Parshas Naso 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 8:00 pm
May 25, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 15
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Dvar Torah

Better Times
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 
There was a time when Klal Yisrael was deserving of the Sota ritual. This may sound troubling. How can one say that Klal Yisrael was "deserving" of the Sota process? We find this idea expressed by the Ramban. He points out that this is the ONLY time in the Torah that conditions are set up for an outright miracle. This is the extent to which Hashem will go to bring Shalom between husband and wife. However, this "solution" was only available at a time when Klal Yisrael was spiritually healthy. When suspicions rose to unprecedented levels regarding husbands or wives, Beis Din no longer made this "service" available. As the Navi Hoshea states, (4:14) "I will not punish your daughters when they are committing zenus, [nor] your daughters in law when they commit adultery, for the men are secluded with zonos and sacrifice with kedaishos; and the people that don't understand will stumble." The passuk does not say they are absolved of their sins - just that Hashem will not allow the miracle of the Sota procedure to continue. For both the women and men are conducting themselves in a manner unbefitting a holy nation, and hence have no appreciation of its worth.

The Ramban explains that it is for this reason the passuk says "V'nika ha'Ish mei'avon (The man will be innocent of iniquity)."The Gemara in Sotah (41a) expounds: When the man is clean of sin, then waters have the ability to check his wife. But when he is not clean (but had relationships with her after he official established his "jealousy") then waters will not check her.The commentaries explain that even if he had any forbidden relationship his whole life - the waters will not work! One must ask, if we are to understand that the whole purpose of the miracle of the Sota was to bring a husband and wife back together, why would the halacha of Sota ever stop?

A similar question can be asked regarding a gemarah in Meseches Avoda Zara. The gemara mentions that the Sanhedrin disbanded forty years prior to the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash. At that time the Sanhedrin saw a tremendous increase in murder cases, and no longer wished to judge cases that required capital punishment. Why? Wouldn't that be the best way to take control of this situation?
To answer this question, we need to build within ourselves a new appreciation for the era when the Sanhedrin was in place, judging and guiding the people. We daven daily (aside from Shabbos) "Hashiva shofteinu k'varishona, v'yoatzeinu k'vatchila, v'hasser mimeinu yagon va'anacha..." Meaning " Restore our judges as in the beginning, and our counselors as in the beginning times, remove from us sorrow and groaning..." Rabbi Shimon Schwab explains that this is a follow up of the conclusion of the previous prayer - "Blessed are You Hashem who gathers the "nidchei yisrael," the dispersed of the Jewish nation." This blessing is rooted in the prophecy of Yechezkel Hanavi "Thus said the Lord Hashem, "hoi"!, you shepherds of Klal Yisrael, who have been tending yourselves! You allow the sheep to lead the shepherds!?... You have not sustained the weak, healed the sick, or bandaged the injured. You have not brought back the strayed, or looked for the lost..."

Rabbi Schwab quotes an explanation he heard from R'Elchanan Wasserman zt"l on Yechezkel's prophecy. The "weak, sick, injured, strayed and lost" refer to four categories of Jews that the "Shepherds" of the Jewish People failed to tend to. (See Rav Schwab on Prayer for the full explanation.)

Although there were certainly leaders who made the attempt in the era prior to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash, like Yechezkel and Yirmiyahu - the relationship of the Jewish people with their spiritual leaders had deteriorated to the point where they either "led" their leaders or scoffed at those who remained true to the word of Hashem. We are taught in Pirkei Avos (4:12) "and the reverence of your teacher [should be] like the reverence of Heaven." Our relationship with our teachers/rebbeim is directly connected to our relationship with Hashem. When we cannot respect the teachings of the leaders of Klal Yisrael, then our connection to Hashem isn't where it should be. As a result living on a lofty level of constant and proper fulfillment of the mitzvohs under the guidance of the holy Sanhedrin, and the extremely infrequent need for capital punishment and the halacha of Sota, is no longer possible - we don't deserve it. We therefore pray for the era when we will be guided by "our judges as in the beginning, and our counselors as in the beginning times, remove from us sorrow and groaning..." which in turn will help us appreciate our relationship with Hashem in unity.

Dvar Halacha
PAS AKUM - Your Favorite Cookie
Based on the Sunday morning Halacha Shiur given by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel
Written by: Ovadia Gowar

Previously we have learned about the leniency of pas palter (bread sold commercially by a non-Jew). The basic halacha is that when buying bread in a store, Ashkenazim have the option of buying the pas palter, even if there is pas yisroel available. This follows the ruling of the Rema. Sephardim, who follow the rulings of the Shulchan Aruch, need to first verify that there is no pas yisroel available before buying pas palter, unless the pas yisroel is prohibitively expensive, or if the pas palter is better quality.
This week we'll look at special circumstances where it is good for even an ordinary person to be machmir (strict) and only eat pas yisroel.
In Orach Chaim Siman 603 the Shulchan Aruch says: "Even though one eats pas akum during the rest of the year, during the 10 days of teshuvah one must be careful [to only eat pas yisroel]"
What does the Shulchan Aruch mean when he says "Even though one eats pas akum during the rest of the year..."? Pas akum is always forbidden!? The Mishnah Berurah there says that the Shulchan Aruch means pas palter. The problem is that the Shulchan Aruch only allowed pas palter when pas yisroel wasn't available!? So it seems that he is saying that one should be machmir during the 10 days of teshuvah and avoid pas palter, even if pas yisroel isn't available. So what is one supposed to eat during these 10 days? The Mishnah Berurah says that if there is no pas yisroel and no Jewish oven, one should go to the local non-Jewish baker's oven, throw in a twig to kasher it (this is a special leniency with pas akum) and make pas yisroel there. Nowadays we are blessed that in most Jewish communities there is easy access to pas yisroel products during the 10 days of teshuvah.
Another stringency on pas palter can be found in Orach Chaim Siman 242. The Rema there says that there is a minhag (custom) to bake challah on Erev Shabbos for kavod Shabbos (the honor of Shabbos). The Mishnah Berurah adds that one who eats pas palter during the week, should eat pas yisroel for kavod Shabbos and Yom Tov. This applies not only to Sephardim, but even to Ashkenazim.
Question: Does the Mishnah Berurah mean only the bread that one has during the meal, or does he mean all things eaten during the entire Shabbos i.e. including cake, cookies etc? This is a dispute between the Magen Avraham and the Elya Rabba. The Elya Rabba says that the stringency to eat pas yisroel on Shabbos is a din (law) specific to the challos and therefore only applies to the seudos (meals) and not to food outside the main meal. The Magen Avraham and other Acharonim disagree and say that it is a din in Shabbos, and therefore applies to all baked goods.
We live in a world where virtually all cookies have an equivalent version in pas yisroel. There are of course, some exceptions that only have pas palter versions. So what does someone do when he wants to have certain types of cookies on Shabbos that are only pas palter and there is no pas yisroel equivalent? Can one have them, in light of what the Mishnah Berurah is saying above?
There are two reasons to be meikel (lenient): Firstly, the Mishnah Berurah says that it is "correct" to have pas yisroel on Shabbos. During the 10 days of teshuvah the Shulchan Aruch says that one "needs" to have pas yisroel. This makes it sound like Shabbos is more meikel than the 10 days of teshuvah. Second of all, we have the Elya Rabba, who says that the need to be machmir on Shabbos is only with reference to the challos and not anything else.
Putting these two approaches together gives one a strong argument to be lenient and to enjoy Shabbos with his favorite cookies!

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