Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Bein Adam l'Chavreiro Bein Adam ;laMakom -- Kibud Av v'Eim

While each mitzvah is a unique entity, they also fall pretty obviously into groups.  As the Derech HaShem says, you don't really understand a topic until you understand both its parts and how its parts are arranged into the whole.  That understanding of how the parts fit into a whole give us some idea about how the mitzvos are meant to function.  Not to say, chas v'shalom, that we really understand any of the mitzvos or how they operate, but is is part of the mitzvah of talmud torah to deepen whatever understanding we can regarding how HaShem runs His world.  Moreover, it is spiritually invigorating to realize another dimension of meaning to even the most mundane actions.

One way to group mitzvos is as bein adam l'chaveiro and bein adam la'makom; between man and his fellow and between man and his Creator.  Yesterday's shalosh s'udos drush delved into how to classify the mitzvah of kibud av v'eim.   On the one hand, it seems clear as day that this is a mitzvah between man and his fellow man.  The entire mitzvah involves nothing but how to treat another human being.  On the other hand, the mitzvah of kibud av v'eim is on the bein adam la'makom lu'ach; along with knowing there is no independent transcendent (good word, no?  it means that it is it beyond human understanding and knowledge) force and keeping Shabbos holy.  So where does it fit?  And since it is on the bein adam la'makom lu'ach, why is it so steeped with bein adam l'chaveiro halachos?

The Bnei Yissaschar explains that everything is really created in a continuum; whenever you so two extremes, it means there is a something in the middle that displays both characteristics.  One of these that you will run into studying hilchos yom tov is the koy.  The koy is an animal that has some characteristics of a beheima/domestic animals (it's internal fats are forbidden, for example) and some characteristics of a chaya/wild animal (the blood from its sh'chiya needs to be covered, for example).  The first example you will run into in the Torah is right on the sixth day: man; creation that balances between the  transcendent spiritual forces and the physicality of this world.

The mitzvah of kibud av v'eim is that middle mitzvah that connect the bein adam l'chaveiro to the bein adam la'makom.  That means that every mundane, physical action of honoring one's parents; preparing food for them, helping them with life transitions, even calling them to make them a part of our busy lives... each and every act is an act of avodas HaShem; directly strengthening, broadening, and deepening our relationship with our Creator.

The rav also mentioned two other middle creations noted by the B'nei Yissaschar: between man and beast, there is the ape; between Jew and goy, there is the ger.  Hmm... that explains a lot.

Comments

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: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…