15

The midrash in Sh'mot Rabbah (2:5) offers some explanations: Why fire? To inspire him with courage so that when he comes to Sinai later he is not afraid of the fire.1 Why a thornbush? R' Yehoshua b. Karchah said: to teach that no place is devoid of God's presence, not even a thornbush. R' Eliezer said: just as the thornbush is the lowliest of all trees in ...


14

The laws of a home fire on Shabbat are discussed in Shulchan Aruch OC 334. In a case where there is a fire which is not even possibly a danger to human life, one may not extinguish it on Shabbat. Moreover, by rabbinic decree one may not remove his possessions from the house, lest he become overwhelmed, forget that it is Shabbat, and come to extinguish the ...


13

A home on fire is a danger to life. You can, halachically, do very nearly anything necessary to preserve human life, including violating all the Shabas or yom tov prohibitions, and thus including calling an emergency number or doing what you can to extinguish the fire. The second it takes to grab your keys or wallet is a second of risk, which would mean you ...


12

This is a matter of dispute in the Mishna Oholos 2:2. Rabbi Eliezer says one quarter kav worth of ash does transmit impurity, whilst the Sages say it does not transmit impurity at all. Rambam (Hilchos Tumas Meis 3:9-10) rules like the Sages.


10

Moses was involved in calling down fire from Heaven during the plague of hail in Egypt. Exodus 9:23-24 : (See the entire chapter for more details of the story.) "So Moses stretched forth his staff heavenward, and the L-rd gave forth thunder and hail, and fire came down to the earth, and the L-rd rained down hail upon the land of Egypt." "And there was hail,...


9

While the Karaites interpreted this verse to mean that no flames may be burning on the Sabbath at all, the traditional Rabbinic interpretation (see Mechilta 35:3) is that fire may burn on the Sabbath so long as it was lit beforehand. No fuel may be ignited on the Sabbath (including, for example, pouring more oil into a burning lamp). (See at length Ibn Ezra'...


7

With thanks to Danny Schoemann who pointed me at a reference to what I’d remembered without a source. Here is how the Torah describes the tabernacle altar (Shemot 27:8): נְבוּב לֻחֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתוֹ; כַּאֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָה אֹתְךָ בָּהָר, כֵּן יַעֲשׂוּ׃ Hollow with planks shalt thou make it; as it hath been shown thee in the mount, so shall they make it. ...


7

Deuteronomy (33:2) states: וַיֹּאמַר, ה' מִסִּינַי בָּא וְזָרַח מִשֵּׂעִיר לָמוֹ--הוֹפִיעַ מֵהַר פָּארָן, וְאָתָה מֵרִבְבֹת קֹדֶשׁ; מִימִינוֹ, אשדת (אֵשׁ דָּת) לָמוֹ. And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came from the myriads holy, at His right hand was a fiery law unto them. (...


5

וַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד The word בתוך can either mean "inside of", or "among". An example of the former is Genesis (9:21): "And he uncovered himself inside his tent" וַיִּתְגַּל בְּתוֹךְ אָהֳלֹה An example of the latter usage is Genesis (23:10): And Efron sat "inside" (i.e. among) the sons of Ches. וְעֶפְרוֹן יֹשֵׁב ...


5

Rashi says God appeared in a thornbush to show He was sharing the Jews' pain.


5

The proximity of gas lines to all modern homes makes every major fire a hazard for the entire community. One who is stringent on safek Pikuach nefesh should be blessed!


5

R' David Luria says that it means physical fire. However, he points out two conflicting Midrashim. One says that physical fire was created on the first day of creation, and the other says it was created on Motzei Shabbat. He therefore questions this statement of the Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer. Were it not for the Ramban authenticating this version of the ...


5

I would assume it means "the same normal fire as known as fire by flesh-and-blood humans today."


5

The Spoken Law recorded in the Talmud gives many more details of prohibited labor on the Sabbath than what you'd see in a strict literal reading of the verse. Moses commands the people to keep the Sabbath, and then to build the Tabernacle. The Talmud concludes that any act of physical creation used to build the Tabernacle is prohibited "work" on the Sabbath. ...


5

Google is your friend! The COR, Chabad, the OU, and the Star-K say you can light a burner from a pilot light on yom tov.


4

The Torah says "what is consumed by all people" is work that can be done on yomtov. The Biblical prohibition on "burning" is in fact not in force on yomtov (i.e. "no-work" holidays other than Yom Kippur, when not on Saturday), provided it's for the right cause (more below). But creating a new fire is a separate problem of "generating", which is a rabbinic ...


4

When I was an EMT I lived in a place where there were many Jews in the rescue squad. The local rabbis told us to arrange a rotation which ensured that there was always someone to answer calls but that we didnt have more people than we need. I would say that Jewish firefighters should try not to be on-call on shabbat but if they need to respond to life ...


4

Without addressing your specific examples, the answer is: Yes, you can say a bracha on burning incense, but only once the pillar of smoke rises up from the burnt spices (Shulchan Arukh OC 216:12). You say whatever blessing you would have said on the spices themselves (ibid. :13).


4

All utensils in the Mikdash had multiple copies. It's an explicit Mishna in Chagiga - last Mishna (3:8), actually: כל הכלים שהיו במקדש, היו להם שניים ושלישים; אם נטמאו הראשונים, יביאו השניים תחתיהן.‏ So they surely had a few large containers and they could use them all if needed. As to why they covered the coals? As you said, you don't want anybody ...


4

It might be a chilul Hashem for all the reasons expressed in the comments above. But it might be more than that. Rav Soloveichik believed the Israeli flag has the Halachik status and Holiness of a murdered Jew’s clothing, and shouldn't be desecrated. Rav Soloveichik (mentioned in ‘Nefesh Ha’Rav’) says that there is a section in the Shulchan Aruch that ...


4

Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 298:4) writes: וכן אם (ב' נרות של שמן או של שעוה וחלב מקורבים זה לזה עד שאורותיהם מדובקים יחד הרי זו אבוקה שהרי יש כאן ריבוי מאורות ביחד אבל אם אין אורותיהם מדובקים יחד הרי כל נר נחשב בפני עצמו אע"פ שהם מקורבים זה לזה אלא אם כן) קלע ב' נרות של שעוה זה על גבי זה ועשאן נר אחד (שאז) דינם כאבוקה (אף אם אין אורותיהם מדובקים יחד כיון ...


4

The torah tells us that God spoke out of the fire in Devarim 4:36: מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁמִיעֲךָ אֶת-קֹלוֹ, לְיַסְּרֶךָּ; וְעַל-הָאָרֶץ, הֶרְאֲךָ אֶת-אִשּׁוֹ הַגְּדוֹלָה, וּדְבָרָיו שָׁמַעְתָּ, מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ. Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice, that He might instruct thee; and upon earth He made thee to see His great fire; and thou didst ...


4

I found some answers online for this -- I will excerpt: 1. The issues are essentially the same with regards to Havdala [as with Shabbat candles], and many authorities rule that one may use an electric light in place of a Havdalah candle in a time of need (see She’arim Metzuyanim Be-Halachah 96:6; Az Nidberu 8:2; Rivevos Ephraim 3:599). In fact, it is ...


4

The Mishnah Berurah 154:56 writes that one should not use a ner from the bais kenesses to light a tobacco pipe, but one may use a yartzeit candle to do so. The Piskei Teshuvos 514 brings this source as well that one can use a yartzeit candle for their own personal needs when necessary. So according to these opinions it would be permissible to take fire ...


3

The Talmud (Yoma 45a) quotes a baraita as interpreting this "placing of fire" to mean starting the fire by kindling little wood chips1: רבי יוסי הצתת אליתא מנא ליה נפקא ליה מהיכא דנפקא ליה לרבי שמעון דתניא (ויקרא א, ז) ונתנו בני אהרן הכהן אש על המזבח לימד על הצתת אליתא שלא תהא אלא בכהן כשר ובכלי שרת דברי ר' יהודה אמר לו רבי שמעון וכי תעלה על דעתך שזר קרב ...


3

I think the common Midrashic interpretation was that each hailstone had fire within it. (That's the way it's illustrated when taught to kids.) Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan translates instead as "hailstorm", and one other tweak: "fire" means lightning. We thus have a phenomenon that ever-so-slightly bends the laws of nature, rather than breaks them: With lightning ...


3

First of all, the specific language of what you've heard, that "as the berachah on the havdalah candle is made..." is not necessarily correct; either the bracha should be before the checking, or the fingernail-checking should be done before the blessing, but not at the same time. (As to which one comes first: R. Moshe Feinstein, in Igros Moshe O.C. 5:9 ...


3

Nitey Gavriel (Hilchos Yom Tov Cheleck Aleph, end of Chapter 20) quotes many poskim permitting "gram m'avir" on Yom Tov; see footnote 42 there.


3

The Rambam (Shevisas Yom Tov 4:1) writes that the reason one may not kindle a new flame on Yom Tov is because one could just as easily do it beforehand. We find a similar idea with various Yom Tov related rabbinic prohibitions, such as cutting hair on chol hamoed, which one may not do because one could just as easily do it beforehand, and allowing people to ...


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