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Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev

Volume XIII - Issue I

The DRS Weekly Torah Publication










Avrahams Hidden Toughness
By Yonatan Aivazi, 12th Grade

DR3\ D3"
; , , - ( 23:21 )

n this weeks parasha, Avraham Avinu encounters a very severe famine
in the land of Israel and is forced to go down to Egypt.

The Meen Beit HaShoevah by Rav Shimon Schwab asks a question
on the pasuks wording: If we just read in the beginning of the pasuk before-
hand that there was a famine in the land, why is it necessary to say the reason
why Avraham went down to Egypt again later?

The Meen Beit HaShoevah answers that there is a lesson hidden in
the pasuk to be learned from Avrahams behavior. Originally, when Avraham
encountered the famine, he made up his mind that he would stay and settle the
land that Hashem brought him to without complaining or running away from
the challenge, even if it involved some pain in his life. That is , .
But when the famine became so severe that it threatened his life, when it was
- , then he reluctantly decided to go down to Egypt to wait out

(Continued on page 4)
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n this weeks Parsha, Parshat Lech Lecha, the pasuk says, Hashem said to Avram, Go for yourself from your land, from your
birthplace, and from your fathers house to the land that I will show you. "says Lech Lecha means for your pleasure and
for your benefit. The mefarshim ask on this: wasnt interested in schar, the reward, he just served Hashem out of love.
Therefore, why does "give this pshat that lech lecha means for your pleasures and benefits; this isnt shayich to because
this doesnt even strike his interest?

The Nesivos Shalom has a beautiful answer to this. Hashem was giving advice on how to get closer to him. What
was this advice? To go from your land, from your birthplace, and your fathers house. Hashem was showing that the only
real way to get closer to Him is to leave all worldly things. First, go from your land, meaning leave all things that you dealt with
that were connected to the land. Then from your birthplace and your fathers house, meaning to leave all these worldly things
that a person feels close to, because they are what we associate home with. After all, we all know theres no place like home, so
its hard to give these things up, but Hashem was teaching Avraham that this is the only way. This fits in beautifully with why
(Continued on page 5)
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Opening Issue!!!
Getting Closer to Hashem
By Aaron Rubel, 11th Grade

Vyomer Hashem Elokim Bamah Ayda Ki Arishena

And [Avraham] said My Master Hashem with what shall I
know that I will inherit it? (15:8)

There is an obvious question on this passuk. How
could it be that Avraham would ask such a question to Ha-
shem? It seems incomprehensible that Avraham, whose emu-
nah in Hashem was so immense that he allowed himself to be
thrown into a furnace in Ur Kasdim and had willingly left his
homeland, had just asked Hashem for proof of His word?

The Oheiv Yisrael says that the answer lies in the
meaning of the word Ayda. He says the word Ayda can
also mean to afflict. Therefore, Avraham is really asking,
What suffering do I have to go through before I merit re-
ceiving Eretz Yisrael? Hashem answered that the Jews
would suffer (Yadoa Taydah) in their galus in Mitzraim. This
also fits in well with the Gemara in Berachos (5a) that states
that Eretz Yisrael is one of the three gifts that Hahsem gave
the Jews that must be acquired through suffering. So, Av-
raham is not asking Hashem for proof that he will acquire
Eretz Yisrael but rather asking what suffering he will have to
go through before receiving it.

Good Shabbos!
Torah Teasers
By Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum


1) Aside from this , where else does Hashem
command with the words " " - Go for
2) a) Where is called an " "Hebrew? b)
Who is the only other person in the Torah called an
" "?
3) a) Who was both a king and a priest? b) Who else in
is called a called a " " - priest?
4) Which article of clothing appears in the but
nowhere else in the Torah?
5) a) Aside from and ,who else in
is given a new name? (3 answers)
b) Who else in the Torah is given a new name?
6) How can we derive from listening to an Ashkenazic
reading of the Torah that birds are not considered meat?

1) In , when Hashem tells to sacrifice his
son as a , He says " " And go
to the land of Moriah (:).
2) a) When the , the refugee, informs of the
capture of , is referred to as " "
Avram the Hebrew (:). It is the only place where he
is called this. b) The only other person who is called an
" "is . He is called an " "by the wife of
after he refuses to lie with her (:) and by the
when he informs of the ability of to
interpret dreams (:).
3) a) was both the king of and a
- a priest to the G-d above (:). b) In ,
marries the daughter of who was the
" " priest of On (:).
4) tells the king of that he will not even take a
shoelace from the spoils of war (:).
5) a) (1) In , the name of is changed to
both by the he fought (:) and by Hashem
(:). (2) In , the name of is changed by
to be (:). (3) the son of
and had his named changed as well. Upon his birth in
his mother names him . then calls
him (:). b) In , changes the name
of to (: ).
6) In , the Torah states .In
Ashkenazic pronunciations, the letter and the letter
sound identical, and thus the sounds like the bird is
not , meat. Obviously, the correct meaning of the
is that did not cut the birds in the
while he did cut the other animals in half.
Additionally it should be pointed out that birds are not
considered meat only on a Torah level. They are consid-
ered meat on a Rabbinic level (

Suffering for a Gift

By Yoshi Block, 12th Grade
The complete "Torah Teasers" on
the whole Torah is now available in
book form on (keyword
Torah Teasers).
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 3

In this weeks parsha, Lech Lecha, we are introduced to our forefather, Avraham.
Avraham is the first person in history to stop and realize that there is a Creator to the world. The Midrash gives the
analogy of a person walking along a highway who comes to a city that is on fire. He says to himself, This city must have
had a builder! Now its on fire where is the leader of this city? It is impossible to have a city without a leader. So too, it
is impossible to have a complex and beautiful world without a Creator. This is what Avraham realized and brought to the
The Midrash goes on to say that once Avraham came to this conclusion that There must be a Leader to this city,
that is when Hashem turned to him and said, I am the Leader of this city. Meaning, I am the Creator and Maintainer of
this world. First, Avraham realized there must be one God who created the world, and then Hashem spoke to him, revealed
to him all the secrets of the creation, and established with him a close relationship.
When did this Avraham reach this new conclusion? The first verse of the parsha tells us:
Hashem said to Avram, Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your fathers house to the
land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you
will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse; and all the families of the earth
will be blessed through you. (Bereishit 12:1-4) Although Hashem speaks to Avram now, in this verse, before he left to go
to Israel, we see that Hashem says go to the land that I will show you. Meaning, that once you get to the Land of Israel I
will show you new things, new insights, and new levels of understanding Me and the nature of the world.
This is exactly what happened when Avraham arrived in Shichem; we are told: Hashem appeared to Avram and
said, To your offspring I will give this land (Bereishit 12:7). That is when this new connection started.
We have one last question to ask: What were these new levels of insight? What were these incredible levels that
our forefather Avraham, the founder of Monotheism, the author of Sefer Yetzira (one of the deepest and most sacred texts
we have), reached? What is it that Hashem revealed to him?
The answer is in the verses we have already brought: Go to the land that I will show you, Hashem appeared to
Avram. When you see something you know it is true. Nothing is as true as something that you have seen. Once you see it,
its a fact. It exists. You see your hand in front of your face and know it is there. Hashem revealed to Avraham that He ex-
ists, and that He is all existence. It was clear to Avraham. It was a fact. It was existence.
Our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, are the foundation of our people. What they achieved became our
spiritual DNA. Each of them developed and excelled in a different area of understanding Hashem and His world, and passed
that on to us. Avraham was first: He realized and came to absolute clarity in the recognition that there is One Creator to this
world, and that all existence comes from Him. He is all existence. That clarity and vision lies within each of us. If a person
were to look within himself, he would find it there. For generations, when the Jewish people were faced with a choice be-
tween Judaism and death, they chose death. To them, it wasnt even a choice. Judaism was not just a nice way of living, or
rewarding, or whatever the other reasons that motivates us to keep the mitzvot. Those may be true, but it is more than
that. It is existence. It is the spiritual physics of the world. It is a fact.
To our loss, in the last few hundred years this has been lost to a great extent. But until then and throughout our en-
tire history, these things were clear. Avraham made them clear for us, and that clarity is planted deep within each one of
us. One just needs to look within and realize who he really is, and this will lead him to the conclusion that there is no city
without a leader. And then, the Leader of this great city will turn to each of us and say, Ani hu baal habira I am the
Leader of this city.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Written by Tal Segal
The Leader of the City
By Eli Guttman, 11th Grade

UMalki Tzedek melech shaleim hotzi lechem vayayin vihu ko-
hen likail elyon.

And Malki Tzedek the king of Shalem brought out bread and
wine and he was a priest to the G-d who is up high. (14:18)

The Gaon Rav Yitzchak Horowitz asks on this pasuk,
why does the pasuk tell us that Malki Tzedek brought out bread
and wine before it identifies who Malki Tzedek was? The pasuk
should say that Malki Tzedek, the king of Shalem, a priest of G-d
who is up high, brought out bread and wine! The order of our
pasuk seems illogical. Once we know who the character is that
we are talking about, we can then understand the action that he
Rav Horowitz explains that Malki Tzedek was really
Shem, the son of Noach. The order of the pasuk is coming to
make a reference to the Bnei Yisrael, the descendants of Shem.
The bread and wine that Malki Tzedek brought out signifies the
nesachim of wine and the korban minchos of bread that the Jews
would one day bring to the Bais Hamikdash.
However, if the bread and wine that Malki Tzedek
brought indeed refers to the nesachim and karbon minchos of the
Bais Hamikdash, the order of the pasuk is still problematic. We
know that a korban that is brought completely on the mizbaiach is
more holy than a korban in which only part of it is brought onto
the mizbaiach. This is learned out from the fact that in Sefer
Vayikra, the olah (which is brought completely on the mizbaiach)
is listed before the korban chatas (which only part of it is brought
on the mizbaiach). However, according to this rule the wine in
our pasuk in Lech Lecha should be listed before the bread. The
pasuk should say, UMalki Tzedek melech shalem hotzi yayin
valechem, for the nesachim are holier than the menachos be-
cause the nesachim are brought completely on the mizbaiach and
only a small part of the menaachos, the kemitza, is brought on the
Rav Horowitz answers that there is one mincha in which
not only is the kemitza brought on the mizbaiach, rather the entire
korban is completely burnt that is the minchas Kohen, the
korban mincha that a kohen brings. Rav Horowitz explains that
the order of our pasuk in parshas Lech Lecha is correct. Our
pasuk says, Umalki tzedk melech shalem hotzi lechem vayayin
and Malki Tzedek the king of Shalem brought out bread and
wine. Now you may ask, shouldnt the wine be listed before the
bread? Therefore the pasuk comes to answer, Vihu Kohen Likail
Elyon since he was a Kohen to Hashem who is up high, his
mincha would be completely burnt on the mizbaiach. It is there-
fore appropriate for the bread to be listed before the wine.
The Baal Pischei Shearim suggests another reason as to why the
word lechem precedes the word yayin in our pasuk in Parshat
Lech Lecha.
The gemara in maseches Taanis contains the following
Why are the laws of a nazir juxtaposed with the laws of a Kohen
who does birchas Kohanim? The gemara derives that just like a
nazir is prohibited from drinking wine, also a Kohen who does
birchas kohanim is forbidden to drink an alcoholic beverage.
However, the gemara Yerushalmi in Psachim says that
someone who consumes wine with bread will not become intoxi-
cated. Therefore, a kohen who does birchas kohanim may drink
wine with bread.
From these gemaras we can now understand a second
way to interpret our pasuk in parshat Lech Lecha. UMalki
Tzedek melech shalem hotzi lechem vayayin and Malki Tzedek
the king of shalem brought out bread and wine. Vihu kohen
likail elyon and he was a priest to the G-d who is up high. You
might ask: if Malki Tzedek was a Kohen, why was he permitted
to drink wine? The pasuk answers that he brought out bread and
wine. Even though normally a Kohen would be forbidden to
drink wine, since he was drinking it with bread it was permitted.
The pasuk underscores this by listing the bread before the wine as
if to say that the only reason why Malki Tzedek was allowed to
drink the wine was because he was drinking it while eating bread.

Have a good Shabbos!
the famine and return to the land at his first opportunity.
We can learn from Avrahams resilience and acceptance of challenges, whether it be fighting the pain to
stay to the best of his ability in the land of Israel or standing up to the rest of the world, to follow Hashem no mat-
ter the cost.

Shabbat Shalom!
(Yonatan AivaziContinued from page 1)
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 5

If you would like to review past issues of the
a:n n nxin n:a~ go to
"says lech lecha means to your pleasures and benefits, because this was
for Avrahams benefit and pleasure. Hashem was showing him how to get
closer to him, which is exactly what Avraham wanted. What greater pleas-
ure is there than getting closer to Hashem? We have a great proof that this
works, from the pasuk that says Hashem said to Avram, After you have
separated from Lot, raise your eyes and look out from where you are: north-
ward, southward, eastward, and westward. For all the land that you see, to
you I will give it, and to your descendants forever. Hashem said straight-
out: now that you have separated yourself from Lot, you are zocheh to all
the land. We see how only after leaving worldly matters and all the bad
things can we get closer to Hashem.

We can really learn a valuable lesson from this, especially because
if Hashem is teaching it to us, then it must be good. In order for us to grow
in our avodas Hashem, we must first leave all worldly matters. You may all
be thinking, Ok this is just an old message, Ive heard that one before, but
it is really the only way it works; is it just a phenomenon that people go to
Israel and miraculously get closer to Hashem? Do they just need to go and
not do anything? No, they need to give up things, but in the long run, they
see that its worth it. We are all Jews, and as Jews, our life goal is to get
closer to Hashem. As Hashem is teaching us, this is the best way to do it. I
am not saying you need to become totally isolated from everyone, though
some would say thats the only way to do it, but it needs a balance. The
Nesivos Shalom says how it is impossible for inyani olem hazeh and ruch-
nius things to coincide within one person. Its clear that we need to sacri-
fice certain things to get closer to Hashem. Now its up to us to see how
important that is to us. May we all take this message to heart and get closer
to Hashem, and through this may we be zocheh to having our tefilos an-
swered and seeing Moshiach, the time when we will all have a much closer
relationship with Hashem, come soon.

Have an awesome !!
(Aaron Rubel Continued from page 1)
Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it
on a high arc to right field, far and wide beyond the
first baseman's reach. Everyone started yelling,
"Shaya, run to first! Shaya, run to first!" Never in his
life had Shaya run to first.
He scampered down the baseline wide eyed
and startled. By the time he reached first base, the
right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the
ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya,
who was still running. But the rightfielder understood
what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the
ball high and far over the third baseman's head, as
everyone yelled, "Shaya, run to second! Shaya, run to
Shaya ran towards second base as the run-
ners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases to-
wards home. As Shaya reached second base, the op-
posing shortstop ran towards him, turned him towards
the direction of third base and shouted, "Shaya, run to
As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams
ran behind him screaming, "Shaya, run home! Shaya,
run home!"
Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and
all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made
him the hero, as he had just hit the "grand slam" and
won the game for his team.
"That day," said the father who now had
tears rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached
their level of perfection. They showed that it is not
only those who are talented that should be recog-
nized, but also those who have less talent. They too
are human beings, they too have feelings and emo-
tions, they too are people, they too want to feel im-
(Stories of Greatness Continued from page 10)
This weeks issue of a:n n nxin n:a~ is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Feivy and Paula
Fuchs, in honor of their HaKaras HaTov to all of the following boys for all of their help:
Yaakov Abittan
Jeremy Barth
Avi Genachowski
Max Hirschfeld
Yaakov Kaminetzky
Eli Lonner
Zev Miller
Dani Scheinman
Yitzie Scheinman
Moshe Spirn
Chili Szlafrok
Zachary Weiss
Andrew Zucker
Thank you,
Paula and Feivy Fuchs

I. Introduction. In this weeks parsha we read about
Avraham undergoing a bris milah, which for a man
his age was an extremely painful and dangerous pro-
cedure. Many of the concepts and halachos of bris
milah are derived from the original bris of Avraham
Avinu. This week, we will discuss the concept of the
sandek at a bris. The sandek is the person who
holds the baby on his lap during the actual bris milah
procedure and is considered the highest honor that
can be accorded to somebody at a bris. One of the
distinguishing characteristics of a Jewish milah is
that the child is held in the warm embrace of a loved
one rather than on a cold operating table. Indeed,
Chazal identify the very first Sandek in history as
none other than God Himself, who played a comfort-
ing role in the bris that Avraham administered on
II. Source for the Advantage. There are several sources
that indicate that the role of sandek is both a great
source of merit as well as something that was tradi-
tionally done by great people. First, the
states, as noted above, that God was the first
sandek because Avraham was afraid to do the bris on
himself and Hashem held him in place and became
his sandek. Second, the
:writes that when the torah states "
" it means to say that Yosef was
the sandek for Menashes children, perhaps the earli-
est source for having a grandfather serve as a sandek.
Finally, writes ,
? "

. God asked Dovid
what he was doing. Dovid responded I am praising
you with all of my limbs I place tefillin on my
head, I do not round off my haircut, with my lap I
serve as a sandek for children while they undergo
their bris milah.
III.Source for it being like .One of the central
concepts related to the sandek that is discussed by the
leading torah authorities is that the sandek on some
level is considered like a person who has burned the
in the .The source of this concept is a
Medrash on . The
'states that when Avraham circumcised the
members of his household (this probably refers to
Avrahams thousands of followers) he piled up the
foreskins into a small mountain. When the sun shone
on them, the seemingly putrid aroma was as pleasant
to God as the .There are several halachic
ramifications to this equation between serving as san-
dek and burning the incense in the . The
following is a list of issues that may relate to the con-
nection between a sandek and :
1. The " "
writes that a sandek is
considered to have a greater obligation to
receive an than even the mohel,
because the sandek is considered to have
brought the .
2. The " "writes in the
name of the Maharil that one should not
serve as a sandek on two different children.
This is based on a comment of the
.in relation to the .The gemara says
that the same kohein wouldnt do the ketores
twice because the performance of the
service has the power to make somebody
wealthy. Similarly, the Maharil argues, one
should not honor the same person to serve as
a sandek twice because we would prefer to
spread the wealth. It should be noted that
the : "challenges the Maharil on the
grounds that " "
anecdotal evidence suggests that those who
serve as sandek do not experience any new-
found wealth. Several answers have been
suggested to address this comment of the
Vilna Gaon. First, the " "(
) writes that it is possible that the sins
of a sandek prevent the blessing of wealth
from taking effect. Second, the Mekor
Chessed cites the Meor Einayim who ex-
plains that the guarantee Chazal have
( give tzedaka in order that you
(Continued on page 7)

By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 7

should become wealthy) is fulfilled by a per-
son being blessed with the character trait of
contentment with what you have, which is
the true definition of wealth. Third, Rav
Moshe Shternbuch :
explains that wealth is not only with money,
but with God nullifying any negative decrees
and with blessings being conferred on his
family. Finally, the ( "
)writes that the level of wealth one
experiences may have a direct correlation
with the level of love expressed in doing the
3. The Rama cites further from the Maharil that
he would go to the mikvah prior to serving
as a tzadik. However, in his , the
Rama writes
this is an unnecessary stringency and is not
our practice. However the Chida, in
encourages the practice of immersing
prior to serving as a sandek. R Yehuda Ha-
chasid relates a very odd story that may
serve as a source for this minhag to immerse
prior to serving as a sandek.

There was a story with a woman who was
bathing her two sons and one of them
drowned the other, whereupon the woman
committed never to bathe on the anniversary
of the death. One year she was honored with
an active role in a bris milah so she bathed
and died as a result of violating her commit-
ment. Apparently it was the common prac-
tice to bathe on the day that one would par-
ticipate in a bris milah.
4. : " records that in many
places they have the practice to eat the festive
meal on the night after the milah. This prac-
tice seems erroneous because the source for
the holding a festive meal is the derasha "
' '
And Avraham made a great party on the day
he weaned Yitzchak. Our rabbis understand
that it was the day of five plus three when
Yitzchak was circumcised, which is the eight
day. Apparently the practice to celebrate a
bris with a festive meal should be limited to
the calendar day of the bris itself, and not the
following night. However, given our under-
standing of the relationship between a bris
and perhaps we can explain this
practice. Although the Jewish calendar day
typically starts at night, in the the
day is reversed. Since by
having the meal on the following
night actually fulfills the requirement of hav-
ing the meal on the right day.
5. We may also suggest that the widespread
practice to perform a bris milah in a shul re-
lates to its status as a korban. The shul is de-
fined as a miniature beis hamik-
dash (Gemara Megila 29a), an ideal place to
bring a korban.
6. The ' cites a dispute
whether a minor may serve as a sandek. On
the one hand, if we view bestowing the honor
of sandek in a similar manner to choosing
which kohein to give terumah to, a child
would be a suitable sandek just as one can
give him terumah(see .) '
7. The )' "( "writes that a
mourner during shiva is permitted to serve as
a sandek. The ) '(
explains that a mourner may not attend the
festive meal celebrating the bris but may ac-
tively participate in the mitzvah itself even
though it is a mitzvah that is done with great
joy. Since the joy is not a physical joy and
does not involve any lightheaded behavior, a
mourner is not precluded from participating.
The ,) "( however,
suggests that a mourner should not serve as a
sandek because a kohein who is a mourner
may not offer .
a. The
points out that a mourner should be discour-
aged from serving as a sandek because he is
(Continued from page 6)
(Continued on page 8)

not permitted to sit on a regular chair. The
Munkatcher Rebbe concludes that although
it is difficult to argue with earlier and more
authoritative sources who permit a mourner
to be a sandek, we have never heard of any-
body allowing it and should maintain our
custom to be stringent on this issue.
8. The writes that the sandek should not
do work the day of the bris because it is a mi-
nor holiday for him. He provides support for
this from the that states that a
person should not do work on the day he brings
his korbanos.
9. There is a widespread practice in Sefardic com-
munities for the sandek to bless people. Many
of the attendees line up after the bris to receive
a blessing from the sandek. This may be related
to the role of sandek as a kohen who brought
the ketores. Just as a kohen has the unique obli-
gation to bless the Jewish people, the custom
developed that the sandek too should bless peo-
IV. Serving as sandek more than once. Rama, as noted,
says not to give the same person twice.
A. There are several reasons offered for this limita-
1. The Maharil cited by the Rama explains that this
relates to the parallel to mentioned earlier
in this essay.
2. The " rejects the
suggestion of the Maharil. The entire source for
the milah relating to may only relate to
Hashems joy in the performance of the mitz-
vah, and not to the segulah or wealth that
comes from the mitzvah. In fact a careful read-
ing of the gemara in Yoma indicates that the
ability of the to confer wealth is a result
of the rarity of the privilege. It would therefore
seem that a bris milah which the Jewish people
do hundreds of times each day would carry no
such segulah. Instead, the Noda Byehuda sug-
gests that the custom not to repeat relates to the
suggestion of Chazal not to give all teruma to a
single kohein. Similarly, one may not give the
opportunity of being sandek to the same person
3. The : " and :
suggest that the real reason is more mystical in
nature and based on comments of . '
4. Finally, the suggests that the practice
is an attempt to show extra love and affection
for this mitzvah by trying to involve as many
people as possible.
B. The exact parameters of the limitation may de-
pend on which reason one chooses to explain
why the same person cannot serve as sandek
1. The Beis Hillel (commentary to Shulchan
Aruch) writes that a sandek can serve several
times for different families. The minhag is just
that within each family the same sandek should
not be used twice. This conforms to the
s understanding of the custom as the
prohibition to give all of your terumah to a sin-
gle kohein is only on each individual. There is
no halacha that discourages a kohein from re-
ceiving terumah from many different people.
However, according to Maharil it should not
matter whether it is from one or many families
due to the parallel to .
2. The : and : " " "
point to the fact that there are many communi-
ties where the Rav is always the sandek. This
would certainly work with the explanation of
the Maharil because just as a may take
the job of burning the as often as he
would like, so too the rabbi of the community
is in a position that allows him to be sandek as
often as he wants. However, if the custom is
modeled after the distribution of terumah, there
should be no exceptions made for people of
high stature.
3. On the other hand the writes that a
family member may be honored as sandek mul-
tiple times. This exception is based on the te-
ruma disbursement model, which allows for a
person to give all of his teruma to a kohein who
he is very close with (see .) "
If, however, the custom is based on the rela-
tionship to it wouldnt seem to matter
(Continued from page 7)
(Continued on page 9)
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 9

whether the potential repeat sandek is a family
member or not.
4. "writes that certain cities
dont allow a single person to be sandek twice
in one year but after a year allow for a second
sandek opportunity. This would seem to work
with neither the Maharil nor the Noda BYehu-
da. However, perhaps if the basis for the cus-
tom is kabbalistic or as a show of love for the
mitzvah a statute of limitations would be a pos-
C. How strong is the source for this custom? The
" writes that this entire practice
is not halachic in nature as there is no source in
the Talmud for any such limitation. Therefore, he
concludes this custom should not be viewed as a
firmly established principal and many great Jews
do not concern themselves with this limitation.
V. Who should be chosen? As we have mentioned earli-
er, Chazal have identified God as the first sandek,
and such great Jewish leaders as Menashe and
Dovid as people who served in the capacity of san-
dek. It is therefore no surprise that the : "
writes "
" one should look for and prefer a mohel
and bris participant who is exceptionally good and
righteous. Some explain that " "is the mohel
whose proficiency at the performing the procedure
is critical, and " "is a reference to the sandek
whose righteousness qualify him for the job. The
explains that we want Eliyahu to
be comfortable sitting next to the sandek so we
choose somebody who is particularly righteous.
A. Family Members. The obligation to give a child a
bris milah is one that falls on the shoulders of the
father of the baby. When a father is incapable of
performing the bris by himself, "
"suggests that at the very least he should
serve as the sandek so that he can be of help dur-
ing the actual milah and gain a partial fulfillment
of the mitzvah of performing the bris. In the event
that the father does not want to take the honor for
himself and would like to choose a family member
as sandek, there is considerable discussion
amongst the poskim which family member should
be chosen. writes that the grandfather of
the baby should be given precedence over the
great grandfather, but he notes that the custom is
to have the great grandfather serve as sandek be-
cause people say that one who serves as a san-
dek for his great grandson will be spared from
.The records varying customs as to
whether the maternal or paternal grandfather
should be given preference for the first bris in the
family. He concludes that in the event of a dis-
pute, the relative with the greatest sense of
should be chosen. (Of course, this too may
be a matter of dispute!)
B. The Rama writes that a woman should not be cho-
sen to serve as sandek out of concern for .
Furthermore, " "points
out that if we view the sandek as a participant in
the milah a woman should not serve as sandek
since she cannot perform the milah under normal
circumstances. If we preclude anybody who is not
permitted to perform the milah from being sandek,
we may assume that a gentile should also not be
chosen to serve as sandek.
C. The ' " " writes that
the mohel should not also serve as the sandek.
Several reasons are offered for this ruling. First,
the Beis Yosef (8) writes that one should recite
berachos on mitzvos while standing, and the san-
dek has to sit. Second, " " "
cites others who say it is a violation of the prohibi-
tion of doing mitzvos in bundles. (The Maharam
Shick himself rejects this reason because it is all
one mitzvah). Finally, '
quotes from " ' that the
mohel is said to have the mazel of blood and kill-
ing (see ,). whereas the sandek is in
place of the which lengthens a persons life.
The contradiction in character is not a healthy mix
for the bris milah procedure.
VI. Conclusion. As with most Jewish life cycle events,
the celebration of a bris milah is laden with mean-
ingful customs and laws. It is my hope that this es-
say will help us appreciate the depth and meaning
of a single custom, thereby enhancing our appreci-
ation of all Jewish customs.

(Continued from page 8)


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Marc Eichenbaum

Rabbi Y. Kaminetsky

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As this year's Maggid, I would like to share stories on
a wide range of topics, time periods, and hashkafic
beliefs. If you have any suggestions, comments, or cri-
tiques please feel free to email me at mheichen- This story, entitled "Baseball He-
roes" by Rabbi Paysach Krohn, is taken from
In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school
that caters to learning-disabled children. Some chil-
dren remain in Chush for their entire school careers,
while others can be mainstreamed into conventional
Jewish schools. There are a few children who attend
Chush for most of the week and go to a regular school
on Sundays.
At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of
a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be
forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the
school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is
the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything that God
does is done with perfection. But my child cannot un-
derstand things as other children do. My child cannot
remember facts and figures as other children do.
Where is God's perfection?"
The audience was shocked by the question,
pained by the father's anguish, and stilled by his pierc-
ing query.
"I believe," the father answered, "that when
God brings a child like this into the world, the perfec-
tion that He seeks is in the way people react to this
He then told the following story about his son
Shaya attends Chush throughout the week and
a boy's yeshiva (Torah institute) on Sundays. One Sun-
day afternoon, Shaya and his father came to the yeshi-
va as his classmates were playing baseball. The game
was in progress and as Shaya and his father made their
way towards the ballfield, Shaya said, "Do you think
you could get me into the game?"
Shaya's father knew his son was not at all
athletic, and that most boys would not want him on
their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his
son was chosen in, it would give him a comfortable
sense of belonging.
Shaya's father approached one of the boys in
the field and asked, "Do you think my Shaya could get
into the game?"
The boy looked around for guidance from his
teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own
hands and said, "We are losing by six runs and the
game is already in the eighth inning. I guess he can be
on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the
ninth inning."
Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly.
Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play
short center field.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's
team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In
the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored
again - and now with two outs and the bases loaded
and the potential winning runs on base, Shaya was
scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya
bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win
the game?
Surprisingly, Shaya was told to take a bat and try to
get a hit. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible,
for Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat
properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya
stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few
steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least
be able to make contact.
The first pitch came in and Shaya swung
clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came
up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced
the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again
took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards
As the next pitch came in, Shaya and his
teammate swung the bat and together they hit a slow
ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the
soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to
the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that
would have ended the game.
(Continued on page 5)