Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Halacha Needs to Come First

We just came through Purim, so thoughts of "hester panim" are dancing through my head.  Always looking around for comforting signs of hashgacha pratis, subtle though they may be.  Sometimes, however, you get a "Hey you!  Yes; I mean YOU!"  This morning was one of those.

I got to beis medrash a few minutes late this morning, so I needed to run in before starting up the coffee.  (That's how late I was... putting up the coffee moved down to second priority!)  I did what I needed to do and then really, really needed to get the coffee going.  However, I didn't want to run out of beis medrash without learning something.  It had to be quick (have I mentioned that the coffee was still not brewing?) and I am just in the middle of sh'ih'a and chazara (leaving a pot on the stove or returning it); so that wasn't going to be quick.  That was for my regular seder of halacha after davening (this time of year).  Fortunately, I had decided to throw a bone to the halacha of learning hilchos chag 30 days before the holiday and had brought in Halichos Shlomo on Mo'adim; book mark right there on hilchos pesach; perfect!  My plan to was learn one or two halachos a day and be yotzi my obligation so I could get back to me regularly scheduled seder.  (pun intended, in case you didn't notice)

First half of first halacha: "One should change his seder of learning 30 days before yom tov to include learning the halachos of the upcoming festival."  No problem, I am thinking... that what I have just done; boy do I feel smug.  Then I read the second half: "This includes replacing a regularly scheduled to seder in halacha."  What?!?  But I'm right in the middle of learning hilchos shabbos, and I have my fancy Dirshu edition Mishna Brura with the beautiful blue cover with silver lettering!  As much as I wanted to stay with my regular seder (pun again, get it?  "seder", hilchos pesach... I really crack me up), it just seems wrong to ignore an open halacha in order to learn halacha.  You can pull that with gemara, hiding behind "leaning lishma", but that's a much harder row to hoe when it comes to learning halacha itself.

So I put up the coffee and came back prepared to learn hilchos pesach after davening.  Besides the incredibly glatt s'varos (straight thinking) recorded in Halichos Shlomo, the footnotes give some beautiful insights into R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as a rav.  The rosh yeshiva included regular tests on halacha from the Mishna Brura.  In fact, he told his talmidim that they needed to learn the halacha l'ma'aseh as recorded in the Mishna Brura before all other learning in halacha.  Moreover, he is quoted as often saying,  "Learning halacha not to be done in order to be lomdim, but in order to be y'hudim!"


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…