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25 Cheshvan 5773/November 10, 2012
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
Parshat Chayyei Sarah
Vol.4 Num. 8
morning. There wasn't even a cup orbowl for her to use as a receptacle inwhich to offer the man a smaller portionof water. While the option of spilling outthe jug after Eliezer had taken a fewsips might seem like the obvioussolution, Rabbi Soloveitchik explainsthat Rivkah understood that such anaction was out of the question, as itwould have been extremely offensive tothis stranger.With all of these considerations runningthrough her head, Rivkah quickly devised a plan. She decided to first offerthe man water to drink, and only afterward to offer his camels water todrink. Her thinking was sharp: anyonewould understand if you would dumpout a pitcher of water to clean it outafter an animal had used it, beforerefilling it for your own family. This fascinating approach to a story wehave known since kindergarten alsoprovides an answer to the question of why Rivkah fed a person before hisanimal, despite the halachah thatpeople must feed their animals beforefeeding themselves. (Mishneh Berurah167:40) [The Magen Avraham (167:18)provides a more technical answer. Hequotes the Sefer Chasidim who saysthat this story teaches us that thehalachah to feed our animals first doesnot apply to beverages.]Rivkah's act of superlative chesed mightseem cold, though. Are we tounderstand that our foremotherRivkah's beautiful act of chesed, inwhich she went beyond the letter of thelaw and let the camels drink as well,was nothing more than a creative way toavoid an uncomfortable situation andwaste of water? Rabbi Soloveitchikargues otherwise, contending thatRivkah was actually fulfilling Eliezer'splan to the tee. Eliezer was on a searchfor a woman whose personality exemplified kindness. Yet, he knew thatthis trait alone would not be enough; hewas also looking for a woman whowould be wise, with deep emotionalintelligence. When he made his dealwith G-d [a questionable act in its ownright], Eliezer wanted to test Yitzchak'spotential wife's traits of wisdom as wellas kindness. When Rivkah first offeredwater to Eliezer to drink and only thenoffered his camels water to drink,following the exact procedure Eliezerhad hoped Yitzchak's future wife wouldfollow, he knew that he was on tosomething.Yet, Rabbi Soloveitchik concludes,Eliezer wasn't completely convinced.Performing a nice act in a wise mannerwasn't enough. It was, in fact, Rivkah'schesed, going above and beyond the callof duty, albeit in an intelligent fashion,that convinced him. She could have justgiven the camels a sip, enabling her todump out the water and refill it,providing a clean pitcher for her family without offending Eliezer. Nonetheless,she went ahead and fed all ten of hiscamels, providing the liters and liters of water they would need to be satiated. This brings us full circle, restoring ourbasic understanding of the story:Rivkah was truly a woman of chesed,with intelligence guiding her actions.
Intelligent Chesed
Adam Frieberg
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please email info@torontotorah.com or call 416-783-6960
It is easy to understand how pickingup someone who is waiting for a busand driving him to his destination isan act of chesed; you have saved theperson time and money, and hopefully  you have provided them with a morecomfortable ride. It is equally easy tounderstand that no parent would wanthis teenage daughter to pick up a manshe has never met from the bus stop at11 pm. When helping others, one'sown safety must be factored in.Rivkah, our parshah's paradigm of chesed, enters the latter sort of situation. She arrives at the well, asshe does every late afternoon, to drawwater for her family. There she meetsan unfamiliar man, who runs to her
and pleads, “Please, let me sip a littlewater from your jug?” (Bereishit 24:17)
Rivkah is faced with a dilemma, asoutlined by Rabbi Yosef DovSoloveitchik, great-grandfather of themore recent Rabbi Soloveitchik knowncolloquially as the Rav. (Beit HaLevi toParshat Chayyei Sarah) On one hand,she wants to help out this thirsty man.On the other hand, he is a stranger.Further, should his saliva enter thepitcher, the water would be renderedundrinkable. The remaining waterwould be completely useless to herfamily, leaving them thirsty until
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inherent nature of the offering. Forexample, sin offerings are consumed only for one day, in order to minimize theembarrassment of the sinner and soencourage him to atone for his sins. Onthe other hand, korbanot of personalcelebration may be consumed for twodays, since no shame is involved.Consumption is limited to two days,though, lest they sit longer and becomeinedible, as noted by Rambam. (MorehhaNevuchim 3:46)
 The Torah disapproves of servingleftovers; mitzvah 215 instructs us toeat our korban offerings only within aspecific timeframe, after which theremains must be burned. Thismitzvah encourages us to treat theofferings as sacred to G-d, ratherthan as just another meal.One may eat from different korbanotfor different periods of time; per TorathaOlah of Rabbi Moshe Isserles(2:25), the schedule for consumptionof a particular korban stems from the
613 Mitzvot: #215
Rabbi Mordechai TorczynerHitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Four Amot in Israel
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
Following Sarah's death, Avraham didsomething he had never done before: hebought a piece of land in Israel. Why did Avraham wait so long? Why didn'tAvraham buy land long before, to settlein the land given to him directly by G-d? The connection between burial in Israeland ownership of land there is also befound in a halachic discussion. Within Jewish law, a lender may sell hisintangible rights to collect a debt only by selling a portion of land with it.Rambam (Hilchot Shluchin 3:7)discusses an option suggested by theGaonim for lenders who do not ownland: Since everyone owns four amot(roughly two meters) in Israel, he canuse his land in Israel for this purpose.Many, including Rambam himself,opposed this assertion, doubting itsbasis; by what right does each of usown such a portion in Israel? Somesuggest this is an inheritance, butothers point out that the Geonim didnot restrict their suggestion to menwhose male ancestors had passed away.Rabbi Tzaddok HaKohen MiLublin(Likutey Maamarim 10), offers anilluminating explanation: The four amotare the place of burial each one of usowns in Eretz Israel.Why is owning a share in Israel linkedso strongly to death and burial? Israelis not only a homeland, a place inwhich to settle and sit. Israel is also,and perhaps mainly, a destination forour lifelong voyage. Avraham iscommanded "Lech Lecha" while inCharan, but is commanded again to"Get up and walk the land" even afterarriving in Canaan. Only once Sarahhas completed her journey doesAvraham purchase the land of herdestination, even as he continues in hisown travels. The four amot identified by the Gaonimrepresent a promise, as well as ademand
everywhere you go, carry Israel with you as your finaldestination.
Inductive Reasoning
Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
With advances in modern medicine,health professionals have the ability toto induce labour in pregnant womenthrough chemical (and sometimesphysical) means. Typically, thesemethods are reserved for situations inwhich a prolonged pregnancy posesrisks to the mother and/or child.However, there are also situations inwhich labour is induced for the sake of convenience. Within the Jewishcommunity, there have been incidentsin which parents induced labour on aSunday to ensure that the brit milahwould conveniently take place thefollowing Sunday morning. (ToratHaYoledet, Chapter 1, footnote 2) Is thispractice permitted?Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe,Yoreh Deah 2:74) ruled that inducinglabour is forbidden other than in casesof medical necessity, for a number of reasons:
 The birth process is dangerous. Though a pregnant woman willinevitably deliver at some point,inducing labour brings about thatstate of danger earlier thannecessary. Because we place agreat value on even short periods of life (see Avodah Zarah 27b), onemust delay this danger as long aspossible.
From the perspective of the child'shealth, reducing the time of in-utero development may havenegative effects.
In a general sense, the
commandment to “be fruitful andmultiply” (Bereishit 1:28) provides a
woman with a promise from G-d forprotection. There is room to beconcerned that a birth broughtabout via unnatural means is notafforded such protection, leavingthe woman in a vulnerable state.While this prohibition is suspendedwhen medical complications demandinduced labour, Rabbi Feinsteinstresses that one may not so so whenthe only motivation is socialconvenience. More complicated,however, are matters of 
 convenience, when an induced,planned birth would have certainmedical advantages over letting birthtake place at a natural, but lesspredictable time. To be sure, it would be ideal if the bestlevel of care could be provided tomothers at all times, no matter the day of the week or the time of day. In mostsituations however, this is simply notfeasible. Due to limited resources andother factors (e.g. sleep and trafficpatterns), the best emergency servicesand doctors cannot be available 24/7. This being the case, may a womaninduce labour in order to assure thather delivery is done by the doctor withwhom she feels most comfortable?A statement approved by RabbiFeinstein (drafted by Dr. Fred Rosnerand Rabbi Moshe Tendler) offers the
following: “Induction of labour should
be reserved only for those clinicalconditions that demand early termination of pregnancy so as to
benefit mother or child.” In other
words, Rabbi Feinstein felt thatinduced labour cannot be justified onthe grounds of simple preferences,even when medically motivated.In their work Torat HaYoledet (Chapter1, footnote 4), Rabbis YitzchakZilberman and Moshe Rothschilddisagree with Rabbi Feinstein. They maintain that with the exception of Shabbat, inducing birth on account of medical preferences is permitted. Seethere for their reasoning.
Sunday is the 26 
of Cheshvan Hatikvah 
was written by the poetNaftali Herz Imber in 1878, but only in 2004 was it officially named asthe national anthem of the State of Israel. Imber composed a poem of nine verses, named
(OurHope), of which the two first verses(with slight changes) comprise thesong we know as
. In 1886,Shemuel Cohen, a farmer fromRishon l'Tzion, put Imber's poem toa tune based upon a Moldovan songhe knew from his youth.
evolved through severalstages before becoming the nationalanthem. Rechovot adopted
for itself. The song wasalso published outside of Israel, in1895, under the title
 (Yearning). In the same year, thesong was published in Israel in acollection of "Zionist songs", underthe name of 
(The Hope).Imber unsuccessfully promoted
as the Zionistmovement's official song before thefifth World Zionist Congress. In1903, though, the song wasapproved at the sixth World ZionistCongress, largely in response to themovement to establish a nationalhomeland in Uganda. The verse,"the eye looks toward Zion" took onnew meaning for the opponents of the Uganda initiative. Beginningwith the eighth Congress, the newly named
was sung at theclose of each Congress; theeighteenth Congress, in 1933,initiated the practice of standing forthe song.At the opening of the formaldeclaration of nationalindependence in 1948, all thosepresent sang
. Unlike theflag and emblematic menorah,though, which were enshrined asnational symbols in 1949, the legalstatus of 
was not raiseduntil 1996. Even then,
was only discussed as part of aformalization of rituals for theopening of a Knesset session. Onthe 26
of Cheshvan, 2004, theKnesset re-titled the "Flag andEmblem Law" as the "Flag, Emblemand National Anthem Law", naming
as the national anthem.
Yitzchak haKohen (aka Ishtori) benMoshe was born in Florenzia, Spain in1280, to a scholarly family. Hisgrandfather published works on the Torah's financial laws, and is cited by the Meiri and Sefer haTorah. Many otherfamily members also authored books on Jewish law. Rabbi Yitzchak adopted thelast name "HaParchi"
"of the flower"
 because of his hometown's name.Educated in yeshivot in France, RabbiYitzchak lived there until Jews wereexpelled by King Phillip in 1306. Hethen travelled to Spain, and then Egypt,before ascending to Israel. He settled inBeit She'an, where he practiced as aphysician; he was learned in varioussecular fields, including linguistics,philosophy and astronomy.In 1322, Rabbi Yitzchak wrote the firstformal book of Israeli geography,
Kaftor vaFerach 
; the text was first printed inVenice in 1549. Rabbi Yitzchak's goalwas to describe the topography andtowns of Israel based on his first-personvisits. In a sense, Rabbi Yitzchakfollowed in the footsteps of RabbiBenjamin of Tudela and other travelersto Israel who recorded their journeys,but Rabbi Yitzchak travelled the entireland for thorough research, and heaimed to describe more than geography.
Kaftor vaFerach 
notes the various levelsof sanctity of different parts of the land,with their associated laws, principally following the views of Rambam. RabbiYitzchak also depicted types of florafound in the Talmud, and he describedthe various weights and measures usedin Jewish law. The customs of Jewishcommunities in Israel are also recordedin
Kaftor vaFerach 
.Rabbi Yitzchak wrote other works onmedicine, ethics and philosophy, untilhe passed away in 1355, but he isprincipally known for
Kaftor vaFerach 
 The sanctity of the land and its stature beganfrom the time it was given to our holy ancestors, not only from the time of conquest. And so Bereishit 40:15 says, "fromthe land of the Hebrews", and Bereishit 48:21says, "And He will restore you to the land of  your ancestors." The word "Hebrews" is notabout the "other side [
]" of theEuphrates, but rather the name of Ever, theson of Shem, as Ibn Ezra (Shemot 21:2)wrote.Ibn Ezra also wrote that the purchase of theCave of Machpelah by Avraham is recordedin order to inform us of the advantage of theLand of Israel over other lands for both theliving and the deceased. And regardingBereishit 33:19, "And [Yaakov] acquired theportion of the field," he wrote, "This ismentioned in the Torah to inform us that theLand of Israel has a great advantage, andpossession of a portion there is likepossession of a portion in the Next World." The same is true in Bereishit 50:24, "I willbring you up from this land, to the land Iswore to give to Avraham, to Yitzchak and toYaakov."And so in Bereishit 15:18, "On that day G-dexecuted a covenant with Avram, saying, 'To your seed I will give this land, from the riverof Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates."From that time Avraham acquired it for all of his descendants, for at that awesomeencounter G-d told him (Bereishit 15:13),"Know that your descendants will be
strangers in a land that is not theirs… and
the fourth generation will return here." If so,then when they are yet in their oppressionand slavery during those four hundred years,this land
the land of the Emorites
theirs, and Egypt is not theirs…
 In truth, the obligation to give the land's
tithes began only from the time of conquest…
However, regarding mitzvot which are notland-dependent, like the fruit of the fields, itwas sanctified from that time. This is why thesages say that Bereishit 12:2, "And I willmake you a great nation," applied only inIsrael. And so the Euphrates was called "thegreat river" (Bereishit 15:8); it was only called"great" because of its association with the[already sanctified] Land of Israel. It wouldnot have been called "great" because of thefuture.
This Week inIsraeli History
Cheshvan 26, 2004
Hillel Horovitz
Torah in Translation
The Sanctity of Israel
Rabbi Yitzchak HaParchi
Kaftor vaFerach 10
Translated by R’ Mordechai Torczyner
 This is also seen from Menachot 84a, "R'Yosi b"R' Yehudah said: The
grainmay come from outside Israel. Why doesthe Torah say [regarding the
],'When you enter the land'? They were notobligated in the
before they 
entered the land…" We see that they 
made the same deduction [that theobligations associated with the land of Israel began only with the entry of the Jewish nation into the land].
Biography: Rabbi Yitzchak haParchi
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
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