Parshas Ki Sisa 5779
Candle Lighting Time: 5:26 pm
February 22, 2019
Volume 15 Issue 16
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Dvar Torah

They Thought, Therefore They Did
By Rabbi Sruli Schwartz
As an atonement for the Cheit Ha'Eigel (Golden Calf), the medrash tells us (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:8) that "the cow (red heifer) should come and atone for the calf." The question is obvious: how does the parah adumah atone for the Eigel Hazahov? Granted, both involve cows, but the medrash must have a deeper meaning. Many Rishonim (early commentators) pose another question: How could a nation who just witnessed the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim, Krias Yam Suf, and Matan Torah build the Golden Calf- an idol?! 
The Kuzari (1:97) explains that B'nei Yisroel were waiting for Moshe to descend from Har Sinai with the luchos and the aron, tangible objects representing Hashem's presence. When the Jews realized that Moshe was delayed in coming down from the mountain, they devised a plan to build their own tangible object that would serve the same purpose as the aron! If G-d had commanded them to build an image, then building the Eigel would have been a mitzvah, but building images without a divine commandment was tantamount to idolatry. The fact that the Jews took action without first consulting with Hashem led to their downfall. 
The parah adumah (red heifer) is the quintessential chok (statute for which no reason is given) in the Torah. The Torah does not relate the principles behind this commandment, and thus when performing the parah adumah, one has no motive other than purely fulfilling G-d's commandment. At the time of the Golden Calf, Klal Yisroel's error was that they took the initiative based on their own ideas of what was right. Therefore, the performance of the parah adumah, an action based solely on the commandment of G-d, atones for the Golden Calf, a sin committed when the Jews based their actions on their own erroneous ideas.

20/20 Hindsight

Moshe asked Hashem, "Show me Your glory" (Shemos 33:18). Moshe wanted to understand G-d's ways; why Hashem sometimes acts kind and sometimes acts harsh. To this, Hashem answered, "You shall see My back, but My face may not be seen" (ibid. 23). What was Hashem accomplishing by showing Moshe only His back and not His face?
The Chasam Sofer answers that events often occur that make little sense to us. However, after some time, everything seems to fall into place and we can understand why events had to happen the way they did. For example, Vashti's death and Achashverosh taking Esther as queen puzzled everyone at the time, especially the Jews. However, in due time, the Jews realized that it was essential for Esther to be in the palace to save the Jewish people. Only after the fact can we sometimes understand G-d's ways. Hashem showed this concept to Moshe. We can only understand Hashem's ways after they happen. We can only see Hashem's back- we can only begin to understand His ways after everything is completed. Hashem's face, to understand Hashem's ways as they are happening, is hidden from us.

Dvar Halacha
Sechorah B'Devarim Assurim: 
Owning Shares & Waitering

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

We've seen that it is forbidden to buy and sell non-kosher food for commercial purposes. But what if you are not buying and selling, but are merely involved with the food?
Two examples would be serving as a waiter in a non-kosher restaurant, or as a cashier at a cafeteria. These people are not buying and selling the food-items, but they are involved in handling them. The Chasam Sofer dealt with this same shaila in his time. The shaila concerned Jews who were handling barrels of non-kosher fish. He says that you need tartei l'tivusa (two positive factors that combine). If these two are met, then it is permissible. What are these two factors? Firstly, the Jew should have no ownership over the food. Secondly, the Jew should have no access or permission to access the food. R' Moshe used these criteria to answer the shaila of whether a Jew could take a job as a trucker for non-kosher food deliveries. R' Moshe says that it is permissible, because the Jew does not own the food and he is not allowed to access it. This would probably be applicable to the cashier as well.
But in the case of a waiter, you do have access to the food (you might even be expected to taste the food to verify that it is good). So the Chasam Sofer would hold that this would be forbidden.
Even if you don't have access to the food, but merely own it (such as a food broker), then only one of the one conditions is met. So according to the Chasam Sofer, this would still be forbidden. But why should that be? You don't have access to the food, so there is no possibility you will eat it, so then why should it be forbidden?! The answer is that we are concerned for the opinion that says that buying and selling non-kosher food is an issur d'oraisa. If this is the case, then the extent of the involvement becomes irrelevant, it is simply forbidden because the Torah says so.
If we are saying that the mere ownership of the non-kosher food is a problem, then we need to address the issue of buying shares in companies that sell non-kosher food, such as McDonalds. (Technically, one can argue that their basar b'chalav may not be basar b'chalav m'd'oraisa because it is not made in the normal way of cooking. We've seen before that the prohibition of selling non-kosher food items doesn't apply to rabbinically forbidden food. Nonetheless, the meat they use is neveilah which is indeed an issur d'oraisa, so the issue of owning shares needs to be addressed)
Some poskim say that when you buy shares in a company, it means that you own part of the company and therefore all the halachos that would apply if you owned the full business would also apply now. However, Rav Pardover, in his sefer Cheishev Ever, holds that for these halachos to apply, you need to have ba'alus (control) over the company. Ba'alus means that you have a non-negligible say in the business, such as having a large vote or a senior management role. So even though, yes, technically you do own a small percentage of the company when you buy a few shares, nonetheless, you are not considered to have ba'alus over it and therefore ownership of non-kosher food doesn't affect you. The same argument can be used to deal with the problems of ribis, chometz on Pesach, as well as activity on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
So in summary, we need tartei l'tivusa to handle non-kosher food. Some poskim hold that owning small shares of non-kosher food companies is fine. Next week we will look into the details of the leniency of "nizdamnu lo".

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