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Tuesday, December 27, 2005


To our visitors from Havel Havalim: thanks for stopping by. Please be sure to check out our archives before leaving. Besides the music of Modzitz, Carlebach and Twerski, we've featured the music of Yaakov Avinu, as well as Rav Yitzchak Hutner, Rav Kook, and Rabbi Nachman Bulman, to name but a few. Enjoy!

Upon looking up a certain Halacha about Chanuka, I came across an amazing Halacha about the Sanctity of Negina, right at the beginning of Hilchos Chanuka. It's in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 470:2.

There the Mechaber, Rabbi Yosef Karo, says, "The multitude of meals [or food served] [on Chanuka] are Seudos Reshus, "optional meals", for [our Sages] did not establish them as "mishteh v'simcha" - feasts of joy. The commentaries explain that unlike on Purim, when there was a threat to our very bodies - the threat of physical annihilation, on Chanuka, the threat was to the soul. Therefore, on Purim, on needs to bring joy to the body - through food and drink, constituting a Seudas Mitzva - a feast that fulfills a rabbinical precept. On Chanuka, one need to bring the joy to the soul, and this is accomplished through Hallel, Hoda'ah, Zemiros, Shiros v'Sishbachos - Praise, thanksgiving and Song!

Then comes the amazing part. The Rama, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, adds the following to the words of the Mechaber: "It is customary to sing songs and praises at these meals, and then they become a Seudas Mitzva."

Think about that for a minute. By singing songs and praising Hashem during a "festive" meal on Chanuka, one can change a Seudas Reshus into a Seudas Mitzva! We see here the power and sanctity of Negina - that by combining it with a meal on the holiday of Chanuka, it infuses that meal with Kedusha [sacntity] and turns it into a Seudas Mitzva!

Chag Urim Sameach - Happy Chanuka, Festival of Lights - to all!!!

The Mishnah Brurah there makes an interesting comparison. A seudas erusin - a betrothal feast - is ordinarily a seudas mitzvah. But if the chassan is an am ha'aretz marrying the daughter of a talmid chacham, it is not. However, if they sing nigunim at that meal, it _does_ become a seudas mitzvah!!

Care to guess how _that happens?
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