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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘son’

Q & A: A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part II)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Question: I am a single mother of young children. Their father has shirked all his responsibilities to them. I do my best for my children, but it isn’t easy. Isn’t their father in serious violation of the Torah by neglecting his children and not making any effort to provide them an education?

No Name Please
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Last week we learned from a mishnah (Kiddushin 29a) that a father has certain exclusive responsibilities to his children. One of those responsibilities is teaching them Torah. The Mechaber (Yoreh Deah 245:1-6) states that it is a Bbblical requirement for the father to educate his son himself or hire a teacher. The Meiri (Nazir 29) learns from R. Yochanan that besides for designating a child a nazir, a woman shares the obligations of child rearing, including education, with her husband. The Shitah Mekubetzes (Nazir ad loc.) cites the Gemara (Sukkah 2b) about Queen Helena training her minor children to eat in the sukkah, indicating that a mother is also obligated to educate her children in the performance of mitzvot.

* * *

While in agreement that a mother bears responsibility to educate her children, many commentators (Meromei Sadeh, Keren Orah, Chidushei Orach Mishor, and Hagahot Birkat Rosh to Nazir 28b) distinguish between obligatory precepts and discretionary precepts.

Without a doubt, they note, a mother is obligated to train her children to fulfill commandments, but only in the performance of precepts (such as sukkah) that they will be obligated to perform when they reach maturity. That’s why a mother cannot make her son a nazir as there is no obligation for a person to become one.

Indeed, from the Torah’s words (Numbers 6:2), “ish o isha ki yafli lindor neder nazir – a man or a woman who shall dissociate him or herself by taking a nazirite vow of abstinence,” it is clear that one effects nezirut purely at one’s own discretion, in order to seek perfection and refinement. One of the paths to refinement is this optional mitzvah – an exercise in abstinence and self-discipline for one who wishes to live a life of purity and sanctity. If a parent wishes to effect this level of sanctity and abstinence upon a child as a means of imparting those unique qualities in him, it may be done – however, only by the father.

Chidushei Orach Mishor (Rabbi Yochanan Kremnitzer, cited above to Nazir 29) goes even further and explains that a mother’s only obligation is to train her children in positive precepts, mitzvot aseh, but not prohibitory precepts, mitzvot lo ta’aseh.

Rabbi Reuven Grozovsky (novella to Nazir) explains this matter differently. He argues that, in fact, a father is not obligated to train his children in the performance of commandments; rather he bears personal responsibility for their transgressions. A father incurs punishment for his children’s transgressions because they are considered his own. This is implied by the blessing a father recites at his son’s bar mitzvah: “Baruch she’petarani me’onsho shelazeh – Blessed is He Who has absolved me from the punishment due this one.” Thus, it is in the father’s interest to train his children in mitzvot.

A mother, on the other hand, while obligated to educate and train her children in the performance of mitzvot, bears no personal responsibility for their transgressions.

Rabbi Grozovsky further argues that a mother lacks the authority to declare a nazirite vow for her son because one cannot impose a vow on another person. How, then, is a father capable of imposing such a vow? The answer lies in the unique relationship the Torah vests in a father. Since a father is responsible for his son’s transgressions, the son is deemed an extension of his father in this regard; he is not considered a separate person. Therefore, just as a father is able to render himself a nazir, he may render his son a nazir.

I would like to add that the Torah and our sages place the responsibility of chinuch on fathers because they might at times shirk their responsibility. As to mothers, there really is no need to place the full responsibility of chinuch on them because they will naturally involve themselves in this task in any event. In fact, mothers will go to great lengths in this regard. Indeed, this is one of the reasons women are not obligated in time-related precepts – because of their all time-consuming responsibilities in the home.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Israeli Teen’s Organs Save the Lives of Six People

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Nine organs donated by the family of a 16 year old Israeli athlete have saved the lives of 6 people, providing some comfort to a family heartbroken by the loss of their son.

Gilad Veturi, a student at Ilan Ramon High School in Hod Hasharon collapsed Thursday during sprinting practice and died two days later.

According to Israel Transplant, Venturi’s heart was donated by his family to a 56 year old man, his lungs were transplanted into two men aged 63 and 67, his liver was given to a 64 year old woman, a kidney and his pancreas were given to a 36 year old woman, and his other kidney went to a 24 year old woman.  Veturi’s corneas will be transplanted later.

Malkah Fleisher

Rabi Yehudah And Antoninus

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Rabi Yehudah Hanasi (the prince) known as Rebbe had an amazingly warm friendship with the Roman Caesar, Antoni­nus. The friendship began at the birth of the two men and continued until their dying days.

Rebbe was born as the land of Judea lay beneath the heavy Roman heel. The Roman government, furious at the stubbornness of the Jewish people, passed severe decrees against them. One of these decrees concerned the vital mitzvah of milah (circumcision).

The Jews were horrified to learn that the Romans had decreed that any Jew who cir­cumcised his child would be put to death and were in turmoil. How could one not fulfill the mitzvah that was the sym­bol of the covenant between the Almighty and His people? On the other hand, who had the courage to risk death by defying the decree?

Rabi Shimon Ben Gamliel, descendant of the great Hillel and head of the Sanhedrin, was blessed by G-d just at that time with a son. Great was the rejoicing but equally great was the trepidation.

But Rabi Shimon never hesitated. He took his eight-day old son and performed the ritual that brought him into the covenant of Avraham Avinu.

The Romans Hear

The Roman governor soon learned of Rabi Shimon’s actions. He was furious.

“Bring Rabi Shimon before me imme­diately,” he said.

Rabi Shimon was brought to the palace and before the angry gover­nor.

“What have you done? Why have you defied the orders of the Roman Caesar and circumcised your son?”

Rabbi Shimon looked at the governor and replied: “I have obeyed the orders of a greater king than the Roman Caesar. I have obeyed the decree of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, who is Sovereign of the universe.”

“I realize that you are the leader of the Jewish people and I respect you as a great man” the governor said, “but duty compels me to take you into custody for having broken the Roman law. You, your wife and the newborn child will go under guard to Rome and Caesar himself will decide your fate.”

On To Rome

The trip took many days and when they reached Italy they stopped at a hotel before proceeding on to Rome. The Empress was also staying at the same hotel for the Al-Mighty had decreed that she should give birth about the same time.

The wife of Rabi Shimon, as the leader of the Jews, had met the Empress before and they had become good friends.

“What are you doing here?” the Empress asked in surprise.

Rabi Shimon’s wife burst into tears and poured forth the entire story,

“Because we circumcised our son, Caesar, your husband, will probably con­demn us all to death.”

The Plan

The Roman Empress listened in horror to the tale that had just unfolded and she rose to her feet, “Never! This will never happen!”

“I am afraid it will,” said Rabi Shimon’s wife, sadly, “There is nothing that we can do. We defied the law of tyranny and now we shall be punished for it.”

“No, perhaps not.” said the Empress, as her face brightened,

“What do you mean?”

“I have an idea which just might work if you are willing to try it out.”

“I will do anything if the life of my son will be spared.”

“Very well,” said the Empress. “I have just given birth to a son also. He is not cir­cumcised. Let us exchange babies temporar­ily and when you show the baby to the king he will see that the child is uncircumcised and will let you all go free.”

The Jewish mother listened to the plan and agreed to try it out.

“Perhaps if the Almighty wishes it, the plan will work and we will be saved.”

In the greatest secrecy the two women gathered up their infants and exchanged them. The uncircumcised Roman baby, heir to the Roman kingdom was given to the wife of the Jewish leader and little Yehuda, destined to be one of the giants of Torah, was handed over to the Roman Empress.

Before The Emperor

The next morning the party proceeded on its journey and was taken to the palace to see the Emperor.

“I have heard that you have defied the decree of the Empire and circumcised your child,” the Emperor said. “You realize, of course, that you are liable for the death penalty for treason.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Reflections on My Trip to Israel

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I’m on my way back to Chicago. Unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to post anything today except for this short note. I left Israel shortly after Yom Tov Sheni ended. I will not be arriving in Chicago until Wednesday afternoon.

It was great spending Yom Tov with my son, daughter in law, and 7 Israeli grandchildren.

Ramat Bet Shemesh A is a great place to visit and to live. I met all kinds of people there on all sides of the Hashkafic spectrum and every single one of them welcomed me as if I were one of their own.

Despite some of my early negative observations – it still seemed like there was a tremendous sense of Achdus in many respects. The Shul I davened at was very Charedi and yet a great number of regular attendees there are Dati Leumi – Kipa Seruga, no jacket or hat. Even an occasional Israeli solider in full uniform can be found  catching a Minyan there. All are welcome.

There are Hashkafic differences that have led to some of the things I described in an earlier post. But at the same time there is what I just now described. Hard to explain it but that’s the way it seems to be there.

I guess if you avoid talking Hashkafa or politics with your ideological opponents, you can get along marvelously. Is that enough? Not sure.

Gotta go. Next new post: Thursday.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Special Baby Born in Ramat Gan

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Mazel Tov is in order for a special new mother in Ramat Gan.

A rare Brazilian tapir, “Pessiflora”, has given birth to a son at the Ramat Gan Safari Park.

Father, Meir, has been moved to a separate enclosure until he overcomes his jealousy for the new arrival.

The unnamed baby was born after a 13-month pregnancy and is enjoying the attention of his mother and older sister, Papaya.

He was born with white stripes which will fade as he matures.

Malkah Fleisher

The Joy of Achdus

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Now that the Daf Yomi cycle has reached Meseches Shabbos I’d like to take this opportunity to remind those who are participating in it that my son, Rabbi Meyer Maryles (pictured), will be giving on-line in depth daily Shiurim on the Daf on the website Shas Illuminated. If you want more out of a Blatt Gemarah than Pashut Peshat, this site is for you. Once you learn the Daf, listen to this Shiur. It will truly enhance the Daf Yomi experience. Speaking of Torah – it was just Shemini Atzeres, the last day of the holiday season. In Israel that day is combined with Simchas Torah. I celebrated that day here in Israel with my son and his family.

On Simchas Torah we complete the yearly reading cycle of the Torah by reading its final Parsha followed by beginning anew the reading of the very first section of Bereshis.The day is also marked by doing Hakafos, both at night and during the day. Men holding Sifrei Torah circle the Bima seven times in special song. That is the formality. But it doesn’t end there. There is spontaneous singing and dancing after each Hakafa by those holding the Sifrei Torah as well as most of the rest of the people in the Shul (or in a Yeshiva as the case may be).

This practice has expanded to massive proportions reflecting great joy on that day, by those who learn Torah and by all who adhere to its precepts. The joy and exuberance by religious Jews – young and old – in celebrating this event on this day is palpable.

It doesn’t matter to what segment of Orthodox Jewry one belongs. All segments celebrate this day with the same exuberance.

It is truly the Torah which unites us all, right to left. Those of us who participate in this event are sincere in our feelings of joy. It doesn’t matter if one is Charedi or MO; Chasidic or Yeshivish; Asheknazi or Sephardi; Mizrachi or Agudah. It is a true moment of Achdus for all. Jews all over the world are all dancing to the same tunes and for the same reasons.

When I get a bit fatigued at the amount of dancing, I remind myself of this very plain fact and it renews my hope for the future. With all the things that divide us, there is so much more that unites us. Achdus is what Simchas Torah is all about. At least for me.

We have concluded the holiday season. One that involves great intensity on religious matters. Beginning with the month of Elul and culminating well into Tishrei – almost two months of celebration which begins with solemnity and repentance and ends in a great joy. I like to think that the Achdus in which this season ends is a sign for us about what our goals as a people should be.

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Harry Maryles

Events In The West

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Events In The West: October 14 is East Bay Tikkun Olam Chesed Day in northern California.

Shul News: Yasher koach to Young Israel of Century City for reaching out to its members to organize meals for those in need.


Mazel Tov – Births: Shai and Chana Samet, a son… Eric and Sarah Abitbol of NY, a son (Grandparents Alan and Etti Lowy; Sonia Rosenberg)… Pinny and Chana Rosenbaum, a daughter (Grandparents Chaim and Mati Rosen)… Rabbi Yakov and Chana Willner, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Yaakov and Frumie Krause)… Yossi and Chava Braun, a son (Grandparents Yehoshua and Ruchel Klavan; Great-grandparents Rabbi Jacob and Leah Friedman)… Rabbi Stephen and Rachel Cavalier of Yerushalayim, a son (Grandparents Mark and Linda Abraham)… Alan and Rochelle Tsarovsky, a son… Shua and Chavi Lebovics, a son… Howard and Jill Reichman, a son… Ari and Suri Reiss of Yerushalayim, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Shlomo and Robin Goldberg)… Yoni and Talya Weiss, a son (Grandparents Yaacov and Rayme Isaacs; Great-grandparents Dr. Sam and Diana Hirt)… Joey and Dana Small, a son (Grandparents Dr. Sandy and Freda Small)… Gavy and Yaffa Silverstein of Hollywood, FL, a daughter (Grandparents Neil and Leslie Silverstein)… Moshe and Miriam Leiber, a son (Grandparents Saul and Julie Kessler; Great-grandparents Max and Marilyn Kessler and Elazar and Joyce Genauer)… Sholom and Bashi Rand, a daughter…Dan and Donna Harkham, a son (Grandparents Dr. Glenn and Janet Roeder).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Pinchos Abramczik, son of Shimon and Hubi Abramczik… Chaim Selah, son of Tzvi and Janet Selah.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Shoshana Gres, daughter of Jerry and Debbie Gres, to Yosef Caplan, son of Jeff and Gale Caplan of Agoura, CA… Jennifer Libo, daughter of David Libo and Miriam Libo, to Jeremy Torem, son of Rabbi Rob and Jocelyn Torem of Seattle, WA… Sara Fried, daughter of Lauren Hellman, to Yoni Levin, son of Brian and Judy Levin… Chani Levy, daughter of David and Betty Levy, to Yudi Hollander, son of Rabbi Tzvi and Kayla Hollander… Dr. Diego Wyszynky to Ruthie Hassan of London.

Congratulations: Deputy Sheriff Barry Poltorak for receiving the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Meritorious Conduct Medal-Silver for his actions during the city of Carson’s major apartment house and mobile home park fire.


Mazel Tov – Birth: Andrew and Kerry Gorden, a son.


Mazel Tov – Births: Jonathon and Elise Hay, a daughter (Grandparents David and Lea Polaner)… Dr. Alex and Rikki Kushnir, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Hillel and Elaine Goldberg).


Mazel Tov – Birth: Rabbi Shmuel and Sarah Brody, a son.

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Jeremy Torem, son of Rabbi Rob and Jocelyn Torem, to Jennifer Libo, daughter of David Libo and Miriam Libo of Los Angeles, CA.

Jeanne Litvin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/west-coast-happenings/events-in-the-west-14/2012/10/04/

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