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24 Kislev 5773/December 8, 2012
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Vayeshev
 
Vol.4 Num. 12
 
In his Mishneh Torah, the Rambamwrites that the Jewish people wereoppressed by the Greeks, until G-d hadmercy on the Jews, and the
Chashmonaim “killed [the Greeks], and
saved the Jews from their
hand.” (Hilchot Megilah v’Chanukah
3:1) The Rambam records the military victory as part of the miracle of Chanukah. In the very next halachah,the Rambam refers to the oil that wasfound. It seems that the Rambam wouldanswer that we celebrate both miracleson Chanukah. The same idea emerges from a well-known question posed by Rabbi Yosef Karo in his Beit Yosef (Orach Chaim670). He asks: If there was enough oil tolast for one day, then the oil thatburned on the first day was notmiraculous. In that case, the oil lastedmiraculously for only 
seven 
additionaldays. Consequently, we shouldcelebrate Chanukah for seven days, andnot for eight. Why, then, do we celebrateChanukah for eight days? The Pri Chadash (OC 670:1) answersthat on the first night of Chanukah, weactually celebrate the military victory over the Greeks. Similar to theRambam, the Pri Chadash effectively tells us that there are two separatemiracles of Chanukah: the oil lasting forseven extra days, and the victory of theweak over the mighty. Thus we have twoseparate miracles of Chanukah.But do we really celebrate two separatemiracles? The Maharal (ChiddusheiAggadot to Shabbat) suggests that themain reason for establishing the holiday of Chanukah is the military victory overthe Greeks, but that it is hard to see theDivine nature of a military victory. Therefore, G-d performed a miracle withthe menorah's flame, so that everyonewould see the overt miracle and thereby be sensitized to the covert miracle of themilitary victory. Thus, according to theMaharal, the central miracle of Chanukah is not what most peoplethink. The discovery of the oil is only tangential to the main miracle, themiracle of the victory.Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk (MeshechChachmah Shemot 12:16) presentsanother view which similarly places themilitary victory as the main miracle.Citing Provers 24:17, he contends thatwe do not celebrate the military victory on Chanukah because we do notcelebrate the downfall of our enemies. Therefore, we celebrate the miracle of the oil, and through this miracle we alsosee the hand of G-d that guides ourlives in other contexts (such as themilitary victory). This view of the central miracle andancillary miracle may explain why thegemara makes no mention of themilitary victory. Rashi (Shabbat 21b)explains that the gemara is outliningthe miracle which caused the Jews toenact Chanukah. Perhaps, per Rav MeirSimchah, the Talmud does not referencethe military victory because we do notcelebrate the downfall of our enemies.Alternatively, per Maharal, the Talmuddoes not reference the military victory because perceiving the Divine Hand inthat event is difficult, and is not whattriggered the original celebration.As we celebrate Chanukah, may we beinspired to continue to see the guidinghand of G-d in our lives.
ymanas@torontotorah.com 
The Miracle(s) of Chanukah
 
Yair Manas
 
SPECIAL CHANUKAH EDITION
What is the miracle of Chanukah?Many would undoubtedly answer thatthe Chashmonaim, upon their entry tothe Beit HaMikdash, only found one jug of oil, and the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. The Talmud
(Shabbat 21b) explains: “When the
Greeks entered the Temple they contaminated all of the oil. When theChashmonaim became strong anddefeated the Greeks, they searchedand only found one jug of oil that hadthe seal of the Kohen Gadol. It only held enough to light for one day, but amiracle happened and they lit from theoil for eight days. The next year, they established these days as days of 
praise and thanksgiving.”
 Yet this is not the only miracle of Chanukah. In the Al HaNisim prayerthat we include on Chanukah in theamidah and in Birkat HaMazon, wesay to G-
d, “You gave the strong into
the hands of the weak, the many into
the hands of the few…” This prayer
makes extensive mention of a military victory, but does not even mention themiracle of the oil. Counting themilitary victory as a miracle makeseminent sense - a small guerilla army defeating the world superpower surely sounds like a miracle of magnificentproportions - but then what is themiracle of Chanukah? Is it the oillasting for eight days, or is it themilitary victory over the Greeks?
We are grateful toContinental Press 905-660-0311
BREAKFAST AND LEARN
SUNDAY, 8:45 AM, AT BNAI TORAH (465 PATRICIA)
 
 WITH RABBI MILEVSKY AND MRS. MICHAL HOROVITZ
 OUR ROVING BEIT MIDRASH FOR DECEMBER
MODERN MASHIACH
 WED. 8:00 PM, KEHILLAT SHAAREI TORAH (2640 BAYVIEW)
 
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 
obligated in mitzvot, and mitzvah 260prohibits cursing one's parent. Grantedthe strong emotions which may arise inthese relationships, expressing violencetoward others is beyond the pale. Asexplained by the Minchat Chinuch(231:1), this includes cursing a group of people. The full prohibition is only violated if acurse invokes a Name of G-d. However,the Sefer haChinuch notes that evenwithout the Name, the curse is stillprohibited.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
2
Curses, wishing harm upon anotherperson, are more than an expressionof frustration, letting off steam intraffic or after an altercation.Expressing a curse is a violent act,turning our elevated souls and ourDivinely granted power of speechtoward the destruction of anotherhuman being.We have already seen (mitzvot 69-71)that one may not curse judges andpolitical leaders, and that blasphemy toward G-d is also prohibited.Mitzvah 231 is a broader prohibitionagainst cursing anyone else who is
613 Mitzvot: #231, 260
Cursing People and Parents
 
Rabbi Mordechai TorczynerHitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Unified Diversity
 
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
 
We are taught that Moshe was thegreatest prophet who ever lived,receiving messages so lucid as toresemble face-to-face communication.However, according to the Talmud
(Menachot 29a), Moshe couldn’t
understand how to create the menorahuntil HaShem showed him a menorah,
saying, “
This 
is what you should
create.” What was Moshe's difficulty?
 According to the Maharal, Moshe easily understood the variety implicit in themenorah's seven branches, for thecommunity of humanity also casts lightin many unique directions. However,G-d wanted Moshe to fashion themenorah from a single block,symbolizing a core unity. The idea of aunified source producing diverse resultswas the menorah's novelty, teachingthat despite our diversity, we originatefrom the same source. The menorah's unified sourceproducing diverse light is not acomplete model, though, for differenceslead to friction. What do you do whendiversity leads different community members, even family members, indifferent directions? The Talmud(Menachot 98b) answers with one moreelement of the menorah: all sevenbranches angle back in the samedirection. While diverse in ourapproaches, we must remain united inour purpose
 – 
the service of G-d.Along the same lines, Rav BentzionUziel, former chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, wasasked about a certain minyan whichincluded people from a variety of countries. When it came time to shakethe lulav and etrog, there waspandemonium in the synagogue,everyone turning in different directions.Rav Uziel was asked whether they should split into multiple minyanim. The great sage replied that there was noreason to split the minyan, explainingthat there is millenia-old precedent forpeople in the same minyan shaking thelulav in diverse ways. The key is that allof us have the same goal, fulfilling themitzvah of shaking the lulav. (PiskeiUziel b'She'elot haZman 2)May we learn the lessons of ourmenorah and that lulav
 – 
to recognizeour common roots, to branch out in ourvaried directions, but to ensure that ourgoal remains the national mission of radiating the light of G-d into the world.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
The Greek Strategem
 
Hillel Horovitz
 
, , . , .
 
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-
 ' ( ,'.)   , ". , .  , .
 
, , . , , . ," , ".
 
hhorovitz@torontotorah.com 
 
"." 
-
" ." : , . , .
 
""?  , , , ?!  ! , , ...
 
, ? "" , .
 
 ( ",",  ... ... ", , , . 
 
Sunday is the 25 
th 
of Kislev 
After returning from Babylonia, the Jews did not establish anindependent state, and insteadremained under foreign sovereignty. The empire in control changed fromtime to time, and in the 2
nd
century BCE, Judea became a part of theSyria-based Seleucid Empire.When Antiochus IV Epiphanesbecame ruler of the Seleucid Empirein 175 BCE, he pillaged the Temple,attacked Jerusalem and "led captivethe women and children".(Maccabees 1) Antiochus pursued azealous Hellenizing policy: He madepossession of the Torah a capitaloffense and burned the copies hecould find; Sabbaths and feastswere banned; circumcision wasoutlawed, and mothers whocircumcised their babies were killedalong with their families; the idol of Olympic Zeus was placed on thealtar of the Temple, and more.After Antiochus issued his decrees,a rural Jewish priest from Modiin,Matityahu the Hasmonean, sparkeda revolt against the Seleucid Empireby refusing to worship the Greekgods. He killed a Hellenistic Jewwho stepped forward to offer asacrifice to an idol, and he fled withhis five sons to the wilderness of  Judah, beginning a campaign of guerrilla warfare. Many Jews joinedthem, and with G-d's mercy they gained victory after victory againstthe professional army of Antiochus.After regaining Jerusalem, theHasmoneans set out to re-establishworship of G-d in the BeitHaMikdash. On the 25
th
of Kislev,164 BCE, they celebrated therededication of the Beit haMikdashand its central altar. The famousmiracle of the jug of oil, whichoccurred in the next seven days,was the final sign of G-d'sinvolvement in those events. The Jewish kingdom established by the Hasmoneans stood for abouttwo hundred years, but theinspiration they provided enduresforever.
bweintraub@torontotorah.com 
Rabbeinu Asher ben Yechiel (c. 1250 -1327) was a renowned rabbi andtalmudist. In addition to writing morethan one thousand responsa, RabbeinuAsher also wrote a halachic commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. His glosseswere considered so authoritative thatRabbi Yosef Karo, in compiling theShulchan Aruch, named it as one of histhree principle legal sources (alongsidethe work of Rif and Rambam).Rabbeinu Asher was born in WesternGermany into a prominent family of  Torah scholars, and he studiedprimarily under Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg. In 1286, as Emperor Rudolf I began persecuting Jews, Rabbi Meirattempted to escape to Germany butwas captured and imprisoned. The Roshraised a ransom for his release, butRabbi Meir refused it, for fear that thiswould encourage the imprisonment of 
others. The Rosh took over his teacher’s
community of Worms until he wasforced to flee.After leaving Germany, the Rosh firstsettled in southern France and then in Toledo, Spain, where he became thecommunity's rabbinic leader on therecommendation of Rabbi Shlomo benAderet (Rashba). Rabbeinu Asher passedaway in Toledo on the 9
th
of Cheshvan5088 (1327 CE), leaving behind eightchildren. One of his sons, Rabbi Yaakov,would go on to organize a halachic codedesigned in four columns (turim, hence
the colloquial name “Tur” for his work).
Rabbi Yosef Karo modeled his ShulchanAruch on the Tur's format.
This biography includes elements from a biography written by David Teller in a  previous issue of Toronto Torah.afrieberg@torontotorah.com 
It happened in the year 5073 from Creationthat the rain stopped falling; there were noshowers the entire winter, except for thetiniest amount. They declared a fast tobeseech G-d to bring rain upon the earth. Itwas, on the first night of Pesach, aftermaariv, my father, my master, the Rosh wassitting by the door to his home. We, some of his friends, were standing to his right and to
his left. And he said, “Now would be a good
time to raise an issue that has forever
astonished me: Why don’t we mention andrequest rain until Shavuot?”
 
Some of his friends responded, “It would be
proper for you to inform the elders of thismatter [that the prayer for rain should berecited until Shavuot], for them to implement
it.” It was appropriate in their opinion, and
they sent to the cantor of the shul to pray forrain on the following day [during Pesach,even though normative law advocatesrefraining from praying for rain after the first
day of Pesach]…
 When the cantor added the prayer for rain,there was an uproar from a few of the sageswho had not proposed this change, and they issued a declaration that this addition wasnot appropriate, for [rain at this time of year]would be a sign of a curse. The Roshexercised restraint and did not speak for theentire day, until that night, which was Chol
Ha’Moed. He then wrote a treatise to support
his position, and this was its text:As I have heard that there are those whowere astonished by my position, I have cometo explain what I said. It is not appropriate tostop mentioning and asking [for rain] now,
on the first day of Pesach… It is true that thefirst chapter of Tractate Ta’anit (10) says, “It
was taught in a baraita: Chananya says, 'Inexile we only start asking for rain sixty daysafter the fall
tekufah 
.' Rav Huna son of Chiyacited Shemuel's ruling that the law follows
Chananya.” And in all areas of law we follow
the sages of Babylon and practice as they dowhen the sages of Babylon and sages of Israel disagree, for the Babylonian Talmud isour main text. However, that is all in regardto determining what is forbidden and what ispermitted, who is liable and who is exempt,what is pure and what is impure. Regardingthat which depends upon the needs of themoment, such that changing it would not
This Week inIsraeli History
Kislev 25, 164 BCE
Re-dedication
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
Torah in Translation
Timing thePrayer for Rain
 
Responsa of Rosh 4:10
Translated by Adam Frieberg
violate a principle of the Torah, it isappropriate to determine practice basedupon the particular year, place and
time….
When I saw that the hearts of thecommunity tilted away from acceptingfrom me the words of the living G-d, Ialso recanted from asking andmentioning [the rain] in the synagoguewhere I pray. I could have requested rainas an individual, since it is a communal
need, but I didn’t want to create different
factions [within the same shul].I would not have recorded this on cholhamoed, for that is not my practice, butthere is a need at this time in order toprevent desecration of the Name of Heaven, and it is also involves the needsof the Yom Tov to a certain extent.
Biography: Rabbeinu Asher ben Yechiel
 
Adam Frieberg
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
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