Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teruma: A Year That Is Just Getting Adar and Adar

(please note: the title and the post contain a little pun that only makes sense if you read  this in English, and not if you translate it, and only if you read Hebrew with indifference to mi'le'el and mi'le'ra.)

Here is a poignant vignette from the Saskatchewan Leader-Post.  It brought me a smile, just in time for Adar.

A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber's handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

The Mishkan brings Hashra'as Hashechina, and this requires simcha  Learning Torah also brings Hashra'as Hashechina, and also requires simcha.  Which requires more simcha?  Hashem decreed that Nadav and Avihu had to die for what they did at Har Sinai, and that their death would inaugurate some new connection between Hashem and mankind.  Instead of this happening at Mattan Torah, it was delayed until the Mishkan was built.  Rashi explains that Hashem did not want to interfere with the joy of Mattan Torah.  So you see that Simcha is more essential to the Hashra'a that comes with Torah than that comes with the Mishkan.

In what month did Klal Yisrael finally and without any ambivalence accept the Torah?  In Adar.  Kimu Ve'Kiblu.  Is Adar the month of Kabalas Hatorah because of the simcha, or is the simcha inherent in the month the reason it is the time of the final Kabalas Hatorah?  The answer is, Yes.  The two factors work together.  The Gemara (Pesachim 68b, Rebbi Eliezer) says that on most holidays, one may choose to draw close to Hashem through ascetic contemplation, but there are two and only two holidays (besides Shabbos) that require joyous physical involvement in the day, and those are Purim and Shavuos.  The two days of Kabalas Hatorah!

This year is getting Adar and Adar.  The weather is odd, the news is odd, the Middle East is turning upside down and inside out, Australia is beginning to remind us of Atlantis, the United States is just waiting for the Mastodons to show up, everything is just odder than ever and getting odder every day.  All we need now is for Meretz to declare that they are changing the party charter to focus exclusively on the advancement of Breslev Chasidus.  If that's too much to hope for, maybe Ariel Sharon (אריאל בן דבורה לרפואה שלימה) will wake up and, well rested, return with new vigor to his Prime Ministership.

And here is another candidate for Oddness Supreme:  The New York Times, the bastion of enlightened secular patronizing snootiness, the mother of anti-religious social engineering, the haven for self-hating Jews, published the following on January 11 of 2011, and I was amazed at the deference and respect it showed, considering the source:
After two years of endless nagging, my kosher boyfriend has finally decided to come over to dark side and, at least for one night, temporarily abandon his dietary restraint. Can you recommend a moderately priced place that serves such good pork and shellfish dishes, he’ll convert permanently?

Great food can change minds and alter people’s lives for the better, it’s true. But so can faith, for those who have it. Helping you use food to convince someone to abandon his religious principles cannot end well for me. (Nor for him, if his mother finds out.) The laws of kashrut are clear: No pork. No shellfish.
And so I cannot possibly recommend to you a visit to Momofuku Ssam Bar, where the two banned proteins often combine into Korean-inflected Continental deliciousness, and where a fellow might be introduced to the pleasures of cured hog’s jowl, served with honeycrisp apple kimchi and a Lebanese yogurt cut with maple syrup.
Nor could I nod to the Spanish-style Casa Mono, where you can find a delicious chilled lobster with ham (a combination the great Calvin Trillin would call a double-trayf special). For you there can be no suckling pig at the Italian gem Maialino or pig’s trotter at the British pub the Breslin or barbecued oysters at Tribeca’s American bistro Forgione or clams in black bean sauce at Chinatown’s terrific Oriental Garden.
That said, if you want to skate close to the edge, where the ice is thin and crackly, Chinese is probably your best bet. As my great hero Arthur Schwartz, formerly the restaurant critic for The Daily News of New York, put it in his most recent book, “Jewish Home Cooking,” “the Chinese cut their food into small pieces before it is cooked, disguising the nonkosher foods. This last aspect seems silly, but it is a serious point. My late cousin Daniel, who kept kosher, along with many other otherwise observant people I have known, happily ate roast pork fried rice and egg foo yung. ‘What I can’t see won’t hurt me,’ was Danny’s attitude.”
But proceed with caution. The Torah calls Jews a holy people and prescribes for them a holy diet. If they choose to abandon it, so be it. But you ever argue with a rabbi? I’m not meshuga. Take this boy to the Prime Grill for a kosher steak and tell him you love him.
Sam Sifton is the restaurant critic of The Times.

Yes, this is a year so odd that odd is starting to look normal.  But it is also a year that gives us two months of Mishenichnas Adar Marbim BeSimcha.  Let us use that double dose of Simcha to enhance our limud hatorah and learn with diligence and joy and love, and this will bring the Geula to Klal Yisrael quickly and finally.

Here are illustrations for the upcoming months and their mazal, in keeping with the spirit of
this post.


  1. Your title is עד ולא עד בכלל.

  2. 1) Does the din of Marbim B'simcha apply to both months?

    2) What is the mekor of your comments about Nadav and Avihu dying because of something done at Har Sinai?

  3. 1. I based it on the Chemed Moshe 697:1 that says that if you say Ahl Hanisim in Adar I it's OK because really Purim should be then except for the choice Chazal made to bring closer the geula of Purim to Pesach.

    2. Medrash in Shemos 24:11, and if I remember correctly, Rashi brings it somewhere.

  4. michael k:
    1:37 - good catch, but in this case,
    odd bichlal

    1)hard to tell, since the poskim don't bring the halacha of marbim besimcha at all. However, combining the gemora at the top of ta'anis 29b with the end of the first Bnai Yissoschor on Adar, where he says that Adar II has no mazal at all, implies that it applies to Adar I.
    The fact that the gemorah has to find a reason to celebrate Purim in Adar II v Adar I also implies that.
    This is really not relevant lehalacha, since how are we marbim besimcha in any case?

    2) Chazal brought by Rashi Mishpatim 24:10-11

  5. Boy, am I dumb. Of course it's in Rashi there. Thank you, masked man.
    ויראו את אלהי ישראל: נסתכלו והציצו ונתחייבו מיתה, אלא שלא רצה הקב"ה לערבב שמחת התורה, והמתין לנדב ואביהוא עד יום חנוכת המשכן:

  6. As for whether it applies to Adar I, I think the best answer is that the question applies the methodology of כובד ראש to a subject best treated with קלות ראש, which, as implied by Anonymous, is probably why the poskim conveniently forgot it.

    I know they didn't forget it. And I know there are good reasons for not stating it even though we do pasken mishenichnas Av. It's just that I wouldn't normally take it so seriously. Having said that, I think my answer is correct, that Purim could just as well be in Adar I, and the birth of Moshe may also have been in Adar I, so whatever the reason for marbin is, it ought to apply to Adar I.

    If you're not convinced, then you should be noheig simcha only where it comes out lechumra.

  7. "the question applies the methodology of כובד ראש to a subject best treated with קלות ראש..."

    Is there a subject that would be best treated with קלות ראש? Hayitachen?

    I would say differently, that the question applies the methodology of halacha to a subject best treated with the methodology of aggadah. While this crossover is sometimes misused, I think there is sufficient use of it in serious rabbinic literature (cf. Meshech Chochma for one example) to justify asking the question.

    Maybe the reason it's not included in poskim is that HKBH knew that if it were included then due to sfeika d'yoma and questions of whether we can really be somech on Hillel Sheini lechatchila by a derabbanan or efshar he was only gozeir by d'oraysas, Briskers would need to chosheish to the din year round. Given that they are already chosheish year round to memaatin b'simcha this would cause all sorts of imbalances in the universe so HKBH b'Chachmaso determined that it would be best for marbim b'simcha to stay out of Brisker sefarim like shulchan aruch.

    (OK, maybe there are subjects that are best treated with קלות ראש. Yitachen.)

  8. Anon, the poskim do bring the halacha, like the Magen Avraham at the end of 686. Just not the Rambam and the Tur/SA.

    Michael, I'm glad you got into the spirit, so to speak. I never saw Hillel II connected to the Briskers. But many serious reasons have been advanced for the Rambam's ellipses, in light of his bringing Me'ma'atim for Av.

  9. just remember that the last rama in orach chayim ends with the concept of being marbeh bese'udah on purim katan to be yotzai yedai hamachmirim. Which may be the only place in recorded Jewish halacha where there is a chumra to be someach.

  10. I never heard that, about the last Rama in OC being a chumra, the chumra being that one ought to be marbeh besimcha on the fourteenth of Adar I to be yotzei the shittah of the machmirim. Very nice.

  11. I always enjoyed the phrase "yedai hamachmirim," which translates very nicely, and appropriately, as "the clutches of the machmirim."

  12. BTW, that picture of mazal dagim is is otterly, or should I say Adarly, ridiculous

  13. the mazal of this month, ideally, should be a pair of cows: udder rishon and udder shaini
    as far as marbim besimcha, zerizim makdimim, and in this weather, schnapps is mesamai'ach down to the marrow.
    which led to the first observation in this comment.

  14. IIRC there is a tshuvos Chasam Sofer about the omission of the din of marbim b'simcha and he works out that we don't pasken like that gemara l'halacha but like some other deya (nafka mina for scheduling your court cases.) The interesting thing is that the mechaber does bring the din of being m'ma'et b'simcha in Av. I have seens some explain that in galus the din of ribuy simcha is d'lo k'hilchasa for us because at the end of the day, what is there to be happy about anyway? Only the din of being m'ma'et is noge'a l'halacha. (Is that not a depressing sevara for me to share with you on Rosh Chodesh? Sorry!)

  15. I told my shiur tonight that the Rambam and the Tur and the Mechaber all hold there's absolutely no difference, as far as marbin, between Adar I and II.

    True, no?

    Yes, the Chasam sofer in OC 160. He says that Rav holds the Memaatin of Av involves all endeavors, and so the converse would apply to Adar. The Rambam doesn't pasken like Rav, and holds the Mishna only assers binyan shel simcha from Rosh Chodesh, which has no converse application. What, there's a mitzva to build a binyan shel simcha? Not likely. Also, he says we hold ein mazal leyisrael, but Chazal can be gozer miut simcha, but not ribui, which is talui in plain mazal.

    There are more creative teirutzim, but that's the benchmark.

  16. There's another issue with Av, even if ain mazal l'Yisroel: the mazal of the goyim is strengthened.
    Whereas in Adar, even if the mazal of the goyim is weakened, that does not necessarily accrue to our benefit.

  17. Someone just suggested to me that the avoda of the extra Adar is to see to it that the extra words we add to Musaf on Rosh Chodesh should be meaningful. It would be nice to think he meant "by earning it." He actually meant "by making it necessary."

  18. I saw somewhere that the "ul'kaporas pesha" is included to cover what we do in the extra time allotted to a shnas ha'ibur

  19. I just found incontrovertible proof that marbim besimcha applies to both adars. The Ezras Torah Calendar, hebrew version, lists it for both months. QED

  20. http://mi.yodeya.com/questions/5799/should-one-induce-vomiting-upon-realizing-s-he-just-ate-non-kosher

    I just saw this wanted to know if the story is true?

  21. I discussed this story with Reb Reuven and others in the family, and they all agreed it never happened and that if it would have happened, the reaction would not have been what the story said. It is totally false.