Shabbat Parashat Balak 5771
Balak | 7 Tamuz 5771 | 7/9/2011
Our parasha introduces a classic and most dangerous Jew-hater, Bilam Harasha. Anti-Semitism is as old as our nation. The Rambam (in Iggeret Teiman) explains its source with great insight. Since Hashem selected us to receive the Torah’s laws and precepts, through which our higher level became clear, idol worshippers became very jealous and pressured their leaders to fight us. He says that they actually would like to fight with Hashem, if they could.
May one spray whipped cream from a canister on Shabbat?
Rabbi Zeira became weak, and Rabbi Avahu went to visit him. Rabbi Avahu accepted upon himself that if “the small one with burnt thighs” [a nickname for Rabbi Zeira, explained in Bava Metzia] would recover, he would make a day of festivity for the rabbis. [Rabbi Zeira] recuperated and [Rabbi Avahu] made a festive meal. When it was time to begin the meal, [Rabbi Avahu] asked Rabbi Zeira to be botzeia (break bread). He responded: Don’t you agree with Rabbi Yochanan, who said that the host is botzeia? So [Rabbi Avahu] was botzeia. When it was time for Birkat Hamazon, [Rabbi Avahu] asked [Rabbi Zeira] to lead. He responded: Don’t you agree with Rabbi Huna of Bavel, who said that the botzeia leads Birkat Hamazon? [Rabbi Avahu], for his part, held like Rabbi Yochanan that the host is botzeia, but the guest leads Birkat Hamazon.
A childless widow and her brother-in-law, who were also cousins and came from the Iranian Jewish community, approached beit din with the request to do yibum. In 5710, the two Chief Rabbis instituted that in Israel, even Sephardim, who traditionally did yibum, would not do so, “so that it not look like there are two Torahs.” Only in special cases where the Chief Rabbis give special permission would it be permitted.
This edition of
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
This edition of
Rabbi Shlomo Merzel o.b.m,
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).