|The Profundities of Torah-Behar-Priority Meal|
|Written by HaRav Yochanan Zweig|
“The Sabbath produce of the land shall be yours to eat...And for your animal and for your beast that is in your land...” (25:6,7) During the Sabbatical year, the Torah renders all produce of the land ownerless. The verse teaches us that the owner is permitted to take from the produce for his own and his animals’ needs, provided that he allows equal access to everyone else as well. The Torah says “lachem” - “for you” prior to “livhemtecha” -“for your animal”, placing the owner’s consumption before that of his animal. This appears to contradict the halacha taught by the Talmud that before partaking of a meal, a person should first feed his animals.1 A similar question is posed by Reb Naftali Amsterdam in Parshas Chukas where Hashem instructs Moshe “Speak to the rock so that it may bring forth water and give drink to the assembly and their animals.”2 Why are the people given water to drink before their animals?3
If a person has only one portion of food, there is no question that
With the understanding that feeding an animal prior to its owner is only applicable when the owner owns the food, and not when someone else is providing it, there may be grounds to question a ruling made by the Magen Avraham. The Magen Avraham asks why Rivka gave Eliezer water to drink prior to his animals. He concludes that a person is required to feed his animals first only in regard to eating, and not drinking.4 Since Rivka was providing Eliezer with the water. Therefore, her responsibility was to the person first and not his animals, and no distinction between eating and drinking is necessary.
.1Berachos 40a .2Bamidbar 20:8 .3Binyan Ariel ibid .4Magen Avraham ,167:18See Torah Temimah Bamidbar 20:8for explanation of Magen Avraham
May a person respond to Borechu if he has not heard the Chazzan’s recitation? If at least nine people have heard the Chazzan’s recitation of Borechu it is permissible to respond. He may not, however, respond if all he hears is the Chazzan’s repetition of the congregation’s response. If the Chazzan recites Borechu in a low voice and fewer than nine congregants hear him, a person should not respond. At least ten people, including the Chazzan, must hear the Borechu for the congregation.