Torah Tidbits

2 September 2014 / 7 Elul 5774

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Issue 1009
Parshat D'varim
July 26, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Guest Article

Tish'a b'Av - Observing Shiva Now for Ancient Tradgedies? - Guest article by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students, Diaspora

On Tish’a b’Av we mourn for the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples. The Talmud in Tractate Taanit (30) states that all mitzvot that apply to a mourner during the shiva also apply to the entire Jewish people on Tish’a b’Av. In other words, according to halacha, we are all sitting shiva on Tish’a b’Av. But, how can this be? For the halacha states that if a close relative has died and we did not know about it until after 30 days, there will be no formal shiva. We would sit shiva symbolically for only an hour, and then get up and go about our regular routine. How then, can we sit shiva on Tish’a b’Av for tragic events that occurred thousands of years ago ?

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Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in the parsha.
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva- count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.

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Sedra Stats

D'VARIM Stats

D’VARIM Stats
44th of the 54 sedras;
first of 11 in D’varim
Written on 196.5 lines (rank: 26th)
5 parshiyot; 1 open, 4 closed
105 p’sukim - ranks 32, 6th in D’varim (tied with Chayei Sara, but larger)
1548 words - ranks 26th, 6th in D’varim
5972 letters - ranks 24, 5th in D’varim (tied with Vayeshev, but smaller)
Jump in rankings from p’sukim to words & letters is a result of relatively long p’sukim

MITZVOT
2 mitzvot - both prohibitions

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Lead Tidbit

Break the Vicious Cycle

We have written about this so often, that what we write is part of the vicious cycle that the title of this Lead Tidbit is geared towards breaking.
Let me be personal for a moment. I fasted for the first time on Tish’a b’Av when I was eleven years old.

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Other Tidbits
TTriddles "Report"

TTriddles

TTRIDDLES…
are Torah Tidbits-style riddles on Parshat HaShavua (sometimes on the calendar). They are found in the hard-copy of TT scattered throughout, usually at the bottom of different columns. In the electronic versions of TT, they are found all together at the end of the ParshaPix-TTriddles section. The best solution set submitted each week (there isn’t always a best) wins a double prize a CD from Noam Productions and/or a gift (game, puzzle, book, etc.) from Big Deal

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Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

Sefer D’varim is often called the Mishneh Torah - “The Explanation of the Torah”.  For according to the Rambam, Moshe received all the laws at Mt. Sinai, so that any text that follows in Moshe’s review of the Torah (including new laws mentioned in Sefer Devarim) must be considered as Moshe’s illumination of G-d’s teachings.
This observation is sustained by a consideration of the opening verse of our parsha which tells us that, “These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel”, the simple explanation of which stands in stark contrast to the familiar line in the previous four books that, “Hashem spoke to Moshe.” So while what appears in Sefer Devarim is the Written Torah (Torah Shebichtav) as we know it, it would also seem to be the beginning of what we call the “Torah SheBe’al Peh”, the Oral Tradition.
Perhaps Onkeles’ understanding of the term Mishneh Torah as Moshe’s clarification of the Torah deepens our appreciation of this notion. For, as Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik tells it, Moshe’s exposition during the soliloquy before his death launched the Oral Tradition - and only later did Hashem command Moshe to inscribe his words in the Torah to become part of the Written Torah.
No wonder that Moshe, the conduit for transmitting G-d’s message, is also heralded as Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe our Teacher.

Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff

We would greatly appreciate your feedback on the new features (and old ones) in Torah Tidbits [Please send to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)]

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Portion of the Portion

Can Children Learn Torah on Tish'a b'Av?

We all know that on Tish’a b’Av we must refrain from learning Torah. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 554:1) explains that the reason is that Torah “gladdens the heart” - PIKUDEI HASHEM Y’SHARIM M’SAMCHEI LEV (T’hilim 19:9) (People who take classes at the Israel Center or who read the Torah written in Torah Tidbits can vouch for this - thanks, Rakel - ed.). We are told though that we may read the book of Iyov and the sad portions of the book of Yirmiyahu on Tish’a b’Av - among other sad texts.
But what about children? Not all of them are so joyful when sitting in their classroom during a Torah lesson. Are they also prohibited from learning Torah on Tish’a b’Av? Does it gladden their hearts as well? Shulchan Aruch notes that TINOKOT SHEL BEIT RABBAN, young students who study with their teachers, must also cease from studying Torah.
In Koren’s Mesorat HaRav Kinot, published in conjunction with OU Press, with commentary on the kinot based on the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, this question is addressed in the Reshimot section. This section includes reconstructions of classes the Rav gave on various matters related to Tish’a b’Av.
The Reshimot quote the Taz who explains that children must not learn Torah on Tish’a b’Av, not necessarily because it makes them happy to learn, but rather because the study of Torah gladdens the heart of their teachers.
Rav Soloveitchik brings another explanation from Rav Chayim of Brisk. Tish’a b’Av doesn’t only commemorate the destruction of the Temple. It is also a day to mourn the decline of Torah. As we say in KINOT, “Torah, Torah, chigri sak” (Torah wrap yourself in sackcloth). Many KINOT are dedicated to this theme, as we mourn the loss of Torah leaders and Torah scholarship. For example, we mourn the ten martyrs, the destruction of Torah centers, the murder of Torah scholars, as well as the burning of the Talmud and the loss of Torah learning that it caused.
The gemara (Moed Katan 22b) says that when a Torah scholar (Talmid Chacham) dies, his Beit Midrash is idled, and when a Torah leader (Nasi) dies, all Batei Midrash are closed. Just as we are required to close a Beit Midrash to conduct a communal mourning for the loss of Torah, so too on Tish’a b’Av all Batei Midrash are closed as an expression of national mourning.
According to this reasoning, it would not be appropriate to publicly study with children - even the somber sections. Aside from refraining from joyful activities on Tish’a b’Av our mourning demands no public display of Torah study. That is why even the Batei Midrash of the “tinokot shel beit Rabban” must be closed.
This year, with the death of the great Torah scholar Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt"l, we all truly feel the mourning for the decline in Torah even more. Using the Kinot Mesorat HaRav on Tish’a b’Av also helps to bring home the lessons of Tish’a b’Av and helps one in their mourning process.

HERE IS A RECIPE that’s good for after the fast - since this week’s column talked about kids - this is a recipe that kids usually like and that most kids could actually make themselves.

Macaroni & Cheese
2 cups macaroni
2 cups grated low fat hard yellow cheese
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 1/4 cup scalded milk
1 tsp onion flakes ( optional)
1/2 to 1 tsp. dry mustard (optional)

Cook and drain macaroni. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Layer macaroni and cheese, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper. Pour scalded milk around edge. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does the Torah relate that Moshe was speaking to the Jewish people ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE JORDAN RIVER (1:1), a fact which is obvious from the flow of the story which includes the emphasis on Moshe not crossing into Israel?
2) Why does the Torah emphasize that the children of Lot were GIVEN their lands as an inheritance (2:9) while regarding Eisav it simply states that their lands were their inheritance (2:12)?
3) Why does the Torah command that the Jewish people cannot contest Amon at all in any way (2:19) while regarding Moav the command was not to challenge them specifically with war (2:9)?

Parsha Points to Ponder by Rabbi Dov Lipman
Rabbi Lipman is an educator, author, and community activist in Bet Shemesh and also serves as Director of Anglos for Am Shalem. [FACEBOOK: “Anglos for Am Shalem”] http://www.rabbilipman.com

Ponder the questions first, then see below

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

This week’s sedra, D’varim, has in it the mention of the sin of the spies. This sedra always is the Shabbos before Tish’a b’Av, Shabbos Chazon.  The Rabbis relate that the root of the subsequent destruction of the Temples and our exile and the fact that we sit and cry on Tish’a b’Av is the sin of the spies. King David encapsulated the sin of the spies as “vayimaasu b’eretz chemda”, “they were disgusted with the coveted land”. It stands to reason that correcting this sin and appre- ciating the coveted land, the land of Israel, would be a great factor in bringing about the redemption and the coming of Moshiach. We live in a generation where Hashem Yisborach has made it relatively easy for one to fulfill the mitzva of settling Eretz Yisroel. And although the Jewish people on mass cannot leave the exile until Moshiach comes, there is a mitzva on individuals to settle Eretz Yisroel applicable even in our times, according to the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, as expounded by the Chofetz Chayim, the Chazon Ish, the Gerrer Rebbe and others. Whether one’s personal circumstances require him to fulfill this mitzva or exempt him from it, should be decided by serious Torah investigation and guidance from a competent Torah authority. However, whether one actually fulfills this mitzva physically or not, one should appreciate the importance of Eretz Yisroel, the mitzva of settling it and the many extra mitzvos it affords one to fulfill, its holiness and its superb environment as G-d’s land.  And even if one is not able at this time to settle (t)here for legitimate halachic reasons, one should feel lacking and yearn for the day that the great mitzva will be attainable by him. In this way, when the circumstances are favorable, one will surely find the means to fulfill this mitzva. Whereas, if one does not feel lacking in having to live outside of Eretz Yisroel and doesn’t yearn to be there, even when the circumstances are favorable, one will neglect to fulfill this great mitzva.
May our appreciation of the preciousness of Eretz Yisroel, and our desire to settle there, and those who have the opportunity to actually settle there, be a merit to bring closer the final redemption, when all Jews will fulfill this great mitzva of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, settling in our homeland, in G-d’s holy land, soon in our days.

Rabbi Zev Leff, Moshav Mattityahu

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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Jewish Law

Lesson # 591 Following Local Custom in Labor Law

I have written many times about the halacha in commercial matters following the custom of the community. I was asked by one of the men of our kollel if this also applies in the area of labor law. I cited to him a classical response in this area by Rabbi Ezra Bazri. He begins his erudite analysis with the following statement: The custom of the land is a major foundation in labor law. And must be followed. Under some circumstances this holds true even if the custom is not in conformity with halacha. Therefore if the custom of the land is for workmen to work only five days in a week, the one who accepts work takes it with this understanding. The employer cannot demand that he work a six day week. Conversely if the custom there is to work a six day work week, the employee cannot demand that he work only five days a week. If the custom is that a work day is eight hours of work, the worker may not demand that he work only seven hours a day.

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Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Candle Lighting and Havdala

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Sedra Stats

D’VARIM Stats
44th of the 54 sedras;
first of 11 in D’varim
Written on 196.5 lines (rank: 26th)
5 parshiyot; 1 open, 4 closed
105 p’sukim - ranks 32, 6th in D’varim (tied with Chayei Sara, but larger)
1548 words - ranks 26th, 6th in D’varim
5972 letters - ranks 24, 5th in D’varim (tied with Vayeshev, but smaller)
Jump in rankings from p’sukim to words & letters is a result of relatively long p’sukim

MITZVOT
2 mitzvot - both prohibitions

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Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

As mentioned last week, most people say KL after the fast of Tish’a b’Av. It is ideal to have broken one’s fast before KL - if possible. This year, that means saying/hearing Havdala first, then having something to eat and/or drink. This allows for KL in a more “pleasant” mood and atmosphere.
If the congregation might disperse by the time people have said/heard havdala and tasted something, then KL should be said right after Maariv without delay.