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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Sukkah’

Why Women Are Obligated To Build The Beis HaMikdash

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Rambam, in Hilchos Beis Habechirah 1:12, derives from the pasuk in this week’s parshah, “u’veyom hakim es haMishkan… – and on the day the Mishkan was set up…” (Bamidbar 9:15), that the Beis HaMikdash can only be built by day, not by night. Further in that halacha the Rambam writes that both men and women are obligated in the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash. The Kesef Mishneh explains that the source for the halacha that women are obligated in this mitzvah is from the pasuk in parshas Vayakhel: “v’kol ishah chachmas lev beyada tavu – and every wise-hearted woman spun with her hands.”

The Achronim are bothered by this obvious question: Why are women obligated in this mitzvah? Since it only applies by day, it should fall under the category of mitzvos assei she’hazman gramma (time- sensitive mitzvos) that women are exempt from fulfilling?

The answer by some Achronim is based on the following Yerushalmi: The Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1 says that the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash essentially applies even by night – except that if it is built at night it is not fit for the avodahs of the daytime. If the mitzvah only applied by day, a Beis HaMikdash that was built at night should not be fit for any avodah. This indicates that the mitzvah applies even by night; thus it is not a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma, and women are obligated in it.

Another suggested answer is that the Rambam says in Sefer Hamitzvos (mitzvas assei 20) that the building of the Beis HaMikdash’s vessels is included in the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash. The Aruch Laner, on Sukkah 41a, says that the vessels of the Beis HaMikdash can be built at night. Therefore the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash applies by night as well. It is therefore not a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma.

Even according to the Achronim who disagree with the Aruch Laner and hold that the vessels must be built by day (just as the Beis HaMikdash itself), they nevertheless agree that the Menorah may be built at night since its avodah (lighting it) may be performed at that time. Since in the Rambam’s view the mitzvah to build the Menorah is included in the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash, part of this mitzvah is continuous and thus not considered a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma.

The sefer, Har Hamoriah (Beis Habechirah 1:28), says that there are two parts in the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash: the actual building, and the planning, measuring and bringing of supplies. Only the actual building may not be done at night. The other aspects of the mitzvah, however, may be performed at night. Hence it is not a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma.

The Rishonim, on Kiddushin 29a, ask why the Torah feels the need to write a pasuk exempting a woman from the obligation to perform the mitzvah of bris milah on her son. After all, she should obviously be exempt since it is a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma? The Ramban and the Ritvah answer that women are only exempt from mitzvos assei she’hazman gramma on mitzvos that pertain to themselves. But when the mitzvah requires them to do something for someone else, they are not exempt. For example, without the exemption in the pasuk, a woman would be obligated to perform a bris milah on her son.

The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 112:3) understands the Ritvah’s answer to mean the following: Mitzvos can be classified into two categories; those that are obligations on the individual to perform, and those that require that a certain situation take place (gavra or cheftza). The Minchas Chinuch explains that the mitzvah on the parents to perform a bris milah on their son is not a mitzvah whereby they are obligated to perform a certain act; rather that they ensure that a certain situation is accomplished – namely that their son should have a bris milah. Regarding these types of mitzvos women are not exempt, even if it is a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma. Therefore, if the Torah did not write a pasuk that exempted women, they would be obligated to ensure that a bris milah was performed on their son.

Parshas Tazria-Metzora

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 17                                                   5772

New York City

CANDLE LIGHTING TIME

April 27, 2012 – 5 Iyar 5772

7:28 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 8:39 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Weekly Reading: Tazria-Metzora

Weekly Haftara: Ve’Arba’a Anashim (II Kings 7:3-20)

Daf Yomi: Me’ilah 12

Mishna Yomit: Chagigah 2:6-7

Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 46:8-47:1

Rambam Yomi: Hilchos  Chametz u’Matzah 8 – Shofar v’Sukkah v’Lulav 2

Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:01 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Latest Kerias Shema: 9:27 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Pirkei Avos: 2

Sefiras HaOmer: 20

Today, the 5th of Iyar, is Yom Ha’atzma’ut – Israel’s Independence day. (Celebrated Thursday, 4 Iyar, one day earlier)

Why Don’t We Make A Berachah Over Korech?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The Gemara in Pesachim 115a says that there was a machlokes regarding how one was supposed to eat matzah and marror in the times of the Beis HaMikdash. Hillel said that during those times, when there was a korban Pesach, matzah and marror should be eaten together. His peers argued that they must be eaten separately. The Gemara concludes that since the halacha was not paskened we eat matzah separately, then marror separately, and then both together to accommodate both opinions.

The Rambam (Hilchos Chametz U’matzah 8:8) says that one should korech matzah and marror together, dip it into charosses and eat it without reciting the berachah, “zecher l’mikdash.” The Rambam’s words imply that the reason that we do not recite a berachah on the takanah of korech is because it was instituted zecher l’mikdash (as a remembrance of the Beis HaMikdash). Any takanah that was instituted zecher l’mikdash does not require a berachah.

However the Achronim ask the following question: Originally the mitzvah of lulav was to take the lulav only on the first day, with the exception of taking it in the Beis HaMikdash – where it was taken for seven days. The Mishnah in Sukkah 41a says that after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, Reb Yochanan ben Zakai instituted the policy that the lulav should be taken for seven days everywhere, even outside the Beis HaMikdash, as a remembrance of the Mikdash. Why is it that regarding the institution of taking a lulav for all seven days of Sukkos we recite a berachah, and regarding the institution of korech we do not? The rule that we do not recite a berachah on an institution that was initiated zecher l’mikdash should exempt a berachah on the takanah to take the lulav for the remaining six days of Sukkos.

I would like to suggest that the answer lies in the words of the Rambam. The Rambam (Hilchos Lulav 7:15) says that after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, it was decided that the lulav should be taken on each of the seven days of Sukkos – zecher l’mikdash. One should recite the berachah of “al netilas lulav” over it every day because it is a mitzvah midivrei sofrim (from the Rabbanan). The Rambam seems to be alluding to this question when he answers that this takanah is a mitzvah. I think this can be better understood based on the following explanation:

The Gemara in Sukkah 44a brings a dispute as to whether a certain rabbinic institution was a takanah or a minhag. The Gemara says that if it is a takanah, a berachah is recited; if it is a minhag, a berachah is not recited. Rashi explains that as the Gemara in Shabbos 23a and Sukkah 46a both say, in order to recite a berachah on a rabbinic decree and say “vetzivanu” (Hashem commanded us) it must be decreed that if one disobeys this ruling he will have transgressed the Torah’s prohibition of lo sasor. Rashi explains that only if one disobeys a takanah will he transgress the Torah’s prohibition; therefore one can make a berachah on it. But if one does not follow a minhag of the Rabbanan, he does not transgress the Torah’s prohibition of lo sasor. As a result, a berachah is not recited.

The Rambam, in Hilchos Mamrim 1:2, says that if one does not adhere to even a minhag he transgresses the Torah’s prohibition of lo sasor. According to this opinion this question remains: Why don’t we recite a berachah on a minhag of the Rabbanan?

The Brisker Rav, in his sefer on the Rambam, explains that there are two requirements that must be met in order to recite a berachah on a rabbinic decree. One is that it was a commandment; this is met when one will transgress a Torah prohibition by disobeying the decree. The second is that its essence must be a mitzvah. Even though one who does not follow a minhag that the Rabbanan instituted will transgress the Torah’s prohibition, it was nevertheless not instituted to be a mitzvah by nature; rather it is a minhag. We do not recite a berachah over minhagim. We only recite a berachah on mitzvos.

By applying this rule we can differentiate between the takanah of taking a lulav on all seven days of Sukkos and that of korech. By the takanah of taking the lulav on all seven days, the actual decree was an institution of a mitzvah in its essence. The reason why this mitzvah was established was zecher l’mikdash. The takanah to eat korech with matzah and marror together was not instituted as a mitzvah, but rather its essence is to commemorate and remember the Beis HaMikdash. The Rambam writes that the takanah of taking the lulav on all seven days of Sukkos is a mitzvah, and therefore we recite a berachah. Regarding the takanah of korech, the Rambam does not say that it is a mitzvah because it was not established as a mitzvah – but rather as a zecher l’mikdash. Thus we do not recite a berachah on korech since its essence is not a mitzvah.

Sukkah War Erupts Two Weeks Before Purim

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Ya gotta’ love the NY Post. Where else will you find a report on a “high-rise holy war” at the Trump Place Condominiums, where “one man’s straw Sukkot” is driving the neighbors bonkers?

The Post‘s Kathianne Boniello keeps referring in her report to Sukkot in the plural, confusing the Hebrew name for the Holiday of Booths – plural – with the name for one booth – singular. Other than that bit of nitpicking, though, it’s good, old fashioned, NYC neighbors’ feud, as befits the newspaper that Rupert built.

So Zev Geller, who lives on the third floor, builds a sukkah on his porch every year, and upsets his neighbors two floors below, Thomas Tagliani and Leslie Lucas. Because Geller not only builds a 20-foot long sukkah – a fire hazard in its own right – but he goes ahead and does special yom tov barbecues next to it, oy vey…

Now the couple is suing Geller, the condo owner and the condo board for $500,000. And they want poor, Sukkah-loving Geller out.

Geller has been using the “I’m Jewish, whatcha’ gonna’ do” defense, telling the Post: “I’m Jewish. I built a Sukkot. I didn’t think much of it because it’s temporary.”

Did he also refer to his Sukkah in the plural? Who knows. All Geller knows is: “I’m literally just a Jewish person living in New York City, but I guess my neighbor doesn’t like that.”

And deep inside, aren’t we all literally just Jewish persons living here and there?

The couple’s attorney, William Perniciaro, says the case is not about literal or semi-literal Jews, but about fire hazards.

Sufferin Sukkahtash…

Why Was Avraham Allowed To Perform Hachnasas Orchim?

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

At the beginning of this week’s parshah the Torah writes extensively about Avraham Avinu’s act of hachnasas orchim for the three men who were passing by his tent. Several Achronim are bothered by this action for the following reason: The first pasuk in the parshah says, “Vayeira eilav Hashem – And Hashem appeared to [Avraham].” The Gemara in Baba Metzia 86b says that Hashem had come to visit Avraham in fulfillment of the mitzvah of bikur cholim, as it was the third day after Avraham’s bris milah and he was considered sick. The presence of Hashem, however, did not stop Avraham from performing the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim. The Gemara in Shabbos 127 says that we learn from this that the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim is greater than kabalas p’nei haShechinah.

Achronim ask that since Avraham was in the middle of performing the mitzvah of kabalas p’nei haShechinah, why did he stop and start another mitzvahhachnasas orchim? The rule is osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah (while one performs one mitzvah he is exempt from another). The question is even stronger according to the opinion of the Ritva in Sukkah 25 that one who is performing one mitzvah is not allowed to perform another mitzvah.

The Nesivos Hamishpat (72:19) says that the general rule of osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah only applies in a scenario in which one was performing an obligatory mitzvah. When one is involved in performing a non-obligatory mitzvah, he may perform another mitzvah if he wishes – even according to the Ritva. Therefore, if one is involved in a voluntary mitzvah and a poor man approaches him, he will be obligated to give him tzedakah.

Based on the opinion of the Nesivos, we can answer the question that was posed regarding Avraham Avinu’s engagement in the act of hachnasas orchim. Since the mitzvah that Avraham was performing (kabalas p’nei haShechinah) was not obligatory, he was allowed to engage in another mitzvah. The reason that Avraham chose to engage in the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim over the mitzvah of kabalas p’nei haShechinah presumably is because it is greater, as the aforementioned Gemara in Shabbos stated.

However, many Achronim were bothered by the ruling of the Nesivos. They state that the Gemara in Sukkah 26a says that individuals who sell tefillin are exempt from all other mitzvos. Selling tefillin is not an obligatory mitzvah, and yet the Gemara extends the rule of osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah to those individuals. This seems to be a direct contradiction to the ruling of the Nesivos.

Perhaps we can suggest that the Nesivos agrees that even when one is involved in a voluntary mitzvah, the rule of osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah will apply, as is evident from the Gemara in Sukkah. However, the exemption differs when one is performing an obligatory mitzvah as opposed to a voluntary mitzvah. When one is involved in performing an obligatory mitzvah, all other mitzvos are considered as if they are davar rishus (not mitzvos) for him; therefore he is exempt from performing them. There is even a discussion as to whether he would make a berachah on another mitzvah, since it is not considered a mitzvah for him.

When one is involved in a voluntary mitzvah, he is exempt from engaging in other mitzvos. However, we do not render all other mitzvos as if they were not mitzvos. It is merely a right to continue performing the mitzvah that he had started earlier. If one was involved with performing a voluntary mitzvah and decided to engage in another mitzvah, all would agree that he should make a berachah on the new mitzvah since it is a mitzvah even for him.

Seeking The Divine Presence

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

We are now in the Three Weeks, a time of national mourning for the Jewish people. Of the numerous tragedies that occurred throughout history during this period, the central one we grieve is the destruction of both Temples; they were destroyed on Tisha B’Av, the culmination of the Three Weeks.

Many of us can compile a laundry list of what we feel is missing from our lives. However, the loss our souls most acutely feel is of a clear Divine Presence in our lives. The Divine Presence is the aspect of God when He manifests Himself in this world. When the Temple stood, God’s glory and providence were visible; we basked in the glow of His love. In exile, heavy clouds surround us; the guiding light of God’s presence is hidden.

According to Rashi (Sukkah 41a), the Third Temple already exists in Heaven. When the time comes, God will return it to us. This raises a question. The Torah teaches we are obligated to return a lost object. Is God not bound by His own law? Why has He not yet returned the Temple and the Divine Presence to us?

Perhaps the answer is alluded to in Deuteronomy (22:2), where God outlines a scenario when lost objects are not returned right away. “If your brother is not near you and you do not know him, then you shall bring it inside your house, and it shall remain with you until your brother’s seeking of it, then you shall return it to him.”

We can interpret this verse with God as the subject, the Jewish people as the brother who lost the item and the Temple as the lost object.

“If Your brother is not near You” – if our relationship with God is distant – “and You do not know him” – because we do not ask God in fervent prayer for all our needs – “then You shall bring it inside Your house and it shall remain with You” – the Temple will remain with God in Heaven – “until Your brother’s seeking of it” – until we realize how lost we are without the Temple and the Divine Presence that rested in it.

Then, we will tell God that we want to have a close relationship with Him. We will plead with Him to return the Temple and His Divine Presence to us. When we do that, then God, “shall return it to him.”

There are two ways of asking God for our needs. The first is formal prayer found in the prayer book. These holy and powerful words were composed by the Sages through divine inspiration. The second, said in addition to the written prayers we recite, is informal prayer, which emanates straight from the heart – in your own words, in your native language and preferably out loud.

This form of prayer – frequently called hitbodedut – was popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Daily hitbodedut gives us an unparalleled opportunity: the chance to talk privately with the Almighty, sharing with Him whatever is on our minds.

The following are some suggestions for how to use these precious moments: Thank your Father for the blessings and help He gave you, both ongoing and recently. Share your problems and struggles, and ask for His assistance. Tell Him about the challenges you encounter in living up to your potential, confess when you stumble and ask Him to strengthen you to do His will. Plead with Him that you merit studying and living His Torah, that you merit coming close to Him and witnessing the redemption. Also include prayers for others in need, the Jewish people and the world.

With all of the above, be as specific and detailed as possible.

Keep asking God for help until you are answered. He may answer our prayers by changing the situation or by helping us accept the circumstance. Acceptance will enable us to focus on the blessings God has already given us and the many opportunities we have to come closer to Him, which is the purpose of life.

It can take time to get used to talking out loud to God. To help you open up to Him, imagine that the only blessings you will receive are those you ask Him for. In addition, make a list of the issues weighing on you. During hitbodedut, unburden yourself to your Father; express your concerns about each item on your list and ask for His guidance and assistance. For a fascinating exploration of the power and possibility of hitbodedut, read Where Earth and Heaven Kiss by Rabbi Ozer Bergman.

The Teshuvah Journey: The Miracle Sukkah Of Afghanistan

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007


For Rabbi Nosson (Mark) Sachs, a Reserve Chaplain in the U.S. Army, building a Sukkah last year in Afghanistan against all odds showed him Hashem’s hand more clearly than almost any other experience of his life.

Rabbi Sachs traveled to Afghanistan in 2006 for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot to lead services for American personnel. For most of his time there, he was based at the Bagram Air Base. When he arrived, the Presbyterian chaplain at the base assured him that the base had not just one, but two sukkahs for the coming holiday. Rabbi Sachs was ecstatic – of the 15 personnel who attended his Yom Kippur services, 11 said they would be interested in coming back for Sukkot, so two Sukkahs would be enough to seat everyone.


Four days before Sukkot, Rabbi Sachs opened the boxes and immediately realized they didn’t hold two sukkahs, but the broken parts of a single small pop-up sukkah. Sukkot was starting on Friday afternoon, so Rabbi Sachs had to quickly design and build a new sukkah. He sketched plans and brought them to the sergeant major involved with the base’s engineering corps to see if they could build it. The sergeant major handed him a stack of papers, which required several signatures.


“How long do you think it will take to build it?” Rabbi Sachs asked. “The holiday starts in four days.”

 

“Maybe we could finish it by December,” the sergeant major replied.

Rabbi Sachs decided to try to build the sukkah himself. He and the Presbyterian chaplain ran around the base for the next few hours getting all the necessary signatures. Rabbi Sachs next went to the base’s building supplies store. The two Bosnian Muslims manning the store had never heard of a sukkah before, but were eager to help. They said all the supplies would be available by Thursday afternoon.

 

 


A passing soldier (left) looks on as Rabbi Nosson Sachs (right) builds the Bagram sukkah with the help of a carpenter friend.

 

The only items they did not have were metal L brackets to connect the sukkah to the chapel’s wall. In a country of mostly mud huts, metal brackets were almost nonexistent. Finally after an hour driving around the base looking for brackets, Rabbi Sachs fi nally found a building that made aluminum air conditioning ducts. He ran into the building and asked the man inside, this time an Afghani Muslim, if he could make L brackets.


The man was so excited to make something other than air conditioning ducts. “How many do you need?” the man asked. “I can make a lot. A thousand?”


“Actually no. Twenty will be sufficient,” Rabbi Sachs said. When he returned two hours later, he saw that the man had made 60 brackets.


Thursday afternoon came and Rabbi Sachs picked up the rest of the materials. He had requested wood beams to build the frame of the Sukkah, but the only beams available were 12 feet long! So he borrowed a saw and began the long process of cutting the wood.


Also on the base was a group of civilian comedians that had been brought to entertain the troops. They were set to return to the U.S. but were unable to arrange a transport out of the country. Soldiers and military supplies are given priority on aircraft in a theater of war, so for civilians not essential to the war effort, finding a way out can be a challenge.


Each day the comedians tried to arrange a fl ight back to America. It was especially pressing as one member of the group was set to get married the following Monday.


The groom happened to walk by Rabbi Sachs as he began cutting the wood and asked what he was doing.


“I’m building a sukkah,” Rabbi Sachs responded.


“What’s a sukkah?”


Rabbi Sachs explained the fundamentals of the holiday, and seeing a shocked look on the comedian’s face, he asked, “Is everything okay?” “You know what my full time job is? I’m a carpenter by trade. A carpenter!” he yelled. “Don’t you get it? Now I understand why I’m stuck here! If I help you, I’ll get out of here.”


Hallelukah!” Rabbi Sachs shouted.



The carpenter began cutting the wood, and in just three hours the two men had assembled the entire frame. And just as the comedian hoped, he and his friends caught the next fl ight home. As they were fi nishing the frame, an offi cer came by and asked what they were doing. Rabbi Sachs again described the fundamentals of the sukkah.


“What are you going to use for the walls?” the officer asked.


“I’m not sure yet,” Rabbi Sachs said.


“Come with me.”


The offi cer brought Rabbi Sachs behind his quarters, where there was a large, unused bundle of camoufl age netting. When they brought the netting back to the Sukkah frame to see if it would work, it fi t to the exact inch.


For the schach, Rabbi Sachs used tree branches but soon had another problem: the valley surrounding Bagram experiences extremely strong wind storms every fall; that afternoon, the winds threatened to blow the branches off the sukkah.




In another miracle, just as Rabbi Sachs finished assembling his sukkah, the wind stopped blowing and it didn’t start again until after Sukkot.


Friday night came and 11 Jews joined Rabbi Sachs in the sukkah for a beautiful meal complete with singing and divrei Torah. It was the fi rst time most of them had ever eaten in a sukkah. Here they were, in the middle of war, and for a few days they were able to experience the spiritual bliss brought by the miracle sukkah of Afghanistan.




As Rabbi Sachs learned, when a Jew tries to bring light to a dark part of the world and inspire Jewish souls, Hashem makes anything possible.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/the-teshuvah-journey-the-miracle-sukkah-of-afghanistan/2007/10/02/

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