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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Take a shower and become טמא?

Yesterday's daf (Shabbos 14a) has a whole slew of gezeras relating to טומאה and טהרה. Among them is a gezera that anyone who pours 3 קבין of water on themselves becomes a שני לטומאה and is מטמא תרומה. It is generally assumed that nowadays a shower does this. The reason given for the gezera is that the chachamim were afraid that people would think that the washing after going to the mikva is really what makes you טהור and not the mikva. Although this gezera has no relevance nowadays, when the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt and we have תרומה this will be very relevant, anyone taking a shower will become טמא and need to go to the mikva.

It is also interesting that Ezra was מתקן טבילת עזרה for טומאת קרי so that people would show restraint.  בדיעבד if you pour 3 קבין of water on yourself (e.g a shower) it is good for טבילת קרי and takes away that טומאה which is quite חמור, you aren't allowed to learn, and replaces it with a less severe טומאה.

Of course these are all dinim d'rabbanan. When the Beis Hamkidash is rebuilt and we have a Sanhedrin and מלאה הארץ דעה, the Sanhedrin may decide to be מבטל some or all of these gezeros given the changes in lifestyle.

The Mordechai applies this gezera in the gemara (if you take a shower after going to the mikva you are טמא) to hilchos nidda. The simple understanding of the gemara is that the chachamim made up a new טומאה and therefore it has no relevance to hilchos nidda. The Mordechai however learns that the pshat is that taking a shower cancels the tevila, and therefore a woman who goes to the mikva and then takes a shower is prohibited to her husband. We are machmir for this Mordechai לכתחילה. The poskim have different shiurim for how long she can't take a shower. One shiur given is until she is נוהג היתר with her husband, after that it is clear that the mikva was matir and not the shower.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making a מי שבירך for sick people on Shabbos

The daf a few days ago (Shabbos 12) discussed ביקור חולים on Shabbos. The gemara says that someone who goes to visit a sick person on Shabbos should say שבת היא מלזעוק ורפואה קרובה לבא to the sick person. Rashi explains, we are telling the sick person to try not to be sad because it is shabbos and a person is supposed to be happy on shabbos. The Ran has a different peshat. He says we are telling the sick person that since it is shabbos we can't daven for him.

Rashi's peshat fits in better with the מי שבירך לחולים, we say the מי שבירך and then we tell the people in shul, don't be upset about the sick person it is shabbos. However, according to the Ran it is a bit difficult, we are contradicting ourselves, we just said a prayer for the sick person and we end off by saying we really aren't allowed to daven for you. The fact is that the whole idea of making the מי שבירך לחולים specifically on Shabbos is very strange. Shabbos is the one day when we aren't supposed to be sad and daven for sick people and yet we specifically say it then.

Proof positive that the internet is here to stay in the Charedi world

Every week on Tuesday, Yated Neeman (in Hebrew) is distributed for free. I always find it a fascinating read, especially the ads/kol korehs, letters and op eds. Lately, every week they publish an anti internet piece on the front page and this week was no exception. However, what is fascinating is that many of the letters that people are writing now have email addresses for responses. This week, there was a letter from someone promoting a phone line where you can call and hear the "Gedolim" talk about how bad the internet is etc. What was absolutely astonishing was that in the letter the writer asked that anyone who had new material (e.g recordings) should EMAIL them to him. Of course he wrote in parentheses that he has kosher internet, but that is besides the point. The irony is unbelievable, an anti internet crusader was using the internet to get material. There were other letters as well which provided email addresses for feedback. It is clear that even in the real/conservative Charedi world email (and by extension the internet) is becoming an indispensable tool.