Shabbat Parshat VA'EIRA -
Z'MANIM - HALACHIC
TIMES - Correct for TT #650
Not everybody holds by
that timing. Some communities calculate Shabbat out at 33 minutes
after sunset. Some use the angle of the sun below the horizon to
“end Shabbat” (8.5 deg). Bottom line for now: until we get the chart
running smoothly, don’t rely on it exclusively. Cross-check times
with calendars and charts. Please report discrepancies to us, so
that we can improve our time table. Also realize that Sfardim and
Ashkenazim often has differences in minhag.
Sunset, on the other hand, is given for an elevation of 825m and, in parentheses, as if at sea level. There are different opinions as to which sunset time should be used for halachic purposes. We present both times.
The deadlines for the SH'MA and the Shacharit Amida can be calculated in two ways. Either considering the day to be from sunrise to sunset or from dawn to stars out. The first way of reckoning is known as the opinion of the GR"A, and is the first time given in each case. The second method is known as the Magen Avraham, and is presented in parentheses.
Aside from candle lighting and havdala, the times are presented as a range, from the current Thursday of the issue of Torah Tidbits until the coming Thursday, a span of 8 days. Days between the two Thursdays can be determined by interpolation (which means: a method by which to estimate a value of between two known values-this is something that people above a certain age might remember from high school trigonometry and logarithms, but younger people who went to school during the calculator era might not be familiar with).
It is usually wise to
"pad" the times with a minute or two in the "play it safe"
direction. E.g. Plag Mincha. Better to finish Mincha a minute or two
before the given time. But, better to not light candles until a
minute or two after the given time.
Tevet was the third
month in a row with only 29 days. Rosh Chodesh Shvat is the third
one-day Rosh Chodesh in a row. That's the longest possible run. It
happens on average 25.5% of the time.
Too cryptic? Let's take it again. The Mishna in Pesachim says that everyone should have (no less than) four cups of wine... Rashi explains that the cups of wine correspond to the "four terms of redemption" - "I will take you out...", "I will save you...", "I will redeem you...", "I will take you unto Me...". Then there is the well-known fifth term, "I will bring you...", which is represented by the Cup of Eliyahu, which makes the statement that bringing us into Eretz Yisrael is as yet incomplete. The prophecy of Redemption is contained within the three p'sukim, Shmot 6:6-8. The first one contains the three terms of Y'tzi'at Mitzrayim, as mentioned above. V'HOTZEITI, V'HI- TZALTI, V'GA'ALTI. Commentaries explain that being free of Egypt involves a combination of an actual end to slavery and imprisonment in the land and a psychological freedom from the feelings of subservience to Egypt.
In the second pasuk, we find a crucial factor in that psychological freedom - namely, that G-d makes us His nation, we accept Him as our G-d, AND that we KNOW - with complete clarity and certainty - that it was G-d Who took us out of Egypt. Without that knowledge, acquired during Maamad Har Sinai, we would still be slaves to Par'o in Egypt, regardless of where we are. VIDA'TEM - and you shall know - is an important aspect of the redemption.
And the Redemption is
incomplete without the elements of the third pasuk. "I will bring
you to the Land I promised your ancestors..." Yes, that's part of
the process. That's the fifth term, as mentioned before. But there
is another part of that phase of redemption: "And I will GIVE the
Land to you as a MORASHA, a Heritage.
There are reasons the
number of cups of wine required at the Seder remains four, but the
prophecy/promise at the beginning of this week's sedra have 8
elements for us to ponder and appreciate.
Exile is certainly associated with the stricter side of G-d's treatment of His People. If the quality of mercy were dominant, perhaps we would acclimate too well to conditions and lose our yearning for redemption. (See what has happened in modern times when exile is accompanied by G-d's Midat HaRachamim and people are quite comfortable, and therefore, complacent - a regrettable state of affairs.)
In the opening pasuk of this week's sedra, we find the unusual combination of both names. It is ELOKIM Who speaks to Moshe, G-d Who has judged and treated the People strictly and harshly. (And G-d Who is also speaking harshly to Moshe for his outburst at the end of Parshat Sh'mot). However, His message to Moshe is "I am HASHEM" (which comes with VAYOMER, the softer "tell", rather than VAIDABEIR, the harsher "speak" that began the pasuk). And His words of hope and promise to the People begin with the same declaration, "I Am HASHEM". In this context, we are told that G-d will take the People out of Egypt, save them, redeem them, take them unto Him, be our G-d and ultimately bring us into the Promised Land. These stages of redemption are summed up with the reiteration of the statement, "I Am HaShem". It is as if G-d is saying to the down-hearted People: "until now you've experienced Me as ELOKIM, but rest assured that you will now see HASHEM - the G-d of Mercy - in full measure. The Egyptians on the other hand are being punished by the hand of G-d as ELOKIM. (see 5:15).
[S> 6:2 (8)] The sedra begins with G-d speaking to Moshe Rabeinu and telling him of the promises He had made to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Also, G-d tells Moshe that He has heard and is responding to the cries of the People of Israel.
[In other words, G-d
will be taking us out of Egypt not only because of promises He had
made to the Avot, but because of His feelings for us.]
Moshe relates this to the People, who are too exhausted to listen.
[P> 6:10 (3)] G-d then tells Moshe to go to Par'o and demand the People's release. Moshe questions how Par'o can be expected to listen, if the People (Moshe's own people) themselves didn't listen to him.
SDT G-d tells Moshe to go speak to Par'o (about letting the People go). Moshe "demurs", using the logical argument known as KAL VACHOMER - if the People of Israel (my own People) didn't listen to me, how is Par'o going to listen to me. Seems logical, but the Torah has told us why the people didn't listen to Moshe - they were utterly exhausted from their unusually difficult labors. If so, it does not follow logically that Par'o would not listen to Moshe. Maybe he would listen, not being exhausted. On the other hand, Moshe's KAL VACHOMER is based on his own statement - "I have a speech impediment".
In trying to understand his failure to reach the people, Moshe finds fault in himself, not in the People. This is how a leader should behave. When a rabbi or teacher fails to communicate an idea to his charges, he should not conclude that the fault lies with them - they are dumb; they are not committed enough; etc. He should rather be critical of himself - I probably didn't explain things well; I wasn't patient enough; etc. This is one of the signs of humility that is such a desirable characteristic in a leader. This was one of the many qualities that made Moshe Rabeinu The Leader and Teacher par excellence.
[P> 6:13 (1)] (Above Moshe's objections, so to speak,) G-d reiterates to Moshe and Aharon, that they are to tell the People as well as Par'o that the People will be leaving Egypt.
Note that this last
pasuk of the first Aliya is one whole parsha. Single- pasuk
parshiyot seem to say, LOOK AT ME. Perhaps, G-d is saying to Moshe -
all your hesitations and protestations aside, it is time for TACHLIS.
You and Aharon are going to tell/command the people and Par'o about
leaving Egypt. Period.
SDT Although the purpose of this partial genealogy is to identify Aharon and Moshe, the Torah began with Reuven and Shimon before it gets to Levi. A reason offered for this in one of the sources is that since Yaakov Avinu spoke critically of these three sons, the Torah here lists only them, to teach us that they were important tribes despite their progenitors' "mistakes".
SDT Why are we known as BNEI YISRAEL, and not one of the other Fathers or Mothers? YISRAEL is spelled YUD (Yitzchak & Yaakov), SIN (Sara), RESH (Rivka & Rachel), ALEF (Avraham), LAMED (Leah). The name YISRAEL then encompasses the names of all the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. This is not a reason, but a nice way to look at our main name.
SDT When the Torah tells us who Aharon married, she is identified as Elisheva b. Aminadav AND as the sister of Nachshon. Rashi tells us that from here we learn that when a man marries a woman, he should check out her brothers (because children often take after their maternal uncles). The same idea was previously presented in reference to Lavan.
SDT On the Torah’s
statement: HU AHARON UMOSHE, Rashi points out that sometimes
(mostly) Moshe is mentioned first, and sometimes Aharon is mentioned
first, to teach us that they were equals. (That is, on some levels,
but on others, Moshe Rabeinu was obviously on a higher standing.)
BTW, ARAL S'FATAYIM has different meanings in commentaries. Literally, it means: I have uncircumcised lips, it is variously interpreted as, "I have a speech defect", "I can hardly speak", and "I have no self-confidence when I speak".
Rashi says that G-d did not repeat the command, nor did Moshe repeat his objection. It is the Torah that is putting us back where we left off before the genealogical data were presented.
[P> 7:1 (7)] G-d tells Moshe that Aharon will do the talking, that Par'o will refuse the repeated requests to free the People, and that He (G-d) will take His people out, and that it will be clear to Egypt (and everyone else) that it is indeed G-d Who is doing everything. Moshe and Aharon do as G-d instructs them; they are 80 and 83 years old respectively.
Observation When the Torah is specific about ages, it usually is meant to give us an accurate way of constructing a time line. Perhaps too, in this case, the Torah is pointing out something that we saw very often in the book of B'reishit - namely, the prominence of the younger brother over the older one.
SDT How is it that
Moshe Rabeinu is able to speak to the People of Israel throughout
his "career" as leader, in light of the fact that he complained of
being "speech impaired"? When Moshe spoke to the People of Israel,
it was the Sh'china that spoke from his mouth. He had no trouble
with his speech defect. He was, however, concerned when it came to
speaking to Par'o. See 6:30.
Rashi says that TANIN means NACHASH, snake or serpent. Not everyone see it that way. When G-d first had Moshe throw his staff down, it changed into a NACHASH, a snake. Here with Par'o, it changed into a TANIN. Strong possibility is that we are talking about a crocodile, venerated and worshiped by Egypt. Many Pharaohs identified with the crocodile as the ruling animal of the Nile.
Adds the Baal HaTurim, that the Tanin reverting to wood was a message to Par'o that just as the mighty crocodile turns to dry wood, so too will the mighty Par'o turn to dust and food for worms.
SDT Baal HaTurim points out that the pasuk says: G-d says to Moshe that when Par'o will ask for a sign, you (Moshe) shall tell to Aharon to take your staff and throw it (on the ground) in front of Par'o, it shall become a TANIN. It didn't say: AND it will become a Tanin. He explains that the staff was thrown down and then he was to command it to become a Tanin. And that's what happened, to show Par'o the power of speech that G-d has given to Moshe. In other words, the staff did not change upon being thrown down. It changed by a spoken command. That carries a pointed message to Par'o that his wizards aren't even in the same class with Moshe and Aharon.
Par'o calls his wizards who are able to duplicate (sort of) what Aharon does; however, Aharon's staff (note: not his TANIN) swallows those of the wizards.
Nonetheless, Par'o refuses to listen to Moshe and Aharon, as G-d had said.
[S> 7:14 (5)] G-d then instructs Moshe to go to the river (Nile) in the morning, where Par'o will be, and to bring the Staff with him. Moshe is to say to Par'o that G-d has sent me (Moshe) to tell you (Par'o) to release the People and you have refused until now. "With this will you know Who G-d is..." Moshe (actually Aharon) will be striking the water of the river, turning it to blood and killing all the fish therein.
[S> 7:19 (7)] G-d tells Moshe to tell Aharon to take the Staff and strike the waters of Egypt. Moshe and Aharon do as instructed and the waters turn to blood, the fish die, and the Egyptians cannot drink the water. Par'o's wizards again duplicate what was done, causing Par'o to remain stubborn. Egyptians are forced to dig for water (and/or buy water from the Jews). This first plague lasts 7 days.
[P> 7:26 (15)] G-d next instructs Moshe to go to Par'o (at his palace) and warn him that if he does not let the People go, Egypt will be smitten by a plague of frogs. Aharon is to raise the Staff above the river, which he does, and the land is blanketed with frog(s). The wizards are again able to simulate this plague with their magical powers. Par'o calls to Moshe and Aharon to pray to G-d that the frogs be removed, promising that he will let the People go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to G-d. Moshe asks Par'o when he wants the frogs to leave. (A strange question, to which Par'o gives a stranger answer). Par'o says "tomorrow", to which Moshe responds "so be it. And that will serve as proof of G-d's powers".
SDT Why would Par'o ask for the plague to be withdrawn on the following day? He and his people were certainly suffering and would want to rid themselves of the frogs as soon as possible. Par'o (still refusing to see the plagues as Divine, and assuming that there was some natural explanation for them) figured that Moshe came before him when he (Moshe) knew that the frogs would leave. Moshe would give the impression that he (in the name of the G-d of Israel) had power over the frogs. So Par'o tried to trick Moshe by asking the unexpected - do it tomorrow. Moshe's answer was that doing so would demonstrate that it was truly G-d's power that was being observed.
Egypt saw itself as
great because of the Nile and because of the fertile land created by
the waters of the Nile. The first plague smote the water. The second
was a plague that came from the river and attacked the land. The
third smote the land itself.
[S> 8:12 (4)] G-d tells Moshe to tell Aharon to strike the dust of the earth (no warning to Par'o this time). The resultant plague of lice was not able to be matched by the wizards, who acknowledge G-d's might. Par'o remains stubborn.
[S> 8:16 (13)] G-d sends Moshe to warn Par'o about the next plague (swarms of insects or wild animals, depending upon which opinion you follow). New element with this fourth plague - the contrast between Egyptian and Jewish experiences.
There was always a
contrast between the Egyptians and the Jews - Egyptians had no water
during the first plague; the Jews had water. The Midrash even says
that if a Jew and an Egyptian drank from the same cup, the Jew would
be drinking water and the Egyptian would have blood. Similarly, the
Jews did not suffer the plagues and the Egyptians did. Yet it seems
that G-d had different messages for each of the plagues. (Or each
set of 3 plagues.) AROV was the first plague that the distinction
between Goshen and the Jews on one hand, and the land of Egypt and
the Egyptians on the other, was so sharp.
Par'o agrees on the condition that Moshe pray for the removal of the plague. Afterwards, Par'o again reneges.
[P> 9:1 (7)] G-d next
sends Moshe back to Par'o to repeat the demand for the People's
release and to warn him of the consequence of his refusal this time,
namely DEVER. And so it happens that the livestock of the Egyptians
all die, with not a single loss to the Jews. This Par'o checks on,
yet he still remains stubborn.
[S> 9:13 (9)] Moshe is next sent to warn about the seventh (and very powerful) plague.
SDT In warning about
HAIL, G-d says (through Moshe) that this time, I will send ALL my
plagues... The Vilna Ga'on explains that G-d uses three main
weapons, so to speak, to punish those who violate His commands -
Fire, Water, and Wind. For example, to destroy the Generation of the
Flood, G-d used Water. To disperse Dor HaP'laga, He used Wind, and
to destroy S'dom, His main weapon was Fire. The plague of Blood used
Water. Plague 6 was the burning Fire of Boils on the skin. The
locust came on the Wind. But Hail consisted of the whole arsenal -
the Hail itself was Water, it had Fire in it, and the Hail was
accompanied by strong Wind.
[P> 9:22 (14)] Moshe
raises his hand heavenward and the hail falls. It is extremely
destructive, but some plants survive, as do the animals of those
Egyptians who heeded Moshe's warning to bring them indoors. Par'o
admits that he has sinned and grants Moshe's demands, if only the
hail will stop. When Par'o sees that the hail and thunder have
stopped, he yet again reneges, as G-d has said he would. Maftir is
the last 3 p'sukim.
Rabbi Jacobson points
out in A Haftara Companion, that Par'o is described as a great
crocodile, which fits with what the Staff turned into when cast
before Par'o by Aharon, at Moshe's instruction (from G-d).
The owner may evict the lessee at the termination of the term of the lease without giving the lessee any notice to vacate. It does not matter what the season, whether winter or summer. Conversely, the lessee may vacate the real estate at the termination of the lease without any prior notice to the owner. Each party is presumed to know the termination date of the lease.
In towns and villages, rental of real estate that has no specific term of time duration follows the practice of the community. If the practice is for such leases, whether in writing or oral, to be for a year, then it will be held that such rental is for a year, or for a month, or for any other period reflecting the community practice. Very often the laws of the land specify the duration of a lease that does not state any duration, and they are to be followed.
If there is no community practice or law governing, the halacha states that a lease without a specific duration is for thirty days.
When the lease does not provide for any term, the rent must still be paid. Every lessee for a non specified period of time must be given at least thirty days' notice to vacate the real estate. This applies if the termination day specified in the notice falls on a day between Pesach and Sukkot. This is the non-rainy season, and the lessee will find it easier to find a new dwelling and to move. But if the date specified in the thirty-day notice falls after the beginning of Sukkot until the next Pesach, the rainy season, he does not have to vacate until the day following the next Pesach. The lessee must be served with another 30-day notice telling him to vacate after Pesach.
The notices required by the owner to the lessee, must also be given by the lessee to the owner if he is going to vacate the real estate. Thus, in the non-rainy season, the lessee must give the owner thirty days' notice that he will vacate the real estate, and during the rainy season he may not vacate the premises and must give notice that he will vacate the premises after the coming Pesach.
What has been said above applies to towns and villages. However, in large urban areas, a lease for an unspecified duration cannot be terminated by less than twelve months' notice of termination, whether by the owner or the lessee. Should either the owner or the lessee anticipate that he may want to terminate the renting in less than a year, he should insist that the term of the lease be fixed for that shorter period (in the first place).
In commercial leases as well as in residential leases, if the parties stipulate a definite time for the duration of the lease, it governs. In all locations, whether in a city, town, or village, a commercial lease without a definite duration is for a year. The reason is that it may take the merchant in the store that much time to collect all of the debts due to him from the community customers. Although the halacha allows a longer time for bakeries and dyers of cloth - a period of three years, the same consideration should be given to all similar types of merchants who extend long periods of time for their customers to pay the debts due to the merchants.
There are sometimes changes in circumstances in cases of indefinite duration leases. If the lease is for an indefinite period and the level of rents in the community for comparable real estate rises or diminishes, the lessee must pay such higher rent or the owner must accept such lower rent (as the case may be). Such change in the rent to be paid is not effective until the party in whose favor the change is to be made gives written notice to the other party of such change in rent. If either refuses to comply with the foregoing, the other party may terminate the lease.
Assume the dwelling of the owner collapses and he has no place to live. He can give the lessee of a lease for an indefinite period reasonable notice to vacate, and the notice need not be the thirty days' notice required in the non-rainy season, and the notice can terminate during the rainy season. This does not apply to leases of definite duration since the term is fixed and the owner cannot terminate prior to the termination provided for in the lease.
In a case where the owner's commercial real estate is destroyed, the preferred view is that he may not evict the indefinite-term commercial lessee.
What if there is destruction of the leased real estate? The real estate that is rented may be for a specific location, such as a house located at 100 King George Street, or for suite 110 at 100 King George Street. If the real estate is destroyed by fire, flood, earthquake, storm, or any other reason, the owner is not required to rebuild the real estate, since he rented out specific real estate that is no longer in existence. The lessee does not have the option to state that he will rebuild at his own expense.
In such case the rent is to be apportioned between the time that the lessee occupied the real estate and the time left in the lease. If the If rent was prepaid, the lessee will be given a refund, and if the rental has not yet been paid, the lessee will pay amount used, to the owner.
If there was only partial destruction, the owner must make repairs to the part that remains to bring the rented real estate to as close a condition that it was before the partial destruction. There is an opinion that the owner need make repairs only if the total repair does not exceed the total rental under the lease.
If the lease is for the upper floor of a two-story building and the upper floor is destroyed, the law is the same, and the owner is not obligated to repair the upper floor. If there is partial destruction of the upper story, the owner must make repairs.
If the rented real estate is not specific, such as the owner rents to the lessee a house, or a house such as this, and the house is destroyed, the laws are different. The owner is obligated to either rebuild this real estate or to furnish the lessee with comparable real estate.
What if the lessee remains in possession after the term ends? If the lease is for a specific term and the lessee remains on in the premises, without being immediately evicted, he is treated as a lessee who is in possession of real estate for an indefinite period of time and whatever notices are required to be given for indefinite period rentals apply such as thirty days' notice or twelve months' notice.
Assume there is a lease of fixed duration by community practice, such as every lease without a definite term terminates on September 30 of the next year, and the lessee remains in possession of the real estate after the termination of the term without any agreement of the parties. The lessee after some time has passed after September 30, but before the next September 30, wishes to vacate the real estate and to pay for that time that he remained on the real estate. The owner demands that he pay until September 30 next. Since the practice is for all leases without a definite period to terminate on e following September 30, the lessee must pay until September 30.
The subject matter of
this lesson is more fully discussed in volume IX chapter 312 of A
Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law by E. Quint. Copies of all volumes
can be purchased via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and via
website: www.israelbooks.com and at local Judaica bookstores.
Questions to email@example.com
We can learn from this story that it is better not to state bad news outright; rather, the news is broken more gently when the listener comes by himself to the realization of what happened. (See Rashi.) A number of Rishonim go further and infer that it is acceptable even to keep bad news from others altogether, and this is the ruling of the Shulchan Arukh: "Someone whose relative has died and doesn't know, there is no obligation to inform him, even if it his father or mother [who died]. And of this it is said, Whoever spreads slander is a fool" (SA YD 402:12). The Rema adds that if the mourner is a son who would say Kaddish, we should inform him.
This halakha seems alien to the modern sensibility, which has been convinced that informing people of bad news is the greatest of mitzvot. Often it seems that whoever is first with the most shocking and horrible news is the most honored and revered. But we can acknowledge that this ruling seems extreme.
Particularly puzzling is the use of the word "slander" (dibah) in connection with unpleasant news. How is this connected in any way to slander?
In order to understand this, we should take another step back and ask, what is the problem with slander itself? Let us recall that in halakha, malicious speech is forbidden even if it is completely true. What is wrong with retelling truthful but negative information about others?
We have explained before that one of the foundations of the laws of lashon hara is the belief that human beings are fundamentally good. Therefore, in the first place we should judge them favorably, and not be hasty to accept that they did in fact do something wrong. In the second place, we should assume that any missteps that did occur were out of character, and will not be repeated.
Thus, it would be unfair and even misleading to spread the news.
A similar insight applies here. It is a basic belief of Judaism that the world is fundamentally a good place. We believe not only in G^d's sovereignty, we also believe in His benevolence. Furthermore, we believe that in most cases this benevolence is expressed in ways that are meaningful to human beings.
The blessings mentioned in the Torah are primarily blessings of this world.
Therefore, we are reluctant to mention bad news. First of all, we should be cautious in giving credence to bad news which we cannot verify. Beyond this, excessive absorption in the negative may influence a person to have a jaundiced view of human existence; this would be like "slandering" the provience of the Creator. Of course we do transmit bad news whenever the knowledge is necessary for us to carry out G^d's will, for example to fulfill the mitzva of reciting Kaddish. But in general we are not hasty to draw attention to the less pleasant aspects of our existence.
I usually refrain from giving commentary on the halakhot themselves, in order to avoid giving the impression that I am giving practical rulings. But in this case I want to point out that in today's world of instant information, the application of this halakhah is far more limited than in the past. In the time of the Shulchan Arukh, if the death of the relative was known to a single person in a town and he refrained from passing on the news, chances are the mourner would not find out from anyone else for a period of weeks, until some other acquaintance brought the tidings. But nowadays the relative is as likely as not to find out the news within hours or even minutes via the Internet or news media. In this case delaying the news is not practical, and the more thoughtful way of transmitting it is for the relative who knows of the misfortune to transmit it in a sensitive but direct fashion.
Publication Update: Both volumes of the book have already been through page design, type-setting, and proof reading. It won't be long now, IY"H, that we will see it IN PRINT.
Rabbi Meir authors a
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Jerusalem College of Technology - Machon Lev; and Aish HaTorah. You
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When the strengthening of the Temple was underway and he was searching for its treasury, Hilkyah, the Kohen Gadol found a Torah scroll hidden within one of the treasury rooms of the building. This was the same scroll that Moshe himself had written and placed in the Aron Kodesh alongside the Luchot HaBrit (D'varim 31:24-26).Far from this being a new revelation, that scroll had simply been taken out of the Aron for safekeeping when Ahaz, Menashe and Yoram each burnt a Sefer Torah in the Temple. In the spiritual turmoil and physical fear that existed during each of these king's reigns, the kohanim had simply forgotten about that scroll and were frightened to search where they had hidden it. Yoshiyahu latter was to similarly hide "the Ark together with the container of the first measure of manna (Sh'mot 18:33-36), the rod of Aharon with its almonds and flowers (Bamidbar 17:23), and the box of gold that the Philistines had sent as a gift to Hashem when they returned the Ark they had captured in the days of Eli (Shmuel Alef 4). What prompted Yoshiyahu to hide them? He read in the scroll, 'Hashem will lead you and your king… in to a nation that you have not known (D'varim 32:36). Therefore he went and hid all these holy items to prevent them falling into enemy hands" (Yoma52b).
Our Sages were divided as to what text the scroll was open to when it was found by Hilkiyah. "It was rolled to the verse, 'Cursed be the one who will not uphold the words of the Torah' (D'varim 28:36)" (Midrash Hagadol, D'varim 27:25). "That scroll had only the laws of kingship that Moshe wrote in the Torah that every king was supposed to write, as well as the details of the covenant that Yehoshua made between Israel and Hashem" (Sforno, D'varim 31:26). Since both verses promised persecution, destruction and exile if the Torah was not observed, Yoshiyahu's reaction to Hilkiyah's reading of the scrolls was to tear his clothes as an act of remorse, sorrow and mourning.
From the day that he had ascended to the throne of Judah at the age of 8 until the time that the scroll was found 10 years later, Yoshiyahu had diligently striven to pursue G-d in everything that he did. He returned all the money, that as a judge he had ordered one party to pay to another as a result of a verdict he had issued. This was out of fear that he had perhaps erred in judgment out of ignorance before immersing himself in Torah study. The reimbursement was made out the kings own money. It is not surprising therefore that the words of the scroll caused him much religious and spiritual agony, so much so that he sent to Huldah the Prophetess to find out what was the significance of the discovery.
Huldah lived in Yerusalayim where she conducted her own Bet Midrash; some authorities hold that it was limited to women scholars only. Her grave there was one of the few that weren't opened and destroyed with the return to rebuild the Bet HaMikdash. She was descended for the marriage of Yehoshua and Rachav of Jericho as was her contemporary, Yirmiyahu HaNavi. Shaar Huldah in the Eastern wall of Yerushalayim, was named after her. It stands at the summit of the 15 steps on each of which the Levites sang one Shir HaMaalot, the song of degrees-steps every day. Given that Yirmiyahu was around, why did not Yoshiyahu send to him, to inquire what the significance of the find at this particular moment was? Some have given the prophet's youthful age as a reason, since nobody would heed the words of such a young man. Others tell us that Yirmiyahu had gone to return the exiled Ten Tribes and that Yoshiyahu later ruled over them together with the kingdom of Judah. The major reason seems to be the fact that women are far more merciful and kind than men and that therefore they hoped that the approach to Hulda HaNevi'h would perhaps result in a kinder decree. (Megila 4).
Yoshiyahu had sent to her to pray for them even as the Tanach is filled with examples of other leaders who had approached a prophet to pray in times of danger and persecution. This was one of the tasks of the prophets in Israel and we find that from Moshe on they all fulfilled it. Shmuel stressed this role when he departed from the people after giving them the king they had asked for: "G-d forbid that I should now desist from praying for you".
Yoshiyahu had asked Hulda what would G-d's anger kindled and forthcoming as a result of the non-observance of the Covenant as promised in the scroll, mean to him and what would it mean for Israel. Chazal saw it as a shortcoming that Hulda showed great disrespect to the king when she answered. She never referred to him by name rather as that man who sent you even not granting him his royal title; when she does refer to the king, it is to an anonymous one. "There are two prophetess who were arrogant and therefore they both have derogatory names, Devorah was arrogant when she sent for Barak instead of going to him, that is a bee, and Hulda that is the feminine form of rat, for ignoring Yoshiyahu's kingly title and his very name "(Rabbi Nachman, Megila 14b).
The nation was told that the destruction and exile foretold in the Torah (Vayikra 26:14-46 and D'varim 28:1-69) were imminent, the strengthening of the Temple and its purification notwithstanding. However, Yoshiyahu's piety, his pursuit of the Jewish kingly mission to do righteousness and justice both towards Heaven and towards Mankind, and his dedication to Torah, all despite the example of his father Amon and his grandfather Menashe, earned the postponement of the destruction of the Temple till after his death.
This is the 66th
installment in Dr. Tamari’s series on “Tanach and its messages for
Q : I want to walk to my synagogue, which is 4 kilometers away (within city limits) on Shabbat, but I learned that one may not walk beyond 2,000 amot [almost a kilometer, assuming an ama is 48 cm. / 19 in.]. Do I need an eiruv or multiple eiruvin, and how do I make it?
A Not many people understand the laws of eiruv techumin (=ET; the halachic device that allows one to walk where he otherwise could not). Let us summarize the basics, based primarily on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 396,398, and 408.
The Torah forbids one to "leave his place on the seventh day" (Shemot 16:29). A person's place is defined as the area of a city, which, regarding the laws of Shabbat, is based on Bnei Yisrael's encampment in the desert (24,000 amot, squared). Based on smaller city-areas found elsewhere in the Torah, the Rabbis forbade walking more than 2,000 amot (=2Kam) in any direction from his place of inhabitation or base (Rambam, Shabbat 27:1). An ET does not increase the distance one is allowed to walk. Rather, it redetermines a person's base for Shabbat, from which we count the 2Kam that he can walk. (We "draw a box", north-south/east-west, whose closest points are 2Kam from the end of the base on each side. "Walking diagonally" one can exceed 2Kam.)
Let us investigate what a person's base is. Every person's minimum base is the 4 amot around him. However, if a person is in an area that is fully enclosed for the purpose of human inhabitation, that whole area is his base from which we count 2Kam. When an area is surrounded by a valid eiruv chatzerot (which allows carrying in the streets) the whole area is the minimum base of all within. Even without one, a string of continuous inhabitation is considered a city and is the base of those who start Shabbat within it. They can walk throughout the area and "make the box" outside its boundaries. The complicated things are determining whether someplace is an uninterrupted area and determining its boundaries. The local rabbi(s) should make this determination after studying the area's layout, as the geometric/ halachic rules are difficult.
We will mention a couple of rules, after pointing out that conventional halachic wisdom is that within built up, residential areas of cities, one can usually walk to wherever he has occasion. An adjacent area of 70l amot rings every house, and counts as its extension. Where the extensions of two houses overlap (i.e. they are separated by less than 223 ft.), they create a link that expands the city. After determining a block of inhabitation, one encloses it (assuming its boundaries are jagged) in a north-south/east-west rectangle. This usually increases the block's size significantly (and, according to some, connects it to other areas). An "outer box" is "drawn" 2Kam around the rectangle. Even if the "outer box" extends into a new block, one cannot walk further.
It may be advantageous for one to make his "place," from where we determine his personal "outer box," somewhere other than the location where he lives. This can be done either by being physically present in the place he wants when Shabbat begins or by placing food there and making a proper proclamation of intent. The latter is the ET. One can be based in only one place for Shabbat, and therefore, multiple eiruvin do not work concurrently. The person must be physically within the 2Kam radius of his ET-created base, or else he cannot walk anywhere. If he puts the ET, say, 1500 amot west of his location, he will be able to walk 3,500 amot to the west but only 500 to the east. In your case, if you put an ET in a block that extends within 2Kam of your location on one side and 2Kam of the synagogue on another, you can walk more than 4,000 amot, as the entire middle block, no matter how large it is, is the base that "does not take up space."
Your local rabbi will tell you whether an eiruv is needed and will work in your situation. If so, he will teach you where and how to place it.
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Rabbi Simai said: The verse says: "And I will take you unto me as a nation," and it says: "And I will bring you to the land.' This connects their exodus from Egypt with their arrival in Israel. Just as only two men out of 600,000 ultimately arrived in Israel [Yehoshua and Calev], so too their departure from Egypt actually concerned only two out of 600,000.
How can this be correct? We certainly know that more than two Jews were taken out of Egypt? Rabbi Simai is not rewriting history. Instead, he is telescoping it to teach us a powerful lesson about the merit of Eretz Israel. If the final stage of redemption was the delivery of the Jews to Israel, then technically God performed all of His miracles for only two (out of 600,000) people - the two that left Egypt and actually entered Israel 40 years later. God changed the world's natural and political order so that two men would enter the land. Just think then how much He must cherish all those who have chosen to live in Eretz Israel in our day.
Rabbi Steven Ettinger,
A Please accept my condolences on the loss of your very close friend. Your are what comes under the category of what we call: “a disenfranchised mourner”, i.e. although the death of your friend has affected your life in a very real sense you are not able to mourn her in any religious or socially acceptable way. (Other such losses include: the death of an ex-husband or wife , death of a pet , loss of a Rabbi, teacher, co-worker etc.) You may even have felt closer to her than some members of her family who sat shiva. It can be almost devastating.
Your feelings are legitimate. You are sad because you have lost something special and important to you and it is irretrievable. You are missing your friend very much and as of now you have no one or nothing to fill the vacuum her death has cased in your life.
You are probably depressed because you have no way to vent your anger at the fact that she has left you and that no one understands how much it hurts. Depression is usually anger that we turn inward when we feel unable to do act on our feelings and the anger at feeling helpless can be debilitating. You may be angry at her family that they didn’t invite you to “be with them” or at your own family for not accepting how you feel, or your mutual friends who don’t feel like you do. But a little examination will reveal its source. Often time itself can help, but not always.
I would say that you should give yourself time to mourn. Feel the sadness. Feel the loss. Don’t try to fight it. You can cry or write her a goodbye letter or share memories with members of her family or whatever feels good to you. (A few sessions with a bereavement counselor could be very helpful in moving the process along. )
As the pain begins to subside I suggest that you find some way to memorialize her; whether it be a regular shiur in her memory or by donating money or the like to a charity you both would have supported. It could be to get a group of your mutual friends together and take on some project in her memory. The act of doing will relieve some of the helplessness that we all feel in the face of death.
NECHAMA is a non-profit
organization that provides counseling for those who have lost a
loved one.Call (02) 573-4413 or (02) 651-8319. To address a question
to NECHAMA, email: email@example.com
Moshe, for his part, rationalized yet again that his own speech defect was at fault, for despite his having presented his case, there was nothing to show for it (ibid 6:12).
No wonder then that the
Torah stresses the Divine imperative that propelled Moshe and Aharon
forward: "Hashem commanded them regarding Bnei Yisrael and Pharaoh…
[and] they were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh" (ibid 6:13;27). It
seems that not only Moshe and Aharon needed to internalize this
principle; but so did Pharaoh and Bnei Yisrael and their offspring -
until the present day.
Since theChatat had a higher level of Kedusha (sanctity) than did Musafim, it was offered first, that is immediately after the morning Tamid. If Rosh Chodesh fell on Shabbat, the Musafim of both Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat (two lambs) were offered, with Musaf of Shabbat going first. On that day, the Levitical choir sang only Shir Shel Yom of Rosh Chodesh and this was to emphasize the importance of Rosh Chodesh. The Leviyim did not sing Mizmor Shir Shel Yom HaShabbat.
On Rosh Chodesh, King Saul and his entourage had a festive banquet to which David, though invited, refrained from attending. King Saul, upon noticing David's absence said, "…he is (ritually) impure, surely he is impure." Radak and Ralbag raise the possibility that the meat ingested at Saul's Rosh Chodesh feast were from Sh'lamim sacrifices. (Before the building of the Beit HaMikdash, Korbanot could be offered up on "private altars" anywhere in Eretz Yisrael). This would explain why it was necessary for the invitees to be in a state of ritual purity. Previously, Saul's son Jonathan had told David, "And on the third day… come to the place where you hid yourself in the day of work (i.e. the day before Rosh Chodesh) (Shmu'el Alef 20:19). Rashi quotes the Targum (Aramaic translation) of R. Yonatan ben Uziel which translates Beyom Hama'aseh as Beyoma Dechola. The day before Rosh Chodesh is considered an ordinary work day but Rosh Chodesh itself is not a work day. The prophet Amos describes how dishonest merchants cried out. "When will the New Moon be gone, that we may sell grain… and falsify the balances of deceit? (Amos 8:5). These unscrupulous merchants may have been cheats, but they "kept" Rosh Chodesh! Rosh Chodesh was celebrated by a suspension of productive labor and trading. On Rosh Chodesh, David's family celebrated a Zevach Mishpacha - a family sacrifice - in Beit Lechem, their home town (Shmu'el Alef 20:29). On Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat women would go to the Navi for spiritual instruction. The husband of the "great woman" of Shunem was surprised when his wife expressed a desireto visit Elisha HaNavi during the middle of the week. "Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? It is neither New Moon nor Shabbat" (Melachim Bet 4:23). In the beginning of the Bayit Sheini period, the Anshei K'nesset HaGedola ordained that, similar to Chol Hamo'ed, four men would be called up to the Torah on Rosh Chodesh. These sages wished to accentuate the fact that Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamo'ed were in their eyes not work days. (On Mondays and Thursdays, which are work days, only three men are called up to the Torah.) Nevertheless, the popular observance of Rosh Chodesh seems to have declined during and after the Babylonian exile. One interesting theory was that as long as the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh was offered in Bayit Rishon, the Isur Melacha (prohibition of work) was in force, but with the suspension of the Bayit Rishon Musaf, the Isur fell into abeyance. Yechezkel HaNavi indeed prophesies that "the people of the land shall worship at that gate (oft he restored Beit HaMikdash) before G-d on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons (Yechezkel 46:3). But standing by the rivers of Babylon, Yechezkel already places Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh. Today men are permitted to work on Rosh Chodesh but women are permitted to do only what is "really necessary". The Midrash notes, "When the men came to remove the golden earrings from the ears of their wives to make the golden calf… the women refused and would not give their jewelry to their husbands to make the calf. They said, 'To make an abomination which is an abhorrence and which has no power to help! We will not listen to you. Therefore the Holy One Blessed be He gave the women a reward in this world, they were exempted from working on Rosh Chodesh. In the Future World, women will be renewed monthly as is the moon (Perkei De'rabbi Eliezer 45).
In an extraordinary Gemara, R. Simeon ben Pazi points out a contradiction (between the beginning and the end of Bereishit 1:16). "One verse says, 'And G-d made the two great lights, and then immediately continues, "the greater light… the lesser light". The moon said unto the Holy One Blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Is it possible for two kings to wear one crown? He (G-d) answered, 'Go then and make thyself smaller.' 'Sovereign of the Universe! Because I have suggested that which is proper, must I then make myself smaller?' G-d answered,' Go and thou wilt rule by day and by night.' 'But what is the value of this?' cried the moon, 'Of what use is a lamp in broad daylight'. He replied, 'Go and Israel shall reckon by thee the days and the years.' 'But it is impossible', said the moon, 'to do without the sun for the purpose of reckoning of the seasons, as it is written, 'And let them (the moon and the sun) be for signs, and for seasons,, and for days and years' (Ibid 14)…. On seeing that the moon would not be consoled, the Holy One Blessed be He said, 'Bring an atonement for Me for making the moon smaller.' This is what is meant by R. Shimon ben Lachish when he said, 'Why is it that the Chatat - sin offering he-goat - offered on Rosh Chodesh is distinguished by that it is written concerning it, "unto the Lord" (Bamidbar 28:15). Because the Holy One Blessed be He said, "Let this he-goat be an atonement for Me because I made the moon smaller'" (Chullin 60b). Some authorities postulate that R. Simeon ben Pazi, by means of a parable, is touching on the "secrets of Creation, its 'foundation' and order". The Rif, who seldom comments on Aggadita (the homiletical sections of the Gemara), writes, "this (Chatat) does not atone for the Holy One Blessed be He… rather it atones for Israel… G-d said to the moon, 'in exchange for your diminution, I am bestowing upon you an exceptional honor… that Israel will offer to Me every Rosh Chodesh a Chatat to effectuate atonement for their sins…'" The Maharal notes that the Korban is offered on Rosh Chodesh when the moon is at its smallest. It is peculiarly at this time of humility and self-depreciation, when the moon is but a sliver, a special Korban is offered to effectuate repentance and to symbolize reconciliation with G-d. The Gur Aryeh insists that "it cannot be that the Holy One Blessed be He requires atonement for his acts, as if He did something that He should not have done and is contrite" (Bamidbar 28:15).
Perhaps we should look at this Gemara from a totally different vantage point altogether. Even if HaKadosh Boruch Hu does not really "sin", nevertheless, by asking that a Korban Chatat be offered on His behalf, He points the way to repentance.
Catriel's book in
progress: The Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrims Prospective; A Guided
Tour through the Temple and the Divine Service
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