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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Chodesh Nissan’

Q & A: The Arba Parshiyot (Conclusion)

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Question: Why do we read four special Torah sections between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of the four Shabbatot on which we read these sections by a special name – such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc.?

Celia Gluck
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Last week we discussed the origin of weekly Torah readings and the additional arba parshiyot sections that we read beginning on the Shabbat preceding the first of Adar through the Shabbat preceding the first of Nissan. The four Shabbatot are Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor, Shabbat Parah, and Shabbat HaChodesh.

* * *

Let us examine each of the arba parshiyot, and what our Sages have said about them. The first of the four parshiyot is Parshat Shekalim, which deals with the half-shekel coin given by every Jewish male of a certain age. The Torah (Exodus 30:11-16) states that this served two purposes. First, it served to count the Jewish people in an indirect fashion (since counting them directly may have caused the evil eye to plague them [Rashi ad loc.]). Second, it served as an atonement. Rashi (ad loc.) explains that some of that money was used for the communal sacrifices offered on the altar throughout the year.

The first mishnah in J.T. Shekalim (1:1) states, “On the first day of Adar [the bet din] would announce the shekalim contribution…” The Gemara asks, “Why on the first day of Adar?” It answers: “So that they will bring their shekalim in the proper time.”

The Rivan (Rabbenu Yehuda b. Binyamin HaRofeh) explains in his commentary (ad loc.) that the “proper time” is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, as the Gemara (B.T. Megillah 29b) explains concerning the verse (Numbers 28:14), “Zot olat chodesh bechadsho – This is the burnt offering sacrifice of each month in its month” – meaning the first of the month. Read this sentence as follows: “Chadesh – renew” from a new terumah (collection) the tamid and mussaf sacrifices brought on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Acquire them with the new shekalim coins.

The Rivan then points out that the Gemara states (Pesachim 6a) that we should study the laws of Pesach 30 days before Pesach. He argues that we always should always prepare 30 days in advance. Therefore, since the shekalim collection was scheduled for Rosh Chodesh Nissan, we announce it 30 days prior, on Rosh Chodesh Adar. Hence, Parshat Shekalim is read on, or immediately prior to, Rosh Chodesh Adar. We may no longer have a Holy Temple, karbanot or a shekalim collection, but we still we read Parshat Shekalim to commemorate them.

Second on the calendar is Parshat Zachor, on which we read the verses in Deuteronomy 25:17-19 about Amalek: “Zachor et asher asah lecha Amalek baderech betzet’chem mimitzrayim – Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were leaving Egypt.” What did this nation do? The verse explains: “Asher karcha baderech va’yezanev becha kol ha’nechshalim acharecha ve’ata ayef ve’yage’a, velo yarei Elokim – He met you on the way and 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 us, “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 – 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 the heavens; you shall not forget.”

Tosafot (Berachot 13a s.v. “b’lashon hakodesh ne’emra”) rules that the public reading of Parshat Zachor is a biblical requirement. Indeed, the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 685:7 citing “yesh omrim – some authorities”) codifies this as the halacha.

One might ask why Amalek deserves such a unique and severe punishment? Were there not other mortal enemies who fell upon our people? And yet, it is only Amalek that we are instructed to totally eradicate.

The answer is rather simple. Other nations that fought with us in the course of our entry into the land of Canaan were nations whom we were to displace when we entered the Promised Land. They fought us because they viewed their battles as a matter of survival. However, Amalek, a grandson of Edom (Esav), had no need to attack us. Hashem had commanded us not to conquer or harm Edom, Moab and Ammon since they were the children of Esav (Abraham’s grandson) and Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and their lands were their own by right of inheritance. Nonetheless, Amalek attacked us and thus sealed their destiny – eventual destruction and obliteration.

A mishnah (in Megillah 29a) explains that if Rosh Chodesh Adar falls on a Shabbat, we read Parshat Shekalim on that Shabbat. However, if rosh chodesh falls in the middle of the week, we read Parshat Shekalim on the Shabbat preceding rosh chodesh. The next week we don’t read any additional Torah section, and we resume with Parshat Zachor on the Shabbat after that. Rashi s.v. “Umafsikin le’shabbat haba’ah” explains that we endeavor to read Parshat Zachor on the Shabbat just before Purim in order to connect the eradication of Amalek with the downfall of Haman.

Q & A: Yahrzeit And The Two Adars (Conclusion)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005
QUESTION: In a leap year when there are two months of Adar, during which month is a yahrzeit observed? Do the rules of yahrzeit precedence apply in regard to Kaddish? Finally, can you discuss the precedence regarding leading services during the year of mourning?
M. Berman
Los Angeles, CA
ANSWER: We began our discussion with the application of yahrzeit dates from a leap year’s two months of Adar to a non-leap year’s Adar, and vice versa. We discussed the hierarchy of precedence in regard to mourners reciting the Kaddish prayer. The rights to precedence follow the severity (middat hadin) of the stage of mourning – as discussed by R. Yechiel Michel Tykocinsky in his Gesher HaChayyim. There is also a question of precedence as to who leads the prayer service. We continued with an examination of the sources of these stages of mourning. Last week we discussed the yahrzeit day specifically. We now conclude our discussion.* * *

There is an anomaly regarding a leap year. On the one hand we noted that if the person died during Adar of a “shana peshuta,” a non-leap year, the main yahrzeit commemoration is on the specific day during the first Adar (Adar I), with a lesser observance on the same day during the second Adar (Adar II).

However, regarding our celebration of Purim, the 14th day during the first Adar is observed as Purim Katan, with a minimal observance, yet the real celebration is held on the 14th day of the second Adar.

Regarding the need for the yarhrzeit to be observed during the first Adar, this can be explained based on the time the avelut commences. As we discussed previously, the full mourning period is 12 months – even though Kaddish is only recited for one’s parents for 11 months, as we do not wish to designate parents as being wicked. [See Rema, Orach Chayyim 376:4, who notes that the judgment of the wicked lasts 12 months.]

The 12 months obviously start at the time of death. There is a major dispute among the authorities as to when the 12-month period starts in the event that death and burial were not on the same day.

The Shach (Yoreh De’ah 402:12, citing the Responsa of R. Binyamin) rules that if the burial is not on the same day as the death or on the following day, but takes place on the third day from death, then the yahrzeit in the first year follows the date of burial, as there must be a complete 12 months of mourning, and in this case three days would otherwise be missing from that mourning period.

The Taz (ad loc.; and Orach Chayyim 568:8) disagrees, saying: “If one first heard of the death of his father six months after his death, there is no one who would rule that he now mourns for 12 months from the time he heard about it, but rather the 12 months are counted from the time of the date of death.”

In practice we seem to follow the ruling of the Shach, but only if three complete days have passed (see Yesodei Semachot, the excellent sefer by R. Aron Felder, shlita, Philadelphia).

Accordingly, the yahrzeit would be observed during the first Adar of a leap year, as one certainly would not observe 13 months of mourning. Regarding every successive year, the yahrzeit is observed on the date of death. This is inferred from the Gemara (Shevuot 20a) and Rashi (ad loc. s.v. “Keyom she’met bo aviv”), where we see that the date of death is imbued with a precision clear enough to effect a proper oath.

Thus, regarding fasting and saying Kaddish, this is observed during the first Adar; but since there is a second Adar, we treat that same day in the second Adar as a lesser observance, where one recites Kaddish only, but does not fast [although there is a view in Piskei Mahari, cited by Rema, to fast on both days].

Regarding Purim being celebrated during the second Adar, we find the following in the Shulchan Aruch (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, Zachor, Parah, and 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.

We find as well the dispute between R. Eliezer b. R. Yosi and R. Shimon b. Gamaliel (Megilla 6b) as to whether we read the Megilla and give matanot la’evyonim 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 mitzva to be bypassed,” meaning that we perform it as soon as possible.

R. 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.

We thus find that according to R. Shimon b. Gamaliel, whose opinion we follow, Purim during a leap year is celebrated during the second Adar. [See the fine work of R. Dov Aaron Brisman, Rav of Philadelphia, in his Responsa Shalmei Chova, Yoreh De'ah, Responsum 94, where he discusses this matter in great detail.]

We are left with one matter to which we do not have a clear answer – the candle we light on the yahrzeit. We do this because of the verse (Mishlei 20:27), “Ner Hashem nishmat adam – The candle of Hashem is the soul of man.” The Magen Avraham, the Taz, and the Ba’er Heitev to Orach Chayyim (Hilchot Shabbat 261) would allow one to ask a gentile at “bein ha’shemashot” (dusk) on a Friday evening to light this candle in the event one forgot, as the yahrzeit candle on the yahrzeit of one’s father or mother is an important requirement, similar to the Shabbat candles.

The above scenario applies to the first Adar. But what if this situation occurs during the second Adar? Is this day only commemorated by reciting Kaddish, or is the lighting of the candle also included? There is no clear answer.

In summation, the general rule is that the first Adar is the yahrzeit for one who dies in Adar of a non-leap year, and on that day all yahrzeit precedence belongs to the person observing the yahrzeit. However, Kaddish is said on that day in the second Adar as well, but there is no precedence over one who has an actual yahrzeit on that day.

Let us hope that this month will be a true zeman geula, a time of redemption, as we connect the redemption of Purim to the redemption of Pesach, and herald a time of true peace and prosperity for our people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-yahrzeit-and-the-two-adars-conclusion/2005/03/09/

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