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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Beit Shammai’

The Limits Of Chinuch (Part III)

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Question: Are there limitations to the mitzvah of chinuch?

Answer: We previously noted that the Netziv rules that children should only be taught to perform mitzvot and customs in the same manner that they will perform them as adults.

* * * * *

The Netziv’s position is relevant to the following question: If the head of a household makes Kiddush for his entire family on Friday night, should the family members simply say Amen and drink or should they say the berachah of borei pri hagafen themselves?

The Talmud (Berachot 51b) records a debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel concerning the order of berachot during Friday night Kiddush. Beit Shammai maintains that one should first say the berachah of m’kadesh haShabbat and then borei pri hagafen. Beit Hillel disagrees and maintains that borei pri hagafen goes first. The halacha follows Bet Hillel.

Rav Yaakov of Lissa (see Derech HaChayim) rules that if the head of a household makes Kiddush for everyone, those present should not say their own borei pri hagafen before drinking. He argues that if they do so, they indicate that they accept the blessing of m’kadesh haShabbat as recited by the host but not the blessing he made over the wine. And by reciting the blessing over wine themselves, they are incorrectly following the ruling of Beit Shammai rather than Beit Hillel (by putting m’kadesh haShabbat before borei pri hagafen).

Some parents, for chinuch purposes, wish to teach their children the berachot and will make a separate borei pri hagafen with them even though they themselves rely on the berachah of the head of the household. Nonetheless, according to the Netziv, this custom is incorrect since children should not be taught any practice that they will not observe as adults.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient for rabbinic scholarship and leadership, is the author of seven books on Jewish law. His latest, “Shabbat The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), is available at Judaica stores and Amazon.com.

Is Beit Shammai In Ascendency?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Way back in the “good old days” in Jerusalem, before the Jews were exiled, singles looked forward to the 15th day of Av, known as Tu B’Av. On this day, unmarried girls and boys had the opportunity to pair off and become couples. The girls, all dressed in white and in a way that none could tell who came from wealth or poverty, would dance in front of the young men, who would then choose the one who caught his eye and marry her.

Obviously this “singles scene” was halachically sanctioned by the spiritual leaders of the time. Which has my daughter-in-law, Maya, scratching her head. As someone who wasn’t raised frum and is by nature analytical, she will point out what appears to her to be puzzling contradictions in the religious lifestyle.

If girls back then were allowed to dance in front of men – not with them of course – why can’t they do that now? She is confused as to why young unmarried people are segregated by gender at weddings and other social gatherings – eating at separate tables – yet when they go on a date, they sit together in the car and wherever it is they go.

After all, at a wedding full of people who know them, there would be hundreds of eyes on them as they eat together – and no opportunity for inappropriate behavior – yet they can go off on a date, one on one – usually going to an out of the way place where no one from the community will see them. “How is it that you can’t trust individuals sitting at a table with a dozen of their peers in the middle of a huge crowd, but somehow it’s OK for them to be in a lounge or hotel lobby at night, alone? It doesn’t make sense to me!?”

She is even more confused as to why MARRIED couples are separated. If the reasoning is that men and women not related to each other should not be in close proximity due to possible attraction, then men and woman should not be allowed to shop at the same time, or at the very least, not stand behind each other in the grocery check-out line or post office or bank etc. where while waiting there is an opportunity to socialize.

If there is a concern about not putting people in a situation where, despite a lifetime of being taught self-control, they can be tempted to “sin,” then likewise, Maya argues, people should not be allowed to go into a supermarket where non-kosher food is sold or walk through the treif food court in the mall. The smells wafting from the barbecue, pizza and Chinese food are so tantalizing.

“Don’t the rabbis trust people who have been raised in Torah from the minute they were born? Maya asks puzzled. “I learned about the concept of kaf z’chut – giving people the benefit of the doubt, believing that people will do the right thing. Beit Hillel was more relaxed about erecting extra fences – unlike Beit Shammai, who I guess had less confidence in the people’s ability to restrain themselves and set up even more restrictive barriers.”

Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai were two rabbinical schools of thought (named after their founders) that interpreted Jewish law during the Roman occupation of Israel. The rabbis of Beit Hillel were more moderate and lenient in their interpretations of the Oral Law, while those of Beit Shammai were more stringent and machmir, perhaps to protect the people from Roman culture. However, throughout the centuries, Beit Hillel’s more liberal views were embraced over the stricter ones of Beit Shammai.

Yet it seems that in the last decade or so, there is a movement towards strictness and restriction that is closer to Beit Shammai’s style rather than Beit Hillel’s – and it is making keeping a religious lifestyle more complicated and stressful.

I grew up in a time when Orthodox men and woman did sit together at simchas; dairy products with a reliable hechser were eaten by all – I don’t remember cholov Yisrael products in my youth – the hamburgers and steak we dined on were certified kosher and not necessarily glatt. In those days, when the religious supervising agency declared a cow kosher, it was kosher. Like Maya says, either a woman is pregnant – or not. We made due with one oven for meat and for dairy, not unlike our Bubbies in Europe who baked their bread in their village’s communal oven used by Jew and gentile alike.

These same Jews in Europe ate leafy vegetables and berries for centuries- when there were no pesticides to get rid of bugs like we have nowadays – yet they felt confident in their ability to properly check for insects. Today, due to recent stringencies, many housewives are fearful of not being careful enough, and therefore, to be on the “safe side,” either buy pricy kosher bug-free produce, or do not serve these healthy foods to their families.

A number of years ago, married women were told by their rabbanim to burn their Indian hair shaitels because they might have been used in idol-worshipping rituals. There were bon-fires burning in Bnei-Brak and other religious communities, where woman dutifully tossed their costly shaitels. Honestly, I was confused by this edict. If churches and other non-Jewish houses of worship – where thousands of religious services and rituals were conducted daily – can be converted into shuls and yeshivas, why couldn’t hair used similarly not also be converted into an object of mitzvah.

Why the added stress, guilt and expense?

Beit Hillel’s moderate interpretations are supposed to hold sway until the Moshiach comes, at which time Beit Shammai’s stringent, exacting ones will take precedence.

Last time I looked, Moshiach was still not here.

Q & A: Hachana (Part I)

Friday, June 20th, 2003

QUESTION: Is it halachically permissible to pack on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on the next day?

Moishe Halberstam
Brooklyn, NY


ANSWER: Your question is quite relevant in today’s fast-paced lifestyle where we travel much often than in previous times, and where the need for a trip may come up quite suddenly. It is certainly advisable not to pack on the Sabbath or on Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on a later day, and several halachic authorities rule that to do so is prohibited. To better understand the situation, we will examine the general concept of the prohibition of hachana, that is, preparation on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a weekday.

The Talmud (Beitza 2b) cites Rabbah, who rules that the concept of muktzeh (i.e., items one may not touch on the Sabbath because they were not prepared before, “devarim she’einam min hamuchan”) is of biblical origin. It is derived from the verse in Parashat Beshalach (Exodus 16:5) regarding the manna, “Vehaya bayom hashishi veheichinu et asher yaviu [vehaya mishneh al asher yilketu yom yom] - And it shall be that on the sixth day [Erev Shabbat], when they prepare what they shall bring [it will be twice as much as what they pick up every day].” Rabbah explains: “A weekday may prepare for Shabbat and a weekday may prepare for Yom Tov, but Yom Tov does not prepare for Shabbat, and [surely] Shabbat does not prepare for Yom Tov.”

According to the Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 550:1), this rule also applies from one day of Yom Tov to the second day - added for those living outside of Israel – or even from the first day of Rosh Hashanah to the second (also observed in Israel). The Taz (ad loc.) explains that though Rosh Hashana is considered to be one long day, that does not apply to matters of leniency.

Rashi (Beitza 2b) s.v. “Ve’ein Yom Tov meichin leShabbat” explains that Yom Tov is also referred to as “Shabbat” [as we see in Parashat Emor (Leviticus 23:15), "You shall count from the morrow of the Sabbath (i.e., Passover)," and also further {23:39}, "On the first day a
Sabbath (Shabbaton) and on the eighth day a Sabbath" (i.e. Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret)] and thus it, too, requires preparation.

Tosafot s.v. “Vehaya bayom hashishi” explain that by means of an eruv tavshilin one may prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbat even though Rabbah rules that hachana is a concept of biblical origin, whether for the Sabbath or for Yom Tov. Thus, even though we might ask how the Rabbinical enactment of an eruv can nullify the biblical hachana, such is the case, and he reasons that since guests could arrive at any time now, the food would be ready now on Yom Tov for immediate consumption. Rabbah rules – as does R. Eliezer (Pesachim 48a) ? that we say “ho’il… – since…” (since guests may possibly arrive, we may prepare food). Thus the preparation is not for the next day (Shabbat), but rather for immediate use (on Yom Tov).

The commentary Ran (see Pesachim ch. 3, also quoted by the Magen Avraham, Orach Chayyim 527) states that biblically one may not cook on Yom Tov for Sabbath, and surely not for a weekday. Yet we are permitted to cook for Shabbat using the rule of ‘ho’il’ (i.e., since guests may arrive now), although there is still worry of transgressing the law. Establishing an eruv, however, obviates any possible transgression.

The Magen Avraham thus explains the Mechaber, who states that by means of an eruv one cooks in effect, a priori, for Shabbat.

The Rema explains the concept of the eruv, which is based on the mishna (Beitza 15b). There we learn, “[If} a holiday falls on the eve of the Sabbath, one may not cook on the holiday for the Sabbath but one may cook for the holiday itself, and if any [food] is left over, it remains for the Sabbath. One prepares a cooked food on Erev Yom Tov, and relies on it [to prepare food] for the Sabbath.” Rashi (ad loc., s.v. Lo yevashel bit’chila) explains that the food he cooks on Yom Tov must be intended for Yom Tov itself, with the stipulation that what is left will remain for the Sabbath… Beit Shammai say [that the prepared food must consist of]
two dishes, and Beit Hillel say – one dish. Both agree that a fish with an egg upon it (Rashi explains this to be fish roasted with an egg batter on it) is [considered] two dishes (thus satisfying Beit Shammai’s requirement)…”

Today we prepare a cooked item, usually an egg, and a baked item, such as matza, to serve as an eruv when necessary.

Thus, in effect, a forbidden labor (hachana) is not started on Yom Tov, but rather the labor which began on Erev Yom Tov is finished on Yom Tov, and the remainder of the food is saved for the Sabbath, and this is permitted. Were it not for the eruv, the issue of hachana would certainly be a concern, preventing Yom Tov preparations for Shabbat.

We thus have somewhat of an idea about hachana as it relates to food preparation for Shabbat or Yom Tov. Now we will be able to discuss your question, packing clothes on
Shabbat in anticipation of a departure after Shabbat.

(To be continued)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/q-a-hachana-part-i/2003/06/20/

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