Sunday, July 31, 2016

Learning In Camp - This Letter Is SOMETHING!

Commentary To Tehillim Chapter 3

Tehillim Chapter 3

Based on Rav Charlap's commentary: 

א מזמור לדוד בברחו מפני אבשלום בנו ב יהוה מה רבו צרי רבים קמים עלי ג רבים אמרים לנפשי אין ישועתה לו באלהים סלה ד ואתה יהוה מגן בעדי כבודי ומרים ראשי ה קולי אל יהוה אקרא ויענני מהר קדשו סלה ו אני שכבתי ואישנה הקיצותי כי יהוה יסמכני ז לא אירא מרבבות עם אשר סביב שתו עלי ח קומה יהוה הושיעני אלהי כי הכית את כל איבי לחי שני רשעים שברת ט ליהוה הישועה על עמך ברכתך סלה

1. Hashem, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

He is feeling the pain of the שכינה as if Hashem Himself is saying "How many are my foes". For when one fights against Hashem's chosen it is as he is fighting against Hashem Himself.

2. Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

To add insult to injury they are saying that Hashem is not with Dovid, as if they are representing Hashem and He is on their side...

3 But you, Hashem, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

But it is not true. Hashem really IS with me. He will save me and lift my head high in order to show that it is He who shields me.

4 I call out to Hashem,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

Since I am calling out to Hashem - and for the sake of His glory, he will surely answer me. [Having Bitachon often brings about the desired result]. His holy mountain is Har Habayis which was already holy in the time of Yaakov as we see from Chazal.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because Hashem sustains me.

I am so sure that Hashem will help me that I can calmly go to sleep in my bed. 

6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

I am completely undaunted [fearless] despite the masses that surround me.

7 Arise, Hashem!
Deliver me, my God!
You have already struck all my enemies on the jaw;
broken the teeth of the wicked.

I am not worried about my enemies. They are already disposed of in my mind. All that concerns me is that the glory of Hashem should be revealed. 

8 The salvation is to Hashem.
May your blessing be on your people.

Hashem's salvation is revealed when He redeems His people. Our concern is that He should be [כביכול] saved. This is accomplished when we are saved and His glory is revealed.  

Daas Mikra [see there] notes that this perek is broken up into 3 sections. First the צרה, then the expressions of Bitachon, then the salvation. 

Solving The Riddle Of The Missing Lots For The Afternoon Tomid

לע"נ הרב משה בן הרב מנחם רייניץ 

ולע"נ רבקה רחל בת ר' מרדכי רייניץ

Why No Lots For The Afternoon Tomid?

The gemara says in Yoma [26] that although lots were taken to determine which Kohen would perform the various avodos, no lots were taken for the afternoon Tomid. Whichever Kohanim performed the morning Tomid would also merit performing the afternoon Tomid. 

Sadly, there is little or no explanation as to WHY? 

Two Tomids - Two Mizvos Or One?

Maybe it is rooted in a machlokes rishonim. The Rambam holds that the two Tomids are one mitzva while the Ramban holds that they are two separate mitzvos. According to the Rambam it makes sense that the same Kohanim who were involved in the morning Tomid should also be involved in the afternoon Tomid so that they don't do half a mitzva. 

But then we have to understand why according to the Ramban we don't have separate lots for the afternoon Tomid which is a distinct mitzva. We also have to understand why according to the Rambam separate lots are taken for the afternoon Ktores when he holds that it is a separate mitzva. It is true that it is a segulah for wealth but that should not justify forcing the Kohen to do a half a mitzva...

Rambam: One Complete Mitzva Done Twice

It could be that according to the Rambam the morning Tomid and Ktores are really distinct, complete mitzvos, but when it comes to counting them in the minyan hamitzvos they are only enumerated as one mitzva. In fact we learn in the Mishna in Menachos [49] that the morning Tomid is not  מעכב the afternoon Tomid. So it is one mitzva that is done twice a day.

Does Time Define The Mitzva

 The machlokes between the Rambam and Ramban is whether the time is part and parcel of the nature of the mitzva. The Ramban holds that time is part of the essential nature of the mitzva and therefore the mitzvos [Ktores and Tomid] performed at different times are counted separately while the Rambam holds that the time doesn't determine the nature of the mitzva and therefore they can be counted as one mitzva [that is performed twice a day].  

How Can Shma Be Said All Day And All Night And Still Be זמן גרמא?      

The Kesef Mishna [we could all use some of that...] famously holds that the mitzva of morning Krias Shma is [מן התורה] all day and the night Krias Shma all night. The Magen Avraham says that if that is correct then it is not a מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא because it is done for all 24 hours. The PROBLEMO is that the gemara is explicit [Brachos 20] that it IS  a מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא. 

Uh ohhhhhhhhh...

Shaagas Aryeh - Not Zman Grama Because They Are Done At Different Times

The Shaagas Aryeh [12] comes to the rescue and roars that it IS a מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא because the mitzva must be done twice at separate times. The would seem to correspond nicely with the opinion of the Ramban who holds that [as by the Ktores and Tomid] the time is part and parcel of the nature of the mitzva and thus it is really two mitzvos performed at different times and not זמן גרמא. But according to the Rambam, it would not seem to work out so well, because he holds that time doesn't define the mitzva and we are doing the exact same mitzva [which is not defined by it's time frame] twice a day [albeit at different times]. According to his opinion it would seem to be non-zman-grama because it is essentially a 24/7 mitzva [done twice every 24].

Tashlumin For Shma

There are opinions that maintain that there is תשלומין for Krias Shma just as there is for Tfilla [see S.A. 58/7]. This would seem to fit with the Rambam that Krias Shma is one mitzva done twice. So if he missed the morning let him make it up at night [as he would a missed Tfilla]. But according to the Ramban that they re two completely different mitzvos [because the mitzva is defined by the time] then [as they say in Latin] מהיכי תיתי that you could have תשלומין?? Tfilla can have תשלומין because it is בקשת רחמים for which there is a decree that there is a makeup time which is NOT THE CASE regarding Krias Shma. You can't fix one mitzva by doing a different one....

Why No Lots For Afternoon Tomid?

Back to our original question.... It could be that just as the gemara says that we have 4 separate lots in order to fulfill the pasuk אשר יחדיו נמתיק סוד בבית אלקים נהלך ברגש - that it is honor for the house of Hashem that there is "action" numerous times a day [see Yoma 24b], there is also a law of יחדיו נמתיק סוד that all of the Kohainm should be present for the taking of the lots and if we have separate lots for the morning and afternoon Tomids then maybe some won't show up for the morning lots [planning to be there for the lots for the afternoon Tomid] and we will lack the יחדיו. 

Rashi [14b] doesn't seem to have the beginning of the pasuk [אשר יחדיו] in his text but maybe our text is telling us a huge chiddush, namely that there is a special din of יחדיו, that all of the Kohanim should be present for the lots. 


[עפ"י שארית יוסף להרב הגאון ר' שלמה וואהרמן ח"ד סי' א]

When Should We Say The Shir Shel Yom On Shabbos

לזכות ר' יהודה יעקב בן דינה חאשע
ור' משה יהודה בן פעשא דינה 

In the last mishna of tomid we read the list of all of the shir shel yom's that we say daily after davening. In the Beis Hamikdash they would be said by the Leviim after the offering of the korban tomid shel shachar which corresponds to our shachris. The question is, why according to nusach ashkenaz is the shir shel yom said on shabbos and yom tov after MUSSAF. It would seem that nusach sefard is correct in saying the shir after shachris. [In fact Rav Shternbuch writes in his Tshuvos Vi-hanhagos that he changed his shul's minhag and instituted that it be said after shachris]. 

This question bothered the Acharonim and numerous answers have been offered. We will mention two: 

1] Why do we say shir shel yom? Some say that it is זכר למקדש. Just as in the mikdash they said a special shirah every day we do so as well in order to fulfill the pasuk ונשלמה פרים שפתינו - our lips fill in for the bulls [especially if their flight from chicago was delayed and they couldn't make it to the game]. 

Others argue that this is not the reason. Our shmoneh esrei covers the obligation of ונשלמה פרים and the reason we read the shir is in order to fulfill the dictum of chazal [maseches sofrim] כל הקורא שירה בעונתה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו בנה מזבח והקריב עליו קרבן anybody who sings at the right time is considered as if he built a mizbeach and sacrificed a korban [see also Sanhedrin 101]. Saying the shir shel yom [which corresponds to what happened on that day during the seven days of creation] is singing the song at the right time.

According to this - the shir is not connected to the tomid shel shachar and there is thus no necessity to say it after shachris.

2] The second approach is that of Rav Hutner [Pachad Yitzchak Maamar ס"ז]. He Jewishly answers the question with a question. How come in shachris on Shabbos we don't mention the korban tomid shel shachar? [Ever notice that??]. In mussaf we do mention the korbanos that are brought on that day. The explanation is that shachris is not a fulfillment of ונשלמה פרים שפתינו but merely CORRESPONDS [is כנגד] to the tomid shel shachar, so we don''t have to mention the actual korban. Mussaf is actually a fulfillment of ונשלמה פרים so we have to mention the korban of the day.

Shockingly, in mussaf we mention not only the korban mussaf but the tomid as well. על שני תמידים כהלכתם. Why is that? It is definitely rooted in the fact that in the Torah when we are told to bring the mussaf we are told to bring the tomid as well, because mussaf is just an ADDITION [a mussaf] to the tomid shel shachar. It emerges that the shir shel yom that we say after mussaf is not related to mussaf in general but to the korban tomid that is mentioned in tefillas mussaf. The korban tomid is a fulfillment of ונשלמה פרים and it makes perfect sense to follow this with the shir shel yom. 

According to this, explained the sefer Shiras Shmuel, we can understand why we say the words ישמחו במלכותך שומרי שבת in mussaf only [note that the sefer Abudraham already mentions ישמחו when explaining the tefilla of leil shabbos]. What does the simcha of shabbos have to do with mussaf? Explained Rav Moshe Soloveitchik [quoted by Rav Yosef Dov in his yahrtzeit shiur] that the pasuk says וביום שמחכתכם - on the day of your happiness, you should blow trumpets. The Sifree says that this day of happiness refers to Shabbos. Where do we find an obligation to have simcha on shabbos?? Simcha is usually associated with Yom Tov. The Ramban in the sefer hamitzvos teaches that Hallel on Rosh Chodesh was min hatorah based on the pasuk וביום שמחתכם ובמועדיכם ובראשי חדשיכם ותקעתם בחצוצרות - On Rosh Chodesh in the Beis Hamikdash they would blow trumpets. The gemara says that the main shira is not with trumpets but with song - עיקר שירה בפה. So just like we must blow trumpets on Rosh Chodesh we also must sing to Hashem בפה. However the gemara [Erchin 10] teaches that this doesn't apply outside the Beis Hamikdash [our hallel is only a minhag]. The same would them apply to Shabbos. The gemara there excludes Hallel on Shabbos outside the Beis Hamikdash because Shabbos is not a moed. But in the Beis Hamikdash it is still a mitzva to sing בפה and say Hallel. So the יום שמחתכם applies on Shabbos in the Beis Hamikdash where we were commanded to sing.

Since we established that mussaf is the tefilla that applies specifically to the korban in the Beis Hamikdash and is a fulfillment of ונשלמה פרים [as opposed to shachris which merely corresponds to the tomid shel shachar] - it makes sense that we should mention this idea of simcha ישמחו במלכותך שומרי שבת in the tefilla of mussaf, for as we saw, the simcha of Shabbos applied specifically in the Beis Hamkdash and the mussaf transports us back to the Beis Hamikdash. 

The Real Opposition

“The real opposition is that between the ego-bound man, whose existence is structured by the principle of having, and the free man, who has overcome his egocentricity.” 

― Erich Fromm


Some sources regarding false Gentile prophets. If you look up all of the sources you will know a lot about the topic.....

How Did I Get HER Glove!!:-)


What They Don't Teach You in School

“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.” 

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

Note: I am not a big fan of the notion "Walk away from someone you don't love anymore". If you have a committed relationship and don't love them - stay around and work on loving them. It is a terrible modern notion that people just follow their random, ever fluid, feelings. It creates a lack of stability and causes much harm to all parties involved. 

The Importance Of Gratitude - Plant Chesed And You Will See GREAT Fruits! - You CAN'T Lose

Pure Intentions

The din of Kanaaim Pogim Bo is that the Kanai must be completely li-shem shomayim. One can't kill unless his motivations are completely pure [that is the assumption of many, many sefarim. See for example אגרות משה אבה"ע סי' ל"ח. However - I didn't find this explicitly in Chazal].

So why don't we say the same thing regarding the witnesses who carry out מיתת בית דין - as the pasuk says יד העדים תהיה בו בראשונה להמיתו. There we don't require pure intentions, just that the person be כשר לעדות!? Why not? In both cases capital punishment is being carried out and should require pure motivations because mitzvos such as capital punishment must be done with only the purest of intentions and no personal interests or vendettas?!

חייתני מיורדי בור

You know what can give a person real chiyus, even when times are rough?? There is no parnassa, life is not going as planned, the nisyonos are mounting...?!

Learning Bava Kamma with the sugyos of Bor. 

חייתני - It give such chiyus, מיורדי בור - From going down into the pit and learning those deep sugyos!

Chezkas Kashrus Or Not??

לזכות חיה אביבה בת שיינדל מרים לברכה והצלחה וה' ימלא כל משאלות לבה לטובה!

The gemara says that if there are שני שבילין - two paths, A and B, and Reuven walked on one of the paths and Shimon walked on the other one and we KNOW that there is tumah on one of the paths but not on the other - when each person comes before the Beis Din to ask what his status is we tell him that he is tahor because we establish him on his chezkas kashrus [even though it is impossible that both are tahor].

This can be contrasted with the gemara [Bava Basra 31] that discusses a machlokes about two sets of witnesses who contradict each other. Rav Chisda holds that each group is pasul from here on in. Since one set of witnesses MUST be lying [and we don't know which], both sets lose their chezkas kashrus.

Why don't we say that each set retains their chazkas kashrus [even though one of them must be lying] as we do in the שני שבילין case [where they remain pure even though one of the people must be tamei]???

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Hidden Zchus

I don't know who "St." Nicholas was and in all likelihood ימח שמו but he must have had some zchus that I walked down his street today to get to mikva and to buy Shabbos food.... 

A True Leader

Shaaallllooommmmmmmm Sweeeeeeetest Friends!!!!!!!

A huuuuuge mazel tov to my beloved friend, ohev Torah, Talmid Chochom, supporter of Torah, baal middos to the highest degree, Rabbi Chaim Shenkman and his equally special Rebbetzin Shira on the Bar Mitzva of their sweet and wonderful son Boruch Yitzchak!! May he grow up to be a light [he is from Edison so that is a GREAT place for light!:-)] unto the whole world with limitless simcha, prosperity, health and fulfillment!!

This dvar Torah is dedicated to the good health and well being of my beloved mother Henna Miriam bas Chana. She is NUMBER ONE on my list of all time great Jewish mothers and Bubbys and deserves many many many more happy and healthy years. 

Also, to all of my sweet friends who are helping me on my mitzva mission here in the US. May they all be blessed in this world and the next with limitless shefa and simcha! 

This Shabbos I will be doing my mitzvos in Aliyos D'washington [Washington Heights]. It ain't Israel but it was a safe haven for German Jews and for that we thank Hashem and George W. I should be zoche to make Aliyah to Israel once again soon...


"I don't approve of political jokes. I have seen too many of them elected...."

"There is not White America. There is not Black America. There is only RED AMERICA! Let us give this country back to the Indians whom we stole it from."

A slightly edited line from the Republican Convention.

In this weeks parsha we read of Hashem's command to appoint Yehoshua to replace Moshe as leader. 

But some things are apparently missing.

National Conventions. Rousing speeches. Lobbying and campaigning [how did a "g" sneak its way in there?]. Endless discussions about which candidate is better and how poised each of their children were. None of that. [So many people were impressed with Donald's kids. I am not arguing, but for me it would be NO NACHAS if 4 out of my 5 children were goyim...]

The Medrash relates that Moshe said that since his time is limited he would like to pass on the baton to George Bush Junior. Woops. I mean li-havdil a TRILLION havdalos - his children. They saw him in all of his glory. They know what it takes to be a leader. They have the DNA. They have the great last name "Rabbeinu". Let my sons lead, implored Moshe.

Hashem answered [in my words] "Sorry. You have it wrong. There is a MUCH MORE WORTHY CANDIDATE. His name is Yehoshua and he is your student. What makes him worthy? Not his leadership skills, not his vast experience in politics, not his military expertise. None of that. Just this. [Now Hashem's words]: "He used to serve you a lot, give you great honor and arrange the benches in the Beis Medrash." That's it?

That's it!

Jewish leadership isn't about public opinion alone [but see Brachos 55 אין מעמידין פרנס על הציבור אא"כ וכו]. People are swayed by the demagogic abilities of the candidates, by their good looks [or that of those around them], by their [often] empty promises of change and good fortune in the future and by many other factors which have nothing to do with their worthiness of the leadership role. 

A leader needs HUMILITY and Yehoshua had that. A leader needs to be one who NULLIFIED himself to a higher source which enabled him to integrate and assimilate many of the positive qualities of his superior. He needs to be one who is dedicated to the community, even at the expense of his own honor [arranging the benches - no honor there. Just a "simple" shammes...]

A thief stuck a pistol in a man’s ribs and said, “Give me your money.” The gentleman, shocked by the sudden attack, said “You cannot do this, I’m a United States congressman!” 

The thief said, “In that case, give me MY money!” 

Sweetest friends. Let us not waste our valuable time and Divinely endowed ability to speak on this silliness. It is all cold cuts [namely - baloney!]. Everybody knows deep inside that you can't trust 'em and everything they say and do is carefully orchestrated in order to win public opinion.

A politician was a guest speaker at the golf club dinner. As the politician stood up to speak, a few of the men saw it as an opportunity to sneak off to the bar. An hour later, with the politician still talking, another man joined them. “Is he still talking?” they asked him. 
“Yes.” the other man answered. 

“What on Earth is he talking about?” 

“I don’t know. He’s still introducing himself.”

Of course it is our duty to vote for the lesser of the two evils but certainly not to waste out time on needless discussions, sending around articles on the campaign so that others waste their time as well and of course not to hinge our faith in them. Faith should be reserved for the One Above. 

With blessings for a sweet Shabbos and hopes that we see true Malchus - namely Malchus Shomayim, in our days, I sign off...


Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Pinchos 5776

1. This Shabbos is Parshas Pinchos which is the upcoming first of the three Shabbasos of what we call the three weeks. I would like to share with you a thought that starts from Parshas Pinchos but leads to Tisha B’av as well. We find here in 28:27 the Korbanos of Shavuos of Yom Habbikurim. We find in the Parsha that there are (פָּרִים בְּנֵי-בָקָר שְׁנַיִם, אַיִל אֶחָד; שִׁבְעָה כְבָשִׂים, בְּנֵי שָׁנָה) that is the entire Korban that is mentioned here. In Parshas Emor when it talks about Shavuos we find a different Korban 23:18 (וּפַר בֶּן-בָּקָר אֶחָד, וְאֵילִם שְׁנָיִם).

The Gemara in Maseches Menachos 45b (25 lines from the top) asks a Kasha that Rashi in Parshas Emor brings as well. The Gemara answers (הללו באין בגלל עצמן). The Parshas Pinchos Korbanos come for the Yom Tov of Shavuos (והללו באין בגלל לחם) and the Korbanos in Emor come for the Shtei Halechem. So it is a bit unusual that it doesn’t mention all of them together but it mentions in Parshas Emor one set of Korbanos and in Parshas Pinchos another set.

Rav Schwab in Parshas Emor (page # 286 on 23:15 – 21) explains that Shavuos is actually two distinct Yomim Tovim. One, the fact that it is the Yom Habbikurim, the end of the Sefiras Hamoer, the day of the bringing of the Shtei Halechem which is something tied to the new crop and the second is the (שָׁבֻעֹתֵיכֶם) which is hinted in this week’s Parsha that Shavuos is the Yom Mattan Torah. So that the Yom Tov has two aspects to it.

Rav Schwab explains that many Yomim Tovim have two aspects to them. The Torah Shebichsav aspect and reason and the Torah She’Baal Peh reason. The whole idea that Shavuos is K’negged Mattan Torah is really a Torah She’Baal Peh reason. So that there are two aspects to the Yom Tov.

It is similar to Rosh Hashono when the Torah Shebichsav says that it is a Yom Teruah and the Torah She’Baal Peh tells us that it is a Yom Hadin. They are mentioned separately in two different Parshios because each is an aspect of the Yom Tov.

In general, Rav Schwab writes elsewhere in his Peirush on the Siddur on the Posuk (לַעֲשות בָּהֶם מִשְׁפָּט כָּתוּב) that (מִשְׁפָּט כָּתוּב) Torah Shebichsav is always more Chomer with Middas Hadin because Torah Shebichsav says (יָד תַּחַת יָד) in Shemos 21:24 and Torah She’Baal Peh is Middas Harachamim because we say that Yad Tachas Yad is Mammon. This is a topic that I have spoken about in the past. What is Nogea to us is that the Torah Shebichsav Yom Tov is a Middas Hadin Yom Tov. The Yom Teruah of Rosh Hashono requires a precise Teruah and the second aspect of the Yom Tov which is the Torah She’Baal Peh aspect is Middas Harachamim. Rosh Hashono is a time where a person can be Zocheh in Din.
Coming up to Tisha B’av it is exactly the same. Tisha B’av is a Chag that has two aspects to it. The Torah Shebichsav aspect and the Torah She’Baal Peh aspect. You will ask me where is the Torah Shebichsav aspect found. In Sefer Zecharyiah 8:19 (וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי) a day of Tzom. There is a second aspect, the Torah She’Baal Peh aspect which is that it is called a Moed, there is something of a Yom Tov to it. So that Tisha B’av and Bichlal the Bain Hametzarim has two parts to it, the Din which is of course a part of Tisha B’av and the Rachamim which is a second aspect. Tisha B’av is what a person makes of it.

In connection to this I want to suggest for the three weeks that we take it upon ourselves to mark the three weeks. It is not just the aspects of Aveilus that we practice, which nowadays are easier. Even in the nine days no Fleishigs there is plenty of Milchigs. It is somehow not as much of an Aveilus as it should be. But at least to mention in the Davening when we mention Yerushalayim, to have it in mind.

A number of years ago I was in Yerushalayim. I used to go to Rav Elyashiv’s Shiurim on Shabbos afternoon and they were Mechabeid me to sit next to him during the Shiur and subsequently during Mincha. As you may know, Rav Elyashiv Davened a pretty fast Shemoneh Esrei. He spoke as one who speaks to his friend, like the way that I am talking to you. He spoke to the Ribbono Shel Olam and it didn’t take long. But I noticed in standing next to him and he Davened a rather loud silent Shemoneh Esrei that (הַמַּחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתו לְצִיּון) those three words before Modim he said slowly and with Kavanah. Maybe that is a Kabbalah Bli Neder to take for the three weeks to have more Kavanah in that part of the Davening.
2. Let’s move on to a second thought from Parshas Pinchos. That is a Machshava that the Gadlus of Pinchos comes from the Nesirah of (זִמְרִי, בֶּן-סָלוּא). When there is a Nesirah in Klal Yisrael, when there is an Eigel there is an opportunity for Gadlus. Sheivet Levi became special because Klal Yisrael fell at the Eigel and they stood up and said Mi Lashem Eilai.

The Meraglim had a Yerida and Yehoshua and Caleiv stood up and became great from their Yerida. Every time there is a Yerida in the world it is the nature of most people to be M’yaeish and fall along with the Yerida. Someone who is Mechazeik himself is Zoche to Gadlus. The lesson of Pinchos is that a time of Yerida is a time when someone who is smart enough can be Mechazeik himself.
In Avinu Malkeinu we have five Seforim that we mention during the Aseres Yimai Teshuvah. (כָּתְבֵנוּ בְּסֵפֶר חַיִּים טובִים), (כָּתְבֵנוּ בְּסֵפֶר גְּאוּלָּה וִישׁוּעָה), (כָּתְבֵנוּ בְּסֵפֶר פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה), (כָּתְבֵנוּ בְּסֵפֶר זְכֻיּות), (כָּתְבֵנוּ בְּסֵפֶר סְלִיחָה וּמְחִילָה). These five Seforim are K’negged the Chamisha Chumshei Torah. That is what it says in the Otzar Hatefillah Siddur. Sefer Chaim is Beraishis, where the Chiyus of the world was created. Sefer Geulah V’yeshua is Sefer Shemos which is called the Sefer Geulah. Sefer Parnasa V’chalkala is Vayikra because the Korbanos are a Segulah for Parnasa. Sefer Selicha Umechila is Sefer Devraim as Klal Yisrael goes into Eretz Yisrael. Bamidbar is Sefer Zechiyos. How? In Bamidbar there are many Yeridos for Klal Yisrael. Every Yerida is an opportunity for Aliyah. So too, Parshas Pinchos, Amad Baperetz, he stood when there was a breach. Every time you see a Yerida around you it is an opportunity for a Chizuk and Amida for you. This is my second thought for Parshas Pinchos. 

Wishing everyone an absolutely wonderful Shabbos.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Hole In The Ear At Bamos Time

לרפואת מרת הענא מרים בת חנה

The gemara darshens [Kiddushin 22] the pasuk ושב אל משפחתו that an עבד עברי who is a kohen may not become an עבד נרצע because it would make him a בעל מום and he wouldn't be able to return to his family [of kohanim] who can perform the avoda. 

The Makor Baruch [by Rav Nachum Baruch Ginzburg] asks that according to this logic, a Yisrael at the time of heter bamos should ALSO not be allowed to become an עבד נרצע because non-kohanim were allowed to do the avodah at bamos and this מום would disqualify him. Just like a kohen can't become a בעל מום, so too a Yisrael during heter bamos?

Here is a picture of the Makor Baruch to help you think about this. He gave an answer but there is apparently a better one.

Nahum Boruch Ginsburg.jpg

Why is this not true and a Yisrael MAY become an עבד נרצע at all times?

There is a simple logical answer to this question.....

Magical Link

With a tremendous stroke of Siyata Di-shamya, I found a shiur that explains the essay of Rav Kook that I posted yesterday, here

Start An Avalanche

Today a fellow saw me and was concerned that my tefillin was beneath my hairline [it wasn't]. He seemed really bothered and wanted to adjust it and examine my second pair as well.

I appreciated his concern.

What would Reb Yisroel Salanter say????

Are we as concerned with our friend's gashmiyus as we are with his ruchniyus??

Do we see a Yid, stop him and say "Hey, have you had lunch today? Take ten bucks and buy yourself a meal...". I haven't witnessed that too many times. Usually people have to ask and even then... כולי האי ואולי.

I have a friend [this friend is not me... I don't learn much] who has been learning with tremendous devotion and intensity for over 20 years and is raising a huuuge family who asked some of his [religious] relatives for a one time donation for a certain cause of his and was rebuffed. These relatives are not people with millions of dollars but tens of millions of dollars. Not a penny. 

THAT causes me anguish. היתכן? Can it be?? Your FLESH AND BLOOD asks [he shouldn't have to ask...] and he is refused. Not even something token? What about his dignity?? 

I just don't get it.  

The Shulchan Aruch says that one must give his relatives FIRST and yet I know people who are destitute whose relatives have their names on buildings. It is CRRRRRRAZZZZZYYYYYY. 

The Baal Hatanya says that in these pre-moshiach times, the most important mitzva is tzedaka. Tzedaka, says the gemara, brings the geulah! שמרו משפט ועשו צדקה כי קרובה ישועתי לבוא וצדקתי להגלות.

I must say that whenever I come to the States people are always offering me meals. מי כעמך ישראל. I must ALSO say that Klal Yisrael gives a tremendous amount of tzedaka. But there is still much improvement that can be made. 

A Rebbe I know approached me in a Beis Medrash today asking to see Rabbi C. who gives large sums to tzedaka. I told him that Rabbi C. is away in the mountains but he must be mistaken because Rabbi C. is an underpaid maggid shiur. It turn out that I was mistaken. Rabbi C. in fact gives out huge sums to tzedaka. It is often the people without who are most generous. 

I am reminded of the stories told about the generosity of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein. He gave everybody, regardless of hashkafa. One person thought that he had a foundation of his own ["foundation" for the uninitiated, is what really - really wealthy people have in order to distribute their funds in a tax friendly way] and asked for a second donation from his own personal funds. A Melamed Torah on a Melamed Torah's salary with a nice sized family of his own is giving out so much that people think that he has a foundation. 

THAT is a Yid.    

The Satmar Rebbe [very close to Rav Aharon hashkafically:-)] gave out endless sums of money to people who were diametrically opposed to his way of thinking [including secular Jews].

And the countless stories of Tzadikim throughout the generations who gave away every last penny until the community had to give their salary directly to his wife so that there would be something left for them. The logic of these Tzadikim was that they will always have food because they are well known and respected. But what about the less fortunate?

I am not saying that we have to be on that level but it is something to admire.

I feel like I am "preaching to the choir" and everybody [most people?] reading this [does ANYBODY read this??] agrees while the people who need to hear this message aren't reading. 

But still - 

“ only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.” 

― Dianna Hardy, Return Of The Wolf

Update On Chaya Raizel Bas Dina From Her Husband

Just a quick update. Raquel is B"H responsive. We are so grateful to everyone for the Tefillos and maasim tovim that brought us to this miraculous moment. Please continue the Tefillos and maasim tovim to bring about a FULL recovery b'karov.

Lashon Hara In A Newspaper

When It Is Permitted To Speak Lashon Hara


1. Speaking L"H to help others

If someone witnessed another person wronging his fellow, perhaps by theft or damage of property or injury - whether the wronged person is aware of the damage or theft or not - or by insulting or embarrassing him, and the witness knows that the offending party did not make amends (repaying the theft, repairing the damage, requesting forgiveness, etc.), even if he was the sole witness, he may discuss the incident with others in order to help the guilty party (i.e. to repent and correct his ways) and also to publicly disparage such evil behavior. However, the witness should take extreme care that the seven conditions that follow are met (to be enumerated in paragraph 2). 

2. The 7 conditions to satisfy before speaking L"H
The speaker must have witnessed the incident himself, rather than knowing about it from rumor. (If he has only heard about the incident, then he must verify its authenticity firsthand.)
The speaker should reflect thoroughly, not hastily concluding something is theft or damage or any other offense, that the action in question is truly a violation according to halacha.
The speaker should first approach the transgressor privately, and rebuke him with gentle language (such that the transgressor would be inclined to listen), because perhaps this can have an impact and inspire the person to improve his ways. If the transgressor does not listen, then the speaker should alert the public of the individual's guilt. 
The description of the sin should not be exaggerated [for "effect" or any other reason].
The speaker must have pure intentions ("to'elet," lit. "purpose"). As we will discuss later in paragraph 4, the speaker should not - Heaven forbid - enjoy his friend's (the transgressor's) disgrace, nor act out of a previous hatred he felt for the person.
If the purpose of speaking the Lashon Hara (e.g. causing the sinner to repent, warning the community to stay away from such activity) can be achieved in another way rather than speaking Lashon Hara, it is forbidden to speak Lashon Hara.
By speaking Lashon Hara, the transgressor should not be caused more damage than would be appropriate as determined by a court of Jewish law reviewing the case. This is discussed in detail in Hilchot Rechilut chapter nine. [An example would be if a thief would be obligated to repay the victim $100, but Lashon Hara caused him damages of $500.]

3. Speakers with the same sins cannot speak

All this applies if the witness is a better person than the transgressor. If, however, the witness is just as bad a sinner, sick with the same immoral behavior, it is forbidden to publicize the incident. A person with similar sins does not have the intention of revealing the unknown out of goodwill and fear of G-d, but rather to enjoy the disgrace of his fellow.

This is referred to in Hosea 1:4, "And I have accounted for the sins of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu." Jehu fulfilled a mitzvah (positive commandment) by cutting off the house of Ahab in Jezreel, for he was commanded by a prophet, and Jehu thereby was granted the kingship for four generations, as G-d told Jehu (Kings 2 10:30), "... as you have done to the house of Ahab according to what was in my heart, your fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel." However, G-d similarly meted punishment upon the house of Jehu because he committed transgressions as Ahab had done. 

4. Constructive intentions

The fifth condition for speaking L"H, that one should have constructive intentions, is as follows.

Proper intentions include any of the following:

To help the wronged party. This is indicated by an audience which is capable of helping him.
Certainly if the people he tells can help the wronged party, it is proper to tell them, and
Even if that purpose won't be achieved, but he wantes others to avoid evil ways when they learn that people criticize those who commit such sins
and perhaps the sinner himself will repent from his evil ways and make up for his actions when he hears that people disparage him for such behavior.

Even in the third case the speech would not be considered Lashon Hara but rather constructive, so long as the speaker does not intend to enjoy the disgrace he puts upon his fellow. The speaker must speak out of a passion for the truth, and hope that through his words some constructive purpose will result.

If, however, the speaker realizes his words will not result in any constructive outcome, for example the group he would tell are "ba'alei Lashon Hara" (habitual speakers of L"H, such that they will indiscriminately repeat it), and that they have committed similar evils and thought nothing of it, one should be extremely careful not to speak to them. Not only will speaking to them provide no purpose, but it may also cause great damage. The listeners very likely will tell the guilty party what the speaker said, thus violating "Lo telech rachil b'ameicha" ("do not spread tales"). As a result of such talk, great disputes often ensue, and possibly even - G-d forbid - "malshinut" (a Jew reporting another Jew to non-Jewish authorities). Even if all other conditions are met, should there be the potential for Malshinut, Lashon Hara may not be spoken.

It makes no difference whether the victim (of the theft, embarrassment, etc.) requested the speaker's involvement or not. For if getting involved is permissible, that would be even if the victim didn't ask, and if it is forbidden - if not all conditions were met - it would not help had the victim asked.

Even if the victim is a relative [getting involved when not all conditions are met] would be forbidden. (Many falter in this area. When people hear that someone harmed their family member, even though they haven't verified the information or gotten the details, they immediately take action against the other person. They think they are fulfilling the commandment, "mi'bsarcha al titalem," do not neglect your brethren. Yet they are making a grave error, for there is no distinction between a relative and everyone else regarding the laws discussed above, for the commandment, "mi'bsarcha al titalem" was not meant to justify violating other commandments, Heaven forbid.) 

5. Causing Rechilut is forbidden

Speaking Lashon Hara is included in the sins "bein adam l'chaveiro" (between people), and therefore if the seven conditions are met, it is permissible to publicize the lowliness of the gossiper. However, discussing the misdeed may only be done if the subject of the gossip is already aware of what was said about him. Otherwise, "everyone has a friend" (translation of Aramaic expression meaning "people talk"), and someone will tell the subject, which is Rechilut (actively spreading gossip), as we will discuss in Hilchot Rechilut.

It is certainly forbidden to inform the very person about whom Lashon Hara was spoken, even if one wants to do so out of a passion for the truth, for this is blatant Rechilut, and even if the disgraced is a respected Jewish leader who happens to be the witness' father or teacher. 

6. When even Rechilut might be permitted

(This paragraph continues the idea from the one before, that a witness to L"H may not repeat the incident unless the victim (subject) knows about the talk.)

In certain cases, it is permissible to tell others about a sin bein adam l'chaveiro (i.e. one person wrongs another) even if the victim is unaware of the offense. This is when speaking about it will result in an actual positive outcome and also all the conditions above (in paragraph 2) are met.

"Actual positive outcome" requires definition so as not to cause misunderstanding.

One example would be if one recognizes the nature of someone as a gossip-monger, and he is embarrassing another person to his face and will similarly go to others and continue to denigrate him, and as we wrote above the bystander must first attempt to rebuke the gossiper, and he has rebuked him yet his words were not accepted. This situation is common among our many sins, for almost all of us falter with regard to Lashon Hara and particularly accepting Lashon Hara. It is likely that people will accept this person's Lashon Hara, and it will be difficult to later remove his words from their hearts, because the first to speak out in an argument is believed to be right. Therefore it is certainly proper that the bystander should go before those people first, and elaborate upon the severe dishonesty of the gossip-monger, and tell them how he is disparaging the subject without reason, about no wrongdoing whatsoever. Then, when the gossip-monger later approaches the group and tells his tale, they will not believe what he says, but rather they will chastise him. When he sees that the audience does not believe his words, and that his talk even brings embarrassment upon himself, he will be more careful in the future. For this purpose, it is certainly permissible because the soul of the subject will be saved from anguish and embarrassment, and also the souls of gossiper and listeners will be saved from the curse of Gehinom. Also, the mitzvah of "hocheich tochiah et amitecha" (rebuke your fellow) will be fulfilled. 

7.Rebuke the transgressor first

Next we will clarify what we wrote under the third condition in paragraph 2, that the witness must first rebuke the transgressor before speaking L"H about the incident or situation.

This applies in general, but if the witness knows the individual will not listen to his words and will not accept his rebuke, he does not need to rebuke him.

However, the speaker must be careful to speak in front of at least three people. If he were to speak to only one or two people, it would appear as if he does not want what he says to get back to the subject, that he wants to flatter the subject and deceive him, and insult him in secret. It would also appear that the speaker was enjoying telling the Lashon Hara. In addition, the listeners would be suspicious of the speaker and say that the information is untrue and that the speaker is deceiving them, for otherwise he would first discuss the issue with the subject directly. If this would happen, his Lashon Hara would not achieve any constructive purpose as stipulated in paragraph 4.

Therefore, one must speak this L"H publicly - before three individuals - for this is considered equivalent to speaking in front of the subject, and the listeners will not suspect him, because an "adam kasher" (generally law-abiding individual) does not speak complete lies to a large group.

Nonetheless, the listeners are forbidden to accept the L"H and allow the subject to be disgraced in their eyes. As we explained in chapter 6, even if the information isn't absolutely false, there may be extenuating circumstances or an unknown detail which sheds an entirely different light on the matter. Therefore, it is forbidden for them to conclude that the information indicates something negative against the subject, yet they may listen to it so that they may investigate it further and if it is true then rebuke the subject and he might heed their words, as well as the other constructive purposes discussed above in paragraph 4. 

8. When the speaker fears retalliation

All this applies if the witness is not afraid of retalliation by the subject, but if one does fear such consequences, it may be permissible to be lenient and speak to another about the incident, even in front of fewer than three people. 

9. A speaker who is always righteous in his speech

(Note: the next paragraph almost never applies!)

If the speaker is publicly recognized as one who does not shame another, and anything he says about someone who is not present he would also say if that person is present, and he is also known as someone who only speaks the truth, it is permissible for him to relate an incident or transgression that someone has committed against his fellow, provided that the speaker knows that the subject will not accept his words of rebuke, even before fewer than three people, because the listeners will not suspect him of deception or disgracing others. Rather, they will recognize him as one pursuing the truth, helping the fallen, and publicly declaiming evil deeds. However, in this case, as well as in paragraph 8, all the conditions listed at the beginning of this chapter must be met, except for first rebuking the subject or relating the incident publicly. 

10. An extra requirement for L"H regarding bein adam lamakom

Both speaking L"H about someone who commits a sin "bein adam l'chaveio" (between man and his fellow; e.g. helping the poor), or about one who commits a sin "bein adam lamakom" (between man and God; e.g. Sabbath observance) are treated equally, with one exception: for sins between man and God it is not permissible to talk about the person, even if all the conditions in paragraph 2 are met, unless the speaker sees that the individual has intentionally and eagerly committed this sin numerous times, and also that the action is commonly known to be prohibited.

11. The affected party should not speak

How much must one beware not to permit himself to speak L"H about a situation in which he was personally harmed, either monetarily or in terms of his honor. Even if he knows that what he says is true, and all the other conditions are in place, there is no way that his intentions will be completely constructive. While proper intentions would be to denounce evildoers and thereby encourage others to avoid such behavior, or perhaps that the sinner himself should see others disparaging him on account of his actions and he would therefore be inspired to repent from his evil ways, he would only want to disgrace the individual because of the wrong that was done to him, and the more that his audience would seem to believe his story, the happier he would be.

[Note: As we have discussed, the listeners in any conversation - even permissible - should NOT believe or accept the L"H, but only hear it for further investigation.] 

12. L"H about things that weren't wrong

All the more improper is discussing an incident in which the subject didn't even wrong the speaker, but merely did not do the speaker an expected or appropriate good deed (e.g. lending him money, giving him charity, inviting him as a guest). If he were to tell others in order to disgrace the thoughtless individual, he would be in blatant violation of the laws against speaking L"H (see also 5:1 earlier in this section).

To our great disgrace, many err in this matter. If one is not received by someone according to his desires, when he gets to the next town he disparages the leaders of the previous town because they did not help him to the extent that he expected. It is even worse when he speaks badly about the entire town [that it is as inhospitable as Sodom, etc.], because L"H is forbidden even if it is true [and in this case it is an exaggeration!] and about one person; how much worse when the L"H is about an entire town of Israel, clinging to their belief in G-d: what a grievous sin. 

13. When the affected party can achieve a constructive purpose

Even so, it appears to me [the Chafetz Chaim] that if one evaluates that if he tells others what a horrible injustice another has done to him they could then help him (to recover stolen money, for example), that he may speak to them and ask their assistance.

In some situations a constructive purpose may be achieved even if not in financial matters (but rather oppression or embarrassment and the like). For example, if he knows for certain the manner in which an individual plans to embarrass him regarding a certain subject or situation, and he tells some important people or relatives to the subject [i.e. the one plotting against him] and explains the truth of the situation, and they see for themselves that the speaker [i.e. the potential victim] is right, perhaps they will prevent the individual from causing trouble. Even if the incident already took place, and the speaker has already been shamed (oppressed, etc.), if he recognizes that by not telling an authoritative figure or relative of the individual, then the individual will harm him further, he may tell them to prevent it.

In all of these such cases, even if the subject will be embarrassed by the discussion, the speaker may tell selected individuals who may help the situation, provided that his own intentions are to protect himself from financial or other harm. 

14. The 7 conditions: a detailed review

One must be very careful when using this permission [to speak Lashon Hara for a constructive purpose] that none of the seven conditions mentioned at the beginning of the chapter are lacking, because if one does not use great caution he can easily be caught in the snare of his evil inclination and because one of "Baalei Lashon Hara" (habitual speakers of Lashon Hara).

For this reason, this paragraph will elaborate on each of the conditions. Provided that the speaker knows that his friend has not yet repented from the transgression, and the speaker has a constructive intention, as we have discussed, he may speak about the person provided that all the consitions are met:

Condition 1: Firsthand knowledge of the incident. The speaker must have witnessed the incident himself, not repeating what he heard from others. For even if the speaker was truly harmed, he doesn't know that the person in question did the damage.

Condition 2: A violation according to Jewish Law. The speaker should not hastily conclude that the action is an actual case of theft, injury, emotional torment, defamation, etc. Rather he must first consider according the guidelines of the Torah whether a judgement would be with him and that the other person is a thief, injurer, defamer, etc. [according to Jewish Law]. This condition is generally more difficult than all the others, because there is no person who sees himself as at fault - everyone sees himself as righteous and just. If someone errs in this regard he is considered a Motzi Shem Ra (one who spreads false rumors about another) which is a more severe prohibition than speaking Lashon Hara.

Condition 3: Rebuke the subject first. If the speaker thinks that if he discusses the matter with the offending party directly, there will be a positive outcome, he must speak with him before publicizing the issue to others.

Condition 4: Entirely true information. The speaker should be most cautious that the story is true, without any introduction of falsehood, and no exaggeration beyond the facts. Also, he should not leave out any detail that could be interpreted as a defense for the other person. Even though it doesn't vindicate the subject, fi the listeners would know about this favorable piece of information the subject wouldn't be as disparaged before them, and when the speaker leaves the information out the subject is very disgraced before those hearing it, it would be a great violation to leave it out. The guideline is not to describe the offense as worse than it was for if one does he is speaking Lashon Hara and vilates several prohibitions discussed above in the introduction.

Condition 5: Constructive intentions. That he should have constructive intentions is the principal upon which the permissibility of his speech is based, as discussed in paragraph 13.

Condition 6: No other way to achieve the goal. If he can achieve the purpose through other means, such that he does not need to speak about the subject, it is forbidden for him to relate the information. Even if he must tell the information yet he can downplay the offense so the subject is not disgraced as much before the listeners, and the purpose that he hopes will come out of his informaing others will not be diminished, it is a mitzvah to downplay it and not expose the full extent of his crime to the listeners, since even in this manner the speaker will achieve his goal.

Condition 7: Not more than Halachic punishment. That the subject should not be damaged by the Lashon Hara to a greater extent than a judgement against him would extract, were witnesses to testify on the matter in a Jewish court. 

15. Plan before speaking

Now see, dear reader, how carefully one must evaluate a situation before talking about it, for at the moment that he speaks he is in grave danger of transgressing the laws of Lashon Hara, if he does not guard himself with regard to all the conditions, and in particular the second [that the issue is truly objective wrong] and the fourth [that the information should be completely accurate].

In this regard we can say, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." If one does not think before he starts speaking about an issue, and consider how to divulge the information, he will certainly falter, Heaven forbid, because when he does communicate the matter his anger will get the better of him and incite him to say more than he should.

Therefore one must firmly impress upon his soul instructions as to how to let the information out of his mouth before he begins to speak. This is in order that the speaker will not overstate the other person's transgression, and also so that the he will maintain constructive intentions, as we discussed above in paragraph 13

16. L"H as revenge

From all we have written we can see the enormousness of error in which people fall into constantly, if someone thinks that another is speaking Lashon Hara against and disparaging his friend, when he confronts the person, "Why are you speaking Lashon Hara about him?" the person will immediately reply, "Because he spoke against me to ____ and ____!"

This is a big mistake for several reasons. (1) While someone told him [about the other's Lashon Hara against himself], it is forbidden to believe [the report] because of the prohibition against accepting Rechilut. And as we have written several places, how could it be permissible to go and speak against him because of this? (2) Even if it were true that the other person spoke against him, it is prohibited (because of the prohibition against taking revenge) to therefore go and speak Lashon Hara against him, and also as we have written in paragraph 14 above (regarding the requirement to speak with constructive intentions). 

17. Identifying a culprit

If something improper occurs, and Reuven approaches Shimon and asks, "Who did this?" even if it is clear that Reuven suspects Shimon, Shimon may not say who is guilty, even if he witnessed it himself. Instead, he should reply, "I didn't" [unless this will definitely implicate someone else, in which case the Be'er Mayim Chaim questions the permissibility of such a statement].

Unless this is the kind of incident - even if he weren't asked and even if there was no suspicion against him at all - that he should tell Reuven in any case [i.e. for a constructive purpose], such as something "bein adam l'chaveiro" (between individuals) and all the conditions in this chapter are met, or something "bein adam l'makom" (between man and G-d) and all the conditions are met from chapter 4, paragraphs 5, 7 and 8, Shimon may tell Reuven about it.

Not implicating someone else is according to the minimum expectations of the law. It is appropriate for spiritually-minded individuals to go beyond this expectation and not exclude themselves from suspicion when that may result in the implication and subsequent embarrassment of someone else. Further we find in Sanhedrin 11 stories of several Sages who accepted blame upon themselves in order that the real sinner not be exposed, and also in Sefer Chasidim (chapter 22) - "If one is in a group of people, and something improper is done, and no one knows who did it, he should say, 'I am the one who sinned' even though he didn't...."