Parshas Vayikra/HaChodesh 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 6:50 pm
March 16, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 10
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Dvar Torah

Proper Presentation
By Rabbi Yedidya Kaganoff  
Ordinarily, when the Torah states a mitzva, the mitzvah is stated without mentioning a specific reason for that mitzvah. As we are obligated to observe all commandments with meticulousness, it follows that all the mitzvos we are given that have a given reason attached to it are even more special to us. The parsha this week discusses, in length, about the several types of sacrifices that are expected of the Jewish people to offer to Hashem. The Ramban gives a phenomenal reason for why we bring all the sacrifices. In the middle of explaining all of the different sacrifices he mentions that "Another purpose of sacrifices is to show Hashem our abundant love for him; just like with a friend we give presents to show our closeness and fondness to them, so to by giving something of ours to Hashem we are emphasizing our connection to him." Since the motive for this commandment is explained to us, logically we can assume it is even more special. In what way, then, are sacrifices considered distinct?
In our current times we do not have sacrifices, rather we have Tefilla instead. One can posit that the same idea of the Ramban can be applied to our Tefilla. When one prays he should look like he is giving some of his time and effort to concentrate and pray with intense feeling and concentration, as Tefilla is about giving a present to Hashem. If a gift being given without emotion seriously hinders its meaning, Tefilos as well without proper delivery lacks meaning. Without the proper feelings and state of mind the gift can be, G-d forbid, meaningless; in effect rendering our prayers unfit.
Imagine giving a present to someone who you genuinely care about while you are distracted with reading your messages and without even waiting for a response from the recipient! Even if it the gift in question is expensive and something that that person really desires, it nonetheless loses the special zest you could have given it. Giving the gift in this manner seems worthless and counter intuitive. If only we know and understand why we pray we can completely change our attitude towards Tefilla. Tefilla should not be viewed as something we have to get through, but rather as a beautiful way for us to connect and show appreciation to Hashem; we show our devotion to Him by giving this present (Tefilla). To maximize the potential of our Tefilla, we must daven the proper way. This is the uniqueness of the sacrifices and of our tefillas, as well.
This same lesson is repeated by the Medrash. The Pasuk says regarding the Olah offering, "It is a pleasing smell to Hashem". When the Torah mentions the Olah bird offering, the Torah repeats "it is a pleasing smell for Hashem". Rashi says that the Torah repeats this Pasuk to teach us that it doesn't matter whether the sacrifice is expensive (ex. a grown animal) or cheap (ex. a bird) if your intentions are pure, in Hashem's eyes they are the same. By sacrifices and Tefilla the key factor is having proper intentions by giving this gift correctly. Good Shabbos

Dvar Halacha
Pas Akum - The Basics
Laws of Pas Akum 
part 2
Based on the  Sunday Morning Halacha Shiur given 
by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel

Written by: Ovadia Gowar

Last week we discussed the history behind the gezeirah (decree) of pas akum (non-Jewish bread). This week we will begin discussing the basic halachos.
The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 112:1 says that Chazal forbade eating the bread of a non-Jew. The gezeirah only applies to bread made of the 5 main types of grain (wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt). Breads made out of rice, corn, or anything else are permissible.
What do we mean when we say "the bread of a non-Jew?" Does it mean that the non-Jew owns it, baked it, or perhaps something else? The Shach says that it is implied in the Shulchan Aruch and the Rema throughout the siman (section) that the issur (prohibition) of pas akum only applies to bread baked by a non-Jew, but not to bread simply owned by a non-Jew. If the non-Jew kneaded or braided the bread, it is still permissible. (This follows the opinion of the Rambam and the Rashba, and not going like the Ran and the Tur, who say that if the non-Jew is involved with any part of the bread-making process, this makes it pas akum.)
The Shulchan Aruch does not distinguish between bread made under Jewish supervision, or not. The Shach asks: In the case where we didn't see the bread being made, why do we even need the gezeirah of pas akum, the bread should be forbidden simply because it might have been made with non-kosher ingredients?! The answer is that in the times of the Shulchan Aruch and those before him, bread was only made from flour and water. There were no other ingredients, so there was no concern that anything non-kosher had been introduced. It is only because of the gezeirah of pas akum that the bread is forbidden.
The Shach has another kasha (difficulty): Even if the ingredients were kosher, what about the baking pan the non-Jew used? Surely the taste of the non-kosher food previously made on the pan had been absorbed into the pan, which would then be reabsorbed by the bread? The Shach answers that there is no concern of bliyos (absorbed non-kosher taste) because "stam keilim ainom bnei yoman." This means that the non-Jew's utensils are assumed to not have been used for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, the non-kosher taste in the utensils goes bad (this is called "nosein taam lifgam"), and this undesirable taste can no longer render anything non-kosher (in most cases).
But there is more: Even if the keilim (utensils) have not been used for 24 hours and hence the taste has gone bad, we have the problem of "ain mevatlin issur lechatchilah" (we don't nullify non-kosher materials a priori). This means that if a Jew owns a non-kosher pot, it is not sufficient to wait 24 hours so that the taste will go bad, and then to use it afterwards. Rabbinically, one has to kasher the pot. So why don't we require the non-Jew's baking pan to be kashered for the same reason? The answer is that the principle of "ain mevatlin issur lechatchilah" only applies when a Jew is doing the cooking/baking. A non-Jew is not bound by it. So as long as the utensils are not bnei yoman, they are nosein taam lifgam and there is no problem of non-kosher taste going into the bread.
So, in summary, bread that was baked by a non-Jew, out of one of the 5 main types of grain, even if all the ingredients and utensils were kosher, is forbidden to be eaten. This is known as the gezeirah of pas akum. In the coming weeks, we will discuss the details of pas akum, including the well-known topic of pas palter, bread baked by a non-Jewish baker for commercial purposes.

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