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Mar 13, 2012

If You Wont Donate A Year To Rav Elyashiv, At least Donate 2 Minutes

If you thought the fellow who donated a year of his life to Rav Elyashiv was off his rocker and that such a thing would be limited to the individual kook, sure enough, it is now becoming a public request that other people do similar.

Bechadrei is reporting that in the advertising poster that went up today in shuls around haredi neighborhoods,  "Mevasser V'Omer", (I will try to find the poster later and confirm it - the content on this poster is usually pretty interesting) a yerushalmi avreich placed an notice calling on all bnei torah to each donate 2 minutes of his life to Rav Elyashiv. This donation should be verbalized during mincha today, according to the initiator.

He says we learn from Rav Elyashiv himself who paskens that a person who sees a car stuck on the side of the road must pull over to help, even if it will cause him to miss mincha. And he says the women learn from Ricvka Imeinu that she offered water to the camels - how much more so we must each take notice and have gratitude for the dedication with which Rav Elyashiv has devoted his life to Klal Yisrael. And we learn from the Chafetz Chaim who donated 2 minutes of his life for the Rosh Yeshiva of Radin... He then calls on everyone to donate at mincha today, and one who cannot do it today should do it as soon as possible.

Assuming everyone reading the sign will be davening mincha, I am not sure why someone cannot do it today but will be able to do it tomorrow. Is there a long procedure for this that someone might not have the time on any given day? The only person i can think of who might not have time is the guy who pulled over near the end of the day to help someone stuck on the side of the road, and is missing mincha because of it!

The truth is that just because one person posted a notice does not mean everyone is going to do this. However, no longer is it enough to watch individuals do things like this, but now those individuals call upon others to join the trend. Soon there will be peer pressure and competitions of how much a person donated. The one benefit of all this is that Rav Elyashiv might end up living longer than Methuselah.

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  1. I'd like to see the source for the Chofetz Chaim story. Also, will someone explain to me why giving up minutes of one's life can be considered permissible? Isn't there a problem with nichush, darchei emori and so forth? Is giving up two minutes of life a form of suicide? Suppose someone were to give up the rest of his life for Rav Elyashiv, shlita, would that not be suicide?

    Stupidity? How about against halacha? Someone enlighten me.

  2. Anonymous,

    If a "pledge" to donate part of one's life to another constituted something REAL, substantial, we might talk about halachic problems.

    But since you CAN'T donate 1 year or 1 minute or ANY amount of your life - it is not something within our power to simply "will" into effect, then any statement of "pledge" is a NON-STATEMENT. And as long as such a pledge doesn't include Hashem's name (bringing it possibly into shevuat shav territory), I would think there would be zero ramifications al pi halacha.

    It's like if a katan says "harei at m'kudeshet li". It's not a halachic "problem" per se. It's simply a non-statement. A zero. It does nothing.

    Likewise, "I hereby pledge 2 minutes of my life to Rav Elyashiv" does nothing. It's not an act of self-destruction - just a well-intended show of ignorance.

  3. if it is completely meaningless, how did Adam do it (according to the Midrash) for King David? and how did the Chafetz Chaim do it?

  4. The Midrash is full of all kinds of fantastical imagery, tales and metaphors that we learn from but don't take literally. Clearly Chazal made the numerical association between Adam and David's ages and saw the opportunity to teach something there about mesirut nefesh. It doesn't mean it has ANY halachic or l'maaseh ramifications, any more than the Midrash about Adam having relations with animals!

    As for the Chafetz Chaim, I don't know if the story is true, but assuming it is... I give him the benefit of the doubt that he made his "donation" as a sincere show of love (using the Midrash as precedent) but knew full well that it was symbolic and had no ramifications in metziyut or halacha.

  5. Perfect - now we just need to find a young fellow who is about to commit suicide. Since he is abandoning his future time on earth anyway, what could be more noble than giving it to maran posek hador?

  6. hmilda - your point raises a great question. if someone has a lousy life, horrible quality of life, and donates some of it, does the recipient get those additional years as lousy and poor quality or is that unconnected?

  7. Sorry if this is in bad taste, but has anyone considered selling aliyas in shul with the currency being minutes donated?

  8. "But since you CAN'T donate 1 year or 1 minute or ANY amount of your life - it is not something within our power to simply "will" into effect, then any statement of "pledge" is a NON-STATEMENT."

    Exactly. If it's nonsense, then we have a problem of דרכי אמורי, if it's real it's a violation of "ושמרתם את נפשותיכם".
    I can only speculate. I suspect that the individual who concocted this idea some weeks ago, was distraught and very depressed. So his rav, seeing that he was miserable allowed him to give up part of his life. It could be that that rav didn't believe in any of it, but advised his student in order to make him feel better.
    Until proven otherwise, I consider this concept as superstitious and against halacha- and indeed has elements of a certain form of idolatry. I would like to see real sources for this.

  9. Anonymous,

    I don't know enough about the darchei ha'emori prohibition to know if this qualifies, but it certainly doesn't sound like "ma'aseihem" or "chukoteihem" - I've never heard of non-Jews making a claim like this. The only source appears to be a midrash.

    The Rambam does prohibit superstitious behavior, but that may be limited to "lo t'nachashu v'lo t'onenu" (divination and soothsaying).

    You could be right about "ushmartem et nafshotechem", even if it's NOT real - we have to look after our mental health after all. (But if we go down this road and prohibit crazy thinking in the frum world, I'm afraid it's ein l'davar sof!)

  10. From מורה נבוכים:
    כדי להרחיק מכל מעשׂי הכישוף אסר לעשׂות דבר ממנהגיהם, אפילו מה שנוגע לחקלאות ולמרעה וכיוצא בהם, כלומר, כל מה שנאמר שהוא מועיל והעיון הטבעי אינו מצריך זאת, אלא הם, לטענתם, בבחינת סגולות. זה דברו: ולא תלכו בחֻקּוֹת הגוי . אלה הם מה ש(החכמים) ז"ל קראו דרכי האמורי, כי אלה מסתעפים ממעשׂי המכשפים, כי הם דברים שהיגיון טבעי אינו מצריך אותם, והם גוררים למעשׂי כישוף הנשענים בהכרח על ענייני אצטגנינות, כך שהדברים יתגלגלו להערצת הכוכבים ועבודתם. הם אמרו במפורש: כל [דבר] שיש בו משום רפואה אין בו משום דרכי האמורי, כלומר, כל מה שהעיון הטבעי מצריך מותר, וזולתו אסור.

    "But if we go down this road and prohibit crazy thinking in the frum world, I'm afraid it's ein l'davar sof!"
    Crazy thinking is forbidden. It's a problem in the frum community, but it's not as pervasive and intractable as you imply.

    You protest that this practice is unheard of in the non-Jewish world. I don't know about that; the idea of human sacrifice and its symbols are very important among pagan societies. Whether it manifests in transferring minutes is another matter. But the more important question is do we have a solid mesorah for such behavior? We're dealing with so-called right-wing black-hat world where any thing that has a whiff of modernity is banned. And yet this innovation which has a stench of superstition and no true basis in mesorah is acceptable and advocated?

  11. David meir... You are close to being apikoris , if not . Even r berel wein says this can be done...but slifkin and yuval sherlow are on your side.

  12. I am surprised that no one mentioned the story from A Tzaddik In Our Time. I found this to be one of the strongest stories in that book (and that, of course, is saying a lot)


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