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The third category of bechor and the only non-kosher animal to achieve this status is the petter chamor, the firstborn offspring of a donkey, provided it is a male. Because the donkey is a non-kosher animal, it is not eligible to be offered up as a korban. Rather, it must be redeemed by exchanging it with a sheep or goat of any gender belonging to the owner of the donkey. Following such redemption, the donkey no longer has the status of a bechor and may be used by its owner for any purpose as if it never was a bechor. The sheep or goat for which it was exchanged and given to the kohen also possesses no sanctity and the kohen may use it for any purpose unrelated to the Temple. Alternatively, if the owner of the donkey possesses no sheep or goat with which to redeem the donkey, he may redeem it with anything of value equal to the value of the donkey.
According to certain commentators, the donkey is singled out for the status of a bechor because it was a vehicle for the transport of material possessions. In fact, we are told that when the people of Israel left Egypt, they had no time to harness wagons but loaded all their possessions on donkeys. If we wish to avoid turning ourselves into a vehicle that merely transports wealth from person to person and from generation to generation, and if we wish to leave this world with some spiritual heritage of our own, we must demonstrate our recognition of the source of our wealth by giving up some of our possessions to the service of God.
Raphael Grunfeld’s book “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Judaica bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.
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When in a quandary we must always turn to our holy books and search for answers.
In this week’s parshah Bilam decides to approach Balak with the intention of cursing the Bnei Yisrael. En route his donkey refused to continue on the path, continuing to veer to the side of the road. At one point the donkey smashed Bilam’s leg into the wall. Bilam hit his donkey three different times. The reason that his donkey would not proceed is because it saw that there was a malach standing in the road with his sword drawn.
The GPS had not been invented when Shelly set off on a Friday afternoon many years ago to join the Bnei Akiva camp in the English countryside. The organizers always managed to find a farmer who welcomed young campers under adult supervision; thus they set up their tents and during the week took the opportunity to learn the halachot of building an eruv. There would be no problems on Shabbat and they would be able to carry within the campsite.
The Rambam, therefore, adds a second component: by getting angry, Moshe misled the people as to the nature of God. The masses felt that Moshe’s anger was reflective of God’s anger.
One of the most complex Tanach personalities is the central figure of this week’s Haftorah: Yiftach, the Shofet, Judge.
“I saw an advertisement for group swimming lessons during the summer,” Mr. Leiner said to his wife. “I think it would be good for our Pinchas.”
She is my first child to reach this stage and, frankly, I’m worried.
Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin
‘Transgressing Bal Tigra’
Question: As Shavuot is fast approaching – a holiday on which we dwell on the story of Ruth and the origins of the royal house of David – I was wondering if you could help me resolve something. The Mishnah never makes any mention of the Hasmonean kings, the mitzvah to light a Chanukah menorah, or the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days. Some people say that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi – the redactor of the six orders of the Mishnah and a scion of King David – omitted these topics because the Hasmoneans improperly crowned themselves, ignoring the rule that all Jewish kings are supposed to come from the tribe of Yehudah. They argue that this is also why the Talmud does not include a separate tractate on Chanukah. Is this true?
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses many halachos of tumah. One halacha is that a person who is tamei may not enter the Mikdash. Doing so makes him liable for kareis.
The highway was packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic, and there I sat with hands gripped tightly on the steering wheel, begging the cars to move. My heart swelled at the thought of seeing my son, who was just coming back from his year of learning in Eretz Yisrael. How I had missed him! Though I was used to him being away (if you can ever really get used to a child being away), a special space in my heart was empty – as I waited for him.
No one lives in a vacuum. No, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get sucked up through a vacuum cleaner hose in the pre-Pesach cleaning frenzy, it means that whether we like it or not, our environment—the people and things around us—makes a big impact on who we are.
According to biblical law, once an area has been converted in to a reshut hayachid by enclosing it with a halachically acceptable eruv, one may carry inside the enclosed area. But according to rabbinical law, it is simply not enough to enclose an area in which one wants to carry with an eruv. This alone will not permit carrying from the home into the street or vice versa. Neither will it alone permit carrying from a condominium apartment into the lobby or other common areas.
More evidence that Jews tried to change their fate at the hands of the Nazis: Archaeologists discovered that Jews at the Sobibor death camp built an escape tunnel but apparently didn’t live to use it.
An ancient frog can now be added to Israel’s history. The “painted frog,” though to be extinct, turns out to be a descendant of a one million-old frog.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey died Monday at the age 89. His life was a classic Jewish rag-to-riches story of a young man who worked his way to business and political success.
The Middle Ages have returned to Europe, or maybe they never left. Jews dipping matzos in blood is old hat. Now a Norwegian newspaper depicts circumcision as a violent and bloody religious custom.
The heinous crime that put “Prisoner X” Ben Zygier in an Israel jail where he killed himself was not known until today: He butchered a secret Mossad operation to bring home the remains of 3 soldiers.
The surgery was a complete success, but the surviving twin is still not out of danger.
Last week, police executed a search warrant in the couple’s former home in Dewitt.
“They located the barbecue in a grassy area, ignoring safety guidelines.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/bechorot-the-price-of-freedom/2011/11/17/
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