Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Pesach

There's a bizarre but typical situation currently unfolding on the lovely Greek island of Crete, where I am spending Pesach. The food is amazing, the resort is stunning, the views are extraordinary, and the Jews are arguing.

Of the approximately 250 guests at the program, about three-quarters are residents of Eretz Yisrael. My in-laws, Mordechai Ben-David, and a handful of others represent the American contingent. So what happens with Yom Tov Sheni?

Now, the Israelis all came with every intention of entirely ignoring Yom Tov Sheni. The less learned of them find the entire notion of Yom Tov Sheni extremely foreign (ba-da-bum! Thank you, I'll be here until Wednesday.) The more learned of them - including numerous rabbanim and talmidei chachamim - all planned to follow the teshuvah by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited in the sefer Yom Tov Sheni K'Hilchaso, explicitly discussing this scenario. Ordinarily, an Israeli spending Yom Tov abroad may not perform melachah on Yom Tov Sheni - at least in public. But places such as Daios Cove, where I am, are different. While there is a long history of Jews in Crete, the only Jewish community still extant (and they don't even get a minyan) is over a hundred miles away, at the other end of the island. In such a situation, rules Rav Shlomo Zalman, there is no reason for residents of Eretz Yisrael to refrain from melachah - even in the presence of people from Chutz l'Aretz. He states that this does not cause discord, since everyone understands that there is a mix of Israelis and chutznikim present.

But you can always count on Jews to cause discord!

The Rav supervising the kashrus at the resort follows Rav Wosner's psak for such a situation. He rules that if there is even a single Jew from Chutz l'Aretz present, the Israelis may not perform any melachah in public. Furthermore, the entire atmosphere must be one of Yom Tov Sheni. As a result, on the first day of Chol HaMoed, the Israeli minyan (with the majority of guests!) had to take place at the same time as the Diaspora minyan, and there was no food served until kiddush at 11am followed by lunch at 1.30pm - much to the annoyance of people such as myself, with small children who can't wait until that time to eat. Meanwhile, there were Israelis walking around the lobby dressed in a non-Chag manner, and renting cars!

But it was on Isru Chag that things really got weird.

The mashgiach kashrus insisted that the Israelis not wear tefillin in their own Shacharis minyan! He said that instead they have to put tefillin on surreptitiously in their rooms later during the day. The other rabbanim on the program, who were, shall we say, not exactly happy with this, instead organized a "secret" Shacharis minyan, for the majority of the guests, at a concealed location in the far end of the resort. Meanwhile, there are several guests checking out today, plenty of non-Yom-Tov activity in the lobby, and lots of Israelis riding the funicular (for those that are particular about the vernacular, a funicular is an elevator/cable car that rides up a slope).

It's a bizarre situation, and it's not clear what should be done. On the one hand, the mashgiach is presumably to be considered as the mara d'asra, and thus his psak should determine the situation. On the other hand, when the other rabbanim on the program (who are the ones with a public role, giving shiurim) follow Rav Shlomo Zalman, and the majority of guests have absolutely no intention of publicly refraining from melachah on Yom Tov Sheni, it's a little unrealistic to expect this to happen - and thus there effectively is no atmosphere of Yom Tov Sheni.

Well, as one of the guests has famously declared, someday we will all be together...

28 comments:

  1. The mashgiach kashrus insisted that the Israelis not wear tefillin in their own Shacharis minyan!

    Never understood the whole not putting tefillin on chol hamoed thing. Putting tefillin every day other than Shabbat and Yom Tov is a d'oriyta commandment isn't it? So how could this commandment be nullified / ignored? Who has the authority to do such a thing? Is this one of those kabbalistic things?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lets wait and see if the mashgiach reads your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Following up on your previous post, what did this fanatical Chareidi mashgiach serve everybody for maror? Did he insist on grated hroseradish?

    What did all the Chareidim on this trip use for maror?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Non chag clothes during chol hamoed? Is thus normal practice in your circles?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like a classic case of the policy begetting the opposite of the intended outcome of לא תתגודדו.

    n.b. I assume that RNS posted this blog with his curtains drawn tightly!

    ReplyDelete
  6. robert:
    It wasn't Chol HaMoed, it was Yom Tov (for the chutznikim).

    There is, in fact, a big machlokes haposkim if tefillin should be worn on Chol haMoed. It is not only based on the Kabbalah.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey, when this fiasco began on the second day of Pesach why didn't you guys resolve it to prevent Part II on the 8th day?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is clear from both
    Talmudim and it is the position of the majority of Geonim and
    Rishonim that one should wear tefillin on Hol HaMoed.

    But, all Ashkenazim, Temanim, and the majority of Sefaradim
    did put on tefillin on Hol HaMoed up until the period of the advent of Hassidut.

    My Rav, Rabbi David Bar-Hayim advocates putting tefillin on during Hol HaMoed (which is what I do) since he he is posek halacha in accordance with what he understands the Talmudim to be saying (plus he does not believe that the Zohar should be influencing halacha.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Actually, a rationalist would keep two days in chu'l no matter where he lived, and one in Israel no matter where he lived. Think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The word "But" at the beginning of the second paragraph of my post above should be omitted.

    ReplyDelete
  11. and there was no food served until kiddush at 11am

    Did the hotel serve Gebrochts? If not, how did you fulfil Kidush Bemokom Seuda? Did you wash for Kidush or is there some other solution?

    ReplyDelete
  12. He may be the mashgiach. You're a big boy who can carry his own freight. You don't have to follow his orders. Leave the whole Infallible Pope thing to the Catholics.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "But, all Ashkenazim, Temanim, and the majority of Sefaradim
    did put on tefillin on Hol HaMoed up until the period of the advent of Hassidut."

    Too bad the evil kabbalists burned all the sources to support your claim.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How is this different from visiting a town/shul that does not follow your minhagim? You voluntarily joined this program knowing there is a Rav overseeing it.

    Why didn't you just form your own minyan in private rooms?

    ReplyDelete
  15. You wrote:
    the mashgiach is presumably to be considered as the mara d'asra
    I am not sure this is the case. If I understand RSZA psak correctly, he believes that in such a case, there is no local minhag, and everybody can/should behave as if they are at home. If there is no local minhag, there cannot be a local rav/mara d'asra.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Considering that the only reason we keep 2 days חוץ לארץ is because מנהג אבותינו בידינו why should a חוץ לארץ keep 2 days in Israel since that wouldn't have happened in the days of אבותינו then the person would have only kept one day because he would have known which was the correct day since he was in Israel and vicar versa for an Israeli outside Israel

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's a bizarre situation, and it's not clear what should be done.

    It's entirely clear what should be done - get a different mashgiach next year :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well, this is 2011, you cannot be forced to follow anyone's psak, so let this mashgiach personally follow R.W. and have done with it.

    But it seems he did at least have the power over the lunch serving times, though. Peculiar. Why was one rabbi allowed to control the food this way? Isnt there a resort manager in charge? Instead of grumbling about some extremist rabbi's view, the Israelis should not have let him push his views on them in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We are here observing only the effect of the problem. The root of the cause is when Rabbis Auerbach, Zalman, Wosner, and others had failed to enlighten us as how to tolerant and have common respect for the differentiations of our fellow Jews in situations such as these.

    As stated in Noach 11:9 Rashi. In the generation of the flood the people had strife between themselves and Hashem brought upon them the great flood and destroyed them. But in the generation of the dispersion (Tower of Bavel) although they waged war against the Almighty, had yet conducted themselves with love and friendship and Hashem did not desroyed them. So we may learn from this that strife is detested and that peace is great.

    If seeing others observing Chol Hamoed while they are observing Yom Tov Sheni is found disturbing, then they never had their faith deeply rooted. Because they obviously feel that if they have to observe it, then everyone has to. A weakness of faith. Is it not?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Given that the Chacham Tzvi's logic (that the takana is not a difference in the customs of different communities but is a universal custom to observe 1 or 2 days depending on location) would seem to be irrefutable, you all should have observed 2 days of yom tom in Crete, even if that isn't what the Mechaber (and R. Shlomo Zalman, R. Wosner, R. Moshe, etc) says. And the Rav quoted his father in the name of Rav Chaim saying so, although he said one must also be choshesh for the opinion of the Mechaber l'chumra.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Considering that the only reason we keep 2 days חוץ לארץ is because מנהג אבותינו בידינו

    the gemara (beitza 4b) continues to explain

    זמנים דגזרי המלכות גזרה ואתי לאקלקולי

    So it is not ONLY because of the minhag, but rather minhag + reason provided. note: This is not to deny your question, and indeed I'm not answering it.

    I personally also see the forceful logic of the Chacham Tzvi's approach. Nonetheless, almost no chutznikim rely on it l'kula in Israel, so it is not surprising that Israeli's do not abide by it l'chumra in chu'l.

    Rabbis Auerbach, Zalman, Wosner, and others had failed to enlighten us as how to tolerant and have common respect for the differentiations

    Perhaps the fault lies with us and not the said Rabbis?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Since when is a Mashgiach a mara de-atra?

    Lawrence Kaplan

    ReplyDelete
  23. Rambam is fairly clear that what was once "just" a minhag was actually legislated midrabbanan so it became law.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "almost no chutznikim rely on it l'kula in Israel,"

    You need to meet more people. The numbers of those who keep one day (or a day and a half) in Israel is increasing. Many even eat chametz.

    "so it is not surprising that Israeli's do not abide by it l'chumra in chu'l."

    Easy to explain: It's "easier" not to keep chag, combined with the knowledge that the second day has been sort of outdated for more than 1600 years. (To put it in perspective, we've *had* a calendar for almost as long, if not longer, than we didn't.)

    ReplyDelete
  25. You hang out with weird people.
    At any rate, this is one of those rare situations where your "cherem" could be of advantage.
    Walk up to the fanatical mashgiach, loudly announce who you are and how you don't regret a single word in your book and then remind him that he has to skedaddle to avoid being near you. Once he's gone, announce to folks that they can do whatever they want.
    Solved!

    ReplyDelete
  26. "so it is not surprising that Israeli's do not abide by it l'chumra in chu'l."

    Easy to explain: It's "easier" not to keep chag, combined with the knowledge that the second day has been sort of outdated for more than 1600 years. (To put it in perspective, we've *had* a calendar for almost as long, if not longer, than we didn't.)


    The fact that we have a fixed calendar has not escaped chazal. Indeed, chazal fixed the calendar, yet they continued to respect yom tov shein shel galiyut - difficult or not. Why is that?

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Perhaps the fault lies with us and not the said Rabbis."

    We are taught by most right wing orthodox Rabbis that there is only one ruling and anything that deviates from said ruling is tantamount to sin.

    But the reality of it is, (for those who have such a Rabbi). One Rabbi puts forward a ruling and another Rabbi dictates an opposite ruling. And no one because of fear that the other is committing a sin, and being disrespctful to their own Rabbi's rulings will desire to tolerant the practice of different traditions in their presence.

    If the Rabbis would have included in each one of their rulings (yes - each one, because peace is great) the importance of tolerance and respect for those who differ and which shows even more so respect for the other's Rabbis. Only then would it be justified to say that the fault lies with us.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Nachum, I agree with you completely.
    1 day in Israel, 2 outside regardless of who you are.

    Makes the most sense because it's a teqana, firstly, NOT a minhag.
    In addition, everyone follows the same thing in the purest form of unity.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.