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Parshas Shelach 5773
Candle Lighting Time: 8:13 pm
June 14, 2013
Volume 9 Issue 28
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Dvar Torah

King David's Song

 

By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 

           

  Para Aduma, the red heifer, is the paradigm of the inexplicable in the Torah. Yet, there are two medrashim that question its well-known status, both quoted by Rashi. The first medrash compares the mitzvah of parahaduma to the son of the maidservant who sullied the king's palace. The king demanded that the mother of the culprit take responsibility and clean up her son's mess. So too, let the "mother cow," the paraaduma, take responsibility for her child, the golden calf and clean up that infamous sin. The medrash seems to imply that there is an explanation for paraaduma! A second medrash, which explains how every aspect of the procedure in preparing the paraaduma corresponds to the golden calf, compounds the question.

 

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Salant, z"l author of Be'erYosef, offers an explanation. It seems that although there is a possible way to comprehend the concept of paraaduma, there remains one aspect of its procedure that remains unexplainable, namely that it brings impurity to the pure [those involved in its preparation], and purity to the impure. Referring to this King Solomon, the wisest of all men, commented, "I requested wisdom, yet it is distant from me." This being the case, one can posit that Hashem desired that we be exposed on a regular basis to the most bizarre of rituals. Since people regularly become impure when they come in contact with the dead, they therefore are routinely involved with a procedure that is unexplainable. The result is coming to understand that some of Hashem ways are just unexplainable. Knowing this can strengthen one during harder times when things for reasons unknown to us are just not working out, for it is already ingrained in us that a person cannot understand everything.

 

Rabbi Salant concludes by saying that with the above we can now understand King David's mysterious words, "Your chukim (statutes) were like music to me at the time of my sojourn." The sages explain that King David was referring to the time he was fleeing from King Shaul and hiding in caves. Although already anointed by Hashem to fill the position of king, David was still fleeing for his life. What can be more frustrating than that? Yet David was able to draw comfort from the "chukim," those mitzvos that are not understandable, to the point that they were like music in his ears. It was through these commandments that he knew one basic rule: We don't understand everything. He therefore had faith in Hashem that there was a reason for all that was happening to him, and he was happy. We know this because all of Psalms were written through prophecy, and in order to receive prophecy one must be in a state of joy.

 

 May we merit speedily in our day the time when the mitzvah of paraaduma will be explained to us, for there will no longer be a need to keep the explanation of some mitzvos hidden. In that era we will no longer experience moments of doubt and frustration and therefore will not need to turn to the "chukim" for comfort.

 

 

 

 

Dvar Halacha

 

 

 Halachos of The Three Weeks   

part 2

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

  One may not cut his hair (Rama 551:4), however, one may comb his hair (Mishneh Berurah 551:20).  This prohibition applies to any hair on the body (Shulchan Aruch 551:12), applies to both men and women (Mishneh Berurah 551:79), and even l'kavod Shabbos (Mishneh Berurah 551:32).  An adult should not cut a child's hair [even if he has not reached the age of chinuch] (Shulchan Aruch 551:14).

 

A married woman may cut hair for tznius purposes [e.g. her hair is coming out of its covering] (Mishneh Berurah 551:79).  Married women, or single women of marriageable age, may shave their legs if the hair causes her embarrassment (Igros Moshe YD 2:137 s.v. b'davar).  Additionally, a woman may tweeze her eyebrows since this is not considered haircutting (Laws of Daily Living, Three Weeks, pg. 32 ftnt. 14 quoting Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l).

 

If someone ended his shloshim [after the death of a close relative] it is permitted to shave and get a haircut (Shulchan Aruch 551:15).  The parents, mohel, and sandik may shave or get a haircut in honor of the bris (Laws of Daily Living pg. 32 quoting Harav Eliyashuv, zt"l).  If the bris is on Sunday, it is permitted to shave and take a haircut on the preceding Friday (Koveitz Halachos, Bein Hamitzarim, 6:10).

 

If by not shaving or getting a haircut one will end up losing money [e.g. he has a job interview], he can shave (Igros Moshe OC 5:24:9).  However, if it will not cause him to lose money, even if it is uncomfortable and embarrassing [and people poke fun of him] one may not shave (Igros Moshe OC 1:93 & 5:24:9).

 

One may not listen to any music during the Three Weeks (See Aruch Hashulchan 493:2 regarding sefira). This includes both live and recorded music (Igros Moshe OC 1:166 & 4:21:4 & YD 2:137, Sefer Shalmei Mo'ad [Piskei Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l], pg. 488).  Some poskim hold that one should not even listen to a capella music (see Laws of Daily Living pg. 34 ftnt. 25 & Halachically Speaking Vol. 5 quoting Harav Ephraim Greenblatt, shlit"a).  This prohibition applies to men, women, and children who have reached the age of chinuch (Igros Moshe 4:21:4).

 

Singing for mitzvah purposes [e.g. on Shabbos, seudas mitzvah, while learning or davening, or an inspirational song that helps bringing someone closer to Hashem] is permitted (Laws of Daily Living pg. 35 & ftnt. 30 quoting Harav Eliyashuv, zt"l).   Additionally, it is permitted to listen to music for a different reason other than enjoyment [for example for therapeutic purposes or to help one stay awake] (Laws of Daily Living, Three Weeks, pg. 36).  This includes listening to music while exercising (Halachically Speaking quoting Harav Belsky, shlit"a).

 

If one is in a place where music is being played, if his intention is not to specifically listen to the music, he is not required to leave (Laws of Daily Living, Three Weeks, pg. 36 & ftnt. 35).  If one plays music to earn a livelihood, it is permitted for him to play (Be'ur Halachah 551:2 s.v. mi'matim).  Additionally, one studying to become a professional may practice as long as he is not benefiting from playing (Igros Moshe OC 3:87).  Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, holds anytime someone is practicing it is permitted since there is no simcha.  However, listening to music in order to learn how to play is considered enjoyment and therefore is prohibited (Koveitz Halachos 4:ftnt. 8).

 

 
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