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The 39 Melachos

The 39 Melachos

In the Mishkan The hides of the ram and the Tachash (a species of animal with exceptionally beautiful fur that appeared miraculously at the time of the Mishkan and is now extinct) were required in the Mishkan to make leather and the fur coverings for the Mishkan. Once the animal had been trapped and slaughtered, the hide had to be removed which is the Melacha of Mafshit, skinning. Raw hides are highly perishable and will quickly decompose if not properly preserved. The process of preserving the hides and transforming them into leather is the Melacha of M’abaid.

27: Mafshit- Skinning Mafshit is any act of skinning the hide from the body of an animal. Mafshit applies to any animal that has a hide, including birds and fish, thus removing the skin of a raw chicken or turkey is forbidden on Shabbos. However, removing the skin of cooked fish or chicken is not considered Mafshit for two reasons. Firstly, cooking effectively causes the skin to lose most of its natural ‘sticking power’ to the flesh of the animal. Therefore, the essence of Mafshit has already happened through the cooking so it is permitted to remove the skin. Secondly, when an animal is cooked, its meat is reduced from the status of ‘animal’ to the status of ‘food’ and some Poskim hold that Mafshit is not applicable whilst eating food (just like Borer).Therefore, it is permitted to remove the skin of a cooked animal whilst eating it. However, chicken or turkey skin, which is edible, may be removed even before eating.

28: M’abaid- Tanning The purpose of M’abaid is to preserve animal hides and this is normally achieved by turning them into leather. Making leather involves three steps and any one of these three steps constitutes the Melacha of M’abaid.

Leather 1) Curing- This is when the hides are covered in salt or soaked in brine to draw out all the moisture and prevent decay.

2) Tanning- After the hides are cleaned of hair and excess

flesh, they are soaked in strong tanning solutions until they become completely imperishable. The hides are then stretched to flatten out the skin.

3) Finishing- This is when the leather is either made soft and supple (like the tops of shoes) by applying oils or is made hard and firm (like shoe soles) by trampling on it.

In addition, M’abaid also applies to finished leather and therefore, since many shoe polishes contain leather preservatives, it is forbidden to polish shoes on Shabbos under tis Melacha. Besides M’abaid, it is also forbidden to polish shoes under Tzovaya, dyeing, and Memacheik, smoothing. It is permitted to insert a shoe tree into a shoe to retain its shape. However, if the shoe is already out of shape then it is forbidden to insert a shoe tree as stretching and repairing the leather is a form of M’abaid.

. Since M’abaid entails preserving an item, one would think that any method of preserving food is also M’abaid. However, the Talmud states ‘Ein Ibud B’ochlin’, ‘M’abaid doesn’t apply to foods’. Nevertheless, there is a Rabbinic restriction on pre- serving foods due to the resemblance between M’a- baid with foods and non-foods. The Rambam disa- grees and says that the prohibition of preserving foods is linked to Bishul, cooking, not M’abaid. In summary, according to all opinions, it is forbidden to pickle food on Shabbos but it is permitted to return pickled cucumbers into their jar.

Preserving Foods

Salt Solutions


solution, it is forbidden to make a salt solution on


Night when a bowl of salt water is required. The salt water may be prepared on Shabbos for the purposes of one meal only if it wasn’t prepared before but it must be less than two parts salt to one part water in ratio.
















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עיעעעלעעעלענעלעעערעמעהע עעעועהעעע ערע עעעיעלעלעהעלעהעלעעעערעעענעמעיעהענעעעיעעעלעעעלענעלעעערעמעהע עעעועהעעע עמע עיערעעענעיעמעלעהעעעערע עתע ע ע עעעמענעלעלעל

עירזת ד“עשת ב רדא 29th March 2014

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Issue No: 462 Shabbos In: 6:11 Shabbos Out: 7:19 Sof Zman Krias Shema: 8:54

Dvar Torah

Dvar Torah

It says in Rishon of this week’s Sedra, “If a man shall have a white blotch or discoloration on the flesh of his skin.” (13:2)

Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, author of Kitzur Shulchan Aroch, notes that the other nations do not suffer from the signs of impurity even though they are guilty of slanderous speech and gossip. He explains that there is a fundamental difference between the Jewish people and other nations; communal unity is considered to be Bnei Yisrael’s natural state whereas when unity exists at all among the nations, it is no more than an external and temporary alliance. Hence, the sin of Lashon Hora which causes disunity is not necessarily a deficiency where the nations are concerned, for even if they lack unity, this has no effect on their default state and they therefore do not require a sign to demonstrate the effect of their actions.

The Ohr Hachaim explains that this is the reason why the Torah stresses that these signs appear on the flesh i.e. Jews become ritually impure only externally, whereas the very soul of the gentiles is impure and a physical sign would therefore not be enough to compensate for speaking slanderously.

On the other hand, the soul of the Bnei Yisrael has its roots in Heaven; thus, unity is an inherent part of her national character. Lashon Hora is a severe aveirah, for it is a cancer that eats away at that national character. It is for this reason that the Torah sees fit

to command that the person who speaks slander or gossip should be isolated from the community. The Gemorah in Eiruchin (16b) discusses how the person who spoke Loshon Hora saw fit to divide husband and wife, man and neighbour. Hashem therefore inflicts ‘midah keneged midah’ on the person, forcing him to sit in isolation to compensate for his sin.

The Gemorah in Yevomos (61a) teaches that the term םדא is only used to describe Bnei Yisrael. Consequently, the Pasuk refers to the man stricken by Tzara’as as םדא as opposed to שיא Rav Ganzfried observes that the Hebrew םדא has no plural form, whereas שיא has a plural form; םישנא. This too can be seen as an allusion to the concept that national unity -expressed by the singular form - is applicable only to Bnei Yisrael. Furthermore, by labelling the offender םדא the Torah is emphasising the characteristic of unity that this individual will have to correct if he is to do Teshuvah.

One who speaks Lashon Hora and causes the unity of Israel to be wracked by discord can achieve atone- ment only through isolation and through the words of Aharon and the Kohanim — the epitome of love and harmony. Even the slightest act of disunity can have detrimental effects to the mechanics of the Jewish people. It is therefore pivotal that we constantly strive for harmony amongst others in our day to day lives.

(adapted from Talelei Oros)

Rishonim Story

Rishonim Story

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz in the year 5151 (June 6 th 1391) marked a tragic turn in the history of Spanish Jewry. On that day, a wave of massacres swept Jewish communities across Spain, which brought in their wake

a century of violence culminating in the final expulsion on Tishah B’av of 1492. They were the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry.

The attacks first broke out in Seville, instigated by a priest, Ferrand Martinez, who had ensued on a relentless campaign against the Jews in 1378. In public demonstrations, he called on any good Christian to destroy the 23 beautiful and ancient Shuls of Seville, to lock up the Jews in a Ghetto, to have no dealings with them and to use every means to force them into accepting Christianity. He convinced them that it was no crime for Christians to murder ‘non-believers’.

Ignored and unrestrained by both the State and the Church, the priest continued to sow seeds of hatred amongst the Christian population. In 1390, King John died leaving a young and naïve Crown Prince to succeed him.

The people of Seville saw this as their opportunity and

a blood- thirsty mob attacked the Jewish quarter of

Seville on that tragic Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. They mercilessly killed every Jew who fell into their hands

and refused to be baptised. Consequently, news of the

violence and a cry for all Christians to follow suit spread across Andalucia to the southern province of Castille, then to Burgos and all of the Christian states of Spain.

In Toledo, the city famous for hosting the Rosh and his son the Tur, the attack came on the fast day of Shivah Asar B’Tammuz. The grandson of the Rosh, Rabbi Yehudah, his entire family, and all the leaders of the community were killed ‘Al Kiddush Hashem’.

The fate of the Jewish communities in Madrid, Cuenca and many others was the same. In cities such as Cuenca, members of the city council took part in the pillaging and rang the bells of the churches in a cry to assemble all Christians to kill and rob the Jews of all they had.

After all the massacres had run their course and taken their toll, the government of Castille imposed a monetary fine on various cities to reimburse the Crown for the losses it had sustained as a result of the pog- roms. The Crown regarded the Jews as its ‘property’ and held the cities responsible for the loss of revenue which resulted from the destruction of the Jewish communities. However, the Crown made no attempt to pursue or capture any of the perpetrators, many of whom belonged to families of Spanish nobility or Church dignitaries. (to be continued)

of Spanish nobility or Church dignitaries. (to be continued) Q) Is one permitted to take three

Q) Is one permitted to take three steps back after completing his Shemoneh Esrei, if he certainly won’t disturb the person behind him? For example if there is a chair separating them.

Jonathan Rees

A) One would be permitted to take three steps back

if he has a proper Halachic Mechitzah between him and the person davening Shemoneh Esrei. The laws to define the Mechitzah are the same used to define

a Mechitzah in regards to Shabbos. Essentially, a table or chair which is greater than 10 Tephachim and the bottom 3 Tephachim are covered. Up.

Hasmonean Beis Rabbi

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Dvar Torah

Dvar Torah

In the opening section of this week’s Sedra, Tazria, we learn about the laws of a woman post-childbirth. There are two procedures which she must go through to cleanse and purify herself. Firstly, she must wait for a certain amount of time and then immerse herself in a Mikvah. Secondly, she must bring two sacrifices. These two procedures are effectively unrelated. The first, going to Mikvah, is what she must go through before she can resume relations with her husband. The second, bringing two sacrifices, is required from her before she can partake in eating sacrifices, entering the Sanctuary, and coming into contact with items of a higher degree of holiness.

The sacrifices she brings are outlined in the Pasuk (12:6), ”תאטָּ חַ לְׁ רֹת וֹא הָּנוֹי ןבֶּ וּ הלָֹּעלְׁ וֹתָּנשְׁ ןבֶּ שׂבֶּ כֶּ איבִ תָּ ” “she shall bring a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon or turtle dove for a sin offering.”

Two Psukim later we read that (12:8), “ידֵּ הּדָָּּי אצָּ מְׁ תִ אלֹ םאִ ְׁו

החָּ קְׁ לְָּׁו השֶּׂ

And if she can’t afford a lamb, she shall take two turtle doves or two pigeons; one for the burnt offering and one for

the sin offering.”

”תאטָּ חַ לְׁ

דחָּ אֶּ ְׁו הלָֹּעלְׁ

דחָּ אֶּ

הָּנוֹי יֵּנבְׁ


וֹא םירִֹת יתֵּ שְׁ

In both Psukim, the הָּלֹע is listed before the תאטָּ חַ one would assume that this is the order in which they are offered up. However, Rashi, commenting on the later Pasuk explains that they are offered up in the opposite order to the Psukim. He derives this from the Gemara in Zevachim which states that a תאטָּ חַ always precedes an הָּלֹע

Rabbi Isaac Bernstein ל"צז joins the Sifsei Chachamim in asking a striking question on the positioning of Rashi’s commentary. Rashi addresses the order of the Korbanos in Pasuk Ches. Surely he should have done so earlier in Pasuk Vav where the Korbanos are first mentioned. Why does

Rashi postpone his comment?

The Ohr Yashar provides an explanation. First, he asks how Rashi knew that in this particular case, the תאטָּ חַ comes before the הָּלֹע it could be that a woman post-childbirth is a unique case and is an exception to the rule outlined in Zevachim.

The Or Yashar directs us to a Pasuk in between the two cited above. Pasuk Zayin says regarding the offering up that, “He should offer it up (ובירקהו) and she will be purified,” and Rashi over there is puzzled by the fact that the ‘offering up’ is mentioned in the singular despite there being two sacrifices. Rashi explains that we learn from this that it is only one of the sacrifices which is prohibiting her from eating Kodshim and this is the תאטָּ חַ

The Or Yashar says that this is the basis for Rashi knowing over here, just like all other cases, that a תאטָּ חַ comes before the הָּלֹע This is as if burnt offerings were to come before sin offerings, it would be obvious that after the sin offering - תאטָּ חַ - she can eat Kodshim as she would have completed the whole purification and atonement process. Since it is necessary for us to be taught that she can eat Kodshim already after the תאטָּ חַ Rashi infers that it must be that the תאטָּ חַ comes first.

With this the Or Yashar resolves the original problem of Rashi’s delayed reaction to the wrong order of the sacrifices. Whilst it is in Pasuk Vav that the burnt and sin offerings are first presented in the wrong order, it is only is the next Pasuk that Rashi makes the Halachic observation which allows him to confirm this. Only after this observation, the next time that we are presented with the sacrifices in the wrong order, is Rashi in a conclusive position to comment, which is later in Pasuk Ches.



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