Dan and Shai were standing in the train station. They had just finished a shopping spree and each carried a bag, which they put down next to them. "I got a gift for my parent's anniversary," said Shai. "It cost quite a lot, but it's a very special occasion."
A Murky Dispute ‘Water Does Not Affect Its Status’ (Shabbos 100a)
After each of the makkos, Moshe Rabbeinu had to daven to Hashem to stop the makkah. After the makkah of frogs, the pasuk says “…vayitzak Moshe el Hashem al devar hatzefardi’im asher sam l’pharoh – and Moshe cried out to Hashem regarding the frogs that he inflicted on Pharaoh” (Shemos 8:8). This is the only makkah in which we find that the Torah uses the word “vayitzak [cried out]” in reference to how Moshe davened to Hashem. By the other makkos, the Torah uses the word “vayetar.” The Sifsei Chachamim asks the question that he says was bothering many people. He asks why the Torah changes its wording by the makkah of the frogs to the word “vayitzak.”
Question: I was at a brit where the father and grandfather of the boy argued over who should be sandak. The grandfather had served as sandak once before, but he persisted and, as they say, “might makes right.” I am curious as to your view on this matter. M. Renkin (Via E-Mail)
Question: Must one wear a hat during Shabbat meals?
After months of rebellion, Pharaoh finally admitted he was wrong. The Dos Zakainim explains that the plague of barad moved Pharaoh more than any other. And it was because of one factor.
One may not bathe in, wash or shower with water heated on Shabbat. Whether one may perform these activities with water heated before Shabbat is debated by Rav, who maintains that one may wash one’s entire body, limb by limb, in such water, and Shmuel, who maintains one may only wash one’s face, hands and feet in such water.
We were literally in “seventh” heaven. The Sabbatical year in Eretz Yisrael was almost too good to be true. My husband was enjoying a rare break from his hectic schedule of teaching and administrating and was thrilled to be able to instead sit on the other side of the desk, quenching his perpetual thirst for knowledge. The entire family felt blessed to have so much heretofore unheard of quality time with Abba, while living in the Promised Land and participating in frequent exciting family activities and touring opportunities with the program. We unanimously agreed that our proverbial cup had indeed runneth over.
Throughout all Egypt the dust turned into lice. But when the magicians tried to produce lice by their secret arts, they could not. The lice attacked men and animals alike. The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of G-d.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen.
I’ve received numerous e-mails in response to my recent columns on the Sandy Hook massacre, gun control, and the violence and immorality in our society. Here is one of those e-mails, followed by my response.
This coming Shabbos we bentch Rosh Chodesh Shevat, which falls on Shabbos Kodesh (January 12). The highlight of this month is of course Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the trees. As the mind conjures up images of spring, I can spot nary a sign of spring from my vantage point here in the northeastern part of the U.S.
General George Marshall became the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff in 1939. With a keen understanding that the United States would eventually be drawn into the war that had just erupted in Europe, he set out to rebuild and modernize the army. This was no easy task. Besides the normal difficulties inherent in such an undertaking, Marshall had to do it against the wishes of many influential isolationists. Even President Roosevelt was reluctant to upset the country’s isolationists for fear that battling them would undermine his New Deal.
It is a short winter Friday, the house is upside down and it is almost Shabbos. Your kids are lying around or playing and are not interested in helping. So you put on Rav Yom Tov Ehrlich’s famous Yiddish song “Shabbos Kodesh, Shabbos Kodesh.” Soon the invigorating melody fills the room and things start moving. “The tanaaim – the amoraim – everyone is getting ready for Shabbos Kodesh – Shabbos!” His vivid description based on the Gemara in Shabbos (119a) of the holy rabbis of the Talmud each preparing for Shabbos, is enough to motivate even the laziest child to get up and start helping. (Okay, okay – it only works once in a while!)
Rabbi Dayan received a phone call from his nephew, Rabbi Federman, who had recently taken his first position as a pulpit rabbi. "Sholom aleichem," Rabbi Dayan greeted him. "How is the new Rav managing?"
Yosef, his brothers, and their entire generation had passed on. A new era was beginning in Mitzrayim, and with it came a new attitude. When the Jews had first entered the land they were received as celebrated guests. After all, they were brothers of the great Yosef who had saved the nation. That sense of appreciation was now gone. No longer were the Jews respected and revered, no longer were they welcome. They had become a thorn in the side of the Mitzrim.
It was when Reb Elimelech assumed the leadership of the chassidic movement that the Austrian Kaiser decreed that before a woman may wed, a tax of 400 golden coins must be paid to the government. This tax was far too exorbitant for the commoner to pay and many feared that they would never be able to marry off their daughters.
Question: What is the purpose of reciting korbanot in the morning?
The Gemara in Kiddushin 71a says that when Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu (in this week’s parshah), “zeh shemi l’olam, v’zeh zichri l’dor dor – this is my name forever, and this is my name for every generation” (Shemos 3:15), he was teaching Moshe two separate names of Hashem. Rashi explains there that this is derived from the fact that the pasuk does not say “zeh shemi v’zichri.” The Gemara says that Hashem told Moshe that He has both a name that is written and a name that is pronounced. Hashem’s written name is spelled “yud, kei, vav, kei” and His pronounced name is spelled alef, daled, vav, nun. (We will refer to this name as Adnus.)
Satisfaction Guaranteed ‘The Divine Presence Rests Only On One Who Is Wise, Strong…’ (Shabbos 92a)