REMINDER-- THE BRACHA ON ESROG JELLY: By now, many have taken hold
of their precious Esrogim with the hope of internalizing them: “The TheLaws of Brachos (by Rabbi Binyomin Forst, Shlita, Artscroll) writes
as follows: Unlike other fruits, whose inner fruit is eaten while the
rind is discarded, the thick esrog rind is the primary portion of the
fruit. Therefore, the proper brachos for an esrog are follows: (a) Esrog
preserves: One who eats esrog preserves or jam (which contains
esrog solids) recites a Ha’eitz regardless of whether he eats the
fruit itself or the thick rind; (b) the outer peel: the thin outer
yellow peel of the esrog is similar to other fruit peels. One who eats it
alone, even if it is preserved and sweetened, recites a Shehakol; (c)
raw esrog rind: an esrog rind is not usually eaten raw and therefore
requires only a Shehakol when eaten raw.”
LOOKING FORWARD:The Imrei Pinchas writes
that: “...until Parashas Lech Lecha when we learn of Avrohom Avinu and his
deeds, the world is in a state of confusion and disturbance.With Parashas Lech Lecha, the
chesed of Avrohom Avinu is aroused, and yeshuos begin to occur....”May we experience and see them all around us!
CARRY IT WITH YOU! In this week’s Parasha, Avraham Avinu is
commanded in the Mitzvah of Bris Milah. It is an Eis Ratzon to daven at the time that the baby cries and B’EH all
of the cries go up to Shomayim together. Accordingly, for those who do not
have them, we once again provide by
clicking here two printed Tefillos that have been distributed relating
to a bris. In addition, one should recite the Chapter of Tehillim which
mentions the word Sheminis in it. Some say this is Tehillim Chapter 6, and
others Tehillim Chapter 12. If you can--perhaps say both!
GUF KADOSH! One may mistakenly believe that it is the Neshama within
him that represents his Kedusha, and that his body is only a mere physical
manifestation of himself in Olam Hazeh. In this week’s Parasha, Rashi
teaches us otherwise: When Sara Imeinu talked to Hagar about marrying
Avraham--Rashi (16:3) brings that Sara Imeinu told her: ‘How fortunate you
are to be associated with a Guf Kadosh
Kazeh--such a holy body--and this was even before Avraham Avinu had a
bris milah!” Let us take a step back. Chazal teach, Chayav Adam Lomar:
LeMa’asei Avosai, LeMa’asei Avraham, Yitzchak V’Yaakov”--A
person is obligated to say: “When will my actions reach [or at least
touch] the deeds of my fathers, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov?”
Accordingly, we too must strive for a Guf
Kadosh. How can we attain it? We may suggest that by one putting his Guf
to the service of his Neshama throughout the day--his body takes on
Kedusha from the Neshama…and becomes a Guf
Perhaps one of the most famous thoughts on the Parasha is “Lech Lecha MaiArtzecha--go for your own benefit out of your connections
from the Artzecha--the Chumriyus of this world.”
Avraham Avinu recognized this as a real task in life, and this helped propel
him to greatness.
Special Note One: We
continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series.
A. For those who
experienced the inspiration of The Shabbos Project last week--don’t let it
wane this Shabbos even if you no longer have less educated guests in your
home or at the table. Share your happy and inspired feelings with family and
friends, and make the pleasant effort to experience the Ma’ain Olam Haba
of Shabbos--uplifting splendid gashmiyus to joyful and supernal ruchnius!
certainly, the Shabbos table is an essential portion of the Shabbos
experience. Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita reminds everyone that with new
discoveries weekly in the area of technology, one may get quickly involved
in a discussion around the table of this new App or that new App--and how to
obtain and use it.Notwithstanding
its importance or value, one must be very careful to ensure that not only is
the table Lashon Hora free--but free of discussions relating to actions
which involve melacha or which one cannot be performed on Shabbos itself--or
are simply not within the ruach of your Shabbos Kodesh!
C.As the year is ahead of us, we must be careful not to fall back into
unthinking habits and old ways--especially as they relate to our hanhagos
on Shabbos . We provide below some instructive thoughts on weekly
Shabbos occurrences that we may take for granted:
1. The Maharsha
(Bava Kamma 32B) teaches that we repeat the words ‘Bo’ee Chala Bo’ee Chala twice at the end of Lecha Dodi--not
because it is necessary for the song or because it makes it sound more
endearing--but because it represents the true marriage of Bnai Yisroel to
the Shabbos Queen. How so? First, a Kallah leaves her
father’s house to the Chuppah--and the Chassan goes out to greet her and
welcome her as she arrives. Then, after the Chuppah, the Kallah
actually enters the home of the Chassan--to fully establish their new
relationship. So too do we first turn to welcome the Shabbos in Shul
as it first arrives--and then take the second step of bringing our most
welcome bride into our homes.
2. The Sefer Mishmeres Moed (Shabbos 119B) writes that the two
Malochim that accompany us home from Shul on Leil Shabbos are not the usual
Malochim that escort us, but rather are especially designated Malochim,
whose role it is to give brachos if they find that there is proper Kavod for
the Shabbos Queen as they enter. It is for this reason that we recite
Shalom Aleichem--to welcome them initially into our homes--and then ask them
to give us the blessing by reciting the words “Borchuni
Leshalom. The Mishmeres Moed notes that the bracha they
give is actually Hashem’s bracha and not theirs, as they are only
Shelichim--and it is for this reason that we especially remind them (and
ourselves!) that ‘MiMelech Malchei
HaMelochim Hakadosh Baruch Hu--that the bracha is from Hashem Himself.
After receiving the bracha, we can then say Tzeischem
LeShalom to them in thanks and appreciation for having fulfilled their
task on our behalf!
3. The Siddur Otzar
HaTefillos writes that Aishes Chayil, ‘from its beginning
to its end’, refers to the Shechina, and that it contains 22 Pesukim,
which parallel the 22 ‘tzinoros shel
ma’aleh’ which are then open and bring Heavenly Bracha down from
above. One should not only sing the Aishes Chayil--he should
experience it as well!
4.Chazal teach that the
Roman Caesar asked Rebbe Yehoshua how he too could enjoy the savor of the
Jewish food that he had just smelled. Rebbe Yehoshua answered him that this
would not be possible because the Jewish People have a special Tavlin, or
spice, which the Caesar could not benefit from. The ‘spice’ was
Shabbos. To elucidate this point and bring it home in a very practical
way, the Ben Ish Chai brings the following amazing incidents in the Sefer
Ben Yehoyada and Sefer Benayahu to Mesechta Shabbos:
a. Sefer Ben Yehoyada.
In Baghdad many years before, a Jew had converted to Islam, and the
government wanted to test the sincerity of his conversion. They requested a
talmid chacham to try as best he could to talk the meshumad out of it. The
talmid chacham did not succeed, as the apostate had too many ulterior
motives. A childhood friend of the meshumad, however, recalled how as a
young boy the meshumad had enjoyed eating seven or eight “cholent eggs”
on Shabbos in one sitting. He turned to the apostate and said--if you remain
a meshumad what are you going to do about the Shabbos eggs--for you will
only find the taste of Shabbos eggs among the Jewish people. This reality
had an immediate impact upon the erstwhile convert--and he returned to his
Yiddishkeit--because of the cholent eggs!
2. Sefer Benayahu.
The Ben Ish Chai writes that Shabbos serves as a Tavlin for food because a
Kedusha rests upon a food which is prepared LeKavod Shabbos. He continues
with the following: There was a person who decided to visit his friend
for Shabbos whom he held in high regard. However, since he would be coming
without notice, the second Chassid brought his own food. At the meal
on Leil Shabbos, the guest’s food was brought to the table together with
that of the host. Both the guest and the host soon realized that the
Shabbos aroma of the guest’s food was “ten times stronger” than that
of the host. The perplexed host asked his guest for an explanation.
“It is because my wife puts her thought into what she is doing --feeling
and saying that this is “LeKavod Shabbos” as she is preparing each food.
With this, the Kedushas Shabbos much more readily rests on the foods.
But you my dear friend have workers preparing your food, and they are not
careful to say on everything that they do “This [kugel][cholent] [chicken]
[roast beef] [challah] [cake] is LEKAVOD SHABBOS”. You see, Chazal
teach that Shabbos is called the Tavlin of the food. Tavlin, with the
letters rearranged, reads “Tni Lev--pay attention to what you are
doing”--for the aroma of Shabbos, the Kedusha that you will bring into
your home and beings over Shabbos--is directly related to the special care
and attention to the Kavod Shabbos you invest in it!”
May we in the coming year
reach new levels in Kavod Shabbos--and Kedushas HaShabbos!
Note Two: Points and pointers on this week’s Parasha--Parashas Lech Lecha:
A. Chazal (Avodah Zara 9A)
teach that this world will exist for 6,000 years--with the middle 2,000
being described as “Torah,” and the final 2,000 being described as
“Yemos HaMoshiach.” Fascinatingly, Chazal teach that the middle
2,000 years of Torah began at the time of “Ve’Es
HaNefesh Asher Asu BeCharan--at the time that Avraham Avinu began to
influence those around him to leave Avodah Zara and come close to Hashem.”
Chazal, then, do not describe the 2,000 years of “Torah” as beginning
from when Avraham Avinu began to study Torah and come close to Hashem
himself, but rather from the time that he brought others close to Torah.
What a great lesson for his descendants! The Era of Torah can only
begin when it is valued enough to share it with others, and not merely keep
it for oneself. If one truly desires to demonstrate his feelings for
Torah, the primacy and importance of Torah and Mitzvos in his life, then he
will make it a point to go out of his way to relate a D’var Torah that has
just moved or inspired him; he will help someone properly practice a Mitzvah
or Halacha that he is obviously weak in; and/or arrange for a weekly study
partner with an emphasis on Kiruv--either Kiruv Kerovim or Kiruv Rechokim.
Avrohom Avinu, Chazal show, is not only the Master of Chesed--he is the
Master of Torah--and they both begin with the same Yesod, with the same
foundation--sharing that which is easier to hold on to and keep to
B. The Posuk teaches
that Avrohom Avinu encamped to the west of the City of Ai and to the east of
the City of Bais Kail. Chazal (Sanhedrin 44B) teach that Avrohom Avinu
encamped in this place in order to Daven for his descendants who he foresaw
would have trouble with the people of Ai. The lesson Chazal draw from
this is that “LeOlam Yakdim Adam
Tefillah LeTzara-- a person should always daven before a Tzara takes
place”--with the hope that the Tefilla will void the need for the Tzara.
We note that Chazal do not distinguish between ‘sizes’ of Tzara, and
that the lesson applies to Tzaros of all kinds--both large and small.
For example, as we are now in a “changing weather” season, one can
certainly daven to Hashem that he not get a cold, strep, or any virus,
infection, or other illness which r’l seems to be more prevalent during
these times. Nothing is too big or too small for Hashem--we should be
smart enough to recognize in advance that He is the Source of
Everything--that He starts and stops, brings on and withholds, weakens,
invigorates and reinvigorates, and can bring on pain, adjust it, and cure
it. We know to Whom to turn--let us take the lesson of Avrohom Avinu--and do
what we can to help save ourselves, our people, and the world from pain and
suffering, from difficulty and devastation--Tefillah is the preemptive
strike that Hashem is looking for!
Hakhel Note: Once again, we
can always use chizuk to remind ourselves of this essential guideline of
C. The Posuk records
that, after Hagar conceived from Avrohom while Sarai had not, “Vateikal
Gevirta Be’Eineha--Sarai became lowered in Hagar’s esteem.”
The Posuk then records “VaTe’aneha Sarai --and Sarai dealt
harshly with her, and Hagar fled.” (Bereishis 16:6). If you have a
moment, we would urge that you review a very short Ramban on these last
words, and bring this great and important lesson with you wherever you may
be--at work, out shopping, and most especially at home!
D. Chazal teach that
Avraham Avinu consulted with Aner, Eshkol, and Mamrei, relating to the
Mitzvah of Bris Milah that Hashem had given him. What was there to
consult about? Why did Avrohom Avinu need an eitzah
from the Bnei Cham living around him, if Hashem had given him this great
Mitzvah? Hint: See Bereishis Rabba, and the Sifsei Chachamim,
actually found at the outset of next week’s Parasha, in which the Pasuk
states that Hashem appeared to Avraham in the “Plains of Mamrei”--one of
the persons from whom Avraham had asked advice regarding the Milah.
E.The term “Kel Elyon”
uniquely appears four times in this past week’s Parasha (Bereishis
14:18-22). Interestingly, the term then reappears in our first bracha
in Shemone Esrei, Birchas Avos. While the basic translation of the
term would be “Supreme G-d,” there seems to be something more underlying
the phrase, as it is repeated several times after the Torah describes
Avraham Avinu’s war against the superpowers, and then again in Birchas
Avos. The Avodas HaTomid, a commentary on Tefillah, writes that
the phrase uniquely describes that Hashem is the cause of
everything--everything comes from Him. Rav Schwab, Z’tl, in his
peirush on the Siddur adds that we are to understand from “Kel
Elyon” that Hashem’s knowledge is beyond that of any man. He
writes, therefore, that he advised people not to think about how something
like the Holocaust could have happened because we simply cannot fathom
Hashem’s supremacy over us. Can one man defeat the four superpowers
of the World? Can a group of Kohanim quash the seemingly invincible
Greek army? More recently, could the Six-Day War or the Yom Kippur
War...or more recent events... make sense to the common man? The term
“Kel Elyon” is therefore
placed in the Birchas Avos, for it is part of the legacy from our Avos, one
of the foundations of our faith, which is immutable by time, place, or
occurrence. Let us not only recite but feel them, every time we recite
the first Bracha of Shemone Esrei!
F. At the Bris Bein
HaBesarim, the Torah teaches that Avraham Avinu was commanded not to cut the
birds (Bereishis 15:10). Rashi there explains that this was to
symbolize that no matter how downtrodden our lives may have gotten in galus,
we would never be eradicated. Rashi further explains that the birds
were doves, because K’lal Yisrael are compared to doves. What makes
doves so special is that when one wing may be wounded or tired, the dove
will continue to fly, utilizing its other wing. This is the lesson we
are taught--we are to persevere over the criticisms, the obstacles, the
bitterness of exile. We can do this by not giving up, not letting
ourselves fall, accomplishing that one extra mitzvah, doing that one extra
chesed, “praying with fire” even when tired, and not letting that
meeting interfere with our regular Torah study. With this
perseverance, with this drive, we will be zoche to spread open our second
wing, as we enter the Geulah and more deeply appreciate our “Kel
Special Note Three: As
in this Parasha Avram becomes Avraham Avinu--the first of our Avos, we
should dedicate a few minutes to reviewing our Kavannah in the first bracha
(we have tried to help a bit this week). The Sefer Praying
with Fire provides a practical introduction and explanation to the
bracha which we can all review, and which we highly recommend. At this time,
we present two simple questions:
1. This bracha begins
with the customary words of Baruch
Atta Hashem Elokeinu but then seems to be “missing” the important
reference to Malchus--that Hashem is Melech HaOlam--Ruler of the World.
After all, did not Avraham Avinu publicize Hashem’s rulership over
the world to everybody? Why is it not here? Your thoughts are welcome!
2. Hashem is referred
to in this bracha as “Elokei Yaakov.”
However, once Hashem Himself changed Yaakov’s name to Yisrael (Bereishis
35:10 and Rashi there)--and we ourselves are referred to as the B’nai
Yisrael and K’lal Yisrael--why does not the bracha also refer to Hashem as
Elokei Yisrael? Your thoughts are welcome!
Special Note Four:
Reminder once more!: At the outset of this week’s Parasha, Hashem advises
Avraham Avinu: “Va’avarecha Mevorechecha (Bereishis
12:3)--and I will bless those who bless you.” Rabbi Zelig Pliskin,
Shlita in Love Your Neighbor (p.44) explains: When the Torah states that
Hashem will bless “those who bless you” it refers not only to someone
who blesses Avraham, but also to one who blesses a descendant of Avraham
(Chulin 49A and Tosfos there). Accordingly, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein,
Z’tl, teaches that w hen you bless another person, you merely offer a few
words, in return for which Hashem gives you bountiful blessings.
Remember-when you greet a fellow Jew with a cheery “Good Morning” or
“Good Night” you are blessing him, and you will be blessed.
Don’t merely mumble the words. Be sincere and keep in mind that in essence
you are saying, “I pray that you have a good morning!”
May the beautiful brachos flow--in all ways and in all directions!
Special Note Five:
As referenced above, Chazal teach Chayav Adam Lomar: “MasaiYagiyahMa’asai
LeMa’asei Avosai, LeMa’asei Avraham, Yitzchak V’Yaakov.”It
is reported that HaRav Nosson Wachtfogel, Z’tl would repeat this Ma’amar
Chazal on a daily basis.As you
study or review the Parasha this week--consider the specific Ma’asim of
Avraham Avinu that you yourself can learn from and aspire to.Perhaps before or after Shabbos you can make a list to keep
handy--after all isn’t Sefer Bereishis called the Sefer Hayashar for
us to practically learn from?! We hope to supply you with our Ma’asei Avos
list from the Parasha early next week. We look forward to your additions!
A MOMENT OF PREPARATION! Before
partaking of any food item, may we suggest that one should look at the item
and think--am I sure about the Bracha Rishona and the Bracha Achrona? With
this momentary question always asked--not only will one be sure that he is
reciting the proper brachos (and not c’v brachos
l’vatalah), but also provides himself with a moment of pause before
reciting a bracha, rather than jumping-into the bracha in a hurried fashion.
REMINDER! Tomorrow, 7 Marcheshvan, is the Yahrzeit of HaRav Meir Shapiro, Z’tl,
R’ Yehuda Meir ben R’Yaakov Shimshon. We therefore once again
everyone--especially those who are currently studying (or have
studied), or who are in any way benefiting from Daf Yom study. We urge
you to do any or all of the following on his Yahrzeit l’ilui nishmaso:
Learn Torah—especially Mishnayos; Give Tikun; Dedicate your Daf
Yomi Shiur or Daf Yomi study, and/or review the Daf one extra time,
in his memory.
TOMORROW is the Yahrzeit of R’ Yosef Rosenberger,
Z’tl, R’ Yosef ben R’ Moshe Halevi-the founder of the Shatnez
labs in the
. He spread the mitzvah of checking for Shatnez in America. Because he spent
so much promoting this Mitzvah, he gave up of his learning time, and he
specifically asked that people learn Mishnayos as a zechus for him.
3:7) teach that when one person sits and engages in Torah study, the
Shechinah will rest upon him, as the Pasuk states: “Bechol
Makom Asher Azkir Es Shemi Avo Eilecha U’veirachticha--in every place
in which I cause My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless
you.” (Shemos 20:21). When one is studying Torah he should appreciate and
revel in the fact that the Shechinah itself especially rests upon him
in this zechus alone!
Special Note One: We
provide the following additional thoughts on the first Bracha of Shemone
commentaries note that the words in this first bracha of “U’maivi
Goel L’Vnei V’neihem--and brings a Redeemer to their children’s
children” is recited in the present tense. Two suggestions are
offered for this. First, that every day we move a step closer to the
Geulah Sheleimah--the Geulah is a present day event--occurring as we speak!
Second, that Hashem gives us each our own personal Geulos--redemptions and
yeshuos from issues and matters affecting us in our daily life. We can
certainly have both intentions in mind!
2. There are, of
course, two ways that the Geulah Sheleimah can come--through our own merit,
or even if we do not merit it, “Lema’an
Shemo”--so that the Chilul Hashem of Galus comes to an end. Even
if Hashem must redeem us “Lema’an
Shemo”, it will, the bracha teaches us, still be “Be’ahava”--with
love. His love for us will be unaffected. From this, we should
begin to appreciate how great His love for us really is (HaRav Chaim
Friedlander). Hashem was, is, and always will be our “Ohaiv”!
3. The bracha
concludes with the words “Magen
Avrohom.” Chazal (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 4:4) teach that Avrohom
Avinu asked Hashem, “For me You were a great shield [in his war against
the superpowers described in this week’s Parasha]--but what will be of my
descendants?” Hashem responded to Avrohom Avinu, “For you I was
one shield, but for your descendants, I will be a shield many times over”
(as the pasuk states, “Elef Hamagen Tolui Alav”). The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah by
Rabbi Mayer Birnbaum, Shlita, brings this Chazal, and suggests that this may
be the source for the Sefer Avudraham, who in his peirush on the
words “Magen Avrohom” actually adds this to the Kavannah of the
words--that in the zechus of Avrohom Avinu Hashem continues, and will
continue, to shield us as well!
Special Note Two: In
the Parasha we find a stark contrast, as pointed out by HaRav Zelig Pliskin,
Shlita, in his great work, Growth Through Torah, as follows:
The Pasuk (Bereishis 12:5)
writes: “Vayaitzu Loleches…VaYavou
Artza Canaan--and they left to go to the land
of Canaan, and they came to the land
of Canaan.” What
is the Pasuk teaching us? Where is the lesson here?
The message, Rabbi Pliskin
teaches, is enormous for everyone! The Torah teaches by this Pasuk
that Avrohom Avinu set out to get somewhere--and he arrived there.
However, Terach, his father, who also set out from Ur Kasdim together with
his son, did not get to Canaan, but instead stopped in Choron, “and
settled there” (Bereishis 11:31). The rest is history. Terach
died in Choron, and Avrohom Avinu and his descendants have the eternal right
to the land that Avrohom reached--Eretz Canaan! Avrohom accepted upon
himself to accomplish his goal and refused to become side-tracked by the
pleasures--or even the vicissitudes--of the situations around him. To
succeed in any venture, you must complete what you start. You must be
driven, and not lose sight of what you really must accomplish.
In fact, Rabbi Pliskin
continues, it is a very important goal that you are attempting to
accomplish; you should even become obsessed with it. While obsessions
may usually be deemed to be negative, they can also be very positive.
A person should never, ever remark “I never finish what I start.”
Rather, a person should recognize his own importance, and move aside the
deterrents (however expertly dressed up by the Yetzer Hora) in order to
fully and finally realize his objective.
The year is ahead of us.
Let us take this great lesson presented to us by the Torah so early on in
the year, so that we accomplish and reach our destination--this year--and in
Special Note Three: We
now continue our Monday/Thursday series on the practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita, author
Insider Reveals The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When
Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And
Nevi’im. Of course, one should ask his own Rav
or Posek in his particular circumstance or situation for a final p’sak.
I am looking to purchase mezuzos for my
new home. While I am prepared to pay top dollar for them, I’d like to know
if I really need expensive mezuzos for such doors as the garage, laundry
room, porch, etc.?
For a doorway whose requirement of a
mezuzah is a full-fledged Torah obligation, it is indeed proper to spend the
money necessary to purchase a more mehudar mezuzah. However, many
doorways in today’s homes are not clear Torah obligations, but rather a
subject of dispute among the poskim. Many factors can be involved in
assessing the level of obligation, such as:
the doorway have a door?
the room actually 4 x 4 amos, or just a total of 16 square amos
(i.e., 8 x 2 cubits)?
the doorway lead to a garden or porch?
the garden have an exit to the reshus harabbim (public property)?
the porch have a roof?
you the homeowner or a renter?
These are just a small sampling of
issues which may limit the obligation. In a situation where one needs a
mezuzah on a particular doorway only according to some opinions, or the
obligation is “only” Rabbinic (d’Rabbanan), there may well be a
basis for buying a less expensive mezuzah.
who is thoroughly knowledgeable in these halachos should be consulted
to determine the doorway’s level of obligation. (One should also ask the
Rav for advice as to what level of mezuzah should be purchased based on
one’s financial situation.)
It should be noted that even when
purchasing a less expensive mezuzah for such a doorway, one should
compromise only on the beauty of the writing. However, a mezuzah written by
a sofer who is an ignoramus (am ha’aretz) or severely
lacking in Yiras Shamayim (fear of G-d) should NEVER be purchased.
TO DAVEN FOR YERUSHALAYIM! Every
Leil Shabbos we exclaim that Hashem is ‘Pores
Sukkas Shalom Oleinu V’al Kol Yisrael V’al
Yerushalayim”. We urge you to daven for our brothers in
Yerushalayim--so that when you recite this bracha this coming Friday
night--it is truly with dedicated preparation and earnestness!Once again, please have Kavannah in the Bracha of Sim
Shalom--and recite additional Tehillim for Yerushalayim--at this crucial
YOMI. The annual cycle of Nach Yomi begins Sefer Shoftim today. To those who completed Sefer Yehoshua yesterday--Mazal Tov! To
those who wish to start Sefer Shoftim, today is a great opportunity to
begin, together with so many others!
Hakhel Note:We once again provide the opportunity to view and print a concise Hebrewcalendarwhich contains the 5775 daily Nach Yomi, Mishna Yomis, Daf Yomi and
click hereSpread this wealth of information to others!
is the Yahrzeit of HaRav MeirShapiro,
Z’tl, R’ Yehuda Meir ben R’Yaakov Shimshon.
We therefore remind everyone--especially those who are currently
studying (or have studied), or who are in any way benefiting from Daf
Yom study. We urge you to do any or all of the following on his
Yahrzeit l’ilui nishmaso: Learn Torah—especially Mishnayos;
Give Tikun; Dedicate your Daf Yomi Shiur or Daf
Yomi study, and/or review the Daf one extra time,
in his memory.
ALIYAH! As we all know, while the internet can be an incredible tool in
Avodas Hashem, it is truth-be-told fraught with dangers, and the Yetzer Hora
acts in ways we sometimes are astonished by. As a symbol of personal caution
and awareness, may we suggest that before any entry onto the internet, you
recite a Kepitel of Tehillim.Our
additional suggestion is that you simply not recite a Kepitel that you know
by heart (such as 121 or 130), but that you have a Sefer Tehillim next to
your computer and start with Chapter 1--advancing one-by-one every time you
are about to use the internet for even the most legitimate of purposes. You
will quickly be able to monitor how often you use the internet, and this may
allow you to curb the unnecessary times a day you go to even “kosher
sites”.In addition--you have created the opportunity to recite more and more
Tehillim! Of course, those who are working for an employer may not be able
or even allowed to do this as part of their work-time, but perhaps they may
think of an alternative idea to demonstrate to the Yetzer Hora that they intend
to fight him tooth-and-nailin
each and every battle!
Related Note: We remind our readers that
in the Sefer Karyana D’Igarta (I, p.22), the Steipler Gaon, Z’tl writes
that when one is ‘betokef taavaso’--at
the height of his desire--and overcomes it because he knows the Torah
proscribes the desire, then an ‘ohr
kedusha norah v’ayom she’ein lesha’air--an awesome and
immeasurable light’ will rest upon him. What more need be said--if one can
control himself in this way at these moments of nisayon, imagine the kedusha
he brings upon himself daily, weekly and over a lifetime!
Special Note One: Geshmak!A reader suggested that if one wants to improve his learning, then
perhaps more than increasing the quantity or even amount of time of one’s
learning--it is more important to learn with more geshmak--more
of a sense that this is what one really wants to do (not just something that
one feels that he must do)--and with true happiness and joy for the
privilege and the merit. One way to accomplish this is by studying something
that one really has a tendency towards, or by studying something in greater
depth trying to understand it very well and perhaps coming up with new
ideas, and questions and ideas to discuss with others (including one’s Rav
or teacher). Learning is far from a burden or requirement--it is a
person’s nourishment and essence in its most elevated form.Rather than coming late, shaking one’s legs, finding excuses for
why one cannot attend--one should really run after the opportunity as Dovid
HaMelech (Tehillim 119:59) exclaims “Chishavti
Derachai V’Ashiva Raglai El Eidosecha”--I thought about all I had to
do as king, all of my plans, all of my meetings…and still ended up in the
most important place--the Beis HaMidrash!
Special Note Two:Whom did Moshe Rabeinu first give his Brachos to in V’Zos HaBracha?
No, they were not given in birth order. The first two Brachos were actually
given to Reuven and to Yehuda.Rashi
(Devorim 33:7) explains that Yehuda’s Brachos are juxtaposed with
Reuven’s because both Reuven and Yehuda admitted to the errors of their
ways--and did Teshuvah. The lesson to us should be clear--who is first in
line for Brachos--those that do Teshuvah! Let’s
get going--on a daily basis!
Special Note Three: Have you ever been in
close proximity to a ‘tattoo’ decorated on a person? What is the person
really thinking--that the relationship described, or that the symbol
tattooed, will be imprinted upon him forever and ever?Perhaps to the person who has done so--this is forever--as his entire
life is Olam Hazeh, this world. What lesson can we take from this sorry
soul?We may suggest that just
as he wants to leave an indelible impression upon his body for all of his
Olam Hazeh--we must strive to leave a permanent appropriate impression upon
our souls for Olam Haba.A
tattoo to them--is a Mitzvah to us.An
act of Shemiras Einayim, special words of compliment, a private Chesed, a
heartfelt Kepitel of Tehillim for another member of Klal Yisroel whom you do
not even know, spending a few minutes after
a Shiur or one’s studies to review and focus upon something one has
just learned, being one of the first ten to come to davening or the Beis
HaMidrash, reciting the words “Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid” before
making a bracha over food….these are the true tattoos--the tattoos of the
soul!We must always remember
the words recited at a Siyum, “Shehaym
Rotzim V’Onu Rotzim”--they run, and we run. They
run until their Olem Hazeh ends, and we run to the eternal life of Olam Haba!Indeed, Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, especially teaches:
“Kasvem Al Luach Libecha”--write
them not on your arm, or your leg, or your face--but on the slate of your
Special Note Four: As this week we begin
our cherished encounter with the Avos, it is a time to re-energize ourselves
on the first bracha of Shemone Esrei--Birchas Avos. The Aruch
HaShulchan (Orach Chayim 112:2) writes that this bracha actually originated
when Avrohom Avinu was saved from the fiery furnace of Ur Kasdim--and was
actually then recited by the Malachei HaShareis! The Aruch HaShulchan also
brings from the Tur (Orach Chayim 113) that the exact number of words of
this bracha is 42 (obviously corresponding to the 42-letter name of Hashem
referred to in Kiddushin 71A--which is also strongly alluded to in the 42
words of the ‘Anna BeChoach’ tefillah recited near the culmination of
Karbanos and immediately before greeting Shabbos at Lecha Dodi--in fact,
this allusion to the name of Hashem may be the reason that Ana BeChoach
concludes with Baruch Shem Kevod). Let us focus-- 42 words corresponding to
the 42 letters--we must appreciate the weightiness of each word, for if one
letter is missing, the name is not fully complete!
Three other important points about the
*first* [the ‘Av’] bracha of Shemone Esrei:
1. Why do we bow down as we begin
Shemone Esrei? The Anaf Yosef cites the following cogent ideas:(a) the
bowing reminds us before Whom we stand; (b) our looking down serves as a
reminder as to where a person goes after 120 years; and (c) lowering the
body alludes to one’s goal to bring the brachos from the heavens above
down to the world below.
Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita was asked why the words “Gomel Chasodim Tovim”
are not, so to speak, redundant--after all, is there a Chesed which is not
Tov--which is not good? He responded that there, in fact, is--for a chesed
could result in something good for one person, but have a detrimental effect
on someone else. Only Hashem can micromanage the billions of factors
necessary for a chesed to be 100% good --when necessary--for each and every
one of His creations!
3. What does the term ‘Zocher
Chasdei Avos’ mean--what Chesed is Hashem remembering--the Chesed that
Hashem promised that He would do for the Avos and their children--or, to the
contrary, is He remembering the ‘Chesed’ not that He performed, but that
our *Avos performed* in making Hashem’s Name [see reference to 42 letter
name of Hashem within the bracha mentioned earlier] known in the world, or
perhaps are we simply referring to the great acts of Chesed performed by our
Avos to other people in the world--all of which accrues to the merit of
their descendants for 2,000 generations (Shemos 34:7--Notzer Chesed
La’alaphim is one of the 13 Middos of Hashem). HaRav Chaim Kanievsky
holds that it is referring to Zechus Avos (see Tosfos to Shabbos 55A). The
Meshech Chochma writes that it refers to the Chesed that Hashem did to the
Avos--and our awareness that for this reason He will do Chesed to their
children as well. From this simple analysis, we can see how multi-faceted,
how broad and penetrating, these holy words are--how careful we should be in
their recitation ....!
of the personal accounts, all of the cheshbonos,
that we said we would settle, that we would pay, that we wouldtakecare of after the
Yomim Tovim, should…now be taken care of!
Rebbi of Rozhin, Rebbi Yisroel, Z’tl, teaches that the word Marcheshvan
comes from the phrase of Chazal ‘Merachshi
Sefasaihu’--their lips are moving, for our lips should still be moving
in Tefillah from the Yomim Noraim! The Luach
Davar BeIto adds, however, that according to the Nusach Teiman, the
correct pronunciation of this month is Merachshevan.
IT IN MIND!We all know that Hashem established this world on a Middah K’neged
Middah basis--and indeed this is one of the most basic rules of how this
world operates. At first glance, it may appear curious then, that the
punishment for Lashon Hora is tzora’as
--leprosy, a punishment which could effect up to the entire exterior body or
any part thereof--but with the mouth itself apparently unaffected! What
happened to Middah K’neged Middah here? The answer is obvious--but
a human being is distinguished by hisbeing
a Ruach Memalelah--a thinking, speaking being--if he does not properly
display that distinction and is careless (not being careful enough in this
context is careless) with this power--then he has adversely effected his
ENTIRE BEING--and this is why he receives a warning and punishment which
effects his whole body. So explains the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim
adds that even if in our day when tzora’as
is not visible on our physical bodies--it nevertheless can still be
inflicted on our souls--and without the proper Teshuva, this tzora’as will be self evident in Olam Haba--as a world which is
only soul without body. Nobody, but nobody would want that--especially when
one can then enjoy the eternal blissful results of positive and pleasant
speech.In doubt as to whether
you can say something and how to say it? The Chofetz Chaim Heritage
Foundation Shemiras Halashon Shaila Hotline is the free service that you
should keep at your fingertips:718-951-3696, New
time. It is the thought--and the
Dovid HaMelech exclaims these words (Tehillim 122:6), teaching us that we
have an affirmative duty to pray for the peace of Yerushalayim. At this time
of reckless and hate-filled terror in the city of peace--let us individually
and collectively beseech Hashem for the Shalom of Yerushalayim and each and
every one of our brothers therein. Remember--it is only Hashem who can
provide us with Shalom B’chol Eis
U’Vchol Sha’ah. The current situation is not simply a job for
special police forces or elite army units. It
is our job--with sincere and heartfelt prayers in the bracha of Shalom,
and in our meaningful recitation of Tehillim. PLEASE
do your part!
Special Note One:We provide the following few quotations from Simcha
Minute, a booklet of inspiriting quotations of HaRav Avigdor Miller,
Z’tl, as collected from the SimchaMinute
daily email.To subscribe to the
SimchaMinute daily email (free), go to: www.bit.ly/smsefer:
1.Is it enough to believe in Hashem with simple faith?HaRav Miller: “The appeal to simple faith (Emunah Peshutah) is usually an excuse to do
nothing. Without effort there is no belief, awareness or understanding.”
(Awake, My Glory)
2.What role do others play in our quest for greatness?HaRav Miller: “Your generation is your world.It
is your sole opportunity.One’s
parents, one’s brothers and sisters, one’s kin, one’s wife, one’s
children, one’s neighbors and employers and employees: are all his
opportunities.To fritter it
away is the greatest of catastrophes.By
his relations with them-- he gains the success for which he came into the
world.” (Sing, You Righteous)
3.Where do we find an easy opportunity to be blessed?HaRav Miller: “Bless your fellow Jews and you will be blessed. It
doesn’t cost you a penny.And
it is such a good investment that you’re promised a bracha[ Hakhel
Note:--This week’s Parasha--V’avarecha Mevarechecha.]It seems so wild, so insane to lose the opportunity to bless your
fellow Jew.”(Tape #93, Ten
Easy Ways to Gain Real Wealth)
4.Is there area of power that Hashem has endowed to people?HaRav Miller: “The freedom to choose (bechira)
is truly miraculous.It is the
one area in the entire universe in which Hashem has given authority to man.”
(Ohr Avigdor, Sha’ar Habechinah)
5.Does merely reading the Torah change a person? HaRav Miller:“Torah is a living entity.The letters of the Torah affect our lives, affect history, and affect
our character.Merely by reading
the Torah from “Bereishis--In
the beginning” until the last words, “L’einei
Kol Yisrael--before the eyes of all Israel,”
we effect change in the atmosphere, in the course of Jewish history, in our
characters, and in our lives.”(Tape # 6, Evil of Confusion)
Note Two: A senior Rav recently provided the following extremely practical
natural tendency is one of self-centeredness.When someone shows you an old class picture--what is the first thing
that you look for--most likely, if you are in the picture, and how you look.
of this tendency, we also tend to look at the good that we do, and we lean
towards finding fault with the words and actions of others, and not with our
own.We must take some action to
look more favorably upon others--viewing them with the same good eye that we
view ourselves.It sounds easier
than it is-- but nevertheless can, in fact, be accomplished in a practical
and goal-oriented way.
is a plan.
day, six days a week, write down two things that you saw someone else do
that day that was really nice, really thoughtful, admirable, or the like.
You don’t even have to know the person-- a courteous driver, a helpful
store worker, a family member who acceded to your request, someone davening
with fervor, someone who didn’t get angry when you expected it.... Write
the two acts down every day--and review all of them every Shabbos. At the
end of the month you will have about 50 actions in which you saw the good in
others, and after two months--about 100.Share your experiences with others (maybe they can join you in this
goal).You will develop a more
considerate, see-the good in others, and care-for-others person.
a warm and special goal as we proceed into the heart of the New Year!
LOOK AROUND YOUR SEAT: Sometimes as we are eating, we may
allow the area around our place or seat to become unkempt with crumbs,
overflow food, and stains of various kinds. It is important for us to
recognize that just as we should envisage ourselves in Hashem’s Presence
when making a bracha (Baruch Attah
Hashem), we are also in Hashem’s Presence during the time that we are
eating as well. If a major client, an in-law, or a leading personage was to
come by as one was eating--how would he be sure to keep the spot? It should
not make a difference at all if they do or do not come by--one is always
in Hashem’s Presence!
IS THE GOAL? When
considering a food item for purchase, some will focus on the price, others
will focus on the ingredients, and yet others will study its nutritional
value. We once again suggest that a primary consideration one should have
when purchasing an item is--what is the bracha on this item, and will my
family members or guests know what to make on it if I serve it or make it
available to them? When one notices, for example, the small pieces of dried,
cut-up fruit, an untrained eye may not be able to discern what exactly he is
consuming--and what the bracha would be. By considering the bracha on the
product before one puts it into his shopping cart or basket, he is
necessarily raising the physical to the spiritual. The thought process
continues through the day in all kinds of other decisions and ways. Is one
going to sleep in order to ‘rest his weary bones’ or in order to
energize himself for a day of Torah, Chesed and Mitzvos tomorrow? When one
takes something to ostensibly relieve pain--is it simply to relieve the
painful feeling--or is it in order to be able to daven more properly or deal
more patiently and calmly with others? Of course, the idea carries through
in less ordinary situations--such as purchasing a computer or a car--how
will it help others? How will it
help me spiritually? The letter
‘I’ in English seems to represent a 1 in the middle with lines at the
top and bottom--distancing the 1 from everyone else. One’s goal should
quite the opposite--not to focus on how the action or decision benefits me
and how I can be helped--but instead to bring Kedusha into one’s life--in
all of his actions, and all of his decisions!
OF THE DAY:
teach that some of the hot underground springs that came to the fore at the
time of the Mabul were not closed--and after the flood, now provide
therapeutic benefits to us. Many of these ‘hot springs’ are world
renowned. Why would the world benefit for thousands of years thereafter from
the punishment of the Dor HaMabul?
Note One:Now that we have
entered the season of Mashiv HaRuach
U’Morid HaGeshem, we present the following Questions and Answers
relating the rainy season, as excerpted from the most recent issue of Divrei
Siach, which contains the rulings of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, as
published by Rabbi Yitzchak Goldshtoff, Shlita. Of course, one should ask
his own Rav or Posek in his particular circumstance or situation for a final
If one made a bracha over lightning and/or thunder, traveled to another city
where the weather was clear, and then came back the same day--would he
recite a new bracha on lightning and thunder upon his return?
Since one had a hesech hada’as,
he should recite a new bracha.
If one already recite a Birkas HaMapil and then sees lightning or hears
thunder before falling asleep, should he make a bracha?
Should the brachos on lighting and thunder (or other Birkos
HaShevach) be recited standing?
I have not heard that this is the Minhag.
Can one recite a bracha over lightning and thunder seen or heard during
Only if heard bein haperakim of
If one is in the middle of giving a Shiur and sees lightning or hears
thunder, should he stop the Shiur in order to make a bracha?
How does one pronounce HaGeshem--with
a kamatz or a segol?
We pronounce it with a segol. [This
is, of course, a Machlokes Haposkim.
HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, rules that a kamatz
should be used--and it should be pronounced HaGahshem]
Note Two: Today, we conclude our sample Shemone Esrei “landmarks”. We are up to the bracha of Shema Koleinu:
the bracha of “Shema Koleinu”--one
should stop for a moment each time the word “Racheim” or “Rachamim”
is mentioned--mentally pleading with Hashem to grant the requests we have
made in our Tefillos with Rachamim. In Nusach Ashkenaz, the Lashon of
Rachamim occurs three times, in Nusach Sefard--Rachamim is requested four
times within the bracha. This gives us an important indication of how
essential it is to ask Hashem for His mercy in listening to our prayers and
granting our requests!
the bracha of “Retzei”--when
reciting the words “Vehasheiv Es
Ha’avodah LiDvir Veisecha”--remember that the Devir
is the Kodesh HaKedoshim
itself--how can we live in a world that is devoid of its holiest place?!
Hashem--please, please, bring it back to us!
the bracha of “Modim”--when
reciting the words “Ve’al Nisecha
Shebichol Yom Imanu”, recall that this refers to the daily miracles
that each person experiences individually. Think about at least one (there
are so many!) that occurred to you since the last Shemone Esrei (yes, it can
be something physical or monetary)--and thank Hashem for it!
the bracha of “Shalom” (Sim
Shalom/Shalom Rav)--when reciting the word “Shalom”--one
of the numerous times it is requested in the bracha, think about a separate
area of Shalom that you really need (Shalom Bayis, Shalom at work, Shalom
with a neighbor or acquaintance…Shalom in Eretz Yisrael) and ask Hashem to
bless you with it!
hope that our suggestions have been useful to you. Once again, please feel
free to provide us with any additional insights and suggestions in landmarks
in Shemone Esrei and Tefillah!
Special Note Three: We
now continue our Monday/Thursday series on the practical aspects of Sta”m, written by Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz, Shlita, author
Insider Reveals The Answers To All The Questions You Should Ask When
Purchasing Or Maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah And
Nevi’im. Of course, one should ask his own Rav
or Posek in his particular circumstance or situation for a final p’sak.
Does a laundry room which is larger
than 4 x 4 amos require a mezuzah?
Does my garage require a mezuzah?
Yes. As far as a bracha is
concerned, though, the determining factor is the location of the garage. If
it is adjoining or part of the house, such that one can exit the car and
walk through a door into the house without leaving the garage, all agree
that a bracha is recited. If, however, the garage is not adjoining or
part of the house – nor encircled by a gate which encompasses both it and
the house – some say that no bracha is recited.
I am a partner in an accounting firm.
Must I affix mezuzos to the doorways in the office?
If your other partners are Jews,
mezuzos should be put up without reciting a bracha. (This assumes
that you do not sleep there at night.)
Even if most of your partners are
gentiles, as long as there is no reason to suspect that they will
(physically) treat the mezuzah with disrespect, nor that it will lead to
ill-feeling or cause you tzaros, mezuzos should be affixed without a berachah.
If, however, there is reason for concern about any of any of the above, no
mezuzah need be affixed.
We have a gentile live-in maid who has
been with us since we built our house. She has her own room in the basement,
and no one from our family ever walks in there. It never dawned on me to put
a mezuzah on her door. A visitor to our house recently commented that the
room does, in fact, require a mezuzah. Is he correct?
While some poskim rule that no
mezuzah is required, most poskim are of the opinion that a mezuzah
must be affixed. Hence, a bracha may be recited.
OF THE WEEK: If we can interpret Noach’s status both Leshevach
(in a positive way) and LiG’nai
(in a negative way)--why would we interpret it in a negative way?
Don’t we have an obligation to judge everyone favorably? We welcome
what Hashem, and others, do for us may be the ‘Middah of the Week’--as
last week we learn that Adam HaRishon was a Kafui Tovah to Hashem for not
recognizing the gift that Hashem had given him in a wife--and then in this
week’s Parasha (Bereishis 10:5, Rashi d’h Bnei Ha’adam), we find that
the Anshei Dor Haflaga showed no thanks to Hashem for sparing their
ancestors, themselves and their descendents from the Mabul. Especially over
Shabbos, one should be most careful to thank, appreciate and compliment all
those who deserve or even perhaps deserve Hakaras HaTov for what they have done for
you or on your behalf!
Note One:As we conclude the
week after Sukkos, we can be enthused by the words of Chazal (Yalkut Shimoni
to Yeshaya 60, Siman 503) who teach that in the future we will be taken by
miraculous Clouds to the Bais HaMikdash every
Shabbos and every Rosh Chodesh, so that, for instance, we would be taken
today by the miraculous Clouds to the Beis HaMikdash! Chazal ask--but
what will be if Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos (as it does tomorrow)?
Chazal respond that we will be taken in the morning to the Bais Hamikdash in
honor of Shabbos, brought home, and taken to the Bais Hamikdash again in the
afternoon in honor of Rosh Chodesh! We have a lot to look forward
to...In fact, Chazal conclude, that when Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of all
men, teaches (Koheles 1:9) ‘Ma
She’haya Hu She’Yiheye--that which was will be in the future’--he
is referring to those Clouds [which transported our forefathers] that we
will be transported in as well!
Special Note Two:
We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
A. Because it
is Rosh Chodesh today, many have the custom of not cutting their hair, beard
or nails despite the fact that it is Erev Shabbos. As we have noted in the
past, if one does not have a minhag or is unsure about it-one should consult
with his Rav. One Rav advised us that he believes the Minhag is not to allow
for the cutting of hair or nails today.
B. The Shulchan
Aruch itself (Orach Chaim 262:3) writes VeYismach
BeVias Shabbos KeYotzeh Likras HaMelech U’KeYotzei Likras Chosson VeKallah--let
us truly appreciate the happiness anew--each and every Shabbos!
C. As Shabbos is also Rosh Chodesh, we add an
additional food to the Shabbos meal, as a special Kavod to the Seudas Rosh
Chodesh (see Mishna Berurah, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 419 seif katan 2).If one has not done so, he may do so on Motza’ei Shabbos at Melave
Malka (Siddur Yaavetz, brought in
the Sha’ar Hatzion, ibid., os 5).Hakhel Note:Some learn that one cannot properly have a Seudas Rosh Chodesh on
Shabbos, nor even at the time of a Melave Malka, because it is not
noticeable, and accordingly the Seudah in honor of Rosh Chodesh should be on
Sunday (the second day of Marcheshvan!)--see Magen Avraham to Orach Chaim
D. Please don’t forget to joyfully sing Yona Matzah Vo Manoach….Ka’asher Nishbatah Ahl Mai Noach with
E. Now that we have
our hadasim left from the daled minim, we can fulfill the words of the Rema
(SA OC 297: 4) who rules that one should put hadasim leaves into his besamim.
The Mishna Berurah explains with this we do a second Mitzvah with a Mitzvah
object, which is an elevated Mitzvah performance (ibid., 298 seif katan 8).
The Mishna Berurah also adds that one who does not benefit from the smell of
the besamim, should not be the one making the bracha (ibid., seif katan 13),
and concludes that individuals listening to Havadalah should not make their
own bracha of Borei Minei Besamim or Borei Meorei HaAish, as they are Yotzei
with the bracha of the one leading the Havdalah, and moreover, because there
is a concept of Berov Ahm Hadras Melech (ibid.). Hakhel Note: If one is
unsure whether the besamim he has have a smell, or whether he will be able
to smell them, the Kaf HaChaim and HaRav Scheinberg, Z’tl, rule that it is
permissible to test-smell them (ibid., Dirshu Note 12).
F. One reason that
we look at our nails in order to derive benefit from light of the Havdala
candle is because the nails are a siman bracha--as they always grow! (ibid.,
Mishna Berurah seif katan 9) If a man is too far away from the candle to
obtain benefit from it, he should not have Kavannah to be yotzei with the
one making havdalah, and instead make the bracha over the ner when he is
closer to the ner.
G. It is a Mitzvah
Min Hamuvchar to make a bracha on a ner which is an avukah
(has a larger flame). The Mishna Berurah (ibid., seif katan 8) writes
that just because a candle has several wicks that extend from it, does not
mean it is an avukah--unless there
is wax that separates the wicks. Hakhel Note: One who intends to purchase a
decorative Havdalah candle should first be sure that the two wicks extend
from different places in the candle--so that he can fulfill the Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar of utilizing an avukah for Havdalah!
Special Note Three:
We provide the following notes on the Parasha:
A. The Mabul
described in tomorrow’s Parasha is sometimes referred to as the “Mai
Noach”--the flood waters of Noach. We could understand that the Teivah
would be known as Noach’s
, but why would the flood waters be known by Noach’s name?
Shouldn’t it instead be attributed to the sinful people at that time?
After all--the flood was their fault-not Noach’s! The Maharsha
explains that Noach is, in a sense, held responsible for the flood because
he did not do everything in his power to save his generation.
Obviously, he did a lot--building a Teivah for all those years, and
undoubtedly subjecting himself to ridicule, intimidation and threats.The conclusion: Sometimes we don’t realize that we can
really--and should--do more. Practical Suggestion: When it comes to
the health, safety, and welfare of others, we should try to do something
more than we think that we are capable of. In fact, this was the
path of Avrohom Avinu who was ill and elderly, yet searched outside in a
heat wave in order to help others--and to teach those of us in future
generations how to behave!
B. The Sefer Derech
Sicha, based upon the teachings of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita (Volume
2, p. 10) explains that Noach did not daven for the people of his generation
to be saved because he felt that it was only through the beneficence of
Hashem that he himself would be saved, so it would be inappropriate to ask
Hashem that others be saved as well. This is similar to the concept of
“Ayn Oreach Machnis Oreach--one guest should not invite another
guest” on his own volition. Nevertheless, Noach was criticized for
not davening for the people. HaRav Kanievsky, Shlita, gives the
explanation as to why, based upon the following incident (which we have
reported in the past): HaRav Shach, Z’tl, once related that a Karlin
Chosid had the occasion to spend Shabbos in
with the Chortkover Chassidim. The Karlin Chassidim recite the
davening very loudly, and the Chortkover Chassidim, softly and calmly.
The Karlin Chassid asked the Chortkover Rebbe whether he could shout his
davening, as was his tradition. The Chortkover Rebbe responded that
the Chortkov custom was not to daven loudly, and that he should adhere to
this custom while davening with Chortkov. The Karlin Chassid was able
to adhere to the Rebbe’s ruling, and restrain himself through Kabalas
Shabbos and the beginning of Shacharis on Shabbos, but when it came to
Nishmas, he could no longer restrain himself and burst out the remainder of
the davening, crying out with great fervor and intensity. After
Shabbos, he came to the Rebbe to ask his forgiveness, for he had violated
the Rebbe’s ruling. The Rebbe responded that he had nothing to ask
forgiveness for, for the Rebbe had only prohibited him from crying out his
regular Tefillos. However, a Tefillah which is cried out from within,
that is a different kind of Tefillah, and his ruling did not apply to that
special kind of prayer. Based upon this distinction between “Regular
Tefillah” and “Aroused Tefillah,”
HaRav Kanievsky explains Chazal’s teaching (Brachos 32B) that Tefillah is
greater even than the bringing of Karbanos. How could this be?
After all, the process of bringing a Korban involves many, many more mitzvos
than Tefillah! HaRav Kanievsky
explains that yes, a Korbon is greater than Tefillah if one is praying
because he is commanded to pray--for a Korbon involves so many more Mitzvos.
However, if one prays from the depths of his heart--crying out to Hashem
with sincerity and feeling--this Aroused Tefillah, Chazal teach, is greater
than the tens of Mitzvos accomplished by Karbanos! Noach may have
felt that his Tefillos could not save his generation, because they would
have been inadequate to save even himself. Nevertheless, the status of
man and the World at the time--and what was going to happen to them--should
have in all events brought him to that special, Aroused Tefillah which may
have saved the generation!
C. If the
three great sins of the generation of the flood were Avoda Zarah, Gilui
Arayos and Gezel--why would the seemingly least heinous of the three--Gezel--be
the decisive factor to Hashem in bringing the flood? Many have
provided important insights here. A particularly practical lesson is
that the victim of Gezel will cry out--and, as the Torah records elsewhere:
”...it will be when they cry out to Me, I will surely listen to the
cries.” Something to avoid at all costs is someone (even if a
parent, spouse or child) who has a ta’anah against you--someone who
will cry out or complain--for even if your fault pales in significance to
other, ostensibly more serious aveiros, Hashem takes into special account
the hurt and cries of others-- just as you would expect Him, as your Father
in Heaven, to take your hurt and cries into account as well. Hashem
will deal with the inanity of idol worship as He sees fit--but will not
allow the pain of others to go unanswered. This lesson is so
important--that it is taught even before we get to the Avos!
Avrohom Kalmanowitz, Z’tl, once asked why Noach had to suffer at the hands
of the lion, who smote him for not having been properly “served” his
food. After all, was not Noach taking care of all of these creatures
as best he could?! HaRav Kalmanowitz answers that Hashem was providing Noach--and
each and every one of us--with an essential lesson. Noach was ALWAYS
TO REMEMBER that by Hashem’s grace he had survived when so many had
perished, and Noach was ALWAYS TO REMEMBER that he had survived for a great
purpose--to take care of those who had also survived, and who needed his
help. The lesson to us is fundamental: We are all [even those
of non-Ashkenazic descent] survivors of a Holocaust of our people (and we
must ALWAYS REMEMBER that we are survivors for a purpose. Moreover, we
must help those who have also survived, but may not be as capable as we
are--teach them the Torah’s ways, assist them with Chessed, and see to it
that they too continue to survive and reach their own purpose in life.
It is quite likely that more of our people perished in the Holocaust than
those who perished in the Flood. This makes our role all the more
responsible...and our task all the greater.
Chofetz Chaim points to the oreiv
being unable to serve as the shaliach on Noach’s mission--and being
replaced by the Yonah instead. Not everyone is capable of, or right
for, a particular job, and not always should one send a shaliach if the job
is best left done by himself. The next time one asks someone to do
something for him or sends someone on a mission, he should think about
whether the decision not to do it by himself is really warranted (is it
laziness?), and whether the other person is the right person for the job
(will they be embarrassed, will someone else possibly suffer, is there
someone else who should be doing it but for an ulterior motive..).
Most certainly when it comes to Mitzvos, a halachic principle that must be
considered is Mitzva Bo Yosair MiBeShelucho--it is better for YOU to
do the Mitzvah then ‘be mezakeh’--find someone else--to do it. it
is said about the Steipeler that he did not ask anyone (even his
children) to do anything for him unless he could not do it himself--we may
not be on this madreiga, but
perhaps we can at least consider it in our decision-making process!
Noach leaves the Teivah, the Posuk records “Vayevareich Elokim Es Noach…--Hashem
blessed Noach and his children” (Bereishis 9:1). Promptly
thereafter, the Posuk records that Noach began his activities after the
Mabul by planting a vineyard. The bracha that he had just received was
thus chal, first-placed, on a vine--leading him to become drunk.
Oh! If only Noach had taken the bracha and used his first opportunity
in a great way for the world’s (or at least his own) benefit--how much
better off he and the world would have been! We can take great note of
this in our everyday lives. When receiving a bracha from someone--we
should not let it go by without immediately letting it be chal--rest
upon--something important. For example, after the bracha--open a Sefer
and learn, try to make a Shidduch, or try performing a Mitzvah you have had
particular Nisyonos within the past--and hope that the bracha will elevate
and uplift you to a new and greater height! (HaRav Itzele Volozhiner,
Special Note Four:
As one Rav commented, perhaps we begin the Torah with Parashas Bereishis to
teach us that there is a purpose for everyone’s life--and we are to take
it from there. It is fascinating that after Sukkos, in which we left
our homes to demonstrate that we are under the shadow and protection of
Hashem, we are immediately re-infused with the Emunah-filled Pesukim of
Parashas Bereishis and Noach. The following practical points on Emunah
are excerpted from the Sefer Sifsei Chaim (Middos LeAvodas Hashem,
Chofetz Chaim provides the following essential teaching: “Bechol
Davar SheAdam Oseh Tzarich Levakeish MeiHashem Sheyihiyeh Letoeles--in
everything that a person does,he should ask Hashem that it serve a
good purpose (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 230; Sha’ar HaTzion, seif katan
when one davens prior to doing something, it is the equivalent of putting
the Refuah ahead of the makah--opening wide the proper and
appropriate path in which to proceed. When one davens, for example, to
Hashem for success before starting his working day, he is demonstrating his
awareness that it is not “Kochi V’Otzem Yadi--one’s own
intuition, prowess or powers” that will bring about his success today or
any other day, but rather it is Hashem Who is the Only Source of all Bracha.
It is for this reason that it is forbidden to engage in business activities
before davening Shacharis (see Brachos 14A)--for it is futile for one to
believe that he actually accomplishes anything on his own before
davening--i.e., without Hashem’s guidance and gifts to him!
C. A Nevuah
is not simply an experience by which Hashem reveals the future to a Tzaddik.
Rather, the Ikar HaNevuah is the Deveikus experienced between the
Navi and Hashem! We can all work towards the goal of...a Navi!
Special Note Five: Tomorrow,
it will be two weeks since we read Koheles. We should take some life
lessons with us from this great Megillah for the rest of the year--after all
it has the dual zechus of being both words of Nevuah (see Targum to Koheles
1:1), and words of the wisest of all men. We mention only one example--a
small portion of 1 of the 222 pesukim in this Megillah. Shlomo Hamelech
(ibid., 7:14) teaches Beyom Tova Heyeh BeTov--remember to be
happy when thing are going well.... This is a great teaching in and of
itself, but the Targum takes it an important step further--the Targum here
translates these words to mean--’when Hashem has done good to you--be sure
that you too then do good to other people --sharing and spreading that
goodness and good feeling.’ Keep this great teaching in mind for those
moments of simcha in your life, and even when you really realize that you
have been blessed with something or someone...and make sure others can feel
good in some way as well!
Note Six: We continue with our “landmarks”.
We are up to the bracha of Tekah
B’Shofar--the first in a series of brachos pleading for the Geulah:
the bracha of “Tekah B’Shofar
Gadol”--when reciting the words “Tekah
B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheiruseinu”, one can have the Kavannah that
HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, urges him to have here. That is, to think
that we want to hear the Shofar heralding the Geulah so
that the Yetzer Hara will once and for all be quashed and we will finally be
able to serve Hashem and bring Kavod Shomayim with each and every one of our
faculties.We will then finally
realize our full potential in life!
the bracha of “Hashiva Shofteinu”--when
reciting the words “Vehaser Mimenu
Yagon V’Anacha”--reflect for a moment upon all of the pain and
suffering--that of each individual and of all of K’lal Yisrael--that will
cease when the Geulah in all of its glory comes upon us!
the bracha of “Velamalshinim”--when
reciting the words “VeHazeidim
Meheirah Se’aker U’seshaber”--think about our dastardly and
ruthless enemies in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and all of those that seek to harm
us worldwide--and realize that it is Hashem and only Hashem Who can humble
them, uproot them, and smash them.
the bracha of “Ahl HaTzadikim”--when
reciting the words “V’Ahl Ziknei
Amecha Bais Yisrael”--think about our zekeinim--such as HaRav Chaim
Kanievsky, Shlita, HaRav Shmuel Wosner, Shlita, HaRav Moshe Shternbuch,
Shlita, HaRav Dovid Feinstein, Shlita, and your own Rosh Yeshivos, and daven
for their good health and continued leadership of K’lal Yisrael.
the bracha of “V’lirushalayim
Irecha”--when reciting the words “U’vnei
Osah BeKarov Beyameinu Binyan Olam”--think about how
much you want it Beyameinu--in
the bracha of “Es Tzemach”--when
reciting the words “Ki Lishuasecha
Kivinu Kol Hayom”--remember the Kavannah that HaRav Avraham Chaim
Feuer, Shlita, urges us to have when reciting it--Ani
Ma’amin B’Emunah Sheleimah B’viyas HaMoshiach…Achakeh Lo Bechol Yom
Hashem…to be continued on Monday (please provide us with any insights you
Special Note One:
In honor of Rosh Chodesh tomorrow, we provide the following points and
pointers relating to Hilchos Rosh Chodesh (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 217
et al.), as excerpted from the Dirshu edition of the Mishna Berurah:
should wear better clothing than usual on Rosh Chodesh. The Yesod
V’Shoresh Ha’avodah writes that one should wear at least one article
of clothing which is more chashuv. The G’ra wore his Shabbos
hat on Rosh Chodesh.
(A) It is a ma’aleh to have special clothing for Rosh Chodesh/Chol
HaMoed, as both have more Kedusha than a regular weekday as evidenced by the
four aliyos read on that day, as well as the Korban/Tefillas Mussaf
of the day. (B) Fascinatingly, the Karbanos for Musaf on Rosh Chodesh
match exactly the Karbanos for the Musaf of the Yom Tov of Pesach and
of Shavuos [two parim, one ayil, seven kevasim and
Mitzvah to be Marbeh B’Seudah on Rosh Chodesh applies to women
equally as well, and applies to each day of Rosh Chodesh. See Special
Note Two for an important additional point relating to the Seudah. We add
that the Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl, would drink a little wine on Rosh Chodesh,
and would give the members of his household (including the women) a little
wine to drink, explaining that we must honor the day--and that through
drinking wine, we demonstrate that the day is a Yom Tov!
Shelah HaKadosh writes that the reason we recite Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is
because Dovid HaMelech instituted it B’Ruach HaKodesh regarding Yetziyas
Mitzrayim (see also Pesachim 117A). Accordingly, it is recited on all of
the Moadim (all of which are Zecher L’Yetziyas Mitzrayim), and on
Rosh Chodesh by and through which the Moadim are established. Hakhel
Note: We were also of course taught the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh--HaChodesh
Hazeh Lachem Rosh Chadashim--in Mitzrayim itself!
Relating to Hallel:
(1) One should not
repeat any Pasuk that it is not the Minhag to repeat--so that it does not
appear that one is adding on to Hallel.
(2) If one
is behind the tzibur, and they are reciting together either Hodu LaShem
or Anah Hashem, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that one should
continue where he is and not answer together with the tzibur.
Kanievsky, Shlita, also rules that although one is not permitted to answer Baruch
U’Varuch Shemo while reciting Hallel, he can answer “Amen”;
however, if one is in the bracha after Hallel of Yehalelucha and the Shatz
or someone else finishes the bracha, one should not answer “Amen”, just
as one who is in the middle of the bracha of Yishtabach should not answer
“Amen” to the Shatz’s conclusion of the very same bracha
(see Bi’ur Halacha to Orach Chaim 51:2, d’h Baruch). However, if
one completed the particular bracha of Melech Mehulal Batishbachos
together with the Shatz, he does answer “Amen” over the Shatz’s
bracha (ibid., Mishna Berurah, seif katan 3).
Kiddush Levana, the Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim 426; seif katan 4) brings
the following remarkable quote from the Sefer Magid Meisharim:
“Siman Zeh Yiheyeh BeYadecha-- BaChodesh Shetevarechu Birkas HaLevana
BeMotza’ei Shabbos Timtzeu Hatzlacha--Keep this as a Siman: In a month
in which you recite Kiddush Levana on a Motza’ei Shabbos you will find
Special Note Two:
As we have noted in the past, there is a Halacha relating to Rosh Chodesh
(found in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 188:7), which is not well-known.
That is, if one is reciting Birchas HaMazon on Rosh Chodesh and realized
that he forgot to recite Ya’aleh V’Yavo after he has already recited the
brocha of Bonei Yerushalayim, but prior to reciting the brocha of HaTov
V’Hameitiv, he is entitled to (and should) add a new, complete bracha to
his Birkas Hamazon, which is: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam
Asher Nosan Roshei Chodoshim L’Amo Yisroel L’Zikaron--Blessed are You
Hashem…Who gave New Moons to His People Israel as a remembrance.”
This incredible Halacha (based upon Chazal--Brachos 49A), allows for a fifth
brocha in Birkas HaMazon if it is timed just right. Of course, it is
better not to forget Yaaleh V’Yavo, but Chazal do allow for one to mend
the situation in this way. In fact, there are similar instances where
an additional, similar brocha is recited at this point in Birkas HaMazon
(between the third and fourth brocha)--for example, if one forgot Retzei on
Shabbos, Yaaleh V’Yavo on Yom Tov, etc. The exact text of these
Brachos are found in most siddurim at the end of Birkas HaMazon, but the
page is typically skipped over as we move through the Siddur. For
example, see page 196 of the Artscroll English Siddur (Ashkenaz). From this
Halacha relating to Rosh Chodesh, we get a sense of the importance of eating
a Seudas Rosh Chodesh--a meal on Rosh Chodesh for which Birkas HaMazon is
recited--after all, a new brocha is provided for Rosh Chodesh, just as a new
brocha is provided in a similar situation on Shabbos and Yom Tov! In
honor of this Halacha, may we suggest that you partake of a fine Rosh
Chodesh meal tonight--but remember Ya’aleh V’Yavo!
Note Three: We continue with our “landmarks”.
Yesterday, we provided landmarks in the initial brachos of Shemone Esrei.
Today, we continue with additions, with the hope and intent for each person
to develop his own landmarks in the great daily opportunity known as Shemone
Esrei. Oh, what people would give to have a personal meeting with the King,
and the ability to make requests of Him--and we are so privileged more than
once a day!
the bracha of “Atta Chonein”--when
reciting the words “Chaneinu
Mei’itecha”--recognize that all of one’s wisdom, intuition,
understanding and expertise is not attributable to his personal prowess--but
is attributable to only One Source--which each of us have the opportunity to
nurture from--for free!
the bracha of “Hashiveinu”--when
reciting the words “Vehachazireinu
Bishuva Sheleima Lefanecha”--ask Hashem to give you the ability to
recognize your faults and sins and to correct them immediately--rather than
let them wallow for weeks and months.
the bracha of “Selach Lanu”--when
reciting the words “Mochel
V’Solei’ach”--ask Hashem not merely to pardon an aveirah that you
realize that you have recently committed (Mochel), but to completely expunge
the bracha of “Re’eih V’Anyeinu”--when
reciting the words “Ki Go’el
Chazak Ahta”--believe with a complete belief that there is no burden,
task, job or request that is too big for Hashem to fulfill.
the bracha of “Refaeinu”--when
reciting the words “Rofeh Ne’eman
V’Rachaman Ahta”--think about how one can be healed immediately and
painlessly--if Hashem so wills. Statistics and procedures are overridden by
the bracha of “Bareich Aleinu”--when
reciting the words “U’Vareich
Shenaseinu Kashanim Hatovos”--think about a good year or a good
time--and ask Hashem to bring back times like that again--or even better!
Hashem…to be continued tomorrow--but once again you can certainly start
working on it today (and provide us with any insights you may have)!
SIGNIFICANT INSIGHT! Rabbi
Yosef Eisen, Shlita, pointed out in the name of an Adam Gadol that for the last three thousand years Korach’s sons
have been positioned at the top of Gehinom and can be heard exclaiming ‘Moshe
Emes VeSoraso Emes…’Imagine
if they had done Teshuva not after the ground had opened--but
only 10 minutes earlier--how different their position would have been
for thousands of years!Teshuva
is the last thing in the world that you want to delay…!
THERE BE RAIN!
outstanding new Sefer (Artscroll, 2014) by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman and Rabbi
Zechariah Wallerstein, provides 178 daily lessons on making gratitude a part
of our daily lives.For those
who are not yet connected to the brief, but powerful, daily lesson. We
provide the following moving story, published as part of Lesson 21.
an airport overseas, a secular president of an Israeli University recognized
Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the Ponovezher Rav. The president introduced
himself by saying ‘K’vod Harav, we are in the same business, I am
raising funds for my university and you are raising funds for your yeshivah’.
Rav responded by embracing the man and exclaiming, ‘Shalom aleichem, Reb
president replied, ‘If the Rav would know what a sinner I am, he would not
give me such a warm greeting,’
Ponovezher Rav replied, ‘If only you knew what a holy spark lies within
your neshamah, you would talk differently about yourself.’
his memoirs, the man wrote that from that day on, ‘I began to feel like a
Jew and act like a Jew. I refrained from certain sins forever, and I
accepted upon myself to do certain Mitzvos.
was reborn because the Ponovezher Rav greeted me and spoke to me!’
Note: Once again, we highly recommend this treasured Sefer!
A reader asked us to remind others about a thought we had presented when the
Avian Flu was threatening to become a pandemic several years ago.The solution is the same--and so we present the thought once again:
Rabbeinu was a ‘k’vad peh’ (had difficulty speaking), and he so argued
to Hakadosh Boruch Hu, in claiming that he was not the person to appear
Ramban (Shmos 4:10) notes that this problem of his appearing before the King
as a ‘k’vad peh’ was quite resolvable—all Moshe Rebbeinu had to do
was daven to Hashem to be healed from this malady and he would have been
cured. In fact, the Ramban writes that Moshe Rabbeinu
intentionally did not daven so that he would not be healed, and so that he
would not have to go!
Ramban then incredibly concludes that Hashem did not heal Moshe Rabbeinu
because he did not daven for it.Had
he davened for it, Moshe would have approached Paroh cured.As Hashem said, ‘Who gives mouths to people, or who makes people
incapable of speech or deaf or capable of sight, or blind, is it not I,
is a great lesson we can learn here.
the reasons we may give as to why it might have been better for Moshe
Rabbeinu to appear before Paroh as a k’vad peh (to ensure his humility, to
demonstrate that he wasn’t G-d, etc.) and though his speech difficulties
were Divinely ordained, if Moshe had davened to be healed, he would have
been healed, and, as the Ramban asserts, Hashem said—because you did not
daven, I will simply not heal you.
enormous and horrific worldwide health hazards get bandied about by the
media, historians and scientists, we note that the large fish that devoured
Yonah was not the source of his death, but the method of his being brought
safely to shore.For us, the
message is clear:It is
dependent on us—Daven, and I will heal you, don’t daven and…
of course, we can wait until it actually hits a country and people are
infected, but we do not find that Mordechai HaTzadik waited an extra minute
to daven, though Haman’s decree against the Jews was to take effect 11
months later.As the Gemara (Shabbos
32A) teaches, one should take the time and effort to pray to Hashem that he
not get sick, for zechus (merit) is needed to be healed once sickness has
us do our part. Where do we daven? Perhaps at the end
of Shemone Esrei in Elokai N’zor, or by saying additional Tehillim,
and/or, at any time, in our own words. We note that the Kuntres
Avodas HaTefillah defines the word ‘mogen’ in the brocha of
‘Mogen Avrohom’ as ‘Hashem protects us before any negative event or
tzora occurs.’ This is exactly what we are pleading for
here-’Hashem, please be our Mogen.’
Note One: As we begin the post-Yomim Noraim and Sukkos part of the year,
having put away our Sukkahs, began the process of making Esrog jelly, and
encounter the difficulty or struggle in holding on to our Kaballos, may we
suggest one practical eitzah for
maintaining one’s greater Kavannah in Tefillah throughout the year.
is the concept of ‘landmarks’.
every bracha of Shemone Esrei, one can find a phrase upon which to
focus--and upon which he awaits to focus--so that he remains constantly
attuned to his Tefillah on a bracha-by-bracha basis, as he intends to reach
the landmark in each bracha.
first bracha in Shemone Esrei requires Kavannah of the simple meaning in its
entirety, and accordingly, is a wonderful inspirational starting point for a
Kavannah-filled Shemone Esrei.
the bracha of ‘Mechayeh Hamaysim’--
when reciting the words ‘Mechalkel
Chaim B’chesed’, one can reflect for a moment on the Chesed he
receives. Alternatively, one can think about someone who is down,
physically, mentally or financially at ‘Somaych
Noflim’.Of course, as we
had suggested the other day, one will know whether he has recited the words
‘Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem’ if at that time he thinks about
how Hashem makes each drop of rain land at a particular place at a
Ata Kodosh, when reciting the
words ‘Ukdoshim B’Chol Yom’,
one can think about how he has the privilege of praising Hashem as the
Hashem…to be continued tomorrow--but you can certainly start working on it
today (and provide us with any insights you may have)!
ADDITIONAL POST-YOM TOV POINTS AND POINTERS:
1.On Simchas Torah, we sang Ain
Segulah KaTorah--there is no Segulah like the Torah. HaRav Avrohom
Schorr, Shlita teaches that this is not merely a beautiful song but is to be
taken quite literally. If one improves in some way in his actual Torah
study--there is no segulah like it!
2.On the presentation known as Maseches
Chaim--on the life of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl one could hear the bracha
he gave someone as Bracha VeHatzlacha
B’Chol Inyanim. We should think about a meaningful bracha to give to
others as a matter of course when we take leave of them--HaRav Elyashiv’s
bracha is a wonderful place to start!
3.How careful we were on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to speak the Emes--let
us take this deep regard for truth with us throughout the year!
4.Is it too difficult for one to take upon himself to consciously give
two compliments a day?
We began the month of Tishrei with the knowledge that on Rosh Hashana
our lives and our livelihood will be determined for the coming year.
We concluded the last Chag of Tishrei with the Tefillah for Geshem, asking
for sustenance of blessing over the winter and the coming year. An
essential lesson, then, that extends throughout the entire month is that
Hashem is the Provider, and that “Kochi
VeOtzem Yadi--my strength and the power of my hand that accomplished
this” is simply not part of the Torah Jew’s lexicon.
Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, teaches in Mishlei (29:22):U’Baal Chaima Rav Posha--a man of anger abounds in transgression.Succinctly stated, if we can avoid anger, we are avoiding an abundance of sin.In
order for us to demonstrate our real dedication and desire to be sinful no
longer--let us undertake a special program--to avoid the Rav Posha of anger!
7.After seeing his Chassidim in a down mood on Motzaei Sukkos as they
were about to daven Ma’ariv, it is reported that a Rebbe gave them
wonderful Chizuk by exclaiming “My brothers please remember that it is the
very same Hashem who is the Atta
Vechartanuand the Atta
demonstrates to us His midda of Atta
Vechartanu with the special feeling that we experienceon Yom Tov…and shows us His midda of Atta
Chonantanu--by giving us the wisdom, insight and understanding to get
through and even succeed during all of the weekdays of the year!
8.As Chag Simchaseinu has just passed, we should study how we can bring
Simcha with us through the rest of the year.The Mesilas Yesharim (Chapter 19) writes as follows:“Simcha Hu Ikar Gadol B’Avoda--Simcha is an essential part of our
Avodas Hashem, as Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 100:2) Ivdu Es Hashem BeSimcha Ba’u Lefanava BeRinana--serve Hashem with
joy, come before Him with joyous song!The
Mesilas Yesharim then explains (from the Medrash) that when one rises to
daven he should feel elation in his heart that he has the ability to pray
before One to Whom there is no comparison.In fact, the Mesilas Yesharim writes that this is THE
SIMCHA AMITIS--the true Simcha--that a person rejoices over the fact
that has merited serving the Master of the Universe, learn His Torah and
perform His Mitzvos--all of which provides a person with
the true and absolute fulfillment of his potential and everlasting eternity!
At the Hakhel Sukkos Yarchei Kallah, Rabbi David Ashear, Shlita, instructed
everyone that they could strengthen their Emunah by simply not
second-guessing themselves. One should not approach the situation with “if
I had done this or that…”--but rather understand that Hashem is watching
over him at all times and in every circumstance. If a person needs chein
at a particular moment, and that is what is best for him, Hashem will
provide him with the “chein spray”
that is necessary!
After Mashiach arrives, we will return to the state of Adam HaRishon before
the cheit. We most certainly look
forward to this occurring in 5775!Everyone
should review and have handy (if not memorized) the four brachos that HaRav
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Z’tl will be recited when the Mashiach arrives!
all events, we are still in the month known as ‘Yerach HaEisanim’--the
Month of the Strong, because of all of the Mitzvos and Ma’asim Tovim that
are performed in this month, and because of the Zechus of our Avos (known as
the ‘Eisanim’) which we draw from (and learn from!) during this month.As we are close to the conclusion of the month (believe it or not,
Rosh Hashanah is more than three weeks behind us) we must remember that the
winners are those who are still there at the end, not having fallen prey to
the cunning and guile of the old and wicked Yetzer Hara who strives so hard
for us to drop our Kabbalos, to fall into despair, and to get back to the
same old habits and practices.As
we finish the month, we must be sure that our brachos are better than they
were last year, that we feel elevated by an increased or different learning
schedule, and that our mouths are purer because we are dedicated to
committing less Ona’as Devarim against our family members and friends.Each and every person can fill in his own marked personal improvement
or improvements that need to be maintained in other areas as well.If we can get to the end of the month in a more elevated plane, we
will be able to start the next month a step up--making us a step closer to
the heights we can really and truly reach within our own lives.
we have noted in the past, there is a fascinating almost unexpected
conclusion to the classic Sefer Mesilas
Yesharim. After the Sefer reviews in sharp detail the various essential
Middos we must strive to incorporate into our daily living and life, HaRav
Luzatto, Z’tl, concludes that if we view our thoughts, our words, and our
deeds through one simple but brilliant light, we will have gone a long way
to accomplishing our personal mission in life.That special light, that indispensible perspective is—’Is that
which I am thinking or about to say, or that which I am about to do, and the
manner in which I am going to do it, going to give Nachas Ruach to my Father
in Heaven?If we can keep this
pleasant and attainable thought in focus throughout the day, we will have
elevated ourselves well above the mire of habit and inclination that the
Yetzer Hara so constantly and consistently strives to have us caught in.Remember--you are in the Month of the Strong--be strong and take the
strength with you for a very rich, gratifying and successful year!
Note:If we have that notebook
or other means of keeping ourselves in line, we can be all the more
successful.Moreover, let us
remember that we are all teachers--for the good, and for the bad.If others see us steadfastly adhering to our Kabbalos, it will be
much easier for them to follow suit.Be
Just a few days ago, we began reciting “MashivHaRuach
U’Morid HaGeshem--He causes the wind to blow and brings down the
rain.” The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah adds a bit more depth to its
recitation. Hashem causes the wind to blow--bringing the clouds to where
they are needed, and brings each drop down to its proper place at its proper
time to fulfill its purpose--be it for punishment, be it for pleasure, or be
it to maintain life itself. We must
understand that each and every drop of rain has a place and a purpose, and
we should reinforce this understanding every time we praise Hashem with
these words. The added benefit to these two or three additional seconds
of Kavannah at MashivHaRuach
U’Morid HaGeshem is that you will definitely remember whether you recited MashivHaRuach in your Shemone Esrei.Additional Point: One may want to keep his finger on the words of the
first bracha of Shemone Esrei and continue doing the samethrough Mashiv HaRuach--as an additional assurance that one does not
miss this very important addition!
KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUCH
YOMI!The new cycle of
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi began just this past Shabbos, 24 Tishrei.Students of the incredible One-Year Program actually study and
complete the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in by studying only several
paragraphs a day.As we have
noted in the past, the Chofetz Chaim writes that one can fulfill the words
“Vehagisa Bo Yomam VaLayla” by learning Halacha in the morning and
Halachos in the evening.With so
many wonderful English translations of the Kitzur, it is truly a great and
relatively easy opportunity to review a vast amount of Halachos over the
coming year, with an investment of only several minutes per day.We provide a link to the Kitzur Yomi calendar below.Seize the Opportunity! For calendars, please see http://kitzuryomi.org/Calendars.asp
Hakhel Note:We remind you
that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch near its outset (2:3) brings the Pasuk in
last week’s Parasha of KiBetzelem Elokim Asah Es HaAdam and teaches that when washing our
face in the morning we should remember that we are doing so in order to
honor Hashem, who created our image.What
a wonderful thought as one washes his face--now
L’Sheim Shomayim--every morning!
Special Note One:One of the obvious points of Sukkos was that no two individual Sukkah
dwellings were at all the same (even if they appeared to be of the same
materials). One person may have been able to sleep all nights in the Sukkah
without hindrance, another may have no mosquito bites to show for the hours
he spent there, a third may have been able to eat all meals in the Sukkah
without rain because the timing of the minyanim he attended were just right.
Some may have met all of their goals for Chol HaMoed, and others may have
just managed at a minimum.The
key for us all is that each person’s Avodas Hashem is so special that it
is incomparable to person sitting next to him in Shul--or even sitting at
the same table together with him.We
should draw great Chizuk from this thought--as each and every one of us go
through the year, it will be our personal
tour with Hashem.The more we
feel our personal role in Avodas Hashem, the more real our spiritual lives
and our relationship to Hashem will be.It is fascinating to note that we concluded our daily recitation of L’Dovid
Hashem Ori (Tehillim 27) with the words: “Kavei El Hashem Chazal V’Ameitz Libecha V’Kavei El Hashem--hope
to Hashem, strengthen yourself and He will give you courage; and hope to
Hashem.”Chazal (Brachos 32B)
indeed learn from this Pasuk that if a person davens and sees that he is not
answered, he should daven once again--working hard on building the
relationship.With the Yamim
Noraim and the Yamim Tovim over--we are left with the greatest possible
result--Hashem with us!
Special Note Two:HaRav Yechezkel Abramsky, Z’tl, provides a beautiful teaching
relating to the Na’anuim--the
shaking of the Daled Minim during Hallel. He explains that the Na’anuim
are intended to indicate that we thank Hashem for all that he does for us in
this direction, in that direction, that direction, etc. If we thoughtfully
demonstrate our thanks of Hashem with our Na’anuim,
Hashem in turn will provide us with more blessing--and prevent harm and
difficulties (symbolized by “bad winds”) from coming to us from these
very directions. We can take this thought another step and reflect upon how
important it is to have Kavannah and/or positive thoughts when undertaking
activities which could be Mitzvos, but instead are undertaken mindlessly or
because one feels required to do so (just as the Na’anuim
can be thoughtlessly performed). Cleaning the home and dishes, doing
homework with a child, running an errand in which others will benefit, all
can bring greater bracha to you if performed with thought and purpose.
Furthermore, just as with the Na’anuim
we may not even fully understand all that we are achieving, so too when
helping others or performing another Mitzvah we can never fully fathom what
we are really accomplishing. At the very least, the Sefer Yesod VeShoresh
Ha’avodah writes, with the performance of this task or that act we
should have in mind that by doing it we want to give Nachas Ruach to Hashem.
Special Note Three: Our singing on Simchas
Torah should remind us to revert back to the constant and eternal Simcha
that we as a nation are especially blessed with because the Torah is such a
part and parcel of our very essence and being. Every time we say “Oy” or
sigh, or the like, perhaps we should try to follow it with a brief rendition
of Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu, Toras Hashem Temima, or other unique
or words which move you and which highlight *your* special
relationship with *your* infinite gift.
Special Note Four:Shabbos Bereishisis
always a great experience, as we discover the birth of the world and the
creation of man anew every year.Many
thoughts may cross through our mind as to how, why and when events happened,
but they must be firmly rooted in the Emunah Peshuta that Hashem Was, Is,
and Will Be, and that we will only understand some more when the Moshiach
comes.As we go on to study the
other Parshios in Bereishis, we remind ourselves that the Torah is not, c’v, a history book, reminding us of the events of early
To the Torah Jew, history is not an interesting study, something that
satisfies our curiosity as to past cultures and civilizations. Rather, it
represents the continuing Hashgacha Pratis of Hashem to Whom “one thousand
years is like one year” in his guidance and supervision of creation. The
Navi teaches that, when the Moshiach comes, there will no longer be wars
among people. The commentaries explain that this is so because the Moshiach
will resolve all disputes among people, making war obsolete. It appears that
we are living in a time of what the world would call “history in the
making,” as all kinds of uncertainty stretches 6,000 miles from Eretz
Yisroel to the
. We should not view this as “history in the making,” but should instead
utilize it as an advanced opportunity for coming closer to Hashem, and by
replacing all of the secular analyses of current world events with an
awareness of Hashem’s pervasive presence. It all brings us back to the
first Siman in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim--Shivisi
Hashem LeNegdi Samid--let us keep Hashem before us all the time as we
navigate our course through these pages in the ‘history’ books.
Special Note Five: We present the
following two important excerpts relating to the Parasha from Rav
Shach on Chumash (Artscroll) by his grandson, Rabbi Asher Bergman,
Shlita, as translated into English by Rabbi Dovid Oratz, Shlita:
Rabbi Meir Heisler once mentioned to Rav Shach the opinion, advocated by
several early commentators, that, although the fate of every human being and
the details of his life are controlled directly by Hashem, this does not
apply to animals. Hashem’s Hashgacha watches over the preservation--or
lack of--the species as a whole, but does not concern itself with the fate
of each and every butterfly and ant. Rav
Shach told him that this opinion was not accepted in mainstream Jewish
thought.The Talmud Yerushalmi
says otherwise (Shevi’is 9:1): “Even a bird is not caught in a trap
unless it is decreed so from Heaven.” R’ Heisler added that in Safra
Detzniusa, the Vilna Gaon also explicitly disagrees with this concept,
asserting that everything is hinted at in the Torah’s account of
Creation--all the details of the life of every animal, and even vegetables
and plants.“Why, this is the
concept that has fortified me throughout my life!” declared Rav Shach.
‘The knowledge that every single event that occurs to me is already
foretold in the Torah. I am not rootless! I am not abandoned to ‘blind
The first Rashi in Bereishis cites the Midrash’s question: “Why did
Hashem see fit to begin the Torah from the story of Creation, and not from
the first Mitzvah to all of B’nei Yisrael (Shemos 12:2): “HaChodesh
Hazeh Lachem…this month shall be for you the first of the months?”
Rav Shach would frequently quote this Rashi and comment: “How fortunate we
are that Hashem did indeed choose to include the story of Creation in the
Torah! The Chofetz Chaim used to read the entire first chapter of Bereishis
each morning after reciting Birchos HaShachar, as a means of strengthening
his faith in the Creator. If the Chofetz Chaim found this useful and
necessary, how much more so should we!
Note Six:We find in Parashas
Bereishis that man is, in fact, distinguished from the animal kingdom in his
‘deah’ and ‘dibbur’--his ability to think and express that thought to others.To bring this powerful point home, we provide the following selection
from the outstanding Sefer Positive
Word Power (Artscroll--Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation), which is
truly a must-read sefer for every ‘thinking and speaking’ individual.
originates in the brain.Before
the word comes the thought; by definition, speech requires thinking.The only question is whether one relies entirely on this involuntary
process, or one works toward developing a conscious thought process that
remains in gear at all times.To
avoid ona’as devarim, a person must dedicate his brain to filtering its
output to a finer degree. Motivation
is the key.Someone
who comes to the realization that ona’as devarim is really a negative
factor in his life must then look for a different way, a means to ensure
that impulsive, damaging words do not spill out of his mouth.Even something as simple as posting a “Think before you speak”
sign at the desk or on the kitchen counter can help.Turning on the word filter and using it every time one speaks is
ultimately nothing more than a habit which, like all habits, can be
developed through repetition.Where
human effort leaves off, Divine Assistance will surely come into play to
help all who devote themselves to protecting the dignity of their fellow
Note:Please re-read. What a
life-long lesson to take with us from the Parasha!!
Special Note Seven:Let us now take the point a step further. HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon,
Shlita, teaches that the Torah does not say that Hashem created Chava and
brought her to Adam for the purpose of having future generations, but
actually simply because “it is not good for man to be alone”(Beraishis
2:18). In fact, what was behind the
mistake that Kayin made in killing Hevel was that he believed it would
be better for him alone to succeed his father, then to do so jointly with
Hevel. This was again Cham’s mistake
when he prevented his father from having further children (there were
already three brothers to live together, and that was more than enough)--and
his punishment was--measure for measure--that he would be subservient to his
brothers, and not co-exist with them on an equal par. Cham’s sin here was
exacerbated not only by his failure to learn from the world shattering sin
of Kayin, but also by the fact that the Torah provides conclusive evidence
that Kayin himself corrected his error. Where does the Torah show us this?
Immediately after he was banished from
, the Pasuk (Beraishis
) teaches “He built a city, and he called the city after his son ‘Chanoch’.”
Who was Kayin building a city for--for the few people then alive? And why
does the Torah tell us that he named it Chanoch? HaRav Salomon, based upon
the explanation given by the K’sav
V’Hakabala explains that Kayin was demonstrating to the world forever
that camaraderie, companionship, togetherness, and devotedness and
dedication to others, is an essential element of mankind. We should not view
ourselves as “paying a price for living in society”, but instead as
reaping the real benefits of living with others. The reason that the Torah
goes out of its way to teach that the name of the city was Chanoch (same
root as chinuch--education), is because the Torah is telling us that we must
constantly indoctrinate--educate and re-educate ourselves--in this teaching.
Secluding ourselves, living separate and
apart from others is not good. We must foster and treasure relationships. We
need only once again review the Viduy and Al Chait to realize what an
important part Bein Odom L’Chaveiro plays in our lives. Indeed, Chazal
teach (Avos 1:6) that we must even go to the extent of “kenei
lecha chaver--acquiring a friend.” We see the sincere dedication that
Avrohom Avinu had to others in the upcoming Parshios--risking his life, for
example, even for those who separated themselves from him. We should take
all of these lessons seriously, and try to improve, over the next several
weeks, upon our relationships with others--especially our own close family
members. It is no coincidence (as it never is) that all the relationships
described above were with close family. This is a great place to start--less
painful words, less sharp criticism, less being annoyed and angry, and more
of the love, appreciation, thanks, ...and a showing of true humanity!
FORGOTTEN? Help to be mesameach
others for Yom Tov by providing them with necessary food items.Tzedakah
is certainly one of the most primary preparations for Yom Tov (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch,
Chapter 135:15).We once again provide the www.yadeliezer.org
for Aniyei Eretz Yisroel.Yasher Koach!
DOVID HAMELECH: On Sukkos,
we will be reciting “HaRachaman Hu
Yakim Lanu Es Sukas Dovid HaNofoles”At the recent Hakhel Yom Iyun,
Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita, asked: ‘If you had an audience with
Dovid HaMelech, what do you think he would say to you?’He provided a suggested answer.What
do you think it would be?
A SUKKOS OPPORTUNITY! As we dwell in our Sukkos and realize how close we
really are to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, it may be a wonderful time during the
course of each meal to speak about or reflect upon an aspect of Shivisi Hashem Linegdi Somid. Success in Shivisi the Sukkah can produce special results for the coming year
ANOTHER SUKKOS OPPORTUNITY!
If you have the opportunity to be among family or
friends at the Sukkos table—perhaps the idea of a family or friends
Kaballah for the comingyear could be discussed.Endeavoring to make Brachos loud enough for a person to answer Amen,
Brachos while sitting down…an hour during the day in which everyone is
careful in Shemiras HaLashon, everyone doing a private Chesed once a
day….The possibilities are almost endless, and could achieve truly
great—and almost endless--results.Please
We DO NOT want it to rain on our treasured Mitzvah of Sukkah.We have one tool--our TEFILLOS
--which are more powerful than any
forecasts--let us do our part today in davening that we have the
opportunity this evening, tomorrow evening and throughout Sukkos to fulfill
the Mitzvah thoroughly and BeHiddur
FOREVER THANKFUL! Please do not forget to have Kavannah
tonight (and tomorrow night if you are in Chutz LaAretz) --before eating the
Kezayis/KeBeitzah-plus of Challah, that you are doing so because Ki
BaSukkos Hoshavti Es Bnai Yisroel BeHotze’e Osam MaiEretz Mitzrayim
--Hashem set us in Ananei Kavod and gave us Sukkas to dwell in as we left
Mitzrayim and traveled through the otherwise torturous desert
conditions--something that each generation thereafter MUST REMEMBER and be
forever thankful for!
We asked Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner, Shlita, whether on Shabbos or Yom Tov
one is permitted only to spray his body with “Off” anti-mosquito spray,
or whether he can use “Off” anti-mosquito lotion as well. He advised
that one could use the lotion on Shabbos or Yom Tov, but not rub it on or
smooth it out--just pour it on and let it spread by itself.
SUKKOS: We conclude our two Halachos a
day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. Because of the close proximity to
Sukkos, we will provide a greater number of Halachos. We note that one should also study the Halachos Sukkos on Sukkos itself (which
is the final teaching of Mesechta Megillah--Megillah 32A).
A. We present below several
rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Sukkos, as excerpted from the
Sefer Ashrei HaIsh (Volume III):
1.If a person makes a Sukkah on top of a car, the car has Kedusha, and
one cannot take down the Sukkah and use the car for other purposes--even if
one initially had only intended to use the Sukkah for a short time, no tenai
will help regarding the Sukkah itself (as a tenai
only helps for the Noi Sukkah).
2.A large Sukkah is not more of a Hidur
than a small Sukkah--if one does not need a large Sukkah.If a Sukkah is too small, it is a Chiyuv
Gamur to make it larger for one’s family to fit--not a ‘Hidur’.
3.The Halachos of Noi Sukkah
apply only to something attached to the Sukkah--not to a plant, flowers or
the like, which do not have any restrictions relating to taking them out of
4.If snow falls on the Sukkah, it is batel
to the Schach, and the Sukkah may be used.
5.One may not nail down the Schach even if he is worried that the
Schach may fly up in a high wind.One
should instead tie boards next to the Schach to weigh it down, or tie the
Schach loosely with something that is not mekabel
tumah.If Schach did fly off
on Shabbos or Yom Tov, one can have an akum
put it back, telling him to do so L’Shem
Tzel--for the sake of shade.Hakhel
Note:As we have advised in the
past, if the Schach flew up and flew back down itself, a question may be
whether it has been placed back on the Sukkah L’Shem
Tzel.One should consult his
Rav in this event.
6.If a child under Bar Mitzvah put up the Schach, one should preferably
place the Schach down again.
7.If a woman made a Shehechiyanu on Hadlakas Neiros, she can still
answer “Amen” to the Shehechiyanu in Kiddush, because the Shehechiyanu
in Kiddush applies to other Mitzvos as well (such as building the Sukkah and
dwelling in it).
8.If one in the past had been makpid
not to even eat Achilas Ar’aee
out of the Sukkah, and wants to stop this practice, it would be better for
him to be Matir Neder.
9.If one is eating meat, fish or cheese as a meal, he must eat it
inside the Sukkah.
10.If one takes a drink in the Sukkah, drank a little bit and then went
into his house for something, when he comes back to the Sukkah, he must make
a new bracha--for this would be considered akiramibayis l’bayis.
11.In Kiddush, one makes a bracha of Borei
Pri HaGafen and then Leisheiv
BaSukkah, for he will surely continue to eat immediately, as one must
eat immediately after Kiddush.
12.If one has a Sukkah in his kitchen, he must have a Mechitzah between
the area of the pots and pans, and the area of the Sukkah.Even in a public Sukkah, one should be careful to take out dirty
dishes right away, so as not to leave the Sukkah in a mevuzeh
13.Outside of the Sukkah, if a person feels that he is going to fall
asleep if he sits down on a certain chair, then it is not considered an
‘accident’ that he fell asleep outside the Sukkah; accordingly, it is
not permissible--and one should wake him up.If one did not realize that he would fall asleep outside of the
Sukkah and he does, then he has not done an issur.
14. If one had used palm
tree leaves for Lulav knots (it being clear that they were used for the
Lulav), one should not throw them out in a disrespectful way.
15.The basis for the Minhag of bringing instruments into Shul for a Simchas
Beis Hashoeivah is Zecher
L’Mikdash. Hakhel Note:Let
us treat a Simchas Bais Hoshoeivah accordingly!
B. We present below several
rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Hilchos Yom Tov, also as
excerpted from Sefer Ashrei HaIsh
(Orach Chaim, Volume III).
1. Since there is no equivalent of Lecha Dodi or Mizmor Shir
LeYom HaShabbos, one should fulfill the Mitzvah of Tosefes Yom Tov by
accepting Yom Tov upon himself before Shekiyah. Women should light candles
before Yom Tov begins, and not after.
2. One can place a wick into its floating holder on
Yom Tov, provided that the hole is fully open before putting the wick in.
3. The Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov requires a
husband to buy his wife new Yom Tov clothing, even if she already has Yom
Tov attire.A woman can be
Mocheles a new article of clothing, and it is not then considered as if the
husband has not fulfilled the Mitzvah.If
one cannot afford it, he should at least buy new shoes for her.In our time, one may buy jewelry which may be less expensive than
shoes, if his wife attains Simcha through the new jewelry item.
4. A man should fulfill the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom
Tov by having a Revi’is of wine
every day.If one truly dislikes
wine, he need not drink it, because he will not be Besimcha as a result.One can, however, mix grape juice with the wine so that he does not
taste the alcohol.
5. One take bones out of fish and meat on Yom Tov,
check rice, and wash fruits and vegetables which are dirty (even if they
were inedible without washing), and there is no issur
of Borer.However, with respect
to utensils, clothing and Seforim, the laws of Borer are similar to those of
Shabbos, and the Heter of Borer on Yom Tov is only with respect to food
6. One should only carry on Yom Tov items which
will still be needed for that day, not simply for the purpose of protecting
one’s article, or preventing a loss.
7. It is forbidden to squeeze on Yom Tov;
accordingly, one cannot squeeze fruits for their juice, even if one wants to
drink the juice on Yom Tov.
8. The restrictions that apply to opening
containers on Shabbos, apply identically on Yom Tov.
9. LeChatchila, opening a refrigerator on Yom Tov,
has the same Halachos as on Shabbos. However, BeSha’as
HaDechak, one can me Maikil on Yom Tov and open the refrigerator even if
the motor is not on.
10. One may not make ice cubes on Yom Tov, for it
is similar to Boneh, and Boneh is Assur on Yom Tov
11. One may take milk or soup out of the freezer,
and the Issur of Nolad is no violated on Yom Tov.Similarly, one can bake a cake even though the mixture of ingredients
was originally liquid and will turn into a solid, and it is not considered
Nolad for Yom Tov purposes.
12. One can take something frozen out of the
freezer to defrost for Yom Tov Sheini if it is not a Tircha, but one cannot
heat something up from Yom Tov Rishon to Yom Tov Sheini.
13. One can put something into the refrigerator or
freezer even for the next day, for it is being done for orderliness (like
putting it into its proper cabinet) and not considered a preparation for the
14. If one forgot to put on the lights on Erev Yom
Tov, and it reduces his Simchas Yom Tov, he can ask an akum to turn on the lights, because it is a ShvusD’Shvus BeMakom for the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov.
is permissible to fold one’s Tallis on Yom Tov which is Erev Shabbos, even
if one has not made an Eruv Tavshilin.However,
it is not permissible to wash dishes on Yom Tov for the sake of Shabbos,
even if one has made an Eruv Tavshilin. BeSha’as HaDechak HaGadol, it would be permissible.Married children who will be with their parents for Yom Tov should be
told by his parents that he is being mezakeh them with his Eruv.
A. Sukkos is a Chag which
should invigorate us with Emunah. One should purchase, or put aside, a Sefer
on Emunah to study over every day of the Yom Tov. Many Mussar
seforim have sections on both Emunah and Bitachon, and many new Sefarim (in
different languages) have been published on this topic, as it is obviously
an essential Avodah of our day. Let us imbibe as much Emunah as we can
over this especially auspicious time!
B. We will once again be
benefitting from Birchas Kohanim on the days of Yom Tov. We remind
everyone that the Chofetz Chaim (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 128 at the
outset of the Bi’ur Halacha) writes that even non-Kohanim (yes, you!) can
fulfill the Mitzvas Asei DeOraysa of Birchas Kohanim by having in mind to
receive the Bracha from the Kohanim, as Hashem commanded!
C. The Sefas Emes finds a
clear allusion to this in the Torah’s words that we are to observe Sukkos:
“Shivah Yamim BaShana-- Seven
Days of the Year,”-- the Seven Days are sufficient to infuse us with all
that we need for the coming year. It is for this reason that Hoshana
Rabbah, the seventh day of Sukkos, is the date when the final “notes”
relating to our judgment are delivered. By then, we have indicated to
Hashem whether we have, or have not, availed ourselves of the opportunity to
protect the Ruchniyus that we acquired on Yom Kippur and bring it into our
homes and our workplaces.
D. The Siddur HaGra notes
that the 4 Minim are k’neged a letter of the 4-letter Ineffable
Name of Hashem. The last Heh is represented by the Esrog.
Accordingly, we should be careful to keep the Esrog touching the Minim in
the other hand--so that the letters stay complete. It is brought from
HaRav Chaim Vital, Z’tl, ahl pi sod, that the Esrog should be
touching at the bottom of the Lulav--where the bottom of the Hadassim and
Aravos are--and not near the middle of the Haddasim and Aravos.
E. How should a lefty
hold the 4 Minim? This is an apparent Machlokes between the Mechaber
and the Rema--and it is accordingly suggested that whatever opinion you
initially follow--you also hold them the other way as well (this is what the
Steipeler, Z’tl did, as reported in the Sefer Piskei Teshuvos (VI:
p.423). Lefty’s get a second opportunity!
F.On Chag HaSukkos, we spend much time and effort in order to properly
perform the Mitzvos of Sukkah and the Four Minim. Many people may
forget that there is another great Mitzvah on Sukkos, which is the Mitzvah
to be b’Simcha--in a state of happiness. In fact, Sukkos is known as
“Z’man Simchasenu--a time of bliss.” The Sefer Pele Yoetz
writes in the name of the Arizal that one who is truly joyful on Sukkos, and
does not allow himself to be pained, is assured that he will have a good
year and will merit constant joy. The Pele Yoetz writes that
one can attain this level of joy by reflecting upon how fortunate he is to
be so different from all other creations in the universe, by having the
opportunity to be close to Hashem through the study of Torah and the
performance of Mitzvos. The Rambam at the end of Hilchos Lulav (), explains that the euphoria we should experience
on Sukkos is an inner joy which is rooted in the depths of the heart:
”The joy that a person
should experience in doing a Mitzvah and in his love of Hashem who so
commanded is a great Avodah; and one who does not allow himself to feel this
joy [does not follow the Torah’s directive] to be joyful and good of
heart…and the only true greatness and honor is to rejoice before Hashem,
as Dovid HaMelech did in dancing before the Aron HaKodesh…”
The Simcha we experience on
Sukkos is an anomaly to the rest of the world, which equates joy with fun.
Our happiness is “Yismechu B’Malchusecha”--the joy of our soul
in its closeness to Hashem and in our ruchniyus--tangibly experiencing a
sublime, inspiring, spiritual purpose in life!
Additional Note: HaRav
Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, notes that Chazal uniquely refer to Sukkos simply
as ‘Chag’, for the word Chag is a special indication of Simcha,
symbolizing the dancing in a circle that was and is typically celebrated at
a Simchas Beis HaShoeivah. Indeed, the Torah specifically reiterates the
Simcha that we are to feel on Chag HaSukkos with the Pasuk (Devarim ,15):
BeChagecha…VeHayisa Ach Samei’ach.”
HaRav Chaim understands this special reiteration in the Pasuk to mean that
there is a second Mitzvah --a Simcha
Yeseirah on Sukkos over and above that of the other Chagim! HaRav Chaim
adds that, based upon this elevated, additional concept of Simcha on Sukkos,
we must understand and internalize that Hashem
is telling us to be happy because there is much to be happy about with the
great Mitzvos over the Yom Tov of Sukkos!
Special Note Two:
NACH YOMI—AN AFTER SUKKOS OPPORTUNITY
TO THINK ABOUT NOW! If you begin on 23 Tishrei (October 17) to study 2
Perakim of Nach a day—you will make a Siyum in one year—on the 22nd
day of Tishrei of 5776. What a year of accomplishment this can be!
Special Note Three:
As in previous years, we review with you:
CHOL HAMOED HIGHLIGHTS
Chol HaMoed are days
designated--set aside--for holiness. We can therefore understand why
someone who disgraces these days “has no share” in the World to Come (Avos
). According to the Bartenura (ibid.),
disgracing the Moados means doing unnecessary work on them, and eating and
drinking in the same manner as one would on a regular weekday.
The following highlights
are from a Hakhel Shiur, given by HaRav Dovid Zucker, Shlita, author of the
Sefer Chol HaMoed (Artscroll 2005), and Rosh Kollel of the Chicago Community
1. The Avnei Nezer
teaches (based upon the Zohar) that the Kedusha of Chol HaMoed may be
likened to the light of the Moon--reflecting the Kedusha of Yom Tov itself.
Chol HaMoed is indeed enveloped by the Kedusha of the First Days and the
Last Days of Yom Tov.
2. One should wear
nicer clothes on Chol HaMoed than on a regular weekday. The mitzvah of
Simchas Yom Tov applies to Chol HaMoed as well.
3. Rabbi Zucker stated that
he felt that just as Kedushas Shabbos was the nisayon (the test) of 75 to
100 years ago, Kedushas Chol HaMoed is the nisayon of Galus Jewry today.
4. The laws of working on
Chol HaMoed for a salaried employee depend upon whether the employee: (a)
has vacation coming to him; (b) has no vacation coming to him, but can take
time off without pay; (c) asking for time off will cause him to lose his
job; or (d) asking for time off will not cause him to lose his job, but will
have undesired effects. Our notes here are intended to highlight these
distinctions, but not provide the halachic parameters, which are detailed
and often require consultation with a Rav. For further information,
you may study the Sefer itself, or obtain a copy of the Shiur on cassette
tape or CD by calling (718) 252-5274.
individuals and employers must consult with their Rav as to how/when to
remain open on Chol HaMoed. One should not rely on “everybody does
it” or “ignorance is bliss”--remember, we are talking about the World
to Come, and that is true bliss--and infinity. The story is told of a
factory owner who refused, despite the Chofetz Chaim’s pleadings, to close
his factory on Shabbos--he told the Chofetz Chaim, “Rebbi, you don’t
make money from a posuk in the Torah.” When the Bolsheviks
confiscated all of his property a few years later, he wrote a letter of
contrition and apology to the Chofetz Chaim.
6. Unskilled work is
permitted for the sake of the Mo’ed or the Last Days of Yom Tov.
Therefore, if necessary, one may sew a button on in an unskilled manner.
7. A non-Jew cannot
do work for you that you yourself cannot perform. For example, your
lawn cannot be mowed or landscaped--and your gardener must be sent away if
he comes to perform work for you.
8. Skilled work is
generally prohibited--even for the sake of the Mo’ed or the Last Days of
Yom Tov. Once again, anything prohibited for a Jew to do is prohibited
for a non-Jew to do for you. There are certain exceptions in which
skilled labor is permitted, which relate to “Tzorchei HaGuf,” such as a
serious roof leak or a necessary oven or air conditioner repair. With
respect to car repairs, it would depend on the type of repair necessary, the
need for the repair, and other factors, and a Rav must be consulted.
9. Laundering clothing can
only be done for young children who have soiled their clothing and have
nothing else to wear. You cannot add other clothing into the washing
machine once their clothes are being washed. Once again, a non-Jewish
housekeeper cannot do for you what you yourself cannot do. Spot
cleaning, if necessary, is permitted. Drying clothing is permitted.
10. Going shopping is
only permissible (even if you otherwise enjoy shopping) if needed for Chol
HaMoed or the Last Days of Yom Tov, or if it would constitute a “davar
ha’avad” (See paragraph 13 below). One cannot “trick” the
Halacha (and yourself) by “wearing it on Chol HaMoed too. Similarly,
one should not push off buying a pair of shoes to Chol HaMoed if he can do
so before Yom Tov (unless he simply ran out of time). Rav Moshe
Feinstein Z’TL once told a Yeshiva bochur to come back to Yeshiva a day
later in order to go shopping for clothing after Yom Tov, rather than shop
on Chol HaMoed.
11. One cannot
schedule a “routine” medical or dental checkup or exam for Chol HaMoed.
12. One cannot put
off to Chol HaMoed filling up the car with gas, going to the bank, etc.,
when he has time or an opportunity to do so before Chol HaMoed.
13. In specific
“davar ha’avad” situations where an actual loss will occur, if work
(even if skilled) is not performed on Chol HaMoed, it may very well be
permissible, and your Rav should be consulted.
14. Cutting nails/manicure
is permitted for Sefardim (if needed), and prohibited to Ashkenazim (unless
needed, and one had previously cut nails on Erev Yom Tov as well).
15. Rav Moshe
Feinstein Z’TL ruled that setting/cutting a sheitel is considered skilled
work and therefore is prohibited even for the sake of the Mo’ed or the
Last Days of Yom Tov.
16. Standard writing (not
calligraphy) is considered unskilled work and is permitted for the sake of
the Moed. One can type, send e-mails, e-faxes and text messages, but
not print them out (unless permitted as a “davar ha’avad”).
Similarly, one can utilize a digital camera as long as the pictures are not
printed out, and a standard camera, as long as the pictures are not
The above, obviously, only
briefly highlights some common Halachos. In fact, Hilchos Chol HaMoed
encompasses 20 chapters in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 530-549). We
additionally refer you to Rabbi Zucker’s wonderful sefer. You may
want to ask your Rav to give a Shiur this Yom Tov on the Halachos and
Hashkafos of Chol HaMoed for everyone’s benefit. Remember, with any
question, or difficult or special situation, please consult your Rav--and
have Simchas HaMoed.
Special Note Three: As we
sit in the Sukkah in the upcoming sunny days, we should think about our own
personal ways in which we can instill the Sukkah’s Shemira into our homes
after the Seven Days have passed. Will it be by remembering to picture
Hashem in front of us when we say the word “Ata” in each one of our
Brachos? Will it be in the manner that we eat--sitting down and eating
respectfully? Will it be with the voice level used in our home? Will
it be by not purchasing the extra luxury or overindulgence because it looks
so nice, is so “balabatish,” or tastes so good? Will it be by the
emphasis of mind over matter? The list goes on…
May we inculcate these
thoughts into our being, and may this Sukkos bring with it the
protection--and the consequent guidance--to make this year especially great
1. Rabbi Moshe Scheinerman,
Shlita, teaches that Torah is different than oxygen--for oxygen is what
helps us live by breathing it in--while Torah is life itself! We should
remember this when we open a Sefer to
learn or when a shiur begins…it is life itself, and not only life in this
world, but life for eternity!
2. The Targum Yonasan on
the Pasuk “Ki Bishrirus Libi Eileich”
(Devorim 29:18) writes that the reason a person would do as his heart sees
fit, is only because he is depressed (yei’ush)
by having sinned. The Torah obviously is severely reprimanding anyone guilty
of this attitude and behavior. Indeed, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, Shilta, teaches
that if one made a mistake he must do the proper Teshuvah--and be sure to
3. After Man is created,
the Torah calls the Sixth Day of Creation, “Tov Meod”--very good. Chazal
teach that what is “very good” is the Yetzer Hara. This is because the
Yetzer Hara provides us with two great opportunities--one to use its
strength and capacities for good, and the second to overcome and defeat its
urgings to commit an aveira--giving
us the ability to exercise our free will--our purpose in life
(and great reward!)”
Hakhel Note: We should
constantly remind ourselves of the very first word of the entire Shulchan
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT FROM A READER: It is definitely not too late to improve--we had
received the following suggestions for improvement from a reader:
“1. Please note that it
is forbidden to place one’s hat or reading glasses on top of a siddur,
sefer, Chumash, Gemara, etc. Many people are unfortunately not careful with
2. The Tefillin Shel Rosh
must be placed above the
hairline. If it’s placed below the hairline, you were not mekayem
the mitzvah - and if you made a bracha on the shel rosh, the bracha was said
in vain. Again, many people are unfortunately not careful with this.
3. Do not talk while
wearing Tefillin. If you want to talk, take off your Tefillin first. There
are people who go outside the shul after davening and talk on their cell
phones while still wearing Tefillin. Anyone who fears Hashem and who has
respect for the holy Tefillin will be careful not to engage in idle chatter
while wearing them.
4. If possible, try not to
leave the shul until after the final Kaddish has been said. Many people have
the “minhag” to start walking out during (or even before) Aleinu. This
should be avoided unless there are extenuating circumstances and you must
leave shul early.
5. Many men have the
“minhag” to shake hands with women - and I have seen that there are
those who will even initiate a handshake with a lady. While it’s true that
some poskim are lenient on this issue, I understand that HaRav Moshe was
against it. Ask yourself: If HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, were in the
room, would I shake hands with someone of the opposite gender? If you
wouldn’t shake hands with a lady in Reb Moshe’s presence, then why would
you shake hands with a lady in the presence of Hashem - who is
1. Is it a greater hiddur
to build a larger Sukkah even if one does not require so much space?
2. If one has two Sukkahs
to enter--and one is more beautifully decorated than the other--is it a
greater Mitzvah to dwell in the more beautifully decorated Sukkah?
3. Although we make the
bracha of Shehechiyanu both on the
first and second nights of Sukkos, we only make the bracha of Shehechiyanu over the Daled Minim on the first day and not on the
TEHILLIM CHAPTER 150:
As we have noted in the past, the last HalleluKah--the
last Kepitel in Tehillim (Chapter 150), has 12 phrases--each corresponding
to a month of the year. This month’s corresponding phrase is Halleluhu
BeNeivel V’Chinor--let’s get the message!
TODAY IS THE DAY! The Luach
Davar B’Ito brings that today (13 Tishrei) is the day that Sedom and
its neighboring cities were turned over.Perhaps the lesson is that this reflects the period we are
in--uprooting evil and bringing good to the world!
SUKKOS: We continue our two Halachos a
day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. Because of the close proximity to
Sukkos, we will provide a greater number of Halachos:
1.. Reminder! A boy
above the age of five or six is required to eat all those foods in the
Sukkah that his father would be required to eat in the Sukkah (Shulchan
Aruch, Orach Chaim, 640:2).
It is a Hidur Mitzvah to use new aravos every day of Chol HaMoed (Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch 137:6).
A Lulav is Muktzah on Shabbos, and one may not
move it l’tzorech gufo u’mekomo--even
if one needs the place that it is in (ibid. 137:7).
4.. We present below
several Shailos asked of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, as presented in the
Sefer Ma’aseh Rav:
A . Question:
One is permitted to place a sheet within 4-tefachim of his Sechach to
decorate the Sukkah and it does not invalidate his Sechach.
This being the case, one can simply spread a sheet directly under his
Sechach--and he will be able to eat in the Sukkah-even when it is
raining--why don’t we all do so?! [See Mishna Berurah to Shulchan Aruch
Orach Chaim, 629, seif katan 58].
Answer: The Torah did not obligate us to do so.
Is it better to stay in the Sukkah longer and not be one of the first 10 in
Shul for Minyan, or should one leave the Sukkah in order to be one of the
There are two possible responses: The rule of Taishvu Ke’Ain
Taduru which would seem to dictate that it is better to be one of the
first 10--as is the case the rest of the year and as brought in Shulchan
Aruch Orach Chaim 90:14. The other possibility is DeOvid
K’Mar Ovid, DeOvid KeMar Ovid--either way would be a responsible
Is it permissible to give a Shiur on Sukkos outside of the Sukkah if you
know people will fall asleep at the Shiur?
Answer: One can give the Shiur--but must first warn
the people that it is forbidden to sleep outside of the Sukkah!
One wants to fulfill the mitzvah of Yeshivas
Sukkah but does not have anything to make a bracha of Laishaiv
BaSukkah on. Is it better for him to enter and stay in the Sukkah
without making a bracha--or not to enter for he will not be able to make the
Answer: One should enter the Sukkah even though he
cannot make a bracha over the Mitzvah at that time.
On Hoshanah Rabba, need one be careful not to step on the broken off
A.The Zohar writes that the Sukkah can be compared to the Teivah of
Noach, Noach’s Ark, which protected and eternally preserved the
remnants of all life on earth. The Sukkah takes all of our physical
and human drives and activities such as eating, drinking, sitting, walking,
and sleeping, and houses them in the spiritual well beyond the seven days of
Sukkos. The ephemeral becomes the everlasting. Complementing the
Sukkah is the taking and shaking of the Four Minim, which symbolizes the
spiritual control over harmful gashmiyus, such as dangerous winds and
dews--also, once again, well beyond Sukkos.
The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 625, seif katan 1) reminds
us that every time we dwell in the Sukkah we should
remind ourselves that we are doing so both “Zeicher LeYetzias Mitzrayim
and Zecher LeAnanei Hakavod.” Rabbi Shlomo Pearl, Z’tl,
incredibly points out that the Mishna Berurah writes that if one does not
have these Kavannos when entering
the Sukkah, he is only Yotzei the Mitzvah of Sukkah--BeDieved!!
Accordingly, one is well advised to have a reminderuponentering the Sukkah of the properKavannos, so that he can fulfill the Mitzvah
LeChatchila--in the first instance. We provide by the following link
http://tinyurl.com/3eyrbyu a reminder sheet that one can keep
near his seat in the Sukkah, so that he can fulfill
the Mitzvah of Sukkah LeChatchila each and every
Note: We provide by the following linkhttp://tinyurl.com/3qpda9ya Kavannah card for the first night (or for the first two nights) of
Sukkos sent to us by a reader based on a Shiur given by Rabbi Boruch
Hirschfeld, Shlita, of Cleveland. We note that items 2, 3, and 5 on
the card apply all seven days of Sukkos!
The Mishna Berurah also writes that because of the great Kedusha of the Sukkah,
one must be especially careful not to engage in forbidden talk, and try not
to engage in mundane chatter (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 639, Mishna
Berurah, Seif Katan 2). One should look around the Sukkah
from time to time and remind himself that he is engulfed in a Mitzvah like
no other time during the year! We provide by the following link http://tinyurl.com/3pznx8aa treasure-filled message from the Mishna Berurah to post in your Sukkah
or to keep close-by. Special thanks to Rabbi Hillel Litwack, Shlita,
who printed beautiful color posters, and allowed us to copy and distribute.
Hakhel Note: One’s Sukkah Decorations
become Muktzah over Yom Tov, unless he makes a tenai that he intends
to get benefit from them (use them, eat them, etc.) over Yom Tov and/or Chol
HaMoed. For the specifics of the appropriate tenai , please consult
with your Rav or Posek.
D. Since Chag
HaSuccos is such a foundation of our Emunah--may we suggest that one make a
special effort to have Kavannah when reciting Amen--in fact, their
Gematriaos--91-- are the same-- very far from ‘coincidence’!
E. Chazal (Yalkut
Shimoni to Vayikrah 23:42) teach that one who fulfills the Mitzvah of
Sukkah in Olam Hazeh will be protected by the Sukkah of Hashem in Olam Haba.
Even in this world, the Shem M’Shmuel writes in the name of
his father, the Avnei Nezer, that because of the protective power of
the Sukkah, one need not recite the entire Krias Shema Al HaMitah when
sleeping in the Sukkah, but only the first Parasha of Shema and HaMapil.
[This ruling of the Avnei Nezer is not brought in Shulchan Aruch, but
gives us a better appreciation of what we may not necessarily see with our
eyes in the Sukkah.]
F. When one enters
the Sukkah to eat a Seudah, he should invite the Ushpizin verbally--for if
he does not invite them, they do not come. The Ushpizin will also not
come if money is not set aside for the poor for Sukkos (Yesod V’Shoresh
HaAvodah ; see also the Shelah HaKadosh, Mesechtas Sukkah).
G. It is fascinating to
note that the Ikar Ma’asim which require Sukkah--more than davening
and learning (!) are eating and sleeping--perhaps what one would
consider the most physically required and non-spiritual, the least elevated,
of our daily activities. Yet, this is where the lessons of Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur are housed--in our activities as human beings
for the rest of the Year--and this is the guidance--and the Shemira--that
the proper performance of the Mitzvah of Sukkah will provide for us over the
H. One should not
assume that a Sukkah put up in a restaurant, amusement park or the like is
automatically kasher because ‘it must be under someone’s
supervision’. One should try to make his own determination that he
can fulfill the Mitzvah of Sukkah in the structure in front of him!
I. The four letters comprising the Hebrew word
Lulav also comprise the first letters of words we will recite every day of
Sukkos--VeTaher Libeinu LeAvdecha BeEmes--purify our heart to serve
You in truth (Luach Dovor B’Ito).
Hakhel Note: HaRav Dessler, Z’tl, points out that Lulav is a combination
of the words Lo Lev--a demonstration that one is dedicating his heart
to the Ribbono Shel Olam--based upon the Pasuk (Mishlei 23:26) Tenah Bni
Libcha Li! Let’s take the clear message and work on purifying
our hearts in our very own personal way this Sukkos!
PLEASE DON’T FORGET!The monetary matters that you realized on Yom
Kippur have to be cleared up--clear them up now--before Sukkos!
A TIMELY REMINDER: During the very short period between Yom
Kippur and Sukkos in the year that we left Mitzrayim, the Bnei Yisrael were
busy donating all the materials that were necessary to build the Mishkan.
The grand generosity of our ancestors during this period brought together
all of the great wealth necessary to build the Mishkan before Sukkos even
began (see Ba’al HaTurim, Shemos 36:6)! We must take a lesson, based
upon the principle of Ma’aseh Avos Siman L’Bonim, and use this specially
endowed time to give Tzedaka to worthy causes-- both in Eretz Yisroel (as
the center of Kedusha) and in your own locale. Make it a priority--for
the Torah did--during this sanctified time! Remember the needy of Eretz
Yisroel for Yom Tov (and to redeem your Yizkor pledges in a worthy way at yadeliezer.org.
TAVSHILIN: Within the next two weeks, we will be blessed with the
opportunity to make an Eruv Tavshilin two times! To assist in properly
performing this wonderful Mitzvah, we once again provide by http://tinyurl.com/43svvmg,
the Halachos of Eruv Tavshilin, as reviewed by HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita.
Please feel free to distribute further!
ALERT: We received the following, which has been widely distributed last
year. We have verified its source: “On the ‘third day’ of Rosh
Hashanah [really Shabbos Shuva], I was awakened by the sound of the carbon
monoxide alarm announcing high levels. We immediately cleared everyone out
of the house and summoned the fire department. When they arrived, they
informed me that the cause of the high carbon monoxide levels was due to
leaving the stove and oven on over Yomtov and Shabbos. The buildup of these
dangerous fumes was not due to a faulty gas line or leaking appliances, but
rather to the lack of adequate ventilation. The constant burning of the gas
range and oven - even on a low flame, will over time emit unhealthy levels
of carbon monoxide. I was told that the fire department was tending to
many such calls over the last few days. The firemen implored me to please
tell the Rabbis and announce to the community that if people need to leave
on the stove or oven over the holidays, then must ensure that the area is
properly ventilated. Turning on an exhaust fan or even opening the kitchen
window a bit is enough to prevent terrible danger. I would also like to
stress the importance of a carbon monoxide detector. They are not expensive
and often come together with the smoke alarm. I would not want to think what
our Shabbos would have been like had we not had the alarm- especially since
the gas travels upward and the levels upstairs where everyone was sleeping
were much higher. I have been told that in some communities there are public
announcements to alert people to take the necessary precautions.”
KABBALAH NOTEBOOK--Is everything in check?
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Hakhel Note on Lessons in Truth:It is said that an excellent tool for Teshuva is undertaking never to
lie--this should prevent any other sin, for a person would
not be able to lie and deny he committed it--thus effectively blocking
the sin from occurring!
HILCHOS SUKKOS: We
continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos:
The Elef HaMogen (in the Sefer Mateh Ephraim (626:18) writes that every
minute that one spends in the Sukkah is a separate Mitzvas Asei
M’Doraysa. (See also Yesod V’Shoresh HoAvoda for a moving
discussion as to how much one should treasure his moments in the Sukkah.)
2. On Yom Tov, we will be reciting
the Bracha of Shehechiyanu both in the Sukkah and over the Arba Minim.
It is important to once again review the words of the Sefer Ma’aseh
Nisim (Rebbi Yaakov MiLisa, also known as the Nesivos), who explains the
difference between the three words Shehechiyanu, Kiyemanu, and Higiyanu.
The word “Shehechiyanu” refers to the physical life Hashem is
granting us in spite of the difficulties and dangers of Galus. The
word “Kiyemanu” refers to our eternity--Hashem has given us the
opportunity of eternal existence through the performance of Mitzvos in this
world. The word “Higiyanu” expresses our acute awareness
that we are only here at the moment of the Bracha because of the true Chesed
of Hashem. It is no small wonder then, that we are urged to recite
this very meaningful Bracha with great Simcha and thanks to Hashem for
bringing us to this moment so special in so many ways!
important reminders, among of all the others, when purchasing your Daled
should not purchase any of the Four Minim (including the Aravos on Erev Yom
Tov) from a child under Bar Mitzvah, as he is not capable of effecting a
spine of the Lulav (the shedra), and not the Lulav itself, must be at
least sixteen inches, and must be one tefach (four inches) more than the
Hadasim and Aravos when tied together (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 650:2).Many people think that only the Lulav need be taller, but actually it
is the spine of the Lulav that must extend so that the Hadasim and Aravos
must stop four inches BELOW the lowermost point of the shedra--which
is the point at which the centermost branch last splits.
Some say that the word Tishrei is rooted in the word Tishri--which means
to untie or unravel. In this month, we untie the leash of the Yetzer Hara
had placed upon us--and we are off on our own to stay as close as we can to
the actions of Malochim--rather than to the actions of animals. The
Ba’alei Mussar give the example of a poor man who collects enough money to
buy a horse--which will save him much time and effort, and will allow him to
make greater profits in any new business endeavor. Upon purchase of the
horse, it will be up to the new owner--will he let the horse lead him
wherever the horse wants to go--to the pasture area, towards other horses,
to destroy those tools or that fence? Or--will the new owner direct the
horse to proceed in a calm and orderly fashion towards the fair where he can
purchase what he needs to take care of himself and his family? Over the past
year, one may have permitted his body to run his soul awry--but, we now have
committed ourselves to take control of the horse and use it for his true
purpose--to help his master in each and every way possible to succeed!
Special Note One:
Our Yom Kippur Tefillos are over for 5775. It is our responsibility for the
fervor, passion, or feeling that we experienced (at least at some point!)
during the Tefillos to continue on with us through the year. We note
that there are several highlights of the Yom Kippur Tefilla which we recite
daily. They include Shema Koleinu, Aleinu, Baruch Sheim Kevod, and the
‘Mah Anu-Meh Chayeinu’ climax of our personal Neilah prayers.
At least when reciting these daily Tefillos we should remind ourselves
of the feelings we had on Yom Kippur as we pled for our lives, and for the
salvation of a shaky and nervous world. There is no doubt about it, your
Tefilla makes a difference—and you better believe it!
One other related
point: The Maharsha explains that the absolute requirement to have
Kavannah in the first Bracha of Shemone Esrei can be attributed to the fact
that this one short Bracha contains so many Names of Hashem. On Yom
Kippur, we experienced a great awe of Hashem, and gained a more sublime
appreciation of the Sanctity of His Name. May we suggest that for the coming
year (or at least for the coming month) one especially focus on the Names of
Hashem in the first Bracha of Shemone Esrei ( if you have not counted at
least nine, you have counted incorrectly). Indeed, the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan
Aruch Orach Chaim 98, seif katan 3) writes that before beginning Shemone
Esrei, one should picture himself as if he is in the Kodesh Hakodoshim (as
the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur!)--don’t give up the incredible and tangible
opportunity as you recite the Names of Hashem with their proper meaning.
For further detail on the Kavanos in these Names, please consult with your
Rav or Posek. The Kohen Gadol may recite the name of Hashem in his
particular way—but you are empowered and charged to recite them in your
way as well!
Note Two: We provide the following additional Post-Yom Kippur points
We remind everyone of the Responsa of the Rashba (Teshuvas HaRashba 5:1),
who states that just as the Aseres Yemei Teshuva is the Eis Ratzon of
the year, so too, is Tefillah Mincha the Eis Ratzon of the day.
Let us appreciate and utilize each and every Tefillah Mincha for the
tremendous opportunity that it is--starting today!
There is another way that we can remain tied in some way to the Aseres Yemei
Teshuvah. As we have noted many times in the past, The Sefer Tomer
Devorah byRabbi Moshe Cordovero, Z’tl,teachesus
thateach and every one of us, at least in some small way should do “Teshuvah
BeChol Yom--Teshuvah every day.” What a wonderful way to remain
elevated--staying in touch with Teshuvah daily--coming closer and closer to
the Ikar of your Neshama--to the Neshama at its source!
In Neilah, we placed great emphasis on the 13 Attributes of Hashem’s
Mercy. The first Chapter of the Tomer Devorahdescribes in
practical terms how we ourselves--in a very human way can practice these
VERY 13 Attributes in our everyday lives. ...We can then be zoche to
Hashem’s showering His 13 Attributes upon us--Middah K’Neged Middah for
our pursuit and following of these attributes in our own lives. We
strongly urge a careful and thoughtful study of the first chapter over
The Rabbeinu Yonah, in the Igeres HaTeshuva (1:22) writes that it is
a “Takanah Gedola”, it is of great assistance, to a person to
find a friend or even a Rav or other mentor to discuss more heavenly matters
with, and give, take, or exchange advice on maintaining and raising our
Ruchniyus now and even throughout the year.
Note Three: During this very busy time, we must remember that a prime
order of the day is for our intellect to rule over our emotions, and control
the situation, rather than be controlled by it. As the Orchos
Chaim L’Rosh urges: “Al Tevahel Ma’asecha” -- do not
react with confusion or overreact; rather, be calm and collected.
There is much to do in the next several days, and much of it has to do with
Mitzvos and their proper performance. Let us have the presence to keep
ourselves in the right frame of mind. If we are supposed to be happy
on Yom Tov--shouldn’t we be happy when preparing to be happy?!
In this regard, may
we suggest preparing a checklist now so that important items and activities
are not left for Erev Yom Tov! Family members should have their Yom
Tov clothing purchased or cleaned; children should receive the treats that
will make them happy; 72-hour candles--which help tremendously if one is in
need of fire on the third day of Yom Tov, are now available, and can be
purchased. Please feel free to supply us with your additional
suggestions for early preparation to share with us all.
Special Note Four: The period between Yom Kippur and
Sukkos is so spiritually elevated, it is reported that the Chasam Sofer
composed Shiros V’Sishbachos to Hashem during this particular
time--let us keep up our spirits elevated-- tap in to time!
YOM KIPPUR SHOE ALERT: All Toms shoes with the
exception of their vegan line are made with leather insoles (Flatbush Jewish
FLATBUSH MOTZA’EI YOM KIPPUR STUDY HOUR!
Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Shlita, is urging the Flatbush community to come to
Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin, 2913 Avenue L, on Motza’ei Yom Kippur from to for an hour long Seder Limud session. This is
part of a nation-wide project in which shuls in the United States and Canada will be participating in this special Seder Limud.
Refreshments will be served. For those not living in Flatbush--perhaps you
can do the same in your community!
FROM A READER:
“I love the idea of being a walking mitzvah. I often will take extra
tissues with me to a shiur, they are easy and light to carry and so much
appreciated by the person who sneezes and is without. Perhaps if one
is a ‘walking mitzvah’ then not only is the ‘chesed item’ he is
carrying a mitzvah, but perhaps he is performing a mitzvah with each step he
takes or each mile he drives while having the chesed item in his possession. Additionally,
one can become a walking mitzvah on Shabbos (or any day of the week) when it
is forbidden to carry, by making it a priority to dispense a smile or kind
word and to have a sever panim yafos.
I would love to hear further suggestions from your readers for ways in which
one can be a walking mitzvah.”
THE AHL CHEIT LINK:We provide by the following link for your use today and Yom Kippur a
compiled review of the Ahl Cheits that we have briefly reviewed in
steady steps since Elul. Please feel free to print-out, and share the link
with others! http://tinyurl.com/p8ewl7d
HAMELECH HAMISHPAT: The Kuntres
Avodas Hatefillah brings that the meaning of the term HaMelech HaMishpat
is HaMelech HaYosheiv Achshav Ahl
HaMishpat--the King who is now
sitting on the throne of justice.
LET US START THINKING!: The
Sefer Leket Reshimos brings the
following teachings of HaRav Nosson Wachtfogel, Z’tl, relating to Yom
Kippur and Teshuvah:
1. The entire day
of Yom Kippur is an experience of Lifnei
Hashem--standing in front of the Borei Olam. One should arein
tracht--think deeply into what this opportunity and privilege really is.
To begin with, one must realize that he has an abundance of Siyata Dishmaya, that his heart is pure, and that he should make
great effort to focus on his Tefillos--for hatzlacha
in the coming year!
2. Because Yom
Kippur is a day of Kedusha and Tahara--all that one does becomes Kadosh and
Tahor as well!
3. The reason that
one who is Ma’avir Ahl Middosav
is forgiven for his sins is because an individual cannot stand up to
Din--but as part of community, he is able to. When one is Ma’avir
Ahl Middosav, he demonstrates that he is not only concerned with
himself--but with others as well--and is accordingly part of the community!
Once again, by the following link we provide the 5775 V’Ani Tefillah
Foundation Yom Kippur Worldwide Initiative Flyer regarding a great
opportunity to acquire incomparable zechusim on the Holiest Day of the
Year--when we need them most! http://tinyurl.com/ke5jqy5
EXTRA SPECIAL VIGILANCE: Although the above form of Ta’anis Dibur
is only for a short period (one can make it longer!), one should be
especially careful and vigilant that he not get angry on Yom Kippur, not be makpid
against another, and be especially Ma’avir
Ahl Middosav(as above)!
BORUCH SHEIM KEVOD: On Yom Kippur we will be especially privileged
to recite Boruch Sheim Kevod aloud together in Shema at Ma’ariv and
Shacharis, and at the conclusion of Ne’ilah. Does one recite Boruch Sheim
aloud in Kriyas Shema Ahl HaMittah on
the night of Yom Kippur? HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that one does
not. The Sefer Piskei Teshuvos
brings that it is minhag Chabad to do so. Accordingly, every person should
follow his Rav or Posek in this area.
YIZKOR: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (133:21) writes that the
reason for Yizkor on Yom Kippur is not only because thinking about the
departed humbles one’s heart, but also because the deceased also need a
Kapparah. It is for this reason that we give Tzedaka in their
merit--Hashem views it as their owngiving--as ‘if he were
still alive he would have given this as well’. Those who are alive
can also ask that Hashem ease the judgment of the departed, just as Dovid
HaMelech davened for Avshalom. The departed can also be Melitzei
Yosher for us in our judgment--we do not daven to them but we ask them
to daven on our behalf, perhaps in the merit of our following in their ways.
HILCHOS SUKKOS: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day
period before Sukkos (please continue on your own until we B’EH resume on
1. HaRav Yaakov Ettlinger, Z’tl, in his great
work on Sukkos, the Bikkurei Yaakov, writes that person should act wisely when building his Sukkah
so that he can fulfill the Mitzvah of Sukkah with greater ease--and allow
himself the ability to stay in the Sukkah, rather than saying that he is ‘patur’--for
one who adds on to his kiyum of Sukkah will have bracha added on to him Min
It is well known, for example, that the Chofetz Chaim, Z’tl, and HaRav
Chaim Brisker, Z’tl, would bring a heater into the
Sukkah in order to make it more comfortable, a more pleasant place to stay
in, and a place where one could learn without difficulty (Shulchan Aruch
Orach Chaim 639, Dirshu Note 34).
2. There is a question as to whether one should
recite the bracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah when making Havdalah. Even if one is to recite a Leisheiv
BaSukkah when reciting Havdalah, there are different opinions as to at
what point it should be recited. One should accordingly consult with his Rav
or Posek in this area. HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, would, for
example, make the bracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah before he made the
bracha of Borei Pri HaGafen and then eat mezonos immediately
after Havdalah, so that the bracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah would not
only be on the drinking of the wine
itself, but on the eating of a mezonos as well (ibid., Dirshu Note 37).
Special Note One:
We provide important points and pointers relating to Erev
A. It is a
Mitzvas Asei from the Torah to eat today, on Erev Yom Kippur. Rabbi
Eliyahu Schneider, Shlita, points out that since one ordinarily eats during
the day, it would not be clear that one is eating L’Sheim Mitzvah , unless
he so expresses it himself before eating as Mitzvos Tserichos Kavannah--we
require Kavannah in order to fulfill the Torah commandments. Accordingly, in
addition to one’s careful brachos today, it would be appropriate for him
to state in Lashon HaKodesh or in another language: “I
am eating now to fulfill the Mitzvah of eating on the ninth day of
B. One of
course should be focusing in on the specific Kabbalos that he will be
making. Here is an insightful Kabbalah from a reader in Bain Adam
LeAtzmo area: “I am going to think twice (or three times), if I find
myself lax before taking out my cell phone in a public area, or in order to
text while walking on the street.” As we have mentioned numerous
times in the past a Kabbalah in the advanced technology area would be
especially appropriate for us, as many have referred to this as the great
Nisayon of our Dor.
C. We will be
reciting Viduy at Mincha. It is essential that a person truly view
himself as a sinner in the areas in which he has sinned.Yirmiyahu HaNavi (
) cried out “Hinini Nishpot Osuch Al
Umreich Lo Chotosi”--I will judge you when you say you have not
sinned.On the other hand, if
one truly does Teshuvah, then he has the right to sing the Ashamnus--as the
Tiferes Yisroel (end of Mishnayos Ta’anis) writes--one is singing for his Aveiros have turned into Zechuyos!
The Chayei Adam (Chapter 143) presents a tremendous number of essential
ideas, and we once again urge you to review the Chapter today.
Here, we very briefly summarize just a few of the concepts: (a) The
Pasuk states “Lifnei Hashem Titharu--before
Hashem shall you cleanse yourself.’ Accordingly, it is essential
that we begin our purification process before Yom Kippur itself--now!.
(b) The sin of Lashon Hara is so horrific that, it leads to the three
cardinal sins of Shefichas Domim, Gilui Arayos and Avodah Zara. We
learn this from the Nachash who spoke Lashon Hara against Hashem--which the
immediate result of these three cardinal sins occurring. (c) One who
causes pain or anguish to an Almanah or Yasom is liable to Missah
B’Yedei Shomayim. (d) In accordance with one’s increased Torah
study will be his increased service of Hashem. (e) One cannot recite
Vidui on a Bain Adam LeChaveiro sin unless he first appeases his friend. (f)
Based upon Tehillim (51:19), reciting Vidui with proper remorse is as if one
brought a Karbon in the Bais HaMikdash. (g) One way to begin one’s
remorse is with the words “Ma Assisi--oh
what have I done!” A person must truly view himself as a sinner, and
be truly sorry for what he has done for the Vidui to be effective.
Hakhel Note: The
Sefer Tomer Devorah (Chapter 1), writes that one’s Kavannah in
Vidui should be LeKabel Alav Taharah--to bring purity upon
oneself. It is for this reason that DovidHaMelech
in the Tehillim Kepitel of Teshuvah exclaims (Tehillim 51:4): “Herev
Kabseini Mei’avoni U’Meichatasi Tahareini--abundantly cleanse me
from my iniquity and from my sin purify me.” When reciting Viduy, one
should visualize Hashem cleansing his soul!
D. The Rambam
in Hilchos Teshuva (6:2) provides the following inescapable solution Kesheim
SheHaAdam Chotei Mida’ato U’Veritzono Kach Hu Oseh Teshuva Mida’ato
U’Veritzono--just as one sins by his own knowledge and his own
election so too, can he do Teshuvah by his own knowledge and his own
Special Note Two:
We provide several additional, final notes from the Sefer Kovetz
Halachos: Yomim Noraim by Rabbi Doniel Kleinman, Shlita,
containing the pesokim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita. The
following will also include Erev Shabbos Halachos of this special
Shabbos--a Shabbos Shabbason! After studying these pesokim, one
should, of course, in all events consult with his Rav with respect to his
own personal situation, circumstances, or Minhagim:
A. A minor
who eats on Yom Kippur does not make Kiddush, but it would seem that he
should make a bracha of Borei Pri HaGafen on grape juice.
Hakhel Note: In Children in Halacha, Rabbi Simcha Bunim
Cohen, Shlita, writes: “When a child eats on Yom Kippur, Kiddush is
not recited prior to eating. A child should recite Retzeih (for
Shabbos) and Ya’aleh V’Yavo (for Yom Kippur), but does not repeat Birkas
HaMazon if he forgets either one.”[The same would appear to be true for a
Choleh who must eat on Yom Kippur].
B. If a
person arises before Amud HaShachar, one should wash his hands again after
Amud HaShachar even on Yom Kippur, where there is otherwise an issur of
C. Women who
attend Shul should recite Kol Nidrei together with the Shaliach Tzibbur just
as men do, but anyone davening at home does not recite Kol Nidrei.
D. If there
is a break in Shul between Mussaf and Mincha, and one takes off his Talis--he
involves himself in a Machlokes HaPoskim as to whether he should make a new
Bracha when putting the Talis back on again. Accordingly, it is best
for one to have in mind when putting on his Talis in the morning that that
the bracha is only covering his initial wearing--so that any subsequent levisha
will definitely require a new bracha.
E. It is best
to use a Ner SheShovas even though one would make Havdalah on
Motza’ei Shabbos in any event. One does make a Bracha on besomim--because
it is also Havdalah for Motza’ei Shabbos. There is an issue as to
whether one makes an Al HaGefen on the Havdalah wine, as he plans to
eat a meal immediately after Havdalah. If one does not intend
to drink wine in this Seudah, then he does make an Al HaGefen on the
Kos Shel Havdalah before the Seudah.
Additional Notes on
Hilchos Shabbos--as part of our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
We once again remind all women who are Madlik
Neiros and recite a Shehechiyanu then that they do NOT recite a second
Shehechiyanu i.e., the Shehechiyanu after Kol Nidrei, which is found in the
Yechezkel Levenstein, Z’tl, writes that he remembers that in his first
year in Kelm the “Kabbalah HaRaishis--the
top Kabbalah” was Shemiras Shabbos--”For this is the way of the Yetzer
Hara to seek large profits, and since the Mitzvah of Shabbos is so great,
the Yetzer seeks to up-end you in the proper observance of Shabbos.”
Shabbos Yom Kippur is certainly a day
to reflect upon ways in which one can enhance his own Shemiras Shabbos and
the Shemiras Shabbos of others.
C.Remember that the Mitzvah of Lech
Echol B’Simcha Lachmecha on Motza’ei Yom Kippur...will also be your
Mitzvah of Melave Malka! HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, writes that it
appears from the Mishna Berura that there is a special Mitzvah to wash at
the Motza’ei Yom Kippur Seudah (This week’s Divrei Siach).
Special Note Three:
We provide important points and pointers relating to Yom Kippur:
to some authorities, Yom Kippur is the Yahrtzeit of Rebbi Akiva, who gave
his life Ahl KiddushHashem in such an awe-inspiring way. This may be the reason
that we enumerate the Asara Harugei
Malchus in Musaf on Yom Kippur. Undoubtedly, we mention them as
well so that their merits stand in our stead.
RECOMMENDATION FOR TESHUVA: Rav Dessler, Z’tl, writes that in
difficult times when one does not know what the day will bring, one should
undertake a shortcut to Teshuva which he literally calls “Ezra Rishona
(first aid)” in difficult times (MichtavMei’Eliyahu I, page 30). Rav
Dessler provides the following four emergency recommendations for
Teshuva: Learn Torah – in order to chase away the Yetzer Hara. Learn
Mussar – in order to acquire the true view of life. Accustom
Yourself to Break Your Desire – (according to Rabbeinu Yonah in the
name of the Raavad) this is equivalent to many fasts in one day!
Increase Your Acts of Kindness – both to individuals and to
K’lal Yisroel. This includes practicing Chesed B’Lev – including
davening for others, doing a chesed for the z’chus of others, and having
tza’ar for the suffering of others.
Tefillah is a great Avodas HaYom of Yom Kippur. It is absolutely
imperative for us to daven (on Yom Kippur—and everyday) for all our
uneducated brethren who know oh so little of Torah and Judaism. Is it
really possible for us not to shed a tear for them this Yom Kippur?!
Yom Kippur we should constantly remind ourselves that we are immersing
ourselves in purity (“Titharu”). Just as a person who is
physically ill may go to the hospital or take medication to get better, Yom
Kippur is an ultimate healing process for the ailments of the soul--which
need to be cured for a much, much longer time than the body needs to be
healed. What an
! What an Occasion! We should especially express our thanks to Hashem
for the unfathomably infinite gift that He has given us!
Zaidel Epstein, Z’tl, was asked why the Ahshamnus
are in the plural--after all doesn’t one have to find forgiveness for his
own sins first. HaRav Epstein responded that every Jew is responsible
for his fellow’s actions, and that, accordingly, every Teshuva that we do
is on behalf of others as well.
F. The great
majority of Masechta Yoma, the Masechta of Yom Kippur, discusses the Avodah
in the Bais HaMikdash. Indeed, we even bow down during the Chazaras
HaShatz of Mussaf, just so that we have a touch of the Avodah that we so
long for. It is said of the Chasam Sofer that when the Avodah was
being recited he would cry so powerfully that the pages of his Machzor would
stick together from their saturation with his tears. Accordingly,
although we may be weary at this point of a Yom Kippur service it very
much behooves us to put our efforts into recitation of the Avodah with
feeling and longing for the great Kapparah and Deveikus that it effected.
Imagine being there as the Kohein Gadol expressed Hashem’s ineffable Name
ten times on Yom Kippur. In describing the Kohein Gadol’s mentioning
of the Name, the Mishna states that the name was Yotzei MePi Kohein Gadol--it
came out of the Kohein Gadol’s mouth. The Tiferes Yisroel on
the Mishna explains that he could not even speak but the Shechina was
reciting the Name out of the Kohein Gadol’s throat. Oh--how we must
long to be there!
Additional Note: In
the Musaf Shemone Esrei, we will recite the words “V’ein
Anachnu Yecholim La’asos Chovoseinu B’vais Bechirasecha--we cannot
perform our obligations in the Beis Hamikdash this Yom Kippur because of the
foreign hand that has been placed there.” We must take these words
deeply to heart. It is our chov--our
current and existing obligation--to bring Karbanos in the Beis HaMikdash and
for the Kohein Gadol to perform the special Avodah on Yom Kippur. This
is not something of the past--nor is it relegated only to the future.
It is something that we must do now, and we are being forced not to do it.
When reciting all of the words relating to Avodas Yom Kippurim we
should bring them to life in our minds, and also sincerely yearn in our
hearts that we see them in reality in our days!
G. One of the
Avodos of the Kohein Gadol was to sprinkle the blood in the Kodesh
HaKedoshim and on the Paroches “Achas
LeMa’alah V’Sheva L’Matta--once in an upward fashion and seven
times in a downward fashion. Some explain that the one upwards
symbolizes our following the Yetzer HaTov--whose instruction elevates us
towards the heavens. On the other hand, as Chazal teach the Yetzer
Hara has seven names--representing that he can ‘take us down’ in several
different ways. Accordingly, it is of the essence that we focus on the
Achas LeMa’alah and with that we can overcome its counterpart--the Shevah
Special Note Four:
We provide important points and pointers relating to Neilah:
A. The Sefer Otzros
HaTorah writes that the end of Yom Kippur, when the gates close, brings
a Shefa Gadol along with it, for a
climax or a conclusion is always a time of greatest intensity. For
instance, as the Midrash Shochar Tov teaches before Alos HaShachar is the
time when it is darkest. So too, at the end of days will the Yetzer
Hara be at its strongest--for it is about to reach the end of its purpose.
So too, is the Shefa of Kaparas Yom HaKippurim greatest during these
moments. Over the last 40 days, Days of Mercy, we have davened and
pleaded, done Teshuva and given Tzedaka. We have, to use the Mashal of
the Maggid M’Lublin shot all of our arrows but one. There is a lion
on the other side of the grass and there is one arrow left--this is Tefillas
Neilah. Our lives depend upon how powerfully we deliver our final
B. From the
‘Flatbush Chabura’: “Rav Avrohom Schorr, Shlita, brings from
the Meshech Chochma that while there usually is no kapara for Chilul
Hashem except at the end of a person’s life (though constant Kiddush
Hashem and Limud HaTorah are brought by the seforim as being a kapara) , at
the time of Neilah when Hashem is Don
Yechidi (judges all by Himself) , if one has done proper Teshuva through
charata and bechi
(crying) one can gain mechila EVEN for Chilul Hashem. This gives us some
insight into the amazing power of the time of Neilah!”
great theme of Tefillas Neilah is LeMa’an Nechdal MeiOshek Yadeinu--
that we have no thievery or taking of another’s possessions left among us
(as we know this is what the Dor HaMabul’s final cause of destruction was.
Accordingly, the Chofetz Chaim warns everyone to seriously consider and
reflect upon whether he has something that really belongs to someone else in
his possession Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Z’tl (Boston, RIETS)
additionally notes that the thievery we may be referring to is our stealing
from Hashem, our people and ourselves--by our not living up to our purpose
in life. At Neilah, we proclaim that we will no longer follow that
sorry route, and that we fully intend to live up to Hashem’s expectations
conclude Neilah with the phrase Hashem Hu HaElokim seven times--as
with these words the Shechina is escorted back up through the Seven Rekiyim. It is essential for us to realize that this is the
phrase that all of the people on Har HaKarmel recited when Eliyahu defeated
the Nevi’ei HaBa’al with Hashem’s acceptance of his sacrifice.
We must realize that we are now in a similar position. The
‘Ba’al’ is behind us--Hashem has accepted our Karbon--and we intend to
forever tread on a new and successful path in His Avodah!
Naftali Jaeger, Shlita, points out that because the Luchos Sheniyos were
given on Yom Kippur-and these Luchos stayed with us, it is essential for us
to realize that Yom Kippur is an auspicious time to b’li
neder take it upon ourselves to improve in some area in Talmud Torah!
Once again, may we suggest that even if one does not have a Yeshiva Mai
Chayil El Chayil in his community that he still demonstrate his new goals
and aspirations by setting aside time for Torah study after the Seudah.
This is dedication--this is rededication!
In the physical world, as runners get closer and closer to the finish
line, they do not slow down or sway to the side out of exhaustion or
abandonment--but stay very much on the path, putting in their extra full
strength for the most successful finish possible. We should apply our
knowledge of this fact to the Real WorldSituation
Immediately Ahead of Us--which will have eternal and everlasting
I KNOW HIM! As
we all know, one of the main topics of our Vidui will be the sins that one
has committed with his great gift of speech.One phrase that one should be very cautious about using, when
speaking to another, “Oh, I know
him!” This kind of open-ended statement can lead to all kinds of
responses…many of which could be Lashon Hora or Avak Lashon Hora.
CLOSE YOUR EYES: At a Shiur on Teshuvah,
Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg, Shlita, asked everyone to close their eyes for a few
moments and have Hirhurei Teshuvah. After everyone opened their eyes, he
noted that this was only beginning--but who knows what Yeshuos could come
from a few moments of Hirhurei Teshuvah alone! One must start
somewhere--this may be the way to begin!
POWERFUL LESSON: In Hilchos
Teshuvah (7:3), the Rambam writes: “One should not say that Teshuvah is
only for aveiros which involve a deed, such as immorality and theft. Rather,
just as one must do Teshuvah from these, he must also search through his bad
Middos--whether anger, hatred, jealousy, levity, money-seeking,
honor-seeking, food lusting, and the like and do Teshuvah. In fact,
Teshuvah for Middos Ra’os is
harder than Teshuvah over particular deeds, because a person is so absorbed
and involved in his Middos, that it is difficult for him to become a
different person. Nevertheless this is what is required of us--as the Navi
teaches--”Ya’azov Rasha Darko,
Ve’Ish Aven Machshivosav, VeYashov Ehl Hashem…!”
TIMELY ADVICE: The
Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 606, seif katan1) writes that
although one must always act his friend for mechila
immediately after having hurt or offending him, there is a special chiyuv
to do so before Yom Kippur--as the Torah requires Lifnei Hashem Titharu on Yom Kippur, and we cannot purify ourselves
before Hashem relating to an aveirah of Bein Adam L’Chaveiro without first
obtaining mechila from the person
offended. Indeed, not even the Se’ir
Hamishtalei’ach could effect Kapparah for sins of Bein Adam
L’Chaveiro! At a Hakhel Yom Iyun, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, taught
that the way one asks for mechila
is simply by saying ‘I was wrong’; ‘I did the wrong thing’; ‘I
made a mistake’; ‘I am sorry’--but that one should be careful not to
hurt a person or embarrass him when asking for mechila.
SOME NEW KABBALOS SUGGESTIONS [Also See Special Note Three Below]:
A. Be a ‘Walking Mitzvah’--carry something with you which can always
be used for the express purpose of a Chesed at any time--some extra stamps,
a pen, a check or two designated for tzedakah use. [Think of the utter joy
you put on a collector’s face when he anticipates receiving a quarter or
dollar in shul--and instead receives a $10 check!]
B. Personalize a Kabbalah relating to a family member or friend--if a
particular habit or method of speech he has constantly annoys to you--work
on being ma’avir ahl midosav
relating to it.
C. Once a day, take the second
choice of the food you were going to eat, rather than your first choice,
in order to practice quashing one’s desires.
D. Before starting work every day, begin with aprayer to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. By the following link, we once again
provide a Tefillah formulated by a reader, which you are of course free to
use or adapthttp://tinyurl.com/cqqbomd
E.Rebbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, teaches that when we recite Shema,
we are accepting upon ourselves both Ohl
Malchus Shomayim and Ohl Mitzvos.
Accordingly, rather than walking out of Shul immediately after having
recited Shema at Ma’ariv--we should spend at least another five minutes in
Shul studying Torah--to demonstrate that we are taking the Ohl Malchus Shomayim and Ohl
By the following link http://tinyurl.com/ke5jqy5we provide the 5775 V’Ani Tefillah Foundation Yom Kippur
Worldwide Initiative Flyer regarding a great opportunity to acquire
incomparable zechusim on the Holiest Day of the Year--when we need them
HILCHOS SUKKOS: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day
period before Sukkos:
One must eat at least a kezayis of bread in the Succah on the first night of
Succos MeD’oraysah (in Chutz La’aretz one must eat a kezayis on the
second night as well). Lechatchila
one should eat this kezayis within two minutes, but in no event should one
delay more than four minutes. There is a Machlokes HaPoskim as to whether we
compare the eating of bread on the fifteenth of Succos to the eating of
Matzah on the fifteenth of Nissan to
the extent that one should taste the bread and should accordingly not
dip it into honey. The Yad Eliyahu
rules that one should not eat it with honey because it takes away the taste
of the bread, just as we do not do anything to take away the taste of the
Matzah on the night of the Seder. However, HaRav Chaim Brisker, Z’tl and
HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, rule that we do not take the limud
from Matzah that far, as there the eating of the Matzah is the mitzvah
itself, whereas on Succos the Ikar Mitzvah is sitting in the Succah through the eating of the bread. Indeed, to the contrary, there may
be room to eat the Challah with honey to show Chibuv Mitzvah and perhaps for Simchas Yom Tov. For one who wants to
be choshesh for the shitah
not to eat with honey, he may eat a kezayis without honey, and then a
kezayis with honey (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 639:1, Dirshu Notes 29,30).
The G’ra holds that there is a Mitzvah to eat Matzah all seven days of
Pesach. The Mishna Berurah writes that he has a safeik
as to the opinion of the G’ra on Succos--i.e., as to whether there is also
a Mitzvah Lechatchila to eat bread on each one of the seven days of Succos
and to make the bracha of Leisheiv
BaSuccah together with it (ibid., Mishna Berurah seif katan 24).
Note One: We provide the following important links for you to print
out and further distribute for Yom Kippur, as we have done in the past:
A. The extremely
essential words of the Yesod
V’Shoresh HaAvoda relating to Inui on Yom Kippur--and what to think
about if one starts to become hungry or thirsty. The
statement can be found athttp://tinyurl.com/pu8a4tePlease
spread the word.
Hakhel Note:As Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, teaches, it is not your job to
watch the clock--it is your job to make the most out of Yom Kippur for
yourself, your family, your community, and for all of K’lal Yisrael!
B. We received an
important message based upon the words of the Chofetz Chaim, which also
includes extremely valuable words of Chizuk and encouragement. If one does
not have time to read all of the text, we highly recommend that one at least
read the words of Chizuk and encouragement, which are so noge’ah
lema’aseh.The message is available at
Hakhel Note:HaRav Chaim Friedlander,
Z’tl, (Moadim I, p. 214) points out that when reciting the Thirteen Middos,
we should feel HaKaras HaTov to Hashem for acting towards us in this
way--this, in turn, will inspire us to act with similar middos to others as
well(which we should bli neder be
mekabel upon ourselves!).
F.We once again provide a great
Tefillah for Teshuvah--which you may insert at the end of your Yom Kippur
Shemone Esrei http://tinyurl.com/2dm686
The Tefillah is published
in the Sefer Kav HaYashar for one’s self, one’s family members,
and one’s friends to do Teshuva--especially invaluable at this time of
Special Note TwoThe following wonderful thought is excerpted from a publication known
as TT #385--Viduy:
“Remember, that Teshuva
is one of the greatest gifts of Hashem to us. It is the expression of His
Divine Mercy and Love. If He did
not want us to straighten ourselves out, He would simply punish us for
transgressions without giving us a second (and third and fourth and
fifth...) chance to repent. Our
motivations for Teshuva should be fear AND
love of Hashem. The challenge is awesome, but it is always possible for one
to change for the better. Step by step, a bit at a time. Never be
discouraged by what seems to be too formidable a task. Be encouraged by the
fact that this is what Hashem wants of us--not to punish us, but for us to
return to Him in strengthened faith, in better performance of Mitzvos--qualitatively
and quantitatively, and to more carefully avoid the pitfalls of sin--between
Hashem and ourselves and in our interpersonal relationships.”
Note Three:By this time one
should be placing some focus on bli
neder his Kabbalos for the coming year.May we suggest that there should be at least one Kabbalah in each of
the following areas:Bain Adam LaMakom, Bain Adam L’Chaveiro, and Bain Adam L’Atzmo.
is well known that Rav Pam Z’TL would urge his talmidim to keep a
‘kabalos card’ which listed the initiatives that each person took upon
himself in his Teshuvah process. The kabalos card could either serve as a
personal diary of success, or at least a written Teshuvah reminder to be
viewed regularly. As in the past, we provide you below with some sample
kabalos, both Bain Adam LaMakom
and Bain Adam L’Chaveiro from
which you may choose. With
respect to Bain Adam L’Atzmo--a
person must look deeply into himself and decide which Middah it is that
needs the most improvement--improving in Sever
Panim Yaffos, the areas of ka’as,
ta’avah, hakpadah…. Here, we leave it up to a person’s literal
soul-searching of his own. Remember, the inescapable reality-that the
ability to do Teshuvah is in your hands alone!
Kavannah in the first p’sukim of Shema
slowly from a bencher
a brief diary of your mitzvos/aveiros at the end of the day
at least two halachos a day
Kavannah in the first bracha of Shemone Esrei
talking politics/sports/business or about people at the Shabbos table
Asher Yatzar with Kavannah at least twice a day
from reading secular newspapers or magazines
Modim with Kavannah for all the goodness given by Hashem
a seder in learning before going to work
all three tefilos with a minyan
learning Hilchos Shabbos from any sefer
a list of cholim and say Tehillim every day for them
courteously (hello, please, thank you, Good Shabbos) to your family and
a single person with a shidduch
guard your tongue from Lashon Hara for at least one designated hour a day
a chesed that nobody knows about once a day
making a sharp, angry or witty remark at least one time a day
up for rabbonim, parents or elders
someone at least one time a day
with others/ judge others favorably at least one time a day
Tzedaka every time you raise your voice or speak Lashon Hara
the halachos of bein adam l’chaveiro (bikur cholim, shmiras halashon,
nichum aveilim, etc.)
the Bain Adam L’Chaveiro level,
may we remind everyone of the Chofetz Chaim’s teaching that in the future
everyone will be
for the Ba’al Lashon Hara!
Note: One may want to consider suggesting a family or extended family
Kaballah, which every adult/older child participates in. A choice can be
made from the list above, or of course, can be developed by the family
final thought on our Kabalos: Remember, the Torah tells us “U’Vacharta
BaChaim—Choose Life”. Incredibly,
Hashem puts our lives in our own hands.
Note Four:Please remember VeTalmud Torah
remind everyone that a person can utilize his own resources to help increase
his joy in Torah learning.For
instance, some have the habit of vigorously (or even gently) shaking their
legs to and fro as they sit and learn.This
may create an aura of nervousness and impatience which is antithesis of
happiness in Torah study.Thus,
may we suggest that a person try to curb his habit in this regard.Others may have the custom of keeping their Blackberries handy and
examining the cause of its vibration every few minutes.If one wants to express and appreciate his Torah learning, he may
want to try the exercise of keeping his phone on silent or turned off from
the time he is in Shiur or otherwise occupied with Torah study.Hakhel Note:The story is
told of how HaRav Aryeh Levin, Z’tl, wanted to visit some Jewish visitors
being held by the British.The
British guard on duty would not let them in that day.The Jewish guard who was working together with the British guard
advised the Britain that
the Rabbi was a righteous person and simply wanted to visit the prisoners
out of the goodness of his heart--and that it was wrong not to let him in.The Britain
mocked him and said that he was obviously a salaried worker who was happy to
go home while still getting paid.A
few minutes later they noticed HaRav Levin sneaking into the compound
through a different door when he thought no one was looking.The Britain
remarked:“Now I see that he
is a righteous person--and he is not doing it for the money!”We must realize that it is the extra effort that distinguishes
between our ‘having to do something’ and the love of Torah and Mitzvos
that should truly be part of our fiber and being!
Special Note Five:Some ask why there is no bracha on the Mitzvah of Teshuva. The
wonderful Sefer Otzros HaTorah brings several answers: (a) The Bais
Yitzchak writes that it would be inappropriate to say the words VeTzivanuAl HaTeshuva--which would indicate
that we would not want to do Teshuva unless we were commanded to do so, (b)
The Divrei Yisrael writes that
this is a Mitzvah that applies to all nations and not only the Jewish
people, and therefore Asher Kideshanu B’Mitzvosav would not be
accurate in this context, (c) The Pardes
Yosef writes that the Ikar Mitzvah of Teshuva is in the heart and
that Chazal did not institute brachos over Mitzvos of the heart, (d) The Pardes Yosef brings as a second approach--we do not make a bracha
over Mitzvos which are related to Aveiros. For instance, when
returning a stolen item and fulfilling a Mitzvas Asei of VeHeishiv Es
HaGezeilah we do not make a bracha. So too does Teshuva originate
from a sin initially committed, and so a bracha would be inappropriate.
Special Note Six:The Chofetz Chaim provides an amazing Mashal. A merchant came
to a wholesaler and put together an order of $100,000. When it was
time to pay he explained that he did not have the money, but would like to
purchase all of this on credit. Based upon the wholesaler’s
experience with this merchant’s slow payments in the past, the wholesaler
wholly rejected the request. However, after much prodding and
pleading, he was about to give in. His salesman and workers stopped
him--explaining to him that it would cost him untold aggravation, time and
money. The wholesaler was in a quandary--should he listen to the
merchant with the poor credit record, but who was in dire need of making a
living--or to his loyal workers?! At that moment, a wise man walked in
and the wholesaler immediately asked him what to do. The wise man
turned to the merchant in need of a livelihood and asked him if he had
$5,000. The response was affirmative. He advised the merchant
not to buy anything on credit, but instead to buy $5,000 worth of goods.
When he sold those and made money he could come back and buy $7,500 in
goods. No credit would be necessary. The merchant would buy for
cash and the wholesaler and all of his loyal employees would be happy.
The Nimshal: We ask Hashem for credit, saying we will do better in the
future, but the Malachim vehemently argue against us, pointing to our past
record. Our Rabbanim, the wise men, tell us to do Teshuva in areas
and ways where we can accomplish, in ‘cash’, little by little
building up our business on our own--so that everyone is pleased--and
everyone is happy!
Special Note Seven:
Additional important Pre-Yom Kippur
points and pointers:
1. If one has the
capability, he should most certainly review and study the classic
Chapter 143 of the Sefer Chayei Adam which so beautifully and meaningfully
explains the focused attitude and approach one should have to and on Yom
Kippur. We note that the Chayei Adam provides more detail of specific
Aveiros, and that HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita, views the detail of the
Chayei Adam as being ‘mefaret’--specifying one’s sins.
2. We remind
everyone of the awesome thought related by HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating
to why the ten great sons of Rav Pappa are mentioned at every Siyum. Rav
Pappa, in ten places in Shas, resolves a difference of opinion
between Amoraim by demonstrating Kavod for both of them, and ruling that we
should conduct ourselves like both of them. Because of his special
display of Kavod HaTorah, he was zoche to have ten sons who themselves were
unique Talmidei Chachomim--deserving and receiving Kavod HaTorah as well.
At the time of a Siyum, which is a time of true Kavod HaTorah, we recount
their names. We can all improve in some aspect of our Kavod to the
Torah and those who study it--the way we speak, the way we act, the way
we learn together, and the elevated regard we should have for all levels of
Torah students and their studies.
Shav El Kayo…’--just as a dog returns to that which it has
regurgitated, so too does an unwise person return to the sins that he has
committed in the past. We may want to keep this graphic thought on our
minds as a method for not returning to the foibles of yesteryear.
4. The Chasam
Sofer (Yoreh De’ah 213) brings an amazing question from a ‘KadmonEchad’: How is it that if
one enters a Mikvah he becomes Tahor--after all shouldn’t he make the
water tamei upon his touching it? The answer is that since the water
is attached to the ground and never leaves it, it does not become tamei.
So, the Tahara of the Mikvah is based upon the water remaining attached
to its source. So too, is the Tahara that we receive from
Hashem--we must remain attached to our source--Mi Mitaher Eschem Avichem
Shebashamayim. Without our Deveikus to Hashem--we could not become
in the Yom Kippur davening we emphasize that Hashem is a Salchan
and a Machlan. What does the extra nun at the end
of each of these words come to indicate--why don’t we say that Hashem is
simply a Soleiach and a Mochel? The Sefer Otzros HaTorah
explains that the extra nun indicates a hanhaga temidis--that this isa constant and recurring Middah of Hashem. Thus, even if a person
falls back to a sin time and again--as long as he was truly sincere,
expressed true remorse, and with a full heart was mekabel not to do it
again--then Hashem will be a Salchan and a Malchan--and continuously grant
new forgiveness! The old aveiros are gone. Any new
aveiros can be wiped out by Hashem with our new Teshuva--for He is
a Salchan and a Machlan!
OF THE DAY:
What is the last word of Avinu Malkeinu?Why do think that it is fitting that we end Avinu Malkeinu with this
SAY “THANK YOU!”: It is said that HaRav Avigdor Miller, Z’tl
was asked for a segula for the Yemei HaDin. He responded that every
morning we recite the following words in Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis:
“Hayodecha Afar HaYagid Amitecha--will
the dust thank You, will it speak of Your truthfulness...?” If one
thanks Hashem properly, he concluded--he can very literally keep himself
alive--for this is very much part of being alive!
Hakhel Note: Rabbi
Ephraim Wachsman, Shlita once said that he knew of an extended family which,
when getting together, would always begin with Tehillim Chapter 111-as an
expression of thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu for enabling them to join
together for a Simcha or for a Yom Tov meal. Rabbi Wachsman added that
the word Shevach means praise, and that the closely related word Sh’vach
means to improve--for we improve ourselves and our lot when we express the
proper Shevach to Hashem.
RABBI BELSKY’S THOUGHT: At a Hakhel Yom Iyun,Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, elaborated on the concept of being
more machmir in the Aseres Yemei
Teshuvah. He explained that the concept is really for a person to elevate
himself a notch above his ‘ordinary life’. One does so by making an
additional exertion, taking an extra effort, perhaps even undergoing a bit
of strain in order to raise himself up during this period. The example given
in Shulchan Aruch (603) is not to eat pas
shel akum. Rabbi Belsky suggests that another example of something one
can do is not to eat his favorite food or the snack that ‘I just love’.
This extra effort, this exertion is to teach one that he does
have the ability, he does have the
kochos, to rise above his present
state! Hakhel Note:HaRav Nosson
Wachtfogel, Z’tl, taught that an important avodah of the Aseres Yemei
Teshuvah period is ressen piv--being
more careful with what goes in and out of one’s mouth.You
need not say it, you need not have it. Simply stated, a person can
elevate himself above his current situation--but it is not by an electronic
or other device that he does so--it is by the strength of character that
Hashem has blessed him with.
THOUGHTFUL THOUGHTS ON KABBALOS FROM OUR READERS:
1. For women: Try to light
Shabbos candles at least five minutes before the zman, if possible.
2. For men: Pay attention
during Chazaras HaShatz. (Do not look into a sefer or space out. Do not
check your email or phone. Do not text. Do not stare at other people. Just
listen to the baal tefilla and follow along in your own siddur.) Other than
saying Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo and
Amein, do not talk at all during Chazaras HaShatz. Talking during davening
(or during leining) is one of the worst aveiras a Yid can do!
3. Say “Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo.” Do not only say “Shmoy” or “Baruch
shmoy” (like some people do). Say it correctly. And don’t
start saying ‘Baruch Hu Uvaruch
Shemo’ until the baal tefilla finishes pronouncing Hashem’s name
completely. Also, do not say Amein until the baal tefilla finishes
pronouncing the bracha completely.
4. Talk to Hashem
throughout the day, not just three times a day.
5. Before davening, accept
upon yourself the positive commandment of “You shall love your fellow as
6. Before going to sleep at
night, say (or at least think), “I am going to sleep so that I will have
energy to serve Hashem tomorrow.”
7. Learn Torah out loud if
possible (not merely reading the sefer with your eyes, but actually
verbalizing the words).
8.Be careful with Al
Hamichya. Sit down while saying it, preferably from a siddur/ bencher.
9. Finish my Shabbos preparations in time to start Shabbos by candle
lighting time, with a clean kitchen (or at least, an orderly one).
10. Commit to following a derech – Seek out hadracha and try to
let go of the need to have everything make sense to me on an intellectual
level. It shouldn’t be all about whether I understand; I need
to remember that sometimes the brain needs to follow and not lead.
This is difficult for me, since I was always taught to think for myself, and
it’s been a significant part of who I am. It’s going to take
effort, but I want to commit to the ideal, and work on getting there…
HILCHOS SUKKOS: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day
period before Sukkos:
1.Although one is not required to drink water in the Sukkah, if one is
close to the Sukkah and would like to drink some water, HaRav Shlomo Zalmen
Auerbach, Z’tl, teaches that it would appear that he should enter the
Sukkah--for a Sukkah must be treated as a home, and just as a person close
to home would wait until he gets home to drink, so too, should he enter the
Sukkah in order to fulfill the Halacha of Taishvu Ke’ain Taduru--dwelling
in the Sukkah as one dwells in his home (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 639,
Dirshu Note 13).
Some Poskim rule that on the Yom Tov of Sukkos one should place a tablecloth
only his table in the Sukkah, and not on his table in the house--in order to
indicate that the house is not his dira
over Sukkos. Others, however, hold that one can put a tablecloth on even in
the home LeKavod Yom Tov (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 639, Dirshu Note 4).One is required to promptly remove used food containers from the
Sukkah. Although when one finishes Shalosh Seudos close to the end of
Shabbos during the year, one generally does not clean-off the table so that
it is not a hachanah for after Shabbos. However, HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl,
rules that it is permissible to remove the used utensils from the Sukkah in
such a situation, because it is clear that one is doing so for the Kavod of
Note One: We provide a few brief notes below from the Sefer Kovetz Halachos:
Yomim Noraim by Rabbi Doniel Kleinman,
Shlita, containing the pesokim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita.Of course, one must consult with his own Rav or Posek relating to his
particular facts, circumstances, and customs:
1.One performing Kapparos on behalf of another (moving the chicken,
fish or money around his head) and reciting ‘Zeh
Chalifaseich’ should first recite Kapparos for himself--so that one
who already Zakkai can come and help someone else become Zakkai.
2.If one knows that his friend does not perform Kapparos--it does not
appear that it will help to perform Kapparos on his behalf without his
3.A child over the age of nine who will at least fast for a portion of
Yom Kippur should also be educated on the importance of eating Erev Yom
4.If someone drinks water after the Seudas HaMafsekes, and is doing so
not because he is thirsty, but just that he won’t be thirsty on Yom
Kippur, would not make a bracha on the water.
5.Both the father and the mother should bentsch a child on Erev Yom
6.It is better for the one being blessed to be in close proximity to
the one giving the blessing, but the bracha may be given at a distance as
7.If one embarrassed his friend in public, one must ask for his mechila
in public as well.However, it
is enough to ask for mechila in front of ten people even if he embarrassed
him in front of more than ten people.
8.Not only should spouses ask mechila of each other, but family members
should ask mechila of each other as well, for through the course of the year
they may hurt each other in some way.
9.One should ask mechila of a child whom he hurt or embarrassed--even
thought he must do so again when he becomes bar/bas mitzvah in order to
10.Each time we recite Viduy it is a separate Mitzvah, and one should
have Kavannah that he is being mekayem the Mitzvas Asei Min HaTorah of Viduy.One Viduy is not me’akev any other.Children should also be taught to recite Viduy.In the aggregate, one who recites Viduy in shul will have recited ten
Viduyim which, the Tur (Orach Chaim 620) writes, corresponds to the ten
times that the Kohein Gadol mentions the Ineffable Name on Yom Kippur.If a person is davening at home, he need not make up the Viduyim that
would be otherwise recited in Chazaras HaShatz.
11.VeAhl Kulam Eloak Selichos
is not part of the Vidui, and need not be recited in a bowed position.
12.If one recites the details of various sins found in alphabetical
order in the Chayei Adam (Chapter
143), it would be considered as if he is specifically listing his sins.Of course, one should add any specific sins that he remembers.When one adds his own specific sins in his own language, he may be
more sincere and embarrassed, and feel greater remorse about his sin.
13.One beats his chest when reciting the words of Ashamnu as well as
when reciting the words Shechatanu in the Al Chait, and the words Al Chatayim at the end of the Al
should also beat his chest when mentioning any specific sin that he adds on
14.Some have the custom not to wear gold objects on Yom Kippur.This would not include white gold, nor would it include anything
which may look like gold, but is not truly gold.
15.One who has the custom of washing his hands four times when he wakes
in the morning, should only wash three times on Yom Kippur, and one who has
the custom of washing three times upon leaving the bathroom, should only
wash once.One should not use
deodorant, as it is considered Sicha on Yom Kippur.
16.Women should also recite Tefillas Zaka, and skip the parts that do
not relate to them.Women
must be careful not to recite Shehechiyanu twice.
17.One should bring himself to cry in his Tefillos on Yom Kippur and
should make his requests of Hashem--even when Yom Kippur falls out on
18.When mentioning Shabbos in the Friday night davening, it would appear
appropriate that one have in mind that he is fulfilling the Mitzvah of