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Clarifying Confusion

10/29/2012 08:46:21 PM


I am always thrilled when you ask me questions about Torah.  It is with so much pleasure and joy that I, as your Rabbi, love to teach Torah.

Here are queries that have been asked me recently.  I hope you enjoy reading them and my responses; perhaps you will add your own questions.

The first question: Is there a difference between Shabbat and Chagim (holidays) as far as what we should refrain from doing?

The answer may be surprising to you!  Any holiday found in the Five Books of Moses has the same rules as Shabbat, with two exceptions.  The Shabbat rules apply to Chagim, but a) you are are allowed to carry items from a private domain into a public domain and vice versa; and b) you are allowed to prepare and cook food.

An example of part "a" would be bringing your lulav and etrog to synagogue and then back home, which cannot be done on Shabbat.  (In fact on the Shabbat of Sullot, we do not perform the mitzvah of lulav and etrog.  Shabbat overrides this.)

An example of "b" would be cooking foods on a stove or in the oven, when there was a flame lit before the holiday, or the electric was on before the holiday.

Otherwise the Chagim are equal to Shabbat.  This means we don't conduct business on the holiday, or other activities we don't do on Shabbat.

Of course, these restrictions don't apply to Chol Hamoed, the intermediate weekdays of Sukkot and Pesach, nor do the apply to the holidays found after the Five Books of Moses, for example Chanukah and Purim.

The second question arose about the lulav and ertog.  May I perform the mitzvah of lulav and etrog outside the Sukkah?  The answer is absolutely!

Many have been confused about this.  Why?  This is because there is a minhag (a custom) to bless the lulav and etrog in the Sukkah.  In this way, we are performing the mitzvah of the lulav, while immersing ourselves in the mitzvah of Sukkah! (Nice, isn't it?)

While this minhag is "cool", the mitzvah of lulav and etrog can be done during all the daylight hours of each weekday, anywhere.

The last question which was asked about Cain and Abel.  Was Cain guilty of full-fledged murder?  After all, he had never seen a murder before this.

The answer is: Yes he was.  Indeed, under G-d's plan, Cain's punishment of death was delayed, but it occurred later through the unwitting hands of Cain's descendant, Lemech.

Some want to make a difference between murder and killing by noting the Hebrew is from the shoresh (root) harag, to slay.  But, this isn't a good proof, since one can slay purposefully and intentionally cause another's death.

And this...Is the rest of the story.


Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782