Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin
OCTOBER 2019 DAILY EMAIL ARCHIVE
By the following audio link, we provide Rabbi Eliya Brudny, Shlita’s recent
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!
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
Hakhel Note: How meaningful and powerful our Birchas HaShachar really are!
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?
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
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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 rovetz…veattah
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
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
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?
provide the following additional notes found in the Sefer Leket Reshimos
(B’Inyanei Kavod Shomayim) from the teachings of HaRav Nosson Meir
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
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!
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
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.
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
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:
POINTS AND POINTERS RELATING
TO ROSH CHODESH, EXCERPTED FROM THE LUACH DAVAR B’ITO:
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.
The following notes are found in the Sefer Leket Reshimos (B’Inyanei
Kavod Shomayim) from the teachings of HaRav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel,
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!
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
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.
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’
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.
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
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”.
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!
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
The Rav responded by embracing the man and exclaiming, “Shalom aleichem, Reb
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!
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”
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
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)
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!
WE CONTINUE WITH OUR EREV
SHABBOS--HALACHOS OF SHABBOS SERIES:
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
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
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
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’
“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
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
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?
SOME ADDITIONAL POST-YOM TOV POINTS AND POINTERS:
1. On Simchas Torah, we sang Ain Segulah KaTorah--there is no
Segulah like the Torah. HaRav Avrohom Schorr, Shlita teaches that this is
not merely a beautiful song but is to be taken quite literally. If one
improves in some way in his actual Torah study--there is no segulah like it!
2. On the presentation known as Maseches Chaim (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
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!
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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.
LEARN MUSSAR – in order to acquire the true view of life.
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).
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!
According to the Baalei Mussar, this replaces Yissurim (physical suffering).
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
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
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.
CARDS! The following
is a link
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
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!
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
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!
POINTS AND POINTERS ON THE POST YOMIM NORAIM/YOM TOV PERIOD:
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
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!
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.
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.
the following link, we provide HaRav Avigdor Miller’s Ten Steps to
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
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
QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
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
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!
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
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
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!
provide by the following link -
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!
provide by the following link
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
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?
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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).
present below several rulings of HaRav Elyashiv, Z’tl, relating to Sukkos,
as excerpted from the Sefer Ashrei HaIsh (Volume III):
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
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’.
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.
snow falls on the Sukkah, it is batel to the Schach, and the Sukkah
may be used.
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.
a child under Bar Mitzvah put up the Schach, one should preferably place the
Schach down again.
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).
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.
one is eating meat, fish or cheese as a meal, he must eat it inside the
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
WE CONTINUE WITH OUR EREV SHABBOS--HALACHOS OF SHABBOS SERIES, AS EXCERPTED
FROM THE MISHNA BERURAH (DIRSHU EDITION):
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
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)
PRESENT BELOW SEVERAL IMPORTANT POINTS WHICH RELATE TO PROPERLY CELEBRATING
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.)
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
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).
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.
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!
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!
ADDITIONAL SUKKOS POINTS AND POINTERS:
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!
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!
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
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!
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:
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…”
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
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.
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.
PRESENT BELOW SEVERAL RULINGS OF HARAV ELYASHIV, Z’TL, RELATING TO HILCHOS
YOM TOV, ALSO AS EXCERPTED FROM SEFER ASHREI HAISH (ORACH CHAIM,
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.
can place a wick into its floating holder on Yom Tov, provided that the hole
is fully open before putting the wick in.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
restrictions that apply to opening containers on Shabbos, apply identically
on Yom Tov.
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.
One may not make ice cubes on Yom Tov, for it is similar to Boneh,
and Boneh is Assur on Yom Tov as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PREVIOUS YEARS, WE REVIEW WITH YOU:
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.
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.
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.
should wear nicer clothes on Chol HaMoed than on a regular weekday. The
mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov applies to Chol HaMoed as well.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
One cannot schedule a “routine” medical or dental checkup or exam for Chol
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
SIT IN THE SUKKAH IN THE UPCOMING SUNNY DAYS, WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT OUR OWN
PERSONAL WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN INSTILL THE SUKKAH’S SHEMIRA INTO OUR HOMES
AFTER THE SEVEN DAYS HAVE PASSED. WILL IT BE BY REMEMBERING TO PICTURE
HASHEM IN FRONT OF US WHEN WE SAY THE WORD “ATA” IN EACH ONE OF OUR BRACHOS?
WILL IT BE IN THE MANNER THAT WE EAT--SITTING DOWN AND EATING RESPECTFULLY?
WILL IT BE WITH THE VOICE LEVEL USED IN OUR HOME? WILL IT BE BY NOT
PURCHASING THE EXTRA LUXURY OR OVERINDULGENCE BECAUSE IT LOOKS SO NICE, IS
SO “BALABATISH,” OR TASTES SO GOOD? WILL IT BE BY THE EMPHASIS OF MIND OVER
MATTER? THE LIST GOES ON…
INCULCATE THESE THOUGHTS INTO OUR BEING, AND MAY THIS SUKKOS BRING WITH IT
THE PROTECTION--AND THE CONSEQUENT GUIDANCE--TO MAKE THIS YEAR ESPECIALLY
GREAT AND SUCCESSFUL!
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.
NOTEBOOK--Is everything in
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
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
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
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
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!
WE PROVIDE THE
FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL POST-YOM KIPPUR POINTS AND POINTERS:
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!
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
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.
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
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.
By the following link htttp://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/YKInitiative5780.pdf
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).
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
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
IKAR OF VIDUI:
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
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)!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
WE PROVIDE IMPORTANT POINTS AND
POINTERS RELATING TO EREV YOM KIPPUR:
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
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,
After studying these pesokim, one should, of course, in all events consult
with his Rav with respect to his own personal situation, circumstances, or
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.
WE PROVIDE IMPORTANT POINTS AND
POINTERS RELATING TO YOM KIPPUR:
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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
Smile at someone (especially someone who could use it), or cause someone
else to smile.
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).
Perform an unrequested Chesed before breakfast.
Have someone join in a Mitzvah with you--it can include asking someone to
answer Amen to your bracha.
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
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….
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,
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
Rather than taking out a cell phone when walking on the street or traveling,
spend time with yourself.
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.
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.
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!
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
A final thought on our Kabalos: Remember, the Torah tells us “U’Vacharta
BaChaim—Choose Life”. Incredibly, Hashem puts our lives in our own
WE PROVIDE IMPORTANT POINTS AND
POINTERS RELATING TO NEILAH:
A. The Sefer Otzros HaTorah
writes that the end of Yom Kippur, when the gates close, brings a Shefa
Gadol along with it, for a climax or a conclusion is always a time of
greatest intensity. For instance, as the Midrash Shochar Tov teaches before
Alos HaShachar is the time when it is darkest. So too, at the end of days
will the Yetzer Hara be at its strongest--for it is about to reach the end
of its purpose. So too, is the Shefa of Kaparas Yom HaKippurim greatest
during these moments. Over the last 40 days, Days of Mercy, we have davened
and pleaded, done Teshuva and given Tzedaka. We have, to use the Mashal of
the Maggid M’Lublin shot all of our arrows but one. There is a lion on the
other side of the grass and there is one arrow left--this is Tefillas Neilah.
Our lives depend upon how powerfully we deliver our final 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
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!
GEMAR CHASIMA TOVA!
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
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:
is the last word of Avinu Malkeinu? Why do think that it is fitting that we
end Avinu Malkeinu with this word?
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.
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
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.
SOME NEW KABBALOS SUGGESTIONS:
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
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
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!
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.
WE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT LINKS FOR
YOU TO PRINT OUT AND FURTHER DISTRIBUTE FOR YOM KIPPUR, AS WE HAVE DONE IN
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
Please spread the word.
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!
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
message is available at
Vidui Card in Lashon HaKodesh with more detailed specification as to
The Thirteen Middos--The Thirteen Attributes in Lashon HaKodesh. http://tinyurl.com/2d63u8
The Thirteen Middos--The Thirteen Attributes in English. http://tinyurl.com/yq9k42
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!).
once again provide a great Tefillah for Teshuvah--which you may insert at
the end of your Yom Kippur Shemone Esrei
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!
ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT PRE-YOM KIPPUR POINTS
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
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!
PROVIDE A FEW BRIEF NOTES BELOW FROM THE SEFER KOVETZ HALACHOS: YOMIM
NORAIM BY RABBI DONIEL KLEINMAN, SHLITA, CONTAINING THE PESOKIM OF HARAV
SHMUEL KAMENETSKY, SHLITA:
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.
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.
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.
Both a father and the mother should bentsch a child on Erev Yom Kippur.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
VaEl Kulam Eloak Selichos is not part of the Vidui, and need not be
recited in a bowed position.
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
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.
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.
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
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
One should bring himself to cry in his Tefillos on Yom Kippur and should be
sure to express his personal requests to Hashem.
CHOFETZ CHAIM PROVIDES AN AMAZING MASHAL:
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!
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
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!
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!
REMARKABLE POINTS ON TESHUVAH:
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
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!
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.
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.
YEMEI TESHUVAH ALERTS:
Birchos HaShachar one thanks Hashem for taking care of all of my
Li Kol Tzarki.
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!
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.
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 -
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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!
FOR SHABBOS SHUVA:
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!
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!
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:
Lashon Hara--brings many, many other aveiros along with it and can
destroy relationships, families and lives
Rechilus--as above, and perhaps even more hurtful to the person
Sheker-while Hashem’s seal is Emes!
Chanufa--including egging on...’you’re right!’
Laitzanus--mockery, poking fun, ridicule
Ona’as Devorim--hurtful or insulting words
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....
Divrei Ga’avah--words of arrogance--even though the sign of greatness is
humility (Iggeres HaRamban)
Divrei Machlokes--fighting, argumentative words
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!
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!
FOLLOWING WONDERFUL THOUGHT IS EXCERPTED FROM A PUBLICATION KNOWN AS TT
“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:
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).
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!
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.
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
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).
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
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
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:
The Navi (Yirmiyahu
“Hineni Nishpat Osach Al Amreich Lo Chatasi--Hashem judges a person
by separate judgment for the person’s claim that he did not sin.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
MORE TIMES FOR THE SHOFAR TO BE BLOWN:
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
YEMEI TESHUVAH ALERTS:
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!
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
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
Additional Note Three: One who does forgive should forgive with a Lev
Shaleim--a complete heart!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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:
Question: Is it permissible to give a Shiur on Sukkos if you know
people will fall asleep at the Shiur?
One can give the Shiur--but must first warn the people that it is forbidden
to sleep outside of the Sukkah!
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?
One should enter the Sukkah even though he cannot make a bracha over the
Mitzvah at that time.
WHICH IS MALEI BIRKAS
we provide a wonderful, thought-through path to Teshuvah received from a
REMEMBER TO GIVE TZEDAKAH TODAY--PLEASE!
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!
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.
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
Please feel free to print-out, and share the link with others!
think that the
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!
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
WE PROVIDE ASERES YEMEI TESHUVA ALERTS RELATING TO THIS PRECIOUS WEEK. WE
ESPECIALLY NOTE THAT THERE ARE STILL SIX DAYS LEFT-- SIX DAYS OF
ACTION--WHICH CAN HELP US ATTAIN THE BIRKAS HASHEM AND THE SWEET YEAR THAT
WE SO LONG FOR:
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
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:
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).
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:
He should rectify whatever he possibly can.
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
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.
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.
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!
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:
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].
The Torah did not obligate us to do so.
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?
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.