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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’

Pidyon Ha’ben And Tisha B’Av

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Pidyon ha’ben, like brit milah, is primarily the responsibility of the father. A brit milah must be performed on the eighth day of the child’s birth, unless it would endanger the life of the child. Pidyon ha’ben must be performed on the 31st day of the child’s birth. Neither ceremony may be delayed beyond its prescribed time unless there is some halachic justification to do so.

In the case of milah, such a delay is a very serious matter since the punishment for unjustifiably delaying circumcision, by even one day, is karet, premature death at the hand of God. So important is the duty to circumcise on the eighth day that if the eighth day happens to be Shabbat, the milah is performed even though the surgery involves a melachah de’oreitah, biblically prohibited work on Shabbat.

Accordingly, in the event of a conflict between the duty to circumcise on the eighth day and the prohibition against violating Shabbat by inflicting a wound, the duty to circumcise takes precedence. It is also most important that the circumcision be performed by a devout Jew. So important is this requirement that it takes precedence over the requirement to circumcise on the eighth day. Accordingly, if the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not a devoutly observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until such a mohel is available.

Unlike a brit milah on the eighth day which overrides the prohibition of performing a melachah on Shabbat, a pidyon ha’ben, which involves the handling of money and the performance of a transaction, both prohibited activities on Shabbat, does not override the Shabbat. Therefore, if the 31st day of the birth is Shabbat, the pidyon ha’ben is postponed to Sunday. Apart from this situation, there is no license to postpone the pidyon ha’ben ceremony beyond its prescribed time. Such a postponement, though not as serious as the postponement of a brit milah, would violate the general prohibition of shihui mitzvah, postponing the performance of a mitzvah.

Both the brit milah and the pidyon ha’ben ceremonies are celebrated by a festive meal, a seudah, to which family and friends are invited. If the 31st day is in the middle of the week, it would of course be more convenient to postpone these ceremonies to Sunday when more guests can attend. Such a postponement is, however, unacceptable for the reasons articulated.

In a situation on which the eighth day is in the middle of the week and the parents insist that the brit milah be performed on a Sunday and threaten to have a non-observant doctor perform the circumcision if the mohel won’t agree to the postponement, then according Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, it is better for the observant mohel agree to perform the circumcision on the Sunday, even though this results in a prohibited delay. The reason for this is that a circumcision performed by a non-observant person is ineffective.

Similarly, if the parents insist that the pidyon ha’ben be performed on a Sunday when more people can attend the seudah, then, notwithstanding the general prohibition of shihui mitzvah, the kohen may perform the ceremony even though it is beyond the 31st day. Of course, in both situations, but especially with milah, the father should be prevailed upon to conduct the ceremony and the celebration at the prescribed time without any postponement.

Both the seudah in honor of the brit milah and in honor of the pidyon ha’ben have the halachic status of seudot mitzvah. This has practical consequences, particularly in the period of the nine days between Rosh Chodesh Av and Tisha B’Av. Accordingly, even though one should refrain from reciting the blessing of Shehecheyanu during the nine days, the blessing may be recited for a pidyon ha’ben performed during that time. Similarly, though one is not permitted to eat meat or drink wine during the nine days, close relatives and friends of the child’s family may do so at a brit or pidyon ha’ben seudah during this time, even on erev Tisha B’Av, provided it is done before noon.

Finally, even though the father of the child may not break his fast when the ninth of Av is on the 31st day of the birth of the firstborn, some authorities hold that when the 31st day of the birth occurs on a Tisha B’Av that was postponed to the 10th of Av (as is the case when the ninth of Av is a Shabbat), the father of the child and the kohen, even though they may not make a se’udat mitzvah, may break their fast in the afternoon.

Raphael Grunfeld’s book “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Judaica bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.

In Praise Of Bubby

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The Gemara in Brachos says that one is not allowed to add his own praises of Hashem while davening. The Gemara explains that by doing so it could seem that what one added was the only praise missing, and that there are no more praises of Hashem. Similarly, Bubby, for one to try to mention all of your praises would be impossible. With that said I would like to mention a few points, without implying that this is all there is to be said.

 

In Shemos the pasuk tells us, “Vayakam melech chadash b’Mitzrayim.” Rashi explains that there is a machlokes as to whether it was a new king or the old king who made new laws. We can understand those that say it was an old king with new laws. However, how do those who say it was a new king explain that he did not know of Yosef? It was only a few years since Yosef’s death and he had saved the entire country from a famine. He was second in command and made Mitzrayim into a superpower. The answer is that, of course, he heard of Yosef but, because he had not witnessed Yosef’s greatness personally, he could not truly fathom it.

 

Bubby, this can be said of your greatness and of your chesed and maasim tovim, for they, too, were so awesome and great. Bubby, you were zoche to see five generations – for which it is said you will go to Gan Eden. But I’m worried that the next generation won’t be able to comprehend fully how great you were. For those who were fortunate to witness Bubby it is incumbent that we constantly review and remind ourselves of her great deeds, lest we forget. Hopefully, we will be able to properly pass down to our children who Bubby was.

 

When I got engaged, Bubby asked me whether I had mentioned to my kallah that we come from a long lineage of rabbis, including the Chasam Sofer, the Divrei Chaim, and the Aruch Hashulchan. I”yH, I hope to tell my children and their children, do you know who you come from, besides the above mentioned list I will tell them they come from you, Bubby and Zaidy.

 

We bless our children every Friday night, “Yasimcha Elokim k’Efraim uk’Menashe.” The question is: why do we ask that our children be likened to Efraim and Menashe over all the other shivatim? Rabbi Moshe Feinstein answered that, generally, there is an inherent yeridas hadoros. The further away one is, the weaker the mesorah. Yaakov Avinu felt that this was not the case with Efraim and Menashe. Although they were his grandchildren, he felt that they were on the same level as if they were his children, and the mesorah was not weakened.

 

Bubby, you were marich yomim and it was a zechus for everyone whose lives you were able to touch. You have helped keep the mesorah alive for us. I hope that we will be able to keep vibrant the mesorah that is from you.

 

I remember Bubby and Zaidy saying you should go m’chayil el chayil. Now it is our turn to wish it upon you Bubby, may you go m’chayil el chayil. However, I would like to add the end of that pasuk (from Tehillim), “yirah el Elokim b’Tzion.” The Gemara at the end of Brachos interprets this to mean those who go from multitudes of good deeds to multitudes of good deeds will merit to be mekabel pnei haShechina.

 

Bubby, you have definitely conducted your life in this manner – going from multitudes of greatness, good deeds, chesed and mitzvos to another. You shall now go and receive your reward, be mekabel pnei haShechina. May you bring with you your armies of zechusim and be a meylitz yosher for the family and for all Klal Yisroel and help bring the geula sh’leima b’karov.

Local Boy To National Stardom?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

One of Steven Ari-Z Leiner’s fondest childhood memories, he says while taking a break from campaigning, is when on his 13th birthday the late Bobover Rebbe helped him put on his tefillin. The Bobover Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, and Maimonides are some of his heroes. Some of his secular role models include John F. Kennedy, Mayor Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, and Paul Krugman, he adds.


 That’s an indication – as New Yorkers are soon going to find out – that Leiner is a very unique Congressional candidate. He recently filed papers to run for Congress in New York’s Eight District for the election in November 2010. The incumbent, Jerold Nadler, is being tipped to run for Hillary Clinton’s old Senate seat. And Leiner, or Steven Ari-Z as he is known to his friends, is a leading candidate to replace him.


 Steve Ari-Z’s own background reflects the diversity of the Jewish community of the Eighth District. He studied in the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor and Yeshivat Toras Emes in Boro Park, before spending a year in Israel studying at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. His father and his grandparents, Max and Bella Leiner, escaped from the Nazis and emigrated to the U.S. in 1942. His great grandparents, from both sides, had been murdered by the Nazis in concentration camps.


 His mother’s family came to the U.S. from Moscow. They were one of the first families to escape the Soviet Union. Steven Ari-Z enjoys swapping stories with members of the Russian-speaking community.


 His family’s release from Russia was secured by his late great uncle Israel Beigel (of Beigel bakeries). His grandmother, Leah Beck, was very involved in Boro Park’s Bobov’s Bikkur Cholim. His grandfather Max Leiner was a regular at the Agudah of Boro Park right until his death. Leiner fondly remembers him cycling in the snow, aged 87, to shul where he learned daf yomi with Mr. Shmuel Roth for over 25 years.

 

 


Steven Ari. Z. Leiner with one of role models Warren Buffet

 Steven Ari-Z is equally at home in the Modern Orthodox Community of Manhattan where he lives. His late great uncle Felix Doppelt also lived on the Upper West Side. To round off the diversity of his Jewish experience, Leiner also has a strong connection to the Syrian Jewish community. He spent summers during his college years living with the Gemal family in Deal, New Jersey.


 He is very proud of his Jewish background. He believes that Jews have much more to contribute on the national stage then they have done so far. He cites the insightfulness and clever ways of dissecting an issue of the Gemara, which he loves studying, as an example of skills that could be of use. He found it of use in his personal business, he says.


 Leiner is a nationally recognized highly successful life insurance businessman. He started while in college at Columbia University where he received a B.A. in political science – to pay for his tuition – and has continued ever since. His awards include admission to the Million Dollar Round Table and the President’s Cabinet.


 He points out that the life insurance business teaches you to focus on the future, not just the present. He views life insurance as protecting people’s families. It’s a very Jewish character trait, he says, to make sure your children are protected whatever happens to you. Steven Ari-Z says politicians in Washington need to understand that too, as they allow the U.S. national debt to grow and fail to make the world better for our children.


 When Steven Ari-Z talks about policy issues, he has the careful deliberation and studious thought of a Torah scholar. He pauses and thinks before he answers a question. He speaks with a sincerity often missing from politicians. Education is an important issue to him. He believes something needs to be done to help families who are coping with high tuition fees. Parents, he says, should not be forced to choose between bankruptcy and providing their children with a Jewish education.


 Steven Ari-Z is equally at home speaking about economics. He thinks the economic crisis we are in was preventable. As a businessman, he understands how higher taxes and a complex tax code stifle business development. “As Jackie Mason might say, our country should be making a profit,” he says with a chuckle.


 Before Leiner returns to the campaign trail, we ask him about the origin of his name “Ari-Z.” He smiles. He was originally called Zvi-Ari, he says. But the late Rabbi Poupko of Flatbush told him to put the Ari (lion) ahead of the Zvi (deer). Leiner listened and never looked back.

 Daniel Freedman is the director of policy analysis and communications at a strategic-consultancy company. Previously, he was the foreign-policy analyst for Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential Committee, a United Nations official, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s senior writer. He also serves as a consultant to Steven Ari-Z Leiner. He can be reached at DF9713@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/local-boy-to-national-stardom-2/2009/11/04/

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