Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
בעת שישב המלך על כסא מלכותו. כותב לו ספר תורה לעצמו יתר על הספר שהניחו לו אבותיו. ומגיהו מספר העזרה על פי בית דין של שבעים ואחד. אם לא הניחו לו אבותיו או שנאבד כותב שני ספרי תורה. אחד מניחו בבית גנזיו שהוא מצווה בו ככל אחד מישראל. והשני לא יזוז מלפניו. אלא בעת שיכנס לבית הכסא. או לבית המרחץ. או למקום שאין ראוי לקריאה. יוצא למלחמה והוא עמו. נכנס והוא עמו. יושב בדין והוא עמו. מיסב והוא כנגדו שנאמר והיתה עמו וקרא בו כל ימי חייו:
והמלך מצוה עליו לכתוב ספר תורה אחד לעצמו לשם המלך יתר על ספר שיהיה לו כשהוא הדיוט שנאמר והיה כשבתו על כסא ממלכתו וכתב לו וגו'. ומגיהין אותו מספר העזרה ע"פ בית דין הגדול. זה שהיה לו כשהוא הדיוט מניחו בבית גנזיו. וזה שכתב או שנכתב לו אחר שמלך יהיה עמו תמיד. ואם יצא למלחמה ספר תורה עמו. נכנס והוא עמו. יושב בדין והוא עמו. מיסב והוא כנגדו שנאמר והיתה עמו וקרא בו כל ימי חייו:
There are minute differences between the Rambam's words (why he repeats the halacha in two places is itself worth asking) but I don't know if there is any substantive change. What bothers me is this din thatthe sefer torah of the melech has to be checked against the sefer in the azarah by B”D of 71. The Ralbag explains pshat in the pasuk “v’kasav lo… al pi hakohanim ha’levi’im” as referring to this copying of the azarah text, which was considered the most exact, the “master copy” against which all other texts were judged. But if it’s just a matter of ensuring the accuracy of the text, why is this halacha limited to a melech – shouldn’t every individual strive to copy the most accurate text possible, as efshar l’vareir? And why does this process of proofing the text require a B”D of 71? I haven’t looked into any meforshim yet, just scratching my head and wondering.
Update -- my wife's cousin, R' Avraham Wagner, suggested another approach derech derush: there are two types of halachic judgment: that of beis din, and that of the Melech. The judgment of beis din requires a plurality, burden of proof, etc., while the king judges alone, without need for eidim and hasra'ah. Perhaps these two systems are represented by the two sifrei Torah; one in which he is equal to all of klal Yisrael, signifying the legal system instituted by Moshe al pi haDibbur. This may be left to him by his father. But the second, the Torah in which he must read all the days of his life, which is always with him, represents the king's unique judicial authority. This must be written specifically for him, because his own personality will inevitably color his judgment, and he needs to take that into account. And, lacking the checks and balances inherent in the regular system, this ST must undergo, at the outset, the highest possible level of scrutiny, to ensure no mistakes which can later wreak havoc.
On a practical level, we can all take a limud from this. We all try to act in accordance with halacha and the ratzon Hashem. To this end, we study, discuss with our betters and peers, and introspect, seeking clarity and correctness to the highest possible degree. However, we all incorporate a "melech " as well; there are times when we act instinctively, emotionally, or intuitively, without prior rational investigation. We need to be aware of this reality, so we can shape and guide it before the fact, in order that the results of our melech also follow the dictates of pas'shegen Oraysa hada.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
We also once discussed a question of the Nimukei Yosef that is relevant to this issue. R’ Yochanan (Bava Kamma 22) holds that the act of arson is like shooting an arrow at someone else’s property. Nimukei Yosef in his hava amina understands this to mean that I become a mazik when the arrow strikes its target or the fire causes its damage. If so, asks the Nimukei Yosef, how can we light Shabbos candles – it should be like we are burning things on Shabbos as the fire consumes its fuel? If the Nimukei Yosef held that Shabbos was different than other areas of halacha because the chiyuv stems from the action rather than on the result, this question would not get off the ground. There is no comparison between mazik, where one is chayav for the result when the damage occurs, and Shabbos, where one is chayav for initiating the action, which occurs before Shabbos and not on Shabbos itself.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
אֶרֶץ חִטָּה וּשְׂעֹרָה וְגֶפֶן וּתְאֵנָה וְרִמּוֹן אֶרֶץ זֵית שֶׁמֶן וּדְבָשׁ
Monday, August 18, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
אבל אחרים חדשו בפירוש הכתוב הזה ענין עמוק מאד ודרשו בזה סוד מסודות התורה, ואמרו כי "בכל" תרמוז על ענין גדול, והוא שיש להקב"ה מדה תקרא "כל", מפני שהיא יסוד הכל, ובה נאמר (ישעיה מד כד): אנכי ה' עושה כל, והוא שנאמר (קהלת ה ח): ויתרון ארץ בכל הוא, יאמר כי יתרון הארץ וטובה הגדולה השופע על כל באי עולם בעבור כי בכל היא, והיא המדה השמינית מי"ג מדות
There should have been outrage. Instead there was silence. Going forward, Israel needs to hear from American Jewry more than ever. It is not enough to sit back and say Israel can handle it. Too many lives are at stake. We have the luxury of influencing policy from afar. Midterm elections are coming. Jews can show the President their dismay at the voting booth. The Media can be held with its feet to the fire too.
American Jewry has a responsibility to make sure the Media is fair and unbiased. Blogs, Letters to the Editor, Emails to Media Outlets and Publishers,and overall outrage at the distortion, lies, and irresponsibility all helps. Wake up Jews of America, it is time to act.
I’ve written pretty much the same thing here last week and the week before and the message can’t be repeated enough. Is anyone out there listening?
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
מצות עשה להתפלל בכל יום, שנאמר "ועבדתם, את ה' אלוהיכם
פעמיים בכל יום, קוראים קרית שמע--בערב ובבוקר: שנאמר "ובשוכבך ובקומך
Friday, August 08, 2014
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
I don’t know if it’s still the slogan, but the rage among certain movements used to be the term “Jewish identity.” From our perspective it makes no sense – how do you create a Jewish identity without Torah and mitzvos? But the truth is, maybe there is something to it. My wife noticed yesterday that the speakers in the 9 Av program we attended, who were by and large from the yeshiva world, not flag waving tzionim, referred to “our soldiers,” attacks on “our people.” One of the speakers mentioned that last week he was in Eretz Yisrael and he had to get out of his car because there was a siren that went off. He found himself lying alongside the highway with a “traditional” Jew next to him on one side and a chiloni on the other side -- but he felt one with them. Yair Lapid’s views on many issues may clash with ours, but Yair Lapid knew where to find a sefer Tehillim when those kidnapped Jewish teens needed G-d’s help. That’s Jewish identity. What defines the unaffiliated Jew as unaffiliated is not his lack of shemiras hamitzvos or lack of belief in this or that of the ikkarei emunah. What makes him unaffiliated is his not shedding a tear or uttering a prayer these past few weeks.
Monday, August 04, 2014
2) The gemara in a number of places writes that an aveil is chayav in all mitzvos except for tefillin (on the first day of aveilus). All mitzvos? Isn’t an aveil not allowed to engage in talmud Torah, asks the Ritva in Moed Katan (15)? The Ritva gives two answers: 1) an aveil is exempt from talmud Torah and the gemara was just giving a general rule to which there are exceptions; 2) an aveil is chayav in talmud Torah and fulfills that obligation with the minimum of reciting shema. According to the first answer, it seems that learning topics like aveilus and midrashim about the churban, which according to the Ritva are permissible both during aveilus and on 9 Av, is not done for the sake of fulfilling the chiyuv of talmud Torah – no such chiyuv exists. Rather, these limudim are permissible as part and parcel of absorbing the message of the day and engaging in aveilus.
Shu”T Divrei Yatziv (O.C. 240 here) writes that the reason we abstain from learning on 9 Av is to show that our mourning is not primarily about our loss of sovereignty – it’s about the bitul Torah caused by galus (see Chagigah 5b). We ask Hashem to bring geulah so that the glory of Torah should be returned. (I think you can say the same vort even if you don’t agree that bitul Torah is the primary focus of our mourning.)
3) It’s not clear why the shir shel yom is pushed from shacharis to minchah on 9 Av. Since you are allowed to say everything that is part of the normal seder of tefilah, why is the shir shel yom any different than, for example, korbanos?
4) The Navi promises that the fasts we have for the churban will one day become celebrations. Tisha b’Av itself is called a “moed” and we skip tachanun (according to some views ironically an aveil may not daven for the amud on 9 Av because it is a moed). B’shlama cancelling the aveilus and fasting, we understand that once there is a complete geulah there is no need to mourn, but why must these days gufa become transformed into yamim tovim?
Hashem does not engage in destruction for the sake of destruction – every soseir is soseir al menas livnos. What the Navi is telling us is that these difficult days themselves, which to us appear so filled with suffering, are in truth the building blocks of geulah. The very same events which we look at as tragic today will one day become sources of celebration.
Friday, August 01, 2014