Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: K'doshim T'hiyu -- A Statement of Fact

I have had the z'chus to both ask R' Fuerst, shlita, sh'eilos (much more frum than questions) and also to hear him answer sh'eilos.  There is a lot to learn even from the way the rav answers the questions; afilu sichas chulin shel talmidei chachamim tz’richa talmud.  I once heard someone asking the following three questions: (1) Does a woman who lights an extra Shabbos candle as as k'nas (fine) for having forgotten to light one Friday night need to light that extra candle even when she is eating out (and therefore not lighting at home)?  (Answer: yes)  (2)  A towel was left on the stove Friday night and caught fire.  I pulled it off the stove, put it on the floor, poured water around it, then slid a cookie sheet underneath to keep the floor from burning.  Was that ok?  (Answer: Yes.  In fact, added the rav, I would have put it in the sink.)  (3) Are you allowed to put seasoned salt on cholent?  (Answer:  Davar gush... that's a problem.)

What impressed me the most (I am beyond being impressed by the the fact that he answers instantaneously -- with source; I've just come to expect that) was the tone of the answers.  Both were given the same serious consideration, both were answered calmly.  Whether it is minhag, conflagration, or cooking on Shabbos; halacha addresses the issue, a posek can clarify, and Jews ask.

This morning, 14 Iyar, we didn't say tachanun.  Why not?  Pesach sheini.  Hmm... therefore what?  Because if someone was tamei on pesach they got a make up day, I don't say tachanun?  The Shulchan Aruch doesn't mention it.  The Mishna Brura barely mentions it.  My sidder, T'filas Yosef, adds a note at the end of the list of day when we don't say tachanun that some places don't say tachanun on Peasch Sheini.  (Some places?  I don't remember the last time I was somewhere that they did say it!  Of course, I also don't remember the last time I was somewhere that didn't start shmoneh esrei precisely at ha'neitz ha'chama, either.)  It gives list of references; a Pri Chadash, a Pri Megadim, and a Sha'arei Tshuva; all of which just noted the minhag, but gave no explanation.

What is Pesach Sheini, anyway?  There were Jews in the midbar who were tamei l'meis on Pesach, so they came to Moshe Rabbeinu and asked for a make up.  Hang on here... what about "anus rachmana patrei"/the Torah exempts one who is prevented by unavoidable circumstances from performing a mitzvah.  More than that... how were they tamei l'meis?  No one was dying in the midbar except on Tisha b'Av.  Chazal say they were either dealing with the bones of the sh'vatim or the m'kosheish; either was it was a mitzvah.  What happened to "oseik b'mitzvah, patur min ha'mitzvah"/the Torah doesn't require nor desire that you stop doing one mitzvah to do another; the same Torah that commanded this commanded that.

Simple: a mitzvah is an opportunity to connect with HaShem.  Jews don't want out of that.  Especially the mitzvah that forged us into Klal Yisrael, the action by which we turned away from being just another nation to the Am haNivchar -- the Chosen People.  K'doshim T'hiyu is a commandment, but HaShem knows His customers.  To whom can you command to be holy?  To those who strive to be holy.

I think I'll have some matzah tonight.


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: 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…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…