Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Suffering and Darkness is Ultimately Followed by Messianic and Heavenly Light. We approach it today, slowly but steadily.
Darkness Before Light
The Talmud tells us that just before the Messianic Age terrible things will take over the world. Governments will be dominated by atheists, such as Cuomo and Hillary. Indeed, there is a long Mishneh and gemora that begins with the story of the Destruction of the Second Temple and goes up to the imminent arrival of the Moshiach. This was destroyed, this great rabbi died, the world sunk lower and lower and important people were ridiculed. But one central theme in all of this is one ray of light: “We have nobody to turn to except our Father in Heaven.” Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, the senior disciple of the Chofetz Chaim, said that this is not a call to despair. Because if HaShem is watching us, there is surely hope. And we know that the end of Days and the Messianic Era will result in the entire world worshipping HaShem, with evil erased from the world.
HaShem made a world with a lot of evil, and a lot of darkness. But “from the darkness comes light.” The righteous suffer in this world, plenty, but HaShem is watching. In this world or the next, that watching results in pure kindness, for all eternity, along with the angels and the Holy One blessed be His Name.
The angels were upset when HaShem created people. Man was a sinner. A major angel confronted HaShem and complained about His creating people and a world filled with evil. HaShem asked what is so bad about men. The angel replied that they sin with women not their wives. HaShem replied, “The time will come when you will sin with many women.” He flung that angel into this world. The angel looked around and saw beautiful women. He began to sin.
Later on, Moshe at Sinai went to Heaven for forty days to study Torah with haShem. This resulted in HaShem speaking to the Jewish people and teaching them the beginning of the Ten Commandments. But the angels, who had contempt for human beings, complained to HaShem that a mortal man should not come to Heaven. In Heaven everyone was an eternal and holy person who never sins until HaShem directs them to do something wrong which does happen as there is an angel of evil and a few other such angels.
HaShem told Moshe: “Answer them.” Moshe said, “HaShem has a Torah which is being revealed to the Jews and which was known to the great founders of the Jewish people Avrohom and his progeny. The Torah commands us to honor our parents. Do you have parents? The Torah commands us not to murder, not to eat non-kosher food, and many other commands for mortals who are human beings of flesh and flood and evil inclinations. Are you like that and are the commands of the Torah appropriate for angels live out eternity singing songs of praise to HaShem and occasionally venturing into the lower world to perform good deeds as Eliyohu the Prophet, the angels Michoel and Gavriel?” The angels accepted Moshe’s answer and befriended him. They realized how important it was for HaShem to create a world of darkness and sin, so that the ultimate pure light of HaShem could be light from darkness, which is much greater than light from light
The angels were greatly pained when the souls of the pious Jews who suffered with evil, sinned and repented, came to heaven, and were seated immediately before HaShem. The angels outside of this inner sanctum cried out bitterly. Light with no darkness is nothing to light from darkness. And only people have a world of darkness which produces HaShem’s greatest light, the light of the Schechinah, which is so close to HaShem. Angels are outside.
We are now in the final stages of the world before the Messianic Age. Many Jews even today live in Israel and devote their lives to serving HaShem and learning Torah in a world suffused by heavenly lights. But the evil force, even there, is active. When the pious struggle with evil, HaShem is watching. Closer and closer to Moshiach the light increases; the struggles of the pious are greater and greater, and many non-religious Jews become religious.
There are many studies now in the Israeli press about Orthodox and non-Orthodox Israelis. One asked the non-Orthodox what synagogue they pray at. Many answered: “The synagogue I don’t pray in is an Orthodox synagogue.” They never said, “Conservative or Reform”.
When the great Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l passed away, a senior secular newspaper wrote that he was 102 years old when he died, and left 1,000 progeny. Why did a secular paper write this? Because the Orthodox have many children and the secular Jews, as the quip goes, have a child and a dog. The child goes to Japan and marries a gentile, and the dog doesn’t vote. The Orthodox have many children, and many of them do vote.
When I grew up the generals leading the Israeli army were basically atheists from Mapai and Mapam. They lived in small communities or Kibbutsim. Today these kibbutsim are no longer. The army is now the place for the deeply Orthodox who fight to preserve the Holy Land. This is permitted by the great rabbis of the past generations, as long as the government does not mix women with the men to entice them, which sometimes happens.
There are now four Orthodox women sitting in jail in Israel. Orthodox women are exempted from the army. But these four women were thought to be non-Orthodox, because they came from countries which were not known to have many Orthodox Jews. This resulted in massive strikes in Israel from the huge amount of Orthodox Israelis who let the government know that they will fight to protect the Torah. There was not long ago a public video of Israeli police riding with huge horses into a group of protesting Orthodox boys. One was run over by a huge horse but not badly wounded. But the war goes on, and the government is terrified. Does it want to put five thousand Orthodox Jews in jail? If it did, there would be huge fights in front of the Israeli embassy in New York. There is no hope for the secular control of Israel. A great light is shining more and more, advertising for everyone the arrival of Moshiach and the end of evil.
There was, this month of January, a huge program for Americans sponsored by the greatest scientists in the world, especially biologist Steven Mayer who is constantly on video programs debating with theist and atheist scientists. He and his fellow scientists quote Einstein who was not religious, and Hubbel whose telescope convinced Einstein that the universe was not an accident but a designed thing. And Dr. Mayer and his many believing scientists are proving this with pure science time and again.
The light is shining, and it is so strong, that the greatest scientists of today are writing book after book proving that HaShem created and guides the universe day to day from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest section of all mortal life. And these books are being debated by people who have no good response.
Monday, January 21, 2019
Why Did Governor Cuomo and Hillary Clinton Suddenly Attack Women and Fetuses?
The political mystery of today is how Governor Cuomo in his third term in office and Hillary Clinton, the former candidate for President of the United States, have united in unifying the Democratic Senate and Assembly to destroy the rights of women to protect their fetus.
But there is really no mystery. Both Governor Cuomo and Hillary Clinton want more than anything in the world to be President of the United States. They realized that the loss of Hillary to Trump was the triumph of people who believed in morality over the generation of the sixties. The solution they devised was to destroy the biblical honor of women and their babies with hideous new laws that take away the right to punish with courts the destruction of a fetus.
You will surely ask how in the world I invented such a logic. I will reply, that I personally grew up in the sixties. In fact, I came to Lakewood Yeshiva to study under Rabbi Aharon Kotler when I was a tripling lad of seventeen. This was about the year 1960, two years before Reb Aharon died. For those two years I pestered him constantly with my Talmudic questions and answers, and finally I penetrated his screen of rejection and he answered my questions one at a time calmly and with an obvious enjoying of talking to me. But those in the secular colleges were going in a different direction.
I later studied under the Gaon Reb Moshe Feinstein, went through the same process of getting battered and hanging on, until the day came when I wrote a Torah sefer which contained the extremely warm endorsement of Geonei HaDor Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky zt”l.
Well, to get back to our discussion about Cuomo and Hillary, that is how I did things in the sixties. But other people who went to secular college were terrified because of the Viet Nam War, a war that was never really won by America, but America simply decided one day to get up and leave, and eventually, turn back to befriend Viet Nam. The college encouraged students to respond to how they were treated by violating morality. Timothy Leary of Harvard taught students to imbibe drugs that destroyed the brain so that they could “think new thoughts.”
The Clintons husband and wife grew up in that era. In fact, the immorality of the sixties remained in America until this day. And those who retain its memory are backing Cuomo and Hillary. Clinton in his second term was impeached for an affair with a White House intern but it was overturned by the Senate.
Bill Clinton became President of the US on Jan 20, 1993 and was President for two terms. Thus, he was a sixties person thirty years earlier. Hillary is now showing how terrible that period was in her effort to destroy biblical morality.
It is therefore our task today to arouse all biblical and moral people to restore the America that existed before the sixties destroyed the destroyers of women and babies, Cuomo and Hillary.
How do we do this? First of all, we must contact all organizations and religious groups of men and women who are moral and biblical and arouse them to go public with their demand for morality and get that into the newspapers. Secondly, there are thousands of deeply sensitive and biblical people who are doing nothing to fight Cuomo and Hillary. We must arouse them to go to Albany and even New York City with strong populations who will get into the newspapers opposing the destroyers of women and fetuses. Thirdly, we have to create large funding to pay for the buses, the radio shows, etc. that are necessary to defeat the goals of the destroyers of babies and women.
Today I began fund raising and it was successful. But I have two senior advisers and when I listen to them, I succeed. I was told to begin sending out fliers regularly and it worked very well in different countries. I was told not to raise the money myself but to organize others who can raise the very large sums needed to deprive Cuomo and Hillary of their president goals, and to convince those who back destroying women and babies that we won’t tolerate it.
There is a teaching in the Talmud that just prior to the arrival of Moshiach, a generation will arrive that will turn good into evil at many levels, including leaders of the generation denying HaShem. But the solution says the Talmud is to turn to HaShem, who guides the world with light and kindness. Let us get to work, and HaShem will shine His holy light on our efforts.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Halacha of Marriage, Divorce, and Family - blog address torahhalacha.blogspot.com: Shmose - The Struggles of People and Hope for the ...
Halacha of Marriage, Divorce, and Family - blog address torahhalacha.blogspot.com: Shmose - The Struggles of People and Hope for the ...: The Jews in Egypt – שמות Dovid Eidensohn In Pirkei DiRebbe Eliezar  , one of the oldest books, with the commentary of the geniu...
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Women more Choshuv than Men?
Before he died, the daughters of Tselofchod approached Moshe Rabbeinu with a halacha question. Their father died and left no son; but the daughters wanted a portion of Israel when the Jews went there. Moshe did not know the law and asked HaShem. HaShem replied that the daughters of Tselofchod were right and were entitled to their portion in the land. Rashi says, “This shows that the daughters of Tselofchod could see farther into heaven than Moshe could.” Which is an extraordinary thought. But I look at it differently. I feel that this, which took place just before Moshe died, was a great encouragement for Moshe.
Meaning, that if we look at the Torah and the prophetic books, we see great sins from Jews. Moshe, of all people, knew this better than anyone. Regularly HaShem would tell Moshe that He was angry at the Jews for their sins, and Moshe had to pray to Him to forgive the Jews, which He usually did.
Now Moshe was dying, and what would happen if the Jews continued to sin? Who would pray to HaShem to save them from destruction? But now Moshe realized, that in the merit of Jewish women, Israel was safe.
The Gaon Rav Shmuel Taubenfeld zt”l once told me that the Zohar says that women relative to men are special. This is a gemora in Baitsa 17A: “Greater is the trust HaShem has in women than he has in men.” The gemora quotes this from Yeshayeh the Prophet.
The gemora in Sota 11b says that, “In the merit of the righteous women the Jews were saved from Egypt.” The gemora talks about the horrors visited upon the Jewish men and women, and how the women circumvented their portion of the suffering and fed their suffering husbands in their hideous struggles. They visited their husbands during their struggles and had babies from them. And HaShem sustained these babies. These babies became the great multitude of Jews who merited to leave Egypt.
My grandmother once told me that Jewish women in those days always put their energies into Jewish matters such as building up Israel, but the men joined non-Jewish groups. I never forgot it. When I married and began having children with HaShem’s help, I would speak every Shabbos for long periods on the greatness of women. It is they who have the babies and who raise the babies. I thank HaShem for the success we have had with our children who are known to be outstanding.
Just before, my daughter asked me a question she was asked, if a girl needs to help her mother with the children but wants to doven a long time, and these conflict. I told her that a shorter period of prayer with proper thought is greater than much prayer without proper thought. I also told her that raising children is the core of Jewish values and is given over to the women.
My daughter told me that once her teacher was talking about the importance of women. My daughter stood up and said, “My father always says that we must greatly respect women for raising the children and sustaining the Jewish family.” That was consider somewhat shocking.
Well, it is several gemoras, a passage in Yeshasha the Prophet, and the hope of our Jewish future. If only we could truly respect members of our own families, how many happy children would emerge, who would in their time, bring more happy Jews into the world.
A World with Opposing Heavily Armed forces: The only hope after Pittsburg is to talk things over and make peace.
A Time to Talk Not Fight
Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn
A time to talk not fight is important in a country with large groups armed and ready to fight. Some of their leaders have feared that this could could destroy the country. They have called not to fight but for dialogue. Understand each other.
In America, and increasingly in other countries, larger populations, stronger communications, and technical improvements, unite people into movements and feelings that are very strong, and invariably, spill out into fear of others and fear of not fighting back.
A friend of mine has for years studied human issues, even as I was busy studying Talmud. I began to realize talking to him that building in the United States was a war between strongly opposed organizations or ideologies. I began studying the issue from various sources and it was obvious that something was gong on out there that had to be studied. At this point, I feel that the quarrels and hate are growing, but wherever they are today, is just the beginning. The important thing now is to somehow address this problem and maybe solve it. Let me explain as I understand it why now, is the critical time to deal with this growing phenomenon.
The forces at war are people who follow how they understand is heavenly values, and people who dismiss the bible and have biological drives they cannot control. Sometimes biblical people cannot control their biblical desires and sin with children or with other people, and sometimes people who are not biblical feel a need to be pure in moral matters. But the rest of us have a variety of what I described, and they are two strong and fanatic forces, growing stronger and stronger, and heading towards pure war. The only hope is to head off this war with some kind of effort.
This is not my idea. I understand that a major leader in one of the groups has suggested that what we need is the ability to talk things over. Yes, it surely won’t be easy for both sides to talk together without solving first their differences, which can’t be done without great struggle. When we know that both sides are matched in populations, share the ability to access weapons, which will surely lead to let’s not discuss it more, this must force us to the table.
I don’t think that the first conference will have a big table, but it will be a beginning. If we can find a couple of leaders on each side, who realize what the cost of failing is, they can get a few more leaders, and eventually, the media will pick up the growing numbers on both sides who want to save their own lives and the lives of their families, and there is some hope, that maybe, some efforts, some sacrifice, and some prayers, things may either be solved, or if not, be held off for as long as we can manage it. After all, we Orthodox Jews await the coming of Messiah, and we hope he doesn’t arrive during the final battle, heaven forfend.
As I said before, I am a Talmudist, not a people person, and don’t have great knowledge of people and surely know nothing of organizations. Perhaps somebody like me who only awaits the wonderful day when I can be finished with this job, can ask others who do want the job, to step up to the plate.
Anyone interested, from any side, call me at David Eidensohn 845-578-1917 (land-line, leave a message where to call you back), or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. After all, I am almost eighty years old, but if you are young man and want to see a proper and peaceful end of this problem, it pays you to give it a try.
Shalom and peace to one and all,
Monday, January 14, 2019
פרשת בשלח – השם מקפיד על יהודים
דוד אליהו אידנסון
פרשת בשלח הוא מלא נסים ונפלאות הריגת הבכורים של מצרים איבוד כל הצבא של מצרים בים סוף וגם נסים אחרים. ובכל זאת היו ג"כ ניסיונות, והיו ישראל מקפידים על הניסיונות, ומשה והקב"ה סבל מזה. והנה תיכף בצאתם ממצרים אומר הפסוק ולא נחם אלקים דרך ארץ פלשתים כי קרוב הוא, כי אמר אלקים פן ינחם העם בראותם מלחמה ושבו מצרימה ע"כ הרי שהגם שראו ישראל הנסים שיצאו ממצרים אחרי שהרג השם הבכורים של מצרים בדרך נס, ואחרי שקיבלו זהב וכסף ומלבושים נאים מן המצריים, שהקב"ה עשה נס שהמצרים עצמם אהבו ישראל ליתן להם מתנות גדולות, בכל זאת ידע הקב"ה שקרוב להם לחזור למצרים ולסבול כל הצרות ובלבד שלא לסמוך על הנסים של השם שהוא מלא ניסיונות כמו שמבואר בפרשה פה.
והנה הנסים של השם גרם לאיבוד המצריים. אבל היו ג"כ ניסיונות. שהרבה זמנים שלא היה ליהודים מים לשתות או מאכל לאכול. והתחילו להרהר על החזרה למצרים שלא היו אז ניסיונות כאלה. הגם שהיו צרות רבות ורציחות במצרים, בכל זאת רואים כסדר שאחרי כל הטובה שקיבלו מהשם היו מרננים שרוצים לא ללכת לארץ ישראל אלא לחזור למצרים. שהם עצמם הבינו שהסדר של השם הוא לעשות נסים ולאבד המצריים. ובכל זאת עומד ניסיונות קשות ליהודים. ולבסוף רואים שהזקנים שהיו ראשי השבטים והיו מרגלים לראות הדרך לכבוש ארץ ישראל חזר ליהודים ואמר שאי אפשר לעשות. פירוש שח"ו אין השם יכול להכניסם לארץ ישראל. ויצא מהשם קצף על זה ונענשו היהודים קשות.
"והשם הלך לפניהם יומם בעמוד ענן לנחתם הדרך ולילה בעמוד אש להאיר להם ללכת יומם ולילה. לא ימיש עמוד הענן יומם ועמוד האש לילה לפני השם." הרי שגילה השם שהוא שומר ישראל בנסים גדולים. ובכל זאת הזמנין הקב"ה איבוד המצריים על ידי שנסעו ישראל לים סוף ולא תיכף לארץ ישראל. ועל ידי זה חשב פרעה שיהודים מבוכים בארץ ורדף אחריהם. והקב"ה המית החיילים של פרשה. אבל תיכף היהדים שראו שפרעה רודף אחריהם "ויצעקו בני ישראל אל השם. ויאמרו אל משה המבלי אין קברים במצרים לקחתנו למות במדבר. מה זאת עשית לנו להוציאנו ממצרים כו' עכ"ל
ומשה הבטיחם שהשם יעזור להם "כי אשר ראיתם את מצרים היום לא תספו לראותם עוד עד עולם. השם ילחם לכם ואתם תחרשון ע"כ ובתורה כתיב שבאמת מתו כל חיל פרעה לא נשאר בהם עד אחד. ולא נזכר שפרעה מת. ובאמת איתא שהאנשים ואנשים עסקו בשירה על הצלת ישראל וגם פרעה הצטרף לשיר להשם, ואמר אני הוא שאמרתי מי השם, ועכשיו ראיתי שהשם הוא האלקים ובאתי מעכשיו לקבל מלכותו עלי. ונעשה פרעה מאז להיות מלך בנינוה, וכאשר בא להם יונה הנביא וגזר שאם לא יעשו תשובה שיהרוג השם אותם, עמד פרעה מכסאו וגזר שמי שלא יקיים דברי הנביא שפרעה ימיתנו. על כל פנים בתורה פרשת בשלח כתיב שמתו כל חיל פרעה אבל לא כתיב שפרעה עצמו מת. שהקב"ה החיה אותו למען ידעו כולם שהשם עשה זאת, וגרם לפרעה לקבל עבודת השם. ובאמת ברמבם סוף משנה תורה במלאכים כתב שלעתיד בזמן גילוי משיח גם הגוים יעבודו להתפלל להשם.
והנה בפרשה של איבוד חיל מצרים איתא וז"ל ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן את התף בידה ותצאנה כל הנשים אחריה בתפים ובמחלת ע"כ ופרש"י מהו אחות אהרן הכל יודעים שהיא אחת אהרן וגם אחת משה. פירוש אחד ברש"י שקודם שנולד משה היה מרים נביאה והיתה אומרת שעתיד אמי שתלך בן הוא משה ע"כ ובכל זאת יש לדייק שבשירת האנשים כתיב אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל כו' אשירה לה' כו'. הוא לשון עתיד. אבל שירת הנשים הוא ותען להם מרים שירו להשם כי גאה גאה כו' ע"כ שירו לשון הווה ולא לשון עתיד שהוא חזק יותר מלשון עתיד שהוא עתיד לשיר להשם ולא שרו בפועל אז אלא בשירה בעתיד. אבל הנשים תיכף. עוד שהנשים עשו עם כלים של זמר ריקוד גדול ולא האנשים. רואים מזה הכח של הנשים. ובאמת בגמרא ברכות יז ע"א גדולה הבטחה שבטח הקב"ה בנשים יותר מן האנשים ומביא פסוק מישיעה על זה.
ואחרי כל השמחה של איבוד מצרים איתא ויסע משה את ישראל מים סוף ויצאו אל מדבר שור וילכו שלשת ימים במדבר ולא מצאו מים. ויבאו מרתה ולא יכלו לשתת מים ממרה כי מרים הם על כן קרא שמה מרה. וילנו העם על משה לאמר מה נשתה. ויצעק אל השם כו' וימתקו המים. שם שם לו חק ומשפט ושם נסהו ע"כ פרש"י ושם נסהו לעם וראה קשי ערפו שלא נמלכו ממשה בלשון יפה בקש עלינו רחמים שיהיה לנו מים לשתות אלא נתלוננו עכ"ל והנה בפסוק שם שאמר משה להם אם שמוע תשמע לקול השם אלקים והישר בעיניו תעשה והאזנת למצותיו ושמרת כל חקיו כל המחלה אשר שמתי במצרים לא אשים עליך כי אני השם רפאך עכ"ל משמע שרק אם יעשו שלימות לעבוד השם ושמרתי כל חקיו אז יהיו ישראל ניצולים מן המחלות הקשות במצרים. אבל אם לא עושים כל כך שלימות ח"ו...
עכשיו היה טענה אחרת מישראל: "וילונו כל עדת בני ישראל על משה ועל אהרן במדבר. ויאמר אלהם בני ישראל מי יתן מותנו ביד השם בארץ מצרים בשבתנו על סיר הבשר באכלנו לחם לשבע כי הוצאתם אתנו אל המדבר הזה להמית את כל הקהל הזה ברעב" עכשיו יש להם מים אלא אין להם מזון. וגם התלוננו רק על משה ואהרן ולא על השם. והשיב להם השם, שיזמין להם מאכל מן השמים. ומשה אמר לישראל "ובקר וראיתם את כבוד השם בשמעו את תלנתיכם על השם ונחנו מה כי תלינו עלינו עכ"ל הרי אמר להם שבאמת התלוננו על השם, שאין למשה כח ליתן להם רק השם.
שוב היה פרשה שלא היה ליהודים מים והם כעסו על משה למה זה העליתנו ממצרים להמית אתי ואת בני ואת מקני בצמא. ויצעק משה אל השם לאמר מה אעשה לעם הזה עוד מעט וסקלני כו' עכ"ל וסיום הפסוקים שם וז"ל ויקרא שם המקום מסה ומריבה על ריב בני ישראל ועל נצותם את השם לאמר היש השם בקרבנו אם אין עכ"ל הרי דבר גדול לדבר כן על השם שהוציאם ממצרים ונתן להם מים ומזון ובכל זאת התלוננו על השם וגם על משה.
ומסיים פרשת בשלח ויבא עמלק וילחם עם ישראל ברפידים. ויאמר משה אל יהושע בחר לנו אנשים וצא הלחם בעמלק כו' ויאמר השם אל משה כתב זאת זכרון בספר ושים באזני יהושע כי מחה אמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים כו' עכ"ל
ויש לסיים הפרשה בקושיא והוא שיעקב אבינו הוא הרבי של אליפז שהוא הבכור של עשו. וכאשר צוה עשו לבנו להרוג את יעקב הלך אליפז אל יעקב לשאול עצה. אמר לו יעקב קח ממני ממוני ועני חשוב כמת, וכן עשה. ומאליפז נולד עמלק. ולכאורה איך זה אלא שקושיא זו שייך גם על יתרו שהפרשה של יתרו הוא הפרשה של קבלת התורה. ובכל זאת יתרו שנתן בתו למשה חזר בו וסגר משה במקום שאין לו מה לאכול עד שימות, אלא שבתו הציל למשה והיה נותן לו לאכול.
אלא שעמלק ויתרו שניהם שוים שהיו מאמינים בהשם אלא שרצו שהשם יקבל הגוי כמו היהודי. וכאשר הבינו שאין זו נכון אלא יהודים הם קרובים מאוד להשם ולא הגוים, שנאו ישראל מאוד עד שעמלק לחם עם ישראל ויתרו רצה להרוג משה. רק כאשר יתרו הבין קבלת התורה וכל המצוות שיהודים עושים שינה את דעתו והלך למשה עם משפחת משה ונעשה בעל תשובה. ולא עמלק. ועוד שיתרו ידע שמשה יש לו מטה של קדושה וגם זה עזר לו לקבל משה לבסוף וגם לקבל התורה.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
To Read Rambam
We want here to understand how to read and understand what the Rambam wrote in Mishneh Torah, his great commentary on the basic laws of the Torah. We have selected a particularly difficult passage in the Rambam which seems to fly directly into the teaching of the Vilna Gaon and the Ramban, the greatest authorities. These two greats teach that the Rambam approves of Jewish marriage not only with Kiddushin which is customary but also with Pilegesh. The Vilna Gaon even proves his point by showing a gemora in Sanhedrin 21A that permits marrying with Pilegesh. But the Rambam in the laws of Melochim seems to say just the opposite, namely, that only a king may marry a Pilegesh, not ordinary Jews. The question is dynamite.
This is the Rambam there, “And the king may take from all of the Jews women and Pilagshim. Women with a Kesubo and Kiddushin, and Pilagshim with no Kesubo and no Kiddushin, but by establishing a marriage he obtains her and they are married. But ordinary Jews are forbidden to marry a Pilegesh, other than the Omo Hoivriah [a woman given by her father who has no money to a man who will accept her in his house as a servant and marry her or give him to his son, so she is not left alone in a house without marriage where men will abuse her].”
Yes, the question is explosive. The Rambam clearly writes, “An ordinary man may not marry a Pilegesh” and this defies the gemora quoted by the Vilna Gaon, his stated opinion, and that of the Ramban, both who clearly permit Pilegesh.
I wish to say that I received in writing from the Geonim Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky both zt”l that they know me as one who can plunge deep into deep Torah commentaries and reveal new light. And now I will try to do that here.
First of all, we refer to what we quoted footnote #1 above, the Teshuva of Ramo in the name of Rabbi Eliezar Ashkenazi, who had new ways of understanding Rambam. How can that be done here? If Rambam says clearly only a king may marry a Pilegesh, how can this be resolved with the gemora, Vilna Gaon and Ramban, if they all say a Pilegesh is permitted to a simple person who is not a king?
It seems that the Ramo had exactly the same problem that we have. The Mishneh in Nedarim 90b says clearly that a woman after the earlier phases of the Mishneh when women would never lie about their husbands were suspected of lying in order to find a better husband and would lie about their husbands. Therefore, the Mishneh itself declares that from now on, hundreds of years before Rambam, women could not force a GET from their husband. But there are those who say that Rambam does permit a woman to force a GET. Ramo quotes Rabbi Eliezar Ashkenazi that this question is asked by major authorities but they simply didn’t know how to read the words of the Rambam. He read the exact words of the Rambam and showed that these great rabbis simply didn’t know how to read the Rambam correctly.
The Mishneh does not say that no woman could force a GET. It says that if a woman demands a GET she is not believed because she might be lying to get a better husband. But the Rambam never mentions the word “divorce.” The wife in his teaching is a woman who stays in her husband’s house, does the dishes, raises the children, and never mentions a GET. She only tells the husband to stay away from her in marital relations. The Rambam adds, however, a critical word that nobody comments on, the word shaato meaning the husband is given time to straighten out the marriage. This word indicates that Beth Din will find out what is going on in the house. Is the husband treating his wife properly, or not? Therefore, a period is set by the husband who is told, “Fix up your marriage, or give a GET. You have one month or whenever the Beth Din says.” If the husband fixes the marriage and the marriage begins to function properly, fine, if not, a GET. And this is exactly what the Mishneh wanted to teach, so the problem is solved.
But what is the solution here with Pilegesh? Again, what extra word did Rambam put into his statement in Melochim? OMO HOIVRAH. So what? That is the key. When I stared at it a while, a light came into my dull head. This is it! How can Rambam say that a woman sold as a slave may become married without Kesuba and Kiddushin as a Pilegesh, but that no normal man may do it? What kind of logic is that? A slave woman has more rights than regular women and men? That is ridiculous. Okay, it is ridiculous. But what is the logic that a slave woman has more rights than regular women or men? Then I finally figured out the solution to the puzzle. Rambam only allowed a king to marry a Pilegesh, but regular men could certainly marry a Pilegesh. The woman sold by her father as a slave was a Pilegesh but she was not married willingly. Her father sold her. Such a woman is a Pilegesh who can marry a man who is not a king, and the king may marry any woman, as long as she does not marry willingly, but because a king just took her, or her father sold her.
I conclude this by returning to the source of it all, the Ramo’s teshuva 91 by Rabbi Eliezar Ashkenazi. At the end of the lengthy study there, it brings important and exciting ideas about divorce and forced divorce, but none of them is permitted without the permission of great rabbis. Incidentally, even Ramban and other great rabbis only permitted Pilegesh if a prominent rabbi is in control of the marriage, not if two plain people just shack up. If anyone is interested in Pilegesh they can contact me, as I have semicha from the greatest Rabbis of Europe and Israel, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi Yaacov Kaminetsky, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashev (to pasken Gittin using his name) and others. A Pilegesh marriage has no Kesubo and no Kiddushin and each can leave when they want. But if anyone violates the marriage, that is the end of it. People who want Pilegesh must first get permission from the senior rabbi and maintain the rules or it is over.
 Based upon Teshuva of Ramo #96 and Rabbi Eliezar Ashkenazi there
 Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 26:1 Gro #6
 See Rambam Melochim Kings
 See Rambam Mishneh Torah Noshim 14:8
The Mitsvah of Shema
The Mitsvah in the Torah for a Jew to read Shema Yisroel by day and night is taught in the Rambam in two places. One is in the beginning of Mishneh Torah in Sefer HaMitsvose Mitsvas Eseh Mitsvah 2, and the other is in Sefer HoAhavo Laws of Krias Shema.
In Sefer HaMitsvose there we are taught, “This teaches that HaShem commanded us to belief in the Complete Control HaShem has on everything. That we must belief that He who produces the realities and their first causes are One. And regarding this they have taught, Hear O Israel the L-d our G‑d the L-d is One.” The Rambam continues there to explain our obligation to accept the Yichud of HaShem, that He made and controls everything.
In Mitsvah 3 there we are taught, “The third mitsvah is that we are commanded to love HaShem…The Sifri teaches ‘Because it is said ‘And you shall love the L-d your G‑d, I don’t know how to love HaShem. The Torah then says, And these things that I command you today shall be on your heart, because through this you will recognize He who says ‘Let there be a world.’”
The Rambam continues there in the name of the Sifri “And you shall love HaShem means you should cause others to love him, as we find with Avrohom your father who called upon others to serve HaShem.” Rambam at the end of Mishneh Torah says that at the End of Days HaShem will introduce through Moshiach a level where all people, Jews and gentiles, will worship HaShem.”
We now turn to Rambam: “We recite twice a day Krias Shema, in the evening and the morning, as it is said, ‘When you lie down and when you rise up.”
This Rambam is heavily supported by the commentators on Mishneh Torah, but it is not at all simple. The first page in gemora Berochose brings a long Tosfose that strongly disagrees with the Rambam, and says that we begin reading the Shema before nightfall. This is stated by the greatest Tosafists, Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri. But Rashi agrees with the Rambam to read Shema at night not by day.
To return to the great battle between Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri with Rashi and Rambam, if one can read Shema before night, let us introduce another idea. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 58:6 says that the time to say Shema in the morning passes after the first three hours of the day, but one may still say Shema with the Berochose until the completion of the fourth hour. If one did not say Shema by then he can still recite Shema, but with no Berochose.
If so, according to Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri, that one can say Shema of the evening before night in the previous day, in defiance of Rambam and Rashi, why do we not insist that everyone who prays during the day read Shema again at night, maybe with Berochose maybe without, but at least, say Shema. And if the fourth hour we may recite Shema with the Berochose, is this not a Berocho livatolo?
On a simpler level, if we examine the Tosfose in Berochose B1, we see a big problem. Rabbeinu Tam says that we pasken like Rabbi Yehuda, that day ends about two hours before night. And yet, Tosfose and seemingly Rabbeinu Tam concurs that everyone dovens mincha after Rabbi Yehuda forbids it, until night mamosh. If so, the entire teaching of Rabbi Yehuda is botel.
Furthermore, the Ri is left; and he explains that one may pray maariv during the previous day based upon the opinion that night begins with the darkening of the sky when the sun is not in full strength. But this is mentioned in the gemora B2; and Rashi explains it means Bain HaShemoshose, when we assume it is already partially night before the small stars came out. But is that the time that people prayed in shull the evening prayers? And is there a difference between when people dovened in the daytime between summer’s long days and winter’s short days? That is the question.
I am not concluding here with a clear pesak in these matters, because the Shulchan Aruch and the Poskim are filled with a variety of opinions. I know what I do myself, and it is to keep it as safe as possible, to try to find a strict time to doven.
I learned under the great rabbis from Europe and I know that they had their variations with what the Mishneh Berura paskened. One differed about the time to doven Mincha. One differed when to doven on Shabbos. But I try to follow the Mishneh Berura. A posek has stated that on Chanukah there are various customs when to light the candles, and he mentioned that a major Litvisher Rebbe paskened one way, but that the Mishneh Berura said something else, and this is, to him, is an interesting thing. The Chazon Ish held very strongly of the Mishneh Berurah.
 Book of Ahava in Mishneh Torah Laws of Krias Shama chapter One,1
 Berochose B1. See Rashi there some read Shema by day and read only one chapter of Shema at night when they sleep. The problem is if they only read one chapter they don’t read about the going out of Egypt, but they read it in the morning and maybe that is enough. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 239:1 Mogen Avrohom and Bare Haitiv.