Halacha for Tuesday 2 Iyar 5782 May 3 2022

One Who Increases Charity, Increases Peace-The Merit of a Mitzvah

The Gemara (Shabbat 156b) recounts an incident where astrologers told Rabbi Akiva that, based on the paths of the constellations and stars, his daughter was to be bitten by a snake and die on her wedding day. This caused Rabbi Akiva great distress.

On her wedding night, upon entering her room, Rabbi Akiva’s daughter removed a golden pin from her hair and stuck it between the bricks of the wall of the bedroom. In that exact place in the wall, a poisonous snake was hiding out, waiting to bite her. When she stuck the golden pin into the wall, she inadvertently stuck the pin into the snake’s eye, killing it immediately.

The next morning, Rabbi Akiva came to check on his daughter. As soon as she awoke and got dressed, she removed the golden pin from the wall and along with it came out the dead snake. It was only then that she realized the great miracle that she had experienced as a result of Hashem’s divine intervention. Rabbi Akiva inquired, “My daughter, please tell me what good deed you have performed.” She replied, “Yesterday, in the middle of my wedding celebration, I noticed a poor man enter the hall as you, father, were busy with the multitude of important guests who came to participate in the festivities and thus, no one paid attention to this pauper. I immediately got up from my place of honor and gave him my portion to eat and drink.” Rabbi Akiva exclaimed, “You are so fortunate to have performed this great Mitzvah which served to protect you and nullify the harsh decree that hovered upon you!”

Rabbi Akiva then expounded the verse, “And charity shall save from death”-Not only does charity (Tzedakah) save one from unusual deaths, it protects one from death in general, as the verse states, “One who pursues charity and kindness shall find life, justice, and honor.”

One must know that all Mitzvot protect those who perform them. Nevertheless, after some time, the merit of the Mitzvah weakens and does not protect as much. Indeed, the Tosafot (Baba Batra 9b) that even the merit of the Mitzvah of donating Tzedakah anonymously likewise has a limit and does not protect the individual for one’s entire life. Nonetheless, the saintly Ari z”l writes (see Nagid U’mtzaveh page 11a) that for any Mitzvah that an individual performs, the merit of the Mitzvah is inscribed on one’s forehead in the form of one of the letters of the Alef-Bet. This letter illuminates the forehead of the individual for a certain amount of time; however, after this allotted amount of time, the letter is absorbed into the individual’s forehead and vanishes while only the reward for the Mitzvah is kept for the World to Come. On the other hand, one who donates Tzedakah to the needy merits the letter “Tzadi” being inscribed on one’s forehead and remains illuminated for an entire week and it does not vanish like other letters reserved for other Mitzvot. Thus, the merit of the Mitzvah of Tzedakah protects one even when one is no longer involved in performing the Mitzvah.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach

Question: When the Chazzan recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation responds “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must one rise and bow or is this unnecessary? Answer: Regarding the obligation to rise while answering &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Which Vessels Require Immersion in a Mikveh-Continued

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic. ......

Read Halacha