Friday, October 28, 2011

[Tinsights.....Torah insights] 10/28/2011 12:28:00 PM

Evil plants its first seeds with innocent extraneous pleasures. Then, when the trait of self control has worn away, prohibited pleasures are introduced.

Posted By Ploni to Tinsights.....Torah insights at 10/28/2011 12:28:00 PM

Thursday, October 6, 2011

[KollelH blog] Yom Kippor

Asking For Forgiveness From Your Fellow

The Mishnah in Yuma 85b says that Yom Kippur can atone for one's sins; however, it does not apply to all sins equally. The Mishnah says that Yom Kippur can atone for aveiros bein adam l'Makom (between man and God), but cannot atone for aveiros bein adam l'chaveiro (between one man and another man) unless the sinner has appeased the man he wronged. This is derived from the pasuk in Vayikra 16:30, "mikol chatoseichem lifnei Hashem titharu."

The Mishnah in Baba Kama 92a says that regarding an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro, even if one returns the stolen object or repays for damages he has incurred on another, he is not forgiven until he beseeches forgiveness from his fellow. This Mishnah derives this halacha from a pasuk in Bereishis 20:7, "v'atah hasheiv eishes ha'ish…"

The Sefer Harirai Kedem asks the following question: The two Mishnayos are seemingly teaching us the same halacha, namely that in order to be forgiven for aveiros bein adam l'chaveiro one must appease his fellow. Why do the Mishnayos derive this same halacha from two different pasukim?

I had the privilege of asking my rebbe, Reb Shmuel Birenbaum, zt"l, this question before Shacharis on Yom Kippur a number of years ago, and he shared the following thought with me: According to several Rishonim, every aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro had two aspects incorporated in them: there is the bein adam l'chaveiro aspect and there is also the bein adam l'Makom aspect, since Hashem forbade this action. Therefore we need two pasukim to teach us that one is not forgiven for transgressing an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro until he has appeased his fellow – one for each aspect of the aveirah, the bein adam l'Makom and the bein adam l'chaveiro.

The Sefer Harirai Kedem offers a different approach in explaining the necessity for two pasukim. He explains that the two Mishnayos are teaching two different halachos. The Mishnah in Baba Kama is referring to the general mitzvah of teshuvah. In order to do teshuvah for an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro one must ask his fellow for forgiveness. To achieve this forgiveness, it would suffice if his fellow told him that he forgives him, except that he doesn't want to have anything to do with him anymore.

The Mishnah in Yuma, though, is referring to the atonement of Yom Kippur, whereby simply asking for forgiveness is not sufficient. In order for Yom Kippur to provide atonement for an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro, one must appease the fellow that he wronged and remove any disdain from his heart toward him – like he felt before the incident. In fact the Mishnayos are meduyak (the wording is indicative) that they are teaching these two different halachos. The Mishnah in Baba Kama says that one must be mevakesh (beseeching) from his fellow, whereas the Mishnah in Yuma says that one must be meratzeh (make himself liked by) his fellow. (I have found that this is indicative in the Rambam as well. The Rambam writes these two halachos in separate places, one in Hilchos Teshuvah and the other in Hilchos Chovel U'mazik. He preserves the same wording – "meratzeh" in Hilchos Teshuvah regarding Yom Kippur, and "mevakesh" in Hilchos Chovel U'mazik concerning the general halacha of teshuvah.)

The reason that the atonement of Yom Kippur requires that one appease his fellow more than that of the regular teshuvah is because the atonement of Yom Kippur comes about via the tzibbur, as a communal atonement. Individuals attain atonement by virtue of being members of the tzibbur (community). In fact even the karban that is brought on Yom Kippur, the se'ir hamishtale'ach, is a karban tzibbur. Thus, in order that everyone should be able to connect to the tzibbur and utilize the atonement of the tzibbur, there must not be any barriers of conflict between members of the tzibbur.

I would like to suggest another answer as to why we need two pasukim to teach us that one must ask the fellow whom he wronged for forgiveness in order to achieve atonement on an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro. If the Torah had written only one pasuk, then all we would be able to learn from it is that as far as the mitzvah of teshuvah goes, one must ask his fellow for forgiveness, in addition to repaying him. But we would not necessarily know anything about how to attain forgiveness on Yom Kippur; in other words, we would not know that in order to be forgiven on Yom Kippur one must ask for forgiveness as well. This is because we would have thought that it is possible that one is forgiven on Yom Kippur without performing all the necessary components of teshuvah. Therefore the Torah wrote a separate pasuk, to inform us that even the atonement of Yom Kippur requires that one ask forgiveness of the fellow whom he wronged.

G'mar chasimah tovah.

For questions or comments e-mail

Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 10/06/2011 10:48:00 PM

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

[KollelH blog] sorry its late, but better late than never

The Teshuvah Of Rosh Hashanah

There is a famous Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4 that says: "Although the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a decree from Hashem, there is a remez (reason) behind its blowing. The reason is that the sound of the shofar is to remind us to wake up from our slumber and inspect our actions, do teshuvah, and remember our creator. And those who have forgotten the truth and wasted their time should look into their souls and inspect their way of life. They should leave the wrong path that they find themselves on". Clearly the Rambam believes that on Rosh Hashanah one should do teshuvah, as he says that the shofar is to awaken us to do teshuvah. Similarly it would seem that one should do teshuvah on Rosh Hashanah, as it is part of the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (10 Days of Repentance).

The Rambam says in the second perek of Hilchos Teshuvah that the mitzvah of teshuvah is comprised of four components: vidui (confession), charatah (regret), azivah (stopping oneself from sinning again), and kabbalah (resolution). The Rambam also says that one must verbalize his confessions in order for it to be valid. The Achronim are bothered by the following question: Why don't we find the teshuvah process to be a part of the Rosh Hashanah davening – as we do on Yom Kippur? Similarly there is no minhag to do the teshuvah process on Rosh Hashanah. Some even have the custom to not eat foods that have the same gematria as the word "chet" (sin). So if the shofar is to remind us to do teshuvah, why don't we do any of the teshuvah process on Rosh Hashanah?

The Gemara in Kiddushin 49b says that if one says to a woman "be mekudeshes (betrothed) to me on the condition that I am a tzaddik gamur (complete tzaddik)" and she accepts, the kiddushin is valid even if he is known to be a rasha gamur (complete sinner). This is because perhaps he was meharher b'teshuvah b'libo (thinking of teshuvah in his heart). The Minchas Chinuch (Mitzvah 364) is bothered by how the kiddushin can be valid when it was contingent on the fact that the man was a tzaddik gamur, and instead he was a known rasha gamur? In order for him to become a tzaddik gamur he would have to go through the lengthy process of teshuvah that entails a verbal confession. How could he have accomplished all of that so quickly, and how did the witnesses not hear him repenting?

The Sefer Harirai Kedem and Reb Moshe Shmuel Shapiro explain that the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah is different from that of Yom Kippur, and that of the mitzvah of teshuvah in general. The mitzvah of teshuvah indeed requires the abovementioned four-step process, and that is what we do on Yom Kippur as well. This form of teshuvah atones for and wipes clean one's sins. However, on Rosh Hashanah we do not do teshuvah on individual sins; rather, as the Rambam said earlier, the teshuvah is to awaken us from our sleep, remember our Creator, look into our souls, stop wasting our time with nothingness, and leave the wrong path as we return to the right path. With the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah, one does not remove any of his individual sins; instead he changes his life's path, and his outlook and direction. Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the 10 Days of Repentance, is the first step in the teshuvah process of the 10-day period. The days following Rosh Hashanah are focused on the mitzvah of teshuvah for individual sins – with Yom Kippur as the climax.

With this, the Sefer Harirai Kedem explains the Gemara in Kiddushin that is mentioned above. With the form of teshuvah that we do on Rosh Hashanah, a person becomes a tzaddik even though he has not done the mitzvah of teshuvah to remove his sins. Once he awakens from the wrong path and is determined to start following the right path, he attains the status of a tzaddik. Therefore, when the individual proposed kiddushin on condition that he is a tzaddik gamur, we can assume that perhaps he had this form of teshuvah in mind, namely to change direction – which does not require anything verbal and is not lengthy. Thus the kiddushin is valid, as he attained the status of a tzaddik even though he still has not atoned for his sins.

The Kotzker Rebbe suggested another explanation as to why the kiddushin is valid in the abovementioned Gemara in Kiddushin. We know that a chassan attains atonement of all of his sins without even doing teshuvah. Therefore, when one does kiddushin on condition that he is a tzaddik gamur, the kiddushin is valid since he will become a tzaddik gamur together with becoming a chassan.

G'mar chasimah tovah.

For questions or comments, e-mail

Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 10/05/2011 12:40:00 AM