Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus Z’TL in Shabbos Malkasa (p. 112) points out the amazing parallels between
the details of the Beis HaMikdosh, and the requirements of Shabbos:
The 39 Melachos
that are prohibited on Shabbos, were, in fact, the 39 Melachos required to
build the Mishkan--the Mishkan (as the predecessor to the Beis HaMikdosh)
represents the ultimate of Creation--bringing Hashem into this world through
these 39 actions of
Man.Shabbos represents bringing the
Shechina to this world through **our Inaction**--our total Emunah and
Bitachon in the omnipotence of Hashem (as we recite in the Shabbos davening,
“Yismichu V’Malchusecha Shomrei Shabbos”--Those that observe Shabbos
rejoice in Your Kingship).
Just as the
service of the Beis HaMikdosh brings forgiveness of all of our sins (recall
the last words of Dayeinu), so too does the proper observance of Shabbos
bring forgiveness.The Gemara (Shabbos
119B) teaches that after recitation of “VaYechulu” on Leil Shabbos, the
two Malochim (angels) which escort a person place their hands on his head
and recite the posuk “And your iniquities are removed, and your sins are
forgiven” (Yeshaya 6:7).
In the Beis
HaMikdosh there is a Menorah which is first prepared for use (Hatava) and
then lit (Hadlaka), and on Shabbos, Neiros Shabbos are first prepared on
Eruv Shabbos and then lit as well.
In the Beis
HaMikdosh there was a special Shulchan (Table) with 12 loaves, known as the
Lechem HaPonim, and on Shabbos, we have special Lechem Mishna at each meal.(The Zohar actually refers to twelve loaves on Shabbos as well, which
the ARIZAL learns is actually twelve separate breads, but which the GRA
understood to be the division of each of the two loaves at each meal into
In the Beis
HaMikdosh, there is a mitzvah to eat from the Kodshim, the permitted
Korbanos, and on Shabbos there is also a mitzvah to eat the Seudos, the
special Shabbos meals.
In the Beis
HaMikdosh, there are special Shirim, Lofty Songs over the Korbanos sung by
the Leviim, and on Shabbos we add additional “Zemiros” in Pesukei
DeZimra at Shacharis, and great significance is placed on the Zemiros at
Just as in the
Beis HaMikdosh, a preparatory washing of the hands and feet is required
before serving, so too, are we required to cleanse ourselves prior to
entering into Shabbos.
In the Beis
HaMikdosh there are special Bigdei Kehuna, clothes for the Kohanim, which if
not worn render the Avodah pasul, unfit.So too, on Shabbos, we are enjoined from wearing weekday clothing
(See Shabbos 113B-114A), all of which demonstrates special honor to Hashem,
as we sense His close Presence.
Kedoshim, the holiest area of the Beis HaMikdosh, contains the Aron with the
Luchos.So too, the “Inner
Sanctum” of Shabbos is the study of Torah on this Holy Day (Yerushalmi,
Shabbos 15:3 and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 290:2, Mishne Berurah seif
katan 5 and 6).
If we can begin to develop an
appreciation of Shabbos by understanding that it is more than a day off or
even a day of rest, and start reflecting and acting on it as a G-d-given
sanctuary in time which is to raise us above where we think we are,
B’Ezras Hashem, we will likewise be ready to enter and absorb the Kedushas
Beis HaMikdosh--may it be rebuilt speedily and in our days…
So let’s start working on this
There is a “Shas Chabura” in Lakewood, with participants
in many other locations, which emphasizes remembering what you have learned.
As part of their method of
study, they review what they have learned on the eighth day after originally
studied (based upon memory research).
Similarly, it is now eight days since the conclusion
of Pesach, and as the word Matzah is related to the word “mitz” (juice),
let us see if we can squeeze out as much as we can from the Chag.
Chazal teach us (in the Mechilta) that the
Maidservants at the Splitting of the Yam Suf saw more (experienced greater
spiritual heights) than Yecheskel and other Neviim in their prophecies (see
Rabbeinu Bachya to Shemos 15:2). Nevertheless,
the Baalei Mussar explain, the next day the Maidservants remained
horrible--experiencing realms loftier than the great prophetic visions, and
regressing fully to their original status. Why
did they not achieve at least some level of permanent growth from their
experience? Because they did not
anchor their lofty status to any particular item or event which could
continue in their everyday life. On
the other hand, the Neviim remained Neviim because their special conduct
kept them on the plane necessary to continue to receive prophecy.
So what can we do to anchor ourselves--to conduct
ourselves more like the Prophets than the Maidservants?
Let us take two basic Midos of Pesach:
a few short moments, Matzah suddenly becomes edible, and actually is an
important staple of the diets of prisoners and captives (as Bnei Yisrael
were in Mitzrayim) because it fills the body’s needs for a longer period. In
its preparation for the Chag, we act with clockwork precision and extreme
care and diligence (Shemira). Chazal
derive from this that “if a Mitzvah comes your way, do not delay to
SUGGESTION:For a period of
time (week, month, until Shavuos, etc.), Bli Neder, take it upon yourself
not to come late to Shacharis, Mincha, or Maariv, or to your regular Shiur,
or to light Shabbos candles, or to meetings, etc. Note
that being late means coming even one minute late, not ten minutes late. Remember:
we are talking Maidservant as opposed to a Prophet!
Recognizing Hashem in Our Lives.
commentaries on the Haggadah point out that a key reason the Haggadah
expounds on the passages of “Arami Oved Avi” from Chumash Devorim, as
opposed to the Haggadah teaching the Parshios that actually describe the
Servitude and Exodus (Parshios Shemos/Va’Eira and Bo), is because in the
former we clearly express our recognition of what Hashem has done for us. If
a person gets to see the best doctor in the world--how thankful he would be.
If he was taught quantum physics
by a three-time Nobel Prize winner in Physics, or if he had been served food
as prepared and directed by the head chef of the Queen of England, assisted
by 15 international master chefs, how special he would feel. With
Yetzias Mitzrayim, we are taught that **We are it**--the Chosen Ones, the
Mitzvah Bearers, for whose purpose the world was created and continues to
exist. In short, we are sitting
on top of the world. What thanks
we owe to Hashem!!
SUGGESTION:To begin, we
should be extremely enthusiastic about our position in life. It
may be difficult to feel ebullient at all times, because even the Prince
gets used to being a Prince. What
we can do, however, is from time to time during the day (at a specified time
such as while walking, or at lunch, etc.) make it a point to recognize and
thank Hashem for what you have by expressing it verbally. Of
course, you need not limit your thanks to the Olam Haba of Torah and Mitzvos,
but can include the details of your Olam Hazeh benefits and pleasures which
take you to that Olam Haba.
As we enter supermarkets and grocery stores, we notice
many items marked “Baked after Pesach 5766” or “Prepared after
Passover 5766”. This action
need not be limited to bakeries and commissaries. We
should also be baking and preparing our own “fresh items” after our
Passover 5766. Let’s really think about it, talk about it, and give it a
A SHORT QUIZ
QUESTION 1:During Pesach, the most repeated Posuk in Hallel we recited was
“Hodu Lashem Ki Tov, Ki L’Olam Chasdo”--Give Thanks to Hashem for He
is Good, for His Kindness is Everlasting.It would seem that this Posuk is essential to our daily davening, as
well.Do we recite this Posuk at
all in our daily Tefillos?
QUESTION 2:In which Brocha of Shemone Esrei do we ask that Hashem act “Meheira”--quickly
**three separate times**?What
does this mean to you?
QUESTION 3:In the Brocha of “Al HaTzaddikim”, we ask that “Yehemu Na
Rachamecha Hashem Elokeinu”--Act towards us with Your Mercy, Hashem Our
G-d.What does “Yehemu”
mean--How do we want Hashem to act with His Mercy?
ANSWER 1:Yes, it appears in Pesukei Dezimra, during our recitation of Hodu
Lashem Kiru V’Shmo.If you did
not have the right answer to this question, may we suggest that as you
recite Pesukei Dezimra you look for--and spend an extra moment of
concentration on--pesukim that you recognize so that you can constantly
recharge your Tefillah as you daven.
ANSWER 2:The Brocha of “V’Hamalshinim”, in which we ask Hashem to deal
with our enemies. We are not only asking that Hashem deal with them, but we
are pleading that Hashem take action quickly--and we reinforce this by
requesting the action three distinct times!Who knows how many lives our collective inspired “Meheiras” can
ANSWER 3:With the word “Yehemu”, we ask that Hashem not only bring His
Mercy upon us, but that His Mercy be “aroused”(See Etz Yosef and Seder HaYom, based upon Yermiyahu 31:19).Rav Shimon Schwab Z’TL, in his Sefer on Tefillah, explains that the
arousal of Mercy we are referring to is **our own arousal**--i.e., we pray
to Hashem that He shower so much mercy upon us that we can actually finally
recognize and even feel it.Rav
Schwab analogizes this idea to the air around us, which we all need every
moment, yet which gets taken for granted without much further thought.When a strong wind blows, however, the burst of air is finally
understood and appreciated.So
too, we take for granted Hashem’s constant Mercy, and thus ask for a
demonstration of His Mercy which is so strong that we can actually tangibly
feel and appreciate His love, compassion and boundless kindness.
ELEVATE YOUR THOUGHTS
You must get to the 11th floor
and you are already 15 minutes late.You
enter the elevator quickly and press the button for the 11th
floor.Within seconds, six other
people enter the elevator.You
watch closely, very closely as lower floors than yours are pressed!One person presses 7, the next 6, the next 10, the next 4, and the
next 8 and…finally, finally, the last one presses a higher floor--16.
“This is worse than a local train”,
you think as you look at your watch at each floor.When you finally reach your destination, and are about to apologize
for being late, the receptionist tells you that your meeting has been
delayed by half an hour.As you
sit for your half hour (really an hour) delay, you realize that you have
time to think.
Why all the impatience?
Why was I late in the first place?
Did it really help to look at my watch at every floor?
Did Hashem set that elevator up to test me?After all, there is something called Hashgacha Pratis
What if Hashem didn’t enlighten someone to invent the
elevator at all?
What if the elevator was not working?
How many thousands of elevators go up and down every day
without mishap--tens upon tens of thousands of trips each day--maybe
this is even a greater miracle than jet travel.
Everybody has their own life, everybody has their own
Live and let live--don’t look at how he harmed me.Understand that a person does what he must do, or as he is used
Some people’s place is on lower floors, some people at
slightly higher floors--and yes, there are people on levels (even)
higher than you.
The higher you get, the less people there are to
accompany you, but don’t feel bad or lonely, because you are getting
to your destination.
It pays to sit down and think, because
some times, you can turn even an elevator ride into an elevating ride.
FOCUS AND FEEL
Having just left Pesach, we recall the
powerful words of the Rambam (Hilchos Brachos
“The primary rule is that a person
should always call out to Hashem for the future and ask for His mercy; and
give thanks for the past and praise Hashem, each person according to his
strength.And the more one
thanks Hashem and constantly praises Him, the more praiseworthy he himself
Rav Chaim Friedlander Z’TL deduces from
this, and notes that, the Rambam does NOT
write that the more one calls out to Hashem and asks for His mercy, the more
praiseworthy he is.Rather, the
Rambam writes the more one thanks and praises Hashem, the greater he
is.Indeed, Chazal teach us that
in the future, the Korban Todah--the Thanks Offering--will be the Korban
that continues on and remains with us after the world becomes filled with
the knowledge of Hashem.The Sin
Offerings and the Guilt Offerings will no longer have a place in our lives,
but thanks always will.
It is amazing to note that the level of
thanks and praise to Hashem on Pesach is so high that no Korban Todah can be
brought because they must be brought with chometz loaves of bread--which is
impossible on Pesach!This is
obviously no coincidence, as the Torah could have either excluded the
chometz loaves from the offering on Pesach, or permitted them for the sake
of the offering only.The
message is clear--on Pesach, we have grown even above this Korban.
Let us start the Spring/Summer season with
our right foot forward, by keeping our Pesach spirit of Thanks and Hallel,
so that as we begin to once again recite Mizmor L’Sodah daily, we will
merge and blend our joy over the redemption of the past into an everlasting
thanks continuing into the future.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION:As you go through davening (especially Pesukei D’Zimrah) focus on
and feel the words of thanks--especially considering your being born close
to the time of the Final Redemption and your having the tremendous
opportunity to contribute to the last stages of Zechusim, putting up those
last few bricks on the wall, to bring Moshiach, Bimhera B’yameinu.
DON’T SLEEP ON IT
The story is told of a man who had
obviously grievously sinned and had come to Rav Shach Z’TL a few hours
before Shabbos.The man was
sobbing uncontrollably and could barely eke out the following words, “How
will I ever be forgiven?”However,
because of his uncontrollable sobbing, he was not able to express to Rav
Shach what his sin was, so that Rav Shach could not give him advice.After an extended period, Rav Shach advised him to go home, get some
rest and come back to see him again on Motzei Shabbos.The man did so, and on Motzei Shabbos, came in to Rav Shach, and sat
down calmly, explaining to Rav Shach the aveira he had done.After Rav Shach gave him his advice, the man left.
Commenting on this incident, Rav Shach
noted how “sleeping on it” could cause a person to forget all of the
feelings and emotions within him.He
surmised from this that Teshuvah must be done immediately upon recognition
of an aveira, and advised his students not to sleep on an aveira without
We can derive a similar lesson from this
with regard to any of the strong positive feelings we had over the Pesach
holiday.We should not let them
get away over this weekend.Instead,
we should reflect upon (and take some positive action which could maintain)
the highpoints, the gained Emunah, the simcha, the thanks, and should try to
remember any of the events or Divrei Torah that elevated us--so that they do
not escape us during the coming days, weeks and months.
It might pay to review your feelings and
experiences with your family or friends at the Shabbos table or at any other
time, as one person’s reflections often assist another to grow in their
own personal way, as well.
LET’S TALK HAGADAH
Below are some practical Hagadah notes,
which we have culled from Ba’alei Mussar and Magidei Shiur:
it is of the essence of the Seder to feel that YOU PERSONALLY left Mitzrayim,
you and those around you should consider closing your eyes, putting yourself
and thinking about/describing the “Avodas Perech”
and the pain of enslavement--YOU ARE THERE
and thinking about/describing the Makkos, and its effect
on the Mitzriim and on B’nei Yisroel--YOU ARE THERE
and talking about the miracles, other than the Makkos,
that YOU witnessed in
--YOU ARE THERE
As you prepare for the Geulah--describe what you took
(would take), how you reacted (would react) to the news that the time
had come (as you would for Moshiach) and picture and discuss the events
of the night and day of the Geulah.How could three million people gather together so quickly?What was the scene like?
night should be emotional.Everyone
can provide their own personal reflections of miracles and/or Hashgacha
Pratis stories that happened to them or that they personally know about.
focus should be on the salvations commencing with “Arami Oved Avi”
through “Rabban Gamliel Haya Omer”--rather than getting caught up in
nuances.We should focus on the
order of the Makkos and the Middah K’Neged Middah--How all was according
to Hashem’s complete design and control.Remember, we are becoming Avdei Hashem tonight and we should spend
time on recognizing the opportunity of “Cheirus Olam”--the eternal,
incredibly incredible position we have claimed tonight.
is important not be critical or short-tempered.Remember, the Yetzer Hora is working overtime (past
!) to put a wrench into our precious Mitzvos D’Orasaya, Mitzvos
D’Rabbanim and Minhagim of the Night.
may also want to prepare some discussion questions and answers.Examples include:
Why were the Mitzriim told we would only be leaving for
Why were items only “borrowed” from the Egyptian
Why did we not leave when Paroh told us to--why did the
process of redemption start at night and continue on through the day?
Why does the first of the Aseres Hadibros say that I am
Hashem Who took you out of
, and not I am Hashem Who created the world?
Moshe Feinstein, Z’TL, in the Sefer Kol
Ram explains “Pesach, Matzah and Maror” in a unique way.The Korban Pesach represents how we--in
, many miles away from the Makkas Bechoros in Mitzrayim Proper--still
appreciated how it was the Hand of Hashem watching over us, notwithstanding
that the danger did not appear to be imminently upon us.In all situations, we realize that it is Hashem who is watching and
protecting us, even if we sense no immediate danger or concern.Further, explains Rav Feinstein, Matzah, symbolizes how things can
suddenly change.Hashem needs no
though a person might be in the depths of despair, his situation can
suddenly change, and he can go from the forty-ninth level of impurity to
complete redemption.The reverse
may also be true, and therefore, a person cannot rely on the good by which
he is surrounded and expect that it will be there tomorrow.We must always pray to, and rely upon, Hashem to be our “Ozer,
Moshea and U’Magen”--to come to our aid, save us and shield us--at all
times.Finally, Maror teaches us
that we cannot rely upon any government, notwithstanding that the current
situation may be sweet and good.The
Mitzriim turned upon us, as did the Germans and many others of their
predecessors (the Spanish, the English, and the French to name a few).Once again, we see a great lesson of Leil HaSeder is that we are now
privileged to look to, and pray to, Hashem for all of our salvations in
every step of our lives.
Have a Sweet and Happy Passover!
AS PESACH APPROACHES
As Pesach approaches, we
provide the following important notes:
1.We recall the story of the man who looked around for “Kulos”,
for leniencies, his whole life.After
120 years, the
reviewed his records, noted that he followed the laws, and advised him that
he would be going to “Gan Eden.”The
angels escorted him to his final place, which turned out to be a dark, dingy
and rather damp cell. “This is Gan Eden?!” “Yes,” they replied,
“according to some opinions.”
2.Pesach is a time when we are machmir, where we follow
stringencies because of the force the Torah puts into Pesach itself, with 8
Mitzvos D’Oraisa in our time (and 24 in the times of the Bais Hamikdash--may
it be rebuilt for this Pesach).Its
tremendous significance is underscored by Yetzias Mitzraim being referred to
50 times in the Torah.For
further elaboration on its relevance to our daily lives, please review the
famous last Ramban in Parshas Bo.
3.HaRav Yisroel Salanter, Z’TL, shared the following
observation: Young non-Jewish farmer boys were drafted into the Russian Army
for 20 years.Prior to their
induction, they were care free, not orderly and not particularly concerned
with their cleanliness.During
their stay in the Army, they were drilled with discipline, hygiene and
their return home many years later, they almost immediately reverted to
their old habits. After 20 years of constant, professionally supervised
drilling and training--how could this happen so easily?He said that the answer was very simple:The farmer boys had no interest in internalizing what they were
taught--even though they lived it for 20 years.There had to be a yearning, a sincere desire, to change, to improve
their way of life.This was
absent. What they accomplished was only a temporary, external habit.
There is a
great lesson here.When we
perform the Mitzvos on the Leil HaSeder we must overcome our satisfaction
with only external performance of the Mitzvos, and be Me’orer (arouse)
ourselves internally to appreciate that when performing these Mitzvos, we
rise to the heights of human existence in this world. Moshe Rabbeinu (who
David HaMelech in Tehillim teaches us was one step away from being an
angel--Tehillim 8:6) was called an “Eved Hashem” (See Bamidbar 12:7 and
tonight we too have stepped away from being servants of this world--Avdei
Paro--and have instead became Avdei Hashem!Your appreciation and utter exuberance over this new-found
incredible, boundless and eternal gain should run over and flow through to
those around you.For additional
elaboration, see Sefer HaChinuch,
4.What can we think about while we are dedicatedly eating our
Matzoh at the Seder, and we cannot talk?Of course, we should reflect that we are doing the Mitzvah as Hashem
“taste” the Matzoh, you may also reflect upon the following teaching of
Rav Chaim Friedlander, Z’TL, (Sifsei Chaim 2:342):Chometz represents a process by which “naturally” (i.e., without
the assistance of outside forces) fermentation will occur--hiding Hashem’s
hand in the dough.To the
contrary, the quick preparation of the Matzoh--its sudden production and
completion--shows that Hashem’s hand overrides “nature.”We therefore do not eat Chometz on Pesach in order to distill any
notion of “mother nature,” “the laws of nature,” and the concepts of
“coincidental,” “by chance,” “as luck would have it” and the
like, and in order to enrich us with the appreciation that it is the Yad
Hashem--and the Yad Hashem only--that is conducting and directing--as the
Master of all masters--all of our affairs, every minute of the
day--notwithstanding the “chometz” of nature apparently occurring every
day by itself anyway.In turn,
Matzoh is referred to by the Zohar as the food of healing, for it cures us
of all of these false notions which are harmful to our existence in this
world, and which then perforce harm our existence in the eternal
5.Bedikas Chometz is truly an activity of the body and soul--as
we are to simultaneously rid ourselves of the leavened products in our
homes, and the “Yetzer Hora B’libeinu”--the leaven that exists within
us.The pre-Pesach toil, sweat,
fatigue and enormous costs and expenses indicate our sincerity and
dedication to both of these tasks.At
Bedikas Chometz, we are nearing the epitome of our achievement--can we let
it go with a perfunctory search of our homes because everything “has
already been cleaned ten times anyway?”How could a serious bedika take less than half hour or an
hour--depending on the size of your home?Indeed, if you merely go around to collect the 10 pieces, your bracha
is considered a bracha l’vatala (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 111:8).Picture yourself waiting on line for two hours to get to the
observation deck in the
Building--as soon as you got up, would you ask the attendant where the line was for
the down elevators?
6.An Erev Pesach Note: For special reasons, Erev Pesach
afternoon is unique--we are generally not permitted to perform any melacha
that we would not do on Chol HaMoed.We
must, therefore, cut our nails, shave and take haircuts before Chatzos (
) on Erev Pesach.If however,
one forgot to do so, he may cut his nails in the afternoon.If one was not able to take a haircut before Chatzos, the Halacha
permits it to be given by a non-Jew only.It does not help to be “already waiting” in the Jewish barber
shop as Chatzos arrives.
7.Don’t Get Stuck With This:Glue which is on the back of stamps and envelopes should not be
licked on Pesach, because the glue might actually contain wheat starch,
which would be Chometz.
8.Finally, a Chinuch Note:The
Mitzvah of Chinuch on the Leil HaSeder is perhaps at its peak for the entire
year. For those who have children below the age of bar/bas mitavah, one
should be careful to review his responsibility and his child’s
responsibility, as to the different aspects of the Seder--eating of the
Matzoh, the drinking of each one of the Four Cups, Heseiba (reclining),
Hallel, Marror, and the other Mitzvos, minhagim and halachos of the Night.See The Halachos of Pesach (by Rabbi Shimon Eider Shlita) and Children
in Halacha (by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita) for further elaboration
in these areas.
CHOL HAMOED HIGHLIGHTS
Chol HaMoed are days designated--set
aside--for holiness. We can
therefore understand why someone who disgraces these days “has no share”
in the World to Come (Avos
). According to the Bartenura
(ibid.), disgracing the Moados means doing unnecessary work on them, and
eating and drinking in the same manner as one would on a regular weekday.
following highlights are from a recent Hakhel Shiur, given by HaRav Dovid
Zucker, Shlita, author of the Sefer Chol
HaMoed (Artscroll 2005), and Rosh Kollel of the Chicago Community Kollel.
This Shiur was broadcast via
satellite to 13 locations in the United States and Canada by the Torah Conferencing Network.
1.The Avnei Nezer teaches (based upon the Zohar) that the
Kedusha of Chol HaMoed may be likened to the light of the Moon--reflecting
the Kedusha of Yom Tov itself. Chol
HaMoed is indeed enveloped by the Kedusha of the First Days and the Last
Days of Yom Tov.
2.One should wear nicer clothes on Chol HaMoed than on a regular
weekday. The mitzvah of Simchas
Yom Tov applies to Chol HaMoed as well.
3.Rabbi Zucker stated that he felt that just as Kedushas Shabbos
was the nisayon (the test) of 75 to 100 years ago, Kedushas Chol HaMoed is
the nisayon of Galus Jewry today.
4.The laws of working on Chol HaMoed for a salaried employee
depend upon whether the employee: (a) has vacation coming to him; (b) has no
vacation coming to him, but can take time off without pay; (c) asking for
time off will cause him to lose his job; or (d) asking for time off will not
cause him to lose his job, but will have undesired effects. Our
notes here are intended to highlight these distinctions, but not provide the
halachic parameters, which are detailed and often require consultation with
a Rav. For further information,
you may study the Sefer itself, or obtain a copy of the Shiur on cassette
tape or CD by calling (718) 252-5274.
5.Self-employed individuals and employers must consult with
their Rav as to how/when to remain open on Chol HaMoed. One
should not rely on “everybody does it” or “ignorance is
bliss”--remember, we are talking about the World to Come, and that is true
bliss--and infinity. The story
is told of a factory owner who refused, despite the Chofetz Chaim’s
pleadings, to close his factory on Shabbos--he told the Chofetz Chaim,
“Rebbe, you don’t make money from a posuk in the Torah.” When
the Bolsheviks confiscated all of his property a few years later, he wrote a
letter of contrition and apology to the Chofetz Chaim.
6.Unskilled work is permitted for the sake of the Moed or the
Last Days of Yom Tov. Therefore,
if necessary, one may sew a button on in an unskilled manner.
7.A non-Jew cannot do work for you that you yourself cannot
perform. For example, your lawn
cannot be mowed or landscaped--and your gardener must be sent away if he
comes to perform work for you.
8.Skilled work is generally prohibited--even for the sake of the
Moed 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
9.Laundering clothing can only be done for young children who
have soiled their clothing and have nothing else to wear. You
cannot add other clothing into the washing machine once their clothes are
being washed. Once again, a
non-Jewish housekeeper cannot do for you what you yourself cannot do. Spot
cleaning, if necessary, is permitted. Drying
clothing is permitted.
10.Going shopping is only permissible (even if you otherwise
enjoy shopping) if needed for Chol HaMoed or the Last Days of Yom Tov, or if
it would constitute a “davar ha’avad” (See paragraph 13 below). One
cannot “trick” the Halacha (and yourself) by “wearing it on Chol
HaMoed too. Similarly, one
should not push off buying a pair of shoes to Chol HaMoed if he can do so
before Yom Tov (unless he simply ran out of time). Rav
Moshe Feinstein Z’TL once told a Yeshiva bochur to come back to Yeshiva a
day later in order to go shopping for clothing after Yom Tov, rather than
shop on Chol HaMoed.
11.One cannot schedule a “routine” medical or dental checkup
or exam for Chol HaMoed.
12.One cannot put off to Chol HaMoed filling up the car with gas,
going to the bank, etc., when he has time or an opportunity to do so before
13.In specific “davar ha’avad” situations where an actual
loss will occur, if work (even if skilled) is not performed on Chol HaMoed,
it may very well be permissible, and your Rav should be consulted.
14.Cutting nails/manicure is permitted for Sefardim (if needed),
and prohibited to Ashkenazim (unless needed, and one had previously cut
nails on Erev Yom Tov as well).
15.Rav Moshe Feinstein Z’TL ruled that setting/cutting a
sheitel is considered skilled work and therefore is prohibited even for the
sake of the Moed or the Last Days of Yom Tov.
16.Standard writing (not calligraphy) is considered unskilled
work and is permitted for the sake of the Moed. One
can type, send e-mails, e-faxes and text messages, but not print them out
(unless permitted as a “davar ha’avad”). Similarly,
one can utilize a digital camera as long as the pictures are not printed
out, and a standard camera, as long as the pictures are not developed.
The above, obviously, only briefly
highlights some common Halachos. In
fact, Hilchos Chol HaMoed encompasses 20 chapters in Shulchan Aruch (Orach
Chaim 530-549). We additionally
refer you to Rabbi Zucker’s wonderful sefer. You
may want to ask your Rav to give a Shiur this Yom Tov on the Halachos and
Hashkafos of Chol HaMoed for everyone’s benefit. Remember,
with any question, or difficult or special situation, please consult your
Rav--and have Simchas HaMoed!
MY WORLD, AND WELCOME TO IT
The Mishna in Sanhedrin (37A) teaches that
Adam HaRishon was created alone, yet has tens of billions of uniquely
different descendents, in order for us to understand that someone who
destroys one human life is considered to have destroyed the whole world, and
one who saves one human life is considered to have saved an entire world.Furthermore, the Mishna continues, we learn from this amazing
phenomenon that each person is obligated to recognize, appreciate and say,
“The world was created for me.”
The Sefer Orchos Tzaddikim (Chapter
28) demonstrates in detail how a human being is, in fact, a world unto
himself, explaining how the various parts of the person are analogous to
different parts of the universe.(See
there for incredible details).As
the Orchos Tzaddikim writes, each one of us is our own “Olam Katan”--our
own little world.Now, this does
not mean that we should be **IN** our own little world, separate and apart
from others.Rather, it means
that we should value our lives as Hashem values them, as a world, in and of
Chazal, at the beginning of Pirkei Avos
(1:2), teach us what a world **needs in order to exist**--“The world stands
upon three things--Torah, Avodah (service of Hashem, which is currently
evidenced by Tefillah) and Gemilas Chasodim--acts of kindness”.We must therefore examine ourselves, as our own little world, to
determine whether our world is truly worthy of standing and thriving.At the very least, at the end of each day we should check--how was my
Torah, Avodah and Gemilas Chasodim today?[An even better approach may be, at the beginning of each day, to
plan how you intend to keep your world standing.]
We note that the type of Torah, Avodah and
Gemilas Chasodim a person undertakes could change from time-to-time, to help
“grow” in your world.
At this time of year, we provide some
timely suggestions for your world’s benefit, in daily Torah, Avodah and
TORAH:Since this is a time of Geulah of the past and Geulah of the future,
for the purpose of keeping his world going, one could read/learn/study:
Midrashim of Yetzias Mitzrayim and Geulah
the Laws of Korbon PesachIMPORTANT NOTE:There
are 8 Mitzvos that relate to Chometz and Matzah on Pesach.There are actually 16 Mitzvos that apply to the Korbon Pesach
twice as many), that are missing from our lives until the Beis HaMikdosh
is rebuilt.Let us show our
longing for them by studying these laws.
the perek of Mishnayos printed in all Siddurim and known
as Eizehu Mekoman--which gives the basic parameters of Korbanos, in
order to, once again, prepare ourselves for the Third Beis HaMikdosh--hopefully
today.Indeed, the Chofetz
Chaim in many writings especially urged the study of Kodshim in our
times.We can start by
becoming familiar with this small, but crucial, chapter of Mishnayos,
which is published in all Siddurim.
AVODAH (Service through Tefillah):During this month of Nissan, despite the usual rush at the end of
davening, let us try to have special Kavanah, word-for-word, in the second
paragraph of Aleinu, known as “V’Al Kein Nekavah Lecha”, in which we
beautifully describe, and pray for, not only our own world, but the entire
world, at the time of Geulah.Since
many of us may have committed this Tefillah to memory, we can think about it,
and its meaning, while walking to the train, bus or store.Additionally, even if you have this beautified Tefillah memorized,
while davening try reading it from the Siddur to increase your appreciation
CHESED (Kind Deeds):The Tanna D’vei Eliyahu (Chapter 23) teaches that one of the key
reasons we were redeemed from Mitzrayim was because we performed kind deeds
to each other.Indeed, the
Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Ahavas Chesed (2:5) writes that our
acts of Chesed will be a resounding cause of our future Redemption.One may speciously claim that, unlike daily Torah and Tefillah, Acts
of Chesed (e.g., visiting the sick or comforting mourners) seem not to be
keyed in to daily performance. In fact,
daily Chesed begins with immediate family and friends--the people you see
all the time.Remember daily to
SMILE, PROVIDE A GENEROUS DOSE OF KIND AND COMPLIMENTARY WORDS, PICK UP
SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE HAS DROPPED, DO SOMETHING WITHOUT BEING ASKED, and
the list goes on and on ESPECIALLY WHEN SOMETHING MORE THAN “STAYING OUT
OF THE WAY” OR “COOPERATION” IS NEEDED BEFORE YOM TOV.In short, at least with everyone in your immediate vicinity, you can
do Chesed, and it can and should be one of a person’s constant DAILY
There is an old debate as to whether the
sun revolves around the earth, or the earth revolves around the sun.At this point, scientists believe that they know the answer.One thing is certain, though--our world revolves around us.
Rabbi Shlomo Pearl, Shlita, renowned Maggid Shiur in Halacha, and Rosh
Kollel of the Bostoner Halacha Kollel, recently provided the following
valuable information relating to our Pesach observance:
1.After some research, he knows of only three (3)
area Shmura Matzoh bakeries which utilized only Shomer Shabbos workers. This
is not to say that other bakeries utilize non-Jews, or that his research was
fully exhaustive; however, he asked one bakery (with many employees from the
) if they utilized only Jews in Shmura Matzoh preparation. They
answered in the affirmative. He
asked them how they knew their employees were Jewish--they responded,
“Before we hire them – we ask them: ‘Are
In response to all this, one
can say that “I rely on the Hashgacha” (if, in fact, there is a
Hashgacha listed on the box). However,
we ask--before purchasing a $100,000 diamond, would you not make some
independent investigation as to its authenticity? For
further reference as to the acceptability of non-Jews baking Shmura Matzohs
to be used at the Seder, see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 460:1 and the
Mishne Berurah and Kaf HaChaim there.
The three New York
metropolitan area bakeries with Shomer Shabbos employees he noted are Bais
Rochel, Pupa and Lakewood.
2.In Ponevez Yeshiva, Bnei Brak, tradition has it that there is always
supposed to be someone learning in the stately, beautiful Beis Medrash. At
on the Leil HaSeder, a gentleman walked into the Beis Medrash to see if he
could find someone learning even then. Indeed,
he found a father and his sons learning about Yetzias Mitzraim. Asked
why he was in the Beis Medrash with his sons at this hour, the man
responded, “You would not ask me this question on Leil Shavuos or even
Leil Hoshana Rabbah. Yet, Chazal
themselves actually teach us here, as recorded in the Haggadah, that the
more one speaks about Yetzias Mitzraim on this night, the more praiseworthy
it (he) is.” See the Tosefta
in Pesachim 10:8 for further elaboration. Rabbi
Pearl Shlita, therefore suggested that, given this is such a rare yearly
opportunity, one should use extra special effort at Chad Gadia not to fall
asleep at the table or “make it into bed” just as you conclude the
Seder. Instead, one should weigh the supernally precious moments and spend
an extra little while, let us say one-half hour, just talking more about
what you could not get through or look up at the Seder--even if you are only
talking to no one other than yourself.
3.The Mishna (Pesachim 116B) teaches that everyone should view himself
as if he individually left
. The Rambam (Hilchos Chometz
U’Matzoh 3:6 and 3:7) writes that in order to personally feel the
redemption, a man must lean/recline b’heseiba to the left on this night,
which is “derech cheirus.” In
fact, the Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 472:7) and the Mishne Berurah
(ibid., seif katan 23) rule that lechatchila not only do eating the Matzoh
and drinking the four Kossos require heseiba--but the Seudah--the festive
meal--should also be eaten b’heseiba. We
note, however, that the actual recitation of the Haggadah should not be
b’heseiba, but “b’eima uv’yirah”--with a special awe (Shulchan
Aruch, Orach Chaim 473, Mishne Berurah, seif katan 71).
4.It is said that the Steipler Gaon, ZT’L, had a breakfront with
chometz dishes in it. He did not
make anyone cover up the dishes, or even cover the glass on the breakfront. Instead,
he simply tied a cord around the handles as a method of reminding and
restricting people from getting into the cabinet. This
is what one may simply do with respect to the cabinets which are labeled
“Sold to the Non-Jew”, just put some “heker”--something to remind
and somewhat restrict you from entering the area. However,
we note that putting things “in the attic” or “in the laundry room”
without somehow otherwise restricting access to them is not enough, as even
though you do not plan to go into these rooms on Pesach, somehow the chometz-related
items have a way of finding themselves back into the dining room.
- - - - - - - - -
Finally, if you would like a
computer-generated calculation of many Halachic times (such as “Chatzos
for the Seder”) for your home address or shul’s address, which is based
upon the longitude and latitude, you may call Rabbi Mordechai Premock at
(718) 851-1314 for your personalized chart.
The Sefer Maalos
HaMidos (page 48) incredibly notes that both Sefer Mishlei and Sefer
Koheles (both taught by the wisest of all, Shlomo HaMelech, and both of
which are known for being the seforim of “advice” in Tanach) conclude
with the same advice--that one should have Yiras Hashem--one should fear
Heaven (Mishlei 31:30 and Koheles 12:13).
What does this ultimate advice-that the
key to life is fear of Heaven-really mean? According to the Maalos
HaMidos, it is the sense that you are in Hashem’s presence at all times
(ibid. page 52), which means that you are never alone, and should never feel
The Gemora (Shabbos 31A) teaches that when
the posuk (Yeshiyah 33:6) says “Yiras Hashem He Otzaro--that fear of
Heaven is his storehouse, it means that no matter how valuable the treasures
are in one’s storehouse, they will simply not last without the proper
measure of Yiras Hashem.The
sense of closeness to Hashem preserves one’s Torah knowledge, one’s
ability to daven with Kavana, and one’s ability to differentiate between
right and wrong and to conduct himself properly.When one pours milk out of its container into a cup, it makes for a
good cup of coffee.If the cup
is missing when you pour, the milk gets spilled all over the table, only
creates a mess, and you are left with a residual black coffee.Yiras Hashem is that very cup.Its
absence is the mess, and the bad coffee.
One need not be a Torah scholar to
recognize the prime importance of this Midah in everyday life.The Torah itself, in one of the very few questions contained in the
Torah, actually pointedly asks (Devarim
)--What does Hashem ask of you?Thankfully,
the Torah itself immediately gives the response-the first thing that Hashem
asks is... Yiras Hashem.Indeed,
the posuk in Koheles (
) definitively states “V’HaElokim Asah She’Yiru Milfanav”--Hashem
made that we should fear Him.The
commentaries there, as well as the Gemara explaining the purpose of
lightning and thunder (Brochos 59A), and contemporary Rabbonim explaining
September 11, the tsunami, and other current events, all point to this posuk--Look
around and “smell the coffee”--in the cup!If we learn our lesson--if we can properly develop Yiras Hashem, it
becomes a “Mekor Chaim”--a Fountain of Life (Mishlei
) and **Actually Extends The Days of Our Life**” (see Mishlei
, and Eben Ezra and Ralbag there).
So how can we grow in this life-giving
We present two complimentary approaches:
not to feel alone.Try to feel
that you are always with Hashem, which is the absolute truth.A great Rebbe once told his followers that he does not believe in
Hashem.Shocked more than
stunned, the Chassidim heard more.I
do not believe in Hashem--however, I also do not believe that this table is
in front of me.I **KNOW** that
the table is in front of me, and I also know that Hashem is in front of me,
as well.In this vein, talking
to Hashem helps, even about those areas which may seem otherwise
help me find a parking spot.” “Thank
you for the beautiful weather.”“I
really need help with prioritizing before Pesach--please guide me.”You can practice and grow by focusing on certain times to put Hashem
before you-- Some examples include: during lunch; during a designated
telephone conversation; during a Shemone Esrei; or every time you say the
words “**MY**” or “**It’s MINE**”.
second approach is to daven for Yiras Hashem, for although this is
ultimately our responsibility, as the Gemara (Megillah 25A) teaches,
“Everything is in the hands of Heaven, except for the fear of Heaven”,
we can and do pray for Hashem’s assistance even here, as we recite every
morning in U’va L’Tzion, “…and He should place in our heart love and
fear of Him…”As the Siddur
Beis Yaakov points out, we need Hashem’s assistance in this area (see,
e.g., Yirmiyahu 32:40).Indeed,
Dovid HaMelech pleads (Tehillim 86:11) “Yached Levovi L’Yirah Shemecha”--Unite
my heart to fear Your Name!
As we approach Pesach, where our Emunah
draws inspiration for the entire year, a great and extremely important way
to prepare is to begin to tangibly feel and be awed by Hashem’s
presence--which is with you throughout the day and every day!