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Parshas Behar/ Bechukosai 5775
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May 15, 2015
Volume 11 Issue 23
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Dvar Torah


It's a Wonderful World  
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas    


Parshas Bechukosai begins with the blessings that will be bestowed upon the Jewish Nation if they follow Hashem's decrees and observe His commandments. Among them is the blessing that Hashem will provide rain in its proper "time." The Meshech Chochma refers us to the Medrash in Torahs Kohanim that explains that the "right time" is Friday night when everyone is home and unaffected by a downpour outside, while at the same time the ground receives the moisture it needs. The Medrash goes on to describe that this exactly occurred in the times of Shlomitzion the Queen and Shimon ben Shetach. The Jews faithfully followed the Torah's commandments and therefore were blessed with rain every Friday night and their produce grew to great size. The sages of that era stored away some of the produce so that generations to come could see the result if the Jewish people chose to live without sin. One can wonder, was their way of life supernatural, or normal since it occurred on a regular basis?


The Meshech Chochma tells us that it was natural, because nature depends on how we follow the Torah. "Im Bechukosai Teleichu" is literally translated "If you will "travel" in My decrees." If we travel the Torah way in a straight manner, nature too will function in a "straight manner." The Meshech Chochma continues by saying this is why we need miracles, because even what we today consider supernatural can become normal, causing us to forget that every second of the "natural" functioning of the world is a miracle. The reason there are miracles is to remind us that what we think is normal, isn't.


However we must address a troubling thought. Yes, ideally we should be on the level to appreciate the everyday miracles of the "natural" functioning of this world. But does not the supernatural have a far greater impact on our service of Hashem. Why are miracles relegated to the mere status of "reminders?" Should they not be something we strive to merit?


The answer is that the natural is far more majestic than a life punctuated by glorious miracles. Both Adam and Avraham recognized G-d's mastery over creation. Yet, R' Yochanan tell us in the name of R'Shimon bar Yochai, that from the day that G-d created the world no one referred to G-d as "Adon Olam," "Master of the world" until Avraham. This is despite the fact that the Medrash tell us clearly that Adam called G-d - "Adon," "Master"!? The Meshech Chochma explains that this is because of a fundamental difference between Adam and Avraham. Adam referred to G-d as Master, because he understood the foundations of creation and knew Who brought it into being. This knowledge obliged the definition of "Master," knowledge that was passed on to Shem, Ever, and Mesushelach.  Avraham, however, began his spiritual journey with no idea how the world came into existence. Only by observing and understanding how delicately balanced the universe is, and that it still managed to maintain a "regular" cycle of life, Avraham realized that there must be an "Owner" who created all this. Coming from that starting point, the name "Adon" takes on majestic connotations, for it stemmed from an appreciation of something that was not self-explanatory. The true Jew is not one who depends on miracles to recognize the Mastery of G-d. Rather he or she is the one who follows in the footsteps of Avraham and strives to appreciate and discover G-d in the workings of everyday life.




Dvar Halacha
The Laws of the Sefiras Ha'Omer  part 4  


  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


There is a machlokes Rishonim whether the counting of the 49 days is one collective mitzvah or each day for 49 days a separate mitzvah.  The practical difference is, if one misses a day or knows one will for sure miss a day, whether there is a mitzvah to count the remaining days.  The opinion of the Bahag is that it is one collective mitzvah and if one misses a day one can no longer recite the brachah beforehand since one has not fulfilled the mitzvah.  Other Rishonim argue and hold that each day is an independent mitzvah.  According to this opinion, if one missed a day since each day is independent from the other days one may count with a brachah (Tur OC 489, Mishneh Berurah 489:36-37).  L'halacha, we are stringent that if one did miss a night to continue counting the following night without a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:8).  If one may no longer recite the brachah, it is preferable to hear the brachah from someone else (Mishneh Berurah 489:37).  It is important to note, even if one is not counting with a brachah, one must count Sefiras Ha'Omer, just without the brachah.


If one is unsure whether he missed a night, one may continue counting with a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:8).  This is based on the halachic concept of "safek sefeika" (we are lenient when there are 2 doubts).  In the above case the 2 doubts are: 1) did he miss and 2) even if he did miss is the halachah like the opinion that each day is a separate mitzvah. 


If one counted the wrong day it is as he did not count at all (Mishneh Berurah 489:35).  Therefore, upon realizing [before the day has completely passed], he must recount the proper day.  If one did not, he would not be allowed to continue counting with a brachah, since he missed an entire day.


If one counts the proper day, even without the brachah, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and would not be permitted to recount that night with a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:4, Mishneh Berurah 489:22).  Therefore, if one has not already counted, one needs to be very careful if someone ask him which night is it is tonight, not to answer him directly, rather say "last night was __" (Shulchan Aruch 489:4).  Since one may fulfill his obligation in any language, if he answers in another language other than Hebrew, it is considered as if he counted [e.g. "today is the 44th day"] (Mishneh Berurah 489:20).  However, if he answered in one of the following instances, it is not considered as if he counted and may therefore recount that night with a brachah; If it was before shkiya (Shulchan Aruch 489:4), if you just said the number [e.g. 44] and did not say "today is the 44th day" (Mishneh Berurah 489:20), If it is after the 7th day, and just the number was said but not the weeks [e.g. if on the 44th day one said "today is the 44th day" as opposed to "today is the 44th day which is 6 weeks and 2 days"] (Mishneh Berurah 489:23), or if one had specific intention not to fulfill his obligation (Mishneh Berurah 489:22).  Furthermore, if one answered after shkiyah but before tzais hakochavim, if one normally counts after tzais hakochavim, he most probably had intention not to fulfill his obligation (Be'ur Halachah 489:4 s.v. she'im).  If someone is unsure which day of sefira it is, and asks someone "is today __" [and it was that day], he may count with a brachah, since his intention was not to count, rather to clarify the day (Koveitz Halachos 5:10).








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