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Posted on February 1, 2024 (5784) By Rabbi Yissocher Frand | Series: | Level:

These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: ##1281 Kiddush Shabbos Day – Must Everyone Drink the Wine? Good Shabbos!

In Hilchos Havdalah (Orach Chaim 296), the Ramo cites a custom of spilling out some of the Havdalah wine on the floor before concluding the Borei pri hagafen bracha to avoid the problem of “kos pagum“. (This is not a widely practiced custom.) (“Kos pagum” means the kos (cup) of wine on which a ritual blessing is recited cannot be a kos from which someone previously drank.) The Ramo explains the reason for this custom: “For we say that any house in which wine is not spilled like water does not possess a ‘siman bracha,‘ so we do this as a sign of blessing at the beginning of a new week.”

The Taz comments on this RamoAyn l’zeh peirush!” (This is inexplicable.) First of all, the whole concept of “kos pagum” only applies to a kos (or bottle) from which someone previously directly drank some wine. Furthermore, it is not an appropriate practice to start reciting a blessing and then pour the wine on the ground. There is no greater shame to a bracha than this! As written, this comment of the Ramo makes no sense whatsoever.

The Taz therefore prefers the practice he found recorded in the sefer Yesh Nochalin, to fill up the cup prior to Havdalah such that it flows over the side of the wine goblet. In other words, you fill the kos so full that it spills over onto the ground. This is the intended siman bracha symbolism of wine spilling like water.

The Taz clarifies the concept of “a house in which wine is not poured out like water”: The chachomim (rabbis) are not advocating pouring out wine as if it was water. That would be baal tashchis (the prohibition against wastefully destroying). There is no baal tashchis on water, but there is baal tashchis on wine! It is incomprehensible that we should be taught to spill out good wine as if it were water.

Rather, the Taz notes that the statement “any house in which wine was not poured like water will not see signs of blessing” is written as a “b’dieved” (after-the-fact) expression. If they were advocating a positive practice then it should have said “any house where they do not pour wine like water…” Rather, the intended lesson is “when something gets broken in your house, don’t lose your temper!” In other words, if you have an expensive bottle of wine in your cabinet and your child spills the bottle of wine out, don’t make a federal case out of it. Such an incident should not cause you to lose your temper.

The chachomim were not only talking about a bottle of wine. Children break things, your wife breaks things, you yourself break things. Don’t get so upset about these kinds of things. Even if you suffer a loss from the incident, accidents happen. The wine spilled, the glass broke, the china chipped, the crystal shattered. Don’t cry about it. People’s natural instinct is to get angry about such matters, therefore the chachomim, hoping to counteract this gut reaction stated: Any house in which wine is not (unintentionally) spilled out like water will not see siman bracha. That is the proper attitude to have when something spills, breaks or gets damaged. It is a bad omen if wine spilling causes more trauma in a house than water spilling.

This is what the Gemara (Sotah 3b) means: “Rav Chisda said ‘Anger in a house is like a karya worm to sesame seeds.’ (Just as the worm consumes the sesame, anger destroys the house – it will cost you money!) Chazal are saying: If a person loses his temper over things that happen in his house, he will be impacted by financial loss. The loss is not merely the value of what broke or was damaged. If you lose your temper at home, the Ribono shel Olam will punish you in other ways as well.”

What is the “midah k’neged midah” (measure for measure) here? I saw the following suggestion in the sefer, B’Zos Yavo Aharon: When someone breaks something in a household and the owner sustains damage, if the owner is a true believer, he will recognize that HaKadosh Baruch Hu wanted this to happen. The Almighty wanted him to suffer a loss. Therefore, why is he getting angry? At whom is he getting angry?

A person may get angry at his child or at his wife, but it is not really the child or the wife who was the ultimate cause of this loss. They are merely a tool in the hand of the Almighty. If a person was a true ma’amin, he would say, as did Dovid HaMelech (King David): “He (Shimi ben Gerah) is cursing (me) because Hashem said to him ‘Curse Dovid’. Who can then say ‘Why did you do this?'” (Shmuel II 16:10). Our attitude must be that Hashem wants me to need to replace the glass pitcher or the crystal or the china or whatever it is. This loss came about from the yad Hashem, so why are you getting angry?

It must be that you are getting angry because you think you are in charge. You think that you call the shots. You think that you determine your profit and loss for the year. The Ribono shel Olam says “I will show you, and I will bring poverty to your house, because you are not really a believer in the source of your financial stability. “Therefore, if a person does not lose his temper over such things but rather calmly accepts them as ‘bashert‘ (it was meant to be), such emunah will be a siman bracha because as a reward for such faith, the Ribono shel Olam will replace the loss suffered.

This is really what the Aseres HaDibros (Ten Utterances or Commandments) are all about. The Aseres HaDibros begin with the mitzvah of emunah (belief in G-d): “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” (I am the L-rd your G-d) who took you out of the land of Egypt from the house of slavery.” (Shemos 20:2) They end with the mitzvah “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…” (Shemos 20:14).

Anochi Hashem Elokecha is emunah in theory. We all subscribe to that. But emunah in practice is “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.” What does it mean to covet your neighbor’s house?

It is his house. “I would like such a house. I would like such a car. I would like such a wife. I would like such money. I would like such children. I want that…” This mitzvah is emunah in practice: It is the belief that I already have exactly what the Ribono shel Olam wants me to possess. Hashem does not want me to have that house. He does not want me to have that car. He does not want me to have that wife. He does not want me to have THAT.I already possess what I need. I don’t possess what I don’t need.

This is why the language of the Orchos Chaim l’ha’Rosh is that the entire body of Torah law is included in the Aseres HaDibros. The Aseres HaDibros are the “avos” (primary categories) as in “Avos Melachos” (by the laws of Shabbos) and “Avos Nezikin” (categories of damage, as spelled out in Tractate Bava Kamma). The Aseres HaDibros are the “avos” of the entire Torah. The Orchos Chaim further says that if the entire Torah is included in the Aseres HaDibros then the final mitzvah of the Aseres HaDibros is “You shall not covet” to teach us that someone who transgresses “Lo sachmod,” transgresses the entire Torah. The entire Torah comes down to four words: Lo sachmod beis ray’echa (You shall not covet your neighbor’s house).

This cannot just be lip service. We need to truly believe that everything emanates from the Ribono shel Olam – including all our material wealth and possessions, our good times and our bad times, our profits and our losses. They are all from Him. A person with such deeply-held emunah will never be angry.

In reverse, the lesson of the Taz is that any house in which wine is spilled like water (in other words, that has the attitude that it is as if the wine that spilled is only water, so it is nothing to get upset about) will see a siman bracha as a result of its true emunah.

Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]

Edited by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]

This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Yisro is provided below:

  • # 042 Kiddush: To Sit or Not to Sit
  • # 085 Christianity in Halacha
  • # 133 Honoring In-Laws
  • # 180 The Mitzvah of Kiddush for Men and Women
  • # 226 The Fearless Judge: A Difficult Task
  • # 270 Parental Wishes vs. Staying in Israel
  • # 316 The Reading of the “Aseres Hadibros”
  • # 360 Dolls and Statues: Is There An Avodah Zarah Problem?
  • # 404 Making a Bracha on a Makom Neis
  • # 448 Lo Sachmod
  • # 492 Eating Before Kiddush
  • # 536 Newspapers on Shabbos
  • # 580 Women and Havdalah
  • # 624 Resting Your Animal on the Shabbos
  • # 668 Kiddush B’mkom Seudah
  • # 712 The Kiddush Club
  • # 756 The Kosel Video Camera
  • # 800 Avoda Zara and The Jewish Jeweler
  • # 844 Yisro and Birchas Hagomel
  • # 888 What Should It Be – Hello or Shalom?
  • # 932 Saying The Shem Hashem While Learning – Yes or No?
  • # 975 Kiddush on Wine: Absolutely Necessary?
  • #1019 Unnecessary Brachos
  • #1063 Ma’aris Ayin: The Power Lunch In A Treife Restaurant
  • #1106 Must You Treat Your Father-in-Law Like Your Father?
  • #1149 Kiddush Shabbos Day – On What? What Do You Say?
  • #1192 I Keep 72 Minutes; You Keep 45 – Can You Do Melacha for Me?
  • #1236 “I Want Your House and I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse”: Muttar or Assur?
  • #1280 The Shul Kiddish Shabbos Monring: Two Interesting Shailos
  • #1281 Kiddush Shabbos Day – Must Everyone Drink the Wine?
  • #1324 Saying Kaddish: All Aveilim Together or Each One Individually on a Rotating Basis?
  • #1368 Davening For Personal Needs on Shabbos?
  • #1412 Must One Keep Their Father’s Minhagim or What Bracha Do You Make on Potatoes
  • #1456 I Haven’t Accepted Shabbos Yet – May I Make Kiddush For You?
  • #1498 The Case of the Son-in-Law Who Wants More Support Money From His Father-in-Law.
  • #1543 Can You Get Your Corona Vaccine on Shabbos?

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