Parshas Terumah 5779
Candle Lighting Time: 5:10 pm
February 8, 2019
Volume 15 Issue 14
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Dvar Torah

The Lesson of the Keruvim
By Rabbi Sruli Schwartz
 
The keruvim that the Jews made in the desert faced each other, as it states: "The keruvim shall [have] their faces toward one another" (Shemos 25:20). The keruvim that Shlomo Hamelech made for the Beis Hamikdash, however, were diff erent. They faced the walls of the Beis Hamikdash, as it states: "With their faces toward the house" (Divrei HaYamim II 3:13). There is a dispute in the gemorah, Bava Basra 99b, how to reconcile these two pesukim. One opinion maintains that initially the keruvim were facing each other, representing a positive connection between Klal Yisroel and Hashem. Later, if the Jews sinned, the keruvim turned towards the walls, showing Hashem's anger with the Jews. The other opinion states that Shlomo initially placed the keruvim slanted, partially facing each other and partially facing the wall, fulfi lling both pesukim. 
Rav Chaim of Volozhin, in his sefer, Nefesh Hachaim, explains the diff erence between the keruvim constructed at Moshe's time and the keruvim of Shlomo. He cites the gemorah in Berachos 35b that brings an argument between Rebbi Yishmael and Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai regarding two contradictory pesukim. The navi says, "The book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth" (Yehoshua 1:8), implying that we have to constantly learn Torah with no break. Yet, the Torah writes, "You shall gather your grains" (Devarim 11:14), saying that we should stop Torah study and work to support ourselves. Rebbi Yishmael says that both pesukim are valid. We are supposed to do both; we have to learn and work. When we are not working, we are supposed to learn with great intensity, with no other thought on our mind. When we do work, we are still supposed to think about Torah, even if we can only do so to a lesser degree than if we were not working. This way of living fulfi lls both ideas mentioned in the pesukim. Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai argues with Rebbi Yishmael and says that it is impossible to work and still learn Torah properly at the same time. Rather, Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai says that the two pesukim are talking about two diff erent scenarios. When we do Hashem's will, then we will not have to work to support ourselves and we could dedicate our entire lives to Torah study. Hashem will provide everything that we need through other means. When we sin, the onus of support is on ourselves and our families. Then, we will have no choice but to stop learning and work to put food on our table. 
The gemorah concludes that many people conducted their lives like Rebbi Yishmael's interpretation and were successful, while many conducted their lives like Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai's interpretation and were not successful. Rav Chaim of Volozhin writes that for the masses it is better to live their lives like Rebbi Yishmael's understanding, working and learning together, while unique individuals can conduct themselves like Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai's understanding and dedicate their entire life to Torah study. 
Based on this explanation, Rav Chaim explains why Moshe's keruvim were facing each other while Shlomo's were slanted, partially facing each other and partially facing the wall. During Moshe's era, Bnei Yisroel had a utopian situation. All their food was prepared for them and they never needed new clothes. They did not need to support themselves, and they had no distractions, thereby enabling them to dedicate their entire lives to Torah study. Moshe established the keruvim facing each other, signifying that Klal Yisroel constantly immersed themselves in Torah study, with no other responsibilities. During Shlomo's time, however, the Jews had to fend for themselves. They had the burden of supporting themselves and providing for their families, and they therefore did the opportunity to dedicate themselves fully to Torah study. They had to juggle work and Torah study. They had to learn while they were working. To represent their life situation, Shlomo made the keruvim slanted, half towards each other and half towards the wall, signifying their dual responsibilities. 
Hashem is very good to the Jewish people, bestowing upon us many successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. If these people dedicate part of their day to Torah study, not only will they lead successful businesses, but they will also lead successful lives.

 
Dvar Halacha
Sechorah B'Devarim Assurim: 
You Guys Want Some Lunch?

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

We have learned that we are not allowed to buy and sell non-kosher food items for commercial purposes. But what if I have some non-Jewish workers doing a construction job for me and I want to buy them lunch? Can I order KFC, Domino's Pizza, or some other non-kosher food item for them?
 
The Rema says in YD 117:1: "It is forbidden use non-kosher food as security for a loan...and even to buy it in order to feed it to his workers is forbidden. This is implied from what the Beis Yosef writes in the name of the Hagahos Maimoni."
 
So it seems clear from the Rema that one would not be allowed to buy non-kosher food to feed his workers.
 
The Shach finds difficulty with the Rema. He says that everyone in his community does just this, they purposefully buy non-kosher food for their workers. Given the Rema, he doesn't know which authority everyone is his community is relying on to do this. He also questions where the Rema got his ruling from, because in his opinion, from the Hagahos Maimoni that the Rema references, it is actually implied that you are indeed allowed to buy non-kosher food for your workers. This is because Chazal only forbade to buy non-kosher food to give to a non-Jew when it comes in the form of a gift because of a favor he did for you. Why did they forbid this? Says the Beis Yosef, because a gift resembles a transaction. How so? Because if not for the fact that you got benefit from the non-Jew, you wouldn't have given the gift otherwise. So, in this way it is like an exchange and a transaction. But if you are buying the food in order to feed the non-Jewish workers in your house, then it seems that this would be permissible, because it does not resemble a transaction or doing business.
 
So we have a disagreement between the Rema and the Shach. How do we pasken? Unfortunately it is not clear, some Acharonim siding with the Rema, and others with the Shach. The Maharam Shick, another Acharon, says that even though yirei shomayim (those who are stringent in halacha) should not do it, one should not protest against those who are lenient, because they have the Shach to rely on.
 
So, on the surface, it seems like the Shach would allow the buying of non-kosher food for the construction workers in the case above.
 
However, it could be that in our particular case, even the Shach would not allow it. Why? Because the Shach is only talking about workers where it is incumbent upon you to feed them, such as a housekeeper. This is implied from the Shach's usage of the word "b'beiso" (in the Jew's house). In such a situation, it is part of your obligation, you are expected to feed them. However, in our case, with the construction workers, there was no such arrangement at all from the outset. Oftentimes, we do favors or give gifts to the people who provide services for us in order to cultivate a good relationship with them. This might be in order just to be nice but could also be used to encourage them to perform a better job, or to work overtime. Perhaps even the Shach would agree that this would be considered a gift, which therefore resembles a transaction and would be forbidden.
 
A simple solution to the problem is, if possible, to give the money for the food directly to the non-Jewish worker, or one of the team members, and then let them go buy food for themselves.
 
Next week we will look into the issue of Jewish-owned nursing homes. What is the owner allowed to feed his non-Jewish residents?


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