web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Q & A: Birkat HaGomel (Part I)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

 

Answer: Let us first discuss the requirement to have a minimum of 10 men for synagogue services and other mitzvot that are “davar shebi’kedushah – matters of sanctity.” This requirement is derived through a gezerah shavah – verbal analogy – one of the fixed principles of interpretation by which our Sages expound the Torah. If the same word or phrase appears in two separate verses in the Torah, and a certain halacha is explicitly stated regarding one of them, we may (under certain circumstances) infer on the basis of “verbal analogy” that the same halacha applies in the second instance as well.

In our case, the first verse of the gezerah shavah (based on the words “betoch” and “mitoch”) is found in Parshat Emor (Leviticus 22:32), which instructs us not to violate – with intent – any of G-d’s commands, resulting in a diminution of G-d’s honor: “Velo techallelu et shem kodshi venikdashti betoch Bnei Yisrael, ani Hashem mekaddish’chem – You shall not desecrate My holy Name, and I will thus be sanctified in the midst of the Children of Israel; I am Hashem Who sanctifies you.” We must zealously strive to sanctify G-d and, in so doing, we ourselves will be sanctified.

The second verse is in Parshat Korach (Numbers 16:21) and concerns G-d instructing Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the rebellious Korach and his followers: “Hibbadlu mitoch ha’edah hazot va’achaleh otam ke’raga – Separate yourselves from amid this congregation, and I shall destroy them in an instant.”

This second verse leads us to yet another gezerah shavah based on the word “edah” in this verse and the word “edah” in a verse in Parshat Shelach regarding the spies whom Moses had sent to investigate the land of Canaan. When they returned with a bad report about the promised land, G-d made His wrath known to Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:27): “Ad matai la’edah hara’ah hazot asher hemah mallinim alai, et telunot Bnei Yisrael asher hemah mallinim alai shamati – How long [shall I bear] this evil congregation that complains against Me? I have heard the complaints of the Children of Israel against Me.”

This gezerah shavah comes up in a discussion between R. Huna and R. Yehoshua b. Levi in the Gemara (Berachot 21b) regarding a person who enters a synagogue and wishes to catch up with the congregation which is reciting Shemoneh Esreh. R. Huna allows him to start Shemoneh Esreh if he will catch up by the time the chazzan reaches Modim while R. Yehoshua maintains that he can only start if he will catch up by Kedushah. R. Huna rules as he does because he permits an individual to recite Kedushah by himself, but R. Yehoshua maintains that Kedushah can only be said with a quorum of 10 (and that is the halacha).

How does R. Yehoshua b. Levi come to his conclusion? R. Adda b. Abaha explains that he bases himself on the verse quoted earlier, “Venikdashti betoch Bnei Yisrael,” which implies that there has to be at least 10 people present for any manifestation of sanctification. Rabinai, the brother of R. Chiya b. Abba, explains that we draw a gezerah shavah between “betoch” in this verse and “mitoch” in “Hibbadlu mitoch ha’edah hazot.” And we know that “edah” implies at least 10 people because of the verse, “Ad matai la’edah hara’ah hazot,” which clearly refers to 10 spies (the original 12 minus Joshua and Caleb who brought back a favorable report on the land).

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Birkat HaGomel (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
France Jew in a French synagogue talks about rising anti-Semitism.
Israel to Ease Absorption, Employment for Immigrants from France
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-birkat-hagomel-part-i/2014/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: