Shelach: Who is an Apikores

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Who is an Apikores?


In this week’s parsha we read about the episode of the meraglim – the spies. At first, the meraglim were actually great leaders among the Jewish people, but sometime during their mission they changed focus and ultimately denied Hashem publicly. Interestingly, the episode of the meraglim is the source that a minyan requires ten adult men. We learn this through the Torah’s use of the word “toch”. Just as the word “toch” is used to refer to the ten meraglim it is also used in reference to devarim shebekedusha, teaching us that ten men are required Feature Shiur Parshas Shelach: Who is an Apikores? By: Rav Yaakov Rappaportin order to recite such prayers. The Igros Moshe (OC 1:23) notes that the meraglim were essentially kofrim, Torah desecrators. We learn from here that just as the meraglim were nevertheless counted towards a minyan, so too, we can also count Torah desecrators as part of a minyan.


This week’s journal will focus on numerous halachos regarding mumrim, those who are not properly Torah observant.

Click here  for this week’s Featured Audio Shiur by Rav Yaakov Rappaort:

Who is an Apikores?


Choshen Mishpat Chiddush

Purchasing Utensils from a Company Which is Mechalel Shabbos- Is Tevila Necessary?

Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlit”a


The Halacha is that any food utensil you purchase from a Goy you must “Tovel” in a Mikva before you use it. The question arises; what about a utensil purchased from an individual who is Mechalel Shabbos B’Farhesia? Rav Moshe Shternbuch (2:403) says that the Hungarian Poskim required tevila. The Chassam Sofer says that it is not necessary to tovel them since someone who becomes a Ger requires tevila but someone who becomes a Baal Tshuva does not. The Chasam Sofer reasons that the utensils of a Mechalel Shabbos should not be worse off than his body and therefore does not need tevila either.


Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that a distinction can be made that when someone becomes a Baal Tshuva we don’t want to remind him of his aveiros and therefore do not embarrass him by requiring him to go to a mikva whereas a Mechalel Shabbos who sells utensils we want to remind him that halacha requires us to act with him with all the stringencies as if he were an Akum and therefore we should require tevila for utensils sold by him.

Nevertheless, says Rav Shternbuch, we need not be machmir for other people since it is only MiDrabanan and most Jews have status of Tinok Shenishba and not Mechalalei Shabbos B’Farhesia. If one wants to machmir for himself he should only be Machmir on metal utensils.

Parsha Perspectives from the Archives: Parshas Shelach: Checking Out the Merchandise

Related Audios
The Obligation of Kiruv. By Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz

The Obligation of Kiruv

By Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz

The Halachic Status of Non-Observant Jews

The Halachic Status of a Non-Observant Jew 

By Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz

Ask the Dayan

Can an Inter-married Jew Count Towards a Minyan? 


The Shulchan Aruch (OC 54:11) says anyone who has committed aveirios can be counted for a minyan provided that he wasn’t excommunicated.  Adds the Pri Migadim that this applies only if the aveira was committed for sheer pleasure (L’Tei’avon) but if he committed aveiros spitefully (L’Hach’is) he cannot be counted.  


In the case of a Jew marrying a gentile, although this would be considered L’Tei’avon and he was not excommunicated, nevertheless says the Sridei Eish, he cannot be counted for a minyan since he deserves to be excommunicated.  The fact that today Bais Din does not wield the necessary power does not let him off the hook.  Therefore we view him as if he were excommunicated and exclude him. (Chashukei Chemed – Shabbos 116a)  


This responsa was added for awareness purposes only. Given the sensitivity of the matter. please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic.  One should consult a Rav, on a case to case basis, if the situation ever presents itself.


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