חזרה למאמרי המעין
This issue of HaMa`yan is dedicated to
the dear friends and supporters of Yeshivat Sha`alvim
David & Mira Zeffren of Los Angeles
and their children Shlomie and Marc
שירוו רוב נחת מבניהם תלמידי ישיבת שעלבים
ושיזכו למצוא חן ושכל טוב בעיני אלוקים ואדם
Founder (5713) & Editor: Prof. Mordechai Breuer z”l
Editor-in-Chief (5724-5762): R` Yonah Immanuel z”l
Table of Contents
Summaries of Articles………………………………………………………………... ii
For the Subscribers and Readers of Ha`Mayan………………………………...2
The Commentary of "Show me Your Glory" – a new responsum from a manuscript of
Rav Yosef Zimron / Rav Avraham Yaakov Goldmuntz………………………3
The Script of the Torah and the Understanding of the Torah / Rav Yoel Amital……..8
The Place of "The Creation" in Modern Science / Rav Dr. Dror Fixler……………..19
"G-d will Show Him" / Rav Itai Elitzur……………………………………………...29
"The Books of the Living and the Dead are Open Before Him" /
Prof. Aviezry Frankel………………………………………………………..34
The Opinion of Rabeinu Tam concerningthe Schach of a Sukkah
which is higher than 20 cubits / Avi Lifshutz……………………………….………38
The Arava: A Scientific Identification and Halachic Tradition /
Dr. Zohar Amar……………………………………………………………...49
Guides to Shemittah Observance by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZTL /
Rav Nachum Stepansky………………….…………………………………..58
Memories of the first Hydroponically Grown Produce / Prof. Meir Schvartz……….67
"Torat Kohanim" on the Parasha of Shemittah – a sample passage of a new edition
of the Halachic Midrash "Torat Kohanim" (Sifra) / Rav Azarya Ariel………75
Responses and Comments
Regarding Otzar Beit Din / Rav Yosef Y. Ephrati, Rav Yoel Catane; Preserving Ancestral Customs / Rav Avigdor Nebentzal, Rav Yechiel Chaim Freiman, Rav Chaim Tzvi Hollander; A Round Window located Between Two Courtyards - A resolution of the view of Rabi Yochanan / Rav Professor Yehuda Levi…………….88
Editorial Review of Recent Torah Publications / Y.C……………………………….95
Summaries of Articles
Rav Yosef Zimron: The Commentary of "Show me Your Glory"
This volume begins with the discovery of a manuscript: Rav Yosef Zimron, a North African sage from the 15th century, conveys the true meaning of Moshe Rabeinu's request from Hashem "Show me Your Glory", and the continuation of that discussion (including the entrance of Moshe into the crack of the rock, Hashem placing the palm of his Hand upon him, etc.). Rav Zimron was a contemporary of Rav Shlomo the son of Rav Shimon Duran (the Rashbash), the leading authority of the Algerian rabbinate in the 15th century. He utilized the Magen Avot - a philosophical work of Rav Shimon son of Tzemach Duran (the Rashbatz, the father of Rashbash), to explain the deeper meaning of this unique conversation. The author concludes by explaining the concept of "the knot of the tefillin", which according to Chazal was the vision that Moshe saw as "the back" of Hashem, so to speak. The introduction and notes of Rav Avraham Yaakov Goldmuntz, from Yeshivat Mir, a graduate of the Yeshiva High School of Sha'alvim who serves as a senior fellow at the Shlomo Aumann Institute, are illuminating.
Rav Yoel Amital: The Script of the Torah and the Understanding of the Torah
Rav Yoel Amital, a Ram in Yeshivat Hesder Sha'alvim, explains the great significance of the transition from the Ivri script to Ashuri script of the Torah by Ezra the Scribe. He opines that this transition is to be viewed in conjunction with other changes in the transmission of the Torah, such as the permission to commit the Oral Law to writing, which affected a change in the manner of the study and understanding of the Torah. Thus, Chazal state that the change in the script of the Torah is akin to a new giving of the Torah. Subsequent to an analysis from a Torah-historical perspective, the Rav delves into Talmudic ramifications of this change, and proceeds to deal with the contemporary relevance of learning Torah in the post-modern era, where no statement is held as absolute truth. Rav Amital opines that the changing of the script of the Written Torah and the writing down of the Oral Law resulted in greater dissemination of the Torah yet exacted a heavy price: initially the Tzddukim were strengthened in their quest to only follow the apparent simple meaning of the written law; later on the writing of the Oral Law generated a culture of disagreement. Nevertheless, Chazal felt that this was warranted in order to spread the knowledge of the Torah.
Rav Dr. Dror Fixler: The Place of "The Creation" in Modern Science
Rav Dr. Dror Fixler, a member of the faculty of the Physics Department of Bar Ilan University and rav at the Ganei Tikva settlement, endeavors to explain the concept of "Ma'ase Bereshit" according to Chazal and the Rambam. In his opinion, there is room to clarify the various understandings of the creation according to the discoveries of each generation. If the purpose of the scientist is to teach a deeper understanding of the creation, it is considered Limud Torah. However, due to the danger involved, Chazal forbid this study to be discussed in public, save for a description of the technical details of the world. The constant advances in scientific research enable better understanding of "Ma'ase Bereshit". Recognizing the wisdom of Hashem leads man to love and respect Him. However, to reach this state, the individual must undergo the requisite scientific and spiritual preparations. One who engages in this quest should not loose right of his purpose to understanding the works of Hashem in the world.
Rav Itai Elitzur: "G-d will Show Him"
Rav Itai Elitzur from Ophrah raises several points in relation to Akeidat Yitzchak. He found that many piyutim that are recited in various communities present various outlooks on this epic event, which is one of the fundamental elements of the Jewish consciousness. Not for naught does the Akeida constitute a central theme in the prayers of the High Holy days. It is not a one-time episode; rather an introduction to Jewish History, to the special relationship that we share with Hashem and to our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for His sake. At the conclusion of his article, Rav Elitzur presents a piyut that he authored, which relates to the points raised in his article.
Prof. Aviezry Frankel: "The Books of the Living and the Dead are Open Before Him"
Prof. Aviezri Frankel of the Weizmann Institute raises the following question: Do the "Books of the Dead" that are opened on Rosh HaShanah refer to living people who have been judged to die - or to those who have already died? In the course of his article, he proves that according to the views of Rav Chaim from Volozhin and others, the reference is to the dead. The consequences of their actions did not end with their deaths; thus continued to be judged. The influence that a person wielded during his life time justifies continued posthumous judgments. This concept is illustrated by how the Tanach and Chazal viewed the kings Saul, Menashe and Chizkiyahu. A person should, therefore, ponder long and hard prior to embarking on any action. This is true not only if it is a mitzvah, or heaven forbid, a transgression, but also about the effect of one`s actions on his surroundings.
Avi Lifshutz: The Opinion of Rabeinu Tam concerningthe Schach of a Sukkah which is higher than 20 cubits
Avi Lifshutz, from Alon Shvut, investigates in depth the opinion of Rabeinu Tam concerning the schach of a sukkah that is higher than 20 cubits. Rabeinu Tam opines that such schach is not inherently disqualified (pasul) such as other pasul schach. Different opinions have been advanced to understand his theory. Some maintain that the elevated schach may be combined with the schach situated within 20 cubits to create a kosher schach (=more shade than sunlight). Others understand that the elevated schach neither disqualifies nor validates the lower schach. The author advances proofs that Rabeinu Tam accepts the first view. An elevated schach is not considered a defective schach, rather a flaw in the construction of the sukkah. When the shade created by elevated schach does not undermine the rays of the sun, there is no flaw, and the elevated schach may be combined with the lower schach to create a kosher sukkah.
Dr. Zohar Amar: The Arava: A Scientific Identification and Halachic Tradition
Dr. Zohar Amar, a well-known lecturer in the field of Studies of Eretz Yisrael at Bar Ilan University, and a resident of the Neve Tzuf community in the Shomron, proves in a convincing manner that the classic kosher arava (that features long leaves and smooth edges) fits the description of the Salix acmophylla. Dr. Amar resolutely maintains that it is impossible nowadays to certify what constituted the "original" arava which was utilized in ancient times. The author negates the botanic-historical debate concerning differences between Israeli and Babylonian aravot, since in other locations in the exile, aravot from outside of the Land of Israel were used. The fact that the halachic literature throughout the generations ignored this practical issue indicates that all forms of the Salix qualify according to the parameters relayed to us by Chazal. In conclusion, Dr. Amar establishes that all forms of the Populus (tzaftzafa) are invalid, due to their round leaves and sharp edges; the poskim do not permit their use.
Rav Nachum Stepansky: Guides to Shemittah Observance by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZTL
In the section "Shemitta", 18 halachic decisions of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZTL, in reference to Shemittah observance, are recorded. The rulings were relayed on various occasions to his students and collected by Rav Nachum Stepansky from Jerusalem (as part of the third volume [in preparation] of his work " And His Leaf Will Not Wither" - `VeAlehou Lo Yibol` - a compilation of Rav Auerbach's rulings). The final decision describes the wrath that the Rav harbored for those who conveyed the false impression that he forbade consumption of produce cultivated in hothouses in Gush Katif. We have brought a photo of his signature (to which Rav Elyashiv Shalita attached his signature as well) which expressly permits whithout hesitation consumption of such produce (grown under proper supervision) for Shemittah and all years.
Prof. Meir Schvartz: Memories of the first Hydroponically Grown Produce
Prof. Meir Schwartz from Yerushalayim describes the early days of hydroponics – the cultivating of vegetation that is not attached to the earth. Rav Binyamin Mintz ZL, leader of Poalei Agudat Yisrael, searched for a viable option to cultivate produce in a suitable manner during Shemittah. The members of Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim developed this method; eventually it became a leading type of cultivation in the world! Dr. Schwartz recalls that he was invited to Cape Canaveral in Florida to explain this method as a solution for growing vegetables in space, and the host began the session by reading verses concerning Shemittah from the Tanach!
The section of Shemittah concludes with Rav Azarya Ariel`s sample passage of a new edition of the Halachic Midrash "Torat Kohanim" (Sifra) on the Parasha of Shemittah, with a new explanation.
Responses and Comments
Rav Yosef Efrati, one of the closest to Rav Elyashiv Shalita, reacts to a statement by the editor claiming that Rav Efrati`s Kashruth supervision agency does not use Otsar Bet Din produce on Shemittah, and the editor respond. Rav Nebenzahl and others react to the article by Rav Reinitz in which he complained about the younger generation`s lack of adherence to ancestral traditions. The issue concludes as usual with a review of recent Judaica received by HaMa`yan.
The Editorial Board of HaMa`yan wishes for all its subscribers and readers, in these days prior to the new Shemittah year 5768, that the new year begin with its blessings, and that Holy Land be blessed with a “Peaceful Shabbat”!