Illuminations #207, Iyar, 5779, Parshat Bechukotai

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Illuminations #207, Iyar, 5779, Parshat Bechukotai

Torah Gems

“If you follow my statutes I will provide your rains in their proper time. The earth shall give forth its produce and the tree of the field shall give forth its fruit” (26:4).
Rashi explains: “ If you follow my statutes, “ this means you must TOIL in studying Torah. There were always many people trying to crowd into the small home of the Chafetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim would often ask his visitors, “Why do you make the effort to come to me? Why do you have to ask for my brachos? The brochos are in your hands! It clearly says in the Torah: ‘If you follow my statutes…I will provide your rains in their proper time and the earth shall give fourth it’s produce and the trees of the field shall give forth its fruit.’ So there you have all the brachos, and they are contingent on keeping the Torah.” He would conclude, “Toil in Torah and keep its Mitzvos and support Torah and those who learn it, and you are guaranteed that the brachah of ‘Bessed is the one who upkeeps this Torah’ will be fulfilled!”

Parsha Pearls

We say in davening: “Our Father, our King, for the sake of our forefathers who had faith in You, and You taught them the laws of life, so may You also endow us spiritually and teach us.” The opening words of this prayer indicate that this must be a very important tefillah. It is important that we understand the connection between bitachon in Hashem and learning Torah. We know that Torah learning requires effort, but true success in learning and understanding the Torah is based on bitachon, trust that Hashem will crown one’s efforts in learning Torah with success. Torah learning really means the comprehension of the knowledge of God by our physical minds. How can we humans, with our limited understanding, dare to attempt to comprehend the intelligence of God revealed to us in the Torah? Nevertheless, the very existence of the mitzvah of Talmud Torah means that it is possible and it assures us that in the merit of our EFFORT to learn the Torah, Hashem will crown our effort with success. At first, all Torah learning is similar to those Laws whose reason we do not understand, for one does not really comprehend a thing. But if one makes a sincere effort to learn and understand Torat Hashem, and has trust that Hashem will give him the proper understanding, He will do so!

Glimpses of Greatness

The Roman government once decreed that any Jew found wearing tefillin would be punished by having his brains smashed. A great tzaddik, Elisha, nevertheless wore them while walking in the street, but was spied by a Roman officer who began to pursue him. Elisha ran but, realizing that the Roman would overtake him, removed his head tefilla and hid it in his hand. As soon as the officer reached him, he demanded, “What are you holding in your hands?!” Elisha quietly responded, “Doves’ wings.” “Open your hand,” commanded the officer. To his amazement, there were actually doves’ wings inside, and the officer was forced to release Elisha, who henceforth became known as “Elisha of the wings.” Elisha merited to an open miracle because he was always meticulous to wear teffilin with a clean body. “Elisha of the wings” suggests angels’ wings, since, like an angel, he always conducted himself in holiness.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is one permitted take seferim to the Diaspora when leaving Israel? [II-3-48]

A.  Talmud Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin 3-9) explains that sifrei kodesh which one merits to have in the Land of Israel may not be taken out of the Land of Israel. However, if one ‘wrote'(copied) them for the purpose of bringing them [to the Diaspora], it is permitted to bring them. Today, if one lives in Israel and leaves to live in the Diaspora, is there still a concern about taking seferim from Israel to the Diaspora?

Halachot Ketanot (2-187, R. Yaakov Chagiz Z”L) writes that only for a Sefer Torah (and in our day gemarot and midrashim  that are words of the Sages ), may one take from the Land of Israel to the Diaspora.  However, halachic rulings and explanations each of which builds on the other ….do not fall under this ruling, and one is not permitted to take them out of the Land. Maharam Chagiz, Z”L notes there that in the holy city of Jerusalem, there was an early ruling that books that enter there are not permitted to leave the city. Kol Gadol (26, R. Moshe ben Shlomo Avel Chaviv Z”L) writes that the simple custom in Jerusalem, however, is that one who moves outside the land takes his seferim with him.

Responsa Shaul Mosheh (25, R. Shaul Moshe Zilberman) rules that one may not bring seferim that he has in the land of Israel to chutz laretz except … if [when] he returns he will take the seferim back with him.  If he purchases [the sefer] in Israel, this should be his intent at the moment of purchase.  Heichal Yitzchak (Orech Chaim 7, R. Isaac HaLevi Hertzog, Z”L) writes that the Talmud Yerushalmi (above) is not the ruling for halachah [in practice], because it is not brought down by the Rif, the Rambam or  Shulchah Aruch, and in the present day, because there are many Sifrei Torah in Eretz Yisrael [which was not true at the time of this ruling], and [also] people come [frequently] from the land to the Diaspora, it is permitted to send (seferim out of the land), and this is not prohibited [any longer].  See also Radvaz (40)  Peat Hashulchah (2-23, R. Yisrael Ben Shmuel Mishkalov Z”L) Davoev Meisharim (2-21, R. Dov Barish Weidenfeld Z”L).