Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim 5778
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April 27, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 11
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Dvar Torah

What a Sacrifice!
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler in an essay on the topic of Yom Kippur writes about a difficult concept referred to in some sources as "bribing the Satan." We find this idea elaborated on by the Ramban in this week's Parsha. The Ramban explains a cryptic statement made by the Ibn Ezra about the sacrifice to Azazel (a cliff in the desert over which a goat was sent and dashed on the sharp rocks below). The Ibn Ezra writes that the Azazel is not intended for Hashem, for it is not slaughtered. Rather it is sent as a sacrifice to the one whose name is alluded to in the name Azazel, and one has to be 33 to understand this secret. What is the Ibn Ezra referring to!?
Without going into detail of how the Ramban deciphers the Ibn Ezra's message, the Ramban reveals that the Ibn Ezra was alluding to the fact that the Azazel was intended to be an offering to Satan! How could this be? The Ramban explains that the purpose of the Azazel is not, chalila, to be an actual offering to the Satan. Rather it can be compared to one who makes a feast for a king and the king commands the host to give a portion to a certain servant. The host is not giving anything of his own to that servant. Instead the host is giving it all to the king, and the king in turn gives it to his servant. The intent of this gift is appreciation for the host. By insuring that all benefit from the feast it guarantees that everyone will praise and not disparage the host. So too, the Azazel is G-d's way of sharing the sacrifices of Yom Kippur so that even the Satan should speak in favor of the Jewish People on that awesome day.
What this means in practical terms is that G-d is teaching us how to deal with our personal negative inclinations (G-d does not need our sacrifices nor does He wish us to sacrifice to the Satan, rather these actions serve to inculcate within us various lessons in service of Him). If one were to fight the Satan/negative inclination directly, it would only cause the Satan to double his efforts. However, by "including" the Satan in our decision process (i.e. by suggesting that fulfilling a certain desire is a good idea in theory but not realistic at this moment), we won't clash with the Satan head on and we will have the breathing space to properly work on ourselves.
Another method of avoiding our desires is found in the Gemarah in Chullin (109a). The Gemarah states that for all that is forbidden in the world, G-d created something similar that is permitted. By allowing a person to taste of the forbidden in a permitted manner, some of the "sting" of the curiosity is removed, allowing him to maintain self-control .
However, Rabbi Dessler writes, that the minor "concession" must be done with the purest of motives. Otherwise this allowance might translate into a greater desire for what is actually forbidden, thereby having the opposite effect.
We find this lesson toward the end of Acharei Mos. The Nesivos Shalom asks, why does G-d have to instruct us not to follow the actions of Egypt and Canaan, if the parsha then proceeds to list those specific relationships that are forbidden? The Nesivos Shalom answers that what G-d is referring to is the permitted areas of our life. Indulgence in the permitted may also emulate the ways of Egypt and Canaan and eventually lead one down to the same immoral state as those nations. That which is permitted should be utilized responsibly with the intention of getting closer to G-d. This is part of what sets the Jewish People apart from the Nations.
May we appreciate the delicate balance of life and the tools that G-d gives us to grow and get closer to Him.

Dvar Halacha
Pas Akum - Mumar
Laws of Pas Akum 
part 3
Based on the  Sunday Morning Halacha Shiur given 
by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel

Written by: Ovadia Gowar

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 112:1 says that pas akum, the bread of a non-Jew, is forbidden because it could eventually lead to chasnus (intermarriage). The Rema adds that even if a particular situation has no possibility of chasnus, it is still forbidden.
So even if an 80-year-old non-Jew or a priest baked it, and hence there are no daughters around, the bread would still be forbidden. Why is this the case? Two reasons are mentioned by the Rashba, and are brought in the Taz and Shach. The Taz says because of the principle of "lo plug" (we don't distinguish). Although Chazal made the gezeirah of pas akum for a particular reason, when they made it, they applied it as a blanket rule across all situations, even if the underlying reason doesn't apply. The Shach says because im ain l'ze yeish l'ze" (if this one doesn't have a daughter, this one will), meaning that the concern is not just the interaction with that particular non-Jew, but that this could lead to interaction with all of his friends, with the eventual possibility of intermarriage.
The halacha with regards to a non-Jew's bread is clear, but what about the bread of a mumar (a Jewish apostate e.g. one who publicly desecrates Shabbos). Since they are Jewish, there is no problem of chasnus. On the other hand, we know that Chazal penalized a mumar by giving him the halachic status of a non-Jew. For example, if a mumar touches wine, it becomes stam yainam (a type of forbidden wine) and you cannot drink it. So which of the two approaches do we go by? Most Acharonim go with the strict approach and forbid pas mumar. Even though there is no issue of chasnus, they either go with the reasoning of lo plug and thus the bread of anyone with the din of an non-Jew is assur (forbidden), or they go with the reasoning of im ein l'ze yeish l'ze, because presumably the mumar's friends are non-Jews, and perhaps they have daughters that could cause an issue of chasnus.
There are some Acharonim who are lenient though, including the Pischei Teshuvah and R' Moshe Feinstein. The Tiferes l'Moshe says that pas mumar is permissible, because, as we mentioned, there is no concern of chasnus, and even though he is a sinner, he is still a Jew and not a non-Jew.
A practical case for this would be a baked-goods company that is owned by non-religious Jews and employs non-religious Jews. Even if it has hashgachah on the ingredients, the product itself is pas mumar and could still be a problem.
There are many Jews nowadays in America who unfortunately don't follow the Torah and one has to wonder whether all these laws above apply to them. Many poskim hold that most non-religious Jews nowadays are not regarded as mumarim, but rather, they fall into the category of tinok she'nishbah (literally: a child that was captured and raised amongst non-Jews, completely ignorant of Torah). These poskim argue that these non-religious Jews just never knew better, they were raised this way and were never taught the proper way of living like a Torah Jew. The Chazon Ish in Yoreh Deah Siman 2 is even more lenient and holds that even if non-religious Jews live amongst Torah Jews, they are still regarded as tinok she'nishbah because they were never taught the way of the Torah properly. This is how they were raised and it is difficult for them to change from their former ways. According to these lenient opinions, bread made by these individuals would not forbidden. This can make things easier for Jews with non-religious friends and relatives. One's rov should be asked in each specific case.
May we be a light unto the nations and to all our Jewish brethren.

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