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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Korban Pesach nowadays - Halachic issues Part II

Part 1 is here

What Korbanos can we bring?

Nowadays we are all טמא so any קרבנות that we would being we would have to bring בטומאה. What קרבנות can be brought בטומאה and under what conditions?
The Mishna in Temura(14a) states:

יש בקרבנות הציבור מה שאין בקרבנות יחיד שקרבנות הציבור דוחין את השבת ואת הטומאה וקרבנות יחיד אינן דוחות לא את השבת ולא את הטומאה א"ר מאיר והלא חביתי כ"ג ופר של יוה"כ קרבנות היחיד הן ודוחין את השבת ואת הטומאה אלא שזמנו קבוע

The Mishna initially is מחלק between קרבנות הציבור and קרבנות היחיד with respect to what קרבנות can be bought בטומאה. R' Meir however, brings a number of examples that don't fit in (קרבנות יחיד that are דוחה טומאה and קרבנות הציבור that are not דוחה טומאה) and therefore states that the rule is that any קרבן that is זמנו קבוע, meaning, it must be brought at a specific time, is דוחה טומאה and any קרבן that is not זמנו קבוע is not דוחה טומאה. The Rambam in the פירוש המשניות writes that this is the real reason and no one argues on it.

Korban Pesach, while it is a קרבן יחיד is זמנו קבוע and therefore would also be דוחה טומאה.

There is a machlokes tannaim (Yoma 6b, Pesachim 77a) whether טומאה הותרה בציבור or טומאה דחויה בציבור. The Gemara in Yoma has a number of נ"מ one of them being the following. The ציץ is מרצה on korbanos brought בטומאה. The gemara says that if טומאה הותרה בציבור then the ציץ doesn't need to be מרצה on קרבנות הציבור but if טומאה דחויה בציבור then you need the ציץ to be מרצה on קרבנות ציבור as the korban is פסול because it is טמא. The Rambam and most Rishonim and Acharonim pasken that טומאה דחויה בציבור and therefore to bring any korbanos we need the ציץ to be מרצה. To do that you need a Kohen Gadol to wear the ציץ.

In addition Tosafos in Yoma 6b say that we don't completely reject the distinction between קרבנות ציבור and קרבנות יחיד. They say that the only time that there is a machlokes whether טומאה הותרה בציבור or טומאה דחויה is by קרבנות ציבור but by קרבנות יחיד everyone would agree that טומאה דחויה בציבור. What this means is that according to everyone to bring a קרבן פסח would be based on טומאה דחויה בציבור and would therefore require the ציץ.
וז"ל התוספות
כיון דהתם לענין פסח איירי איכא למימר נהי דפסח כיון דאתי בכינופיא חשיב כקרבן ציבור ודוחה את השבת ואת הטומאה מ"מ כיון דלאו כל ישראל מייתו חד פסח בשותפות מהדרינן אטהורין אפילו למ"ד טומאה היתר היא בקרבן ציבור גמור הבא בשותפות וכן משמע לקמן בסמוך (דף ז.) דאילו של אהרן אע"ג דזימנא קביעא ליה ודחי את השבת ואת הטומאה כקרבן ציבור מכל מקום כיון דקרבן יחיד הוא מהדרינן אטהורין לכולי עלמא

Who appoints the Kohen Gadol?

The Rambam (Klei Hamikdash 4:15) writes that the Sanhedrin appoints the Kohen Gadol וז"ל:
אין מעמידין כ"ג אלא ב"ד של אחד ושבעים
If so, we have no Sanhedrin nowadays so we can't appoint a Kohen Gadol. However, Tosafos in Yoma 12b argue and write that the King and the other Kohanim appoint the Kohen Gadol וז"ל:
וי"ל דכהן גדול מתמנה בפה ומסתלק בפה ובירושלמי דריש ליה מקרא ומסתברא שהדבר תלוי במלך ובאחיו הכהנים
Note: מלך here doesn't necessarily mean literally a King as there were Kohanim Gedolim before there was a King (e.g. עלי הכהן). Therefore either the King is not mandatory or the King means the leaders of the Jewish people. In either case it would be theoretically possible to appoint a kohen gadol nowadays.

The bottom line is that to bring a קרבן פסח today we need a כהן גדול.

חינוך המזבח

The Mishna in Menachos (49b) has a halacha that before you can use the מזבח you need to be מחנך it. How are you מחנך it? The Mishna says by bringing the קרבן תמיד של שחר.

What comes out from the Mishna is that we can't just bring a קרבן פסח, first we have to bring the קרבן תמיד to be מחנך the מזבח.

However, there is a problem to bring the קרבן תמיד to be מחנך the מזבח. Both the בנין ציון and the נצי"ב claim that we can't bring most korbanos today based on the following. In the תוכחה it says והשימותי את מקדשיכם ולא אריח בריח ניחוחם. They ask, if the Beis Hamikdash is destroyed so what korbanos are we bringing that Hashem won't be מריח בריח ניחוחם? It must be they say that even though technically speaking מקריבים אע"פ שאין בית, we can't bring any korban that is supposed to be לריח ניחוח which is every korban except קרבן פסח. What this means is that according to them we can't bring the קרבן תמיד to be מחנך the מזבח because it needs to be לריח ניחוח and therefore we can't bring the קרבן פסח either.
There are 3 answers for this:
1. Both the Aruch Hashulchan and the Brisker Rav hold that חינוך המזבח is not מעכב
2. We don't hold like the the בנין ציון and the נצי"ב. This idea that they came up with is not found in the Gemara or Rishonim. In fact, the Rambam writes that מקריבים אע"פ שאין בית and therefore you can bring all korbanos.
3. Maybe the קרבן פסח can be מחנך the מזבח. The whole idea of חינוך המזבח is that you have to start the Seder Hakorbanos from the beginning. The seder hakorbanos starts with the קרבן תמיד של שחר and ends with the קרבן תמיד של בין הערבים. the one exception is קרבן פסח which comes after the קרבן תמיד של בין הערבים. In other words the קרבן פסח is not in the normal seder hakorbanos and can be thought of as it's own seder. if so, maybe it can be מחנך the מזבח as it is the first (and only) קרבן of it's seder.

Part 3 is here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Korban Pesach nowadays - Halachic issues Part I

Since the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash the idea of bringing the Korban Pesach has come up at various times. It came up during the times of the בעלי התוספות and came up again in the 1800's when Jews started to come back to Israel. This series of posts will explore some of the halachic issues involved.

I. Can we bring Korbanos nowadays?

The Gemara in a number of places (Megilla 10a, Zevachim 107b) brings down the opinion of ר' יהושע that we can bring korbanos nowadays because the מקום המקדש still has kedusha וז"ל (Megila):

א"ר יהושע שמעתי שמקריבין אע"פ שאין בית אוכלין קדשי קדשים אע"פ שאין קלעים קדשים קלים ומעשר שני אע"פ שאין חומה מפני שקדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא

This opinion of R' Yehoshua is a מחלוקת Amoraim ר'יוחנן and ריש לקיש in Zevachim 107b as well (עיי"ש). The Rambam (בית הבחירה 6:14,15) paskens like ר יהושע that we can bring korbanos nowadays because קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא. Here is the לשון of the Rambam:

במה נתקדשה בקדושה ראשונה שקדשה שלמה שהוא קידש העזרה וירושלים לשעתן וקידשן לעתיד לבא לפיכך מקריבין הקרבנות כולן אע"פ שאין שם בית בנוי. ואוכלין קדשי קדשים בכל העזרה אע"פ שהיא חריבה ואינה מוקפת במחיצה ואוכלין קדשים קלים ומעשר שני בכל ירושלים אף על פי שאין שם חומות שהקדושה ראשונה קדשה לשעתה וקדשה לעתיד לבא

The ראב"ד there argues and seems to hold that the מקום המקדש has no קדושה nowadays וז"ל:

א"א סברת עצמו היא זו ולא ידעתי מאין לו ובכמה מקומות במשנה אם אין מקדש ירקב ובגמ' אמרו דנפול מחיצות אלמא למ"ד קדושה ראשונה לא קדשה לעתיד לבא לא חלק בין מקדש לירושלים לשאר א"י ולא עוד אלא שאני אומר שאפילו לרבי יוסי דאמר קדושה שנייה קדשה לעתיד לבא לא אמר אלא לשאר א"י אבל לירושלים ולמקדש לא אמר לפי שהיה יודע עזרא שהמקדש וירושלים עתידים להשתנות ולהתקדש קידוש אחר עולמי בכבוד י"י לעולם כך נגלה לי מסוד ה' ליראיו לפיכך הנכנס עתה שם אין בו כרת

According to the Rambam we can bring Korbanos nowadays because מקריבים אע"פ שאין בית. However, R' Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher (in his sefer דרישת ציון) brings up the question what about according to the Raavad? After all, he holds there is no קדושה and therefore cannot say מקריבים אע"פ שאין בית? He suggested the following. According to the ראב"ד since the מקום המקדש has no קדושה therefore there is no איסור במות. Based on that, we should build a מזבח on the מקום המקדש and it will be good ממ"נ. If we pasken like the Rambam then it is the מזבח of the Beis Hamikdash and if we pasken like the ראב"ד it is just a במה.

However, it is not so simple. Many Rishonim hold that there is no היתר במות nowadays even if the מקום המקדש has no קדושה. The Mishna in Megila (10a) states:

אין בין שילה לירושלים אלא שבשילה אוכלין קדשים קלים ומעשר שני בכל הרואה ובירושלים לפנים מן החומה וכאן וכאן קדשי קדשים נאכלין לפנים מן הקלעים קדושת שילה יש אחריה היתר וקדושת ירושלים אין אחריה היתר

The Gemara there quotes R' Yitzchak as saying that you can be מקריב on a במה nowadays because the מקום המקדש has no קדושה. The Gemara then quotes this Mishna plus a Mishna in Zevachim which prohibit במות and the Gemara says therefore R' Yitzchak retracted. Then the Gemara brings a מחלוקת תנאים whether the מקום המקדש has קדושה or not. Tosafos there is bothered by the whole מהלך of the Gemara, if it is a מחלוקת תנאים whether the מקום המקדש has קדושה or not why did R' Yitzchak back out? Therefore Tosafos says that R' Yitzchak understood from the Mishnayos that the היתר במות is not תלוי on the question of whether the מקום המקדש has קדושה or not but rather is an independent din וז"ל:

לכך נראה להר"ר חיים דכ"ע מודו דמשבאו לירושלים נאסרו הבמות ושוב לא היה להן היתר והני תנאי בהא פליגי דמאן דאמר לא קדשה סבר דאף במקומו של מזבח אין יכולין להקריב עכשיו ומאן דאמר קדשה סבר דבמקום מזבח מותר להקריב אבל לא בבמה

Therefore if you hold that the מקום המקדש has no קדושה you can not be מקריב any korbanos nowadays. Many rishonim quote this question and answer of Tosafos and the consensus seems to be that the היתר במות is not תלוי on the question of whether the מקום המקדש has קדושה or not but rather is an independent din.

Based on the above the only way we can bring קרבנות nowadays is if we pasken like the Rambam. How do we pasken? The Mishna Berura in סימן תקס"א makes the following statement.
בית המקדש. והנכנס עתה למקום המקדש חייב כרת שכולנו טמאי מתים וקדושה הראשונה קדשה לשעתה וקדשה לעתיד לבוא [מ״א] ועיין בליקוטי הלכות זבחים בפרק המעלה

In the ליקוטי הלכות he explains that based on all of the rules of psak we should pasken that the מקום המקדש has קדושה as in a dispute between R' Yehoshua and R Eliezer we pasken like R' Yehoshua and in a dispute beween R' Yochanan and Resh Lakish we pasken like R' Yochanan who both held that the מקום המקדש has קדושה. He also points out that the overwhelming majority of the Rishonim hold this way (Rambam, Semag, Tur, etc.) and the ראב"ד seems to be a דעת יחיד.

Therefore the bottom line is that we can bring Korbanos nowadays based on the Rambam that מקריבים אע"פ שאין בית.

Part 2 is here
Part 3 is here

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Using electronic devices on Shabbos

Hirhurim has a post about texting on Shabbos where he tries to explain why it is assur. I am certainly not in favor of allowing texting on Shabbos or the use of any electronic device on Shabbos. However, we have a very big problem. Everything is going electronic. Soon it will be very hard to find anything that doesn’t have some kind of electronic sensor on it. If you go to a hotel you can see some of them, for example:
Electronic keys
Motion sensors which shut off the lights and air conditioning if there is no movement
Faucets that go on and off based on motion sensors
Toilets with sensors
Automatic doors
Security cameras

Household appliances are changing as well. New refrigerators all have sensors that are put into action when you open the door etc. (even if you tape down the light switch). Modern burglar alarms have sensors on the door and register when the door opens even if the alarm is off. There are surveillance cameras everywhere.

The point is that electronics and sensors are becoming ubiquitious, they are going to be everywhere. It will soon reach a point that we will not be able to do anything without causing some reaction in some sensor.

If we just continue saying that electricity/electronics is assur we will either not be able to do anything on Shabbos or have to become Amish. I for one don’t see how a frum person can stay in a hotel in the US on Shabbos based on this.

The question is what will the reaction from the poskim be? RSZA opinion that there really is no issur seems to be very well reasoned and I believe is generally accepted. The question is will anyone have the courage to run with it and say that in the modern world where circumstances have changed we need to allow certain things (like electronic locks, refrigerator sensors etc.) The fact is that in the next 10 years the incandescent light bulb will go the way of the dodo which will remove the only issur doraysa related to electricity. I know that there is a very fine line it is clear that we don't want people using computers, tv's, mp3 players on shabbos, on the other hand we are rapidly reaching a point where we will be unable to do anything on Shabbos in a modern home. The poskim need to come up with some kind of balance, given what is going on in the Jewish world I am not optimistic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Should yeshiva students move away from the South to avoid the missiles?

The south of Israel has been under missile/rocket attack for the past few days. It has been publicized in the name of R' Chaim Kanievsky that yeshiva students should move to the center of the country (e.g. Bnei Brak, Yerushalayim) to avoid the rockets. The Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder yeshiva in Sderot published a response to this that the Yeshiva students should stay because they are soldiers and need to show solidarity with the other residents. He also made the point that according to the Rambam (ספר המצוות ל"ת נ"ח) it may be an Issur D'oraysa to run away.
Source: הרב קנייבסקי הורה לתלמידי ישיבה לעבור למרכז. ראש ישיבת שדרות: תלמידי חכמים לא עוזבים את העיר.

In truth I posted about this 3 years ago in a similar situation, Yeshivas are moving north out of danger, what about the protection of Torah learning? , and made the following point at the time (similar and maybe more comprehensive then R' Fendel's argument):

The Charedi world justifies the draft exemption for yeshiva students based on the following:

1. Torah learning protects everyone
2. The boys are engaged in מלחמתה של תורה
3. Talmidie Chachamim don't need protection

Based on these it would seem that the Yeshivas should stay where they are. If the boys who are learning are engaged in war just like the soldiers why should they abandon their posts? In addition if Torah learning protects, let them stay where they are and be protected by their Torah. Their move undermines the claim for draft exemptions and looks very bad. The soldiers are entering Gaza to fight while the yeshiva bachurim are fleeing to safer havens.


This argument is even more relevant today as the country deliberates on what to do now that the Tal law has expired.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

As usual the various Tzedaka organizations are trying to do outdo each other

The Vaad Harabanim for Tzedaka in Israel is sponsoring a tefilla at the graves of Mordechai and Esther in Iran. The cause may be good, but this sounds a little crazy. Given what is going on in Iran these days does it really make sense to organize a tzedaka event to raise money in Iran? Is it really worth the risk to the people's lives who are going to daven there? Are they that desperate?


Kupat Hair Bnei Brak is going for quantity so sponsoring tefilos at 30 different graves around the world (they aren't going to Iran).

They have anoither ad as well, which is supposed to give you the impression that ע"פ דין you should give to them, even though the halacha is clear that עניי עירך קודמים.

This is without even starting with the local Kupot which need to compete (see this post by Rafi about what the local Kup in RBS is doing).

I think that just like R' Steinman said that Yeshiva boys getting drunk is not the way Hashem wants us to celebrate Purim, someone needs to get up and say that Hashem doesn't want glossy colored ads with crazy schemes to get people to give tzedaka.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

An open letter to Yeshiva Bachurim from R' Shteinman about getting drunk and misbehaving on Purim

The Yeshivas send out their students on Purim to collect money. Unfortunately many of them get drunk and make a chillul Hashem while collecting.

R' Shteinman has some harsh words for the boys going so far as to call them armed robbers:
...There is a concern that they are doing it in a way that will cause a Chillul Hashem with their behavior. They are like armed robbers when they force people to give them money. It is clear that this is not the way to fulfill the mitzva of thanking Hashem that the Rabbis instituted on this day.

Here is the full text of the letter in Hebrew:

Purim tznius advice for girls - stay inside ...

away from everyone and try not to be noticed and heard.


I see that a lot of people are getting here from Facebook. Can one of you please leave a comment saying who linked to me?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Davening Dov Kramer

This past week's Mishpacha magazine had a flattering portrait of Dov Kramer who has worked for all sports radio WFAN for the past 25 years ago and is affectionately known to the hosts (and listeners) as Davening Dov Kramer behind the glass.

What is fascinating about this story is that the magazine was able to write a positive story about someone who works in a very non-traditional field (sports radio) and still call him Charedi. There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of story would never be written in the Hebrew Mishpacha and that there is no way that someone like Dov Kramer could do what he does in Israel. This illustrates the very big gap that exists between American Charedim and Israeli Charedim.

There is another important point here, religious tolerance. This story and the story of the Beren Academy illustrate the religious tolerance in America. Dov Kramer is the producer for the Mets games even though they play 2 games a week on Shabbos!!! His employers see that he can do the job well even given his religious limitations and are willing to accommodate him. In Israel there is no way that he would even be considered for such a job.

The question we need to answer is why?

YNet published a story about the Tapp league moving the game to Friday afternoon to accommodate Shabbos. Most of the comments made the point that this would never happen in Israel, it would be rejected as religious coercion.

IMHO, this is the big difference between Israel and America on these issues. In Israel, the secular population is worried about religious coercion, which already exists (no public transportation on Shabbos, weddings, divorce, etc.). Therefore, they see any further accommodation for religion as the beginning of a slippery slope which will end with a halachic state. The fact is according to a recent poll only a very small percentage (under %5) of the population is really anti-religious. However, the people do not want to be coerced into observing Judaism. The recent events with Mehadrin buses etc. have only made things worse. Now whatever little room for compromise is gone. In America on the other hand there is no religious coercion and no one is worried that an accommodation for Shabbos will lead to coercion therefore society is open to accommodation.

Religious coercion hasn't worked in Israel so maybe it is time to try a different approach without coercion.