Dovid HaMelech in
Sefer Tehillim (25:18) makes the following request of Hashem:“Look at my affliction and toil and bear all my sins.”
We note that the seventh brocha of Shemone
Esrei, “Re’ah [Na] V’anyenu” (Look… at our afflictions) closely
parallels this passage in Tehillim, and it is, in fact, the only brocha in
Shemone Esrei where we ask HaKodosh Boruch Hu to “look” at something for
It is said in the name of the Apter Rav
that if a person is suffering, he should affirmatively acknowledge and state
“may my pain and suffering be a kapara (atonement) for all of my sins”.In this way, a person acknowledges that the purpose of his suffering
or affliction is not meaningless or some kind of torture, but to achieve
redirection and/or atonement.With
this affirmative acknowledgement, the kapara is achieved.
TZEDAKA FACT SHEET
1.The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 247:3) rules l’halacha (as a matter
of law), that if one has mercy on the poor, Hashem will have mercy upon him.Indeed, it is a good practice, prior to coming before Hashem in
prayer each day, to put money in the pushka (Yoreh Deah 249:14, Shach s.k.
2.Moreover, tzedaka is “doche” (pushes away) harsh decrees against
a person (Yoreh Deah 247:4).
3.Shlomo HaMelech states two separate times in Mishlei (10:2 and 11:4)
that “U’tzedaka tazil mimoves—and charity saves from death”.Chazal explain that tzedaka not only saves from a “misa meshuna (an
unusual death)”, but from any form of death.
4.The “twenty percent limit” on tzedaka has many caveats.Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg Shlita rules that the limit does not
apply to supporting Torah study.Rav
Avrohom Schorr Shlita cites the Igeres
HaKodesh (Chapter 10) as follows: “but as to him who [still] needs to
remedy his soul, the healing of soul is obviously no less a priority than
the healing of the body, where money does not count.”For further elucidation of this topic see the Chofetz Chaim’s sefer
Ahavas Chesed, Chapter 20.
5.Everyone agrees that a person may donate in his will as much charity
as he desires (Yoreh Deah, Ramo 249:1).
6.Charity begins at home… and with family relatives.For priorities and instructions in this area, see Yoreh Deah 251:3
and the commentaries there.
7.For a Halacha L’maaseh shiur covering many practical questions in
these areas by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky Shlita, please call the
Perhaps the greatest personal void resulting from the churban HaMikdash is
our failure to sense that we are always Lifnei Hashem, in the presence of
Hashem (Sifsei Chaim III: 339).Upon
a visit to Yerushalayim and the Beis HaMikdash, everyone would witness
constant miracles (see Mishnah Avos 5:7), Kohanim and Leviim on extremely
heightened spiritual levels, the Sandhedrin, and the “Nikiyei Hadaas” of
Yerushalayim, with over 400 Batei Midrashim illuminating the city.The Torah (Devorim
) teaches us that mere visits to the city (for example, in order to eat
ma’aser sheni there) would teach a person to fear Hashem “all [his]
Our circumstances have now temporarily and
tragically changed.HaRav Shlomo
Wolbe Z’TL once said that he went to see the King of Sweden in order to
experience royalty and kingship, and instead walked away from the experience
feeling little or no respect for an unglorified human being.He concluded, therefore, that it is much more difficult for us to
appreciate Hashem’s Malchus because we do not have any earthly royalty
from which to begin.
What can we do to bring us to some
elevated sense that we are before Hashem even in our current downtrodden
We suggest the following:
Every brocha contains the word “Ata”
(You)—the direct, second person—talking to Hashem as if He is directly
in front of you.Once during
each meal—morning, afternoon and evening before making a brocha on your
food, have in mind that you are now talking to the Shechina
in front of you, thanking Him for that particular food.
If this elevated sense of presence of Shechina
is difficult to imagine at first, you may picture the Chofetz Chaim,
the Vilna Gaon, your Chassidic Rebbe, or Rashi, or even Dovid HaMelech
sitting in the room in front of you as you are making the brocha.
You may try this for a week and see if it
improves your level of “Lifnei Hashem”—sensing the Shechina
with you each and every day.
The “Lifnei Hashem” we will BE’H
soon experience in the Beis HaMikdash will then be all the more meaningful
and all the more gratifying.
SITTING DOWN…AND THINKING
The Gemara (Megilla 21A) teaches that
Moshe Rabbeinu would learn the more difficult laws and concepts of the Torah
If we have to sit down this Tisha B’Av,
we should take the time out to go over in our mind some of the difficult
concepts that we tend to ignore, or at least avoid, during the rest of the
year—the chorbons and tzaros that have accompanied us through the ages and
into our day.
Can we not shed a tear over:
The pain of the Shechina over the chillul Hashem of the
Galus (the Father’s pain is greater than the child’s)
The void left by the Beis Hamikdosh that is not with us
and the concomitant void of sanctity within us (we could be closer to
angels, and not closer to animals)
The honor of Klal Yisroel that has been cast to the
ground and trampled upon
The hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews who have been
numbed by Communism
The sorry hatred of secular Jews, Meretz and Shinui, to
The Aiden Shapiros and Jules Horowitzes of the world who
are not Jewish
The Sbarros bombing
The bombing of Bus Number 2
The 1648-1649 Massacres
All of the unnecessary sickness and suffering for 2000
year (multiplied by each second of pain)
The desolation and ruination of the Har Habayis, Har
Hazeisim, Chevron, Tevria…
Sinas Chinum—smiling at the mishap of another, failing
to properly rejoice at another’s simcha, and finding it hard to accept
another's honor and success
The Jews who do not even know that Tisha B’Av exists
The Jews who know that Tisha B’Av exists and do not
grow in their resolve to do something to end this Chorban as soon as
May our prayers for consolation be
accepted by Hakodesh Boruch Hu speedily and in our days—today!
The mother of Rabbi Mordechai Zuckerman,
Shlita, a noted Talmud Chochom in Yerushalayim, davened Mincha close to
sunset (which is usually preferred, see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 233:1)
every day of the year, except Tisha B’Av, when she would daven Mincha as
early in the day as was possible.Rabbi
Zuckerman asked his mother why her practice on Tisha B’Av was different
than the other days of the year.She
responded that the Mincha of Tisha B’Av is the one time during the year
where we add a special Tefillah, asking Hashem to “Nachem”, to console,
the mourners of
and Yerushalayim.She simply
could not wait to daven Mincha until later, as this would mean an extra few
hours of delay in begging Hashem to console us.
HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein Z’TL (Or
Yechezkel, Emunah p. 292) states that he remembers the Chofetz Chaim’s
mashal as to how we should wait for Moshiach:Imagine a person who is very unwell and who is waiting for the expert
doctor who will give him the medication needed to cure him of his illness.When will he arrive?Every
knock at the door…Is it the doctor?…And every delay in his coming causes
a greater longing for him.
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT/THOUGHTFUL
QUESTION:In a lifespan of seventy years (after one’s Bar or Bas Mitzvah),
how many brochos of Shemone Esrei have you recited?
ANSWER:More than 1,250,000 brochos!
Now is the time to make a special effort
to recite the brochos of Shemone Esrei with kavanah of the simple meaning of
the words.Imagine a million
brochos like that to your credit!
a Regular Yisroel
QUESTION:What has more shemos (names) of Hashem on it—the Tzitz worn by the
Kohen Gadol to bring forgiveness—or the Tefillin we wear daily?
ANSWER:The Tzitz only has Hashem’s name once, while the Tefillin contain
the names of Hashem many, many times.With
this, we should gain a greater appreciation of the kedusha we don daily.
QUESTION:In which brocha of Shemone Esrei do we recite the word “meheyrah
(quickly)”, three times—obviously asking Hashem to help us in the
quickest possible manner?
ANSWER:This is easy to find, and once you find it, you will understand why
we make the “meheyrah” request three times within one brocha.
QUESTION:A person should reduce the hana’ah (pleasure) he experiences on
Tisha B’Av as much as possible, true or false?
ANSWER:The Ramo (Orach Chayim 555:2) states that this is true.
Very Important Thing to Say
QUESTION:If one has something very important to say, but is unsure as to
whether it may be loshon hora, should he say it anyway, because it is very
ANSWER:The sefer Chofetz Chaim
rules that if one is in doubt, one should not relate the information.One can call the Shmiras Haloshon Shaila Hotline at 718-951-3696 to
ask a rav for a final resolution of the situation.
QUESTION:If the Moshiach comes on Tisha B’Av after chatzos (
) will we continue to fast for the balance of the day?
ANSWER:Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, in sefer Derech
Sicha, rules that we will continue to fast if the Moshiach comes after
because Teshuvah is an element of the mourning that we are to feel and
experience on Tisha B’Av.
May the Moshiach come today!
AMAZING AND TIMELY INSIGHT
As our exasperation and tears over the
continuing Churban, as amplified by our current tz’aar in Eretz Yisroel,
reaches its peak on Tisha B’Av, we must realize that Hashem has provided
us with the elixir, the antidote, to resolve and cure all of this.
It is the antithesis of Sinas Chinam
(which is the raison d’etre of this Galus), and it is called Ahavas Chinam.
How can we come to Ahavas Chinam—to
express it, and accomplish a true, sincere, love?Is it really anywhere within our grasp?
Rav Chaim Friedlander Z’TL (the great
student of Rav Dessler Z’TL) in Sifsei Chaim (3:275) most
definitely puts us on the right path:
We should at all times have a pleasant
countenance (“sever panim yafos”) and make people smile and feel good
inside.Rabbi Friedlander cites
the Gemara (Kesubos 111B) that it is greater to make a person smile than
give him a much-needed drink.This
teaches us that the greater chessed is not necessarily one of action, but of
thought, respect and positive attention to make a family member, friend or
even passer-by, feel good inside.
In fact, in another place, Rabbi
Friedlander writes that your smile “should be seen”. . . even over the
Helpful Point:Try working on sever panim yafos (pleasant countenance/causing
someone to smile or feel good) to someone who do you not necessarily like or
know too well, or to a close family member who may often see your negative
U.S. kashrus organization has provided the following guidelines to us:
new increased levels of insect infestation in strawberries, we find it
necessary to make the public aware that fresh strawberries
may l’chatchila be used only
when prepared as follows:
Remove the green leaves, being careful not to cut so deeply so as to make a
hole in the top of the strawberry.
Immerse the strawberries for a few minutes in cold water containing some
concentrated unscented dishwashing liquid (such as Ultra Dawn or Ultra Joy).
Agitate the strawberries for a few seconds in the soapy water.
Rinse each strawberry carefully and meticulously under a stream of cold
running water. Run your fingers down the entire surface of the
strawberry while rinsing.
PROCESS SHOULD NOT BE DONE ON SHABBOS.
should be avoided.
are extremely infested and several major kashrus organizations have totally
discontinued their use in their certified establishments.
Country-picked blueberries could be problematic, as well."
In the brocha of Modim, we
specifically offer “brachos v’hodaos” (recognition that Hashem is the
Source of All Blessings and thanks) for the following:
“Chyenu”-our very lives which are in
Hashem’s hands at all times
souls which are placed with Hashem every night
the hidden miracles which occur to each one of us on an individual basis
daily (“How did that happen?”)
“Nifleosecha”-for the daily wonders of
nature (a shining sun, a cool wind, etc.)
the daily goodness that we are granted (not only can you read the
characters of this email message, but also the words put together, and
they made (some semblance of) sense!)
In truth, each one of us is
inundated, evening, morning and afternoon, with all of the blessings we need
for our lives. Even if we find it difficult to thank, or be beholden
to, other people, we should try to take a moment during Modim each day to
reflect upon and appreciate something specific with which we have been
blessed by HaKodesh Boruch Hu.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
Chazal (Shabbos 32A) teach that
one should take the time and effort to pray to Hashem that he not get sick,
for zechus (merit) is needed to be healed once sickness has set in.
This may be why the Anshei
K’nesses HaGedolah, in the brocha of Refaenu, specifically included two
special words “Hosheinu V’nevoshaya - Save us, then we will be saved,”
asking Hashem to keep us healthy, as He is the Source of All Health.
Let us daven with kavanah for
our continued health.