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					                                   Toronto Torah             Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Parshat Chayyei Sarah                                         27 Marcheshvan 5770/Nov 14, 2009                                      Vol.I Num. 5

Birkat HaChodesh—A Time for Redemption                                                                                            Russell Levy

 ‫מי שעשה נִ סים לאבֹותינּו, וְ ַָאל אֹותם מעבדּות‬
       ְֵַ ָ             ‫ג‬      ֵ ֲַ          ִ     ֶָָ ִ    camaraderie to Yom Kippur Katan, a         redemption.
      ֵַ ֵַ               ְָ ָ                          ְֵ
  ‫לחרּות, הּוא יִ גְ ַאל אֹותנּו בקרֹוב, וִ יקבץ נִ דחינּו‬   practice of fasting and praying on
 ‫מארבע כנְ פֹות הָארץ, חברים כל יִ שראל, וְ נֹאמר‬
    ַ         ֵ ָ ְ ָ ִ ֲֵ ֶ ָ                    ַ ְַ ֵ                                                However, R’ Ki Tov’s explanation is
                            .‫ָאמן‬                            Rosh Chodesh eve, instituted by the        problematic: The text of Birkat
  May He who performed miracles for                          mekubal R’ Moshe Cordevero.                HaChodesh was already set in the 11th
our forefathers, and redeemed us from                        R’ Cordevero understood Rosh               century’s siddur Machzor Vitri, at least
 slavery to freedom, speedily redeem                         Chodesh to be a day of kapparah,           400 years before the institution of Yom
 us, and gather our dispersed from the                       atonement, a lesson visible in the Rosh    Kippur Katan! As well, the gemara
            four corners of the world;                       Chodesh mussaf prayer: ‫ראשי חדשים‬          (Shevuot 9b) explains that Yom
all Jews are comrades, and we shall say                      ‫“ ,לעמך נתת, זמן כפרה לכל תולדתם‬You gave   Kippur’s atonement does not apply to
                           Amen.                             your nation Rosh Chodesh, a time of        all sins, but only to those known to the
                                                             atonement for all their offspring.”        transgressors – it would be odd to
This Shabbat, after the Torah reading,
                                                             Therefore, R’ Cordovero instituted a       suggest that the atonement for these
we will announce Rosh Chodesh via
                                                             day of fasting and prayer, Yom Kippur      sins alone would warrant full
Birkat HaChodesh, the Blessing of the
                                                             Katan, preceding Rosh Chodesh.             redemption.
New Month. Though instituted more
than a millennium ago to ensure that                         The fasting and prayer of Yom Kippur       The Rebbe of R’ Ki Tov’s father, R’
the congregation knew the date of the                        Katan is not only expiatory for those      Tzadok HaCohen Rabinowitz of Lublin,
new month’s inception, Birkat                                who observe it, though; it serves the      offered a different interpretation of
HaChodesh is more than a mere                                whole nation. In Sefer Hatoda‟ah, R’       ‫ .חברים כל ישראל‬In his commentary on
public proclamation of the calendar;                         Avraham Mokotovsky (better known           the Chumash, Pri Tzadik, R’ Tzadok
the text also contains many requests                         as R’ Eliyahu Ki Tov) explained that       explained that this line is not a
for brachot from G-d. The final portion                      when we fulfill non-obligatory mitzvot     statement of fact, but a supplication.
of the prayer, translated above,                             like Yom Kippur Katan, we provide          Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred, caused
beseeches G-d for redemption.                                merit not only for ourselves, but for      the destruction of the Second Beit
The end of this prayer is perplexing,                        Klal Yisrael as a whole.                   haMikdash and our current need for
though: How does ‫“ ,חברים כל ישראל‬all                        With this in mind, R’ Ki Tov elucidated    redemption. To merit the building of
Jews are comrades,” fit into our                             the meaning of ‫ :חברים כל ישראל‬through     the Third Beit haMikdash and our
request for redemption?                                      those who fast on Yom Kippur Katan,        future redemption, we must eradicate
                                                             the whole nation will warrant              this sin from our midst.
One      approach           ties     our     national
                                                                                                        For almost 2000 years, we have not
                                                                                                        overcome this sin; it would be a lie to
    Parsha Questions                                                            Meir Lipschitz          declare ‫“ .חברים כל ישראל‬All Jews are
(Sources are provided to help the reader research answers)                                              comrades.” R’ Tzadok explained that
                                                                                                        we are not stating a fact, at all; rather,
                                                                                                        we are beseeching G-d to make this a
 Was Keturah actually Hagar?                                                                           reality.
 (Ibn Ezra, Rashi, Siftei Chachamim, Rashbam & Kli Yakar to Bereishit 25:1)                             Of course, tefillah alone is insufficient;
 How old was Rivkah when she married Yitzchak?                                                         pr a yer a lone ca nnot fix our
 (Rashi and Ramban to Bereishit 25:20, Tosafot Yevamot 61b “‫)”וכן‬                                       relationships with our fellow man. We
                                                                                                        plead for G-d’s help for the strength to
 Did Yishmael repent?                                                                                  become comrades with all of Israel,
 (Bava Batra 16b, Rosh haShanah 16b, Rashi Bereishit 25:9, Siftei Chachamim                             and through this to merit a speedy
 Bereishit 21:17, Ritva Yoma 38b & Kiddushin 68b)                                                       redemption, the ingathering of our
 For Children: Why does the Torah divide Sarah’s age into 100 years, 20 years and 7                    exiles and the building of the Third
 years?                                                                                                 Beit HaMikdash.
 (Rashi Bereishit 23:1)                                                  

                            Yeshiva University
                        Center for the Jewish Future
  Extreme Chesed                                                                                           Netanel Javasky

Sefer Bereishit is packed with stories      In Parshat Kedoshim (20:17) the Torah       Fulfilling our mandate of chesed
about chesed. We are told about the         describes forbidden relations between       requires more than performing the
great acts of kindness that Avraham         a man and his sister as chesed Hu, “it is   easy, sensible acts. Chesed requires
performs, while recuperating from his       chesed.” What could this possibly           that we act irrationally and go a step
circumcision: Avraham doesn’t just          mean? Isn’t this a defamation of such a     beyond the norm to perform the
welcome the visitors, but he rushes his     holy concept?                               kindness. This is demonstrated most
family to meet their every need. We                                                     blatantly in Rivkah’s story in our
then watch Avraham debate intensely         Rav Mayer Twersky, basing his               parshah: Rivkah went back and forth
with HaShem to salvage some of the          comments in Ibn Ezra’s commentary,          bringing enough water for all the men
terrible cities HaShem had marked for       explains that the word chesed is used       and their camels. It didn’t matter that
destruction. Avraham refuses to accept      to describe an extreme. The extreme         Rivkah was just one young woman
this heavenly decree and does               may be positive or, as in describing        surrounded by numerous men; Rivkah
everything he can to save the lives of      immorality, it may be a repulsive act of    performed this ultimate act of chesed
the wicked.         He “bargains” with      tremendous magnitude. In fact, the          even thought it seemed irrational, even
Hashem repeatedly, until he is left with    Rambam in the first perek of Hilchot        nonsensical.
no more ammunition. Even Lot, who           De‟ot describes anyone who veers
                                            from the “Golden Mean” as a chasid.         This “extremism” is a lesson we can
willingly chose to associate with the                                                   learn from Rivkah’s story. Chesed must
wicked kingdom of Sdom, is willing to       R ambam e mp h as iz es t h at t hi s
                                            description refers to someone who is        not stop with simple and rational acts
risk his life in performing kindness: He                                                of kindness; we must be ready and
welcomes the angels into his house,         unbalanced on either side of the
                                            spectrum. Chasidim are those who            willing to transcend this, spending
knowing well that this welcoming act                                                    time, money and effort in situations
would be punishable by death.               attempt to be extreme in their
                                            relationship with Hashem.                   where that is not simple, when we
Interestingly, the Torah also uses the                                                  would not be naturally inclined to do
word chesed in a dramatically               Apparently, chesed, by its very             so. This is true “extremist” chesed.
different, bizarrely contrasting context.   definition, refers to something                 
                                            extreme, something excessive.

    Schedule for Shabbaton at Bnai Torah, Nov 13-14, 2009
                                                                                        Shabbat Day
                                                                 Hashkama Minyan
                     Leil Shabbat                                Following Torah reading: Meir Lipschitz, “Why must
  Communal Dinner (Registration Required)
                                                                 Yitzchak remain in Israel?”
  R’ Azarya Berzon, “Lessons of Faith from the
  Gaza War”                                                      Following Davening: Itamar Zolberg, “The Presence
                                                                 of the Shechina in Israel” B’Ivrit
  Oneg Shabbat, 8:00 PM
  R’ Mordechai Torczyner, “Disobeying Orders in                  Daf Yomi, 3:30PM: Russell Levy
  the IDF: a Religious-Zionist Conflict”
                                                                 Seudah Shlishit
                                                                 Netanel Javasky: “Our Forefathers’ Foreign Policy”

   The 613 Mitzvot – Mitzvah 5-6 : Preparing and Eating the Korban Pesach
  The fifth biblical mitzvah is the instruction to prepare      published arguments for bringing the korban pesach
  the korban pesach, and the sixth is to eat the korban.        in our own age. Rav Kalischer dealt with numerous
  By performing these mitzvot, Jews commemorate the             technical objections – identifying the location of the
  departure from Egypt, re-creating the original                mizbeiach, requiring a navi, attaining taharah,
  departure. Groups gather and select a lamb or goat,           identifying kohanim, creating proper clothing for the
  and bring it as their offering. Part of the meat is           kohanim and more. Nonetheless, Rav Kalischer was
  burned on the mizbeiach; the rest is eaten by the             opposed by Rav Akiva Eiger and Rav Yaakov Ettlinger
  members of the group.                                         (author of the Aruch LaNer), among others, and he was
                                                                never able to implement his ideas.
  In the 19th century, Rav Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer

     2                                                                                         Visit us at
                                        Ha’Am V’Ha’Aretz
                                                Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein
    Torah in Translation                          The Aruch haShulchan
                                                                                              ‫חברון שלנו לדורי דורות‬
Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 338:8                                                                         ‫איתמר זולברג‬
  Cantorial practices of the early 19th            Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 century: Opposition and Justification         Rabbi Yechiel Michel HaLevi Epstein
                                               was born in 1829 to a family of wealthy     ‫בפרשת השבוע שלנו אנו נפגשים במציאות‬
       Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
                                               army contractors who serviced the           ‫מיוחדת , פעם ראשונה שעושה אברהם אבינו‬
For some decades, due to our great sins,       Czar’s army, in Belarus. He married         ‫מעשה המעיד על אחיזה בקרקע. אמנם אברהם‬
a leprosy has spread among cantors.            the sister of Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda     ‫חפר בארות ובנה מזבחות אך אין זה מעיד על‬
These cantors hold a small silver fork or a    Berlin, the Netziv.                         ‫יישוב בארץ. לעומת זאת קניין מערת המכפלה‬
lump of iron (termed kamar tone) when          Rabbi Epstein was the rav of                ‫שבחברון וקבורת שרה שם מעיד על כוונתו של‬
standing before the platform on Shabbat        Novozypkov and then Novardok, from                              .‫אברהם להשתקע בארץ‬
and Yom Tov, for setting the song’s pitch.     1854 until his passing. He was well-
                                               respected by both chasidim and              ‫במשך דור האבות חברון היתה מקום מושבם‬
The cantors place the fork between their
teeth, and they hear a musical sound;          mitnagdim, and figures as diverse as        . ‫העיקרי והם חזרו אליה כדי לקבור את מתם‬
                                               Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, Rav          ‫כאשר כלב בן יפונה מגיע לארץ הוא פונה‬
they then know how to arrange the song.
                                               Yehoshua Leib Diskin and the                ‫לחבר ון ל התפל ל על קבר י אב ות , המקום‬
This is, literally, a musical instrument,      Tzchernobyler Rebbe wrote haskamot
                                                                                           ‫שמראה את האחיזה של עם ישראל בארץ‬
designed to produce music. We do not           (letters of approbation) for his works.
have the power to protest their claims         Rabbi Epstein wrote prolifically; his
that they cannot generate music without        writings include derashot,                  ‫העיר הפכה להיות לבירת שבט יהודה. כאשר‬
these instruments. Due to our great sins,      commentary to Talmud Yerushalmi,            ‫מקבלים שבט יהודה את דוד למלך , מקום‬
our generation is loose and the masses         commentary to the Haggadah,                            .‫מושבו הוא בחברון למשך 7 שנים‬
support these cantors. Not only are we         teshuvot and his most famous work,
unable to protest, but even exiting the        the Aruch haShulchan.                       ‫במשך אלפי שנים היתה נוכחות יהודית בעיר‬
synagogue causes a fight, as is known.         In the Aruch haShulchan, Rabbi              ‫חברון וזהו אחד המקומות היחידים שגם לאחר‬
                                               Epstein reverse-engineered the              ‫החורבן המשיכו היהודים להתיישב בו . בשנת‬
Perhaps it is possible to suggest that this                                                ‫1919 נפסקה השרשרת של התיישבות במה‬
                                               Shulchan Aruch, tracing each halachah
device is not among the “musical               back to its earliest sources. Three         ‫שנודע כמאורעות תרפ"ט. הערבים החלו לפרוע‬
instruments” which our sages prohibited,       small manuscript sections are missing,      ‫ביהודים בעקבות הסתה של המופתי, ורק לאחר‬
for the following reasons:                     but it covers the entire breadth of the     ‫שעות רבות ועשרות הרוגים הצליחה המשטרה‬
                                               Shulchan Aruch. In addition, his Aruch
      The sound of this music is not                                                      ‫הבריטית להפסיק את הפרעות . כתוצאה מכך‬
                                               haShulchan he’Atid dealt with laws for
       heard other than from the cantor’s                                                                        .‫ננטש היישוב היהודי‬
                                               the time of the Beit haMikdash.
       mouth to his ear,
                                               Rabbi Epstein dealt with meta-halachic      , ‫בשנת 7919, במהלך מלחמת ששת הימים‬
      The sound is only momentary, and
                                               topics, such as the role of Kabbalah in     ‫לא ח ר כ י ב וש י ר וש ל ים ה ח ל יט ה רב ג ו ר ן‬
      The purpose is to generate vocal        the development of Jewish law, in his
       song, which was never forbidden.                                                    . ‫שברצונו להיות ראשון בכיבוש עיר האבות‬
                                               writings. He also addressed the issues      ‫במקום להיות מאחורי קו הלוחמים , התקדמו‬
This matches what we wrote regarding           of a new age: matters of evolving
whistling and placing one’s hand in one’s      community structures, new                   ‫הרב ונהגו לפני הכוחות הלוחמים והיו‬
mouth.                                         technologies,     the strife between        ‫הראשונים בחברון. הערבים שנפל פחד היהודים‬
                                               Mussar and anti-Mussar advocates and        ‫עליהם נכנעו מיד לנוכח הרב ונהגו. הרב היה‬
We need to justify this; it would be
                                               the tension between Zionists and anti-      ‫ליהודי הראשון שמזה מאות שנים עבר את‬
disgraceful to say that the Jewish nation
                                               Zionists.                                   ‫המדרגה השביעית הידועה לשימצה שהיתה‬
would stumble in a Shevut, all the more
so when standing in prayer before the          Rabbi Epstein passed away in 1908,          ‫הגבול שעד אליו נתנו ליהודים לעלות לכיוון‬
King of Kings, Gd Himself!                     but his legacy looms large; his Aruch                                         .‫מערת המכפלה‬
                                               haShulchan is a fundamental text for
[Further, regarding the practice of saying     studying halachah. Also, his son, Rabbi     ‫היישוב היהודי בחברון התחדש , אך הפרעות‬
words, and repeating them twice and            Baruch haLevi Epstein, authored             ‫הפיגועים לא חדלו. השבת חיי שרה היא שבת‬
three times, and spreading notes before        several popular works, including the        ‫חברון בה עולים מאות יהודים לעיר ולמערה‬
the platform to sing in the style of a         Baruch sheAmar (on the siddur) and          ‫להביע תמיכה ואמונה שחברון היא עיר האבות‬
performance – all who have awe of heaven       the Torah Temimah.                  .‫מאז ולעולם‬
are pained by this, and they cannot             
protest, for the masses are undisciplined,
and they will not listen to the words of the   actions of the sanctified descendants       As to the notes they spread before the
sages in this matter! They say that this is    of Israel, whose eyes are sealed.           platform, we cannot present a reason
their enjoyment of Shabbat and Yom Tov!        Perhaps, from the fact that our Sages       to state a clear prohibition here, and
                                               said one silences a cantor only for         so, “Let Israel practice as it will; better
In truth, perhaps there is no prohibition in   repeating the word “Shema,” we may          for them to practice in error, etc.”]
this, but one who is good before Gd will       say that this is not true for other words    
flee therefrom. We have come to justify the    that they repeat twice and three times.

Visit us at                                                                                                   3
Shiur in Review: Avraham Avinu’s Chassidut                                                                         R’ Azarya Berzon

“And the man came to the house, and he          upward path leading from one level to Yosef. “And did not turn to the
unfastened the camels” (Bereishit 24:32).       the next.                                arrogant” (Ibid) – Because since he said to
Rashi comments: He loosened their               Ramban uses R’ Pinchas ben Yair to infer the Sar HaMashkim, “If you only you would
muzzles, for he would shut their mouths so      that there was no need for Avraham remember me… and mention me to
that they would not graze along the way in      Avinu to muzzle his camels in order to Pharaoh,” (Bereishit 40:14) he received two
fields belonging to others.                     prevent them from eating that which did additional years.‟ Many have studied this
Ramban, however, disagrees with Rashi:          not belong to their master. At first Midrash… but it has a simple explanation.
„...and in the words of Bereishit               glance, this is a startling idea. We know      The acceptable measure of hishtadlut
Rabah (60:8), “R‟ Huna asked R‟ Chiya:          that camels eat – and continue to eat –        (effort) is not the same for every person.
Were not Avraham Avinu‟s camels                 everything which is placed before them.        Rather, each person according to his own
comparable to R‟ Pinchas ben Yair‟s             Will camels refuse to eat forbidden            level. For one who can trust in HaShem with
donkey?” This question refutes the idea         foods? In Avraham Avinu’s case, the            a little effort, his efforts above the amount
that their muzzles were unfastened,             answer was a resounding yes. His great         required for this measure will be
because it is not possible that                 chassidut was able to influence his            considered for him as a sin against the trait
the chassidut (piety) in R‟ Pinchas ben         camels as well!                                of bitachon (trust), because he relied on
Yair‟s home was greater than in                 Ramban’s approach here offers                  his hishtadlut and rather than bitachon. And
Avraham Avinu‟s home. And since R‟              additional insight into an earlier             one whose level of bitachon is less than his
Pinchas ben Yair‟s donkey did not need to       comment of Ramban in Parshat Lech              friend‟s can put in more effort than his
be kept away from the things which are          Lecha (Bereishit 12:10): And know that         friend.      And behold, Yosef‟s meager
forbidden for his owner to feed him, all        Avraham Avinu transgressed a great             hishtadlut – namely, that he asked the Sar
the more so Avraham Avinu‟s camels, and         sin b‟shgagah (unintentionally) when he        HaMashkim, „mention me to Pharoh‟ –
there was no need to muzzle them.               brought his righteous wife as a stumbling      precipitated         a    punishment.     For
                                                block to iniquity, due to his fear that they   Yosef‟s bitachon was so great that even this
Ramban is referring to the Gemara
                                                would kill him. And he should have trusted     extremely minor effort is counted against
in Chulin (7a): Even the animals of the                                                        him. And from his punishment, we can
righteous – Hashem does not lead them to        that Hashem would save him and his wife
                                                and everything that he had, because G-d        recognize the greatness of his bitachon,
failure. What are ‘the animals of the
                                                has the power to help and to save.             which we truly cannot fathom.”
righteous’? R’ Pinchas ben Yair’s donkey, who
refused to eat until maaser was taken.          Likewise, his departure from Eretz Yisrael,Thus, we can understand Ramban’s
                                                about which he was commanded at the        teaching that Avraham sinned when “he
The Midrash Tannaim (Devarim
                                                beginning, due to the famine, was a sin    should have trusted that Hashem would
23:15) gives us a glimpse into
                                                which he transgressed. Even in famine, G-  save him and his wife.” Due to the level of
the chassidut of R’ Pinchas ben Yair: R‟
                                                d would deliver him from death. [See Iyov  Avraham Avinu’s chassidut, extraordinary
Pinchas ben Yair would say, “Swiftness
                                                5:20.] And for this incident, his          miracles replaced the laws of nature in his
leads to cleanliness. Cleanliness leads to
                                                descendants were condemned to exile in     home, and he did not need to muzzle his
purity. Purity leads to sanctity. Sanctity
                                                the Land of Egypt, under Pharaoh. The evil camels. Hence, he should have trusted
leads to humility. Humility leads to fear of
                                                and the sin are in the place of judgment.  Hashem, rather than bring “his righteous
sin. Fear of sin leads to chassidut (piety).
Chassidut leads to ru‟ach hakodesh (the         With the insight of the Beit wife as a stumbling block to iniquity, due
Divine Spirit). Ru‟ach hakodesh leads           HaLevi (Breishit 41:1) we can understand to his fear that they would kill him” and
to techiyat hameitim.” Clearly, R’ Pinchas      Ramban’s comment: It is written in leave Eretz Yisrael during the famine.
ben Yair had mastered each of these             Midrash Rabbah (Parshat Mikeitz 89:3),             
levels, for otherwise he could not have         „“Praiseworthy is the man who made R’ Berzon gives a weekly shiur on Ramban at
authored a recipe delineating the               Hashem his trust” (Tehilim 40:5) – This is 8:00 AM on Shabbat at Or Chaim.

Schedule for the Week of November 14, 27 Marcheshvan
Friday, November 13 and Shabbat, November 14
Bnai Torah Shabbaton: Please see Page 2.                                Tuesday, November 17
8:00AM R’ Azarya Berzon: Ramban on the Torah, Or Chaim                  1:30PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Trei Asar-The Twelve Prophets,
Following Hashkama R’ Azarya Berzon, Clanton Park                              Shaarei Shomayim Women, with Mekorot
                                                                        8:30PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Minchat Chinuch, Clanton Park Men
Sunday, November 15
8:30AM Community Learning and Shiur, Mizrahi Bayit Men and              Wednesday, November 18
       Women                                                            10:00AM R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Parsha, 239 Franklin, Babysitting
8:00PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Judaism’s Ethical Dilemmas:                     provided Women
       Smoking, Thornhill Community Shul Men and Women                  8:30PM Meir Lipschitz: Parshah: Peshat, Derash and More, Clanton
9:00PM R’ Azarya Berzon: Masechet Kiddushin in-depth, Shaarei                  Park Men
       Shomayim Men and Women                                           8:45PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner: TechnoShabbat-Bionic Eyes, Smart
                                                                               Houses and More!, BAYT Men and Women
Monday, November 16                                                     Thursday, November 19
8:00AM Breakfast and Business Ethics: Choosing between Kindness         7:00PM R’ Azarya Berzon: In-depth Talmud (Or Chaim Parents), Or
       and Profit, FHJC Men and Women                                          Chaim
8:00PM Itamar Zolberg: Classic Jewish Thought, Shaarei Tefillah Men     7:00PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner and Ellen Grossman: Ancient Grains,
       and Women                                                               Lipa Green Culinary Studio, Men and Women
8:30PM R’ Azarya Berzon: Rambam’s Hilchot Talmud Torah, Clanton         8:30PM R’ Azarya Berzon: Machshavah and Life Issues, Clanton Park
       Park Men                                                                Men

      4                                                                                                 Visit us at

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