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Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin


Sent April 30:


Reminder to please say Tehillim for the three Shevuyim:


Eldad Ben Tova

Ehud Ben Malka

Gilad Ben Aviva


Special Note One:  Chazal teach that Sinas Chinam is the basis for our current Galus (See Yoma 9A).  The Torah in last week’s Parsha of Kedoshim teaches us “Lo Sisna Es Achicha B’Livovecha--you shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Vayikra 19:17).  In order for us to better understand this Issur, we provide a special teaching from the wonderful Sefer Torah Treasury by Rabbi Moshe Lieber, Shlita (Artscroll, p.302).


“The term ‘Sinas Chinam’ is usually translated as ‘causeless hatred’.  The term does not refer exclusively to hatred with absolutely no cause because almost all hatred has some basis.


“HaRav Nisson Alpert, Z’TL, explains as follows.  When people are hurt, they often suppress their feelings.  Whether out of fear of confrontation or a sense of bravado, they refuse to try to work things out with the person who caused them their pain.  Instead, the animosity to that person grows stronger.


“Had the person made an effort to reach an understanding with the one who hurt him, the hatred would have never reached that level.  The extra hatred is ‘chinam’--it came about for no good reason.”


Let us take this penetrating yet practical lesson to heart and try to eliminate and avoid Sinas Chinam in our lives right now and in the future.


Special Note Two: Two additional notes on “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Komocha”:


  1. A Holocaust Survivor (Mr. Landau from Hungary) relates how he and hundreds of others were on a train bound for Auschwitz towards the end of the war.  The train stopped abruptly when Allied bombs started to fall around it, and everyone was ordered to disembark and take cover.  A Nazi supply train stopped at the same location as well, and the enemy soldiers scattered for cover.  The bombing stopped and the prisoners were ordered back on the train.  In the upheaval, Mr. Landau found a crate of sardines on the supply train and brought it back with him to the Auschwitz transport.  As all the prisoners alighted back onto the train, he handed them each a can of sardines which the hungry captives began to eat with zeal.  The Nazi soldiers came back on the train and noticed many Jews eating the sardines.  They asked the prisoners who had given them the cans, and no one replied.  The soldiers surprisingly left the train, and Mr. Landau’s life was spared--because instead of hiding the cans for himself, he had shared them with as many people as he could.  Chazal (Vayikra Rabbah 34) teach that “more than the wealthy person does for the poor person, the poor does for the wealthy”.  This last story is a similar indication of how the proper fulfillment of loving another as yourself did more for Mr. Landau than it did for the others on the train--for it actually saved his life.


  1. The following is brought in Growth Through Torah (p. 282).

Rabbi Chaim Koldetzky related to his family how he was once a guest at the home of the Chofetz Chaim.  The Chofetz Chaim personally made the bed for him and prepared his pillow and blankets.  Rabbi Koldetzky was startled to see that after preparing the bed, the Chofetz Chaim laid down on the bed for a few seconds to make sure it was sufficiently comfortable for his guest!


As we go through the day with the various acts of Chesed we perform for acquaintances, friends, and family, let us remember to take the extra step(s) necessary to elevate the level of our Mitzvah to a degree that Mr. Landau, or even the Chofetz Chaim, would be proud of!


Sent April 27:


Shatnez Alert:  Hakhel received a Shatnez Alert regarding a ladies’ “Betty Jackson Studio” suit manufactured in Turkey and purchased in England, at TK Maxx.  The content label of the suit listed its content as 70% Acrylic, 14% Polyester, 14% Wool, 2% Other Fabrics.  Upon checking, it was revealed that the “other fabrics” included linen and that the garment was considered Shatnez.


The lesson here is that garments listing “other fabrics” should always be checked.


For more information on this or other Shatnez matters, please contact the International Association of Professional Shatnez Testers at (732) 905-2628 or by email at shatnezhedqtrs@yeshivanet.com.


Kashrus Alert:  Don’t get your hopes up!  General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal is NOT OU certified.  Any Lucky Charms boxes that you find with an OU should be brought to the store manager as they are labeled incorrectly, and are being recalled.


Special Note One:  We have been advised that one is free to send as many correspondences as he may wish to the President relating to Jonathan Pollard, and that the President takes each correspondence into consideration.  Every correspondence, then, becomes a separate Mitzvah on your part.


Special Note Two:  On the mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Komocha”, one reader provided the following important input:


“When I tell a friend about a particular tz’aar or illness, I am sure to say ‘lo aleichem’--that this trouble or misery should not befall them.  Conversely, when I receive a Bracha from someone, I am always careful to say at the very least ‘V’Chayn l’Mar--may you be blessed in kind, as well.’”


Special Note Three:  In yesterday’s Bulletin, we wrote that one must rise when an elderly person comes within four amos of where you are sitting (it being then evident that you are standing out of respect for him).  We additionally wrote that one should remain standing until the elderly person has passed from in front of you.  A reader pointed out that it is the opinion of the Vilna Gaon (in his gloss to Shulchan Aruch) that one should not sit down until the elderly person is at least four amos away from where you have stood up.  Another reader referred to the Sefer HaChinuch on this Mitzvah (in this week’s Parsha), who writes that the reason we stand for the elderly is because they have, over the years, developed a greater understanding of Hashem’s wonders in the world!


Special Note Four:  The Torah in this week’s Parsha (Vayikra 19:3) states that “a person must fear his mother and father and observe the Shabbos.”  Why does the Torah relate the honor of parents to Shabbos observance?  Although there may be several answers to this question (see e.g., Rashi and Sifra there), Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz, Shlita, a scion of the great Novordaker dynasty, suggests the following wonderful approach:  When it comes to Shmiras Shabbos, one cannot be too busy, too involved in something else, too taken, to do what he has to do in order to observe, and not Chas V’Shalom, violate, the Shabbos.  Indeed, when Shabbos arrives, one cannot say he needs “just another five minutes” or that “he will turn on the fire just a little bit later” because he is too busy now.  So too, when it comes to our parents (especially elderly parents), no matter how busy one is--even if he is the busiest person in the world, ONE CAN NEVER BE TOO BUSY TO HAVE TIME FOR HIS PARENTS.

Every person must apply this great insight to his own circumstances.  Your parents are like your Shabbos.  This is what the Torah instructs.


Special Note Five:  This week’s Parsha begins by teaching us that we should be holy--“Ki Kadosh Ani Hashem Elokaichem” (Vayikra 19:2)--you shall be holy, for I am holy….  It behooves us, then, to further sense, to further appreciate, the sanctity of Hashem.  The Kaddish (Holiness) Prayer, which is recited so many (approximately ten) times in Shul daily, and is so holy in and of itself, that it requires a Minyan for its recitation, describes the feelings we should have for the Kedusha of Hashem in the World.


With this in mind, we provide a card in both Hebrew and English (please click the links), which explains the entire Kaddish, phrase-by-phrase.  This is a recent monumental work, prepared by Rabbi Meir Birnbaum, Shlita, author of the Pathway to Prayer series (in Hebrew, the Kuntrus Avodas HaTefillah).  The Hebrew version of the card received the approval of HaRav Chaim Kanievski, Shlita.  For laminated copies of the card, or for any comments, you may call Rabbi Birnbaum at 973-778-8536.



One final thought, as we are instructed to be “Kedoshim” by our Parsha this Shabbos, let us pay special attention to, and try to instill just a bit more additional spirit of, Kedusha …into tomorrow’s Shabbos Kodesh!



Sent April 26:


Special Note One: Each one of us is urged to write a personal letter to President Bush, as often as possible, which conveys a SHORT, SIMPLE, AND STRAIGHTFORWARD MESSAGE:


April 26, 2007


President Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington D.C. 20500



Dear Mr. President:


Please pardon Jonathan Pollard.


Mr. Pollard has served long enough. The time has come to free him.




You may, of course, add additional text if you wish. Please provide this form of letter to as many people as you can.


Special Note Two: In this week’s Parsha, we find the immense Mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Komocha” (Vayikra 19:18)--you shall love your fellow as yourself.  The scope and breadth of this “K’lal Gadol B’Torah--great principle of the Torah” (Shabbos 31A) includes the following situations which are listed in, or based upon, the teachings of Love Your Neighbor (by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, the wonderful work referred to yesterday).  The Mitzvah is fulfilled when:

  1. A craftsman or worker is mindful that he is making a product, or performing a service, not merely for a source of income, but also for the benefit or pleasure of the person who will use it;

  2. Teaching another person Torah;

  3. Forgiving one who has hurt or offended you;

  4. Helping someone by making change for a larger bill or coin, or giving them a quarter for the parking meter;

  5. Going out of your way not to keep people waiting--trying to be the first one present on a conference call or for a meeting;

  6. Intentionally steering clear of annoying others--such as not slamming doors, making screeching noises with your nails, or doing something to which another person present would respond with “Uch”! or “How could you do that?!”  Note here that the “L’Rayacha Komocha” is dependent on the person who is present, and is not the standard of the average person.  You must specifically relate to the person who is with you;

  7. Bringing good news or happiness to others;

  8. Getting some air or taking a walk with someone who appears troubled or is clearly in need of talking;

  9. Complimenting someone for their job, effort, or appearance; and

  10. Giving Tzedakah to someone, or helping someone with something he needs help with, **BEFORE** being asked.


In honor of this Mitzvah we are attaching our “Ahavas Yisroel Checklist”, which provides some practical suggestions and reminders on a daily basis.


After having read this Note, how about writing the letter on behalf of Jonathan Pollard right now, addressing the envelope, and reciting chapter 121 for Yehonasan Ben Malka?


Special Note Three: In this week’s Parsha of Kedoshim, we also find the great Mitzvah of “Mipnei Sayva Takum…” (Vayikra 19:32)--In the presence of an elderly person shall you rise, and you shall honor the presence of a Sage....


The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 244) rules that one must rise if a person over the age of 70 (even if unlearned, but provided he/she is not wicked) enters within your 4 amos (i.e., within 6-8 feet of you).  One should remain standing until he/she has passed from in front of you.  Respect does not only consist of rising, but also includes respectful words and a helping hand (ibid. 244:7).  Let us take a moment to reflect upon our diligence in the performance of this Mitzvah as it may apply in our own homes, in the homes of friends and relatives, in Shul, in doctor’s offices, and in the various situations that may present themselves to us throughout the day.  Let us also thank Hashem for giving us the opportunity to be in their presence (and having the opportunity to learn from them, if applicable)--and making it a Mitzvah on top of that!


Additional Note:  Some opinions hold that the minimum age to which respect must be accorded is actually 60 and not 70.

Ahavas Yisroel Checklist

The Mesilas Yesharim (end of Chapter 19) writes, “Hakodush Boruch Hu only loves those who love their fellow Jew, and the more one increases his love for fellow Jews, the more Hakodush Boruch Hu loves him. [We note the incredible statement of the Alter of Kelm (Kisvei HaSaba MiKelm page 13) that with V’ahavta L’reacha Comocha one can be m’kayem thousands of mitzvos a minute because for every single Jew that one loves, he is m’kayem a separate Mitzvas Aseh.  (Also see Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’Avoda 1:7-8).]  Many have asked—How can I properly fulfill the Mitzvas Aseh of V’ahavta L’reacha Comocha—How can I love someone else as much as myself?  Must I buy another a pair of shoes whenever I buy one for myself?  Rav Eliyahu Lopian Z’tl provides an incredibly practical guideline: The Mitzva is: Do for others what you would want them to do for you; and do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.  This it the formula to apply in all of your life’s encounters (Lev Eliyahu, Beraishis, page 253).  Using this as your guideline,the following is a list of practical ideas for a person to grow in the great mitzva of Ahavas Yisroel:


1.                  Did you say hello to at least one person before they said hello to you?

2.                  Did you make someone smile or laugh today?  Did you boost someone’s spirits?

3.                  Were you truly happy to hear good news about a friend?  Even if you wish that the same good news would happen to you?

4.                  Did you judge someone favorably today?  Did you see people positively—or did you sum up their lifestyle, pros and cons, with one glance of the eye?

5.                  How often did you find yourself talking about someone else?

6.                  Did you actually do any of the following:

a.       Visit a sick person

b.      Help the needy in some way

c.       Invite a guest without family in town for a Shabbos meal

d.      Patronize Jewish products and stores

e.       Help a single person find a Shidduch

f.        Sincerely ask Hashem to bring the Geulah for all of us 

(This checklist is based largely on a checklist developed by N’shei Ahavas Chesed of Brooklyn.)




One of this week’s Parshios, Kedoshim, contains 51 mitzvos.  We present below several important notes from Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita (citations and sources presented there have been omitted-please refer to this wonderful Sefer directly for further detail):


  1. Parshas Kedoshim begins with the words “Daber El Kol Adas Bnei Yisroel--speak to the entire congregation of Bnei Yisroel.”  The Chasam Sofer comments that to attain holiness one need not be isolated and withdrawn from the rest of society.  On the contrary, the Torah’s admonition here to be “Kedoshim--to be holy--was especially stated in front of the entire congregation. A person must learn how to sanctify himself by behaving properly amongst people!


  1.  “Lo Sa’ashok” (Vayikra 19:13)--the prohibition of withholding money.  In order not to be guilty of withholding someone’s wages, or payments due to a worker, you should always reach an agreement about payment before he begins doing the job.  Failure to decide on a price in advance usually leads to arguments later on, with the results that both sides feel cheated.  The Chofetz Chaim’s son wrote that his father would not ask someone to do any work for him without first reaching an agreement as to all the details of the job, including the price.  If for some reason they could not settle upon a price before hand, the Chofetz Chaim would pay whatever the worker later requested.


  1. “Lo Sikallel Chayreish” (Vayikra 19:14)--it is forbidden to curse even the deaf who are unable to hear the curse, all the more so is it forbidden to curse people who are able to hear.  Saying to someone “G-d should punish you” is a violation of this prohibition.  Note that it is considered using G-d’s name even when the name is not in Hebrew.  Although using G-d’s name constitutes a more serious offense, it is nonetheless forbidden to curse someone without using G-d’s name as well.  For example, it is forbidden to say “Drop d - - d” or the like to someone.


  1. “B’Tzedek Tishpot Amisecho” (Vayikra 19:15)--you shall judge your fellow man with righteousness.  In Yerushalayim, there is a group that regularly discusses practical ways to judge people favorably.  A member of the group gives true-to-life situations, and everyone else offers explanations that would present the person involved in a favorable light. For instance:

  1. You did not receive an invitation to a wedding.  Possibilities:  A. Perhaps the person was under the impression that he had already sent you an invitation B. Perhaps he sent it to you and it was lost in the mail. C. Perhaps he cannot afford to invite so many people.

  2. You are standing in a bus stop with a heavy load of packages, and a neighbor drives by in an empty car and does not offer you a ride. Possibilities: A. Perhaps he was only going a short distance. B. Perhaps he has already committed himself to pick up some other people. C. Perhaps he has a problem that weighed on his mind so heavily that he couldn’t think of anything else.

  3. You are hoping someone would invite you to his house, but he failed to do so. Possibilities:  A. Perhaps someone in his family is ill. B. Perhaps he is planning to be away from home. C. Perhaps he did not have enough food in his house.


  1.  “Lo Sisna es Achicha Bilvovecha” (Vayikra 19:16)--you shall not hate your brother in your heart.  The Chofetz Chaim writes that if someone has embarrassed or humiliated you, you should not hate him.  Although he has committed a transgression, he has actually rendered you a service--for when a person suffers humiliation in silence, it atones for any sins he may have.  The situation is analogous to that which someone prepared a hot bath for you.  Although it may cause you some pain, it will also cleanse you.  Keeping this thought in mind should prevent feelings of hatred from arising.  There is a proven method of changing someone’s feelings of hatred towards you.  You should consider him as if he were righteous and treat him favorably.  In a very short time, that person will begin to like you.  Ravid HaZahav interprets this verse, “You shall not hate your brother BECAUSE of your heart.”  You might have a warm heart and do favors for others.  Nevertheless, if your friend lacks this trait, do not hate him for it.


  1. *“Hochayach Tochiach Es Amisecho, V’lo Siso Alov Chait” (19:17)--you shall rebuke your fellow man, and you shall not bear sin because of him.  We are commanded to correct someone who behaves improperly, whether in matters pertaining to man’s relations with G-d or man’s relationship with his fellow man.


*The most important rule to remember about rebuke is that it must be administered with love and as painlessly as possible.  Only when the recipient of rebuke feels that the rebuker loves him, will he readily accept the admonition.


*Some people mistakenly think that the commandment to admonish others applies only to Rabbis and teachers.  But the truth is that every single person, even if he is unlearned, who sees someone behaving improperly is obligated to rebuke him.  Quite often the rebuke of a friend will be more effective than the rebuke of a Rabbi.  Some people might not heed the admonition of a Rabbi with the following rationalization: “If I were a Rabbi I would or would not do such and such.  But I’m just an ordinary layman.”  If, however, their friend rebukes them, they are likely to think to themselves: “If he is careful about this matter, then I should be, too.”  The author of the Noam Hatochocho writes that the mitzvah of correcting others is a Mais Mitzvah (a Mitzvah that is improperly ignored).  There are many Mitzvah observers who do not realize that correcting others is obligatory and not merely meritorious.  The severity of failing to correct others can be seen from the opinion in the Talmud which states that Yerushalayim was destroyed because the inhabitants failed to rebuke one another.  The Chofetz Chaim wrote that some people are careful to fulfill the commandments themselves, but never try to influence others to fulfill them.  In essence, they are saying, “I won’t suffer in gehinnom, so I don’t have to…..”  Such a person is selfish for he thinks only about himself and his own reward.  He shows a lack of feeling for Hashem’s honor and his fellow man’s spiritual welfare.  He is also wrong--for he will be held responsible for failing to perform this essential Mitzvah.


* When you rebuke someone, you must do so privately so as not to embarrass him.  This applies both when the matter pertains to his having wronged you, and when the matter pertains to his improper behavior relating to his obligations to G-d.


*If someone transgresses in public, you should rebuke him immediately so as not to cause a Chillul Hashem.  For example, if someone is in the middle of speaking Loshon Hora in front of a group of people, it is correct to point out his transgression immediately, even though other people are present.  Of course, this should be done in the most tactful manner possible (HaRav Eliashiv, Shlita).


*You must be very careful not to grow angry when rebuking someone.  Rebuke delivered in anger will not be heeded.  Even when you admonish your children or other members of your family, you should do so in a pleasant tone of voice.


*Before admonishing someone, offer a prayer that your admonition should be delivered in a manner that will be effective.


*If a person you have rebuked did not heed you the first time, you should continue to rebuke him as many times as necessary until he corrects his ways.  The Talmud says “Even a hundred times”.  The Chofetz Chaim gives an analogy to someone who sells apples from a stand.  He will keep calling out “Apples for sale!” the entire day.  Even if only one passerby in a hundred heeds his sales pitch, it is worthwhile.  This is his livelihood, and he cannot afford to remain silent.  The same is true of rebuke.  Of course, a person does not always effect a change in the recipient of his rebuke.  But even if he is successful only occasionally, it is worth his efforts.


*A person should feel love for someone who rebukes him.  A person is willing to pay a doctor for trying to heal him; how much more grateful should he be to someone who corrects his spiritual failings.


*If a whole group of people are in need of correction, you will be most successful if you admonish each person individually.  Speaking to the group as a whole will not have the same effect.


*If a person heeds you and improves his ways, all the Mitzvos he subsequently performs as a consequence of this reproof bring reward to you as well as the doer himself (Vilna Gaon in Even Shlaima 6:7).




Special Note One: We received the following beautiful thought from one of our readers:


“Chazal relate: ‘Shnaim Asar Elef Zugos Talmidim haya lo l’Rebbe Akiva v’lo nohagu kovod zeh bazeh--Rebbe Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students who did not conduct themselves respectfully with each other.’  Why do Chazal say that Rebbe Akiva had 2 times 12,000 talmidim?  Why not just say that he had 24,000 students that were not respectful to each other??


The answer may be that, of course, when they were all together in the dining room and one asked the other to pass the Corn Flakes, or when saying “Good Morning or “Good Night”,  they were all very gracious and answered with a smile.  But that’s not where the true test was.  The test presents itself when two chavrusos sit down for hours together and one comes up with a good “Kashe--question” or a “S’vorah--line of reasoning” that is enlightening--is it accepted graciously?  When one pours out his heart to the other about a difficult situation that he is going through is the other empathetic--or is his mind elsewhere?  The same is true in relationships between spouses, siblings etc.  Chazal here are not referring to dealings by and among acquaintances.  They are referring to the close relationships between “Zugos”, people close to each other, those we perhaps take for granted.  That’s the true test of “Noheg Kovod Zeh Bazeh”.


There are now only four (4) weeks left to the Omer…try to apply this lesson every day until Shavuos!


Special Note Two: What does Hashem really want?  Dovid HaMelech himself (Tehillim 147:11) writes “Rotze Hashem Es Yereiav…Hashem wants those who fear Him, those who **look out for His kindness**.”  From this Posuk, it is clear that, succinctly stated, Hashem would like us to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate that our entire existence is permeated and imbibed with His Chasodim--Kindnesses.  It is therefore no coincidence that, in another Posuk in Tehillim (26:3), Dovid HaMelech specifically relates “Ki Chasdicha L’Neged Aiynei--[I place] Your kindness in front of my eyes.”  Every so often during the day we should take a moment or two to recognize and express our appreciation for the multitude of kindnesses that Hashem is performing for us at that very moment--and try to tangibly feel and experience as many of them as possible.  Take the senses, for example.  Sight and the beauty of what you can see; hearing and the consequent words of Torah you can learn from others; smell and an appreciation of necessary nutrients entering your body in a pleasant way; walking with your feet, legs and hips in concert to Shul, to work and to help others; touching and being able to hold, push and move objects for the benefit of yourself and others.


Of course, this is only a cursory list of some of the immediate items around us.  As we have noted in the past, the beautiful prayer known as “Nishmas” which is recited on Shabbos, Yom Tov, on the night of the Seder, and by some at a Seudas Hoda’ah--a meal of thanks, contains the following moving words: “Were our mouth as full of song as the sea [is of water], and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitudes of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the breadth of the heavens, and our eyes as brilliant as the sun and the moon, and our hands as outspread as eagles of the sky and our feet as swift as hinds [deer]--we still could not thank You sufficiently Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, and bless Your name for even one of the thousand-thousand, thousands of thousands and myriad myriads of favors that You performed for our ancestors and for us… (Translation from the Complete Artscroll Siddur).


Each and every one of us is faced with concomitant daily, short-term, and long-term troubles, trials and tribulations, which may be or are very difficult and very real.  We should not, however, lose sight of all that we have to be thankful for.  Another sunrise, another day of life, is truly, in all reality, another opportunity to acquire everlasting eternity through the performance of Mitzvos and proper conduct in life.  As HaRav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita, recently related at a Hakhel Shiur in the name of one of his Baalei Batim--“My cup may be smaller than that of others--but it is still full!!”


When we realize that we have moments in which we can ponder a bit (or when we are reflective enough to create those special moments), let us think of the words of Nishmas cited above , and let us emulate the words of Dovid HaMelech (who went through so many trials and tribulations in his own life), as he declared to the world:  [I place] Your kindness  in front of my eyes!




Special Note One:  Yesterday, the 28th day of Nissan, marked the day that Yericho fell to the Hakafos and Shofar blasts (and not to the military prowess) of B’nei Yisroel.  It was none other than Yehoshua Bin Nun who composed Aleinu at that time in recognition of Hashem’s Omnipotence--and the thanks that we owe Him for our position in this world!  According to the Sefer Chareidim, as brought in the Siddur Rashban, Aleinu was actually recited forwards and then backwards by Yehoshua and Bnei Yisroel, and this was the final blow that caused the walls to fall in.  This Tefillah is so crucial to us that we recite it at the end of each of our daily prayers, and it is the essence of our Tefillos on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (where we additionally genuflect).  The Rema in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 132:2) writes that we should be careful to recite Aleinu with Kavanah each day.  Most certainly, this week--the anniversary week--we should be most careful to recite it from a Siddur, and with sincere reflections of thanks.


Special Note Two:  Chazal teach that on Pesach we are judged on “Tevua”--for the success of our crops.  The Gemara there reconciles the concept of judgment on Rosh Hashanah with the judgment that occurs on other days of the year, including Hashem’s judgment of our sustenance on Pesach.  In all events, at this time of year we recognize that Hashem is ultimately in charge of our Parnassa--and it is not our business acumen, gifted intelligence or ordinary or extraordinary efforts that bring about our success, or even the basic food on our plates, or clothes that we wear.  Just as Hashem took us from the Makkos to the Splitting of the Sea, Hashem also writes the script for our livelihood.  Thus, aside from pleading with Hashem three times daily in “V’Seyn Bracha” in Shemone Esrei for Hashem to provide us with prosperity, we may also demonstrate our absolute awareness of Hashem’s graciousness in another way.  From time to time, when we are thinking about how to be successful on a particular project at work, which investment to make, how to get a customer or client or some other monetary matter, you may want to consciously catch the thought and switch it to a D’var Torah, or think about a Mitzvah that you could perform.  This would affirmatively demonstrate that you fully and ultimately recognize, acknowledge and believe that it is Hashem who takes care of you in Olam Hazeh--and it is you who must take care of your Olam Habah.


Special Note Three:  The Tur (Orach Chaim 417) writes that each of the Shalosh Regalim corresponds to one of the Avos, with Pesach corresponding to Avraham Avinu, whose primary middah was Chesed (See Micha 7:20).  It is certainly no coincidence(as it never is) that Pesach, which symbolizes the Chesed of Hashem in redeeming us, is followed by the Holiday of Shavuos, which is represented by Yitzchok Avinu--and the Gevura of the study of Torah.  The message is clear:  We must first improve our acts of Chesed, in order to be worthy to receive the Torah on Shavuos.


The Mitzvah of escorting a guest out of our home is an act of Chesed which is greatly under-appreciated, to say the least.  The Chofetz Chaim (Sefer Ahavas Chesed 3:2) clearly writes that a guest is protected from harm if you escort him--and that if you do not escort him, it is “as if you shed blood!”  This ruling of the Chofetz Chaim is based squarely on the ruling of the Rambam (Hilchos Aveilus 14:2, 3).  The Chofetz Chaim (ibid.) additionally brings from the Rambam that escorting a guest is “the rule that Avraham Avinu himself established”, and that the reward for escorting is “merubah min hakol--greater than all.”  Although the S’MA to Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 427) writes that one need not escort guests for any specified distance, the Chofetz Chaim explains that it is definitely “assur”-forbidden-for a guest to be mochel the Mitzvah of Liviya--being escorted--by his host, and “cholila--Heaven forbid”--for one to suggest that one is free of this Mitzvah initiated by Avraham Avinu.  If one additionally helps show the way or assists the traveler in any other manner, the Mitzvah is even further enhanced.


PRACTICAL SUGGESTION:  Let us demonstrate an extra level of care and concern for all who visit our home by escorting them, and perhaps guiding them--enabling them to, B’ezras Hashem, have a safe trip.  Let us not forget to give our guests a final brocha (see Moed Katan 29A) of “L’Chaim U’Lshalom” as we take leave of them, as well!




In his commentary on Pesach, HaRav Dessler, Z’TL, writes that life is like a train ride in which one disembarks at stops along the way to replenish his provisions until he gets to his final destination. The stops include Shabbos, Pesach, and other similar special times and events. Similarly, the Ramban in his commentary to Shir HaShirim (8:3) writes that the way one demonstrates his love of Hashem is by attaching it to a particular mitzvah or act of accomplishment, so that it will go beyond mere thought and be actualized in real terms in this world.


In yesterday’s note, we provided one example of a Pesach lesson to get us to the “next stop”. We must recognize that the physical pounds that we may have gained over Pesach is symbolic of the spiritual weight which we really should have gained--and not shed--in the days and weeks after the Holiday. Accordingly, we provide the following additional clear lessons we all undoubtedly learned over Pesach, and some practical way to implement each one in our daily lives:


1.  Hakaras HaTov—Such as Moshe Rabbeinu recognizing the good that the earth, the water, and Basya Bas Paroh did on his behalf. There are also many examples--what we owe to the dogs, the donkeys--and even the Egyptians for being our hosts for so long.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Pick one person in your home or office and show him/her an added level of thanks or respect daily in recognition of what he/she has done for you, even if it was only a one-time act or event.


2.  Segulas Yisroel—Pesach was a “second creation” for mankind, as it not only established Hashem as the Creator of the world, but as Ongoing Supervisor of the world with B’nei Yisroel chosen as the nation to epitomize the purpose of man’s creation. The commentaries on the Siddur explain “Ata V’Chartanu M’Kol Haamim” as specifically referring to Hashem choosing to redeem us from Mitzrayim and giving us the Torah 49 days later. This explains why so many Mitzvos are “Zecher L’Yetzias Mitzrayim”--because they all emanate from this great choice--our eternal selection to be mankind’s crown jewel.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Do something daily--even if it is a Mitzvah--only because you recognize the gift and opportunity that Hashem has presented you with in being unique, special and different from all that surrounds you--for being that crown jewel!


3.  Hashgacha Pratis—Hashem’s care and concern for each individual member of B’nei Yisroel evidenced by such examples as thousands of children being saved from the king’s decree of death, by Moshe Rabbeinu being raised in Paroh’s palace, and B’nei Yisroel walking through Egyptian houses in daylight as just a few feet away Egyptians were enwrapped in such tangible darkness that they could not even move.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: At some time during the day, and really as often as possible, feel the Hashgacha Pratis, Hashem’s watching over you, in your daily life. There must be a reason that you saw a loose dog, that you met this particular person, or that you heard that D’var Torah.  Also, of course, remember to say “Baruch Hashem”, “Thank You, Hashem” or “Please Help Me, Hashem” quietly (or out loud) as many times as possible during the day.


4.  Reward and Punishment—The Egyptians who hid their animals in fear of Hashem were spared those animals.  Similarly, in reward for saying that “Hashem is righteous”, the Egyptians merited burial after their Yam Suf debacle. On the other hand, the Egyptians were punished in kind and in proportion to their level of cruelty and animosity expressed towards Bnei Yisroel, as is evidenced, for example, by the way each individual Mitzri died at the Yam Suf--some sinking quickly like lead, others being tossed as stones, and yet others being thrown about like straw.  Even those who were gleeful over our servitude, such as the bechorim (first born) of other nations, got their due.  May the same exact justice be meted out against each individual Nazi and each one of our past and present enemies, speedily in our days.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Before doing a Mitzvah, and prior to or while contemplating a possible Aveira, recognize that Hashem’s Justice is exact, accurate, and correct. When one is rewarded for davening with Kavannah, he will also be rewarded for coming to Shul in the first place, for arriving there on time, and indeed for every step of the way (instead of turning over in bed). On the other hand, when one is punished, every hurtful word will be counted, each mistruth will be weighed and every degree of Chillul Hashem and Kiddush Hashem will be accounted for.  As the Pasuk teaches (Devorim 32:4) “Hatzur Tomim P’Alo…”--perfect is His work, for all His Paths are just.  This is related to the incredible degree of middah k’neged middah (measure for measure) with which Hashem runs this world (as we learn when studying the precise nature of each of the ten Makkos).  Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 121:5) “Hashem is your shadow”--Hashem responds to us and it is up to us whether that shadow will be dark and gloomy--or illustrious and beautiful!!


5.  TEVA (nature)—The Makkos, the concomitant freedom of B’nei Yisroel from the Makkos, the miraculous growth of B’nei Yisroel (from seventy to millions of people) while in desperate servitude, the entire world’s viewing and experiencing of the miracles at the Yam Suf, all dispel the concept of nature and natural existence.  Pesach occurs in the spring not only because it made it easier for B’nei Yisroel to leave, but also for us to appreciate that what the world calls nature, is really the Hand of Hashem.  It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for nature, or Teva, consists of the same letters as “Tava”, which means to drown, referring us back to the Sea, to teach us how ‘natural’ events really occur.  It is not surprising, then, that we do not eat Chametz on Pesach, which represents nature taking its course on flour and water, but instead use Matzah, which demonstrates control over what would otherwise occur.  The Ba’alei Mussar explain that we must take this lesson and exercise control over our own nature, for the more we do so, the more we will overcome the physical forces of this world, and raise ourselves from the impurities surrounding us, up and towards the 49 levels of purity that we must begin to strive for.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: When we see something that looks like a beautiful or even frightening element of nature, recognize that it is really the Yad Hashem, and have it serve as a reminder to you of Hashem’s control over every aspect of the world’s existence--and that you, too, must control your nature and elevate your precious everyday life to the sublime and spiritual!




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