Z'MANIM - HALACHIC
TIMES - Correct for TT #648
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.
As mentioned last week, the last opportunity to say Kiddush L'vana this month is Sunday evening, Dec. 26, up to 9:29pm. This time is dependent on locale and needs to be adjusted. For example, in New York the last op for KL is 2:29pm on Sunday, which means, of course, that the real last op for KL is all night Motza'ei Shabbat.
Also remember that
during the winter months, and depending upon where you live, there
can be cloudy conditions which will sometimes prevent you from
saying KL. If this happens on a Motza'ei Shabbat, when most people
are tuned in to KL, then they might forget to check on the following
nights for a visible moon and might miss KL altogether for the
month. It would be sad to miss out on this monthly "reception" of
the Divine Presence.
Perhaps we were optimistic with the Torah's description of No'ach and G-d's "feelings" about him. But the generations degenerated from there - with occasional bright spots, as there were in the first ten generations. Those shining individuals were not enough to save the world, until Avraham Avinu arrives on the scene and reintroduces belief in One G-d. Yet his life was not a bed of roses and even the wonderful prophecies and promises were tainted by the image of oppression for a soon to come generation. Our introduction to Yitzchak is the spiritual high of the Akeida, but life continues with the problems of Yaakov and Eisav. Yaakov himself described his life to Par'o as 147 bad years.
Yosef and the brothers certainly didn't fair so well. And it was only in last week's sedra that we became hopeful and optimistic about their reunion and reconciliation. This week, Yaakov just barely makes it back to Eretz Yisrael, but his children already need Par'o's permission to bring him to rest.
The sedra and the Book of B'reishit end with Yosef dying and his remains being placed in a coffin IN EGYPT. We know he eventually gets back to Eretz Yisrael, as do the People of Israel, but none of it is smooth sailing.
If all this sounds
depressing, remember what Rabbi Akiva told his colleagues on Har
HaBayit. If the negative prophecies come to pass, we can be certain
of the Geula Sh'leima.
SDT Why would Yaakov insist that Yosef swear - didn't he trust him? Among other reasons, the oath might prove necessary in obtaining permission from Par'o for the funeral. Even if Par'o would have been inclined to say "no", he would respect an oath. This, according to Midrash, because Yosef had sworn not to divulge a particular secret about Par'o (that he, Yosef, knew more languages than Par'o). Par'o could not say to Yosef, "I don't care what promises you made", etc. There are commentaries who suggest another possible reason for making Yosef swear - Yosef might be upset about his mother's not being buried in the "proper" place, and he might not be favorable to his father's request.
SDT Yaakov asks Yosef for Chesed v'Emet, True Kindness. It is usually considered that tending to the burial of the dead is the purest form of kindness, because, among other reasons, it is the one situation in which the recipient of your kindness cannot repay the favor himself. It is an act of kindness without recompense.
Commentators question this idea in Yosef's case. We are taught that Yosef merited having his remains taken out of Egypt as a reward for his attention to Yaakov's wishes. How can we refer to what he did for his father as Chesed shel Emet? One answer is that Yosef received reward in kind only by being taken out of Egypt and buried in the Land of Israel. His body spent a long time in Egypt. His act of True Kindness to his father was that Yaakov's body did not spend even a moment buried in Egypt. For this, Yosef was not paid back in kind; his action on behalf of Yaakov's funeral arrangements was indeed Chesed & Emet.
Another understanding of the concept of CHESED SHEL EMET is that when one does a favor for a living person, one never knows if things will actually turn out all right. It might look like a good thing to do, but things can turn out "don't do me any favors". An act of kindness to the dead is an unquestioned act of Chesed.
[P> 48:1 (22)] Some time later, Yosef is informed (by Efrayim who regularly ministers to and learns Torah with Yaakov) that Yaakov is sick ("at death's door"). Yosef brings his two sons with him to Yaakov (so that they can receive his blessing). Yaakov is strengthened by the news of Yosef's impending visit (Thus is the power of Bikur Cholim).
SDT As to who told Yosef that his father was sick, it is Rashi who brings the opinion that it was Efrayim, who tended to Yaakov's needs in Goshen while Yosef was in Egypt proper. The Midrash says that it was A-s'nat, Yosef's wife, who told him.
Speaking of A-s'nat... The Midrash says that she was Dina's daughter, who was raised by Potifar in Egypt. The Midrash also says that when Potifar's wife accused Yosef of improper advances, it was A-s'nat who privately told Potifar the truth, thus saving Yosef's life.
Yaakov tells Yosef of
HaShem's promises to him and his descendants and of Rachel's death
and burial. He then assures Yosef that his two sons, Efrayim and
Menashe, will be equal to Yaakov's sons. (This in essence, is the
double portion of inheritance that Yaakov is giving to "his heart's
first-born", the elder of his beloved Rachel's sons.) Then Yaakov
takes notice of the boys and asks Yosef to present them so that he
can bless them.
Yaakov's reference to
fish in his blessings for Efrayim and Menashe (and all Jewish
children in perpetuity) is explained on at least two levels. Fish
are prolific; Yaakov was blessing his descendants that they should
become a large nation. It is also known that the EYIN HARA has no
hold over fish (which had something to do with their survival during
the MABUL without having to be taken into the Ark). And this too was
part of his bracha. (BTW, the Yiddish name Fischel (fish) is often
paired with Efrayim; obviously, this bracha is the source of that
On this same day, Yaakov blesses them by saying that the traditional blessing for sons shall be: "May G-d make you like Efrayim and Menashe".
Think about this...
Imagine the panic that Yosef must have felt when he witnessed the
potential of "history repeating itself". How can Yaakov do what he
was doing when he was painfully aware of the consequences of
favoring one son and of the jealousy that it creates (can create).
Perhaps Yaakov Avinu saw that his two grandsons possessed the qualities that "allowed" him to do what he did. Two major personality traits that a person should strive for (and that parents shall try to teach their children) are: not being boastful when in a superior position and not being resentful when in an inferior position. Efrayim was destined to become greater than his older brother Menashe. These two brothers were such that Efrayim did not lord himself over Menashe, nor was Menashe jealous of Efrayim's prominence. What greater blessing can a father give his sons than "May G-d make you like Efrayim and Menashe!"
Yaakov then tells Yosef
that he is about to die; that G-d will be with the family-nation;
that He will restore them to the Land of their ancestors; and that
he (Yaakov) has provided Yosef with an additional portion of the
SDT Rashi says that Yaakov wanted to reveal the "KEITZ" (end of time), but was not allowed to do so by G-d. The original prophecy concerning the exile in Egypt was given to Avraham in the "Covenant between the Pieces". There he was told that his descendants would be oppressed for 400 years. In fact, the people were enslaved for 210 years. (Actually, they were in Egypt for 210 years; actual enslavement was significantly less.) The additional 190 years is calculated from the birth of Yitzchak - once Avraham had his first descendant, the "clock of exile", so to speak, began ticking.
Egyptian exile would have been more tolerable, had our ancestors known about this 190 year "grace period". This is the KEITZ (KUF (100) + TZADI (90) = 190) that Yaakov wanted to reveal to his sons. But this he was not permitted to reveal it.
(The blessings, often mixed with fatherly criticism, combine to become the brachot of the Tribes.)
Yaakov's words about Reuven speak of his unrealized potential to have been the leader and the indiscretion that lost him the position of leader.
[P> 49:5 (3)] Yaakov refers to the violence of Shimon and Levi. He curses their anger - not them.
Important lesson for us all from this point. Don't say to your son, "BAD BOY!" Say, "you did a bad thing." It might not seem to be so important, but it is. Especially, because we don't say these kind of things once, but rather countless times over many years.
[P> 49:8 (5)] Yehuda receives the brightest words - he is promised the leadership and respect of his brothers.
The Baal HaTurim points out that the initials of GUR ARYEI YEHUDA - Gimel+Alef+Yud = 14, the numeric value of DAVID.
[P> 49:13 (1)] Zevulun is given the blessing of prosperity...
[P> 49:14 (2)] and Yissachar will carry the burden of Torah scholarship. (The image of a donkey indicates perseverance, strong-willed - qualities that are suitable for a scholar.)
Together, these two tribes will form a partnership that will be mutually beneficial.
[S> 49:16 (3)] Dan will be the judge (and upholder of the honor, the one that will avenge Israel by fighting the P'lishtim) of the people. Rashi says that this is a prophecy about Shimshon, who was from the tribe of Dan.
This parsha and Aliya
finish with the famous 3-word pasuk: To Your salvation, I hope,
HaShem. When a person sneezes, he is supposed to say L'SHU'ATCHA
K'VITI HASEM. This is based on the fact that prior to Yaakov Avinu,
there was no being sick before one died. Rather, the soul just left
the body as it had been breathed in, through the nostrils, with a
sneeze. Yaakov acknowledged the "gift" of being sick before death,
so that one can put his affairs in order. A sneeze is no longer a
sign of death, but just a reminder of illness (sometimes a symptom
and sometimes just a reminder). This is why people say ASUTA or
LIVRIYUT, or something like that, to a person who sneezes. But the
sneezer himself quotes the words of Yaakov Avinu.
[S> 49:20 (1)] Asher's blessing also seems to be that of prosperity (and/or eloquence).
[S> 49:21 (1)] Naftali is likened to a swift deer (or spreading tree, according to other opinions) and is blessed with eloquence (and probably, prosperity).
[S> 49:22 (5)] Yosef's blessing is extensive and shows Yaakov's special love for him. It is the bracha of Avraham to Yitzchak and of Yitzchak to Yaakov that Yaakov gives to Yosef, son of Rachel.
A fruitful son is
Yosef. BEN PORAT = 732. Baal HaTurim points out that this is the
G'matriya of Efrayim and Menashe: 1+80+200+10+40 (331) + 6 +
40+50+300+5 (395) = 732
Note that Reuven's bracha is in the same parsha as the "introduction" of Yaakov's parting words to his children. Binyamin's bracha is part of the parsha which concludes the sedra, and the Book of B'reishit. Furthermore, some of the sons have their blessing in a parsha p'tucha and some in s'tumot. These are just observations; no suggestion as to significance, if any, is implied.
Commentaries point out
that Yaakov's words don't always seem to be blessings - but they do
contain implied blessings and prophecies.
Yaakov dies. The wording in the Torah is indirect - the words death or dying are not used - indicating the special "quality of life" (strange term to use here, but purposely chosen) even in the death of Yaakov Avinu.
The Torah next tells of the preparation for burial. Yosef tells Par'o of his oath and receives permission for the funeral procession to Canaan. The funeral and mourning for Yaakov is elaborate and extensive.
When they return to Egypt, the brothers are filled with guilt feelings and offer themselves to Yosef as slaves. Once again, Yosef assures the brothers that all that has happened is G-d's will and for the best.
Yosef cries because the brothers are falsely accusing him of planning to take revenge against them.
Interesting (and sad)
that part of their original problem was based upon false accusations
by Yosef against his brothers.
According to Seder HaDorot HaKatzar, by MK Shlomo Benizri, the order in which the brothers died (over a period of 22 years) was Yosef, Shimon, Yehuda, Reuven, Binyamin, Yissachar, Asher, Zevulun, Gad, Dan, Naftali, Levi.
Apparently, the phrase became an expression of encouragement at crucial junctures of one’s life. We apply this encouragement to the situation of completing the reading of the Torah (perhaps the original custom was to say the phrase at the end of the whole Torah, and subsequently it extended to the end of each Book).
Another possible origin would apply to the end of the whole Torah (not necessarily each book). The Haftara of Vzot HaBracha is the opening portion of Yehoshua, where we find G-d repeatedly encouraging the new leader of the People, the successor to Moshe Rabeinu, to be strong and courageous. CHAZAK VE’EMATZ. As we “relive” the experience of Moshe’s death and the final preparation to enter Eretz Yisrael, we too shower words of encouragement upon the person honored with the Aliya that finishes the Torah.
Whatever the origin, there is halachic opinion that the person with the CHAZAK Aliya should not say CHAZAK, CHAZAK, as it might constitute a HEFSEIK (interruption) between the reading of the Torah and his bracha. No problem for the congregation or for the Baal Korei to say it.
Final 4 p'sukim are
reread for Maftir.
Where the object is to be used often is important. Also if it was used for the purpose for which it was leased. I ask the readers to understand that as is the case of most of these lessons, the codes deal mainly with leasing animals. Halacha commenced about 3,500 years ago and the advent of the automobile occurred about 100 years ago. Most of the codes, commentaries, and responsa literature, therefore, deal with objects that may seem anachronistic to those residing in some Western countries, but not necessarily so for those residing in Third-World countries. Also the next few lessons shall build on the foundations of this lesson.
Sometimes the deviation is that of route, sometimes it is that of time, as where the owner rents the car to the lessee for two days knowing that if the lessee drives the car within the speed limits it would take two days to get to the destination and back. If the lessee does the trip in less than two days he would be substantially exceeding the speed limits as a result of which he may destroy the car. In a reported case, the lessee, in Toledo, Spain, rented the animal to take him to Alsak, Spain, and back to Toledo; the owner told the lessee that the trip should take two days. The lessee went to Alsak and returned to Toledo in one day, as do most people, The owner sued the lessee for abuse of the animal, which he said would result in injury to the animal. Beth Din instructed the owner to try engage a veterinarian, and to heal the animal with medications, which the owner did; in spite of the effort the animal died 8 days later, The lessee was held responsible for the loss. When the owner told the lessee to take two days, he knew his animal, and the fact that most other animals do the trip in one day did not absolve the lessee from liability to the owner [Responsa of Rabbi Asher b. Yechiel, Germany-Spain, 1250- 1324, 92:2].
In a related case, the lessee, when leaving an inn along the route, noticed that the leased animal had become lame and nevertheless placed the usual load on the animal and the animal became permanently injured. It was held that the animal should not have been taken from the inn if there was someone who was trustworthy there who could take care of the animal until the lessee could return for the animal, and the lessee should have rented another animal at the expense of the owner of the lame animal. If there was no one there from whom to rent another animal and the lessee was under pressure to reach his destination, he is not liable even if he placed a load on the lame animal [Responsa of Rabbi Asher b. Yechiel 92:1].
The lessee rents a car or a truck and advises the owner to which place he will drive the vehicle and he drives it to another place that is different in climate, weather, temperature, or humidity, or there are almost impassable roads or other circumstances that will damage the vehicle by being driven there. The vehicle is damaged due to the deviation from the agreed-upon route; the lessee is liable if it can be proved that the deviation of route caused the damage. In cases of animals, if it can be shown that the animal died a natural death, there is no liability unless the deviation brought on the animal's death. The lessee rents an animal and advises the owner that he intends to lead it through mountainous terrain and instead leads it through a valley: The animal suffers injury through slipping. The lessee is not liable although he deviated from the agreed-upon route. However, if the animal suffers from excessive heat, the lessee is liable. If he rents the animal to lead it through a valley and instead he leads it through mountainous terrain and the animal slips, he is liable for the injuries to the animal, since slipping is more likely to occur on a mountain. However, if the animal suffers from excessive heat he is not liable, because it is less hot in the mountains than in the valley. But if the animal's heat is caused by the ascent, he is liable. If the animal is led back and forth between valley and mountain, and the animal dies of exhaustion, the lessee is liable.
Beth Din has to examine each case to determine if the deviation from the agreed-upon route causes the damage or injury because of altitude, weather conditions, humidity conditions, or any other factors that could affect the vehicle or the animal adversely.
The lessee rents a cow for plowing together with a plow to plow on the mountain, and he hires a plowman to do the plowing. The plowman plows in the valley; and the plow breaks. The lessee is free of liability and the owner may sue the plowman. If he rents the cow to plow in the valley and the plowman plows on a mountain and the plow breaks, the lessee is liable to the owner, and the lessee may sue the plowman. However, if the plowman is hired from the owner of the plow together with the plow, then the lessee has no liability to the owner.
The lessee rents an animal for threshing pulse but threshes grain with the animal and the animal slips and is injured; the lessee is not liable.
But if he rents the animal to thresh grain and he threshed pulse, and the animal slips and is injured, he is liable, because pulse is more apt to cause slipping. The Talmud records the following case: The lessee rented a donkey from the owner who said to the lessee, "Don't go to your destination by way of Nehar Pekod, where there is water on the road, but go by way of Naresh, where there is no water." The lessee went by way of Nehar Pekod and the donkey died. When he returned home he pleaded, "True,I took the road by way of Nehar Pekod but there was no water there, and the donkey died of natural causes. It was held that he was liable although there were no witnesses who could testify that he went by way of Nehar Pekod, and there was only his admission as to which road he took. Since it is well known that there is always water on the road to Nehar Pekod, it is as if there were witnesses who testified that there was water on the road.
The subject matter of
this lesson is more fully discussed in volume IX chapters 308 & 309
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
Compared to the other commentaries we discussed, the Zohar's explanation of the need for a window is unique in two ways: First, as we mentioned last week: the window is not one through which we see (the outside world, the light, or Jerusalem) but rather one through which we are seen.
Second, there is special significance to the fact that all prayers go through the same window. "These windows and these lattices all stand to unify all the prayers that rise from beneath to the above, and to supervise them to bring them in before the Holy One, blessed be He." This is why windows are important particularly in a shul. They serve to unite and thus augment the individual prayers of the congregants. (This is the opposite of the ruling of the Rambam in a responsum in which he says that windows are necessary only in a house, but not in a shul. The basis for Rambam's ruling is the original source for the rule, which is the private prayer of Daniel, and the language of the gemara which refers specifically to a house. See Kesef Mishneh Tefillah 5:6.)
The Shulchan Arukh (OC 90:4) further states that ideally we should have 12 windows in Beit Knesset. The source is the same passage in the Zohar. Based on the commentaries, the significance of having many windows is that our acts are observed from many angles. (Indeed, the Ateret Zekinim writes that we should strive to have windows on all four walls, to emphasize the idea that we are observed from all sides.) Each one observes and concentrates one specific kind of good deed or thought. From one side we observe a person's acts of kindness; from another we may see his Torah study, and so on.
Thus, having many windows in a shul is both a consolation and a challenge. On the one hand it is a consolation; even if a person excels in only one aspect of Torah observance, he can be sure that these good deeds are noticed on high, and help his (or her) prayers to be accepted. On the other hand it is a challenge: even if a person excels in one area, he remembers that he is being viewed from many other angles as well, and is thus stirred to improvement in all areas of upright conduct.
Another explanation I have often heard is that the twelve windows correspond to the twelve tribes, meaning that there are many different kinds of Jews. This explanation fits in particularly well with the idea of the window as uniting and concentrating the prayers of many individuals. Different people have different natures and inclinations; each type has their own window, and finds an opening to heaven which specifically suits their approach to serving God.
Publication Update: The book is now in fully designed page proofs and is being proofread. Proofreading is about two weeks, then Feldheim has to look it over which will take at least a week, then IY"H we can go to print.
Rabbi Meir authors a
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The very name Achav tells us that he was an 'ach' a brother who was born to be an enemy and 'av' a father to idolatry. His most trivial deed was like the sins of Yeravam, yet he refused to hand over the Torah, his most precious possession, when demanded to by Ben Hadad, king of Aram. His father Omri merited fathering four generations of kings in Israel by adding a new town Shomron, [that the Romans later called Sebastia and lies close to Shechem] whereas Achav's merit that earned him generations of kingship was his support and respect for Torah scholars. Furthermore, when rebuked by Eliyahu for the murder of Navot and then stealing his vineyard, Achav repented and Hashem postponed the destruction of his dynasty, till after the death of his sons. So Rav Nachman said that Achav's evil deeds were actually balanced by his good ones. However, Rav Yosef objected to this since of Achav we are told "And he did evil in the sight of the Lord more than any before him" (1 Kings 16:30). This is evidenced by Jezebel his wife, who every day weighed Achav and donated his weight in gold to avoda zara. Perhaps the consequences of Navot's murder would have been even more serious so that his teshuva would not have availed to postpone the punishment were it not for the deceit by the spirit of Navot. When Hashem called for somebody to cause Achav to go to the war with Ben Hadad in which he was mortally wounded, the spirit volunteered, "I shall be a lying spirit in the mouth of all [Achav's] prophets [who will prophesy victory over Ben Hadad] " (Melachim Alef 22:21-22). Because of this, Hashem, "before whom one who lies cannot remain in His Presence" (Ps. 101:7), while allowing the spirit of Navot to draw Achav into battle, dismissed the spirit from His Presence and retained the postponement of the punishment on Achav's dynasty. However, despite his teshuva, there was something that denied Achav of the World to come. Said Rabbi Yochanan, "Achav wrote on the doors of Shomron, 'Achav has denied the G-d of Israel', so he has no share in the World to Come".
The very name Menashe tells us that he removed (nasha) Israel from G-d or that his actions removed, as it were, G-d from Israel. When Menashe did everything 'lehachis' and spread evil and idolatry, Hashem brought the generals of Assyria up to Yerushalayim and they caught him, bound him with copper chains and brought him down to Babylon. This was fulfillment of the words of the prophet: "Menashe has exceeded the sins of the Emorites [the 7 nations] whom G-d displaced from Eretz Yisrael before Israel came into the Land, and also has caused Israel to sin with him. Therefore I will bring such punishment upon them that whosoever hears of it their ears will resound to it. Judah and Yerushalayim will be destroyed as was Shomron. And I will eradicate them even as one wipes his plate clean and then overturns it" (Melachim Bet 21:11-15). The text in Chronicles tells us of Menashe's distress but for details we turn to the Talmud where we read, "His captors placed him in a copper pot and lit a fire beneath it" (Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10:2). His distress led Menashe to do teshuva. First he called on all the idols he had worshipped, but naturally to no avail. So he turned to G-d in prayer and said, "If You do not or cannot save me then it will be obvious that You are as false as the others'". The ministering angels formed a wall around Hashem's Throne in order to prevent his prayers from reaching Hashem, saying that such a one as Menashe was beyond redemption. However, the gates of teshuva are like the sea and always open to all, unlike the gates of prayer which require an "et ratzon", a propitious time. So Hashem made a tunnel behind His Seat of Gory and accepted Menashe's prayers and teshuva which was a teshuva out of fear of punishment and not out of love of G-d, but nevertheless teshuva. Midat HaRachamim overruled Midat HaDin.
So Rabbi Yochanan
taught if we say that Mensashe has no share in the World to Come, we
are closing the gates of teshuva before penitents. So we have to
accept that the verse, "Hashem heard Menashe's prayers and restored
him to rule over Yeraushalayim for 22 years" means that He accepted
his teshuva and therefore he has a share in the World to Come. The
Sages held that Menashe did teshuva and G-d therefore restored him
to his kingdom but not to the World to Come. This, because
sometimes, although there is teshuva and therefore there is Hashem's
forgiveness, there are some crimes for which the World to Come is
still denied. In addition to his idolatry, Menashe had also murdered
and shed blood; that Hashem does not overlook, even though He is
prepared to forgive the insults to His own Honor inherent in
idolatry. "Even though Menashe had repented of idolatry and was
forgiven for those sins, the teshuva could not clear him of his sins
towards his fellow men" (Malbim, Melachim Bet 21:16).
Q Don't the cartons
that store sifrei kodesh (holy books) require geniza (burial of
sacred articles)? Most people seem to just throw them out.
In the normal case of a carton or paper or plastic covering of seforim there are a few reasons to justify throwing them in the garbage. We will mention a few reasons and also techniques to deal with the situation, because some of the possibilities are not unanimously agreed upon and because there are analogous cases where some factors apply but others do not.
The Birkei Yosef (Orach Chayim 154, in Shiyurei Beracha) says that in our days when the pages of seforim are generally bound in some way, the boxes that store them are considered TdT. (In the times of Chazal and beyond, scrolls were put directly into boxes or leather bags.) The Mishna Berura (154:9) seems to accept this opinion without question, although some recent poskim are less convinced. (Rav Kook in Orach Mishpat 34 seems to ignore this possibility; Tzitz Eliezer VII 7 considers it possible, but not certain, grounds for leniency). We should note that an Aron Kodesh is a TK even though the Sifrei Torah are usually covered, because it honors the Sifrei Torah. In contrast, the carton is used only to protect the books and it is thus considered a TdT (Birkei Yosef, ibid.).
Another factor that causes most cartons or paper or plastic covers from being a TK is the fact that they are intended to be used only temporarily, until the sefer reaches its intended destination on the purchaser's bookshelf (Piskei Teshuvot 154:7). Part of the Shulchan Aruch's (Orach Chayim 42:3) definition of a TK is that it was prepared to be used on a permanent basis. That is missing here in most cases, as the intention is to throw out the covering at the first convenience. This factor does not apply to strong cartons that a person uses for sets of seforim on a bookshelf or a table top on a permanent or an extended basis. Although one can make a T'nai (stipulation) that the strong carton not become a TK (Shulchan Aruch 154:8), one can still not use it in a demeaning manner (Mishna Berura 154:34). Discarding directly in the garbage is demeaning, while covering it in a plastic bag before putting it in the garbage or putting it in a recycling bin, while not a substitute for geniza, is probably sufficient in this case (see Mishne Halachot VII 24 & Ask the Rabbi, Chukat 5762).
A technique that might work to remove the status of TK is to sell the object for a nominal price (10 agurot is enough) and use the money for seforim. The main application of that concept is where the community has property set aside for a mitzva (i.e. a shul), which its leaders (zayin tuvei ha'ir) can sell and use the moneyfor at least as holy a purpose (Shulchan Aruch, OC 153:9). Although it is not clear that this system works for an individual to remove the status of TK, some poskim suggest doing so along with other factors of leniency (Orach Mishpat, ibid.; Tzitz Eliezer, ibid.).
In summary, the standard practice to discard the packagings of sifrei kodesh is halachically valid. Only in regard to cartons that are used for an extended time after purchase may there be reason not to throw them directly in the garbage, and we have suggested systems which one may (but not necessarily needs to) use.
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Yisrael, on the other hand, refers to Yaakov's struggle to free himself and return to land of his fathers. While he was in the house of Lavan, Yaakov accumulated wealth, and just then, he had a dream, a vision in which an angel of God said: "Get up, leave this land and return to the land of your birth."
Yaakov accepted the challenge and wrestled to free himself from the enslaving forces of material gain. It was then that an angel named him Yisrael, indicating his victory over the quest for the mundane.
We, in Israel, have a major problem with our enemies, but please God, we shall overcome. Our brethren in the Diaspora face a different problem, a very serious problem of intermarriage and assimilation. Too many Jews in the Diaspora are headed for the desolate zone of historic non-existence.
How do we confront this serious problem? Do we react or do we respond? There is an enormous difference between these two behaviors.
A reaction is very superficial; it involves surrender to fate. A response is dynamic; a response is facing up to the challenge of destiny.
Bound together by centuries of anguished history, we must respond as Yaakov Avinu did; we must wrestle with our problems and ultimately achieve the glories of our destiny.
Rabbi Charles Weinberg,
Havdala time being later in Petach Tikva than in Jerusalem indicates that it gets darker in PT later than in J'lem. And this is consistent with Plag Mincha (the earliest candle lighting time) being later in PT than in J'lem.
You would expect it to follow that regular candle lighting time should also be later in PT. However, whereas both PT and J'lem follow the special minhag of lighting 40 minutes before sunset (unlike almost anywhere else in Israel and the world, where 18-22 minutes before sunset is the norm), the question is 40 minutes before what sunset?
Strange question. In
fact, PT being at sea level, has only one sunset time. But
Yerushalayim is at an elevation of 825 meters above sea level, AND
the horizon at sea level can be seen from parts of Jerusalem. This
produces a second sunset time, the one taking elevation into account
being about 5 minutes later than the sea level one. Jerusalem's
regular candle lighting time is calculated from the later sunset
time; most other zmanim do not use that later time. The result is an
apparent anomaly. It's almost like saying that the J'lem minhag is
35 min. whereas the PT minhag is 40.
Take, for example, Ya'akov's blessing to Yosef before the ailing father died. Inter alia, Ya'akov declares: "As for me, I have given you 'Shechem' - one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Emorite with my sword and my bow" (Breishit 48:21).
According to Gur Aryeh, Ya'akov's wresting the birthright from Esav (the Emorite) entitles him to confer his double portion to Yosef. And here, "my sword and my bow" refer to the spiritual weapons that earned Ya'akov that status.
The sword is the steadfast prayer that pierces the barriers above and below. The effectiveness of the bow, in contrast, matches the intensity of that prayer: the more it is extended the greater its efficacy. Prayer, like the sword, can be drawn on repeatedly. The Hebrew term for my bow ("Bekashti"), however, can also be read as "Bakashati", my supplication: Here, the swiftness of the one-time arrow is indicative of the spontaneous and rushing search for G-d.
Clearly, the righteous
summon strength through the power of prayer. To cite the psalmist:
"[There are those] with chariots… and with horses. But we call out
in the name of Hashem" (Psalms 20:8-9).
Midot, the Mikdash
Midot is one of our two major sources which describes the "physical plant" of the Mikdash; Josephus is the other. Masechet Midot is divided into five chapters containing 34 mishnayot in all and it is obvious that the mishnayot included in Midot, represent only a small fraction of the material once "salted away in the Mikdash archives". Midot not only describes the architecture of the Mikdash, the construction of the Mizbei'ach, etc., but it also reveals a rare glimpse into "Mikdash maintenance". It also raises more questions then it answers. One mishna describes a small entrance in a corner chamber located in the northwest corner of the Beit HaMokeid, through which the Kohanim were able to descend an illuminated tunneled stairway leading to an underground structure called the Chamber of Immersion. This mishna (1:9) emphasizes how the lamps in the tunnel were kept burning "here and there" to light the way for the descending Kohanim. Who tended these lamps and all the hundreds of other lamps in the Mikdash? We don't know. In the aforementioned Chamber of Immersion, a bonfire was continually kept burning so that the Kohanim could warm themselves when they emerged from the freezing underground Mikva. Who "shlepted" the wood from "Mikdash Central Supply" and carried it down the stairs to fuel this fire and all the other fires in the Mikdash? Another mishna reads, "…And in the Upper Story (of the Bayit above the Kodesh HaKodashim) were openings into the (ceiling of the) Kodesh HaKodashim through which they used to let down workmen in (closed) boxes, so they could not feast their eyes on the Kodesh HaKodashim" (Midot 4:5). Tif'eret Yisrael (49) comments, "When they had to repair the walls of Kodesh HaKodashim, they would lower the craftsmen in boxes through these openings by means of ropes… and the box was closed on three sides so that they would not be able to look around…". But hosts of other unanswered "logistical"questions immediately spring to mind. Who did "sponja" (sluiced down the floors) in the Kodesh HaKodashim and in the Heichal? On his Aliyat Regel (pilgrimage) to the Mikdash, Philo, the Alexandrian Hellenist-Jewish philosopher, witnessed Leviyim "sweeping porticoes…. (to) insure cleanliness." Did the Leviyim do all theday-to-day maintenance and repair work in the Mikdash? Masechet Midot ends with a wonderful portrait of the sages of the Great Sanhedrin sitting in the Chamber of Hewn Stone "judging the priesthood". With a loving brush, and a wealth of color, the Mishna pictures the sages rejoicing and celebrating because on that day"no blemish was found in the seed of Aaron. And thus they used to say, 'Blessed be G-d, blessed be He that chose Aaron and his sons to stand and serve before the Lord in the House of the Holy of Holies!"
Rambam in his introduction to the Mishna writes, "…Midot describes the measurements of the Mikdash and its accouterments. The purpose of all this is, that when the Mikdash will be rebuilt (speedily in our day), it must be heedfully constructed in the same proportions, because they are prescribed by Ru'ach HaKodesh as it is written, 'All this (do I give) thee in writing, as the Lord has made me wise by His Hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern" (Divrei HaYamim Alef 28:19). Rambam could as easily have quoted Pesukim 11 and 12 in the same Perek, "Then David gave his son Solomon the pattern of the Ulam (entry hall of the Mikdash)and of the houses (the chambers) thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and the upper rooms thereof, and of the inner chambers, and the place of the Ark Cover (Kodesh HaKodashim). And the pattern of all he had by the Spirit, for the courts of the House of the Lord, and for all the chambers round about…" The Tanach emphasizes that the plan of the Beit HaMikdash and its accouterments, like that of the Mishkan before it (Shemot 25:9), was divinely inspired. Rambam also notes, "When they built Bayit Sheini in the days of Ezra, they built in the manner of Solomon (i.e. Bayit Rishon) and incorporated some features derived from Sefer Yechezkel (Hil.Beit HaBechira 1:4).
"And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known unto them the form of the House and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight; that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them" (Yechezkel 43:11). The Radak comments, "…that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them, that they keep (the image) of these things in their heart, and that they believe that it shall be so and that they will indeed (one day)construct the buildings, the forms and observe the ordinances in the future. But if they do not keep these images in their hearts, they will not do them…."
Catriel's book in
progress: The Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrims Prospective; A Guided
Tour through the Temple and the Divine Service
This is not an isolated situation. It happens with many CHIRIKs followed by a letter with a SH'VA. If the Letter with the CHIRIK also has a METEG, and a YUD would be something not out of place as far as the root of the word and/or form (BINYAN), then the METEG upgrades the CHIRIK and NAs the SH'VA that follows. The same goes for a KUBUTZ (that's the three dots in a diagonal line), which is a short vowel, like the CHIRIK CHASEIR. When the KUBUTZed letter has a METEG, then it behaves as if there is a SHURUK (the VAV with a dot in it), which is a long vowel. This to will NA the SH'VA that follows.
This is an extremely complex issue in DIKDUK and there different opinions about many words that have a METEG followed by a SH'VAed letter.
For now (I expect feedback from the heavy-hitters who frequent this column), let's repeat what started it all. Y'SI-M'CHA ELOKIM... This is not only an issue for the Torah reading of VAI-CHI, but for everyone who blesses his sons, sons-in-law, grandsons, etc. For girls, by the way, the word is straightforward: Y'SI-MEICH...
• B'reishit 49:3 - r'u-VEIN b'CHO-ri A-ta. The last two words are both MIL'EIL. The next word is ko-CHI, which is MILRA.
• In 49:25 is the word v'ya-Z'RE-ka. The AYIN has a SH'VA NACH, which we Ashkenazim don't pronounce, but it still has an effect on the pronunciation of the word. The SH'VA under the ZAYIN is NA and belongs to the second syllable. Avoid saying v'yaz-RE-ka, because that would throw away the AYIN, which shouldn't be done. Even if you don't hear the AYIN (because you don't sound it), the AYIN/SH'VA closes the first syllable v'ya and the second syllable begins with the ZAYIN and its SH'VA NA. Also, the last syllable is "ka", not "cha", because there is a DAGESH in the KAF-SOFIT.
• In 50:17 we find one of the not so common instances where a word is neither MIL'EIL nor MILRA. It is the word ANA, which has two TROP marks. The NUN has a DAGESH in it, with results in emphasizing the NUN. The second syllables TROP is more drawn out, but the bottom line is that both syllables are accented, without favoring either one.
• And getting back to
the first word of the sedra and its name... The first syllable is
VAI and the second syllable is CHI. The YUD with a SH'VA NACH
belongs with the VAV/PATACH. VAI. And the CHET has a CHIRIK MALEI,
CHI. The word is not VA - Y'CHI. Even though that's what many of us
grew up calling it. In the transliteration of the sedra's name (see
below and on the bottom of every page), the Y has been dropped in
favor of an I. VAI-CHI, not VAYCHI. The dash can probably be dropped
leaving VAICHI, but is there to ease the pronunciation.
www.penticon.com - the people who brought us Hebrew support for
Palm, Luach, Omer, and more... now give us 05-What? Lots of options,
so the program will do what YOU want it to. It's a great headache
LUNCH? When a tiyul says “bring your own lunch”, you can order one instead from the Israel Center Cafe. When you make your reservation for the tiyul, request a box lunch, or call the CAFE (ext. 257) up to the day before the TIYUL. 18nis will get you a sandwich (your choice), a refreshing drink (regular or diet) and a dessert. Your lunch will be ready for you when you board the bus.
CANCELLATION POLICIES We reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee in case of last-minute cancellations. Also... Price of tiyul is based on a minimum number of participants.
Students from Abroad Parents visiting you some time this year? If so, you want to speak to us! (566-7787 ext. 244). We have many attractive deals for them... and you. Let us turn an ordinary “been there, did it” visit into an unforgettable, special one!
KASHRUT POLICY Food for Israel Center In-House programs is supervised by OU in Israel - Mehadrin. Israel Center sponsored trips and programs are Mehadrin. Hotels, restaurants, and tiyulim advertised by the Travel Desk or by outside parties are not necessarily Mehadrin and are not endorsed by the OU or the Israel Center.
Calls from abroad:
People from abroad should fax 972-2-5660156 for the attention of The
Travel Desk or email to email@example.com
The group is supervised by Dr. Michael Tobin and has the approval and participation of Rabbi Zev Leff.
The wind is blowing incessantly as I gaze out the window. Strong and sure, it sweeps away every unattached object in its path. This wind is part of Hashem's plan for bringing on the rain. Wind and rain, so necessary to our lives here in this world, but often so misunderstood. I observed this wintry scene from my window this weekend. I saw how the wind battered the trees and shrubs outside. The wind was strong but the shrubs were secure. They had roots holding them in place. Roots that keep the trees, the flowers, and all vegetation where they were meant to be - firmly in the ground so that they'll grow and reproduce each in its own environment.
Families are not so different. When the family is intact, and the roots are deep, the winds of their surroundings can't pull them out and fling them into strange fields. For families, the roots are their homes, their familiar network of family and friends and their school and work environment. But people are not like plants. They have the ability to move and change. Sometimes the change is voluntary and the whole family must move. Yet when this happens, some of the roots are still undamaged - the family is rooted in each other. Other times, the change occurs because Hashem decided that that is how it should be, and then even the one bit of root that is left - the family - is uprooted from everything familiar to it.
How does a woman feel about leaving her former home, her job, her community and moving in with her new husband and his children? How does a man take in a new wife to mother his children and to possibly raise her children as well? How can the children on both sides accept a new family situation? Someone will have had to be uprooted. The pain, uncertainty, the feeling of loss or abandonment can be excruciating for some or all members of this new family unit. New roots need to be formed so that this new family can survive. How?
For a new family unit to become established, great care and sensitivity is needed to nourish it so that it will grow into a strong entity and all its members will benefit. It is well known that this is easier said than done. Very often, it's the immediate surrounding community and perhaps extended family members that can make or break this new family.
• Shifra married a widower with three grown children and two teenagers. The teenagers were open to the idea of a stepmother but the grown children refused to accept her. Shifra had no support from anyone including the new community she moved into. Neighbors actually talked about the former wife as if she was still alive and could find no way to relate to the new wife, totally ignoring her existence. She was made to feel very uncomfortable. (Conversations about the former wife or husband are completely acceptable and natural but should be balanced with a healthy curiosity about the new parent as well.)
• Rina was divorced with 3 small children. She married a divorcee with 3 older children. Rina's children frequently came home from school crying that they were looked upon as 'different' from the other kids at school. Even the teachers treated them differently. Instead of making them feel loved and equal to everyone else, they were made to feel rejected and atypical.
• And finally there's Ruthy who questions: "When you hear of a wonderful next-door neighbor who takes upon herself the gigantic responsibility of cooking, cleaning, shopping, nursing, bathing, and possibly eradicating the lice of her neighbor's children's hair, people will react with 'What a tzadekes! Such a special woman! How wonderful that this family has such an amazing neighbor!' My question is, when I do these things and more for my new children, I'm looked upon as the selfish, evil stepmother. Why? I didn't ask to be a stepmother. That's what Hashem gave me. Why is there so much agmat nefesh from strangers who don't even know me?"
Our support group
addresses these and many other problems and issues that emerge in
new families. We listen, we laugh, we cry and we understand what
each man, woman, and child experiences. But most of all, we learn
how to respond to others who don't understand what our life is like
now. There are women in our group who are recently married or
remarried as well as those who have been managing this new life for
many years. There is so much to learn from each other. Our goals are
all the same. To plant roots. Roots that will be strong and firm so
that our new family will succeed in being a warm haven of love and
understanding for all its members.
The age or relationship to the deceased is not the issue but rather the emotional connection, be it a positive or negative one. The loss of a loved one always involves strong feelings, the main ones being: sadness, anger, guilt, depression, regret, remorse. There can be others as well.
Bereavement counseling gives the mourner an opportunity to express these feelings in the presence of a person who has no other role in their lives. You can express all your feelings. You can cry or just sit quietly and think and feel. You can reminisce and talk about the deceased, if you like. Or you can talk about what you’re feeling and what you miss most about them. You can talk about the legacy they left you or how angry you are that they didn’t take better care of themselves. You can talk about how you took on the responsibility of caring for the deceased and how none of your siblings appreciate it. You can talk about how any hope for having the kind of relationship you would have wanted with the deceased is now impossible. You can discuss the guilt that you didn’t do enough or the relief/guilt that you can now have more time for yourself. You may be angry that others in the family don’t seem to be mourning as you are.
These are just some of the issues that can arise. The agenda is yours and the counselor is there to help you move through the grieving process, whatever that entails for you. It doesn’t bring back the loved one but the literature has shown that it helps to express those deepest feelings in the presence of another person. You can say what you like with no fear of offending, burdening or boring.
So, be kind to yourself. Make the appointment, it’s no shanda to seek help when it can make your life easier and ease the sorrow of your loss.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org