Friday, April 13, 2007


by Reb Ben

The Gemara cites a verse in Shir HaShirim that states mah yafu peomayich baneolim bas nadiv, how lovely are your steps in sandals, O daughter of the noble? The Gemara explains that this verse refers to the lovely steps of the Jewish People when they ascended to Jerusalem for the festival. Rabbeinu Bachye in Parashas Mishpatim cites a Medrash that states that when the Torah instructs the Jewish People to ascend three times a year to Jerusalem, it is said shalosh peamim and shalosh regalim, which literally mean three times. In Yeshaya it is said tirmisenah ragel raglei ani paamei dalim, it is trampled underfoot: the feet of the poor, the soles of the meek. From the verse in Shir HaShirim we derive a law that one is only allowed to ascend to Jerusalem for the three times a year pilgrimage by foot and one is forbidden to ascend in any other manner. This law is derived from the fact that Scripture uses the words peomayich and neolim, which allude to one walking as opposed to traveling on an animal or in a wagon.

It is noteworthy that the Sfas Emes explains that the concept of neilas hachag, the traditional festive meal that is eaten at the end of the three festivals, is based on this verse in Shir HaShirim. The word baneolim alludes to the lock, i.e. the safeguarding of the festival. Perhaps we can extend this idea further, based on what the Sfas Emes writes elsewhere that the word regel alludes to the physical and what a person performs by rote. On a festival, however, one should take the physical acts that he is engaged in and he should make a manul, i.e. a lock to it. When one is ascending in a physical sense to Jerusalem, he should essentially trample the regel, i.e. he should negate the physical and capture the spirituality of the festival. One should trample the feet of the poor, i.e. the poor in knowledge, who until now was starving for a spiritual ascent. One should trample the soles of the meek, i.e. the one who until now was not courageous enough to ascend the spiritual ladder should cast away his physical existence and conduct himself on a spiritual plane. This was the focus of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as one “rose” above the physicality of this world and acquired spiritual gains on the festivals.


The Gemara states that one cannot ascend for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the three festivals half-way. The Tamara interprets the words half-way to mean that those who are engaged in work that cause them to emit foul odors are exempt from ascending to Jerusalem. This ruling teaches us a powerful lesson. Prior to entering into the Holy Shabbos, one should take care to remove any vestige of contamination or defilement that may have attached itself to him during the week, because one cannot appear before HaShem when in a state of contamination and defilement. Shabbos is a day of purity and holiness, and we must prepare ourselves appropriately so that we can bask in the light of the Divine Presence.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 7 - Highlights

The Mishnah states that the following items have no set amount: Peah, which means leaving over a corner of the field for the poor, Bikkurim, which is bringing some of the first fruits to Jerusalem, the rayon, which the Gemara will explain, acts of loving-kindness, and Torah study. (7a)

Rabbi Yochanan maintains that the rayon refers to being seen in the Courtyard of the Bais HaMikdash, whereas Reish Lakish maintains that the rayon refers to being seen with a sacrifice. (7a)

The Jewish People are commanded to ascend to Jerusalem three times a year, on Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos. They cannot appear half-way, which the Gemara will explain further. (7a)

One verse states that one should refrain from entering his friend’s house, which the Gemara interprets to mean that one should refrain from offering a chatas and asham offering. A second verse states that one should arrive at HaShem’s house with olos, which refers to one who should bring olos and shelamim offerings. (7a)

Rav Yosef understood that when the Baraisa states that one should not appear on the festival half-way, this means that if he has ten sons, he should not have five sons appear in the Bais HaMikdash today and five sons appear tomorrow. Abaye disputes this thesis, because the father cannot allow for five of his sons to fulfill the mitzvah zealously and for five of the sons to be lazy. Rather, the Baraisa refers to a teaching that was learned earlier (4a) that those who have foul odors, such as one who works with excrement from a dog for the purpose of tanning hides, one who smelts copper, and a tanner, are exempt from making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. These people are deemed to be appearing half-way, because they would have to form their own minority group. (7b)

The Mishnah states that olos that are brought on Chol HaMoed are brought from Chullin, and shelamim offerings are brought from Maaser. Regarding the first day of Pesach, Bais Shammai maintains that the offerings are brought from Chullin and Bais Hillel maintains that they are brought from Maaser. An Israelite fulfills his obligation of joy on the festival by bringing vowed and donated offerings and Maaser from an animal. A Kohen, however, fulfills his obligation by eating from the chatas and asham offerings offered by an Israelite on the festival, from the firstborn animal offerings and from the chest and the thigh that is taken from the shelamim of the pilgrims. A Kohen cannot fulfill his obligation of joy on the festival with a bird chatas and with a Minchah offering. (7b)

Bais Shammai maintains that one can bring a shelamim offering on the festival because eating from the shelamim is deemed to be a necessity on the festival, but one cannot perform semichah, leaning on the animal. The reason for this prohibition is because leaning on the animal is deemed to be a shevus, a rabbinic injunction, and one cannot violate a rabbinical injunction on the festival. Bais Shammai further maintains that one cannot even offer an olah on the festival, whereas Bais Hillel maintains that one can offer shelamim and olos on the festival and one can perform semichah on the animal. Bais Hillel reasons that since one can offer the animals on the festival, the Chachamim did not institute a prohibition regarding performing semichah. (7b)

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 6 - WHICH KORBAN IS SUPERIOR?

Beis Hillel holds that the minimum requirement is greater for the shalmei chagigah than it is for the olas re’iyah. The olas re’iyah offering must be worth at least one silver ma’ah and the shalmei chagigah must be worth at least two silver maos.

The Aruch Hashulchan (199:3) wonders if this applies specifically to the amount that one should spend on this particular korban or perhaps it is broader than that and the halacha would be that the shalmei chagigah must be superior to the olas re’iyah in all facets.

He cites a Gemora below (8b) that states: If a person has many dependents, but a minimal amount of money, he can bring many shelamim and a few olos, but if he has an abundance of money and few dependents, he may bring more olos than shelamim. This would indicate that the olas re’iyah may be superior in general; Beis Hillel is only particular that the shelamim should be worth at least two silver maos.

It would appear from the Aruch Hashulchan that he holds that one must spend more on the shalmei chagigah than he does for the olas re’iyah.

The Zecher L’Chagigah inquires: What is the halacha if one can only afford to purchase one korban; which would take precedence? He states that this would be dependent on the dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 6 - CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Beis Hillel holds that the minimum requirement is greater for the shalmei chagigah because we find in the Torah that this sacrifice was offered even before Hashem’s Words were spoken at Sinai.

Although the verses describing this offering are written after the giving of the Torah, the Gemora in Shabbos (88a) states that they were actually brought beforehand. The Torah does not always write in the chronological order that the events transpired in.

Pinchas Chalk discusses this at length.

The parsha (Mishpatim) is split into three sections. The first part of the parshah, from the beginning of of the parsha until perek 23, passuk 19, discusses the laws that were given after Har Sinai. From possuk 20 until the end of perek 23, the Torah describes various berachos that Hashem will give to the Benei Yisroel [if they keep the Aseret haDibrot (Daas Zekeinim mi'Baalei HaTosafos)].

Then, from the beginning of perek 24, the pessukim continues with the description of Matan Torah.

Hashem said to Moshe, "Go up to Hashem, you and Aharon and Nadav and Avihu and seventy of the elders of the Benei Yisroel and you should bow down from a distance." And Moshe alone drew close to Hashem and they did not draw near and the people did not go up with him. And Moshe came and he spoke to the people all the words of Hashem and all of the laws. And all of the people answered with one voice and they said, "All of the words that Hashem has spoken we will do."

And Moshe wrote all of the words of Hashem and he got up early in the morning and he built a mizbeach (alter) at the foot of the mountain and twelve pillars (alters made from single stones) for the twelve tribes of Yisroel. And he sent the lads (this refers to the bechorot - firstborn (Rashi)) of the Benei Yisroel and they brought olot (burnt sacrifices)[on the mizbeach and on the matzevot (pillars) that Moshe had built. And they slaughtered peace offerings (shelamim) to Hashem - cows.

And he took the sefer habris (the book of the covenant) and he read it in the ears of the people and they said:
'כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר ה נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע' - 'Everything that Hashem has spoken we will do and we will listen [to]."

When did this Parsha occur?
It is not at all obvious when these events happened. The Ramban says that all of these events took place after Matan Torah. According to the Ramban immediately after Matan Torah, on the 6th of Sivan, Hashem said to Moshe the pessukim at the end of Parshat Yitro, all of the halachot that form the first half of Parshat Mishpatim and also the passuk of עֲלֵה אֶל-ה - "Go up to Hashem." On the next day Moshe went up to the top of Har Sinai for fourty days and nights.

Rashi explains that the pessukim beginning עֲלֵה אֶל-ה - "Go up to Hashem" were actually said before Matan Torah on the 4th of Sivan. Both Rashi and the Ramban agree, however, that from passuk 12 and onwards is talking about what happened after Matan Torah:

And Hashem said to Moshe, "Come up the mountain to me and remain there and I will give to you the Tablets of stone and the Torah and the Mitzva that I have written to instruct them." And Moshe got up and Yehoshua his assistant and Moshe went up to the mountain of Hashem. He said to the elders, "Stay here until we return to you. Look, Aharon and Chur are with you, whoever has a need for litigation should go to them." Moshe went up to the mountain and the cloud covered the mountain.

These pessukim describe Moshe's ascent to Har Sinai for fourty days and nights and are obviously referring to what happened after Matan Torah. Why then does Rashi explain that the beginning of the perek is referring to what happened before Matan Torah? Why does he not explain simply like the Ramban that the whole perek is written in chronological order?

Why Rashi explains that the Parsha is not in chronological order

There are many explanations and considerations regarding Rashi's peshat:

- The Maharal points out that the machloket between Rashi and the Ramban is in fact a machloket in the mechilta that the Ramban quotes and that the mechilta says initially like Rashi. Rabbi Yehudah who argues in the mechilta and who says like the Ramban is a da'as yochid - an individual who argues against many. (In halachah if one individual argues against many the halachah is like the majority. The general principles of deciding who the halacha is like are not binding with regards to derush (Rabbi Moshe Aharon Stern z"l), nevertheless the majority explanation still carries more weight.)

- The gemara says that the benei yisrael entered into a bris (covenant) with Hashem through milah, dam (blood) and tevillah. Rashi is of the opinion that all of these must have been performed before Matan Torah, therefore he explains that these pessukim that describe the korbanot (whose dam was the dam bris) brought by the bechorot (first born) must have occurred before Matan Torah. According to the Ramban the dam bris was brought after Matan Torah.

- The He'emek Davar asks on the Ramban from the gemara says in Masechet Shabbat (88a) that Moshe built a mizbeach on the fifth of Sivan. According to Rashi this fits perfectly into the pessukim. The parshah starts on the 4th of Sivan, then on the next day which is the fifth, וַיַּשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר, וַיִּבֶן מִזְבֵּחַ תַּחַת הָהָר. - "Moshe got up early and built a mizbeach at the foot of the mountain." According to the Ramban there is no mention in the Torah that Moshe built a mizbeach before Matan Torah! (see He'emek Davar for a further discussion of this point.)

- The He'emek Davar asks another question on the Ramban from the gemara in Masechet Chagigah (6a) that says that the Korban Chagigah (the korban shelamim that is brought on the sholosh regalim) and the Korban Tamid (the daily olah that was brought in the morning and in the evening) were brought לפני הדיבור. Rashi there explains that this means that they were brought before the Aseret Hadibrot were given. According to the Ramban these korbanot were brought after Matan Torah?

The Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim, 225:5) asks the same question and explains (see the sefer Shaarei Aharon) that according to the Ramban when the gemara says that these korbanot were brought לפני הדיבור, it does not mean that they were brought before Matan Torah, rather it means that they were brought even before the primary instruction to bring them daily at the beginning of Parshas Tzav.

All this explains why Rashi explained that the pessukim are not in chronological order, but why did the Torah put the pessukim in this order?

The Maharal explains intriguingly as follows:

"The reason that these pessukim were not written in order before Matan Torah is because all of this was the bris (the covenant) on the Torah that they would accept the next day. Because all of these actions related to the Torah, scripture ordered it in the place that is fitting for it, for they did these deeds concerning the acceptance of the Torah. and if it was possible to perform these actions and to accept the Torah simultaeneously they would have done that and because this is impossible they peformed the actions first. Nevertheless the pessukim are stated in their place after Matan Torah."

The Maharal requires clarification. Tentatively we can explain as follows:

1) The first part of Mishpatim as well as the last pessukim in Parshas Yisro are all a continuation of Kabbalat Ha'Torah and ma'amad Har Sinai. Although it is written afterwards, the account of the bris is at least juxtaposed to Matan Torah,

2) There is a difference between writing something and between the event actually occuring. That means that when you write something you may order the events differently than the order in which they occurred in order to convey the inner meaning of the events. (The stress in the Maharal is on the word ketivah: "Umah shelo nichtav kodem matan torah", "si'der osoi ha'kosuv bi'mekomo haro'u lo", "u'mikol mokom ha'kosuv ne'emar bi'mekomo") The Torah is a written document and the Torah wishes to emphases the close unity between the bris, which is the bond of love between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, and betwen the mitzvos that we were commanded at ma'amad Har Sinai which give concrete expression to that love.

3) The fact that the bris occurred physically before Matan Torah does not obligate the Torah to write the bris beforehand. The bris and Kabbalat ha'Torah are one and should have occurred together, however in olam hazeh we have time constraints so incidentally the events were sequential.

4) The unity of kabbalat hatorah and the bris on the Torah is made clear by writing the bris after Matan Torah. The Torah is not a history book, rather the Torah relays the inner content of events that transpired which affected klal yisrael and which continue to affect klal yisrael. The Torah here is telling you, "This is the bris of the Torah! This is the emotional core of the love between Hashem and klal yisrael which is made permanent by our observance of the mitzvot." As the medrash says "Araissa v'Yisrael v'Kudsha Brich Hu chad hu" - "The Torah and Yisrael and Hashem are all one" (Zohar, Acharei Mos). This point is made clearer by relating the bris after the mitzvot given at Sinai. After we have something concrete to understand and we gain a tephisa (a grasp) of the Torah, then the Torah says, "And this is the bris that is the inner life of that instruction!"

May we become one with our friends and with the Torah and through this become closer to Hashem.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 6 - Highlights

The Mishna had stated: Which minor is exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah (they are not included even in the Rabbinical mitzva on the parents to train them)?

Beis Shamai says: A minor who cannot ride on the shoulders of his father and ascend from Yerushalayim to the Temple Mount is excluded.

Beis Hillel maintains: A minor who cannot hold onto his father’s hand and ascend from Yerushalayim to the Temple Mount is excluded.

Rabbi Zeira asks: Who brought this minor from his house to Yerushalayim (if he was capable of being away from his mother during the journey from his house to Yerushalayim, he is probably capable of ascending to the Temple Mount by riding on the shoulders of his father or walking while holding his hand)?

Abaye answers: The mother brought the minor until Yerushalayim. The mother came to Yerushalayim because she is included in the mitzva of simcha (rejoicing during the festival). (6a)

Rabbi Shimon presented the following inquiry: What would be the halacha regarding a lame minor according to Beis Shamai (He cannot walk to The Beis Hamikdosh, so Beis Hillel would certainly exempt him from the mitzva.), and what would the halacha be regarding a blind minor according to both opinions? Is the father obligated to bring them to the Beis Hamikdosh with him?

The Gemora explains the case: If we are referring to a case where the lame child or the blind one cannot be healed; it is obvious that there is no obligation, for even an adult in such a situation has no obligation. Rabbi Shimon’s inquiry must be referring to a case where they can be healed before they become an adult.

Abaye rules: Wherever an adult would have an obligation to fulfill the mitzva, there is also an obligation to train the minor; wherever the adult would be exempt from the obligation (if he was lame or blind), there is no obligation to train the minor, as well. (6a)

The Mishna had stated: Beis Shamai said: The olas re’iyah offering (which the pilgrim is obligated to bring upon entering the Beis Hamikdosh during the festival) must be worth at least two silver maos and the shalmei chagigah sacrifice (a peace offering, which the pilgrim must also bring during the festival) must be worth at least one silver ma’ah. Beis Hillel disagrees: The olas re’iyah offering must be worth at least one silver ma’ah and the shalmei chagigah must be worth at least two silver maos.

The Gemora cites a braisa, which elaborates on their respective opinions: Beis Shamai maintains that the minimum requirement is greater for the olas re’iyah because it is an offering which is completely burned on the altar, whereas a shalmei chagigah is not (the Kohanim and the owner eat various portions from the korban). Furthermore, we find during Shavuos that there are more olos offered than shelamim (indicating that olos are more important). Beis Hillel holds that the minimum requirement is greater for the shalmei chagigah because we find in the Torah that this sacrifice was offered even before Hashem’s Words were spoken at Sinai. Furthermore, we find that the Nesiim (the prince of each tribe) brought more shelamim offerings than olos.

The Gemora proceeds to analyze why each opinion does not hold of the other’s logic. (6a)

In the course of the discussion, it emerges that there is a dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel regarding the olah which was offered in the Wilderness (before Hashem’s Words were spoken at Sinai); Beis Hillel maintains that this was the olah of the tamid (a communal korban brought twice daily – and therefore it has no bearing on the olah offered during the festival), and Beis Shamai holds that this was an olas re’iyah.

Abaye notes that this is actually a matter which other Tannaim have argued about, as well.

Abaye illustrates how it is evident that Rabbi Elozar and Rabbi Yishmael hold that the olah which was offered in the Wilderness was in fact an olas re’iyah (following Beis Shamai’s opinion), and Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yosi Hagelili maintain that it was the olah of the tamid. (6a – 6b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: Rabbi Yosi Hagelili said: There are three mitzvos that a Jewish person is obligated to perform when he ascends to Yerushalayim during the festival: The olas re’iyah, shalmei chagigah and the shalmei simchah (a peace offering brought for the purpose of eating the meat in Yerushalayim during the festival). There is an element found in the olas re’iyah that is not found in the other two, namely, that it is an offering which is completely burned on the altar. There is an element found in the shalmei chagigah that is not found in the other two, namely, that this sacrifice was offered even before Hashem’s Words were spoken at Sinai. There is an element found in the shalmei simchah that is not found in the other two, namely, that this is a korban which men and women are both obligated to participate in. (6b)

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Gemora cites a braisa: Hashem cries for three types of people every day: One who has the ability to study Torah, but does not; one who is unable to study Torah, but does; a community leader who acts haughtily toward his congregation.

The Maharsha asks: Why does Hashem cry for someone who is not capable of studying Torah, and yet he does; isn’t this a cause for happiness?

He answers: The person himself is the cause for him not being able to study Torah; he gets involved in matters that prevent him from studying Torah. This is the reason Hashem is crying.

It is difficult to understand this explanation, for it would seem that this is identical to the first type of person; one who has the capability to study Torah, but does not?

An alternative answer to the original question: The Taz (O”C 47:1) explains the blessing we recite on the Torah: We are commanded to delve and probe into the depths of Torah. This involves exerting oneself to the maximum until one can reach a correct and final conclusion.

The Sanz-Kloizenberger Rebbe explains our Gemora: One who is incapable of toiling into the depths of Torah and attain accurate conclusions because he has not yet mastered the entire Torah, and yet he continuously strives for novel approaches and new ideas without the proper foundation; this is what Hashem is crying about. One must initially engross himself in the entire breadth of Torah until he becomes proficient in its entirety; only then should he embark on saying chidushim.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 5 - OUR COUNSEL VS. THEIR WISDOM

When Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania was about to die, the rabbis asked him: What will become of us from the heretics?

He replied: It is written [Yirmiyah 49:7]: The counsel has vanished from the children, their wisdom has spoiled. The interpretation of this verse is as follows: When the counsel has vanished from the Jewish people, the wisdom of their adversaries will sour.

The Satmar Rebbe in Divrei Yoel (Beshalach P. 425) explains an otherwise seemingly unexplainable Medrash with this Gemora.

The Medrash states: If Moshe would have crossed the Jordan River (into Eretz Yisroel), Haman would have done correctly; now that he didn’t cross over, this is why Haman was hung.

He explains: When Klal Yisroel’s wisdom has decreased and we are incapable of overcoming the other nations, their wisdom is diminished, as well.

If Moshe would have entered into Eretz Yisroel, he would have lived forever and his wisdom would have prevailed over Haman’s; now that Moshe is not in our midst and we have lost his counsel, Haman was hung on the tree.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 5 - Highlights

Rabbi Yosef cried when he came to the verse [Mishlei 13: 23]: There is one who succumbs without justice. He said: Is there anyone who leaves this world before his time? He answered: Yes! It is like the story told over by Rav Bibi ben Abaye, who was often visited by the Angel of Death. The Angel of Death told his agent to bring him the soul of Miriam the hair braider and instead, was brought the soul of Miriam, the caretaker of young children. The Angel of Death told his agent: I told you to bring me Miriam the hair braider. The agent replied: If so, I will return her. The Angel of Death said: Since you already brought her, then let her be included in the number.

Rav Bibi asked the Angel of Death: How were you able to take her?

The Angel replied: She was holding a poker in her hand and inserted it into the oven to clean it out. As she was removing the poker from the oven, she mistakenly placed it on top of her foot. She burnt herself, resulting in the fact that her mazal became weakened, thus allowing me to take her.

Rav Bibi asked the Angel: Do you have permission to do such things?

The Angel answered him: Yes I do, as it is written [Mishlei 13: 23]: There is one who succumbs without justice.

Rav Bibi objected: But doesn’t it also say [Koheles 1:4]: A generation goes and a generation comes, indicating that each generation has its set time before the new one replaces it?

The Angel replied: I let these souls roam along with me until their generation is completed and then I bring them to Dumah (the Angel appointed to watch the dead).

Rav Bibi asked him: What do you do with the person’s uncompleted years?

The Angel answered: If there is a young Torah scholar who is a tolerant person, I add those years to his life and they are a replacement for the deceased. (4b – 5a)

Rabbi Yochanan used to cry when he came to the following verse [Iyov 15:15]: Behold, He cannot have any faith even in His holy ones. He explained: If Hashem does not have faith in those that are holy, then whom will He have faith in?

The Gemora records an incident related to this. Rabbi Yochanan was once traveling on the road when he saw a person gathering figs. He would gather the unripe ones, while leaving the ripe ones.

Rabbi Yochanan inquired of him: Aren’t the ripe ones better?

He answered: I need these figs for my trip and the unripe ones will last; the ripe ones will spoil before the trip is completed.

Rabbi Yochanan exclaimed: This is the meaning of the verse: Behold, He cannot have any faith even in His holy ones (the young Torah scholars can be taken away before they surrender to sin).

The Gemora asks: There was a student who lived in Rabbi Alexandri’s neighborhood, who died very young. Rabbi Alexandri proclaimed: If he would have conducted himself in a more upright path, he could have lived longer. According to Rabbi Yochanan, perhaps he was virtuous and nevertheless died young?

The Gemora answers: It was known to Rabbi Alexandri that this student revolted against his teachers. (5a)

Rabbi Yochanan used to cry when he came to the following verse [Koheles 12:14]: For Hashem shall bring every action which man does into the judgment, even concerning every hidden matter. Is there a remedy for a servant whose master weighs his unintentional mistakes as well as his intentional ones?

The Gemora asks: What does the verse mean when it states: every hidden matter?

Rav answers: The verse is referring to one who kills a louse in front of his friend and his friend is disgusted by it. Shmuel said: It is referring to one who spits in front of his friend and his friend is disgusted by it.

The Gemora asks: What is the meaning of the conclusion of the verse, which states: whether good or bad (indicating that punishment will be administered for one who performs a good deed)?

They answered in Rabbi Yannai’s school: This is referring to one who gives charity to a poor man in public and causes him great embarrassment. It once happened with Rabbi Yannai that he witnessed a man giving charity to a poor man in public and rebuked him by saying that it would have been preferable for him not to have given him charity at all, thus avoiding embarrassing him.

They offered another answer in Rabbi Shila’s school: The verse is referring to a man who gives charity to a woman in a secluded place since this will result in people suspecting the woman of acting immorally.

Rava answers: The verse is referring to a husband who sends uncut meat (did not have the prohibited portions cut from it) to his wife on Erev Shabbos (she might forget to remove those portions in her haste to prepare for Shabbos). (5a)

The Gemora relates an incident: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania was standing in the Caesar’s palace. A heretic who stood by signaled him with his hand that the Jewish people are a nation from whom God has turned away His face. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania signaled him with his hand that His hand is still stretched over us.

The Caesar asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania: Do you understand what the heretic signaled you with his hand?

He replied: Yes, he signaled me that the Jewish people are a nation from whom God has turned away His face and I responded by signaling him that His hand is still stretched over us.

They asked the heretic: What did you signal him with your hand? And he asked him: What did he show you?

He replied: I signaled him that the Jewish people are a nation from whom God has turned away His face.

They asked him: What did Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania reply?

He answered: I do not know.

They said: A man that does not understand what is being signaled to him, should he be signaling in front of the king? They removed the heretic and killed him.

When Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania was about to die, the rabbis asked him: What will become of us from the heretics?

He replied: It is written [Yirmiyah 49:7]: The counsel has vanished from the children, their wisdom has spoiled. The interpretation of this verse is as follows: When the counsel has vanished from the Jewish people, the wisdom of their adversaries will sour. (5b)

Rabbi Illa was once ascending the steps of the house of Rabbah bar Shila when he heard a young child reading the following verse [Amos 4:13]: For behold, He forms mountains, and creates winds; He recounts to a person what were his words. He exclaimed: Is there a remedy for a slave whose master tells him all of his words spoken?

The Gemora asks: What is meant by what were his words?

Rav answers: Even a superfluous conversation between a man and his own wife (prior to engaging in marital relations) is mentioned to him at the time of his death.

The Gemora asks from the following incident: Rav Kahana hid under the bed of Rav and heard while Rav was talking and joking with his wife and then engaged in marital relations with her. Rav Kahana said (from under the bed): It's as if Rav's mouth has not tasted food (his lightheadedness indicated that he was doing this for his own pleasure similar to a starving man eating). Rav said to him, Kahana, get out! It is not proper for you to be here!

It is evident from this incident that it is proper to engage in conversation and laugh with one’s wife before having relations.

The Gemora answers: Rav needed to appease her first and only then, it is not regarded as superfluous. (5b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: Hashem cries for three types of people every day: One who has the ability to study Torah, but does not; one who is unable to study Torah, but does; a community leader who acts haughtily toward his congregation. (5b)

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The Gemora continues to analyze the braisa. It is understandable why a verse is needed to exclude an androgynous from the mitzva of re’iyah. One might have thought that he should be obligated since he has a masculine side to him; the verse teaches us that he is considered a creature unto himself and is not obligated in this mitzva. The Gemora asks: Why is a verse needed to exclude a tumtum; it is undetermined if he is a male or a female, and a verse should not be necessary to exclude a case of doubt?

Rashi learns: Why would we think that a case of doubt would be obligated in the mitzva.

Turei Even asks: There is a principle that in matters of Biblical law, we rule stringently (safek d’oraysa l’chumra); wouldn’t this explain why we would think that a tumtum should be obligated in the mitzva of re’iyah?

Sfas Emes states: It would be evident that Rashi maintains that this principle is only true Rabbinically. The Torah would rule leniently in a case of doubt; The Rabbis decreed that we must rule stringently in these matters. (This is the opinion of the Rambam and other Rishonim.) This will explain the Gemora’s question. We should not need a verse to rule leniently on a tumtum if the Torah always rules leniently regarding cases of uncertainty.

There are those that are not satisfied with this explanation in Rashi, for Rashi in Kiddushin (73a) seems to hold that in a case of doubt, we rule stringently even from a Biblical point of view.

The Peri Megadim (O”C 17:2) differentiates between cases where one would be transgressing a commandment in a manner where he is committing an action against the Torah and one where he is sitting passively without performing an action against the Torah.

Using this principle, we can reconcile the contradiction in Rashi. (I found this in explanation in Kuntrus Kol Hamesifta.) In our instance, the Torah would dictate that the tumtum is not required to embark on the festival pilgrimage since we are uncertain of his status and the Torah rules leniently in cases of uncertainty and states, “One is not mandated to perform an action,” – only Rabinically, would he be obligated to ascend to the Beis Hamikdosh. However, Rashi in Kiddushin is referring to a case where the Torah rules stringently because there the Torah is instructing him not to perform an action (he is prohibited from marrying a safek mamzeres).

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 4 - Highlights

The Mishna had stated A tumtum (undetermined sex) and an androgynous (hermaphrodite) are exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah (the obligation to appear in the Beis Hamikdosh on the pilgrimage festival together with an olah offering).

The Gemora cites the Scriptural sources for this halacha.

The braisa had stated that a verse was needed to exclude a woman from this mitzva. The Gemora asks: Why is this necessary; they should be exempt based on the principle that women are exempt from any positive biblical commandment which is time bound and re’iyah is a mitzva which is applicable only during the festivals?

The Gemora answers: A verse is needed for otherwise, we might have said that women should be obligated in the mitzva of re’iyah in the same manner that they are obligated in the mitzva of hakhel (the reading of the Torah by the king after the first day of Sukkos on a year following a Shemitah year). The verse teaches us that we do not apply this gezeirah shavah (One of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics. Gezeirah shavah links two similar words from dissimilar verses in the Torah.) (4a)

The Gemora continues to analyze the braisa. It is understandable why a verse is needed to exclude an androgynous from the mitzva of re’iyah. One might have thought that he should be obligated since he has a masculine side to him; the verse teaches us that he is considered a creature unto himself and is not obligated in this mitzva. The Gemora asks: Why is a verse needed to exclude a tumtum; it is undetermined if he is a male or a female, and a verse should not be necessary to exclude a case of doubt?

Abaye answers: The verse is needed for a case when his testicles are outside the membrane (he is definitely a male, but nevertheless classified as a tumtum because his member is concealed). (4a)

The braisa had stated: A Scriptural verse taught us that a minor is obligated in the mitzva of re’iyah. The Gemora asks: The Mishna explicitly stated that a minor is exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah?

Abaye answers: The braisa is referring to a case where the child has reached an age of chinuch (the age where the father can train him to fulfill the mitzva) and the Mishna is referring to a case where he has not yet reached the age of chinuch and therefore there is no obligation for the father to bring him to the Beis Hamikdosh.

The Gemora objects to this explanation: The mitzva of chinuch is merely a Rabbinical one and cannot be what the braisa is referring to; the braisa had derived the obligation of a minor from a Scriptural verse.

The Gemora agrees to this objection and states that the verse is used as a Scriptural support for this halacha.

The Gemora states: The primary purpose of the verse is to teach us the halachos that the “Others” taught in the following braisa: People who scrape up dogs’ excretement, smelt copper ore or a leather tanner are exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah. This is derived form the verse: All your males; only people who are able to ascend together with other people are obligated; these people are excluded because they are not fit to ascend with others (because of their disgusting body odor). (4a)

The Mishna had stated: One who is lame, blind, sick or elderly are exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah.

The Gemora cites a braisa: We derive from the verse Regalim (which literally means feet) that people with wooden feet are excluded from the mitzva of re’iyah. Another interpretation: The verse excludes anyone who is lame, sick, blind, elderly and one who is not able to ascend by foot.

The Gemora asks: Who is the braisa referring to when it states, “One who is not able to ascend by foot”?

Rava answers: This is referring to a finicky person (he cannot walk without wearing shoes, and it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount with shoes on his feet). (4a – 4b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: One who is uncircumcised and one who is tamei (ritually impure) are exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah.

The Gemora cites the Scriptural sources for these halachos. (4b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: Rabbi Yochanan ben Dahavai said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah: A person who is blind in one eye is exempt from the mitzva of re’iyah. The Torah writes: All men shall see Hashem (during the pilgrimage festival); These words are pronounced, All men shall be seen by Hashem. This teaches us: The same manner that Hashem sees the people who come to the Beis Hamikdosh with His two eyes, so too, He comes to be seen by the people with their two eyes.

Rav Huna used to cry when he came to that verse. He said: A master who desires to see his servant, nevertheless, he distances himself from him.

The Gemora cites other instances where Amoraim cried when they encountered certain verses. (4b)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The Gemara cites a verse in Shir HaShirim that states mah yafu peomayich baneolim bas nadiv, how lovely are your steps in sandals, O daughter of the noble? The Gemara explains that this verse refers to the lovely steps of the Jewish People when they ascended to Jerusalem for the festival. The words bas nadiv refer to Avrohom Avinu who is referred to as the nadiv, the noble one.

What is the connection between the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Avrohom Avinu? The Mahretz Chayus in his responsa (7) quotes Rabbeinu Bachye in Parshas Mishpatim who cites a Medrash that states that from the verse in Shir HaShirim we derive a law that one is only allowed to ascend to Jerusalem for the three times a year pilgrimage by foot and one is forbidden to ascend in any other manner. This law is derived from the fact that Scripture uses the words peomayich and neolim, which allude to one walking as opposed to traveling on an animal or in a wagon.

The Mahretz Chayus writes that he was not able to locate the source of this Medrash. The Mahretz Chayus also cites the Yerushalmi in Pesachim (4:7) that would indicate that the law is the opposite of the Medrash that is quoted by Rabbeinu Bachye. There is a dispute between Rabbi Yose and the Tanna Kamma if a leather craftsman is permitted to work on Erev Pesach. Rabbi Yose permits them to work because the people who were making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem needed to have their shoes and sandals fixed in honor of the festival. The Tanna Kamma disagrees and maintains that it was not necessary to have leather craftsmen as the Jewish People were wealthy and they all ascended to Jerusalem by riding on animals. This discussion indicates that it was permitted to ascend to Jerusalem by riding on an animal and walking was not the only permitted means of transportation.

Rav Elyashiv heard from a Torah scholar who said that whether the halacha is in accordance with Rabbeinu Bachye that one could only ascend to Jerusalem by foot or whether it was merely the poor people who ascended by foot, it is evident from the Yerushalmi that there was a concern that people required shoes in order to fulfill the mitzvah. In all likelihood, this concern would have resulted in a collection for the poor prior to the festival, similar to a collection of food that was orchestrated on behalf of the poor. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Gemara mentions Avrohom Avinu regarding the pilgrimage. The character of kindness displayed by the Jewish People is an inheritance from Avrohom Avinu and in a sense, it was Avraham Avinu who catalyzed the outpouring of kindness that the Jewish People demonstrated when the Jewish People ascended to Jerusalem for the festivals.

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Daf Yomi - Chagigah 3 - Highlights

All are obligated in ascending to the Bais HaMikdash on the three festivals, except for one who can speak but is deaf, and one who can hear but is mute, as these two individuals are exempt from ascending to the Bais HaMikdash to offer the Olas Reiyah. Nonetheless, these individuals are obligated in simcha, the mitzvah of offering Shalmei Simcha. A deaf-mute, a fool and a minor are exempt from bringing an Olas Reiyah and from the mitzvah of simcha, since they are exempt from performing all mitzvos of the Torah. (2b-3a)

One who can hear but is mute and one who can speak but is deaf are exempt from bringing an Olas Reiyah because we derive this law from Hakhel, the gathering that occurred every seven years at the end of the shemittah cycle when the king would read Mishneh Torah, the Book of Deuteronomy, in the Courtyard of the Bais HaMikdash. Regarding Hakhel we excluded based on a verse one who can speak and is deaf and we exclude one who can hear and is mute. Similarly, we exempt these two individuals from bringing an Olas Reiyah. (3a)

There were two mute people who would attend Rebbe’s lectures and they would nod their heads and move their lips. Rebbe prayed for them and they were healed. It was subsequently discovered that they knew Mishnayos, Sifra, Sifri, and all of Shas. (3a)

One who is deaf in one ear is exempt from bringing an Olas Reiyah, because it is said regarding Hakhel that the Torah should be read before all Israel in their ears, which implies that one must have two ears that he can hear with. (3a)

One who is lame in one leg is exempt from bringing an Olas Reiyah, because regarding the ascent of the pilgrims to Jerusalem, it is said regalim, which literally means feet. The ruling that one who has a wooden foot is exempt from bringing an Olas Reiyah is derived from the usage of the word peamim, which also means feet. (3a)

It is said in Shir HaShirim, but your footsteps were so lovely when shod in pilgrim’s sandals, O daughter of nobles. The Gemara interprets this verse to refer to the Jewish People’s ascent to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage on the three festivals. The words, O daughter of nobles, alludes to our Patriarch Avraham who was called a noble, as it is said in Tehillim, the nobles of the people gathered, the people of the G-d of Avraham. The verse references Avraham because he was the first of converts. (3a)

Rabbi Yochanan Ben Berokah and Rabbi Elazar Ben Chasma visited Rabbi Yehoshua in Pekiin on the festival, as there is a requirement that one visits his teacher on the festival. Rabi Yehoshua requested of his disciples that they relate a teaching that they heard in the study hall. The two rabbis related that Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaryah had taught that regarding the mitzvah of Hakhel, it is said that men, women and children should assemble. The men come to learn, the women come to listen and the children come so that those who brought the children can earn reward. Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaryah also taught based on a verse that the Jewish People praise HaShem by reciting the words, hear O Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is one, and HaShem praises the Jewish People by declaring, “ who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth.” (3a-3b)

It is said in Koheles, the words of the wise are like goads, and the nails well driven are the sayings of the masters of collections, coming from one Shepherd. The Gemara interprets this to mean that the Torah is likened to goads because just like goads align the cow to the rows of the furrows and this brings life to the world, so too the words of Torah align those who study the Torah and lead them from the pathways of death to the pathways of life. A goad, however, is movable, whereas the words of Torah are like nails that are immovable. Unlike nails that cause a loss when nailed into an item, words of Torah are planted and like plants, words of Torah cause an increase. The words “masters of collections” refers to Torah scholars who assemble together to study Torah. Despite the fact that the scholars all have different opinions, one can learn from all of them because the Torah was given by one G-d and disseminated by one leader, Moshe, whose words are indisputable. One must make his ears like a mill-hopper where the grain is funneled through. Similarly, one must be able to discern which halachic opinion is correct and decide accordingly. (3b)

Rabbi Yose Ben Durmaskis went to visit Rabbi Eliezer in Lod, and Rabbi Eliezer asked Rabbi Yose regarding what was taught in the study hall that day. Rabbi Yose responded that they concluded that day that in the lands of Ammon and Moav, it was permitted to plant during the shemittah year and they could tithe the Maaser Ani during the shemittah year. Rabbi Eliezer then told Rabbi Yose to open his hands and accept his eyes, which Rabbi Yose did. This act implied that Rabbi Eliezer was disturbed by the need to render this ruling which had already been decided in the time of the members of the Great Assembly. Rabbi Eliezer told Rabbi Yose that the ruling that Rabbi Yose had quoted was unnecessary and he should inform those in the study hall of this, because Rabbi Eliezer had received the tradition from his teacher, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, who had received this tradition all the way back to Moshe at Sinai, that tithes could be taken from grain in the lands of Ammon and Moav during the shemittah year. The reason for this ruling was because the Jewish People who left Egypt captured many cities but these same cites were not captured by those who left Babylonia. The reason they did not capture these cites is because the first sanctification of the land was only done for that time period and not for the future. Yet, the second sanctification of the land was sanctified forever. Thus, regarding the rest of Eretz Yisroel, one was forbidden to plant during the shemittah year. The lands of Ammon and Moav, however, were not sanctified, so that the poor could rely on receiving their gifts during the shemittah year. For this reason the Chachamim instituted that in the lands of Ammon and Moav, people should tithe Maaser Ani during the shemittah year. The Gemara relates that once Rabbi Eliezer was calm, he prayed that Rabbi Yose should regain his eyesight. (3b)

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Chagiga Kickoff

Here's a nice way to start off Chagiga.
The Menoras HaMaor quotes the Medrash Tanchumah, which does not appear in our version of Tanchumah, as follows:

There was once a pious man who was secluded in a certain area and he studied Masechet Chagigah. He would study the Masechet over and over, until he learned it so well and he was so familiar with the Masechet. He did not know any other Masechet in the Talmud, and he would only study Masechet Chagigah. When he departed the world, he was alone and there was no one who knew of his passing. The apparition of a woman arrived and stood before him, and she raised her voice in wailing and eulogy. She moaned and cried so loud until a crowd gathered. She then told the people who had gathered, “Eulogize this pious man and bury him and show honor to his coffin and you will all merit the World to Come. The reason I ask you to do this is because he honored me his entire life and I was not forsaken and forgotten.” Immediately all the women came and sat with her and they made a great eulogy and the men took care of the deceased’s shrouds and all of his burial needs. They then buried him with great honor and the woman was wailing and crying. The people asked her, “What is your name?” She responded, “My name is Chagigah.” Subsequent to the man’s burial, the woman disappeared from view. Immediately the people understood that she was really Masechet Chagigah, who appeared in the image of a woman. She had appeared at the time of the man’s death so that he would be eulogized and cried over, and that he would receive an honorable burial. This was all due to the fact that he had constantly studied Masechet Chagigah and was diligent in studying it. This teaches us a kal vachomer: If this pious man who only studied one tractate received all this honor, then certainly if one studies much Torah and teaches Torah to others, and gains many students, certainly he will earn a great reward.

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Daf Yomi - Moed Katan 29 - A Letter of Consolation

I found this letter from Rav Shlomo Wolbe and thought that it was worthy of sharing.


A Letter of Consolation
To my dear and beloved sons and daughters,

The purpose of this letter is to console you for when I will not be with you anymore. A person does not know when his time will be up, but the day will come (May Hashem bless me with long life) when my place at home will be empty, and you will be orphans.

My beloved, I have seen many orphans, most of whom find themselves in darkness without hope. Some are jealous, thinking, "Others have parents, but not me." Others feel that their world has tumbled down. Few are able to strengthen and brace themselves and to eventually elevate themselves after the tragedy in their lives. I therefore came to the conclusion that before one can comfort a mourner, it is essential to teach him how to deal with the situation. I hope I succeed in this endeavor, and may you understand these words so that they illuminate your lives.

The key to the mystery of life is faith in the true G-d, the Creator of the Universe! It is G-d's power that keeps the world going, even each and every blade of grass derives its sustenance from the Creator and surely each human being. This spirit of life is the essence of everything, and the most important part of a person is his spirit and soul.

I trust that I have raised you to have faith in G-d. I now encourage you to strengthen your faith and to realize that this is also the secret to the mystery of death! If life would be over for a dead person, it would be difficult to comfort a mourner. But that is not so! Although the body passes away, the person continues to exist!

Our great teacher (Rav Yeruchem Levovitz of Mir) wrote: "Death should be understood as one who moves from one city to another. This is the real truth. Your father has not died, may his memory be blessed, for he is alive. He has merely moved. To the understanding person there is even more to say. The deceased is now even closer to you than before for now there are no separations."

One who has faith is able to deal with the concept of death. The truth is that the deceased is alive! He is aware of everything, and he is close to his relatives at all times!

However, I realize that you will still be bothered by his seeming absence. Children are accustomed to seeing their parents, asking for advice and being helped. Even after they move away from home they rely on and know that they can always turn to their parents. Who can fill this void?

But, think it over, my beloved ones. If you really loved me when I was with you, and if your love was not just superficial, you can always picture me in front of your eyes. You will know what I would have said and how I would have advised you. As an example, we see what our Sages say about Yosef Hatzadik; that he withstood temptation because of the vision of his father before his eyes.

Use the vision of your father to give you strength and encouragement. Keep in mind: The essence of a person is the spiritual, and that part continues to live!
Another point. All people feel an urge to come closer to mitzvos and good deeds at a time of mourning. Even those who were non-observant come to say Kaddish, they put on a tallis and tefillin and pray. What is the reason for this?

There is a deep reason. Our Sages teach that there are three partners to every human being: his father, his mother and the Holy One, Blessed be He. A child is used to seeing only his father and mother. The third partner is invisible to him. However, when the physical partners leave this world, there is an inner feeling in the person that pushes him closer to the third partner.

One whose faith is strong tells this in a concrete way: "My father and mother (may) have left me but Hashem is always there."

The truth is: The physical parent was merely a messenger from the Heavenly Father. Now that the physical father's job is over the child's relationship to his Heavenly Father becomes stronger.

This is the most important message to bear in mind, for all people at any age: to strengthen one's faith, to sense Hashem's Providence, to realize how Hashem guides and leads a person daily and provides all his physical and spiritual needs. You will not lack anything if you keep your faith strong!

Through faith one will be consoled. Normally, a person is surrounded by his family, his teachers, his friends-all of them help him to maintain his life properly. However, when a relative passes away, may Hashem spare us, one of the supports has been removed.

The process of Nichum Aveilim to comfort the mourners, is to help replace the missing support, to raise his spirits and to help him continue.

Now my beloved ones, come closer to each other, help and encourage each other; your friendship should be wholesome, faithful, amidst the love of Torah and of those who study Torah. Always be willing to learn and improve. Hashem will surely comfort you and help you continue . . . Be strong in emunah (faith) and in Torah, build for yourselves loyal homes with the aim of fulfilling Hashem's mitzvos. Your actions shall then serve to benefit me, as our Sages say: When one's children observe the mitzvos it is considered as if the father has not passed away. This is my advice and last request of you.

My Beloved Ones: Have faith and your faith will be fulfilled, and may your lives be successful forever!

With love,

Your father
"And the day of death (is better) than the day of one's birth." (Ecclesiastes VII, 1)
To what can this be compared? To two ships that were in the ocean laden with merchandise. One ship was coming to port, the other was leaving. People were praising the ship coming into port. Others stood by amazed and said, "Why are you praising this ship and not the other?" In reply they said to them, "We are praising the incoming ship since we know this ship has departed in peace and arrived at its destination in peace. But what the future will bring to the ship that has just begun its journey we do not know. "So it is with a person who is born: we do not know the nature of his future deeds. But when he leaves this world we know the nature of his deeds. (Yalkut Shimoni)

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Daf Yomi - Moed Katan 29 - Laws Regarding Burial and Mourning

Here is a compilation of halachos regarding the laws of burial and mourning by Rabbi Zalman Manela.


Before the Burial
A. From the time of death until after the burial, the close relatives, which are the father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother and sister, are considered onenim, which means:
1. They should be involved in the burial preparations
2. They are to respect the deceased:
a. by not behaving in a light-headed manner
b. by not eating in the presence of the body
c. by not eating meat or drinking wine
3. They are exempt from mitzvos:
a. not to say berachos (even for eating, berachos are not required, but the hands are washed for bread without a beracha)
b. not to pray, or say Amen or put on tefillin
4. They may not bathe, teke haircuts, or do work, but they may wear shoes until the burial at the cemetery. They may also leave the house to take care of the needs of the deceased.
B. An autopsy is forbidden because the Torah considers it a defilement to the departed. In case one is requested by authorities to do so, you may call our number: (213) 653-8886.
C. The deceased may not be left alone. A person is therefore designated to serve as a shomer (watchman) in honor of the deceased. Since the watchman is exempt from mitzvos while on duty, it is helpful to appoint two watchmen so that they may relieve each other. (If there is no alternative, the watchman may leave for brief periods.) They may not study Torah, but they may say Tehillim (Psalms). They may not eat while on guard. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 195:11)
D. Beware of funeral homes that are ignorant of the Torah laws and Jewish traditional customs. Check with a competent Orthodox Rabbi or with a reliable friend for a reference to authentic Jewish services and proper pre-burial preparations for the deceased (taharah).

Burial Preparations
1. The shrouds for the deceased are to be made of inexpensive, nice, white material. Even for a wealthy person one may not use expensive shrouds.
2. If a male child, G-d forbid, died before being circumcised, a circumcision (without a blessing) is performed before burial. The child, whether male or female, is to be given a name before burial.
The Funeral
1. It is a mitzvah to escort the deceased to the cemetery.
2. One should walk along for at least a distance of 7-8 feet, (if he is unable to go to the cemetery).
3. It is important that at least a minyan of ten are present at the cemetery, so that there is a minyan for kaddish.
4. It is a great mitzvah to eulogize the deceased properly:
a. by raising the voice and saying things that will cause the people to be heartbroken and to weep
b. to mention the praises and good character traits of the deceased (without too much exaggeration, for that would be harmful to the speaker and to the deceased)
5. It is a mitzvah to cry and mourn upon the passing of a righteous observant person. Hashem counts and treasures the tears of weeping for a righteous person.
6. The primary objective of eulogy is to honor the deceased. We also speak about his parents and family. If the deceased left instructions that he prefers not to be eulogized, we omit the eulogy.
7. A male kohen may not enter a cemetery or be in the same room with a deceased who is not related to him.
However, he may attend to relatives whom he is obliged to mourn for, except not to attend a sister who has been married.
At the cemetery, a deceased kohen is buried near the cemetery gates so that the relatives do not defile themselves from other graves.
8. It is important that men and women do not mingle during the eulogies or funeral procession.
Honoring the Deceased
1. It is forbidden to delay a burial, for it is a disgrace to the deceased, and it may cause pain to the soul of the departed.
2. In urgent situations, if a short postponement will be a definite honor to the deceased, i.e. to prepare shrouds, coffin, etc., or so that people can attend the funeral, it is permissible. (We do not make a late Friday afternoon burial if it may lead to the desecration of Shabbos.) It is necessary to consul with a competent Orthodox Rabbi before delaying a burial. It is wrong to delay on account of extra fees to the gravediggers on a legal holiday.
3. For parents, it is proper to extend the eulogies in their honor.
4. It is proper that only Jews be involved in caring for and carrying the deceased.
5. If a person passes a funeral procession, he is obligated to join and escort the deceased for at least 7-8 feet.
6. One is obligated to even interrupt his Torah study in order to escort the deceased.
7. It is customary to recite Tehillim (Psalm) 91 during the funeral.
8. Some have a custom that women do not go to the cemetery.
1. It is a mitzvah to bury the deceased in the ground.
2. A wooden coffin is used but it is preferable to minimize the wood and even the shrouds, so that the deceased is closer to the ground.
3. The deceased is placed on his back as one who is sleeping.
4. We ask forgiveness from the deceased in case we did not show the proper respect.
5. It is customary not to hand the shovels from one person to another to show that we do not hand sadness to other people, but rather the shovel is put down and then taken from the ground.
6. One may not act in a light-headed manner in the cemetery, which includes:
a. not to eat or drink there (it is also improper to smoke at a cemetery. [Yalkut Yosef])
b. not to engage in business matters
c. not to take a shortcut through a cemetery
7. It is generally forbidden to reopen a burial plot after it has been closed.
After the Burial
1. At the conclusion of the burial, the seven-day mourning period begins.
2. If the deceased is being sent to another country, the mourning begins after taking leave of the deceased, except for those who are going along with the deceased.
3. At some point the mourners remove their shoes. Some have the custom to wait until coming home before removing their shoes. (Some say that those who do not remove their shoes until later should put some earth into their shoes.)
4. Tzidduk Hadin is recited, and the mourners then recite a kaddish prayer.
5. Upon leaving the cemetery, everyone should:
a. lift up some earth (to remind ourselves that we are compared to earth, and that our end is in the earth)
b. and some grass (to demonstrate that the dead will sprout back to life when the dead are resurrected [Techiyas Hameisim]), and throw it behind themselves
6. The hands have to be washed three times afterwards.One should not enter a private home before this hand washing. The cup should not be handed to one another-to show that we do not hand sadness over to another person, but rather it is placed on the ground with the opening turned downward to indicate that all life eventually comes to an end.
Tearing the Garments
1. Upon the passing of a close relative: a parent, child, brother, sister or spouse, the mourners are required to tear their garments.
2. The garments are torn:
a. while standing
b. beginning near the neck and torn downward through the rim of the garment (It is customary to have someone else begin the tear and then the mourner finishes the tear by hand.)
3. Torah law prescribes the limits and procedures for mourning. One may not do more or less than what the law requires. One may not tear his hair or flesh as a sign of mourning. "You are children of Hashem, do not cut your flesh on account of death." (Devarim 14) The Seforno explains that a Jew should realize that Hashem is our closest relative, and He is always with us. We may not, therefore, overreact with pain over the loss of a relative, for our closest relative, our dear Father in Heaven is always present.
4. The mourner may change to old garments before performing the mitzvah of tearing his garments.
5. The "tearing" may not be done on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
6. for parents, the children tear:
a. clothing that is commonly worn (shirt, dress, blouse, except for undershirts, coat or tzitzis. Women are to cover over the tear or pin it up or even stitch it up, soas not to expose themselves.)
b. on the left side towards the heart
c. by hand
d. in public
e. an obvious tear on the garments all the way down to the heart
f. If he changes clothes during the seven-day mourning period, he must also tear those clothes. It is improper to merely tear a ribbon or to wear a black ribbon instead of tearing one's garment.)
7. For other relatives (children, brothers, sisters or spouse):
a. the upper garment is torn for about 4 inches
b. on the right side
c. a hidden tear (under the coat) is sufficient
d. a knife or scissors may be used (for the entire tear)
e. If he changes clothes he does not have to tear them.
8. When a righteous person passes away, even non-relatives are obligated to cry and mourn for them.
9. It is customary to fulfill the mitzvah of "tearing" the clothes after the eulogies, or at the cemetery after the burial of the deceased. The blessing "the truthful judge" is said before the "tearing."
10. It is proper for men to assist men and for women to help women mourners tear their garments.

The First Meal
1. A mourner may not eat his first meal of his own food.
2. It is a mitzvah upon the friends and neighbors to provide the food for the first meal.
3. The meal consists of bread, hard boiled (peeled) eggs or cooked lentils as a symbol of mourning (eggs do not have an opening, to show that the mourner is unable to speak) and some wine. They may then continue with meat, wine, etc. (they should not drink a lot of wine).
4. It is very important to consider all of the possible needs of the mourners and try to be helpful. The needs include: Arranging the minyanim, preparing meals, contacting other potential visitors, caring for the house, caring for the children, etc...

Praying and Saying Kaddish
1. It is a mitzvah for prayer services to be held during the seven-day mourning period at the home of the deceased.
2. Tachanun is not said when praying at a house of mourning. Hallel is not said on Rosh Chodesh. On Chanukah, the non-mourners do say Hallel after leaving the house of mourning.
3. When a son leads the prayers in public during and after shiva and says kaddish for his parents, he is redeeming them from Gehenom. The Maariv prayer after Shabbos is especially significant because that is when the souls return to Gehenom after Shabbos.
4. A mourner does not lead the prayers on Shabbos and Yom Tov, but he does say kaddish. In addition, being called up to the Torah for Maftir is also a benefit to the deceased.
5. Kaddish is said for 11 months after the passing of the deceased and on the day of Yahrzeit.
6. If there are no sons to say kaddish, the family should pay someone to say at least one kaddish per day for this period.

Visiting the Mourners
1. It is a great mitzvah to visit a mourner, and it is considered a kindness to the relatives and to the deceased whose soul is also in mourning.
2. A visitor may not begin to speak but he should sit by silently until the mourner begins. (The mourner can begin by saying "Blessed is the Truthful Judge.") The mourner may not greet others by saying shalom; and he may not receive greetings from others.
3. The mourner sits up front on the ground.
4. The topic of conversation should be about the merits of the deceased, not topics that will distract from the loss, such as sports, clothing, business, parties, cars, etc.
5. The mourner should not say, "My punishments have not equalled my sins," indicating that he is deserving of more punishment. (Even if it is true, one should not voice such thoughts as it may bring on more suffering.)
6. One may not tell the mourner, "What can you do, it is impossible to change Hashem's decisions," but rather we say, "Whatever Hashem does if for the good, and He knows best. He knows what is really good, and we should accept his decree with love."
7. As soon as the mourner indicates that his visitors may leave, they should not delay. (Be considerate, do not overdo your visit or stay late.)
8. Upon leaving, one should say, "May Hashem comfort you among the other mourners of Tzion and Jerusalem."
9. It is customary to cover the mirrors in a house of mourning.
10. It is proper to have a minyan for prayer three times a day at the house of mourning. After the morning and afternoon prayers, an additional Psalm, chapter 49, is recited. It is also good for the others to learn mishnayos for the benefit of the neshamah of the deceased.

The First Three Days
1. For the first three days of mourning, it is a mitzvah to cry in mourning.
2. During this time, one should consider that he is required to improve his ways.
3. People may not greet or be greeted by a mourner. If they greet him in error, he should reply, "I am unable to return the greeting, for I am in mourning."
4. The "work prohibitions" during these days apply even if the mourners will suffer financial loss.

The Seven Days of Mourning
A mourner may not:
1. Work (for situations with partners, employees, etc. one should check with a competent Orthodox Rabbi before the burial takes place in order to make arrangements.)
a. Regular, necessay housework (House-cleaning, dishwashing...) and food preparation are permitted.
b. We are required to provide financial assistance to poor people, so that they can afford to take off from work during shiva (seven days of initial mourning).
2. Mourners may not wash or bathe except for the face, hands and feet with cool water (using cosmetics in also included in this prohibition).
a. If the person needs to bathe to remove dirt (not for included in this prohibition).
b. A woman of marriageable age (or a bride) may beautify herself even during the seven-day period.
3. They may not wear leather shoes.
4. They may not have intimate relations (not even on Shabbos).
5. They may not stucly Torah (because it causes happiness). A mourner may study Iyov, Kinos, the sad portions of Yermiyahu and the laws of mourning. He may not study other sciences or read things (i.e. newspapers) that will take his mind away from his mourning. (Aruch Hashulchan) He may study works of Mussar. (Sdei Chemed, Aveilus 25)
6. They may not greet others. If someone does greet a mourner after the first three days, he may respond in a low voice.
7. They may not wash or clean clothing or change into clean clothing.
8. They may not speak excessively nor engage in laughter and rejoicing as it says: "May they remain silent." This prohibition is understood from the fact that they may not even say "Shalom" to others.
A mourner may also not hold a child in his lap or engage in similar activities that may lead to laughter. (Rambam, Aveilus 5:20)
9. He may not shave or take a haircut (hair combing is permitted).
10. He may not cut his nails with a utensil but he is allowed to bite or pull them off.
11. He may not sit on a seat. One who is ill or in an unusual situation should consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi for exceptions to the above.
12. A mourner may not go out of his house during the first week. However, he may leave the house to sleep elsewhere in the evenings if there is a need for it.
13. On the seventh day, after the morning-visitors leave(or after the time they would normally leave), the seven-day period is over. It is customary for some friends to assist the mourners in rising from the floor.

On Friday
1. The mourners stop their mourning to allow themselves time to prepare for Shabbos according to their needs.
a. they may change their clothes
b. even to put on Shabbos clothes
2. They may put on their shoes and rise from sitting on the floor as close to Shabbos as possible.

Shabbos and Yom Tov
1. Shabbos is counted as one of the seven days, although obvious demonstrations of mourning are forbidden.
2. On Shabbos, marital relations, washing, and Torah study are forbidden, because these activities are not obvious to others.
3. He may greet others on Shabbos and say "Gut Shabbos." <>

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Daf Yomi - Moed Katan 29 - Highlights

The Mishna states: Women may chant a funeral song during Chol Hamoed but they may not clap (hitting one hand against the other, demonstrating grief). Rabbi Yishmael says: Those that are near the coffin, they are permitted.

On Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and Purim, they are permitted to chant a funeral song and clap.

During Chol Hamoed, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and Purim, they are forbidden to respond in lamentation.

One the deceased has been buried, it is forbidden to chant a funeral song or to clap.

The Mishna asks: What is innuy? When they all chant together. What is kinah (lamentation)? When one speaks and the others respond after her.

The Mishna concludes: But regarding the future to come it is written in Yeshaye [25:8]: He will eliminate death forever, and Hashem the Lord will erase tears from all faces. (28b)

The Gemora cites seven funeral songs that were sung by the women of Shechantziv. (28b)

The Gemora cites a braisa: Rabbi Meir used to say: It is written [Koheles 7:2]: It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting etc. until: And the living should take it to heart. The living should take to heart matters connected with death.

The Gemora explains the reward for those who eulogize the dead: One who eulogizes over the dead, others will eulogize over him. One who buries the dead, others will bury him. One who carries the dead, others will carry him. One who raises himself for the dead, others will raise themselves for him.

Others say: One who is modest, and troubles himself with burying the dead quietly, he will be elevated by Heaven. (28a)

The Gemora cites a braisa: When the sons of Rabbi Yishmael died, four elder sages came to comfort him: Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Yosi Hagelili, Rabbi Elozar ben Azarya and Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Tarfon said to the other three: You must know that he (Rabbi Yishmael) is extremely wise and he is well versed in Agados, and therefore none of you should repeat what the other has said. Rabbi Akiva said: I will be the last speaker.

Rabbi Yishmael began: His sins are many (referring to himself), his mournings have succeeded one another (one son died soon after the other), and he has inconvenienced his teachers once and twice.

Rabbi Tarfon said: It is written [Vayikra 10:6]: And your brethren, the whole house of Israel, may bewail the burning (of Nadav and Avihu, the two sons of Aharon HaKohen). If Nadav and Avihu, who observed only one commandment, nevertheless were accorded the honor that the entire congregation mourned over them; then the sons of Rabbi Yishmael who observed many mitzvos, are certainly deserving of a similar honor.

Rabbi Yosi Hagelili said: "It is written [Melachim I 14:13]: And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him. If this was done for Aviyah the son of Yerovam, who performed only one good deed, then the sons of Rabbi Yishmael who performed many good deeds, are certainly deserving of a similar honor.

The Gemora asks: What was the good thing? Rabbi Zeira and Rabbi Chinana bar Papa offer opinions: One says that he deserted his position (his father appointed him to prevent the people from traveling to the Beis Hamikdosh during the festival) and made a pilgrimage to Yerushalayim on the festival. The other says: He had abolished the guards which were established by his father to prevent the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Elozar ben Azarya began: It is written [Yirmiya 34:5]: In peace you shall die; and with the burnings performed for your forefathers, the former kings that were before youe, so shall they make a burning for you; and they shall lament for you: “Woe, master!” If this was done for Tzidkiyahu the king of Yehudah, who performed only one mitzva (near the end of his life, thus meriting honorable treatment by his death), namely, that he instructed to raise Jeremiah from the pit filled with mud, then the sons of Rabbi Yishmael who observed many mitzvos, are certainly deserving of a similar honor.

Rabbi Akiva began: If there was a great mourning over the death of Achab the king of Israel, who has done only one good thing, then the sons of Rabbi Yishmael who observed many mitzvos, are certainly deserving of a similar honor. (28b)

Rava asked Rabbah bar Mari: Yoshiyahu was promised that he will be buried in peace and yet we have learned that Yoshiyahu was shot by archers and so many arrows pierced his body that it resembled a sieve?

Rabbah bar Mari answered: Rabbi Yochanan answered that the promise of being buried in peace was referring to the fact that the Beis Hamikdosh was not destroyed during his lifetime. (28b)

Rabbi Yochanan said: Those who come to comfort the mourner are prohibited from speaking until the mourner begins to talk. (28b)

Rabbi Avahu said: The mourner should recline at the head of all the consolers. (28b)

Rabbi Chama bar Chanina said: The bridegroom should be seated at the head of the table. This is derived from the fact that a Kohen is seated at the head. (28b)

Rabbi Chanina said: The departure of the soul from the body is as difficult as the removal of a knotty rope from the mast of a ship. Rabbi Yochanan said: It is as difficult as the pulling of the cables (used to connect two ships) through a hole. (28b – 29a)

Rabbi Levi bar Chayasa said: When a person takes leave from a dead person (the coffin), he should not say “Go to peace,” but “Go in peace.” When a person takes leave from a living person, he should not say “Go in peace,” but “Go to peace.”

The Gemora cites the sources for the above rulings: When David told Avshalom “Go in peace,” he went and was eventually hanged. When Yisro told Moshe “Go to peace,” he went and was successful. (29a)

Rabbi Levi said: One who goes from the synagogue directly to the Beis Medrash (house of study) or from the Beis Medrash to the synagogue will merit greeting the Divine Presence. (29a)

Rabbi Chiya the son of Ashi said in the name of Rav: Torah scholars have no rest even in the World to Come (they will continue to study Torah in front of the Divine Presence).



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