The Laws of Verbal Oppression

Sefardi Beit Sefer

In the previous Halacha, we have begun discussing the prohibition of verbal oppression between man and his fellow and between husband and wife. We shall now discuss some of the laws of verbal oppression based on the rulings of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat, Chapter 228).

The Gemara (Baba Metzia 58b) states: “Our Sages taught: ‘One shall not oppress his fellow,’ this refers to verbal oppression although it is not monetary cheating. What is verbal oppression? One should not affix his eyes to a sale when one has no money.” This means that one should not inquire about the price of a given item if one has no intention of purchasing it. Similarly, one may not enter a store where a given item is sold and ask how much it costs if one has no intention of buying it at the present time and only wishes to know the price…

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Verbal Oppression

Sefardi Beit Sefer

Verbal Oppression

The Mishnah in Masechet Baba Metzia (58b) teaches, “Just as there is a prohibition to cheat in business, there is likewise a prohibition to verbally hurt someone else, as the verse states (Vayikra 25), ‘And one shall not oppress his fellow and you shall fear your G-d.’” Hurting someone with words is worse than cheating someone in business, for the funds derived from monetary cheating can be returned to their rightful owner while one cannot return the angst one has cause another by verbally hurting him. The Gemara (ibid.) states, “Rav Chasda said: All gates are locked besides for the gates of (verbal) oppression.” This means that when one cries to Hashem as a result of pain caused to him by others, Hashem shall heed the cries of the oppressed.

The Gemara adds that one should be especially careful regarding oppressing a convert and we are warned about…

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Parashat Shemot

Sefardi Beit Sefer

Parashat Shemot

January 3, 2013 | posted in: Parashat ha-Shavua | by orot.com → 75 Comments

”L’Exil de la Parole”

“Exile of the Word”

Bezalel Naor

Parashat Shemot

Shovavim Tat

We begin this week a special period in the Kabbalistic calendar known as “Shovavim Tat.” This is an acronym for the Torah portions that we will be reading during this time span: Shemot, Va’era, Bo, Beshalah, Yitro, Mishpatim, Terumah, Tetsaveh.

The meaning of the Hebrew word “shovavim” is “naughty,” as in “Return naughty children” (“Shuvu banim shovavim”) (Jeremiah 3:14). According to the Kabbalists of old, this is an especially propitious time to return human seed scattered by nocturnal emission.

But this “tikkun” or fixing of souls may be taken to more abstract levels. In the heyday of the East-European Hasidic movement founded by Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, the great Hasidic “maggidim” or preachers would wander from town to town…

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Yahrzeit Candles and Torah Study

Sefardi Beit Sefer

Question: Is there any source for lighting a candle on the day of a parent’s Yahrzeit (anniversary of death)? Can this custom be fulfilled by turning on an electric light or candle?

Answer: A source for lighting a candle in honor of the deceased is mentioned in the Gemara (Berachot 52b) where the Mishnah states that the “Boreh Me’orei Ha’esh” blessing recited on Motza’ei Shabbat may not be recited on a candle of a deceased person. Rashi (ibid. 53a) explains: “Any deceased person who is a respectable person and a candle is usually lit during the day in his honor, even if this candle was lit on Motza’ei Shabbat, the blessing may not be recited upon it, for such a candle is meant for honor and not in order to illuminate.” Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (OC, Chapter 298, Section 12) rules likewise.

The Orchot Chaim writes: “Rabbeinu Asher writes…

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Praying Shacharit Early

Sefardi Beit Sefer

By Popular Demand: When is it permissible to begin praying Shacharit? Many individuals must arrive at their places of work at a very early hour in the morning and would like to know when the earliest possible time to pray Shacharit is.

Answer: Preferably, the time to pray Shacharit is from sunrise and on. This time is printed in many calendars. There is, nevertheless, an extra special Mitzvah to pray Shacharit at the moment the sun rises, as the verse states, “They shall fear you with the sun.”

Preferably, one should not begin praying until sunrise. Nevertheless, if one prays Shacharit before sunrise, if this was done after dawn which is calculated as seventy-two seasonal minutes before sunrise, one has fulfilled his obligation. However, if one prays before dawn, one has not fulfilled his obligation since this time is still allocated for the Arvit prayer.

Any reference to “prayer” or…

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The Proper Order of Prayer for a Workers’ Minyan

Sefardi Beit Sefer

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In the previous Halachawe have explained that one should preferably not pray Shacharit before sunrise. Nevertheless, workers who must arrive at their jobs early in the morning and do not have an opportunity to pray after sunrise may act leniently and pray beginning from dawn which is calculated as seventy-two seasonal minutes before sunrise. Since many people have asked inquired about this, we shall now delineate exactly how to behave when pressed for time.

Clearly, one cannot stand and recite the Amida prayer immediately after dawn, for one must don Tefillin and recite thePesukei De’Zimra and Keri’at Shema before reciting the Amida prayer. The Mitzvot of Keri’at Shema and Tefillin can begin being fulfilled only from dawn. Thus, practically speaking, from the time one begins praying Shacharit, one will only arrive at the Amida prayer approximately half an hour after dawn. This becomes very difficult for some individuals…

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