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2 Iyar

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is another name for Iyar (other than the Second Month of the Year)?



STARTING THIS SUNDAY! SPECIAL FOR SEFIRAS HAOMER - TREATING OTHERS WITH RESPECT: We are now in the weeks of Sefiras HaOmer, a time when we remember the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died nearly 2,000 years ago. Why did they deserve to die? The Gemara explains: ”Lo Nahagu Kavod Zeh Lazeh: They did not treat each other with respect.”


Even though these tragic deaths happened almost 2,000 years ago, if Chazal still require us to mourn today, then it must be that the message is still very relevant to us now!


To help us all gain chizuk in this area, Middos Challenges will be learning this month about the middah of Kavod Chaveirim - treating friends with respect. Middos Challenges is a FREE weekly email that offers tips and deep insights into mastering our middos.


A new round of Middos Challenges beings this Sunday.


To sign up for these FREE weekly emails, visit this link. To see all past emails, click here.

For more information (or to learn about the Middos contest for schools), email MiddosChallenges@gmail.com



WELCOME BACK AMIRAS TACHANUN!  After a month of not reciting Tachanun, let us recite these great words of supplication--which incredibly include the words of AVINU MALKEINU CHANEINU VA’ANEINU KI AIN BANU MA’ASIM--ASEH IMANU TZEDAKA VACHESED V’HOSHIAINU (the last Avinu Malkeinu recited in the Aseres Yemei teshuva and on Fast Days)--with a renewed intensity and fervor--pleading with Hashem to shower us with his unlimited mercy--and the Geulah Sheleima in our day!



MODIM! The outstanding Sefer Praying with Meaning (Artscroll, Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita’s latest publication), which proceeds through Tefillas Shacharis in 89 powerful and practical daily lessons, provides the teaching of the Avudraham, who writes that the Gematria of Modim is 100--representing the 100 daily brachos in which we should express our daily thanks to Hashem!


Hakhel Note: The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 127: 1), seif katan 5, writes that “haolam nohagim” when responding to Modim D’Rabbanan in Shemone Esrei to remain bowed throughout. The Chazon Ish, Z’tl and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, y’blcht, however, follow another minhag mentioned in Shulchan Aruch which is to bow at the outset of Modim D’Rabbanan, and at its end (Ahl She’anachnu Modim Lach…), but not during the entire recital (ibid., Dirshu Note 7). Accordingly, one should follow his Rav’s direction in this area.



WILL IT BE ACCEPTED?  In a publication containing the teachings of HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, Z’tl, it is reported that whenever HaRav Shapiro offered words of rebuke or mussar, it would only be presented if it could be done in a way ‘Ki Heichi Delekablu Minei’--so that the words of advice, guidance or constructive criticism would be accepted by the party it was addressed to.   With this stated goal in mind, there would be no words of admonition or instruction uttered in annoyance or anger, or containing bites of derision, cynicism or sarcasm--for although these kinds of expressions could vent frustration--they certainly would not be accepted by another....What a simple and shining standard to use for words to help another –Ki Heichi Delekablu Minei’-- so that they truly accomplish their goal!



REMINDER! 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 chas veshalom 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’ to be saved ....” Hakhel Note: HaRav Chasman is not requiring unrelenting abstinence--he is advising to select something permissible and simply not satiate yourself with it--because you--and not your Yetzer Hora--are in charge of your life!



ASEH TORASECHA KEVAH! We learned this famous phrase in Pirkei Avos (1:15) last week. We would typically understand it to mean that one should be ‘Kove’a Itim LaTorah’. Rashi, on this Mishna, however, specifically writes that this is not the meaning of these words. Rather, continues Rashi, Torah is to be our keviyus the entire day--it is the keva--and anything else we do the rest of the day are ‘inserts’ into our keviyus of the day! What a powerful message!



MORE ON REFUAH IN IYAR: Regarding the acronym of the word Iyar as ‘Ani Hashem Rofecha,’ we received the following from a reader:  “I also wanted to add that Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein always says that when the rain comes in Iyar, you open your mouth and let it in, and just feel that Hashem is healing your whole body.  It is an amazing thing to do--I’ve been doing it every year since he said it.” 


Hakhel Note One:  If you choose to do this, you should consult with your Rav as to if and when a Bracha may first be required.


  Hakhel Note Two:  It is interesting to note that Matzah is referred to as the healing bread or healing food.  One may therefore suggest that the reason we are not commanded to eat Matzah the whole year (and forbidden to eat Chometz, as part of our Kashrus observance) is because once we have taken medication and been healed, there is no need to take the medication any further.  However, we do not then proceed directly into the rest of the year without anything more--but are then especially treated to the special healing qualities inherent within the month of Iyar!  Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu--Oh how great is our lot!



WE CONTINUE OUR EREV SHABBOS—HILCHOS SHABBOS SERIES: As always, one must consult his own Rav or Posek regarding his particular facts or circumstances.


A. The Tissue Box. Many tissue boxes, in addition to a perforated cardboard cover, also have underneath it a perforated plastic protective cover, which must be opened in order to reach the tissues. Opening the plastic on the perforation may actually involve three different Melachos: (i) Korei’ah, (ii) Mechateich; and (iii) Makeh B’Patish (see The 39 Melachos by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, Shlita). While the simple act of opening on the perforation may take a second and can be done by children, it could truly involve the most serious of transgressions. Accordingly, one should take note to fully open all tissue boxes before Shabbos. Please assist your Shul, as necessary, in this regard--and let others know as well!


B. The follow rulings are from HaShabbos BeTifarta by Rav Avrohom Adas, Shlita of Yerushalayim, (Hebrew, and Volume 2):


a. [In a similar vein to what is mentioned above,] one may not rip a thin plastic table cloth from a roll—even if it is not on the perforation, because you have in all events prepared it for use (Koraya).


b. One may not utilize a one-time use bib by punching out the plastic of the head area (Koraya).


c. One may not separate a new pair of socks attached by a string, or remove price tags or cleaners tags which are sewn or stapled into clothing (Koraya). However, if they are merely hung from a plastic string, one can remove the tag, because it is not attached tightly, and its removal does not affect the clothing in the same way as something stapled or sewn, which is considered more intrinsically part of the clothing.


d. One may remove a Sefer that is tightly squeezed in a Seforim shrank, even though it is stuck to its adjoining Seforim—and one can put it back after use, even though it will again become stuck to its adjoining Seforim (it is clearly not one’s intent to attach or detach the Seforim).


e. If a silver polish was left on a Kiddush cup, it should not be rinsed off (Memachek).



POINTS AND POINTERS ON THIS WEEK’S PARASHIYOS:  As the focal topic of this week’s Parashiyos 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.  We learn of the terrible affliction of Tzora’as. Chazal (Arachin 15B) teach that if one speaks Lashon Hara, he will be punished with this dreaded ailment. The Sefer Me’am Loez asks why it is that in our times we see people speak Lashon Hara--and yet they appear whole and healthy? He provides the following shocking response: “You should know that the Tzora’as referred to in the Torah could either afflict a person’s body or soul, and if it does not afflict his body, it will afflict his soul. Indeed, the Tzora’as of the soul is worse than the Tzora’as of the body, as the Zohar writes that in the Heavens there is a special place called ‘Negah Tzara’as’, where the Neshamos who spoke Lashon Hara are punished.”


B.  HaRav Refeol Shain, Z’tl, provides the following insight: Why is it that a Metzora becomes Tomei only upon the pronouncement of a Kohen who views the blemish —after all, it may have been days or weeks for which a person was afflicted with the blemish prior to the Kohen seeing it—and for this entire period he is Tahor and can be with his family and not be considered ‘defiled or ‘defiling’ just because a Kohen didn’t utter the word ‘tomeh.’ Rabbi Shain explains that a key cause of Tzora’as is Lashon Hara. With the pronouncement of the word “tomeh’, the person is made to understand the power of just one word. Before the utterance of that word, his entire world was different one—a happy one, with friends and family, joined together with his community and able to reach the highest heights. Now, as a metzora, he is ostracized and alone, ashamed and secluded. That one word of the Kohen was in response to perhaps that ‘just one word’ he had uttered against his friend or neighbor, adult or child. Until his utterance of that one negative word, the world was different for someone else—and with the word uttered, his reputation has been tarnished, a shidduch ruined, a business deal suspended, or a friendship ended. We can create and destroy existential worlds—depending on that one word that we use. So, will it be “Uhh!” or “Ahh!” The bechira chofshis—that choice—is yours!


C.  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 Hara 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!


D. 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 Hara 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 Lashon Hara speaker smothers the light of his Torah with the Tumah which leaves his lips.  In addition to the profound impact Lashon Hara will have on one’s Olam Haba, the Chofetz Chaim (Kavod Shomayim 1:20) adds that Lashon Hara also severely impacts upon one’s actual Torah learning in this world.  He likens the Torah learned by a speaker of Lashon Hara 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 Hara ones speaks, the more repulsive the box--and gift itself--becomes.  On the other hand, a beautiful wrapping truly enhances the gift!


E. 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!


F. The Chofetz Chaim brings the following remarkable statement from the Zohar Hakodosh (Parashas Pekudei 264):  ”When a person has a hisorerous to speak Lashon Hara, a ruach ra’ah (evil spirit) by the name of ‘Sichsucha’ is thereby aroused and actually rests upon this hisorerous of Lashon Hara, 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! 


G. Contrary to popular thinking, Tzora’as as a punishment for Lashon Hara, among other sins, has not left us.  The Chofetz Chaim (Kavod Shomayim 2:15) 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 eternal light and he is instead outside of the camp, isolated in quarantine, alone and ashamed. 


H. In fact, the Chofetz Chaim (Kavod Shomayim 1:17) brings from Chazal that the ultimate punishment for the Ba’al Lashon Hara 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 Sifsei Chalakos Lashon Medaberes Gedolos (Tehillim 12:4).”  The pasuk means that Hashem will forever cut off (kares) the tongue that speaks gedolos (a euphemism for Lashon Hara).


I. 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 Yisrael.  He should have realized that they could be capable and deserving of such a great Nes even is 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--and the fact that Hashem can and will provide for miracles in light of these Zechusim alone!



THE TEN RULES OF SHEMIRAS HALASHON: The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation had distributed the following Ten Rules of Shemiras HaLashon:


“Lashon Hara means the making of a derogatory or damaging remark about someone. The Torah forbids one to denigrate the behavior or character of a person or to make any remark that might cause physical, psychological or financial harm.


These are ten basic rules to remember:


1. It is Lashon Hara to convey a derogatory image of someone even if that image is true and deserved. (False derogatory statements are called motzi shem ra, slander.)


2. A statement which is not actually derogatory but can ultimately cause someone physical, financial, or emotional harm is also Lashon Hara.


3. It is Lashon Hara to humorously recount an incident that contains embarrassing or damaging information about a person even if there is not the slightest intent that they should suffer any harm or humiliation.


4. Lashon Hara is forbidden even when you incriminate yourself as well.


5. Lashon Hara cannot be communicated in any way, shape, or form (i.e., through writing, body language, verbal hints. etc.).


6. To speak against a community as a whole is a particularly severe offense. Harmful remarks about children are also Lashon Hara.


7. Lashon Hara cannot be related even to close relatives--including one’s spouse.


8. Even if the listener has previously heard the derogatory account or the information has become public knowledge and the subject will suffer no further harm by its repetition, it nevertheless should not be repeated.


9. R’chilus, which is telling one person a derogatory statement that another person said about them, is forbidden because it causes animosity between people.


10. It is forbidden to listen to Lashon Hara or r’chilus. If someone inadvertently hears Lashon Hara, it is forbidden to believe that it is true. One should give the person the benefit of the doubt--assume the information is inaccurate or that the person does not realize he is are doing something wrong.


NOTE: There are times when Lashon Hara is permitted or even required. i.e.,  when warning a person about potential harm, for example, a potential business or marriage partner. On the other hand, secondhand information and baseless impressions have momentous implications. The questions of when you are allowed or even required to speak Lashon Hara are complicated. A Rabbinic authority with expertise in the field of Shemiras Halashon should be consulted in any of these cases.”


Hakhel Note: May we suggest doing something--making an advanced contribution--in the fight against Lashon Hara.  How about  memorizing the Seven Prerequisites that must be fulfilled in order to be able to speak (what may otherwise be considered Lashon Hara) for a constructive purpose?  How about putting to memory some of the Asehs or Lo Sa’asehs that a person could violate if he speaks Lashon Hara?  How about challenging oneself to a Lashon Hara free day--or to making sure that you compliment at least three people a day.  Let us LIVE the Parashiyos--day after day after day!





QUESTION:  Is there a Mitzvah of Chinuch on counting Sefira as very often the children will be asleep at night when you want to count with them? 

ANSWER:  For Chinuch purposes, one can count with them during Bein HaShemashos, before they go to bed.


QUESTION:  Should girls count with a Bracha?

ANSWER:  The Mishna Berura rules they should not, lest they forget counting for a day (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 489; seif katan 3).  However, if there is a real basis for reminding them nightly it is permitted for them to count with a Bracha, as in the Steipeler’s home, the girls would make a Bracha, because the Steipeler himself would remind them every night.


QUESTION:  Can a barber stay open during Sefira for non-religious Jews if their alternative would be to go to a barber who would use a razor?

ANSWER:  It is not permissible, and it is not the religious barber’s responsibility if they would violate other Issurim as a result of his not servicing them, for if he does service them he himself would be violating a ‘lifnei iveir’ kind of aveira relating to Sefiras HaOmer.


Hakhel Note:  The Aruch HaShulchan (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 492) brings from the Zohar to Parashas Tetzaveh that the primary reason that we stand during Sefiras HaOmer is because Sefiras HaOmer is comparable to Shemone Esrei itself(!).  We should realize the extraordinary importance of Sefira every night just from the fact that the one-sentence count is surrounded in the Siddur by prayers before and after (whether or not you actually recite them). 


Reminder!:  To inspire yourself here, do not allow yourself to count the Sefirah by heart.  Instead, read each and every word of the bracha and count from a Siddur.



1 Iyar

ANSWERING AMEN OVER THE PHONE: In a recent Bulletin, we suggested that rather than making a bracha over the phone in an undertone while the other person is talking, one should instead advise the other person on the line that he was about to make a bracha and ask the other person to answer Amen. A reader questioned whether a person could answer Amen to a bracha heard over the phone (or over a microphone).  The Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim 230, Note 15) brings that HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rules that one should not in fact answer Amen to such a bracha, as it not heard directly from the one reciting the bracha, who is located in a distant place. However, the Chazon Ish rules that because the voice is initially that of a person, and is heard immediately after being uttered, it is considered as if one heard the bracha from the one who recited it. HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, also rules that one should answer Amen to a bracha heard over the telephone or microphone. Accordingly, one should consult with his Rav or Posek for a definite p’sak on this point.



LOOKING UP!  As we begin the eighth month of the year 5777--we should realize that we still have more than 40% of the year ahead of us for reaching new heights in our kabbalos and in our personal growth.  It’s a great day for cheshbon hanefesh--after all, the glass is still more than one-third full!



QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Very few dates are mentioned in the Chamisha Chumshei Torah--but today is one of them!  Where is today’s date mentioned in the Torah?  Why is the date specifically mentioned in that Parasha and context?



CONNECTION TO THE BINYAN BEIS HAMIKDASH! Rosh Chodesh Iyar is very much related to the Binyan Bais Hamikdash.  The Luach Dovor B’Ito brings that Shlomo HaMelech began the building of the First Bais HaMikdash today, and that construction of the foundation of the Second Bais HaMikdash also began today as well (See Ezra 3:8-13).  Let us now daven that today also prove to serve a role in the building of the Third and Lasting Bais HaMikdash.  Even if we see nothing immediately around us or in front of us, and even if we hear no shofar blast at this moment, let our acts of Teshuva today serve as a cornerstone for its Building.  Why leave the building to someone else when each and every one of us is so eminently capable?!  Let’s also begin building Today--it’s for Eternity!


 Hakhel Note:  One of the actions that we will take in the Bais HaMikdash that we are not very used to doing now is Hishtachava’ah--prostrating oneself to the ground.  Undoubtedly, this Hishtachava’ah will come in direct response to the intense Kedushah and Ruchniyus experienced upon entering and viewing the Kohanim and the Avodah.  Yet, in the Tefillah of Nishmas we do recite in the here and now--VeChol Koma Lefonecha Sishtachaveh--and every person standing up shall prostrate himself before You.  How can/do we fulfill this statement?  The Chassidic masters teach the following:  Even when one is ostensibly standing straight, he should feel inwardly as if he is bowed before Hashem--in recognition of Hashem’s greatness and mastery and one’s own humility--something that every person should recognize and appreciate--even without a Bais HaMikdash.  We may add that even when reciting the words VaAnachnu Koriim U’Mishtachavim in Aleinu three times daily, we should experience the moment--envisioning ourselves in an aura of submission and sanctity--so that we properly reflect the words that we are expressing.  In this merit--may we live to experience the ultimate Hishtachava’ah speedily and in our days!



A TIME FOR HEALING!  The Sefer Ta’amei HaMinhagim (page 251) writes that our new month of Iyar is tried and tested as a time for refuah, healing, from the ailments and pains that may affect a person.  Why is this so?  The B’nai Yissaschar teaches that most weakness and illness come from foods which do not comport with the person’s nature or composition.  The Rambam (Hilchos De’os 4:15) writes likewise.  See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Chapter 32. Since the Mon began to fall in this month (on the 16th day of Iyar 2448)--and it was a perfect food from which resulted no sickness, pain or even waste matter (as Dovid HaMelech refers to it in Sefer Tehillim--”Lechem Abirim”) and even cured those who were ill--Hashem left the curative nature of the month in effect even through today.  Accordingly, Iyar is a time of “segulah l’refuah”.  In fact, the Ta’amei HaMinhagim notes, the name “Iyar” is an acronym for Ani Hashem Rofecha--I am Hashem, Your Healer.


What can we do to help promote the curative effects of this special time as initiated by the heavenly Mon?  Let us reflect upon the following.  The Baalei Mussar note that one afflicted with Tzora’as does not ask others directly to pray for him--rather, as we learn in this week’s Parasha “VeTameh Tameh Yikrah”--he only exclaims that he is “Tameh”, and those who hear him are expected to pray sincerely for him even without his direct request--and notwithstanding that he has sinned to such a great extent that Hashem has actually made him a Metzora.  What a great lesson we can learn at this time of year--which is so special for healing, and, moreover, the Omer period, in which our “Bein Odom L’Chavero” is to be seriously improved upon.  We should not wait to be asked, or merely be responsive to the request of others, when we hear that someone is not well.  Instead, we should “hear the cry” and go out of our way during this auspicious time to daven for those we may not even know, but whom we have heard are in need of a Refuah.  An ounce of Tefillah may mean a kilogram of cure.


PRACTICAL SUGGESTION:  During this special month, recite a daily special, sincere Kepitel (chapter) of Tehillim for your list of cholim--recognizing that this is a special time for the potency--and importance--of your heartfelt Tefillah!


ADDITIONAL NOTE: A reader wrote the following to us:  Rabbi Nachman of Breslov writes that the word IYAR is Roshei Taivos of the words “Oyvai Yoshuvu Yaivoshu Roga,” thus indicating that the month of IYAR is conducive to see a Mapala for the enemies of K’lal Yisrael!  Hakhel Note: When reciting Tachanun during this month we should have especial Kavannah when reciting these words--that they come to immediate reality!



FROM A PRAYING WITH FIRE 2 READER: In a related vein to our concept of refuah, we received the following: “I just wanted to share with you one of the many, many things I learned from this incredible Sefer. It taught me that when I have a headache –my first reaction should not be--where is the Tylenol, so that I can take two Extra Strengths and it will go away. I really had always thought that that was the right reaction. No, the RIGHT REACTION is “Hashem you gave me the headache--I acknowledge that (do teshuva for something, if necessary), and then daven to Hashem that the headache go away. Then--take the Tylenol--and remember that it is not the Tylenol taking away the headache--it is Hashem, and the Tylenol is His shaliach through  the teva, through nature and cures He has provided to us in this world.”



DAF BAIS: As we move closer to Kabbalas HaTorah, we are reminded of the teaching of HaRav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, z’tl: Why is it that each Mesechta begins on Daf Bais—what happened to Daf Aleph?! Rabbi Pincus answers that this is to remind us  that we must  first ‘open our eyes’ and consider what we are about to learn—something holy, something special, something passed on for more than 3,300 years, something eternal, something that is life-giving—both in this world and in the next.  Could there be anything more worthwhile, more essential, more privileged, more exhilarating—perhaps we should hum or sing “Ashreinu Ma Tov Chelkeinu”  at least once a day before learning!



FROM A READER ON THE ‘ZUGOS’ OF REBBI AKIVA:  “Chazal relate: ‘Shnaim 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 Rebbe Akiva had 2 times 12,000 talmidim?  Why not just say that he had 24,000 students that were not respectful to each other?? The answer may be that, of course, when they were all together in the dining room and one asked the other to pass the Corn Flakes, or when saying “Good Morning or “Good Night”,  they were all very gracious and answered with a smile.  But that’s not where the true test was.  The test presents itself when two chavrusos sit down for hours together and one comes up with a good “Kashe--question” or a “S’vorah--line of reasoning” that is enlightening--is it accepted graciously?  When one pours out his heart to the other about a difficult situation that he is going through is the other empathetic--or is his mind elsewhere?  The same is true in relationships between spouses, siblings etc.  Chazal here are not referring to dealings by and among acquaintances.  They are referring to the close relationships between “Zugos”, people close to each other, those we perhaps take for granted.  That’s the true test of “Noheg Kovod Zeh Bazeh”.”


Hakhel Note: There are now only approximately five (5) weeks left to the Omer…try to apply this lesson every day until Shavuos!



DERECH ERETZ!:  As we are in the midst of the Sefirah 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 second part below of notes as excerpted from the outstanding and highly recommended resource Guide To Derech Eretz by Rabbi Shaul Wagschal, Shlita (Targum/Feldheim).  Once again, 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 them  as well:




11. Benefits of speaking gently:


A) Most individuals value the privilege of making choices and thereby determine their course of action. For this reason, it is inherently difficult for people to follow orders. A person who gives orders to others must remember this fact and act accordingly.  By speaking gently and treating others with respect, one can rest assured that his directions will be more closely cared for.


B) The need to speak to people in a kind and gentle manner is absolutely essential when instructing an individual on how to perform a task with which he is unfamiliar.  When confronted with a new experience, most people adopt a defensive attitude in a feeble attempt to hide their ignorance.  If the instructor’s tone of voice or manner of behavior makes the individual feel threatened, the lesson has in effect come to a close--the capacity to internalize information is seriously impaired by the individual’s need to protect his self-image.


C) It is self-evident that an employee who is satisfied with his working conditions is more productive than one who is dissatisfied. The employer-worker relationship is one of the essential components of a positive working environment. In light of these facts, an employer should recognize the benefits of treating his employees with respect!


12.  One must avoid causing embarrassment to others at all times, even when learning Torah.  The Midrash asks, “Why was his name ‘Doeg HaAdomi’?  Because he reddened Dovid Hamelech’s face during the study of Halacha” (Midrash Tehillim 52:4).  For this reason, the Talmud warns against asking a rabbi a question if there is reason to suspect he will not know how to answer.  Similarly, the Talmud (Shabbos 3b) says, “When Rebbi is studying this tractate, do not ask him a question regarding a different tractate.” The posuk says, “...one who makes his way will see the salvation of Hashem.” (Tehillim 50:23), that is, one who plans his ways, and knows when to ask and when not to ask his questions will prosper (Moed Katan 5b).  The Talmud (Tosefta Sanhedrin, ch. 7) also warns against asking a Sage a question immediately upon his entering the beis midrash; one must allow him time to settle his thoughts.


13.  Chazal (Niddah 16b) bring the following teaching: “I hate three [types of] individuals, and one of them is a person who enters his friend’s house unexpectedly”. R. Yochanan’s opinion is that this law even applies to a person who enters his own house unexpectedly.


14.  “A man should not instill a feeling of excessive fear in his home” (Gittin 7a).  The Talmud explains that instilling fear in one’s home may eventually result in the transgression of a Torah precept (see ch. 12).  For this reason, a father should never frighten a child by saying, “I will punish you by doing so and so to you.”


15.  Concerning the mishnah, “Ayin ra’ah ...removes a person from the world” (Avos 2:1b), Rabbeinu Yonah writes “There exists [the trait of] ayin ra and [the trait of] ayin ra’ah. Ayin ra’ah refers to a miserly person, while ayin ra refers to one who envies other people’s possessions.  His wish to own others’ possessions may harm them, for the vision of the eye is capable of causing damage.  Beyond this, he also hurts himself-- his unfulfilled wishes cause him to burn with envy.” Avos D’Rebbi Nasan (ch. 16) expands on this theme: As a man looks at his own house and wishes that it remain standing, so too should he look at his friend’s house!



30 Nissan

FRUIT TREE REMINDER!  This is the last day of Nissan--and it is certainly at least preferable to make your Birkas HaIlanos this month!



QUOTABLE QUOTE: “The hyperlink structure of the Internet means that alluring and forbidden distractions are often linked on the very page on which one is pursuing appropriate content. One link leads to another. Legitimate page to questionable page to shaky page to totally inappropriate page. Three to four clicks and we’re done!” [Excerpted from The Evolving Digital Challenge by Rabbi Nechemiah Gottlieb, Shlita].



YOUR PERSONAL SPLITTING OF THE SEA: 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 Yisrael 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 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 who 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!



AS WE BEGIN THE MONTH OF IYAR TONIGHT:  As we move towards Kabbalas HaTorah, we provide the following enlightening words of Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni to Mishlei 4):


“There 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  chas veshalom to chovah--in the wrong direction....”


Let 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 Chaim’s of which we are composed--reminding us to fulfill our mission in life--raising ourselves, and raising the world with us.


Then, 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.


Hashem 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 thankful!



DERECH ERETZ!  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 Eretz by 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 them  as 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 2:1)


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 noon, 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 writes that it is possible to train oneself to feel love for people.  This can be achieved by fulfilling the following codes of behavior:


A) Speak gently. If someone embarrasses or misleads you, do not reciprocate.


B) 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.


C) Soothe people who feel worried or angry.


D) Honor others, both verbally and through your actions.  Never act in a haughty manner with anyone; instead, yield to the will of others.


E) Refrain from passing judgment on others; instead, look for the merit in other people’s actions.


F) Conduct all transactions honestly.


G) Strive to benefit others, not to benefit from others.


H) Extend help to others, both physically and monetarily. Refrain from miserliness.


I) Avoid speaking in a derogatory manner about others, and refrain from listening to others speak negatively about people.


Hakhel 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.


10.  From 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!



29 Nissan

FROM A READER: “This thought is regarding our currently experiencing Olam Haba in this world. Often when I say in Shema “Kimei HaShomayim Ahl Haaretz”, I think to myself that if I indeed follow the mitzvos that are enumerated in the beginning of the second paragraph, namely to love Hashem and to serve Him with all my heart and soul, then, the end of the paragraph will be fulfilled, namely that then I will experience heavenly days (Olam Habah existence) on this earth!”





A.  It is interesting to note that while the Korban Pesach in Mitzrayim was eaten Bechipazon, in haste, the Navi (Yeshaya 52:12) teaches us that our final Geulah will not be in haste:  “Ki Lo VeChipazon Teitseiu U’Vemnusa Lo Seileichu…you will not leave in chaos, nor will you go in flight; for Hashem will go before you….”  With this, we may understand why Bechipazon is one of the key differences between the Seder in Mitzrayim and the Seder of all future generations after Yetzias Mitzrayim--as the Mishna (Pesachim 9:4) teaches us--the Korban Pesach in Mitzrayim was eaten in haste (in a ‘ready-to-go’ mode), while the Pesach of all future generations did not have this requirement.  The explanation may be that all future Pesachim are also attached to the final Geulah which, as the Navi teaches will not be Bechipazon.  Remember--even if we don’t sense any particular Chipazon now, we don’t have to--Pisom Yavo, our Geulah can come at any time!


B. We provide an outstanding observation by Rabban Gamliel Rabinovich, Shlita regarding the Pesach Seder--which is truly a bold and important lesson for daily living the rest of the year.  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 Maror.  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 Maror, 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 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!


C.  Many of the Mitzvos on the Leil HaSeder come in pairs.  For instance, one of the answers given to the question as to “Why do we drink four cups tonight” not being part of the Mah Neshtana, is because each one of the four Kosos is simply associated with another Mitzvah of the evening.  Similarly, the bracha of Borei Pri Ha’adama over Karpas is also (possibly) the bracha over the Maror.  When we recite Maggid, the Matzah and Maror must also be before us.  Motzi Matzah is a stage in which we fulfill both the Mitzvah of Lechem Mishna and that of Achilas Matzah.  If we carefully focus, we will realize that Hashem, in His Great Graciousness to us packages and bundles Mitzvos to us together in order to give us more and more zechusim and more and more opportunities to develop our relationship with Him within a finite life span in this world.  All we have to do is be careful to recognize and appreciate each and every one of them--just as the Jews in Mitzrayim were to appreciate that they were blessed with six babies at once--and not only one.  The idea is to think through the Mitzvos as we perform them--and if we do, we will realize that what appears to be one Mitzvah may not be just one large treasure chest--but really a number of individual, perfectly minted gold coins and shining rubies!


D.  The Chasam Sofer (Drashos Chasam Sofer II, p. 536) notes that every Song, every Shir, that has significance is composed in response to a particular event.  The Shiras HaYam was, of course, composed in reaction to the miracles at the sea.  Likewise, the Shira at the Be’air (Bamidbar 21:17) was sung in appreciation of the well spring that the Bnei Yisrael were graced with in the Midbar.  This being the case, why did Shlomo HaMelech compose Shir HaShirim?  The Chasam Sofer answers that this Song is an outpouring of expression to Hashem for choosing us as His nation.  Rebbi Akiva describes it is Kodesh Kodashim--holy of holies, and this may be  because it is the ‘anthem’ of the holiest of nations.  When we recite it, it should accordingly be with the greatest of joy!  Hakhel Note:  We can now possibly understand why there is a Segulah associated with reciting Shir HaShirim 40 days in a row--What greater sign can there be of our appreciating that HaKadosh Baruch Hu has chosen us as His nation--than bursting out in song in response!


E. As we come close to concluding this month of Geulah, 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 VaDor Haleluka” (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 Yisrael--Who redeemed Yisrael (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 Yisrael (in Shemone Esrei three times daily), we proclaim that Hashem can/will and is redeeming us directly in the here and now.  In these last few days of Chodesh Nissan, let us 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 Yisrael--Hashem is redeeming me-- with special recognition and intensity--at least in the month of Iyar--connecting the Geulah of Nissan to the Geulah of Shavuos!



28 Nissan

IMPORTANT:  Birkas HaIlanos Reminder!  If you have not already made the bracha--Don’t Delay Any Further--and be mezakeh others with a sincere reminder! 



HAGEFEN: Last week, we reviewed the bracha of Gefen--Gezunt, Parnassah and Nachas, and according to the Chasam Sofer Geulaseinu U’Pedus Nafsheinu as well. Readers pointed out that the bracha is a ‘fuller one’ if given as either HaGefen or Gafna--with the additional Hei at the beginning or end of the word constituting the bracha for Hatzlacha. Hakhel Note: Let us give the fullest bracha possible!



A DAILY REMINDER: By the following link http://tinyurl.com/jqvwkuv, we provide “From the Letters of the Chazon Ish, which one may want to recite daily at the outset of his day, or perhaps at the outset of his work day. This is a powerful message which we need to be constantly reminded of.”



QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Why is Sefiras HaOmer recited in Ma’ariv between Shemone Esrei and Aleinu (in most communities)?  After all, what does the counting of Sefira have to do with our structure of Tefillas Ma’ariv?



QUESTION AND ANSWER OF THE DAY:  Over Pesach we changed reciting the words “V’Sein Tal U’Matar Levracha” to the words “V’sein Bracha”.  What Kavannah are we to have in mind when saying the words “V’sein BrachaThe Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah explains that we are asking for Ribui Tova V’Hatzlacha--for Hashem to shower goodness and success upon us.  Although we are no longer asking for the rain--we are still asking for the shower!  Picture it as you recite these words.  Remember, it is not just lip service or even simply an element of belief--Hashem’s bracha in all areas is tangible and real!



QUOTE OF THE DAY:  From the remarkable, must-go-through Sefer The Power of Teshuvah, by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita (Artscroll, p. 233):  “‘I can’t help it. That’s just the way I am.’  Everyone has either said these words, heard them, or both.  Nevertheless, Rav Avraham Pam, Z’tl, would often paraphrase the Rambam’s rebuttal of this justification with the words, ‘It’s not your nature, it’s your choice!’



TODAY!:  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.  It was none other than Yehoshua Bin Nun who composed Aleinu at that time in recognition of Hashem’s Omnipotence--and the thanks that we owe Him for our position in this world!  According to the Sefer Chareidim, as brought in the Siddur Rashban, Aleinu was actually recited forwards and then backwards by Yehoshua and Bnei 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) writes that we should be careful to recite Aleinu with Kavanah 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 started 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 (if you have already done any or all of the above)—then you will always remember the  anniversary of your improvement—the anniversary of Aleinu!



HAVE YOU MADE YOUR LIST YET OF LESSONS FROM PESACH—and how you will implement at least some of them in your daily life?  If not now—when—don’t just go through Pesach—make Pesach go through you!


In this vein, we provide the following final post-Pesach practical daily points:


A. Recite Birchos HaShachar with enthusiasm [Heard from Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita].


B. When reciting the word Halelukah in Shacharis--feel the word, and appreciate all that Hashem does for you--and that you are able to thank Him for it!


C. When reciting Borei Nefashos, have in mind not that it is an ‘easy, quick bracha’--but that it is a bracha which concisely thanks Hashem for the specific food or drink that you have just partaken of, and recognizes further that He blesses you with an overabundance--even more than what you need! (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 207, Mishna Berurah Seif Katan 5)


D. When reciting Ahl HaMichya--recognize that you are uniquely davening Ahl Mizbechecha--for the Mizbei’ach to be rebuilt--something that is not even mentioned in Birchas HaMazon! Focus!


E. Think about ‘Chatzos HaLailah’--just one moment in time changed the history of the world, and consider that when this happens again, speedily and in our day--it will be forever and ever! Will it be this moment--will it be the next? Be alert, be ready! The Chasam Sofer notes that there are six Leshonos of Geulah in the Torah at the outset of Parashas Va’eirah. We have already experienced five--Vehotzeisi, VeHitzalti, VeGa’alti, VeLakachti and VeHeiveisi, and we accordingly have five cups (including the Kos Shel Eliyahu) at the Seder. The sixth Lashon--VeNasati Lachem Morasha--and I will give you Eretz Yisrael as a final and everlasting inheritance--is yet to come. Oh, how we must yearn for the sixth cup!


F. Consider a Hashgacha Pratis calendar--where the clear events of how you found that item, met that person, went there and not there, ate this food and not that--ranging from the greatly significant to seemingly insignificant incidents have been clearly guided by Hashem. Of course, one cannot spend his entire day on this, but can certainly jot down a few times during the day when he realizes that Hashem is together with him in a clear and open way!


G. Finally, Dovid HaMelech teaches in Tehillim (81:11): “Anochi Hashem Elokecha Hama’alcha Mei’Eretz Mitzrayim Harchev Picha V’amalei’hu--I am Hashem Who elevated you from the land of Eygpt--open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” The Targum on this Pasuk explains that we are to open our mouth wide in prayer to Hashem. We are not limited to the times of Tefillah to be Marchiv Peh--even in a moment of privacy in one’s home, while walking somewhere, or in Shul before and after davening--open your mouth wide--and may Hashem fill it!



25 Nissan

RESIST TEMPTATION: When on the phone (especially on a long phone call), one may be tempted to take a drink and make a quick bracha in an undertone while the other person is talking. Upon a second thought, however one should realize that making this kind of bracha is not necessarily a ‘reiach nechoach’ and one should try his best to avoid a bracha of this kind. In the alternative, one can tell the listener--’I am going to make a bracha--please answer Amen!’





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.





A. At the beginning of this week’s Parasha, Shemini, we find that Moshe Rabbeinu first “Called to Aharon...” and only afterwards “Spoke to Aharon.” HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, Z’tl, notes that when one wants to speak with a person, he should call him specifically by his name, and only then continue with a conversation. Mentioning someone’s name can create a special level of endearment and closeness, a human bond. Moshe Rabbeinu may very well have learned this very beautiful Middah from Hashem Himself, Who at the outset of Sefer Vayikrah (1:1) first “calls to Moshe”, and only afterwards begins “speaking to him.”  May we suggest that over Shabbos (i.e. the week-end) and Sunday (i.e., the week-beginning), you take the lead of Hashem--and of Moshe Rabbeinu--and call to a person by name before starting a conversation. May this serve as a source of bracha in enhancing all of our personal relationships!


B. The Kotzker Rebbe, Z’tl, provides a potent teaching for us in this week’s Parasha. The Pasuk (Vayikra 9:6) teaches: “VaYomer Moshe Zeh HaDavar Asher Tzivah Hashem Ta’asu VeYairah Aleichem Kevod Hashem--And Moshe said--this is what Hashem has commanded you to do--then the Glory of Hashem will appear to you.”  The Kotzker comments that many believe that they are very much ready to reach ‘Madreigos Gevohos--lofty heights in their lives.’  Moshe Rabbeinu, however, advises us: Do you truly want to attain Madreigos, do you truly wish to elevate yourselves--then do what Hashem wants you to do--work on removing the Yetzer Hora from your heart. How? Think About, Focus on, What Hashem wants You To Do in the Particular Situation, Circumstance or Event You are in--and do not focus on the Yetzer Hora and his myopic, temporary and destructive whims, fancies and attitudes.   If you work at this, if you move towards accomplishment in giving--not the Yetzer Hora--but Hashem the Nachas of your doing His Will--then the Glory of Hashem will appear to you, and all of the Madreigos that you sought will fall gently and everlastingly into place. Let us take the Kotzker’s words with us in the second half of this year--by making sure as often and as resolutely as we can to follow the words of the Pasuk--Asher Tzivah Hashem Ta’asu--so that VeYairah Aleichem Kevod Hashem--the Glory of Hashem appears TO US--forever, and ever and ever!


C. The Torah records that after Aharon and Moshe did everything they were supposed to do during the Yemei HaMelu’im, the Shechinah nevertheless did not descend onto the Mishkan. They did not despair. Instead, they taught us a lesson forever. The Torah (Vayikrah 9:23) records: “Vayavo Aharon V’Moshe Ehl Ohel Mo’ed.” Rashi (ibid., in one explanation) explains that they entered together and asked for Hashem’s mercy--and the Shechinah descended. We must realize the great importance and in spite of and in addition to all our actions--of asking Hashem for His mercy!


D. At the outset of the Parasha of Kashrus, Rashi provides us with an explanation of why we were zoche to receive the laws of Kosher animals: “Zos HaChaya--this is the animal….” Rashi teaches that the word Chaya is related to the word Chaim or life. Because we connect ourselves to Hashem, Rashi continues (11:2) Hashem gave us the laws which separate use from impurity, which he gave to no other nation. There is a great lesson here: When observing the lessons of Kashrus and being careful with the Hashgachos and the products that one utilizes--one should not view this as a burden and a chore--but as a special and unique privilege given by Hashem to us and to no other nation for we want a connection to Hashem--we want life--and this is how we achieve it! The more careful we are--the more we want life!


E. The Chasida, or the “Kind One”, is remarkably the name of a treife bird.  Many of us have heard as the explanation for this anomaly that although the bird does kindness--it is only with her friends and not with strangers or those that it does not know.  We may, however, suggest another explanation.  The Chasida is treife because she does kindness with her neighbors--after all, she is known to all as the Chasida--but does not do Chesed with her own family, as she will win no special appellation in this regard.  This provides a great lesson to us.  We can improve ourselves from ‘treife’ to kasher by making the additional effort to do “unsung Chesed”--helping to clean up around the house in some additional way than before, doing something for a family member before being asked, taking the time out to think about and give a parent, sibling, spouse or child a thoughtful or creative idea geared just for them.  Ahavas Chinam doesn’t have to take place on the streets, in Shul or in the workplace--it can show its constant special presence-- beautifully housed--in your very own home.  Yehi Ratzon that in this zechus, we will be zoche to the end of the horrifying effects of Galus--speedily and in our days--may we make it happen!


F. The Torah (Vayikrah 11:44) teaches that “Vehiskadishtem Viheyisem Kedoshim”--if we attach ourselves to holiness we will be holy…and that if we defile ourselves (or even allow ourselves to be defiled) we contaminate not only our present physical bodies but our future spiritual existence.  In truth, the kind and degree of holiness and contamination varies from person to person. The G’ra teaches that a person can determine what his tachlis is in this world by understanding and studying the situations that: (a) he most frequently encounters--for they are new G-d given opportunities to succeed, and (b) the items and events that one has the greatest ‘cheshek’--the greatest desire for--for these are his key life tests to pass, and if possible, excel at.  Just as our faces are different, so are our roads to Olam Haba--we are all on the same road with the same method of transportation, but will each get there in different ways, at different times, and will enjoy different lodgings.   The elevated spirit in which we raised ourselves up from servitude and bondage--from the difficulties and tribulations of Olam Hazeh--on the Seder night, should be the spirit that takes us through the year-- as we remind ourselves that if we can stay clear of the contamination and instead uplift ourselves to holiness through the process of our Galus, we--as the Chad Gadya-- will be left at the end--with the One and Only Hakadosh Baruch Hu!



SHALUACH HAKAN: As this week the Parasha taught us about Kosher animals, birds and fish, we once again provide a brief summary on the kashrus of turkey, as excerpted from the Sefer Shaleiach Teshalach--A Practical Guide to the Mitzvah of Shiluach HaKan, by Rabbi Naftali Weinberger, Shlita (Feldheim Publishers)--which notes that Israel today actually leads the world in turkey consumption(!): 


1. The Damesek Eliezer, the Knesses Hagedolah and the Shoel U’Maishiv all rule that the turkey has all of the signs of a Kosher bird-- a crop; a gizzard that is peelable by hand; an ‘extra toe’; and, even beyond these three core simanim,  the turkey is clearly not a ‘doress’--it does not have the characteristics of a predatory species. The Arugas Habosem writes that even the Rema, who requires a Mesorah for birds, would agree here that no Mesorah is necessary because of all of the turkey’s clear Simanim.


2. The Sefer Otzar Yisrael writes that while definitely today we would follow the Rema’s requirement of a Mesorah for birds --turkey is an exception because it was discovered approximately 50 years before the Rema was born, and did not lose its status once it had become accepted.


3. Other Poskim (See Bach and Magen Avrohom to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 79) hold that the Gemara (Yerushalmi Berachos 3:5) refers to a ‘red chicken’ which is really the turkey--which means it had its early sources in Eretz Yisrael... and somehow made its way to America!


4. A fourth possibility is that we rely on the Mesora of the Jews of India, who it is claimed had a Mesorah dating back to the times Moshe Rabbeinu that the bird was Kosher.  This is perhaps why we refer to the turkey as the ‘Tarnigol Hodu ‘--the Indian chicken, and in Yiddish as well it is referred to as the ‘Indik’--or the Indian bird.


5. The Netziv writes that when turkey was originally imported into Europe many questioned its Mesorah. Nevertheless, it became widely accepted, and this accepted status need not be Halachically removed unless there would be a compelling reason to do so--in short, turkey is treated L’Halacha as if it had a Mesorah! The Netziv actually suggests that if the turkey’s status had been called into question before it became so widely accepted as kosher, the poskim definitely would have declared it as non-kosher due to its lack of Mesorah.  Given the current situation, the Netziv favors maintaining the status quo.


Among the more contemporary Poskim, HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl discusses the permissibility of eating turkey on Thanksgiving, thus clearly holding that it is permissible to otherwise consume it. Similarly, the Chazon Ish, Z’tl and the Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl ate turkey (Orchos Rabbeinu III, p.72), and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita eats it as well.  HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Z’tl did not eat turkey because his Rebbitzen Itta Ettel came from Shavell, Lithuania, where the minhag of the whole town was not to eat turkey since it lacked a Mesorah. HaRav Yaakov accepted this upon himself, but did not require his family to do so. His son, HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, accepted his father’s practice and does not eat turkey--but his children and extended family do--for it was accepted only as a stringency, and not as a custom.


The above is of course only a short aspect of this important Sefer on the Halachos (and Hashkafos) of Shiluach Hakan,.  The Sefer is otherwise filled with unique and fascinating Halachos on how to properly perform the Mitzvah, contains the Shailos U’Teshuvos of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita on this Mitzvah--and a discussion of all of the segulos involved in its proper performance!



ON HARAV MILLER’S YAHRZEIT: Sunday is the Yahrzeit of the legendary and incomparable HaRav Avigdor Miller, Z’tl, so much of whose life was dedicated to helping the lives of others become accomplished and complete. We provide below three separate examples of his teachings on personal brachos and tefillos, as originally brought by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita in Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks (Volume 1, pp. 227, 234--Artscroll), and as highlighted in the masterful work Praying With Fire 2 by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita (p.172-3, p.186--Artscroll).


1.When a customer walks in, say a quick Tefillah that the customer should buy your merchandise and pay the right price and not complain…HaKadosh Baruch Hu will say: “I see you trusting in Me, as the Pasuk states “Blessed is the man who puts his trust in Hashem, and, therefore, Hashem will reward him by becoming his trust.”


If you are going to see a customer [at his place of business], before you walk in say “Yehi Ratzon Milefanecha She’tatzlicheni—Hashem, please make me successful!”


Hakhel Note: Of course, one should analogize to his everyday situations relating to projects, meeting with superiors at work, shopping, eating Kosher, dating,…everything in life!


2. Even where Tefillas HaDerech is not required, if you are starting up your car, ask Hashem without making a bracha for safety and everything else you need on the way… “Believe me—in town you need a lot of help from Hashem!”


3. “Good Morning” is not merely a trite phrase or pleasantry. Good morning means that they should have a good breakfast, that they should earn a good living, no colds today, no trouble in business. Good Morning means everything!


Hakhel Note: Imagine the meaning and power of a sincere “Have a Good Day!”


Thank you Rabbi Miller for such truly essential daily guidance! May we each be blessed with the sechel to implement it!





A. The Sefer Sifsei Chaim (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:


-”Ezras AvoseinuMagen U’Moshiah Livneihem Achareihem Bechol Dor V’Dor”


-”U’Mibaladecha Ain Lanu Melech Go’el U’Moshiah”


-”VeOneh LeAmo B’Eis Shavam Eilav”


-”Tzur Yisrael Kumah B’Ezras Yisrael U’fdeih Chinumecha Yehudah V’Yisrael”


Taking 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 Geulah Sheleimah. 


B.  We are familiar with the bracha we give another of “Gefen”--Gezunt, Parnassah and Nachas.  The Chasam Sofer finds another acronym in the term “Gefen”--it is Geulaseinu u’Pedus Nafsheinu--our physical and spiritual redemption.  Have this in mind as well when giving the bracha of “Gefen”.


C.  In the Haggadah we read that Hashem was “Chisheiv Es HaKeitz”--which some meforshim teach means that we were released 190 (the Gematria of Keitz) years early because of the difficulty of the Galus we were experiencing and/or because of the depths of the tumah we had reached.  Let us think for a moment.  The Navi (Micah 7:15) teaches us that Kimei Tzeisecha MeiEretz Mitzrayim Erenu Niflaos--as in the days when you left Egypt, I will show wonders.”  We are now in the year 5777--if we add on the 190 years in which Hashem was Chishev Es HaKeitz in Mitzrayim (and it is definitely at least a theoretical possibility that this will happen again--based on the Pasuk and due to our difficulties in Galus and all of the tumah around us)--that brings us up to the year 5967, which is just 33 years short of the year 6000 (and we know what that means).  This should provide some additional inspiration for us to do Teshuvah as soon as possible!


D.  At Kriyas Yam Suf, the Pasuk (Shemos 14:14) states:  Hashem Yilacheim Lachem VeAtem Tacharishun.  The Midrash (Mechilta to Beshalach 2:14) teaches that even when we stand and remain silent Hashem fights for us, then, Kal V’Chomer--all the more so, will He fight on our behalf when we call out and praise Him.  The lesson is there for all to see--it is better to communicate with Hashem than to remain silent.  Hakhel Note:  Let us look for a moment at the Nusach of the Musaf Shemone Esrei that we recite everyday of Yom Tov:  “Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha…Melech Rachaman Shetashuv U’Seracheim Aleinu…B’Rachamecha HaRabbim.”  Then a little later we once again recite:  “Melech Rachaman Racheim AleinuBaHamon Rachamecha.”  We plead time and time again for Hashem to bring His Rachamim upon us.  We must recognize the value of our not remaining silent and the importance of connecting to Hashem with Kavannah!  


E.  Also at Kriyas Yam Suf, the Pasuk (14:17) states:  “VeIkabda BePharoh U’Vechol Cheilo.”  The Midrash teaches us that the reason Paroh is mentioned first is because since he began to sin against K’lal Yisrael and the Mitzriyim followed, so too, was he punished first, and then the Mitzriyim followed in receiving their punishment.  The Midrash then goes a step further:  “If in the case of punishment he who sinned first is punished first, then Kal V’Chomer--all the more so will one who acted meritoriously and led others in that direction receive his reward at the outset as well! 


F.  The Pasuk that follows at Kriyas Yam Suf (14:18) states:  “VeYadu Mitzrayim Ki Ani Hashem…and the Mitzriyim will know that I am Hashem.”  The question becomes--why at all does it make a difference as to whether the Mitzriyim will know who Hashem is--they will no longer be alive in seconds, minutes, or at most a few hours.  HaRav Shach, Z’tl, explains that the Pasuk is teaching us how precious and important even a few seconds, minutes or hours of recognizing and appreciating Hashem truly are.  We should not be spoiled by the manifold opportunities that we have--but instead should appreciate and savor each and every bracha opportunity, every Tefillah opportunity…and each and every realization and actualization of a Teshuvah opportunity!


G.  Dovid HaMelech teaches in Tehillim (115:14, as recited in Hallel each day of Pesach), “Yevareich Yirei Hashem Haketanim Im HaGedolim--He will bless those who fear Hashem, the small as well as the great.”  This Pasuk should give us all encouragement--for it teaches us that Hashem blesses us all in accordance with our level.  We need not be the Rav, the Rosh Yeshiva, or the one giving the Mussar lecture--we can be a katan and receive Hashem’s blessing--as long as we try to be Yirei Hashem--sensing Hashem’s presence throughout the day!


H.  Do not be fooled by its loftiness and sublimity--Shir Hashirim has many practical lessons for us as well.  Chazal (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 8:12) teach us, based on the Posuk of “Haelef Lecha Shlomo U’mosayim L’notrim Es Piryo--One thousand for Shlomo and two hundred to those who watch his fruit”--that the reward for one who learns while traveling (“Lecha”) is five times (1000 vs. 200) greater than for one who simply learns in the Beis Medrash (“Notrim Es Piryo”).  It is interesting that the numbers the Posuk uses for a ratio of 5:1 is 1000:200.  A possible explanation may be based upon the Chofetz Chayim (quoted in Item 30, Volume II, Number 2 (Teves/Shevat 5762) of the Bulletin) who states that one can learn 200 words of Torah, which is equivalent to 200 separate Mitzvos, in one minute.  If one learns while traveling, Hashem considers it as if he is learning five times as much, or 1,000 words per minute.  While traveling, one should await and treasure the incredible opportunity to perform the equivalent of 1,000 Mitzvos per minute.


I.  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, 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 on life.  Based on this most fundamental of Torah teachings, we present the following essential teachings:


1.  The Rabbeinu Bachya (Shemos 14:31) 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’Viyas 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 vein) with Kavannah and feeling. 


2.  At the outset of Hallel, we recite the Pesukim: “Rom Ahl Kol Goyim Hashem…” followed by “Me KaShem ElokeinuHaMashpili Liros BaShomayim U’Va’aretz”.  This 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 B’Hashem?  The Sifsei Chaim brings the fascinating words of Yirmiyahu HaNavi (9:22-23):  “Ko Amar Hashem Ahl Yishallel Chochom 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 Avodas Hashem.  He continues that when each person recognizes his reward in Olam Habba, 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 darkess 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:  emunadaily@gmail.com.  The recording is available via telephone as well:  Dial (605) 475-4799, access code 840886#.



24 Nissan

QUESTION OF THE DAY ONE:  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?



QUESTION OF THE DAY TWO:  Which two seforim in Tanach do not have Hashem’s name mentioned directly in them?



QUOTE OF THE DAY:  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 your Brachos--one great way to practice your Emunah in this post-Pesach period.



MIZMOR LESODAH!  We once again are able to recite Mizmor LeSodah (Tehillim Chapter 100) in Pesukei D’Zimra. We should not once again settle quickly into habit as we recite this joyous song which temporarily serves as a daily Todah to Hashem. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 51:9) rules L’Halacha that when reciting Mizmor LeSodah in Pesukei D’Zimra “Yeish L’Omra Benegina Shekol HaShiros Asidos Libatel Chutz MeMizmor LeSodah--we should recite the Mizmor with a pleasant tune, because this song will uniquely survive forever”. In its five short Pesukim, the Mizmor conveys a powerfully sweet message which we should carry--and which should carry us--throughout the day.





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, in glad song, and to Yerushalayim, home of Your sanctuary, in eternal 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:


Im 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 5777, as the pangs of Ikvasah D’Moshicha beat about us--is the time for us to be especially passionate--now--Nissan 5777, 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 remainder of the month:  Tekah BeShofar, Velirushalayim Irecha, 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 2:23, 24):  “Vata’al Shavasam Ehl HaElokim…Vayishmah Elokim Es Na’akasam VaYizkor Elokim Es Briso….”  May it be speedily and in our days!


B. The Second Hallel.  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. The Torah’s Definition of Beauty.  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 Yeruchem 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! 


D. Daily Improvements.    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.  We present several brief and practical applications that we can take with us from the Pesach we have just experienced into the coming months:


1.  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!


2.  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 Yisrael 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 Yisrael 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! 


3.  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


4.  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 Kideshanu 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 absolutely, unequivocally and rejoicingly declare that with every Mitzvah that we perform, we are accepting upon ourselves the privilege, obligation, wholesomeness and Kedushah of all of the Mitzvos!


5.  As we noted before Pesach, the Chasam Sofer 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 (1:27) 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!



23 Nissan


1. Is the Seventh day of Pesach a Yom Tov because the Yam Suf split and Bnei Yisroel sang the Shira on that day?

2. Have you given tzedaka yet today in thanks to Hashem for a good Yom Tov? If you need a worthy address--yadeliezer.org

Additional Note: Reminder to also fulfill Yizkor donations)

3. What was your favorite D’var Torah over Yom Tov?



SHIR HASHIRIM DAILY!:  In the incredible Sefer HaTodaah (translated as The Book of Our Heritage [Feldheim Publishers]), Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Z’tl, writes as follows:

 ”Shir HaShirim is unique among all of the Kisvei Kodesh, all of the works of Scripture, for Hashem’s Name is not mentioned even circumspectly (although Hashem’s Name is also not recorded in Megilas Esther, it is clearly alluded to, as Chazal point out).  Shir HaShirim is written entirely in the form of a parable of the exalted love between Hashem and Bnei Yisroel…  Through this metaphor, Shlomo HaMelech teaches us that all earthly desires are merely a method to enable us to understand the love that we should have for Hashem.  When man immerses himself solely in the parable--in the material world--he is not able to understand the higher message that the parable conveys.  On Pesach, the spiritual essence that exists in the material world is revealed before us.  Paroh and his army, all creatures, the sea and its tempest, the earth and the sky, are all subordinate to our relationship--yes, our relationship with Hashem.  On Pesach, we are all freed from the slavery of Mitzraim and from the slavery to our evil inclination.  At this time, we are most apt to understand the song of love between Hashem and His People.”


Hakhel Note:  As we all know Shir HaShirim is the holiest of all things holy (Shir HaShirim Rabba 1).  Obviously, then, once we better appreciate the meaning of Shir HaShirim for us, we must be sure not to pack away this teaching with our Pesach supplies until next year.  Instead, we must make the effort on a daily basis to “sing” the Song of Songs--if not by physically reciting its sacred words, then by constantly remembering what is the parable--and what is the reality.  Try to see how many times you can catch yourself during the day, whether you are on the phone, in the store, walking, or even while studying or davening, and remind yourself that you live in a world, in a reality, in which its spiritual essence is so clear that Hashem’s Name need not even be mentioned.  So why let the Yetzer Hora muddy the waters with his earthy parable when you can sing the Song of all Songs--each and every day!



FOCUS AND FEEL! :  On this Isru Chag 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.


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, Bimhera B’yameinu.



TAKING MORE OF PESACH’S LESSONS WITH US!:  We must recognize that the physical pounds that we may have gained over Pesach is symbolic of the spiritual weight which we really should have gained--and not shed--in the days and weeks after the Holiday. Accordingly, we provide the following additional clear lessons we all undoubtedly learned over Pesach, and some practical way to implement each one in our daily lives:


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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



13-14 Nissan

LAST CALL--BE A PART OF IT! It is almost Erev Yom Tov, and Yad Eliezer has a three for one match for divorced women.  ’For every dollar you give, Yad Eliezer receives $3!’  There is also a 2 for 1 match for widows. Avreichim have a 2 for 1 match (up to $300,000).  Please, please--fulfill the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom today--for yourself and for those in need in Eretz Yisrael.  Donate by calling Yad Eliezer at 718-258-1580 by email info@yadeliezer.org visit www.yadeliezer.org, and in the comment section insert which match you would like the donation to go towards. Please remember: The Chasam Sofer, in his explanation to the two Nuscha’os in the Haggadah of Ha Lachma Anya and K’Ha Lachma Anya explains that there is a fundamental distinction between the Geulas Mitzrayim and the Geulah of our time--may it come speedily and in our days. The difference is that our Geulah can be hastened, the Ba’al Haggadah teaches us, by Kol Dichfin Yeisei V’Yeichol--by feeding the needy…. Let us hasten our Geulah now!



KEEPING THE PEACE: 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.



FOR ALL THOSE ABOUT TO TAKE A HAIRCUT! The Kosher Haircut Guide--http://tinyurl.com/yh2dqy6.



VALUED SERVANTS: HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, asks why the Shulchan Aruch makes a point of our taking out our most valuable objects for the Seder table, and in a related way why it was so important for us to leave Mitzrayim with a ‘rechush gadol’--to the extent that Hashem assured Avrohom Avinu of this at the bris bein habesarim. HaRav Salomon answers that there are two types of avodim: (a) a bedraggled, impoverished and lowly eved who fulfills the will of his master because he must so for his daily bread and because he has no choice; (b) an eved with prominence who serves his master with dedication, zeal and happiness--who recognizes that his master has granted him riches, elevated status…and, in fact eternity! We must appropriately demonstrate on the evening of the Seder which kind of eved we truly are!



HILCHOS PESACH: 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 see  http://star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-matzoh.htm



REMINDER! PRE-SEDER TEFILLAH!  At the following link, http://tinyurl.com/7e4pu73  you will find a special Tefillah to be recited before commencing the Seder from the Siddur Ha’Arizal, which is not found in many Haggados.  May this Tefillah make its way directly to the Kisey HaKavod, and may it inspire our entire Seder!



ON THE HAGGADAH! By the following link  http://tinyurl.com/lxnmfvv  we provide a kuntrus entitled MeiAfar Kumi, by Rabbi Ronen Shaharbany, Shlita, on Inyanei Pesach and the Haggadah with all new chiddushim. Please feel free to distribute further! 



QUESTION OF THE DAY FOR TODAY:  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 katan 5.



QUESTION OF THE DAY FOR EREV PESACH:  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.



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….



FROM A READER: “Years ago, when speaking with Rebbetzin Kamenetsky, she suggested that every time I thank Hashem but don’t immediately ask Him for something, I am not ‘doing my job’--showing my Emunah and Bitachon ...  so I took her words to heart, and since then have been asking for something of HKB”H every time I thank Him, which is many, many times a day.  Usually it is for the Refuah Shleimah of someone on my lists, sometimes it is to ask Him to fix something that seems awkward Bein Adam L’chaveiro, or any one of the things I’m concerned about at the moment.  It is so clear that He runs the world and nothing happens except if He decides so ...  and I have found that the more I thank Hashem and ask for something, far from being greedy or a nuisance to Him as I had worried, I think He is pleased, because He continues to give me more and more... so I am left with only these words which I also say often:  Hodu LaHaShem Ki Tov, Ki L’Olam Chasdo!”



FROM A READER: “When Yaakov first meets Rochel, he is at a well with some shepherds, waiting for enough to come by to move the stone that protects the well. As she approaches, he asks the shepherds if all is well with his cousin Lavan, and they answer, “All peaceful, Vehinei Rochel Bito Ba’ah Im Hatzon — and here is Rochel his daughter, coming with the flock” (Bereishis 29:6).  A few pesukim later, “When he is still speaking to them, VeRochel Ba’ah Im Hatzon — and Rochel came with the flock that belongs to her father” (Ibid v 9). Notice that one time “ba’ah” is used to mean that Rochel was on her way, the other that she had arrived already. Rashi clarifies with a grammatical point; it makes a difference which syllable gets the trop mark and stress. The first usage was “ba’AH”, with the stress on the second syllable, meaning “she is coming”. The second, “BA’ah”— “she came”.


Everyone assumes that the line said at the end of Yom Kippur and the Pesach Seder is “Leshanah haBA’ah biYrushalayim — the coming year in Jerusalem”. But the Satmar Rav, HaRav Yoel Teitelbaum, Z’tl, said this is a mistake.


We voice this desire at the close of Yom Kippur, shortly after the year began on Rosh HaShanah, and on Pesach, shortly after the beginning of the year of months, the beginning of Nissan. We say it when a year just arrived. The line should not be said with the stress as “ba’AH” but rather say “BA’ah” — We are speaking of the year that just came!


Leshanah haBA’ah biYrushalayim habenuyah!





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--not only on Pesach Night--but on the Night Before, as well!


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 Hara 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 Yisroel Belsky, Z’tl, 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 Hara 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 Hara--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 Yisrael, 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 successful Pesach!



REMINDER FOR THE MORNING: 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!



REMINDER FOR PESACH! 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….



FROM A READER!  Rav Gamliel Rabanovitch, Shlita, teaches that Erev Pesach is the time to be Misgaber on the Kelipos Paroh which is represented by the challenges of Anger and Ga’ava.





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 on the 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 Seder. 


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!





Below are some practical Haggadah notes, which we have culled from Ba’alei Mussar and Maggidei Shiur:


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 THERE


·                     and thinking about/describing the Makkos, and its effect on the Mitzri’im and on B’nei Yisrael--YOU ARE THERE


·                     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 like?


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 Hara is working overtime (past midnight !) 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.






A. 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 Yisrael 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!


B.  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!


C.  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 possibly when fulfilling 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... 


Additional 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.”


D.  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!


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.  At the Seder, we will be reciting the word “Dayeinu” fifteen times, multiplied by the number of times we sing the word.  Dayeinu means “it would be enough for us”.  What “would be enough” for us?  Let us look at the first passage of Dayeinu:  “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 Yisrael 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 Dayeinus--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 Dayeinus.  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- Dayeinu, Day-, Dayeinu, Day-Dayeinu, Day-Dayeinu.  This is what we ought to be talking--and singing--about!


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!


J.  The 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. 


K.  As in past years, the 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?

5.                  Lehavdil, 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 _____________--describe it!

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?

16.              Can [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!




HISORERUS! 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.



THOUGHTS ABOUT MATZAH:   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.



MEANING OF DAM PESACH AND DAM MILAH:  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 Yisrael 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!!





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 3:15).  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 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.


1.                  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.


2.                  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.


3.                  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.


4.                  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.


5.                  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.


6.                  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 manner.


7.                  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.


8.                  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 consulted.


9.                  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.


10.              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.


11.              One cannot schedule a “routine” medical or dental checkup or exam for Chol HaMoed.


12.              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.


13.              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.


14.              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).


15.              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.


16.              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!





11 Nissan

SHEMIRAS HALASHON--SALVATION FROM SAKANA ATZUMAH! The Chofetz Chaim expressly writes that when one is challenged with the possibility of consciously speaking words of Lashon Hara, he is in a ‘sakana atzumah’--great danger. The Chofetz Chaim does not write that it is only a spiritual danger that he is in. We may suggest that if one saves himself from the sakana atzumah of Lashon Hara--on a middah k’neged middah basis, he will be saved from sakanos atzumos in this world and the next!



REMINDER--DAVEN! This week, as we B’EH intently prepare for Yom Tov--let us remember to daven to Hashem that we successfully do so, without any Michsholim in the preparation--or in the ultimate result--of a Chag Kasher V’Sameiach!



ATAH CHONEN: As we daven for special Siyata Dishmaya this week, we recall the words of the Mishna Berurah on the bracha of Atah Chonen in Shemone Esrei (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 115:1, seif katan 1): “Ikar HaShe’eilah Shetzarich Ha’adam Lishol Mei’eis HaBorei Yisborach Sheyitein Lo Seichel V’Da’as Yashar Limos B’ra Velivchor BaTov--the ikar request of a person to Hashem should be that Hashem grant him the wisdom and clear knowledge to abhor that which is wrong and to choose that which is good.”



YOU CAN’T GO WRONG! The Pasuk clearly and expressly teaches that (Shemos 2:23-25): “VaYizakuVayishma Elokim Es Na’akasam…Vayeida Elokim--Bnei Yisrael cried out to Hashem, and Hashem heard their voices and knew that it was time for the redemption. This is what took us out of the Galus of Mitzrayim--one would certainly not go wrong in concluding that our crying out for salvation can take us out of this bitter Galus as well!



AMEN! Perhaps the most concise statement of one’s Emunah is his recitation of the word “Amen”--an acronym for Keil Melech Ne’eman. The Sefer Shomer Emunim brings from the Midrash that the Pasuk states: “Emunim Notzer Hashem” (Tehillim 31:24). That Hakadosh Baruch Hu saves and guards over each and every “Amen” that we answer, and that this special Shemirah will serve in a person’s stead in this world and in the next. One must be careful, then, to answer “Amen” properly at the end of a bracha--not too early before the bracha is completed, nor too late after the bracha is well over, and one must be sure that he has answered the full word of “Amen”--sincerely and enthusiastically expressing its acronym!


Hakhel Note: Especially in this time of Nissan, we can bolster our Emunah in a very significant way by demonstrating greater care and earnestness with our recital of “Amen”!



MORE THAN TWO SODA CANS! We must be careful to check each and every Pesach product that comes into our home. A reader had sent us a picture, presented by the following link http://tinyurl.com/jmhttgp which shows two seemingly identical cans of coke--see if you can tell the difference. He had found the same issue with Mayim Chaim seltzer on the same shelf. A Rav reported a similar experience of members of his Kehillah with cooking oil. The lesson reverberates time and time again--each and every year--one must check each product!



FROM A READER: “With regard to your note on the 1,820 in Maggid of the Haggadah, I remember HaRav Avrohom Schorr, Shlita, mentioning the above once, at his Pesach shiurim. He told us afterwards that the Avoda of Yom kippur, (I think Nusach Sefard) of Ata Konanta has 1,820 words as well. Hakhel Note: For further information on this topic, please see the following link: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/5635



PRE-SEDER TEFILLAH! Click here for a special Tefillah to be recited before commencing the Seder from the Siddur Ha’Arizal, which is not found in many Haggados.  May this Tefillah make its way directly to the Kisey HaKavod, and may it inspire our entire Seder!



QUESTION OF THE DAY ONE:  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 TWO:  Who was the first person to say “Halleluka Hallelu Avdei Hashem”?



QUESTION OF THE DAY THREE:  If 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.



THE LEIL HASEDER: For practical and meaningful Shiurim on how one should conduct his Seder, we provide an audio link to masterful Shiurim by Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita (each approximately 60 minutes):







We focus on this week’s special Shabbos--Shabbos HaGadol:


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 Eibeshitz, 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. 


B.  One beautiful 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, the Bnei Yisrael 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 Pesach.


D.  The Mabit teaches that after this Shabbos, Bnei Yisrael no longer returned to work for the Mitzriyim.


E.  In Nishmas that we will recite tomorrow, we state that there are “Rivei Revavos--tens of thousands” of things to thank Hashem for. We then begin with a short and poignant list. What is the first one listed there....from this we see how foundational and fundamental Pesach is to our lives!


F.  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 partner--Bnei Yisrael!


G.  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 Yisrael on the Shabbos before their leaving Egypt.


H.  The last Pasuk in Shemone Esrei is also the first Pasuk of the Haftara for Shabbos HaGadol--VeArva LeHashem Minchas Yehuda VeYerushalyim 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 are 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 Pasuk of Shemone Esrei three times a day with a special yearning to bring a Karbon Mincha in the Beis 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!


Additional Note One:  The Gematria of Yeiush--despair is 317.  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!  


Additional Note Two:  The Levush writes that the reason we read the Haftara of “VeArva” on Shabbos HaGadol is because it relates to the future Geulah, just as Moshe Rabbeinu advised the Bnei Yisrael of their imminent Geulah.  May this year’s Shabbos HaGadol Drasha lead directly to our Geulah Shleima as well!



A REMINDER FROM THE PARASHA TO ENERGIZE DAILY!:  In this week’s Parasha, Parashas Tzav, we learn of the Korban Minchas Chavitin--a Korban that the Kohen Gadol brought every day.  Rabbi Moshe Scheinerman, Shlita, explains (based upon a teaching of HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl) why the Kohen Gadol brought this Korban every day--while all other Kohanim brought this Korban Mincha only once in their lifetime--on the day that they were inaugurated into the Avodas Bais HaMikdash. The Kohen Gadol’s bringing it every day--one half in the morning and one half on the afternoon especially symbolized the need for a person of spirit and aspiration to be constantly renewing his energies, being aware and alert that each new morning and each new afternoon was OPPORTUNITY, NEW OPPORTUNITY that was presenting itself especially to him, and would not be available again on the morrow.  Each one of us, without actually having to bring the Minchas Chavitin, can alert ourselves to the invaluable and irreplaceable treasures that await us each morning and each afternoon in Torah, Tefillah, Chesed, and Middos Development.  Every day, we have our own OPPORTUNITIES, NEW OPPORTUNITIES--and we too can come before Hashem as a Kohen Gadol in his loyal, sincere and elevated service!



WHO IS THE MASTER OF YOUR HOME?: 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.:.”



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.) relating to Pesach. The following is 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 V’Yameinu!


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 obligated to recite Hallel just as men are at the Seder.


D.  The use of the term ‘stealing’ the Afikomen may be objectionable--as Jewish children do not steal.  In fact, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, did not allow the children to take the Afikomen, 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 Afikomen 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 Afikomen. 


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. 


G.  The 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 B’heseiba. 


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.





1.         We once 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.”


2.         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.


3.        The 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, Bilam 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 Yisrael 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.


4.        There 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!


  5.        It 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 Yisrael 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 complete!



10 Nissan

IMPORTANT--BE A PART OF IT! It is just five days until Erev Yom Tov, and Yad Eliezer has a three for one match for divorced women.  ’For every dollar you give, Yad Eliezer receives $3!’  There is also a 2 for 1 match for widows. Avreichim have a 2 for 1 match (up to $300,000).  Please, please--fulfill the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom today--for yourself and for those in need in Eretz Yisrael.  Donate by calling Yad Eliezer at 718-258-1580 by email info@yadeliezer.org visit www.yadeliezer.org, and in the comment section insert which match you would like the donation to go towards. Please remember: The Chasam Sofer, in his explanation to the two Nuscha’os in the Haggadah of Ha Lachma Anya and K’Ha Lachma Anya explains that there is a fundamental distinction between the Geulas Mitzrayim and the Geulah of our time--may it come speedily and in our days. The difference is that our Geulah can be hastened, the Ba’al Haggadah teaches us, by Kol Dichfin Yeisei V’Yeichol--by feeding the needy…. Let us hasten our Geulah now!



AN INVALUABLE AND TIMELY ASSET--SPREAD THE WORD! In the approximate 15 minute video available by the following link http://tinyurl.com/go2slw2, Rabbi Moshe Hillel Kaufman, Shlita, presents the mistakes a person can make when toiveling keilim--and how easy they are to rectify. Many misunderstand Tevilas Keilim as a “chumra”--whereas in many/most cases it is a Mitzvah D’Oraysa. Please view this video for yourself--and spread as far and wide as possible, as the biggest Tevilas Keilim season of the year has begun


REMEMBER!  There are only a few more opportunities for us to recite “Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem” and “V’Sein Tal U’Matar LiVracha” in 5777.  Please remember to make them really count!



ADDITIONAL CHOMETZ REMOVAL:  As we rush to rid ourselves of our last-minute Chometz items, let us not forget that this is an appropriate time of year to rid ourselves of other ‘kinds of Chometz’-- e.g., videos, DVD’s, CD’s, periodicals and papers which are simply not befitting the home of a people that experience Geulas Mitzrayim, and separated and distinguished themselves from the Umos HaOlam.  A Jewish Home should be sure to have only Jewish content!



NON-GEBROKTS ALERT:  Please remember that many cake-like products now available--(yes even the week before Pesach!) are non-Gebrokts, and that the appropriate brachos on them are 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. Start Today!



REMEMBER--A TIMELY ASSET--THE 5777 EREV PESACH CHECKLIST: We provide by the following link http://tinyurl.com/m8m6soy our Checklist for Erev Pesach 5777. Please feel free to distribute further!



THE TENTH OF NISSAN: Today is the tenth day of Nissan, which is marked by at least three great milestones:


A. It is the day that the Bnei Yisrael 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 Yisrael, 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 Yisrael 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 Yisrael separate was annulled.


C. Just one year after Miriam’s passing on this date, Yehoshua Bin Nun and Bnei Yisrael crossed over the Yarden River 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.



LESHONOM: One of the highlights of the Seder is relating the Zechusim we had to leave Mitzrayim. A central reason provided by Chazal is that Shimru Es Leshonom--we as a people did not speak Lashon Hora (see Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer 48, Otsar Meforshei Hagaddah).  As many of us know, the Ramban teaches that the Geulas Mitzrayim was the predecessor for the Geulah we hopefully will soon experience.  As we approach the Seder night(s), let us come clean now--this week-- with an especial diligence and vigilance in Shemiras Halashon--so that we can reflect at the Seder and think--with this zechus--I am ready!



HILCHOS PESACH: The Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah provides the following important points and pointers relating to Hilchos Pesach (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.):


A. There is a dispute among authorities as to whether one can combine two different kinds of maror together to make up the Shiur.  The Orach HaShulchan brings that some do have the Minhag to do so, whereas HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach 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 the Mitzvah. 


B.  The Steipeler would leave pieces of cinnamon which were not ground in the charoses so that it resembled straw--zecher l’teven.


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. 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


D.  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.



GREAT WEALTH--STEP ONE:  One must come into the Seder stocked with stories and mesholim, which hopefully will help to enhance and in-trance.  To help along, we provide the following Mashal of the Dubno Maggid as presented in The Maggid of Dubno and his Parables by Benno Heinemann (Feldheim): 


“Hashem 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.”


In 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.”


Hakhel 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).



ZEH HADECHAK: We will recite the words Ve’es Lachatzeinu--Zeh Hadechak: words in the Haggadah very shortly.  The commentators explain that the Mitzriyim kept us oppressed and pressured so that we would not have time to think, and to daven to Hashem.  We must keep in mind over the coming week that we cannot let the tremendous amount that needs to be done adversely impact upon our state of mind, our davening (which, if anything, should be enhanced!), or our learning, to the greatest extent possible.  We should not impose upon ourselves that which the Mitzriyim consciously inflicted upon us.  The words of the Rosh that we have noted in the past--Ahl Tevahel Ma’asecha should be kept in mind and on one’s lips, in order to avoid any feelings of anxiety, consternation or perturbance--which are in all events counterproductive.  Let us do our utmost to greet Pesach with a joy it so richly deserves!



9 Nissan

REMINDER--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 in the regular weekday davening (see the Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah for further elucidation).



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 Kollel Los Angeles, under the leadership of Rabbi Gershon Bess, Shlita, has once again prepared 5777: A Passover Guide To Cosmetics And Medications, a detailed list of acceptable products that may be used on Pesach. Rabbi Bess writes that HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, and HaRav Wosner, Z’tl, urged his continued publication of this listing--both for reasons in Halacha and in Minhag Yisrael. At the outset of the Guide, Rabbi Bess warns “no one should refrain from taking any required medication, even if it contains Chometz, without first consulting his/her physician and Rav.” The list does not address whether a particular product is Kosher--but only its Chometz-free status.  Something can, of course, be non-Kosher and Chometz-free.


B. Of particular note is that, among others, items containing hydrolized vegetable protein, and items in the Advil, Purell, Herbal Essence, Gold Bond, Ultramax, Cortizone, Claritin, Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, Orabase, Prevident, Eucerin, Shaklee, 4Kids, and women’s make-up lines do contain Chometz. Page 3 of the Guide provides a list of ingredients to be on the lookout for. Page 58-60 of the Guide provides a list of products to be on the lookout for.


C. For questions to Rabbi Bess regarding the Guide, one may email rgbess@hotmail.com.  For the latest updates to the Guide, we refer you to www.kehilasyaakov.org



P’SAKIM OF HARAV SHMUEL KAMENETSKY, SHLITA: 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’sokim 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:

1.      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.

3.      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. See our Erev Pesach Checklist above].  

4.      The correct Nusach in the Bracha over fruit trees is “Sheloh Chisar BaOlamo Kelum” (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.

5.      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 Chametz.

6.      One need not Kasher braces, but should be careful not to eat hot or sharp Chametz for 24 hours prior to time of Issur Chametz.

7.      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 over Pesach.

8.      When performing Bedikas Chometz, one need not turn off the electric light in the room.

9.      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.

10.  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 Amen.

11.  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 check cuffs.

12.  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.

13.  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.

14.  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.

15.  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.

16.  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.

17.  One must check an open porch or patio, and cannot rely on the fact that birds or squirrels would eat any leftover Chametz.

18.  In an apartment building or multi-family dwelling, all of the residents have a joint obligation to check the stairwell and the laundry room.

19.  One should check his car on the night of the Bedika with a flashlight.

20.  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 leave it in the street.

21.  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.

22.  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.

23.  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.

24.  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 him.

25.  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.

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 the Tzibbur.

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 Matir Neder.

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 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 and awareness.   

37.  Although males must eat Matzah and drink the Kosos BeHeseiba, one need not make the Bracha on the Kos BeHeseiba.

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. 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!



BLUNTING TEETH--THE TORAH WAY!:  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:  Perhaps this is another great lesson of the Haggadah--using our mouths for hours in a positive, beautiful, thankful, and inspiring way!



8 Nissan

A TIMELY ASSET--THE 5777 EREV PESACH CHECKLIST: We provide by the following link http://tinyurl.com/m8m6soy our Checklist for Erev Pesach 5777. Please feel free to distribute further!



TREASURE THE HAGGADAH! 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!



QUESTION OF THE DAY: What happened to the mateh of Moshe Rabbeinu?



FROM A READER: “When I clean for Pesach, I can’t help but realize how incredibly blessed I am.  I don’t just have one coat’s pockets to check, but a weekday, and rain and Shabbos coats.  How fortunate am I who Hashem has showered with abundance plus!  The more I have to prepare, the greater is my lot!”



GIVE BRACHOS! At this critical time of year, when we are very busy and must work within a timeframe, we should be especially conscious to give brachos to others for success--V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Komocha is a hallmark of our nation!



PROPER 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!



FROM EMUNA DAILY:  The Chasam Sofer teaches that every brick that we laid in Egypt as slaves, each and every bitter event that occurred--all added up to the Cheshbon of our redemption!  Hakhel Note:  HaRav Gedaliah Schorr, Z’tl, in the Sefer Ohr Gedalyahu teaches that the Galus we are in is very much in and of itself a part of our Geulah.  Based upon this, he explains that Hashem had to redeem us when we had sunk to the 49th level of tumah--and before we sank to the 50th level--because at the 50th level we would have reached a nadir from which Geulah would not have been possible--Hashem of course could have redeemed us even then--but we literally would simply 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, remembering:  “Shelo Echad Bilvad…VeHakadosh Baruch Hu Matzileinu Miyadam!”



HARAV BELSKY, Z’TL, ON PESACH: We present the following rulings of HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Z’tl, relating to Hilchos Pesach, as presented at the OU/Hakhel Shiur as well as from Piskei Halacha of Rav Belsky, as compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Shlita. We urge everyone to consult with his own Rav or Posek, as to his particular facts and circumstances.


BEDIKAS CHOMETZ: Even if one goes away for Pesach, he should be sure to designate an agent to be bodek Chometz and to be mevatel and sell his Chometz as well. Going away does not create ‘an exemption’ from Chometz.


LIBUN: One should not make his own determination as to how to Kasher his stove--which is perhaps the most important item to properly Kasher for Pesach. One should consult with his Rav as to just exactly what to do and how to do it.


SIYUM BECHORIM--One must eat some food at the siyum in order to be able to eat later.


SEDER: The Seder is intended to be a time of enthusiastic renewal--what does it mean to be an eved to anything--and what does it mean to be free? A person can be a slave to a potato chip--if he must eat the next one and the next one. On the Leil HaSeder, every person should bring himself to internal and external cheirus. Hakhel Note: We likewise refer to freedom from the servitude to a Smartphone.... As HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, Z’tl, teaches--a truly free person is not one who does what he wants--but one who does not do what he wants!


TOOTHPASTE: Toothpaste is made to be palatable, and certainly made to be able to be swallowed accidentally. Very often, the glycerin product in the toothpaste is not Kosher. No one should fool themselves by purchasing a non-Kosher toothpaste. There is adequate Kosher toothpaste on the market.


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 is 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 product on Pesach without checking to see whether it is permitted.


STARCHED 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.


LICKING 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 Tums available, the best remedy for treating heartburn is to consume a combination of baking soda and water.  The baking soda eliminates the heartburn immediately.



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 475, et al.) of the Seder. 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 with joy!”


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 the  custom 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.


Hakhel Note: The Otzar Meforshei Haggadah presents the following insights regarding the Shefoch Chamosecha:


1. When opening the door for Eliyahu HaNavi, some have the custom of reciting “Baruch HaBa!”


2. 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.


3. 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!]



7 Nissan

SHATNEZ ALERT Hakhel received a notice from the Vaad L’Mishmeres Shatnez regarding linen blend women’s sweaters, which have been the subject of many discoveries of Shatnez.  Sadly, many people have rarely been to a qualified Shatnez laboratory, instead relying primarily on religious storeowners or salespersons.  The Vaad informs us that this method has been found to be unreliable, with many becoming victim to the prohibition of wearing Shatnez.


For the actual Alert and a photograph of a sweater in questions, please see the following link  http://tinyurl.com/ka5f28j  The Vaad L’Mishmeres Shatnez certifies Shatnez laboratories in the Tri-State area, and can be reached at 1.877.4.SHATNEZ




THE HESEIBA VIDEO! HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Z’tl, explains that Heseiba is not intended to be an act of contortion, but a comfortable way to eat in a reclined fashion, as if one is on a short bed. By the following video link we provide HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Z’tl, demonstrating how Heseiba should be done-- http://tinyurl.com/k6ks6gf


Hakhel Note: If one is unsure as to what is to be done, he should promptly consult with his Rav or Posek.



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 (see the Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah for further elucidation).



SIMCHAS YOM TOV--A WEEK IN ADVANCE!  When one provides ma’os chittim, he is not only giving tzedakah, but fulfilling the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov--for himself and others.  One’s own Simcha is no longer relegated to his Simchas Krayso (or, if applicable, to that of his family)--but is extended to those in his community, and to those thousands of miles away.  It is a week to Erev Yom Tov! Yad Eliezer has a three for one match for divorced women.  ’For every dollar you give, Yad Eliezer receives $3!’  There is also a 2 for 1 match for widows. Avreichim have a 2 for 1 match (up to $300,000). .  Please, please--fulfill the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom today--for yourself and for those in need in Eretz Yisrael.  Donate by calling Yad Eliezer at 718-258-1580 by email info@yadeliezer.org visit www.yadeliezer.org, and in the comment section insert: Hakhel--Divorcee, Widow , or Avreichim match, or mail a check to 1102 East 26th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11210.


Hakhel Note One: Even if you have already given--now is the time to give again when your funds are so desperately needed!


Hakhel Note Two: By the following link http://tinyurl.com/q3lyrog we provide the powerful words of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah in this area, which we urge you to print out, and make known to others.



AS THE CHAG APPROACHES, we once again provide an important link to The Kosher Haircut Guide Poster (available at http://tinyurl.com/yh2dqy6 ).  We urge you to distribute this link, in order to help many others in your community as well.  To obtain a free large and laminated poster for placement in a barber shop, or permanent placement in Shul, Yeshiva, or other institution, please call: 718-253-5497



PRACTICAL STUDY!  The Rambam provides eight chapters in Hilchos Chometz U’Matzah.  If one begins today and studies one Chapter a day, he will have completed all of Hilchos Chometz U’Matzah in the Rambam on Erev Pesach!  There is another way for us to get practical as well--the Rambam also provides Hilchos Korban Pesach, which is 10 Chapters.  We all still have the opportunity to bring the Korban Pesach this year, as a Tzibbur Betumah.  To study these Halachos before Pesach (a bit more than a Chapter a day) demonstrates our Emunah that the Geulah Sheleimah can come at any time--even at any moment!  We recall the words of Chazal--B’Nissan Nigalu U’V’Nissan Asidin Liga’el--as we have noted in the past, Geulah is a reality to us at all times, and most certainly in Chodesh Nissan!



SHEDDING THE SHIBUD!  One Rav remarked to us that every person should go into Pesach with one less complete shibud upon him--and that a prime area for tikun should be in the cell phone area.  Many cannot go for more than a few minutes--and certainly a few hours without looking at the cell phone for calls, emails or texts.  Many are seen typing on the streets; others read or type as family members talk to them; others walk into shul and other public places with gadgets affixed to their ears; and some talk in stores and on elevators. In truth, every person who owns a cell phone has at least one aspect of a shibud that he can release and relieve himself of.  Now, in the week before Pesach would be a wonderful time to drop at least that shibud--to more properly celebrate the Zeman Cheiruseinu!



THE PHRASE FOR NISSAN: As we have noted in the past, the last Chapter (150) of Tehillim has twelve phrases, corresponding to the twelve months of the year. 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 significance].”



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 you have!”



AN IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE OUTSTANDING TORAH TAVLIN HAGGADAH: “Unfortunately, in many homes, after the second Seder night, the Haggadah becomes nothing more than a bentscher even though the eight days of Pesach are supposed to be an eight day course in Haggadah Shel Pesach. It is therefore very advisable that those who can should prepare Divrei Torah on the Haggadah for every meal until the end of Yom Tov. Also, each time one eats Matzah, he should internalize the many lessons in Emunah that the Matzah represents.”



A WORD OF CAUTION WHEN SHOPPING: 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.  “Ushemartem 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!



HOW ELIYAHU ENTERS: 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.:.”



EMUNAH TODAY! 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 these juxtapositions, 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. 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!


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