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February 13, 1999 27 Shebat 5759

Rosh Hodesh Adar will be celebrated on Tues. & Wed., Feb. 16 & 17.

Pop Quiz: What insect did Hashem say he would send before Bnei Yisrael in battle?

ORDER IN THE COURT by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And these are the laws that you shall place before them" (Shemot 21:1)

From the word 'lifnehem,' before them, Rashi tells us that we must bring disputes before our court system; that is, one must go to Bet Din rather than go to secular courts. This is indeed the halachah that we may not go to a secular court to adjudicate a case between two Jews. It may seem to us that this would only apply when the power of Bet Din was absolute, like in the old days, whereas nowadays, when Bet Din is limited in enforcing its laws, we should not have to go to Bet Din. This is incorrect. We must always go to Bet Din first and only when Bet Din allows us to go to civil courts do we have the right to do so. It is considered a Hilul Hashem and a denigration of the Torah if we go to civil courts rather than Bet Din. We should hopefully never have to go to court for any reason, but if it ever becomes necessary, we would be doing a great misvah by following the halachah and going to Jewish courts. We will be upholding the Torah and making a Kiddush Hashem, sanctifying the Name of Hashem, which is certain to impact favorably on the outcome of the case. Shabbat Shalom.

CALL A DOCTOR by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And he shall provide for healing" (Shemot 21:19)

Our perashah brings to our attention many laws between man and his fellow man. The verse quoted above is discussing the law that an attacker who injures his friend is responsible to pay for the victim's loss of earnings and for his medical expenses.

The question arises: If it is Hashem's will that a person becomes ill, may he actively seek relief from his sickness by going to a physician? Our Sages find the answer based on the above mentioned verse, "And he [the attacker] shall provide for healing." This teaches us that a physician has the right to practice medicine.

My friends, as we all know, we are living in a time where one's health is a source of worry. We hear too often of loved ones or friends becoming ill. I would to relate to all some of the attitudes of the Torah relating to obtaining proper medical attention.

The fact that the Torah states the word "to heal" twice is of great significance. The Talmud (Baba Mesi'a 30) tells us that when the Torah repeats itself it means we must try again and again. In our case, repetition means that if the doctor has tried to heal the patient and did not succeed, he shouldn't say that he tried once and he is no longer obligated to try another approach. He should not say that this illness can't be cured. He must keep trying, even a hundred times, of course all within medical logic.

This idea is applicable to the patient as well. A person must keep trying. The Hazon Ish once said an interesting explanation. Sometimes we find a particular doctor has a great success rate curing a certain illness, more than other doctors. The reason is that just like a certain illness is decreed in heaven to be curable by a certain medicine, so too is it decreed that it can be cured by a certain doctor. Therefore, it can be that a particular doctor is given special assistance by Hashem. It therefore follows that if a patient tries to be cured by one doctor without success, he shouldn't feel disillusioned. He must try another doctor. The next doctor might have success.

The Torah does not want any doctor or any patient to stop trying. Effort, and of course, prayer, are a person's greatest chances of success. May we never know of any illness and may Hashem cure speedily all of the ill in the nation of Israel, Amen. Shabbat Shalom.


"And these are the laws that you must set before them" (Shemot 21:1) Rashi states, "Like a set table which is ready for the person to partake of the feast." How is the halachah governing monetary matters like a set table?

Admirably, many people are very particular about the kashrut of the food they eat. When they are invited to a party, before partaking of the foods laid out on the table, they will inquire about the shehitah of the meat and the bakery that produced the baked goods, etc. Only if the food on the table meets their kashrut standards will they eat of it.

Unfortunately, in monetary matters they are often not so stringent and they may even engage in questionable business practices.

Rashi is alluding that in money matters, one should be as strict as with the food on one's table. The Code of Jewish Law is known as the Shulhan Aruch, which literally means "a set table." This, too, emphasizes that in all issues one must act with total integrity, as one demands the highest standards of kashrut. (Vedibarta Bam)

Answer to Pop Quiz: The tzir'ah (poisonous hornets).

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