Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
9 Sivan, 5771/June 11, 2011 Parshat Beha‟alotcha Dovid Zirkind
“Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light.” (Bamidbar 8:2) personalities devoted to a shared mission. The Netziv (Meishiv Davar 1:46) received a letter from members of a certain community who were thinking of leaving the community’s synagogue to open a new one. The authors of the letter argued, citing the Rivash (331), that preventing someone from doing a mitzvah, such as building a shul, is worthy of great criticism. As such, they felt their proposal for was justified and they should not be prevented from commencing the construction of the new shul. The Netziv, however, strongly disagreed.
Vol.2 Num. 37
No Man is an Island
responsibility. The national census in the opening of Sefer Bamidbar highlights this very point. The Malbim (Bamidbar 1:3) notes that Moshe was instructed to count both “Shemot” (names) and “Gulgalot” (heads). These two terms do not describe the same count, says the Malbim, but rather two separate counts with two distinct goals. When taking a “head count” each individual is just a generic number; and so it was necessary to count the people again, using their names to accentuate each individual’s unique contribution and responsibility. Our tradition compares the Jewish people to stars that on a clear night can be seen as beautiful constellations lighting up the night. Yet, Dovid Hamelech tells us “L’chulam sheimot yikra” (Tehillim 147:2), Hashem gives each star its own name. Each star, like each branch of the Menorah, like each member of the Jewish people, must shine brightly, reflecting its irreplaceable character. On Shavuot, which we celebrated this week, we commemorate not only the transmission of Torah and the revelation at Har Sinai, but the manner in which the Jewish people accepted the Torah, placing “naaseh” (we will do) before “nishma” (we will listen). Indeed the willingness to accept the great challenge of committing to a Torah life, not knowing how difficult it would be, was very ambitious and admirable. However, the Sforno explains, at that crucial moment in our history, the sensitivity with which the nation made that commitment was equally impressive. Each Jew stood at the foot of Har Sinai ready to accept the commandments, but he recognized that he could not do it alone. They said “WE will do and WE will listen”, recognizing that a commitment as great as Kabbalat HaTorah could only be accepted as a community. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rambam writes in the Laws of Teshuvah (3:11) that it is possible for someone to lose his portion in the World to Come without having committed a single sin. If someone chooses to remove himself from the community, to not participate in communal mitzvot or fast with the community in a time of great need, he will not merit Olam Haba. While it is true that every individual is obligated personally in mitzvot, the Rambam Citing a Midrash (Breishit Rabbah Chapter emphatically states that if a Jew chooses 4) the Netziv noted that on the second day to live his religious life in isolation, his of Creation the words “ כי טובit was good” worship of G-d will never be complete. are not mentioned as they are on the other The Sforno, at the opening of our parshah, six days. Rav Tavyumei explains that “ כי suggests that the symbolism of the ”טובshould not be uttered regarding the Menorah conveys the same message. day when there was separation between Aharon is instructed that when he lights the waters in Heaven and the waters on the Menorah each individual lamp must earth. Moreover, Rav Tavymuei taught that be directed “towards the face (center) of if we cannot say “ ”כי טובon a division the Menorah”, and only then will the needed for the sustenance of the world, seven lamps shine brightly. Just as the how much more so must we not celebrate a Menorah was forged with an array of bifurcation of the community for the branches extending to its right and its left, wrong reasons. Therefore, the Netziv so too the Jewish nation contains a variety argued, an act of division within the of personalities, blessed with different community should be avoided at all cost methods of Avodat Hashem (worship of and certainly not be celebrated as a G-d). However, the Menorah can only mitzvah. shine to its fullest luster when all its Despite the importance of Community, lamps are facing the stem, and the Jewish though, the crucial role of tzibbur does not people can only maximize their potential absolve the individual from his personal when there is synthesis of different
Why does the Torah state that the Leviyim were drafted into service at 25,
when it told us earlier that they were drafted at 30? (Rashi, Rashbam, Ramban, and Ibn Ezra to Bamidbar 8:24) Why is it important that HaShem appeared to Aharon and Miriam suddenly? (Rashi, Rashbam, Ramban, Chizkuni, Malbim, and Netziv to Bamidbar 12:4) Why are there special notations before and after the "Vayehi BiNsoa" section in the Torah? (Rashi, Ramban, Chizkuni, Kli Yakar, Da‟at Mikra, Ma‟ayan Beit HaSho‟eivah and Shaarei Aharon to Bamidbar 10:35) For children: What did, and didn‟t, the manna taste like? (Rashi to Bamidbar 11:5)
Why does the Torah state that the Leviyim were drafted into service at 25, when it told us earlier that they were drafted at 30? Rashi, quoting Chullin 24a, explains that the Leviyim began their education for work in the Mishkan at age 25, completing it with the initiation of their service at age 30. [The gemara adds that this shows that a student should remain with his studies for five years, despite not seeing progress, before abandoning hope of success.] Ramban notes that this is also brought in Sifri, but only as an individual's view rather than the sages' collective answer. Rashbam takes a different tack, contending that the Leviyim took on different tasks at different ages. At 25 a Levi would begin to serve on guard duty, and at age 30 he would become eligible to transport the Mishkan in its travels. Ramban notes that the sentence mentioning the age of 25 discusses who may work, while the sentence mentioning the age of 30 is regarding Moshe's job of appointing Leviyim. He explains that HaShem wanted to ease Moshe's work in appointing Leviyim. People would readily be aware of who was 10, 20 or 30, because decades are noted, but not everyone would know who was 24 or 25. Therefore, HaShem charged Moshe with the job of identifying 30-year olds for specific tasks in the mishkan, and then anyone who knew himself to be over 25 could volunteer as well. Why are there special notations before and after the "Vayehi BiNsoa" section in the Torah? Rashi, citing Shabbat 116a, says that the notations identify this section as transplanted from elsewhere in the Torah. This paragraph belonged in the earlier discussion about the flags and the arrangement of the Jewish camp, but it was inserted here to separate the tragedy of leaving Har Sinai from the tragedy of the nation's complaints against G-d. Ramban clarifies that leaving Har Sinai was tragic because they left as children fleeing school, lest they learn of more obligations. Kli Yakar notes that the Sages viewed Bamidbar 10:35-36 as a book in its own right, and he challenges that view: Given that the primary purpose of the Torah is to convey law, why would the Torah include a book which does not teach any laws? He replies to his own question by explaining that 10:36, which describes G-d being manifest upon "myriads a n d t ho u sa nd s" of J e ws , reinforces the Torah's first
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
mitzvah: Procreation. In order for G-d to be manifest upon the Jewish people, there must be a Jewish people, and so this independent book promotes the mitzvah of producing more children. Why is it important that HaShem appeared to Aharon and Miriam suddenly? Rashbam suggests that the suddenness is a reflection of the seriousness of their crime in speaking against Moshe; HaShem came to them suddenly, at a time when He would not normally have spoken with them, to halt their conversation. Rashi understands that Miriam and Aharon had questioned Moshe's decision to separate from family life, and so this sudden prophecy included a subtle rebuke to them. They were unprepared for prophecy because of involvement in normal family life, and so they found themselves unprepared for G-d's sudden presence; Moshe, who would always need to be prepared for such sudden messages from G-d, could not engage in normal family life. Indeed, Malbim adds that they were entirely unprepared for prophecy and therefore Moshe's presence was required, so that he could convey the Divine message to them. Chizkuni says that this was to protect Moshe from suspicion, lest Aharon and Miriam think that Moshe had complained to G-d about their conduct. For children: What did, and didn’t, the manna taste like? The Torah describes the Jews' complain that they lacked, among other foods, gourds and melons. Rashi cites the Sifri, explaining that the manna could taste like most foods, but not these, because they would be bad for nursing. [For more on this, see an Indian weaning practice recorded in Pediatrics 114:1507.] email@example.com
613 Mitzvot: Mitzvot 96
To Keep the Aron’s Poles Attached to the Aron
The aron held the luchot, and it was connected to two parallel badim, or poles. When the mishkan traveled, the aron was carried by people who held the poles across their shoulders. Technically, the Ark floated on its own and needed no carriers; nonetheless, HaShem gave us this opportunity to participate in „supporting‟ the Torah. Mitzvah 96 requires us to keep those poles attached to the Aron. Melachim I 8:8 says that the 2 poles remained there "until this very day", which the Talmud (Yoma 54a) understands to mean that the Aron was buried beneath the Holy of Holies, and remains there even now. One reason we keep the poles attached is so that we will always be ready to transport the Aaron. The Jew should always be prepared to “grab the poles” and lend support to Torah! firstname.lastname@example.org
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R’ Mordechai Torczyner
When there are questions about the proper text of a ketubah, get, shtar iska or any other legal document, the principle Ashkenazi text consulted is the Nachlat Shivah. This text was composed by Rabbi Shemuel Segal, son of Rabbi Dovid Moshe haLevi Segal. Rabbi Segal was born in Poland, circa 1625. He studied under Rabbi Dovid haLevi, who authored the “Taz” commentary on Shulchan Aruch. Rabbi Segal went on to serve as the Rabbi of communities in Poland before moving to Germany to lead communities there until his passing in 1681. Rabbi Segal composed Nachlat Shivah to provide a clear resource for all manner of legal document, compiling and comparing various Ashkenazi practices and analyzing their sources a n d r e l a t i ve m e r i t . Th i s w o r k demonstrates expertise and erudition in both Even ha’Ezer (betrothal, marriage and divorce) and Choshen Mishpat (partnerships, sales, gifts and inheritance). It would be hard to overstate the importance of this work. Rabbi Segal composed additional texts, and today‟s standard edition of his Nachlat Shivah includes his responsa as well as homiletic writing, but he remains best known for the technical assistance his Nachlat Shivah provides for rabbis and Jewish courts down to today.
must request permission from the Chief Rabbi, and from this may have spread the practice of requesting permission from the community, such that even the Chief Rabbi will do so. And since he needs to request permission, he says Savri rather than BiRshut, following the Rama‟s prescription not to distinguish between blessings, or because BiRshut includes both elements [requesting permission and allowing people to clear their mouths]. In Poland, though, the Rabbi of each community is the formal officiant, appointed for this, and so he need not ask permission. If so, he need not say Savri, for Savri is a request for permission, which he does not need. As for the Bach‟s practice, learned from his mentors, to say Savri, apparently this is because his mentor was the great Rav Hirsch Schor, student of the Rama and mentor of the Bach. I believe he was German… and so he followed the practice of his land, and so did the Bach as his student.
Meah Shearim was the fifth and largest neighbourhood to be built outside the walls of the old city of Yerushalayim. The neighbourhood, founded primarily by the efforts of Yoseph Rivlin and Yoel Moshe, was built in 1874 by The Jerusalem Builders' Society. The neighbourhood‟s first residents were 100 families who had lived in the old city but wanted to expand Jerusalem. The cost of housing in Meah Shearim was relatively cheap, due to its distance from Jaffa street, which allowed people with limited incomes to purchase plots. The name of the neighborhood ("100 Gates") was taken from the pasuk: "VaYizra Yitzchak… Meah Shearim v'Yivarchaihu HaShem," as well as the proposed physical design of the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood's planner and main architect, Conrad Sheek, envisioned a community which, for security reasons, could be sealed off at night. Therefore, he built the structures of the neighbourhood such that the outer walls created one long wall encircling an inner courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard was through gates (shearim), which would be closed at night and reopened at sunrise. The management of the neighbourhood enforced strict regulations on the community to ensure a high level of cleanliness and order, thereby raising the desirability of living there, which led to rapid growth. The rapid population growth, however, was damaging to the health and life standards that the residents were so proud of and Meah Shearim soon turned into a dirty and crowded area, with buildings in the middle of the once-open courtyard. Today, the community of Meah Shearim has opted for a closed-off lifestyle, imitating the shtetl of Eastern Europe. It has become a haven for Neturei Karta, synonymous with extreme charedim, as well as the headquarters for the Eidah Chareidit, and it is highly populated by Breslov, Slonim, and Toldot Aharon chassidim. Meah Shearim is also a major tourist attraction, which is at once good and bad: the city‟s economy benefits greatly from all the tourist traffic and consumerism, but tourists do not always follow the tzniut regulations of the neighbourhood, disturbing many of its inhabitants. In recent years, the Jerusalem Municipality has started renovating some of the buildings of Meah Shearim in an attempt to restore some of its previous beauty and functionality.
Torah in Translation
“Savri” at Kiddush and the Chuppah (Nachalat Shiva 12 Mechudashim 4)
[The Nachlat Shivah begins with the assumption that the function of saying Savri (lit. “Pay attention”) before reciting a blessing is to warn those who are listening that a blessing is about to be recited, so that they will clear their mouths and not risk choking when responding, “Amen”. This is distinct from BiRshut, which is a request for permission.] The Bach cited the Beit Yosef‟s ruling that we say Savri before kiddush, havdalah and the blessing on wine following birkat hamazon even though at this point one‟s mouth is empty, so as not to distinguish between blessings. This is also what the Rama wrote, that whenever we recite a blessing involving wine we say not BiRshut but Savri, because of the blessing recited for wine during a meal. He wrote that one should therefore say Savri before reciting the blessing of eirusin or nisuin under the chuppah in a synagogue, and he added that this was his own practice, based upon his mentors. This contradicts the Levush, who distinguished between three categories: Before a meal, such as in kiddush, when the mouth is empty, one says BiRshut and not Savri. During a meal, when the mouth is not empty, one says Savri and BiRshut. At birkat hamazon one says Savri and not BiRshut… It appears to me that this conflict is not at all troubling. According to the Levush, Savri is an instruction to clear your mouths, which is difficult: Who gave him permission to make this demand? This sounds like an inappropriate demand! The Rama, on the other hand, specified that Savri is an inquiry, “Do you wish to fulfill your blessing with mine?” And then, before he begins the blessing, the listeners can empty their mouths. This is a request for permission, asking them whether they wish to fulfill their obligation with his blessing… Perhaps even the Rama would agree that Savri should be recited under the chuppah [since the Rama ruled that we do not distinguish between blessings]. However, I have neither seen nor heard of anyone doing this, anywhere – not Bohemia, Poland, Austria, or Moravia – but only in Germany! Perhaps this is because, due to our great sins, we are few in Germany, scattered among towns and villages and without teachers, and the smallest would be a thousand, wanting to be the mightiest of the mighty. Therefore, at the least, the officiant
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Schedule for the Week of June 11, 9 Sivan
Shabbat, June 11 7:45AM R„ Azarya Berzon, Ramban:, Or Chaim 10:15AM R„ Azarya Berzon, post-Hashkama shiur, Clanton Park 7:00 PM R‟ Mordechai Torczyner, Pirkei Avot, University women One Hour Before Minchah: R„ Berzon, Kiddushin, Mizrachi Bayit Sunday, June 12 9:15AM Itamar Zolberg, Parshah&Issues, Zichron Yisroel 6:30PM R‟ Azarya Berzon: Gemara Kiddushin, Shaarei Shomayim, off this week 7:30PM R‟ Azarya Berzon: Masechet Makkot, Shaarei Shomayim, off this week Monday, June 13—All evening shiurim are off this week Tuesday, June 14 1:30PM R‟ Mordechai Torczyner: Nachum, at Shaarei Shomayim, with Mekorot: The Conclusion 6:30PM R‟ Azarya Berzon: Tools for Brisk, Clanton Park 7:30 PM R‟ Mordechai Torczyner: Minchat Chinuch at Clanton Park: Chametz Nuksheh 7:45PM R‟ Azarya Berzon: Halachic Business Ethics, Clanton Park 8:30PM Dovid Zirkind: Interactive Parshah, Westmount Learning Centre Wednesday, June 15 9:15AM R‟ Mordechai Torczyner: The Supernatural: Life After Death, Reincarnation, 239 Franklin 7:15PM R‟ Azarya Berzon, Highlights of the Week‟s Shiurim, Clanton Park After Maariv: R„ Azarya Berzon: Sfirat Ha„Omer, Shomrei Shabbos C.M. Thursday, June 16 7:30PM R‟ Netanel Javasky: Landmark Halachic Responsa, Bnai Torah 7:45PM: R‟ Azarya Berzon: Rav Soloveitchik on the Mitzva of Kriyat Shma, Clanton Park 10:00PM R‟ Azarya Berzon: Rambam Hilchot Talmud Torah, Clanton Park Monday - Friday 6 AM R‟ Mordechai Torczyner: Daf Yomi, BAYT
We would like to thank koshertube.com for filming our shiurim!
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