Yom Kippur 5778

RABBI AVROHOM PARMETT

The Mishna (Taanis 26b) says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel that there were no days greater for Klal Yisrael than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur.
The Gemara (Taanis 30b) explains that the reason why Yom Kippur is joyous is that it is a day of Selicha and Mechila, as well as the day that Bnei Yisrael received the second set of Luchos.
The Mishna continues that on Tu B’Av, the Bnos Yerushalayim would dance and present themselves to the men in the vineyards with the intent that the men would agree to marry them. The Gemara (Taanis 31a) explains that each would present reasons why she was most suitable for marriage: those who possessed attractiveness for their beauty, those with noble ancestry for their lineage, and those who were otherwise undistinguished l’shem Shomayim.
Other than the fact that these two days share an unmatched level of greatness, there do not seem to be any common aspects between them. However, a deeper examination may reveal a close parallel.
During Ne’ilah, we say “זכור ברית אברהם, ועקדת יצחק, והשב שבות אהלי יעקב, והושיענו למען שמך”. We plead to Hashem while mentioning each of the Avos. We first mention Avraham Avinu and his covenant with Hashem. Midrash Tanchuma (Lech Lecha 12:1) quotes the Pasuk that says,שמעי בת וראי והטי אזנך ושכחי עמך ובית אביך ויתאו המלך יפיך כי הוא אדניך והשתחוי לו, “Listen, daughter, and look, and incline your ear, and forget your nation and the house of your father, and the King will long for your beauty, for He is your Master and bow to Him” (Tehillim 45:11-12).
The Midrash explains that the word “daughter” refers to Avraham Avinu. “And forget your nation and the house of your father” refers to Avoda Zara (which was rampant in the house of Avraham’s father, Terach). “And the King will long for your beauty” means that Hashem desires to beautify Avraham Avinu in this world and the next.
Biur Ha’Amorim quotes the Yefe Toar, which explains that יפיך, “your beauty”, refers to Avraham Avinu’s actions. Through the beauty of his actions as Hashem’s servant, the greatness of his Master, Hashem, will be known.
We see that Avraham Avinu possessed an element of beauty via his actions.
We then mention Akeidas Yitzchak. The K’sav Sofer (Rosh Hashana, in explanation of the Gemara in Rosh Hashana 17a) explains that through the Shofar, which comes from a ram, we focus on walking in the footsteps of our forefathers. Akeidas Yitzchak, which is represented by the Shofar, is a reminder of the meritorious deeds of our ancestors.
After all this, we then daven to Hashem והשב שבות אהלי יעקב, “to return the tents of Yaakov (from Galus),” והושיענו למען שמך, “and save us for the sake of your Name.” When we finally plead with Hashem to save us, we ask him to do so for no other sake than His own, completely “l’shem Shomayim.”
There is an interesting correlation between the way we present to Hashem why we are suitable for salvation and how the Bnos Yerushalayim presented why they were most suitable for marriage.
Those who were attractive presented their beauty as their merit. We beseech Hashem with the mention of Avraham Avinu, who as mentioned above possessed an element of “beauty.”
Those with remarkable lineage presented their ancestry as their merit. We beseech Hashem with the mention of Akeidas Yitzchak, which links us to the Zechus of our ancestors.
Those who could not offer either beauty or ancestry asked to be chosen for no other reason than to do so l’shem Shomayim. We in turn plead to Hashem in desperation that, if not for any other merit of ours, He should save us for the sake of His own name.
Chazal (Gittin 36b) tell us that Matan Torah was like a marriage between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, with Har Sinai as the Chuppah. The incident of the Golden Calf was tantamount to adultery. During Neilah, we ask Hashem to “marry” us again and grant us salvation in the same manner that the Bnos Yerushalayim presented themselves – for our beauty, for our lineage, and, if for no other merit, for Hashem’s own sake.


RABBI AVROHOM MILLER

One Chol Hamoed, Meir answered the phone at his parents’ house and handed the phone to his mother. When she hung up, she told him that it was Ploni, who was in the process of converting, and needed a meal for Yom Tov. Meir’s ears perked up. He had just finished the Gemara (Beitza 21b) that discusses cooking on Yom Tov for a non-Jew. The Pasuk (Shemos 12:16) permits Melacha to be done לכם, for you, excluding a non-Jew.
Due to this prohibition, Chazal enacted a safeguard that one may not even invite a non-Jew to his house for a meal on Yom Tov. How, then, would it be permissible to invite this person for a meal? This may sound impolite, but maybe such a person should understand that as long as one is not a full-fledged Jew, all rules that apply to a non-Jew apply to him as well.
Meir immediately called a prominent local Posek. To properly analyze the Posek’s answer, a clear understanding of the issues involved would be helpful.
When cooking for a Yom Tov need, one is allowed to cook more than is necessary, provided that everything can be done with the same act. For example, one would be permitted to cook a full pot of meat, even though he only needs half of it for Yom Tov. Following this rule, it should be permitted to cook for one’s family, adding more to the pot on behalf of the Gentile.
Chazal, however, were concerned that one might ultimately come to cook specifically for the non-Jew. Something as simple as frying extra latkes (where each latke requires a separate act of frying), or making a cup of tea on Yom Tov in a manner prohibited on Shabbos, could be a Biblical prohibition of cooking for a non-Jew on Yom Tov. They therefore prohibited increasing the amount of food for the benefit of a Gentile.
They also prohibited inviting a Gentile to a Yom Tov meal, even if all the food was already cooked before the invitation was presented. Chazal were afraid that one might forget and cook something extra on behalf of the guest (O.C. 512:1).
There are circumstances where this Rabbinic decree would not apply, and the Gentile would be permitted to partake of the food. If a non-Jewish neighbor would happen to drop by the house, there is an assumption that the host would not feel obligated to cook something extra for him, and it is permitted to offer him some food already prepared.
Another exclusion would be a common situation of having an aide for an elderly family member or a Gentile employee in the house. Since an employer does not view an employee as an honored guest, he is even allowed to add more to the pot when cooking, as there is no concern that he will cook specifically for the employee.
Returning to the scenario of the prospective convert, the Posek said that the guest should be given two options. One, that he be told that he will only be given cold food to eat. Since he is being informed that no cooking would be done on his behalf, there is no concern that something will be done especially for him. Alternatively, he could be informed that when he comes on Yom Tov, he would put all the food on the stovetop or in the oven. Since he is the one performing the Melacha, this obviates the concern that the host will cook for him.
The Posek explained that such a situation necessitates a solution. He and a colleague with whom he discussed the issue felt that these options were Halachically acceptable.
A person involved in Kiruv who occasionally deals with these issues related that he asked Harav Elyashiv if the above solution was acceptable. He answered that an additional step be added. Before Yom Tov, all the food being served should be formally acquired by the guest. That way, he is not being invited to eat someone else’s food (see Dirshu M.B. 512 n.8).
There is another common scenario where there is much discussion of the above issues. In a Kosher hotel, what is the status of any non-Jewish aides? In a hotel setting, perhaps they are considered invited guests and not just employees of the host. Even if they are considered employees, is it permitted to have an egg station where the cooking is done specifically for them? If a non-Jew is doing the cooking would that be permitted? (see Minchas Yitzchok 2,118).
Before dealing with any of the above situations, please contact your Posek.