BaltimoreJewishLife.com (BJL) is proud to partner with STAR-K CERTIFICATION that realizes that there is no substitute for a person’s own Rav. In an effort to offer a possible solution, it has launched its Institute of Halachah as a public service. Over the years, the agency’s Kashrus Hotline has answered generic halachic questions from kosher consumers the world over, including inquiries regarding the kosher status of foods and certified Sabbath mode appliances. The formation of a separate official division within STAR-K testifies to the need for addressing these issues.
The Institute of Halachah is directed by HaRav Mordechai Frankel, under the guidance of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, STAR-K’s Rabbinic Administrator. It is an invaluable resource for a diverse array of rabbis to discuss general halachic matters, as well as gain access to source materials for shiurim and answers to congregants’ questions.
Shailos for regular or Kashrus shailos may emailed or discussed using this widget.
During the Second Temple, the Greek empire reigned (over Israel),1 and they (the Greeks) passed decrees against the Jews and (tried) to erase their religion, and did not allow them to carry out Torah (study) or the commandments. They put their hands on their property and their daughters. They entered the Temple, destroyed and made the pure unclean. The Jews were in great distress because of them and were much oppressed, until the G-d of their fathers had mercy on them, delivering them from their hands and saving them. Then overcame, the sons of the Hasmonean High Priest, (the Greeks) and killed them and saved the Jews from their hands. They appointed a king from the Priests, and the kingdom of Israel was restored for more than 200 years until the destruction of (the) second (Temple). When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them, it was the 25th of Kislev2 when they entered the Sanctuary (inner room) and did not find pure (olive) oil in the Temple, except one jar sealed with seal of the High Priest, and it did not contain enough to light except for one day only. But they lit from it the lamps of the Menorah3 for eight days, until they could crush olives and produce a (new quantity) of pure oil. For these reasons, decreed the Sages of that generation that these eight days that begin on the 25th Kislev, will be days of joy and praise. One lights on them lamps at evening at the entrance to the houses, every evening of the eight nights to show off and demonstrate the miracle. These days are called ''Hanukah'' that is to say ''they rested'' (chanu) on the ''25'' ('th of the month) because on the 25th they rested from their enemies. and also because of those days they (re)-dedicated the house (Temple) which their foes had defiled. Also some say that it is a commandment to increase slightly the festive meals on Hanukah. Another reason is because the work of (building) the Sanctuary (in the desert) was completed in these days. One should tell one's children the story of the miracles that were done for our fore-fathers in those days, (see Josephus) However, these meals are not considered as part of the commandment unless one says at the meal songs of praise. One should increase charity in these Hanukah days, for this can help mend any defects in our souls. This charity, should be given particularly to poor Torah scholars. (KSA 139:1)
1) 352 BCE until 70 CE
2) 139 BCE
3) The Menorah was made of gold and had seven branches.
The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.
Of course, the most significant of events that takes place in this week's parsha is the sin of the spies. Ten of the spies delivered negative reports about Eretz Yisrael while only Yehoshua and Caleiv delivered positive reports. My Zadie, R' Yaakov Bulka, z"l, points out, though, that if you look at the positive components of each of the reports, there doesn't seem to be much difference. In pasuk 14:8 Caleiv describes Eretz Yisrael as "eretz zavas chalav udvash" But the ten spies also describe it as such in 13:27, "vegam eretz zavas chalav udvash hi." What is the difference? Also, why did the ten spies use the word "vegam?"
My Zadie answers that we observe in next week's parsha (16:13) that part of Dasan and Aviram's complaint to Moshe was "hame'at ki he'elisanu mei'eretz zavas chalav udvash," this referring to Egypt. We see clearly that they considered Egypt to also be an "eretz zavas chalav udvash". Therefore, the spies are rebuked for saying "vegam..." because what they meant was that Eretz Yisrael is also nice, like Egypt, but no better. Caleiv, however, worded it differently, saying "eretz zavas chalav udvash hi." It is an eretz zavas chalav udvash like no other.
To add to this thought, we see a similar concept in the gemara Sanhedrin 94a. The gemara describes how Sancheirev was rewarded for praising Eretz Yisrael and Bnei Yisrael were rebuked for speaking badly about it. The gemara goes on to explain the specifics, that when Bnei Yisrael were exiled and they came to their new lands they said, "This is just like we had in Eretz Yisrael." The lesson learned from this is quite significant. We know that the principal lesson in this week's parsha is the gravity of the sin of talking disparagingly about Eretz Yisrael. It is obvious that this includes direct criticism of the land, but now we observe that even putting other lands on the level of Eretz Yisrael is a grave sin which falls under the same category.
Have a good Shabbos.