Parshas Korach 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 8:13 pm
June 15, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 17
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Dvar Torah

PARSHA THOUGHTS
By Rabbi Sruli Schwartz 
            
Slowly But Surely
When Korach led his uprising of 250 levi'im, Moshe reprimanded them by saying, "Rav lochem Bnei Levi- sons of Levi, it is too much for you." The gemorah (Sotah 13b) tells us that Moshe was punished for rebuking the levi'im in such a harsh manner. The levi'im were striving for greatness and closeness with G-d, and a well-meaning aspiration should never be dismissed in a rough manner, even if that aspiration may be somewhat misguided. This raises a question: if indeed the levi'im were striving for greatness, why did Moshe rebuke them? 
A second, seemingly unrelated, question is why it was necessary for Aharon's staff to blossom, bud, and then bear a fruit? (see Bamidbar 17:23). Why wasn't the blossoming alone enough to vindicate Aharon? 
The Vilna Gaon (Even Shleima 4:10) explains why many people fi nd it diffi cult to maintain their resolutions. He says that in order to achieve greatness, one must climb the ladder one rung at a time. If someone commits himself to achieve too much at one time, the commitment will not be everlasting. This was the mistake of the 250 levi'im. Indeed, they were striving to be close with G-d; however, they took the wrong path to their desired destination. The Bnei Levi wanted to reach the highest levels instantly. As a result, they plummeted to their death. This is the message that Hashem was conveying with the blossoming of Aharon's staff . Undisputedly, the most desired part of a tree is the fruit it bears, but one cannot expect the tree to bear its fruit right away. The tree fi rst has to blossom, then sprout a bud, and only afterward can we expect the fruit to grow. This is the signifi cance of the blossom, bud, and fruit on Aharon's staff . Hashem was telling Klal Yisroel that in order to reach the high status of Aharon Hakohen, one must undergo a step-by-step process, similar to that of the growth of a tree. 
Throughout the year, we are often inspired and want to commit ourselves to a more meaningful lifestyle. Let us remember that it is better to commit to a smaller and more reasonable amount rather than committing to an enormous change. It may take a little longer, but every step will be fi rmly rooted. When we reach our aspired destination, it will be everlasting. (Based on what I heard from my father, Reb Shloime Schwartz)

The Winning Argument
The mishna in Pirkei Avos (5:17) compares the machlokes, argument, of Korach to that of Shammai and Hillel. The mishna states that the diff erence between the two was that the machlokes between Shammai and Hillel was leshaim shamayim, for the sake of heaven, while the machlokes of Korach was not. The commentators (Rav Yeruchom Levovitz and the S'fas Emes) are puzzled. It appears that the sin of Korach was far greater than just being a machlokes shelo leshaim shamayim. Why then does the mishna make light of the sin by only classifying it as an argument that was not for the sake of G-d? 
The S'fas Emes explains that the purpose of an argument is to clarify an opinion that has been stated. Once all the opinions are clarifi ed, the objective is to discern which is more logical and closer to the truth. This is the idea of a machlokes leshaim shamayim. Korach, however, was not willing to entertain the possibility that someone else's opinion was right and that his was wrong. He had an agenda to meet. This is what the mishna means when it stresses "shelo leshem shamayim." It is not describing the gravity of the sin, but rather showing how Korach's evil motives aff ected the way he conducted himself during an argument.


 
Dvar Halacha
PAS AKUM - Eggs, Sugar & Breakfast Cereal
Part 8

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

The laws of pas akum are all about bread. The bread mentioned in the Gemara is assumed to consist of water and flour only; nothing else is added. Do the halachos change when we add in other ingredients? What about things that are baked, but are not "bread" in the way that we usually understand it? Here are three cases:
The Shulchan Aruch in YD 112:6 says: In a place where they are lenient with pas palter (commercially baked non-Jewish bread), even if the bread was kneaded with eggs, or they smeared eggs on it, it is still mutar (permissible).
Why should this be, eggs that are cooked fall under the prohibition of bishul akum, not pas akum!?
The Taz explains that since the eggs are mixed in with the bread and the bread is the main item, they become tafel (secondary) to it. In the case of the egg being smeared on top of the bread, the GRA explains that the egg is just there for appearance. We follow the principle of chazusah lav milsah hee (superficial appearance does not cause a status change). A similar case is with a woman who is niddah and returns from the mikveh. She then discovers a pen mark on her hand. A pen mark is definitely something she is particular about and would certainly remove it before going to a public event. Nevertheless, she is still tahor and does not need to go to mikveh again, because of this principle of chazusah lav milsah hee.
The Rema in 112:6 says: The kneaded dough that they call "kichlich", or types of sweets that they call "lekach" (the equivalent of our cakes and cookies), are included in the category of pas (and not bishul).
The laws of pas akum are more lenient than the laws of bishul akum, so the Rema is being lenient here with cakes and cookies. So we see that adding sugar does not take away the status of pas from these items.
A very relevant shailah today is concerning breakfast cereals? Since they are generally baked or toasted, do the laws of pas akum apply to them?
Before we look at specific cases we need to understand the basic criteria for something to be classified as pas. Firstly, it needs to be made of one of the five main grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt). Secondly, the item needs to have tzuras hapas (the form/shape of bread).
The list of five grains excludes rice, so Rice Krispies would not be a problem of pas akum. What about Bran Flakes (which are made from wheat)? Flakes don't have tzuras hapas, so they would also not be a problem. What about Cheerios (which are made from oats)? R' Pinchos Bodner (Laws of Brochos) says in the name of R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that Cheerios have tzuras hapas because they look like mini bagels. (R' Elyashiv apparently also held this). So Cheerios (with a hechsher obviously) has the status of pas palter. Shredded wheat might also might be a problem, since the shape resembles a slice of bread. French Toast Crunch literally looks like little slices of bread. However, it is certainly not a problem since it is made with corn and not wheat.
The laws of Pas Akum encompass our lives, from those delicious Cheerios we have for breakfast, to our favorite cookies we have as a late night snack! 

Next week IYH we will begin the laws of Chalav Akum/Chalav Yisroel (non-Jewish/Jewish milk).



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