|19 Ab Rahaman 5771 – Aug. 19, 2011 – Perashat ‘Eqeb
Shabat Shalom !
Today’s halakha is dedicated for the refua shelema of Daniel Abraham ben Haviva s”t, he needs our many Tefilot and Tehilim for a speedy recovery from a serious accident.
e”H Ribi Yehoshu’a Bittan s”t of Em Habanim Sefaradi Congregation in Los Angeles
In the Perasha of this week, Moshé Rabenu a”h continues his discourse preparing his beloved people for their coming into Eres Yisrael. He emphasizes that ‘Am Yisrael’s success and blessings are dependent on their loyalty to Hashem and adherence to His Misvot
“And it shall be because you will listen to these laws…..” In this pasuq, the term used in Hebrew for the word “because” is ‘Eqeb. Interestingly, ‘Eqeb, which is the name of our Perasha, is not a common way of expressing “cause and effect”. Our Sages explain that the word ‘eqeb has two meanings: because and heel. Accordingly, they say that the verse makes allusion to those misvot that some people may regard as “insignificant” compared to other “important” misvot. These people would tend to figuratively tread and step on these misvot with their heels. The Tora tells us that by being careful even with those seemingly “unimportant” misvot, the Jewish Nation would be blessed with special reward and kindness.
The Mishna in Pirqé Abot says: “Be as scrupulous in doing a ‘minor’ misva as in a ‘major’ one” The reason for this is because, in truth, “no one knows the reward given for respective misvot”. We cannot “grade” the misvot ourselves as each misvot is a divine commandment from Hashem and how can we in our limited human capacity evaluate a commandment from the Creator of the Universe who gave us such commandments?
The Or HaHayim HaQadosh points out several added underlying dimensions hinted by this pasuq. He explains that the first word of the Perasha, “Vehaya,” always alludes to a theme of happiness or something pleasant being discussed. The Tora tells us that true joy and happiness can be found in “listening to” and following Hashem’s commandments. Listening to Hashem’s Commandments refers also to studying Tora. The Vehaya insinuates the importance of learning Tora Besimha (in happiness) and the inherent sentiment of happiness found in learning Tora. As there is no greater Joy found in the spheres above and in this very world like the joy of learning Tora.
The word ‘Eqeb (heel) alludes to, according to the Or HaHayim HaQadosh, the humily necessary in approaching Tora learning. A humble attitude to learning Tora will bring about deeper listening and understanding of the Tora. The word listening, “tishme’un” has an additional Nun (numerical value of 50) at the end, hinting to the “50 gates of insight” one is reaching towards as he studies Tora with humility.
A Jew should lead his life to serve his Master. He has given us misvot in his infinite wisdom and every misva has its own importance. In Shir Hashirim it says: “I went down to the garden of walnuts” – Our sages explain that Kelal Yisrael is likened to walnuts. If you have a pile of nuts, moving one walnut affects all the rest. So it is, if one of ‘Am Yisrael sins, it has an impact on Kelal Yisrael as a whole. Ribi Ezra’ Altusher explains that the same applies to Misvot. If one was to belittle or remove one misva it may have an impact on all misvot. Even if a misva would seem “insignificant”, its removal could signal the beginning of a sliding pattern leading to a lack of Tora observance. This idea comes into play when communities have moved from one country to another. When the local or prevalent popular culture impacts and threatens to influence the lifestyle of Jewish individuals, households and communities, it is even more important to pay attention to every detail of observance of our misvot and Sefaradi customs.
Adherence to Misvot, including those that seem on the surface as insignificant, is a statement of our faith, commitment, and dedication to serving Hashem. As a community, maintaining our detailed observance of Misvot, traditions, and minhagim is one the guarantees for survival of ‘Am Yisrael into perpetuity.
Warming up food on Shabat
e”H Ribi ‘Amram Assayag s”t
The question is posed whether there are any circumstances when one is allowed to warm food up on Shabat, on a covered fire, or any other heat source, put on before Shabat.
It is obvious that nothing may be turned on during Shabat under any circumstances.
In short, the Halakha differentiates between a solid food and a food that contains liquids.
The latter may not be warmed up in any form that the Halakha considers cooking on Shabat. Foods containing liquids, even when fully cooked before Shabat, undergo a cooking process when reheated on Shabat. For example, warming up a bottle for a child, poses this problem as the milk is liquid. In this case we fill a container with warm water, and only in this second vessel, may we place the bottle to warm up.
For dry foods fully cooked before Shabat, Shulhan ‘Arukh O”H 318:4 states, that one may warm them on Shabat. However, there are strict conditions on how to do so.
One may not warm these foods on an open fire, as the general rule is, that even when allowed to warm up one may not do it in a form that looks as the regular way of cooking.
Warming these dry foods on top of a lit stove or inside an oven is totally forbidden. Placing these foods on top of a warming plate set before Shabat, or a plugged-in hot water urn, is permitted, as no one cooks during the week in such a manner. Bread may also be warmed in this manner as no one bakes on top of a hot plate.
Shabat Mode Oven
The purpose of the Shabat Mode oven is to be able to put food in it BEFORE Shabat and still be able to open the door and take the food out on Shabat. It would not help to put food in the oven before shabat and then not to be able to take it out to eat because the lights, fans and even elements will turn on on Shabat. Therefore, it is a very good idea to have a kasher mode oven if you will use it on Shabat.
However, the problem of putting dry food in the oven on Shabat is a different problem that is not related to the fact that no lights etc. turn on. This is a prohibition against doing any action that a bystander looking in would recognize as a common weekday action of cooking. Putting food into the oven is a regular action of cooking which is forbidden on Shabat. Putting a pot of food on top on the stove, on an open element that was lit before Shabat, and now one is just placing the pot there, although it entails no forbidden work, it is an ordinary form of cooking which is forbidden. Only in a stove with elements covered by a metal sheet or in a hot plate, is it considered not the normal way of cooking and one is allowed to place dry foods on them on Shabat itself.
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Our Holy Sages, Hazal, teach us that “One who studies [at least] two laws daily is guaranteed a portion in the world to come.” -Masekhet Meghila 28b