Rabbi's Message

  • April 17, 2015


    Especially during the period of SefirasHa’Omer, when we are supposed to be striving for greater sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others, I believe the following dvar torah from Rabbi MordechaiSchifman is quite meaningful.

    Among the non-kosher birds listed in this week's parsha is the "chasida" -"stork".  The Talmud explains that a chasida is so named because the stork performs acts of "chesed" - "kindness" for her friends. The Ramban teaches that since the creatures which we are prohibited to eat exhibit negative character traits, consumption of them would infuse a person with these traits. In light of this, it is difficult to reconcile the Ramban's teaching with the Talmud's explanation of the name "chasida".

    The KotzkerRebbe explains that since the chasida only performs kind acts for her friends, this too is considered a negative trait. However, it is still difficult to understand since the negative trait of the chasida is that it doesn't perform chesed for those who are not her friends, yet the Torah is identifying her by the chesed she does do, which is not negative.

    Rabbi Yochanan Zweig shlitasuggests that the Talmud is teaching us that kind acts that a person performs for his friends should be done out of commitment and obligation to the relationship. Viewing all that we do for friends as acts of "chesed" is a negative trait. Therefore, the chasida is being defined by a negative trait, not a positive one.

    Have a great Shabbos and a ChodeshTov.

    P.S. People have brought to my attention that many of the carrots currently being sold in Shoprite are from Israel. Being that this year is a Shemittah year in Israel, the major US kashrus organizations advise against purchasing Israeli produce from stores like Shoprite and Costco. Although there are certainly halachic authorities that were permit it, I wanted to make you aware of the issue.