Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Peretz now wants to be finance minister????

After serving as a disaster of a defense minister for a year, Amir Peretz now wants to move on to the finance ministry and destroy the economy as well. Just like he was completely unprepared and lacking the basic qualifications to be defense minister, he is completely unprepared and lacking the basic qualifications to be finance minister. What does Amir Peretz really know about economics except that he was the "King" of the strikes? What economic qualifications does he have? He is a populist buffoon who because of Israel's crazy electoral system was put in a position of power.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bnei Torah and a sense of entitlement

Jonathan Rosenblum has a very important article whose focus is that boys learning in yeshiva need to help clean for Pesach as well. In fact, the article raises a much more important and fundamental issue, that many Bnei Torah feel a false sense of entitlement just because they are learning Torah.

The second major reason not to grant draft exemptions from Pesach cleaning is that it fosters a sense of entitlement that can work against true striving in Torah. Contrary to the common impression among yeshiva bochurim, limud Torah is not a general exemption from all responsibilities in life. As one who was zocheh to learn in kollel for nearly 15 years, I view the expansion of kollel learning as the glory of our generation. But nothing will ever come from one who views yeshivah or kollel as life with an E-Z Pass.
But acceptance of the yoke of Torah must come first. One does not demand that one be freed from responsibilities in order that one can learn. Nor does the yoke of Torah provide one with a right to demand from others that they take on one's responsibilities.
More and more, especially in shidduchim, we hear the attitude expressed that a ben Torah is entitled to be spared all life's worries and to be able to live in comfort in order that he can learn in peace. Such an expectation is both unrealistic and dangerous. It is impossible to protect oneself from all worries: illness strikes, fathers-in-laws' businesses go bankrupt, wives who undertook the burden of parnassah find that they are no longer physically or emotionally capable of doing so six children later, or that the children are suffering from having a permanently drained and part-time mother.

The quest for comfort can be inimical to spiritual growth in general and to growth in Torah learning in particular. When the Mishnah in Avos (6:4) describes the way of Torah – "bread with salt shall you eat, water by measure shall you drink, on the earth shall you sleep" – it is hardly describing a life of comfort.
An acquaintance told me recently that her brother had been advised against a certain shidduch by his friends. They had pointed out that the girl's parents were already in late middle-age, and that she had only one sister, so she might end up having to take care of her parents one day. At least her brother was embarrassed when she pointed out: "Oh, so you expect your in-laws to support you for twenty years, but, chas v'Shalom, you should ever have to do anything for them." No doubt such bald-faced selfishness is rare, but the extreme examples often reveal more than we care to admit.

Based on what he said above, we could say the same thing about draft exemptions from serving in the army or not working for a living.

One does not demand that one be freed from responsibilities in order that one can learn. Nor does the yoke of Torah provide one with a right to demand from others that they take on one's responsibilities.

Are not the draft exemptions exactly that? A demand that other's take on the responsibility of defending the country while they sit and learn? Is not sitting in kollel and expecting others to support them a demand that others work while they sit and learn?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The mitzva of מרור

The Gemara says that when there is no קרבן פסח then מרור is only מדרבנן. There is a fundamental dispute between Tosafos and the Rambam what this means.

Tosafos understands that מרור is an independent mitzva that is only נוהג when there is a קרבן פסח. The Rambam however, states both in the Sefer Hamitzvot and in the Mishna Torah that מרור is not an independent mitzva but rather a part of the mitzva of קרבן פסח. One נפקא מינה is someone בזמן הבית who did not bring a קרבן פסח (because he was טמא or בדרך רחוקה). Does he have a chiyuv min hatorah to eat מרור? According to Tosafos yes according to the Rambam no.

The Rosh in ערבי פסחים is מסתפק whether you need to eat a כזית of מרור. He says you do based on the fact that you make a beracha על אכילת מרור and אכילה is never less then a כזית. The שאגת אריה is bothered by a number of questions. The Mishna on 39a states explicitly that you need to eat a כזית of מרור, also why not make a beracha of על מצות and eat less then a כזית?

RYBS answered as follows. The Rosh agrees that when מרור is דאורייתא you have to eat a כזית. His whole question was nowadays that it is d'rabbanan. RYBS explained the safek as follows. What was the takana of מרור? The reason for the takana was clearly זכר למקדש. There are 2 possibilities:
1. The takana was also זכר למקדש
2. While the reason was זכר למקדש the takana was to fulfill the mitzva of מרור m'drabbanan.

If the takana was זכר למקדש, then it would make sense that you would not be chayav to eat a כזית and there would be no beracha. Therefore the Rosh says from the fact that we make a beracha on the mitzva of מרור shows that takana was to fulfill the mitzva of מרור m'drabbanan and therefore it requires a כזית.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The mitzva of making שמן המשחה

The Mishan at the beginning of the third perek of מכות mentions the issur of making the שמן המשחה for your own purposes. I saw a fascinating machlokes relating to the the שמן המשחה.

Th gemara in :כריתות ה states that one of the many ניסים of the שמן המשחה was that even though Moshe only made a small amount it lasted until it was hidden by Yoshiyahu (towards the end of the first Beis Hamikdash) and will be used to anoint the מלך המשיח. The gemara bases this on a pasuk לי לדורותיכם. Based on this Tosafos in Nazir (47a) seem to say that there is no mitzva to make שמן המשחה, as it was a mitzvah only for Moshe Rabbenu. The Minchas Chinuch says this as well, that there is no mitzva to make שמן המשחה because it is not נוהג לדורות.

However, the Rambam counts it as a mitzva and the Rambam (כלי המקדש א:א) writes
מצות עשה לעשות שמן המשחה, שיהיה מוכן לדברים שצריכין משיחה בו

The Rambam clearly states that there is a mitzva to make שמן המשחה. What does the Rambam do with the Gemara in כריתות ה that only Moshe made שמן המשחה (which is learned out from a pasuk)? The Rambam understands that there is a mitzva to makeשמן המשחה that is נוהג לדורות. The pasuk is just telling us a historical fact, that the only person to ever be מקיים this mitzva was Moshe Rabbenu, however, in theory if there was a need there would be a mitzva on us to make שמן המשחה.

Monday, March 19, 2007

מכות ג. - משלשלים בממןן ואין משלשלים במלקות

The gemara says that money can be split 3 ways between the עדים זוממים each paying a third while מלקות cannot be split between them, each one gets 39. The question is why not?

The Beis Halevi Al Hatorah at the end of Parshas Beshalach has a very interesting p'shat on this. He explains as follows. When it comes to money, $100 is $100 coming from 1 person or 10. The witnesses as a group tried to cause him a loss of $100, k'aasher zamam is for them as a group to pay him $100. They as a group are experiencing the exact same loss that they wanted to cause him. However, by מלקות while 13 + 13 + 13 = 39 it is not the equivalent of 39 מלקות. The Beis Halevi points out that the 14th maka hurts more then the 13th simply because 13 מלקות preceded it, and so on. The 39th is much more painful then the 13th because it was preceded by 38 מלקות. Therefore, if we split up the מלקות the witnesses may get the same number but do not suffer the same pain and suffering that the person would have suffered. He would have felt the pain of מלקות 14 - 39 which is worse then the pain from any of the מלקות that the witnesses are getting. The witnesses are therefore not experiencing the same pain and suffering that the defendant would have suffered. Because of this (the pain and suffering of the witnesses does not add up to the same pain and suffering that the person would have undergone), splitting up the מלקות it is not called כאשר זמם, they would not be receiving what he would have received but something much less (even though a total of 39 מלקות are given) and therefore
they each need to get 39 מלקות.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The instant guide to the קנאים of Meah Shearim

Last week's Mishpacha magazine had a fascinating article explaining the various groups of קנאים in Meah Shearim. Here are some highlights.

The עיקרי האמונה of a קנאי

There are a number of עיקרי האמונה
1. It is assur to participate in elections
2. It is assur to take government money for education
3. It is assur to speak in Hebrew. This rule is not absolute.
4. The only hashgacha that is acceptable is Badatz Edah Hachareidis

Each group of Kannaim adds their own issurim as well.

The groups


Just like there is a Shulchan Aruch for halacha there is a Shulchan Aruch for קנאות, the sefer ויואל משה written by the Satmar Rebbe is the Shulchan Aruch for קנאות. What he assurs is assur what he doesn't assur is mutar. Here are some examples:
1. Satmar does not get involved with demonstrations against chilul shabbos
2. It is assur to go to go the Holy places (e.g. the kotel) that were captured in 1967
3. They do take money from Bituach Leumi

Satmar is very much inward focused.

Toldos Aharon

Toldos Aharon is more extreme then Satmar. They don't take money from Bituach leumi, they won't work for a government company (e.g. Egged). They don't belong to a Kupat Cholim. Because of this it is a very poor community where there are very few opportunities for jobs. Most people work in מלאכת הקדש. Very few people can sit and learn all day because of the financial hardship.

The following typifies Toldos Aharon. In the introduction to the sefer שומרי אמונים the Rebbe writes "The opposition to the ציונים needs to be so great that if the government made a law to put on tefillin every day, you shouldn't put on Tefillin"

Neturei Karta

The Neturei Karta start where Toldos Aharon ends. The big difference is in there attitude towards the Arabs. The Neturei Karta meet with Arabs etc.

Who is a קנאי? Someone for whom כבוד שמים burns for them, it is the only thing for them.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Important information for all Daf Yomi Learners - Updated

The following ad was printed in yesterday's Yated Neeman (Wednesday כ"ד אדר).

Below is my translation of the ad:

Important announcement for all Daf Yomi learners

With the starting of tractate Moed Katan, R' Chaim Kanievsky said that it is known in the name of the Chasam Sofer that there is a concern in learning Moed Katan because of the fact they you are learning the halachos of mourning. Therefore the Chasam Sofer said that a person should give charity before learning this tractate.

R' Kanievsky added that certainly someone who gives charity to "Kupat Hair" will be saved from any pain and anguish and has nothing to worry about.

As always, the names of all donors will be passed on to R' Kanievsky for a blessing

The mesora that I got from my Rabbeim (RMW, RHS, from RYBS) was diametrically opposed to this approach. They said as follows. Moed Katan and Hilchos Aveilus are just as much Torah as Bava Kama, Zevachim, etc. You are מקיים the same mitzva of talmud torah. There is a chiyuv to know all of Torah and Moed Katan and Hilchos Aveilus are part of that. Therefore, it is inconceivable that a person would come to harm by learning Moed Katan and Hilchos Aveilus when by doing so he is fulfilling his chiyuv to learn Torah.

I remember that in the Morasha Kollel one summer R' Willig learned Moed Katan , half the summer learning Hilchos Chol Hamoed and half the summer learning Hilchos Aveilus with us when we were all between the ages of 18-25. He was not all concerned with this based on what I wrote above.


Here is what the Chafetz Chaim had to say about not learning Moed Katan.

Reb Moshe Bik used to say over the following incident: It once happened in Radin that there were several men that passed away one after the other in a very short span of time. They called a gathering to contemplate as to what was the message that Hashem was sending them.

The Chafetz Chaim arose and proclaimed that the Mesechta Moed Katan is complaining to the Ribino shel Olam that it is a Mesechta that the Yeshivos do not learn. Only mourners learn this Mesechta and that is why many people were passing away.

(Sefer Meir Einei Yisroel 2: P. 239)

Exactly the opposite of the Chasam Sofer, Sefer Chasidim etc.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

מכות ז: אומר מותר בגלות

The gemara states (רבא) that we learn out from בשגגה that אומר מותר does not go to גלות. The rishonim there ask as follows. The Gemara in Shabbos (68b) states that אומר מותר on shabbos is chayav a חטאת (except for certain extreme cases like תינוק שנשבע), meaning that אומר מותר is considered a שוגג. If so, why does he not go to גלות?

The rishonim give a number of answers:
1. Since by גלות it says שוגג many times it needs to be a higher level of שוגג , אומר מותר is either קרוב למזיד or קרוב לאונס and is not considered this level of שוגג and therefore there is no גלות. On shabbos however, the requirement for שוגג is less stringent and therefore אומר מותר is considered שוגג. Because גלות requires a higher level of שוגג, the gemara on 9a calls someone who intended to kill an animal and killed a person אומר מותר, however, this is a special din by גלות, by shabbos for example this would not be called אומר מותר
2. The Ritva and Ramban quote יש אומרים that the use of אומר מותר both on 7b as well as 9a is a different usage then in other places. In other words, the gemara uses the same phrase with a different meaning. They explain that the gemara on 7b when it says אומר מותר means the case that the gemara mentioned 9a ( someone who intended to kill an animal and killed a person).

There is a big נפקא מינה between the 2 answers. According to the second answer, if Reuven kills Shimon and says that he thought he was allowed to kill Shimon, it is a classic case of אומר מותר which is considered שוגג and he would go to גלות. According to the first answer this is exactly what the gemara excludes based on the pasuk.

The bottom line is that according to everyone, the usage of אומר מותר on 9a to mean someone who intended to kill an animal and killed a person, is restricted to גלות only, in other places (such as Shabbos) this would not be considered אומר מותר.

Posts on מכות

I am learning מכות these days so from time to time I am going to post things that came up in my learning of מכות that seem interesting.

Monday, March 12, 2007

When to bake the מצה II?

continued from here...

Some rishonim have a different version of Rashi. They understand that according to Rashi you need to bake the מצה on erev Pesach but even in the morning. This is clearly not connected to קרבן פסח as the קרבן פסח cannot be brought in the morning. The question is if so, why do you need to bake the מצה on erev Pesach?

RYBS explained as follows. The Yerushalmi has a din that it is prohibited to eat מצה on erev Pesach. The Ramban explains this as follows (why is the prohibition limited to erev Pesach). מצה is defined as being not חמץ. Without חמץ there can be no מצה. Before erev Pesach there is no halachic significance to חמץ, it doesn't really exist, therefore there can be no issur to eat מצה as if there is no חמץ there is no מצה. On erev Pesach when the mitzva of תשביתו destroying חמץ starts, then you can have מצה and therefore there is an issur to eat מצה.

Based on this RYBS explained Rashi. We know that מצת מצוה needs to be made לשמה. Rashi holds like this Ramban, that מצה is defined as being not חמץ and that without חמץ there can be no מצה. Therefore, before erev Pesach you cannot bake מצת מצוה because it can't be made לשמה as there is no שם מצה yet. Only on erev Pesach where there is halachic significance to חמץ can there be מצה made לשמה. Therefore Rashi says that the מצה needs to be baked on erev Pesach, even in the morning, to create the לשמה of מצת מצוה, and מצה baked earlier is no good because it lacks לשמה.

This also explains why they would bake the מצה on the seder night if erev Pesach was Shabbos.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

When to bake the matzah?

There is a famous שיטת Rashi that the Matzas mitzva needs to be baked erev Pesach after חצות, otherwise you are not יוצא. Rashi gets this from the Gemara on Pesachim 120b where Rava has a היקש between מצה and קרבן פסח, that the זמן of eating מצה is the same as the זמן of eating קרבן פסח. Rashi understands that the היקש would likewise apply to the preparations, just like the קרבן פסח has to be prepared on erev Pesach after חצות, so too does the מצה. This is quoted as a יש אומרים in Shulchan Aruch. The Gra disagrees, one of his proofs is the following. What happens when erev Pesach is on Shabbos? קרבן פסח is דוחה Shabbos and is therefore brought on Shabbos afternoon, however baking מצה is not דוחה Shabbos and therefore cannot be done on Shabbos afternoon. If so, how is anyone יוצא the mitzva of מצה, the מצה was not prepared in the זמן of the קרבן פסח? In truth, those rishonim who hold like Rashi say that when erev pesach is Shabbos, you bake the מצה on the seder night. However, the Gra's question stil holds. If the מצה needs to be baked in the זמן of the קרבן פסח, the seder night is too late, you cannot bring the קרבן פסח at that time.

A number of later acharonim answer as follows. The Gemara earlier states that the קרבן פסח is brought on Shabbos (and not that night after Shabbos) because it is זמנו קבוע. Rashi explains because there is a general din that korbanos cannot be brought at night. The acharonim ask, why didn't Rashi simply answer because the Torah says that the קרבן פסח needs to be brought on the 14th of Nisan and that night is already the 15th? They answer as follows. In halacha day follows night. However, by קרבנות the din is that night follows day. Therefore they say as follows. Although the seder night is the 15th in the calendar, with regards to קרבנות it is still the 14th as night follows day. Therefore, Rashi can't answer that the seder night is too late because that night is considered the 14th for קרבנות so Rashi needs to answer that קרבנות in general cannot be brought at night.

Based on this, we can answer the Gra's question as well. From the perspective of the קרבן פסח the night of the 15th is still the זמן, there is just a technical problem that you can't bring קרבנות at night, but from the pure קרבן פסח perspective it is the זמן and therefore you can bake the מצה that night. The היקש between מצה and קרבן פסח only relates to those special dinim of קרבן פסח, not to the regular dinim of קרבנות. Therefore from that perspective the seder night is still considered to be the זמן of the קרבן פסח and therefore you can bake the מצה then.

to be continued ...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Olmert has sunk to an all time low in the polls

Believe it or not only 3% of the people would vote for Olmert for Prime Minister. This is not a mistake, only 3%. Amir Peretz is even lower at only 1%. Here are the numbers (from the Jerusalem Post):

Who is best suited to be the next Prime Minister?
Netanyahu - 30%
Ami Ayalon - 18%
Ehud Barak - 12%
Avigdor Lieberman - 7%
Ehud Olmert - 3%
Amir Peretz - 1%

Ynet has some interesting poll numbers as well. They asked

What should Olmert do?

Resign and call for new elections - 64%
Don't resign - 29%
No opinion - 7%

A clear majority of the population is so fed up that they want new elections less then 1 year after the previous elections.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Are Charedi schools in Israel discriminated against?

This claim was raised again by the Charedi MK's today regarding the plan to give extra money to northern schools.

The government is giving money to all the public schools in the North. Charedi schools even if they get money from the government are not official public schools and therefore are not getting money. This claim is really a case of the Charedi schools wanting to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand, they won't let the government have any hand in what the curriculum is, what is learned, standards, etc. on the other hand they want the same money from the government as the public schools where the government has full control.

What is even funnier is that one of the things the government is giving is computers. What exactly are Chinuch Atzmai schools going to do with computers anyway?

Thursday, March 01, 2007