Sunday, January 31, 2016

Thanks - Messiah

I again thank all of the donors to the sefer. We are hopefully a week or so from sending it to the presses.

May you be blessed forever in all of your endeavors. You gained [Hashem will repay you in at least quadruple], I gained and hopefully Klal Yisrael gained. 

And may the disseminating of Torah hasten the coming of Moshiach. 

Brave Man!

Moishe and his wife Miriam walked into a Dr. Stein’s dental office.
Moishe said to Dr. Stein, "Doc, I'm in a terrible hurry. I have two friends sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf. Forget about the anesthetic; I don't have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth and be done with it! We have a 10:00 AM tee time at the best golf course in town, and it's 9:30 already. I don't have time to wait for the anesthetic to work."
Dr. Stein thought to himself, "My goodness, Moishe surely a very brave man, asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain."
So Dr. Stein asked him, "Which tooth is it, Moishe?"
Moishe turned to Miriam and said, "Open your mouth, honey, and show him."

Baggage Almost Ready

An El Al flight was leaving Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on its way to New York. A few minutes passed and then another few, and it became clear that there was going to be a delay.
Suddenly, the Captain picked up the microphone and announced:

"We're sorry for the delay. The machine that normally rips the handles off your luggage is broken, so we have to do it by hand. We should be finished and on our way shortly."

Don't Let Yisro Go Just Yet....:-)

Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5773

This week's Parsha of course has Matan Torah. The 3 Vertlach for this week will all focus on Perek 19 the Perek which deals with Matan Torah.

We will start from 19:1 (בַּחֹדֶשׁ, הַשְּׁלִישִׁי, לְצֵאת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם--בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי). The Posuk tells us that on Rosh Chodesh Sivan the Yidden came to Har Sinai. The word (בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה) is extra and therefore, Rashi brings what has become a famous Maimar Chazal that the words Bayom Hazeh come to teach you (ביום הזה: בראש חודש. לא היה צריך לכתוב אלא ביום ההוא, מהו ביום הזה, שיהיו דברי תורה חדשים עליך כאלו היום נתנו). That a person's job, his Avoda is that the words of Torah should be fresh and new to him every day as if (ביום הזה) the day on which it was given. So that the day of Matan Torah should be Hayom Hazeh, forever. For all of us it should be today like the day the Torah was given, it should be Chodosh it should be new in our eyes.

The question is that that is not what the Posuk is talking about. It doesn't say Hayom Hazeh regarding the day the Torah was given it is talking about a day which is prior to the giving of the Torah. Therefore, the Torah wanted to hint to us that the Torah should be in our eyes new and fresh every day like the day that it was given. It should say Hayom Hazeh the day of the giving of the Torah. Why is it here?

In the Ohr Gedalyahu on page 90-91 on this week's Parsha we find the question with a beautiful answer. Rav Schorr answers that the job of having Divrei Torah being new in your eyes is not on the giving of the Torah. The preparation for the giving of the Torah, the preparation of the learning of the Torah that with which a person goes to learn Torah, that needs a Hischadshus. How you are successful in learning is how you go to learn. Do you go with enthusiasm or like some people who go to learn and they slouch back in their chair, Gemara barely open. If you come a few minutes late and if you are Schmuzzing at the beginning of a Daf Yomi Shiur. Then they don't understand why afterwards they are not interested. Of course, they missed the Gemara's original statement and then they are lost. They think that they are not lost and that they think they are following. However, the lack of interest comes into effect and they really do not at all have any depth of understanding of what is going on. It is important that the Hachana be right. If you go to a Shiur make sure that you are listening actively from the very first minute. That is the Hachana to start correctly. If you are about to go into Shul, before you walk in think what Sefer am I going to pull out and which Sefer am I going to look into. Don't walk in and then slouch around and think what am I going to do, what will I learn, prepare. This is the Yesod of Rav Schorr.

In Posuk 2 we have a Netziv who teaches us the same exact lesson but not from Posuk 1 as Rav Schorr did but from Posuk 2. In Posuk 2 it says (וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים, וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי). The Jews left Refiddim the previous place of encampment and they arrived at Midbar Sinai. Rashi there says (ויסעו מרפידים: למה הוצרך לחזור ולפרש מהיכן נסעו, והלא כבר כתב שברפידים היו חונים, בידוע שמשם נסעו, אלא להקיש נסיעתן מרפידים לביאתן למדבר סיני, מה ביאתן למדבר סיני בתשובה, אף נסיעתן מרפידים בתשובה) why does it repeat (וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים). To tell you the following message. (מה ביאתן למדבר סיני בתשובה, אף נסיעתן מרפידים בתשובה). Just as when they came to Har Sinai it was with the right attitude an attitude of Teshuva from the previous misdeeds, so too when they left Refiddim they left with that attitude.

The Netziv in the Haameik Davar asks why this is important. Why does it really matter that they left Refiddim already with the attitude of Kabbalas Hatorah. Mai Nafka Mina?

He says the same idea. He says regarding anything that is holy according to the preparation that a person puts into the Davar Shel Kedusha, the item of holiness, he is indeed more ready to get it. Just like a person who wants to go to work needs the proper utensils in order to be able to do his work. If you want to chop down a tree you need a hatchet. So too when you go to learn you need the Hachana. The Hachana is setting your mind straight and having your mind concentrating on the things you are learning and not still hanging on to the previous things that you were involved in. So we have in Posuk 1 and 2 Rav Schorr and the Netziv the same message.

Let's move on to a second Vort regarding Matan Torah. This is in 19:13 (לֹא-תִגַּע בּוֹ יָד, כִּי-סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל אוֹ-יָרֹה יִיָּרֶה--אִם-בְּהֵמָה אִם-אִישׁ, לֹא יִחְיֶה; בִּמְשֹׁךְ, הַיֹּבֵל, הֵמָּה, יַעֲלוּ בָהָר). In Posuk 13 we learn about the sound of the Shofar that was heard at Matan Torah. Here Rashi tells us something of interest. (היבל: הוא שופר של איל, שכן בערביא קורין לדכרא יובלא, ושופר של אילו של יצחק היה). Rashi says which Shofar is this? This is the Shofar that was on the ram that was offered in the place of Yitzchok at the Akeida. So Chazal say that every part of that ram was used for something good. The cords from the harp of Dovid Hamelech came from the sinew of this ram. The Shofar from Matan Torah came from the horn of this animal. The Ramban asks a Kasha. (במשוך היובל המה יעלו בהר - הוא שופר של איל, ושופר אילו של יצחק היה (פדר"א לה). לשון רש"י. ולא הבינותי זה, כי אילו של יצחק עולה הקריב אותו, והקרנים והטלפים הכל נשרף בעולות (זבחים פה ב). אולי גבל הקב"ה עפר קרנו והחזירו למה שהיה. אבל לפי דעתי האגדה הזו יש לה סוד, ואמרו שזה הקול הוא פחד יצחק, ולכך אמר (פסוק טז): ויחרד כל העם אשר במחנה, ולא השיגו דבור בגבורה הזאת זולתי קול (דברים ד יב)) He says one minute, the Ayil (ram) at the Akeida was sacrificed and burned in place of Yitzchok as is seen in Beraishis 22:13 (וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת-עֵינָיו, וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה-אַיִל, אַחַר, נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו; וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת-הָאַיִל, וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה תַּחַת בְּנוֹ). How can we say that this is the Shofar from then if that Ayil was sacrificed and burned?

The Maharal writing regarding this Ramban says I wonder about this Ramban. Is there anybody in the world who can think that it was the same Shofar at Matan Torah as was there at the Akeida? This is the question of the Maharal. I mention this Ramban and Maharal not so much for the question of where this originated from but more for a Yesod of a Shitta in a Machlokes of Aggadata Gemaras in general. It is an important thing for Bnei Torah to know. There are two early Seforim on Aggadata. One is the Maharsha whose Chidushei Aggada is printed in the back of the Gemara. The second is the Maharal who has four volumes of Chiddushei Aggada. There is a fundamental difference of opinion between the two of them and this argument is a Machlokes throughout the generations. The Maharsha holds that we should take every Aggadata Gemara and it should be understood as literally as you can. Of course there are some Aggadata that should not be understood literally, however, in general Aggadata Gemara should be understood literally.

The Maharal explains Aggadata Gemara metaphysically as Meshalim. For example, the Gemara in Maseches Moed Kattan 18a (4th wide line) writes (ואמר אביטול ספרא משמיה דרב (פפא) פרעה שהיה בימי משה הוא אמה וזקנו אמה ופרמשתקו אמה וזרת לקיים מה שנאמר ושפל אנשים יקים עליה) that Pharoh was one Amoh tall and with a beard that was an Amah. The Maharal writes that of course he wasn't physically one Amah tall but it means that if his physical stature mirrored his stature in spirituality he would have been as the Gemara says one Amah tall, with a beard that is an Amah which is a Mashul to his Gaiva and Taiva which was an Amah as the Gemara says. The Maharal explains it as a Mashul.

The Maharsha explains as literally another example. The Gemara in Maseches Megillah 12b (18 lines from the top) says (ותמאן המלכה ושתי מכדי פריצתא הואי דאמר מר שניהן לדבר עבירה נתכוונו מ"ט לא אתאי א"ר יוסי בר חנינא מלמד שפרחה בה צרעת במתניתא תנא [בא גבריאל ועשה לה זנב]) that Vashti grew a tail. The Maharsha brings in the name of the Aruch that she didn't literally grow a tail but it means that she had certain physical ailments that made it not desirable to be shown in public. The Maharsha brings the Aruch and he asks why does he say that? Why doesn't he just say that it was a tail? So we see that there are two Shittos.

As a matter of fact there is the Gemara in the 5th Perek of Bava Basra on 73b (3rd wide line) (ואמר רבה בר בר חנה זימנא חדא הוה קא אזלינן בספינתא וחזינן ההוא כוורא דיתבא ליה אכלה טינא באוסיי' ואדחוהו מיא ושדיוהו לגודא וחרוב מיניה שתין מחוזי ואכול מיניה שתין מחוזי ומלחו מיניה שתין מחוזי ומלאו מחד גלגלא דעיניה תלת מאה גרבי משחא וכי הדרן לבתר תריסר ירחי שתא חזינן דהוה קא מנסרי מגרמי מטללתא ויתבי למבנינהו הנך מחוזי) which tells the story of a fish that had died and was expelled onto the shore that destroyed 60 cities. The Maharsha explains B'derech Mashul but then he ends by saying even though I believe this Gemara can be explained as a Mashul it can be explained literally as well. Both are true. This is a general Machlokes that is good to know and the Baalei Machshava of the Lithuanian world, the Michtam Eliyahu especially go with the Shitta of the Maharal.

For example, the Michtam Eliyahu explains that the Luz bone that is never destroyed is not a physical bone. The Chassidishe Seforim in general go with the Shitta of the Maharsha. While there are some notable exceptions even among the Chassidishe Seforim like the Kotzker. Generally they go with the Maharsha's Shitta. There are two different Shittos in Divrei Chazal.

The Maharal and the Ramban here are like that. The Ramban who asks the Shofar was burned? The Maharal who writes in the language of amazement that how can anybody think that it is the same Shofar as there was at the Akeida. This is an important Yedia in general for anybody who learns Gemara.

We move on to a third thought regarding Mattan Torah. The Gemara says in Maseches Shabbos 88a (23 lines from the bottom) (דרש ר'סימאי בשעה שהקדימו ישראל נעשה לנשמע באו ששים ריבוא של מלאכי השרת לכל אחד ואחד מישראל קשרו לו שני כתרים אחד כנגד נעשה ואחד כנגד נשמע). When Klal Yisrael said Naaseh V'nishma saying we will do before saying we will listen, 600,000 Malachim came down and each Jew received two crowns one for Naaseh and one for Nishma.

Rav Schorr in the Ohr Gedalyahu on Shavuos has a wonderful insight. What is the Gadlus that the Yidden said Naaseh and Nishma? Pashtus, the simple explanation is because they said Naaseh first, we will do even before they knew what they had to do. They said Naaseh first and Nishma second. If this explanation is true it is a tremendous praise of the Naaseh of Klal Yisrael. Rav Schorr though points out that it is a tremendous Maileh in the Nishma as well. How so? Normally a person would think we learn Torah to know what to do. It is true that we learn Torah to know what to do but Klal Yisrael said Naaseh V'nishma, even after we know what we have to do, Nishma we will still go to learn. It is a tremendous Maileh, a tremendous level in a person's learning. We learn for the purpose of learning and not for just for the purpose of knowing. That is why there were two crowns. Had the learning been just for the purpose of knowing what to do there would be only one crown. You learn to know what to do and you do. Klal Yisrael understood that Naaseh is one thing and Nishma is something else and each one deserves its own crown.

I would like to end by offering you a question which is a different type of question. This is something which is a teaser to try understand the words of an Adom Gadol. In the Pachad Yitzchok on Shavuos in Maimar 26 Os 3 in parenthesis Rav Hutner writes the following words. Look at these following two Rashi's in Parshas Yisro. 19:4 & 20:19 it is a Tzorech Iyun. Rav Hutner seems to be saying that there is some sort of a contradiction between the Rashi in 19:4 (אתם ראיתם: לא מסורת היא בידכם, ולא בדברים אני משגר לכם, לא בעדים אני מעיד עליכם, אלא אתם ראיתם אשר עשיתי למצרים, על כמה עבירות היו חייבין לי קודם שנזדווגו לכם, ולא נפרעתי מהם אלא על ידכם) & 20:19 (אתם ראיתם: יש הפרש בין מה שאדם רואה למה שאחרים משיחין לו, שמה שאחרים משיחין לו פעמים שלבו חלוק מלהאמין). It is fascinating to try to understand what Rav Hutner meant. We immediately see a connection between the two Rashis. In both places Rashi is elaborating on the language of the Posuk (אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם). In Posuk 4 you have seen what I have done in Mitzrayim and in 20:19 you have seen what has taken place by Har Sinai. One fails to see the contradiction between them and that is certainly a teaser a good topic for the Shabbos table.

With that I wish one and all an absolutely wonderful Shabbos Kodesh!

Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5772

Let me begin with a Dvar Halacha. There is one Issur D'oraissa that is Nogea today that is probably the least known and the most misunderstood of the Mitzvos D'oraissa and as a matter of fact it appears in the Aseres Hadibros which is something you would think everybody would know.

In the Aseres Hadibros we find the Issur of 20:3 (לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל, וְכָל-תְּמוּנָה, אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל, וַאֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת--וַאֲשֶׁר בַּמַּיִם, מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ). There is an Issur D'oraissa to make an image of heavenly bodies that are in the heaven or earth. There, it is part of the Issur of Avodah Zora. However, right after the Aseres Hadibros, the Torah explains in 20:19 (לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן, אִתִּי: אֱלֹהֵי כֶסֶף וֵאלֹהֵי זָהָב, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם). The Gemara in Maseches Rosh Hashono (the Gemara has a long Arichus on 24b regarding this) explains that this expands the Issur in the Aseres Hadibros. (לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן, אִתִּי), the Gemara says that the Lav of the Aseres Hadibros applies to making an image to be used as an Avodah Zora. (לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן, אִתִּי) comes to include even a heavenly image not used for Avoda Zora. As explained in Shulchan Aruch in Yore Dai'a 144, there is an Issur of drawing in a 2 dimensional image (not a statue) of the heavenly bodies of the sun, moon, and the stars.

This is an Issur D'oraissa that is Muttar as the Gemara says to do it for learning purposes but outside of learning purposes to make it as something which is painting a picture for beauty, there is an Issur D'oraissa. Unfortunately this is not well known and I don't know on what newspapers like the Hamodia rely when their weather report has the pictures of the sun. Perhaps they rely on the fact that it is printed by non-Jews who are not prohibited from making these images but still the person in the office who sets the page would seem to have a prohibition. As I said, it is not a well-known Din but it is a Halacha in Shulchan Aruch and nobody argues. That drawing an image of the sun or the moon is an Issur D'oraissa.

Moving onto a discussion of Yisro the person. There are mysteries regarding Yisro. These are mysteries that we can try to answer with a thought from Rav Shimon Schwab. Yisro becomes a Ger as it says in Rashi to 18:1 (יתרו: שבע שמות נקראו לו רעואל, יתר, יתרו, חובב, חבר, קיני, פוטיאל. יתר, על שם שיתר פרשה אחת בתורה (להלן פסוק כא) ואתה תחזה. יתרו לכשנתגייר וקיים המצות הוסיפו לו אות אחת על שמו. חובב שחבב את התורה. וחובב הוא יתרו, שנאמר (שופטים ד יא) מבני חובב חותן משה. ויש אומרים רעואל אביו של יתרו היה, ומה הוא אומר (שמות ב יח) ותבאנה אל רעואל אביהן, שהתינוקות קורין לאבי אביהן אבא. בספרי). Yisro was clearly Migayeir. What is very mysterious about Yisro is what he does afterwards. We know that Yisro did not stay with Klal Yisrael. Yisro travelled back to Midyan. If he is a Jew why is he going back to Midyan? Where is he going to find anything that a Yid needs to live? It is very strange that he goes back.

We find in Parshas Behaloscha in 10:29 (לְכָה אִתָּנוּ וְהֵטַבְנוּ לָךְ) where Moshe Rabbeinu begs Yisro to stay with Klal Yisrael and Yisro answers back in Posuk 30 (לֹא אֵלֵךְ) I refuse to go (כִּי אִם-אֶל-אַרְצִי וְאֶל-מוֹלַדְתִּי, אֵלֵךְ). Moshe Rabbeinu begs in Posuk 31, (אַל-נָא תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָנוּ) don't abandon us and Yisro does not accompany Klal Yisrael. Why did he go back? This is something of a mystery.

When you learn Nach you learn about the descendants of Yisro who did come to Eretz Yisrael. But again, it is somehow mysterious on how they lived. You would think that Yisro's children were full-fledged Jews as they were children of Yisro who was a Ger. We find in the first Perek of Shoftim that they lived in Yericho as it says in 1:18 (וּבְנֵי קֵינִי חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה עָלוּ מֵעִיר הַתְּמָרִים, אֶת-בְּנֵי יְהוּדָה, מִדְבַּר יְהוּדָה, אֲשֶׁר בְּנֶגֶב עֲרָד; וַיֵּלֶךְ, וַיֵּשֶׁב אֶת-הָעָם). Yet it is very strange, we just Lained in the Haftorah of Parshas Beshalach that one of the families that descended from Yisro was a woman named Yoel. Of course she is the one who killed Sisra. The Posuk says when Sisra comes to Yoel that Sisra felt safe in the house of Yoel. Why? This is a Jewish home? The Posuk says in 4:17 (וְסִיסְרָא, נָס בְּרַגְלָיו, אֶל-אֹהֶל יָעֵל, אֵשֶׁת חֶבֶר הַקֵּינִי: כִּי שָׁלוֹם, בֵּין יָבִין מֶלֶךְ-חָצוֹר, וּבֵין, בֵּית חֶבֶר הַקֵּינִי). (חֶבֶר הַקֵּינִי) are the descendants of Yisro as it says in Shoftim Perek 1 in the Posuk brought above. Even though the (מֶלֶךְ-חָצוֹר) was in battle with Klal Yisrael the descendants of Yisro somehow lived separately. It is a very strange idea.

We find this again when Shaul goes to do battle against Amaleik in Shmuel 1 15:6 (וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל-הַקֵּינִי לְכוּ סֻּרוּ רְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵקִי, פֶּן-אֹסִפְךָ עִמּוֹ, וְאַתָּה עָשִׂיתָה חֶסֶד עִם-כָּל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּעֲלוֹתָם מִמִּצְרָיִם; וַיָּסַר קֵינִי, מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵק). We find here again that the Bnei Yisro lived separately. This is something of a mystery that I have never seen addressed at all.

Let me discuss with you something that Rav Schwab says in his Sefer on Chumash Mayan Bais Hashoeva page # 180 - 181 about Yisro and then perhaps we can come back to understand. Rav Schwab writes that Yisro had a Shittas Hachaim. We know that different Jews had different paths in Avodas Hashem. Even the Shevatim had different paths. Rav Schwab describes the Mehaleich (the approach) of Yisro as holding that the Derech to Avodas Hashem was with faith, Emunah that comes from Chakira. There is a difference of opinion among Rishonim as to the optimum way of serving the Ribbono Shel Olam. Whether with an Emunah Peshuta which is an Emunah based on a Mesora that we have from our ancestors who stood at Sinai. Or in an Emunah B'derech Chakira, or in an Emunah that comes from an understanding, a recognition, a knowledge of the Borei Olam. While there is a disagreement as to what is the best way to serve Hashem, there is a general consensus that for the Hamon Am the approach is Emunah Peshuta. Certainly we raise children with Emunah Peshuta and if they reach a level that they could come to Emunah Al Yedai Chakira then they reach that level.

Rav Elchonon in the beginning of Kovetz Mamarim in his Maimar Al HaEmunah explores the idea of Emunah B'derech HaChakira. At any rate, for the average Jew we raise our children with Emuna Peshuta. If they will reach the level of intelligence in order to understand they will come to a level of Emunah Al Yedai Chakira. Yisro on the other hand held that his Derech in Avodas Hashem was Emunah through Chakira. We know that Yisro was someone that tried all the Avodah Zora and ultimately came to a recognition of the Borei Olam.

Rav Schwab says this is the Pshat when Moshe Rabbeinu swore to Yisro that his first child would be given to an Avodah Zora. Now of course this didn't mean for his first child to be given to an Avodah Zora in any complete way. But it means that he would come B'derech Hachakira to a recognition of Hashem. That would be his first child.

Rav Schwab explains that that is why in the beginning of this week's Parsha it says 18:3 - 18:4 (שֵׁם הָאֶחָד, גֵּרְשֹׁם) and (וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד, אֱלִיעֶזֶר). Each of his children is called Echad first. Gershom was his Bechor and he was to be raised B'derech Hachakira. And (וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד, אֱלִיעֶזֶר) and the first child outside of that Shevua was Eliezer. This was Yisro's Derech in serving Hakadosh Baruch Hu, to come to a recognition B'derech Hachakira.

If we understand this then perhaps we can answer the mystery regarding Yisro. Why doesn't he stay in the Midbar and why does he go back to Midyan. The answer would seem to be that anyone raised in the Midbar could not possibly have to come to a recognition of Hakadosh Baruch Hu B'derech Hachakira, in that Derech. Hashem's miracles were evident all around on a daily basis. If Yisro felt that his path in Avodas Hashem was Emunah B'derech Hachakira, then we can understand that he needed to be in a place that he can serve Hakadosh Baruch Hu in the best possible way. This may also explain why in Eretz Yisrael the family of Yisro stayed separate. They had a Derech in Avodah which was not accepted by the rest of Klal Yisrael, was not even desirable to the rest of Klal Yisrael. This may explain why Yisro kept himself separate and his descendants kept themselves separate in Eretz Yisrael.

Let's move on to Matan Torah. By Matan Torah we know Kofa Aleihem Har Ki'gigis. Hakadosh Baruch Hu held the mountain over Klal Yisrael and he said to Klal Yisrael if you are Mekabeil Torah good and if not Sham T'hei Kevuraschem, you will be buried. So there was a Kefia for Kabbalas Hatorah. This is brought down in Maseches Shabbos on 88a (17 lines form the top) (א"ר אבדימי בר חמא בר חסא מלמד שכפה הקב"ה עליהם את ההר כגיגית ואמר להם אם אתם מקבלים התורה מוטב ואם לאו שם תהא קבורתכם). Tosafos asks (כפה עליהן הר כגיגית. ואע"פ שכבר הקדימו נעשה לנשמע שמא יהיו חוזרים כשיראו האש הגדולה שיצאתה נשמתן והא דאמר בפ"ק דמס' ע"ז (דף ב:) כלום כפית עלינו הר כגיגית דמשמע דאם היה כופה עליהן לא היה להן תשובה והכא אמר דמודעא רבה לאורייתא היינו על מה שלא קבלוה אבל מה שלא קיימוה איכא תשובה). That Klal Yisrael was Mekabeil the Torah willingly with Naaseh V'nishma and if so then what is the need of the Kefia, forcing Klal Yisrael?

This Tosafos Kasha is the basis for many different Derashos regarding Matan Torah. Some make a distinction between Torah She'bichsav and Torah She'bal Peh which is most probably the most well-known Teretz.

The Maharal has an approach which is more B'derech Hapshat. The Maharal is quoted by Rav Schorr in the Ohr Gedalyahu on Shevuos page # 162. The Maharal himself is in Tiferes Yisroel Perek 32. The Maharal says such a beautiful Pshat B'derech Hapshat. The question was Klal Yisrael accepted the Torah willingly so why did Hakadosh Baruch Hu force them?

Says the Maharal, Mitzad Hamekabeil V'ratzon Umitzad Hanosen V'hechrich. From the side of the one who accepted the Torah it was accepted willingly but from the side of the giver, the giver gave it B'hechrich. Compelling, forcing Klal Yisrael to accept the Torah. What does this mean?

Rav Schorr explained that Klal Yisrael accepted upon themselves willingly that Hakadosh Baruch Hu would force Klal Yisrael to accept the Torah at all times. He gives a Mashal. There is a man who suffers from a mental disorder. There are times that he is well and he behaves normally and there are times that he becomes insane. When he is well he tells his friends or relatives at the times that I become insane compel me to do the right thing. So too with Klal Yisrael. Klal Yisrael said we are accepting the Torah willingly. There may be times throughout the generations where the nation of Klal Yisrael acts in a rebellious way and throws off the yoke of Torah. So Klal Yisrael willingly accepted the concept of (שכפה הקב"ה עליהם את ההר כגיגית) that they should be compelled to accept the Torah throughout the generations and that is why Hakadosh Baruch Hu follows up when Jews are quick to assimilate Hakadosh Baruch Hu makes the Goyim throw away the assimilation.

In the mid 1800's Jews in Germany were compelled to take German names. It was a decree from Emperor Franciosis that all Jews in Austria and Germany had to shed their Jewish names and had to take non-Jewish names. That was done so that Jews would assimilate. Within a century the Nuremberg laws in Germany said that Jews were not allowed to have gentile names and they had to change their names to recognizable Jewish names. When Jews go to assimilate Hakadosh Baruch Hu with Kefia forces Klal Yisrael to go back to be recognized as Jews. This is what Klal Yisrael was Mekabeil here at this moment. This is a beautiful thought from the Maharal again in the Ohr Gedalyahu on Shevuos.

The question of the week is: Rashi on the Posuk in 18:18 (נָבֹל תִּבֹּל--גַּם-אַתָּה, גַּם-הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עִמָּךְ: כִּי-כָבֵד מִמְּךָ הַדָּבָר, לֹא-תוּכַל עֲשֹׂהוּ לְבַדֶּךָ) says Yisro told Moshe Rabbeinu that if you will be the judge of all Klal Yisrael alone you will become exhausted. (גם אתה: לרבות אהרן וחור ושבעים זקנים). Moshe Rabbeinu was helped by a few others and they will also be exhausted. Who helped Moshe? Rashi says Aaron, Chur, and the 70 Zekainim. They all judged. What is difficult with this Rashi? Rashi's Shitta is that Yisro came after Matan Torah. This was after Yom Kippur of the second set of Luchos. The Ramban at the beginning of the Parsha disagrees with Rashi. (כבר - נחלקו רבותינו (מכילתא כאן, זבחים קטז א): בפרשה הזאת. יש מהם אומרים כי קודם מתן תורה בא יתרו כסדר הפרשיות, ויש מהן שאמרו שאחר מתן תורה בא). Rashi holds that Yisro came after Matan Torah. As we all know, Chur was no longer alive. Chur died at the Maaseh Haeigel. So what is Rashi saying that (גם אתה: לרבות אהרן וחור ושבעים זקנים)?

A second question: The Gemara says at the end of Maseches Makkos 23b (4 lines from the bottom going to the top of 24a) (דרש רבי שמלאי שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצות נאמרו לו למשה שלש מאות וששים וחמש לאוין כמנין ימות החמה ומאתים וארבעים ושמונה עשה כנגד איבריו של אדם אמר רב המנונא מאי קרא תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה תורה בגימטריא שית מאה וחד סרי הוי אנכי ולא יהיה לך מפי הגבורה שמענום ). Torah is Gematriya 611. The Gemara says that Moshe Rabbeinu gave us 611 Mitzvos. One minute, there are 613 Mitzvos? The Gemara says no, the first 2 Dibros were given from Hakadosh Baruch Hu's mouth. Therefore, there remained only 611 Mitzvos so it sounds wonderful. There is a problem because (אָנֹכִי) and (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ) are 4 Mitzvos. The Aseres Hadibros are not 10 Mitzvos. They are 10 Dibros. There are many more than 10 Mitzvos. (אָנֹכִי) is one Mitzvah but (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ) contains 3, (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי), (לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה לְךָ פֶסֶל, וְכָל-תְּמוּנָה), and (לֹא-תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהֶם, וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם). All of the people who count the Mitzvos count these as separate Mitzvos. Therefore, if (אנכי ולא יהיה לך מפי הגבורה שמענום) there should be 609 Mitzvos that we heard from Moshe Rabbeinu.

Agav, the Shitta of the Behag is that Anochi is not one of the Taryag Mitzvos. The Behag holds that faith in Hashem is a Hakdama to Torah. So just as faith in Hashem is not one of the Sheva Mitzvos of a Bnei Noach it is not one of the 613 Mitzvos. Many ask on the Behag from this Gemara. The Gemara says that there were only 611 Mitzvos because (אנכי ולא יהיה לך מפי הגבורה שמענום). We have a bit in the way of answering. Anochi is indeed not one of the Mitzvos. The Behag will hold that 2 of the Mitzvos that were taken off were both in (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ). Of course the problem is that (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ) contains 3 Mitzvos. Tzorech Iyun!

Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5771

This week's Parsha begins with the visit from Yisro and his advice to Moshe Rabbeinu on how to run the Batei Dinim. At the end of that advice we find Yisro saying the following, 18:23 (אִם אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, תַּעֲשֶׂה, וְצִוְּךָ אֱלֹ קִ ים, וְיָכָלְתָּ עֲמֹד; וְגַם כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה, עַל-מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם) If you do the following then you will be able to persevere and also all of Klal Yisrael will be able to come in peace.

There is a Kasha here on the (יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם) and that is the Gemara in Maseches Berachos 64a (12 lines from the end of the Masechta) (ואמר רבי אבין הלוי הנפטר מחברו [א] אל יאמר לו לך בשלום אלא לך לשלום שהרי יתרו שאמר לו למשה לך לשלום עלה והצליח דוד שאמר לו לאבשלום לך בשלום הלך ונתלה: ואמר רבי אבין הלוי [ב] הנפטר מן המת אל יאמר לו לך לשלום אלא לך בשלום שנאמר ואתה תבא אל אבותיך בשלום) which says that the proper words with which to say goodbye to someone is Leich L'shalom, go to peace. If someone has passed away then the custom is to say Leich B'shalom, go in peace. Leich L'shalom, a living person can go to peace and still have a relationship with someone else and have Shalom. However, a Niftar who does not have a potential to have a disagreement with anyone, so it must be Leich B'shalom. Go to a place that there will be Shalom. So why here does Yisro use an expression of (יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם) which is an expression that would be used for a Niftar?

The Kasha is even stronger when we look back in Parshas Shemos and we see that Yisro himself when he gave permission for Moshe Rabbeinu to leave in 4:18 (וַיֵּלֶךְ מֹשֶׁה וַיָּשָׁב אֶל-יֶתֶר חֹתְנוֹ, וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֵלְכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה אֶל-אַחַי אֲשֶׁר-בְּמִצְרַיִם, וְאֶרְאֶה, הַעוֹדָם חַיִּים; וַיֹּאמֶר יִתְרוֹ לְמֹשֶׁה, לֵךְ לְשָׁלוֹם) where Yisro uses the proper expression of (לֵךְ לְשָׁלוֹם). Why here does Yisro say (וְגַם כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה, עַל-מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם)?

I would like to share with you 2 answers on this question. The first is something that Rav Pam often said in the name of the Chofetz Chaim. He said that this Posuk is a Remez to Gilgulim. The idea that a Neshama can be forced to come back to this world for a second or even a third life if he had some unfinished business so to speak in his first life. That we understand is a pain for the Neshamah and the Neshamah does not want to go through the Tzar of coming back.

If someone owes money to someone else then there is a concept that he has to come back to repay that money. Probably not if someone is an Ones, however, if someone has some sort of guilt of owing money to someone else then yes. If the Batei Dinim run properly and people go to them and things are resolved the Neshamah comes upstairs B'shalom. So the Posuk of (וְגַם כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה, עַל-מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם) means that Yisro was saying if the Batei Dinim are run properly than the Neshamah will come upstairs with a complete peace in the Olam Ha'emes. However, if the Batei Dinim don't run properly and people wait on line for many hours and don't come, then they lack that B'shalom because they are liable to have to come back for another Gilgul because of the financial issues that were not resolved. This is one Pshat.

I saw a second Pshat in the Netziv's Hameik Davar. We know that Batei Dinim can rule in 1 of 2 ways. Either Bais Din can try to figure out what the Halacha is and settle a dispute that way or through Peshara which is sort of a compromise. The idea is that the Bais Din can try to make some accommodations between the sides. That is called a Peshara. We know that Peshara is something which is healthy for the litigants because somehow they will both walk out friendly maybe not best friends but at least some sort of civility towards each other.

Mashe'ainkain, Shuras Hadin where each side typically feels that they are totally right, when the Bais Din Paskens for one side without any Peshara the other side of course feels cheated (unless they are Baalei Madreiga who don't). Most people are that way and therefore we advise them to do Peshara.

There is a Halacha in Choshen Mishpat that if a Dayan knows a Halacha he is prohibited from making a Peshara. What I mean to say is, in most Dinei Torah most Dayanim have to sit down and work through the Sugya because things are not usually clear in Shulchan Aruch. Then they can offer a Peshara because they do not know the Halacha. If they know the Halachah, it is prohibited to do a Pesharah and therefore Moshe Rabbeinu never did a Peshara. He always had to do Shuras Hadin. He learned the Torah as a gift from the Ribbono Shel Olam and knew exactly what to do.

Part of Yisro's advice says the Netziv, was to get 18:21 (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת) people who were not totally clear in the Halacha so that they would be able to offer Peshara. Mashe'ainkain Moshe Rabbeinu when he Paskens it affects the Sholom of the people. Peshara is called Mishpat Sholom it is called a judgment of peace and therefore the Netziv Teitches (עַל-מְקֹמוֹ יָבֹא בְשָׁלוֹם).This doesn't refer to the normal Sholom that a person says as a greeting or as a departure greeting to a Neshama. Rather it means they will come with the judgment of peace which is ideal in a Bais Din.

After Revii we read that 19:2 (וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים, וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי, וַיַּחֲנוּ, בַּמִּדְבָּר; וַיִּחַן-שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל, נֶגֶד הָהָר) that Klal Yisrael travelled from Refidim to Midbar Sinai. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh says these words of introduction to the Aseres Hadibros and their arrival at Har Sinai actually hint at how a person must prepare for learning throughout the generations. (וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים) is a reference to the fact that Klal Yisrael is in Refidim and they were weak in their learning of Torah. So that (וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים, וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי) is telling us that Klal Yisrael in order to learn properly have to leave the laziness that a person can have in his learning and learn with enthusiasm.

Rav Druk in his Sefer on Chumash Darash Mordechai page # 169 brings that Rav Shimon Shkop used to say that when a person is learning if he explains a Sevara and doesn't use any type of hand motions to explain what he is saying that is a Chisaron in the Sevara. To explain a Sevara properly there has to be Tenuas Yadayim.

She'Rafu Yidaihaim Min Hatorah. It says by Refidim that their hands were lazy from Torah. They explained things with laziness and without enthusiasm. That is a problem.

Rav Druk adds that there is a Chavis Yair that says there is a Rabbinic expression Lo Yatzo Yadav V'raglav B'bais Hamedrash. If someone Paskened something wrong the Rabbinic expression to deride that is Lo Matza Yadav V'raglav B'bais Hamedrash he did not find his hands and feet in the Bais Hamedrash. Rav Druk brings the Chavis Yair who suggests that this means learning without enthusiasm without the Yadaim, the excitement of hand motions in explaining.

What is Raglav B'bais Hamedrash? We learn in the same Pesukim right after Revii, that Klal Yisrael arrived at Har Sinai 19:1 (בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי).

Chazal have a Drasha that on that day they came what does it mean on this day they came? Chazal say over a well known Drasha that Rashi brings (שיהיו דברי תורה חדשים עליך כאלו היום נתנו) that it should be as if the Torah was given today. Rav Druk says you can tell how a person walks into the Bais Medrash for a Seder. If a person walks into the Bais Medrash with enthusiasm you know he is going to learn well. If a person walks in lazily and Dreis around and takes awhile to get to his seat you know that the learning will not be challenging and will not be done enthusiastically. So that the Raglayim (the feet too) tell us a lot about the learning. Lo Matza Yadav V'raglav B'bais Hamedrash. Use your hands and your feet to build up the enthusiasm and show the enthusiasm that a person has in his Limud Hatorah.

20:7 (זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ) I would like to speak briefly about the Mitzva of Kiddush. The Mitzva is to make Kiddush at night Min Hatorah and Midirabbanan by day as well. According to everyone the Mitzva Lichatchila is with wine or with grape juice, with wine as the preference when a person makes his Kiddush.

I once heard from Rav Shlomo Zalman Braun the author of Shearim Mitzuyanim B'Halacha who was one of the first Chassidishe Rabbanim in Flatbush. He said a person should keep all Chassidishe Minhagim except two. One of those two is the Minhag of many Chassidim to make Kiddush on Schnapps. First of all even if you make Kiddush on a Reviis of Schnapps it is not Lichatchila (preferable). Certainly if a person makes Kiddush on a 1 ounce of Schnapps is not performing the Mitzvah the way it should be done. It seems from the Shulchan Aruch that a person is not even Yotzei B'dieved.

My father A"H used to make Kiddush on Schnapps and when I got a little older I mentioned to him that it is a Shaila. He said he will ask the Debrecene Rav. The Debrecene Rav held of all the Chassidishe Minhagim. From then on he made Kiddush on wine or grape juice. He did drink Schnapps later after the fish but he made Kiddush on wine or grape juice.

I would like to share with you something that I heard from Rav Moshe. I once asked Rav Moshe about this Minhag and of course Rav Moshe held to make Kiddush on wine but I asked it to him in the following context.

I told him that the Chassidim make Kiddush on 1 ounce cup of Schnapps and we have a complaint that it is not the Shiur. I told him that a certain Chassidishe Rav had spoken and had been Melameid Zechus on the Minhag based on the Taz in the beginning if Siman 210 S'if Aleph.

The Taz (who says that to make a Borei Nifashos one must drink a Reviis) holds that a person can make a Borei Nifashos on a smaller amount of Schnapps because Schnapps is not something that is a drink that is drunk B'rivi'is. The Taz does say that it is not in the requirement of a Reviis. He says that it is not even possible to drink a Reviis. The Mishna Berura doesn't Pasken like the Taz but at least the Taz should be a suitable Teretz for the Minhag Haolam.

Rav Moshe told me to go home and look at the Taz completely and I will see that it is a mistake. He told me this at the end of Schacharis one day and I came back to Yeshiva and with a few friends we learned the Taz. I would like to share with you what I think Rav Moshe meant.

The Taz does say that on Schnapps less than a Reviis a person can make a Borei Nefashos. However, if one reads the Taz they see his Psak. He writes at the end that since Tosafos Shitta is that a Borei Nifashos can be made even on a Mashehu so here we can be Mitztareif Tosafos Shitta to my Sevara that a Borei Nifashos can be made on a Mashehu of Schnapps.

Tosafos Shitta that a Borei Nifashos can be made on a Mashehu, however Tosafos doesn't hold that way by Kiddush. So that even though the Taz held this way regarding Borei Nefashos that has nothing to do with Kiddush where this is no Tziruf of Tosafos Shitta. I think that is what Rav Moshe meant. If you like Schnapps drink Schnapps but make Kiddush on a Reviis.

The question of the week is: 18:5 (וַיָּבֹא יִתְרוֹ חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה, וּבָנָיו וְאִשְׁתּוֹ--אֶל-מֹשֶׁה: אֶל-הַמִּדְבָּר, אֲשֶׁר-הוּא חֹנֶה שָׁם--הַר הָאֱלֹ קִ ים) Rashi says (אל המדבר: אף אנו יודעין שבמדבר היו, אלא בשבחו של יתרו דבר הכתוב, שהיה יושב בכבודו של עולם ונדבו לבו לצאת אל המדבר, מקום תהו, לשמוע דברי תורה)

He came to the Midbar and we are talking about his praise because he lived in Midyan with great honor and nevertheless he came to the Midbar. Is that so that Yisro was living in Midyan with great honor?

Rashi tells us in 2:17 (ויגרשום: מפני הנידוי) that the other shepards chased away Yisro's daughters from the well because Yisro was put into Cheirem as the Sifsei Chachamim there explains. Since he abandoned their Avodah Zorah he was put into Cheirem. What is Rashi here saying that he is living in Midyan in great honor? It is a Pliya.

Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5770

19:12 & 19:21 - 19:25 The Ribboinoi Shel Oilam tried to give the Torah to the other nations. Each nation asked regarding the Aveira that is most difficult for them to keep. For example: Loi Tignoiv, Loi Sin'af, and then they rejected the Torah. Klal Yisrael then accepted the Torah. The question that was asked of the Sfas Emes was which Mitzvah is the most difficult for Klal Yisrael to keep? Moshe is told to warn Klal Yisrael not to go up on Har Sinai as the Psukim that are written here show. כא וַיֹּאמֶר יְרוָר אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, רֵד הָעֵד בָּעָם: פֶּן-יֶהֶרְסוּ אֶל- יְרוָר לִרְאוֹת, וְנָפַל מִמֶּנּוּ רָב כב וְגַם הַכֹּהֲנִים הַנִּגָּשִׁים אֶל יְרוָר, יִתְקַדָּשׁוּ: פֶּן-יִפְרֹץ בָּהֶם, יְרוָר כג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל- יְרוָר, לֹא-יוּכַל הָעָם, לַעֲלֹת אֶל-הַר סִינָי: כִּי-אַתָּה הַעֵדֹתָה בָּנוּ, לֵאמֹר, הַגְבֵּל אֶת-הָהָר, וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ כד וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְרוָר לֶךְ-רֵד, וְעָלִיתָ אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן עִמָּךְ; וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהָעָם, אַל-יֶהֶרְסוּ לַעֲלֹת אֶל- יְרוָר --פֶּן-יִפְרָץ-בָּם כה וַיֵּרֶד מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-הָעָם; וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵהֶם

However, Moshe had already warned Klal Yisrael earlier in Posuk 12 where it says, יב וְהִגְבַּלְתָּ אֶת-הָעָם סָבִיב לֵאמֹר, הִשָּׁמְרוּ לָכֶם עֲלוֹת בָּהָר וּנְגֹעַ בְּקָצֵהוּ: כָּל-הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהָר, מוֹת יוּמָת Why did Moshe Rabbeinu have to come back down the mountain to warn Klal Yisrael not to go up on the mountain if he had already warned them? The Sfas Emes says this is a Nisayoin by Klal Yisrael. When the Yeitzer Hora is not Matzliach by telling us not to do Mitzvois he tries to get us to have a very strong Ratzoin to do Mitzvois and whatever we do is not good enough. So Hakadoish Baruch Hu warns Klal Yisrael, that there is also a Yeitzer Hora that tells us to do more and more Mitzvois until a person is pushed into a depression when they feel that what they are doing is not enough. So there is a limit as to how high on the mountain a person can go.

There is a big Yeitzer Hora today for even young B'nei Torah and B'nei Yeshiva who are learning and are being very Matzliach, however, they feel that what they are doing is not adequate, because they have this Yeitzer Hora that affects all Klal Yisrael of trying to become more Kadoish and closer to Kedushah. To this Moshe Rabbeinu said, I don't have to warn them as I have already warned them. However, the Ribboinoi Shel Oilam said no, even on the day of Mattan Torah the day of the greatest Kedusha it is a Yeitzer Hora. If it would have been just a Lav to cross a line then there wouldn't of been this extra warning, however, this Yeitzer Hora is one that makes you try to get more Kedusha there has to be an additional warning that there is a limit and line that can't get crossed that applies to everyone.

18:7 ז וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה לִקְרַאת חֹתְנוֹ, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ וַיִּשַּׁק-לוֹ, וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ אִישׁ-לְרֵעֵהוּ, לְשָׁלוֹם; וַיָּבֹאוּ, הָאֹהֱלָה Rashi says וישתחו וישק לו: איני יודע מי השתחוה למי, כשהוא אומר איש לרעהו, מי הקרוי איש, זה משה, שנאמר (במדבר יב ג) והאיש משה This Posuk that is brought down by Rashi that uses the word Ish by Moshe is found in Bamidbar 12:3 where it says, ג וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה, עָנָו מְאֹד--מִכֹּל, הָאָדָם, אֲשֶׁר, עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה So it must be that Moshe is the one that bowed.

Earlier in Parshas Shemos we find in 2:21 that כא וַיּוֹאֶל מֹשֶׁה, לָשֶׁבֶת אֶת-הָאִישׁ; וַיִּתֵּן אֶת-צִפֹּרָה בִתּוֹ, לְמֹשֶׁה So Yisro is also called Ish so how is it a Raya? If it says Stam Ish shouldn't Rashi bring the Raya from Parshas Shemos that is found earlier than in Parshas Behalois'cha? So how do we know that the Ish who bowed down was Moshe Rabbeinu?

The Chasam Soifer that is brought down in Toras Moshe says it is not a G'zeiras Shava Ish Ish. Rashi said that since the word Ish is used we don't know who bowed down to whom. It is a Lamdisha Rashi. The Gemara in Maseches Kiddushin 33b (16 lines from the top) has a Kler. איבעיא להו בנו והוא רבו מהו לעמוד מפני אביו Meaning, if the son is the Rebbi who stands up for who? The Gemara is not Poishet this Kasha and it stays a Safeik.

It is told over about the Maram Mei'Rutenberg that after he became a Gadol B'yisrael he went to visit his father and there was a Shaila who should stand up for who. This is a Shaila M'd'oiraissa.

So here Yisro is the father in law and Moshe Rabbeinu is the Manhig Yisrael so Moshe had a Chiyuv to stand up for his father in law and Yisro had a Chiyuv to stand up for the Gadol Hador. So Rashi is saying who stood up for whom? I can't tell you because I can't figure it out because the Gemara is not Poishet the Shaila of who gets up for who. So since the Posuk in Parshas Behaloischa says וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה, עָנָו מְאֹד so it must be that Moshe stood up for Yisro. So it is not a Gezairas Shavah Ish Ish that you would be able to ask that Yisro is called Ish earlier in Parshas Shemos than Moshe is called Ish in Parshas Behaloischa.

We actually find the word Ish regarding Moshe earlier than in Parshas Behaloischa, and that is in Parshas Ki Sisa 32:1 where it says א וַיַּרְא הָעָם, כִּי-בֹשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה לָרֶדֶת מִן-הָהָר; וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם עַל-אַהֲרֹן, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו קוּם עֲשֵׂה-לָנוּ אֱלֹ ק ים אֲשֶׁר יֵלְכוּ לְפָנֵינוּ--כִּי-זֶה מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מֶה-הָיָה לוֹ So why did Rashi go to a later Posuk to bring that Moshe is called Ish? It must be that Rashi wanted the context of this Posuk that calls Moshe an Ish and Anav in the same Posuk.

Besides for this being a beautiful Vort it is also a Mussar for us. Our generation has become lax in standing up for a Father and Father in Law and we should become more Zahir in this Inyan.

20:13 יג לֹא תַחְמֹד, בֵּית רֵעֶךָ; {ס} לֹא-תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ, וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ וְשׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ, וְכֹל, אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ This is one of the hardest Mitzvois, not to be jealous. How are you Oiver Loi Sachmoid, it is an Aveira She'baleiv. The Rambam in Hilchos Gizeila Perek 1 Halacha 9 and 10 explains, you are only Oiver if you do a Maaseh that you get the thing you want. In the other version of the Aseres Hadibrois that is brought in Parshas Va'eschanan 5:18 it is brought as Loi Sis'a've which the Rambam holds you are Oiver even if you just try to get the thing you want and you don't succeed. The Rambam says on both of them that you don't get Malkus because it is a Lav She'ain Boi Maaseh. The Raivad asks, how can you say that there is no Maaseh if the Rambam just said that there is a Maaseh of you going out to buy the object that you desired?

The Steipler in Birchas Peretz on this week's Parsha gives a nice Teretz. The Aveira is not buying it or getting the object that you desired, the Aveira is the feeling in the heart. How much Chemda must there be to be Oiver Loi Sachmoid? It must be enough Chemda that the person actually goes out and gets this object that he desires. This is only a Shiur in Chemda, however, the Lav is still one that does not have a Maaseh.

20:11 יא כַּבֵּד אֶת-אָבִיךָ, וְאֶת-אִמֶּךָ--לְמַעַן, יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ, עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר יְרוָר אֱלֹקֶּיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ It is not so clear what the Gidarim are for this Mitzvah. The Gemara in Maseches Kiddushin 31b (3 lines from the bottom) says, ת"ר איזהו מורא ואיזהו כיבוד מורא לא עומד במקומו ולא יושב במקומו ולא סותר את דבריו ולא מכריעו כיבוד מאכיל ומשקה מלביש ומכסה מכניס ומוציא Lets say your mother asks you to wear a coat when you go out. Are you Oiver on Kibbud or Yirah or are you not Oiver on anything if you choose not to wear a coat? The Sefer Hamakne writes clearly that a person is Oiver anytime he disobeys a parent. There is a Dibrois Moshe that disagrees strongly and says that a person is only Oiver if he disobeys one of the things that are listed in the Gemara and anything else he is not Oiver on.

Rav Pam had Rayas to the Hamakne including the Gur Aryeh (Maharal) on this week's Parsha who says you are Oiver on Yirah if you disobey. There is the Sefer Yir'ahem that sides with Rav Moshe that you are not Oiver. It is hard to Pasken such a Shaila. Of course it is better to be Machmir.

I Need Your Help

At last nights tisch, the Rebbe Shlita asked the following question.

What is the halacha if two witnesses testify falsely that a person is חייב מיתה. May he now run away? 

3 possibilities:

1] He is חייב to run away and save his life.

2] He is permitted to run away.

3] He is forbidden from running away.

Also - may he cut off the hand of one of the witnesses, thus rendering his חיוב מיתה inapplicable because the gemara says [Sanhedrin 45] that if נקטעה יד העדים פטור - for the Torah requires that the hand of the witnesses carry out the punishment and if they lack a hand there is no punishment. They have the status of a rodeph - don't they?

Maybe the witnesses themselves who do teshuva are obligated to cut off their own hands in order to save this person. Retracting the testimony is NOT an option for כיון שהגיד שוב אינו חוזר ומגיד.   

If you have a PROOF, please share it. If you don't - maybe ask around....

PS - I conducted a computer search and found a number of important sources. This is an opportunity to thank my sweet friends who last year contributed to my updated Otzar Hachochma program, thus enhancing the blog להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה. You forgot about it long ago, but I didn't and Hashem CERTAINLY didn't. 

איידל ינטה בת ציפורה

צפורה בת צירל

פסח בן בילא

מרים בת חיה

פרץ ישראל בן בתיה קיילה

ראובן אלטער מרדכי בן מלכה

מתתיהו חיים בן אטל

Remember The Purpose

Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5774

1. This week I would like to focus on a few Divrei Torah that have to do with the very beginning of the Parsha. The beginning of the Parsha of course is Yisro presenting Moshe with this idea of setting up a system of as it says in 18:21 (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת) Sarei Alafim, Sarei Maios, Sarei Chamishim, and Sarei Asaros. Anybody who reads it is astounded at the great number of individuals that are seemingly needed for the court system, for people that were traveling in the Midbar and not really involved in a great deal of business.

I have a Metzia for you, something that is not well known and it comes from the Vilna Gaon, from the GRA, but it is in an unlikely source and therefore, apparently has been missed by many. In the Sefer Haksav V'hakabala on Parshas Devarim 1:15 (second volume page # 334 - 335), he quotes the Vilna Gaon to explain the idea of the (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת) in this Parsha. He explains that the four groups had different jobs. It wasn't just a court system with perhaps an appeals process and then a hierarchy in court which is I think the way most of us understand it. But the GRA says no, there were four groups of Sarim and each had a specific job. The Sarei Alafim were those that led Klal Yisrael in battle as you know and those who led Klal Yisrael in battle were themselves great people. They were people of stature and Talmidei Chachamim. That was the idea of Sarei Alafim, those that were the commanders when Klal Yisrael went to Milchama. The Sarei Maios he says are those that are literally the judges (Shoftai Ha'am Mamush in the Lashon of the GRA). Those who judged were Sarei Maios, 1 to 100. The Sarei Chamishim those who had 50 individuals to take care of were the Melamdim, to teach Torah to Klal Yisrael and they the GRA says are always called the Zekainim, the Ziknei Ha'am. Those are the Sarei Chamishim. The GRA says Chashiv Mai'kulam, the most Chashuv of all these groups were the Sarei Chamishim. Those who were trusted with the teaching of Torah to Klal Yisrael. So they had groups of 50 to whom they taught.

The Sarei Asoros were the ones who actually ran things sort of like the federal employees of the Dar Hamidbar, L'kayeim Psak Din. They ran the things that took place for the Tzibbur that Moshe Rabbeinu had to have instituted, they enforced the law and took care of recording different laws on different rules and regulations etc. Those were the Sarei Asoros, the Gabayim of Klal Yisrael. So that these four groups have some structure to them.

He explains that when Yisro requests form Moshe Rabbeinu that he find individuals who are (אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל יִרְאֵי אֱלֹקִּים, אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת--שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע) those four descriptions are not four descriptions of one person but four descriptions that fit the four categories. (אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל) were the (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים) - people capable of doing battle. (יִרְאֵי אֱלֹקִּים) - were the judges, those who were Mekayeim the command of as it says in Devarim 1:17 (לֹא תָגוּרוּ מִפְּנֵי-אִישׁ) the commandment to fear G-d and not fear man. That is a requirement of a judge. (אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת) - Emes is Torah. Those who teach Torah are (אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת). (שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע) were the ones who were the ones who so to speak are the federal employees those who had to take care of the law and as you know the government can't function if those who are on the bottom line, those who are making it happen are people who take bribes. And so, beautifully he says that there are four groups, the (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת) and each has its function in the Midbar.

With this says the Kesav V'hakabala we can answer Tosafos, the Ran, and other Rishonim's Kasha in Maseches Sanherdin 18a (top of the Amud). If there were (שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת) it means that there were about 70,000 people that were Sarim. If that is the case, you don't need that many (שָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת). We say there were 60,000 (שָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת), that is not true. They weren't serving 600,000 people. There were the Sarei Alafim, Sarei Maios, and Sarei Chamishim which have to be deducted from that total. Similarly the Sarei Alafim, one per 1,000. If you understand without the GRA and you understand simply that even the Sarei Asoros were judges, then the Sarei Alafim are not servicing that many people. The group that they were servicing should have been 530,000 people. That is the Kasha of Tosafos and the Ran. The GRA says no, each group was providing a different service to Klal Yisrael. So that, for example, the Sarei Chamishim taught Torah to everyone including the Sarei Alafim, and the Sarei Maios. Therefore, all were included. The GRA explains further that is why we find when Klal Yisrael goes to battle in the Milchemes Midyan that the Posuk refers to Sarei Alafim and Sarei Maios. As it says in Bamidbar 31:14 (וַיִּקְצֹף מֹשֶׁה, עַל פְּקוּדֵי הֶחָיִל, שָׂרֵי הָאֲלָפִים וְשָׂרֵי הַמֵּאוֹת, הַבָּאִים מִצְּבָא הַמִּלְחָמָה). This refers to the officers who go to battle as Sarei Alafim and Sarei Maios not Sarei Chamishim. What happened to them? Similarly in Bamidbar 31:48 (וַיִּקְרְבוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הַפְּקֻדִים, אֲשֶׁר לְאַלְפֵי הַצָּבָא--שָׂרֵי הָאֲלָפִים, וְשָׂרֵי הַמֵּאוֹת) so the GRA says that the Sarei Alafim certainly, even the Sarei Ma'os led the people in battle, but it stopped there. The Sarei Chamishim were the Melamdei Torah and the Melamdei Torah did not go out to do battle, they had to be there in the classroom. This is all a little known GRA that explains the different levels of Sarim a Pshat Vort, I guess for a change.

2. Let me move over to a second Vort on this part of the Parsha, something that is more B'derech Hadrush. Yisro arrives and he proclaims to Moshe Rabbeinu as it says in 18:11 (עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-גָדוֹל יְרוָר מִכָּל-הָאֱלֹקִּים) now I know that G-d is Gadol. The question is what he learned now that he did not know before? What did Yisro find out regarding the Ribbono Shel Olam that he didn't know? Rashi tells us already in Shemos that Yisro tried all the Avoda Zoras, all the different religions of the world and rejected them all in the favor of Judaism and the Ribbono Shel Olam and his Torah. (עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי) Now I know (כִּי-גָדוֹל יְרוָר) that Gadol Hashem. What exactly is that referring to?

When I was in Eretz Yisrael I heard a beautiful Vort and I looked it up in the Kodshei Yechezkal from the son of the Ustrutzer Rav. The Kodshei Yechezkal writes a distinction in a Drush of Shabbos Hagadol. A distinction between a description of G-d as Gadol and as Rom. We describe Hashem as Rom Hu Al Kol Hagoyim. We describe Hashem as high and as Gadol which literally means big. He says there is a fundamental difference between Ram and Gadol. The Yesod that something is high, it might be an airplane. It might be a bird, a bird flies high. It is not necessarily connected to the earth. It is something which is up. The clouds are high in the sky, the moon is high on the horizon. Gadol refers to something which is connected to the earth and still high. A big building or a tall tree. Gadol is something which reaches the heavens but is connected to the earth. Ram is something which reaches the heavens but is not connected to the earth. In fact, many non Jews, certainly most non Jews that existed in the world from creation until today, the overwhelming majority 90 - 95% believed in a creator, believe in a G-d of some sort. It was illogical to human beings until fairly recently that the world could come about on its own. Tehillim 113:4 (רָם עַל-כָּל-גּוֹיִם יְרוָר). We say that G-d is high, above the nations. Tehillim 99:2 (וְרָם הוּא, עַל-כָּל-הָעַמִּים). The nations recognize a creator but fail to recognize that the creator is not just high but that he is connected to the earth. Rom is a cloud, a bird, a star, it is high but it is disconnected from our life here on earth. The Goyim who recognize a G-d see him as Rom. Klal Yisrael says that HKB"H is Gadol in Tehillim 99:2 (יְרוָר, בְּצִיּוֹן גָּדוֹל) G-d in Tzion is big. He is high but he is connected to the earth. What we do here on earth matters and HKB"H is connected to our behavior and that is the difference between Gadoland Rom. Our Emuna is in Gadlus Hashem. Yisro came and he said (עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-גָדוֹל יְרוָר) now that HKB"H has done this for Klal Yisrael I realize that HKB"H is Gadol. HKB"H in involved with human beings. A beautiful Vort. The truth is, although our faith is that Hashem is Gadol, when it comes to the day to day behavior it slips and we forget that HKB"H is actually the creator and has an active presence in the things that we do.

3. A third thought goes back to an old Vort which I probably mentioned in a previous year (Ed Note: Parshas Bo 5772) but it has a new application. Somebody asked me the following question. Why in Birchas Hamazon do we say in the second Beracha (נוֹדֶה לְּךָ ד אֱלֹרינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה, וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ד אֱלֹרֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם). We say that HKB"H did both. HKB"H took us to Eretz Yisrael and he took us out of Egypt. The order is bad. First Hashem took us out of Egypt and then he took us into Eretz Yisrael. We say in (נוֹדֶה לְּך) first (עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה) and then we say (וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ד אֱלֹרֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם). It seems to be out of order.

To answer that I recall a Vort from Rav Moshe. Rav Moshe (in Darash Moshe Cheilek Aleph pg # 54) asks in the beginning of this week's Parsha that Moshe Rabbeinu named his children Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom a Ger because I was a stranger in a strange land as it says in 2:22 (גֵּרְשֹׁם: כִּי אָמַר--גֵּר הָיִיתִי, בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה). Eliezer as it says in 18:4 (וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד, אֱלִיעֶזֶר--כִּי-אֱלֹרי אָבִי בְּעֶזְרִי, וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה) because G-d saved me from Paroh's sword. The question is asked that this too is not chronological. First Moshe Rabbeinu was saved from Paroh's sword and only later was he a stranger in a strange land. To this Rav Moshe replied when Moshe Rabbeinu was saved from Paroh's sword we still don't know how wonderful that may be. It depends on what Moshe Rabbeinu does with his life. Later when he went to a foreign land he remained a stranger there. He didn't assimilate with the other people. Moshe Rabbeinu said first let me thank G-d that Ger Shom that I remained a stranger in a foreign land and now I give praise (וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה). The purpose has to be accomplished. And so, here too HKB"H took us out of Mitzrayim and the purpose was to get to Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, we thank HKB"H for the purpose and once it is clear that the purpose was accomplished, we made it to Eretz Yisrael, then we thank HKB"H for Yetzias Mitzrayim. Opportunities are wonderful if we make something of them. Yetzias Mitzrayim is wonderful only because we made something of it, we came to Eretz Yisrael. Good Shabbos to one and all.

Children And Money

Rabbi Reisman 5775

1. I would like to share with you two thoughts on Posuk 18:9 at the very beginning of the Parsha (וַיִּחַדְּ יִתְרוֹ--עַל כָּל-הַטּוֹבָה, אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה יְרוָר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל). Yisro rejoiced on all of the kindness that was shown to the Jewish people by HKB"H. I would like to share with you first a short thought and then a longer idea.

The briefer thought has to do with Rashi. Yisro rejoiced (עַל כָּל-הַטּוֹבָה). Rashi says what was that Tovah that caused him to rejoice? (טובת המן והבאר והתורה). That they were fed food from heaven, water from the rock, and given the Torah. Now this combination seems to be inappropriate. How can you compare the fact that Klal Yisrael's sustenance was taken care of, that they were supported, to the fact that they received the Torah? It seems to be an inappropriate combination. HKB"H fed them, gave them to drink, and gave them the Torah. It needs a bit of an explanation.

Actually this reminds me of something I once heard from Rav Shimon Schwab. Rav Schwab was once speaking and asked the following question. He said that in (הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קדֶשׁ לְחול) Hamavdil Bein Kodesh L'chol that beautiful Zemer that many of us either sing or say after Havdalah, it says (הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קדֶשׁ לְחול חַטּאתֵינוּ הוא יִמְחול זַרְעֵנוּ וְכַסְפֵּנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחול ). We say, HKB"H give us multiple children and lots of money. Rav Schwab asked how do you say that in one sentence, the importance of having children and the importance of having money? It seems inappropriate to be together. How much more of a question is it given that this is the song that begins Hamavdil Bein Kodesh L'chol. HKB"H draws a distinction between things that are holy and things that are ordinary weekday items. When you are saying (הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קדֶשׁ לְחול) you talk about money and children in the same breath? It is a Davar Pele! Similar to the question on this Rashi.

Rav Schwab answered on the contrary. He said it is true that money is something which misleads people. It is a route of many types of evil, it causes people to do things they shouldn't do. Sometimes the desire for money causes people to sin, and sometimes it causes them to have misplaced values. Therefore, the pursuit of money is something that certainly has a negative connotation. Rav Schwab said that he once heard from an elderly Chochom that when Moshiach comes money will be referred to as Davar Acher, the other thing. Just as today many people refer to a Chazir or Tzora'as as Davar Acher, the unmentionable thing, when Moshiach comes money may be referred to in that way.

Rav Schwab said nevertheless, Zeh L'umas Zeh Asa Elokim. As much as something has a negative potential it has a positive potential. (הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קדֶשׁ לְחול) at the moment that a person stands with an appreciation of a difference between things that are holy and things that are not, he can say (זַרְעֵנוּ וְכַסְפֵּנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחול). HKB"H, my desire for money is as a tool for Kedusha. When someone wants money for an end onto itself then the desire for money misleads him. He wants the money he wants that end, and whatever means he needs to achieve that end is something that he is enticed to pursue. However, when one has the right idea regarding money, money itself as a means to serve Hashem, then he can add (זַרְעֵנוּ וְכַסְפֵּנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחול) if it is a means, a method for Kedusha, then it can belong in the same sentence. So Dafka, deliberately, when someone says (הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קדֶשׁ לְחול) he can add (זַרְעֵנוּ וְכַסְפֵּנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחול). Rav Schwab was saying this incidentally in an appeal in raising money for a Yeshiva which was appropriate because he was telling people that the money is there for that purpose.

I once heard from Rav Druk who related the following incident. He said there was a young man in Yeshiva who was struck by a car and was injured. His parent's pursued a suit against the driver of the vehicle and was set to collect money from the insurance company. This young man was a Chosson who had a Chasunah date set and the lawyer said to the young man if you would postpone your wedding for two or three weeks until you feel fully well then we would do better in court. We could point out that you didn't feel well and the wedding was postponed.

This boy at that time was learning in Eretz Yisrael and went to his Mashgiach and asked him. The Mashgiach responded and these were the words he said "Gelt is Blotte" money is mud and you don't postpone a wedding for money. The young man was under a lot of pressure from his parent's and therefore, this Mashgiach agreed to take him to Rav Schach to ask him for his advice. They went to Rav Schach and again this Mashgiach introduced the question to Rav Schach and said I told him that money is mud, it is dirt and you don't postpone a wedding for money. Rav Schach sat there and refused to answer the Shaila. Later, after the Mashgiach and the young man had left, Rav Schach went over to somebody and said the following. Of course the young man should not postpone his wedding for this type of a consideration. But I did not want to endorse the words of the Mashgiach that "Gelt is Blotte" money is mud, money is dirt. It is true, some people see money in a way that it is worthy of being called dirt. There are people who use their money for Kedusha, to be Kone Olam Habo. I could not endorse him saying "Gelt is Blotte." It is what you make of it.

Getting back to our Rashi. Rashi says on (עַל כָּל-הַטּוֹבָה) all the good. The good was the Man, the B'air, and the Torah. The support. They had the support to sit and learn which is a wonderful thing. Lo Nitna Torah Ela L'ochlei HaMon. You want to be able to learn with a clear mind you need to be Ochlei Haman. Ochlei Haman on the one hand are people who don't have great demands and on the other hand people who are being sustained, are being supported. When it is done in a Derech of Kedusha that is wonderful. That is my first briefer thought on the Parsha.

2. Let me move on to a second Halachic thought on the same Posuk. (וַיִּחַדְּ יִתְרוֹ) Yisro rejoiced. The Gemara in Maseches Sanhedrin 94a (in the 5th wide line) relates a different translation to the Posuk. (רב אמר שהעביר חרב חדה על בשרו) that he passed a sharp sword on his flesh. Rashi says (שמל את עצמו ונתגייר). He was Mal himself, he performed a Bris Milah on himself in order to be a Ger. That is the Gemara. The question is that the Gemara in Maseches Avodah Zora 27a (top of Amud) says that a Goy is not eligible to perform a Bris Milah. That the Bris Milah must be done by someone who himself is obligated in Milah. As a matter of fact, Rav is the Baal Memra there that says that a non-Jew is ineligible to perform a Bris Milah. Halo Davar Hu! How could Yisro perform a Milah on himself?

In Maseches Avoda Zora on Daf 10b (those who are learning with the Mishmar will get there shortly), we have the story of (קטיעה בר שלום) who is someone who also performed a Milah on himself. In the back of the Gemara, the Poras Yosef (one of the Meforshim) asks the same Kasha, how could he perform a Milah on himself? A non-Jew is not eligible to perform a Bris Milah?

He answers that a non-Jew is not eligible to do a Bris Milah on a Jew. When he does it on himself for Gairus that itself is turning him into a Jew and therefore, he is eligible. It is sort of Gito V'yado Ba'in K'echad. An idea that the Bris Milah and the Gairus come simultaneously and therefore, to do a Bris Milah on himself he is eligible. Wonderful Dvar Torah. Yisro was Mal himself and a Ger can do Milah on himself because he becomes a Jew as the Milah is performed. Great! Not so great. There is a problem.

The Gemara in Yevamos 46a (7 lines from the bottom) teaches us that Mal V'lo Toval K'ilui Lo Mal

אין גר עד שימול ויטבול וחכמים אומרים טבל ולא מל מל ולא טבל

That somebody who is a Ger that had a Bris Milah for Geirus but he didn't go to the Mikvah it is as if he didn't have a Bris Milah. It doesn't count and he is not a Ger. The Shita of Tosafos (there in Yevamos) is that it has to be done in that order Bris Milah first and Tevillah second. If so, this entire episode is very difficult. How could Yisro perform a Bris Milah on himself? The Poras Yosef's Teretz that he became a Jew as he did the Milah is not true as he was still lacking Tevila in a Mikva. He wasn't a Jew at the end of the Milah. It is a tremendous Kasha.

To answer this I would like to tell you one of my favorite stories, a story that I got from a Teshuva Sefer, the Aruch Laner's Teshuva Sefer. The Aruch Laner was asked a Shaila that was sent to him from Yerushalayim. There was a gentleman who was Megayeir and he had his Bris Milah. Typically, a Ger has his Bris Milah but doesn't go to the Mikvah until the Milah heals. So usually there is time, maybe a week between Milah and Tevilla. This non-Jew now a Ger had a Bris Milah but not yet a Tevilla. He came to Shul on Shabbos with his new Shtreimal and Bekeshe all proud to be a Jew. When he got to Shul someone there said, what? You are not a Jew yet. You had a Bris Milah but you didn't yet go to the Mikvah for Geirus. Mal V'lo Toval K'ilui Lo Mal. Someone who had Milah and not Tevilah is not a Ger. Not only shouldn't you be observing Shabbos but you are prohibited from keeping Shabbos. A Goy Sheshavas is Chayuv Misah. Therefore, go home and do Melacha. That he did. This (middle of Geirus ) gentleman went home and did Melacha and came back to Shul. When he came back to Shul, the Bais Din that was in the process of being Migayeir him said one minute. You did Melacha, no. we have a Kabbalah that once you do Milah even though you don't do Tevillah you are still supposed to keep Shabbos. Confusing introduction to Judaism. Others said no, what kind of Kabbalah is that as he is still a non-Jew. There was a dispute in Yerushalayim. It was sent to Rav Yaakov Elltinger (1798 - 1871) the Aruch Laner to resolve. He responded that it is true, after Milah he is still not yet a Jew and it is also true that we have a Kabbalah that he should keep Shabbos. Therefore, both are true. It must be that he is no longer a non-Jew but he is not yet a Jew. That needs explanation.

The Shoel Umaishiv explains that after Milah before Tevillah he is like the Jewish people before Mattan Torah. Before the Torah was given the Jews were commanded about Shabbos at Marah. He too, at that point is partially on his way to being a Jew just as Klal Yisrael were on the way to Har Sinai and therefore, he keeps Shabbos even though he is still not yet a full-fledged Jew.

Taking this idea from this episode we can extend it here as well. The Jewish people were already obligated in Bris Milah as they performed Bris Milah in Mitzrayim. Therefore, a Ger with Bris Milah without Tevilah is a Jew for the Mitzvah of Bris Milah.

With this we can explain Yisro. Yisro could perform Bris Milah on himself. Why? For Bris Milah the Milah itself is Gito V'yado Ba'in K'echad or Milosoi V'geiruso Ba'in K'echad. Therefore, Gairus like Shabbos is something that a Ger post Milah pre Geirus (Tevilah) could keep. And so, on this one Posuk we have a Machshava, a thought and a Halacha thought.

3. I would like to end with a very difficult Kasha something which you have to work to answer. In this week's Parsha Yisro comes to the Midbar and this is in the first year, the year they left Mitzrayim. Rashi learns that it was before Mattan Torah and others Rishonim learn that it was after Mattan Torah. However, it was certainly in the first year. Right before Revii in 18:27 it says (וַיְשַׁלַּח מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-חֹתְנוֹ; וַיֵּלֶךְ לוֹ, אֶל-אַרְצוֹ). Yisro went home. Why did he go home? Rashi says to be Megayair his other relatives. Yisro is a Jew, he had been Migayeir. Why would he go home? That is what bothers Rashi. The answer is that he went home to be Migayeir his other relatives.

In Parshas Behaloscha which is 39 years later we find again that Yisro is visiting Moshe Rabbeinu. In 10:29 (וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, לְחֹבָב בֶּן-רְעוּאֵל הַמִּדְיָנִי חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה, נֹסְעִים אֲנַחְנוּ אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם).They were ready to go into Eretz Yisrael. Rashi says that this was the end of the forty years (מיד עד שלשה ימים אנו נכנסין לארץ). If so that the Yidden were ready to go into Eretz Yisrael why does Yisro say I am going home? He is going home at this point? Where is Yisro going, he is a Ger? Why is he is going home? This needs an explanation. Some Rishonim learn that that episode is not at the end of the 39 years which is not like the simple Pshat in the Posuk. However, otherwise the Kasha is a Kasha.

I mention this Kasha not so much for Parshas Behaloscha because as I have said many Rishonim say this is the same episode as our episode. However, if you learn Nach you see that Yisro's descendants went to Eretz Yisroel and somehow kept themselves separate from the Jewish people. It is a mystery. We had for example in the Haftorah of Parshas Beshalach the story of Shiras Devorah. We find that Sisra in running away comes to the house of Yoel who is married to a descendant of Yisro and it seems that there was peace between them and the children of Yisro. We find a similar thing at the end of Shmuel II with Dovid Hamelech when he fights the Amaleikim. Yisro's separation from Klal Yisrael like all Geirim needs an explanation. IY"H we will get to it maybe in Parshas Behaloscha. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Holy Rav ztz"l

From the archives:

HaRav Kook ztz"l was one of the most influential rabbonim in the last 100 years and arguably the greatest and most unique. There is so much to say about him personally and about his thought that I would need to write a few full length books in order to scratch the surface.

When Rav Eliyashiv would say "The Rov" without a last name, he meant Rav Kook of whom he was a great admirer [and I believe that Rav Kook made the shidduch between Rav Eliyashiv and Rav Aryeh Levin's daughter]. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach related that when he was little he would go to watch Rav Kook learn Tanach and was tremendously inspired just watching him. Later, Rav Kook was his mesader kiddushin when he was married.
I wanted to share a few highlights about his personality from which we can all learn and grow therefrom [is that a word? Now it is...:-)].
1] Diligence - He would learn fifty pages of gemara every morning after a "gezunte shluf" of 2 hours a night!
He wouldn't write with a pen but with a pencil because his thoughts flowed so quickly that he didn't have time to dip his pen in the ink quill. [What is a "ink quill"? What is a "pen"?]
Before he died from a painful skin cancer he was crying. His brother asked him if he was crying from the pain and he explained that he was crying because of all of the deep thoughts going through his head that he didn't have the strength to write down.
When he was a Rov in England during World War 1 and he needed to learn English, he was afraid of bittul Torah so he went through the Tanach with an English translation. 
2] Tzidkus: He wore tfillin all day long. When he was learning in the Volozhiner Yeshiva some of the students didn't appreciate this behavior. The Rosh Yeshiva [the Netziv] told the boys to leave him alone. For other boys it might be haughty and arrogant but for this neshama it was completely natural without a trace of arrogance [gyveh]. He penned a sefer called חבש פאר about the kedusha of tfillin.
His house was constantly filled with people who came to ask for favors or to learn from him etc. No matter how busy he was, whenever his elderly father entered the room he would stand up until his father sat down or left the room.
Rav Kook's brother related that this holy neshama would make a bracha on his mother's milk BEFORE HIS FIRST BIRTHDAY!
From the age that he realized that a woman is a woman - he didn't look at one. His wife once covered her face and brought him a shyla in Taharas Hamishpacha. He paskened that she was permitted to her husband. She said "How come when I brought you this very same shyla, you were strict with me and said that we were assur?"
When he was a yeshiva bachur, he rented a room from a woman. He paid the first price she asked for and didn't bargain [so un-Jewish:-)]. When asked why he didn't try to lower the price, he explained that keeping the teaching of Chazal to minimize one's speech with women is worth the extra half-ruble.
3] Tefilla - Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer [father in law of Rav Aharon Kotler and one of the great roshei yeshiva of his generation] said "I wish that I would daven mincha on Yom Kippur like Rav Kook davens on a regular weekday."
In 1921, Rav Kook went to rest in a place called "Har-Tov". One day he was uncharacteristically late for davening and he was instead involved in a conversation with a simple Jew about plants and flowers. His talmid Rav Charlap asked his Rebbi what happened and he explained that he was so thirsty and yearning for a connection with Hashem that he felt that if he davened he would die from כלות הנפש [unrequited love]. In order to come down to earth, he spoke about mundane matters.
In 1914 Rav Kook went to the Galil with Rav Charlap zt"l. Rav Charlap related "I woke up in the middle of the night and found him on fire, pacing the room to and fro, with a stormy spirit. He grabbed me and his hands were cold like ice and his face was burning like a torch. He said 'Rav Yankev Moishe, I am burning up from Ahavas Hashem'.
4] Ahavas Yisrael - He once said about himself "I never refused a request to do a favor for a fellow Jew" [!!!!]. This was a person who due to his position a Chief Rabbi was asked thousands of favors, some by people who made his life miserable with their anti-zionistic zealotry for whom he particularly extended himself.
After the slaughter of the students of the Chevron Yeshiva in 1929, Rav Sarna, the Rosh Yeshiva related that he felt tremendous anguish. But Rav Kook felt it more. When he heard  the news - he fainted....
A sick person once needed money and Rav Kook didn't have any handy, all he had was an expensive watch that he received from an American [which is a great story in and of itself] which he promptly handed over. Other times poor people would come and if he didn't have money he would tell them to choose any sefer on his shelf which they could sell and use the money.
5] Rav Kook taught that Eretz Yisrael is not merely a "Jewish Homeland" but the life and breath of Am Yisrael. He also repeatedly emphasized that Am Yisrael are more than just a people who have more laws than anyone else but the essence of holiness on earth from which all of the other nations receive their existence and spiritual sustenance.

[The stories and much, more are cited and documented in the sefer Otzros HaRiiyah in the first chapter].
What can we learn from this angel?? This is a man-angel who said that he can "see" how sins seal one off from the Divine Light? He has many passages where he relates his semi-prophetic visions of spiritual worlds. He is beyond us??! I am a pashute yid and how can I strive to emulate this elevated neshama. [His handwriting was oncee broght to a handwriting expert ("graphologist") who wasn't told the identity of the author. He looked at the text and after analyzing the letters he said "This is a person who lived 350 years ago at least. Such people no longer exist in our world..." I would guess that being such a great ohev yisrael and also a kohen that he was a gilgul of Aharon Hakohen]
That is true. But still, what we CAN learn is to be a bit less materialistic, a bit more spiritual, less ego and self absorption, more love, care, sensitivity and devotion to others.
If Jews would truly care in both thought and practice about other Jews MOST of Klal Yisrael's problems would be solved instantaneously.
There is enough money among the Jewish people that NOBODY has to be poor, yet there are so many in need.
There are enough jobs to be had yet so many are unemployed.
All of the horrible "get" stories we hear would never happened if people internalized the ethic that one must NEVER EVER hurt another human being - even if we feel that this person pained us.
So many of the single people would be married if others were not able to sleep at night racking their brains thinking about possible matches and doing everything they can to make it happen.
All of the lashon hara and rechilus on the blogs, websites and newspapers would cease because people would think "How would I feel if people wrote that about me [even when true]?"
All of the horrible scandals involving breaches in tzniyus and monetary indiscretions would stop because such behavior is simply unholy and impure. Some of the perpetrators are sick and need help. The community would make sure that offenders are duly punished, distanced .... but also helped.
Many of the kids off the derech would come back because they would see a religious world that is not filled with hypocrisy and criticism but with love and acceptance.
Beloved friends - it is in our hands!!!
To conclude with two great quotes from the Rav ztz"l:
 We are great and our faults are great and therefore our problems great and great are our consolations.
Orot Hatchiah 5
The pure tzadikkim do not complain of the dark, but increase the light; they do not complain of evil, but increase justice; they do not complain of heresy, but increase faith; they do not complain of ignorance, but increase wisdom.
Arpilei Tohar page 2
Love and blessings to all:-)