Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: M'chadeish B'chol Yom Ma'aseh B'reishis

People love to say, "minhag spelled backwards is gehinom."  Maybe, but all that means is that you better keep your minhagim in order.  Yet, Hillel was once asked how to handle a difficult situation and he answered, "I heard the halacha but I forgot it.  [Regarding what to do, however:] Leave it to klal yisrael; though they may not be prophets, they are descended from prophets!"  (P'sachim 66b)  So minhag certainly plays on important role in determining halacha.  In fact,
what?  But I am right in the middle of a TftD already.  Oh?  Wow; that is cool!  Ok then.
This just in; we interrupt today's planned TftD to bring you this very cool other idea that I just saw this morning.  (Yes, smart guy; sometimes these are planned.  Ahem.)

Everyone knows (from their earliest parsha sheets), that there is a machlokes about the meaning of  "chadash"/new in: "v'yakam melech chadash"/A new king arose (Sh'mos 1:8).  "Rav u'Shmuel; chad amar chadah mamash, v'chad amar sh'nischadshu g'zeirosav" -- Rav and Shmuel; one says actually new, one says that he innovated [evil] decrees.  Ok; seems to be a semi-interesting linguistic discussion about when do we use the word "new" when it comes to description of historical events.  Do we mean the source of the change was new, or the results were new?  More of a topic for Point/Counterpoint than Rav and Shmuel if you had asked me.  And why in the world tell us the disagreeing parties if we can't know who says what?

Comes the Toras Chaim on Eruvin (brought by the Halichos Shlomo) to tell us that this is not a matter of historical interest only.  It it, in fact, a machlokes about what the word "chadash"/new really means and how that relates to halacha.  For example, the Torah tells us that if someone has built a new house but not yet taken up residence, then he is exempt from some military service.  Does that mean literally new or simply significant renovations?  Same question for making the bracha of shehecheyanu on acquiring a new house; literally new or simply significant renovations?  Why do I care about who is involved in this discussion?  Because in a machlokes Rav and Shmuel we pasken like Rav for issur v'heter (ritual matters) and Shmuel for dinei mamanos (monetary disputes).  Not knowing who holds which side is going to play into how the p'sak is finally rendered.

Now to wax philosophical, one may contemplate how this affects our understanding of HaShem renewing the work of His creation each and every moment.  So much for a "simple" Rashi.

Minhagim and halacha?  Sure... soon... bli neder, im yirtzeh HaShem, b'ezras HaShem.


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…