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The Gemara in Kiddushin that refers to Eisav as a mumar does not specify which type of mumar he was. I suggest that perhaps Eisav was considered a mumar leteiavon, and not a mumer lehachis. Therefore, if someone else would check his knife for him, he would be allowed to shecht. Yitzchak knew that Eisav was outstanding in the mitzvah of kibud av (honoring one’s father) and he was certain that Eisav would fulfill any of his requests. As a result, Yitzchak told Eisav now to sharpen his knife in order to be certain that he would check the blade. Yitzchak felt that the level of certainty whereby he knew that Eisav would follow his command was sufficient to ensure that the knife was checked – as if someone else actually checked it. Thus Eisav – a mumar leteiavon- was permitted to shecht.
Although Yitzchak had reason to be concerned that Eisav would not check his knife on his own since he was a mumar leteiavon, he nonetheless knew that commanding him to do so would be the equivalent of someone else checking his knife for him. This permitted the meat to be eaten. Based on this, we can also answer the question that the ba’alei Tosafos asked (how Yitzchak could have eaten from the shechitah of a mumar). Since Eisav was considered a mumar leteiavon, once his father commanded him to check his knife his shechitah was permitted.
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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.
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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?
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You may remember how we once did an experiment with a story (about a monster fire in Arizona) without Jewish protagonists, but containing a universal lesson that I believed worthy to record for the readers of Chodesh Tov. We are there yet again, this time directly north in Wisconsin.
Please bear with me as we once again record a story we investigated in the hope that the lesson is unique and worthy of our attention. It is going to take us five full columns to complete the tale, and I thank you in advance for your patience.
Elevated Train Tracks And Eruvin
(Please note: The question has been modified to reflect amendments suggested by a reader, Yisrael Levi, in last week’s column.)
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