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Delray Orthodox Synagogue

"A Jewel of a Shul"



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In this week's Parsha, Toldos, we find Hashem telling Yitzchok the following.

"Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father: 'I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and will give to your offspring all these lands'; and all the nations of the earth will bless themselves by your offspring. Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My edicts, and My Torahs.” (Genesis 26:3-5).

Rashi, in explaining the meaning of these last words, "and My Torahs," quotes a Gemarah in Yuma (28b), which says that, in addition to the written Torah, Avraham kept all of the laws of the oral Torah as well, even though they were not yet given. He even kept the laws of Eruvei Tavshilin.

One of the most famous questions on this Gemarah is as follows. How can it be that Avraham kept the Shabbos? There is a Gemarah, in Sanhedrin (58b), which teaches us that, if a Ben Noach, a non-Jew, keeps Shabbos in its entirety, with all of its pertinent laws, he is deserving of the death penalty. You read that correctly. The sanctity of the Shabbos is so holy that a non-Jew who keeps all of its rules and regulations must be put to death.The big problem that we need to address is that, since the nation of Israel had not yet been established, Avraham himself, in all of his greatness, might still have the status of a Eino Ye'hudee, a non-Jew. If so, HOW COULD HE KEEP SHABBOS? He would be deserving of the death penalty?

The Panim Yafos provides us with one of the many answers to this question. He teaches us that Avraham kept Shabbos Friday night and Shabbos day in its entirety. However, on Saturday evening, Avraham made sure to do many melachos that are not permitted on Shabbos.

When calculating the “day” and “night” components of a single “day,” the Jew and the B'nei Noach use two totally different methods.

The B'nei Noach count the “day” first, which is then followed by nighttime.

The Jew, on the other hand, begins his new day in the evening, which is then followed by daytime. This concept has assorted implications in many areas of Torah law, one of them being right here with Avraham. Since Avraham kept Shabbos only until nightfall and then did melachos, one can calculate thusly.

If Avraham has the status of a B'nei Noach, then he did not keep a Shabbos in its entirety, since he did work on Saturday evening, which is still considered Shabbos for a non-Jew. Therefore, there was no violation requiring a death penalty.

If, on the other hand, Avraham's status was that of a Jew, then he did not transgress Shabbos at all, since he waited until evening to do melachos, which is already after Shabbos on a Jewish calendar.


This week we witnessed the unfathomable taking place in Eretz Yisroel. The stooping to a new moral low. Terrorists entering into a place of worship and brutally slaughtering innocent people amidst their private communications with G-d. We all saw the pictures; we all heard the news. All of our hearts and condolences go out to the families of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Ze'ev Levine. Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, may Hashem revenge their blood.

How are we supposed to feel after reading and watching the aftermath of this tragedy? The horrors are atrocious. The darkness is so thick. How are we expected to be able to deal with tomorrow?

Although why Hashem does what He does is a 5775-year-old question that remains unanswered, we must try and find solace from deep within ourselves, from our history and from our Emunah. We have to envelope ourselves with the same strength that we wish for the families of these Kedoshim. We must remember that, to a Jew, the daytime follows the darkness. We must believe that as dark as it seems, today’s daylight is just over the horizon. And, most importantly, we must apply ourselves to the Mitzvah that these victims were doing when tragedy struck. We must go to Shul, we must daven with deep concentration. And, most of all, we must remember what Hashem told Yitzchok. “I have promised your children this land because your FATHER obeyed My voice.” If we want our children and grandchildren to live B'Shalom in Eretz Yisroel, the onus of responsibility is upon US to listen to Hashem's voice, to observe His safeguards, His commandments, His edicts, and His Torahs.  


Have a warm and safe Shabbos.

This week's Parshas Matos begins with the Torah telling us that Moshe spoke to the Nesiyim, the heads of the tribes, telling them the laws of making and nullifying a vow.
Rashi tells us that Moshe gave Kavod, honor, to the heads of the tribes by telling them first, and then to the B'nai Yisroel. And why, asks Rashi, was it necessary to do it in this order? To teach us that a vow can be nullified by a "Yachid Mumche", a single individual that is an Halachic expert in this field.
Asks the Shem M'Shmuel.
Why are the Nesiyum mentioned in the beginning of this Parsha that discusses vows? The act of making a vow does not involve the Nasie at all. It is only with regard to nullifying a vow that the Nasie plays any roll what-so-ever?
In actuality, the entire concept of a Neder, a vow, a means by which a person can bring restrictions upon his or her self that were not commanded of them, comes into question. A self imposed vow seems comparable to a Torah restriction. How can a mere human being possibly create restrictions that are comparable to a Torah restriction imposed by G-d?
Obviously we must say that the making of a vow is NOT comparable to a Torah restriction imposed by G-d. How does it differ?
A Torah restriction can NEVER be nullified! The law is the law. Whereas a vow CAN be nullified by a Chacham, a Nasie, an expert in the laws of vows.
So, to answer our initial question. The reason that the "Heads of the Tribes" are mentioned at the beginning of the laws of "Vows" is;
If not for the fact that a Nasie could nullify a vow, making it different from a Torah restriction, one would never be allowed to make a vow in the first place. So indeed, even the Making of a vow, not just the nullification of a vow, is truly dependent on the Heads of the Tribes.
What we need to learn from this is the need to turn to our Rabbi's and Chachamim to answer questions for us and not just to assume that we can determine the Halacha for ourselves.
It is in the power of the Rabbi who knows the Halacha to nullify a vow, to allow a person to act within and outside the realm of a restriction. However, a person who is a G-d fearing Jew should not Paskin for his/her self, neither to restrict or to allow themselves any activity that involves an Halachic opinion.
A person must learn to trust that the Rabbi knows where they are holding, and that his Psak will be given accordingly, Halacha allowing.
Just as a person who kept kosher his entire life would not eat something questionable without checking if the kosher status meets with their own standards, so too a person should check with regard to the laws of Shabbos and other Halachos if certain lenienciThank you and Good Shabbos.


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Delray Orthodox Synagogue, more commonly referred to as DOS, is a vibrant Modern Orthodox Synagogue serving the spiritual and social needs of its members. DOS provides daily minyanim, Torah learning, and interesting lectures by guest speakers. The very active membership committee is always on the lookout for new members and interesting ways to provide learning in an interactive environment. DOS serves a wide community area surrounding the Oriole shopping center.


We hope you will come and join us for a Shabbos, a service, or one of our weekly lectures.We are confident you will find DOS a delightful and warm environment and one you will look forward to experiencing again and again.

To request info, a change or add something to the site, send feedback, send a message, or inform us of a condolence or a Mazel Tov, Email: Delray Orthodox Synagogue

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Sun, 23 November 2014 1 Kislev 5775