Friday, February 24, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Parsha links


When Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday, the regular haftorah is usually replaced with "machar chodesh", the story of Dovid and Yehonoson and the latter's father's pursuit of Dovid. This is [only] usually the case because sometimes a different haftorah such as parshas ha'chodesh or of the three weeks etc., takes precedence. 

There is however another question of halacha that arises every time erev Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos: The prevalent custom in k'lal Yisroel (especially in winter months) is to begin seudas shlishis (preferably) before shki'ah and recite birkas ha'mazon only when Shabbos is more or less over. In a normal Shabbos, we tend not to question whether or not we should be reciting “retzai” (the additional paragraph for Shabbos). After all, this is the third of the Shabbos meals, and as such it is most appropriate, if not imperative, to say it. However, when Sunday is also Rosh Chodesh, we must ask ourselves if we should be adding “yaaleh v’yavo”. After all, in a matter of minutes, we will begin Maariv when we will be adding it. Reciting both might be somewhat of a contradiction. On the other hand, it is already Rosh Chodesh, but how could we leave out retzai; after all, this is one of the three obligatory Shabbos meals? Indeed, many people try to make an extra effort to eat an earlier seudas shlishis on a Shabbos such as this one. However this can be especially challenging in the winter months and even in the summer time, requires some forethought and advance planning. What, then, should one do when faced with this type of situation? 

The Rosh (in a teshuva) writes that even on an ordinary Shabbos, if one did not bentch before nightfall, he should omit retzai from birkas ha’mazon. As proof, he cites the gemara (which is also the halacha) regarding a person who forgot to daven Mincha on Shabbos afternoon: When he makes up his missing tefilah at Maariv, he recites two weekday shemoneh-esrei’s. Although the second one is meant to serve in place of his Shabbos Mincha, since it is no longer Shabbos, he davens a weekday tefilah. So too, reasons the Rosh, since it is no longer Shabbos, how can we allow him to recite retzai? 

The Hagaos Maimonios however takes issue with this ruling. After all, one who accepts Shabbos early recites a Shabbos shemoneh-esrei although it is still Friday afternoon. It seems that the same applies to birkas ha’mazon, even if he eats quickly and bentches before sunset. Clearly, since for all intents and purposes it is Shabbos for him, he recites retzai. The same should apply to a meal eaten at the end of Shabbos, so long as he has not yet called an end to Shabbos by davening Maariv or reciting havdala. As for the Rosh’s proof from the person who forgot to daven Mincha, on the contrary, the reason why he doesn’t recite a Shabbos tefilah is because he has ended Shabbos with his first shemoneh esrei. His second one, is a make-up tefilah, but it is definitely no longer Shabbos. 

Both the Shulchan Aruch and Rema (in Darkei Moshe) write that the halacha follows the Hagaos Maimonios. However, they speak only of a regular Shabbos when retzai is the only addition that should possibly be added. Our question of what to do if motzei Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh still remains. The Tosefta (Berachos) however, rules that one who began eating on erev Shabbos (a weekday meal, without accepting Shabbos early) and bentched on Shabbos, must recite retzai in birkas ha’mazon “because he recites bentching on Shabbos”. As such, it would seem that in our scenario, one should recite ya’aleh v’yavo and not retzai. After all, if is certainly Rosh Chodesh now (especially if he recites bentching after tzei ha’kochavim). Indeed this is the ruling of the Magen Avraham who writes that reciting both is not an option for how can one contradict himself by saying it is Shabbos and at the same time Rosh Chodesh which isn’t until Sunday?. The Bach however maintains that the ruling of Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 188) is absolutely correct; everything depends on when he began eating. As such, retzai is most appropriate for this meal. This would seem to be especially true since, as mentioned above, this is a Shabbos seudah. (The reason why one who forgets retzai during seudas shlishis is not required to repeat bentching is not because it might already be motzei Shabbos, but rather because we rely – b’dieved – on the opinions that do not require one to eat bread for seudas shlishis, and the halacha remains the same even if one eats and bentches well before sunset. As such, l’chatchila, this is a Shabbos meal.) The Taz, takes a third approach and says that while it is true that the beginning of the meal is the main determining factor, one should also recite that which is appropriate at the time birkas ha’mazon is recited, since “the additional kedusha of the day has begun”. It is for this reason that the Tosefta requires the addition of retzai for a meal that began on Friday. Therefore, when Rosh Chodesh falls on Sunday, one should recite both retzai and ya’aleh v’yavo. There is no need to be concerned that this appears to be a contradiction just like havdala is recited as part of kidush when yom tov is on motzei Shabbos. The Mishna Berura cites both the opinion of the Magen Avraham and the Taz without making a clear ruling. It is important to remember that this is all provided a person ate bread both before and after nightfall; if he ate before shki’ah and merely continued (by eating other foods or drink) into the night the poskim rule that he should recite only retzai. Similarly, if didn’t wash until after shki’ah, reciting retzai (in this case) is questionable and many poskim recommend following the ruling of the Magen Avraham and not the Taz.

[יסודות מהפרשה]

How Much Is It His?

If someone takes an object via the halachic avenue of כל דאלים גבר - is it legally his to the extent that he may even fulfill halachic obligations such as arba minim that have a din of לכם??

The Means And The End

“You think the end justifies the means, however vile. I tell you: the end is the means by which you achieve it. Today's step is tomorrow's life. Great ends cannot be attained by base means. You've proved that in all your social upheavals. The meanness and inhumanity of the means make you mean and inhuman and make the end unattainable.”

Parshas Mishpatim - Moving On And Letting Go

Shaaallloooom sweeeetest frienddsssss!!!

A huuuuge mazel tov to my most beloved friend and chavrusa R' Shmuel Simcha Kollander and his special rebbetzin on the birth of AVIGAIL TOVA!!!! May she [together with her adorable big sister] be the source of ENDLESS nachas to her parents and family for MANY healthy happy years to come!!

This dvar Torah is l'zchus my two most beloved brothers R' Avraham Yitzchak ben Esther and R' Yosef Ezra ben Esther. May Hashem bestow upon them everything good FOREVER!!! 

And lirfuas HaRav Zave Chaim ben Chaya Aidel, R' Yehoshua Meir ben Rochel Sarah and Sara Leah bas Rivka bi-toch she-ar cholei yisrael !!! 

In this weeks parsha we read of the boring of a hole - called רציעה - in the ear of the slave who wants to remain a slave even when it is his time to go free. He had to sell himself into slavery because he stole and needed to pay it back. Now, even though he served his term of duty he still wants to continue. The gemara famously explains that an ear that heard at Sinai "don't steal" and then goes ahead and steals must be taught a lesson and have רציעה done.

Everyone and their Aunt Bertha asks - Why is the רציעה done now only after declaring his wish to remain a slave. Let us do it when he actually stole? And why not bore a hole in his ear for EVERY sin, for we learned all the sins at Sinai [where, incidentally, I sawyouat. At least according to the website]?

Here is a HUUUUUUGEEEE [Donald likes that word] lesson. It is one thing to sin. To err is human. We all make mistakes. That's fine. BUT DON'T FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR MISTAKESSSSS!!!!! 


OK - he stole. He had to be sold into slavery. But don't PERPETUATE the sin by saying אהבתי את אדוני ואת אשתי ואת בני - I love my master, wife and children and want to remain a slave. We are subordinate to Hashem only. The situation of having a human master is foriegn to our world view. [They say that the wife is the "boss" and the husband is the "baal-haboss" but besides his wife there should be no other masters...]. If you have the opportunity to go free it must be utilized.

In life, we all make mistakes. Many people construct elaborate edifices of justification which just enable them to compound their original sin by constructing a whole philosophy behind it. That is the WORST. Make your mistakes but then clean up the mess first chance you get. Don't "fall in love" with your indiscretions.

Adar is a time of extra simcha. People who are constantly having to justify themselves lack the requisite מנוחת הנפש. Life is a constant struggle to prove to everyone [including themselves] how right they were. 

Let go. 

Say "I goofed". "My bad". "I'm sorry, I made a mistake". "Scratch that from the record". "Incomplete pass, 2nd and ten". It's OK. You hurt someone's feelings? Say "I am SOOOO sorry I caused you pain. I hope you will forgive me. It won't happen again. How can I make it up to you?" How often do we hear those types of words???

May we all have the greatest Shabbos of our lives followed by the greatest Adar of our lives!!! And since this is Shabbos Shekalim - may we all be blessed with an ABUNDANCE OF SHEKALIM [or dollars. Or Euro...] and the wisdom to know what to do with them. 


[Based in part on the Mei Marom]

The "Famous" Tov Li-Yisrael

In the year 5755 (1995), Rabbi Eliahu Chaim Bar Shalom printed his 2 volume work Mishpat HaKitubah on the subject of the Kitubah (wedding contract). This masterful and comprehensive work quickly became an indispensable Rabbinic handbook on this topic, especially for Sephardim because Rabbi Bar Shalom addresses particularly Sephardic practice. Over the years, Rabbi Bar Shalom has been expanding the work as a result of the letters and questions he received. This year Rav Bar Shalom reissued the work in an eight volume new edition!

In volume 5, Rabbi Bar Shalom analyzes the practice of including a Shivuah (oath) in the Kitubah. In that analysis, Rabbi Bar Shalom records an amazing anecdote (page 261) which took place in the year 5754 (1994). Rav Bar Shalom had approached numerous Sephardic Rabbis to inquire whether an effort should be made to return the Shivuah (oath) to the Kitubah and wedding since it had somewhat fallen out of practice. The Rabbis rebuffed the idea. However, he made an appointment to discuss the matter with Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef. Rav Yosef’s opinion was very firm that the Shivuah (oath) custom must not be curtailed at all. He bemoaned the situation that people felt that they could change customs which had been in practice for generations. Rabbi Bar Shalom was moved by Rav Yosef’s pain relating to this matter. With that, Rav Yosef cited a book called Tov LiYisrael in which the author complains about the state of affairs in his time, and how the Shivuah was not administered as it should be and that the matter should be strengthened.

Rav Bar Shalom notes that he searched for this volume in numerous libraries, but could find not a Torah work with this title. With this he turned to one of Rav Yosef’s sons to ask his father maybe there was some mistake and the intended book had a different name. Rav Yosef’s response was: “I already told him that the book is called Tov LiYisrael.” Rabbi Bar Shalom resumed his search in different libraries. Finally, in the Rare Books section of the Hebrew University Library he discovered a slim volume consisting of no more than 18 pages of very crowded type. The volume was a treatment of the laws of Tirefot, and didn’t appear to deal at all with the laws of marriage at all. Being so short, Rabbi Bar Shalom sat down and read the book page after page. Yet, there was no discussion of the desired topic. Finally, on the last page, without any indication and in the middle of a line, the author noted that in order to not leave the balance of the page empty he would print a piece which he had written about a Shivuah (oath) in the Kitubah. In this piece he decried the common situation in his time that the Shivuah was not always administered as it had in the past. He explains the importance of the custom and emphasizes the need for the custom to be strengthened. Rabbi Bar Shalom remarks that this episode further reinforced in his mind the vastness of Rav Yosef’s amazing mastery of Torah achieved by dint of his extraordinary diligence and dedication to leaning.

However, Rabbi Bar Shalom’s amazement expanded exponentially as he prepared the second edition of his book. At the time, he reviewed hundreds of sources on this subject. These sources were gathered and collected with great effort and diligence over a long period of time. After having completed his analysis of all of the sources, Rabbi Bar Shalom realized that the most emphatic proponent of maintaining and strengthening the custom of administering a Shivuah (oath) was none other than the Tov LiYisrael. This was the volume which Rav Yosef had immediately cited to Rabbi Bar Shalom on this topic. Essentially what that means is that Rav Yosef had already done all of the accumulation of sources, the analysis of their opinions and views, and extracted the one view which was most forceful on this subject. Rav Yosef had the information ready and prepared in his mind when he was questioned about this subject by Rabbi Bar Shalom. Rabbi Bar Shalom concludes by writing that till today he remains astounded by this experience.