Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Explaining My Flippancy Yesterday About Reciting Parshat Haman


Yesterday, I gave a somewhat flippant basis for the inyan of saying parshat Haman, specifically yesterday, Tuesday parshat Beshalach. Why?

To repeat the email I got:
Reb Mendel M'Riminov said that saying Parshas Ha'monn (Shneyim Mikroh V'Echod Targum) on Tuesday Parshas B'Shalach, is a Segulah for Parnasah (Which is today, Tuesday Jan. 30. This is a special prayer that is supposed to help one get a good living financially.
Why be flippant, when it apparently has a basis in Yerushalmi Berachot (couldn't find it our girsa, perhaps someone can point it out in the comments).

The famous Yerushalmi basis is that כל האומר פרשת המן מובטח לו שלא יתמעטו מזונותיו, or perhaps כל האומ' פרש' המן בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא, ושאין מזונותיו נחסרין. (The first is Mishna Berura, which also is talking about the practice of saying it every day.)

We find mention of this in Seder Rav Amram Gaon:
(Wikipedia: Amram Gaon (Hebrew: עמרם גאון) (d. 875) was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura (Persia) in the 9th century. He was the author of many Responsa, but his chief work was liturgical.)

In the Maamadot, he mentions initially that one says parshat HaMan every day.
ביום ראשון קורין בראשית ברא אלהים וגו', עד ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד.
נביאים כה אמר האל ה' בורא שמים וגו', עד בטרם תצמחנה אשמיע אתכם +ישעיהו מ"ג, ה' - ט'+.
פרשת המן בכל יום ויום ויאמר ה' אל משה הנני ממטיר לכם וגו', עד והעומר עשירית האיפה הוא +שמות ט"ז, ד' - ל"ו+.

And indeed, for each day he mentions that one says Parshat HaMan. E.g.:

ביום השלישי קורין בתורה מן ויאמר אלהים יקוו המים וגו'. עד ויהי בקר יום שלישי +בראשית א', ט' - י"ג+.
נביאים. ויקנא ה' לארצו וגו'. עד ולא יבושו עמי לעולם +יואל ב', י"ח - כ"ז+.
וקורא פרשת המן. וענין הקרבנות ואיזהו מקומן כמו שכתבנו למעלה. התמיד פרק שלישי, מן אמר להם הממונה וכו' עד גמירא. וקורא עשרת הדברים.
כתובים. מזמור לאסף אלהים נצב וגו' +תהלים פ"ב+. כמו שכתוב לעיל: וקורא אין קדוש כה' כי אין בלתך, וקורא פטום הקטורת. הלכה, ונשלמה פרים וכו', כמו שכתוב לעיל כל הענין עד הסוף.


He ends all this with:
סליק פרקא סדר מעמדות.
זה המנהג הנכון לנהג היחידים אנשי מעשה. והצבור אין נוהגין כן, שלא יתבטל איש איש ממלאכתו אשר המה עושים, ומקצרין ואומר אחר סיום, קדיש. חזק.

This is thus a custom of some to say every day.

The practice of saying parshat HaMan is also brought down in ספר תשב"ץ קטן סימן רנו, where we find:
ירושלמי כל האומר פרשת המן בכל יום מובטח הוא שלא יתמעטו מזונותיו ואני ערב:

Also, in ספר המנהיג הלכות שבת עמוד קעב:
ירושל' כל האומ' פרש' המן בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא, ושאין מזונותיו נחסרין.

This thus appears to be a fairly old custom, with a few differences:
1) Rather than just Tuesday of parshat Beshalach, it is every single day. We get quite a break here that we only need say it once a year!
2) It does not seem that they read it with shnayim mikra veEchad Targum for it to be effective. Rather, it is part of davening, like the seder haKorbanot, and the Aseret haDibrot, etc. Do you say the Korbanot with Shnayim Mikra veEchad Targum?
3) Rather than helping one get a living financially, it appears to be to maintain one's living. Perhaps one can nitpick on this last point.

I would guess, though I have no source, that the idea of Shanyim Mikra veEchad Targum of this is either someone interpreting korei as this, or else because usually, we do not say parshat haMan, and now, in parshat Beshalach, we encounter it in Shnayim Mikra veEchad Targum, which we should be learning through anyway. Indeed, I would guess that it started as encountering it in Shnayim Mikra, and they said, "Hey! We should make sure to say this, because we have this Yerushalmi."

In Eretz Yisrael, meanwhile, they had a three year cycle, so they would not have encountered parshat Beshalach every year where the Yerushalmi was composed.

What about theologically? I'm generally uncomfortable with these segulot which appear to be magic incantations, particularly those that one says at a specific (apparently propitious) time. But, I should stress, this is likely as not a result of my Ashkenazic upbringing.

How do I make sense of the Yerushalmi? I take Mishna Berura's explanation seriously about all these things, e.g. saying Ashrei every day: {I'm bolding certain parts, but read it all.}

משנה ברורה סימן א ס"ק יג

פרשת העקידה - קודם פרשת הקרבנות. ויכול לומר פרשת העקידה ופרשת המן אפילו בשבת. ואין די באמירה אלא שיתבונן מה שהוא אומר ויכיר נפלאות ד' וכן מה שאמרו בגמרא כל האומר תהלה לדוד ג' פעמים בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן עוה"ב ג"כ באופן זה. וטעם לאמירת כ"ז כי פרשת עקידה כדי לזכור זכות אבות בכל יום וגם כדי להכניע יצרו כמו שמסר יצחק נפשו ופרשת המן כדי שיאמין שכל מזונותיו באין בהשגחה פרטית וכדכתיב המרבה לא העדיף והממעיט לא החסיר להורות שאין ריבוי ההשתדלות מועיל מאומה ואיתא בירושלמי ברכות כל האומר פרשת המן מובטח לו שלא יתמעטו מזונותיו ועשרת הדברות כדי שיזכור בכל יום מעמד הר סיני ויתחזק אמונתו בה' ופרשת הקרבנות דאמרינן במנחות זאת תורת החטאת כל העוסק בתורת חטאת כאלו הקריב חטאת וכו':
"The parsha of the Binding {of Yitzchak} -- before the parsha of the sacrifices. And one is able to say the parsha of the Binding and the parsha of the Manna even on Shabbat. And it is not sufficient with mere saying, but rather he must understand what he is saying and and recognize the wonders of Hashem. And so too that which they say in the gemara that anyone who says Ashrei three times every day is guaranteed that he will be a resident of the world to come, in this manner {that is, not an incantation, but understanding and appreciating this}. And the reason for the saying of all this is as follows: the parsha of the Binding is in order to recall the merit of the forefathers every day, and also to humble his yetzer, just as Yitzchak was moser nefesh. And the parsha of the Manna is such that he will believe that all his food {/livelihood} comes through special Divine direction {hashgacha pratis}, as it is written {and understood midrashically} "and the one who took more did not end up with more and the one who took less did not end up with less," to teach that increasing effort does not help at all. And it is found in Yerushalmi Berachot that anyone who says the parsha of the Manna {others have here: every day} he is guaranteed that his livelihood will not decrease. And the {saying of the} Ten Commandments is in order to recall every day the standing by Mt. Sinai, and his faith in Hashem will be strengthened. And {the reason for reciting} the parsha of the sacrifices is because of what we say in Menachot: "Zot Torat HaChatat -- Anyone who engages in the {learning of} Torah of the Chatat is as if he sacrificed a Chatat {sin offering}, etc."
Thus, this is not a magic incantation, but rather a mechanism by which one realizes certain facts about the world and reinforces his emuna. The repercussions of such an internalization of these ideas will be all these great things.

Meanwhile, the saying of parshat HaMan, once a year, on a specific day, is most certainly presented as a segula, and thus is not in consonance with the Mishna Berura's explanation.

Which is also why I made reference yesterday to the lecture at Lander College in another post, yesterday. Once again:
LANDER COLLEGE FOR MEN WINTER SERIES: Living Ethical Life

ETHICS IN THE WORKPLACE - Saturday night, Feb. 3, 2007, at 8:30 PM

Given by: Rabbi Yosef Viener - Rav, Agudas Yisroel of Flatbush
Franklyn Snitow, Esq. -Senior Partner, Snitow, Kanfer, Holzer, Millus
Michael David - Director, Deutsche Bank

Lecture given at: Lander College for Men
75-31 150th Street
Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Lectures free of charge and open to men and women
One natural consequence of this shift in perspective, that all comes from Hashem, is a motivation to behave ethically in the workplace. And doing so is a great segula.

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