Note One:Chazal (Pesachim 118B)
teach that a person’s Parnassah is as difficult as Kriyas Yam Suf.Likewise, Chazal (Sanhedrin 22A) teach that finding one’s Zivug is
as difficult as Kriyas Yam Suf.What
is the similarity, what is the common denominator between and among Kriyas
Yam Suf, Parnassa, and a Zivug?The
commentaries explain that when the Bnei Yisroel were in front of the Yam Suf
they looked to their right and their left, to their front and to their back,
and saw no basis for a Yeshua whatsoever.Most certainly, the sea splitting was not within the realm of
possibility.Similarly, one may
look at his Parnassa and think that it is coming from this direction or that
direction, from this client, that customer, this referral, or that deal--and
then all or part of it may come from somewhere wholly unexpected.With a Zivug as well, one may believe that the Shadchan who knows him
very well, the family member dedicated to finding him a Shidduch, or the
close friend who has many contacts, will be the source of his Bashert--only
to find that it comes through an unexpected phone call from a friend in
another city.The common
denominator, the uniting thread, is that it may be difficult for us to fully
fathom that it is Hashem and only Hashem Who will provide the Yeshua--whether
at the sea, in Parnassa, or for the true Zivug, in a manner which He, and only He deems timely and proper, and through
the Shelichim whom He designates and selects.Whatever situation we are in--whether it be surrounded by Mitzriyim
and wild animals with a roaring sea in front of us, very much needing
Parnassa, or looking for our Zivug to finally come, rather than look to our
right or left, to our front and to our back--instead let us sincerely and
earnestly look steadily up--and may Hashem then send the Yeshua that each of
us need as beautifully and wonderfully as He did at the sea--during this
time of year!
Special Note Two:As we conclude the Geulah of Nissan, and move towards the Geulah of
Shavuos (which is the fourth Kos of Velakachti), we recall the words of
Rashi on an essential Pasuk that we may recite several times daily:
“Yimloch Hashem LeOlam Elokaich Tzion LeDor VaDorHaleluka”
(Tehillim 146: 10). There, Rashi comments “Yekayem Es Malchuso BeShemiras
Bonov.” Hashem views His Kingship in terms of us.
If we are guarded and protected, if we are happy, if we are successful, then
His Kingship is also successful and established. When we are
downtrodden and forlorn, Hashem’s Malchus is negatively impacted as well.
Thus, when we exclaim Yimloch Hashem LeOlam, we are asking for our
position to be elevated so that Hashem’s Malchus can be fully and
appropriately established. We should certainly take comfort in the
fact that Hashem’s position in the world works together with ours, and
that our roles can improve together!
Additional Note: In many of our Tefillos, we recite “Elokeinu
V’Elokei Avoseinu--our G-d and G-d of our forefathers.”
Chronologically and from a perspective of honor and respect, it would appear
that we should first begin Elokei Avoseinu -and then--V’Elokeinu.
Perhaps the lesson to us is that without first recognizing and establishing
our own personal and close relationship with Hashem, the relationship Hashem
had with the Avos is not really so relevant. When we recite the Bracha
of Go’al Yisroel--Who redeemed Yisroel (after Kriyas Shema in the morning
and evening), we recognize that Hashem redeemed our forefathers in the past,
and can/will therefore redeem us again in the Ultimate Redemption Bimheyra
BeYameinu . However, when we recite the Bracha of Go’el
Yisroel (in Shemone Esrei three times daily), we proclaim that Hashem
can/will and is redeeming us directly in the here and now. In
this last day of Chodesh Nissan, let us bli neder commit to work on
intensifying our personal relationship with Hashem, so that His Malchus, and
His Geulah, is personal to us as well. We can begin by concentrating
on the Pasuk of “Yimloch Hashem LeOlam” when recited in our
Tefillos, as well as by reciting the Bracha of Go’el Yisroel--Hashem is
redeeming me-- with special recognition and intensity--at least
for the month of Iyar--connecting the Geulah of Nissan to the Geulah of
Three:As we are in the midst of
the Sefira period in which we are careful to practice important Minhagim
relating to the period, we remember that the students of Rebbi Akiva were
Niftar during this period for not according the proper respect to each
other.Accordingly, in order to
work on improvement in this area in this especially propitious period, we
provide the notes below excerpted from the outstanding and highly
recommended resource Guide To Derech Eretzby Rabbi Shaul Wagschal, Shlita (Targum/Feldheim).Even if one knows many or most of the points below, and even feels
that he is ‘pretty good’ with them, it is essential that we not only
know them or study them--but conscientiously work
on themas well:
1.Derech Eretz can
be defined as a type of behavior that will be acceptable by one’s society
and which is geared towards making
people happy, as the Mishna [in this week’s Perek] states: “Which is
the proper path one should choose?One
that is pleasing to the one who performs it and is pleasing to others” (Avos
2.The Maharal writes that one must offer greetings even to a willful
transgressor of sins--otherwise the sinner will wrongly conclude that the
Torah advocates scorning ignorant
people. This in effect profanes the name of Hashem.
3. Mesechta Derech Eretz describes
the degree of humility one should strive to achieve: ‘‘One should be as
the threshold upon which everyone treads, and as the peg which people use
for hanging objects” (Derech Eretz Zuta, ch. 1). This means that
one is obligated to tolerate others--even if they do not consider him worthy
of respect. The Midrash adds, “Be lowly before everyone, especially before
members of your household.... Be as the threshold upon which everyone
treads, for eventually the house will collapse, but the threshold will
remain untouched” (ibid. ch. 3).
4.Tolerance leads to peace and to new friendships, and precludes anger.“A pious man was once asked, ‘To what do you attribute people’s
affection for you?’He
answered, ‘Because I always consider other people to be better than I.” (Orchos
Tzaddikim, Shaar Haanavah).
5.It is told that one of R. Yisrael Salanter’s disciples once
complained to him that his efforts to do chessed for his wife were
not appreciated by her. R’ Yisrael responded, “Know that performing an
act that you think is beneficial for your wife, or giving her something that
you think she is lacking, is not yet considered chessed; rather,
chessed is the performance of an act that she
considers beneficial, and the giving of something that she feels she is lacking.”
6.One is obligated to do chessed for a person he dislikes before
doing so for a person he loves. It is questionable whether a person whom one
dislikes takes precedence over one’s relative (Ahavas Chessed, sec.
1, ch. 4).
7.It is stated in Mesechta Derech Eretz Zuta (ch.
5): “A person should not be awake amongst those who are sleeping, nor
sleeping amongst those who are awake; cry amongst those who laugh, nor laugh
amongst those who cry; sit amongst those who stand, nor stand amongst those
who sit. In general, a
person’s behavior should not be at variance with other people’s
behavior.” This idea is derived from Moshe Rabbeinu’s example, as R.
Tanchum Ben Chanilai said: ‘A person should not deviate from the
custom--Moshe ascended to the Heavens and he did not eat bread; the angels
descended [to visit Avraham Avinu] and they did eat bread’ (Bava Metzia
86b). This concept has halachic ramifications. The Mishnah states: “In
a city where the custom is to work on Erev Pesach until , work may be performed. In a city
where the custom is not to work, work may not be performed....But one should
not deviate from the local custom if this will lead to dispute” (Pesachim
50a).The reason for this
ruling, that a visitor is obligated to preclude dispute by conforming to
local custom, is that people are not able to tolerate ideas and customs
different from their own, and such differences can lead to dispute.
8.Chazal teach: “’Love your friend as yourself’ is a general rule
throughout Torah”(Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:4). Through his love for
others one will refrain from causing them physical or emotional pain; in
fact he will work for their benefit and behave towards them with derech
eretz. Orchos Tzaddikim writesthat it is possible to
train oneself to feel love for people. This
can be achieved by fulfilling the following codes of behavior:
Speak gently. If someone embarrasses or misleads you, do not reciprocate.
Share other people’s burdens and refrain from increasing their suffering.
Never conduct heated arguments with others. Welcome
everyone joyously and with a friendly facial expression, since a friendly
expression strengthens bonds of love.
Soothe people who feel worried or angry.
Honor others, both verbally and through your actions. Never
act in a haughty manner with anyone; instead, yield to the will of others.
Refrain from passing judgment on others; instead, look for the merit in
other people’s actions.
Conduct all transactions honestly.
Strive to benefit others, not to benefit from others.
Extend help to others, both physically and monetarily. Refrain from
Avoid speaking in a derogatory manner about others, and refrain from
listening to others speak negatively about people.
Note:Perhaps one can consider
reviewing the above nine pointers (A-I) at the beginning or end of his
day--to motivate him or see how he fared.
9.Although the obligation to carry on friendly relations with one’s
neighbor is great, one must not visit a neighbor too often, since overly
frequent visits will eventually cause the neighbor to dislike the visitor. Concerning
this idea, the verse says, “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s
house, lest he will be weary of you and dislike you” (Mishlei 25:17). Rashi
explains that just as eating an overabundance of honey makes one feel like
vomiting, so, too, frequent visits causes the host to revile the visitor. Metzudos
David writes that love between people increases when they are absent
from each other, whereas overly frequent visits have the opposite effect.
Moshe Rabbeinu, we learn how far Derech Eretz extends. Before
accepting upon himself the commandment to go to Mitzrayim and redeem the
Jewish people, Moshe Rabbeinu said to Hashem, “Master of the Universe! I
cannot fulfill Your commandment, since Yisro welcomed me and opened his door
to me, and I am as a son to him. A
person who is shown hospitality is eternally indebted to his host.” Thus,
Moshe refused to embark on his journey without first receiving Yisro’s
permission. From this we learn that one act of derech eretz takes
precedence over the redemption of the entire Jewish People!
you don’t receive the thanks for something that you believe you
deserve—what is a possible message or lesson for you?
The Sefer Tallelei Oros brings from the following “Eitzah Ne’emana” (Trustworthy Advice) taught by the HaRav Leib
Chasman, Z’tl in the Sefer Ohr Yahel: “ If one finds himself c’v
in a tzara, he should take a neder to not satiate his desire in a particular
manner which is otherwise permissible to him, and with this he will be
assured of a having obtained a ‘zechus gadol’ with which to be
saved....” Hakhel Note: HaRav Chasman is not requiring unrelenting
abstinence--he is advising to select something permissible and simply not
satiate oneself with it--because you--and not your Yetzer Hora--are in
charge of your life! ----------------------------------------------------------
MASHAL OF THE WEEK: The Ben Ish Chai raises the following
question. There are ten birds on a roof. A hunter shoots and
kills four of the birds. How many birds are left on the roof?
In fact, the Ben Ish Chai
writes, there will be four birds left on the roof, because the other six
would have flown away because of the gunshot fire. The analogy he
draws is to money that a person spends in this world. The money that
is well-spent on Mitzvos and Ma’asim Tovim flies nowhere--it will remain
with the person forever and ever. On the other hand, money improperly
spent or squandered flies away and has no everlasting--or even
lasting--relationship with the person. Let us take the Ben Ish
Chai’s thought a step further. How could money which appears to be a
purely material, Olam Hazeh kind of item be transported into Olam Haba?
HaRav Aaron Kotler, Z’tl, teaches that the “Kedoshim Ti’heyu”
required by last week’s Parasha is not the holiness of Malochim or of
people who separate themselves from others, but rather it is elevating the
materialism of Olam Hazeh to Kedusha of Olam Haba. Money, then,
becomes an invaluable resource--a source of Kedusha for our Olam Haba--all
based upon how we use it in this world. To some, money is a source of
evil. To others, it is a necessary evil. To us, however, it is
and should be a source of eternity. Every dollar for a Mitzvah, every
check for Tzedaka is a fulfillment of a Kedoshim Ti’heyu--which
will last forever!
Special Note One: Let
us take a step back to Pesach for a moment. Rabban Gamliel Rabinovich,
Shlita, makes an outstanding observation regarding the Pesach Seder--which
is truly a bold and important lesson for daily living. The Seder
teaches us that there is a seder, an order, to things. If we follow
the Seder as we should, then in the end everything is Nirzah--accepted and
we sing into the night. However, not everything starts out happy--we
begin as slaves, and we experience shame and degradation, physically and
spiritually. We even eat a portion of Marror. But, if we do what
we are supposed to--we will be zoche to a special Yom Tov Shulchan Orech and
its joy-filled aftermath. Olam Hazeh is not meant to be a fountain of
delight or a wellspring of contentment. It is meant to be a place
where we learn our lessons and grow from them--where we shape our lives for
eternity. Success begins and is measured through effort, dedication,
commitment and strength of character. The bitterness may be there in
different ways--as pure Marror, sandwiched with something else (Korech), and
will have some Charoses to take out some of the sting...but, we must
recognize and believe that all of this is only a purification agent that is
needed for only a short period of time--it is as transitory as a passing
thunderstorm--in light of the permanent sunshine of Olam Haba that will
succeed it. During the rest of the year we go straight to Shulchan
Orech--but we should not be fooled. It is the order of the Seder night
which puts our lives into perspective. You may have a lot of questions
to ask through the course of the Galus night --but if you follow through the
order and succeed to conclusion--you are guaranteed to come out singing--and
with all of the answers.
Note Two: As we move towards Kabbalas HaTorah, we provide the following
enlightening words of Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni to Mishlei 4):
are 248 Mitzvos Aseh in the Torah and 248 limbs of the body—for each limb
reminds and cries out to the person ‘perform the Mitzvah-so that you will
live in its merit, and also merit length of days; there are 365 Mitzvos Lo
Sa’aseh in the Torah corresponding to the 365 days of the solar year—for
each day from the time the sun rises and until it sets, it reminds us and
cries out—I direct you not to do an aveira today, which could tip the
scales against me and the whole world c’v
to chovah—in the wrong direction....”
us take an important moment now to look at our hands, our arms, our
legs—they are Hashem’s messengers to us reminding us to stay focused, do
right, and keep the world going. Every so often we should gaze at these
‘Chofetz Chaims’ of which we are composed—reminding us to fulfill our
mission in life on a daily basis.
we can look at the sun for a brief moment or even at the light it sheds—it
is talking to us--communicating essential, life-bearing advice--Please,
please, no-- don’t go there…don’t say that…close your eyes and
don’t look… don’t hurt that person with what you are about to do….
If you squint when you are outside on a sunny day, it is not a
coincidence—it is merely a stronger message.
has blessed us with reminders within us and around us—they are like alarm
clocks gently sounding for us throughout the day— and they will only be
ineffective if we turn them off. Incredibly, when we heed their message and
do this Mitzvas Aseh here, and avoid that Lo Sa’aseh there--when we
throughout the day consciously use Hashem’s gifts for Chazal’s stated
and noteworthy purpose, we bring not only life and length of days to
ourselves in this world and the next—but life to the entire world as well
—for which the sun and the rest of Ma’aseh Bereishis will be so
Special Note One:
Today, the 28th day of Nissan, marks the day that Yericho fell to
the Hakafos and Shofar blasts (and not to the military prowess) of B’nei
Yisrael. As noted on Erev Shabbos, 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 B’nei Yisrael, 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) especially writes that we should
be careful to recite Aleinu with Kavannah each day.
It is certainly no
coincidence—as it never is—that Aleinu was composed so soon after
Pesach, as it reflects so many of the lessons to be gleaned from those
special days---Thanks to Hashem for choosing us as His people; Awareness of
Hashem not only as Creator but in Hashgacha Pratis on a daily basis; Ain
Od Milevado…and our longing and prayer for the final Geulah. If you
start today to daven Aleinu only from a Siddur, or to be sure to have
special Kavannah when reciting it for all of the essential yesodos of Emunah
it contains (actually found in the plain meaning of the words), or to make
sure that it takes you at least a minute to recite because you are not
swallowing the words and you are paying attention to them, bowing down more
properly or with thought…or any other improvement—then you will always
remember the anniversary of your improvement—the anniversary of
Special Note Two: We had received the following beautiful thought from one
of our readers:
“Chazal relate: ‘Shenaim Asar
Elef Zugos Talmidim Haya Lo L’Rebbi Akiva V’lo Nohagu Kavod Zeh Bazeh--Rebbi
Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students who did not conduct themselves
respectfully with each other.’ Why do Chazal say that Rebbi 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 Kavod Zeh
There are still five (5) weeks left to the Omer…try to apply this lesson
every day until Shavuos!
Special Note Three: In honor of the Mitzvah of V’Ahavta
L’Reiacha Kamocha, we once again provide our “Ahavas Yisrael
Checklist”, which provides some practical suggestions and reminders on a
Did you say hello to at least one person before they said hello to you?
Did you make someone smile or laugh today? Did you boost someone’s
Were you truly happy to hear good news about a friend? Even if you
wish that the same good news would happen to you?
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?
How often did you find yourself talking about someone else?
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
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.)
Note Four: We continue an exciting Monday/Thursday series on the
practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita,
author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals The Answers To All
The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin,
Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.
For a fuller treatment of
all topics to be discussed, we urge you to purchase the Sefer, which
provides practical and meaningful information and ideas.
Many people preparing to purchase Tefillin wonder whether it is
appropriate to spend more money on battim or parashiyos.The
Mishnah Berurah wrote: I
have seen God-fearing men spend large sums of money on their tefillin.
They purchase their battim from a craftsman who produces aesthetically
pleasing battim, which are mehudar in all respects. Praiseworthy is their
lot. More importantly, though, one must be concerned with the tefillin which are inside, i.e. the parashiyos. The sofer must
take care to write all the letters in accordance with halachah, including all the details and hiddurim. For this, the
sofer must be well-versed in the laws pertaining to writing the letters and
must work patiently, for if even one letter is not written in complete
accordance with halachah, it
can invalidate the entire pair of tefillin.
The Mishnah Berurah
was attempting to impress two points upon the reader:
1) What is inside the tefillin is no
less important than what is on the outside.
2) What is inside actually has many
more potential issues, problems, and ultimately, pesulim
It seems that the Mishnah Berurah
did not actually mean to suggest that one ought to spend more money on parashiyos
than on battim. Rather, he was merely addressing a lack of concern
about the purchasing of parashiyos which he sensed was prevalent in
The Mishnah Berurah certainly
felt that one must make every effort to obtain the best parashiyosandbattim (and retzuos) possible.
In reality, there is no reason to spend
“more” on one than the other. Just buy good parashiyosand
QUESTION OF THE
WEEK--ABOUT HAKHEL! At the outset of Parashas Kedoshim, Rashi writes thatthis Parasha
was said ‘B’Hakhel’ because
so many essential Torah teachings are contained in it. The difficulty with
this Rashi is that it is apparent that only Parashios from Chumash Devarim
were recited/taught at Hakhel (see SeferHaChinuch Mitzvah 612). What does
Rashi mean when he writes that this Parasha was taught ‘B’Hakhel’?
Special Note One:We
continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
A. We are advised that this Shabbos, which is the day that Shlissel
Challahs are served, is the day that some Chassidic masters waited until
before they consumed Chometz after Pesach. The Shlissel Challah would be
their first Chometz! What is the concept of Shlissel Challah? In The Book of Our Heritage (the excellent English translation of the Sefer
HaToda’ah), Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Z’tl, writes as follows: “In some
communities, it is customary for the Shabbos on which we announce the
approaching month of Iyar that sesame seeds are sprinkled on the top of
Challahs in the shape of a key. This serves as a reminder of the Mon that
began to fall from heaven in Iyar, as well as a reminder that the key to our
sustenance is in Hashem’s Hand.” The Sefer Ta’amei Dinim U’Minhagim (p.249) writes about the Shlissel
Challah: “U’Minhag Avoseinu BeVadai Torah Hu”. The Sefer then explains
that the key is symbolic of the Ma’amar Chazal: “Pischu Lee…open up
for me an opening like the point of a needle and I will open up for you an
opening the size of the Ulam.” Additionally, the Sefer continues, our
closeness to Hashem on Pesach opened up heavenly gates which became closed
after Pesach. With the Challah-key, we symbolize that we want to open them
again--and that we begin to succeed with the Mitzvah of Shabbos!
B.As many may use the same
special clothing for Shabbos and Yom Tov, we must be especially careful to
check our pockets, as we wore our clothing for Yom Tov earlier this week.The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 252:7) rules that it is a Mitzvah to
check one’s pockets on Erev Shabbos in order to ensure that he will not
carry outside or carry a Muktzah item inside, even on Shabbos. If one forgot
to check his pockets on Erev Shabbos, he must do so as soon as he remembers
on Shabbos itself.The Dirshu
Edition of the Mishna Berurah (ibid.) notes that, although others differ,
the G’ra and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav both rule that one should not place
any objects into his pockets at all on Shabbos itself--but rather should
carry them in his hand--in order not to subject himself to the possible
violation of the Issur Hotza’ah.HaRav
Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that in places where there is a Rishus
Harabbim Min HaTorah, one should certainly follow the ruling of the G’ra
and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav.
C.Shabbos Kodesh is the
Yahrzeit of Yehoshua Bin Nun (this coming Monday (28 Nissan) is actually the
date that the walls of Yericho fell).The
Luach Davar B’Ito recommends
that one have especial Kavannah this Shabbos when reciting Aleinu which
Yehoshua composed upon the fall of Yericho, as well as when reciting the
Second Bracha of Birkas HaMazon which Yehoshua composed upon entering Eretz
Yisrael (Brachos 48B).Hakhel
Note:It is fascinating to
realize that these two Tefillos--for which Yehoshua is so well known--both
relate to thanks and praise to Hashem--a truly appropriate aftermath--once
again reinforcing the great lesson after Pesach!
D.This Shabbos we will
commence the recitation of Mesechta Avos--commonly known to us as “Pirkei
Avos”.HaRav Chaim Volozhiner,
Z’tl, at the outset of the Sefer Ruach
Chaim, writes that we begin each Perek with the words “Kol
Yisrael Yesh Lahem Chelek LaOlam Habba--all of K’lal Yisrael has a
share in the World-to-Come”.The
Tanna uses the phrase LaOlam Habba, rather than BaOlam Habba in order to
teach us that Olam Habba is not a future world--but a world that is built in
the here and now by the Mitzvos that a person performs.One really does exist in Olam Haba in this world--it is just
the physical elements of Olam Hazeh that prevent him from realizing its
light.HaRav Chaim Friedlander,
Z’tl, in fact, brings the words of the Zohar (1:265A), which explains that
Olam Haba means Olam She’kevar Bah--a world that has already come.Thus, just as a Ben Yeshiva is someone who is in a particular
Yeshiva, a Ben Olam Habba, is someone who is already rooted in Olam Haba.HaRav Friedlander also explains that the reward for a Mitzvah is
‘Ruchni Tahor’--total Ruchniyus, and that accordingly we cannot get
reward in a purely Olam Hazeh way for Mitzvos.Whenever the Torah or Chazal describe the physical reward in this
world, what it really means is that we will be granted additional means to
learn more Torah and perform more Mitzvos in the guise of Mitzvah Goreres
Mitzvah--and that the ultimate rewards for any and all Mitzvos are
exclusively in Olam Habba. The Mashal that may be given is to a very wealthy
individual who owns a huge and profitable factory.He will put on workers clothes in the factory and not be
distinguished from the other workers there as the products are being
produced--but will reap all of the profits when the products are sold.
E. One final thought, as we are instructed to be “Kedoshim” by our
Parasha this Shabbos, let us pay special attention to, and try to instill
just a bit more additional spirit of, Kedusha …into tomorrow’s Shabbos
Special Note Two: Not less
than twice ( and ) in Parashas Kedoshim, Rashi provides us with the fundamental definition
of Yiras Hashem.Yiras Hashem,
as demonstrated by the Pesukim, is defined as the personal awareness that
Hashem not only knows what an individual’s actions are, but also knows
what an individual’s thoughts are. As Rashi states: “Anything which is
in a person’s heart which others do not know…is something that Hashem
knows.”When a person is in
control of his thoughts--and especially does so because he knows Hashem
discerns and understands them--he is demonstrating Yiras Hashem at its
finest! What’s on your mind--make it count!
Special Note Three: Chazal teach that Sinas Chinam is the basis for
our current Galus (See Yoma 9A). In this week’s Parasha, the Torah
teaches us “Lo Sisna Es Achicha
Bilvavecha--you shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Vayikra ). 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 Four: In this week’s Parasha, we find the immense
Mitzvah of “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha
Kamocha” (Vayikra )--you shall
love your fellow as yourself. The scope and breadth of this “K’lal Gadol BaTorah--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:
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;
Forgiving one who
has hurt or offended you;
Helping someone by
making change for a larger bill or coin, or giving them a quarter for
the parking meter (or modern day equivalent);
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;
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
Kamocha” 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;
Bringing good news
or happiness to others;
Getting some air or
taking a walk with someone who appears troubled or is clearly in need of
someone for their job, effort, or appearance; and
Giving Tzedakah to
someone, or helping someone with something he needs help with,
**BEFORE** being asked.
Special Note Five: Three additional notes on “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha”:
A. The Mesilas Yesharim (end of Chapter 19) writes, “HaKadosh Baruch Hu
only loves those who love their fellow Jew, and the more one increases his
love for fellow Jews, the more HaKadosh Baruch Hu loves him. [We note the
incredible statement of the Alter of Kelm, Z’tl (Kisvei
HaSaba MiKelm, p. 13) that with V’Ahavta
L’Rayacha Kamocha one can be mekayem
thousands of Mitzvos a minute because for every single Jew that one loves,
he is mekayem 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’Rayacha Kamocha —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 is the formula to
apply in all of your life’s encounters (Lev
Eliyahu, Bereishis, page 253).
B. 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.
C. 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
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!
One Additional Insight on “V’Ahavta
L’Rayacha Kamocha”: A
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 Six: In this week’s Parasha, 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 De’ah 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.
Special Note Seven: Parasha Kedoshim, contains 51 Mitzvos. We present
below several important notes from Love
Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, on several of these
Mitzvos (citations and sources presented there have been omitted--please
refer to this wonderful Sefer directly for further detail):
begins with the words “Daber El
Kol Adas Bnei Yisrael--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
”Lo Sa’ashok” (Vayikra )--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.
“Lo Sikalel 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.
“B’Tzedek Tishpot Amisecha” (Vayikra )--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:
A.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.
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.
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
”Lo Sisna es Achicha Bilvovecha” (Vayikra )--you shall not
hate your brother in your heart [see also Special Note Three above].
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.
“Hochayach Tochiach Es Amisecha, V’lo Sisa Alov Chait” ()--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 Lashon Hara 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 Elyashiv, Z’tl).
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
Special Note One:We continue with post-Pesach important points and pointers:
A.The Chasam Sofer on the Haggadah (on the section of Ha Lachmah Anya) teaches that we know there are certain things that
can bring the Geulah.One of
them, as indicated by the words ‘Kol
Dichfin Yesei VeYeichol’ is the giving of Tzedakah.We are, of course, familiar with the Pasuk in Yeshaya () as well:“Tzion BeMishpat Tipadeh V’Shaveha B’Tzedakah”.It
very much behooves us, then, to give Tzedakah--especially for the sake of
Geulah.In this post-Pesach
period, many of us may feel that we have given an inordinate amount of
Tzedakah before Pesach, and that there are several weeks until the next Yom
Tov when we will give again.We
may suggest, however, that one overcome this guile of the Yetzer
Hara--especially in this month of Geulah--and give Tzedakah--perhaps even on
a regular or periodic basis for the sake of Geulah!We all believe, and we all know as an absolute truth that the Geulah
is coming.Giving Tzedakah to
bring it is truly much more secure than money in the bank!
SifseiChaim (Mo’adim II, p.428) teaches that we can reinforce our
feelings for the Geulah Shleimah every day in the Tefillah of Ezras Avoseinu
which contains so many powerfully meaningful phrases, among them:
Livneihem Achareihem Bechol Dor V’Dor”
literally just an extra moment to feel the words as one says them can
strengthen one’s D’veikus to Hashem and deepen one’s yearning for the
C.If one had to describe the essence of Pesach in one word, it would be
‘Emunah’.Even the Matzah is
described as the Food of Emunah.The
most famous Ramban in Chumash found at the end of Parashas Bo (which we
understand HaRav Wolbe, Z’tl, said should be memorized) affirmatively
states:“and from the great
and famous miracles, one must recognize the hidden miracles of everyday life
which are the Yesod
HaTorah Kulah--the foundation of the entire Torah.”One has no part in the Torah unless he believes that all of our
affairs and experiences-- everything that occurs in
one’s life--are miracles, and that there is no nature, nor a ‘minhag
haolam’ at all--either on a communal, or a private level.In fact, HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, writes that anything that
can be ascribed to Tevah and Mazal are Nisyonos in life.Based on this most fundamental of Torah teachings, we present the
following essential teachings:
1.The Rabbeinu Bachya (Shemos )
brings from the Rabbeinu Chananel that there are four basic parts to Emunah:
(A) Emunah B’HaKadosh Baruch Hu; (B) Emunah B’Nevi’im; (C) Emunah
B’Olam Habba; and (D) Emunah B’Vi’as HaGoel.The Rabbeinu Bachya continues that one who possesses these four
beliefs has great zechuyos.He
provides an essential method for one strengthening his Emunah--and that is
to answer Amen to the brachos of others.Amen, of course, is an acronym for
Kel-Melech-Ne’eman--that Hashem is our G-d and trustworthy King.With these three words (and consequently in the one word of Amen) we
describe Hashem as the All-Powerful-One Who closely watches over us and Who
punishes and rewards in accordance with our deeds.Hakhel Note:Accordingly,
it would be very much in order for one to commence a personal Amen
campaign--in which he sincerely and dedicatedly answers this sacred word
(which should not be uttered in vain) with Kavannah and feeling.
2.At the outset of Hallel, we recite the Pesukim: “Rom
Ahl Kol Goyim Hashem…” followed by “Me
KaShem Elokeinu…HaMashpili Liros
means that while the world believes that Hashem is in the distant Heavens,
gazing upon us far away from humanity--we know that we can feel Hashem’s
Hashgacha Pratis hovering over us and directly upon us. However, there are
different levels of Hashgacha Pratis that one can experience.The Ramban (Iyov 36:7) writes:“Kefi Kirvaso LeHidabeik BeEilokav Yishtamer Shemirah Me’ulah--in
accordance with one’s desire to come close to Hashem, will Hashem come
closer and watch over him.”How
can we develop our D’veikus
Chaim brings the fascinating words of Yirmiyahu HaNavi (9:22-23):“Ko Amar Hashem Ahl Yishallel
Hachochom BeChachmaso…--thus said Hashem:‘Let not the wise man glorify himself with his wisdom, and let not
the strong man glorify himself with his strength, let not the rich man
glorify himself with his wealth.For
only with this may one glorify himself--contemplating and knowing Me.”The Sifsei Chaim explains
that this means that our importance to Hashem is not dependent on our
wisdom, strength or abilities--but only in how we exercise our bechirah towards
continues that when each person recognizes his reward in Olam Haba, it will
not be based on the fact that he was a Rosh Yeshiva, or a Chassidic Rebbe,
or a children’s Rebbi or a businessman or an accountant.Rather, it will be in accordance with the madreigah that he was
supposed to have reached in this world in his Avodas Hashem--every person Kidrachav
U’Kefi Ma’alalav.It is for this reason that Hashem hides the complete Da’as
Hashem from us in this world--and we will only understand Hashem’s actions
in Olam Hazeh at the Geulah Sheleimah--it is to give us the opportunity to
exercise our Bechirah Chafshis and to realize our potential without being
forced or even easily led to the only true conclusion.
3.At the end, the darkness of Galus will be exceedingly dark, as the
Pasuk (Zechariah 49:7) says:“Le’eis
Erev Yehiyeh Ohr”--so that the clarity of the light will be most
appreciated.As things appear
dark, darker, darkest (now with our own people attacking us in Eretz Yisrael,
we must strengthen ourselves with the knowledge that the clarity of true
light will soon shine forth.”As
Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 90: 15):“Samcheinu KeYimos Inisanu--Hashem
will bring us joy to compensate for the previous afflictions”.
4.The Sefer Nefesh HaChaim
(1:9) brings the Pasuk in Shir HaShirim (1:9):“Lesusasi BeRichbei Paroh
Demiseich Rayasi”--Hashem, I realize that my relationship with You can
be compared to that of the horses of Paroh’s army in the hands of the
chariot riders.He remarkably
explains that the world improperly believes that Hashem directs us in this
way and that, just as chariot riders direct horses to go here and to go
there.However, this is not what
happened to Paroh’s chariot riders--they did not lead the horses, the
horse miraculously led them.With
the Geulas Mitzrayim, Hashem put us in a position of the horses at Kriyas
Yam Suf which led the driver.We
determine our own fate and the fate of the world--by our choices, by
our actions.Hashem lets
us ‘run the world’ in this way.Will
the Geulah come today--time will not tell--we will!
5.To take a short and potent Emunah lesson with us daily, we highly recommend Emuna
Daily. To join and for further information contact: email@example.com. The recording is available
via telephone as well: Dial (605) 475-4799, access code 840886#.
Note Two: We continue an exciting Monday/Thursday series on the practical
aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside
Sta”m--An Insider Reveals The Answers To All The Questions You
Should Ask When Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos,
Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.
For a fuller treatment of
all topics to be discussed, we urge you to purchase the Sefer, which
provides practical and meaningful information and ideas.
My Sephardi friend needed to borrow a pair of tefillin the other day. When
I offered to lend him my Ashkenazitefillin, he declined, explaining that the Sephardi poskim maintain that a
Sephardi cannot make a berachah
on Ashkenazitefillin. But
didn’t you say that Kesav
Ashkenaz is kosher even for Sephardim?
Kesav Ashkenaziskosher even for Sephardim.
The reason many Sephardi poskim maintain that a Sephardi
may not make a berachah on Ashkenaztefillin is unrelated to the
actual kesav.We will address this in a later discussion.
I live in a rented apartment, and just discovered that the mezuzos here
are Kesav Velish. Do I need to replace them?
No. Since most poskim are of the opinion that
the obligation of a tenant to affix mezuzos is only a Rabbinic directive,
but not a Torah obligation, one may continue to use the Velish mezuzos as long as he is
It must be noted that when using the kesav of a different minhag, one should be careful to
ensure that the writing is not b’dieved. Often, what may be considered kosher
b’dieved according to one minhag would be considered pasul according to a different minhag.
I noticed that the shin on the battim of my tefillin
is a “Velish” shin. Is this a serious issue for an Ashkenazi Jew
Not at all. First of all, a “Velish” shin as it appears on battim is kosher for Ashkenazim.Secondly, the shin on the battim need not be identical to
the shin written in STA”M. Hence, if one wears Kesav Arizal tefillin while on the Bayis Shel Rosh he has a Beis Yosef Shin (a common occurrence);
there is no need for concern.
OF THE DAYONE:If
the Moshiach comes between today and Pesach Sheni (the 14th of Iyar), will
each one of us bring a Korban Pesach on Pesach Sheni, or because we missed
bringing the Korban Pesach on Erev Pesach will we have to wait all the way
until next year to bring the Korban Pesach?
OF THE DAY
TWO:Which two seforim in Tanach do not have
Hashem’s name mentioned in them?
OF THE DAY:From HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg,
Z’tl, would often advise:“Keep
on smiling, and keep on going!”
NON-GEBROKTS ADVISORY:There are still many cake and cookie products (many ‘on sale’)
left from Pesach.Please
remember that many of these products are non-Gebrokts, and the appropriate
bracha is Shehakol and Borei Nefashos. Even
if you know it--you may be used to making a Mezonos on the cake and Shehakol
on the coffee--so extra special care is required. This
will provide you with a special opportunity to focus and concentrate on you
Brachos--one great way to practice your Emunah in this post-Pesach period.
Special Note One:We provide the following points and pointers on this Isru Chag:
A.We are still in the month of Nissan--there is a real reason that we
continue not to utter the Tachanun supplication daily. Chazal remind us that
B’Nissan Nigalu U’V’Nissan
Assidin Liga’el--just as we were redeemed in Nissan in the past--we
will be redeemed in Nissan in the future.We must continue to take a step back to at least appreciate what this
means. Each day in Mussaf over Pesach we exclaimed V’Havi’einu
L’Tzion Irecha B’Rina Velirushalayim Beis Mikdashecha BeSimchas Olam--bring
us to Tzion, Your city, inglad song, and to Yerushalayim, home of Your sanctuary, ineternal joy.While we cannot fathom the glad
song of millions of people together, nor the eternal
joy of even ourselves personally--we must at least appreciate how we
need to yearn and long for the moment--which will then incredibly become
eternal! We must remind ourselves of the poignant words of the Sefer Mesilas Yesharim (end of Chapter 19), who teaches that each
and every individual must daven for the Geulas Yisrael, pointedly
writing as follows:
Yomar Adam Me Ani…She’espalel Ahl Yerushalayim--if a person would
say ‘Who am I…to daven for Yerushalayim--will it be because of my prayer
that the Yeshuah will come?....” This is why a person was created
individually, so that each individual should say ‘The world was created
for me!’It is certainly a Nachas Ruach to Hashem that His children plead and pray for the
Geulah…. Each and every one of us is therefore obligated to do so, and no
one can excuse himself because of his lack of position or power…for it is
not possible for Kevod Shomayim to be increased until the Geulah of Yisrael
comes, as the two are interdependent….”
Now--Nissan 5774, as the
pangs of Ikvasah D’Moshicha beat
about us--is the time for us to be especially passionate--now--Nissan 5774,
is the time for each and every one of us to call out in our hearts for the Geulas Yisrael!Do not lose--and instead very dedicatedly use--the opportunities in
each Shemone Esrei, most certainly over the next week:Tekah BeShofar, Velirushalayim Ircha, Es Tzemach, V’sechezenah
Eineinu Beshuvecha L’Tzion, Sheyibaneh
Beis HaMikdash BeMeheirah V’Yameinu, and
VeArvah LaShem Minchas Yehudah Virushalayim. Let us call out from the
heart--and may our calls be answered just as our forefathers’ calls were
heard, as testified by the Pasuk (Shemos ,24):“Vata’al Shavasam Ehl
HaElokim…Vayishmah Elokim Es Na’akasam VaYizkor Elokim Es Briso….”May it be speedily and in our days!
B.We have concluded our recitation of Hallel HaMitzri (Tehillim
113-118), and Chazal teach that it would be inappropriate to continue to
recite it daily as Hallel during the rest of the year.There is, however, a second Hallel, which is known as Hallel HaGadol
(Tehillim 136).Hallel HaGadol
contains 26 Pesukim each of which ends with the phrase “Ki Le’olam Chasdo--for His kindness endures forever.” HaRav Meir
Schuck, Z’tl, brings Chazal (Pesachim 118A) who teach that the reason this
Kepitel is known as Hallel HaGadol--the great Hallel, is because of the
conclusion it contains--Nosein Lechem
Lechol Basar Ki Le’olam Chasdo, in which we affirm our unwavering
belief that Hashem not only is the executor of open miracles--splitting the
sea, giving us water in the desert, giving us the Torah from the Heavens
among the trembling mountains--but that He also sustains each and every
creature in accordance with his needs. Hallel HaGadol thanks Hashem for His
everyday kindness to us. On a daily basis, HaRav Schuck, Z’tl, explains,
we must express our Ki Le’olam
Chasdo for the miracles within what is to others nature itself. If one
can relate back the world and its common experiences--eating, drinking,
taking care of one’s needs, seeing the things that he sees, meeting the
people that he meets, all back to their Source--then on a daily basis, and
in fact many times on a daily basis he can remember the phrase:“Nosein Lechem Lechol Basar
Ki Le’olam Chasdo!”
C.Perhaps one of the most famous phrases in Ahz Yashir is Zeh Keili
V’Anveihu--which Chazal (Shabbos 133B) interpret as teaching us that
one should beautify the Mitzvos, by building a nice Sukkah, buying a
beautiful Lulav, wearing nice Tzitzis…. HaRav Yerucham Levovitz, Z’tl,
teaches that the beautification of Mitzvos are not limited to Mitzvos which
are Bein Adam LaMakom--rather the guideline of Zeh
Keili V’Anveihu applies just as equally to Mitzvos which are Bein Adam
L’Chaveiro as well.Accordingly,
when addressing another it should be in a pleasant and respectful manner,
when writing to someone it should be in a neat and thoughtful way, when
giving Tzedakah it should be with the feeling that I am helping another
Tzelem Elokim.When one
beautifies any Mitzvah--whether it is Bein Adam LaMakom or Bein Adam
L’Chaveiro--he indeed most beautifies himself!
Two:As we all know, Chazal teach “Ra’asah
Shifcha Al Hayam Mah Shelo Ra’ah…the maidservant at the sea saw what
the greatest of the Nevi’im were not able to see in their most sublime of
prophesies.The Ba’alei Mussar
point out that even after everything that the maidservants saw in the
heavens, on the earth, and on the sea--the next day they still remained
maidservants.How could this
be?!The explanation is that
over time the supernally uplifting experience that the maidservants had,
dissipated because after the experience they left it and did not seek to
remain on the high level they had attained.It is perhaps for this reason that the phrase Isru
Chag is based upon the term in Hallel “Isru
Chag Ba’avosim--tie the Chag with thick rope (Tehillim 118:27, Metzudas
must be a strong one in order for it to last.Similarly, Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, teaches us in Shir
Teoreru Es HaAhavah Ad Shetechbatz.”Rav Dessler, Z’tl, teaches that this means that we must be able to
concretely relate that which we have learned to our everyday life.Accordingly, we present below several teachings and lessons that we
can take with us from the Pesach we have just experienced into the coming
A.Every morning we make the bracha of Shelo
Asani Aved.This bracha
should now come to life for us daily--for we truly could have been lowly,
petrified, servile, decadent slaves with no independent bearing or existence
of our own.Moreover, since we
achieved Cheirus Olam when we left
Mitzrayim--the nations of the world have never been able to destroy us or
even enslave us as a people again.Remember--Shelo
Asani Aved--say it with appreciation!
B.Every morning we make the bracha of Shelo
Asani Goy.The Maharal
explains that just as the Six Days of Creation reached their pinnacle with
the creation of man, so too, did mankind reach its pinnacle with the
creation of Bnei Yisroel from the Kur
HaBarzel of Mitzrayim.Our
exodus thus enabled mankind to reach its potential, rather than be destroyed
for lack of fulfillment.If the
Bnei Yisroel would have remained just another Goy,
not only would we have taken the path of so many other nations which fell
away and disappeared, but the world itself could not have survived.Thus, the fact that Hashem has not made us like the other nations is,
quite literally, keeping everyone going.Remember--Shelo Asani Goy--not
only being personally privileged--but having creation reach its intent--and
allowing each sunrise to keep coming!
C.Dovid HaMelech exclaims (Tehillim118:24) “…Zeh
Hayom…Nagilah VeNesmicha Vo--this is the day…let us rejoice and be
glad in Him.”The Malbim
provides us here with an extremely fundamental lesson.He writes that Dovid HaMelech is teaching us that the Ikar
Simcha is not in the Yeshua itself, but
in the awareness that Hashem is with us.The miracles we experience are given to us not as an end,
but as a means for us to recognize Hashem’s closeness to us.Remember--Nagilah VeNesmicha Vo--we
can rejoice that Hashem is with us--each and every day!This is the Ikar Simcha!
D.Before performing many of our mitzvos, we recite the bracha “Asher
Kideshanu BeMitzvosav Vetzivanu--Who
sanctified us with His Mitzvos (plural), and commanded us to perform [the
particular Mitzvah of…eating of Matzah, the taking of the Lulav,
enwrapping in Tzitzis].The
Chasam Sofer asks--should not the Nusach HaBracha on a Mitzvah be Asher
Kideshana BeMitzvaso Vetzivanu
(singular and not plural)--Who sanctified us in the Mitzvah, i.e., the Mitzvah I am about to perform [the eating of
Matzah, the taking of the Lulav, the enwrapping in Tzitzis]?Why not be specific and talk about our sanctification with the
Mitzvah at hand?The Chasam
Sofer answers that, as the Zohar explains, the 248 Mitzvos Asei and the 365
Mitzvos Lo Sa’asei are the counterparts of our Eivarim
and Giddim respectively.We
cannot sanctify one Eiver or Gid
at a time, for as we know, a Karbon that is missing a limb is Pasul.It is likewise inappropriate for us to recite that we are being
sanctified only by the one Mitzvah that we are about to perform.Rather, we declare our Kedusha through our acceptance of the Mitzvos
in general, and that we are now going to perform this Mitzvah in particular.We thus unabashedly, unequivocally and rejoicingly declare that with
every Mitzvah that we perform, we are accepting upon ourselves the
privilege, obligation, wholesomeness and Kedusah of all of the Mitzvos!
Special Note Three:Having just left Pesach, we recall the powerful words of the Rambam (Hilchos
Brachos 10:26 ):
“The primary rule is that
a person should always call out to Hashem for the future and ask for His
mercy; and give thanks for the past and praise Hashem, each person according
to his strength. And the more one thanks Hashem and constantly praises
Him, the more praiseworthy he himself is.”
Rav Chaim Friedlander
Z’TL deduces from this, and notes that, the Rambam does NOT write
that the more one calls out to Hashem and asks for His mercy, the more
praiseworthy he is. Rather, the Rambam writes the more one thanks
and praises Hashem, the greater he is. Indeed, Chazal teach us
that in the future, the Korban Todah--the Thanks Offering--will be the
Korban that continues on and remains with us after the world becomes filled
with the knowledge of Hashem. The Sin Offerings and the Guilt
Offerings will no longer have a place in our lives, but thanks always will.
It is amazing to note that
the level of thanks and praise to Hashem on Pesach is so high that no Korban
Todah can be brought because they must be brought with chometz loaves of
bread--which is impossible on Pesach! This is obviously no
coincidence, as the Torah could have either excluded the chometz loaves from
the offering on Pesach, or permitted them for the sake of the offering only.
The message is clear--on Pesach, we have grown even above this Korban.
Let us start the
Spring/Summer season with our right foot forward, by keeping our Pesach
spirit of Thanks and Hallel, so that as we begin to once again recite Mizmor
L’Sodah daily, we will merge and blend our joy over the redemption of the
past into an everlasting thanks continuing into the future.
Additional Note:On the Pasuk that we recite daily in Pesukei DeZimra “Romemos
Kail BiGronam VeCherev Piphios BeYadam”--the lofty praises of Hashem
are in their throats and a double-edged sword is in their hands” (Tehillim
149:6), Rashi says it all by writing that the lofty
praises of Hashem in their throats are
the double-edged sword in their hands.Do we get the message?This
is how we can continue the Geulah in our day!
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: As you go through davening (especially
Pesukei D’Zimrah) focus on and feel the words of thanks--especially
considering your being born close to the time of the Final Redemption and
your having the tremendous opportunity to contribute to the last stages of
Zechusim, putting up those last few bricks on the wall, to bring Moshiach, Bimheira
SEFIRA REMINDER FROM TEFILLOS.COM:“Tefillos.com
is reminding you that we will again be sending Sefira Reminders this year.Please logon to your account at http://www.tefillos.com/myaccount.asp
and set your preferences.If
your cell phone number has changed, please update.For new account signup, go to http://www.tefillos.com/rebyid.asp
and click on Click here to Sign up!”
IF YOU LEARN just three Mishnayos a
day of Mesechta Chagiga over Pesach--you will finish the entire Mesechta in
Mishnayos by the end of the Chag--if you cannot bring a Korban Chagiga--this
could be an important indication of how much you want to….
QUESTION OF THE DAYONE:When
did the Geulah take place--on the night of the fifteenth, or the day of the
fifteenth? Hint: See Ramban on Ibn Ezra to Shemos 12:31,
QUESTION OF THE DAY
was the first person to say “Halleluka
Hallelu Avdei Hashem”?
QUESTION OF THE DAY
a majority of the Tzibbur was not Tamei
Mais, and if the Kohanim were not Tamei--but
the K’li Shareis were Tamei--would
the Korban Pesach be brought?Hint-see
Rambam, Hilchos Korban Pesach 7:1.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
When is it that on Erev Pesach we blow Tekiah Teruah Tekiah three separate
times i.e., nine Kolos all together, as on Rosh HaShana!? Hint: See
Mesechta Pesachim, Perek 5, Mishna 5.
FROM A READER!Rav Gamliel Rabanovitch, Shlita, teaches thatErev
Pesach is the time to be Misgaber
on the KeliposParoh which is represented by the challenges of Anger and Ga’ava.
Special Note One: We
continue our Pre-Pesach points and pointers:
A.In Makkas Choshech--those members of K’lal Yisrael who were not
inspired and actually stayed in the dark--r’l ended their lives there in
galus. The tragic results were that neither they nor the hundreds of
generations that would have succeeded them were zoche to live in this world
with the Torah and bask in the reality of eternity. As we look at our
brethren immediately around us, we must realize that this is Hatzalas
Nefashos--not only for their lives-but for all of their future generations
as well. You don’t have to be in Hatzalah for this--nor do you have
to take any special training--you just have to stretch out your hand with a
desire to save--as did Bisya bas Paroh--and we know the results for her, and
for all of K’lal Yisrael!
As we continue our preparations for Pesach, we ONCE AGAIN note that one
aspect which is me’akev--an
absolute requirement--for men [and some women]at the Seder is the act of Heseibah
(translated as reclining) while eating Matzah, drinking the Daled Kosos, and
other Mitzvos during the evening. As we have recently noted, in order
to accomplish Heseibah it is
insufficient for one merely to tilt his body to the left. What should
one actually do---besides asking someone to bring a pillow to put on your
chair? May we recommend that you ask your Rav or Posek for a visual
demonstration. Don’t wait until you get home on the Seder
night--realizing that you are not exactly sure how to do this...
Note:As a starting point, we
provide the following excerpt from the outstanding work Guidelines
to Pesach--which is part of the outstanding Guidelines Halacha Series,
by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Shlita, and Rabbi Yitzchok Jaeger, Shlita.
“Question 323: How
should a person recline? Answer: Ideally, he should sit on an
armchair or on a chair with armrests, and lean to the left side.
Preferably, a pillow or a cushion shall also be placed on the left side of
the chair to support the body while reclining. This adds to the
feeling of comfort and freedom.
Question 324: What if the has only a regular chair? Answer:
He should recline on the table or on a second chair placed to his left.
Alternatively, he may sit sideways and recline on the back of the chair.
If possible, he should use a pillow or a cushion to create a comfortable
position. A person does not fulfill the Mitzvah by leaning to the left
in midair without supporting his body on anything, since this is not the way
of a free man.”
C. At the Seder, two
out of the 15 Simanim (more than 10%) are comprised of washing of the
hands--U’Rchatz and Rachtza. Clearly, this is a meaningful and
significant activity, and should be viewed as much more than a ministerial
or perfunctory act that we do daily. To get ready for the Seder (if you wash
Mayim Achronim you will actually wash a third time), may we suggest that
rather than thinking about nothing too important or letting your mind wander
when washing over the next several days, that with each pour of water over
each hand you think--”Thank you Hashem! Thank You Hashem!” and think of
something else you are thankful to Hashem for with each pour! Having
difficulty starting? You can start as far back as Yetzias Mitzrayim,
and as close by as having the ability to pick up the cup and pour... and
there is much--very much--in between to be thankful for!
D.For special reasons, Erev Pesach afternoon is unique--we are
generally not permitted to perform any melacha that we would not do on Chol
HaMoed. We must, therefore, cut our nails, shave and take haircuts
before Chatzos (midday) on Erev Pesach. If however, one forgot to do
so, he may cut his nails in the afternoon. If one was not able to take
a haircut before Chatzos, the Halacha permits it to be given by a non-Jew
only. It does not help to be “already waiting” in the Jewish
barber shop as Chatzos arrives. Please plan your morning accordingly!
E.The Mitzvah of Chinuch on the Leil HaSeder is perhaps at its peak for
the entire year. For those who have children below the age of Bar/Bas
Mitzvah, one should be careful to review his responsibility and his
child’s responsibility, as to the different aspects of the Seder--eating
of the Matzah, the drinking of each one of the Four Cups, Heseiba
(reclining), Hallel, Marror, and the other Mitzvos, minhagim and halachos of
the night. See The Halachos of Pesach (by Rabbi Shimon Eider,
Z’tl) and Children in Halacha (by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita)
for further elaboration in these areas.
F.All are in agreement that a major theme of the Seder is Hakaras
Hatov.Indeed, we uniquely
and especially read from the Parasha of Bikurim at the Seder--in which a
person specifically expresses his thanks to Hashem for enabling him to
fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikurim.HaRav
Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, points to the language of the Targum Yonasan Ben
Uziel on the key words “Higadeti
HaYom LaHashem Elokecha”, contained in the Parasha of Bikurim.The Targum explains that the word Higadeti
(related to Haggadah) means to thank and praise Hashem.In our Haggadah too, then, this must be a main focus.At the Seder, we should especially emphasize words of Hakaras
HaTov--expressing sincere thanks for the hard work and important
thoughts of others, as well as words of praise and compliment wherever there
is even the slightest doubt as to whether they should be given!
G.An additional, essential theme of the Leil HaSeder is, of course, Emunah, and its transmission from
generation to generation.One
should seek out stories of Emunah, and should now think about and jot down
situations and events personally and globally over the past year, which
clearly evidenced the Yad Hashem.The
relating of these stories on the Leil
HaSeder should be especially mesugal
to strengthen the Emunah of all those present.
H.We asked Rabbi Yisroel Pinchas Bodner, Shlita, if he could provide us
with some guidance on checking Matzos (as he is an expert in this area as
well).He provided the following
two basic rules:
1.With regard to bugs, if the Matzah has been saved from a previous
year, one should check it for bugs by holding the Matzah and observing if
there are any webbing strings hanging from the Matzah. If
not, then the Matzah is fine.
2.With regard to Kefulos, examine the Matzah to see if there are any
folds, i.e., there is a part which folded and two layers are stuck together.
Also check for a bubble where
the inside of the bubble remained not fully baked. Break off the piece
in question and discard. When in
doubt, one should throw out. Hakhel Note:For more detail, one can study the specially written Pesach books,
and can also seehttp://star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-matzoh.htm
I.One should especially note the words and phrases in the Haggadah with
which he may have difficulty translating--and make sure that he understands
them. For instance, the word ‘Misboseses’
or the term ‘Ba’adi Adayim’,
may not be familiar--and there may be important meanings, translations and
explanations which are lost because one skips over the word.In fact, this year, perhaps one should make a special effort to
explain those precious words of the Haggadah, which he may have glossed over
in the past.As an example,
Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita, explains that even though the blood we are
referring to with the word Misboseses
is the blood of the Karbon Pesach and the blood of Milah--really not too
much blood--the word Misboseses
would seem to indicate a great amount of blood that is flowing.Why, then, would we use this word here?Rabbi Lieff explains that if a king or a prince cuts his finger, the
people in the palace rush around, the royal physician is called and there is
much more commotion than there would otherwise be if this was ‘only’ the
cut finger of a commoner.On the
night of the Seder, we must appreciate that for us--our blood is Misboseses--every
drop is royal blood!
following is excerpted from the Laws
of the Seder by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Shlita (Artscroll), and it
relates directly to those who wish to drink a glass of water or a cup of
coffee after Kiddush on the Leil HaSeder:“It is permitted
to drink anything, including wine, between the first two cups (Rashbam, based
on Pesachim 10:7, Orach Chaim 473:3). To
do so, however, one must be sure to have had these additional drinks in mind
when he recited the bracha of Borei
Pri HaGafen over wine during Kiddush [which would then include these additional drinks as well, without the
need to make a further bracha]. Otherwise,
one would have to recite another bracha before drinking, and this would
create the problem of ‘apparently adding onto the number of cups’, a
prohibition mentioned by Rema
(472:7), although we are not aware of a Talmudic source for this
stricture…Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch [because of the opinion of the Kol
Bo] rules that one should refrain from drinking between the first two
cups.”Hakhel Note:Accordingly, it would appear that whether one could drink between the
first two cups may be a matter of difference between Ashkenazim and Sefardim,
and accordingly, one should consult with his Rav or Posek for a final ruling
in one’s particular situation.
following is the start of a sampling of questions which should perhaps be
addressed as the Seder progresses. Please feel free to add to the list, and
to share your thoughts with us on additional points as well!
1.Why were we exiled?
2.If we had to be exiled, why
couldn’t it be to Lavan’s area?
3.Why were we taken out of
Mitzrayim--and what can we do today to achieve a similar result?
4.How many time is Moshe
Rabbeinu’s name mentioned in the Haggadah?
how many times is Paroh’s name mentioned in the Haggadah?
6.What is the Middah K’Neged Middah of each Makkah?
7.Why did Hashem let the
Chartumim mimic the first two Makkos?
8.You are a witness of Makkas
9.What Nissim happened in
Mitzrayim besides for the Makkos?
10.Give three reasons why
Matzah is called Lechem Oni.
11.Why were the Mitzriim told
we would only be leaving for three days?
12.Why were items only
“borrowed” from the Egyptian homes?
13.Why did we not leave when
Paroh told us to--why did the process of redemption start at night and
continue on through the day?
14.Why is the Seder not in the
daytime, if we left in the daytime?
15.What Pasuk is recited three
times in a row in the Haggadah, and why?
[each participant] give five things that he has Hakaras
Hatov to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for?
17.Why does the first of the
Aseres Hadibros say that I am Hashem Who took you out of Egypt , and not I
am Hashem Who created the world?
Hakhel Note:Remember--if you were told that you had won the $640 million lottery,
oh what inspiration and excitement you would feel!You are gaining a lot more on the Seder Night!
Special Note Two:Several points made by Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita, which relate
to the Seder:
A.The tone of the Seder must be emotional, inspirational, ‘geshmake’,
and one of celebration.One’s
language should be the language of the heart, and one should personalize and
connect everyone to Hashem.
B.‘Ke’ilu Yatzah MiMitzrayim’
means that one must project to others that he
himself has left Egypt.
C.According to the Rosh, the Matzos are Lachmei
Todah, intended to express our thanks for our freedom, our family, our
friends, our possessions.With
this, we can understand why we do not make a bracha before we start the
Seder--after all, how can we say ‘VeTzivanu--and
He commanded us’ on sincere feelings of pure thanks?!
D.The Shulchan Orech part of the Seder is like a Seudas Hoda’ah (see
Rambam, Hilchos Chometz U’Matzah 7:8).The ultimate way to serve
Hashem is through Hakaras HaTov and Hoda’ah!
E.The Birchas HaMazon onthe
Leil HaSeder is very important--do not ‘gulp it down’ because you may
feel momentarily weary or fatigued.Wake
up, meet the challenge, and regal in the experience!
F.The family and minhagim should be kept--even if there may be nicer or
other ‘up-to-date’ tunes.
G.One should be sure to practice savlanus--to
be extremely patient, and not be angered--during the course of testy moments
at the Seder.Fascinatingly,
Rabbi Lieff related that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, used Halperin
machine Matzas, which he felt were the best choice, while each of his sons
and sons in-law, had their own different kind of Matzas next to him at the
H.Tzafun teaches us that a lot of good things are hidden away for
us--we just have to put the Matzah away…until it is revealed!
Special Note Three:One
must come into the Seder stocked with help to hopefullyhelp
to hopefully enhance and in-trance.To
get us started, we provide the following Mashal of the Dubno Maggid as
present in The Maggid of Dubno and his
Parables by Benno Heinemann (Feldheim):
had given Avraham Avinu a glimpse of the future of the nation which would be
descended from him.He told
Avraham that Bnei Yisrael would be enslaved and know great suffering, but
that, in the end, they would “go forth with great abundance” as free
men.Now what was this great
abundance?Chazal tell us that
it was the Torah that the Bnei Yisrael received in the wilderness on Har
Sinai.But, if this is indeed
true, why were we, before leaving Mitzrayim, actually commanded to ask the
Mitzriyim for money and goods?The
Maggid of Dubno would reconcile this contradiction with one of his famous
Mesholim:A young man had hired
himself out to a wealthy merchant to serve him for six years, for which he
would be paid with a bag of silver coins.When the six years were over and the time came for the servant to
leave, it occurred to the master that a bag of silver was much too small a
reward for the splendid services the boy had rendered him.He therefore put the silver aside and instead wrote out a check in an
amount many times that of the total value of the silver coins.But the servant, instead of thanking his master for his generosity,
sullenly stuffed the piece of paper into his pocket and went home weeping.The next day his father called at the merchant’s house and said to
the wealthy man, “You have been most generous to my son and I want to
thank you.But the boy is still
a child and does not comprehend the value of a check. All he knew was that
he expected to receive a bag filled with shiny new coins and that instead he
got a plain sheet of paper.I
should be most grateful, therefore, if you would let him have at least part
of his wages in solid silver.”
the same manner did Avraham Avinu come to Hashem, saying, “You have been
generous indeed in promising the Torah to my descendants.But the nation will be young and not mature enough to understand the
value of the Torah, and if they will have to leave the slavery of Mitzrayim
with empty hands they will say ‘Indeed, Hashem has fulfilled part of His
promise.We did become slaves.But what about the great abundance which we were to receive at the
hour of our deliverance?’ “It
is for this reason, that Bnei Yisrael were clearly commanded to take gold
and silver vessels from the Mitzriyim.This
would be tangible wealth which they could appreciate at that time.In this manner, the Bnei Yisrael would see immediately that the
promise given by Hashem to their righteous forbearer had retained its
validity.It was only as Bnei
Yisrael grew in wisdom that it came to understand that its true wealth lay
not in the coins and trinkets gathered in Mitzrayim but in the Divine gift
of the Torah, which has stood by our side to this very day.”
Note:In addition to this
outstanding work on the Dubno Maggid, there is also a Haggadah which is
comprised entirely of Mesholim related by different Gedolim (including the
Dubno Maggid), entitled The Palace
Gates Haggadah (translated from the Hebrew--Feldheim).
Four:As in the past, we
provide: LET’S TALKHAGGADAH!
Below are some practical
Haggadah notes, which we have culled from Ba’alei Mussar and Maggidei
1. Since it is of the
essence of the Seder to feel that YOU PERSONALLY left Mitzrayim, you and
those around you should consider closing your eyes, putting yourself there,
and thinking about/describing the “Avodas
Perech” and the pain of enslavement--YOU ARE
and thinking about/describing the Makkos, and
its effect on the Mitzri’im and on B’nei Yisroel--YOU ARE
and talking about the miracles, other than the
Makkos, that YOU witnessed in Egypt --YOU ARE THERE
As you prepare for the Geulah--describe what
you took (would take), how you reacted (would react) to the news that
the time had come (as you would for Moshiach) and picture and discuss
the events of the night and day of the Geulah. How could three
million people gather together so quickly? What was the scene
2. The night should
be emotional. Everyone can provide their own personal reflections of
miracles and/or Hashgacha Pratis stories that happened to them or that they
personally know about.
3. Our focus should
be on the salvations commencing with “Arami
Oved Avi” through “Rabban
Gamliel Haya Omer”--rather than getting caught up in nuances. We
should focus on the order of the Makkos and the Middah K’Neged Middah--How
all was according to Hashem’s complete design and control. Remember,
we are becoming Avdei Hashem tonight and we should spend time on recognizing
the opportunity of “Cheirus Olam”--the
eternal, incredibly incredible position we have claimed tonight.
4. It is important
not be critical or short-tempered. Remember, the Yetzer Hora is
working overtime (past !) to put a wrench into our precious Mitzvos
D’Oraysa, Mitzvos D’Rabbanim and Minhagim of the Night.
5. Rav Moshe
Feinstein, Z’TL, in the Sefer Kol Ram explains “Pesach, Matzah
and Maror” in a unique way. The Korban Pesach represents how we--in Goshen , many miles away from the Makkas Bechoros in
Mitzrayim Proper--still appreciated how it was the Hand of Hashem watching
over us, notwithstanding that the danger did not appear to be imminently
upon us. In all situations, we realize that it is Hashem who is
watching and protecting us, even if we sense no immediate danger or concern.
Further, explains Rav Feinstein, Matzah, symbolizes how things can suddenly
change. Hashem needs no preparation time. Therefore, though a
person might be in the depths of despair, his situation can suddenly change,
and he can go from the forty-ninth level of impurity to complete redemption.
The reverse may also be true, and therefore, a person cannot rely on the
good by which he is surrounded and expect that it will be there tomorrow.
We must always pray to, and rely upon, Hashem to be our “Ozer, Moshea and
U’Magen”--to come to our aid, save us and shield us--at all times.
Finally, Maror teaches us that we cannot rely upon any government,
notwithstanding that the current situation may be sweet and good. The
Mitzriim turned upon us, as did the Germans and many others of their
predecessors (the Spanish, the English, and the French to name a few).
Once again, we see a great lesson of Leil HaSeder is that we are now
privileged to look to, and pray to, Hashem for all of our salvations in
every step of our lives.
Special Note Five: The
following is a famous observation of HaRav Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl: Young
non-Jewish farmer boys were drafted into the Russian Army for 20 years.
Prior to their induction, they were care-free, not orderly and not
particularly concerned with their cleanliness. During their stay in
the Army, they were drilled with discipline, hygiene and orderliness.
Nevertheless, on their return home many years later, they almost immediately
reverted to their old habits. After 20 years of constant,
professionally supervised drilling and training--how could this happen so
easily? He said that the answer was very simple: The farmer boys
had no interest in internalizing what they were taught--even though they
lived it for 20 years. There had to be a yearning, a sincere desire,
to change, to improve their way of life. This was absent. What
they accomplished was only a temporary, external habit.
There is a great lesson
here. When we perform the Mitzvos on the Leil HaSeder we must overcome
our satisfaction with only external performance of the Mitzvos, and be
Me’orer (arouse) ourselves internally to appreciate that when performing
these Mitzvos, we rise to the heights of human existence in this world.
Moshe Rabbeinu (who David HaMelech in Tehillim teaches us was one step
away from being an angel--Tehillim 8:6) was called an “Eved Hashem” (See
Bamidbar 12:7 and Devarim 34:5). And
on the Leil HaSeder we, too, have stepped away from being servants of this
world--Avdei Paroh--and have instead became Avdei Hashem! Your
appreciation and utter exuberance over this new-found incredible, boundless
and eternal gain should run over and flow through to those around you.
For additional elaboration, see Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzva 16.
Special Note Six: One
important point to remember as we talk about the astounding Makkos is that
they did not occur in one neighborhood or in one city--but across an entire
country, and exactly within the boundaries of that country. If we
consider a flood or Tsunami affecting one city, or earthquakes in a
particular city or area and the devastation they wreaked in
seconds--consider a Makka lasting seven days (168 hours, or 604,800
seconds!) Multiply that by numerous Makkos and the fact that the Bnei
Yisroel living in and among the people of Mitzrayim were unaffected--and we
can begin to fathom the enormity of the miracles--and the great Emunah we
are to imbibe on the Seder night!
Special Note Seven:
What can we think about while we are dedicatedly eating our Matzah at
the Seder, and we cannot talk? Of course, we should reflect that we
are doing the Mitzvah as Hashem commanded and to give Him Nachas
Ruach. To further “taste” the Matzah, you may also reflect
upon the following teaching of Rav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, (Sifsei Chaim 2:342): Chometz represents a process by which
“naturally” (i.e., without the assistance of outside forces)
fermentation will occur--hiding Hashem’s hand in the dough. To the
contrary, the quick preparation of the Matzah--its sudden production and
completion--shows that Hashem’s hand overrides “nature.” We
therefore do not eat Chometz on Pesach in order to distill any notion of
“mother nature,” “the laws of nature,” and the concepts of
“coincidental,” “by chance,” “as luck would have it” and the
like, and in order to enrich us with the appreciation that it is the Yad
Hashem, and the Yad Hashem only, that is conducting and directing--as the
Master of all masters--all of our affairs, every minute of the
day--notwithstanding the “chometz” of nature apparently occurring every
day by itself anyway. In turn, Matzah is referred to by the Zohar as
the food of healing, for it cures us of all of these false notions which are
harmful to our existence in this world, and which then perforce harm our
existence in the eternal World-to-Come.
Special Note Eight:The Ritva in his Haggadah (on the words “Vayehi
Shum L’Goi), writes that our pe’rud, our lack of unity and
friendship, is the “ikar gezeiras hagalus--the main reason that Galus is
decreed” upon us(!). Today and every day, even with and in spite of
with the possible tension and pressure that one may feel, let us do what we
can to abrogate this decree by keeping our focus on helping our “reyim: in
any reasonable way that we can--whether it be with an offer to get an item
for someone else during a shopping trip or “How can I help you, I know
that….?”--you can fill in the rest, depending on the status and
situation of your neighbors and friends. Hashem wants people who
think, and certainly those who think about others.
Special Note Nine: Chazal
teach that we needed the Mitzvos of Dam Pesach and Dam Milah--the blood of
the Korban Pesach and the blood of Bris Milah in order to be redeemed.
HaRav Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach, Zt’l (brought in the Haggadas Arzei Halevanon) asks why
it was that these two Mitzvos were chosen specifically by Hashem to give us
that final Zechus that we needed for redemption. He answers that we
know that the entire creation is dependent upon our kiyum hamitzvos, our
fulfillment of mitzvos. If we fulfill a mitzvah in a natural way, such
as walking to Shul, eating kosher food, or lighting candles for Shabbos,
then we keep the world going in an otherwise natural way. However, if
we fulfill a mitzvah by going against our nature, then Hashem in turn will
conduct the world in a manner which is beyond its nature as well.
Since we needed something
beyond nature, something miraculous, for us to leave Egypt, Hashem gave us
two mitzvos which were extremely difficult to perform: The mitzvah of
Milah which involved making a wound in one’s own body, or in the body of a
small child or infant, and the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach which involved
taking the Egyptian god in front of them (at that time, our masters and
tormentors) and slaughtering it, both certainly defy human instinct and
reason. The Torah even records that the Bnei Yisroel wondered, “How
can we take their god from in front of them [for the purpose of slaughtering
it] without their stoning us?!” (Shemos, 8:22 ).
Thus, through these two
mitzvos which we performed with dedication and perseverance, the miracles
that we so desperately needed for Geulah occurred.
There is a great lesson to
be derived here. We are all looking for Geulah. There is a time
that it will come naturally, by itself, no matter what. However, if we
want to change that nature and bring it closer, we have to try to perform
mitzvos at a time or in a manner which may be considered against our nature.
Hashem’s message here is yet another one in the manner of Middah K’neged Middah--if you break your nature, I will break the
nature of My World!
Each one of us can try to
do his part in overcoming his teva--natural inclination--and producing that
Dam Milah or Dam Pesach, those very specially-performed Mitzvos--to bring
nachas and Simcha to Hashem, to us all, and to the world, with that
so-yearned after Geulah. Please, please pick that special Mitzvah
right now--and may we be truly zoche to the Geulah!!
Note Ten:We once again provide our CHOL HAMOED REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
Chol HaMoed are days
designated--set aside--for holiness. We can therefore understand why
someone who disgraces these days “has no share” in the World to Come (Avos
). According to the Bartenura (ibid.),
disgracing the Moados means doing unnecessary work on them, and eating and
drinking in the same manner as one would on a regular weekday.
The following highlights
are from a recent Hakhel Shiur, given by HaRav Dovid Zucker, Shlita, author
of the Sefer Chol HaMoed (Artscroll 2005), and Rosh Kollel of the
Chicago Community Kollel. This Shiur was broadcast via satellite to 13
locations in the United States and Canada by the Torah Conferencing Network.
The Avnei Nezer teaches (based upon the Zohar) that the Kedusha of Chol
HaMoed may be likened to the light of the Moon--reflecting the Kedusha of
Yom Tov itself. Chol HaMoed is indeed enveloped by the Kedusha of the
First Days and the Last Days of Yom Tov.
One should wear nicer clothes on Chol HaMoed than on a regular weekday.
The mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov applies to Chol HaMoed as well.
Rabbi Zucker stated that he felt that just as Kedushas Shabbos was the
nisayon (the test) of 75 to 100 years ago, Kedushas Chol HaMoed is the
nisayon of Galus Jewry today.
The laws of working on Chol HaMoed for a salaried employee depend upon
whether the employee: (a) has vacation coming to him; (b) has no vacation
coming to him, but can take time off without pay; (c) asking for time off
will cause him to lose his job; or (d) asking for time off will not cause
him to lose his job, but will have undesired effects. Our notes here
are intended to highlight these distinctions, but not provide the halachic
parameters, which are detailed and often require consultation with a Rav.
For further information, you may study the Sefer itself, or obtain a
copy of the Shiur on cassette tape or CD by calling (718) 252-5274.
Self-employed individuals and employers must consult with their Rav as to
how/when to remain open on Chol HaMoed. One should not rely on
“everybody does it” or “ignorance is bliss”--remember, we are
talking about the World to Come, and that is true bliss--and infinity.
The story is told of a factory owner who refused, despite the Chofetz
Chaim’s pleadings, to close his factory on Shabbos--he told the Chofetz
Chaim, “Rebbe, you don’t make money from a posuk in the Torah.” When
the Bolsheviks confiscated all of his property a few years later, he wrote a
letter of contrition and apology to the Chofetz Chaim.
Unskilled work is permitted for the sake of the Moed or the Last Days of Yom
Tov. Therefore, if necessary, one may sew a button on in an unskilled
A non-Jew cannot do work for you that you yourself cannot perform. For
example, your lawn cannot be mowed or landscaped--and your gardener must be
sent away if he comes to perform work for you.
Skilled work is generally prohibited--even for the sake of the Moed or the
Last Days of Yom Tov. Once again, anything prohibited for a Jew to do
is prohibited for a non-Jew to do for you. There are certain
exceptions in which skilled labor is permitted, which relate to “Tzorchei
HaGuf,” such as a serious roof leak or a necessary oven or air conditioner
repair. With respect to car repairs, it would depend on the type of repair
necessary, the need for the repair, and other factors, and a Rav must be
Laundering clothing can only be done for young children who have soiled
their clothing and have nothing else to wear. You cannot add other
clothing into the washing machine once their clothes are being washed.
Once again, a non-Jewish housekeeper cannot do for you what you
yourself cannot do. Spot cleaning, if necessary, is permitted. Drying
clothing is permitted.
Going shopping is only permissible (even if you otherwise enjoy shopping) if
needed for Chol HaMoed or the Last Days of Yom Tov, or if it would
constitute a “davar ha’avad” (See paragraph 13 below). One
cannot “trick” the Halacha (and yourself) by “wearing it on Chol
HaMoed too”. Similarly, one should not push off buying a pair of
shoes to Chol HaMoed if he can do so before Yom Tov (unless he simply ran
out of time). Rav Moshe Feinstein Z’TL once told a Yeshiva bochur to
come back to Yeshiva a day later in order to go shopping for clothing after
Yom Tov, rather than shop on Chol HaMoed.
One cannot schedule a “routine” medical or dental checkup or exam for
One cannot put off to Chol HaMoed filling up the car with gas, going to the
bank, etc., when he has time or an opportunity to do so before Chol HaMoed.
In specific “davar ha’avad” situations where an actual loss will
occur, if work (even if skilled) is not performed on Chol HaMoed, it may
very well be permissible, and your Rav should be consulted.
Cutting nails/manicure is permitted for Sefardim (if needed), and prohibited
to Ashkenazim (unless needed, and one had previously cut nails on Erev Yom
Tov as well).
Rav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, ruled that setting/cutting a sheitel is
considered skilled work and therefore is prohibited even for the sake of the
Mo’ed or the Last Days of Yom Tov.
Standard writing (not calligraphy) is considered unskilled work and is
permitted for the sake of the Moed. One can type, send e-mails,
e-faxes and text messages, but not print them out (unless permitted as a
“davar ha’avad”). Similarly, one can utilize a digital camera as
long as the pictures are not printed out, and a standard camera, as long as
the pictures are not developed.
The above, obviously, only
briefly highlights some common Halachos. In fact, Hilchos Chol HaMoed
encompasses 20 chapters in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 530-549). We
additionally refer you to Rabbi Zucker’s wonderful sefer. You may
want to ask your Rav to give a Shiur this Yom Tov on the Halachos and
Hashkafos of Chol HaMoed for everyone’s benefit. Remember, with any
question, or difficult or special situation, please consult your Rav--and
have Simchas HaMoed!
OF HARAV BELSKY, SHILTA:
We present the following rulings of HaRav Belsky, relating to Hilchos
Pesach, as presented in PiskeiHalachaof Rav Belsky, as compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Shlita
(this excellent Sefer is divided into 54 chapters, so that one chapter a
week can be studied every Shabbos at a Seudah). The Sefer is available
in Seforim stores or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling: 1-718-744-4360:
SIYUM BECHORIM--One must eat some
food at the siyum in order to be able to eat later.
DEODORANT--Some say that liquid
deodorant is nifsal me’achilas kelev and may be kept in one’s
house on Pesach. Thus far no one
has demonstrated that this is so; no test as to whether this substance is
potable has been conducted. Others
argue that this is similar to kufas se’or l’yeshiva (Shulchan
Aruch,Orach Chaim 452:9), meaning that once it is permanently
designated for a non-food use it is considered to be batel,
and is no longer a Chametz item. This
opinion has appeared in some recent halachic works and it is a total
misconception.Kufas se’or loses its status as Chametz because the Chametz does
not contribute to its functionality. In
the case of the deodorant, the alcohol contributes to its functionality.Whether it’s designated as a food or non-food is irrelevant.
SHAMPOO--The alcohol that shampoo in America contains is almost certainly not
chametz since most of the alcohol in the United States is derived from corn.
Wheat extract in the shampoo is batel
in more than 1/60. However,
it is still better not to use any products on Pesach without checking to see
whether it is permitted.
SHIRTS--According to the basic premise of the
law, one may wear starched shirts on Pesach
as long as the starch was applied before Pesach. It
is customary to refrain from wearing them in case the starch might
fall into the food during meals.
ENVELOPES--Glue which is on the back of envelopes
should not be licked on Pesach because the glue might contain wheat starch
which would be Chametz. .
TUMS--When there are no
the best remedy for treating heartburn is to consume a combination
of baking soda and water.The baking
soda eliminates the heartburn immediately.
See Special Note Three below!
THE LAST PASUK AND
THE FIRST PASUK! The last Pasuk
in Shemone Esrei is also the first Pasuk of the Haftara for Shabbos
HaGadol--VeArva LeHashem Minchas
Yehuda Virushalayim Kiymei Olam U’Cheshanim Kadmonios--then the
offering of Yehuda and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to Hashem as in days of
old and former years (Malachi 3:4).Why
is the Karbon Mincha used as the ultimate example of Nachas to Hashem?HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, answers that when a person brings an
animal as a Karbon, he may be essentially bringing something that he put
little effort into.The animal
can feed itself, clean itself, and otherwise take care of its needs.However, in order to make something into bread or Matzah, ten to
fifteen Melachos may be involved, and a person may perceive that it his own
efforts and skills that is producing the end result.By bringing this object as a Mincha to Hashem, he acknowledges that
it is not Kochi VeOtzem Yadi--his own power and prowess--that produce this
result but that Hashem is the true source of anything and
everything--including all of what is otherwise perceived to be human effort.Perhaps we can go into Pesach with a goal to recite this final Posuk
of Shemone Esrei three times a day with a special yearning to bring a Karbon
Mincha in the Bais HaMikdash--fully and finally demonstrating one’s
closeness and recognition of Hashem as the source of life and all of the
blessing that comes with it!
Note:The Gematria of Yeiush--despair is317.The Gematria of Eliezer--Hashem helps me is 318.Let us always remember that in any and all events Yeiush should be
overridden by the realization of Eliezer!
One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
A. In Kiddush
on Leil Shabbos we recite the words “Zecher
LeYetzias Mitzrayim.”--a remembrance of our leaving Egypt.What
does Kiddush on Leil Shabbos have to do with leaving Egypt?HaRav
Yonasan Eibishitz, Z’tl, in Sefer Ya’aros
Devash 2:8 provides an incredible explanation-- see there.Tosfos (Pesachim 117B) writes that in Mitzrayim the Jews were forced
to perform the 39 prohibited Melachos on Shabbos, as the term “Bepharech”
is equal to the 39 Melachos based upon the Att-Bash
formulation. We thus celebrate our freedom from Bepharech by not performing these Melachos on Shabbos.
thought from Rabban Gamliel Rabanovitch, Shlita, in his Sefer on the
Haggadah: The Shabbos before Pesach is not just another day before
Pesach --it is still Shabbos. It should not be put into a back
position merely because it comes two days before Pesach. In fact--this
may be one reason that it is called Shabbos HaGadol--to remind us that
notwithstanding its position in the year--it must be given the great respect
that it deserves, and we should not take away from its kavod or oneg with
any inferior meals or zemiros, by missing usual Shabbos guests, or in any
way be lacking Divrei Torah relating to the Parasha.
C.On Shabbos HaGadol in Mitzrayim (which fell out on the tenth day of
Nissan), the Bnei Yisroel took the Egyptian gods--the sheep--and tied them
to their bedposts. The Pri Chadash (to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 230) writes that the
reason it is known as Shabbos HaGadol, it because it is when we began to
perform Mitzvos-with the first Mitzvah being the taking of the Korban
D.The Mabit teaches that after this Shabbos, Bnei Yisroel no longer
returned to work for the Mitzriyim.
E.The Sefer HaToda’a writes
that it is referred to as Shabbos HaGadol because it is on this day that the
Shabbos which is an odd number day that has no partner finally obtained its
F.The Bnei Yissaschar writes that the reason the Rav gives a special
Drasha on Shabbos HaGadol is because Moshe Rabbeinu also gave a Drasha on
Hilchos Pesach to Bnei Yisroel on the Shabbos before their leaving Egypt.
G.Similarly, the Levush writes that the reason we read the Haftarah
referenced above on Shabbos HaGadol is because it relates to the future
Geulah, just as Moshe Rabbeinu advised the Bnei Yisroel of their imminent
Geulah. May this year’s Shabbos HaGadol lead directly to our Geulah
Shleima as well!
Two: It is important to note that tomorrow’s Parasha Acharei Mos
places an important emphasis on arayos—forbidden relationships and
immorality. A reader wrote that some of these acts are associated by the
Pasuk with Mitzrayim--and that our refraining from these kinds of acts are so
important that we read about them on Yom Kippur. As always, we must take the
lesson from the Parasha as we live through it, and bolster our care in the
fundamental area that the arayos plays in a Jew’s life. Especially as the
warmer weather comes upon us, and the populations around us act with
increased prurience, one must establish appropriate fences and
boundaries--properly separating or distancing himself from arayos in all
forms—this is where Kedusha may be found.
world incredibly considers some of the arayos as ‘victimless’ crimes.
We, on the other hand, believe that not only are the participants and those
who encourage them at fault, but that the degenerate mores impact
horrendously on the world at large. We need go no further than the Pasuk “Ki Hishchis Kol Bassar Es Darko Al Ha’Aretz”—for all flesh had
corrupted its way upon the earth (Bereishis 6:12), and the literal
destruction of the world at the time of the Flood that resulted in
its aftermath. We must do something to distance ourselves far, far, far away
from this behavior. Each of us (man and woman, young and old, city
worker and chareidi neighborhood dweller) can do something to improve
his/her situation in this regard—to bring a greater, tangible Kedusha into
Three: The Sefer Kovetz Halachos of
Pesach contains the Piskei Halachos of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita,
as wonderfully compiled (with extensive footnotes) by a close Talmid, Rabbi
Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. We once again provide below a sampling of the
important P’sakim relating to
Pesach contained in this exceptional Sefer.We note, of course, that with respect to any particular P’sak
or circumstance, one should consult with his own Rav for guidance:
26. The prohibition to do work on
Erev Pesach after Chatzos is less stringent than to do work on Chol HaMoed,
and therefore any work that can be done on Chol HaMoed (such as a Dovor
Ha’Aved) is permissible on Erev Pesach after Chatzos.
27. If it is one’s custom not to recite Hallel in shul on the Leil
Seder and he is davening at a Shul which is reciting Hallel, he should not
recite Hallel with them (even without a Bracha), but rather leave the Shul
in a manner which is not evident that he is being poresh from the rest of
28. One should strive to set the
table for the Leil HaSeder with nice utensils.Even though one could fulfill the 4 Kosos with a plastic cup, one
should nevertheless use a nice cup.It
is preferable to use a silver becher over a glass [the Sefer Kaf HaChaim
writes that silver alludes to the Middah of Chessed.]
29. When one makes the Shehechiyanu
at Kiddush, he should have in mind all of the Mitzvos of the evening.
30. If someone is strict to eat
only hand Shemura Matzah, he may nevertheless Lechatchila be Yotzei with
Machine Shemura if there is a reason for it, and he does not need to be
31. Lechatchila guests who are
using their host’s Matzah should have Kavanna to be zoche to the Matzah
(or the Ba’al HaBayis should have Kavannah to give the Matzah to them)--so
there is no issue of it not belonging to them (‘Lachem’).
32. The Ke’ara does not have to
remain complete until the end of the Seder; rather, one can take all of the
Karpas at the time of Karpas without leaving anything in the Ke’ara...and
the same is true for Maror and the other items on the Ke’ara.
33. One is permitted to eat the
roasted egg at the Seudah, but one should not eat the roasted zero’ah at
night.One should also be
careful not to throw the zero’ah into the garbage in a derech bizayon (as
this is bizuy Mitzvah).Instead,
it is a Mitzvah to eat the zero’ah at the seudah during the day.
34. If one uses a large Kos which holds more than a Revi’is, one is only required to drink a
Rov Revi’is.Some, however,
rule that one must drink a Rov Kos, a majority of the cup--whatever its
size.Therefore, if one only
wants to drink a Rov Revi’is, it is best that he use a cup which only
holds a Revi’is.
35. The Ba’al HaBayis should
not pour the Kosos for himself.Instead,
another should pour for him as this is Derech Cheirus.
36. The age at which a child is
“Hig’ia LeChinuch” for the
Daled Kosos is when he understands the concept of servitude and freedom.There is no set age, as it depends on each child’s understanding
37. Although males must eat
Matzah and drink the Kosos BeHeseiba, one need not make the Bracha on the
38. The Mitzvah of Heseiba is to
move one’s body to the left; it is not enough that one tilt his head to
the left.It is likewise not
Heseiba if one is merely leaning into the air, rather than leaning on
something.One can, for
instance, move his chair so that the back of the chair is to his left and
lean on that.[Hakhel Note:If one has questions as to how to properly perform Heseiba--especially
if he does not have an armchair--he should consult with his Rav or Posek.]Boys who have reached the age of Chinuch for eating Matzah or
drinking the Kosos should also be taught to eat and drink BeHeseiba.
39. With respect to Karpas, one
should wash his hands with all the stringencies he uses for washing his
hands for Matzah, without making the bracha.One should dip the Karpas into the salt water with his hands and not
with a fork, because if one dips the Karpas with a fork, he does not really
require Netilas Yadayim.
40. Lechatchila a woman should
read or listen to the entire Haggada and recite the entire Hallel at the
Seder.If, however, she is busy
with her children or other matters, she should at least read or listen to
‘Avadim Hayinu’ and ‘Rabban Gamliel Haya Omer’ through the drinking
of the second cup.
41. It is a Mitzvah to tell over
the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim to children who can understand the exodus.The Mitzvah does not only apply to boys and girls who are Ketanim,
but also to children who are gedolim--even if they are married.
42. Children who have reached the age
of Chinuch should be taught to recite the Haggadah as well.
43. When asking the Ma Nishtana, the
youngest child should ask the questions first.
44. If one forgot to remind everyone to
have Kavannah to fulfill the Mitzvah of Achilas Matzah before washing--then
bedieved he may do so even after making the bracha of Al Netilas Yodaim, and
it is not considered a hefsek.
45. With respect to placing Charoses on
Maror, the minhag is not to dip the entire piece of Maror into Charoses, but
only a small portion of Maror into the Charoses, and then to shake it off so
that the taste of the Maror is not lost.
46. After eating the Afikoman and for
the rest of the evening, one should not rinse his mouth out with mouthwash
so as not to lose the Ta’am Matzah.
47. If there is a mezuman at the Seder,
then at the first Seder the Ba’al Habayis should lead the mezuman, and on
the second night, he may invite a guest to do so.
48. One should recite Parashas Shema
and Birchas Hamapil before going to sleep, but need not recite the other
Pesukim of Kriyas Shema Al Hamittah, as it is a Leil Shimurim.
49. Shir HaShirim is recited BeSimcha
at the conclusion of the Seder, until sleep overcomes him. This does not
mean that one must fall asleep at the table--but that one is at the point of
tiredness that would otherwise cause him to go to sleep.
50. For the 50th level--May we
all be zoche to Chasal Siddur Pesach Kehilchaso!
Four:Notes on Bedikas Chometz:
A.By the following link--http://tinyurl.com/7tljavl
we provide practical guidance from Rabbi Yisroel Dov Webster, Shlita, on the
Mitzvah of Bedikas Chometz. Do it Right--notonly on PesachNight--but
on the NightBefore,
B.Bedikas Chometz is truly an activity of the body and soul--as we are
to simultaneously rid ourselves of the leavened products in our homes, and
the “Yetzer Hora B’libeinu”--the
leaven that exists within us. The pre-Pesach toil, sweat, fatigue and
enormous costs and expenses indicate our sincerity and dedication to both of
these tasks. At Bedikas Chometz, we are nearing the epitome of our
achievement--can we let it go with a perfunctory search of our homes because
everything “has already been cleaned ten times anyway?” How could
a serious bedika take less than half hour or an hour--depending on the size
of your home? Indeed, if you merely go around to collect the 10
pieces, your bracha is considered a bracha l’vatala (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
111:8). Picture yourself waiting on line for two hours to get to the
observation deck in the Empire State Building --as soon as you got up, would
you ask the attendant where the line was for the down elevators? Hakhel
Note: In a related vein, at a Hakhel Shiur, HaRav
Belsky, Shlita, suggested that one search for chometz as if he were
searching for a valuable coin or piece of jewelry--would you shrug your
shoulder and not look here or there, or not make the extra effort when you
realize how much is at stake? Go for the gold!
C.The Sefer Darchei Mussar
likens falling prey to the Chometz of the Yetzer Hara to a thoughtless
individual who elects to warm himself up on a cold day by rolling in freshly
laid hot tar. He certainly will warm himself up and feel good for the
moment--but will most certainly be left with an awful lot of sticky and
smelly tar to contend with, which will require much time and effort to
remove. He also likens a person’s relationship with his Yetzer Hora
to the relationship between a Cossack and his horse--the Cossack must feed,
bathe, and properly take care of his horse--but, has absolutely no ownership
rights over it. That being the case, who is really in control--the
Cossack or the horse? So, too, if we “feed and support” our Yetzer
Hora--Who, then, is really in control of our lives?This is the unique purpose of the time we are in--not only to finish
up the macaroni, and carefully eliminate the challah crumbs from underneath
the radiator--but to ALSO rid ourselves of the wretched Cossack’s
plight--and to ensure that we do not act like the careless fool who jumped
into the tar! Let us complete the cleaning--without--and within!
D.To help with the cleaning, we note that the Sefer Mesilas
Yesharim in the Sha’ar Nekiyus
(coming clean!) provides the four major Middos for one to work on--as all
other Middos Ra’os stem from them.Here
is the important List of Four to remove from our lives:(i) Ga’avah, (ii) Ka’as, (iii) Kinna, and (iv) Ta’avah.Especially at this time of year, one may theoretically be more
jealous than at other times of the year--as others have money to buy new
clothes, better foods, “go-away”, take far-away Chol HaMoed trips, or
because they have a large family or extended family for the Seder or over
Yom Tov.However, the Pasuk goes
out of its way to teach us:“Rekev
Atzamos Kinna”--what will cause the bones to rot (after 120 years) is
jealousy.The Maharal explains
that this is so, Middah K’Negged Middah, because if a person feels that he is
lacking, then his body in fact is or will be lacking as well.Each of us must recognize that we have our own role on Pesach (and
otherwise!)--whether it be in Eretz Yisroel, in a hotel, with friends, with
children….Pesach is a time to
enjoy all of the Mitzvos, to rejoice in the fact that Hashem molded us into
His Chosen Nation, and to individually inspire ourselves for the entire
year.Putting ourselves in the
proper (true) state of mind is an essential preparation for a wonderfully
Five:As Pesach approaches, we
provide the following important notes:
We again recall the story of the man who looked around for “Kulos”, for
leniencies, his whole life. After 120 years, the Heavenly Court reviewed his records, noted that he
followed the laws, and advised him that he would be going to “Gan Eden.”
The angels escorted him to his final place, which turned out to be a dark,
dingy and rather damp cell. “This is Gan Eden?!” “Yes,” they
replied, “according to some opinions.”
Pesach is a time when we are machmir, where we follow stringencies because
of the force the Torah puts into Pesach itself, with 8 Mitzvos D’Oraisa in
our time (and 24 in the times of the Bais Hamikdash--may it be rebuilt for
this Pesach). Its tremendous significance is underscored by Yetzias
Mitzraim being referred to 50 times in the Torah. For further
elaboration on its relevance to our daily lives, please review the famous
last Ramban in Parashas Bo.
word “Mah” is traditionally translated simply as “what.” However,
Rabbi Meir Schuck, Z’tl, offers a more penetrating and insightful
definition of the word. Rabbi Schuck cites three well-known uses of
the word “Mah.” Yaakov Avinu, upon reaching the place of the
future Beis Hamikdash exclaimed: ”Mah Nora Hamakom Hazeh--What
an awesome place this is!” Similarly, on the night of the Seder the
young child calls out “Mah Nishtana Halayla Hazeh--what is so different
about this night?” Indeed, Bila’am himself, who initially recited
the Pasuk of “Mah Tovu,” also did so because he was stunned by the
difference between the homes of the Bnei Yisroel and those of the world at
large. The word “Mah,” then, indicates something strikingly new--a
remarkable realization, an awareness and appreciation of a place or event
that did not previously exist. There are other moments at the Seder
where you will use the word “Mah”--make a mental note to try and find
them and see how wonderfully this new definition of the word can be applied
in each instance.
Additional Note: The word “Mah” itself is indicative of how refreshed we
should be, no matter how tired we are, when we participate in the Seder.
Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita, at a Hakhel Shiur, mentioned the story of
the man whose torn Haggadah was repaired on Erev Pesach by someone who could
not read Hebrew. Regrettably, he mixed in pages from a Machzor as
well, and finished his job right before Pesach. As the newly-bound Haggadah
was read that night, without reflection and with hunger, the head of the
household hurriedly read “Dam, Tzefardeiah, Kinnim, Ashamnu, Bagadnu,
Gazalnu…” For no reason or at any time should one lose his
appreciation of the heightened sense of the evening--and of the great
importance of every word of the Haggadah.
is one positive commandment that pervades and invigorates every day of Yom
Tov--the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov. Every day--including each day of
Chol HaMoed--is a separate Mitzvas Aseh! Let us *now* consider how to
actually best fulfill this daily Mitzvah for ourselves and for others--and
act upon it. Pesach is a Chag in which the preparation far surpasses
the length of the Chag itself--providing a great lesson for us in the
importance of aforethought and planning--the need for “hachana” in
Mitzvah observance. It may be a pair of shoes, rainbow ices, different
kinds of wine or a silver brooch...but please remember that we should take
the lesson from the Nesi’im and not wait until the last moment--diving
into Yom Tov with cherry ices because the mango was sold out!
could never, ever hurt--and may help in ways we will never know about--to
sincerely daven over the next few days that we have a “Chag Kasher
V’Sameach”. Each one of these requests--Kasher and Sameach--is a
mouthful (once again, pun intended). People have reported, for
instance, that they have found non-Kosher L’Pesach items on Kosher
L’Pesach shelves in supermarkets. Others may be fooled by a lot of
Hebrew lettering on a label which is not meaningful, or perhaps, not even
true. The word “Sameach” is also loaded, as it is such an
essential element of the Yom Tov, and may be challenged at any moment by any
number of situations or events. In addition to our earnest prayers for
ourselves in this regard, when extending this wish to someone else over the
next several days, we should likewise express it with sincerity and feeling.
6.At the Seder, we will be reciting the word “Dayenu” fifteen
times, multiplied by the number of times we sing the word. Dayenu
means “it would be enough for us”. What “would be enough” for
us? Let us look at the first passage of Dayenu: “If Hashem had
taken us out of Mitzrayim…it would have been enough…” Clearly,
just leaving Egypt , in and of itself, would not have
been enough. We would not have received the Torah, we would not have entered
Eretz Yisroel and we would not have had the Bais HaMikdash, for starters so
what would “have been enough?” The Siach Yitzchak therefore
explains that it would have been enough in and of itself to thank Hashem
from the bottom of our hearts for that one thing He had done for us. We
then go through an additional fourteen items and realize that it would have
been enough to thank Hashem for each and every one of them because He gave
us such great gifts, and we did not deserve that which we received.
Thus, the springboard of all the Dayenus--of all of the realization of the
enormous and eternal thanks that we owe Hashem is His taking us out of Egypt
--the first of the Dayenus. This is then the blastoff on the Seder
night for us to express and discuss the great and unlimited thanks and
gratitude that we owe to Hashem for each and every item that He provides us
with. Now, sing along--Day- Dayenu, Day-Dayenu, Day-Dayenu, Day-Dayenu.
This is what we ought to be talking--and singing--about!
7.Finally, on the matter of speech, it is important to note that after
having thanked Hashem, and recited Hallel with true sentiment and emotion,
we conclude the Hallel with the words “Ana Hashem Hoshea Nah--please
Hashem save us.” The Haggadas Seder HaAruch points out that
after thanking Hashem, which demonstrates our recognition for what He has
done, we must, as a matter of faith, immediately thereafter plead with
Hashem to do more, which demonstrates our continuing faith in Him.
Thus, as we conclude the Haggadah, we verbally affirm that our Emunah is
EMUNA DAILY:On an Emuna Daily message, Rabbi David Ashear, Shlita, once
pointed out (in the name of Rabbi Asher Wade, originally a pastor who
converted to Judaism) that there are only approximately 148 generations that
have passed from the generation of Yetzias Mitzrayim to our generation.Picturing this in the simple way, imagine that there were 37 tables
in a room with four people at a table--son, father, grandfather and a
great-grandfather who is on a swivel chair turning to the table of four
preceding him….less than 40 tables in a room--and you are connecting back
to Yetzias Mitzrayim!
We highly recommend Emuna
Daily. To join and for further information contact:email@example.com.The recording is available via telephone as well:Dial (605)
475-4799, access code 840886#.
NON-GEBROKTS ALERT:Please remember that many cake-like products being served even in
this Pre-Pesach time are non-Gebrokts, and that the appropriate bracha is
Shehakol and Borei Nefashos. Even if you know it--you may be used to making
a Mezonos on the cake and Shehakol on the coffee--so extra special care is
required. Pesach is a time for enriching our Emunah--a wonderful place to
begin is with enriched and carefully-made brachos.
THOSE WHO MAY
HAVE MISSED OUR RECENT NOTE, we once again provide the Hakhel Tevilas Keilim Guidelines by the following linkhttp://tinyurl.com/dlsvjh.Tevilas Keilim is such a basic, beautiful and simple Mitzvah to
perform--let’s take a moment out to make sure that we, and those around
us, are performing it properly! Please distribute further--and if you
can, post these guidelines near your Keilim Mikveh!
ADDITIONAL CHOMETZ REMOVAL:As we rush to rid ourselves
of our Chometz items, let us not forget that this is an appropriate time of
year to rid ourselves of other ‘kinds’ of Chometz--videos, DVD’s,
CD’s, periodicals and papers which are simply not befitting the home of a
people that experienced Geulas Mitzrayim, and separated and distinguished
themselves from the Umos HaOlam.A Jewish Home should be sure to have Jewish content!
QUESTION OF THE DAY:After Bedikas Chametz and Biur Chametz,we will recite the words Kol Chamira.As we refer to Chametz, why don’t we refer to Lechem, bread
directly--but only indirectly with the term “Chamira”?!Hint: See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 434 Ba’air Haitaiv, seif
Special Note One: Today is
the tenth day of Nissan, which is marked by at least three great milestones:
A. It is the day that the
Bnei Yisroel took the Egyptian gods--their sheep--away and tied them to
bedposts in order to inspect them for blemishes before Shechita four days
later. This was an act of tremendous faith by Bnei Yisroel, not only
in taking them for slaughter, but also in holding them this way for four
days. In fact, the Egyptians ended up being powerless to stop Bnei
Yisroel or harm them.
B. Towards the end of our
stay in the desert, Miriam HaNevia passed away. Miriam was so great
that even as a young girl, her suggestion to her father Amram, the Gadol
HaDor, was accepted and the decree he had made to have the husbands and
wives of Bnei Yisroel separate was annulled.
C. Just one year after
Miriam’s passing on this date, Yehoshua Bin Nun and Bnei Yisroel crossed
over the YardenRiver which had dried up through a miracle. Some
recommend reading from Sefer Yehoshua, Chapters 3 and 4, and reciting
Tehillim Chapter 114 in honor of the occasion.
Note Two:Rabbi Yosef Eisen,
Shlita, (in the name of HaRav Avrohom Schorr, Shlita) brings an EXTREMELY
POWERFUL Kedushas Levi relating to
this time of year. The heilige Kedushas
Levi studied Jews scurrying about with so many Mitzvos before Pesach, and
wondered to himself HOW IT COULD REALLY BE that the Moshiach did not arrive.He was left with one conclusion--it must be due to our Ungetzoigenkeit--our
being too on-edge, too tense, too irritable, too obviously sleep deprived,
too reaction-filled, too short-fused, to make the Millions of Mitzvos
performed at this time of year as pure and wholesome as they needed to be to
turn the tide and bring us the Geulah Sheleima. Over the next few days, as
our To-Do list gets longer and our time to accomplish it gets shorter, as
there is legitimate basis for
concern that there is so much to get done with the clock ticking, as not
everyone around seems to be ‘pulling their weight’ the way they should,
as the food prices seem to match the gas prices--let us remember that--at
least according to the Kedushas Levi,
we can do our part in finally BRINGING
US HOME by not losing ourselves, by keeping a perspective, by the
judicious uses of a Kepitel Tehillim before doing this errand and a Kepitel
Tehillim before speaking to that person, by maintaining a soft tone and
sharing thoughtful and kind words or compliments, by not responding to a
shout or a sarcasm with something in kind, by helping to calm another, all
of which will serve to project our Mitzvos on the very special, direct and
precise course to Geulah.Let’s
try to keep a record (or at least a mental note) over the next several days
of all our Geulah-bringing actions and reactions that would make the
Kedushas Levi so proud.The time
is not next week or the following one--the Time is Now!
Special Note Three: The
Sefer Kovetz Halachos of Pesach
contains the Piskei Halachos of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, as
wonderfully compiled (with extensive footnotes) by a close Talmid, Rabbi
Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. We once again provide below a sampling of the
important P’sakim relating to Pesach contained in this exceptional Sefer.We note, of course, that with respect to any particular P’sak
or circumstance, one should consult with his own Rav for guidance:
Every person is obligated to study the Halachos of Pesach within the thirty
day time period before Pesach. Some even say that it is an obligation
Min HaTorah. It is, in any event,
an obligation--and not only a meritorious act.
2. Being involved in the baking of Matzah is a Mitzvah in and of itself,
and not only a Hechsher Mitzvah. One can appoint a Shaliach to bake
Matzos for him, and this is why “Chaburah Matzos” are preferred.
A person who checks to see whether the Matzos are Kefulos fulfills the
separate Mitzvah of “U’Shemartem
Es HaMatzos”[Hakhel Note:
We must be sure that our Matzos are checked against being Kefulos or
Nefuchos. Many of the contemporary Pesach Seforim and publications
provide clear guidelines as to what to look out for when inspecting your
Matzos before Pesach].
The correct Nusach in the Bracha over fruit trees is “Sheloh Chisar BaOlamo K’lum” (not Davar). Women should
also make the Bracha. Rabbi Kleinman brings in his footnote that the
Aruch HaShulchan writes that Yirei
Hashem are careful to make this Bracha, and that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen
Auerbach, Z’tl, was very careful with this Bracha and remarked that from
the time he became Bar Mitzvah, he never once missed making the Bracha.
Women’s rings do not require Haga’ala, but they should be cleaned very
well, and preferably not be worn for 24 hours prior to the time of Issur
One need not Kasher braces, but should be careful not to eat hot or sharp
Chametz for 24 hours prior to the time of Issur Chametz.
If one did not Kasher the expensive utensils in his breakfront, one should
cover the glass on the breakfront, rather than leave them exposed to view
When performing Bedikas Chometz, one need not turn off the electric light in
If one will not be able to perform Bedikas Chometz on the night of the
fourteenth, it appears to be better to check on the night of the thirteenth
than the fourteenth by day.
If one must take care of his bodily needs during the Bedika, he should make
an Asher Yatzar immediately.
Similarly, if he heard a Bracha from someone else, he should answer
Pockets of clothing need not be checked by candle light; it is enough if
they are shaken out. One may check his pockets at any time, and one
need not necessarily check them the night of the fourteenth. However,
even if one did check his pockets on the night of the fourteenth, one should
shake out the pockets of the clothing he is wearing when burning the Chametz
on Erev Pesach in the morning. When checking clothing, one should also
One need not check suitcases, as one does not typically put food in them,
and even if one does, he usually empties out a suitcase upon arriving home.
Accordingly, it has a Chazaka of being checked.
One is obligated to check Seforim that he brought to the table while eating
during the year, if he will use them on Pesach, for even if the Seforim
contain only crumbs, the crumbs could get stuck to his hands, and he can
inadvertently touch Pesach food with them. When checking Seforim, it
need not be by candle light, and one need not check every page, but only
shake out the Sefer and its pages. Even after checking, it is still
best not to bring back any Sefer to the table, as there still may be crumbs
stuck in the Sefer.
On the night of the Bedika, one should check areas even though he will still
be eating Chametz there in the morning--and he should then check the area
again in the morning.
If one has already put his Pesach items into the refrigerator and cabinets,
he need not check them on the night of the Bedika, as they are no longer
considered a place in which Chametz would enter.
When searching for Chametz, one need not move any item which is difficult to
move [such as underneath a refrigerator]; however, if it has wheels, one
should move it and check underneath it and in back of it.
One must check an open porch or patio, and cannot rely on the fact that
birds or squirrels would eat any leftover Chametz.
In an apartment building or multi-family dwelling, all of the residents have
a joint obligation to check the stairwell and the laundry room.
One should check his car on the night of the Bedika with a flashlight.
A garbage can belongs to its owner, and one is not permitted to put Chametz
directly into a garbage can, as it will remain it his possession. One
should put any leftover Chametz into a bag and deposit it in a public area
If one finds Chametz in his home after the Bedika--even if he knows that
this Chametz was not there at the time of the Bedika--he need not check his
whole dwelling again based upon the notion that Chametz was brought into
other areas, as well.
If one will be selling an area of his home to a non-Jew on the day of the
fourteenth, one should still check it on the night of the fourteenth, as the
area is still in his possession at the time of the Bedika. One may
enter the area that was sold on Pesach even though it has been sold, for a
purchaser would not be makpid if
one did so.
Even if one’s custom is not to sell Chametz Gamur to a non-Jew, one may
Lechatchila purchase Chametz after Pesach from a grocery or supermarket
which properly sold its Chametz Gamur to a non-Jew before Pesach.
One need not burn the Chametz on his own property, but it is best that one
burn his Chametz on his own, and not give it to someone else to burn for
It is permissible to pass by a non-Jewish bakery on Pesach even though a
smell emanates from the store. However, it is forbidden to
intentionally inhale the smell of the Chametz.
Special Note Four: We continue an exciting Monday/Thursday
series on the practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain
Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals
The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or
Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.
For a fuller
treatment of all topics to be discussed, we urge you to purchase the Sefer,
which provides practical and meaningful information and ideas.
I am Sephardi but daven every morning in a litvishe minyan. Is there any reason for
someone wearing Arizalor Velish (Sephardi) tefillin not to accept
to a Sefer Torah written in Kesav
Beis Yosef (or vice versa)?
In general, should Ashkenazimand
Sephardim accept aliyos
to each other’s Sifrei Torah?
There is no need for a Sephardi or an Ashkenazito refrain from accepting an aliyah to a Sefer Torah written in a different kesav, regardless of what type of tefillin they are wearing.
What about Parashas Zachor – may I hear it from a Sefer Torah written with a “different” kesav?
Inasmuch asmany poskim are of the opinion that Parashas Zachor is a Torah obligation (as opposed to a
“standard” Torah reading, which is a Rabbinic enactment), you should
make a concerted effort to hear it from as kosher a Sefer Torah as possible. The poskim agree that this includes hearing it read from
a Sefer Torah which is written in accordance with your
custom. If, however, you heard Parashas Zachor read from a Sefer Torah written in a different kesav, you have certainly fulfilled your obligation,
and need not hear it again.
REMEMBER THE SEDER
clicking here our
Checklist for Erev Pesach 5774. As always, we welcome any comments or
suggestions. Please feel free to distribute further!
LOOK OUT FOR IT!May
we suggest that you take the time as you are davening over the next several
days to look for the mention of Yetzias Mitzrayim both in the regular
weekday davening, and in the Yom Tov davening (see the Yesod
V’Shoresh HaAvodah for further elucidation).
Special Note One below!
One:We once again present
pertinent rulings of HaRav Elyashiv,
Z’tl, relating to Hilchos
Pesach, as excerpted from the monumental Sefer
Ashrei HaIsh (Orach Chaim, Volume III):
1.It is best to recite the Birkas
Ha’Ilanos over a minimum of two trees, as the bracha itself refers to ‘Ilanos’ in the plural.The
bracha may be recited on Shabbos and on Yom Tov.
2.Ma’os Chittim may be given from
Ma’aser money; however, at least a small amount should not be from
3.When a Jewish store sells its Chometz,
and then continues to sell Chometz on Pesach it is a chucha
u’telula. Accordingly, one should not purchase from a store like this
after Pesach, as it may be Chometz
Sheavar Alav HaPesach.It is
better to purchase pre-Pesach Chometz from a store which sold its Chometz
properly before Pesach, than to rely on the other store selling Chometz from
4.If one lives in a building in which the
tenants or unit owners are not interested in selling the Chometz in the
common areas, one should be mafkir
his Chelek in the common areas before the time of Issur Chometz sets in.[ Hakhel Note:One should
consult with his Rav as to how one is mafkir.]
5.According to the Ikar HaDin, one need not check his Seforim before Pesach, as any
miniscule crumbs would be batel.However, a Sefer which was not cleaned page by page, should not in
any event be placed on the table, for a crumb from the Sefer may fall on the
food, and all of the food would become assur,
as the Chometz is not batel in the food.
6.If one checks his pockets well by hand,
he need not check them by candle light.
7.Our Minhag is to burn the Chometz.Thus, one should not pour kerosene on the Chometz before it burns,
because this will ruin the Chometz before he has successfully burned it.Rather, the Chometz should be substantially burned by fire, and then
one can pour kerosene over it, so that in the end it is completely burnt.
8.On Erev Pesach, one should LeChatchila
complete laundering, pressing, sewing, haircutting, nail cutting, and shoe
shining before Chatzos.However,
if one was not able to do so, he may still cut his nails and shine his shoes
after Chatzos, but a hair cut after Chatzos may only be performed by a
can measure a Revi’is, a Kezayis
and a Kebeitzah on Yom Tov, for the shiur of the four Kosos, Matzah and
Maror, but one may not weigh the Matzos in this regard.
10.The fact that one eats food in a Kittel
on the Leil HaSeder does not derogate the Kittel’s
status, for the Leil HaSeder is a Layla
one may not enter the restroom wearing a Kittel.
11.One should prepare the Kezaiysim of Matzah for all participants in plastic bags before Yom
Tov, so when it comes time to partake of the Matzah, there is no significant
lapse between the bracha and the eating of the Matzah.[Hakhel Note:The same
would seem to apply for Maror.]
12.One should pay for the Matzos before
Yom Tov, so that it is legally his, both MiD’Oraysah and MiD’Rabanan.
13.On Shabbos, one should not remove a
piece of Matzah which is possibly Kefulah,
because of the Issur of Borer.One
must instead remove the possible Kefulah
together with some Kosher Matzah.If
the Matzah is actually (Mitsad HaDin)
Kefulah, then it is Muktzah on
Pesach and on Shabbos as well.
14.LeChatchila, men and women should use
wine for the four Kosos.However,
one may dilute the wine with grape juice, provided that the taste of alcohol
children, one can be maikil and
give them grape juice.It is
better for an adult to drink a smaller shiur of wine than a large shiur of
grape juice.If one is repulsed
by wine and cannot drink it, he is patur
from drinking it, as it is ma’us
to him.He should try to mix
wine and grape juice in a manner in which the wine is still tasted.If he cannot tolerate this, he can drink grape juice. It is also
better to drink an entire smaller cup than the majority of a larger cup.
15.Heseibah requires Derech
Cheirus--which means in a royal and enjoyable manner, as kings eat.This includes a person not bending his body towards the food, but
bringing the food to the body.Heseibah
involves leaning most of one’s body and one’s head to the left side, and
leaning on the arm rest or a pillow.One
should feel comfortable as royalty would feel.If one leans without actually leaning on something, this is not
considered Heseibah.[Hakhel Note:If one is
unsure how to perform Heseibah, he
should consult with his Rav or Posek.]
16.Although before performing a Mitzvah,
one should state that he is about to perform it, one should not say “Hineni Muchan U’Mezuman LeKayeim Mitzvas
Asei”, if in fact it is a Mitzvah DeRabanan.HaRav Elyashiv himself recites “Hineni
Muchan U’Mezuman LeKayeim…”, but does not say the “LeSheim
17.The Sefer Chayei
Adam strongly objects to the partition which separates the Matzos in a
Matzah cover.The places that
are noheig like the Chayei Adam should keep their Minhag.
of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim is to relate the story--it is not Me’akev
for it to be to a son.This is
why a son does not necessarily have to come to his father for the Seder.If a child is only three years old or so, and could only understand
this story on a kindergarten level, the father should relate it to the child
on that level.There is no inyan, however, for the three year old to relate the story to the
father based upon what he knows from kindergarten.
19.One should throw the wine from his cup
at the designated points in the Haggadah with his Etzbah
(pointer finger as opposed to pinky), because the Pasuk says “Etzbah
one is in the midst of eating Matzah, he can answer “Amen” to another’s bracha if he has swallowed a bit.
21.It is permissible to change one’s
parent’s Minhag, and eat Romaine Lettuce instead of chrain for Maror.
22.White reciting Hallel at the Seder, it
is permissible to sing and repeat Pesukim, and to say Divrei Torah--for this is not like the regular reading of Hallel
during davening which cannot be interrupted, but instead has a Halacha of Shira.
23.If in davening one said “Es Yom Chag HaPesach HaZeh”,
instead of “Es YomChag
HaMatzos HaZeh”, he is
24.If one finds Chometz on Chol HaMo’ed
that was sold to a non-Jew, it is permissible for him to burn it on the
condition that he will pay the non-Jew for its value.
25.If one sees Chometz in the dirt on the
street, he need not pick it up and move it away, for it is not fit to be
eaten on Pesach.
26.Although on Yom Tov, the custom is not
to eat Shalosh Seudos, on the seventh day of Pesach, one should eat Shalosh
Seudos, because of the Chavivus of
the Mitzvah of eating Matzah, as was the Minhag of the G’ra.
27.Chazal (Yoma 21A) teach that a great Neis
occurred weekly with the Lechem
HaPanim and they remained as hot when they were removed from the
Shulchan a week later, as they were when they were placed on the Shulchan.The people who came to be Oleh
LeRegel were shown the steaming hot Lechem
HaPanim and were told:“See
how precious you are to Hashem!”Rav
Elyashiv explains that what we are supposed to take with us from the Chag is
the warmth, the feeling of how cherished we are by Hashem--and this warmth
should not cool off or cool down after the Chag when the weekdays begin!
Special Note Two:Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, provides the following insight into
our response to the Rasha in the Haggadah. We are instructed by the
Ba’al Haggadah to “Hakheh Es
Shinav.” This is often misinterpreted/translated as knock out
the Rasha’s teeth. In truth, it means to blunt his teeth. Hakheh
is spelled with a Kuf not a Kaf. The difference is explained by Rabbi
Reisman with the following famous story:
HaRav Aharon Kotler, Z’tl,
together with another Gadol went to collect for Chinuch Atzmai--and there
was a stingy G’vir who did not contribute. So they went to his
office--without an appointment--and asked his secretary if they could see
him. The secretary said he was not in. They knew what that
meant. So they said they would wait for him. So they waited.
And waited. And waited him out. Finally, the G’vir burst out
of his office and gave it to them. He was furious. “You come
here without an appointment and you harass me for money. I have no
Menucha.” He continued his harangue without Derech Eretz to these
Gedolim. After the fury of the G’vir was put to rest, the Gadol
accompanying Rav Aharon said to the G’vir, “Now that you gave us what we
deserve, could you give Chinuch Atzmai what it deserves?” Quieted,
the G’vir cut them a handsome check.
That is P’shat in
blunting the Rasha’s teeth. Further, Chazal say that in Gematria if
you subtract Shinav (teeth) from the word Rasha, you get Tzaddik…there
lies a Tzaddik in every Rasha once his sharp teeth are removed!
Hakhel Note: If this
is a key element in defining a Rasha, we should be especially careful in
this regard. Why only end up
being a Tzaddik, if we can start out being one?! Perhaps this is
another great lesson of the Haggadah--using our mouths for hours in a
positive, beautiful, thankful, and inspiring way!
Special Note Three: The
first letters of “Yismichu HaShomayim VeSogel Ha’Aretz--the heavens will be glad and
the earth will rejoice”, a Pasuk that we recite twice in Shacharis every
day, actually spells out the name of Hashem (Yud Keh Vov Keh). Al Pi
Kabala, when reciting the name of Hashem on Rosh Chodesh Nissan in the
special (fourth) bracha of the mussaf of Rosh Chodesh--we are to have this
phrase in mind. It is no small wonder why. It is, after all, a
month that demonstrates the Yismichu
HaShomayim VeSogel Ha’Aretz--spring blossoms everywhere (in the
Northern Hemisphere, anyways), our faith is renewed, and the opportunity of
Hischadshus is tangibly evident in everything around us. Let us not
squander the message and the opportunity, by actually taking the time to
change. We must really try to get through the next few days in
situations where things would have gotten out of hand in the past and
instead move through them without anger, without despair, without ona’as
devorim, with calmness, and with the sense that all that I am doing--all of
the minutiae, the shopping, the hustle and bustle, the hassle and
multi-tasking--is all for a great and noble goal and an incomparable,
eternal purpose. The Mitzvah will most certainly be elevated and
purified--and Pesach itself will have thereby attained a new level in Avodas
Additional Note: As we have noted in the past, the last
Chapter (150) of Tehillim has twelve phrases, corresponding to the twelve
months of the year (with the last phrase of Kol HaNeshama being repeated for
the thirteenth month of Adar Sheni). The first phrase of the Kepitel is for
the month of Nissan as the first month of the year--it is “HalleluKa--Praise
Hashem!” The Artscroll Siddur, in its usual manner, has a wonderful
and succinct commentary on this phrase, this time quoting HaRav Avigdor
Miller, Z’tl. “HalleluKa
is a contraction of two words. ‘Hallelu’
denotes crying out in happy excitement, while the unique meaning implied by
the name ‘Ka’ means ‘the One who is forever’. The Psalmist
addresses everyone, saying: Use your energy to be excited over
Hashem...[for that is the ultimate purpose of life, and all else pales in
Yismichu HaShomayim--VeSogel Ha’Aretz--and
Halleluka--messages of renewal for the month...which should
invigorate us--and be taken with us for the year, as well!
ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING! Rabbi Jonathan Rietti’s Sunday Night Hakhel Shiur on living history and
experiential Emunah brought great knowledge, awareness and excitement to the
capacity crowd.For instance:
“Many are under the misimpression that Ani
Ma’amin B’Emunah Shleimah means that I believe with full faith.
HaRav Schwab, Z’tl, explains that this is not accurate.What it really means is that “I am convinced with absolute
certainty!” The masterful and lesson-filled Shiur is available both in
CD and DVD format, by
it is soon Pesach and the presentation is two hours--it may serve quite well
in preparation for the Seder!
MEASURES! Rabbi Dovid
Braunfeld’s highly researched and masterful Sefer on weights and measures
in Mitzvos, known as Moznei Tzedek(Israel
Bookshop) provides an in-depth explanation and listing of amounts required
for the Mitzvos of the Pesach Seder and other Mitzvos throughout the year.
The Sefer includes charts for Shiurim of Matzah depending upon whether one
purchases 6, 8 or 10 Matzahs to the pound. An incredible resource!
HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently,
Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 475, et al.) relating to Pesach. The following
are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah. Of
course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek
pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.The Bach rules that with each achilah of a kezayis of Matzah on the
Leil HaSeder, we accomplish a separate Mitzvas Asei Min HaTorah.
B.For the Afikoman, Lechatchila one should eat two kezaysim--one Zecher
LePesach, and the second Zecher
to the Matzah that was eaten together with the Pesach. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen
Auerbach, Z’tl, writes that based upon the Bach’s opinion that every
kezayis of Matzah is a Mitzvah, it is certainly befitting that we eat Matzah
(and not another food) Zecher LePesach.
C.The Shelah HaKadosh writes that he has seen bnei
aliyah who would kiss the Matzos and the Marror (just as they would kiss
the Sukkah upon entry and upon exit) to show affection for the Mitzvah. The
Shelah HaKadosh concludes:“VeAshrei
Me She’oved Hashem BeSimcha--fortunate is the one who serves Hashem
D.Some have the custom of only dipping twice at the Seder--with no
additional dippings during the meal--in order to show that the dippings of
the evening are L’Sheim Mitzvah.
E.It is proper to wash the kos
before pouring wine into it for the kos
on Birkas HaMazon, so that it is fresh and clean.
F.If some at the table only eat hand Matzah and some only eat machine
Matzah, they should consult with a Rav as to whether they can recite zimun
before bentsching together.
G.The Pasuk in Shir HaShirim of “Hashme’ini
Es Koleich”--in which Hashem says to Bnei Yisrael “Let Me hear your
voice”--refers to us reciting Hallel in a beautiful niggun!
H.There are different minhagim as to when the Kos Shel Eliyahu is
poured.Some pour it when
pouring the fourth cup.From the
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (119:1), it would appear that it is already poured
when pouring the wine for the first kos at Kadeish [some have thecustom of then adding a little bit of wine to the kos Shel Eliyahu
every time an additional kos is poured for the participants].
I.The Chok Yaakov teaches that we open the door at Shefoch Chamosecha so that if Eliyahu is coming--he will find an
open door--and we will be able to run out to greet him.
Note: The Otzar Meforshei Haggadah
presents the following insights regarding the Shefoch Chamosecha:
When opening the door for Eliyahu HaNavi, some have the custom of reciting
There are four Pesukim which comprise this Tefillah, three of which are from
Tehillim, and the last is from Eicha. These four Pesukim represent the
“Four Cups of Punishment” that will be meted out against the Four
Nations which subjugated us in the Four Galios.
The opening of the door signifies that unlike the redemption from Egypt in
which we could not leave our houses during Makas Bechoros, and which was
only immediately realized in its entirety by Bnei Yisrael and not by the
other nations of the World, at the time of our final Geulah we will witness
the punishment of the wicked, and all the nations of the world will openly
and immediately appreciate our redemption. Additionally, our opening
of the door reminds us of the opening of the gate of the Bais HaMikdash
exactly at Chatzos on the Seder night. [Even when we open doors, it
has great significance!]
Special Note One: As Yom
Tov soon approaches, we present the following Halachos relating to Yom Tov,
as culled from the Hakhel Shiurim of HaRav Yisroel Dov Webster, Shlita. The
following Halachos are presented as Questions and Answers and complete the
100 question bechina (Shabbos and Yom Tov), which was prepared by Rabbi
Webster. For tapes and CD’s of Rabbi Webster’s Shiurim please call:
87. Is one permitted to use
a sieve or a sifter on Yom Tov?
Due to the fact that a
sieve is normally used to separate a large amount, it is prohibited. The
same would be regarding a large sifter. However, a small sifter is
88. Is there a problem
using a tea bag on Yom Tov due to borer?
One is permitted to allow
it to drip, even though the bag is being used as a vessel that allows the
liquid to drip out.
89. If I have mixed cutlery
from before Yom Tov, can I set the table before going to shul?
It would permitted only if
one uses a shinui because they could have been separated before Yom Tov.
Therefore, one must select the ochel
from the pesoles, taking each item
separately and setting the table. However, if the cutlery became mixed after
washing them on Yom Tov, then one may set the table before going to shul. It
is understood that if there is a mixture of cutlery at the end of the first
day of Yom Tov, one is prohibited to set the table before nightfall due to
the prohibition of preparation and borer for the next day.
90. If one has a cluster of
grapes that have some spoiled grapes, is one permitted to remove the spoiled
grapes from the cluster on Yom Tov?
We have stated that on Yom
Tov one must perform borer in the easiest manner. Therefore, if there is a
mixture of grapes, and the ochel
(good grapes) is only a small amount one must remove the item that is less
tircha. Therefore, one removes the ochel
(good grapes) from the pesoles.
However, if in the mixture, the pesoles
is less than the ochel, than one should remove the
and not the ochel.
91. Is one permitted to
make a salad on Yom Tov before going to shul?
On Yom Tov the condition of
immediate use does not apply . However, one cannot prepare a salad that will
also be for the second day of Yom Tov.
Two: HaRav Ezriel Erlanger, Shlita, points out that Emunah is an extremely
important Middah to work on at this time of year. He continues that it is
very telling that the Ani Ma’amin in which we assert that we know that
Hashem knows everything is juxtaposed with the Ani Ma’amin for the Biyas Hamoshiach, which is then further juxtaposed with the Ani
Ma’amin for Techiyas Hameisim.
From this juxtaposition, we must understand that our deeds have a
destination. What we do in the here-and-now is not simply a concept of ‘do
good, and do not do bad’--but is instead life with an end-goal, with a
purpose. What would you say is the ‘most important’ Mitzvah in this
world? Based upon punishments, it would clearly be Chilul Hashem--as the
Rambam brings in Hilchos Teshuvah that one cannot generally obtain forgiveness for
the sin of Chilul Hashem with Teshuvah, with Yom Kippur or even with
suffering--but must wait until death to obtain complete forgiveness. At the
time of Moshiach, life will be a flowing Kiddush Hashem--we will have
attained the fulfillment of our deeds--and all of our actions will be truly L’Sheim
Shomayim. This is our exit strategy. It is to this time that we long and
yearn. At this time, we must recognize that Geulah is the destination of the
world--it is the direction the world is going in--and that with our deeds we
can bring it closer, or r’l,
make it further. Chazal teach how important it is to be someich
geulah l’tefillah--recite the bracha of Ga’ahl
Yisrael and then immediately begin to recite Shemone Esrei. In Shemone
Esrei itself, we then express that Hashem was not just the Ga’ahl
Yisrael of the past, but is our Go’el
Yisrael in the here and now. We look to the accomplishments of the
past--with our full bitachon of our Geulah Sheleimah…in the forthcoming
future. An important step for us is to at least recognize that not only was
Hashem the Ga’ahl Yisrael--but,
as we say in each and every Shemone Esrei--is also the Go’el
Yisrael--the One Who will redeem us once and for all, so that we can
fully and finally attain the purpose of creation.
Three: The Sefer Otzar Pelaos HaTorah
brings from the Sefer Ahavas Torah
that there are 1,820 words in the Haggadah--corresponding to the 1,820 times
that Yud-Kay-Vuv-Kay is found in the Torah!Oh, how we should treasure each and every word in the Haggadah!
FROM A READER:“While at the Seder, think of those who for health
reasons cannot drink wine, eat Matzah, or partake of a regular Yom Tov meal.Also think of those who do not know how to drink the wine, eat the
Matzah or enjoy Yom Tov.In
addition to thinking about them--thank Hashem then and there for all that
A WORD OF CAUTION:A reader once reported that he found not Kosher For Pesach Chrain
mixed into the “Kosher For Passover” section in his supermarket--this
could innocently happen when a product is reshelved by a worker not so
familiar with the English language. Every label should be checked when
putting it in your basket--at this time of year it not only has to be
Kosher, it has to be.... We also caution about brands that you are not
familiar with during the year--that is not to say they are not fine--it is
to say that if you want to use an unfamiliar brand, even if it may have an
ostensibly good hashgacha for you--just check to make sure that the product
is in fact certified by checking with the certifying agency. “U’Shemartem
Es Hamatzos---be careful about the Matzos”--and everything else you
will bring into your home--and into your body (to sustain your soul) during
these uplifting and uplifted days!
FROM EMUNA DAILY:The
Chasam Sofer teaches that every brick that we laid in Egypt as slaves, each
and every bitter event that occurred--added up to the Cheshbon of our
redemption!Hakhel Note:HaRav Gedaliah Schorr, Z’tl, in the Ohr
Gedalyahu teaches that the Galus we are in is very much a part of our
Geulah Sheleimah.He explains
that Hashem had to redeem us when we had sunk to the 49th level of tumah--because
although Hashem could have redeemed us even at the 50th level, we literally
would have been a different people.The
brilliant Mashal he gives is to a seed planted in the ground which, while in
the process of dissolving becomes a growth and bears fruit.If the seed had totally disintegrated, no fruit could be attributed
to that seed.The lesson to us
is as we feel the pangs of Galus--even within the trying period that Torah
Jewry is now experiencing in Eretz Yisrael--we must recognize that if we act
and react properly, the last brick we had to place will have been laid--and
the Geulah will have come sooner, instead of later.Let us feel for the Roshei Yeshiva and the Yeshiva students, let us
do good deeds for them…and let us daven to Hashem with fervor,
Echad Bilvad…VeHakadosh Baruch Hu Matzileinu Miyadam!”
HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos
(currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.) relating to Pesach. The
following are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna
Berurah. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or
Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach rules that if parents and grandparents
are present at the Seder, a father can rely on the grandfather’s
teachings, for the Mitzvah of Vehigadeta
Levincha simply requires the son to hear the Sippur Yetziyas Mitzrayim on the Leil HaSeder--not that the father
specifically be the one to relate it.If
one has no children present, one nevertheless has a duty to himself to
review in detail the Sippur Yetziyas Mitzrayim.The Kaf HaChaim adds that
when one reviews the Sippur to himself, he should do so in a loud voice.
Hakhel Note:At a Hakhel Pre-Pesach gathering, HaRav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita,
emphasized that one must experience the Leil HaSeder as a Derhobiner
Nacht--personally feeling a level of Kedusha,
together with a Simcha Atzumah--the
personal euphoria of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.We may add that one who truly feels and is elevated and uplifted by
the experience of our previous Geulah--will be well trained and ready to
experience the Kedusha and Simcha of our Geulah Sheleimah--BeMiHeirah
B.HaRav Nissim Karelitz, Shlita, writes that the Sippur Yetzias
Mitzrayim should be related on the Leil HaSeder in the manner in which all gathered understand, feel and are moved by what happened to
us in Egypt--bringing
them to give hoda’ah to Hashem for what has occurred.Any other pilpulim, drashos and kushiyos are unrelated to Sippur
Yetziyas Mitzrayim and to the reading of the Haggadah.
C.Women are obligate to recite Hallel just as men are at the Seder.
D.The use of the term ‘stealing’ the Afikomen is objectionable--as
Jewish children do not steal.In
fact, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, did not allow the children to
take the Afikoman, for it is colloquially known as stealing--and how can we
allow children to steal and get rewarded for it?Accordingly, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen rules that if one does have the
Minhag in his family, he should not use the negative verb of ‘stealing’
but rather ‘chatifa’--or
grabbing, which is more palatable (forgive the pun).HaRav Chaim Soloveitchik, Z’tl, objected to the practice as well,
because the afikoman needed to be guarded--as all Matzos Mitzvah, based upon
the Pasuk “U’Shemartem Es HaMatzos”.It was also not a custom in the Steipeler’s home for the child to
take the Afikoman.
E.The Brisker Rav writes that everyone at the Seder should eat their
first kezayis from Matzos that were on the table when the Haggadah was being
recited--properly fulfilling the term Lechem
Oni--bread over which the Haggadah was recited.
F.When using ground chrain for Maror, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita,
rules that because it is difficult to dip into Charoses, one can simply
place a little bit of Charoses on top of the Maror.
Tur writes that reason that we do not make a bracha over Charoses, is
because it is tafel to the Maror.
H.Although we do not eat the Maror B’heseiba because it is zecher
l’avdus, the Mishna Berurah rules that one may nevertheless eat it
I.One should be sure to drink a revi’is of the fourth cup--as he is
making a bracha achrona of Al Hagefen after this cup.
Note One: Chazal teach that
according to Rebbi Eliezer the world was created in Tishrei, and according
to Rebbi Yehoshua the world was created in Nissan. Tosfos explains that in
fact, there is no disagreement between them--Hashem’s ‘Machshava’,
His thought to create the world originated in Tishrei--but the Ma’aseh,
the Creation itself, was actualized in Nissan. Based
upon a teaching of HaRav Yitzchak Hutner, Z’tl, Rabbi Eliyahu Schneider,
Shlita explains that in Tishrei we follow the lead of Hashem and work upon
our Machshavos--our thoughts. We are busy with Hirhurei Teshuva, with
thoughts of self-improvement, and intent to change over the coming
year. Nissan, on the other hand, is the time that the world was actually
created--it is the time of Ma’aseh, of deed, of action. All of
the Chometz removal, all of the pre-Yom Tov preparation--the Matzah, the
shopping, kitchen, the Seder preparation , the Yom Tov foods--this is
exactly the Avodah of this time of year! We are fulfilling the map and
direction established by Hashem at the time of creation itself. So as
you toil, as you work, as you prepare and perform the Mitzvos--recognize and
appreciate--be glad of heart and feel inner joy--in fulfilling the LeMa’aseh
of Creation--exactly at the right time of year!
Special Note Two:It is said that a person can live for seven days without eating.The Yetzer Hara lives on haughtiness and desire, symbolized by
Chometz. We accordingly ‘starve him’ over the seven days of Pesach--with
the hope that he will never return! In this regard, we provide an
outstanding and moving story provided in the wonderful work Commentator’s
Haggadah, by Rabbi Yitzchok Sender, Shlita (Sh’or Yoshuv Institute):
“Rav Menachem Mendel of
Kotzk said that people make a mistake if they believe that Eliyahu HaNavi
comes in through the door. In
truth, he must enter through our hearts and souls. A
story is told of a man who came to the Maggid of Mezeritch and complained
that evil thoughts entered his mind and he had no control over them.The Maggid advised him to go on a journey to visit the Tzaddik, Rav
Zev Wolf of Zhitmor. The man
followed his advice and embarked on his journey. He
arrived in Zhitmor late one winter’s night and knocked on Rav Wolf’s
door. Nobody answered, and even
though he continued knocking and shouted and begged to be let in, nobody
answered. Suffering from the
bitter cold, he had no choice but to seek out the local Shul and sleep on a
bench there until morning. Early
the next morning, he made his way once more to Rav Wolf’s door. This
time the great Rav himself answered his knock and welcomed him, saying
nothing about the previous night. After
some hesitation, the man told Rav Wolf that the Maggid of Mezeritch had sent
him. “It is well that you have come,” answered the Rav; “For you have
now learned the lesson that one is master of his home, and whomever he does
not want to let in, cannot enter.:.”
Three: As Yom Tov soon approaches, we present the following Halachos
relating to Yom Tov, as culled from the Hakhel Shiurim of HaRav Yisroel Dov
Webster, Shlita. The following Halachos are presented as Questions and
Answers and complete the 100 question bechina (Shabbos and Yom Tov), which
was prepared by Rabbi Webster. For tapes and CD’s of Rabbi Webster’s
Shiurim please call: 718-435-6974.
80.Why is one
permitted to cook on Yom Tov?
Briefly, the Torah states “Ach
Asher Yei’acheil Lechol Nefesh Hu Levado Yei’aseh Lachem”--from
this pasuk we learn that certain melachos were permitted for the sake of
preparing food-i.e., ocheil nefesh.
L’halacha, any melacha for food that is done in small amounts and could
not be done before Yom Tov with the same results, may be done on Yom Tov.
Cooking is one of the melachos in this category, due to the fact that fresh
cooked food is better than cooked food prepared before Yom Tov (e.g. fresh
kugel, roast, etc.). However, if the food can be cooked before Yom Tov
without it losing in taste , it may not be cooked on Yom Tov (e.g. some
desserts). If one did not have time to cook/bake before Yom Tov, or was only
able to purchase the needed item close to Yom Tov, then one is permitted to
cook/bake the item on Yom Tov. As always, one should ask a Shaila when in
81. Is one permitted to shecht
on Yom Tov?
The halacha of ochel nefesh
permits shechita for that day.
However, in today’s times we do not shecht
animals, although the shechita of
chickens is permitted.
82. Is one permitted to perform an act of borer on Yom Tov?
Yes, if it could not be done before Yom Tov as stated in #80. The
halachos of borer on Yom Tov are different than Shabbos. On Yom Tov, one
must perform borer in the easiest manner. If there is a mixture of ochel
and pesoles, and the pesoles is only a small amount--one must remove that item, as it
constitutes less tircha.
83. Is one permitted to use a vegetable peeler on Yom Tov?
Yes, as food preparation on Yom Tov is permitted for purposes of ochel
84. Is one permitted to use an apple corer on Yom Tov?
85. Is one permitted to use a slotted spoon on Yom Tov?
86. Is one permitted to use a colander on Yom Tov?
Special Note Four: We continue an exciting Monday/Thursday
series on the practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain
Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals
The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or
Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.
For a fuller
treatment of all topics to be discussed, we urge you to purchase the Sefer,
which provides practical and meaningful information and ideas.
I recently had my mezuzoschecked, and
was informed that some of themare Kesav Arizal while others are Beis Yosef. Is it a problem to use both at the same time in one house?
Ideally, all the mezuzosin one’s
home should be written according to one custom. Therefore, if one can afford
it, the other kesav
should be replaced. If one is renting, however,
there is significantly more room to be lenient.
What if one’s tefillinparashiyos
are written according to one kesav, while his mezuzos are written according to a different kesav?
If the tefillinare Kesav
Arizal – and that is his minhag
– while the mezuzosare
Kesav Beis Yosef,
there is no problem at all. This is because many acharonim
are of the opinion that the Arizal only wanted his kesav
used in tefillin in any event.
If however, the tefillin are Beis Yosef while the
mezuzos are Arizal, and the person is Chassidish, he may want to change his tefillin
parashiyos to Kesav Arizal.
If he is not Chassidish, he should
switch his mezuzos to Kesav
Beis Yosef if he can afford it.
(Although again, when renting there is room to be lenient.)
Is it correct to assume, therefore, that if one finds a combination of Kesav Arizal and Kesav Beis Yosef within the tefillin
themselves, this would be problematic?
Correct. Although such tefillin
are kosher, it is not recommended to continue using them.
FROM A READER: Regarding yesterday’s Sta”m Note: “Thank you, Rabbi
Mendlowitz, for addressing this very common scenario, resulting from the
Hashgacha delivering a large number of Sho’ah survivors from Hungary and
Galicia hailing from Chassidishe stock, but whose children/grandchildren’s
American upbringing and chinuch has been predominantly in the Litvishe
tradition. It is interesting to note that a scion of the
Lechovitcher-Koidenover Chassidic School (which, indeed, was Lita-based),
HaRav Sholom of Breihin, Zt”l, writes in his Sefer Mishmeres Sholom (6; 1)
that his practice was to don Tefillin for reciting Birchos HaShachar and
Krias Shma prior to Shacharis. While his primary Tefillin (that he
wore for davening) contained Arizal Parshiyos, as per the Minhag of his
forefathers, followers of the Besht, Zt’l, his pre-Shacharis Tefillin
contained Parshiyos of the Bais Yosef, in order to fulfill Mitzvas Tefillin
in accordance with all opinions.”
CHOMETZ GEMACH IN FLATBUSH! Bring your chometz that has a reliable
Hechsher (even in an open original box) and the Gemach sells it with its
Chometz (it sells real Chometz), and after Pesach distributes it to poor
people.For more information,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org (write “Chametz Gemach” in subject
line). The Gemach is located at 1101 East 3rd Street--one should call before to make sure
that someone is home to receive the Chometz. All chometz must be dropped off
by Sunday, April 13th at , the day of bedikas chometz.
We continue to provide Halachos (currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431,
et al.) relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period! The
following are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna
Berurah. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or
Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.The Steipeler would leave pieces of cinnamon which were not ground in
the charoses so that it resembled straw--zecher
There is a dispute among authorities as
to whether one can combine two different kinds of maror together to make up
the Shiur.The Aruch HaShulchan
brings that some do have the Minhag to do so, whereas HaRav Shlomo Zalmen
Auerbach, Z’tl, and the Minchas Yitzchak are concerned that one may take
away from the taste of the other.In
all events, if one expels the Maror without swallowing it, he is not yotzei
C.When dipping must be done, such as the karpas in salt water, HaRav
Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that the dipping should be done before the
bracha is recited.
D. There is a
Machlokes Haposkim as to whether one should eat the karpas b’heseibah.HaRav
Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Nissim Karelitz, Shlita, for instance, rule that
it is not eaten b’heseibah.On the other hand, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, as well as the Brisker
Rav and others, require heseibah.
E.The Maharil writes that when the Mah Nishtanah is recited, it should
be done in a beautiful tune, with the intent of praising Hashem.The one asking the Mah Nishtanah need not be a child--it can be an
adult as well. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach rules that the person leading
the Seder is obligated to specifically explain the answer to each one of the
four questions of the Mah Nishtanah--and how through the Parasha of Avadim
Hayinu all of the questions are resolved.One should not simply rely upon the “Rabban
Gamliel Omer” at the end of the Haggadah.
Note One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
The following is excerpted from the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan
Aruch Orach Chaim 318). Once again, one should in all events consult with
his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that it is permissible to pour
boiling liquids into a disposable (one-time use) plastic cup, and despite
the fact that the plastic softens as a result, this is not considered to be
boiling the plastic, as it is not the intent of the act, and is not the
shiur of boiling plastic (which would be a shiur necessary to make plastic
shapes). HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, concurs with this, explaining that it is
only a melacha of Bishul when one softens something that is hard, and that
one-time use disposable cups are soft to begin with. HaRav Nissim Karelitz,
Shlita, rules that if the shape of the item will surely change because it
has softened, it would be prohibited to pour hot liquid into the cup (ibid.,
Dirshu Note 2).
Similarly, it is not considered Bishul to soften a food by putting it into a
hot liquid if the food is already fully cooked or baked. It is for this
reason that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach suggests that one may put tznimim into a kli sheini which is not yad soledes bo, or into a kli
shelishi, which is yad soledes bo (ibid., Dirshu Note 3).
If one who has already made Havdala records the voice of one who has not yet
made Havdalah, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach rules that one may benefit from
the tape. This is because--even though the one who did the taping
intentionally violated the Lo Sa’aseh of Lifnei Iver--the person who was
recorded did not realize he was being recorded and was accordingly only a misaseik (ibid., Dirshu Note 15).
If one mistakenly turned on a light switch, HaRav Nissim Karelitz is in
doubt as to whether one can obtain benefit from the resulting light. If one
turned on the light as a matter of course (such as one who usually flips on
a switch as he enters the room), then HaRav Elyashiv rules that it should be
treated as a shogeg on Shabbos, which the Shulchan Aruch rules is assur for
the person who did the act, as well as for others, to benefit from on
Shabbos. In a case of need, one should consult with his Rav or Posek
If a Jew intentionally carries
the keys of a Shul through the reshus
harabbim and opens the Shul
door, the Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim
2:77) rules that it would appear that the Shul could not be used unless it
is locked and opened by a non-Jew in a permissible manner (ibid., Dirshu
The Igros Moshe, as well as HaRav
Elyashiv and y’blcht, the Shevet HaLevi each rule that cooking in a microwave is a melacha
d’oraysa on Shabbos, because it is the common manner of cooking, and
is equivalent to cooking on a fire. However, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach,
Z’tl, rules that it is Assur
Mid’Rabanan, and that accordingly, if one must cook for a person who
is ill, it is preferable to use a microwave (ibid., Dirshu Note 32).
The Sefer Shevisas HaShabbos
writes that the Chasam Sofer permitted making seltzer on Shabbos (ibid.,
Dirshu Note 43).
The Shevet HaLevi rules that Lechatechila
one should not make kosher jello on Shabbos, because of concern for the
issur of nolad (ibid.).
HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach rules that one can put a hot solid on a plate
which has challah crumbs on it, for one does not intend to cook the challah
by this. Similarly, HaRav Auerbach rules that one can place cucumber salad
on a piece of hot kugel because a person does not want the cucumber salad to
get cooked and in fact cooking the salad would ruin it a bit. However, HaRav
Elyashiv rules that the kugel and cucumber should not touch. If they touched
without intent through moving the plate, HaRav Wosner rules that one is
nevertheless permitted to eat them (ibid., Dirshu Note 60).
If a pot has been heated not on the fire, but close to it, HaRav Shlomo
Zalmen Auerbach and the Shevet HaLevi
rule that it is nevertheless considered to be a kli
rishon (ibid., Dirshu Note 72).
Special Note Two:The Ohr
HaChaim HaKadosh highlights for us how important the Torah considers
this month, the month of Nissan.The
Torah uses the words (Shemos 12:2):“HaChodesh
HaZeh Lachem Rosh Chadashim”,
and then continues:“Rishon
Hu Lachem LeChadshei HaShana”--this month to you is the first of
the months, the first of the months is it to you…. There is, the Ohr
HaChaim HaKadosh teaches, no redundancy here.The Torah is emphasizing that the inherent powers of this month are
so great that it was intentionally made the first month of the year.It is up to us, then--Lachem--to
unleash these powers.If we
begin to characterize our Pesach work as a ‘mitch’,
or a bother; if we express our frustration and cynicism at high prices, or
complain of other Pesach-related ‘hardships’, then we are defeating the Lachem
which the Torah reminds us about twice
in the same Pasuk.It is with a
sense of joy and privilege that we should approach the next eleven days
leading us to Pesach--a Chag upon which our souls became eternally free, even if our bodies may otherwise be bound in a
temporary (hopefully at this point, very temporary) Galus Edom.There is a related point, as well.This year, there appear to be so many individuals and organizations
in need--many more than in previous years.There are those who are making a yeoman’s effort to keep their Ma’os
Chitim and Tzedaka donations on par with previous years.Others, may, however, fall short because of the financial position
they are in.If one finds
himself in a better economic position this year than last, he should realize
that Hashem is empowering and
directing him to give more
than in previous years--to help make up the slack of others.Especially in these times in which we look to HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s
Tzedaka and Chesed to save us in Eretz Yisroel and the world over, we should
view the extra Tzedaka collectors and needy organizations as a means given
to us by Hashem for us to exercise Tzedaka and Chesed.Why?The Pasuk states:“VeNassan Lecha Rachamim
Pam, Z’tl, explains that this Pasuk teaches that Hashem will give us
opportunities for Rachamim and that if we exercise them, He will, Middah
K’Neged Middah shower Rachamim upon us.Let us do what we can-- over the next week and a half--giving of
ourselves and of our money--with Simcha, and with trust!Let us rise to the occasion!
Three:As we come so close to
Pesach, it becomes incumbent upon us to begin our study of the Haggadah.The Vilna Gaon and the Maaseh Nissim Haggadah teach that the
Geulah from Egypt was called “Chairus
Olam”--because the Geulah of Egypt was the root of, and source for,
all future Redemptions. When one does Teshuva, he must always look
back to the source, to the beginnings, of the aveira in order to uproot and
destroy his connection to it. Similarly, when yearning for our own
final Geulah, we must study and review how our initial Geulah came about and
what happened in order to properly connect to it. This being the case,
one can never learn enough of the Haggadah, its discussions and its
teachings. While intellectually one may know the ten makos by heart
(including details from the Midrashim), shoot off the four reasons that we
were redeemed, or list in perfect chronological order the Mitzvos we have on
the Seder night, this is simply not enough. Even if we “know it
all,” we must come back year after year to the same concepts, the same
lessons, and even to the same words, so that we continue to emotionally
internalize Geulah through continuously developing a greater spirit of faith
and belief in Hashem within us (See Michtav M’Eliyahu, Volume 4,
Page 249). The night of the Seder, with the uplifting four kosos, the
Matzoh, the paradoxical Korech, the amazing Haggadah, and the unrestrained
Hallel, is given to us by Hashem to continuously expand this spirit of
Cheirus Olam within us. Accordingly, it behooves us to properly prepare!
Note Four:As the focal topic of
this week’s Parasha is Tzora’as, and Chazal explain that a primary cause
for Tzora’as is Lashon Hara, we provide the following insights.We must also once again recall
that if we are studying the Parasha
now, that there are no coincidences, and that there is great reason for
its study AT THIS TIME.We
must accordingly be sure to apply the lessons to our daily life:
A.The purification process of the Metzora involves the shechita of
one bird, and the sending away of its counterpart alive. The birds, of
course, symbolize inappropriate chattering which was the source of the Tzora’as
affliction. HaRav Yerucham Levovitz, Zt’l, asks, however--if the bird
symbolizes chattering, why was one bird sent away alive--why were both
birds not shechted, in order to symbolize the Metzora’s total cessation of
needless speech as part of his Teshuva process? HaRav Yerucham answers
that, indeed, much speech needs to be corrected. Sharp, biting and sarcastic
remarks, words of hurt and derision, Lashon Hora in all its forms, must all
come to a complete halt. However, this does not mean that one should stop
talking completely. Friendly words, words of encouragement, good advice,
compliments and even properly worded constructive criticism, all have an
important, and, indeed, essential place in an individual’s life. We
note that before the live bird is sent away, it is dipped in the shechted
bird’s blood, as if to remind it to always remember to avoid the wrong
messages, the inappropriate comments and the wrong expressions. Then, and
only then can the positive words take charge. They are set free upon the
open field--to use life to its absolute utmost!
How can it be that two people study the same Mesechta thoroughly, put in the
same effort and hours and remember it equally well, yet, in Olam Haba, one
is cheerfully greeted by the Bais Din Shel Ma’alah, and the second is
frighteningly frowned upon?The
Chofetz Chaim (Chovos HaShemira, Chapter 7) writes that the disparity may be
based solely upon the Lashon Hora occasionally spoken by the latter person. The
Torah of the one who is careful with his speech, the Chofetz Chaim writes,
shines from afar, while the Loshon Hora speaker smothers the light of his
Torah with the Tumah which leaves his lips.In addition to the profound impact Lashon Hora will have on one’s
Olam Haba, the Chofetz Chaim (Kovod Shomayim 1:20) adds that Lashon Hora
also severely impacts upon one’s actual Torah learning in this world.He likens the Torah learned by a speaker of Lashon Hora to one who
presents the King with a unique and beautiful gift (the words of Torah),
which is poorly wrapped in a dirty gift box (the foul mouth). Obviously,
the more Lashon Hora ones speaks, the more repulsive the box--and gift
itself--becomes. On the other
hand, a beautiful wrapping truly enhances the gift!
Tumah of the lips also includes Nivul Peh (profane language) of any kind (Shaarei
Teshuva 3:229), notwithstanding its “social acceptability” by the
“average person” in the ordinary course of conversation, and its use by
persons who might otherwise consider themselves successful, professional,
sophisticated, or religious. Pass by a city playground and listen to the way
they talk--that should not be any of us--even for an instant!
The Chofetz Chaim brings the following remarkable statement from the Zohar
Hakodosh (Parashas Pekeudei 264): “When
a person has a hisorerous to speak loshon hora, a ruach ra’ah (evil
spirit) by the name of ‘Sichsucha’ is thereby aroused and actually rests
upon this hisorerous of Lashon Hora, causing it to rise heavenward and bring
death and destruction down to the world. Woe
to those who arouse themselves to do evil, and do not guard their mouth and
tongue, and are thus not worried about this terrible result! They
do not know the tragic effect of their actions.” Hakhel
Note:Remember Sichsucha --and
say no to it!
Contrary to popular thinking, Tzora’as as a punishment for Lashon Hora,
among other sins, has not left us. The
Chofetz Chaim (Kovod Shomayim ) brings from the Sefer HaKoneh
that anyone who deserves this particular punishment will receive it in the
future, r’l.Observation: The shame
and embarrassment in the future may be that much greater, as others bask in
unfathomable light and he is instead outside of the camp, isolated in
quarantine, alone and ashamed.
Furthermore, the Chofetz Chaim (Kovod Shomayim )
brings from Chazal that the
punishment for the Ba’al Lashon Hora is that he will be speechless for
eternity. Can we at all
appreciate the pain and shame one will feel if he stands mute as all around
rejoice in the incomprehensible bliss of Olam Habah? The
Chofetz Chaim explains that we are forewarned of this Midah K’neged Midah
punishment by the posuk “Yachres
Hashem Kol Sifse Chalakos Loshon Medaberes Gedolos (Tehillim 12:4).” The
pasuk means that Hashem will forever cut off (kares) the tongue that speaks
gedolos (a euphemism for Lashon Hora).
G. In this week’s
Haftarah, we learn that the official in Shomron who exclaimed: “If
Hashem were to make windows in the sky…[could the famine be remedied by
tomorrow]?!”, was trampled by the people at the gates of the city and
died. With this, the words of Elisha “You will see it with your own
eyes, but you will not eat from it!” were fulfilled. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky,
Shlita, explains that the sin of the official was that he was not Melamed
Zechus on K’lal Yisroel. He should have realized that they could
be capable and deserving of such a great Nes even in such a short
period of time. Our Derech Eretz to others must include our respect for
the Zechusim of each and every person
that we encounter--andthe fact that Hashem
can and will provide for miracles in light of these Zechusim alone!
HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently,
Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.) relating to Pesach in this
especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! The
following are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna
Berurah. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or
Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.The Steipeler would give treats to the children before
the Seder began, so the children would get excited and begin to ask
questions as to what was happening.
B.Before Kiddush, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach would especially advise
all those at the Seder that they should have in mind that the bracha of
Shehechiyanu covers all of the Mitzvos of the night.
C.The Mishna Berurah rules that when drinking each one of the four
kosos, one should drink a rov revi’is from the kos
at one time.
Mishna Berurah rules that if one does not have zero’ah for the ke’arah,
he can take any type of meat.If
one does take the zero’ah, it should have some meat on it, as it is zecher
l’korbanPesach.The Chayei Adam writes that it is a bizuy mitzvah to throw out the
zero’ah; instead, it should be eaten on the morning of the second day (or
in Eretz Yisrael, on the first day) as part of the Seudas Yom Tov.
E.The egg for the ke’arah need not be roasted; it can be cooked as
well, for it is zecher l’korban Chagigah--which could be roasted or
the second day of Nissan, the Parah Aduma was burned under the auspices of
Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein.Today,
the third day of Nissan, is the first
day that the unparalleled and purifying Parah Aduma waters were first
sprinkled on anyone ever!Accordingly,
it is a day that holds special tahara
capability, individually and for our nation, and we should be sure to use that capability by purifying ourselves in some
way. The Luach Davar B’Ito
points out that if there is anything that you can think of that could use
some tahara--the time is extremely
auspicious, and the opportunity is very great. For some on-point
ideas, we refer you to Chapters 16 and 17 of the Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim
(which is on the topic of tahara).
You may think that if so few know about this, can it really be that
effective? Please consider, on the other hand, that when there are
fewer customers purchasing, there will be much greater selection, and much
Special Note Two:Which Makka was going on today--the third day of Nissan in
Mitzrayim--and accordingly, which Makka were we--the Bnei Yisrael--saved from today? As
Rav Dessler, Z’tl, teaches, we go through cycles in time which
recur--perhaps we can think about today--and thank Hashem--for saving us
from this devastating Makka we were miraculously saved from...! One of
the key aspects of Emunah we touch upon (actually grab hold of) during
Pesach is Sechar Ve’Onesh.
As we prepare for the Seder, we should develop an appreciation and awareness
of this in our everyday life. It is no secret to anyone that the
second Parasha of Shema focuses on Reward and Punishment. This concept
teaches us that Hashem cares about what we do, and that, our own
actions determine our own
outcome. We are wholly and utterly powerless compared to Hashem--yet
Hashem allows us to determine our own destiny. What an important and
far-reaching lesson! If only the Mitzri’im had not done this,
perpetrated that, or gone this far or that far. We can well imagine
that there would be much more left of them than some chariot spokes at the
bottom of the Red Sea and some other ancient artifacts. Take their
devastating punishment, and multiply it by the converse--the eternity of
spiritual reward, and we can begin to understand the teaching of the
Ba’alei Mussar who plead with us to rid ourselves of the Yetzer Hara in
every which way that we can as we rid ourselves of the Chometz.
Cleaning closets, scrubbing walls and emptying refrigerators are not
perfunctory acts for the sleepy and overworked--but are lessons in cleansing
and purification--as we thoughtfully work on our Emunah in Sechar
Ve’Onesh--ridding ourselves of the causes of Onesh,
and bringing ourselves to eternal and everlasting reward.
Special Note Three: We
have already reached the third Nasi today--the Nasi of Zevulun, Eliav
ben Chailon. Although Zevulun was the tenth son of Yaakov Avinu,
he merited to bring the third Korban as Nasi. Chazal (Bamidbar Rabbah
13:17) teach that the “tenth” son became the “third” son here--a
300% plus prioritization--for one reason alone: It was because “Shechibav
Es HaTorah VeHirchiv Yodov Lefazer Es Mamono LeYissocher--his cherishing
of Torah caused him to open his hand wide and support his brother Yissocher
in his Torah studies.” With this wise and generous act, he fulfilled
the words of the wisest of all men, Shlomo Hamelech, who teaches in Mishlei
“Matan Adam Yarchiv Lo, Velifnei
Gedolim Yanchenu--A man’s gift will make room for him, and it will
lead him before the great.”In
fact, Chazal (Bamidbar Rabbah, ibid.) even conclude with respect to Zevulun
that “Godol Hame’aseh Yoser Min Ha’oseh--he was greater than Yissocher
because, but for him, Yissocher would not have been able to study, and would
not have produced 200 leaders of the Sanhedrin.It would appear to be
especially auspicious to write a check to a Kollel member or to a Kollel
Yad Eliezer’s plea for the Ponovezh Kollel (see above)! Additional
Note:The Navi teaches that ‘VeShaveha
B’Tzedaka--those who return will be redeemed with the giving of
Tzedaka’.In this season of
Geulah we should try to give whatever we can!
Special Note Four: We
most definitely should not let these Emunah-filled days go by without some
Bli Neder attempt, commitment, or improvement in our daily
Tefillah or brachos recitation.Even if one would take just one Bracha in Shemone Esrei (such as Re’ai
VeAnyeinu or Tekah BeShofar Gadol
LeCheiruseinu) with attention to the specific meaning of each word, or
stop and think for one moment before making a bracha on a food item about
the nourishing and meaningful gift Hashem is about to bestow upon him, he
will have demonstrated an elevated and TIMELY level of Emunah.It is important to note that just as a caring woman cannot afford to
wait until the last moment to rid her home of Chometz and begin her Pesach
preparations, so too must we all--men and women alike--now move meaningfully
and powerfully in the direction of true faith, belief and trust.We note that the Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim 429, seif katan 7)
explains that the reason we do not recite Tachanun at all this month is
because most of the month--the first twelve days (because of the Nesi’im
Dedications) and then Yom Tov itself--have kedusha associated with them, the
entire month is made ‘KULO KODESH’
(these are the words of the Mishna Berurah--not ours!).Let us utilize this Kedusha,which
infuses even a weekday like today to its fullest--by truly enhancing our lives with Emunah-filled days!
Special Note Five: We continue an exciting Monday/Thursday
series on the practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain
Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals
The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or
Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.
For a fuller
treatment of all topics to be discussed, we urge you to purchase the Sefer,
which provides practical and meaningful information and ideas.
question is extremely common:
I am an
Ashkenazi Jew from Chassidish stock. However, we have no outward
appearance of being Chassidish, nor do we have a Rebbe whom we
follow. Also, we send all our children to Litvish schools. The only
manifestation of our Chassidish roots is our family minhagim
(i.e., davening nusach Sephard, standing for Kiddush and Havdalah,
arranging the Seder Plate according to the Arizal, etc.).
For my bar
mitzvah, my father bought me Arizal parashiyos, and now my son’s
bar mitzvah is on the horizon. Which parashiyos should I buy for him
– Kesav Arizal or Kesav Beis Yosef?
It is well-known that the Steipler Gaon(R’ Yaakov Yisrael
Kanievsky, 1899–1985), and R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky, (1891–1986) used to
tell people the following: “The only type of kesav mentioned in the works
of the Rishonim
is Kesav Beis Yosef, which is
also the only kesav that
is kosher according to all opinions. Therefore, by wearing Kesav
Beis Yosef, one fulfills his
Torah obligation according to all opinions. So why raise doubt
unnecessarily?” This would seem to be particularly applicable in your
situation, where it appears that you are raising your children in a Litvish environment.
Although one who is unquestionably Sephardior Chassidishshould follow his minhag (custom); one who is not a full-fledged Sephardi or Chassid would be advised to purchase Beis Yosef parashiyos.
you’ve told me, I’m getting a bit nervous. Does this mean that I should
change my own parashiyos to Beis Yosef?
This is a
very sensitive subject which has no clear answer.It is simply
impossible to respond to such a question without knowing the questioner and
his family history. You should consult a
Rav who is thoroughly familiar with both your family and the halachic
issues involved to help you reach the right decision.
WHAT A DAF YOMI RESOURCE! An important and valuable service is
available to the Daf Yomi community worldwide.Daf Notes (www.dafnotes.com), which produces a wonderful daily review
of the Daf, also takes questions by email relating to the Daft Yomi Mesechta
being studied and respond--as yet another one of its outstanding free
services.To correspond with Daf
Notes, or to ask any questions that you like relating to the Daf or the
Mesechta contact email@example.com
YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO REACHGREATHEIGHTS: By
clicking here, we provide a beautiful demonstration of the important progression of our daily Shacharis,
as provided by The V’ani Tefillah Foundation. If one can visualize the
contents of this link as he begins, and continues, to daven Shacharis--it
should truly inspire true heartfelt Kavannah.
HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach
in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before
Pesach! Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or
Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.The Mishna Berurah defines heseibah
as one’s head leaning to the left while seated, with a pillow placed
underneath the head.HaRav
Elyashiv, Z’tl, explains that in addition to one’s head, most of one’s
body should be leaning as well.However,
the leaning should not be to the extent that one feels uncomfortable in the
position he is in.The Ohr
LeTzion writes that the position is one somewhere between lying and
sitting--at least at a 45 degree angle.Additionally, one must be leaning on something--if he is leaning in
the air, HaRav Elyashiv rules that this is not heseibah.
B.The Mishna Berurah writes that the Haggadah itself is not recited b’heseibah,
but instead B’Eimah U’V’Yirah--in
awe.Likewise, HaRav Shlomo
Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that the brachos over the wine and the Matzah
should not be recited b’heseibah--as
a bracha requires awe as well.
C.Although it is brought that the Yom Tov meal at the Sederbe eaten b’heseibah (see
Mishna Berurah, Orach Chaim 472, seif katan 23), the Chazon Ish, Z’tl, the
Steipeler, Z’tl, and HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach ruled that if one feels
uncomfortable eating b’heseibah,
he need not do so, and they in fact did not do so.
D.In a similar vein, HaRav Elyashiv rules that the drinking of wine at
the Seder to demonstrate cheirus should not be overbearing--and that one could use eitzos
to make the drinking more pleasant--for instance adding grape juice to some
extent--as long as the taste of the wine is still felt, so that derech
cheirus remains.The Chazon
Ish, the Brisker Rav, Z’tl, the Chebiner Rav, Z’tl and HaRav Shlomo
Zalmen Auerbach, all rule that one can be yotzeicheirus with grape juice.HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl and Rav Elyashiv require wine.One who follows the latter p’sak should consult with his Rav or
Posek in the event of any health or other issue regarding the intake of
Note One: The Nasi whose portion we read today is Nesanel Ben
Tzu’ar, the Nasi of Shevet Yissocher. The Luach Davar
B’Ito writes that the symbol of the Shevet Yissocher is the study
of Torah. Accordingly, the Luach writes that one
should especially daven today for hatzlacha in Torah
studies, and for Hashem to remove the impediments (including the Yetzer
Hara’s guile) which distract him in any way from Torah study.
Note Two: The Chofetz Chaim (Chovas Hashemira, Chapter 13) ponders the following question: A
person takes out insurance on his house, so that if, c’v, a fire occurs, he will have enough funds to rebuild his home.
But a house is made only of wood or brick and it is only a safek that it will actually burn down. A person’s body, on the
other hand, which is so holy that it houses the neshama, will certainly be
consumed in the end, because all people die. Why does not everyone purchase
T’chiyas HaMeisim Insurance, in order to insure that his body will come
back to life at T’chiyas HaMeisim?! Neither cash nor a broker is needed to
purchase this important insurance. The Chofetz Chaim explains that
T’chiyas HaMeisim Insurance is the study of Torah. As the Posuk (Yeshaya
26:19) teaches “Hakitzu
V’Ranenu Shochne Ofor Ki Tal Oros Talecha”—Awaken and sing you who
dwell in the dust, for the Dew
of Light [of Torah] is Your Dew”—this, Chazal explain, will be what
revives us at T’chiyas HaMeisim (Kesubos 111B). The Chofetz Chaim goes on
to teach that the Light of Torah that will revive a person can actually be a
combination of his Torah, the Torah of others that he supports and even the
Torah of his children that he
sends through Yeshiva. It would seem that just as with insurance, where the
larger the face amount of the policy, the larger is the amount that will be
collected, so too with T’chiyas HaMeisim Insurance, the more
Torah to one’s credit, the more…
What prevents one from arising at T’chiyas HaMeisim? The Chofetz Chaim
(ibid.) quoting Chazal (Sotah 5A) states that the sin of gaivah (arrogance)
prevents a person’s earth from moving during T’chiyas HaMeisim.
Additionally, lending money with ribbis (interest) prevents one from arising
(Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer 33). Even if a Heter Iska is used, the Chofetz
Chaim writes, one must make sure that it is properly completed in order for
it to be valid. Additionally, the Chofetz Chaim (Dovor B’ito, Chapter 2)
writes that lack of proper care in matters of kashrus will also cause a
person great difficulty at the
time of T’chiyas HaMeisim. His proof is clear: The chait of Adam HaRishon,
which was eating from the Eitz
Hadaas, brought death to Adam HaRishon and death to the world, because the
consumed fruit of the Eitz HaDa’as traveled
through the bloodstream and infected his entire body and consequently, the
bodies of all future generations. One who consumes ma’acholos asuros in
his lifetime, without exercising the proper care, likewise infects his
entire body and demonstrates that he has not learned from the chait of Odom
Harishon,who was punished with
death. How then can he awaken from his death at T’chiyas HaMeisim?! In
fact,the Chofetz Chaim answers
that in such a case, one’s body will then require a “Tikun Norah” or,
as he also puts it, a
“dreadful operation,” to remove the horrible infection in all of the
limbs and organs of the body caused by ma’acholos asuros, in order to make
him worthy to arise. With this idea, we can understand thewords of the Mesilas Yesharim (Chapter 11) who writes that forbidden
food is poison, and that one shouldtake
the same steps to avoid it as one takes precautions to avoid death. This is
not an allegory, it is reallyvery
literal! One should never indifferently or naively put the blame on the
mashgiach at a hotel catered affair, Shabbos retreat or restaurant—for it
is your body, and your T’chiyas HaMeisim!
must remember that Rav Schwab, Z’TL, writes in Selected Speeches (page 16)
that he personally heard from the Chofetz Chaim that every day should be
treated as a “sofek hashakul”
(equally likely) for Moshiach’s arrival. T’chiyas
HaMeisim will B’EH follow thereafter. Each person should take whatever
steps are necessary to prepare himself now for this upcoming Great Event.
Note: Relating back to the Chofetz Chaim’s caution about Heter Iskas, we
must advise thatthere are a
number of improperly worded Heter Iska documents in current use which are
loan transactions made through them bone fide Ribbis. For example, the
phrase “in lieu of the sharing of profits and losses” or “it has been
agreed… (followed by language which does away withthe sharing of any form of losses)” voids the Heter Iska.
Additionally, language which provides that “thesepayments will continue until the original loan is paid in full”
(which has the effect of guaranteeing payment of the principal) voids the
Heter Iska, as well.
HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach
in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before
Pesach! Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or
Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:
A.In the Nusach of Bitul Chometz, we recite the words “Debiyartei
U’delah Biyartei--which I have burned/destroyed and which I have not
burned/destroyed.”If it has
been destroyed--why does one need to nullify it?There are many reasons:(i)
perhaps the subject Chometz has not been completely burned or destroyed;
(ii) one intends with these words to include Chometz upon which something
has fallen and which one does not intend to uncover, but still requires bitul;
and (iii) the words also cover Chometz which has been removed by being sold
to a non-Jew, and the possibility exists that the sale did not properly take
B.The following is from the Sefer Otzros
HaTorah on the Haggadah Shel
Pesach:All of the chumros and dikdukim that
we undertake in cleaning our homes and utensils for Pesach are certainly me’orer
great zechuyos for K’lal Yisrael, and are mevatel
[as in bitul Chometz!] the machshavos ra’os of our enemies against us.It is said that when HaRav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov would see
women cleaning and preparing their homes, rinsing, washing, scrubbing and
the like before Pesach, he recited the following: “Yehi
Ratzon She’eilu HaMalochim HaYotzim Meima’asei Yedeihen Ya’alu Lifnei
Kisei Kevodecha VeYamlitzu Tov Ba’adeinu--May this be an Eis
Ratzon before You, Hashem, and may the Malochim that are created by
their holy activities come before Your Holy Throne and serve as melitzei
tov for all of K’lal Yisrael.”Let
us not lose sight of, and remember, that all of our holy activities in these
days are creating Malochim Kedoshim!Rebbi
Levi Yitzchak recited a Yehi Ratzon--so
C. On Erev
Pesach, the Chasam Sofer, Z’tl, would himself prepare the Seder table with
a zriyzus nifla’ah and simcha
atzumah.The Michtav Sofer,
based upon this, writes that every Yirei Shomayim should begin to set the
Seder table after Chatzos on Erev Pesach, and make sure that everyone’s
kos has a proper shiur and is fit for use (Shulchan Aruch, Orach
Chaim 431, et al.).
Note One: Now that Nissan is
upon us, we must be smart enough to use the Month of Geulah--for that
purpose. Not only is Nissan proven from the-past, Chazal even teach
that “U’BeNissan Asidin LiGa’el--in
Nissan we will be redeemed.” Indeed, the Yotzros for Parashas
HaChodesh make it perfectly clear “Rusham
BeChol Dor Shomur Hu LeRochev Al HaChamor--It is reserved **in every
generation** for the one who will come riding on the donkey.” Far be
it from us to allow the Yetzer Hora to razzle and dazzle us over the next
few weeks--when INFACT we
can accomplish so much towards our own Geulah! Perhaps, if you have
not already done so, you can start daily with the Tefilah Al HaGeulah from
now until Pesach--which we once again provide by clicking
here the tefilah in Hebrew
and by clicking
here the tefilah in EnglishMay
we also suggest that when reciting VeLirushalayim
Ircha in Shemone Esrei that you picture Yerushalayim well--with the
millions of people that were there in the past and will be there again
celebrating Pesach--visualizing the Seder [including yours] on the rooftops,
the palpable Ruach Hakodesh of the Tzaddikim, the Kohanim working in
beautiful harmony, and the incredible Miracles of the Mikdash. Think
about the unadulterated Simchas Yom Tov (not needing Great Adventures to
make it happen), and of the harmony, health and purity of spirit that will
abound. All of this may be only a prayer--your prayer--away!
Note Two: Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita, provides a touching insight from
the Chiddushei HaRim (the Gerrer Rebbe, Z’tl). Geulah need not take
place only on a communal level, but on an individual level, as well.
The Yotzros that some may have recited last Shabbos teach that Nissan is “HaChodesh
Asher Yeshuos Bo Makifos--the month in which salvations follow quickly
one upon another” (translation of Artscroll Siddur). The Chiddushei
HaRim, however, teaches that the word “Makifos” is also very much
related to the word “hakafa”--an extension of credit (see, for example,
“Vehachenvani Makif--and the
Merchant [Hashem] extends credit).”The
month of Nissan is an auspicious time during which we can ask Hashem for
personal Yeshuos--on credit. Even
if we have not gotten there yet--we can express our beginning intention to
do better and ask Hashem for the “merchandise” we need now. It
is market day, if you will, and the Merchant is unbelievably making it
available on credit! We have ahead a month that is infused with so
much potential and good for us. Let us begin with the beginnings of an
act of Teshuva--whether it be coming to Shul on time, being more careful
with Brachos, refraining from Ona’as Devorim to family and “close”
friends, or anything else that you know you have to get better at--and then
ask Hashem for His unparalleled and incomparable credit on your continued
future actions. May you be zoche to a marvelous credit rating in this
very special month--and may you speedily receive the Yeshua that you seek.
Most certainly you have the Chiddushei HaRim to back you up!
Note: In the Hagadda, we recite “Yachol
Mai’Rosh Chodesh…--I might think [that the Mitzvah of relating the
story of our Exodus from Egypt could be performed] from Rosh Chodesh Nissan and
on.” Why would I think this way? After all did not the Exodus
actually take place on the fifteenth day of Nissan, which is exactly the
first day of Pesach--why would I think the Mitzvah could be performed
earlier? The Netziv (in the Chumash Ha’Amek Dovor,
Shemos 34:18) writes, in fact, that the entire month is mesugal, is
especially opportune, to instill within us true principles of Emuna and
Avodas Hashem. If this is the month which is mesugal --let’s not
lose out on today!
Note Three: As we have noted in the past, the Mazel for the month
of Nissan is a ram. The Egyptians, who were the most professional of
astrologers, worshipped this particular Mazel, because it is the first, the
b’chor, of all of the Mazelos. Accordingly, they believed they could
draw the strength and power from this Mazel which was necessary for them to
rule the world.
therefore specifically took B’nei Yisroel out of Egypt during the height of this Mazel’s governance--on
the 15th day--in the middle of Nissan. Moreover, the
lamb (ram) which was the earthly symbol of this Mazel, was restrained by
being tied to bedposts--and then even shechted during the Mazel’s very
governance. Had B’nei Yisroel been taken out in any other month, the
Mitzri’im could have claimed that its Mazel was simply not ruling that
month, but had it been…
What is Mazel? HaRav Chaim Friedlander Z’TL (Sifsei Chaim 2:268)
explains that it is the method of controlling the creation from heaven to
earth, which is wholly independent of man’s conduct (Mazel is connected
with the word “Nozel”--to flow from heaven to earth). The
Egyptians were right--Mazelos were effective--until Rosh Chodesh Nissan--the
day upon which Hashem taught us that WE, B’nei Yisrael, would
now supersede and govern over all creation by our actions. As the
Posuk states: “This month is TO YOU the first month.” Hashem,
in the first mitzvah given to K’lal Yisrael as a people, teaches them that
their actions will simply override all Mazelos. As Rav Friedlander
explains, the term “Ain Mazel
L’Yisrael” (Shabbos 156A) means that the Mazelos have no power over
us--just the opposite, our actions now control the creation.
obviously puts us in a very responsible position. On that first day of
Nissan in the year 2448, we lost the status of commoners, and, in effect,
became ranking high officers, because all of our actions, even the smaller
ones, impact the world in its entirety. In fact, our actions are
so profound, that we can bring the Shechina into this world by building a
Mishkan, and we can, c’v, drive
the Shechina away with seemingly something as trivial as the Sinas Chinam--the
senseless hatred--shown in the Kamtza-Bar Kamtza incident.
what are we to do--is this simply teaching us about “Jewish guilt”?
No, quite to the contrary. Does a King’s son look to make life
simpler and say, “Forget this, I would rather carry water”?? Or
does a Colonel say, “I’m giving this up to the easier life of guard
duty??” No, or at least, they should not. Instead, they will
recognize the importance of their position and learn how to help
themselves--and the many others whose lives they now affect. How?
By taking instruction from the King, and by learning from the Generals, what
to do and how to do it. Indeed, Rav Chaim Volozhiner Z’TL in
the Nefesh HaChaim (Sha’ar 1, Chapter 4) teaches that the
acts of sacrilege of Titus HaRasha in the Holy of Holies were less than
meaningless trifle and had no bearing on this world--but our smallest deeds
shake the cosmos.
we begin our Pesach preparations, where we spend our valuable time searching
for even crumbs of Chometz, scrubbing walls and turning pockets inside out,
when some men become homemakers--kneading dough, baking matzos, or perhaps
grinding marror, where world class athletes would envy women’s adrenaline
levels, when we spend so much money on potatoes and eggs and figuring out
different ways to prepare them, we should keep in mind--or least when the
going gets rough, remind ourselves--when performing any and all of our
actions that we are the star colonels, we are sons of the King--whatever we
do is truly very, very important and how we do it impacts not only on our
family, friends or neighbors, but actually governs the world and all of its
Note Four:Today is one of the
most renowned days in the Torah, as, once again, we read last week, Hashem
taught Moshe Rabbeinu on this day-- “HaChodesh HaZeh Lochem Rosh Chadoshim--This
month is the first month to you of the year…” (Shemos 12:2).
Gemara (Shabbos 87B) teaches that Rosh Chodesh Nissan took “Eser
Ataros”--ten separate and distinct crowns--for ten unique events that
happened on this day, which include the first day of the Avodah--the
complete service in the Mishkan, with Aharon and his descendents to serve
everlastingly as Kohanim Gedolim and Kohanim. It was also the first
day ever of the Shechina descending into the Mishkan, and of fire coming
from Heaven to consume the Karbanos.
not one or two, but eight different Parshios of the Torah were
taught to K’lal Yisroel on this specific day (See Gittin 60A).
Navi in Yechezkel (45:18) teaches that on THIS DAY
the “Miluim”--the consecration of the THIRD BAIS HAMIKDASH will
commence. Accordingly, the Siddur Bais Yaakov writes that
all who are “Mitzapim L’Yeshua”--await
the Redemption--should recite the Pesukim related to the dedication of the
Third Beis HaMikdash in Yechezkel, 43:18-27 and 45:18-20.
the first 12 days of Nissan, the days of the dedication offerings of the
Nesi’im (the princes of the tribes) in the Mishkan, are so powerful that
Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov taught that in each of these days are
inherent an entire month of the year. With true clarity of vision, on
each of these 12 days, one can understand what the entire corresponding
month will be like. The first day of Nissan provides the clarity for
the entire month of Nissan, the time of redemption.
Nasi, i.e., the first one to bring Karbonos in the Mishkan, was Nachshon ben
Aminadov, who was the same Nasi who jumped into the stormy sea for Geulah.
Perhaps the lesson for today is not to be ashamed or hesitant--but to jump
in--to give it all that we have, to prepare for--and to bring--the Geulah!
is also the first day we can recite the Birchas Ha’Ilanos (list of
locations supplied yesterday), upon seeing a blossoming fruit
tree (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 226 for further details on the proper
performance of this Mitzvah). One can show his/her zerizus and
chavivus--alacrity and dearness--for this once-a-year Brocha by reciting it
as early in the month as possible.
Rosh Chodesh Nissan is the Rosh Hashana for Shekalim (Rosh Hashana 7A)--the
day **new** contributions were **required** to be used to purchase the daily
sacrifices for the Bais Hamikdash (no matter how full the Temple treasury already was). This teaches us that
today is the day to start again, with a fresh and new commitment, to utilize
the coming days to personally spring and blossom. Let us feel the
Special Time in the AIR--and improve and elevate our actions accordingly. The
opportunity is oh so blatant--grab on and enjoy!