The final conclusion is that for items that one is obligated to do, Maa’ser money cannot be used. On the other hand items which are elective, such as buying an Aliya, for this one may use Maa’ser money.
Education for children is one item that a father is obligated to provide for (he can teach them himself if he so chooses). Thus Maa’ser money can not be used for tuition payments.
Yet, the cost of the food and dormitory is not something that a father is obligated to provide for above the age of 13. So this cost can indeed be paid for from Maa’ser money.’
See here at length an article that discusses these issues and more. Such as using Maa’ser money to buy a ticket to visit your Rebbe.
2- We tried to decipher a rather difficult piece of Gemara regarding the argument between Bais Shamai and Beis Hillel about the Semicha on animals.
The Gemara records two different traditions among the Tana’im with regard to the dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel about Semichah. Some Tana’im explain that the dispute is whether Semichah is permitted on Yom Tov or whether it is prohibited on Yom Tov because it involves a transgression of the prohibition against using a live animal (“Mishtamesh b’Ba’alei Chayim”). Others say that the dispute is whether or not there is an obligation to perform Semichah altogether for Korbanos of Shalmei Chovah (obligatory Korbenos Shelamim, as opposed to voluntary ones) even on a weekday.
3- Next we moved on to the story of Hillel ha’Zaken who was approached by a large group of disciples of Shamai, who demanded to know what sort of animal he was bringing (they suspected that it was an Olah, and wanted to stop him from making Semichah on Yom Tov).
He replied that the animal was a female (and must therefore be a Shelamim, and not an Olah); to prove his point (and put them off), he swished its tail. From this it seemed that Hillel seemed to have changed his mind. The students of Shamai seized upon this opportunity to establish the Halachah like Beis Shamai that day in the Beis Hamedrash, Ultimately, due to the intervention of one of the students of Shamai, Bava b.Buta, who crossed the aisle and cornered the market on Keidar meat, and then offering them to all to be used as offerings, thus assuring that the Halachah was fixed like Beis Hillel.
~ Short anecdote regarding Bava B Buta:
כאשר הרג הורדוס את החכמים, השאיר את בבא בן בוטא, כדי להתייעץ בו, אבל ניקר את עיניו. פעם בא אליו מחופש, ישב לפניו, החל לדבר רעות בהורדוס, וביקש ממנו שיקלל את העבד הרע הזה… בבא בן בוטא ניזהר מלהוציא דבר רע מפיו. לבסוף גילה שהוא הורדוס, שבא לנסותו, והביע לפניו את חרטתו על מעשיו. כששאל את בבא בן בוטא אם יש לו תקנה, הציע להורדוס לבנות מחדש את בית המקדש
1- Our Gemara quotes a Beraisa in which three Tana’im argue about whether one may bring Korbanos of Nedarim and Nedavos on Yom Tov. They also argue about when one transgresses the prohibition of Bal Te’acher (see Chart). The Tana Kama says that one may not bring a Korban Todah on Shavuos because it is Yom Tov, but he may bring it on Sukos. The Gemara explains that he means that one may bring the Korban Todah on Chol ha’Mo’ed of Sukos.
Why does the Tana need to teach that one is permitted to slaughter the Korban Todah on Chol ha’Mo’ed? It is not Yom Tov!
(סלותי מסלתינן – We touched briefly on the topic of assuming that shechting on Chol ha’Moed is actually permitted, either from a posuk, or m’drabbanan – from other gemaras).
According to Abaye, the Tana Kama teaches nothing about Nedarim and Nedavos on Yom Tov, rather his statement is intended to teach a Halachah with regard to the prohibition of Bal Te’acher – בל תאחר. Meaning that when one obligates himself to bring a Korban, he needs to fulfill his obligation within a certain amount of time.
The Tana Kama states that one who sanctified an animal as a Korban before Sukos is advised to bring it to Yerushalayim on Sukos (that is, not only may he bring it on Sukos, but he should bring it on Sukos). If he brings the Korban to Yerushalayim when he comes during Sukos, he will avoid the need to make a special trip to Yerushalayim after Sukos to offer the Korban before he transgresses Bal Te’acher.
Since he cannot bring the Korban Todah during the other festivals (he cannot bring it during Pesach because of the loaves of Chametz that accompany it, and he cannot bring it on Shavuos because it is Yom Tov and since Shavuos has no Chol Hamoed yet – but Berel is working on it), he would have to make a special trip to Yerushalayim in order to avoid transgressing Bal Te’acher. Therefore, the Tana teaches that he should bring his Korban on Sukos, during Chol ha’Mo’ed, so that he not have to make a special trip to Yerushalayim.
2- We diverged mid-Shiur to talk about the Ger Tzedek Avrohom ben Avrohom. [Thanks to Berel for bringing up this interesting topic]
Here is a brief bio from Wikipedia [with its usual skepticism] :
According to Jewish oral traditions, he was known to the revered Talmudic sage, the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Elijah Ben Shlomo Zalman [1720–1797]), and his ashes were interred in the relocated grave of the Vilna Gaon in Vilna’s new Jewish cemetery. Some historians who have studied his story have stated that surprisingly little evidence of Potocki’s existence has yet been discovered other than several 19th-century sources citing earlier oral histories, and they therefore consider that he most likely did not exist.
We discussed the fascinating “misnagdisher” result of him being burned at stake:
According to Jewish tradition, following Avraham ben Avraham’s death, the Vilna Gaon believed that the spiritual constitution of the world had become altered in such a way that a Jew was no longer bound to wash his hands in the morning (netilat yadayim) within four amot (cubits) of his bed, as explicitly taught in the codes of Jewish law such as the Shulchan Aruch and other halachic works. Rather, a Jew’s entire house would be considered as four amot for this mitzvah. This custom, begun at Avraham ben Avraham’s death, commenced with the Vilna Gaon and later became the practice of the Slabodka yeshiva in Europe, becoming today the routine of many leading Israeli rabbis who follow the Slabodka tradition.
3- The Graf Potozky’s undoing was, as per the story told, his rebuking a teenager for talking during Chazoras Hashatz. This lad reported him to the authorities and the rest is history…and negel vaser at the sink…….
We mentioned that the story repeated that the Alter Rebbe’s sharp words [last page of Tanya] against talking during Chazoras Hashatz using the term:
“How long will this be an obstacle for us? Have we not sufficient reproofs and troubles that have overtaken us?
בכתב יד: גוואלד גוואלד – עד מתי יהיה זה לנו למוקשולא די לנו בכל התוכחות והצרות שעברו עלינו ה’ ישמרנו וינחמנו בכפלים לתושיה ויטהר לבנו לעבדו באמת.
— refers to the story of the Graf Potozky!
That’s a difficult story to accept. Firstly, the last page in Tanya is not referring to talking during Chazoras Hashatz. It concerns davening without kavono.
Talking during Chazoras Hashatz is sharply rebuked upon in Igeres Hakodesh # 24.
Secondly, the story of the Graf Potozky occured in 1749. The Alter Rebbe was born in 1745!
4- We moved on to the Gemara’s next discussion.
Now there is an obligation on every Yom Tov to bring a Korban shlomim to have meat for simchas Yom Tov- Shalmei Chagiga. [this is in addition to the Oilas Chagiga]
The question concerns one who has a korbon Toda to bring. Being that is a Shlomim, there will be meat from this korban to be eaten by the donor.
Can he use this Toda meat for a dual purpose -for his korban Toda and to supplement the need of eating meat on Yom Tov?
The Beraisa states that for the Shalmei Chagiga one may not since one can not do two Mitzvos with one act. Shalmei Chagiga is a distinct obligation that cannot be fulfilled with another obligation such as a korban Toda.
On the other hand, the Shalmei Simcha can be indeed combined since there is no obligation per to bring such a korban. The obligation is to have enough meat – and any means that accomplishes it is fine.
We began to discuss the issue, based on this concept, that one cannot do 2 Mitzvos with one act. We went from there to the issue of paying for an Aliya with ma’aser money. Ditto for tuition. We mentioned Tosfos who points out that according to Rashi if the person says “על מנת” first, before he took upon himself the obligation through “הרי עלי”, then it would work.
For more than 1,000 years, since the giving of Torah at Sinai, scholarship was on such a high level that no halachic question was left undecided. After an issue was debated, analyzed, and voted on, there was complete unanimity and clarity in the decision. However, in the days of Jose ben Joezer and Jose ben Jochanan, the initial Zugos, the first unresolved dispute arose. The case involved the permissibility of leaning one’s hands (semicha) on a sacrificial animal on Yom Tov, a holiday.
The question was whether the mitzvah of semicha should be performed despite the prohibition of exerting pressure on an animal on Yom Tov. Despite the fact that only one dispute arose among the countless facets of Jewish law, and even that one was a relatively minor rabbinic issue, the Talmud viewed this event as a disastrous drop in Torah scholarship.
3- We began to talk about why this argument was not resolved for many years. To be continued.
4- The Gemara starts by quoting Ulla who says that they agree that one may not slaughter animals for Shalmei Nedavah on Yom Tov.
5- We discussed the regular korbanos tzibur that all agree were indeed brought on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
A korbon tzibur is defined as one bought from the machatzis hashekel collected every year.
6- In short: We spoke about the previous Rebbe’s mamorim of 1934 while in Poland and their difficult and deep concepts. The complaint from some Chassidim that these mamorim were above the grasp of the crowd…..and thus the Rebbe should switch to easier mamorim…... The Rebbe’s disapproval of this comment to his father-in-law.
The Rebbe printed these mamorim in 1951.
One idea discussed in the mamor is that despite reaching the greatest level of bitul (even in ruchniyosdike keilim) it still maintains somewhat of his earlier yeshus. The Rebbe adds a fascinating footnote.
ד”ה כי חלק תשי”א (תרצ”ד [קונטרס פג] סה”מ תשי”א ע’ 31)
When one gives his machatzis hashekel we must say that his coin loses its individuality. It becomes part of the whole collection. For if not, then the korbon is not a tzibur one, but rather a korban of many individual people (like a partnership).
Thus all the coins in the collection necessarily need to become one entity with no ‘reference’ to the individual donors.
Nevertheless, we see that when Korach argued with Moshe Rabeinu, Moshe asked G-D ‘al tefen el minchosom’. Meaning do not pay attention to their portion within the korbon tzibur.
Now how can that be if all coins must lose their individuality? Korach had no ‘portion’ per se as an individual in the pot of the machatzis hashekel.
One must say, the Rebbe concludes, that despite the bitul of each coin within the total collection, it still maintains somewhat of its individuality.
1- Continuing the discussion concerning the toiveling of keilim on Saabbos and Yom Tov:
In the Beraisa, the Tanna Kamma and Rebbi Shimon Shezuri disagree about whether one may immerse a Keli on a weekday during Bein ha’Shemashos.
Bein ha’Shemashos is a period of time of which we are unsure if it still day, night or both.
If it is night then Shabbos or Yom Tov have already arrived and the prohibition applies.
If it is day, the the tevila is permitted but the keli may only be used the following evening since we need
הערב שמש – “He’erev Shemesh”.
So what is their argument?
When the Rabanan learned the Beraisa, they explained that the argument applies in a case in which a person was running with the Keli towards the Mikvah at Bein ha’Shemashos. He clearly wanted to immerse the Keli before sundown.
The Tanna Kamma says that in such a case one may immerse the Keli during Bein ha’Shemashos on a weekday, since he demonstrates through his actions (by running with the Keli to immerse it before Bein ha’Shemashos) that he knows that the Keli needs “He’erev Shemesh” (sundown) in order to become Tahor for use with תרומה – Terumah.
Rebbi Shimon Shezuri argues and does not permit one to immerse the Keli during Bein ha’Shemashos, because he maintains that the person’s actions do not demonstrate that he knows that “He’erev Shemesh” is required (perhaps he was running in order to get back to his work). So he may toivel the keli and use it immediately.
2- We discussed the version appearing in our Gemara.
“a person was running with the Kli towards the Mikvah at Bein ha’Shemashos.”
The obvious problem is that if it is already
Bein ha’Shemashos then in any case it is too late to toivel to allow the keli to be used that evening.
3- We spoke about the famous Reb Raphael Nathan Nata Rabbinovicz. Here is form the Jewish Encyclopedia
Talmudical scholar and antiquarian; born at Novo-Zhagory, government of Kovno, Russia, in 1835; died at Kiev Nov. 28, 1888. At the age of twenty-eight he left Russia, and, having spent some time in Lemberg, (Lvov) Pressburg, (Bratislava) and Eisenstadt, went to Munich, where he finally settled.
There he found buried in the royal library the famous “Codex Hebraicas.” This manuscript of the Babylonian Talmud was written in 1342 and had the good fortune to escape the hands of the censors. One hundred and fifty years before Rabbinovicz first saw this manuscript its significance had already been pointed out by R. Nathan Weil, the author of the “Ḳorban Netan’el,” but nobody had yet ventured to undertake the immense task of editing it. Rabbinovicz determined to make a critical examination of it. His task was greatly facilitated by the munificence of Abraham Merzbacher, a wealthy antiquarian of Munich, who appropriated a large sum of money for the maintenance of Rabbinovicz while engaged in his work of research, and who put his magnificent library at his disposal.
Rabbinovicz spent six years in study and travel. During this period he visited many libraries in France, Italy, England, and Russia. Everywhere he gathered material for his magnum opus, the “Diḳduḳe Soferim.” In 1868 the first volume, comprising Berakot and Zera’im, was published. It was followed in quick succession by others; fifteen volumes were published by 1888; the sixteenth volume was being prepared for publication when death closed his career.
The “Diḳduḳe Soferim” a work that is indispensable to the student of the Talmud and its antiquities, gave to Rabbinovicz a world-wide reputation. Scholars in every part of Europe, Jewish and non-Jewish, turned to him whenever a disputed point in Talmud needed to be elucidated.