Parshas Bo 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 4:46 pm
January 19, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 3
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Dvar Torah

Clarity in Different Ways
By Rabbi Yedidya Kaganoff 
By the Makka of Arbeh/Locusts the Torah says, "They will cover the land, and they won't be able to see the ground, and they will eat the leftover food that has been left by the hailstones. They will also eat everything in your houses." Why does the Torah mention that the land will be covered, you can't see the land, and then the locusts will eat the leftover food? Shouldn't the pasuk start with the loss of food, the harshest part of the plague? Also, when the plague happened it says "va'yimaheir" and Paraoh went quickly to tell Moshe and Aharon to stop the plague. What is it about this plague that Paraoh rushed to ask Moshe and Aharon to end it?
Chazal say that "a blind man does not get full when he eats." Simply understood, this statement means that part of becoming full when one eats is seeing the amount of food consumed. If one is unaware of the portion size, his desire is to eat more. The Kli Yakar explains based on this idea that even the locusts could not see, because of their sheer numbers. As the pasuk says, "They covered the land." They were not satisfied with what they ate.Therefore they kept eating! This plague was extraordinary as there was a "Catch 22".The locusts continued to eat because of the darkness that they were creating! After they finished the fields they were going to eat the stored food inside the houses, thereby starving everyone. That's why Paraoh was anxious to have this plague ended immediately. Paraoh (and the land of Egypt) was all too familiar with famine from their experience in the times of Yosef. The Kli Yakar says that Paraoh admitted that he was wrong, then he asked Moshe to pray for the removal of the locusts. Hashem prematurely stopped the plague.
There is another difficulty that we find with the plagues. Namely, throughout these plagues the Torah constantly repeats to us that Hashem hardened Paraoh's heart. Paraoh consequently refused to free the Jewish People. The pasuk indicates that Hashem did this in order to show his strength and to show the generations how He "amused Himself (his'alalti)" with Egypt. Here by Arbeh the pasuk mentions that the servants of Paraoh plead with him fruitlessly to release the Jews. Were the plagues that Hashem brought for his amusement ? Would it not be more accurate to see them as a punishment? Throughout our history Hashem has punished many rashaim. What was special about these plagues that they are considered "amusing"?
The commentaries explain that it was obvious that the only way to stop these plagues was by sending us out from bondage. However, even though everyone knew this, Hashem still stopped Paraoh from releasing the Jewish People. Imagine all of the Egyptians pleading with Paraoh to free the Jews and Paraoh disregarding them. It must have been tremendously frustrating for them. But for the Jews it was "amusing" to watch as the Egyptians were being led down the path of destruction by a "mad king". Psychologically this is a harsh punishment for anyone; knowing how to stop the pain, but being physically unable to do so. It is this unique set of circumstances that clarifies what is meant by Hashem "amusing Himself" on account of Paraoh, and all of the Egyptians. Everyone else, including Paraoh's own servants, realized this but Paraoh couldn't help himself and remained stubborn. Until the plague of locusts commenced, Paraoh could not see the obvious solution and send the Jewish People free. Only when Paraoh was at his wits end and could no longer bear it any longer did he finally concede. After the plague ended he went back to being inflexible.
We must realize what a bracha it is to be able to make our own decisions, to be free of mental blocks hindering our thought process. This should never be taken for granted.
Good Shabbos

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Bishul Akum 
Canned Tuna and Bishul Akum   part 1
Based on the  Sunday Morning Halacha Shiur given 
by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel

Written by: Ovadia Gowar

Do the letters "MTBY" mean anything to you? MTBY is sometimes printed on cans of tuna and stands for "Mashgiach Temidi Bishul Yisroel". "Mashgiach Temidi" means that a mashgiach was present from the moment the tuna were caught on the boat, all the way to the canning stage. "Bishul Yisroel" means that a Jew was involved in the cooking of the tuna. For those of you who don't know, tuna generally gets filleted and cooked where it is caught, and then cooked again after being canned in the processing plant.
Why does the cooking need to be done by a Jew? As we explained previously, food that is aino ne'echal chai (not eaten raw), and which is oileh al shulchan melachim (fit to be served at a king's table) requires a Jew to be at least partly involved in the cooking process to permit it to be eaten. Accordingly, it seems that fish, which meets both of these conditions, requires bishul yisroel when cooked. At first glance, this would apply to canned tuna as well.
There exist various heterim for why canned tuna might actually not require bishul yisroel. One reason is that cooking food within a can is not a normal method of cooking and so does not fall within the prohibition of bishul akum. Others argue that canned tuna is not dignified enough to be oileh al shulchan melachim. R' Moshe Feinstein paskens that bishul akum does not apply to food made in a factory, since the manner of preparation and the equipment used is so different to that used in a household. Another reason put forth is that many people eat sushi, which of course is eaten raw. This might be enough to reclassify fish as a food that is ne'echal chai, and thus the prohibition of bishul akum wouldn't apply at all.
Using sushi as a heter in order not to require bishul yisroel for fish has its opponents as well. Many poskim of yesteryear said that since only a minority of people eat sushi, it is difficult to say that it is ne'echal chai. (This reality might have changed however, since sushi has become immensely popular). Other poskim say that the type of fish used for sushi is different to the fish used in other dishes, so you can't learn a heter from from one to the other. Others say that since sushi is virtually always eaten with rice and seaweed, which are cooked, we cannot say that sushi as a dish is ne'echal chai. However, this final argument has little to stand on, because of a Magen Avraham, writing in the context of berachos. He says that even when you can't eat something raw on its own, but only after having mixed it with other things (e.g. salted herring), it is nonetheless still regarded as a davar she'ne'echal chai (and you would say the berachah that applies to the food in its original form). The Mishneh Berurah paskens like this Magen Avraham. This principle can be applied to bishul as well and therefore, the fish part of the sushi would still be regarded as ne'echal chai. Still others claim that people don't really eat raw fish; rather they are supplementing it to the rice or other ingredients that come with sushi.
As we can see, there are a wide variety of opinions with regard to the applicability of bishul akum to fish. One should consult with their rov for guidance.

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