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The 39 Melachos

The basic premise of the melachah: Preparing the soil in order to make it more suitable for seeding or planting. Ploughing is only the main example of this however; any kind of improvement of the soil comes under the category Choresh. Other examples include digging, hoeing, raking soil, fertilizing and adding soil enhancers. In the Mishkan: The dyes which needed to be made for colouring clothes and tapestries were made from herbs which needed to be grown and thus required Choresh. Some commentaries explain that Choresh was also necessary in the process of planting the wheat for the Lechem Hapanim, which was baked weekly. Derivatives/Toldos: Since the main act of Choresh is the loosening of the soil, all activities that loosen the soil, creating a furrow of some sort is a toldah. Examples include dragging a chair heavy enough to create a furrow in the ground, as it is loosening the soil whilst it is being dragged. Measurement: There is no minimum measurement to the area of the land subject to the melachah. This is due to the fact that in even the tiniest hole, one can fit a small seed. Therefore stabbing or poking a small hole in the ground is considered Choresh. The land type: 1) Loose sand: Choresh does not apply to fine, dry sand as it is already loose, therefore scraping, or doing other activities which on standard soil would be considered, Choresh may be done on it. However, if the firmer soil under the sand will be affected by an act of, Choresh which is permissible on the sand, the act is forbidden. 2) Moist clumpy sand: In such sand, since it generally clings together, the melachah of Choresh applies.

Children playing in a sandbox on Shabbos: As long as the sand is loose and dry, one neednt prevent a child from playing in a sandbox on Shabbos or Yom Tov. The sand isnt muktza as it has been designated prior to Shabbos/ Yom Tov, and there is no problem of Choresh as discussed above. However, if the sand is moist or has solidified, it cannot be played with (by children above the age of chinuch) due to the problem of Choresh. In a desert or uncultivated land: Choresh only applies to land on which ploughing could improve the land for seeding or planting. However, on uncultivated land, on which Choresh activities are meaningless, the melachah cannot occur. Wetting the soil: Soft, moist soil is far easier for planting, and therefore is a form of improving the soil, and Choresh. However, if there will be nothing planted on the soil while it is still wet, wetting it, is permitted, as once it dries it returns exactly to its former state so there is no Halachic improvement in the soil. Sweeping: In the time of Chazal, the floors in peoples homes were made of regular earth, and thus had uneven, lumpy surfaces. They therefore needed to occasionally level the floors in their homes. Therefore, besides the problem of building, there is an issue of Choresh as sweeping levels the floor, and the Shulchan Oruch prohibits sweeping an earthen floor on Shabbos and Yom Tov for this reason. Nowadays, some have the opinion that sweeping the floor is problematic. However most Poskim hold that sweeping modern-day floors (i.e. wood, tile or concrete floor) is permissible on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

19th September 2013

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Dvar Torah

Issue No: 439 Yom Tov In: 6:52 Shabbos Out: 7:51

The Possuk in Parshas Emor informs the Bnei Yisrael about the Mitzvah of Arbah Minim. Having detailed exactly which species are to be included, the Possuk continues with the Mitzvah usmachtem lifney Hashem Elokeychem you shall rejoice before Hashem your G-d. This theme of Simcha is recurrent within the other Mitzvos that are associated singularly with Succos and especially with the Simchas Beis Hashoeva. There must be, therefore, an underlying connection between these Mitzvos and the ability to attain the heights of happiness.

desire to rekindle a relationship with Him. Whilst a person is steeped in physical activities it would be impossible for him to attain the inner serenity that is required to truly love Hashem. Succos presents this opportunity.

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The Arbah Minim are representative of the faculties of a human being: the eye that sees, the Hadassim; the heart that desires, the Esrog; the spine that facilitates the connection between the mental and the physical, the Lulav and the mouth that derives benefit, the Aravos. The purpose of the binding and shaking of In order to discover this relationship, the Nesivos Shalom cites a the Arbah Minim is to demonstrate that the only way to Maamar Chazal that writes that not even half of a persons achieve a powerful connection with our Creator is through desires will have been fulfilled before they die. Having been tying up our physical desires and handing them to Hashem. infused with a spiritual Neshama, no worldly pursuits can ever When a person truly nullifies his will before Hashem, and satisfy an individual; in order to achieve happiness in this world, understands the message of the Arbah Minim, then he will one must control and subdue his physical desires in favour of automatically draw closer to Hashem and will have reached a spiritual pursuits. greater level of inner happiness. There is a parable told by the Baalei Mussar that elucidates this Equally, the Nesivos Shalom explains that the Nisuch Hamayim point. There was once a King who suffered from a terrible, at the Simchas Beis Hashoeva achieved a similar effect. Water, seemingly incurable illness. Whilst no conventional medication he writes, represents love; it is the ultimate necessity, without worked, a physician recommended that the King would be which, life would not continue. Thus, on Sukkos we offer up cured if only he would find the happiest man alive, a man with water love- to Hashem, confirming that we strive to regain no worries whatsoever, and then don his coat. The King control over our desires, and focus on living a life of kedusha. searched for many years, but when he finally found the man, Only through this declaration can one gain true Simcha. he was met with a huge surprise. The man laughed at the Kings request of his coat, explaining that it was his very lack of a coat A Possuk in Kohelles illustrates this point beautifully. Shlomo that had moulded his harmonic life: if I had material objects, Hamelech urged the reader to Shlach lachmecha al pnei hamahe said, I would have wasted time worrying about them! yim, ki brov hayamim timtzaeno cast your bread on the The lesson is clear, through focusing ones life on the spiritual, one can becomes truly affluent in ones psychological happiness. Much of ones personal avodah during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is to return to Hashem out of yirah fear, hence the name Yamim Noraim Days of Awe. However, ultimate Teshuvah should be prompted by ones love of Hashem, and the face of the water, because, over the course of many days, you will eventually find it. The water in this Possuk represents Sukkos, the festival of water, whilst the bread is symbolic of ones physical possessions. Shlomo Hamelech advises that if one sacrifices ones desires to Hashem during Succos, one will eventually reap the rewards of ones newfound relationship with Hashem throughout the year.

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Dvar Torah

In the late 18th century, a landlord had imprisoned an impoverished Jew in the dungeons after the Jew failed to pay his rent. News of this tragedy reached Reb Moshe Leib Sassover, the great Rebbe, who was distraught that a fellow Jew was suffering so greatly. Immediately, Reb Moshe Leib arose and made his way to the landlords mansion. He knocked loudly on the door. The servant who answered was surprised to see a Jew of such distinguished appearance that he brought him straight to the landlord. Sir, said Reb Moshe Leib. I have heard that a Jew is being held captive in your dungeon for not paying his rent. Well he deserves it! replied the landlord defiantly. But logically, said Reb Moshe Leib, what possible benefit can you reap from holding this Jew in prison? On the other hand, if you were to imprison me instead, my fellow Jews would pay a hefty ransom to free me. The landlords eyes lit up at the thought of the ransom he could demand for the distinguished Jew. He gleefully accepted the offer and Reb Moshe Leib was imprisoned, his hands and feet chained. Nevertheless, Reb Moshe Leib was delighted; he had fulfilled the great mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim. However, when it came to

Mincha time, Reb Moshe couldnt stand up to daven the Amidah. He was distraught. Meanwhile, the landlord was reclining on his armchair, pondering the huge sum of money that he would undoubtedly receive when suddenly, spasms of pain started shooting through his body. Doctors, physicians and specialists were baffled by the landlords mysterious ailment but eventually, it dawned upon the landlord that maybe the Jew he had imprisoned was the source of his pain. Writhing in agony, the landlord demanded for Reb Moshe Leib to be summoned but Reb Moshe Leib refused and insisted that the poritz should be brought down to him. Moaning and groaning, the landlord was carried to Reb Moshe Leib, crying to him for forgiveness. Reb Moshe agreed on condition the evicted Jew would be allowed to return to his old home and that he would be freed. The landlord in desperation agreed and the instant that Reb Moshe stood up, the landlords pain receded slightly. With each step that Reb Moshe Leib took towards the gates of the mansion the pain lessened until the instant that Reb Moshe Leib left the landlords threshold, the pain had vanished.

Under inspection of the pessukim, says the Vilna Gaon, one can track what happened from then onwards. On the eleventh of Tishrei, Moshe instructed the people, for the first time, to donate to the fund for the construction of the Mishkan. They brought these contributions for two days. This is understood from Shemos 36:3 which says that the donations were brought which implies that they were brought for two , , , , - ; , days. This took place on the twelfth and thirteenth of the , - , month; on the fourteenth the chachmei leiv the wise of heart : , . and those responsible for the construction took all of these donations from Moshe; so the next day, on the fifteenth of You shall dwell in booths (succos) for seven days; all the citizens Tishrei, the building of the Mishkan began and the Ananei in Israel shall dwell in booths; in order that your generations Hakavod were restored. Therefore it turns out that the may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths, Anannei Hakavod were actually given to the Bnei Yisroel on when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Hashem your Succos (the fifteenth of Tishrei), and thats what Rashi says we G-d. are celebrating. Rashi, on the second possuk, says that the booths, in which the Bnei Yisroel dwelled in, refers to the Ananei Hakavod (clouds of glory) which formed a protection around them from the desert weather and environment. Essentially, just like on Pesach when we celebrate Yetzias Mitzrayim, and on Shavuos, Matan Torah; on Succos we remember the Ananei Hakavod. There are two questions to be asked on what Rashi brings down. Firstly, as the Tur asks, why arent the Ananei Hakavod celebrated in Nissan when we first received them? Secondly, how come with Pesach and Shavuos we commemorate an event in Jewish history, yet according to the above quote from Rashi, on Succos we commemorate, not an event but an object? The Vilna Gaon answers that we learn from the possuk in Shemos 32:25 that after the sin of the golden calf, Hashem took away the Ananei Hakavod and left the Bnei Yisroel exposed to their surroundings. Only after the sin was repented for and rectified, could the clouds return to protect the people and on Yom Kippur, the tenth of Tishrei, one hundred and twenty days later, Hashem said the cherished words of Solachti Kidvarecho, forgiving the Bnei Yisroel for their sin, and then asked them to build him a Mishkan. With this we can also answer the second question of why on Succos we seemingly remember an item (the clouds) as opposed to an incident, as we do on Pesach and Shavuos. On Succos we in fact don't commemorate the mere presence of the Ananei Hakavod, rather we, just like the other Shalosh Regalim, remember the joyful event of their return. This answer however still leaves us with one slight issue. If we are commemorating Hashem giving us the Ananei Hakavod, how come we don't celebrate when we received them the first time as opposed to the second? The answer to this final question gives is an important insight into human nature: that we only really appreciate something properly when we lose it; as the chorus to a recent Mike Rosenberg song goes, you ...only miss the sun when it starts to snow; and then, if and when it returns, we appreciate its presence much more. We celebrate the event of Hashem giving us the Ananei Hakavod the second time round because, after losing them once and experiencing desert life without them, our appreciation for having them was much greater.

On the first two days of Succos we read an extract from the book of Vayikra (22:26 to 23:44) which contains fundamental information about every Torah ordained festival in the Jewish calendar. In the section about Succos we learn three important details of the mitzvah of dwelling in a succah. Pessukim 42 to 43 of perek 23 read:

Welcome to the Living Torah 5774! This year we have introduced a number of new features to the Living Torah, which we hope will make for even more interesting and informative reading. On the back page we will have a run through of the 39 Melachos, with a different melachah every week. In this column we will be launching a never seen before feature, a Question & Answer section. This will give our readers the opportunity to send in questions which will then be answered by

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Riddle: Which four peoples name from Chumash also appear in Megillas Esther? Answer in next weeks Living Torah