Prologue: On the sixth day of Creation, after G-d created man, the Torah
records that "G-d saw everything that He made - Vehinei Tov Meod - and
behold it was very good." G-d saw the completeness, the harmony that
united everything that He had created. The Midrash interprets this verse
to mean that both the Yetzer Hatov, man's good inclination, and the Yetzer
Hara, man's evil inclination, are part of the complete goodness of this
world. How can the evil inclination be included in the statement, "Tov
Meod"? After all G-d does not foist evil upon man?!

In explaining the Midrash, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt"l, taught that
everything G-d created was good, not evil. When man makes use of the gifts
G-d set forth on the earth in their proper manner, they are good. But when
we take those gifts to the extreme, when we aren't satisfied with good and
try to make them very good, they can become evil. Man's physical desire to
eat is good and necessary; but when he goes to one extreme or the other,
either gorging himself or fasting, he plays into the hands of the Yetzer
Hara. In all avenues of life, when we overdo or overeat or overreact, when
we turn Tov into Tov Meod, we turn ourselves over to the Yetzer Hara.

The Rambam, in describing the Eitz Hadaas  - The Tree of Knowledge that
knew good and evil - explains that the knowledge the tree offered was the
gamut of human emotion and drive, giving man the potential to either do
the will of G-d or to go against His will. Rav Soloveitchik  noted that
emotions, like other avenues of life cannot run rampant. To sanction such
behavior is to sanction excessive hate and self-abuse. Still, The Torah
requires us to control our emotions, not to squelch them. In mourning, we
express sadness, but when Shabbos or the holidays arrive, we are required
to limit our expressions of grief. The Torah commands us to regulate
feelings of love, hate and sorrow. Emotions are only noble when
controlled. If we use this potential wisely, we will learn when to say
when, practicing moderation in all areas of life and insuring that we
strive for Tov and do not chase after Tov Meod.

Moderation is one of the themes that is essential to Shabbat and Menucha.
We enjoy Oneg Shabbat but "V"HaGila B'raada." The Oneg too, works within
the realm of moderation. This week's Chaburah deals with a Shabbat issue
integrally connected with issues of moderation. It is entitled:

Holding the Applause

The Mishna in Beitza (36b) notes that one may not clap or bang
one's hand on his knee nor may one dance for purposes of Simcha or song.
This seems to be based upon the Takanna of Shema Yitaken Kli Shir (Lest he
fix a musical instrument - see Eruvin 104a) is an outgrowth of the Melacha
of Makeh B"Patish (striking the final blow)(See Rabbeinu Chananel, Rif,
Rosh, Meiri and Raaviah). The Talmud allows one to clap his hands with a
Shinui though.

The Rema (Orach  Chaim 339:3) notes that in his day people did
clap and dance and no one attempted to stop the people. He adds that this
is a result of the principle of Mutav She'Yihu Shogigin (it is better for
people to sin without intent than to inform them and have them sin on
purpose). He adds (in the name of the Tosafos, Beitzah 30a) that many
allow this practice today since we are not experts in fixing instruments
and are not likely to be able to do so. However, the Aruch Hashulchan
(O.C. 339:8) strongly differs with this additional position of the Rema.
After all, many ARE able to insert and tighten a loose string on a violin.
Many ARE able to replace a broken reed on a wind instrument. Why then, are
we not concerned with Makeh B'Patish? Additionally, since when to we rid
ourselves of a Mitzvah D'Rabbanon (especially a Gezaira) on the basis of
lack of ability?

Tosafos explains that we DO find examples of Gezairot that are
limited to a particular moment in time. For instance, the rules of Gilui
(open barrels of water) were relaxed once the fear of poisonous snakes was
relaxed. The Beis Yosef adds that the Talmud specifically notes the reason
for the prohibition against Gilui. Once that reason was not applicable,
neither was the Gezaira (See Taz O.C. 339:3).

However, earlier exception to the position of the Rema must be
taken. After all, the Talmud (Yoma 19b) notes that if the Kohein Gadol
were to begin to fall asleep on Yom Kippur night, the young people would
snap an extra snap in order to wake him up. Why would the snapping be
allowed and not clapping? The Beis Yosef (O.C. 339 Ksav Od HaRambam)
quotes the Terumas HaDeshen (62) who cautions against applying the answer
of Ein Shevut B'Mikdash (Rabbinic decrees did not apply in the Beis
HaMikdash) since if that were to be the reason, it should have been stated
in the text. This leads the Terumas HaDeshen to suggest that it is ok to
clap on Yom Kippur in general in circumstances that are not akin to

It should be noted that the Beis Yosef himself takes exception to
the Terumas HaDeshen here and feels that he had no right to deviate from
the Rambam (Hil. Shabbos 23:4) who specifically forbade clapping on
Shabbos. He specifically notes that the question from Yoma 19b can be
answered by citing the above referenced Ein Shevut B"Mikdash (See Kessef

The Biur Halacha notes that when the clapping is being done in
order to wake a person, there is no beat and it would be Mutar. The Aruch
Hashulchan notes that since most of the clapping today does not follow
formal patterns of musical beats, that clapping too, would be mutar.
Accordingly, one could clap during Zemiros or Hakafos without a problem.

Shut Az Nidbiru adds that based upon the Biur Halacha (and the
parallel Mishna Berurah who allows banging a spoon on a glass for silence
since it is not "Kli HaMiyuchad L"Kach), it would also be permissible for
people to applaud a speaker or an award on Shabbos (This is also the
opinion of  the Yalkut  Yosef). Hence, on Shabbat, one need not hold his