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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Enkin’

The Sandak (Part IV)

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Question: I was at a brit where the father and grandfather of the boy argued over who should be sandak. The grandfather had served as sandak once before, but he persisted and, as they say, “might makes right.” I am curious as to your view on this matter.

M. Renkin
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Midrash (Tehillim pg. 723) contains the term “sandikus,” a Greek word meaning “companion of child” or “advocate.” Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Spira of Dinov explains that sandak is an acronym of “sanegor na’aseh din kategor – the defense emerges victorious vis-à-vis the prosecutor,” referring to the brit’s function as a protection from Satan.

The Rema (Yoreh De’ah 265:11) writes that the sandak is given the first honor of being called up to the Torah, even before the mohel. The Rema explains that the sandak is compared to a kohen who offers incense in the Beit Hamikdash. All kohanim wished to benefit from the blessing of the incense, which enriched the one who offered it. Therefore, a lottery was established to assure that all had an equal opportunity to perform it. Similarly, it is customary not to give the role of sandak to someone more than once.

The Shach (Yoreh Deah ad loc. sk 22) clarifies that the Rema does not mean that a person may not serve as sandak more than once. Rather, he should not serve as sandak for more than one boy per family.

The Rema also talks about the honorary role of the kvaterin and kvater, the female and male messengers who bring the baby to the synagogue for the brit.

We quoted Rabbi Ari Enkin’s discussion of sandika’ot in his new sefer, Shu’t HaShulchani. He writes that serving as a sandak enriches one with material wealth, as well as long life full of spiritual wealth. Rabbi Enkin cites several authorities who argue that a person may serve as sandak twice; he states that the custom not to do so certainly does not apply to relatives. In fact, a father shouldn’t hesitate to serve as sandak for all of his children should he so desire. In some communities, the local rabbi is designated as the exclusive sandak for all children.

Rabbi Enkin concludes his discussion by pointing out that the custom of restricting someone from serving as sandak more than once is not found in the Talmud, and therefore is not truly binding.

* * * * *

Let’s address your original question regarding a dispute between a father and grandfather over who should serve as sandak.

The Gemara (Sukkah 32a), in seeking to determine if we may use something other than the traditional palm for a lulav, discusses the possibility of using flowered palms. Abaye rejects this idea because flowered palms are prickly to the touch and Proverbs 3:17 states, “Deracheha darchei noam vechol netivoteha shalom – Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.” The Metzudas David explains: “In no way or manner is it possible for a mishap to come from one’s observance of Torah dictates.”

This rule applies to all mitzvot. Performing a mitzvah is supposed to bring both pleasantness and peace. If there is strife involved, then the entire act is marred. For example, one who steals a lulav cannot properly fulfill the mitzvah since a mitzvah that is performed through a sinful act is tainted (Sukkah 29b).

The same is true of sandika’ot. The brit milah itself is of course valid no matter how bitterly a father and grandfather may fight over who should serve as sandak. But the sandika’ot – which the Rema (Yoreh De’ah 265:11) refers to as a mitzvah that one should actively pursue – will not have been properly fulfilled because of the strife; pleasantness and peace did not surround it.

The grandfather in your scenario acted wrongly because the right to bestow any honor associated with the brit milah belongs to the father, as the Mechaber (Yoreh De’ah 260:1) notes. Thus, neither the grandfather nor anyone else may “grab” this honor if the father wishes otherwise.

What about the mitzvah of kibud av, of honoring one’s father? Naturally, all sons have this obligation, but the Mechaber (Y.D. 240:19) is emphatic that parents are prohibited from weighing down heavily on their children and being exacting on the honor due them so that they not create a stumbling block for their children (i.e., tempting them to disobey by making excessive demands).

Title: Dalet Amot

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Title: Dalet Amot
Author: Rabbi Ari Enkin

 

      A breezy refresher course in some basics about Judaism, Dalet Amot is a necessary addition to bookshelves in Jewish homes, libraries and schools.

 

      Rabbi Ari Enkin’s choice of topics and his lighthearted yet serious approach to concepts and practices often forgotten in the rush of daily life makes suitable reading material for new ba’alei teshuva and life-long Orthodox Jews. The book’s clearly printed text is easy to understand, and the frequent humor on its pages facilitates a pleasant reading experience. The serious nature of providing correct information to uninformed or misinformed readers is paramount, and the author makes his points tactfully from cover to cover.

 

      Decent behavior is what Judaism is all about, and Rabbi Enkin’s book endorses it in a forthright, not-preachy manner. From pages 36-41, the author succinctly lists halachic sources that dictate proper eating habits, respectful food disposal, Grace After Meals priorities and required table manners. Sloppiness, waste and other boorish behavior are simply not “Jewish.”

 

      Geniza and the proper disposal of holy writings are enduring concerns in Jewish communities. The author notes his halachic sources when he specifies how Jewish written materials should be discarded after they become tattered and useless. Enkin presents the case for disposing of writings that lack Hashem’s name (e.g., Torah Tidbits, synagogue and school notices) by wrapping them in bags and putting them in garbage cans. He states that he is “opposed to the practice of taking every HaModia, Yated, etc. to a geniza. It horribly wastes mammon hekdesh and cemetery space. This is an issue that rabbis should bring to an end.”

 

      Menschlichkeit, decent behavior, extends to intellectual propriety and excess. The author addresses this troublesome area when he examines the topic of “celebrating” the death of the wicked, the deaths of haters of Israel and anti-Semites. Enkin presents “celebration” as an emotional response rather than as a party or ritual practice. It is a concise look at Jewish hashkafa, philosophy. A multifaceted insight into correct Jewish thought processes, it can properly arm Jewish readers for a correct Jewish response to the future deaths of additional enemies. The irony of Enkin’s closing comment on this chapter is a clue to how much we Jews must maintain proper perspective.

 

      Other chapters in Dalet Amot examine the proper observance of Shabbat and holidays, avoiding cruelty to animals, interpersonal issues and a female’s rights and roles and contributions in halachically directed Jewish life. Mystical and supernatural issues are touched upon, as well as other topics of wide-ranging interest.

 

      Readers might be puzzled regarding the spelling of the book’s title. Instead of the word “daled” with two “d’s,” in his title, the author used a “t” at the end. He addressed the issue by saying ” The letter dalet is spelled dalet-lamed-tav. The ‘d’ sound in the last letter of the name ‘Yocheved,’ for instance, emerges from the letter. There is a difference. After much research it was concluded that the fourth letter of the alef-beit is truly ‘dalet‘ and is etymologically related to the Hebrew word for ‘door.’ The entire book was prepared with Sephardic pronunciation to allow for clarity and easier reading.

 

      Stores and individuals may order copies at rabbiari@hotmail.com or call 011-972-52-579-1773.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-dalet-amot/2006/08/02/

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