Parshas Shemos 5779
Candle Lighting Time: 4:25 pm
December 28, 2018
Volume 15 Issue 10
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Dvar Torah

Attaching Yourself to the Right People 
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas
 
In this week's parsha, Moshe smites the Egyptian beating a Jewish slave without mercy, using the sacred Name of Hashem. Moshe was under the impression that he had performed the act unobserved. Some time after this incident, Moshe sees one Jew running after another Jew, trying to hit him. Moshe called out to the pursuer, "Rasha (wicked one) why are you trying to hit you friend?" The assailant responded, "are you going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian?" The pasuk tells us that Moshe was immediately frightened and said, "achein nodah hadavar," "indeed the matter is known." Rashi explains that Moshe now understood why the Jewish Nation was condemned to exile, for they were bearers of lashon hara. The question is what is the correlation between lashon hara and exile?
                        
The Maharal addresses the above in his commentary Gur Aryeh on Rashi with the following: The Jewish nation specifically was designated with the purpose of preserving a certain level of inner sanctity. They are supposed to be, by nature, private people. By definition, maintaining privacy means confidence in oneself, not being dependant on the approval of others. The result is an individual that is truly "free." The same is applicable on a national level.
 
The other nations of the world, on the other hand, were not expected to maintain such conduct. The Gemarah in Chullin tells us that a non-Jew is not consciences about limiting excessive speech. A non-Jew who talks too much doesn't go into exile as a punishment, because that is his nature. The Jew deserves exile for he is going against his G-d-given nature or purpose. By not having the strength of character to have control and preserve a level of inner sanctity, he is prone to follow the crowd, thereby displaying a lack of self-determination. Such an individual deserves exile. This explains how Moshe now understood why specifically the Jews were being punished as opposed to the nations of the world who are equally guilty in having that negative attribute.
                          
The Maharal says that this is alluded to in the wording of the verse "achein noda hadava," "indeed the matter is known." The root of the word "achein," is "chein." The numerical value of "chein" (spelled with a "chaf" and a "nun") is 70, representing the seventy nations of the world. The letter "alef," attached to "chein," has a numerical value of 1, representing the Jewish Nation. Additionally, the letter "alef" represents the hidden for it is very common to have the letter "alef" in a word and not pronounced. This represents the nature of the Jewish Nation. On the other hand, "chein" implies the obvious, like "v'chein hu," "and so it is," representing the nature of the other nations.   The word "achein," is showing us that when the "alef" (the Jewish nation attaches itself to the "chein," (the seventy nations) you have a recipe for exile.
 
May we always be conscious of what comes out of our mouths and maintain our inner pride and dignity, and, as a result, merit the redemption speedily in our day.

 
Dvar Halacha
Sechorah B'Devarim Assurim: 
Business with Non-Kosher Food

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

 
As Jews, we are well aware of the various things we are not allowed to eat, whether from the Torah or Rabbinical. But what happens if instead of eating these food items, I want to buy and sell them? Can I open up a butcher shop and sell non-kosher meat? Can I open up a supermarket that sells non-kosher products?
 
The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah Siman 117 deals with this issue. In 117:1 he says "Anything that is forbidden from the Torah, even if it mutar b'hanaah (permissible to get benefit from), if it is something that is designated for food, it is forbidden to do business with it."
 
The basis for this halacha comes from the Gemara in Pesachim (23a), where it examines the pasuk in Parshas Shemini (Vayikra 11:11) where we learn about the prohibition of eating non-kosher fish. The pasuk says "ve'sheketz yihyu lachem" ("and they shall be an abomination for you"). The Gemara examines each of the three words in turn. From "ve'sheketz" we learn that they should be an abomination to us. From the word "yihyu" (they shall be) the Gemara learns that that not only should we not eat these things, but that they should always be in a state of "sheketz" to us, meaning that we should have no involvement with them. Based on this, you might think that all non-kosher food should be forbidden to derive any kind of benefit from? But then the Gemara learns out from the word "lachem" ("for you") that we also have permission to get some kind of benefit from them. So there seems to be a contradiction, can we get benefit or not?
 
There is actually a three-way disagreement as to the severity of doing business with non-kosher food items, which then affects how we explain the contradiction above. But first we have to ask, how can there be a disagreement when we're learning this from an explicit pasuk, surely it is a clear prohibition from the Torah!?
 
The first opinion, quoted by the Taz, is that it is actually only assur m'derabbanan. What we learned from the pasuk above is not a droshah from the Oral Torah, but rather it is an "asmachta," which is where Chazal felt that the Torah is hinting something to us, rather than explicitly commanding us. According to this opinion, the reason Chazal made a prohibition on food only, is because they were concerned that if a person is constantly dealing with non-kosher food, they may eventually come to eat it. However, prohibited non-food items, such as shaatnez, can be bought and sold by a Jew.
 
The second opinion says that the pasuk brought above is a standard gezeiras hakasuv (an explicit command from the Torah like any other). Therefore, anything that you are not allowed to eat, you cannot be involved in buying or selling and there is no room for leniency whatsoever.
 
The third opinion, which is the opinion of most Rishonim, is that this is indeed an issur de'oraisa, learned from a pasuk and expounded upon by the Gemara. However, based on the word "lachem," Chazal decided on various leniencies within the prohibition. But how can Chazal make their own halachos on something that comes from the Torah!? The Taz explains that this is an example of "masru hakasuv l'chachamim" (meaning that Chazal have been given jurisdiction from the Torah to decide the details of this particular prohibition). Another more well-known example is Chol HaMoed, where Chazal were given the jurisdiction to decide which melochos are prohibited vs which are permissible, even though, according to many opinions, the prohibition of doing melocha on Chol HaMoed is from the Torah.
 
So to summarize, a Jew is forbidden from doing commerce with non-kosher food items. Next week we will begin delving into the details as well as the various leniencies that apply.
 

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