we read about in Shmuel Aleph perek beis] that she said thanking Hashem for the birth of Shmuel. What does that have to do with Rosh Hashana? The gemara continues by explaining that the connection is that on Rosh Hashana, Chana was "remembered" [נפקדה]  by Hashem.

This gemara is PUZZLING! The parsha of עלץ לבי was said by Chana when she went to the Mishkan during one of the three regalim as the pasuk there says explicitly that she went up for the regel with her husband Elkana and Shmuel and the gemara in Chagiga learns the halachos of a kotton and aliya la-regel from that parsha. So how can the gemara learn from here anything about tfillas Rosh Hashana when the tefilla was said at a different time - even if the tfilla was said as thanks for the פקידה that occurred on Rosh Hashana?   

Another problem: According to the Radak in the name of the medrash, the tfilla that Chana said for the birth of Shmuel occured on Shavuos [see Marbeh Bracha קנו] so how can we say נפקדה בראש השנה?

Rashi explains that נפקדה means that it was decreed upon her to give birth on Rosh Hashana. Very nice. But EVERY BIRTH is decreed on Rosh Hashana according to Chazal [Rosh Hashana 8a/16a] so what is different about this פקידה that we have a special memorial on Rosh Hashana?

What is the significance of the number "nine"?

See the preface of the sefer Marbeh Bracha and the Ayn Ayah in Brachos 29a 

Kedushas Eretz Yisrael Of Olei Bavel

והביאך השם אלקיך אל הארץ אשר ירשו אבותיך וירשתה והיטבך והרבך מאבותיך - The gemara [yevamos 82] derives from the two mentions of the concept "yerusha" that the Jews will have two inheritances but not a third. Rashi and most other rishonim learn that the reason is that the first kedusha of Eretz Yisrael of עולי מצרים  was nullified after the churban. The second kedusha of עולי בבל was never nullified and therefore there will never be a third kedusha.

This is the opinion of Rebbe Yosi but Chachomim argue and say that the second kedusha was only temporary and was nullified with the churban habayis.

There is a machlokes rishonim about halacha li-myseh. Tosfos, Sefer Hatrumos and Sma"g hold like Chachomim that קדושה שניה בטלה and therefore trumos and maasros in our times is מדרבנן. The Ramabm and the Raavad hold like Rav Yosi, that the קדושה שניה was never nullified. According to the Raavad the chiyuv of trumos and maasros is מדאורייתא. According to the Rambam it is not מדאורייתא for a different reason - it says כי תבאו and in the time of Ezra all of the Jews didn't come and so it wasn't ביאת כולכם. The Raavad commented that כי תבאו is not stated in the context of trumos and maasros.

To summarize:

Tosfos - Trumos and maasros were מדאורייתא during בית שני and after the churban they became מדרבנן because of ביטול קדושת הארץ.

Rambam - Trumos and Maasros are מדרבנן even during בית שני because we didn't have ביאת כולכם.

Raavad - Even after the churban it is מדאורייתא because קדושה שניה לא בטלה.

The reason Rav Yosi makes a distinction between קדושה ראשונה and קדושה שניה is because [according to the Rambam] קדושה ראשונה was achieved through כיבוש and since it was taken back through כיבוש the original capture was nullified. The קדושה שניה was achieved through חזקה and settlement [the Jews were given permission by כורש] and even after the churban there was still settlement in ארץ ישראל so the קדושה remained intact.

The Kesef Mishna asked, why should the קדושה ראשונה be any less than the קדושה שניה - during the קדושה ראשונה there was also חזקה? So even after the כיבוש us בטל the חזקה remained?!

Rav Chaim answered by showing the source for the Rambam in a Yerushalmi [Shviis 6/1] that expounds the end of the aforementioned pasuk "הטיבך והרבך מאבותיך" - You are better than your forefathers, they [during the first כיבוש] didn't have the yoke of foreign rule while you have their yoke. Meaning, that your hold on Eretz Yisrael during ירושה שניה is through חזקה and despite the fact that you lack כיבוש. This answers the Kesef Mishna's question because we learn from here that during קדושה ראשונה the כיבוש was a necessary component and when it was nullified, the קדושה was similarly eliminated. קדושה שניה was greater in that all that was necessary was חזקה.

With this principle,  Rav Chaim explained the discussion in the gemara [gittin 8; avoda zara 21] with respect to Syria if כיבוש יחיד is called כיבוש and it sanctifies the Land or not and we pasken that it is not considered כיבוש [Rashi - כיבוש יחיד is where Dovid captured for his own purposes, see Tosfos who argues]. Asked the Mishna Lamelech [תרומות סוף פרק א]: The gemara is talking about whether during the time of the tanaim and amoraim, Syria obligated in trumos and maasros מדאורייתא or מדרבנן. If so, why do we care if it was sanctified in the time of Dovid or not, קדושה ראשונה was nullified in any case and all we have to know is if Syria has קדושה שניה of עולי בבל. It is thus irrelevant whether כיבוד יחיד is considered כיבוש or not.

Answered Rav Chaim according to the opinion of the Rambam, that indeed עולי בבל settled -חזקה וישיבה in Syria but it wasn't כיבוש, and we explained that חזקה only works to sanctify the land if it is ירושה שניה. If so, it is VERY relevant whether כיבוש יחיד in the time of Dovid was a valid כיבוש because if it was, then the כיבוש of Syria in the time of עולי בבל was ירושה שניה and חזקה alone sufficed and the obligation of trumos and maasros would be מדאורייתא. If it wasn't a valid כיבוש in the time of Dovid then the capture of Syria of עולי בבל was considered ירושה ראשונה in which case the חזקה was not enough and the obligation of trumos and maasros would be מדרבנן.

Let's add a point with respect to the idea that חזקה is enough for ירושה שניה based on Rav Aharon Kotler [Mishnas Rebbe Aharon Zraim 7] and Rav Chaim: First we have to know that ארץ ישראל contains two types of kedusha with respect to the mitzvos of the land. There is a kedusha that occurs through כיבוש and חילוק that pertains to trumos and maasros. There is a second type of fundamental kedusha that pertains to the very essence of the land - the עצם חפצא -  that stems from the acquisition of ארץ ישראל by אברהם אבינו that isn't contingent on כיבוש. Based on this the achronim explain the gemara in ksubos [25b] that challa בזמן הזה should be מדאורייתא [if not for the necessity of ביאת כולכם] even according to Chachomim that  קדושה שניה בטלה because during the seven years of כיבוש and seven years of חילוק the Jews kept the mitzva of challa. What, pray tell, do the years of כיבוש and חילוק have to do with challa בזמן הזה? The answer is that from the fact that they were חייב in חלה before כיבוש and חילוק it is clear that the obligation stems from the kedusha of the עצם חפצא of the land as it says in the Yerushalmi [חלה] that according to Rebbe Elazar wheat that grew before they entered the land is considered as if it grew בחיוב, and that stems from the קנין of אברהם אבינו. So we see that there is a fundamental, basic קדושה to the עצם חפצא of ארץ ישראל.            

Rav Aharon added that when the sifree says [parshas ekev] that wherever the Jews captured as a community has status of ארץ ישראל and is obligated in מצוות התלויות בארץ not only does it now have the קדושה of land that is contingent upon כיבוש but also becomes a חפצא דארץ ישראל through this כיבוש. The nafka mina is that even if the כיבוש is nullified from that place the status of kedusha as a חפצא דארץ ישראל remains intact.

This deepens our understanding of the drasha from והטיבך that קידוש שני is valid even without כיבוש. Since the status of ארץ ישראל has already been effected by the previous כיבוש it is now enough to settle without actually capturing. It emerges that the law of והטיבך והרבך מאבותיך us not merely a distinction between the first and second yerushos but that the moment the status of חפצא דארץ ישראל falls on a certain area all that is necessary in the future for the obligation of מצוות התלויות בארץ is settlement even without כיבוש.

To be continued - I hope:-)

[Based on a shiur given in Har Nof by HaGaon HaRav Ariav Ozer Shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Itri on Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim תשע"א as recorded by HaRav Yosef Ben Arza Shlita]

I Confess

Ok - here is the issue.

I am friendly. I like people. I like smiling and being smiled at. Rav Volbe said that a person's Tzelem Elokim is projected most when he smiles. Have you ever seen a dog or cat smile? No! They were not created in G-d's image. [Sorry animal lovers. You can still love them  - just not as much as people].

So when I lived in the Rova I learned a rule. No saying "gut shabbos" to ladies on the street. Or good morning. Or hello. You must pretend that they don't exist. Even your next door neighbor. I wasn't completely at peace with this but I didn't want to break local rules of etiquette. When in Rome, Chazal teach [Tanchuma Ekev - I think], do as the Romans do. [They say it a little differently but same idea].

Sometimes I "cheated" and smiled or nodded to acknowledge their presence as I walked by if it was someone I knew.

Chazal say not to be מרבה שיחה - to have excessive conversation with members of the opposite gender, but I don't believe that "gut shabbos" is excessive. But I understand the contemporary Charedi aversion to engaging in even the slightest interactions with members of the opposite gender - it is a fence which effectively prevents anything unkosher from developing. We have all heard bad stories [and if you haven't consider yourself fortunate] about male-female relationships that destroyed souls and families. It always begins with something formal and detached but in specific tragic occasions it develops into something positively "chiyuv-misa-dike". All in all, I live in a Charedi neighborhood and send my kids to Charedi schools because I subscribe to most of their philosophies - the centrality of limmud torah, exacting standards in halacha, great yom ha'atzmaut parties, seriousness about tefilla etc. etc. [of course we know about the problems but there are other blogs that delight in highlighting Charedi inadequacies so my input is not needed. Tishrei is עין טובה month].

But it's this not being friendly thing to which I have trouble adjusting. It almost hurts to walk by someone and pretend they don't exist. So this Friday night after the seudah I took a stroll with my son to chat about things [with all the time I spent/will spend in the States I value all the time I get to be with the neshmos Hashem entrusted with me]. As we walked by a local park there was a mother standng there with a few small children. As we approached it seemed that they were staring at us [we were the only people on the street]. I am walking and feel their gaze [isn't it positively AMAZING how you can FEEL someone looking at you]. I had this strong urge to say SOMETHING. Rebbe Yochanan in the gemara would say hello to every goy on the street - do these bnos Sarah-Rivka-Rochel-Leah deserve any less just because they lack the Y chromosome?!! [NOTE - If a man walks down the street with his eyes down as he should and doesn't notice females then he is holy , I want a bracha from him and the world was created in his honor].

So as I got closer I DID IT. I looked up and said ..... "Gut Shabbos".

על חטא שחטאנו לפניך באמירת גוט שבת?

I hope not. But if it was a sin - it should be my worst.....

My point is that Rashi at the beginning of parshas kdoshim defines holiness as being separate from forbidden relationships [פרושים מן העריות]. On the other hand, one always needs to be a mentsch. The pasuk says ואנשי קודש תהיון לי - I translate that as  "be holy mentsches" [it rings better in Yiddish - "heilige mentschen"]. We always have to find a balance between mentschlechkeit and kedusha and be sure not to compromise either one. This applies to many social situations [at weddings, kiddushes, in the workplace etc.] and each one requires vigilance to do what is good and proper in the eyes of Hashem and man. As Pirkei Avos puts it - תפארת לו לעושיה ותפארת לו מן האדם. Or as שלמה המלך has it in Mishlei ומצא חן ושכל טוב בעיני אלקים ואדם.

Love, blessings, a gut voch and shavua tov!!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Reb Yehuda Aryeh ben Esther Liba


Emotional Distance

I am "not mekabel" what Reb Shmulie's professor taught, here.


Dealing With Stress

FROM REB MORDECHAI YEHOSHUA. All humility aside - I couldn't have said it better myself. I am not in the [so] young married category anymore but will be willing to go on record as saying that I have very stressful things going on in my life - since I can remember [I think I am reaching a peak Baruch Hashem!!!]. They just change costumes but same result - stress .... and the drug I am addicted to that helps me cope - bitachon.....:-). And see the quotes I put at the bottom of my emails that give a broader perspective.

If you're a young adult, married with kids (preferably cute, and transported by Bugaboos) you can (+ must + would have nerve not to) consider yourself fortunate.

You survived the shidduch crisis.
You survived the fertility crisis.
You even survived that midnight diaper crisis.
Now all you have left is the tuition crisis and the occasional midlife crisis, and you're set.
If we manage to surpass each crisis with a smile, we get to wrap it all up as a nice, neat, nifty little life to hopefully be called "well lived" by those who outlive us.

Here's the catch: We're not allowed to complain about our stress.
Nor should we.
Complaining is counterproductive, and only serves to intensify the sensation.
But many of us feel like we're not even allowed to acknowledge the stress. So we repress it.
As soon as we feel some sentiment of frustration, our inner (and, sometimes, outer) critics immediately bombard us with an accusatory ambush of attacks:

"Who are you to complain?!?
You're married, aren't you?!?
You have healthy kids, don't you?!?
You have wealthy parents, or in-laws, or cousins - don't you?!?
Quit your whining and grow up!!!"

Or, something to that effect.

So, young adults such as myself learn to "grow up."
We suck it up, and silence the subtle streaks of stress that strike up inside.
We begin to feel guilty, perhaps evil, for feeling what we feel.
We blame ourselves, or our spouses, or our parents, or our spouse's parents.
And then we feel guilty for blaming people for feeling stress that we shouldn't even be feeling in the first place. All while we keep our smiles sturdy and sweet.

Freudian slips in the form of traditional lullabies such as "Rock a Bye Baby" and "Ring Around the Rosy" - more like horror stories than children's rhymes - demonstrate the young parent's silent search for stress relief in world that doesn't tolerate vocalizing the reality of such emotions.

But what's wrong with repressing our stress?
Is it not a noble gesture for we blessed young fathers and mothers to keep our happy faces shining, as we subconsciously stack up our skeletons in a secret closet? It is not.
Because the skeletons come out in stranger and stronger ways.

A healthier approach is to first cognitively and emotionally accept the stress for what it is.
Without blame. Without guilt. Without could's, should's, and would's.
There's nothing wrong with feeling anxious, particularly as a young parent with an endless array of newfound demands at our doors.
Financial demands. Emotional demands. Physical demands.
Growing pains are part of life, and it helps to acknowledge them rather than deny them.

Acknowledging stress does not evaporate it.
But it gives us room to become conscious of it.
Which is the first step in detaching ourselves from it.

Think of it like quicksand.
The more you try to pull yourself away, the deeper you get sucked in.
Settle into the stress.
And only then will you surpass it.