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Parshas Vayishlach 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 4:17 pm
December 5, 2014
Volume 11 Issue 6
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Dvar Torah


 Always Positive
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 


The Gemara in Baba Basra (123a) teaches us the right perspective in understanding the language of the Torah. The Talmud oftentimes makes the observation, "Dibra Torah b'lashon binei adam," the Torah expresses itself in the language of people. That is in matters of din (justice). However, when recounting the "stories" of our holy ancestors we are told: "If the Torah did not speak disparagingly of an unclean animal, for it is written, "of the clean animals and of the beasts that are not clean" would Scripture speak disparagingly of the righteous!?" For example, when the Torah describes Leah's eyes as "tender," it is no to expose her lack of beauty in contrast to Rachel, rather it is to hint that there was a noteworthy reason why Leah had this physical "defect." She had been constantly crying and beseeching G-d not to be given to Esav in marriage.


This week's parsha has many surprising and episodes that are difficult to understand. In light of the above Gemara, how is it possible that the Torah mentions any of the sins of our righteous forefathers? Regarding Dina, why do we need to know of this "outrage done to [a daughter] in Yisrael." From this Gemara it seems that the Torah should focus only on the positive, not on the negative?


The answer is that there is always a cause and effect. Not to mention the sins of our ancestors would deprive us of the lessons learned there from and would take away from the completeness of Torah. Rashi notes that when Yaakov takes his wives and eleven sons, there is no mention of Dina. Rashi explains that this was because Yaakov had hidden Dina away from the desirous eyes of Eisav. For that he was punished, and Dina fell into the hands of Shechem. It is possible to understand why the Medrash learns that Dina was hidden, but how does one understand learning the cause for punishment from this very same verse? The answer is that speaking of punishment is not casual degradation of our ancestors, rather it demonstrates G-d's great love for them. "The righteous are judged within a hairsbreadth," that is, with a higher standard. To mention punishment without mentioning its cause would take away form the "Toras Hashem temima," the completeness of G-d's Torah. For this one must search deeply and carefully for the Torah's subtle hints of inequity.


At the same time, it is the completeness of Torah that can use the starkest terms to describe the sin of Reuven when he moved his mother Leah's bed to the tent of Yaakov. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, in a masterful essay entitled "The Sins of Great Men," uses this incident as an example of the unbiased attitude of our holy Torah. What we may perceive on the surface as an extremely "light" sin, the Torah, seeing into the true capabilities of our righteous leaders, describes the sin in a way that conveys the gravity of the sin when performed by men of such stature.


We can appreciate how fortunate we are to have a "complete" Torah, for a complete Torah calms the soul. The Torah is comprised of that which we have some understanding of, and what we don't understand at all. This is a parable to life. We have moments which we ask "why," and times when everything makes sense. Calmness of the soul comes only from a deep understanding that everything in Torah is positive, whether understood or not. Let us always remember there is no crude description of something seemingly negative. That would go against the very fabric of Torah. There is always something more meaningful beneath the surface. The Torah of G-d is complete and we are lucky to have it to guide and preserve us tribulations of life's journey.




Dvar Halacha
Halachos of Chanuka part 4


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi



If a candle extinguished unintentionally, one is not required to relight it, since the lighting is the fulfillment of the mitzvah (Shulchan Aruch 673:2). However this is only true if the candle had the ability to stay lit for the proper amount of time [i.e. it was set up with enough oil and in a place where it was not likely it would blow out] (Shulchan Aruch 673:2 & 675:2 & Be'ur Halachah 673:2 s.v. im kuvtzu). If one of the candles went out while one was in the middle of lighting, it is proper to relight it (Be'ur Halacha 673:2 s.v. im kuvtzu). If one extinguished a candle intentionally, one is required to relight that candle [without a brachah] (Shaar HaTziyon 673:32). If in the middle of lighting, one of the candles extinguished, one may relight it even though he has not completed lighting all the candles (Koveitz Halachos 5:9).


Beginning thirty minutes before the time to light the menorah, it is prohibited to be eat a seudah [which means eating either hamotzei or a k'beitzah of pas haba bekisnin], learn, or get involved in any melachah which can be very time consuming. The reason being, Chazal were afraid that one may get distracted and forget to light in the proper time (Mishneh Berurah 672:10). Additionally, one should not go to sleep (Koveitz Halachos 2:1).


There is a machlokes haposkim if women who are fulfilling their obligation with their husbands' lighting are prohibited from these activities. Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, holds that they are also prohibited (Halichos Shlomo Moadim vol. 1 16:3), however ybl"c Harav Shmuel Wosner, shlit"a (quoted in Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 265 ftnt. 42) & Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a (Koveitz Halachos 2:5) disagree.


Preferably one should not light neirosChanukah while it is still day, since it is not as recognizable that he is lighting for the mitzvah. If one is preoccupied [and he will not have any time to light later], then b'dieved one may light from plag haminchah (Shulchan Aruch 672:1).


The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] says that the preferred time to light neiros Chanukah is at "shkiyas hachamah", in order that the candles are lit at the time when people are still outside which creates more parsumei neisa (publicizing the miracle). In halachah, there are different times that could be known as "shkiyas hachamah" (see Gemara Shabbos 34b- 35a, Gemara Pesachim 94a and Tosfos Shabbos 35a s.v. trei there are different parts of shkiyah- beginning, end, etc.). In regards to lighting neiros Chanuka, there is a machlokes which time the Gemara is referring to. The different opinions are shkiyah (sunset)(Gr"a quoted in Mishneh Berurah 672:1), 15 minutes before tzaitz hakochavim (nightfall)(Mishneh Berurah 672:1), or tzaitz hakochavim (Shulchan Aruch 672:1). In Chutz L'aretz there is no universally accepted minhag and there are differing opinions as what to do [i.e. what would be the best time to time to try to be yotzeiall the opinions]. Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, held that one should light 10 minutes after shkiyah (Igros Moshe OC 4:101:6). Harav Aharon Kotler, zt"l, held 25 minutes after shkiyah (Shu"T Az Nid'baru 7:70). The opinion of Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, is to light approximately 20-30 minutes after shkiyah (Koveitz Halachos 3:1 & ftnt. 2).


The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] writes that if someone for whatever reason [i.e. whether on purpose or by accident] did not light the menorah during the proper time, he may [preferably] light until the time of "ad shetichleh regel min hashuk" (that people are coming home- i.e. people are still commonly found outside), because this is still parsumei neisa. As an aside, this means at the time that most people have finished coming home from work even if they plan on going out again later (Shu"T Teshuvos V'hanhagos 2:342:4). The Shulchan Aruch [672:2] rules this is approximately 30 minutes after tzais hakochavim. However according to the reasoning that the time of "ad shetichla regel min hashuk" is later, this would affect two halachos, both as a leniency and as stringency. The leniency is that the preferred time to light is extended until people practically are returning home. The stringency is, one is supposed to have enough oil to last until that time. Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, holds there is no obligation to have one's neiros lit until people are returning home, however it is parsumei neisa to have them lit for that long (Koveitz Halachos 3:2). Therefore, if one is going out to a Chanukah party, as long as it was lit for 30 minutes, one may blow them out even though people are still coming home.







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