Parshas Shelach 5778
Candle Lighting Time: 8:10 pm
June 8, 2018
Volume 14 Issue 16
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Dvar Torah

Nourishment or Poison?
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 
            
This week's Parsha features one of the most infamous sins of the Jewish People, the sin of the miraglim, the spies. The result of that needless cry would resonate with pain, sorrow, and destruction for centuries to come. We read the parsha with frustration and ask, "How could they, why did they do it, and how could they have fallen so low?"
 
            We will try to convey, with some additional commentary, the words of the Nesivos Shalom on this topic. He asks, what was the need for miraglim, were the Jewish Nation not used to living a supernatural existence? How would a report on the physical prowess of the Canaanite nations have any impact on their chosen path of conquest? Additionally, is it not a tactical error to send the holiest of men on, what would seem, a basic reconnaissance mission?
 
The Nesivos Shalom answers that the call for great men stemmed from a deeper understanding of the potential perils that might result from invading the land. Moshe understood that just as the land had phenomenal positive spiritual potential; it had a similar amount of possible negativity. To properly assess the impending danger required men of tremendous spiritual height. Only the greatest would be able to understand and diagnose what would be needed to remain impervious to the potential danger. Just as Sara (through receiving the land of Goshen) and Yehuda (by establishing a Yeshiva in Goshen) laid the groundwork for the Jewish People, to protect them from the evils of Egypt, the same process would be required in the land where true free choice would now be possible again.
 
So what went wrong? What was their error? Their mistake lay in the feeling of incapability to take on a land filled with tremendous physical potential and desire. The flavour of the fruits of the land were irresistible. The fruits' enormity represented physical pleasure to an extreme. Additionally, the Canaanite people were devoted to immorality on a level beyond comprehension. It was to this forbidden land that the Jewish People, coming literally from under G-d's shadow and nourished spiritually, were supposed to enter. A land that devoured its inhabitants with its pleasures, how could the Jewish People ever make proper choices there?
 
Yet, as well meaning as they were, that was their mistake. Just as they were to have full trust in G-d in conquering the land on a physical level, they should have had the same degree of confidence on a spiritual level. As the Talmud (Shabbos 104a) states, "One comes to purify himself, G-d helps him." Similarly the Talmud states elsewhere (Succos 52b), "A man's inclination threatens everyday to overpower him and seeks to kill him... And if not for the fact that the Holy One Blessed is He aids him, he would be unable to withstand it."
 
It was the will of G-d that they enter this testing ground. Their goal was to take all the seemingly mundane and elevate it for spiritual purposes. This is what Yehoshua and Calev referred to when they cried out in defense of entering the Holy Land, "For they are our bread." Those puzzling words alluded to the potential that the tantalizing food of Eretz Yisrael could become basic nourishment represented by bread. The fruit could be used to nourish the Jewish People on their quest for spiritual greatness and closeness to G-d. But they failed in the face of possible achievement, not wanting to leave their cocoon in the Clouds of Glory and test the waters of Eretz Yisrael. May we always remain undaunted by seemingly impossible spiritual tests and know that if we do our best, G-d will assist us with the rest.


 
Dvar Halacha
PAS AKUM - Come On Over!
Part 7

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

We've learned that pas baal habayis (home-made bread of a non-Jew) is forbidden, and pas palter (bread of a non-Jewish commercial baker) is permitted (with the details of this leniency varying for Ashkenazim and Sephardim). At which point in time do we decide which category to classify the bread in? It turns out that it is a dispute between two Rishonim (early commentators), the Ra'ah and the Rashba.
The Rashba says that the bread receives its classification at the time of baking, because this is the form in which Chazal defined the gezeirah (decree). So if the bread was made by a palter, it receives the status of pas palter and keeps this status going forward. The Ra'ah holds that the bread goes after the situation that you find yourself in right now. The Ra'ah holds that the reason for the gezeirah of pas akum was to prevent inappropriate kiruv hada'as (friendly bonding). So it doesn't matter who made the bread; it matters who is giving it to you right now. If he is a baal habayis then there is kiruv hada'as, and the bread would be called pas baal habayis.
Let's examine how the Shulchan Aruch decides between these two opinions
In Y.D. 112:3 the Shulchan Aruch says: "There are those who say that if a non-Jewish palter invites a Jew to his house, his bread is regarded as pas baal habayis."
Given what we said above the Shulchan Aruch must be paskening (ruling) like the Ra'ah.
However, in Y.D. 112:7, the Shulchan Aruch says: "Pas baal habayis is always forbidden, even if a palter bought it from him, and even if the palter sent the bread to the Jew's house... Pas palter is always permissible, even if a baal habayis bought it from him...because when they created this gezeirah, they did not go after the one who has the bread now, but rather after the one who had the bread at the time of baking."
Clearly the Shulchan Aruch is paskening like the Rashba here.
So there is an apparent contradiction between how the Shulchan Aruch paskens in 112:3 and 112:7. How do we reconcile these two contradictory statements?
The Shach brings two solutions:
Solution #1. The Shulchan Aruch really paskens like the Rashba, who goes after the baking. He states this clearly in 112:7. The expression he uses in 112:3 is "There are those who say..." which implies that he does not necessarily pasken like this opinion but wants to bring it as a stringency over and above the basic halacha.
There is a difficulty here. If the Shulchan Aruch wanted to bring the two opinions, one as the basic halacha, and one as a stringency, he should have brought them in the same seif (paragraph). Why did he bring them in two separate seifim, and in the reverse order, stating the stringency first and then the basic halacha?
Solution #2. The Shulchan Aruch feels that the two scenarios in 112:3 and 112:7 are qualitatively different. 112:7 is a general case where the pas palter finds its way into a baal habayis' hands and the baal habayis has limited interaction with the Jew. However, in 112:3, where the baal habayis is inviting the Jew into his own home, the Shulchan Aruch sees this as a special scenario where there is a real danger of inappropriate friendly bonding and warrants ruling like the Ra'ah.
So in summary, the Shulchan Aruch paskens that we classify bread by what who owns it at the time of baking. However, there are certain more intimate situations where we need to guard ourselves and be strict like the Ra'ah.
A good Shabbos!


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