Monday, July 31, 2017

Tisha B'av Torah - Uprooting Stinginess

Here. It is sweet but מותר to learn on Tisha B'av [as per the Aruch Hashulchan we copied in a recent post]. 

Looking for sponsors. Last time I asked people to sponsor in honor of their late Bubbe's but BARUCH HASHEM it seems that everyone's Bubbe is still alive until 120.

Maybe for a late Zeide?? 

Tzdaka brings the geula. 

כי קרבה ישועתי לבוא וצדקתי להגלות - Giving צדקה brings ישועה!!

I saw someone suggest that the reason Chazal emphasized that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is to teach that the middah of קמצנות - stinginess, is really destructive and bad. [The Maharal, on the other hand, understood that קמצא is from the word קמיצה which implies separation and disunity].  

The Maharsha says that they were father and son. So if you put the two ideas together you learn that stinginess runs in the family. 

The Yerushalmi says that the Beis Hamikdash was destroed because they LOVED MONEY AND HATED EACH OTHER. [So לפי זה the Bavli and Yerushalmi shtim nicely]. 


I hope to uproot my love of money!!

I should be zoche to give BIG TIME and so should you.


Sinas Chinam And Lifnim Mi-shuras Hadin

Why was Yerushalayim destroyed? A brilliant "chap" of the Chasam Sofer. 

How Tisha B'av Has Changed

He has a point....

by Professor Chaim Saiman [excerpted]

While direct attempts to change halakhah engender public debate and attention, in recent years the practices and mood of Tisha be-Av have shifted in far more dramatic ways than modifying the lines of Nahem. These changes respond not only to the contemporary political reality (the Nahem issue) but to the cultural dissonance of wailing over the ruined Temple and bitter exile, as we live in great comfort and security. And yet, these changes go largely unnoticed and unopposed. For even as they bump up against conventional halakhic norms, rather than issue a direct challenge to established practice, they operate just beneath the surface.

Solitude and Despair: The Traditional Account of Tisha be-Av Mourning 

Any schoolchild knows that the laws of Tisha be-Av contain five basic prohibitions: no eating/drinking, washing, applying oils or creams, sexual intimacy, or wearing of leather shoes. These “capital L” Laws of Tisha be-Av determine the structure the fast, and at least within Orthodoxy, there is little movement afoot to change them.

There are, however, another set of laws, drawn from the halakhot of mourning, that work to shape the atmospherics of the day. On Tisha be-Av one is prohibited from studying Torah, either because it brings joy by engaging with God’s word, or because it will distract from the mourning of the day. The Talmudic rabbis permitted studying some of the lachrymose sections of the Bible and Talmud, but even here, halakhic authorities warned that one should not dwell on matters at length, lest one reach some novel insight and find joy in the process.

Other restrictions are designed to highlight a sense of forlorn solitude and suspend the normal rhythms of social and communal life. On Tisha be-Av, Jews are enjoined from greeting one another, and the final meal before the fast is eaten in solitude, so as to minimize the social camaraderie that naturally attends a shared meal. Finally, a ban on instrumental music applies not only to Tisha be-Av itself but to the period leading up to it. This too, stems from a cessation of communal festivities, since in Talmudic times, music was synonymous with wedding celebrations.

Classically understood, Tisha be-Av, particularly the initial night through the following mid-day, was not a time to feel close to God through Torah study, prayer, or thoughts of repentance as on the other fast days. Rather the focus for Tisha be-Av was on mourning which produces a disengagement from life and society and from any sense of routine, or, as the first of the morning service opens, “Cease! Get away from me!” Anyone aware of the rabbis’ appreciation of Torah study understands that prohibiting it is far more severe than forbidding food. Tisha be-Av reflects “alienation from God, complete separation or isolation from [Him],” as R. Soloveitchik explained. Even prayers are limited, because “all the doors and gates of prayer are closed, barricaded.” The pain of destruction ought to send one into such isolation and despair that he must disconnect from the community, and, in some ways, even from the divine presence itself.

Until recently, at least in Orthodox circles, this image of Tisha be-Av was the universally regarded ideal. This does not mean it was consistently met; like all ideals, it rarely was. But in terms of what Tisha be-Av was supposed to feel like, the halakhic goals were clear. Plenty of people surely whiled away the hours in less rabbinically-sanctioned pursuits, but there were no public programs or activities signalling anything to the contrary.

Making Mourning Meaningful: Tisha be-Av as a Time for Religious Growth

Nevertheless, over the past generation, three innovations have significantly altered how Tisha be-Av is commemorated, and, in turn, what the day stands for. First, as VHS technology became widely available in the mid-1980s, synagogues started screening “Tisha be-Av videos” throughout the afternoon. These are professionally produced programs that focus on the Holocaust, the tragic points on Jewish history, and/or the dangers of speaking lashon hara (gossip and slander). 
Today the practice continues both in synagogues and online, and some of these videos even contain a slight musical accompaniment in the background. Though hardly billed as “social events,” these programs have proven popular because they bring the community together and edu-tain them during the long hours of the fast. Notably, the practice does not break along ideological lines, communities from liberal Orthodox to [American] haredi all air programming—although the tone and content may differ substantially. As a friend of mine quipped, haredim, notoriously wary of all forms of entertainment technology, likely get more screen time on Tisha be-Av than any other day of the year!

The second change relates to the in-synagogue services on Tisha be-Av morning. Traditionally, people sat on the synagogue floor until midday reciting complex liturgical elegies known askinnot in a low, dirge-like tune with little embellishment or explanation. Few had any idea what these poems meant, such that sitting uncomfortably on the floor in a darkened room did most of the work. Boredom and lack of interest were no doubt common, and as far back as the seventeenth century, rabbis already expressed their displeasure at the practice of impromptu games of “bottle-cap soccer” that took place on the synagogue floor during kinnot recitation. Around the mid-2000s, technology enabled day-long lectures/shiurim/seminars on kinnot and related themes to be webcast into homes and synagogues across the county.

One of the most successful exemplars is sponsored by Yeshiva University and led by R. Dr. Jacob J. Schacter. Following R. Soloveitchik’s model, R. Schacter begins the presentation at 9.15 am with a sophisticated, two-hour source-based exploration of central Tisha be-Av themes. The program then continues with kinnot until its conclusion at 5 pm. While people sit on the floor and the kinnot are recited in the traditional tune, the overall feel is a far cry (or lack thereof) from the classic kinnot service. The program has a clear intellectual focus (in 2016, the source pack ran over 70 pages), and R. Schacter emphasizes the historical, conceptual, and theological ideas that emerge from these obscure liturgical texts. (Full disclosure: I tune into this webcast every year.)

In addition to YU’s program, the Orthodox Union runs its own events in both the US and Israel. Further, even communities that do not subscribe to any of the simulcasts have local rabbis prepare detailed explanatory programs for kinnot recitation which are then advertised to the community in advance. Here, too, we should note the tension between these kinnot seminars and the classical image of Tisha be-Av. While Torah study related to Tisha be-Av themes is permitted, previous authorities stressed that learning should be limited to topics that one is not familiar with and that the study should not delve too deeply into the substantive ideas. These programs, by contrast, are led by scholars who have studied the topics for years and invested considerable energy in preparing the Tisha be-Av lectures. They aim to illuminate Jewish law, theology, and history for their audiences. They are hardly superficial.

“Shall I Weep in the Fifth Month … as I have Done All These Years?”

Notwithstanding the largely diasporic changes described above, the most dramatic shift to the tenor of Tisha be-Av has taken place in Israel, particularly at the Kotel, or what was once called the Wailing Wall. As Hillel Halkin notes, Western writers, Arabs, and Jews of the modern era all referred to the spot as the “Wailing Place” and then the “Wailing Wall,” following the Arabic appellation. Travelogues written in the 1870s indicate that wailing was the site’s primary activity—and not just on Tisha be-Av. Since 1967 however, Jews refer to it almost exclusively through the older, but less morose Hebrew term, the “Western Wall.” In the past generation or two, the Kotel has further transitioned from being the focal the point of Jewish wailing to the locus of Jewish pride, strength, and national resolve. There is no shortage of Facebook wall photos (including my own) that show vacationing Jewish families broadly smiling in front of the Kotel, and for years, the IDF has been holding swearing-in ceremonies for new enlistees at the Kotel plaza. The Wailing Wall is indeed no more.

While rabbis, thought-leaders, and liturgists argue whether these realities should be reflected in the text of Nahem, the experience of Tisha be-Av has already changed on the ground. Since the Kotel is a popular Tisha be-Av destination, it becomes something of a communal gathering, where one inevitably runs into long lost friends and acquaintances. This begets an awkward (and generally unsuccessful) attempt of friends trying to acknowledge one another without running afoul of the halakhic restrictions on greeting. In jest, though reflecting a deeper truth, some have taken to wishing each other a “gutte hurban” (“happy destruction day”). Whereas classical sources warned against congregating in groups on Tisha be-Av, even for otherwise perfectly appropriate activities, lest it turn into a social gathering and distract from the mourning mindset of the sad day, this concern is far less salient to the crowds congregating at the Kotel. The wall that acquired its name due to the Jews’ persistent wailing now elicits more smiles than wails—even on Tisha be-Av itself.

The gathering at the Kotel has publicized and popularized another new tradition (likely started in Orthodox summer camps), the “Tisha be-Av kumzitz.” (Let that phrase sink in for a moment.) This involves people either sitting on the floor or standing and swaying together at the Kotel plaza while singing soulful Jewish songs—a practice common to periods of intense spiritual focus, but not classically associated with Tisha be-Av. Numerous videos attest to song sessions on the night of Tisha be-Av, as well as throughout the afternoon, but the crowds and intensity clearly grow as the day wears on, culminating in the final hours of the fast. By now, these spontaneous sessions of song have become institutionalized, and the setting is used to strengthen the spiritual resolve and bonds of national/Jewish unity amongst the assembled.

Explaining this practice, one often hears that since the Temple was destroyed due to sinat hinnam—baseless hatred between Jewish sub-groups—it is only proper that Tisha be-Av serve to remedy this national shortcoming. But while the classical literature surely maintains the Temple was destroyed due to baseless hatred, the halakhot of Tisha be-Av all push against the idea that the day itself should be marked by community building and social healing. (In fact, the laws of Purim are far more suited to these aims.)

In any event, by swaying, hugging, and soulfully chanting with Jews of different stripes, the intensity and slight deliriousness that attends the end of 25-hour fast, becomes a moving, ecstatic, and in many ways optimistically joyful expression of religious fervor and unity.This effect is reinforced when these videos are proudly shared across social media, symbolizing the triumph of the Jewish soul and national and spirit. By contrast, can you imagine Jews in eleventh century Worms or nineteenth century Vilna sharing images of their Tisha be-Av as a triumph of Jewish peoplehood? And, while one suspects that members of Jerusalem’s older Lithuanian communities, and perhaps even some Religious Zionists, find these “sing-ins” in bad taste and pushing the appropriate boundaries of the day, the practice is rarely criticized. Every year, the size and ideological diversity of the chanting crowds seems to grow.

Analysis & Conclusion

The afternoon videos and lectures, the extended kinnot and Torah-study sessions in the morning, and the kumzitz at the Kotel plaza are all in tension with the spirit, if not the letter, of what until quite recently were accepted halakhic norms of Tisha be-Av. The first two aim to create a more relevant and spiritually “productive” Tisha be-Av. These draw on the modern preference for more affirming and engaging religious experiences, though what they yield is somewhat at odds with the halakhic vision of mourning. The third shift ties the quest for ritual relevance to the process of making Tisha be-Av more congruent with the national state of mind. Though it is exceedingly difficult to square communal song and embrace with the halakhic thrust of the day, the scene at the Kotel reflects the fact that, in a unified Jerusalem, Jews no longer wail in solitude lamenting a distant Temple. Instead, they gather at the theological one-yard line to fervently demonstrate just how close they are to it. And though the event is neither as formally sanctioned or as celebratory as the priestly blessing ceremony held on the major holidays, the effect is not altogether different.

Despite their apparent novelty, these practices range throughout Orthodoxy, and none is associated with liberal or reformist groups seeking to reinterpret or change the character of the day. To take it a step further, those participating in these events tend to be of the most serious and committedJews who aspire to spend Tisha be-Av engaging its central themes. People who observe Tisha be-Av in a more perfunctory manner are not interested in learned lectures or soulful chants, opting instead to pass the time at home, watching TV or fiddling with electronic devices; to say nothing of the great number of Jews who do not observe Tisha be-Av at all.

In sum, when the status of Tisha be-Av is argued frontally and ideologically, the result is friction, dissention, and a status quo stalemate. The most significant changes, however, occur underneath.Without mounting a structural assault on Tisha be-Av’s rules or underlying premises, communities have refashioned the halakhah to fit both their religious sensibilities and political commitments. Thus, the day that classical halakhah portrays as a forlorn emptiness, devoid of community, Torah, and song, is now commemorated—we might even say celebrated—through Torah study, community building, and song.

The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month shall become occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Judah; but you must love honesty and integrity.

Learning Bi-iyun on Tisha B'av

The Birkei Yosef writes that one may not learn bi-iyun. The Aruch Hashulchan was of the opinion that it is permitted.  

Fasting At A Time Of Tzara

There is a mitzva to fast whenever the tzibbur is experiencing an עת צרה. He is an article from the Hapardes journal of September 1942 about a fast on behalf of the Jews in Europe. 

Shabbos: Hutrah or Dchuyah?? - Part 1

The Rambam says [Shabbos 2/1]:  

דחויה היא שבת אצל סכנת נפשות כשאר כל המצות. לפיכך חולה שיש בו סכנה עושין לו כל צרכיו בשבת על פי רופא אומן של אותו מקום. ספק שהוא צריך לחלל עליו את השבת ספק שאינו צריך. וכן אם אמר רופא לחלל עליו את השבת ורופא אחר אומר אינו צריך מחללין עליו את השבת שספק נפשות דוחה את השבת:

The [laws of] the Shabbos are suspended1 in the face of a danger to life,2 as are [the obligations of] the other mitzvos. Therefore, we may perform - according to the directives of a professional physician of that locale3 - everything that is necessary for the benefit of a sick person whose life is in danger.

When there is a doubt whether or not the Shabbos laws must be violated on a person's behalf, one should violate the Shabbos laws on his behalf, for the Shabbos laws are suspended even when there is merely a question of danger to a person's life. [The same principles apply] when one physician says the Shabbos laws should be violated on a person's behalf and another physician states that this is not necessary.

[Note: Spell check doesn't like the way I spelled Shabbos. But the alternatives they offered me were pretty shabby - "shabby" "shabbiest" "shabbier" "shabbily". So I went with "Shabbos"] 


1] The Rambam uses the expression דחויה, which, as evident from Pesachim 77a and Hilchos Bi'as HaMikdash 4:15, implies that although a prohibition is not enforced, it has not been completely  lifted. In contrast, the term הותרה implies that no trace of the prohibition remains.

The Kessef Mishneh and other sources question the implications and the appropriateness of the Rambam's choice of words. [In a teshuva (Vol. 1, 689), the Rashba illustrates the difference between these terms. A person was in need of meat on Shabbos and there was non-kosher meat available. If the Shabbos laws are דחויה, it would be correct to eat the non-kosher meat. If the Shabbos laws are הותרה, it would be preferable to slaughter a kosher animal on the sick person's behalf. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 328:14) states that, in such a situation, one should slaughter a kosher animal, implying that the laws are הותרה. (Note, however, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 328:16 and the Mishnah Brurah 328:39.)]

See the Sochchover in his Avnei Nezer, Orach Chayim 455, who explains the concept of הותרה as meaning that, with regard to this person, it is as if the laws of the Shabbos were never commanded. (See also Chiddushim UVeurim BaShas, Vol. 3, which explains that although the Rambam stated that a threat to Jewish life overrides the observance of all the mitzvos of the Torah in Hilchot Yesodei Torah, Chapter 5, he emphasizes this concept with regard to the Shabbos laws for the following reason. The other prohibitions are דחויה in the face of a threat to life, while the Sabbath laws are הותרה.

2] Yoma 85b uses the expression, "Violate one Shabbos on his behalf, so that he will be able to observe many Shabbosos [in the future]." This expression, however, is not halachically exact. Even when one knows that the person will not live to observe many other Sabbaths, as long as he is alive we are obligated to be מחלל שבת on his behalf.

3] Rav Kapach explains that the Rambam implies that we may rely on a local physician and need not seek the advice of a greater expert who lives further away.
[Based on Rav Eliyahu Touger]

What would be the halacha if one doctor said that he should definitely NOT eat? The other doctor said that he MIGHT have to eat. The doctor who says that he need not eat is ודאי while the doctor who said that he might have to eat is ספק. To whom do we listen?   

Apparently, he should EAT!! ספק נפשות להקל!!! Similarily said the Maggid Mishna [שביתת עשור ב ח] in the name of the Yerushalmi that if the ill person said "I can fast!!" and the doctor said "I don't know if you can fast" we tell him him eat. So the ספק of the doctor trumps his ודאי [so paskened the Shulchan Aruch 518/5]. 

But the Aruch Hashulchan tries to prove that the Rambam doesn't pasken like the Yerushalmi. For he rules [שם] that if the ill person said that he need not eat while an EXPERT doctor said that he needs to eat then we allow him to eat. Implying that if the doctor who says that he needs to eat is a non-expert doctor then we DON'T allow him to eat. Why not?? What a non-expert doctor says should create a ספק and we should allow him to eat. So it seems that if it is only a ספק that he needs to eat, we don't permit him to eat. That would seem to contradict the Yerushalmi which says that if there is a ספק then he eats. 

But see what the אורה ושמחה says about this:

רופא אמר לחלל עליו וכו'. לכאורה מוכח דאפילו זה הרופא האומר לחלל עליו את השבת אינו אומר אלא מכח הספק מפני שאינו יודע ודאי שאינו צריך והשני אומר ודאי אינו צריך ג"כ צריך לחלל עליו את השבת, וכה"ג איתא במגיד משנה בפ"ב מהל' שביתת עשור (ה"ח) בשם הירושלמי "חולה אומר יכולני לצום והרופא אומר איני יודע נעשה ספק נפשות וספק נפשות להקל", הובא גם להלכה בשו"ע (או"ח סי' תרי"ח ס"ה יעו"ש). אבל ראיתי בערוך השולחן (סי' תרי"ח סעי' ז' ח') שהכריח שהר"מ לא פוסק כהירושלמי מדכתב בהל' שביתת עשור (שם) שאם החולה אומר איני צריך והרופא הבקי אומר צריך מאכילין אותו, ומינה משמע שאם הרופא אינו בקי שומעין לחולה, ואם ס"ל כהירושלמי לא יהיה גרע הודאי של האינו בקי כספקו של הבקי עיי"ש, ולפי"ז צריך לומר דדוקא כשהרופאים חולקים זה בזה אזלינן לקולא אבל כשאחד אומר ברי שאי"צ לחלל והשני אומר שמא אין מחללין עליו את השבת, ומ"מ יש לחלק דשאני התם שלב יודע מרת נפשו והודאי של החולה קובע יותר מן הספק של הרופא, אבל בב' רופאים אין הודאי של הרופא קובע נגד הספק של הרופא השני, וצ"ע. אמנם גוף דברי הערוה"ש יש להם פירכא ואין שום הכרח שהר"מ לא פוסק כהירושלמי, דשפיר יש לומר דגם הר"מ ס"ל להלכה כהירושלמי ששומעין לרופא אפילו כשהרופא מסתפק והחולה אומר ברי כיון שהרופא הוא רופא בקי, ואעפי"כ ס"ל שרופא שאינו בקי גרע טפי ואין חוות דעתו כלום כי דבריו של רופא שאינו בקי לאו דברים הוא כלל וודאי שלו אינו עושה אפילו ספק נגד דברי החולה עצמו, ודו"ק.

Link - Be Illuminated

Go to daf 56 and hear a great shiur on Kamtza and Bar Kamtza. Many great shiuirim on the site. I most recommend the shiurim of Rav Yosef Greenwald Shlita and Rav Ari Walden Shlita.

If you like the shiurim - drop them a line and TELL THEM. It takes one minute.

I have given B"H Bi-siyata Di-shmaya well over 3,000 shiurim on line BARUCH HASHEM but have barely heard a word of feedback [unless someone was offended by something I said. It is like when I try to raise money for Torah projects - deafening silence from all sides...]. That is FINE!! I don't give shiurim for feedback but to spread Torah [it goes without saying that I haven't received a penny for recording the shiurim] and I enjoy every second and hey, may my lips move in the kever [see Bechoros 31b]:-).

So PLEASE - don't send me feedback. I would rather learn than read emails. But tell Shas Illuminated how much you like the shiurim [if you did - they have a feedback square to click on] in order to help proliferate the shiurim of the great, beloved talmidei chachomim I mentioned or others.

The Zohar Hakadosh says that just as one will be taken to task for all of the negative words he said - he will also be taken to task [i.e. punished] for all of the KIND WORDS he could have said but didn't....


Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Meaning Of Galus - Part 2


You felt like you just HAD to get outta there? 

Well sweet friends - here is secret number 1. We are supposed to feel that way about חוץ לארץ. It is REALLY not our place. Yet, we feel GREAT there [I know I do]. It is comfortable. You walk in frum neighborhoods and you see palace after palace, mansion after mansion. 2 large comfortable automobiles in every driveway. Huge yards. Often a pool. Kosher food galore. Shuls, mikvaos, schools. What do we lack?!!

Ahhhh - Says the Maharal [Gvuros Hashem 8]: We are a holy people. Eretz Yisrael is a holy land. Holy people belong in a holy land. Anywhere else is JUST NOT OUR PLACE. Egypt is for Egyptians. America is for Americans. France is for Frenchman. Israel is for .... Israelites.  

כמו שהארץ קדושה כך ישראל קדושים ולפיכך הארץ מתייחס לישראל בענין זה, כי הארץ קדושה במעלתה הנבדלת מן הפחיתות ומן התיעוב וכן ישראל. וכן לכל אומה ואומה נתן ארץ כפי מה שהם וכל דבר יש לו מקום לפי טבעו ומעלתו ולכך לפי מעלת ישראל שיש להם הארץ שהוא אחד בלבד לפי שהוא באמצע העולם.

We lack Eretz Yisrael. 

And secret number 2: The Eretz Yisrael we have today is the best thing we have but is FAR from what it will be one day. As long as Hashem's presence is not palpable, we have not yet fully arrived. 

But it's the best we got.......

We should all be zoche to come home soon!!! 

The Meaning Of Galus - Part 1

לע"נ מרת אסתר בת ר' שמואל

Hashem says to Avraham when telling him of the decree of galus for his children "ידע תדע כי גר יהיה זרעך בארץ לא להם ועבדום" - you shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land not theirs and they will enslave them. What is the deeper meaning of the tautology ["double lashon"] ידע תדע??

The Medrash says 

ידע שאני מפזרן תדע שאני מכנסן 
ידע שאני ממשכנן תדע שאני פורקן 
ידע שאני משעבדן תדע שאני גואלן

We see from here that the galus is composed of 3 parts. 

ידע שאני מפזרן - Know that I will scatter them. Galus means that we are scattered.  We used to be one entity but we are no longer.   [The geulah is אני מכנסן - I will gather them back together].

ידע שאני ממשכנן - Know that I will give them as collateral. Everyone has his or her place. אין לך דבר שאין לו מקום. Galus means that we lose our place like an object that was given as collateral that changes from its place to a new place. [The geulah is that we are redeemed and returned to our rightful place]. 

ידע שאני משעבדן - Know that I will enslave you. Galus is that we are no longer under our own rule but under the rule of others. [The geulah is self rule].

That is exactly what the pasuk means when it says ידע תדע כי גר - you will be a stranger, scattered around, בארץ לא להם - in a foreign land, ועבדום - you will be enslaved.

That is also the meaning of our tefilla תקע בשופר גדול לחירותנו - blow the big shofar for our freedom - no more enslavement [Shibud] . ושא נס לקבץ גליותנו - raise the banner to gather us in - no more scattering [Pizur]. וקבצנו יחד מארבע כנפות הארץ - gather us together from the 4 ends of the earth  - to be in our rightful home [Mishkun].


[עפ"י הספר לילה כיום יאיר עמ' 187] 

And see the lashon of the Maharal in his sefer Netzach Yisrael [Chapter 1] who expresses these very ideas:

וכאשר אנו באים לבאר ענין הגלות ידיעה אמיתית, צריך לבאר קודם הסיבה לגלות, והדברים השייכים אל הגלות. ועוד שיש לבאר ענין הגלות תחילה, כי הגלות בעצמו הוא ראיה והוכחה ברורה על הגאולה.

1] Displaced 

וזה כי אין ספק, כי הגלות הוא שינוי ויציאה מן הסדר. שהשם יתברך סידר כל אומה במקומה הראוי לה, וסידר את ישראל במקו[מ]ם הראוי להם, שהוא ארץ ישראל. והגלות מן מקומם הוא שינוי ויציאה לגמרי. וכל הדברים כאשר הם יוצאים ממקו[מ]ם הטבעי, והם חוץ למקומם, אין להם עמידה במקום הבלתי טבעי להם, רק הם חוזרים למקו[מ]ם הטבעי. כי אם היו נשארים במקומם הבלתי טבעי להם, היה הבלתי טבעי נעשה טבעי, ודבר זה אי אפשר שיהיה הבלתי טבעי נעשה טבעי. משל זה, אם אתה מכריח את חלק האש שיהיה עומד בארץ, שמקומו הטבעי שלו הוא למעלה, ואתה מכריח אותו חוץ למקו[מו](ם) הטבעי להיות עומד למטה. וכן הארץ, מקומה הטבעי למטה, ואם אתה מכריח את חלק ממנה לעמוד למעלה, אם היה נשאר עומד שלא במקום הטבעי, כבר היה הבלתי טבעי נעשה טבעי.

וכן ישראל בעצמם, אם היו עומדים בגלות לעולם, שאין זה מקומם הראוי להם, כי מקומם הראוי להם לפי סדר המציאות להיותם בארץ ישראל ברשות עצמם, ולא ברשות אחר. כמו כל דבר ודבר מן הנמצאים הטבעים יש להם לכל אחד מקום בפני עצמו, כמו שגזרו חז"ל (משנה אבות ד ג) "אין לך דבר שאין לו מקום", וכל דבר הוא ברשות עצמו. ואם היו נשארים בגלותם לעולם, היה הדבר הזה - שהוא העמידה חוץ למקומם, שהוא בלתי טבעי - נעשה טבעי. שאין עומד בתמידות רק הדברים הטבעיים, כי הטבע שנתן השם יתברך לכל דבר ודבר מקיים אותו, עד שהוא מקוים עומד תמיד. ואם הדבר הבלתי הטבעי קיים תמיד גם כן - אף כי אינו כסדר וכטבע המציאות - היה הטבע ההוא דבר מ[י]ותר ובטל לגמרי ללא צורך, ודבר זה לא יתכן.
2] Scattered - Not one entity

וכמו כן הפיזור אינו דבר טבעי, וכמו שחוזר כל דבר ודבר אל מקומו, כך חוזרים החלקים המפוזרים והנפרדים להיותם כלל אחד. ודבר זה מבואר לכל אדם אשר הוא בן דעת, כי כל החלקים ענין אחד להם. ואם כן למה יהיה חילוק ביניהם, ולא יתאחדו, מאחר שהם דבר אחד? ולכך כל פיזור עומד להתכנס יחד. ולפיכך פיזור ישראל בין האומות הוא דבר יוצא מן הטבע, שמאחר שהם אומה אחת, ראוי שיהיו עומדים יחד להיות אחד, כמו שתמצא כל הדברים הטבעיים אינם מחולקים לשניים, רק הם מתקבצים ביחד, וכן כל "הנחלים הולכים אל הים" (קהלת א ז) להיות מתקבצים, ואין דבר אחד מתחלק. ומאשר האומה הישראלית אומה אחת בלתי מחולקת ומופרדת יותר מכל האומות, ראוי שיהיו מקובצים יחד. ומזה נראה כי הפיזור להם בפרט אינו טבעי כלל. ואי אפשר לומר שדבר זה הוא בשביל חטא ועון, סוף סוף דבר זה הוא בלתי טבעי, דהיינו הפיזור לישראל, ויהיה הבלתי טבעי נעשה טבעי, אם היה זה לעולם.

3] Foreign rule

ועוד, כי לפי סדר המציאות, אין ראוי שתהיה אומה משעבדת באחרת להכביד עול עליה, כי השם יתברך ברא כל אומה ואומה לעצמה. רק מה שראוי, שיהיו ישראל עליון על גויי הארץ, כאשר עושים רצון המקום, דבר זה ענין אחר, כי כך ראוי לפי סדר המציאות, בשביל מעלתן ומדריגתן. אבל שאר האומות, לפי סדר המציאות, ראוי שכל אומה ואומה מצד שנבראת לעצמה, שלא תהא רשות אחרים עליה. ואם היה נשאר דבר זה תמיד, הוא הגלות ויד האומות מושלים על ישראל, היה דבר זה, שאינו לפי סדר המציאות, והוא שינוי סדר העולם, עומד תמידי, ודבר זה אי אפשר. ולכך מן הגלות נוכל לעמוד על הגאולה.

ורמזו חכמים דבר זה בחכמתם, בבראשית רבה בפרשת לך לך (בראשית רבה מד יח):"ויאמר ה' אל אברם, ידוע תדע" (בראשית טו יג), ידוע - שאני מפזרן, תדע - שאני מקבצן. ידוע - שאני ממשכנם, תדע - שאני פורקן. ידוע - שאני משעבדם ,תדע - שאני גואלם", עד כאן.

ולא הוצרכו במדרש לבאר כל אלו הדברים, שהם ענין אחד, ודי היה לו לומר "ידוע שאני משעבדם, תדע שאני גואלם", שזהו העיקר שמזכיר בכל מקום שיגאל ישראל, ולמה לו להזכיר הכינוס והפירוק? רק שרצו לפרש כי בשתי אלו מלות "ידוע תדע" נרמז הגלות והגאולה. הגלות בלשון "ידוע", והגאולה בלשון "תדע", שהיא לשון עתיד. ורצה לומר: מן הגלות תדע הגאולה לעתיד, כמו שפירשו "ידוע - שאני מפזרן, תדע - שאני מכנסן". כי הפיזור אינו לפי סדר המציאות, שיהיה דבר אחד כמו ישראל - שהם עם אחד - מפוזר, כמו שהתבאר, כי הדברים שהם אחד, הם יחד גם כן.

וכן "ידוע - שאני ממשכנם", ונתתי אותם ברשות אחרים, ואין ראוי לפי סדר המציאות שיהיו ישראל עומדים ברשות אחר, כי מה שישראל הם בארץ אחרת, יצאו מרשותם ועומדים ברשות אחר, כמו המשכון שנכנס לרשות אחר. וכן ישראל אינם ראוים לפי סדר המציאות שיהיו תחת ממשלת אחרים, ויהיו אחרים משעבדים בהם, כי לא על דבר זה הם נבראים. לכך "ידוע - שאני ממשכנם, תדע - שאני פורקן", להוציא אותם מן השעבוד. כי הוא יתברך מסדר המציאות, אי אפשר שיבוא מאתו דבר יו(י)צא מן הסדר, כי אם לפי שעה במקרה החטא, שאין זה נקרא יציאה מן סדר המציאות, דבר שהוא עונש לשעה אחת מפני החטא. אבל שיהיה נשאר לעולם - זה אינו, כי לא תמצא דבר שהוא יוצא מן הסדר שיהיה מקויים.

וכן מה שאמר "ידוע - שאני משעבדם, תדע - שאני גואלם", כי שעבוד אומה באומה אין זה לפי סדר המציאות אשר ראוי, כי ראוי שתהיה כל אומה ב[ת](ני) חורין, כמו שהארכנו על זה בחיבור גבורות ה' (פרק לה) אצל "החדש הזה לכם ראשון וגו'", עיין שם. הנה התבאר באלו שלשה דברים, שמן הגלות יכול לעמוד על הגאולה.


Continuation Of The Previous Post

Here is one amazing Torah of his. If you stay on that blog you will find a few more that were posted today about inyanei di-yoma. 

HaGaon Rav Moshe Shapiro ztz"l


ר' משה.PNG

Bar Kochba - Part 8

לע"נ יואל בן ר' פינחס הלוי
לע"נ שרה בת מו"ר הרה"ג ר' זאב קליין

Here is a bomb. The Rambam says that that we require a Beis Din of 71 and a Navi in order to appoint a king [Melachim 1/3]. 

In the time of Rebbi Akiva - Where were the 71 and where was the Navi to appoint Bar Kochba???

So how could he be מלך משיח? No מלך - no משיח [as the Rambam says in Hilchos Melachim 11/4]??!!

[Agav [or "BTW"] - those who claim that a certain personality who died 23 years ago was Moshiach also have to deal with that question - There is no Sanhedrin and no Navi today, so how could he be Melech HaMoshiach??]

Let's see....

The Rambam says that we may not appoint a king "בתחילה" unless we have 71 judges and a Navi.... What is the meaning of the word "בתחילה"?

Moreover, in Hilchos Sanhedrin the Rambam writes אין מעמידין מלך אלא על פי בי"ד של שבעים ואחד. There the Rambam omits the word בתחילה. That is significant. 

Some say [Rav Kook Mishpat Kohen 144, Tzitz Eliezer 2/28. See also Divrei Yatziv Choshen Mishpat 94 and Igros Hagri"d page 266]  as follows: Only a Beis Din is critical [מעכב] whereas the requirement of a Navi is only לכתחילה but if there is no Navi then we may appoint a king anyway. That explains how during בית שני we had kings even though we didn't have Neviim. That also explains the word בתחילה that the Rambam wrote only when he added the requirement of a Navi [in Hilchos Melachim] but omitted when talking ONLY about the requirement of 71 judges [in Hilchos Sanhedrin]. The word בתחילה means [according to this understanding] that it is a לכתחילה requirement. So it emerges that a Navi is only a לכתחילה requirement while a בית דין of 71 is critical and מעכב בדיעבד.

Others understand that בתחילה means that his father wasn't king and he needs a new appointment and is not just a continuation of his father's reign. According to this, if his father was not king he needs a Navi and 71 judges [Hilchos Melachim] while if his father was king then it suffices that we have a בית דין of 71 to appoint him [Hilchos Sanhedrin].

But then the question begs - What is the סברא to make that distinction??

Also, we have to answer how Bar Kochba could be משיח if he wasn't king?? Unless we say that they thought that he was POTENTIALLY Moshiach although the time hadn't come.   

Sitting On A Car Or Bus On Tisha B'av

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Rav Who Slapped The S.S. Agent yemach shmo

Phone Recording

"Please hold. You call is very important to us. That is why you will be waiting on the line for 45 minutes until you get frustrated and hang up". 

Victory Entebee: Part 2 - Link

 Here is a review of some of the opinions [the previous post was based on the beginning of the article]. [And here and here].

What I find especially significant is this footnote. 

כאשר נחטף מטוס ובין שאר הנוסעים היה הרב יצחק הוטנר, חשבו כמה מתלמידיו לנסות לפדותו בסכום כסף גבוה על סמך הנפסק בשולחן ערוך יורה דעה סימן רנב סעיף ד שמותר לפדות תלמיד חכם בדמים מרובים. אמר על כך הרב קמינצקי שהדין הזה נאמר בשעת שלום, אבל בשעת מלחמה אי אפשר לומר שמחויבים להפסיק מלהילחם על מנת לפדות את השבויים בממון, שהרי ע"י מתן הכספים לאויב מחזקים אותו בשעת המלחמה. ואח"כ הוסיף והגדיר, שכל המלחמות והפרעות וכל המהומות שעורכים הערבים עד ימינו אלה ועד בכלל הכל המשך מאותה המלחמה הראשונה, מלחמת השחרור.

The words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe against those who don't appreciate the sacrifice of those soldiers who risked their lives to save their fellow Jews [and of course his words apply equally to all those who don't appreciate the sacrifice of our soldiers to this very day] and also refuse to see the hand of Hashem in these events:

התוועדות כ"ף מנחם-אב (שיחות קודש ח"ב ע' 625 ואילך) בעקבות המאורעות:

הנני חוזר על דבריי הברורים – מבלי הבט על כל המלעיגים – [אודות] אנשי הצבא שטסו לאוגנדה להציל את החטופים וה' הצליחם במשימתם.

עשרות החיילים אשר חלקם בעולם-הבא בלי שום ספק, משום שסיכנו חייהם להצלת יהודים כמובן ממאמרי חז"ל (תענית יח, ב – בנוגע לולינוס ופפוס. ועוד בכמה וכמה מקומות. ואכ"מ).

המדובר ביהודים בעלי זכות גדולה שאין כמוה – שלא ביקשו כבוד, לא קיבלו שכר, מהם צעירים שלא מכבר נישאו וכן כאלה שטרם נישאו, הם טסו אלפי מיל ובדעת עצמם ומרצונם הטוב יצאו להציל עשרות יהודים מהיפך-החיים לחיים, והראיה הכי טובה שה' יתברך הצליח בידם, ואותם למעלה ממאה חטופים נמצאים עתה במקום בטוח [ורובם ככולם ב"ארץ אשר גו' עיני ה' אלקיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה"] – ואין לך נס גדול מזה בתקופה האחרונה!
ורחמנות גדולה על אלה שברצונם להעלים ולהסתיר את האלקות שנתגלתה בפרשה זו.

Victory Entebee!! - Part 1

לע"נ ר' יואל בן ר' פנחס הלוי 
שרה בת מו"ר הרה"ג ר' זאב קליין

Operation Entebbe was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers had been hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) under orders of Wadie Haddad  and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells.The hijackers had the stated objective to free 40 Palestinian and affiliated militants imprisoned in Israel and 13 prisoners in four other countries in exchange for the hostages. The flight, which had originated in Tel Aviv with the destination of Paris, was diverted after a stopover in Athens via Benghazi to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda. The Ugandan government supported the hijackers, and dictator Idi Amin personally welcomed them. After moving all hostages from the aircraft to a disused airport building, the hijackers separated all Israelis and several non-Israeli Jews from the larger group and forced them into a separate room. Over the following two days, 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown out to Paris. Ninety-four, mainly Israeli, passengers along with the 12-member Air France crew, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.

The IDF acted on information provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The hijackers threatened to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met. This threat led to the planning of the rescue operation. These plans included preparation for armed resistance from Ugandan troops.

The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. Of the remaining hostages, 102 were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, unit commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages, and forty-five Ugandan soldiers were killed.

The question that interests us is whether it was permitted to release Arab prisoners [i.e. terrorists] at the demand of the terrorists. This was discussed by numerous gedolei yisroel and the issue has practical ramifications until this very day. It is well known that in order to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, terrorists were freed who later committed further acts of terror. 

Rav Ovadiah Yosef [קובץ תורה שבעל פה י"ט] tackled the question from 3 angles [the following synopsis does Rav Ovadiah little justice so I recommend that you see the original for a whiff of his breathtaking scholarship]:

A] Is this considered sending one person [or more] to die in order to save others which is forbidden. Chazal say that if the goyim say "give over one person or we will kill you all", it is forbidden to give over that person. Maybe this is similar because when we free the terrorists, we are causing future people to be killed G-d forbid. 

B] Is it permitted to place oneself in doubtful danger [ספק סכנה] in order to save people who are in definite danger [ודאי סכנה]? The hostages will certainly be killed if nothing is done while future Jews may or may not.  

C] Does this contradict the Talmudic rule that one may not redeem hostages for more than the "going rate  "יותר מכדי דמיהן"  [Gittin 45a, this encourages further such acts. Some say that the "going rate" is what a slave costs].

About point A] Rav Ovadiah said:

"נראה לכאורה לומר שמכיוון שע"י פעולת שחרור המחבלים הכלואים בידינו על מנת למוסרם בידי חבריהם החוטפים מכניסים בספק סכנה לכמה מן התושבים בישראל, אין לעשות מעשה בידיים פעולה כזאת, אף על פי שיש בה מאידך גיסא הצלת מאה יהודים החטופים, וכדין התוספתא והירושלמי יהרגו כולם ואל ימסרו להם נפש אחת מישראל".

If we save these people we are endangering the lives of Israeli citizens so we can't do it! 

But then he rejects the comparison to the case of handing over a Jew to be killed to save others. THAT is an act of being an accomplice to murder because it is directly causing this innocent person's death. But here, the act of giving over the terrorists is a direct act of saving lives [even though INDIRECTLY it might result in harm to others]. It is like the Chazon Ish's case of someone who has an arrow coming towards them and he wants to deflect it which will cause it to hit someone else which is permitted because it is inherently an act of self defense. 

"ונראה דלא דמי למוסרים אחד להריגה להציל השאר, דהתם המסירה היא פעולה אכזרית למטרה של הריגת נפש, ובפעולה זו אין הצלת אחרים בטבע הפעולה אלא המקרה גרם עכשיו הצלה לאחרים, והצלתם קשורה במה שנמסר עכשיו להריגה אחד מישראל. אבל הטיית החץ (או הפצצה ורימון היד) מצד זה לצד אחר היא בעיקרה פעולת הצלה, ואינה קשורה כלל באופן ישיר בהריגת היחיד שבצד האחר, רק במקרה נמצא עכשיו בצד האחר אדם מישראל, ואפשר שיש לנו להשתדל למעט אבידת ישראל כל מה שאפשר, מאחר שאם לא יעשה כן יהרגו הרבה נפשות.

והוא הדין לנידון דידן שאין בפעולת שחרור המחבלים משום הורג בידיים, הרי הוא כמו שמטה את הרימון יד לכיוון אחר ומונע אובדן חיים של ישראלים רבים ככל האפשר, ודאי עדיף לעשות כן מלחוב בדמם של מאת היהודים חטופי המטוס. ובפרט שאין אנו בטוחים שהמחבלים אשר ישוחררו יחזרו בעצמם לפעולות רצח בישראל לאחר שסבלו על מזימות הרשע שלהם, והוי ליה ספק וודאי ואין ספק מוציא מידי ודאי".

About point B] Rav Ovadiah cites the various opinions on the matter and concludes that one may not enter into a doubtful danger to save someone else, but here is different because it is a third party deciding whom to save - the people in a situation of definite danger [the hostages] or the people in a situation of doubtful danger [the citizens]. This third party must decide to save the people in the definite danger even at the expense of putting other people in doubtful danger. חייך קודמין - Your life comes first, only applies when you are deciding for yourself but not when someone else decides.  

"אלא דלדינא נקטינן דלא כהגהות מיימוניות בשם הירושלמי, דאמרינן דספיקא דידיה עדיף מוודאי דחבריה משום שכתוב וחי אחיך עמך חייך קודמין, ובעינן שיחיה ודאי, כההיא דיומא (פה, ב) גבי וחי בהם ולא שיכנס לספק סכנה. עיי"ש. ולכן אין לו להשליך נפשו מנגד אפילו בספק סכנה להצלת חברו מוודאי סכנה... אבל כשהברירה מסורה ביד אדם שלישי להכריע בין שנים, שהאחד נתון בספק סכנה והשני בודאי סכנה, אין הספק מוציא מידי ודאי, ויש להעדיף הצלת מי שהוא בוודאי סכנה".

Not only that, but we must also first take care of the lives of people in immediate danger and not those in future danger.  

 "בר מן דין, נראה שבאמת עלינו לחוש יותר ויותר לסכנה המיידית של מאת היהודים החטופים, כשלהט החרב מתנופפת על ראשם על ידי המחבלים האכזריים חוטפי המטוס המאיימים להוציאם להורג עד יום ה' ג' תמוז בשעה 2 אחה"צ, והני רשיעי גזמי ועבדי, ואילו הסכנה העתידה והעלולה להתרחש בשחרור ארבעים המחבלים הכלואים אינה עומדת כיום על הפרק באופן מיידי, אלא לטווח רחוק ולאחר זמן".
About point C] Rav Ovadiah said that this rule of not redeeming captives for more than the going rate doesn't apply when they are in mortal danger. And besides - these Arabs are always going around killing no matter what, so Chazal weren't referring to our circumstances.  

"י"ל שאפילו את"ל דחשיב בכה"ג כיותר מכדי דמיהן מטעם דלא לגרו ולייתו טפי, מ"מ כשיש סכנה ממשית בדבר, כבנידון דידן, לא חיישינן להאי טעמא דדילמא מגרו בהו ומייתו טפי.
ובלא"ה הם עושים כל מה שביכולתם לחטוף ולהרוג ולרצוח כדי לשבש מהלך החיים הרגילים במדינת ישראל, יה"ר שחרבם תבוא בלבם וקשתותם תשברנה".

And he added that in a case of doubt such as ours we must redeem them and not worry about the decree. 

 "אין לנו להוסיף ולהכניס גם נידוננו בטעם הגמרא דלא לגרבו ולייתו טפי שנאמר על תקנה מסויימת, ומכיון דהויא רק תקנה, וקודם שתיקנו כן בוודאי שהיו פודין ביותר מכדי דמיהן, אמרינן דבכה"ג שהוא ספק אם תיקנו בכלל אוקמא אדינא, וכעין מ"ש הרשב"א בתשובה הובא בבית יוסף חו"מ (ס"ס יג). וכ"פ הרמ"א באבן העזר (סי' קיח ס"ו)".

In light of the above, Rav Ovadiah ruled that they should be redeemed in exchange for the terrorists. In the end it wasn't necessary because they went on the raid and Hashem saved them.

 [It should be noted that Yitzchak Rabin inquired about Daas Torah on the matter and Rav Ovadiah commented to his assistant Rav Eliyahu Shitrit that Rabin listens to Daas Talmidei Chachamim - "Rabbeinu" page 282] 


A letter from the Rogochover Gaon to a Rov upon his appointment as the Rov of a community. The hidden message is that they should pay him well. 

Rabbonim are people, too.... 

What Is Our Belief In Moshiach?

לע"נ ידיד נפשי ר' יואל בן ר' פינחס הלוי 
והבחורה שרה בת מו"ר הרה"ג ר' זאב קליין 

a] It is well known that we must believe that Moshiach will come and redeem us. 

b] However, the Rambam adds [Melachim 11/1] that we also must anxiously anticipate his coming [מצפה לביאתו].

c] He also writes [הקדמה לפרק חלק] that we must not think that he will be late [ולא יחשוב שיתאחר]. This may be the source of the words in the Ani Maamin in the siddur [which we had a long series about some time ago - you can do a search and find them] אחכה לו בכל יום שיבוא - I await him every day that he should come. Where does it say that he might come every day?  ולא יחשוב שיתאחר. 

Question: What is the Rambam's source for this? 

Also, maybe this means that I wait for him every day that he will come some time in the future [but not too much in the distant future] but not that he will come TODAY? 

The Brisker Rov held that we are obligated to believe that he will come TODAY. I haven't found this explicit in any earlier source [although maybe it is] and the nusach in the siddur is not clear nor does the nusach in the siddur obligate us [it was not the Rambam who wrote it and nobody knows who did but there are many places where he diverges from what the Rambam wrote in his formulation of the 13 principals of faith]. And anyway, nobody believes that he will definitely come today. If we did, then we would all quickly empty out our bank accounts and give the money to tzdaka, quit our jobs, get right to Yerushalyim, learn Torah the last few hours until Moshiach comes, never make a doctors appointment for next week or summer plans etc. etc. 

It seems [and maybe I am wrong and I would love to be enlightened] that the simple obligation of the Rambam is to believe that he will eventually come at some point but not too late and we anxiously await for this to occur. Today WOULD be best and we believe every day that he COULD come today but he could also come tomorrow or the next day. That is what I understand from the Rambam, but again - if I am wrong I would love to hear it. 

d] The Rambam also writes in his [הקדמה לחלק] that we are obligated to believe that Moshaich is a great person ["נתמעט אצלו מעלתו כפר בתורה"] and that he is from the seed of Dovid Hamelech [how many people know that this is part of our belief??].

e] The Rambam writes [Melachim 10/1]:  

"המלך המשיח עתיד לעמוד ולהחזיר מלכות דוד ליושנה לממשלה הראשונה ובונה המקדש ומקבץ נדחי ישראל וחוזרין כל המשפטים בימיו כשהיו מקודם מקריבין קרבנות ועושין שמיטין ויובלות ככל מצותה האמורה בתורה".

 "In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state. We will offer sacrifices, observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars as described by the Torah."

The Lubavitcher Rebbe זיע"א learns that the Rambam is not just informing us what Moshiach will do but is delineating what our belief must be. We must believe that when Moshiach comes we will once again fulfill the Torah in its complete form.  

But if this is so then why does the Rambam write [Melachim 11/4]: 

"לא נתאוו החכמים והנביאים לימות המשיח לא כדי שישלטו על כל העולם ולא כדי שירדו בעכו"ם ולא כדי שינשאו אותם העמים ולא כדי לאכול ולשתות ולשמוח אלא כדי שיהיו פנויין בתורה וחכמתה ולא יהיה להם נוגש ומבטל כדי שיזכו לחיי העולם הבא כמו שביארנו בהלכות תשובה"

"The Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Messianic era in order to have dominion over the entire world, to rule over the gentiles, to be exalted by the nations, or to eat, drink, and celebrate. Rather, they desired to be free to involve themselves in Torah and wisdom without any pressures or disturbances, so that they would merit the world to come, as we explained in Hilchos Teshuvah."

According to the Rebbe's thesis, the Rambam should have said that the חכמים wanted Moshiach in order to serve Hashem fully according to all of the laws of the Torah? 

Rav Yosef Yitzchak Kalmanson [Rosh Yeshiva of the Lubavitch Yeshiva in New Haven, Conn.] explains the Rambam differently [because of this question]: The Rambam is teaching US a halacha that WE must await Moshiach in order that we should be able serve Hashem without any troubles. But we are not obligated to await Moshiach in order to keep all of the mitzvos of the Torah.    

I am not at all convinced by this explanation:

1] If the halacha is for US - then why did the Rambam preface with "לא נתאוו החכמים והנביאים". That sounds like this din applies only to the Sages and prophets. 

The Rambam writes in the fifth perek of Hil. Melachim:

גדולי החכמים היו מנשקים על תחומי ארץ ישראל, ומנשקים אבניה ומתגלגלין על עפרה. וכן הוא אומר: "כי רצו עבדיך את אבניה ואת עפרה יחוננו."

The story is told of the Brisker Rov who wouldn't kiss the earth of Eretz Yisrael. When asked from this Rambam which says that you should, he replied that the Rambam was only talking to the גדולי חכמים!

2] Why shouldn't we be obligated to yearn for the coming of Moshiach to fulfill all of the Torah's laws just as we are obligated to yearn for his coming so that we can keep the mitzvos without being bothered?? What is the svara to distinguish between the two??

So here we have some VERY important insights into our core belief in Moshiach. REMEMBER!! One of the six questions we will be asked at the end of our lives is "ציפית לישועה?" - Did you anxiously await redemption? 

Bar Kochba - Part 7: Why Did Rebbe Akiva Think That Bar Kochba Was Moshiach?

He fought the wars of Hashem, he brought people back to service of Hashem, he was from Beis Dovid etc.

According to this he really was בחזקת משיח according to the Rambam but just didn't finish the job and become משיח ודאי [see end of 11th perek of hilchos melachim]. That would explain why the Rambam proves from Bar Kochba that משיח doesn't have to perform miracles. If Rebbe Akiva was wrong in thinking Bar Kochba was Moshiach - what proof is there from him??? But if he really was destined to be Moshiach then we have a proof. 

So please read and become even more knowledgeable about this topic. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bar Kochba - Part 6

This article asserts that Bar Kochba was a great man and that chas vi-shalom that Rebbe Akiva was mistaken. 

Bar Kochba - Part 5


1] Rav Yonason Eibeshitz finds an allusion to the story of Bar Kochba in the psukim!

(בראשית לח: ג, ד, ה) "וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ עֵר", "וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ אוֹנָן", "וַתֹּסֶף עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ שֵׁלָה וְהָיָה בִכְזִיב בְּלִדְתָּהּ אֹתוֹ". וזלה"ק: 'ויקרא את שמו ער' שהוא בנין בית ראשון דהוא לשון ער, היינו מלשון וייקץ משנתו, דהי' בשמחה וטוב לבב. 'ותהר עוד ותלד בן ותקרא את שמו אונן' שהוא מורה על בית שני שהוא ממהר ליחרב, והוא לשון אנינות. 'ותוסף עוד ותלד בן ותקרא את שמו שלה והי' בכזיב בלדתה אותה', היינו לאחר בית שני הי' מושל בן כוזיבא שנה, ובאמת הי' במחשבתו להיות משיח, וכשמת היו קורין אותו בן כוזיבא דהיינו הי' מלא כזב ושקר, והוא הי' מולך בשילה, ולכך 'ותקרא את שמו שלה', 'והי' בכזיב בלדתה אותו' היינו דהי' נקרא בן כוזיבא. עכלה"ק.

2] If Rebbe Akiva made a mistake, then how are us Lilliputians expected to know who is moshiach? The Lubavitcher Rebbe answered that we have an advantage - the signs given by the Rambam. Rebbe Akiva didn't have the psak of the Rambam.... But we do so we will know when the "real McCoy" is here and הגיע זמן גאולתכם!!!

3] How could Rebbe Akiva have made such an egregious error? We some from Chazal some very negative things about Bar Kochba - Before one of his battles, Bar Kochba blasphemously proclaimed: "G‑d, if you choose not to help us, at least do not help our enemies," thereby implying that the Jews could be victorious without Divine assistance. On another occasion, Bar Kochba suspected that his saintly uncle, Rav Elazar HaModai, knew military secrets. Enraged, Bar Kochba confronted the elderly Rabbi Elazar, kicking him and causing his death [*]. He would cut of a finger from the hand of his soldiers [ירושלמי פרק ד הלכה ה].

Rav Kalman Ber [who was a Ra"m in KBY in hi sefer מעשה רקם from page 77] suggests that Rebbe Akiva thought that he was משיח בן יוסף who is the predecessor of משיח בן דוד and prepares the military and material backdrop for spiritual redemption. 

Such a theory needs a firm basis in the sources which I didn't see. וצ"ע.  

[*] שלוש שנים ומחצה היה אדריינוס צר על ביתר. והיה ר' אלעזר המודעי יושב על השק ועל האפר ומתפלל בכל יום, ואומר: ריבון העולמים, אל תשב בדין היום, אל תשב בדין היום. וכבר רצה אדריינוס להסיר את המצור מן העיר וללכת לו. אמר לו כותי אחד: לא תלך לך, שאני אמסור לידך את העיר. נכנס דרך ביב השופכין של העיר ומצא את ר' אלעזר המודעי עומד ומתפלל. עשה עצמו כלוחש לו בתוך אזנו. ראוהו בני העיר והביאוהו אצל בן כוזיבא (בר כוכבא). אמרו לו: ראינו את הסבא הזה משוחח עם דודך. אמר לו: מה אמרת לו ומה אמר לך?... אמר לו: אמר לי שאסגיר את העיר. בא (בר כוכבא) אצל ר' אלעזר המודעי ואמר לו: מה אמר לך הכותי הזה? אמר לו: לא כלום. מה אמרת לו? אמר לו: לא כלום. בעט בו בעיטה אחת והרגו. מיד יצאה בת קול ואמרה (זכריה יא:יז) "הוי רעי האליל עזבי הצאן, חרב על זרועו ועל עין ימינו, זרעו יבוש תיבש, ועין ימינו כהה תכהה". הרגת את רבי אלעזר המודעי זרוען של כל ישראל ועין ימינם, לפיכך זרועו של אותו האיש יבש תיבש ועין ימינו כהה תכהה. מיד נלכדה ביתר ונהרג בר כוכבא.

Bar Kochba - Part 4

The Yad Hachazaka is a sefer of practical Halachos and not a history book. So why does the Rambam bring the whole story with Bar Kochba and Rebbe Akiva. What is the HALACHAC IMPORT of the story?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe זיע"א [that is a roshei teivos that translates "he should live forever and is King Messiah"(*see bottom)] explains in a sicha given on Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev 1974 [as he was talking, I was on the floor playing with my blocks in Israel - I lived in Israel at the time. Excuse the Yiddish. He had to say it in Yiddish because that is the first language in Crown Heights]:

"עס איז פאראן אזוינע וואס זיינען געקומען מיט א קרומע סברא, אז היות אז דער רמב"ם אליין שרייבט ווייטער אז כל הענינים זיינען ניט בדיוק, איז במילא אויך די פרטים וואס דער רמב"ם שרייבט אין דעם סדר הגאולה זיינען אויך ניט בדיוק.
עס איז פארשטאנדיק אז מען קען אזוי ניט זאגן, ווארום אויב אזוי קען מען דאך שוין זאגן - להבדיל - ווי די גוים זאגן, אז משיח איז שוין געקומען!

נאר עס איז פארשטאנדיק אז די אלע פרטים וואס דער רמב"ם שרייבט יע, איז א זיכערע זאך אז זיי זיינען אויסגעהאלטן. און דאס וואס ער שרייבט אז 'לא ידעו בבירור', איז דאס בנוגע צו די אנדערע פרטים פון ביאת המשיח, וואס זיי זיינען נישט אזוי נוגע, און מטעם זה האט מען ניט מכריע געווען ווי אזוי זיי וועלן זיין, ווארום זיי זיינען ניט אזוי נוגע להלכה.

...וואס דאס איז אויך דער ביאור אין א דבר פלא וואס מען געפינט אין רמב"ם: בכלל בריינגט דאך דער רמב"ם ניט קיין ראי' לדבריו, נאר ער שרייבט סתם אז אזוי און אזוי איז די הלכה, משא"כ בשעת ער שרייבט וועגן דעם סדר פון ביאת המשיח, ברענגט ער א ראי' פון ר' עקיבא'ן, אז ער איז געווען א חכם גדול כו', "ודימה הוא וכל חכמי דורו" אז בר כוזיבא איז געווען משיח.
וואס לכאורה איז דאס ניט פארשטאנדיק: מילא דאס וואס דער רמב"ם דערמאנט אז ר' עקיבא האט געמאכט אזא טעות, איז פארשטאנדיק, ווארום דאס איז דאך פארבונדן מיט די ראי' וואס ער ברענגט, אבער פארוואס דארף דער רמב"ם שרייבן אז "כל חכמי דורו" האבן אלע געמאכט דעם זעלבן טעות?

נאר דער רמב"ם באווארנט דא, אז עס וועט אמאל קומען א צייט וואס איינער וואס האלט זיך פאר 'עקיבא בן יוסף' בדורו וועט מחליט זיין וועגן א געוויסע מאורע, אדער וועגן א געוויסן מענטשן, אז דאס איז משיח, און כל חכמי דורו וועלן מסכים זיין מיט אים, און ווי מען זעהט אז ער האט געקראגן חתימות אויף זיין ספר וכו'.

און דאס זאגט דער רמב"ם: אין די צייט פון ר' עקיבא האט געקענט זיין אזא טעות, ווארום מען האט נאך ניט געוואוסט יעמולט די פרטי וסדרי הגאולה, אבער נאך דעם ווי דער רמב"ם שרייבט קלאר דעם סדר הגאולה, דארף ניט זיין קיין מקום לטעות". עד כאן לשונו הקדוש.

There is a HUUUGE practical lesson to be learned: The Rambam outlines CLEAR REQUIREMENTS regarding who is Moshiach. If a person doesn't meet them, even if all of the Gedolim say he is Moshiach - he is not. Crowning people Moshiach is DANGEROUS [as we saw in the last post] and it could also lead one to saying that ח"ו Yoshke is Moshaich. But if Yoshke doesn't come from the seed of Dovid Hamelech [one of the prerequisites] then he CAN'T be Moshiach. Period. And the Christians admit that Yoshke doesn't come from the seed of Dovid because their fairytale relates that he comes from of G-d עפ"ל. So sorry - he is not our guy [** see footnote]. 

Nor is anyone else who doesn't fulfill the requirements of the Rambam. The Rambam says that after he died we knew that he wasn't Moshiach. So that would seem to disqualify all dead people. Even great ones. 


*That was a joke. I am not a Meshichist nor am I a Lubavitcher Chossid. I am not on the madreiga to be a Lubavitcher Chossid. I live in a comfortable home in a frum community in Israel and would not be willing to live on a college campus or in Vietnam or in Guatemala in order to be mekarev Jews. I am not on their level. And I also don't believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach as emerges from the Rebbe's own words.  

** The Virgin Birth is a fundamental tenet of most forms of Christianity. Yet it is very odd that none of the earlier Christian books mention it. The book of Mark, probably the first written, makes no mention of it at all. One would think that it would be worth at least one sentence, if not the amount spent on it by the book of Matthew. It is evident that Mark had never heard of the Virgin Birth. The book of John does not mention it either.

The reason that the virgin birth concept was added to Christianity was because the first Christians were very unsuccessful at converting Jews. Most Jews knew they had something better, so they would not leave Judaism for Christianity. Remember: at the beginning it was nothing more than a very small messianic movement within Judaism, and after their "messiah" died, it was rather hard to convert Jews to their movement.

So they began to reach out to the pagans, the non-Jews. But those pagans attracted to Judaism had already joined Judaism, and the new ones would not be very likely to join a tiny fringe group that had lost all real meaning since their false messiah-leader had died. Anyone interested in Judaism would more likely be interested in mainstream Judaism.

So the Christians had to do something different. They had to develop appeal. So, they began to assume beliefs that pagan people found attractive. That was how they came up with the concepts of the trinity, transubstantiation, the need to "save" everyone through the resurrection of a messiah, virgin birth, and all the other wacky ideas of Christianity. All these were lifted straight from other religions, some of which preceded Christianity by 700 years! Pagans just lapped up things like demigods, gods having intercourse with humans, virgins giving birth. Such claims meant something to pagans, and they were already familiar with such beliefs from their own cultures. So leaving a pagan religion to join Christianity was not much of a stretch, especially after Paul declared that the pagans did not need to keep the Commandments of the Torah.

Virgin birth was a popular pagan myth, prevalent in numerous religions of the time. The particular strain that we find in Christianity was probably taken directly from the Greek myth of the divine birth of Perseus from the virgin Danae. It never had any association with Judaism. Furthermore, Attis, a popular Roman and Syrian god around the time Christianity began, was also said to have been born of a virgin. Long before that, Krishna, the Hindu god, dating back to nine centuries before Christianity, was said to be god incarnate born of a virgin, as was Gautama Buddha. So there was rather widespread precedent for Christian beliefs, but none of it came from Judaism.

Your average Jew with any kind of Jewish upbringing is disgusted by these ideas. This was true back then, just as much as it is true today. The virgin birth seems to us rather strange.

A Jew will also ask: "And how do I know she was a virgin?" We don't, of course, so there's really no evidence at all. In fact, no one could ever have known whether or not she was a virgin!

What do I mean by that? In Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 24-25, it says: "Then Joseph awoke and did as the angel of the Lord had instructed him, and married her. He did not have relations with her until after she had given birth to her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus."

The verse says that Joseph did not have relations with Mary until after jesus was born. In other words, after jesus was born, they did have relations. Not only that, Matthew later says quite explicitly that jesus had three brothers and a few sisters (Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56). Mark (6:3) lists four brothers and says "all his sisters," which might imply more than two sisters, but in any case implies at least two.

There are those who wish to argue that "brothers and sisters" refers to those that jesus considered is true brothers and sisters -- his followers.

But this answer doesn't work. Let's look at the actual verses involved. First, Matthew 12:46-50.
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

In other words, his biological mother and brothers were waiting outside for him, and he argued that his real mother and brothers were his followers.

So he apparently had real brothers, biological brothers.

Now, it is quite evident that even if a woman could conceive a child and still remain a virgin, the act of giving birth would rupture the hymen anyway. So once jesus was born, Mary would no longer have had a hymen.

Now, if Joseph did not have relations with her until after her hymen was ruptured from jesus' birth, even Joseph could never know whether she had been a virgin when jesus was conceived. By the time Joseph got to her, one way or another she had no hymen, so how could Joseph know whether the hymen was there before jesus was born?

So who in the world could verify that she was a virgin when she conceived jesus? No one, that's who!

Think about it. What sort of proof would it be anyway? I stand up in front of a few people, and I declare: "You see that virgin?" And everyone turns to look at her, and they say, "Well, I see a woman, but how do I know she's a virgin?"

"Never mind about that now," I say. "I'm a prophet, and I tell you she is a virgin. She will give birth, miraculously!"

"What's so miraculous about that?" everyone wants to know. She'll have relations with someone, and she'll get pregnant, and she'll give birth. It happens every day."

"Take my word for it."

No one checks to see if she is a virgin, because that would be in poor taste anyway.

So how is this a proof of anything?

But what is even more amazing is their supposed proof that virgin birth is significant. It all comes from a distorted verse in Isaiah.

Which is not for now.....

[From the web]