Shabbat Parashat Balak 5772
Balak | 17 Tammuz 5772 | 07/07/2012
The hiring of the sorcerer, Bilam, to, as it turns out, bless Bnei Yisrael raises the issue of taking money to do mitzvot and supply religious services. On one hand, such a practice certainly cheapens the value of the mitzva and turns something spiritual into something to which one can ‘attach a price tag.’ On the other hand, rabbis and their families also have to visit the grocery, and it is helpful to have some money in hand when doing so. This also brings us to the question of living stipends for students in yeshivot and kollelim. We will try to extract insight and guidance from our parasha and a parallel passage in Tanach.
Please explain the sources in the Torah and halacha for the custom to make a seudat hodaya (meal of thanksgiving) following recovery from a serious illness or surgery.
Rava said [to the dream interpreter]: I saw [in my dream] two slices of turnip. He [the interpreter] said: “You will absorb two blows with a stick [whose head looked like a turnip]. Rava went and sat in the Beit Midrash all day. He found two blind men who were fighting with each other. Rava went to extricate them [from each other]. They hit Rava twice and raised their arms to hit him again. Rava said to them: “It is enough. I saw two.”
The defendant (=def) photographs weddings and events. A few years ago he sought to expand his business and offered the plaintiff (=pl), a beginner photographer, to be a manager and partner, on condition of pl’s commitment not to compete with him in the future. Pl refused but did start working for def as a hired photographer. Months later, def again asked pl to be his partner, and they started the arrangement on a trial basis. Over the next two years, pl played a dominant role in the business, especially in terms of dealings with clients and suppliers. The relationship soured when def bought, against pl’s advice, expensive equipment that complicated the work, and soon thereafter pl started working on his own. Def lost money and closed the business, blaming pl’s competition in a saturated market. Pl is suing def for pay that was due to him from the time he worked with def, and def is counter-suing, claiming that money pl received was based on false pretenses, as pl had committed not to compete with def. Pl said that the second time the matter of not competing did not come up, whereas def is sure it did and says that anyway it was clear from the past that this was a condition of his. Def also claims that as a partner in the business, pl should assume some of the business’ losses.
This edition of
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
bat Harav David and Bina
on the occasion of her yahrzeit,
and members of her family
who perished in the shoah
Al Kiddush Hashem
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).