Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

October 25, 1974 - Image 54

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-10-25

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

54—Friday, October 25, 1974


On Teachers and Disciples: Wisdom From the Ge'niata

,He who learns and does not teach
is like a myrtle which grows in the
There are others who claim that desert: no one receives enjoyment
tearing the clothes is a symbol of from it. — Rosh ha-Shana, 23a.
a heart which is torn over the grief
Rabba bar Bar Hana said: "Why
in losing a dear one. It is also con-
tended that the tear is torn near are the words of Tora likened unto
the heart in the case of a parent fire (Jer. 23:29)? It is to teach
because the heart can no longer that, as the fire from a single
express its love for the deceased: piece of wood does not give forth
heat, so the Tora of a single stu-
A benediction is pronounced dent likewise does not give forth
when the tear is made.
warmth." . . .
Baiically, the benedietion is an
Rab Hanina bar Idi said: "Why
expression of the Jewish tradition is the Tora likened to water (Isa.
which claims that a man should
bless God both when he enjoys life
as well as when he suffers, be- Hebrew as Golden Hinge
cause, in the long run, even suffer- - The knowledge of Hebrew is the
ing has a good purpose. Tearing golden hinge upon which our
the rent at the time that the bene- national and religious existence
diction is made indicates- that at turns. Flowing down from the hills
the moment of deepest anguish we of eternity, the Hebrew language
still proclaim that God is just and has been set apart by God as the
thank Him for whatever life has receptacle of truths destined to
sway mankind and humanize the
brought us.
world.—Sabato Morais.
Some contend that it was the in-
tention of the rabbis to try and
have some physical deed associat-
ed with each benediction which is
pronounced so that our worship of
the Almighty is more than lip serv-
ice. In this respect, the required
blessing which is pronounced upon
hearing of death is associated with
the tearing of .one's clothes to in-
dicate that our expression of faith,
even in grief, has the overall pur-
pose of demonstrating' that we
serve the Almighty even with our
regrets and with our tears in times
of bereavement.

Custom of Tearing Mourners' Clothes


(Copyright, JTA, Inc.)

Jewish tradition requires that a
mourner tear a portion of his
A number of reasons are offered
for this practice which seems to be
mandatory according to Jewish
law. It is derived from the Biblical
injunction which forbids tearing
one's flesh and hair in mourning
(Deuteronomy 14:1). In this respect
the tearing of one's clothes would
be a substitute for tearing one's
hair and flesh, which one is inclin-
ed to do in a state of anguish and
which was something done by
early pagans. Others feel that the
tearing of clothes was a means of
obtaining relief from the anguish
that builds up psychologically. The
Jewish tradition felt it wise to give
expression to one's innermost senti-
ments of despair, but restricted
the method so that it would be a
controlled element of expression.
The Bible contains many episodes
where people tore their clothes
upon hearing of the death of a
loved one such as was the case of
Jacob when he heard that his son,
Joseph, was dead, or David when
he learned about the death of Saul,
or Job when his loved ones died.

Sabbath Hallah

The bread used for the Sabbath
is traditionally of a different na-
ture and texture than that used
during the rest of the week.
Generally speaking, it was tra-
ditional to make everything done
on the Sabbath assume a different
character than that which is done
during the week. In this way one
displays his regard for the Sabbath
as an unusual day. Naturally, the
course of the week-day activity
included the consumption of bread.
Thus the bread of the Sabbath was
naturally one which should be dif-
ferent. It was therefore compara-
tively richer, more decorative
and therefore, more luxurious.
One of the ordinances which
Ezra the Scribe was said to have
initiated was that the housewife
was to rise early on Friday and
occupy herself with the preparation
of the bread for the Sabbath. Thus,
of course, the Sabbath bread would
usually be fresher than that con-
sumed during the week. Some
would make special markings on
the Sabbath bread for a different
Since the Sabbath bread would
at times be enriched with animal
fats, it could not be eaten with
milk foods. On the Sabbath when
the main meals are meat meals
this is no problem. On the week
days when there are many dairy
meals, there might inadvertently
be an occasion when the bread left
over from the Sabbath might be
eaten with dairy foods. Therefore,
special markings are made on the
bread. The Sabbath bread also re-
minds us of the show bread placed
on the special table set aside for
that purpose in the temple. This
was usually placed there on Fri-
The Sabbath bread is called
Most authorities claim that this
is done to serve as a reminder to
the housewife to break off a piece
of dough before baking the bread.
This piece of dough is now burned.
Originally, it used to be one of the
gifts given to the priest. Man, thus
learns to share his bread and to
recognize that a portion of all his
earthly endeavors belongs to the
Almighty—the source of life. Call-
ing the Sabbath bread Halla brings
all this to mind, because this por-
tion which was given to the priest
was called halla.
4t ♦ §** ♦ ,4**$.4,

55:1)? It is to teach that just as laugh a little. Then he would be-
one who is thirsty is not too lazy come serious.
Sabbath, 30b.
to seek water, so a disciple who
has the thirst for knowledge does
not hesitate to seek out a teacher."
— Ta'anit, 7a.

in case of

Rabba would open his discourse
with a jest, and let his hearers

Old Fund Raiser

A "Meshulakh" is a yiddish ex.
pression referring to an agent who
was sent by an institution to as-
semble funds for its cause. The
word comes from the Hebrew root
to send: and thus a "Meshulakh"
is one who was sent. It often hap-
pened that these travelling emis-
saries were a source of information
that was traded from place to
place. They were often the link
between communities through
whom news spread around the
Jewish world.

Take stock in America

Buy U.S. Savings Bonds

Grace After Meals

Jewish tradition stipulates that
the host "break" bread at the table
when there are guests present. It
is because the host would cut
larger pieces from the bread to
impress his guests, while the guests
might cut small pieces as the sign
of modesty.
Grace after meals is tradition-
ally led by the guest and not the
The Rabbis (Shulhan Arukh,
Orah Hayyim,) claim that this
is done because the grace after
meals contains blessings which a
guest would offer for the host. Ap-
parently this custom came into be-
ing at the time when the practic ,2.
still prevailed where one of the
comp-any would offer the grace in
the name of the entire company.
Thus, if the host offered the grace
after the meals he could not very
well bless himself. The guest, how-
ever, out of courtesy and thankful-
ness to the host can invoke the
blessing of the Almighty for his

going on in



The Crown on the Torah

A silver crown is placed on top
of the Sefer Torah.
The earliest recollection we have
of this custom is about 1,000 years
ago in the literature of the Gaonim.
Some claim that "this was placed
on the Scroll on the day of Simhat
Torah when the people rejoiced
with the Torah and bestowed the
honor of being "The Bridegroom, of
the Law" which was given to the
one who_ was called up to read the
last portion.
There was• an ancient custom
for a bridegroom to wear a crown
and in some cases mention is made
of the bride also wearing a crown.
A bridegroom is considered a king
and his bride a queen. The Torah
is like-the bride and thus deserves
a crown. Generally, this has been
taken to mean that the only abso-
lute ruler — a real king — can
be the Almighty God, whose word
is reflected in the holy Torah,
which, therefore, is adorned with
a. crown.
♦ t

Keeps everyone abreast of happenings
here, there and everywhere !



Please send gift subscription to:







❑ 0 enclosed

rzwrirrer r am, t



Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan