Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei/Parah 5778
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March 9, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 9
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Dvar Torah

Time to Think
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas  
            
When beginning to read this week's parsha, one immediately wonders why Moshe needed to precede the command to build the Mishkan with the prohibition to do work on Shabbos. Rashi quotes the well-known Mechilta that this was in order to let the Jewish People know that Shabbos takes precedence over construction of the Mishkan. This begs to be understood, for in Parshas Ki Sisa we find this law already conveyed. Why the need to repeat it here?
To answer, we need to focus on another point of interest. Very rarely do we find the passuk referring to the Jewish Nation as "Adas B'nei Yisroel," "Congregation of the Children of Israel," usually only as "B'nei Yisroel," "Children of Israel." What is unique about this parsha? The Nesivos Shalom writes that by rearranging the letters of the word "Adas" you get the word "Da'as," knowledge. Our sages teach us in Tractate Sota 3a, that a person only sins as a result of a foolish spirit that has entered him. Losing one's ability to think is the precursor to sin. Rashi tell us that the events of this week's parsha take place immediately after Yom Kippur when Moshe brought down the second Luchos. The Jewish People at that point were fragmented as a result of the sin of the Golden Calf. They had "lost" their minds to sin, and Moshe was now tasked with rectifying that. To accomplish this mission Moshe introduced the Jewish People to the concept of Mishkan, but first he had to start with the prohibition to work on Shabbos. Why?
The Vilna Gaon, in Aderes Eliyahu, writes that G-d renews creation each day, and the recreation of Shabbos is prepared on Erev Shabbos. Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner explains the words of The Gaon with one of the laws of Shabbos.
There is a prohibition to carry an item of significance from a private domain to a public domain, or vice versa. However if one were to use an object of significance to carry an item that is insignificant (e.g. a pitcher to carry a piece of bread smaller then a bite), one will have not transgressed Shabbos. This is because the significant item is nullified by its purpose to carry the insignificant object. What we see is that what is considered worthy depends on the evaluation of mankind. That ability represents the "da'as," the ability to think, unique to man.
Rabbi Hutner then informs us that this singular law speaks to a broader concept of Shabbos. The "six days of work" are only prelude to Shabbos. Shabbos brings back into focus man's purpose in this world. Therefore although the world continues renew on Shabbos physically, human intellect is now focused on the loftier spiritual role of Shabbos. G-d prepared this by creating intelligent man right before Shabbos, thus allowing the world of secondary purpose, by man's understanding, to function on a day with different priorities. This is similar to the pitcher carrying the insignificant piece of bread.
"Ki os hi beini uveineichem la'da'as ki Ani Hashem mikadishchem." The verse clearly states that Shabbos is the symbol (of our relationship with G-d) to know that Hashem is the One who sanctifies us. Shabbos with its laws and rules, gives the Jewish people the time to reflect and think about our priorities in this world. Guard the Shabbos because it guards us from making unthinkable mistakes.
Once Moshe brought back the Jewish People's ability to think, he was now able to give the laws of constructing the Mishkan. This required tremendous wisdom, as reiterated so often in this week's parsha, that was now possible because of Shabbos. May we remain properly focused.


 
Dvar Halacha
Pas Akum - History
Laws of Pas Akum 
part 1
Based on the  Sunday Morning Halacha Shiur given 
by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel

Written by: Ovadia Gowar

The Shulchan Aruch (in Y.D. Siman 112) deals with the laws of pas akum, which is the gezeirah (decree) prohibiting eating bread baked by a non-Jew. Like bishul akum, the reason for this gezeirah is to prevent unnecessary friendly bonding, which could ultimately lead to chasnus (intermarriage) (Avodah Zara 35b).
Before we start looking at the details of this gezeirah, we need to ask ourselves: Where does the prohibition of pas akum originate from? It turns out that there are 3 proposed sources:
In the Tanach, we have the book of Daniel. Daniel was handpicked among the Jews to serve as an advisor to the Babylonian king Nevuchadnezzar. In the first chapter it says that the king prepared "pas bog" and wine for all the men undergoing the training. Daniel did not want to eat the pas bog or wine, so he asked the officer if he could have something else. The officer was concerned that he would be punished if Daniel looked malnourished. Daniel challenged the officer to let him eat a diet of greens and water for 10 days. He did so and Daniel was just fine.
The Rishonim debate about what exactly "pas bog" is. Ramban and other Rishonim learn that "pas bog" was actual bread. Therefore, some say that this is a possible source for the minhag (custom) to be strict and eat only pas yisroel (bread baked by a Jew) during the 10 days of teshuvah from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur.
The Zohar in Parshas Mishpatim on the pasuk "v'anshei kodesh t'hiyun li" says that the king made this pas bog with "beis and gimel" (The letters that make up the word "bog"). What does "beis and gimel" mean? Basar and gevinah (i.e. the king was deliberately trying to make Daniel stumble by feeding him basar b'chalav (meat and milk)). According to this opinion, these pesukim are not a source for pas akum, because Daniel didn't eat the food simply because it wasn't kosher.
Rashi offers 2 explanations: "Pas bog" is just a term in Kasdi (an ancient Babylonian language) that meant "the king's food," or, according to some it is bread. Rashi argues against this, because we see that the officer gave Daniel zaronim (seeds) to eat. Seeds are not an adequate replacement for bread, rather they replace cooked food. He should've been given something bread-like to meet his body's needs if he was really omitting bread from his diet. So pas bog must've just been some type of food that is eaten as part of a meal, but wasn't bread itself.
The Beis Yosef (in Siman 123) brings a different opinion. He quotes Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer that the first one to be goizer on pas akum was Pinchas. This makes sense because Pinchas was the one who saved k'lal Yisroel from the Moavim, who had caused Israel to sin through forbidden relations. The gezeirah of pas akum was because of chasnus. However, says the Beis Yosef, even though Pinchas was goizer this upon k'lal Yisroel, they did not accept it on themselves at the time (a gezeirah has to be accepted willingly by the community for it to become binding).
Finally, the Gemara in Avodah Zara says that the gezeirah of pas akum was created during the time of talmidei (the students of) Beis Shammai and Hillel. The Gemara in Shabbos (daf 13-17), talks about a certain day when the talmidei Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel gathered together to debate about a whole spectrum of halachos. It is a general principle that the halacha is like Beis Hillel. However, on that particular day, Beis Shammai outnumbered Beis Hillel, and thus 18 gezeiros were promulgated in line with their opinion. The last one mentioned is pas akum. It seems that at this time, k'lal Yisroel did accept it upon themselves. been with us ever since.

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