Illuminations #211, Sivan, 5779, Parshat Shlach

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Illuminations #211, Sivan, 5779, Parshat Shlach

Torah Gems

We say in prayer: “Our father, the merciful father, who acts mercifully, have mercy upon us.” Remarkably, we have four expressions through which we plead with Hashem to mercifully give us the ability to understand his Torah. In these four pleas, we ask Hashem to allow us to understand the totality of his Torah, which consists of four parts:
The first level of understanding Torah is pshat: this refers to the basic meaning of this subject matter under study. The second level is derash, which is the exegetical method of studying the words and the letters of the text, through which the scholars have arrived at its meaning. The third, remez, is a higher form of learning, in which various halachos and concepts are only alluded to in certain words and sentences. The fourth and highest form of learning is called sod. This encompasses the secrets and mysteries hidden in the Torah. Very few people are privileged to reach this level of learning. One could compare these four levels of Torah learning to the body. The pshat is analogous to the skin, which is only the outward appearance and covers that which lies beneath it and is only “skin deep.” The derash is comparable to the muscle tissue that lies underneath the skin. The remez can be compared to the bone structure, the skeleton, which is underneath the muscle tissue. And, finally, the sod-the covered and hidden secrets of the Torah- is analogous to the organs enclosed by the skeleton like the heart, lung, kidneys, intestines, stomach, etc.

Parsha Pearls

It is true,the Chafetz Chaim once said, that through the mitzvah of tzitzis a person comes to remember all the mitzvos. But this refers to one who has already learned the laws of the mitzvos. One who has never learned and reviewed the laws will not be helped by remembering.
What can this be compared to? A veteran merchant traveled to the market with a detailed list of everything he wanted to buy. While at the fair, he checked his list every so often, erasing and adding as needed. This is how an expert merchant shops. But a person who is not an expert and was never at the fair does not know what to buy and where, so a list is of no help to him. Even if he looks at it from morning to night, he still doesn’t know what to buy. So, too, the Chafetz Chaim concluded, a person who hasn’t learned the laws of the mitzvos can not be helped by a good memory. He never learned how to keep those mitzvos in the first place.

Glimpses of Greatness

The Chafetz Chaim was once invited to officiate a wedding ceremony. When he came to the wedding hall, he saw that the Kallah had not yet arrived. That being the case, he went into a nearby shul and began to learn. Later on his students asked him: “Doesn’t the Gemara say that one should be mevatel Torah for marriage ceremony?” The Chafetz Chaim replied that you should know one doesn’t gain anything from an exemption! Indeed, there is a way to be exempt from mitzvos, but that person does not receive a reward like the person who does the mitzvah!”


Halacha Weekly

Q. Can one use rolls prepared  for the sake of non-Jews in a Hotel on Shabbat? [II-17-384]

A. If one is staying in a hotel on Shabbat, is it permitted to use kosher bread prepared for the sake of the guests in the hotel if the majority of the guests are not Jewish?  Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim, 325-200)  writes regarding bread baked by a non-Jew for his own use on Shabbat that there are those opinions who forbid eating it, and those who permit it when it occurs in a time of pressing need, or for the sake of a mitzvah etc., or for the sake of saying the blessing hamotzi (on bread). There is a basis to rely on those opinions that are lenient in these situations.

However, Kaf Hachaim (Orech Chaim, 325-35, R. Yaakov Chaim Sofer Z”L) writes that since it is for the need of meals …this would not be a matter of pressing need, and one should not be lenient. Chayei Adam (Chlal 63-3, R. Avraham Danzig Z”L) writes that in a situation of pressing need one may be lenient. Zivcheh Tzedek (2-Orech Chaim 21 Chidushot 84, Avraham Yosef Somech Z”L) writes that the simple custom in his city of Baghdad is to be lenient to take from a non-Jew hot bread that is cooked on Shabbat. The Maran Shulchan Aruch was not lenient except in a time of pressing need. Although perhaps this could be considered a situation of pressing need, nevertheless, one who fears Heaven should be stringent on himself.