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Parshas Toldos 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 5:40 pm
November 1, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 4
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Dvar Torah

Why The Rush 

 

By Rabbi Yerachmiel Lichtman

           

                 

In this weeks Parsha the pasuk says "Vayisrotzitzu Habonim Bikirba" "And the children (of Rivka) crushed within her." Rashi explains, when Rivka would pass by the Batei Medrashim of Shem Vaeber Yaakov would kick, trying to exit his mother's womb in order to enter the study hall. When passing a place of idol worship she would feel kicking as well, but this kicking was from Esav, in his struggle to leave. Chazal tell us (Niddah 30) that while a child is in utero, they are taught the entire Torah directly from a heavenly angel. If Yaakov had the privilege of being taught the entire Torah by a Malach Hashem, then why was he in such a rush to leave? Was there a better Chavrusah waiting for him? The Chasam Sofer answers, as do many others, that although Yaakov had one of the best Torah teachers in the world, he was still in the same environment as Esav, and for that reason alone, he was willing to leave. The Chasam Sofer therefore felt very strongly that his children act wisely with their selection of friends. We must take care with whom we keep company and whom we call friends, and remember that Yaakov was willing to sacrifice learning Torah directly from an angel, just so that he could get away from the effects and influence of Esav. Perhaps this is the definition of the Mishna in Pirkei Avos that tells us one of the forty eight ways to acquire Torah is Dikduk Chaveirim, the choosing of ones friends. One should only associate with those who are true Yirei Shamayim, G-D fearing people.

 

Another explanation for Yaakov's desire to get out into the world and enter the Bais Merdash is, that although he had the tremendous opportunity to learn one on one with a Malach, it did not require any of his own efforts. He was lacking Ameilus Batorah, toiling in Torah study. That was something he could not achieve until he entered this world. 

 

There is a popular Simchas Torah niggun, "Olam Habah is A Guttah Zach Lernen Torah iz A Besser Zach." Olam Habah is a good thing but Learning Torah is even better. Reb Shmuel Birnbaum Zt"l explains, that the song is referring to the Torah learning of this world. There is Limud Hatorah in the world to come, but that learning doesn't have the element of Ameilus Batorah. Olam Hazeh enables us to achieve this toiling in Torah that can not be achieved in the next world. Anyone who knew Reb Shmuel zt"l knew that this wasn't just a nice vort, rather he lived it.

 

If one were to ask, where did Yaakov develop such a strong desire to learn Torah? The answer can be found in the specific word usage of the Medrash. The Medrash states, that Rivkah would "pass by" (overes) places of idol worship and "stand nextto"(omedes) the Bais Medrash. The commentaries explain that in those days there were far more places of idol worship than Batei Medrashim, and yet, Rivkah merely passed by the houses of Idol worship, but frequented the study halls quite often to hear to the Kol Torah. Yaakovs mother was not afraid to go against the tide and the accepted norm of her generation, and did what she felt was right, therefore imbuing in her unborn child an intense love for Torah. It is no wonder that Yaakov spent 14 sleepless years studying and toiling under the tutelage of the Torah giants in his generation, Shem and Aber.

 

There are countless stories of mothers passing down their burning love of Torah to their children. One in particular comes to mind. Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro of Miami tells the story of a young child who is sent home from school with a note from his teacher, stating that the school can not keep the boy enrolled, due to the unpaid tuition. The child's mother cried herself to sleep, and in the morning handed her son a paper bag and instructed him to deliver it to his Rebbe. Upon the child's arrival at school the bag was opened and out rolled a diamond ring. The Rebbe was awed by the love of Torah of this woman who was willing to give up her engagement ring for her sons Torah learning!

 

 

(This weeks Menucha Vesimcha is Lizecher Nishmas Yitta Bas Yekusiel Yehuda)

 

 

 

 


Dvar Halacha

 Halachos of Chanukah  part 2

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

 

 


The Shulchan Aruch [671:1] writes that one must be very careful with lighting neirosChanukah.  The Gemara [Shabbos 23b] says that anyone who is rugil (careful) with lighting candles will merit children who are talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars).  Rashi [ibid] explains that the candles the Gemara is referring to is both ner Shabbos and nerChanukah, because by observing these mitzvos one brings the light of Torah into the world.

 

The minimal obligation is that there should be one candle per house, each night.  However, it is mehadrin min ha'mehadrin (highest level of mitzvah observance) for each person to light his own menorah with enough candles for each night (Gemara Shabbos 21b & Be'ur Halachah 672:2 s.v. b'lailah).   Practically speaking, if there are 2 [males] living in one house, each one would individually light their own menorah, with 1 candle for each night (i.e. each would light 1 candle on the first night, 2 candles on the second night, etc.).

 

There are various halachos that were established to ensure that it is clear that the reason why one is lighting the menorah is l'sheimmitzvah and not because of personal use, as will be explained (see Rama 672:2).

 

Both men and women are obligated to light Chanukah candles (Shulchan Aruch 675:3).  The reason why women are obligated even though it is a mitzvas asei shehasman grama (time bound positive commandment), is that they too were involved in the neis (miracle) (Mishneh Berurah 675:10).  The minhag is that women fulfill their obligation with the men's lighting (Mishneh Berurah 675:9).  Some Poskim hold that a husband may only fulfill his wife's obligation to light if he is home, or even if he is traveling as long as he is together with her (Harav Eliyashiv zt"l & ybl"c Harav Chaim Kaneivsky, shlit"a quoted in Sefer Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 262 ftnt. 27).  If a woman would want to light herself [even if she is together with her husband], she may do so with a brachah [according to Ashkenazic custom] (Shu"T Minchas Shlomo 2:58:2:3 s.v. u'v'misheh brurah [pg. 166]).  There is a machlokes whether a katanshehegiah l'chinuch (child of educational age) is obligated (Shulchan Aruch & Rama 675:3).  The Mishneh Berurah [675:14] rules that regarding a minor it would suffice to light 1 candle per night.

 

It is permitted to use any type of oil or wicks for NeirosChanukah (Shulchan Aruch 673:1).  However, it is considered mitzvah min hamuvchar (preferable) to use olive oil since it lights better (Rama 673:1).  The mitzvah min hamuvchar is only with olive oil, not other types of oils. Therefore, if one does not have olive oil there is no hiddur with oil over candles (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 1:1).  All the neiros should be of the same material [i.e. all candles or all oil] (Mishneh Berurah 673:2).  The shamash may be different than the others (Koveitz Halachos 1:10).  If ready-made neiros light better than neiros one makes oneself, it ispreferable to light the ready-made (Koveitz Halachos 1:ftnt.1).

 

The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] says one should light at the entranceway to his house.  The reason is because it can be easily seen by people passing by and also shows that it is not for personal use.  The Gemara continues that b'shashasakana (in times of danger [when people's lives were in danger if they practiced their Judaism]) it is permissible to light the menorah inside on the table [i.e. in a place where it was shielded from public view].  Nowadays, in Chutz La'aretz the minhag is to light inside, however it is still proper to light in front of a window [because there will be parsumei neisa to the people outside] (Mishneh Berurah 671:38).  Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l holds that when lighting inside it is preferable to light by the window or the place there will be the most parsumei neisa, ratherthan to place the menorah within the above mentioned areas (Igros Moshe OC 4:125).  If one is lighting inside, and lives higher than 20 amos from ground level [e.g. in an apartment a few stories up], if there are other buildings that are around the same height in close proximity, one should light by the window (Koveitz Halachos 9:3 ftnt. 3).  If there are no other buildings at that height one does not need to light by the window (Koveitz Halachos 9:3)

 


 

  

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