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The Medresh says that the Yevanim tried to be mevatel the “nidvas haeitzim” and the delivery of Bikurim to the Bais Hamikdosh. The nidvas haeitzim was opportunity for individuals to donate firewood to fuel the fire on the mizbeach. What was their objective in eradicating these two important events? The Maharsha in Mesechta Ta’anis weaves a common thread between these two events. Both of these functions were brought with demonstrative simchah. Anybody who secured the opportunity to bring the firewood would make a personal Yom Tov on that day and celebrate with great fanfare. Likewise, bringing the Bikurim was done with great celebration. They paraded through the streets with musical accompaniment and throngs of people escorted the joyous procession to the Bais Hamikdosh.

The Greeks keenly understood the mindset of a Yid and the important role that simchah, especially publicly shared simchah, played in the life of a downtrodden, persecuted Jew. The communal simchah evoked by these mitzvos provided the inner strength to persevere even in the most trying of times. By deterring the Yidden from these opportunities for collective simchah, the Yevanim intended to crush their morale and reduce them into a state of yi’ush- despair.

The Greeks also targeted Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh and Bris Milah. Shabbos is reserved to rejoice with Hashem’s malchus, as we say, “Yismichu bimalchusichoh shomrei Shabbos”. The original commitment to observe the mitzvah of Bris Milah, was accepted with tremendous simchah, as is documented in Mesechta Shabbos daf 130a. The Gemorah also notes that when the possuk declares, “Layehudim hoisa oirah visimchah visasson etc.”, the word, “sasson”- ‘joy’, refers to bris milah.

Finally, Rosh Chodesh is the source of all of the simchah of the Yomim Tovim because Rosh Chodesh determines the times and dates of all the holidays. The Meforshim comment that the beginning letters of the words: Shabbos, milah and chodesh form the word- ‘someach’.

Rosh Chodesh was pronounced with great publicity and spectacle. After the bais din would determine the precise day of Rosh Chodesh, messengers would scatter in all directions to inform the public on which day would be Rosh Chodesh. In order to publicize the news, mammoth torches would be lit on successive mountaintops until the entire panorama would be illuminated to indicate the establishment of Rosh Chodesh. This demonstration brought tremendous joy and pride to the nation as they reminisced about the first mitzvah that they were commanded back in Mitzrayim.

The Yevanim were determined to wipe out any and all cause for simchah. They understood well that simchah in performance of mitzvos is the lifeblood of a Yid. 

Forgetting to recite the text

Rema rules that the recital of the text stating which melachos one plans to do on Friday is an integral part of the eiruv, and the eiruv is invalid if it is omitted. If only some of the melachos were mentioned, those alone are permitted and the rest are forbidden. Other poskim disagree and maintain that the recital of the text merely enhances the mitzvah, and the eiruv is valid just by arranging the foods. The practical halacha is as follows: L’chatchilah, the text must be recited. If one forgot to do so and reminded himself before Yom Tov, he should rearrange the eiruv and recite the text. The brochah should not be repeated. If he only remembered once Yom Tov started, he should not cook or bake but he can gift his ingredients to others so that they can cook for him. If this is not an option, the lenient opinion may be relied upon and he may prepare for Shabbos.

[שו"ע תקכז, כ, משנ"ב סג, ושעה"צ צא]rs.

Cooking extra on Yom Tov for Shabbos

A person who forgot to arrange an eiruv and does not have anyone available to cook for him, may prepare a minimal amount for Shabbos: one loaf of bread, one pot of food and one candle. The poskim disagree about whether a non-Israeli visiting Eretz Yisroel who forgot to make an eiruv may ask a resident (who does not keep Yom Tov Sheini) to cook on his behalf. An alternative solution for one who forgot to arrange an eiruv and remembers before he eats his Yom Tov meal is to cook additional foods and sample each one on Yom Tov. By tasting the food on Yom Tov, it is as if the foods were prepared for Yom Tov and not Shabbos.

[שו"ע תקכז, כא, ומשנ"ב סו, סח, סט, ע ו־עא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 78]

Preparing knaidlach on the seventh day of Pesach

Rema rules that a person who is fasting on Yom Tov and has no need to prepare food for himself may not prepare food for others. When Yom Tov falls on Friday, he may not cook for Shabbos, either-- even for himself, and even if he made an eiruv tavshilin. In the Rema’s view, cooking for Shabbos is the equivalent of cooking for others in this case, since the person who is fasting cannot eat the food on Yom Tov. Others disagree with this ruling. As such, if a person who is fasting does not have anyone (who is not fasting) to cook on his behalf, he may prepare for Shabbos. According to most poskim, one may cook food on Yom Tov which he is stringent not to eat, as long as there are others in the vicinity who would eat it. For example, there are many people who will only eat gebrokts (soaked matzah) on the eighth day of Pesach. If the eighth day falls on Shabbos, it is permissible for people who are stringent about this to cook the gebrokts on Friday, even though they will not eat it on that day.

[שו"ע תקכז, כ, ומשנ"ב סה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 75 ;וראה פסק"ת כ]
  • If a person knows that he will only have to do melachos mid’rabonon to prepare for Shabbos (e.g. warming up previously-cooked foods), he must still arrange an eiruv and a brochah should be recited.

  • A person who failed to arrange an eiruv may not cook for himself or for other people. This prohibition applies even if the cooking is done in someone else’s home (where an eiruv was arranged), using that person’s ingredients.

  • It is only necessary to arrange one eiruv per household. Therefore, the spouse and children of a householder who arranged an eiruv may rely upon it even if they do not have a share in the eiruv.

  • Eating foods that were prepared without an eiruv tavshilin

  • Using trickery to cook for Shabbos

  • An eiruv chatzeiros on Yom Tov
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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