Parshas Shemos 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 4:48 pm
January 20, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 10
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Dvar Torah

Name or Number?
 By Rabbi Eliyahu Breiner

This week's Parshah begins with the verse: "And these are the names of the Bnei Yisrael that came to Mitzrayim". The verse continues and lists Yaakov and the Shevatim/Tribes by name and concludes that the total amount that came to Egypt were seventy. Rashi explains that even though the Shevatim were counted previously during their lifetime, the Torah counts them again to show how cherished and special they are. This is the of significance of counting them by name , as the Sforno writes "These were mentioned by name because each of them was a great individual and deserved to be mentioned  separately by the name that described who they were. For it was because of the influence of these shining lights that the entire nation stayed on the proper path".
It seems from here that "V'eleh Shemos" refers more to a list of great individuals than a counting of the entire Klal Yisroel. The question then arises, why does the verse end off with the sum total of the nation, the seventy souls that came to Egypt, if we are talking about the extraordinary people, not the common folk?

The answer to this question lies in understanding the true meaning of the words "Shem" and "Mispar", "name and number". R' Shimshon Pincus explains that a person's name refers to his unique qualities. It is what differentiates him from every other person on Earth. On the other hand, when a group of people is referred to by their number, we are focusing on the power of the group, the community as a whole, to accomplish what none of them could do alone. In this setting, the individual is only important insofar as he makes up the number of the group and without him there may not be sufficient manpower to accomplish the task at hand. However the uniqueness and importance of each individual is lost in this type of counting. For example, if a mother would refer to her third child Moshe, as "#3", this would show a lack of affection and appreciation for that child. For a child is special because of who he is, not because he makes up the family number.

By listing the great role models of Klal Yisroel in the same counting as the entire nation, the Torah is teaching us a great lesson. Despite each or the Shevatim's individual greatness, they still must be part of the general Klal in order to reach their potential. We are a nation of great people, but our real greatness is that we are a nation. Together we accomplish what no one can do alone.

In this regard, every Jew, big or small, plays an integral role for we all make up the Nation of Israel and without any one of us, it would not be complete.

May we all merit to bring our unique qualities and strengths together as one Nation to bring about the Final Geulah.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Borer part 1
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

The Torah in numerous places commands us "You shall not do any melachah (work) on Shabbos" [Shemos 20:10], though the Torah itself does not list which melachos are prohibited. [1]   The Gemara [Shabbos 49b] explains that the 39 melachos are the 39 different actions that were used to build the Mishkan [and any act that is similar to it].
The Mishna [Shabbos 73a] lists borer as the seventh melachah. It is included in the first eleven melachos, which are known as "sidura d'pas," "The Order of Making Bread" [Gemara Shabbos 74b]. In the process of making bread, after the wheat kernels were separated from the stalks [dosh (threshing)], they would winnow the kernels [zoreh] to remove the chaff that surrounded it. Upon landing on the ground some kernels would still have some remaining chaff and additionally there were little pebbles mixed amongst them. Therefore, before placing the kernels in the grinder, they would have to remove the p'soles [refuse, i.e. pebbles and excess chaff]. Similarly, in the Mishkan when preparing the dyes which were used to color the various curtains they would separate the p'soles away from the plants and spices that produced the dyes. This is the melachah of borer.
As an aside, the Gemara [Shabbos 73b] notes that there are two other melachos that are very similar to borer, namely that one is separating that which you do not want (p'soles) from that which is wanted (ochel): zoreh (winnowing) and merakaid (sifting). Even though they are all similar, the reason why they are considered different melachos and not categorized as one melachah [of sorting good from bad] is because since in the Mishkan they were separate acts in regards to meleches Shabbos they are separate melachos.
Included in the melachah of borer is selecting an item from [at least] two types of foods which are mixed together (see Rambam Hil' Shabbos 8:12 ( . Included in the melachah is sorting out a mixture of different items with the intention of putting each item in a distinct group to be used at a later time [e.g. sorting out a mixture of toys or fruits into separate containers [not for immediate use] [Biur Halachah 319:3 s.v. ha'yu].
If there is only one type of food in the mixture [even if they are slightly different, e.g. different sizes] it is not considered sorting and is permitted. Furthermore, it is only an action of borer when it is done in the normal way to separate: namely using a kli (utensil) that is designated to separate with; to store it away for later use; or to sort the bad away from the good. However, if one separates in the normal way of eating, meaning sorting the good from the bad, by hand, for immediate use, it is permitted. These concepts will be explained in depth in the upcoming weeks.
The laws of borer are perhaps the most difficult in all of hilchos Shabbos. The Mishneh Berurah in two places [Introduction to Hilchos Shabbos & Introduction to Siman 319 ] comments specifically how difficult it is not to violate the melachah of borer. The Poskim cite numerous reasons why: 1) Borer is extremely common since it is relevant to many different areas, including food, clothing, toys, cutlery, seforim [Mishneh Berurah 319:15] (The 39 Melachos pg. 383-385) . 2) Additionally, it applies at many different stages, for example, preparation for the meal, during the meal, and while cleaning up, washing dishes, etc. (Mishnas Hashabbos pg. 55). 3) Furthermore, it is common in many places, including the kitchen, the dining room table, a bedroom and a Bais Medrash. (Zachor V'shamor pg. 299). Moreover, the concepts of borer are hard to fully grasp, sometimes a minor detail making a difference between an issur d'oraiysa or being completely permitted (The 39 Melachos pg. 383-385). 4) As opposed to other melachos where one generally violates the melachah by creating a "new entity" [e.g. cooking an item], when one sorts, it seems as if one is not doing a melachah (Mishnas Hashabbos pg. 55, Zachar V'Shamor pg. 273). 5) Lastly, the melachah is very subjective for the melachah applies even to two "good" items, however, if at the current moment one does not want one of the items, that undesired item is considered to be p'soles (see Tosfos Shabbos 74a s.v. ha'yu & MB 319:12).  Therefore the importance of having a firm grip on these halachos cannot be overstressed, for the only way to properly avoid this melachah is by constant learning about it, resulting in one being cognizant of what is permitted. The only way is to learn the halachos well (Mishneh Berurah Introduction to Hilchos Shabbos ).

[1] with the exception of four melachos: choraish (plowing), keshirah (harvesting)  (Shemos 34:21 ), hotzah (carrying)  (Shemos 16:29 ) and maveir (kindling) (Shemos 35:3 ).

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