Shabbat B' Shabbato

Chapter Search
Chapter Article Author
Section Search for
Exact phrase
Volume 1568: Tzav  8th of Nissan 5775 26/03/2015

Point Of View

The "Bayit" and "Yachad" as Political Parties and not Ideological Movements /Rabbi Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute

Religious Zionism as a Desired Party

We have just witnessed the end of a very dramatic election, and as I write this essay we do not yet have the future coalition mapped out, in terms of both the guidelines of the new government and the appointments of government ministers, and the resulting character of the new government. This is therefore a good opportunity to go beyond my own personal region of comfort and take a broader look including my friends and colleagues throughout the realm of religious Zionism, with all of its branches. This broad group has lately been tapped as a source for votes by at least six of the parties (Bayit Yehudi, Likud, Yachad-Yishai, Yesh Atid, Kulanu-Kathlon, and the Zionist Union). But I will focus today on the two "home parties" – Bayit Yehudi (The Jewish Home), from which large chunks have been taken, and "Yachad," which has taken a harsh beating. Both were marketed as parties that hold high the banner of religious Zionism as their basic philosophy (together with other ideals), and as stalwarts of the tenets of religious Zionism: rightist nationalism, deep involvement in all walks of life in the country, and the demand for establishing a country with a Jewish character.

In terms of ideological outlook (and not political activity), I can detect in these two parties an expression of two opposite poles of religious Zionism. One of them actively seeks cooperation – including on a social level – with Jews who are not at all or not strictly religious and with those who act in line with the old traditions. The other one wants to join together with the nationalistic Chareidi groups , especially those who stem from the Sephardi sector. In today's article I want to criticize the pretentious attempt to form large groups and act as "movements" and not just political parties, something which is not true and which carries with it an element of making vain use of the social-cultural "partnership" banner. Let me first summarize my view briefly: The political realm of "parties running in an election" is not an area that is ideological, social, or related to a world view. These attempts at cooperation are useful for a limited time, or for a long time only if they are based on political expediency. Parties that are born during elections do not constitute a "movement," as was so proudly stated by some of their protagonists, as part of their thirst for more and more votes.

The "Bayit Yehudi"

I supported and continue to support the Bayit Yehudi Party, and I even publicly called out to vote for them, specifically as a "party" and not as a "movement." This is the most rightist party around, and it will remain true to the values of "a Jewish state" even if it is not formally defined as a religious party. However, I never accepted the "thinkers" and in-depth analysts (in their own eyes) who tried to paint this party as having the social outlook that is prominent in the markets of life – promoting sharing between religious and nonreligious people at the levels of education and culture. I am referring to the agenda that is promoted by some settlements, such as Tekoa, Kefar Adumim, Natur, and others. I have not come today to disagree with this ideology of unification, and I do not flatly object to it. Rather, I want it to be understood that the Bayit Yehudi Party is not based on such a philosophical outlook , and that this is a good thing.

One journalist (Yoav Shurok, from Makor Rishon) exposed his own picture of an ideology for the party which he called – in an excited article in the newspaper – nothing less than "the theology of the Bayit Yehudi." He wrote that this is the party with an updated "Zionist-Jewish narrative," one that is suitable for the present world, which grew up on the ruins of the old Mafdal Party. I deny this entire thesis, which claims that this social and cultural banner is the ideal of the new party. And indeed, many people have joined the political line of the party even if they do not line up on the scale of what is considered "religious" in the normal definition. If the "social-cooperation" banner would be the declared theme by the leaders of the party, I strongly fear that its ranks would be severely reduced, and it might well become a tiny "tent" visited by the very few proponents of such an idea. (As noted above, this is neither the time nor the place to expound on these ideas.)

In summary, I sincerely hope that the Bayit Yehudi will gain strength as the home party for rightist Zionism – religious, traditional, and nonreligious alike. The way to guarantee this is to avoid an ideology that espouses "joining together" in terms of social structure, education, and culture. What will its position be with respect to the Jewish character of the state and religious legislation? This is a matter that we will leave for future discussion.

An Imaginary "Unity"

From here we move on the "Chardalim" - Chareidi Zionists - who hoped to find a home or at least a refuge in the "Yachad" (Unity) Party founded by Eli Yishai and Rabbi Mazuz. Let me start with a disclosure: I never believed in this combination, which was tied together in a coarse and hasty way, but I did not make any declarations against Yachad for reasons having to do with the elections. I did not want to cause a decrease in the total number of votes for the right by having the party fall below the voting threshold. The truth is that if indeed a new movement was to be founded – whether based on social relationships and culture or merely on political interests – one which joins together the Torah-emphasizing segment of religious Zionism (Chardal), with other Chareidi partners (Sephardim or Ashkenazim), I would be among the first ones to encourage the trend and to declare my support for the idea. And I am not alone. In the ranks of Torah-true Zionists there are many rabbis and prominent people who yearn for such a movement. It seems to me that this could stem from a grass-roots initiative, coming from within the public, and the rabbis at the top of such a structure will accept the idea.

But that is not what the "Yachad" Party gave us. This party was born as an "anti-" reaction on a personal level, both in its Sephardi segment and in its attempt to gather together Chardali elements. No real unity was evident, of the kind that is a harbinger of better things to come.In addition, the support of the "Har Hamor" Yeshiva faction exposed their depressing (or distorted) approach, which is completely "anti." They have nothing positive to say, they are not willing to take on any public role, they do not hint of any willingness to share the burden. What they present is a separationist and haughtily detached approach which is based on finding fault with the teachings of Rav Kook.

Tell a friend|Print|Close

As Shabbat Approaches

Redemption and Honesty /Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne

"Command Aharon and his sons, saying, these are the laws of the Olah Sacrifice" [Vayikra 6:2]. Rashi comments, "The word 'command' is only used to require taking special care, immediately and for later generations. Rabbi Shimon said, the verse must require special enthusiasm in a case where there is financial loss." The Or Hachaim explains that the Olah Sacrifice entails monetary loss for the priest in that for the other sacrifices he gets a share of the meat, while for the Olah he does not. And therefore it is feared that the Kohen might be sloppy in his work, and it is necessary to give him words of encouragement.

Some people use this idea to explain why we read from the Book of Malachi on Shabbat Hagadol, since the prophet describes attempts by the people to evade their duty to donate maaser to the poor people. However, the sages have taught us that one who does give maaser is blessed, as is written, "Bring all the maaser... and test me with this... and I will pour out endless blessings to you" [Malachi 3:10]. We read this Haftarah close to Pesach, which is the time of reaping the grains.

The SMAG writes that upright and just action in financial matters is a condition for redemption and that the exile has lasted for such a long time is because Yisrael must maintain the seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He, which is truth and not deceive either Gentile or Jews. In addition, it is written, "The remnants of Yisrael will not be corrupt" [Tzefania 3:13]. Then when G-d comes to redeem the people, the other nations will admit that they are worthy of being saved, since they are people of truth. But if they behave in a dishonest way in their dealings, the other nations will say, "Look at what the Holy One, Blessed be He, did – He chose to support thieves and swindlers." Therefore we read this Haftarah at the approach of the festival of redemption, so that we will be redeemed because of the merits of giving our gifts to the Kohanim and to the poor and because of our honest behavior in business.

It is written in, "He shall remove its crop with its feathers, and throw it away..." [Vayikra 1:16]. Rashi comments that since a bird eats stolen food its innards should be thrown away. And the Alshich adds that as is well known a bird is sacrificed by a poor person. The Torah has therefore noted this law that is relevant for a sacrifice by a poor person, to warn him too that he should never feel that he is allowed to take money in a dishonest manner.

It is said that a Chassid who was in dire straits went to his Rebbe with a question: Was he allowed to perpetrate a "small" fraud so that his financial situation would improve? The Rebbe replied: We are taught about the Two Tablets, "They were inscribed on one side and on the other" [Shemot32:15]. The sages said that the reason for this is so that no matter how you twist and turn the Tablets, it will always be possible to read the commandment, "Do not steal" [20:13].

Tell a friend|Print|Close

A Woman's Angle

From Subjugation to Hope /Tirza Frankel

I write this article just as the election process has ended, and I saw some news that is very significant in my eyes – thirty women were elected to serve in this twentieth Knesset. Women are a quarter of all the MK's in the State of Israel, including some who are religious.

Almost a hundred years ago, in 1918, when elections were organized for the committee of the Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael, there was a controversy about the right of the women to participate in the voting and about their right to serve on the committee. At first the discussion was based on secular arguments of the citizens, and it took place among the entire Jewish leadership of the land. It should be noted that at that time only a few countries in the world had granted women the right to vote. Sweden, that modern and enlightened country, only gave women the right to vote in the year 1971. In Eretz Yisrael, this secular discussion also reached the rabbis of the Mizrachi movement, who were the heads of religious Zionism. A dispute developed among them which is a fascinating aspect of the history of religion. The Ashkenazi faction, led by Rav Kook, opposed letting women vote and certainly refused to let them serve. Here is what Rav Kook wrote:

"The family is the foundation of our nation... We are always ready to declare that there is a moral obligation to listen to the opinions of every woman throughout Yisrael, including questions about general matters, society, and public policy. However, an agreed-upon opinion must be publicized to the outside of the home... and the one who has the responsibility to publicize it in the public sector is the man, the father of the house." [Letters of Rav Kook, page 192].

They were opposed by the Sephardi rabbis, led by Rabbi Ben-Tzion Chai Meir Uziel, who was then the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He eventually wrote a halachic ruling permitting women to vote and to serve in public office:

"The conclusion is... that a woman can be elected with the approval of and according to rules set by the public. The reason is that this halacha (by the Rambam, that a woman cannot be put in a position of royalty) refers only to an appointment that was made by the Sanhedrin." [Responsa Mishpetai Uziel, volume 4].

Many years later, responding to a petition to the Supreme Court by Leah Shakdiel to allow her to serve on the Religious Council of Yerucham (in 1987), Prof. Menachem Elon quoted the above halachic rulings. After a fascinating discussion, he ruled as follows:

"This court has declared more than once that we must always differentiate between... forbidden discrimination and permissible discrimination. The principle of equality, the other side of the coin of discrimination, which every democratic country strives to achieve... means that all people should be treated equally when there are no real differences between them that are relevant to the issues at hand. If they are not treated equally, we have before us a case of discrimination... We are aware of the sensitivity of the subject from the point of view of religion, social aspects, and public policy, and we are aware of the difficult issues surrounding this subject... But none of the above can release us from the legal requirements of Israel, which forbid discriminating against the petitioner and preventing her from serving as a member of the Religious Council in Yerucham."

I am neither a legal nor a halachic expert, but the description of this historic development, about which I have brought only one of many similar incidents, can be a source of important testimony about the robustness and the greatness of the religious Zionist sector. This is a culture that does not close its eyes to world developments in the realm of important social values, and which can search for ways to adjust halacha, faith, and ancient traditions in the face of modern challenges, in such a way that public service by women as members of the Knesset (both nonreligious and religious) is accepted as a commonplace day-to-day routine.

It was not easy for women in the secular and the religious communities to reach these achievements. A woman must work twice as hard as a man to achieve the same results. Accepted norms and pangs of conscience are constantly drawing her back to her home, with strong bonds of love and tradition. And the long and difficult days of Pesach preparations can bear witness to this situation for many women.

My blessings and best wishes to the newly elected women. Let their numbers increase greatly.

Tell a friend|Print|Close

From the treasury of chassidic stories

"A Calf and not a Dog" /Zeev Kitsis, Kibbuts Hadati Yeshiva and Bar Ilan University

Here we are close to the great night of telling stories. This night, we have been commanded to tell, to illustrate, and to show ourselves as if we had actually been redeemed from Egypt. The masters of mysticism have taught us that a story in general and the Hagadda of Pesach in particular are actions which are identical with the actual redemption. And thus, within the depths of the exile, Jews sit in a royal posture and tell stories of redemption.

One major element of the Hagadda is the description of the Plagues that were sent down to Egypt. In addition to the Plagues in Egypt there were other blows that took place at the Red Sea, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, sends His remarkable blows with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. "... So that you will tell in the ears of your son and your grandson what I did in Egypt" [Shemot 10:2]. The detailed description of the Ten Plagues might seem to be cruel, but they are important elements in the release from slavery of the soul. The repeated blows that strike the oppressor help a slave to understand that nobody will ever enslave his spirit again. And in this way the stories of the Hagadda help the people to attain spiritual freedom.

Based on such an approach, Reb Mendeli from Romanov would repeat the same story every year on Pesach. There is an element of cruelty in this story, but it is there in order to remind the listener – nobody will enslave us again in the future. Nobody will ever convince us to lie to ourselves. To quote from the story, "After all, it is a calf and not a dog!" What follows is a version of the story told by the Rebbe of Romanov, and without a doubt it is suitable for telling to the young children on the night of the Seder – "Leil shimurim," a night when G-d watches over the Jews in a special way.

     * * * * * *

A Gentile farmer went on the day of the market to sell a calf. A landowner came by and decided to have some fun with the farmer. He asked the man, "How much do you want for your little dog?" And the farmer replied, "It is a calf, not a dog." So the landowner took hold of the farmer and struck him over and over again. He shouted, "Remember what I tell you! If the owner of the estate says that it is a dog, it is a dog and not a calf!" The farmer remained silent and did not reply, but in his heart he started planning how to avenge himself against the evil landowner.

Not very much later, the landowner's castle burned down. The farmer was responsible for the fire, but this was not all the revenge that he planned. The farmer knew that the landowner would seek out a skilled builder in order to rebuild his castle. So he immediately went to the landowner, disguised as a master builder.

The disguised farmer began to calculate how much material he would need, and he proposed to the landowner that the two of them should go into the forest in order to choose the trees that would be chopped down to provide wood. They came to a large tree in the deepest part of the forest. It was very broad, and the farmer asked the landowner to help him measure the tree. They stood on the two sides of the tree and stretched out their arms around the trunk. As soon as the landowner put out his hands, the disguised farmer grabbed them and tied them around the tree with a rope. The farmer began to strike the landowner again and again, shouting into his ear, "If the farmer says it's a calf, then it's a calf! This is the first lesson, be ready for two more!" And the master was left there, injured and angry, tied to the large tree trunk.

A passerby finally freed the landowner, and brought the man home with him, sick and in pain. Physicians were called to cure the important visitor, and one physician came who the people did not know. It was the farmer, disguised this time as a respectable physician. He told the people of the house to wait outside the room and not to come in even if they heard the patient crying out, because the treatment would be very painful. When they were alone, the farmer gave the landowner his second lesson. He struck him many times, reminding the man, "If the farmer says that it's a calf, then it's a calf! One more time I will show you my power!"

From that day on, the landowner searched everywhere for the farmer, but he was nowhere to be found. On market day, the landowner set an ambush to catch the farmer at the place where they had first met, while he sat in his distinguished carriage. The farmer immediately recognized the landowner sitting in his carriage, but he did not recognize the farmer. The farmer turned to a friend who had a very fast horse. "Here is a coin of twenty pieces of gold, now do what I ask of you. Go to the man who is sitting in the carriage, and say to him that if the farmer says it's a calf, then it's a calf. And then race away on your horse as fast as you can."

When the friend made his declaration straight to the landowner, the man thought that it was the farmer speaking. He commanded his servant to untie the horse and to chase after the daring farmer. When the servant started out to follow the man, the landowner was left alone in his wagon. And this was the right time for the third lesson. So the farmer said to him, "Now remember that I spoke the truth. It was a calf, and a calf is not at all a dog!"

["Pleasant Words," Volume 2, Monkatsch,5665 (1905), page 72].

     * * * * * *

Chag samayach - Have a happy holiday!

Here we are close to the great night of telling stories. This night, we have been commanded to tell, to illustrate, and to show ourselves as if we had actually been redeemed from Egypt. The masters of mysticism have taught us that a story in general and the Hagadda of Pesach in particular are actions which are identical with the actual redemption. And thus, within the depths of the exile, Jews sit in a royal posture and tell stories of redemption.

One major element of the Hagadda is the description of the Plagues that were sent down to Egypt. In addition to the Plagues in Egypt there were other blows that took place at the Red Sea, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, sends His remarkable blows with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. "... So that you will tell in the ears of your son and your grandson what I did in Egypt" [Shemot 10:2]. The detailed description of the Ten Plagues might seem to be cruel, but they are important elements in the release from slavery of the soul. The repeated blows that strike the oppressor help a slave to understand that nobody will ever enslave his spirit again. And in this way the stories of the Hagadda help the people to attain spiritual freedom.

Based on such an approach, Reb Mendeli from Romanov would repeat the same story every year on Pesach. There is an element of cruelty in this story, but it is there in order to remind the listener – nobody will enslave us again in the future. Nobody will ever convince us to lie to ourselves. To quote from the story, "After all, it is a calf and not a dog!" What follows is a version of the story told by the Rebbe of Romanov, and without a doubt it is suitable for telling to the young children on the night of the Seder – "Leil shimurim," a night when G-d watches over the Jews in a special way.

     * * * * * *

A Gentile farmer went on the day of the market to sell a calf. A landowner came by and decided to have some fun with the farmer. He asked the man, "How much do you want for your little dog?" And the farmer replied, "It is a calf, not a dog." So the landowner took hold of the farmer and struck him over and over again. He shouted, "Remember what I tell you! If the owner of the estate says that it is a dog, it is a dog and not a calf!" The farmer remained silent and did not reply, but in his heart he started planning how to avenge himself against the evil landowner.

Not very much later, the landowner's castle burned down. The farmer was responsible for the fire, but this was not all the revenge that he planned. The farmer knew that the landowner would seek out a skilled builder in order to rebuild his castle. So he immediately went to the landowner, disguised as a master builder.

The disguised farmer began to calculate how much material he would need, and he proposed to the landowner that the two of them should go into the forest in order to choose the trees that would be chopped down to provide wood. They came to a large tree in the deepest part of the forest. It was very broad, and the farmer asked the landowner to help him measure the tree. They stood on the two sides of the tree and stretched out their arms around the trunk. As soon as the landowner put out his hands, the disguised farmer grabbed them and tied them around the tree with a rope. The farmer began to strike the landowner again and again, shouting into his ear, "If the farmer says it's a calf, then it's a calf! This is the first lesson, be ready for two more!" And the master was left there, injured and angry, tied to the large tree trunk.

A passerby finally freed the landowner, and brought the man home with him, sick and in pain. Physicians were called to cure the important visitor, and one physician came who the people did not know. It was the farmer, disguised this time as a respectable physician. He told the people of the house to wait outside the room and not to come in even if they heard the patient crying out, because the treatment would be very painful. When they were alone, the farmer gave the landowner his second lesson. He struck him many times, reminding the man, "If the farmer says that it's a calf, then it's a calf! One more time I will show you my power!"

From that day on, the landowner searched everywhere for the farmer, but he was nowhere to be found. On market day, the landowner set an ambush to catch the farmer at the place where they had first met, while he sat in his distinguished carriage. The farmer immediately recognized the landowner sitting in his carriage, but he did not recognize the farmer. The farmer turned to a friend who had a very fast horse. "Here is a coin of twenty pieces of gold, now do what I ask of you. Go to the man who is sitting in the carriage, and say to him that if the farmer says it's a calf, then it's a calf. And then race away on your horse as fast as you can."

When the friend made his declaration straight to the landowner, the man thought that it was the farmer speaking. He commanded his servant to untie the horse and to chase after the daring farmer. When the servant started out to follow the man, the landowner was left alone in his wagon. And this was the right time for the third lesson. So the farmer said to him, "Now remember that I spoke the truth. It was a calf, and a calf is not at all a dog!"

["Pleasant Words," Volume 2, Monkatsch,5665 (1905), page 72].

     * * * * * *

Chag samayach - Have a happy holiday!

 

Tell a friend|Print|Close

"The place" in the world

"Hakeldama" /Rabbi Yitzchak Levy, Yeshivat Har Etzion

Continuing from our discussion in the previous article about burial in Gai Ben Hinom, we will now discuss some burial caves at the southeastern corner of the riverbed, before it joins together with the Kidron riverbed.

Burying Strangers

The name "Hakeldema" is Aramaic, and it means "a field of blood (dam)" or "a field of money (damim)."

According to Christian tradition, after Judas Iscariot saw that Jesus was convicted, he regretted having turned Jesus over to the authorities and tried to give the thirty pieces of silver that he had received to the heads of the priests and the elders. When they refused to take it, he donated the money to the Temple treasury, and then he went and hanged himself. The priests refused to allow the money to be put into the Temple treasury because they claimed that it was "blood money." After consulting about the matter, they decided to use it to buy a field for burying strangers. For this reason, the field is named "the field of blood" to this day. In another Christian source the name of the place is "blood money."

Blood of the Sacrifices

Prof. Yadin suggested another explanation for the name Hakeldama. "Perhaps this referred originally to the blood of the sacrifices which was used to fertilize the gardens in Nachal Kidron, and it was given a different meaning later on." Yadin was referring to what is written in the Mishna: "Both this and that (the excess of the blood which was poured onto the western and southern foundations of the Altar) were mixed together and fell into the Kidron River, where they were sold as fertilizer, and it is a sin to use them for private use (without paying for them)." [Yoma 5:6].

The Field of Weeping

David Rosenthal suggested in a journal article that Hakeldama might be "Sedei Bochin" (Field of Weeping) – or in another version "Sedei Kuchin" (Field of Crypts), about which Rabbi Yehoshua Bar Abba said in the name of Ulah: "This was a field where the dead were transferred."

Rabeinu Gershom Maor Hagolah explains as follows: "When dead people are brought from one place to another for burial – when the procession reaches a field near the city, those who brought the body leave, and people of the new city come and take the body. They wash it and bury it there."

This phenomenon, of bringing a dead body from the place where the person lived for burial someplace else, was commonplace not only in Europe during the times of the early commentators but also in Eretz Yisrael in the era of the Mishna and the Talmud. Dead people were brought from abroad to Eretz Yisrael or from a faraway land to Babylon. And it may also be that bodies were sent from place to place within Eretz Yisrael itself.

Inside of Eretz Yisrael the practice was not to sell family burial plots to outsiders, as is noted in the Sifri: "How do we know that one who sells a burial plot of his fathers has violated a prohibition? We have been taught, 'Do not cross over your colleague's boundary' [Devarim 19:14]. You might think that this is true even if nobody has ever been buried there – we have therefore been taught, 'In your heritage, which you will inherit' [ibid]." This law, that a family burial place should never be shared with anybody else, is evidently applied even to people from the same city, and certainly to people of other cities who are brought to be buried locally. Therefore, it was necessary to set aside a special cemetery for strangers. Thus, there may be some similarity between the Field of Weeping where people from other places are brought to be buried and what is described about Hakeldama, where a field was purchased as a burial site for strangers.

In addition, the term "Eimek Habacha" [Tehillim 84:7] was viewed by the sages and also by Josephus Flavius and the Targum as the Valley of Weeping. The Midrash links this name to Gehenom, and in the Midrash Tehillim it is explicitly written, "Eimek Habacha is Gehenom." It may be that the link between Gehenom to Gai Ben Hinom and Eimek Habacha is a reminder of a tradition from the time of the Talmud of an unclear memory about "Sedai Bochin" that exists in Gai Ben Hinom.

The Roman Orchard

On the slope to the south of Gai Ben Hinom, near the wall surrounding the Monastery of Onuphrius, a large number of entrances to burial caves have been carved into the rock. Most of them are from the era of the Second Temple, and some are especially magnificent, with complex systems of burial rooms. One cave, at the end of the cliff, is known in Arabic as "Fardus A-Rom" – the Garden of Eden of the Romans, or the Roman Orchard. It contains excavated and decorated burial rooms. The walls of the cave are engraved with many crosses, which shows that the cave was used by Christian pilgrims and monks during the Byzantine era and the Middle Ages.

In addition, there are magnificent ancient graves near the Onuphrius Monastery, including a preserved engraved lintel with ornaments in the form of geometric shapes and plants. This is what is left of the decorations at the entrance of the cave. Another cave has been discovered whose entrance passes through an engraved courtyard with two stone pillars at the front which are decorated with very special and beautiful ornaments.

 

Tell a friend|Print|Close

Halacha From The Source

When Pesach begins on Shabbat /The Center for Teaching and Halacha, Directed by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

This year the first day of Pesach is Shabbat. When this happens there are some special halachot that are relevant both for Pesach itself and for the Shabbat before and after the holiday.

Saying the Prayer "Vihi Noam" at the end of Shabbat Hagadol

The TUR writes (495) that Vihi Noam is recited at the end of Shabbat when it is followed by six weekdays, but not if one of the days is a holiday. This implies that when Pesach begins on Shabbat Vihi Noam should be recited at the end of Shabbat Hagadol, one week before Pesach. This is the opinion of the Mishna Berura (295:3). However, in Responsa She'eilat Ravitz (1:19) it is written that since labor is forbidden on the day before Pesach (in those places where this is the custom), the week does not have six successive days of activity. TheGRA writes (Yoreh Dei'ah 399:9) that the day before Pesach is also considered a holiday. Therefore it is written in the Calendar for Eretz Yisrael and in Responsa Tzitz Eliezer (13:36) that Vihi Noam should not be recited after Shabbat Hagadol. And that is the prevailing custom.

Preparations for the Seder

The special foods for the Seder (salt water, charosset, zeroa) should be prepared before the beginning of Shabbat, since this may entail various Shabbat prohibitions.

If salt water was not prepared in advance, a small amount can be made on Shabbat (Mishna Berura 473:21), but it should be enough to completely cover the Karpas. First the salt should be put into the dish and then the water, such that the method of preparation will be different from the usual way it is prepared during a weekday (see Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 118:4).

If the charosset (that the marror will be dipped into) was not prepared before Shabbat, the nuts should be chopped into pieces that are somewhat larger than usual. The ingredients should be mixed in a way that keeps them wet: first the wine should be put into the vessel, followed by the nuts and the other ingredients. It is best to mix the ingredients using a finger (the Chazon Ish says that a spoon can be used – Orach Chaim 58:5). One who makes a thick mixture using the two described above changes also has somebody on whom he can rely (see Shulchan Aruch 321:16 and Mishna Berura ibid, 68). If a small amount of liquid was added to the charosset before Shabbat (more than a few drops) additional liquid can be added on Shabbat (Mishna Berura ibid, 65).

If the zeroa (the shankbone) was not roasted before Shabbat, a bone can be put on the Seder plate that has been cooked but not roasted.

The Night of the Seder

Early commentators disagreed if the special Shabbat prayers "Magen Avot" and "Me'ein Sheva" should be recited at the end of Maariv in the synagogue, and the ruling is not to say them (Calendar of Eretz Yisrael; Yavia Omer volume 2, Orach Chaim 25). But the passage " Vayechulu" is recited. Some people do not recite "Shalom Aleichem" on any Friday night during a holiday (Mateh Efraim 583:1), and among those who do say it on other holidays some do not say it on the Seder night in order not to delay the start of the Seder ( Responsa Rav Pe'alim 1 - Sod Yesharim 13), while others do say it (Calendar of Eretz Yisrael). One possibility is to say each stanza only once, and not to recite "Eishet Chayil."

The Seventh Day of Pesach

One should remember to perform an "Eiruv tavshilim" on Thursday, before the beginning of the seventh day, so that one will be allowed to cook on Friday. One takes a matza and another cooked food (a common custom is to take a hard-boiled egg), and then recites the appropriate text. Even one who does not intend to cook for Shabbat but only to light candles must make an eiruv since this is necessary to light the candles and to warm food for Shabbat. Somebody who is a guest for the holiday and Shabbat is not required to make an eiruv.

One is allowed on the seventh day of Pesach to prepare foods that it is customary not to eat on Pesach, such as soaked matza (for those who are stringent) or kitniyot, to be eaten on Shabbat. But one must be very careful not to eat this food on the seventh day of Pesach by mistake. (And the kitniyot must be carefully checked before cooking them, to make sure that there is no wheat mixed in with them.) In principle, these foods can be prepared in utensils that are used for Pesach, especially if they will not be used for the subsequent twenty-four hours, but it is better if possible to use dispensable dishes.

Shabbat right after the Seventh of Pesach

Is one allowed to eat chametz on this Shabbat? The rabbis discussed this matter from the point of view that at the moment of twilight the chametz was " muktzeh" – not to be handled – (since it was prohibited as chametz). We might then say that since it was muktzeh at the start of Shabbat we cannot eat it on Shabbat (see Tosafot Beitza 4a; Shaar Hamelech Yom Tov 1:24; Or Samayach Yom Tov 4:10). The ruling in the Calendar of Eretz Yisrael is that one may be lenient in terms of this reason (but he ruled to be stringent for other reasons), while the ruling in Yechaveh Dei'ah is to be lenient (volume 2, 64). In practice, one can be lenient for food that was sold to a Gentile only as an extra precaution (such as food that was opened before Pesach, or that does not have formal Pesach approval even though the ingredients all seem to be kosher for Pesach, and so on). As noted above, this definitely applies to kitniyot, which can be eaten on Shabbat.

The Link between Shabbat and Pesach

In general there is a significant difference between Shabbat and a holiday. Shabbat is at the holiest level, and it is permanent and is regularly repeat. The holidays, on the other hand, are established based on the way the nation of Yisrael sets the months. As is written, "This month is for you" [Shemot 12:2] – It depends on your decision. As we say in the Amidah blessing, "He who sanctifies Yisrael and the holidays."

However, we find that the Torah describes the first day of Pesach as Shabbat – the counting of the Omer takes place "From the day after Shabbat" [Vayikra 23:15]. There are other parallels between Shabbat and Pesach, such as the mitzva to remember, which must be performed orally (the memory of the Exodus and the command, "Remember the day of Shabbat... [Shemot 20:7]).

The first day of Pesach is special in the way it corresponds to Shabbat. Just as the sanctity of Shabbat is exalted, coming down from above, so the sanctity of Pesach comes from above. The world is not capable of absorbing the message of redemption, the revelation of the Kingdom of G-d, which appears as a flash of lightning, with great haste, in a way that defies nature. (This theme is expanded in my Hagadda for Pesach, "Halacha Mimekorah.")

Rav Rimon's Hagadda "Halacha Mimekorah" can be ordered by phone: 02-5474542/7.

Tell a friend|Print|Close

What Is That Phrase?

How did Politicians get into the Mishna?/Yaacov Etzion

The following appears in a Mishna in the tractate of Terumot: "Here is what Rabbi Yehuda said: Onions from the city-state can be given for those from the villages, but not from the villages for the city-states, because this is food for 'politikin.'" According to Rabbi Yehuda, the onions which grow in the cities are larger and better than those grown in the villages, and Teruma should be given from produce that is of highest quality. As support for his viewpoint, Rabbi Yehuda notes that onions which grow within the boundary of the city are food for politikin. Rabbi Yitzchak Ben Malkitzedek (Rimbatz – from southern Italy in the twelfth century) explains: "The royal people are called politikin, that is kings. The royal city is called poli."

It is true that the word politics is derived from the Greek word "polis" – and this is also the source of the word "police." Politikin are citizens of the city, especially those who establish its policies and its behavior – that is, the local political climate.

The Greek Polis is called a city-state, because it was an autonomous area which had its own independent laws and behavior. The word "state" – "medina" – comes from the root "din" – meaning judgment. Its original meaning was an area with a uniform legal system. The empire of Achashverosh, from Hodu to Kush, had 127 regions which had one degree or another of autonomy. And therefore each such area was called a medina, a state: "One hundred and twenty seven states, each one had its own writing and each nation had its own language" [Esther 1:22].

In the time of the sages the meaning of the word medina changed somewhat, and it was used to refer to any large and important city. (In Arabic too, the word medina means a city. The full name of the city Medina is "Medinat Rassul Allah," the city of the messenger of Allah.) And the word "ir" took on the meaning of a city or a large village, a kefar. The word "ironi" in the Midrash does not mean a city-dweller as in modern Hebrew, rather it refers to a person from a small village. Here is a Midrash from the Torah portion of Massei: "This can be compared to a royal woman who had two servants, one an 'ironi' and the other a 'medini.' The 'ironi' spoke to her in a good way – Aren't you from a good family? Aren't you a wealthy woman? But the 'medini' one said, Aren't you from a poor family? Aren't you from a family that has suffered shame? Yirmiyahu was an 'ironi' from Anatot, when he entered Jerusalem he consoled the people with his words. But Yeshayahu, who was from a 'medina,' criticized the people."

Another interesting example of this change in meaning appears in Midrash Ruth Rabba: "'To live in the fields of Moav' [Ruth 1:1] – Rabbi Levi said, whenever you find the word 'field' (sadeh) this refers to a city in the language of the sages. And 'ir' means a medina, which means a regional authority."

Tell a friend|Print|Close

The Clear Vision Of Rav Kook

The Birth of Time/Rabbi Chagai Londin,
Hesder Yeshiva in Sdeirot and Machon Meir

What is time? It is our ability to mark the stages of a process. When time exists, we mark a specific point that serves as a beginning and from which we can measure progress. Time gives us our ability to mark movement and progress. In the ancient world the concept of time did not exist. Pagan man lived in a mundane cycle of life: birth, work, death, and back again. In the pagan world there is no way to progress, there is no process. Man is trapped in an endless Sisyphean cycle, and he cannot break out of it. This can only be characterized as slavery. Pagan man did not create units of time, and he was therefore under the control of the vanities of time: he was worn out, he acted out of inertia, and he did not control his own life. In Egypt, the site of the main culture of the ancient world, nothing goes beyond slavery. "From the beginning, no slave could ever escape from Egypt, which was closed and locked down" [Mechilta Yitro]. Not only the people of Yisrael but even the Egyptian "masters" were trapped in a spiritual status of slavery. They were closed to anything and everything beyond bland existence. There was nothing beyond random nature which ground down in the cycles of time.

All of this was about to change when the redemption from Egypt took place. The month of Nissan is the month when time was born into the world. "This month is for you the first of the months, it is first for you among all the months of the year" [Shemot 12:2]. History starts out on its journey in the month of Nissan. From now on there is a beginning, there is renewal, the gathering of historical memory has begun. Before we can come to the first holiday of Yisrael, Pesach, the holiday when history begins to take shape by "passing over" in haste and in huge steps – Shabbat Hagadol arrives. On Shabbat Hagadol, Bnei Yisrael ties up the Egyptian god, which is a lamb. This is a living creature which is the epitome of natural innocence, a flock of sheep which moves without any purpose. It is sheep without a shepherd, without any sense of time. We bind up the vain simplicity and mark the beginning, the great focal point.

Where does time take us? Where is history leading us? It is not just "a list of crimes, lunacies, and tragedies of the human race," as in the words of the historian, A. Gibon. According to Rav Kook, history is 'hester ya' – G-d is hidden. G-d reveals Himself in history. The image of the prophet Eliyahu, the prophet who was not overtaken by time and death but who was swept into heaven in a fiery storm, is that of one who is the harbinger of that "great and awesome day" [Malachi 3:13]. It is a great day without any limits of time – a day "which is neither day nor

Tell a friend|Print|Close

Straight Talk

How to Talk to Children and Adolescents about Intimate Issues /Yoni Lavie
Manager, "Chaverim Makshivim" Website

In our last article, we analyzed how hard it is for many parents to discuss intimate matters with their children, and we listed six reasons for this difficulty. We noted that this is a well-known human phenomenon (which is the background for the existence of the myth of the stork), but we said that the decision to ignore such a subject that is so important in the world of the children and the parents exacts a very heavy price.

Questions of Life

Like it or not, honest questions rise up from life itself, and there is no real way to avoid them. A young girl will see her mother changing her brother's diaper, and she will ask, "Why does he have that and I don't?" Children who see their mother's belly swell with a new child begin to wonder how the baby got in there, and even more important – how will it get out? Scraps of information that children absorb from friends in school or from news broadcasts can cause them to have questions about concepts and phenomena with which they are not familiar ("gay pride... single-sex marriage..." and so on).

And to take a very different example – the study of the Torah, which is full of open references to intimate issues, in the stories in the Torah and in the laws in the Mishnah and the Talmud. It goes without saying that the age of adolescence and mental and physical transformations that come with it also require some explanations. Time and again parents stand in front of this wave with a feeling of embarrassment, and they try to escape from the situation in many different ways. "You will understand when you grow up... I am too busy to talk now... Go ask your mother..." Such a response leaves the child even more confused. He or she did not receive an answer to the question, and he can only conclude that the question is not legitimate, for some reason that he cannot understand.

Why Should we Talk about It?

We should come to realize that we have an alternative. This is a brave Jewish world outlook that is not interested in evading the consideration of intimate subjects but rather wants to deal with them with joy, as a primary choice. This is a natural approach which views sexuality as part of life in general and of Jewish life in particular, as an expression of a healthy and developing life. It is an educational approach which views the parents as the ones who are responsible for educating their children, especially with respect to such a basic and vital subject. It is a Torah approach which opposes ignoring the subjects and denial but rather shows that there is no subject in the world that we are afraid to talk about – of course in a properly modest and appropriate way.

One of the most remarkable stories in the Talmud about this subject is the story of Rav Kahaneh, who hid under the bed of his mentor Rav, one of the greatest rabbis from Babylon, in order to learn how the rabbi behaved in his most intimate moments with his wife (Berachot 62). When Rav asked why his student was hidden under the bed, Rav Kahaneh replied, "It is Torah, and I must learn it." What happens between man and wife is not something strange or impure. It is pure and holy, and it is part of the Torah that we are required to study and to teach others.

The Main Principles of Explaining

When one is about to broach this subject, it is important to remember several principles:

(1) Faith in our abilities – If the Master of the World gave us children and the privilege of being their parents, it must be that we are capable of fulfilling the task successfully – to raise them, to teach them, and to get them ready for life, including such sensitive issues.

(2) The spiritual position – When we come to discuss these things with our children we should not view the matter as a "burden." Don't say to yourself, "There is no avoiding it, somebody must do the hard jobs." Rather, we should view it as a privilege and an opportunity, to teach the children wonderful things about themselves and about life in general. The pleasant attitude and the calm atmosphere that we adopt when we talk to them will be transferred to them too. (We can add that children ask about these subjects with a sense of innocence. The complications and the problematic associations appear with us, the adults.)

(3) Language – Things should be explained in a clean and modest way, not in "street language." But they should be spoken about honestly, and we should not be afraid to use explicit language and to call various organs by their proper names. The use of unclear language can be a cause of confusion, in addition to passing on a message of embarrassment and fear of speaking openly.

(4) The position of the child – It is good to clarify the background of the child's question, to express an interest in what he or she thinks about the matter and what he or she already knows. Have the children spoken about it in class?

(5) How should the talk proceed? – Parents should not talk about themselves but rather about men and women in general and about the human body in general. We should approach this subject with a sense of wonder at "How great Your deeds are, G-d" [Tehillim 104:24]. The reproductive process and the physical development demonstrate Divine wisdom in a way that encourages a feeling of wonder. (A book that is highly recommended for the level of junior high school and above is, "The Human Body: An Unbelievable Machine" – especially the first few chapters.)

(6) Who should talk, the mother or the father? – Instead of the common habit of "throwing" the job to the other side, and in spite of the natural tendency to have the mothers talk to the girls and the fathers talk to the boys – whichever parent feels closest to the specific child should be able to speak to him or her in the best possible way. It is also possible to have a conversation with both parents together. Of course, there are specific subjects (womanly or manly by nature) that are best explained to a daughter by her mother and to a son by his father.

(7) When should these matters be discussed? – There are many windows of opportunity that open up. For example: when the child asks an appropriate question; in conjunction with Torah study (in connection with the weekly Torah portion or linked to other Torah issues); in relation to topical news events (a "gay parade," a well-publicized affair with a "famous singer," and so on); on the occasion of reaching adolescence and social processes of becoming interested in the opposite sex. In addition, there may be a need for an initiative by the parents when they feel a need.

(8) How should specific subjects be explained? – (For example: How are children born? ... Not spilling seed... Unnatural urges... What is wrong with pornography? ... And more...). We cannot go into detail in this brief article. But you are invited to look at a new series of videos for parents that has been placed at "www.kipa.co.il" which gives examples of how to handle specific items.

(9) Self analysis – We should view our need to explain such matters to our children as an opportunity for a deep analysis of our own attitudes. If the parents feel that these issues are complex and in need of a solution, it will not be easy for them to discuss them with their children. The more they are settled within us and make us feel comfortable, the easier it will be for us to pass them on to the children.

For reactions, added material, and to join an e-mail list: milatova.org.il

Tell a friend|Print|Close

Items From "In The Tents Of Shem"

Am, Yisrael, and Chai /Dov Rozen,
(Summarized by Yisrael Rosenberg)

The birth of triplets is not very common, and as a result many sets of triplets have unique names that link the babies to each other.

Rachel Adway from the town Tenuvot in Emek Chefer, had this to say: "Why did we call them Am, Yisrael, and Chai? (That is, "The nation of Israel lives on.") We had a difficult time with their names... When I was lying in the hospital one of the nurses suggested that I use this phrase for their names. We accepted the suggestion with our blessing." [Maariv, Iyar 5736].

Another set of triplets were named Ben Tzvi, Ben Gurion, and Begin. Menachem Begin said: "Recently the triplets had a bar mitzva, and I was invited to their party. The father told his story at the party. The firstborn is Begin, while Ben Tzvi and Ben Gurion are younger. Usually Ben Tzvi and Ben Gurion get into fights with each other, and Begin has to separate them in order to restore the quiet in the house..."

The mother of Erez, Alon, and Oren (cedar, oak, and pine) simply wanted to rest for a while: "I would like to rest," declares Menucha Parnas, who is tired of all those who surround her baby carriage whenever she goes out for a walk in Givatayim. "What is that, three twins?" some children asked her innocently. And women ask, "How do you manage with them all?" Drivers call out from their cars, "Kol Hakavod! All our blessings!" ... And there was one elderly woman who took a look and declared, "What trouble that must be!" [Yediot Acharonot, Tammuz 5736].

 

Tell a friend|Print|Close

Riddle of the Week

Tzav/Yoav Shlossberg, Director of "Quiz and Experience"

Tzav
An Olah for the one who serves
Remove its head and you can say, "Yes"

Solution for last week – the riddle was: In our Torah portion it appears with a bird, And for the "King" it was used to compare with a kid.
What the hero took in his hands from a body, Was forbidden in our Torah portion.
What is said about a bird? What was forbidden? Who is the hero? Who is the "King?"

- It is written, "Let him split it with its feathers, but it is not necessary to separate it" [Vayikra 1:17]. The word for split is "veshissa." When Shimshon struck a lion, the King of the animals, it is written, "Behold, a lion cub roared at him, and the spirit of G-d rested on him, and he split it like one splits a kid" [Shoftim 14:5-6]. The word for splitting is "vayeshissaihu."
- Shimshon scraped some honey from the body of the lion. "And he turned aside to see the fallen carcass of the lion, and behold there was a swarm of bees in the carcass, with honey. And he scraped it into his hand and went along, eating..." [14:8-9]. Honey is not allowed to be offered as a sacrifice: "No leavening and no honey can be burned as an offering to G-d" [Vayikra 2:11].

Tell a friend|Print|Close


Total Items:11
Jump to page content