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Parshas Devarim 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 7:56 pm
August 1, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 37
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Dvar Torah

 

 Learning to Love
 
 
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 

 

                       

                 The book of Devarim, otherwise known as Mishna Torah, is referred to by the Masters of Mussar (ethics) as the "book of ethics" of the Torah. Moshe reviews all that occurred throughout his tenure as the leader of the Jewish people, and puts into perspective what it truly means to serve G-d. In this week's parsha, Moshe recounts the incident involving the spies and the Jewish nation's response. When hearing the "devouring" capabilities of the Holy land, they react by saying, "Because of Hashem's hatred for us did He take us out of the land of Egypt." The strong expression, "hatred," strikes a raw cord within us, especially during this time of year. It was because of senseless hatred that the second Temple was destroyed and resulted in our present exile. In the same vein, it seems "senseless" to ascribe "hatred" to G-d's benevolent act of taking us out of Egypt!? How can we rectify the cause of that feeling which led to the sin of the spies, which in turn reared its ugly head toward the end of the second Temple in the direction of their fellow Jew, bringing destruction on the day the Jewish people committed that very sin?

 

 

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler explains that senseless hate rises from the desire for power. Unlike the desire for pleasure, the drive to demonstrate one's superiority knows no rest. In an individual's quest for fame the very existence of another is detested, thus creating senseless hatred, and with it, destruction. If this is its cause, what is the cure?

 

Rabbi Dessler, in his enlightening essay, "Giving and Taking" writes the following: "The true service of G-d is built on a foundation of gratitude... This basic principle is hinted at in the first of the Ten Commandments... 'I am Hashem your G-d, Who took you out of Egypt, the house of slavery.' It is clear that mention of the release from Egypt... is intended to arouse the feelings of gratitude as a prelude to our acceptance of G-d's Torah."

 

Rabbi Dessler quotes a statement from our sages who say, "Whoever is ungrateful for good done to him by his friend will eventually prove ungrateful for the good done by the Holy One, blessed He." His teacher, Rabbi Nochum Velvel Ziv explained that one who acquires and fosters the precious quality of gratitude to others will not only give thanks to G-d, but will feel with all his heart and soul how much he owes Him for the manifold bounties he has received, and continues to receive every day of his life. By training oneself to be a "receiver," through a genuine expression of gratitude to a fellow Jew, and not a "taker," it enables one to truly appreciate the good that G-d bestows upon him. In this way the person can become attached to Hashem through love, the highest achievement of the human soul.

 

We can learn from the above that the cause for senseless hatred stems from complete ingratitude. Lack of appreciation of our fellow Jew translates into lack of appreciation of G-d, and vice versa. How ironic is it that the very example that G-d used to inspire feelings of gratitude, was used by the Jewish people at the incident of the spies as an example of the "hatred" of G-d. Moshe admonished the Jewish Nation, "you are ungrateful and the children of those who are ungrateful." When all we are concerned about is ourselves, than we become haters. But if we learn how to be true givers, and in turn, grateful receivers, than we transform ourselves into a loving people and therefore true lovers of Hashem. May we imbue ourselves with this lesson and correct the cause of senseless hatred, thereby bringing Moshiach and the third Temple, speedily in our day.

 

 

 

 

 
Dvar Halacha
 
Halachos of the Nine Days      Part 3  

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

  

 During the Nine Days [for Sefardim only the week that Tisha B'av falls out in] it is prohibited to eat meat or drink wine (Shulchan Aruch 551:9).  One reason is because it is inappropriate to indulge during this intense national mourning period (Aruch Hashulchan 551:23).  A second reason is that since the time of the destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash one should ideally refrain from eating meat and drinking wine completely, since we can no longer offer karbanos [meat] and bring wine libations.  However, since it would be too hard to always refrain from these foods, Chazal only decreed not to for a short period of time [9 days] as a reminder of what we are missing (Gemara Bava Basra 60b) (Gra 551:9).  Included in this prohibition is one should refrain from any meat [including fowl] and food that was cooked with any of the above mentioned items.  If one mistakenly recited a brachah on meat or wine, etc. he should partake a tiny amount [to avoid saying a brachah l'vatalah] (Laws of Daily Living pg. 54).   Grape juice is considered wine, and may not be consumed (Laws of Daily Living pg. 53 ftnt. 15 quoting Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l).  One may drink beer (Rama 551:11).

Certain people are not included in this prohibition.  One who is sick [even if his illness is not life threatening] (Mishneh Berurah 551:61), or someone who is unable to eat dairy foods may eat chicken [but not beef] until Erev Tisha B'Av (Mishneh Berurah 551:64).  Pregnant women may eat chicken.  If no chicken is available, it is permitted to eat beef (Aruch Hashulchan 551:61).  Additionally, a nursing woman [if by refraining from meat will be detrimental to her milk] may eat beef (Mishneh Berurah 551:64).  One may eat meat or drink wine at a seudas mitzvah [including a bris, pidyon haben, siyum, & bar mitzvah] (Rama  551:10).

It is well known, that if one partakes in a siyum, one is permitted to eat meat.  The Maharshal [Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kamma, end of seventh perek] writes, "There is no greater simcha or mitzvah that is done before Hashem than the simcha and mitzvah of finishing a portion of Torah."  Even a child who completed and understood what he learned may make a siyum which adults may partake in (Laws of Daily Living pg. 59 quoting Shu"T B'tzail Hachochmeh 4:100).  One should not leave over part of a mesechta in order that he should be able to make a siyum during the Nine Days (Mishneh Berurah 551:73).  If this did happen, it is permissible to partake in the siyum (Koveitz Halachos 9:ftnt. 33).  As an aside, many Chassidish Rebbes would encourage their Chassidim to make a siyum specifically during the Nine Days, for it was hoped that study of the Torah and joyous celebration over the learning of Torah, will help bring the geulah shelaima (Laws of Daily Living pg. 59).

One may eat meat and drink wine on Shabbos.  This includes even if he accepts upon himself early Shabbos, and does not end Shabbos until after the zman on Motzai Shabbos  (Mishneh Berurah 551:56).

There is a machlokes whether the one reciting havdala may drink the wine.  Some opinions hold that the adult reciting the havdala should not drink the wine but rather give it to a minor (Rama  551:10) who has reached the age of chinuch, but is not old enough to understand mourning (Mishneh Berurah 551:70).  Other opinions hold that one should recite havdala on chamar medina [e.g. beer] (Aruch Hashulchan 551:26).  Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l (Laws of Daily Living pg. 65 ftnt. 63) and ybl"c Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a (Koveitz Halachos 9:19) hold that one may l'chatchila recite havdala on wine or grape juice and drink it himself, even when a kattan is present


 

 


 

 

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