Illuminations #123, Tamuz 5777, Parshat Chukat

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Illuminations #123, Tamuz 5777, Parshat Chukat


Torah Gems

The Haftara for this week’s parsha is a selection from the book of Shoftim. Their leader at the time was an unlikely choice for the Jewish nation at their highest level. His name was Yiftach HaGiladi.
The Gemara in Rosh Hashana (25b) says that Yiftach was the least in stature from all the Shoftim. Shmuel HaNavi was the greatest of them. Even so, Yiftach was due the same reverence and obedience that Shmuel was due. Although Yiftach was not a Torah Scholar in comparison to his generation, the Sages required the masses to submit to him just like with any other leader the Jewish people had.
Rav Pam applies this concept to our times. One of the troubles that we face is the unwillingness of some people to bring their questions and disputes to today’s Rabanim and Dayanim. They would not hesitate to bring their disagreement to Chachamim the likes of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski and the Chofetz Chaim, but to present day judges they refuse. Instead, they prefer to go to secular courts where they receive “fair and just” decisions.
Rav Pam explains that this mindset is blasphemy. We must learn from the sages of Yiftach’s time who submitted themselves to the leader even though he was lower in stature because he was chosen by Hashem to be the Judge. So too in our times, how much more so must we submit ourselves to the Rabanim we are fortunate to have.

Parsha Pearls

The Torah records that the entire Jewish people saw that Aharon had passed away and the whole nation wept for thirty days.
We learn in the Gemara and Halachic authorities that the mourning period is not a divine instruction (Mitzva Midoraisa), rather it is an enactment from the sages (Midirabanan).
Here is demonstrated the truthfulness of the Chachamim. Although the Torah records the practice of mourning, and it would be conceivable to insist that it was Hashem who instructed them to practice it, nevertheless, no one ever claimed it to be from Hashem. There were many Rabbinic laws as ancient as the Torah and yet no one claimed they were divine.

(Adapted from Journey Into Greatness By Rabbi Avigdor Miller)

Glimpses of Greatness

There was once a dispute that came to Rav Chaim of Volozhin. The people involved in the case were of a coarse nature and not very comfortable to deal with. Someone mentioned to Rav Chaim that he was lowering himself by becoming involved with such people and their quarrels. Rav Chaim replied, “The Talmud (Yoma 53b) states that after we finish the silent Shemoneh Esrei we take three steps backward and then say the tefilla for peace. The lesson is that for the sake of peace you may need to take some steps backward.”

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is it permitted to write or erase the Name of H’ using a computer?  [II-12-307]

A. Regarding the passive erasure of writing on a computer by cutting off the power, Shevut Ami (Yoreh Deah  3) writes in the name of Rabbi Meir Mazuz, Shlita, that it appears it is permitted because we add the opinion of Rashbatz that a Name of G-d that is not written for the sake of sanctifying the Holy Name is permitted to be erased.  Additionally, we can say that it is not actually writing, but only the magnetic impression of letters. He raises the question, if it so, how is it possible to publish siddurim and chumashim which have the name of G-d written in them using a computer?

Yabea Omer (5 Orech Chaim 40, R. Ovadia Yosef, Z”L) writes regarding writing on Chol haMoed that is forbidden, that it is permitted to write using a computer because the writing of the computer is not actual writing, since  the letters [on a computer screen] are not printed on something which is permanent . Similarly, it is permitted to write complete letters or Torah insights with the computer, and Shevut Halevi(6-36, R. Shmuel Wosner, Z”L) rules similarly.