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Parshas Pinchas 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 8:12 pm
July 11, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 34
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Dvar Torah


A Prayer for Shabbos 

By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 


In the Mincha davening of Shabbos we find a unique Tefilla, that "Your children should recognize and know that their rest (Shabbos rest) comes from You." By comparison, we don't daven that Hashem's children should recognize that the Mitzvohs of Tzitzis or Tefillin are from Him. What is so different about Shabbos that it needs this special tefilla?


Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner addresses this question in his magnum opus Pachad Yitzchak and gives the following explanation: We have Shabbos because Hashem had Shabbos, and we learn what it means to rest on Shabbos by emulating the Shabbos of Hashem. There is one technical problem. We didn't create the world, so how "in the world" do we emulate Hashem? The answer is that Hashem formed the universe to serve as a place devoted solely and entirely to service of Him. The Mishkan, on a deeper level, is a microcosm of the world, and also was built solely and entirely for the service of Hashem. Therefore we can define our rest on Shabbos by what we were or not allowed to do in the process of building the Mishkan. Should there be any discrepancy between the role of the universe and Mishkan, we would no longer be able to derive the laws of rest on Shabbos from the Mishkan. Because if the world was not entirely the place to serve G-d, then we could not say that the building of the Mishkan, which is definitely solely a place of worship, is a reflection of creation. Therefore our resting from building the Mishkan would be in no way similar to the resting of G-d.


Let us take this a bit further. All aspects of life in this world, even the mundane, have the potential to be utilized in service of G-d. We learn this from a verse in Mishlei (3:6) "B'chol d'rachecha da'eihu," "Know G-d in all your ways." This concept is expressed by our Rabbis in Avos (2:12), "All your actions should be for the sake of Heaven."  This is the perspective one must have as he contemplates "and six days you shall work." The commandment to work is reflective of work's potential to serve a higher purpose.


The same criteria apply with regard to resting on Shabbos, albeit in a different manner entirely. All of Shabbos too must be devoted to serving G-d, for that is our task on Shabbos. Therefore the Prophet Yeshaya tells us, "If you proclaim Shabbos 'a delight...' and you honor it by not engaging in your own affairs, from seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden..." Our Sages learn from this the concept of making Shabbos -"Shabbosdik." Changing the way we walk, the way we talk, and the manner of how we go about doing even the permitted gives our Shabbos the proper atmosphere. It also incorporates all that we do into our job of serving G-d on Shabbos.


In fact, in this week's Parsha we learn that even the way we think should be "Shabbosdik." The Meshech Chochma on the verse "Olas Shabbos b'Shabbato, the Olah offering of each Shabbos on its own Shabbos," explains that since we are forbidden from working on Shabbos, the possibility of committing a sin that will require a Chatas (sin offering) is less likely.  Therefore a Chatas is not included in the Shabbos service in the BeisHamikdash. On the other hand, because we are allowed to think about our business our minds are likely to wander and we might have forbidden thoughts. Therefore we are commanded to bring an Olah sacrifice, which brings forgiveness for forbidden thoughts, as part of the community Shabbos service in the BeisHamikdash. Changing the way we think can ensure the right mindset throughout Shabbos.


We can now address our original question. In order to have Shabbos we have to understand Shabbos. Comprehending Shabbos means realizing that the world, the six days and Shabbos, each with its unique service, were created solely to serve G-d. Without that we would be missing the equation that connects the building of the Mishkan to the creation on the world and Shabbos. For this reason the Men of the Great Assembly prepared this special tefilla to help us truly understand Shabbos, and appreciate that it is a "rest that comes from you."


Dvar Halacha
 Halachos of the Three Weeks      Part 3


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


One may not listen to any music during the Three Weeks (See Aruch Hashulchan 493:2 regarding sefira). This includes both live and recorded music (Igros Moshe OC 1:166 & 4:21:4 & YD 2:137, Sefer Shalmei Mo'ad pg. 488). Some Poskim hold that one should not even listen to a capella music (see Laws of Daily Living pg. 34 ftnt. 25 & Halachically Speaking Vol. 5). This prohibition applies to men, women, and children who have reached the age of chinuch (Igros Moshe 4:21:4).

Singing for mitzvah purposes [e.g. on Shabbos, seudas mitzvah, while learning or davening, or an inspirational song that helps bringing someone closer to Hashem] is permitted (Laws of Daily Living pg. 35 & ftnt. 30 quoting Harav Eliyashuv, zt"l). Additionally, it is permitted to listen to music for a different reason other than enjoyment [e.g. therapeutic purposes or to help one to stay awake] (Laws of Daily Living, Three Weeks, pg. 36). This includes listening to music while exercising (Halachically Speaking quoting Harav Belsky, shlit"a).

If one is in a place where music is being played, if his intention is not to specifically listen to the music, he is not required to leave (Laws of Daily Living, Three Weeks, pg. 36 & ftnt. 35). If one plays music to earn a livelihood, it is permitted for him to play (Be'ur Halachah 551:2 s.v. mi'matim). Additionally, one studying to become a professional may practice as long as he is not benefiting from playing (Igros Moshe OC 3:87). Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, holds anytime someone is practicing it is permitted since there is no simcha. However, listening to music in order to learn how to play is considered enjoyment and therefore is prohibited (Koveitz Halachos 4:ftnt. 8).

The brachah of she'hecheeyanu is generally recited on certain auspicious occasions that arrive from time to time. This is why we thank Hashem by each Yom Tov with this brachah that we have merited to be alive at this joyous occasion. Other times we recite it include; eating new fruits from a new season, wearing a new garment of significant value to the wearer, performing a seasonal mitzvah, or if one hears unusually good news of personal benefit (See Shulchan Aruch OC 232:3 & 225). Although some opinions hold that one may recite a birchas she'hechiyanu during the Three Weeks (Taz, Gr"a 551:17 & Aruch Hashulchan 551:38 [until Rosh Chodesh]), the minhag is not to do (Shulchan Aruch 551:17 & Mishneh Berurah 551:98).

There is a machlokes haPoskim what is the reason for this halachah. Some poskim hold that during this time one should lessen his simcha and therefore refrain from performing these jovial activities. Other poskim hold that it is not befitting to recite a bracha that thanks Hashem for "reaching this time", during a time of mourning and tragedy (Mishneh Berurah 551:98). In unavoidable situations [e.g. one will lose an opportunity, including; a sale, someone else will buy this object first, the food will spoil, or a son's pidyon haben], one should recite the bracha (Shulchan Aruch 551:17 & Mishneh Berurah 551:99-101). One may recite birchas she'hechiyanu on Shabbos [of the Three Weeks] (Mishneh Berurah 551:98), even if he accepted Shabbos early and it is before tzais hakochavim (Koveitz Halachos, Bein Hamitzarim, 5:5).

Another joyous activity that is prohibited are weddings (Shulchan Aruch & Rama 551:2), even if there is no seudah (meal) (Mishneh Berurah 551:16). One may get engaged (Mishneh Berurah 551:16).

Since these days are times of tragedy, there are certain activities that can potentially be dangerous that should be eluded. Non- emergency surgery should be avoided (Emes L'Yaakov 551:ftnt. 515 & Kovietz Halachos, Bein Ha'mitzarim, 7:4). Additionally, one should not hit one's child or student even lightly (Shulchan Aruch 551:18). According to Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, the Shulchan Aruch is only referring to a ha'kah gedolah (strong hit), but a ha'kah ketana (light hit) [e.g. on the child's hand] is not included (Koveitz Halachos, Bein Hamitzarim, 7:2). One may go swimming (Laws of Daily Living, The Three Weeks, pg. 46).   

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