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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Chodesh Nisan’

Does Borrowing Pay?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010
“Pesach is just around the corner,” was Mrs. Adler’s motto. She began planning right after Tu B’Shevat, started cleaning after Purim, and limited food to the kitchen from Rosh Chodesh Nisan.
The star of Pesach cleaning was her trusted Hoover canister vacuum cleaner. Mrs. Adler ran it over the carpets and wooden floors, poked it into all the cabinets and every nook and cranny, and left not a speck on the couch and beds. It was the most expensive model, but its powerful suction and versatility made it worth the cost, for Pesach.
One morning, while Mrs. Adler was vacuuming, the doorbell rang. “C’mon in, Sally” she called to her closest neighbor, Sally Baum, who lived down the hall.
“How’s Pesach coming along?” asked Mrs. Baum.
            ”So far, I’ve managed to keep on schedule,” replied Mrs. Adler. “I hate the last minute rush.”
“Any new tips?” asked Mrs. Baum.
“Sure,” said Mrs. Adler. “Here’s one from ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ about removing oil stains from stovetops. Here’s another one I found online about washing sweaters without pilling.”
“I just wish I had a better vacuum,” lamented Mrs. Baum. “Mine works on the carpet, but not on fabrics and hard surfaces.”

“Mine is great,” glowed Mrs. Adler. “I’m using it now, but you can borrow it tonight.”

In the evening, Mrs. Baum sent her son to pick up the vacuum. “Don’t forget to say, ‘Thank you,’ ” she reminded him.
Armed with the vacuum, Mrs. Baum went around the edges of the rooms and poked with the crevice tool behind the cabinets. She started to clean the couch.
“Hi, Sally,” she heard her husband’s voice.
Mrs. Baum looked up. “Welcome home,” she replied. “You know that Mrs. Adler always says, ‘Pesach is just around the corner.’ Well, now it really is.”
“Where’s that fancy new vacuum from?” inquired her husband. “You know that we have more urgent expenditures for Pesach.”
“Don’t worry,” laughed Mrs. Baum. “I didn’t spend a penny; Mrs. Adler was kind enough to lend us hers for the evening. Come have supper.”
After supper, Mrs. Baum continued vacuuming. Without warning, the vacuum suddenly sparked and the electricity blew. “What happened?” called out Mr. Baum. “I’m not sure,” answered his wife. “It seems that the vacuum blew the fuse.”
Mr. Baum unplugged the machine and replaced the fuse. “That was strange,” he said. “We never have problems with the electricity.”
“Back to work,” said Mrs. Baum as she plugged the vacuum in. She pressed the button but nothing happened. She pressed again, with no response. She tried a different outlet; still nothing.
“The motor died,” groaned Mrs. Baum. “How am I going to face Mrs. Adler? She relies on this machine for everything!”
“We’ll have to buy her a new one,” said her husband. “We can’t afford this now, but we have no choice.” Mrs. Baum walked down the hall to the Adlers with the broken vacuum and $500.
Mrs. Adler greeted her, “Finished already Sally? You’re fast.”
“I’m really sorry, but the vacuum broke,” said Mrs. Baum.
“Please tell me you’re kidding.” said Mrs. Adler. “I’ll never manage without it.”
“Really, it’s broken,” said Mrs. Baum. “I was using it and it just went. But I brought you money to buy a new one.”
Mr. Adler walked over. “Is there a chance that you overtaxed the machine? Sucked up something that clogged the airflow?”
“No,” said Mrs. Baum. “I was using it normally. But what’s the difference? When you borrow something you’re responsible no matter what.”
“That’s usually true,” said Mr. Adler. “However, I remember learning that if the item breaks or dies through normal usage the borrower is exempt. I’ll ask Rabbi Dayan at the Daf tonight.”
After the Daf, Mr. Baum walked home with Rabbi Dayan and asked about the vacuum. “You are correct,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “When you borrow something you are responsible even for freak accidents, but if it dies or breaks on account of the work for which it was borrowed – you are exempt. This is called ‘meisah machmas melachah‘” (C.M. 340:1).
            “Why should this be?” asked Mr. Baum.
“The Gemara (B.M. 96b) explains that the owner lent the item with the understanding that it be used; therefore, he accepted the consequences of this usage,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “However, there are two caveats. First, the borrower is exempt only if he used the item for the purpose for which it was lent, but if he used it in even a slightly different manner he is responsible. He does not need to buy a brand new machine, though, but only to pay for the actual loss (344:2).”
“The second caveat,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “is that the borrower must prove with witnesses or take a solemn oath in beis din that the item broke during the course of work to be exempt, unless the lender completely trusts him” (344:1).

“Thus, if you trust Mrs. Baum that the vacuum died during routine use, she is exempt,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “If she wants to pay something as a neighborly gesture, that’s fine, but it’s important to know the halacha.”

 

Rabbi Meir Orlian is a member of the Business Halacha Institute faculty, which is headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, shlita, a dayan in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Institute provides a wide range of services related to money and property issues, including weekly classes for businessmen in various cities.

For questions regarding halachic monetary issues or to bring BHI to your synagogue please call 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.

Q & A: The Four Parashiyot (Conclusion)

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004
QUESTION: I would like to know why there are four special readings of the Torah during the period between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of those four Shabbatot by a special name, such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc., which we don’t do otherwise?
Celia Gluck
(via e-mail)
ANSWER: Last week we described the four parashiyot, beginning on the Sabbath preceding the first of Adar through the Sabbath preceding the first of Nisan. They are: Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor, Shabbat Parah, and Shabbat HaChodesh. These Shabbatot have Torah readings in addition to the regular Torah reading of the week. Other Shabbatot do have special names as well but have no additional readings – for example, Shabbat Shira. The Torah reading of the Sabbath we call Shabbat Shira contains, indeed, Shirat Hayam.

* * *

Let us examine each of the four parashiyot, the verses in the Torah that apply to them, and what our Sages have said in their regard.

The first parasha on our calendar is Parashat Shekalim, which deals with the half-shekel coin. The Torah (Parashat Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11-16) states that this served two purposes. First, it was to count the Children of Israel in a census, as heads were not to be counted so that the evil eye would not plague them (Rashi ad loc). Instead, they were counted with coins valued at half a shekel. The verse explains that these coins were then to be used for a kappara – an atonement. Rashi (ad loc.) explains that some of that money was used for the communal sacrifices to be offered on the altar throughout the year.

The first Mishna in J.T. Shekalim (1:1) states that “on the first day [Rosh Chodesh] of Adar [the Beit Din] would announce the shekalim contribution…” The Gemara asks, “Why on the first day of Adar?” The Gemara answers, “So that they will bring their shekalim in the proper time.” The Riv’van (R. Yehuda b. Binyamin HaRofei) explains in his commentary (ad loc.) that the time referred to is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, as the Gemara (B.T. Megilla 29b) explains concerning the verse (Numbers 28:14), “Zot olat chodesh bechodsho – This is the olah (burnt offering) sacrifice of each month in its month,” meaning the first of the month. At this time, “chaddesh – renew” from a new Terumah (collection), the Tamid and Mussaf sacrifices which were brought on Rosh Chodesh Nisan. They were acquired with the new shekalim coins [collected at that time].”

Riv’van then compares this announcement to the laws of Pesach; the Gemara (Pesachim 6a) states that we are to query and expound on the laws of Pesach 30 days before Pesach begins, which would be the 15th of Adar. Thus, all announcements are always made 30 days ahead, which for shekalim would be Rosh Chodesh Adar. Therefore, Parashat Shekalim is read on, or immediately prior to, Rosh Chodesh Adar.

Now, since we are bereft of the Holy Temple and we have no korbanot, we read Parashat Shekalim to commemorate them.

Second on the calendar is Parashat Zachor, based on the verses in Parashat Ki Tetze dealing with Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), “Zachor et asher asah lecha Amalek baderech betzet’chem mimitzrayim – Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were leaving Egypt.” The verse then explains, “Asher karcha baderech va’yezanev becha kol ha’nechshalim acharecha ve’ata ayef ve’yage’a, velo yarei Elokim – How he met you on the way, and he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the weak ones at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear Hashem.”

The verse then instructs, “Vehaya behani’ach Hashem Elokecha lecha mikol oy’vecha misaviv ba’aretz asher Hashem Elokecha noten lecha nachala lerishtah, timcheh et zecher Amalek mitachat hashamayim, lo tishkach – It shall be when Hashem your G-d has given you rest from all your enemies all around, in the land that Hashem your G-d gives you for an inheritance to possess it, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven, you shall not forget.”

The Mishna (Megilla 29a) explains that if Rosh Chodesh Adar falls on a Sabbath, we read Parashat Shekalim on that Sabbath. However, if Rosh Chodesh falls in the middle of the week, we read Parashat Shekalim on the Sabbath preceding Rosh Chodesh; we then interrupt the reading of the parashiyot, and resume with Parashat Zachor on the Sabbath after that.

Rashi s.v. “Umafsikin leshabbat haba’ah” explains that we endeavor to read Parashat Zachor on the Sabbath just before Purim in order to connect the eradication of Amalek with the downfall of Haman. This is another reason for reading Parashat Zachor during this time of year.

The third of the four parashiyot on our calendar is Parashat Parah, the section found at the beginning of Parashat Chukkat (Numbers 19:1-22), which discusses the red heifer without a blemish that Moses was commanded to hand to Eleazar the priest, to be sacrificed. The verses detail the entire procedure, which the Torah refers to as a chok, a law for which we do not know the reason.

Rashi (Megilla 29a) s.v. “para aduma” explains that the red heifer was brought to warn the Jews to purify themselves of any ritual defilement in order to offer the korban pesach in a ritually pure state.

Thus we see that this parasha is timely to the weeks before Pesach, which is why we read it at this time. (Rashi ad loc. s.v. “Ba’revi’it – hachodesh hazeh lachem” quotes the Jerusalem Talmud, stating that in actuality this should be the fourth parasha, pursuant to the sequence of events in the Torah).

Finally, the last of the Four Parashiyot is Parashat HaChodesh (Exodus 12:1-20), which contains the concept of Rosh Chodesh, the first commandment given to the Children of Israel, upon which our calendar is based, including the festivals, the first of which is Pesach. This section also contains the commandment of the paschal sacrifice and its laws.

This parasha is read on the Sabbath preceding Rosh Chodesh Nisan, except if Rosh Chodesh occurs on a Sabbath, in which case it is read on that Sabbath. Rashi (Megilla 29a) notes that since this section contains the laws of Pesach, the Mishna instructs us to read it at this time.

Thus we see that all four parashiyot as delineated in the Mishna (Megilla 29a) are designated to be read in a timely manner on these four specific Shabbatot.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-four-parashiyot-conclusion/2004/04/21/

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