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‫‪Summer‬‬ ‫תשע"ט • ‪2019‬‬

‫ואתחנן • עקב • ראה • שופטים‬


RABBI

YONASAN ROODYN ONEG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Our holiday period starts

with Parshas Va’eschanan. This sedra, along with many of the others in Sefer Devarim, contains major yesodos in emunah and hashkafa, but are rarely studied in school, due to them falling during the weeks when school is out. Perhaps this is actually a blessing in disguise. These summer weeks, with their relaxed, family orientated schedule, provide us with an opportunity to discuss these themes with our children. This week’s parsha includes the shema, the most fundamental declaration of kaabalas ol malchus Shamayim. The shema contains the basic principles of ahavas Hashem¸ love of Hashem and Torah study and requires us to teach these to our children, ‫בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך ובשכבך‬ ‫ובקומך‬. Rav Simcha Zissel of Kelm says that the use of the letter ‫ ב‬before these verbs can be interpreted to say that the way that we teach these ideas to our children is davka in the way that we sit in our homes, the way that we travel, the way that we lie down and the way we get up. Torah living provides us with a rich, vibrant and exciting calendar, each season with its own moods and yamim tovim. The summer weeks, sandwiched between the sadness of the nine days and the ever increasing intensity of Elul, provide us with an opportunity to teach by example how one lives as a Jew. Whether we are sitting, relaxing at home or travelling on the motorway, the manner in which we start and end our days with Torah and Tefilla and the enthusiasm with which we do so, will ‫ אי’’ה‬provide our children with wonderful, positive lessons for life. It is with this in mind that we are proud to offer this publication to the kehilla. It hasn’t been easy to meet the tight deadlines to get this done in time, but the fact that it has been done is testimony to the importance that the entire team attach to this project. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all the contributing Rabbonim and generous sponsors as well as the graphic designers and printer who have worked around the clock to ensure to provide you with Torah material to learn, share and discuss over the holiday period. Wishing you an enjoyable and relaxing summer break.


Issue

214

‫בס"ד‬

‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה לשמה לעשות נחת רוח לאבינו שבשמים‬ ‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬

‫מוצאי שבת‬

‫פרשת ואתחנן‬

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬ 17 Aug 2019

‫קבלת שבת‬

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8.40

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8.11

8.36

8.23

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Rabbi Eli Hersh Kolel Hachodosh

STICKING TO YOUR GUNS ‫“ושמרתם ועשיתם כי היא חכמתכם ובינתכם לעיני‬ ”‫העמים אשר ישמעון את כל החוקים האלה‬ )‫ו‬:‫(דברים ד‬

You shall safeguard [them] and perform them, for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples who shall hear all these statutes… ‫בזאת תחשבו חכמים ונבונים לעיני העמים‬: ‫רש’’י‬

Through this you will be considered wise and understanding in the eyes of the peoples. (Artscroll Translation) In other words, solely through keeping Hashem’s Mitzvos will we achieve prestige among non-Jews. Many Jews throughout history have held fast to the fallacy that in order to be held in high esteem among the Gentiles, we must endeavour to impress them with our worldliness, our sophistication, our Nobel prize record. But the Torah (and History) reveals to us that the opposite is true. The more we attempt to prove ourselves to them, the less they respect us. (In the words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “Non-Jews respect Jews who respect their Judaism, and they are embarrassed by Jews who are embarrassed by their Judaism.”)

What does seem a bit odd, however, is the Torah telling us this as a motive for us to keep the Torah. Surely the opinion of non-Jews shouldn’t be our primary motivation. Is there no better reason out there for us to do Mitzvos, other than a bit of ego-stroking? The Kli Yakar provides the answer to this, with a basic yet profound psychological insight: For better or for worse, people are influenced by the opinions of others. Simply put, the Torah doesn’t mean to imply that the above is a reason to keep the Torah. Rather, it is addressing a part of our psyche that may be restricting our Avodas Hashem - intimidated by fear of public opinion. It is this aspect of us that the Torah wishes to reassure that on the contrary – being a Torah-True Jew will earn us the respect of the world. (Hence the wording of the Posuk. ‫ – כל החוקים‬all of the Mitzvos. The intention is to include our performance of the Mitzvos Chuki’im, such as Shatnez or Parah Aduma, which lacking a human rationale, would seem to invite ridicule.) The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l in Likutei Sichos makes it clear that the Geula hinges on Jews feeling and acting as Jews in an increasingly secular world. It goes without saying that we should

For questions on Divrei Torah, please email the editor Rabbi Yonasan Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk

N OW R E AC H

R’ Sacks adds that “Ambivalence spells the end of identity, because it cannot be passed on to our children.” Only a strong sense of mission will enable the continuity of Klal Yisroel. M

To suggest an idea or a response to the ideas exchange please email ideas@oneg.org.uk

ING

45 0 0 P E O P L E

I N 24 C O U

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never allow the opinions of others to dictate the way we should live our lives. Secular ideals and cultures have no place in our homes and our communities. Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit”a interprets the posuk (based on a Gemara in Taanis) “Eretz asher avaneha barzel…” – “a land whose stones are iron” – that our leaders need to be strong like iron, to prevent our communities falling to the winds of change.

N T R I ES

Yerushalayim, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Baltimore, Beit- Shemesh, Birmingham, Borehamwood, Budapest, Cancun, Detroit, Edgware, Elstree, Gateshead, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Hale, Henderson, Hong Kong, Ilford, Johannesburg, Lakewood, Larnaca, Las Vegas, Leeds, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Memphis, Miami, Milan, New York, Oslo, Paris, Petach Tikva, Philadelphia, Pressburg, Radlett, Ruislip, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Stanmore, Southend, Tallinn, Tarzana, Toronto, Uman, Vienna, Zurich


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Oneg Shabbos Issue 214

The Depth of our Shema Rabbi Daniel Fine Community Rabbi, Stanmore and Canons Park US; Hasmonean Beis Programme

The start of Mishnayos Brachos speaks about the mitzvah of Shema – why begin with this mitzvah? Based on the Tzlach, it seems that Chazal wanted to echo the sentiments of the first of the Dibros. Since the Dibros open with emunah and yichud Hashem, the first mitzvah of the Torah She’be’al Peh is Shema – which revolves around emunah and yichud Hashem. As the Nefesh Hachaim (3:6 and 3:11) explains: the kavanah a person should have when uttering ‘echad’ is that Hashem is completely one – and there is nothing apart from Him…One should also focus on the fact that Hashem is the source of our neshamos and the lives of everything here. This is also why we utter baruch shem quietly. For the Gemara Pesachim (56a) writes that our saying baruch shem quietly is comparable to a princess

who desires some food. The princess cannot openly ask for it, for that is beneath her dignity. But she does crave it, so she cannot ignore that. Therefore, they bring it to her secretly and quietly. It seems from this Gemara that our saying baruch shem is an embarrassment for Hashem?! The answer is that for Hashem it is indeed an insult! For ants to declare a human as their king is an insult to the king. For mere humans to declare Hashem as king is also in essence beneath Hashem’s dignity. Yet due to His humility, He gave us an opportunity to earn closeness to Him and praise Him. This is why we utter baruch shem quietly (though on Yom Kippur we are at the level where we are uninhibited by our physical faculties – we are akin to angels and can therefore praise Hashem fully and loudly). We can now understand what happened to Rabbi Akiva. For the Gemara (Brachos 61b) tells us that when they took Rabbi Akiva out to be killed, it was time for Shema and while the Romans were combing his flesh with metal spikes, he was accepting malchus shamayim. The students asked Rabbi Akiva ‘is this the extent one must go?’ to which Rabbi Akiva replied ‘all my life I have been waiting to fulfil the pasuk bechol nafshecha – even if they take your soul. Now that I am in a position to fulfil it, should I turn away?’ Rabbi Akiva said the word echad in a long, extended fashion, and he died whilst saying it. The Maharal asks why Rabbi Akiva died with the word echad – why not with the words bechol nafshecha? The Maharal asks elsewhere how is it possible to love Hashem? Love only exists between two equal (or somewhat comparable) beings, not between a finite human and an infinite G-d! He explains that we can find the answer from love between husband and wife. For though man and woman are very different, they can love each other. How? Because love is an outgrowth of love of one’s self. We have a natural

predisposition to loving oneself. The way we love others is by seeing them as part of us. A successful marriage sees both blend into one partnership; they complete each other. The love exists because they realise that there are not two disconnected people here – they are one. In saying this, we can be commanded to love Hashem, because He is the source of everything – we are His. We are intimately connected to Him, more so than towards another human being in fact. This is why Rabbi Akiva died with the word echad on his lips. For Rabbi Akiva was so enwrapped with a consciousness of Hashem’s existence that He was mevatel himself to Hashem. He no longer associated himself with his body (he therefore did not feel the pain of the Roman torture) – he was the soul. This was the echad he died with – that unity and making Hashem part of a person is the root of being able to give up one’s life for Him, and indeed the root of loving Hashem. The Yefei Einayim references the Yerushalmi which records that Turnus Rufus was astounded that Rabbi Akiva’s face showed only jot, no pain. The reason was, because (as the Maharam MiRotenberg writes in a teshuva) one who gives himself over le’shem shamayim will not feel pain. How can we tap into this on our level? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 61:1) writes that a person should say Shema with fear and trepidation. The Mishnah Brurah (61:3) adds that a person should visualise themselves being asked to give up their lives for Hashem. This means genuinely picturing a vivid scenario of being threatened with death or idolatry. If we wish to pass that ordeal (even if we never face it), it is considered as if we did, as it says for You we have been killed all day (Tehilim 44:23). When we look into our lives and are able to genuinely dedicate them to Hashem, we will have realised and understood the yichud Hashem of the Shema. M


17 August 2019

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשה ואתחנן‬

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Rabbi Dov Fisher Torah Temimah Primary School

Entering the Comfort Zone

R

ebbi Shimon ben Gamliel tells us that there are no Yomim Tovim which quite parallel those of Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av. The Gemora towards the end of Ta’anis immediately asks, what is the significance of Tu B’Av? Yom Kippur of course needs no lengthy discourse to explain its greatness. The day on which all of the Jewish people’s sins are forgiven has, and always will be a day of great spiritual elevation and joy. But why Tu B’Av? What is the greatness that lies behind this day which causes it to rank higher than all of the other Yomin Tovim? The Gemoro relays several opinions as to why there is cause for celebration on Tu B’Av. The most perplexing reason is that of Rav Masno, who explains that it was the day on which that those who were massacred by the Romans in the great city of Beitar were allowed to be buried. On that day, adds Rav Masno, the Brocho of “‫”הטוב והמטיב‬ was instituted by the Chachomim in Yavne. “‫”הטוב‬ that the bodies did not rot and “‫ ”המטיב‬that the bodies were buried. The searing question is how does burying bodies from a gruesome massacre justify creating a Yom Tov which, according to the Gemoro, supersedes almost every other festivity in the Jewish calendar? True, the refusal of the Romans to allow their burial only intensified the incredible sorrow of our nation and thus the mass burial was certainly positive, yet closure to suffering is not in and of itself a reason for national celebration.

people who had just been driven out of their homeland and who were incredibly frightened at the prospect of living amongst the nations of the world. He wanted to show them that He is still going to be with them at every step of the way even in Golus. When the Jewish people realised the Yechezkel was still receiving prophecy even after Churban and in Chutz L’oretz, they understood that despite all the terrible sins they had committed and were responsible for, Hashem would always be watching over them whenever and wherever they may find themselves. The Zohar goes further to say that not only the fact that Yechezkel received prophecy in Chutz L’oretz inspired the Jewish people at their point of greatest sorrow, but the very vision itself which Yechezkel saw a means to strengthen their resolve. The vision of Hashem’s own chariot surrounded by the fiery angels escorting the Jewish nation into Golus sent the message that, not only has Hashem not abandoned us, but rather He will be with us always, even at the darkest of times. But that was after the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh when direct prophecy still existed. Following the second Churban, however, after the vicious rampage and destruction which the Romans wrought, it was not so clear that Hashem was still watching over them. Yet when they saw that the bodies of the ‫הרוגי ביתר‬

The Yom Tov of Tu B’Av is so great because it reminds us of the boundless love which Hashem has for us always. It is this realisation which gives us the strength to endure this incredibly long, harsh and dark Golus

There is a well-known teaching of Chazal, that a Novi can only experience prophecy within the borders of Eretz Yisroel. It is for this reason that Yona Hanovi fled to Chutz L’oretz to avoid Hashem. He was fully cognisant of the fact that Hashem exists everywhere, but he ran in order to avoid experiencing any further prophecy. The question many of the commentaries ask therefore, is how could Yechezkel Hanovi receive his incredible prophecy of the ‫ מעשה המרכבה‬when the Possuk clearly states that he was in the diaspora?

Rashi answers simply that prophecy cannot begin outside of Eretz Yisroel, but if it has already begun it may continue on into Chutz L’oretz. According to Rashi therefore, Hashem rested His Presence on Yechezkel in Eretz Yisroel, and he was therefore able to continue in the same state even in Chutz L’oretz. The Malbim, however gives an alternative explanation which is truly inspiring. He writes that in truth the prophecy did begin in Chutz L’oretz yet here Hashem made an exception to the rule. Hashem made this exception in order to comfort the Jewish

had miraculously not begun to rot the Jewish people realised that despite everything Hashem continued to love them as always. They internalised the idea that just as a fathers love for his son never dies despite the necessity to discipline on occasion, so too the love that Hashem has for us is infinite and will always continue to exist forever. The Yom Tov of Tu B’Av is so great because it reminds us of the boundless love which Hashem has for us always. It is this realisation which gives us the strength to endure this incredibly long, harsh and dark Golus, and it is with this realisation that we will soon merit to see the third Beis Hamikdosh. M


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STAM TORAH

Oneg Shabbos Issue 214

'Wholeheartedly' Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead Rebbe/Guidance Counselor, Heichal HaTorah Principal, Ohr Naftoli, New Windsor

Sign up to receive Stam Torah via email each week at: www.stamtorah.info

During a lecture given on Tisha B’av a number of years ago, Harav Matisyahu Salomon shlita, the Lakewood Mashgiach, related the following personal story:

W

hen I was a young man I was a student in the Gateshead Yeshiva. The yeshiva had a hundred and twenty-five students; not large quantitatively, but qualitatively tremendous. The building was fairly small and we were packed onto the benches. The tables were so narrow that the volumes of gemara before us all overlapped each other. If a student wanted to turn the page he had to ask everyone around him to lift their gemaras first. Yet despite it all we sat and studied with tremendous diligence. “One day a Dayan from London came to visit the yeshiva. When he addressed the student body he explained that he did not wish to deliver a lecture. Rather he wanted to read to us a page from an American journal that he had read the week prior. “The article was written by an obviously irreligious Jew, albeit who possessed an appreciation for Jewish history. In the article the author explained that, along with a group of journalists, he was invited on a European tour. When they arrived in England one of the places they visited was a village in Northeast England called Wallsend. “Wallsend is an ancient village that dates back almost two millennia. When the Romans invaded and conquered England they constructed a wall to serve as a barrier to keep the mighty Scottish Picks out of England. The wall was called Hadrian’s Wall after the Roman Emperor. The village where the wall ended was aptly called Wallsend. Today there is nothing left of the wall except for a few moss-covered stones in the village of Wallsend. It is nothing more than a tourist attraction1.

1 In Rabbi Salomon’s words, “I’m not sure what you do when you arrive at the wall, other than to have a picnic and a beer next to the wall before leaving.”

“The day the journalist arrived at Wallsend he recalled that he had yahrtzeit for his mother and he wanted to recite kaddish in her memory. When he asked the tour guide if there were any Jewish Services in the area, the guide replied that there was a school in the village of Gateshead ten miles away. There he would be sure to find any religious service he needed. “The journalist wrote that he arrived at the yeshiva in the middle of the afternoon. He had never been in a yeshiva before and the sight that greeted him was extraordinary. There were tens of young men huddled together on small benches studying, debating, and arguing with passion and vibrancy. The journalist did not comprehend anything they were saying, but he stood and watched spellbound. But then he overheard something which caught his attention. One student called out to his friend, “But Rabbi Akiva says…!” Those words reverberated in his ears. “Even after they destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the Romans understood that their job was incomplete. In order to destroy the Jewish People, they had to stop the public study and teaching of Torah. Rabbi Akiva’s execution was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. His crime was that he taught Torah publicly. Hadrian ordered Rabbi Akiva to be killed in a most barbaric and heinous fashion to serve as an example of the severe consequences for teaching Torah. Yet today, centuries later, Hadrian and the Roman Empire are long gone, relegated to the history books and symbolized by a few moss-covered stones. Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, is alive and well. His teachings and legacy are still being promulgated and studied today!2 Rabbi Salomon concluded that the story gave him so much encouragement because it serves as a powerful representation of Hashem’s Promise, “But despite all this3, when they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not have been revolted by them nor will I have rejected them to obliterate them, to annul My covenant with them – for I am Hashem, their G-d4.” Rashi 2 Rabbi Salomon added that, in his opinion, “that is the only reason why there is a ridiculous place called Wallsend and why people still go to look at those stones. Because those stones are a testimony that Torah is Min Hashamayim (Divinely Ordained).” 3 i.e. the harsh curses that will befall Klal Yisroel when they do not hearken to the Word of G-d 4 Vayikra 26:44


17 August 2019

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשה ואתחנן‬

explains that a Jew must never think that the atrocities of exile prove that Hashem no longer loves and favors Klal Yisroel. His love for us is boundless, and even in exile the covenant remains in full force. All of the empires and countries that have sought to vanquish and obliterate us are gone. Yet we remain. That is the greatest sign of His love for us. The verses of Shema, recited thrice daily, form the cornerstone of our faith, responsibility, and devotion to Hashem. A Jew is obligated to state with conviction, “You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your “Me’od”5.” The gemara6 offers two explanations of the word ‘me’od’: The first explanation is that me’od means “with all of your resources”; one must prioritize Hashem over his money and physical resources. The second explanation is that one must love Hashem despite whatever “middah” - Character Trait/Divine Attribute Hashem employs towards him. At times Hashem may act toward a person with the attribute of justice, at other times with compassion. But no matter which attribute it is, one must realize that Hashem does all for the good and He must love Hashem for that. A Jew must love Hashem on Tisha B’av in the same vein as he loves Hashem on Simchas Torah. Even when events are inexplicable and painful, during times of loss and pain, one must remind himself that Hashem loves him and is always with him. Through that realization one will come to love Hashem, regardless of which ‘middah’ He utilizes towards him.

7 Furthermore, most of the Bais Hamikdash burned during the afternoon of the ninth and the morning of the tenth of Av. Why are we rising from our most intense state of mourning during the time when the flames were ravaging the Sanctuary? The Rebbe continued, “The truth is that we do not comprehend Hashem’s kindness and love for us. Our Sages explain that Hashem destroyed the Bais Hamikdash in order to preserve us. Had He allowed us to receive the retribution we justly deserved we would have been destroyed. But because He channeled His anger, as it were, towards the physical structure of the Bais Hamikdash, we were able to survive the harrowing and traumatic ordeal. Therein lies our solace! The very fact that Hashem destroyed the Bais Hamikdash demonstrates His love for us, for He destroyed His own home and exiled Himself, as it were, rather than destroy His Beloved Nation.

Today, centuries later, Hadrian and the Roman Empire are long gone, relegated to the history books and symbolized by a few moss-covered stones. Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, is alive and well. His teachings and legacy are still being promulgated and studied today!

The great Chassidic Master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, was renowned for his extreme piety and passion in his Service to Hashem. One night Rabbi Levi Yitzchok was staying at an inn. At midnight he sat down on the floor to recite Tikkun Chatzos 7 as he did every night.

When the innkeeper was awakened by the sounds of weeping coming from one of his rooms, he was alarmed and went to see what was wrong. Rabbi Levi Yitzchok gently explained to the ignorant innkeeper that he was reciting special prayers to mourn the destruction of the Temple and the elongated exile that we are subject to. The innkeeper replied that those tragic events transpired centuries earlier. Why cry over spilled milk? The Rebbe gently described to his host the grandeur and opulence that was Jerusalem. He described the Kohanim doing the service in the Bais Hamikdash and bringing the offerings on the altar, while the Levites sang harmoniously. He delineated the many miracles that were omnipresent in the Bais Hamikdash, and the feeling of closeness and connection that every Jew felt with his Creator. When the innkeeper heard the Rebbe’s description he began to cry. In fact, he cried so intensely that soon Rabbi Levi Yitzchok had to put his arm around the innkeeper to console him. “Despite what we have lost, we are actually quite fortunate”, began the Rebbe. “On Tisha B’av afternoon, after spending hours sitting on the floor and reciting lamentations, recounting all the tragedies that have befallen us as a people during the exile, we arise and don our Talis and Tefillin8. During Mincha we recite the added prayer “Nachem” which requests Hashem to console us for our losses. How does this drastic transition occur? How can we begin to accept consolation when moments before we were in a state of inconsolable grief? 5 Devorim 5:5 6 Berachos 61b, 54b 7 Special prayers recited for the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, to mourn for the Divine Presence which is in exile. It is customarily recited at midnight. 8 On Tisha B’av morning we symbolize the loss of our pride in the exile and so we do not wear Talis and Tefillin, which represent that pride.

“That is why we are able to be consoled at the height of our grief. The very burning of the Bais Hamikdash symbolizes the reason why we are able to be consoled. For in that sense the burning Temple symbolizes Hashem’s unyielding love for us.” When Rabbi Levi Yitzchok concluded his narrative, the innkeeper stopped crying, and then he got up and began to dance. Rabbi Levi Yitzchok arose to join him and they sang and danced together. One of the other guests at the inn was awakened by the noise and went to investigate. The sight that greeted him was astounding. He asked the innkeeper why he was dancing with the Rebbe in the middle of the night. The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because Hashem destroyed the Bais Hamikdash!”9 The Shabbos following Tisha B’av is titled Shabbos Nachamu – the Shabbos of consolation. The opening words of the haftorah read, “Console! Console My People!” Despite all we have suffered and all of the difficulties and pains people suffer from, we take solace in the knowledge that Hashem’s love for us is boundless and unconditional. In addition, we wear ‘our yellow stars’ as banners of pride for we know that we are part of an eternal people who will ultimately prevail and persevere. No other nation can feel consolation in the tragedy itself, besides Klal Yisroel, for we know that we are part of a Master Plan. We await the ultimate consolation when Hashem will abolish tears and pain forever, and the whole world will recognize the undeniable truth, “On that day, Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One.” “You shall love Hashem, your G-d” “Console! Console My People!”

M

9 Heard from Rabbi Pinchos Idstein, Head Counselor of Camp Dora Golding, Tisha B’av 5770


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Oneg Shabbos Issue 214

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n a summer’s day in 1920, amidst the glistening azure waters of Haifa’s port, Sir Herbert Samuel broke yet another record as he disembarked from a Royal Navy battleship, becoming the first Jewish ruler of the Holy Land since 40 B.C.E. (the end of Hyrcanus II’s reign). Dapper, anglicised and a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he was the first practising Jew in a British Cabinet and went on to be the first Jewish leader of a major British political party (Liberal). As the first British High Commissioner to the Holy Land, Samuel was greeted by a seventeen-gun salute as he was chauffeured up to his Jerusalem quarters at the Augusta Victoria Hospice, which boasted sweeping views across the city. Next year will mark exactly 100 years since Samuel’s first Shabbos in the Holy City, when he walked the considerable distance from Government House to the capacious Churva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City. It was Shabbos Nachamu.

Samuel made his way to the ornate almemar, the worshippers stood tremulously in awed silence. He began reading Isaiah’s (40:1-2) immortal words ‘Nachamu, Nachamu Ami’ “Comfort ye, Comfort ye My people, says your G-d. Bid Jerusalem take heart, and proclaim unto her, that her time of service is accomplished, that her guilt is paid off.” The message seemed extraordinarily prescient and the Jews in the synagogue reacted with deep feeling. Samuel later recalled that his deep-seated emotion during this recital “…seemed to spread throughout the vast congregation. Many wept. One could almost hear the sigh of generations”. Some present explained that those praying intuitively felt that the long-awaited “hour of redemption had arrived.”

To the Jews of Yerushalayim, this was a profoundly moving moment. Scorned and oppressed, all they had hitherto received were platitudes and declarations regarding the land’s future. Now though, the promises seemed to become vouchsafed, embodied as they were in the person of a Jewish High Commissioner, the representative of King George V and his expansive Empire. Eyewitnesses describe how ‘rich carpets’ were “spread for this Prince of Israel” on that Shabbos over the ancient cobblestoned alleyways of the Jewish Quarter, and the flowers “strewn in his path” as Samuel made his way towards the Churva.

After reading the Haftorah, Samuel proceeded to recite the after-blessings and reached the words “al kiso lo yeshev zar” “and on his throne a foreigner shall not sit.” To the congregation’s astonishment, Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook pointedly arose at this juncture and forcefully repeated “al kiso lo yeshev zar”. The meaning of this was clear only to some: salvation would not come through Great Britain, a foreign power, but from H-shem himself. When recounting this well-known story, cynics view the congregation’s reaction as stemming from naiveté and point out that although he kept Shabbos and Kashrus, Samuel had lost his faith whilst at Oxford. They emphasise Samuel’s culpability in appointing the Muslim cleric Amin Al-Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem. From this elevated religious position Al-Husseini became a primary agitator against Jewry and an enthusiastic supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Final Solution. Samuel was also responsible for restrictions on Jewish immigration to Eretz Yisrael from an increasingly unsafe Europe. Back in Britain, Samuel also initially agreed with Chamberlain’s policy

In Samuel’s own words “The most moving ceremony that I have ever attended was…to the old and spacious synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the ancient city... [I] found the surrounding streets densely thronged, and the great building itself packed to the doors and to the roof…” Samuel held a seat in London’s splendid New West End Synagogue until he died and was able to read Hebrew and sing according to te’amim (‘trop’). So it was that the Churva’s gabbai summoned the High Commissioner to read the Haftorah with the words “Ya’amod HaNasi Ha’Elyon.” As

‫בס"ד‬

‫פרשת נשא‬

‫י"ב סיון תשע"ט‬ 15th June 2019

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‫רוח לאבינו שבשמים‬ ‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬

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‫לשמה לעשות נחת‬

‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה‬

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‫קבלת שבת‬

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‫בס"ד‬

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‫פרשת בהעלותך‬

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11.04

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WHEN THINGS DON’T GO OUR WAY

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207

9.15

Issue

‫י"ט סיון תשע"ט‬ phrases that 22 June 2019 arshas Naso contains in every shul are said every day Now reaching 4500 people LaAretz, in 23 countries! in the world. In Chutz ‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה‬ is incorporated ‫לשמה לעשות נחת רוח‬ Birkas Kohanim ‫קבלת שבת‬ ‫שבשמים‬ Shemone ‫לאבינו‬ LON of the MAN GHD in the repetition GLSCW 9.06 BMTH ‫מוצאי שבת‬ 9.26 JLM 9.33 places in Eretz Yisroel, LON 9.51 MAN 9.09 GHD Esrei, and in many each ‫מוצאי‬ 7.11 GLSCW them ‫שבת ר"ת‬ recite 10.38 BMTH 11.07 JLM 11.24 LON 11.51 the kohanim themselves,sedra, MAN 10.37 Hashem 8.31 week’s JLM 10.46 11.07 morning. In this bless the people: to9.17 ָ‫ְיב ֶָר ך‬ instructs the kohanim Rabbi Meir Shindler ָ‫ך‬ United Synagogue ‫ יָאֵ ר‬. ‫ ְוי ׁ ְִש ְמ ֶר‬,'‫כְ ה‬ Rabbi of Richmond . ‫ וִיחֻ ֶּנ ָּך‬,ָ‫ה'ךָפָּ נָיו אֵ לֶיך‬ ֵ‫י ִָּשׂא ה' פָּ נָיו א‬ ‫ ְוי ֵָשׂם לְ ׁ ָשלוֹם‬,ָ‫לֶיך‬ May Hashem bless speak unto them. you find the nation of Israel, upon you and let “Thus shall you bless Rabbi Mordechai His countenance you. May He illuminate and establish peace for you." Kamenetzky you and safeguard really looking for upon you and they were not Rosh Yeshiva, His countenance Shore that making a Yeshiva of South grace. May He lift research suggests solutions. blessings the complaint! of for can “re-wire” each one (Bamidbar 6:22-26) Torah usually uses habit of complaint blessing. Why is A third type of complaint It is eyes particular the occasions on which three ask for more than first genuine. Thein the brain so that those and let us find favour It seems that we seems perhaps more become of hiscomplain can us. Illuminate us... change, looking the Jewish people thinking orientations the illumination looking to create a to re-wire Beshalach, Bless us... and safeguardenough to be blessed and have solutions to a be found in Parshas ingrained. It is possible practical implication? for answers or for for us. Is it not it more about lack of followed with its they moanHe scenarios where and establish peace this re-wiring to make each blessing? upon him. difficulty. It is in these abundance for lack of food and then chronic complainers His term of others. Lift countenance..necessity of the second half of water, of but bit actual clean a the positive of everything; is the the Torah uses On all three Al-mighty to bestow that would an abundance In Parshas countenance? What lack of water again. to cry.‫– וילנו‬ pleaded with the probably don’t think figured Hashem had complaint - ‫וילנו העם‬. began type of story: A man once word used is Side andthe all, the poor soul reacting to a lack Lower Eastoccasions, work too well! A second ‫בס"ד‬ I once heard a wonderful life and wealth. After Beshalach they are ‘venting’, empty shul on the The same verb his Creator for long in the story of the and they complained. He entered a huge, complaint is the familiar a million years?" is going the what quite of food and water; emotional implored and begged for a Jew in need. after the report of things aren’t again When eternity regarding the extent of Your isaused second!" where a person expresses He spare something ‫פרשת שלח לך‬ mere spies they have a fear cried “in the great and after the we are dissatisfied people are years is justspies 14:2), why then, wouldn’t when a million (Bamidbar of Israel; in I ask, our way orMe dissatisfaction. These what, may (Master of the universe),"he of there is a response. a“To conquest of the Land and their situation, great bounty, the rebellion ‫כ"ו סיון תשע"ט‬ “Ribono Shel Olam of Your us withthecurrent are in dismay just plague following that he actually heard focused on themselves magnitude of Parshas Korach they “can I not have Through 17:6). tremble. He imagined he pleaded, “to the man, position that a lot brethren. a default Korach (Bamidbar own negative experience. The man began to continued. “And," 29 June 2019 reply. “Then,"It begged is often at the deaths of their its frustration, his mind. The man came the resonating resort to. Complaints. mere second!” I believe that the Torah, in expressing anger and explained, boomed a voice inside is just a mere penny," by you must waitofaavoiding However, as we have provides a pause. “But the easiest method “A billion dollars of a practical they seek to feel validated usage of wording, even this form‫בא‬ it will have precise response. And then is billion dollars?" and sympathy. the Torah sees as to why we ‫ ללמוד‬is ‫הריני‬ the assurance that responsibility. “Surely!" came the receiving attention two unique insights ‫תורה לשמה‬ as inappropriate. It must be given with solutions. ‫ לעשות‬complaint one of your pennies?" in the so much. to thieves ‫רוח‬for‫נחת‬ them people are not looking from Hashem. It They ‫לאבינו‬ ourselves The Jewish criticise and grumble only to lose ‫שבשמים‬ to get a blessing to these ‫קבלת שבת‬ self-generated, ‘bringing ofto this. This weeks issue is dedicated LON of wealth and health no strangers It is not enough MAN (Shemos were A blessing An unfortunate downside up. desert GHD Torah expects Rashi in Beshalach GLSCW is that it ‫מוצאי שבת‬ people receive blessings to complaint’. The 9.04 BMTH safeguard - a follow Parsha we have 9.24 JLM ‫לעילוי נשמת‬ observation. two types of complaint this week’s 9.30 implication. Many LON more In His is followed by a countenance refined, 9.47 MAN 15:24) makes a startling us with 9.07 moods, both to find a more usGHD Each of the brachos GLSCW of this. In the first ‫לע"נ‬ BMTH in Biblical‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬can dampen people’s instances voice our7.12 11.00 and aggravation. JLM must guard it. IlluminatingHashemtwo given the doesn’t tell us method to10.32 the 11.40 11.15 has LON He points out that respectable giving and MAN enough. Hashem 10.32 JLM format of the Torah those on the active of 10.40 the grace that 8.31 example, show that happy wealth alone is not Hebrew there is no 11.00 even if He lifts his about: concerns. Studies 9.16will always fellow humans appreciate It receiving end. Similarly gift. And of course,what they are grumbling the verb ‘to complain’. is not enough. Unless people complain less. it is a worthless scenarios world, of (Bamidbar passive ‫ויהי‬ types peace. ‫העם‬ corporeal express our It is these shalom ‫כמתאוננים‬ Rabbi Jeremy Golker High School be found in the reflexive, says we are expected to Jews, in this very the blessings of to in this and full Hasmonean phraseology. the verse respectful full –heart us we still need an unusual Head of Kodesh, that we are referring with a 11:1) form. Thus, when dissatisfaction through countenance upon word for ‫ע"ה‬ others must be done be translated as bounty. explain and tefillah. commentaries weeks’ Parsha. The Manythe us that blessing ‫ וילנו העם‬it should to appreciate dialogue, sensitivity used, from the word The Torah also teaches on others must include a vehicle give ‫ה‬.‫ב‬.‫צ‬.‫נ‬.‫ת‬ derived people brought themselves complaint isn’t even this ismay ‘and the man looking for generosity the a million years. We- mourner: the people an we is explaining ‘Andthat Rashi sponsoring ruled that the rich about because they weren’t hand. To bestow that the spies saw billion dollars - in complaint’. give are those mourning and‫אונן‬ Dovid Hamelech over For moretoinformation to or answer. Rashi tells us given the gift of their sponsor@oneg.org.uk is dedicated contact Hakodesh reveals burying blessings we receive a particular solution issue Lashon land were as though in issue please Otherwise you have weeks that the greatest of in This the guilty. does but though was as inhabitants the Torah nature of human fellow Jews, ‘And the people were themselves’. Oddly, intended ‫ לע"נ‬to distract us the underlying Dovid that he was blessings to our – they dead. Hashem had for this negative Nosson then told and forever. m It is always reactionary mourning over themselves’ bad ‫ספר בראשית‬ not give an origin complaint. 12 spies touring can use - immediately man as he had many down and them from noticing ‫ספר שמות‬ It is a result of actually the rich '‫ בן ר‬interpreted it'‫ר‬ were feeling worn and self-generated. ‫ ספר ויקרא‬state of being. the this took Uriah’s they just feltthe country but they to a particular ‫ספר במדבר‬ few verses is wives and despite about themselves; a negative In contrast, just a ‫ הי''ד‬said Eretz Yisrael by saying ‫לע"נ‬outlook ‫ספר דברים‬ ‫נהרג‬ to express their frustration much clearer differently. They Dovid responded

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Pennies from Heaven

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The Jerusalem Kolel

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Rabbi David Ariel Sher

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Comfort through Recognition

‫צירל גליקל בת‬ ‫מאיר יהודה‬

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'‫לע"נ ר‬ ‫בן ר' יקותיאל זלמן נאה ז''ל‬ ‫חנניה יו''ט ליפא הי''ד‬ ‫נלב''ע ט''ז אדר תשע''ז‬ ‫לע"נ מרת‬ ‫טויבא רחל נאה ע''ה‬ '‫בת ר‬ ‫נלב''ע שמואל שמעלקא הי''ד‬ ‫כ''ה מנחם אב תשע''ז‬

email the editor Divrei Torah, please For questions on Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk Rabbi Yonasan

a later we encounter episode: reason for the next ‫והאספסף אשר‬

among them had a craving for meat! of these Remarkably in neither the verb the instances do we find

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‫ספר דברים‬

Imagine two friends going for a walk one at meet afternoon. They need station

‫אברהם‬ ‫שלמה טבלי‬

the episode land that devours ‫ויום‬ ‫אריאל‬Golders reasons Green “a– ‫זכרונו נקבע כ' סיון‬ and anger. Similarly, ‫יהודה ז״ל‬ There can be different dangerous and begins: ‫(התאוו תאוה‬Bamidbar 13:32), a ‫ה‬.‫ב‬.‫צ‬.‫נ‬.‫ת‬ are the quail way ‫ בן‬There the ‫ילחט״א‬ why we complain. walk allofliterally: and country. ‘they cultivated a desire’ seem to never who‫ר׳‬ Theirinhospitable ‫פנחס‬ ‫ צבי‬people told us when we ‫ נ״י‬some – ‘and they cried’. constantly Golders – ‫ויבכו‬Green

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situation.

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always down self-imposed As my father dissatisfaction was we don’t see things were growing up, Road to the North as we are. back as they are, we see things Meraglim ‫ספר‬ that the Circular bridge and ‫בראשית‬ ‫ספר שמות‬Chazal tell us ‫ספר‬ interests. station. ‫ויקרא‬ the had “negios”, personal

are be satisfied and ‫נלב''ע‬ ‫י״ז תמוז תשע''ח‬They have a tendency to kvetching. and to focus ruminate on problems Some on setbacks over progress.

'‫לע"נ ר‬ ‫יקותיאל זלמן נאה ז''ל‬ '‫בן ר‬ ‫חנניה יו''ט ליפא הי''ד‬ ‫נלב''ע ט''ז אדר תשע''ז‬ ‫לע"נ מרת‬ ‫טויבא רחל נאה ע''ה‬ '‫בת ר‬ ‫שמואל שמעלקא הי''ד‬ ‫נלב''ע‬ ‫כ''ה מנחם אב תשע''ז‬

up‫ספר‬again to ‫במדבר‬

were, needs much What exactly they ‫לע"נ‬ they were, whatever ‫אריאל‬

for you ask them Please daven On their return,

‫יהודה‬ '‫הב‬ ‫ז״ל‬But investigation. first describes ‫אברהם יוסף אריה‬ ‫ בן‬saw. The how the‫בן‬same people sponsorship ‫רוחמה‬they in ‫אילה נ"י‬what stores it is remarkable ‫ילחט״א‬ foodFor

‫לרפואה‬variety of please ‫ר׳‬perceive and ‫שלימה‬ ‫פנחס‬ things amazing opportunities the ‫צבי נ״י‬ ‫בתוך חולי ישראל‬ the busy can see the same He describes ‫לע''נ‬ ‫ר' מרדכי‬Green. contact sponsor@oneg.org.uk Golders grocery ‫בן ר' שלום ז''ל‬ ‫נלב''ע י״ז‬ them so differently. ‫תמוז תשע''ח‬ ‫נלב''ע ט''ו‬ the various kosher ‫סיון תשס''ב‬ restaurants, great as Dovid delicacies Even someone as '‫לע''נ ר‬ all the delicious and ‫בנימין בן‬ to be taught this ‫ר' מאיר דוד ז''ל‬stores ‫ ב׳‬in the many bakeries as well HaMelech needed ‫אדר תשע''ז נלב''ע‬

email the editor Divrei Torah, please For questions on Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk Rabbi Yonasan

wife. sinned”. “chatasi” – “I have Just say it Why present a parable?

straight! is that when The answer of course parable you are presented with a is no bias or instinctive objective. There defence barrier. As human The lesson is clear. innate to recognise our beings we have others, seeking subjectivity. Consulting a is a strength not objective advice weakness.

displayed that emerge lesson. as the enticing aromas a parable to Dovid Hashem delivered To receive them.this via email from HaNavi. A rich please email subscriptions@oneg.org.uk is a born through the Nosson The second boy and a poor man is less interested man had many sheep businessman. He This poor man the currency only had one sheep. one in food but notices in caring for his which money changer, exerted much effort exchanges at the arrived at the rich the or special offers, sheep. When a guest shops have sales of slaughtering how many properties man’s house; instead latest gadgets and he stole the poor one of his own sheep, let. are for sale or to fed it to his guest. man’s sheep and the same street but The same walk, reports. ‫ספר ויקרא‬ two very different

‫ספר במדבר‬

‫ספר דברים‬

'‫לע"נ ר‬ ‫יקותיאל זלמן נאה ז''ל‬ '‫בן ר‬ ‫חנניה יו''ט ליפא הי''ד‬ ‫נלב''ע ט''ז אדר תשע''ז‬ ‫לע"נ מרת‬ ‫טויבא רחל נאה ע''ה‬ '‫בת ר‬ ‫שמואל שמעלקא הי''ד‬ ‫נלב''ע‬ ‫כ''ה מנחם אב תשע''ז‬

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email the editor Divrei Torah, please For questions on Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk Rabbi Yonasan

‫ספר בראשית‬ ‫לע"נ‬ ‫אריאל יהודה ז״ל‬ ‫בן‬ ‫ר׳ פינחס צבי נ״י‬ ‫קליין‬

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17 August 2019

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשה ואתחנן‬

of appeasement towards Nazi Germany. Supporters demur that Samuel did much to improve infrastructure in the Holy Land, that he was a vocal supporter of the Kindertransport and that he recognised Hebrew as one of the three official national languages of the Holy Land. Of course, these arguments seem immaterial when contemplating the emotional reaction of Jerusalemite Jewry in that highly-charged Shabbos Nachamu service. The pious and elderly Jews who had for so long “walked in darkness” believed they had seen -to quote Isaiah (9:2)- “a great light.” There are singularly rare moments when we feel we can distinctly discern the deliberate plan of the A-mighty in everyday affairs. To many, the appointment of Herbert Samuel over the Holy Land was one such moment, as were events in more recent times such as the Six Day War. Such recognition of the guiding hand of Hashem energised the ba’al teshuva movement. Admittedly, the miraculous 1967 war did not deliver lasting peace. However, citing Israel’s crushing humiliation merely six years later as a reason to view the religious awakening spurred by the euphoria of 1967 as misguided emotion would be to entirely miss the point. King Solomon counselled (Prov. 3:6) “B’kol Drachecha Da’ehu, Vehu Yeyasher Orchosecha” “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” It is a religious duty to see Hashem in everyday affairs and in all our pursuits, however mundane. As Rav Chanina said (Talmud Bavli, Chulin 7b) “No man bruises his finger here on earth unless it was so decreed against him in heaven.” The illustrious German-Jewish sage, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, wrote in his epic Nineteen Letters of the central imperative of recognising Hashem’s hand in history. Of Judaism, he wrote “it rouses us to the endeavour to understand the world, man, human

Accepting Sovereignty

In the context of Parashas Vaeschanan (Devarim 6:4 – 9), we encounter the first paragraph of “Kerias Shema” which we recite twice a day, once in the morning and once in the

evening. In discussing the order of Kerias Shema the Mishna (Brachos, 2:2) provides us with a fundamental understanding of this Mitzvah. “R’ Yehoshua ben Korchah said: Why does the portion of Shema (the first passage) precede that of Vehayah Im Shamoa (the second passage)? In order that one should first accept upon themselves the yoke of Heaven’s sovereignty, and afterward accept upon themselves the yoke of the commandments.” Clearly, Kerias Shema is designed to enable us to “accept a yoke”. These passages compel us to noble submission. When reading these passages, we accept the Jewish challenge of living in accordance with the idea of an external obligator. When reciting Kerias Shema, we meditate on what it means to be Jewish and how that continually shapes our lives. Twice a day, explains R’ Yehoshua ben Korcha, we first accept upon ourselves the general yoke of Heaven’s sovereignty by reciting the first passage. Then, when reciting the second passage, we accept upon

9 history, and G-d’s plan operating therein.” He declared true servants of the L-rd should have their ‘ears open’ “to perceive in history the narrative of the education of all men to this service [of G-d].” The devout Jews weeping with grateful joy in the Churva a century ago were doing precisely that. Admittedly, we now perceive that Herbert Samuel did not deliver the redemption the Jews expected and frustrated immigration to the Holy Land. But that is beyond the point. We must admire the simple faith of Jews from generations past, who saw Hashem’s Hand on the world stage and in their lives and gave tearful praise to Him, without concern that the blessing could turn out to be bittersweet. We say thrice daily “V’Anachnu Nvarech Kah MeAta V’Ad Olam, Hallelu-ah!” “But we will bless the L-rd from now and for evermore. Praise you the L-rd!” (Psalms 115:18). Jews bless H-shem always, in good times and in bad. And when we are informed of good tidings we are to rejoice – without question. In fact, the Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 222) adjures us on precisely this point; “On tidings which are positive…to him [i.e. oneself] and others, one should say the blessing of HaTov V’Hametiv [i.e. Blessed are you, O L-rd our G-d who is good and does good]…and one makes the blessing of HaTov V’Hametiv on the good [tidings], even though one fears ‘perhaps evil will ensue from it…’” It is not our responsibility to conjecture, to ponder the ‘what if’s or to pontificate about how this Divine blessing could end up a curse. It is ours -to paraphrase Lord Alfred Tennyson- ‘not to reason why.’ Our duty is to see Hashem’s perpetual loving-kindness, thank Him for His Supreme benevolence and to pray for its continued manifestation in our lives and in the world. And like Jews have done for generations, we are to do this unreservedly, without ambivalence and with unrestrained joy. M

ourselves the yoke of all the detailed Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky commandments. Rav of Young Israel of North Netanya Combined together, these passages facilitate our ceaseless striving to humbly accept Hashem’s sovereignty. All that we do throughout each day of our lives is guided and directed by the commitment made before the day and at the end of it. This idea has Halachik ramifications as well. In the teachings of Rav Soloveitchik zt’’l, it is common to find the idea that a commandment can be either one in which there is a mandatory physical obligation alone, such as eating Matzah on Pesach or distributing charity. Alternatively, there are commandments which involve a physical act that must express an inner feeling. Such commandments have two aspects. One is an “inner gesture” in the form of an emotion, a feeling, or a belief, and the other is their physical expression. Repentance is, in the view of Rav Soloveitchik, such a commandment. The physical act of verbal confession divorced from inner emotions of regret, remorse, and commitments, is really flawed and an incomplete form of repentance. Similarly, maintains Rav Soloveitchik, the commandment of Kerias Shema combines the verbal act of reciting passages with a genuine conscious acceptance of Hashem’s sovereignty over our lives. This combination is mandatory for the proper fulfilment of the commandment of Kerias Shema. M


10

Oneg Shabbos Issue 214

This is what Hashem wants “And I prayed to Hashem at that time, saying...” (Deut. 3:23) When Moshe said to the Jews, “Listen now, you rebels,” at the time of the waters of Meriva, Hashem promised that Moshe would not enter the land of Canaan. Moshe waited for the right time and then he prayed for that promise to be overturned. He prayed 515 prayers, (hinted at by the numerical value of the word “Vaeschanan”,) all of them begging Hashem to be merciful to him and grant him a boon by letting him go into Eretz Yisrael. Alas, it was not to be, and Hashem told Moshe to desist from praying. The question is, if Hashem had no intention of granting Moshe’s request, why did He not stop Moshe earlier? What purpose was there in allowing him to keep going? One answer is based on the understanding that no prayer ever goes to waste. When tears are shed and requests are made, if it is not appropriate to grant them now, Hashem saves those prayers for when Klal Yisrael needs them. Who knows if even to this day, we are protected by the strength of those 515 prayers that Moshe offered? There is another explanation that is borne out by the Kinos we read on Tisha B’Av. We find the story of King Yoshiyahu who tried to rid the land of Israel of idolatry. He thought he’d succeeded and when Pharaoh wanted to cross through Israel to fight Syria, he refused to allow the sword of war into his land. Alas, there were scoffers who kept idolatrous images on the backs of their double doors and when the investigators left, they closed the doors and had an idol. Despite the Prophet’s directive to allow the Egyptians to cross, Yoshiyahu thought he was right and refused to let it. A war ensued and the king was brutally killed. One of our biggest mistakes historically is thinking we could make decisions on our own and not find out what Hashem wants of us. When the Navi told the King, “This is what Hashem wants,” he replied, “I don’t think so. This is what I think He wants and here’s my reasoning.” It was very logical, but it was wrong. Hashem therefore let Moshe pray so much and so long to show that even though Moshe was so convinced it was the right thing, when Hashem said, “No,” Moshe accepted it. This is how we must act. We must ensure that our actions are the ones Hashem wants

us to do, and not merely be actions we want Hashem to want us to do.

Rabbi Rashi Simon Director of Kesher

When we trust ourselves to Hashem’s care and understand that He is our loving father, master, and caretaker, then He can call us “My nation,” and we will be ready to receive the comfort and consolation He offers. M


17 August 2019

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשה ואתחנן‬

This page is sponsored by nextgenrealestate.co.uk

‫לע''נ אריאל יהודה ז''ל בן ר' פינחס צבי נ''י קליין‬

Restoring the primacy of Choshen Mishpat Under the auspices of Harav Chaim Kohn ‫שליט"א‬

Rabbi Meir Orlian Halachah Writer, BHI

A

Money Stolen haron was visiting from abroad for the summer and traveling alone crosscountry. He dozed off on the train one Friday afternoon and realized upon awakening that someone had walked off with his travel bag! In it were his wallet, money and credit cards, his phone, documents and clothes. Aharon got off the train and approached the first Jewish person he stumbled upon. “I’m visiting from another country,” he said in broken English. “I lost my bag. With my wallet and my phone. I have no money. I need $100 to buy food and travel to where I’m staying for Shabbos. Is there a tzedakah fund here?” “The gabbai tzedakah is Mr. Rabinowitz,” said the man. “He lives on the next block.” The man took Aharon to Mr. Rabinowitz. “I’m traveling around the States; my bag with my wallet and phone was stolen,” Aharon told him. “I need $100 tzedakah for food and travel until I can get money.” “You can use my phone to call your family,” said Mr. Rabinowitz. “Maybe they can help.” “It’s already Shabbos where they live,” said Aharon. “I can’t speak with them until Sunday. I have no family here.” “I see,” said Mr. Rabinowitz. “Do you want to borrow money or receive tzedakah?” “I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay back the money,” said Aharon. “I don’t have any checks that I can give you, but I might be able to mail you money when I get some next week.” “I could give you money as tzedakah, but I don’t know if it’s fair to the poor people of the town,” said Mr. Rabinowitz. “Let me ask my Rabbi Dayan.” “A trekker lost his knapsack with his wallet and phone, and needs money,” said Mr. Rabinowitz. “Can I give him tzedakah from the shul’s fund?” “The Mishnah (Pe’ah 5:4) addresses a similar case,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “A self-sufficient person was traveling and had no more money with him. He is allowed to take tzedakah – leket, shikchah, pe’ah and ma’aser ani.”

“Must he repay it when he returns home?” asked Mr. Rabinowitz. “Rav Eliezer requires him to repay, whereas according to the Sages he does not have to, since he was poor at that time,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Halachah is in accordance with the Sages; he is like a poor person who later became rich. Nonetheless, Rambam writes in his commentary to the Mishnah that it is righteous (middas chassidus) to repay. Similarly, the Shulchan Aruch writes that he is ‘not required’ to pay, which could indicate that it is nevertheless proper to do so” (Y.D. 253:4; Tosafos Rabi Akiva Eiger, Pe’ah 5:4) “Whom should he repay?” asked Mr. Rabinowitz. “Tiferes Yisrael writes that, according to Rav Eliezer, he can repay the poor of his own town, and does not have to repay the place where he received,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, Tosafos Anshei Shem writes that, according to Rav Eliezer, he must repay the city from which he took. Even he concedes, though, that for the middas chassidus of the Sages he can repay charity wherever he wants.” “How much can he have?” asked Mr. Rabinowitz. “A truly poor person can receive a large amount of charity at once, even beyond his needs,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, in this case, the traveler should only take what he needs for his sustenance” (Tzedakah U’mishpat 2:15). “What if he can borrow?” asked Mr. Rabinowitz. “Some write that if the traveler can borrow, he is not allowed to accept tzedakah,” said Rabbi Dayan. “In that case, he is not considered poor at that time” (Chut Hameshulash 1:17; Aruch Hashulchan, Y.D. 253:11). “Thus,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “if Aharon can take a loan, he should do so. If not, he may take tzedakah, and it is a middas chassidus to repay later to the charity of his choice. If he takes with the understanding that he will repay, then he is required to do so.” M

Provided by Business Halacha Institute. The BHI is a non-profit organization based in New York that educates and guides people in up to date applications of monetary halacha. For more information or to browse the BHI archives, visit www.businesshalacha.com

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12

Oneg Shabbos Issue 214

A TEREIFAH DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE MA’ASER PROCESS ‫והא מהכא נפקא כל אשר יעבור תחת השבט פרט לטרפה שאינה עוברת‬ The Beraisa teaches that a tereifa animal is exempt from the ma’aser process because it is unable to “pass under the rod.” Several explanations are offered for this lesson.

Rashi explains that there are eighteen specific physical deformities and deficiencies which define an animal as being a tereifah. Among them is where the leg of an animal is severed above the knee. In this case, the animal would, of course, not be able to walk out of the corral door during the counting procedure for ma’aser. Therefore, it is this category of tereifah which the posuk excludes directly, and although this is only one category, we learn that all categories of tereifah are excluded as well.

In Menachos (6a), Rashi explains that all eighteen categories of tereifah are excluded directly from this posuk. A tereifah is an animal which cannot live due to its physical deficiency. Only a healthy animal is considered one which can pass under the rod, but an animal which is not viable is not included. The Gemara in Bechoros continues to learn from ma’aser that a tereifah is excluded from all other offerings as well.

Rashash (to Bechoros 58b) notes that the Gemara does not focus upon the word “‫—יעבור‬it shall pass” when it excludes tereifah, but it rather uses the word “‫—תחת‬under” to establish its rule. Based upon this analysis of the posuk, and referring to the view of R’ Yehuda HaChassid, he points out that during the ma’aser process the owner should put his hand on top of each animal, and if the animal responds by lowering its head toward the ground, the animal is known to be healthy and kosher (see Darchei Moshe Y.D. 35:1). The Gemara is therefore teaching that the posuk requires that each animal pass “under” the hand of its owner, and a tereifah is thereby excluded.

Sefer Ohel Moshe explains that the word “‫—יעבור‬will pass” is written in the future tense. Animals eligible for the ma’aser process are those that could potentially pass out of the corral the next year as well, as it is the custom of farmers to count their cattle and sheep annually. A tereifah is not expected to live out the year, so it is excluded from this mitzvah due to this technicality. Additionally, Sefer Ohel Moshe says that a tereifah does not pass through the door of the corral together with the rest of the flock, as it is generally a more frail and weak animal, and the farmer might be careful to keep the tereifah separate to protect it due to its weakened condition. Tosafos in Chullin (136b) raises the question that if a tereifah is excluded because it cannot walk out of the corral, then we should also exclude a case where the leg is cut below the knee, although it is technically not a tereifah, because it too cannot walk. Tosafos in Bechoros (57a) says that where it is not a tereifah, it is considered able to pass through the door of the corral. M

140 X DAYS

CO U

‫כ"ט‬ ‫בכורות נ“ב‬ ‫תמורה‬

Distinctive Insight

E TH

Daf Yomi WEEKLY

DOWN TO NT

Siyum Hashas

Stories from the Daf THE PLEDGE ”...‫“אמירתו לגבוה כמסירתו להדיוט‬

The Maggid of Dubno, zt”l, explained a statement on today’s daf with one of his famous parables. There was once a man who upset an important nobleman and needed to appease him with a gift. The trouble was that he didn’t own anything fitting. After a bit of thought he decided to borrow something appropriate from a friend. The two drew up an appropriate document and he took the gift to the nobleman. As expected, the nobleman was pacified by the gesture and all was well until it came time to give back the gift. The owner of the item reminded the borrower that it was time for it to be returned. “I can’t,” he said. “I gave it as a gift to placate the nobleman.” “That’s no problem,” his friend replied. “I am just as happy to take money.” When the borrower explained that he had no money, the irritated owner summoned him to the nobleman. Not surprisingly, the nobleman insisted that the man find the money to repay the original owner, or suffer serious consequences.

The Maggid explained the relevance to our daf. “In Temurah in 29 we find ‫להדיוט כמסירתו לגבוה אמירתו‬ — When it comes to offerings, a verbal pledge is equivalent to the actual giving over of something ordinary. One who pledges something does so for a reason. Like the man who wishes to placate a nobleman but has nothing with which to do so, one who pledges is borrowing in a sense, since on High his pledge is considered to be action. He borrows on what will be given to appease God. When the time comes he is obligated to pay back what he borrowed or incur the wrath of the King!”1 M ‫ כי תצא‬,‫ משלי יעקב‬1 Brought to you by


17 August 2019

‫ט"ז אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשה ואתחנן‬

13

Sages through Ages THE

Dr Benji Schreiber

The Arizal

Yerushalayim 1534– Tzfat 1572 ‫ה’ באב‬

H

e lived with his uncle who was a tax collector and according to documents from the Cairo geniza, also worked selling spices and crops. In 1570 – aged 36 - he moved to Tzfas with his wife and two daughters. He died two years later at the age of only 38 in a great plague. It is remarkable that such a young man had such a huge impact on Yiddishkeit. His younger daughter married the son of Rav Yosef Karo! He also had a son who died young. It is related that his teacher, the great kabbalist Rav Moshe Cordovero (15221570) instructed his talmidim that his successor would be revealed at his own levaya, as the one who sees a pillar of fire by his body.

Talmidim His talmidim were called the ‫ – גורי הארי‬the lion cubs. His principle talmid was Rav Chaim Vital (1542-1620). Read what Rav Chaim Vital wrote about his Rav, the Arizal: “No one will achieve this wisdom as truthfully as he did. He knew the Mishna, the Talmud, Aggados and Midrashim. He knew the secrets of creation and of

Hashem’s Chariot.. the chatter of the birds, the trees and the grasses, and the conversations of the angels. He understood the incarnations (gilgulim) and he could bring out a soul even while someone was living, talk to it and then put it back. He would see the neshamos when they left the body, in the Beis Olam. He could interpret faces and hands… He would look at someone’s forehead and know what he thought and what he had dreamed…

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The Arizal, Rav Yitzchak ben Shlomo Luria, was born in Jerusalem. He was known as Ari because of his lion like status as a Talmid Chacham. His mother was a Sefardia and his father Ashkenazi, a descendent of Rashi. He lived in Egypt until the age of 36, studying Kabbalah. Tradition has it that Eliyahu HaNavih appeared to him and then told him to move to Eretz Yisrael.

acrostic ‫ יצחק לוריא חזק‬although it is not certain he composed it. The bulk of his teachings were recorded by his disciples in numerous works, primarily by Rabbi Chaim Vital. His disciples also recorded his customs in a work known as Shulchan Aruch HaAri, published in Venice in 1680. His davening and method of writing – Nusach Ari and Kesav Ari are adopted by Chassidim today.

He had Ruach HaKodesh and Eliyahu HaNavi would always appear to him.”

The Ari’s Writings The Arizal himself wrote relatively little. From his own hand we have chiddushim on two masechtos. These have been included in his teacher’s Shitah Mekubetzes. His writings in Kabbalah were included in Rabbi Chaim Vital’s Eitz Chaim, and are marked by Rabbi Chaim with the preface, “Found written in manuscript.” There is also a commentary on a small section of the Zohar, and zemiros for Shabbos. He composed: ‫ אזמר בשבחין‬which is sung on Friday night and ‫ אסדר לסעודתא‬which is sung on Shabbos day. The zemer ‫יום זה‬ ‫ לישראל אורה ושמחה‬carries his name as an

The Arizal had a profound impact on the learning of Kabbalah, which was different from his time on. He understood that the creation of the world involved ‫שבירת‬ ‫הכלים‬, a kabbalistic explanation of what happened to the sefiros in order to lead to the creation of the world, and the effect of creation on the ten sefiros – the rungs of holiness leading to Hashem. M

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Please be careful to dispose of this sheet in the proper manner as required ‫על פי הלכה‬. Please do not read this publication during ‫קדיש‬, ‫ קריאת התורה‬or ‫חזרת הש''ץ‬. Please do not read the adverts on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Please would you ensure that there are ample sheets left in shuls for Shabbos before taking one home. ‫בברכת שלא ימוש התורה מפי זרעינו ומפי זרע זרעינו מעתה ועד עולם‬


Issue

215

‫בס"ד‬

‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה לשמה לעשות נחת רוח לאבינו שבשמים‬ ‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬

‫מוצאי שבת‬

‫פרשת עקב‬

‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬ 24 Aug 2019

‫קבלת שבת‬

JLM

MAN

LON

JLM

BMTH

GLSCW

GHD

MAN

LON

JLM

BMTH

GLSCW

GHD

MAN

LON

8.30

9.31

9.19

7.51

9.04

9.35

9.20

9.16

9.00

6.38

7.57

8.20

8.06

8.05

7.52

Mezuzah

The Mezuzah constitutes the hallmark of a Jewish home and is a most central mitzvah, mentioned, for the second time, in this week’s Sedra. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your homes and your gates. (Devarim 11:20) The Mezuzah stands like a sentinel at the door. Within it is contained the most sacred declaration known to Judaism, the Shema. “Hear O Israel: Hashem is our G‑d; Hashem is One” - words recited by faithful Jews each morning and evening, words encapsulating the most fundamental assertion of what it means to be a Jew; belief in Monotheism. But the Mezuzah is not merely a symbolic declaration and reminder of our faith; it is also a sign of Hashem’s watchful care. The name of Hashem, Sha-dai, appearing on the reverse side of the parchment, is an acronym for the Hebrew words which mean “Guardian of the doorways of Israel.” The placement of a Mezuzah on the doors of a home or office protects the resident or occupier--whether they are inside or out. Numerous other profound ideas are also associated with the Mezuzah. Why are Mezuzos placed on an angle with the top of the Mezuzah is inclined towards the inside of the room, and the bottom towards the outside? In his monumental code on Jewish law, the Tur, compiled by Rabbi

Yaakov ben Asher (13th/14th cents.) cites two conflicting opinions. He first quotes Rashi, who held that the Mezuzah should be placed vertically, and then proceeds to cite the view of Rashi’s grandson, Rabbeinu Tam, who maintained that placing the Mezuzah in a “standing” position is not respectful, but that it should rather be positioned horizontally, in a manner similar to how the luchos and the Sefer Torah were placed in the Aron in the kodesh kodoshim. What are we then to do? The Tur concludes that those who are careful to perform the mitzvos in the best way possible fulfil both opinions (at least partially) by placing their Mezuzos on a slant. On a deeper level, this halachic decision represents compromise - adopting the middle ground. Compromise is indeed regarded by our Rabbis as an essential ingredient for ensuring that peace will prevail within a Jewish home, and the positioning of the Mezuzah accordingly serves as a constant reminder of this. The story is told of Onkelos who converted to Judaism. The Roman Emperor, Onkelos’s uncle, sent soldiers to arrest him for daring to defy the Roman state religion. Onkelos, however, contrived to draw them into a discussion about the Torah and succeeded in converting them to his new faith. Caesar sent a second group of soldiers, but this time he warned them, “Do not speak with him. Don’t even exchange a single word!” When, obedient to the Emperor’s command, they had taken him into custody and were about to depart,

For questions on Divrei Torah, please email the editor Rabbi Yonasan Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk

N OW R E AC H

Assistant Rabbi, St John’s Wood Synagogue; Jewish Studies Teacher, JFS School

Onkelos set his eyes on the Mezuzah hanging on the doorpost. He placed his hand on it and laughed. They asked him, “Why are you laughing?” He replied, “Normally, a king is seated within while his servants guard him from without. This is not the case with Hashem. His servants are within while He guards them from without, as it is written: ‘Hashem shall guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth until evermore!’ (Psalm 121:7).” They were so impressed at this that they too converted, and Caesar stopped sending soldiers! There are indeed many modern-day anecdotes likewise demonstrating the power of the Mezuzah and its mystical significance. May we have the merit to be inspired by the Mezuzah, to allow it not only to enhance our Jewish identity, but to feel the Al-mighty’s protection in our everyday life. M ‫לע"נ שלמה צבי בן משה מרדכי ז'ל‬

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ING

45 0 0 P E O P L E

I N 24 C O U

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Rabbi Yoni Golker

N T R I ES

Yerushalayim, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Baltimore, Beit- Shemesh, Birmingham, Borehamwood, Budapest, Cancun, Detroit, Edgware, Elstree, Gateshead, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Hale, Henderson, Hong Kong, Ilford, Johannesburg, Lakewood, Larnaca, Las Vegas, Leeds, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Memphis, Miami, Milan, New York, Oslo, Paris, Petach Tikva, Philadelphia, Pressburg, Radlett, Ruislip, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Stanmore, Southend, Tallinn, Tarzana, Toronto, Uman, Vienna, Zurich


16

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Is It Logical?

Oneg Shabbos Issue 215.

Rabbi Mordechai Chalk

Why do we get reward for Mishpatim? This is a question I have been troubled by for years. After all, there are three basic categories of Mitzvos: Chukim, Eidos and Mishpatim. Chukim – logical Mitzvos, but not on a level that can be understood by the average person e.g. Para Aduma. Eidus – a recognition of Hashem and all that He has done for us e.g. tefillin. Mishpatim - basic laws that pertain to how we are meant to act and behave e.g. do not kill. Of all these, the most intuitive to keep are the Mishpatim. So much so, if a person were to choose to distance themselves from keeping the Mitzvos, these are the ones that they would most likely still adhere to. In fact, these are the laws that make up the judicial system of countries all over the world, even those without religious ties. At the beginning of this week’s Parsha, the Pessukim promise great reward for those who keep the Mishpatim.

Surely it would be more sensible to show people the reward for the Mitzvos less likely to be kept. After some thought this is what occurred to me as a potential answer to this question. As stated, the Mishpatim are the Mitzvos that are most likely to be kept. They are those that logic tells us to do for the normal function of society. This being so, we may occasionally forget why we do them. When I return a lost object, do I do so because I think that it is a nice thing to do, because I like the fellow who lost it? Or do I do so because this is what Hashem has commanded me to do? When I don’t kill my neighbour, do I do so because killing is quite mean, and my neighbour’s wife and kids will be upset? Or do I do so because Hashem told me not to kill? To such an extent that the Gemarah in Sanhedrin 76b shares a very interesting drasha from the Pessukim in Nitzavim (29:18-19) ‫‘לְ מַ ֛עַ ן ְספ֥ ֹות הָ ָר ָו ֖ה אֶ ת־הַ ּצְ מֵ ָאֽה ל ֹא־י ֹאבֶ ֣ה‬ ’‫ח לֹו‬ ֽ ַ ֹ ‫ה' ְס ֣ל‬. The Gemara derives from these Pessukim that if one were to return a lost object to a non-Jew, (as per the explanation of Rashi) he has shown himself not to care about the Mitzvos of Hashem. It is not that we are meant to be cruel people and not have any rachmanus to non-Jews. In fact, we should certainly feel that we want to return it. However, the Torah gave an explicit commandment to return lost objects to a Jew. So, if a person were to go ahead and return an object to a non-Jew, they are showing that the reason why they return lost items is not because Hashem said to do so, but because they feel that it is a nice thing to do. The Gemarah considers this to be tantamount to a rejection of Hashem’s command. (There are many reasons and cases where one would be allowed and even obligated to return items to a non-Jew, but now is not the time to go into detail.) The last passuk of Vaeschanan tells us to guard the Mitzvos, Chukim and Mishpatim that Hashem has commanded us. Straight after, at the beginning of this week’s Parsha, comes this promise of so much reward for keeping the Mishpatim. I would like to suggest a reason for the emphasis on Mishpatim based on what I have written. Not following them because we think that they are good ideas and nice things to do. Rather, doing so because Hashem has told us to do so. If we can manage to live our lives like this and follow the Torah ‘Lishma’, all the rewards promised to us in the Parsha will come to fruition. M The RTA is a two year post-Semicha programme to introduce newly qualified rabbis to the challenges of our modern world


24 Aug 2019

‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת עקב‬

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‘Let’s make a Brocha!’

A

s religious Jews, our lives our full of Brochos. Brochos when we eat, Brochos when we Daven, there are few religious experiences that are not accompanied by the ritual of making a Brocha. In fact, if we pause for a moment, we could say that the expression is a rather interesting one – ‘making a Brocha’. What exactly are we making and why do we use this particular verb to describe this Mitzva? Surely it would seem more appropriate to use the expression “say a Brocha” or something similar?

from Hashem. After all, Hashem creates everything and brought this particular pleasure into existence for our benefit! It is therefore reasonable to accuse a person of stealing if he doesn’t take the time to acknowledge the Source of his pleasure. Yet it seems difficult to understand the second half of this statement. In what way is a person stealing from the Jewish people if he does not make a Brocha?

Rabbeinu Bechaye on his comments to the aforementioned Posuk offers an amazing insight into this Gemoro. He explains that Hashem creates many opportunities for man to enjoy themselves To explain this interesting custom of in this world. However, each time we ours, let us look a little closer at the Posuk enjoy ourselves, we must acknowledge which teaches us to ‘make’ Brochos, ָ‫"וְָאכַלְ ּת‬ the Source of the pleasure and verbally ָ ‫ָארץ הַ ּט ֹבָה‬ ֶ ָ‫ְׂשבָעְ ּתָ ּובֵ ַרכְ ּתָ אֶ ת־ה' אֱל ֶֹקיך עַ ל־ה‬ ָ ‫ו‬ express our thanks to Hashem for ."‫ֲׁשר נָתַ ן־ל ְָך‬ ֶ ‫א‬ allowing us to benefit from His amazing This Posuk teaches us the Mitzva of world. When we follow this protocol, Birchas Hamozon – ‘Bentching’ - after we Hashem opens up his storehouses of eat a meal. The Gemoro in Brochos (48b) bounty and continues to supply us with teaches the following Kal v’Chomer. If we His Brochos. Therefore, when one benefits must thank Hashem after a meal - when from the world without making a Brocha, we are satisfied, all the more so we must we are in fact stealing from our fellow thank Hashem before we eat - when we are Jews. If we do not acknowledge the Source hungry. An additional Gemoro in Brochos of our blessings, we limit the amount of (35b) famously teaches that “one who goodness that Hashem will supply to the derives benefit from this world without world! reciting a blessing is considered to have We can further understand this concept stolen from Hashem and the Jewish by way of the following story. A Chosid people.” of R’ Aharon of Karlin once travelled to One can understand quite easily R’ Aharon to observe his holy actions up why benefiting from the world without close. One thing that he observed was making a Brocha is considered stealing how R’ Aharon picked up an apple, made

17

Rabbi Yaakov Book Yeshivas Darchei Torah, Manchester

a Ha’eitz and ate the apple. The Chosid was not overly impressed with this seemingly mundane action. After all, that is exactly the same thing that he would do if he wanted to eat an apple! However, R’ Aharon explained: if you wish to eat an apple, you know that you cannot partake of the apple before you make a Brocha so you make a Brocha and then eat the apple. On the other hand, I want to thank Hashem for all His goodness, but I cannot simply make a Brocha without reason so I take an apple in order to thank Hashem! This is the right approach to have in mind when we are about to make a Brocha. We must be cognisant that the real reason why Hashem has given us this pleasure is order to thank Him for His constant goodness. In turn, this will allow a further supply of bounty to descend to the world. Now we can understand why the vernacular is to ‘make a Brocha’ - for we are not merely ‘saying a Brocha’. We are manufacturing a Brocha! By thanking Hashem for the blessings He has bestowed upon us, we are involved in the process of manufacturing and ultimately bringing down the abundance that will emanate from our Brocha. M


18

Oneg Shabbos Issue 215.

This page is sponsored ‫לע''נ ביילא בת ר׳ משה ע''ה‬

?‫מה ד' אלקיך שאל מעמך‬ What does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you?

R’ Benjy Dolties Toras Chaim; GGBH Kol Eliyahu Evening Chabura

Devarim 10:12

A

s time passes us by, we are usually content and satisfied that we got through and survived another day. However sometimes we stop to reflect and ask ourselves those same questions that have been bothering us ever since we can remember; ‘’What is my mission in this world, what does Hashem want from me in particular and how am I unique from everyone else around me’’? Moshe Rabbeinu answers this question in the ensuing Pesukim (Devarim 10:1213) saying that “And now, Yisrael, What does Hashem, your G-d, request of you? Only to fear Hashem, your G-d, to follow all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul; to observe Hashem’s commandments and statues, which I command you today, for your benefit.” Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto in his famous Sefer, Mesilas Yeharim dealing with the above writes that there are 5 essential components of Judaism namely; to fear Hashem, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve Him wholeheartedly and to observe His commandments. With your permission, I would like to focus on the last one; to observe His commandments. I remember my late Rosh Yeshiva Harav Asher Zelig Rubestein zt’’l of Toras Simcha used to explain to us why in life we sometimes feel a pull towards particular character traits and very little inclination towards others. The reason being the Rosh Yeshiva explained is because our Neshamos are all Gilgulim from previous lives and our Neshamos have already corrected many of our flaws in past lifetimes. However there

still remain some Mitzvos or Midos for us to work on, improve, and with Siyata Dishmaya put right. For example, if we were to walk past a non-kosher restaurant even many times, back and forth taking in the pleasant aromas emanating from there, for many of us this would barely tempt us and we would not have any desire whatsoever to walk in and eat the non-kosher food. However perhaps if we were to overhear a group of people discussing another individual in a negative manner then all of sudden, we would be all ears! The reason being explained the Rosh Yeshiva is because we have passed the test of not partaking of non-kosher food in a previous life so much so that it is as if we no longer have a Yetzer Hara for it, however the Yetzer Hara for Lashon Hara is still alive and well and that’s what we need to work on. As we approach the month of Elul where we are especially careful and when there is extra Siyata Dishmaya to ensure our conduct in the build up to the Yomim Noraim remains exemplary, perhaps this is an opportune time to listen to our Neshamos and identify the areas we need to work on. We each know our own limitations and inclinations, perhaps we need to work on areas of Bein Odom Lemokom or Bein Odom Lechaveiro. However just as this is true with regards to Nisyonos in life, it is also true concerning the positive aspects in life. We each have our unique G‑d given talents. One may be an amazing Rebbe, teacher or inspirational speaker while the other a great musician or photographer. Or perhaps we are good at giving people Chizuk in a more individual and personal way without all the fanfare of getting up and giving a Shiur to a room full of people. Whether big or small, as everything is

significant in the eyes of Hashem, we should each try and identify what we are good at and use these G‑d given talents to improve His world. I recently heard a very moving story told by Rabbi Frand of a bride in Eretz Yisrael who walked into a hospital on the day of her wedding. They knew she was a bride because she came in with her wedding dress. Usually a bride on her wedding day is spending most of it trying to get herself ready, but this bride took time out and went to the emergency paediatric ward. One of the nurses asked her if everything was okay, why she was there. The bride answered, she learned that a kallah on the day of her wedding has a special power of giving berachos, so she wanted to go to each child there and give a bracha that the child should be healed. That is someone who wants greatness and understands what her mission is in this world; to bring joy to the people around her. Rav Tzadok HaCohen writes in his Sefer Tzidkas HaTzaddik, just like we have to believe in Hashem, so too, afterward, we have to believe in ourselves, that Hashem gave each of us a purpose and talents and that we are unique and that no one else in the world can do what we need to do. Every moment of our lives has meaning, and when we use our lives to follow the will of Hashem, He takes such delight in us. Hashem gave every person enormous potential and constantly gives us lots of opportunities to fulfil his or her role. In the Zechus of identifying our talents and improving His world or working on our flaws and thereby strengthening our relationship with Hashem, may all of Klal Yisrael be blessed with a K’siva v’Chasima Tova. M


24 Aug 2019

‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת עקב‬

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19

ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

O

ne of the greatest facets of a Torah life is in the potential it gives us to imbue every moment of our life with meaning. The multitude of instructions that dictate what is the right course of action at any given time, means there is never a moment that is meaningless or without worth and purpose. Each second is an opportunity to do the right thing at that time depending solely on what it is that the Torah requires from us. The numerous mitzvos that are written in the Torah and the many additions dictated by the Rabbis throughout the generations add up to a plethora of commandments. With this in mind it makes it all the more confusing when Moshe charges the Jewish people to keep “all the commandment”, in the singular. How and why would Moshe refer to them in this way?

be experienced, the consequence and reward for the correct choices we make. Perhaps the posuk refers to a single “commandment” because every single mitzvah is its own unique means of accomplishing the same single process of developing a more intimate relationship with Hashem. The mechanism and manner of achieving this may vary but in essence they all contain within their acts one and the same function. With the many duties and obligations that take up so much of our daily life, it is all too easy to lose focus of what it is we are actually working towards. Day by day performance of mitzvahs without thought or consideration to what we are actually doing, can become little more than rituals without depth or significance. Even more tragic is the fact that they will never achieve their ideal purpose because an awareness of what they truly

Rabbi Shimmy Miller Rebbe, Manchester Mesivta; Author of Miller’s Musings

are is intrinsic to their completion in the most perfect form. To be cognisant that each of the parts are there in order to arrive at a whole, a deep, powerful connection with Hashem. Without an appreciation of this and an intent to attain it, we will surely never arrive at our intended destination. To dismiss any of the mitzvos as redundant or minutiae is a fatal misunderstanding of this idea, as they are the only means to achieving the overarching goal. But to consider them as an endpoint in themselves is overlooking the primary purpose of our existence and diminishes the profundity of everything that we do. M To receive Miller’s Musings weekly to your phone or email please send a request to 07531322970 or rabbimiller.mesivta@gmail.com

There is no question that the Torah requires us to perform all of its tasks to the best of our abilities as much as we are able to. Each and every mitzvah is absolutely crucial to achieving Hashem’s purpose for us in creation. Yet if we only see them as distinct, unconnected duties for us to perform we are missing the bigger picture. In truth there is a common denominator in every act we are enjoined to perform by the Torah, in that they are all there to complete the same ultimate objective, to bring us closer to Hashem, thereby forging a bond between us and our Creator. This connection is the greatest possible pleasure that can

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20

Oneg Shabbos Issue 215.

This page is sponsored anonymously

ONE OR TWO - and why it matters

Rabbi Alan Wilkinson Rabbi, Great Ormond Street Hospital

W

hen I was at school, I was not noted for excelling at maths. It was a subject to be taken but I never felt a particular sheichus. In this day and age we would probably blame the teachers rather than my own failure to attempt to engage in the subject. Comprehension, however, was a completely different matter. Sometimes, however, the maths and the comprehension combined and then I would struggle to see if 1 and 1 made 1, 2, 3 or something else entirely. Why do I mention this? Well if you read the parasha carefully you will see repeated references to an ‘aron etz’ [Devarim 10: 1-5]. Moshe also refers to making an ‘Aron Atzei Shitim’ – an Aron of acacia wood. I know we read Teruma several weeks ago and maybe my memory is playing tricks but wasn’t Bezalel responsible for making a gold-covered Aron? Rashi identifies this aron etz as one of two Arons that were to stand in the Mishkon. It appears that for a short period of time after Moshe came down from Har Sinai until the Mishkan was built the aron etz held the remnants of the first luchos and the second luchos. Betzalel’s Aron, however, didn’t render Moshe’s Aron obsolete. The aron etz was kept in the Mishkan and remained in use

to hold the remnants of the first luchos and to accompany the nation in battle. Ramban, on the other hand says that only Betzalel’s Aron, stood in the Mishkan. Moshe’s aron etz was always meant to be temporary and once superseded it was stored away in preparation for burial. The Ramban also offers a second, alternative reading for these pesukim. Here he suggests that Hashem did not command Moshe to create a separate aron etz. Only one Aron was built: the Aron made by Betzalel. This Aron, although covered and lined with gold, was primarily built out of acacia wood and could be called an “aron etz.” Hashem repeated the instruction to create an Aron in conjunction with the second luchos to reassure Moshe. The Ramban explains that Moshe was unsure about the extent of Hashem’s forgiveness after the Eigel. Would the people still have a Mishkan? To provide reassurance Hashem commands Moshe, “make for yourself an aron etz” at the same time as Moshe was told about the second luchos. Whilst the Ramban refers to this second approach as the pshat, most accept the more obvious reading: that Hashem commands Moshe to fashion a separate aron etz at Sinai, distinct from the Aron made by Betzalel. Is there a significance in the existence of one Aron or two? We know we were given two sets of luchos but was anything different second time around? Hashem knew that for the second luchos to be effective there would need to be some changes and some different lessons conveyed.

The first luchos were both carved and inscribed by Hashem, the second set is made by Moshe and only inscribed by divine hand. The lesson to us, surely is that we are in a way partners with Hashem not passive observers. Hashem’s Torah is not just laws for us to obey but to study, analyse and apply within our world. We are partners with Hashem in bringing kedusha into the world. For that reason, the second luchos were the result of a partnership; Moshe carved the luchos and Hashem wrote the words on them. There is, however, another lesson. This lesson comes from the aron etz. Torah cannot exist in a vacuum. The devar Hashem must find a home in our hearts, they mustn’t just be repeated robotically, they must shape our thoughts and actions. When Moshe saw the people with the Eigel he realised that they were not ready for the Torah. If he had brought down the luchos the Torah would have been completely misunderstood and misapplied. The Bnei Yisroel needed to learn to appreciate the Torah properly. Lessons were taught by having different details concerning the luchos. Yes, Hashem did inscribe the second luchos but the stone was carved by Moshe. The word of Hashem must be connected to the actions of man. This was further emphasised by the command that these new luchos need to be placed into a simple aron etz. The message should be clear to us: only if the contents of these luchos also find their home in our simple, humble hearts will the Torah be able to lead to increased kedusha in the world. M


‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬

24 Aug 2019

‫פרשת עקב‬

21

Ma n e nna v From Hea The One Who feeds you mon in the desert…in order to test you.

E

Rabbi Yissocher Frand Rosh Yeshiva, Ner Yisrael Baltimore

(Devarim 8:16)

veryone knows that life is a test. We struggle to make a living, to raise our children, to build up our communities. Nothing comes easy, and our test is to deal with the hardships and frustrations in the best way possible.

But what if our livelihood were served up to us on a silver platter? How wonderful that would be! No more worries about how to pay for the children’s tuition or the new roof. What if everything we needed came to us like mon from heaven? Would we consider this a test? Hardly. We would consider it a blessing. The Torah, however, seems to say otherwise. No sooner had the Jewish people come forth from Egypt that they complained (Shemos 16:3), “If only we had died by the hand of Hashem in the land of Egypt when we were sitting beside the fleshpots, when we ate our fill of bread; now you have brought us out into the desert to let the entire congregation starve to death.” “Behold, I will rain down bread from the heavens on you,” Hashem replied (ibid. 16:4). “The people shall go out to collect their daily portion every day, in order to test whether or not they will follow My Torah.” The commentators wonder what kind of test this is. What could be better than having everything you need delivered to your doorstep every day? This is a test? This is a blessing! Rashi explains that Hashem was referring to the laws that govern the mon. One could not store away any mon for the next day. One had to collect a double portion on Friday. And so forth. This was the test. Would the Jewish people observe the laws of the mon scrupulously? This test is also mentioned in Parashas Eikev, “The One Who feeds you mon in the desert…in order to test you.” Sforno explains that the test is to see if the Jews would still follow the Torah when they do not have to worry about their livelihood.

Yes, there is a great test in “bread raining down from heaven.” Affluence without effort is a dangerous thing. It comes with a great amount of leisure time and freedom of action. What do we do with that leisure time and that freedom of action? Do we use our leisure time and freedom of action to taste the forbidden? This is the great test of the mon. We are all aware of the test of poverty. We are all aware of the trials and tribulations of being poor. However, says Sforno, affluence also comes with great temptations. It puts a tremendous responsibility on a person. This is the test of the mon, and it is the test for many Jews in these affluent times. The Chovos Halevavos writes in Shaar Habitachon that one of the reasons people, unlike birds and animals, must make a great effort to earn their livelihood is to control the yetzer hara. If we had too much time on our hands, we would be unable to resist the temptations he puts before us. As it is, we are either too busy or too tired most of the time. And even then it is a struggle to resist temptation. The Maggid of Mezeritch once said that when people face troubles, sickness or mortal danger, Heaven forbid, they all become religious. They all come to shul. They pray fervently. They say Tehillim with tears streaming down their cheeks. They give charity generously. But when things are going well, when they are going wonderfully, do they give much thought to the Al-mighty? This is the test of the mon. M

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22

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‫לע''נ אריאל יהודה ז''ל בן ר' פינחס צבי נ''י קליין‬

Oneg Shabbos Issue 215.

Restoring the primacy of Choshen Mishpat Under the auspices of Harav Chaim Kohn ‫שליט"א‬

Rabbi Meir Orlian Halachah Writer, BHI

HOTEL PAYMENT The Hoffmans were spending Pesach at a hotel with their baby. The program included many shiurim and lectures on assorted topics. On Shabbos afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman wanted to attend a certain lecture together. “The baby needs to sleep, though; I need someone to watch him in the room,” Mrs. Hoffman said to her husband. “Do you have any ideas?” “Our neighbors are here with their teenage daughters,” replied Mr. Hoffman. “See if one of them is willing to babysit for two hours.” “Do you think it’s OK to ask them?” asked Mrs. Hoffman. “They’re on vacation!” “It doesn’t hurt to ask,” said Mr. Hoffman. “If it’s not good for them, they won’t do it.” The Hoffmans went down and found their neighbors sitting and talking in the lobby. “I’d like to hire one of the girls to babysit in the room for two hours,” Mrs. Hoffman said to them. “I know it’s your vacation, so I’m willing to pay a little more than usual. If it’s not good, I’ll find some other arrangement.” “I’m willing to babysit for $20 an hour,” said one of the girls, Rivki. Mrs. Hoffman was about to close the deal, when her husband said, “Not so fast, Rivki.” “What’s the matter?” asked Rivki. “We’re just sitting here; I can earn some money.” “It’s Shabbos,” said her father. “Although babysitting does not entail any melachah (prohibited work), working for pay on Shabbos is inherently problematic, even if you are just sitting in the room.” “But I’ve babysat on Shabbos before,” said Rivki. “After Shabbos people came and gave me money, and you didn’t stop me.” “They can give you a gift afterward,” said her father, “but you can’t take a job and charge payment” (Mishnah Berurah 306:15). “What’s the problem?” asked Mrs. Hoffman. “Rabbi Dayan is over there,” said Rivki’s father. “Perhaps he can explain better.” Rabbi Dayan explained, “The Gemara (B.M. 58) teaches that a person is not allowed to charge payment for work on Shabbos (s’char Shabbos), even permitted work,”

replied Rabbi Dayan. “It is a kind of commerce. Similarly, one is not allowed to charge rental payment for Shabbos or Yom Tov. However, if the payment for Shabbos is not distinct, but included in a larger payment, it is permitted (b’havlaah). Therefore, a weekly or monthly salary or rental fee is permitted, if there isn’t a specific reckoning for Shabbos” (O.C. 306:4). “I don’t understand,” said Mrs. Hoffman. “We pay the hotel for their services on Pesach and Shabbos. We pay for each day that we rent the room. Not only that, a chazzan comes just for Shabbos and Yom Tov, and gets paid for his services. “Payment to the hotel is not schar Shabbos, since the hotel has operating expenses during the week, so that it is b’havlaah,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “The payment covers, for example, purchase of food and cleaning the room before and after Shabbos” (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28:70). “Furthermore, since the hotel ‘day’ is not reckoned from sunset till sunrise, but rather from morning to morning, each ‘day’ includes part of a weekday,” added Rabbi Dayan. “This applies to almost all commercial rental reckonings nowadays” (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28:67-68). “What about the chazzan just for Shabbos?” asked Mr. Hoffman. “Shulchan Aruch writes that it is prohibited and some allow,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Those who allow maintain that Chazal did not prohibit for the purpose of a mitzvah. It is not a source of blessing, though, and therefore better if it’s b’havlaah. The practice is to permit it, but the hiring itself cannot be done on Shabbos or Yom Tov. “The Poskim allow payment to a doctor or midwife; either because it is a mitzvah, or they provide care also before or after Shabbos, or there is potential danger in the future if they won’t receive proper compensation”. M (O.C. 306:5; Mishnah Berurah 306:24; Aruch Hashulchan 306:12; Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28:74-75; Pischei Choshen, Sechirus 8:42-43).

Provided by Business Halacha Institute. The BHI is a non-profit organization based in New York that educates and guides people in up to date applications of monetary halacha. For more information or to browse the BHI archives, visit www.businesshalacha.com


24 Aug 2019

‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת עקב‬

MIDDOS ‫דרגה יתירה‬ Rabbi Zalman Guttman Ramat Shlomo

‫ארץ אשר תמיד עיני ה’ אלקיך בה מראשית השנה‬ )‫יב‬-‫ועד אחרית שנה וגו’ (יא‬ The Gemara )‫ (כתובות קי‬makes a very drastic statement: ‫כל הדר בחוץ לארץ דומה למי שאין לו אלוק‬

“One who lives outside of the Land of Israel is as if he does not have a G-d.” Some of our relatives in America would be very offended by this! What does it mean? Is every American or European Jew an Apikores?! The answer is no, of course not. Yet, although Hashem is everywhere, His hashgachah and closeness is greater in Eretz Yisroel. “The Land that the Eyes of Hashem are constantly on it, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” Hashem Himself oversees the activities of Eretz Yisroel - personally, so to speak - whereas He appoints angels to oversee the other lands of the world. I heard a very different explanation. In ‫חוץ לארץ‬, if one wants to get a job, he sends in his resume, and based on qualifications and an interview, he may or may not receive a job. Inside our dear and holy land, as we are all very aware, things do not work this way. The magic word here is protektzia. It seems to be not what you know, it’s who you know; in other words, not relying on your talents and therefore knowing that Hashem is running the show! In ‫חוץ לארץ‬, it is as if one does not have a G-d, because one can easily fall into the trap of believing that he has earned his keep due to his experience or qualifications, thereby leaving Hashem out of the picture. In Eretz Yisrael this rarely happens. One cannot but marvel at the hashgachah pratis at every turn. (My sister-in-law’s grandmother’s best friends’ daughter opened a new school ...!) In Eretz Yisroel the Yad Hashem is so obvious that we feel His hashgachah constantly. One who lives in Eretz Yisroel truly feels the “Eyes of Hashem” upon him always! M

23

AHAVAS YISROEL

FOOD FOR THOUGHT TO SPARK N CONVERSATIO

IT DOESN'T TAKE TWO Penina’s walk was a high point of her day. She walked in a group of four women down a major thoroughfare in town. The composition of the group varied according to the members’ schedules and commitments, but Penina rarely missed a day. The fresh air, exertion and camaraderie were a perfect antidote to her high-stress job. Just one thing marred the experience: the sour-faced woman who walked in the opposite direction, crossing Penina’s group each day. Having heard her speaking to her occasional companion, Penina figured out that she was a non-observant Israeli. For a reason Penina couldn’t fathom, her own little group seemed to irk the woman. She would often be heard muttering under her breath as she passed. Since the group made sure to step aside for passers-by, Penina was sure that her reaction wasn’t resentment that “they think they own the sidewalk.” Was it a dislike of Torah observant Jews? The sight of happy, smiling friends highlighting her own loneliness, maybe? No one could account for the hostility but it was there, shooting like an arrow in their direction. Penina decided to test a theory she had long propounded. As the pasuk teaches, "Just as in water a face mirrors a face, so is the heart of a man to a man” (Mishlei 27:19). In other words, if you smile at someone, he’ll smile back. Penina’s group launched a friendliness campaign, starting with a nod and a smile in passing. Little by little, the woman’s demeanor changed. As her icy features began to soften, Penina ventured a bit more friendliness: a short “hello,” “nice day,” “enjoy your walk.” The experiment was working! Slowly, over the next few months, the woman’s scowl disappeared. One day she smiled back, and soon afterward she began to respond with her own friendly greeting. The daily encounter became warm and welcome. “The best thing was that it proved something to me. When we deal with someone difficult we always think, ‘How can I be nice when she’s so hostile?’ But it doesn’t depend on the other person – it depends on you. When you change how you react, very often it will shift the whole situation.”

TALK ABOUT IT

How could Penina’s friendly greeting have changed the woman’s reaction to her when the woman’s underlying gripe was never addressed? The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Reviewed by Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Lowy. For discussion only; actual halachic decisions should be made by a rav or halachic expert on a case-by-case basis.


Oneg Shabbos Issue 215.

WORSHIPPING AN IDOL DUE TO LOVE OR FEAR ‫ הניחא לאביי דאמר חייב אלא לרבא דאמר פטור מאי‬,‫אלא מאהבה ומיראה‬ ‫איכא למימר‬ The Gemara determined that the case of idolatry listed in the Mishnah is where the person who committed this sin realized that the actions he was doing were prohibited when done for an idol, but he was unaware that he was performing them for idolatry at that particular moment. This person would be liable for one chattas, because he has basically committed one error, in that he was unaware that he was in front of an idol. If the situation was reversed, where he knew that he was in front of an idol, but he was unaware that his actions were idolatrous worship, he would have been liable for a separate chattas for each act. In this case, each and every act would be a distinct and separate error, each warranting its own chattas. The Gemara analyzes the specific details in this case. How can a person not be aware that his actions are not being done for an idol? The Gemara concludes that the case is where the person realized that he was performing in front of an idol, but his intentions were not in order to worship the idol as a god, but the person rather acted due to his being compelled due to “love or fear.” Rashi and Rabeinu Gershom explain that this means that the violator was motivated due to love or fear of another person. His mistake was that he felt that it was permitted to worship an idol if he was forced to do so because of pressure from another person. Ramban (Shabbos 72b) explains that the “love or fear” is that he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the idol, or that he feared that the idol would harm him if he did not perform its service. This is also how Rambam explains the case (Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 3:6). Kesef Mishnah explains that Rambam did not explain that the motive was love or fear of a person, because he holds that this would be considered coerced, and because the person did not accept the idol as a god it would not be reasonable that this would be liable according to Abaye. Sefer Be’er Sheva explains that Rambam feels that if the person’s worship of the idol was motivated due to fear of a person it would not be permitted ac- cording to Rava. The person would have been expected to with- stand the coercion and not to perform the service of the idolatry. This is why Rambam explains that the love or fear being referred to here is that of the beauty of the idol or based upon some fear that the idol will harm him if he does not act. Meiri (to Sanhedrin 61b) points out that fear that an idol may cause harm is itself an acknowledgment of the powers of the idol, which is an acceptance of it as being legitimate, which is the greatest form of actual idolatry. Riva”sh also notes that most idolaters are motivated due to fear of the power of their gods, rather that an appreciation of the god’s goodness. M

133 X DAYS

‫נ“ב‬ ‘‫כריתות ג‬ ‫בכורות‬

Distinctive Insight

E TH

Daf Yomi WEEKLY

DOWN TO NT

Siyum Hashas

CO U

24

Stories from the Daf REPAIRING THE DAMAGE ...”‫”ונכרת מעמיו‬

Today’s daf continues to discuss the halachos of various issurei kareis.

The evil inclination will drive a person insane if given half a chance. First it entices a person to sin. Then it riddles him with thoughts of guilt and gloomy thoughts of what will be the result of his sinful activities. Rav Yitzchak Sher, zt”l, explained why the yetzer hara won’t even allow a person to enjoy having sinned. “The yetzer wants to kill us, as our sages teach. He therefore pushes one to sin and urges God to punish the hapless fellow. Even if he cannot kill us, he wants us to suffer. He is in essence saying, ‘You sinned, now give up all the pleasure too.’”

One of the strongest arguments the yetzer has is when a person transgresses issurei kareis, chas v’shalom. The evil inclination immediately begins harping on this stain, insisting that teshuvah doesn’t help— in direct contradiction of the Gemara itself. Yet even one who learned that kareis can be rectified cannot help being daunted by the need for Yom Kippur and yesurin to clean away such guilt1. Although the Meiri there adds that a complete teshuvah also atones alone, who can say he has done a complete teshuvah? The Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, brings that the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah, zt”l, teaches how to wipe away even the kareis-sins. “It is brought from the Arizal that one who did a sin punishable by kareis should stay awake the entire night and learn Torah, especially those segments where the sin he transgressed is discussed.” The Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah adds, “This practice is most frequently followed during the nights of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. The custom is for people to stay on their feet and learn Meseches Kareisos the entire night.”

The Chofetz Chaim adds that one who learns Meseches Kareisos well attains added holiness and purity. Learning this tractate is a segulah to rectify transgressions 2. M

‫ וכן פסק‬,‫ ע”ב‬,‫ דף פ”ה‬,‫ דעת רבי ישמעאל ביומא‬1 ’‫ הל’ ד‬,‫ פ”א‬,‫ בהל’ תשובה‬,‫הרמב”ם‬ ‫ תחילת מסכת כריתות‬,‫ ליקוטי הלכות להח”ח‬2

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24 Aug 2019

‫כ"ג אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת עקב‬

Sages through Ages THE

25

Dr Benji Schreiber

Chacham Zvi

TŘEBÍČ, MORAVIA 1656 – LVOV, POLAND 1718 ‫א’ באייר‬ His learning was profound and he was well respected for his clarity and erudition. While he was in Amsterdam he published his book of teshuvos, Chacham Zvi.

Rav Zvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, known as the Chacham Zvi after his sefer of teshuvos, was born in Moravia, now in the Czech Republic. In his youth he learnt Torah from his father, Rav Yaakov, and travelled to Alt-Ofen (now Budapest) to learn with his grandfather, Rav Efraim HaCohen, author of Shaar Efraim. From there he went on to Salonica in Greece, where he learnt for two years under Rav Eliyahu Kobo. He then moved to Constantinople where they called him Chacham, giving him the Sefardi title even though he was an Ashkenazi Rov. He returned to Alt-Ofen and married and had a daughter. However in 1686 the Austrians invaded Alt-Ofen and tragically a canon shot killed his wife and daughter. He moved on to Sarajevo, where he took a post as Rav and then in 1689 he went to Berlin, where he married Sarah Rivka, the daughter of Meshulam Zalman Mirels Neumark, the chief rabbi of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck. These three communities functioned as a single unit, ‫קהילות אה”ו‬, for about 140 years. He spent 18 years in Altona (part of Hamburg), where he set up a Klaus (yeshiva). When his father-in-law passed away, the community could not decide whether to appoint Rav Ashkenazi or Rav Moshe Rothenberg. They decided to appoint both on six month rotations. However, controversies ensued and in 1709 he stepped down from that role to continue in his Klaus. One of the controversies involved the kashrus of a chicken found to have no heart!

AMSTERDAM He was appointed as Rov of the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam with a huge salary of 2,500 Dutch guilden. He was firm and unselfish and showed no interest in money.

Although he was appointed with great warmth, one group was bitterly opposed to him and by 1712 they asked him to resign, which he would not do. Rav Moshe Chagiz was a ‫יח ְד ַר ָבּנָ ן‬ ַ ִ‫ ָשׁל‬who had come from Eretz Yisrael to raise money and lived in the Chacham Zvi’s home. They were both vehemently opposed to a locally appointed Rav, Rav Chayun, who they saw as a follower of Shabbtai Zevi. A huge battle followed with polemical books written by both sides and the rabbonim of Europe involved. Chacham Zvi ruled that Rav Chayun was a heretic and that his Seforim should be burned. The community sided with Rav Chayun and the Portugese community persuaded the authorities to expel the Chacham Zvi and Rav Chagiz. Following this controversy he had to leave Amsterdam. He sent his family on to Emden, in North West Germany and he came to London to help arbitrate in a British controversy surrounding the Spanish and Portuguese leader Rav David Nieto who was accused of Spinozism. Chacham Zvi exonerated him and praised him (described in Teshuva 18). From London he went to Lvov, then in the Kingdom of Poland, now in the Ukraine, where he was Rov until his death.

HALACHIC RULINGS One of best-known rulings of the Chacham Zvi include his ruling that anyone who is in Eretz Yisroel for yom tov should keep just one day of Yom Tov like Bnei Eretz Yisrael (Teshuva 137). His son, Rav Yaakov Emden famously disagreed with him, and the consensus amongst most poskim is to follow Rav Yaakov Emden rather than his illustrious father in this case. The Chacham Zvi’s ruling about the chicken without the heart is fundamental for questions of organ transplantation. Although the gemoro discussed cessation of breathing as a sign of death, Chacham Zvi

argues that really the beating heart is the true sign of life (Teshuva 77).

CHILDREN He had 16 children in all, including a daughter from his first wife who was killed. His daughter Miriam was the grandmother of the first Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Rabbi Solomon Heschel. Many were involved in Rabbinic positions. The best known was his son, Rav Yaakov Emden. Rav Chaim Halberstam, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz (1793-1876), was a descendent.


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Please be careful to dispose of this sheet in the proper manner as required ‫על פי הלכה‬. Please do not read this publication during ‫קדיש‬, ‫ קריאת התורה‬or ‫חזרת הש''ץ‬. Please do not read the adverts on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Please would you ensure that there are ample sheets left in shuls for Shabbos before taking one home. ‫בברכת שלא ימוש התורה מפי זרעינו ומפי זרע זרעינו מעתה ועד עולם‬


Issue

216

‫בס"ד‬

‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה לשמה לעשות נחת רוח לאבינו שבשמים‬ ‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬ JLM

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here can be no doubt about it. Jews know food. I am not necessarily referring to cordon bleu haute cuisine, which in any event often poses inexcusable portion-related challenges, but rather the sort of food that graces our Shabbos and Yom Tov tables, contributing significantly to the oneg and/or simcha that we are enjoined to experience. At times, we even elevate our food to heights of religious symbolism. As our thoughts instinctively turn to Rosh Hashono, with the onset of Chodesh Elul, we have the prototypical set of symbolic foods, the simonim eaten before the leil Yom Tov meal. Prominent amongst these is the fish-head (some people do use a sheep’s head – discreet enquiries before accepting meal invitations are recommended to avoid embarrassment, or worse!). Some versions of the accompanying yehi rotson invocation note the special quality of fish, she’ein ayin hora sholettes bo’hen – the evil eye has no dominion over them. The

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Chazan Michael Simon Author of Likutei Mimini Michoel, weekly email on the Parshah and Mo’adim

physiognomy of their eyes yields important spiritual protection.

We need not wait, however, until the upcoming Yom Yov to draw lessons from fish. Our parshah restates the halochos of kosher species, repeating the requirement [Devorim 14:9] that fish have senapir ve’kaskesses – a fin and scales. Harav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv (Divrei Aggodo) derives fundamental life lessons from this seemingly mundane specification.

The Gemoro in Maseches Kiddushin [29a] famously records that a father must teach his son Torah and a trade, amongst other requirements. The Gemoro continues that, according to some, a father’s obligation extends to teaching his son to swim. Superficially, at least, this seems an odd choice. If the concern is to protect the son from danger, then why limit such instruction to swimming? One could conceive of many other skills that might be useful in an emergency situation. Sadly, in this day and age, one might consider some form of self-defence training to be of at least equal benefit. If, on the other hand, the focus is on ensuring that the son stays in good physical

For questions on Divrei Torah, please email the editor Rabbi Yonasan Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk

N OW R E AC H

shape, then again there are many alternative ways in which this might be achieved. The choice of swimming has a much deeper significance as Rav Elyashiv explains. When a log floats along a stream, we do not describe it as being able to swim; it simply meanders in whichever direction the current takes it. When one describes a person as a swimmer, it clearly conveys the idea that they have the strength to overcome the current and move in whichever direction that they desire. If they simply allow themselves to be tossed along by the waves, then they can easily end up in a dangerous situation. This, says Rav Elyashiv, is the deeper meaning of the Gemoro. The imagery of swimming conveys

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how a father must teach his son the skills necessary to withstand the tide of societal pressure, when it would otherwise lead to a wasted and empty life, and to be able to swim strongly towards a life of Torah and mitzvos. Further, Chazal [Bereishis Rabbo 97:3] compare the Jewish people to fish. As our possuk tells us, kosher fish have both fins and scales. The fins help the fish to choose their direction of travel and to swim against the current, whilst the scales act as a protective coating for their flesh. For a Jew, the Torah is his equivalent of scales, insulating him from unwelcome outside forces of influence and guiding him to use his ‘fins’ – his powers of free choice – in a wise, correct and Torah-true manner. M

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ING

45 0 0 P E O P L E

I N 24 C O U

"When a log floats along a stream, we do not describe it as being able to swim; it simply meanders in whichever direction the current takes it. "

N T R I ES

Yerushalayim, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Baltimore, Beit- Shemesh, Birmingham, Borehamwood, Budapest, Cancun, Detroit, Edgware, Elstree, Gateshead, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Hale, Henderson, Hong Kong, Ilford, Johannesburg, Lakewood, Larnaca, Las Vegas, Leeds, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Memphis, Miami, Milan, New York, Oslo, Paris, Petach Tikva, Philadelphia, Pressburg, Radlett, Ruislip, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Stanmore, Southend, Tallinn, Tarzana, Toronto, Uman, Vienna, Zurich


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Oneg Shabbos Issue 216

Rabbi Alex Chapper Rabbi, Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue

SEE

‫ּוק ָל ָלֽה‬ ְ ‫ְר ֵ֗אה ָאנ ֹכִ ֛י נ ֹתֵ ֥ן לִ פְ נֵי ֶכ ֖ם הַ ּיֹ֑ום ּבְ ָר ָכ ֖ה‬ - See, today I set before you blessing and curse. Moshe Rabbeinu’s call to the Jewish people to follow the correct path begins with the word ‫ – ְר ֵ֗אה‬see.

This is unusual, since the Jewish emphasis is far more on hearing or talking than it is on seeing. In our central prayer - the Shema, not only do we stress the importance of hearing but we also cover our eyes to avoid seeing anything that might distract us. And we have many mitzvos that require us to listen – we must hear krias haTorah, Megillah, Shofar. So why is there a switch of senses here? In this case, the word ‘see’ is appropriate because the choice between blessing and curse was to be presented to the people in a truly visual way – in one of the most powerful psychodramas in the Torah. And the Mishnah (Sotah 7:5) describes the scene: When the Jewish people crossed the Jordan and came to Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Eval…six tribes went up Mt. Gerizim and six tribes went up Mt. Eval, and the Cohanim and Levi’im with the Ark stood below in the middle…The Levi’im turned towards Mt. Gerizim and opened with the blessings and the people responded Amen. Then they turned towards Mt. Eval and opened with the curses and the people responded Amen…And afterwards they brought stones and wrote all the words of the Torah in seventy languages. Could we imagine a more dramatic scene? Of a people at a moral crossroads faced with a choice between two paths that would affect their common destiny? But what message does it contain that’s relevant to us over three millennia later?

The Seforno is very clear that this wasn’t a one-off choice - ‫ ְר ֵ֗אה‬- ‘see’ in this context means ‘understand’.

Understand that ‫אנכי נותן לפניכם היום‬ ‫ ברכה וקללה‬- I present you today with the choice of two extremes, opposites. Every day we have the choice of both before us; all we have to do is make a choice. The Bechor Shor is even more explicit: This choice is in our hands. ‫הכל בידי שמים‬ - Everything else may be in the hands of Heaven but moral choice is in our hands, the choice of blessing or curse is totally ours. It’s this message that’s perhaps even more relevant today than it ever has been because we seem to be living in a world that’s lost sight of this truth. How many people live what we could call a ‘reactive life’? Reactive people are essentially like characters in a film, playing out the script. They often resemble powerless victims, having their lives run by external factors. They have little control over their emotions. Instead their emotions are dictated by someone or something else; by circumstance and the outside environment. How many people have allowed their lives to be shaped as a reaction to their parents and upbringing? How many vow never to do the things that they were forced to do as children? How many are determined to raise their own children in the completely opposite way to which they were? Is that choice or just reaction?

As Holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning: ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’ If Viktor managed to choose his response amongst the unimaginable conditions of the Nazi death camps, witnessing endless suffering and losing almost all of his family; surely we can do it in our everyday lives? Isn’t that what the Torah is trying to show us? We have a choice. We can be reactive but we can also be proactive. The blessing is we can choose. Stephen Covey, in his classic all-time bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote: Whether you believe it or not, being proactive is among the most important traits of successful people. It allows anyone, under any circumstance, to choose what kind of life they have or will have in the future. This is a far stretch from reactive people, who are the exact opposite. Underlying the habit of being proactive is realising we have independent will to choose our own unique response, understanding the choice we have in engineering our life and taking conscious control of our life. It can be no co-incidence then that in this very same sedrah we’re referred to as the Am Segulah – we’re not just the Chosen People - We are a people chosen to choose! M


31 Aug 2019

‫ל' אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת ראה‬

Retaining our Sensitivity In ‫פרשת ראה‬, the Torah tells us of an unfortunate incident where most the inhabitants of a city worship ‫עבודה זרה‬. In the aftermath of this tragedy, we are commanded to kill every man, woman and child of the city.

Towards the end of the ‫פרשה‬, we find conciliatory words for those who fulfill the difficult ‫ מצוה‬of killing their fellow Jews. The ‫ פסוק‬says ‫ ונתן לך רחמים ורחמך‬- Hashem tells us that He will grant us mercy, and have mercy on us. What is the meaning of this blessing? The ‫ אור החיים‬explains why this blessing is so important at this juncture. True, it is a ‫ מצוה‬to wipe out the violators. However, regardless of the righteousness of the act, killing other humans makes an indelible impression on those who carry out the deed. When one takes another person’s life, his feeling of mercy and sensitivity to the value of life is diminished.

The ‫ אור החיים‬attests to this by citing certain ‫ישמעלים‬ who were the King’s mercenaries and declared that they had developed a strong desire for taking human life. Sadly, their natural inclinations of mercy have been extinguished. In more recent times, we have seen how those who commit mass murder have eventually been transformed into heartless monsters. The Germans who committed the first acts of genocide gradually lost any vestige of human emotion and feeling for human life. At the conclusion of the war, they had no trouble defending their actions, with no remorse for their atrocities. In fact, I have read that those who prosecuted Nazi war criminals reported that any expressions of contrition by these vile monsters were few and far between.

German Army patrol in Berlin during the Nazi Party purge of the Sturmabteilung leadership. June 30-July 2, 1934. Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

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Rabbi Eli Lefkowitz Director of Mesivta Division, Project Witness Project Witness EDUCATE. INSPIRE. TRANSFORM.

As humans, we too must be wary of the effects of the ‫מצות עיר הנדחת‬. To address this concern, Hashem acknowledges the danger in fulfilling this ‫מצוה‬. To offset this deficit, He promises a blessing of mercy, from the One and Only ‫בעל הרחמים‬.

However, just as a negative act can leave an impression, the same is true for a positive act. The ‫ ספר החינוך‬makes this point several times – ‫אדם נמשך אחר‬ ‫ מעשיו‬- a person is drawn after, or better said, shaped, by his actions. This is why the ‫ תורה‬emphasises doing a ‫ מצוה‬which involves a physical act. Whether it’s donning ‫תפילין‬, eating ‫מצה‬ or helping others, we are shaped by such positive acts. Along the path of life, we are presented with endless opportunities to mould ourselves into better people. By taking advantage of these opportunities, we are ensuring that when we reach the end of the road, we will be better off than when we started. M


and HONOUR LOVE

30

Oneg Shabbos Issue 216

This page is sponsored ‫לע''נ ביילא בת ר׳ משה ע''ה‬

or LOVE andHONOUR? Rabbi Avrohom Tabor Yeshivas ImreiBina, Author of “100 Amos High”

“My father” said Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt”l, “always looked to find a quality that his father possessed better than anybody else. For a long time I did not understand why he did so, until finally it clicked.” The Gemara teaches us that a husband should love his wife as himself and honour her more than himself. (Yevamos 67a) Yet the Rambam quotes this halachah in the reverse order; ‘Chazal commanded a man to honour his wife more than himself and to love her as himself.’ Rav Shmulevitz explains that the Gemara states first the goal that the Torah desires of a husband, namely that he should reach a stage where he loves his wife as much as he loves himself. However, the Rambam is a law book and is teaching us how one is able to reach such a goal. By honouring his wife more than he honours himself, he will achieve this lofty objective. How does one honour another person? The Sefer Chareidim (9:35) writes “The main form of honouring parents is in the mind, that one should consider them as great people and respected and honourable personalities. By doing so, one will also come to honour them in his speech and actions.” It is possible to really honour someone only if you genuinely perceive them as an important person who is deserving of honour. If you view them such automatically you will treat them

accordingly. Therefore Rav Shmulevitz senior searched to find the quality that made his father stand out as a unique individual and respected him for that quality. Similarly between a husband and wife or two friends or any interpersonal relationship, if you find the other person’s qualities you will see them as someone special and so respect and honour them. Thinking about the qualities of your spouse or friend generates an appreciation and fondness towards

of other people’s guilt, but those who are upright speak of what is favourable in others.” (Mishlei 14:9) Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuva 3:217) explains the sinner is always on the lookout for failures and bad points in others. He will focus only on what they did wrong or what they are missing. He compares them to a fly that is always attracted to dirty places. The righteous person, on the other hand, overlooks

...pick one person every day and write down some good quality that you see in him... them. Rav Shalom Shwadron zt’’l gave a mashal of someone choosing a new house. He makes a list of all the benefits that this house has over the other options and when he realises how good the house is he naturally takes a liking to it and feels an attachment towards it. All the more so with a person, the more you realise their qualities and strong points, the more admiration you have of them and the more love you feel towards them. The Alter from Kelm remarked that his wife possessed 3000 qualities! Rav Pinchos Green shlita explained this does not necessarily mean 3000 character traits, but rather included actions she did based on her qualities of character. The ability to see the good points in others is in fact the hallmark of a tzaddik. “Fools [wicked people] speak

anything bad and talks only in praise of the good points the person possesses. He tells the story told of two people walking past a rotting carcass. One of them gasped, “What a terrible smell” to which his wise counterpart responded, “but how beautiful are his shiny white teeth!” The tzaddik is the one who can zone in and talk only in a positive and complimentary manner about others. It is an idea to pick one person every day and write down some good quality that you see in him. In a short time you will see that there are many special and nice people out there and you will begin to appreciate and love everybody. M To obtain the sefer “100 Amos High” or the series of shiurim based on the sefer please email to taboravrohom@gmail.com


31 Aug 2019

‫ל' אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת ראה‬

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Tomorrow is a Day Away...

Don’t Wait ‫ ברכה‬,‫“ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם היום‬ ”.‫( וקללה‬11:26) “See, I present before you today, a blessing and a curse.” Why does the Torah say, “‫“ – ”היום‬today?” Doesn’t everyone always have this choice– to choose between serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu and receiving Brocha, and between Chas V’sholom not following the Torah and receiving Klalah?

In Hallel we say, “‫ – ”הים ראה וינוס‬to which Chazal (Sotah 13a) ask, “What did the Sea see? It saw the Aron of Yosef.” We can appreciate how dear Mitzvos were to Moshe Rabbeinu for while all of Klal Yisroel were busy with the spoils of Mitzrayim, Moshe was busy with Mitzvos (he took the Aron of Yosef), as it says (Mishlei 10:8) “‫ – ”חכם לב יקח מצוות‬The wise hearted takes Mitzvos. If the posuk is referring to Moshe Rabbeinu performing the Mitzvah of taking the Aron of Yosef, then why does it use a Loshon Rabbim of, “‫ – ”מצוות‬as if to say Moshe performed more than one Mitzvah here? The Gemoro in Brochos 5a says that one must always incite his Yetzer Tov against his Yetzer Hara, as it says (Tehillim 4:5) “‫“ – ”רגזו ואל תחטאו‬Tremble (incite) and do not sin.” If that works and one does not sin, good. If it does not work to keep him from sinning, then he should remember the day of death, for this is certain to conquer the Yetzer Hara. This also assists one to fulfil the entire Torah. This was what Moshe had in mind when he took the bones of Yosef with him. Moshe feared that perhaps Klal Yisroel would have great difficulty with the challenge of wealth, being that they were just zoche to obtain much gold and silver, both from Mitzrayim and the Yam. Moshe took the Aron of Yosef with him, in the midst of Klal Yisroel for all of Klal Yisroel to see, to remind them of the end of days of a person – the day of death. Who was greater than Yosef, who ruled over the land of Mitzrayim, and had much wealth and prestige, yet his day had come and he was no longer alive. What he had in this world was all worthless, all of his physical possessions. The only thing he had was the Torah and Mitzvos that he performed in this world. By Moshe Rabbeinu doing this, he was mezakeh all of Klal Yisroel, he inspired them to do Teshuva and to stay on the path of the Avodas Hashem, by their having the constant reminder of the day of death. Moshe is accredited with many Mitzvos, for

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Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Schechter Author of Seforim, Parshah Pshetl

he was the one who ensured that Klal Yisroel would stay on the proper path of Avodas Hashem, and perform many Mitzvos. It was in the zechus of Yosef, as he was a reminder to Klal Yisroel that they must have Emunah in Hakodosh Boruch Hu and always follow in His ways, that the Yam split. (‫לפלגות‬ ‫ )ראובן‬

We must look at today, and only today. One never knows when is his last day on this world. Chazal tell us that in order to defeat the Yetzer Hara, one should look at the day of death. No matter how much time one lives on this world, it is limited. One must seize the day, and the way to do so is by seeing only today. Don’t push off good actions which one can do today for another day. Today is the day that makes a difference. We are quickly approaching the Yomim Nora’im, and we need to know how we can obtain a favourable judgment. The Torah tells us how – “‫ – ”היום‬look at today as your last – know that when you are in the ground you can no longer grow in ruchniyus. It is your choice – take the Brocha that Hakodosh Boruch Hu so desires to give to you, or Chas V’sholom don’t follow in His ways, and receive klalah. May we be Zoche to take this lesson to heart, and make the best out of every, “today.” M


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Oneg Shabbos Issue 216

This page is sponsored anonymously

E H T F O T R A BE P

N O I T U L O S Rabbi Yitzchok Sandler

I

n this week’s parsha, the Torah makes the bold statement: “See (Re’eh – singular), I place before you (plural) this day, blessing and curse. The blessing, when you will listen to the commands of Hashem your G-d which I command you today; and the curse, if you will not listen to the commands of Hashem your G-d, and you turn away from the path which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.” (11:26-28). Whilst the word “Re’eh,” meaning “See”, is given in the singular, all other verbs in the sentence are in the plural – clearly ungrammatical. Who is the Al-mighty speaking to, individuals or the nation?? In essence the message is clearly to the nation – after all, the message is, in the main, in the plural. And, it is significant that that this national message is dealing with reward and punishment – it is in fact a fundamental Jewish idea that reward and punishment does not come to an individual in this world, that is, don’t expect to get rich because you are a good person, nor expect to be punished because you do things wrong. If there were such causality to our actions it would undermine free will – we would all run to be righteous, if in so doing our bank accounts rocketed! But, if individuals do not experience causality, the nation certainly does! As we see in the parsha, there is reward and punishment for national actions – and that means that it is imperative to see national tragedy as a wake-up call for

everyone, or national triumph as a source of joy – all these events that occur to the nation are meant to be read as a yardstick by which to measure the nation’s closeness to Hashem. The problem is – and this is the real point – that it is still individuals that make up the nation. When we see tragedy, we ought to take it personally. The problem is that it is all too convenient to hide in the crowd behind the cloak of anonymity, and only see the good that we do, blame the tragedy that occurs on others who are not so good… The reality is though that a tragedy to the nation is a message to everyone – “See” says the Torah – speaking to every individual – each one of us must be aware of the blessings and curses, we are each responsible for where the nation is at. We also know this intuitively – you hear of national tragedy and immediately feel a pang of guilt – but then rationally you push it away – ‘After all, it wasn’t my fault, I could not have done anything to prevent it!”. The fact is though, that on some level, we are responsible, that pang of guilt is the soul realisation of the truth that the Torah is trying to teach, and one should not simply ignore the tragedy, not allow it to slip by without leaving a message – every Jew stands side by side with every other, and if we go down, we all go down… That means that where we see problems in the Jewish nation – assimilation, lack of values, families falling apart – we must see every Jew as an extension of ourselves, feel their pain, and do whatever we can to make a difference. If you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem. M

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31 Aug 2019

‫ל' אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת ראה‬

33

Positive First “But this shall you not eat from among those that bring up their cud or have completely separated split hooves: the camel, the hare, and the hyrax, for they bring up their cud, but their hooves are not split — they are unclean to you; and the pig, for it has a split hoof, but not the cud — it is unclean to you” (14:7-8)

the non-existent signs are the only ones we really need in order to label these animals non-kosher?

Rabbi Yissocher Frand Rosh Yeshiva, Ner Yisrael Baltimore

T

he Torah’s listing of kosher and non-kosher animals, which seems somewhat technical, contains many lessons beyond the mere details of what we may and may not eat. Rav Noach Weinberg zt’’l, Rosh Yeshivah of Aish HaTorah, who was directly responsible for bringing tens of thousands back to Yiddishkeit and an exponentially larger number through his students, would point out (based on a Gemara in Chullin 60b) that there is evidence that an all-knowing G-d wrote the Torah from the verses listing the animals that chew their cud but do not have split hooves, and the animal that has split hooves and does not chew its cud. Would a human put his credibility on the line by predicting that at no point in the future would a single animal that is not on that list be found somewhere in the world? And indeed, some three millennia after the Torah was given, and with all the searching science has done for unknown species, not a single such animal has been found! Aside from strengthening our faith, however, these verses also teach us a lesson in how to view, and relate to, other people. The point of the verses listing the animals that have only one kosher sign is to teach us that they are not kosher.

"This Midrash is teaching us that even when we have to deliver a negative message to others we should always find a way to point out their positive attributes or qualities first." It would seem appropriate, then, to list the sign that causes them to be nonkosher first. Yet we see that the Torah lists them as the camel, the rabbit, and the hyrax, which chew their cud but do not have split hooves, and the pig, which has split hooves, but does not chew its cud. Why does the Torah list the kosher signs of these animals first if

A Midrash explains that the Torah is trying to teach us that even when something is not kosher, we should find a way to mention something praiseworthy about it first. Even something as treif as chazir deserves to have its positive trait pointed out. If the Torah does so for non-kosher animals, how much more do we have to learn to have this consideration with regard to people?

Bosses, employees, children, students, co-workers, and neighbours will invariably have some negative traits. It might be our job, from time to time, to deliver a negative message. This Midrash is teaching us that even when we have to deliver a negative message to others — to tell them that they are “non-kosher” in some way — we should always find a way to point out their positive attributes or qualities first. M

COMING SOON!


34

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‫לע''נ אריאל יהודה ז''ל בן ר' פינחס צבי נ''י קליין‬

Oneg Shabbos Issue 216

Restoring the primacy of Choshen Mishpat Under the auspices of Harav Chaim Kohn ‫שליט"א‬

Rabbi Meir Orlian Halachah Writer, BHI

EVERYTHING IN PROPORTION The fine was if we didn’t deliver on time, and we did supply most of the gates.” “You breached the contract,” replied Avraham. “You were required to provide all 500 gates on time. If even a single one was not delivered, you owe us the penalty. “That’s not logical,” replied Motty. “Why should we pay a hefty penalty for delay of a single unit?!” “If you’re not willing to pay the full penalty, I have no choice but to sue you,” said Avraham. “I emphasized from the outset that time was of the essence.” Avraham sued Motty before Rabbi Dayan’s beis din. “Motty committed to a $50,000 fine if he did not deliver on time,” summarized Avraham. “He provided only 60 percent of the units on time. Does he have to pay the penalty?” Avraham needed 500 iron gates manufactured for a building project. He contracted with Motty’s Metalworks. “It is important that we receive the gates on time,” said Avraham. “Are you sure that you will be able to deliver that quantity in time? I know it’s tight.” “Certainly. We take pride in our promptness,” replied Motty. “Our record shows that we manufacture on time.” “If we do not receive the gates on time, it will cause us significant loss,” Avraham explained. “We need a commitment for timely delivery.” “We guarantee you timely delivery,” assured Motty. “We are even willing to back it up.” “The contract stipulates that if you do not provide the gates on time,” said Avraham, “there will be a $50,000 penalty.” “I’m willing to commit to that,” replied Motty. “We will have the gates ready on time!” Avraham and Motty signed the contract. “To avoid any questions of asmachta (insincere commitment),” said Avraham, “I want the contract and penalty clause confirmed before a beis din with a kinyan” (C.M. 207:15). “That’s fine with me,” replied Motty. The production proved more difficult than expected, especially due to the large quantity. By the specified delivery date, Motty’s Metalworks produced and delivered only 60 percent of the gates. “You didn’t fulfil the contract,” Avraham complained. “You are liable for the $50,000 penalty.” “We delivered most of the gates,” replied Motty. “The remainder are almost ready.

“The Gemara (B.M. 104b) addresses the case of a sharecropper who committed to paying the land owner a very large sum if he left the field fallow,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “He left a third of the field fallow. The Gemara states that he would be liable for a third of the sum were it not for the exemption of asmachta. “Taz (C.M. 73:8; Y.D. 238:11) derives from this that when the penalty clause is valid, one is liable proportionally to his breach of contract,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “A borrower promised to pay by a certain date and pledged a sum to charity if he didn’t pay, but paid only half the debt. Taz ruled that he is liable for half the pledge, proportional to what he didn’t pay.” “This seems relevant to us,” said Motty. “Indeed. A person contracted to supply a quantity of produce by a certain date, and if not, to pay a penalty,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “He supplied only part, and Divrei Geonim (86:9) ruled that he must pay the penalty proportionally. “Similarly, someone promised his friend a certain sum if he succeeded in collecting a debt. The friend succeeded partially, and Rav Pe’alim (C.M. 2:11) ruled that he is entitled to a proportional amount of the reward.” “So how much must Motty pay?” asked Avraham. “Motty must pay $20,000 of the penalty, proportionate to the 40 percent of units not delivered on time,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Nonetheless, Taz, Divrei Geonim and Rav Pe’alim all conclude that if the penalty clause is so formulated that it is imposed for any breach of contract or requires full performance, the fine would apply completely, not only proportionately”. (Pischei Choshen, Halva’ah 2:[13]). M

Provided by Business Halacha Institute. The BHI is a non-profit organization based in New York that educates and guides people in up to date applications of monetary halacha. For more information or to browse the BHI archives, visit www.businesshalacha.com


31 Aug 2019

‫ל' אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת ראה‬

MIDDOS ‫דרגה יתירה‬ Rabbi Zalman Guttman Ramat Shlomo

‫ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם‬ ‫היום ברכה וקללה‬ )‫כ’’ו‬:‫(דברים י’’א‬

Moshe Rabbeinu addresses the entire Klal Yisroel as a whole during his final “37day Mussar Shmuess” before his death. However, he begins the message of free choice with the word “‫ ”ראה‬- “See” - in a singular form. The reason, Chazal tell us, is that Moshe is speaking to every individual to choose life by seeing situations positively. If something can be viewed in more than one way, then make sure to view it the right way, the positive way. In actuality, we cannot choose our life experiences; we don’t even know what will be in 5 minutes from now! The only thing we can choose is how we will react to each specific situation, and of course that depends on how we view it. R’ Zelig Pliskin shlit’a explains that this concept is the key to happiness in life. Every single thing that happens to a person is a fact. Nothing is intrinsically great or terrible. It depends how we look at it. You are the one who decides if this fact is positive, negative or neutral! If you decide that something is terrible, i.e. the car breaks down (now I’m stuck, and it will cost me a fortune to fix!), then you will be miserable! But if you decide that everything is terrific, i.e. the car breaks down (now I’ll finally get some exercise!), then you will be happy. And only by being happy are you truly alive! This is why Moshe tells his beloved nation: “Look and see the good. Each one of you individually - can choose life, not by choosing the circumstances in life, but by choosing how you will react to those circumstances.” Remember, a person’s ALTITUDE in life depends on their ATTITUDE in life!! M

35

AHAVAS YISROEL

FOOD FOR RK SPA THOUGHT TOTION CONVERSA NOT HIS BROTHER Chaim grew up in a tiny bungalow in Netanya. His father, who worked as a cashier and floor-sweeper in a small grocery store, barely made enough to keep a roof over his family’s head. At 17 Chaim left home, went to work, and eventually saved enough to buy a ticket to America. There the hard-working young man began to find opportunities. By the time he was 23, he owned his own small business. By his 30th birthday he was living in a beautiful house set back on a sprawling green lawn. Every month, he sent his father $200 and a letter. However, he tried to put his old life behind him. Meanwhile, Chaim’s younger brother Rafi was still stuck in the old neighborhood. “Go find Chaim,” urged his father. “I’m sure he’ll take you in and get you set up in business.” Rafi began saving money for his trip. He even began holding out his hand for donations. After more than a year of scrimping, he bought an airline ticket to America. Relying on the generosity of Jews he met in New York, he finally located Chaim in an exclusive neighborhood on Long Island. Filled with anticipation, he made his way up the grand walkway to the heavy, carved front doors. He rang the bell and waited. A maid opened the door to find a shabbily-dressed Jew with a thick accent, asking for Chaim. “I’m sorry. He sees charity cases only between 9 and 11 in the evening,” the maid explained. Rafi smiled. “Tell him please that his brother Rafi is here.” The maid looked skeptically at the man at the door, but turned to do his bidding. A few long moments later, she came back and stared sternly into the face of the apparent impostor. “He says he has no brother,” the maid stated as she shut the door in Rafi’s face. Rafi gathered himself up and, realizing that he had nowhere to turn, found his way back to Israel, where he managed to pull together a modest livelihood for himself. It wasn’t long before Chaim received word from Rafi that their father was ill. “If you want to see him while he is still in this world, come soon,” he wrote. Suddenly, Chaim was filled with longing for his father. He put aside his affairs and booked the next flight to Israel. He took a cab from the airport straight to Netanya and was soon looking incredulously at the hovel that had once been his home. He knocked on the door and waited. Someone was coming, progressing along in a slow shuffle. At last the door opened and there stood his father, weathered, wilted, and gray. “Abba!” Chaim said, choked with emotion. “It’s me, your son. I’m here.” The father looked coldly into Chaim’s face. “I have a son named Rafi,” he said. “If he has no brother, then you cannot be my son.”

TALK ABOUT IT

What does this moshol teach us about our relationship to our fellow Jews and to Hashem?

The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Reviewed by Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Lowy. For discussion only; actual halachic decisions should be made by a rav or halachic expert on a case-by-case basis.


36

Oneg Shabbos Issue 216

126 X DAYS

CO U

‫נ“ב‬ ‘‫כריתות י‬ ‫בכורות‬

E TH

Daf Yomi WEEKLY

DOWN TO NT

Siyum Hashas

Distinctive Insight

SANCTIFICATION FOR AN ITEM WORTH LESS THAN A PERUTA ‫אלא דלאו אורח ארעא לאיתויי פחות מפרוטה למקום‬ The Beraisa noted that the one-tenth of an eipha of flour which is brought as an offering by an indigent had the value of a peruta. Rava explains that this is calculated based upon the given values of an offering of a woman who gave birth. If she is financially capable, she brings a sheep worth a sela, while a woman who is less financially capable brings a single bird for her offering.

The value of a bird is an eighth of a dinar. There are four dinarim in a sela, so we see that the discount for a poorer person is one-thirty-second of the price of an offering of a financially capable person. This leads us to conclude that the discount for an indigent person is, again, one thirty-second of an eighth of a dinar. The Gemara notes that according to the calculation of Rava, it would come out that the offering of an indigent person would actually be three-fourths of a peruta. A poor man’s offering is twenty-four perutos, and one part of thirty-two of this is a fraction of a peruta. Why, then, did the Beraisa report that an indigent brings an offering of a peruta, but not less? The Gemara answers that although the numbers result in this offering being less than a peruta, it is still not appropriate to bring an offering which is less than a peruta.

The Gemara says that bringing an offering whose value is less than a peruta is not respectable. Yet, this suggests that although the bringing of an item of such value is inappropriate, in theory it is possible for sanctification to be declared upon an item even if it is valued at less than a peruta. This issue seems to be a dispute between Rishonim. In Gittin (12b), the Gemara discusses a case where an owner of a servant declares the work that his servant does to be sanctified. The Gemara suggests that for the servant to benefit from his work, he should do less than a peruta-worth of work at a time. In this manner, the sanctification declared by his owner will not apply. Rashi explains that this works because hekdesh cannot apply to anything that is valued at less than a peruta.

Tosafos writes that sanctification can indeed apply to an item whose value is less than a peruta, but the intent of the master who sanctified the work of his servant was that it should apply to only a full peruta at a time. The Achronim note that our sugya presents a challenge to Rashi’s view, because we see that hekdesh can apply to less than a peruta. Or Sameiach (to Hilchos Arachin v’Charamim 6:19) explains that sanctification of an item for its value )‫(קדושת דמים‬ does not apply to something valued below a peruta, as we find regarding the work of a servant. Our Gemara is referring to sanctification of flour for a minchah, which is sanctification of the object itself )‫)קדושת הגוף‬, which even Rashi would say applies to less than a peruta-worth of flour. M

Stories from the Daf THE DOVES "...‫"פרידה אחת ועוף תחת כבש‬ On today’s daf we find that, for certain sacrifices, one who is poor can use a bird instead of an animal. The birds permitted for use are either a pigeon or a dove.

In Bava Kama, Rabbi Avahu learns a lesson from this. “One should be among those whom others pursue rather than among those who pursue others. We learn this from the birds used when bringing a sacrifice: pigeons or doves. There are no birds which are more pursued than these.”

The Ramban explains why specifically these birds are used. “There are no birds more readily available than pigeons or doves. As our sages say regarding the animals used for sacrifices, he brings a sheep or a goat since no other animals are more readily available. This is so that a person should not have to hunt to bring a sacrifice. Hashem wanted us to use big pigeons since they never take another mate. Similarly, Yisrael is Hashem’s nation and will never leave Him for anything. Doves will take new mates however. That is why we find that only small yonim are qualified to be used as a sacrifice. “Our sages tell us that if a person takes eggs or chicks out of the nest, most birds will never take them back. The yonah is an exception to this rule—it will never abandon its eggs or offspring. This symbolizes, that we will never leave Hashem no matter what duress we may have to endure.

As the Midrash writes, Jews would say, ‘Either let me live as a Jew, or execute me!’”1

‫י”ד‬:’‫ א‬,‫ ויקרא‬,‫ רמב”ן עה”ת‬1

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31 Aug 2019

‫ל' אב תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת ראה‬

37

Sages through Ages

Dr Benji Schreiber

THE

Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz Cracow, Poland 1690 – Altona, Holstein, Denmark-Norway 1764 21st Ellul

Biography Reb Yonasan Eibeshitz was born in Cracow. His father, Rav Nosson Nota, was Rov in Eibeshitz and died when Reb Yonasan was 15. He was famous as a child prodigy. He learnt in Prossnitz and then in Holleschau. He married Elkele Spira, daughter of Rabbi Isaac Spira, and they lived in Hamburg for two years with Mordecai ha-Kohen, Elkele’s maternal grandfather. He settled in Prague in 1710 and became rosh yeshiva. The Christians allowed him to reprint the Talmud, omitting any criticism of Christianity and not using the word ‘Talmud’. He published some volumes including ‘Hilchos Brachos’. After the French conquered Prague he became Rov of Metz in Northeast France in 1741. In 1750, he was elected rabbi of the Three Communities: Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbek. Stories Stories relate his great genius and quick wit. Here’s an example: Young Yonason was given a few pennies by his father to buy himself a treat on the way home from cheder. As Reb Yonason was walking, the evil non-Jew Ivan walked over to him and slapped him across the face. Surprisingly Reb Yonasan took the coins from his pocket and presented them to Ivan. The surprised Ivan immediately asked “is this in return for the slap?!” and he burst out laughing. Without blinking Reb Yonason

replied “why yes of course! Don’t you know that today is a Jewish holiday which requires us to reward every gentile who harms us with all of our money?!” Evan just couldn’t believe his ears… this is his lucky day! Quickly he strode over to the famous Jewish rich man and with all due respect handed him a ringing slap. But instead of money the rich person sounded the alarm and Ivan was presented with the beating of his life! Shabbetai Zvi controversy Shabbatai Zvi (1626-1676) was a Sefardi Jew who lived in Turkey and claimed to be Mashiach. He was put into prison and eventually converted to Islam rather than being put to death. Rav Yaakov Emden (1697-1776) – son of Rav Zvi Ashkenazi, the Chacham Zvi - lived in Altona (now Germany) and worked as a printer of seforim. In his Megilat Sefer he publicly accused Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz of being a secret follower of the deceased Shabbatai Zvi, citing amulets that Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz had written. In 1752 the battle raged and the Gedolim of the generation all got involved. The Nodah BeYehuda, Rav Yechezkel Landau (1713-1797) tried to mediate between the two. The Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) sent his blessings to Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz, and thus attracted sharp criticism from Rav Yaakov Emden. Rav Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, the Pnei Yehoshua (1680-1756) was opposed to Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz and as a result eventually was forced to leave Frankfurt. Most of the community sided with Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz and even forbade people from attending the shul of Rav Yaakov Emden and he was ordered to leave Altona. However, the court of Frederick V of Denmark sided with Rav Yaakov Emden, allowing him to return and fining the council of the three

communities one hundred thalers (from which ‘dollars’ get their name). Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz’s younger son, Wolf Jonas Eybeschutz, did declare himself a Shabbatean prophet! However, there is a tradition from the Chasam Sofer (1762-1839) that Wolf did Teshuva later in his life following a dream in which his father appeared to him. Writings Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz wrote 98 sefarim, many of which have not been published. Published works include thirty seforim on halacha, including ‫ כרתי ופלתי‬on Shulchan Aruch (the only one published in his lifetime), seforim on Mishne Torah, Shem Olam on Kabbalah and Luchos Edus in which he describes the whole Shabbetai Zvi affair. In his commentary on Bereishis he has a long technical description of Migdal Bavel as an attempt to get above the clouds and fly to the moon! M


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Please be careful to dispose of this sheet in the proper manner as required ‫על פי הלכה‬. Please do not read this publication during ‫קדיש‬, ‫ קריאת התורה‬or ‫חזרת הש''ץ‬. Please do not read the adverts on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Please would you ensure that there are ample sheets left in shuls for Shabbos before taking one home. ‫בברכת שלא ימוש התורה מפי זרעינו ומפי זרע זרעינו מעתה ועד עולם‬


Issue

217

‫בס"ד‬

‫הריני בא ללמוד תורה לשמה לעשות נחת רוח לאבינו שבשמים‬ ‫מוצאי שבת ר"ת‬

‫מוצאי שבת‬

‫פרשת שופטים‬

‫ז' אלול תשע"ט‬ 7 Sep 2019

‫קבלת שבת‬

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MAN

LON

JLM

BMTH

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GHD

MAN

LON

JLM

BMTH

GLSCW

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MAN

LON

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8.48

7.33

8.31

8.55

8.41

8.40

8.26

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7.27

7.44

7.32

7.32

7.21

would be - if only we knew what the future entailed.

‫תמים‬ ‫תהיה‬

LIVING IN THE PRESENT Worry and anxiety is one of the biggest challenges which we humans face today and, more than likely, have always faced. We spend an inordinate amount of time agonising about what lies in wait for us around the corner and all too often we find ourselves fantasising and wishing that if only we could get a sneak-peak into what life has in store for us, it would be immeasurably more bearable and easier to navigate. Wouldn’t it be reassuring if we were to find out that our children would always be safe and be provided with all that they need? Wouldn’t investing money feel like a breeze if we knew which investments would be worthwhile? Imagine if we had a device, much like a GPS, which could tell us about forthcoming dangers and advise accordingly; in fact, even if something tragic and painful was going to happen, surely knowing about it in advance would allow us to be better prepared to deal with it. How much less difficult and how worriless life

All of these thoughts and concepts may seem like science-fiction or mere musings of an ultra-imaginative mind, but in this week’s Parsha the Torah records a number of ancient practices and rituals which people would indeed use to see into the future and to assist them with their every-day decisions1. However, the Torah prohibits us from engaging in such practices and minces no words by calling those who do: ‘an abomination to Hashem’. Cryptically, though, after listing the various examples of these forbidden practices, the Torah concludes with the following command: ‘And you shall be wholehearted (‫ )תמים‬with Hashem your G-d’.2 HaRav Chaim Mordechai Katz zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Telz, Cleveland makes note of an interesting machlokes rishonim regarding the meaning of this imperative3: Ramban (and Sforno) understand the Torah to be saying that it is only Hashem who truly knows and decides what will happen in the future and therefore it is ‘only through Him that one should be seeking the future, either via a Navi or via the Urim V’Tumim’ i.e. it is not the practice itself of prying into the future that the Torah warns 1 Although the Rambam in Hilchos Avodah Zora, 11:16, ridicules these practices as being ‘foolish and ignorant’ and goes so far as to say that ‘wise and sound-minded people know that all these matters which the Torah disallowed are not matters of wisdom but formless nonsense followed by senseless people’, the Vilna Gaon (amongst others), famously, strongly disagreed and held that these rituals did actually work. 2 D’varim 18:13 3 See Sefer Be’er Mechokek, Parshas Shoftim compiled by his son, HaRav Yakov Zev Katz Shlit”a

For questions on Divrei Torah, please email the editor Rabbi Yonasan Roodyn at editor@oneg.org.uk

N OW R E AC H

RTA The RTA is a two year post- Semicha programme to introduce newly qualified rabbis to the challenges of our modern world

against but the way in which it is done. Rashi, however, takes this one step further: ‘Walk with Him with wholeheartedness. Trust in Him (i.e. trust what he has in store for you), and do not delve into the future. But rather, whatever comes upon you, accept with wholeheartedness and then you will be with Him and of His portion’. According to Rashi, even if one is fortunate enough to have a Navi at his disposal who can tell him what will be in the future and advise accordingly, one should not turn to the Navi but rather trust in Hashem. Even though we don’t live in a time of Nevi’im, the message is just as relevant today as it was back then: the present is where we’re meant to be. Being ‘wholehearted’ with Hashem means to live in the here-and-now and worrying about the future isn’t just a lack of trust but a moment of ‘being with Hashem’ lost. In other words, Rashi is saying: ‘Tamim Tihiyeh’ i.e. ‘one who lives solely in the present’, ‘Im Hashem Elokecha’, ‘is one who truly experiences Hashem’s presence’. The less we focus on the future, the more we are able to experience the ‘now’ and the more we experience the ‘now’ the more we allow Hashem into our lives. A short pasuk but a profound message indeed. M

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45 0 0 P E O P L E

I N 24 C O U

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40

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Oneg Shabbos Issue 217

Rabbi Yaakov Hibbert Whitefield Community Kollel, PBM, The 6th Form Night Chabura

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officers remain behind. One officer says that he wants to share his story:

The following is a real excerpt [my rough translation] from a London newspaper on 20th July 1916 during the middle of World War One. The actual piece was taken from an Old Hungarian newspaper called the ‘Pesti Hirlap’ which had printed a letter that a nonJewish Hungarian soldier had written from the trenches to his wife: “If you would be so kind to find our Jewish neighbour, so that he can unravel the mystery of the words ‘Shema Yisroel’. For during the time that the bombs are falling and destroying everything around us here in the trench, while men are falling like the wheat being harvested, the Jewish soldiers cry ‘Shema Yisroel’ and they are miraculously saved from sure death, while their non Jewish companions are killed. As soon as you have resolved the mystery of these words from our Jewish neighbour please let me know, so that when death looms over my head I can save my skin”

These amazing words are in fact a ‫ רש"י‬on this week’s ‫סדרה‬. In the pre-war speech that the ‫ כהן‬makes to the Jewish soldiers we read, “And he shall say to them, “‫ – שמע ישראל‬Hear, O Israel, today you are coming near to the battle against your enemies; let your heart not be faint; do not be afraid…. For Hashem, your G-d, is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you with your enemies, to save you.”

The phrase "‫ "שמע ישראל‬seems superfluous, for it is obvious that the ‫ כהן‬is addressing Israel? Explains the Gemara: It is written as an allusion to the Shema, which begins with these words, “to teach us that even if there is no merit in you but the recitation of Shema alone, you are worthy that He should save you”. The arameG continues to tell us that before the epic battle between ‫ דוד המלך‬and Goliath, Goliath would approach the camp of the Jewish people “every morning and evening”. He taunted the Jewish people at these times because this was when the Jewish people recite the Shema. The Shema protects us from our enemies and he wanted to deny us this merit. R’ Shlomo Carlebach tells over that during the Yom Kippur War he gave a concert to lift the spirits of the Israeli soldiers. After the concert finishes and the soldiers dissipate, some

“I was brought up on an extremely non-religious kibbutz. It wasn’t that we didn’t believe in G-d, G-d just didn’t exist. We were taught that religious people are living a lie and Israel wasn’t any more holy than Tokyo or Moscow. When the war started, I ended up fighting next to a religious soldier. Before every encounter with the enemy; before everything he did, he cried, “Shema Yisroel”. This absolutely grated on my nerves, why did I need to be subjected to hearing his religious beliefs? I told him how I felt about it to which he simply replied, “You fight your way, I fight my way”. [The officer begins to tremble and cry as he continued]. Thursday morning the shelling started and suddenly I realise that my comrade hadn’t screamed his usual cry of “Shema Yisroel”. I looked around and I saw him severely injured, on the brink of death. I bent down to him and asked him if there was anything I could do for him. With his last words he says “Please, say “Shema Yisroel” in place of me”. And that moment it suddenly dawned on me not just that I had to believe in G-d, but that I had seen the Hand of G-d”

The statement of ‫ שמע ישראל‬could quite possibly be termed the mission statement of the Jewish People. It’s one of the first sentences Jewish children learn and many Yidden have died with ‫ שמע‬on their lips. There are many deep ideas that revolve around this mission statement. But a more basic approach to this special statement is beautifully expressed by the ‫שם‬ ‫משמואל‬. The most basic premise of the Shema is that through it we accept upon ourselves the yoke of heaven – i.e. Hashem is the boss. This most basic thought, that there is a Creator, is what lies at the heart of every Jew. This idea is really the mechanics of what makes “a Pintele Yid” - the Yiddish term which basically refers to the “Jewish Spark” that lies within the heart of every Yid. The spark that made some of the most unaffiliated Jews utter the words “Shema Yisroel” as they were tortured throughout our history. “Shema Yisroel” – Hashem is the boss, represents the first building block in our Yiddishkeit; from here we began the building that is Judaism. When we fail, we always have this first building block to restart from. When we have nothing else left either physically or spiritually we always can call on this basic element – “Shema Yisroel”. As we approach the ‫ ימים נוראים‬this is a tremendous comfort for us says the ‫שם משמואל‬. We need to remind ourselves that no matter how many times we try to restart our engines of '‫ ;עבודת ה‬no matter how many times we have kick started our year with new resolutions, the message that a Yid carries with the cry of Shema Yisroel is that strength of always having that first building block with which to start again from. So important is the statement of “Shema Yisroel” that it alone saves Jewish soldiers. The cry of Shema is one that reaffirms his basic knowledge that there is a Master of the world. The reaffirmation of this seminal building block is such a tremendous merit for a person. As long as the Jew can say Shema Yisroel there is hope for renewal. M


M

7 September 2019

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‫פרשת שפטים‬

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onarchy features as a central theme in this week’s Sedra. On the brink of their entrance into Eretz Yisrael, Hashem instructs the Jewish People that at some point in the future they should appoint for themselves a king to rule them. As the pesukim in Perek 17 read:  (14) When you come to the land Hashem, your G-d, is giving you, and you possess it and live therein, and you say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations around me,”  (15) You shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your God, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother.  What seems to be a very simple command is in fact a mochlokes. The Meforshim hotly debate the role of monarchy within Judaism, with opinions ranging from classifying it as an unequivocal Biblical mandate to others who deem it to be one of the Jewish People’s most devastating decisions.  At face value such debate appears to be futile. Surely the Torah clearly commands the appointment of a monarch, as set out in the pesukim above, so how could there be such mochlokes. The Sifri even assures that success in conquering and settling Eretz Yisrael was directly dependant on the fulfilment of appointing a king.Yet, a closer reading of the pesukim immediately throws into question the nature of this mitzvah, as the Torah does not use the usual terminology when introducing a commandment. The Torah simply says ‫"שום‬ "‫תשים עליך מלך‬, that when you come to the Land and ask for a monarch, indeed “you should appoint a king over yourself.” By using this phraseology the Torah appears to be giving an advisable directive rather than a straight up command. Moreover, when the Jewish People do end up asking for a king, as the Torah foreshadows, in the times of Shmuel Ha’Navi, their request is met with a telling off, with Shmuel sharply rebuking the people for making such a proposition. The Gemorah in Sanhedrin discusses whether Shmuel’s warning was totally factual or if he was exaggerating in order to ensure his vital message hit home The Netziv, makes clear that the appointment of a monarch is unquestionably a Torah command, as clarified by Chazal already. Nonetheless, this mitzvah is different from other mitzvos which apply equally and uniformly in all times and circumstances. Netziv explains that when it comes to society building and political leadership there are numerous options. What is ideal for one society living at a particular time is not the right thing for another society. Whereas one society desperately needs the leadership of a monarch, in whom all power and jurisdiction is concentrated, for another society this model of governance would be a disaster. Therefore, even though the Torah views monarchy to be the best system of national governance, it does not command it unequivocally. The Torah builds-in an understanding and dispensation for those Jewish societies for whom a king will not work, allowing them to create another form of political leadership without transgressing a Torah command. The Malbim presents another approach to explain how the appointment of a monarch is a Torah commandment but not one that needed to be fulfilled straight away. Hashem had plans for the appointment of a king as per His command in the Torah; nonetheless the Jewish People’s demand for one at the time of Shmuel Ha’Navi was inappropriate, and not just because of the manner in which they requested it. Malbim explains that Hashem meant for a king to rule over His people in ordinary times, when the Jews lived a natural and mundane existence. The times of Shmuel, however, were not such times. At that point

they were still living in a supernatural Rabbi Eliav Sagal world, where Hashem fought their wars and provided for all their needs in an abnormal manner. Therefore the Jewish People were jumping the gun by asking for a monarch fitting for a far more mundane existence.  R. Shimshon Raphael Hirsch offers another approach to the question, and one which has a powerful message about the role of a Jewish monarchy and Jewish leadership. Like the other Meforshim discussed, R. Hirsch is also clear that the appointment of a monarch is a definite Torah command. There was no problem in requesting a king, however the type of king they requested was the issue. Fundamentally mistaken in their understanding of what a Jewish king is all about, they made an error by requesting a political king. They wanted a “king like the other nations” who would serve to concentrate, centralise and efficiently exercise the power and wealth of the entire nation. Such a king would then successfully lead them into battle and make Israel a powerhouse on the international stage, but a Torah monarch is not supposed to be that. Ideally, a king is a spiritual leader, not a political one. Their role is to unite the spiritual capacities of the people, and ensuring that the individual’s contribution to society resulted in a national achievement that is greater than its sum of parts.  Therefore, the role of leading the Jewish People into battle to conquer and settle the Land of Israel was Hashem’s remit. Only after this was fully achieved and the stage had been set to live as a people in full service of Hashem, was a human king called for in order to lead this noble endeavour. That is why the Torah does not make a precise commandment about appointing a king since it very much depended upon when the circumstances would call for it. This is also why the people were wrong to ask for a king in the times of Shmuel when the era for a Torah styled monarch had not been reached. The ideal king in Judaism is Dovid HaMelech. He uniquely managed to combine the political and spiritual needs of a Jewish monarchy. Hence Dovid HaMelech’s name became synonymous with Jewish monarchy and until this day we daven that BenDovid should come and redeem us and be our true king once again. Even with Tisha b’Av behind us we continue to long for those times when a Jewish king will lead us once more, not in battle or in politics, but in a spiritual journey to achieve our ultimate existence. M

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Oneg Shabbos Issue 217

This page is sponsored ‫לע''נ ביילא בת ר׳ משה ע''ה‬

'IF I WERE A RICH MAN' “Place upon yourself a king…He shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” — Devarim 17:16-20 The Torah commands us to appoint a king to rule over the Jewish people. However, there are various warnings given to the king. He should not acquire too many horses, he should not take too many wives, and he should not amass too much gold and silver. The Daas Zakainim explains that each of these excesses is singled out to protect the king from a particular danger. The danger of amassing too much wealth is that it leads to arrogance.

We are obligated to treat a king with great respect. This Daas Zakainim is difficult to understand because, as the Rambam explains, we are obligated to treat a king with great honour; it is vital for his effectiveness as a ruler. As a result, any individual, even the greatest talmid chacham or Navi, who walks into the chambers of a king must bow down full face to the ground. No person is allowed to sit down in his presence. Additionally, the king himself must guard his kavod. He isn’t allowed to stand up for any man in public. He isn’t allowed to use titles of honour for anyone else. If he commands a person to leave the room and that man refuses, the king has the right to have him killed. At the same time, a king is expected to remain humble. The Torah isn’t afraid that the great honour accorded to him will bring him to arrogance. He is capable of maintaining his sense of balance by understanding that honour isn’t due to him, but rather his position. He is still a mortal human. As a servant of Hashem, he plays his role as everyone else does.

Why is money more dangerous than honour and power? The question then becomes obvious. If the king is capable of maintaining his humility despite the extraordinary honour accorded to him, why is the Torah so fearful that he will become arrogant if he amasses wealth? It’s as if the Torah is saying, “Honour he can handle, but wealth? Impossible!”

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier Founder, Shmuz.com

Why would it be so difficult for him not to be conceited if he acquired wealth? The answer to this question is based on a deeper understanding of the human personality.

The antidote to honour Honour is a difficult life test. When a person is given status and accord, it is natural for him to feel different, apart and above the rest of the human race. Power, too, is a grave test. When a person feels that he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty. However, these are situations that a person can deal with. The antidote to honour is to remember where I came from and where I am going. I must understand that today I am being given great honour, but it will pass quickly. Very quickly. Today they sing my praises; tomorrow they will forget my name. That is the way of the world. Power is also something that a person can learn to deal with. As I stand here now, I control the destiny of others. But do I? Do I really have power? I can’t even control whether I will be alive tomorrow or not. When I lay my head on the pillow this evening, it is not in my control to will myself alive tomorrow. When my time is up, it’ll be over, and there is nothing that I can do to change that. The big, powerful, mighty me can’t even control whether I exist or not. In that sense, honour and power are potentially dangerous, but a person can be humble despite them.

The danger of Wealth Great wealth is different. Wealth brings a person to a much more dangerous sense of himself — a sense of independence. “I am rich! I don’t need anyone! I don’t need my wife. I don’t need my children. I don’t even need Hashem! I can buy and sell the whole world!” This seems to be the answer to the Daas Zakainim. Because this sense of independence is almost a natural outgrowth of wealth, the Torah warns a king of Israel not amass too much of it. He may be a great man, and he might be able to keep his sense of balance despite many temptations, but wealth will almost certainly lead to arrogance, and it is something that even a man as great as a king in Israel will not be able to resist.


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In our world This concept has great relevance to us. Whether we are wealthy as compared to others or not, the reality is that we enjoy great bracha living in the 21st century. Today, we all enjoy material possessions, luxuries, and opportunities that were unheard of in previous generations. One of the great dangers of living in these times is the sense of independence. “I am young, strong, and healthy. I can forge my own way. I don’t need anyone; I can make it on my own. I am independent.” While on one level, this sense is central to being an effective human being, it is also fraught with danger. A person must remain clear-headed in his understanding of Who is really in charge here. I am not the Master of the universe, nor even the master of my destiny. I am dependent. I depend on my Creator for my daily bread, my health, my success, and my existence. With this understanding, a man can enjoy great bracha and still remain humble. When a person is humble, the rest of his character traits naturally fall into place. But when a person is arrogant, the rest of his middos are out of balance as well. An arrogant person becomes angry easily. A humble man doesn’t. An arrogant individual doesn’t feel the pain of others, but a humble man does. The pivot point of all good middos is humility. Just as humility is the centre of a person’s character development, so too is it the cornerstone of his avodas Hashem. The Chovos Ha’Levovos explains that just as a master needs a servant, a servant needs a master. One cannot exist without the other. Any sense of arrogance is a denial of my dependence upon Hashem. It revokes my status of a servant of my Master. This sense of dependence upon my Creator brings a person balance and internal happiness because he is in synch with his himself. He doesn’t need to self-inflate and create illusions about his worth. Ultimately, it leads a person to success in this world and the World to Come. M For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #58: Arrogance: Misdirected Greatness of Man, and #59: Humility: An Issue of Perspective Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues.

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If you have a communal project idea but don’t know where to start, post it on the ideas exchange and ‫ בע''ה‬someone with experience & expertise will see this box and be in touch. Contact ideas@oneg.org.uk


Oneg Shabbos Issue 217

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'EXPECTATIONS'

A

number of years ago we were sitting at the Shabbos table with a newly married talmid of mine and his wife. He was a ba’al teshuva and she was a giyoress, both of whom had grown tremendously in the Yiddishkeit. At some point she began telling us about her background, which included the following incident. When she was nine years old, her parents sent her from New Hampshire across the county to Arizona, where the highest level gymnastics training school was located. This was the school that produced gymnasts for the United States Olympic team, and her parents wanted her to become an Olympian. The school had a dormitory, and nine year old Alice would be visited by her parents every six months or so. Gymnastics training became her life. At age thirteen, she was in a competition and fell off of the uneven parallel bars sustaining a broken collar bone, which would obviously put her out of training for quite a while. “My parents flew in to visit me in the hospital” she told us. “When they walked into the hospital room, the first thing my father said to me – even before saying hello and asking me how I felt – was ‘Alice, you’ve disappointed us’”. She said this pretty matter-of-factly. Now, having worked with ba’alei teshuva – and FFB’s for that matter – for so many years, there’s very little that shocks me. However, I must admit that this one stopped me in my tracks, and the piece of chicken perched on my fork resumed its place on my plate. “What kind of relationship do you have with him now?” I asked, genuinely curious about how this played out. “Uh, strained” she answered. I remember thinking at the time that this is the sort of thing one would only find by others. After all, she was a giyoress, so her father’s value system, him not being one of our tribe and all, although abominable, was at least not beyond the pale of what could be expected. Just open masechta Avoda Zara and you’ll see that nothing is to be assumed out of bounds by them. But

by us – nothing like that could possibly happen. So I thought.

Rabbi Dovid Kaplan Ohr Somayach

Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz spoke last year at the Mir simchas bais hashoeva and told a story. I wasn’t there to hear this directly from him, but it was told over during the drasha in one of our shuls on a Shabbos. A man saw a group of struggling youth on Leil Shabbos in a frum neighborhood. One of the boys was smoking and doing something on his smartphone. “How can you do this to your father and mother?” the man asked him, recognizing him as the son of very prominent parents. “My parents get more nachas from me now than they ever did before” the boy responded. There was no animosity in his voice and no cynicism. The man was baffled. “How could you say something like that? What you’re doing is devastating to them.” “No it isn’t.” “Of course it is.” “Not true. When I was in yeshiva and I’d come home with a grade of ninety on a test, my parents would always say ‘so why didn’t you get a ninety five?’ If it was a ninety five they’d say ‘so why didn’t you get a hundred?’ They were never happy with me no matter how well I did. Now, if I tell them I put on tefillin, they say ‘wow Shmuly, we’re so proud of you. You’re so good.’ So like I said, they get more nachas now. Why should I take that away from them?” I don’t know what the reaction was in the Mir, but in our shul you could hear a pin drop. Although I didn’t see any, there were probably a few teardrops too. I wonder if this boy’s parents had been talking to Alice’s dad. A frum couple, Chaim and his wife Rina, consulted with me recently regarding a couple of life and career decisions. When they walked in they made the impression of being high caliber individuals, and it turned out that indeed they were. Both were smart, capable and talented. So I was a bit surprised when at the outset of our discussion Chaim disclosed that he suffers


7 September 2019

‫ז' אלול תשע"ט‬

from serious nervous tension. I’d seen him around and he never struck me as the type. It came out that this stemmed from pressure being put on him by his father to accomplish certain things which, although perhaps capable if he pushed himself, Chaim had no interest in doing. I asked him if this began before or after marriage. “Long before I got married” he said, “it’s been going on my whole life.” It seems Alice’s dad really gets around.

‫פרשת שפטים‬

45

why do we want him to be doing whatever it is that we’re pressuring him to do? Is it becomes that’s what’s good for him, or is it because that’s what good for us?

So what can parents reasonably expect and at what point are they crossing a line into a red zone of being unrealistic, overbearing, insensitive, delusionary, and any other adjective you’d like to throw in? I think the first rule is that parents should never expect more than what a child’s true potential is. Notice that I’ve included the word “true”, because that’s the key to the whole thing. In order to assess potential, patents need to take into account the need to play, relax, attention span, the example they themselves are setting, and a slew of other factors. If not taken into account, something along the lines of “If we just get Moishy to stop playing with his friends after school and have him go straight to the bais medrash” is not being true. While a little push is sometimes necessary, there is a difference between a push and a shove. One telltale sign of when the red line is crossed is if the child is smiling less than he should be. Now, I’m not one who says a kid always has to be happy as a lark – after all, there aren’t many kids who enjoy doing homework or folding laundry – but a child should usually be upbeat and somewhat smiley. Lack of either should trigger a review of parental pressure policy. Rule number two is that nothing any other child is doing has any bearing on the determination of what your child is capable of. Perhaps others could be used as a gauge to determine the approximate range of what could possibly be expected, but at the end of the day it boils down to what your particular child could do. Parents go nuts from seeing other young boys who love going to shul while their son doesn’t, or boys who seem to do nothing but study mishnayos and speak Aramaic while their son has very little interest in anything other than sports. One of the best ways to guarantee that he’ll have even less interest is to compare him and expect him to be like those other boys. Rule number three, and the one that perhaps hurts most when parents are honest with themselves, is the question of why do we want him to be doing whatever it is that we’re pressuring him to do? Is it becomes that’s what’s good for him, or is it because that’s what good for us? “His progress and excellence will impress others and give us a measure of kavod” is a thought that underlies more child rearing decisions than many parents would

like to admit. This “I want him to be impressive” malady is more common among fathers, but plenty of mothers are suffering from this as well. Do you want him to be in shul because that’s what he should really be doing, or is it so you could tell your friend “Our Zalmy is only nine but he sits through the whole davening?” Do you expect your kids to sit through long divrei Torah at the Shabbos table because that’ll help them grow as healthy and upbeat bnei Torah, or is it so that you could tell your extended family members about how ruchni you Shabbos table is? Like I said, self honesty can be painful. I have an idea. The next time you make the bracha of “shelo asani goy”, think about Alice’s dad. You’re so happy, so so happy that you aren’t like him…aren’t you? M


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Oneg Shabbos Issue 217

Restoring the primacy of Choshen Mishpat Under the auspices of Harav Chaim Kohn ‫שליט"א‬

Rabbi Meir Orlian Halachah Writer, BHI

THEFT: UNAWARE Unfortunately, Jeremy was not a scrupulous fellow. He was involved in various forms of theft, but always tried to evade responsibility. One day he saw the gabbai of his shul, Mr. Prince, leave an envelope with money in his desk. “I left an envelope with money in shul today,” Jeremy told his friend, Yossi. “Would you be able to stop off this evening and take it? It’s in the gabbai’s desk.” “No problem,” said Yossi. In the evening, he went to the shul and took the envelope from the gabbai’s desk. The following day, the gabbai summoned Yossi to his office. “Last night someone stole money from the shul,” he said. “The surveillance camera shows that you took it.” “Jeremy told me to take it,” replied Yossi. “If anyone is liable, he is!” Mr. Prince called Jeremy in. “I understand that you sent Yossi to steal money,” he said. “You are responsible.” “How can you hold me responsible?” argued Jeremy. “I didn’t do anything! Yossi didn’t have to listen to me. He’s responsible for his own actions.” “I had no idea that the money wasn’t yours,” replied Yossi. “You said that it was.” “You still can’t call me a thief,” insisted Jeremy. “I didn’t do anything.” “Where is the money now?” asked Mr. Prince. “I was mugged on the way to Jeremy,” said Yossi. “The money’s gone but I’m not guilty” “You never got the money?” Mr. Prince asked Jeremy. “No,” said Jeremy. “I refuse to accept blame as a thief!” “I’d like to discuss this with Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Prince, “and I would like you both to come with me.” Mr. Prince took the two of them over to Rabbi Dayan. “Jeremy told Yossi to take money from the shul,” said Mr. Prince. “Yossi assumed it was Jeremy’s, but it was not. Is Jeremy liable as a thief?” “The Gemara (Kiddushin 42b; B.M. 10b) teaches that there is no agency for sin (‘ein shaliach lidvar aveirah’),” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Although a person’s agent is like him, and the agent’s actions on his behalf are legally binding, this does not apply to agency for transgressions. Thus, when someone sends an ‘agent’ to steal or

damage, the sender is not legally liable; the thief himself is held accountable” (Rema, C.M. 182:1; 348:8). “Why is that?” asked Jeremy. “The basic rationale is that each person is responsible to fulfill Hashem’s commands,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, the excuse that ‘So-and- so sent me to steal or damage’ does not exempt the thief, since Hashem — Whose commands are superior — instructed him not to steal” (Sma 182:2). “In this case, though,” pointed out Yossi, “I had no idea that the money was not Jeremy’s.” “Indeed, according to one opinion in the Gemara, if the agent did not have a choice whether or not to obey, the sender is liable, since the rationale does not apply,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Tosafos applies this also to our case in which the agent was unaware that he was instructed to transgress, since he had no reason not to obey. Nimukei Yosef disagrees, though, and exempts the sender” (Shach 348:6). “Similarly, some maintain that if the agent is known to transgress, the sender is liable, since the rationale does not apply. The sender was aware that the agent would fulfill his instructions and not heed the mitzvah,” added Rabbi Dayan. “Others do not differentiate, since the agent remains obligated to heed the commandment and can choose whether to obey. Some also maintain that if the sender threatened the agent to force him to obey, the sender is liable for the theft” (Rema, C.M. 388:15; Shach 388:67; Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 4:24). “Thus there is a dispute whether Jeremy is liable,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “Nonetheless, he has a moral obligation to repay the theft that he caused, and if the money had reached his hands he would certainly have been liable for it, like any other lost item” (Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 4:23[66]). M

Provided by Business Halacha Institute. The BHI is a non-profit organization based in New York that educates and guides people in up to date applications of monetary halacha. For more information or to browse the BHI archives, visit www.businesshalacha.com


7 September 2019

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MIDDOS ‫דרגה יתירה‬ Rabbi Zalman Guttman Ramat Shlomo

)‫טז‬-‫כי השחד יעור פקחים ויסלף דברי צדיקים וגו' (יט‬

One major obstacle we must overcome in our daily ‫( חשבון הנפש‬accounting of the soul) is to decide whether any particular deed that we did that day was done as a result of a “bribe” or not. Did we justify our deed with a personal interest or gratification? For example, when one eats an extra piece of cake, knowing that he or she really shouldn’t, does he tell himself that it is a mitzvah since otherwise it will get thrown out - and that would cause ‫!?בל תשחית‬

Personal desires literally blind our perception so that we do not see what we do not wish to see; and this is what takes us far away from the truth. Sometimes in order to perform a mitzvah, a person justifies all his actions along the way even if they are hurtful or dishonest to others. One can transgress countless sins ‫ בין אדם לחבירו‬- between man and man, with the goal of the “mitzvah” he wishes to perform completely blinding him! R’ Yisroel Salanter zt’’l writes that when Chazal in Pirkei Avos teach us that any argument that is ‫ לשם שמים‬- For the sake of Heaven, will be preserved in the end (‫)סופו להתקיים‬, it refers to when both sides of the argument believe that they are 100% justified; that in their minds they believe everything they are fighting for is truly ‫ לשם שמים‬and neither side will back down nor attempt to make peace. Such a ‫ מחלוקת‬will surely be preserved and it will last forever! One must stop and look objectively at every situation. Step out of your own shoes and become a judge who is not blinded by bribery and self-gratification. Make sure that whatever you do is truly 100% ‫ !לשם שמים‬M

Dear Talmid,

Focus on Middos

When the Polish government tried to ban ‫ש ִחיטָ ה‬, ְ R’ Chaim Ozer ‫ ַזצַ״ל‬appointed his close ‫חָ בֵ ר‬, ‫ ר׳ זַלְ מַ ן‬Sorotzkin ‫ ַזצַ״ל‬, to head the Committee for the Defense of ‫ש ִחיטָ ה‬. ְ When his efforts to defeat the law failed, ‫ ר׳ זַלְ מַ ן‬immediately countered it by placing a complete ban on meat consumption. Three million Orthodox Polish Jews adhered to his word, and immediately stopped buying meat. When the non-Jews who handled most of the Polish cattle trade realized that their source of livelihood had almost dried up, they complained bitterly to the Polish government. Within three weeks the decree was canceled. ‫ ר׳ זַלְ מַ ן‬often traveled to St. Petersburg to intercede with the authorities. Thanks to his close connections with General Stasowitz, who was in charge of mobilization, he managed to procure “temporary deferments” for hundreds of ‫ ַרבָ נִים‬who were not recognized by the Polish government. Miraculously, the general simply forgot to send the temporary deferments to St. Petersburg for re-processing, and they remained in force for the duration of the war. After the war, R’ Sorotzkin set up a ‫ וַעַ ד הַ י ְִשיבֹות‬based on the Vilna model. The ‫’וַעַ ד‬s first task was to provide a financial base for the ‫י ְִשיבֹות‬. R’ Sorotzkin decided to travel to England, where he was greatly aided by Dayan Yechezkel Abramsky ‫ ַזצַ״ל‬, the ‫ ַאב בֵ ית ִדין‬of London at that time. During that year, he organized support that continues until today. Against all odds, he was successfully collected over £40,000 sterling (Ed note: In 1940, £1 sterling = $4.03. With the inflation rate, £40,000 in 1940 is equivalent to $2.7 million today!) My ‫ ּתַ לְ ִמיד‬, R’ Sorotzkin was a leader of many organizations, yet he would travel by bus and refuse to take a cab. He would say, “With the extra money, another child could be saved for ‫ּתֹורה‬ ָ and ‫מצְ ֹות‬.” ִ R’ Sorotzkin taught by example what is a true Jewish leader. Every cause was only about concern for ‫שמַ יִם‬ ָ ‫ כְ בֹוד‬or a fellow Jew; nothing was about him. His projects saw unusual ְ ‫יהי זִכְ רֹו ָב‬ ‫ ִסיַעְ ּתָ א דִ ְשמַ יָא‬, and his legacy lives on in the many institutions he founded. ‫רּוך‬ ִ

‫ביְדִידוּת‬ ְ , Your ‫רֶּבִי‬

From the Pirchei of Agudas Yisroel Newsletter based on an article in Yated

Do you have an interest in a business or properties in America with an American bank account? Capitalize on the protection! You or your business may be eligible to enjoy the long-term, tax-free return on investment and business protection. Please call Leo (Itzy) Eckstein +1 347 838 0869 for details.


48

Oneg Shabbos Issue 217

THE OBLIGATION TO BRING AN ASHAM TALUI ‫ספק אכל חלב ספק לא אכל‬

In the Torah, we find (Vayikra 5:17-18) that if someone violates a negative commandment, but there is an element of his being unaware, he must bring a korban asham. The Gemara explains that this refers to an asham talui, and it is brought only when a person commits a sin which would deserve kareis if done intentionally, and would require a chattas if done unintentionally. Here, when the person is not sure whether or not he committed this act, he brings an asham talui.

On 17b, Amoraim argue regarding the details of this halacha. R’ Assi holds that this offering is brought in any case of doubt, even if, for example, there was only one piece of fat in front of a person, and he did not know whether it was permitted fat or forbidden cheilev. Rav disagrees and says that an asham talui is only brought if the case was where there were two pieces of fat in front of the person, one of them permitted and one forbidden, and after eating one of them it was uncertain and not possible to determine which one he ate. There are three explanations given in the Gemara to explain the view of Rav. Rava says that it is a scriptural decree that asham talui be brought only in a case of two pieces. R’ Zeira says that only where there were two pieces is an asham talui appropriate, because this is a case where the doubt can possibly be settled and resolved, because it is theoretically possible for an expert to examine the remaining piece and determine if it is the forbidden or permitted fat. R’ Nachman explains that an asham talui is brought only when there were two pieces involved in the original mishap, because in this scenario we know that there was a forbidden object in front of him (‫ )איסורא איתחזק‬when the act of eating occurred. If there was only one object to begin with, even though it is possible that it was a piece of cheilev, the degree of uncertainty is lesser in a certain sense, and an asham talui is not warranted. The Gemara explains later (25a, 26b) that the purpose of an asham talui in a situation where it is doubtful whether the sin occurred or not is in order for the person who did the possible sin to be shielded and protected from any possible suffering in the meantime, until he finds out that he did the sin and is able to bring a chattas and fully atone for his act. The Chinuch (Mitzvah 123) and others explain that the Torah commands that a person bring a korban for the very fact that he acted without proper care and attention so that his actions resulted in a possible violation of a mitzvah. Sefer Kovetz Ha’aros notes that according to these Rishonim the asham talui is brought due to the certainty of a person’s allowing himself to possibly commit this sin. M

CO U

119 X

DAYS

‫נ“ב‬ ‫כריתות י"ז‬ ‫בכורות‬

Distinctive Insight

E TH

Daf Yomi WEEKLY

DOWN TO NT

Siyum Hashas

Stories from the Daf EATING SLOWLY Stories from the Daf

”...‫“ספק יש בו כשיעור‬

H2 On today’s daf we find that one who is unsure whether he ate an olive’s bulk of chelev brings an asham talui.

Someone brought a dish of ice cream to the Skverer Rebbe, zt”l, shortly after he came to America. The rebbe—who had never seen ice cream before—gazed at it in wonderment. The man who had brought it said, “Eat it quick, rebbe, before it melts.” “If so, I will never eat this food,” said the rebbe. “But why?” asked the chassid.

“My entire life, I work to eat slowly; a food which one must rush to eat is definitely not for me.”1

But eating slowly has its problems too. One man would always eat very slowly, being careful to take small bites at intervals. One meal he managed to eat with exceptional slowness. After he finished, he wondered whether he had even eaten an olive’s bulk of bread in the time it takes to eat half a loaf. Of course, if one is certain that he has not eaten this much, he may not make an after blessing on the food. But since this man was unsure, he wondered whether he could make an afterblessing or not. He was unable to eat even an olive’s bulk by the end of the meal, and, while he committed to be more careful in the future, he was unsure what to do this one time. When this question reached the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, he ruled that he should not make an after-blessing in this situation.

“One who ate less than a k’zayis of bread during the meal, or even if he had a k’zayis in more than the time it takes to eat a half loaf of bread, may not make an after-blessing. If one feels satiated from this minimal amount of bread, however, it is not clear whether one can say bircas hamazon. Even if he eats an olive’s bulk of bread within this time, he should not rely on this minimal amount to discharge his obligation to make blessings on other foods eaten during the meal. Better not to eat bread and to make blessingss on the other foods. The only exception to this rule is Shabbos. Since it is a mitzvah to eat a k’zayis of bread on Shabbos, all other foods in the meal are secondary to the bread and one need not make a blessing on them.”2 M ‫ כן שמעתי‬1 ‫ סק"א ושעה"צ‬,‫ וס' ר"י‬,‫ ס' קע"ז‬,‫ מ"ב‬2

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7 September 2019

‫ז' אלול תשע"ט‬

‫פרשת שפטים‬

Sages through Ages THE

49

Dr Benji Schreiber

Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh

R

Salé, Morocco 1696 – Jerusalem 1743 15th Tamuz av Chaim ben Attar, best known as the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh after his commentary on Chumash, was born in 1696 in Morocco where he spent most his life. When he was eight years old he learnt Torah from his grandfather, Rav Chaim HaZaken, whose name he carried. It was a turbulent time in Morocco under the rule of Ismail Ibn Sharif, the ‘warrior king’, who fought for Moroccan independence from the Ottoman empire. Rav Chaim became a darshan in Morocco, giving two shiurim a day, and he was the tzedoko gabbai. When he was 35 years old he completed his first sefer, Chefetz HaShem, Hashem’s will. This was a commentary on several masechtos including Brachos and Shabbos. He obtained the haskamos of Rabbanim in Morocco and travelled to Amsterdam to have the sefer printed by Rav Shlomo Propus. In 1738 there was a heavy famine in Morocco and he started travelling to Israel. He travelled first to Algiers and then to Livorno, Italy, which was under the control of the Medici family. He had married Pachunia but did not have children, so he married a second wife, Esther, as well. Both came with him to Eretz Yisrael. Unfortunately both were childless and they are buried near him on Har HaZeitim. In Livorno he was sustained by community members. His drashos were attended by large numbers with standing room only. While there he published his sefarim Ohr HaChayim, his famous work on the Chumash, and Pri Tohar, written on the Yoreh Deah section of the Shulchan Aruch.

In Eretz Yisrael He planned aliya to Eretz Yisrael while in Livorno and obtained support from

community members to set up a Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He recruited talmidim from Algiers and travelled within Italy to find financial backing. They then travelled via Alexandria and came by ship to Acco in 1741. When they arrived they visited Eliyahu’s cave and Elisha’s kever. There was a plague in Jerusalem so they set up the yeshiva initially in Acco. In 1742 they came to Jerusalem and established Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael. Much of the learning was based on showing the consistency of the Mishne Torah of the Rambam with the Gemoro.

His place in Chassidus In the Chassidish world he is always referred to as the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh. It is striking how venerated and central the learning of the Ohr HaChayim is in Chassidus. His most famous talmid was the Rav Chaim David Azulai, the Chidah (17241806), an astonishingly prolific talmid chacham who wrote 122 seforim. The Chidah wrote a biography about the Ohr HaChayim, Shem HaGedolim, in which he describes how the sefer Ohr HaChayim was learned and reprinted in Poland, and how the Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760) respected the Ohr HaChayim. According to one chassidic tradition, the Baal Shem Tov was eating Seuda Shlishis with his talmidim in Podolia (Ukraine) when he declared that “the Western Light has been extinguished”, as the Ohr HaChayim passed away in Yerushalayim on Motzaei Shabbos. They also had indirect contact as Reb Gershon of Kitev, the brother-inlaw of the Baal Shem Tov and the first of the Chassidim to make Aliya, met the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh. Others say he only made Aliya in 1747, so he would have missed him by 4 years. Rav

Yisrael of Ruzhin said that learning the Ohr HaChayim in this generation can purify the soul like learning of the Zohar. He died aged only 47. His talmid the Chidah wrote an epitaph on his matzeivah, which was unusual in Yerushalayim at the time, apparently because technically this required a better quality stone which was therefore at risk of getting stolen! He was eulogised in Yerushalayim and Levorno. The Rov of Levorno wrote a special kinah over his death, which included hints to all of his Seforim. M


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