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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Daf Yomi

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Kerias Shema Twice At Night?
‘When One Reads Shema’
(Berachos 8b)

Our Gemara develops a most interesting halacha. The fixed times for kerias shema in the evening and morning are clearly defined. Opinions differ as to the time limits for the mitzvah. Our Gemara explores whether a person who could not recite the evening shema in its proper time can say it later, until sunrise. The Gemara also wonders whether a person who will not be able to recite the morning shema in its proper time can say it earlier, starting at alos hashachar (see Mechaber Orach Chayim 58:4). It thus appears that the time between alos hashachar and sunrise is acceptable for both the night and morning shema!

Rishonim discuss whether a person who is unable to recite the evening and morning shemas in their proper time can say both of them between alos hashachar and sunrise. The Mechaber rules (O.C. 58:5, see Mishnah Berurah, s.k. 21) that he may not. He writes: “Since he made that time night [by saying the night shema after alos hashachar], he is now unable to make it day.”

Saying The Night Shema While Wearing Tefillin

Everyone knows Ulla’s statement (infra. 14b) “that he who recites shema without wearing tefillin is as though he bears false testimony.” This only pertains to the morning shema as we do not put on tefillin at night. But what if someone says the night shema after alos hashachar? Should he put on tefillin to avoid bearing false testimony? Or perhaps, since he’s saying the night shema, which if recited in its original time is not accompanied with tefillin, he should not.

The Or Sameach (Hilchos Kerias Shema 1:10) leans toward the opinion that he should not wear tefillin while the Mareh Kohen rules that he should.

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

A Hadran On Shas
‘Tam V’nishlam’
(Niddah 73a)

When we complete studying a mesechta, and surely when completing the whole Shas, we say “Hadran alach.” What does “hadran” mean?

Hadran Means To Revisit

Hadran” means “to revisit” and the intention of the person saying it is that he will review the subject matter he just finished studying. A person may think that he already knows the subject matter, but he must review it for there is an explicit verse: “Just be careful and watch yourself very much lest you forget the things” (Devarim 4:9, cited in Menachos 99b). It is interesting that Rishonim write that in the past only people who had already reviewed the tractate would say “hadran” (see Sefer Haeshkol, Hilchos Sefer Torah, 14, p. 160 in the Albek edition).

Chazak, Chazak Venischazek

Eliyahu Rabah states (139, cited in Peri Megadim, ibid.) that the same rationale, of “revisiting,” is why we call out “Chazak” on finishing any of the five Books of Moses in shul. We are wishing the person who received the last aliyah to be strong and review it and not be satisfied that he successfully concluded it.

Many people maintain that “hadran” was not meant to be said at every siyum. In old editions of the Gemara, the words “selika lah maseches” appear at the end of some tractates while the word “hadran” appears at the end of other tractates. It all depended on how the tractate concluded. Generally, one would say “selika lach maseches – the tractate is finished,” but if the last sentence of the tractate dealt with something negative, one would say “hadran.” In other words, the person was declaring that he should learn the tractate again in order not to finish with something negative. Over the years “hadran” replaced “selika lah” in all tractates (Minhagei Yeshurun at the end of the book in the name of Sefer Takanos Utefilos). All the aforesaid is based on the assumption that “hadran” means “to revisit.”

Hadran Means Glory

However, some believe that “hadran” comes from the word “hadar – glory.” In the long version of the siyum, we say “Hadran alach vehadrach alan.” Rabbi Chayim, the Maharal’s brother, explains that the glory of our holy Torah is recognized through us, the Jews, as we are the ones who learn it, and our glory is similarly recognized through the Torah (Sefer Hachayim, Sefer Zechuyos, 1:3). From the version of Sefer Hakeidah for the siyum (Devarim, sha’ar 87), this explanation is plainly evident, as it reads: “Hadrach alan vehadran alach, zivach alan vezivan alach – …your radiance is upon us” (see Minhagei Yisrael, 1:228 et al.).

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail – dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Sorrow And Joy
‘Proclaim Your Troubles So That Your Friends Pray For You’
(Niddah 66a)

Our Gemara discusses women who have difficulties and menstruate immediately after immersion. R. Yochanan suggested that such women should announce their difficulty to their friends so that they may pray for mercy on their behalf.

In a collective sense, the Jewish people are likened to a menstruant woman due to the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash. The Gemara (61b) states that after the destruction of the Temple, Chazalprescribed that chassanim not don crowns and brides not wear gold or silver crowns as it is not fitting to show excessive joy while our Temple remains destroyed.

‘Mazal Tov’ At A Chupah?

Among the many customs designed to remember the destruction of the Temple is the widespread custom to break a glass at a chupah (Kolbo, cited by the Rema in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 560:2). In our era, it is customary that the audience shouts, “Mazal tov!” immediately after the chassan breaks the glass.

However, some authorities regard this custom disapprovingly. The Sdei Chemed (Y.D. ma’areches zayin, os 12) writes: “For many ignorant people, mourning has become a joy and when the glass is broken, they laugh aloud and cry out, ‘Mazal Tov.’ They do not know that where there is joy, there should be trembling to remember the destruction of our Temple, and what is this joy doing here?”

The Shulchan Ha’Ezer (II, p. 3) tries to justify the common custom by explaining that the cries of “Mazal tov” stem from the wish to end the marriage ceremony with a good siman. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, explained further that perhaps once the memory of the destruction of the Temple and Yerushalayim has been mentioned, it is permitted to observe the mitzvah to rejoice with the groom and bride, which is why the cry of “Mazal tov” follows immediately after breaking the glass. Nonetheless, Rav Auerbach writes that he has yet to understand this custom properly (Yismach Lev, p. 159).

The Vilna Gaon (Beiur HaGra on Shulchan Aruch, ibid.) writes that breaking a glass at a wedding is not related to the churban. Rather, its purpose is so that attendants not be too joyful and appear rebellious. The Gaon cites Berachos 31a, which recounts that an amora once broke an expensive glass at a party when he thought the rejoicing excessive. Tosafos write on this Gemara (s.v. “Aisi”), “From here they have the custom to break a glass at a wedding.”

Some note that according to the Vilna Gaon, we should not wonder why people shout “Mazal tov” after the chassan breaks the glass since this custom, after all, has nothing to do with the destruction of the Temple, and there is nothing wrong, therefore, with proclaiming a thundering blessing of “Mazal tov” afterwards.

Returning to our Gemara: Perhaps breaking a glass at a wedding is a way of proclaiming our sorrow at the destruction of the Temple (like the menstruant woman who proclaims her sorrows) so that everyone at the wedding will pray for Hashem’s mercy – which at so solemn an occasion they will surely do. With these assurances, we then turn to the mitzvah at hand of simchas chassan v’kallah and call out with joy, “Mazal tov!”

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters, in Hebrew and/or English, are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Can’t Have It Both Ways
‘A Minor Who Reaches Maturity’
(Niddah 46a)

Our Gemara familiarizes us with a basic concept in the Babylonian Talmud: “Rava’s chazakah.” As we know, a minor is exempt from mitzvos and an adult is obligated in them. Who is an adult and who is a minor? There are two signs of adulthood: age and physical features. A boy is obligated to perform mitzvos at the age of 13 and a girl at the age of 12 providing they have physical signs of maturity. Rava posits that a 13-year-old boy is considered an adult even without clear confirmation of signs of maturity because of the chazakah that he possesses the simanim just like most people his age. This is known as “Rava’s chazakah.”

Rabbinical Vs. Biblical

The halacha is that we can rely on Rava’s chazakah concerning rabbinical obligations but not biblical ones (Rema, O.C. 55:5; Magen Avraham, s.k. 7; Mishnah Berurah, s.k. 31 and 40; Rema, 199; Magen Avraham, s.k. 7; Mishnah Berurah, s.k. 27). Thus, a boy who just turned 13 can be counted as part of a minyan since prayer in a minyan is a rabbinical mandate (Rema and Mishnah Berurah, O.C. 55). He may also be a shliach tzibbur and lead birkas hamazon (zimun) since these matters, too, are rabbinical. However, he cannot blow shofar for an adult or say birkas hamazon or kiddush on Shabbos evening for him (see Bi’ur Halachah, 271:1) since these are all biblical obligations.

What about exempting the biblical chiyuv of a fellow 13-year-old who has also not been checked for simanim? Rabbi Efrayim Zalman Margaliyos, zt”l, asserts that he cannot do so (Mateh Efrayim589:7).

A Doubt Of A Doubt

In truth, this case should be one of s’fek s’feika (doubt of a doubt) and therefore the 13-year-old boy should be able to exempt his fellow 13-year-old. For example, suppose boy A wants to blow shofar for boy B. There are two doubts here. Doubt number one: The blower may in fact be a full-fledged adult. Doubt number two: Even if he is a minor, the boy he is blowing for, boy B, may be a minor as well. This is a case of s’fek s’feika and therefore boy A should be allowed to blow shofar for boy B.

Tosafos, however, set a fundamental principle in our tractate concerning s’fek s’feika which dictates that it cannot be applied to our case. Tosafos (above, 29a, s.v. “Teisheiv lezachar”) state that one should not use s’fek s’feika if it creates contradicting leniencies. For example, suppose in our case that boy B, after hearing shofar form boy A, decides to say kerias Shema on behalf of boy A. Again, we could argue that there are two doubts here. Perhaps boy B is an adult and perhaps boy A is a minor. However, this contradicts our previous line of thinking – i.e., that boy A may be an adult and boy B may be a minor. We cannot use the same logic to contradictory ends. Hence, we cannot use s’fek s’feika in a case like this (see Turei Even, Rosh Hashanah 29a, s.v. “Tumtum” and see Halachos Vehalichos Bar Mitzvah, p. 43).

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha and memorial dedications. They are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Rebirth Of Sorts
‘Immersing Contaminated, Emerging Pure’
(Niddah 42a)

A mikveh purifies the impure. Utensils, clothing, and impure persons who immerse or are immersed in a mikveh become pure. When exactly does that transformation take place? Can we pinpoint the moment?

An interesting statement appears in the Rambam (Hilchos She’ar Avos Hatumah 6:16). He writes that if a person in a mikveh is touching a neveilah, sheretz, or some other impure object, he is impure, “but when he emerges from the mikveh he becomes pure…and the same applies to someone who stepped on a mishkav lying in a mikveh.” Concerning a zav, who defiles an object on which he sets his weight, the law is as follows: If he enters a mikveh and steps on an object on the floor of the mikveh, the object becomes impure, “but when the mishkav emerges from the mikveh, it becomes pure again.” In other words, when the object emerges from the mikveh, its status metamorphoses into one of purity.

Emerging From A Mikveh Purifies

A sensational chidush emerges from the Rambam’s words, as the Kesef Mishneh writes (ibid): “It seems that the impure becomes pure when he emerges from the mikveh but not while he is still inside it.” Thus, if someone touches an impure person while he’s still immersed in the water, one becomes impure even though he is standing in a mikveh. Hence, in theory, it’s possible for someone to immerse in a mikvehand not become pure!

Immersion At Sunset

Impure kohanim need to immerse in a mikveh and await the arrival of sunset. That is, an impure kohen must immerse before the sun sets and afterwards, “when the sun sets, he becomes pure” (Vayikra 22:7). After sunset, these formerly impure kohanim may eat terumah (before sunset they may eat maaser sheini), and after they offer the required sacrifices, they may eat the meat of sacrifices.

If an impure kohen immerses right before sunset but only sticks his head out of the water after sunset, the law is that he isn’t pure until after sunset of the following day (Gilyonei Hashas, Shabbos 35a; Or Sameiach, Ch. 12, Hilchos Metamei Mishkav Umoshav). The author of Gilyonei Hashas (ibid.) writes that the source for this law is the Gemara (Shabbos, ibid.), which says that an impure person who awaits the arrival of sunset to be completely pure “should immerse in the sea and emerge.” The Gemara emphasizes that he must emerge from the water before sunset. If he doesn’t, he only becomes pure after sunset of the following day.

The Achronim discuss this Kesef Mishneh at length and assert that the statement of the Rambam is “a very new thing.” This interpretation of the Gemara, they believe, is not evident in the words of other Rishonim (see Or Sameiach, ibid, and Makor Baruch, 39).

He Who Immerses With A Sheretz In Hand

Many are familiar with the Gemara (Taanis 16a) that immersion does not purify a person who immerses in a mikveh while holding a sheretz: “If a person holds a sheretz, even if he immerses in all the water in the world, the immersion is to no avail; if he discarded it, as soon as he immerses in 40 se’ah, the immersion helps him.”

It is interesting to discover that different poskim derive different proofs regarding the Kesef Mishneh’s interpretation of the Rambam from this famous law. Rabbi Meir Arik, zt”l, writes that it teaches us that someone who immerses in a mikveh becomes pure while still in the water since, as the Gemara says, “if he discarded it, he is pure.” Why “if he discarded it”? Doesn’t he have to emerge from the water? Evidently not (Tal Torah, Yerushalmi, Terumos).

Kisvei Eish (3:32), on the other hand, derives the opposite conclusion from this case. Why does the Gemara say “as soon as he immerses”? After all, he’s already in the water. The Gemara evidently means that the person must immerse again. In other words, a person who enters a mikveh holding a sheretzis impure until he discards it, emerges from the water, and then immerses himself again.

Immersion As Being Born Anew

We should conclude with the careful clarification of Rabbi Yonah Mertzbach, zt”l, as to why immersion helps the impure person only when he emerges from the water. He writes that the inner essence of immersion is the sinner’s “disappearance” in the water and his rebirth, figuratively speaking, when he emerges, since a human being cannot exist in water. The person leaves, so to say, his previous world and enters a new one. Therefore, he becomes pure only when he leaves the water (Aleh Yonah).

Daf Yomi

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Somewhat Lacking
‘A Deaf Woman, An Imbecile…’
(Niddah 13b)

Several sorts of tumah require a person who contracts it to count seven days before his purification: a tamei meis, a zav, a zavah, etc. After counting seven days of purity, the person immerses in a mikveh and is purified. While the tamei meis simply counts seven days, the zav and zavahmust also ensure during these seven days that the source of their impurity (from their body) no longer exists.

Does It Count?

Apropos of this topic is a far-reaching chidush of the Me’il Tzedakah (63), cited by succeeding generations of poskim. He discusses someone who begins to count seven days of purity but then stops because he believes the impurity returned. A day or two later, he realizes that he was mistaken – the impurity had not returned. What should this person do? Does he need to start counting a full seven days again? Can he pick up where he left off? Or perhaps his internal thoughts are meaningless. Perhaps the days he thought he was tamei (but was in fact tahor) count as part of the seven days. Thus, if he counted three days, thought he was tamei on the 3rd day, and discovered on the 5th day that he made a mistake, he would only need to count two more days.

The Me’il Tzedakah rules that the essence of the seven days is a continuous, clear and sure knowledge, without distraction, that the tumah has not returned. Since this person thought he was tamei midway through the seven days, his counting is invalid. The poskim discuss whether the Me’il Tzedakah meant that the person must start counting seven days all over again or if he can pick up where he left off (when he started thinking he was tamei). Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wosner argues that the Me’il Tzedakah meant that the person must start counting all over again from the beginning (see Responsa Shevet Halevi3:123).

The Help Of Others

In discussing this case, some poskim cite another one from our mishnah (13b), which determines that “a deaf woman…and an insane woman can eat terumah if they have a sane woman to rectify them.” In other words, although an insane person cannot take care of his or her purification, he or she can become pure with the help of others.

However, in light of the Me’il Tzedakah’s position that conscious, deliberate, uninterrupted thought is necessary, how can an insane woman become pure? (see Lechem Vesimlah 196:13; Birkas Yosef, E.H. 64; Responsa Beis Shlomo O.C. 36). Various answers and explanations are offered. Some say that our mishnah does not mean an actually insane person; rather it uses this term loosely to denote someone lacking somewhat in intelligence (see Birkas Yosef, ibid, and Shi’urei Shevet HaLevi, 196:8, sk 3).

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and English are available for simcha and memorial (e.g. yahrzeit, shloshim) dedications and are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Guarding the Temple Even Today!
‘Kohanim Were Stationed in Three Places’
(Tamid 25b)

Rabbi Hillel Moshe Meshil Gelbstein, zt”l, arrived in Eretz Yisrael in the summer of 1869 at the age of 34. He came originally from Bialystok and his personality was molded in the beis medrash of the Kotzker Rebbe. After the latter passed away, he became very close to the Chidushei HaRim of Gur. Rabbi Gelbstein settled in Yerushalayim in a room whose windows faced the Kosel Maaravi. Starting in the winter of 1870, he devoted 40 years of his life to clarifying the details of the mitzvah to guard the Temple: how many kohanim and levi’im guarded it, where they were posted, etc., as cited at length in his Mishkenos Laavir Ya’akov.

Rabbi Gelbstein raised a commotion in Yerushalayim when he warned that impure people should not put their fingers between the stones of the Kosel. Most of the leaders of his generation, such as the Maharil Diskin, the Imrei Binah, the Aderes, and the Sedi Chemed, agreed with him (see Keilim 1:8 and Pesachim 67b).

Guarding By Day And At Night?

The Rambam states (Hilchos Beis Habechirah 8:4) that 30 kohanim guarded the Temple – 10 each at three different stations – along with 210 levi’im – 10 each at 21 different stations. The Rishonim disagree about the times the guards were on duty. The Rambam (ibid, Halacha 2) maintains that the mitzvah of guarding applies only at night. The Raavad, on the other hand, maintains that the mitzvah applies at all times, day and night. The person responsible for the guards, called the Ish Har Habayis, would constantly check on the guards to make sure they were awake and performing their duties faithfully.

Why Guard The Temple?

The Rishonim explain that the reason the Torah requires guards around the Temple is not to protect it from thieves. Rather, it requires it either for the honor of the Temple or to prevent people from averting their attention from it. The Rambam says the purpose was to honor the Temple, which is why he believes the mitzvah only applies at night. During the day, sacrifices were offered and people were constantly coming and going; thus, there was no need for guards. In contrast, at night the place was empty, and so, posting guards around the Temple at this time gave it honor. The Rosh, however, says the reason for the guards is so that people not distract their attention from the Temple, which is why he believes the mitzvah applies at all times – day and night.

In his Moreh Nevuchim (3:45), the Rambam mentions another reason for posting guards around the Temple: to prevent impure people and onenim from entering.

Stationing Guards Around The Destroyed Temple

Rabbi Gelbstein suggested that we station guards around the destroyed Temple in our era! How do we know, he argued, that the mitzvah to guard the Temple ended with its destruction? On the contrary, from the Rambam’s wording (in his commentary on the Mishnah), it seems that this mitzvah is always obligatory: “This is a way to aggrandize the Temple and thus they would guard the Sanctuary in the desert and in Shlomo’s era and forever.” Rabbi Gelbstein cites the Rambam’s statement (Hilchos Beis Habechirah 6:14-15) that the Temple’s sanctity remains forever because the Shechinah did not leave it. If so, we should be guarding the site of the Temple in our time.

Establishing Batei Midrash Near The Kossel Maaravi

Since Rabbi Gelbstein was aware that it was nigh impossible to observe the mitzvah to guard the Temple properly in his day, he suggested establishing batei midrash near the Western Wall where people would pray and learn Seder Kadshim at all times. He actually fundraised and succeeded in raising 270 Napoleons – not the cake, but gold coins, a tremendous sum at that time – to acquire three courtyards for three synagogues around the Temple Mount. In a letter to Sir Moses (Moshe) Montefiore, Rabbi Gelbstein asks him to participate in his plan, mentioning that he, with the name “Moshe,” should begin this mitzvah (this letter was published in Mishkenos Laavir Yaakov). The plan, sorrowfully, did not succeed for various reasons.

Actually posting guards on the Temple Mount itself did not come into question because many authorities believe that it is forbidden for impure people to enter the Temple Mount, and in our era everyone is tamei mes. He did discuss, however, the possibility of observing the mitzvah by posting guards outside the Temple Mount. Perhaps, he suggested, posting guards on the exact locations of the ancient guard stations of the levi’im on the Temple Mount is not crucial to fulfilling the mitzvah.

Problems…

Various questions and doubts came up when Rabbi Gelbstein raised awareness of this neglected mitzvah, including the question of whether the obligation of the kohanim to guard the Temple is linked with that of the levi’im. If they are, the levi’im would not be able to stand guard nowadays since the kohanim, who had to stand guard specifically inside the azarah cannot do so anymore due to their tamei status.

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