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Parashat Tesaveh

A Summary of the Shiur Delivered on Mossa'ei Shabbat by Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a

The Halachot of Cooking on Shabbat

One who bakes bread on Shabbat or cooks any food, even one who boils dyes to be used for dyeing, violates a Torah prohibition. The same applies to one who boils water or milk, roasts meat, melts wax or fat, smelts metals, or heats a metal until it becomes a coal; they al violate this Torah prohibition. Cooking fruits violates this prohibition even if the fruits can be eaten raw.

Anything that has not been fully cooked - even if it was partially cooked - may not be cooked on Shabbat. However, since some authorities maintain that food that had been one-third or half cooked before Shabbat may be cooked on Shabbat, although the halachah does not follow this view, should one cook such food on Shabbat it may be subsequently eaten.

Dry food that was fully cooked before Shabbat and then cooled may be warmed on Shabbat. Liquids, however, may not be reheated on Shabbat. Dry food may be reheated even if it contains some liquid, so long as the majority of the food is dry. Only if the majority is liquid may the food not be reheated on Shabbat. Even dry food, however, may not be reheated directly on the fire; it may be reheated only near the fire or on top of a utensil on the fire. One may place dry, cold food on a metal strip with holes over the fire. One may likewise place cold dry food on a "plata" (hot plate) on Shabbat.

One may tell a gentile on Shabbat to place on a hot plate a liquid food that was already fully cooked before Shabbat. Similarly, if one mistakenly placed on the hot plate on Shabbat a liquid food that had already been fully cooked before Shabbat, he may derive benefit from that food even while it is hot.

Authorities among the Ashkenazim maintain that a liquid dish that was fully cooked before Shabbat and had not completely cooled may be warmed near the fire on Shabbat. We, however, follow the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch that one may heat liquid food on Shabbat only if it is already at the level of "yad soledet bo" - it is hot enough that one's hand will instinctively recoil upon contact. A Sefaradi who has liquid food that had cooled but not completely may tell his Ashkenazi guest to place the food on the hot plate.

A food that was fully baked or roasted before Shabbat may be cooked in liquid on Shabbat. One may therefore place bread in hot soup or pour boiling water into a cup with instant coffee.

If one slaughters an animal on Shabbat in order to prepare meat for a critically ill patient, a healthy person may partake of the raw meat. However, if one cooks for a critically ill patient, a healthy person may not partake of the cooked food.

A sick patient - even if his life is not in danger - may eat food cooked by a gentile on Shabbat. If a gentile cooks for such a patient on Shabbat, a healthy person may not partake of the cooked food; likewise, the patient himself may not eat this food after Shabbat, since he can then have food cooked for him by a Jew.

The utensil in which food was cooked on the fire, such as a pot or frying pan, is called a "keli rishon" (first utensil). It is considered capable of cooking its contents even after its removal from the fire. Pouring from a keli rishon is also deemed capable of cooking a thin layer of the food onto which it is poured. That utensil into which the contents of the keli rishon were poured is not capable of cooking. One may therefore pour a cup of coffee into a cup with milk. Nevertheless, one may not place an egg in that second utensil containing water, since eggs can be cooked even in the keli sheni (second utensil).

One may place mint leaves in a cup of tea on Shabbat, since a keli sheni cannot cook. One may not, however, place the mint leaves first and then pour hot water from the keli rishon into the cup. One may not pour hot water onto tea leaves on Shabbat in order to make tea essence; it must rather be prepared before Shabbat. When making tea on Shabbat, one may not first place the essence and then pour hot water on it; he must rather first pour the hot water and then add the tea essence.


The Chinese Pet

Who knows what is the most common pet among millions of Chinese? Which pet do many Chinese people spend a sizable portion of their monthly salary to purchase one every several months, the pet that virtually every Chinese person raises and tends to with love? No, not the dog, not even the cat - but the cricket. The beloved crickets in China are much different from those familiar to many of us. They are not small and black, nor do they look like little worms. These crickets are large, noisy and brilliantly colorful. One who visits the big city of Beijing will often hear a terrible noise as if a steam engine has passed by the house. No, this is not a train, but rather a cricket salesman. The salesman rides on a bicycle connected to which are hundreds of small cages made from bamboo. Each such cage contains a cricket for sale. The cricket lives for only several months, and after its death the family purchases a new cricket. The crickets stand out with their long sensors and hind legs which extend longer than the front and middle legs, causing them to hop and skip rather than walk. The cricket's musical limbs are found only in the males, in their wings.

Interestingly, virtually every store in China has a cricket in a small cage whose job it is to inform the storekeeper every time a customer walks into the shop as well as, primarily, in accordance with Chinese belief, to remind an individual of his conscience. Indeed, this is a most fascinating method of reminding a person of his conscience, and apparently this is what happens without the great privilege of having the Torah. One must then search constantly for different laws, appoint supervisors and policemen, fines, taxes, and, if you will, "crickets," in order to remind one of the concept of conscience and to walk along the proper path. The sacred Torah, by contrast, and its misvot, protect the Jew from problems of conscience, questions of whether to do something or not, to say something or not, what is moral, what is proper, etc. A Jew who observes Torah and misvot out of love receives natural immunity from things that can cause problems of conscience. Every Jew who knows that he walks straight, along the path of Torah and misvot, walks with security and confidence.


Dear Brothers,

Parashat Tesaveh, which we read this Shabbat, has something in common with Megilat Esther, which we read on Purim during the following week. Parashat Tesaveh is, in effect, a series of commands issued to Moshe Rabbenu regarding the special garments of the kohanim, the crowning of Aharon and his sons, and the daily tamid offering and incense offering. Throughout this entire parashah, however, Moshe's name appears not even once!

The Megilah tells the story of a complex, miraculous incident woven by the Al-mighty, a chain of events that began with the execution of Vashti, which paved the way for the crowning of Queen Esther, the plot of Bigtan and Teresh, which served to "provide the cure before the wound," through the trauma of Haman's decree and the process of repentance that resulted from it, until the great salvation and renewed acceptance of the Torah with love and joy. The Hand of G-d is obvious and apparent throughout the Megilah - yet it mentions His Name not even once!

How can we explain this? It seems that the solution is latent within a comment in the Yerushalmi in Masechet Shekalim. The Talmud there relates that Rabbi Yohanan heard that his student, Rabbi Elazar, said over a halachah that he had heard from him without citing its source. Rabbi Yohanan was angry. But then he was told, "Just as everyone knows that the Torah of Yehoshua Bin Nun was from the mouth of Moshe Rabbenu, so does everyone know that the Torah of Rabbi Elazar is from you!"

The same can be applied to Parashat Tesaveh. Everyone knows that all the guidelines concerning the priestly garments and kohanim's consecration, as well as the construction of the mishkan, were conveyed to Moshe from Hashem - to the point where the Torah need not even mention him by name! Likewise, herein lies the critical message of Megilat Esther. At times remarkable miracles occur, when Hashem directly intervenes in nature. But Megilat Esther does not tell the story of a miraculous event; everything flows, as it were, through purely natural means. Nevertheless, it is all guided and supervised by Hashem. One who knows this and acknowledges this sees Hashem's Hand in every action and event. Therefore, there is not even any need to mention Him explicitly, as nothing occurs without His guidance and involvement.

Hazal therefore said that even if all the festivals are ultimately canceled, Purim will always remain. The miracles of redemption will overshadow all others and thus outshine the other festivals. But the message of Purim is that even nature is governed by Hashem, and there is nothing that occurs without His navigation - and this message is eternally relevant!

Shabbat Shalom

Aryeh Deri


"On that night, sleep deserted the king"

The Gemara (Megilah 15b) writes that "sleep deserted the King of the world." The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, 1057) asks, does the Al-mighty sleep? It explains that when Benei Yisrael sin, He acts as if He were asleep, as it says, "Rouse Yourself; why do You sleep, Hashem?" (Tehillim 44:24). When, however, they obey His word, "Behold, the Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers" (Tehillim 121:4).

Rabbi Shelomoh Alkabess zs"l, in his work, "Manot Halevi," explains that when Benei Yisrael sinned, Hashem turned His eyes away from them, as it were. The heavenly prosecution sought their destruction and Hashem's providence did not awaken - as if He "slept." Once they repented, gathered around the sadik Mordechai and sincerely yearned for salvation, it was as if Hashem's providence awakened to intervene on their behalf and save them.

"He ordered the book of records, the annals, to be brought"

Rabbi Yosef Taitssak zs"l explained that the pasuk here refers to two different books: the "divrei hayamim" ("annals"), which recorded the events of every day and hence consisted of many volumes, and the second book, the "sefer hazichronot" ("book of records") - an abridged record of sorts containing a brief survey of the events; a type of index to a more detailed work. The pasuk thus continues in the plural form, "and they were read to the king." After his servants told him briefly of the plot of Bigtan and Teresh and its disclosure by Mordechai, the king then asked for the elaborate record to be read before him from the actual "divrei hayamim."

"It was found written that Mordechai had told of Bigtana and Teresh"

Rabbi Elisha Galiko zs"l, a student of the Bet Yosef zs"l, explained that through divine providence the book opened exactly to the spot where this incident was recorded. This revealed that the "hester panim" (Hashem's "turning away of His face" from Benei Yisrael) and attribute of justice had transformed into the attribute of mercy, which brought honor and prestige to Mordechai the sadik and salvation to Benei Yisrael.

"The king asked, 'What glory or honor has been conferred on Mordechai for this?'"

Rabbenu Yehudah Ben Shushan zs"l explained that the word "yakar" (translated in our citation of the pasuk as "glory") refers to temporary honor; "gedulah," a permanent status of honor, is greater. Rabbenu Shelomoh Halevi Alkabess zs"l explained that "yakar" denotes a public display of honor, whereas "kavod," honor that is not displayed publicly, is on a greater level. "The king's servants who were in attendance on him said, 'Nothing at all has been done for him'" - neither "yakar" nor "gedulah." Rabbenu Shemuel Di Ozida zs"l explained that the word "davar" ("nothing at all") here is related to the word "dibbur" (speech). The servants replied that not only did Mordechai never receive an actual reward or any honor or glory, he did not even earn a verbal statement of gratitude.

"The king asked, 'Who is in the courtyard?' And Haman had entered the outer courtyard of the royal palace"

Rabbenu Shemaryah Ha'ikrit zs"l and Rabbi Yihyeh zs"l explained that the king sought to consult with one of his ministers as to how to reward Mordechai, rather than confiding in the young attendants who were standing before him. He feared that they harbored feelings of hatred towards the Jews and would minimize Mordechai's reward. He therefore requested the presence of a minister from the outside who did not know of whom he was speaking so that Mordechai would receive his due reward. Through Hashem's kindness, it was Haman who recommended bestowing the greatest honor on Mordechai, leading himself towards the greatest collapse.

". to tell the king to hang Mordechai on the tree he had prepared for him"

The Gemara (Megilah 16a) says that "the tree he had prepared for him" means, the tree he had prepared for himself - for Haman! Rabbenu Shemuel Di Ozida zs"l explained that clearly Haman did not come to inform the king that he already prepared the tree before his arrival at the palace. He rather wanted to recommend punishing Mordechai with hanging for his refusal to bow before Haman. Therefore, the clause, "he had prepared for him" is not part of what Haman planned on telling the king. Rather, the Megilah informs us that in effect, Haman prepared this tree for himself. So may all of Hashem's enemies be destroyed, and may they be caught by the trap they sought to set against us!


Rabbi Shalom Mahavot zs"l

Rabbi Shalom Mahavot zs"l, who was among the western scholars of Yerushalayim, earned a scarce livelihood. He received support barely enabling him to live from a certain wealthy man, and he donated most of it to charity.

Once, on Erev Purim, as he sat and studied Megilat Esther with his students, delving into its profound lessons, his wife, the righteous Bolisa Hanah a"h, turned to him and informed him that they have not a single coin for the Purim feast, mishlo'ah manot or matanot la'evyonim.

"The day is still young," he replied, "and Hashem's salvation can come in an instant."

She answered, "It is already the afternoon, and you say that the day is still young?!"

Rabbi Shalom turned to his students sitting in front of him and said, "Which of you knows who Mordechai the sadik is?" They all answered in the affirmative, and he said to the student sitting next to him, "If so, then go tell Mordechai that your rabbi has no money for Purim."

The boy stood up, loyal to the authority of his rabbi, and headed towards the Western Wall. He recited Tehillim, and at the end of each chapter he cried, "Mordechai the sadik - my rabbi has no money for Purim!"

Suddenly a person approached him and handed him a package of money. "Go bring this to your rabbi," he instructed.

The boy ran and handed his rabbi the money.

No excitement whatsoever was seen on Rabbi Shalom's face; he did not even stretch out his hand to take the money. Instead, he told the student to give the money to his wife. "Tell her," he said, "that Mordechai Hayehudi sent it to her," and he continued studying the Megilah.

A Treasury of Halachot and Customs of the Festivals of Yisrael, Based on the Rulings of Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a
by Rav David Yossef shlit"a

The Halachot of Ta'anit Esther

The custom among the Jewish people is to fast on the thirteenth day of Adar, because during the times of Mordechai and Esther the Jews gathered on the thirteenth of Adar to defend themselves against their enemies. They needed Hashem's mercy in order to defeat their enemies and observed a day of prayer and fasting. (Similarly, during the battle against Amalek, Moshe Rabbenu observed a day of prayer and fasting, as described in the Mechilta at the end of Parashat Beshalah.) Hashem heard Benei Yisrael's tefilah and accepted their repentance and fasting. On the day that the Jews' enemies had planned to overpower them, the Jews overpowered their foes, killing 75,000 of them not including those whom they killed in Shushan, the capital city - all without a single casualty on Benei Yisrael's side. The custom thus developed to fast on this day every year, and this fast is called "Ta'anit Esther." Others claim that this fast commemorates the fast that Esther decreed during the month of Nissan. Since the rabbis did not want to establish a fast during Nissan, as public fasts may not be observed during this month, they scheduled it instead for the day before Purim. Some authorities maintain that this fast constitutes an obligation from the prophets, as the pasuk states in Megilat Esther, "as they accepted upon themselves and their offspring, the matter of the fasts and their cries" (9:31). However, the accepted halachah follows the view that Ta'anit Esther does not constitute a requirement introduced by the prophets, but rather a widespread custom observed by Am Yisrael.

The Halachot of Megilah Reading

The Requirement of Megilah Reading and its Time

There is a misvah from the prophets to read the Megilah on Purim. One must read the Megilah on Purim eve and repeat it on Purim day. One may conduct the nighttime reading of the Megilah throughout the night, from nightfall until daybreak. (Daybreak is considered one and one-fifth hour - as defined by halachah - before sunrise.) If possible, one should preferably read the Megilah on Purim eve after nightfall as calculated by Rabbenu Tam (which occurs around seventy-two minutes - as defined by halachah - after sunset.) One may conduct the daytime reading of the Megilah throughout the day, from sunrise until the end of the day. If, however, one read the Megilah before sunrise but after daybreak, he has fulfilled his obligation. Likewise, someone who, due to extenuating circumstances, cannot read the Megilah after sunrise, may read it earlier, after daybreak.

One who did not read the Megilah all day on Purim and remembered only after sunset during the period of "bein hashemashot," should read the Megilah without a berachah. If he remembers some time before sunset, such that he feels confident that he could read the entire Megilah before nightfall (within thirteen and a half minutes after sunset), he may even recite a berachah over the reading. Even if this occurred on Purim that fell on Friday, and he already accepted Shabbat, he may read the Megilah, so long as he can complete the reading before nightfall.


Young and old, women and children, were included in Haman's decree of destruction during the times of Mordechai and Esther. The attribute of justice was spread over Am Yisrael, and the prosecution's claims were accepted in the heavenly tribunal. After all, there is where things are decided; here we see only their execution. If we want to lighten the sentence and annul the harsh decrees, we must direct our appeal to the source - to Hashem's tribunal.

Mordechai the sadik knew this, as did Queen Esther. She exerted the effort required of her, but she requested that Mordechai assemble the Jews and decree a three-day fast and period of teshuvah and appeal to the heavens.

Mordechai did this and beyond. Hazal revealed to us that Mordechai gathered the children and taught them Torah. This is what Haman saw when he arrived to ride Mordechai on the royal chariot and declare, "So shall be done to the man who the king wishes to honor!"

We would likely collapse during a three-day fast. But Mordechai the sadik could not allow himself to collapse; the decree of destruction hovered over them and he needed to have it annulled. There is but one way to accomplish this: "The world is sustained only by the words of Torah of the schoolchildren" (Shabbat 119a). This is what sustains the entire world, and this is what sustains Am Yisrael in particular. And this is, in effect, what sustains every family - if the children are sent to Torah educational systems, the family receives endless kindness, a blessing from the heavens, and all harsh decrees are annulled!


Shemuel Hakatan, whom Hazal say was worthy of beholding the Shechinah like Moshe Rabbenu because of his great humility, but only did not because his generation was undeserving, would often say, "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice; and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult, lest Hashem see and it will be bad in His eyes, and He will remove His wrath from upon him." In effect, Shemuel Hakatan introduced nothing new: this is an explicit pasuk in Sefer Mishlei (24:17). But Shemuel Hakatan turned this proverb into the primary message of his outlook. He would constantly repeat this adage, to the point where it is cited in his name in Pirkei Avot (4:19).

This is not readily understandable. The pasuk in and of itself is Torah, originating from the wisdom of Shelomoh Hamelech. But it is but one of 913 pesukim in the book of Mishlei, just a drop of the ocean of wisdom contained in that book. Why did Shemuel Hakatan see fit to make this concept a fundamental topic in his teaching and instruction? Sefer Mishlei is full of invaluable advice with regard to Torah study, proper midot, fear of Hashem, etc. Yet, of all the words of wisdom found in Sefer Mishlei Shemuel Hakatan chose the instruction, "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice." Why?

What message did he intend to convey by repeating this proverb?

Shemuel Hakatan sought to implant within us the knowledge that a person, every person, constitutes a small world unto his own. And a world features everything: mountain peaks and deep ravines; light and darkness; areas of calm and tranquillity, and storms and volcanoes. Let every person ask himself, am I perfect? The answer will clearly be in the negative. Do I have bad qualities? Yes. Have I committed sins? Yes. Then let him ask himself, am I a good person? The answer will definitely be in the affirmative. How is this possible? For this is the way of the world and the nature of man, to focus on the light within oneself and ignore the darkness. Hazal therefore said that a person never sees his own faults and shortcomings.

Unfortunately, when differences of opinion arise between a person and his fellow, when conflict and discord develop, one's perspective focuses only the dark side of the other, on his negative qualities, and judges him in an absolutely negative light. He ignores the fact that his fellow is a human being like himself, that he, too, possesses both light and darkness. Neither he nor the other person is perfect. It is wrong to look only at the good within oneself and the negative in the other person.

This is the message of the pasuk: "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult." He is not entirely negative; he is not thoroughly evil. One must have compassion for him in his state of crisis. If one rejoices in his enemies' demise, "lest Hashem see and it will be bad in His eyes, and He will remove His wrath from upon him." Instead, He will direct His wrath towards the one who rejoiced (Messudot) - he is not entirely dark, and you are not pure white as snow.

Why do we mention this pasuk in this context? Because of its relevance to the Purim festival that will soon be upon us. The Gemara (Megilah 16a) says that when Haman came to ride Mordechai on the royal chariot, he brought him to the bathhouse, cut his hair, and dressed him in royal garb. How humiliating this was for the second-in-command before whom everyone bows and prostrates himself - suddenly he has become a bathhouse attendant and barber! Haman brought the king's horse and said to Mordechai, "Get up and ride." Mordechai replied, "I have just fasted for three consecutive days; I do not have the strength to get up on the horse." Haman, the head minister in the government, was forced to lean down on the ground so that Mordechai the sadik, his archenemy, could climb on his back onto the horse. Mordechai climbed onto the horse and kicked Haman. Haman groaned and said, "Does it not say in your Torah, 'When your enemy falls, do not rejoice'?" Mordechai replied, "The pasuk speaks only of Jews. Regarding the enemies of Yisrael, however, it says, 'You will stamp on their backs' (Devarim 33:29)." Mordechai told Haman that indeed, every individual is a world unto its own, and light and darkness dwell within him together. Just as one may not overlook his own "darkness," so may he never overlook the "light" of his friend. Even should friction develop and one's friend become his enemy, one may not judge him as absolutely negative, nor may he rejoice in his failure and defeat. This is true regarding all people, particularly with regard to every Jew. But Amalek is the exception. The Al-mighty, who knows the thoughts of all people, testified that they have in their hearts not a spark of light, but rather total and complete darkness. He therefore decreed that they be annihilated; the general principle does not apply to them. Among ourselves, however, each Jew is a precious treasure, filled with the blessings of Hashem. Even the "empty" among us are "filled with misvot like a pomegranate." One cannot judge a fellow Jew based on his exterior, nor even based on his actions or speech. Even when we see only the darkness - we cannot imagine how brilliant a light shines underneath! We therefore dress ourselves in costumes on Purim when we bring the mishlo'ah manot, declaring that one cannot look only at the deceiving and misleading exterior. On the inside there lies a Jew - and with this knowledge we celebrate and increase our joy, love, brotherhood, peace and friendship!

Yosef Ben Geraz and Nizha Bat Oro

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