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7 Tammuz 5773/June 15, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Chukat
 
Vol.4 Num. 36
 
Rabbi Yosef Salant (Be'er Yosef toChukat, first essay) claims that indeed,the
 parah adumah 
's 'non-reason' servesan important purpose, even though itwill eventually outlive its usefulness. Attimes, we experience moments that defyunderstanding. To use a broad example,we are constantly at a loss to provideexplanations when we witness therighteous suffering and the wickedprospering. Most sharply, we areconfronted with this question in thecontext of death: how is it that anindividual who lived his/her life nobly(and sometimes, briefly) could be takenfrom us? Our only answer
 – 
for themoment
 – 
is "Blessed is the true Judge."We are compelled to accept in good faiththat this tragic occurrence is part of aDivine plan that will one day be fullyappreciated. The mitzvah of 
 parah adumah 
 
 – 
whichrevolves around death
 – 
is our 'ritualtraining ground' in internalizing thisvalue of acceptance. When everyencounter with death demands aprocedure that defies our currentunderstanding, that observanceconditions us to accept similar strugglesin our daily lives. The quintessential
chukat haTorah 
trains us in coping withour
chukot hachayim 
.Why will a reason for this mitzvah berevealed eventually? Rabbi Salantexplains that the training provided bythis 'non-reason' will no longer serveany purpose. "The World to Come isn'tlike this world. In this world, upon[hearing] good news one recites 'Blessedis the Good who does good,' while upon[hearing] bad news one recites 'Blessedis the true Judge.' In the World toCome, it will all be [worthy of theblessing of] 'the Good who doesgood.'" (Pesachim 50a) In the World toCome, we will finally have theperspective needed to appreciate thepast and present difficulties experiencedin life. Once those tragedies find theirresolution, G-d will finally allow thiselusive
chok 
to be resolved as well.Returning to the concerns of this world,Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm suggests thatfor us, the
 parah adumah 
encouragesan appreciation
 – 
albeit without a fullunderstanding
 – 
of the complexity of life. Our society, with its wealth of trendy 'solutions', often denies thisreality and instead rushes to developsimplistic explanations that leadnowhere. Problems are dealt withineffectively; worse, superficialexplanations become excuses forpassivity. The reality is that we cannot rush thisprocess. We are far better off acknowledging the limits of ourunderstanding, so that we can stand achance of advancing closer to the truth.Until that point in time however, weshould take comfort in the fact thatindeed, for every difficulty, answersexist. The tension of knowing that ourproblems
 – 
our
chukot hachayim 
 
 – 
have yet-to-be discovered solutions shoulddrive us towards finding them. May wesucceed in doing so with the requisitesense of sincerity and humility.
egoldschmiedt@torontotorah.com 
The Reason that Isn’t
 
Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please call 647-234-7299 or email info@torontotorah.com.
 
An enigmatic detail of the
 parah adumah 
marks this ritual as theclassic inexplicable
chok 
of Torah law.Our sages [including ShlomohaMelech, "wisest of all men"] couldnot explain how the
 parah adumah 
'ssprinkling waters purify their target,and yet others who come into contactwith them contract impurity. (Niddah9a)It has been suggested that theinexplicable nature of this mitzvah is,in fact, what lies at its core. Fulfilling acommand that is beyond humanunderstanding demands a greater levelof obedience to G-d. Suchcommitment, then, is the very goal of the mitzvah itself. The nature of this mystery however,deserves some clarification. Contraryto popular belief, the sages believedthat the details of the
 parah adumah 
 procedure are
not
beyond explanation:"Rabbi Yosi the son of Rabbi Chaninasaid: G-d said to Moshe, 'To you Ireveal the rationale of the
 parah 
 [
adumah 
], but to others it is a
chok 
.' ...Matters which are hidden from themin this world will be revealed in thefuture..." (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:6) Ourtradition informs us that any 'lack of areason' for the
 parah adumah 
has anexpiration date. An inherentlysignificant rationale indeed exists, andone day we will attain it.Without any presumptions of reachingthis ultimate truth, we can still askwhy G-d chose to structure the law'sdynamics in such a complicatedmanner. Why decree a law that defiesunderstanding for a significant portionof world history, and yet will ultimatelybe understood?
We are grateful toContinental Press 905-660-0311
MIDRESHET YOM RISHON CONTINUES!
SUNDAY MORNING TORAH FOR WOMEN
10 AM AT BAYT, 613 CLARK AVE. W 
MRS. RIFKA SONENBERG: OUR F
 ATHER’S PORTION
 
R’
 YAIR MANAS: HAVE WE LOST THE ABILITY TO MOURN?
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 
Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 128:40-41for more on this.] The honour of kohanim is not seen astheir personal prerogative; indeed, we arespecifically taught to honour them evenagainst their will. (Sifra Emor 1:13)However, authorities do permit a non-kohen to ask a kohen to perform a non-degrading task, if the kohen would alsobenefit; see Mishneh Berurah 128:175 formore.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
2
 The kohanim are biblically designatedas servants of G-d (for example,Devarim 18:3-5), and we areinstructed to honour them as ameans of honouring G-d. (Vayikra21:8) This includes honouring akohen with leading birkat hamazon(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim201:2), as well as refraining fromasking kohanim to perform tasks onbehalf of non-kohanim. (Rama OrachChaim 128:45) However, SeferhaChinuch notes that a kohen whoengages in certain sinful conduct maylose his special treatment. [See
613 Mitzvot: #269
The Holy Kohen
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
TORAH FOR YOUR TABLE
A Nation’s Evolution
 
Hillel Horovitz
 
. "  ?. . " (    ( ,'  " " :  , ... ".
 
, "" , " :  ( "...,' .)  , ,  , " :  ( "...",
-
.)  ?
 
, . 
-
 . , 
-
 . ? (  "" [ " ],  ).
 
" : ', '  ( ."...",  ! . .
 
. "." , . .
 
hhorovitz@torontotorah.com 
 
What’s Wrong with Backing Out?
 
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
 
 The Torah repeatedly instructs us tosafeguard honesty and avoid falsehood,and the Talmud expands upon thistheme with warnings to honour ouragreements. [See, for example, BavaMetzia 49a.] Nonetheless, is thereanything wrong with backing out of averbal pledge, which the participantsknew was not legally binding? The Talmud (Bava Metzia 47b-48a)discusses this question, in the contextof a situation in which a consumer haspaid money to acquire movable items. The talmudic passage makes clear thatone who reneges at this point in atransaction is to be condemned, but thesages offer two different rationales:
Rabbi Yochanan contends thatbiblically, the purchase is completeonce one pays for the items. Althoughthe sages enacted a new requirementthat one actually pick up the item inorder to acquire it, paying money hassome force, and therefore one whobacks out after money has beentransferred is guilty of quasi-theft.
Reish Lakish declares that payment isnot a form of acquisition at all; wecondemn someone who backs outonly because he has acted in amanner that does not befit an ethical Jew. Once we commit ourselves, weare morally bound by thiscommitment, even if we are not yetlegally bound.It would seem that Rabbi Yochananwould say one may back out fromcommitments which have no legal force,but Reish Lakish would still object. [Formore on the different rationales, seeKetzot haChoshen 209:9.] We follow theview of Reish Lakish.What happens to someone who backsout? The Talmud (ibid.) records warns a Jew who tries to back out of such acommitment: "The One who punishedthe generation of the flood, thegeneration of the dispersion, thecitizens of Sdom and Amorah, andEgypt at the sea, will also punish onewho does not stand by his word." There is some debate among earlyauthorities as to how this warning ismeant to be issued; Rambam (HilchotMechirah 7:2) suggests it is stated inthe third person as recorded here, Tur(Choshen Mishpat 204) cites a viewsuggesting it is worded directly at theparty who is backing out, andMordechai (Bava Metzia 308) indicatesit is actually recited by the person whois backing out. The venue for thiswarning is also unclear; at varioustimes it has been done in the localcourt, or in the synagogue duringdavening. The goal of the warning isclear, though: to cause a party to re-think his reversal, and honour hisword. (Aruch haShulchan ChoshenMishpat 204:2) The expectation that we will honourour words extends beyond sales. In anotable case from 1993, two Israelipolitical parties agreed to worktogether in separate elections, withParty A supporting Party B's candidatein one election, and Party B returningthe favour in another election. Party Afulfilled its commitment, but Party Bsigned a competing agreement with athird political party. The case involvesa complex set of legal entanglements,but as noted within the court's ruling,one point is clear: As Reish Lakishruled, we are bound ethically evenwhen we are not bound legally. [Formore on the case, see Piskei Din shelBatei Din haRabbaniim b'Yisrael 18.]
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
 
7 Tammuz is Shabbat 
On the seventh day of Tammuz, 5680(June 23, 1920), at a conference inLondon, the World ZionistConference established KerenHayesod ["The Foundation Fund"].Following the 1917 BalfourDeclaration, this organization wasfounded to serve as the fundraisingarm of the Zionist movement.
According to its manifesto, “[T]he
time has come to concentrate effortsfor the establishment of a Jewish
national home.”
 A short time after its founding, KerenHayesod began fundraisingoperations all across the world,beginning in Europe, but soonexpanding toNorth Americaand elsewhere.In 1921,ChaimWeizmann andAlbert Einsteinwent to theUnited States,with KerenHayesodsupport, inorder to raisemoney to builda university in Israel. This tripresulted in The Hebrew Universitybeing established in 1925. Also in1921, Keren Hayesod helped foundBank Hapoalim.After the founding of the State of Israel, Keren Hayesod developed newcommunities to absorb Holocaustsurvivors and other immigrants fromIslamic countries. In the 1950's,Keren Hayesod established urbansettlements, such as Sderot andEilat, to absorb new immigrants.In 1956, the Knesset passed a lawmaking Keren Hayesod the officialfundraising arm of the State of Israel.Eleven years later, Keren Hayesodraised $150 million to help Israelafter the Six-Day War, and then $300million to help Israel after the YomKippur War. Today, Keren Hayesod operates in 47countries. In 2012, Keren Hayesodspent $129 million on (1) Aliyah,Absorption and Rescue, (2)Strengthening Israeli Society, and (3) Jewish Peoplehood.
ymanas@torontotorah.com 
 
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was born inUzda, Belarus, on the 7
th
of Adar,5655/1895. He was born into a rabbinicfamily, descendants of Rabbi Yom TovLipman Heller. Rabbi Feinstein servedas Rabbi of Luban for sixteen years,during which time he wrote prolifically,sending responsa to communities farand wide and to the Torah giants of theday. He also led his community despitethe crushing persecution of theCommunist regime.Rabbi Feinstein fled the Soviet regime in1936, barely escaping a pogrom inwhich his home was destroyed. Alongwith his wife Sima and three children(another died of whooping cough), RabbiFeinstein came to New York and becamerosh yeshiva of Mesivta TiferetYerushalayim in Manhattan
s LowerEast Side.Recognized across the broad spectrumof Orthodoxy as the generation
s leadinghalachic authority, Rabbi Feinstein wasconsulted on every major issue of hisday. His widely circulated responsainclude positions on the role of Jews ina non-Jewish society, the status of Reform and Conservative approaches to Judaism, and the evolving roles of women in the Jewish community.Rabbi Feinstein served as president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of theUnited States and Canada, and hechaired the Moetzes Gedolei haTorah of Agudath Israel of America for the lastquarter-century of his life. Rabbi Yosef Dov haLevi Soloveitchik and RabbiFeinstein were first cousins onceremoved, and they spoke frequently.Rabbi Feinstein wrote a warmapprobation for a sefer published inhonour of Rav Soloveitchik
s eightiethbirthday.Rabbi Feinstein passed away on TaanitEsther 5746/1986, but his writingsremain a part of every significanthalachic debate of our day
.torczyner@torontotorah.com 
When a husband accepts Shabbat uponhimself while it is still day, is his wife alsoforbidden from performing
melachah 
?It seems obvious that she is not drawn afterhim; just as he cannot obligate her in vowsthat he has taken, even where they weremeant to prevent violation of a law, and evenwhere he said explicitly that she should beincluded, so he cannot prevent her fromperforming
melachah 
when he acceptsadditional time to Shabbat. This is not onlytrue when he accepts Shabbat withoutstating anything [regarding her], but evenwhen he says explicitly that he is acceptingShabbat for both of them, this statement is
worthless….
 However, there may be reason to forbid herfrom performing
melachah 
for the husband'ssake, such as cooking for him. This stemsfrom the law the biblical verse (Shemot
23:12), “your maidservant’s son shall berefreshed,” regarding which the Talmud
(Yevamot 48b) discusses the case of anuncircumcised servant who is not yetobligated in mitzvot for himself. This personmay perform
melachah 
for himself, but notfor his master... This rule is not derived fromthe prohibition against asking a non-Jew toperform
melachah 
for you on Shabbat(
amirah l’akum) 
; that is a rabbinicprohibition, while "your maidservant's son
shall be refreshed" is a biblical prohibition…
 The fact that one who has accepted Shabbat[before dark] may ask his friend or a non-Jewto perform
melachah 
for him is because thiscould only violate, at worst, a rabbinicprohibition [if he were to ask the person to doit on Shabbat itself]. However, regarding anuncircumcised servant there is a biblicalprohibition against having him perform
melachah 
after Shabbat has been accepted,and even before dark.
 The same will apply for one’s wife, whose
melachah 
 
is acquired for her husband…
Granted that there is room to distinguish, asa woman has the right to say, "I won't takefood from him and I won't work for him," andso her
melachah 
will not be acquired by him
for this… still, as long as she has not said
this, her
melachah 
 
is acquired by him ….
 [All in all], it is appropriate to be stringent,and she should not perform
melachah 
for her
This Week inIsraeli History
7 Tammuz 1920Keren Hayesod Founded
Rabbi Yair Manas
 
Torah in Translation
A Family’s Early Shabbat
 
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3:38
Translated by Adam Frieberg
Biography: Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
 
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
husband’s sake [once he has accepted
Shabbat], for most early authoritiescontended that performing
melachah 
 during the time added to Shabbat isbiblically prohibited, and becausedistinguishing between her case and thatof the servant is less logical. However,her
melachah 
which does not relate tothe husband should not be prohibited onaccount of his acceptance of Shabbat.

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