The Torah in Parshas Mishpatim (Exodus 23:8) enunciates the prohibition of taking a bribe: “…because bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and distorts words that are just.” The passage makes no limiting mention of a judge sitting in judgment; rather everybody is warned not to take bribes. The commentators explain that each and every one of us is subject to bribery. We all, in the course of our days, are compelled to make decisions. Those decisions put us – all – in the category of judges. It is incumbent upon us to be aware, when confronted with a question of any sort, that our response be guided by a sincere belief of what is correct and is not colored by money, honor, hate, love, etc.

An honest judgment is a marvelous thing.

To be continued.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Ezra 1:1-5

1. And in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, at the completion of the word of the Lord from the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord aroused the Spirit
of Cyrus, the king of Persia, and he issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also in writing, saying:

And in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia This book is arranged as a continuation of the Book of Daniel, as is explained in Baba Bathra (15a),
and the word ?????????? refers back from this [book] to that one, for it is stated in Daniel (9:2): “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, contemplated
the calculations of the number of the years that the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet from the destruction of Jerusalem, seventy years.”
And so the entire chapter proceeds to relate [the story] of the destruction of the Temple, the time of the Babylonian exile, and his confession, in which
he confessed Israel’s sin. The beginning of this book is as follows: After Belshazzar was assassinated, Darius the Mede reigned, as it says (Dan. 6:1):
“And Darius the Mede received the kingdom etc.” and after Darius’ death, this Cyrus, the king of Persia, reigned, and in the first year of his reign, the
seventy years for the remembrance of the Babylonian exile, [counting] from the day that Jehoiakim was exiled, were completed, as it says (Jer. 29: 10):
“At the completion of seventy years of Babylon, I will remember you etc.” When Israel returned from the Babylonian exile to the land of Israel, in that
year, in the first year of Cyrus, Israel laid the foundation of the Temple, and the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin slandered them to Cyrus, the king
of Persia, and he commanded [them] to curtail the work, no longer to build the edifice of the Temple; and the Israelites were idle, for they did not build
the Temple during the entire reign of Cyrus and Ahasuerus, who succeeded him, until the second year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, the king of Persia,
who was Darius, the son of Esther. And in the second year of his reign, they began building the Temple until the building was completed. And from the first
year of Cyrus until the second year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus the king of Persia, in whose days the Temple was built, were eighteen years, to fulfill
what was said (Dan. 9:2): “from the destruction of Jerusalem, seventy years etc.” And now, in the second year of Darius, seventy years had elapsed since
the destruction of Jerusalem; [i.e.,] the destruction of the Temple, when Zedekiah was exiled. From the exile of Jehoiakim until the exile of Zedekiah,
when the Temple was destroyed, were eighteen years, and now in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, seventy years since the exile of Jehoiakim,
when Israel was exiled to Babylon, were completed, and thereby the verse that states (Jer. 29:10): “for at the completion of seventy years of Babylon I
will remember you etc.” was fulfilled. And this is the remembrance, that Israel returned to their soil and built the foundation of the building of the
Temple, although it was not yet completed. We find that there were fifty- two years from the exile of Zedekiah, when the Temple was destroyed, until the
first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia; and eighteen years after the first year of Cyrus, which is the second year of Darius, when Israel commenced to
build the edifice, and they completed it. This is proven in Seder Olam (ch. 29), in Tractate Megillah (11b) and in this book, as I explained.

at the completion of the word of the Lord from the mouth of Jeremiah at the time that the word of the Holy One, blessed be He, which Jeremiah spoke, was
completed, as it says (Jer. 29:10): “for at the completion of seventy years of Babylon etc.”

the Lord aroused the spirit the will.

a proclamation He proclaimed a proclamation throughout his kingdom.

and also in writing And he also sent his letter throughout his kingdom about this matter.

saying And so he said to them in his proclamation that he proclaimed and in his epistle that he sent throughout his kingdom.

2. “So said Cyrus, the king of Persia, ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of the heavens delivered to me, and He commanded me to build Him a House
in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.

So said Cyrus, the king of Persia… delivered to me that I am the king and ruler over all the kingdoms.

and He commanded me He commanded me through Isaiah the prophet to build for Him the Temple in Jerusalem, as it says in the Book of Isaiah (44:28): “Who
says to Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and all My desire he shall fulfill,’ and to say to Jerusalem, ‘It shall be built, and the Temple shall be founded.’”
(ibid. 45:1): “So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I held….” And this prophecy was already stated by lsaiah.

in Jerusalem, which is in Judea whch is in the province of Judea.

3. Who is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and he may ascend to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and let him build the House of the Lord,
God of Israel; He is the God Who is in Jerusalem.

Who is among you So did he announce and write to all the kingdoms, “Who is among you of all His people,” [i.e., of the people] of the Holy One, blessed
be He, may the Holy One, blessed be He, be at his assistance, and let him ascend to build His house that is in Jerusalem.

4. And whoever remains from all the places where he sojourns, the people of his place shall help him with silver and with gold and with possessions and
with cattle, with the donation to the House of God, which is in Jerusalem.’

And whoever remains and every Jew who remains in his place, who cannot ascend because he has no money.

shall help him I command the people of his place to provide him and help him with silver, gold, possessions and cattle, in order that he be able to ascend
to Jerusalem with the donation that the people of his place will donate for the building of the Temple, for also among the nations there were some who
contributed donations to the building of the Temple.

to the House of God, which is in Jerusalem From “So said Cyrus” until here is the proclamation and the message of the written epistle.

5. And the heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, with all whom God inspired to ascend to build the House of
the Lord, which is in Jerusalem.

of Judah and Benjamin the heads of the families of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

all whom… inspired They ascended to Jerusalem to build the Temple with all those whom God inspired to ascend and to build the Temple.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 1:1-15

1. The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

the vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz Said Rabbi Levi: We have a tradition from our ancestors that Amoz and Amaziah, king of Judah, were brothers.

which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem Now, did he not prophesy concerning many nations, viz. the prophecy of Babylonia (ch. 13), the prophecy of Moab
(ch. 15)? Thus you learn that this is not the beginning of the Book, and that the Book is not given its name for this prophecy. So we learned in the Baraitha
of the Mechilta (Exod. 15:9,10): “In the year of King Uzziah’s death” (6:1) is the beginning of the Book, but there is no early and late in the order [i.e.,
the order of the chapters is no indication of the chronological order. (Others read: There is no early and late in the BookParshandatha.] The context proves
this point, for, on the day of the earthquake (see Zech. 14:5), the day Uzziah became a metzora (see 2 Chron. 26:19), it was said: “Whom shall I send and
who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am; send me” (6:8). We learn that this was the beginning of his mission, and this prophecy was said afterwards.
And concerning this alone, it is stated: which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, just as Scripture says concerning each nation, “the prophecy of such
and such a nation.” Here too, Scripture writes: “which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.” Since they are harsh reproofs, he calls them “chazon,” which
is the harshest of the ten expressions by which prophecy is called, as is stated in Gen. Rabbah (44:7), and proof of this is the verse (infra 21:2), “A
harsh prophecy (??????) was told to me.”

in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah. These four kings he buried, [i.e. he outlived,] in his lifetime. On the day Uzziah
became a metzora, the Shechinah rested upon him, and he prophesied all the days of these kings, until Manasseh arose and killed him. (And this prophecy
was said in the days of Hezekiah after the ten tribes were exiled.)

2. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken; Children I have raised and exalted, yet they have rebelled against Me.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth And Moses said, “Give ear, O heavens,… and may the earth hear” (Deut. 32:1). Why did Isaiah change the wording? Our
masters taught concerning this matter, [and] many midrashim [are] in the section entitled “Ha’azinu” in Sifrei, but the Sages disagreed with them and said:
A matter is not so unless witnesses come and testify. If their words coincide, their testimony is fulfilled; if not, their testimony is not fulfilled.
Had Isaiah not addressed the heavens with giving ear and the earth with hearing, the heavens would testify and say, ‘When we were called to this testimony
in Moses’ time, when he said, (Deut. 30:19) “I call heaven and earth to witness against you,” we heard with an expression of giving ear,’ and the earth
would testify, ‘I was called with an expression of hearing,’ hence their testimony would not coincide. [Therefore,] Isaiah came and reversed the matter.
Consequently, both are found to testify with an expression of giving ear and with an expression of hearing.

for the Lord has spoken That you should be witnesses in this matter, when I warned them in Moses’ time. Therefore, come and hear what I reason with them,
for they transgressed the warning, I did not sin against them, but I raised them and exalted them, yet they rebelled against me. [Another version reads:]
That you should be witnesses in this matter. Now, where did He speak?“Give ear, O heavens and I will speak” (ibid. 32:1). [So this was taught] in Mechilta
(Bo 12).

3. An ox knows his owner and a donkey his master’s crib; Israel does not know, my people does not consider.

his owner Heb. ??????? [is] like ??????????, the one who affixes him to the plowshare for plowing by day, and since he has accustomed him to this, he knows
him. The dull donkey, however, does not recognize his master until he feeds him. Israel was not intelligent like the ox, to know, when I called him and
said, “Israel will be your name” (Gen. 35:10), and I informed them of several of My statutes, yet they deserted Me, as is related in Ezekiel (20:39): “Let
each one go and worship his idols.” Even after I took them out of Egypt and fed them the manna and called them, “My people, the children of Israel,” they
did not consider even as a donkey. Another explanation is:

An ox knows its owner An ox recognizes his owner so that his fear is upon him. He did not deviate from what I decreed upon him, by saying, I will not plow
today. Neither did a donkey say to his owner, I will not bear burdens today. Now, these [creatures,] who were created to serve you, and are not destined
to receive reward if they merit, or to be punished if they sin, did not change their manner, which I decreed upon them. Israel, however, who, if they merit
receive reward, and if they sin are punished.

does not know i.e., did not want to know; they knew but trod with their heels, and my people did not take heart to consider.

4. Woe to a sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, evildoing seed, corrupt children. They forsook the Lord; they provoked the Holy One of Israel;
they drew backwards.

Woe Every instance of ???? in Scripture is an expression of complaining and lamenting, like a person who sighs from his heart and cries, “Alas!” There are,
however, several, which are an expression of a cry, the vocative voice, e.g., “Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north” (Zech. 2:10), which the Targum
renders, ???????, an expression of announcing.

Woe There is a reason to cry about a holy nation that turned into a sinful nation, and a people referred to by the expression, “for you are a holy people”
(Deut. 7:6), turned into a people with iniquity.

a people heavy with iniquity The heaviness of iniquity. The word denotes a person who is heavy, pesant in French, ponderous. The word ????? is a substantive
of heaviness, pesantoma in French, and is in the construct state, and is connected with the word ?????, iniquity.

evildoing seed And they were seed whom the Lord blessed (Isa. 61: 9). Similarly, they were children of the Holy One, blessed be He, and they became corrupt.

they provoked Heb. ???????, they angered.

they drew backwards [The root ????????,] wherever it appears, is only an expression of separation. Similarly, Scripture states: “And they shall separate
(????????????) from the holy things of the children of Israel” (Lev. 22:2), “the one separated (??????) from his brothers” (Gen. 49:26). Here too, they
drew away from being near the Omnipresent.

5. Why are you beaten when you still continue to rebel? Every head is [afflicted] with illness and every heart with malaise.

Why are you beaten… A person who was punished (lit. beaten) and repeats his sinhis friend admonishes him and says to him, For this you have been punished,
yet you do not take heart to say, ‘For this I have been punished. I will not repeat it again.’ Here too, why are you beaten since you continue disobedience,
to turn away from following the Omnipresent? Is not every head afflicted with illness and every heart with malaise? Why then do you not understand?

6. From the sole of the foot until the head there is no soundness-wounds and contusions and lacerated sores; they have not sprinkled, neither have they
been bandaged, nor was it softened with oil.

soundness An expression of perfection, sound without pain.

wounds Heb. ??????, i.e., a wound of a sword.

contusions Heb. ?????????, an expression of a bruise. [Some editions read:] Other bruises.

and lacerated sores Jonathan renders: ?????????, lacerated and crushed.

and lacerated sores demarcejjre, in O.F., and in the language of the Talmud, we find, “he bumped (???????) his head” (Chullin 45b). Menahem explained it
as an expression of moisture, i.e., moist and wet, always oozing [muyte in O.F.].

they have not been sprinkled These lesions were not sprinkled with medicinal powders by physicians. This is an expression of: (Job 18:15) “Sulphur shall
be sprinkled (???????) on his dwelling.” Menahem explained it as an expression of healing, as in (Jeremiah 30:13): “No one pronounced your judgment for
healing (????????).”

neither was it softened with oil Their wound was not softened with oil, as is customary with other wounds. It would be inappropriate to say here, “They
were not softened with oil,” for they soften only the place of the sore, not the wound and the contusion but the sprinkling and the bandaging applies to
all three, [i.e., the wound, the contusion, and the lacerated sore.] Therefore, the plural number applies to them; the lesions were not sprinkled and not
bandaged. Jonathan interprets the entire verse figuratively, referring to the fact that they were soiled and afflicted with iniquity. Accordingly, he rendered,
“From the sole of the foot until the head,” from the smallest to the greatest, there is no soundness. There is none good among them, wounds and contusions,
rebellious deeds, iniquities, and inadvertent sins.

they have not been sprinkled… i.e., they have not been healed by repenting wholeheartedly, nor has it been softened with oil, not even a trace of repentant
thought has entered their heart.

7. Your land is desolate; your cities burnt with fire. Your land-in your presence, strangers devour it; and it is desolate as that turned over to strangers.

in your presence, strangers devour it Before your eyes, your enemies will devour it.

and desolate of you as a heritage turned over to strangers, which is desolate of its owners. Jonathan renders in this manner.

8. And the daughter of Zion shall be left like a hut in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.

And the daughter of Zion shall be left devoid of its inhabitants, for they will be exiled from its midst, as a hut in a vineyard, made by a watchman, and
when the produce of the vineyard is gathered, he leaves his hut and goes away, after they gather it.

like a lodge in a cucumber field As the lodge, which the watchman made at the end of a cucumber field, to watch its cucumber, is left, for after it is gathered,
he leaves it and goes away; the one in the vineyard is called a hut since he lives in it day and night; by day, he guards it from the birds and by night
from the thieves, b ut cucumbers are hard, and there is no fear of the birds, and one need not watch them by day. It is, therefore, called a lodge since
it is a place of lodging at night. Jonathan renders: Like a bed in a lodge (again repeated in Hebrew), [in] a cucumber field, in a cucumber field after
it has been picked (?????? ??????????????) , after it has been picked. [This is the expression of the Mishnah] (Peah 4: 5): “There are three gatherings
(??????????) a day.”

like a besieged city Like a city which was besieged, and they make huts around it to hide the troops, and when they give up the siege [lit., when they go
away from it], they leave them and go away. All this is Jonathan’s translation.

9. “Had not the Lord of Hosts left us a remnant, we would soon be like Sodom; we would resemble Gomorrah.”

Had not the Lord of Hosts left us a remnant by His own volition and with His mercy, not because of our merits.

we would soon be like Sodom All of us would be destroyed.

10. Hear the word of the Lord, O rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, O people of Gomorrah!

rulers of Sodom Princes whose deeds are like those of Sodom. From here, [the Rabbis] deduced that a person should not open his mouth to Satan.

11. Of what use are your many sacrifices to Me? says the Lord. I am sated with the burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle; and the blood
of bulls and sheep and hegoats I do not want.

I am sated with the burnt-offerings of rams This is similar to: “Lest he have too much of you and hate you,” (Proverbs 25:18).

fattened cattle Fattened cattle and sheep.

I do not want Since you transgress My Torah, the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination [from Prov. 21:27].

12. When you come to appear before Me, who requested this of you, to trample My courts?

who requested this of you, to trample My courts to trample [the preposition is absent in the Hebrew] My courts, since your heart is not whole with Me.

13. You shall no longer bring vain meal-offerings, it is smoke of abomination to Me; New Moons and Sabbaths, calling convocations, I cannot [bear] iniquity
with assembly.

You shall bring no more vain meal-offerings I warn you, you shall not bring Me your vain meal-offering, for the smoke that rises from it is smoke of abomination
to Me, and not for My satisfaction.

New moons and Sabbaths, calling, convocations, I cannot… and [sic, does not appear in Parshandatha] to call convocations, i.e., New Moons and Sabbaths when
you gather to call a convocation and an assembly on them, I cannot bear the iniquity in your hearts that is inclined to paganism, and the convocation with
it, for these two things are incompatible: to call a convocation to gather before Me, and the iniquity that is in your hearts for paganism, and you do
not take it out of your hearts.

14. Your New Moons and your appointed seasons My soul hates, they are a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing [them].

15. And when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, even when you pray at length, I do not hear; your hands are full of blood.

And when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you because your hands are full of blood.

blood Murder.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


Study Schedules:
(All Lessons)  
table end

Send this page to a friend

Important Message Regarding This Lesson

This is not an error of duplication. The laws that comprise this Mitzvah are many and change for those who study using the one/three chapter a day cycle.

Positive Commandment 244
A Borrower

Exodus 22:13 “And if a man borrows something from his neighbor…”

It is kind and considerate to lend something to your friend or anybody else who requests it. However, the borrower must accept the responsibility to return
the article in the same condition as it was when he received it.

This Positive

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Parshat Behaalotecha, 1st Portion Bamidbar 8:1-8:14

Chapter 8
1. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Speak to Aaron and say to him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah.”
Aaron did so; he lit the lamps toward the face of the menorah, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
This was the form of the menorah: hammered work of gold, from its base to its flower it was hammered work; according to the form that the Lord had shown
Moses, so did he construct the menorah. 5. The Lord spoke to Moses saying:
Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them.
This is what you shall do to them so as to cleanse them: sprinkle them with cleansing water and pass a razor over all their flesh; then they shall wash
their garments and cleanse themselves.
Then they shall take a young bull with its meal offering of fine flour mingled with oil. And you shall take a second young bull as a sin offering.
You shall bring the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting, and you shall gather the entire congregation of the children of Israel. 10. You shall bring
the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands upon the Levites. 11. Then Aaron shall lift up the Levites as a waving before
the Lord on behalf of the children of Israel, that they may serve in the Lord’s service. 12. The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls,
and make one as a sin offering and one as a burnt offering to the Lord, to atone for the Levites. 13. You shall present the Levites before Aaron and his
sons, and lift them as a waving before the Lord. 14. Thus shall you set apart the Levites from the midst of the children of Israel, and the Levites shall
become Mine.


Chapter 8
2. When you light. Why is the portion dealing with the menorah juxtaposed to the portion dealing with the chieftains? For when Aaron saw the dedication
[offerings] of the chieftains, he felt distressed over not joining them in this dedication-neither he nor his tribe. So God said to him, “By your life,
yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and prepare the lamps.” – [Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 3] When you light. Heb. ?????????????, lit., when you
cause to ascend. Since the flame rises, Scripture describes kindling in terms of ascending. He is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by
itself (Shab. 21a). Our Sages further expounded from here that there was a step in front of the menorah, on which the kohen stood to prepare [the lamps].
— [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 3] toward the face of the menorah. Toward the middle lamp, which is not on [one of] the branches, but on the menorah itself. —
[Men. 98b] shall cast their light. The six on the six branches; the three eastern ones-that is their wicks-facing towards the center one, and likewise,
the three western ones, the tops of their wicks facing toward the center one. Why [were the wicks facing inwards, thus giving off so little light]? So
that [people] should not say that He [God] needs the light. — [Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 5]
3. Aaron did so. This shows Aaron’s virtue that he did not deviate [from God’s command]. — [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 1:5]
4. This was the form of the menorah. As God had shown him with His finger, for he had difficulty with [constructing] it. That is why it says, “This is….”
– [Sifrei Beha’alothecha 7] hammered work. In old French, batediz, beaten, an expression similar to,“[and his knees] knocked (????????) one against the
other” (Dan. 5:6). There was a block of gold weighing a talent. He pounded it with a hammer, and cut it with a chisel to extend its limbs in the prescribed
manner, and it was not made limb by limb and then connected together. — [Baraitha Melecheth HaMishkan] from its base to its flower. Its base was the hollow
box above the legs, like the silver candelabra that stand before nobles. from its base to its flower. That is to say, the menorah itself and everything
attached to it. from its base. Which was a large unit. to its flower. Which was its finest work-it was all hammered work. It is customary to use the word
??? in this sense [to include everything], as in,“from the stacks to the (???) standing grain to the (???) olive groves” (Judges 15:5). according to the
form which the Lord had shown…. According to the design He had shown him on the mount [Sinai], as it says, “Now see and make, according to their pattern
[which you are shown on the mountain]” (Exod. 25:40). so did he construct the menorah. I.e., the one who made it [namely, Bezalel]. The Aggadic Midrash
[Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 3] states that it was made by itself through the Holy One, Blessed is He.
6. Take the Levites. Take them with words: You are fortunate in that you have merited to become attendants of the Omnipresent. — [Torath Kohanim 8:165,
Midrash Aggadah]
7. Sprinkle them with cleansing water. from the ashes of the red cow, so as to cleanse them from contamination by those who were in contact with the dead.
and pass a razor over all their flesh. I found in the writings of R. Moses Hadarshan (the preacher): Since they [the Levites] were submitted in atonement
for the firstborn who had practiced idolatry [when they worshipped the golden calf], which is called sacrifices to the dead-and one afflicted with tzara’ath
is considered dead-they required shaving like those afflicted with tzara’ath.
8. Then they shall take a young bull. That is a burnt offering, as it is written, “and designate…and one as a burnt offering” (verse 12); this is the communal
offering [to atone] for idolatry. and a second young bull. What does it mean by “a second” ? It teaches that just as a burnt offering is not eaten, so
is [this] sin-offering not eaten. There is a support for his [R. Moses’] comments in Torath Kohanim (Obligatory sacrifices 3:4) [which states that this
sin-offering was burnt up]. I, however, believe that this was a temporary injunction [not to atone for idolatry], since they should have brought a goat
as a sin-offering for idolatry, with the bull for a burnt offering.
9. And you shall gather the entire congregation. Since the Levites were submitted as an atonement offering instead of them, let them [the Israelites] come
and stand with their offerings [namely the Levites] and rest their hands upon them. — [Midrash Aggadah] 11 Then Aaron shall lift up the Levites as a waving.
in the same way that the guilt-offering of one afflicted with tzara’ath requires waving [the animal] while it is alive. Three wavings are mentioned in
this section: the first (verse 11) refers to the sons of Kohath, and for this reason it states with regard to them, “that they may serve in the Lord’s
service,” since they were responsible for the work involving the most holy objects-the ark, the table, etc. The second (verse 13) refers to the sons of
Gershon. Therefore, it is stated with regard to them,“a waving before the Lord” (verse 13), for even they were assigned holy work-the curtains and the
clasps, which could be seen in the Holy of Holies. The third [waving] was for the sons of Merari (verse 14). – [Midrash Aggadah] 16 wholly given over.
Hebrew ???????? ????????, [the double expression denoting] given over for [the service of] carrying and given over for the singing [in the Temple]. – [Midrash
Aggadah] that open. ????????, the opening of.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Hagigah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two


This mishnah continues to provide aspects of purity/impurity in sacrifices are treated with greater stringency than terumah (tithes). 

Mishnah Two

1)      Vessels that have been finished in purity require immersion [before they are used] for sacred things, but not [before they are used] for terumah.

2)      A vessel unites all its contents [for impurity] in the case of sacred things, but not in the case of terumah.   

3)      Sacred things become invalid [by impurity] of a fourth degree, but terumah [only by impurity] of a third degree.

4)      In the case of terumah, if one hand of his hands became impure, the other remains clean, but in the case of sacred things, he must immerse both
[hands], because the one hand defiles the other for sacred things but not for terumah. 


Section one:  Once the production of a vessel has been completed the vessel can now receive impurity. Even if the artisan was careful not to defile the
vessel it still requires immersion before it can be used with sacred things.  In contrast, if the vessel is going to be used with terumah then it doesn’t
need to be immersed unless it has been defiled. 

Section two:  If there are a bunch of separate food items in a vessel, say some fruit or separate pieces of meat, and one becomes impure, then all of them
are impure, if they are sacred things.  The vessel causes the impurity to travel from one piece to the other.  However, if they are terumah, then the vessel
does not convey the impurity from one to the other.

Section three: There are different levels of impurity, the higher the number the closer the item is to the source of impurity, which is called a “father
of impurity.”  A “father of impurity” that touches something give it first degree impurity, and a first degree conveys second degree impurity, and so on.
Sacred things can become invalid through contact even with a third degree of impurity, meaning that these things cannot be put on the altar, because they
have “fourth degree” of impurity.  There is no such thing as fifth degree of impurity. Terumah becomes disqualified only by something with a second degree
of impurity.  If something of third degree impurity touches terumah it does not affect it.

Section four: If one of one’s hands becomes impure, he cannot use the other hand to touch a sacred thing, even if one hand didn’t touch the other.  But
when it comes to terumah, if one of one’s hands is impure he can use the other hand to touch terumah.   

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Parshat Shemini, 2nd Portion Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:17-9:23


Chapter 9

And he brought forward the meal offering, filled his palm with it, and caused it to [go up in] smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning burnt offering.
18. And he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the people’s peace offering, and Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, and he dashed it on the altar, around,
and [they also presented] the fats from the ox and from the ram: the tail, the [fatty] covering, the kidneys and the diaphragm with the liver.
And they placed the fats on top of the breasts, and he caused the fats to [go up in] smoke on the altar. 21. And Aaron had [already] waved the breasts and
the right thigh as a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them. He then descended from preparing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace
And Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.


17. and he filled his palm. I.e., the ???????? [i.e., the “fistful,” namely, scooping out three fingers-full of the meal offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 9:11]
in addition to the morning burnt offering. All these sacrifices [Aaron] offered up [only] after [he had offered up the morning] continual burnt offering.
19. and the [fatty] covering. [I.e.,] the fat that covers the innards.
20. And they placed the [sacrificial] fats on top of the breasts. After the waving, the kohen who performed the waving gives [the portions] to another kohen
to make them go up in smoke. The result is that [the portions] that were on the top are now on the bottom [due to the kohen’s inverting the portions to
place them into the receiving hands of the next kohen. See Rashi on Lev. 7:30 for further explanation]. — [Men. 62a]
22. and blessed them. with the blessing of the kohanim [see Num. 6:2227]: ????????? -“May the Lord bless you”… ????? -“May the Lord make His face shine”…
???????? -“May the Lord lift His face….”- [Torath Kohanim 10:22] He then descended. from the altar.
23. And Moses and Aaron went into [the Tent of Meeting]. Why did they enter [the Tent of Meeting]? In the section of the investitures, I found a baraitha
added to our version of Torath Kohanim [which states the following]: Why did Moses enter with Aaron? To teach him about the procedure of [burning] the
incense. Or did he perhaps enter only for another purpose? I can make a deduction: Descending [from the altar (verse 22)] and entering [the Tent of Meeting
(this verse) both] required blessing [the people]. Just as descending [from the altar] is related to the service, so is entering [the Tent of Meeting]
related to the service. Hence, you learn from here why Moses entered with Aaron, [namely] to teach him about the procedure of [burning] the incense [which
is related to the service]. Another explanation [of why Moses entered with Aaron is]: When Aaron saw that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the
procedures had been performed, and yet the Shechinah had not descended for Israel, he was distressed. He said, “I know that the Holy One, blessed is He,
is angry with me, and on my account the Shechinah has not descended for Israel.” So he said to Moses, “My brother Moses, is this what you have done to
me, that I have entered and been put to shame?” At once, Moses entered [the Tent of Meeting] with him, and they prayed for mercy. Then the Shechinah came
down for Israel. — [Torath Kohanim 9:16] Then they came out and blessed the people. They said: “May the pleasantness of the Lord, our God, be upon us (Ps.
90:17); May it be God’s will that the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.” [And why did they choose this particular blessing?] Because throughout
all seven days of the investitures, when Moses erected the Mishkan, performed the service in it, and then dismantled it daily, the Shechinah did not rest
in it. The Israelites were humiliated, and they said to Moses, “Moses, our teacher, all the efforts we have taken were so that the Shechinah should dwell
among us, so that we would know that we have been forgiven for the sin of the [golden] calf!” Therefore, Moses answered them (verse 6), “This is the thing
the Lord has commanded; do [it], and the glory of the Lord will appear to you. My brother Aaron is more worthy and important than I, insofar as through
his offerings and his service the Shechinah will dwell among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent has chosen him.”

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Moed Katan 23

It is forbidden to discuss words of Torah in a house of mourning.

A mourner may not walk out of his house the first Shabbos. The second Shabbos he may go out but he may not sit in his regular place (I.E., he may not recline or sit at a table). The third Shabbos he
may sit in his regular place but he may not talk.

A mourner may not get married for thirty days.

If a husband loses his wife, according to the Tana Kama he may not get married until after three Regalim have passed and according to R. Yehudah he may
get remarried after two Regalim.

A mourner may not wear freshly pressed clothing for thirty days. R. Yehudah says only new clothing is prohibited and R. Elazar Bar Shimon holds only new,
white clothing is prohibited.

There is a dispute between the residents of Yehudah (Judea) and Galil (Galilee) whether any of the regulations of mourning apply on Shabbos.

A person that lost a relative that has not yet been buried may not eat in front of the deceased and may not recline while eating and he may not eat meat
or drink wine.

According to the Tana Kama a person that lost a relative on Shabbos is prohibited from having marital relations, while Raban Gamliel disagrees.

Brief Insight
A woman that is mourning the death of her husband mourns for three months but may not get married until after three months. Although a husband that lost
his wife may not get remarried until after three Regalim a woman does not have to wait more that long. The reason is that a woman is happy married to anybody
and forgets her first love rather quickly. (Mordechai)
(I wonder if Rabbi Mordechai ever cared to ask any of the women of his acquaintance if this is so)?
Quick Halacha
A mourner may not get married forbidden thirty days even if he does not make a festive meal. After thirty days it is permitted to marry and make a festive
meal even if one is mourning a parent that passed away. It is permitted for a mourner to be Mikadesh (marry) a woman immediately even on the day of the death but
a festive meal may not be made until after thirty days. Some opinions hold that it is also forbidden to be Mikadesh a woman until after thirty days and
that opinion is the correct one. (Shulchan Aruch YD 392:1)

The opinion that allows a mourner to be Mikadesh a woman immediately is because of the fear that someone else will beat him to her by means of prayer. (Shach)


Current Mood: none

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Nissan 14

Do not sacrifice [the Passover offering] while you are in possession of chametz (leaven) (Exodus 23:18).

Chametz and matzah have many symbolic explanations. What ever the symbolic meaning may be, one fact cannot be denied. For the few days of Passover, chametz
and matzah are antithetical. The Passover seder cannot coexist with chametz. This point is clearly stated in the first of the traditional four questions
near the beginning of the Haggadah: “All other nights we eat both chametz and matzah; but this night, only matzah.”

Passover tells us that we cannot maintain two opposites, but must make a commitment one way or the other. As Elijah said to the Jews who worshiped idols:
“How long will you vacillate between two contradictory ideologies? If Hashem is God, then follow Him. If Baal is god, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21).

People who can take a definite stand can also open themselves to any needed change when they are shown that they are wrong. However, people who constantly
vacillate can always find excuses to slither out of improving themselves.

The above verse taught the about-to-be-liberated Israelite and their descendants a vital principle: Do not try to maintain mutually contradictory ideologies.

Today I shall …
… try to rid myself of mutually contradictory concepts, and instead make a commitment to a way of life that I can fully accept.


Current Mood: none

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Megillah, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two


This mishnah deals specifically with selling a synagogue.

Mishnah Two

1) They may not sell a synagogue except with the stipulation that it may be bought back whenever they want, the words of Rabbi Meir.

2) But the sages say: they may sell it in perpetuity, except for four purposes for it to become one of four things: a bathhouse, a tannery, a ritual
bath, or a urinal.

3) Rabbi Judah says: they may sell it to be a courtyard, and the purchaser may do what he likes with it.


Section one: Rabbi Meir holds that the community can sell the synagogue but only on condition that the synagogue can be bought back any time they wish.
It sounds like Rabbi Meir intends to say that while the community may sell the synagogue because they need to buy holier items, what the community should
really do is save up so that they can buy the synagogue back. Also, if they saw that the synagogue was being put to improper use, they could demand to
purchase it back immediately.

Section two: The rabbis are more lenient when it comes to selling the synagogue and do not require the seller to be able to buy it back whenever he should
so please. The one restriction is that the sellers may not sell it knowing that it will be used for a something smelly (a tannery, a urinal) or for something
where people will be naked (a bathhouse or a ritual bath).

Section three: Rabbi Judah points out that if the synagogue’s owners cannot by right repurchase the synagogue, then the new owners can trick the system
by first buying it to be a courtyard and then doing with it whatever they like, including turning it into a urinal. It is unclear whether Rabbi Judah
says that this is permitted and there’s nothing that can be done about it, or what he is really doing is criticizing the sages’ position by pointing out
that they can’t really enforce their halakhah. As we shall see in the next mishnah, Rabbi Judah believes that a synagogue retains its sanctity even after
it is destroyed. It therefore seems less likely that Rabbi Judah would condone the synagogue becoming something like a urinal.


Current Mood: none