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Parshas Nasso 5774
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May 30, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 29
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Dvar Torah

Mirror Relationships    


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas



 The Gemarah in Brachos 63a quotes R'Yochanan saying, "Why was the portion relating to the laws of the Sotah (the wayward wife) juxtaposed with the portion relating to the laws of Terumos and Ma'asros (Tithes)? To tell you that one who possesses Terumos and Ma'asros and doesn't give it to the Kohen in the end will need the Kohen's services in dealing with his suspicion that his wife is a Sotah." This statement is puzzling. What is the correlation between the cause and punishment? Further, isn't the penalty a little too severe?


 The answer can be found in the Maharal's commentary GurAryeh. The Maharal explains that in fact the repercussion is measure for measure. When man sins, he creates a rift with his Father in Heaven. The Jewish nation's relationship with G-d is allegorically compared to the relationship between husband and wife. As we find in ShirHashirim, KlalYisroel is alluded to as a "wife" to G-d. Therefore a sin creates "ShalomBayis" problems between us and our Creator, and it is our sacrifices that serve to rectify them. The role of "marriage counselor" is filled by the Kohen who brings the offering onto the Mizbe'ach (Altar). Therefore, one who doesn't appreciate the role of the Kohen and doesn't give him his dues, will be forced to utilize the Kohen's services for his own Shalom Bayis problems, suspecting his wife of improper relationships.


This powerful explanation brings to mind a famous Gemarah in Meseches (tractate) Yevamos 63a. The Gemarah states, "And R' Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written, "I will make him a helpmate opposite him [referring to the creating of Chava to be a wife to Adam]"? "Zacha" if man merits, then his wife will be a helpmate to him. "Lozacha," if he doesn't merit, "k'negdo," she will oppose him.


The Maharal elsewhere, in his commentary ChidusheiAggados, explains the Gemarah with the following: Naturally man and woman are diametric opposites. Man is the "giver," while a woman "receives and develops." As a result, special Divine intervention is necessary to insure the viability of the marriage. This is only possible if the man "merits," meaning that he is doing what he is supposed to do. If he is not doing the Will of Hashem, then he has no merit and does not deserve Divine aid.


These two commentaries of the Maharal reveal to us a crucial factor in the dynamics of our personal Shalom Bayis. Sometimes we come home and for no logical reason everything we say or do rubs our wife the wrong way. We naturally react out of frustration in defense and things just spiral down from there. With this Maharal we now realize that instead of responding in kind, or being angry, instead we should "yell" at ourselves and try to figure out what we are doing wrong in our service of Hashem. For if we create "Shalom Bayis" problems between us and Hashem, then it will reflect itself in the relationship between us and our spouse. As we approach the day of our "wedding" with Hashem and his Torah, we should appreciate the significance of that relationship and its practical ramifications.  





Dvar Halacha

 Halachos of Sefiras Haomer      Part 4



By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi



There is a machlokes Rishonim whether the counting of the 49 days is one collective mitzvah or each day for 49 days a separate mitzvah.  The practical difference is, if one misses a day or knows one will for sure miss a day, whether there is a mitzvah to count the remaining days.  The opinion of the Bahag is that it is one collective mitzvah and if one misses a day one can no longer recite the brachah beforehand since one has not fulfilled the mitzvah.  Other Rishonim argue and hold that each day is an independent mitzvah.  According to this opinion, if one missed a day since each day is independent from the other days one may count with a brachah (Tur OC 489, Mishneh Berurah 489:36-37).  L'halacha, we are stringent that if one did miss a night to continue counting the following night without a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:8).  If one may no longer recite the brachah, it is preferable to hear the brachah from someone else (Mishneh Berurah 489:37).  It is important to note, even if one is not counting with a brachah, one must count Sefiras Ha'Omer, just without the brachah.


If one is unsure whether he missed a night, one may continue counting with a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:8).  This is based on the halachic concept of "safek sefeika" (we are lenient when there are 2 doubts).  In the above case the 2 doubts are: 1) did he miss and 2) even if he did miss is the halachah like the opinion that each day is a separate mitzvah


If one counted the wrong day it is as he did not count at all (Mishneh Berurah 489:35).  Therefore, upon realizing, he must recount the proper day.  If one did not, he would not be allowed to continue counting with a brachah, since he missed an entire day.


If one counts the proper day, even without the brachah, he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation, and would not be permitted to recount that night with a brachah (Shulchan Aruch 489:4, Mishneh Berurah 489:22).  Therefore, if one has not already counted, one needs to be very careful if someone ask him which night is it is tonight, not to answer him directly, rather say "last night was __" (Shulchan Aruch 489:4).  Since one may fulfill his obligation in any language, if he answers in another language other than Hebrew, it is considered as if he counted [e.g. "today is the 44th day"] (Mishneh Berurah 489:20).  However, if he answered in one of the following instances, it is not considered as if he counted and may therefore recount that night with a brachah; If it was before shkiya (Shulchan Aruch 489:4), if you just said the number [e.g. 44] and did not say "today is the 44th day" (Mishneh Berurah 489:20), If it is after the 7th day, and just the number was said but not the weeks [e.g. if on the 44th day one said "today is the 44th day" as opposed to "today is the 44th day which is 6 weeks and 2 days"] (Mishneh Berurah 489:23), or if one had specific intention not to fulfill his obligation (Mishneh Berurah 489:22).  Furthermore, if one answered after shkiyah but before tzaitz hakochavim, if one normally counts after tzaitz hakochavim, he most probably had intention not to fulfill his obligation (Be'ur Halachah 489:4 s.v. she'im).  If someone is unsure which day of sefira it is, and asks someone "is today __" [and it was that day], he may count with a brachah, since his intention was not to count, rather to clarify the day (Koveitz Halachos 5:10).






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