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Parshas Tazria 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 7:03 pm
March 28, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 24
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Dvar Torah

Going Up, Going Down 

 

By Rabbi Avraham Weiss

 

 

                 There are few human traits that are as important- and challenging- to cultivate as consistency. We all experience days of ecstatic emotional highs, days when we are fully engaged and alive with the awareness of what we are doing. Inevitably, those days wane and yield to days of uninspired ambiguity and relative indifference. There is a beautiful message in this week's Parsha which teaches us that, rather than viewing this dichotomy as a shortcoming, it actually contains the secret to unlocking our greatest potential.

 

Last week's Parsha focused on the laws of Kashrut, and those animals that are considered Tahor and Tamei, loosely translated, ritually "pure" and otherwise. This week's Parsha deals with the laws of Tumah and Tahara, the laws of purity, as they apply to human beings. Rashi states:

 

Rabbi Simlai said: "Just as in the Creation, man was created after all domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds, so too, the law [concerning the purity] of man is stated after the law [concerning the purity] of domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds."

 

Amazing! Mankind, the very crown of creation, seems to play second fiddle to the animal kingdom. Why are the animal kingdom's laws of purity taught before that of mankind? The answer is something profound.

 

If you think about it, the animal kingdom shares something that we human beings can only stand in awe of. Animals are consistent. They stick to their prescribed ways of being with a high level of predictability. They don't vacillate in their behavior depending upon whether their favorite band is playing that day or if their home team wins or loses. Within a certain range, they can be counted on act in a certain way.

 

Human beings, on the other hand, are unpredictable. External stimuli seem to yield a significantly greater influence on our lives. One day we can be completely dedicated, the next day uninvolved. One day we can swear our devotion to an ideal with every sinew of our being, the next day we can be apathetic and uncaring.

 

The Torah teaches us something special. We can surmount. The very unpredictability that can be our strongest detriment can also be our greatest asset. Using our God given gift of free will, we can choose to rise above momentary lulls in inspiration and choose to do the right thing for no other reason than that we care to do the right thing. That ability is uniquely human. The ability to go against baser instinct is a gift that emanates from our Neshomos, our souls, and as such, nothing is ever impossible if it is something we deeply need to do. The potential of the human spirit and soul is therefore immeasurable. 

 

By teaching the laws of Tumah and Tahara after that of the animal kingdom, the Torah is recognizing the human ability to rise above pettiness and instinct and choose to act in great and noble ways.

 

 

 
Dvar Halacha

 Halachos of Pesach      Part 2

  

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

 

 

 

Chazal enacted one must drink four cups of wine, to symbolize that we are free men (Gemara Pesachim 117b).  Even if one does not personally enjoy drinking wine, is required to drink (Shulchan Aruch 472:10).  Rashi [Pesachim 99b s.v. arbeh] explains the reason why Chazal enacted specifically four cups is to correspond to the four languages of geulah (redemption) that Hashem promised the Jewish people while they were still slaves [see Shemos 6:6-7].

 

The mitzvah is incumbent on both men and women (Shulchan Aruch 472:14).  Children, who have reached the age of chinuch, are required to drink (Shulchan Aruch 472:15).  The obligation is even on a poor person.  If he does not have money to purchase wine, he must sell the clothing off to pay for wine (Shulchan Aruch 472:13 & Mishneh Berurah 472:42).

 

Someone who dislikes wine so much and cannot force himself to drink, can fulfill his obligation with grape juice or chamar medina (Mishneh Berurah 472:37).  Someone who becomes bedridden from drinking wine is not obligated (Mishneh Berurah 472:35), because this is not derech cheirus (Shaar Hatziyon 472:52).

 

Each cup must be present as we perform a mitzvah [Kiddush, reciting the Haggadah, BirchasHamazon & Hallel] and are drunk after the completion of each mitzvah.  If a person drank all four cups consecutively, one has not fulfilled his obligation and is required to drink additional cups in their respective place (Shulchan Aruch 472:8).

 

It is a mitzvah to drink red wine at the Seder (Shulchan Aruch 472:11), unless white wine is better (Rama ibid).  If one uses white wine, it is preferable to add red wine to it, in order that it appears red.  One should not add red food coloring [or any other red item other than red wine] (Halichos Shlomo 9:divrei halachah 10 & Koveitz Halachos 20:2-3).  Additionally, it is preferable not to use yayin mevushal (cooked one), unless it is of better quality (Shulchan Aruch 472:12 & Mishneh Berurah 472:39).

 

The Gemara [Pesachim 108b] teaches that the wine that should be used for the daled kosos should appear and taste like wine.  According to some Poskim this teaches that in order to fulfill his obligation to drink wine which is derech cheirus (way of freedom) it must have alcoholic content (Halachos of Pesach pg. 222 quoting Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l).  According to this opinion, if one finds it difficult to drink wine, may dilute wine with grape juice, as long as one can still taste the alcohol (Rabbi Shimon Eider, zt"l).  The opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, is that one may use non-alcoholic wine [e.g. grape juice] for daled kosos (Halichos Shlomo 9:11).

 

Each cup should contain atleast a revius of wine.  The measurement of revius, according to the Chazon Ish is 5.07 fl. oz., the Chafetz Chaim is approximately 4 fl. oz., and according to Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l is 4.42 fl. oz. for mitzvos me'deoraisa and 3.3 fl. oz. for mitzvosme'derabban (Halachos of Pesach pg. 228-229).

 

One is not required to drink the whole cup, but is preferable to do so.  There is a dispute how much is must drink to fulfill his obligation.  One opinion holds, he must drink most of the cup.  A second opinion argues that it suffices to drink most of a revius (Shulchan Aruch 472:9).  If one is not drinking the whole cup, one should try to drink most of it.  Therefore, one should try to use a smaller cup [close to the measurement of a revius] to make it as easy as possible to drink the entire cup (Mishneh Berurah 472:33).  It is important to note, that one must drink an entire revius by the fourth cup, since one is reciting a brachah achronah which may not be reciting if one drank less than a revius (Mishneh Berurah 472:30).

 

One should preferably drink the entire cup without any pausing (Rama 472:9).  B'dieved, as long as one drank the entire cup within the shiur of kedei achilas pras [9 minutes] one has fulfilled his obligation (Mishneh Berurah 472:34).  Additionally, one must recline while drinking the daled kosos (Shulchan Aruch 472:7).

 

It is preferable for someone other than the head of the house to fill up the head of the household's daled kosos, since it appears like derech cheirus (Rama 473:1).  Many have the custom that everyone present does not pour their own cup (Koveitz Halachos 20:34).

 

It is preferable to use a nice cup for daled kosos (Koveitz Halachos 20:15 based on Shulchan Aruch 472:2).  If one can one should use a silver cup (Kaf Hachaim 472:11).  Be'dieved, one fulfills the mitzvah with any cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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