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.22 Adar Sheini

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



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



THAT LAST WEEK OF ADAR BEGINS TOMORROW--ON SHABBOS! The following is excerpted from the always timely and relevant Sefer HaTodaah by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Ztl, 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 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. 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, Ztl, (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, Ztl, 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, Ztl, 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, Ztl, 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)




WE CONTINUE WITH OUR EREV SHABBOS--HALACHOS OF SHABBOS SERIES: The following is excerpted from Zemiros Shabbos, by HaRav Tzvi Yavrov, Shlita, which provides insights of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, into various aspects of Shabbos:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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


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


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



21 Adar Sheini

FINAL CALL!  If one would start today to learn three Mishnayos of Mesechta Pesachim per day, he would make a Siyum on the entire Mishnayos Pesachim by the last day of Pesach.  As we all know, one must ready himself not only physically for Pesach, but also spiritually as well! Stop--don’t miss the opportunity!  You will look back in a month and be rightfully proud of your accomplishment!



TESHUVAH MOMENT:  Sometimes, one feels the need to make a decision as to whether he should exert the effort to do something or go somewhere. In reflecting on the mini-dilemma, the thought may enter his mind, “...Am I just being lazy?” We suggest that in most cases---if that thought enters your mind, then yes--you are just being lazy!



MIZMOR L’SODAH: The 100th Chapter of Tehillim is recited every morning in Shacharis--so beautifully and concisely encapsulating our appreciation of Hashem’s bounty to us that we encourage the whole world to call out in praise. Many stand when reciting the Kepitel, and the Shulchan Aruch itself (Orach Chaim 51:9) writes that one should recite it “B’neginah”, for this expression of song will never become batel. A reader advised that he knows many people who recite a kepitel of Tehillim (such as 121 or 130) before leaving their parking spot as a prayer for a safe and uneventful ride. He of course does the same--but also recites Mizmor L’Sodah--upon his safe arrival!



KARECHA BADERECH: As the Torah teaches us, Amaleik’s attack was Karecha BaDerech--they 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!



REMINDER: 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!



OF EXTREME IMPORTANCE NOW.  The Rambam in Hilchos Rotzeiach (12:15) writes that Doniyel was punished with the Nisayon of being placed into the Gov Arayos, the Lion’s Den, because of the great advice that he gave to Nevuchadnetzar the Rasha. Based upon Doniyel’s advice and the punishment he received, the Rambam rules that it is forbidden to give good advice to one who is undeserving (see there).  What was the advice that Doniyel gave to Nevuchadnetzar that was so great that made Doniyel so culpable?  The Rambam writes that he advised Nevuchadnetzar that he could save himself from the dire events of the dream Nevuchadnetzar had seen by giving Tzedaka to deserving people


Can we at all imagine what effect this Tzedaka will have in Shomayim?  If Doniyel’s advice to a Rasha to give Tzedaka in order to save himself from punishment was so potent that Doniyel was punished with the Nisayon of the Lion’s Den--imagine how much the ACTUAL GIVING OF TZEDAKA to the Truly Needy for Pesach will shake the Heavens! May it really and truly stand as a Zechus For Your Families and all of K’lal Yisrael, and may it bring the final Geulah--when we will all be filled with Joy-- oh so much closer.


This Pesach, be generous--Geulah-style generous!



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



THE MIDPOINT AND BEYOND:  Last week, we reached the half-way point of Torah in Pesukim.  This past week, we reached the midpoint of the year in days and months--as we are now in the second six and one-half months of the year. This Shabbos, too, we reach the midpoint of the Torah in words.  Let us be sure to take all of the reminders to ensure that the second half of our year is both more refined than our first half! 


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



20 Adar Sheini

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



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


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


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


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



THE PRECIOUS WORDS OF HAREINI MOCHEL!:  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!



GIFT TAKING, GIFT GIVING:  Some Poskim write that the Mishloach Manos that we give on Purim--two gifts to one person, is based upon Achashveirosh giving to Esther two gifts--his royal ring, and the House of Haman.  Thus, we remember these very, very significant gifts with gifts of such items as hamantashen, wine, challah, snacks from all over the world, and various assorted trifles and dainties.  Perhaps we can take this “gifted” lesson through the year, and every time that we receive a gift, whether large or small and whether tangible or in the form of a compliment or other intangible item, and be sure to pass on that gift in some form to someone else.  The gifts one receives and that one gives may not necessarily be comparable at all, but in more cases than you may think, they may be just as memorable!



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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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


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


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


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



19 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT: We urge you to take out a Sefer Tehillim and recite the words of Tehillim, Chapter 40, Pasuk 6.  How moving! How especially timely!  Keep the Pasuk hand to recite with feeling from time to time!



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



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



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



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


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


A.  “Rav Hutner, Z’tl, 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 rom to entreat Hashem and plead for His Heavenly guidance and assistance to help us so we could overcome Amalek.”


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


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



THE ESSENCE OF KIYMU VEKIBLU!:  Before learning, simply take a moment to dedicate and devote yourself to the study or the Shiur itself--forgetting about work, old issues, new problems, the last phone call or email, what you still have to do today, the mistake you recently made and how you can correct it, how to do this or say that--and instead and instead to wholly focus with joy only on Hashem’s Torah--because this is really what Hashem wants.  It is reported that the Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl, who heard so many of the world’s problems, said that the only way he could learn effectively with so much weighing down upon him, was by simply putting everything else out of mind and devoting the precious time in front of him to pure study.  A simple--but very effective--way for us to take Kiymu VeKiblu with us throughout the year!


In order for us to better appreciate the tremendous importance of any Kiymu VeKiblu Kabbalah (bli neder), we provide special insights from the Chofetz Chaim into the greatness of Torah (found in the Sha’ar HaTorah, Chapter 1, of the Sefer Shemiras HaLashon): 


1.  Chazal teach that there are 600,000 explanations of each Pasuk of the Torah.


2.  The light that emanates from the names of HaKadosh Baruch Hu above emanates for 420,000,000 parsa’os.


3. The reason that the Parashios of the Torah are not in chronological order is because if they would be--anyone who read them would be able to be mechayeih meisim and perform wonders. 


4.  A person should reflect upon the fact that if he was to receive a letter from the king which was difficult to read, or which required further study--how much time and effort he would put into understanding the king’s directive.  How much more so when it comes to the eternal teachings of the King of all Kings-- the Torah--of which we openly aver: Ki Heim Chayeinu V’Orech Yameinu--for it is our life and the length of our days!”


5.  The Pasuk (Tehillim 62:13) states:  “U’lecha Hashem Chosed Ki Atta Teshaleim Le’ish KeMa’aseihu--You Hashem are kind--for You repay a person according to his deeds.”  Many ask--what is the kindness that the Pasuk is referring to--after all, if a person does Mitzvos, isn’t it just for him to be rewarded for them?  The Chofetz Chaim answers with a potent Mashal:  If a person would invent a machine which could build an entire city in a day from scratch, and would bring this machine to the king, the king would surely reward him very handsomely.  The king, however, would in no event gift to him the cities that were built through the machine, or even all of the cities by the inventor’s name. After all, it is the king who is building and outfitting the cities--and they are all within his province and domain. Not so with Hashem. Although it is Hashem Who is of course empowering creation at every moment, He in His chesed deems it as if the one studying Torah is the one who is empowering the world--for by doing so he is fulfilling the purpose of creation.  This is the incredible meaning of the word KeMa’aseihu in the Pasuk--Hashem treats the student of Torah as the one who is keeping the world going--as if he himself is continuously creating it! 


6.  The Zohar (Parashas Shelach) teaches that one who is oseik in Torah is considered as if he brought all of the Karbanos before Hashem, and Hashem provides multiples kisa’os for him in Olam Haba


7.  The Zohar (Parashas Vayeishev) also teaches that for one who is oseik in Torah, the gates preventing his neshama from going to higher locations break until it gets to its rightful place, and the Torah continues to protect him and is melamed zechus on him until Techiyas HaMeisim.


8.  Because the Torah is composed of the names of Hashem, one who is oseik in Torah is considered as if he is oseik in the Shem Hashem itself


9.  The Zohar (Parashas Pinchas) writes that there is no joy to Hashem but for one who is oseik in Torah--and if one stays up at night to study--his study is listened to by the Tzaddikim in Gan Eden, with Hashem’s presence in their midst


10.  The Zohar (Parashas Bereishis) writes that one who actually moves his lips reciting the words of Torah as he studies is considered like a Malach on earth--as the Pasuk (Tehillim 103:20) states: “Barchu Hashem Malachav Giborei Koach..--blessed are you, the Malochim who do the will of Hashem...” 


Hakhel Note: Kiymu V’Kiblu--let us be sure to make it an essential part of our daily life!



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


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


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


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



18 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT:   As we are now less than four weeks away from Pesach, may we recommend the study of the Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim--which can be completed in less than one month by dividing it into short segments (let us say five (5) pages a day). The benefit of especially studying a Mussar Sefer at this time is twofold. Firstly, it will keep one in the right frame of mind during a period which could get stressful or pressured. Secondly, it will help ready you for the redemption that you yourself will experience on Pesach (and hopefully even sooner).  The spiritual preparation for Pesach should by NO MEANS play second fiddle to the physical preparations that so many of us have already (or wish they had!) begun.  The next few weeks will pass by quickly--don’t let them pass you by!



QUESTION OF THE DAY: After Haman’s decree was superseded by the decree in favor of the Jews, and after the successful triumph over their enemies--did each Jew in Achashveirosh’s provinces Bentsch Gomel?



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



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



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


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


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


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



YAHRZEIT OF THE YESOD V’SHORESH HA’AVODAH: Today (18 Adar Sheini) is the Yahrzeit of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah (R’ Alexander Siskind B’ R’ Moshe, Z’tl). We present recent several of his always-moving teachings:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



15 Adar Sheini

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


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


B.  According to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, the obligation to check for Chometz in places where there is regularly Chometz is MiD’Oraysa if one is notmevatel 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)



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



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



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




1.             Consult a Rav concerning where to light Shabbos candles when young children are present.

2.             Never leave children unattended with burning candles.

3.             After lighting candles have someone place matches securely away.

4.             Place the spout of a hot water urn away from counter edge.  Do not use an extension cord or leave it within child’s reach.

5.             Children should not be in the kitchen while preparations for Shabbos are being made.

6.             Start Shabbos preparations early .Last minutes rushing causes hazardous and hectic situations.

7.             Never hold a child while drinking a hot liquid.

8.             Take all phones off the hook before bathing children.

9.             Have all necessary equipment with you before putting your child in a bath .

10.          Never, under any circumstances, leave a child alone in the tub-not even for a moment!  Take the child with you!





1. The Targum to the Megillah (8:16) relates that one of the edicts of Haman against the Jews was to not observe Shabbos. As we have noted in the past, Haman instigated Achashveirosh against the Jews by saying they are constantly claiming “Shabbos HaYom, Pesach HaYom” (Megillah 13B). We now have the opportunity to rejoice in observing this Shabbos without restriction and without restraint. One should be especially cognizant of this fact as he enjoys his Shabbos meal, and actively and outwardly practices his Shabbos observance.


2. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 261:2) poskens that on Friday afternoon, one is obligated to fulfill Tosefes Shabbos by adding on from Chol onto Shabbos. The Mishna Berurah (seif katan 19) explains that this is a Torah requirement-a Mitzvas Aseh D’Oraysa. Women fulfill this mitzva dutifully by lighting the Shabbos candles 18 minutes before sunset (shkiah) and accepting Shabbos upon themselves at that time. Men, however, who do not typically accept Shabbos upon themselves at candle lighting (even when they light Shabbos candles) have to consciously be mekabel Shabbos upon themselves before shkiah. Therefore, one should l’chatchila prior to shkiah verbally express that he is “accepting upon himself Shabbos for the purpose of Tosefes Shabbos”(Mishne Berurah 261:21)1. This should be done at least two to three minutes prior to shkiah (Igros Moshe, Orach Chayim 1:96) and as early as 15 minutes prior to shkiah if possible (Mishne Berurah, seif katan 22). Merely having in mind to be mekabel Tosefes Shabbos is only acceptable according to some Poskim (Bach and Gra quoted by Mishne Brurah 553:2) and should be avoided if possible. As the Shulchan Aruch (263:15) and the Mishne Berurah (seif katan 43) pasken that once one has been mekabel on himself Tosefes Shabbos, he can no longer daven a weekday Mincha, all of the above assumes that the person has already davened Mincha and is now in a position to accept Tosefes Shabbos on himself. Many minyonim, however, are in the middle of Mincha when shkiah arrives. In this event, one should then fulfill Tosefes Shabbos by verbally accepting Tosefes Shabbos on himself as soon as he has finished his Shemone Esrei (assuming it is still prior to shkiah)2. Notwithstanding his acceptance at that point of Shabbos, the Shmiras Shabbos K’hilchosa (46:5) poskens that he may still answer to the Kedushah of Mincha. (This advice will not help the Shaliach Tzibbur who has to repeat the weekday Shemone Esrei). TheShmiras Shabbos K’hilchosa further poskens that if a person will not be in a position to finish his Shemone Esrei prior to shkiah if he davens with the congregation, he should daven at home alone, be mekabel on himself Tosefes Shabbos and then go to shul. If a person finds himself in the situation that he nolonger has sufficient time to both daven Mincha and accept on himself Tosefes Shabbos prior to shkiah, as there is a machlokes haposkeim as to what one should do, one should consult his Rav.


3. Rabbi Mayer Birnbaum, Shlita, writes (in Shamor L’Kad’sho: Practical Halachos of Shabbos, p.17), “If siddurim were piled up after a minyan, you may not sort out the Ashkenaz and Sefard siddurim in order to put them away [however, if you read a little from each siddur, you may put each one into its proper place after reading from it] (Hilchos Shabbos by Rav Shimon Eider, Z’tl, p.184 and Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:74 Borer #12).” Of course, Borer on seforim applies to other mixtures of seforim as well. There may be cases where you may be lenient in this area based on facts and circumstances. Please consult your Rav with specific shailos.


4. Although it may not be well known, the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 101, seif katan 19) rules that one davening privately on Shabbos (i.e., in one’s home) should not recite either of the two paragraphs beginning Yakum Purkan, as they are in Aramaic, and should only be recited B’Tzibbur.



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


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


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


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


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

·                Val Nifleosecha-Your daily and natural wonders,

·                V’Tovasecha-Your daily kindnesses,

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


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


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



A SECOND THOUGHT:  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!!  



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



13 Adar Sheini

LEIL PURIM--FLATBUSH TEHILLIM B’TZIBBUR! Tonight at K’hal Zichron Mordechai, 2645 Nostrand Avenue, the entire Sefer Tehillim will be recited commencing at 10:05pm. All are invited to participate in this Eis Ratzon Kiddush Sheim Shomayim.



EMUNA DAILY INSPIRATIONAL EMAIL MESSAGE BY RABBI DAVID ASHEAR, SHLITA. To Subscribe go to emunadaily.com. To listen by phone call 605-475-4799, pin number 840886#, and to listen to that day’s Shiur, hit # again.



TESHUVAH MOMENT: Tomorrow, Purim, will be 30 days to Pesach. Today, as a day of Ta’anis is a day of Teshuvah and reflection. We should contemplate what kabbalah, bli neder, we will take upon ourselves for the 30 day period of Purim to Pesach. Will it be not to get angry in stress-filled or difficult times, to write down if and when one does get angry during this period--and how to make sure that it will not happen again? Hakhel Note: This is of course just one example, provided to help stimulate one’s reflection mode.



QUESTION OF THE DAY FROM A READER: What word is the name of an object in the Torah, the name of a place in the Navi, and the name of a person in the Megillah.





1. “As you had previously noted--please remind your readers that water does not count as a manah of Mishloach Manos.”


2. “Regarding the wonderful Gematria of Mordechai HaYehudi and Shakai--there is another amazing related Gematria. That is--the Gematria of Mordechai HaYehudi and Shakai (each 314) is also the Gematria of the first and last word of the Megillah--teaching us that all of the events in the Megillah--from beginning to end are from Hashem!


3. “If we are to do Teshuvah Bechol Yom--all the more so on Purim itself!


4. “As I focus on Tefillah which is so important on Purim--I will try to remember that one of the reasons Chazal give for Esther’s inviting Haman to the Mishteh was, and accordingly be lax in their Tefillos. Esther was teaching us so that the Jew’s would not think that they had a ‘friend in office’ that at all times there is one and only one Source for our Yeshuos--Purim is such a great time to go directly to our Source for them!”



WHAT CHAZAL SAY ABOUT A TA’ANIS: Chazal teach (Brachos 6B) Igra D’Tanisa Tzedkasa--to give Tzedaka today! 


Hakhel Note: Last Call--From Yad Eliezer: “Last year, on Purim, you were a part of an incredible act of Chesed.  Yad Eliezer distributed $500,000 to Aniyim throughout Eretz Yisrael.  It went to people who needed it desperately.


We have thousands of people waiting this year for this Matanos L’Evyonim.


May HaKadosh Baruch Hu continue to bentsch us with the ability and the will to care for K’lal Yisrael. Please contact us at www.yadeliezer.org , or by calling 718-258-1580.


A Freilichen Purim!”


Note for Hakhel Readers from Yad Eliezer: We are trying to get Tzedaka to people who don’t get help, but really need it.


Here are 4 critical areas.


1. There is a K’hila of Baalei Tshuva who are living in great poverty.


2. The community of Tel Zion


3. 2 Kollelim of Talmidei Chachamim with large families


4. Grushot and single parents in Ramot – especially for 10 families who really need it.


Please write in the comment box – Hakhel appeal # 1, 2, 3 or 4.



HILCHOS PESACH FOR THE PURIM SEUDAH: 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).


We provide two Halachos for you to begin:


1. The Rema (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 429:1) begins Hilchos Pesach by writing that it is our Minhag to give wheat to the poor in order to help them celebrate Pesach. The Mishna Berurah (seif katan 3) notes that this Minhag dates back to the time of Chazal.


2. Rabbi Shimon Eider, Z’tl, in the Halachos of Pesach writes that in lieu of wheat, some have the custom to distribute flour or other food supplies. In our time, most communities distribute money for the poor, in order for them to purchase their needs. The leaders of our community do not tax or otherwise assess their constituents, but instead everyone is expected to give to the best of his ability.


Hakhel Note: As we connect Matanos L’Evyonim to Ma’os Chitim--let us remember the Pasuk (Yeshaya 1:27): “Tzion B’Mishpat Tipadeh V’Shaveha B’Tzedaka”--speedily and in our day!




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



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



TEFILLAH AHL HAGEULAH--ON PURIM: May we suggest that on the auspicious day of Purim we recite the Tefillah Al HaGeulah we have previously distributed: http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/TefillahforGeulah.pdf  (Hebrew version) and http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/PrayerfortheGeulahEnglish.pdf  (English version).



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 demeanor. 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!”





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


2. Mishloach Manos:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


3. Matanos L’Evyonim:


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


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


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


4. Seudas Purim:


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


B. Some have the custom of eating zaronim at the Purim Seudah, in remembrance of the food that Esther, as well as Doniyel, 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.


C. 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


D. 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!



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


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


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


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

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



THE HALACHOS OF ONE WHO IS INTOXICATED: The following Important Halachos were provided to us by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner, Shlita:


1. Three Halachic Levels of Intoxication

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


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


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


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


2. Davening while Under the Influence

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


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


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


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



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



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


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

ANSWER: According to Yalkut Me’am Loez, Achashveirosh came to power in the year 3392, and Haman was hung in 3404.


QUESTION: How many years did Purim occur before Chanukah?

ANSWER: Approximately 216 years (Sefer Targum Sheini).


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

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


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

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


QUESTION: Who was the king before Achashveirosh?

ANSWER: Coresh-see first Rashi to the Megillah.


QUESTION: Who brought Mordechai from Bavel to Shushan?

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


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

ANSWER: Shaul HaMelech (Targum Sheni 2:5)


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


QUESTION: According to the opinion that Memuchan was Haman:

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


QUESTION: What was the special cause of VeHa’ir Shushan Tzahala 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 “Zachur Latov”?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


QUESTION:  What happened to Zeresh?

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


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

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


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

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


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

ANSWER: “Sasson”--or happiness!


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

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


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

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


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

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


QUESTION: What are the last five seforim in Tanach?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



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

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


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

ANSWER:  Perhaps the most common answer to this question is that with Shushan Purim we give special Kavod to the cities of Eretz Yisrael, as Shushan Purim is celebrated in cities walled from the time of Yehoshua ben Nun--which included many cities in Eretz Yisrael.  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!


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





12 Adar Sheini

DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE LEFTIES?: By the following link http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/TheHalachosofLefties.pdf  we provide a summary of the Halachos of Lefties which had recently been listed over several Bulletins. Please feel free to share the link with others!



TESHUVAH MOMENT: As we learned yesterday, Chazal teach that the allusion to Haman in the Torah is from the Pasuk HaMin Haeitz--in which Hashem ‘asked’ Adam whether he had eaten from the Eitz Hada’as. The Ba’alei Mussar explain that the folly of Haman was very much related to the folly of Adam HaRishon.” Adam HaRishon had everything in the world—the only thing that he could not do was to eat from the tree. Haman had everything—except that Mordechai would not bow to him. The lesson is very great: We must teach ourselves that we should not expect to have everything, and that it really may not be appropriate for a person to have ‘that just that one more thing’ that he doesn’t have. Instead a person should accustom himself to be happy when he does not have everything. This can be applied on a daily basis in many ways—that chocolate bar or extra piece of cake, that new tie, that sale item, what the next door neighbor has…. One of the lessons that we must take away is to stay as far away from Haman—and his thoughts—as we can!





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


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


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


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


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


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


5. 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. [How telling--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.


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



PESAKIM OF HARAV SHMUEL KAMENETSKY, SHLITA:  We continue to present below many Pesakim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, relating to Purim from the expanded version of Kovetz Halachos for Purim, by his close Talmid, Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his own Rav or Posek regarding his specific facts and circumstances:




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


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


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


D.  If one gives Mishloach Manos to a mumar who is Mechalel Shabbos, he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah.  If an adult sends Mishloach Manos to a minor--he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah.


E.  It is a Machlokes HaPoskim [as noted in an earlier Bulletin] whether a person who purchases a utensil in order to give it to his friend as a present is considered as if he ‘is doing business’ with the utensil, in which case it would not require tevilah while in his possession.  Indeed, according to the Taz, the giver cannot tovel the item--the tevilah does not help--and the bracha is a bracha levatalah, for the recipient must tovel the item.  HaRav Kamenetsky, however, holds that when one buys an object with the intent of giving it to his friend, it is considered as if he is buying it for himself, and it is considered his--it is just that he intends in the future to give it to his friend.  Accordingly, he would be able to tovel the utensil, and give it to his friend. Hakhel Note:  Based upon this Machlokes HaPoskim, one 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 Seuda as men.  Women should also drink a little bit (a revi’is or less) of wine, and can also be Yotzei with grape juice instead of wine.  However, there is no obligation for children under Bar/Bas Mitzvah to drink even grape juice.  It is, in all events, forbidden for anyone to become drunk.  Hakhel Note:  HaRav Kamenetsky’s lesson is clear--our Seudah should be graced only by the Yetzer Hatov and the Torah atmosphere that Mordechai HaTzadik and Esther HaMalka were ready to give their lives for--and would be so proud of!


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






A: Two Notes on Matanos L’Evyonim:


1.      The Sefer Halichos Shlomo, which contains the rulings of HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Zt’l, writes that, according to HaRav Auerbach the definition of an “Evyon” for purposes of Purim is someone who does not have money “l’tzrochim hahechreichim l’farnes baiso--the funds which are necessary to provide for the necessities of one’s family.”


2.      In the Sefer Maaseh Rav, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, was asked whether it was preferable not to give an Evyon directly on Purim just as, in Hilchos Tzedaka, it is preferable not to give an Evyon directly.  HaRav Kanievsky responded that here “lo mishane”--it does not make a difference and that either way is proper.


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


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



LEARNING FROM THE GEMATRIA OF MORDECHAI HAYEHUDI: We once again provide the following exceptional excerpt from “The Light of the Ben Ish Chai on Megillat Esther” “--the commentary of the Ben Ish Chai on the Megillah, as translated by Rabbi Yerachmiel Bratt, Shlita (as you give your Mishloach Manos with one hand, perhaps you can give this wonderful sefer to your friend with the other!):  “The Chida in the name of Rav Germiza stated that the gematria of the expression Mordechai HaYehudi (Mordechai the Jew) equals the name of Hashem as Shakai (shin dalet and yud; 314).  The name Shakai indicates that Hashem controls all and that He can completely up heave the powers of the spheres of the universe.  As a true Amaleki, after Haman told his family of his honor and fortune, he stated that all was valueless to him when he saw Mordechai HaYehudi.  Haman specifically referred to Mordechai as Mordechai HaYehudi because he was really referring to Hashem’s control over the balance of power in the universe.  In one fell swoop, Hashem could shift power from Haman to Mordechai.  Indeed, Zeresh and Haman’s advisors urged Haman to take swift action before the balance of power in the universe shifted in favor of Mordechai. Their human thoughts fell short and unaccomplished.  Shortly thereafter, Mordechai HaYehudi ascended to power while Haman and his sons were overthrown and hanged....”


Hakhel Note:  Is it no small wonder, then, that this name of Hashem--Shakai--is placed upon our Mezuzos  to remind us Who is in control of all as we come and go!





1. QUESTION: What should one be sure to do at the Purim Seudah?


    ANSWER: The Nehorah Shaleim writes that one should read the Parasha of Vayavo Amaleik (Shemos 17:8-16), and the Parasha three times of Zachor Eis Asher Lecha Amaleik. He should also have candles lit as on Shabbos, and speak of the Nisim that occurred.


2. QUESTION: The Navi (Yeshaya 43:18) writes that “Ahl Tizkeru Rishonos--once the great Geulah comes, we will no longer remember the Mo’adim that took place celebrating Yetziyas Mitzrayim.” Yet, Chazal teach that we will still celebrate Purim--how was the Nes of Purim greater than all of the Nissim of Yetziyas Mitzrayim?


    ANSWER:  In Mitzrayim we were not threatened with immediate annihilation of all--men, women and children, while Haman’s decree was from young told old, men and women--covering our entire people. It is thus the salvation of our entire people--oh how we must celebrate--and how we will--forever!


3. QUESTION: Why do the Jews who live in Spain and Africa have to celebrate Purim--if they were not under the rulership of Achashveirosh?


    ANSWER:  The Chida writes that on Purim every year great lights shine through the entire world--just as those that were revealed in the times of Mordechai and Esther, as the Pasuk says: “LaYehudim Haysah Orah V’Simcha”.


4. QUESTION: Esther’s name is mentioned three times in the Megillah as Esther Bas Avichayil. Why is her full name mentioned three times?


    ANSWER:  We do not know--sometimes that is also an answer! If you know of an answer, please let us know!


5. QUESTION:  What is the source for the concept of drinking on Purim to the point of not knowing the difference between ‘Arur Haman and Baruch Mordechai’


      ANSWER:  The source is easy--Megillah 7B--but why?!  Once again, we look forward to your response!



11 Adar Sheini

FROM RAV KOLODETSKY! At the recent Kinnus in Flatbush, HaRav Yitzchak Kolodetsky, Shlita, asked that the information on the following link be reviewed and seriously considered. After review, please feel free to spread the word further!  http://hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/MekabelShabbosEarly.pdf





PURIM SAFETY!  We provide by the following link essential advice to us all from Hatzolah and the Torah Safety Commission. Please spread the word!  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/HatzalahPurimSafety.pdf




TESHUVAH MOMENT: 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!


HAKHEL NOTE: 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!





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


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


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


4.  As mentioned in the past, based upon the teaching of the Mirrer Mashgiach, HaRav Yeruchem Levovitz, Z’tl, on Purim, one should endeavor to give Mishloach Manos not only to his relative, his best friend or his 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--is the time to think about who this person or those people will be…there is no better time to break the ice--or even to warm the cool water--by knocking on someone’s door unsolicited with a smile and a colorful Mishloach Manos. What better way could there be to dispel the claims of Haman HaRasha that we are “a dispersed and separated people”? Anyone who dislikes coolness, discord or dispute between two groups or even within one group of our people should also move to eliminate it from within himself and his family, as well. So…get ready, practice and rehearse--knock on that door…and “PURIM SAMEACH”-”A FREILICHIN PURIM”-”HAPPY PURIM”!


5.  We provide by the following link---http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/ThePowerofPurim.pdf a flyer relating to The Power of Purim that has been distributed for many years. Please feel free to distribute and redistribute!


In a very similar vein, by the following link--  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/CCHFPurim.pdf   you will find an important message distributed by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Hakhel Note: Dovid HaMelech teaches us in Hallel (Tehillim 116:1 et. al.) “Ahavti Ki Yishma Hashem Es Koli Tachanunai…Dalosi Veli Yehoshia--I love Him, for Hashem hears my voice, my supplications…I was brought low, but He saved me.” Chazal teach that even when we are poor in Mitzvos, Hashem saves us through our Tefillos--let us activate our Koach HaTefillah on Purim--and urge others to do so as well!  


Additional Note:  It is fascinating to recall 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.





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


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


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


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


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


F.  The Megillah (Esther 7:8) teaches that the last thing that Achashveirosh saw before ordering Haman executed was the tree that Haman intended to hang Mordechai on. Chazal, in fact, teach that the allusion to Haman in the Torah is from the Pasuk: “HaMin HaEitz Asher Tzivisicha Levilti Achol Mimenu Achalta.(Bereishis 3:11) What is the meaning of the association of Haman with trees?



PESAKIM OF HARAV SHMUEL KAMENETSKY, SHLITA:  We once again present below many Pesakim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, relating to Purim from the expanded version of Kovetz Halachos for Purim, by his close Talmid, Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his own Rav or Posek regarding his specific facts and circumstances: 




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



8 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT: “Sometimes when a person learns mussar, through his enthusiasm he becomes excited and wants to act on it immediately. He decides to wean himself from a bad habit or strengthen himself in something good. His decision should not necessitate great and difficult changes. One of the fundamentals of mussar is to pay attention to small matters which a person tends to overlook, and that even the smallest change is a great thing. One with real understanding of mussar is very careful not to commit himself to major limitations or actions that he might not be able to uphold. The rule is: ‘tafasta merubah lo tafasta mu’at tafasta’--if you try to grab hold of too much, you miss everything (Chagiga 17A).” [Alei Shur, vol. 1, chap. 12, as quoted in A Guide to Cheshbon HaNefesh]



PURIM MOMENT: One of the most popular songs on Purim is Venahafoch Hu--based upon the Megillah’s actual words. Hashem not only keeps the natural order going, and not only does the unexpected--but He also will totally reverse and upend that which was or is expected to happen. Enemies at the top become enemies at the bottom, those who want to hang get hung, those who bring Jews to tears--bring Jews to laughter. As we look at the plans and plotting of the nations of the world--from those who want to shoot a rocket a distance of 2,000 miles for mass destruction purposes, to those who wish to split away Yerushalayim from us--we know that with our Teshuvah, our Tefillah, our Mitzvos and Ma’asim Tovim--we too can see with our own eyes the Venahafoch Hu of Lyehudim Haysa Ora V’Simcha V’Sasson Vikar. So, when we sing Venahafoch Hu between now and Purim--let us have a Hirhur Teshuvah--and think of what we need to do to make it happen!



THE HALACHOS OF LEFTIES: B’EH, we conclude our series on special Halachos for left-handed people, excerpted from the Sefer Yad Eliezer: A collection of various Halachos, Mitzvos and minhagim pertinent to left-handers, by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his Rav or Posek regarding his personal circumstances:




1. Vidui. Based on the Siddur Arizal, it is our Minhag to tap the right first firmly against the heart when reciting Vidui, and when reciting Ahl Cheit on Yom Kippur. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, writes that both right-handers and left-handers do the same.


2. Chasunah. The Kallah stands to the right of the Chosson during the Chupah. This is based on the Pasuk (Nitzvah Sheigal Limincha) in Tehillim (45:12). There is accordingly no difference if the Chosson or Kallah is a right or left-hander.


3. Havdala. The Rema writes that during Havdala one should look at the nails of his right hand as he holds the cup of wine in his left hand (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 298:3). HaRav Chaim Kanievsky teaches that Ahl Pi Kabbalah both right and left-handers look at the nails of the right hand.





1. When Haman complained about the Jewish People to Achashveirosh, Chazal say he said “They spend their years with statements like ‘Shabbos HaYom, Pesach HaYom’, and are thereby not loyal to the king.”  The Chasam Sofer explains that Haman meant to indicate with these words that the Jewish people were so attached and enamored to their past and to their ways, and so dedicated to Hashem, that every Shabbos they felt as if it was truly ‘Shabbos HaYom’--the first Shabbos ever, and that every Pesach was ‘Pesach HaYom’--that this was the first Pesach ever.  They would, accordingly, never be loyal subjects for they had their own set of priorities.  In honor of his marvelous ‘accusation’ let us truly feel the excitement of the ‘Shabbos HaYom’ on Shabbos!   


2. What does the phrase of “Maharu Es Haman La’asos Es Dvar Esther” in the Zemiros of Shimru Shabsosai have to do with Shabbos?  The Eitz Yosef (in the Siddur Otzar HeTefillos) writes that Shabbos is referred to as ‘Esther’ in the Zohar and Tikkunim--so that this phrase in the Zemiros in actuality is referring to us preparing the Shabbos meals with alacrity in honor of Shabbos.  The nexus between Shabbos and Esther deserves further reflection.  On a simple level, both Esther and Shabbos represent our recognition and awareness of Hashem’s presence in the ‘hidden’ and natural events of every day of our existence.  It is on Purim and on Shabbos especially that we have a greater Hargasha, a greater experiential sense, of this feeling.  Your additional reflections would be very much appreciated. 


3. Fascinatingly, Chazal (Megillah 23A) teach that the seven aliyos we have on Shabbos correspond to the shiva ro’eh pnei hamelech. Rashi (ibid.) cites the Pasuk in the Megillah for this: “Shivas Sarei Paras U’Madai” (Esther 1: 14 ). Every Shabbos--we are reminded of the Purim miracle! 


4. In preparation for the Mitzvah of reading Parashas Zachor tomorrow, we provide the following important annual reminders:


A. The opportunity to read Parashas Zachor this Shabbos is of such great significance that, according to the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 685, seif katan 16), if one can only come to hear either Parashas Zachor or the reading of the Megillah, one should go to hear Parashas Zachor.


B. There is a Mitzvas Aseh, a positive Torah commandment, to “always remember the wicked deeds of the people of Amalek and their attack upon us, to arouse our hatred of them”--as they were the first to attack us without fear after the nations quaked and trembled over us (as described in Oz Yoshir, the Song of the Sea).  See Rambam Hilchos Melachim 5:5, S’mag Mitzvas Aseh 115, Chayei Odom 151:2. 


C. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 603) writes that one of the purposes of this Mitzvah is for us to recognize that one who causes pain to K’lal Yisrael is despised by Hashem, and according to the level of enmity against K’lal Yisrael is their level of destruction.  Since Amalek’s hatred of us was greater than that of all other nations, they are to be completely obliterated.  Indeed, the Ramban (end of Parashas Ki Setzeh) writes that we should “teach our children and future generations--so did the rasha to us, and that is why we have been commanded to erase his name.”


D. There is a Mitzvas Lo Sa’aseh, a Torah prohibition, of “Lo Tishkach”--not to forget the deeds of Amalek.  This means that we should not forget to despise them despite the passage of time, and to remember that Hashem saved us from them, and that we will eventually avenge their deeds and eradicate them.  See S’mak 53 and Sefer Yereim 189.


E. One should review the words of Parashas Zachor (with Rashi and/or other meforshim) before the laining.  We suggest reviewing it at the Leil Shabbos Seudah in order that you and/or others are prepared for the laining, since the Mitzvah is to arouse within us both a strong reaction to their despicable deeds, and our obligation to eradicate them.  Indeed, the Maharam Shick writes that we do not make a special bracha on this Mitzvah because we do not make a bracha on hashchosa--acts of destruction.


   F. The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 6:4) writes that an Amaleiki who makes peace with K’lal Yisrael and accepts the seven Mitzvos B’nei Noach is not to be hurt.  In fact, some learn that the reason that the descendants of Haman “learned Torah in Bnei Brak” (Gittin 57B) is because they were the descendants of those sons of Haman who did not fight against K’lal Yisrael (Sefer Adar U’Purim p. 68)


G. The Mitzvah of Mechias Amalek, eradicating the Sonei Hashem and Sonei Yisrael--those pure haters of Hashem and His people--began with Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua, continued in the times of Shaul HaMelech, Dovid HaMelech and in the times of Purim, and we will be Zoche to complete it in the times of Moshiach (S’mag-Mitzvas Lo Sa’aseh 226).  As these are days of Nissim and Geulah--miracles and redemption, may we be Zoche to do all the Mitzvos of Hashem with Moshiach leading and teaching us, speedily in our days.


H. For further detail see Sefer Adar U’Purim by HaRav Yoel Schwartz, Shlita, upon which this note is based.  For the enlightening words of the Ramban on the relationship between the war against Amalek and the end of our current Golus Edom , see the Ramban in Shemos 17:9.



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


This lesson is especially true, HaRav Schuck continues, with respect to Tefilah. Our daily Tefilos are said in the plural. Our personal requests for health, wealth, and forgiveness include everybody 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 acceptable.


The same idea, concludes HaRav Schuck,  is seen in the story of Purim. Esther says to Mordechai: “Lech Kenos Es Kol HaYehudim”--get everyone together and that way our prayers will be heard. Haman Harasha said the Jews are ‘Mefuzar U’Meforad’--spread apart and not united. His intention was to tell Achashveirosh that the Jews will not be protected by their G-d because they are not united. He somehow sensed that the only way the Jews can be helped by Hashem, is if they are united. To counter this, Esther showed the world (and maybe the Jews themselves) that we are all united and therefore deserve Hashem Yisborach’s help! 


Hakhel Note: If there is not something specific that you are doing in order to unite K’lal Yisrael--then, let your Tefillos resound on our behalf!  





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


·         In Kavannah, because improper thought invalidates a Korbon;

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

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

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

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


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



THE HALACHOS OF SECRETS:  The following exceptional excerpt from Love Your Neighbor (by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita), is based upon tomorrow’s Parasha, and is absolutely imperative in our everyday life.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





 1. QUESTION: How many Pesukim are there in the Megillah?


    ANSWER: 166--corresponding to the number of words in Hallel HaGadol (Tehillim 136).  (Sefer Rokeach)


2. QUESTION: What Pasuk in the Megillah teaches us that we will celebrate Purim even in the days of Moshiach?


    ANSWER:Vimei HaPurim Ha’eileh Lo Ya’avru Mitoch HaYehudim Vezichram Lo Yasuf Mizaram--and these days of Purim will never cease among the Jews…” (Megillas Esther 9:28).


 3. QUESTION: On what day and in what year did Haman intend to annihilate the Jews?


    ANSWER: 13 Adar 3405. Note: Achashveirosh only ruled for 14 years--from 3392 to 3406. Hakhel Note: Coincidence??


4. QUESTION: Why was Esther referred to as Esther?


  ANSWER:  One answer is because she was hidden (the root of Esther being seiser--hidden) in Mordechai’s house for 75 years after she was born (Targum and Targum Sheini) until she was discovered by the henchman of Achashveirosh so that the nes of Purim could occur.


5. QUESTION:  How was Vashti put to death by Achashveirosh?


    ANSWER: Let us just say you could no longer give her a ‘heads-up’ (see Targum).


6. QUESTION:  We sing “Shoshanas Yaakov...Birosam Yachad Techeiles Mordechai.  What was the Techeiles of Mordechai all about?


    ANSWER:  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita suggests that when Mordechai was told to wear the king’s garments, he had to place tzitzis (with Techeiles)  on the four-cornered ones, and as a result K’lal Yisrael realized that it was him and not Haman on the king’s horse!


  7. QUESTION:  What does the word Manos in Mishloach Manos refer to?


    ANSWER:  Although we commonly translate the term as portions, Rashi (Megillah 7A) defines Manos as Minei Ma’adanim, kinds of delicacies. 


8. QUESTION: How does one fulfill the concept of Pirsumei Nissa on Purim? 


    ANSWER:  The reading of the Megillah publicizes the miracle--and as a result everyone praises (or should praise) Hashem in its aftermath!  As a matter of fact, the reason that we read the Megillah at night and during the day is to remember how K’lal Yisrael cried out to Hashem to be saved both at night and during the day--and through this we remember the Nes!


9. QUESTION: If when blowing the Shofar, we recite the bracha of Lishmo’ah Kol Shofar, then why when reciting the Megillah do we not recite the Pasuk Lishmo’ah Kriyas HaMegillah?


    ANSWER: The reading of the Megillah involves havanas halev--an understanding beyond just hearing, like Kriyas Shema (Sefer Avudraham).


10. QUESTION:  A question obvious to all--why is Hashem’s name not written in the Megillah?


    ANSWER: There are several answers to this question:


     A. Since the Persians recorded the story as well, they would have replaced any Sheim with the name of their own false deity. Accordingly, it is an honor to Hashem for His name not to be mentioned (Maharil).


     B. Chazal (Chulin 139B) teach that the allusion to Esther in the Torah is from the Pasuk Ve’anochi Hastir Astir--and I will hide Myself [at that time]. Accordingly, we learn that Hashem wanted His name to be hidden relating to the events of Esther.



7 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT: In order to properly prepare for our Shacharis Shemone Esri, we recite Ezras Avoseinu. We should be careful that this essential, short Tefillah does not get blurred in a rush to Shemoneh Esrei. Rabbi Pinchos Breuer, Shlita, teaches that we should especially focus and be inspired by the words “U’Mibaladecha Ein Lanu Melech Go’el U’Moshiah—other than You, we have no king, redeemer or savior.” This thought should take us into our Shemone Esrei with a recognition of exactly how outstanding and meaningful our encounter really is! 



PURIM MOMENT: HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z’tl (Rav Schwalb on Prayer, Artscroll, p.526) poses a “I should have thought of that” question: Why does the Megillah in some detail, and why do Chazal subsequently in Ahl HaNissim, spend the time and effort to describe that Haman was hung on a tree, and that his 10 sons were hung on the tree almost a year later. Why do we have to remind ourselves of this every year in the Megillah and in the Ahl Hanissim so many times?  Indeed, Rav Schwab points out—even in the Maoz Tzur of Chanukah we sing “Rov Bonov Vekinyanav Al Hoetz Tolisa—Haman and a good number of his sons were hung on the tree.” What special significance does the tree have to this very special day?


Rav Schwab answers:  Chazal (Chullin 139B) teach that Haman is alluded to in the Torah with the Eitz HaDaas--Hashem asks Adam:  “Hamin Hoetz Asher…--Did you eat of the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” What is the relationship of Haman to the Eitz HaDaas –is it merely a play on words of Haman and Hamin? Obviously not. There is a great lesson here. Haman intended to commit the most heinous crime imaginable--the genocide of an entire people. The aveirah of Adam and Chava at first blush seems to be of no comparison whatsoever.  After all, they wanted to grow spiritually--to know the difference between Tov and Ra (Beraishis 3:5)--it was an Aveira for them to eat only because Hashem did not want to grow in this way at this time. They succumbed to the appeal which the fruit had to their senses--albeit a supernal and lofty one. As Rav Schwalb teaches: “This was the most exalted form of an aveirah ever committed.” Nevertheless, the Megillah and Chazal teach that the worst possible aveirah known to man—genocide-- had its origins in the sublime and elevated desire of Adam and Chava.  This is the route of aveira, this is the path of the Yetzer Hara. Those ‘worst kind’ of aveiros start somewhere--they have their origin in the slightest of aveiros. Haman’s aveira only began…because of the Hamin that engendered it.


So, when we read and refer to--and even pray about --the Tree of Haman this Purim, let us make sure that we glean its great lesson. We will tell the Yetzer Hara--“No, I am not going to begin”--the one word of Lashon Hara, the one bite of questionable food, picking up the muktza item because there ‘must be some heter’, not paying the worker what he asks because you want to teach him a lesson… all of the good intentions, all of the ‘practically no aveira’ of what you may be thinking, doing or saying—remember that 50 Amos high tree-- look up to its top—and to the ‘little’ sapling! We will not follow Haman--we will follow Mordechai!



MISHLOACH MANOS--BRACHOS ALERT: At this time of year, many new products surface, which contain ingredients in various proportions, and in which the appropriate bracha rishona (and bracha acharona) is not clear. When shopping for one’s own home--and certainly when shopping for Mishloach Manos--one should attempt to purchase only those products on which the brachos are clear. After all, no one would want to be machshil an adult or child with the wrong bracha. Undoubtedly, an ikar of Mishloach Manos are the brachos that you are being mezake another Jew to make!



TAKING A BETTER LOOK: At a Hakhel Shiur relating to Purim, Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier, Shlita, urged everyone to prepare for Purim by reading the Megillah anew without the influences of his childhood thoughts--but as a Sefer of Tanach.  Rather than view King Acashveirosh as a roly- poly, fickle nitwit, we should realize instead Chazal’s teaching on the beginning words of the Megillah:  ‘Hu Achashveirosh’--Hu BeRisho Mitechilaso Ve’Ad Sofo--he is Achashveirosh--evil from the beginning until the end.  Haman, then, could find no better partner to annihilate the Jews than him--for their annihilation was a great desire of his as well.  It is very telling that even after the Neis Purim occurred, he still did not allow the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash for as long as he was king!  Yet, with all of his hatred for us, Hashem caused him to move his kingdom’s capital to Shushan, the place of the Jews, so that Mordechai would not have to burden himself in traveling any distance to his palace.  With this in mind, let us take the time to study and appreciate the depth of every nuance and detail in the Megillah--and make many new discoveries this year.  We most certainly invite you to share your discoveries and original thoughts with us!  



A RELATED MEGILLAH NOTE--Q & A: The following Q & A--as had been provided to us in the past by Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita, author of Inside Sta”m--An Insider Reveals The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And Nevi’im.




I recently saw a stunning, illustrated megillah selling for a small fortune. I was thinking about saving up to buy it, and thereby enhance my fulfillment of Mitzvas Megillah. My chavrusa claims that while it may be a nice piece of Judaica, in terms of Mitzvas Megillah, not only is it not a beautification, it is a disgrace. I am rather offended by his position. Could he possibly be correct?




Actually, he is correct. While disgrace may be a strong term, the rationale behind it is accurate. Megillas Esther is part of Kisvei HaKodesh (The Holy Writings), one of the twenty-four books of Tanach. The correct way of beautifying Kisvei HaKodesh is by fulfilling all the halachic requirements mandated by Chazal. To add to the physical megillah, however, is a kind of statement that the scroll lacks intrinsic beauty. This is quite an insult to the mitzvah since in fact, there is nothing more beautiful than a mehudar STA”M item. There is no need for us to add to what HaShem and Chazal find intrinsically beautiful.


Regarding the phenomenon of illustrated Megillos, Rav Elyashiv Zt”l was wont to say “ain ruach chachmim nocheh haimenu”, or loosely translated “the chachamim are not pleased with him”.


An external adornment such as a silver case is indeed befitting. It communicates: “I value my beautiful megillah [or mezuzah] so much that I want to store it in an appropriately beautiful case.”



THE HALACHOS OF LEFTIES: B’EH, we continue our series on special Halachos for left-handed people, excerpted from the Sefer Yad Eliezer: A collection of various Halachos, Mitzvos and minhagim pertinent to left-handers, by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his Rav or Posek regarding his personal circumstances:




1. Blessing Children. According to the Arizal (cited in Sefer Ohr Tzaddikim 29) children are blessed on Friday night with the right hand. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, emphasizes that both right-handers and left-handers bentsch their children in the same way.


2. Putting on Clothes. When putting on a shirt or jacket, one should put on the right sleeve first, and then on the left. This is true for pants and socks as well. In removing these items, one removes the left one first and then the right one (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 2:4, 5, and Mishna Berurah seif katan 5, 8).


3. Netilas Yadayim. When washing hands in the morning, one picks up the k’li in his right hand and then puts it into his left hand so that he will wash his right hand first. The right hand is washed first and then the left (this is true when washing for bread as well). Both the right-handed and left-handed individual follow the same procedure.



6 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT:  Every day, Hashem’s kindnesses to us are so great that we describe them in Shemone Esrei as “Ki Lo Samu Chasodecha--Hashem’s Chesed is unending”.  When reciting these all-encompassing words we should feel the bliss of the many (countless) blessings we have at that moment--relating to the body, soul, family, personal miracles and experiences, etc.  One can and should sense a shower of Chasodim upon him, just as one senses the pleasure of a hot shower on a tired or perspired body--the water keeps on coming and coming-bringing salvation, relief and renewal!  Indeed, even throughout the day--as one realizes the specific blessing here and the definite  blessing there--exclaim ‘Ki Lo Samu Chasodecha--Your Chesed keeps coming and coming!



PURIM MOMENT: Chazal teach that by reading the Megillah one achieves Pirsumei Nisah on Purim—for as a result everyone praises (or should praise) Hashem in its aftermath!  As a matter of fact, the reason that we read the Megillah at night and during the day is to remember how Klal Yisrael cried out to Hashem to be saved both at night and during the day--and through this we remember the Nes!



PLEASE DAVEN! As we noted yesterday Adar Sheini and Nissan are juxtaposed as months of Geulah. Accordingly, we especially urge you to recite The TEFILLAH AHL HAGEULAH, which we have referred to in the past, and which is available in both Hebrew and English by the following links:


Hebrew - http://bit.ly/bZANrA

English - http://bit.ly/a1hRe3


Additional Note:  It would also seem appropriate to look for the terms ‘geulah’ and ‘yeshua’ in your davening and make them real-very real!



THE GIFT OF JOY! As we have noted in the past, the Chayei Adam (68:13) writes that “HaSimcha HaGedolah B’Mitzvah--joy is the greatest [or at least one of the greatest] elements in performing a Mitzvah.”  He continues, based upon the Arizal, that the happiness one experiences when fulfilling a Mitzvah should really be more blissful than that experience when one finds a host of pleasures and precious jewels.  In fact, the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 669:1, seif katan 11) writes in the name of the Arizal that the highest levels he reached came about through his great joy in performing Mitzvos.  It behooves us to take a Mitzvah that we perform daily, and put a little thought into it prior to its performance so that we can be truly joyful when performing the Mitzvah. Most certainly, the privilege and the ability to study Torah--Hashem’s direct words and instructions--should bring us to bliss.  Every time we sit down to learn we must appreciate the joy we bring to our inner selves--and the eternity that will result from it. Additionally, the opportunity to stand before Hashem in prayer, with the knowledge that the King of kings, the Creator and Provider is listening, should likewise provide nothing less than unbridled ecstasy.  Of course, the opportunity to perform each and every Mitzvah, large or small, easy or difficult is an opportunity of infinite Olam Haba right here in this temporal Olam Hazeh.  We should certainly not rob ourselves of an opportunity for true spiritual joy--at least once a day, and especially during this special month!  One should make sure to put forethought into at least one Mitzvah he is about to perform daily, sincerely appreciate and delight at the opportunity, and simply delight in its performance.



THE HALACHOS OF LEFTIES: B’EH, we continue our series on special Halachos for left-handed people, excerpted from the Sefer Yad Eliezer: A collection of various Halachos, Mitzvos and minhagim pertinent to left-handers, by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his Rav or Posek regarding his personal circumstances:




1. Shema. The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 61, seif katan 17) writes that one places his hand over his eyes when reciting the first Pasuk of Shema in order to increase one’s concentration. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, writes that the use of the right hand in this instance is Ahl Pi Kabbala, and accordingly, there is no difference between right-handed and left-handed people in this regard.


2. Tzedaka. One should give Tzedaka with his right hand, Ahl Pi Kabbalah--whether or not a person is a right-hander or left-hander. (Ohr Tzadikim 66 from the Arizal)


3. Mezuzah. A Mezuzah should always be affixed on the right side of the entranceway. (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah 289:2) This is the Halacha even if a left-hander is living alone in the house or if all who live in the home are left-handers. The reason Mezuzah differs from Tefillin is because the determination of how to wear Tefillin is based on each individual, whereas Mezuzah is a Mitzvah on the house. (Shach to Yoreh De’ah 289:2:5) The Debritziner Rav (Be’er Moshe Vol. 2:2) suggests however, that a left-handed person should kiss the Mezuzah with his left hand.



ON BRACHOS!  Chazal in Makkos teaches that Chavakuk (2:4) came and taught the Yesod of VeTzaddik BiEmunaso Yichyeh--a Tzaddik will live with his Emunah.  HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita (HaRav Mattisyahu Chaim Ben Ettel, Shlita, L’Refuah Sheleimah), points out that the Emunah that Chavakuk is referring to is the Emunah in the Biyas HaMoshiach which one can readily see from looking at the context of the Pasuk there.  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, points out that the word Rachamim in Vesechezenah Aineinu BeShuvecha LeTzion BeRachamim refers to our request that the Moshiach time come without pain and suffering.  Perhaps, at this crucial point in our history, when requesting Rachamim at these points in Shemone Esrei, we simply stretch out our hand and ask Hashem to give--for we are knocking on His Door in need, and He is the Only One Who Can Help Us!


Hakhel Additional Note Two on Brachos:  One of the great constructive criticisms leveled against Klal Yisroel by Yeshayahu HaNavi was that they performed their Mitzvos as “Mitzvas Anashim Meilumadah”--performing Mitzvos by rote.  A great personal exercise in combating the Yetzer Hara in this area may be for one to go through his day and find a bracha which he recites with the least Kavannah or attention--and make a definite effort to improve it in some way.  Is it the first bracha that one makes in the morning while still bleary eyed--Al Netilas Yadayim?  Is it Borei Nefashos--which is so short anyways?  Is it Hamapil--which is recited when one are so tired and falling asleep?  Is it Yishtabach--because one is in a hurry to get to the Birchos Kriyas Shema?  Whichever bracha it may be--your devotion to making a change--especially in something important as a bracha indicates your desire to come closer to Hashem!



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:  One week from tonight we look forward to Kriyas HaMegillah.  Hopefully, the Moshiach will come within the week--but even if he does--Purim will never be Batel. 


QUESTION:  What two events relating to the Megillah was the Malach Gavriel responsible for?

ANSWER:  (1) Gavriel placed the tail on Vashti, which led her not to come to Achashveirosh’s party (Megillah 12B), and (2) On the night when Achashveirosh could not sleep (BaLaylah HaHu) when Shimshi, Achashveirosh’s scribe was erasing what Mordechai had done to save the life of Achashveirosh, Gavriel would rewrite his life saving act. 


QUESTION:  Can you name at least three Nevi’im--other than Mordechai and Esther that lived at the time that the miracle of Purim took place?

ANSWER:  Baruch Ben Neryah, Sraya Ben Machsaya, Daniel, Chagai, Zechariah and Malachi. (Rashi to Megillah 15A)


QUESTION:  When was Haman hung? 

ANSWER:  Haman was hung in the evening after the 16th of Nissan (i.e., the night of the 17th). (ibid.)


QUESTION:  Why does the Megillah refer to Haman’s lottery with the term “Hepil Pur, Hu HaGoral”(Megillah 3:7)-was is the difference between a Pur and Goral?  

ANSWER:  The Meforshim (ibid.) explain that a Pur is a lottery which is intended to have a negative result, while a Goral is intended to have a positive.  Thus, Haman had intended for it to be a Pur for Klal Yisroel--however--the Megillah already testified at that time that it would be a Goral--a lottery in which we were the winners!


QUESTION:  On what day did the Ikar Neis of Purim occur?

ANSWER:  The thirteenth day of Adar, when the major wars against our enemies were fought (Rashi to Megillah 2A). 


QUESTION:  What does the word Manos in Mishloach Manos refer to?

ANSWER:  Although we commonly translate the term as portions, Rashi (Megillah 7A) defines Manos as Minei Ma’adanim, kinds of delicacies. 


QUESTION:  Why was Mordechai called a Yehudi, if he was from Shevet Binyomin? 

ANSWER:  Chazal (Megillah 12B) give several explanations: 

(1) He really was not from Yehuda, but it was a type of royal nickname.

(2) Although his father was from Binyomin, his mother was from Yehudah.

(3) Shevet Yehuda claimed that Mordechai’s life was in their zechus--because Dovid Hamelech did not put Shimi Ben Geirah (Mordechai’s ancestor) to death, and so Mordechai could be born.   

(4) Everyone who is Kofer in Avodah Zara is called a Yehudi--and Mordechai refused to even bow before Haman!


QUESTION:  According to the opinions that one should give Mishloach Manos through a Shaliach, through an agent--can that agent be a monkey, or other person who would generally not represent you as your ‘Shaliach’?

ANSWER:  The Chasam Sofer (in the Chidushei Chasam Sofer to Gittin 22B) writes that the Shaliach need only be competent when the matter to be performed really needs to be performed by the principal, but we just accept the Shaliach as his agent.  However, when the Torah requires that a Shaliach be sent--such as in Mishloach Manos, then one can even send a monkey or any other person who would be Pasul as a Shaliach to deliver the Shaloch Manos.  How is this for a novel idea for this Purim?


QUESTION:  What is the source for the concept of drinking on Purim to the point of not knowing the difference between ‘Arur Haman and Baruch Mordechai’

ANSWER:  The source is easy--Megillah 7B--but why?!  We look forward to your answers!



5 Adar Sheini

TESHUVAH MOMENT: Rabbi Eli Mansour, Shlita, brings Chazal who teach about how the Yetzer Hara operates: “HaYom Omeir Lo Aseh Kacha, U’lemachar Aseh Kacha--today the Yetzer Hara says ‘do this’ and tomorrow ‘do this’.   Why is the same term--do this today, do this tomorrow used?  Rabbi Mansour beautifully teaches that the tachlis of the Yetzer Hara is to keep you at status quo--whatever you are doing today---do it tomorrow.  Don’t grow, don’t become better, don’t get anywhere in life.  you are five minutes late every day to Shul, that’s just fine--keep it like that;  you don’t have time to go over the Parasha--hey, you did that when you were younger, no need to start something new now;  you sometimes lose yourself--that’s good, you have to every once in a while--keep it up.  Our task in life is to fight him at his “Kacha’s”--just do it and do it again.  We have to become better than yesterday--and not allow yesterday’s Kacha in!  Hakhel Note:  Rebbi Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl, explains that the Keruvim had the appearance of children--for us to realize that in our relationship with Hashem and with others we should view ourselves as children--not stuck in any kind of bad habit or rut--and always willing to try something new, always trying to explore--to get up and grow.  Let us be guided by the light of doing more than in the past, as we have pointed out in the past--doing Yoseir MiMah She’Hayisi--not being a Kacha Jew--but being like the Keruvim --better today than the day before!



A PURIM MOMENT: It would be logical for Purim to be in the first month of Adar when there is a leap year, with Adar Rishon being the real Adar--and Adar Sheini simply being an additional “thirteenth” month so that Pesach ultimately comes out in the spring as required by the Torah. Indeed, this is the opinion of the Tanna Rebbi Eliezer B’ Rebbi Yosi (Megillah 6B). L’Halacha, we Pasken like Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel (ibid.) who rules that Purim is in Adar Sheini because we must juxtapose and relate the Geulah of Purim to the Geulah of Pesach. Rebbi Eliyahu Schneider, Shlita, explains that this effectively means that we are to perceive Adar Sheini--and certainly Purim itself--as a time of Geulah. This Geulah is important enough to delay Purim by a month--and to relate it directly to the Geulah of Pesach. Accordingly, in this auspicious time--when reciting the Brachos of Ga’al Yisrael at Shacharis and Ma’ariv--and of Go’el Yisrael in each Shemone Esrei, we should energize ourselves and recognize that this is talking about--us!



THINK ABOUT MISHLOACH MANOS: Now would also be a good time to begin thinking about not only who you have to send Mishloach Manos to, but also who would be truly moved and appreciative for being remembered, thought about, or reconciled with through the Mishloach Manos.  Rabbi Yechiel Spero, Shlita, in A Touch of Purity writes that in the phrase “Mishloach Manos Ish LeRei’eihu” both the word Ish and LeRei’eihu have the same Gematria to indicate the level of identification, affection, and oneness that one should have with another!  Hakhel Note: Consideration in thinking about Mishloach Manos would be to include some bakavodik--and even healthy food. We note that at least one of the Kosher salad manufacturers has a Mishloach Manos product.



IT IS NOT IRONIC!  As we learned in last week’s Parasha, when one entered the Kodesh, the Shulchan, or the table with the Lechem HaPanim on it was on the right and the Menorah was on the left.  The Shulchan, of course, symbolizes prosperity and blessing in this world while the Menorah represents the light of Torah and its study.  We would have better understood it if the Menorah was to the right and the Shulchan to the left.  After all, we attribute greater Chashivus to the right, and, moreover the right was north--which was the direction in which the Kadshei Kadshim--the most holy of Karbanos were brought.  In order to resolve this paradox, some commentaries explain that there is a great difference between our approach to attaining the ‘Shulchan’ and our approach to attaining the ‘Menorah’ in life.  What do we mean?  Chazal (Pesachim 50B) teach that Torah can first be studied She’lo Lishmah--not for its own sake, and that will eventually lead to Lishmah.  As Chazal especially express it:  “Mitoch She’lo Lishmah Bah Lishmah.”  With this, we can understand why we first begin teaching young children with candies and treats, prizes and more prizes.  As a person grows, however, he realizes that it is the Torah itself which is the eternal treat and the everlasting prize.  When it comes to the Shulchan, however, there is no room for She’lo Lishmah.  We cannot focus upon earthly passions, desires, goals, and attainments as an end in itself--even with the intent of eventually making one’s life more noble and elevated.  One should not ever place the emphasis on satisfaction of Olam Hazeh needs as an end in and of itself.  It is for this reason that the Shulchan must be on the right--for it must always be in the ‘Lishmah mode.’  What a great lesson!  Many times throughout the day when one finds the challenge arise as to a particular indulgence, gratification or desire, he should remember that the Menorah is to the left… but that the Shulchan always remains to the right!



QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: To help continue to arouse the spirit of Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B’Simcha, we provide the following questions relating to the events of Megillas Esther, which have been culled from the Sefer Sifsei Chachomim, introduction to Mesechta Megillah, and other sources:


1. QUESTION:  What are the ten significant kingdoms that span all of human history?


    ANSWER: (i) Hashem when He created the world, and was recognized by all; (ii) Nimrod, when he rebelled before Hashem in front of the world; (iii) Paroh Melech Mitzrayim; (iv) the kingdom of Ahm Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael; (v) Nevuchadnezzar, king of Baval; (vi) Achashveirosh; (vii) Yavan; (viii) Rome; (ix) Moshiach; and (x) when Hashem once again is recognized by all as Ruler of the world, as the Navi teaches: “VeHaya Hashem LeMelech Ahl Kol Ha’aretz”.


2. QUESTION: We know that the Gematria of Boruch Mordechai and Arur Haman are the same. To what is the Gematria of Arurah Zeresh equivalent?


    ANSWER: Esther Livracha (Steipeler Gaon).


3. QUESTION: The word Purim is written five times in the Megillah--twice with a Vav and three times without a Vav--why?


    ANSWER:  The two times with a Vav (i.e., with the word complete) allude to the 14th and 15th of Adar, each of which are celebrated as Purim in all respects, only depending upon whether the city was originally walled or not. The three times Purim is written without a Vav represents the 11th, 12th and 13th of Adar, days upon which in certain circumstances in the past the Megillah could have been read (and Matanos L’Evyonim given)--but Simchas Purim was in any event even in these circumstances celebrated on the 14th(Cheishek Shlomo). Hakhel Note:  Oh, how much we can learn from the presence or absence of even one letter in the Megillah!


4. QUESTION:  Can you name at least three Nevi’im--other than Mordechai and Esther--that lived at the time that the miracle of Purim took place?


    ANSWER:  Baruch Ben Neryah, Sraya Ben Machsaya, Daniel, Chagai, Zechariah and Malachi. (Rashi to Megillah 15A)


5. QUESTION: What was the name of Haman’s mother?


    ANSWER: Her name was Amasla’i (Bas Urvasi). Chazal (Baba Basra 91A) teach that the name of Avrohom Avinu’s mother was also Amasla’i (Bas Karnevo). One suggested reason for the two mothers having the same name is that whenever Haman Bas Amasla’i is mentioned, it will be me’orer the zechus of Avrohom Avinu--just as when we mention the city of Chevron, we are me’orer the zechus Avos (see Yoma 28B).



4 Adar Sheini



1.  If you start today learning Mishnayos Megillah and learn just three Mishnayos a day (after Shacharis, Maariv, etc.), you will complete all of the Mishnayos in the Mesechta on Purim, and if you then continue to learn three (3) mishnayos per day of Mishnayos Pesachim starting on Purim (it is a mitzvah to begin learning Hilchos Pesach on Purim, as brought in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429; Mishna Berurah seif katan 2), you will complete Mishnayos Pesachim for Pesach!


2. If you start today, and learn one perek of Megillas Esther a day, you will have reviewed the Megillah in time for its laining on Leil Purim.  Remember--the Torah Jew places special emphasis not only on the Mitzvah--but on the Hachana --the preparation for the Mitzvah!



TESHUVAH MOMENT:  The Chovos HeLevavos teaches us: “Ki HaYamim Megillos Kisvu Bahem Mah Shetachpetzu Sheyizacher Lachem--Everyone’s days are like Megillos--write in them what you wish to be remembered for.” (Sha’ar Cheshbon HaNefesh, Chapter 3). 



PURIM MOMENT:  To help continue to arouse the spirit of Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B’Simcha, we provide the following questions (this time--and answers!) relating to the events of Megillas Esther, which have been culled from the Sefer Sifsei Chachomim, introduction to Mesechta Megillah:


1. QUESTION: Why is the Megillah called Megillas Esther--and not Megillas Mordechai?


    ANSWER:  There are several answers given.


A. Mordechai was on the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah that approved the Megillah’s codification as one of the Sifrei Tanach. Referring to the Megillah as Megillas Mordechai could cause some to claim that Mordechai endorsed it because of his own honor, or as a remembrance as to how the king raised his position and accorded him great honor and wealth. Indeed, the Pasuk found in the Megillah (9:29) records “Vatichtov Esther HaMalka…U’Mordechai HaYehudi--mentioning Esther’s name first.”


B. Esther acted with greater Mesiras Nefesh, as she stated (Esther 4:16): “V’cha’asher Avadeti Ovodeti.” Rashi (Shemos 37:1) provides a similar comment on the Pasuk: “Vaya’as Betzalel Es Ha’aron--Betzalel made the Mishkan”. Because he did more than others, it was called by his name.


C. The ikar hanes occurred through Esther (see Megillah 4A Tosfos d’h she’af).


D. Esther was the one who requested of the Chachomim: ‘Kisvuni L’Doros--write down my story for future generations.’ (Megillah 7A).


E. Even though Esther was a yesoma and raised by others--nevertheless a Yeshua Gedolah for all of K’lal Yisrael came through her. This should provide a nechama to all those who are downtrodden to strengthen their bitachon in Yeshuas Hashem.


F. To remind us that because Esther reported what Bigsan and Seresh intended to do in the name of Mordechai she brought Geulah to the world--and that we too can bring Geulah to the world, by fulfilling Chazal’s teaching (Avos 6:6): “Kol Ha’omer Davar B’sheim Amro Meivi Geulah L’Olam”!


2. QUESTION: Are there any cities in Chutz La’aretz that could have possibly been walled from the times of Yehoshua Bin Nun?


    ANSWER:  Possibly, Prague, Czechoslovakia and Temesvar, Romania--the Shela HaKadosh writes that an individual should be machmir on himself and read the Megillah in these cities at night and in the day without a bracha on the 15th of Adar as well.


3. QUESTION: How much time passed between Vashti being put to death and Esther becoming queen?


    ANSWER:  4 years--for Vashti was killed in the 3rd year of Achashveirosh’s reign and Esther became queen in the 7th year of his reign.


4. QUESTION: How many generations were there from Mordechai back to Yaakov Avinu?


    ANSWER:  40 (see Targum Sheini to Esther 7:6 for a listing of Mordechai’s ancestry generation by generation)


5. QUESTION: How many years had Mordechai been in Galus before the Nes of Purim happened?


    ANSWER:  Mordechai went into Galus with Yechanya the king of Yehuda in the year 3328. The Nes of Purim occurred in the year 3405. This means that Mordechai had been in galus for 77 years prior to the Nes of Purim! 



PURIM COSTUME ALERT:  The Luach Davar B’Ito reminds all that Purim costumes (especially hats from Eastern Europe) may contain shatnez, and accordingly should be checked in advance of Purim to make sure that the costume is usable.  The Luach also strongly advises against using costumes which can scare others.  It also suggests that the child ‘tries the costume on’ in front of a parent so that it fits, is clean and no buttons are missing…to avoid any last minute consternation or disappointment.  Hakhel Note: We had previously pointed out that a Halachic issue is raised as to whether one may daven in a Purim costume. The Dirshu Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 91, Note 17) brings a Teshuvah from the Shevet HaLevi (10:18) in which the Shevet HaLevi rules that if a Chossid is dressed as a misnagid, or vice versa, he may daven in the costume, provided that he is serious and his body is covered. Although the Dirshu Note appears to read this ruling more expansively, one should consult with his Rav or Posek with respect to other costumes.



AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER! As Purim approaches, one may feel that he has to be a little bit tighter with Tzedaka until Purim comes, and may also feel uneasy about all of the contributions on Purim as well.  There is a story related about R’ Itzele Petteburger, Z’tl, who reached into his pocket and gave a stranger Tzedaka.  After the person left, R’ Itzele remarked that he felt no difficulty, no hold-back, with his act of giving--so the Tzedaka in that case was probably not a true one.  The Yetzer Hara would only bring about hesitation and resistance when the Mitzvah was real--otherwise, he will let it go by with pleasure. So, if you are approached for Tzedaka within the next ten days--remember for the large part where your inner resistance is coming from.  Similarly, when giving Matanos Le’Evyonim--overcome the challenge and remember to give each and every person wisely--and B’Sever Panim Yafos!



MOVING AHEAD IN ADAR:  Now that we are at the fourth day of Adar Sheini(!), we are once again reminded of the words of Rav Dessler, Z’tl in Michtav Mai’Eliyahu (Volume 2, p.123).  Rav Dessler teaches that just as there are stages in the aveilus of Av beginning with Rosh Chodesh --which climax on Tisha B’Av, so too is there an increase in the Simcha one is to feel as he moves daily through Adar- reaching a pinnacle on Purim and Shushan Purim.  This avodah is not something that we wait until the last moment with.  Our joy is not marked by a one-time chuckle at a joke or one-liner, but at the Simcha of our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu, as the world turns on the axle of His Hashgacha Pratis over us. 



A SPECIAL LEVEL OF HASHGACHA:  This time of year represents and reminds us of the special level of Hashgacha that Hashem graces us with.  Sometimes it is clear to see, and sometimes we may not even realize how we were lead in a particular direction or on a specific path.  Indeed, some commentaries to Tehillim 117 explain that the reason we exclaim:  “Halelu Es Hashem Kol Goyim, Shabechuhu Kol HaUmim--praise Hashem all nations, praise Him all nationalities” is because we do not even know the nature or extent of the designs and schemes against us from which we were saved--and only they do.  On the other hand, with the Nes of Purim, it was clear for all to see Hashem’s tremendous ‘behind-the-scenes’ actions for many years--and that but for the great Hashgacha Pratis we would have been annihilated--as had actually happened to scores of nations previously in existence.  Indeed, the term “Megillas Esther” expressly affirms the dual nature of our Hashgacha--sometimes it is ‘Megillah,’ meaning thoroughly revealed--and sometimes it is ‘Esther,’ meaning wholly hidden.  It would certainly be an appropriate Avodah at this time of year to work on experiencing and appreciating the Hashgacha Pratis in each one of our personal lives.  “Why did I feel that I was coming down with a cold and then not get it?”  “Why did my cell phone break today?”  “How did I get involved in redding this Shidduch?”  “Why did I learn this today--is there some way in which I should be applying it?”...  Although one cannot go through an entire day noting this and noting that, it most certainly behooves us during the month of Adar to write down at least one Hashgacha Pratis incident of the day which you recognized as a clear indication of Hashem’s hand in youshr life.  It is no secret, and we have noted here before, that once a person recognizes the tremendous Hashgacha to which he is subject, the more Simcha he will feel in his closeness to Hashem.  Your own personal Adar 5779 Hashgacha Pratis Calendar--a marvelous goal and special achievement for what we hope will be a Simcha-filled month!



1 Adar Sheini

THE MAGNIFICENT OPPORTUNITY STARTS TODAY!  By the following link, we provide a truly magnificent opportunity to review the Chovos Helevavos Sha’ar Habitachon in 30 short segments over the month of Adar Sheini   http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/Sha’arHaBitachonScheduleAdarOne.pdf  You will then have the ability to review this Sha’ar over the month of Adar Sheini. What a special way to connect Purim, Pesach and our daily lives! Spread the word!



TESHUVAH MOMENT: “Sediment preserves wine when the wine rests on it. But if the sediment rises, the wine becomes unfit for drinking. The same is true of the evil inclination. As long as it is subordinate to the good inclination, it is beneficial to the world. But once it rises to the top, it ruins all.” [Even Sheleimah]


Hakhel Note: When making decisions during the day—ask yourself what is helping making the decision—the sediment or the wine?



PURIM MOMENT:  When is ga’avah good? One answer is that its letters--gimel, aleph, vav and heih, represent the days upon which Purim can fall--Tuesday, Sunday, Friday and Thursday! To help arouse our spirit as to the moment of Purim approaching--and the spirit of Mishenichnas Adar Marbim BeSimcha--this month according to all opinions, we provide the following questions relating to the events of Megillas Esther:


1. QUESTION: How long was Haman a barber for before he became Achashveirosh’s right-hand [or, perhaps, second-hand] man?


     ANSWER: He was a barber in K’far Kartzum for 22 years (Megillah 16A).


2. QUESTION: When Haman heard that Achashveirosh ordered him to take Mordechai around on the king’s horse--what did Haman suggest to Achashveirosh to do for Mordechai instead?


     ANSWER: He said that it would be enough to give him one village or one river (ibid.).


3. QUESTION: Name at least two acts that are attributed to the Malach Gavriel in the Purim story.


     ANSWER: He placed a tail on Vashti so that she would be too ashamed to appear at Achashveirosh’s feast (Megillah ibid. 12B). Also, when Achashveirosh could not sleep and he ordered that his Divrei HaYamim be read before him, Shimshi the king’s scribe and a Jew-hater kept on trying to erase the recording of how Mordechai had saved Achashveirosh’s life from Bigsan and Seresh--and Gavriel kept on re-writing it (ibid. 16A).


4. QUESTION: Can you identify a Pasuk in Tanach that Haman knew?


    ANSWER: Chazal teach that when Haman told Mordechai to get up onto the king’s horse, Mordechai advised him that he was too weak from fasting to do so. Haman then had to bow down so that Mordechai could step on him to ascend onto the horse. When Mordechai did so, he kicked Haman. Haman responded: “Does it not state ‘Binfol Oyvecha Ahl Tismach’?” (Mishlei 24:17)? Mordechai responded that the Pasuk does not refer to the enemies of K’lal Yisrael (ibid.)!


5. QUESTION: What gezeiros did Haman make against K’lal Yisrael, besides for his intent to ultimately r’l annihilate them?


    ANSWER: (i) He decreed that no one could purchase a Jew as a slave--so that no Jew would be protected at the time of the intended annihilation (ibid. 11A); (ii) From the Pasuk of “Laihudim Haysah Orah”--which teaches how the Jews celebrated after Haman’s plan was foiled, we learn what he decreed against: Orah--the study of Torah, Simcha--the observance of Yom Tov, Sason--Bris Milah, and Yekar--Tefillin.


Hakhel Note: Once again, the Pasuk reads: “Laihudim Haysah Orah V’Simcha”--we may learn from this that the prerequisite to Simcha is-- Orah--Torah! Certainly, one thing we should be doing now in preparation for Purim is learning more Torah--especially relating to Purim and the Megillah!





A. Reminder--even if you start learning Mishnayos Megillah today and learn just three Mishnayos a day (after Maariv, with your son, etc.), you will complete the entire Mesechta on Purim, and if you then continue to learn Mishnayos Pesachim starting on Purim (it is a mitzvah to begin learning Hilchos Pesach on Purim (as brought in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429; Mishna Berurah seif katan 2), you will complete Mishnayos Pesachim before Pesach!


B. If you start today, and learn one perek of Megillas Esther a day, you will have reviewed the Megillah in time for its laining on Leil Purim.  Remember--the Torah Jew places special emphasis not only on the Mitzvah--but on the Hachana --the preparation for the Mitzvah!


C. The following contemporary Sefarim (Hebrew) are recommended by the Sefer Luach Davar B’Ito in preparation for Purim: Purim V’Chodesh Adar (HaRav Cohen); Yemei HaPurim (HaRav Schwartz); Nitei Gavriel--Purim (HaRav Tziner); and Yismach Yisrael (HaRav Dardik).


D. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SHUL JOINS YESHIVAS MORDECHAI HATZADDIK THIS PURIM!  Yeshivas Mordechai Hatzadik, Torah study in Shul on Purim day, has hundreds of branches worldwide, with tens of thousands participating.  If your Shul does not yet participate in this noble project (Torah study on such a busy day--what a Zechus!).  If your Shul does not yet participate in this noble project (Torah study on such a busy day--what a Zechus!), all it takes is some simple signs as to the time, several nice raffle prizes, and perhaps a door prize for each child participating.  For further information on a discounted door prize available, please contact avotusa@kewnet.com., and for signs or raffle ticket forms, please respond to this Bulletin.



THE THIRTEENTH MONTH!:  The Torah (Shemos 12:2) teaches that “HaChodesh HaZeh Lochem Rosh Chadashim Rishon Hu Lachem Lechodshei HaShanah”--notwithstanding when the New Year begins--the First Month of our Year is Nissan, and Tishrei is actually the Seventh Month of the Year (see Mishna Rosh Hashanah 1:1 for further explanation).  Accordingly, with Adar Beis, we arrive at the last month of the Year--and this morning we have recited “UleChaparas Posha” for the last time this Leap Year! As we learn from Yaakov placing Rochel and Yosef last in their greeting Eisav--Acharon Acharon Chaviv--the last can be the most precious.  Indeed, some even ‘save the best for last--so it has a longer lasting effect’.  So, we can use this last month to great advantage--by cleaning up the spills of the past 12 months, and inaugurating Nissan on a new and smooth pavement.  Is it any wonder that the first Mishna in Mesechta Shekalim, and Parashas Shekalim that we read last week, REMIND US to prepare in the month ahead--to be ready and to donate the Shekalim on time?!  We too can accomplish and attain a successful Adar day by day--starting today.  We can begin today by determining if we have properly honored or can in some way improve in honoring Rosh Chodesh. Will my Mincha Shemone Esrei today be infused with more Kavanna--will I recite the awesome Tefillah of Ya’aleh VeYavo--in which I ask that my Tefillos pierce through the Seven Heavens and appear before Hashem’s Throne for Remembrance--slowly and with the expectation and drive that they are piercing through to the top?  Oh, what opportunity we have to take us out of the disappointment and dismay, out of the confusion and terror, of Galus through the powerful Tefillos gifted to us!


HAKHEL NOTE: With this the last month of the year being the portal to the upcoming first month, it may also be a good time to review what we are FIRST or close to first to do and what we are LAST or close to last to do.  Where do we especially place our true Zerizus efforts and excel--and what do we particularly put off doing.  Is there any part of this that could or should change?  Where am I in terms of arriving in Shul for Minyan or a Shiur--as one of the first to arrive, around the middle, or towards the end?  Is there anything that should I put off to the end?  We know that there must be some way that last is important--after all in the Ani Ma’amins themselves--we affirm our belief that Hashem is Rishon and Acharon--First and Last!  Here is a possible suggestion for what a person can do first or at the outset of every day--give Tzedaka (as the Pasuk teaches--”Ani BeTzedek Ecehezeh Ponecha”), and perhaps a last thing to do every day--highlight the most successful and least successful part of the day passed--and think about how to rectify the ‘plopping’ (above)--and how to keep the successes coming!





A.  Reminder regarding the computerized date stamp on soda caps, one reader advised us that if you cut the ring with a knife before Shabbos (so that the soda does not lose its carbonation, as it would if one were to open it in the regular manner)--then when you twist the cap back on after opening for a drink on Shabbos -it will not reset to exactly the same place --and so you will not be writing the date stamp back when you close the bottle.  You may want to test this with a bottle of your own. D. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (75:2), relating to Neiros Shabbos rules as follows: “The candles should be so long that they burn until after the meal. One should seek to purchase fine candles.  Rav Huna teaches (Shabbos 23B): A person who is accustomed to lighting Neiros Yafos--attractive Shabbos candles--will merit sons who will be Torah scholars. The Pasuk (Mishlei 6:23) indeed states: “Ki Ner Mitzvah, VeTorah Ohr--for a Mitzvah is a candle, and Torah light”--i.e., the candle of Mitzvah will bring about the light of Torah.”


B.  A Muktzah item (e.g. raw fish or flour) in a refrigerator or freezer that is preventing one from removing a non-Muktzah item (e.g. Challah) which is needed on Shabbos may be moved in the following manner:  One should place one’s hands in the refrigerator or freezer and take hold of the non-Muktzah item (e.g. Challah).  While removing the non-Muktzah item a person may place his hands in the front of the Muktzah item to prevent the non-Muktzah from falling out.  In the event that this is not possible one may push the Muktzah item to the side (e.g. raw fish or flour) using with a Non-Muktzah object (e.g. a knife).  Notes:  (a) If a freezer broke and raw fish or meat will spoil (which would result in a serious financial loss), one may rely on the authorities that rule that raw fish or meat is not Muktzah on Shabbos. (b) Raw eggs are not considered Muktza as some people will use them in that state.  (Muktza: A Practical Guide, by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita--Artscroll Halacha Series).


C.  We once again supply the email address for Shabbos Stories--a weekly free email compilation from a wide variety of sources--it is keren18@juno.com  Hakhel Note:  This will assist you with the story, but Zemiros--no matter how tired or tone deaf you are--are up to you--and may be indicative in some way of just exactly how happy you are in celebrating the Shabbos.  In any event, remember that the Chitzoniyos is Me’orrer the P’nimius.  


D. The following Halachos are excerpted from  the pamphlet Piskei Shulchan HaLevi, the pesokim of HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Z’tl, as compiled by R’ Shmuel Tzvi Cohen with an approbation from HaRav Belsky. As with all pesokim, one should ask his Rav or Posek for a final ruling:


1. If one has no cup other than a disposable one, he may use it for Kiddush or bentsching--but lechatchila one should use a nice cup (see Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:39).


2. If one usually recites Kiddush over a regular size becher on Shabbos morning, and finds himself in a place in which he is given a schnapps glazel--he should not recite Kiddush over it. Even if the Ba’al HaBayis does so, one should nevertheless insist that it is his minhag to utilize a regular size becher.


3. If one is being yotzei kiddush through another--then he should follow the one who is reciting Kiddush as to whether to stand or sit. If one does not do so, then he does not appear to be kove’ah seudah with him.


4. If one skipped a Parasha or more in the weekly recitation of Shenayim Mikra V’echad Targum--then one should first read the Parasha of this week, and then go back and make up the Parashios of the prior weeks.


5. Bochurim who enjoy ‘taking two steps at a time’ may do so on Shabbos--and will not violate the issur of taking pesyiah gasa on Shabbos, since this is their enjoyment.


6. One may fold a paper napkin on its crease, and this is not considered to be fixing it--as it will be disposed of after its one-time use.


7. It is permissible to make a necktie on Shabbos only if it is tied in a manner in which one will be able to untie it by pulling it once.


8. Orange peels are not muktzah, for there are food items that are prepared from them.


9. One should not pour a drink over ice cubes on Shabbos. Rather, one should pour the drink in first and then put the ice into it. Then, if one wants to fill up his cup again, he should make sure that part of the original drink is left in the cup.


10. One should not clap a musical or rhythmic beat on the table.


11. When singing zemiros, one should say Hashem’s name, rather than saying the word ‘Hashem’--as reciting Hashem’s name in zemiros is not considered to be levatalah.


12. Even if one has a minhag to wait less than 50 minutes after shekiyah in order to do melacha on Motza’ei Shabbos--he should change his minhag and wait 50 minutes, and preferably 72.


E.  The Chofetz Chaim once convinced a Jew who was Mechallel Shabbos in his business to become Shomer Shabbos.  “The only thing, Rebbe, is that I need to work another one or two Shabbosim in order to straighten out all my books and records, and finish my Shabbos affairs,” he said.  The Chofetz Chaim lovingly looked at the man and said--” I am not the Ba’al HaBayis over Shabbos to be able to grant your request.  Shabbos belongs to Hashem--and he has already determined that each and every moment of each and every Shabbos is of great and untold significance and importance--so forget your cheshbonos--and rely on Hashem’s Hand to help you!”  Let us appreciate each precious moment of Shabbos--and make sure that we recognize and demonstrate through our especially sincere and sublime action that it is Hashem Himself who is the Ba’al Habayis over the day!





A. How many times in this 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 had once calculated the answer on her own--and then 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 publication by Rabbi Ozer 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 shows how our ‘standard daily prayers’ are really not so standard at all, and concludes, “Just as Betzalel followed Hashem’s precise guidelines for the creation of the Mishkan and still found room for creative expression by doing so with his own unique intentions and insights, so too our Sages established the standard wording of the prayers with Divine Inspiration, articulating within them every feeling we may wish to express. Many times, in the midst of a difficult situation, we begin the standard prayers with a heavy heart, only to find a new interpretation of the words which we have recited thousands of times jump out at us. This newfound understanding, which has been there all along waiting for us to discover it in our time of need, is perfectly fit to the sentiments we wish to convey, if we will only open our eyes to see it and use our Sages’ foresight to express ourselves.”  To subscribe to Parsha Potpourri weekly, email oalport@optonline.net.


B. 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.  Non-coincidentally, the Daf Yomi will be concluding Mesechta Gittin on Shabbos and commencing Mesechta Kiddushin on Sunday. We have also just concluded Adar Rishon and today began Adar Sheni.  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 when Purim arrives the year will be half over--and that it would truly be an accomplishment to Improve in Avodas Hashem before the second half of the Year--with a concrete improvement that I have been meaning to make --especially in Torah or Tefillah?  As we see the great work product of the Mishkan come to final fruition in Parashas Pekudei--let us practically and meaningfully take the lesson of its building to a powerful next step--real and actual growth in Avodas Hashem!



30 Adar Rishon

THE MAGNIFICENT OPPORTUNITY STARTS TOMORROW!  By the following link, we provide a truly magnificent opportunity to review the Chovos Helevavos Sha’ar Habitachon in 30 short segments over the month of Adar Sheini   http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/Sha’arHaBitachonScheduleAdarOne.pdf  You will then have the ability to review this Sha’ar over the month of Adar Sheini. What a special way to connect Purim, Pesach and our daily lives! Spread the word!



TESHUVAH BECHOL YOMI: At shekiyah today, we will have completed 6 months of the year 5779(!) Today is an auspicious time for Teshuvah and to be mekabel bli neder on oneself Teshuva Bechol Yom!—see below!



TESHUVAH MOMENT: Why does man traverse on two legs, while animals walk on “all fours”? The Orchos Tzadikim (Shaar Yiras Shomayim) explains that all animals have only a nefesh behemis, and accordingly, they always look down, for their whole life is dedicated to this world’s pursuits. Man, on the other hand, is blessed with a neshama which strives for its source in the heavens. However, man faces sideways, and does not naturally look up, because he always has the bechira chofshis as to whether he will look down as an animal—or look up as an angel!



PURIM MOMENT: We are now two weeks away from Purim. Rather than once again waiting until the last minute, we should review the Megillah now with the simple view of identifying the words that we do not understand--and learning their meaning, so that when the Megillah is read, we will have a fuller appreciation of its hallowed words. Remember--the Megillah is one of the Sifrei Tanach, and was written B’Ruach HaKodesh. Hakhel Note: We can get you started with a first word--Hapartemim (Megillas Esther 1:3).



NOTE OF APPRECIATION: From the Sefer Chovos Halevovos, we learn that there are three different reasons why a person does not appreciate all of the good and pleasures that he really has in his life:


1) His trials and tribulations which are difficult to navigate and blind him to the good that he experiences;


2) He is personally used to waking up every day with two eyes that see, two ears that hear, legs with which to walk, a roof over his head, clothes that give him dignity, warmth and protection, a brain that discerns, a hot coffee, a shining sun, a warm sweater, a pen to write with, a friend, a car, etc.; and


3) Everybody, or at least most people, enjoy the same benefits.


How can we train ourselves in HaKoras Hatov to HaKodush Boruch Hu? Here are a couple of ideas:


· Open and close your eyes a few times and think about what the world would be like if you were unable to see.


· While you are walking in the street, imagine that you and only you are the one who is able to walk with legs on the street, and breathe without the assistance of a machine.


· Would you exchange a functioning brain for $250 million? $1 billion?


Think about it…and appreciate!



GETTING READY FOR MISHLOACH MANOS! Many who want to present a high-end Mishloach Manos will give the Mishloach Manos on an item which requires tevilah (such as a tray, dish and the like). There is an important machlokes haposkim regarding when tevilah should be performed on the gift item. HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, holds that before one gives the item to his friend, he should be tovel the item with a bracha.  On the other hand, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl (in Halichos Shlomo), rules that one cannot tovel the kli before giving it away, and that the Minchas Yitzchak and HaRav Wosner, Z’tl (Kovetz M’Beis Levi), similarly rule that it should not be toiveled prior to it being given--and that instead one must be careful to indicate on the tray, dish, etc. that it has not been toiveled when it is given.  HaRav Shternbuch, Shlita (Teshuvos V’Hanhagos), writes that if the person buying the tray uses it a bit first, then toiveling it before giving it away would be appropriate, and this would resolve the issue.  Accordingly, it is imperative that one consult with his Rav or Posek regarding what should be done if he intends to give a new kli that otherwise requires tevilah to someone (of course, whether as Mishloach Manos or otherwise).



JUST A MINUTE, PLEASE! The Gemara in Yoma (85A) which is brought l’halacha in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim (329:4) requires one to be mechallel Shabbos to extend the life of another Yid-even if the chillul Shabbos will extend the life for just only one more minute. The sefer Shaarei Orah (page 23) writes that we see how precious, halacha l’maasah, one minute of a person’s life is. What can be accomplished in a minute? The first parasha of S’hma, the six zichiros, Birchas HaTorah, to name just a few great mitzvos. The next time somebody asks you, “Got a minute?” or “Can I take a minute of your time?” perhaps your answer should be “I’m not so sure,” for there are truly so many great things that one can accomplish in the “few minutes” that others may simply throw away. The word “minute” may come from the same source as minutiae, but in Yiddishkeit, its significance is great and, quite literally, everlasting. For life is not like treading water or just getting through the day—every minute is a very special opportunity.



FORTY DAYS: Many of us are familiar with the “segula” of davening (or having a shliach daven for you) at the Kosel for forty days in a row in order to obtain a particular yeshua that is needed. In fact, Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita (Teshuvos V’Hanhagos 4:61) writes that this segula can be accomplished in any Bais HaMedrash or Bais Haknesses, if you expressly enter to daven for this particular need. The key to success is temidus (consistency and constancy) in a Makom Kadosh.


Note: Perhaps this very fact--that your shul can serve as your Mikdash Me’at--can reignite your sensitivity to your very own shul’s kedusha.



DOGFOOD? Chazal teach us (Pesachim 118A) that one who speaks and one who accepts Lashon Hora without attempting to guard himself from this grave sin is fit to be thrown to the dogs, as indicated by the intended proximity of the Lo Sa’se of Lashon Hora in the Torah to the words “to the dogs shall it be thrown (Shmo s 22:30).” The Rambam brings this Gemora L’Halacha in Hilchos Deos (7:3). The Sefer Chofetz Chaim also brings this L’Halacha both in Hilchos Loshon Hora (6:1) and Hilchos Rechilus (5:1). To indicate the severity of the crime for which the Torah teaches that being thrown to the dogs is the punishment , we need only point to the house of Achav and to the wicked queen Izevel, the perpetrator of the mass murder of Neviim, whose bodies were eaten by the dogs (Melachim I 21:23,24). This is not very good company!


Note: We can now better understand why OUR VERY FIRST PERSONAL TEFILA at the conclusion of Shemone Esrei is Elokai N’zor Leshoni Mera. Books, such as Artscroll’s The Chofetz Chaim Companion, have a study schedule contained within the text. For Shemiras HaLashon shailos, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s Shemiras HaLashon hotline can be reached at 718-951-3696, 9:00 to 10:30 pm Monday through Thursday and Motzaei Shabbos.




THE HALACHOS OF LEFTIES: B’EH, we continue our series on special Halachos for left-handed people, excerpted from the Sefer Yad Eliezer: A collection of various Halachos, Mitzvos and minhagim pertinent to left-handers, by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his Rav or Posek regarding his personal circumstances:




1. Both right-handers and left-handers put on their right shoe first, but there is a difference with regarding to tying their laces. The right-hander should tie his left shoe first, whereas the left-hander ties his right shoe first.


2. When removing shoes, the right-hander unties his right shoe first, and then unties his left shoe. However, he takes off his left shoe first and then removes his right shoe. The left hander unties his left shoe first and then unties his right shoe. However, he too, removes his left shoe first and then removes his right shoe (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 2:5, Mishna Berurah seif katan 8). Hakhel Note: It is a matter of getting used to doing the right thing--we are all familiar with the story of the person who did not intermarry because he realized that a Jew is guided even as to how one ties and unties his shoelaces.


3. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that both a right-handed and left-handed person should begin cutting his nails on the left hand first.



29 Adar Rishon

THE MAGNIFICENT OPPORTUNITY STARTS AGAIN!  By the following link, we provide a truly magnificent opportunity to review the Chovos Helevavos Sha’ar Habitachon in 30 short segments over the month of Adar Sheini   http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/Sha’arHaBitachonScheduleAdarOne.pdf  You will then have the ability to review this Sha’ar over the month of Adar Sheini. What a special way to connect Purim, Pesach and our daily lives! Spread the word!



TESHUVAH MOMENT: Chazal (Shabbos 31A) teach that beyond the six questions that a person is asked when he is brought to heavenly judgment--Yiras Hashem He Otzaro (Yeshaya 33:6)--Yiras Hashem is the ultimate storehouse for one’s Yeshuah. Otzar, can, of course, also mean treasure. We can use this special phrase--Yiras Hashem He Otzaro as the actual and direct means to thwart off an attack by the Yetzer Hara on one’s thought process. Any disconcerting, non-constructive, negative, or possibly evil thought that enters a person’s mind may be promptly thwarted when a person catches himself--by reciting the words Yiras Hashem He Otzaro! Repel that aveirah--so that the Yetzer Hara cannot accomplish his intended powerful sting--by bringing Yiras Hashem into your life!



PURIM MOMENT: Chazal (Megillah 12B) teach that because Vashti made Jewish girls perform work for her without clothing, she was middah k’negged middah called to come to Achashveirosh’s feast without clothing as well. In the words of Chazal: “Shebemiddah She’adam Moded Bah Modedin Lo--as a person acts to others, so does the Beis Din Shel Ma’alah act to him.” If this principle applies even in the world at large and even to a marsha’as like Vashti--all the more so must we appreciate how it applies to us in our lives on a daily basis. Purim reminds us that it is not only just and proper to have Middos Tovos--it is also the most clear and logical choice!



INQUIRY OF THE WEEK: In Birkas HaChodesh last Shabbos, we ended the Tefillah of Yehi Ratzon with the words Amen Selah. This term raises several questions: (1) Why is each individual answering Amen Selah to his own Tefillah? (2) What does the word Selah mean here, and why is it joined to the term Amen in this unique instance? (3) When answering to the Chazan’s repetition of the Yehi Ratzon--what does one answer--Amen or Amen Selah? (4) If one only answers Amen should he not wait until the Chazan recites the word Selah, but instead recite the Amen as soon as the Chazan does? Hakhel Note: We all know how important the Amen response is, and that there are two separate simanin in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (124 and 215) which discusses how and when to properly answer Amen--teaching us its great significance. It accordingly behooves us to take this once-monthly opportunity of Amen Selah--and properly fulfill it! We look forward to your responses.



HARAV YAAKOV KAMENETSKY, Z’TL:  Today, 29 Adar Rishon, is the 33rd Yahrzeit of HaRav Yaakov (B’ R’Binyomin) Kamenetsky, Z’tl. The following is paraphrased in Praying with Fire, by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita, from Reb Yaakov, The Life and Times of HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, by Yonoson Rosenblum (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publ.), pp. 108-110:


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



YOM KIPPUR KOTON: We provide the following notes relating to Erev Rosh Chodesh from the Sefer Tefillas Yom Kippur Koton, with b’urim of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, compiled by Rav Tzvi Yabrov, Shlita:


1. The Shelah HaKadosh teaches that since Rosh Chodesh is a Zeman Kappara one should see to it that he does complete Teshuvah with a Lev Shaleim--rectifying any monetary, physical or emotional matters that need to be rectified. Through his charata and viduy, and the departure from his bad ways--one enters the month as a new person! Hakhel Note: Once on Rosh Chodesh that fell out on Shabbos, HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman, Shlita, went to see his father in-law, HaRav Schach, Z’tl. HaRav Schach, who was deeply engrossed in thought, motioned to Rav Bergman and said: “Not now--today is Rosh Chodesh and one should perform a Cheshbon Hanefesh. As we say in Mussaf--it is a Zeman Kaparah Lechol Toldosom.”  HaRav Schach’s grandson who was present asked HaRav Schach: “Does one conduct himself in this way even when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos?” HaRav Schach responded--”Yes, even on Shabbos!” (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 288, Taz seif katan 2)


2. Hashem gives us the opportunity for Kappara every month--so that our sins do not accumulate. In our Tefillos during the course of the month, we generally ask only for selicha or mechila--it is only on Yom Kippur and Rosh Chodesh that we use the language of Kappara--for just as Yom Kippur effects Kappara for the whole year, Rosh Chodesh effects Kappara for the previous month!


3. In the Siddur HaRosh M’Garmeiza, it is written that because Hashem sits in judgment every Rosh Chodesh, we ask for the Geulah. Indeed, although Chazal (Pesochim 13A) teach that Eliyahu HaNavi will not come on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov because people are busy--Eliyahu HaNavi could very well come on Rosh Chodesh (tomorrow!) as, once again, it is a time of Kappara for all. Hakhel Note: As we have noted in the past, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, writes that when the Moshiach comes we will recite four brachos: (i) Baruch Chacham Harazim (over the 600,000 that will be present); (ii) Shechalak Meichachmaso LiReiav (over the Gadol HaDor); (iii) Shechalak MiKevodo LiReiav (over the king); and (iv) Shehechiyanu (over reaching this time). HaRav Kanievsky adds that at the time of Techiyas HaMeisim we will also make the bracha of Mechayei HaMeisim. HaRav Kanievsky explains that the reason we do not expressly daven for Techiyas HaMeisim in our regular Tefillos for the Geulah is because it will take place forty years after the Geulah--and we pray for the Geulah to first begin as soon as possible!





1. Kol HaNeshama. Remember to have especial Kavannah when reciting the phrase Kol HaNeshama Tehallel Kah Halleukah in Shacharis for the short remainder of the month. Next month--Adar Sheini--we will be emphasizing this Pasuk again a second time--as it is the 13th and final phrase in the concluding Chapter of Tehillim, Chapter 150--representing the 13th month!


2. Extras. We are being blessed with an extra month, so that there will be seven months left to the year. This importantly means that we have more than one-half of the year left to straighten matters out. What we should in fact realize is that Hashem is always blessing us with extras. The month of Adar Sheini just highlights this for us in a very special way. The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 207:1, seif katan 5), in explaining the bracha of Borei Nefashos, teaches that the term Vechesronam refers to all of the necessities that Hashem supplies us with, and Ahl Kol Mah Shebarah LeHachayos directs us towards all of the extras that Hashem bestows upon us. Each day we have the opportunity to thank Hashem--and not overlook--all those beyond-necessities that He supplies us with! If we can focus on this every time we recite Borei Nefashos--it will be like experiencing the joy of Adar Sheini every day of the year!


3. Help Your Community. In just over two weeks we will be celebrating Purim. We urge you to take part in establishing or giving special chizuk to Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik in your Shul or community. Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik, Torah study in Shul on Purim day, has hundreds of branches worldwide, with tens of thousands participating.  If your Shul does not yet participate in this noble project (Torah study on such a busy day--what a Zechus!), all it takes is some simple signs as to the time, several nice raffle prizes, and perhaps a door prize for each child participating.  For further information on a discounted door prize available, please contact avotusa@kewnet.com., and for signs or raffle ticket forms, please respond to this Bulletin.



THE HALACHOS OF LEFTIES: B’EH, we will begin a review series on special Halachos for left-handed people, excerpted from the Sefer Yad Eliezer: A collection of various Halachos, Mitzvos and minhagim pertinent to left-handers, by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, Shlita. As always, one should consult with his Rav or Posek regarding his personal circumstances:




1. When making a bracha, the left-hander holds the food in his left hand. The same is true when a left hander is holding any Devar Mitzvah that he is about to utilize so that he would hold any Kos Shel Bracha (even if he does not personally drink from it) in his left hand, the besamim at Havdalah in his left hand, etc.


2. At the completion of Shemone Esrei the left hander should begin taking his three steps backward with his right foot, as he should begin to retreat with his weaker foot to show that it is not pleasant for him to part with the Presence of Hashem.


3. From the Teshuvos Maharam of Mintz (109) it would seem that a left-handed Chosson should give the ring to his Kallah with his left hand, and that a left-handed Kallah should receive the ring on her left index finger.



28 Adar Rishon

TESHUVAH MOMENT:  Chazal (Megillah 13B) teach that when it comes to K’lal Yisrael, Hashem will not r’l send a makkah upon them unless and until He has first created the refuah to heal them. We must recognize that no matter how serious or dire the matzav of K’lal Yisrael is --whether inside or outside of Eretz Yisrael--it is ready to be instantly remedied. We have to do our part--K’lal Yisrael at the time of the Megillah realized it and acted. We too can do the same--but in our time let us take the necessary steps--well in advance of any makkah bearing its full brunt upon us as it did then.  TESHUVA B’CHOL YOM--the time is today, the time is now!



PURIM MOMENT: Rabbi Eliyahu Schneider, Shlita, points out that when Haman HaRasha was advised by Achashveirosh that Esther invited only the king and him to her special Mishteh, Haman walked out “Sameiach V’Tov Lev--joyful and exuberant”. (Megillas Esther 5:9) The term Sameiach V’Tov Lev eerily reminds us of the words of the Tochacha in which we are told that the punishment described there comes upon us because we did not serve Hashem B’Simcha V’Tuv Leivav. (28:47) Why was Haman so happy? Rabbi Schneider explains it was because Haman felt that he was realizing his personal potential--in his case thinking that he was a world leader. We should take the middah k’neged middah lesson--and instead of Haman--each one of us should be Sameiach V’Tov Lev in his personal and distinctive role in K’lal Yisrael--and be especially happy in his exclusive and unique Avodas Hashem! Let Sameiach V’Tov Lev be a special theme for you over the coming month!



YOUR TZIBBUR: Rabbi Eli Mansour, Shlita teaches that the word ‘Tzibbur’ is an acronym for Tzadikim, Bainonim, UReshaim.  We are a people together and united.  Moreover, the source of ten people serving as a Minyan is the Meraglim--if that group constitute a Minyan together--imagine what ten Jews sincerely praying, learning, or doing a Chesed together can incredibly accomplish! 



ARE YOU OFFENDED? After sending an email which requests or deserves a response, one can easily be disappointed, discouraged or even hurt by not receiving a prompt response--or any response at all. After all, there are so many means at another’s disposal to respond no matter what the time of day or location of the recipient --computer, laptop, tablets, one (or more) phones--’couldn’t he take the time or have the decency to take ten seconds and answer?!’ The challenge becomes a wonderful modern day example of Dan L’Chaf Zechus--recognizing that one’s friend or colleague had a learning or work priority, a pressing commitment, was taking an hour off from technology (see next note), or better yet--simply forgot. One’s worst possible reaction is insult or hurt. With a better understanding of the action or inaction of others--they too will hopefully have a better understanding of you!



A DAILY MENTAL EXERCISE: For Men: One time a day, depart from your home or other location to Shul, and then return from Shul to your home or other location, without taking out your cellphone for any reason. Instead, focus on yourself and your day, and how you could improve it. For Women: One time a day, depart from your home or other location to work or to the store, and return from there to your home or other location without taking out your cellphone for any reason. Instead, focus on yourself and your day, and how you could improve it.  Hakhel Note: Over even a short period of time--you will have demonstrated a wonderful degree of control and mastery over yourself. Moreover, by reflecting internally--what a better person you will be!



FROM A READER ON HAPPINESS: “HaRav Noach Weinberg, Ztl, has a great shiur on happiness in which he provides simple tasks to increase one’s happiness. This is not an exact summary of his shiur, but close to it:


Step #1:  Spend 15 minutes or so writing out a list of all the pleasures in your life.  Start with the obvious (eyes, ears, hands, feet) and then keep going and going until you cannot think of anything else.


Step #2: Review the list each night and add one new thing each night.


Step #3: Only for people who want serious joy--try to organize your list in order of what gives you the most pleasure.  This forces you to think deep and really consider how great your pleasures are (what do I appreciate more, my eyes or my ears?).


Anyone who does this and then reviews the list often is certain to increase their joy....and joy is the fuel that allows us to react well to what Hashem will have us encounter in our day--and to do all the good we need to do in our lives!”



GREATER SENSITIVITY: 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 author of novels  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 this 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 the begin the next!



SHEMIRAS HALASHON GEMS: The following gems are excerpted from the explanatory notes contained in the Dirshu Edition of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim:


1. HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, rules that it is assur to ask a person whom you know has sinah or kinah to another for information about that person. This is so even if there is no other person to obtain this information from (such as why a couple had gotten divorced, or why a shidduch broke up)--with the only exception being if one is certain that the speaker will not relay the requested information out of hatred, anger or jealousy at the time. If one asks the question(s) without being certain--he is over Lifnei Iver, and one should realize in any event that the response may be an inaccurate or unreliable one. (p. 291, note 76)


2. If one speaks Lashon Hara but the listener did not hear it (there was a noise at the time, or the recipient was hard of hearing), one still needs Kapparah for it is analogous to the situation where one intended to eat chazir and ended up eating Kosher--which requires Kapparah. (p. 295, note 80)


3. It is not permissible to speak negatively of another even if the other person allows it, if the intent of the speaker is to put down that person. This is true even if the matter is publicly known and would otherwise be permissible. When a person is permitted to speak l’toeles--it must only be for a beneficial purpose. (ibid., note 82)





1. The Mishna Berurah  brings from the Eliyahu Rabba in the name of the Kitzur Shelah that a segulah to remove foreign thoughts from a person during davening is (before Pesukei D’Zimra) to pass his right hand over his forehead three times and recite the Pasuk (Tehillim 51:12) “Lev Tahor Berah Li Elokim V’Ruach Nachon Chadeish Bekirbi”. Additionally, if one realizes in the middle of davening (such as Shemone Esrei) that foreign thoughts are entering his mind, he should stop for a moment, pass his right hand over his forehead and think this Pasuk. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 98:1, seif katan 2, and Dirshu Edition note 8)


2. When one davens, it should be with a feeling of supplication and need--as a poor person standing by the door sincerely and respectfully asking for a gift. One should especially place upon his heart that there is no creation, angel, mazel, or anything else that can fulfill one’s request other than the Ribono Shel Olam (ibid., Mishna Berurah, seif katan 8)


3. If one specifically needs to daven to Hashem for Parnassah or relating to a sickness, the Eishel Avrohom in the name of the Sefer Chassidim teaches that when reciting Shemone Esrei one should not only place Kavannah on the item or two that is more urgent to him--but should instead recite all of the requests in Shemone Esrei with sincerity!



27 Adar Rishon

VERY REALISTIC--YOU CAN START TODAY!   If you begin today and study just two (2) Mishnayos a day of Mesechta Megillah, you will make a Siyum Mishnayos on the Mesechta before Purim.  If you continue on with Mesechta Pesachim, you will make a Siyum on Mesechta Pesachim for Pesach!



TESHUVAH MOMENT:  The Sefer Orchos Tzaddikim writes that one of the principles of Teshuva isTo know the truth, that Teshuva is the Refuah Sheleima for aveiros”; if a person who is ill doesn’t believe that a medicine will heal him won’t take it--but if he knows for sure that it will help, he will take the pill or medication, no matter how difficult it may be.  If a person truly appreciates the truth--the efficacy of Teshuva, and its enormous healing ability--he should and will be extremely vigilant, extremely caring and careful--to take Hashem’s Medication--daily!



PURIM MOMENT! Of all of the evil character traits of Haman HaRasha, who we can envision as the epitome of the leading Nazi official 75 years ago, Chazal (Megillah 13B) specifically teach the following: Laika D’Yada Lishna Bisha K’Haman --there is none that knew how to speak negatively more than Haman. Chazal then go on to enumerate many instances of how he spoke disdainfully of K’lal Yisrael, and how he tried to ignite the ire of Achashveirosh against them. We must take the lesson deeply to heart--a prime characteristic of those who are the antithesis of K’lal Yisrael is Lishna Bisha. Let us begin our track to the happy life we referred to last week by taking this great lesson from Purim--and refining our tongues to speak with positive purity...especially remembering not to say something if we are unsure if it should be said!



CAN YOU HELP US IN OUR SEARCH? Chazal (Shabbos 119B) teach that Kol Ha’oneh Amein Yehei Shemei Rabba Mevorach Bechol Kocho Korin Lo Gezar Dino. The power of Amein Yehei Shemei Rabba is so great--if one has Kavanna in its recital he can literally cause a r’l gezar din against him to be torn up by the Beis Din Shel Ma’aleh. It is for this reason that many read the words of Amein Yehei Shemei Rabba from a Siddur in order to especially focus. As we have done in the past, we provide by the following link--  http://hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/AmenYeheiShemeiRabbah.pdf  a concentrated list of possible Kavannos to have when reciting these hallowed words. We are now in search of a Shiur (audio or video) which provides practical guidance and advice as to most effectively maximize each and every opportunity to recite of Amein Yehei Shemei Rabba. We would greatly appreciate your letting us know--hakhelusa@gmail.com.



MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY CELLPHONE ALONE: Consider--”To what degree is the cellphone an absolutely integral part of my daily life, and what does it supersede that it shouldn’t? How can I change that”?



THE TORAH JEW AND THE KAISER ROLL: Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, told of the hanhaga of girls in his mother’s high school class.  A Kaiser roll can be split into four equal pieces. Each day at lunch the girls would cut and place the four pieces of their Kaiser roll into the middle of the table, so that they would ‘pool’  their lunch--and instead of only one filling--have pieces of different fillings--tuna, egg salad and the like. The wonderful part of the story is that while each girl had to put in all four pieces of the roll--but take out only three--so that the girl who forgot lunch, or whose parents cxould not afford it would not go hungry.  Hakhel Note: We are descendants of geniuses in chesed--we must continue to be as innovative and resourceful even in this ‘modern’ world and think of ways we can use what is at our disposal to help others privately and successfully!



NOT GOLD: Rabbeinu Bachaya explains why the names of the Shevatim were not written directly on a solid gold base but instead were placed upon the precious stones embedded in the gold. Gold goes up in value in accordance with its weight--one ounce has a certain price, two ounces cost twice that price, and so on. This is not so with gems--in which the larger and more refined gem can increase in value many times over. So too it is with the Torah--the merit of continued study and the merit of the study of a chavrusa or of  a Rabbim--is so much more and greater than a mathematical proportion. We are way beyond the gold!


Hakhel Note One: The Chofetz Chaim brings in the name of the Midrash (Vayikrah Rabba 25:1) that even if one was r’l chayav misa bidei shomayim, his life could be spared if instead of learning one daf as he did in the past, he learned two, or instead of learning one perek of Mishnayos a day, he instead learned two. How could it be that just by doubling his degree of study, one could increase his merits to the degree of saving his life. This could be readily explained if we recognize that the Torah is valued in a way much differently than precious gold--it is our precious jewel!


Hakhel Note Two: Chazal (Horios 13B) list items which cause one to forget one’s learning, and items which assist one to remember one’s learning.  One of the items that causes one to forget one’s learning is when one is ‘HaRagil B’Zaisim (one who is used to eat olives), and one that has a positive effect on learning is when one is ‘HaRagil B’Shemen Zayis(one who is used to using olive oil).  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, points out that the Torah’s admonition of “Rak Hishamer Lecha U’Shemor Nafshecha Me’od Pen Tishkach--only beware for yourself lest you forget...” (Devarim 4:9), may very well apply to one who is lax in this area and acts without concern regarding items which cause one to forget their learning.  He recalls that the Steipeler, Z’tl, would basically not eat olives, because he was unsure as to what the standard was of ‘Regilus’--one who is ‘used to’ consuming olives. When we find things in Chazal (and in Halacha) which are Kashe LeShichecha (cause a person to forget), we should take them quite seriously--as the precious pearls of Torah that we do possess is at the epitome of our accomplishments--which we must do our utmost to retain!



THE POWER OF MECHILA: The famous words of the Chovos HaLevavos (Sha’ar HaKeniya, Chapter 7) as to one whom Lashon Hara has been spoken against receiving some of the Mitzvos of the Ba’al Lashon Hara, and the Ba’al Lashon Hara receiving some of the the aveiros of the person whom he spoke against is quoted by the Chofetz Chaim in the Sefer Shemiras HaLashon (Sha’ar Hazechira, Chapter 3). Based upon this teaching, the Maggid Meishorim taught the Beis Yosef (Parashas Vayakhel) that if a person would appreciate this great gift that he is receiving--losing aveiros and gaining Mitzvos--he would not feel bad at all about the Lashon Hara being spoken against him. The question, however, becomes--what if the Ba’al Lashon Hara does Teshuvah and asks Mechilah from the person whom he spoke against--does he get back his Mitzvos and does the person spoken about now lose them? HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, Z’tl (Sefer Ayeles HaShachar, Vayikra 19:16) teaches that the one spoken against does not lose anything at all by forgiving the speaker--for the zechus of being mochel is worth much more than all of the zechuyos that he accrued and returned to the speaker by being mochel him! (Sefer Chofetz Chaim, Dirshu Edition, p. 305-306)


Hakhel Note: Let us use this tremendous teaching to appreciate the power of Mechila--and forgive, forgive, and then forgive some more!



24 Adar Rishon

TESHUVAH MOMENT:  The Pasuk teaches regarding Betzalel “U’Lehoros Nassan BeLibo--and the ability to teach was placed in his heart”.  The Mefarshim explain that with these words we are taught the difference between Lilmod and LeLameid--to learn and to teach.  It is a great level to learn, and an even greater one to be able to teach.  It is for this reason that we request of Hashem in Ahava Rabba/Ahavas Olam that He please give us the ability Lilmod U’LeLameid--to learn and to teach.  Everyone really has to be a teacher--chavrusos one to the other, husband and wife, parent and child, friends and acquaintances.  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 to all as well!



PURIM MOMENT: Through Achashveirosh’s feast described at the beginning of Megillas Esther, Chazal (Megillah 12B) provide the great and important difference between a festive meal of akum, and that of a Torah people: At a Shabbos Seudah, before commencing to eat and drink, we begin with Divrei Torah and Divrei Sishbachos, while when akum begin their meal they begin with words of frivolity and lightheadedness. This is borne out by the seudah of Achashveirosh--in which the participants began to argue as to the relative attractiveness of the members of the various nations. Rather than quashing the trivial and demeaning chatter--Achashveirosh, as the leading figure there--gets heavily involved and decides to call Vashti into the party to prove his point! The rest is more than history…. What we can do this Shabbos and every Shabbos thereafter is to follow Chazal’s distinguishing rule--and be sure to begin our Shabbos meals the Torah way!





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.


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


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


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


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.


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. (Divrei Siach)


C.  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. (Divrei Siach)


D. A reader’s response to our question about whether Lashon Hara is more severe on Shabbos than during the week: “It is a Davar Pashut. A sin that is done on Shabbos is worse than one done during the weekdays, and a mitzvah done on Shabbos is greater than one done during the week. The Chofetz Chaim says any mitzvah done on Shabbos is equivalent to all 613 mitzvos (since Chazal say that Shabbos is equivalent to all the mitzvos).”


E. We provide the following very meaningful teachings relating to Parashas Shekalim in Galus, excerpted from the Sefer HaToda’ah by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Z’tl (as translated by Rabbi Nachman Bulman, Z’tl, and published by Feldheim Publishers as that essential-for-the home-work “The Book of Our Heritage” ):


Today, when we no longer have the Beis HaMikdash and we longer bring sacrifices, the mitzvah of the half-shekel is no longer applicable.  Nevertheless, we still read the portion of the Machatzis HaShekel at the appropriate time so that the Torah reading might be regarded as if we had actually fulfilled the mitzvah - -as the Pasuk (Hoshe’ah 14:3) states:  ”U’Neshalma Forim Sefaseinu... our words shall take the place of the animals which we can no longer sacrifice.  Another reason that we continue to read Parashas Shekalim is because we pray that the Beis HaMikdash will soon be rebuilt, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to be familiar with the proper manner of fulfilling this mitzvah.  This Mitzvah is especially favored, for it teaches us that we are all equal before Hashem --as we all participated (and will participate) equally in the Karbanos Tzibbur--the offering of all communal sacrifices ..  There are  no rich or poor before Hashem--we are all beloved.  All are close to Him and all of their sacrifices come before Him pleasantly, bringing atonement for all their sins.”  Hakhel Note:  The Half-Shekel that we give on Ta’anis Esther is only a remembrance of the Mitzvah D’Oraysa--may we speedily merit our participation in the Machatzis HaShekel of the Bais Hamikdash--we have plenty of time--as the Machatzis HaShekel is only finally due on Rosh Chodesh Nissan--more than a month away!”





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


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


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


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


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


D.  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 BeLev Shaleim U’VeSimcha when he arose from bed:  “Hareini MeKabel Alai Ohl Torah HaYom!”  Likewise, the Siddur Siach Yitzchak (Siddur HaGra) notes that in the Bracha of HaMa’avir Sheina early each morning the first two requests we make following the Yehi Ratzon are “Shetargileinu BeSorasecha VeDabekeinu BeMitzvosecha--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 “Yehi Ratzon…Sheyehei Libi Nachon U’Masur BeYadi Shelo Eshkachecha--May it be Your will that I be upright, and in control of my heart today, so that I don’t forget You.”  The Siddur Siach Yitzchak concludes that when one has a Haschala Tova in the morning, then “Az Yiheyeh HaKol Tov--everything will be good.”


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


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


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





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


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


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


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


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