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
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 TefillahMay
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
-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 DAYONE:When
did the Geulah take place--on the night of the fifteenth, or the day of the
fifteenth? Hint: See Ramban on Ibn Ezra to Shemos 12:31,
QUESTION OF THE DAY
was the first person to say “Halleluka
Hallelu Avdei Hashem”?
QUESTION OF THE DAY
a majority of the Tzibbur was not Tamei
Mais, and if the Kohanim were not Tamei--but
the K’li Shareis were Tamei--would
the Korban Pesach be brought?Hint-see
Rambam, Hilchos Korban Pesach 7:1.
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
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
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
H.Although we do not eat the Maror B’heseiba because it is zecher
l’avdus, the Mishna Berurah rules that one may nevertheless eat it
I.One should be sure to drink a revi’is of the fourth cup--as he is
making a bracha achrona of Al Hagefen after this cup.
One:As Pesach approaches, we
provide the following important notes:
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.”
Pesach is a time when we are machmir,
where we follow stringencies because of the force the Torah puts into Pesach
itself, with 8 Mitzvos D’Oraisa in our time (and 24 in the times of the
Bais Hamikdash--may it be rebuilt for this Pesach). Its tremendous
significance is underscored by Yetzias Mitzraim being referred to 50 times
in the Torah. For further elaboration on its relevance to our daily
lives, please review the famous last Ramban in Parashas Bo.
word “Mah” is traditionally translated simply as “what.” However,
Rabbi Meir Schuck, Z’tl, offers a more penetrating and insightful
definition of the word. Rabbi Schuck cites three well-known uses of
the word “Mah.” Yaakov Avinu, upon reaching the place of the
future Beis Hamikdash exclaimed: ”Mah
Nora Hamakom Hazeh--What an awesome place this is!” Similarly,
on the night of the Seder the young child calls out “Mah
Nishtana Halayla Hazeh--what is so different about this night?”
Indeed, 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.
is one positive commandment that pervades and invigorates every day of Yom
Tov--the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov. Every day--including each day of
Chol HaMoed--is a separate Mitzvas Aseh! Let us now consider how to actually best fulfill this daily Mitzvah for
ourselves and for others--and act upon it. Pesach is a Chag in which
the preparation far surpasses the length of the Chag itself--providing a
great lesson for us in the importance of aforethought and planning--the need
for “hachana” in Mitzvah observance. It may be a pair of shoes,
rainbow ices, different kinds of wine or a silver brooch...but please
remember that we should take the lesson from the Nesi’im and not wait
until the last moment--diving into Yom Tov with cherry ices because the
mango was sold out!
could never, ever hurt--and may help in ways we will never know about--to
sincerely daven over the next few days that we have a “Chag Kasher
V’Sameach”. Each one of these requests--Kasher and Sameach--is a
mouthful (once again, pun intended). People have reported, for
instance, that they have found non-Kosher L’Pesach items on Kosher
L’Pesach shelves in supermarkets. Others may be fooled by a lot of
Hebrew lettering on a label which is not meaningful, or perhaps, not even
true. The word “Sameach” is also loaded, as it is such an
essential element of the Yom Tov, and may be challenged at any moment by any
number of situations or events. In addition to our earnest prayers for
ourselves in this regard, when extending this wish to someone else over the
next several days, we should likewise express it with sincerity and feeling.
6.At the Seder, we will be reciting the word “Dayenu” fifteen
times, multiplied by the number of times we sing the word. Dayenu
means “it would be enough for us”. What “would be enough” for
us? Let us look at the first passage of Dayenu: “If Hashem had
taken us out of Mitzrayim…it would have been enough…” Clearly,
just leaving Egypt, in and of itself, would not have been
enough. We would not have received the Torah, we would not have entered
Eretz 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
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
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
HARD MONEY LOANS:By
clicking here, we
provide a Kol Koreiissued
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!
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”!
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 -25): “VaYizaku…Vayishma
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 PiskeiHalachaof Rav Belsky, as compiled by
Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Shlita (this excellent Sefer is divided into 54
chapters, so that one chapter a week can be studied every Shabbos at a
Seudah). CD’s of the OU/Hakhel Shiur are available by calling
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
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 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
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.
HAVDALAHON 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.
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
se’or loses its status as Chametz because the Chametz does not
contribute to its functionality. In
the case of the deodorant, the alcohol contributes to its functionality.Whether it’s designated as a food or non-food is irrelevant.
SHAMPOO--The alcohol that shampoo in America contains is almost certainly not
Chametz since most of the alcohol in the United States is derived from corn.
Wheat extract in the shampoo is batel
in more than 1/60. However,
it is still better not to use any products on Pesach without checking to see
whether it is permitted.
SHIRTS--According to the basic premise of the
law, one may wear starched shirts on Pesach
as long as the starch was applied before Pesach. It
is customary to refrain from wearing them in case the starch might
fall into the food during meals.
ENVELOPES--Glue which is on the back of envelopes
should not be licked on Pesach because the glue might contain wheat starch
which would be Chametz. .
TUMS--When there are no
the best remedy for treating heartburn is to consume a combination
of baking soda and water.The baking
soda eliminates the heartburn immediately.
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:
Every person is obligated to study the Halachos of Pesach within the thirty
day time period before Pesach. Some even say that it is an obligation
Min HaTorah. It is, in any event,
an obligation--and not only a meritorious act.
2. Being involved in the baking of Matzah is a Mitzvah in and of itself,
and not only a Hechsher Mitzvah. One can appoint a Shaliach to bake
Matzos for him, and this is why “Chaburah Matzos” are preferred.
A person who checks to see whether the Matzos are Kefulos fulfills the
separate Mitzvah of “U’Shemartem
Es HaMatzos”[Hakhel Note:
We must be sure that our Matzos are checked against being Kefulos or
Nefuchos. Many of the contemporary Pesach Seforim and publications
provide clear guidelines as to what to look out for when inspecting your
Matzos before Pesach].
The correct Nusach in the Bracha over fruit trees is “Sheloh Chisar BaOlamo K’lum” (not Davar). Women should
also make the Bracha. Rabbi Kleinman brings in his footnote that the
Aruch HaShulchan writes that Yirei
Hashem are careful to make this Bracha, and that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen
Auerbach, Z’tl, was very careful with this Bracha and remarked that from
the time he became Bar Mitzvah, he never once missed making the Bracha.
Women’s rings do not require Haga’ala, but they should be cleaned very
well, and preferably not be worn for 24 hours prior to the time of Issur
One need not Kasher braces, but should be careful not to eat hot or sharp
Chametz for 24 hours prior to the time of Issur Chametz.
If one did not Kasher the expensive utensils in his breakfront, one should
cover the glass on the breakfront, rather than leave them exposed to view
When performing Bedikas Chometz, one need not turn off the electric light in
If one will not be able to perform Bedikas Chometz on the night of the
fourteenth, it appears to be better to check on the night of the thirteenth
than the fourteenth by day.
If one must take care of his bodily needs during the Bedika, he should make
an Asher Yatzar immediately.
Similarly, if he heard a Bracha from someone else, he should answer
Pockets of clothing need not be checked by candle light; it is enough if
they are shaken out. One may check his pockets at any time, and one
need not necessarily check them the night of the fourteenth. However,
even if one did check his pockets on the night of the fourteenth, one should
shake out the pockets of the clothing he is wearing when burning the Chametz
on Erev Pesach in the morning. When checking clothing, one should also
One need not check suitcases, as one does not typically put food in them,
and even if one does, he usually empties out a suitcase upon arriving home.
Accordingly, it has a Chazaka of being checked.
One is obligated to check Seforim that he brought to the table while eating
during the year, if he will use them on Pesach, for even if the Seforim
contain only crumbs, the crumbs could get stuck to his hands, and he can
inadvertently touch Pesach food with them. When checking Seforim, it
need not be by candle light, and one need not check every page, but only
shake out the Sefer and its pages. Even after checking, it is still
best not to bring back any Sefer to the table, as there still may be crumbs
stuck in the Sefer.
On the night of the Bedika, one should check areas even though he will still
be eating Chametz there in the morning--and he should then check the area
again in the morning.
If one has already put his Pesach items into the refrigerator and cabinets,
he need not check them on the night of the Bedika, as they are no longer
considered a place in which Chametz would enter.
When searching for Chametz, one need not move any item which is difficult to
move [such as underneath a refrigerator]; however, if it has wheels, one
should move it and check underneath it and in back of it.
One must check an open porch or patio, and cannot rely on the fact that
birds or squirrels would eat any leftover Chametz.
In an apartment building or multi-family dwelling, all of the residents have
a joint obligation to check the stairwell and the laundry room.
One should check his car on the night of the Bedika with a flashlight.
A garbage can belongs to its owner, and one is not permitted to put Chametz
directly into a garbage can, as it will remain it his possession. One
should put any leftover Chametz into a bag and deposit it in a public area
If one finds Chametz in his home after the Bedika--even if he knows that
this Chametz was not there at the time of the Bedika--he need not check his
whole dwelling again based upon the notion that Chametz was brought into
other areas, as well.
If one will be selling an area of his home to a non-Jew on the day of the
fourteenth, one should still check it on the night of the fourteenth, as the
area is still in his possession at the time of the Bedika. One may
enter the area that was sold on Pesach even though it has been sold, for a
purchaser would not be makpid if
one did so.
Even if one’s custom is not to sell Chametz Gamur to a non-Jew, one may
Lechatchila purchase Chametz after Pesach from a grocery or supermarket
which properly sold its Chametz Gamur to a non-Jew before Pesach.
One need not burn the Chametz on his own property, but it is best that one
burn his Chametz on his own, and not give it to someone else to burn for
It is permissible to pass by a non-Jewish bakery on Pesach even though a
smell emanates from the store. However, it is forbidden to
intentionally inhale the smell of the Chametz.
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: email@example.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!”
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!
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 hereTevilas
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
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.
One: Today is the tenth day of Nissan, which is marked by at least three
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 YardenRiver which had dried up through a miracle. Some recommend reading
from Sefer Yehoshua, Chapters 3 and 4, and reciting Tehillim Chapter 114 in
honor of the occasion.
Two: We will recite the wordsVe’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!
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!
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:
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.
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!
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!
WORDS OF CAUTION WHEN SHOPPING:
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.”
Note One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
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.
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.
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.
The Mabit teaches that after this Shabbos, Bnei Yisrael no longer returned
to work for the Mitzriyim.
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
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!
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.
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!
Note One: The Gematria of Yeiush--despair is317. The Gematria
of Eliezer--Hashem helps me is 318. Let us always remember that in
any and all events Yeiush should be overridden by the realization of Eliezer!
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!
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?!
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
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):
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.:.”
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!
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
SHEDDING THE SHIBUD!One Rav remarked to us thatevery 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
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
THE CHAG APPROACHES, we once again provide an important link to The Kosher Haircut
Guide Poster (available
). 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 Sederbe eaten b’heseibah (see
Mishna Berurah, Orach Chaim 472, seif katan 23), the Chazon Ish, Z’tl, the
Steipeler, Z’tl, and HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach ruled that if one feels
uncomfortable eating b’heseibah,
he need not do so, and they in fact did not do so.
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 yotzeicheirus with grape juice.HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl and Rav Elyashiv require wine.One who follows the latter p’sak should consult with his Rav or
Posek in the event of any health or other issue regarding the intake of
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): ___________________________
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!
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
version by clicking here or the English
version by clicking here.
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:
permissible to change one’s parents’ Minhag, and eat Romaine lettuce
instead of chrain for Maror.
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 YomChag 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.
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 )
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
The Middos Journal
Ma’avir Ahl HaMiddos (this could include anger as
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 “HatovV’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!
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
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:
Please email back which
Mesechta you will learn….”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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!
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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:
and Utter Sadness
are no words which can be said.
are no words which can console.
are no words which can ease the pain.
heart is pained, the eyes are full of tears and the entire body is numb.
we slept soundly in our beds on Friday night, a
Beis HaMikdash was burning in Flatbush.
holy Mishkan where the Shechina resided was engulfed in flames.
time, His wrath did not consume just wood and stones; this time it consumed
the Holy of Holies.
is no Nechama, there is no consolation.
precious, cherished and holy Jewish children were taken from us this past Friday
Neshamos went up to His throne as they were engulfed in the flames of
I attempted to sleep last night, the sacrifices invaded my mind and would
not allow me to sleep.
my semi-sleepless night, the thought of the seven children kept pounding
away at my mind precluding me from rest or sleep.
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
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.
precious souls; seven precious children are no longer among us.
has poured out His wrath this Shabbos on our most cherished and precious
must take stock of who we are and what we can all do to improve.
must attempt to unify and grow together.
now though, there is only one possible emotion and that is complete and
is a sadness which -like the flames which consumed the home- consumes our
cry for our children who are gone.
cry for a mother who must somehow go on.
we cry for ourselves that this has befallen us.
is nothing more to say except ....
hug your children today.
them close to you and tell them how much they mean to you and how much you
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
3.When a Jewish store sells its Chometz,
and then continues to sell Chometz on Pesach it is a chucha
u’telula. Accordingly, one should not purchase from a store like this
after Pesach, as it may be Chometz
Sheavar Alav HaPesach.It is
better to purchase pre-Pesach Chometz from a store which sold its Chometz
properly before Pesach, than to rely on the other store selling Chometz from
4.If one lives in a building in which the
tenants or unit owners are not interested in selling the Chometz in the
common areas, one should be mafkir
his Chelek in the common areas before the time of Issur Chometz sets in.[Hakhel Note:One should
consult with his Rav as to how one is mafkir.]
5.According to the Ikar HaDin, one need not check his Seforim before Pesach, as any
miniscule crumbs would be batel.However, a Sefer which was not cleaned page by page, should not in
any event be placed on the table, for a crumb from the Sefer may fall on the
food, and all of the food would become assur,
as the Chometz is not batel in the food.
6.If one checks his pockets well by hand,
he need not check them by candle light.
7.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
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
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
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
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!
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,
It is distributed by Kinray Inc. Whitestone NY 11357. It is sold as
Preferred Plus in Lakewood.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
AvigdorSha’ar HaBitachon (a
translation and commentary on Sha’ar HaBitachon by Rabbi Avigdor Miller,
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.
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:
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
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
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!
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 onShabbos!” (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,
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’RatzahVanu.
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
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
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!
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
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
Special Note Six: We provide points and pointers on this week’s
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:
Kavannah, because improper thought invalidates a Korbon;
standing when it is recited, as the Avodah was done standing;
a certain place, as each Korbon had a specific place for shechita and Matan
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
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!
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.
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:
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
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
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
Let us apply the Parasha’s great teaching in our everyday
lives--for everyone’s benefit!
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!
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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
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
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:
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
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
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.).
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
We are living in a
tumultuous, confused world. The world order is in upheaval.
Iran, as Haman, is threatening c'vLehashmid
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
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
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
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 actuallycertifying it for Pesachnear 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
ON THE THIRD YAHRZEIT OF
HARAV SCHEINBERG, Z’tl:
The magnitude of HaRav Scheinberg Z’tl’s gadlusis 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
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!
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
4. When toveling storage utensils or utensils which come into
contact with the food while it is not yet edible, no bracha is made.
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
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:
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.
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!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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 daywhich
relate directly to Kriyas Shema--threeBrachos 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!
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!
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 Hewill 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!
READY FOR RAIN!
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 ShimonFinkelman, 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.
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
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
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
Special Note One: We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of
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
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 ) 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
Special Note Two: Points and pointers on this week’s Parasha,
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 () “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 emphasizesthe 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
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 Lilmodand 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
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
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
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
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-term’ everlasting
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 ‘MitzvahHaBa’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 YereiShomayim? 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
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 meaningto 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
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!
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 ofInside
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!
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:
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 inHalacha:
Some communities did not eat dried fruit during Pesach. The basis
for this minhag is that flour was spread on the fruit during
drying process. In addition, the ovens used for drying were also used for
there is proper supervision, it is permissible.
Some communities did not eat garlic during Pesach. Although the basis
for this minhag is questionable (some say that the farmers would soak thegarlic in beer), where
there is proper supervision, most Poskim hold that even ground garlic
people use only unwashed eggs during Pesach. Their reason is
since the eggs were washed with the chicken feed (which may containchometz)
and with questionable detergents, chometz may have been absorbed
the eggs during the washing. Although most Poskim hold that it is
eggs should be rinsed before cooking.
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
on Pesach is assured that the entire year he will not sin, individualshave
accepted upon themselves additional Chumros for Pesach.
F. Although some of these minhagim haveno
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
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 tolearn 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.
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.
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
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
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 oneselfwhole 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
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):
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)
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).
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
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 theShemiras
Shabbos KeHilchasa, Halichos Shlomo, Minchas Shlomo, or learn some of
the many lessons that he taught from Rabbi Hanoch Teller’s work,And
FromJerusalem, His Word: Stories and Insights of Rabbi Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach.
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!
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, 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
Three: The following is excerpted from Living
On: Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre, compiled
by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, Shlita:
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
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.
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.
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….
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!”
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!
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: Asmany 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
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:
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).
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).
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:“MacharAnochi 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 tobe neededagainst
We have admittedly waited
until ‘Machar’--after Purim--to present some of the cogent
responses that we received:
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.”
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.”
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
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
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
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!
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
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)
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
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.
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 whenHeavenly beings do!
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.
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!
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”.
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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,
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!
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!
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
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).
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.
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.
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):
Nisecha She’Bchol Yom Imanu-Your hidden miracles with us every day,
Nifleosecha-Your daily and natural wonders,
Es Erev VaVoker V’Tzaharayim-which are not only with us daily, but
throughout the entire day--evening, morning and afternoon….
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.
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
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!!
Note Three: We continue our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
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
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 whenbeing 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!
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.
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.
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!
Note Five: We present several additional points from Parashas Ki
Sisa to apply (and hopefully inculcate within ourselves) over the coming
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!”
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!”
Note One: The following Important Halachos were provided to us by Rabbi
Yisroel Pinchos Bodner, Shlita:
Three Halachic Levels of Intoxication
classify a person who has been drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages
into one of three halachic levels of intoxication.
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.
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.
Drunk “Like Lot” (shikur k’Lot) – i.e., he is disoriented and
has inadequate comprehension of where he is or what he is doing.
Davening while Under the Influence
Shulchan Aruchstates 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 davenl’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.
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
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.
Note: One should advise those who are in level B or C as to how to properly
conduct himself as to davening.
Note Two: Final Important Purim Points and Pointers:
Mikrah Megillah: GREAT ANDIMPORTANT 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.
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.
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)
According to the Rambam (Hilchos Megillah ) 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
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:
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
(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
(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!
One can be Yotzei the Mitzvah with a check if the poor person can use it in
a store. (Sefer Halichos Shlomo p. 342)
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!”
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
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!!
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).
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.
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
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
us appreciate Purim deeply--and literally rejoice in our salvation.
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
FOR THE PURIM SEUDAH
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,
Haman was hung in 3404.
QUESTION: How many years did Purim occur
ANSWER: Approximately 216 years (Sefer Targum Sheini by Rav Tzvi Dov
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
QUESTION: Who was the king before
ANSWER: Coresh-see first Rashi to the Megillah.
QUESTION: Who brought Mordechai from Bavel to
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
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 ).
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 PrasRiver --hence
the letters of the word Peih Reish Tes Mem Yud Mem.
QUESTION: According to the
opinion that Memuchan was Haman:
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
QUESTION: What is the
significance in the fact that the Gematria of Haman and HaMelech are the
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 ).
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
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
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
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
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
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
QUESTION: The Megillah records
that‘Pashegen HaKesav’(Esther )--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
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 and Rashash to Megillah 18A).
QUESTION: In addition to his
plan to kill all the Jews, what edicts did Haman immediately issue against
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’eisHazos”--at
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).
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
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.
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
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 ). 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
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
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 ()
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
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
QUESTION: How many people were
hanged in the course of the Megillah?
ANSWER: 13--Haman, his ten sons, Bigsan, and
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
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 () 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
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
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” ( ).
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 ). The goal is that from dedicated
Mishloach Manos will result sincere Matanos LaEvyonim as
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
ANSWER: The Sefer Ma’aseh Rav (249)
provides the answer: Cooked chicken and cooked fish, and similar
QUESTION: How can one fulfill the principle
of Nosei BeOl Im Chaveiro by accepting Mishloach
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!
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!
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!
GO FROM REDEMPTION TO REDEMPTION!
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!
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 SixBrachos--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 .The
address of the Shul is 2645
(between L and M).
SOME MEGILLAH QUESTIONS TO
CONSIDER--YOUR RESPONSES ARE MOST WELCOME!:
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
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.
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 () 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”
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
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
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 littlemore in honor of this great day?
5.When contributing Machatzis
HaShekel, one should say “ZecherL’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
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
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
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
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
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 cannottovel
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
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!
OF THE DAY--ARE
YOU GETTING READY FOR PURIM?:
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
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
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,
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 ‘DochakGadol’ 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!
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”!
Dovid HaMelech teaches us in Hallel (Tehillim 116:1 et. al.) “AhavtiKi 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
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
Matanos L’Evyonim if he gives Tzedaka to a Katan and if he gives Tzedaka
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