Illuminations #192, Shvat, 5779, Parshat Yitro

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Illuminations #192, Shvat, 5779, Parshat Yitro

Torah Gems

We have to know the Chafetz Chaim said, that only through observing the mitzvoth of the Torah is a person called a “Yehudi”! Some will neglect the mitzvoth, since they are worthless in their eyes. However, if someone asks if he is Jewish, a Yehudi, he will say “certainly I am…” Is it the only obligation of a Jew in the world to be called a Yehudi, without doing anything Jewish? It is not the obligation of a Yehudi to know that Hashem created with His Will all the worlds and all the creations, and it was only Hashem and no one else? What can this be compared to? A person once donned the uniform of a general. When he was asked: “Do you know what you need to know in order to be a general?” he replied, “What do I need to know for? It is enough that I am wearing a general’s uniform!” It is needless to explain what a fool he is. Not only is he not a general, he is also bringing upon himself a severe punishment imposed on a citizen who puts on an army uniform.

Parsha Pearls

“Do not take the Name of Hashem your G-d in vain” (20:7)

The Chafetz Chaim said that the soul of every Jew is a chelek ElokamiMaal, it has a Divine element to it. The Jew bears the name of Hashem, Yisrael. Therefore it is incumbent upon him to live his life consecrated to Hashem and His Torah. Woe to the person who wastes his life on nothingness and idles away his time. Therefore the Torah commands us: “Lo sisa es Shem Hashem Elokecha” Who is inside you- “lashav, for naught.”

Glimpses of Greatness

“In every place where I [allow you to] mention My Name, I will come to you and bless you” (20:21)

When a person merits to speak to the king, and the king instructs that their conversation be written in his books of remembrance, how thrilled the person is… Once he arrives home, he tells all his friends and acquaintances what transpired, and his face lights up with joy. Everyone knows how excited this person was by his audience with the king. Even if he is burdened with various affairs at home, he forgets about them because of his joy. This memory will remain with him for years to come, and whenever he comes to a party or gathering, he will relate to everyone what happened and how happy and proud he is to have met the king. The Chafetz Chaim wants to look further into this. Look how this person felt after speaking to a human king, who just has illusory honor for a temporary time, and this king has no power to even lengthen the days of his own life by even one minute. How much more so when a person stands before HaKadosh Baruch Hu, who is the King of kings, Heavens, and the Earth, and who exists for eternity, must he rejoice for this great merit!

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is a baby-sitter permitted to receive payment for baby-sitting on Shabbat? [I OCH-6-76]

A. Baer Moshe (5-103, R. Moshe Stern Z”L) writes that there is room to be lenient and give payment for a baby sitter who works only on the day of Shabbat. [He adds that] one should give [payment] as a gift adding a little extra to the amount that one is accustomed to pay.  Shevet Hakehati (3-338, R. Shammai Kehat Hakohen Gross) writes regarding a baby sitter who is not observant [that in such a case we should act differently], and does not give advice that payment be in the form of a gift. In general, [when giving payment in the form of a gift] we are speaking of a worker foregoing their payment in any event [while] the householder wants to give it to him as a gift and therefore it is permitted. However, in our case [of a non-observant baby sitter], it appears that according to those that permit giving payment on Shabbat for the sake of a mitzvah, there is [a reason] to permit giving payment for work on Shabbat to prevent desecration of the Holy Name. This is because [we fear]  that if one does not give [her] payment, [she] will come to think as a non-observant person [thinks] that the religious are, G-d forbid, thieves and oppress laborers [by withholding their pay], and certainly there is [room] to permit the prohibition of payment for [work on] Shabbat in order to prevent desecration of the Divine Name.

However, Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchatah (28-54, R. YehoshuahYeshayah Neuwirth, Z”L)  writes that one should not pay her (the baby sitter) for guarding  (children ) on the day of Shabbat itself alone, rather one should give her payment for Shabbat through havlaah-(absorption) with [work done on] the weekdays [together with the work done on Shabbat, i.e. for example immediately] before or after Shabbat  or during the rest of the week , and payment for Shabbat is mixed in and absorbed in the payment for the rest of the work during the weekdays [and this is permitted].