Sunday, May 24, 2009

Double Parshios, Part I (Shavuos 5769)

This Shabbos is the second day of Shavuos. In Israel, however, it is Shabbos parshas Naso. We will not “catch up” to them until we read Chukkas-Balak. Why do we wait until Chukas Balak and not lain Naso-Behaaloscha together (other than we at the lainers union would strike for a parsha over 325 psukim long)? And, what is a ben chutz-laaretz to do if he’s in Israel for shuvuos?

We read the entire Torah every year, between Breishis and Simchas Torah, with the reading we read every Shabbos morning. See Rambam Hil. Tefilla 13:1; the fact that we read on Shabbos morning is in Halacha 3 there. There used to be a minhag to finish the Torah in 3 years, but we are not allowed to do that anymore. (Why the cycle begins on and ends based on Simchas Torah – see R. Zevin, Moadim B'Halacha, Simchas Torah. Seems to be from gemara in Megilla 31 that the reading of that day is Zos Habracha, but it is different than the other readings mentioned there - those are deviations from the order, this one is part of the order of what we read every Shabbos.)

Megilla 31b: R. Shimon ben Elazar said, Ezra decreed for Yisrael to read the curses in Vayikra (i.e., Bechukosai) before Shavuos and the curses in Devarim (i.e., Ki Tavo) before Rosh Hashana. Rambam adds quite a bit in Hil. Tefilla (13:2):
עזרא תיקן להן לישראל, שיהיו קורין קללות שבספר ויקרא, קודם עצרת; ושבמשנה תורה, קודם ראש השנה. והמנהג הפשוט, שיהו קוראין "במדבר סיני" קודם עצרת; "ואתחנן" אחר תשעה באב; ו"אתם ניצבים" קודם ראש השנה; ו"צו את אהרון" קודם הפסח בשנה פשוטה. לפיכך יש שבתות שקורין בשחרית, שני סדרין כגון "אישה כי תזריע" ו"זאת תהיה" ו"בהר סיני" ו"אם בחוקותי" וכיוצא בהן--כדי שישלימו בשנה, ויקראו אותן הסדרים בעונתן.

His main addition is that the minhag is to read certain parshios before holidays. (The Rav gave reasons for these; the only one I heard (from R. Chaim Ilson) is that Tzav is before Pesach because Tzav discusses koshering keilim that had hetera bala, and chametz before Pesach is heteira bala. I looked and looked and found this buried in Harerei Kedem.)

The Meiri in Kiryat Sefer, Maamar 5 chelek 1 gives a very good summary of the order of laining. Basically, there are more parshios than non-Yom Tov Shabbos days in the year, so to finish the Torah in a year, we must read some parshios together. He lists which ones may be read together. It seems to be fully based on minhag.

But what is clear from the Meiri, and seems to follow from the Rambam, is that we read two parshios together right before a “deadline parsha,” that is, a parsha which must be read before a given holiday. Tzav is read before Pesach in a non-leap year. It must be Tzav alone, not with Vayikra. And it does not logically make sense to read Pekudei and Vayikra together for two reasons: one is there is no such minhag, and two, there is a huge space in a sefer Torah between sefaim, so it does not make sense to read one parsha from sefer Shemos and one from Sefer Vayikra together. So we read Vayakhel Pikudei together. Why not Ki Sisa with Tetzaveh? The Meiri says Ki Sisa and Vayifen (about the Eigel) were two separate parshios which were kind of merged as one, so that’s considered a double parsha, and we read Terumah Tetzaveh before Ki Tisa, which allows us to reach Tzav the week before Pesach. We see that we only read double parshios as late as possible before the holiday. We don’t read Breishis & Noach together, and Lech Lecha and Vayeira together and then read all single parshios until Pesach.

So for Shavuos, we read Bamidbar before Shavuos. The next Shabbos we have to reach a certain Parsha for a certain holiday is Vaeschanan after Tisha B’av (as Rambam says). Again with a calculation similar to the one made for the parshios before Pesach, and with a further requirement (I don’t know why, but this is the minhag) we read the 3 haftoras of Destruction before Tisha B’av on Devarim and the two preceeding shabbasos – either Pinchas and Matos-Masei, or Matos and Masei alone, depending on which day of the week the fast of 17 Tammuz falls. So the last Shabbos before Pinchas is…a need to read Chukkas and Balak together. And with the regular rules of reading double Parshios, we read them as late as possible, and not Naso-Behhaloscha together, and in Chutz Laaretz we do not care that we are a week behind Israel’s parshios.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

78a - Tipa Ksheira

78a - Rabi Yehuda wants to make a gzeira shava that just as the daughter of a chalal, who was born from "tipa ksheira" (kosher seed) may not marry a kohen, the daughter of a ger, who was not born from tipa ksheira, is certainly not allowed to marry a kohen. (I've discussed this in 2 posts: here & here.)

Sanhedrin 36b says we need 2 psukim to include certain people as eligible to be judges: one to include mamzerim, and one to include geirim, the pasuk is needed because we'd think ger cannot be a judge because he is not from "tipa ksheira," a kosher drop, so the pasuk allows him to be a judge. Ritva, Kiddushin 14a s.v. veha d'amrinan brings this gemara with a different girsa - "tipa serucha," probably translated as putrid drop (see Avos 3:1, Akavia ben Mehallel says look at three things and you will not come to sin...from whence you came - mitipa serucha." There is definitely referring to tipa of a yisrael, but it's trying to tell us from a little, disgusting thing, and is not trying to tell us that the tipa is ad, like the Ritva means.) (Ritva is discussing what I discussed in this post.)

Rambam Isurei Biah 12:13 - to have a child with a shifcha (female slave) is very bad because "the son of a shifcha is a slave and is not Yisrael, and you cause the "zera kodesh" to be profaned and to be slaves..."

Ramban, Igeres Hakodesh Chapter 2 discusses how holy the connection between a husband and wife is - if it's leshaim shamayim. At the end of that chapter he writes "if a man does not intend lesheim shamayim, that zera that comes from him is tipa serucha, and Hashem Yisbarach has no portion in it (as opposed to when it is lesheim shamyaim, there are three partners in the child - the father, te mother and Hashem, as Ramban discussed earlier in that perek), and he is called one who "destroyed his way on the earth;" his body will be destroyed and he will plant an asheira (tree served as idolatry) and will fatten calves for idolatry due to the fact that he emitted zera mekulkal (debased seed)."

So we see how some rishonim use the term tipa ksheira or zera kodesh or tipa mekulakl, etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pilegesh, Part 5

Common Law Marriage Requiring a Get

Lemaissa, what is the status a common-law marriage, one where a couple is living together in an exclusive relationship, or are even civilly married, but are not formally married with chuppa v'kiddushin -- are they considered married? R' Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (Peirushei Ivra 4 &5) says that such a couple are halachikly married and if their relationship ends, the man would need to give a get to the woman. R' Moshe Feinstein agrees that the woman should not remarry without a get. See Igros Moshe E"H I 74 where he quotes R' Henkin's opinion but rejects it, and see Igros Moshe E"H III 23 (and R' Moshe discusses it other places as well; he says R' Henkin would agree no get is needed if there was a Reform wedding, see E"H III 23). I'm mentioning this not regarding the permissibility of such a situation, rather if a dissolution would require a get. (This machlokes is very important in certain mamzeirus shailos, where a mother was previously married in a common-law marriage.) Because of the severity of the prohibition of eishes ish, the couple in such a situation should have a get even according to R' Moshe. However, absent a get, we will not consider the children of a woman who remarried after a common-law marriage to be mamzerim, in accordance with R' Moshe's psak. Note: see R' Moshe's teshuvos for the exact situations. Some of his statements may not be applicable to certain cases and certainly should not be understood that his teshuvos, or my bringing them here, as blanket statements.


To the Rambam there is no pilegesh to a non-melech. The Ramban permits it theoretically, but practically even the Ramban holds you couldn't have a pilegesh because she is not allowed to go to the mikva for her tumas nida since she is not married (as brought in the Rivash 425). Many bring Teshuvos HaRan 68 as allowing pilegesh. However, that case is a) already bidieved; we're not pasuling her more, we're only saying she was pilegesh and not an adulteress, and b) the main thrust of that question was does she need to wait 93 days to remarry or not. The question wasn't asking if she's allowed to be his pilegesh in the first place.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pilegesh, Part 4

Pre-marital relations

In the text of the birkas eirusin (see Kesubos 7) we say "v'asar lanu es ha'arusos," that conjugal relations are forbidden between a man and his betrothed (i.e., the ring was given but they didn't have chupah & sheva brachos yet. That stage is called both kiddushin and nesuin; I'll use those terms interchangably). Nearly all rishonim explain this to mean it's prohibited midirabnan. (See Rambam that even one who was mekadesh with biah is asur lavo aleha again before chuppa.) However, the Shita Mikubetzes (Kesubos 7b s.v. vz"l haRashba) brings the Raavad (personally, I'm not sure if this is the same Raavad as the Hasagos Haraavad, based on his comment at the beginning of hilchos Ishus) that when we say "v'asar lanu es ha'arusos," it means she is forbidden midioraissa. How can this be explained? My Rebbi Rav Ahron zt"l explained that first of all, the Raavad held like Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon in Tosfos Kiddushin 10a s.v. Kol that "ki yikach ish isha" is referring to nisuin, not eirusin. And second of all, the Raavad agrees with the Rambam (SHM Lo Sasaseh 355) that it is asur midioraissa to have conjugal relations with a woman without chuppa v'kiddushin, and basically the Raavad holds it's an issur aseh (the positive commandment not to have relations makes it prohibited, but lav haba miclal asei, asei - see Rambam SHM Shoresh 6). Thus conjugal relations before chuppa has taken place, even between a betrothed couple, is assur midioraissa according to the Raavad. Ramban, in a teshuva (284) says "v'asar lanu es haarusos" tells us it's only prohibited for a marriage without bracha. But without a marriage, you don't need a bracha. (Does this lead logically to R' Henkin's position [stay tuned for that]?)

Once we're on the topic of birchas erusin, why is the text of the bracha "mekadesh es amo yisrael al yidei chuppa v'kiddushin," if kiddushin (eirusin) takes place before the chuppa? (Note: the Mishna Lamelech says that the Rambam holds chuppa may take place before kiddushin. This is a daas yachid [less than a minority opinion].) Rav Moshe Soloveichik zt"l (son of R' Chaim) answered that this Bracha was instituted with the historical facts of marriage in mind (Hil. Ishis 1:1 & 4): before matan torah, there was only chuppa. No other type of marriage existed. After matan Torah, the kiddushin, our halachik framework of marriage was created, hence the bracha lists chuppa before kiddushin, because the institution of chuppa existed before the institution of kiddushin.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pilegesh, Part 3

לז"נ זקני שמואל בן משה ז"ל נפטר כ' אייר תשמ"ט

Shitas Rabbeinu Yonah

Rabbeinu Yonah Shaarei Teshuva Shaar 3:94-95: The Pasuk (Devarim 19:29) states Do not profane your daughter l'haznosah, and the do not corrupt the land and the land will be full of harlotry. Our sages taught (Sanhedrin 66a) this verse comes to warn us not to give your pnuyah (unbetrothed, unmarried) daughter for a conjugal relationship which is not for marriage. "And the land shall not be corrupted" if you do this, the land will be full of harlotry and will make its produce in another place and not in your land. Similarly it says (Yirmiya 3:3) the rain has been withheld and there was no precipitaion, you have had the forehead of a harlot. And pilagshim (concubines) without kesubah and kiddushin were not allowed to anyone except a king, whom everyone fears, and no one will commit adultery with her. Therefore, the relationship (yichud) of a king and pilegesh is like marriage. After pilagshim were allowed to a king, our sages decreed on a bride without the birchos nisuin (sheva brachos) is prohibited to her husband like a menstruating woman (see Kalah 1:1. Shita Mekubetzes, Kesubos 7b mentions this law from Maseches Kalah, but not in the historical context that Rabbeinu Yonah says.) [95] And behold you have seen the great punishment of one who has a specific pnuyah for illicit relations, because it is written about this (Vayikra 19:29) and do not corrupt the land and the land will be full of harlotry. One who comes on a pnuyah once by a chance occurance (i.e., a "one-night stand," not a relationship) gets makas mardus (rabbinic lashes) (see this post), besides for the great stumbling block and the bad things that happen to those who live with a pnuyah, because she is too embarrassed to immerse due to her mensural impurity in a mikva lest her illicit acts become public, therefore she remains in her menstural impurity [which is a chiyuv kareis]....

Rav Ahron zt"l said the Rabbeinu Yonah holds one receives malkos dioraissa for a common law marriage. I guess he infers this from the beginning of 3:94, that the pasuk (Devarim 19:29) is prohibiting a relationship that is not kiddushin - also known as common-law marriage, so as pshat in the passuk, its punishment is malkus. The Rambam holds there is no malkos midioraissa for this.

The Ramban (Tshuva 284) holds that it is mutar to have a pilegesh but writes, "And, our master (Rabeinu Yonah, to whom this tshuva was sent), in your place warn people against having a pilegesh, for if they knew it was allowed they will be adulterous and break through [the boundaries] and cohabit with them in their state of niddah." So it's muttar but you should not do it. But, is it mutar for an unmarried woman to go to the mikvah? Not really. Shu"t Rivash 425 quotes the Ramban as explaining the Gemara in Shabbos 13b that when a woman will not be allowed to live with her husband, she may not immerse in the mikvah. Any woman who will not be allowed to her husband is prohibited from immersing in the mikvah, and this prohibition extends to unmarried women as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pilegesh, part 2

Shitas HaRambam

Melachim 4:4: Similarly [the king] may take from all the borders of Israel wives and pilagshim: wives with kesubah and kiddushin, and pilagshim without kesubah and without kiddushin, just with yichud (does he mean seclusion, or her being chosen or designated even before the seclusion with the king ever took place? In other words, is he using Yichud in the ishus meaning or not?) alone does he acquire her and she is permitted to him. But a hedyot is forbidden to have a pilegesh except for an amah ha'ivriah after yiud.

The Rambam's opinion is very clear that a pilegesh is only allowed for a king, and a commoner does not have a pilegesh except for ama ha'ivriah after yiud. There is no concept of common-law marriage as the definition of pilegesh. He holds Yiud obligates a man to provide for this woman as his wife, but this obligation did not take place through kiddushin. So the result is the same as marriage, but the mechanism is different - amah ha'ivriah with yiud versus regular kiddushin. In fact, the Rambam does not list the laws of yiud in Hilchos Ishus. They are codified in the fourth chapter of Hilchos Avadim. But some mechanism is needed to become "married," so a common-law relationship would not even be considered a pilegesh.

הלכות אישות פרק א

[א] קודם מתן תורה, היה אדם פוגע אישה בשוק--אם רצה הוא והיא לישא אותה--מכניסה לביתו ובועלה בינו לבין עצמו, ותהיה לו לאישה. כיון שניתנה תורה, נצטוו ישראל שאם ירצה האיש לישא אישה--יקנה אותה תחילה בפני עדים, ואחר כך תהיה לו לאישה: שנאמר "כי ייקח איש, אישה; ובא אליה" (דברים כב,יג).

[ד] קודם מתן תורה, היה אדם פוגע אישה בשוק--אם רצה הוא והיא--נותן לה שכרה, ובועל אותה על אם הדרך והולך לו; וזו היא הנקראת קדשה. משניתנה התורה, נאסרה הקדשה--שנאמר "לא תהיה קדשה, מבנות ישראל" (דברים כג,יח); לפיכך כל הבועל אישה לשם זנות, בלא קידושין--לוקה מן התורה, מפני שבעל קדשה.

We see what marriage is, we see what a kedeisha (commonly translated as prostitute) is - she will have a sexual relationship with anyone. Note that he does not discuss an intermediate case of common-law marriage - where she has a sexual relationship only with one person, but without kiddushin. Rav Ahron zt"l said that there are two parts to full ishus - the ishus of a non-Jew, which is the ishus of before matan Torah, and the second part is chuppa with eidim. I don't remember the context in which he said this, or what question he was answering with this.

Ravad 1:4 says that a common law marriage - where one woman had an exclusive relationship with one man is not assur midioraissa, and that is called a pilegesh.

Maggid Mishna 1:4 says the Rambam's opinion is that pilagshim have kiddushin but no kesubah. The Kesef Mishna (1:4) asks against the Maggid Mishna that the Rambam in Hilchos Melachim (4:4) explicitly says pilagshim have neither kiddushin or kesubah. Kesef Mishna also points out hw the Ramban in the teshuva also misrepresents the shitas Harambam, also by apparently not having the text of Hilchos Melachim as we do.

Some, including Ramban (Teshuva 284) ask against Rambam why a king can have pilegesh and a hedyot can't, that there is no source for it. We see, however, that Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuva 3:94) says "that a king, whom everyone fears, and no one will commit adultery with her." So that is reason enough to distinguish a king from a commoner. Margalios Hayam, Sanhedrin 21a paragraph 10 brings a similar Maharit: since a pilegesh of a king is forbidden to everyone else, she is not a kedeisha. Note: Many, including Margalios Hayam, ask against Rambam that Gidon was allowed to have a pilegesh because he was shofet - interesting source: see Frankel edition, Rambam Hil. Terumos 1:2, and Semag that a shofet is like a king for kibush rabim, hence a shofet may have a pilegesh (See Rav Ahron Soloveichik, Perach Mateh Aharon Ahava p. 159: A shofet cannot effect kibush rabim because he is only the leader over individuals, whereas a melech can, because he is the leader over all of Yisrael as one unit, not as many individuals. He published this piece in the 1960s in a Beis Yitzchok (RIETS) before the Frankel edition of Rambam was published and showed from manuscripts that a shofet does effect kibbush rabim; I never saw him use the Frankel Rambam even in the 1990s.) Note that this would not answer Ramban's question that we saw that the Pilegesh B'givah incident was where a commoner had a pilegesh. Rambam would answer simply that in those cases, a pilegesh was a woman who was originally an amah ha'ivriah, with yiud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Isha Zonah Vachalala Lo Yikachu

אִשָּׁה זֹנָה וַחֲלָלָה לֹא יִקָּחוּ (Vayikra 21:7)

Look at the roshei teivos (first letter of each word) - אזולי - AZULAI. Some suggest that this is the origin of the name Azulai, and it is a family name for kohanim. I heard once, but I haven't found confirmation, that it is a family name for chalalim (so people know of their psul).