web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Q & A: They Live In The Land (Part III)

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: I was recently discussing the sorry state of religion in Eretz Yisrael with some friends, noting that unfortunately a majority of the population consists of non-observant Jews. I expressed my view that this fact explains why Moshiach has not yet come. I avidly read your column and am anxious to learn your view of this matter.

No Name Please
(Via E-Mail)

Summary of our response up to this point: We inquired into the statement we say before Kol Nidrei: “We sanction prayer with the transgressors.” To which transgressors are we referring?

Some suggests that “transgressors” refers to the Marranos in Spain who openly committed the sin of idolatry. Others say we are referring to individuals who violated communal edicts that got them banished from the synagogue.

Some compares praying with transgressors to the fragrant frankincense spices in the beit hamikdash which contained among its ingredients chelbona, a foul-smelling spice.

We asked: What if there are no transgressors in synagogue? Does their absence invalidate our Yom Kippur prayer service?

The Mishnah (Rosh Hashanah 33b) states that the obligation to pray falls on every individual congregant, while Rabban Gamliel disagrees and says that the chazzan discharges the congregation of its obligation. The Mechaber notes that someone who is not conversant in praying must pay attention to each word of the chazzan’s repetition to discharge his obligation. One who is conversant cannot be discharged and must say the prayer himself.

However, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, the chazzan discharges the obligation of everyone, even those who are well versed. Each person must either recite the prayer by himself or follow the chazzan’s prayer word for word.

* * * * *

We find the following in the concluding Gemara to Rosh Hashanah (35a): “R. Acha b. Avira said in the name of R. Shimon Chasida: Rabban Gamliel would allow even those people who found themselves in the fields [engaged in agricultural activity] to be discharged of their [prayer] obligation [by the chazzan]; it is needless to say that those who are in town are also discharged.”

The Gemara questions this assumption: “Surely the opposite should be the case, for those in the fields are unable to come due to matters that are beyond their control – i.e., they are anusim – while those in town: what is there preventing their attendance?”

This is similar to what Abba the son of R. Binyamin b. Chiya stated: “The people who stand behind the kohanim [during Birkat Kohanim] are not included in the blessing.” Both laws exclude people. Those people in town who do not deem it important to come to synagogue for Birkat Kohanim do not benefit from that blessing.

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 128:24) seeks to clarify what the words “the people who stand behind the kohanim” mean. The assumption is that people must stand facing the kohanim, but the Mechaber writes that those standing on the side of the kohanim “even should there be a wall of steel between them – it will not cause a separation.”

The Ba’er Heitev (ad. loc. sk 42) maintains that those standing to the side must at least be within the side periphery of the kohanim. Those standing behind the kohanim, though, are not included in the blessing. The Ba’er Heitev cites the Bach, who is lenient since people nowadays buy, and own, assigned seats. Those with seats along the eastern wall are thus considered anusim. They cannot move from their assigned place to another spot since they would displace fellow congregants. (In practice, though, we find that in most situations, people sitting in front row seats are able to move to the back and face the kohanim without disturbing their fellow congregants.)

We now return to the Gemara as it concludes: “However, when Rabin came [from the land of Israel], he reported that R. Yaakov b. Idi said in the name of R. Simon Chasida that Rabban Gamliel only allowed those engaged in work in the fields to be discharged of their obligation [by the chazzan]. Why? Because being engaged in their work is a matter beyond their control. However, those in town [who are not engaged in fieldwork] are not discharged. Rashi (sv “aval d’ir lo”) explains that since they are not engaged in work, they are able to pray on their own.

Thus, in my remarks to my congregation this Yom Kippur, based on this Gemara and Rabban Gamliel’s view, I sought to explain that the sinners – the chelbana – the galbanum that we include in our fast and prayer service are compared to those Jews who unfortunately are prevented from joining us because they are tinok she’nishba – that is, they are ignorant of our Torah.

Our situation is analogous to the following scenario: Two people are in a small watercraft and one of them starts drilling a hole under his seat. The other person screams at him, “What are you doing?” He responds, “None of your business. I am only drilling on my side!” His astonished fellow retorts, “Fool! Through your action you will cause us both to sink and drown.”

My friends, we are all in one boat, dependent on each other. No man or woman is an island unto him/herself.

(To be continued)

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: They Live In The Land (Part III)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Which glass has the poison?
State Dept. Complains New Homes in Jerusalem ‘Poison’ US Peace Plan
Latest Judaism Stories
Duxvielfalt_2011

Contrary to popular belief, the Talmud never explicitly limits the ban on footwear to leather shoes.

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-they-live-in-the-land-part-iii/2013/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: