Parshas Ki Sisa/Para 5777
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March 17, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 18
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Dvar Torah

Lessons From The Enemy
 By Rabbi Moshe Yosef Spiegel

When the Jews came to Aharon to request his assistance in creating a god, Aharon told them to get gold from their wives and children. The passuk records that they gave their own gold. What happened to the original plan? Why didn't they bring the gold from their wives? The Midrash Tanchuma relates that the wives refused to relinquish their gold. They said, "G-d forbid that we should deny the One who did all the miracles for us". For this reason the men used their own gold. 
In Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer it is written, since the women refused to give up their gold to defend G-d's honor, they were rewarded with Rosh Chodesh. Women celebrate Rosh Chodesh in a more profound way than men. The Tur (of 417) in the name of his brother, explains this idea. The holidays were enacted to correspond with the three patriarchs. The twelve Roshei Chodesh correspond to the twelve tribes. When the Jews sinned by the golden calf, Rosh Chodesh was taken from them and given to the women to signify that they weren't party to this sin.
However, elsewhere we find that Rosh Chodesh was a reward for the gifts the women gave for the building of the Tabernacle. This is based on the passuk in Parshas Pekudei, "The women came with the men," interpreted to mean that the women gave more. The question is why did the women receive Rosh Chodesh as their Yom Tov - for withholding their gold by the sin of the golden calf, or for handing over their gold for the building of the tabernacle?
We can propose an answer based on the understanding of a Mishna in Mesechas Avos (Avos 5:11) The Mishna states that there are four types of character traits: (1) One who is easy to anger and easy to appease; his reward is offset by his loss. (2) One who is difficult to anger and difficult to appease; his loss is offset by his reward. (3) One who is difficult to anger and easy to appease is a pious person. (4) One who is easy to anger and difficult to appease is a wicked person. Why by the first two traits does the Mishnah describe their situation, yet by the second two traits, labels are given?
Rav Mordechai Miller (former dean of Gateshead Teachers Seminary) offers a beautiful explanation. If one's personality is such that he is not steadfast in his emotions, and therefore angers easily and is easily appeased, this doesn't tell us anything about his level of piety. Likewise, one's personality may be such that he takes things slow, and doesn't allow emotions to overtake him.Yet, when he does anger he is not easily appeased. This too doesn't evidence a level of piety. Rather, it is indicative ofhis basic nature. Conversely, one who doesn't anger easily, but yet is easily appeased, this indicates conflicting traits. Therefore, the mishna labels such a person pious. The fact that his actions seemingly are not in line with each other indicates he acts not out of instinct. Such a person must have worked on himself and is deserving of the label, pious. The reverse is true as well. One who angers easily but is appeased slowly is deserving of the title, wicked.
Using this idea we can understand what the women were rewarded for. It's quite understandable for a woman to be reluctant to part with her jewelry. Although the given explanation, that they don't want to go against G-d made sense, who is to say it was true. Perhaps it was just a ruse to hold onto what was dear to them. When it came to the building of the Tabernacle, however, it would have made sense for the women not to part with their gold and jewelry. Yet, we find that they gave even more then the men. This demonstrated, in retrospect, that by the golden calf, the lack of participation by the women was out of principle, not based on their basic nature. We can now understand why both scenarios contributed to why the women were given Rosh Chodesh. One revealed the other.

May we merit to work on our traits, becoming slow to anger and easy to appease, so that we too will earn an eternal reward

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Arba Kosos
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i

Chazal enacted a person must drink four cups of wine, to symbolize that we are free men (Gemara Pesachim 117b).   Rashi [Pesachim 99b s.v. arbeh] explains the reason why we drinkspecifically four cups, is to correspond to the four languages of redemption that Hashem promised the Jewish people before leaving Mitzrayim [see Shemos 6:6-7].
This mitzvah is incumbent on both men and women (Shulchan Aruch 472:14) and children who have reached the age of chinuch (Shulchan Aruch 472:15).  The obligation is even on a poor person.  If he does not have money to purchase wine, he must sell the clothing off his back to pay for wine (Shulchan Aruch 472:13 & Mishneh Berurah 472:42).
Even one who does not personally enjoy drinking wine, is nevertheless required to drink (Shulchan Aruch 472:10).  If however, he dislikes wine so much that he cannot force himself to drink it, he can fulfill his obligation with grape juice or chamar medina (Mishneh Berurah 472:37).  Additionally, one who becomes bedridden from drinking wine is not obligated (Mishneh Berurah 472:35), because this is not derech cheirus (Shaar Hatziyon 472:52).
It is a mitzvah to drink specifically red wine at the Seder (Shulchan Aruch 472:11), unless white wine is better (Rama ibid).  If one did use white wine, it is preferable to add red wine to it, in order that it appears red.  One should not add red food coloring [or any other red item other than red wine] (Halichos Shlomo 9:divrei halachah 10 & Koveitz Halachos 20:2-3).  Additionally, it is preferable not to use yayin mevushal (cooked one), unless it is of better quality (Shulchan Aruch 472:12 & Mishneh Berurah 472:39).
The Gemara [Pesachim 108b] teaches that the wine that should be used for the daled kosos should appear and taste like wine.  According to some Poskim, this teaches that in order to fulfill his obligation to drink wine which is derech cheirus (way of freedom) it must have alcoholic content (Halachos of Pesach pg. 222 quoting Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l).  According to this opinion, if one finds it difficult to drink wine, it is permitted to dilute wine with grape juice, as long as one can still taste the alcohol.  It is important to note, this is not the opinion of all Poskim, as Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, is of the opinion that one may use non-alcoholic wine [e.g. grape juice] for daled kosos (Halichos Shlomo 9:11).
Each cup should contain at least a revius of wine.  The measurement of revius, according to the Chazon Ish is 5.07 fl. oz., the Chafetz Chaim is approximately 4 fl. oz., and according to Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l is 4.42 fl. oz. for mitzvos me'deoraisa and 3.3 fl. oz. for mitzvos me'derabban (Halachos of Pesach pg. 228-229).
Although a person is not required to drink the whole cup, it is preferable to do so.  There is a dispute what is the minimal amount one must drink to fulfill his obligation; most of the cup or most of a revius (Shulchan Aruch 472:9).  Therefore, because it is preferable to drink most of the cup, if one has difficulty drinking a lot of wine, he should try to use a smaller cup [close to the measurement of a revius] to make it as easy as possible to drink the entire cup (Mishneh Berurah 472:33).  It is important to note, that one must drink an entire revius by the fourth cup, since one is reciting a brachah achronah which may not be reciting if one drank less than a revius (Mishneh Berurah 472:30).
A person should preferably drink the entire cup without any pausing (Rama 472:9), however, as long as one drank the entire cup within the shiur of kedei achilas pras [approx. 9 minutes] one has fulfilled his obligation (Mishneh Berurah 472:34).  Additionally, one must recline while drinking the daled kosos (Shulchan Aruch 472:7).
It is preferable for someone other than the head of the house to fill up the head of the household's daled kosos, appearing more like derech cheirus (Rama 473:1).  Many have the custom that everyone present does not pour their own cup (Koveitz Halachos 20:34).
It is preferable to use a nice cup for daled kosos (Koveitz Halachos 20:15 based on Shulchan Aruch 472:2).  If one can afford to do so, one should use a silver cup (Kaf Hachaim 472:11), however, any cup suffices.


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