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The Manna- A Remembrance of Creation or Exodus?

Harav Yosef Carmel

The foundation of Shabbat's sanctity begins already at creation. Yet a further dimension of Shabbat emerges from the exodus from Egypt. In fact, both elements of Shabbat find explicit expression in the two presentations of the Ten Commandments. In the first set, the Torah says: "Remember the day of Shabbat to sanctify it ...because for six days Hashem created ... and He rested on the seventh day, therefore Hashem blessed the day of Shabbat and sanctified it" (Shemot 20: 7-10). The second mention is as follows: "Guard the day of Shabbat to sanctify it ... you should remember that you were a slave in the Land of Egypt and Hashem liberated you from there ... therefore He commanded you to make the day of Shabbat" (Devarim 5: 11-14). Chazal have a tradition that even during the enslavement in Egypt, Shabbat played a special role in Bnei Yisrael's lives. The midrash (Shemot Rabba 8:18) says that they had scrolls that would bring them joy from Shabbat to Shabbat, as they said that Hashem would redeem them. Those days when they would contemplate their liberation were the days of Shabbat, for on Shabbat they rested. When, in response to Moshe's plea for freedom, Paroh decreed to make Bnei Yisrael's workload heavier, it included taking away their rights to rest and spiritual enjoyment, which they had on Shabbat. Another rabbinical tradition is that the commandment to keep Shabbat pre-dated Mt. Sinai and was given at Mara in the beginning of the sojourn through the desert. There, the Torah reports, "He presented them a statute and decree" (Shemot 15:25). The gemara (Sanhedrin 56b) explains that they were given ten mitzvot, seven that bind all Noachides, laws of the judicial system, Shabbat, and the obligation to honor parents. However, explicit mention of a specific obligation to refrain from work on Shabbat comes only in the section that deals with the manna, which sustained Bnei Yisrael in the desert. Hashem gave a double portion of manna on the sixth day so that Bnei Yisrael would not need or be allowed to collect it up on Shabbat. The Torah says, "The nation rested on the seventh day" (Shemot 16:30). The only parallel to this phrase in all of Tanach is, "[Hashem] rested on the seventh day" (Bereishit 2:2). Thus, the fact that the manna did not fall on Shabbat and that Bnei Yisrael were forbidden to go out to gather it is evidence of its connection to the remembrance of the creation. The Torah also commanded Moshe to store a portion of manna as a remembrance for future generations, who should "see the food that I fed them in the desert when I took them out of the Land of Egypt" (Shemot 16:32). This is a reference to the element of remembrance of the Exodus, which the manna shares with Shabbat. Now we see why the mitzva of Shabbat was mentioned for the first time in the section dealing with the manna, as both share the significance of being reminiscent of both creation and exodus. Let us pray that we will merit to see the fulfillment of Chazal's statement (Shabbat 118b) that if Bnei Yisrael will keep two Shabbatot properly they will immediately merit redemption. P'ninat Mishpat- Suing in Rabbinical Court after Losing in Secular Court

(from Piskei Din of the Rabbinical Courts of Yerushalayim I, pg. 27)

Case: The plaintiff sued the defendant in beit din to overturn a ruling of the secular court forbidding the plaintiff to use the hallway in front of the defendant's apartment, which, the defendant claimed, belongs to him. The defendant responded that since the plaintiff already took part in the hearings in the secular court, he waived his right to have the case heard in beit din. The defendant claimed that he should not have to trouble himself to go through the legal process an additional time.

Ruling: K'nesset Yechezkel (siman 97) discusses a man who expelled his son-in-law from his daughter's house after her death, in contradiction to the halacha that a husband inherits his wife upon her death. The father-in-law bribed officials to allow him to prevail and keep the son-in-law out, which induced the son-in-law to bribe in order to restore his rights. The K'nesset Yechezkel upheld the demands of the son-in-law for compensation and, in the process, developed the following point, which is pertinent to our case. One is permitted to protect the rights that have been or are in threat of being taken away from him in the secular courts. He does not need permission from beit din to go to the secular court to protect himself, but only needs permission if he wants to initiate a legal process which he is unable to do in beit din (usually because the other side refuses to accept beit din's jurisdiction). In our case, therefore, the plaintiff (who was previously the defendant in the secular court) was permitted to defend himself in secular court and try to deflect the process initiated by the defendant. It was the defendant who should not have initiated the first court case in the secular court without permission from beit din. We do not have complaints against the plaintiff's defense there nor do we deem his appearance there as an acceptance of the secular court's jurisdiction in this case Therefore, the plaintiff has every right to decide to sue the defendant in beit din, even after losing in secular court, and the defendant has a halachic obligation to respond to the summons to adjudicate before beit din

Moreshet Shaul

(from the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l)

The Halachic Significance of Tu B'shevat- part II

(based on Chavot Binyamin I, pg. 63-5)

[We saw last time that it is agreed that Tu B'shevat has significance in determining the orlah status of fruit. Regarding fruit during Shemitta, the Rambam is of the opinion that they are governed by the Rosh Hashana of Tishrei, with an etrog being the lone exception. Tosafot, though, said that there is a broad derivation of the laws of Shemitta from those of orlah, by virtue of which Tu B'shevat is the cut-off date for fruit in regard to Shemitta, as well.]

It seems that the aforementioned machloket between the Rambam and Tosafot is related to another machloket among the Rishonim. We saw that fruit that grow during the fourth year of a tree's existence, but before Tu B'shevat of that year, are considered to belong to the third year. The question is whether that status is across the board or not. Rashi says that this applies only to those trees that have not completed a full three years but are deemed to belong to the fourth year because they "completed" their first year when they were planted soon before the end of the calendar year. But the fruit of trees which completed three full years are treated as r'vai (fruit of the fourth year, which need to be eaten in Yerushalayim or redeemed) even if they budded before Tu B'shevat of the fourth year. The Rambam, cited in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 294:5, concurs. The Ran rules against this, saying that the requirement of budding after Tu B'shevat of the fourth year is absolute. One can prove that Tosafot and the Rach agree with the opinion of the Ran. Tosafot and the Rambam are consistent in their positions. Tosafot posits that any fruit except etrog (see last week's article) that buds before Tu B'shevat is considered to have grown based on the previous year's rain and relates totally to that year in regard to Shemitta, as well as orlah. He also feels that this applies even to fruit from trees that finished a full three years since planting, as the fruit is considered as if it grew before Tishrei. On the other hand, according to Rashi and the Rambam, the significance of Tu B'shevat is much more limited. All fruit is considered to enter a new year in the beginning of Tishrei. Those that did not yet complete a full third year need Tu B'shevat to pass to usher in a new year regarding orlah, whereas those that are already fully in their fourth year do not. Regarding Shemitta, after Tishrei enters, the fruit are considered as belonging to the new year of Shemitta. We should point out that even according to Tosafot that Tu B'shevat has a more far-reaching significance, this is only in regard to the fruit of a tree, which are profoundly impacted by the rain of the previous year. However, as far as the rest of the tree is concerned, Tishrei determines the entire halachic status. Therefore, the gemara (Sukka 39-40) discusses the Shemitta status of branches that were cut in the beginning of the calendar year of Shemitta

Ask the Rabbi

Question: We had a minyan for Mincha without a mourner, and so we did not say Kaddish after Aleinu. We subsequently did some learning, after which I recited Kaddish D'rabbanan. Some people questioned whether this is the right thing since, Baruch Hashem, both of my parents are alive. Can/should one with live parents say Kaddish D'rabbanan (=KD)?

Answer: There is nothing per se about Kaddish that makes it appropriate only for mourners. Chazanim regularly say the Kaddeishim during the tefilla. The main issue has to do with the Kaddish following Aleinu at the end of the tefilla (in a few places, during Shacharit). That was instituted to give mourners who are not able to be the chazan the opportunity to recite at least that Kaddish and thereby elevate the souls of their departed parents. Thus, poskim write that when one whose parents are alive says Kaddish, it may look as if a parent has died, and we refrain from this in order to "not open our mouth to the Satan." In contrast, KD was instituted based on the special impact that it has for the world, in general. The gemara (Sota 49a) mentions the saying of "Y'hei Shmei Rabba" after learning aggada (homiletic portions of the Torah) as one of two things that keep the world in existence. In theory and according to the great majority of classical sources (see Shut Chatam Sofer, IV 132; Pitchei Teshuva, YD 376:4) it need not be limited to mourners or those whose parents have died in the past. On the other hand, there is an opinion that only one who does not have parents says KD (Matei Ephrayim, cited in Tzitz Eliezer VII, 49). Even though this opinion is rejected, it is hard to deny that the perception of most people is that it is said by mourners or those without parents. This perception of people causes a situation where it is understandable for a parent to be disturbed that their child is reciting KD. Some authorities (see Yabia Omer III, YD 26) say that under those circumstances, there is an element of "opening the mouth to the Satan." What happens if a parent objects to the saying of Kaddish when he need not do so? There is a major machloket among Rishonim in a case that a father tells his son not to recite Mourner's Kaddish for his mother (the father's wife, not divorcee). The Maharam (cited in Tashbetz 425) says that the father's objection, which has a logical basis, should be heeded, even though it is unfortunate, as it is important to say Kaddish for the mother. But the Rama (Yoreh Deah 376:4) says that we reject the father's objection and instruct the son to say Kaddish for his mother. Our case is different from the Rama's in both directions. On one hand, if the parents and others would be more knowledgeable as to the background of KD, there would be no reason to object. On the other hand, there is less of a requirement to say KD, certainly if we are speaking about after a learning session that is not part of davening. It is very common for group learning to end without KD (for better or for worse, and that is not our topic now) even if mourners are present. So why create a questionable situation when one can finish the learning without a Kaddish? We suggest the following approach, which is in line with that of Rav O. Yosef shlita (Yabia Omer, ibid.). The parent(s) have the prerogative to object to their son saying KD, but one need not ask their permission in advance. If one wants to ask his parents, he can say that it is permitted for a son with live parents to say Kaddish and hope they do not object. If someone without live parents is present, he should ideally be the one to say KD, but if no one is saying the KD at the beginning or end of davening, then it is fine for anyone to recite it (Rav Sh. Z. Orbach z.t.l. instructed a colleague of ours with parents to act this way.) In any case, your friends at the minyan have no reason to object.



Rav Kook on the Net: RavKook.n3.net

The Test of Marah

Even before "Matan Torah" at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people already received several mitzvoth at Marah:

"They came to Marah .. there God taught them a decree and a law, and there He tested them." [Exodus 16: 23-25]

According to tradition, one of the mitzvoth that God taught the Jewish people at Marah was to observe the Sabbath. [Sanhedrin 56b] It appears that Marah was a prelude of sorts for receiving the Torah at Sinai. How did the mitzvah of Shabbat prepare them for the Sinaitic revelation? In what way was Marah a test for the Jewish people?

The area was called Marah because the waters there were bitter ("mar"). "When Moses cried out to God, He showed him a certain tree. Moses threw it in the water, and the water became sweet." [Exodus 15:25]

When a person is ill, that which is sweet tastes bitter. The waters of Marah seemed to be bitter, yet in fact they were sweet. These waters are a metaphor for the Torah itself. The laws of the Torah are sweet to those with a pure soul and a refined character, but bitter to those burdened with negative personality traits. [Maimonides, Hilchot De'ot 2:1] Marah laid the groundwork for Sinai by reinforcing the positive traits of kindness and compassion that are innate to the Jewish people [Yevamot 79a]. The people would then be ready to receive the Torah, as their moral development would allow them to appreciate the sweetness of the Torah's laws.

How did the mitzvah of Shabbat accomplish this?

The Talmud states that a Gentile is prohibited from keeping the Sabbath, regardless of the day of the week it is observed. [Sanhedrin 58b] "Day and night, they may not cease." [Genesis 8:22] What is wrong with a Gentile resting on the Sabbath?

For the sake of social order and harmony, people who are not inherently kind need to be occupied with labor. Work relationships and business dealings force people to be pleasant to one another. Even if they do not care for each other, it is in their self- interest to be friendly and helpful. If they are not working, however, this motive no longer exists. Without the need to gain the good will of others, they will revert to their ingrained selfishness and cruelty.

This was the test of Marah. The Jewish people were given the Sabbath day of rest. Would they discover within themselves an innate quality of compassion? Would they remain considerate and accommodating to one another, despite the lack of personal profit to be gained from kindness on the day of rest?

This also explains the special connection between the manna and the Sabbath. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath, in order to "test them whether or not they will keep My law". [Exodus 16:4] With their food provided for them, the Jews had no need to earn a living. The test of the manna, like the test of the Sabbath, was whether they would remain considerate to their neighbors with no incentive of personal gain. If the Jews in the desert remained friendly to one another, it demonstrated that their kindness was not out of self-interest, but an innate nature of compassion and love of fairness. These were traits the Jewish people needed in order to accept the Torah.

The seven mitzvoth of the Noahide Code, which obligate all of mankind, do not demand the refinement of human nature. They just require that people avoid evil. The Torah, on the other hand, was revealed in order to elevate Israel to a holy people. The morality of Israel can not be based only on expediency and personal gain, but on loving "that which is good and proper in the eyes of God". [Deut. 12:28] Therefore it was necessary to bolster the foundations for their innate goodness. In this way, the mitzvoth of Marah paved the way for the Torah's revelation at Sinai.

[Otzrot HaRi'iah II: 172-3]



Avigdor Bonchek

This week's sedra recounts the final hours of the historic Exodus from Egypt. The Israelites left Egypt in a cloud of glory, literally. The splitting of the Reed Sea was the climactic event culminating in a miracle-packed year when Pharaoh and his culture of magic were soundly defeated by the G-d of the Hebrews. At the crossing of the Sea when Pharaoh and his choice army were drowned, Moses, and the People sang a praise to Hashem. The Song of the Sea. In it we read the following verse: Exodus 15:3

Hashem is a man of war, Hashem is His name.


Hashem is a man of war: RASHI: [The Hebrew 'Ish Milchamos'] means the Master of Wars. As in (Ruth 1:3) 'Ish Naomi' The husband (or master) of Naomi. Similarly, in (Kings 2:2 when David speaks to his son Shlomo) "Be strengthened and be a man" meaning "and be a strong person."


Rashi is translating the word "Ish" which literally means 'man.' He gives it the meaning of 'master.'


A Question: Why is Rashi's translation - master - better than the simple meaning of "man." ?

What was bothering him about the translation "man"?


An Answer: Describing G-d as "man" is problematic. G-d is not a man. As the verse says "G-d is not man " (Numbers 23:19). If He is not a "man" why then does the verse refer to him as "Ish milchama"? How does Rashi's brief interpretation help us? Your Answer: UNDERSTANDING RASHI An Answer: G-d is described here neither as a "man" in the sense of "man and not woman" nor in the sense of "man and not animal." The word is now translated as "master" one who is in charge of, in control of, wars. In this way we have avoided any possible anthropomorphism, that is describing G-d in human terms.

Can you see any other significance to Rashi's new translation?


An Answer: The words " A Man of War" convey the idea of an aggressive G-d, one who's chief characteristic and who's main pastime, is making wars. This is not the Jewish view of G-d. But, in fact, it is the Christian view of the G-d of the Old Testament (i.e. as they see the Jewish view of G-d). It has often been said by gentiles that the Old Testament (the Tanach) conveys G-d as a cruel, unforgiving deity. A harsh disciplinarian. Many verses throughout Tanach can be cited that refute this claim. But this is the place to go into that. It is enough to see how Rashi's sensitivity to this point may have prompted him to make this comment. G-d is not a "man of war" in the sense that He is occupied and preoccupied with making war. He is rather the Master of wars, in the sense that if wars must be fought, then His battles, which are on the side of justice and righteousness, are in His control. He is the Master of these wars and after the dust of battle settles, then His values will prevail.

Let us be blessed to live to see such Divine victories.


14 project genesis

Shem MeShmuel (Rabbi Dr. Meir Tamari)


On the Fifteenth day of Shevat we do not say ‘tachanun’ as it is Rosh Hashanah for the Trees. It is not clear at all why this should be the case. After all, the day only commemorates facts of nature; the time when most of the rains have fallen, the sap in the trees has risen and the fruit has started to bud. There is no sanctification involved, no mitzvah incurred and no miracle occurred for the Jewish nation. Regarding Tu Be-Av on which we also refrain from ‘tachanun, at least our Sages adduced a number of factors relating to Israel [for example, the peace between the tribe of Binyamin and the other tribes after ‘ Pilegesh Bagivah]. We have therefore to try and understand what teaching lies beyond the natural occurrence of Tu Be’shevat.

“As the rain and the snow fall from the Heavens and do not return there until they have watered the Earth and caused it to give birth and to bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish that for which I sent it” (Isaiah, 55:10). Here the prophet compares the spiritual words of Hashem to the fructifying rainfall. The essence of the trees is their role as the force connecting the fruit to the nourishing earth; a hint of the spirituality contained in their materialism- gematria for ‘etz’ is 91, corresponding to the two Holy Names, Jehovah and Lord in their Hebrew form, that connect Heaven and Earth. Furthermore, fruit has the power to nourish Man spiritually; The Arie z’l, in commentating on the verse (Devarim, 8:3), “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Hashem”, teaches that the word of Hashem contained in the bread nourishes Man spiritually. [The Admor of Kotsk taught that in saying the beracha on bread we should intend to remove its earthiness from it].

So Man is compared to the trees (Devarim, 20:19) in that he links Heaven to Earth, being as he has neshama from on high and the material body that houses that neshama. Furthermore, Chazal saw the reason for the ‘eglah arufah’, in the victim’s not having future fruits; fruits understood as mitzvot (Sotah, 46a). Therefore, Man with his practical and physical performance of the mitzvot that come from on High, constitutes a melding of the material earthy things to those of the elevated spiritual heavenly ones. Just as the rain that the prophet compared to the word of Hashem, waters and fructifies the trees, so does the Divine light in the hearts of people cause them to create their fruits, mitzvot. The amount of rain and its subsequent harvest of fruit depend on the spiritual behaviour of people as we learn (Rosh Hashanah, 17b), that when the people were evil, Hashem allocated rainfall out of the required seasons; in effect making it insufficient. So too, the spiritual presence that one is granted is dependent on the avoda and torah of the person; where they are deficient and muddled by materialism, the presence is disturbed and bothered so that it is wasted and ineffectual.

By the first trimester of the year most of the rains have fallen and the fruits begin to bud. In that same period, by virtue of the instant decree for the righteous on Rosh Hashanah and the chesed of Yom Kippur and the first day of Sukkot that enables even those undeserving ones to draw closer to Hashem, the spiritual presence in Man is heightened, there is increased ecstasy and an outpouring of the soul.

With the advent of Tu Beshvat, Rosh Hashanah Leilanot, that marks the beginning of the second third of the natural year, starts the actual forming of the fruit from the buds and the full use of the sap of the trees; a preparation for the actual harvests. Man too, enters the second trimester in which the spiritual presence, the increased ecstasy and the soul’s outpouring brought about by tekufat Tishrei and its chagim, comes to fruition. The Midrash (Parshat Shmot) tells us that the heart is in the upper third of the human body, so that by this time, just as the sap has risen in the trees, Man’s heart has already reached completion and is filled with spiritual wonder and awe. Man can now enter the elevation of the Arba parshiot, Purim, Pesach, Sefirat Haomer and Shavuot. Even those who have been remiss in their avodah, by virtue of the soaring of their hearts and the expansion of the Divine Presence brought to fruition by tekufat Tishrei, enter a new period.

In this way we can understand the difference in opinion between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel concerning the date of Rosh Hashanah Le Ilanot. Bet Shammai, according to their viewpoint of Midat Hadin, claim that just as tzaddikim are inscribed immediately on Rosh Hashanah regarding their prosperity, rainfall and health, that is, on the first of Tishrei, so too the rain and the sap of the trees and the fruits are judged on the first of Shevat. However, Bet Hillel whose whole philosophy is that of chesed, fixed the judgement day of the trees on Tu B’Shevat. This corresponds to the chesed that Mankind has in judgement, by virtue of the first day of Sukkot that is the fifteenth day of Tishrei.

There is thus no tachnun on Tu B’Shevat, for it is truly a day of rejoicing for Israel, who desire to serve Hashem with the heart and not mechanically and out of habit. They can do so through the service of tekufat Yishrei and the elevation of the trimester starting with Shevat.

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