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The 39 Melachos

The 39 Melachos

Basic Premise of Losh Losh, kneading, is when tiny particles are combined together into a solid using a liquid. This is basically what happens when dough is produced. When water is added to the flour, the tiny particles of flour all fuse together to form one solid mass. Many Poskim hold that merely combining a liquid with a thick semi-solid (e.g. a thick sauce or paste) is considered Losh.

In the Mishkan Agriculture was vital in the Mishkan, according to Rashi and others, for producing certain herbs and seeds. These were the ingredients in dyes needed to colour tapestries in the Mishkan. After the herbs were produced, ground into a powder and sifted, liquid was added to turn the powder into a paste. Rav Hai Gaon holds that agriculture was needed to produce wheat for the Lechem Hapanim.

The Two Steps of Losh Kneading always consists of two steps. Firstly, the liquid comes into contact with the flour. Secondly, the liquid and flour are mixed with a kneading action. Some Poskim hold that the doing the first step alone is enough to transgress Losh. This is because as soon as the liquid touches the flour, the tiny particles of flour automatically begin to clump together forming a dough. However, the majority of Poskim hold that Losh entails mixing flour and water and then kneading them into dough. Therefore, although just adding liquid does make a few particles fuse together, it doesn’t produce proper dough so just doing the first step is not Losh.

Mashing As mentioned above, mixing a semi-solid with liquid is also considered Losh even though the dough-like mass had already been formed. Therefore, it is forbidden to

mix oil, mayonnaise or margarine into mashed

avocado. Similarly, it is forbidden to add juice into

mashed banana. However, many Poskim rule that it is permitted to mash a banana despite the fact that the

natural juices from the banana cause the mashed banana to cling together. This is as binding a solid with the natural juices of the substance doesn’t resemble

Losh in the Mishkan as in the Mishkan, a different

liquid was added. In addition, natural juice is not Halachically considered a liquid so the mashed banana is considered ‘dry’. Therefore, both steps of Losh are missing so the mashing is permitted. However, the mashing must be done with the handle of a fork or a spoon (or any other Shinui) to avoid Tochain, grinding.

Charoses If one wants to add liquid to ground vegetables then there are certain conditions which must be fulfilled:

the liquid must be added with the purpose of produc- ing a loose mixture; the order of adding the liquid

must be reversed, a Shinui; the mixture must be stirred

slowly with a Shinui. For example, if you forgot to

combine wine with Charoses before Yom Tov, you can add and mix the wine on Seder night if three condi-

tions are fulfilled: the normal order must be reversed,

i.e. pour the wine into a bowl and then add the

Charoses; add plenty of wine in order to produce a

loose mixture; stir slowly with your finger, the handle

of a spoon or any other Shinui.

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Sammy Liebert Shraggi Rubenstein Director: Rabbi D Meyer ד״סב עיעעעלעעעלענעלעעערעמעהע
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עיעעעלעעעלענעלעעערעמעהע עעעועהעעע ערע עעעיעלעלעהעלעהעלעעעערעעענעמעיעהענעעעיעעעלעעעלענעלעעערעמעהע עעעועהעעע עמע עיערעעענעיעמעלעהעעעערע עתע ע ע עעעמענעלעלעל

יחיו ד“עשת תבט 14th December 2013

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Issue No: 450 Shabbos In: 3:36 Shabbos Out: 4:50 Sof Zman Krias Shema: 9:57

Dvar Torah

Dvar Torah

As Yaakov Avinu lies on his deathbed, his parting words to his twelve sons were, “Gather together and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days; assemble and listen, sons of Yaakov, and heed Yisroel your father.”

Chazal teach us (Pesachim 56) that at this momentous gathering, Yaakov Avinu established the practice for all future generations of Jews to say Krias Shemah twice daily, morning and evening.

Chazal also tell us about the dilemma our great sages had whether to say ‘Baruch shem k’vod malchuso’. On the one hand, Moshe Rabbeinu did not include it in the Torah. On the other hand, Yaakov Avinu did recite ‘Baruch Shem’. Therefore, the Rabbis compromised and instituted saying it silently. An analogy is drawn to a princess who smells and craves a spicy stew. If her craving is made public, she will be embarrassed. However, if she does not express her craving, she will suffer. Therefore, her servants brought her the object of her craving secretly. The question is, why is it considered shameful to say ‘Baruch shem’ so much so that consequently, we need to say it silently?

Hageon R’ Pinchas Friedman Shlit’a, Rosh Kollel of Belz, notes that the letter ‘Ayin’ appears three times in the two pasukim of ‘Shemah Yisrael’ and ‘Baruch Shem’- once at the end of the word ‘Shemah’ and twice in the words ‘l’Olam Vaed’. He then refers to the Mishnah in Avos.

“Akavya ben Mahalalel says, ‘Focus on three things and you will not fall prey to sin. Know from where you come, where you are going, and before Whom you are destined to give account and reckoning. From where you came —

from a rotten drop; Where are you going — to a place of dust, worms and maggots; And before Whom you will have to give account and reckoning — before the King of Kings, Hakodosh Boruch Hu.’”

These three focuses are related to the three ‘ayins’ found in the two pasukim which express the oneness of Hashem. After all, the very word ‘ayin’ means ‘eye’ and alludes to the process of looking and focusing. Since a person must concentrate his efforts on three things in order to avoid sin, the pasukim expressing Hashem’s oneness, correspondingly, contain three ‘ayins’. These three ‘ayins’ represent three areas which a person must focus on in order to avoid sin and to bring himself closer to Hashem.

He goes on to explain what type of focus each of these ‘ayins’ represents. The ‘ayin’ in ‘Shema’ represents focus directed heavenward toward Hashem- “Before Whom you will have to give account and reckoning — before the King of kings, Hakodosh Boruch Hu.” The other two ‘ayins’ that are found in ‘Baruch shem’ correspond to the other two items Akavya ben Mahalalel urges a person to focus on- ‘From where you came and where are you going’.

This magnificent idea helps us understand the entire debate about ‘Shemah Yisrael’ and ‘Baruch Shem’. The reason why it is shameful to say ‘Baruch shem’ is that the two ‘ayins’ represent how we originate from ‘a rotten drop’ and how we are headed to ‘a place of dust, worms and maggots’. It is embarrassing to highlight our appar- ent insignificance. This is why we whisper ‘Baruch Shem’ whereas we say ‘Shema’ out loud.

Tannaic Story

Tannaic Story

When a drought struck Eretz Yisrael, the Chachamim in des- peration tried to summon Abba Chilkiah to ask him to daven for rain. They eventually found him in the fields, stooped over his work, digging up the scorched and crusted earth. They greeted him, but he ignored them and continued working.

He eventually finished his back-breaking labour and threw his coat over one shoulder. They then noticed that instead of placing his spade and a bundle of wood on his coat, which would have been more comfortable, the spade and wood was on his other shoulder. Abba Chilkiah then removed his shoes and tied them to his belt and proceeded barefoot. Yet, when he encountered a shallow stream he put on his shoes and waded through the water. When he passed through a grove of thorny bushes, he lifted up his garments and ignored all the scratches. He then returned home and immediately sat down for a meal. He distributed cakes to his children, two to his youngest son and only one to his oldest son.

After the meal he called his wife aside and said to her, “I know that these two Chachamim have come to ask me to daven for rain. Let us go up to the roof and daven. Perhaps Hashem will accept our prayers and therefore they won’t feel the need to ask anything of us.” Within minutes of them concluding their davening, the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain. To the surprise of the Chachamim, the rain clouds did not appear from the direction of Abba Chilkiah's corner, but from that of his wife!Abba Chilkiah then finally turned to his visitors; the Chachamim were baffled by his seemingly bizarre behaviour and began to interrogate him. “Why did you not acknowledge our greeting in the field?”

“I had hired myself out for a day's work, and the time was not mine, not even a second. I had no right to stop working to greet you.” “Why did you put your coat on one shoulder and the wood and spade on the other?” “The coat was a borrowed one; I had borrowed it to wear, but not to use as padding.” “Why did you walk barefoot on dry land but put your shoes on to wade through the water?” “I use my shoes sparingly. I could walk barefoot on land for I could see what I was treading on. But there is no way of telling what I might step on while wading through water.” “Why did you lift up your clothes while walking through the thorns, allowing yourself to be scratched?” “Scratches on the skin will heal, a torn garment will not." “Why did you not offer us bread?” “There was not enough food to go around, and although I knew you would refuse the offer, you would still thank me and I did not want you to thank me for nothing.” “Why did you give your oldest son only one cake but two to the younger one?” “The older one stays at home and if he gets hungry, he can request food. The younger one, however, goes to school.” “Why did the first clouds appear from the side where your wife stood?” “The prayer of my wife was accepted as she remains at home all day. When a poor and hungry man comes to the door, she feeds him and stills his hunger immediately. On the other hand, when a poor man comes to me in the field, I can only give him a coin and he must then go and purchase some food with it.”

coin and he must then go and purchase some food with it.” Q) Why is Asarah

Q) Why is Asarah B’Teves not pushed off when it falls on a Friday, like all other sec- ondary fasts?

Eitan Cohn

A) By Asarah B’Teves it is written that the

siege transpired “B’etzem Hayom Hazeh”, which implies that the fast must be observed

on “B’etzem” that exact day no matter the circumstances. This also explains why if the fast were to fall on Shabbos we would be required to fast.

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Dvar Torah

Dvar Torah

Parshas Vayechi sees Yaakov address his sons in order. He begins with the firstborn, Reuven (49: 3-4), “Reuven, you are my firstborn, my strength and the first of my vigour, greater by raising and greater by might. Haste like water- do not take more, because you mounted your father’s bed; then you desecrated [Him] Who ascended my couch.” Rashi provides the explanation that the ‘greater by raising’ refers to the right to the Kehunah, and the ‘greater by might’ refers to the right of the Jewish Kingship, both of which were confiscated from Reuven on account of the episode in which he changed the order of the beds, as mentioned in the pasuk above.

Yet a few facts seem incongruous here. Firstly, we know Reuven to be a great Tzadik and it seems strange that he should lose the Kehunah and the Kingship for one Aveirah. To reinforce this, we know Reuven did Teshuvah for this Aveirah as Rashi states that Reuven was not present at the sale of Yosef because he was busy with his sackcloth and fasting over the sin of rearranging his father’s bed; it would thus be improbable he was still to be punished for that Aveirah. Finally, the mention of ‘haste’ in the pasuk seems strange, for if Reuven was being punished for moving the beds, why would we need to mention the fact that he is hasty?

Rav Elyah Lopian answers that it is obvious for the above reasons that Reuven was not punished for the single episode of moving the beds. Rather he was punished for the Middah, character trait, of haste which was attributed to him. The episode of the beds was a mere example of the hasty anger that was a Middah of Reuven. This also explains why ‘haste’ is grammatically structured as a noun, to imply that Reuven possesses that character trait, as Rashi points out, and not as a verb in the past tense i.e.

to say that Reuven was hasty. Thus haste had to be mentioned in the pasuk as it was for that Middah that Reuven lost the right to the Kehunah and the Kingship, as it befits neither a Jewish King nor a Kohen. It also explains why Reuven’s Teshuvah was not sufficient to regain the Kehunah and the Kingship and why he was ‘punished’ so harshly, as he did not lose either for the episode with the beds, rather due to his misplaced haste.

We find a similar scenario with Shimon and Levi, who in their anger hastily slaughtered the entire city of Shechem. Yaakov then rebukes them in the following pasukim (49: 5 -7). This seems strange compared to what we know, for the Levi’im currently have the Kehunah and in earlier times, they had the ‘Kingship’ through Moshe Rabeinu. Nevertheless, it seems that Levi has exactly the same Middah through which these were confiscated from Reuven, haste!

However we see Levi especially took the rebuke of Yaakov to heart and became the tribe who both taught Klal Yisrael and received the Kehunah. Indeed, Moshe’s blessing to Levi at the end of the Torah reinforces this, as he says Levi will be the tribe to teach Torah to Klal Yisrael. Part of Levi’s transformation was to channel the Middah of haste to good, as we see for example that Pinchas killed Zimri and Kozbi hastily, but for righteous reasons.

It is clear from both Reuven and Levi, that in order for a Jew to become a righteous and befitting leader, he cannot be quick to anger or have the bad Middah of ‘haste’. The correct path is to work on one’s Middos like Levi did, and Levi then received the merit of the Kehunah.

Adapted from Sefer Lev Eliyahu

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