Parshas Ki-Seitzei 5767
Jewish Personality Of The Week Hilchos Shabbos
The temple, spacious and beautifully decorated, has recently been erected with the help of generous donations from the
community. It is the architectural centerpiece of the neighborhood, taller than many of its adjacent structures and Q: Can one take sleeping tablets on
attracting the eyes of many a passerby. Shabbos?
Its beauty, though, belies its dubious distinction; amid its grand adornments is an organ for use during Shabbos services The debate regarding the
along with the melodious accompaniment of a mixed choir. This innovation, coupled with the recent creation of a new consumption of sleeping tablets
siddur eliminating the Shemona Esrei as well as any mention of the Beis Hamikdash, ultimate redemption, or Moshiach, centers mainly around two concepts.
portends grave consequences for European Jewry. Is not being able to sleep an illness
and are sleeping pills medication?
Gazing up at the impressive structure, his mind struggles to reconcile its architectural beauty with its inauspicious
statement, one which fills him with dread. Only nine years old, he already recognizes the building’s ominous symbolism.
The grandson of Rav Menachem Mendel Frankfurter, a talmid of Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz, who founded the Talmud If we define a person who cannot
Torah of Hamburg to serve the needs of the poorer class in Germany which had had, as of yet, no access to Torah sleep as not being ill, then such a
education, he understands the paramount importance of such in a Jew’s life. His father, having perpetuated his person may consume a sleeping
grandfather’s legacy, dedicated his life to educating as many as possible regarding the centrality of Torah in Jewish life tablet. This is based on several
regardless of one’s environment, a message which permeated his home and had a powerful impact on the young child. halachos in the Shulchan Aruch that
say that one may chew gum to
Years later, Naftali, in his late teens, encounters Binyomin, a childhood friend. As they reminisce, Binyomin expresses eradicate a trace of bad breath
doubt about the essentiality of Judaism in the modern world. He opines that Torah observance does not result in one’s [Siman 328:36] and one may
satisfaction or perfection, but actually hinders one’s success. Naftali, astonished by his friend’s irreverent ranting, consume sweet herbs [Siman
counters that one cannot judge Judaism from a position of ignorance, that one must study Torah for its own sake, and 328:38] and a raw egg in order to
cannot view it through the prism of secularism. Naftali meets with Binyomin eighteen more times in a valiant attempt to improve one’s voice. The poskim
give him a fresh Torah perspective on our nation’s history and teach him the true value of Judaism and Shmiras explain that the reason this is
Hamitzvos. permitted is because bad breath and
a hoarse voice are not considered
At 18, Naftali studies under Rav Ya’akov Ettlinger, the author of the Aruch L’ner, for a year and a half. He receives symptoms of being ill [M”B siman
smicha, and then attends the University of Bonn for one semester, studying philosophy and the arts, knowledge he will 328:116 and 122. Vilna Ga’on in s’if
utilize in his battle with other Binyomins, as he decides to consecrate his life in defense of Torah against the ravages of 38 says that the source is s’if 36].
the new Reform Movement. During this time, he meets Baron Anschel Rothschild, who is enamored by his harmonious
fusion of seemingly dichotomous ideals. Shortly afterward, on Mr. Rothschild’s recommendation, he is appointed as The reason behind this leniency is
Chief Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, where he serves for several years. His persistent efforts in defense of because Chazal instituted a g’zeira
Orthodoxy gain him worldwide esteem, and he is soon invited to lead the Jewish population of Moravia, a region prohibiting the grinding of herbs to
comprised of 52 different communities. Within four years, he moves on to the Rabbinate of Frankfurt Am Main, and cure an illness, which one might do
becomes renowned as West European Jewry’s preeminent fighter against the Reform Movement. Frankfurt, a centuries- out of concern for one’s illness.
long center of Torah, lies directly in the path of the reformers’ crusade through Europe, and control of its community When one is not ill, the concern for
board soon falls into their clutches, as they begin to assert their influence over all areas of religious life. In response, grinding herbs falls away.
several Orthodox leaders found a new congregation, secede from the greater Frankfurt community, and offer Naftali the
leadership of this new enclave. Upon assuming the mantle of leadership, he immediately begins the daunting task of
reaffirming the community’s adherence to tradition, establishing a Yeshiva which serves as a model for hundreds of The K’tzos HaShulchan [Siman 138
future Yeshivos, offering courses in secular studies with an emphasis on Torah education, becoming responsible for the footnote 31] writes that a person who
rise of a new generation of strictly observant Jews in Europe. Indeed, years later, a young Polish woman in Vienna cannot sleep is not considered as
attends a drasha delivered by Rav Moshe Dovid Flesch, a student of the Rav’s successor, who quotes extensively from being ill. He concludes that based on
his works. The young woman, Sara Schnierer, profoundly inspired by his ideas, later establishes the Bais Yaakov this concept (and a few others) one
Movement, revolutionizing education for Jewish girls. may consume a sleeping tablet if,
when abstaining from doing so, will
The Rav’s tenure at the helm of this community would be characterized by revolutionary changes in practice, marked cause much distress and suffering.
most notably by his donning of clerical robes during drashos delivered in German, his establishment of an all male choir
at services, and his abolishment of the Kol Nidrei service, changes ostensibly designed to offer comfort to Orthodox On the other hand, the Minchas
individuals who might otherwise be swayed by the beckoning Reform Movement. The fall of the ghetto and age of Yitzchak writes [3rd vol. siman 21
enlightenment presented new challenges to European Jewry, challenges met head on by the Rav, who, in the eyes of and other seforim] that since it is
Gedolim throughout Europe, was instrumental in saving German Jewry. made into pill form it is subject to
the g’zeira of consuming medication
Naftali and Binyomin would never meet again, for they existed only in the imagination of Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, on Shabbos. Other poskim write
who, at an early age, successfully defeated his own Binyomin and endeavored, in his epic work, The Nineteen Letters, to [Tsitz Eliezer] that since a sleeping
save German Jewry from the ferocious onslaught of the Reform movement. Their battle continues to rage, however, pill has therapeutic attributes, it is
within each one of us, as we struggle to reconcile our commitment to tradition while offering a nod of acknowledgement subject to the g’zeira.
to modernity. Rav Hirsch’s yeshiva in Frankfurt, built upon the ideal of “Torah Im Derech Eretz” a method of
perceiving and confronting the modern world through the prism of Torah, aimed at establishing an optimal balance
between the two, thereby bringing Torah’s dominion over all things to light. His most monumental work, his Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz”l
commentary on Chumash, in which he professes the inseparable bond between the Written and Oral Torah, can be better [SS”K 33:16 footnote 67] is of the
understood within the context of his lifelong struggle to contain the forces of modernity which threaten Judaism from lenient opinion and says that when a
within. Our struggle continues, with strength derived largely from the efforts of this powerful leader to whom we can person will be greatly distressed
now offer our sincere gratitude, for now we know… from lack of sleep, a sleeping tablet
…The REST of the Story. may be consumed. [Pirchei
Shoshanim, R’ Dovid Ostroff]
This Week In Jewish History D’Var Torah
[Shabbos, 11 Elul] Regarding the draft deferment of the Jewish
solider for the first year after his marriage, the
Torah says: "He shall be free do go home and
Expulsion of the Jewish community in Moravia, 1563. make his wife happy (v'seemach es ishto)."
Liquidation of the ghettos of Minsk and Lida, 1943. [Devarim 24:5]
1950: Operation Magic Carpet, secretly airlifting 45,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel, completed.
Rashi comments on the words "v'seemach es
[Sunday, 12 Elul] ishto" by citing the Aramaic Targum:
"v'yachdee yas itsei". Rashi explains that
anyone who translates the pasuk to mean
Pope renews anti-Jewish restrictions of the Roman Jewish community, 1732. "v'yachdee IM itsei" is making a mistake. The
two versions of Aramaic translation quoted by
Rashi hinge around the interpretation of the
[Monday, 13 Elul] Hebrew word "es". "V'seemach ES ishto" could
mean "You should MAKE your wife happy" or
Jews of New York (1695) petition the governor for permission to exercise their religion in public.
it could mean "You should be happy WITH
your wife." Rashi says the former translation is
Permission was denied, because freedom of religion applied to Christians only.
correct and the latter translation is erroneous.
Yahrzeit of the Ben Ish Chai, R’ Yosef Chaim of Baghdad (1834-1909). Rashi supports his position by stating that the
meaning of the “pi’el” grammatical form of the
[Tuesday, 14 Elul] word v'seemach is to make someone else happy.
Had the meaning been "you should rejoice
WITH your wife," the expression would have
Oldest existing kesuba written in the Western Hemisphere, 1643 (Yitzchak and Yehudit) – [she appeared as "v'sAmach es" not "v'sEEmach es".
made out like a bandit…]
1729: Congregation Shearith Israel laid a foundation stone in lower Manhattan for the first However, the Targum of Yonasan ben Uziel (a
structure ever designed and built as a synagogue in continental North America. Today, Shearith Tanna) quotes the very translation that Rashi
Israel continues on the Upper West Side. rejects as erroneous. How can Rashi imply that
Nazis decreed that Jews had no rights to moveable or immoveable property, 1940.
a Tanna does not know how to properly
translate a pasuk in Chumash?
1941: Jews of Vilna confined to ghetto; 1,668 Jews of Radomysl, Poland, executed by Nazis.
The Shemen HaTov offers: Certainly, the
[Wednesday, 15 Elul] meaning of the pasuk is [as Rashi says] that the
husband must try to make his wife happy. A
marriage only works when each party is trying
1685: Right to public worship denied to New York Jews. See yesterday’s event 44 years later to make the other one happy; ultimately, they
(1729). will wind up both being happy. Alternatively, if
Yahrzeit of R’ Akiva Eiger (1758). one approaches marriage from the perspective
1827: Czar Nicholas I decreed all Jewish boys to be forcibly conscripted into the Russian Army at "What is in it for me?", no one will be happy.
age 12. Called "cantonists," these boys were kidnapped from their parents' home, and tortured
repeatedly with the implication that conditions would improve if they'd accept Christianity (many This interpretation of the Shemen HaTov could
died of their wounds). The boys were indoctrinated in military prep school until age 18, and shed light on the universally expressed blessing
thereafter served 25 years in the army. The authorities saw it as a corrective, forced assimilation of when a child is born that the parents merit to
stubborn Jews into Russian society, and as a way to undermine the authority of Jewish communal bring the child to Torah, to marriage (Chupah),
leaders. Some 50,000 Jewish boys were forced into Czar Nicholas' army, and most never returned and to ma'asim tovim (good deeds).
to the families they had left at age 12. The policy was abolished in 1855, with the Czar’s death.
The sequence of this blessing is often
[Thursday, 16 Elul] questioned. Why do ma'asim tovim appear last
in the list? It sounds from this wish like good
deeds only begin after one is married!?!
1903: Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery purporting to be the conspiratorial discussions of
Jewish leaders plotting to take over the world, appeared for the first time as a serial in Russian I once heard the following explanation: A single
newspaper, Znamia. Protocols gained popularity in anti-Semitic circles, and it was -- next to the man, shopping, thinks: I like Cheerios, I can't
Bible -- the best-selling book in the world during the 1920s. In the United States, Henry Ford stand Rice Krispies," and buys Cheerios. Then
sponsored its publication. Protocols became a mainstay of Nazi propaganda, and in Mein Kampf he gets married. His wife says "I hate Cheerios.
Hitler presents it as proof of the alleged "Jewish conspiracy." for which the persecution of Jews is I like Rice Krispies." If he can afford it, he buys
necessary as self-defense. Over the years, dozens of scholars have proved Protocols to be a one of each, and everyone is happy. But what if
forgery. [This publication was basically the New York Times without the crossword puzzle] he can’t afford it? He will have to make a
Nazi decree forbidding non-Jews to work for Jews, 1940. choice: "Should I buy Cheerios or Rice
Whole Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania, massacred by the Nazis, 1941.
Illegal Jewish immigrants exiled to Mauritius by the British, were admitted into Eretz Yisrael,
1945. The pasuk in this week's parsha cries out to him:
V'Seemach es Ishto. "I’m going to buy Rice
Krispies!" After marriage, even the act of
[Friday, 17 Elul] Min HaTorah: No'ach released the dove; The 10 Meraglim died. buying cereal [which had been just a mundane
shopping chore] now is an act of kindness, and
is turned into a ma'aseh mitzvah. Therefore we
2000 Jews of Caesaria murdered by the local population at the instigation of the Romans, 66 CE. understand: First Torah; then Chuppah; and
1935: Nazi Germany passed the Nuremberg laws: Jews were banned from any professional jobs after that even buying cereal will fall into the
and Jewish stores were boycotted. Anyone with even one Jewish grandparent was stripped of category of Ma'asim Tovim. [Rabbi
German citizenship, with no basic rights. Yissocher Frand, Torah.org]