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June 09, 1967 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-06-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Weekly- Q uiz

By RABBI SAMUEL J. FOX

(Copyright, 1967, JTA, Inc.)

Why is it forbidden to take a in the community at that time.

haircut between Passover and
Shavuot?

Generally speaking, the period
between the Passover and Shavuot
festivals is considered one of sor-
row and mourning. The codes spe-
cifically prohibit marriages from
being performed and the cutting
of one's hair (except for the day
of Lag B'Omer). A variety of rea-
sons are offered for making this
period so solemn and remorseful
in nature. One of the reasons is
traced to the Talmudic descrip-
tion of the death of the twenty-
four thousand disciples of Rabbi
Akiva which took place during this
period (Yebamot 62b). The period
during which this tragedy occurred
(which is the time between Pass-
over and Shavuot) is therefore an-
nually observed as a period of
mourning over this sad occurence.
Another reason bases this observ-
ance of mourning on the statement
of Rabbi Jochanan ben Nuri (Edu-
yot, 2) who claimed that the de-
ceased in Gehenna are judged and
punished particularly during this
period (or according to some com-
mentaries for a period during the
year that lasts as long as this
period). Remembering the dead
and their period of suffering brings
one into a state of mourning. It is
also claimed by others that this
period is observed in sobriety be-
cause of the deep concern of the
farmers over the crops which be-
come ripe during this period. It
being such a critical period, one
exercises a more intense feeling
of concern and doesn't allow him-
self the leisure or pleasures of
entering into a marriage or hav-
ing his hair cut during this period.
Some historians feel that this peri-
od became an intense period of
mourning because of the slaughters
which the Jewish communities had
to endure in France, Germany and
Poland during the Middle Ages and
post-medieval period during this
time of the year. Kabbalists like
Rabbi Isaac Luria find deep mys-
tical meanings in this period of
abstinence, considering, for ex-
ample, the Jewish people as pro-
gressing through a period of im-
purity on to a period of purity
through this period of the year,
like their ancestors did at Sinhi,
and as the Bible preScrilied for
the impure to count their days
with sobriety until they reached
the time of purity.

Why do women refrain from
work in the evening hours during
this period?

Some claim this is so because
the disciples of Rabbi Akiva died
towards sunset during this period
and were buried after sunset. Dur-
ing their burial all work ceased

Others claim it is because the of-
fering of the Omer which started
this period was taken from barley,
and the offering of the indicted
women suspected of infidelity was
likewise biblically ordained as a
similar measure of barley. The
:similarity calls for the women to
pause and reflect on their honor
at this time, particularly the time
when the days are counted because
the count refers back to the barley
offering. Others claim that the
time between Passover and Shav-
' not is like the intermediate days
of a festival, since the Shavuot
holiday, never referred to in the
Bible as a specific day of the
month, but always as a certain
number of days after the Pass-
over, is in reality the festival con-
clusion of the Passover holiday.
Like any intermediate holiday
period (Chol ha-Moed) work is
kept at a minimum. Since it is
impractical to limit the men-folk
from working because a livelihood
for a family may depend on their
labors, the women refrain from
working in the evening or the time
between sunset and the counting
of the Omer day to symbolize any
of the aforementioned conditions.
• • •

Why are seven people called
to the Tora at the Sabbath morn-
ing services?

The basic reason is mentioned
in the Talmud (Megillah 21) where
it is explained that the holier and
more significant the day, the more
people are called to the Tora.
There is therefore a progressive
number of people starting with the
ordinary week-day (Monday or
Thursday) where the basic three
people are called to the Tora. On
Rosh Hodesh (the first of the
month), and Hol Ha-hoed (the
intermediate days of the Passover
and Sukkot festivals) four people
are called to the Tora. On the
three major festivals (Passover,
Shavuot and Succot) five people
are called to the Tora. On Yom
Kippur six people are called to the
Tora and on the Sabbath, the
holiest and most significant day of
all, seven people are called to the
'Tora. There are some (Rabbi Jo-
seph Karo and others) who claim
that the reason seven people are
called to the Tora is because, in
case the worshiper missed hearing
the reading of the Tora in the
synagogue during the rest of the
week (i.e. Monday and Thursday),
he would hear six sets of blessings
(those that he missed hearing
during the two times of the week
that three people are called to the
Tora on each of the two days) plus
one more for the Sabbath reading.
Why is it that the prophetic

portion (Haftara) has five bless-
ings (one before and four after
the reading) while the Tora
readings have only one blessing
before and one after the reading?

I

Friday, June 9, 1967-3S

I THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A Zaddik who was renowned for
his ability to get donations from
the rich was once asked whether it
was not beneath his dignity to stoop
to those creatures even for the sake
of the charity fund.
"My son," he replied, "it is all
in the order of nature. See, there is
no creature more excellent than
man. and few more lowly than the
cow. Yet does not man have to
stoop before the cow in order to
milk her?"

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Some claim that the five bless-
ings recited for the Haftara read-
HATTIE
ing represent the Five Books of
the Pentateuch from which the
Tora reading is taken. This coin-
356-8563
cides with the thinking of those
who claim that the original' custom Classified Ads Get Quick Results
of reading a portion from the
prophetic writings on Sabbath
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morning stems from the days of i
,
oppression when the Jews were
ERIC
forbidden to read the Tora itself
every Sabbath morning. They
therefore read some passage from
the prophets whose content would
and his Continentals
remind them of the regularly as-
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have been read that morning. The
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five blessings were therefore af-
fixed to remind the congregants
that the prophetic reading was only ;2 0................9.......................m..N
a substitute for the reading of the a
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Five Books of Moses—the Tora. It
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is further claimed that the one who o
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CORDIALLY - INVITE YOU TO ATTEND
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is called forth for the reading from e■
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the prophets actually recited seven
blessings since he also recited two
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blessings over a small portion a
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which is read from the Tora before °
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the prophetic portion is read.
These seven benedictions represent
a
ON SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 1967
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A number of reasons are offered.

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one is that the remains of the de-
ceased would be exposed and this
would shame him. A second reason
given is that the moving of the
corpse brings harsh judgment to
his soul which may be relatively
at peace after burial. A third rea-
son is simply that the moving of
the corpse brings shame to him
either because of the unpleasant
odor that might be emitted from the
coffin, or because of the concep-
tion that he is being evicted from
his earthly home. A fourth reason
given is that the moving of the
corpse would require the next-of-kin
to become mourners again and to
forfeit their status of being respon-
sible for certain Mitzvot for a short
while. A fifth reason offered is that
the removal of the deceased from
his grave becomes an insult to the
other bodies buried near him. It
should be noted that there are cer-
tain exceptions made which allow
the removal of the body, e.g. when
the body is removed for burial in
the Holy Land of Israel.

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