Does Mesechta Kiddushin Begin With Talmud Torah?

The simple answer is no. The first Mishna of Kiddushin discusses the three ways a man can acquire a woman for marriage. Furthermore, only later in the tractate does the Gemara discuss the mitzvah incumbent upon a father to teach his son Torah.

However, it may be said there is still a remez to Talmud Torah in the Mishna, for a “woman” in the feminine can refer to Torah, which would then correspond to the three ways the Torah is acquired; through Kesef – supporting the Torah, Shtar – by supporting the writing of the Torah or for writing one or for writing chiddushei Torah or by the third way, Be’ah – to toil in the Torah and acquire it through the sweat of the brow.  (Later the Gemara includes Chupah a means of acquisition which is symbolic of receiving the Torah at Har Sinai).

But if we don’t accept the remez, why in fact does the tractate not begin with the most important mitzvah of Talmud Torah? For this we can look at the creation of the world, as Genesis begins with G-d’s creations, not Talmud Torah.

It must be that the lesson of Genesis is that place and acquisition are prerequisites for Torah. If one knows his place and has “acquired” a self identity, he can absorb the depths of the Torah.

This can be the reason why the Gemara Kiddushin begins with the laws of acquisitions first and then only later discusses Talmud Torah. It conveys that first a place of self knowledge with the ability to acquire must be established and then a masterful conquering of the depth and majesty of Talmud Torah can be effectuated.

Ki Tavo – A Hint To Aliyah

Ki Tavo simply translates to mean “when you come..to the land.” Targum Onkelos (which the Gemara Megillah says was given at Sinai), however, translates the meaning to be when you are תעול, “go up” to the land. The Targum should awaken every soul to the majesty of Israel, for it is a land that’s raised above all others and carries with it the highest potential for spirituality.

The Arizal’s Hefsed Of Rabbi Moshe Cordevero

At Rabbi Moshe Cordevero’s eulogy, the Arizal said that Rabbi Moshe Cordevero never sinned in his life. In that case, why did he die? The Arizal used the verse in last week’s parsha to explain: וְכִי־יִֽהְיֶ֣ה בְאִ֗ישׁ חֵ֛טְא מִשְׁפַּט־מָ֖וֶת וְהוּמָ֑ת וְתָלִ֥יתָ אֹת֖וֹ עַל־עֵֽץ – “If a man commits a sin for which he is sentenced to death, and he is put to death, you shall [then] hang him on a tree” (Deuteronomy 21:22). The verse begins, וְכִי־יִֽהְיֶ֣ה בְאִ֗ישׁ חֵ֛טְא מִשְׁפַּט־מָ֖וֶת, “When a man has a sin deserving death..” (Id. 21:22), which didn’t apply to Rabbi Moshe Cordevero for he never sinned and therefore didn’t deserve death; so why did he perish? For this, the Arizal quotes the end of the verse, וְתָלִ֥יתָ אֹת֖וֹ עַל־עֵֽץ, “it must be because of the sin of the tree” (Id. 21:22), namely the Eitz Hadaat, which refers to Adam HaRishon’s chet that brought mortality to the world.

Fear And Love

The Torah instructs a father to “teach thoroughly” (ve-shinantam) the words or Torah to his son (Deuteronomy 6:7). The word ve-shinantam stems from the word shinnun, which implies sharpness. Based on this, the beraita explains that “the words of Torah should be sharp in your mouth,” such that if someone asks you a question you should know the answer immediately. (Kiddushin 30a). The Gemara (id. 30b) supports this with a verse, “Say to wisdom ‘you are my sister’ ( Mishlei 7:4).

Rashi brings two explanations for what this means. First he says, just as everyone knows with certainty that one may not marry his sister, so should one be certain about other areas of halacha. The second explanation is, just as one knows one’s sister or friend well and is comfortable with them, one should be well-versed in areas of wisdom.

What’s to be gleaned from these two explanations and what compelled Rashi to provide both?

Perhaps Rashi first wanted to emphasize the need for Yiras Shamayim (the idea of fear of not transgressing) in learning. It can’t be a mere exercise in understanding it well, but it must be studied with seriousness and knowledge that there is the right way and the wrong way to approach wisdom. Then Rashi says that one must also have a love for the Torah and know it as well as he knows his own sister.

Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Parsha Ki Teitzei – Salvation Through Modesty

Introduction

In this week’s parashah the Torah discusses the laws of going out to battle. One of the laws of battle is that the Jewish People retain a state of sanctity in the camp. It is said (Devarim 23:10) ki teitzei machaneh al oyvecho vinishmarta mikol davar ra, when a camp goes out against your enemies, you shall guard against anything evil. Further on it is said (Ibid verse 15) ki HaShem Elokecha mishaleich bikerev machanecho lihatzilcho vilaseis oyvecho lifaenecho vihayah machanecho kadosh vilo yireh vicho ervas davar vishav meiacharecho, for HaShem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to rescue you and to deliver your enemies before you; so your camp shall be holy, so that he will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you. The Torah is telling us that the key to salvation is through modesty. When the Jewish People act in a modest fashion, their camp is deemed to be holy and HaShem allows His Presence to reside amongst them. This idea is reflected in the following teaching from the Gerrer Rebbe, the Lev Simcha. It is said (Ibid 24:15) biyomo sitein sicharo, on that day shall you pay his hire. The first letters of the words biyomo sitein sicharo spell out the word Shabbos. The Lev Simcha writes that it is said (Ibid 21:10) ki seitzei lamilchama al oyvecho unsano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha vishavisa shivyo, when you will go out to war against your enemies, and HaShem, your G-d, will deliver him into your hand, and you will capture his captivity. The Lev Simcha cites a Medrash that interprets the verse as follows: ki seitzei lamilchama al oyvecho refers to the days of the week, and unsano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha refers to Shabbos. The Lev Simcha writes that this is the meaning of the verse that states biyomo sitein sicharo, on that day shall you pay his hire. On the day of HaShem, which is Shabbos, as that is when HaShem rested, you shall pay his hire, i.e. HaShem will give you a reward. Based on the words of the Lev Simcha we can interpret the verses said regarding being modest when going out to battle in the same manner. When one goes out to battle, he is warring with the Evil Inclination, who tempts a person with desires that he is not accustomed to when at home. Nonetheless, when one acts in a modest fashion, he captures his captivity, i.e. he subdues the Evil Inclination. The weekday is the battle ground with the Evil Inclination. When a Jew battles his Evil Inclination during the week and succeeds in overwhelming the Evil Inclination, then vishavisa shivyo, he will earn the reward of Shabbos.

The Shabbos Connection

It is noteworthy that in the word vishavisa is the word Shabbos. Hashem should allow us to serve him in a modest fashion, and make our camps holy, and then we will merit the holiness of Shabbos and the day that will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Dror Yikra

The composer was Dunash ben Librat, the famed medieval grammarian and paytan who lived from 4680-4750 (920990 C.E.). He was born in Baghdad and, except for twenty years in Fez, lived there his entire life. He was a nephew and disciple of Rabbeinu Saadiah Gaon and was acquainted with many of the Sages of his time. Rashi and Ibn Ezra quote him extensively. His name appears four times as the acrostic of the stiches in stanzas 1,2,3, and 6. This zemer is a prayer to HaShem to protect the Jewish People, destroy its tormentors, and bring the Nation peace and redemption.

אֱ-לֹהִים תֵּן בְּמִדְבָּר הַר. הֲדַס שִׁטָּה בְּרוֹשׁ תִּדְהָר, O G-d let bloom on the desert-like mountain, myrtle, acacia, cypress and box tree. The commentators offer various interpretations of these words, from the simple meaning to the esoteric. It is noteworthy that the first letters of the words הֲדַס שִׁטָּה בְּרוֹשׁ תִּדְהָר spell out the word השבת, alluding to the idea that on Shabbos one experiences all the pleasures of this world.

Shabbos Stories

The Trivialities of This World

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: One of the most poignant episodes in the fascinating life of the Ger Tzedek of Vilna, Avraham ben Avraham, came in the last moments of his life. Avraham ben Avraham was born as Count Potocki, and converted after taking an interest to Judaism while studying in the University of Paris. He eventually returned to Vilna the ranks of the perushim, those who separated themselves for a life of total Torah immersion. His family had conducted a massive search for him and when he was found he was turned over to the inquisitorial board of the church that could not persuade him to forego Judaism. He was sentenced to the auto-de- fי death by fire. An old friend of the Count from the days before his conversion was the one who was appointed to light the bonfire. As the pyre was being formed and the flames about to be set, the man approached the ger. Fearful of the terrible crime he was about to perpetrate, he asked the holy convert, “When you come to heaven are you going to ask your G-d to enact Heavenly retribution against me?” Ignoring the commotion that surrounded him, Avraham ben Avraham smiled. “Let me tell you a story,” he began. “When I was a young child, my father gave me a beautiful toy soldier which I cherished. One day you came to play with me and because your soldier was nowhere as nice as mine. You were obviously jealous. So when you thought I was not looking, you broke my soldier. I was enraged, and I swore to take revenge. “Of course when I grew older, the whole incident was a joke to me. I realized that compared to all the accomplishments I had in my life and the wealth I was to inherit, the silly soldier meant nothing to me! It never again crossed my mind.” The ger tzedek emitted a slight laugh. “I am about to enter the world of Olam HaBah. In my religion, one who sanctifies his life for the sake of Judaism is considered the greatest of all the righteous. Believe me, when I receive my awaited award, your fate will be as irrelevant to me as the fate of my toy soldier! Do not fear. I will not have the need or even desire to think of taking revenge for your inane acts of this petty world.”

Rules can be Broken

Rabbi Kamenetzky writes further: A brilliant young student entered the portals of Yeshiva Torah Voda’ath in the 1940s. Hailing from a distinguished rabbinic family which instilled within him a creative mind, he questioned some of the arcane dormitory rules and restrictions that were imposed with boys of less character in mind. But rules, said the dormitory counselor, are rules and he wanted to have the young student temporarily expelled until he would agree to conform. An expulsion of that sort would have left the young man (who lived out of town) no alternative but to leave the Yeshiva. They brought the matter before the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky. “True,” he said, “rules are rules, but I owe this young man something.” The dorm counselor looked stunned. “In the 1800s this boy’s great-grandfather helped establish the kollel (fellowship program for married Torah scholars) at which I would study some decades later. I owe his family a debt of gratitude. If the rules disallow his stay in the dormitory, then he will sleep in my home.” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

הכנה – Preparing for a Weekday

 Limitations to the Prohibition

Preparing Without Extra Effort

 Under the prohibition of preparing, one is prohibited from performing even a minute act of preparation for Motz’ai Shabbos. If, however, one is able to prepare something for Motz’ai Shabbos without expending any extra effort at all, then one is permitted to do so.

For example, one is prohibited to freeze an item to preserve it for a later date as this is an act of preparing. However, one would be permitted to put any food item in the freezer when cleaning up after a meal. Since the food must be stored somewhere, there is nothing wrong with ‘storing it’ in the freezer. One is prohibited from taking an item from a different storage area i.e. a refrigerator and moving it to the freezer, as this is a direct act of preparing.

Washing dishes

 One is prohibited from washing dishes which one no longer needs for Shabbos, because by washing the dishes one prepares them for post-Shabbos use. This subject will be discussed at length later.

Rav Avrohom Genechovsky Zt”l On Pirkei Avot – Perek 5 Mishna 5 – Bend For Your Fellow Man And Miracles Can Happen

“Ten miracles were performed for our forefathers in the Holy Temple… ‘They stood crowded but had ample space in which to prostrate themselves'” (Avot 5:5).

Rav Avrohom zt”l pointed out that when we bend and are flexible with our fellow man; everyone has room to live together.