Parshas Balak 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 8:15 pm
June 29, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 19
Printer Friendly Version

For the printer friendly version,and additional features of the Menucha Vesimcha/weekly update click here: Menucha V'Simcha

Dvar Torah

Parsha Thoughts
By Rabbi Sruli Schwartz 
Like No Other Kinds

"Never again has there arisen in Yisroel a prophet like Moshe" (DEVARIM 34:10).

The medrash (Yalkut Shimoni 966) infers from this posuk that there was no other prophet like Moshe among the Jews, but among the other nations there was a prophet comparable to Moshe. That prophet was Bilaam. How do we understand this? How is it possible that the wicked Bilaam, someone totally enwrapped in his sins, could be a bigger prophet than the holy Jewish prophets like Eliyahu and Elisha? Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher writes that the level of prophecy of the Jewish prophets was contingent on their spiritual level. Prophecy is an attachment to G-d, and for fi nite humans to become close to the infi nite G-d seems impossible. Nonetheless, Hashem gave the ability to connect with Him through prophecy to those who purifi ed and sanctifi ed themselves. However, each prophet's level and closeness to Hashem depended on the number of barriers that he penetrated in order to achieve his closeness. The Ran (Drashos 3) writes that although Moshe purified himself to the nth degree, Hashem bestowed him with an even greater level of prophecy than he deserved in order to guarantee that Moshe would be the greatest prophet in history. Since Moshe served as the conduit for the Torah, this was essential; Hashem wanted to ensure that no later prophet would try to dispute the words of Moshe. Rav Fisher continues and says that in this aspect, Moshe and Bilaam were similar. Bilaam was a complete rasha, wicked person, and was steeped in aveiros so deeply that he did not deserve to have a relationship with G-d. Nevertheless, Hashem granted Bilaam some minute level of prophecy as a trial. Similar to Moshe, Bilaam received a prophecy that he did not merit on his own right, something none of the other Jewish prophets experienced.

The Spiritual Barometer

"Never again has there arisen in Yisroel a prophet like Moshe" (DEVARIM 34:10).

Chazal infer that there has not been a prophet like Moshe among Bnei Yisroel, but there has been a prophet equivalent to Moshe amongst the gentiles. That prophet was none other than Bilaam. How can Chazal equate Bilaam to Moshe? Moshe was a dedicated servant of Hashem who purged himself from all sins, while Bilaam was anything but. Rav Chaim Volozhin explains with an analogy to two types of birds, eagles and nocturnal birds, such as owls. Eagles see best during the day while owls see best during the night. Both, however, can sense and know the diff erent times of the day. As day breaks, the eagle's vision increases while the owl's vision decreases. At midday, when the sun is strongest, the eagle's vision is best while the owl's is at its worst. Night works the same way. As it gets dark, the eagle's vision gets dimmer while the owl's vision increases. This continues until the darkest part of the night, when both birds know the exact time of night, the owl because of its strong vision and the eagle because of its lack thereof. The inverse relationship between the two birds explains the comparison of Moshe and Bilaam. Both Moshe and Bilaam knew Hashem's time for benevolence and His time of anger, but there is a fundamental diff erence between the two. Moshe was saturated with holiness. He lived and breathed the word of G-d. Because of his elevated status, he was able to sense the amount of holiness in the world. The more kedusha in the world, the more spirituality he felt within himself; the less kedusha in the world, the emptier he felt. Bilaam, on the other hand, was the polar opposite of Moshe. He was oozing with tumah. He was preoccupied in indulging in worldly pleasures. He was so involved in impurity that he was able to sense its existence. Therefore, he also was able to discern when G-d's time of wrath or time of kindness occurred.

Dvar Halacha
CHALAV AKUM - I'm Watching You
Part 2

Based on the Sunday morning Halacha Shiur 
given by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel
Written by: Ovadia Gowar

Last week we were introduced to the concept of cholov akum, which is milk that was milked by a non-Jew without Jewish supervision. Chazal made a gezeirah (decree) that it is forbidden to drink this type of milk, because of the concern that some non-kosher milk was mixed in with the kosher milk.
Why would somebody want to mix non-kosher milk into the kosher milk? A plausible reason would be for financial gain, such as if the non-kosher milk was cheaper than the kosher milk. But what if the non-kosher milk was more expensive than the kosher milk, such that there would be no incentive to do this? Or what if there were no non-kosher animals in the vicinity during the milking? In these scenarios it seems very unlikely that there would be any non-kosher milk mixed in.
This brings us to a machloikes (disagreement) between the Pri Chadash on the one side, and most other Acharonim on the other. The Pri Chadash says that the gezeirah of cholov akum was based only on the concern of non-kosher milk being mixed in. If that concern goes away, the gezeirah doesn't apply. So in the two situations above, where the non-kosher milk is more expensive, or where there are no non-kosher animals in the vicinity, the Pri Chadash is lenient and permits the milk even without Jewish supervision.
Virtually all Acharonim argue on the Pri Chadash. They maintain that even though the gezeirah of cholov akum was made because of a particular concern, once it was introduced, it applied regardless of the circumstances. In this way it is similar to other gezeiros that Chazal decreed, such as gevinas akum (non-Jewish cheese), where all Acharonim (even the Pri Chadash) agree that it is forbidden regardless of the circumstances. These Acharonim who argue with the Pri Chadash require Jewish supervision of the milking every time. They would not allow consumption of the milk in the two cases brought above.
This machloikes is based on the Gemara in Avodah Zara 39b. The Gemara brings a baraisa which says that a Jew can sit next to the flock of a non-Jew (but cannot see) and the non-Jew can milk from his animals and then bring the milk to the Jew. The Jew can drink the milk and we are not concerned.
The Gemara asks: "What exactly is the case? If there are only kosher animals on the farm, then pshita (i.e. obviously it is allowed)". And if there are non-kosher animals then why is it permissible even though the Jew is sitting outside?" The Gemara answers that the case is where there are indeed non-kosher animals on the farm and the Jew is sitting outside and cannot see anything. However, when the Jew stands up, he is then able to see. Because of the possibility of the Jew standing up and seeing everything, the non-Jew is afraid and will refrain from adding in non-kosher milk.
The Gemara above says that if there are only kosher animals, then "pshita" that the milk is permissible. What exactly does the Gemara mean by "pshita"? Does it mean pshita that he can drink the milk simply because there were only kosher animals on the farm, or pshita that he can drink the milk because there were only kosher animals and he was sitting outside?
The Pri Chadash understands from this Gemara that having only kosher animals is enough to tip the scales to permit the milk, while the Acharonim who argue with him still require the Jew to be present.
Next week IY"H we will look at the famous heter of R' Moshe Feinstein regarding cholov stam.

About Us

If you would like to receive Menucha Vesimcha by weekly email or to sponsor an issue of Menucha Vesimcha in someone's honor / memory, please contact the editor at:    


Philadelphia Community Kollel
364 Montgomery Avenue
Merion Station, Pennsylvania 19066
Philadelphia Community Kollel