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17 Kislev 5773/December 1, 2012
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Vayishlach
 
Vol.4 Num. 11
 
prohibition?Rav Chizkiyah ben Manoach, the authorof Chizkuni, answers these questions. To understand the answer he presents,we must first analyze the verse thatintroduces this episode. The quarrel isintroduced when the Torah says,"Yaakov was left alone and a manwrestled with him until the break of dawn." (Bereishit 32:25) Why wasYaakov alone? Where was his family? The Talmud (Chullin 91a) explains thatYaakov went back over the river that hehad just crossed, in order to retrieve afew small jugs he had accidentally leftbehind. This explains why he journeyedback, but it should not have been areason for him to be alone, claims RavChizkiyah. Despite being woken up inthe middle of the night to cross the riverthe first time, the eleven sons of Yaakov,or at least some of them, should havefought their desire to crawl back intobed, and should have accompaniedtheir father back across the river if thatwas where he desired to go. It wasspecifically the fact that they left himalone, claims Rabbi Chizkiyah, thatallowed him to be attacked and injured.Were his strong sons with him, they would have protected him. As a form of 
repentance, Yaakov’s sons swore that
they, and all of their descendants (i.e."the children of Israel"), would not eatthe
gid hanasheh 
. This was supposed toserve as a constant reminder about theimportance of not abandoning people. The Zohar famously states that each of the Torah's 365 prohibitions isconnected to one of the 365
gidin 
(sinews) in our body. My teacher, RabbiMordechai Machlis, has pointed outthat the Zohar (Vayishlach 170b) alsoconnects each of the 365 prohibitions toa day of the year. The Zohar says thatthe 9
th
of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, the day upon whichwe mourn the destruction of both of our Temples in addition to countless othercalamities that have befallen our people,is connected to the prohibition againsteating the
gid hanasheh 
.Using the interpretation we havediscussed above, we can make sense of this connection. Eichah 1:3 says,"Judea has been exiled
mei'oni 
." Thesimple translation is that the Jewishnation has been exiled because of 
oni 
,or suffering. However, a midrash(Eichah Rabbah 1:28) explains
mei'oni 
 to mean that they went into exilebecause (
mei 
) they didn’t treat the
pauper (
oni 
) properly. This may help usunderstand why the Zohar links thatday to the mitzvah of refraining fromeating the
gid hanasheh 
. Both of themcome to encourage us to reflect back on
times where we didn’t care enough for
those in need, and commit to notleaving them alone in the future.Whether their needs are physical,spiritual or emotional, on the 9th of Avand every time we sit down to eat meat,we are reminded to be there for thosewho need us. [Indeed, we eat the mealpreceding Tishah b'Av on the floor,alone, reflecting on how the abandonedpauper feels.]With Chanukah fast approaching, weare presented with the opportunity toinclude others in our families' festivities.Let us make certain that no one is leftalone.
afrieberg@torontotorah.com 
The Danger of Leaving Someone Alone
 
Adam Frieberg
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please contact info@torontotorah.com or call 647-234-7299
While some may find the very thoughtof eating the heart, stomach, feet, orliver of an animal repulsive, othersconsider them to be delicacies. Leavingroom for personal taste, Jewish lawpermits eating all of these parts, albeitwith certain guidelines as to how they must be prepared. Yet when it comesto the
gid hanasheh 
(sciaticneurovascular bundle), the Torah flatly 
declares, "… the children of Israel may 
not eat the
gid hanasheh 
…to thisday…" (Bereishit 32:33). The reason
for this prohibition is presented quiteclearly in this same verse: a being,apparently an angel, struck Yaakov inthat exact spot.One obvious way to interpret theprohibition presented in the text is toexplain that the Torah wanted us toremember the battle between Yaakovand the angel. By prohibiting us fromeating the
gid hanasheh 
, the Torahensures that we will consciously remember this brief episode wheneverwe begin to eat meat. However, thisbegs a follow up question: why do weneed to remember this episode? Whatis this fight trying to teach us?Additionally, the Torah presents thisprohibition as a commentary uponYaakov's injury, but why shouldYaakov's injury lead to this
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payment. By declaring all of theseseparate prohibitions, G-d warns us thatthere is no leeway in this matter; a Jewmust always be upfront in his dealings.Mitzvah 228 includes any case in whichmoney comes to us legitimately, but wewithhold it from those who should receiveit from us. Therefore, failure to repay adebt is included in this prohibition,although one who intends to pay eventually may not be in violation.(Minchat Chinuch 228:4)
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
2
We have already said (#224) that theftis prohibited, but the Torah declaresseparate prohibitions for differentkinds of theft.Mitzvah 224 prohibits theft of property by subterfuge. Mitzvah 228prohibits
oshek 
, employing fraud tocheat people of what we owe them.Mitzvah 229 prohibits
gezel 
, takingproperty by force. Mitzvah 230
prohibits delaying a worker’s salary;
we are instructed to pay at the timewhen the worker expects his
613 Mitzvot: #228-230
Varieties of Theft
 
Rabbi Mordechai TorczynerHitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Who Are You?
 
Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
 
 The narrative of Yaakov's mysterious
battle with a “man” (Bereishit 32:25
-33)leaves us with many questions. Perhapsthe strangest element of the story is thedialogue that takes place as the fightcomes to its close. After being informed
of his new name, Yisrael, “Yaakov
asked, 'Please tell me your name.' Andhe [the man] said, 'What's the purpose
of asking my name?” (32:30) Yaakov's
request, particularly in the context of abattle, seems strange, and it seems thathe was not given an answer. Why wasthis empty exchange recorded in the Torah?
Yaakov's encounter with the “man” has
been understood as representative of 
our struggle with the yetzer hara (“evilinclination”); see, for example, Zohar I,
35b. It would follow, then, that Yaakov'srequest for the man's name was aserious matter with tremendoussignificance. A name reflects theessential character of a being or object;see, for example, Bereishit Rabbah17:4. Yaakov was asking for someinsight concerning the essence andnature of the yetzer hara, informationthat would prove invaluable in our life'smission to conquer our baser desires.Viewing the story from this perspective,Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz (SichotMussar, Essay 91) remarks that theman actually gave Yaakov a precise and
insightful answer. “What's the purposeof asking my name” is the yetzer hara's
very name and essence! In causing usto stumble, the primary method thatthe yetzer hara uses is pressure for usto go forward without examining ourways. As soon as one feels the tug of hisconscience, the yetzer hara urges himto continue, without stopping to askquestions about his intentions.Knowing the yetzer hara's battle plan isthe greatest key for defeating him. If wewould only commit ourselves toquestion our motives and goals beforetaking action, stopping to thinkrationally before being pulled by ourbaser instincts, we would conquer our yetzer hara. That the yetzer haraultimately has no name shows us theultimate truth: His power, whenconfronted, is easily overtaken.
egoldschmiedt@torontotorah.com 
Three Chanukah Questions
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Question: If my spouse lights achanukiah in our home on time, andI will not come home until later thatnight, do I light when I arrive athome?
One's spouse may light on his behalf athome, exempting him from hisobligation to light. However, one may have a separate obligation to see a litchanukiah, personally. Therefore,assuming someone will be awake to seehis chanukiah when he lights, theperson who comes home late shouldstate that he is not relying upon thelighting taking place in his home, andhe should light upon arriving home.(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 676:3,677:3; Mishneh Berurah 677:14; AruchhaShulchan Orach Chaim 676:7; IgrotMoshe Orach Chaim 5:43:1; MishnehHalachot 15:207:1)
Question: Should the ending of thefirst blessing on the chanukiah be"l'hadlik ner shel Chanukah","l'hadlik ner Chanukah", or "l'hadlikner shelChanukah"?
 There is considerable debate regardingthe correct text for this berachah. Ouredition of the gemara says "l'hadlik nershel Chanukah", but some suggest thatthe original edition was just "nerChanukah". Our edition of the Rambamsays "shelChanukah" as one word, butother editions have it as "shelChanukah", in two words.For reasons both mystical and legal,many authorities say to recite "nerChanukah", and this is the practice inmuch of the Sephardic world. However,some Ashkenazic communitiescustomarily say "ner shel Chanukah". Itis recommended that people retain theirfamily customs, and contact theirsynagogue rabbi if there is a need toinstitute a family custom.(Shabbat 23a; Mishneh Torah, HilchotMegilah v'Chanukah 3:4; ShulchanAruch Orach Chaim 676:1; SdeiChemed 8:Chanukah
;
Shoel v'Nishal5:Orach Chaim 112; Ateret Paz I2:Yoreh Deah 7; Yabia Omer 8:OrachChaim 11)
Question: May one use an electricchanukiah?
 The consensus of many authorities isthat electric lights do not fulfill themitzvah. The reasons include:1. At the time we light, there must beenough fuel present for the flame tolast for the entire period; electricity iscontinuously generated. (Meorei Eish)2. We require direct kindling, as takesplace when one touches a flame to awick; flipping a switch or pressing abutton is an act of indirect lighting(
grama 
). (Har Tzvi Orach Chaim 143)3. The point is to commemorate theoriginal menorah, which employed fueland wick. (Dvar Halachah 36)4. Each flame is supposed to be asingle flame, not a
medurah 
(lit.bonfire), since the original menorahhad a single flame for each wick. Afilament, which arcs horizontally, is a
medurah 
. (Tzitz Eliezer I:20:12)Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 3:Orach Chaim 35) says that one whocannot light a standard chanukiah,such as one who is in a hospital,should use an electric chanukiahwithout a berachah. [Apparently, he isnot concerned lest onlookers view thisas acceptance of an electric chanukiahin general.]
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
 
Sunday is the 18 
th 
of Kislev 
After Arab forces succeeded indowning seventeen Israeli planesduring the Yom Kippur War, the IDFdecided to arm itself with improvedplanes in order to protect theirairspace. On Friday, the 18
th
of Kislev, the first three F-15s arrivedat the Tel Nof Air Force Base. Withthe arrival of these planes from St.Louis, Israel became the only country with such advanced planes,outside of the United States. The new planes were received with afestive celebration, in the presenceof Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabinand various ministers. However,strong winds and trouble in the in-flight refueling procedure delayedthe arrival of the aircraft, and theceremony was delayed, ending very close to the start of Shabbat. Someof the ministers were unable toarrive home before Shabbat. Dayslater, the ministers associated withAgudat Yisrael and Poalei AgudatYisrael filed a motion of no-confidence in the government. Twoof Mafdal's three ministersabstained.Prime Minister Rabin, in counselwith Justice Minister Haim Tzadok,took this vote as dismissal; oneweek later, he declared his intentionto resign. President Ephraim Katziraccepted his resignation, a motionto disband the Knesset was passed,and early elections were declared forMay 1977. Rabin and his colleaguesexpected to win re-election easily,taking advantage of a ruleprohibiting no-confidence votesuntil the election to structurecircumstances in their favour. Inthe end, though, a chain of eventsprepared the ground for an electoralrevolution that put MenachemBegin in power.
hhorovitz@torontotorah.com 
Midrash Eichah Rabbah, one of theearlier midrashim written in Israel,serves as an elucidation to the book of Eichah. Likely edited in the fifth century CE, approximately two centuries afterthe composition of the TalmudYerushalmi, it begins with 36introductory pieces, constituting about25% of the book. These introductionsserve as an anthology of how differentamoraim (sages whose lessons comprisethe gemara) would introduce their study of Megilat Eichah; this may be why many of the lessons end with "How," theopening word of Eichah. According toSolomon Buber, the introductions wereadded over a longer time period, afterthe midrash was completed. Much of thebook discusses the destruction of both Temples, inspiring people to learn it on
 Tishah B’Av.
  The portion translated is from one of theintroductory pieces, and is a well-knownpassage about how the forefathers, andothers, failed to convince G-d to allowthe Jewish people to survive. TheMatriarch Rachel was the one whoconvinced G-d to save the Jewish peoplefrom total destruction, and to returnthem to their land.
ymanas@torontotorah.com 
Avraham said to G-d, "Master of theUniverse, why did You exile my children andhand them to the nations, and kill them withmany abnormal deaths, and destroy the Temple, the place where I brought Yitzchakas a burnt offering to You?" G-d responded,"Your children sinned and violated the Torahand its twenty-
two letters" …
 Avraham replied, "Master of the Universe,who will testify that Israel violated the Torah?" G-d responded, "Let the Torah comeand testify." The Torah immediately came totestify. Avraham said to her "My daughter, you come to testify that the Jews violated your commandments, and you are notembarrassed before me? I remember whenG-d brought you to all of the nations andlanguages and they did not want to accept you, until my children came to Mount Sinaiand accepted you and honoured you. Andnow you wish to testify against them on aday of their distress?" Once the Torah heard
this, she stood aside and did not testify….
 Immediately, Avraham began before G-d,saying, "Master of the Universe, when Ireached the age of 100 You gave me a son.When he matured and was 37 years old Youtold me to bring him as an offering beforeYou. I was transformed into a cruel person
for him, and I didn’t have mercy. I personally bound him! You won’t remember this for me
and have mercy upon my children?"Yitzchak began, saying, "Master of the
Universe, when my father told me, ‘G
-d willprovide a sheep to sacrifice, my 
son,’ (Bereishit 22:8) I did not prevent
fufillment of Your words and I was willingly bound on the altar, and I stuck out my neck
under the knife, and You won’t remember
this and have mercy on my children?"Yaakov began, saying, "Master of theUniverse, did I not remain for twenty years in
Lavan’s home? When I left, wicked Esav
encountered me and wanted to kill my children, and I gave myself over for death ontheir behalf? Now my children are given totheir enemies like sheep for the slaughter,after I raised them like baby chicks and Isuffered on their behalf the difficulty of raising children; for most of my days I was in
pain because of them. Now You won’t
remember this and have mercy on my 
children?"…
 At that moment, our mother Rachel jumpedbefore G-d and said, "Master of the Universe,
This Week inIsraeli History
Kislev 18, 1976
The F-15 Arrives
Hillel Horovitz
 
Torah in Translation
Rachel’s Argument
 
Eichah Rabbah, Petichta 24
Translated by Yair Manas
it is known to you you’re your servant
Yaakov loved me, and he worked on my behalf for my father for seven years, andwhen those years were complete and thetime for the wedding came, my fatherplotted to switch me for my sister. Thiswas extraordinarily difficult for me, for Iknew of the plan and I informed my husband and I gave him a sign todistinguish between me and my sister,
so that my father wouldn’t be able to
swap us. I regretted this later, but boremy desires and had mercy on my sisterlest she be shamed. That night, my sisterwas switched for me for my husband,and I gave her all of the signs I had givenmy husband, so that he would think that
he was marrying Rachel…
 If I, a creature of flesh and blood, dustand ash, was not jealous of my rival anddid not shame her, then You, theEverlasting Merciful King, why shouldYou be jealous of worthless idol worship,such that You sent my children intoexile, and they were killed by the sword,and their enemies did with them as they wished. Immediately, G-
d’s Mercy 
prevailed , and He said, "On account of  you, Rachel, I will return Israel to its
place" … as it says, "There will be hope
for your end, these are the words of G-d,and the children will return to theirborders." (Yirmiyahu 31:16)
Biography: Eichah Rabbah
 
Yair Manas
 
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