Friday, August 31, 2012

.ל Which Direction to Face?

היה עומד בח"ל יכוין את לבו כנגד ארץ ישראל שנא' והתפללו אליך דרך ארצם היה עומד בארץ ישראל יכוין את לבו כנגד ירושלים שנאמר והתפללו אל ה' דרך העיר אשר בחרת היה עומד בירושלים יכוין את לבו כנגד בית המקדש שנאמר והתפללו אל הבית הזה היה עומד בבית המקדש יכוין את לבו כנגד בית קדשי הקדשים שנאמר והתפללו אל המקום הזה היה עומד בבית קדשי הקדשים יכוין את לבו כנגד בית הכפורת היה עומד אחורי בית הכפורת יראה עצמו כאילו לפני הכפורת נמצא עומד במזרח מחזיר פניו למערב במערב מחזיר פניו למזרח בדרום מחזיר פניו לצפון בצפון מחזיר פניו לדרום נמצאו כל ישראל מכוונין את לבם למקום אחד
There are many interesting discussions related to the topic of which way to face when davening. If we assume that we should at least attempt to face ירושלים directly from wherever we are (more on that later) there are two ways to accomplish that. The לבוש and others seem to suggest that we should draw a straight line to ירושלים as if on a flat map in order to establish the proper direction. This is known as the Rhumb Line.The ספר אמונת חכמים (somewhere in פרק כ"ד) takes umbrage with that approach and maintains that we should follow what is known as the Great Circle Route. That is the shortest actual distance between two points on the globe, taking into account the curvature of the Earth. For example, when a plane travels from New York to Israel, it will actually head out North-East as it will get there faster. To get an idea of how this works, take a string and place it on the two points on a globe and make the string as tight as possible. You will see that the path does not start out South-East as you might have suspected.

So this is all fascinating but what do we do with all this information? That's where KosherJava.com comes in. This is a brilliant site dedicated to software development for the purpose of calculating זמנים and זמנים-related issues. One of the more fascinating creations found there is the Zmanim / Bearing to Yeushalayim Map which allows you to click on any point on a Google Map (or search) and get not only the זמנים for that point but the exact bearing to ירושלים according to the above שיטות.

I will bring in some concrete examples of this map in a moment. But first, I want to discuss the position of the ערוך השלחן. He discusses (או"ח צ"ד:ז-ח) this issue at great length. He has a fascinating observation on the גמרא to support his conclusion. The פסוקים brought in reference to one davening outside of ירושלים or ארץ ישראל read "והתפללו אליך דרך ארצם," and "והתפללו אל ה' דרך העיר." But for someone in ירושלים, the פסוק states "והתפללו אל הבית הזה," and so on. The word דרך does not appear. He suggests that outside of ירושלים, although one's mindset should be focused on the בית קדש הקדשים, there is no way face exactly in that direction. Rather, one should simply face in the approximate direction. If I am understanding correctly, according to this, in North America, it would be sufficient to simply face East. But it would seem that wherever you are, you should at least make sure to face towards the principal direction. In other words, since ארץ ישראל from North America is certainly more East than South (or North according to אמונת חכמים) it is East that is important. 

This leads further to a statement made by רמ"א צ"ד:ב that since where he is situated is West of ארץ ישראל, they face East (sounds a lot like the ערוך השלחן.) Let us return to the handy bearing map from KosherJava.com. Below is bearing map from the רמ"א's home city of Krakow (you can drag the map around to move it) showing that the angle to ירושלים is at least 142° which is more South than East. So shouldn't they have been facing South.


Let us use this fabulous tool for even further investigation. It is important to note the language of the אמונת חכמים in taking the לבוש to task:
במ״ש הרב בעל הלבושים סימן צ״ד סעיף ג׳ ז״ל, ודע שכל הארצות האלו אשר אנו מפוזרים בהם כולם הם כנגד מערבית צפונית של א״י ואינם מכוונים במערב של א״י ממש וכו׳ לפיכך נ״ל וכו׳ שיזהר שיעשו הכותל מזרחי כו׳ שיהא נוטה קצת לצד מזרחית דרומית וכו׳ עכ״ל, ואמת הוא שבארץ אשכנז ופולוניא וכו׳ האמת הוא כדבריו וכו׳ אבל כל מ״ש בטעם זה אחרי המחילה הראוי טעות הוא בידו ואינו ענין לדבר זה כלל, וכבר נמצאו כמה מקומות ומדינות שאעפ״י שנמצאו בהם אותם תנאים שכתב הרב בעל הלבושים עכ״ז הרוצה לפנות כלפי א״י ממש צריך לנטות קצת כלפי צפון עכ״ל.
Now, let us observe the lines from the לבוש's home city of Prague, below. Due to the proximity to ארץ ישראל the actual difference between the two is minute, at best. If you click around, you'll find that you have to go as far South as Morocco to find a discrepancy which would lead to a dispute as to whether to turn slightly North or South. And there also the difference is minimal. (The אמונת חכמים lived in Mantua, Italy where the difference would also have been minimal.) The actual significance of this discrepancy is really only truly felt in the Western Hemisphere. (It does seem the אמונת חכמים acknowledges that the לבוש's פסק would be sufficient for his own land.)

As long as this post is, it only really scratches the surface of this vast topic. For more reading, please see the following extended essays (links also thanks to KosherJava.com):
ישורון article
Which way shall we turn?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

.כ”ט The Divine Hand

והתועים על דעתך ישפטו ועל הרשעים תניף ידיך
There is something that struck me as slightly odd about this pharse. ידיך is clearly in the plural form. I am not by any means an expert with the full of knowledge of all Jewish texts at my fingertips but to my limited recollection, it seems that whenever we refer to the Divine Hand it is in the singular form, as in היד החזקה and וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה. I can’t recall any instance where we refer to HaShem’s having hands. And it would stand to reason. Any limb which we would attribute to the Divine through anthropomorphosis should be perfect and not need a companion.

Perhaps I’m on to something. Speaking of היד החזקה, I was intrigued to explore how the text of this תפילה is presented in the later works. It is not uncommon to see the text of the גמרא undergo a certain degree of metamorphosis in the פוסקים (e.g. the תפילה for the בעל הבית in ברכת המזון.) While the ערוך השלחן preserves the spelling of ידיך I found that רמב”ם הל’ תפלה ב:ג has ידך without the יו”ד!

I would be most interested to hear any arguments for or against my assertion above.

Update: When I mentioned this to my brother he almost instantaneously pointed me to the .גמרא כבובות ה which references מקדש ה' כוננו ידיך and discusses why, in fact, it is in the plural form. Nevertheless, I still maintain that it is an exception and the norm is to refer to יד in the singular. The גירסא in the רמב"ם still supports that assertion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

.כ"ז The right time for מנחה

השתא דלא אתמר הלכתא לא כמר ולא כמר דעבד כמר עבד ודעבד כמר עבד
At first glance, this statement certainly seems to present a leniency when it comes to when מנחה and מעריב should be davened. Much has been written about how what can be done on a daily basis as well as leniencies that might exist for ערב שבת. However, the ערוך השלחן או"ח רל"ג:ז has and interesting take on it. He writes that the intent of the גמרא is not to give you a choice. Rather, ideally, one should account for both opinions by making sure to finish מנחה before פלג המנחה like רבי יהודה but then not to start מעריב until after שקיעה like the רבנן. Of course, that is very difficult to do, especially in the winter.

.כ”ז What is תדיר?

היו לפניו שתי תפלות אחת של מוסף ואחת של מנחה מתפלל של מנחה ואחר כך של מוסף שזו תדירה וזו אינה תדירה

Interesting little observation on this halachic tidbit. This seems to be a blanket statement which applies across the board to ראש חודש, חול המועד. שבת and יום טוב. When it comes to שבת or יום טוב, one might have suggested that since the structure of the תפילה has changed, the מנחה is no more תדיר than מוסף. That is to say, we say מנחה of שבת just as often as we say מוסף of שבת. Nevertheless, we see that is not the case. Despite the change in structure, we still judge the overall regularity of מנחה in whatever form it may take. I can’t think of any other case where this rule would be applicable. But I’m sure there’s one out there.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

:כ"ה Donkey Meat

עכו"ם אצטריכא ליה מהו דתימא הואיל וכתיב בהו אשר בשר חמורים בשרם אימא כחמור בעלמא הוא
This passage is actually teaching a separate הלכה which may or may not have been obvious - that a naked animal is not a problem of ערוה (although a pig is problematic due to the excrement that is always found on it as we have seen previously.) I don't think this is otherwise completely obvious. Although the root of the prohibition of ערוה seems to be attraction and distraction, one might have thought that the תורה prohibition of ולא יראה בך ערות דבר is absolute. In fact, it is, just that it seems from the way this גמרא plays out that the nakedness of animal is simply not called ערוה at all.

I am adding a new tag to my list - מאאקמל - standing for מלתא אגב אורחיה קמשמע לן - to include points that are derived from the גמרא only by reading between the lines.

:כ"ה I don't know

מאן שמעת ליה דאמר כוליה בית כארבע אמות דמי ר"ש בן אלעזר היא
רש"י: מאן שמעת ליה וכו'. לא ידעתי היכן היא
There is a marking on this רש"י which leads to the גיליון הש"ס of ר' עקיבא עיגר. One would have hoped to find there רע"א tracking down this lost reference to ר"ש בן אלעזר's opinion. However, what we find instead is a lengthy list of everywhere else in ש"ס where רש"י states that he does not know. At first, this might seem to be a bit demeaning, as if to say "Not only did רש"י not know this, here is a whole list of other things he didn't know." However, there is another way to look at it. Rabbi Berel Wein, in Buy Green Bananas (page 22) discusses רש"י's tendency to go out of his way to mention what he does not know, rather than simply pass it over:
"The ability to respond "I don't know" or "I am not sure" to questions and problems that life or individuals pose is the hallmark of true intellectual and human honesty. I am skeptical about people who know everything and always have an answer. The great Biblical and Talmudic commentator, Rabbi Shlomo Itzchaki (Rashi), often states in his works, "I do not know the meaning of this word or phrase." Well, if he doesn't know the meaning of the word or phrase why doesn't he just ignore it? Of what purpose is his stating that he doesn't know the correct meaning? I have always felt that his purpose in including in his commentary the admission that "I don't know. . . " is an enormous educational lesson for life and true scholarship. Otherwise, we, the students of his commentary, would have assumed that the word or phrase in the Bible or Talmud is so simple and self-understood that it requires no comment. Rashi alerts us to the fact that just the opposite is true. He is teaching us this is an obscure and difficult phrase or word and will require great effort on the part of the reader/student to interpret it. "I don't know" or "I am not at all sure of the answer" are the phrases that often are the most illuminating."
Although R' Wein is referring to matters of word meaning and our example is that of a talmudic reference, I think the lesson applies just the same.

:כ"ה Priorities

לימא תנא סתמא כר' אליעזר דאמר עד הנץ החמה אפי' תימא ר' יהושע ודלמא כותיקין דא"ר יוחנן ותיקין היו גומרין אותה עם הנץ החמה
Once again, in a not-so-obvious manner, the גמרא reveals a matter of priorities. Clearly, to recite קריאת שמע in the water and not come out and fully clothe is not ideal in the least bit. However, the גמרא's conclusion above seems to suggest that it is still preferable to recite it in this manner in order to do so כוותיקין. So the specific timing of קריאת שמע takes some degree of precedence over some laws pertaining to the ideal manner in which to recite it. I have a suspicion, however, that this would only apply to those who regularly daven כוותיקין as opposed to a casual occurrence.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

:כ"ד Stay in Bavel

רבי אבא הוה קא משתמיט מיניה דרב יהודה דהוה קא בעי למיסק לארעא דישראל דאמר רב יהודה כל העולה מבבל לא"י עובר בעשה שנאמר בבלה יובאו ושמה יהיו עד יום פקדי אותם נאם ה
The main stage for this גמרא is :כתובות ק"י which leads into the famous גמרא discussing the ג' שבועות. What is troubling about רב יהודה's position is that this פסוק is from ירמיה. It is clearly pertaining to the גלות בית ראשון. The פסוקים from which the ג' שבועות are derived are from שיר השירים. Since שלמה המלך did not live in a time of גלות those פסוקים are somewhat ambiguous and obviously prophetic, speaking of a later time. So they could conceivably be referring to the גלות בית שני. However, the words of ירמיה are clearly for the "here and now" of his time. תוספות in כתובות are actually bothered by this very point:
אע"ג דהאי קרא בגלות ראשון כתיב י"ל דבגלות שני נמי קפיד קרא
I couldn't find anything else more detailed on the topic.

.כ”ד Different Levels of ערוה

א"ר יצחק טפח באשה ערוה ... אמר רב חסדא שוק באשה ערוה שנאמר גלי שוק עברי נהרות וכתיב תגל ערותך וגם תראה חרפתך אמר שמואל קול באשה ערוה שנא' כי קולך ערב ומראך נאוה אמר רב ששת שער באשה ערוה שנא' שערך כעדר העזים
It would appear that there are two degrees of ערוה – literal ערוה and pseudo-ערוה. The most stringent הלכות apply exclusively to the actual מקום ערוה. But when חז”ל say that שער or טפח מגולה are ערוה, it is not meant literally so as to apply all הלכות ערוה to them but only to apply certain stringencies such as not reading קריאת שמע in its presence.
An interesting nuance is observed on this point in the סימן in שלחן ערוך או”ח ע”ה dealing with these matters. First, the title of the סימן is להזהר מגלוי שער וקול אשה בשעת ק”ש וכן שלא לקרותה כנגד הערוה. The distinction is made subtly right off the bat. Then, throughout the סימן, it seems clear that the מחבר is deliberately avoiding the use of the word ערוה when discussing pseudo-ערוה (although the רמ”א uses it freely) until סעיף ד when the laws of real ערוה are discussed.
In my mind this theory was only supposition until I found it validated in the works of מרן ר’ עובדיה יוסף זצ"ל. As is revealed in the משנה ברורה there is a difference of opinion between אשכנזים and ספרדים regarding the acceptability of closing of one’s eyes in front of ערוה. While the מחבר in סעיף וclearly states that it is sufficient, the משנה ברורה quotes פוסקים to the contrary. אשכנזים generally follow the משנה ברורה’s position while ספרדים, as expected, follow “מרן.” In ילקוט יוסף, as well as his other ר’ עובדיה ,ספרים discusses contemporary issues that arise with regards to these matters. There he states unequivocally that even those who do not permit the closing of the eyes as a means of avoiding ערוה, only hold that way with regards to ערוה ממש. But with regards to other areas, closing of the eyes is sufficient. I have included links to two pages of ילקוט יוסף below:
Page 1    Page 2

Thursday, August 23, 2012

:כ"ב Which direction?

תניא אידך היה עומד בתפלה וראה צואה כנגדו מהלך לפניו עד שיזרקנה לאחוריו ד' אמות והתניא לצדדין ל"ק הא דאפשר הא דלא אפשר 
רש"י: לא אפשר. כגון יש נהר לפניו מסתלק לצדדים
Let's analyze the scenario as רש"י describes it. The ideal is to have the צואה directly behind him. However, the only way to accomplish would seem to be by moving forward. If one is davening with a river directly in front of them, they certainly cannot move forward. Therefore, in such a case, it is sufficient to move to the side, even though the צואה will then be to the side of the מתפלל. Isn't there a simple solution? After moving away, turn your body so that the צואה is now behind you. 

We will learn later on (דף ל) that one needs to face a specific direction when davening, depending on where they are. It would seem from the מסקנא of this גמרא that the direction requirements are more stringent than the לכתחילה aspect of having the צואה directly behind. Rather than turn one's body to have the צואה behind him, we are told that what should be done is to maintain the same direction and rely on the בדי עבד of having the צואה on the side.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

:כ”א Make it for מודים

אמר רב הונא הנכנס לבית הכנסת ומצא צבור שמתפללין אם יכול להתחיל ולגמור עד שלא יגיע ש"ץ למודים יתפלל ואם לאו אל יתפלל
תוספות ד"ה עד שלא יגיע: ור"ת היה רגיל כשהיה מתפלל ביחיד כשהחזן מגיע למודים היה כורע עם הקהל בלא אמירה כלל ודוקא באמצע ברכה אבל בסוף ברכה לא דאמר לקמן (דף לד.) דאסור לשחות בסוף כל ברכה וברכה מיהו לכתחלה אין לעשות כן כדמשמע הכא
תוספות write that רבינו תם, when he would find himself in the middle of a ברכה when the ש”ץ reaches מודים would bow down since the only issue with bowing during other ברכות is at the beginning or the end. So, for example, in the middle of על הצדיקים, which is quite long, there is ample opportunity to be able to bow with the rest of ציבור at מודים. This is actually brought להלכה by שולחן ערוך או”ח ק”ט:א. However, it is only בדי עבד. In other words, one who comes late to davening should not start שמונה עשרה with the plan to bow in the middle of a ברכה.

It is interesting to note that the verbiage in תוספות is "...ור"ת היה רגיל" I think we ought to give רבינו תם the benefit of the doubt that he was not רגיל to come late to davening. Therefore, it must mean that his שמונה עשרה regularly went so long that he was still in the middle (and presumably not yet close to מודים) when the ש"ץ reached מודים. 

. כ”א Oops, I forgot

והאמר רב נחמן כי הוינן בי רבה בר אבוה בען מיניה הני בני בי רב דטעו ומדכרי דחול בשבת מהו שיגמרו ואמר לן גומרין כל אותה ברכה הכי השתא התם גברא בר חיובא הוא ורבנן הוא דלא אטרחוהו משום כבוד שבת
It is important to note that this סברא would not hold true for מוסף. Since we don’t say מוסף during the week, you can’t say that a full שמונה עשרה is relevant. Nevertheless, שולחן ערוך או”ח רס”ח:ב brings two opinions as to whether one should finish the ברכה in מוסף. I do believe, though, that the accepted custom is not to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

:כ Kezayis and Kebeitzah

דרש רב עוירא זמנין אמר לה משמיה דר' אמי וזמנין אמר לה משמיה דר' אסי אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקב"ה רבש"ע כתוב בתורתך אשר לא ישא פנים ולא יקח שחד והלא אתה נושא פנים לישראל דכתיב ישא ה' פניו אליך אמר להם וכי לא אשא פנים לישראל שכתבתי להם בתורה ואכלת ושבעת וברכת את ה' אלהיך והם מדקדקים [על] עצמם עד כזית ועד כביצה
There is a fascinating explanation of the גר"א on this גמרא which I don't think I could properly write up. But thanks to modern technology, I can simply link to it (it starts about 5 lines from the bottom and goes over to the next page.)

.כ R' Yochanan's Beauty

ר' יוחנן הוה רגיל דהוה קא אזיל ויתיב אשערי דטבילה אמר כי סלקן בנות ישראל ואתיין מטבילה מסתכלן בי ונהוי להו זרעא דשפירי כוותי
As is documented in a number of places, ר' יוחנן was quite a noticeably attractive individual. However, earlier on, at the beginning of the second י"ג:) פרק) we find that he was also quite a large man - not just overweight or even clinically obese - so large that it was too difficult for him to sit up to recite קריאת שמע when he was on his bed. Clearly, in the times of the גמרא these two attributes were not mutually exclusive.

.כ Like the Fish in the Sea

רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אמר מהכא וידגו לרוב בקרב הארץ מה דגים שבים מים מכסין עליהם ואין עין הרע שולטת בהם אף זרעו של יוסף אין עין הרע שולטת בהם

For a fascinating scientific approach to this גמרא, please check out this shtikle.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

:י”ח The Living Dead

על פי שנים עדים או (על פי) שלשה עדים יומת המת חי הוא אלא המת מעיקרא

On the topic of מת referring to living individuals “on their way to death,” see this old shtikle from פרשת בלק.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Welcome

I am proud to announce the unveiling of the latest addition to the Weekly Shtikle blog network. This one will be slightly more challenging to keep up with since it requires my following of Daf Yomi (so far, so good.) Also, I will need to post in a timely manner while readers still have the relevant daf in mind.

Let me explain the name. I wanted to come up with something original. The first ideas that popped into my mind - On the Daf, Daf Thoughts, etc - just didn't fit the bill. The name is inspired by a speech I heard at the Toronto Siyum HaShas by R' Yair Adler where he pointed out that a daf of gemara is sometimes referred to as an עלה, a leaf. This was as he was introducing the guest speaker at the event, Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff (his pun, not mine. I promise.) So, there you have it - "The Daily Leaf."

.ט”ו Reverse Logic

תנן התם חרש המדבר ואינו שומע לא יתרום ואם תרם תרומתו תרומה מאן תנא חרש המדבר ואינו שומע דיעבד אין לכתחלה לא אמר רב חסדא ר' יוסי היא

It is intriguing to me that the logic employed throughout this דף seems to be directly contrary to that which used at the beginning of the פרק. When רבי declares that שמע must be read as it is written, in לשון הקודש, based on the word והיו, (and the רבנן hold to the contrary based on the word שמע) the assumption made by the גמרא is that if this is רבי’s opinion here because of the specific wording of the פסוק, that must mean that he holds exactly the opposite in all other instances.

In our גמרא we also find that ר’ יוסי bases his opinion on the word שמע which would seem to imply that it is exclusive to the realm of קריאת שמע. Nevertheless, the גמרא then proceeds to assume this opinion, that one requires to hear what they are saying is common to ר’ יוסי in all other realms. This seems to be the exact opposite logical flow is that on דף י”ג.

(תוספות ask a number of similar questions on the flow of the גמרא but I don’t think they are formulated in quite the same manner.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

:י"ג Four Dimensions

כיון דאמליכתיה למעלה ולמטה ולארבע רוחות השמים תו לא צריכת
Here is a shtikle I wrote many years ago on פרשת בראשית which pertains to the ideas mentioned in our גמרא.

The advances in modern science over the years have allowed us to learn much about the history of the world.  Scientists have been able to establish a pretty clear picture of all that preceded us. However, the instant of creation is a point beyond which no discoveries may be made. Even the most prominent of scientists, such as Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, have come to the realization that "the creation lies outside the scope of the presently known laws of physics." What existed before the creation of the world is beyond human understanding. The simple explanation for this is that before the world was created, whatever it was that existed lacked the basic components necessary for human conception.

All the matter in the universe exists in three dimensions - length, width and height. We do not live in the two-dimensional world of comics and cartoons, nor can our minds conceive of something physically consisting of more than three dimensions. When a cube of a given volume is removed, it leaves behind a space, filled with air, of identical volume. However, before the creation of the world, there was nothing. The second pasuk of the Torah asserts that before creation, the world was "tohu vavohu." Rashi explains "vohu" as emptiness and void. He writes that "tohu" denotes astonishment and wonderment, as one would have been astounded by the emptiness that existed. Indeed, we are astonished to the point of incomprehension at the very idea of nothingness. It is beyond the grasp of human thought and will never be understood. An integral component of creation was the establishment of the infrastructure necessary for the existence of the world as we know it. On the second day, the waters are divided into the upper and lower waters. This is the first evidence of a dimension in creation. However, there was only one. Left, right, forward and backward did not yet exist - only up and down. The next day the waters were collected to form the oceans and reveal land. The three dimensions were now in place.

 Although a physical object may be comprised of no more than three dimensions, there is another dimension commonly included as the fourth - time. Before the creation of the world, time did not exist either. In fact, the word "before" is probably a misnomer. Before implies that which preceded in time. If there is no time, there can be no precedence. This, too, is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. With the first day of creation, the concept of time was implicitly infused into the universe.

Perhaps, these ideas are directly pertinent to one of the central laws of Keriyas Shema. The essence of Shema is the acceptance of HaShem’s kingship upon us. One is required to include this concentration with the recitation of Shema or he does not properly fulfill the mitzvah (Shulchan Aruch OC 60:5). Ideally, this is accomplished with specific focus on the "ches" and "dalet" of "echad," as explained in 61:6. The ches corresponds to HaShem’s rule over the earth and the seven levels of Heaven. This is a one-dimensional focus in concurrence with the events of the second day of creation. The dalet corresponds to the four directions, essentially, the other two dimensions, over which HaShem rules. This coincides with the events of the third day. Hence, HaShem’s dominion over the three physical dimensions. The Mishnah Berurah (63:11), in the name of Levush and Magein Avraham, writes that "Baruch Sheim Kevod, etc." is subject to the same concentration requirements as the first pasuk. In this pasuk, as the words clearly indicate,  we assert the eternity of HaShem’s kingship. In essence, we are declaring HaShem’s rule over the fourth dimension, time.

.י"ג Only during the day?

והיה אם שמוע לויאמר שוהיה אם שמוע נוהג בין ביום ובין בלילה ויאמר אינו נוהג אלא ביום בלבד
The גמרא will indeed discuss other distinctions between והיה and ויאמר but the one listed in the משנה seems to be based on an overly superficial assessment of ויאמר. Indeed, the מצוה of ציצת is only during the day and that does appear to dominate this section. However, on the very previous עמוד we stated the following:
פרשת ציצית מפני מה קבעוה א"ר יהודה בר חביבא מפני שיש בה חמשה דברים מצות ציצית יציאת מצרים עול מצות ודעת מינים הרהור עבירה והרהור ע"ז
There is so much more to that פרשה. And והיה contains the מצוה of תפילין which is also only applicable during the day. So in this matter, they seem equal to me.

.י"ג Why not answer אמן?

אלו הן בין הפרקים בין ברכה ראשונה לשניה בין שניה לשמע
The (שולחן ערוך (או"ח נ"ט:ד states that one should not answer אמן to the ברכה right before שמע. This is based on a number of ראשונים as indicated in באר הגולה. The משנה ברורה explains that it is treated like a ברכת המצוה. It is therefore the practice of many to say the ברכה with the חזן in order to avoid requiring an אמן. This הלכה has bothered me for quite some time based on our משנה. The משנה lists all of the points which are considered בין הפרקים. There is nothing to indicate that there should be any difference between any of them. They seem to be perfectly equivalent. Why, then, would one be treated more seriously than the other? All the rules of permissible interruptions should apply after הבוחר בעמו ישראל באהבה just as they do after יוצר המאורות. What is the basis for this distinction?

Monday, August 13, 2012

:י"ב All of your days

א"ר אלעזר בן עזריה הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה ולא זכיתי שתאמר יציאת מצרים בלילות עד שדרשה בן זומא שנא' למען תזכור את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך ימי חייך הימים כל ימי חייך הלילות וחכ"א ימי חייך העוה"ז כל להביא לימות המשיח
Another "פרשה Bonus" this week as the above פסוק appears in פרשת ראה. The גר"א explains the מחלוקת in our משנה. The word כל can have two different meanings, much like the English word "all." It can mean "all of," in other words, the totality of. Or, it can mean "each and every." The discussion here is which does it mean in this specific instance. ר אלעזר בן עזריה understands it to mean the totality. So כל ימי חייך therefore means that your day should be "completely covered" by זכירת יציאת מצרים - once in the day and once in the night. The חכמים however take כל to mean "each and every." So the פסוק is therefore teaching us that we must remember יציאת מצרים every single day - even in the time of משיח.

:י"ב Other Additions

Although it is not our practice to follow this opinion, it is worth drawing attention to תוספות ד"ה והלכתא in which it is stated that even if one of the more minor additions for the עשרת ימי תשובה are omitted, one must repeat שמונה עשרה for it is considered a deviation from מטבע שטבעו חכמים.

:המלך המשפט י"ב

The term המלך המשפט is somewhat anomalous. Typically, when there is an adjective identifying a definite noun, the prefix ה is put on the second word*. This is what is "bothering רש"י" and why he has to give other examples in תנ"ך where we find similar phrases to prove that it is a somewhat common anomaly.

* Funny story: Our גבאי, when delivering the מי שברך following an עליה will, if asked, mention the בעל קורא. Last time I got an עליה I asked him to include the בעל הקריאה. That kind of caught him off guard and he said הבעל קורא instead. But now I have him saying הבעל קריאה. Close enough, I suppose.

Live Daf

Thanks to Yeshiva World News, I just found out about a brand new site, Live Daf, based out of Toronto, which provides video and audio shiurim on the daf. The video feature is nice for those who feel their attention is kept better when the shiur is visual, even if it's just someone giving a shiur. But the true uniqueness of the site is its interactivity. You are able to submit questions on the daf and have them answered and there is a Question of the Day feature on each daf. I guess it's kind of the interactivity I hope to accomplish with this blog one day. But there's always room for more - להגדיל תורה ולהדירהּ!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

:י Don’t Eat until you …

א"ר יצחק א"ר יוחנן א"ר יוסי בר' חנינא משום ראב"י כל האוכל ושותה ואח"כ מתפלל עליו הכתוב אומר ואותי השלכת אחרי גויך אל תקרי גויך אלא גאיך אמר הקב"ה לאחר שנתגאה זה קבל עליו מלכות שמים
It seems odd to me that the introduction talks about one eats before he is מתפלל. That would seem to refer to שמונה עשרה. However, the explanatory phrase of chastisement - לאחר שנתגאה זה קבל עליו מלכות שמים – seems to indicate that the issue here is eating before שמע. There are obvious halachic implications. Would it be enough to simply recite שמע in order to allow eating?

Indeed, the (באור הלכה (פ”ט:ג ד”ה ולא לאכול is sensitive to this point. However, he points out that there is a tandem of the this פסוק as well as לא תאכלו על הדם which seems to focus on תפילה. Nevertheless, he does suggest that someone who needs to eat for medical reasons should also make sure to say שמע first.

.י Abolishing Sin

אמרה לי' ברוריא דביתהו מאי דעתך משום דכתיב יתמו חטאים מי כתיב חוטאים חטאים כתיב ועוד שפיל לסיפיה דקרא ורשעים עוד אינם כיון דיתמו חטאים ורשעים עוד אינם אלא בעי רחמי עלויהו דלהדרו בתשובה ורשעים עוד אינם
ברוריה seems to make a beautiful point here but the problem is that is not the actual meaning of the פסוק. The word חטאים is also used to refer to sinners using the same בנין as, for example a גַמָל, referring to a camel rider. I recall R' Moshe Eisemann mentioning once, "didn't ברוריא learn דקדוק in seminary?" He offered the following answer: Surely, ברוריא knew that the actual meaning of the פסוק is that the sinners themselves should pass away. But the point that ברוריא was making was that since the פסוק could conceivably be read differently to mean "the sins," you, רבי מאיר, since you are involved in the conflict and thus נוגע בדבר, you have a responsibility to err on the side of caution and understand the פסוק otherwise. It is a similar theme we find later on (:כ"ח) that there was no one who was capable of properly arranging the extra ברכה to combat the heretics. Only שמואל הקטן whom, as we know (אבות ד:י"ט) was the champion of בנפול אויבך אל תשמח, was capable of arranging the ברכה with the proper intent.

Friday, August 10, 2012

.ט What would אברהם say?

דבר נא באזני העם וגו' אמרי דבי ר' ינאי אין נא אלא לשון בקשה אמר ליה הקב"ה למשה בבקשה ממך לך ואמור להם לישראל בבקשה מכם שאלו ממצרים כלי כסף וכלי זהב שלא יאמר אותו צדיק ועבדום וענו אותם קיים בהם ואחרי כן יצאו ברכוש גדול לא קיים בהם
The גר"א has an interesting approach to this גמרא which I once used to answer a question from my father in פרשת כי תשא. Read on.

:ט Discerning

דא"ר יוחנן לעולם ישתדל אדם לרוץ לקראת מלכי ישראל ולא לקראת מלכי ישראל בלבד אלא אפילו לקראת מלכי עכו"ם שאם יזכה יבחין בין מלכי ישראל למלכי עכו"ם
Every now and then, there will be a really nice קדוש in shul with fancy food and cholent. Just happened this past שבת. (I'm going somewhere with this.) One might be tempted to eat the cholent but instantly be plagued by feelings of guilt. "My wife made a delicious cholent, waiting at home. How can I have this cholent?" I suggest, based on the above גמרא that you should, in fact, partake of the cholent. The מלכי עכו"ם are not deserved of such respect in their own right. But nevertheless, we are strictly instructed to go out of our way to make sure to greet them. Why? The sole purpose is so that then we may truly merit to behold the distinction between מלכי ישראל and מלכי עכו"ם. So, too, if you do partake of the cholent at the קדוש, you will (hopefully) come to an even greater appreciation of your wife's cholent.
!בתאבון

.ט A little redemption here, a little redemption there

א"ר אבא הכל מודים כשנגאלו ישראל ממצרים לא נגאלו אלא בערב שנאמר הוציאך ה' אלהיך ממצרים לילה וכשיצאו לא יצאו אלא ביום שנא' ממחרת הפסח יצאו בני ישראל ביד רמה
We have already had two gemaras discussing the two-phase redemption in the night and morning (See also :ד). So I thought it would be fitting to reference an old shtikle from פרשת בא.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fastest דף יומי in the West

We've already had some גמרא's that address the concept of not making מצות or תפילה appear as a burden. Nevertheless, is one has difficulty fitting דף יומי into the schedule and is looking for the quickest online shiur, it appears the best option is the שיעורים provided by the Young Israel of Century City, CA given by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom. One slightly frustrating thing about the audio, however, is that although it seems these were designed for דף יומי the files are not divided exactly by דף. So listening to the day's דף will often entail listening to portions of two separate files.

Thanks to my father-in-law for this tip.

.ח In Case of Emergency

רבי אבהו נפיק בין גברא לגברא
Although the גמרא seems to state quite casually that רבי אבהו would leave between עליות, it seem quite clear from the later פוסקים that this is only for a צורך גדול and should still be avoided if possible. The ערוך השלחן  או"ח קמ"ו:א goes so far as to suggest that קריאת התורה is at least at the same level of being in the middle of שמונה עשרה and thus, even if one has to go to the bathroom, he should wait it out to the best of his ability.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

:ז Reuvein's Name

ראובן א"ר אלעזר אמרה לאה ראו מה בין בני לבן חמי דאילו בן חמי אע"ג דמדעתיה זבניה לבכירותיה דכתיב וימכר את בכרתו ליעקב חזו מה כתיב ביה וישטם עשו את יעקב וכתיב ויאמר הכי קרא שמו יעקב ויעקבני זה פעמים וגו' ואילו בני אע"ג דעל כרחיה שקליה יוסף לבכירותיה מניה דכתיב ובחללו יצועי אביו נתנה בכורתו לבני יוסף אפי' הכי לא אקנא ביה דכתיב וישמע ראובן ויצילהו מידם

The famous question on this גמרא (which is quoted by רש"י in ויצא) is that the פסוק clearly recounts לאה's reasoning for ראובן's name -כִּי אָמְרָה כִּי רָאָה ה' בְּעָנְיִי כִּי עַתָּה, יֶאֱהָבַנִי אִישִׁי. So why does the גמרא give an alternate reasoning? This is discussed in a shtikle from a few years ago.

.ז It's all about when you begin

דעו כמה צדקות עשיתי עמכם שלא כעסתי בימי בלעם הרשע שאלמלי כעסתי לא נשתייר משונאיהם של ישראל שריד ופליט

Here lies an interesting example of the intersection of הלכה and אגדתא. On this point, תוספות are bothered by what בלעם could possibly have accomplished in such a short span of time. The second answer that all he would have had to do was begin his curse at that moment and his entire curse, no matter how long it took to utter, would take effect. או"ח ק"י:ה) ערוך השלחן) actually deduces from this idea that if one is running up against the end of זמן תפילה, he need not daven הביננו, (contrary to מגן אברהם) since as long as he starts before the end of זמן תפילה, his entire davening would be considered at the proper time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

:ה Not enough Torah?

א"ל אמאי קא בכית אי משום תורה דלא אפשת שנינו אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים
This exchange reminded me of a גמרא in :סנהדרין צ"ח
כן אמר [רבה] ייתי ולא איחמיניה רב יוסף אמר ייתי ואזכי דאיתיב בטולא דכופיתא דחמריה אמר ליה אביי (לרבא) [לרבה] מאי טעמא אילימא משום חבלו של משיח והתניא שאלו תלמידיו את רבי אלעזר מה יעשה אדם וינצל מחבלו של משיח יעסוק בתורה ובגמילות חסדים ומר הא תורה והא גמילות חסדים
רבה expresses his fear of חבלי משיח for which he is assured that he will be spared since he was plenty involved in תורה וגמילות חסדים. Doesn't it seem like ר' יוחנן is selling ר' אליעזר a little short in our exchange? Would it not have been more comforting to ר' אליעזר to assure him that he should not worry for he has certainly devoted his life to לימוד התורה. Rather, he seems to say, "Don't worry that you didn't learn enough תורה. Even if you learned less than you should have - as long as your heart is the right place, it is okay."

.ה Trials and Tribulations for ארץ ישראל

תניא רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר שלש מתנות טובות נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל וכולן לא נתנן אלא ע"י יסורין אלו הן תורה וארץ ישראל והעולם הבא... ארץ ישראל דכתיב כי כאשר ייסר איש את בנו ה' אלהיך מיסרך
It's always nice when the דף יומי intersects with פרשת השבוע.
See last year's Weekly Shtikle which is relevant to the above passage.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

:ד Benefits of אשרי

אמר רבי אלעזר א"ר אבינא כל האומר תהלה לדוד בכל יום שלש פעמים מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא מאי טעמא אילימא משום דאתיא באל"ף בי"ת נימא אשרי תמימי דרך דאתיא בתמניא אפין אלא משום דאית ביה פותח את ידך נימא הלל הגדול דכתיב ביה נותן לחם לכל בשר אלא משום דאית ביה תרתי
So when the גמרא first suggests that the specialty of אשרי is the line-by-line אלף-בית, they suggest that תהלים קי"ט would be preferable since it has each letter 8 times (that would make מנחה quite a bit longer, wouldn't it.) It is clear that the גמרא is suggesting a better option. One would have to assume that the next step in the גמרא is also suggesting a better option. If so, what exactly is better about נותן לחם לכל בשר more so than פותח את ידיך? Not sure.

There's something I do based on this גמרא if I arrive at a מנין for מנחה  which is already davening שמונה עשרה and I am in the middle of אשרי. I know the הלכה is that one should commence שמונה עשרה immediately so as to accomplish some degree of תפלה בצבור (unless it will cause you to miss קדושה.) However, if I'm in the middle of אשרי, my thinking is - why am I saying this? If I stop before פותח את ידיך I have accomplished neither of the special attributes of אשרי mentioned above. So I try to at least make it to פותח את ידיך.

.ד To Whom was Moshe Talking?

רב אשי אמר בפלגא אורתא דתליםר נגהי ארבסר הוה קאי והכי קאמר משה לישראל
I found this line quite troubling. It is clear from the פסוקים that משה was talking to פרעה. Why would רב אשי say   והכי קאמר משה לישראל?? Am I missing something?

.ד David's Night

רבי זירא אמר משה לעולם הוה ידע ודוד נמי הוה ידע וכיון דדוד הוה ידע כנור למה ליה לאתעורי משנתיה
This is a fitting answer from רבי זירא. On the previous עמוד we were questioning what exactly happened leading up to חצות. One answer from רב אושעיא was that he was up well before חצות. It was רבי זירא who suggested that דוד was learning and dozing off like a horse. It is only according to רבי זירא that דוד would need an alarm clock. According to רב אושעיא he was always fully awake already.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

:ג Harp Strings

כנור היה תלוי למעלה ממטתו של דוד וכיון שהגיע חצות לילה בא רוח צפונית ונושבת בו ומנגן מאליו
רש"י comments on this: ונקביו לצד צפון כיון שהגיע חצות הלילה רוח צפונית מנשבת בו. I initially found this quite puzzling. רש"י  seems to be describing a wind instrument which the harp clearly is not. However, a footnote in the Artscroll explained what רש"י was referring to, based on the שלטי הגבורים. The holes are the holes of the harp's soundboard. This actually changes how I had envisioned the harp facing. Without knowing much about how a harp is played, I would have thought the broad side of the harp would face North but that, in fact, is not the case. See more about how the sound of the harp is produced.

.ג Roaring over the Churban

ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקב"ה ושואג כארי ואומר אוי לבנים שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין אומות העולם
I was wondering why it is specifically this time of the day/night which השם chooses to roar over חורבן. Perhaps it can be explained as follows: Although we do not have the בית המקדש today, there are various actions that serve, to some degree, as a replacement in the realm of ונשלמה פרים שפתינו. Throughout the course of the day, כלל ישראל are almost constantly davening and if they are not davening, there is plenty of learning going on, such that perhaps the full brunt of the חורבן is not felt Above. It is only at night, when we are sleeping for the most part, and the תפילה and לימוד התורה ceases that the true void is felt.