Shabbat Parashat Balak 5773
Balak | 14 Tamuz 5773 | 6/22/2013
“How good are your tents, Ya’akov, your dwelling places, Israel!” (Bamidbar 24:5). This impassioned call shows a rush of emotion from one of the most devilish people who ever stood up against Israel – Bilam, the “prophet of the nations.” Even he was startled by the lofty beauty that enveloped the tents of Israel and their dwelling places. Since then, many generations of anti-Semites have been dumb-struck by the beauty of the Jewish home over the generations. They are startled when they meet up with the purity and modesty that surrounds the Jewish family. They see the Jewish girl, the symbol of purity, who is ready to give her life so as not to compromise her purity and her dedication to values. It is just a short time ago that we heard the report of the tremendous heroic tragedy of the 93 Daughters of Israel who decided to die as martyrs rather than be defiled by lowly, filthy hands. [This refers to a famous account from the Holocaust, which was first publicized in New York in 1943]. Even this enemy sees the unbreakable connection between the two holy institutions: tents [apparently referring to shuls and other Jewish holy places] and dwellings [apparently referring to simple houses].
A few days ago, the Torah world lost a true talmid chacham, Rav Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth (pronounced, Noyvirt), zt”l, who died at the age of 85. We have not in the past used this column to eulogize but felt that this case was different – not because of various connections with Rav Neuwirth or even the fact that we have quoted him in this column hundreds of times. The main reason we are writing about Rav Neuwirth and his sefer, Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata, is that it has served as the model of a new genre of halachic works, followed by hundreds of seforim (including, to a great degree, our series, Bemareh Habazak.
Rabbi Yochanan said: One should always try to go out toward the kings of Israel, and not just toward the kings of Israel but even toward the kings of other nations, for he will merit it, he will be able to distinguish between the kings of Israel and the kings of idol worshippers.
The plaintiff (=pl) rents out an apartment. The defendant (=def), pl’s upstairs neighbor, did major renovations, causing much noise and other inconveniences to pl’s tenants, especially because one spouse works from the house, while the other often sleeps during the day due to shifts at work. Pl responded to their complaints by reducing their rent by a quarter during the time of the renovations, for which pl is suing def 7,350 shekels as damages. Def responds that his workers kept to the accepted work hours and standards of cleanliness. He gave advanced notice to all the residents, and no one protested. Def claims that pl is not authorized to give rental reductions and expect def to pay for them, certainly not at a rate that is disproportional to the nuisance that the average person would suffer. The sides agreed to have a compromise but could not arrive at one themselves.
Rabanit Itah bat Chana
amongst the sick
of Klal Yisrael
This edition of
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).