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The 39 Melachos

The Basic Premise of the Melachah: The melachah of Kotzer is the uprooting or severing of any living plant or vegetation from its source of growth. This can be accomplished by uprooting an entire plant or even just by breaking off a leaf or branch. For example, picking an apple from a tree is Kotzer even though the tree itself remains rooted to the ground. However, merely inhibiting the growth of a plant is not considered Kotzer. For example, one is permitted to move a plant out of the sunlight as one is only inhibiting growth, not uprooting the plant. Kotzer is not the simply the opposite of Zoreya

shoots as the vegetable sucks in moisture from the floor. However, picking up the vegetables from the floor and therefore removing them from their source of growth is permitted (except for raw potatoes as theyre Muktzah) and is not classified as Kotzer for two reasons: Firstly, the sprouting is spontaneous and doesnt emanate from a normal source of growth. Secondly, the vegetable is fully exposed (i.e. it is not embedded in soil).

12th October 2013

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Dvar Torah

Issue No: 441 Shabbos In: 6:00 Shabbos Out: 7:04 Sof Zman Krias Shema: 10:02

Kotzer with Animal Life: According to the majority of Poskim, Kotzer applies even to animal life. For example, removing a fish from In the Mishkan: water or cutting ones nails or hair are Kotzer as in According to most Poskim and Rashi, the first eleven these cases, a living creature or part of a living creamelachos were performed in the Mishkan to produce ture is being severed from its life source. coloured dyes. The melachos were performed to grow plants and herbs from which dyes were extracted. Rabbinical Restrictions of Kotzer: A number of activities were Rabbinical restricted beKotzer is a vital step in gardening and was therefore cause they could inadvertently lead to the melachah of one of the important labours in the Mishkan. Kotzer. Included are the following restrictions: use of a tree (e.g. climbing a tree); smelling fruits attached to a Various Forms of Plant Life Subject to Kotzer: Kotzer applies to virtually all forms of plant life, even tree; the use of animals and handling and eating fruits those that dont grow naturally from the ground. that fell from a tree on Shabbos. The reasons why Therefore, it is prohibited to scrape away moss or these are forbidden are as follows: use of a tree was algae. Even mushrooms and truffles, which are not forbidden as it could lead to the breaking of a branch. botanically identified as plants but as fungi, may not be Smelling fruits attached to a tree could lead to one pulled from the ground as the soil provides their inadvertently picking the fruit. Use of animals is forbidsource of growth. Likewise, bean sprouts that are den as when riding an animal such as a horse, one growing in a jar of water may not be removed as they could by mistake pull off a branch from a tree to hit the animal. Picking up fruits which fell on Shabbos is are being detached from their source of growth. forbidden as the fruits are Muktzah and one who is Loose Plants which Have Begun to Sprout: engrossed in picking up fruits from the ground is likely Onions, carrots or potatoes stored in a moist environ- to forget himself and unintentionally pluck fruits from ment (e.g. a damp basement) will eventually sprout a tree.
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In this weeks Parsha we encounter the fight between the Four Kings and the Five Kings, during which Avraham fought against the Four Kings, ultimately conquering them. The King of Sedom said to Avraham in Perek 14 Pasuk " " - "Give me the people (the soul) and take the possessions for yourself." Despite the riches on offer, Avraham firmly responded saying, " " - "Even as much as a thread or a shoe lace, I will not take from whatever is yours." Avraham was making it clear to the King that he would not accept anything from him, however small it may be, even if it was a basic necessity.

oned that if he accepted gifts and great riches from the King, the Malachim would say that he was only praying on Sedoms behalf as he owed the King a debt of gratitude for the rewards the King had granted him. Therefore, he refused to receive even one item in fear that this would reduce the likelihood of Hashem answering his Tefillos. Before his birth, Avraham had promised Hashem that, "I won't take anything from the Yetzer Hara." Now, Avraham confirmed that he could not take anything from the King because the Kings actions were evil and were associated with the Yetzer Hara.

The Chasam Sofer suggests that Avrahams words are really a Moshel of the Jews struggle against the Yet- Avraham was so confident of his position that he rezer Hara which tempts the Jew to "give me your soul fused to take even the most basic necessities from the and you can have whatever your heart desires." King of Sedom. Avraham decided that even if it would Nevertheless, Avraham demonstrated the correct enhance his Avodas Hashem, he wanted nothing from behaviour towards the Yetzer Hara by not taking any- the Yetzer Hara. thing at all. Avraham said to the Yetzer Hara, "I promised Hashem before I was born that I would be a Tzaddik." It is famously brought down in the Gemara in Nidah 32b that before a child is born, itsNeshama promises Hashem that it will be a Tzaddikand will not submit to the advances of the Yetzer Hara. There is significance to Avraham refusing to accept a string from the King of Sedom. A string ties two things together and connects them. If Avraham were to have taken a string, he would have tied himself to the Yetzer Hara, making it impossible to fulfil his earlier promise of becoming a Tzaddik.

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We are still left with a question. Why did Avraham Avraham was teaching us an invaluable lesson- always adamantly refuse to accept even one item from the reject the advances of the Yetzer Hara, even if he tries King of Sedom? to convince you that by accepting his tempting offers, you will be able to serve Hashem better. We must Avraham knew that in the future, Hashem would try never make even one concession to the Yetzer Hara to destroy Sedom. All the same, he wanted his Tefillos since even the smallest connection with him can confor the survival of Sedom to be answered. He reck- taminate us.


Dvar Torah

It was a bitterly cold and damp afternoon in Israel but nevertheless, the frail and elderly Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach insisted on being driven to the Levaya of an unknown woman who had just passed away. The Levaya finished and Rav Shach just stood there alone, staring silently at the freshly dug grave of the woman. Rebbe, said his driver, youll get ill. The Rosh Yeshiva is not a young man any more, its neither safe nor healthy to remain outside in the cold for so long. Despite the pleas of his driver, Rav Shach continued to stand beside the grave, gazing at it without any apparent purpose. Finally, he finished whatever he was doing and climbed back into the warmth of his car.

Let me explain, responded Rav Shach. Many years ago, when I was still living in Europe, I was in the Yeshiva of Volozhin. In those days, there were no Yeshiva dormitories so we slept in the Yeshiva, in the Ezras Nashim. One winter, the weather was unbearably cold, so much so that I was so on the verge of submitting to the temperatures and returning home. I was only a teenager and I just could not cope with sleeping on the floor in sub-zero temperatures every night. However, this woman, out of the kindness of her heart, supplied me with a duvet so that I was able to gain the strength to persist with my learning.

In this weeks Parsha, many of Avrahams ten tests are mentioned and described. In Pirkei Avos, it says, - Avraham Avinu was tested with ten tests. Rav Chaim MiVolozhin elucidates that Avraham is ascribed the title of Avinu, Our Father, because the Avos passed on their various strengths to their children and Avrahams strength was his ability to overcome all challenges and tests given to him. Therefore, since we are all descendants of Avraham, we have all inherited his power to conquer challenges. Furthermore, the only reason Hashem provides us with trials is to bring us closer to Him. The only way to achieve anything worthwhile in this world and to connect with Hashem is to work hard and persevere; Nisyonos are no different. Rav Simcha Fordsham in his Sefer, Hisorrerus Livnei Aliya, analyses the nature of a Nisayon and divides it into three parts. 1) We say in Berachos every morning, Veal tevieinu lo lidei cheit. We ask Hashem not to bring us, Into the power of sin. The reason for this request is that all the time when we remain free of the clutches of the Yetzer Hara, we retain the ability to think clearly and rationally and avoid facing a Nisayon. Additionally, it is important to know that no pleasure is lost when one refrains from committing an Aveira and overcomes the Nisayon. The Chofetz Chaim gives a parable of a barrel filled with wine. If someone adds a tap to the barrel, which he shouldnt really do, the

volume of wine doesnt increase! Similarly, everyone has a certain amount of pleasure allotted to him in this world. By prematurely attaining that pleasure through forbidden methods, no extra pleasure is gained. Likewise, one who abstains from committing an Aveira, no pleasure is lost; he will simply receive even more pleasure in the World to Come. 2) However, if you end up facing a Nisayon, the Yetzer Hara clouds your vision and prevents you from thinking rationally. Now, the only way to overcome the Nisayon is through Yiras Shomayim, fear of Heaven. The way to defeat the Yetzer Hora through Yiras Shomayim is to contemplate the punishment that could be waiting for you in the World to Come and consider the reward waiting for you if you pass the test. Furthermore, you should learn about the Nisayon and consult Mussar Sefarim which describe the methods utilised by the Yetzer Hara. You should also be aware of the Yetzer Haras tactic of convincing a person that his situation is hopeless. Once youve failed once you may as well continue! The reward for pulling out at this stage is unfathomable (as we see by Yosef Hatzaddik and Sotah vhameivin yavin). 3) If, Chas Vesholom, someone commits an Aveira, he is faced with a new challenge. He could simply give up on Torah and Mitzvos and spiral into depression. However, the way to keep hope is to set aside time for Teshuva and not to despair. Everyone has challenges, even Tzaddikim. In fact, it is said that a Tzaddik falls seven times and then rises. The challenge is can you get back up again?

I went to the Levaya today out of Hakaras Hatov for that. And I stayed afterwards to try and gain a full Hakaras Hatov. It is a freezing cold day, and I was attempting to recapture that feeling, that all-consuming cold, in order to On the way home, the perplexed driver asked properly feel a debt of gratitude towards this Rav Shach exactly what he had been doing by woman. standing at the grave for so long.

Q) What are the Halachos regarding taking three steps back after Shemoneh Esrei when another person is davening directly behind you? Yossi Schnitzer A) It is strictly forbidden to take three steps back when another person is davening directly behind you. In the case of where there is an object, such as a chair, between the two of you, the object would have to be solid and

over ten tephachim high for it to be considered a suitable mechitzah. If it does fulfil these criteria you can then take three steps back. Rabbi Rowe

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Riddle: Can you identify the 11 Kohanim mentioned in the Torah? Answer in next weeks Living Torah Last weeks riddle: During a certain period of the year, there is something we do three times a day, almost every day. We do it twice with one part of the body and once with another part of the body. What is it? Answer: Tachanun during the Selichos period. It is performed in Selichos and Shacharis with your right arm (if you are right handed) and in Minchah with your left arm.