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May 2, 2016 / 24 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Shabbos’

Shabbos – A Day With Hashem: Shabbos and Chanukah: It Is Good to Praise Hashem!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

If you ask ten people what the main focus of Chanukah is, nine would probably answer, “lighting the menorah.” While that is certainly an integral part of the chag, the Gemara (Shabbos 21b) tells us, “The next year they established these days as a Yom Tov, l’hodos u’lihalel – to thank and praise.” What an eye opener! There is more to Chanukah than lighting the menyorah, playing dreidel and eating latkes? Yes! These are days established primarily to thank and praise Hashem!

The connection between Chanukah and our series on Shabbos is now clear. Thanking and giving praise to Hashem is a main theme of Shabbos as well. As we have mentioned previously, on Shabbos morning we add a pasuk to the bracha of yotzer ohr: “V’yom hashev’ee mishabeach v’omer mizmor shir l’yom haShabbos, tov lehodos l’Hashem – And the seventh day praises and says: ‘let us sing a song about the day of Shabbos – It is good to praise Hashem!’” Let us understand why giving thanks is an integral part of both Chanukah and Shabbos and how we can fulfill this obligation with joy.

The Darkest Exile

The Torah relates (Bereshis 1:2) that in the beginning of creation “v’choshech al penei tehom – there was darkness on the face of the depths.” The Midrash says that the “darkness” refers to the Greek exile. Why was this exile considered darker than any of the other exiles?

We explained in our first Shabbos article (Revealing Hashem’s Presence, 11-2) that Hashem has placed a darkness in this world in order to hide His existence. However, with a little bit of effort, we can find the Creator by examining the many different wonders of His world. Why is it then that so many people deny His existence? The number one reason is that they allow themselves to be influenced by science, which does not see past a superficial cause-and-effect system. They fail to realize that Hashem is the true cause of all these phenomena. The founders of this belief were none other then the Greeks. Unfortunately, at that time, most of the Jewish nation got caught up in Greek culture and this mistaken outlook did not leave room in their lives for Hashem or Torah, which reveals His Will. By extinguishing the light of Torah, which shows us how to navigate this world, they left themselves “in the dark.” Thus, the precise description of the Greek exile is “darkness.”

The small handful of Chashmonaim knew that a life without Torah was worthless, and they fought against the powerful Greek Empire. Hashem performed miracles for them, and they won battle after battle. Finally they liberated the Bais HaMikdash and purified it. When they discovered enough non-defiled oil for one day of lighting, Hashem performed another miracle and the oil burned for eight days. The darkness in which the Greeks had placed us was now removed and we “saw the light.” Once again we acknowledged Hashem’s dominion over the world and rededicated ourselves to His Torah.

However, this raises a difficult question. What was the need for the miracle of the oil? Couldn’t Hashem have hidden enough oil for eight days in the same way He hid a single flask?

Oil and Wars

Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l, Mashgiach of the Ponovezh Yeshiva, answers that the miracles of the war would not have been enough to motivate Bnei Yisrael to do teshuvah. There would always be those who believed we won because of our guerrilla tactics and the fact that we knew the terrain better, etc. Therefore, Hashem performed the miracle of the oil – an open miracle that could not be denied. Only then would everyone be compelled to realize that Hashem is the One Who orchestrated all of the wondrous events that led to their victory. In other words, the clear miracles open our eyes so that we can see the non-obvious ones.

My father, Rav Ephraim Niehaus, pointed out that this lesson was also learnt in our time – the hard way. Initially, most people admitted that the Six Day War was won through open miracles, but soon afterwards, many began to pat themselves on the back. The victory was because of our preemptive strike, our superior weaponry and strategy, and so forth. Hashem, therefore, taught us a painful lesson a few years later with the Yom Kippur War. Many warnings were ignored and we were taken totally by surprise; as a result there were many casualties. It then became clear, to those willing to see, that the victory in the first war was only because of Hashem.

Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus

Daf Yomi

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

For Whom The Bell Tolls
‘Royal Children May Go Out With Bells’
(Shabbos 66b)

Our mishnah states that princes may go out on Shabbos with ornamental bells on their clothing. Since nobility often wear such bells, the Sages were not concerned that princes would remove them to show their friends and then accidentally carry them in the street.

The Gemara elsewhere states that the Sages prohibited playing musical instruments on Shabbos lest one mistakenly fix them when they break. The Rema (Orach Chayim 338:1) rules that included in this prohibition, referred to as hashma’as kol, is the use of any device which is designed to make noise, such as a door knocker.

Noise, Melody, Or Ornament

The Shiltei Gibborim (to the Rif on 30b, also cited by Rema, O.C. 301:23) comments that a person may not wear bells on his clothing unless the clappers are removed because bells are designed to make noise. The Magen Avraham (O.C. 301:35) distinguishes between children and adults. He asserts that the Shiltei Gibborim only requires the removal of clappers from bells on children’s clothing because children shake bells to produce a melodious sound. Adults, however, who are not interested in the sound of bells and only wear them for ornamental purposes, are permitted to wear them with their clappers.

Eliyahu Rabba (O.C. ad loc. and cited by Biur Halacha ad loc.) takes issue with the Magen Avraham’s leniency, and asserts that regardless of intent, one may not produce sounds with a bell because it is an instrument that is designed to make a melodious sound.

The Taz (O.C. 338:1, Y.D. 282:2) maintains that bells attached to a paroches or crown of a sefer Torah must have their clappers removed since the intent of those bells is to produce noise to signal to the congregation to rise when the Aron Hakodesh is opened and when the sefer Torah is carried.

The Magen Avraham (ad loc. sk5), however, claims there is no need to remove the clappers since these bells are not made with the intent to emit a melodious sound, and the individual who opens the Aron Hakodesh does not have any intention to shake the bells and make noise.

Mitzvah Purposes

The Shach (Y.D. 282 sk4, citing Rabbenu Manoach found in the Beis Yosef’s commentary to the Tur, Y.D. ad loc. s.v. “e’kasav”) also permits carrying a sefer Torah with bells and clappers on Shabbos, but on different grounds. He states that the rabbinic issur against making music was lifted for mitzvah purposes. The bells on a sefer Torah serve an important function, that is, to signal to all that the sefer Torah is passing by and that all should rise in its honor. Rabbenu Manoach derives this from R. Yosef (Kiddushin 31b) who, when he heard the footsteps of his mother, would say “Let me rise before the Shechina.”

The Mishnah Berurah (O.C. 338:6) rules that one should conduct himself in accordance with the Taz and remove the clappers from the bells of sifrei Torah before Shabbos or stuff the bells with cotton. However, if for some reason this is not possible, or one forgot to do so, the Mishnah Berurah rules that we may rely on the lenient view.

Let Us See What People Do

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (O.C. 338:1) and Aruch Hashulchan (ad loc. sk3) maintain there is no problem and no need to act stringently. To the contrary, they say. An important purpose is served by these bells – that is, they signal to the members of the congregation that a sefer Torah is being carried. They therefore know to stand up and show honor to it. The Aruch Hashulchan states that leaving the clappers in the bells is the common custom throughout the world.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Prayers For Soldiers

Anyone who would like to be part of the war effort in Israel can call 011972-2-581-1911 (Jerusalem) and receive the name of an Israeli soldier to daven for personally.

May Hashem answer all our prayers for the good.

Nechama Myerson
(Via E-Mail)

The Incomparable Rav Kotler

Marvin Schick is always a great read and he didn’t disappoint with his glowing account of Rav Aharon Kotler, zt”l (“The Legacy of Rav Aharon Kotler,” Front Page Essay, Nov.16).

Dr. Schick paints a picture of his greatness as only an intimate of Rav Aharon could and of the central role he played in the development of today’s Torah world. In particular, Lakewood has gone from being just a school to an overriding concept and state of mind that continues to impact the entire panorama of Torah education.

Despite the challenges posed by the Conservative and Reform movements, I have always thought there was a certain inexorability to the growth of Torah in America after the Holocaust as an expression of God’s will. Rav Aharon’s great talent and vision were used by Hashem to bring that about.

Gideon Herter
Jerusalem

Chilling Out About Obama (I)

Ezra Friedlander’s point (“We Need to Chill Out About Obama,” op-ed, Nov. 16) really needed to be made. I have never seen so much twisting of fact and intellectual acrobatics concerning a president of the United States as are continuously directed at President Obama. Can it be that alone of all of our chief executives he is the only one who never gets anything right? Or that he sits up at night thinking of ways to do in Israel and the Jewish people?

How is it that even when Mr. Obama follows what other presidents have done with regard to Israel, he gets savaged for it while the originators of those policies – such as Ronald Reagan and the second President Bush – are fondly remembered by the Orthodox community?

Chanie Leibovitz
(Via E-Mail)

Chilling Out About Obama (II)

I have often been embarrassed by the vitriol with which so may members of our community speak about President Obama, and I hope Ezra Friedlander’s op-ed last week will serve to demonstrate to those over-the-top critics that Obama is not all that different from other presidents.

I have great problems with Obamacare, for example, but why was Obama treated so harshly over it by people who gave Mitt Romney a pass over his enactment of virtually the same thing in Massachusetts? And as Mr. Friedlander ably illustrated, the views and policies regarding Israel for which Obama is vilified are not at all different from those of prior presidents.

Shmuel Present
(Via E-Mail)

Chilling Out About Obama (III)

I wonder what planet Ezra Friedlander lives on. Barack Obama said early on in his first term that he was committed to recasting the U.S. relationship with Israel and reaching out to Muslims. What other president came up with that statement? Does that mean nothing?

What other president sandbagged an Israeli prime minister just before meeting with him on an issue as important as the basis for the future borders of Israel? True, no president has moved the U.S embassy to Jerusalem, but for Mr. Friedlander’s information, The Jewish Press has pointed out more than once in its editorials that Obama is the only president who has refused to include an affirmative sentence in his waiver statement committing himself to such a move once circumstances permit.

Michael Greenberg
(Via E-Mail)

About That ‘Restraint’…

The United States, Great Britain, and Russia all request Israeli “restraint.”

I have a simple question for each:

If there were a MexiHamas firing missiles into the United States, would our reaction be restraint?

If there were a ScotchiHamas firing missiles into London, would England restrain itself?

If the Chechens were firing rockets into the Kremlin, would Putin counsel restraint?

The answers are all self-evident.

William K. Langfan
Palm Beach, FL

JNF Can Learn From The Church

Russell Robinson, CEO of the Jewish National Fund, said in his Nov. 16 interview with The Jewish Press that he has no problem with the organization’s policy of only leasing land to Jews, stating: “I have an organization called the Jewish National Fund. If I had an organization called the Catholic Church, it would be different. I think the Catholic Church should be giving services for people who are Catholic.”

Our Readers

How to Keep Up School Spirit!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

My oldest daughter loves school. In fact, over the long holiday break, whenever her school was mentioned, she would say in a little sad voice, “I miss my morahs.”

I repeated this story gleefully to my friends. Some of them, the ones with older kids, looked at me with a blasé face and said, “don’t worry; as she gets older she’ll dread going back to school.” My heart fell. There had to be some way to make sure that Shayna kept relishing the joys and stimulation of school.

I took a small, very unscientific survey and came to the conclusion that some older kids like school, and some don’t. The kids who enjoy going to school have two basic reasons: they have friends and they like their teachers.

Lest you think that the easiest way to ensure this outcome is by picking the best school and then utilizing every level of proteczia to get your child accepted, remember this wise quote from Rabbi Fishel Schachter. At a chinuch l’banot gathering, he said people spend too much time researching schools and sweating over interviews. Every school has every type of kid. A lot depends on who is friends with your child. Obviously, you only have a modicum of control over this situation, so like in most cases involving raising children, some meaningful prayer is definitely in order.

There are, however, some basic building blocks every child needs to succeed and a diligent parent should do their best to ensure their child is receiving them.

Firstly, the school is providing a service. It is their duty to provide our children with a solid education, development of healthy values and a safe place to go. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that parents feel comfortable with the environment the school is creating. If there is an issue that you would like to discuss and you feel that the school is giving you a runaround or is difficult to reach, it might be time to consider switching schools.

On your end, you are responsible for not just paying the tuition for the upkeep of the school, but maintaining the sense of kavod towards the school. If the child hears the school, the administration or the teachers being bashed in front of them, how can you expect him or her to pay the school any mind? Rabbi Shmuel Wallerstein once told me a story about a father who ran to his rabbi and begged for help – his son was about to marry a non-Jewish girl. “Why would he listen to me?” asked the rabbi. “You’ve mocked everything I’ve said for the past ten years.”

Parents have to feel that they are partners with the school, building towards a common goal. It bears saying that it is super crucial to develop a positive relationship with your children’s teacher. He or she is one of the most influential figures in your child’s life and you need to be on the same page. Work with the teachers by taking class attendance and homework seriously. If there is an upcoming baby, family wedding, or chas v’shalom a crisis situation, let the teacher know so that she can treat your child accordingly. Signing up for the PTA or as a class mother is always a bonus. It shows the school you are willing to help out, and if a concern comes up, they will respond to you with your dedication in mind.

In my school, two dinner reservations are built into the tuition. I am always surprised by how many parents don’t bother to attend. Personally, I love the school dinner. Not only is the food and ambience par excellence, but it’s a chance to support the school for all its dedication and efforts on behalf of your child. It’s wonderful to hear all inspiring testimonies of the teachers and the list of achievements of the graduates. It really makes you proud of be part of the school. It’s a shame to skip it, especially if you already paid for it.

Then there is the personal front. Make it easy for your teachers to like your child and always make sure that he or she is going to school well rested, clean and fed. As this is a sore point for me, I’ll take a few minutes to clarify. Rested for the average child is 11-12 of sleep hours a night. Without that, children are short-tempered and cranky. A clean child is someone who bathes almost every night, wears clean, un-wrinkled clothes, and knows how to wash up in the bathroom properly. Finally, a hungry child is a distracted learner. Most parents know they should be on top of those things, but life gets in the way, and they figure the teachers will understand. Trust me, she doesn’t. Help your child succeed and take care of his physical needs.

Pnina Baim

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Children And Corpses
‘A Body Lying In The Sun…’
(Shabbos 43b)

As a general rule, functionless items (i.e., non-utensils which are not designated for any use), such as stones and broken utensils, are muktzah on Shabbos and may not be moved. These types of items belong to a category of muktzah called “muktzah machmas gufo” – inherently muktzah. A human corpse is included in this category and may not be moved on Shabbos except under certain conditions.

A Loaf Of Bread And Kavod Ha’mes

The Gemara on our daf states that if a dead person is lying in the sun on Shabbos and in danger of decaying, it is permissible to move him or her via means of a loaf of bread or a child. That is, one should place either the loaf of bread or child on top of the corpse. Doing so permits one to carry the corpse (since there is a non-muktzah item on top of it). Our sages permitted this action only because they were concerned for kavod ha’mes, the dignity of the deceased.

A Moment’s Interruption

The source for this leniency is, as the Gemara explains (supra 30b), the story of David Hamelech’s death. David knew he would die on a Shabbos and therefore engaged in Torah study ceaselessly every Shabbos in order to keep the Angel of Death at bay. However, one Shabbos, as he was sitting in his garden studying, the Angel of Death caused the trees to stir, whereupon David ascended a ladder to investigate the source of the noise. As he was ascending, the ladder broke causing him to fall to his death. Shlomo Hamelech, seeing his father lying out in the sun and worried his corpse would begin to decay, sent for the Sages, asking them what to do. They replied that he may move the corpse, albeit only after placing either a loaf of bread or child upon it.

The Ran (novella, ad loc.) explains that the Sages did not mean that only a loaf of bread or child may be utilized in a case like this. Rather, any non-muktzah object is acceptable.

What About The Bed?

Rabbi Akiva Eiger (novella, ad loc.) reasons that if all non-muktzah objects are acceptable, the bed of the deceased should suffice. Why, then, does the Gemara state that a child or loaf of bread is necessary? The Rashash answers that a corpse’s bed is not sufficient because it is considered tafel – a subordinate object to the deceased.

His Clothing?

Interestingly, the Mordechai (siman 312 and cited by the Mechaber, Orach Chayim 311:4) opines that in the event that the corpse is clothed, there is no need for any other non-muktzah object since the clothing serves the same purpose that a child or loaf of bread would.

The Beis Yosef (to the Tur, O.C. 311), however, argues that a corpse’s clothing is subordinate to the deceased and can never be considered a substitute for a child or loaf of bread.

The She’lah (cited by Ba’er Heitev, Orach Chayim 311, sk11) adduces proof for the Beis Yosef’s position from the incident concerning David Hamelech’s death (as cited above). The Gemara relates that he collapsed on Shabbos when he momentarily interrupted his Torah study. Clearly he was dressed at the time. Nevertheless, Shlomo was instructed to place either a loaf of bread oa child on his father’s body before moving it out of the sun. According to the Mordechai, placing a child or loaf of bread should not have been required since David was clothed at that moment.

Rules For Royalty

In defense of the Mordechai, the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 311, sk16) argues that David Ha’Melech’s situation was different in light of the Gemara in Sanhedrin 52b which states that a king’s clothing and personal effects are burned after his death (because it would be considered disrespectful to the king if they were subsequently used by ordinary people). Since the king’s clothing was prohibited for use by others, they were muktzah. Therefore, the fact that David was clothed was not sufficient, and it was necessary to place a loaf of bread or child on him.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

Marriage Compromises

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I am struggling in my marriage after just five years. I am, by nature, a very outgoing person. I love to go out with friends and have people over for Shabbos meals. My husband, on the other hand, is quieter and would rather be home and stick to our routine. This causes a great deal of friction; between work and the kids, I do not have much of a social life and always want to invite people over or go out with other couples.

My husband likes to be alone and resents the fact that I want a fuller social life. I begrudge his not understanding my need to go out or have friends over. This has led to neither of us appreciating the other’s wants. When we were dating I knew that my husband was not as social as me, but I figured that opposites attract. I also didn’t want to be with someone who would always be running out of the house to be with his friends. I am happy that my husband wants to be home with me, but I wish that he would also enjoy going out – as a couple. I know I can’t force him to enjoy going out, but it bothers me when he doesn’t have a good time when I am able to convince him that we should share an evening out.

How can we solve this problem?

A Frustrated Social Butterfly

Dear Frustrated Social Butterfly:

Marriage is very challenging when spouses have different needs, but it is a positive sign that you are able to appreciate that your husband enjoys being a homebody. Since you cannot force your husband to have a good time going out with others, perhaps he would have more fun if the two of you go out alone and do something that is mutually enjoyable. It’s possible that your husband does not feel as comfortable as you in social situations and would feel less pressured and thus happier if it was just the two of you.

Here are some suggestions: consider asking your husband whether he and your friends’ husbands would be comfortable babysitting the children when you go out with your friends.

Another way to be more sociable is by inviting friends to join you for Shalosh Seudos or to you go visit a friend on Friday night after lighting the Shabbos candles. You should also ask your husband to meet you half way by sometimes having company over for meals.

If he agrees to any of these ideas, you will have more of the social life you desire.

It is important to understand that while your husband is your partner (and hopefully your best friend) he need not fulfill all of your needs. Instead, you can have some of them filled by friends (as I’ve described) in ways that will both meet your wishes and not make your husband unhappy.

As I said earlier, it can be difficult when each spouse has different wants. However, even you married someone with the same wants and needs, other issues would surface because no two people are exactly the same.

Hashem creates a match between two people in order for them to help each other grow and become better individuals. Perhaps you and your husband can learn from each other and try to make compromises, so that you both feel fulfilled and understood. Additionally, it might be a good idea for you to talk to your husband about his reason for not liking to go out or having company over. This might give you some insight into what makes him uncomfortable. And inquire as to whether he has a chavrusah or close friend that he would enjoy socializing with.

Use “I feel” messages when you speak with him so he does not feel defensive. While doing this, it is important that you approach him in a calm and gentle manner. Otherwise the conversation may lead to an argument.

It is essential that you and your husband understand that just because you have differences on the issue of socializing with others, doesn’t mean that you do not care about the other’s desires. And if you and your husband are expressing an “I don’t care” message, you need to strengthen your communication methods.

Dr. Yael Respler

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Eighteen: Peace in the Middle East

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The emergency bell clanged throughout the valley of the Shoshana kibbutz. Workers who were building the first stone edifice on the settlement put down their chisels and masonry tools. Field hands set aside their scythes and their sickles and started back toward the compound of mud and wood dwellings. Within minutes, all of the settlers sat crowded together on the benches in the dining hall. With great indignation, Ben Zion related how the Arabs had ambushed them at the well and stolen his horse and two rifles. He demanded that a small force be organized immediately and set off in retaliation.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” someone asked.

“We were outnumbered, and I did not want to endanger the girl,” he answered, leaving out the embarrassing details of how the Arabs had snuck up and surprised them.

“You know the rule that a shomer is forbidden to go out on guard duty alone. Why did you break it?”

“I was teaching the girl how to shoot.”

“I wish he would teach me how to shoot,” a plain-looking girl quipped loudly enough for her neighbors to hear. Other girls giggled. Ben Zion’s friends broke out in laughter. Since it was Gordon’s turn to preside at the general meeting, the gavel was in his hand. He gave it a bang on the table, and the ruckus subsided. Sonia, standing in a corner of the hall, flashed a look of accusation at the faithless Don Juan. Ben Zion smiled. Rogue that he was, he cherished all of the attention.

“No one wants a war,” Perchik said. “Let the Arabs have the well. We can always dig another.”

Immediately, another clamor broke out in the crowd. Shouts of protest or agreement came from all corners of the hall. Once again, the fierce-looking Gordon wielded his gavel.

“Water can’t be found everywhere,” a kibbutznik asserted. “Without our wells, what will we do in the event of a drought?”

“What about the stolen horse and the rifles?” another man asked. “Do we give them away too?”

The uproar resumed. This time it took a full minute of gavel banging to restore a semblance of order.

“I volunteer to lead a contingent from the kibbutz to enter into negotiation with the Arabs,” Perchik announced. “If nothing can be accomplished in a peaceful manner, then we can think about fighting.”

“If we don’t respond with a show of force, they will only take advantage of us in the future,” Ben Zion warned.

Once again, a vote was taken. This time, Ben Zion’s followers were one vote shy of a deadlock. Peter had gone to Tiberias to have a doctor examine an infection in his wounded shoulder.

“That’s not fair,” Ben Zion protested. “Peter is not here to vote.”

“You know the rules of the voting,” Gordon responded. “A voter has to be present.”

Ben Zion cast a frustrated look over the crowd.

“One minute,” a voice called from the doorway. “You didn’t count me. I vote with Ben Zion.”

It was Bat Sheva.

“She doesn’t belong to the kibbutz,” Sonia called.

“I want to join,” Bat Sheva responded.

Tevye stood up from his seat on a bench in the back of the room and glared at his daughter. She stared defiantly back at him. Ben Zion’s frown immediately turned to a grin.

“The vote is even,” he said.

“No it isn’t!” Tevye bellowed. “I too want to join the kibbutz. And I vote with Perchik!”

It was no easy decision for Perchik. On the one hand, Tevye’s vote assured a majority for his non-violent faction, averting the danger of military encounter. On the other hand, if Tevye were actually to reside in Shoshana, that would be the end of Perchik’s happy home life with Hodel. But, then again, if Ben Zion’s forces won out, Perchik’s influence on the kibbutz would be seriously weakened. For Tevye also, siding with his socialist son-in-law was no easy matter, but he was willing to do it to bring about Ben Zion’s defeat.

“We have the majority,” Perchik claimed, accepting Tevye’s vote.

“The decision is final,” Gordon announced. “We negotiate with our neighbors.”

Another commotion erupted. Everyone had something to say, either about the Arabs, or about the way the kibbutz had accepted new members without a community vote. Bat Sheva glared at her father and strode out of the hall. Tevye started after her, but Perchik walked over and gave him a congratulatory pat on the back.

Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/the-book-shelf/tevye-in-the-promised-land-books/tevye-in-the-promised-land-chapter-eighteen-peace-in-the-middle-east/2012/10/25/

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