Monthly Archives: April 2014

Parshat  אמר Leviticus 23:3 – Whose Shabbos Is It?

Leviticus 23:3  [For] six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Shabbos to the Lord in all your dwelling places

Gemora Yerushalmi Shabbos, Chapter 15, Halacha 3 – We learned in a Beraita: one posuk says “It is a Sabbath to the Lord” and [yet] another posuk says (in Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 29:35) “It shall be a convocation for you.” How can this be possible? Give a portion to Torah and a portion for eating and drinking.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #10:

[At first glance] this Gemora is difficult to understand because one posuk is dealing with Shabbos and the other is discussing Yom Tov (Jewish holiday). [Therefore the fact that there is an inconsistency between them would not be surprising.] It is well known, for example, that the holiness of Shabbos is greater than the holiness of Yom Tov. [This would explain why it says that Shabbos is for God but Yom Tov is for you.] However, in fact, this Gemora can be explained if we consider what it says in Gemora Pesachim 68b, as follows: Rabba said “everyone agrees that Shabbos must also contain an aspect of ‘For you’ because of the posuk that says “You shall call Shabbos a pleasure.” [Isaiah 58:13] This being the case, the Gemora’s question is based on “a fortiori” logic as follows –  “Yom Tov, which has a commandment to be ‘for you’, even though it has no commandment for it to be a ‘pleasure’ THEN Shabbos which DOES have a commandment that it should be a pleasure certainly must also have a requirement that it be “for you’”.

Also, keep in mind that, at first glance, the expression “It is a Shabbos for the Lord” would seem to imply that it should be completely for the Lord.

Look more deeply into the disagreement that is recorded in this section of the Jerusalem Talmud. One rabbi stated that Shabbos and Yom Tov were only given for the sake of eating and drinking. Another rabbi states that Shabbos and Yom Tov were only given for the sake of studying Torah. Clearly the use of the phrase “only” in this disagreement should not be taken literally. It would not make sense to say that Shabbos should only be for studying Torah without eating at all because everyone admits that it is forbidden to fast on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Rather the word “only” here is used to emphasize which aspect should have the vast majority of emphasis. In other words, for example, the one who says “only eating and drinking” really means “the majority of the time should be spent eating and drinking…” In the Midrash Tanchuma it seeks a sort of “compromise” between these two rabbinic opinions. The only who thinks that the time should be spent primarily on eating and drinking is discussing Torah Scholars who toil all week long studying Torah. These scholars need to enjoy Shabbos and Yom Tov even more than the average person [because of the way they spend their week.] On the other hand, the rabbinic opinion that states that Shabbos and Yom Tov should be spent studying Torah primarily are dealing with the average workers and the general populace who spend their time during the week earning a living. They should spend their Shabbos and Yom Tov involved in studying Torah.

Further, it appears that the Tanchuma relies on the phrasing in our posuk for this observation. In our posuk it says, “six days you shall work, on the seventh it will be for God, don’t do any work”. The inference in the posuk is that if you work for six days, then the seventh day should be for God. Additionally note that the phrase “don’t do any work” is out of place. The proper place for it is in Parshat Yitro [with the ten commandments including ‘observe Shabbos’] and in fact in Parshat Yitro it does clarify and explain there the law about resting [and not doing work] on Shabbos. Rather, here in our posuk it mentions not doing work to hint to the fact that these people who work all week long at their jobs, they should make the Shabbos day holy [almost] entirely for God and make it a day of study.

Look also at the Beit Yosef on the Tur Orach Chaim at the beginning of section 288 and in the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim section 290. See also what I write regarding this in Parshat Yitro.

Editor’s Note: I think that the Torah Temimah is often discussing the issues relating to the ‘common man’. In fact, I think he wrote his book for the common man who wants a deeper understanding of the Bible, which often is as far as the common man had time to study. This note is directed to the common man and how he should spend his Shabbos.

Parsahat צו Leviticus 6:2 – All Night Long

Parsahat צו Leviticus 6:2 –

Leviticus 6:2 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying: This is the law of the burnt-offering: it is that which goeth up on its firewood upon the altar all night unto the morning; and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning thereby. ”

Megilah 21a: “all night unto the morning”.  This teaches that the entire night is fit for burning fats and entrails

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #7:

The Talmud learns this from the extra language in the verse (all night/until the morning).  It would have been sufficient for the verse to state “all night”.  If the verse only stated “all night”, one could infer that all night does not mean the entire night rather only a portion of the night. In truth we see examples where all (כל) indicates a part as in the verse referring to King Saul (Samuel I 28:20): “ Then Saul fell straightway his full length upon the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”  A later verse[1] explains that he did eat at night.  Thus we see that כל can refer to the entirety or to a portion.  Until the morning is not superfluous, rather it teaches us that the burning of fats and entrails is valid the entire night.  Refer to the commentary of the Taz to Orach Chaim Siman תקפח[2]. Refer also to what in written on verse 8.

Refer also to the first Mishnah in Berachot that lists all the things that are valid all night except that the Rabbis enacted a safeguard to prevent one from transgressing by only allowing one to perform these commandments until midnight.  Rashi comments on this Mishanh that the Rabbis did not make this decree regarding the burning of fats and entrails[3]

The reason why the Rabbis made an exception for the burning of fats and entrails is unclear.  A possible reason for this is the commentary of the Taz to Yoreh Deah Siman קיז and the Kesef Mishnah: “The Rabbis do not have the power to forbid anything that the Torah permits.”  Because the verse here explicitly permits it as it says “all night until the morning” as explained above, however, Rambam in Chapter four of the laws of sacrifices[4] disagrees with Rashi.  For further insight refer to the Tosafot Yom Tov and Shnot Eliyahu on the first Mishnah in Berachot.

It is clear that the burning of fats and entrails is not obligatory in that they must be burned at night, rather one is permitted to burn them at night for it is sufficient if they were consumed during the day.  Regarding what the Talmud says in the beginning of chapter four of Berachot (26b), that the three daily prayers correspond to the three daily sacrifices.  The evening prayer corresponds to the burning of fats and limb which could b done all night.  What was said above clearly explains why the evening service is optional because it corresponds to an optional sacrifice.  When it says that the fats and entrails are offered at night, it means that that one is allowed to offer them at night.  If they were consumed during the day, there is no obligation to leave them to be offered at night.

Another parallel between the evening service and the burning of the fats and entrails is that the time for both is the entire night.  The Rabbis did not enact a safeguard for the evening service as explained in the Talmud Berachot.  Similarly they did not enact a fence for the burning of fats and entrails to which the evening service corresponds.  See also the Beit Yosef to Orach Chaim 233.

Editors note: The Torah Temimah discusses a fundamental principle of rabbinic law.  The Rabbis do not have the power to forbid what the Torah explicitly permits as in the case discussed here.  Where the Torah does not explicitly permit something, the Rabbis have the power to enact safeguards to prevent one from sinning.  Even in such a case, they cannot prohibit the item or action on a biblical level.  They can place a limitation on the person forbidding them to benefit from the item or performing an action.  For example, when the Rabbis enacted the safeguard of not eating fowl and milk, they did not say that the Torah also refers to birds when it prohibits boiling a calf in its mother’s milk for that would violate the prohibition of adding a law to the Torah.  They placed a restriction on people not to eat fowl and milk together.  Another means, by which, the Rabbis prevent one from performing what the Torah permits is telling the person to refrain from doing the act (שב ואל תעשה) as in the case of not blowing the shofar when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat.  See Leviticus 12:3 note 14 where he expresses a similar idea with respect to circumcision on Shabbat.


[1] 28:23-25 But he refused, and said: ‘I will not eat.’ But his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.  And the woman had a fatted calf in the house; and she made haste, and killed it; and she took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof; and she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

[2] Halacha 5  note 5: referring to blowing shofar on Shabbat

[3] O.V. To distance a person from transgressing:  While the Mishnah lists the burning of fats and entrails, Rashi comments that this Mishnah cites it as example of something that is valid all night.  Thus is it not included in the list of acts, which that Rabbis forbade after midnight that follows.  The Talmud in Megilah (20b) also supports this.  Other commentators disagree with Rashi stating the Mishnah in Berachot includes it in the list of things that are forbidden after midnight.

[4] Halacha 2: Any animal whose enablers ( in Hebrew מתיריו) were offered during the day can be brought to the altar all night … In order to distance from transgression, the Rabbis said that one is not allowed to burn the entrails and limbs of the burnt offering until midnight.

Parshat  קדשים  Leviticus – 19:11 – Legal Details and Being Just

Leviticus – 19:11  You shall not steal. You shall not deny falsely. You shall not lie; one man to his fellow.

Gemora: Baba Metziah 61b: What is the need of the injunction, ‘Ye shall not steal’,which the Divine Law wrote? [Couldn’t I have deduced this from other laws?] — For that which was taught: ‘Ye shall not steal,’ [even] in order to [just] cause pain to someone; ‘Don’t steal,’ [even] in order to repay with a double fine.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation Of Comment #60: [In the Gemorah] when it says “in order to just aggravate someone” it means as the Rambam states in the book Sefer HaMitzvot (39) [VALIDATE THIS EXACT Page and Citation#} that [the intent of the thief] was just to cause distress to the owner [and the thief actually intended to return it, but just stole it in order to cause pain to the person.]   (See the source of the word ומיקטfrom Job, Chapter 10)

Also note that in the Shittah M’Kubetzet  he brings this opinion [of stealing the object to create emotional distress yet fully intending to return it] in the name of “Some commentators explain” [rather than mentioning Rambam explicitly]. Further the Shittah M’Kubetzet  says that the explanation of [only intending to cause pain] does not make sense since this is something that (people in the observant community) do regularly (without any sense of guilt). Rather, the Shittah M’Kubetzet  explains the phrase “to cause pain” as meaning that the thief did intend to cause pain AND did NOT intent to return the stolen object.

However, in my opinion what Rambam writes is totally appropriate and accurate. The reason [I think this] is because if the intention of the thief is to keep the stolen object, why would you think to not make the thief obligated to pay if he [only] intended to cause emotional pain (rather than having a real interest in obtaining the object)? Isn’t it true that the victim still ends up with a monetary loss? If this is the case, then the Shittah M’Kubetzet’s statement that this is something that happens every day is [basically] irrelevant; and stealing with this intent is still completely forbidden.

Regarding the topic of stealing “in order to repay with a double- fine”, this case relates to a situation where the thief [actually] wants to help the victim but he knows that the victim won’t accept help [charity]. Therefore, the thief would steal something of the victim’s knowing full well that he will then be required to pay back the original item plus a fine of two times or more the value of the object.

In the book Ketzot HaChoshen, Section 348, the author wonders whether the usual law of a onsin would apply to the case of one who steals only to cause pain. [This is the law that states that in a normal case of theft, if the object breaks or is lost while in the possession of the thief, even through no fault of his, he still has to pay back the monetary worth of the item to the original victim. The Ketzot HaChosen contemplates that since the thief did intend to return the object [after some time had elapsed] and his intent was not really to steal the object, perhaps this law of onsin does not apply. After all, the thief did do something wrong, but since it is not ‘pure’ theft maybe he would not be liable for the additional burden of onsin. Further, the Ketzot HaChosen brings support for this possibility from the   Shittah M’Kubetzet (at the end of the Chapter “Hamakpid”).   

It seems to me that [the Ketzot HaChosen is wrong and] the thief, even in this case, would be obligated in onsin. The reason for this is the well-known fact that the reason why a regular thief is not punished with lashes is because he is also obligated to return the object. Because of this additional obligation [to return or pay restitution] the law is also that even in a time when the original stolen object is missing [such as it was stolen from the thief] we still do not punish the thief with lashes, since the thief is liable to replace the object under all circumstances including onsin. All of this being the case, how could you think that a thief who only intended to aggravate the victim is not obligated in onsin? If that were true, then this type of thief who even lost the object that he stole would then be obligated in lashes! This would be the case since he is no longer subject to the obligation to return the object. Yet no one has ever argued that the law for these unusual theft cases is that the thief should receive lashes. Further this would not be the type of detail that the Gemora or later legal authorities would inadvertently leave out, and it would be a forced explanation to say that such thieves are not liable for lashes simply because the Torah chose not to deviate from the standard rule in those potentially exceptional cases. This topic merits further investigation.

 DBS Note: This complex note illustrates a fundamental point of the Torah Temimah. I think that he does not engage in complex legal reasoning separate from his pursuit of justice. I think that the injustice of the robbery victim not receiving restitution in all cases, even a case of onsin, motivated the Torah Temimah to illustrate why such a view was untenable and to include this note in his book.

Parshat כי תשא Exodus 33:11 – Do You Have Doubts?

Exodus 33:11 Then the Lord would speak to Moshes face to face, as a man would speak to his companion, and he would return to the camp, but his attendant, Joshua, the son of Nun, a lad, would not depart from the tent.

Gemora Temurah 16a – Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rav: At the time that Moshe was about to die, he said to Joshua, “Ask me about any doubts that you have.” Joshua replied, My Master, have I ever left you for one hour and gone elsewhere? Did you not write concerning me in the Torah: “But his servant Joshua the son of Nun would not depart from the tent”? Immediately his strength weakened and he forgot three hundred laws and there arose [in his mind] seven hundred doubts.

 Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #17:

It is explained in the Gemora that it was Moses whose strength got weaker and that there were immediately forgotten 300 laws.  Rashi explains that it refers to Joshua [forgetting the 300 laws]. In other words, Moses was distraught that Joshua was as great as he was, and because of the pain caused to Moshe, Joshua was punished.

But, in my opinion, this does not make sense. It does not sound likely that Moshe would be distraught by Joshua’s greatness. Wasn’t it Moshe who said [in the episode with Eldad and Medad] that HaShem gives the power of prophesy to who He sees fit and, in fact, all of the people are prophets?

Therefore, it seems more appropriate to say that the text should read that Joshua’s strength got weaker and that it was Joshua who forgot all these laws. In other words, Joshua was punished because of his hubris in saying that there was not a single thing that he had a question about.

Editor’s Note: In this note, the Torah Temimah disagrees with Rashi’s explanation and suggests that there might be a textural error in the Gemora.

Parshat אחרי מות Leviticus 18:5 – A Non-Jew Who Learns Torah

Leviticus 18:5 – You shall observe My statutes and My ordinances, which a man shall do and live by them.

Gemora Baba Kama 38a: Rabbi Meir used to say “From where do we know that even a non-Jew who occupies himself with Torah can be compared to a Cohen Gadol [High Priest]? From our posuk that says ‘which a man shall do’. It does not say ‘priests’ or ‘levites’ or ‘israelites’. Rather it says ‘man’. From here we know that a non-Jew who occupies himself with Torah is like a Cohen Gadol”

 Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #9:  

This teaching is being specific on the phrase “a man” and stating that this implies all people, anyone who is not an animal. The reason for making the comparison to the Cohen Gadol is according to that which it says in Gemora Sotah 4b and in other places [quoting Proverbs 3:15: it is more precious than pearls, and all your desirable things cannot be compared to it.] Torah is compared to pearls. The word for pearls is: מִפְּנִינִים which also means “in the innermost”, this is taken as alluding the Cohen Gadol who enters the Holy of Holies once a year. This being the case, we see that the high estimation of the Cohen Gadol is greater than the estimation of any other level amongst Jews except for the level of Torah [scholarship].

In one of the letters of the Rambam (to Rabbi Chisdai HaLevi) we find his explanation of this Aggada. He says as follows: “There is no doubt that everyone who fixes himself and his soul in improving his personality characteristics as well as in improving his knowledge and thoughts in the belief in G-d, is among those who will inherit the world to come. This is why the sages of truth have said that a non-Jew who occupies himself in Torah is comparable to a Cohen Gadol. The essense of Torah and the purpose of Moshe’s Torah is the fixing of the body and the soul towards the holy Creator. In fact, Moshe was only praised on account of the fact that he was the humblest of men.”

However, note that our sages in Gemora Sanhedrin 59a limit the applicability of this Aggadah to the non-Jews only learning about the seven mitzvoth that are specifically for them. However, according to this approach, the rest of the Torah would be forbidden for them to occupy themselves with it. This would be in accordance with the posuk in Parshat Zot HaBracha, “Moshe taught us the Torah, it is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.” Meaning it is our inheritance and not theirs. Please see my comments at length in that Parsha and also see Rambam’s comments at the end of the laws of Shemitah.

Also, note that in Midrash Rabba on Parshat Naso, Chapter 13, it also mentions this Aggadah using the following phraseology, “…this teaches that even a non-Jew who converts (in the places where this is allowed by the law of the land) and who occupies himself with Torah is comparable to the Cohen Gadol” Apparently, the Midrash Rabbah disagrees with the Gemora on this topic, as the Gemora states that this teaching includes all non-Jews. Further, note that it is impossible to state that there is a scribal error in the Gemorah and that it wrote “goy” [non-Jew] instead of “ger”[convert]. This would not be appropriate according to the content of all the different Gemoras on this topic. Also, it is impossible to say that there is a scribal error in the Midrash Rabba in the word “mitgayer” [converted] as that also would not fit into the flow of the topic there. Note also the Midrash Socher Tov, Chapter One. This issue requires further investigation to arrive at the true textual language.

Editor’s note: It is interesting to note that the Torah Temimah points out the apparent argument between the Gemora and the Midrash Rabbah. In my opinion their difference in opinion makes it difficult to say that the Aggadah use of the word “Torah” only refers to the Seven Laws of the Bnei Noach. How would that make sense in the language of the Midrash Rabbah that says that a non-Jew who converts and learns Torah is comparable to a Cohen Gadol?

Parshat מצורע Leviticus 15:24 – A Leniency in a Very Strict Prohibition

Leviticus 15:24 – If a man cohabits with her, her menstruation shall be upon him, and he shall be unclean for seven days, and any bedding he lies upon, shall become unclean.

Gemora Yevamos 49b: “Her menstrual period shall be upon him”: We learn in a braita as follow – “from where do we know that if a man marries a woman while she is a niddah [during her menstrual cycle] that the marriage is still valid? From the above biblical verse ‘her menstruation period will be on him’” [implying that the marriage is valid because it will be on him]

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #93:

This phrase of “it is/will be” (   הווייה) is according to the text of the Gemora Kidushin 68a, however in our Gemora Yevamos 49b the text used is “kidushin” [marriage]. (VERIFY THIS TRANSLATION). It appears that the textual wording of “kidushin” is the proper wording. Since the main teaching is from the phrase “her menstrual period will be on him”, even in this time of it happening, still his acquisition and her domain will be his [in other words the marriage is still good even though, actually, having relations with her at this time is subject to the very severe punishment of “excision”, or being cut off spiritually from one’s people.]

 The great teaching from this is that even though having relations with a menstrual woman is punishable by excision and [the general principle is] marriage is not valid if it is with someone with whom you are liable excision (sister, etc) as is explained in the end of parsha Acharei Mot, nevertheless marrying a menstrual woman is not included in this general principle. The logic behind making an exception here is [probably] because other relations that are liable for excision are permanent prohibitions while the prohibition of having relations with a menstrual woman is temporary. Therefore, the ramifications of this prohibition are more lenient than for other relations that are also punishable by excision.

Look into what the Pnei Yehoshua writes in his halachic responsum, Chapter 3, regarding the detail of whether the marriage took place through a) a legal document b) giving money to the woman c) having relations with the woman [which is precisely what is biblically forbidden]. In my opinion, it is simple and clear that the whole point of this teaching is that even if the marriage occurred through having relations [which is forbidden] nevertheless the marriage is still valid and the prohibition is not like the prohibition with having relations with other women for whom the punishment is also excision. There would clearly be no point to the teaching if the marriage took place through the exchange of a document or money since in that case the marriage itself occurred in a permitted fashion, so of course the marriage is valid. The teaching only makes sense if it is understood to teach that even if the marriage occurred through having relations with the woman. This logic seems clear and simple to me.

However, one should note that this teaching appears not to be a clear biblical deduction from the posuk; rather the rabbis used the posuk as a “hook” for their logical deduction. This can be seen from the fact that the posuk isn’t actually about marriage at all. Rather, this teaching is one that the rabbis deduced from their logic since this woman is, in general, permitted to this man; except for the fact that there is a temporary prohibition in place [because of her menstrual status]. Therefore, the prohibition of having relations with her is not strong enough to prevent marriage. They then “hooked” this teaching onto this posuk as is their holy method.

Look also at Rambam, Chapter 18, Halacha #1, in the Laws of Prohibited Relations where he discusses the definition of a “zonah” [prostitute] who is forbidden to marry a Cohen. He answers that any woman is in a category of zonah and prohibited to the Cohen if he is prohibited from having relations with her [such as his sister, for example. Which, by the way, explains by “zonah” cannot be accurately translated as prostitute”] However, Rambam explicitly exempts a menstrual woman from this general category since the Cohen is, in fact, permitted to marry her.

According to our explanation above, Rambam’s words make perfect sense. However the הה”מ toils hard [in his commentary on Rambam] to find the source for Rambam’s ruling. According to our way of thinking, the source for Rambam’s opinion is precisely this Gemora above that marriage with a menstrual woman is halachically valid and she is not considered as being forbidden to marry. Look further above what I write concerning these rulings of Rambam at the beginning of parshat Emor on the posuk regarding a “zonah” and also in parshat Ki Tetzeh on the posuk of לא מביא אתנן זונה

Editor’s note: This note is a good illustration of rabbinic latitude and the use of a verse in the bible as a “hook” for their teaching. Also, note again that the Torah Temimah will write an explicit contrary opinion or critique of earlier teachers. In this case, the Pnei Yehoshua predated him by about 300 years.