Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Removing Fish Bones on Shabbos - A Lenient Ruling

NOTE FOR ASHKENAZIM: THIS IS NOT TO BE RELIED UPON PRATICALLY SPEAKING. ASK YOUR RAV FOR A PSAK. I AM POSTING THIS FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES ONLY. 


Halacha Yomit


In the previous Halachot we have discussed some issues regarding the forbidden work of selecting on Shabbat. We have also mentioned that selecting is only permissible on Shabbat when three conditions are met: One must select by hand and not do so with the use of a utensil (such as a strainer), one must select the food from the waste and not the opposite, and one must select only with the intention of eating the food immediately (and not to leave it for a later time).


We have also established that the prohibition of selecting does not apply to something which is done in the normal manner of eating for instance, peeling an onion or an egg which is permissible on Shabbat since this is the normal way they are eaten. Nevertheless, one may only act leniently and do so when it is immediately before one intends to eat; however, it is prohibited to peel them in order to eat them in more than a half-hour’s time, since this is no longer considered an “eating manner” and is instead considered a “selecting manner”.


We shall now discuss the matter of separating fish bones on Shabbat. At first glance, it would seem that removing fish bones would constitute “selecting waste from food,” which is forbidden on Shabbat. However, based on several rationales we have already discussed, it would seem that one may indeed act leniently regarding this matter, especially since this is what is normally done, i.e. to remove the bones first and only then to eat the fish.


Maran zt”l deals lengthily with this matter in one of his responses that were published over forty years ago in the periodical entitled, “Kol Sinai”; he proceeds to quote several reasons for leniency in this matter.


His first reasoning is because the bones are attached and stuck to the fish and selecting does not apply to something which is attached, as we have previously established regarding apples which are permitted to be peeled on Shabbat even with the use of a special peeler designated for this purpose since this is not considered “selecting”; rather, it is considered as though one is slicing the fruit in half. If so, it would seem that the same would apply to fish bones that since they are attached to the fish, their removal does not constitute forbidden selecting on Shabbat.


Maran zt”l quotes another reason for leniency which is that according to the opinion of Hagaon Rabbeinu Yaakov Abulafia, any selecting one performs at the time one is actually eating is not considered selecting since this is the way one usually eats; anything which is included in the usual manner one eats is not prohibited on Shabbat. Although many disagree with the opinion of Rabbeinu Yaakov Abulafia, it can nevertheless be included as an additional reason for leniency.


Another reason which can be included to permit this is the opinion of many Poskim who maintain that the forbidden work of selecting on Shabbat only applies to things which grow from the ground, such as fruits, vegetables, and grain; however, selecting does not apply to fish which do not grow from the ground. This opinion can also be included in order to rule leniently in our situation.


Thus, halachically speaking, the spine and all of the bones can be removed from a fish on Shabbat and only then to eat the fish. However, once the fish bones have already been removed from the fish and now lay in one’s plate along with the pieces of fish, one may not completely remove them from his plate, for by doing so, one is selecting actual waste from food. Since the bones are no longer attached to the fish, the primary reason we have quoted to act leniently regarding this matter no longer applies. Rather, one should leave them on the side of the plate and continue eating as usual.

Live What You Speak!

As you probably know - I have a computer:-). 

So I was listening to this WONDERFUL, entertaining lecture about G-d and science by a very eloquent gentile man [well dressed and nice looking may I add]. He refers to the "ancient Hebrews" and how they already knew what modern science just found out a few years ago and many other lovely arguments in favor of the overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence that there is an Almighty G-d. And of course how necessary religion is for morality etc. etc..

I was curious who he is so I went to his wiki page. 

Ahhhh - he was married to one woman but then was seen checking into a hotel with another and leaving with her the next morning [they did a mishmar and learned all the Ramban's on that weeks parsha, perhaps??]. He explained that he was engaged to her. But he was married at the time. To someone else. So was this woman. Then he got divorced, split up with the mistress too and married a third woman.   

So holy.

That is what I have been writing about recently: Emunah means ne'emanus. To have faith means to be faithful. To Hashem and to fellow man [and woman]. So let us not suffice with our proclamation of faith but actually LIVE what we believe. That means not wasting time which is a great gift, becoming as great in Torah as we can, giving as much tzedaka as we are able, being as kind to others as we possibly can, guarding our eyes and ears from seeing and hearing evil etc. etc.  


Pictures And Abstractions

לזכות אבי מורי ואמי מורתי שיחיו!

Regarding this post about how everything today has to go with a picture. 

In the Aseres Hadibros we read לא תעשה לך פסל וכל תמונה אשר בשמים ממעל ואשר בארץ מתחת- we are not allowed to make a statue or any picture of what is in the heavens and earth. Simply speaking, this refers to making statues for Avoda Zara purposes. 

But there is also another lesson here. Why should it matter if we serve an idol? Let us say that one believes that Hashem is in the idol. He believes that Hashem enclothed Himself in this idol and he bows down to it?? What is so bad?

The answer is that Hashem is not physical and it is forbidden to attribute any physical characteristics to Hashem. Hashem is [כביכול] abstract, without any physical form. If one wants any connection with spirituality, then he has to understand this. 

When everything needs a picture, we lose the perception of what is abstract. Abstractions are not only important for perceiving Hashem but really everything that is really important in life.

Take a marriage partner. What is going to make a man happy is a woman's spiritual and emotional qualities. You can't take a picture of "compassion", "love", "emotional stability", "generosity" etc. etc. Yet, what does a boy look at before he is willing to date a girl? Her picture. 

Ahhhhhhh. 

So I hear people saying - "Should we marry girls we think are ugly??" 

No. But this excessive focus on external, on things a camera [today called "smartphone"] can capture, distracts us from what REALLY matters in the long term. 

If anyone has any doubts, look at all of the famous movie stars and models [actually - don't look] and see how all of their personal lives and love lives are in disarray. There is actually research that shows that exceptionally beautiful women have the most trouble maintaining stable relationships. 

Another example: We eat food that looks good and tastes good but is poison. We can't "see" or "taste" nutrition so we aren't as interested. 

Last example: Eternal reward. People are generally faaaaar more interested in things that money can buy [and money itself] that they are in eternal pleasures. Why? Because eternity, olam haba, is an abstraction. A vacation in the Bahamas is real. Look - you can even take pictures of it!!:-)

This notion of needing to satisfy the five senses and losing focus on what is internal and abstract has many ramifications in our lives. 

ישמע חכם ויוסף לקח!   

Monday, August 21, 2017

Be Loyal

לזכות אבי מורי ואמי מורתי שיחיו!


As we discussed recently based on the Maharal, Emunah is less about theology and more of a MIDDA IN A PERSON'S NEFESH!! The midda is loyalty. To believe means to be loyal to what you believe in. A guy cheats on his wife and is asked if he believes that he is married. He replies that of course he believes he is married. His belief of course means zilch-o. If he doesn't demonstrate loyalty and faithfulness to his wife then his belief that they are married means nothing. 

One of the six questions that we will be asked after our contract here expires is whether נשאת ונתת באמונה - Did we do business faithfully? Why is that so important??

The answer is that we are going to be asked if we possessed the midda of faithfulness and loyalty, because THAT is what life is all about. 

Rav Dessler - please: 



מהי נאמנות? כח של חוזק ותוקף פנימי ואמיצות הדעת, כמו מי שנכנס לברית עם חברו ולא יזוז מהתחייבותו בכל מחיר. זוהי אמת פנימית ואחריות במצפון, כאז"ל "ונאמן בבריתו". הנאמן יעמוד עד קצה אפשרותו נגד כל אונס וכל רצון ותאוה הסותרים למסירותו למשימה שנטל על עצמו. וכן הנאמן לא יגע במה שהופקד אצלו ולא יקח לעצמו אפילו כמלא נימא.

וזהו הגדר של "אמונה", כי השגת הבורא ב"ה ברורה לכל מי שלא יתן לעקם את שכלו. ואמרו ז"ל "לא עבדו ישראל ע"ז אלא כדי להתיר להם עריות בפרהסיא" (סנהדרין ס"ג), היינו שלא האמינו בע"ז חס ושלום, אבל מי שמתיר לעצמו ללכת נגד הכרתו הברורה מפני שתאוותו מעקמת את שכלו הריהו אינו נאמן. כל הרוצה לטעות - טועה. ואיך יעמוד בישרותו נגד הרצונות והתאוות? אך ורק על ידי שיפתח בעצמו מדת הנאמנות.

"בא חבקוק והעמידן על אחת - וצדיק באמונתו יחיה" (מכות כ"ד), וכתב בעל ספר המנהיג בהקדמה שה"אמונה" כאן היא האמונה שעליה נשאל ראשונה כל אדם לאחר מותו, "נשאת ונתת באמונה" (שבת ל"א), והיינו כנ"ל האמונה שהיא הנאמנות בין אדם לחברו היא היסוד לאמונה בה' ולכל התורה כולה.

אין גבול לנאמנות, כי אפילו פגם בכחוט השערה כבר הוא חסרון אמונה.

אברהם אבינו ע"ה ראש המאמינים וכתוב עליו "והאמין בה'", וגם "ומצאת את לבבו נאמן לפניך", ומכל מקום כשחשב מי יודע אם יהיו די זכיות לישראל שיתקיימו בארץ, ושאל "במה אדע", נקודה דקה מן הדקה זו נחשבת על פי משפטו ית' כאילו התערבה בה מעין פגם בנאמנות... (חלק ה עמוד שמ, וראה שם עוד)


The Intellect And The Senses

When one learns, the goal is to satiate and nourish the intellect and the soul. What has become ubiquitous is that when you click on an article about any topic on the computer, Torah or otherwise, there is gong a to be picture of something. 

Why does it have to be this way?

First of all it gets on my nerves [as if anybody asked me:-)]. I want to read the words that my intellect is interested in and instead I am unwillingly met with a picture which is somehow supposed to satisfy me sense of sight's desire to enjoy looking at things and to entertain me. Sometimes the pictures are so inane. Like, if the article is about a kashrus question, there will be a picture of religious Jews eating. Have I never seen religious Jews eating? How does this contribute to my understanding of the issues at hand? It doesn't. It just delays my understanding.  If the article is about a Torah if Rebbe Nachman then there might be a picture of Breslovers dancing on a Tel Aviv street or in an airport in the Ukraine. Why do I need to see that?? What does that contribute??

Here is the answer: People enjoy it. Otherwise, every website wouldn't do it. But I think that it lowers the level of almost anything when something is being shown that will appeal even to a five year old. I love sefarim when there are no pictures, no fancy graphics, none of the trappings of the modern media, both print and social. Just WORDS that expand knowledge, insight and understanding.  

I put pictures on the blog on occasion because I think it is important to see pictures of tzadkim in order to connect to them or if I think that the image will help bring home a point. But the way of the modern media is that there HAS to be an image. Words are no longer enough.

חיים אנו בדור שטחי שבשטחי והרדידות חוגגת בכל פינה והדרך היחידה להילחם נגד התופעה היא לחדור לפנימיות החיים, לחפש את העומק בכל מצב ולהגביר את השכל על הדמיון.  

Do you want to join me?  


Pure Faith

לע"נ אסתר בת שמואל 


There are at least two issues that a believer and serious Ben and Bas Torah have with studying secular wisdom. One is the CONTENT of what is studied that often contains ideas that are antithetical to our belief system. The other is the very APPROACH. When one studies Torah it must be done with humility, a sense of awe, a willingness to subordinate one's own ideas to those greater than him and to tradition. The belief that as time progresses we in many ways become more distant from the truth and the source. When one studies secular wisdom the intellect is the final arbiter of truth. If it makes sense to me then it is correct. If not - not. As time progresses we become wiser and get closer and closer to the truth. A person who studies secular wisdoms often loses his purity and simple faith. You see it clearly. 

I believe [and maybe I am wrong] is that secular wisdom is too valuable to completely ignore. It enhances Torah knowledge in many ways and enables one to appreciate and function effectively in this world. But to the impressionable young mind it is fraught with danger. So the system should be that in one's youth he studies almost exclusively Torah subjects and then when he gets older and is already imbibed with a broad deep, knowledge of Torah and has a strong basis in Emunah then he can dabble in secular wisdoms if he is so inclined. 

Rav Kook ztz"l felt this way and I the small worm that I am can't help but agree. But not every gadol felt this way. 

Of course this may sound weird to the reader because we were all raised to study secular subjects from the youngest age. But just because we are used to a certain way doesn't make it true. We weren't raised that way because anyone went to gedolei Torah to ask what they ruled on the matter. 

I see very clearly that the more secular education one has in his youth, the weaker the faith and lower the level of observance [in many cases]. There are other factors as well such as that such people are also much more likely to have unlimited internet access [which as I have written many times is unbelievable - the internet is full of filth, pornography, vulgarity and every evil human thought and character trait and yet parents give their kids full, unmonitored access] and other reasons but the secular education is part of it. Before I ever learned anything deep about our Emunah, I learned that we were descended from monkeys. That is not a way to raise pure Jewish children.

Here are Rav Dessler's thoughts:



ובאמת, הבדל יסודי זה בעבודת ה' בין התמים והשכלי רואים אנו בחיי יום יום בהבדל שבין אלו שנתחנכו על ברכי התורה ויראת שמים בלבד מקטנותם, שאמונתן היא פנימית ונובעת מנפש טהורה השרויה כל ימיה בתורת ה', ובין אלו שחונכו על יסוד חכמות חיצוניות, או שחינוכם כלל גם חכמות אלו. אלה, אפילו אם הם מאמינים אמונתם נובעת מהכרת שכלם ולא "מעצמם", כמש"כ מהר"ל, ותמיד מתלבטים הם בקושיות וספקות ובירורים שכליים בעניני אמונה. לתמימות בעבודת ה' אינם זוכים. והסבה לזה היא שהחכמות החיצוניות בדרך כלל משרישות באדם גישה שכלית לכל דבר, ומלמדות לאדם שלא לקבל שום דבר עד שמבינו בשכלו. וזהו בניגוד לדרך התורה, כי למי שהולך בדרך התורה ברור בלי שום ספק שמה שנתברר למשה רבינו ולרבי עקיבא ולכל גדולי הדורות בעניני אלוקות וחיובי האדם יש לו ערך רב יותר ללא שיעור וללא דמיון ממה שנתברר לי הקטן בשכלי הפעוט והנגוע.

ומזה יצא לנו דרך איך לגשת אל סולם התמימות. מי שמשקיע את עצמו בתורה מנעוריו, כמש"כ אצל יעקב "יושב אהלים, אהלו של שם ואהלו של עבר" (רש"י), ומדבק את נפשו לדרך התורה ומתקרב אל ה' בעבודתו, עבודת הלב, יתכן שבזמן מן הזמנים יזכה לסייעתא דשמיא להגיע את תחתית סולם התמימות. וכיון שרוח התורה היא המדריכה את נפשו אפשר שימשיך לעלות מעלה מעלה. (מכתב מאליהו חלק ה עמוד קיד)

A Holy Tantz

rav hutner and rav moshe

Honoring Parents In Thought And Deed

Li-zchus my amazing parents to whom I owe everything!!!

There is a HUUUUGE mitzva to honor one's parents. That we all know. What does it mean to honor them??

The gemara says that one gives them to eat, drink, clothing, go places with them if they need your help [מכניס ומוציא] etc. The Shulchan Aruch adds that it must be done with a smile. 

The Chayei Adam [based on the Sefer Hacharedim] adds a chidush that is critical to know: One has to VIEW his parents as if they were גדולים ונכבדי הארץ - Great, honorable people! Meaning, it is not enough to honor them with action but one must honor them in one's mind as well. [Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz takes this even further and says that one must find an aspect of one's parents where they are a gadol ha-dor ואכמ"ל].

May I add [yes? thank you:-)] - If one doesn't then he is a chazeer. A person's parents brought him into the world, EVERY SECOND OF HIS LIFE HE OWES TO THEM. Every bit of pleasure from a bite of food, a cool breeze, hearing a song, EVERYTHING!!! His ENTIRE EXISTENCE!! 

If one is with one's spouse involved in the mitzva people enjoy doing so much, he should think to himself "THANK YOU MOM AND DAD for bringing me into this world so that I can enjoy this".

When he has a child and gets nachas from his child he should think "Thank you mom and dad for giving me life so that I could have this unreal nachas from my child." 

When one enjoys a talent of his - for example he is smart and quickly grasps a gemara, he should think "Thanks mom and dad for the brains you gave me!!!" Half your DNA from dad and half from mom.

And so on and so forth. There is also a special mitzva to love one's parents in a special way [Zohar Ki Teitzei 281/1].

Let us be מתחזק in honoring our parents. Even if they are not here on planet earth but in the "real world" there is also a mitzva to honor them after their passing. 

[NOTE: There is a great new sefer out on Kibbud Av Vi-eim called משנת כהן that I highly recommend. I can get you a copy if you want. I know the author].  

    




A Yarmulke For The Gentile Teacher?


Rav Soloveitchik - Don't ask.
Rav Moshe - Yes, he should.
Rav Aharon Kotler - He SHOULDN'T. 

Interesting:-). 


Who Was Rav Kook - Link

Rav Hutner's "Tyveh"

Rav Hutner said that he had a meshuneh-dike tyveh - to hear Rav Aharon Kotler say the word "Tayreh". With such sweetness and relish!!!

Here is a picture of the two Geonim talking "Tayreh":

ר אהרן והרב הוטנר 2.jpg

Rav Chaim Zimmerman On Rav Herzog

Rav Zimmerman was the Rosh Yeshiva of Skoie and had this to say about Rav Yitzchak Isaac Herzog ztz'l, the Chief Rabbi of the State Of Israel who Rav Aharon Kotler called a מאוימ-דיגר גאון - a "scary genuis [and that is Rav Aharon talking!!]. What makes this interesting is that the "hashkafos" of Rav Aharon and Rav Herzog were quite distant. But Torah is Torah and Rav Herzog had Torah:






Here is a picture from the funeral of Rav Herzog:

(מימין לשמאל: הרב יצחק ניסים, הרב קוטלר, הרב אונטרמן [?], הרב יעקב משה טולידנו, הרב זווין)


King And Navi - Part 7 - The Brisker Rov On The Malchus Of Yehoshua And A Possible Way To Argue

לזכות ידיד נפשי הרה"ג ר' מאיר זאב שטיינמץ שליט"א וכל ב"ב לברכה והצלחה בכל מעשי ידיהם!!!

We established a principal that Yehoshua was a quasi-מלך but not full מלך. Let us now see a gemara [Sanhedrin 8a]:

כתיב (דברים לא, ז) כי אתה תבוא וכתיב (דברים לא, כג) כי אתה תביא אמר רבי יוחנן אמר לו משה ליהושע אתה והזקנים שבדור עמהם אמר לו הקב"ה טול מקל והך על קדקדם דבר אחד לדור ואין שני דברין לדור.


One text reads: For you [Yehoshua] must go with this people, etc. [implying that he was equal to the people]. And another text says: For you shall bring the Children of Israel [implying that he was greater than they]? 

R. Yochanan said [that Moshe said the first pasuk equating Yehoshua to the people] You shall be like the elders of the generation that are among them. But the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Yehoshua [the second pasuk]: Take a stick and strike them upon their head; there is only one leader to a generation not two.

The Brisker Rov asks mechila but it seems that the gemara is almost sacrilegious!! Moshe is having an argument with Hashem?? How can we say that one pasuk was Moshe speaking and another Hashem, when everything in the Chumash is the Word of the Lord!! 

He answers that Moshe wanted to appoint Yehoshua as the head of the Sanhedrin but Hashem came and said that he will be more - a full fledged king!! And that is the meaning of "טול מקל והך על קדקדם" - "take a stick and strike them on the head" - Meaning that you can make supra-legal judgment qua king. See the words of the Rov ztz"l in the "Stencil" [it helps your understanding if you have thick Brisker peyos]. 






However - based on what we have been saying we can revise this understanding and say that Hashem was appointing Yehoshua a shofet-Nasi-quasi-king and therefore the laws of מורד במלכות and שאלה באורים ותומים apply to him as well even though he is not a full fledged king [and we saw this in the Drashos HaRan]. The meaning of "take a stick and knock them upside the head" [my translation:-)] means that as Nasi you also have kingly powers.  

[עפ"י באר מרים הל' מלכים ג' א' עיי"ש וינעם לך מאד!]

Who Was Rav Kook? - Part 2

There are many people who don't respect Rav Kook and disparage him. What is the response?

The best response is to learn his writings and see what type of person we are talking about. Then one can compare the writings of his detractors and we will find that just about all of them are not even in his league. He is Major League and they are comparatively Class A Minor League or even Pee Wee League [if we may use a baseball metaphor].  

So the criticism of someone who is not even close to him in Torah and tzidkus doesn't shake us. If there is SUBSTANTIVE criticism of his philosophy then it may be discussed but with the knowledge that he was kodesh kodashim.

Look at what Rav Charlap said to the Chevre Kadisha who performed the Rav's tahara: You should know that you are carrying a person who had EVERYTHING - Tanach, Mishna, Bavli, Yerushalmi, the revealed and hidden torahs in their totality. 

A person who never looked at woman from the time he realized that a woman is a woman [!!!] and thus he merited to teach Torah. The pasuk says ובריתך ינצורו - You must guard your bris, in the merit of which יורו משפטיך ליעקב ותורתך לישראל - You will teach your laws to Yaakov and your Torah to Yisrael. [It says this about Shevet Levi of which the Rav was a part].

Then he had everyone say vidui and do teshuva before taking the body which they did with great emotion. .  


Who Was Rav Kook - Part 1

Rav Kook's yahrtzeit is the 3rd of Elul.


All he wanted was to see the sweetness of Hashem. He was so happy to see E.Y. being rebuilt. He loved the Land, Hashem and every Jew. his words shone like the אורים ותומים!!

Eretz Yisrael Elevates One To Great Heights

לזכות ידידי אהובי ר' יוסף עזרא בן עזרא לשפע ברכה והצלחה בכל אשר יעשו!
לזכות ידידי אהובי הרה"ג ר' ישראל אפפעל וכל בני ביתו לשפע ברכה והצלחה בכל אשר יעשו!

The Torah tells us that when we come to Eretz Yisrael [Devarim 12/20] "בכל אוות נפשך תאכל בשר" - "With all the desires of your heart eat meat". In the desert we were only allowed to consume the meat of korbanos but in E.Y. we can eat meat without it being a korban. 

This can be understood two ways: 

1] As a concession to human weakness. It is really not good to eat meat but the Torah allows it anyway-  "בכל אוות נפשך" - But know that it is an אכילת תאווה - not a holy eating but one that comes from a place of raw physical desire. 

2] Once we come to E.Y. we are so elevated that even our consumption of meat is like a korban. The Land purifies our souls and raises us to much higher levels [that is why Moshe had such a strong urge to enter the Land].  

If we understand the second way then we can also understand why the Torah has to tell us "רק חזק לבלתי אכול את הדם" - "Just strengthen yourself not to eat the blood". Why do we need extra strength not to eat the blood? Blood is GROSS to eat?! The answer is that our eating is so holy and spiritual it is like a korban and just as a korban requires the sprinkling of the blood on the mizbeach, so too our eating should require a consumption of the blood as part of the offering. That is why the Torah has to give a special warning NOT to consume blood!! "BE STRONG AND DON'T CONSUME THE BLOOD!" We are on a high level - but not THAT high. 

It says in the תיקוני זוהר that when we are in the diaspora, we are like a woman who left the domain of her husband. This means that in E.Y. revelation of Hashem comes from a place of unity while outside the land it comes from a place of multiplicity, as Chazal teach us that one who dwells outside the land is like an idol worshiper [!!! - I have SOOOO MANY aveiros on my ledger, thank G-d I don't have that one anymore. I need all the help I can get!]. That is why the pasuk says about מעשר שני that  לא תוכל לאכול בשעריך - You will not be able to eat it [outside of Yerushalayim] in your gates. Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha says that this means that is not PERMITTED to eat it outside of Yerushalayim. So why does the Torah phrase it that one will be unable?? E.Y. is so holy that one should ideally be in a state where he IS UNABLE to sin. When one is so connected to the source, sin becomes impossible. 

That is the meaning of what a says a little bit later in the parsha [14/1] that one may not inflict a wound on himself as part of his mourning the death of a relative. The idea of the laws of aveilus is that we connect to the dead person by distancing ourselves from active participation in this world just as the dead person is no longer here. But we only rip our garments which can be changed and are not an essential part of us but we don't rip into our bodies which are closer to Hashem than they are to the dead person. We are deeply connected to the source always!! 

When One May Speak Disparagingly About His Fellow

לישועת אלחנן בן הענא מרים 

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 10, section 1

If someone saw someone harming a person by stealing from him or damaging his property, whether the robbed or harmed person knows it or not, or that he shamed him or distressed him or embarrassed him. If one clearly knows that he did not return the stolen item and did not pay him his damage and did not ask forgiveness for his wrongdoing, and one saw this oneself, one may relate the incident to people in order to assist the injured party and to disparage evil deeds before people. But one must be careful that seven rules are fulfilled.

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 10, section 2

These are: a) One must see the act oneself and no merely hear it from others oneself one clarified afterwards that it was true. 
b) One must be very careful to not immediately decide that the matter was theft, robbery or damage and suchlike, but carefully examine the matter to see whether it comes under these categories. 
c) One must first gently rebuke the wrongdoer as this might help and make him change his ways. If he does not listen, one can then tell the public his wrongdoing against his fellow. (If one knows he will not accept the rebuke, this is explained later in paragraph 7). 
d) One may not exaggerate the wrongdoing. 
e) One's intent must be for benefit as explained later in paragraph 4, and not to enjoy disparaging the person or because of prior hatred.
f) If one can bring about the benefit somehow without speaking lashon hara about the person, one may not speak about him. 
g) One may not cause more damage than halacha demands to the person through one's story than would have been caused if one testified against him in beis din. We explain this later in hilchos rechilus chapter 9.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kotton And Shikor In Zimun

לזכות אבי מורי ואמי מורתי שיחיו!!




Suggested Hagaon Hatzadik Rav Dov Hakohen Kook Shlita that maybe regarding a שיכור the issue is not his lack of daas but that he is מזלזל באמירה בפני המלך.

Chalitzas Kotton Vs. Eating Chodosh That Was Taken Shelo Lishma


HaGaon Hatzadik Rav Dov Kook Shlita makes a חילוק between the chalitza of a קטן where we say that we don't wait and go for the זריזות while the חדש case is אפרושי מאיסורא where we say that the מעלה of separating from semi - איסור is more important that the מעלה of זריזות.   

לזכות ר' ישראל יעקב בן שרה לאה

King And Navi - Part 6: What Type Of King Was Yehoshua??

לזכות שיינדי חנה בת מלכה לברכה והצלחה בכל מעשי ידיה!!

Based on the forgoing, it would appear that Yehoshua was only a king like a שופט, for they too were called kings. For this reason there was a law of לא ימרה את פיך to obligate one who defies his word with the death penalty as a מורד במלכות. He also had a דין מלך with respect to asking of the אורים ותומים since he was a ruler. But it seems that he only had a דין מלך when there was no other מלך among the Jewish people but when there was a מלך he was the only king and there was no other and then all the Nasi [who was like a שופט as we saw] has, is the power of the Av Beis Din of the Sanhedrin but it has nothing to do with מלכות. 

This idea is explicit in the Maharsha [Sanhedrin 20b], Chasdei Dovid on the Tosefta [פ"ד דסנהדרין] and the basic idea can be found in the Ramban [Bereishis 49/10] that the complaint Hashem had against the Jews for requesting a king [who it is actually a mitzva to appoint] was that they should not have asked through Shmuel who was already a שופט. And the Meiri says that they wrongfully wanted to replace the Navi with a king. The Ramban said that Shmuel was a שופט and נביא and waged wars for them based on the word of Hashem and saved them. The Chasdei Dovid explained more that since by appointing Shaul, Shmuel was "demoted" and we pasken מעלין בקודש ולא מורידין - one must go up in kedusha and not down, it was wrong to ask for a king. But there should be no problem because he could remain the Nasi of the Sanhedrin and a שופט? The answer is that as we said, there can be no מלכות of a Nasi and שופט when there is a bona fide מלך and through the appointment of Shaul, Shmuel's status as a king was nullified. See also Rashi [נצבים כ"ט י"ב] who writes יוצאים מפרנס לפרנס משמואל לשאול - They go from leader to leader, from Shmuel to Shaul. Meaning that through the appointment of Shaul, the reins were passed and Shmuel lost his status of king which was effectively transferred to Shaul. And that fits very well with our explanation. 

Now we can understand the Medrash that says that the Malchus of Yehoshua was שאולה - borrowed. Meaning that he was only considered מלך because there was no full fledged מלך and this means to emphasize that his דין מלך wasn't inherent to him but rather a title accorded by the Torah in cases where there was no political leader. For this reason the pasuk says in Divrei Hayomim ויורישו את ההגראים - they defeated the Hagraim, in the context of calling Yehoshua a king whose מלכות was borrowed. This war took place on the east of the Jordan and it was thus not a מלחמת מצוה but a מלחמת רשות. And the chidush of the pasuk is that even though the מלכות was only שאולה בידו - borrowed by Yehoshua, a "pseudo-malchus", if you will [and even if you won't], Yehoshua nevertheless waged this war. 

Our thesis is really encapsulated by the Ran in his Drashos [דרוש י"א] who says that only when there is no king then the שופט acts as both שופט and מלך. And he concludes by quoting the pasuk about Yehoshua כל אשר ימרה את פיך - Anyone who defies your word [will be executed], which proves that the Yehoshua had the authority of a king even though he wasn't actually a king and Chazal expounded the pasuk ויהי בישורון מלך as referring to Moshe. And just about exactly the same idea was expressed by the Abarbanel in his preface to Sefer Shoftim. So we see the unique status of a שופט as a quasi-king empowered by the Torah but not a king intrinsically. And that was the nature of Yehoshua and Moshe's מלכות. And when there is another king, they lose their status as kings. But we must say that the Nasi and Resh Galusa are different because Rebbi [the Nasi] would have had the status as king had the Resh Galusa not been ABOVE him [as we saw earlier from the gemara].

OHHHHHH is there a lot more to say. Stay tuned. BLI NEDER!!  

[עפ"י ס' באר מרים פ"א ה"ג]        

Link - Together

I can listen to this song 10 thousand times and not get tired of it. 


SOME DAYYYYYY WE WILLL ALLLL BEEEE TOGETHERRRRRRR....

Dealing With Darkness

There are two ways to relate to failure in a healthy way. One is to realize that all of our failures will LEAD to greater success as part of a process. 

The other way is even better. To realize that the failure is ITSELF a success. Not that it will LEAD to something better but that the experience itself was part of your growth and a SUCCESS. 

כי נפלתי קמתי כי אשב בחושך ה' אור לי  - The falling is itself rising, the sitting in the dark is itself light.  

[Rav Charlap ztz"l]  

Why Moshe Couldn't Judge Alone

לזכות שמחה בן נעכא גיטל
לאה אסתר בת פרימט
נעמי בת טובה

Yisro said to Moshe "מדוע אתה יושב לבדך וכל העם נצב עליך מן הבוקר עד הערב" -  "Why are you judging alone and all of the people are standing over you from morning until night". It seems that his complaint was that he was judging alone and it says in Pirkei Avos - אל תהי דן יחידי שאין דן יחידי אלא אחד. "One should not judge alone for only Hashem can judge alone". 

Moshe answered "כי יבוא העם אלי לדרוש האלקים"-  "When the nation comes to me to seek out Hashem". Meaning that they are not coming as two sides in an argument with each side making opposing claims but rather are in agreement and they just want to know what Hashem says [In איסור והיתר one may judge alone because there are not two opposing parties. Moshe said that even when people came for judgment it was like איסור והיתר]. That is why the pasuk says "כי יהיה להם דבר בא אלי" - "When they have a "thing" they come to me". Not דברים - plural but דבר singular. There is no contradiction or denial between the two parties and my job is "והודעתי את חוקי האלקים ואת תורותיו" - I tell them the word of Hashem. 

Yisro answers "נבל תבל וכו' לא תוכל עשהו לבדך" - "You are going to wilt, you can't do it yourself". You can't be sure that things will always remain like this and that there won't be cases of conflicting stories so you can't judge alone. Yisro concludes "אם את הדבר הזה תעשה וצוך אלקים ויכלת עמוד" -"If you do this and Hashem commands and you will be able to stand". He was alluding to the fact that the time has not yet come for sitting - that will only happen when Dovid Hamelech becomes king. [See here and you will understand]. This is what it says in Zvachim [102] that Moshe aspired to be king but it wasn't granted to him. Yisro was the father of converts and felt that is was Dovid, descended from converts, who would finally reach the level of sitting. So he told Moshe that he has to "stand" - ויכלת עמוד, meaning [as we explained in the post we linked] that his השגות are not yet קבוע. 

In the future we will return to a state where there is no conflict between the parties and thus Moshiach will be able to judge alone once again, this time with his sense of smell as it says והריחו ביראת השם - He will be able to smell the fear of heaven, and Chazal say מורח ודאין - He will smell and judge. [See here]. People will have such strong Yiras Shomayim that they won't contradict each other. 

Shmuel said that there is no difference between this world and the next except for political freedom, but there will be no drastic changes in nature. So even though Moshiach will be close to the level of Moshe, since even Moshe wasn't able to smell by judging, Moshiach won't either according to the Rambam [who paskened like Shmuel - and this explains the Kesef Mishna]. 
     
"אך צדיקים יודו לשמך ישבו ישרים את פניך" -  The Tzadikim thank Hashem and the straight ones sit before His face. This means that the ישרים strive to come to a place where their השגות in Hashem are בקביעות  which is represented by sitting [as we saw already in the linked essays]. 

['רזי לי מאמר כ]

Teach Your Kids Not To Speak Lashon Hara

לישועת אלחנן בן הענא מרים 

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 9, section 5

Even if one hears one's young children speaking lashon hara, it is a mitzvah to rebuke them and stop them as it says, Educate the child according to his way (Proverbs 22:6). As the Orach Chaim (343:1) explains, this applies to all Torah prohibitions. 

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 9, section 6

If someone told someone something, he may not repeat it to others unless the person gave him permission and that is only if it is not lashon hara.

Greatness Is Humility



R' Sacks

There is a fascinating detail in the passage about the king in this week’s parsha. The text says that “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he must write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll before the levitical priests” (Deut. 17: 18). He must “read it all the days of his life” so that he will be God-fearing and never break Torah law. But there is another reason also: so that he will “not begin to feel superior to his brethren” (Kaplan translation). The king had to have humility. The highest in the land should not feel himself to be the highest in the land.

This is hugely significant in terms of the Jewish understanding of political leadership. There are other commands directed to the king. He must not accumulate horses so as not to establish trading links with Egypt. He should not have too many wives for “they will lead his heart astray.” He should not accumulate wealth. These were all standing temptations to a king. As we know and as the sages pointed out, it was these three prohibitions that Solomon, wisest of men, broke, marking the beginning of the long slow slide into corruption that marked much of the history of the monarchy in ancient Israel. It led, after his death, to the division of the kingdom.

But these were symptoms, not the cause. The cause was the feeling on the part of the king that, since he is above the people he is above the law. As the rabbis said (Sanhedrin 21b), Solomon justified his breach of these prohibitions by saying: the only reason that a king may not accumulate wives is that they will lead his heart astray, so I will marry many wives and not let my heart be led astray. And since the only reason not to have many horses is not to establish links with Egypt, I will have many horses but not do business with Egypt. In both cases he fell into the trap of which the Torah had warned. Solomon’s wives did lead his heart astray (1 Kings 11: 3), and his horses were imported from Egypt (1 Kings 10: 28-29). The arrogance of power is its downfall. Hubris leads to nemesis.

Hence the Torah’s insistence on humility, not as a mere nicety, a good thing to have, but as essential to the role. The king was to be treated with the highest honour. In Jewish law, only a king may not renounce the honour due to his role. A parent may do so, so may a rav, so may even a nasi, but not a king (Kiddushin 32a-b). Yet there is to be a complete contrast between the external trappings of the king and his inward emotions.

Maimonides is eloquent on the subject:

Just as the Torah grants him [the king] great honour and obliges everyone to revere him, so it commands him to be lowly and empty at heart, as it says: ‘My heart is empty within me’ (Ps. 109:22). Nor should he treat Israel with overbearing haughtiness, for it says, “so that his heart be not haughty over his brothers” (Deut. 17: 20).

He should be gracious and merciful to the small and the great, involving himself in their good and welfare. He should protect the honour of even the humblest of men. When he speaks to the people as a community, he should speak gently, as it says, “Listen my brothers and my people….” (1 Chronicles 28:2), and similarly, “If today you will be a servant to these people…” (1 Kings 12:7).

He should always conduct himself with great humility. There was none greater than Moses, our teacher. Yet he said: “What are we? Your complaints are not against us” (Ex. 16:8). He should bear the nation’s difficulties, burdens, complaints and anger as a nurse carries an infant. (Maimonides, Laws of Kings 2: 6)

The model is Moses, described in the Torah as “very humble, more so than any person on the face of the earth” (Num. 12: 3). “Humble” here does not mean diffident, meek, self-abasing, timid, bashful, demure or lacking in self-confidence. Moses was none of these. It means honouring others and regarding them as important, no less important than you are. It does not mean holding yourself low; it means holding other people high. It means roughly what Ben Zoma meant when he said (Avot 4: 1), “Who is honoured? One who honours others.” This led to one of the great rabbinic teachings, contained in the siddur and said on Motsei Shabbat:

Rabbi Yochanan said, Wherever you find the greatness of the Holy One, blessed be He, there you find His humility. This is written in the Torah, repeated in the Prophets, and stated a third time in the Writings. It is written in the Torah: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awe-inspiring God, who shows no favoritism and accepts no bribe.” Immediately afterwards it is written, “He upholds the cause of the orphan and widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing” … (Megillah 31a)

God cares for all regardless of rank, and so must we, even a king, especially a king. Greatness is humility.

In the context of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the Second, there is a story worth telling. It happened in St James Palace on 27 January 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Punctuality, said Louis XVIII of France, is the politeness of kings. Royalty arrives on time and leaves on time. So it is with the Queen, but not on this occasion. When the time came for her to leave, she stayed. And stayed. One of her attendants said he had never known her to linger so long after her scheduled departure time.

She was meeting a group of Holocaust survivors. She gave each survivor – it was a large group – her focussed, unhurried attention. She stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story. One after another, the survivors were coming to me in a kind of trance, saying, “Sixty years ago I did not know whether I would be alive tomorrow, and here I am today talking to the Queen.” It brought a kind of blessed closure into deeply lacerated lives. Sixty years earlier they had been treated, in Germany, Austria, Poland, in fact in most of Europe, as subhuman, yet now the Queen was treating them as if each were a visiting Head of State. That was humility: not holding yourself low but holding others high. And where you find humility, there you find greatness.

It is a lesson for each of us. R. Shlomo of Karlin said, Der grester yester hora is az mir fargest az mi is ein ben melekh, “The greatest source of sin is to forget we are children of the king.” We say Avinu malkenu, “Our father, our king.” It follows that we are all members of a royal family and must act as if we are. And the mark of royalty is humility.

Holy Of Holies?

This is from the Sichos of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook z"l, Parshas Shoftim. He says that Medinat Yisrael is Holy Holies -  קודש קדשים. Big claim. Why? Because Hashem made it. 

O.K. But Hashem also made the U.S.A. Is that קודש קדשים? As a matter of fact, there were many revealed miracles that occured in order to create the United States. [Read Michael Medeved's "The American Miracle - Divine Providence In The Rise Of The Republic". ניסי ניסים!]

I mean - Hashem created EVERYTHING!!! Does that make EVERYTHING קודש קדשים???

Anybody out there can enlighten us??


A Double Bracha

לזכות ר' אליעזר יצחק בן בתיה וכל בני ביתו לשפע ברכה והצלחה 

What does it mean when we say in davening that when Hashem split the sea He was ברוך הוא ומבורך - Blessed is He and blessed. Why isn't one "blessed" enough?

Siach Yitzchak [Rav Yitzchak Gandman Pietrokov, Poland 1891] - Even though He is flowing with blessing, He still wants us to bless Him.

Bi-roomo Shel Olam [Rav Dov Kook Shlita] - ברוך is the actual blessing that He gives. מבורך is our perception of the blessing. Usually there is a gap between our perception and the actual bracha but at the splitting of the sea there was such a great revelation that the actual blessing and our perception were equal. 

דוד המלך said כאשר שמענו כן ראינו בעיר אלקינו - As we heard so we saw in the city of Hashem. Normally we can't see with our eyes what we hear from our ancestors about the greatness of Hashem, but in עיר אלקינו  - the Holy City of Yerushalayim, we can SEE what we hear. 

That is all I could find. Any other ideas??

[ועי' תפארת שלמה ליקוטים עמ' קס"א]


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Keep Believing!

Image result for images for hope quotes

The Neshama Praises

לזכות כ"ק מרן אד"ש 

We say in davening כל הנשמה תהלל י-ה - Every neshama will praise you.

The neshama praises Hashem. The body - wants more of that potato kugel and another helping of cholent. The soul wants the glory of Hashem, the body wants its own glory and pleasure. The more neshama-dik you are the more you will praise Hashem.

Dovid Hamelech was able to dance in a completely uninhibited way in front of the Aron [שמואל א ו י"ד] because he was living such a soulful existence that he didn't care what people thought. All that mattered was כבוד שמים.

I hope we can start moving in that direction!!:-):-)  

['עפ"י ואני תפילה עמ' י]

Find A Good Neighborhood

לישועת אלחנן בן הענא מרים 
Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 9, section 3

One must be careful not to give praise that leads to loss. For example, to publicize that someone provided him with eat and drink and went to a lot of trouble for him, for through this many empty people will go to him and deplete his money. Regarding this it says, If who blesses his fellow with a loud voice early in the morning - it is regarded as a curse for him (Proverbs 27:14). From this we learn that if one got a loan, he should not publicize the lender's generosity. It is also dust of lashon hara to say things that make people suspect he is speaking lashon hara.

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 9, section 4

It is forbidden to live in the neighborhood of people who constantly speak lashon hara (baalei lashon hara), and even more to sit with them and listen to them even if one does not intend to believe what they say as we wrote earlier (6:2). If one's disciple speaks lashon hara constantly one should banish him if one knows rebuke will not help. 

If one finds oneself among a group of such people due to circumstances outside one's control and finds they are speaking lashon hara, if one estimates that rebuke will stop them, one is certainly obligated by Torah law to rebuke them. Even if one estimates that rebuke will not stop them but figures it won't make them speak more lashon hara, one is not allowed to keep silent. For people might say he is like them and agreed to what they said. One is also obligated to speak up and rebuke them for the honor of the innocent person they are speaking of. This is one of the reasons one is obligated to leave such a group, for one is punished if one listens and does not rebuke them.

Friday, August 18, 2017

King And Navi - Part 5: Some Zionism - Double Your Money - Happy Lights - Some Swahili - Super Geshmak

לזכות ידי"נ הרה"ג ר' ישראל אפפעל וכל בני ביתו היקרים
לזכות נעמי בת טובה 
נועם בן לאה

It says in the Rambam [Sanhedrin 4/10]  that we may only give Semicha in E.Y. [Eretz Yisrael] and all of E.Y. that was captured when we left Egypt [עולי מצרים] is considered E.Y.  The "Double Money" [Kesef Mishna] writes that the Rambam derives this from the gemara [Sanhedrin 5a] that says that having רשות to judge in E.Y. includes the border cities. If it includes the border cities then it certainly includes those areas that were captured by the עולי מצרים even though the עולי בבל did not capture them. 

The Minchas Chinuch [491] proverbially scratches his head. What has one got to do with another? The question of judging with רשות in E.Y. depends on how far the rulership of the Jews in E.Y. extends. If granted permission, one may judge until the border of where we rule. But the question of Semicha has nothing to do with how far our governance extends but rather whether it is considered halachically part of E.Y. or not. So how does the Rambam know that if the area was captured only by עולי מצרים  but not by עולי בבל it is considered part of E.Y. as far as Semicha is concerned?

Big kashya!! 

The "Happy Light" [known colloquially as the אור שמח] says that just as we follow the borders of עולי מצרים with respect to the law of חטאת קהל - bringing a korban when the majority of Jews [רוב קהל] in E.Y. sinned when they erringly followed the Beis Din [as the Yerushalmi says], so too with regard to Semicha we follow the borders of the E.Y. that were captured by עולי מצרים. 

But, as they say in the Yeshivos, SOIF KOIL SOIF, what does the קרבן חטאת have to do with the law of Semicha?? Or - מה ענין שמיטה אצל הר סיני??!!

Ahhhhh!! Says Rav Mann ztz"l - It would appear that the law of Semicha applies specifically in E.Y. because Semicha is the power of the Torah to govern in a place where the governance of Torah fully applies and everybody and their Aunt Bertha knows the Medrash that the Torah was meant to be kept only in E.Y. while outside the Land mitzvos are only practice for the future when we arrive home [עי' רמב"ן ואתחנן ד' ה' ואחרי מות י"ח כ"ה]. So it makes sense that Semicha which is about the power and rule of the Torah should only take place in the place where Torah was meant to be kept, namely in E.Y.!! That is also why רוב קהל depends on the population in E.Y., because that is where we were meant to keep the Torah [the Avnei Nezer explains differently - because there is no צבור outside of E.Y. only in E.Y. ואכמ"ל]. So the tzushetel ["comparison" in Swahili] the "Happy Light" makes between the חטאת של רוב קהל and Semicha is dancing - both depend on the place where we were meant to keep mitzvos!

Adds Rav Mann - We now have a new light on the Rambam [Sanhedrin 1/2]:

"We are obligated to appoint courts in every region and in every city only in Eretz Yisrael. In the diaspora, by contrast, we are not obligated to appoint courts in every region. This is derived from the continuation of the above verse: "Appoint...in all your gates which God your Lord is giving you for your tribes.""

The Ramban [at the beginning of Parshas Shoftim] understnds the Rambam to be saying that there is no obligation at all to appoint courts in the diaspora. Why not? Based on the forgoing - Since the diaspora is not the place to keep the Torah, there is no special mitzva to establish courts [unless they are practically needed]. Only in E.Y. must we appoint courts because there is the place where the Torah must be kept. And even according to those who understand the Rambam to be saying that even in the diaspora we must appoint courts just not in every region like in E.Y. - that is because Jews in the diaspora are no less the בני נח who are also commanded to establish a court system [as the Gevuras Ari says in Makkos 7a]. But the special mizva to establish courts in the place where Torah is the ruling authority is E.Y.

GESHHHHMAAAKKKK!!!!

And now we can understand the Kesef Mishna who said that the source of the Rambam's ruling that Semicha may be given in all areas captured by עולי מצרים is  from the gemara [Sanhedrin 5a] that says that having רשות to judge in E.Y. includes the border cities. If it includes the border cities then it certainly includes those areas that were captured by the עולי מצרים even though the עולי בבל did not capture them. The M.C. [not "Master Of Ceremonies" but "Minchas Chinuch"] asked what one has to do with the other? 

The answer is that the Nasi can give רשות to judge as a מחוקק - meaning wherever Torah law applies [as opposed to the Resh Galusa whose rulership is inherent to his position - he is a שבט - and not a Torah position]. If we see that as far as keeping the Torah the border cities are considered E.Y. [which is why the רשות of the Nasi is effective there], then SOITAINLY ["בודאי"] areas captured by עולי מצרים are under the jurisdiction of E.Y. and Torah law. 

והדברים שמחים!!!

I hope bs"D that in our next installment we finally explain the enigmatic מלכות of Yehoshua. 

STAY TUNED!!!   

Re'eh - Vanquish Your Yetzer

HIIIIIII SWWWEEETEST FRIENDS!!!!



It haasss beeeeeen tooo looooonggg!!! I have been so busy with my investment banker, my stock analyst, the various start ups I am running etc. that the weekly dvar Torah just got lost in the shuffle. I HAVE TO DO TESHUVAAAA!!! Elul is around the corner [where I live so are lots of A-rabs!!] As Shaquille O'Neil put it so well "Money, money, money. money! I am sick of all this talk 'bout money. All I want is to play bo', drink pepsi and wear Reebok!!" ME TOO!! Less about my stock portfolio and more about being a Jew [the Shaq isn't zoche to be a Jew so he is left with his cowhide, Pepsi and Reebok. But I am SOOOOO lucky that I have a Jewish mother and thus am a CHOSEN PERSON!!:-)]. Anyway I don't drink soda. 


In this weeks parsha we learn about the מסית, that evil fellow who subverts another Jew to serve idols. The Torah tells us [as goes the famous line from The Karate Kid lihavdil] NO MERCY. לא תחמול. He must be executed. 


The Sfas Emes says that this teaches us a lesson about the מסית we have within us. We have the power to execute our yezer hara instantaneously if we so desire. NO MERCY!!!


The pasuk also says that first the subverted person kills him and [if he doesn't do the job] then everybody else. ידך תהיה בו בראשונה להמיתו ויד כל העם באחרונה - Literally, first your hand will kill him and then the rest of the nation. 


This teaches us that if YOU overcome your yetzer hara then you give all of the other Jews the power. We are all one unit and have the capacity to impact others!!


In the words of the Master:


בפרשה של המסית צריך כל אדם להכין עצמו למצוה זו כי הוא ענין נכבד להיות מתפעל האדם להתהפך כרגע לשונא ממש ע"י ההסתה לקיים לא תחמול ולא תכסה. ומכ"ש שזה קאי על היצה"ר וסט"א שהוא המסית ומדיח. ואם נעשה האדם שונא ממש ע"י הסתה. יוכל להרוג אותו. כמ"ש אח"כ כי הרוג תהרגנו ע"י השנאה כנ"ל. הרוג הוא בפרטות מה שמסית לו. ותהרגנו הוא לגמרי שע"י נסיון אחד זוכה להתקדש בכל. ועוד ידך תהי' כו' ויד כל העם באחרונה. פי' כמ"ש כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה. א"כ מכ"ש שמה שגובר א' והורג היצה"ר שבו מזכה לכל ישראל שלא יהי' עוד כח להיצה"ר באותו דבר כמו מקודם. וזה עצמו צריך להוסיף כח לכל עובד ה' במה שיודע שע"י תגבורת שלו יחליש כח היצה"ר נגד כל ישראל כפי הכח של הנסיון:


We should be zoche to a sweet Shabbos and an Elul FILLED with simcha and teshuva from LOVE!!!


Love,
Me

Leaving Darkness

לזכות כ"ק מו"ר שליט"א 

Image result for images seeing the light

We say in davening יוצר אור ובורא חושך. This is based on the pasuk that says יוצר אור ובורא רע. So in our tefillah we substitute the word "darkness" "חושך" for "evil" "רע". 

Darkness is called evil. The gemara compares this world to darkness ["עוה"ז דומה ללילה"] for it casts a shadow on the truth. It is like a person who goes to a king's banquet but since it is dark he spills the wine all over himself, cuts himself with the steak knife etc. etc.  and he thinks that all of this good is really bad. But he is mistaken - if there would be light he would be able to enjoy and realize how good it is. Many of the Jews died during מכת חושך because they thought that the geulah was bad for them. They were living - and died - in darkness. 

The way to "see the light" is to fix the blemishes in our personalities. Then we experience a new world. It is really the same world but since we cleansed our soul of all of the filth that attached itself, we start living a blessed existence. 

You can do that TODAY!!!  

[עפ"י ואני תפילה עמ' י"א]