Rav Moshe Twersky Hy”d zt”l On the Parsha


moshe-twerski1By Rabbi Yehoshua Berman


1) Hechsher and Tevilas Keilim

2) Kedushas Einayim and Machshava

1 – Hechsher and Tevilas Keilim

“כל דבר אשר יבא באש תעבירו באש וטהר אך במי נדה יתחטא וכל אשר לא יבא באש תעבירו במים” (לא:כג)

Hechsher keilim is the alef-beis of a kosher kitchen. In addition to purging a used utensil bought from aGoy of its non-kosher blios, there is also the din oftevilas keilim which is learned from here.  It is amachlokes Rishonim if tevilas keilim is a derasha gemurah d’Oraysah, or if it is an asmachta d’Rabbanan.

Regarding geirus, there are two steps (nowadays):milah and tevilah.  That is the order the Gemara puts it in.  There is a machlokes, though if the order isl’ikuvah.  The Ramban holds that even if the tevilahwas done before the milah, it still works.  However, the Rashba holds that it doesn’t work.  His reason is based on that which Chazal say, “Ha’poreish min ha’orlah k’poreish min ha’kever”.

For Jews, lack of bris milah does not effect the inherent kedushas Yisrael.  There were communities in Europe that wanted to enact that children not given a bris milah would not be registered as Jews in the official communal archives.  However, Reb Chaim (Brisker) said that you cannot do that.  It is wrong. He is still a Yid.

When it comes to a Goy, though, the Rashba holds that the lack of bris milah is inherently contradictory totevilah.  For a ger, it’s not just a particular mitzvah. So long as he still has orlah, according to theRashba, the tevilah cannot take effect.

Interestingly enough, the Ritva at the end ofMaseches Avodah Zarah says that the samemachlokes would apply to tevilas keilim.  That, according to the shitah of the Rashba, being baluahwith non-kosher taam makes it that tevilah cannot take effect on the kli.

The Ramban asks, why is it that this issue ofhechsher keilim only arose now by milchemes Midyan?  Why wasn’t it addressed by the conquest ofSichon and Og, wherein there was quite a lot of spoils of war?

The Gemara learns out from “batim m’lei’im kol tuv” that during war it is mutar to eat maachalos asuros. The Rambam holds that this is true regarding any war being waged within enemy territory (“gvul Akum”), but only if they don’t have kosher food available to eat. The Rambam puts this together with the din of yefas toar, that it is also a function of “lo dibrah Torah elah k’neged yeitzer hara”.  The Rambam also includesyayin nesech in this heter.

The Ramban, though, argues on all three points.  He holds that the heter is only regarding kibush Eretz Yisrael.  It is even if they have kosher food; it is simply hutrah.  It is not “dibrah Torah k’neged yeitzer hara”; it is heter gamur.  Also, the heter does not apply to yayin nesech, since yayin nesech is not just non-kosher, but it also has a din of biur avodah zarah.

L’shitaso, the Ramban resolves his question.  Eretz Sichon v’Og did not have to be conquered now; it could have waited until l’asid lavoh.  However, inherently it is part of nachalas Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, once Sichon and Og attacked, and it became necessary to conquer them and their land, it had a full-fledged din of kibush ha’Aretz.  Therefore, the heter of eating non-kosher food applied.  As such, there was no necessity to worry about blios either. However, milchemes Midyan had nothing to do withkibush Eretz Yisrael – it is chutz la’Aretz – and theheter did not apply there.  That is why it was the very first time that they needed to deal with the dinim ofhechsher keilim.

The Achronim ask on the Ramban, even though theheter of maachalos asuros applied in the war againstSichon and Og, why didn’t they have to be concerned for blios of yayin nesech, which the Ramban holds is not included in the heter?!  Many answer – and it is a correct, lomdisheh teirutz – that the din of biur avodah zarah does not apply to taam which is baluahinside of keilim.  It so happens, that the same thing is true regarding taam of chametz inside of keilim, that there is no din of tashbisu.  The whole reason theheter of “m’lei’im kol tuv” does not apply to yayin nesech is because of the din of biur avodah zarah; so, regarding taam of yayin nesech inside of keilim, where there is no din of biur, the heter does apply.

There is yet another question that we can ask on thisRamban.  Why didn’t the din of tevilas keilim apply bymilchemes Sichon v’Og?  Rav Yerucham Gorelick said over a teirutz in the name of Reb Chaim: the dinof tevilas keilim is only when you bought it from theGoy, but by milchemes Sichon v’Og they werezocheh in the keilim from the cheirem.  That is what Reb Chaim said, but I am not sure exactly what it means.

(Audio recording, available here:http://nermichoel.org/index/shiur/category/sefer-bamidbar/subcategory/mattos-massei/speaker/rabbi-twersky)


2 – Kedushas Einayim v’Machshava

ונקרב את קרבן ה’…טבעת עגיל וכומז לכפר על נפשותינו…” (לא:נ), לכפר על הרהורי הלב של בנות מדין (רש”י שם).

The Gemarah (Shabbos 64a) says that Moshe Rabbeinu asked the pikudei ha’chayil, if no-one wasnichshal in znus, why do they need kaparah?  They answered, “im midei aveirah yatzanu midei hirhur lo yatzanu – we need kaparah for having had hirhurim”.

The Gemara there says further “tana d’vei Rabi Yishmael mipnei mah hutzrechu Yisrael sheh’b’oso ha’dor kaparah, mipnei sheh’zanu eineihem min ha’ervah”.  Rashi says that zanu is like mazon, that they were neheneh with the seeing of their eyes.  TheMaharsha argues on Rashi and says zanu is likeznus, that they needed a kaparah for hirhur aveira ofznus.

Histaklus is an independent aveirah.  The hagdarahthat we find for this is that it is called znus ha’einayim.

There seems to be a contradiction in the Rambamregarding how he defines the prohibition of histaklus. In Hilchos Issurei Biah (21:2) the Rambam lists the prohibition of gazing upon a woman’s beauty together with other prohibitions that are gezeiros d’Rabbananthat were enacted to keep people away from actualarayos.  In Hilchos Teshuvah (4:4), however, he says explicitly that it is assur m’d’Oraysah under the lav of “lo sasuru“.  The Rambam there lists histaklus b’arayos amongst those things that keep a person from doing teshuvah, due to people thinking that it’s not an aveirah, while the reality is that is a serious transgression.

The best way to be careful from histaklus andhirhurim is by thinking in learning.  Rav Wolbe writes in Alei Shur that when one thinks in learning, it is akoach that can protect him from seeing pritzus.  InChayei Sarah, regarding Yitzchak, it says (24:63) “va’yeitzei Yitzchak… vayisa einav vayar v’hinei hagemalim ba’im”.  He saw the camels.  RegardingEisav, though, it says in Vayishlach (33:5) “vayisah es einav vayar es hanashim v’es hayeladim.”  We see from here that to a great extent what one sees goes according to what his mind is occupied with. Therefore, prior to leaving, one should prepare divrei Torah to think about.  (Often, a concept or kashya to ponder – something about which you can think in depth – can be preferable to chazara from which it can be easier to become distracted).

(From the notes of Reb Matis Feld)

For several years, I had the privilege of meeting Rav Twersky as he was leaving yeshiva and walking to his car. Many times I saw him just stop walking and stand there for five to six minutes, apparently doing nothing.  One day, I gathered the courage to ask him why he stopped, or perhaps if he was tired I could take his bag.  He replied that he was thinking in learning as he was walking, and sometimes the thought got so complicated that he could not walk and think at the same time, so he had to stop for a few moments.

(Reb Yossi Koff)

Once the Rebbeh was talking to my chevrusah at the Purim Seudah and at one point he asked, “Why don’t the bachurim come over more for Shabbos?”  My chevrusa was unprepared for that and did not know what to respond, so he just kind of blurted out, “The ninety minute walk from yeshiva to Har Nof is a long walk!”  The Rebbeh was not satisfied by that and suggested, “So think in learning.”  My chevrusah responded with a smile, “Not everyone is like Rebbi and can think in learning for ninety minutes.”  The Rebbeh would not give up, though, and responded, “So bring your chevrusah!”  For good measure, he added, “I would be willing to walk for ten hours to hear my Rebbi speak for one hour.”

(Reb Mickey Dov Lebovic)

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