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The Somewhat Litvshe Yid

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yes...I know it's been a while...

Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I really have no excuse except laziness. I will try and get something Torah related up before Shabbos. Meanwhile...
We've been having a lot of guests for Shabbos lately. Friends of ours set yeshiva guys and sem girls up at various places in Israel for Shabbos. (And, yes, they do make sure not to send the guys and girls to the same yishuv). Anyway, the past two Shabbosim we've had guys from the Mir stay at our house and have a meal or two with us.
First of all...the guys couldn't be more different. Granted, they're close in age, for the most part in the same shiur (Reb Asher, if you're interested) and from Brooklyn. But that's where the differences start. The first group were from Flatbush, Torah Temima guys. They know my wife's family, know all the cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents. Go to the same bungalow colonies, etc. Their fathers are successful businessmen. English is their native language and I could understand them when we spoke in learning.
The second group, was...mmm a bit different. They're from Boro Park. Hungarishe Yidden, from the kehila of the Viner Rov. They spoke English with a thick Yiddishe accent and spoke Yiddish amongst themselves. When anything was said that included something related to learning or regular Hebrew/Yiddish words that pepper a Frum Jews conversation, I couldn't follow a thing said. Their fathers also all work, as it goes. One is in Chinuch, one's father is in diamonds...and the most interesting, one's father collects and reprints rare s'forim. They knew where to find all the important Kisvei Yad, what was at YU, what was at JTS, what was at Oxford. I was very impressed. They had never heard of Feudelism or Copernicus, though. They go visit the tzion of the Satmar Rov once a year. And here they were, sitting at the Shabbos table of a couple Mitnachlim in the middle of nowhere.
But here's the kicker, all the boys had orange ribbons on their bags. Some had orange bracelets. All had been down to Gush Katif for Shabbos at least. It's pretty amazing, I'd say.
There were some uncomfortable moments though. When I mentioned Rav Soloveitchik, it took them a moment to realize I wasn't talking about one of the Yerushalyim Briskers...and when the light went on..."Oh! J.B.!". At least with the second group one had noticed that this didn't sit well with me and gave his friend a sharp word on having kavod. Needless to say, as impressed as I was with all the boys, I'm not impressed with the historical revisionism and zilzul paid to one of the most preeminent talmedei chochomim of the past 50 years. Luckily, I have a wonderful wife, who knows how to keep me calm and not go into lectures of where R' Aharon sent R' Shneur to go learn when he came back from Israel. Or who R' Shneur turned to to save Lakewood after R' Aharon was niftar. Or who did most of the fundrasing for R' Velvel in America. Or who could put all their Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim in his back pocket in learning, without breaking a sweat. So, I keep my mouth shut, stew in silence.
As it stands, the boys from Boro Park enjoyed themselves so much they're sending a few more friends to us this Shabbos. I'll make sure to mention the Rav (both of them...).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


R' Rafael Shapiro once said to the Netziv:
My son-in-law is a better learner then your son-in-law.

Friday, July 08, 2005

So, I bought all these new s’forim, I should actually learn from them, shouldn’t I. So, on that note, I will share with you all something from HaGaon R’ Tzvi Pesach Frank’s Har Tzvi.

P’sachim 46a on the Mishna – כיצד מפרישין חלה בטומאה
R’ Frank brings a question that was raised by HGRAY Kook. He asks, why not just separate out the chalah, declare it as such and work with it so it will not become chometz (ואי משום חמץ יתעסק בה). R’ Frank answered just as it would be forbidden to bake it on Yom Tov without need (see Tosfos ד"ה לא תקרא לה שם for all the reasons why it is assur) so too it would be forbidden to knead the dough, being that kneading (לש) is also an Av Melacha. R’ Kook answered that there is no kneading after kneading (אין לישה אחר לישה) and therefore the working of the dough would not be considered kneading to make it forbidden. R’ Frank disagrees, stating that the kneading, since it would further improve the dough there would be לישה אחר לישה. Though, it needs further clarification if this is the case, whether or not the דין of לישה is fulfilled with the mixing of the flour and water (גיבול).
He goes on to clarify some points of גיבול and לישה, and the original question remains.

I discussed the question with my Rav the other day when I was driving him to Yeshiva. He frowned, shrugged and said, what’s the question? Chalah that has become ritually impure (טמא) is מוקצה on Yom Tov. Though he said the answer was too easy and he was surprised that neither of the Gaonim involved mentioned it, and that he would have to look over the sugiya since he was sure he was missing something.

That I should be zocheh to such humility.

Parshas Chukas

The Gemara at the end of Moed Koton (28a) asks, why did the Torah connect (למה נסמכה התורה) the portion of the Red Heifer and the death of Miriam? (Considering that the mitzvah was obviously given earlier, Bamidbar 8:7 הזה עליהם מי חטאת see Emek Davar Bamidbar 19:1) It answers there with the statement, just as the Red Heifer atones (מכפרת) so the death of the righteous (מיתתן של צדיקים) atones.
There is another Gemara, at the end of Sanhedrin (113a), which seems to contradict this statement of Chazal. When a righteous man passes from this world ( צדיק נפטר מן העולם), evil comes to the world (רעה באה לעולם). This is learned out from the pasuk in Yeshayahu(57:1) The righteous perishes and no man lays it to heart(הצדיק אבד, ואין איש שם על-לב), and the merciful men are taken away from the evil to come(ואנשי-חסד נאספים באין מבין, כי-מפני הרעה נאסף הצדיק).

Rav Moshe Tzuriel, in his Otzros HaAggadah (ח"א), gives an interesting answer. He bases it on another Gemara in Sanhedrin (108b), that the funeral oration of the righteous staves off retribution (ללמדך שהספדן של צדיקים מעכבין את הפורענות). Why does the death of the righteous bring atonement on the world? When they are remembered, people are aroused to repentance and good deeds, as the righteous are taken as role models and the tales of their actions are mentioned and spread. If, though, no one pays attention to the Hespaidim and the passing of the tzaddik is looked over, then truly it brings evil on the world. Since not only was an opportunity lost to those surviving, but the good that he himself did will not increase. Such is the case from the pasuk in Yeshayahu, the righteous perishes and no man lays it to heart. His passing is ignored, his life not taken as an inspiration.

May we all be zocheh to see the Geula Sh’leimah speedily in our days.

Good Sabbos.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Parshas Korach

And Moshe heard(וישמע) and fell upon his face (Bamidbar 15:4).
The Gemara in Sanhedrin(110a) asks, what was the rumor(שמועה) that Moshe heard that caused him to fall upon his face? R’ Shmuel Bar Nachmani answers in the name of R’ Yochanan that the rumor was that Moshe was suspected of adultery (אשת איש). He brings a proof from Tehillim (106:16): And they envied(ויקנאו) Moshe in the camp. R’ Shmuel Bar Yitzchak learned further from this verse that it wasn’t only that they suspected Moshe, but they want as far as to warn their wives(כל חד ואחד קנא את אשתו) not to be alone with him. That warning being an integral step in the Sotah process, wherein a man warns his wife not to be alone(יחוד) with a man, and only then if she is alone with him can she be tried as a Sotah. And this is essentially why Moshe moved his tent out of the Machane(Shmos 33).

The question would then be, Moshe, who was the most humble of all men, who most likely wouldn’t take umbrage at such things fell upon his face. Why would this be the case? Because of a slight to his personal honor? Unlikely. I saw a spectacular answer to this question. The fact is that this statement was not only a slight against Moshe, but against all the women in Israel as well as the Torah.
The Israelite woman’s son then blasphemed G-d’s name with a curse and he was brought before Moshe. His mother’s name was Shelomis Bas Divri, from the tribe of Dan. (Vayikra 24:11)
Why does the Torah mention the name of his mother? To teach us of the greatness of the women of Israel, that amongst them on she was licentious. (Rashi ad. Loc.)
Therefore, the Torah goes out of its way to say that all the women in Israel were pure and above reproach, yet the men still suspected them. This suspicion was in direct contradiction to the words of the Torah. Therefore it was in effect denying the validity of the Torah, in whose honor Moshe fell upon his face.

(seen in Panim Chadashos B’Torah by R’ Ben Tzion Firer)

Gut Sabbos!