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Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
10 Tishrei 5771/September 18, 2010 Yom Kippur Vol.2 Num. 5
Guaranteed Forgiveness through Kindness
Much ink has been spilled on the topic of teshuvah, and its requirement for atonement on Yom Kippur. However, the gemara in Yoma (85b) presents a dissenting view, the view of none other than the compiler of the Mishnah, Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi: Rebbi [Yehuda HaNassi] said: Yom Kippur atones for all transgressions of the Torah, whether one repented or not, other than the sins of denying the existence of G-d, deducing lessons that insult the Torah, and refusing to have a circumcision [for which cases teshuvah is required].” Though this idea of guaranteed forgiveness for the individual is rejected by Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi himself, who chose to omit it from the Mishnah, it would seem that communal atonement may be granted without popular teshuvah. Another gemara (Rosh Hashanah 17b), when discussing Hashem’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, explains: R’ Yochanan said: Were this verse not written, it would be impossible to say it. This teaches that Hashem wrapped Himself [in a tallit] like a chazzan and demonstrated to Moshe the order of prayer. He said to him: Any time that Israel sins, let them perform before Me this procedure and I shall forgive them. It would seem, from the above statement, that though an individual’s atonement requires repentance, that of Israel, of the Jewish People as a whole, does not. Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, affectionately known to his students as “the Rav”, elaborated on this idea in a Tshuva Drasha in 1973: The difference between individual confession and communal confession is tremendous, for the Assemby of Israel confesses one way, the individual confesses another. The individual confesses from the state of insecurity, depression, and despair in the wake of sin. What assurance does he have that there is atonement for him? And who can say to him that his
transgression will be wiped out and will not haunt him till the end of his days? The confession of the Assembly of Israel—and each and every Jewish community is a microcosm of the whole of the Assembly of Israel—is not like this. The confession is said out of a state of security and even a state of rejoicing. For it is said before a loyal ally, before its most beloved one. In fact, in certain Jewish communities (I myself heard this in Germany) it is customary when the leader chants the al-het confession for the whole congregation to sing it together in heart-warming melodies. The individual does not sing al-het; the individual weeps the al-het. Not so the community, because it does not come to plead for atonement; the community claims that atonement comes as its right. This idea is extremely powerful, but it seems dangerous: As a nation, our actions matter not, we are not responsible for sins, as forgiveness is guaranteed. Would the idea of “Nechteh uYom haKippurim yechaper,” “We, as a nation, will sin and Yom Kippur will atone,” work on a national level? What happened to the requirement for us to be an or lagoyim, a light unto the nations? What is the purpose of this guaranteed atonement through the invocation of an almost magical talisman? Moreover, did the Jews at the time of the churban bayit sheni, the destruction of the Second Temple, not recite these words? And if they did recite this formula then why did one of our greatest national tragedies occur? Continued on the back page
(Sources are provided to help the reader research answers)
R’ Meir Lipschitz
Answers are provided on the back page.
Is עזאזלa person, place, or thing?
(Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Chizkuni and Ba’al HaTurim to Vayikra 16:8) ?שבת (Ibn Ezra, Meshech Chochma, and R’ S.R. Hirsch to Vayikra 16:31)
What is the meaning of Yom Kippur’s title, שבתון What is learned from the words, בהם
“ ,וחיYou shall live through them”? (Onkelos, Rashi, Rashbam, R’ S.R. Hirsch, Ma’ayan Beit HaShoeivah, and Shaarei Aharon to Vayikra 18:5, and Sanhedrin 74) For children: Was the fish which swallowed Yonah male or female? (Rashi to Yonah 2:1)
This week’s Toronto Torah is sponsored by Lou and Honey Elmaleh in memory the second yarzheit of Lou’s father, David Elmaleh לעילוי נשמת דוד בן יעיש ז“ל
“The ways of Hashem are not like the ways of human beings. Man instructs others, but fails to fulfill his own commands. Not so Hakadosh Baruch Hu - only that which He Himself fulfills, does He command others to safeguard and keep.” (Shemot Rabbah 30:1) The midrash goes on to relate that Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah and Rabbi Akiva went to Rome and taught this lesson to the people there. Understandably, some felt this concept challenging, and one individual confronted this group of sages, arguing that if Hashem only commands what He keeps, where do we see that Hashem observes Shabbat? The Rabbis severely condemned their challenger, and through psukim proved that, indeed, Hashem “ ”כביכולkeeps Shabbat. Other sources affirm this idea that Hashem fulfills mitzvot; for example, Hashem is said to “don a talit” and “wear tefillin.” In each case, the gemara explains the imagery on a relatively simple level, leaving the rishonim and more philosophical/kabbalistic sources to derive deeper and more esoteric explanations. the coming year. This was the first of three derashot, in three different years, that Rabbi Shapira would teach and then record by hand along with his derashot on the weekly Torah portion. When it became clear that his time in the ghetto was coming to an end, Rabbi Shapira buried his manuscript underground. Years later, after the war, the canister was found by a construction worker and was published in Israel in the year 1960 under the title, “Aish Kodesh.” Using our midrash as a springboard and following the route of the challenger to the Rabbis in Rome, Rav Shapira questioned this midrash: If G-d does everything that He commanded us, when does G-d practice teshuvah? And assuming that G-d does practice teshuvah, what ramifications would such a teshuvah have on the Jewish people and the world at large? What does Divine teshuvah look like?
will feel as if we were living in a dream. Dovid haMelech recorded his yearning for G-d’s complete teshuvah in Tehillim which we recite every Shabbat and Yom Tov during pesukei d’zimrah. “שובה ה' עד מתי והנחם על עבדיך, שבענו בבקר חסדך ונרננה ”.ונשמחה בכל ימינוWe first ask “ ...'שובה ה ”.והנחם על עבדיךPlease, G-d, return, practice teshuvah! Have compassion and stop the evil that has befallen your people from continuing. We have suffered enough. But the pasuk does not end with the prayer of “ ”,והנחםof asking G-d to reconsider, but it continues, שבענו .“ בבקר חסדך ונרננה ונשמחה בכל ימינוSatisfy us in the morning with your loving kindness and let us rejoice and be glad all our days.” Please do not provide temporary comfort; rather, permanently alter our reality to one of simchah, of happiness and joy where we will be free to sing Your praises for all of our days. This - Rabbi Shapira exclaimed to his kehilla in those inexpressibly dark days in Warsaw - should be the hope and dream of every Jew on Yom Kippur. It is not only about expressing teshuvah to G-d; it is about praying for the results of G-d’s teshuvah, as well The same is true with our personal teshuvah on Yom Kippur. It should not be limited to regretting the individual acts that we may have stumbled in over the past year. This lower level teshuvah may remove the individual sin, but the person’s potential for falling in those same areas remains just as probable. Rather, the Navi challenges the Jewish people, ““ ”,שובה ישראל עד ה' אלקיךReturn all the way to G-d.” (Hoshea 14:2) A person needs to uproot his perception of reality in which sin is constantly crouching at the door; he must keeps striving until he arrives “ ”,'עד הa reality in which he is physically, emotionally and psychologically aligned with the Divine. The Zohar teaches that actions in this world trigger actions by Hashem. Just as we strive to achieve a teshuvah sheleimah, one in which we completely return to Hashem, so, too, we should be blessed that Hashem performs a teshuvah sheleimah, completely returning to us and making our greatest dream a reality. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rav Shapira answers by citing a pasuk in Shemot (32:14) “ וינחם ה' על הרעה אשר דבר ”לעשות לעמוAnd Hashem “reconsidered” the evil that he had committed to perform. When Hashem reconsiders, repents from the evil that He ()חס ושלום sends against the Jewish people, this is Fast forward approximately 1500 years. an expression of G-d’s teshuvah. But it is In the year 5700 (1939), the Piasetzno not a teshuvah sheleimah, explains Rebbe -Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Rabbi Shapira - it is not a complete “”וינחם only implies Shapira, Rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto - teshuvah. prevention of the immediate evil and delivered his Shabbat Shuvah drashah. from continuing and One can only imagine those Jews hardship increasing; this teshuvah does not gathering on the Shabbat before Yom Kippur, looking to their rebbe to offer completely uproot the underlying reality some words of strength and comfort, to from one of nightmare to “”,היינו כחולמים give them some semblance of hope for to a reality that will be so different that it
613 Mitzvot: Mitzvah 53 Responsibility for one’s animal
Mitzvah 53 requires us to establish courts to collect restitution for damage caused by obstacles placed in public areas: If someone trips over an object left in a public space, the owner of that object is liable. Similarly, one is liable for harm caused by a hole he digs in a public space. Our responsibility includes removing any obstacles or holes we find in domains which are under our responsibility. The Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah 2:9) notes that paying restitution for such harm is not sufficient to atone. One who harms another person is required to gain his forgiveness for all pain involved, and then to pursue forgiveness from email@example.com
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Rabbeinu Yonah M’Gerona
Torah in Translation
Joy and Trepidation Rabbeinu Yonah to Berachot 21a ()בדפי הרי"ף
The opening Mishnah in the fifth chapter of Berachot teaches us that one may not begin his prayer except amid an attitude of reverence (literally “a heaviness of head”). The Gemara searches for a source for this ruling and identifies the verse (Psalms 2:11), "Serve G-d with fear and rejoice in trepidation." The Talmud explains, "What does it mean to 'rejoice in trepidation'? R' Ada Bar Matna says in the name of Rava: In the place where there is rejoicing, there shall be trepidation." Rabbeinu Yonah explains: And Rejoice in Trepidation: "In the place where there is rejoicing, there shall be trepidation". This is so that one will not be pulled from happiness to pleasures of the world, and forget matters of the Creator. One needs to mix one with the other so that he will remain on an intermediate path. The simple explanation of the verse is that even though fear and happiness are a thing and its opposite for flesh and blood, for at the time that man is afraid of another he stands intimidated and worried, in relation to G-d it is not so. Just the opposite: When man contemplates His greatness and is afraid of Him, he is happy and joyous with that very fear, because within it he is aroused to fulfill the commandments and he is happy and thrilled in its fulfillment. He knows that his reward is with him and the product of his actions is before Him. And regarding happiness such as this we find that it is said in one verse, "Serve G-d in fear..." and in another verse, "Serve G-d with happiness", meaning to serve G-d with fear and with that very fear be happy and rejoice, as we have said. Dovid Zirkind
Born in the late 12th century in Gerona, Spain, Rabbeinu Yonah is best known for his Sha'arei Teshuvah, a work on ethics and repentance. He also wrote chiddushim on the Rif's Sefer HaHalachot on many Masechtot; unfortunately, only the section on tractate Berachot survives. These chiddushim on Brachot were recorded by one, if not several, of his pupils. Rabbeinu Yonah also wrote several smaller works, including a commentary on Avot. Rabbeinu Yonah’s rebbe, Rav Shlomo Montpelier, led the opposition to the Rambam‟s philosophical works, the Moreh Nevuchim and the Sefer haMadda. Rabbeinu Yonah’s own active opposition to the Rambam was blamed for the 1233 public burning of the Rambam’s writings by order of the Christian ecclesiastical authorities in Paris. As a result, the Jewish community’s indignation at the burning was mainly directed against Rabbeinu Yonah. According to tradition, nine years later, in 1242, when twenty-four wagon loads of manuscripts of the Talmud were burned at the same place where the philosophical writings of Maimonides had been destroyed, Rabbeinu Yonah confessed publicly, in the synagogue of Montpellier, that he had been wrong in his actions against the works and the reputation of the Rambam. As an act of repentance, he authored his classic Sha'arei Teshuvah. Rabbeinu Yonah died in Toledo, Spain on the eighth day of Marcheshvan in the year 1263. Perhaps the most famous of his many talmidim was Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (Rashba).
Alon Shevut-Part Two
For Part One, see last week’s Toronto Torah (Rosh Hashanah 5771 Edition) Much of Alon Shvut's growth has been tied to the presence of Yeshivat Har Etzion (where many of Torah MiTzion’s Shlichim come from!). In addition to the families of faculty, many of its students have made their homes in the town, and the opening of the Herzog College for Teachers and the Zomet Institute for technologic-religious research, as well as a local educational complex, have drawn many more academics and their families. Some families of returnees from the pre1948 community have sought Alon Shvut as an alternative to communal living on a local kibbutz. In 2000, a second neighborhood doubled the size of the town to accommodate an increased demand for housing. Among the new residents were those who had been unable to acquire lots in the original neighborhood, as well as many young families that had made aliyah to Israel, especially from the United States. A third neighborhood is planned for the Givat HaChish area north east of the town. In the meantime, a provisional cluster of mobile homes exists on the site, populated mostly by recent immigrants from Peru. Archeological evidence of Jewish settlement from circa 300 BCE has been found in the Givat HaChish area, as well as later Byzantine era remains including a mosaic floor. Alon Shvut sits on the ancient road to Jerusalem, which is still marked by Roman milestones. Many ritual baths which would have been used by pilgrims on the way to the Temple in Jerusalem scatter the surrounding hills, due to the location's proximity to Jerusalem — about a day's travel in those times. There are also dozens of ancient grape and olive presses, as well as cisterns hewn out of the bedrock, which testify to a long history of agriculture. Adapted from an article originally published by Torah miTzion.
obligatory, as it states in the verse, "Because you did not serve Hashem your G-d with happiness and a goodness of heart... (Devarim 28:47)." Even though other happiness is firstname.lastname@example.org forbidden, as we have said above, this h appin e ss is pe r mi ssib le an d Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
Is עזאזלa person, place, or thing? Rashi claims it is a strong, harsh mountain, with a high cliff. Ibn Ezra explains that it is a mighty mountain. He also cites one opinion which suggests that it is near Sinai. Ramban disagrees with Rashi’s interpretation, and then cites mystical and kabbalistic sources to explain the true nature and meaning of Azazel. These are best seen in the Ramban’s commentary. Chizkuni explains that it refers to Sama’el, and the goat is a gift to him so he will not nullify the Yom Kippur service (See Ramban for a more indepth discussion). What is the meaning of Yom Kippur’s title, ?שבת שבתון
R’ Meir Lipschitz
from exercising our creative power through ,מלאכהbut also from eating and drinking, our means of existing. What is learned from the words, וחי “ ,בהםYou shall live through them”? The gemara, in Sanhedrin 74, deduces from this verse that it is better for one to violate a Torah command than to give up his life, since the commands were given in order that, “You shall live through them.” (The classic exceptions to this rule are: Idolatry, illicit relations, murder, and public violation of any command.) Onkelos reads the phrase as referring to life in the world to come; you will “live” if you obse rve the commandments. Rashi reads it as Onkelos does, noting that it can’t refer to this world since Man is destined to die. Rashbam, presumably in response to his grandfather’s logical argument above, suggests that this phrase does refer to life in this world. He says that one who violates these laws will have his life cut short, and so, in a manner of speaking, one will be granted life for following these laws. Ma’ayan Beit HaShoeivah asks how Onkelos/Rashi and the gemara can learn two opposing ideas from the very same verse. His answer, though too long to be recorded here in its entirety, is that life in the world to come and the rule stated in the gemara are actually the same point. For children: Was the fish which swallowed Yonah male or female? Rashi, based on the change of gender in the verses, suggests that Yonah was originally swallowed by a male fish. Because he had space, though, Yonah felt no need to pray for HaShem’s help. Therefore, HaShem had the male fish spit him into the mouth of a female fish where Yonah had less space due to her fetuses (or eggs according to some), and so he davened for HaShem to save him.
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This problem triggered an observation attributed to R’ Eliezer of Metz, a 12th century Tosafist and author of Sefer Hayere’im: How often do we see that we are wrapped in our prayer shawls and we recite the Thirteen Attributes, yet we are not answered! But the meaning is that whenever Israel acts according to this order of attributes of G-d’s actions, having mercy and being gracious to the poor, being slow to anger and doing kindness one to the other, waiving demands for rightful satisfaction, as in the words of Chazal, “If one waives his demands for rightful satisfaction, his sins will be forgiven,” then they (Israel) are assured that they will not remain empty-handed. But if they are cruel, and they act immorally, certainly they will be condemned by their own recitation of the Thirteen Attributes. According to this idea, communal atonement is not guaranteed; it must be deserved. To obtain mercy, the nation must itself be a source of mercy and chessed. Chazal, when explaining that the second beit hamikdash was destroyed due to sinat chinam, baseless hatred, alluded to this idea: since compassion and kindness did not pour forth from the Jewish nation, our nation could not transform into a vessel to accept the chessed from He who is All Good, the source of all chessed. On this Yom Kippur, we must not only beg for rachamim, for mercy, from the All Merciful, and for Him to grant us kapparah, but we must also plead with Him to give us the strength to emulate His ways, to be gracious to the poor, to be slow to anger and to perform kindness to one another. It is only through acting in such a way that we will deserve kapparah, both on a national, and on a personal, level. And it is only through kapparah, both national and personal atonement, that we will merit the coming of the Mashiach, speedily in our days. email@example.com
Ibn Ezra notes that according to some
authorities the double expression of שבתrefers to a rest for both the body and the soul, while others suggest that it means the highest level of .שביתה Meshech Chochmah suggests that the plural mention of שביתהhints at the multiple behaviors from which we refrain on Yom Kippur. As explained by Rabbeinu Nisim to Yoma 74a, citing the Rambam, the Torah prescribed general ( עינויoppression) for Yom Kippur, and left it to the sages to define the specific proscriptions which would create :עינויbathing, anointing one’s skin and marital relations. These are included in .שבת שבתון R’ S.R. Hirsch explains that refraining from melachah on Shabbat is an expression of G-d’s Kingship. On Yom Kippur, though, we express not only G -d’s sovereignty, but also our own unworthiness for our gifts and existence. שבתhighlights our lack of justification for the power given to Man, and שבת שבתוןhighlights our lack of justification for Man’s existence itself. This is why we afflict ourselves on Yom Kippur; we refrain not only
Schedule September 18—September 28
Shabbat, September 18 Yom Kippur Yom Kippur Break: R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Orot haTeshuvah, Selected Chapters, BAYT Milevky Beit Midrash Sunday, September 19 9:15 AM Itamar Zolberg,”Do we stand a chance?” shiur b’Ivrit , Zichron Yisrael 9:30 AM R’ Mordechai Torczyner, “Mitzvah haba’ah ba’aveirah” Yeshivat Bein haZmanim at Clanton Park Monday, September 20 8:15 PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner, “Rav Saadia Gaon, Karaites and Isla-Jews” at JUMP Monday, September 27 8:15 PM Russell Levy, “Shmuel haNagid” at JUMP Tuesday, September 28 Tikun Leil Hoshana Rabba at Bnai Torah 6:45 PM Mincha/Maariv 7:30 PM R’ Herschel Schechter, Keynote Lecture 9:00PM Open Beit Midrash and shiurim by members of Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
We would like to thank koshertube.com for filming our shiurim!
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