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Parshas Devarim 5773
Candle Lighting Time: 8:12 pm
July 12, 2013
Volume 9 Issue 32
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Dvar Torah

The Right Color


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas


        As we get closer to TishaB'Av, it is incumbent on us to reflect on what brought us to this saddest of days. We are aware that it was on TishaB'Av that the spies slandered the Land of Israel. This event was the catalyst for the designation by Hashem of TishaB'Av  as a day of crying for generations to come.  As a result, the destructions of both the first and second Temple occurred on TishaB'Av, which in turn is the source for our seemingly never ending exile.   We are taught by our sages that to remove ourselves from this dire situation, we have to rectify that which brought us to this sorry state. Given the reality of our steadily deteriorating spiritual state, the above seems impossible. What can be done? 


         In this week's Haftorah, the Prophet Yoshiyahu tells us in the name of Hashem, "If your sins are like scarlet they will become as white as snow; If they become red as crimson, they will change to be as white as wool." The MeshechChochma brings a Yerushalmi which explains the difference between these two shades of white and red. The Yerushalmi tells us that these two shades of red represent the sins committed in the first and second Temple respectively.  In the first Temple, the Jewish people's sins were compared to a garment dipped in scarlet red dye.  The garment itself is not actually red. The source for its color is external.  This signifies that in that era their sins were on the outside. They did not affect the Jewish people internally. During that era the Jewish people maintained an inner respect for Torah even though outwardly they transgressed the three cardinal sins of idol worship, murder and sexual immorality. The Gemarah in Sanhedrin informs us that "the Jewish People worshipped idols only in order to permit for themselves immorality."  In other words, by worshipping idols any belief they had in Hashem would be diminished, which then left them feeling free to disregard the prohibitions against immorality.It was their out of control physical desires which led them to illogical conclusions and in turn sin.  Therefore, in the event that they did teshuva, their sins would be whitened like snow, pure white. 


During the period of the second Temple the situation was reversed.  Externally the Jewish people may have been learning Torah and fulfilling mitzvohs, but internally they were slowly being ripped apart and destroyed through "sinaas chinam", senseless hate.  R' Eliyahu Dessler explains that "chinam" means literally "senseless", hatred with no goal. Rabbi Dessler goes on to say that such irrational hate results from being haughty. Arrogance brings a person to the point where he can't bear the existence of another.  There is nothing good about this attribute for it only brings destruction.  (See Rabbi Dessler at length p. 215, volume three of MichtavM'Eliyahu. There he explains that this was the attribute of Amalek, and that is why Amalek must be annihilated.)  For this reason, their sins were compared to the crimson worm, whose red blood is internal, representing the fact that the sins transgressed by the Jewish people were also internal. Atonement from this point of ruin cannot be as complete as one whose inside remains unaffected by his misdeeds. This is symbolized by the white of wool, which is a shade dimmer than snow. 


       "Yisroel V'Oraisah V'Kudesha Brich Hu chad hu", the Jewish People, the Torah, together with Hashem, are one (Zohar, ParshasTrumah). When we are one, Torah is one. The Medrash in Eichah tell us that Hashem is willing to bear abandonment, as long as we don't forsake the study of Torah, because Torah will eventually bring us back to good. A fragmented Torah as a result of senseless hatred cannot achieve the above. May we purge this self destroying attribute from within, and at the same time be unified in our appreciation of each other and Torah, thereby allowing the Torah to have the effect it is supposed to have. This will bring us to complete rectification of the sins of old and in turn bring Moshiach speedily in our day.



Dvar Halacha


 Halachos of The Nine Days   

part 3


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi



During the Nine Days [for Sefardim only the week that Tisha B'av falls out in] it is prohibited to eat meat or drink wine (Shulchan Aruch 551:9).  One reason is because it is inappropriate to indulge during this intense national mourning period (Aruch Hashulchan 551:23).  A second reason is that since the time of the destruction of the Second BaisHamikdash one should ideally refrain from eating meat and drinking wine completely, since we can no longer offer karbanos [meat] and bring wine libations.  However, since it would be too hard to always refrain from these foods, Chazal only decreed not to for a short period of time [9 days] as a reminder of what we are missing (Gemara Bava Basra 60b) (Gra 551:9).  Included in this prohibition is one should refrain from any meat [including fowl] and food that was cooked with any of the above mentioned items.  If one mistakenly recited a brachah on meat or wine, etc. he should partake a tiny amount [to avoid saying a brachahl'vatalah] (Laws of Daily Living pg. 54).   Grape juice is considered wine, and may not be consumed (Laws of Daily Living pg. 53 ftnt. 15 quoting Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l).  One may drink beer (Rama 551:11).


Certain people are not included in this prohibition.  One who is sick [even if his illness is not life threatening] (Mishneh Berurah 551:61), or someone who is unable to eat dairy foods may eat chicken [but not beef] until Erev Tisha B'Av (Mishneh Berurah 551:64).  Pregnant women may eat chicken.  If no chicken is available, it is permitted to eat beef (Aruch Hashulchan 551:61).  Additionally, a nursing woman [if by refraining from meat will be detrimental to her milk] may eat beef (Mishneh Berurah 551:64).  One may eat meat or drink wine at a seudas mitzvah [including a bris, pidyon haben, siyum, & bar mitzvah] (Rama  551:10).


Regarding siyumim, the Maharshal [Yam Shel Shlomo , Bava Kamma, end of seventh perek] writes, "there is no greater simcha or mitzvah that is done before Hashem than the simcha and mitzvah of finishing a portion of Torah."  Even a child who completed and understood what he learned may make a siyum which adults may partake in (Laws of Daily Living pg. 59 quoting Shu"T B'tzail Hachochmeh 4:100).  One should not leave over part of a mesechta in order that he should be able to make a siyum during the Nine Days (Mishneh Berurah 551:73).  If this did happen, it is permissible to partake in the siyum (Koveitz Halachos 9:ftnt. 33).  As an aside, many ChassidishRebbes would encourage their Chassidim to make a siyum specifically during the Nine Days, for it was hoped that study of the Torah and joyous celebration over the learning of Torah, will help bring the geulah shelaima (Laws of Daily Living pg. 59).


One may eat meat and drink wine on Shabbos.  This includes even if he accepts upon himself early Shabbos, and does not end Shabbos until after the zman on MotzaiShabbos  (Mishneh Berurah 551:56).


There is a machlokes whether the one reciting havdala may drink the wine.  Some opinions hold that the adult reciting the havdala should not drink the wine but rather give it to a minor (Rama  551:10) who has reached the age of chinuch, but is not old enough to understand mourning (Mishneh Berurah 551:70).  Other opinions hold that one should recite havdala on chamar medina [e.g. beer] (Aruch Hashulchan 551:26).  Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l (Laws of Daily Living pg. 65 ftnt. 63) and ybl"c Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a (Koveitz Halachos 9:19) hold that one may l'chatchila recite havdala on wine or grape juice and drink it himself, even when a kattan is present.







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