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12 Nissan

THE LEIL HASEDER: For practical and meaningful Shiurim on how one should conduct his Seder, we provide a link to two audio files (MP3) of masterful Shiurim by Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita (each approximately 60 minutes):  Please click here.



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



LAVAN VS. PAROH: At his recent OU/Hakhel Shiur, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, pointed out some of the remarkably great similarities between Yaakov’s Galus with Lavan, and the Galus of Bnei Yisrael in Mitzrayim. Some examples of the great Ma’aseh Avos Siman L’Vanim involved include:


-Yaakov’s brother wanted to kill him and Yosef’s brothers wanted to kill him.

-Yaakov ran away from his brother and Yosef was driven away by his brothers to the Galus.

-Yaakov went to Lavan with nothing more than the stick in his hand, and Bnei Yisrael went to Mitzrayim in a state of famine and with only 70 people.

-Yaakov left Lavan b’rama’us and Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim b’rama’us (borrowing expensive items and saying that they would return shortly).

-Lavan ran after Yaakov and Paroh ran after Bnei Yisrael.

-Yaakov left with a greatly increased family and with great wealth and Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim with great numbers and with great wealth.


Rabbi Reisman suggested that there are more to be found, if one puts in the time and effort. The more time we invest in the Seder--the more benefit we and others will derive from it.



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.




A “HEADS UP” FOR FRIDAY 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!



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 is 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 the 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.




Special Note One:  As Pesach approaches, we provide the following important notes:


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!




11 Nissan

HASHAVAS AVEIDAH: At Sunday night’s Hakhel Shiur, an attendee left a digital recorder near Rabbi Belsky. At a previous Hakhel Shiur, a cell phone was found in the Beis Midrash. Please feel free to claim either of these items, by responding to this email.



HARD MONEY LOANS:  By clicking here, we provide a Kol Korei issued this month by 15 Rabbanim in North America relating to the Halachic pitfalls inherent in loans known as ‘hard money loans’. As the Kol Korei concludes, it incumbent on all lenders and borrowers [Hakhel Note: attorneys and brokers, as well] involved in these kinds of loans to consult with a Posek who is an expert in Hilchos Ribbis.



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



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



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”!



SERIOUSNESS: HaRav Ezriel Erlanger, Shlita, recently pointed out that the Flatbush fire tragedy which occurred on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, directed him to the Rashi on the Petirah of Nadav V”Avihu on the same date. There, Rashi writes that “K’SheHaKadosh Baruch Hu Oseh Din Im HaTzaddikim--when HaKadosh Baruch Hu puts forth His Middas HaDin against Tzaddikim….” Unquestionably, HaRav Erlanger continues, all of K’lal Yisrael witnessed the Middas HaDin with the petirah of these seven Tzaddikim, these seven children. We do everything that we can to avoid the Middas HaDin. When we acknowledge that there is a Middas HaDin, then this in and of itself can be mehapeich the Middas HaDin to a Middas HaRachamim. We cannot continuously act on the basis that  because HaKadosh Baruch Hu is an unfathomable Rachman, that He will be mevater here, and mevater there and there. We must demonstrate a level seriousness, a level of Yirah, in our approaching Hashem. Yes, Nissan contains within it a time of Yom Tov, a time of Simcha, a great anticipation of Geulah--but we must be sure to take the Mitzvos seriously and treat them not in a lightheaded, happy-go-lucky fashion, but in a way which we indicate that we understand their importance, their essence and from whom they come.



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 cannot take us out of this bitter Galus as well!



HILCHOS PESACH: We present the following rulings of HaRav Belsky, relating to Hilchos Pesach, as presented at the OU/Hakhel Shiur on Sunday night, as well as from Piskei Halacha of Rav Belsky, as compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Shlita (this excellent Sefer is divided into 54 chapters, so that one chapter a week can be studied every Shabbos at a Seudah). CD’s of the OU/Hakhel Shiur are available by calling 718--252-5274:


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 we mentioned the other day. 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!


HESEIBAH: Heseibah 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. If one does not know how to do Heseibah, or is unsure--he must consult with his Rav as to how to properly perform the Mitzvah. Hakhel Note: Rabbi Belsky demonstrated HaSeibah at the Shiur.


HAVDALAH ON MOTZA’EI SHABBOS: Even women who recite Kiddush together on the Leil HaSeder should not recite the Havdalah portion of Yaknehaz on Motza’ei Shabbos and should instead answer “Amen” to the brachos over the Ner and Havdalah.


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 442:9), meaning that once it is permanently designated for a non-food use it is considered to be batel, and is no longer a Chametz item.  This opinion has appeared in some recent halachic works and it is a total misconception.  Kufas se’or loses its status as Chametz because the Chametz does not contribute to its functionality.  In the case of the deodorant, the alcohol contributes to its functionality.  Whether it’s designated as a food or non-food is irrelevant.


SHAMPOO--The alcohol that shampoo in America contains is almost certainly not Chametz since most of the alcohol in the United States is derived from corn.  Wheat extract in the shampoo is batel in more than 1/60.  However, it is still better not to use any products on Pesach without checking to see whether it is permitted.


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.




Special Note One: The Sefer Kovetz Halachos of Pesach contains the Piskei Halachos of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, as wonderfully compiled (with extensive footnotes) by a close Talmid, Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita.  We once again provide below a sampling of the important P’sakim relating to Pesach contained in this exceptional Sefer.  We note, of course, that with respect to any particular P’sak or circumstance, one should consult with his own Rav for guidance:



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].  

4.      The correct Nusach in the Bracha over fruit trees is “Sheloh Chisar BaOlamo K’lum” (not Davar).  Women should also make the Bracha.  Rabbi Kleinman brings in his footnote that the Aruch HaShulchan writes that Yirei Hashem are careful to make this Bracha, and that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, was very careful with this Bracha and remarked that from the time he became Bar Mitzvah, he never once missed making the Bracha.

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 the 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 deposit it in a public area or receptacle.

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.




10 Nissan

FROM SHABBOS STORIES:  We have published a special Pesach Anthology of stories for the young and old that includes not only this year’s new Pesach edition of valuable stories, but also previous stories for Pesach which we have published over the last six years. The 270-page email Pesach Anthology of Stories is available at no charge. It has been published in memory and as a zechus for Nechama bas Noach, a”h Keren, who was nifteres within this past year. To request a copy email: keren18@juno.com. Please feel free to print out the Anthology, and disseminate this information to others for their free copy.”


FROM A RAV IN YERUSHALAYIM: As to your point about care in shopping… “And what about the Yiddish speaking Yerushalmi Rebbitzen who tried to convince the Rov she called Chol HaMoed that bread crumbs are Kosher L’Pesach since the gefilte fish she bought and fed her family had bread crumbs in it. Her proof - she bought it in the Kosher L’Pesach section of the supermarket. This could just as easily be done by a shopper who enthusiastically starts loading the shopping cart with products from the regular section, and then upon turning the corner finds the Pesach section, summarily placing the non-kosher L’Pesach product in the Pesach section. We have to be careful when we go shopping to avoid doing that also!”



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!



REMINDER -- THE SEDER CHECKLIST: We provide by clicking here our Checklist for Erev Pesach 5775. Please feel free to distribute further!



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 Matzos to the pound. An incredible resource!



FOR THOSE WHO MAY HAVE MISSED OUR RECENT NOTE, we once again provide the Hakhel Tevilas Keilim Guidelines by clicking here   Tevilas Keilim is such a basic, beautiful and simple Mitzvah to perform--let’s take a moment out to make sure that we, and those around us, are performing it properly!  Please distribute further--and if you can, post these guidelines near your Keilim Mikveh!


HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.) relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period! The following are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


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


B. There is a dispute among authorities as to whether one can combine two different kinds of maror together to make up the Shiur.  The Aruch HaShulchan brings that some do have the Minhag to do so, whereas HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, and the Minchas Yitzchak are concerned that one may take away from the taste of the other.  In all events, if one expels the Maror without swallowing it, he is not yotzei the Mitzvah. 


C.  When dipping must be done, such as the karpas in salt water, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that the dipping should be done before the bracha is recited.


D. There is a Machlokes Haposkim as to whether one should eat the karpas b’heseibah.  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Nissim Karelitz, Shlita, for instance, rule that it is not eaten b’heseibah.  On the other hand, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, as well as the Brisker Rav and others, require heseibah. 


E.  The Maharil writes that when the Mah Nishtanah is recited, it should be done in a beautiful tune, with the intent of praising Hashem.  The one asking the Mah Nishtanah need not be a child--it can be an adult as well. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach rules that the person leading the Seder is obligated to specifically explain the answer to each one of the four questions of the Mah Nishtanah--and how through the Parasha of Avadim Hayinu all of the questions are resolved.  One should not simply rely upon the “Rabban Gamliel Omer” at the end of the Haggadah. 




Special Note One: Today is the tenth day of Nissan, which is marked by at least three great milestones:


A. It is the day that the Bnei 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.



Special Note Two: 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!



Special Note Three: The Sefer Otzar Pelaos HaTorah brings from the Sefer Ahavas Torah that there are 1,820 words in the Haggadah--corresponding to the 1,820 times that Yud-Kay-Vuv-Kay is found in the Torah! Oh, how we should treasure each and every word in the Haggadah!



Special Note Four:  Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, provides the following insight into our response to the Rasha in the Haggadah.  We are instructed by the Ba’al Haggadah to “Hakheh Es Shinav.”  This is often misinterpreted/translated as knock out the Rasha’s teeth.  In truth, it means to blunt his teeth.  Hakheh is spelled with a Kuf not a Kaf.  The difference is explained by Rabbi Reisman with the following famous story:


HaRav Aharon Kotler, Z’tl, together with another Gadol went to collect for Chinuch Atzmai--and there was a stingy G’vir who did not contribute.  So they went to his office--without an appointment--and asked his secretary if they could see him.  The secretary said he was not in.  They knew what that meant.  So they said they would wait for him.  So they waited.  And waited.  And waited him out.  Finally, the G’vir burst out of his office and gave it to them.  He was furious.  “You come here without an appointment and you harass me for money.  I have no Menucha.”  He continued his harangue without Derech Eretz to these Gedolim.  After the fury of the G’vir was put to rest, the Gadol accompanying Rav Aharon said to the G’vir, “Now that you gave us what we deserve, could you give Chinuch Atzmai what it deserves?”  Quieted, the G’vir cut them a handsome check.


That is P’shat in blunting the Rasha’s teeth.  Further, Chazal say that in Gematria if you subtract Shinav (teeth) from the word Rasha, you get Tzaddik…there lies a Tzaddik in every Rasha once his sharp teeth are removed!


Hakhel Note:  If this is a key element in defining a Rasha, we should be especially careful in this regard.  Why only end up being a Tzaddik, if we can start out being one?!  Perhaps this is another great lesson of the Haggadah--using our mouths for hours in a positive, beautiful, thankful, and inspiring way!




7 Nissan


1. We have been advised that the Shoprite located on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn may be selling fruits and vegetables from Israel which creates issues of Terumos and Ma’asros, and perhaps of Shemittah. This may be true of other major chain stores as well. Please beware!

2. 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 !


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 (with the last phrase of Kol HaNeshama being repeated for the thirteenth month of Adar Sheni). The first phrase of the Kepitel is for the month of Nissan as the first month of the year--it is “HalleluKa--Praise Hashem!” The Artscroll Siddur, in its usual manner, has a wonderful and succinct commentary on this phrase, this time quoting HaRav Avigdor Miller, Z’tl. “HalleluKa is a contraction of two words. ‘Hallelu’ denotes crying out in happy excitement, while the unique meaning implied by the name ‘Ka’means ‘the One who is forever’. The Psalmist addresses everyone, saying: Use your energy to be excited over Hashem...[for that is the ultimate purpose of life, and all else pales in significance].


LOOK OUT FOR IT! May we suggest that you take the time as you are davening over the next several days to look for the mention of Yetzias Mitzrayim both in the regular weekday davening, and in the Yom Tov davening (see the Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah for further elucidation).


HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos (currently, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.) relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! The following are culled from the Notes of the Dirshu Edition of the Mishna Berurah. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:

A. The Steipeler would give treats to the children before the Seder began, so the children would get excited and begin to ask questions as to what was happening.

B. Before Kiddush, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach would especially advise all those at the Seder that they should have in mind that the bracha of Shehechiyanu covers all of the Mitzvos of the night.

C. The Mishna Berurah rules that when drinking each one of the four kosos, one should drink a rov revi’is from the kosat one time.

D. The Mishna Berurah rules that if one does not have zero’ah for the ke’arah, he can take any type of meat. If one does take the zero’ah, it should have some meat on it, as it is zecher l’korbanPesach. The Chayei Adam writes that it is a bizuy mitzvah to throw out the zero’ah; instead, it should be eaten on the morning of the second day (or in Eretz Yisrael, on the first day) as part of the Seudas Yom Tov.

E. The egg for the ke’arah need not be roasted; it can be cooked as well, for it is zecher l’korban Chagigah--which could be roasted or cooked.


FROM RABBI MOSHE GOLDBERGER, SHLITA--Of the first 23 Mitzvos of the Torah, 20 of them are related to Pesach. It would appear extremely appropriate to study these 20 before Pesach!


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!”


ANOTHER 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.”


Special Note One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:

A. In Kiddush on Leil Shabbos we recite the words “Zecher LeYetzias Mitzrayim.”--a remembrance of our leaving Egypt. What does Kiddush on Leil Shabbos have to do with leaving Egypt. HaRav Yonasan Eibishitz, Z’tl, in Sefer Ya’aros Devash 2:8 provides an incredible explanation-- see there. Tosfos (Pesachim 117B) writes that in Mitzrayim the Jews were forced to perform the 39 prohibited Melachos on Shabbos, as the term “Bepharech” is equal to the 39 Melachos based upon the Att-Bash formulation. We thus celebrate our freedom from Bepharechby 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!

Special Note Two: It is fascinating to note that the Terumas HaDeshen that we are taught about at the outset of this week’s Parasha begins with an act that apparently not many were anticipated as wanting to do--removing the Deshen, i.e., a small amount (a fistful size placed on a shovel, as it was too hot to hold onto) of the ashes or ‘waste product’ from the Mizbe’ach. In fact, the Kohen who performs this act is urged to change his clothing after he does this, as it is unbefitting to do other parts of the Avodas Beis Hamikdash in the same clothing as he does the Deshen removal. Yet, Chazal teach that the Deshen which was removed, after being placed on the southeastern area outside the Mizbe’ach,would then be miraculously swallowed in the ground--it being one of the few miracles which those in the Bais Hamikdash at the time could observe with their own eyes! Why was a blatant miracle associated with an Avodah which ostensibly was not on the same level as the other Avodos? We may suggest that the Terumas HaDeshen every morning symbolizes our need at the beginning of the day to remove the ashes that we had previously generated--and begin the day anew--with a fresh start. Indeed, the Deshen removal was the first act of the day in the Bais HaMikdash, in the ‘wee hours’ of the morning. Significantly, however, although the Kohen began the process, it required Hashem to complete the task, by having it miraculously removed from the floor of the Mikdash. We too must begin the process of our Deshen removal with a positive step in that direction in the morning--and we then look to Hashem to help us complete the task. As Chazal teach, “Open up an opening the eye of a needle...and I [Hashem] will provide us with an opening the size of the Ulam’s doors”! What Incredible Opportunity--each and every morning...what are we waiting for?!

Special Note Three: In the Parasha 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, once again, 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 Chavittin, 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!

Special Note Four: 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.:.”

Special Note Five: HaRav Ezriel Erlanger, Shlita, points out that Emunah is an extremely important Middah to work on at this time of year. He continues that it is very telling that the Ani Ma’amin in which we assert that we know that Hashem knows everything is juxtaposed with the Ani Ma’amin for the Biyas Hamoshiach, which is then further juxtaposed with the Ani Ma’amin for Techiyas Hameisim. From this juxtaposition, we must understand that our deeds have a destination. What we do in the here-and-now is not simply a concept of ‘do good, and do not do bad’--but is instead life with an end-goal, with a purpose. What would you say is the ‘most important’ Mitzvah in this world? Based upon punishments, it would clearly be Chilul Hashem--as the Rambam brings in Hilchos Teshuvah that one cannot generally obtain forgiveness for the sin of Chilul Hashem with Teshuvah, with Yom Kippur or even with suffering--but must wait until death to obtain complete forgiveness. At the time of Moshiach, life will be a flowing Kiddush Hashem--we will have attained the fulfillment of our deeds--and all of our actions will be truly L’Sheim Shomayim. This is our exit strategy. It is to this time that we long and yearn. At this time, we must recognize that Geulah is the destination of the world--it is the direction the world is going in--and that with our deeds we can bring it closer, or r’l, make it further. Chazal teach how important it is to be someich geulah l’tefillah--recite the bracha of Ga’ahl Yisrael and then immediately begin to recite Shemone Esrei. In Shemone Esrei itself, we then express that Hashem was not just the Ga’ahl Yisraelof the past, but is our Go’el Yisraelin 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!



6 Nissan

GETTING PRACTICAL!  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 by 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!



FROM A READER:  “With reference to the custom of the G’ra and other Gedolim to eat Shalosh Seudos on the last day of Pesach you wrote that HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, ruled that this should be done on the seventh day of Pesach, meaning the last day.  I want to clarify that for those who live in Chutz La’aretz, this would be on the eighth day of Pesach.”  Hakhel Note:  Thank you for the clarification, but I am sure that you, as well as all of our readers, hope and intend that we will be keeping only seven days of Pesach this year!



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. 



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


A.  The Mishna Berurah writes that the Haggadah itself is not recited b’heseibah, but instead B’Eimah U’V’Yirah--in awe.  Likewise, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that the brachos over the wine and the Matzah should not be recited b’heseibah--as a bracha requires awe as well. 


B.  Although it is brought that the Yom Tov meal at the Seder be eaten b’heseibah (see Mishna Berurah, Orach Chaim 472, seif katan 23), the Chazon Ish, Z’tl, the Steipeler, Z’tl, and HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach ruled that if one feels uncomfortable eating b’heseibah, he need not do so, and they in fact did not do so.


C.  In a similar vein, HaRav Elyashiv rules that the drinking of wine at the Seder to demonstrate cheirus should not be overbearing--and that one could use eitzos to make the drinking more pleasant--for instance adding grape juice to some extent--as long as the taste of the wine is still felt, so that derech cheirus remains.  The Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, Z’tl, the Chebiner Rav, Z’tl and HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, all rule that one can be yotzei cheirus with grape juice.  HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl and Rav Elyashiv require wine.  One who follows the latter p’sak should consult with his Rav or Posek in the event of any health or other issue regarding the intake of wine. 




Special Note One: Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita (in the name of HaRav Avrohom Schorr, Shlita) brought an EXTREMELY POWERFUL Kedushas Levi relating to this time of year. The heilige Kedushas Levi studied Jews scurrying about with so many Mitzvos before Pesach, and wondered to himself HOW IT COULD REALLY BE that the Moshiach did not arrive.  He was left with one conclusion--it must be due to our Ungetzoigenkeit--our being too on-edge, too tense, too irritable, too obviously sleep-deprived, too reaction-filled, too short-fused, to make the Millions of Mitzvos performed at this time of year as pure and pristine as they needed to be to turn the tide and bring us the Geulah Sheleima.  This week, as our To-Do list gets longer and our time to accomplish it gets shorter, as there is legitimate basis for concern that there is so much to get done with the clock ticking, as not everyone around seems to be ‘pulling their weight’ the way they should, as the food prices seem to match the gas prices--let us remember that--at least according to the Kedushas Levi, we can do our part in finally BRINGING US HOME by not losing ourselves, by keeping a perspective, by the judicious uses of a Kepitel Tehillim before doing this errand and a Kepitel Tehillim before speaking to that person, by maintaining a soft tone and sharing thoughtful and kind words or compliments, by not responding to a shout or a sarcasm with something in kind, by helping to calm another, all of which will serve to project our Mitzvos on the very special, direct and precise course to Geulah.  Let’s try to keep a record (or at least a mental note) over the next week of all our Geulah-bringing actions and reactions that would make the Kedushas Levi so proud.  The time is not next week or the following one--the Time is now!


Hakhel Note: Remember The Middos Journal:


The Middos Journal


Ma’avir Ahl HaMiddos (this could include anger as well): ___________________________


Kiddush Hashem:______________________________________________________________


V’Rachamav Ahl Kol Ma’asav:___________________________________________________


Sever Panim Yaffos:____________________________________________________________




Chesed in Private:______________________________________________________________



Special Note Two:  Rabbi Eliyahu Schneider, Shlita points out that Tosfos reconciles the fact that according to Rebbe Eliezer the world was created in Tishrei, and according to Rebbe Yehoshua the world was created in Nissan as follows:  In fact, there is no disagreement, Hashem’s ‘Machshava’, His thought to create the world originated in Tishrei--but the Ma’aseh, the Creation itself, was actualized in Nissan.. Based upon the teaching of HaRav Yitzchak Hutner, Z’tl, Rabbi Schneider explains that in Tishrei we follow the lead of Hashem and work upon our Machshavos--our thoughts.  We are busy with Hirhurei Teshuva, with thoughts of self-improvement, and intent to change over the coming year.  Nissan, on the other hand, is the time that the world was actually created--it is the time of Ma’aseh, of deed, of action.  All of the Chometz removal, all of the pre-Yom Tov preparation--the Matzah, the shopping, kitchen, the Seder preparation , the Yom Tov foods--this is exactly the Avodah of this time of year!  We are fulfilling the map and direction established by Hashem at the time of creation itself.  So as you toil, as you work, as you prepare and perform the Mitzvos--recognize and appreciate--be glad of heart and regale--in your fulfilling the LeMa’aseh of creation--exactly at the right time of year!




5 Nissan

CORRECT NAMES:  Upon consultation with the Sassoon family’s Rav, the names previously published should be used when davening: Gila bat Frances Tzipora (mother) and Tzipora bat Gila (daughter).   Please say a kepitel Tehillim now for their recovery.



TEFILLAH AHL HAGEULAH: We remind our readers that as we are in the period between the Geulah of Purim and the Geulah from Mitzrayim, it is certainly an auspicious time for the final, everlasting Geulah.  Accordingly, we provide by the following link to the Hakhel website the Tefillah Al HaGeulah, to be recited with Kavannah--especially during the month of Nissan!   The Hebrew version by clicking here or the English version by clicking here.


FROM THE OUTSTANDING TORAH TAVLIN HAGGADAH:  “Rav Zalman Guttman, Shlita, writes that Emunah means knowing that Hashem is the Creator and Supervisor of every single action in this world, and that everything He does is for the good! All negative traits, such as anger, frustration and kefirah, can be traced back to Paroh, the one who said: “Who is Hashem that I should listen to His voice?” (Shemos 5:2) Hakhel Note: You may want to reflect upon this teaching and its significance a bit further.



SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY :  The opportunities for us to recite “Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem” and “V’Sein Tal U’Matar L’Vracha” in 5775 are becoming fewer and fewer.  Please remember to make them really count!



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to present pertinent rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Hilchos Pesach, as excerpted from the monumental Sefer Ashrei HaIsh (Orach Chaim, Volume  III ). Of course, one must consult with his own Rav or Posek for a final p’sak as to how he should conduct himself in a specific situation:


1.                  It is permissible to change one’s parents’ Minhag, and eat Romaine lettuce instead of chrain for Maror. 


2.                  White reciting Hallel at the Seder, it is permissible to sing and repeat Pesukim, and to say Divrei Torah--for this is not like the regular reading of Hallel during davening which cannot be interrupted, but instead has a Halacha of Shira. 


3.                  If in davening one said “Es Yom Chag HaPesach HaZeh”, instead of “Es Yom Chag HaMatzos HaZeh”, he is Yotzei Bedi’eved.


4.                  If one finds Chometz on Chol HaMo’ed that was sold to a non-Jew, it is permissible for him to burn it on the condition that he will pay the non-Jew for its value.


5.                  If one sees Chometz in the dirt on the street, he need not pick it up and move it away, for it is not fit to be eaten on Pesach. 


6.                  Although on Yom Tov, the custom is not to eat Shalosh Seudos, on the seventh day of Pesach, one should eat Shalosh Seudos, because of the Chavivus of the Mitzvah of eating Matzah, as was the Minhag of the G’ra. Hakhel Note: As the seventh day of Pesach comes out on Erev Shabbos this year, one should consult with his Rav or Posek as to whether he should wash in the afternoon on Erev Shabbos for the Chavivus of the Mitzvah of Matzah.


7.                  Chazal (Yoma 21A) teach that a great Neis occurred weekly with the Lechem HaPanim and they remained as hot when they were removed from the Shulchan a week later, as they were when they were placed on the Shulchan.  The people who came to be Oleh LeRegel were shown the steaming hot Lechem HaPanim and were told:  “See how precious you are to Hashem!”  Rav Elyashiv explains that what we are supposed to take with us from the Chag is the warmth, the feeling of how cherished we are by Hashem--and this warmth should not cool off or cool down after the Chag when the weekdays begin!




Special Note One:  As the days of Pesach draw nearer, we should take special precaution, in the manner we best see fit, to limit our anger internally, and its expression externally.  Notwithstanding the high prices, difficulty in finding things to eat around the house, greater work pressure, and the difficulties encountered in time-consuming cleaning, it is likewise an important part of the Pesach preparation period to rid ourselves of our “spiritual chometz”--i.e., the Yetzer Hara which seeks to do its job of not only tempting us to do aveiros, but also of spoiling, or attempting to spoil, our mitzvos.  An important idea in this regard might be to keep a written record of successes in this area--when you overcame the feeling inside you, and expiate yourself with the happy thought that you would be credited with an elevated performance of Pesach preparation in its stead.  We especially note that we were just reminded that the term “V’Chamaso Bo’ara Bo--and his anger burned in him” (Esther 1:12 ) is to be attributed to Achashveirosh--and not to Mordechai!! Hakhel Note: As we approach the last 10 days before Pesach, there are several other Middos that we could jot down success notes about in a special notebook or place on a daily basis in this crucial period--to ourselves before Yom Tov!


Here are some essential examples:


The Middos Journal


Ma’avir Ahl HaMiddos (this could include anger as well): ___________________________


Kiddush Hashem:______________________________________________________________


V’Rachamav Ahl Kol Ma’asav:___________________________________________________


Sever Panim Yaffos:____________________________________________________________




Chesed in Private:______________________________________________________________



Special Note Two: The following is based on a Shiur given by HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, which we once again provide to enlighten and uplift our readers:


Rabbeinu Yonah in the Shaarei Teshuvah (2:5) writes that a Botei’ach BaShem--one who trusts in Hashem--who is in the midst of a t’zara, a difficulty, or even only a challenge, must view the situation differently than the millions of people surrounding him.


The Pasuk in Micha (7:8) as explained in Midrash Tehillim (22) teaches, “If I had not fallen, I could not now stand, if I had not sat in darkness, I would not now have light.”  The common perception that one “passes through”, “recovers”, “rebounds” or “survives” his suffering is foreign to the one who truly trusts in Hashem.  Rather, the one who trusts views his suffering as an opportunity ordained by G-d--only FROM THE FALL comes the rise, only FROM THE DARKNESS comes the light.


It is not the Ribono Shel Olam pushing him down, letting go, making it difficult for him--it is a fall created by Hashem Himself to enable him to rise, a pervasive darkness required in order to attain true light.


HaRav Salomon explains that the Botei’ach BaShem does not say “Hashem will get me out of this” or “There is a light at the end of this tunnel.”  Instead, he acknowledges and understands that the purpose of the tunnel is for him to arrive at the light.  One must, as a given, acknowledge and understand that the All-Knowing, All-Present, Creator and Supervisor has intentionally designed the process by which one can attain the goals he is to reach in his lifetime.  The trials, tribulations, and difficulties are not established out of cruelty, disdain or indifference, but arise because He, in His Omniscience, knows (infinitely more than us) who are we are really and what we really need.


In this elevated period between Purim and Pesach, we can understand this lesson both on an individual and a communal level.


Esther, a descendent of royalty, wife of a leader of the generation, and a Neviah in her own right, is forced to live in the most repulsive place imaginable, away from her family and her people--in a literal prison without walls--for nine (9) long years, without any seeming rhyme or reason.  What had she done?!  Can we fathom what her suffering could have been?  What emerged was the saving of all of K’lal Yisrael, and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash as a direct result of the few discussions she had with Achashveirosh, as recorded in the Megillah.


Similarly, in Mitzrayim, hundreds of thousands of B’nei Yisrael suffered from “Avodas Perech”--in all its definitions, systematic torture--for scores of years.  What went wrong?  How did all this happen?  And the Torah supplies a two-word answer--[We were placed in Mitzrayim as a] “KUR HABARZEL”--a smith’s oven, used to refine metal.  Why were they there under these horrific conditions?  So that K’lal Yisrael would survive and thrive from then on and through the Mashiach’s times and forever thereafter.


HaRav Salomon points to the wine we drink on both Purim and Pesach.  Why is wine so crucial on these special days and why is wine the only food over which we recite the brocha “Hatov V’HaMativ”--Hashem is good and does good? If we study the wine-making process, we note that luscious, edible grapes are stomped on or crushed before they would otherwise have been eaten.  Then, instead of drinking the resulting liquid, we watch in amazement as it ferments and becomes moldy and terrible tasting.  Are these people sadistic--spoiling such good grapes?  But then--after the wine ages and matures, it is filtered and what is produced is not a thirst-quencher, but an honorable beverage, which lifts up a person’s spirits.


To the Botei’ach BaShem, Rav Salomon continues, this is a microcosm of the Ribono Shel Olam’s Hanhaga--behavior--in this world.  Without the fermentation process--without the years of repulsive mold which seems irreversible--we could not have the brand, kind and taste of wine which a connoisseur could appreciate and savor.  We can now understand why we make “Hatov V’HaMativ” specifically on wine--because we realize that the process was necessary and intended by the world’s Creator and we acknowledge that it is for good--notwithstanding our original misconceptions.  The cup of wine that we drink has gone through an entire process and represents how we are to understand the Hashgachas Hashem in our world.


As we go through these days of Purim to Pesach, a time that is surrounded by intense suffering that led to sparkling redemption--as symbolized by the wine of which we partake--we, too, should become connoisseurs and remember that Hashem will take us out of all of our current t’zaros, individual and collective, just as the horribly soured wine is ultimately whiffed and savored by the most discerning of experts.  We can perhaps do this best through constantly reminding ourselves of Hashem’s Hashgacha in our everyday lives--to the smallest detail--and our Bitachon can be especially reinforced by the dedicated way in which we recite our brachos--no matter how harried, time-pressured or distracted one may otherwise be!




4 Nissan

MISHNAYOS: The following email was sent by Kollel Bnei Torah in Flatbush yesterday to its members. Hakhel Note: Your Shul, wherever in the world it may be located, may want to undertake a similar project:


As we are still reeling from the horrific and terrible incident that happened this past Shabbos, many are asking what can we do?


After discussing this with the Rav, Shlita and Rosh Kollel, Shlita, we intend to make a Siyum Mishnayos on Rosh Chodesh Iyar.


Therefore, we as a Shul  will learn Mishnayos in their memory and will try to finish all of Shisha Sidrei Mishna (or at least a few Sedorim) by the Shloshim.


At the time of the Shloshim there will be a Siyum and Kinus in the Kollel, details will follow.


The Mishanyos should be learnt in loving memory of 7 children:


·       Eliyan

·       Rivka

·       Dovid

·       Yehoshua

·       Moshe

·       Sarah

·       Yaakov


Please email back which Mesechta you will learn….



FROM YESTERDAY’S EMUNA DAILY: The prophet Yeshayahu foresees the day when “Bilah HaMaves Lanetzach U’macha Hashem Elokim Dimah Mei’al Kol Panim- there will be no more death, and Hashem will wipe the tears away from every face”. The Talmud Yerushalmi explains this to mean that Hashem will come to each and every one of us in the future, personally, in all His splendor and glory, to console and comfort us for all the hardships and tragedies we have suffered. He will explain to each person why He needed to do what He did, and we will see very clearly how everything was done with only love and compassion.


Elsewhere, Hashem tells us through the prophet Yeshayahu, Anochi Anochi Hu Menachemchem- He is the one who will come to console us. Ke’ish Asher Imo Tinachamenu- Hashem will comfort us as a mother comforts her child.


A man once came to the Kotzker Rebbe crying uncontrollably after the death of his daughter. The Rebbe said to him, “Your pain is deeper than the deepest ocean. Only Hashem, the Ba’al HaRachamim [Master of Compassion], is capable of consoling you.”


We all need comforting now from the Ba’al HaRachmim. The entire Jewish Nation is reeling from the devastating tragedy that struck this past Shabbat. We do not and cannot understand. Nistarim Darchei Hashem--Hashem’s ways are hidden and often inexplicable. The children’s father, Mr. Gabby Sassoon, spoke with extraordinary dignity and faith, telling us we need to accept Hashem’s will.


Hashem loves these precious children and wanted them close to Him. The Or HaChaim writes that when a person dies, he is essentially relocating to a different place, a place that is far better and more enjoyable than our world. The Ramban writes that when a child passes away, this means that his mission in the world was completed and he is now ready to enjoy the delights of Gan Eden. These seven beautiful children are now all together in a very special place enjoying the radiance of the Shechinah. We are the ones in pain, and we are the ones left here with questions.


This tragedy was the will of Hashem. There was once a Rosh Yeshiva whose daughter died tragically, and the Rosh Yeshiva was plagued by guilt, feeling that he was to blame as he could have prevented the tragedy. The Chazon Ish told him, “There is nothing you could have done.” Everything is in Hashem’s hands. The causes are irrelevant. Harbei Sheluchim LaMakom- Hashem has an infinite number of ways to execute His will. In this case, too -Vateitzeih Aish Milifnei Hashem. Hashem started that fire, and nobody could have prevented this from happening.


But how is this possible? Hashem is so merciful. How could He have done this?


The Gemara comments in Masecheta Mo’ed Katan (27b) that when people are crying over a loved one’s death, and we feel sympathy for the grieving family, Hashem tells us, Ain Atem Rachmanim Yoser Mimeni- “You are not more merciful than I am.” In fact, the Torah introduces certain laws relevant to mourning by saying, Banim Atem LaHashem Elokeichem- “You are sons of Hashem your G-d.” Even when tragedy strikes, this is being done by our loving, compassionate Father. Although we do not understand, even what appears tragic is truly an act of mercy and love. The pasuk says in Yeshayahu, Bechol Tzarosam Lo Tzar - when a person is in pain, Hashem also experiences pain, k’veyachol.


Still, one might ask, isn’t Hashem capable of obliterating all pain? Why doesn’t He see to it that there is no more pain in the world?


Apparently, even the tragedies and suffering are also in fact a chesed, acts of kindness, and Hashem is willing to endure pain, so-to-speak, in order to bestow this hidden kindness.


We read in Sefer Malachi, Ani Hashem Lo Shanisi - “I am Hashem, and I never change.” The same loving and merciful G-d who brings beautiful children into the world also brings them into Gan Eden. The day will come when families will be reunited - children with parents, and parents with children. Until then, we need to beg the Ba’al HaRachamim for solace and consolation, to work to improve ourselves, and to find comfort in our deepening connection with our Father in Heaven.


Hakhel Note One: To strengthen our bitachon on a daily basis, we once again highly recommend Emuna Daily, a 3-5 minute daily phone message which one can call at any time during the day for no charge. The number is 605-475-4799. The pin number is 840886#. To listen to each day’s new Shiur, one need only hit # again. To listen to all of the prior wonderful Shiurim (now more than hundreds on file), begin with the number 1…. Yasher Koach to Rabbi David Ashear, Shlita, for these wonderful Shiurim. To subscribe to the related short daily Emuna email message, email: emunadaily @gmail.com.


Hakhel Note Two: We most definitely should not let these Emunah-filled days go by without some Bli Neder attempt, commitment, or improvement in our daily Tefillah or brachos recitation.  Even if one would take just one Bracha in Shemone Esrei (such as Re’ai VeAnyeinu or Tekah BeShofar Gadol LeCheiruseinu) with attention to the specific meaning of each word, or stop and think for one moment before making a bracha on a food item about the nourishing and meaningful gift Hashem is about to bestow upon him, he will have demonstrated an elevated and TIMELY level of Emunah.  It is important to note that just as a caring woman cannot afford to wait until the last moment to rid her home of Chometz and begin her Pesach preparations, so too must we all--men and women alike--now move meaningfully and powerfully in the direction of true faith, belief and trust.  We note that the Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim 429, seif katan 7) explains that the reason we do not recite Tachanun at all this month is that because most of the month--the first twelve days (because of the Nesi’im Dedications) and then Yom Tov itself--have kedusha associated with them, the entire month is made ‘KULO KODESH’(these are the words of the Mishna Berurah--not ours!).  Let us utilize this Kedusha, which infuses even a weekday like today to its fullest--by truly enhancing our lives with Emunah-filled days!



FROM A READER: “I was walking to work this morning and saw on a park bench a copy of an obvious Christian missionary tract called “The Orthodox Jewish Bible” that is published by Artists for Israel International Publishers. When you Google the group the complete name “Artists for Israel International Publishers Messianic Bible Society” pops up. I also saw a copy placed on the property of a home on Avenue M. Readers should be asked to pick up these thick (more than 1200 pages) blue or purple colored missionary tracts and dump it in the first garbage can (not the wire ones) they come across. Don’t even bother glancing it. If you see a copy on somebody else’s property, do them a favor and trash it for them. We don’t want our children who don’t understand the serious danger of these missionary tracts picking them up and reading them. Obviously we know that the Jewish Bible or Tanach is for all Jews, not just Orthodox Jews. But this slick missionary tract titled “The Orthodox Jewish Bible” is neither Orthodox nor Jewish.”



WE NOW HAVE THE CALENDAR: The wonderful Dirshu Mishna Berurah Amud Yomi Program began just two days ago, on Sunday, 2 Nissan. We provide by clicking here important information, including phone Shiurim, contact information and a calendar to join in the study of Halacha and Mussar by thousands upon thousands. This is truly an exciting beginning--and joining together with the multitudes to learn Halacha and Mussar together will certainly serve as both a practical and outstanding act on your part! What a zechus to participate!



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to present pertinent rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Hilchos Pesach, as excerpted from the monumental Sefer Ashrei HaIsh (Orach Chaim, Volume  III ). Of course, one must consult with his own Rav or Posek for a final p’sak as to how he should conduct himself in a specific situation:


1.      One should pay for his Leil Seder Matzos before Yom Tov, so that it is legally his, both MiD’Oraysah and MiD’Rabanan.


2.      On Shabbos, one should not remove a piece of Matzah which is possibly Kefulah, because of the Issur of Borer.  One must instead remove the possible Kefulah together with some Kosher Matzah.  If the Matzah is actually (Mitsad HaDin) Kefulah, then it is Muktzah on Pesach and on Shabbos as well. Hakhel Note: This p’sak is especially pertinent this year, as the first day of Pesach is Shabbos.


3.      LeChatchila, men and women should use wine for the four Kosos.  However, one may dilute the wine with grape juice, provided that the taste of alcohol significantly remains.  For children, one can be maikil and give them grape juice.  It is better for an adult to drink a smaller shiur of wine than a large shiur of grape juice.  If one is repulsed by wine and cannot drink it, he is patur from drinking it, as it is ma’us to him.  He should try to mix wine and grape juice in a manner in which the wine is still tasted.  If he cannot tolerate this, he can drink grape juice. It is also better to drink an entire smaller cup than the majority of a larger cup.


4.      Heseibah requires Derech Cheirus--which means in a royal and enjoyable manner, as kings eat.  This includes a person not bending his body towards the food, but bringing the food to the body.  Heseibah involves leaning most of one’s body and one’s head to the left side, and leaning on the arm rest or a pillow.  One should feel comfortable as royalty would feel.  If one leans without actually leaning on something, this is not considered Heseibah.  [Hakhel Note:  If one is unsure how to perform Heseibah, he should consult with his Rav or Posek.] 


5.      Although before performing a Mitzvah, one should state that he is about to perform it, one should not say “Hineni Muchan U’Mezuman LeKayeim Mitzvas Asei”, if in fact it is a Mitzvah DeRabanan.  HaRav Elyashiv himself recites “Hineni Muchan U’Mezuman LeKayeim…”, but does not say the “LeSheim Yichud….”


6.      The Sefer Chayei Adam strongly objects to the partition which separates the Matzos in a Matzah cover.  The places that are noheig like the Chayei Adam should keep their Minhag.


7.      The Yesod of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim is to relate the story--it is not Me’akev for it to be to a son.  This is why a son does not necessarily have to come to his father for the Seder.  If a child is only three years old or so, and could only understand this story on a kindergarten level, the father should relate it to the child on that level.  There is no inyan, however, for the three year old to relate the story to the father based upon what he knows from kindergarten.


8.      One should throw the wine from his cup at the designated points in the Haggadah with his Etzbah (pointer finger as opposed to pinky), because the Pasuk says “Etzbah Elokim He”.


9.     If one is in the midst of eating Matzah, he can answer “Amen” to another’s bracha if he has swallowed a bit.




Special Note One:  The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh highlights for us how important the Torah considers this month, the month of Nissan.  The Torah uses the words (Shemos 12:2):  HaChodesh HaZeh Lachem Rosh Chadashim”, and then continues:  Rishon Hu Lachem LeChadshei HaShana”--this month to you is the first of the months, the first of the months is it to you…. There is, the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh teaches, no redundancy here.  The Torah is emphasizing that the inherent powers of this month are so great that it was intentionally made the first month of the year.  It is up to us, then--Lachem--to unleash these powers.  If we begin to characterize our Pesach work as a ‘mitch’, or a bother; if we express our frustration and cynicism at high prices, or complain of other Pesach-related ‘hardships’, then we are defeating the Lachem which the Torah reminds us about twice in the same Pasuk.  It is with a sense of joy and privilege that we should approach the next eleven days leading us to Pesach--a Chag upon which our souls became eternally free, even if our bodies may otherwise be bound in a temporary (hopefully at this point, very temporary) Galus Edom.  There is a related point, as well.  This year, there appear to be so many individuals and organizations in need--many more than in previous years.  There are those who are making a yeoman’s effort to keep their Ma’os Chitim and Tzedaka donations on par with previous years.  Others, may, however, fall short because of the financial position they are in.  If one finds himself in a better economic position this year than last, he should realize that Hashem is empowering and directing him to give more than in previous years--to help make up the slack of others.  Especially in these times in which we look to HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s Tzedaka and Chesed to save us in Eretz Yisroel and the world over, we should view the extra Tzedaka collectors and needy organizations as a means given to us by Hashem for us to exercise Tzedaka and Chesed.  Why?  The Pasuk states:  VeNassan Lecha Rachamim VeRichamcha VeHirbecha.”  HaRav Pam, Z’tl, explains that this Pasuk teaches that Hashem will give us opportunities for Rachamim and that if we exercise them, He will, Middah K’Neged Middah shower Rachamim upon us.  Let us do what we can-- over the next week and a half--giving of ourselves and of our money--with Simcha, and with trust!  Let us rise to the occasion!



Special Note Two:  As we come so close to Pesach, it becomes incumbent upon us to begin our study of the Haggadah.  The Vilna Gaon and the Maaseh Nissim Haggadah teach that the Geulah from Egypt was called “Chairus Olam”--because the Geulah of Egypt was the root of, and source for, all future Redemptions.  When one does Teshuvah, he must always look back to the source, to the beginnings, of the aveira in order to uproot and destroy his connection to it.  Similarly, when yearning for our own final Geulah, we must study and review how our initial Geulah came about and what happened in order to properly connect to it.  This being the case, one can never learn enough of the Haggadah, its discussions and its teachings.  While intellectually one may know the ten makos by heart (including details from the Midrashim), shoot off the four reasons that we were redeemed, or list in perfect chronological order the Mitzvos we have on the Seder night, this is simply not enough.  Even if we “know it all,” we must come back year after year to the same concepts, the same lessons, and even to the same words, so that we continue to emotionally internalize Geulah through continuously developing a greater spirit of faith and belief in Hashem within us (See Michtav M’Eliyahu, Volume 4, Page 249).  The night of the Seder, with the uplifting four kosos, the Matzoh, the paradoxical Korech, the amazing Haggadah, and the unrestrained Hallel, is given to us by Hashem to continuously expand this spirit of Cheirus Olam within us. Accordingly, it behooves us to properly prepare!




3 Nissan

THE FLATBUSH TRAGEDY FOR ALL OF K’LAL YISRAEL: The accurate names of the mother and daughter in the Flatbush fire who desperately need a Refuah Sheleimah are (as published by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition):


Gila Bas Frances Tzipporah

Tzipporah Bas Gila


Hakhel Notes:


1. Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita, pointed out that one cannot ask questions in a situation of this kind, as our Bitachon in Hashem teaches us that Hashem is All-Knowing and always does what is the absolute best. On the very same day of the year, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Aharon HaKohen, who had many things to say when speaking to Paroh and when trying to make peace between people, was silent when the fire came out from before Hashem and burned Nadav V’Aviyhu--as the Pasuk records: “Vayidom Aharon”. What we can do, he suggested, is do our part to snuff out the aish of machlokes, and replace it with the aish of warm relationships between people.

Hakhel Note: Another Rav reminded us that because we are limited by an Olam Hazeh scope we cannot properly fathom true reality, and must internalize this fact.


2. When a fire broke out in an avreich’s home on Shabbos, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, told him that it was a lesson to strengthen Shemiras Shabbos. A Posek related to us that Shemiras Shabbos is a foundation of our Emunah, and the way to be mechazeik Shemiras Shabbos is by taking the time and making the effort to learn more Hilchos Shabbos.


3. A Posek related to us that what we must not do is Teshuvah on a superficial level--but dig deeply into the cause of the sin and rectify it.


4. After the Mumbai Massacre, as we had previously related, HaRav Shmuel Dishon, Shlita, taught, based on the Pasuk in Yecheskel that the greatest Chillul Hashem in the world today is that we are still in Galus. When the gentile world puts its eyes upon us in a pivotal way outside of Eretz Yisrael and without a Beis HaMikdash, it is a tragedy of the greatest proportions. What happened to us over Shabbos was not an act of Nazi, Communist or Arab, y’s, terror--so we cannot superficially blame it on an enemy without looking beyond the cause. Our preeminent goal should be to rid ourselves of our Galus existence. We must daven wholeheartedly for the Geulah in the regular places in our Tefillah, and privately as well. Rather than live in a time of Chillul Hashem, r’l--may the seven Tei’ereh Neshamos bring us to the time of the greatest Kiddush Hashem by their impact on our sincere, continuous and unrelenting yearning and striving for the Geulah Sheleimah.


5. The following was written by Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, Shlita, Congregation Ahavas Israel , Passaic , New Jersey :


Complete and Utter Sadness


There are no words which can be said.

There are no words which can console.

There are no words which can ease the pain.

The heart is pained, the eyes are full of tears and the entire body is numb.

As we slept soundly in our beds on Friday night, a Beis HaMikdash was burning in Flatbush.

A holy Mishkan where the Shechina resided was engulfed in flames.

This time, His wrath did not consume just wood and stones; this time it consumed the Holy of Holies.

There is no Nechama, there is no consolation.

Seven precious, cherished and holy Jewish children were taken from us this past Friday evening.

Seven Neshamos went up to His throne as they were engulfed in the flames of Shabbos.

As I attempted to sleep last night, the sacrifices invaded my mind and would not allow me to sleep.

During my semi-sleepless night, the thought of the seven children kept pounding away at my mind precluding me from rest or sleep.

Of course, there are lessons to be had and they should be learned.

·       Check your home TODAY to make sure that every room has a working smoke detector.

·       Indeed, before you do any Pesach preparations today, the first thing you must do is check the smoke detectors.

·       We have an obligation to be vigilant in the care of our family.

·       Do it for today as a Zechus (merit) for the holy sacrifices and for a refuah Sheleima for the mother and surviving sister.

·       Do it today; however, that won’t take away the pain; it won’t lessen the agony and it will not bring back the children.

Seven precious souls; seven precious children are no longer among us.

Hashem has poured out His wrath this Shabbos on our most cherished and precious treasure.

We must take stock of who we are and what we can all do to improve.

We must attempt to unify and grow together.

Right now though, there is only one possible emotion and that is complete and utter sadness.

It is a sadness which -like the flames which consumed the home- consumes our entire being.

We cry for our children who are gone.

We cry for a mother who must somehow go on.

And we cry for ourselves that this has befallen us.

There is nothing more to say except ....

Please hug your children today.

Hold them close to you and tell them how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

And if you have no children, give yourself a hug and remind yourself that you too are a beloved child of Hashem.



HILCHOS PESACH: We once again present pertinent rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Hilchos Pesach, as excerpted from the monumental Sefer Ashrei HaIsh (Orach Chaim, Volume III ):



1.      It is best to recite the Birkas Ha’Ilanos over a minimum of two trees, as the bracha itself refers to ‘Ilanos’ in the plural.  The bracha may be recited on Shabbos and on Yom Tov.


2.      Ma’os Chittim may be given from Ma’aser money; however, at least a small amount should not be from Ma’aser funds. 


3.      When a Jewish store sells its Chometz, and then continues to sell Chometz on Pesach it is a chucha u’telula. Accordingly, one should not purchase from a store like this after Pesach, as it may be Chometz Sheavar Alav HaPesach.  It is better to purchase pre-Pesach Chometz from a store which sold its Chometz properly before Pesach, than to rely on the other store selling Chometz from ‘after Pesach’.


4.      If one lives in a building in which the tenants or unit owners are not interested in selling the Chometz in the common areas, one should be mafkir his Chelek in the common areas before the time of Issur Chometz sets in.  [Hakhel Note:  One should consult with his Rav as to how one is mafkir.]


5.      According to the Ikar HaDin, one need not check his Seforim before Pesach, as any miniscule crumbs would be batel.  However, a Sefer which was not cleaned page by page, should not in any event be placed on the table, for a crumb from the Sefer may fall on the food, and all of the food would become assur, as the Chometz is not batel in the food.


6.      If one checks his pockets well by hand, he need not check them by candle light.


7.      On Erev Pesach, one should LeChatchila complete laundering, pressing, sewing, haircutting, nail cutting, and shoe shining before Chatzos.  However, if one was not able to do so, he may still cut his nails and shine his shoes after Chatzos, but a haircut after Chatzos may only be performed by a non-Jew.


8.       One can measure a Revi’is, a Kezayis and a Kebeitzah on Yom Tov, for the shiur of the four Kosos, Matzah and Maror, but one may not weigh the Matzos in this regard.


9.      The fact that one eats food in a Kittel on the Leil HaSeder does not derogate the Kittel’s status, for the Leil HaSeder is a Layla Shel Mitzvah.  Accordingly, one may not enter the restroom wearing a Kittel. 


10.  One should prepare the Kezaiysim of Matzah for all participants in plastic bags before Yom Tov, so when it comes time to partake of the Matzah, there is no significant lapse between the bracha and the eating of the Matzah.  [Hakhel Note:  The same would seem to apply for Maror.]





Special Note One:  Yesterday, the second day of Nissan, the Parah Aduma was burned under the auspices of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein.  Today, the third day of Nissan, is the first day that the unparalleled and purifying Parah Aduma waters were first sprinkled on anyone ever!  Accordingly, it is a day that holds special tahara capability, individually and for our nation, and we should be sure to use that capability by purifying ourselves in some way.  The Luach Davar B’Ito  points out that if there is anything that you can think of that could use some tahara--the time is extremely auspicious, and the opportunity is very great.  For some on-point ideas, we refer you to Chapters 16 and 17 of the Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim (which is on the topic of tahara).  You may think that if so few know about this, can it really be that effective?  Please consider, on the other hand, that when there are fewer customers purchasing, there will be much greater selection, and much better pricing!



Special Note Two:  We have already reached the third Nasi today--the Nasi of Zevulun, Eliav ben Chailon.  Although Zevulun was the tenth son of Yaakov Avinu, he merited to bring the third Korban as Nasi.  Chazal (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:17) teach that the “tenth” son became the “third” son here--a 300% plus prioritization--for one reason alone:  It was because “Shechibav Es HaTorah VeHirchiv Yodov Lefazer Es Mamono LeYissocher--his cherishing of Torah caused him to open his hand wide and support his brother Yissocher in his Torah studies.”  With this wise and generous act, he fulfilled the words of the wisest of all men, Shlomo Hamelech, who teaches in Mishlei ( 18:16 ), “Matan Adam Yarchiv Lo, Velifnei Gedolim Yanchenu--A man’s gift will make room for him, and it will lead him before the great.”  In fact, Chazal (Bamidbar Rabbah, ibid.) even conclude with respect to Zevulun that “Godol Hame’aseh Yoser Min Ha’oseh”--he was greater than Yissocher because, but for him, Yissocher would not have been able to study, and would not have produced 200 leaders of the Sanhedrin.  It would appear to be especially auspicious to write a check to a Kollel member or to a Kollel today.  Remember Yad Eliezer’s matches for Pesach (one of which is $3 for $1 can be earmarked for Pesach--see below)! Additional Note:  The Navi teaches that ‘VeShaveha B’Tzedaka--those who return will be redeemed with the giving of Tzedaka.  In this season of Geulah we should try to give whatever we can!




29 Adar



Many liquid medications contain food grade glycerin which is often derived from animals and is therefore, treif. This is especially a problem with children’s medications that are quite palatable.

The following liquid medications do not contain any animal ingredients. The glycerin is vegetable based:

·                                 Advil Infant’s Suspension White Grape Dye-Free [Artificial flavor]

·                                 Advil Children’s Suspension [All flavors including Dye-Free] [Artificial flavor]

·                                 Tylenol Infant drops - Cherry or Grape [Artificial flavor] NOT Dye-Free

·                                 Tylenol Children’s Suspension - Cherry Blast or Grape [Artificial flavor] NOT Dye-Free

·                                 Motrin Infants’ Drops - Berry and Dye-Free Berry

·                                 Motrin Children’s - Berry and Dye-Free Berry

The following liquid medications do contain animal ingredients. The glycerin is animal based:

·                                 Tylenol Infant Drops - Cherry Dye Free

·                                 Tylenol Children’s Suspension Cherry Blast - Dye-Free Benadryl Children’s Allergy Liquid Benadryl children’s Allergy Plus Congestion Liquid

Store brands of Suspensions should not be used since glycerin is commonly derived from animal sources.


From Rabbi Bess: There is a “generic” Benadryl without glycerin made by RIJ Pharmaceutical Corp, 40 Commercial Ave , Middletown , NY 10941 . It is distributed by Kinray Inc. Whitestone NY 11357. It is sold as Preferred Plus in Lakewood .


To subscribe to Kashrut.com--see its website!

---------------------------------------------------------- cleardot


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 5775: A Passover Guide To Cosmetics And Medications, a detailed list of acceptable products that may be used on Pesach, which is available by contacting the Kollel at 323-933-7193. Rabbi Bess writes that HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, and yblch’t HaRav Wosner, Shlita, 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.” Rabbi Bess also notes that the list (unless otherwise indicated) 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 in the Advil caplet and liquid gel, Dial hand sanitizer, Gold Bond cream, Herbal Essence, Pantene, Mary Kay, Cortizone, Claritin and Amoxicillin, Prevident, Pepto Bismol, Eucerin, Shaklee, 4Kids, lines do contain Chometz. Additionally, Lactaid remains a Chometz issue. Page 4 of the Guide provides a list of ingredients to be on the lookout for. Page 64 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.  In the upcoming weeks, for the latest updates (not yet updated for this year) to the Guide, we refer you to www.kehilasyaakov.org



BITACHON:  As we proceed through this great Bitachon-filled period of Bein Purim L’Pesach, we provide the following important two (2) thoughts from the soon-to-be published Ohr Avigdor Sha’ar HaBitachon (a translation and commentary on Sha’ar HaBitachon by Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Z’tl):


A. It is also important to notice that the man with bitachon does not live any differently from the man without bitachon. They are both working at their jobs. Both people are sitting at their desks and both are making a living, or trying to make a living. So superficially, you see no difference between them. The only difference is in their minds. Of course, if you know them well you will know that one of the two men is always cheerful and the other is not. He replaces a smiling face with a scowling face. The reason for that is the fundamental difference in attitude between the two men.


B. If one is a tailor, he is serving the world by supplying its people with clothing; that is what Hashem wants. If he is a grocer or a baker, he is supplying the world with food. If he is in real estate, he is supplying people with apartments and homes. He is doing all this because Hashem commanded him to do it. So whatever he is doing for his livelihood, he should consider it a service of Hashem and not because he relies on his work to support him or help him. Hashem is the One who gives him all of the help that he needs, but he is doing things out of service to Hashem.




Special Note One: Today, 29 Adar, is the 29th Yahrzeit of HaRav Yaakov (B’ R’Binyomin) Kamenetsky, Z’tl. The following is paraphrased in Praying with Fire, by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita, from Reb Yaakov, The Life and Times of HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, by Yonoson Rosenblum (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publ.), pp. 108-110:


“In the 1930’s, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky was Rav of a small, sixty-family community in a town called Tzitevien. His family lived in dire poverty and he could not even afford to buy a suit for his son Binyamin for his bar mitzvah. Unable to subsist on the income he earned, Rav Yaakov applied over the course of several years for rabbinical positions in larger towns. The last one for which he applied was in Vilkomir, the third largest Jewish community in Lithuania . After several interviews, Rav Yaakov was offered the position. He returned home to tell his wife the great news, and the household erupted in jubilation; finally their crushing poverty would be alleviated. Three weeks later, the jubilation turned to grief when Rav Yaakov received news that the position had gone to someone else. The Rebbetzin cried bitter tears over the loss of the rabbanus in Vilkomir, recognizing that it virtually ensured that Rav Yaakov would have to seek some means of support abroad. The failure to win that position, as well as the others, profoundly affected Rav Yaakov’s own strong sense of Divine Providence . The successful candidates and their families eventually fell into the hands of the Nazis.  In counseling people undergoing difficult tests, Rav Yaakov would often point to his own experience as an example of how that which is perceived at the moment as the greatest tragedy may, with the passage of time, be revealed to be the greatest salvation.”



Special Note Two: Tomorrow is one of the most renowned days in the Torah, as we will lein tomorrow, in Parashas HaChodesh (see Special Note Four below), Hashem taught Moshe Rabbeinu on this day-- “HaChodesh HaZeh Lochem Rosh Chadoshim--this month is the first month to you of the year…” (Shemos 12:2).


The Gemara (Shabbos 87B) teaches that Rosh Chodesh Nissan took “Eser Ataros”--ten separate and distinct crowns--for ten unique events that happened on this day, which include the first day of the Avodah--the complete service in the Mishkan, with Aharon and his descendents to serve everlastingly as Kohanim Gedolim and Kohanim.  It was also the first day ever of the Shechina descending into the Mishkan, and of fire coming from Heaven to consume the Karbanos.


Additionally, not one or two, but eight different Parashios of the Torah were taught to K’lal Yisrael on this specific day (See Gittin 60A).


The Navi in Yechezkel (45:18) teaches that on ROSH CHODESH NISSAN the “Miluim”--the consecration of the THIRD BAIS HAMIKDASH will commence.  Accordingly, the Siddur Bais Yaakov writes that all who are “Mitzapim L’Yeshua”--await the Redemption--should recite the Pesukim related to the dedication of the Third Beis HaMikdash in Yechezkel, 43:18-27 and 45:18-20.


Indeed, the first 12 days of Nissan, the days of the dedication offerings of the Nesi’im in the Mishkan, are so powerful that Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov taught that in each of these days are inherent an entire month of the year.  With true clarity of vision, on each of these 12 days, one can understand what the entire corresponding month will be like.  The first day of Nissan provides the clarity for the entire month of Nissan, the time of redemption.


Tomorrow’s Nasi, i.e., the first one to bring Karbonos in the Mishkan, was Nachshon ben Aminadov, who was the same Nasi who jumped into the stormy sea for Geulah.  Perhaps the lesson is not to be ashamed or hesitant--but to jump in--to give it all that we have, to prepare for--and to bring--the Geulah!


Finally, Rosh Chodesh Nissan is the Rosh Hashana for Shekalim (Rosh Hashana 7A)--the day new contributions were required to be used to purchase the daily sacrifices for the Bais Hamikdash (no matter how full the Temple treasury already was).  This teaches us that Rosh Chodesh is the day to start again, with a fresh and new commitment, to utilize the coming days to personally spring and blossom.  Let us feel the Special Time in the air--and improve and elevate our actions accordingly.  The opportunity is oh so blatant--grab on and enjoy!



Special Note Three:  Women should especially prepare for Rosh Chodesh Nissan!   The Daas Zekainim MiBaalei Tosofos (Shemos 35:24) writes that the reason women were given Rosh Chodesh as a special day for them (to treat it as a Yom Tov--not to do certain work—see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 417) is because they were ‘semaichos u’zeheeros’—happy and careful –to donate their jewelry to the Mishkan, whereas their jewelry had to be taken from them against their will for the Eigel HaZahav.  Tosofos notes that the effect of their donations was noticed on this Rosh Chodesh--Rosh Chodesh Nissan—when the Mishkan was established, and that all of the other Rosh Chodoshim of the year are given to women as a Yom Tov because of Rosh Chodesh Nissan. So, especially this coming Rosh Chodesh—plan on making it a special day!



Special Note Four: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:


A. Once on Rosh Chodesh that fell out on Shabbos (as tomorrow), HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman, Shlita, went to see his father in-law, HaRav Schach, Z’tl. HaRav Schach, who was deeply engrossed in thought, motioned to Rav Bergman and said: “Not now--today is Rosh Chodesh and one should perform a Cheshbon Hanefesh. As we say in Mussaf--it is a Zeman Kaparah Lechol Toldosom.” HaRav Schach’s grandson who was present asked HaRav Schach: “Does one conduct himself in this way even when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos?” HaRav Schach responded--”Yes, even on  Shabbos!” (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 288, Taz seif katan 2) [From Sefer Tefillas Yom Kippur Koton, with b’urim of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, compiled by Rav Tzvi Yabrov, Shlita]


B. As this Shabbos we will lein Parashas HaChodesh, we were alerted to Chazal (Shabbos 147B) who teach that because he spent some time away from his regular Torah studies, Rebbi Elazar Ben Arach, the great student of Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai, was unable to read “HaChodesh Hazeh Lachem” (the beginning of Parashas HaChodesh) properly--and instead read it as “Hachreish Hayah Libam” (their heart was deafened). The lesson to us is clear: For the next two weeks, our Torah study will be placed at a great test--we will be tempted on many occasions to forgo or curtail our regular Keviyus Ittim LaTorah, our regular Torah accomplishments, our regular chavrusos. Chazal are teaching us that we must remember that it is HaChodesh Hazeh Lachem--a very special month coming up--but marked by a dedicated commitment and resilience to Torah study in the face of difficulties and challenges. We have to prove that for us--we want to make it HaChodesh Hazeh Lachem! If one needs guidance, he should speak to his Rav or Posek!


C. The following is excerpted from Zemiros Shabbos, by HaRav Tzvi Yavrov, Shlita, which provides insights of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, into various aspects of Shabbos:


1. L’Halacha, one may recite Hashem’s name when singing Zemiros on Shabbos, as when one thanks Hashem it is not considered to be using Hashem’s name in vain (see Sefer Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 137:5 d’h kasav). The Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl, however, did not do so.


2. The reason that the songs we sing on Shabbos are not called Shiros or Sishbachos, but Zemiros is because Dovid HaMelech (actually, originally, Adam HaRishon) exclaimed: “Mizmor Shir LeYom HaShabbos”!


3. Hashem completed the world on Shabbos and thus ruled over it. It is for this reason that the Zohar refers to Seudas Shabbos as Seudasah D’Malka (Zohar, Bamidbar 179). Accordingly, we find the concept of Malchiyos in our Shabbos Tefillos--the many references to Malchus in Kabbalas Shabbos, Yismechu V’Malchusecha, Vesimloch Aleinu (in Kedusha), and the Pesukim of Malchiyos recited before taking out the Torah. Hakhel Note: Additionally, the Mishna Berurah writes that one should stand in Pesukei D’Zimra when reciting “Hashem Melech, Hashem Malacha, Hashem Yimloch L’Olam Va’ed!”


4. The basis for the custom of parents blessing their children on Shabbos is that Shabbos itself is a Siman Bracha (see S’T Chasam Sofer Orach Chaim 23 and Siddur Ya’avetz).


5. Shabbos is referred to as a chok (‘Sham Sam Lo Chok U’Mishpat) even though the Torah explains the reason for its observance--Hashem’s completion of the world. Nevertheless, it is a chok because it is so chamur, that its violation is compared to worshipping idols. Moreover, we must be careful of any thoughts which could dampen the Shabbos spirit.


6. The bracha of Kiddush is not a Birchas HaMitzvah, but is a Bracha of Shevach. It is for this reason that we do not say B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu, but B’Mitzvosav V’Ratzah Vanu.


7. On Shabbos, many recite Tehillim 23--Mizmor L’Dovid Hashem Ro’ee Lo Echsar. The reason that this is a custom is because although akum lack the ‘taste’ of Shabbos and its foods--as is evidenced by the ma’aseh with Rebbi Yehudah HaNassi and Antoninus--we lack nothing!


8. In bentsching we recite Retzei V’Hachalitzeinu. HaRav Kanievsky explains that the simple meaning of V’Hachalitzeinu is strengthen us--we ask Hashem to give us the ability to properly observe and perform all of the Mitzvos of Shabbos.


9. Also in Retzei, we ask Hashem to show us Nechemas Tzion Irecha. The Sefer Avudraham writes that Nechemas Tzion will occur on Shabbos. HaRav Kanievsky, Shlita, adds that according to the Yerushalmi if K’lal Yisrael observed only one Shabbos we would be immediately redeemed--and this really means immediately--on Motza’ei Shabbos!


10. HaRav Kanievsky, Shlita, also teaches that we conclude Retzei with a Tefillah for Geulah and the acknowledgement that Hashem can remove all of our anguish and bring us Yeshuos--for Hashem’s powers extend beyond the Shabbos and into the coming week--and the entire future ahead!



Special Note Five: The Parasha begins (Vayikra 1:2) with the words “Adam Ki Yakriv Mikem Korban Lashem…Takrivu Es Korbanchem”. HaRav Meir Schuck, Z’tl, notes that the Pasuk starts in the singular (Adam) and ends in the plural (Takrivu), and explains that this comes to teach us that when one wants to get closer to Hashem, he should include the rest of K’lal Yisrael in his avodah. One’s goal should be to have everyone join together in Avodas Hashem--not to stand apart, but to be part of a united community--all serving the Ribono Shel Olam.


This lesson is especially true, HaRav Schuck continues, with respect to Tefilah. Our daily Tefilos are said in the plural. Our personal requests for health, wealth, and forgiveness include everyone in the Tefilah. When we daven for our elevation and growth in Avodas Hashem we also ask for our united growth. May we all see the return of the Avodah in the Beis HaMikdash--not just me, but everyone. We daven that we should all have the good in life.


HaRav Schuck uses this fundamental idea in analyzing the difference between Kayin’s Karbon and Hevel’s Karbon. Hashem accepted Hevel’s Karbon and He did not accept Kayin’s Karbon. Many Meforshim have asked why, and various answers are given. HaRav Schuck provides a beautiful p’shat. With regard to Hevel, the Pasuk says “V’Hevel Hevei Gam Hu”. The word Gam indicates that when Hevel brought the Korban his intent was “Gam Hu”--that he is bringing the Korban not only for himself, but with others in mind as well. He wanted to thank Hashem together with everyone--and it was with this intention that Hashem found his Korban to be pristine!

Special Note Six: We provide points and pointers on this week’s Parasha:


A. The Shulchan Aruch itself (Orach Chayim 98:4) lists the ways in which our daily Tefilah is compared to bringing Karbanos in the Beis HaMikdash. As the Shulchan Aruch rules, “Tefilah is in place of a Korbon and therefore one must be careful that it is like a Korbon:


·        In Kavannah, because improper thought invalidates a Korbon;

·        By standing when it is recited, as the Avodah was done standing;

·        In a certain place, as each Korbon had a specific place for shechita and Matan Dam;

·        With nothing interrupting between him and the wall, as with a Korbon where a Chatzizah could be Posul [Hakhel Note:  one may speak to his Rav regarding this point, if his seat in Shul is not near the wall]; and

·        It is befitting that a person has nice, special clothes, just as there were special Bigdei Kehunah for the Avodah.”   Note : At the very least, one should not enter to daven in the same attire as if he were about to repair something around the house!


Hakhel Note:  As we have noted in the past, it is well known that deep knee bends are a recommended method to improve one’s physical flexibility.  Chazal, however, never prescribed this exercise, especially during davening.  When we bend our knees and bow our heads in Shemone Esrei, it is not intended as a physical exercise, but as a mental exercise.  As we bow, the sefer Shaarei Orah (p. 39) writes, we should feel a pure and complete submission or servitude to HaKodosh Boruch Hu.  This feeling of submission can be assisted by thinking about a specific benefit which HaKodosh Boruch Hu has bestowed upon you, which no one else can provide.



Special Note Seven:  The following exceptional excerpt from Love Your Neighbor (by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita), is based upon tomorrow’s Parasha, and is absolutely imperative in our everyday life:


“The Parasha actually begins “VaYikra El Moshe…”--and He [Hashem] called to Moshe, and [Hashem] spoke to him from the Ohel Moed saying (Vayikra 1:1). The Gemara (Yoma 4B) states from the last word “saying” which denotes “say to others”, we learn that a person has no right to repeat what someone tells him, unless given explicit permission to do so.  Following are basic laws pertaining to secrets:


 1.      If someone tells you private information about his business or any personal matter, you are forbidden to disclose it to others.  Your doing so could cause the person who confided in you financial loss, embarrassment, or other damage.  Even if the speaker did not request that the matter remain secret, you are not allowed to repeat it.  It is self-evident that the speaker does not want such information to be divulged.  However, if the person related information concerning himself in the presence of three or more people and did not request secrecy, you are permitted to relate it to others.  Since the speaker related it to a group of three or more people, we can assume that he does not mind if the information will be known.  If, however, someone tells you about his wrongdoings, you are forbidden to spread that information to belittle him, even if he related it in the presence of three.  Although the speaker has shown that he does not mind if others know about his misbehavior, it is nonetheless forbidden for anyone to deliberately publicize someone else’s actions to harm or embarrass him (Chofetz Chaim, Chapter 2).


2.      When someone reveals to you seemingly harmless information in a manner which shows that he would like it to be kept secret, you are forbidden to repeat it to others even if he did not explicitly tell you to keep it secret.  In the Pasuk quoted above, Hashem related information to Moshe in the Ohel Moed, and the Torah teaches that it was permissible for Moshe to repeat the information only because of ‘Laymor’--Saying--i.e., because Hashem gave him explicit permission to relate it to others (Be’er Mayim Chaim 2:27).


3.      The Chofetz Chaim writes that it is a good habit never to repeat what people tell you unless they give you permission to do so.  In this way you will never relate information that might cause harm (ibid.).


4.      You have no right to repeat someone’s secret just because you add the phrase “Don’t repeat this to anyone else.”  The person to whom you related the secret might pass on the secret, also adding, “…and don’t repeat this to anyone else.”  In a very short time, the secret could become public knowledge and cause harm or embarrassment to the person who confided in you (Pele Yoetz, section on “Sod”).


5.      Husbands and wives have no right to tell each other secrets that someone told him or her in confidence (ibid.).


Finally, a person should be careful not to disclose his own secrets to others.  Before someone reveals a secret, he is the secret’s master.  But once someone reveals a secret, the secret is his master, for he lives in fear that it will become known to others (Menoras Hamaor 2:4).”


Let us apply the Parasha’s great teaching in our everyday lives--for everyone’s benefit!




28 Adar

TODAY--FOR ALL :  We provide a Tefillah Al HaParnassah Mimamon Kasher, which the Shelah HaKadosh writes should be recited before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Tefillah is available by clicking here.


Hakhel Note:  Especially this Yom Kippur Koton--today, which takes us from the last month of the year to the first-- Nissan--we should include a special level of Teshuva and Tefillah into our day!



GEMARACARDS.COM: A reader referred us to a fantastic opportunity--Talmudo Biyado” cards available in an accessible, compact and easy-to-use format. The cards are intended to help one comprehend, clarify and organize every Amud of the Gemara. The cards also enable a quick review in an easy fashion of every Amud. The stated goal of the cards is to be able to review the fundamentals of an entire Mesechta, or any part of it, at a very quick pace. “Talmudo Biyado” cards can also be used before learning as an introduction and preview of the Daf. The versatile cards are also especially helpful in taking advantage of times during the day that learning from inside of a Gemara would not be possible, such as Simchas, travelling or waiting in line at the bank. We refer you to gemaracards.com for more information.



QUESTION OF THE DAY : Which Mishna in Mesechta Pesachim deals with the very issue which we have this year--the Leil HaSeder falling out on Leil Shabbos? Hint: Let us hope that we will witness its implementation for this Pesach!



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. Although one should not interrupt the bedika, if one needs to take care of his bodily functions during Bedikas Chometz, HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, rules that he recites an Asher Yatzar. HaRav Wosner, y’blcht, adds that one can even answer Amen and Baruch Hu U’Varuch Shemo to the brachos of others, and make brachos over thunder and lightning as well. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 443, Dirshu Note 8)


B.  In the Nusach of Bitul Chometz, we recite the words “Debiyartei U’delah Biyartei--which I have burned/destroyed and which I have not burned/destroyed.”  If it has been destroyed--why does one need to nullify it?  There are many reasons:  (i) perhaps the subject Chometz has not been completely burned or destroyed; (ii) one intends with these words to include Chometz upon which something has fallen and which one does not intend to uncover, but still requires bitul; and (iii) the words also cover Chometz which has been removed by being sold to a non-Jew, and the possibility exists that the sale did not properly take place.


C.  The following is from the Sefer Otzros HaTorah on the Haggadah Shel Pesach:  All of the chumros and dikdukim that we undertake in cleaning our homes and utensils for Pesach are certainly me’orer great zechuyos for K’lal Yisrael, and are mevatel [as in bitul Chometz!] the machshavos ra’os of our enemies against us.  It is said that when HaRav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov would see women cleaning and preparing their homes, rinsing, washing, scrubbing and the like before Pesach, he recited the following: “Yehi Ratzon She’eilu HaMalochim HaYotzim Meima’asei Yedeihen Ya’alu Lifnei Kisei Kevodecha VeYamlitzu Tov Ba’adeinu--may this be an Eis Ratzon before You, Hashem, and may the Malochim that are created by their holy activities come before Your Holy Throne and serve as melitzei tov for all of K’lal Yisrael.”  Let us not lose sight of, and remember, that all of our holy activities in these days are creating Malochim Kedoshim!  Rebbi Levi Yitzchak recited a Yehi Ratzon--so can we! 


D. On Erev Pesach, the Chasam Sofer, Z’tl, would himself prepare the Seder table with a zriyzus nifla’ah and simcha atzumah.  The Michtav Sofer, based upon this, writes that every Yirei Shomayim should begin to set the Seder table after Chatzos on Erev Pesach, and make sure that everyone’s kos has a proper shiur and is fit for use (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 431, et al.).




Special Note One: Important Reminder! What more is a Bais Midrash to be used for other than Torah study?  The Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 155:1) and Mishna Berurah (ibid.) write that while sitting in this Makom Kadosh one should look into his deeds, thinking about whether any of his business matters require fixing, and ridding himself of any aveiros such as gezel and the like.  The Rema adds that one should also try to bring Yiras Shomayim into his heart--especially before leaving the Bais Midrash in the morning and starting his day in the outside world!



Special Note Two:  We present the following synopsis of a Shiur given by HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita (R’ Mattisyahu Chaim Ben Ettel) as a specific zechus for his Refuah Shleimah:


We are living in a tumultuous, confused world.  The world order is in upheaval.  Iran, as Haman,  is threatening c'v Lehashmid Laharog....  One talks about Moshiach when times are dangerous--and it is not empty talk.  Ikvasa D'Mashicha means the footsteps of Moshiach.  As a person walks closer to you his footsteps become more audible.  The footsteps are definitely louder now than they were before; the world's economy is asunder, people's feeling of security is extremely low, governments are weak, and K'lal Yisrael is attacked physically and verbally by our enemies.  In a letter from HaRav Elchonon Wasserman, Z'tl, to HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z'tl, Rav Elchonon cautions that although the footsteps may be heard louder and louder, we will not know when the Moshiach arrives until he actually does so.  What we can do is to be Mechake Lo--not only believe that he will come--but also await him.  The Ba'alei Mussar explain it with the following test:  If our Emunah is strong, we should view the Moshiach's coming as a situation similar to a person who loses a check for $1,000,000 in a room filled with cancelled checks.  If one is 100% certain that the check is there, he will not give up looking, for he knows that all of his searching will bring him closer to his desired goal.  So too, with Moshiach--if we are certain of his coming, then we know that time only brings us closer!  Because doing Teshuva after Moshiach comes will not be as effective, the time to do Teshuva, as part of our anticipation is now.  The day could be any day--so one must do what he has to today.  Rather than be nervous, upset and depressed--with the more fear that one may have should come the realization that the way out is Moshiach--and the more we prepare, the more we will benefit!




27 Adar

REALITY CHECK: HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, Z’tl, (Lev Eliyahu II: p.25) brings Chazal who teach that a tell-tale sign of the coming of Moshiach is ‘V’Hamalchus Teihafeich L’Minus--the kingdom turns to heresy”. One would think, continues HaRav Lopian, Z’tl, that this refers to the Russians, the Greeks or some other nation. However, HaRav Lopian relates (from HaRav Yaakov Emden, Z’tl, in his commentary to Bava Metziah) that it also refers to the Malchus Yisrael that will exist B’Ikvasa D’Meshicha as well. Hakhel Note: Based upon the teaching of HaRav Lopian, with the elections in Israel over for now (B’EH, with the results to be far from the heresy that some political parties in Artzeinu HaKedosha r’l aver to--may we be ‘yotzei’ the heresy with their failure), we live in a time that is concomitantly extremely frightening and very much filled with the great hope that thousands of years of yearning will come to fruition in our times. One may think it strange that an event as great as the Geulah Sheleimah could happen in a generation under the intense influence of new and often-enough misguided technology and burdened by the all-too-pervasive influence of the outside world. Yet, we have to face the reality--this very well may be it. It is not far-fetched to think that the Geulah that Purim this year is to be juxtaposed with is not the Geulah of Pesach--but with the Geulah Sheleimah before Pesach! We have to daven hard and daven well that the Geulah come speedily, and that it come B’Rachamim--with Hashem’s Mercy as the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah wrote with Ruach HaKodesh: V’Sechezenah Eineinu B’Shuvecha L’Tzion B’Rachamim--may our eyes see Your return to the Beis Hamikdash--with mercy! Let us daven for this with all of our hearts.



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


A. The Mishna Berurah (Orach Chayim 436, seif katan 32) provides the following ruling to us for these days before Pesach:  “Kol Shloshim Yom Tzorich LeAyein Bechol Davar She’oseh She’lo Yishar Bo Chometz Be’ofen She’lo Yuchal Lehasiro BeKal--during the thirty days before Pesach one must be sure in everything that he does not to leave Chometz over in a way which in which it will be difficult to remove or dispose of”--the Housewife’s Vigilance is rooted deeply and firmly in the words of the Mishna Berurah!


B. What is gebrukt--L’Halacha? The following is culled from the excellent and need-to-have Sefer Halachos of Pesach (Feldheim), by Rabbi Shimon D. Eider, Z’tl:


1. Where matzah in any form (e.g. matzah meal, cake meal) came in contact with water [or other liquids], some communities have a minhag not to eat it on the first seven days of Pesach. Yet, we know that once matzah was baked, it cannot become chometz again. What then is the reason for this minhag? The Knesses HaGedolah explains that it was made as a gezeirah, that one should not, in error, come to use flour instead of matzah meal during Pesach. Another reason mentioned is that there is a possibility that some of the matzah flour was not kneaded well and when it will get wet it will become Chometz. Since the last day of Pesach is MiD’Rabanan, many of those who accepted this minhag did not accept it for the last day of Pesach because of Simchas Yom Tov.


2. Can one change his minhag? Since gebrukt is not considered in halacha as chometz and this minhag was not accepted by most communities, there are Poskim who hold that in case of necessity one may change his minhag. However, a Rav should be consulted as to whether Hataras Nedarim is required. A woman, upon marriage, assumes the minhag of her husband (see Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim I: 158 and III :64).


C. Annual Essential Hakhel Alert: As the saying goes, a fool learns from his own mistakes--a wise person learns from the mistakes of others! When one notices two or three Hashgachos on a product--one should look to make sure that the Hashgacha that he is relying upon is actually certifying it for Pesach near its insignia.  Unless the ‘Kosher L’Pesach’ insignia is next to the Hashgacha’s name--it does not mean that the Hashgacha is certifying the product as Kosher L’Pesach. An extra moment of purchasing caution--can save hours of kashering issues  (or at least moments of consternation or concern) later!  Chazal teach Aizehu Chacham HaRo’eh Es HaNolad--the wise person looks into his actions and understands their ramifications.  We will be reading about the Chacham on the Leil HaSeder--let’s start practicing now!



ON THE THIRD YAHRZEIT OF HARAV SCHEINBERG, Z’tl: The magnitude of HaRav Scheinberg Z’tl’s gadlus is hard for us to comprehend.  His Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas HaTorah and Ahavas Yisrael were nothing short of awe-inspiring.  His being, his essence, was Ahava.  Who can forget how he answered shailos to those lined up waiting to see him as if each sho’el was his son or grandson?  And how he especially urged his students to ‘give Tzedaka!’ in order to achieve Kapara for chait!  We recall how he would urge people to learn just a little more every day...for time was one’s most valuable possession and must accordingly be used most wisely. Rav Scheinberg was once asked if he could provide “hadracha”, or guidance, in how one could better study Torah.  He provided a two-word response: “Learn more.” Rav Scheinberg once told a parent who had requested that he give his son a bracha that he become a Talmid Chacham--that he would give him the bracha, provided that the son committed to learn an additional five minutes per day!




Special Note:  We provide the following excerpts from the The Torah Home, by Rabbi Shlomo Furst, Shlita, based on the Shiurim of Rav Scheinberg, Z’tl. To obtain the full, original English version and the Hebrew translation--and other books in Rabbi Furst’s Torah Way of Life series containing Rav Scheinberg’s teachings, please call: 972-2-500-4682:


A. Sechel.


Our lives are precious. Therefore, people who are concerned train themselves to follow their sechel. We cannot ignore our emotions--but we can direct them. The emotions can become submissive to the sechel. Then they will be manageable, instead of assertive. Individuals who are successful with their sechel will not become angry or infuriated. They are settled and calm. Tranquility is the prevailing characteristic of their personalities.


There is something more. We have essential and undeniable physical needs. Life would be impossible without them. We must eat, drink and sleep. People must populate the world. These things are all true and appropriate. Nevertheless, thought, control and moderation must govern every physical act we do. The influence of Torah elevates us beyond the need for pleasure. Indulgence, the thoughtless pursuit of every whim, will not bring satisfaction. When our sense of priorities is wrong, an inner conflict will rage between an unquenchable need for physical gratification and the unfulfilled aspirations of the neshama.


Most of us want to be good. Nevertheless, the best of us can fall prey to daily stresses, fatigue and frustration. The sechel is certainly influenced by the body and its physical needs. Nevertheless, the more we fortify our sechel with Torah, the less vulnerable we will be to the influence of our emotions. Counterproductive emotions, especially anger, flourish best under stressful conditions.


The best response to a situation where anger has gained control is to remain silent. Try not to react. Instead, maintain your own composure. Be tolerant, for most good-natured people, although temporarily enraged, will surely come to their senses and snap out of it. We must realize and value the importance of sechel. We must behave like mature people and control the urge to vent our anger.


Self-control is vital for creating and maintaining a healthy marriage and relationships. If our sechel is so undeveloped and therefore weak, and we cannot resist a momentary upset, we will make many mistakes. We will have many regrets.


Under the influence of anger or frustration, spouses may make many hurtful statements. It is difficult to retract such harmful words. We have to be sensible enough to evaluate our loss against what we gain. Thoughtless outbursts of anger are destructive. Under all circumstances, whether we are provoked from within or from without, we must remain silent. To remain silent is very difficult, but the reward for holding back angry words of retort and revenge is very great. If we exercise control over ourselves, we will feel wonderful over our success and our marriage and relationships will flourish.


B. Menuchas HaNefesh.


Guided by sechel--clear and balanced thinking--we will fulfill the purpose of our lives. We will achieve ‘ashrecha v’tov lach’ (Tehillim 128:2). We will have menuchas hanefesh. We all desire and value shalom. Nevertheless, shalom is an elusive reality. We generally think of peace as being the lack of conflict among people. This definition, however, does not indicate the need for menuchas hanefesh.


Shalom is truly the result of personal, inner peace. We must achieve peace between our inner drives and motivations before shalom can be expected to flourish among people. We must be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with others. Shalom begins with us. The more menuchas hanefesh we have, the more we will be able to be calm in our homes and supportive to our families. If we have menuchas hanefesh, then even in the fact of daily challenges and ordeals, the quality of our home lives will be peaceful. Bickering is an outward expression of the lack of personal shleimus. It is a lack of menuchas hanefesh that leads to discord within the home. Our inner, spiritual life affects our behavior. The home is a place where we think we can be ‘ourselves’. Nothing can be further from the truth. At home, we have to be better than ourselves. We may be angered much more easily and lose our control at home. If we lack education and training about how to manage our emotions, wherever we may be--including the home, then this battle ranges throughout life. If we are at peace with ourselves--at all times--we can help bring peace to our families, our friends--and the world!




26 Adar

YOUR TEFILLAH IS NOT TOO SMALL! The Mesilas Yeshorim (end of Chapter 19) writes that one should never say about himself “Who am I that my Tefillos should be answered to bring an end to this Galus?” Instead, one should daven for the Geulah with Kavannah, for it may be your very Tefillah that brings the Geulah! Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, Z’tl, in Shearim B’Tefilah (p. 94) in fact writes that Tefillah does not change nature or create miracles. Tefillah is simply the natural manner of modifying nature, built into creation in the same manner as grass, trees, fish and animals. Hakhel Note: This is already the time of Geulah--let’s try to daven to our utmost to make it happen--now!



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:


Almost everyone purchases some kind of new utensil before Pesach. Accordingly, in order to give you plenty of time, we once again provide the Hakhel Tevilas Keilim Guidelines (reviewed By HaRav Yisroel Belsky Shlita).   Please note that Tevilas Keilim is an obligation (chiyuv), and if not done properly, a k’li may not be used until toveled correctly.


General Tevila Reminders:


A. All chatzitzos (i.e., dirt, glue and stickers or other items or markings not part of the k’li which neither the owner nor most people would use with this item on the k’li) must be removed prior to submersion.


B. The entire k’li (even if oversized) must be fully submerged all at once (not one-half first, then the other half immediately thereafter).


C. Do not hold the k’li tightly, so that the mikva water can reach everywhere. You can tovel the k’li by moving your hand to another part of the k’li while holding it below the water level; or you can dip your hand in the mikva first, and then take hold of the k’li and submerge it in the mikva.


D. All keilim should be submerged right side up or on a slant, but not upside down, so that no air is trapped in the utensil.


E. Submersion must be supervised only by an individual over bar/bas mitzvah. A child may be tovel keilim if an adult sees him do it.


F. Using baskets:


1. Items should be placed in the basket side by side and not on top of each other.


2. The basket may be submerged in water, and then you may drop utensils into the basket, so that each utensil is surrounded by water as it falls in.


G. The Bracha:


1. Brachos are made for metal and glass utensils only.


2. “Al Tevilas Keli” for one item, “Al Tevilas Keilim” for more than one item.


3. Hold the k’li in your hand (or basket) and be ready to tovel immediately after making the bracha.


4. When toveling storage utensils or utensils which come into contact with the food while it is not yet edible, no bracha is made.


Hakhel Note: Tevilas Keilim is such a basic, beautiful and simple Mitzvah to perform--let us take a moment out to make sure that we, and those around us, are performing it properly!  Please distribute further--and if you can, post these guidelines near your Keilim Mikveh!




Special Note One:  We have received correspondence from readers expressing the need for greater sensitivity to the feelings of others in difficult situations.  For instance, rather than pretending as if nothing has happened, an expression of empathy or feeling, of ‘imo anochi betzara’ might me much more appreciated than small talk, banter or a joke.  Similarly, one must be sensitive to what makes a person happy and what gives him nachas.  A statement to a Talmid Chochom that his son would make a great ball player might be accurate and realistic, but may also turn a spiritual knife in his heart.  In general, relating something to someone that you know they really won’t appreciate --may be interesting or expressive for you--but may range between ona’as devorim and torture for them.  At the end of last week’s Parasha, as we conclude Sefer Shemos, we are reminded “Chazak, Chazak VeNischazek”--we are here to be strong and be strengthened.  When we help others to that goal---is when we have accomplished this concluding message of a complete Sefer of the Torah--allowing us to begin the next!



Special Note Two: The following thoughts of HaRav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, Z’tl, are presented in the Sefer Leket Reshimos, and provide timely lessons for us in this last week of Adar:



A. HaRav Wachtfogel brings Chazal (Ta’anis 20A) who teach that Nakdimon Ben Gurion asked Hashem “Hodah Sheyeish Lecha Ahuvim BeOlamecha—Hashem, show that You have beloved ones below and please do not allow daytime to turn into night--so that I can pay back the debt of water that I owe to the Roman.”  Hashem listened to his Tefillah--and the sun remained standing. Nakdimon was not Moshe Rabbeinu, nor was he Yehoshua Bin Nun. We do not even find that he was among the Gedolei HaDor. Rather, he came to Hashem with Emunah Peshutah and poured out his heart before Him. We may sometimes wonder--in comparison to previous generations, how will we merit the Moshiach? The explanation is--when we realize that our relationship is only with Him, and that no one else can help, we too will cry out: “Hodah Sheyeish Lecha Ahuvim BeOlamecha--Hashem show that You have beloved ones below!Hakhel Note: HaRav Wachtfogel would speak often of the Moshiach, and urged his students to speak about the Moshiach coming to others, and to be misbonein in it.


B. On one of his visits to the Chofetz Chaim, HaRav Wachtfogel heard a Yesod Gadol: “One has to work and toil on his own--and that is what will help him in life.” HaRav Wachtfogel once instructed a student to go to sleep reflecting on the Pasuk (Yeshaya 11:2): “VeNacha Alav Ruach Hashem, Ruach Chochma U’Vina, Ruach Eitzah U’Gevurah, Ruach Da’as V’Yiras Hashem.” HaRav Wachtfogel would do so himself and relates that the next morning upon awakening there were times that he would find himself reciting the Pasuk.


C. According to Hashem’s laws of nature, only thorns and thistles and the like grow by themselves with no nurture and care. Likewise, no act of Torah Lishma or Mitzvah Lishma comes by itself, without toil and effort. No person becomes a Tzaddik without recognizing that he has a shelichus in life--personal directions and goals, which he must work on to achieve. One can get distracted by the many needs and events of life and constantly mix-up the ikar and the tafel. One must stay focused--his purpose in life is the ikar, and everything else is tafel. Accordingly, one must be clear as to what his purpose in life truly is.


D. If a person does not seek out the Hashgacha Pratis in his life--he will not find it, but if he does seek it--he will see it quickly, and continuously.


E. Chazal (Shabbos 31A) teach that the first question that a person is asked after 120 years is if he set aside set times for Torah study. HaRav Wachtfogel points out that a person is not asked--Did you become a lamdan? Did you become great...? He is asked whether he recognized the importance of Torah--by acknowledging that he dedicatedly kept designated times for its study. This is the key--to hold high the honor of the Torah and the honor of Who gave it to us.


F. As we continue through the period of Simcha in Adar, we must realize that the Kavannah of Simchas Adar is not to drink a ‘Lechaim’ every day--but to increase our Simcha in our learning and in our davening--even in the reciting of our Tehillim. HaRav Wachtfogel would say: “BeTefillah Mitoch Simcha Efshar Lishbor Es Kol HaGezeiros--with joyful Tefillah one can break all the decrees!”


G. The great lesson we are to bring with us from Purim through the rest of the year is our unity with the rest of K’lal Yisrael--as is evidenced by the Mitzvos of Purim day. Purim teaches us that when we give to a brother it is not just ‘Tzedakah’, but is Matanos L’evyonim--gifts to our brothers. We may think of the Mashal of a king with two sons--one who becomes the king in a neighboring country--and the other who becomes a working man. When the king makes a Simcha--they both come back, and both sit at the king’s table--for after all, they are brothers! Hakhel Note: Likewise, the monies that we give before Pesach are not called Tzedakah--but Ma’os Chitim--money for wheat--this time not even gifts to our brother--but simply handing over money (from our Father) to him!




25 Adar

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FOREVER!  The following extremely meaningful quote is excerpted from Questions You Thought We Were Afraid You’d Ask, by R’ Moshe Speiser (Targum Press): “The concept of forever is amazing, if one thinks about it.  If one would receive a penny a day, forever, there would not be enough money in the world to cover it. If every win and loss [against the Yetzer] affects us for eternity, it sounds like there is an awful lot at stake here!”



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


A. The Mishna Berurah writes that it is a good practice to burn one’s Chometz together with the Hoshanos from Sukkos--since one Mitzvah was done with it, a second Mitzvah of Tashbisu should be performed with it as well. The Rema brings a different Minhag--to bake Matzos with the Hoshanos (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 445, Mishna Berurah seif katan 7, Dirshu Note 10).


B. Can one take any leftover Chometz that he has and throw it into his trash can on the side of his house? HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:57) rules that even though one would not violate Ba’al Yeira’eh with Chometz disposed of in a trash can, nevertheless, one should destroy any Chometz by the time the z’man of biur arrives. Many Poskim, including the Minchas Yitzchak and Shevet HaLevi agree. The Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl, held that one should sell the Chometz in his trash cans, and reports that it was the Minhag of the Chazon Ish to burn the Chometz that was found in trash cans, and to wash the cans out with water. The Steipeler himself would pour kerosene into the cans in order to ensure that there was no leftover edible Chometz within them. HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, on the other hand, rules that when one throws trash into a trash can, it is no longer usable, and is the same as giving it to an akum, with no further action being required (ibid., Dirshu Note 22).


C. If c’v, one found Chometz in his home on Pesach--what should he do--after all, has he not sold it to an akum, and accordingly, it is no longer his to destroy? HaRav Tzvi Pesach Frank, Z’tl, rules that, in fact, one should not burn it, but put it away together with other Chometz that he has sold. The Shevet HaLevi, rules that lechatechila one should make a fence around it--but if one cannot do so, then he can place it in the location of items that he sold to an akum. The Shevet HaLevi adds that it may very well be that it is permissible to burn this Chometz, for the akum would understand, is mochel, and not consider this to be problematic in terms of the sale (ibid., 446, Dirshu Note 2)




Special Note One: Three years ago today, the horrific massacre in Toulouse in which Rabbi Sandler and two sons were murdered (a young girl, Miriam Monsonego was also murdered).  The pain of galus moves on and on--time passes, but the searing pain is remembered and we beg Hashem to avenge each and every suffering.  The Sefer Sifsei  Chachomim on Mesechta Megillah brings a comforting Pasuk (Yeshayahu 65:16): Ki Nishkechu HaTzaros Harishonos Ki Nistaru Mai’ainai--for the earlier travails will have been forgotten.... Remembrance of all of the tzaros we experienced in galus will be expunged in the bliss of the final Geulah.  With this thought in  mind, how can we not daven with special zeal every day for the Geulah Sheleima to come once and for all--today!  When it does come--and it will--perhaps your Tefillos that day will be instrumental in its coming--with all the tzaros gone, and all the joy to begin, and you as an important part in its coming!



Special Note Two:  How many times in the last week’s Parasha is the phrase “Ka’asher Tzivah Hashem Es Moshe--[and the work was performed] as Hashem had commanded Moshe” repeated--and why.  We are happy to report that a reader calculated the answer on her own--and found the confirmation and an incredible reason for this number in the Ba’al Haturim on the Parasha (Shemos 40:21)--all as brought in the wonderful newsletter by Rabbi Oizer Alport, Shlita--”Parsha Potpourri.” .  As Rabbi Alport writes:  “As there are no coincidences in the Torah, the Baal HaTurim explains that this number alludes to the 18 blessings recited thrice daily in the prayers known as Shemoneh Esrei.  Rabbi Alport then shows how our “standard daily prayers” are really not so standard at all, and concludes:  “Just as Betzalel followed HaShem’s precise guidelines for the creation of the Mishkan and still found room for creative expression by doing so with his own unique intentions and insights, so too our Sages established the standard wording of the prayers with Divine Inspiration, articulating within them every feeling we may wish to express. Many times, in the midst of a difficult situation, we begin the standard prayers with a heavy heart, only to find a new interpretation of the words which we have recited thousands of times jump out at us. This newfound understanding, which has been there all along waiting for us to discover it in our time of need, is perfectly fit to the sentiments we wish to convey, if we will only open our eyes to see it and use our Sages’ foresight to express ourselves.”  To subscribe to Parsha Potpourri weekly, email oalport@optonline.net.



Special Note Three:  There is a disagreement between Rebbi Yehoshua and Rebbi Eliezer as to the date on the calendar upon which man was created.  Tosofos explains that according to Rebbi Yehoshua, who holds that man was created on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, it would mean that the first day of Ma’aseh Bereishis--the day the world began--is today, the 25th of Adar!  What a great day it is to start something new.  A new Mitzvah, a new project, a new goal, a new accomplishment.  Each and every one of us has the ability to--and should strive to do so.  In this regard, we provide the following insights--from Dovid HaMelech himself in the extremely poignant and instructive Chapter 119 of Tehillim:


A.  Dovid exclaims (Tehillim 119:164):  ’Sheva Bayom Hillalticha Ahl Mishpetei Tzidkecha...Seven Times a Day I have praised You for Your righteous ordinances’.  Rashi (ibid.) explains that these seven times are in fact the seven Brachos that we recite every day which relate directly to Kriyas Shema--three Brachos in Shacharis (two before Kriyas Shema and one after), and four Brachos in Ma’ariv (two before Kriyas Shema and two after).  What a great new goal it would be if we would especially recognize the tremendous importance and significance of these Brachos--rather than viewing them only as portals to Kriyas Shema or Shemone Esrei--and put some real Kavannah into their recitation.  Seven focused Brachos a day--revolving around our fundamental daily Kriyas Shema--truly a phenomenal accomplishment.  Dovid Hamelech expressed it clearly--Sheva BaYom Hillalticha--and this is what he meant!


B.  Dovid pleads (Tehillim 119:18)  ‘Gal Ainai Ve’Abita Niflaos MiTorasecha--unveil my eyes that I may perceive wonders from Your Torah.’  The Torah is so deep and there is so much for us to know.  One may dejectedly ask:  Is the task really possible?  This is definitely not the appropriate question--a more telling query for oneself is--what am I really doing to gain as much Divine Knowledge as I can?  Beyond my set or daily Torah study, am I steadfastly and actively seeking Hashem’s guidance--am I asking Hashem for help daily--for eye-opening understanding in what to study, how to study--and in the study itself?  When stuck or stymied on a point, when tired or unclear, when unsure how to next proceed--do I ‘turn off’--or instead do I recite this very Pasuk that Dovid Hamelech recited when he was in his own similar situation (on his level)?!  Hashem as the Source of all Torah can most certainly assist you to acquire more and more of it.  Commit the Pasuk to memory--and use it very sincerely--and very freely!


C.  Dovid teaches (Tehillim 119:129)  Pela’os Eidvosecha Al Kain Netzarasam Nafshi--Your testimonies are wonders, therefore my soul has guarded them.  Rashi (ibid.) comments that the enormity of Mitzvah accomplishment is hidden from us--as an example, he cites the Mitzvah of Shi’luach HaKan--which appears so simple, quick and costless--yet has Arichus Yomim attached to it in and of itself.  With this in mind, no Mitzvah should be downplayed, underrated, skipped, or skimped upon.  Chazal teach that HaYom La’Asosam--our Mitzvah performance is limited to our time in this world, and so no G-d given opportunity should be forsaken.  Moreover, one should actively seek to perform Mitzvos that he has not had the opportunity to perform before.  Dovid (Tehillim 119:19) actually expresses it clearly with the words:  ‘Ger Anochi Va’Aretz Al Taster Mimeni Mitzvosecha--I am a sojourner in the world, hide not Your Mitzvos from me’.  If one views each day as a fountainhead of burgeoning opportunities--if he sees the events in his life as true occasions for eternity, if one actively looks to uncover and achieve new sources for his soul’s satisfaction--then he is taking the teachings of Dovid HaMelech to heart.  The Chayei Odom devotes an entire Chapter (Chapter 68) to appreciating and accomplishing Mitzvos.  If possible, one should study it, and even review it again from time to time.   Hashem has given and continues to give us gifts of immense proportions daily--let us try hard to appreciate, to rejoice in, and make the most of these Heavenly gifts.  We can then ask for more and more--which He will be happy to give--and which will give Him nachas!  A new, devoted effort to appreciate and strive for Mitzvos daily--what opportunity!  Thank you--25 Adar!




22 Adar

GETTING READY FOR RAIN ! One of the most outstanding English Seforim published in the last few years is undoubtedly Let There Be Rain: A Lesson a Day on Making Gratitude a Part of Our Lives, by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, Shlita, and Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, Shlita. The Sefer contains 189 daily lessons--and its new cycle will begin on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. We urge you to purchase this Sefer and begin the cycle on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, as in a few short moments a day, the Sefer can make a monumental impact on the way you think and on the way that you look at other people. If you purchase it early on next week--you will avoid the rush before it is sold out! For those who have gone through the first cycle, the second cycle will certainly help imprint the lessons upon one’s heart and being.



TEFILLAH L’REFUAH FROM THE CHIDA: By clicking here, we provide an important Tefillah L’Refuah attributed to the Chida.



FROM THE MIDRASH TANCHUMA: In the introduction to his Sefer Bereisah D’Meleches HaMishkan, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, brings a powerful Midrash Tanchuma (Parashas Tzav 14): “HaKadosh Baruch Hu instructs K’lal Yisrael--learning in the Torah about the Mishkan is like building it--tell K’lal Yisrael to read in the Torah about the Tzuras HaBayis, and in reward for learning, I will consider it as if they were actually involved in the building of the Bayis itself[!]” (This week’s Divrei Siach)



V’ASAF ISH TAHOR: In the Parasha of Parah Adumah that we lein this week, the Pasuk records V’Asaf Ish Tahor Es Efer HaParah--a pure man shall gather the ash of the red heifer (Bamidbar 19:9). The Ba’al HaTurim (ibid.) writes that in our day the Tefillah of Tzaddikim can act as our own personal Assaf Ish Tahor…. We must take the lesson--and ask Tzaddikim to daven on our personal behalves!



THAT LAST WEEK OF ADAR BEGINS TOMORROW--ON SHABBOS! The following is excerpted from the always timely and relevant Sefer HaToda’ah by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Z’tl, as translated and known as The Book of Our Heritage (Feldheim Publishers--available in pocket size as well!).  “The last Seven Days of Adar, from the Twenty-Third until Rosh Chodesh Nisan, are called the Yemei HaMiluim--the ‘days of dedication.’  It was then that Moshe Rabbeinu consecrated the Mishkan after its construction.   These days of dedication of the first Mishkan are destined to be repeated when the Moshiach comes.  It is said that his coming and the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash will take place in the month of Nisan.  Thus, the days of dedication serve as a memorial to the Mishkan made by Moshe, as well as a time of prayer for the final redemption and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash in which the Shechina will dwell eternally.”  Hakhel Note:  It is no coincidence (as it never is) that we learn all about the Mishkan tomorrow. It is extremely important that we understand the timely message--that we appreciate the times--and that we utilize them to their utmost, to their fullest.  The choice is now ours as to whether we will be busy with 100 other things--or whether we will not be satisfied with the status quo, and will be proactive--yearning for the Geulah with especially dedicated Tefillos.  To personalize and apply the thought with an Olam HaZeh analogy:  It is as if the lottery is about to be drawn, and you have been awarded four out of the five numbers for good behavior an hour before the drawing--you have only to successfully choose the fifth number.  Would you bother taking the time and making the effort to select it?!  Each and every one of us must take this incredible time period as seriously and as wonderfully as it really is!  It is the time of Miluim--the time of fulfillment!



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. One fulfills the Mitzvas Asei of Tashbisu by appropriately removing Chometz from his possession. If one fulfills Tashbisu by burning his Chometz, he should burn the Chometz until it becomes thoroughly burned, like charcoal. The Rema writes that it is our Minhag to burn the Chometz, rather than dispose of it by throwing it into the water or flushing it away in the lavatory, and the Mishna Berurah explains that this is because there are some Poskim who rule in accordance with Rebbi Yehuda that the only way to dispose of Chometz is through burning (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 445:1; Mishna Berurah seif katan 1, 3 and 14).


B. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that one should not pour kerosene or a similar flammable agent on the Chometz while burning it, because while doing so he renders the Chometz inedible to a dog, in which case there is no longer an obligation of biur. Accordingly, if one did so, he would not fulfill the Mitzvas Asei of Tashbisu. If one feels that he must quicken the process of burning the Chometz, then he should leave at least a kezayis to burn without the aid of kerosene. HaRav Nissim Karelitz feels that one can be lenient in this regard because the kerosene burns before the Chometz itself, and in any event HaRav Auerbach rules that if one does so, one need not rebuke him or perhaps one can view the entire act as one act of burning (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, Dirshu Note 8).


C. If one does dispose of it by throwing it into the water or into the wind in a public place, he should crumble it into small pieces, so that anyone who finds it cannot obtain any benefit from the Chometz (ibid., Mishna Berurah seif katan 2).




Special Note One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:


A.  Chazal (Shabbos 118B) teach “If Yisrael would observe two Shabbosos according to Halacha, they would be redeemed immediately.” In fact, the Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 25:16), reduces this guarantee to the proper observance of just one Shabbos.


Perhaps we can start the process in our own small way with the following suggestion:


In this week’s Parasha (Shemos 35:3), the Torah requires “Do not kindle a fire wherever you dwell on the day of Shabbos.”  Why is fire singled out as one of the 39 forbidden activities on Shabbos?  There is a disagreement between Rebbi Nosson and Rebbi Yosi on this very point in the Gemara (Shabbos 70A).  The Sheloh HaKadosh and the Akeida write that the “fire” singled out on Shabbos also refers to the fire of anger and of raised voices in the home, of anger, disagreement and machlokes, any and all of which are the antithesis of the Shalom Bayis to be brought into the home through the Neiros Shabbos.


As in previous years, we therefore urge that THIS SHABBOS--in which the Parasha specifically instructs us not to “kindle fire in our dwelling places”--each one of us, bli neder, now accepts upon himself not to get upset and angry, not to raise his voice, and, instead, to override his sensitivity, his legitimate feelings and everything else in the way, to ensure that the Shabbos is and remains peaceful--with the only fire being relegated to the area under the blech.  To some, or perhaps many, of us, this may take a yeoman’s effort, but we will be taking an important step towards that “just one Shabbos” we so urgently and desperately require.


NOTE:  If we can achieve the seemingly impossible, and extend this “fire prohibition” to the hour before Shabbos, we will have additionally accomplished a level of “Tosefes Shabbos”--adding on to the Shabbos--perhaps never before imaginable.


ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Perhaps we can take our Shabbos success with us, and work on the Middah of ‘not kindling a fire’ through the coming week!


B. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, in the Sefer Ta’amah Dikrah brings the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni 408) at the outset of this week’s Parasha, which teaches that on Shabbos we should gather together the multitudes and teach them the Halachos of Shabbos. Why is it, HaRav Chaim asks, that this is particularly true of Hilchos Shabbos? HaRav Chaim answers that one who is c’v mechalel Shabbos in public is treated l’halacha like an akum--and it is as if he publicly proclaims c’v that Hashem did not create the world. Conversely, then, when we gather together as a tzibbur to study the Halachos of Shabbos--we are publicly proclaiming that Hashem created the world! Hakhel Note One: Learning Hilchos Shabbos, then…is Zecher Lema’aseh Bereishis! Hakhel Note Two: A Mechaneich asked HaRav Kanievsky what he should learn on Shabbos if he has an hour of free time--Gemara or Mishnayos? HaRav Kanievsky responded--Mishna Berurah--Hilchos Shabbos. Likewise, for one who had mistakenly turned on the light on Shabbos, he advised him to review Hilchos Shabbos as a tikun. (This week’s Divrei Siach)


C. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (75:2), relating to Neiros Shabbos rules as follows: “The candles should be so long that they burn until after the meal. One should seek to purchase fine candles.  Rav Huna teaches (Shabbos 23B): A person who is accustomed to lighting Neiros Yafos--attractive Shabbos candles--will merit sons who will be Torah scholars. The Pasuk (Mishlei 6:23 ) indeed states: “Ki Ner Mitzvah, VeTorah Ohr--for a Mitzvah is a candle, and Torah light”--i.e., the candle of Mitzvah will bring about the light of Torah.”


D.  A family that needed Yeshuos (shidduchim for their children and offspring for their children who were married) asked HaRav Kanievsky what they should strengthen themselves in. He responded that they should take in Shabbos earlier then they previously did. (This week’s Divrei Siach)



Special Note Two: Points and pointers on this week’s Parasha, Parashas Vayakhel:


A. Last week’s Parasha ends with the radiance of Moshe Rabbeinu’s face being so great, that he had to put a mask on it--and this week’s Parasha begins with the Mitzvah of Shabbos--what is the connection between these two Parashios?


B. The Torah teaches that the Badim, the staves, were placed into the Aron for a particular purpose--”Lasais Es HaAron--to carry the Aron” (Shemos 37:5).  Chazal (Sotah 35B) teach, however, that in fact the Aron was not carried by its bearers, but instead actually carried those very same apparent bearers. HaRav Nosson Adler, Z’tl, finds that the lesson is clear--those who support Talmidei Chachomim may appear to be the supporters--but are in fact and indeed--actually supported by those who study.  Hakhel Note:  There is an Olam Hazeh and Olam Haba way to look at what is actually taking place...since Olam Haba is much, much longer and indeed everlasting --one should very much adapt the long-term view!  Let us keep this in mind every time that we have the opportunity to in any manner honor or ‘support’ one who is studying Torah full time!


C. In the Parasha we find the term Lev mentioned in various ways--Asher Nisa’o Libo, Kol Nediv Lev, Chacham Lev, U’Lehoros Nasan BeLibo.  It is a time to remind ourselves of the precious words of the Mesilas Yesharim (end of Chapter 16):  “Chazal teach that Rachmana Liba Ba’i--Hashem wants us to serve Him with our hearts--for it is not enough for Hashem to see our deeds alone, such as our Ma’aseh Mitzvah.  Rather, it is most important to Him that our hearts be pure to serve Hashem in truth.  The heart is the king of all the other parts of the body and leads them, as so if the heart is not focused on the service of Hashem, then the service of the other limbs and organs is not worth anything, for they will just follow the heart.  In fact, this thought is expressed clearly by Shlomo HaMelech (the wisest of all men) in Mishlei ( 23:26 ) “Tena Bini Libecha Li…my son give me your heart!”


With this thought in mind, we can well understand why the Pasuk in discussing the construction of the Mishkan emphasizes the need not only for the building of the Mishkan--but that our hearts be first dedicated to the task!


Additional Note:  We once again provide the story of the g’vir in Flatbush who would open his door to all, giving to all with a generous heart.  Once, he sat down for dinner and his wife had prepared a soup for him.  There was a knock on the door, and he got up to answer.  His wife pleaded with him:  “I will let him in and he can sit a few moments, at least eat the soup while it is hot.”  He turned to his wife and said:  “This is my opportunity to give something of myself.  When I give money--I am simply distributing that which belongs to Hashem, hopefully in a manner which Hashem sees fit.  Now, however, I have the chance to give up my hot soup for this person.  Let me rejoice in the opportunity!”


D.  The Pasuk teaches regarding Betzalel “U’Lehoros Nassan BeLibo--and the ability to teach was placed in his heart.”  The Mefarshim explain that with these words we are taught the difference between Lilmod and LeLameid--to learn and to teach.  It is a great level to learn, and an even greater one to be able to teach.  It is for this reason that we request of Hashem in Ahava Rabba/Ahavas Olam that He please give us the ability Lilmod U’LeLameid--to learn and to teach.  Everyone really has to be a teacher--chavrusos one to the other, husband and wife, parent and child.  We must therefore be careful to daven daily to Hashem that He give us the ability not only to learn--but to be a good teacher as well!


E.  Important Reminder! The Torah records that the people brought donations to the Mishkan “BaBoker BaBoker” (Shemos 36:3).  The Sefas Emes interprets the repetition of the word ‘Boker’ to mean that the people brought their gifts early in the morning, and explains that there is special power in doing something early, or first, in the morning. It is for this reason, the Sefer Talelei Oros explains that the Vilna Gaon, Z’tl, would exclaim (after Modeh Ani) BeLev Shaleim U’VeSimcha when he arose from bed:  Hareini MeKabel Alai Ohl Torah HaYom!”  Likewise, the Siddur Siach Yitzchak (Siddur HaGra) notes that in the Bracha of HaMa’avir Sheina early each morning the first two requests we make following the Y’hi Ratzon are “Shetargileinu BeSorasecha V’Dabekeinu B’Mitzvosecha--please accustom us to study Your Torah and attach us to Your commandments”--for the first efforts, the first requests of the day, have a special status and bearing.  In special fact, the Tefillah presented by the Zohar upon arising in the morning is “Y’hi Ratzon…Sheyehei Libi Nachon U’Masur BeYadi Shelo Eshkachecha--May it be Your will that I be upright, and in control of my heart today, so that I don’t forget You.”  The Siddur Siach Yitzchak concludes that when one has a Haschala Tova in the morning, then “Az Yiheyeh HaKol Tov--everything will be good.”


If we have not already inculcated the above message into our awakening each morning--let us seriously consider making this a turning point. As we arise in the morning and begin to ready ourselves for the day all kinds of new ideas and reminder bombard us--everything we have to do and even the order we have to do it in.  If we can take those first precious moments and focus them properly--”Shetargileinu BeSorasecha VeDabikeinu BeMitzvosecha”, “Sheyiheyeh Libi Nachon U’Masur BeYadi Shelo Eshkachecha”, and the Gra’s thought B’Lev Shaleim U’VeSimcha to accept upon oneself the Torah and the Mitzvos--then we have the express assurance of the Siddur Siach Yitzchak that Az Yiheyeh HaKol Tov!


F.  HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Z’tl, whose Yahrzeit is next week, provides a great question and a remarkable insight on the Parasha. The Torah goes to great lengths to describe the Mishkan and its Keilim--both the instructions to build it, and the actual details as to its construction. We know the Mishkan was precious to Hashem, and that we gain special insight into the Dor HaMidbar with all of the detail. However, all of this detail is for a temporary structure that is supposed to be standing for only a short while--until the Bais HaMikdash is built. Remember that according to some Rishonim the Chait HaMeraglim had not yet taken place, so Bnei Yisrael were due to soon (within weeks or months) enter Eretz Yisrael and build the Bais HaMikdash shortly thereafter. Thus, the Mishkan was intended to function for perhaps a year or two (although ultimately it remained standing for 479 years). Yet, we see the detail which the eternal Torah provides for it--and the enthusiasm, dedication, and effusiveness of the people towards a very short-term construction. The important and special lesson here is that our goal must be to accomplish. A Mitzvah may look to the eye as if it is fleeting--so why put in so much time, such difficult effort, and significant expense? This is absolutely not an appropriate cheshbon.  Our preparations can, and in many cases should, take longer than the Mitzvah performance itself--for in reality the Mitzvah lasts for eternity!  Time is a physical concept--and we must transcend it in order to attain our spiritual goals.


So, the next time you feel like you are spending so much time--whether it is trying to figure out what Bracha to make on a particular food or whether you can eat a particular item, waiting on a long line for a few, “last-minute” Shabbos items, davening or saying Tehillim for someone who is having surgery today, or talking with someone on the phone who always seems to need chizuk, remember…the ‘short-termeverlasting and eternal Mishkan!



Special Note Three: We share with our readers a few short additional points on the Parasha, culled from the Sefer Shiurei Chumash--the Shiurim of HaRav Shlomo Wolbe, Z’tl, on Sefer Shemos:


A. Chazal teach that the Parasha begins with the instruction to keep Shabbos then discusses the building of the Mishkan--in order to teach us that we do not work on Shabbos even if it is to build the Mishkan. HaRav Wolbe, Z’tl, asks: Who would ever think that building the Mishkan would be doche Shabbos? Would writing a Sefer Torah be doche Shabbos? Quite to the contrary--when something is doche Shabbos (such as a bris milah on the eighth day, Karbanos brought in the Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos, or Pikuach Nefesh situations), Chazal must bring specific pesukim or limudim which allow Shabbos to be overridden. Based upon this question, HaRav Wolbe suggests that the Torah is, at the very least, teaching us an important mussar lesson. That is--one might think that sometimes in order to perform a Mitzvah one can ‘step-on’ other Mitzvos. It is easy for one to rationalize performing something which was essentially a ‘Mitzvah HaBa’ah B’Aveira’. Rebbi Yisroel Salanter warns about this. Indeed, the story is told of a person who in wrapping himself in his Tallis hit Rebbi Yisroel’s face with the Tzitzis of the Tallis. Rebbi Yisroel told him--why am I at fault that you are a Yerei Shomayim? Rebbi Yisroel would likewise reproach those who would push and not pay proper attention to others when trying to get closer to listen to a Shiur. So, too, with the Mishkan--one does not build a home for Hashem’s presence by abrogating the Shabbos in any way.


B. The Pasuk teaches: “Kechu Me’itechem Terumah LaHashem Kol Nediv Libo--take for yourselves a portion for Hashem, everyone whose heart motivates him shall bring it.” (Shemos 35:5). HaRav Wolbe beautifully explains that the process of building the Mishkan did not simply entail a building being built and the Shechina thereupon coming to dwell within it. Rather, everyone who brought a Terumah brought it Menidvas Libo--meaning that he brought a part of the Shechina in his heart with it. The Shechina that rested on the Mishkan--was really the Shechina that rested on the hearts of K’lal Yisrael--which was now assembled into one, unified holy place!


C. The Ramban writes that Betzalel constructed the Aron by himself. The Ramban explains that this is because he was filled with the spirit and wisdom to do so--it was not a matter of craftsmanship--it was a matter of Ruach Elokim, Chochma, Tevunah and Da’as. This is a tremendous lesson for us. Greatness is measured by how much spirit and how much hisbonenus, how much thought, one puts into what he cares about. When one goes to a doctor, who quickly checks him and prescribes a medication--one knows that this doctor is not really an expert. A good doctor will listen well to the symptoms, think about them, put them together and then decide what is wrong and how to treat it. The difference between katnus and gadlus--one who is small and one who is great is in his power of hisbonenus--putting true spirit and real thinking into what is important!


D. Upon assembly of the Mishkan, the Pasuk (Shemos 36:13) concludes Vayehi HaMishkan Echad--and the Mishkan was one. HaRav Wolbe teaches that the word Echad here does not only mean that it was ‘one’ and not ‘two’, but also that it was one--that included everything, for everything in it was unified. Likewise, he concludes, when in Shema we recite the words Hashem Echad--we not only mean that Hashem is One and not two, but that Hashem is One and that everything is subsumed and included within Him--everything comes from Him--and all of the world’s needs and requirements are fulfilled by Him!



Special Note Four: As we conclude Sefer Shemos tomorrow, we recognize that there is a new beginning next week with Sefer Vayikra.  It is a momentous ending of the Sefer HaGeulah, and the inauguration of the aftermath of Geulah--the Toras Kohanim--service of Hashem on a higher plane in a Mikdash .  Most definitely, this should be a Shabbos of real reflection--what am I concluding--and what will I be beginning?  How will I utilize the opportunity?  Will I realize that it would truly be an accomplishment to improve in Avodas Hashem before the second half of the Year--with a concrete improvement that I have been meaning to make --especially in Torah or Tefillah?  As we see the great work product of the Mishkan come to final fruition in Parashas Pekudei--let us practically and meaningfully take the lesson of its building to the meaningful next step--real and actual growth in Avodas Hashem!




21 Adar

KARECHA BADERECH: As the Torah teaches us, Amaleik’s attack was Karecha BaDerech--cooled us off in the road. A Mechaneich pointed out to his students that two terms often used in today’s times are chill and random--both of which represent the terminology of Amaleik--Karecha (chill) and Baderech (random). Let us avoid Amaleik--its terminology--and everything that it represents!



SHADES OF PURIM ON THE HORIZON:  On this day, the 21st of Adar, Daryavesh, the son of Esther HaMalka and Achashveirosh, allowed the Jews to continue the building of the Second Bais HaMikdash--which had been halted in Achashveirosh’s time!  May it be a sign of things to come for the Third Bais Hamikdash and our final Geulah!



THE OPPORTUNITY STILL EXISTS! Very attractive cell phone lockers for Shuls have now arrived and are available at no charge to your Shul! The lockers are being used in Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Cincinnati, New York and New Jersey. We once again provide a picture by clicking here To obtain lockers for your Shul, please call Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg, Shlita at 718-645-4698.



110 PARTS! Over the last two years, on Mondays and Thursdays we have been honored and literally privileged to host 110 important installments, which have educated us tremendously on the practical aspects of Sta”m. We would like to express our most sincere thanks and Yasher Kochacha to Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im, for providing us with this outstanding learning opportunity. May Hashem bless you with the continued opportunity to educate and help others in good health. We urge those who have not followed the series closely, to purchase the Sefer and learn a tremendous amount!



 HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! The following Halachos are culled from the Sefer Halachos of Pesach (Feldheim), by Rabbi Shimon D. Eider, Z’tl. This Sefer is an outstanding resource in English for practical Halachos of Pesach. Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


A. We find throughout Hilchos Pesach the term Chumra D’Chometz. Since chometz is punishable with Kares, there are many Chumros accepted in dealing with chometz on Pesach which are not used in dealing with other prohibited foods (e.g. Chometz on Pesach is prohibited  b’mashehu while other issurim are Batel B’Shishim). Because of Chumra D’Peasch,  many minhagim were accepted, most of these have a basis in Halacha:


B. Some communities did not eat dried fruit during Pesach. The basis for this minhag is that flour was spread on the fruit during the drying process. In addition, the ovens used for drying were also used for chometz. Where there is proper supervision, it is permissible.


C. Some communities did not eat garlic during Pesach. Although the basis for this minhag is questionable (some say that the farmers would soak the garlic in beer), where there is proper supervision, most Poskim hold that even ground garlic is permissible.


D. Some people use only unwashed eggs during Pesach. Their reason is that since the eggs were washed with the chicken feed (which may contain chometz) and with questionable detergents, chometz may have been absorbed by the eggs during the washing. Although most Poskim hold that it is permissible, the eggs should be rinsed before cooking.


E. Because the Jewish people are a nation of Kedoshim and Chassidim and the Ari, Z’tl, said that one who is saved from violating even the most minute issur of chometz on Pesach is assured that the entire year he will not sin, individuals have accepted upon themselves additional Chumros for Pesach.


F. Although some of these minhagim have no firm basis in halacha, one who conducts himself in this way and his intentions are purely L’Sheim Shomayim, the Sha’arei Teshuvah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 460) applies the Pasuk:  V’Ameich Kulam Tzaddikim (Yeshaya 16:21).




Special Note One: Today, Chaf Aleph Adar, is the Yahrzeit of HaRav Elimelech (B’R’ Elazar Lipman)--the famed Noam Elimelech M’Lizhinsk. As many were unable to daven at his Kever today--we still have the opportunity to  learn from his great teachings. The Tzetel Koton would be a wonderful place to start!


TRUE STORY:  “This past Tishrei friends of ours from Eretz Yisrael went to Lizhinsk to the Kever of the Noam Elimelech together with a group. They have a son in his late 30’s who was never married. Obviously, he was on the top of the group’s list of names to daven for. A short time after they came home their son got engaged! The two families asked Yad Eliezer to make the wedding. Yad Eliezer has a lottery for available dates on their wedding halls. The date that they received by ‘lottery’ was the Yahrzeit of the Noam Elimelech--and they called me from the Chasunah last night!”



Special Note Two: The following is a second important excerpt from Living On: Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre, compiled by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, Shlita. The excerpt was written by Rabbi Zev Leff, Shlita, and provides primary lessons to work on from the tragedy which still seethes within us:

The first thing we should work on, I believe, is to be sensitive to the Tzarah of the people who are being directly affected by the Yissurim. This means to feel the pain of the children who lost a father, the woman who lost a husband--to imagine their Tza’ar. We must also feel the Tza’ar of those who were wounded. People might forget about them; there are some who are still in the hospital, still suffering, and they may continue to suffer for quite some time. [Hakhel Note: Chaim Yechiel Ben Malka--please remember him in your Tefillos and in your Tehillim.]


Chazal tell us that when a Talmid Chacham is sick, a person has to make himself sick over that. We have to feel sick together with him, and this applies not only to Talmidei Chachomim but to any Jew who is ill. We have to have empathy, not just sympathy. Empathy is what Chazal call Nosei Be’ol Im Chaveiro (Avos 6:6). It is very difficult to feel someone else’s pain, but that is the kind of sensitivity a person has to develop.


The first point, then, is to feel the pain of those who are suffering directly. And if you feel that pain, then you will do something about it; do whatever you can. Those who can comfort the people should be comforting them. Those who can help monetarily should donate to the fund that was set up to help these families. Any way at all that a person can help alleviate the pain and suffering of those who were affected directly is worthwhile and important.


Those who perpetrated these inhuman acts are worse than animals. People have called them ‘animals’, but animals don’t act like this. It would be a disgrace and an insult to the animals to call those terrorists animals. Anyone who is capable of doing what they did is subhuman. What we have to do in response to this is to hate evil and to hate that kind of cruelty. Someone who hates it would not want to be anything like that; someone who hates it would want to go to the other extreme. So this should inspire us to want to develop our middah of Rachmanus, to be more merciful, to be more kind to each other. K’lal Yisrael are Rachmanim, Baishanim V’Gomlei Chassadim; these are their basic character traits. We are merciful people, we are people who have the capability of being ashamed, and we are kind people.


Every Jew possesses these basic Middos. And when we see to what levels a human being can descend, what a human being can do when he has none of these Middos, when he is a pereh adam, when he is worse than subhuman--it should give us the incentive to be more merciful and more kind to each other. We must make Rachmanus a more integral part of our daily ‘routine’ of our daily ‘existence’.”




20 Adar

PAYING ATTENTION: The latest report regarding the r’l potential terror-related events over Shabbos in Flatbush indicate that what occurred was not, in fact, an enemy act. Nevertheless, it certainly should serve as an eye and mind-opener for us, and we should not treat it as a passing mistake. We recall the words in last week’s Parasha in which Hashem advised Moshe Rabbeinu--”Ve’Ro’isa Ess Achorai U’Fanai Lo Yeira’u--You will see My ‘back’, but not My ‘face’”--you will understand events after they happen but will not be able to understand them prior to then.  We all know that something is happening--we simply don’t know what it is--and we are not supposed to, for if we did we would have Nevi’im.  So what is left?  Of course, it cannot be said enough--it is Teshuva--the desire, the longing, the movement, the actual strides to put your life and the lives of those close to you in the right direction.--in that very same direction as those 20% who left Egypt, and not the 80% who tragically remained forever behind.  The first steps in Teshuva are identifying the foibles and the shortcomings, the failures and the faults.  The next step is feeling true remorse over them and realistically resolving how to not fall to them so easily again.  Every day, we recite the words “Selach Lanu Avinu Ki Chatanu--Hashem, please forgive us for having sinned”.  Without proper charata--remorse over a misdeed, what worth is the thrice daily lip movement?  Is there any redeeming value to saying something to Hashem which you don’t mean now--even if you do intend to mean it five or six months from now when Elul gets closer? The key is valuing each day here and now, and not letting it pass without a new step in the direction of sheleimus--making oneself whole as a person.  Just as with the body--when we bang our foot, we begin to walk funny, so too it is with the soul--if our tongues are a bit too loose with a little Lashon Hara, or with coarse, hurtful, or non-complimentary words (even if they are simply only words that you wouldn’t say in front of your Rav, your Rebbi…or your shadchan)--then our Tefillos are also hurt and wounded, and our words of Torah are far from pure.  Not letting the indiscretion, the carelessness, the instinct-over-intellect, happen again, and doing this consciously and consistently, day after day, will provide daily elevation--not only in Shemiras Halashon, but in one’s precious words of Torah and Tefillah as well.



ONE FINAL PUSH ON KIYMU V’KIBLU.  Based upon the Sefer Ma’alos HaTorah, the Chofetz Chaim brings the following powerful Mashal:  If the king promoted a commoner to the royal service, to a position otherwise performed by senior officials, the commoner would most certainly feel a great joy--even if he would not be paid for his work.  After all, he need only consider where he was before and where he is today.  All the more so, must one rejoice when he realizes that he has been promoted above the level of the common man to study and practice the words of the Torah HaKedosha--words which the Malachei HaShareis themselves regale in--and words which the Tzaddikim in Gan Eden spend all of their time with!  If this is not enough, continues the Chofetz Chaim, one should remember the words of Chazal who teach:  “When one studies Torah the angels created by his words surround him for as far as he can see--and he is in their midst!”  Hakhel Note:  What new commitment (bli neder) can one make to this incredible, unparalleled and eternity-creating royal privilege?!  It is most definitely very well worth it to spend the time and make the effort! 



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! The following halachos are culled from the Mishna Berurah, Dirshu Edition (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 432-433):


A. L’Halacha, if one undertakes Bedikas Chometz and actually finds no Chometz at all, the bracha of Ahl Bi’ur Chometz that was recited at the outset of the bedikah is not a bracha l’vatalah--firstly, because the Mitzvah is to check and search and if one does not find it does not matter; and secondly, the bracha actually refers to Bi’ur Chometz--which will occur the next day in the morning--which may consist of the leftovers of what he has eaten prior to the bi’ur. Nevertheless, the Chok Yaakov writes that the Minhag Yisrael of putting out ten pieces should not be stopped and gives reasons for it. The Arizal also provides a reason for the Minhag. In the words of the Ba’er Heiteiv it is a Sod Gadol. For those who have the custom--the Mishna Berurah cautions that one be careful not to lose any of the pieces (ibid., Mishna Berurah seif katan 12)! If one performs his bedikah before the night of the 14th (i.e., because he is going away for Pesach), there is a Machlokes HaPoskim as to whether he should keep his minhag regarding the ten pieces at the early bedikah. (ibid., Dirshu Note 17)


B. If one performs the bedikah by the light of a torch or other large fire, and not by the light of a single candle, the bedikah is ineffective and one must perform the bedikah again (ibid., 433, Mishna Berurah seif katan 10).


C. If one forgot to make the bracha of Ahl Bi’ur Chometz at the time of bedikah, there is a Machlokes Haposkim as to whether he can still make the bracha before burning the Chometz. The Mishna Berurah rules that if one wants to rely on those who hold that one may recite the bracha at the time of bi’ur, ain mochin bo--we do not rebuke him for doing so (ibid., Dirshu Note 5).



TODAY IS THE 20th YAHRZEIT OF RAV SHLOMO ZALMEN AUERBACH, Z’TL: There is a very well-known story that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Zt’l, once repeated the paragraph of “Nodeh Lecha”(we thank You, Hashem), in which we list many important things that we thank Hashem for.  When he was asked why he repeated it, he responded that he experienced a momentary lapse of Kavanna, and that saying “Thank you” without meaning it is not true thanks.  In a related way, as we have noted in the past, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, teaches in the name of HaRav Pam, Zt’l, that one may put out a finger and count each one of the things that you are thanking Hashem for every time you recite “Nodeh Lecha”.  Example: “Al Yisrael Amecha-one, V’Al Yerushalayim Irecha-two etc.”  If you try this, you will see that it is a great method of focusing your appreciation, and rejoicing in what Hashem has given you.


Additional Note: HaRav Gamliel Rabanovitch, Shlita, teaches that when someone visits the Kever of a Tzadik, he connects with the Nefesh of the Tzadik, but when he studies from the Seforim of the Tzadik, he connects with the Ruach of the Tzadik. Today, for example, one can study the rulings of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen in the Shemiras Shabbos KeHilchasa, Halichos Shlomo, Minchas Shlomo, or learn some of the many lessons that he taught from Rabbi Hanoch Teller’s work, And From  Jerusalem  , His Word: Stories and Insights of Rabbi Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach.




Special Note One:  The following Halacha is excerpted from the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (71:3):  “Before going to bed, one should put in his heart to forgive all those who have sinned against him, so that they are not punished because of him.  Chazal (Shabbos 149B) teach that ‘A person on whose account another is punished [i.e., by not forgiving him] is not allowed into the mechitzah of Hakadosh Baruch Hu.  Instead, one should recite three times:  Shorei LeChol Mann Di Tza’aran--I forgive all those who caused me distress.”  Hakhel Note:  Incredibly, the Kitzur then goes on to teach that after this one should still recite the tefillah of Ribbono Shel Olam HaReini Mochel….  In other words, it would appear that the Kitzur is requiring a specific stand-alone statement (to be repeated three times) before the tefillah of Ribbono Shel Olam to indicate the thoughtfulness and sincerity of the statement! 



Special Note Two:  Now that we have hopefully given Matanos LaEvyonim (and Ma’aser above the Matanos LaEvyonim) to a great extent, we provide the touching words of the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh in this week’s Parasha of Vayakhel (Shemos 35:21):  The Pasuk records:  VaYavo’u Kol Ish Asher Nisa’o Libo VeChol Asher Nadvah Rucho--every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought….”  What is the difference between an Ish Asher Nisa’o Libo and a person who is a Nadvah Rucho?  The Nadvah Rucho, explains the Ohr HaChaim, gives willingly and voluntarily, but within the determined means of what he deems himself to be capable of.  It is a beautiful Middah in that he does not feel pained in giving, but he is sure not to over-extend himself.  However, the Ish Asher Nisa’o Libo is one whose heart has raised him to give painlessly and effortlessly to give more than he can otherwise give--so that his Ruchniyus elevates his Gashmiyus to new and greater heights!  Hakhel Note:  Give again--today!



Special Note Three: The following is excerpted from Living On: Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre, compiled by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, Shlita:


“The ability to tear open the Heavens in one’s prayer is a gift, and in most situations a person doesn’t reach this elevated level of Tefillah. However, each of us must know that we have this power in our possession, and we must do everything we can to tap into it. I turn to K’lal Yisrael to feel the pain of the Rothman family and all the others injured in the Har Nof Massacre, and in their zechus let us try to achieve this level of Tefillah.


The Sefer Sha’arei Orah explains why Tefillas Chana produced miraculous results. Sifrei Kabbalah reveal that Keser is the highest of the Sefiros, and it embodies Ratzon, the purest form of will. Chana was able to focus her will and touch upon Keser, and as a result her Tefillos tore open the Heavens and were answered immediately.


True Tefillah is when one recognizes that aside from the Borei Olam there is absolutely no possibility for salvation. When a person arrives at this crystal-clear recognition, he has reached a level of pure emunah, and he can cry out to the Borei Olam with complete faith that there is absolutely no other power in the world.


Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, Z’tl, once told me that to rip open the Heavens a person does not have to scream at the top of his lungs. He can be standing silently by his shtender, and the piercing cries of his heart permeate Above. The main thing is that he should feel an urgent need for salvation and know that the Borei Olam is the only address to turn to….


The halacha dictates that when we leave our homes we should touch the Mezuzah. As we are leaving we should say, “Hashem Yishmor Tzeisi U’Vo’i Mei’atah V’Ahd Olam--may Hashem guard my leaving and my coming now and forever.” Our greatest means of protection is prayer. That is what Hashem wants from us!”




19 Adar

A GREAT LESSON FROM PURIM--EMUNA! For personal Chizuk in Emunah, we once again provide the number of the Daily Chizuk Hotline:  Dial (605) 475-4799, access code 840886#--which provides a thoughtful three-minute message daily--bolstering the awareness of Yeshuas Hashem in our daily lives!



FOLLOW-UP: Yesterday, we had referenced a moving Pasuk in Tehillim (40:6). Relating to this Pasuk, a reader once noted: “I believe that one should think of one thing that he is grateful to Hashem for when he repeats the Pasuk!”



QUESTION OF THE DAY : What three words would you use to define Amaleik? Hint: See Devarim 25:18. What does that tell you about what the definition of whom the Bnei Yisrael are to be? How can each and every one of us accomplish this goal?



IMPORTANT SECURITY UPDATE:  As many know, there have been suspicious situations at Torah institutions both in Miami and in New York . Shuls, Yeshivas and institutions are being urged to have continuous video recordings outside and inside at all times, and to report any suspicious activity at all to counterterrorism units.


Hakhel Notes:


1. As r’l new threats lurk over and threaten our people, we all know and realize that it is not with with might, armor or sophisticated technology that we will succeed. This most recent danger has emerged during the month of Adar--a month in which we celebrate that our Lech K’nos--our getting together in Tefillah and Teshuva--was able to save us--all of us--from annihilation.  Whatever our primary aveira was at the time, whether it was bowing down to avodah zara, eating from Achashveirosh’s feast, or our weakening in Torah study and Mitzvah performance--it was CURED through our Tefillah and Teshuva.  Now is NOT the time to be silent.  HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein, Z’tl (Ohr Yecheskel 3: 195), brings the Midrash as follows:  “When Achashveirosh’s decree against the Jews was ordered, the Torah put on bigdei almanus and cried out before Hashem, and the Malachei HaShareis screamed and exclaimed--”If there will no longer be a K’lal Yisrael, what purpose do we have in the world?!  The sun and the moon were aghast and no longer shined bright.  Eliyahu HaNavi ran to the Avos and to Moshe Rabbeinu and shouted out “How can you remain silent?!”  The Avos responded--’if they have acted this way, there is nothing that we can do’!  Eliyahu HaNavi turned to Moshe Rabbeinu and said--”Moshe Rabbeinu, you saved them so many times--help them here!  Moshe Rabbeinu responded---if there is an Adam Kasher in the generation, let him daven and so will I--we will ask for Rachamim from Hashem together.  Eliyahu immediately went, and related Moshe’s words to Mordechai.”  HaRav Chatzkel explains the meaning of the Midrash to us--look at what the Torah was unable to accomplish, what the Malachim were unable to accomplish, what the sun and the moon were unable to accomplish, what the Avos were unable to accomplish--and what an Adam Kasher davening to Hashem can accomplish--nullifying and even reversing the decree in its entirety against us!  The power of Tefillah--our Tefillah--can change the world order! It is clear that we must together beseech Hashem for his immediate mercy to revoke any decree against us--and may our current state of Novocha, of confusion--in very much the same way as then--turn overnight into a time of Tzahala VeSameicha


2. The term Mi’mah Nafshach refers to a situation in which whichever way you look at it--the conclusion is clear. We live in times which appear so close to the times of Moshiach. Accordingly, we must look at the need for true accomplishment in our lives Mi’mah Nafshach--either we drive ourselves to true accomplishment--so that we can look back in our old age and clearly see the true achievements and successes--or greet the Moshiach with our accomplishments! It is a win-win situation. All we have to do--is accomplish! Hakhel Note: The first place to begin is…Teshuvah Bechol Yom!



HILCHOS PESACH: We continue to provide Halachos relating to Pesach in this especially spiritual period--less than thirty (30) days before Pesach! The following halachos are culled from the Mishna Berurah, Dirshu Edition (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 433). Of course, one should in all events consult with his own Rav or Posek pertaining to his particular facts or circumstances:


A. Even though the general rule is safeik d’rabanan lekulah, when it comes to Bedikas Chometz, one should not be lenient in the event of safeik--for the entire takanah is to check and clarify that no Chometz remains (Dirshu Note 22).


B. If one lives in a condominium building, his obligation to check the stairway reaches only until his floor and his apartment. Even though one pays the common area charges for the entire building--that is just a matter of the agreement of the parties (Dirshu Note 16).


C. In a house where there are children, one is obligated to check the bathroom and bath for Chometz--as although adults would not bring food into these areas, it is likely that children do so (ibid., Dirshu Note 18). However, with respect to places where the crevice is too narrow for one’s hand to enter (such as between a heavy bookshelf and a cabinet and a wall), one does not have to move away the heavy bookshelf or wall--and instead can rely on his bitul. This would be true even if one knows that if something valuable fell behind the cabinet he would move it (Dirshu Note 25).




Special Note One:  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita teaches in the Sefer Derech Sicha on last week’s Parasha that that the ongoing calamity of the Cheit Haeigel is due not as much to the sin of golden calf worship--as to the Mecholos--the dancing that took place in the wake of the sin  (See also Seforno to Shemos 32:19 in a similar vein).  After the sin, the people were happy with what they had done.  We can all take a great lesson from this.  If one realizes that he has sinned intentionally or unintentionally, accidentally or otherwise--he must immediately express remorse and disdain for what has happened and what he has done--and not ‘enjoy the benefits’ of the sin once ‘it has happened anyway’.  In this way, he cripples the Malach Ra, the Kateigor, that was created to do battle against him and his people in Shomayim--and INSTEAD begins on the path of Teshuva--immediately.  It is our choice--Mecholos--or Mechila!



Special Note Two: A reader once posed the question as to why the word ‘Machar’ or ‘tomorrow’ is used particularly with respect to our battle against Amalek.  For instance, when Yehoshua went to fight Amalek, Moshe Rabbeinu told him:  Machar Anochi Nitzav Al Rosh Hagivah--Tomorrow, I will stand on top of the hill [and the battle will begin]...” (Shemos 17:9).  Similarly, Esther HaMalka told Achashveirosh:  Machar E’eseh KiDvar HaMelech”--Tomorrow, come back [with Haman] and I will do as the king requested... (Esther 5:8).  The question:  Why does ‘Machar appear to be needed against Amalek?!


We have admittedly waited until ‘Machar’--after Purim--to present some of the cogent responses that we received:


A.  “Rav Hutner, in Pachad Yitzchok on Purim, ‘Inyan 5’, page 40, has a fascinating discussion on this.  He explains that Esav’s shoresh is rooted in ‘today’ (Michra Kayom Es Bechorosicha Le) and Yaakov’s shoresh is rooted in ‘tomorrow’, i.e Acharis HaYomim (‘Ad Asher Avo El Adoni Seira’).”


B.  “I cannot find the reference to it, but I remember learning that if they had gone out to fight right at that time, it would have been more a physical (gashmiyus) war, lacking the needed spiritual (ruchniyus) component to succeed over Amalek, whose main job was to break our connection to Hashem. But by waiting until the next day, Moshe was able to get the people to pray, do Teshuva, return to Hashem, and daven b’kol ram to entreat Hashem and plead for His Heavenly guidance and assistance to help us so we could overcome Amalek.”


C.  “One of the big powers of Amalek is to inflict safek or doubt into our emunah--’karcha’ is a Lashon of mikreh all is coincidence-which is the opposite of Hashgacha. How do you counteract this? The Gematria of Machar is 248 the number of Mitzvos Aseh in the Torah. As the Sefer HaChinuch teaches--adam nifal kefi peulosav- a person becomes the way he acts. Ergo, the best way to counteract amalakian philosophy is not by engaging in theological discussions about Hashem--but rather to do the 248 mitzvos and the person will become a maamin.”


D.  “Amalek represents the Yetzer Hara.  It is very hard to deal head on with the Yetzer.  Our head and emotions play tricks on us.  Therefore, the best thing to do is to tell Amalek (the Yetzer Hara), ‘Tomorrow I’ll deal with you. Today, I am busy serving Hashem.’ In this way we will stay focused on our true Avoda and not get distracted by today’s so-called needs.”



Special Note Three: Esther related the plot of Bigsan and Seresh to kill the king “BeSheim Mordechai--in Mordechai’s name.”  Chazal derive from this that one who repeats a matter in the name of the one who said it, brings redemption to the world (Avos 6:6)--for the Jewish people were saved because of Achashveirosh’s understanding of Mordechai’s deed.  What was so special about Esther’s act, and why does it produce such great reward?!  The commentaries explain that repeating something in the name of someone else when you could have just as easily ascribed it to yourself, and even when you in fact on your own had the same thought, remark or teaching indicates a high degree of ‘Ayin Tova’--good naturedness and a good eye towards others which deserves special recognition and special Bracha.  Indeed, the Middah K’Neged Middah is obvious--if one acts with an Ayin Tova towards others even if there is good and reasonable basis not to be so effusive in this Ayin Tova, Hashem, in turn, will act with an Ayin Tova even if there is a basis for Him not to do so.  It is, therefore, the Midda of Ayin Tova which permeates everyone’s Purim--giving Mishloach Manos to others, distributing Matanos LeEvyonim to each and every person that asks, and joining together for a Purim Seudah. It is this pristine Middah of Ayin Tova--looking away at self and graciously helping another--which we can take with us on a daily basis after Purim. Remember--Chazal teach that it brings Geulah to the world--so let’s get seriously going. At the end of each day, you may want to ask yourself did I act with an Ayin Tova today--did I help bring the Geulah for us all?!




18 Adar 

MORDECHAI AND ESTHER: At the end of Shemone Esrei, prior to taking three steps back, many recite a Pasuk whose first letter is the first letter of their name, and whose last letter is the last letter of their name.  Fascinatingly, one whose name is Mordechai recites the Pasuk (Tehillim 119:97):  Mah Ahavti Sorasecha Kol HaYom He Sichasi--How I love Your Torah--it is what I talk about all day.”  Although Chazal teach that some members of the Sanhedrin separated themselves from Mordechai because of his governmental affairs, many may mistakenly believe that Mordechai was greatly diverted from his attention to Torah because of his involvement with the king.  We suggest that this Pasuk teaches us that Mordechai’s clear essence was Torah--and not even being second-to-the- king could change that.  Hakhel Note:  To follow suit, if your name is not Esther--it most certainly pays to look up the Pasuk for Esther and see how beautifully it applies to her role and her teaching as well! 



NOW THAT WE ARE IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE MONTH OF ADAR: Is Chazal’s teaching of Mishe Nichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha in the same force and effect as it was prior to Purim? Rashi (Ta’anis 29A) explains that the reason we increase our Simcha in Adar is because:  Yemei Nissim HaYu LeYisrael Purim U’Pesach--these are days of miracles for K’lal Yisrael--Purim and Pesach.”  HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains that the Mitzvah of Simcha continues all-the-way through Pesach because the common thread and theme is one of Nissim that Hashem performs on our behalf, and the Geulah that results.  A closer focus at this common thread, he continues, shows that our Yeshuah comes only from Hashem--and that the thought that our actions aid or assist in any way are both foolish and untrue.  In fact, HaRav Friedlander teaches, although there were still 11 months left before the decree against the Jews was to take effect, and although Esther could have waited until the king called for her rather than risk her life--Mordechai and Esther both wanted to demonstrate (each in their own way)--through the sack cloth, fasting, Tefillos and life-risking actions that they realized that everything was dependent on the Yeshuas Hashem.  We likewise read in the Haggadah that when Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, it was Lo Ahl Yedei Malach, Lo Ahl Yedei Saraf, VeLo Ahl Yedei Shaliach--but Hashem in His honor and by Himself took us out.  Accordingly, in this period between Purim and Pesach, our joy should continue to build as we recognize that we are so especially and uniquely privileged to be in Hashem’s loving hands-and that He will likewise perform Nissim on our behalf to bring us the Geulah Sheleimah!



IMMEDIATE INSPIRATION FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR!  We urge you to take out a Sefer Tehillim and recite the words of Tehillim, Chapter 40, Pasuk 6.  How moving! How especially timely!  Keep the Pasuk handy!


LAST CALL! MISHNAYOS MESECHTA PESACHIM:  If you start today and learn just three Mishnayos a day--you will still complete the entire Mishnayos Mesechta Pesachim--on Pesach! Don’t miss the opportunity!



REMINDER!  As we are now less than 30 days before Pesach, we should try to learn the Halachos of Pesach (including the Halachos of the Seder) from a practical Sefer.  To some, it can be the Mishna Berurah or the Aruch HaShulchan; to others it can be an English Sefer such as The Halachos of Pesach, by Rabbi Shimon Eider, Z’tl.  The importance of studying the Halachos within the 30 days before Pesach is highlighted by the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429 seif katan 1), who writes that the source for the 30 day study period is actually found in the Torah itself (see ibid.). We intend to provide two to three short Halachos per day. This should not of course serve as a replacement of one’s own study, but only as a supplement for our collective use. The following halachos are culled from the Mishna Berurah, Dirshu Edition (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 432):


A. Bedikas Chometz is the first step on Erev Pesach in ridding ourselves of Chometz possessions. Indeed, it is part of a large process of Biur Chometz--the destruction of Chometz. Accordingly, the bracha one recites at the outset of Bedikas Chometz is Ahl Biur Chometz. The Pri Megadim rules that if one recited the bracha of Ahl Bedikas Chometz--he is not Yotzei. We do not recite a Shehechiyanu at Bedikas Chometz, because its purpose is for Chag HaPesach itself--and we rely on the Shehechiyanu made on the Leil HaSeder (similar to one building the Sukkah who relies on the Shehechiyanu made on the first night of Sukkos). (Dirshu Notes 1 and 5)


B.  According to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, the obligation to check for Chometz in places where there is regularly Chometz is MiD’Oraysa if one is not mevatel his Chometz, but for places in which Chometz is not usually stored or used but where it is possible that Chometz may have been brought--even if one is not mevatel his Chometz, the chiyuv is MiD’Rabanan. (Dirshu Note 15)




Special Note One:  Today is the Yahrzeit of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah--(R’ Alexander Ziskind B’ R’ Moshe, Z’tl). We present below several of his always-moving teachings:


1. The ikar for which man is created it to give Nachas Ruach to Hashem. Accordingly, a dedicated focus in one’s life should be on increasing Nachas Ruach to Hashem with all of one’s actions at all times.


2. Dovid HaMelech exclaims (we recite it every day in Pesukei D’Zimra-- Tehillim 146:2): “Hallelu Es Hashm Bechaiyai Azamrah Leilokai B’odi--I will praise Hashem while I live, I will make music to Hashem while I exist.” One must realize that all of Tehillim was written with Ruach HaKodesh, and when one recites these words, he must express them with true feeling. How can one mouth words such as these--Hallelu Es Hashm Bechaiyai--without meaning them? In fact, we should know that Hashem actually has greater nachas when we recite words of thanksgiving and praise to Him than when  Heavenly beings do!


3. When one sees or hears something which is inappropriate it impacts upon his machshava--his thoughts which emanate from a holy and higher world. Accordingly, when his thoughts below are impugned--then it incredibly also leaves a pegam, a negative impact in the higher world as well.


4. When one realizes his mind is clean of any other thoughts and cannot otherwise focus, he should think with in great joy: “Hareini Ma’amin B’Emunah Sheleimah She’atah Yachid U’Meyuchad--I believe with complete faith that Hashem is One and Only.” Likewise, one can think (even in unclean places) about ways in which he can help his friend--in fact, even if one feels happy over the happiness of his friend or feels pain (if c’v his friend is pained), he makes constructive use of his time--and actually fulfills a Mitzvah of V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha!


5. Before beginning Shemone Esrei at Shacharis, a man should touch his Tefillin Shel Rosh and think: “Zeh Ha’os Sheatah Yachid U’meyuchad V’Sheatah Yotzeis Mimitzrayim--this is the sign that You are One and Only and have taken us out of Egypt ”.


6. Before beginning to learn a Mussar Sefer, one should state why he is learning--in order to have Yiras Shomayim, to grow spiritually and properly perform the Mitzvos and give nachas to Hashem. For the actual Nusach of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah see Sha’ar Shishi--Kavanas Limud Sefer Yerei’im.


7. If one realizes that he has sinned in some way--whether it be by an action word or thought, he should recite Viduy over it immediately--as the Zohar mentions in many places that the Vidui alone accomplishes much in the upper worlds.


8. When one recites a Borei Nefashos, he should have in mind the specific items of food over which he is reciting it (let us say a fruit and a drink)--and not just take it as general words of appreciation. Moreover, when reciting the words Baruch Chei Ha’olamim at the end of Borei Nefashos, one should feel great joy that Hashem is the Lifegiver to all worlds--and we benefit from this every second of the day. 


9. When beginning the second bracha of bentsching--Nodeh Lecha Hashem Elokeinu, one should stop for a moment and not immediately rush into the next words. Rather, one should feel joy over the gifts that Hashem has given him, and then begin to enumerate some of the great ones listed in bentsching. Similarly, when beginning the third bracha in which we ask Hashem to have mercy--we should make sure to highlight each item for mercy separately--(i) Ahl Yisrael Amecha, (i) V’Ahl Yerushalayim Irecha, (iii) V’Ahl Tzion Mishkan Kevodecha, (iv) V’Ahl Malchus Beis Dovid Meshichecha, and (v) V’Ahl HaBayis HaGadol Ve’Hakadosh.


10. In this week’s Haftarah--the Haftarah for Parashas Parah, one should appreciate the great consolations that are mentioned: “Venasati Lachem Lev Chadash”, “Ve’es Ruchi Etein Bekirbichem”. Indeed, one should strengthen himself by studying pesukim of consolation in Tanach such as Yirmiyah 31:31 et al.; Yechezkel 11: 17 et al., 37:24-37 and 37:21. One should also see the end of Sefer Amos, Micha Chapter 4, Tzefanyah 3:8 et al., Zechariah 8 and 14; the end of Sefer Malachi; and Yoel 3. Review all of these consolations--get chizuk--and do Teshuvah as soon as possible! Let us not be too late!




15 Adar

AHAVA!  We must precede today’s Bulletin by noting the great Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas HaMitzvos and Ahavas Yisroel (not to mention Mesirus Nefesh) that Achaeinu Bnei Yisroel living in the Northeastern United States demonstrated yesterday, as they proceeded dedicatedly and tirelessly through stormy, blizzard-type conditions to deliver Mishloach Manos, perform acts of chesed, attend Seudos and beautifully celebrate the day.  Traversing through these difficult and adverse conditions L’sheim Shomayim will B’EH serve as a great zechus (clearly part of the Cheshbon Shomayim)--and hopefully bring the Geulah Sheleima for us all very, very, very soon!



KIYMU V’KIBLU:  Today is the day to ensure that your Kiymu V’Kiblu thoughts turn into daily action, bli neder!  How will your Torah study be improved?  Will you try to not only read the words but say them aloud--at least in one aspect of your daily Torah study? Will you be sure to learn at least one Halacha a day about Hilchos Pesach until Pesach and continue in some way from there?  Will you think about how beloved the opportunity to study Torah is--each time before beginning your Torah studies…?  We look forward to you sharing your Kiymu V’Kiblu commitments, bli neder, with us!



YOM HAKIPURIM:  In how many ways were you able to discover that Purim is really like Yom HakiPurim?  The lots are certainly a place to begin….  If you have not thought through the various possibilities--it is still Shushan Purim today--try to get a better understanding!



PUR-IM: Why is Purim called its name in the plural if it is, as the Megillah records--only “Al Shem HaPur”. Why is it simply not called ‘Pur’ or ‘HaPur’?  It may be that the plural teaches us the great significance of both days--Purim and Shushan Purim, for in actuality, the “V’nahafoch Hu”, the dynamic turnabout, continues today on Shushan Purim!



LESS THAN 30!: Now that Pesach is less than 30 days away, we should study daily the Halachos of the Chag which honors our birth as a nation who are Avdei Hashem. Fascinatingly, the first thing mentioned by the Rema in Hilchos Pesach is to make sure aniyim have their Pesach needs taken care of. This is a beautiful demonstration of who we are and what we do as a nation! In furtherance of fulfilling this Halacha, we provide the next headnote on a beautifully innovative Chometz Gemach which you can start in your community as well!




Special Note One: One of our favorite notes of the past: Whereas on other Yomim Tovim, the “second day of Yom Tov” is for the people in Chutz L’Aretz, on Purim the “second day”--Shushan Purim--is for Yerushalayim (and certain other formerly-walled cities, almost all of which are in Eretz Yisrael, in which a Second Day is only celebrated for reasons relating to a doubt as to the proper day to observe).  Why the turnabout?  Why is the “Second Day of Yom Tov” observed in Yerushalayim on Purim unlike all the other Chagim?  We suggest the following:  the ikar, the essence, of the celebration of the Shalosh Regalim--Pesach, Shavuos and Succos--is in Eretz Yisrael, which is why they are referred to in the Torah as the Shalosh Regalim--the three times a year we go up to Yerushalayim and the Beis HaMikdash and bring sacrifices to rejuvenate ourselves through the open miracles seen there (see these miracles listed in Avos 5:5) and inculcate ourselves with the unique and sublime holiness of the people and the place (See Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 489, Bava Basra 21A and Tosfos there, dibur hamaschil Ki Mitzion).


The Nes of Purim, on the other hand, is the last of our miracles found in Tanach, and it is a miracle in a very different way, for it is a miracle taking place in Chutz L’Aretz, and occurring, not instantaneously, but over a multi-year period, all b’hester--concealed event after concealed event after concealed event--until we looked back and determined that an outstanding miracle had occurred.


Thus, unlike the Shalosh Regalim, which celebrated the open miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim, Matan Torah and the Ananei Kavod (the clouds of glory), and which were replete with the miracles of Yerushalayim in their observance, the miracle of Purim was a miracle for the Golus.  It teaches us how we are to lead our lives with Bnei Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael still in a state of defilement and impurity.  Indeed, the Gemara (Megillah 14A) teaches that on Purim we do not read the regular Hallel in order to rejoice in the remembrance of the miracle, but “the reading of the Megillah--this is the Hallel.”  The Megillah (the word is related to the Hebrew word “Megaleh”--to reveal) reveals to us Hashem’s hidden, rather than open and clear role, in our experiences, our successes and our sheer continuity in Galus.


On Purim, it is Yerushalayim in this sense that takes a “second day” because the miracle of Purim is to be our guiding light through the Nisim Nistarim of Golus which have occurred, primarily outside of Eretz Yisrael.  Our role is to uncover the Nissim, to recognize the hidden miracles of Hashem in our every day lives.  We can do this, overcoming the mirages, the illusions and our own delusions of a lifestyle which does not have Hashem accompanying and guiding us in our daily life, and replace it with a sincere and meaningful awareness that we should appreciate and thank Hashem for (as we recite in Modim three times daily):


·         Al Nisecha She’Bchol Yom Imanu-Your hidden miracles with us every day,

·         Val Nifleosecha-Your daily and natural wonders,

·         V’Tovasecha-Your daily kindnesses,

·         She’bechol Es Erev VaVoker V’Tzaharayim-which are not only with us daily, but throughout the entire day--evening, morning and afternoon….


If we can focus on these words three times a day, then we can demonstrate that we have learned this key lesson of Golus and we can once again merit the day when miracles are openly revealed to us and to all nations of the world.


The unique period between Purim and Pesach is the period of time which leads us from the hidden miracles of Purim to the revealed miracles of Pesach--let us use this time wisely by coming to a proper appreciation of the lessons of Purim--which will lead us to Pesach--in Yerushalayim on the First Day of Yom Tov!



Special Note Two:  A different (but not contradictory!) thought on Shushan Purim as the Purim of Yerushalayim:  Dovid HaMelech cries out in Tehillim 122: “Sh’alu Shelom Yerushalayim Yishlayu Ohavoyich…pray for the peace of Yerushalayim; those who love you [Yerushalayim] will be serene.”  The Radak in his commentary to this Pasuk teaches that these are the words that Jews must utter in Galus--Pray to Hashem for the peace of Yerushalayim.  What is the “peace of Yerushalayim?”  The Radak (almost prophetically) writes that this can only be attained with kibutz galios--the ingathering of the exiles--because there will not be peace as long as the “Arailim” and “Yishma’aylim”--the Christians and Arabs--war over the City.


In his commentary to this very same Pasuk, HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Shlita, brings the following Chazal (from Meseches Derech Eretz Zuta):  “HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to Bnei Yisrael:  ‘It was you who caused the Bais HaMikdash to be destroyed and My children to be driven into exile.  All I ask is that you pray for the peace of Yerushalayim and I will forgive you!’”


Let us honestly reflect:  Haman was a Rasha, and Achashveirosh was a Rasha and/or a fool, but ultimately it was the Jews at that time that got themselves into that mess and had to get themselves out of it.  The responsibility for Yerushalayim--for our kibutz galios--which is so imminent, falls squarely on our minds and hearts.  We must hold ourselves accountable, not as a matter of guilt, but as a matter of responsibility--to ourselves, our families, and our people.  Dovid HaMelech instructs us:  Sh’alu Shelom Yerushalayim Yishlayu Ohavoyich”--Daven! Daven! Daven!


If one does not feel he has any more time to recite additional Tehillim during the day, let him at least be sure to recite the brocha of “Vl’Yerushalayim Ircha”--which he is reciting in any event three times a day in Shemone Esrei--with purity of mind and heart. For the next four weeks until Pesach, let us use our power of prayer--for the sake of Yerushalayim, which is oh so much for the sake of ourselves, for the sake of K’lal Yisrael--and for the honor of Hashem!!  



Special Note Three: We continue our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:


A.  In this week’s Parasha, we find that the Torah requires that: “Veshomru Bnei Yisroel Es HaShabbos--Bnei Yisroel shall observe the Shabbos,” to make the Shabbos an eternal covenant for their generations (Shemos 31:16).  This Pasuk, together with the Pasuk which follows it, are so essential to our understanding of Shabbos that we repeat them both at Ma’ariv and in Shacharis on Shabbos.  What is the concept of “Shemiras Shabbos?”


HaRav Shlomo Mandel, Shlita, once explained at a Hakhel shiur that a “shomer” is someone who guards, watches out for, is on the alert, and anticipates.  Indeed, the Torah uses the concept of “Shemira” when it describes how Yaakov Avinu responded to Yosef’s dreams.  The Torah states:  ”V’Aviv Shamar Es HaDavar--and his father [Yaakov Avinu] was waiting and anticipating for [the dreams] to happen.” (Bereishis 37:11, and Rashi there)


This is an extremely important lesson for us.  The Torah requires us to be “Shomrei Shabbos”.  In order to fulfill this properly, we cannot start with candle lighting and/or “Lecha Dodi”.  Instead, we must appropriately prepare our thoughts and actions, so that, to the greatest extent possible, we can enter the Shabbos in a state of preparedness and equanimity--watching out and anticipating for the Shabbos the come.


There are many practical examples in which one can make strides towards this end.  For instance, one can, as much as possible, undertake Shabbos preparations on Thursday evening and Friday morning.  Additionally, business matters such as taking care of bills, or even going through the mail, when it does not require immediate attention, can become part of “Shemiras Shabbos” if they are put off until Sunday or Monday.  Interestingly, it was HaRav Aryeh Levin Z’TL’s custom not to open letters that arrived Friday afternoon, so that bothersome thoughts and worries should not trouble him on Shabbos (Growth Through Torah p. 220, quoting A Tzaddik In Our Time p. 100).


There are other activities which could help you become a superior “Shomer Shabbos”.  Making a list of the things that have to be done--and especially those things which you have had issues with in the past--making sure you have wine, candles, matches, open tissue boxes, clothes (without stains from the previous week), Torah thoughts for the Shabbos table--and accomplishing these, and many other items which could truly be taken care of, hours and hours and even a day before Shabbos.


If a man is more often late than on time for Mincha in shul on Friday afternoon, or if a woman customarily, or even usually, lights the neiros “just a minute or two” after the published zeman, there is an indication of weakness in his/her anticipating, watching out for, guarding, longing for, the Shabbos that is coming.  If the scene is one in which the husband is still in the shower/bedroom area at candle lighting time, or the woman of the house has to choose between davening Mincha before candle lighting--or lighting neiros five minutes late, some corrections may be in order.


Indeed, the Shulchan Aruch, rather than requiring raised voices, anger, and tension, immediately prior to Shabbos, instead requires that a person “arise early” on Erev Shabbos to properly prepare (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 250:1).  In fact, the Mishna Berurah there requires that some Shabbos preparation be done after davening Shacharis (and, if necessary, even before Shacharis--see there).  Furthermore--the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 260:2) actually requires that one speak “B’Lashon Raka” (in a soft voice)--immediately before Shabbos(!)--even as to those matters which require correction before Shabbos arrives.


In an ideal world, Shemira would include being ready a few minutes in advance and waiting for the Shabbos queen to come, by saying Tehillim, learning Torah, or the like--just as the watchman watches and anticipates.  For the men, there are undoubtedly great zechusim--merits--to be had when one is not dashing out the door to shul with suit jacket in hand, tie not made, and wet hair.  For the women, there is very much to be gained lighting neiros two or three minutes before the zeman, instead of a minute or two or three after the zeman.  Each one of us should sit down and think about how we can improve our quest for a greater appreciation, a greater understanding, a greater accomplishment, in being a “Shomer Shabbos” Jew!


B.  The Sefer Yereim writes that Hadlakas Neiros is “Gemara Gemiri La”--is actually a  Halachah LeMoshe MiSinai!  Rebbe Akiva Eiger, Z’tl suggests that men (Hakhel Note: or other able-bodied person) take part in the Mitzvah by making sure that the Neiros are in fine order for the woman of the house to light.  We may add that this could include testing the candles and fixing them well into the leichter, putting the matches in place, making the Sefer with special Tefillos for the time readily available on the table--as the time of Hadlakas Neiros is an Eis Ratzon, etc. The moment the Queen enters is a powerful one--and a proper--and not hurried and hassled-- Hadlakas Neiros is like the rolling out of a beautiful red carpet to meet her!


3.  For Shabbos morning laining (and when  being ma’avir sedra): In the Parasha, we find the following powerful Pasuk describing Moshe Rabbeinu’s initial reaction to the events of the Chait HaEigel:  ”VaYomer Ein Kol Anos Gevura VeAin Kol Anos Chalusha Kol Anos Anochi Shomea--Moshe Rabbeinu told Yehoshua “It is not a sound shouting strength nor a sound shouting weakness--it is  a sound of distress that I hear (Shemos 32:18).  HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita teaches that the meaning of the word Anos the third time it is mentioned in the Pasuk is different than the first two times that it is mentioned. The first two times it means ‘sounding’, and the third time it means ‘distress’--inui.  It is truly a different word--which is why there is a dagesh in the Nun of the third Anos of the Pasuk, and not in the first two. Accordingly, to the extent possible--the ba’al kriyah who is laining, and one being ma’avir sedra should read the third occurrence as ANNOS and not as ANOS--i.e., with a greater accent or drawing out of the nun, not actually making it onto a ‘double-nun’--but extending it a bit--so that one recognizes and demonstrates the different word being read!



Special Note Four: As noted above, we learn in the Parasha of the horrific sin of the Golden Calf.  In its aftermath, Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu: “Say to Bnei Yisroel--you are a stiff-necked people…” (Shemos 33:5).  In fact, this exact same description of our “stiff-neckedness” is repeated two other times in the Parasha (Shemos 33:3 and 34:9).   Likewise, in the Viduy we recite “Kishinu Oref--we have been stiff-necked.”  There is a very important message here for us.  The neck, as opposed to the front, symbolizes the back of the person and shows that the person is turned away from someone, rather than facing him.  It is our job not to turn away from what we have done, and certainly not to turn away from Hashem.  Instead, we must face that which we have done with a plan to improve, and face Hashem asking Him for nothing less than Divine assistance going forward.


We believe that there is also a vital second lesson:  The Torah is teaching that the heinous “Chait Haegel” is related to being obstinate and inflexible.  In our stubbornness, we must be careful to distinguish between fact and opinion, between “teaching lessons to others” and learning to control our self-interest or pride.  It is now a very auspicious time to deal with this middah, in order to indicate that we, on our own personal level and in our own private way, are looking to correct the stiff-neckedness within us--and our recognition that obstinacy could eventually result in something that is catastrophic, r’l.  If our actions are “just because” or “because that is the way I do things” or because “I know I am right” or “because I don’t do it that way”… (you can fill in another phrase that better summarizes your own stiff-neckedness) then we may have to work on some adjustments in attitude.


Of course, being tough in some areas is good--such as not flinching from the requirements of Halacha or proper Hashkafa in spite of work, financial or even social pressures to do so.  However, Chazal advise specifically that “a person should be soft as a reed, and not hard as a cedar tree” (Taanis 20B).  Reeds are malleable and do not break--even in the face of a harsh wind or thunderous storm.  Incredibly, the mighty cedar may fall earlier than the thin little reed.  Let us take this lesson to heart as we practice acting with more pleasance than presence, the way Hashem would like us to!



Special Note Five:  We present several additional points from Parashas Ki Sisa to apply (and hopefully inculcate within ourselves) over the coming week:


a.  The Pasuk teaches that the letters on the Luchos were engraved through and through, and that, by Miracle, they could be read from both sides although the writing was not reversed.  HaRav Pam, Z’tl, as quoted in the wonderful work”, by Rabbi Sholom Smith, Shlita, brings the following important lesson relating to this Miracle:  HaRav Chaim Elazar Wachs, Z’tl, (the “Nefesh Chayah”) was a partner in a paper factory.  His partner came to him with an idea that would bring him a great deal of profit in a short amount of time.  When the partner presented all of the details, HaRav Wachs concluded that the idea involved some degree of impropriety, and bordered on geneiva.  His partner still wanted to go ahead with the “get-rich-quick” scheme.  HaRav Wachs exclaimed, “Don’t you realize why the Luchos had to be readable from either side?!  Because no matter which way you turn the Luchos--you have to see the Lo Signov!”  [In Yiddish:  “Az men dreit a hin, oder men dreit a heir, es shteit noch ales Lo Signov!”]  We may all be faced with the temptations of improprieties--some bigger and some smaller.  We must, however, realize that the Luchos preceded these temptations and manipulations--and covers them from whatever angle they may be coming!


b.  Chazal (Rosh Hashanah 17B) teach of the great power of the Thirteen Middos of Rachamim found in the Parasha (Shemos 34:6,7), which are first introduced to us after the Chait HaEgel.  Indeed, their introduction to us after the Eigel indicates their great potency--as we are kept going as a nation after such a devastating aveira.  The Netziv makes an amazing point as to one of these Middos.  He writes that it is not correct to read this Middah as “Rav Chesed” and then simply continue with “Emes”, as the next Middah.  Instead, and in fact, the word “Rav” modifies BOTH Chesed and Emes--for Hashem not only provides Abundant Chesed but also Abundant Truth.  It is this Middah that we must emulate--not to allow ourselves into the singular comfort of “Rav Chesed” which we are so incredibly blessed with in K’lal Yisroel--but also to be the Rav Emes--being an overflowing source of Truth as well!


c.  The Taz asks what is the Attribute of Mercy contained in the word “Lo Yinakeh”.  We know that Yinakeh means that Hashem cleanses the sin of one who does Teshuva--but how is the Lo Yinakeh--Not Cleansing the Sin--helpful to us?  The Taz answers that it means that Hashem will not eliminate the sin and will in fact punish the sinner somewhat --but still waits for him to do Teshuva, and in the interim does not give him the punishment that he truly otherwise deserves.  There are thirteen different levels of Mercy--it is up to us to determine which levels of Mercy we will be zoche to--we do not have to be at the bottom of the class--so why should we put ourselves there?  Teshuva is a much better alternative!


d.  HaRav Moshe Rosenshein, Z’tl, approached his great Rebbe, the Mashgiach of Mir, HaRav Yeruchem Levovitz, Z’tl, and asked him to explain the Chait HaEigel to him.  After much study of the topic, HaRav Rosenshein was expecting a greatly detailed and long explanation from his Rebbe of what had transpired here.  HaRav Yeruchem answered with Two Words.  The Two Words....Yetzer Hora!  After all, could it make any sense that a people who owed so much to Moshe Rabbeinu would believe that he died--and almost immediately start to wildly party?  As we say in the Lechu Nerannena at the outset of Kabbalas Shabbos (Tehillim 95) “Va’Omar Am To’ei Levev Haim...--and I said they are a people who are mistaken of heart...”.  The Yetzer Hora’s effects were so devastating that the sin of the Golden Calf burdens us to this very day.  There is a great lesson for us all here.  If we could remind ourselves when making any daily decision that we must realize which side of the decision the Yetzer Hora is on--we can take a great step--on a daily basis--to overcoming, overriding and overruling the Chait HaEigel itself.  What an accomplishment!  What a great and enormous potential every day brings with it!





13 Adar

MISHNAYOS MESECHTA PESACHIM:  If you start on Purim (which is 30 days before Pesach) and learn just three Mishnayos a day--you will complete the entire Mishnayos Mesechta Pesachim--for Pesach! 



ANOTHER REMINDER:  As we partake of the Mishloach Manos and Seudas Purim--let us remember that we can express our thanks to Hashem for these wonderful Mitzvos through the sincere and Kavannah-filled brachos that we make over the Purim feast and gifts He has given us--oh how the day is blessed!  Dovid HaMelech (Tehillim 139:14) expresses it so beautifully:  “Odecha Al Ki Nora’os Nifleisi, Nifla’im Ma’asecha VeNafshi Yoda’as Me’od--I acknowledge You for I am so awesomely fashioned; wondrous are Your works and my soul knows it well!”



TEFILLAH AHL HAGEULAH--ON PURIM: May we suggest that on the auspicious day of Purim we recite the Tefillah Al HaGeulah we have previously distributed:  The Hebrew version by clicking here or the English version by clicking here.



A RECENT ADVERTISEMENT: The following notice appeared in an advertisement regarding Purim: “On Purim, when Tzedakah collectors enter your home, from yeshiva bochurim to elderly Rabbanim, women should be extra vigilant in maintaining a modest, inconspicuous demeanor so as not to attract attention. In the zechus of your extra vigilance in adhering to the laws of Tzniyus on this holy day, may you and your loved ones experience great blessing and reward!”



Special Note One: The following Important Halachos were provided to us by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner, Shlita:


1. Three Halachic Levels of Intoxication

Chazal classify a person who has been drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages into one of three halachic levels of intoxication.


A. High (shosuy) – he drank three or more ounces of wine or one to two ounces of whiskey, and feels relaxed and somewhat euphoric (“high”). He has minor impairment of reasoning and memory but is in control of his actions and his speech.


B. Recognizably Drunk (shikur) - i.e., to the extent that he is “unable to speak to a king.” The Poskim explain that a person is in this category when his drunkenness can be recognized by his difficulty in walking or balance, and/or if his speech is slurred. One would not want to be in a position to have to speak to his boss, and would certainly be unable to speak to a king in that condition.


C. Drunk “Like Lot” (shikur k’Lot) – i.e., he is disoriented and has inadequate comprehension of where he is or what he is doing.



2. Davening while Under the Influence

The Shulchan Aruch states that one should l’chatchilla not daven (Sh’mone Esrei or Sh’ma) if he is even just a little high. Rather, he should try to eliminate his intoxication by taking a walk, or a short nap, before endeavoring to daven. Nevertheless, on Purim some Poskim permit a person who is “high” to daven l’chatchilla, provided that he is not at the intoxication level of “recognizably drunk”. In such a case, he should take care to daven from a siddur.


According to all views, if he is at the intoxication level of “recognizably drunk” he must absolutely refrain from davening. If he insists on davening in that condition, his davening is not valid, and he must daven again when he is sober.


Thus, if after the Purim seuda one was at the level of “recognizably drunk” he should not attempt to daven maariv. Rather he should go to sleep and try to wake up before alos hashachar (72 minutes before sunrise) and daven at home. If he was unable to get up, he should daven a second Shemone Esrei at shacharis as restitution for missing maariv.


Hakhel Note: One should advise those who are in level B or C as to how to properly conduct himself as to davening.



Special Note Two: Final Important Purim Points and Pointers:


1. Mikrah Megillah: GREAT AND IMPORTANT REMINDER: When following the Megillah Reading at night and in the morning you are urged to point from word to word in order to keep yourself actively involved in following Kriyas HaMegillah.


2. Mishloach Manos:


A. Mishloach Manos must just consist of two different portions of food--they can both be meat, or any other type of food or drink (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 695:4 and Mishna Berurah there). Rabbi Shlomo Pearl, Z’tl, brings that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Braun, Z’tl, ruled that one may cut a pineapple in half, put the two halves on a plate and be Yotzei the Mitzvah! Not all would agree with this P’sak, and would require two different items. See, for example, Aruch HaShulchan, Orach Chaim 695:14.


B. Several people can ‘partner’ together for Mishloach Manos as long as there are enough portions (two per giver) i.e., 12 people can jointly send 24 items to one person and all be Yotzei the Mitzvah! (Sefer Halichos Shlomo p. 337)


C. According to the Rambam (Hilchos Megillah 2:17 ) it is preferable to increase the amount of Matanos L’Evyonim that you give over the amount of Mishloach Manos. See the moving words of the Rambam there.


D. The following are psakim of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Misloach Manos, excerpted from the Sefer Yevakshu MiPihu, which contains hundreds of Pesakim of HaRav Elyashiv relating to Purim and is available in many Seforim stores:


(i).  Each portion given should be at least a kezayis, and should be something that is viewed as chashuv. One could not, for instance, give a slice of bread and an onion and be yotzeh the Mitzvah.  However, one could give chocolates or candies--provided that there is as least a kezayis of them.


(ii).  A roll and a container of butter (or jelly) are considered two portions and one has fulfilled the mitzvah with them--but if the butter or jelly has already been spread on the bread it is only one portion. Two kinds of meat (prepared with different spices, or one cooked and the other roasted) would also be considered two different portions.


(iii).  One can be Yotzeh the Mitzvah by giving two kinds of wine, or two kinds of soda. However, one is not yotzeh the Mitzvah with water, soda water or mineral water.


(iv).  One is not yotzeh the Mitzvah with tavlin such as a container of tea bags or coffee. [The mechaber of the Sefer surmises that one could not be yotzeh with a drink of tea or coffee--for that is only a combination of two items that you cannot be yotzeh with--water and the tavlin of tea or coffee].  One could be yotzeh with a container of sugar, since it is edible as is.


(v).  One is yotzeh the Mitzvah even if the food would taste better warmed up--as long as it is edible as is.


(vi).  It is better to give items which comport with the chashivus of the giver and the receiver--but this is not me'akev, as long as the other halachos (such as those above) are satisfied.


(vii). One can fulfill the mitzvah in giving to a parent--for one should be 'BeRayus’ with them as well!


(viii).Children of age should give to their friends,  A child who is 13 years old may give to his 12 year old friend (although he is still a katan) and still be yotzeh the Mitzvah--as this is his Rayus


(ix).  One must know who sent the Mishloach Manos in order for the sender to be yotzeh (it can't be anonymous!)--otherwise there is no increase in love and friendship.


(x).It is permitted to eat in the morning before performing the Mitzvah.  However, the Mitzvah of 'Zerizin Makdimin'-- acting with alacrity when performing Mitzvos--applies to Mishloach Manos as it applies to all others!


3. Matanos L’Evyonim:


A. One can be Yotzei the Mitzvah with a check if the poor person can use it in a store. (Sefer Halichos Shlomo p. 342)


B. The Sefer Pele Yo’etz provides the following moving words regarding Matanos L’Evyonim: “It is befitting to have mercy on them, and for one to realize that just as money comes in it goes out--for the eyes of the poor look to those who are wealthier--and the eyes of the wealthier look to Hashem who will give more if the person gives more. Accordingly, if one feels weak or weakened by so much giving, he should realize that ‘Birkas Hashem Hi Ta’ashir--the bracha of Hashem will make one wealthy’, and he should strengthen himself by saying “Gibor Ani”--I am a Gibor to help those whom Hashem wants me to help--and Hashem will help them--and you!”


Hakhel Note: HaRav Naftali Kaplan, Shlita, points out that when giving, your feelings and attitude towards the fifth, tenth, fifteenth and twentieth recipient, should be no different than your feelings and attitude towards the first!


4. Seudas Purim:


A. For those of you will be making a Siyum on Mesechta Megillah or Mishnayos Megillah as part of our daily program--Mazel Tov and many more!!


B. The Rema (in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 695:2) writes that the Seudas Purim, the festive Purim meal, should commence with Divrei Torah. The Mishna Berurah (in Orach Chayim 429, seif katan 2) rules that one must begin learning about Pesach on Purim--which is exactly 30 days before Pesach. Accordingly, putting the Rema and Mishna Berurah together, it is therefore a custom to commence the Purim Seudah with a Halacha about Pesach. In this way, one also connects the Geulah of Purim to the Geulah of Pesach (see Ta’anis 29A, which states that the reason we should increase our simcha to such a great extent in Adar is because it is the commencement of both the miracles of Purim and Pesach).


C. Some have the custom of eating zaronim at the Purim Seudah, in remembrance of the food that Esther, as well as Doniel, Chananya, Mishael and Azarya had to eat while in the royal court. Some Poskim hold that Zaronim need not necessarily be beans or seeds--but can be any vegetables.


D. If a father tells his son not to get drunk on Purim, the son should listen to him--for he can fulfill the Mitzvah of drinking through drinking a little more than usual and going to sleep--and still beautifully fulfill the Mitzvas Asei D’Oryasah of Kibbud Av Va’eim! (Rabbi Shlomo Pearl, Z’tl) Hakhel Note: For a listing of Rabbi Pearl’s Shiurim visit www.SeeTorah.com


E. Let us remember an essential result of Purim--’Kiymu VeKiblu--the Jewish People reaffirmed their voluntary commitment to the Torah.’ Rashi (Shabbos 88A) importantly explains that the reason that we uniquely reaffirmed our commitment after Purim was ‘MeiAhavas HaNeis SheNa’aseh Lahem’--from the love, from the deep appreciation of the miracle that was performed on their behalf. HaRav Henoch Leibowitz, Z’tl, teaches that if we truly appreciate Purim--if we too have an Ahavas HaNeis--then each and every one of us should undertake his own Kiymu VeKiblu. At the Purim Seudah itself--one may want to Bli Neder take on his own Kiymu VeKiblu in Torah--and perhaps encourage others to do so as well. Here as an example is a simple suggestion: In the Iggeres HaRamban, the Ramban writes that when one completes his studies he should search for something that he can take with him and apply or fulfill. Make it a part of each study session--before you “close the book… or mp3 or cd” think about something that you learned and how and will it have a daily Kiyum in your life. With this you can take the Kiymu VeKiblu with you every day of the year!



Special Note Three: As we have noted in the past, the Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 690:17) writes “the children’s custom is to make an image of Haman HaRasha on sticks or stones, or to write the name of Haman HaRasha on them, and to hit them against each other, so that his name is erased…and from here comes the custom to make noise at the mention of the name of Haman HaRasha when the Megillah is read in Shul--and one should not be Mevatel (nullify) a Minhag (custom) or make light of it.”


The Mishna Berurah there (seif katan 59) writes that this is not only the Minhag of children, but of adults, as well, and adds that the Chacham Tzvi would bang with his leg at the mention of Haman HaRasha. Although many communities and Rabbonim objected to this custom as disturbing the Megillah reading and perhaps for other reasons, it is indeed reported that the Chofetz Chaim himself stomped with his foot when Haman HaRasha’s name was mentioned (Chofetz Chaim Chayav U’Poalo). The Piskei Teshuvos (6:554) notes that this was the Minhag of other Gedolei Yisrael, as well.


The Piskei Teshuvos (ibid.) brings the explanation of the Chasam Sofer as to why we have noise and disturbance--so as to demonstrate that we do not want to hear his name. We may add that we should feel the same way about other Reshaim--past and present. After all, the Posuk in Mishlei 10:7 states, “V’Shem Reshaim Yirkav--the name of the wicked shall rot.” It is one thing to take something into your mouth not knowing it was rotten, but would you let your mouth touch something knowing it was spoiled?! This is something we would most certainly be careful about. Our noise and stomping at the mention of his name are the equivalent of saying the words “Yimach Sh’mo” (we just do not want to talk during K’riyas HaMegillah)--which is like ejecting the rotten item out of your mouth. See Sefer Avudraham 2:230-231. We must recognize that Haman HaRasha’s despised name had to be written (in various ways) in the Megillah only for the very many lessons and reasons that the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah determined with their Ruach HaKodesh.


The Piskei Teshuvos (ibid.) adds from the Ba’al Shevet Mussar, Z’tl, and Rav Chaim Pilagi, Z’tl, that when we hit at the mention of Haman HaRasha’s (and according to some Minhagim, his family members’) name, Hashem makes him actually feel these smites--so that he is in tremendous pain. Why? Because the miracle of Purim happened to every Jew in every generation--after all, if Haman HaRasha’s plan had been successful, R’L, we would never have been born. Therefore, he must feel all of the smites of all Jews of all generations since Purim.

Let us appreciate Purim deeply--and literally rejoice in our salvation.



Special Note Four: Our Annual Purim Bonus Below! Over the last two weeks, we have provided questions and answers, some of which are culled together here, along with additional questions:



The following Questions and Answers are Kosher for Purim and Year-Round use:


QUESTION: In what year of the Jewish calendar did Purim occur?

ANSWER: According to Yalkut Me’am Loez, Achashveirosh came to power in the year 3392,

and Haman was hung in 3404.


QUESTION: How many years did Purim occur before Chanukah?

ANSWER: Approximately 216 years (Sefer Targum Sheini by Rav Tzvi Dov Cohen, Shlita).


QUESTION: Why isn’t the Shaim Hashem in the Megillah?

ANSWER: Many answer because Hashem’s presence is hidden in the in the subtle events of the Megillah. We may suggest that this is to teach us that we should not fool ourselves--the final battle with Amaleik was not fought then. Only when the final battle is fought before the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash will Hashem’s Name become complete. Hakhel Reminder: Chazal teach that whenever the term ‘HaMelech’ is used in the Megillah in lieu of HaMelech Achashveirosh that it also LeHavdil refers to Hashem (Esther Rabba 3:10). Look out for it and think about how!


QUESTION: How many wars between Bnei Yisrael and Amaleik are mentioned in Tanach?

ANSWER: Actually, there were at least eleven (11) battles with Amalek in Tanach, in one form or another. In the Torah--3 BATTLES: a) Shemos 17: 8 and Devorim 25:17; b) Bamidbar 14:45; and c) Bamidbar 21:1 and 33:40. In Neviim--6 BATTLES : a) Shoftim 3:13; b) Shoftim 6:3; c) Shoftim 6:33; d) Shmuel Aleph 14:48; e) Shmuel Aleph 15:3; f) Shmuel Aleph 30:1. In Kesuvim--2 BATTLES: a) Divrei HaYamim Aleph 4:43…and of course b) MEGILLAS ESTHER! It is clear that this nation has really been out to get us--but in the end we will prevail!


QUESTION: Who was the king before Achashveirosh?

ANSWER: Coresh-see first Rashi to the Megillah.


QUESTION: Who brought Mordechai from Bavel to Shushan?

ANSWER: Coresh--see Targum to Megillah 2:6.


QUESTION: Mordechai was the tenth generation to which great personage?

ANSWER: Shaul HaMelech (Targum Sheni 2:5)


QUESTION: What other name was Achashveirosh known by in Tanach?
ANSWER: Artachshaste, mentioned in Ezra 4:7. Chazal (Esther Rabbah 1:3) note and interpret each name.

QUESTION: Can you give at least three reasons why Achashveirosh made his incomparable Mishte at the outset of the Megillah?

ANSWER: 1. Because he stopped the building of the Beis HaMikdash, and he was sure the Beis HaMikdash would no longer be rebuilt. With the party, he wanted to happily demonstrate his final and complete rulership over the Jews (based upon the Alshich). 2. In honor of his birthday (Midrash Aba Gurion). 3. It was his wedding feast with Vashti, and this is why Vashti also made a party (see Targum Yonasan, Ibn Ezra, and Kad HaKemach).


QUESTION: Why does the Megillah go to such great lengths to describe the wealth of Achashveirosh’s palace and party? Why do we care?!

ANSWER: It is to teach us that if this is what those who anger Hashem receive--Kal Vachomer to those who do Hashem’s will! The G’ra (Al Derech Hapshat) adds that it is to teach that--if this is how grand Olam Hazeh is – imagine how great Olam Habah will be--after all, an hour of Olam Habah is worth all of Olam Hazeh of all time!


QUESTION: Why didn’t Achashveirosh force people to drink to join in his joy--why was there no “Oness” to drink?

ANSWER: The Megillas Sesorim (Megillah 1:8) explains that Achashveirosh wanted the Jews to sin willingly--”Kedi SheYehenu Beratzon.”


QUESTION: What did Mordechai do during the seven days of Achashveirosh’s party?

ANSWER: He served as a Sar HaMashkim, as did Haman (see Rashi to Megillah 1:8). HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, explains that he did this in order to save Bnei Yisrael from Ma’acholos Asuros. However, the Targum teaches that he wasn’t there and that he davened, and did not eat and drink, for the seven days of the party (Targum Esther  1:10  ).


QUESTION: One of the especially named attendees at the Mishte were the HaPartemim’(Esther 1:3)--what does ‘HaPartemim’ mean?
ANSWER: Some form of rulership. The Me’am Lo’ez writes that they ruled over areas near the 
Euphrates  , the  Pras   River  --hence the letters of the word Peih Reish Tes Mem Yud Mem.


QUESTION: According to the opinion that Memuchan was Haman:

(A) why was it, BeHashgacha, that he had to give the advice to kill Vashti?; and (B) Also, al pi hatevah--why would he want to kill Vashti--what did she do to him already?!
ANSWER: (A) So that he himself should be the cause for Esther to marry Achashveirosh--so that she could kill him and his sons. (B) He saw through sorcery that a queen would kill him and he thought it would be Vashti.


QUESTION: What is the significance in the fact that the Gematria of Haman and HaMelech are the same?

ANSWER: One may suggest that that this is to signify that both Achashveirosh and Haman had the same feeling of hatred towards Bnei Yisroel.


QUESTION: Why didn’t Esther relate where she was from?
ANSWER: The easy answer is, because Mordechai instructed her not to--as the Pasuk clearly states (Esther
2:20 ). As to the reason for Mordechai’s instruction, various explanations are given--including a recognition by Mordechai that perhaps some disaster was going to threaten K’lal Yisrael and her royal position would be the means of their salvation--identifying herself now as a Jew could mean an early end to her position. The Gemara (Megillah 13B) additionally indicates that, even if there was not an absolute directive by Mordechai to hide her identity, Esther herself did not want to reveal to Achashveirosh her royal ancestry (she was a descendent of Shaul HaMelech)--because of her tzniyus and anava.


QUESTION: Why was Mordechai sitting at the Sha’ar HaMelech not a ‘give away’ as to where Esther was from?

ANSWER: Daniel appointed his friends to high positions, and appointed Mordechai to be one of the people in the Sha’ar HaMelech before Esther was taken as queen (Ibn Ezra).


QUESTION: Instead of blatantly not bowing to him, why didn’t Mordechai simply avoid Haman and not go near him?

ANSWER: There are various explanations for this. The Chofetz Chaim learns that Mordechai was correcting the mistake of his ancestor Shaul HaMelech, who had compassion on Haman’s ancestor, the King of Amalek--Agag. As a result of this misplaced pity, Haman was eventually born and issued his evil edicts. Mordechai, therefore, was unyielding, and stood up to Haman like a pillar of iron refusing to give even an inch for the sake of the honor of Heaven and the honor of Klal Yisrael.


QUESTION: Why didn’t Mordechai and Esther let Achashveirosh be killed by Bigsan and Seresh so that Esther could be freed and go back to Mordechai and her people?

ANSWER: She would have been taken as the queen by the next king anyways, and Mordechai and Esther understood that a special Hatzalah of Bnei Yisrael would result from the unique circumstance of her being taken as queen.


QUESTION: Why didn’t Mordechai tell Achashveirosh of the plot of Bigsan Veseresh directly--why did he relate it through Esther?
ANSWER: He wanted Esther to be more highly regarded and more influential before the king (Yosef Lekach).


QUESTION: What was the sin committed by Bnei Yisrael that prompted the great gezeira against them?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Megillah 11A and 12A) lists three reasons: 1) a laxity in Torah study and Mitzvah observance; 2) participating in Achashveirosh’s first party in which he used the Keilim of the Beis HaMikdash, and which he hosted in celebration of the Jews not being redeemed; and 3) bowing down to the tzelem (idol) of Nevuchadnezzar and/or Haman--, which violated a prohibition of Avoda Zara. HAKHEL NOTE: We see how severe sin the first one really is, if it can be compared to such grievous sins as the second two!


QUESTION: On what day did Haman make the “Pur”?

ANSWER: The 13th day of Nisan (see Rashi to Mesechta Megillah 15A and Malbim to Esther 3:7).


QUESTION: If the Megillah says that a ‘Pur’ is simply a Goral, a lottery, why is the term ‘Pur’ used at all?

ANSWER: Pur’ indicates a lottery for the bad, whereas Goral indicates a lottery for the good (HaRav Yaakov MiLisa). Hakhel Note: Thus we see the Venahafoch Hu in the name Purim itself! Alternatively, the ‘Pur’ is a special name for the dice that Haman cast (Ya’aros Devash).


QUESTION: Why was Achashveirosh’s notice to kill the Jews issued so far--almost a year-- in advance--didn’t he realize that this would provide ample time for the Jews to act?
ANSWER: It was done at Haman’s urging so that the king would not rescind the decree, for once it was sealed with the royal seal, it could not be recalled (Malbim Manos HaLevi). Alternatively, one can suggest that Achashveirosh thought the Jews were powerless before Hashem, based on his miscalculation they were “not redeemed at the end of their 70 year exile.”


QUESTION: The Megillah records that Pashegen HaKesav’ (Esther  3:14  )--what does the word “Pashegen” mean?

ANSWER: Rashi and the Ibn Ezra write that Pashegen means: the text, the nussach, the content. Artscroll translates it as “copies” (of the document containing the decree).


QUESTION: How many humps did the Achashdranim Bnei HaRamachim have? How many legs did it have?

ANSWER: According to HaRav Yaakov Emden, Z’TL (Megillah 18A), these were a unique type of camel with two humps and eight legs, and were accordingly, exceedingly fast. Fascinatingly HaRav Emden notes that these camels were reportedly in existence in Persia even in his time. According to others, the phrase refers to a special type of mule which was driven by expert riders. (See Ibn Ezra to Esther 8:11 and Rashash to Megillah 18A).


QUESTION: In addition to his plan to kill all the Jews, what edicts did Haman immediately issue against them?

ANSWER: Chazal (Megillah 16B) teach us what the other edicts were from the Pasuk “LaYehudim Hoysa Orah…” (Esther 8:16): The additional decrees included prohibiting the study of Torah, the observance of Shabbos and Yom Tov, performing a Bris Mila and the wearing of Tefillin (see Targum Sheini).


QUESTION: Why did Esther initially refuse Mordechai’s request to appear before the king?

ANSWER: She thought that she did not have to put herself into danger without first being called by Achashveirosh, as there would be ample time over the year to speak to him, and she would probably see Achashveirosh soon as she had not seen him in 30 days.


QUESTION: Why did Mordechai emphasize to Esther that she should not be silent “Ba’eis Hazos”--at this time?

ANSWER: Because it was Nissan, the time of Geulah, and one should not wait for a different time.


QUESTION: Why did Esther ask first that the people fast for her, and then state that she and her maidens would also fast--wouldn’t it have been Derech Eretz for her to say that she would fast--and then ask them to fast too?

ANSWER: Chazal (Bava Kama 82A) teach that if one davens for his friends and needs the same thing, then he is answered first. She therefore asked them to fast for her, so that they would be answered and saved first (Maharal).


QUESTION: Why did Esther ask that everyone fast for three days?

ANSWER:  Chazal teach that Kinah (jealousy), Ta’ava (desire), and Kavod (honor seeking) take a person out of this world. Thus, one day was designated for each of these Middos, as the Zohar HaKadosh teaches that Yamim represent Middos--these three Middos that had to be corrected (Pri Tzaddik, Parashas Chukas).


QUESTION: The Megillah teaches that Esther told Mordechai that not only should the Bnei Yisrael not eat and drink for three days--but that she and her Na’aros would also fast. Yet, she said “Gam Ani Ven’aarosai Atzum Kein”--Atzum is in first person singular. What happened to her maidens--weren’t they supposed to fast as well?

ANSWER: Rav Shlomo Kluger, Z’tl, in the Sefer HaChaim explains that Esther could only state what she knew to be the truth--that she would fast. She did not know what her Na’aros would do privately and she would not say something that she did not know for certain to be the truth.


QUESTION: Who in the Megillah was smitten BeSanveirim (illusions) and how was he cured?

ANSWER: The Sefer Orah VeSimcha brings the Midrash that Achashveirosh was suffering from Sanveirim--but when Esther came to the Chatzer, Gavriel tilted the king’s head towards her and he was healed. Achashveirosh therefore put out his golden scepter to bring her closer since he was healed by seeing her.


QUESTION: Why did the tree that Haman had prepared for Mordechai have to be 50 Amos tall?

ANSWER: Haman was afraid that the noose would break, and that Mordechai would thereupon be free of the death penalty (as is the custom in all kingdoms), he thus wanted to ensure that Mordechai would die from the fall in all events (Ben Dovid). Alternatively, Haman saw Mordechai in a dream flying on top of his house. He knew that dreams have substance, so he wanted the tree to be higher than his house to ensure that this was the meaning of the dream. What the dream really meant would be (and was) that Mordechai was placed “Al Beis Haman--in charge of Haman’s house” shortly thereafter!


QUESTION: According to Chazal, how many students was Mordechai learning with when Haman came in to take him on the royal horse?

ANSWER: Twenty-two thousand. This is equivalent to the number of Malochim who escorted Hashem to Har Sinai. This perhaps demonstrates the new Kabalas HaTorah by Bnei Yisrael of Kiymu V’Kiblu…we replaced the Malochim when we accepted to Torah of our own free will!


QUESTION: How could Mordechai ask Haman for a haircut, after all it was the 16th of Nissan--the first day of Chol HaMoed?

ANSWER:  The Maharatz Chayes explains that because Mordechai was wearing sack cloth and ashes, and was about to put on royal garments, he was treated as one who had just left the Beis HaAssurim--who is permitted to take a hair cut on Chol HaMoed! 


QUESTION: Why did Esther invite Haman to her party with Achashveirosh? The Gemara gives 12 reasons and Eliyahu HaNavi (as quoted in the Gemara) confirms that Esther had all 12 of them in mind. Can you name at least three?

ANSWER: The Gemara may be found in Megillah 15B. Here are several reasons: a) she wanted Achashveirosh to suspect that she and Haman were plotting together against him; b) she wanted the Jews not to be overconfident with her political abilities to get them out of their life threatening situation--by her inviting Haman to the party(!), they would daven with even greater intensity; c) she wanted all the other ministers to be jealous of Haman and so unite against him; d) she wanted Haman to be available to trip himself up in some way ; e) so that Achashveirosh would not realize that she was Jewish prior to the party ; and f) so that Hashem would have special mercy on her--seeing that she, a Nevia and a Tzadekes, would have to be in the same room with this arch-enemy of the Jews.


QUESTION: At the first Mishte--Esther’s request was that Achashveirosh and Haman come back for a second Mishte--why couldn’t she accomplish her goal at the first Mishte?

ANSWER: Esther did not sense any change that had occurred in K’lal Yisrael’s situation at the time--and she was expecting to see a sign that the Tefillos and fasts were accepted. Indeed, the next morning brought Haman parading Mordechai through the streets of the capital--the sign was there! (Ibn Ezra) Alternatively, the Chasam Sofer explains that Amaleik is defeated by “Machar”--you wait until ‘tomorrow’ in order to defeat them (see Rashi to Shmuel I 30:17).


QUESTION: Esther told Achashveirosh “She’eilasi U’Vakashasi”.  What is the difference between a She’eilah and a Bakasha

ANSWER:  Some explain that a She’eilah is for the short term, and Bakasha is for the long term.  It is for this reason that Esther later said “Nafshi V’She’eilasi VeAmi BeVakashasi” (7:3)--for it was the nation’s long term future that was at stake, not only the life of Esther. 


QUESTION: For how long was Haman hung on the tree?

ANSWER: From 16 Nisan--until 14 Adar of the next year. This was for the world to see that the Bnei Yisrael were not to be killed but respected. Finally, on the 14th of Adar almost a year later, his sons were hung on the gallows below him (Shailos U’Teshvous Torah LeShma 321, based upon the Targum Sheni).


QUESTION: Why is Haman specifically called an Agagi (8:3) when Esther pleads with Achashveirosh to reverse his decree after Haman was hanged?

ANSWER: The Bnei Yissaschar explains that usually when a ruler dies, his decrees are nullified, as his death is viewed as a sign that the decree was inappropriate. However, because Haman was an Agagi and not really from the ruling authority of Paras U’Madai, the decree was not nullified, and Esther had to make a special appeal.


QUESTION: Agag and Haman each had a son with the same name--what was it?

ANSWER: Veyzasa (see Esther 9:9 and Targum Sheni).


QUESTION: Which son of Haman was hung on the lowest rung of the gallows, hanging just an Amah above the ground?

ANSWER: Veyzasa (Targum Sheini 9:14 ). There is a reason for everything--even as to how and where each of our enemies are punished--otherwise Chazal would not record it. We similarly find at the Yam Suf that the Mitzriyim were punished in different ways (being treated in the waters as lead, stones, or straw, depending upon how they treated the Bnei Yisrael). Everything has a Cheshbon--everything!


QUESTION: What was the special cause of VeHa’ir Shushan Tzhala VeSameicha (and the city of  Shushan  rejoiced)--how was Shushan’s Simcha different from the Jews’ Simcha of Layehudim Hoysa Orah VeSimcha...?
ANSWER: Not only were the Jews happy, but those who respected true justice were happy as well. When Haman’s decree was first issued, the city of 
Shushan  was Navocha--they were confused (Manos HaLevi). This was a direct fulfillment of the Pasuk teaches “Birvos Tzaddikim Yismach Ha’am…when the righteous become great the people will rejoice, when the wicked men rule the people sigh.” (Mishlei 29:2) Alternatively, the term “VeHa’ir Shushan” indicates that not only did the people rejoice, but even the inanimate objects of the city--the trees and rocks also rejoiced together with the rejoicing of Mordechai HaTzaddik.


QUESTION: Why did Achashveirosh suddenly turn from a Jew-hater into a king who provided a royal decree helping the Jews to quash all of their enemies?

ANSWER:  The Sefer Ya’aros Devash explains that Achashveirosh, through necromancy, learned that his successor as king would be a Jew.  He bitterly hated the Jews for this reason, for he assumed that they would rebel against him and take over his throne.  When he learned that Esther was a Jew--he realized that his son Daryavesh--a Jew--would be the next king, and he was greatly relieved and pleased that the rulership would stay in his ‘family’.


QUESTION: Why is Charvona “Zachor Latov”?

ANSWER: Some learn that the officer Charvona is spelled earlier in the Megillah with an “Aleph”, and later in the Megillah with a “Hey” (when he tells Achashveirosh about Haman’s tree) because it is actually not the same person. Earlier in the Megillah ( 1:10 ) he is an officer of Achashveirosh. Later, it is Eliyahu HaNavi, merely posing as Charvona, who we remember for the good. Others learn that the officer Charvona had Hirhurei Teshuva, and is thus remembered for the good.


QUESTION: How many mishtaos, or parties, are mentioned all-told in the Megillah?

ANSWER: Six--a) the Mishte of Achashveirosh for all of Persia; b) the additional Mishte which Achashveirosh made for seven days for just Shushan; c) the separate Mishte of Vashti; d) the Mishte made by Achashveirosh when Esther became queen; e) the first Mishte among Esther, Achashveirosh and Haman; f) the next day--the second Mishte among Esther, Achashveirosh and Haman. If that isn’t enough, the Megillah separately records that Haman and Achashveirosh sat down separately simply “to drink” when the King’s initial order against the Jews was sent out (Esther  3:15  )!


QUESTION: How many people were hanged in the course of the Megillah?

ANSWER: 13--Haman, his ten sons, Bigsan, and Seresh.


QUESTION: Name two evil people in the Megillah whose names rhyme.

ANSWER: Zeresh and Seresh (Seresh, one of the infamous plotters whose plan was overheard by Mordechai).


QUESTION: Why did Esther request of the king that the Bnei Yisrael be given an extra day to fight their enemies in Shushan (Megillah 9:13 )?

ANSWER:  The Megillas Sesarim (HaRav Yaakov MeLisa--the Nesivos) writes that Shushan had more Kedusha in it because the Sanhedrin was there, and because Mordechai was a Navi. When Haman’s Gezeira was put into effect the Kedusha was lost, and could not return until the Tumah was eradicated. Esther saw that the Ruach HaKodesh had not yet come back, so she understood that the Tumah in the city was still there. Accordingly, the 10 sons of Haman had to be hung, the other Amaleikim in the city obliterated--and the Kedusha then returned!


QUESTION:  What happened to Zeresh?

ANSWER:  Well, first of all, we curse her every year--”Arura Zeresh Aishes Mafchidi”. The Targum ( 9:14 ) writes that she ran away with 70 of her sons, and they became beggars. A Rav taught that this was truly a tremendous punishment--for not only is an ani considered like a mais--but she lived to see Mordechai the Jew in control of all Haman’s property and possessions.


QUESTION:  What happened to all of Haman’s possessions?

ANSWER:  The Midrash (Shocher Tov 22) teaches that Haman’s money was distributed as follows: 1/3 to Mordechai and Esther, 1/3 to those involved in Torah study, and 1/3 toward reconstruction of the Beis Hamikdash. What a V’Nahafoch Hu!


QUESTION: Why do the unwalled cities and walled cities have different days for observing Purim?

ANSWER: The Shoel U’Maishiv brings the Ramban who writes that the walled city dwellers didn’t sense the miracle as much because they thought that they were secure in their walled cities--and Mordechai and Esther got them to understand that the miracle very much applied to them as well! Do you think you’re secure because you have an alarm system?...


QUESTION: If you rearrange the letters of “Shushan”, what does it spell?

ANSWER: “Sasson”--or happiness!


QUESTION: Identify six instances of Middah K’neged Middah that appear in the Megillah.

ANSWER: a) Vashti made Jewish girls who were her captives work for her unclothed--and so she was ordered to come before the king unclothed (Megillah 12B); b) Haman was hung on the tree that he prepared for Mordechai; c) Bigsan and Seresh wanted to kill the king, yet they were killed instead; d) The Jews ate and drank at Achashveirosh’s party, so they were forced to fast for three days; e) Haman wanted everyone to bow to him--at the penalty of death, and in the end Achashveirosh ordered him to be killed--because he fell before Esther; and f) Mordechai put on sackcloth and ashes on his head over what Haman had decreed, and in the end, took over Haman’s position, wearing the royal apparel and a large gold crown.


QUESTION: What famous American object has the same gematria as “Amaleik”? What can you learn from that?

ANSWER: Amaleik has the same gematria as “dollar”--both have the numerical equivalent of 240. As far as the lesson, we will only point to Amaleik’s grandfather--Esav--and his passion for money and worldly goods. We leave other lessons up to you.


QUESTION: Which cities in Eretz Yisrael (and outside it) today would read the Megillah on two days--the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar because of a doubt as to whether they were walled from the time of Yehoshua Bin Nun?

ANSWER: According to the Sefer Adar U’Purim by HaRav Yoel Schwartz, Shlita: Among the cities--In Eretz Yisrael: Chevron, Yafo, Gush Chalav, Akko , Tzefas, Lod, Shechem and Teveria (which is a separate issue--See Megillah 5B). In Chutz La’Aretz:  Damascus  and  Baghdad  .


QUESTION: What are the last five seforim in Tanach?

ANSWER: According to the printed Tanach, the last five Seforim are the Megillos of Koheles and Esther, followed by Daniel, Ezra-Nechemia and Divrei HaYamim. However, the Gemara in Bava Basra 14B-15A lists the following as the last Seforim of Tanach: Eichah (describing the Churban), followed by Daniel, Megillas Esther, Ezra-Nechemia and Divrei HaYamim. This second listing is, obviously, also chronological, as Sefer Daniel discusses periods prior to the events of Megillas Esther.


QUESTION: Who in the Megillah sought after the peace of one person and was rewarded with being Zoche to seek the peace of his entire people?

ANSWER: The Megillah teaches that Mordechai went “Lidrosh Es Shlom Esther” (  2:11  ). Chazal teach that Hashem said “You went to seek the peace of one person--in this merit you will seek the peace of your entire nation--Vedover Shalom Lechol Zaro.” (Esther Raba 6:6). What a great lesson--how great it is to seek someone else’s peace--think about to where it can lead! Perhaps our Mishloach Manos and Matanos L’Evyonim are to serve as our jump start in seeking the peace of others!


QUESTION: How many words are there in the “Al Hanisim” of Purim?

ANSWER:  In Nusach Ashkenaz, there are 68. HaRav Yaakov Emden in his Siddur writes that 68 is the Gematria of “Chaim”--and we thank Hashem for the life he granted us at that time--which has its life-bearing effects to this day, which will continue forever and ever!


QUESTION: Why do we refer to the giving of gifts as Mishloach Manos, and not merely as Shlo’ach Manos? 

ANSWER:  The letter mem means ‘from’.  The Pasuk states ‘Mishloach Manos Ish L’Rei’aihu U’Matanos LaEvyonim’ (Esther  9:22 ).  The goal is that from dedicated Mishloach Manos will result sincere Matanos LaEvyonim as well!


QUESTION:  True or false?  In order to fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloach Manos, you must give two different foods that have two different Brachos.

ANSWER:  False.  Mishloach Manos must just consist of two different portions of food--they can both be meat, or any other type of food or drink (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 695:4 and Mishna Berurah there).


QUESTION:  What did the G’ra send for Mishloach Manos?

ANSWER:  The Sefer Ma’aseh Rav (249) provides the answer: Cooked chicken and cooked fish, and similar ready-to-eat items.


QUESTION: How can one fulfill the principle of Nosei BeOl Im Chaveiro by accepting Mishloach Manos?

ANSWER:  The Torah Jew generally does not like to receive gifts as that Pasuk teaches, Sonei Matanos Yichyeh.  Thus, by accepting another’s gift to help him fulfill the Mitzvah, one is overcoming his overall hesitancy to accept gifts!



QUESTION: What is the source for the wearing of costumes on Purim?

ANSWER:  The Sefas Emes explains that after Achashveirosh’s second decree in favor of the Jews, many people dressed up as Jews (Misyahadim) in order to save their lives.  We dress up to remind ourselves of how they dressed up--to be like us!


 QUESTION:  Why were two days of Purim necessary --Purim itself and Shushan Purim, after all, was not the majority of the miracle completed by the 14th of Adar?

ANSWER:  Perhaps the most common answer to this question is that with Shushan Purim we give special Kavod to the cities of Eretz Yisroel, as Shushan Purim is celebrated in cities walled from the time of Yehoshua ben Nun--which included many cities in Eretz Yisroel.  The Chasam Sofer, however, explains that since people are so busy with the Mitzvos of the day, there may not be as much Torah learning on Purim as there is on other days.  Accordingly, Purim is ‘split’ into two days--so that there will be Torah studied in one place, when it is not studied in another!



Special Note Five:  As we move through Purim Day, we should remind ourselves of the words of the Arizal (found in the Pri Eitz Chaim) that EVERY Purim the Neis of Mordechai and Esther is re-aroused. What a day--what an experience!






12 Adar

ALREADY IN THE MIDST! The Luach Davar B’Ito brings from Rebbi Yitzchak MiVorka, Z’tl, that the three days before Purim correspond to the three days before Shavuos--the Sheloshes Yemei Hagbalah--and the more that a person purifies himself to receive the Torah of Purim--Kiymu V’Kiblu--the more he will succeed. Let’s get to work!



A TIME OF GIVING!  This week’s Parasha, Ki Sisah, begins with the zechus of giving money to the right causes--with one’s Shekalim being used for great and lofty purposes.  Chazal (Bava Basra 9B) teach that one who gives charity to a person in need is blessed with Six Brachos--as rooted and demonstrated by the Pesukim in Sefer Yeshaya.  What an incredible rate of return! It really is much better, however, for Chazal add--based upon a continuation of the words of the Navi Yeshaya--that one who is Mefayso BiDevarim, one who appeases the poor person with kind words and an uplifting spirit receives an Additional Eleven Brachos--so that if one gives money--and on top of that provides words of support and encouragement--He is Zoche to Seventeen Brachos! With this, we should begin to appreciate what our “Shekalim” do not only for the Ani--but for our very own Ruchniyus.  Our giving to others--is a gift to us from Hashem.  So let us be careful  as we begin to give over the next several days--and always give with the right attitude!



A GREAT PURIM IDEA!  Because of the well known great power of prayer on Purim, some Shuls will be reciting the entire Sefer Tehillim together.  In Flatbush, for instance, Khal Zichron Mordechai (Rabbi Sherer’s Shul) will be reciting Tehillim BeTzibbur on Purim night (Motza’ei Shabbos) at 10:30PM .  The address of the Shul is 2645 Nostrand Avenue (between L and M).




1. What group was not invited to Achashveirosh’s party at the outset of the Megillah--and what Mitzvah do we do on Purim to ‘pacify them’ for having to suffer through the decree--which was a punishment for enjoying the party?


2 If the decree to bow down to Haman was actuallythe King’s edict (Esther 3:2)--why didn’t the king himself enforce it against Mordechai--after all, Mordechai was not obeying the king’s orders at the king’s gate!


3. Chazal teach that in the Megillah the name Hassach refers to Doniyel. Doniyel--who was thrown into the lion’s den because he didn’t obey Nebuchadnezzer’s decree to bow down--would certainly would not have bowed down here either. Why was Haman only outraged at Mordechai?


4. Why did Mordechai--who himself was on the Sanhedrin--allow Esther to choose what Bnai Yisroel should do--fast and daven for three days. Why did he not make the determination as a Gadol HaDor?  Additionally, why did Esther choose 3 days--if a person can survive for seven days without food?


5. Did Esther ever mention the wicked Vashti to Achashveirosh? Hint: See Megillah 16A



Special Note One:  Thoughts for Ta’anis Esther:


1.  There is a special inyan to recite Tehillim Chapter 22 on Ta’anis Esther and Purim, for this is the Kepitel recited by Esther herself upon entering Achashveirosh’s throne room uninvited (See Kav HaYashar 97). The Kav HaYashar adds that when we gather on Ta’anis Esther in Shul to daven, we are considered to be in the “Chatzar HaMelech”--and “Bevadai”, surely through our Selichos and Tefillos we arouse Mordechai HaTzaddik and Esther HaMalka--who will “certainly join” in our Tefillos. Accordingly, he writes, that Ta’anis Esther is a day which is “MESUGAL ME’OD” for our tefillos to be accepted in the zechus of Mordechai V’Esther. “One who needs mercy from Hashem should recite Tehillim Chapter 22, and then pour his heart out to Hashem for the mercy he needs--especially mentioning the Zechus of Mordechai and Esther in whose Zechus the Sha’arei Rachamim should be opened and his Tefillos should be accepted.


Additional Note One: The Luach Davar B’Ito writes that we should recite Chapter 22 at Mincha--for Mincha is an Eis Ratzon. 


2.  In a similar vein, HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, explains that an intrinsic part of Purim is, as the Megillah ( 9:31 ) records, the Divrei Tzomos VeZa’akasam--our fasts and our cries to Hashem.  In fact, HaRav Friedlander writes, that Mordechai understood that the Jews would be saved--and knew that their salvation would come about through their gathering together for Tefillah. Esther appears to have come to this same conclusion independently, as she responded to Mordechai:  Leich Kenos…Vetzumu Alai” (Esther 4:16 ).  The resulting yeshuos contained in the Megillah proved Mordechai and Esther correct. HaRav Friedlander teaches that every year this very same power is re-instilled at the very same time--and this is why the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah directed us to engage in tzom and tefillah as well--so that we too can attain the Yeshuos that we need--and B’EH the Geulah Sheleimah!  


Additional Note Two:  The G’ra holds that this Chapter is actually the Shir Shel Yom for Purim itself.


3.  In the past, a flyer was distributed with the bracha of Rebbetzin Kanievsky, a’h, urged women on Ta’anis Esther to recite Tehillim Chapters 28, 32, 79, 92, and 22, followed by Acheinu Kol Bais Yisrael. Hakhel Note: The Chasam Sofer writes that the Megillah especially teaches that Mordechai expressed a “Tze’akah Gedolah U’Marah” when he heard the tragic news. In the end, however, his pleas and the pleas of his people turned the decree 180 degrees. This should teach us that whatever the situation, Hashem is in control, and the Tze’akah Marah can unbelievably change to Tzahalah V’Simcha!


4.  The Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah (Sha’ar 12: Perek 3) writes that one should increase his Torah study on Ta’anis Esther…perhaps you can learn just a little more in honor of this great day?


5.  When contributing Machatzis HaShekel, one should say “Zecher L’Machatzis HaShekel”--this is the remembrance of the Machatzis HaShekel, so as not to leave the impression that this is an actual contribution to the Bais HaMikdash, which was given at this time of year. (Luach Eretz Yisrael of Rav Tukchinsky Z’tl).  The Luach Davar B’Ito suggests that the Machatzis HaShekel be given after Mincha. 


6. The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 686, seif katan 2) writes that the fast commemorates the fasting of the Jews as they went to battle their enemies on the 13th day of Adar, for we can be sure that on a day of war the Jews fasted--knowing that their victory was completely in Hashem’s hands.  [Oh--what the difference is between a Jewish army and the army of akum!]  The Mishna Berurah then continues about Ta’anis Esther: “It is called Ta’anis Esther so that we remember that Hashem Yisborach sees and listens to each person in his time of trouble when he fasts and returns to Hashem with all of his heart, as was done at that time.” We must not lose sight of the fact that Teshuva is a tremendously important part of the day.


7.  Let us remember that Chazal teach (Brachos 6B) Igra D’Tanisa Tzedkasa--to give Tzedaka on a Taanis!  The Yad Eliezer matching fund for the Talmidei Chachomim is still available--http://www.yadeliezer.org/



Special Note Three:  We are privileged to present below many Pesakim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, relating to Purim from the expanded version of Kovetz Halachos for Purim, by his close Talmid, Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. 




A. Each time one gives Mishloach Manos, he fulfills the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manos.  The two items of Mishloach Manos must be of two different species--so that one would not fulfill the Mitzvah by giving the top and the bottom of a piece of chicken, a red and green apple, or white wine and red wine--even though they may have different tastes.  A salad, even if it contains several different vegetables, is considered one portion.


B. Mishloach Manos should be of a Shiur which one usually honors a guest with in his home.  The food or drinks supplied should be a davar chashuv.  Even though if one gives a few chips or candies it would not be a davar chashuv--if one gives an entire bag or box, the individual items collectively, would be considered a davar chashuv. The item being sent should be based upon the recipient--so one who is sending to a minor could give cake and candies, and these would be chashuv in his eyes.  Water or seltzer would not be considered chashuv, but other drinks could be.  Spices and condiments are not considered valid manos--for they are not eaten by themselves, but only used to aid other foods.  Ketchup and mustard would likewise not be a valid item for Mishloach Manos.  One can send an item to his friend who may not be able to eat it because he is allergic, as other members of his family could eat it in his stead.  The items sent must be ready-to-eat, and therefore could not consist of raw fish or meat, a coffee container, or tea bags, all of which require further preparation.  Both portions of the Mishloach Manos must be delivered at the same time, and cannot be delivered one after the other. 


C.  If one delivers Mishloach Manos to another who is not home and leaves it by the door and does not tell him--and the recipient returns home after Purim--he is not Yotzei the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manos with that person.  However, if a person sends Mishloach Manos before Purim and it arrives on Purim, he is Yotzei the Mitzvah. Similarly, if one leaves Mishloach Manos at his friend’s door Purim night and his friend discovers it in the morning, one is Yotzei Mishloach Manos.


D.  If one gives Mishloach Manos to a mumar who is Mechalel Shabbos, he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah [giving food to someone who will not make a bracha on it is a separate issue, and the topic should be reviewed with one’s Rav or Posek].  If an adult sends Mishloach Manos to a minor--he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah.


E.  It is a Machlokes HaPoskim whether a person who purchases a utensil in order to give it to his friend as a present is considered as if he ‘is doing business’ with the utensil, in which case it would not require tevilah while in his possession.  Indeed, according to the Taz, the giver cannot tovel the item--the tevilah does not help--and the bracha is a bracha levatalah, for the recipient must tovel the item.  HaRav Kamenetsky, however, holds that when one buys an object with the intent of giving it to his friend, it is considered as if he is buying it for himself, and it is considered his--it is just that he intends in the future to give it to his friend.  Accordingly, he would be able to tovel the utensil, and give it to his friend. Hakhel Note:  Based upon this Machlokes HaPoskim, one resolution may be to put a sticker on the utensil stating that it is ‘Not Toveled’.  In all events, one should consult with his Rav or Posek as to the proper method for delivering Mishloach Manos--when giving a utensil with it. 


F.  Once a child has reached a basic level of understanding, then a boy should not be dressed as a girl, nor a girl as a boy.


G.  As brought in the Rema to Shulchan Aruch, one should learn Torah immediately prior to the Purim Seudah, since the Pasuk states “LaYehudim Haysa Orah V’Simcha”--the light of Torah must precede the Simcha of the meal because it brings a person to true Simcha.  It is not sufficient for a person to rely on his study of Torah in the morning [such as at Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik!].


H.  Women are equally as obligated in the Seudah as men.  Women should also drink a little bit (a revi’is or less) of wine, and can also be Yotzei with grape juice instead of wine.  However, there is no obligation for children under Bar/Bas Mitzvah to drink even grape juice.  It is, in all events, forbidden for anyone to become drunk.  Hakhel Note:  HaRav Kamenetsky’s lesson is clear--our Seudah should be graced only by the Yetzer Hatov and the Torah atmosphere that Mordechai HaTzadik and Esther HaMalka were ready to give their lives for--and would be so proud of!


Additional Note:  As Mishloach Manos time draws nearer and nearer, we are reminded not to forget the Bain Odom LaMakom when beautifully performing this great Mitzvah of Bain Odom LeChaveiro.  This means that especially meaningful brachos should be made upon the Manos received.  One point:  If you received a small cookie and a large, but sliced piece of cake, and you intend to eat both, which item would you make the Borei Minei Mezonos on?  The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 168:1) rules that it is more chashuv to make a bracha on a shalem--on a whole, uncut item even if it is smaller--than to make a bracha on a non-whole item--even if it larger.  One can also deduce the obvious mussar lessons from this as well!



11 Adar


A.  Give two examples in the Megillah where Hashem provided for the Refuah before the Makkah.

B.  Esther told Achashveirosh that the decrees against the Jewish people were Lehashmid LeHarog U’Le’abeid.  This means that we were saved from three different decrees--what were they? 

C.  There is a dispute among Tanaim as to where the Megillah needs to be read from.  According to Rebbi Yehuda--from where must we begin to read? Hint:  Note Rebbi Yehuda’s name.

D.  The Megillah contains the phrase Rochvei HaRechesh (Esther 8:10)--what does the word HaRachesh mean?

E.  It is a Minhag Yisrael to eat hamantaschen.  Why--did Haman have bizarre ears? a strange wallet? weird pockets? What is the basis of the Minhag?



THE ELEVENTH!  Today is the 11th day of Adar--the first day mentioned in Mesechta Megillah (2A) that the Megillah could be read under certain circumstances. Do you feel greater Simcha coming on? If not…start working on it!




Special Note One:  We cannot pass up the following closing note on last week’s Parasha: Two articles of the Kohen Gadol which had to stay together when worn-- were the Choshen and the Aifod--the breastplate and the apron.  Thus, the Choshen was tied on all four corners to the Aifod.  This requires some explanation.  After all, the Choshen was intended to provide forgiveness for the sin of “Kilkul Hadin--perverting justice.”  On the other hand, the Aifod was to provide forgiveness for the sin of Avoda Zara.  Why did these two articles--which brought about kapara for such diverse sins need to be tied together? 


HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, explains that these two aveiros are very much “connected”, for they both involve the grave sin of kefira--denial of Hashem.  When one worships Avoda Zara, even if he joins it with service of Hashem, he is denying Hashem’s Omnipotence.  So too, with someone who deals dishonestly in monetary matters.  If he feels that he can outsmart his colleague, customer or competitor, if he purchases a product with “shtick” in order to save money, if he takes advantage of a particular situation “because everybody does”, or if he gently pads his billable hours---all of these provide indication that the person believes that he is in control of his financial destiny--that it is he, his mental prowess, or his technical skill, who will determine whether he is or will be poor, middle-class or wealthy.  We are therefore, enjoined to always remember to keep the Choshen together with the Aifod--for we must always realize that just as we would never, ever, think of worshipping an idol, or the sun, or the stars in any form or manner--for that matter, so, too, should we never, ever cheat, lie or steal in any form or manner in our lives.



Special Note Two:  We provide additional points and pointers for Purim:


1.  The essence of Purim is the realization that “Ain Od Milevado.”  This means that everything that preceded this world’s existence, that everything that currently exists, and that everything that will exist forever and ever is Hashem and His Will.  Indeed, the name of the holiday Purim, indicates that something as ‘by chance’ as a lottery is under the sole and complete jurisdiction of Hashem. 


2.  The Chofetz Chaim, Z’tl, writes in a published letter (Michtevei Chofetz Chaim 20):  “We all know very clearly that Hashem can bring the Geulah BeChol Regah V’Regah--at any moment--as in the times of Mordechai and Esther the complete Geulah happened overnight.  This is actually an explicit Posuk recorded in the last Navi, Malachi:  Ki Pisom Yavoh El Heichalo--for He will suddenly come to His Sanctuary.’  We have to be ready always!”  Hakhel Note:  Teshuva Bechol Yom--for each and every one of us!


3.  As noted above, an essential part of Purim Day is Kiymu V’Kiblu.  This does not only refer to all of Klal Yisrael’s voluntary acceptance of the Torah--but to each individual’s rededication to Torah as well.  Every person should view it as part of his Simchas Purim, as part of his Purim mandate, to rededicate himself to Torah study.  Hakhel Note:  We will all be pressured for time over the next month, with many demands and obligations upon us.  The Chofetz Chaim teaches that when one keeps his set time for study without fail, and in the case of a ‘Dochak Gadol’ makes up his studies within the day, then a “Kedusha Gedolah Venora’ah--a great and awesome Kedusha rests on him every single time he learns in this way.  Let us not forget this Kedusha Gedolah Venora’ah every time that we keep our set time for learning.  We suggest that our Kiymu V’Kiblu this Purim involve a special effort in this regard.  Remember the words of the Chofetz Chaim--Kedusha Gedolah Venora’ah--on you!


4.  Based upon the teaching of the Mirrer Mashgiach, HaRav Yeruchem Levovitz, Z’tl, on Purim, one should endeavor to give Mishloach Manos not only to your relative, your best friend or your neighbor, but also to someone whom you are a little bit “on the outs” with, or with whom you do not speak enough, or with whom you have a somewhat cool relationship for various reasons, or for a particular reason, or for no reason at all. Now--today--is the time to think about who this person or those people will be…there is no better time to break the ice--or even to warm the cool water--by knocking on someone’s door unsolicited with a smile and a colorful Mishloach Manos. What better way could there be to dispel the claims of Haman HaRasha that we are “a dispersed and separated people”? Anyone who dislikes coolness, discord or dispute between two groups or even within one group of our people should also move to eliminate it from within himself and his family, as well. So…get ready, practice and rehearse--knock on that door…and “PURIM SAMEACH”-”A FREILICHIN PURIM”-”HAPPY PURIM”!


5.  We provide by clicking here a flyer relating to The Power of Purim that has been distributed for many years. Please feel free to distribute and redistribute!


In a very similar vein, by clicking here you will find an important message that is being distributed by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation.

Hakhel Note: Dovid HaMelech teaches us in Hallel (Tehillim 116:1 et. al.) “Ahavti Ki Yishma Hashem Es Koli Tachanunai…Dalosi Veli Yehoshia--I love Him, for Hashem hears my voice, my supplications…I was brought low, but He saved me.” Chazal teach that even when we are poor in Mitzvos, Hashem saves us through our Tefillos--let us activate our Koach HaTefillah on Purim--and urge others to do so as well!  


Additional Note:  It is fascinating to note that Rav Amram Gaon writes that the Minhag in the two main Yeshivos during the time of the Geonim, Sura and Pumbedisa, was to actually recite Tachanun on Purim--”for it is a day of miracles, and upon which we were redeemed, and so we must ask for mercy that we will be redeemed in the end in the same way that we were initially redeemed.”  As we will soon enter the period between the Geulah of Purim and the Geulah of Mitzrayim, a time in which for the next two weeks we will all be reciting Tachanun and/or other prayers for Geulah, we should be very mindful to recite them with strong and special Kavannah because, without mincing words, it is, simply stated, a time of Geulah.  Everyone should try and keep a daily record, or at least a real mental note, of the special and sincere prayers he has made for the Geulah during this auspicious period.



Special Note Three:  We once again present below many Pesakim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, relating to Purim from the expanded version of Kovetz Halachos for Purim, by his close Talmid, Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. 





A. Even if one is exempt from fasting because of illness, he should minimize the amount of food and drink that he consumes on the Ta’anis.  A pregnant woman and a nursing woman may consume regular amounts, as necessary.


B. If one intends to rise early on Ta’anis Esther and eat before Alos Hashachar, he must start his Seudah at least a half hour before Alos, although it is permissible to eat less than a Kebeitzah within the half hour period.


C. Before one touches his Megillah, he should wash his hands (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 147:1).


D. When Chazal teach that a person who does melacha on Purim will not see a siman bracha from it, this does not refer to permissible melacha--such as a dovor ho’avad (matters relating to preventing a financial loss) and melacha for simcha.  Additionally, one is permitted to cut his hair and nails and do laundry.


E. It is best if women go to Shul to hear the Megillah read BeTzibbur.  If one has a wife, a son who has reached the age of Chinuch, and a baby in the house--who should go to Shul--his wife, or the older child?  It would appear better for the wife to stay home (and hopefully hear the Megillah together with ten women later) and that he should bring his son to Shul to fulfill the Mitzvah of chinuch (BeRov Am).


F. If someone knows that he will not be able to hear every word in Shul, and will have to make up the words he does not hear from a Chumash (which is only Bedi’eved)--it is better to make a smaller Minyan in one’s home and be yotzeh LeChatchila by hearing every word from a Megillah.  However, if one will be forced to read or hear the Megillah without a Minyan, it is better to go to Shul and make up the words from one’s Chumash when necessary.


G. If a person was unable to hear the Megillah at night, he cannot make it up by hearing the Megillah two times during the day.  If one person didn’t hear the Megillah, and finds nine people who agree to listen again even though they were already yotzeh, it is still called Megillah B’Tzibbur, which is Pirsumei Nissah!


H. If a person senses that he lost his focus on the Megillah, he should read from his Chumash from the place where he lost his focus until he catches up to the Ba’al Kriyah.  This holds true for both men and women.  It is for this reason that it is best to have one’s own Kosher Megillah, and to lein the Megillah together with the Chazan.  Indeed, if one is uncertain whether he missed one word of the Megillah (either at night or during the day), he must hear the entire Megillah reading again.


I. One does not fulfill his Seudas Purim with a Seudah that he eats on Leil Purim.  Nevertheless, at night, one should have candles burning, the table set, eat a meal with bread, although he does not need to eat meat.  One should also drink a little wine, but there is no Mitzvah at all at night to drink beyond that.


J. One can be Yotzei the Mitzvah of Matanos L’Evyonim with a check even if it is postdated, because one can use the check in payment or otherwise negotiate it to someone else.


K.  In a footnote, Rabbi Kleinman brings from the Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah that one who gives freely on Purim makes ‘Tekunim Gedolim BeOlamos HaElyonim HaKedoshim’.  One fulfills Matanos L’Evyonim if he gives Tzedaka to a Katan and if he gives Tzedaka anonymously. 


L.  A woman can be Yotzei her Matanos L’Evyonim through her husband’s giving, but it is better for her husband to tell her that he is giving on her behalf.


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