Parshas Yisro 5777
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February 17, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 14
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Dvar Torah

Holding Your Own
 By Rabbi Yedidya Kaganoff

One of the Ten Commandments deals with the prohibition against coveting that which belongs to another. The various commentators raise an issue. We know Hashem would never command us regarding something that is beyond our ability. Yet, this command "You shall not covet" seems like an incredibly difficult commandment to comply with. Jealousy is a reflexive emotional reaction that a person has when he lacks what his neighbor is blessed with. How is it even remotely possible to not want something better than what one possesses?
This question was raised by the Bais Halevi. He answers that the way to get over jealousy is through fear of Hashem. Imagine for a moment, if one was about to take an extremely luxurious vacation. He would plan every detail down to the restaurant that serves the best steak. However, on his trip, he's bitten by a poisonous animal. His craving for all these luxuries dissipates due to the fear of not knowing if he will survive. So too, with regards to this commandment, if one has such a fear of Hashem, knowing that He explicitly forbids jealousy, it becomes understandable how he can control his yearnings. This is really what Hashem tells us in Parshas Ekev "What does Hashem request from us? Just to fear Him...and to go in His way." The first step is fear of Hashem, then everything falls into place.
The Ibn Ezra offers another explanation, a fascinating answer from which we can derive a powerful lesson. "Every intelligent man knows that health, livelihood etc. do not come to our hands through our own wit and cunning; Rather Hashem gives us what we are intended to receive!"  If a person has true Emunah, he will accept his lot, apportioned to him by Hashem, and realize that Hashem knows what's best for him. He will then, be able to stand the temptation to desire his neighbor's belongings. He will be able to view his neighbor's property as totally out of his reach, and thus no longer desire it.
Rabbi Yissochar Frand illustrates this idea with a parable: A person is not jealous of his friend's eye glass prescription, but rather of his frames. The reason is obvious. The actual prescription, which may even be lower than his, is unattainable, but the frames are something he thinks he can acquire. To crave what is out of reach is pointless, and futile. With the proper frame of mind and Emunah the struggle to reach this admittedly high level becomes immensely easier.
A story is told of Rabbi Meir of Premislan that illustrates his approach towards dealing with jealousy. Once Rabbi Meir of Premislan heard the complaint of a congregant who worried that another retailer had opened a store in competition with him. "Did you ever watch a horse drink from a stream?" the Rabbi asked. "You will notice that he taps with his hoof while drinking. "The horse sees his reflection in the water and thinks that there is another horse there that will drink all the water and there will be none left for him. He therefore taps with his hoof in an attempt to scare the other horse away. "Don't be like the horse. There is enough in the world for both you and your competitor. He will not take away what is destined for you." After this the storekeeper gave help, tips, and advice to the other retailer and both of them prospered, each store as is often the case, fueling the other.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe writes in Alei Shur, "that an individual who knows himself and is aware of his nature, and who knows that whatever God has given him is a wondrous gift - if he will only take advantage of his talents and strengths he will attain all desirable traits. Such an individual does not suffer from jealousy or envy another person's lot in life! ... Do not compare yourself to others. Have faith in your Creator that He has given you all of your spiritual needs!"
May we have the strength to take the above lessons to heart, and grow as an individual and a people.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Borer part 5
Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

As we've discussed the last few weeks, 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 explained, as a general rule, foods and objects are not considered mixed unless they are intermingled or interspersed, embedded or attached, absorbed or interfused.
When separating from a mixture, in order not to violate borer, one needs to have following three conditions: 1) you must separate the item you want from the item you do not want [good from bad], 2) it must be for immediate use, and 3) you can only use your hand as opposed to a utensil which is designated for separating. Each of these three conditions will be discussed in the subsequent weeks.

In terms of what is included in "immediate use," the Rama [319:1] rules that one may start preparing prior to the meal he is about to eat, all that is needed for that meal. This means that in addition to the actual time of the meal itself [which is definitely considered "immediate use"] it is also considered "immediate" before the actual meal as well. This includes preparing for any part of the meal, including dessert (Mishneh Berurah 319:5).  Therefore, if, for example one is preparing for a large sheva brachos, one would have longer time to prepare, since it would be impossible to start preparing a few minutes before the meal.  Another factor that will make a difference is if one is preparing him/herself or together with others [i.e. it will take shorter amount of time to prepare]. Similarly, if a woman has young children at home who need her help she can factor this into the expected time it will probably take. For example, if she feels the actual preparation will take 30 minutes, but she will be interrupted for about 10 minutes during that time, she may start preparing 40 minutes before even though only 30 minutes are being used to prepare the meal, since this is all part of her normal preparation time (Zachor V'Shamor pg. 293).

It is important to note, one does not need to be exacting in terms of how much time he will need, rather it would suffice to make a reasonable approximation of how long it will take (Sefer Aiyal Meshulash 8:ftnt. 20 quoting Shulchan Aruch Harav :3). This would include preparing generously, as long as it is within reason that it could be eaten during that meal, even though there most probably will be leftovers (Orchos Shabbos 3:51). Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk, shlit"a, explains the reason behind this is because when preparing a large quantity everyone feels that they can help themselves to as much as they want, thus the "extra pieces" are there as part of the meal (Zachor V'Shamor pg. 294).

Similarly, if one is expecting guests, yet is unsure when they will arrive, one may start preparing within the time that there is a possibility that would come (Sefer Aiyal Meshulash 8:31). Additionally, if a husband can potentially come home from shul at different times [e.g. depending on how long the rabbi speaks or if there is a Kiddush, etc.], his wife may start preparing within the amount of time that the meal would be ready when he comes home.

It is important to note that one is prohibited from engaging in other activities in between preparing and the actual meal since this would constitute an interruption for preparing for the meal.  Some cases would be: taking a pleasure walk (Orchos Shabbos 3:ftnt. 48) or going to shul (Mishneh Berurah 321:45).  However, getting a child dressed (Orchos Shabbos 3:ftnt. 48) or singing "Shalom Aleichem" and "Aishes Chayil" etc. would not be included, since it considered part of the meal (Sefer Aiyal Meshulash 8: ftnt. 22 quoting Harav Nissan Karelitz, shlit"a).


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