Ki Tisa
 

A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County

Parshat Ki Tisa          20 Adar 5764              March 13, 2004              Vol 13 No.25


In This Issue:

Rabbi Ezra Weiner
Chanan Strassman 
Halacha of the Week

Rabbi Chaim Jachter
 



 

A Four Legged Chair
by Rabbi Ezra Weiner

Parshat Vayakhel, whose focus is the Mishkan, underscores the importance of Shabbat.  Rash immediately comments that the lesson is that the work in the Mishkan does not supercede the Shabbat.  Why does Shabbat stand head-and-heel above any other commandment?
Chazal state, "Amar Lo Hakadosh Baruch Hu Limoshe, 'Matanah Tovah Yesh Li Biveit Ginzi, Vishabbat Shma, Vaani Mivakesh Litnah Leyisrael - Lech Vihodiem,'" "God said to Moshe, 'I have a great gift, that I have in my storehouse; its name is Shabbat and I wish to give it to Israel - Go and explain it to them."  Why do Chazal underscore this as a Matanah Tovah, a "great" gift - all gifts are great and wonderful!
I heard Harav Noach Oelbaum Shlita explain the words of the great Maharal (Sefer Netzach Yisrael 19) that every person and every Jew asks the famous dilemma stated in Masechet Berachot, "Tzadik Vira Lo, Rasha Vitov Lo" (why do good people suffer, while bad people seem to prosper).  This question is tackled by many philosophers.  The Maharal has the following response.  One can really never know the answer to this dilemma; however, in Olam Haba, this and many other questions will surely be clearly and properly answered.  As we live in this world, the question will always continue in our minds.
However, Shabbat is "Me'ein Olam Haba," a part of the World to Come.  When one enjoys and appreciates Shabbat, one realizes that God has a perfect design to this world even if one does not understand it.  The end of the prayer in Psalms for Shabbat is "Lehagid Ki Yashar Hashem," "To tell that God is straight, proper and perfect."
What an incredible moral this is!  What an important lesson this is to enjoy and to be inspired on this incredible, special day of Shabbat Kodesh!  How tragic is it to witness people who have not yet learned to realize the holiness of Shabbat, and to become Shomer Shabbat!
It is no wonder why the way one dresses, the way one learns, and conducts himself during this 25-hour period is truly "Me'ein Olam Haba," and in that world, there are no contradictionsor dilemmas.
Shabbat is the basis of faith in God and the spark-plug of our self-development.  By placing Shabbat above the workings of the Mishkan, we can and we should realize total fulfillment.  If one takes the letters in the word "Rosh," head, and replaces each letter with the letter that follows immediately after it, the result is the word "Shabbat."  The head (Rosh) of our faith is Shabbat.  Keep it and it will keep you!

Don't Play With Fire
by Jeremy Jaffe

In Parashat Vayakhel, the Torah says, "Lo Tevaaru Esh Bichol Moshvoteichem Biyom Hashabbat," "Do not light a fire in all your dwellings on Shabbat" (35:3).  The problem with this Pasuk is that it seems to be a waste of words, because the Torah says in the previous Pasuk, "Uvayom Hashevii. Kol Haoseh Bo Melachah Yamut," "On the seventh day. everyone who does work will die."  If the Torah already commanded us that one who does work on the Shabbat will die, what does it accomplish by telling us that we cannot light a fire?  Why is that not included in the original statement about work in general?
Rashi cites from Chazal two possible answers to this question.  One opinion says that the Pasuk comes to teach us that lighting a fire is in a separate category from any other work done on Shabbat.  For any other work, one receives the death penalty if one does work on Shabbat, but for lighting a fire on Shabbat, one gets Malkut (lashes) instead.  Then, he says that the Torah mentioned lighting a fire for an entirely different reason as well, namely, to teach us something about all work done on Shabbat.  Since lighting a fire was mentioned separately, it shows us that every other type of work is also in its own separate category; therefore, if one were to do more than one type of work on Shabbat accidentally, he would have to bring more than one sacrifice, one for each type of work done, as opposed to bringing a single sacrifice to atone for all the different types of work.
The Ramban says that the Torah had to specifically tell us about the prohibition of lighting a fire because lighting a fire is used for cooking, and would fall into the category of Ochel Nefesh, work that was done to prepare food.  The Pasuk teaches us that even work done for the purpose of obtaining food is prohibited on Shabbat, as opposed to Yom Tov, when this type of work is permitted.

Hot Food
by Ben Krinsky

In this week's Parsha, the Torah discusses the prohibition of kindling a fire, otherwise known as Hav'arah.  The Torah says "Lo Tevaaru Esh," "Do not light a fire."  Since the Torah does not say, "Lo Tihiyeh," "Do not have a fire," the Halacha is that it is permissible to have a pre-existing fire on Shabbat.  However, the Heretical Karaites disagreed with the Chachamim.  They believed that it was forbidden to have any fires on Shabbat.  Therefore, the Heretical Karaites did not have any hot food or light or heat on Shabbat.  To counteract the Sadducees' incorrect Drash, the Chachamim instituted that people should eat hot food every Shabbat.  Eating Cholent or any other hot food on Shabbat is a great way to fulfill this precept.  Therefore this week everybody should make a special effort to eat Cholent or another hot food this Shabbat.

Full Participation
by Ely Winkler

"Reu, Kara Hashem Beshem Bitzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur Limateh Yehudah.Ulihorot Natan Libo, Hu Va'Ohaliav Ben Achisamach Limateh Dan," (35:2-6) "See, I have called upon the name of Bezalel son of Uri son of Chur to the tribe of Judah.And I, behold, I have appointed him with him the son of Ahaliav the son of Achishamach of the tribe of Dan."  The question is raised here by Rashi-why here does it say Reu as opposed to the first place both names are mention when it says Re'eh?  Further, the two names are  not connected here with the word "Imo," with him, like they are in Parshat Ki Tisa?
Nechama Leibowitz quotes Rashi's answer that here Moshe realized an err in his ways and decided to further equate Bezalel and Ohaliav as opposed to earlier when he put Bezalel on a higher level.  Also, the direct order of Reu, for all the people to see and not just Moshe, as opposed to Re'eh, just for Moshe to see, shows how Hashem recognized that the people must be included in this decision, after contributing money, and they all must also agree and approve and feel involved in something so important to Am Yisrael.  So too we all must learn not to discriminate between powers, like Bezalel and Ohaliav, and to make sure everyone feels involved in a Mitzvah.

Staff at time of publication:
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