Saturday, November 11, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 16 - Remembering and anticipating Shabbos all week

From Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Vaeschanan 5766. For more inspirational thoughts on Shabbos and other topics, please visit
In this week’s parashah it is said: safeguard the Shabbos day to sanctify it, as HaShem your G-d has commanded you. The Torah here uses the word shamor, whereas in Parashas Yisro it is said: remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it. The Gemara states that both zachor and shamor were said by HaShem simultaneously. How are we meant to understand this enigmatic statement? Let us examine the meaning of the words zachor and shamor. Zachor means to remember. How does one remember the Shabbos? Shammai would remember the Shabbos by purchasing a nicer animal every day in honor of the Shabbos. When one takes action during the week for Shabbos, he is remembering the Shabbos. How does one fulfill shamor during the week? Shamor means to observe the Shabbos. How can one observe the Shabbos during the week? Another definition of shamor is to anticipate, as it is said: vaviv shamar es hadavar, and his father kept the matter in mind. One can anticipate the Shabbos during the week. Thus, zachor and shamor were mentioned in one utterance, because one can both remember and anticipate the Shabbos during the week. The reason the Gemara states that they were uttered simultaneously is to teach us that we must constantly talk about the Shabbos during the week so we will be properly prepared when Shabbos arrives.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 16 - Treasure Shabbos while we have it

From Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Vayechi 5766. For more inspirational thoughts on Shabbos and other topics, please visit
In this weeks parashah the Torah records the demise of Yaakov. Yet, the Gemara informs us that Yaakov never died. How is this to be understood? It is fascinating once again that Yaakov is the symbol of Shabbos. It is said: כי ששת ימים עשה ה' את השמים ואת הארץ וביום השביעי שבת וינפש, in a six-day period Hashem made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. The Gemara states that the word וינפש, and was refreshed, is an acrostic for the words וי נפש, woe to the soul. When Shabbos ends, a person loses the extra soul that he received at the onset of Shabbos. The obvious question that has been raised numerous times is why do we learn that a Jew has an extra soul on Shabbos in a seemingly negative context? Would it have not been preferred to teach us that a Jew has an extra soul from a verse that describes the beauty and holiness of Shabbos? The answer to this question is alluded to in the statement that Yaakov never died. Certainly the Torah records his death to inform us that Yaakov died and was buried in the physical sense. However, it is specifically said regarding Yaakov that when the righteous person departs from a locale, the shine, the glory, and the splendor depart with him. This teaches us how to value a gift. Were the Torah to inform us in a different context that a Jew receives an extra soul at the onset of Shabbos, we may view the gift as a luxury but not as a necessity. As the expression goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” When Yaakov leaves the town, the shine, glory and splendor that Yaakov reflects departs with him. When Yaakov dies, the righteous person has departed, and we have become bereft of that special gift that the righteous person offers. Similarly, when Shabbos comes to an end, we experience that feeling of missing something. Bearing this idea in mind, we should realize how fortunate we would be if we were to use every minute of Shabbos to its maximum potential.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 15 - Lekavod Shabbos

The Gemara states that HaShem said to the Jewish People, “ My sons, borrow on My account, and sanctify the holiness of the day, and trust in Me and I will repay your loans.” We find that following Shabbos, it is important for one to partake in a festive meal that is referred to as melaveh malka, the escorting of the Queen. The word for escorting is levayah, which is the same word that is used in the Gemara for borrowing. Essentially, HaShem is telling us, “cleave to Me and I will provide you with your needs.” When one observes Shabbos and takes the Shabbos with him into the week, he can be assured that HaShem will always provide for him.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 15 - Learning or Eating, that is the Question

The Gemora relates a story regarding Rabbi Eliezer who was teaching the laws of Yom tov to his students for the entire day of Yom Tov. The Gemora recounts how there were several groups of students at different intervals during the day that left the shiur. Rabbi Eliezer kept commenting how these students were engrossed in their own physical pleasure and they weren't involved in the proper exertion for learning Torah. As the sixth group prepared to leave, Rabbi Eliezer declared that these are dismal people since due to them the Beis Medrash had become empty. Rabbi Eliezer told the remaining students that the others who left had abandoned the learning of Torah which brings about eternal life and occupied themselves with provisional needs.

The Gemora asks on Rabbi Eliezer's criticism regarding the students who left and rebuking them that they were occupying themselves with provisional needs. Isn't there a mitzva of eating on Yom Tov? What was so terrible about going to fulfill the mitzva of eating on Yom Tov? The Gemora answers that Rabbi Eliezer is of the opinion that eating on Yom Tov is only optional. the Gemora cites a braisa where Rabbi Yehoshua rules that one should divide his time on Yom Tov. Half the day, one should rejoice with food and drink while the other half of the day, he should be involved in pursuing his spiritual needs, such as learning Torah and tefillah. Rabbi Eliezer maintains that a person has a choice and can either spend the entire day of Yom Tov rejoicing with food and drink or he can occupy himself with learning Torah.

The Birkas Avrohom is nonetheless troubled as to how the Gemora can say that eating on Yom Tov is considered a temporary need when Rabbi Eliezer agrees that there is a mitzva to eat if one so desires? He answers profoundly that the mitzva of eating on Yom Tov pales in comparison to the mitzva of learning Torah on Yom Tov. Eating is considered provisional when it is contrasted to the mitzva of learning Torah.

Rav Meir Bergman in Shaarei Orah (Parshas Mishpatim) adds that even though the students were ravished at the time, the act of leaving the Beis Medrash and causing that the Beis Medrash should become empty was deserving of Rabbi Eliezer's curse.

How careful one must be when closing a sefer or leaving the Beis Medrash.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 15 - Cooking on Yom Tov by Reb Jay

It is assur to cook on Yom Tov for Shabbos (although the
Gemara in Pesachim 46a mentions Rav Chisda who says M'ikor
hadin it is muttar, in any case everyone agrees that Mid'rabanan
it is assur). It is muttar, however, on Yom Tov to cook more
than will be needed and use the left over for Shabbos. The Tur
writes that even if the person cooking openly said the food will
be used for the next day, it is muttar, as cooking a large amount
improves the taste. The Rokeach, however, writes that this
would be assur, as Chazal only allowed adding extra food to a
pot, is if the ikar cavana is for that day (the only way improper
kavana would hurt in this case is if the person cooking spoke it
out, not if it was merely thought), while the Aruch Hashulchan
explains the Tur as saying that in this case, kavana does not
matter (or, the Tur could be learned as saying that Ho'eel
miklayea leahorchim is a fact, regardless of whether the guests
come or not, or what the owner's intention was). The Tur brings
down b'shem the Baal Haitur, that if the person adds food after
they have eaten, this is considered harama and is assur (harama
that is not obvious would be muttar according to the Tur, for
example, cooking more than is needed, however, open trickery
is assur). If an Eiruv Tavshilin made, this enables one to cook on
Yom Tov for Shabbos directly. The mishna Berura writes that
even according to those that say that Hachana D'Rabba is an
issur D'oraysa, cooking with an Eiruv Tavshilin is still muttar
due to Ho'eel miklayea leahorchim (although according to this
shita, the cooking must be finished while there is still time for
the orchim to eat, meaning there must be time left over before
shkiya; for this reason, the Magen Avraham recommends
making early Shabbos when Yom Tov comes into Shabbos).

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 14 - Laws and morals

The Gemara states that Rav Pappi visited the home of Mar Shmuel on Yom Tov and the servants of Mar Shmuel brought Rav Pappi disa, which is a dish made from wheat kernels that are split into less than four pieces. One reason that Rav Pappi did not eat the dish is because Rav Pappi was concerned that the servants of Shmuel were depraved, so Rav Pappi suspected that they had used a large mortar and pestle, which is prohibited on Yom Tov. Thus, we see that knowing the Halacha is not sufficient for one to be deemed an observant Jew. One must also have correct morals, as otherwise he will be suspected of disregarding Halacha. Torah is not a storybook, yet it is also not merely a book of laws. The Medrash states that the Torah was given to refine our character, and for this reason we must pay close attention to how our Patriarchs and Matriarchs acted, and this will enhance our observance of the halachos that the Torah prescribed for us.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 14 - Separating Impurities on Yom Tov

Beis Shamai maintains that separating is forbidden on Yom Tov just like it is on Shabbos. Beis Hillel disagrees and holds that one may separate on Yom Tov in the usual manner since it is a preparation of the food.

Reb Akiva Eiger asks that even if separating is permitted according to Beis Hillel, one should not be allowed to handle the impurities of the mixture since the impurities shouls be regarded as muktza. It would be a stretch to answer that all cases of separating are referring to cases where the impurities are fitting to be eaten by animals.

Reb Akiva Eiger answers that this Gemora will be a proof to a principle that Tosfos states many times in this Mesechta. Tosfos holds that handling muktza for the sake of food preparation is permitted on Yom Tov. Tosfos on daf 8 rules like this regarding removing the ashes from an oven in order to bake.

The Reshash is perplexed by Reb Akiva Eiger's question and comments that it would seem that Reb Akiva Eiger forgot a Tosfos in Shabbos (142b) that explains why separating would be permitted even though the impurities should be muktza. Tosfos states that since the food items are considerably more than the impurities, the impurities are negated by the food majority thereby permitting one to handle the impurities and discard them.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach asks on this that while it is true that when the impurities are mixed with the food items, the impurities can be negated; however as soon as one separates them, the impurities should be considered muktza and he should be obligated to discard them immediately?

The Reshash cites a Tosfos (3b) that maintains that when one is holding muktza, he is permitted to bring it to any place that he desires. The Magen Avrohom (308:7) rules like this Tosfos, however the Even Haozer (266) disagrees and holds that Tosfos is only referring to a utensil that is normally used for issur and not by any other type of muktza.

Chazon Ish (47:15) offers a different reason as to why this would be permitted. Since it is impossible to consume the food unless the impurities are removed, handling the impurities would not be considered handling muktza, rather it is regarded as food preparation.

This entire discussion is relevant to peeling an egg on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 14 - Pounding with a Mortar

The Gemora asked a contradiction between two braisos regarding pounding of grain with a mortar on Yom Tov. Rava answers that the second braisa which permits pounding the grain in a small mortar applies to the people living in Bavel and the first braisa which prohibits pounding with a small mortar is referring to the people who live in Eretz Yisroel.

Rashi explains that pounding with a small mortar should actually be permitted. In Eretz Yisroel, they had servants who would pound with a large mortar which was prohibited and they would claim that they pounded the grain in a small mortar. In Bavel, they generally did not have servants and therefore there was no reason to prohibit pounding with a small mortar.

The Shar Hatziyon (504:22)explains that even though the Gemorah states that the concern was due to degenerate slaves, Rashi understands that where there were slaves, there is always a concern for degenerate slaves. The Rashba understands the Gemora to mean that the small mortar could not be used only if one had degenerate servants, but otherwise there was no concern and it would be permitted just like in Bavel where there were no servants. The Mishna Berura (504:16) states that the concern is only when one owns Gentile slaves, but when one has Jewish slaves, we certainly would not be concerned.

The Rambam learns our Gemorah differently. In Eretz Yisroel, it is forbidden to use even a small mortar since the grain there is of a superior quality and could have been pounded Erev Yom Tov. The grain in Bavel, which is of an inferior quality, could not have been done Erev Yom Tov without causing a loss and therefore it will be permitted to pound with a small mortar on Yom Tov. The Magid Mishna explains that this is consistent with the ruling that any preparations for food that cannot be performed on Erev Yom Tov may be done on Yom Tov. The Lechem Mishna states that one cannot use the large mortar since that would be considered work that one normally does in the weekday.

The Rosh Yosef asks as to why the Rambam did not make any mention of the concern for the depraved slaves. He answers according to the Rashba that we cited before, that the concern is only when one owns such slaves and since that is not common, the Rambam did not feel the necessity to write it.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 13 - Holy thoughts

The Gemara states that one can separate both Terumah Gedolah and Terumas Maaser with a thought and one does not need to physically or orally designate the terumah. There are certain mitzvos which require one to contemplate the mitzvah, such as loving HaShem, fearing HaShem and other such mitzvos. There is even a situation where if one sought to perform a mitzvah and he could not complete it because of extenuating circumstances, it is considered as if he performed the mitzvah. Thus, thoughts play an important part in serving HaShem. Rav Chaim Volozhiner writes in Nefesh HaChaim that one who entertains immoral thoughts is worse than the Roman general Titus, who defiled the Holy of Holies, because a gentile does not have the capability of reaching high spiritual levels, whereas a Jew has the ability to reach very high spiritual levels, and improper thoughts defile the spiritual Holy of Holies. This idea should teach us that not only do we have to be pure in our actions but we must also keep our thoughts pure and holy.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 13 - Carrying and Kindling are the Exception

The Gemora states that once carrying from one domain to another was permitted regarding items necessary for food preparation, it was also permitted to carry items that are not related to food. This concept is also cited regarding lighting a fire on Yom Tov.

The Rambam rules that this principle of 'mitoch' is only permitted regarding these two melachos, carrying and kindling a fire. Magid Mishna explains that since carrying items from one domain to another is relevant to the food items themselves, that is why the permission extends to other objects. Other melochos are also permitted for food-related purposes, but we do not find that permission regarding the food itself, rather only to the preparation of the food. this is why the permission is not extended to instances where there is no necessary benefit for it on Yom Tov. Lighting a fire is permitted even for preparation of food, such as kindling the wood and nonetheless one is allowed to kindle a fire on Yom Tov for purposes unrelated to food. This is derived from the verse which states that one is obligated not to kindle a fire on Shabbos.' It is inferred from there that it is forbidden to light a fire on Shabbos, but on Yom Tov it will be permitted.

The Lechem Mishna asks that the same logic that the Magid Mishna applied to explain bishul can be used to explain carrying. The possuk in Yirmiya states that one should not transfer items from one's house on Shabbos. It can be inferred that on Yom Tov, it would be permitted to carry.

The Pri Megadim in his introduction to Hilcos Yom Tov answers that we cannot learn out from the pesukkim in Yirmiyah. He does not offer a reason for this.

Sheorim Mitzuyanim B'halacha states that the melocha of carrying is regarded as an inferior type of melocha as is stated in Tosfos in Shabbos. This can possibly explain why the principle of mitoch applies to the melocha of carrying.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 13 - Taste of Talsan Beans by Reb Dave

13a – Rashi says we do not separate maser on the straw of the talsan beans, because “ the taste of the fruit and the branch is the same” ( taa’am eitzoh upiryah shavin). It seem to me that this phrase is just an expression of something having no taste, not that literally the fruit tastes like the bark, or that the bark tastes like the fruit. Proof of this can be seen from the fact that the Gemara applies this dictum to peppers, and yet we know from Yoma that peppers are not even considered food. Again, it is just another way of saying the peppers have no taste. KN’’L.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 12 - Observing Shabbos

The Gemara quotes a verse in Yirmiyah that states and do not carry out a burden from your homes on the Shabbos day. The Gemara states that Rabbi Yochanan maintains that Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel disagree as to whether we say that since carrying was permitted for a food-related purpose, it was also permitted when there is no food-related purpose. Rashi writes that both Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel agree that one is prohibited from carrying on Yom Tov. The reason that Yirmiyah warned the Jewish People not to carry on Shabbos is not because carrying is permitted on Yom Tov. Rather, Yirmiyah exhorted the people regarding the Shabbos prohibition which is more severe than the Yom Tov prohibition, and Yirmiyah hoped that at least people would not carry on Shabbos. It is astounding to read that even in the times of the prophets there were people who were observant Jews, yet they still violated basic Shabbos prohibitions. We should take this to heart and study the laws of Shabbos and observe them.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 12 - Yahrtzeit Candles on Yom Tov

The Mishnah cites a dispute between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel regarding transferring objects that are not food related from one domain to another on Yom Tov. Bais Shammai maintains that one cannot carry a child, a lulav, or a Sefer Torah into a public domain and Bais Hillel permits it. Rav Yitzchok bar Avdimi explains that Bais Hillel is of the opinion that since one can carry from one domain to another for the purpose of food related items, one is also permitted to carry items that are not food-related. Bais Shammai, however, does not agree with this concept. Rashi explains that according to Bais Hillel, it is even biblically permitted to carry items that have no purpose at all. The Chachamim, however, prohibited one from carrying stones or objects which serve no purpose on Yom Tov.

Tosfos disagrees with Rashi and Tosfos maintains that Bais Hillel only permits one to perform melachos that will either enhance ones enjoyment on Yom Tov or that will aid him in performing a mitzvah. According to Tosfos, it must be understood why Bais Hillel maintains that one who slaughters a donated olah on Yom Tov is not liable for the act of slaughtering. It would seem that there is no purpose in slaughtering a donated olah on Yom Tov because it is completely burned on the mizbeiach. Tosfos writes based on a Gemara later on Daf 20b that states that one cannot bear to see his own table full and the table of his master empty. If one is not able to offer a sacrifice to Hashem on Yom Tov, his own joy will be diminished.

The Teshuvos Ksav Sofer (65) rules that one is permitted to light a yahrtzeit candle on Yom Tov although the light does not serve a purpose for Yom Tov. If one would be prohibited from kindling this light, he would be grieved that he cannot honor his departed loved ones. This grief would significantly detract from his joy on Yom Tov and for this reason he is permitted to light the yahrtzeit candle.

The Biur Halacha (514:5) rules that it is preferable that one light the yahrtzeit candle prior to Yom Tov. If one was not able to light the candle prior to Yom Tov, he should light the candle in a room where he will be eating so that he will benefit from the light. The preferred approach is that one light a candle in the synagogue. The Biur Halacha concludes based on the Ksav Sofer that if one does not have available any of the aforementioned options, he is still be permitted to light the yahrtzeit candle because lighting a yahrtzeit candles has a semblance of a mitzvah as one is honoring his departed parent.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 11 - No ignorance on Yom Tov

Rashi writes that amei haaretz, ignorant people, despite the fact that they are suspected of laxity in observing the laws of taharah, ritual purity, on a Yom Tov they are not suspected of being lax, and if an am haaretz touched food on Yom Tov, it does not become tamei. We find that an am haaretz is believed on Shabbos to say that he tithed produce, as even an ignorant Jew is in awe of Shabbos. We should utilize the Shabbos and the Yomim Tovim for Torah study, as even ignorant Jews are on a higher spiritual plane on these holy days, so certainly one who studies Torah on these holy days will be greatly uplifted.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 11 - Unnecessary Exertion

Beis Shamai rules that one is not allowed to take the knife to the animal on Yom Tov with the intention of shechting it. Beis Hillel disagrees and allows it to be done. Rashi explains that the knife and the animal are far apart from each other. Beis Shamai maintains that since there is a possibility that the slaughterer might change his mind and not shecht the animal, it would be regarded as an unnecessary exertion on Yom Tov.

Rav Elchonon Wasserman does not understand what Beis Shamai is concerned about. He asks that even if the fellow will decide not to shecht the animal, nonetheless at the time that he took out the knife, his intent was to perform a shechita and at that time it was necessary?

If someone would cook on Yom Tov and afterwards decide not to eat, would he be liable retroactively for cooking on Yom Tov? Obviously not. Rabbah maintains that if a person cooks on Yom Tov with the intention of eating the food after yom Tov, he is not liable since guests can come to his house on Yom tov and he will offer them from that food. This is true even if the guests do not come and certainly if his intention was to cook for guests, he will not be violating any prohibition, even if the guests do not show up.

Why is there a concern that he might change his mind and not perform the shechita?

Rav Menachem Kohn Zt"l in his sefer Ateres Avi suggests that perhaps there is a distinction between the melocha of cooking and extra exertion on Yom Tov. The Torah permitted one to perform melochos on Yom Tov that are for the necessity of preparing food to be eaten. Cooking is something that is completely permitted on yom Tov and therefore even is afterwards we would realize that the food was not eaten, we will not retroactively determine that something wrong was done. however when Chazal prohibited one from exerting himself unnecessarily on Yom Tov, this was forbidden completely and was only permitted in instances of food preparation. If retroactively, it has been determined that it was not used for food preparation, it will be regarded as unnecessary exertion and therefore Beis Shamai was concerned.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 10 - Dove Brooding

Rashi explains that the first brood of the season is kept as company for the mother. The first brood is generally born in the month of Nissan. They usually have two offspring, one male and one famale every month except during the winter.

Rashbam in Bava Basra (80a) states that they have offspring every month of the year except for the month of Adar.

Sheorim Mitzuyanim B'halacha suggests that it might depend on the climate of each particular area.

Below is a picture from the first brood; the parent is on the right and the nearly-grown fledgling is on the left.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 10 - First Brood

Bais Shamai maintains that one cannot take a dove from its nest on Yom Tov unless those doves were moved about prior to Yom Tov. The Gemora explains that declaring orally that he wants to slaughter these doves on Yom Tov is not sufficient. The explanation given is that Bais Shamai is referring to the first brood of doves that are born that season which generally are kept as company for the mother. The mother will leave the nest if those doves disappear. We are concerned that he might change his mind from using these birds and will handle them on Yom tov unnecessarilly. Moving them about before Yom Tov ensures us that he will not change his mind.

Mishna Berura (497:31) notes that Bais shamai will permit shechting the doves on Yom Tov even if he moved about the nest prior to Yom Tov and certainly if he handled the doves.

I am a little perplexed at to why moving about the nest would be sufficient. Would that be a proper indication that he is resolute on taking those first brood doves? If there are other doves in there at that time, it would seem that one would be required to handle the doves themselves for otherwise he is not indicating that his intention is to take the first brood.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 10 - Eggs of Joy

The Gemara offers various proofs to demonstrate the leniencies of Bais Shammai and the stringencies of Bais Hillel regarding matters that pertain to being joyous on Yom Tov. Tosfos wonders why the Gemara does not cite the first Mishnah where Bais Shammai maintains that an egg that was laid on Yom Tov is forbidden and Bais Hillel permits one to eat the egg. Tosfos answers that eating an egg does not really make one joyous on Yom Tov.

It would seem that the explanation for the answer of Tosfos is based on the Gemara in Pesachim (109a) that states that one is required to provide his wife with nice clothing and a man is required to eat meat and drink wine. This ruling is based on the verse that states vesamachta bechagecha, and you shall be joyous on your festival. Eggs, however, are not included in this teaching, because they do not make one joyous.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha cites a different Gemara in Pesachim (118a) which states that Hashem collects His debts from people according to their respective assets. A wealthy person will be punished by incurring a loss in his oxen, a pauper will incur a loss in his sheep and an orphan will incur a loss in his eggs. It is evident from this Gemara that an egg is not deemed to be an extravagant item and does not make one joyous.

Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 378:9) rules that the meal that is provided for mourners should consist of eggs. Rema (Orach Chaim 476:2) writes that one should eat eggs on Pesach night as eggs are a sign of mourning. Thus, we see further proof that eggs do not make one joyous, and in fact, eggs denote mourning and sadness.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 10 - True Simchas Yom Tov

The Gemara states that if one does not chose the doves prior to Yom Tov, there will be times that he will come to take doves on Yom Tov and all the doves will be lean, and he will not take any of the doves. This decision will result in one not being able to partake in the joy of the Yom Tov. It is worth contemplating the fact that HaShem gave us the mitzvah of being joyous on Yom Tov, yet He left it in our hands to determine what is deemed to be Simchas Yom Tov, joy of Yom Tov, and what is not deemed to be Simchas Yom Tov. Even having to eat lean doves on Yom Tov can be considered a lack in the mitzvah. Thus, not only do we have to praise HaShem for giving us the Yom Tov, but we thank HaShem for allowing us to ascertain what is considered true Simchas Yom Tov.

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Daf Yomi - Our Remarks at the Dirshu Annual Melave Malka in Lakewood

I have been asked to remark on the manner in which Dirshu and all its encompassing programs have changed my life and all those that are involved in this revolutionary programs.

Reb Chaim Voloziner talks at great length that there is a concept of ביטול תורה באיכות and not only בכמות. The Mateh Efraim explains the Gemora of מבטלין תלמוד תורה למקרא מגילה to mean that even though reading the Meggilah is considered learning, nonetheless it would be regarded as bitul Torah if not for the special halacha that one is obligated to close the Gemora and hear the Meggilah.

The Mishna in Avos says שנים שיושבין ואין ביניהם דברי תורה הרי זה מושב לצים אבל שנים שיושבין ויש ביניהם דברי תורה שכינה שרויה ביניהם. Rabbeinu Yonah has the version ועוסקים - to merit that the Shechinah should be in one's presence while learning, he must be toiling in learning.

The Mashgiach Reb Nosson Vachtfogel was apt to quote a Gemmorah in shabbos 63 that states regarding the possuk - אורך ימים בימינה ובשמאלה עושר וכבוד - if one is part of the mayminin, he will merit long life together with riches and honor; however regarding the masmilim, they will not merit the blessing of long life. Who are the masmilim? Rashi states that these are the one's who are not exerting themselves to their full potential.

Dirshu, under the leadership of Reb Dovid Hofstetter, together with the guidance of the Gedolei HaTorah, has risen to the challenge of promoting the learning of Daf Hayomi b'iyun. The Dirshu Kollelim throughout the world have inspired Baale batim to attend shiurim and chavrusos on a dail basis, learning the Gemmorah with proper understanding, reviewing it and taking bechinos.

The Rambam at the end of Hilchos Sechirus rules that a worker is obligated to work every moment of his hire and he concludes with the words בכל כוחו - with all his strength. The concept of performing with all one's strength is obviously true by learning as well. Whenit came time for Yaakov to establish Klal Yisroes, the possuk states ויגל יעקב את האבן מעל פי הבאר. Reb Chaim Shmuelvitz explains that moving the stone from the well could not have been a regular miracle, rather the explanation is that Yaakov dedicated his heart and utilyzed his full strength and ability thus enabling him to move the stone.

In this past week's parsha Avrohom was told to look up at the heavens and count the stars. How was it possible for him to fulfill such an unattainable task? Reb Meir Shapiro whose yahrtzeit was last week, explains that an inteligent person would have obviously been perplexed when receiving such an overwhelming instruction, knowing that it is impossible to complete. Avrohom was also well aware of this, but he knew that by following Hashem's commandment, he would receive a special syata dishmaya and with that knowledge, he began counting 1, 2, 3 .... Hashem, recognizing this enthusiasm and Avrohom's willingness to fulfill His commandments immediately blessed him with the brocha of children.

Kollel Dirshu has instilled in all of us the courage and desire to take the plunge one amud and one daf at a time, taking weekly bechinos, monthly bechinos and eventually to be tested on the entire Shas (notice I didn't say anything about passing the tests). Dirshu has raised the bar on what it means to be a Daf Yomi Yid. We owe Reb Dovid and his entire staff a tremendous yasher koach for establishing and perpetuating these programs with his sole desire of being yagdil Torah.

The Tanchumah in Chaye Sorah states that Avrohom Davened that people should be able to discern the difference in appearance between him and Yitzchok. Hashem acquiesed to his request and people were able to recognize him as Avrohom and not Yitzchok. Why was this necessary. I heard from Rabbi Margareten that Avrohom wanted to ensure that everyone would understand the significance of proper mesorah.

It is a great zchus for us to have in our midst one of the Gedolei Torah of our generation, someone who is a vital link in the chain of Klal Yisroel's illustrious mesorah from Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov continuin to our present time. It is an honor for me to introduce to you the South Fallsburg Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Eli Ber Vachtfogel Shlita.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 9 - Separating challah on Yom Tov

Rabbah rules that if one made a dough before Yom Tov, he can separate the challah from it on Yom Tov. Rashi writes that although it is rabbinically forbidden to separate Terumos and Maasros from ones food on Yom Tov if it could have been performed prior to Yom Tov, this is not applicable to separating challah from dough that was made on Yom Tov. Kneading dough is permitted on Yom Tov so that one can enjoy eating fresh bread on Yom Tov and one does not have to do so prior to Yom Tov. Therefore one is also allowed to separate challah on Yom Tov. The father of Shmuel disagrees and maintains that even if one made the dough prior to Yom Tov, he cannot separate the challah from it on Yom Tov.

Tosfos quotes the Yerushalmi that states that separating challah was included in the rabbinic prohibition of separating Terumos and Maasros. Rabbah only permitted separating the challah on Yom Tov if the dough was made on Yom Tov. Although one could separate the challah at the stage when the flour is mixed with the water, the prevalent custom was to separate the challah after the dough was made. Given the fact that the dough was made on Yom Tov, one can separate the challah on Yom Tov.

Tosfos then quotes a Tosefta that states that Rabbah only permitted separating challah on Yom Tov in the Diaspora where there is no concern that separating challah is akin to rectifying an object, because in the Diaspora one can eat dough even without separating challah. One would be prohibited from separating challah on Yom Tov in Eretz Yisroel because one cannot eat the dough in Eretz Yisroel without having separated challah, and separating challah would thus be akin to rectifying an object on Yom Tov which is forbidden.

Tosfos rejects the words of the Tosefta and Tosfos concludes that Rabbah permitted separating challah on Yom Tov even in Eretz Yisroel and the father of Shmuel prohibited separating challah on Yom Tov even in the Diaspora. Tosfos rules in accordance with Rabbah as Rabbah is a basraah, a later Amora.

The Maharshal in Chochmas Shlomo questions the ruling of Tosfos, as we have a tradition from the Geonim that we only rule in accordance with the basraah from the period of Abaye and Rava and on, whereas Rabbah lived earlier. The Maharshal writes that the Rif rules in accordance with the father of Shmuel. The Ran adds that Rava is the Amora who qualifies the opinion of the father of Shmuel and Rava is the basraah, so for this reason the Halacha is in accordance with the father of Shmuel.

The Mitzpei Aisan (in hashmatos) answers this question based on a Rashba in Shabbos who rules that when a student differs with his teacher, we rule in accordance with the student, but this principle only applies after the era of Abaye and Rava and not earlier. When the disputants are colleagues, however, then the Halacha is in accordance with the basraah, and this principle applies even prior to the era of Abaye and Rava. Tosfos in Kiddushin 45b writes that the reason why the Halacha follows the basraah is because the later Amoraim were more exact in establishing the Halacha clearly. Furthermore, the Rosh in Sanhedrin writes that the later sages understood the logic of their predecessors, thus giving them the ability to determine whose opinion was halachically correct. The distinction between the era of Abaye and Rava and the period prior to that is that prior to the era of Abaye and Rava, a student would only study what he had heard from his teacher, whereas after the era of Abaye and Rava, the students would analyze various opinions and they would conclude that the halacha was not necessarily in accordance with the opinion of their teacher.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 9 - Always being observed

The Gemara cites a dispute regarding a rabbinic prohibition that was instituted because performing the act may give the impression that one is violating a biblical prohibition. One opinion maintains that such an act is even prohibited in private quarters. One reason offered for this stringency is because a person performing the act in private quarters may be observed unknowingly. Alternatively, we are concerned that if he performs this act in private, he may come to perform the act in public. In the beginning of Shulchan Aruch, the Rema quotes the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim, the Guide to the Perplexed (3:52), who writes that ones actions in his private quarters are not the same as when he is before a king. Yet, a person should realize that he is before the King of kings, and HaShem observes all his actions, as it is said, can a man hide in concealments and I will not see him, says HaShem. When a person is cognizant that HaShem is constantly observing his actions, then he will fear HaShem and humble himself before Him, and he will be constantly ashamed before HaShem. Thus, besides the Halacha of not performing an act which may give the appearance of a wrongdoing, one should be meticulous in all his actions, because HaShem is always observing him.

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