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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘halachot’

Title: Shabbat The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemma

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Title: Shabbat The Right Way:

Resolving Halachic Dilemma

Author: Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

Publisher: Urim Publications



   Shabbat The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemma is the latest book of Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen, a Jewish Press columnist and recognized posek, as well as the author, previously, of How Does Jewish Law Work, vol. 1-2 and The 613th Commandment.


   The book demonstrates his original analysis and creative psak and answers many common halachic questions. Using various sources, Rabbi Cohen discusses a wide range of halachot, minhagim, and contemporary Shabbat issues.


   This book is unique in its question and answer format and clear explanations. It is readily understandable by those familiar with the sources, as well as those who are not yet well versed in them.


   The book is divided into two categories. The main category includes short answers to questions about such Shabbos-related halachot and minhagim such as Kiddush and the correct nusach of Friday night prayers.


   Because he presents opinions, sources, and explanations according to the Ashkenazi tradition, however, Rabbi Cohen does not include the original sources for some of the halachot and minhagim, such as the recitation of Mizmor Shir Leyom HaShabbat, the manner in which one holds the kiddush cup, etc. Their origins are found in kabbalistic writings, such as the Zohar and hechalot literature. These kabbalah-based halachot and minhagim, and their spiritual significance, are discussed at length in the works of Moshe Halamish, Daniel Sperber, Gilat Yitshak Dov, and others.


   The second category of Rabbi Cohen’s book covers contemporary issues in great detail, such as employing a Shabbat goy, using a Shabbat timer for a dishwasher, carrying muktzeh objects, saving lives on Shabbat, registering in a hospital on Shabbat, and many more.


   One of the major questions that Rabbi Cohen discusses is the use of a bus with a non-Jewish driver on Shabbat to transport elderly or sick people to shul. The issue involves not only purely halachic considerations, but also medical and psychological implications. What if mental anguish would be caused, or the health of an elderly, or sick Jew would be impaired by not going to shul on Shabbat?


   This question has been discussed by contemporary poskim. Rabbi Cohen quotes some of them, and prints their responses in his addenda. Almost all of them are stringent, and most of them disagree with the author. The Institute of Halacha and Technology in Jerusalem and the Tsomet Institute offer other solutions for this problem.


   Rabbi Cohen shows courage and genuine originality in analyzing these Shabbat questions and offers his opinion and psak even though he is aware that many poskim will disagree with him. That is the way of our Oral Torah. The posek must compare a new issue with earlier piskey halachot in the method of dimui milta lemilta, analyze the sources, learn the opinions of other poskim, and conclude with a psak.


   I wholeheartedly recommend Rabbi Cohen’s book; it will strengthen Jewish life and the observance of Shabbat kodesh.


   Rabbi Meir Kadosh received his semicha from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik of Yeshivat Rabbenu Itzhak Elchanan (RIETS), and from the Israeli chief rabbinate. He holds a Ph.D. in Jewish philosophy and kabbalah from Bar Ilan University. He is the rav of Kol Shadday Synagogue and rabbi of the Maale religious high school in Jerusalem.

Q & A: Pesach Sheni

Friday, June 13th, 2003

QUESTION: What is the significance of Pesach Sheni, which seems to be just another notation on the calendar?
Shlomo Feivelson
Coconut Creek, FL

ANSWER: Pesach Sheni is indeed more than just a mere notation on the calendar. We find the following in a mishna in Tractate Rosh Hashana (18a): “For six [different] months, the messengers would go forth [Rashi explains s.v. "shisha chodashim" that this was in the earlier times, before our pre-calculated calendar was put into use, when Beit Din would send messengers, upon whose testimony they relied, to report if a new moon was present in order to calculate the start of the months and holidays]; Nissan [calculations were made] for Passover, Av for the fast [Tisha B'av], Elul for Rosh Hashana, Tishrei for the setting of the Festivals. Kislev for Chanukah, and Adar for Purim. When the Holy Temple stood, they would go forth even on Iyar for Pesach Kattan (lit., little Passover, meaning that this was a minor festival).”

Rashi s.v. “Pesach Kattan” explains this as referring to Pesach Sheni [which occurs on the 14th of Iyar, based on the verses in Parashat Beha'alotcha, Numbers 9:9-11] “Daber el B’nei Yisrael lemor, ish ish ki yi’hiyeh tamei lanefesh, o b’derech rechoka lachem, o l’doroteichem ve’asa Pesach L’Hashem bachodesh hasheni b’arba’a asar yom bein ha’arbaim ya’asu oto al matzot u’merorim yochluhu - [G-d told Moses] Speak to the Children of Israel saying, if any man will become impure through a corpse or [will be] on a distant road, whether you or your [future] generations, he shall make the Passover offering for G-d in the second month [Iyar], on the 14th day in the afternoon shall they make it, with matzot and bitter herbs shall they eat it.”

Thus, the Torah offered one who was either ritually defiled or who was kept away from the Beit Hamikdash another opportunity to bring his Passover offering, on Pesach Sheni. Rashi seems to be the first to refer to this minor Passover as ‘Pesach Sheni,’ lit., the second Pesach.

As to the mishna’s referring to the day as Pesach Katan, meaning little or minor Passover, Rabbi Zev Cohen, in his sefer Bein Pesach L’Shavuos (Kitzur Hadinim 5:37-38) explains that it is only observed for one day and not seven, as the first Passover is. Also, the second Passover has many leniencies. Thus, compared to the first Passover, the second is ‘minor’.
Rabbi Cohen adds that it is proper to learn about Pesach Sheni (in Parashat Beha’alotcha) and its laws on the 14th of Iyar, when the offering was made, and again on the following evening (the 15th of Iyar) when the offering was eaten.

Further, R. Cohen states, “Though Pesach Sheni is not a festival and one is permitted to perform labor, it is nonetheless proper to rejoice somewhat.”

We find other halachos pertaining to Pesach Sheni, as well, including those regarding prayer. Sha’arei Teshuva (Orach Chayyim 131), quoting the Sha’arei Tziyon, states, “Those that do not fall Nefilat Apayim (lit., the falling on one’s face) in prayer and say Tachanun on the 14th of Iyar because of Pesach Katan, do so on the 15th. In Saloniki they protest strongly against one who does not do this, and such is the custom as well in Kushta, in Israel and in Egypt – to say it on the 15th.”

Sefer Likutei M’harich (p. 113) mentions the above, and also quotes Pri Megadim, Orach Chayyim (ad. loc.), who states that our custom is to say Tachanun on the 14th of Iyar as well. In addition, Likutei M’harich discusses Sefer Eishel Avraham (Orach Chayyim, ad. loc.) who had the custom not to say Tachanun on the 14th. Eishel Avraham further comments that as we are t’mei’ei meitim - all considered as virtually defiled via a corpse, and thus we would not have been able to offer a sacrifice at the appropriate time, we fulfill our obligations on Passover at the seder with the recitation of the Hagada. [It would thus seem that Pesach Sheni is of no consequence to us.] Nevertheless, it is correct to remind G-d of the merit of the Pesach Sheni, which was offered in the time the Holy Temple stood.

Sefer Likutei M’harich also discusses the opinion of Hagashot Yad Shaul (Yoreh Deah 401) which is that even though in the Gemara (Pesachim 95) we rule that the evening is not sanctioned as a festival and one does not say Hallel (Rashi ad. loc. defines the evening as that of Pesach Sheni) nevertheless, neither do we say Tachanun. The custom of the Gaon of Liske (Sefer Hayashar V’Hatov Vol. 2) is also mentioned. He did not say Tachanun for seven days (on Pesach Sheni and afterward). Hagashot Yad Shaul (ad. loc.) further rules that as regard the fast of B’hab (lit., Monday, Thursday, Monday), referring to the custom of fasting on
these three days following a festival, if this occurred on Pesach Sheni, one would not fast.

Eishel Avraham (ad. loc.) disagrees and rules that not only would one fast, but Selichot would be recited as well; however, Tachanun would be omitted just as we are accustomed to
doing when a brit occurs on a fast day.

Likutei M’harich then notes that it is the custom of people of piety and great deeds to eat matza on Pesach Sheni, the 14th of Iyar. He poses a question: Was not Pesach Sheni observed by eating the sacrifice on the next evening (the 15th) as well, and how can that be commemorated today? The explanation provided is that indeed, the Gaon Imrei Esh, as
well as his father-in-law Rabbi Dovid Deitch, would eat matza on the eve of the 15th as well, together with a cooked egg, and they also studied the subject of Pesach Sheni in the Torah
along with its halachot, as described in Sefer Zichron Yehuda.

It is our custom today to eat matza at least at one meal, even with chametz present in the house [at the table]. This is based upon the mishna (Pesachim 95a), ‘… on the second (Pesach Sheni) one may have in his house both chametz and matza.

In the sefer of Rabbi Z. Cohen (ad. loc.), we find three other halachot regarding Pesach Sheni, dealing with death and mourning: One does not offer a eulogy or say Tzidduk Hadin. One does not recite the Kel Maleh, hazkarat neshamot for the memory of the souls. Finally, unveilings of monuments for the departed are not performed on this day.

In the merit of this discussion, may we again rejoice in our Holy Temple with the bringing of the Passover sacrifices. May it be built speedily in our days.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/q-a-pesach-sheni/2003/06/13/

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