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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Brisman’

Q & A: Two Adars (Conclusion)

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

    QUESTION: I have a few questions regarding the Jewish leap year. Why do we always add a second Adar as opposed to adding a second Tevet or Iyar for example? Why do we call it Adar Alef? Why is Purim celebrated in the second Adar? And which Adar is the real Adar?

 

Shea Aronovitch

(Via E-Mail)

 

ANSWER: Jews add a month periodically to our lunar calendar after the twelfth month as per the beraita in Rosh Hashanah (7a) (see also Pesachim 6a), the Babylonians did not. The second of the two Adars (Adar Sheni or Adar Bet) is considered the leap month, during which we read the four special Torah readings (Shekalim, Zachor, Parah and Parashat Hachodesh) as well as celebrate Purim (Orach Chayyim 685:1). R. Eliezer b. R. Yosi argues that we observe the mitzvot of Purim during the Adar closest to Shevat, while R. Shimon b. Gamliel argues for current practice.
   Rabbi Dov Aaron Brisman of Philadelphia ponders (Responsa Shalmei Chova, Yoreh De’ah 94) the proper leap-year observance of a yahrzeit for a man who died during a non-leap year on the second day of rosh chodesh, the first day of Adar. There is agreement that Kaddish is recited on that date in both Adars, while when to fast is more controversial, mostly because of uncertainty about which of the two Adars is added (see Nedarim 63a-b – the dispute between R. Meir and R. Yehuda about whether reference to “Adar” is understood as Adar Sheni or Rishon) and what that means for performance of mitzvot.
   The Mechaber and Taz go along with R. Meir (Adar Sheni) while Rema and Terumat Hadeshen do not, and Rabbi Brisman discusses various issues and opinions regarding yahrzeit observance when there are two Adars in effort of resolution.

   We continue with his insight.

 

*     *     *
   Rabbi Brisman comments that, in fact, each Adar possesses the characteristics of Adar, enough so that each one is eligible to have all Adar-related mitzvot and observances performed. However, each side of the dispute offers a special reason not to observe on one Adar or the other. He also notes Magen Avraham (op. cit. Orach Chayyim 568:sk20) who sees the Gemara’s statement of connecting one redemption to the other as the reason why we only observe Purim and Megilla in the second Adar and not during both.
   There is a clear difference when it comes to fasting, as Rabbi Brisman points out. Those who are more stringent, the machmirim cited by Rema, are stringent because they have vowed to fast. This is not aveilut itself being upheld on a yahrzeit, but an additional vow to fast on the yahrzeit. Generally, halacha follows the lenient opinion with regard to aveilut matters, so the stringent interpretation to fast during both Adars on the yahrzeit date is because of the vow.
   The Adar referred to in the original vow might be understood as both Adars. According to Rema, Kaddish though, would only be recited on the yahrzeit in one of the Adars. Magen Avraham, who considers both Adars to be the true Adar, would rule that Kaddish and lighting the memorial candle is relevant in both Adars.
   Rabbi Brisman relates the view of Tashbatz who says that the first year after the death of one’s parent, the fast would be on the first Adar because of the premise that mourning concludes at twelve months after the death. (Shach adds that according to this view, the fasting would be in the first month but the Kaddish and candle lighting would be done during both Adars during the first year.) Subsequent years would have the yahrzeit and fast held during the second Adar when there are two.
   However, we, who follow Rema (where there is no contrary custom), would fast only on the yahrzeit in the first Adar.
   As you see, the question is not simply which is the real Adar, but rather when are the time-related mitzvot to be performed during these two months.

   We wish all an enjoyable Purim and may we all merit a speedy redemption where our dearly departed will join together with us to welcome Moshiach and then celebrate Pesach in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.

 

 

   Rabbi Yaakov Klass can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: Two Adars (Part III)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

   QUESTION: I have a few questions regarding the Jewish leap year. Why do we always add a second Adar as opposed to adding a second Tevet or Iyar for example? Why do we call it Adar Alef? Why is Purim celebrated in the second Adar? And which Adar is the real Adar?

 

Shea Aronovitch

(Via E-Mail)

 

ANSWER: Adar, the name for the twelfth month, was adopted by the Jews from the Babylonian exile. While Jews add a month periodically to the lunar calendar after the twelfth month as per the beraita in Rosh Hashanah (7a) (see also Pesachim 6a), the Babylonians did not. The second of the two Adars is considered the “leap” – or extra – month, which we refer to as Adar Sheni (or Adar Bet). We read the four special Torah readings (Shekalim, Zachor, Parah and Parashat Hachodesh) as well as celebrate Purim during the second Adar (Orach Chayyim 685:1). R. Eliezer b. R. Yosi argues that we observe the mitzvot of Purim during the Adar closest to Shevat, while R. Shimon b. Gamliel argues for current practice.
   Rabbi Dov Aaron Brisman of Philadelphia ponders (Responsa Shalmei Chova, Yoreh De’ah 94) the proper leap-year observance of a yahrzeit for a man who died during a non-leap year on the second day of Rosh Chodesh, the first day of Adar. There is agreement that kaddish is recited on that date in both Adars, while when to fast is more controversial.
*     *     *
   Rabbi Brisman focuses on the source of the uncertainty about which of the two Adars is the added one and what that means for performance of mitzvot. Taz (Orach Chayyim 568:sk3) explains that the two views are based on the dispute between R. Meir and R. Yehuda (Nedarim 63a). Any reference to “Adar” is to be understood as Adar Sheni (the second Adar) according to R. Meir, while R. Yehuda insists “Adar” implies Adar Rishon.

   Taz explains the Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 568: 7) ruling according to R. Meir because this is the stated view codified by Rambam (Hilchot Nedarim 10:6). However, “yesh omrim – there are those who say” that the halacha is otherwise, as cited by Rema (op. cit. O.C. 568:7), in accord with Rosh (that reference to Adar implies the first Adar). The latter view is confirmed in responsa Terumat Hadeshen (294). Therefore Taz rules that one who has a yahrzeit observance for someone who died during Adar of a common (non-leap) year should fast in the first Adar in accord with the rule ein ma’avirin al hamitzvot – we do not allow a mitzvah to be bypassed – which we noted last week.

 

   Two difficulties are addressed by Rabbi Brisman: First, this statement of Taz demands explanation, for if simply put “Adar” means the first Adar, why do we need to mention the reason of ein ma’avirin? In fact, this reason seems to imply that there is a halachic requirement to fast as well on the date of the death in the second Adar. Is not the first Adar the real time, the actual yahrzeit according to the “yesh omrim” as cited by Rema, without further proof necessary?
   Also, the dispute between R. Meir and R. Yehuda is in regard to the manner of everyday speech when a person mentions Adar and whether we understand his intention to mean the Adar closest to Shevat, or the second Adar, closest to Nissan.
   However, the situation under discussion here is about an actual time of a yahrzeit (which is a time when the mazal – a spiritual understanding of luck – is weakened) (Bach, Yoreh De’ah 402, citing Sefer Chassidim), and whether it is a mitzvah for the one observing the yahrzeit to fast since he, too, is subject to weakened mazal at the anniversary of his parent’s death. The implication is that this mention of Adar is not treated as in everyday speech, but rather is understood as referring to a very specific time.
   Rabbi Brisman observes that the Gemara’s conclusion (Nedarim 63a-b) further strengthens the view that Adar mentioned plainly means Adar Rishon of a leap year. Even R. Meir, who is of the view that a simple mention of Adar implies Adar Sheni, would agree that “Adar” means Adar Rishon in the case above.
   When one is unaware of or not paying attention to the fact that the current year is intercalated (declared a leap year), any reference to “Adar” is taken to mean the first Adar, especially in the example given where a parent died during Adar of a common year and the son accepted upon himself to fast on that date in Adar in subsequent years. When the son says he will fast during Adar, it is to be understood that he refers to Adar Rishon of a leap year.
   Rabbi Brisman offers a spirited insight in attempt to resolve these issues. Among others, he cites the dispute between Terumat Hadeshen and Maharil over the proper observances of yahrzeits during the two Adars of a leap year.
   Terumat Hadeshen would have the yahrzeits observed during the first Adar because of R.Shimon b. Gamliel’s statement (Megillah 6a) that the reason we observe Purim in the second Adar is because our sages wished to connect one redemption (that of Purim) to the other (of Passover). Therefore, if not for that reason, the first Adar would be the proper time for observance of Purim. Maharil disregards this explanation due to the view cited – that we do not delay a mitzvah.
   However, according to that view, we should ideally read the Megilla during the first Adar, which we do not do because we only observe it for one day (reading once by night, and again once by day as well as all the other Purim-related mitzvot). Yahrzeits, however, can be observed in both months – Adar I and Adar II.

(To be continued)

 

   Rabbi Yaakov Klass can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: Two Adars (Part II)

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

   QUESTION: I have a few questions regarding the Jewish leap year. Why do we always add a second Adar as opposed to adding a second Tevet or Iyar for example? Why do we call it Adar Alef? Why is Purim celebrated in the second Adar? And which Adar is the real Adar?

Shea Aronovitch

(Via E-Mail)

 

ANSWER: Adar, the name for the 12th month, was adopted by the Jews from the Babylonian exile. While Jews add a month periodically to the lunar calendar after the twelfth month as per the beraita in Rosh Hashanah (7a) (see also Pesachim 6a), the Babylonians did not. The second of the two Adars is considered the “leap” – or extra – month, which we refer to as Adar Sheni (or Adar Bet).
*     *     *
   As we see it so far, the second Adar is the “leap” month. If so, why do we celebrate Purim in the second Adar? The Mechaber explains (Orach Chayyim 685:1), “If the rosh chodesh of Adar that is closest to Nissan [i.e. Adar II] falls on Shabbat, we read Parashat Shekalim [the first of the four special Torah readings - Shekalim, followed by Zachor, Parah, and finally Parashat Hachodesh].”
   The Mishna Berura (ad loc., citing Rashi on Megilla 29a s.v. “Korin beparashat Shekalim” explains that this is done so that in the time of the existence of the Temple they would bring their shekalim in the month closest to rosh chodesh Nissan in order to be able to bring offerings from rosh chodesh and on from the new shekalim donations.
   Also of interest is the dispute between R. Eliezer b. R. Yosi and Rabban Shimon b. Gamaliel (Megilla 6b) as to whether we perform the mitzvot of Purim – reading the Megilla and giving matanot la’evyonim – gifts to the poor – during the first Adar or the second. R. Eliezer b. R. Yosi is of the opinion that we observe the mitzvot of Purim during the Adar closest to Shevat, just as in all the other years, as the verse states (Esther 9:27), “Bechol shana veshana – each and every year,” and we have a rule of “Ein ma’avirin al hamitzvot – We do not allow a mitzvah to be bypassed,” meaning that we perform it as soon as possible.
   Rabban Shimon b. Gamaliel derives from the same verse that just as Purim is in the Adar closest to Nissan in an ordinary year, so is it in a leap year, so that we may connect the redemption of Purim to the redemption from Egypt. Thus, according to Rabban Shimon b. Gamaliel, whose opinion we follow, Purim during a leap year is celebrated during the second Adar for a reason unrelated to whether that month is the added one.
   Rabbi Dov Aaron Brisman (segan av beit din of the Iggud Horabbanim – Rabbinical Alliance of America, rav, Philadelphia) addresses this matter as well (Responsa Shalmei Chova, Yoreh De’ah 94). He was asked about the proper observance of a yahrzeit for a man who died on the second day of rosh chodesh, which is the first day of Adar. The death occurred during a non-leap year, and the deceased’s son wanted to know when to observe the yahrzeit during a leap year – rosh chodesh of Adar I or Adar II.
   Rabbi Brisman cites Chochmat Adam (171:1), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (221:3), and Kol Bo (on aveilut), all reflecting the Ashkenazi custom to recite kaddish on that day (in this case, the first of Adar) in both Adars of a leap year.
   However, the fast of the ba’al yahrzeit – the one observing the yahrzeit – is only observed in the first Adar. This ruling is rooted in Rema (Orach Chayyim 568:7), Magen Avraham (op. cit. sk20), and Shach (Yoreh Deah 402:sk11).
   Next, Rabbi Brisman cites the opposing view of the Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 568:7). If the death occurs in Adar during a regular year, the fast is observed on that day in the second Adar of a leap year. Rema posits otherwise – that the fast is observed during the first Adar – unless the deceased died during the second Adar of a leap year.
   In that case, the fast is held during the second Adar of all subsequent leap years. If the death occurred during Adar of a regular year or the first Adar of a leap year, the custom is to fast during the first Adar of leap years. Rema also cites the more stringent view of Mahari Molin to fast on that date in both Adars of a leap year.
   As you see, deciding which is the “real” Adar is not a simple matter and has practical repercussions.

(To be continued)

 

   Rabbi Yaakov Klass can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: Mourning In A Leap Year (Part I)

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
QUESTION: When does a mourner complete the year of mourning during a leap year?
Zev Stern
(Via e-mail)
      The Halacha: The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 391:2) states, “Following the death of a relative, one may participate in a formal feast (a seudat mishteh) once 30 days have passed. However, following one’s father or mother’s death, he may do so only after 12 months have passed. If it is a leap year, one is permitted [to participate] after 12 months [as well].”
   The Discussion: This rule of Rabbi Yosef Caro is based on a baraita in Mo’ed Katan (22b) and on Masechet Semachot (Ch. 9), where there clearly is no reference to “one year” but rather to “12 months” when discussing the mourning period for a parent.
   Yet there are other aspects related to mourning for a parent that may require a full year, meaning 13 months in a leap year, depending on  which month the parent died.
   Rabbi Dov Aron Brisman, Rav in Philadelphia and Segan Rosh Beit Din of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, discusses this question in his Shalmei Chovah (Responsum 94). He was asked the following question:
   If one’s father died on Rosh Chodesh Adar [which is the first day of Adar and not the 30th day of Shevat in a non-leap year], when does one observe the Yahrtzeit in a leap year? Is it in Adar I or Adar II?
   Rabbi Brisman states that according to Chochmat Adam (Topic 171:11), the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Ch. 221) and the Kol Bo (Hilchot Aveilut), the widespread custom in Ashkenazic communities is to observe the Yahrtzeit in both months regarding the recital of Kaddish. However, fasting would be required only in Adar I.
   The basis for this ruling is the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayyim 568:20) and the Shach (Yoreh De’ah, end of 402). To enable us to understand the Magen Avraham and the Shach, Rabbi Brisman reviews the halacha as stated by the Mechaber (Rabbi Yosef Caro) and Rema (Orach Chayyim 568:7), from which they derive their ruling:
   “If one’s father or mother died in the month of Adar [in a non-leap year], one is to fast on that date in Adar II. Rema in his glosses disputes this and rules that one is to fast in Adar I. There are some who are more stringent and fast on that date both in Adar I and in Adar II. If the parent died in a leap year in Adar II, some say that one is to fast [on that date] in Adar II while others are accustomed to fast in Adar I.”
   “The Taz (ad loc.) explains that these differing views are based on the [original]  controversy between R. Meir and R. Yehuda (Nedarim 63a). R. Meir rules that when referring by name to the months themselves, one specifies ‘Adar I’ for the first month of Adar in an intercalated year and one simply states ‘Adar’ when referring to the second month of Adar. R. Yehuda’s opinion is the opposite: One simply writes ‘Adar’ when referring to the first month of Adar in such a year but specifies ‘Adar II’ when intending the second Adar.
   “The Mechaber thus rules according to R. Meir, for that is the way Rambam rules (Hilchot Nedarim 10:6).
   “However ‘others’, as Rema notes, opine  like the Rosh. Terumat HaDeshen (294) therefore  concludes that since we follow R. Yehuda, one is to fast in Adar I because of the principle (Yoma 33a), “Ein ma’avirin al hamitzvot – One must not forego the occasion to perform a mitzvah” (and we thus fast at the first opportunity, namely, in Adar I).”
   Rabbi Brisman now questions the position of Terumat HaDeshen: If we rule according to R. Yehuda – that the reference to ‘Adar’ means ‘Adar I’ -  why do we need the additional reason of “Ein ma’avirin…, which implies that according to Halacha there is also a reason to require fasting in Adar II? Isn’t the primary date for fasting in Adar I, according to the view of ‘others’ as cited by Rema?
   A further difficulty is that the controversy between R. Meir and R. Yehuda focuses on what people usually mean when they refer to ‘Adar’. Do they mean the month that immediately follows Shevat or do they refer to the month that precedes Nissan?
   Rabbi Brisman reasons: “In our situation it [the fasting] relates to the Yahrtzeit since [as the Kol Bo points out] the son’s/daughter’s fortune (mazal) is in distress on the date of the parent’s death, and as such the desire is to fast on the date   of the parent’s Yahrtzeit.”
   Rabbi Brisman also notes the dispute between Terumat HaDeshen and Maharil (cited by the Magen Avraham) as to which Adar is the proper Adar in which to observe the Yahrtzeit.
   Terumat HaDeshen considers Adar I to be the   proper month to observe the Yahrtzeit, pointing out that Purim is observed in Adar II (Megillah 6b) in order to connect the redemption of Purim to the Exodus, the redemption of Pesach. Were it not for that reason, we would observe Purim in Adar I, and we would similarly observe all other matters that occurred in the month of Adar during Adar I.
   Maharil argues that the Gemara’s explanation regarding the observance of Purim during Adar II is only in answer to Ein ma’avirin…, namely, that we do not delay the observance of any mitzvah.
   However, Maharil notes that since we derive from the verse (Esther 9:29), “Lekayyem et iggeret HaPurim hazot sheinit… – To confirm this second letter of Purim…” that Purim is celebrated in Adar II, we ignore the rule of Ein ma’avirin…” Thus, according to the Maharil, Adar II clearly seems to be the ‘real’ Adar.
   Rabbi Brisman suggests that, indeed, both Adar I and Adar II are endowed with the [zodiac] attributes of Adar (though we observe Purim and all matters related to it during Adar II) and thus each is considered the primary or main month of Adar. Thus, Terumat HaDeshen rules that generally Adar I is the ‘main Adar’, and the fact that we observe Purim in Adar II is a separate reason that overrides our usual rule of Ein ma’avirin, but for all other matters such as Yahrtzeit, the takes place during Adar I.
   Rema combines these views: Adar I is considered the ‘main Adar’ in regard to fasting, but the Kaddish is to be recited on the date of the Yahrtzeit during both Adar I and Adar II.
   We note that Rema also states “Yesh machmirim” – there are those who are more strict and fast on that date both in Adar I and Adar II.
   It is obvious from the above discussion that if one’s parent died in another month of the year, the Yahrtzeit, including fasting and Kaddish recital, will be observed only on that date in the following year, even though, during a leap year, it will be 13 months after the parent’s death.
   However, all other manifestations of mourning conclude at the end of 12 months.
   (Next week: Serving as chazzan on the Sabbath before the conclusion of 12 months).

   Raabi Yaakov Klass can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

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