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TABC Masmidim

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May 19, 2011 15 Iyar 5771 Rambam begins Hilchos Chanukah in a most unusual fashion. Before beginning to detail any of the halachos pertaining to , he provides for us the historical background for establishment of Chanukah as a Yom Tov. In connection to no other Yom Tov does "follow this pattern. In introducing the Yom Tov of Sukkot, Rambam immediately describes the height of the succah, the fabric of the ,and who is duty bound to observe the mitzvah. He provides no historical background. The same is true for Shavuot and Pesach. Why then does he choose to introduce Chanukah with its historical narrative? The Rav suggested that all biblical holidays and Purim, already have sources in "that provide the historical background for that Yom Tov. Chanukah has no reference in and, hence, as a conveyor of , Rambam felt it wise to begin his discussion with the historical antecedents of Chanukah. This project of the Masmidim class of TABC under the guidance of Rabbi Malitzky, continues to pursue the chain of in respect to Chanukah and, adding as well, insights into Purim. I hope that these will intensify our understanding of these and further the of .

Rabbi Yosef Adler Rosh HaYeshiva

Table of Contents
Rebbes Introduction...................................................................1 Masmidim Introduction...............................................................3

Chanukah Shiurim
Hanochoh Oseh Mitzvah..............................................................9 Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin: More Beautiful Than What?........17 Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz Lighting Chanukah Candles in Shul............................................21 Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone Baal Tosif: Know Your Boundaries.............................................25 Ari Miller, Dovi Shafier, & Isaac Shulman Birchas Reiyah: Seeing is Believing...........................................33 Mordy Dubin & Yoni Stone

Purim Shiurim
The Nature of Mishloach Manos................................................41 Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies Talmud Torah or Mikra Megillah? .............................................47 Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz Minyan in Regard to Mikra Megillah..........................................55 Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone Lo Sisgodidu: Purim and Unity...................................................59 Ari Miller & Isaac Shulman

Becoming a Holy Drunk..............................................................69 Mordy Dubin and Yoni Stone The Role of Women in Mikra Megillah......................................75 Dovi Shafier and Elie Weiss

Chanukah Mekoros
Hanochoh Oseh Mitzvah............................................................85 Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin: More Beautiful Than What?........87 Lighting Chanukah Candles in Shul............................................90 Baal Tosif: Know Your Boundaries.............................................93 Birchas Reiyah: Seeing is Believing...........................................96

Purim Mekoros
The Nature of Mishloach Manos..............................................101 Talmud Torah or Mikra Megillah? ...........................................105 Minyan in Regard to Mikra Megillah........................................109 Lo Sisgodidu: Purim and Unity.................................................112 Becoming a Holy Drunk............................................................118 The Role of Women in Mikra Megillah....................................121

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Rebbes Introduction
Rabbi Sariel Malitzky
Talmud Torah plays a central role in the Holidays of Chanukah and Purim. The Yevanim attempted to eradicate the study and thus the continuity of Torah by implementing strictly enforced decrees which forbade the study and teaching of Torah, as we recite in the al hanissim prayer ( When the evil Greek empire rose up against the Jewish nation they attempted to have the Torah forgotten). However, due to the courageous acts of Jews living during that time, the Yevanim did not succeed. The Jewish people would not let the Torah be forgotten. While hiding, and under the threat of death, many Jews displayed unimaginable mesirus nefesh to insure that "( that [the Torah] will never be forgotten from your descendents). Therefore, much of our joy on Chanukah is due to the fact that we can still learn Torah. We can learn and we can teach. The light of Torah continues to illuminate the darkness of the world. The Gemara in Shabbos (88a) states that when the Jewish people received the Torah, they were coerced into accepting it. Hashem lifted the mountain over their head and said, either accept the Torah or this area will become your final resting place. The Gemara continues to say that if we were indeed forced into accepting the Torah, we have an alibi to offer when we are called into judgement. We can claim that we never really wanted the Torah in the first place. However, the Gemara concludes that during the era of the Purim story, the Jewish people accepted the Torah again. This new acceptance of the Torah was with love and by their own volition. Chanukah and Purim are Holidays in which we celebrate two different expressions of our appreciation and commitment to Torah study. On Chanukah, we celebrate our

2|Segel Chabura past, we celebrate the self sacrifice exhibited by those who came before us. Purim is a time where we rededicate ourselves to the Torah with the love expressed by those who decided to accept the Torah out of love for Hashem and his Torah. I believe that this volume is the ultimate expression of both of these ideas. These twelve men learned Torah because they loved Torah. They opted to devote an extra hour and half of Torah study during a packed day. They were not forced or coerced into signing up for this Shiur. Their learning was their expression of their extreme love of Hashem. However, there was also a sacrifice in electing to take this Shiur. For some, it meant taking one less AP class or not taking another class of interest. For all of them, it meant giving up a free period every single day. How appropriate it is for them to publish this volume with Shiurim on topics concerning Chanukah and Purim, two holidays which express these very ideas. On a personal note, this Shiur was the most challenging one I ever gave. It was not the regular challenge that teachers encounter. There was no classroom management issues, no behavior problems. Rather, it was keeping up with their level of learning and degree of enthusiasm. They raised the bar of my learning to greater heights with their brilliant questions, insightful answers, and diligence in learning. I thank you all for helping me grow in my learning. Thanks you for showing me what real mesirus nefesh and love for Torah is all about. My bracha to you is that you continue to see the fruits of your labor. May you continue to grow in Torah, middos, avodas Hashem, and all of your endeavors.

With much admiration, Rabbi Sariel Malitzky

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Introduction
, , ' We felt that these words from the Rosh Hashanah davening would be a fitting title for our Sefer. As he sets out to begin the chazaras hashatz on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the shaliach tzibbur declares that he has been sent by the , the treasured company. There is no comparison between embarking on a sacred task alone and doing so as part of a unified group. In our experience learning, saying, writing and publishing these Shiurim we have come to realize how much a Chevrah means to us, how much a Chevrah with a unified goal can accomplish. No member of our Chaburah feels that he would have been able to accomplish as much this year without the support of the rest of the group. It has been a great pleasure and tremendous honor producing this sefer. The Masmidim Shiur, which we had the privilege to be a part of this past year, is dedicated to facilitating our growth as bnei Torah, both in terms of learning skills and growth in middos. One of the more enjoyable and rewarding experiences we were able to have was when we were given the opportunity to research and say over our own shiurim on topics relating to Chanukah and Purim. With the help of our Rebbe, Rabbi Malitzky, and other seforim, each chavrusa was able to succeed in that task. A few months down the line our Rebbe decided that we should compile the shiurim into a sefer in order to further spread our Torah and to show our dedication to Torah. Soon after, the Masmidim Publishing Company was born and we got to work. This is the final product of our hard work, we hope you enjoy and grow from its contents. There are many people who have given their time and effort to the production of this sefer.

4|Segel Chabura We would like to thank TABC, Rabbi Adler and Mr. Poleyeff, the Rebbeim and faculty, for providing us with the privilege of being part of the Masmidim program, and even more so for providing us with so many opportunities for spiritual growth over the last four years. We would like to thank Rabbi Yehuda Chanales for his assistance with the typesetting and Mrs. Leah Moskovits, an unofficial member of Masmidim and our biggest fan, for maintaining such a wonderful decorum in the library, which without, we could not have maintained our focus during our preparation for the Shiurim and during our learning throughout the year. The publication of this sefer would not have been possible without the help of our Rebbe, Rabbi Sariel Malitzky. He is always there for us, in and outside of class. We can always count on Rabbi Malitzky to answer our calls and texts no matter how late at night, and to help us with any challenge, big or small. Rabbi Malitzky is always available with a great vort or a thought provoking kasha. Without his help, we could not have completed these shiurim, edited them, or have published this Sefer. We would like to thank each other, the members of the Masmidim Shiur, for being the treasured company that we were blessed to be a part of. We would also like to thank our contemporaries Philip Blass and Yaakov Schiff for their help editing the articles. They had no personal reasons to help, yet they graciously offered their time because of their dedication to Torah and their desire to help others. Your time and patience is greatly appreciated. We have all grown together the last four years, and with Hashems help we will continue to grow together in the future. Words cannot do justice to what we owe our parents. We would like to thank our parents for sending us to such a wonderful yeshiva and for creating the wonderful homes which we have been blessed to live in and grow in throughout our lives. We will miss you next year, and we are eternally grateful

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for everything you have done for us and will continue to do as we continue to become the young men that you have raised us to become. Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude to the Ribono Shel Olam for providing us with this wonderful opportunity. This Sefer is Hashems eternal gift to us, and we hope you, the reader, will accept it and grow from it.

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6|Segel Chabura

Chanukah Shiurim

8|Segel Chabura

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Hanochoh Oseh Mitzvah


Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies
Typically, we assume that the main component of the mitzvah of lighting the menorah is the actual lighting. However, the Gemara (Shabbos 22b) raises the possibility that the actual mitzvah is not fulfilled through the lighting (hadlokoh), but rather through the act of setting down the already lit menorah (hanochoh). At first, the Gemara presents two distinct cases which do not end up proving either side of the argument. However, more importantly, from the ideas within those attempted proofs it appears that whether the hanochoh or the hadlokoh is the mitzvah, the other is still needed to ensure that it is recognizable that your lighting is for the sake of the mitzvah of Chanukah. For example, even if the mitzvah is the hanochoh, the hadlokoh must be done in the place of the hanochoh in order to enable others to realize that the hanochoh has been done for Chanukah. This portion of the Gemara is important because it points out that even if hanochoh is the mitzvah there is still significance to the hadlokoh, and even if hadlokoh is the mitzvah there is still significance to the hanochoh. The Gemara (ibid.) then gives a case of a lantern which was lit on an Erev Shabbos, during Chanukah, and remained lit through Shabbos. Therefore, continues the Gemara, if the mitzvah is hadlokoh then the lantern simply needs to be extinguished and relit in order to fulfill the mitzvah of menorah on Motzaei Shabbos. However, if the mitzvah would be the hanochoh, the Gemara states that one would have to extinguish the lantern, lift it, put it down, and then relight it in order to fulfill the mitzvah. Therefore, concludes the Gemara, since we are only required to extinguish and relight the lantern, clearly, the main part of the mitzvah is the hadlokoh, because if it was the hanochoh then one would have to lift up and put down the lantern as well.

10 | S e g e l C h a b u r a There is a fundamental machlokes between Rashi and Tosfos regarding how to read this Gemara. The Gemara explains a case where a lantern is lit on Erev Shabbos. To understand whether or not this lantern can be used for Chanukah on Motzaei Shabbos, we must figure out why it was lit in the first place. Rashi is of the opinion that the lantern was initially lit on Erev Shabbos in order to fulfill the mitzvah of menorah. Nevertheless, he says, you would need to extinguish, relight, pick up, and put down the menorah in order to fulfill the mitzvah of menorah on the next night, Motzaei Shabbos. Tosfos asks a question on the opinion of Rashi. Halacha dictates that if the main component of the mitzvah would be the hanochoh, then a deaf person, a mentally ill person, and a minor would be able to light (even though they are exempt from the performance of mitzvos), because the lighting would be insignificant in terms of your fulfillment of the mitzvah. Only the placement of the menorah would be significant. Therefore, if the mitzvah would be hanochoh, you should seemingly only have to pick up and put down the already lit menorah. Therefore, asks Tosfos, if you initially lit for Chanukah, why does the Gemara say that you would need to light a new hadlokoh in addition to the hanochoh? Tosfos answers by providing a differing opinion than Rashi. The lantern, in the case of the Gemara, was not lit for Chanukah on Erev Shabbos, like Rashi said. Rather, it was lit for Shabbos on Erev Shabbos. Therefore, if you wanted to use that same lantern to fulfill the mitzvah of menorah you would actually need to relight it in order to make sure that it is recognizable that you are lighting in order to fulfill that nights mitzvah of menorah. Meaning, since when you lit on Erev Shabbos, you were not lighting for Chanukah, you need to relight the menorah for the sake of Chanukah, when you use it again the next night.

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It appears, however, that if Rashi was in fact right that the lantern was lit on Erev Shabbos for Chanukah, Tosfos would say that one would not need to relight, because the lighting was done for the sake of the mitzvah of Chanukah. Rather, one could merely lift the lantern and set it down, to fulfill the mitzvah of hanochoh. This is because according to Tosfos, the only problem which requires one to relight is the fact that it needs to be recognizable that the candle was lit for the mitzvah of menorah. Therefore, if it was lit on Erev Shabbos for fulfilling the mitzvah of menorah than clearly it is recognizable that its for the mitzvah of menorah on Motzaei Shabbos as well. However, assuming Tosfos is correct we must understand the basis for Rashis opinion that you need to relight the menorah, even when it was lit for Chanukah. According to Rashi, why would you need to relight the lantern, wouldnt hanochoh be enough? Therefore, it appears that even if hanochoh is the mitzvah, the lighting still has some significance according to Rashi. The lighting still needs to be done at the time and in the place of the hanochoh. The Sfas Emes explains, as we did, that according to Tosfos, the reason one would need to relight is because the lantern was lit for Shabbos and not menorah. Therefore, he continues, one could theoretically fulfill the mitzvah of menorah every night by merely picking up and placing down the already lit candle, assuming the lantern was lit for the sake of Chanukah. However, the Sfas Emes concludes that this would not actually work, because the lantern would still be fulfilling the mitzvah of the first night, and in order to fulfill a new mitzvah each night one would need to light again each night.

12 | S e g e l C h a b u r a According to this opinion of the Sfas Emes, we can read Tosfos as follows: , There, when you lit at that time it was recognizable as being lit for Chanukah

The comma would seemingly be placed after , when you lit it. Meaning, as long as it is recognizable that you are lighting for the mitzvah of menorah at the time of the lighting, whatever night that may be, you have fulfilled your obligation. Based on this reading, Rashi and Tosfos do in fact disagree. According to Tosfos, whether or not you fulfill the mitzvah is based on your intentions at the time of the mitzvah, whereas Rashi would say that even if you had the right intentions at the time of the mitzvah and lit the candle for Chanukah on Erev Shabbos, you would still need to relight the next night, as we explained earlier. However, based on the explanation of the Tosfos HaRash, it appears that there is another possible way to read Tosfos. Reading Tosfos in this new way would drastically change our perception of the opinion of Tosfos on our Gemara. We could read Tosfos as follows: , when you light in the proper time (each night), it was recognizable as being lit for Chanukah

The comma would seemingly be placed after ,in the proper time. Meaning, the reason you need a new hadlokoh is because in order for the lighting to be recognized as being for the mitzvah of menorah it must be lit at the time of the mitzvah. Contrary to how we explained the Sfas Emes, that the lighting has to be leshem Chanukah, although that can be on a previous night, we are now explaining that the recognition that its for

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menorah must take place at the time you light it, at the proper time. Therefore, even if it was lit for Chanukah on Erev Shabbos, it still would need a new hadlokoh on Motzaei Shabbos and each subsequent night. Based on this new reading, Tosfos and Rashi seem to agree. Obviously, they initially disagree on the case of the Gemara, whether it was originally lit for Chanukah or Shabbos, but, after the fact, both would say either way you need to relight at the time of that nights hadlokoh in order to fulfill your obligation, if we theoretically held that hanochoh was the main part of the mitzvah. Whether it was lit for Shabbos on Erev Shabbos, like Tosfos, or for Chanukah on Erev Shabbos, you would still need to relight in order for it to be recognizable that it is being lit for Chanukah, because that recognition can only come on each night when the mitzvah is being performed. Similarly, based on our second explanation of Tosfos which was based on the Tosfos HaRash, the Ramban seems to agree with Tosfos. The Ramban holds that one must relight the candle on Motzaei Shabbos, because if someone saw you light it yesterday he will think you lit it for another purpose. This logic would apply whether it was lit for Chanukah or Shabbos on Erev Shabbos. If Rashi and Tosfos do in fact agree, we must understand what compels Tosfos to say that the Gemara is talking about a lantern that was lit for Shabbos and not for Chanukah. Moreover, we must understand why the Gemara decides to use a case of a lantern which lasted from Erev Shabbos to Motzaei Shabbos as opposed to, for example, a Tuesday evening to the following Wednesday night. The Chasam Sofer adds to our problems. We know that Chanukah candles are placed by the door and Shabbos candles are placed by or on the table, so how can Tosfos say that one used the same lantern for both Shabbos on one night and Chanukah on the next, when they are lit in different places? To

14 | S e g e l C h a b u r a solve this problem, the Chasam Sofer explains that we must be dealing with, even according to Tosfos, a lantern which was lit for Chanukah (like Rashi believes). At this point, Rashi and Tosfos agree on the case as well. The ruling of the Gemara, that you would need to relight the menorah in addition to picking it up and putting it down, applies to any case of a lantern or menorah lit on a night of Chanukah - any night of Chanukah. Meaning, whenever you happen to be in a case where your menorah has not extinguished from the previous night, and even if we held hanochoh was the mitzvah, you would need to relight your menorah, and you could not rely on the flame from the previous night. The Chasam Sofer continues and says that the only reason Tosfos says that the case is of a lantern lit from Erev Shabbos to Motzaei Shabbos is because that is the only time when a lantern would be left lit for an entire day, because on Shabbos you are not allowed to extinguish a flame. Therefore, Rashi and Tosfos could possibly be agreeing. Based on the Tosfos HaRash we can explain that Tosfos believes that the reason you need to relight is because you did not have the intentions for lighting for Chanukah at the time you fulfilled that nights mitzvah. This idea would apply whether you lit for Shabbos or Chanukah on Erev Shabbos. No matter what your intentions are, you need to light with the proper intentions on each night. The only reason Tosfos mentions a case of where you lit on Erev Shabbos, is because that is the only circumstance where a candle would remain lit until the next night and put you in the situation we are discussing. To conclude, we saw two different explanations of the opinion of Tosfos. Based on the second explanation, Rashi and Tosfos might agree completely. Tosfos is only compelled to define the case as he does for practical reasons, yet both Tosfos and Rashi seem to agree that if hanochoh was the mitzvah and if a person were to light a menorah on one night of Chanukah, the

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flames must be extinguished and relit in order to fulfill the mitzvah of the next night. *** The Kedushas Levi explains, based on our Gemara, that a Jews life is consists of two distinct experiences: the times when we are inspired and filled with a love for mitzvos and the times when we simply do mitzvos because we have to, but with no excitement. He explains that the concept of hadlokoh being the mitzvah represents those times which are ideal, when we do the mitzvos because we feel a strong spiritual desire, a flame within us. However, there are also times when we feel saddened and halfhearted, the times when hanochoh is the mitzvah. There is no flame involved, rather, we just do the mitzvah and rely on a flame which has already been lit. We explained that even if one holds hanochoh oseh mitzvah, the hadlokoh is important, and the opposite is equally true. Why? In order to make it recognizable, as we have stated, that you are lighting for the sake of the mitzvah of menorah. Similarly, it is obvious that when one does not feel inspiration he should do the mitzvah anyway, and try to create new or just recall passed inspiration to fulfill the mitzvah. However, where do we see an idea of hanochoh representing lack of inspiration within the concept of hadlokoh? Why would a person ever want to do a mitzvah without desire when they could do it with desire? The answer is simple. As we learned in the Gemara and Rashi, the hanochoh is there as a reminder that the hadlokoh is being done for the mitzvah of menorah. So too, within our own observance of mitzvos, even when we are doing mitzvos for the right reasons and with a strong passion, a flame, we need to be mindful that at times the passion may not be present. One needs to have those times in the back of his mind even while he is inspired. Even while inspired, even while doing mitzvos out of enjoyment, one cannot perform the mitzvos just because it gives him pleasure,

16 | S e g e l C h a b u r a but because Hashem has commanded it. With this knowledge, even when you are not inspired, it will not matter, because you arent doing mitzvos for yourself, you are doing them for Hashem. Even when it does not seem to be beneficial to you, you will do it anyway. This is the hanochoh within hadlokoh the realization that our observance of mitzvos is for a greater cause than ourselves. When we attain that realization during times of inspiration, we will be able to perform mitzvos more easily, even in times when we are lacking it.

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Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin: More Beautiful Than What?


Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz
The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) states that there are three distinct ways of lighting Chanukah candles: 1. Neir Ish UBeiso The head of the household lights one candle every night for him and his entire household. 2. Mehadrin Every member of the household lights one candle each night. 3. Mehadrin Min Hamehadrin Dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel. Beis Shamai Each man lights eight candles on the first night and subtracts one candle on each subsequent night of Chanukah. Beis Hillel Each man lights one candle on the first night and adds one candle on each subsequent night of Chanukah. This essay will focus on the topic of the relationship between mehadrin and mehadrin min hamehadrin. Are the two methods of lighting related to each other or are they totally separate? Do they have anything in common more than just their name? If you perform mehadrin min hamehadrin do you also fulfill mehadrin, or are they two separate entities? To help guide us, we will examine a dispute between Rambam and Tosfos. The Rambam (Megillah VChanukah 4:12) says that mehadrin min hamehadrin is built off of mehadrin. If one was following mehadrin he would light one candle for each member of the household. Therefore, when following mehadrin min hamehadrin not only does one light a candle for each member of the household, but one also lights a candle for the day. For example, if it was day two of Chanukah and there were ten people in the house household, twenty candles would be lit. Tosfos (Shabbos 31b) on the other hand disagrees with

18 | S e g e l C h a b u r a this method because due to the large number of lit candles, onlookers wont be able to ascertain which method of lighting the family is following. Due to this problem, Tosfos proposes that mehadrin min hamehadrin is built off of Neir Ish UBeiso. If one was following Neir Ish UBeiso he would light one candle for the entire household. Therefore, when following mehadrin min hamehadrin one would light one candle for the entire house and light an additional candle every night. For example, on day two, two candles would be lit regardless of the members in the house. The Shulchan Aruch and Rama argue as to whose opinion should be the accepted halachic position. The Shulchan Aruch (OC Chanukah 671:2) writes that one should light one candle on the first night and add another candle each subsequent night. Seemingly, the Shulchan Aruchs opinion directly matches that of the Tosfos. The Rama (ibid.) on the other hand, writes that some are of the opinion that a candle or candles should be lit for every member of the household according to which night it is. Seemingly, the Ramas opinion directly matches that of the Rambam. While at first glance it seems that Rama and the Rambam are of the same opinion, a deeper look will reveal that this is not so. There seems to be three differences between their opinions. Firstly, according to the Rambam, mehadrin min hamehadrin is accomplished by the Baal HaBayis (head of the household) lighting one candle for each member of the household. However, the Rama, seems to indicate that each member of the household should light their own candle. Furthermore, according to the Rambam the total number of candles should be equal to the number of members of the household, even members who themselves are not included in the obligation to light Chanukah candles. However, according to the Rama, only members of the household who themselves have an obligation to light candles would actually light a candle. Finally, according to the Rambam the main part of the mitzvah is fulfilled by lighting one candle and everything else is

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considered an extra beautification to the core mitzvah. For this reason, only one bracha would be recited on the first candle. However, according to the Rama who holds that every member of the household lights his own candle, it would seem that each member would make their own bracha even though the Baal HaBayis already recited a bracha on his candles. The Griz (Rabbi Yitzchock Zev Soloveitchick, the Brisker Rav), provides a different explanation of the Rama. He explains that in truth the Rama follows the Rambam. However, theres a dispute concerning Hilchos Milah which greatly affects our discussion. Commentaries argue whether a hiddur mitzvah, beautification of a mitzvah, is its own mitzvah distinct and separate from the actual mitzvah or if it part of and subsumed in the original mitzvah. The Rambam (Hilchos Millah 2:4) says that once a circumcision has been completed one cannot go back and cut the Tzitzin (considered an extra hiddur to the circumcision) even during the week because since the main part of the mitzvah was already completed, one cant go back to perform a hiddur. The Rama (Yoreh Deah 264:5) disagrees and says that one can go back and do the hiddur of cutting the tziztin after the circumcision has been completed (Unless it is Shabbos. The Brisker Rav explains that this dispute hinges on the following question: How do we understand Hiddur mitzvah? The Rambam apparently is of the opinion that Hiddur Mitzvah is part of the actual mitzvah and, therefore, once the mitzvah has been done there is not point to go back just or the hiddur. The hiddur component has to accompany the actual mitzvah. However, the Rama takes the position that hiddur mitzvah is its own mitzvah, distinct from the actual mitzvah. Therefore, he allows the hiddur to be performed even without the actual mitzvah. Rav Soloveitchick says that the reason the Rambam says that the Baal Habayis must light all the lights for the whole family is because he is of the opinion that a hiddur cannot

20 | S e g e l C h a b u r a be fulfilled except as part of the actual mitzvah itself. Therefore, another member of the household cant light the candles because that would constitute hiddur after the actual mitzvah. However, the Rama consistent with his position regarding millah says that a hiddur mitzvah can be fulfilled even though it is not accompanied by the actual mitzvah itself, thereby allowing other members of the household to light so that they too can perform the hiddur mitzvah and fulfill mehadrin min hamehadrin.

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Lighting Chanukah Candles in Shul


Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone
We commonly associate the mitzvah of lighting the menorah with the lighting that we do in our homes on each night of Chanukah. In fact, the Gemara (Shabbos 21b) states that the mitzvah is to place the menorah at the door of your house. However, nowhere does the Gemara mention our additional practice, which is to light the menorah in shul. There are two main opinions given for this practice. Firstly, The Beis Yosef (OC 671) explains that we can compare lighting Chanukah candles in shul to reciting kiddush in shul on Friday night. Kiddush is said on Friday nights in shul to enable guests to hear kiddush. So too, we light the menorah in shul on Chanukah to enable guests to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the menorah.1 The Kol Bo and the Rivash (both quoted in the Beis Yosef) give a second reason. They suggest that the menorah is lit in shul in order to fulfill pirsumei nisa, to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. We have established that one should light in shul and that our minhag to do so is in fact legitimate. However, does the legitimacy of this practice require us to recite a bracha? The Gemara (Succah 44b) and Rambam (Hilchos Brachos 11:16) say that we do not say brachos on minhagim. Therefore, we would seemingly not be required to say a bracha on the lighting in shul, which is in fact a mere minhag. However, the Rivash states that one is required to say a bracha on the lighting done in shul just like he is required to say a bracha on hallel of Rosh Chodesh, despite the fact that they are both minhagim.
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The Ran in Pesachim says that we say kiddush on Friday night in shul even though no one sleeps there anymore because it is a takanas chachamim, which once instituted is not removed.

22 | S e g e l C h a b u r a This opinion of the Rivash is very novel and must be understood. How can we be required to recite a bracha on a minhag if the Gemara and Rambam (above) explain that we do not recite brachos on minhagim? Rabbeinu Tam (quoted in the Kesef Mishnah) explains that the pirsumei nisa, which is achieved by the lighting in shul, is what enables and even obligates a bracha. Although the lighting in shul is not an essential element of the mitzvah of lighting the menorah, it nevertheless achieves pirsumei nisa and it therefore requires a bracha. Similarly, the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchok Zeev Soloveitchik, explains that one cannot recite a bracha on a minhag when the minhag does not contain a cheftzah shel mitzvah, an action which can be a mitzvah in the proper situation. We can apply this idea to our case. Because lighting the menorah contains an actual cheftzah shel mitzvah, in that it is a mitzvah when done in the appropriate setting, we can say a bracha on the lighting, even though the mitzvah is not required at the time and place it is being performed, namely in shul. However, assuming we do in fact require the recital of a bracha on the lighting done in shul, should one repeat the brachos again when he lights at home? The Rama (OC 671) writes that one does not fulfill the mitzvah with the lighting done in the shul and would therefore be required to recite an additional bracha when fulfilling the mitzvah at home. Moreover, the bracha of shehecheyanu would only be said when lighting at home if there is someone else, who was not in shul with him, while he lights at home. The Chacham Tzvi records a contradiction in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch says one should not recite a bracha on hallel on Rosh Chodesh. However, the Shulchan Aruch also says one should recite a bracha on lighting Chanukah candles in shul. The Chacham Tzvi does not provide an answer to this contradiction.

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However, based on the Rivash and Kol Bo (above), we can explain why one would say a bracha on the lighting done in shul and not on the hallel that is recited on Rosh Chodesh. The Kol Bo and Rivash explain that nowadays, when we no longer light inside, we do not fulfill pirsumei nisa with the lighting that we do at home, and as a result we light in shul in order to achieve pirsumei nisa. Therefore, we can explain that the mitzvah of lighting the menorah is different from the recital of hallel altogether. Lighting in shul is a minhag, similar to hallel, but it is different than hallel in that it fulfills an actual mitzvah. Nowadays, when we light inside, the lighting in shul fulfills the mitzvah of pirsumei nisa. Therefore, one would be required to recite a bracha on the lighting done in shul, and not on the hallel said on Rosh Chodesh. (Although the Rivash is of the opinion that nowadays we do say bracha on hallel, we can still use his reasoning for lighting in shul to prove the above explanation.) The Chacham Tzvi points out a contradiction in the Shulchan Aruchs opinion. Earlier we explained that lighting candles in shul is similar to reciting hallel on Rosh Chodesh, as both are minhagim, and many sources draw parallels between the two in terms of their laws. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 671:7) rules that we say a bracha on the lighting done in shul, while he says elsewhere that we do not say a bracha on hallel of Rosh Chodesh. He tries to resolve the contradiction by saying that lighting in shul is more similar to Friday night kiddush in shul than to hallel. We say Kiddush in shul for the guests of the community and lighting in shul could possibly be along the same lines. However, he rejects this resolution because, if so, lighting in shul would have been a topic discussed by Chazal, and yet we see no indication in their writings that this practice was ever done. Then he suggests that maybe the lighting in shul is to assist in performing pirsumei nisa since we no longer light outside, but he again rejects this opinion because there were Jews who lived in Babylonia for many years and it seems they never practiced this.

24 | S e g e l C h a b u r a *** The Rav, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, in his sefer Harerei Kedem, quotes his father, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, who explains that the main reason we light in shul is because of the obligation on the congregation to publicize the miracle. This sheds light on why, when lighting in shul, we light in between Mincha and Maariv, while in our homes we light after Maariv. The reason is because after Maariv people would begin to shuffle out and the lighting wouldnt be done as a unified congregation. However, when everyone is waiting for Maariv, standing as one with nowhere to go, they are one unit with one purpose. Similarly, on Motzai Shabbos the candles in the shul should be lit before Vayehi Noam or Aleinu, namely in the middle of davening, so that the lighting can be done as a unified congregation. Accordingly, the candles of Chanukah represent unity. When the Jewish people band together they are capable of accomplishing anything. Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky (Emes LeYaakov) asks why in the Hebrew language the plural word for man, anashim, doesnt reflect that of the singular, ish. He explains that when Bnei Yisrael unite they do not become a group of individuals, but a whole new entity, and therefore the Hebrew language gives a new word to describe them. This is the power that Chanukah imbues within the Jewish nation. On Chanukah the Jews united to defeat the Yevanim and to rededicate the Beis HaMikdash. Therefore, when Chanukah rolls around on our calendar we can tap into this power. The challenge to us is to internalize it and let it change our lives.

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Baal Tosif: Know Your Boundaries


Ari Miller, Dovi Shafier, & Isaac Shulman
Understanding the concepts of bal tosif and bal tigra is essential to understanding our role as Jews in relation to the Torah. The Torah is eternal, yet we have often been faced with situations where we are required to add to or subtract from the Torah in order to preserve what it represents. We will attempt to analyze and better define the prohibitions of bal tosif, adding to the Torah, and bal tigra, subtracting from the Torah, in order to better understand our role and responsibilities toward the Torah. There are two pesukim that contain the basis for the prohibitions of bal tosif and bal tigra. There are many issues within the pesukim that we will attempt to understand. The Torah states: )( : You shall not add on to the word I command you, nor diminish from it, to keep the laws of Hashem, your God, which I command you. (Devarim 4:2) All this word which I command you shall you observe to do; you shall not add to it, nor diminish from it. (Devarim 13:1)

. )( ":

26 | S e g e l C h a b u r a There are three main issues that we must understand in these pesukim. Firstly, why does the Torah mention the commandment of bal tosif and bal tigra twice? Additionally, are bal tosif and bal tigra connected, and, if so, what is the relationship between the two? And lastly, why does the Torah choose to place bal tosif in between the parshiyos of avodah zara (idolatry) and navi sheker (the false prophet)? The Gemara (Eruvin 95b) discusses a machlokes between the Tana Kama and Raban Gamliel regarding finding multiple pairs of tefillin in a field on Shabbos. On the one hand, if the tefillin are not brought to shelter they will be disgraced or damaged. On the other hand, carrying the tefillin would pose a potential problem of hotzaah, carrying from one domain to another on Shabbos. The Tana Kama holds that the person should take the tefillin inside one pair at a time by properly wearing them. He will therefore not violate hotzaah by wearing tefillin, as opposed to carrying tefillin. Raban Gamliel disagrees and says that he should take in the tefillin two pairs2 at a time, presumably by wearing them both at the same time. The Gemara explores three different ways to understand this machlokes. In the second explanation, the Gemara says that perhaps Raban Gamliel actually agrees with the Tana Kama that mitzvos do not require kavana, however he disagrees when it comes to bal tosif. Raban Gamliel believes that in order to violate bal tosif, one would need to have kavana. He holds that mitzvos do not require kavana, but bal tosif does. On the other hand, the Tana Kama holds that both mitzvos and bal tosif do not require kavana, and therefore, the machlokes is only regarding bal tosif.
2

Perhaps the reason why Raban Gamliel would say specifically two and no more than two is for a practical reason, being that a person can only fit two pairs of tefillin on the proper part of his arm at one time. However, if the tefillin were worn on a different part of the body, everyone would agree that this would be considered hotzaah, as they are not normally worn in this fashion.

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Therefore, in this case, Raban Gamliel would hold that if the person did not have kavana to be yotzei the mitzvah, he would still be yotzei with the first pair of tefillin that he wore, because mitzvos do not need kavana. Nevertheless, at the same time, he would not violate bal tosif for additional pairs of tefillin, and he can bring them in two at a time without a problem, because in order to violate bal tosif he would need to have kavana. Within this answer, we see that the Gemara is explaining that the machlokes between the two revolves around the question of whether you would extend the kavana principle for mitzvos to bal tosif, as well. The Tana Kama would, Raban Gamliel would not. Another possible explanation is that within this answer, everyone really agrees that you do not extend the principle of the requirement of kavana from mitzvos to bal tosif and they are simply arguing about whether bal tosif needs kavana. In order to better understand the parameters of bal tosif, it is important to understand what exactly is going on in this Gemara. Firstly, we must understand Raban Gamliels opinion according to the second way to read the Gemara. Why would he differentiate between the kavana needed to be yotzei a mitzvah, which he says is not needed, and the kavana needed to violate bal tosif, which he does require? Additionally, we must try to understand how the Rambam learns this Gemara. The Rambam (Hilchos Sanhedrin 19:4) lists the prohibitions for which the violator would receive makkos. However, bal tosif is shockingly not mentioned on that list. We must somehow understand why the Rambam does not believe that one would get makkos for bal tosif in light of the Gemara which clearly assumes that one does in fact get makkos for violating bal tosif. The Rambam (Hilchos Mamrim 2:9) writes that the only reason that Chazal did not violate bal tosif when they instituted an isur derabanan, rabbinic prohibition, on eating chicken and dairy together, is because they recognized that it is

28 | S e g e l C h a b u r a in fact only an isur derabanan. They were not adding on to the Torah, rather, they were protecting the Torah by making a seyag laTorah. This implies that bal tosif can be defined as, according to Rambam, creating a totally new and separate prohibition. This opinion of the Rambam also requires a response to the challenge of the Raavad. The Raavad says that even if Chazal didnt recognize their prohibition of eating chicken and dairy as an isur derabanan, it would still not violate bal tosif. One only violates bal tosif if he adds onto the actual mitzvah, such as adding a fifth parsha to tefillin or adding a fifth corner to Tzitzis. However, adding onto the general Torah is not considered bal tosif according to the Raavad. Perhaps we can say that the Rambam is actually consistent for both his opinion about makkos, that bal tosif is not on his list of prohibitions which receive makkos, and his definition of bal tosif, that one violates it by adding a completely new idea to the Torah. It appears that the Rambam views bal tosif as a general problem of tampering with the Torah. It is not a prohibition of adding onto an individual mitzvah, such as adding a fifth corner to tzitzis; it is a prohibition of adding onto Gods command in any form. Therefore, it is completely logical that adding a new prohibition, such as a prohibition against eating chicken with dairy, would in fact fall under bal tosif. However, since our sages have the ability to create rabbinic prohibitions, it is not considered a violation of bal tosif. This approach also explains why it is that the Rambam believes one does not receive makkos for violating bal tosif. Being that the prohibition is to tamper with the Torah in general and despite the fact that an action was done, the action itself was not the problem. Bal tosif is violated, not by doing a prohibited act, but rather by tampering with the Torah through a certain act which itself is not problematic. It follows that bal tosif is a lav sheein bo maaseh, a prohibition that is violated

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without doing an action, and there would not be a punishment of makkos, as is true with such prohibitions. This is actually very similar to the way the Rambam (Hilchos Gezeilos 1) understands lo sachmod, the prohibition against being jealous. The Rambam says that a person does not violate lo sachmod until he does an action and yet he also says that a person does not get makkos for lo sachmod because it is a lav sheein bo maaseh. Meaning, the actual prohibition of lo sachmod does not prohibit the action which you have done; it only prohibits the feelings which are manifested in your action. Lo sachmod is a lav sheein bo maaseh and thus the violator does not receive makkos. Although, the only way we know that a person actually had covetous feelings is if he acts upon those feelings with an action, but the action itself is not a problem. Therefore, it is possible that lo sachmod is a lav sheein bo maaseh and at the same time one does not violate it until he has done an action which proves he had the prohibited thoughts. This sheds light on our discussion of bal tosif. The actual prohibition of bal tosif is defined as tampering with the Torah. This is not defined as a specific action, yet your intentions are defined by the action which you do. In order to violate the prohibition, an action must be done, but the action itself is not a prohibited one. Therefore, the Rambam believes, one does not receive makkos for violating bal tosif. This interpretation of the Rambam is supported by the pesukim. We can now go back to the questions we had with the pesukim which are the basis for bal tosif and bal tigra. The reason that the Torah repeats the prohibitions twice is because there are two levels of the prohibitions. There is the traditional way of violating by adding or subtracting to a specific mitzvah, such as the way the Raavad understands. And there is another, more general, aspect to the prohibition, which is to add or subtract from the Torah in general, such as the way the Rambam understands.

30 | S e g e l C h a b u r a Our second question, related to the connection between bal tosif and bal tigra, is also apparent. They are both really two sides of the same coin. They are both ways of tampering with Torah and its system of halacha - they are just two different ways of doing it. In fact, they are essentially the same prohibition according to our understanding of the Rambam. Since the prohibition is not associated with a specific action, the prohibition is not against adding or subtracting, its against the persons intent of tampering with the Torah, whichever way he does it. Finally, the context that bal tosif is placed in makes for a compelling argument that the Rambam did in fact understand bal tosif as we have explained. The prohibition of bal tosif is recorded in between the parshiyos which discuss the navi sheker and avodah zarah. Both of these topics deal with people who see the Torah as imperfect and feel the need to take initiative and do something about it. When one violates bal tosif, he is in principle doing the exact same thing as the false prophet and the idol worshipper. He is stating that the Torah is not perfect and that his own input makes the Torah more complete and more logical. Therefore, it makes sense for these topics to be recorded together. All three of these prohibitions represent the same ideology and are thus grouped together. The Rambams understanding of bal tosif can also explain the opinion of Raban Gamliel in the second way to interpret the Gemara in Eruvin above. Raban Gamliel differentiates between the kavana needed to fulfill a mitzvah and the kavana needed to violate bal tosif, saying that kavana is required to fulfill a mitzvah but not to violate bal tosif, because in truth they do not have anything to do with each other. The violation of bal tosif is its own separate prohibition of tampering with the Torah and is not as closely related to the general observance of mitzvos, as we may have thought. The Magen Avraham and the Semak (Sefer Mitzvos Katan) both talk about putting tefillin on during Chol HaMoed.

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They explain that doing so would not constitute a violation of bal tosif since we simply have a doubt as to whether or not you are supposed to wear tefillin on Chol HaMoed. Based on our understanding of Rambam, this opinion makes a lot of sense. Once you lose the aspect of knowing that something is not commanded, it is no longer considered an act of tampering with halacha. At that point, it is obvious that you are not trying to do anything wrong.

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Birchas Reiyah: Seeing is Believing


Mordy Dubin & Yoni Stone
If a one were to see his fellow Jew shaking a beautiful lulav and esrog, holding a beautiful sefer Torah, or sitting in a beautiful succah, he would undoubtedly be inspired. Yet regarding Chanukah, the Gemara (Shabbos 23a) tells us that there is actual halachic significance in merely looking at another Jews lit menorah. The Gemara tells us that one would actually be required to make a birchas reiyah, the bracha of sheasa nisim, upon seeing a lit menorah. Where does this unique mitzvah stem from and what makes the mitzvah of lighting the menorah so different than all other mitzvos, thereby requiring the viewer to recite a bracha upon seeing it? Tosfos (Succah 46) explains the reasoning behind this unique halacha. Tosfos says that the reason we have a mitzvas re'iyah regarding Chanukah but not regarding any other mitzvah is because of the chavivus haneis, our love of the miracle. Meaning, because we are so grateful for the miracle of Chanukah, we are required to, and want to, recite a bracha upon seeing the mitzvah which represents it and publicizes it. We have determined the actual reasoning behind the mitzvah, yet the Gemara is rather vague in terms of its more specific details. There is a machlokes between Rashi and the Ran regarding when the birchas reiyah should be made. Rashi limits the requirement and says that you would only recite the bracha if you yourself have not yet lit. We can infer from Rashi, that even if someone has lit for you, and even if you will light later on, you are required to make this birchas reiyah. However, the Ran disagrees with Rashi on two points. The Ran believes that if the persons family has already lit for him, or if he plans on lighting later on that night, he would not be required to make a bracha. Therefore, the machlokes seems to come down to the following point: Rashi says the birchas reiyah is supplementary to the basic obligation of lighting the menorah,

34 | S e g e l C h a b u r a and can be said even if you will light later or fulfill the mitzvah through someone else. But the Ran says the birchas reiyah is merely a method to fulfill the basic obligation of lighting the menorah, and is only said if you will not be lighting later or fulfilling the mitzvah through someone else. Prior to stating the halacha of birchas reiyah, the Gemara discusses the womens obligation in lighting the menorah. The Gemara explains that a woman is obligated in the mitzvah because of the concept of af hein hayu beoso haneis, because they too were involved in the miracle. The Mishnah Berurah explains the way in which women were involved in the miracle. He says that the Roman emperor demanded that every Jewess submit herself to him before she got married, and, additionally, Yehudis was instrumental in bringing about the salvation of the Jewish people. Therefore, the woman is obligated both because she was included in the oppression and because she was instrumental in bringing about salvation. The Beer Halacha (and others) explains that since women have an equal obligation in the mitzvah, a man can therefore fulfill the obligation to light the menorah through his wifes lighting. According to the Ran, who explained that if a persons family has lit for him he is not obligated to recite a birchas reiyah, we can now explain that if the mans wife lit for him he would also be exempt from the birchas reiyah, because he can fulfill his obligation through his wife. We will now return to the central idea within the machlokes between Rashi and the Ran. The Ritva highlights that the machlokes is contingent on the word ,and he leaves out our prior difference regarding if someones household lit for him or not. Therefore, the basic machlokes is as follows: Rashi would hold that you should make a birchas reiyah as long as you have not lit, while the Ran would say that you should only make the birchas reiyah if you will not light the Chanukah candles later, because whatever the birchas reiyah is accomplishing can be better

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accomplished through the normal lighting. Rashi would say that you need to make this bracha even if you will light later. This is either because you can accomplish the same thing in no worse way through the birchas reiyah, or because whatever you would accomplish through the birchas reiyah is not directly related to the normal lighting of the menorah. The Ritva makes another point that, at first, is seemingly unrelated to this machlokes, yet after deep analysis will shed light on our issue. The Ritva has two opinions regarding when one should make the brachos which are required either before or after lighting the menorah. Firstly, the Rama says that on the first night of Chanukah one should make all three brachos over leasiasan, before doing the mitzvah, because they are all considered birchos hamitzvah, which are always said before the mitzvah they are being recited on. The second opinion says that only the first bracha, lehadlik ner shel Chanukah, is a birchas hamitzvah, and therefore it is the only bracha which needs to be said before the actual mitzvah. However, the rest of the brachos (including sheasa nisim and shehecheyanu) are to be said after the lighting of the candles. To summarize, the Rama says that sheasa nisim is a birchas hamitzvah and is said before lighting - while the second opinion holds that sheasa nisim is a birchas shevach vhodaah, a bracha of praise and gratitude and therefore said after the lighting. The Rav, Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, in his sefer Harerei Kedem, connects the machlokes between Rashi and the Ran to the two opinions in the Ritva. According to the Ritvas first opinion (the Rama), sheasa nisim is a birchas hamitzvah. Consequently, we can ask why a second birchas hamitzvah of lehadlik ner shel Chanukah is needed. The Rav explains that there are two components to the mitzvah of lighting the menorah: the action and the outcome. The first component of the mitzvah is the maaseh hamitzvah, the act of lighting, which requires the recital of lehadlik ner shel

36 | S e g e l C h a b u r a Chanukah. The second component of the mitzvah is the outcome, the pirsumei nisa, publicizing the miracle, which the candles achieve. This second component, which relates to the miracle, is covered under the bracha of sheasa nisim, which appropriately means that Hashem performs miracles for us. Through this dual understanding of the mitzvah of lighting the menorah, the Rav explains a deeper meaning behind the machlokes between the Ran and Rashi. According to the Ran, if you were to see a lit menorah but plan to light later, you should not make a birchas reiyah (sheasa nisim) because you have to recite sheasa nisim, a birchas hamitzvah, directly before the performance of the mitzvah. Thus, the Ran would hold that sheasa nisim is a birchas hamitzvah. In contrast, Rashi seems to agree with the second opinion regarding the status of sheasa nisim, namely that its a birchas shevach vhodaah. Accordingly, the reason you would make the birchas reiyah even if you plan on lighting later is because a birchas shevach vhodaah can be said at any time, and should be said at the first opportunity, regardless of when the actual lighting takes place. The combination of the Rama and the Ran can be found in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 670) records the concept of birchas reiyah as the actual halacha and explains, like the Ran, that you should only recite the birchas reiyah if nobody in your household has or will light for you and if you do not plan to light later on. Additionally, the Rama states his own opinion that all the brachos should be recited before the actual mitzvah is performed, which is consistent with the opinion of the Ran, as explained above. To conclude, the halachos pertaining to the birchas reiyah establish Chanukah as a very unique event in the Jewish calendar. Yet, we must understand what it is that is so inherently different about Chanukah which grants it such a unique halacha. It can be said that Chanukah is different than all

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other days in the Jewish calendar in that it represents a different battle, a unique battle to the Jewish people. The Yevanim had a different goal than our previous enemies. Their focus was not to wipe out the physical Jew. Rather, they wanted to uproot the spirituality from within the Jew. We can further explain that this subversive tactic which the Yevanim used in their attempt to destroy the Jewish people is what Tosfos is referring to: we have a mitzvah of birchas reiyah because of the chavivus hanes which surrounds the miracle of Chanukah. Meaning, the miracle was not only that Hashem saved us from obvious annihilation. More importantly, it was that He was responsible for our victory over the Yevanim, a victory which could be downplayed because of its unobvious threat against our spirituality. We have this great love for the miracle of Chanukah, because in some aspects this miracle is greater than all the other miracles weve experienced in our history, precisely because the threat was so covert. And, therefore, we have a concept of the birchas reiyah. When we see a lit menorah while walking in the street we have to recognize the veiled magnitude of the miracle of Chanukah. Every time we see the candles, we focus on the miracle that allowed us to defeat the Yevanim and save Judaism from one of its most intricate threats of all time, a threat which attempted to uproot the core of its existence.

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Purim Shiurim

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The Nature of Mishloach Manos


Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies
The mitzvah of mishloach manos is very expansive and detailed in terms of its laws, yet in a more general sense, there seems to be two different objectives that mishloach manos aims to accomplish. In this essay, we will attempt to analyze these two objectives, as well as their relationship to each other, through an analysis of a Gemara in Megillah (7b), which in context is discussing the mitzvah of mishloach manos. The Gemara states: : Abaye Bar Avin and Rabi Chanina Bar Avin would exchange Purim feasts with one another (Megillah 7b)

Simply, this Gemara means that these two amoraim exchanged Purim feasts with one another. Based on the context of this Gemara, a discussion of mishloach manos, we can assume that the Gemara is teaching us that they would also fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos through this exchange of feasts. In fact, a majority of rishonim, including the Ran and the Rambam, explain according to our assumption, that the amoraim would simply exchange feasts, and thereby fulfill both the mitzvah of seudas Purim (the feast of Purim) and mishloach manos. However, Rashi explains the Gemara in a different manner. He writes that one of the amoraim would eat his Purim seudah together with the other and on the subsequent Purim they would switch houses. While this is the basic meaning of Rashis explanation, the meforshim are very troubled by this explanation.

42 | S e g e l C h a b u r a The Beis Yosef challenges Rashis opinion by asking two questions. Firstly, Rashi explained that during the first year one of the amoraim would eat the Purim seudah at his friends, who is his host, and therefore its plausible to assume that the host would fulfill mishloach manos through providing the meal for his friend. However, how would the guest fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos in such a case? In other words, if according to Rashi the two amoraim would switch hosting the seudah each year, how would the one who is not hosting fulfill the mitzvah that year? Moreover, if in fact the amoraim would fulfill mishloach manos through another means other than the seudah, obviously that would work! Therefore, it must be that the Gemara is teaching a novel way of fulfilling mishloach manos within the case it presents. Therefore, we must determine the way in which the amoraim would fulfill mishloach manos within the case the Gemara presents. Through the following three answers we will see how the guest would fulfill or be exempt from the mitzvah of mishloach manos, within this irregular case of the Gemara. The Lechem Mishnah explains the case as follows. There are two amoraim, the guest and the host. Both need to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos. Therefore, the host houses the other amora thereby fulfilling his obligation, and the guest provides the food for the meal thereby fulfilling his obligation. The Lechem Mishnah explains that this is what Rashi meant when he said the amoraim would exchange feasts, and yet still both fulfill mishloach manos. Rashi tells us that a person can receive mishloach manos from someone and then return that same food item to the person who gave it to him, and by doing so both fulfill mishloach manos.

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The Bach gives another answer to the Beis Yosefs question. He offers an extremely new method which can be used to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos, thereby explaining how according to Rashi both people fulfilled the mitzvah. He explains that the reason for mishloach manos is to bring love, happiness, and brotherhood among the Jewish people. The main and optimal way to do this is to bring actual food (the exact requirements are not the topic of this article). However, the Bach explains that according to Rashi, the guest (and presumably the host, although he doesnt need to rely on this reason to fulfill the mitzvah, because he is providing the seudah) is exempt from the obligation of mishloach manos merely by eating the seudah with his friend! Therefore, according the Bach, the Rashi is telling us that one can technically fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos through eating the seudah with another Jew, without giving anything of physical value, because of the love and happiness they experience even without an exchange of goods. The Magen Avraham gives a third answer. Asks the Magen Avraham, if a person is being supported by someone else, is he obligated in the mitzvah of mishloach manos or not? He answers that this person would in fact be exempt from the obligation of mishloach manos, inferring this halacha from the explanation of Rashi on our Gemara. The case in our Gemara, where one person eats the seudah with another person on one Purim and the next Purim they switch, is a case where one of the people (the guest) is relying on the others (the hosts) food, and he becomes exempt from mishloach manos. Similarly, says the Magen Avraham, someone relying on another person besides himself for food would be exempt from mishloach manos. Meaning, since Rashi interprets the case of the Gemara (which says the people are exempt from mishloach manos) as he

44 | S e g e l C h a b u r a does where one person is reliant on another he must be of the opinion that someone who is reliant on another person is exempt from mishloach manos. However, the Magen Avraham was not completely sure whether or not his opinion was correct, and therefore said it is good to be strict. The Chasam Sofer explains the doubt of our Gemara, and the doubt of the Magen Avraham as follows: If the reason for mishloach manos is to fill what is lacking in your friends seudah, then one who is relying on someone elses food (supported by another person) would be exempt, because since he himself will not be preparing a seudah, he has no obligation to help his friend. This is in fact how Rashi explains the Gemara, and how the Magen Avraham explained Rashi. However, if the reason is to bring love among Jews, then one who is supported by others is still obligated to give mishloach manos. Rashi would not be consistent with this second possibility according to the explanation of the Magen Avraham. Whats important about the Chasam Sofer (and the whole chain of opinions he explains for us), is that Rashi could be saying that the guest is actually exempt from mishloach manos since he relies on someone else for the seudah. Therefore, each year, one of the amoraim is exempt from mishlaoch manos, since he is reliant on the other for food. So far we have three ways in which the guest could either fulfill or be exempt from the mitzvah of mishloach manos when eating the seudah at his friends house. Firstly, the Lechem Mishnah explains that the guest provides the seudah to the host who then provides it to the back to the guest, enabling both of them to fulfill mishloach manos. The Bach explains that the guest and host would fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos without the formality of serving food. Rather they achieve the

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goal in which the food serves to accomplish bringing love between Jews. Lastly, based on the discussion of the Magen Avrahams opinion, the guest could be exempt from mishloach manos since he is reliant on the seudah of his friend. The doubt which the Chasam Sofer explained is parallel to a famous machlokes between the Terumas Hadeshen, who holds that the reason for mishloach manos is to fulfill whats lacking in your friends seudah, and the Manos HaLevi, who holds it is to combat Hamans attempt to disperse the Jewish people (and through mishloach manos we bring Jews closer together). According to the Manos HaLevi, it makes sense how the Bach would exempt you from mishloach manos in our case. However, the Magen Avraham explained by the Chasam Sofer would still hold that one would be obligated in the mitzvah because you need to physically provide food in order to fulfill the mitzvah. So, essentially, the Bach and Magen Avraham are arguing as to how to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manos according to the Manos HaLevi. The Bach says that one can bring this love among Jews by having the seudah together (although best through mishloach manos), whereas the Magen Avraham says in order to bring this love, one must fulfill mishloach manos in its traditional fashion, by sending two items to one person. Yet both seem to agree as to the validity of the reason of the Manos HaLevi. Therefore, it appears that there is a strong connection between the opinions of the Terumas Hadeshen (to fulfill whats lacking in your friends seudah) and the Manos HaLevi (to bring love and brotherhood). The Terumas HaDeshen is merely commenting on how to fulfill the idea of the Manos HaLevi.

46 | S e g e l C h a b u r a A similar point is raised in the sefer Sheeilos UTeshuvos Pri HaSadeh, who asks: According to the Terumas Hadeshen, why isnt there a mitzvah of mishloach manos for other yomim tovim which obligate you in a seudah? The answer is that everyone agrees that the mitzvah of mishloach manos is to bring about love, and the dispute is merely to what extent and how to accomplish it. The Manos HaLevi holds that the love should ideally be brought out through mishloach manos or, according to the Bach, through participating in another persons seudah. However, according to the Terumas HaDeshen, the mitzvah is fulfilled solely through the traditional giving of mishloach manos (2 foods). However, both seem to fundamentally agree that the point of mishloach manos is to bring love among Jews, fulfilling the pasuk in Megillas Esther (9:19,9:22) which says, - , sending gifts from one to another. In summation, the purpose of mishloach manos is either to provide for whats lacking in your friends seudah or to bring about brotherly love, thereby combating Hamans attempt to disperse the Jewish people. It may be that fundamentally there is no true difference. Even if the mitzvah is to fulfill whats lacking in your friends seudah, it is still a mitzvah unique to Purim because of the Hamans evil decree. Therefore, it appears that whether you hold like the Bach that you are exempt from mishloach manos by joining your friends seudah or like the Magen Avraham that you need to give mishloach manos regardless, the reason remains based in the idea of the Manos HaLevi, and the argument is merely how to implement the ideology which mishloach manos represents, namely, to bring about unity among Am Yisrael.

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Talmud Torah or Mikra Megillah?


Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz
We know that talmud Torah, the study of Torah, is one of the most important and fundamental mitzvos which we have the privilege to perform on a daily basis. In fact, the Mishnah (Peah 1:1) says that talmud Torah alone corresponds to all other mitzvos. Therefore, if a person would be in a situation where he is forced to choose between talmud Torah and another mitzvah, he would seemingly be required to choose talmud Torah. We will attempt to analyze the relationship between mikra Megillah and talmud Torah, and see whether or not talmud Torah would override mikra Megillah, or vice versa. We will hopefully determine whether or not mikra Megillah is a component of talmud Torah, and, if so, if it is important enough to override the learning of Gemara. The Gemara (Megillah 3a) is forced to expound a seemingly superfluous phrase in Megillas Esther (9:28) which states, mishpachah umishpachah. The Gemara uses these two words to teach us that the Kohanim and Leviyim families would stop their avodah (work in the Beis HaMikdash) and the Yisraelim would stop their maamados3 in order to go hear the reading of the Megillah. Additionally, the students of Rebbe decided that if mikra Megillah overrides the avodah, how much more so should it override talmud Torah as well. This Gemara is very significant because it introduces the idea that mikra Megillah overrides talmud Torah.

In connection with the communal daily offering (Korban Tamid), we are commanded to "guard" the offering. In order to fulfill this requirement, the early prophets selected representatives to serve as emissaries for the Jewish people. These representatives were split up into 24 groups (known as maamados, or stations). When its turn came, some members of the group went to the Beis HaMikdash and stood by the service, while others stayed in their towns and recited special prayers.

48 | S e g e l C h a b u r a The Shut Beis Ephraim was asked a major question by Rav Yaakov Landau (the son of the Nodah BiYehudah). The Gemara uses the language of . Meaning, the students of Rebbe had to be mevatel Torah, desist from studying Torah, in order to go hear mikra Megillah. Rav Landau questions the language of the Gemara and asks why listening to the Megillah is considered to be bitul Torah. Does talmud Torah not include reading Megillas Esther, a book of the Tanach? The Rashash provides us with two answers to the question. His first answer is based on a halacha recorded in the Shulchan Aruch (YD 246). The halacha states that in the beginning of a persons learning, he must spend one third of his time learning Talmud, one third of his time learning halacha, and one third of his time learning Torah Shebichsav, the written Torah. However, once he advances, the majority of his time should be spent learning Talmud, Gemara. Therefore, when a person is experienced and skilled enough, his time should be occupied by learning Gemara. Accordingly, says the Rashash, since Megillas Esther is part of Torah Shebichsav, if a person were to hear mikra megillah in place of learning Gemara, it would in fact be considered bitul Torah. The Rashash gives a second answer which clarifies the case of the Gemara. He explains that the reason the students were being mevatel Torah by going to hear mikra Megillah is because they themselves already fulfilled the mitzvah of mikra Megillah, they already heard the Megillah. They only refrained from learning because their Rebbe had to go hear mikra Megillah. According to the Rashash, the Gemara is telling us that a person should be mevatel his own Torah learning so that another person, in this case Rebbe, can go her mikra Megillah. This is considered bitul Torah, but there is no choice. In order to better understand if mikra Megillah is considered bitul Torah, we must understand whether or not learning or reading Megillas Esther is considered talmud

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Torah. According to the first answer in the Rashash, Megillas Esther is considered Torah; however it is also considered bitul Torah, because learning Gemara is more important once a person is an experienced learner. According to the second answer of the Rashash, for someone who has not yet heard mikra Megillah, it would not be bitul Torah. However, The Shut Beis Ephraim says that reading Megillas Esther is not even considered talmud Torah, because Megillas Esther was not written to be learned, but rather to be read. As opposed to the Rashash, who at most says that mikra Megillah is not as significant as learning Gemara, the Shut Beis Ephraim doesnt even consider Megillas Esther to be talmud Torah. The Shut Avnei Nezer (OC 517:10) has trouble with this opinion of the Shut Beis Ephraim. If Megillas Esther is not considered talmud Torah, then of what purpose are all the commentaries that have been written about it? The Brisker Rav (cited in Kuntres Chanukah and Megillah siman 4 in hagah) explains that the reading of Megillas Esther on Purim is different than the normal reading we do from the Torah. When a person listens to the weekly Torah reading, he must understand what the words of the Parshah actually mean. However, the Gemara (Megillah 18a) says that mitzvah regarding mikra Megillah is to \ achieve pirsumei nisa (publicizing the miracle). Rashi explains that by reading the Megillah, despite the fact that not all the words are understandable, the people who are present will ask the reader about the miracle, and in this way the reading of the Megillah will achieve pirsumei nisa. Based on this Gemara, which says that there is no mitzvah to understand the words of the Megillah, the Brisker Rav explains that mikra Megillah would in fact be considered bitul Torah. Similarly, there is a halacha in the Shulchan Aruch (OC 687) which says that one cannot fulfill both mikra Megillah and talmud Torah during mikra Megillah. The listener must have kavana for mikra Megillah, and he cannot fulfill the mitzvah of

50 | S e g e l C h a b u r a talmud Torah through hearing mikra Megillah. Based on this halacha, explains Rav Shlomo Kluger in his comments on the Shulchan Aruch, the reading of the Megillah is clearly not considered talmud Torah, because if it were, one would automatically fulfill the mitzvah of talmud Torah through hearing the Megillah, and he would not need additional kavana, albeit that kavana would not work. The Gemara (Moed Katan 9b) discusses a case where a person is occupied in talmud Torah, and the chance to perform another mitzvah arises. The Gemara concludes that as long as there is another person who can perform the mitzvah just as well as him, he must continue to learn, and if he stops learning, it is considered to be bitul Torah. However, if that mitzvah which arises cannot be fulfilled by others, such as those personal mitzvos which are incumbent upon oneself, like lulav or mikra Megillah, then the person must pause his learning in order to perform the other mitzvah. Based on this Gemara, we must understand why the students of Rebbe needed to use a source from Megillas Esther in order to allow themselves to stop their learning. If mikra Megillah is a mitzvah which is incumbent upon every person to perform, then a person would have to be mevatel Torah to hear Megillah even without an additional source from the Megillah - isnt this Gemara enough of a reason for the students of Rebbe to have stopped their learning! The Rashba and the Ran answer this question by noting that there is an additional aspect to mikra Megillah which is needed in order to properly fulfill the mitzvah. There is a concept of berov am hadras melech, which means that the king is most honored among a majority of the nation. Therefore, in order to best fulfill the mitzvah of mikra Megillah, the reading has to be done with as most people present as possible. Hence, an additional source from the Megillah is needed, according to the Ran and the Rashba, in order to teach that a person should not only be mevatel Torah to hear the Megillah, but also to hear the Megillah among as many people as possible.

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We can now return to the case of the students of Rebbe in our Gemara. In our case, there were probably hundreds of students in the Beis Medrash of Rebbe, and they could have easily sent someone up to read the Megillah and then gone right back to their learning, and by doing so they would not have been mevatel any Torah. Rebbe however, believed that because the concept of berov am hadras melech is so important, his students should be mevatel their Torah in order to go to the main Shul and hear the Megillah among the masses. This explanation of the Rashba and Ran fits very nicely with the wording of the Gemara. The Gemara used the words - they came to hear the reading of the Megillah. Meaning, they were mevatel their learning in order to go to another place, presumably to a Shul, to go and hear the Megillah there. The Rashba and the Ran explain that the Gemara wasnt saying that the students of Rebbe learned that they could be mevatel Torah to hear mikra Megillah; rather, the extra pasuk in Megillas Esther was used to allow them to be mevatel Torah to go to Shul and hear mikra Megillah berov am. That is why the Gemara uses the word .They couldnt just get up in the Beis Medrash, they actually had to go be mevatel Torah and walk to the main Shul with the rest of the community. The Gemara is not teaching us that a person must be mevatel Torah in order to hear mikra Megillah, because, as we explained, the Gemara in Moed Katan already teaches that a person must stop his learning to do a mitzvah that only he can personally perform. Rather, the Gemara in Megillah is teaching us that a person can and must stop their learning in order to go the Shul and hear the reading of Megillas Esther with as many people as possible. The Mishnah Berurah confirms this idea and stresses that even if there is a group of 100 people learning Torah

52 | S e g e l C h a b u r a together in a Beis Medrash, they are required to stop, get up, and go to a Shul to hear mikra Megillah. Although we see the importance of hearing mikra Megillah with as most people as possible, the Chayei Adam explains that if one has a minyan which he attends regularly, he may go to that minyan for Megillah reading, even though there may be a larger group of people in the Shul. The Shaarei Tzion comments on this opinion of the Chayei Adam. He limits the opinion of the Chayei Adam to a minyan which, although smaller, is nevertheless a real Shul. However, if that is not the case, and it is not a real Shul, the members must go to the local Shul and hear Megillah reading with everyone else, berov am. Purim is a very unique holiday when compared to all other holidays. When the time for Megillah reading comes, one can see people of all ages flocking to Shul to hear the Megillah as one people. We see this idea in all the commentators who stress the idea of berov am so intensely in regard to Megillah reading. What is it about Purim, and the story which it commemorates, that requires us to have so much national unity, more so than any other day in the Jewish calendar? Queen Esther approached King Achashverosh to request a pardon for her people. She went to Mordechai and asked him to tell the Jewish people to fast on her behalf, and on all of their behalf. Therefore, every year on Purim we commemorate this idea by coming together as one for one purpose and one cause. The Gemara (Shabbos 88a) explains that at Har Sinai we were coerced into accepting the Torah from Hashem. Hashem held Har Sinai over our heads like a barrel, forcing us to accept the Torah or our own death. Therefore, at times we feel obligated to do mitzvos. On Purim, however, the Gemara says that Bnei Yisrael reaccepted the Torah and reaffirmed their commitment toward it - this time, without any pressure or coercion. It is therefore incumbent upon us to join together each Purim, hear

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the Megillah together as one people, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Torah as one people with one heart.

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Minyan in Regard to Mikra Megillah


Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone
The number 10 is very significant regarding many mitzvos. Krias haTorah requires a minyan of ten, as well as many other mitzvos which are performed in the context of tefillah. Therefore, it would seem to be quite obvious that mikra Megillah can only be performed with a minyan. However, the Gemara actually has a discussion regarding whether or not the Megillah can be read with less than a minyan, and we will discuss some practical applications of the different opinions in the Gemara. The Gemara (Megillah 5a) states: : - . , - : . Rav says: in the proper time the Megillah can read with one person present; in the improper time with a minyan (10). Rav Asi says: ten are needed in its proper and improper time. Rav held like Rav Asi

We will begin by analyzing Rashis opinion on this Gemara. One could ask why there should be a distinction between the proper and the improper time for performing the mitzvah. Meaning, why wouldnt there be a universal ruling regarding whether a minyan is required or not why does the time matter? Rashi explains that the main reason we read the Megillah is in order to be , to publicize the miracle. Therefore, according to Rav, when a person reads the Megillah in its proper time, even if he is alone the miracle is nevertheless being publicized at that time, because he is reading at the same time as the rest of Am Yisrael. However, when the Megillah is not read in its proper time, most Jews are not reading Megillah, and therefore a minyan is needed in order to achieve pirsumei nisa.

56 | S e g e l C h a b u r a Rav Asi on the other hand, as Rashi explains, holds that the ideal fulfillment of pirsumei nisa comes with the reading of the Megillah with a minyan, whether in its proper or improper time. However, if you cannot find a minyan it is permissible to read the Megillah alone. According to Rashis view regarding the Gemara, Rav and Rav Ashi both agree that the Megillah should ideally be read with a minyan. The only difference between Rav and Rav Asi is regarding a case where the Megillah is read in its improper time. Rav holds that one can lechatchilah, ideally, read it without a minyan, while Rav Asi holds that only bedieved, after the fact, can one read it without a minyan. Many practical differences arise depending on who one follows regarding the need of minyan for Megillah. This essay will focus on gaining a better understanding of those differences and how they relate to our practical observance of the mitzvah of mikra Megillah. We will begin by stating the mainstream opinion, which we follow nowadays. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 690:18) states that when Megillah is read in its proper time, one should lechatchilah find a minyan, however if he is unable to he may read it alone. The Tur (ibid) cites a few opinions regarding this matter. The Rif and Rav Amram4, like the Shulchan Aruch, say that if you cannot find a minyan it is permissible to read the Megillah alone. Rabbeinu Tam says that you can even read it alone lechatchilah. And lastly, the Baal Halachos Gedolos (Behag) says that you need a minyan in order to read (and there are no exceptions). We have established that everyone agrees that reading the Megillah with a minyan is the best way to fulfill the mitzvah. However, we must understand who is allowed to make up the minyan. The Gemara tells us that women are obligated in mikra Megillah because they, too, were involved in the
4

The Rosh, the Turs father, held in accordance with these opinions.

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miracle. That topic itself is very complex and is not the main subject of this discussion5. The Rambam6 explains that people who have already fulfilled their obligation to hear mikra Megillah can be counted as part of the minyan. This opinion of the Rambam is very vague. People who have already fulfilled their obligation to hear Megillah could refer to men who already heard Megillah, or can maybe even be stretched to refer to women and children who do not have an obligation in the first place. The Rama (OC 690:18) comments that there is a doubt as to whether women can be counted as part of the minyan or not. The Gra, the Vilna Gaon, (ibid.) explains the Rama by saying that although women are obligated to hear Megillah, there is a discussion in the Gemara as to whether or not they are obligated from the Torah, and therefore women cannot be counted as part of the minyan. The Beis Yosef (OC 199:18) writes that women can be motzei, fulfill the mitzvah for, others but cannot be counted as part of a minyan. If a person is reading the Megillah alone, without a minyan, is he required recite a bracha on the reading? Different sects of Judaism have different customs. Ashkenazim say a bracha before the reading but not after, while Sefardim say brachos both before and after and Chabad only says a bracha when reading with a minyan. The Rama (690:18) writes that an individual reading alone only makes a bracha if he is reading the Megillah in its right time. The Maharil (Purim) and Aruch HaShulchan (692-8) say that a bracha is recited even if there is not a minyan present. We will discuss one more practical application of the halacha regarding the requirement of a minyan for mikra Megillah, and that is whether or not the Megillah would be considered muktzeh on Shabbos. The Gemara (Megillah 4b) states that if Purim falls out on Shabbos, we do not read the Megillah on Shabbos, because, explains Rabbah, the person
5 6

See article by E. Weiss and D. Shafier. As explained by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein in a shiur found on vbm-Torah.org.

58 | S e g e l C h a b u r a appointed to read the Megillah might carry his Megillah to an expert reader on Shabbos for some help, which would be a violation of hotzaah. Tosfos Yom Tov wonders, according to Rabbahs reasoning, if a sefer Torah should be muktzeh on Shabbos as well, because there is a fear that the reader might go to an expert bal koreh to learn the parshah. There are a few answers to this quandary, but HaRav Shimshom Chasids response relates to our discussion best. He explains that mikra Megillah and krias haTorah are inherently different. Rhe congregation needs to hear krias haTorah and yet, if there is no minyan, then the Torah is not read. However, every individual is obligated to hear Megillah and it is read even without a minyan. Therefore, on Shabbos, when everyone is in shul to hear the Torah, we are not afraid that the bal koreh might carry the Torah to an expert, because if he tries to the congregation will remind him that he cannot. However, regarding mikra Megillah, a person is allowed to read the Megillah alone and thus there would be no one with him to remind him that he cannot carry it. Therefore, a sefer Torah is not considered muktzeh.

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Lo Sisgodidu: Purim and Unity


Ari Miller & Isaac Shulman
The first Mishnah of Maseches Megillah states that Megillas Esther can be read on days 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 of Adar. One must ask, what is the relationship between these days? Is there a difference between these five days of Adar? Are all of these days on the same level? Why do we have so many days to perform this mitzvah when we usually have one specific date? Why is this mitzvah so open ended? We must analyze this mitzvah - especially in light of the prohibition of lo sisgodidu. We must start by defining the prohibition of lo sisgodidu. The Gemara (Yevamos 13b) quotes the above Mishnah (Megillah 2b) which states that the Megillah can be read on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of Adar. Reish Lakish then asks a question and it is this question that we will focus on. The answer to this question will hopefully add some insight into both the mitzvah of Megillah and the prohibition of Lo Sisgodidu. Reish Lakish asks: why does the Sages institution of so many days (that one can read the Megillah) not constitute lo sisgodidu, the prohibition of making divisions in Klal Yisrael? Before the Gemara can address Reish Lakishs question, it first delves into how the prohibition of lo sisgodidu includes making different divisions within Klal Yisrael. The simple understanding of the phrase lo sisgodidu is that one cannot cut himself over the death of an individual. The Pasuk (Devarim 14:1) which is the source for lo sisgodidu reads, ' , You are sons to Hashem your God, do not cut yourself or make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. The Pasuk is telling us that one should not cut himself over the death of a loved one, and it is not telling us anything about creating divisions in Klal Yisrael. The reason that we do learn the law regarding making divisions from this pasuk is, as the Gemara explains, because we

60 | S e g e l C h a b u r a can learn more than one law from this pasuk because it has language which at firsts seems superfluous. On a side point, however, it is important to note the relationship between the simple reading of the pasuk and the way the Gemara interprets Lo Sisgodidu. What does making a cut in your skin over a death have to do with making division within Klal Yisrael? Perhaps by looking at where the Rambam quotes this prohibition, of making divisions, we can learn more about its nature. Interestingly, the Rambam does not bring down the prohibition of lo sisgodidu in Hilchos Mamrim or Hilchos Sanhedrin as one might have expected. Instead he lists the halacha in hilchos avodah zarah (12:14), sandwiched between Halachos 13 and 15 which both talk about making some sort of cut over a death. It is apparent then that the Rambam believes there is a fundamental connection between the two ways to learn the pasuk of lo sisgodidu and that the connection is somehow related to avodah zarah. The Gemara (Yevamos 13b, quoted above) continues and asks: why dont we say that there is a prohibition of Lo Sisgodidu in instances where certain communities do melachah on erev Pesach and others do not? Shouldnt this also be an issue of making divisions? The Gemara suggests that we can differentiate between a minhag and a prohibition. When it comes to a prohibition we would think to apply Lo Sisgodidu (according to Rashi). Megillah is considered a prohibition in the sense that if the people who read on the 14th wanted to read on the 15th, they are not permitted to do so (and vice versa). Since it is a prohibition, we would think to apply lo sisgodidu. Doing melachah on Erev Pesach, however, is completely permissible according to everyone, except some people who, even though they agree that it is permissible, take on an extra stringency of not doing melachah. Therefore, since it is only a chumrah (a stringency), even a minhag if you will, we do not apply the law of lo sisgodidu. From this machlokes we see that lo sisgodidu may only apply to prohibitions and not minhagim.

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Abaye says, in the continuation of the Gemara, that lo sisgodidu only applies when there are two batei din, courts, in one city who have different opinions. However, when two batei din in two different cities argue there is no problem at all. Rava limits the definition of lo sisgodidu even more and says that the prohibition is only when people within one beis din are following different opinions. However, if there is more than one beis din even in the same city, there is no issue of lo sisgodidu. When analyzing the two opinions, we see that Abaye seems to focus on the importance of unity within a specific community, and not necessarily on the importance of unity within Klal Yisrael as a whole. Alternatively, we can say that Abaye does believe there is an objective value for conformity in Klal Yisrael, but that value is localized to each individual community. On the other hand, Rava does not seem to be as concerned, and limits the prohibition to each individual beis din. Rashi makes a few important points in his commentary on this Gemara. Firstly, when explaining the issue of agudos, divisions, he explains that the problem of creating factions within halacha is because it will appear that they are acting upon two different Torahs, two different forms of Judaism. This illustrates that Rashi may believe that the issue is one of public perception and there is not necessarily such an important halachic value in having everyone act in conformity. As explained before, Rashi believes there is no issue when it comes to a minhag because, according to him, a minhag does not represent a halachic decision. Both sides believe in one law and they are merely disagreeing on how and to what extent to implement it. Since everyone agrees and understands that the issue at hand is only a minhag, there is no problem of appearing divisive. Another point to be noted is that Rashi clearly thinks that the issue of Lo Sisgodidu would in fact apply to the small cities who read Megillah on either the 11th, 12th, or 13th, because it is not a minhag and seems divisive. Abaye would seemingly hold, unlike Rashis understanding, that a minhag is prohibited

62 | S e g e l C h a b u r a by lo sisgodidu since the community wouldnt be practicing in the same way. The Rambam maintains, like Abaye, that even a minhag would constitute the prohibition of lo sisgodidu, his reason being that division leads to argument. This makes sense because if the issue is causing an argument then even different minhagim would cause problems. As such, there is no differentiation to be made between a minhag and a prohibition. However, if the issue is a more objective and fundamental one, one which would lead people to believe that we have two Torahs, there can be a differentiation made between a minhag and a prohibition. The Yerushalmi (Pesachim: 4) also addresses the issue of Megillah potentially violating the prohibition of lo sisgodidu. The Yerushalmi teaches us two fundamental lessons in regard to lo sisgodidu. Firstly, says the Yerushalmi, maybe the prohibition would potentially only apply to the 14th and 15th and not the 11th, 12th, and 13th, as the Yerushalmi only mentions the 14th and 15th. This is in contrast with the Gemara in the Talmud Bavli (Megillah 2a, stated above) which listed all five of the dates.7 Secondly, the Yerushalmi says that lo sisgodidu would even apply in cases where we do not know which opinion holds what in the specific argument. This clearly shows that the Yerushalmi believes that the issue we are concerned with in reference to lo sisgodidu is not one that revolves around the actual halachic opinions, rather around having uniformity among Klal Yisrael. Finally, the Gemara Yerushalmi explains that the reason Megillah would not be an issue of Lo Sisgodidu is because there is a pasuk in Megillas Esther itself that specifies that the mitzvah should be divided up into different days.

The Ritva maintains that there is no diyuk, a textual inference, to be made since the Yerushalmi only mentions the 14th and 15th, because it was only dealing with issues concerning the 14th and 15th.

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The final answer of the Yerushalmi can be understood in two fashions. Either there is no issue of tampering with the Torah and making divisions, because the Torah itself told us this is the way to do it, or lo sisgodidu would generally apply, however here (by Megillah) the pasuk teaches us that there are different mitzvos for the different days, and as such lo sisgodidu would not apply. Both of these explanations address the pasuk in the Megillah and explain why it would not qualify as lo sisgodidu by more carefully defining the mitzvah. The answer in the Talmud Bavli, on the other hand, addresses why lo sisgodidu would not apply to Megillah and more carefully defines the prohibition in order to avoid the problem completely. The Ritva (in Megillah) discusses Abayes approach to lo sisgodidu. If Abaye holds that two batei din which have two differing opinions in one city constitutes a problem, how then can we allow the smaller cities to read Megillah on the business days, in the towns they are going to, when the those towns arent reading the Megillah on that day? Shouldnt that also be a problem of Lo Sisgodidu? The Ritva circumvents this issue by quoting the Raavad who says that the smaller cities would read in their own cities on the business days. Therefore, this would be considered two batei din in two separate cities and it would therefore be allowed. Although the Ritva does provide an answer, there is still a problem with the opinion of Rashi and Tosfos who believe that the smaller cities would in fact read in the bigger cities. The Yerushalmi would address this problem by saying that when the obligation of reading Megillah was created, it had different days built into it in the first place for different people so there was no concern. The Bavli would answer that the only problem of making divisions among Klal Yisrael comes when doing something that is prohibited for someone else. However, if you do something that is not prohibited to others, then they know that they could do the same as you, and there would be no fear of making divisions. In this case, everyone would agree,

64 | S e g e l C h a b u r a using different opinions, that the smaller cities have the ability to read on the 14th so there would be no a problem. The Ramban also discusses the issue of making divisions amongst Klal Yisrael at the beginning of his commentary to Gemara Megillah. He begins by saying that although the Megillah doesnt technically violate lo sisgodidu, there should still be a problem of mishpat echad yehiyu lachem, one law there shal be for you. Meaning, Klal Yisrael should have one law, not two. This is very interesting because one could have said that the reason that Megillah should violate lo sisgodidu is specifically because of this concept. Either way, this concept of is an important one and must be dealt with. While introducing the Shulchan Aruch, Rav Yosef Caro, writes that that his motivation for writing this work is so that we do not have two Torahs, but, just the opposite, that we keep to mishpat echad. So clearly it is an important value that must be upheld. Therefore, even if we can explain and solve the mechanics of lo sisgodidu we must understand why Chazal in the first place would institute a halacha that, in actuality, is so divisive. The Ramban offers an explanation. He says that it is possible that the reason why there is no issue of lo sisgodidu here is because the main part of the miracle of Purim actually occurred on different days, contrary to what many people think. This results in having different days to celebrate. He rejects his own opinion because, in reality, the main part of the miracle happened on the 13th for everyone, even residents of Shushan, and the other days were merely secondary. The answer that Ramban then gives is profound: the main part of the miracle occurred for the residents of the perazim, cities without walls, which made them more vulnerable for attack. The cities with a wall were well protected, which is why the Gemara (Megillah 2b) originally proposes the idea that the walled cities wouldnt read Megillah altogether! The Gemara answers however, ? , Are they [the walled cities] not part of Yisrael? The Jews in the walled cities of course celebrate for the safety of

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the nation. However, the members of the non-walled cities were the ones who took the initiative to make the Yom Tov of Purim because they had a great miracle happen to them and therefore they wanted to celebrate. As a result, years later when the Anshei Kenesses HaGedolah instituted the mitzvah of Megillah, they wanted to preserve the instinctive component of the day and they therefore gave the members of the non-walled cities their own day to celebrate. Nonetheless, since we do want to have some degree of conformity in having all of the Jews celebrate together, the members of the walled cities do celebrate, but on the next day. This answer completely solves the difficulty of mishpat echad. Megillah reading does reflect mishpat echad. There is only one law and everyone agrees - but since from the start each day was a commemoration for different people, we instituted different days for the celebration of Purim every year. A good example to help illustrate this point is the mitzvah of lulav. When in the Beis HaMikdash, the mitzvah of lulav was obligated all seven days of Succos, while in the rest of Yerushalayim the obligation was only in existence on the first day. The mitzvah of lulav is expressed differently in the Beis HaMikdash itself because there is inherently a greater level of happiness there. Thus, there is conformity because everyone has the mitzvah of lulav, but there is some room for a subjective and permissible expression of the mitzvah depending on where you are. Similarly, everyone has an obligation to read the Megillah, but because we want to preserve the added innate level of simcha of the members of the non-walled cities, we allow different days to read it.8 The Rashba offers another answer to why Megillah would not violate the prohibition of lo sisgodidu. He says, somewhat surprisingly, that the reason there is no issue is because everyone agrees. The members of each city (small,
8

It should be noted that the Ramban is tackling the issue using the same logic as the Yerushalmi, by redefining the celebration and obligation of Megillah.

66 | S e g e l C h a b u r a walled, non-walled) all agree that the other cities should read on their distinctive days. This is different from the Ramban, who believes there are fundamentally different celebrations - the Rashba just says there is no issue, because there was no argument created by the institution of different days. The Rashba brings two examples of similar mitzvos that have different implementations, but that also do not violate Lo Sisgodidu. The first is actually the same example brought to explain the Ramban. When in the Beis HaMikdash one is obligated in the mitzvah of lulav all seven days of Succos, while when in the rest of Yerushalayim one is only obligated on the first day. There is no issue of violating lo sisgodidu, explains the Rashba, because everyone agrees that the mitzvah is inherently different in the Beis HaMikdash than in the rest of Yerushalayim. The same holds true for blowing shofar. In Yerushlayim we just blow a shofar, while in the Beis HaMikdash we also blow chatzotzros, trumpets. Nevertheless, since everyone agrees that this is the method of fulfillment, there is no violation of lo sisgodidu.9 The Rashba continues and says that a member of a big city cannot read for a member of a small city. His proof is the Yerushalmi, which states that a member of a village cannot read for a member of a big city. According to him, all the days of Megillah are essentially the same, and the reason one would not be allowed to read for someone on a day other than their own is because this would cause machlokes. The Ramban would not accept this proof because he believes that the days are fundamentally different, and so one cannot apply logic from one day to the other. The Ritva says that a member of a big city can read for a member of a village, and the fact that the Yerushalmi says that a member of a small city cannot read for a member of a big city is not relevant. The Ramban would agree with the Ritva because he agrees that the 15th is fundamentally different
9

The Ramban would explain lulav (as explained above) and shofar differently, and say that it is not a violation because there are different perspectives of the mitzvah depending on where you are.

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from the 14th, and therefore the Yerushalmis statement is indeed irrelevant. We now have a variety of answers to choose from that all ultimately answer the question that Reish Lakish asked in Yevamos. Additionally, we have learned a great deal about the prohibition of lo sisgodidu and the importance of having conformity in Klal Yisrael. Perhaps now we can better understand the connection that the Rambam found between cutting yourself as a result of someone dying and divisions within Klal Yisrael. The Ritva (Yevamos) says that there is a common denominator between these two prohibitions which comes from the beginning of the pasuk. The Torah tells us, , ' you are children to Hashem your God. Cutting yourself is prohibited because it is the way the idol worshippers behave. The Torah says that you cannot cut yourself because we are children to Hashem, Hashem is our G-d and the only God. Making divisions within Klal Yisrael is prohibited for the same reason. When you make divisions, it is as if you are saying there are two gods (chas veshalom), but we are children to Hashem reinforces that Hashem is our God and the only God. Indeed it now makes sense why the Rambam placed these halachos right next to each other in Hilchos Avodah Zarah, because to violate this is, in essence, an act of avodah zarah. After discussing lo sisgodidu, it is important to recognize what its relationship is to its seemingly opposing concept of eilu veeilu divrei Elokim chayim. Eilu veeilu tells us that both this and that are the words of Hashem, and as such it enforces individuality and factionalism in halacha. However, the Ritva, in his commentary on Maseches Eiruvin, explains that even though there is a concept of eilu veeilu, Chazal have the power to uproot it. Furthermore, he believes that the reason we must have conformity in halacha is because of the concept of eilu veeilu. Despite the fact that we have permission to be individuals, the concept itself is ultimately what gives Chazal

68 | S e g e l C h a b u r a the power to ensure that Klal Yisrael, its unity, and its future are eternally preserved.

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Becoming a Holy Drunk


Mordy Dubin and Yoni Stone
One of the most difficult topics to understand when discussing the holiday of Purim is the obligation to become intoxicated. Many people find this mitzvah difficult because they have a hard time understanding why our sages, who are there to guide and protect us, would put us in such a potentially dangerous situation. There are many other functions which wine serves within the realm of halachaby kiddush, for example, or at a bris milahbut never once, amongst any of these other cases, is there to be found a law specifically mandating overindulgence. One would think that our sages would be against drinking to excessand yet, on Purim, they seem to endorce it. Taking a closer look at relevant background sources and halachic discussion, we shall hopefully come to a clearer understanding of this unusual obligation. The Gemara (Megillah 7b) relates the opinion of Rava, who says: A person is obligated to get drunk on Purim until he no longer knows the difference between cursed be Haman and blessed be Mordechai.

The Gemara then recounts an incident where Rava invited Rav Zeira for a Purim seudah. At the seudah, the Gemara says that the two rabbis became ,which Rashi explains to mean that both became drunk on wine. The Gemara relates how both rabbis became so thoroughly intoxicated that Rava actually killed Rav Zeira. Thankfully, when Rava sobered up the following day and saw what he had accidentally done, he quickly davened to Hashem and was able to achieve the miraculous revival of his fallen

70 | S e g e l C h a b u r a colleague. The next year, when Rava again invited Rav Zeira to join him at his Purim seudah, Rav Zeira politely declined, simply stating, , One cannot rely on a miracle every time! There are two ways in which to interpret this Gemara. One might see this Gemara as definitively condemning drinking on Purim. If this is the case, then it could very well be that the Gemara relates this story specifically in order to show how one should not act, as evidenced by the murder of Rav Zeira and his subsequent refusal to return to Ravs Seudah. If this is the case, then the Gemara on the one hand is affirming the fundamental existence of a halachic obligation to get drunk on Purim, but then at the same time rejecting the practical application of this halacha due to the inherent danger it presents. Alternatively, one might see this Gemara as concluding definitively that there is a clear obligation to get drunk on Purim, just as these two Amoraim did. Then, as a proof to this point, the Gemara makes sure to cite the fact that Rava invited Rav Zeira again the next year, in effect demonstrating that the previous years murder was merely a fluke rather than a serious concern. Indeed, the way one understands this Gemara will strongly affect the way that one views the obligation to drink on Purim: if it exists at all, and if so, to what extent it applies. The various Rishonim proceed to interpret this Gemara in different ways, which in turn prompts them to draw very different conclusions. The most radical approach is taken by the Ran. The Ran sees the story of Gemara as denouncing the practice of drinking on Purim. Using the Gemaras story as a proof of how not to act, the Ran warns that we should specifically avoid getting drunk on Purim in order to prevent similar mishaps from happening to us. Many others, however, strongly disagree with this opinion of the Ran. The majority of Rishonim maintain that drinking on Purim isnt a problem, and actually prove it based upon this Gemara. The Rambam (Hilchos Megillah 2:15), for

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one, writes that one should have a seudah on Purim at which he drinks wine until he gets drunk and falls asleep. Others, like the Rama, take a position somewhere in the middle ground between these two extremes. The Rama says neither that one shouldnt drink at all, nor that one should specifically get drunk; rather, he says, one should drink a little and go to sleep. As the Maharil adds, whether one does a lot or a little, all that is really necessary is for ones heart to have pure intent for Hashem and the fulfillment of the mitzvah. While the views of the Rambam and Rama may initially appear to be very similar, seeing as they both put an emphasis on the requirement to fall asleep, the two Rishonim in fact explain the role of falling asleep very differently. According to the Rambam, sleeping is the measure in which we can tell if you have fulfilled the obligation, however, the drinking is still the fulfillment of the mitzvah, and the sleeping is not. He explains, as is written above, that one should drink enough so that he will fall asleep as a result. According to the Rama, however, sleep does not need to come as a result of the drinking. There is no cause and effect relationship; rather, there are only two separate actions which together to fulfill the obligation of differentiating between the curse of Haman and blessing of Mordechai. One thing that is interesting to note and remember in light of all this debate is the fact that no matter what halacha mandates, everybody agrees that on some level there is a mitzvah of getting drunk on Purim. Even if only initially, the Gemara at one point, according to all, understood that there is an obligation to get intoxicated on Purim. Whether we hold like the Rambam that this obligation is required in practice, or like the Ran that it cannot be practiced, we must nevertheless understand the fundamental obligation. As we stated before, it is quite puzzling to consider that Chazal would obligate one to drink. Drinking is generally something normally associated with immaturity and

72 | S e g e l C h a b u r a immorality. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 70a) gives numerous proofs from Tanach which show how harmful wine can be. Still, there are also many advantages to wine. We are commanded to use wine for kiddush, as well as many other mitzvos. One possible solution to our problem might be to say that Chazal are trying to convey the significance of the integral role that wine played in the story of Purim (e.g. the various parties, etc). Chazal want us to commemorate this, and in so doing recognize the Purim miracle that Hashem performed by working behind the scenes. Recognizing the miracle of Purim clearly plays a role in the discussion of the obligation to drink on Purim. The Beur halacha rules that even though one has an obligation to get drunk on Purim, one is forbidden from getting so drunk to the point that one impairs ones own ability recognize the miracle of Purim. If drinking lessens ones simcha, or affects the performance of other mitzvos like davening mincha or maariv, washing netilas yadayim, one should refrain from drinking at all. According to the Beiur Halacha, the mitzvah of getting intoxicated on Purim is there only for the purpose of enhancing our recognition of the miracle of Purim; if drinking cannot fulfill this purpose, and instead will do just the opposite, then drinking might be not only problematic but dangerous and perhaps even prohibited. Still, although there is a danger to drinking, it is nevertheless the mitzvah. Thus, if it can be done in a controlled environment, there are many authorities who will allow and encourage it. The Sfas Emes, maintaining perhaps the most extreme opinion of anybody we have discussed so far, holds that there is no limit to the drinking in terms of quantity; rather, drinking is to be performed the entire day of Purim, presumably to enhance the simcha of the whole day. The Sheeilos Uteshuvos Mishneh Halachos brings a fascinating analysis of the story in the Gemara. He differentiates between several different versions of the Gemaras story and

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explains how nuances between the different versions affect how the different meforshim understand this Gemara. There is a dispute whether it was Rav or Rabbah who said the statement of A person is obligated to drink on Purim. If Rava was in fact the one who said this statement and Rabbah was involved in the story with Rav Zeira, then Ravas statement still stands. If however, Rabbah was the one involved in the story, then it can be inferred that he retracted his original statement after the incident with Rav Zeira and his subsequent rejection of Rav Zeiras invitation the following year. An interesting Gemara in Bava Metziah offers a way for someone to get out of the obligation to drink on Purim should one feel uncomfortable with drinking. The Gemara lists three things that a person is allowed to lie about, one of them being Puriah. The Maharsha interprets this line in the Gemara to be referring to ones drinking on Purim, meaning that one can lie and say he was drunk of Purim when in actuality he was not. Clearly, the Maharsha understood the problems of drinking and felt that people should be allowed to refrain from drinking on Purim. The obligation of intoxicating oneself is not as clear cut and simple as people think. Most people interpret it as a halachic allowance to get plastered. In actuality, however, nobody that we have seen permits such an action. Of course, one should consult his local Rav for a halachic decision as to what one should do practically. What is important, as is true with all mitzvos, is that no matter what one actually ends up doing, one needs to have kavana for the sake of Hashem and the mitzvah, as the Maharil says. ***This article has only been an attempt to discuss the

advantages and disadvantages of drinking on Purim within the realm of halacha, and to portray the different sides of the halachic debate. Therefore, it should not be used as practical advice. ***

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The Role of Women in Mikra Megillah


Dovi Shafier and Elie Weiss
Most of the mitzvos that we perform on Yom Tov are time bound mitzvos, which exempts women from their obligation. However, there are numerous exceptions such as the reading of the Megillah, lighting the Chanukah candles, and drinking the four cups of wine on Pesach. The Gemara (Megillah 4a) states that women are obligated in reading the Megillah, because they too were part of the miracle10. The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah says that anyone who themselves is obligated in a mitzvah can fulfill the obligation of others. Based on this, it would seem that since women have a mitzvah of mikra Megillah, a man should therefore be able to fulfill the mitzvah by hearing a woman read the Megillah. The Gemara (Arachin 3a) seems to further strengthen this notion. The Gemara states that not only is everyone obligated in mikra Megillah, but even more so that everyone is kosher (allowed) to read the Megillah, including women. A further analysis of the womans obligation in reading the Megillah will hopefully shed more light on the issue. Rashi seems to understand the Gemara this way, commenting that when the Gemara says that women are kosher to read the Megillah, it means that women can even read the Megillah for men. Tosfos, however, questions this understanding based on a Tosefta which says that a tumtum11 cannot be motzei (fulfill the obligation for) his kind or any other kind, while an androgynous can be motzei his kind but cannot be motzei others. Obviously, Tosfos understands that the reason the tumtum and androgynous cannot be motzei others is because there is a doubt as to their gender and, therefore, a
10

For the way in which women were involved in the miracle, refer to birchas reeiyah (M. Dubin and Y. Stone). 11 A tumtum is a person who genitalia are hidden, whereas an androgynous is someone who has both male and female genitalia.

76 | S e g e l C h a b u r a possibility exists that they might be a woman. Tosfos then draws an analogy to women and says that obviously if both a tumtum and androgynous cannot be motzei others, then a woman who is surely not a man can definitely not be motzei others. However, says Tosfos, women would still be obligated in listening in the Megillah, despite the fact that they cannot read for others. Tosfos then quotes the Behag who says that women cannot be motzei men, but can be motzei other women. Tosfos and the Behag both understand that when the Gemara says that the women are obligated in mikra Megillah it is only talking in reference to other women. However, they may not be motzei other men. The approaches of Rashi and Tosfos each present distinct advantages and disadvantages. While the explanation given by Tosfos settles the difficulty presented by the Tosefta at ease, it forces Tosfos to read into the Gemara and inject additional meaning to the text which is not readily apparent from its simple understanding. On the other hand, although Rashis understanding fits in perfectly with a simple understanding of the Gemara, it is difficult to understand, and in fact Rashi provides no explanation for the Baraissa concerning the tumtum and androgynous. The Rambam and Shulchan Aruch each take one side of the argument. The Rambam (Hilchos Megillah VeChanuka 1:1) quotes the position of Rashi, and says that women are obligated in mikra Megillah just as men are. The Shulchan Aruch, on the other hand, quotes the opinion of Tosfos and says that women cannot be motzei men. In order to properly understand this machlokes, it is important to understand the reasons behind both the mens and the womens respective obligations.

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The Aruch HaShulchan explains that we do not allow women to be motzei men out of kavod hatzibbur, respect for the congregation. Fundamentally, it is clear that the Aruch HaShulchan holds like Rashi. According to him, there is nothing inherent to the reading of the Megillah that would preclude women from being motzei others; it is only because of a concern for proper decorum. Perhaps this reason could explain the problem posed in Rashis explanation. Maybe our Gemara and the Tosefta do not really contradict. Our Gemara was simply talking about who is obligated in the reading so it includes women, while the Tosefta was talking about who in practice we allow to read to others, which explains why it indicates why women cannot in reality read for men. A different explanation for the obligation of mikra Megillah and how it pertains to men and women is given by the Marcheshes (1:22). The Marcheshes explains that men have an additional obligation other than the basic mitzvah of mikra Megillah. Men, not women, are obligated in zechiras amalek, remembering amalek, which is fulfilled through mikra Megillah. For this reason, (and not because women cannot fundamentally read for men), we make sure to have a man read the Megillah. Rav Ovadia Yosef (in Yabiya Omer) offers yet another intriguing explanation as to the parameters of mikra Megillah. He explains, quoting a different opinion of the Marcheshes from the one mentioned earlier, that the reason why men are obligated in reading the Megillah and women are not is because men have an additional obligation of hallel, which is fulfilled through the reading. He supports this assertion with an amoraic statement (Megillah 14a) that kriasa zu halila, The reading [of the megillah] is praise. Clearly, this approach, like the last one, understands that there is some element intrinsic to the reading which obligates men to read, but not women. Yet this approach is very difficult. The entire Megillah is an extended praise to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, which is done

78 | S e g e l C h a b u r a through relating the story of the Jewish peoples heavenly salvation. Therefore, if men are obligated to read hallel because of the miraculous deeds preformed on their behalf by Hashem, why arent women obligated in reading the Megillah for the exact same reason? Everyone agrees that they are obligated in hearing the Megillah because they too were part of the miracle, so if this divine salvation produces their obligation to hear the Megillah, why shouldnt they also be obligated in the hallel component, and consequently in reading the Megillah? This question is strengthened by Tosfos in Succah (38a), which, in commenting on a Gemara that suggests that women are exempt from hallel on Succos, poses an obvious question: If so, why are they obligated in hallel on Pesach? Tosfos answers that they are only obligated on Pesach, and not Succos, because they too were part of the miracle is relevant to Pesach and not Succos. If the nature of mikra Megillah is one of hallel, one which obviously comes as a natural response to Hashems salvation, and the women were involved in the Purim miracle, why shouldnt they have the obligation to say hallel in the same way they do on Pesach and consequently be required to read the Megillah? Perhaps we can answer the difficulty in Rav Ovadias explanation by examining the nature of the phrase they too were part of the miracle as it relates to Pesach and Purim. There is a dispute between Tosfos and the Rashbam as to how exactly women were involved in the miracle of Purim. Tosfos claims that women were part of the miracle because they too were included in Hamans evil decree and were likewise in danger of being destroyed. Rashbam, on the other hand, explains that Esther played an integral role in bringing forth the miracle and, therefore, women are also included in the miracle. If one understands the role of women as the Rashba does, it is much easier to understand how the Yabiya Omer would create a distinction between the hearing aspect on the

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one hand and the reading and hallel aspect on the other. On Pesach, it is clear that the womens role was not the spectacular involvement of a single woman but rather the involvement of the women on a communal level. Therefore, their obligation should include everything including hallel, because the reason they were included in the mitzvah was because they were all involved in the miracle, and therefore it would naturally follow that they would say hallel to thank Hashem. On the other hand, if the catalyst for Purim was not the broad participation of the women in witnessing the miracle but was rather the critical role that Esther played in the story of Purim, then it makes sense that the womans obligation on this holiday would follow the character of the mechanism that made them obligated to begin with. Therefore, they would be obligated to hear the Megillah and thereby obligated to publicize the miracle, because a woman was involved in bringing forth the story. However, even though they were in mortal danger and did witness the miracle, they are not obligated to say hallel as a natural outpouring of thanks because it is not this aspect of the Purim saga that obligated them in the holiday to begin with. Despite this solution to our problem, an additional question can be asked. Even if it is so that the nature of the womans obligation does not include the aspect of hallel, once they are obligated in one aspect of the mitzvah, why shouldnt they be obligated in its entirety? Once the fact that they too were involved in the miracle erases their regular exemption, which would be due to the fact that mikra Megillah is a positive time-bound mitzvah, shouldnt they go back to the original obligation that the men have? This idea requires further examination and it will be addressed at a later point in this discussion. We have discussed until now the nature of the womens and the mens respective obligations, but it seems that most opinions, with the exception being Rashi, take the position that women cannot read for men. Are there any practical differences

80 | S e g e l C h a b u r a between how we understand the various catalysts for their respective obligations? The answer to this lies in the question of whether a woman can read to another woman. The Magen Avraham rules that women cannot read for themselves or other women, but rather can only fulfill their mitzvah by listening to the reading of a man. One can explain that the reason for this opinion is that there is some intrinsic aspect of the mitzvah that only men are a part of, but not women, so the only way to ensure a proper fulfillment is if a man was to do it. This understanding of the Magen Avraham fits well with the explanation of Rav Ovadia Yosef, who explains that what prevents women from reading the megillah to men is something intrinsic to the actual Megillah. The Mishna Berurah rules that a woman can read the Megillah to another woman. This ruling fits well with explanation of the Aruch HaShulchan, who states that the only reason that we prefer to have a man read instead of a woman is because of the concern of kavod hatzibbur. This can also be understood according to the original interpretation of the Marcheshes, namely that we want a man to read instead of a woman because men have the added obligation of zechiras amalek. One could suggest that both of these considerations are removed when a woman is reading the Megillah in the presence of other women. Now we must return and discuss our unresolved issue in the Yabiya Omer. We had posed the question of why women are not involved in all aspects of the reading of Megillah if they indeed were also included in the miracle. Why shouldnt they be obligated in the hallel aspect of Megillah if they are obligated in the listening aspect? To answer this question, let us look at a fascinating point of the Brisker Rav. The Brisker Rav observes that the Rambam specifically writes that only avadim meshuchrarim,

18 |
freed slaves, are obligated in the reading of the Megillah, but he does not mention half-slaves as part of this obligation. This at first seems rather troubling. After all, we generally hold that half slaves follow women for all mitzvos, so if the women are obligated in the Megillah, it should logically follow that the half slaves should be obligated as well. To explain this apparent dilemma, the Brisker Rav attempts to define exactly what the phrase of af hein hayu beoso haneis (they too were included in the miracle) accomplishes. One way to understand this is to suggest that it functions by erasing the original exemption that women have of being time bound. The Brisker Rav says that this is not necessarily the case, and proposes a different mechanism through which it operates. He acknowledges that if it indeed removes the original exemption, then half-slaves would be obligated just like women. However, he posits that af hein does not remove the original exemption. Rather, it creates an entirely new and unique obligation, one that is relevant only to women, but one that does not necessarily bring their level of obligation all the way back to the same level as the men, with its own unique set of parameters. The Brisker Rav explains that according to this understanding, this new and unique obligation only applies to men, not the slaves, because it is only they who were involved in the miracle. Based on the insight of the Brisker Rav, we can suggest that women are not obligated in hallel simply because they are obligated in the listening to the Megillah. Af hein, in essence, creates a new obligation for them, defined by the scope of the af hein. Therefore, we have the ability to make a distinction between two different aspects of the mitzvah. Now that we have explored the various natures of the obligation of Megillah, and the halachic conclusion that each reason would lead us to render, it is important to return to the original Gemara which serves as the source for our whole discussion and see how all the opinions fit in. Obviously, the Gemara fits in very well according to the connected opinions of

82 | S e g e l C h a b u r a Rashi, Rambam, and the Aruch HaShulchan, because they all hold that women are obligated in the reading, which subscribes to a simple understanding of the words of the Gemara. The Marcheshes says that men simply have an additional level of obligation which is not necessarily intrinsic to the reading, but which we consider in allowing men to read instead of women. Based on this, the interpretation of the Gemara is that which is stated by Tosfos, that when the Gemara says that women are obligated in reading the Megillah it means only to other women. However, the explanation of Rav Ovadia Yosef, who understands that there is an additional element which is intrinsic to Megillah, which only men are obligated in, is much harder to fit into the Gemara.

Chanukah Mekoros

84 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

58 |

Hanochoh Oseh Mitzvah


Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies
: - . : - . : - : . . : - . - . . ? - ; , . - . , ? ! , : , . , - . , : , . " - , . - - . - . ' - " . - " , ? " " " " ' " ' [ " " ] " ' " " " ' ' " " [ " " ' ] "

86 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
" " ' ' " ' ' ' " " (" " ' ' [ " " ] " ' ' ' . " . , " . " " , " " " " , " , , , " " " , ". ' ' " " '- ? " " " , ' ' " ' " ". " ' ' " :

78 |

:Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin ?More Beautiful Than What


Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz
: . - . , : , ; : , . : , , : - , - . : - , - . - " " " ' . " , , , . , . ; , , . " : " ("), ; , (" ).

88 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

' " " " " ' " " ' ": " " ' ' " " ' " " ' ' " " " " " " " ' [ " " " ' ' " " " "]: ' " // ' "

98 |
" " " " " " ["] ' - " " " " " " " [ " ] " " " " " " . " " " " ' ": " , , , . " , () " "

90 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

Lighting Chanukah Candles in Shul


Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone
: " (' ' ( (' ") [] " " (' ) (' ' .) " , , , . : . , , : " - , , " , , , " '. ( ") ' " "

19 |
( ":) " " . " " " " " . . " " " " . " " : " " ' ". " " " : '. " " . ' " ' . " " " ( :) " , " ( "). " " " " : " " , ( ) .

92 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
: ", (" "); " , ( ); " , " (" ) " ' " ' " " " " " ' " " " " " " " " " " ' " " " " ' " " " " " " " " " " " " " " "

39 |

Baal Tosif: Know Your Boundaries


Ari Miller, Dovi Shafier, & Isaac Shulman
:- : : : : :- : : " ( - , , ". () " , " . ' , " , . , , ( ), : (" ), . ( ) , '. ( " ") , ' , , , , " '. , " , " " . , , , " :

94 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
. - , : . . : - . . : , : . " - : - , , , , , , , , , , , , - , : , : , , , - , - , , : , , . : . , . : - , : - . : - , . . : , : - . - , ! : ! " - , , , , , , , , - . - , , , , , , - , , , , . - , . - , , - , - .

59 |
" , , , , , , , , , , , . " " '. " ' , . ( " ") (" ) (") ' " " ' " " ' " ' " :

96 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

Birchas Reiyah: Seeing is Believing


Mordy Dubin & Yoni Stone
, : , . , - . , : , . : . : . : - , . - , . . " - , , : , . " " '. . . : - " " : " . " " , , , , ,

79 |
. '. ( ' ), , , , . : , , ; , . : , . : (") , , : , : , " ' '

98 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

Purim Mekoros

100 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

101 |

The Nature of Mishloach Manos


Avi Hirt & Zach Margulies
' () : () : : . " - , . " " . : " , . + '+ , , . - . ": . (:) " (: " ') " " ?

102 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
'. ( ' ) " ". " . " " . " " ". " : " () . - ' ' " ' " ' ' ' " ' " " " " " " " " " ' " " ' " " . " ' ' " ' ' (") ' " " " ' ' ' ' ". " " : " . " (" ") " " ( " ' ') " " "

301 |
' " " : (" " ) ' - " " " " " (" ' " ") :

" ( ) " [ " "], " [ ' "] , " ", , , , : : ", ? :

104 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
. // ' " / "/ , . . . " , . . .

501 |

?Talmud Torah or Mikra Megillah


Netanel Lederer & Sammy Schwartz
: : , , , ? : . : , - , : , , - . , . ". " " " " " ' ' " " " " " , , ; , , ; , , , , . , ' ' , ' , ' , ' . , . , , , . " ) [" ' " "] . .

106 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
. . " " . ' [' "]. . . . [ "]. . . . . : , ; ' , ' ! - : - - : ' , - , ' - ! - , - . " - , , - . - . - , - , . - " . , , ' ' ' . "

701 |
' , " ' ' ' ' . " . ' ' " " " " ' " " " " [ ] ' ' " " " ' ' ' ' " ' " ' " ' [ "] " " " ' () [] " ' : ) " " " " ' " . "( ) " ) ( " " :

, : , : - , -

108 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
. : . : , . , .

901 |

Minyan in Regard to Mikra Megillah


Neil Bodner & Ezra Stone
: - , - . : . " - , - , , . - - , . - , , - , , - . , , , , , , , , , - , ' ( ") ' ' " ' " " ' ' ' " : () " " * () , . : () . ( " ' "). , ,

110 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
() , (" "); () () , . (" .) - " . (" .) : " () " " " " (: " ') (:) " " ". " ( ' ") " ( ") " :

" ". (.) : . . . (:) .

111 |
" " (' ) " (. " ) ". : " " (. " ) " " ' " " " " ": ( ) " " , ? : ( ), , , . , . :

112 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

Lo Sisgodidu: Purim and Unity


Ari Miller & Isaac Shulman
" () : () : . : , , , , , . , , . :-. : , , , , , . " ' , : + "+ , . , : ! ", , ? . : ! , , ? . ", : - , - ? ": , ' : + + - . ? : () + ": []+ - , : - , " ", - . : " " ! : - " , " ", - . ( ) ' ' '

311 |
" " " " " , " , , * , . , . , , , , , * . " , " " " () [] " , ..... , , " , . , [] . " . " , ,

114 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
", " , , " ", " , , , ' , ' " " " , , () [] , , , . " , " " , . , ' ' , ' " " " " " ", , ' " , ' ' , , ,

511 |
" ", ' " " . . , " " ' " " " " " " " , " ", " " " ", , " " " " , " , " () " , ", " . ' ' ' ' , , " ", " " , " , " " , , [ , ] () [] , , , " " , . ' ' " ", , [ ] ' ,

116 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
. (" ") ' " ", " " " , " " , " ', , ' , " , [] ' ' " , " () [] , , , , . " , ', " , , " " " , , , " " , " " " ' ' " " " ', " ', , , " " " , . " , , " " , , " ", , " " [] , , (" " ') " ,

711 |
" , [ ] ' , [] , ( ) " : " ' , " ' . " : . " , " " , " , , .

118 | S e g e l C h a b u r a

Becoming a Holy Drunk


Mordy Dubin and Yoni Stone
: . , , . . : ! - : . " - . " " . ' [] " ' ' ' " , . . : " " , ( (, . ("). , . ' - " " " " " " . " " ' - " "

911 |
" " . " " " " " " ": ' ' ' ": " " ' " " ' " " " " " " " ' ' .' " ' ( ) " , " " ' " ' " . ' " (' ") " " " " " " " ' (' ") ", ' " " ' ", " " " .

120 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
" ,

- : : , , . " " ' " " " " '

121 |

The Role of Women in Mikra Megillah


Dovi Shafier and Elie Weiss
: , . , ? , ' , ' : , . - ( : ) " " " . - " " ' . " - . " , , , ,

122 | S e g e l C h a b u r a
, , . , () ; . << * () () , [] ; () " . : " () : , ( " . " " ... " - ' " " (" ) ' " " " , , ' ( ) , " " - " ( .) ' ' . ' - ' ' : ) " ' - [] [] [] :

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