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48 Steps To Torah

Number 12: yishuv


The 12 of the 48 ways to acquiring torah is Yishuv which means having measured thoughts. We sometimes make decisions too quickly and sometimes we spend too long pouring over every detail which takes a long time. This Kinyan instructs us that in order to become wise one must be skilled at making decisions efficiently and coming out with a good solution. Imagine walking on a tightrope. As you precariously slide along inch by inch, you see a madman coming at you from behind. You are no longer simply concerned about falling off the rope; you also have to make sure the maniac doesn't catch you! In a sense, life is the same way. Every step we make has real consequences. However, we cant wait around: we have to continue to move forward. People want immediate results and tend to lack patience when it comes to making decisions. People may even throw themselves into a certain decision just to get the decision out of the way. In the moshul these people will run forward along the tightrope when seeing the maniac and the result will not be a good one as they are likely to fall to either side. Others may excessively mull over decisions, lacking the confidence to come to the right conclusion. In the moshul the tightrope walker will take too long to decide whether to run from the maniac. He will allow the maniac to catch up yet again resulting in a bad way. We
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must stay calm and ensure that all decisions are measured and not pondered on for too long or rushed into. In order to do this, firstly we must think before we speak. We all have ups and downs; hasty reactions are a defence mechanism, and usually not the most effective one. If we're not on guard, we act impulsively. Criticism has a way of getting under our skin and making us attack the source of the criticism. So before you react, give yourself a chance to consider the comment, what it really means, and if perhaps there is validity to it. As King Shlomo says: "Don't be quick to respond." Next you need to analyse the information youre taking in. If it's not worth mulling over, it's not worth studying in the first place as all that information may just overload and confuse you. When you hear or read something, train yourself to sum up the central point in a few words. If you don't take the time to think over what you've learned, you are viewing the world blindly through someone else's eyes. If one does this, then they are able to clear their mind and learn how to truly think things through efficiently in order to come up with the best solution possible.

The Hasmonean High School Weekly Sedra Sheet



15th December 2012
Dvar Torah

Living Torah
Issue No: Shabbos In: Shabbos Out:

417 3:36 4:46

Give me a cheese doughnut


A lot is said about how we have a custom for eating doughnuts and various other oily foods on Chanukah. However it is strange how there is no mainstream halachic source for this minhag. The idea of any festive eating on Chanukah is controversial in and of itself. The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) tells us that Chazal fixed Chanukah as a Yom Tov of Hallel VeHodah, praise and thanks. The Rambam slightly changes the description to Hallel VeSimcha, praise and happiness. What is the Rambam telling us by changing the description of the Yom Tov? This difference is referenced to by the Shulchan Oruch (OC 670:2) when he tells us that the extra festive meals which people make on Chanukah are purely voluntary and there is no obligation as the days of Chanukah are not days of Mishte VeSimcha, feasting and happiness. It would then follow that the Rambam who holds there is an element of Simcha on Chanukah would see room for these meals. That is not to say that there is a chiyuv for an official Seudas mitzvah, but there would be an inyan in making more of a festive atmosphere at ones meals. This is a view echoed by the Rema (ibid.) who writes that there is a small Mitzvah to have festive meals on Chanukah and that these meals should include Zemiros about Chanukah. If one does this, then they are turned into a seudas mitzvah. There are many reasons given as to why it is that Chanukah has this downgraded quasi voluntary seudah as opposed to Purim where there is a legislated obligation regarding the seudah. The Taz (ibid.) suggests that as the salvation of Chanukah was there to save us in the next world not in this world, it would be inappropriate to celebrate with worldly food and drink. This idea helps set the tone of the seudah as the Marashal writes (Siman 85) that these parties should not take away from ones learning time, and the Biur Halacha bemoans the Bitul Torah that happens on Chanukah as a result of people not understanding this and wasting their time. It is clear from the Poskim that the Seudah on Chanukah is not there merely for our enjoyment but as a vehicle for us to celebrate the miracle of the returning of the ability to learn Torah and serve Hashem as proud frum Jews. The other comment the poskim make in terms of eating on Chanukah is the custom to eat cheese. The Ran in Shabbos bring down the Minhag as being rooted in the story of Yehudis who managed to kill the Greek general after making him fall asleep using cheese. This Minhag is quoted by the Rema (OC 670:2). The eating of oily foods on Chanukah is a very nice (slightly unhealthy) custom which has obvious symbolism, yet the Minhag of having cheese seems far older and better established. Whatever you are eating, have a Happy Chanukah.

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Yartzheit Story

Dvar Torah

Rav chaim shmulevitz


This Sunday, 3rd Teves and last day of Cha- 31:15, Hashem tells Rochel to cease crying, nukah, is the 33rd Yartzheit of Rav Chaim ensuring her that one day this long, bitter Shmulevitz ZTL, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir. exile will end.) It once occurred that Rav Chaim Shmulevitz went to Kever Rochel in order to Daven for various people who were in distress and were in need of a yeshuah (salvation). A student in the Mir drove him in his car to the Kever (grave). This student observed that even as they neared the holy site, Rav Chaim was already looking at the extremely long list of people he had to Daven for, and crying. As Rav Chaim and the student driving him climbed back into the car, the student, who was puzzled by what had occurred, asked the Rosh Yeshiva the following question. I observed that the Rosh Yeshiva asked Rochel Imeinu to carry on crying. Excuse my chutzpah, but how can the Rosh Yeshiva do this if Hashem explicitly commanded her to stop crying? Is this not contradicting the express wishes of Hashem?

Its not how it seems


In this Sedra, Yosef hid his true identity and persecuted his self. Now that he could prove to them that they werent brothers. Furthermore, it seems he caused his father, pompous, baseless dreams but in fact prophecies their Yaakov, great anxiety and worry. Why? anger could subside and he could reveal himself to them. To answer this, another question is due. In the previous Sedra, Vayeishev, Yosef seemed fixated with his dream of his family bowing down to him. He knew that his brothers would be jealous and it would cause a great amount of hatred, so why tell them? However Yosefs torment of his family doesnt yet seem clear. Yosef seemed to have the power to notify Yaakov, his father, of his whereabouts and that hes very much alive, thus relieving him of twenty two years of great anxiety and worry. It seems Yosef may have, seemingly to us, ignored Kibbud Av?

At the Kever itself, Rav Chaim continued to Rav Chaim Shmulevitz turned to the studaven with great intensity and dent, and gave, in Yiddish, a concentration, with tears very powerful answer. A Tatte streaming down his face, as he und a Mamme can zuken for a beseeched Hashem for the peokint nisht zi vinyin. Obber a kint ple on his list. He concluded his can alumul freichen a mamme heartfelt tefillos with the words zivanin. This translates as: A Mamme, I know that Hashem Father and a Mother can ask for told you not to cry. However, I, a child to stop crying. However, your son Chaim, am requesting a child can always ask for a that you cry! (In Yirmiyah mother to cry...

The Vilna Gaon explains that the dreams werent just mere dreams but they were prophecies, and a prophet is not The Midrash answers that the brothers, including Yosef, allowed to refrain from telling over his prophecies. Accord- made an oath, a pact, not to inform Yaakov. Some ingly, then, Yosef was required and obligated to say them. Mefarshim comment that even Hashem was part of this oath. In accordance to the Halacha, an oath is incredibly Yosef knew the prophecy had to come true, however, binding and it is forbidden to break it. The Rambam puts whilst his brothers bowed down to him he knew Binyomin forward another solution: Grief banishes prophecy. Thus was missing. In the dream eleven sheaves were bowing even if Yosef was under an oath and Hashem wasnt, Hadown to him so he needed to engineer the brothers to shem couldnt have informed him as grief banishes bring Binyamin down and Shimon then had to be taken prophecy. captive as a collateral, thus fulfilling the prophecy. In conclusion, all of Yosefs acts concerning his family were Yet once the second dream was fulfilled why hide the cup not tormenting and cruel, rather he needed to fulfil the in Binyamins sack? prophecies in the dreams and test the brothers love. In The Ramban explains that in order for Yosef to be content connection with the grief all the brothers seemed to have for the safety of Binyomin to travel back with the brothers caused to Yaakov, they in fact couldnt help it as they all were under an oath that prevented them from informing he needed to test their love for him. him about Yosef. As the Chafetz Chaim notes when Yosef Rav Hirsch expounds differently, saying: Yosef wanted to revealed his identity to them everything rang with clarity make sure that he could reveal himself to them. He needand all pre-arrogance subsided, all they conflict ended ed to see where their hatred for him began. Did the brothand they returned to peace and prosperity. As the Choers either hate him because of his dreams or because of fetz Chaim continues to say: This is what it will be like, Yaakovs love for Rochel? If it was the last reason then please G-d, in the time of Moshiach- may his arrival be they would have treated Binyamin just the same. Howevhasty! er, they clearly showed that the root of their hatred lay in Yosefs dreams. Now, it was safe for Yosef to reveal him-

Gematria:
and his blood as well behold! is being avenged. 42:22 Yosef was destined to live 110 years. Had his brothers truly killed him at the age of 17 his age at the time that they sold him they would have shortened his life by 93 years. The numerical value of , his blood as well, is 93. Reuven was afraid that the 93 years they may have taken from Yosefs life was now being avenged.

Riddle:
What does ( Macabi) stand for?
Last weeks riddle:

Who was the mother of Dovid Hamelech?

Nitzeves bas Adael.