Table of Contents
Hag Korban HaPessah and Hag HaMatzot: Two Holidays that are One /
Rav Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum 3
The Name of the Month of Nisan, Named for 'Nisim' [Miracles] /
Rav Yaakov Yisrael Stal 15
“The Lord Freed Us From Egypt”: Explaining a Passover Haggadah Midrash /
Prof. David Henshke 24
The Three Altars of Avraham in the Qerova of Shabbat ha-Gadol /
Avraham Fraenkel 35
Rabbi Yechiel Michel haLevi, author of Shaarei Shamayim [Gates of Heaven] /
Rav Binyamin Pantiliat 40
The Obligation of Tefilin on Chol HaMoed / Rav Moshe Pinchuk 51
Yichud on the Roads of Judea and Samaria – Letters from Poskim,
Referenced and Annotated / Rav Mordechai Catane 63
On Halakhic and Extra-Halakhic Considerations in the Teaching of Rav Kook /
Rav Avraham Wasserman 69
Responses and Comments
In the Matter of the Rescue Operations of Rav Baruch Rabinowitz zt"l,
the Admo"r of Munkacs / Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz 83
Inducing Satisfaction in Visiting the Sick / Rav Amichai Kinarti 85
Notes on the article "Circumcision – Mitsva Which is a Covenant" /
Rav Uriel Banner 86
More on Rav Kook, the Tevriger Rav and the Hebrew Language /
Shmaria Gershuni 90
Omitting the Explanation of 'To Your Devoted Man' / Avraham Meir Glanzer 94
'To Find a Way to Be Lenient in Such Measure as Possible' / Rav Shaul Bar-Ilan 95
More about ‘Modest Behavior’ vs ‘Proclaiming the Miracle’ /
Rav Prof. Shimon Eliezer HaLevi Spero 96
More on the Matter of Conversion without Accepting Mitsvot /
Rav David Yitzchaki; Response to the Rejoinder / Rav Eliezer Weil 97
In the Matter of Not Fulfilling the Directive of Azure [tekhelet] / Dr. Daniel Levi 100
Editorial Review of Recent Torani Publications / Rav Yoel Catane 101
Rav Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum: Hag Korban HaPessah and Hag HaMatzot: Two Holidays that are One
In order to sharpen the distinction explicit in Leviticus 23:5, the article coins a new expression: Hag Korban HaPessah, the "holiday" of the Pessah sacrifice. This allows us to examine two separate elements in what we call today "The Passover Holiday." The celebration of Hag Korban HaPessah focuses on the Paschal offering; It begins immediately after noon of the 14th of Nissan, and ends at 12 midnight (R. Elazar b. Azariah) or at the following sunrise (R. Akiva) – 12 or 18 hours in all. Hag HaMatzot focuses on the laws of hametz and matzah; it begins at sunset of the 15th of Nissan, and continues for seven days. As a result we have two distinct celebrations, the end and beginning of which, respectively, coalesce the night of the Seder. The body of the article examines the halakhic differences between these two elements of Passover.
Rav Yaakov Yisrael Stal: The Name of the Month of Nisan, Named for 'Nisim' [Miracles]
In this article, Rav Stal, a well known researcher in Jerusalem, demonstrates how a paragraph written at the end of the Era of the Rishonim [Early Authorities] in Ashkenaz [Germany], regarding the reason for calling the first month 'Nisan' – named for 'haness [the miracle]' – is based upon an ancient tradition from the Land of Israel mentioned in the piyut [liturgical poetry] of Kalir and others of his generation, who in the same way derive the reason for naming the month Nisan from the miracles which occurred to our fathers in Egypt. As his article continues, the writer explains a piyut of R' Yehudah which alludes in a kedushta to several additional reasons for this name and for the other three names of this month. He points out an interesting parallel to another piyut of Kalir which mentions the subject, from which he infers that the essential points were stated in a lost midrash which was yet familiar to the early paytanim [poets] of the Land of Israel and to dispersed tenth century paytanim, and was preserved as well in the Ashkenazi Sefer haKushiyot [Book of Questions].
Prof. David Henshke: “The Lord Freed Us From Egypt”: Explaining a Passover Haggadah Midrash
The verse ending the passage “My father was a fugitive Aramean” cited in the Passover Haggadah (“The Lord freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm and awesome power, and by signs and portents,” Deut. 26:8) is homiletically explained in two ways: The second midrash, simple and lucid, ties the verse to the ten plagues. However, the first midrash explains each expression independently, e.g. “by an outstretched arm – this is the sword.” This midrash is astonishing, and the commentators were hard-pressed to explain it. The solution suggested by Prof. Henshke of Bar Ilan University comes in two parts. Most of the questions are resolved when one realizes that this first midrash is redirecting the verse from the ten plagues visited upon the Egyptians (as indeed understood by the second midrash) to referring to the Israelites, in an effort to convince them to depart Egypt. The only difficulty remaining (in the homily “and awesome power – this is the revelation of the Divine Presence”) is resolved by analyzing various genres found in the midrashim of the Passover Haggadah, based upon the suggestion that sometimes different types of midrashim are intermingled.
Avraham Fraenkel: The Three Altars of Avraham in the Qerova of Shabbat ha-Gadol
The famous Paytan R. Joseph Tov Elem (Bonfils) lived in France in the middle of the 11th century. His Qerova for Shabbat before Passover was used in the Eastern Ashkenazic rite, and is still printed in some Ashkenazic Siddurim. The article suggests an explanation of one vague stanza of this piyut, which lists the locations of the three altars that Avraham had built in the Land of Israel. According to the article’s suggestion, the first altar is named “Bedan”, which is the name of an ancient village near Shechem. This name is the source of the name ‘Bidan’, which is the Arabic name of the largest spring in that area.
Rav Binyamin Pantiliat: Rabbi Yechiel Michel haLevi, author of Shaarei Shamayim [Gates of Heaven]
In the city of Fez, Morocco, there existed a manuscript containing sermons and customs dating back hundreds of years – however the name of author did not appear in it. To local scholars, it seemed the item in question was the work of a local sage, but inspection of the work proved that the author cited rabbis from the lands of Poland and Russia. Another supposition was that the author had come from Europe, and had written his work after having settled in Morocco and imbibed its culture. However, Rav Binyamin Pantiliat, a talmid hakham in Petach Tikva, investigated and found that this 'manuscript' is in fact a text which had already been printed in Prague, and its author is Rav Yechiel Michel haLevi. Further examination of the book and comparison with other works clarifies specific family ties of the author, and his family relationship to the Maharsha [Rav Samuel Eidels] and additional prominent rabbis. At the end of the article, the supposition is raised that the Vilna Gaon was also related to this family.
Rav Moshe Pinchuk: The Obligation of Tefilin on Chol HaMoed
Wearing Tefilin [phylacteries] is a daily obligation incumbent upon the adult Jewish male. The only exceptions mentioned in the Talmud are Sabbath and Festivals. No mention, however, is made regarding the status of the intermediate days (Chol HaMoed) of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. Medieval commentators have addressed this question at some length. Their point of departure is invariably the Talmudic discussion regarding the exemptions of Sabbath and Festivals in an attempt to establish the precise criteria for these exemptions. Once these criteria have been established, they are then applied to the intermediate days. The results of this application determine if these days may be included in the exemption of the Festivals. In this article, Rav Pinchuk, Campus Rabbi and Director of the Dr. John and Diana Hagee Jewish Heritage Center at Netanya Academic College, offers an analysis and categorized summary of these medieval discussions. This summary enables a complete view of the various criteria and how they are applied, thus affording us a clearer understanding of the obligation or exemption from Tefilin on special days of the Jewish year.
Rav Mordechai Catane: Yichud on the Roads of Judea and Samaria – Letters from Poskim, Referenced and Annotated
In the year 5751, Rav David Dudkevich, Rav of the settlement of Yitzhar, sent an enquiry concerning the laws of Yichud (seclusion with a person of the opposite gender) to many important poskim (halakhic decisors): during the night, when a male driver traveling the roads of Judea and Samaria encounters a woman awaiting a ride, as often happens in those areas where public transportation is inadequate, would it be permissible to bring her to her home since the driver is alone with her in the car? It is self-understood that the question arises from the great need not to leave a woman isolated at the crossroads for an extended period of time until a vehicle with a married couple or a female driver arrives, a matter which at times also involves a certain measure of security concerns. Rav Dudkevich brought up points of leniency, which touch on the general question of whether there is a prohibition of seclusion in a car as the driver is involved in his driving and what is transpiring in the car can be seen through the windows, as well as the singular situation on the roads of Judea and Samaria, where, due to reasons of security it is not the custom to stop off along the way, and anyone who stops would attract the attention of other drivers and of security forces. The Rabbis who responded – Rav S. Z. Auerbach and Rav S. Yisraeli zt"l, and ybl"a [may they live long] Rav D. Lior and Rav M. S. Klein shlit"a – answered, some extensively and some briefly, and in the article their answers are quoted in full, with added notes, references and elaborations by Rav Mordechai Catane of the Kollel leDayanut [which trains religious court judges] in the settlement of Pesagot in Binyamin.
Rav Avraham Wasserman: On Halakhic and Extra-Halakhic Considerations in the Teaching of Rav Kook
Many researchers have dealt with the halakhic-communal path of Rav Kook zt"l. There are those who claimed that there exists a glaring inconsistency between his philosophic approach which brings close and is lenient and his halakhic approach which is stringent; others claim in contrast to them that he gave expression to his world view precisely in permitting the sale [of land during the Sabbatical Year to allow leniencies] and reaching out to the secularists, and wondered how he could decide stringently in many matters (such as milking on Shabbat etc.) in a way that impeded the building up of the land. In order to explain the matter, one scholar has claimed that for "halakhot intended for the messianic future" he was stringent, while for temporal matters he was lenient. Another scholar is of the opinion that one must distinguish between "prophetic halakhot" (!) in which he was stringent and "occasional halakhot" in which he was lenient. There is also a view that during his period in Jaffa he was genial to the secularists, but when he was Chief Rabbi, he became stringent to draw the 'haredim' into the Zionist path. Rav Wasserman, Rav in Ramat Gan, demonstrates in this article that the familiar rule "Uncertainty in biblical [=Deoriyta] law is resolved stringently and in rabbinic law leniently" explains in a straightforward manner most of Rav Kook's decisions, and there is no reason to create new theories. He was stringent in the directive to love a fellow Jew and lenient in the 'directive' to hate the wicked; the Sabbatical Year in our day has only rabbinic force according to most authorities so he was lenient, of course he was lenient with sesame oil on Passover which is only a custom, and that only in Ashkenaz, while he was stringent with milking on Shabbat which is biblical. One must also differentiate between lekhat'chilah [before the fact] and bedi'avad [after the fact], therefore one must not employ a Sabbath violator in a winery, even though after the fact, it would be possible to be lenient. The conclusion – Rav Kook did not depart from the well tread path of halakhah according to the accepted authorities.
Responses and Comments
In Rejoinders we cite the words of Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz, Rav of the Dinov Congregation in Williamsburg, NY, son of Rav Baruch Rabinowitz, formerly Admo"r of Munkacs and Rav in Holon, Israel, who speaks of the many acts of rescue his father performed as a young man during the Shoah, and of his father's self-sacrifice in spreading Torah. Rav Amichai Kinarti continues an article from the previous issue in the matter of the bounds of visiting the sick, and the possibility of performing this act with the help of agents. Rav Uriel Banner, Ram in the Yeshiva of Sderot, explains the meaning of brit [covenant] in brit mila [covenant of circumcision] in response to Rav Ohad Fixler's article in the previous issue; according to the principle established by Rav Weinberg, zt"l, author of the Sridei Eish, Rav Banner explains Abraham's having refrained from circumcising himself until directed, even though he fulfilled the other directives. Since a 'covenant' cannot be made when the second party (in this case, the Holy One, blessed be He) has not expressed willingness to make it; as he proceeds, he deals with other matters in the relationship between the 'covenant' and the 'circumcision'. Shmaria Gershuni continues to publish his studies on the history of Rav Kook, this time on his unique relationship and that of the first Head of Yeshivat Mercaz haRav, the Tevriger Rav, to the Hebrew language. The researcher and Torah scholar, Mr. Glanzer of Antwerp, speaks of the long standing riddle he has succeeded in solving, thereby correcting an error which had become entrenched in the commentary on the Pentateuch 'Haameq Davar' by the Natsi"v of Volozhin, and Rav Shaul Bar-Ilan, descendant of the Natsi"v, formerly head of the Kollel in Kfar Darom, and today a Rav and jurist in Rehovot, discovers a new source for the idea that it is incumbent upon a Rav to make a halakhic effort to be lenient when necessary; in reacting to an article in issue 199 of Hama'yan by Rav Peretz of Mexico, Rav Bar-Ilan writes that when two parties stand before a judge, he is prohibited from wresting judgment, but when a Jew stands before him with an enquiry which touches – from the enquirer's point of view – upon his soul, an obligation devolves upon the judge to seek release for the enquirer – such was the opinion of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer (Slutzk – Jerusalem), while Rav Chaim of Brisk emphasized the judge's obligation to 'objective halakhah', And Rav Spero shows there is no contradiction between "Modest Behavior" and the general principle of 'Proclaiming the Miracle' (Rav Yehuda Shaviv, Hama'yan 200 [52/2, Tevet 5772]). The reason for the unusual emphasis of Proclaiming the Miracle on Hanukkah is the division during that period between the Pious and the Greek sympathizers among the Jews themselves. The miracle had to be proclaimed to the wayward Jews "outside" on the 'Jewish street'. Rav David Yitzchaki and Rav Eliezer Weil continue their exchange in the matter of accepting converts in our day who do not observe mitsvot, and Dr. Daniel Levi returns to consider the matter of fulfilling the directive of fringes [tsitsit] without azure [tekhelet] in our day, when it is possible that 'genuine' azure is readily available. Last but not least, a review of Judaica books by the editor Rav Catane.
The Editorial Board of HAMA'YAN wishes its subscribers, readers and all "Am Yisrael" a פסח כשר וחג מצות שמח!