HaBucher HaChushev Ploni ben Nistar here for shtick, news and fun. You know, a Chassidic life isn't as boring and heavy as most people might think! ;-)
מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד
Remember you can always easily stop the playlist at the bottom of this page. Also don't hesitate to send me an 'ask' if you have any questions. I don't bite at the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Questions on Jewish Law (Halacha), I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Note that my understanding may not be accurate nor be the final word on asked topic. One should consult an Orthodox Rabbi before drawing any conclusions.
Sefer Vayikra contains some of the most difficult subjects in the Torah. The concepts of karbonos (sacrifices) is one that is very foreign to this day and age. Nonetheless there are some important lessons to use in our Avodas Hashem.
דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהֹוָה מִן הַבְּהֵמָה מִן הַבָּקָר וּמִן הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת קָרְבַּנְכֶם:
"Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, when a man from you will offer up a sacrifice to G-d, from the animals, herds or flocks should the sacrifice be brought." (Vayikra 1:2)
The Midrash reads the posuk as "Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, when a man will offer up a sacrifice from you, shall be an offering to Hashem….” Hashem wants us, not just our karbonos.
In fact, every korban had to be accompanied by genuine teshuva before it was accepted. The kohen was able to tell if the person was sincere in his feelings. If not, he would signal to the administering Levi’im to sing a soul stirring melody that would arouse the Yid bringing the korban to genuine teshuva. Only then could the korban become acceptable.
Only when one gives up something of himself, does he make a sacrifice that is pleasing to Hashem.
A related true story goes as follows.
The richest man in Krakow had just died and nobody wanted to attend to his funeral preparations. He had always lived as in exile in his own city. He never gave money to the poor. He had for years turned away every appeal for tzedakah that had come his way. He had consistently ignored his community for years. They called him Yossele the Kamtzan (miser). He had no children. Before his death he had called the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society), but they refused to bury him unless he gave them a certain amount that they could give to the poor. He refused. So he died, and they just left his body alone in the house. Finally, after several days, a neighbor took pity on him and buried him at the edge of the beis hachayim.
Soon afterwards, the Ruv of the city, the Tosfos Yom Tov, R’ Yom Tov Lipman, started to see a lack in community funds. Numerous poor families began coming to him for help. When called by the head of the charity committee, he learned that an unprecedented number of families were looking for funds to meet Shabbos expenses.
R’ Yom Tov Lipman began to investigate. As he questioned each petitioner, a pattern emerged. The ‘envelope’! Each one had the same story. Every Friday morning there was an envelope that had been slipped underneath the front door, with just enough money inside to cover the week’s expenses. How long had this been going on? Each one again told the same story.
He had been to see Yossele the Kamtzan, who had interrogated him thoroughly as to his family size, needs etc., then had thrown him out of the house empty-handed with a violent warning never to dare beg from him again. Soon afterwards, the envelopes appeared.
R’ Yom Tov Lipman was gripped with an uncontrollable trembling as he realized the stark truth, that nobody had ever known. Yossele the Kamtzan had been supporting Krakow for years, secretly. not wanting to derive any benefit from his mitzvos. In order to do that, he gave up friends, community, anything that resembled normal life.
R’ Yom Tov Lipman called for all the residents of Krakow’s Jewry to assemble the next evening in the Central Synagogue. R’ Yom Tov Lipman began to wail, “Yossele, Yossele, Holy Yossele. How can we stand before your memory. how can we possibly beg your forgiveness?!
The Ruv revealed to all the real story of Yossele the Kamtzan. He requested in his last will and testament that he buried outside the beis hachayim, next to Yossele. And he also had the headstone changed. On the grave of the miser it is now inscribed “Yossele HaKamtzan HaKodesh.
(Matzeive of Yossele the Holy Miser)
The rest of Jewish life after birth? Both parents are equally important to the child. So I wouldn’t say it’s either this or either that.
Very often the sons will follow in their father’s footsteps, i.e if the father is a Ruv his sons (or at least the eldest one) will also become one. But really the one who truly raises the child, the one who teaches him is the mother. The woman is the most important factor of a Jewish house. Shlomo HaMelech says שְׁמַע בְּנִי מוּסַר אָבִיךָ וְאַל תִּטּשׁ תּוֹרַת אִמֶּךָ: ”Listen to your father’s musar, but do not abandon your mother’s instructions [literally it says ‘your mother’s Torah’].” Clearly indicating that while one should listen to his father, his mother’s chinuch is really more important.
Shlomo HaMelech lived thousands of years ago. So I don’t think this has ever changed. Nor do I think the role of the Jewish mother has ever changed. Eishes Chayil was also written by Shlomo HaMelech so many centuries ago. ;-)
In the Talmud there is a concept of ‘Zera Yisroel’ which means ‘Descendants of Israel’. But their halachic status today is still the same. They’re not Jewish according to Jewish law.
If the maternal ancestor did a proper (i.e Orthodox) conversion she and all of her descendants across the maternal line would be Jewish.
Once (properly) converted the convert is a full Jew in every aspect.