Parshas Tazria/HaChodesh 5779
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April 5, 2019
Volume 15 Issue 20
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Dvar Torah

In Their Merit 
By Rabbi Moshe Yosef Speigel
In Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer it is written, since the women refused to give up their gold by the Sin of the Golden Calf to defend G-d's honor, they were rewarded with Rosh Chodesh. Women celebrate Rosh Chodesh in a more profound way than men. The Tur (of 417) in the name of his brother, explains this idea. The holidays were enacted to correspond with the three patriarchs. The twelve Roshei Chodesh correspond to the twelve tribes. When the Jews sinned by the golden calf, Rosh Chodesh was taken from them and given to the women to signify that they weren't party to this sin.
However, elsewhere we find that Rosh Chodesh was a reward for the gifts the women gave for the building of the Tabernacle. This is based on the passuk in Parshas Pekudei, "The women came with the men," interpreted to mean that the women gave more. The question is why did the women receive Rosh Chodesh as their Yom Tov - for withholding their gold by the sin of the golden calf, or for handing over their gold for the building of the tabernacle?
We can propose an answer based on the understanding of a Mishna in Mesechas Avos (Avos 5:11) The Mishna states that there are four types of character traits: (1) One who is easy to anger and easy to appease; his reward is offset by his loss. (2) One who is difficult to anger and difficult to appease; his loss is offset by his reward. (3) One who is difficult to anger and easy to appease is a pious person. (4) One who is easy to anger and difficult to appease is a wicked person. Why by the first two traits does the Mishnah describe their situation, yet by the second two traits, labels are given?
Rav Mordechai Miller (former dean of Gateshead Teachers Seminary) offers a beautiful explanation. If one's personality is such that he is not steadfast in his emotions, and therefore angers easily and is easily appeased, this doesn't tell us anything about his level of piety. Likewise, one's personality may be such that he takes things slow, and doesn't allow emotions to overtake him. Yet, when he does anger he is not easily appeased. This too doesn't evidence a level of piety. Rather, it is indicative of his basic nature. Conversely, one who doesn't anger easily, but yet is easily appeased, this indicates conflicting traits. Therefore, the mishna labels such a person pious. The fact that his actions seemingly are not in line with each other indicates he acts not out of instinct. Such a person must have worked on himself and is deserving of the label, pious. The reverse is true as well. One who angers easily but is appeased slowly is deserving of the title, wicked.
Using this idea we can understand what the women were rewarded for. It's quite understandable for a woman to be reluctant to part with her jewelry. Although the given explanation that they don't want to go against G-d made sense, who is to say it was true. Perhaps it was just a ruse to hold onto what was dear to them. When it came to the building of the Tabernacle, however, it would have made sense for the women not to part with their gold and jewelry. Yet, we find that they gave even more then the men. This demonstrated, in retrospect, that by the golden calf, the lack of participation by the women was out of principle, not based on their basic nature. We can now understand why both scenarios contributed to why the women were given Rosh Chodesh. One revealed the other. 
We are taught that it was in the merit of the righteous women that we were redeemed from Egypt, and in their merit we will be redeemed from this long lasting exile.  May we merit to work on our traits, becoming slow to anger and easy to appease, so that we can bring the redemption speedily in our days.

Dvar Halacha
Leaving Food in an Office Fridge

Part 3

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

A common shaila that comes up is what needs to be done with food that is left secluded with non-Jews. For example, if I leave my meat sandwich in the fridge at work, do I need to seal it with two chosamos? Or if I employ a non-Jewish housekeeper to clean my house while I'm out at work, do I need to seal all of my food? Maybe someone will switch it with non-kosher food? Surely this is a problem of "basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin" and therefore I need to put seals on it?
This is a common misconception. The truth is that the topic of "basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin" is separate and distinct from the topic of chosamos that we are currently dealing with. The case of basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin brought in the Gemara in Chullin is where someone left a piece of kosher meat unattended out in the open. When he returns, can he assume that this is the same meat? The concern mentioned in the Gemara is that a bird, not a non-Jew, may have come flying by with a piece of non-kosher meat in his beak, saw the kosher meat, and then took the kosher meat instead, leaving the non-kosher meat in its place. This is the case of basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin. The ruling in this case is a dispute between the Amoraim Rav and Levi. Rav rules that basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin is assur, you cannot eat it. Levi says that it is mutar as long as most meat in that area is kosher. This dispute ends up being a dispute between the Shulchan Aruch and the Rema. The Shulchan Aruch paskens like Rav that "basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin" is assur. The Rema paskens that it is mutar.
There is the famous story about a Jew on a plane who is given his kosher meal, opens it up and then walks to the back to wash. When he returns to his seat he doesn't eat the food because it had been left open and unattended. Eventually the non-Jewish passenger next to him confesses that he swapped the meat because he wanted to see what kosher meat tasted like. It is true that HaKadosh Baruch Hu protects tzaddikim from sin, but from a pure halachic perspective, if the Jew in question was an Ashkenazi, he could've eaten the meat without any concern that the person next to him could've swapped it because, as mentioned above, the Rema paskens that basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin is mutar.
So if basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin doesn't require chosamos, what does? The answer is that Chazal only decreed that chosamos were needed when there was a financial incentive for the non-Jew to swap the food. That is why the Shulchan Aruch only mentions the cases of food being delivered by a non-Jew or being safe-guarded with him. Since he is responsible for the food, if something were to happen to it, he would want to replace it in order not to get in trouble. But in the case of the fridge at work, it somebody wanted to eat your sandwich, they would just take it and eat it. There would be no reason for them to replace it. We also don't assume from a halachic perspective that a non-Jew would swap the food out of spite, or to trick the Jew. We are only concerned when there are incentives for switching it.
So to summarize, when it comes to Ashkenazim, we do not need to be concerned for basar she'nisaleim min ha'ayin, while with Sephardim we do. And seals are only required when we are either sending or depositing food with a non-Jew and he is therefore responsible for it. A rov should be consulted for any particular circumstance.

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