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Friday, 18 April 2014

Catch the most beautiful sunset ever!

Beitzah 19

Are you ready for a total soul-body-world transformation?  It’s going to happen any second now.  Where will you be when the greatest event of all time takes place?

Twilight is that magical time between day and night.  The sun has set, but it has not yet become completely dark.  Halachically, we are uncertain as to whether to consider it day or night.  That’s why we begin Shabbos before sunset but conclude it after nightfall.

Just as one may not purify a utensil by immersing it in a mikvah on Yom Tov, one may not even immerse it at twilight on the eve of the festival.   Since twilight might already be Yom Tov, it is already out of bounds for holy day proscribed activity.   Rabbi Shimon Shezuri further rules that one should not purify utensils during twilight any night of the week, even if it’s not Shabbos or Yom Tov. 

Ordinary kitchen utensils that we purchase and take to the mikvah may be used immediately following their immersion.  However, vessels that have become contaminated and are ritually impure have two requirements that must be fulfilled prior to use.  They must be dipped in the mikvah, and then we must wait until nightfall to complete their purification process.

Rabbi Shimon is concerned that someone might dip their items during twilight and then assume that he may use them as soon as it gets completely dark.  But since twilight might already be considered nighttime, that’s not the case.  He would have to wait until the following night to use the items.  Therefore, Rabbi Shimon rules that one should never immerse his impure utensils during twilight, lest he come to use them too soon.

The Gemara suggests that even the first opinion (the Tana Kama) might agree with Rabbi Shimon that one should ideally not immerse anything during twilight during the week.  Their debate concerns whether we should stop somebody who we see running to immerse his utensil close to twilight.   

The Tana Kama assumes he’s running to fulfil the mitzvah of immersion in time.  If he makes it great, if not, he’ll wait until the following night to use it.  Rabbi Shimon, however, assumes that he’s running to ‘repair’ his contaminated tool in order to use it immediately for his work.  Whether or not he makes it in time, he’ll just assume it’s good to go.

The Tana Kama and Rabbi Shimon are arguing about why people are always running everywhere.  The Tana Kama believes that people run to do mitzvos.  Rabbi Shimon assumes they’re probably ‘chasing the dollar.’

One of the tenets of our faith is the belief in the coming of the messiah.  “And even though he should tarry, nevertheless, I shall await him every day.”  We are fast reaching the end of the day – the end of our present era.  With G-d’s help, very soon we will enter the new day of the messianic era. 

As twilight looms, where are you running?  Are you chasing your final dollars, dollars that will be meaningless in the age of spirituality?  Or are you running after mitzvos?  In the messianic era, mitzvos will be worth millions. 

You always need to ask yourself, ‘If the messiah came right now, would he find me pursuing spirituality or pursuing materialism?’  Prepare yourself now, the sun sets in the ‘blink of an eye!’

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