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15 Adar 1, 5774/February 15, 2014
Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Ki Tisa
 
Vol. 5 Num. 23
 
ס
encounters the nation and their idolatrous activities. Moshe is filled with rage, he smashes the tablets, and he orders the execution of the worshippers of the Calf. At face value, this seems to be a step backwards, obliterating the control he had exhibited upon hearing the horrific news.
A simple explanation for Moshe’s “about face” may be found in the observation of our sages, “Hearing does not compare to seeing.” As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains, “As long as pagan
delusions, no matter what their form, are based merely on intellectual error and remain confined to the intellect, there is always hope that error will give way to enlightenment, that delusions will give way to truth, and that those afflicted by such notions will readily
change for the better.” While atop
Mount Sinai Moshe hoped that he would be able to reason with the errant nation; he was sure that his intellectual arguments would convince them to throw away their idol. However, once Moshe saw that they were dancing - a crucial detail that G-d had failed to mention but that the Torah records
immediately before describing Moshe’s
anger - his perspective changed. As
Rabbi Hirsch continues to say, “Not so,
however, when pagan delusion goes beyond intellectual error and corrupts
people’s character and conduct, and
licentiousness is openly worshipped
upon the altar of falsehood.” Sin which
is based in emotion is extremely difficult to change, and witnessing this altered
Moshe’s perspective, causing him to
smash the tablets. An entirely different answer is offered by Rabbi Yitzchak Caro in his
Toldot Yitzchak 
. Asking our question regarding
Moshe’s shift of moods, he suggests that Moshe’s rage was an attempt to make a
point, to demonstrate to the Jews just how grave their sin was. Therefore, Moshe waited until he was in front of the nation to smash the tablets. Moshe hoped that this would help the nation begin their process of repentance, as they would recognize the severity of their sin. In the realm of pedagogy, experts say that parents and teachers should avoid becoming angry at their children and students, at all costs. However,
sometimes children and students won’t
take a message seriously if it is not delivered with passion. The suggestion is then made that, if need be, a teacher or parent can pretend to be enraged in order to make a point. (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deiot 2:3) Combining this with the
Toldot Yitzchak 
’s idea, perhaps we can suggest
that Moshe was not truly angry. Perhaps Moshe understood that approaching G-d without a tangible symbol towards which to focus their devotion was difficult for the Jews. [See Kuzari 1:97 for more regarding this point.] Therefore, Moshe put on a show, calculating that anger would be the best modus operandi to transmit his message. This interpretation may be difficult to accept in light of the verse
which states that Moshe’s anger flared,
but perhaps the Torah is describing how the nation viewed Moshe, rather than what Moshe was truly feeling. May we, like Moshe, merit to choose the correct tools to react to each situation, with the goal of bringing one and all closer to G-d.
afrieberg@torontotorah.com
The Wrath of Moshe
 
Adam Frieberg
 
This issue of Toronto Torah is sponsored by Esther Salmon & Family in memory of Alan (Bumi) Salmon
ז
 
ל רשי
 
ן םהר
 
Remember that time when you did it? You were about to boil over with anger at your child or your spouse, but you kept your composure and acted appropriately. These moments, rare for some, common for others, are triumphs in the realm of character development. They make us feel good, but more, they are essential to our goal of maintaining healthy relationships with our loved ones. After forty days and nights on Mount Sinai, Moshe is informed that his nation has sinned. G-d instructs Moshe to descend and deal with a nation which, after reaching spiritual heights at the sea, has fallen so low that they are now worshipping an idol. Moshe must have been shocked. When he had left the nation only forty days earlier, they had been in an elevated spiritual state. In the interim, Moshe had risen to incredible levels in his face-to-face conversation with G-d, but the nation had fallen to striking lows. Anger, despair and frustration would have been obvious reactions for Moshe.
Nonetheless, Moshe’s initial reaction to
the sin, and to G-
d’s stated plan to
divest Himself of this burdensome nation and start again, is the opposite. For three long verses, Moshe marshals multiple arguments in begging G-d to forgive the Jewish people. Standing on Mount Sinai, Moshe has succeeded in reacting to a terribly difficult situation with restraint and purpose, focusing on solutions when he could have easily lost his temper. With this in mind, we should be
stunned by Moshe’s reaction when he
descends the mountain and
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Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 
property] for less than its worth. Therefore, the Torah stated that one who would redeem property he had personally consecrated must add an extra twenty percent.
“Further, one who consecrates an animal [as a korban]
might recant, and being unable to redeem it [since unblemished korbanot may not be redeemed] he might attempt to swap it for an inferior animal. If he would be permitted to substitute a superior animal for an inferior one, he would then substitute an inferior animal for a
superior one and say, ‘It is good.’ Therefore the Torah sealed the path before him lest he substitute… All of this is in order to control a person’s
yetzer 
 and improve his attitudes.
Most of the Torah’s laws reflect forethought by the Possessor of great counsel, to improve a person’s attitudes and straighten a person’s deeds.” (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot
 Temurah 4:13)
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
 
2
As we have already discussed, the Torah affords us great power, enabling us to verbally dedicate certain types of
property as “korban” gifts to Gd. However, the Torah prohibits “temurah,” meaning substitution; once a korban is
dedicated, one may not try to substitute another in its place.  This applies even if the substitute is of better quality than the original; one who attempts to substitute is punished (mitzvah 351), and both items are then considered sacred
(mitzvah 352). As the Sefer haChinuch explains, “In order to
establish in our hearts a proper reverence for the sacred, the  Torah instructed that we alter nothing. Once an animal is
consecrated, it remains so forever.” Further, one may not
attempt to swap a korban, dedicating it first for one purpose and then trying to re-assign it as a different korban. Such re-assignment would be ineffective. (mitzvah 356) Rambam saw in these laws a broad message regarding our
natural attachment to property. He wrote, “The Torah descended to the ultimate end of a person’s thoughts, the
extreme of his
yetzer hara 
. A person’s nature is inclined to
increase his acquisitions and spare his property, and despite having vowed and consecrated it is yet possible that he will recant and regret, and attempt to redeem [his consecrated
Haftorah: Melachim I 18:1-39
 Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Who is the prophet of our haftorah?
 The book of Melachim (“Kings”) records
the history of Jewish life in Israel from
the end of King David’s reign until the
Babylonian destruction of the first Beit haMikdash. The Talmud (Bava Batra 15a) says that it was recorded by Yirmiyah, who lived through the last decades recorded in the book. In our editions of Tanach, Melachim is split into two parts; the first part begins
with the end of King David’s reign and
continues until shortly after the death of King Achav of Yisrael, and the second part continues from there.
What happens in our haftorah?
King Achav and his wife Izevel [Jezebel] worshipped idols, and brought the  Jewish people into their worship as well. They seem to have sought a return of the Land of Israel to its Canaanite origins, establishing altars for the Canaanite
Baal 
 deity and murdering prophets of G-d. During their day, the Canaanite city of Yericho was re-built. (Melachim I 16:29-34) In response, Eliyahu HaNavi decreed that no rain would fall, and so a great famine began, and Eliyahu went into hiding. (ibid. 17) Our haftorah begins in the third year of the famine, as G-d instructs Eliyahu to appear to Achav and inform him that
rain will now fall. Eliyahu visits Achav’s
righteous servant Ovadiah, who had secretly defied his masters and rescued prophets from their hand. Eliyahu instructs Ovadiah to inform Achav that he has returned. (ibid. 18:1-15) Achav meets with Eliyahu, and blames him for the famine; Eliyahu responds
by blaming Achav’s idolatry. The
prophet then instructs the king to prepare a showdown between himself and the servants of the
baal 
 and
asheirah 
 deities. 450 servants of
baal 
 come to Mount Carmel with Eliyahu; the servants of
asheirah 
 do not participate. (ibid. 18:16-20) Eliyahu sets the terms for a contest which is meant to inspire the Jews to cease their god-hopping ways: the servants of baal and Eliyahu will each set up altars, and the altar upon which a heavenly fire descends will be shown to be the altar of the genuine G-d. (ibid. 18:21-24)  The servants of
baal
make the first attempt, and their prayers are not answered. Eliyahu mocks them, suggesting that
baal 
 might sleeping or otherwise indisposed, as they cut themselves with blades and cry out in loud voices. Then Eliyahu reconstructs an ancient, ruined altar, pours great quantities of water over it, and prays, and he is answered with a fire that
consumes “the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt and the water.” The
nation responds by declaring that Hashem is the true G-d. (ibid. 25-39)
Eliyahu’s altar
 
Eliyahu HaNavi performs a remarkable ritual in preparing his korban, flooding his altar and surrounding channels with water before summoning heavenly flame. However, the altar itself may be worthy of even greater notice. Eliyahu
“heals a destroyed altar of G
-
d,” gathering twelve stones, “the number of the tribes of Israel,” and uniting
them. (ibid. 30-32) He then has the water poured from four pitchers, three times, for a total of twelve pourings. (ibid. 34) With his actions, Eliyahu teaches us two important lessons. First, Eliyahu does not seek to innovate new, attention-grabbing rites in order to win over the Jewish population. Rather, he chooses an old site, and repairs an old altar, calling his generation of Jews to return to tradition. Second, Eliyahu unsubtly reminds the Jews of their much-needed unity. We received the  Torah when we camped as one, and we received the Land of Israel when we entered as one. The symbolism of twelve stones joined together as one, and twelve pourings of water filling a channel as one, is meant to remind
 Jews who have strayed, “Israel is your name. (ibid 31)”
torczyner@torontotorah.com
613 Mitzvot: #351 352, 356
 
Korban-Swapping and Greed
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
I received their letter today, on Sunday [the week of parshat] Mishpatim at dusk. Though I am busy and weak, I turned immediately to answer them tonight, for it is a time sensitive matter as the days of Pesach are approaching, with the help of G-d, and in a giant city there is a need to begin asking and seeking even earlier than thirty days before Pesach. And now, regarding their question of whether the matzah for the Festival of Pesach may be made with the machine invented in the Germanic lands: now, what was told to you that in our city they did so is utter falsehood, containing absolutely no truth. It never entered any
man’s heart to do this, for several
reasons, and one cannot learn from the Ashkenazim, for several reasons. And now, the reason for this prohibition seems to be, first of the first, that it would be neither just nor ethical to steal from the poor whose eyes anxiously turn to this, for due to their assistance with matzot they receive [financial] support for Pesach expenses, which are great for our nation....
 
And certainly, in this situation where there is no hint of a mitzvah in using a machine [to prepare the matzah], this should not be done, because the eyes of the poor anxiously wait for this in order to make a profit for Pesach. Also, there are some laymen, and certainly simple ones, who do not give money [to the poor] for Pesach needs as is traditional among the Jewish people, as rooted in the words of the early sages. Therefore, they fulfill this commandment by at least allowing [the poor people] to earn wages by helping with the matzot. This will not be so if they will negate this as well; it would be like negating [both] the commandment of tzedakah and [the giving of] money for Pesach needs.
Torah and Translation
Machine Matzah and Needy People
Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, Modaah l’Beit Yisrael pg. 3
-4
Translated by Josh Gutenberg
Biography
Rabbi Shlomo Kluger
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehudah Aharon Kluger was born in Komarov, Poland in Cheshvan 1784. His father was the Rabbi of the city, and young Shlomo showed signs of brilliance from a young age, recording novel observations on  Torah from the age of six. His father passed away when Shlomo was only 13, and after a brief period in yeshiva he went to study independently, under the philosophical influence of the Dubna Maggid.
Rabbi Kluger’s mother passed away
when he was only 15, and he married his wife Liba Malya when he was seventeen. When his father-in-law passed away as well, he went into business as a shopkeeper.
Rabbi Kluger’s business ultimately
failed, and he accepted a rabbinical position in Kolkov at the age of 25. He and his wife lost their firstborn son, Chaim, and he moved on to a rabbinate in Lublin in 1817, before taking the pulpit in the city of Brody in 1820. He served there until 1845, when he accepted a position in Brezany, but he then contracted typhus. He vowed to return to Brody if he would recover, and he lived to fulfill his vow
 – 
 but a new Rabbi had already been selected in Brody, and so he lived there in a non-rabbinical capacity until he passed away in 1869. Rabbi Kluger was known among Jews and non-Jews for his erudition, his work ethic, and his candour. He was consulted by Jewish communities far and wide on halachic matters, and by secular courts for his opinion on their conundrums. Rabbi Kluger wrote on many branches of  Torah, but his main energies went into halachah. Some of his non-halachic writings are available in translation at www.shlomokluger.com.
torczyner@torontotorah.com
הזה
 
םוי
 
יתל ק
 
ם תכמ
 
הנה
םיטפשמ
 
רע
 
יתותעל
,
חכ
 
שלחו
 
דרטומ
 
ינ יכ
 
ם ו
, 
יכ
 
ר דל
 
תע
 
יכ
 
הלילה
 
ם ישוהל
 
ףכית
 
יתינפ
 
הזע םי ו
 
םישמשממ
 
חספה
 
ימי
י
,
ריע ו
 
לו של
 
ליחתהל
 
ךירצ
 
םיקל ל
 
הלודגחספה
 
ינפל
 
םוי
 
םישלשל
 
םדוקמ
 
שורדלו
.
 
ע
 
הנהו
תושעל
 
גהנתהל
 
ם םתל ש
 
ד
 
שדחתנה
 
ןיש מה
 
י״ע
 
חספה
 
גחל
 
תוצמה
 
זנכש תונידמ
,
םכל
 
דגוהש
 
המ
 
הנה
 
הפש
ןכ
 
ושע
 
ק
,
הינימ
 
לו
 
רומג
 
רקש
 
הז
 
ןכ
 
תושעל
 
םד ל
 
לע
 
הלע
 
לו
 
ותצקמ
 
לו
 
המכמ
 
םיזנכש מ
 
דומלל
 
ןי ו
 
םימעט
 
המכמםימעט
.
 
ןוש ר
 
יכ
 
ה רנ
 
הז רוסי ה
 
םעט
 
הנהו
 
רסומהו
 
רשויה
 
רדגמ
 
הז
 
ןי ןוש ר ש
 
לע
 
תו ושנ
 
םהיניע
 
רש םיינע
 
לזוג
 
תויהל
 
שי
 
תוצמ םירזוע
 
םהש
 
הזה
 
רזעה
 
ןמ
 
יכ
 
הז
 
םי ורמה
 
חספה
 
תו צוהל
 
לודג
 
דעס
 
םהלונמע
 
ינ ל
...
 
ןיש מ הוצמ
 
ךרס
 
םוש
 
ןי ד
 
והז כ״שכמו
 
התושעל
 
ןי ד
,
תו ושנ
 
םיינע
 
לש
 
םהיניעדחספ
 
לע
 
רכתשהלו
 
הזל
,
םית ילע המכ
 
םגו
 
םינתונ
 
םני םיטוידהה
 
כ״שכמו
 
םינוני ה
 
יר דמ
 
ושרושו
 
ל רשי גוהנה
 
ןיטח
 
תועמז
 
םינוש רה
המ הז םימייקמ
 
םה
 
ךכלו
 
לכעד
תוצמ םרזע רכתשהל
 
םהל
 
ןינתונ
 
פ
, 
תוצמ
 
םילט מכ
 
יוה
 
ולט י
 
הז
 
םג
 
ם ןכ
 
לחספל
 
ןיטח
 
תועמו
 
הקדצ
.

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