Shiur 11/15/16 Beitza 14b

Beitzah 14b.

1- We continued talking about the melacha of ‘borer‘ on Yom Tov.

2- We reviewed the ruling of the Alter Rebbe is his Siddur which is the basis of the custom in Chabad not to eat sunflower seeds on Shabbos.

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Story of the President of Israel, Mr. Zalman Shazar who called out from his car on Shabbos to a few Lubavitcher-looking people that were chewing sunflower seeds

“hey Chabadniks! don’t you know the Alter Rebbe is machmir and we don’t eat sunflowers seeds on Shabbos…..”


3- The next Mishna moved into the sending of items through a Reshus Horabim to friends on Yom Tov.

One of the items the Mishna enumerates is sending a garment or cloth that has Kilayim which is prohibited to wear.

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The Gemara takes issue with this item since the receiver can’t do anything with it so why is it permitted to send on Yom Tov?

The Gemara concludes that this Kilayim is referring to a curtain that is used as furniture and not as clothing, and thus has some practical use.

The Gemara then continues to say that one may not weave a curtain from kilayim since one may wrap himself in it! Just as we see the Halachah that a curtain is considered a keili (not part of the building structure) and can become tamei  because one may wrap himself with it.

4- Tosfos  mentions the Gemarah that the Paroches when it became tamei needed 300 Kohanin to immerse it in the Mikvah! It then states that this 300 number is an exaggeration!

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We mentioned the explanation of the Gro that the number is actually accurate. The Poroches was (in Amos) 20 x 40 for a total perimeter of 120 Amos. Each Amo is 5 tefochim for a total of 600 tefochim. So, 300 Kohanim, each using his two hands (which is a tefach each) equals 600 tefochim!

5- We analyzed the Tosfos about the issue of the Paroches. The question is if the curtain in the Mishkan/Mikdosh is considered a ‘keili’ and it can become tamei or it is considered part of the structure and cannot.

6- We mentioned one of the great pre WWII European Geonim Reb Yaakov Zeev Yoskowitz who was a Ruzin/Chortkover Chosid. His magnum opus was a commentary on the SifriAmovuhi DeSifri.

We discussed some of the questions he writes at length about our Tosfos,  (page 197) and the letter he received from the Ragatchover on his topic. (page 2).

7-  Here is the name of the French city mentioned in the Tosfos –


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One of the baalei tosfos in that city, R Shmuel of Evreux.


Shiur 11/08/16 – Beitza 14a, b

Beitza 14a-b.

1- Our Gemara enlightens us as to the financial condition of Jews in Israel who were well to do in comparison to the Jews living in Bavel who lived in poverty. Consider: Meshulochim traveled to Israel……

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This disparity manifests itself in a practical Halachah:

The rule is that crushing or chopping spices on Yom Tov is in principle permitted as long as one does the work on a limited basis; namely on a small scale for use at the next Yom Tov meal.

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[Additionally, food items that lose some of their taste or aroma if they were to be ground before Yom Tov would also be permitted.]

This limits one to use a small crusher. Using a large one (although it may require less effort) is prohibited, for it is generally used for grinding large quantities for future use.

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The Chachamim in Israel became aware that this leniency of using a small crusher/grinder in homes of the affluent Jews of Israel, where the kitchen staff was comprised of ‘servants’ (Jewish?), who would take the easy route by using a large grinder. The owners were obviously not aware of this.

Thus a law was passed is Israel: No crushing/grinding would be allowed, period. Neither small nor big utensils.

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2- We moved on into the sugya of ‘borer‘, sifting, or choosing on Yom Tov where Beis Hillel allows the most basic ‘borer‘ – removing the bad from the good.  Beis Shamai allows only choosing the good from the bad.

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3- We discussed a case of a mound of peanut shells with a peanut in this stack. According to Beish Shamai one would be allowed to pick this peanut from the mound.

Now according to Beis Hillel can one opt to remove all the shells and end up with the peanut?

To be continued next week…

4- We ended with 2 interesting explanations on a perplexing verse in Parshas Lech Lecha.

וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן וְהוּא כֹהֵן לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן.

– And Malki Tzedek King of Jerusalem presented (to Avrom) [after his victory in the war against the 4 kings] bread and wine, and he [Malki Tzedek] was a Kohen of G-D.

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Rashi explains that the bread and wine offered by this King  to Avrom was prophesying the future when the descendants of Avrom would bring offers of bread (Mincha) and wine in the Beis Hamikdosh.

We asked as to why the description of Malki Tzedek – King of Jerusalem and him being a Kohen –  is interrupted by the act of bringing bread and wine?

A-The wine offering, which was poured into a crevice at the foot of the Mizbeach, was poured in its entirety.

On the other hand, a Mincha was only partly placed on the Mizbeach [the Kmitza] and the balance eaten by the Kohanim. So in a sense the wine offering is superior to the Mincha.

So why why is the bread (Mincha) mentioned first?

The answer is that a Mincha that is brought by a Kohen is completely  placed and burned on the Mizbeach. No portion of it is eaten. Such a Mincha is equal to a wine offering.

So the end of the verse ‘and he [Malki Tzedek] was a Kohen of G-D’ is an explanation as to why the order is bread and then wine!

Here is how to read it now:

And Malki Tzedek King of Jerusalem presented to Avrom bread and wine, [why do we not mention the wine before the bread, because] and he [Malki Tzedek] was a Kohen of G-D.

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2- This symbol of the bread and wine alluding to the descendants of Avrom that would bring offers of bread (Mincha) and wine in the Beis Hamikdosh is a bit problematic. If Avrom himself would be the Kohen he would be prohibited from working there since all warriors  are perhaps prohibited from from doing any Avodah! This applies even killers BeShogeg.

Just as we find in regards to ‘du’chening’. A Kohen that caused a death, even unintentionally, is prohibited form blessing others. See here  s50.  See there if Teshuva helps to clear this issue.

We also mentioned the famous Takono by Rabeinu Gershon, Meor Hagola allowing Kohanim who had recanted their conversion to  ‘Duchen’.  See there s51.

So what is Malki Tzedek trying to tell Avrom? Your children can do the Avoda and not you????

Tosfos states that there is perhaps a way to allow a Kohen who took a life away to do the Avoda if he is the only Kohen around. If we were to not allow him, then the Avoda would not be performed. So Avrom could in theory be allowed to do the Avoda since at that time he was the only Jew and…..Kohen.

But that would be a cynical compliment- ‘Avrom, you can be a Kohen only when there is no one else’…….

So the Torah states, after the compliment given to Avrom (alluded to by the bread and wine), that Malki Tzedek himself was a Kohen! So now we have two Kohanim and nevertheless Avrom would be allowed to do the Avoda. (as an exception?)

Here is how to read it now:

And Malki Tzedek King of Jerusalem presented to Avrom bread and wine, [alluding that Avrom, despite being a warrior, can indeed be a Kohen, and not only as a last resort because there was no other Kohen. There was another Kohen, since] he [Malki Tzedek] was a Kohen of G-D.


Shiur 11/01/2016 – Beitza 13a

Beitzah 13,a

1- We gave a general overview of the basic premise of which melachos are permitted on Yom Tov.

See here where we spoke briefly about this.

The parameters:

A- On Yom Tov no melacha can be performed. The definition of a melacha is one of the 39 melachos that are prohibited on Shabbos.

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B- The exception are melachos that are associated with the preparation of food.

The issue: Are all of the 39 melachos permitted when associated with the preparation of food?

There are a few opinions of this topic.

A- Rashi (23b) & Rambam (YT 1,5) . (23b) Any melacha which can be done before Yom Tov is not permitted to be done on Yom Tov. Such as harvesting, fishing, picking fruit.

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B- Tosfos. (3a) Quotes a Yerushalmi which says that since the exception to food preparation (b above) is juxtaposed to the Mitzvah of ‘watching the Matzos’ (preventing them from becoming Chametz which commences at the time of kneading the dough), the Torah means to say that only melachos that begin at a stage of ‘kneading’ are permitted. Thus, harvesting, fishing, fruit picking, grinding are  prohibited Min Hatorah.

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c- Other Rishonim. A melacha that is performed in bulk: Meaning that the work is not only in preparation for the food to be eaten on Yom Tov but also for the days following.

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See Alter Rebbe where he combines a & c.

2- Our Mishna discusses the grinding of spices and salt. We discussed the opinions of Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.

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3- We reviewed the Tosfos that quotes the two opinions about grinding on Yom Tov and the poetic and rhyming conclusion.

4- We mentioned the wonderful idea of the Maggid from Amsterdam regarding the saying of Rava that ‘wine and spices makes one smart’.

Whereas while grinding spices is it advantageous to talk (as we say say daily ‘keshe hu shochek omer hodek heitev’) while handling wine the opposite is true. Remaining silent is beneficial to the quality of the wine.

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A person needs to know that being smart is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet…..