Halachic Times for Jerusalem Israel Summer Time -
a.k.a. Daylight Savings Time
The first issue of TT was for a Shabbat Parshat Shlach that Jews in Chutz LaAretz were reading B’ha’a’lo’t’cha. Therefore, it contained the statistics for when Israel and Chutz LaAretz are out of synch for Parshat HaShavua. We’ve spoken of the issue in the last two issues, but have not yet supplied the stats. Here they are, as presented 10 years ago:
There are two situations that are three, when we in Israel go ahead in Parshat HaShavua.
Pesach from Shabbat to Friday (Shabbat) in a 12-month year, frequency 18%, last occurred 5758, next occurrence “scheduled” for 5772.
Pesach from Shabbat to Friday (Shabbat) in a 13-month year, frequency 10%, last occurred 5755, next occurrence “scheduled” for 5776.
Shavuot on Friday (and Shabbat), regardless of how
many Adars in the year, frequency 28.5%, last occurred this year, next to
occur next year.
Perhaps no sedra was better suited for the inaugural issue of Torah Tidbits than Sh’lach — and particularly in a year when we are out of sync, parsha- wise.
In the Torah’s description of Moshe’s instructions to the Meraglim (spies or scouts), the final words are, “And it was the days of the Bikurim (first ripening) of the grapes”. Aside from telling us when the Meraglim were sent (end of Sivan), the ARI Z”L says that the reference to Bikurim in the portion of the Meraglim teaches us that the mitzva of Bikurim (first fruits) is a TIKUN (repair) for the Sin of the Meraglim.
We can understand this idea like this:
The Meraglim took fruit from the Land of Israel during their 40 day scouting mission, brought them back to the people in the Midbar, and then began to malign Eretz Yisrael and dissuade the people from proceeding into the Land as G-d wanted them to. In essence, they said that Eretz Yisrael is a “great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there”. They made a verbal declaration against living in Eretz Yisrael, and they used the fruits of the Land to push their point. This makes Bikurim, from among all the mitzvot connected to the Land, the perfect antidote to the Sin of the Spies. A person is commanded to take from the first fruits of the Land, bring them to the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, and make a verbal declaration. This statement proclaims the person’s gratitude to G-d in His bringing us to Eretz Yisrael. Bikurim- bringers declare their joy in the blessing and prosperity of Eretz Yisrael — not the fear and panic that describes the report of the Meraglim. Wellsprings of Torah quotes Rabbi Menachem Zemba HY"D who made the following observation in his mishna commentary:
Mishnayot Bikurim 3:1 asks, how does one designate fruit of his as Bikurim? The mishna gives three examples. A person goes into his field and sees a fig ripening or a cluster of grapes ripening, or a pomegranate ripening, he ties them off with a GEMI (commentaries say that it can be anything that will mark the fruit designated as Bikurim) and he says, “These are my Bikurim”.
Bamidbar 13:23 tells us that when the Meraglim were in Nachal Eshkol, they cut a branch and cluster of grapes and also took some pomegranates and figs. Exactly the same three fruit that the mishna uses as examples of Bikurim (although all 7 Species qualify for Bikurim, and one species would have been sufficient to illustrate the Bikurim- designation process). This, says R’ Zemba, is eloquent testimony to the ARI Z”L’s contention that Bikurim is the TIKUN for CHEIT HAMERAGLIM.
The first Meraglim said that they had everything they needed for a complete Torah life in the Midbar. They had miraculous food to feed the people. A miraculous well that accompanied them, climate-control and protection from the Heavenly Clouds, clothes that grew on their backs, shoes that didn’t wear out, proximity to Sinai, the source of Torah, and access to the greatest teacher of Torah ever.
The Meraglim were wrong. They did not have everything
they needed for a complete Torah life in the Midbar. They did not have the
venue that G-d wanted for the People and their Torah. They did not have
Kalev and Yehoshua did not make that mistake. Kalev said to the People, “Let’s go up to the Land (let’s go on Aliya)”. We will be able to prevail... because this is what G-d wants for us.
More than 3000 years later, there are still Meraglim among the Jewish People who TOUR the Land of Israel for 40 days (or more or less) and bring back samples of the Land. (Perhaps not fruit because of Department of Health regu- lations, but other items to illustrate the Land flowing with Milk & Honey.) And these people say to their family and friends that Israel is a great place to visit. But then they editorialize and dis- miss the idea of living here. And they discourage others from thinking in terms of Aliya.
And then there are the Yehoshuas and Kalevs of today. People who came on Aliya already, as well as people who have not yet come, who enthusiastically proclaim Aliya as a great, worthwhile goal. Who speak in glowing terms of the Jewishness of living in Isreal (even with its political and social problems and the physical danger that exists).
Torah Tidbits’ message to Jews in Israel and abroad.
Don’t be Meraglim. Don’t even be fence-sitters. Be the Kalevs and Yehoshuas
of today who will actively and positively encourage Aliya and facilitate
[SDT] the L'CHA of Lech L'cha, we are taught, means,
"for your benefit". You are not going just because I command, but it is to
your advantage to go. The KLI YAKAR suggests a similar meaning of the L'CHA
in Sh'lach l'cha. How can we say that the sending of the Meraglim was to
anyone's benefit? The result of the Meraglim was that Moshe's life was
prolonged by 40 years.
[SDT] Back in Bamidbar, when the Tribal leaders were named, both Efrayim and Menashe were identified as the sons of Yosef - both within the same pasuk. Here, only Menashe is identified with Yosef, and Efrayim's scout - Yehoshua - is listed 3 p'sukim earlier, without reference to Yosef. Commentaries note that Yosef had been involved in "negative reports" against his brothers, as was the scout of Menashe, Gadi b. Susi. Yehoshua, of course, remained clear of the taint of DIBA RA'A and is therefore not mentioned together with Yosef, in this context.
And Moshe called Hoshea bin Nun, Yehoshua.
[SDT] Rashi says that by adding a YUD to Hoshea's name, he was giving him a bracha that he should be saved from the group decision of the other Meraglim. MIMA NAFSHACH (whichever way you want to look at the situation) - Why did not Moshe bless the others similarly? And why would Yehoshua need a bracha when Kalev apparently did not?
Whether a Scout will come back with the proper
attitude or not was based on each individual's personality, perceptions, and
conclusions. That was up to each of the 12 individuals. That's not why Moshe
gave a special bracha to Yehoshua. Moshe had a separate fear concerning
Yehoshua. He could imagine Yehoshua joining the Meraglim in discouraging the
People from entering the Land so that Moshe's life would be prolonged. Eldad
and Meidad had prophesied that Moshe would die and Yehoshua would lead the
people into the Land, and Yehoshua heard it. Moshe's bracha to Yehoshua was
to keep Yehoshua honest, so to speak, so that he would not join the "evil
advice" for any reason, even one to benefit Moshe himself.
Kalev silenced the people and tells them that they should go to the Land; "we can do it!". The other ten scouts objected and spoke against the Land, causing widespread panic among the people. Moshe, Aharon, Kalev, and Yehoshua are greatly troubled by the words of the Meraglim and by the reaction of the people. Kalev and Yehoshua proclaim the goodness of the Land.
[SDT] ...and we were in our eyes like grasshoppers (compared to the giants of Canaan) and so we appeared to them. The Kotzker Rebbe and others define two components of the Sin of the Spies from this part of the pasuk. First, that we saw ourselves as small and insignificant, com- pared with the nations in Eretz Yisrael. Second, that we were concerned about how others perceived us. With G-d obviously on our side (we know what happened to Egypt and we witnessed so many miracles performed on our behalf), we should not have viewed ourselves that way. And, how others perceive us is their problem, not ours.
[SDT] Rashi says that when the Meraglim stressed how strong the people in K'na'an were, they were including an insult to G-d as well, as if to say, they are stronger even than G-d.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 18 p'sukim - 14:8-25
Compare and Learn
There is more to this than "simply" two examples of Lashon HaRa, one about a person and one about Eretz Yisrael. There are important elements and details to be learned one from the other.
For example, it is not just the speaker of Lashon HaRa that transgresses. Those who listen to LH passively, without objecting, those who accept the LH as truth - they too transgress. The Sin of the Spies was not restricted to 10 people. Thousands of those who heard what was said and accepted it, and panicked because of it, they too were guilty. And they were punished, as we know.
Translate this into our time. It is not enough for one to refrain from bad-mouthing Eretz Yisrael, one cannot stand by idly when others do it. Kalev jumped up as soon as he heard what the Meraglim said. He grabbed the microphone (figuratively) and did his best to repudiate the words of the Meraglim and made his own impassioned pitch for Aliya.
We must not "put down" Israel, its people, life here,
etc. We must object when others do. And I would suggest that even saying
something negative in a joke is also problematic. It would at least be AVAK
R'VI'I - Fourth Aliya - 27 p'sukim - 14:26-15:7
The Sin of the Spies occurred on Tish'a b'Av 2449, more than a year out of Egypt. The total time in the Midbar from Exodus to entry into the Eretz Yisrael is 40 years. So the punishment is really for less than 39 years, not 40. The answer is that the Sin of the Spies is the culmination of the "angering" of G-d. We can say that it began back at the Sin of the Golden Calf (or even before that - we "complained" when were hardly out of Egypt).
The 40-year punishment is retro-active to Cheit HaEigel (or earlier).
The people deeply regret their behavior and now plan to enter the Land immediately. Moshe warns them not to, because G-d no longer wants them to do so (at this point). Some of the people went anyway - without the protection of the Aron - and are defeated and repelled by Amalek and K'na'an.
The Torah next sets down the details of the flour and oil offering and libation of wine that are to accompany most korbanot.
[SDT] It is important to note the context of these
laws. Right after being told that the older generation (males) will not
enter the Land, G-d comforts them by teaching procedures that will apply in
Eretz Yisrael, specifically mitzvot that are to be "pleasing to G-d". It is
as if G-d says, "Don't be too dismayed; your children will live in Eretz
Yisrael and will serve Me in the Beit HaMikdash" in this special way.
Then the equality of Torah law for all Jews is
reiterated and emphasized.
It is performed with the essential food of humans - Bread, the staff of life.
This elevates the mundane physical necessity of food to a spiritual level.
Secondly, the fact that we are to give Challa to a Kohen - specifically after most of the work has been done, meaning that we give Challa from the ready-to-pop-into-the-oven dough rather than the raw produce of other gifts to the Kohen - indicates that it is not merely the gift that is significant, but the service to the Kohen that we perform that is important as well.
Challa is one of the Mitzvot that our Sages have kept active by rabbinic decree since the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, so that its practice and lessons should not be lost to us. Furthermore, Challa is rabbinically required in Chutz LaAretz, even though the Torah introduces the mitzva with, "with your coming to the Land". This too helps keep Torat Challah alive among the Jewish People. Often, reciting and learning appropriate Torah passages is sufficient to remember a "suspended" mitzva. Not with this one. Actual performance of the mitzva continues.
Next the Torah presents the details of the Chatat (sin
offering) of the community (in cases where the leaders of the community
inadvertently misled the people — in Avoda Zara related matters.) Here again
it seems obvious that this topic is brought up because of the context of the
Sin of the Spies. This mitzva is not counted here, but it certainly conveys
G-d's attitude (so to speak) about Cheit HaMeraglim. We recognize that
sometimes our leaders must bear the responsibility of leading us astray (but
not always - often we must be accountable and not claim that we were just
following orders). The ideas (and text) of this portion form part of our Yom
Following the Sin of the Spies and preceding the sin of the woodgatherer, the Torah presents us with both types of sin offerings - the communal and the individual. Especially since these topics are dealt with (and counted among Taryag) elsewhere, it is more than reasonable to consider these to be "contextual mitzvot" (Remember that many mitzvot are presented totally detached from any "story" in the Torah, and many stories are related without mitzvot attached. Contextual mitzvot are not as common, but by combining story and mitzva, they pack a strong punch.)
The Torah next tells us of the woodgatherer (Tradition identifies him as Zelafchad) who was locked up pending details from G-d as to how a public desecrator of the Shabbat is to be executed. (That public desecration of the Shabbat is a capital offense was already known.) G-d's command was to stone the violator. And so it was done.
Woodgathering on Shabbat would not usually be a capital offense, especially in a midbar, where carrying would be a rabbinic prohibition. However, with the multitude of Bnei Yisrael in the Midbar at this point, conditions of a R'SHUT HARABIM were present.
The final portion of the sedra is the third passage of the Sh'ma - the portion of Tzitzit. It contains the mitzva to put Tzitzit on the corners of a four-corner garment  and that one of the strings of each corner should be dyed t'cheilet, the special blue dye.
It is significant to note that the Rabbis do not often
require us to create the circumstances that would then obligate us to
perform a mitzva. If you have a day-laborer working for you, then certain
mitzvot and prohibitions apply. If not, they don’t. You don’t have to go out
and hire someone in order to do these mitzvot. If we have sheep (at least
five) and we shear the wool, THEn we have the mitzva of REISHIT HAGEIZ to
perform. If not, not. You want to eat meat - mitzva to slaughter the animal
properly. But with Tzitzit... They did so with tzitzit (perhaps) because it
is not merely a mitzva that we "perform", but it is a mitzva that we wear.
It is an integral part of our everyday mundane lives. What a shame to be
without this inspirational mitzva because the style of clothing has changed
and we no longer wear four-cornered garments.
The Torah links the mitzva of tzitzit with all the
mitzvot of the Torah; tzitzit serve as a reminder of the Jew's
all-encompassing commitment to G-d.
The Torah then reiterates the importance of belief in G-d in general, and in His having redeemed us from Egypt, in particular. Thus, the twice daily recitation of the Sh'ma constitutes the fulfillment of the mitzva to remember the Exodus "all the days of your life", in addition to its own mitzva, the recitation of the Sh'ma.
It follows that when one recites the Sh’ma, one should have specific KAVANA at the end of the third passage to fulfill the mitzva to remember the Exodus all the days of our lives.
Note that the two positive mitzvot of Parshat Sh’lach deal with two main, basic needs of humans - food and clothing, physical necessities that have significant spiritual dimensions as well. (Challa and tzitzit are examples of many other mitzvot that relate to food and clothing - brachot, kashrut, modesty.) Shlach also contains various aspects of korbanot (even though they are not counted from this sedra) the former are the basics; the latter are the spiritual and lofty. It is as if the people are being rebuilt from scratch following the devastating sin of the spies.
The last 5 p'sukim, (the tzitzit portion) are reread
for the Maftir.
In one case, the Spies were our undoing. In the other,
they served a very positive function. Ironic.
If three men ate together and if two of them completed their meal and the third did not complete his meal, he must interrupt his meal and respond to the call of one of the other two to say the Grace after the meal with them. If one of the three finished his meal first, the other two need not interrupt their meal to respond to his call to say Grace, Rather he must wait for at least one other person to finish. The Talmud questions this latter statement by citing an incident when R. Papa was eating together with his son and another person. The son finished his meal first and Rav Papa and the other person interrupted their meal to answer the invitation of Rav Papa's son to say Grace. The Talmud then explains that this incident regarding Rav Papa should not be used "as precedent since he might have been acting lifnim mishurath hadin.
It seems to me that the Talmud selected this last cited incident to teach us several things, amongst which are that a father may waive his parental privileges and act with deference to his child, and that this is accounted as lifnim mishurath hadin. Also a person may be polite and not demand that if one finished eating sooner that he must wait for at least one other of the three persons to finish before he can call them to say Grace. It teaches that the concept of lifnim mishurath hadin extends to every day living; not only to those situations when a person is actually being judged in a Beth Din of law whether it be the Heavenly Beth Din or the Beth Din of men. (There are several reasons given why at the conclusion of studying a tractate of the Talmud the names of Rav Papa and his sons are mentioned as part of the concluding prayers. I submit that he and his sons are there mentioned since the Talmud cites only a few cases where the concept of lifnim mishurath hadin are shown and Rav Papa is mentioned in two of those cases including the case where he showed deference to his son whose name is also included together with his brothers in the concluding prayers. After having completed the study of a tractate of the Talmud not only should one be aware of the principles of justice therein discussed, but one should also learn how to act in a manner which is lifnim mishurath hadin, with mercy and compassion.)
There are just three more places in the Talmud where the concept is mentioned:
The Torah commands that one may not disregard lost property but must pick it up; and also that after one picks up the lost object it must then be returned to its owner.
There are certain situations, however, when a person may keep that which he found without having to attempt to find the owner, since it is assumed that the person who lost the object has abandoned any hope of ever having the object returned to him. One of these situations is where the object is lost in a place frequented by multitudes of heathens and there is thus no likelihood of the object being returned. The Talmud (Baba Metzia 24b) relates an incident where Rav Yehuda was walking with his teacher Samuel in the wholesalers' market and asked Samuel what the law would be if one found an object in that market? Samuel answered that the finder would be able to keep the found object without the necessity of having to look for the owner.
R. Yehuda then asked what if the owner appeared and gave the. finder an identifying mark, would the finder have to return the found object? Samuel answered that the finder would have to return the found object. Rav Yehuda then asked are not the two statements of Samuel contradictory since if the person had found the object in a place where people are assumed to abandon hope of having the object returned, then the object belongs to the finder. The giving of the identification mark should not change the law. Samuel answered that the person who found the object should act lifnim mishurath hadin. The Talmud then relates this discussion between Rav Yehuda and Samuel to an incident wherein Samuel's father also acted lifnim mishurath hadin. Samuel's father returned donkeys he had found after the time for returning them had expired. It is to be noted that in the cased which I have cited until now the Talmud does not cite any Torah verse to show why the person should act lifnim mishurath hadin.
Similar to the requirement to return that which one finds, is the requirement to assist a person in lifting up his burden whether he is loading up his beast or himself. In both situations, that of stooping to pick up someone else 's lost object, or in helping to load someone else or his animal, the commandment for assistance need not be observed if the person would not do the same for himself, that is, where the person would not have stooped down to pick up his own object which had fallen, or he would not have loaded himself or his animal with a load.
The Talmud (Baba Metzia 30b) further relates an incident where the old sage Rabbi Ishmael b. Rabbi Yosi was walking down a path and approached a wood carrier who was resting. When the wood carrier saw Rabbi Ishmael he asked his to help load the wood upon his shoulders. Rabbi Ishmael asked the wood carrier what was the value of the wood and when he was told that it was half a zuz. Rabbi Ishmael paid him half a zuz and thus avoided the necessity for his having to help the wood carrier load the wood, which Rabbi Ishmael would not have done for himself. When Rabbi Ishmael wanted to leave, he declared the wood that he had just purchased to be abandoned so that if someone would find the wood he could keep it without being guilty of stealing Rabbi Ishmael's wood. When the wood carrier heard that the wood was now abandoned he quickly re-acquired the wood and once again asked Rabbi Ishmael to help him load the wood. Once again Rabbi Ishmael paid the wood carrier half a zuz. But now Rabbi Ishmael declared the wood to be abandoned for all the world to be able to acquire it with the exception of the wood carrier. (The Talmud explains that such an abandonment is not effective and that in fact Rabbi Ishmael had abandoned the wood without condition but had merely advised the wood carrier that he made an exception.) The Talmud poses the question why Rabbi Ishmael had to go through all this when he could have merely refused to help the wood carrier load the wood since it was not in keeping with the dignity of Rabbi Ishmael to load the wood since he would have not done it for himself? The Talmud answers that Rabbi Ishmael was acting lifnim mishurath hadin.
IYH in the next lesson there will be shown the Torah basis for acting lifim mishurath hadin.
Questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving to Israel
The Mishna at the end of Ketubot states, "All may compel aliyah to Eretz Yisrael". The main message of the Mishna is that either husband or wife may compel the other spouse to move to Eretz Yisrael. If the other spouse refuses to relocate, this is considered grounds for divorce to obligate the husband to pay the ketubah (if he is the recalcitrant one) or to exempt him from paying (if the wife refuses to move). This is also the ruling in the Shulchan Arukh. (SA EHE 75:3-4.)
One explanation for this rule is that there is a mitzva to come to Eretz Yisrael. It is certainly true that many authorities discuss this rule in the context of the mitzva of aliyah. The Pitchei Teshuva in particular dilates on the importance of this mitzva (Even HaEzer 75:6). However, this explana- tion is not the only possible one. For one thing, this halakha is brought down by many authorities who nowhere mention that moving to Eretz Yisrael is a mitzva — for example, the Rambam and the Shulchan Arukh.
Another difficulty is that we find in the same place that the husband or wife can also compel a move to Yerushalayim though there is little support for supposing that there is a mitzva to live there.
Another possible explanation can be inferred from the context of this law. The Shulchan Arukh states that the husband can, within certain limits, compel his wife to follow him to nearby places. However, he cannot compel her to go from a beautiful city to an ugly one, nor from one which is mostly Jewish to one which is mostly non- Jewish. (The Rishonim extend this to the case of one which has a strong Torah atmosphere to one where Torah observance and study are not strong. See Beit Yosef citing Rivash.) He can also not compel her to go to a place with a much different climate which may cause her health to suffer. In other words: the wife has a right to her accustomed standards of health, beauty, and Torah!
However, one can compel a move to Eretz Yisrael even
from a beautiful city abroad to an ugly one here; even from a mostly Jewish
city abroad to a mostly non-Jewish one here; and even if there is a
difference in climate.
According to this explanation, we can easily understand the continuation of the ruling: within Eretz Yisrael, the city of Yerushalaim, "pinnacle of beauty, joy of the land" (Eichah 2:15) is the most beautiful, healthful and Jewish place we can find.
Nowadays, the aesthetic beauty of Israeli cities compares favorably with those of cities abroad, every major Israeli city is mostly Jewish, and Israel has one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world. Outer and inner considerations concur that this is the perfect place for any Jew to live.
We may argue if the halakha formally obligates us to
move to Eretz Yisrael. But we can not dispute that halakha, no less than
Midrash and haskhafa, relates to Eretz Yisrael as the ideal place for all
Jews to make their home.
Q. As a gabbai who deals with various tzedakah
collections, a few questions have arisen regarding changes in the recipient.
1. There are two elements to the binding nature of a
donation. One involves an explicit or implicit neder (oath) to give tzedakah.
The other involves acquisition (kinyan) of the donation by or on behalf of
the recipient(s). Each element has rules as to when it is binding and when a
mistake renders the donation void. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 258:6)
does rule that one cannot back out of a donation, even with sh'eila (the
tzedakah equivalent of hatarat nedarim), once it reaches the hands of the
gabbai. There is a complex discussion as to whether and when a tzedakah box
is considered like the hands of the gabbai (see discussion in Tzedakah
U'mishpat 8:(25)). However, if the money was placed in the box because of a
full-fledged mistake, the rules of kinyan b'ta’ut (acquisition based on a
mistake) apply, and the money may be removed and put in the intended place
without problem (ibid.). Tzedakah is not like hekdesh, and its money does
not have intrinsic kedusha (Rama, Yoreh Deah 259:1). Therefore, it doesn't
matter if one takes back the coins or bills he put in or different ones.
People are always scrutinizing their deeds to find out
why they have been chosen to suffer so.
Our Sages instructed us then “when judging each and
every individual we must give them the benefit of the doubt” (Avot 1:6).
Ed. note: Halachically, the strings of tzitzit can be dyed the same color as the garment as to which they are attached, or they can be white. With blue, there’s a further complication because of T”CHEILET. In practice, the strings are almost always white (except of course, for the P”TIL T:CHEILET - see page 17).
It is customary to wind the tzitzit threads into 4 segments. The first segment is formed by winding the shamash (longest thread) around the other strings seven times. The second segment has eight windings, the third has eleven and the fourth has thirteen.
Reason: This is because 7 and 8 equals 15, corresponding to the numerical value of YUD-HEI. Together with the third segment which has 11 windings, we arrive at 26, the g’matriya of G-d’s four-letter name. The final 13 windings are numerically equivalent to ECHAD. Hence, the tzitizt “spell out” the words HASHEM ECHAD.
In most Ashkenazic communities, an unmarried man does not where a tallit during davening.
Reason: Immediatley after the pasuk (Dvarim 22:12) which commands the mitzva of tzitizt, is the pasuk, “if a man takes a woman (in mar- riage)...” (Maharil)
Reason: Making the unmarried men in shul more noticeable will motivate them (hopefully) to fulfill the mitzva of marriage.
Ed. note: If so, then it will also help eligible woman
spot the eligible gentlemen.
One of those who was given tzedakah to pray for the girl was the saintly R’ Yitzchak of Drohowitz. R’ Yitzchak, unlike the others who had received money to pray for the girl, used the money to buy a feast, which he ate.
Later, after the girl had recovered, some of R’ Yitzchak’s friends asked him, “Rebbe, why didn’t you act like the others and embark on a fast?” R’ Yitzchak explained to them, “If I had fasted, that would have made absolutely no impression in Heaven. They’re used to my fasting for days on end, and another fast would have been of no consequence. However, when I used the money to prepare a lavish feast, they immediately took notice in Heaven and asked, “Why is it that R’ Yitzchak is suddenly eating a full meal?
Where did he get the money?’ They began to investigate
what had happened, and soon found out that R’ Yospe’s daughter had become
ill, and her father had given lots of tzedakah. It was then that they sent
her a cure.”
They are presented here in honor of the mitzva of Tzitzit as found in this week’s parsha, in honor of all the mitzvot of the Torah of which Tzitzit are meant to remind us, and in honor of He Who gave us Torah and Mitzvot.
“There is an obligation upon all who are capable, to
search for [tekhelet], to merit Israel with this commandment, which has been
forgotten for the last many centuries. And he who succeeds in this, will
surely be blessed by God.”
The secrets of the tekhelet color, its source and method of manufacture have been lost for over 1300 years. As a result, many of the laws pertaining to its use have been deemed “academic”, and their study was, to a certain extent, neglected as compared with the more prosaic statutes. What is the signifi- cance of the blue thread and why has this commandment fallen into disuse?
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing awareness and renewed discussion regarding the Biblical dye tekhelet...
Tekhelet was worn by nobility and priests throughout the ancient world. It is found in those contexts within the Bible as well; it adorns the Tabernacle and comprises the special clothes of the high priest.
On this basis Professor Jacob Milgrom has suggested an explanation of the significance of the blue thread on the Jew’s garments.
Tzitzit is the epitome of the democratic thrust within Judaism which equalizes not by leveling but by elevating... In antiquity, the tzitzit (and the hem) was the insignia of authority, high breeding and nobility. By adding the blue woolen cord to the tzitzit, the Torah combined nobility with priesthood: Israel is not to rule man but to serve God. Furthermore, tzitzit is not restricted to Israel’s leaders, be they kings, rabbis or scholars. It is the uniform of all Israel...
What does Tekhelet come from?
Rabbinic, historical, archaeological and chemical evidence point to Murex trunculus snails as the source of Tekhelet.
How is Tekhelet produced?
Why should I wear Tekhelet?
How should I tie Tekhelet on my tzitzit?
Here are SOME of the different opinions concerning tying tzitzit with T’cheilet.
"The experience was memorable, enjoyable, and even emotional... The rediscovery of the chilazon and the techelet in our time is a remarkable event, not different perhaps than the rebirth of the Jewish people and its State of Israel themselves. It is a testimony to the absolute, unqualified, unreserved commitment of the Jewish people to the Torah, G-d and the Land of Israel." — Rabbi Berel Wein
The mere thought of being able to perform a long lost,
precious mitzva is unbelievably exciting. Actually doing it is a very, very
special experience, one with deep spiritual satisfaction. There are strong
and impressive arguments for Murex Trunculus being the source of T’cheilet.
Go for it!`
TROP serves three purposes: to indicate on which syllable the accent of a word falls. (TROP is usually, but not always, on or under the accented syllable.
TROP helps us read a pasuk with proper phrasing. It helps us know which words go with others, where to pause or stop in the reading. This, in turn, can (will) greatly enhance our understanding of Tanach and davening.
And the third function of TROP is to guide us in singing the words of Tanach (and parts of davening) in a beautiful way that will enhance our reading.
TROP is divided into two main types - LINKING (TA’AM M’SHAREIT or M’CHABEIR) and SEPARATING (MAFSIK). A linking TROP will indicate that the word with the TROP is linked to the following word. A separating TROP indicates that there is some kind of stop, pause, break before the next word.
A MAFSIK (separator) can occur on its own, without a M’SHAREIT (or more than one) on the previous word(s). A M’SHAREIT is always linked to a MAFSIK following it, or another M’SHAREIT which is connected (eventually) to a MAFSIK. ZAKEF GADOL and Y’TIV are two MAFSIKIM that always stand alone; they never have a M’SHAREIT linking with them.
Among the MAFSIKIM, there are differences in the power or amount of the stop or pause. MAF- SIKIM can be further divided into four groups.
KEISARIM, the strongest stops, are the SOF PASUK and
TIPCHA before a SOF PASUK or an ETNACHTA is not a MAFSIK but becomes a M’SHAREIT (called M’AILA) and behaves like a METEG (the little vertical line next to a vowel, indicating a secondary accent).
MISHNIM indicate a short pause, include R’VI’I, ZARKA, PASHTA, Y’TIV, and T’VIR.
The fourth category, with the shortest pauses, is
called SHALISHIM and include PAZEIR, KARNEI PARA, T’LISHA-G’DOLA, GEIREISH,
AZLA, GEIRSHA- YIM, MUNACH followed by a vertical line, and P’SIK.
Looks like this will be a bit more complicated that
anticipated. We’ll take it slow. For now, here’s the names and marks in
Hebrew to match to the transliterated names used in this column.
The tree with the eye is a play on words: See if the Land has trees IM AYIN, or not. Switch the initial ALEFs of IM AYIN to AYINs and the question becomes: Is there a tree with an eye?
Towards the upper-right are the spies with the grapes
as they appear in the emblem of the Ministry of Tourism and the logo of
The Challa stands for the mitzva of CHALLA.
The Tzitzit for that mitzva.
At the bottom right is Murex Trunculus, suspected
(probable) source of T'cheilet dye and used by many people today for that
aspect of the mitzva.
Lower-left is the wood gathered on Shabbat and the
stone used to execute the Shabbat desecrater.
Last week’s (B’HA’A’LO’T’CHA) TTriddle:
 This is a Games Magazine gone to Yemen type of TTriddle. One may not break a bone in KP2 (just like the prohibition for the first Pesach). Targum Onkeles translates ETZEM (bone) as GARMA, which is a confused (mixed up letters, anagram) form of GEMARA or TALMUD. The list of confused Talmud means the list of bones, includes the radius (one of the arm bones) and the anvil, a.k.a. the incus of the middle ear.
 Kalev was married to Miriam. If he followed the “traditional” wedding gifts, then for the 15th anni- verary, he’d give her crystal and for the 30th he’d give her pearl. B’DOLACH is translated as either crystal or pearl, and is a word used to describe the Manna. Kalev might not have had too much else available to give to his wife as a wedding gift, but MANNA would be particularly appropriate for the 15th and 30th anniveraries.
 Here’s another TTriddle whose answer is the Manna. This one’s not as much of a stretch as . Tzifyon, Chagi, Shuni, Etzbon, Eiri, Arodi, and Arieli are the sons of GAD, making them ZERA GAD, one of the descriptions of the Manna. And if the Manna took on the tastes of one’s imagination (with limits) then it was truly a culinary delight.
 The special tiyul mentioned at the bottom of the
Travel Desk page last week was not a tiyul of today, but a tiyul of over
3000 years ago. In Bamidbar 10:11, we see that Bnei Yisrael left Sinai for
Midbar Paran on the 20th of Iyar 2449. The Torah further on tells us that it
was a three-day journey, so you can answer the to when part of the TTriddle
as well as the when part.
The loss of a young person is always sorrowful. The
death of Avi Siton is doubly tragic. First, there are the heinous
circumstances in which he lost his life. Second is the fact that Avi was an
active volunteer in the Israel Center’s “Zula” program for teenagers at
risk. Only last Motzei Shabbat, Avi, aged 17, a student at Yeshivat Chitzim,
Itamar, made his way to Kikar Zion in Jerusalem. There he talked with two
younger, unaffiliated girls whom he persuaded to join in the Zula
activities. During the night they joined with the tens of other participants
saying Tehilim, playing guitar, and imbibing inspiring words of Torah. The
girls’ reactions were unbelievable: “Can we come again?” they asked. “We
were so moved by the warmth and sincerity of the madrichim.” They will come
back – but Avi will not. May his example be a source of inspiration for all
The first issue of Torah Tidbits was Parshat Sh’lach, 5752. That Shabbat was the 19th of Sivan. It was also the 20th of June, 1992.
We originally scheduled the 10th Anniversary Luncheon for Sunday, June 2nd, the day after we read Sh’lach. That date didn’t work out, so we’ll planning for the 10th anniversary of the June date. The luncheon will take place, IY”H, on Sunday, June 23rd. See the box-announcement further inside.
Speaking of inside Torah Tidbits, the first two issues didn’t have insides. They were single sheets of A4 paper, with Divrei Torah on one side and a schedule of Israel Center activities on the other.
The first issue had the stats for out-of-synch Parshat HaShavua (see box to the right) and a Dvar Torah on the Bikurim-Meraglim connection - see page 3. There was no number on the page; numbers first appeared several issues later. 60 copies were printed on a photocopy machine which had the ability to print in two colors. (They don’t make those machines anymore.)
The 60 copies were distributed in the “big” shul in Ramot Eshkol and some- place else that we cannot even remember.
The other side of the page was called the Flip side
(now it has become the BackPages). A total of 12 shiurim were listed for the
coming week. Only Rabbi Leff and Rabbi Chaim Eisen are still in the same
Kollel Program in Kharkov (that’s in the Ukraine, by
the way) for boys 10th to 12th grade. The group will be leaving IY”H on July
22nd and returning August 12th. If you are interested in further details,
give us a call. - Call Chaim Pelzner at 056-564254
WHO? 6-11 graders - boys/girls, SEPARATE CAMPUSES
I spoke with NESTO member Aviella Trapido who made Aliyah from South Africa with her family a number of years ago, about her feelings of what NESTO provided for her as well as her hopes and expectations for the future.
For me NESTO meant acquiring a close tight-knit Chevra and a warm and accepting place to go. Unlike a Bnei Akiva group which meets once a week on Shabbat, NESTO aside from their weekly meetings, holds Shabbatonim a number of times during the year, we go on regular Tiyulim, and get together for friends’ birthdays.
NESTO gave me a tremendous feeling of belonging, making Aliyah was both an exciting and also traumatic event, NESTO provided me with an accepting forum with friends like me who understand the frustrations that I went through and to an extent am still going through today.
If I was not carrying on as a Madricha next year in Junior NESTO, parting would be so much harder, this way I also have an opportunity to give back to NESTO and be the role model for others who have gone through similar experiences as I myself did.
Leaving the NESTO chevra we created is going to be
hard, but I know that we are all going to keep in close contact with each
other. I know that I am not alone in saying that NESTO really shaped and
changed my life.
Senior Shabbaton June 14th in Bet Rimon call Chave or Naomi to book a spot.
THE TRAVEL DESK The TRAVEL DESK of the Israel Center exists... to make registration and detail-receiving for Israel Center tiyulim more efficient and less head- achy for you. To help you - whether you live in Israel or are visiting - plan private tiyulim and make in-Israel travel arrangements Sarah will be happy to assist you on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Call Sarah at the Center, 566-7787 ext. 249.
Note: When a tiyul says "Bring your own lunch", you
can do that... or this: Call the TRAVEL DESK or the TIYUL HOTLINE up to the
day before the TIYUL and order a box lunch from the Israel Center Cafe. 18
shekel will get you a delicious sandwich, a refreshing drink (specify
regular or diet) and a dessert. Your box lunch will be ready for you when
you board the bus.
Depart Sunday 8:00am - return Wednesday, 6:00pm
1200NIS per person double occupancy (single supplement 600NIS, non members
add NIS 100, third in suite - 1000NIS) includes suite, bus, guard, entrance
fees Meals at Mehadrin Royal Class Restaurants •H/B RESERVE IMMEDIATELY
BEFORE WE ARE SOLD OUT Sea World Oceanarium, Underwater Observatory, Jules
Verne Glass Boat, Aerodium, Mt. Hizkiyahu, Yotvata Complex, Texas Ranch,
Tour the borders, Solar Energy Systems, Ramon Crater Visitors’ Center, Hai
Ramon Animal Observatory, Dead Sea Works... and more Air-conditioned
luxurious bus accompanies us throughout the entire trip Shulamit's tiyulim
are always treats; Come! You'll also enjoy her delicious sweets Come into
the Center or call with your credit card number and make your reservations
TODAY! • Program subject to change
OU ISRAEL CENTER
Seymour J. Abrams Orthodox Union Jerusalem World Center