Parshas Bo 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 5:04 pm
February 3, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 12
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Dvar Torah

Timely Lessons
 By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

Most of us are familiar with the concept of "zerizus," generally translated as, "performance of mitzvohs with alacrity." We tend to understand it to mean that beyond the actual obligation to fulfill the mitzva, one would receive "extra points" by immediately performing the mitzva. However the Mechilta, as Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner points out, suggests a deeper meaning. The Mechilta expounds upon a verse in this week's Parsha, "V'shamartem es hamatzos" "And you shall guard the matzos". Our sages tell us that the similar Hebrew lettering of "matzos" to "mitzvohs" in the verse, hints to a loftier concept. "Mi'kan she'ein machmitzin es hamitzvohs" "From here we learn that one should not let his mitzvohs become chometz." By not performing a mitzva right away, it becomes like chometz on Pesach. This comparison of non-immediate fulfillment of a mitzvah to chometz, implies that there is an actual defect in the mitzvah. Why is this?
Rabbi Hutner tells us that to comprehend this concept, we must first discard our pre-conceived notions as to what zerizus is. For if all zerizus means is rushing to do something, the "rushing" to do a mitzvah would be no different then the "rushing" to go to work. We do see a hint of a loftier meaning in an interesting Gemara in Eiruvin (100b). The Gemara there lists various animals, from whom, we are able to learn certain positive character traits even if the Torah had not been given. Rabbi Hutner asks, why does the Gemara omit learning how not to be lazy from an ant, when a verse in Mishlei clearly advises one to do so? It seems that without Torah knowledge, learning how not to be lazy from an ant would not be possible. What does this mean?
The path to understanding zerizus is through a parable explaining a verse in Koheles. The verse states "Hanefesh lo simalei," "The soul never senses fulfillment." This is comparable to a princess who marries a commoner. The commoner never having been exposed to a royal lifestyle, lacks the ability to fully comprehend and fulfill his wife's wishes. So too one's soul, stemming from an infinite and loftier world, will never be satisfied by the pettiness of our physical world.
The Vilna Gaon writes that the words of our daily prayer "Baruch She'amar" reference two physical creations - the universe and time. That being the case, our souls reject not only the physicality of the universe, but time as well. Coming from a world without time, it is our soul's deepest desire to fulfill its spiritual desires, i.e. mitzvohs, without the limitations of time. Doing a mitzvah with a sense of urgency demonstrates a sincere desire to break the shackles of time and fulfill the mitzvah in its true spiritual element, beyond time. That is the meaning of zerizus.
We can now turn back to the ant. The Medrash tells us that an ant "only lives six months and only requires the total amount of a kernel and a half of wheat to sustain itself during that time. Yet it brings in hundreds of measures of wheat." An ant works much more than what it needs to exist. It lives a life beyond its existence. Only having learned what true zerizus is, can one now look at an ant and comprehend what the verse in Mishlei advises one to learn from the ant. Not to live for something more, traps the mitzvah within time, curtailing its true potential. It ruins the mitzvah.
The Maharal teaches us that the commandment to rush out of Egypt was to convey and internalize at the onset of Jewish Nationhood the eternity of the Jewish People. May we through our zerizus merit that eternity speedily in our day.




 
Dvar Halacha
Laws of Borer part 3
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

We have previously explained that the melachah of borer is only relevant if one is selecting an item from [at least] two types of foods or the like, which are mixed together. We discussed what defines two similar items as two separate types. This week we'll discuss what constitutes a mixture. Sefer Aiyul Meshulush [4:1] explains, based on the Biur Halachah [319:3 s.v. l'echol], that borer means "fixing up" something that needs to be improved. Therefore, only when there is a mixture is there need for "fixing," for if two foods are not considered together, then each one is considered fine as is.
 
What constitutes a mixture? Sefer Orchos Shabbos [pg. 131] writes that it is difficult to give a set of guidelines what is considered mixed, for we find that the poskim quantify that a mixture is defined by how people view the items together (Chut Shani [25:3], Shulchan Shlomo pg. 361). In other words, if most people would consider the items as being mixed, this would be considered a mixture. Seemingly, it depends on if people view these items together, if a particular item loses its "individual identity" somewhat, perhaps because it becomes no longer fully visible, it will be considered a mixture.  Obviously, there are many factors that may go into how this is viewed: how many items are present, the size of the objects, etc. For example, the Aruch Hashulchan [319:17] writes that it appears that only when there are many pieces etc. [e.g. a whole fruit bowl] do we look at it as mixed. If, however, there are only a few pieces [e.g. an apple and an orange] this would not be considered mixed.
 
Many things are clearly "a literal dictionary definition of a mixture" (e.g. a cholent, salad or peas and carrots). At the same time, there are many things which are obviously not a mixture (e.g. items spread out on a refrigerator shelf or settings of cutlery on the table). However there are other cases mentioned in the poskim which constitute a halachic mixture [even though it is not as obvious], including:
1) Items that are either mingled or interspersed (i.e. an assortment of foods or items that are randomly mixed so that the individual items are difficult to identify without prior separation, or are entangled).  Examples include: peanuts and raisins in the same bowl, a fruit bowl with an assortment of fruits, an assortment of laundry in a basket, mixed silverware in the cutlery rack, assorted seforim stacked together) (The 39 Melachos pg. 388-389).  2) Items that are embedded or attached (i.e. an object that is embedded in another item, even two distinctly identifiable items, that are attached at any point [for they are considered attached at their point of connection]). Examples include: bones in fish or chicken, fat on meat, peels attached to fruits, eggs or nuts in their shells, wrappers stuck to candy, salami (Shu"T Igros Moshe OC 4:74:Borer 10), challah(Zachor V'shamor pg. 279) or ice pops, dirt on fruits or vegetables, fruits or vegetables (e.g. grapes) attached to their stem, a rotten part of a fruit (Sefer Aiyal Meshulash 4:23), raisins embedded in raisin challah or chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies) (The 39 Melachos pg. 389).  3) Items or substances that are absorbed or interfused (i.e. thin slices or particles that are mixed into liquids, since the liquid and the solid tend to become interfused).  Examples include: small food items (croutons, tiny pieces of matzah, farfel, cut up vegetables) in a soup, sediments or pulp in liquid, cream settled on milk, oil on soup, a tiny bug on a leaf of lettuce, liquid dressing on coleslaw or salad) (The 39 Melachos pg. 389-390). As a general rule, foods and objects are not considered mixed if they have none of the above qualifications- i.e. they are not intermingled or interspersed, embedded or attached, or absorbed or interfused (The 39 Melachos pg. 390).
 

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