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2 Marcheshvan

MARCHESHVAN VAAD: By the following audio link, we provide Rabbi Eliya Brudny, Shlita’s recent outstanding Va’ad





TESHUVAH MOMENT: As we have completed the month of Tishrei, we note that 8.33% of the year has passed…but that more than 90% of the year remains! We have much time to become better and better. Let us resolve to keep up with our Kabbalos--and slowly and steadily improve as the year continues!



BEREISHIS 3:7: The Pasuk in last week’s Parasha records that: “Vatipakachna Einei Sheneihem Vayeideu Ki Arumim Heim”. Fascinatingly, Rashi (ibid.) writes that the eyes that were opened refer to wisdom and not to actual sight. We suggest that it is no coincidence that in the Birchas HaShachar every morning we recite the bracha of “Pokeiach Ivrim”, and immediately follow with the bracha of Malbish Arumim--following the sequence of the Pasuk. Thus, in addition to the Kavannah of  thanking Hashem for giving us the miraculous ability of sight every day, we should recognize that Pokeiach Ivrim is also a bracha thanking Hashem for our powers of wisdom and discernment. Then, without Hashem as our Malbish Arumim, we would very literally be embarrassed in the eyes of each and every human being and creature.


Hakhel Note: How meaningful and powerful our Birchas HaShachar really are!



THE LONGEST BRACHA:  Which is the longest bracha in Shemone Esrei?  Why do you think this is so?  How many Shaimos are in it--and how many Shaimos does the Tzibbur recite when responding to this bracha during Chazaras HaShatz?



MORE THAN JUST THANK YOU!  A Rav pointed out to us that when one expresses his Hakaras HaTov to another by saying “Yeyasher Kochachem”--then he is not just saying “thank you”--but also giving an appreciative bracha to the one who has just acted kindly towards him.  They may both be just two words--but there is a great difference between them.  Of course, using both phrases “Todah Raba/thank you” and “Yeyasher Kochachem” could really be most appropriate under the circumstances. 



TEFILLAH SHAILOS:  We provide below several Shailos relating to Tefillah asked of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, together with his Teshuvos, as presented in the Sefer Peninei Tefillah.  In order to review the hundreds of Shailos and Inyanim presented in this wonderful Sefer (in Hebrew), we refer you to your local seforim store for purchase:


1.  Q.  If one had kavannah when reciting the first pasuk of Shema to accept upon himself Ohl Malchus Shomayim and for the meaning of the words, but had some other thoughts in between the words, has he fulfilled the Mitzvah of Shema?


A.  No, this is not considered to be proper kavannah, and one must repeat the entire pasuk over again.


2.  Q.  The Vilna Gaon writes that one should daven for the tzibbur only when he is davening Shemone Esrei, and that he should daven for his own needs in Elokai Netzor.  Can’t one daven for himself in the brachos of Shemone Esrei?


A.  The entire Shemone Esrei is recited in the plural, because it is a tefillah for the tzibbur--as it was instituted based upon the Korban Tomid, which is a korban tzibbur.  When one intends to daven only for himself, it would be in Elokai Netzor, but if he intends to daven for himself “besoch”--among--the tzibbur, it is permitted even within the brachos of Shemone Esrei.


3.  Q.  Is it permitted to repeat words within a bracha of Shemone Esrei, if you feel that you have not recited them with kavannah?


A.  Yes, within the bracha.


4.  Q.  Can one teach and exchange words of Torah with a non-observant person, as he has not recited Birchas HaTorah?


A.  It is better if you have him recite it (or make the bracha for him, and have him be yotzei with your bracha), but if he has not, you can still study with him.  This is because Birchas HaTorah is not like Birchas HaNehenin--it is not forbidden to learn if you have not recited Birchas HaTorah.  Rather, it is simply a Mitzvah to make the bracha before learning.  In no event should one allow the non-observant person to make the bracha himself without a head covering, as this constitutes a zilzul bracha.


5.  Q.  After one sleeps at night in an airplane seat, does he make Birchas HaTorah the next morning?


A.  Yes, although he did not sleep in a bed, it is considered his “shainas keva”--his regular sleep for the evening.


6.  Q.  Is it permissible to drink coffee with milk and sugar, tea and sugar, or juice, before Shacharis?


A.  Yes, if there is some need to do so (such as to wake oneself up, etc.).  The Mishna Berurah had disapproved of the practice, only because drinking practices were then different, and it was then considered a “derech ga’avah” to do so before davening.


7.  Q.  If one reached his hand into the bathroom in order to close the bathroom door, does he have to wash his hands as a “yotzei mibeis hakisei” because of ruach ra’ah (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 4, Mishna Berurah seif katan 40)?


A.  No, the mere presence of his hand in the beis hakisei there does not render him a “yotzei mibeis hakisei”.


8.  Q.  In order to be grammatically correct, should women and girls say “Moda Ani” rather than “Modeh Ani” in the morning when awakening, and in the bracha of Elokai Neshama?


A.  No, they should do as their “savtas” did.  We don’t change nuscha’os.


9.  Q.  If one is traveling on a bus and needs to daven, must he get off in order to stand for Shemone Esrei, or can he daven from his seat?


  A.  On an intra-city bus, one should descend, daven and wait for another bus.  On an inter-city bus, where buses are not so prevalent, he may remain seated, if standing is inappropriate or will affect kavannah.  However, one should use aforethought when he needs to travel.  It is preferable to daven before sunrise at home while standing--then it is to daven after sunrise in a sitting position.  Even for someone who has difficulty standing for medical reasons--it is better to daven a shorter Shemone Esrei standing, than a longer Shemone Esrei sitting.  From the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 94:4,9), it is clear that standing is one of the “Ikarei HaTefillah”--one of the key aspects of Shemone Esrei!


10. Q. According to the Ramban, it is a Mitzvas Aseh to daven in an “eis tzarah--in a time of tzarah.”  What constitutes an “eis tzarah”?


A.  Any time that a person feels pain--health issues, financial matters, child rearing difficulties, even when feeling someone else’s pain.  There is no difference--pain is pain, and there is a Mitzvah to daven.



1 Marcheshvan

A TESHUVAH MOMENT: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (2:3) provides a sure method in which we can remember Parashas Bereishis every day--”One should wash his face [in the morning upon rising] in honor of his Maker, as the Pasuk states, ‘Ki BeTzelem Elokim Asah Es Ha’adam--for man was made in the image of Hashem.”  The Kitzur then adds that one should also wash out his mouth, so that he can mention Hashem’s name in davening “BiKedusha U’VeTahara.”  What  a great lesson in how and why we rise in the morning--in comparison to the billions of others in the world who may undertake the same physical acts as us--but whose intentions are so, so different.  They simply want to feel and smell good--for themselves, and so as not to embarrass themselves among others--and it ends there.  We too care about about personal hygiene----but with the refined focus that are bodily functions and needs have spiritual goals and  loftier intentions to attempt and achieve--a lifetime of accomplishment.  The splash of cold water on your cheeks, or the bright and fresh feeling in your mouth in the morning-- is, more importantly, preparing you for a day of spiritual awareness, awakening, aspiration and accomplishment as well!



FINAL CALL! All of the personal accounts, all of the cheshbonos, that we said we would settle, that we would pay, that we would take care of after the Yomim Tovim, should…now be taken care of!



MARCHESHVAN:  This month has the unique term “Mar” placed in front of the word “Cheshvan”.  Some write that this is because there is currently no Yom Tov or public day of celebration during the month of Cheshvan , and that this will be rectified--as when the Bais HaMikdash is rebuilt there will be a Yom Tov of rededication in this month--may it be literally this month!  Others write that the term Mar refers to water, and that it indicates the blessing of the month--rainfall for the Parnassah of the world.  Indeed, in Eretz Yisrael, the recitation of V’Sein Tal U’Matar Livracha will begin in just a few days.  We may suggest another possible meaning to Mar.  Hashem told Kayin (Bereishis 4:7):  “...lapessach chatas rovetzveattah timshol bo--sin rests at the door, its desire is turned towards you, yet you can conquer it.”  Rashi (ibid.) explains: “Im Tirtzeh Tisgaber Alav--if you want to, you will be able to rule over it.”  Chazal use the word ‘Mar’ to means master.  We are being reminded all month that the ‘theory’ of Tishrei can truly be put into practice in the next month--and that we can truly be the master over the Yetzer Hara--beginning in MarCheshvan--and forever thereafter! 


Hakhel Note:  The 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.



THE GEMATRIA OF MARCHESHVAN:  The gematria of Marcheshvan (with the word), is in fact 611--the gematria of Torah.  Cheshvan, when written without nekudos, is spelled with two Vuvs and not one, so that it is not read as Cheshone, but Cheshvan. Check for yourself! One of our innovative readers wrote that if we take the second “Vuv” out of Mar Cheshvan and we don’t include the word as part of the gematria; the gematria becomes 604, which is the gematria of “Shas Gemara.”  This teaches us, our reader wrote,” that we must take the increased Torah commitment we made on Simchas Torah as we celebrated the completion of Torah She’Bichsav and also find opportunity to increase our learning of Torah She’Baal Peh!”


Hakhel Note: Here is a basic mathematics question for Torah Jews:  If a man studies three Mishnayos, or a man or woman studies three Halachos, after Mincha or Ma’ariv, or perhaps before retiring for the evening, every day in the year 5780, how many Mishnayos or Halachos will he have learned by the end of the Year?  A more advanced question--if, instead, one begins this study on the first day of Marcheshvan--one month after 5780 has begun, and undertakes the same study until the first day of Marcheshvan of 5780--how many Mishnayos or Halachos has one studied?



KAVOD SHOMAYIM: We provide the following additional notes found in the Sefer Leket Reshimos (B’Inyanei Kavod Shomayim) from the teachings of HaRav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, Z’tl:


A. HaRav Wachtfogel related that before WWII, the President of Poland reached the Town of Mir, and was given a very honorable reception, with the Yeshiva itself going to greet him. When the Bochurim returned, HaRav Yeruchem Levovitz asked them how the greeting was, and the students responded that it was very honorable. HaRav Yeruchem advised them that they did not show true respect. He explained why. Not long ago, the President also visited the nearby Town of Lechvitsch, and there he did not receive a royal welcome--but received true honor. How? Upon his arrival into the Town, a few people placed themselves down in front of his entourage, stopping it--advising that their relatives were up for the death penalty, and asked that a message be given to the President to commute the sentences. After some back and forth, the President did, indeed, commute the sentences. HaRav Yeruchem said that this was true honor--not praises, compliments and speeches--but a real demonstration of the President’s powers. With this, we can understand what Kavod Malchus Shomayim is--when we demonstrate that we realize that life and death is in the hands of Hashem Yisborach, and plead with Him. Until such time as we do not realize this and do so with feeling, it is not true Kabbalas Ohl Malchus Shomayim. Hakhel Note: What a message for our times! 


B. Rashi (Vayikra 20:26) writes: “Hashem says: If you separate yourselves from the nations, you are Mine and if you do not then you will belong to Nevuchadnezzar and his friends.” Hakhel Note: Once again, let us take this message to heart in these times!


C. HaRav Boruch Ber Lebowitz, Z’tl, would repeat in the name of his Rebbi, HaRav Chaim Brisker, Z’tl, that the ‘smallest Jew’ should aspire to be a gadol in his Torah practice. After all, did we not recite over Yom Tov: “Veshimcha HaGadol V’HaKadosh Aleinu Karasa”. If a person has this aspiration--then he will have a shaychus to Gadlus. One can be a Gadol in Ma’asim Tovim, in Midos Tovos, in Tzedaka…. The opportunity--and the obligation--is ours!


D. Geulah means Gadlus without limits and constraints. Galus by definition opposes constraints upon us. Chazal teach that we will be redeemed through Tzedakah. This is because through Tzedakah one goes beyond his personal boundaries and demonstrates his aspiring to Geulah.


E. The Navi Malachi (3:1) teaches: “U’pisom Yavo Ehl Heichalo Ha’adam Asher Atem Mevakshim--suddenly, Hashem Who you seek will come to His sanctuary”. We all understand that the word ‘Pisom’ means that it will happen suddently--at any moment. There is, however, a deeper understanding as well. That is, we cannot in any way now fathom the sudden bliss that the entire creation will experience with the Geulah. As the Navi (Yeshaya 35:10 and 55:12) teaches: “Even the trees will joyously clap and the mountains and hills will burst forth with song.” This will certainly happen--B’EH soon--but it will be experienced only by those who are the Mevakshim described by Malachi. If there is no bikush--then the great, ecstatic light will not be truly experienced. It is incumbent upon us to realize that we are currently the Ovdim B’Eretz Ashur and the Nidachim B’Eretz Mitzrayim (Yeshaya 27:13)--lost in Galus and cast aside by the nations of the world--and plead for the Shechina’s return to Tzion--Hashem’s Home where He rightfully belongs.


HaRav Wachtfogel concludes: We are all suffering through these excruciatingly painful throes of Chevlei Moshiach. We must realize that all of this great tza’ar will not last for a long time and will end. The days of Geulah will be upon us in the near future--let us be mevakshim, so that we are zoche to the great ecstasy and light of U’pisom Yavo Ehl Heichalo!



30 Tishrei

TESHUVAH MOMENT: The Torah teaches (Vayikrah 18:5):  “U’Shemartem Es Chukosai V’Es Mishpatai Asher Ya’aseh Osam Ha’adam V’Chai Bahem--You shall observe My Chukos and laws which man shall carry out and by which he shall live.”  The Chofetz Chaim importantly notes that the Torah does not state V’Chai Avuram--you shall live to perform them, but rather V’Chai Bahem--which means that you will live in Olam HaBah through them.  Accordingly, just as a person would do all that he can in order to keep his arms, ears, legs healthy and in good working order in this world, so too should a person realize that his connection to eternal life is through the Mitzvos, and that the more wholesomely and completely the Mitzvos are performed, the more wholesome and complete will be one’s Chiyus, one’s life in Olam HaBa. This should provide us with an extra-special drive to rid ourselves of at least one Mitzvas Anashim Melumadah--Mitzvah done-by-rote, that we perform daily, and replace it with a sincere and inspired performance of that Mitzvah.  Examples:  In Tefillah--one place to start may be in one’s recitation of Pesukei D’Zimrah. In Torah--in the way one listens and interacts in a shiur he otherwise listens to or attends.  In Chesed--in attempting to perform at least one Chesed a day which has not been asked for, and is not expected. 



QUESTION OF THE DAY: In many Siddurim it is brought that as one takes leave of his Shul in the morning after Shacharis, the final Pasuk he should say is “V’Noach Matzah Chein B’Einei Hashem”. Why do you think this is so?



KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUCH YOMI! By the following link we provide a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi Schedule for the coming year:







1.  There are different customs as to the types of work that women do not perform on Rosh Chodesh.  Whatever is not performed by day should not be performed at night either, although others permit work at night. 


2.  According to the Tzava’ah of Rebbi Yehuda HaChassid, we do not cut our hair or our nails on Rosh Chodesh. 


3.  The special bracha for Mussaf on Rosh Chodesh begins with the words Roshei Chadashim LeAmecha, whose first letters spell ‘Rochel’, who established Tefillas Mussaf (Birkei Yosef 607:4)!


4.  Regarding the actual Seudah of Rosh Chodesh, there is a Mitzvah to be marbeh (increase) one’s Seudah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 419).  The Mishna Berurah (ibid., seif katan 1) adds that one who eats and drinks in a goodhearted manner is praiseworthy, and that just as one is repaid his expenses for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals, he is also repaid for his Rosh Chodesh repast as well.  If one increases his Seudah during the day, he need not do so in the evening.  One should try to have a special additional food which is LeKavod Rosh Chodesh.  In fact, ‘many Tzadikim’ have the custom of eating gefilte fish (as on Shabbos) on Rosh Chodesh.  The Sefer Ateres Tzvi brings that the Seudas Rosh Chodesh is a Segulah ‘Levatel Kol HaMachalos’--to rid oneself of all illnesses.


5.  There is an old Minhag on every Rosh Chodesh to learn one Pasuk (with at least the Peirush of Rashi) from the chapter in Tehillim which is the same number as one’s age.



KAVOD SHOMAYIM: The following notes are found in the Sefer Leket Reshimos (B’Inyanei Kavod Shomayim) from the teachings of HaRav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, Z’tl:


A. In Mitzrayim, we learned that water is only water by the word of Hashem, as water for some readily turned to blood. We also learned that even areas that are settled and areas of jungle are likewise determined by Hashem--as the arov trampled around Mitzrayim’s cities. At the Yam Suf, we learned that what is water and what is land is determined by Hashem, and in the Midbar we learned that water for millions could come out of a rock. As the Torah succinctly states, Ahl Pi Hashem Yachanu V’Ahl Pi Hashem Yisa’u--by the word of Hashem did we encamp, and by the word of Hashem did we travel (Bamidbar 9:23). In two words--Ein Teva--there is no such thing as nature!


B. The Ramchal teaches that if a person would constantly think, he would not sin, for a person knows what the ultimate truth really is. At the very least, a person should keep the concept of Ein Ohd Milevado close to his thoughts.


C. People believe that they have to work on Midos, such as patience, pleasantness and the like, and on performing more acts of Chesed--but they do not realize that they have to work on Emunah as well. They incorrectly believe that “I believe in Hashem as Creator and Supervisor of All”--but they do not think about the details of this when looking at the miracles of the past and the miracles of the present. We should realize that the Torah states: “Vidatem Ki Ani Hashem”--we have to work on knowing more and more about Hashem.


D. To the extent one honors his Rebbi, he has a Rebbi; to the extent one honors the Torah, he has Torah; and to the extent one honors Hashem, he ‘has’ Hashem.


E. It is also important to recognize Kavod Beis Haknesses and Beis HaMidrash. HaRav Wachtfogel was very careful not to enter the Beis Midrash with an overcoat. He once saw a shirt hanging on a window handle in the Beis Midrash, and spoke strongly about how important it is to recognize and apply Kavod to the Beis Hashem.


F. In last week’s Parasha, we learned that man was created B’Tzelem Elokim. The entire Torah can be summarized with the words: “Kavod Elokim V’Kavod Tzelem Elokim”. Everything else derives from this principle. Hakhel Note: HaRav Wachtfogel teaches that the cheit of Kayin in bringing an inferior Korban was that he did not display the proper Kavod to Hashem. This, then, led to the next step of failure to provide proper Kavod to Hevel--to the point of Retzicha. We learn how far the lack of Kavod can take a person.


G. Every day, thrice daily, we recite the words: “V’Ahavta Es Hashem Elokecha Bechol Levavecha U’Vechol Nafshecha”, and we try to have Kavannah in these words. If a person wants to know how much Ahavas Hashem he really has, he should determine how much he disdains evil--and this will be the measure of his Ahavas Hashem--for Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 97:10): “Ohavei Hashem Sinu Rah--those who love Hashem hate evil”.


H. That which a person has he gives to others--if he has Torah, he shares his Torah; if he has money, he gives money; if he is honorable, he will give honor to others!




AFTER SUKKOS--EMUNAH APPLIED!  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, Volume I):


A.  The 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 8).


B.  Moreover, 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!



29 Tishrei

TESHUVAH MOMENT: Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita, brings from the Midrash at the outset of Bereishis that Hashem created 974 worlds and destroyed them before establishing our current world. HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Z’tl, asks: Hashem is perfect and could obviously create our world without the need to create 974 worlds before it. HaRav Shmuelevitz explains that Hashem did so only for the benefit of man—so that he could understand that even if he has failed or succumbed to the Yetzer Hara--he must try and try again until he succeeds. We all have it within us—it is part of the creation of our world!




READER REQUEST: A reader requested that we once again provide the four brachos to be recited upon Mashiach’s arrival, as brought in the name of HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Zt’l.


1. Shecholak Maichochmoso Lee’rayov (a brocha that is recited over an outstanding Talmid Chochom--HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, recited this bracha when seeing Rav Elyashiv).

2. Shecholak Maikevodo Lee’rayov (over a Jewish king--the Melech HaMashiach).

3. Chacham HaRazim (upon 600,000 or more Jews together)

4. She’hechiyanu (HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, teaches that this She’hechiyanu will be Mai’ikar HaDin)


Hakhel Note: If you have not memorized these Brachos--then please keep this list handy!



LET THERE BE RAIN! This outstanding 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 once again provide the following moving story, published as part of Lesson 21.


In 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”.


The Rav responded by embracing the man and exclaiming, “Shalom aleichem, Reb Yid!”


The president replied, “If the Rav would know what a sinner I am, he would not give me such a warm greeting,”


The Ponovezher Rav replied, “If only you knew what a holy spark lies within your neshamah, you would talk differently about yourself.”


In 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.


I was reborn because the Ponovezher Rav greeted me and spoke to me!”


Hakhel Note: Once again, we highly recommend this treasured Sefer!



EMULATING! Although many items in the physical world remind us of spiritual roles and goals as well (e.g., food for the body teaches that we must always feed the soul with Torah and Mitzvos; physical ailments represent spiritual ailments, the beauty of nature provides an inkling of the beauty of Olam Haba, etc.), there appears to be at least one item in which the physical in no way resembles the spiritual.


Here on earth, our streets and our highways are paved with tar, and our sidewalks with tar or cement. Yet, in the spiritual world, our path is paved with precious jewels, silver, and gold. The opportunities for Torah and Mitzvos, Emunah and Chesed, Teshuva and Ma’asim Tovim, impact and abound from all directions as we march through our day. Unfortunately, all too often, we write off the opportunity as a hindrance, annoyance, obligation, or as time that could have otherwise been spent doing something “productive” instead.


Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, provides a perfect example of this misperception in commenting on last week’s Parasha (“Love Your Neighbor”, p. 34). Rabbi Pliskin notes that the Torah goes out of its way to teach us that Hashem clothed Adam and Chava. We, by this, are taught to emulate Hashem’s ways in providing clothes to the needy. However, Rabbi Pliskin writes that emulating Hashem in this area goes way beyond giving clothes to the needy when we clean out our closets. It also includes other activities such as helping elderly relatives on with their clothing, making sure that they are warm for winter, and dressing toddlers and little children--even if they may be your students or your children. When viewed in this light, going shopping for the family or for a parent or neighbor on a frigid winter night, or earning the money to pay a family credit card bill become glittering diamonds in place of a banal drudgery, a necessary and seemingly thankless task.


Hashem, in His great and incomparable beneficence, gives us whatever each and every one of us needs every single day in order to build a great eternity for ourselves.  We just have to identify, appreciate and cherish each and every opportunity for the special and precious jewel that it is. World economics may be in turmoil, but we remain as spiritually affluent as ever--and these are the riches that last forever!



IMPORTANT INSIGHTS INTO TZELEM ELOKIM:  Also, in Love Your Neighbor, Rabbi Pliskin emphasizes another essential aspect of the concept of Chesed:  It is that man is actually created B’Tzelem Elokim--in the image of the Creator of heaven and earth.  A human being should accordingly be transformed in our eyes from ‘an inconsequential and insignificant being into one that is without parallel. ‘Although seemingly miniscule, he is the pinnacle of creation’.  Man was created in Hashem’s image and must always be viewed accordingly.”  Here are two examples that Rabbi Pliskin provides to bring the point home (ibid., p. 23): 


1. A Rabbi and his wife came to visit the Chofetz Chaim.  The wife complained to the Chofetz Chaim that her husband’s good nature enabled people to take advantage of him.  “True,” said the Chofetz Chaim, “if someone is always good to others, he might sometimes suffer. However, if he were insensitive to other people, they would suffer because of him. In the long run, when a man’s good and bad deeds are weighed against each other, he will realize that it is better for him to have suffered as a result of his doing good deeds to others, rather than for others to have suffered because of him.” (Amud Hachesed, p. 17)


2. Once while the Chazon Ish was walking with a disciple, a melancholy woman approached him and insisted that he take money from her to pray for her welfare.  She handed the Chazon Ish ten shillings which he readily accepted.  He blessed her wholeheartedly and cheered her with pleasant words.  When she left them, she was in good spirits.  Knowing that the Chazon Ish never accepted presents or donations from others, the disciple was puzzled why he agreed to take this woman’s money.  Noticing the puzzled look on that person’s face, the Chazon Ish told him, “Everyone is required to do chesed in every possible way.  In this instance, the biggest chesed I could do for this woman was to accept her money.” (P’air Hadar, Vol. 4, p. 22)



26 Tishrei

TESHUVAH MOMENT! Appreciating what Hashem, and others, do for us may be the ‘Middah of the Coming Week’--as this 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 next week’s Parasha (Bereishis 10:5, Rashi d’h Bnei Ha’adam), we will find that the Anshei Dor Haflaga showed no thanks to Hashem for sparing their ancestors, themselves and their descendants from the Mabul. Let us bli neder commit to be most careful to thank, appreciate and compliment all those who deserve or even perhaps deserve Hakaras HaTov for what they have done for him or on his behalf! 





A. Tomorrow, it will be a week 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!


B.  The following is based upon the Luach Davar BeIto for tomorrow, as Shabbos Bereishis:


1.  Tosafos (Sanhedrin 37B) writes that every day of the week the Malochim sing with a different one of their six wings, and on Shabbos it is the Bnei Yisrael that sing.  Hakhel Note:  What a great thing to remember when singing Zemiros!


2.  Adam HaRishon recited “Mizmor Shir Leyom HaShabbos” (Tehillim 92) upon the onset of Shabbos just a few hours after his creation.  Hashem’s name is mentioned seven times in the Kepitel.  It became, of course, the Shir Shel Yom of Shabbos, but we recite it not one but three times over Shabbos.  Hakhel Note:  How wonderful it would be to bli neder resolve to have kavanna when reciting this Kepitel in honor of Shabbos every week!


3.  The Admorei Chabad would teach: “The way that one behaves on Shabbos Bereishis is the way that he will behave the whole year.” 


4. This Shabbos we will bentsch Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan.  One should stand when bentsching the new month, as a remembrance to the Kiddush HaChodesh in front of the Sanhedrin.  Even though we have not begun reciting VeSein Tal U’Matar Livracha yet, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that we should add the request of “U’legeshamim BeItam”--as we always seek rain in its proper time! 


5.  We begin reciting Borchi Nafshi after Mincha this week, as it relates to Ma’aseh Bereishis, and Hashem’s greatness. 


C. 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 shows a special regard for the first Mitzvah and is accordingly an elevated Mitzvah performance (ibid., 298 seif katan 8).


D. The Mishna Berurah rules 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 also rules that individuals listening to Havdala should not make their own bracha of Borei Minei Vesamim or Borei Me’orei Ha’eish, as they are Yotzei with the bracha of the one leading the Havdala, 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 (i.e., his nose is stuffed), the Kaf HaChaim and HaRav Scheinberg, Z’tl, rule that it is permissible to test-smell them (ibid., Dirshu Note 12).


E. Another aspect of Havdala is very much tied into the time period that we are in. The Mishna Berurah (Orach Chaim 298; Seif Katan 1) brings (from Pesachim 54A) that on Motza’ei Shabbos Hashem gave Adam HaRishon the thought to grind two stones against each other so that light would come out. We remember this event and make the bracha of Borei Me’orei Ha’eish over fire every Motza’ei Shabbos (ibid., seif katan 3)


F. The reason that we look at our nails upon making the bracha of Borei Me’orei Ha’eish is in order to derive benefit from the light--and 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 during Havdala, he should have Kavannah not to be yotzei with the one making havdalah, and instead make the bracha over the ner when he is closer to it later on. A woman would not make this bracha independently, and she should endeavor to be close to the Ner.


G. It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to make the bracha on a ner which constitutes an avukah (a larger flame--with more than one wick). 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 Havdala candle should first be sure that the two wicks extend from different places in the candle, as many of them may not--so that he can fulfill the Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar of utilizing an avukah for Havdalah!



SHABBOS BEREISHIS!  Shabbos Bereishis  is 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 Parashios in Bereishis, we remind ourselves that the Torah is not, c’v, a history book, reminding us of the events of early Man. 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 Yisrael to the United States. 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, or why the Arabs are rioting now, 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.



RAV SHACH ON BEREISHIS: 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:


A. 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 fate’!”


B. 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!



DEAH AND DIBBUR:  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.


“Speech 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 man.”


Hakhel Note:  Please re-read. What a life-long lesson to take with us from the Parasha!!



LIVING IN THE WORLD TOGETHER:  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”(Bereishis 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 to him 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 Aden, the Pasuk (Beraishis 4:17) teaches “He built a city, and he called the city after his son ‘Chanoch’.” Who was Kayin building a city 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 Parashios--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!



QUESTIONS ON THE PARASHA: We present several questions related to the Parasha, simply in order for us to think about what the Mussar Haskel--what the lesson is from it:


A.  Adam and Chava were banished from Gan Eden--but what happened to Kayin, Hevel, and their sisters born along with them--were they left in Gan Eden?


B.  Adam had named all of the animals in creation and even his wife, yet Chava named her son Kayin--why? Additionally, why was Hevel given such a name (apparently meaning in vain, vanity, nothingness--see Koheles 3:19) at all?


C.  Rashi teaches us that all of the elements of Heaven and Earth were created on the first day of creation, and that the Malochim were created on Monday.  Why were the Malochim created after the world’s elements were put into place?


D. Why did the Rokia, the firmament above us--have to be suspended in ‘midair’--hanging precariously between the heavens and the earth?





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 (which was shown again over Chol HaMo’ed)--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?


5.  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. 


6. At a 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!


7. After Moshiach arrives, we will return to the state of Adam HaRishon before the cheit. We most certainly look forward to this occurring in 5780!  Everyone should review and have handy (if not memorized) the four brachos that HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Z’tl said will be recited when the Moshiach arrives!



25 Tishrei

KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUCH DAILY PROGRAM! Yesterday, we mentioned that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Daily Program began, on a one year cycle to finish the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in small increments every day. To sign up and receive a short audio Shiur for the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Daily Program with the link to the text, email ateresshimon@gmail.com.



TESHUVAH MOMENT:  The theme of this elevated month--as the head, the lead month, of the year has been Deveikus to Hashem--bonding and binding oneself, body and soul, with his Father and King. Permeating this theme has been Teshuva--drawing close to Hashem, demonstrating one’s love and dedication--by rededicating oneself to doing His will, notwithstanding the wiles of the Yetzer Hara, whose raison d’être is literally to test one’s tenacity and perseverance. The stakes are enormous--Deveikus for eternity. We can and do retain a ‘touch’ of Tishrei throughout the year by keeping our Kabalah or Kabalos with true dedication and zeal. What can we do, however, when the Yetzer opens up new fronts--areas of unexpected confrontation and challenge? We suggest that one resolves, on a daily basis, to do Teshuva immediately for an aveira that he realizes he has committed--immediately completing the three elements of Teshuva: (a) Charata-a feeling of mistake and remorse; (b) Kabala Ahl Ha’Asid-determining not to do the aveira again if and when it presents itself; and (c) Vidui--orally admitting the mistake--how wrong for an elevated being to do such a foolish thing before Hashem Himself. If one finds that the day has passed with no such process being necessary--how happy and joyous he should be! If one has to do Teshuva (perhaps quickly recording the day and what occurred)--how wonderfully he is keeping close--not letting the day pass without his special demonstration of yearning for Deveikus.  Every day can bring wonderful gains--forever and ever!


Hakhel Note:  Additional important discussion of the value, benefit and use of each and every day below--please continue....



OUR ANANEI KAVOD:  It is said that each of the Seven Days of Sukkos represents one of the Seven Ananei HaKavod--with each day being an additional Anan.  What, then, is Shemini Atzeres?  We may suggest that it represents not the protective Anan in each direction, but the Hashgacha Pratis over the individual within the Anan.  It is even a greater closeness to Hashem than the Ananei HaKavod around us in all directions represent.  With this in mind, we can understand a seemingly difficult juxtaposition in our daily Shemone Esrei Tefillah.  After asking Hashem for the Bais HaMikdash to be rebuilt in the Bracha of Retzei and pleading  that “our eyes see Hashem’s return to Tzion,” we surprisingly begin the next Bracha with “Modim Anachnu Lach--we thank You Hashem for….”  If we have just expressed our sore need for the Bais HaMikdash, how can we so quickly seemingly take about face and immediately express our overflowing thanks, when so much is missing?!  We may suggest that just as Shemini Atzeres represents the Simcha of our relationship with Hashem even beyond the protective warmth of the Sukkah, so too, does Modim express our recognition that even without a Bais Hamikdash, we enjoy the incredible benefits of a personal and direct Hashgacha Pratis relationship with Hashem.  Just as this is one of the concluding messages of our recent Chagim, so too is it one of the concluding messages of our Shemone Esrei three times a day.  The lasting message of Hashgacha Pratis should stay with us throughout the year…and throughout the day!



FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH:  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.  You can fill in your 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.


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!


Hakhel Note:  If we have that notebook or other means of keeping ourselves in line, we can be all the more successful.  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 strong!



TODAY’S YAHRZEITS: Today is the 210th Yahrzeit of the Kedushas Levi (Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev), Z’tl, and the 180th Yahrzeit of the ‘Heilege’ Chasam Sofer, Z’tl.  Few individuals in recent history have achieved the level of worldwide renown, respect and love that K’lal Yisrael has for these great Gedolim. In their respective honor, we provide one telling story from each relating to the Sukkos Holiday just passed that each of us can learn from in our everyday lives:


A.  Rebbe Levi Yitzchak, Z’tl, made it a point to have simple, uneducated guests in his Sukkah, and not only great Rabbonim with whom he could have advanced discussions.  When asked why he would especially have these kinds of guests in his Sukkah, he responded as follows:  “In the future, when the Tzaddikim will be sitting in the Livyasan’s Sukkah, I will want to enter as well.  They will not let me enter, and say ‘Who are you to enter-- a simpleton wishing to enter the Livyasan’s Sukkah-- a chamber for Tzaddikim?!’ I will be able to answer--in my Sukkah I also let simple people like me enter...please let me in....


Hakhel Note:  Why too can we not learn to appreciate, love and embrace those who may not yet be up to our level--a special incentive may be that Middah KeNeged Middah in the next world!


B.  Two Yeshiva bachurim arrived in Pressburg immediately after Sukkos to be tested by the Chasam Sofer so that they could enter the famed Pressburg Yeshiva. The first bachur entered, and the Chasam Sofer gave him various and sundry excuses as to why he could not accept him--the space is limited,etc... The second bachur (who was later to become the Gaon Rebbe Shmelke MiSeilish, Z’tl), almost did not enter because, as they had come together, it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would not be accepted either. However, the Chasam Sofer accepted him with Sever Ponim Yofos and with joy. The Chasam Sofer explained his conduct to one of his close talmidim. When the bachurim were coming to meet him, the Chasam Sofer was looking out of the window, and noticed how the first bachur was  stepping on the lulavim on the floor which had been previously hanging in the Sukkah being taken down, whereas the bachur who was to become Rebbe Shmelke carefully picked them up and was careful not to step on any of them.


Hakhel Note:  In the past we related a similar ma’aseh with the Chasam Sofer who did not want to give Semicha to someone who did not make it his practice to kiss the Mezuzah upon entering a room.  We note that just two (or in Eretz Yisrael, three) days ago we were singing and rejoicing over the Torah and the 613 Mitzvos it contains. We must be sure to take that joy with us in the Torah and Mitzvos that we perform during the year. The thought of stepping on a Mitzvah, or of not raising a hand, a finger or a leg with energy and exuberance when we have a Mitzvah in front of us to perform may mean that we too are not worthy of entering the Yeshiva that we are capable of--and should be--entering. Knowing that we have a treasure is simply not enough--we must not let habit get the better part of us, instead making sure to be grateful for and regale in the daily privileges which are within our easy reach!



24 Tishrei

TESHUVAH MOMENT: We provide the following reminder to Emergency Recommendations For Teshuva, which a person can use at any time:


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 (Michtav M’Eliyahu Volume I, Page 30).  Rav Dessler provides the following four emergency recommendations for Teshuva:


1.                     LEARN TORAH – in order to chase away the Yetzer Horah.


            Hakhel Note:  The Chofetz Chaim would add in his Vidui “Botalnu min HaTorah (We have wasted time from Torah)”.  The Vilna Gaon (Mishlei 1:22-23) writes that since the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah is the GREATEST of all Mitzvos, the Yetzer Hora for bitul Torah (wasting words, laitzonus) comes from a great Ruach HaTumah (impure force).  Thus, overcoming it and learning properly is the greatest of accomplishments.


2.                  LEARN MUSSAR – in order to acquire the true view of life.


            Hakhel Note:  The Mishna Berurah (Orach Chayim 603, seif katan 2) brings the Rosh, the Arizal and the Vilna Gaon, all of whom independently rule that one is obligated to learn Sifrei Mussar every day of the year (no exception is made for technological advancement).


2.                     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!


            Hakhel Note:  According to the Baalei Mussar, this replaces Yissurim (physical suffering).


4.                 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.


            Hakhel Note:  The Alter of Kelm writes that with every second of your thoughts in helping others you fulfill a separate Mitzva D’Oraysa of V’Ahavta L’reacha Komocha.


There is no doubt that with the situation in Eretz Yisroel, around the world and in America today, we are living in very difficult times.  Let us take these emergency recommendations to heart and with us into the coming year.  This will certainly serve as a source of great bracha for us and all of Klal Yisrael.



KAVANAH CARDS! The following is a link  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/KavanahCards.pdf  to wonderful Kavanah Kards. To obtain the actual laminated cards--we refer you to KavanahKards.com.


Hakhel Note: This may be very helpful for your Kabbalah!



KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUCH YOMI!  The new cycle of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi begins today--24 Tishrei!  Students of the incredible One-Year Program actually study and complete the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in one year 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 a Halacha in the morning and a Halacha 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.   Seize the Opportunity!  Hakhel Note:  Here is a beautiful example of how one’s life can be enriched through this daily study:  The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (2:3) brings the Pasuk of Ki Betzelem 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 reminder as one washes his face--L’Sheim Shomayim--every morning! For calendars, please go to kitzuryomi.org



IMPORTANT REMINDER! We just began reciting “Mashiv HaRuach 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 Mashiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem is that you will definitely remember whether you recited Mashiv HaRuach 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 same through Mashiv HaRuach--as an additional assurance that one does not miss this very important addition!



LOOKING AHEAD:  As this year’s Days of Awe and Days of Harvesting Joy can now be viewed only by turning around, we look ahead to what we will make of the coming year.  The hopes, the aspirations, the dreams...  At the end of this year, will we look back and find that we were truly better people, that we accomplished a worthwhile goal, that we fulfilled our potential in life?


In the Western Society (read “Golus”) in which we live, emphasis is placed on the physical and material reality around us, most recently, computers, smart phones, etc.  To some it may seem “childish”, to others “spiritual”, to actually take a minute or two during the day (while taking a shower in the morning or eating lunch, or perhaps when walking to the subway or bus, or before retiring at night) to think, feel and appreciate Hashem’s gifts to us.  We can start with reflecting upon our knowledge-filled heads and then work our way down slowly to the toes we can wiggle when necessary.  Do not be surprised if the words “Thank You, Hashem” emerge spontaneously from your lips from time to time.


As the Rambam testifies, this is the where and the how our forefather, Avrohom Avinu, started his trek to greatness and how concomitantly K’lal Yisrael began its eternal journey through history and mankind.  This is the origin of our legacy and sacred trust.  Be a part of it.  It only requires some inner reflection.  If you feel lost as to how to begin or are in need of some assistance or guidance in this area, the Chovos Halevovos, Sha’ar HaBechina (published by Feldheim Publishers in English as Duties of the Heart (Gate of Reflection)) will certainly be a great tool.


Now, taking a step back, perhaps this is the great lesson of Sukkos as the culmination of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—that we look up from our humble little booth and recognize that a few rain showers during the Yom Tov pale starkly in comparison to the brochos that Hashem showers upon us daily.


Additional Note: 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 the 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 goes through the year, it will be one’s 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 Chazak 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!





A. On Yom Kippur we recited as the Ikar Vidui Aval Anachnu Va’Avoseinu Chatanu”. In stark contrast to this, the Mishna in Sukkah (5:4) relates that during the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah, the people in the courtyard who were leaving the Eastern Gate turned to the west, faced the Heichal and exclaimed: “Our fathers who were in this place turned their back to the Heichal, instead facing to the east and bowing to the sun--but our eyes are towards Hashem!” The great transition from Yom Kippur to Sukkos results in our abandoning the previously ill-chosen ways which had been etched in stone--even to the extent of their origin from our fathers and their fathers. To cleanse ourselves--and aid our parents (and their parents) with any previous malfeasance--let us take a good look at an old custom, an ‘established family practice’ and instead turn towards the Heichal-and proclaim we have chosen to abandon that--and that we are now facing towards Hashem! We have learned the lesson, we have made the transition--from Yom Kippur…to Sukkos!


B. 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!


C. After seeing his Chassidim in a down mood on Motza’ei Sukkos as they were about to daven Ma’ariv, it is reported that Rebbe Moshe Sassover, Z’tl, gave them wonderful Chizuk by exclaiming “My brothers, please remember that it is the very same Hashem who is the Atta Vechartanu and the Atta Chonantanu. Hashem demonstrates to us His midda of Atta Vechartanu with the special feeling that we experience on 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”! 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 Lefanav Birnana--serve Hashem with joy, come before Him with joyous song! The Mesilas Yesharim then explains (from the Midrash) 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!


D. Rabbi Avrohom Schorr, Shlita, gives a wonderful explanation as to why there are three Hadassim (Hadassim being symbolic of the eyes).  One Hadas teaches us of the ‘Tov Ayin’--the good eye that we should have towards others, the second Hadas represents the ‘Ayin Ra’ah’--the bad eye that we must avoid in all circumstances.  The third Hadas reminds us of Hashem’s watchful and loving eye over us--every day of the year, and every moment of the day!


E. 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.


F. 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 song or words which move you and which highlight your special relationship with your infinite gift.



12 Tishrei



1. By the following link, we provide HaRav Avigdor Miller’s Ten Steps to Greatness  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/TenStepsGreatness.pdf


2. 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!


3. 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 keep going!


4. 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 Aruch--YISGABER!!





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 second day--why?



PLEASE DON’T’ FORGET! 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 Yisrael.  Yasher Koach!



KAVOD CHAVEIRO! We have spent the first ten (10) days of the month trying to increase our Kavod Shomayim. HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, reminds us that in the same measure that one is mechuyav in Kavod Shomayim--so too is he mechuyav on Kavod HaBriyos--for Kavod HaBriyos is also Kavod Shomayim!



IMPORTANT TEACHING PROVIDED BY A READER: “It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy!”



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!



IMPORTANT TEACHING ONCE PROVIDED BY A READER: “It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy!”



SHABBOS IS THE DAY! The Luach Davar B’Ito brings that Shabbos (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!



SUKKAH REMINDER SHEET! We provide by the following link - http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/SukkahKavanahPoster.pdf a wonderful 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 time!



N’OI SUKKAH!:   We provide by the following link http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/SukkahPoster.pdf a 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 t’nai 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 t’nai , please consult with your Rav or Posek



DOVID HAMELECH: On Sukkos, we will be reciting “HaRachaman Hu Yakim Lanu Es Sukas Dovid HaNofoles”At a 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 as well!



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 coming year 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 consider!



OFF! 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.



DAVEN! 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 and Sunday in davening that we have the opportunity on the first night of Sukkos and throughout Sukkos to fulfill the Mitzvah thoroughly and BeHiddur Nifla!



FOREVER THANKFUL! Please do not forget to have Kavannah Sunday night (and Monday 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 Yisrael 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! 



HILCHOS SUKKAH: 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 of Sukkos on Sukkos itself (which is the final teaching of Mesechta 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 the Sukkah. 


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 akira mibayis 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 (disgraceful) state. 


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! 





A. If one inadvertently left price tags on a new garment--can he remove them on Shabbos? HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that one would not violate the Halacha of Makeh B’Patish if one does so, as these tags are placed on a garment after is has been completed. However, if it is not possible to wear the garment with the tags on it, then HaRav Nissim Karelitz, Shlita, rules that one would violate Makeh B’Patish by removing them. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 302, Dirshu Note 17)


B. HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Z’tl, rules that folding papers and napkins in a special manner on Shabbos (such as in the shape of a boat or other decorative form or shape) is prohibited as Tikkun Manah. Although there may be reason to claim that it is not Tikkun Manah because it is for a one-time use, the Shevet HaLevi nevertheless writes that l’ma’aseh he only permits a simple fold. (ibid., Dirshu Note 21)


C. There is a disagreement as to how one can fold his tallis after use on Shabbos. The Mishna Berurah writes that if one does not fold it on its regular folds, it would be permitted to do so. However, continues the Mishna Berurah, it is vadai adif--certainly better for a person to be machmir upon himself and not to fold the tallis at all. (ibid., seif katan 19)


D. HaRav Nissim Karelitz, Shlita, rules that it is permissible to wear rubber gloves on Shabbos while washing the dishes, for one does not intend to wash the gloves, and accordingly one is considered to be washing only the dishes and not the gloves. However, the Minchas Yitzchak is lenient only for a woman whose hands have scabs and the like, and even then she should be careful not to especially clean the gloves after their use (such as by rubbing them together). (SA, OC Dirshu Note 49)


E. With respect to contact lenses, HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, rules that one should not soak them in cleaning solution on Shabbos, as they may have a din of beged, and the prohibition against cleaning a garment would apply to them (this prohibition would include rubbing them clean as well). However, if one had cleaned the lenses on Erev Shabbos and they remained clean, one could place them in a solution which does not clean them but merely keeps their moisture. This is also the opinion of the Shevet HaLevi and R’ Nissim Karelitz. (ibid.)


F. If one needs to wash a child on Shabbos after he dirtied himself, one should take care not to let the clothes which may have been sullied come into contact with water, in order to avoid kibus--cleaning the beged in any manner. (SA OC 302, Mishna Berurah seif katan 25)





1.  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’Dioraisa.  (See also Yesod V’Shoresh HoAvoda for a moving discussion as to how much one should treasure his moments in the Sukkah.)


2.  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.]


3.  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).


4.  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 11:13; see also the Shelah HaKadosh, Mesechtas Sukkah).  We note that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that it is a special Mitzvah to give Tzedaka on Erev Sukkos.


5.  The Mishna Berura 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 Berura, 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!


6.  The four letters comprising the Hebrew word Lulav also comprise the first letters of words we will recite every day of Sukkos--VeTaher Lebainu LeAvdecha BeEmes--purify our heart to serve You in truth (Luach Dovor BeIto).  Let’s take the clear message and work on purifying our hearts in our very own personal way this Sukkos!





A. Sukkos is a Chag which should invigorate us with Emunah. We remind you to 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 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 from 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. 


D.  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!


E.  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 our 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 (8:15), 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 16:14,15): “VeSamachta 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!


F. HaRav Dessler, Z’tl, (Michtav Me’Eliyahu 1:268) explicitly writes that the reason for the close proximity between Yom Kippur and Sukkos is the “Shemira”, or protection, that the Mitzvah of Sukkah provides.  On Yom Kippur the Yetzer Hara is quashed, but is revived so quickly after Yom Kippur that we are required to promptly recite “Selach Lanu Avinu Ki Chatanu” in the Ma’ariv Shemone Esrei just 7 to 8 minutes after we have concluded Ne’ilah.  How can we be protected for the rest of the Year? It is by surrounding ourselves with the Sukkah and inculcating ourselves with its holiness. In fact, 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.  The ephemeral becomes the everlasting. Complementing the Sukkah on this Holiday is the taking and shaking of the Four Minim, which symbolizes the spiritual control over harmful gashmiyus, such as dangerous winds and dews.


G. The Sefas Emes writes that we are to observe Sukkos “Seven Days of the Year”, which is meant to remarkably indicate to us that these 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. 





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 may 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 items. 


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 as well.


11. One may take milk or soup out of the freezer, and the Issur of Nolad is not 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 next day.


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 Shvus  D’Shvus BeMakom for the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov.








Chol HaMoed are days designated--set aside--for holiness.  We can therefore understand why someone who disgraces these days “has no share” in the World to Come (Avos 3:15).  According to the Bartenura (ibid.), disgracing the Moados means doing unnecessary work on them, and eating and drinking in the same manner as one would on a regular weekday.


The following highlights are from a Hakhel Shiur, given by HaRav Dovid Zucker, Shlita, author of the Sefer Chol HaMoed (Artscroll 2005), and Rosh Kollel of the Chicago Community Kollel.


1. The Avnei Nezer teaches (based upon the Zohar) that the Kedusha of Chol HaMoed may be likened to the light of the Moon--reflecting the Kedusha of Yom Tov itself.  Chol HaMoed is indeed enveloped by the Kedusha of the First Days and the Last Days of Yom Tov.


2. One should wear nicer clothes on Chol HaMoed than on a regular weekday.  The mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov applies to Chol HaMoed as well.


3. Rabbi Zucker stated that he felt that just as Kedushas Shabbos was the nisayon (the test) of 75 to 100 years ago, Kedushas Chol HaMoed is the nisayon of Galus Jewry today.


4. The laws of working on Chol HaMoed for a salaried employee depend upon whether the employee: (a) has vacation coming to him; (b) has no vacation coming to him, but can take time off without pay; (c) asking for time off will cause him to lose his job; or (d) asking for time off will not cause him to lose his job, but will have undesired effects.  Our notes here are intended to highlight these distinctions, but not provide the halachic parameters, which are detailed and often require consultation with a Rav.  For further information, you may study the Sefer itself, or obtain a copy of the Shiur on cassette tape or CD by calling (718) 252-5274.


5. Self-employed individuals and employers must consult with their Rav as to how/when to remain open on Chol HaMoed.  One should not rely on “everybody does it” or “ignorance is bliss”--remember, we are talking about the World to Come, and that is true bliss--and infinity.  The story is told of a factory owner who refused, despite the Chofetz Chaim’s pleadings, to close his factory on Shabbos--he told the Chofetz Chaim, “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 developed.


The above, obviously, only briefly highlights some common Halachos.  In fact, Hilchos Chol HaMoed encompasses 20 chapters in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 530-549).  We additionally refer you to Rabbi Zucker’s wonderful sefer.  You may want to ask your Rav to give a Shiur this Yom Tov on the Halachos and Hashkafos of Chol HaMoed for everyone’s benefit.  Remember, with any question, or difficult or special situation, please consult your Rav--and have Simchas HaMoed.











11 Tishrei

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 Yisrael (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 Yisrael for Yom Tov (and to redeem your Yizkor pledges in a worthy way at yadeliezer.org. Hakhel Note: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 135) writes of the great importance of giving Tzedaka  on Erev Sukkos.  In our day, this may extend to giving it to the Ani or the organization which will help the Ani the day before--so that he can buy, or they can give, the necessary food BEFORE Yom Tov.



YOUR KABBALAH NOTEBOOK--Is everything in check?



TAP INTO TIME! 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!



TESHUVAH MOMENT:  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. 


To reiterate, rather than falling prey to the Yetzer Hara, we should consider how every little step, how every little act--cleaning this or that, buying this or that, are all precious and irreplaceable Mitzvos which will stay with us forever and ever. 


Additional Note One:  There is another fascinating point about the continuum that we are passing through from Yom Kippur until Sukkos.  On Yom Kippur, we try as best as we can to serve Hashem as Malachim, as angels--no eating, or drinking, the Kittel and dress in white, reciting Boruch Sheim Kevod aloud...  The Sefer Kav HaYashar points out that the Gematria of Sukkah (91) is actually equal to that of Malach.  We were like a Malach just yesterday, and we will be like a Malach again in a few days from now.  We dare not lose this very special semblance over the next couple of days, as we maintain our more enthused and elevated level of Mitzvah performance and conduct--as we had hoped and strove for on Yom Kippur.  


Additional Note Two: In a Teshuva Drasha, Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, Shlita, provided an incredible di’yuk and insight from Sefer Yonah (1:12).  Yonah Hanavi, after advising the shipmen that he was the only one responsible for the storm, tells them, “Sa’Uni Va’Hatiluni El HaYam--pick me up and heave me into the sea…”  Why did he tell the shipmen to “pick me up”--wouldn’t it have been sufficient to simply say “heave me into the sea”?!  The answer is that Yonah is teaching us the value of one additional second of life--he would live for another moment if he were first picked up and then heaved into the sea, rather than being heaved directly into the stormy waters.  Life is so precious, so irreplaceable, and if used properly, so everlasting, that we must value every single moment.  It simply makes no sense whatsoever to consciously waste it on an aveira, or for there to be time when there is simply “nothing to do.”  Perhaps it is for this reason that we have so much--so many good things--to do in this short period between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, so that we take Yonah’s lesson to heart--and train ourselves to appreciate the moments and use them wisely!



POST-YOM KIPPUR POINTS: Our Yom Kippur Tefillos are over for 5780. 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 accordingly provide the following points:  


A. 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!


B. 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!



C. We conclude Neilah on Yom Kippur with Kabalas Ol Malchus Shomayim.  We accept Hashem’s Kingship over us--now and forever.  While this may be a difficult concept for those who have been raised in Western Society, and for those of us who are impressed by their own, wisdom, prowess or strength, the fact is that it is as absolute as the truth gets.  It is interesting to note that the penultimate Pasuk of the Shiras HaYam (Shemos 15:18) is “Hashem Yimloch Le’olam Voed--Hashem’s Malchus will last forever.”  The teaching is so fundamental to our daily life-that this Pasuk is actually repeated ten (!) times daily during the course of our three daily Tefillos (Nusach Ashkenaz), and even once in Kriyas Shema Al HaMita!  We will leave it to you to double-check our count in your next three tefillos.  If someone could give us the Nusach Sefard/Sefaradi/Ari counts, it would be most appreciated.  In all events, as we go through events in the day in which we sense that there is more to what happened than meets the eye--that there had to be a reason why you met up with him, or for why that certain unexpected thing happened, or even why you just missed the light--bring to mind and state this Pasuk--and you can touch daily that most sublime moment of Neilah on Yom Kippur!


D. 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!





A. As we have noted many times in the past, The Sefer Tomer Devorah by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Z’tl, teaches us that each 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! 


B. In Neilah, we placed great emphasis on the 13 Attributes of Hashem’s Mercy.  The first Chapter of the Tomer Devorah describes 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 Sukkos!


C. 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.


D. KeKelev 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.


 E.  It may be a good idea for one to review his activities from this past Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur, and make some notes as to items he forgot to do, or items that he should have done, so that he will have them Be’Ezras Hashem, for next year: 

·        Did everyone ask Mechilah from each other at the Seudas HaMafsekes?

·        Were the Halachos of Teshuvah and Vidui, and the Halachos of Yom Kippur itself (such as washing) clear to all?

·        Were all the candles that were necessary to be lit actually lit?

·        Were there any Sefarim needed to be purchased that could have further enhanced the davening or the day?

·        Are there any notes, thoughts, choices of Kabbalos, or personal Prayers that I should put into writing?



REBUILDING THE BAIS HAMIKDASH:  One of the reasons given for which we do not recite Tachanun in the period between Yom Kippur and Succos is because the first Beis HaMikdash was being dedicated during these very days in the times of Shlomo HaMelech.  Remember--history repeats itself--in these very days we can still celebrate the building of the Third Bais HaMikdash! Let us do our utmost to make it happen!



HILCHOS SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. The following notes are excerpted from the Sefer Nesivei HaMinhagim (Chag HaSukkos):


1. One should contemplate the awesome fact that we have many practical reminders of the Beis HaMikdash on Sukkos--taking the Lulav all seven days as was done in the Mikdash, HaKafos around the Bima symbolizing Hakafos around the Mizbeiach, Aravos on Hoshana Rabba, Simchas Beis HaSho’eiva, in addition to Tahara before the Regel by going to the Mikvah, and Kabbalas Pnei HaRav representing Kabbalas Pnei Hashechina. Hakhel Note: When we recite the words HaRachaman Hu Yakim Lanu Es Sukkas Dovid HaNofales (referring to the Beis HaMikdash)--we should recite it with very special meaning!


2. If one has an esrog that he received as a gift, and one that he purchased, the Sheilos U’Teshuvos Torah Lishma rules that it is better to make the bracha on the one that he purchased, and then take the one he received as a gift--even if the gift esrog is more mehudar. Others may disagree. However, in general, see Chayei Adam 68:16 on the importance of paying for a Mitzvah. In any event, one should avoid buying the Daled Minim on credit so that it is certainly deemed to be fully and unconditionally one’s own property.


Two important reminders, among all others, when purchasing your Daled Minim:


1.  One 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 halachically-valid transaction.


2.  The 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.



9 Tishrei

YOM KIPPUR INITIATIVE: By the following link  htttp://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/YKInitiative5780.pdf we provide the 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!



YOM KIPPUR SHOE ALERT: All Toms shoes with the exception of their vegan line are made with leather insoles (Flatbush Jewish Journal).



TESHUVAH MOMENT: HaRav Pam would always emphasize the need for one to write his Kabbalos in a notebook, and check up upon them as he moves through the year.  As an essential first step today, one should buy a notebook, or establish the method in which he will keep a record of his Kabbalos and his successes on a day-to-day basis. 



KNOCKING ON THE DOOR!  In the Yom Kippur davening, we will recite, “K’Dalim U’Chrashim Dafaknu Dilasecha.”  This means that we should view ourselves before Hashem as, r’l, a poor person knocking on someone’s door and asking for funds that he needs to survive.  This is what we are doing as we stand before Hashem.  Fortunately, though, we are blessed with Someone who will answer the door and receive us warmly and with love.



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 had briefly reviewed in steady steps in the past. Please feel free to print-out, and share the link with others!  http://tinyurl.com/p8ewl7d 



THE IKAR OF VIDUI: When we recite the words in Selichos and on Yom Kippur of “Aval Anachnu VaAvoseinu Chatanu–but we and our forefathers have sinned,” we must remember that they are actually part of the Vidui itself. In fact, the Rambam in Hilchos Teshuva (2:8) calls these words the “Ikar” of Vidui. Accordingly, it would appear that one should be slightly bowed over as he recites these words, as in the remainder of the Vidui.



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!



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)!



IMPORTANT!  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 Machzorim.



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 own giving--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 SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. We provide four Halachos--two for today, and two for tomorrow, Yom Kippur. The following notes are excerpted from the Sefer Nesivei HaMinhagim (Chag HaSukkos):


1. The Be’er Heiteiv (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 630) brings the Maharil who taught that the Sukkah boards should be placed in the same order and position as they were in the previous year--just as the boards of the Mishkan had a particular order. The Bikkurei Yaakov disagrees, distinguishing between the Mishkan which was a Tashmish Kedusha, and the Sukkah, which is a Tashmish Mitzvah.


2. The Pri Megadim (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 643) writes that it is proper for the Sukkah to have a floor, recalling the Ananei Kavod, which surrounded Bnei Yisrael on all six sides. Based upon this thought, the floor would then be part of the Kedushas HaSukkah, and it would be forbidden to otherwise derive benefit from it.


3. The Seder HaYom writes that the reason we are so careful to beautify the Sukkah is in order to demonstrate how happy we are with the Mitzvah, and our special Chibuv Hamitzvah--when one does so, his reward goes beyond that of simply building a Sukkah, for he demonstrates the Simcha V’Tuv Leivav that Hashem desires of us when we perform Mitzvos.


4. The Sefas Emes writes that because of the Shechina in the Sukkah, when one dwells in the Sukkah he himself imbibes Kedusha into his inner being. It is therefore inappropriate to play games in the Sukkah, or to allow other nations who cannot appreciate the Shechina to enter. Indeed, the Sheim MeShmuel writes that the reason we do not recite Shalom Aleichem in the Sukkah on Leil Shabbos is because the Malochim cannot enter the Sukkah because the Kedusha is so great!





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 Tishrei.


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 Vidui at Mincha today.  It is essential that a person truly view himself as a sinner in the areas in which he has sinned.  Yirmiyahu HaNavi (2:35) cried out “Hineni Nishpat Osach Al Umreich Lo Chatasi”--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 Yisrael (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 must remind himself that he 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: As we have noted in the past, 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 Dovid HaMelech 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 Vidui, 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 election--it is up to us!



 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.  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 Ya’aleh V’Yavo (for Yom Kippur), but does not repeat Birkas HaMazon if he forgets.”[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 rechitza.


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. 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. 





A. 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 VeTzivanu Al 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.


B.  According to some authorities, Yom Kippur is the Yahrtzeit of Rebbi Akiva, who gave his life Ahl Kiddush Hashem 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.  


C.  EMERGENCY 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 (Michtav Mei’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 Yisrael.  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.


D.  Clearly, 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?!


Additional Note: HaRav 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.   


 E.  On 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 Opportunity! What an Occasion!  We should especially express our thanks to Hashem for the unfathomably infinite gift that He has given us!


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 Yisrael 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 L’Matta.


H. Please remember VeTalmud Torah K’negged Kulam.  We 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!



KABBALOS SUGGESTIONS: By now, one should be formulating the Kabbala/Kabbalos that he intends to undertake for the coming year. We asked HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, when one should finalize his Kabbalos. He advised that his Rebbi, HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, Z’tl, would formalize and express it at Neilah on Yom Kippur. Now is the time we should be going through the preparatory and practice stages to make sure the Kabbalos work, and how we can refine and improve on them. We provide below some of the Kabbalos we had initially suggested as part of our recent Summer Improvement Program. The suggestion was to undertake one item in Bein Adam LaMakom, one in Bein Adam L’Chaveiro, and one in Bein Adam L’Atzmo--and perform it once a day.


Bein Adam LaMakom



1.      HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z’tl, writes that when one recites a bracha, he can consciously perform four Mitzvos: Ahavas Hashem, Yiras Hashem, U’Le’avdo Bechol Levavchem and U’Ledavka Vo. Before reciting a Birkas HaNehenin have in mind these four Mitzvos!


2.      Say “Thank you Hashem!” with appreciation when opening up the refrigerator and seeing inside the various nourishing, essential, and even not-so-essential food and drink that Hashem has provided you with.


3.      Actively think of a way that you can make a Kiddush Hashem--and act on it! Remember, it does not have to appear to be something big--just a Kiddush Hashem!


4.      Among the first words of the Rema in Shulchan Aruch are Shivisi Hashem L’negdi Samid…for one’s actions and business when he is ‘alone’ are not the same as one who conducts himself in front of a great king…most certainly when one is in the presence of the Great King HaKadosh Baruch Hu Whose Presence fills the earth and Who stands and watches him. When sitting down at one’s table or desk one should try to conduct himself for a few moments, feeling that he is in the Presence of the Great King with the thought of Shivisi Hashem L’negdi Samid.


5.      The Sefer Sha’arei Teshuvah writes that Mezuzuah is a Mitzvah which brings upon us Kabolas Ohl Malchus Shomayim. The Rambam (in Hilchos Mezuzah) writes that the Mezuzah reminds us that “Ein Davar Omeid L’Olmei Olamim Elah Yediyas Tzur Olamim”--there is nothing that lasts forever except for one’s connection to Hashem! Stop by the Mezuzah, and as many do, place your hand upon it and either recite one of the famous Pesukim (such as Hashem Shomri, Hashem Tzili, Ahl Yad Yemini, or Hashem Yishmor Tzeitsicha U’voecha Mei’ata V’Ahd Olam), or think about Hashem’s love and protection over you.


6.      Answering “Amen” to another’s brachos or Tefillos provides us with the opportunity not only to fulfill a personal obligation--but to reiterate it in a voluntary way. Seek out an opportunity--although not required--to answer “Amen” to someone else’s Tefillah or bracha, so that you can personally exclaim your wholehearted belief in the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of Hashem!


7.      The Teshuvas HaRashba (5:1), writes that just as the Aseres Yemei Teshuva is the Eis Ratzon of the year, so too, is Tefillas Mincha the Eis Ratzon of the day.  Let us appreciate and utilize each and every Tefillas Mincha for the tremendous opportunity that it is--starting today!


Bein Adam L’Chaveiro



1.      Smile at someone (especially someone who could use it), or cause someone else to smile.


2.      Look at another person whom you are familiar with, and think about how much behind him there is that you really do not know--his Mitzvos, his life’s experiences, and the reasons he may react to situations and circumstances in ways that are different from you. Then, judge him favorably in something particular that occurred (or keep it in mind for the future).


3.      Perform an unrequested Chesed before breakfast.


4.      Have someone join in a Mitzvah with you--it can include asking someone to answer Amen to your bracha.


5.      One easy but important ‘habit’ we can develop is provided to us in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (183:6): “When one sees someone involved in his work, give him a bracha of ‘Tatzliach B’Ma’asecha--may you have success in your endeavors!”


6.      As the Navi describes, what Hashem seeks of us is ‘Ahavas Chesed’--not only to perform Chesed when the situation arises, but to love Chesed to the extent that it is incorporated into our character and being. Buy a notebook or establish a file for Chesed items--people to daven for; names to add to the Cholim list in Shul; people to help with Shidduchim; people to talk to; new Chesed ideas; confirmation that you have given daily Tzedaka for the sake of the Geulah of K’lal Yisrael….


7.      The Mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’eim is one of the few Mitzvos to which the Torah attributes Arichus Yomim--special reward in this world and the next. The Mitzvah applies both during a parent’s lifetime in this world and after. Every day, be sure to perform some new or different act of Kibud (e.g., an additional phone call, a gift, a donation of a Sefer to Shul in honor, etc.).


8.      Many times we do an important Chesed for another person--helping him with advice, being a good listener, taking the person’s name to daven for him…but as the next day comes, new and different circumstances and situations present themselves, and we may forget the person who we so helped or benefited just a day or two or three before. It would certainly be most beneficial for a person to keep a note to follow-up in a day or two or more on how this person feels, how that person fared, or whether he still needs this, or she is still looking for somebody for that. The follow-up to the initial Chesed not only provides shleimus, a completeness to the act of Chesed itself--it also provides a shleimus to the person completing it. Try to follow up, at least once a day with a person or project that you had started to assist with several days earlier.


Hakhel Note: An important consideration: When a person does Chesed with another, his ‘I’ should be expanded so that it is as if he is doing Chesed with himself, and accordingly one should perform the Chesed in the manner that he would want it done to himself.



Bein Adam L’Atzmo



1.      Rather than taking out a cell phone when walking on the street or traveling, spend time with yourself.


2.      Before reciting Shema at night, make sure your last activity of the day is one of Ruchniyus--either the study of Torah (even for only a short while), an act of Chesed, or the performance of a Mitzvah.


3.      Do not ‘lose your cool’ even though it appears justifiable and may be even correct to do so.


4.      Run to do a Mitzvah (or want to run).


5.      Make an effort to treat your clothing with special respect--not throwing any article down or across the table or room, if disposing of it--wrapping it up, and in any event making sure that it is not stained or dirty.


6.      The Sefer Tomer Devorah teaches that we must all be careful that: “Ve’al Yikaneis Zar U’Mevatel Machshavto”--not to let foreign or inappropriate thoughts to infiltrate one’s mind. If one recognizes that a thought of inappropriate jealousy, anger, dislike, desire, or the like has entered one’s mind--he should quickly banish it, replacing it with the thought of a Pasuk, a Mitzvah or a good deed!


7.      We are all warned .to avoid the attitude and even the feeling of ‘Kochi V’Otzem Yadi’--it is my strength, my acumen, my knowledge that brought me to my position in life, my accomplishments…. Every time one has a feeling of personal aggrandizement or unjustified pride--even if it is in Torah study or Ruchniyus, he should exclaim: “It is not Kochi V’Otzem Yadi” or “It is Hashem’s gift!”


8.      We are all familiar with the famous Ma’aseh reported of the Chofetz Chaim, Z’tl, being given the room in an inn next to Rebbi Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl. The Chofetz Chaim reported that the whole night he could hear Rebbi Yisroel Salanter repeating the following teaching (Avos 4:28): “Rebbi Eliezer HaKapar Omer: HaKinah V’HaTa’avah VeHakavod Motzi’in Es Ha’adam Min HaOlam--jealousy, desire, and honor, r’l remove a person from the world.” One must constantly remind himself of these three horrendous middos which seek to undermine a person’s very existence in this world. If he can do battle with them, then they will not succeed in removing him from the world--and the great and clear implication is that doing battle will bring  a person further life. As Rebbi Yisroel Salanter did, one should remind himself of Rebbi Yisroel HaKapar’s teaching--and implement it, as Rebbi Yisroel certainly did as well!


9.      After the hundreds of teachings in Pirkei Avos, the Mesechta concludes (5:26) with the teaching of Ben Hei: “Lefum Tza’ara Agra--according to the effort is the reward.” One should not delude himself into thinking that his personal wisdom, aggressiveness or connections got him anywhere, or will get him anywhere. Hashem looks solely at the efforts of the person in his particular position in life. Mesechta Avos is the Mesechta that is specifically dedicated to how we can grow personally. Its final words to us are: “With Effort”. If something is important to you, whether it be Kavannah in Tefillas Mincha, a Daf Yomi Shiur, helping a certain person find a Shidduch….whatever it may be, remember not to tire of it and instead reinvigorate and revitalize yourself to put your best effort into it--daily!


Additional Note: One may want to consider suggesting a family or extended family Kabalah, 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 itself!


A final thought on our Kabalos: Remember, the Torah tells us “U’Vacharta BaChaim—Choose Life”.  Incredibly, Hashem puts our lives in our own hands.





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 arrow! 


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!”


 C.  A 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 of us! 


D.  We 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 very important 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!


E.  Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, Shlita, points out that because the Luchos Sheniyos were given on Yom Kippur-and these Luchos stayed with us. Accordingly, Yom Kippur is an especially 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!  





8 Tishrei

REMINDER:  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 World Situation Immediately Ahead of Us--which will have eternal and everlasting effects!



A SECOND REMINDER!  One should make sure to have the personal Tefillah that he composed for Rosh Hashanah (as per the Shiur of HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita), available in his Yom Kippur Machzor to be recited at the end of one’s Yom Kippur Shemone Esrei before Asei L’Ma’an Shemecha as well.



TZEDAKAH TODAY--IF NOT NOW, WHEN?! Please go to yadeliezer.org, and specify your donation. You may also provide Yizkor pledges in advance for a zechus for the Neshamos. May it serve as a great zechus for you and your family!



QUESTION OF THE DAY ONE: What is the first word in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim? What does that teach us about our approach to life?



QUESTION OF THE DAY TWO:  What is the last word of Avinu Malkeinu?  Why do think that it is fitting that we end Avinu Malkeinu with this word?



LAST CALL!  START YESHIVAS MAICHAYIL EL CHAYIL IN YOUR SHUL OR COMMUNITY:  For the last few years we have seen the great success of Yeshivas Maichayil El Chayil--where men, boys, and fathers and sons, COME BACK TO SHUL after a post Yom Kippur Seudah to study Torah for an hour to demonstrate  their true rededication to the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah which is KeNeged Kulam.  To spur the boys on, gifts and raffles for Seforim and Yom Tov prizes can be offered--and those donating the funds for the prizes, and purchasing them, certainly have a Chelek in Talmud Torah DeRabbim--on Motzei Yom Kippur!  Please bring this INCOMPARABLE PROGRAM to your shul or community--and what a sweetening Zechus it will be for you and yours on Yom Kippur!  We have sample flyers and raffle tickets.  Please contact us if you have any questions at all--347-409-5061.



TESHUVAH MOMENT: 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 the 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!



THE RAMBAM’S 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 ask 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, Z’tl, 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.



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 Hara or Avak Lashon Hara.





A. Personalize a Kabbalah relating to a family member or friend--if a particular habit or method of speech he has constantly annoys you--work on being ma’avir ahl midosav relating to it.


B. 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.


C. Before starting work every day, begin with a prayer 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 adapt  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/TefillahAlHaParnassahReader.pdf


D. Rabbi 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 Mitzvos seriously!



HYDRATING!  Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner, Shlita, author of Halachos of Brachos, advises as follows: Drinking water to hydrate creates questions as to whether brachos are applicable. The best advice is to drink juice and recite a bracha rishona and achrona. A better suggestion from a practical as well as halacha standpoint is for one to drink his favorite flavored sport drink (e.g., Gatorade) with electrolytes before the fast. It will hydrate, and there will not be any bracha shailos as a bracha rishona and achrona will definitely be required.





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 at  http://tinyurl.com/pu8a4te   Please 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  http://tinyurl.com/csvr3fh


C.  A Vidui Card in Lashon HaKodesh with more detailed specification as to possible Aveiros.  http://tinyurl.com/4yzr9u


D.  The Thirteen Middos--The Thirteen Attributes in Lashon HaKodesh.  http://tinyurl.com/2d63u8


E.  The Thirteen Middos--The Thirteen Attributes in English.  http://tinyurl.com/yq9k42 


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 year!





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.


3.  ‘KeKelev 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 ‘Kadmon Echad’:  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 Tahor! 


5.  Finally, 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 is a 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!





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 is 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 knowledge.


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 Kippur.


4.  Both a father and the mother should bentsch a child on Erev Yom Kippur. 


5.  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 well. 


6.  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. 


7.  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. 


8.  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 obtain forgiveness. 


9.  Each time we recite Vidui it is a separate Mitzvah, and one should have Kavannah that he is being mekayem the Mitzvas Asei Min HaTorah of Vidui.  One Vidui is not me’akev any other.  Children should also be taught to recite Vidui.  In the aggregate, one who recites Vidui in shul will have recited ten Viduim 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 Viduim that would be otherwise recited in Chazaras HaShatz.  


10.  VaEl Kulam Eloak Selichos is not part of the Vidui, and need not be recited in a bowed position.


11.  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. 


12.  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 Chait.  Additionally, one should also beat his chest when mentioning any specific sin that he adds on his own. 


13.  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. 


14.  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.


15.  Women should also recite Tefillas Zaka, and skip the parts that do not relate to them.  Women who go to Shul should also be careful not to recite Shehechiyanu twice.


16.  One should bring himself to cry in his Tefillos on Yom Kippur and should be sure to express his personal requests to Hashem. 



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! 



HILCHOS SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos:


1. It is a Mitzvah to cut one’s hair Erev Sukkos in honor of the chag. One should also cut one’s nails. In fact, the Sefer Mateh Ephraim (525:13) permits one to cut both his fingernails and toenails on Erev Sukkos--even though ahl pi kabalah one should generally not do this. [One should consult with his Rav as to whether this is the followed practice.] One should only eat bread or even Mezonos before Chatzos (some say until the 10th hour). Indeed, Rebbi Avin (an Amora) would fast Erev Sukkos every year in order to ready himself to eat in the Sukkah. Some have the custom of not sleeping on Erev Sukkos in order to sleep b’tei’avon as well! (Luach Davar B’Ito).


2. The Mishna Berurah 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 Berura, 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!



5 Tishrei

TESHUVAH MOMENT: Some connect the word Tishrei to the word Tishri--which means to untie or unravel. In this month, we untie the leash that 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 a bit 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!



REMINDER--TZEDAKA TODAY--IF NOT NOW--THEN WHEN?!   Hakhel Note:  We cannot overemphasize the importance of giving Tzedaka in the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. The Rambam two separate times in Hilchos Teshuvah (2:4 and 3:4) highlights the giving of Tzedaka as a key element of the Teshuvah process. In fact, the Rambam writes (ibid.) that one should be ‘Marbeh BeTzedakah–give much Tzedakah’ during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. We should not let a day pass this week in which we do not give Tzedakah, so that our path to Teshuvah is well paved. Let us remember the words of the Navi (Yeshaya 56:1). that we read on Tzom Gedaliah “Shimru Mishpat Va’Asu Tzedaka Ki Kerova Yeshuasi Lavo–observe justice and perform Tzedaka for My Yeshua is soon to come”….In the Zechus of our constant and persevering Tzedakah, may we be Zoche to Yeshuos for ourselves and for all of Klal Yisroel!



A THOUGHT ON KABBALOS: Very often, much precious time during the year is lost as one walks from place-to-place (such as from home to the bus) without any focus. The mind is allowed to wander. Sometimes it is good, and one reminds himself of things to do--but very often it may be more of a waste of time, and even destructive as one considers ‘why he said this’ or ‘why she did that’? It may be a better idea for one to attempt to bli neder commit to think about what he is going to think about before he starts his walk (perhaps keeping items that need to be thought about on a piece of paper and looking at it before leaving). Of course, the item to be thought about can most certainly be Divrei Torah--as Chazal (Shir HaShirim Rabbah) teach that the sechar for learning Torah while traveling is five times greater than for learning Torah in a regular study position. Imagine the constructive hours you can gain in just one year!


Hakhel Note: We welcome your thoughts on firming up your Kabbalos!





1.      Rabbi David Ashear, Shlita, astoundingly points out that not only are we gifted the ability to do Teshuvah—which could mean not only making amends for what we have done, but even potentially turning our iniquities into Mitzvos—but on top of it all Hashem made Teshuvah a Mitzvah in the Torah—for which we get sechar for performing!


2.      The Sefer Tomer Devorah (Chapter 1) writes that just as Hashem accepts our Teshuvah and in the place where a Ba’al Teshuvah stands not even a Tzaddik Gamur can stand, so too, should we accept the Teshuvah of others when they apologize to us.  We should not begrudgingly forgive them and thereafter treat them in a distant and cold manner—but instead should bring them closer to us, and treat them with the newfound warmth that Hashem treats the Ba’al Teshuvah. After all, we have to emulate the ways of Hashem!!



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, Z’tl, 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.





A.  In Birchos HaShachar one thanks Hashem for taking care of all of my needs--She’asah Li Kol Tzarki.  What a wonderful inspiration for one to remember daily--Hashem is there to take care of me!  Is it not my responsibility to spend some time and effort considering how I can act differently, how I can change for the better--in honor of Hashem!


B.  “U’Chesov LeChaim Tovim Kol Bnei Brisecha--inscribe all the children of Your covenant for good life.”  What is a good life?  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah explains that it is life in this world which will be good for Olam Haba


C.  The following points are excerpted from Nachpesah Deracheinu VeNachkora--a pamphlet issued in Lakewood, containing the Vidui of the Chidah, which is available (in Hebrew) by the following link - http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/ViduyChidah.pdf


1.  The Aseres Yemei Teshuva are different than the other days of the year, in that during these hallowed days, Hashem actually wakes us up to do Teshuvah, while throughout the year a person must initiate the process in some way on his own (Sefer Ya’aros Devash, 1:1).  This is the meaning of the Pasuk that we recited on Tzom Gedalya and that we have recited in Selichos:  “Dirshu Hashem BeHimatzoh--Hashem presents Himself to us without our having to find Him.” (Yeshaya 55:6) If a person would take the matter seriously, he would realize that his heart is yearning for Teshuvah during these days.  Hakhel Note:  Imagine that HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, or HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Z’tl, came into the room to wake you up--wouldn’t you spring out of bed?!  Here we have the Melech Malchei HaMelochim Who has come to wake us up--let us jump at the opportunity!


2.  We must search our ways--this may be difficult not only because it involves real thought, but also because people forget what they do, or repress what they have done--or at least the seriousness of what they have done.  It is for this reason that the expanded version of the Vidui (such as that of the Chida or the Chayei Adam) have been published.  On the above link, one will find an expanded Vidui for one to reflect upon.  One should take specific notes on what he would specifically like to correct, and how he will do so. 


3.  The reason that one recites Vidui even over sins that he believes he did not commit is threefold:  (1) Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh LaZeh--we are all responsible for each other, and so we must ask forgiveness for our mutual aveiros; (2) One may have committed the sin in a previous gilgul; and (3) One may have committed the sin, and not have focused or remembered it.


4.  The Rambam in Chapter 4 of Hilchos Teshuvah brings 24 items which are me’akev (hold back, or limit a person’s ability to do) Teshuvah.  One of them is HaPoresh Min HaTzibbur--someone who separates himself from doing something together with others, for he lacks the collective merit that they have engendered.  Another is Sonei Es HaTochachos--one’s failure to listen to and apply the words of Mussar that are related to him (everyone should grow at least in one way from the Shabbos Shuvah Drasha that he hears).  A third is somebody who receives honor at the expense of another person (even if that person is not there, and even if the other person is not embarrassed).  The last item listed by the Rambam is HaMischaber LeRasha--one who associates with a person who sins--for they leave a mark whether or not one realizes it.  We all can stay farther away from one person or another of this sort (see the Rambam there for the complete listing of items which are me’akev Teshuvah).  Hakhel Note:  If one’s car would not go over 20 miles per hour and he did a lot of highway driving, would he not take the car in for repair?  The 24 items which are me’akev Teshuvah simply do not let us get up to the speed we need to be at! 


D.  The period that we are in is a serious one and should be treated as such.  One should think twice before joking around or acting with levity in order to ‘lighten the mood’.  As we all know, each new day during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah corresponds to one’s intending to do Teshuvah for all of these days in the prior year. 


E. When preparing for Yom Kippur, and certainly on Yom Kippur itself, when one recognizes or brings to mind a sin which he has particularly transgressed, he should certainly stop and feel remorse for it.  In the Yom Kippur davening, we will recite, “K’Dalim U’Chrashim Dafaknu Delasecha.”  This means that we should view ourselves before Hashem as, rachmana litzlan, a poor person knocking on someone’s door and asking for funds that he needs to survive.  This is what we are doing as we stand before Hashem.  Fortunately, though, we are blessed with Someone who will answer the door and receive us warmly and with love.


F.  We must remember and spend some time working out the “Aveiros Kalos”--the so-called lesser transgressions.  The Sha’arei Teshuva (1:38) writes that we should not look at the “smallness of the transgression” but the Greatness of He Who warned against it.  Secondly, if one persists in a small transgression, the successive accumulation of Sin could be analogized to a delicate and weak strand of silk which, through constant redoubling, becomes a stout rope.  Moreover, even as to a “small transgression,” a person can be considered, rachmana litzlan, a “mumar--an apostate”--in this particular respect(!).  Finally, Rabbeinu Yonah writes, if the Yetzer Hora gains even a “small victory” over a person today, it can gain a greater victory tomorrow--so you must stop him today!


G.  HaRav Shach, Z’tl, once traveled during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah to Tel Aviv to the Admor of Strikov.  A student asked him why he was traveling to Tel Aviv at a time when every minute was being scrupulously measured.  HaRav Shach responded that he had a Kabbala that before Yom Kippur one should go to get a Bracha from a “Gutter Yid--a Good Jew.”  Let us take this essential lesson from Rav Shach-- and be sure to get Brachos from our Rabbanim and other “good Jews.”


H.  Rabbeinu Yonah (in the Sha’arei Teshuva, outset of Sha’ar 4) teaches that Teshuva is to the soul what a panacea is to the body.  This is beautifully reflected in the Avinu Malkeinus we have been reciting daily, in which we ask Hashem:  “HaChazireinu B’Seshuva Sheleima Lefanecha”, and then immediately follow this plea with “Shelach Refuah Sheleima LeCholeh Amecha.”  Once we have healed our soul, the healing of our body takes on greater meaning.  This is of course, also similar to the Mi Shebeirach for a Choleh in which we first ask for a “Refuas HaNefesh,” and then for a “Refuas HaGuf.”  Remember, all of this healing is free, and the extent of all of our healing is directly proportional to the sincerity and effort we invest in its achievement.


I.  HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, notes that in the second Bracha of Shemone Esrei which relates to Hashem’s Gevurah, we add the important phrase “Mi Chamocha Av HaRachamim--who is like You Hashem, the Father of Mercy?”  What, HaRav Moshe asks, does Gevurah have to do at all with mercy?  Doesn’t Gevurah represent Din or justice?  HaRav Moshe answers that with this precise language Chazal are teaching us how we are to perform acts of mercy--with Gevurah!  We should not, for example, wait for the opportunity--such as a knock on the door for tzedaka or  for a favor.  Instead, we should strengthen ourselves and look for the opportunities of Chesed.  We should be Giborim in Rachamim.  To do so is to emulate Hashem, and to do so is the mark of the Torah Jew.  Hakhel Note:  At the end of the day, you may want to think about where you were a true Gibor in Rachamim.  If you cannot find a shining example, perhaps you could put it high on your list for the next day!





A. This Shabbos is known as ‘Shabbos Shuva’ with the word Shabbos coming before the word ‘Shuva’ in order to teach us the preeminence of Shabbos even over matters which could otherwise help us with our Teshuva process. Shabbos is so holy that we do not even recite Selichos and plead to Hashem with the 13 Middos of Rachamim!


B. The Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 423, seif katan 2) writes that on each one of the days of the Aseres Yemei Teshuva a person should look into his ways relating to his activities over the year on that particular day of the week.  Perhaps this is easiest to do for Shabbos, in which a person’s schedule and activities are usually fixed.  A person should reflect:  What mistakes did I make in Hilchos Shabbos last year?  What improvement will I make to my Shabbos table?  How can I improve my Shabbos Tefillos?  What special Parashas Hashavua commentary will I bli neder undertake this year? Will I be careful to eat Melave Malka on Motza’ei Shabbos?  This Shabbos is the time to have these special thoughts and make some Shabbos decisions!   Hakhel Note:  As this is the first Shabbos of the year--let us make sure bli neder that we are mekabel Shabbos on-time--or even a few minutes before the time.  May it be a Siman Tov for one’s Kabbalas Shabbos for the rest of the year!


C. In this week’s Haftara, the Navi Hoshea (14:2,3), after urging us to do Teshuva (Shuva Yisrael!) immediately instructs us on how to do Teshuva with the words “Kechu Imachem Devorim Veshuvu El Hashem--take words with you and return to Hashem”.  We must take our words with us--we must realize (as the Vidui Booklet points out) that a GREAT NUMBER of the sins we mention in the Vidui of Yom Kippur have to do with misuse and abuse of that great power that distinguishes us from animal--our power of speech.  The Chofetz Chaim teaches that if we are more circumspect with our speech, we can be free of the following Issurim:


1. Lashon Hara--brings many, many other aveiros along with it and can destroy relationships, families and lives

2. Rechilus--as above, and perhaps even more hurtful to the person

3. Sheker-while Hashem’s seal is Emes!

4. Chanufa--including egging on...’you’re right!’

5. Laitzanus--mockery, poking fun, ridicule

6. Ona’as Devorim--hurtful or insulting words

7. Halbanas Panim--one reader pointed out that embarrassing another in public causes one to forfeit his share in Olam Haba--and then asked if this is so --is this the greatest  aveira--even greater than Chillul Hashem....

8.  Divrei Ga’avah--words of arrogance--even though the sign of greatness is humility (Iggeres HaRamban)

9.  Divrei Machlokes--fighting, argumentative words

10.  Divrei Ka’as--words of anger that you won’t be able to take back.


Perhaps we can keep this list around near a place(s) where we can look at it before we are about to make a statement or comment, or have a conversation, that is not within our usual manner of speech.  Remember the VERY FIRST words of instruction of the Navi--Kechu Imachem Devorim--VeShuvu el Hashem!  May you hear your success--with your very own ears! 


Hakhel Note:  As noted above, if you can free yourself of an Aveira--you will then be reciting the Vidui exclusively on behalf of someone else (as Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh LaZeh)--so you will be fulfilling an additional mitzvah of VeAhavta LeRayacha Kamocha!





“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.



HILCHOS SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. We provide two Halachos for each of today, Shabbos and Sunday:


1. As we all know, the Rema writes that one should begin building his Sukkah on Motza’ei Yom Kippur so that he leaves one Mitzvah and enters another. If one finds it difficult to begin the actual building either because he is weak from the fast or he needs the help of others, the Kaf HaChaim writes that he should at least speak with his household members regarding the Sukkah. In a similar vein, the Aruch HaShulchan writes that one unable to build a Sukkah should be involved in learning Mesechta Sukkah or the Halachos of Sukkah. Likewise, the Mateh Ephraim writes that if one has purchased his Lulav and Esrog prior to Yom Kippur, he should check them on Motza’ei Yom Kippur to make sure that everything is in order (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 624; and 625, Dirshu Notes 3 and 4).


2. When eating one’s kezayis or preferably more than a kebeiyah of challah in the Sukkah on the first night of Sukkos [or in Chutz La’aretz on both nights of Sukkos], one should lechatchila have in mind that he is doing so Zecher Leyetziyas Mitzrayim and Zecher Le’ananei Kavod, which surrounded us and protected us from the elements around us in the desert (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 626, Mishna Berurah seif katan 1). According to Rebbi Akiva, the Sukkah is actually a remembrance to the actual physical Sukkos or huts that every family of K’lal Yisrael possessed in the Midbar. Rabbi David Ashear, Shlita (Emuna Daily), in the name of HaRav Yitzchak Scher, Z’tl, asked what is so remarkable about our dwelling in simply huts, which brings us to commemorate it with the Sukkos holiday. HaRav Scher answers that the great miracle of the huts is the personal Hashgacha Pratis that each family experienced in the Midbar--a miracle which continues through our day! As we sit in the Sukkah on the first night(s) of Sukkos--let us revel in Hashem’s Hashgacha Pratis over us!


3.    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.  Additionally, the Ushpizin will also not come if money is not set aside for the poor for Sukkos (Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah 11:13; see also the Shelah HaKadosh, Mesechtas Sukkah).  We note that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that it is a special Mitzvah to give Tzedaka on Erev Sukkos.


4.  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).


5.  If an esrog becomes spotted through much hand-holding, the well-known Chasam Sofer (Sukkah 36A) writes that this is its true beauty. The Chazon Ish, Z’tl,  and Steipeler z’tl, both explain this to mean that the esrog is not more mehudar as a result--rather, it is to say that because this is part of the esrog’s function and use--the spots become part of the mareh esrog--which is an item of beauty. HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, and HaRav Vozner, Z’tl, take one additional step and rule that the Chasam Sofer would not want his sevarah relied upon on the first day of Yom Tov, in which the mitzvah of Daled Minim is MiD’Oraysa(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 648, Dirshu Note 89).


6.  If an esrog was stored under a bed, is it rendered unfit for use because of the ‘ruach ra’ah’ that has come upon it? The Binyan Olam rules that one should use it only if he has no choice. The Sedei Chemed writes that one should rinse off the esrog three times with water before using it. The Steipeler, Z’tl, writes that it is only an issue on the first day when there is a requirement of Lachem--and it cannot be eaten, but on subsequent days one may take it lechatchila. Hakhel Note: For those transporting an esrog and putting it under their train or plane seat, this may be an issue as well (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 649, Dirshu Note 82).



4 Tishrei

AN OUTSTANDING CALENDAR: To view and print a concise Hebrew calendar which contains the 5780 daily Nach Yomi, Mishna Yomis, Daf Yomi and Halacha Yomis, please see the following link http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/LearningCalendarYomi5780.pdf



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.



TESHUVAH MOMENT: One can easily brush over the Ashamnus and the Al Cheits boldly disclaiming any sin in this regard or at least thinking that what he has done is ‘Nisht Geferlach’--not so bad.  HaRav Ezriel Erlanger, Shlita, Mashgiach of the Mirrer Yeshiva in New York, teaches that Nisht Geferlach’ is ‘Geferlach’.  We know two things: 


(1) The Navi (Yirmiyahu 2:35) teaches:  “Hineni Nishpat Osach Al Amreich Lo Chatasi--Hashem judges a person by separate judgment for the person’s claim that he did not sin.”


(2) It is not the ‘major aveiros’ that may necessarily affect many people, but as Chazal teach it is the “Mitzvos that a person steps upon that surround a person at the time of his judgment”.  One must get serious in his reflection as to some of the everyday challenges and pitfalls that he encounters.  Here are just a few examples:


(a) Tzararnu--going through the day making the conscious effort not to hurt anybody with one’s words or actions.  Even if the other person is not a timid, weak, poor or suffering person--and even if that person is your parent, wife or child--one must take his own pain and care to avoid causing pain, suffering, anguish, or distress to another. 


(b) Kishinu Oref--we must not be stubborn and rigid, but flexible and attentive.  “I know better”; or “I will teach him”, without working with the person on his own level and in a way that best suits the person is not only counterproductive--but offensive and wrong.  The prohibition against being stiff-necked likewise applies to an attitude of “I can’t change the way I daven”, “I can’t learn more than I do”, and “That’s the way it is--every once in a while Lashon Hara comes out.”   We add that as part of taking stock on Kishinu Oref, one think about something about himself that he knows bothers others, but that he has failed to correct because it is “him.”  If one realizes that a particular mannerism or ‘custom’ really does irk family, friends, or colleagues, it should become part of the “Nachpesa Deracheinu”--the search of our ways so essential to steering us back to the proper path in life.


(c) Overdue Items--one should not overlook the items or money he has borrowed or lent to others, or to whom he owes a phone call or an apology before Rosh Hashanah.


(d) Brachos Recitation--were there any times this year that you failed to make a Bracha Achrona?  Was there any time this year when you were unsure whether you recited an Asher Yatzar or not?  Was there any time this year that you recited the wrong bracha on a product?  Do you let your family/friends get by with the way they recite brachos--even though you know that they should do better?  Fascinatingly, the Orchos Chaim LaRosh teaches that one should be careful to instruct his family to be careful in three items:  Kavannah in Tefillah; the proper method of Netilas Yadayim; and proper brachos recitation.  It is not a long list--but it is a powerfully meaningful one!  Our dedication to improvement in brachos recitation is a demonstration of the honor that we feel in bringing Hashem into our life every day--throughout the day! 



THREE MORE TIMES FOR THE SHOFAR TO BE BLOWN:  At what special occasions in the future will the Shofar be blown?  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah brings from Rebbi Yehuda HaChassid that there will be three times that a great Shofar will be blown:  (i) at Techiyas HaMeisim, (ii) at Kibutz Galiyos, and (iii) in order to bring down the Malchus Edom.  In a wonderful sense our Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana serves as the bridge between the call of the Shofar at Har Sinai (where the Kol Shofar could actually be seen!), and the ultimate Kol of the Shofaros that we will hear in the great and hopefully very close future!  To the western world the Shofar serves as no match for synthesizers, computerized music and the like--we know better--Ashrei HaAm Yodei Seruah--fortunate is the people that understand the Shofar’s importance--from Har Sinai to eternity





A.  The Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 423) does not write extensively about the Aseres Yemei Teshuva.  Specifically, he writes the following, “It is appropriate for every person to search through and scrutinize his deeds and do Teshuva as necessary.”  However, the Rema adds just one thing--”A Sofek Aveira--an aveira that one is unsure about--requires more Teshuva than an aveira which was certainly committed, because one does not feel so sorry about an aveira that he is unsure he performed.  It is for this reason that the Korban for an Asham Tolui (the Korban brought if one is unsure he performed certain aveiros) actually costs more than a Korban Chatos (brought for an aveira definitely committed).”  Based on these short but directed words of the Rema, we must be sure to reflect upon those words and deeds we were unsure about, looking up the Halacha in a sefer, or consulting with a Rav, in order to properly and honestly fulfill our mission and goal during this most special of weeks!


B.  Hashem, as we constantly repeat during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, is the “HaMelech HaKadosh-The King, The Holy.”  “Holy” denotes separate, apart, removed, distant, and not in the same place or plane (see Rashi, Vayikra 19:2 and Rashi, Kiddushin 2A).  How could it be that our King, with whom we are in constant dialogue through Torah and Tefillah, whom we constantly place before us with Brachos and Mitzvah performance, could be HaKadosh, distant, apart and separate?  The Sifsei Chaim (1:147) explains that this is precisely the lesson of the words “HaMelech HaKadosh” being placed together as a unit--even though Hashem is Kadosh-separated and apart--He wants to be King over us, and wants us to make Him our King by our drawing closer to Him and by ourselves becoming kedoshim--our elevating ourselves to higher planes of Ruchniyos.


C.  The Sefer Piskei Teshuvos (VI: p. 254, 255) specifically writes that one must appease his friend even if his friend is the one who is wrong, and even if his friend provoked him by hurling insults upon him. The Piskei Teshuvos adds that people do the wrong thing when they go around asking their close friends “Do you Mochel me?”, “Do you Mochel me?”, rather than spending the time to speak to those with whom there has been friction or difficulties, asking them for Mechila–which is really what is important.


Additional Note One:  We have already noted the Chofetz Chaim who rules that when one forgives another who hurt him intentionally or wantonly--Hashem will also forgive him for his acts of malice as well!


Additional Note Two:  Can one first ask Hashem for forgiveness of a Bein Adam Lechaveiro activity--by reciting Vidui and only afterwards ask the hurt party for forgiveness--or must one first ask of and obtain forgiveness from  the person--and only then come to Hashem and recite Vidui?  The right answer--which has been bolded for your convenience--will remind you how important asking for forgiveness--especially BEFORE Yom Kippur--really is!


Additional Note Three:  One who does forgive should forgive with a Lev Shaleim--a complete heart! 


D.  Perhaps the single greatest Nisayon that we face is Mitzvos Anashim Melumada.  We do so many good things, we perform so many nice acts, daily.  But we do so much out of rote and habit--not properly appreciating the greatness and profundity, the everlasting effects, of the Mitzvos that are being performed.  As the Chofetz Chaim points out, a person’s goal in this world is not to perform 70 years of good deeds here, so that he will have 70 years of heavenly bliss in the world to come.  Rather, it is to maximize one’s 120 years here, which will have defining and everlasting effects--forever and ever and ever.  The opportunity of reciting Kriyas Shema, for example, two times today may simply be part of 14 times this week, and many hundreds of times over the course of a year--but each and every Kriyas Shema, each and every Pesukei D’Zimrah, each and every daily Chesed and each and every daily Torah study lasts forever--and its everlasting effects are very much dependent upon the way in which it was performed.  It is for this reason that one may otherwise feel that the ‘Yetzer Hara is ‘leaving me alone’--because he may be relatively satisfied with the banal, lackluster and/or everyday performance of Mitzvos.  The Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is a time to reignite and reenergize, to re-appreciate and re-instill within us the invaluable and incomparable gifts of Mitzvos given to us by Hashem daily.  One-by-one, step-by-step, recognize the Melumada--and stamp it out!  The mark of success will literally be everlasting!


E.  By now, one should be formulating the Kabbala/Kabbalos that he intends to undertake for the coming year. We asked HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, when one should finalize his Kabbalos. He advised that his Rebbi, HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, Z’tl, would formalize and express it at Neilah on Yom Kippur. Now is the time we should be going through the preparatory and practice stages to make sure the Kabbalos work, and how we can refine and improve on them.


F.  The following excellent Kabala is based upon a Shiur given by HaRav Don Segal, Shlita, as related by Rav Yosef Eisen, Shlita.  In the Shiur, HaRav Segel taught about the importance a person should place on making proper brachos throughout the day.  He then gave the following simple yet phenomenal suggestion to permanently improve your bracha recitation:  Divide the bracha into three parts and focus on the meaning of each section separately:  1) “Baruch Ata Hashem”...(This is praise and thanks, and your statement that “Hashem, You are the Source of all bracha, and bring more and more continuously to this world”....);  2) “Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam”...(“You are All-Powerful, and Rule over the Whole World”...); 3) The specific nature of the bracha--Borei Pri/HaMotzi/Asher Kideshanu...specifically appreciating the specific item or event that we are making a bracha over.  Hakhel Note:  Isn’t this Kabala suggestion too wonderful and practical ...to simply let it go by?  If it seems too great an undertaking all the time, perhaps start with a certain bracha, or certain brachos in the day?  Remember, you are in the heart of the Aseres Yemei Teshuva--so there is no better time to start than right now.  If you have a food item in front of you--try it!


G.  We learned from the Malchiyos and Zichronos of Rosh Hashana that we are to realize that a real focus of our life should be placed upon Kabalas Ol Malchus Shomayim and the awareness that Hashem watches over us and guides us--and does the same for billions of people in a manner which is beyond our comprehension.  All of this reminds us that Hashem wants us to do good--so that we achieve eternity in the best possible way--and Hashem wants to help us. As we have noted in the past, there is a remarkable bracha--the last of the Birkas Hashachar in the morning.  The Bracha begins HaMa’avir Sheinah Mai’einai--thanking Hashem for removing the slumber from one’s eyes and refreshing him to begin a new day--and then proceeds within the bracha to make approximately 20 different requests for Hashem’s help during the day.  The bracha then concludes HaGomel Chassadim Tovim--Who bestows beneficent kindnesses upon His people Yisrael.  We may suggest that if one bli neder accepts upon himself to recite this bracha slowly with Kavannah, asking Hashem for assistance in so much of what happens or could happen throughout the day--one demonstrates his recognition of Hashem’s Malchus over him, and also of Hashem’s awareness of and involvement in the particulars of one’s every day trials, tribulations and victories.  Moreover, one is praying for Hashem’s assistance in so many important matters--and he is certainly coming to the right place in doing so!  Perhaps one can attempt this Kabala--reciting this bracha slowly with Kavannah--to start with for 30 days--it may mean starting davening or coming to Shul a minute earlier in order to give the bracha the recognition it deserves--but it will certainly be so splendidly worth it!



HILCHOS SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. We present below another two Shailos asked of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, as presented in the Sefer Ma’aseh Rav:


1.  Question:  Is it permissible to give a Shiur on Sukkos 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!


2. Question:  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 bracha?


    Answer:  One should enter the Sukkah even though he cannot make a bracha over the Mitzvah at that time.



3 Tishrei






TESHUVAH MOMENT: By the following link http://tinyurl.com/hu584cv, we provide a wonderful, thought-through path to Teshuvah received from a reader!





Hakhel Note:  The Yesod VeShoresh Ha’Avoda writes that one should be “Marbeh BeTzedakah” because giving Tzedakah is a “Segulah Nefla’a LeKapparas HaAvonos U’Veyichud LaEvyonim MeHuganim Ba’alei Torah--giving Tzedaka is a wondrous Segulah for forgiveness of sin--especially if it is to poor Torah Scholars.”  Over the next several days, let us especially remind ourselves:  Give!  Give!  Give!  and then…Give!     



GRAND OPPORTUNITY--START YESHIVAS MAICHAYIL EL CHAYIL IN YOUR SHUL OR COMMUNITY:  For the last few years we have seen the great success of Yeshivas Maichayil El Chayil--where men, boys, and fathers and sons, COME BACK TO SHUL after a post Yom Kippur Seudah to study Torah for an hour to demonstrate their true rededication to the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah which is KeNeged Kulam.  To spur the boys on, gifts and raffles for Seforim and Yom Tov prizes can be offered--and those donating the funds for the prizes, and purchasing them, certainly have a Chelek in Talmud Torah DeRabbim--on Motzei Yom Kippur!  Please bring this INCOMPARABLE PROGRAM to your Shul or community--and what a sweetening Zechus it will be for you and yours on Yom Kippur!  We have sample flyers and raffle tickets. Please contact us if you have any questions at all--347-409-5061.



BANECHA HAIM:  Chazal teach us that the Navi Hoshea was taught that he should have pleaded to Hashem on behalf of K’lal Yisrael with the words Banecha Haim, B’nei Chanunecha, B’nei Avraham Yitzchok VeYa’akov--Galgeil Rachamecha Aleihem!” We too must plead on behalf of Hashem’s children--who are the children of the Avos and our brothers as well!  A Rav asked us to focus our readers’ attention on the beginning words of our Selichos daily--KeDalim U’cheRoshim Dofaknu Delasecha--we are all impoverished as we seek Hashem’s compassion.  We should recognize that every person has his own pekele of issues and difficulties--AND DAVEN NOT ONLY FOR OURSELVES BUT FOR EVERY MEMBER OF K’LAL YISRAEL.  There are those with physical problems, mental problems, Shalom Bayis problems, Parnassah problems, Shidduch problems--there are so many issues--we must expand our “me” our “I” to encompass those who are one with us.  During the Selichos Period and over the Yomim Noraim we are not only davening for ourselves! Let us make the effort to open our hearts far and wide--and may Hashem open the door even farther and wider!


Remember, there are no limits to what we can accomplish with Siyata D’Shmaya, and just one sincere Tefillah can get us there!



THE AHL CHEIT LINK: As Yom Kippur approaches, we provide for your use a link of the Ahl Cheits  http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/AhlCheitArchives.pdf  Please feel free to print-out, and share the link with others!



YOU CAN STILL DO IT! There are ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and ten chapters in Hilchos Teshuva of the Rambam. Do you think that the Rambam is suggesting that we learn one chapter a day over the Aseres Yemei Teshuva? Well, at this point, we can learn two chapters a day ... and still finish before Yom Kippur!



QUESTION OF THE DAY: Chazal teach that during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva we recite HaMelech Hakodosh, rather than HaKel Hakodosh. Why is it that HaMelech must replace HaKel in the bracha? Can’t we just add HaMelech before or after HaKel, so that it is HaKel HaMelech Hakodosh? After all, as we concluded U’Nesaneh Tokef, did we not cry out that Hashem is Melech Kel Chai V’Kayam? Moreover, Kel is even in the Shelosh Esrei Middos that we have been reciting and will continue to recite so many important times through the end of Yom Kippur. Why not continue to include it in the bracha, as we do on the other 353 days of the year?! We look forward to your thoughts!



ELOKAI NETZOR:  Now that we have concluded our Nineteen Week Kavannah campaign of the nineteen brachos of Shemone Esrei, we conclude with our focus on our personal requests in Elokai Netzor.  For example: “P’sach Libi BeSoresecha U’VeMitzvosecha Tirdof Nafshi --open my heart to Your Torah and may my soul pursue Your commandments.”  Here, we ask not only that we be given the ability to study--but that Hashem open our hearts so that our study is deep and successful.  We also ask for Hashem’s assistance not only to perform the Mitzvos--but to pursue the Mitzvos, indicating an understanding and appreciation of them.  When one cherishes something, he runs after it.  We then continue to plead with Hashem as follows:  “VeChol HaChoshevim Alai Ra’ah Meheirah Hafer Atzasam VeKalkel Machshevasam--and for those who intend to do me harm, speedily void their plans and spoil their intentions.”  What an important request--especially at a time when different enemies--from terrorists to so-called leaders seek to r’l harm us, if not to r’l obliterate us or compromise our dedication to Torah study and to Mitzvos.  Here is our opportunity, daily--three times a day to ask Hashem to thwart their intentions.  Why?  “Asei LeMa’an Shemecha, Asei LeMa’an Yeminecha, Asei LeMa’an Kedushasecha, Asei LeMa’an Torasecha--so that Kiddush Hashem will prevail in the world, with everyone recognizing the Malchus of Hashem, and the world is brought to its fulfillment!” We provide by the following link additional notes on Elokai Netzor for the years 5771 and 5772 http://www.hakhel.info/TefillahArchive.html





A.  Last week at this time we were blowing Shofar. This week, we no longer hear the wondrous and piercing sound. Why is this really so--if the Shofar is to move us to Teshuva should we not continue to hear its sublime message through Yom Kippur-- as we reach the epitome of Teshuva?’ We may suggest that the Shofar heralds the Days of Judgment--that the King will soon be arriving to sit in Judgment and will stay close to us (Dirshu Hashem BeHimatzo) from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur. Once the King arrives on Rosh Hashana, though, it would be superfluous and even perhaps insulting to the King and even to His subjects that any kind of reminder is needed that the King is here. We must accordingly be acting in a very special way at this time--with the knowledge and awareness that the King is here this week visiting with us.  Our learning, our tefillos, our mitzvos, should be and feel different. It would not hurt for a person to make a little sign for himself to place on his desk, refrigerator or other conspicuous place that reads ASERES YEMEI TESHUVA--just so that the extra caution and precaution, care and vigilance, is exercised during these precious days.


B.  Next week at this time we will no longer have the privilege of reciting the incredible and powerful Avinu Malkeinu tefillah. We must treasure each opportunity this week--and each and every plea for mercy should be heartfelt. Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Shlita teaches in the name of HaRav Yitzchok Hutner, Z’tl that Avinu Malkeinu provides a very special combination: A father sometimes wants to give to his child but is unable--he doesn’t have the ability, the time, the funds, etc. A king, on the other hand, has all of the above--but he simply may not have the willingness or desire to help his subject. Hashem, however, is different. As a Father--Ich Vill--I want to give, and as a King--Ich Kenn--I can give! We therefore approach Hashem as our Father and King who can certainly actualize our requests! The Father and King needs only to see and hear that we are His loyal son and subject. Indeed, even if we have gone astray in the past, he can see the sincerity of our current requests--as we heartfully plead with Him “Chaneinu VaAneinu ...Asei Imanu Tzedaka VaChesed VeHoshieinu.” Suggestion: Perhaps we can stretch out our hand and have a Hirhur Teshuva as we ask for this Tzedaka VaChesed here to demonstrate our fervent belief in the Dirshu Hashem BeHimatzo that this week so especially and uniquely houses!


C.  When we recite the words in Selichos and on Yom Kippur of “Aval Anachnu VoAvoseinu Chatanu--but we and our forefathers have sinned,” we must remember that they are actually part of the Vidui itself. In fact, the Rambam in Hilchos Teshuva (2:8) calls these words the “lkar” of Vidui. Accordingly, it would appear that one should be slightly bowed over as he recites these words, as in the remainder of the Vidui.


D.  Everyone must realize that not only is he a judge, as he is constantly judging other people (hopefully-favorably--for everyone’s sake), but that he is also a Rebbi--teaching others by his behavior. What time he arrives in Shul or to learn, how he treats Seforim, how he demonstrates respect to others when talking to them, how appropriately he dresses, how careful he is in reciting brachos, how he treats a person asking for charity or help, are just some of the most daily activities where are ‘students’ learn from us. We can create daily Kiddush Hashem or c’v Chilul Hashem which can carry on for years (and maybe even generations) in and through the conduct and behavior of others who learn from us--our neighbors, friends and family. Our thoughtful actions not only have ramifications in the heavenly worlds now--but in the future in this very world! Let us go for daily Kiddush Shem Shomayim--making it a part of our daily awareness and our daily goal!



TESHUVA FOR A LIFE OF WRONGDOING:  The wonderful Sefer, Journey to Virtue by Rabbi Avrohom Ehrman, Shlita (Artscroll), provides the following essential guidance for one who feels inundated by past wrongdoings: 


Even if one has regularly offended people (through Lashon Hara, Rechilus, verbal abuse, etc.) for many years and caused incalculable damage during that time, one should not despair, for nothing stands in the way of Teshuvah.  No matter how low a person has stooped, Hashem is ready at all times to accept his Teshuvah.  Furthermore, Hashem desires and awaits his return.  “And until the day a person dies You wait for him, if he will return to You, You will immediately accept him” (Tefillah of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).


The Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuva (7:4, 7): Let not a person who has done Teshuvah imagine that he is far removed from the greatness of Tzadikim because of his sins and iniquities.  It is not so; rather, he is beloved and desired before the Creator as if he had never sinned. Furthermore, his reward is great because he ‘tasted sin and then left it’, and overcame his evil inclination….  How great is Teshuvah. Yesterday (before he did Teshuvah) he was distanced from Hashem…if he cried out to Him he was not answered…when he performed Mitzvos they were taken away (i.e., they were unwanted)…and today (after he has decided to return to Hashem)…when he cries out he is answered immediately…when he does Mitzvos they are accepted with pleasure and joy…and furthermore, Hashem desired them! (ibid)


Although it may be impossible to recall the identity of all those who were harmed, one should at least make efforts to placate the ones whom one does remember having wronged.  A person who wants to do Teshuvah for years of wrongdoing should engage in four different activities:


(a)  He should rectify whatever he possibly can.


(b)  He should take steps to distance himself as much as possible from repeating his old patterns of behavior. He should make efforts to avoid situations in which he will be tempted to repeat those wrongs, and should take active steps to ensure that his resolution to change his ways is carried out.  For example, he should study Mussar and the laws pertaining to the wrongs committed.  If his personality led him to abuse others or speak Lashon Hara, he should examine the sources of the problem and get help to change his behavior patterns.


(c) Torah and acts of kindness are atonements for wrongdoing.  Thus, if a person wants to atone for previous behavior he should engage in Torah study and act with kindness to others.


(d)  The righteous find favor doing precisely those activities with which they had previously sinned.  Thus, someone who wishes to atone for Lashon Hara, verbal abuse, cheating, etc. should try to teach and spread knowledge of these Mitzvos and prohibitions and encourage others to observe them.  At the height of the ecstasy of rejoicing on Sukkos, those who repented said, “Fortunate are our older years that have atoned for our younger years.”  Most important is the need to firmly resolve that from now on these wrongs will not be repeated.


Hakhel Note:  Hashem has given us an unbelievable opportunity to cleanse ourselves of years of accumulated grime.  Let us make the effort at this special time to come clean!



HILCHOS SUKKAH: We continue our two Halachos a day in the 30-day period before Sukkos. We present below two Shailos asked of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, as presented in the Sefer Ma’aseh Rav:


1.  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.


2.  Question:  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 first 10?


Answer: 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 approach.


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