Shabbat Parashat Noach| 5765
Noach | | 1/1/2005
In our parasha, we have the opportunity to meet three of the world’s cultures, as they emerged from their forefathers: Shem (Yisrael), Cham (C’na’an), and Yefet (Greek culture). Let us review what transpired (Bereishit 9: 20-27). Noach became drunk and revealed his nudity. His three sons reacted differently to the situation. Cham, who freely told his brothers of the disgrace he saw, showed a lack of sensitivity to human dignity.
In order to be fit to serve as a judge, one needs to be fit to testify in court (Nidah 49b). Therefore, certainly minors (based on age or lack of basic physical development (shtei sa’arot)) cannot be dayanim. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 7:3) brings an additional opinion that it is not sufficient for a dayan to be a bar mitzva. Rather he must be at least 18 years old. The S’ma (ad loc.) cites the Tur’s reason that only at that age does he have the stature among men to take stands on contentious issues.
We asked why Chazal did not identify a source for the halacha that “a convert who converts is like a child who is born.” The answer is that this is explicit in the words of Ruth, from which we learn much about the process of accepting the ger and his acceptance of the mitzvot (see Yevamot 47b).She said: “Your nation is my nation, and your G-d is my G-d,” which, as we explained, indicates that the way to receive the mitzvot of the Torah is only by being accepted by and into Klal Yisrael. Indeed the essence of the conversion is to leave one’s nation and join Klal Yisrael. Since geirut must be more than acceptance of mitzvot, but must engender entering the nation of Israel, it is clear that this must include a severing of family ties from a halachic perspective.
Question: In my place of work, in addition to ten regular, paid general holidays, they also pay those who take off for Yom Kippur and a day of Rosh Hashana. The employment agreement states that if a general holiday falls during an employee’s vacation, he chooses between an additional vacation day and getting paid extra for not utilizing all of his vacation days. The employers feel that they do not have to give these options this Yom Kippur, even though it fell on Saturday, when the business is closed. They also say that it is forbidden for a Jew to get paid for a Jewish holiday, and that I should not have the right to extra salary or an alternative. Is it actually forbidden? [The question was shortened and does not quote verbatim the pertinent clauses from the contract.]
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).