web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshas Ki Sisa: A Day Of Transformation


Staum 030113

“And you (Moshe) speak to the Children of Israel saying, ‘But my Shabbos you are to observe; for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I am Hashem Who sanctifies you” (Shemos 31:13).

The Torah makes it clear that Shabbos is not only about acting in certain ways and refraining from certain activities, it must also be a cognitive experience. Through Shabbos a Jew comes to realize and understand that G-d is the source of holiness and sanctity.

This idea is especially apparent from the laws governing the many prohibitions of Shabbos. Although there are specific labors that are forbidden on Shabbos, performing any of the forbidden labors does not automatically cause someone to be liable for desecrating Shabbos. The doer’s personal objective must be taken into account. The rule is, “מלאכת מחשבת אסרה תורה – calculated (i.e. planned) labor was forbidden by the Torah.” In other words, whether a specific labor is forbidden or not is also contingent on the forethought and motive of the doer. If the doer’s intent differs from the general motive of one who performs such labor the doer may have committed no sin at all. It all depends on the active mind.

Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt’l (Pachad Yitzchok, Shabbos, mama’ar 1:4-5) explains this concept in his characteristically profound and poignant manner:

The status of a vessel or a tool is dependent on its purpose. A small leather pouch may be used for money or to store marbles. If it is used to store money it becomes a wallet; if it is used for marbles it is a toy.

There is a prohibition on Shabbos of “hotza’ah” to transport objects from domain to domain. However, one only transgresses this prohibition if one transports an object of value. If the transported item does not possess any value, carrying it does not violate a Biblical prohibition. Therefore, transporting a vessel may not be forbidden in and of itself. It will depend on the motive of the carrier and whether there is anything in the vessel. For example, if one transports an empty silver goblet, he has transgressed the violation of carrying because the cup is his object of interest and therefore is valuable to him. However, if the goblet is filled with wine then he is not (Biblically) liable for transporting the goblet since his primary intent was to transport the wine (he is obviously liable for carrying the wine). This is true even if the goblet is more valuable than the wine. Halacha is concerned with the value of an object in regard to the specific act being performed. In regard to this specific act, the doer was not really interested in the goblet. He was only using it to facilitate the transportation of the wine which he wanted to drink along the way. Therefore, he is not liable for carrying the goblet.

This example demonstrates the concept of meleches machsheves in regard to the prohibitions of Shabbos. It is not merely the act that matters, but also the motive and intent of the doer.

Rav Hutner continues explaining that the concept of determining what is the “ikkar – priority” and what is the “tafel – accessory” is not merely one of the myriad laws regarding the prohibitions of Shabbos. Rather this concept is fundamental in regards to understanding the essence of Shabbos and the role it plays in the life of a Jew.

Chazal (Avos 5:1) explain that G-d created the physical world with “ten utterances.” Throughout the initial week of creation, utilizing those utterances G-d created, fashioned, formed, and brought forth every concept, natural law, and living being within creation. However, when the world stood completed at the conclusion of the six days, it lacked purpose and direction. It was essentially, a creation without meaning. With the onset of Shabbos, G-d invested into the world a new concept, i.e. holiness! At that point, it immediately became apparent that creating holiness was the purpose of creation. Holiness was preeminent; the rest of creation was an accessory. It suddenly became clear that the world, which until now seemed like an end unto itself, was merely a “vessel,” a conduit for holiness, and a means to reach a higher goal and purpose.

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.


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 “Parshas Ki Sisa: A Day Of Transformation”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Why is the tzitzis reminder on our clothing? How does it remind us that there are 613 mitzvos?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

More Articles from Rabbi Dani Staum
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspectives-NEW

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Often in life we become stuck – stuck in the morass of our habits and the rote of our comfort level.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

After listening to the driver’s incredible story, Rabbi Levenstein asked him, “What about you? After seeing such a miracle why didn’t you became Torah observant?”

Twelve of the greatest leaders of the nation, one from each shevet, were dispatched to survey the land. The results of that mission were catastrophic.

It is one thing to do a chesed for someone one time or when it is convenient. But for a person to go a few hours out of his way every year for a stranger demonstrates incredible selflessness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-ki-sisa-a-day-of-transformation/2013/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: