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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘WIFE’

May A Kohen’s Pregnant Wife Enter A Cemetery?

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Parshas Emor begins with the commandment prohibiting kohanim from becoming tamei. Additionally, Rashi quotes from the Gemara in Yevamos 114 that explains that the pasuk commands the adult kohanim to ensure that kohanim under the age of 13 do not become tamei.

A question arises based on these halachos: May a kohen’s pregnant wife enter a cemetery? On one hand, she should be permitted to do so, since the halachos of tumah only apply to male kohanim. On the other hand, perhaps the fetus she is carrying is a male, and she is obligated to ensure that he does not become tamei.

The Shach (Yoreh De’ah, siman 361) quotes the Rokeiach, who says that a pregnant woman married to a kohen may enter a room with a dead person in it. He says that this is permitted because it is a sfek sfeika (double safek). One safek is whether she is carrying a male or a female fetus; the other is that even if she is carrying a male fetus, perhaps the child will be a nefel (not a full-term pregnancy or a child who does not live for 30 days).

The Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim, siman 343:2) says that he does not know why the Rokeiach had to rely on a sfek sfeika in order to permit a kohen’s pregnant wife to enter a room with a dead person in it and suggests that this should be permitted because of the concept known as taharah baluah – if something is completely enveloped inside something else it cannot contract tumah. The Gemara, in the fourth perek of Chullin, clearly extends this to something inside a uterus. Since the fetus is considered baluah, it cannot contract tumah. Therefore, a kohen’s pregnant wife should be permitted to enter a cemetery – even if she knows that she is carrying a male fetus.

In volume 2 of Kovetz Shiurim, siman 41, Rav Elchanan Wasserman zt”l, Hy”d raises his concern with the Magen Avraham’s approach. He discusses whether the prohibition for a kohen not to become tamei is merely that he must remain tahor, or whether the prohibition is for a kohen to be in the same room as a dead person – regardless of whether he actually contracts tumah.

Rav Elchanan then discusses whether the concept of taharah baluah dictates that the item that is enveloped simply does not contract tumah, or whether we consider that it is not in the same room as the tumah. If we assume that the Torah dictated that the item remains tahor but is still considered to be in the same room as the tumah, and that a kohen may not be in the same room as tumah even if he would remain tahor, then a kohen’s pregnant wife would be prohibited to enter a room with a dead person in it. Even though the fetus would not contract tumah and would remain tahor, it would nevertheless be in the same room as a dead person– which is prohibited. Thus, he explains, the Rokeiach had to bring a heter of sfek sfeika in order to permit the pregnant wife of a kohen to enter a cemetery, since taharah baluah would still not permit her entry.

As we have explained, according to the Rokeiach, a kohen’s pregnant wife may enter a cemetery because of a sfek sfeika while according to the Magen Avraham, she may enter because the fetus is considered baluah and therefore cannot contract tumah. One difference between these two approaches would be in the situation where one is aware that the fetus is a male, i.e. through ultrasound. One of the Rokeach’s sfeikos was whether the fetus is a male or a female. If one knows that the fetus is a male, there will no longer be a sfek sfeika; rather, there will only be one safek, which a person is forbidden to chance.

Rabbi Raphael Fuchs

The Legend Of Rabbi Hershele’s Wife

Friday, May 13th, 2016

The tzaddik Reb Hershele and his pious wife lived only to help others, and treated the poor and unfortunate souls they met with great kindness.

Rabbi Hershele would study Torah day and night and found it very difficult to make a living. But he had one goal in life: settling in the holy land of Israel. Day and night he would pray that his dream should materialize, until one day G-d heard his prayers. It came about through the following manner:

A state fair was held in the town of Kaminka, Poland, where the tzaddik and his wife lived. One day a peddler came to their home and asked whether he could leave his sack of merchandise in their place for the night. He could not carry the bag as it was too heavy and he had heard that they were very honest and trustworthy.

The rebbetzin pointed to a closet, which was rarely used and advised the peddler to drop the bag into it. The peddler thanked her and departed. The fair closed and spring turned into summer and the peddler never came to call for his sack. The rebbetzin soon forgot about it. Eventually winter came, followed by spring and Pesach.

Erev Pesach the pious Reb Hershele began to clean out the chametz from the house when he came upon the sack lying in the closet. Trying to pull it out he found it to be so heavy that he had to call his wife to help him. Imagine their surprise when they found it contained thousands of gold coins. The wife then recalled the incident of the peddler who had disappeared, never leaving his name or address.

“It must be G-d’s will that we received this money,” said her husband. “G-d must have finally hearkened to my prayers so that we may now go to Israel.”

Following Pesach the pious couple departed for Israel.

Soon after their arrival in Israel, a neighboring woman was having difficulty giving birth to her child and the doctors attending to her feared the worst. When Reb Hershele heard what was taking place, he sent his wife to see the poor woman. The moment the rebbetzin stepped into the bedroom the woman gave birth. People soon called what happened a miracle and began to visit the rebbetzin whenever they needed help.

In the city of Jerusalem, where Reb Hershele and his wife lived, there also lived the Pasha, the governor of the city. His daughter was expecting a child and she found it very difficult to give birth. The best doctors of the land were summoned, even professors from Constantinople. But it was to no avail and their opinion was unanimous – it was impossible to save both mother and child. One of them would have to die.

The Pasha and his wife were frantic; they loved their daughter and they looked forward to a grandchild in their old age. In desperation, the Pasha visited the chief rabbi of the city, with whom he was very friendly. He told him his troubles and pleaded with him to pray to his G-d for his daughter.

“Fear not,” replied the rav, “I will help you today. I know a pious woman, a saint, who works miracles with expectant mothers. I will bring her to your home today.”

The rav immediately visited Reb Hershele’s home and urged the rebbetzin to come to the Pasha’s residence.

“He had done many good deeds for the Jews in Israel,” said the aged rav, “and we owe him this favor in return.”

Reb Hershele’s wife accompanied him to the Pasha’s house. As they entered they saw all the doctors huddled together and shaking their heads. The poor woman was near death and nothing could save her. But no sooner did the Reb Hershele’s wife step into the room, when lo and behold, a miracle occurred. The struggling mother suddenly became calm and a healthy young boy was born.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Lebanon Arrests Wife of ISIS ‘Caliph’

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Lebanese Army Intelligence has arrested one of the wives of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The arrest, made in cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, was made at a border crossing near the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal 10 days ago, As Safir reported Tuesday.

Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi, a Syrian national, was traveling with a son, approximately eight years old, a security source told the AFP news agency.

Security personnel transferred her to Lebanese defense ministry headquarters in Yarze for further questioning, the source said.

Security forces also reportedly arrested the wife of Anas Sharkas, (Abou Ali Shishani) a top official in the Syrian Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror group. The whereabouts of Shishani’s wife are not clear.

The Lebanese-Syrian border has been the venue for many attacks and “overflow” missile, artillery and other gunfire from the civil war raging on the other side.

In addition, because Shi’ite followers of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon sympathize with Sunni Muslim rebels in Syria, frequent sectarian clashes have torn apart numerous communities in the Levant.

Rachel Levy

Beginning The Journey

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

A while back, a British newspaper, The Times, interviewed a prominent member of the Jewish community (let’s call him Lord X) on his 92nd birthday. The interviewer said, “Most people, when they reach their 92nd birthday, start thinking about slowing down. You seem to be speeding up. Why is that?”

Lord X replied, “When you get to 92, you start seeing the door begin to close, and I have so much to do before the door closes that the older I get, the harder I have to work.”

Something like that is the impression we get of Abraham in this week’s parshah. Sarah, his constant companion throughout their journeys, has died. He is 137 years old. We see him mourn Sarah’s death, and then he moves into action.

He engages in an elaborate negotiation to buy a plot of land in which to bury her. As the narrative makes clear, this is not a simple task. He confesses to the locals, the Hittites, that he is “an immigrant and a resident among you,” meaning that he knows he has no right to buy land. It will take a special concession on their part for him to do so. The Hittites politely but firmly try to discourage him. He has no need to buy a burial plot. “No one among us will deny you his burial site to bury your dead.” He can bury Sarah in someone else’s graveyard. Equally politely but no less insistently, Abraham makes it clear that he is determined to buy land. In the event, he pays a highly inflated price (400 silver shekels) to do so.

The purchase of the Cave of Machpelah is evidently a highly significant event because it is recorded in great detail and highly legal terminology – not just here but three times subsequently in Genesis, each time with the same formality. For instance, here is Jacob on his deathbed, speaking to his sons:

“Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebecca were buried, and there I buried Leah. The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites” (Genesis 49:29-32).

Something significant is being hinted at here; otherwise why mention, each time, exactly where the field is and from whom Abraham bought it?

Immediately after the story of land purchase, we read, “Abraham was old, well advanced in years, and God had blessed Abraham with everything.” Again this sounds like the end of a life, not a preface to a new course of action, and again our expectation is confounded. Abraham launches into a new initiative, this time to find a suitable wife for his son Isaac, who by now is at least 37 years old. Abraham leaves nothing to chance. He does not speak to Isaac himself but to his most trusted servant, who he instructs to go “to my native land, to my birthplace” to find the appropriate woman. He wants Isaac to have a wife who will share his faith and way of life. Abraham does not specify that she should come from his own family, but this seems to be an assumption hovering in the background.

As with the purchase of the field, so here the course of events is described in more detail than almost anywhere else in the Torah. Every conversational exchange is recorded. The contrast with the story of the binding of Isaac could not be greater. There, almost everything – Abraham’s thoughts, Isaac’s feelings – is left unsaid. Here, everything is said. Again, the literary style calls our attention to the significance of what is happening, without telling us precisely what it is.

The explanation is simple and unexpected. Throughout the story of Abraham and Sarah, God had promised them two things: children and a land. The promise of the land (“Rise, walk in the land throughout its length and breadth, for I will give it to you”) is repeated no less than seven times. The promise of children occurs four times. Abraham’s descendants will be “a great nation,” as many as “the dust of the earth” and “the stars in the sky.” He will be the father not of one nation but of many.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

To Polish A Diamond

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Rav Ezriel Tauber says that a husband and wife are like two rough diamonds. A rough diamond can become a priceless, pure jewel, but only if another diamond is used to remove the impurities. So HaKadosh Boruch Hu puts together two perfectly matched rough diamonds. He makes sure that they have their little differences. The friction from these differences scrapes away at their impurities so they gradually become multi-faceted, pure, shining jewels.

However, when the differences go deep, when the problems – perhaps temper, perhaps criticism, perhaps lack of help – rock the shalom bayis, then the scraping and rasping of those two diamonds can often be too much to bear. Trying to “dig out” either spouse’s “impurity” without an anesthetic is hardly likely to decrease the pain.

There may be another way to purify the diamonds. Perhaps a solvent where the couple joins forces to dissolve the problem might do the trick.

So let’s imagine a couple and hear what they may say:

WIFE: I tried so hard the other day. I got up at 5:30. I slipped out of bed as quietly as I could and left the room on tiptoes so as not to wake my husband. I dressed, davened and made everybody his or her lunches. Then I heard the children stirring. All their clothes were ready, so I popped my head into their room and said, “Come on children, time to get up. Off you go to do neggel vasser and then you can get dressed.”

My bed wetter had wet his bed. I calmly stripped his bed and said, “Well, tonight you can try again.” I was so pleased with myself for not getting angry. My dreamer was still sitting on his bed singing to himself, lost in some imagining game. “Come on,” I said, “it’s time to start dressing for school.” On the way to the washing basket with the wet sheets, I heard the rumblings of a children’s squabble. I dropped the sheets and dashed to the bedroom to prevent a full fledge war. My husband also heard and came in, rubbing his sleepy eyes. “What are these wet sheets doing in the middle of the hall? I could have tripped over them! Why can’t you keep the children quiet for the few extra minutes I have before it’s time to get up for minyan?”

I kept my mouth shut tight. I was not going to answer back. I was not going to let that larva stream of angry defensiveness pour out of my mouth in burning words and accusations. I tried encouraging the children to get dressed but my message came out all wrong. My voice was too loud and my words sounded more like demands and commands than encouragement.

“There you go again shouting at the children. Why can’t you make our mornings a happy, fun time?”

“Stop it!” I screamed. “Stop criticizing me in front of the children!” I ran to my room, took a deep breath, wiped my streaming eyes, and promised myself that I would calm down and make another try for a good start to the day.

“Come on kids. If you hurry up then I’ll have time to read to you before the school bus comes.”

I did it. I really did try again.

“I want my book,” piped up the oldest.

“No, I want the crocodile book.”

Meanwhile my “dreamer” was still singing away and all the neat piles of clothes had been thrown haphazardly on the floor.

“How do you expect the children to find their clothes in this chaos?” was my husband’s “helpful” comment.

I lost it, lost it, LOST IT! “Stop criticizing me. I’ve been up since 5:30 getting everything ready for all of you. I tried to quiet the children. I dropped those wet sheets in a vain attempt to stop their squabbling. I…”

“That’s half your trouble, you’re over tired. You should get more sleep.”

“There you go again! Will you please listen to me…?”

The children shook into their clothes. They came to breakfast and the silence was deafening. Not a word from anybody. They silently left for school. I gave each of them an unresponded to kiss and told them I loved them.

Batya Jacobs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/to-polish-a-diamond/2012/05/17/

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