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Jul 20, 2009

The community that neglected a mitzva

The Lead Tidbit in this week's Torah Tidbits was really a knockout. A TKO perhaps. if you did not have a chance to read it, if your shul does not get the TT or you just did not read that piece, here it is:

The community that neglected a mitzva

There is a Jewish community - a fine Jewish community, really - with shuls and schools and mikve, with an eiruv, a glatt slaughterhouse, kosher supermarkets and restaurants, Daf Yomi available in three languages at different times of the day, a great chesed infrastructure and community support of individuals with a variety of "situations". It isn't just the community as a whole that is so exemplary, its members are outstanding models of intelligent, learned, observant, sensitive and caring Jews. We could say that this community is perfect... except for one thing: There is one mitzva they don't follow, when they shecht (ritual slaughter) chickens, they neglect to cover the blood of the sh'chita as is required by the Torah and as is detailed in Halacha. KISUI DAM BE'AFAR. Their sh'chita is meticulous. All other aspects of bringing the chickens to the table are cared for beyond reproach, but they don't do KISUI DAM.

Strange community, wouldn't you say? Hard to figure them out. It seems that way back when they started, they didn't know about KISUI DAM, or they didn't think it was so important. Or was it that they found it too difficult to do. And when they found out that the kashrut of the meat was not affected at all by their not doing it, they just didn't make the effort.

Wonder how many TTreaders to this point still think that this Lead Tidbit is talking about a Jewish community that neglects the mitzva of KISUI DAM. The fact is, KISUI DAM is only a place holder for a different neglected mitzva. One that actually finds one of its sources in this week's sedra - KISUI DAM does not.

But the real issue is "similar". We are talking about not one strange Jewish community, but about many, many not strange at all Jewish communities in many places around the world. Communities that have the shuls and restaurants and all the other things mentioned at the beginning of this piece, but somehow they seem to neglect one particular mitzva. We're not even going to claim that the neglected mitzva is more important than KISUI DAM (although it might be so claimed.) We are talking about communities and the individual Jews that make up those communities, who are very conscientious about Shabbat and Kashrut, about Taharat HaMishpacha and learning Torah and davening... but seem to sadly neglect - not everyone equally - the mitzva of YISHUV ERETZ YISRAEL, living in Israel. It should not be neglected.

There is nothing more to add. They hit right to the point this week.


  1. Speaking as someone who has been living in Israel for more than half of my life, it takes little imagination to find other mitzvot to replace Kisui Ha'dam for us Bnei Eretz Yisrael.

  2. Ha ! Thats funny.

    Thats a funny post.

    Now, I live in EY, but if I lived in chu"l, I would either not care what some silly zionist says, wonder why RYBS didnt do "kisui hadam" and why teaching torah outweighs "that" mitzvah, or I would try to figure out what about me makes that writer so jealous that he chooses to write about me, and try to put me down, and not deal with his own (and his community's that does "kisui hadam") shortcomings. Then at least I would have something hands-on to work on.

  3. why do you think he is trying to put you down? I see it as trying to encourage people to pay more attention to an important mitzva that is fairly neglected (though in recent years it has made a bit of a comeback with the attention of Nefesh B'Nefesh).

  4. People who do not live in EY base themselves on sources. e.g. TOsfos in Kesubos provides justification for not living in EY. The Satmar Rov brings down many.

    Of course, if you read R. Moshe Rottshtein's piece in Nezer haTOrah's journal from a few years ago he makes a very strong case that there is no justification for not making living in EY a top priority.

    And of course, Eim haBonim Smeicha is an excellent source, but unfortunately many people dis this sefer as they wrongly assume it is Zionist propoganda.

  5. for sure people can find justification, just like you can find to not do a lot of the mitzvos. that does not make it right. At best finding justification makes it "b'dieved".

  6. I don't know about Sefarim but I do know that the Ribbono Shel Olam has been giving Am Yisrael many factual hints on the ground for the last century.

    I'm not saying that everyone should just get up and leave. But I've been to too many "Ir Hakodeshes" in the US where Eretz Yisrael is not even an afterthought.

    That, I think, is what the TT article is about.

  7. Shy - I do not remember TT ever criticizing people for living abroad, nor do i remember them ever saying everyone has to get up and move. their goal is always, I think, to get people to think about it, consider putting it on their agenda, consider it. not just not even think about it because it is not even an option.

    Even if a family is in a situation where they cannot, it should still be a goal, or something they consider, or want to do, etc.

  8. How long did it take you to type all that ?

  9. 3 seconds. That is what God created Copy-Paste for

  10. why does that not make it right?

    if there is a clear source in halocho that x is not a chiyuv - so be it.

    Of course as shy mentioned, there might be issues involved besides halocho - i.e. I do not know if there was a 'halocho' for golus bovel to return to EY - but they were certainly taken to task for not returning.

    but to pin someone down with a straightforward halachik chiyuv- hard to do.

    Of course I think that aderaba - the fact that there are seemingly 2 legitimate sides to the issue from a halochic standpoint but from every other possible angle in TOrah it is clear as day is just room for theyetzer to say - well I do not really have to since yada yada yada.

  11. Rafi G. said...

    That is what God created Copy-Paste for


    Are you sure Al Gore didn't invent copy-and-paste?

    Of course, sometimes I wonder whether G-d invented Al Gore.


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