web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shabbos’

I Am Proud

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

As I approached the home of Irving and Miriam Borenstein in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, two things became clear: the pride they feel at being Jewish and their joy at living in America. On their front lawn are large American and Israeli flags with a plaque in front which reads:

Irving and Miriam

Never forget the six million murdered in the Holocaust and the three thousand murdered on 9/11.

May G-d remember them for the good with the other righteous of the world.

Inside their home the theme continues; their walls are covered with pictures, souvenirs and memorabilia related to Israel.

Where did this sense of pride come from? Join me as we learn a little bit about Miriam and Irving’s backgrounds and hear their incredible stories.

Irving: I was born in America in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. It was like the “Yerushalyim of New York.” I went to yeshiva there and then to Harron High school. My father owned a shomer Shabbos grocery store. When I was 16 he passed away; my mother continued to run the store and at some point I began to take responsibility for it, but ultimately it wasn’t for me. I studied and excelled in electrical engineering, which helped me when I was in the military.

Miriam: I was born in Czechoslovakia in the Carpathian mountain region. I have been living in the states for 67 years. Carpathia became a hostile region to live in once the Hungarians took over. First, they put all the Jews in a ghetto. I was in a ghetto called Izah for 6 weeks before they transported us to Auschwitz.

The Borensteins in Germany after the war.

Mr. Borenstein, when did you join the service?

I was drafted into the army when I was 18, like so many others. I could have easily gotten a 4-D (a deferment) since I was a rabbinical student in yeshiva at the time but I didn’t feel that was right.

Were you scared to join the army?

No. I was happy to go. I had no fear. My mother wasn’t too happy about it but I was a strong-minded kid and running the family grocery store was not for me.

What are your thoughts about those who avoided service due to religious observance?

I am a Zionist. I told people you cannot hide behind the Torah. In fact, the Torah demands that we go and help our fellow brethren.

What was your position in the military?

Luckily, I was not in man-to-man combat. I was involved in the anti-aircraft artillery outfit. Basically, I was a utility repair soldier.

Were you ever injured?

I was hurt badly when a car near me blew up; I was unconscious for a while. I was hospitalized for 5 months in London with a fractured skull and malfunctioning kidneys. Eventually I healed, and those of us who were feeling better were given office jobs, so the office clerks could go fight.

Did you experience any anti-Semitism in the military?

Not really. I am as strong as an ox and growing up in Brownsville you knew how to defend yourself. I recall one incident where a non-Jewish man and I were reaching for the same butter during mealtime and I got it first. He said, “Just like a (expletive) Jew!” I flipped over the table and that was the end of that.

In the DP camp in 1945. Irving and Miriam are on the far right.

Were you able to be observant in the army?

Not really. It was hard. I did manage to daven with tefillin every day. One day my captain was inspecting the barracks and I was standing in the corner engrossed in my davening. He asked a fellow soldier what I was doing and when they told him I was praying he said, “If anybody bothers him they are going to have to deal with me!”

What about keeping kosher and Shabbos?

Impossible. The only thing I could do was stay away from meats. As for Shabbos, that was out of the question. The first time I drove a car on Shabbos, I thought it was going to blow up. They did let me go home for the holidays when I was in basic training.

Were there other Jews stationed in your outfit?

It was a 25% Jewish outfit with mostly New Yorkers. This is maybe why anti-Semitism wasn’t so prevalent. I did have to tell one Southerner that Jews don’t have horns though!

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Crystal Clear As The Waters
Speak In The Manner Of One’s Teacher
(Shabbos 15a)

A mikveh must have, minimally, forty se’ah of water that has gathered in it by natural means. This precludes the use of mayim she’uvin – water that was drawn in a vessel to fill the mikveh. If a significant amount of mayim she’uvin fell into a mikveh before it contained the minimum forty se’ah of naturally-gathered water, all the water in the mikveh is disqualified. The question is: What constitutes a significant amount?

A Dispute Even In Expression

The Gemara cites a mishnah in Eduyos (1:3). Hillel says a hin of drawn water (three kabim) renders the mikveh unfit. Shammai maintains the measure is nine kabim. The Gemara notes Hillel’s unusual usage of the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure (which, the Ravad explains, is the term usually used in mishnayos) and explains that a person is required to speak in the manner of his teachers. Since Hillel was a student of Shemayah and Avtalyon who used the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure, he too used that measure.

Mispronouncing Hebrew

The Rambam (Pirush Hamishnayos, Eduyos, at the beginning, cited by Rabbenu Ovadiyah Mi’Bartenura) offers a unique explanation of the Gemara. He says that Shemayah and Avtalyon were converts who came from a nation where people were unable to properly pronounce the letter “heh.” They would pronounce it as an aleph. Thus, they would pronounce “hin” as “in.” In deference to his teachers, Hillel too would pronounce “hin” as “in.”

No Reason To Copy Mispronunciations

The Vilna Gaon (novella to Shabbos ad loc.) explains the mishnah in a similar fashion but rejects the notion that one is obligated to mimic one’s teacher’s mispronunciation of words. He explains that when the Gemara states that Hillel copied his teachers’ pronunciation, what it means is the following: Shemayah and Avtalyon used to preface the word “hin” with “maleh.” In other words, they used to say “maleh hin” even though saying “maleh” is redundant since, by definition, a hin is always maleh (just like a kab is always maleh which is why Shammai in the Gemara just says “kabim” and not “maleh kabim”).

Concern For A Halachic Misunderstanding

Why, indeed, did Shemayah and Avtalyon say “maleh hin”? Because they were concerned that people might misunderstand them. Since they couldn’t pronounce a “heh” properly, people might think they were saying “ein” – which means “no” – instead of “hin.” People would thus conclude that drawn water does not disqualify a mikveh. By adding the word “maleh,” Shemayah and Avtalyon made clear that they meant to say the word “hin,” not “ein.”

Even though, Hillel, whose pronunciation was fine, had no reason to add the word “maleh,” he did so nevertheless so as not to deviate from his teachers’ manner of speech.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Rav Elyashiv, Torah and Science

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

One of the biggest issues that has arisen as a result of the Slifkin controversy is the question of whether Chazal, the sages of the Talmud knew the actuality of nature. There are those who say that they did. They say that every statement recorded in the Gemarah with respect to science is an accurate reflection of nature itself. The science redacted in the Talmud is as valid as the Halacha – both being Mesorah.

There are others who say that Chazal did not know the actuality of nature but knew it only via the best science of their era. Among them are Rishonim like R’ Avraham ben HaRambam.

For many of us who have studied both the Talmud and nature via science at even a minor level the second opinion seems a lot more plausible. There are too many scientifically based statements on nature in the Gemarah that are clearly not accurate.

One of the more famous ones is the idea that lice do not sexually reproduce. This fact impacts on Halacha. One of the 39 forbidden Melachos on Shabbos is Netilas Neshama – killing an animal. The Gemarah explains that it is only forbidden to kill an animal that reproduces sexually. One is however permitted to kill an animal that reproduces asexually . This is the opinion of the Rabbanim (as apposed to R’ Elazar) and this is the Halacha today.

Lice, says the Gemarah, do not reproduce sexually and therefore one is permitted to kill them.

Rav Yitzchok Lamproti (Pachad Yitzchok) was around during the time the microscope was invented. He said that now that we know that lice do sexually reproduce, it is therefore forbidden to kill them on Shabbos. All Achronim argue with him and say that since the Gemarah says it is permitted, it stays permitted in spite of our new knowledge.

What is left unsaid in all of that discussion is the apparent assumption Chazal were mistaken about the actual science. The only question is whether this new information is relevant.

Now it should be said that there are still ways to allow for Chazal to not be mistaken about this. One way is to say that the lice that the Gemarah refers to is not the lice we know of today and that in fact it is that lice which is permitted to kill. The lice that we know of that does sexually reproduce is forbidden to kill.

Another way to look at it is that only lice that one can see with the naked eye sexually reproducing is forbidden. If one needs a microscope to see it, then for Halachic purposes it is still considered asexual reproduction.

But it seems to me that the most logical explanation is to say that they did not know then what we know today simply because they did not have the means to know it. Microscopes had not been invented yet.

There was a relatively recent Halacha Sefer published called Orchos Shabbos that discusses this Halacha (14:30) and mentions the position of Rav Elyashiv (note 47). Rav Elyashiv says that one should be Machmir and not kill lice on Shabbos as a general rule. But he also says that according to the strict letter of the law, one may kill lice on Shabbos.

Why be Machmir? It’s possible that the lice of the Gemarah are not our lice and therefore killing our lice may actually be forbidden. But the fact that he says that according to the strict letter of the law one may indeed kill lice on Shabbos, that means that he believes the lice of the Gemarah are indeed our lice. And yet we now know that they sexually reproduce.

Why then did Chazal say that they don’t? I think there is really only one way to interpret it. Chazal simply didn’t know that because they had no way of knowing it in their day. Rav Elyashiv may feels as Rav Eliyahu Dessler did – that even though Chazal were wrong in their explanation, the Halacha was indeed transmitted masoretically and remains in effect.

We may kill lice but for reasons other than those stated in the Gemarah. The point for our purposes being that since Chazal did not have the means to know they made a mistake about the reality of nature in this case. One can conclude that even R’ Elyashiv concedes that microscopes have increased our knowledge of nature beyond that of Chazal. Is there any other way to interpret that? Even if we say that Halacha follows only what we can see with the naked eye, the fact is that what they saw with the naked eye did not reflect reality.

Daf Yomi

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Where Beis Shammai And Beis Hillel Agree
‘One Must Not Sit Before A Barber Near Minchah’
(Shabbos 9b)

Our mishnah states that one is proscribed from taking a haircut half an hour before the time for minchah lest one forget to pray that tefillah. The mishnah lists other activities, as well, that one may not engage in at this time for the same reason.

Rashi (s.v. “ad she’yispallel”) wonders why the tanna cites this halacha in the midst of a discussion of the laws of Shabbos. This halacha, after all, applies to every day of the week. Rashi suggests that that this halacha appears here specifically because it is similar to another one mentioned in the next mishnah: the halacha that a tailor may not go out in the public domain with his needle near nightfall.

A Shabbos Concern

The Sefas Emes (Novella, ad loc.) offers a different reason. He explains that one might have thought that on erev Shabbos there is no concern that a person may prolong his haircut to the extent that he will miss minchah since, in any event, he knows that he must stop all his activities before the onset of Shabbos. That’s why although this halacha applies every day, it is necessary for the mishnah to state that it applies even on erev Shabbos.

The Shofar Blasts

Additionally, the Gemara (infra 35b) teaches that there was a custom on erev Shabbos to sound several shofar blasts shortly before the onset of Shabbos to remind people to cease working. One might have thought that a person need not worry about taking a haircut half an hour before the time of Minchah on Friday since the shofar blasts will remind him that Shabbos is about to arrive. That’s why the tanna has to state that doing so in nonetheless forbidden.

To Honor The Sabbath

The Rashash (ad loc) offers yet another reason. He explains that taking a haircut and bathing in honor of Shabbos is a mitzvah. Therefore, the mishnah in Meseches Shabbos needs to stress that, nonetheless, one may not perform it starting half an hour before the time of Minchah.

The Maharitz Chayos (Novella, ad Loc.) cites the Rambam in Pirush HaMishnayos (first perek of Meseches Shabbos) who states that this halacha is among the (Sabbath-related) halachos that were jointly enacted by Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel in the aliyas Chananya ben Chizkiya ben Garon (infra. 13b). Therefore, it is stated here.

No Blessing

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 251:1, based upon Pesachim 50b) states that one should not do any melachah from the time of Minchah since one will not see a siman berachah from it. Some say this applies starting from Minchah Gedolah; others say it only applies starting from Minchah Ketanah.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Parshas Bereishis

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 41                             5773

 

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
October 12, 2012 – 26 Tishrei 5773
5:59 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 7:03 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Bereishis
Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar Hashem (Isaiah 42:5- 43:10)
Daf Yomi: Shabbos 9
Mishna Yomit: Nedarim 11:10-11
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 135:6-8
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Tum’as Ochlin chap. 1-3
Earliest time for tallis and tefillin: 6:10 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:53 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

This Shabbos is Shabbos Mevarchim, Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan is two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This Shabbos all tefillos as usual. There is no Hazkaras Neshamos (Av HaRachamim and Kel Malei) and at Mincha we do not say Tzidkas’cha. The molad is Monday afternoon, 41 minutes and 9 chalakim (a chelek is 1/18 of a minute) after 2:00 p.m. in Jerusalem.

Monday Eve: Rosh Chodesh,: at Maariv we add Ya’aleh VeYavo. (However, if one forgot to include Ya’aleh VeYavo (at Maariv only) one does not repeat. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 422:1 on Berachos 30b explains that this is due to the fact that we do not sanctify the month at night.)

   Tuesday morning: Shacharis with inclusion of Ya’aleh VeYavo in the Shemoneh Esreh, half-Hallel, Kaddish Tiskabbel. We take out one Sefer Torah from the Ark. We read in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:1-15), we call four Aliyos (Kohen, Levi, Yisrael, Yisrael), the Baal Keriah recites half-Kaddish. We return the Torah to the Aron, Ashrei, U’va LeTziyyon – we delete La’menatze’ach, the chazzan recites half-Kaddish; all then remove their tefillin.

Musaf of Rosh Chodesh, followed by Reader’s repetition and Kaddish Tiskabbel, Aleinu, Shir shel Yom, Borchi Nafshi and their respective Kaddish recitals (for mourners). Sefarad say shir Shel Yom and Borchi Nafshi after half-Hallel, and before Aleinu they add Ein KeElokeinu with Kaddish DeRabbanan.

Mincha: In the Shemoneh Esreh we say Ya’aleh VeYavo, which we also add to Birkas Hamazon, as well as mention of Rosh Chodesh in Beracha Acharona (Me’ein Shalosh) at all times.

Tuesday evening and Wednesday, 2nd day Rosh Chodesh, the order of the day is the same as yesterday. Kiddush Levana at first opportunity (from the third evening after the molad), Thursday evening, until the (entire) evening of Tuesday, the 15th of Cheshvan.

The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142 – Y.K.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Lulav, Shofar, Bris
“His Hand Is Not At Rest”
(Shabbos 3a)

Our Gemara discusses cases of transferring items from hand to hand. Our Gemara discusses all objects. On Rosh Hashanah and on Sukkos, we can clearly specify an object that would be given from hand to hand. When Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos, we do not blow shofar. On Shabbos of Sukkos, we do not shake our lulavim. The concern that we might carry a shofar or lulav on Shabbos was so great, that our Sages deemed it preferable to forbid the performance of these mitzvos altogether.

A Shabbos Bris?

On the other hand, we find in the sugya at Shabbos 131b that a bris milah may be performed on Shabbos, if it is the eighth day after the child’s natural birth. The accepted halacha follows Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, that it is a Torah prohibition to carry a knife through the reshus harabim to the site of a bris milah. Why did our Sages not forbid bris milah on Shabbos, to prevent the mohel from accidentally carrying a knife, just as they forbade lulav and shofar?

Skilled Mohel

The Rishonim address this question in various places throughout Shas, and offer a variety of answers. Tosefos (Megillah 4b, s.v. vaya’’avirena) explains that the mitzvah of bris milah has preeminent importance, since Hashem sealed thirteen covenants with Avraham Avinu in its merit, as we learn from the pesukim beginning, ““This is My covenant with you,”” (Bereishis 17). Furthermore, Tosefos explain that every Jew, regardless of the level of his Torah knowledge, must perform the mitzvos of shofar and lulav. Therefore our Sages were concerned that an unlearned Jew might accidentally come to carry. However, bris milah is only performed by a skilled mohel, who is presumably knowledgeable enough to refrain from carrying on Shabbos.

Communal vs. Individual

The Ran (Rosh Hashanah, on the Rif 8a) explains that on Yom Tov, the entire Jewish people are busy performing the mitzvos of the day, therefore they cannot be expected to keep an eye out to prevent one another from carrying. However, when a bris milah occurs, only the mohel is busy in performing the mitzvah. The other Jews assembled will be free to prevent the mohel from carrying his knife.

An Overriding Mitzvah

Other Rishonim (Ritva, Succah 43a; Meiri, Megillah 4b) explain that in contrast to the mitzvos, the bris milah itself involves a Torah prohibition. If not for the pasuk that orders us otherwise, it would be a violation of meleches choveil (wounding) to perform a bris milah. Since the Torah instructs us that bris milah takes precedence over a definite violation of meleches choveil, our Sages did not forbid it.

An Eight Day Count

The Ritva (ibid.) adds another explanation. As we know, outside of Eretz Yisrael, two days of Yom Tov are observed, since the messengers from the Beis Din in Yerushalayim were unable to reach Chutz La’’Aretz in time to inform them when the new month began, and on which day to observe Yom Tov. As a result, they observed both days just in case. Our Sages forbid shofar and lulav in favor of guarding Shabbos, since shofar and lulav might be observed on the wrong day. The certainty of Shabbos observance took precedence over the possibility of shofar and lulav. Even in places where they were familiar with the fixed lunar cycle, and knew which was the correct day for Yom Tov, our Sages made no exception. They wished to preserve one consistent set of rules for all Jewish communities throughout the world. Bris milah, on the other hand, does not depend on a lunar date. The certainty of bris milah performed on the correct day, eight days after birth, takes precedence over Shabbos.

Doubt and Negligible Doubt

The Chasam Sofer (in his commentary on Shabbos 131b), discusses bris milah as also involving an element of uncertainty. Unbeknownst to us, the child may have been born with health complications, G-d forbid, which would classify him as a neifel, whose bris does not preempt Shabbos. He states that a question of the correct date is a justified concern, since the Bnei Chutz La’Aretz observed both days, without knowing which was the Yom Tov medeoraisa. However, only a small minority of babies are neifels, therefore it is a negligible doubt, which would not justify preempting the bris.

Mothers, Fathers, And The Curse Of Family Breakdowns

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In my most recent column I wrote about ways of improving family relationships, and raising children who have derech eretz and respect for their parents. I will continue on that same theme here.

If the Jewish home is to survive as it did throughout the centuries, if it is to remain immune to the degeneracy and immorality of the outside world, it must become a bastion of Torah, where mothers and fathers stand guard day and night and do not allow messengers of evil to enter – messengers who have the capacity to bring down the walls and set the entire house aflame.

But here comes the tricky part. As in all things, we cannot make generalizations. There are always exceptions to the rule, and, sadly, in these types of situations the anomalies are even more striking. We see homes that, outwardly at least, house families committed to Torah and yet are torn by strife and acrimony. Despite the glow of the Shabbos lights, despite family members’ adherence to the laws of kashrut and shmiras Shabbos, if you are close enough you can hear loud, angry voices spewing vile words – words that build walls of hatred and shut the gates of the heart.

How can that be? you ask. Where is the Torah? Where is the protective wall that should have shielded the house from the evils of the street?

My husband, Rabbi Meshulem HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, would explain it all through a story:

A soap manufacturer came to a rabbi and said, “Rabbi, your Torah teachings are of no avail. I see so many out there who claim to be observant, but they are mean and miserable.”

The rabbi invited him to take a stroll in the park. He took him to the children’s playground and said, “Your soap is useless. It is of no avail. Look at those children – they are all dirty, covered with sand and mud!”

“What are you talking about?” the soap manufacturer retorted indignantly. “My soap is perfect, but these kids have been playing in the dirt and have yet to use it.”

“That’s exactly right.” the rabbi responded. “Our Torah is perfect, but there are many out there playing in the dirt and they have yet to use the powerful, cleansing force of our Torah!”

This story perfectly illustrates the fact that there are people who go through the motions of observance but it is something else again for them to allow the Torah to mold their lives and, yes, cleanse them.

The great sage of Mussar, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, taught that for some people it is easier to learn an entire tractate of Talmud than to change even one character trait. Bad middos that are allowed to fester soon become ingrained and almost impossible to extricate. Too often, despite intense therapy and admonishment, these traits remain unchanged. For example, if someone is a ba’al ka’as – has an uncontrollable temper – he will succumb to that negative character trait despite all his promises to change. His words are empty, without substance. Perhaps for a few days he will appear to be different, but it is only an appearance, and in no time at all he will be back to his old ways. So it is that an angry secular person may become a shomer Shabbos angry person, and this holds true for all other character aberrations.

There is a well-known story of a cat that is trained to walk on its hind legs holding a tray with its front paws. One day, it sees some mice – and in no time at all it is chasing the mice on all fours. The lesson is obvious. Parents who wish to build solid families and enjoy loving relationships with their children must become living role models of the Torah and mitzvot that they preach.

The Shabbos candles are symbols of peace, but if those symbols are to have meaning they must be reflected in the words and actions of those who are living in that house. To make this change in our homes, to turn ourselves over and become real Torah people, is not an option but a life and death priority. The very lives of our families are at stake.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/mothers-fathers-and-the-curse-of-family-breakdowns/2012/09/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: