Sunday, October 14, 2007

We All Forget Sometimes

This Shabbos was both Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh. This means that when we bentched we said both Ritzei and Ya'aleh Vi'yavo - in that order, based on the rule that whatever is more frequent is done first [Tadir visheaino tadir, tadir kodem]. Let us say that a person mistakenly started to say Ya'aleh Vi'yavo FIRST and then realized in the middle that he forgot to say Ritzei. Should he stop and say Ritzei and then go back and say Ya'aleh Vi'yavo or should he finish saying Yaáleh Vi'yavo since he already started and say Ritzei afterwards?

More to come.........

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Sad Simchas Torah

I have not been in the USA for Simchas Torah in over 25 years. But I was told by a number of people that in many shuls people get drunk. Boozing and Shmoozing.

Very distressing [in spite of my strong Chassidic bent].

Why can't people get drunk with Torah? Torah is INTOXICATING!

Amongst the gentiles alcohol is the primary focus of many a party. Maybe even our Simchas TORAH is "under the influence" [pun intended] of the surrounding culture.

Like almost everything else we do.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chametz With The Korban Pesach - Continued

In fact, the Meshech Chochmah in Bamidbar understands Rashi to be saying that one may not eat the korban pesach with chametz and attempts to furnish proofs to that effect.

But others read Rashi differently. According to the variant reading of Rashi one MAY eat the korban pesach together with chametz. The reading would then be: "Ain issur chametz" - there is no prohibition against eating chametz on Pesach Sheni, "ella imo b'achilaso" - but rather even with the korban pesach he may eat chametz.

See Rav Shach [a giant who was barely 5 feet tall - if that] in his Avi Ezri [Hil. Korban Pesach 9/15] for a rebuttal of the Meshech Chochma.

Heretical Believers

I saw the following comment written by Eytan Kobre on and I enjoyed reading it so I thought that I would share it with my friends.

Dancing this past Simchas Torah to Toras Hashem Temimah, we arrived at the words “eidus Hashem ne’emanah, machkimas pesi” and the following occurred to me:

Elsewhere, the possuk defines a pesi as a “ma’amin l’chol davar,” one who’ll believe anything. Now, it was G.K. Chesterton who famously observed that when one stops believing in G-d, it’s not that henceforth he believes in nothing, but rather that he’ll now believe in anything.

This, then, is Dovid HaMelech’s paean to the Torah — it wises up the pesi. That is to say, Hashem’s testimony teaches the pesi - whose standards of truth are so low and whose inability to think subtly is so great that he’ll believe anything so long as it suits his physical and ego drives - to search for and believe in only that which proves itself to be the truth.

For a living, breathing example of how this works in practice, consider this gem from an interview last week in the Guardian of Dick Dawkins, who, for those thankfully unfamiliar with him, makes a living writing atheistic best-sellers and does a little teaching on the side:

"When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told — religious Jews anyway — than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolize American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."

So there you have it, folks. Meet Richard Dawkins, Oxford don, evolutionary biologist, militant atheist, raving conspiracy theorist. And now, confirmed pesi.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

When The Torah Sanctioned Chametz With The Korban Pesach

We recently discussed how a person may eat a cheeseburger while fulfilling the mitzva of sitting in the succah [a goy]. What about a Jew eating his korban pesach and his matza together some delicious maror while in his kitchen he has the most sumptuous chametz'dike challos that you have ever seen?

No way, Jose?

Yes way, Joaquin! [All the time I spent in Washington Heights created within me a special affinity for Dominican names.]

If one was unable to bring the korban pesach in Nissan he has another opportunity in Iyar. This is called "Pesach Sheni". The Mishna in Pesachim [95a] teaches that one may have chametz in the home when eating the Pesach Sheni.

Is it permitted to actually EAT the korban pesach with chametz. A chometz'dike korban pesach sandwich. MMMMMMMMMM. Sounds delicious. I can't see any reason why it would be forbidden. [It would actually be tastier if it were forbidden......]

But wait!! Rashi says [Bamidbar 9/10] the following "V'ain issur chametz, ella IMO B'ACHILASO". Rashi seems to be saying that one may OWN chametz while eating his Pesach Sheni but may not actually eat the two together.

You don't see me now but I just hit the roof! Why not???? What is the problem? The mishna teaches that chametz is not a problem on Pesach Sheni so why can one not eat his korban pesach with chametz?

The drama thickens! To be continued...........

Productive Slumber

Are you single? Do you know someone who is single? [I think that I have covered everybody.] Listen carefully!

Rashi [2,23] teaches us that Adam "dated" every single animal in the hope that he would find his match. Every date bombed! Then when he was SLEEPING Hashem gave him his wife [2,21].

Moral: We try and try but in the end it is the One Upstairs who will send us our salvation. This applies to marriage - and to everything else in life. We need two things: Belief and patience. [Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlita in his Emunas Itecha]

Ben And Jerry On A Hot Saturday Afternoon - The Rationale

All of the forbidden labors have one thing in common, namely that they are all CREATIVE. There is one exception - hotza'a [removing from one domain to another]. When one takes an object to a different domain no change is being made in the object itself. [That is why hotza'a is called a melacha gru'ah (an inferior mode of labor)]. So when one performs any other melacha in a DESTRUCTIVE manner he would be exempt from bringing a korban because he has defeated the purpose of the melacha. But since hotza'a is not defined a CREATIVE mode of labor it would not matter if it was performed in a destructive manner. The person would still be chayav.

This explains why the gemara [91a] entertained the notion that one would be guilty of a forbidden labor [of hachnasa] when he throws teruma into a house that would render the food tamei. Apparently, since the teruma would become tamei the act is definitely destructive and he should be patur because of mekalkel. But now we understand! Mekalkel does not apply to the melacha of hotza'a. [Rav Yitzchak Shmelkes in Shu"t Beis Yitzchak].

So be careful with that ice cream!!

Note for machshava lovers: See Pachad Yitzchak [Shabbos - at the beginning of the sefer] for an indescribably brilliant exposition of why hotzaá is the melacha that best defines what Shabbos is all about.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ben And Jerry On A Hot Saturday Afternoon

Is it permitted to take out ice cream on shabbos from the private domain to the public domain if there is no eruv. Forbidden! Of course. For that you don't need alleyways.

But what about a hot day when the ice cream starts melting immediately when you take it out. Then it would be "mikalkel" - a destructive act which is normally permitted [biblically and one is exempt from a korban, but forbidden rabbinically] on shabbos.

However the great Rav Yitzchak Shmelkes that in such an instance there would still be a biblical prohibition. Why? It is mekalkel because the ice cream is melting. Mekalkel is not biblically prohibited? What is his rationale?

A question for ice cream lovers world-wide.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Honking Horns

I often ponder the issue of HONKING HORNS. When someone honks, all too often the person who is blocking the road is unable to move forward because the car in front of him is stuck - behind another car which is stuck. So why do people often honk? Nervousness. It doesn't help. But people are sooooo edgy. Chill Phil. Also it stems from an attitude that the road exists only so that I can use it for MY purposes. So how can someone get in MY way on MY road and obstruct MY path. CHUTZPAH!


This is called not so affectionately by the mussar books - Gaivah [for females - girlvah].

Sometimes honking wakes up the driver in the other car from a deep slumber. In such an instance it is a great idea.

To utilize Brisker terminology - two dinim in honking.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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