Daily Email Archives

Bulletin Archives

Summer Archives

Public Announcements

Shatnez Publications

Past Events

Hakhel Recordings



Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin




This morning, we recited a concise Pasuk in Oz Yashir (Shemos 15:3)--“Hashem Ish Milchama, Hashem Shemo--Hashem is Master of war, His Name is Hashem.”  When any war is initiated, fought, and concluded, each and every aspect is under the direct auspices of Hashem.  It is for this reason that at the outset of the “Al HaNisim” prayer we thank Hashem not only for the miracles and the Yeshuos, but also “V’Al HaMilchamos--for the wars.”  This is a time when we should feel a greater closeness to Hashem, and in which we sense his Hashgacha Pratis over each and every member of Klal Yisroel.


A parent is more likely to have Rachmanus over a child who shows warmth and respect to him, than to a child who is reticent or indifferent.  In Al HaNisim, we highlight that “V’Ata B’Rachamecha Horabim…--and You in Your great mercy stood up for them in the time of their distress.”  At this time in which we sense a tangible Hashgacha Pratis, we must seek out Hashem’s great mercy, and must use our common sense to find it.


In a recent Shiur for the Kedoshai Mumbai, HaRav Avraham Schorr, Shlita, pointed out that many have claimed that the key lesson from what happened to our people in Mumbai was the need for greater Achdus among us.  He strongly disagrees, because this “lesson” serves to shift the burden of improvement away from each and every one of us, as we point to that person, or that group, or that community, and tell them--“You-you-you-- must be B’achdus!”  Instead, the focus should be on our own personal improvement.  A person has to look into himself and change.  It must be very clear to each and every one of us that the times we live in are not even the times of three months ago, let alone a year ago.


Similarly, in a recent Hakhel Shiur, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, pointed to the brocha Asher Nosan LaSechvi Vinah that we recite every morning.  The word “LaSechvi” can mean either a rooster, or a heart, but the key focus is on the word “binah”--which is understanding, as opposed to only daas, or knowledge.  The rooster, for example, **understands** that while to the rest of the world it is pitch dark outside, the day will soon break and light will pour forth into the world.  The events of the recent past, including the unparalleled economic crisis which has swiftly diffused through all levels and elements of the world’s society, together with political uncertainty in Eretz Yisroel and America, the financial scandal which recently rocked the Jewish world (and even philanthropies) in which so much money was lost, the Mumbai Massacre, and now War in Eretz Yisroel, in which terrorist rockets pound down upon us, must instill within each and every one of us the Binah, the understanding that there are changes taking place in the world, and that, despite the fact that it is still “dark outside” at this moment, we have to realize that this is all leading somewhere.


We must use our binah to do all that we can in these extremely powerful times.  Our binah must dictate to us that we cannot delay until tomorrow that which we can commence today.  HaRav Simcha Scheinberg, Shlita, reports in the name of his father, HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Shlita, that we must show personal improvement in some way in Torah and in Tefillah.


Chazal teach that Talmidei Chachamim are “Marbim Shalom B’Olam--increase peace in the world” (Brachos 64A).  How does Torah study bring peace?  It has been suggested that when one fights the “wars of Torah” in his Torah studies--by struggling to clarify the true meaning of a Pasuk, Mishna or other Torah teaching, that these struggles, and very related battles with the Yetzer Hora over time, sleep, and use of mind, replace the physical conflagrations that might otherwise take place.


Indeed, Dovid HaMelech teaches in Tehillim (45:6): “Amim Tachtecha Yiplu--Nations will fall under you.”  Rashi there explains that the nations of the world who fight us will fall to us, in reward for our Torah study.  We are incredibly privileged that our spiritual battles can replace and overcome the physical battles that might otherwise be expected of us.  To help replace the physical battles with spiritual victories, we provide our Malai Shavua Zos--Project for Personal Torah Growth Program by clicking here.  If you utilize all or any part of the program, remember that the written record relating to it is crucial.


The same, is, of course, true about Tefillah.  As Praying with Fire (Day 3) teaches, Hashem has placed into the natural order of things, that Tefillah changes what might otherwise occur--not by miracle, but in the ordinary course of events.  As we indicated in yesterday’s note, there are many ways in which one can improve in Tefillah.  A consistent and meaningful way is actually by studying Praying With Fire or Praying With Fire 2 daily.  A daily battle on behalf of improving one’s Tefillah--not much else can be more rewarding.


We have our work cut out for us.  Every one knows how they can do a little more.  Your future, our future, depends on it!



The following alerts were separately issued by two separate Kashrus organizations relating to Shemita produce and products:


a.  From the Star-K in Baltimore:  Please note, it has come to our attention that GOLAN brand MOSCATTO (2008), produced under the supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Oerbach, Shlita, during the Shemittah year under the auspices of the Otzer Bais Din, was inadvertently sold at Kosher Bite in Baltimore, Maryland.  This wine is vested with kedushas sheviis and must be handled with special sanctity.  See this link for more details about the proper handling of wines possessing kedushas sheviis.  In general, when purchasing from any vendor, consumers are urged to check all Israeli wine labels to ascertain whether they were produced during a Shemittah year.


b.  From the Chicago Rabbinical Counsel:  Shemittah ended at Rosh Hashanah, but Shemittah produce is still being sold in local stores (for example, peppers are currently being sold at City Fresh).  Shemittah vegetables will be on the market for the next few weeks, while Shemittah fruit will be available for many months…


Hakhel Note:  One should be especially vigilant in checking labels for the country of origin (or Hebrew sounding name) when purchasing fruits and vegetables--if not present, one can check the larger box.  Caution is especially warranted when purchasing from fruit stores.



We received the following important comments from readers:


  1. One reader asked us to point out that the wars that the Chashmonaim fought with the Greeks lasted for 25 years, and even continued after the recapture of the Bais HaMikdash.  Thus, the Mesiras Nefesh of the Chashmonaim was not short-term, but was a long and consistent path of dedicated service--B’Chol Nafshicha--in the service of Hashem.  Likewise, we should make sure that the uplifted rededication over Chanukah remain with us.


  1. Another reader asked that we have Kavannah in Hashkivenu at night (in Maariv and Krias Shema Al HaMita) for our brethren in Eretz Yisroel--especially when we recite the words “V’Hogen B’Adeinu, V’Hoser Maleinu Oyev, Dever, V’Cherev…--and shield us, and remove our enemies, plague, sword… from us.”  Of course, there are many other parts of davening in which we can pray sincerely for the lives and wellbeing of those on the front lines--both those in the army, and those otherwise called civilians.  Are we not all Hashem’s soldiers?



We received the following insight from Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita:


“Why do we call the Righteous Jews “weak” in Al Hanisim if they were actually strong?


“The Siddur HaGra explains that in their minds they realized that without Hashem’s help, we are always weak!  As when Yosef Hatzadik said, ‘Bilodoi--It's not my power.’”


Hakhel Note:  This is especially important for us to remember when we hear about the powerful airstrikes, and remember that it is all power, and our meaningful Shemone Esrei Tefillos and Tehillim have very much to do with the battlefield and the victories.



Special Note One:  We received the following from a reader who spent the time to think about and put to paper what to give thanks for on this Holiday of thanks.  Perhaps each and every one of us should try and write our own letter to ourselves.  He writes as follows:


“Here is a small sample of the things we should thank Hashem for each and every day:


For waking up in the morning.

For being able to walk from your bed.

For the mechanism in your eyes that makes it possible for them to adjust to light and darkness.

For the dozens and dozens of parts to the human eye which must all work, and must work in concert with each other (ditto for all the other organs in the body!) in order for us to see.  Studying JUST THE HUMAN EYE should lead the staunchest “atheist” to understand that Hashem exists.

For all the senses--sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.  Each one of these is miracle upon miracle!

For Him bringing you your bashert.

For the miracle of having children.

For the miracle of babies growing up into adulthood!  This miracle is too great to describe!

For the intelligence and understanding to learn Torah.

For the ability to earn a living.

For the sun that rises each day.

For the delicious and nourishing food that we’re blessed with.

For our memory.

For our arms, hands, legs, and feet.  Just look at your hand and realize the vast number of tasks it is capable of--from picking up a tiny crumb, to lifting the side of a piano.  We use it to hold our child’s hand, write with a pen, pencil or crayon, throw a ball, catch a ball, put a coin in the parking meter, turn the steering wheel, change a light bulb, wash the dishes, scratch an itch, type a letter, pick up a fork or spoon, strike a match, light a candle, cut out an article, hold a baby bottle, dress our little ones, cut the challa, shake someone’s hand, work a fax machine, work a washing machine, pop the bread into the toaster, pour the coffee, break a breadstick in half, pick up a baseball bat and hit a ball, shade our eyes from the sun, wave goodbye, pick up a baby, help a blind person cross the street, sweep the floor, hold a siddur, pick up a kiddush cup, turn a page, pick up the telephone, turn off the light, set the alarm, set the Shabbos clock, turn on a radio, turn a key, button your shirt, open a door, wipe up a spill, hammer a nail, shovel snow, wave at someone, etc. etc. etc.  Where would we be without our hands?  Thank Hashem for your hands, and for the millions and millions of miracles that He, and **only** He is responsible for every single day of our lives!”



Special Note Two:  We provide Short Answers to the Short Quiz Questions we provided on Monday:


  1. Why do we light 36 Neiros over Chanukah?


Answers:  a. According to the Sefer Rokeach it is because Adam HaRishon used the Ohr HaGanuz for 36 hours before it was hidden away.  In fact, the Bnai Yissoscher in the name of R’ Pinchas of Karitz writes that although we may not see it when lighting, the Ohr HaGanuz itself is revealed at the time of the Hadlakas Neiros!


b. The neiros symbolize Torah SheBaal Peh, and there are 36 Revealed Mesechtos in Shas (Sefer Taamei Dinim U’Minhagim).


  1. Why can we not use the Neiros of Chanukah--even to study Torah by?!  How beautifully we use the Neiros Shabbos to eat our Seudah by--and they are also Neiros Mitzvah!


Answers: a. By not utilizing the Neiros, we generate Pirsum HaNes, as people will discuss the miracles of Chanukah--because of their inability to use the Neiros which are in commemoration of the miracle.


b. With our inability to light, we remember the Neiros of the Menorah in the Bais HaMikdosh, which were “huktza l’mitzvaso”--designated for that Mitzvah and that Mitzvah alone, and could not be used for anything else.


  1. To what Yom Tov does the Gematria of Mattisyahu match and why?


Answer:  To Rosh Hashana--with the numerical equivalent of 861.  Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the judgment period, and Chanukah concludes the judgment period, as is alluded to in the Pasuk (Yeshaya 27:9) “BeZos Yechupar Avon Yaakov”--with Zos (i.e., Zos Chanuka, the last day of Chanukah), will our sins be forgiven.


4.  When did the Chashmonaim win the war--on the 24th or the 25th of Kislev--if on the 25th--should not we begin to light on the 26th?


Answer:  There is a major dispute on this point.  The Meiri (Shabbos 21B) writes that the victory occurred on the 24th, and the Neiros were lit on the 25th.  The Pri Chadash brings that it is the opinion of the Rambam that the victory occurred on the 25th, and that we begin lighting on the night of the 25th (rather than on the night of the 26th after the victory) because Chazal established the night of the 25th for future generations to specifically remember the miracle of the victory in war which had occurred on that day.


The Har Tzvi (by HaRav Tzvi Pesach Frank, Zt’l) has a fuller discussion of this disagreement in his sefer on Chanukah, Chapter 2.  The Har Tzvi actually brings one authority who used a new Menorah on the second night so that he could make a Shehechayanu on the second night, as well--making a Shehechiyanu on the first night (the 25th) for the miracle of the war, and the Shehechayanu on the new Menora on the second night (the 26th)--to also include the miracle of the oil on that night.


5.  Is there a Hiddur Mitzvah if you put more oil in the cup than you need?


Answer:  The Chayei Adam (154:21) writes that, when using wax candles, there is a hiddur to use longer ones.  This is because longer wax candles appear nicer, not because they will stay lit after the zeman.  See Magen Avraham to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 672, seif katan 3.  Based upon this Magen Avraham, it would appear that the same hiddur does not apply to oil.  One can discuss this with his Posek.


6.  If one did not light at night, does he light in the day without a bracha?


Answer: No, there is no Tashlumim, as a candle in daylight is ineffective (Chayei Adam 154:28).


7.  On the second day, if one does not have enough oil, is it better to light one cup of oil or light two wax candles?


Answer:  It is better to light two wax candles, to be among the “Mehadrin”, who light the number of Neiros which correspond to the night of Chanukah. (Chayei Adom 154:24)


8.  How many words are there in the Bracha of V’liYerushlayim Ircha?  What is the next brocha?  Similarly, how many letters are there in Baruch Sheim Kvode Malchuso LeOlam Voed?  What is the next word in Shema?  What does this tell you about the 25th of Kislev!!


Answer:  There are 24 words in the brochah of V’liYerushlayim Ircha, and 24 letters in Baruch Shem, which correspond to the 24 days of Kislev before Chanukah.


The next brocha in Shemone Esrei is Es Tzemach, alluding to the Yeshua of the Chanukah period (which, of course, we, too, can be zoche to during this time), and the 24 letters of Baruch Shem are followed by V’Ahavta, demonstrating the love of Hashem that was felt at that time (which we, too, should practice during Chanukah, as well!).



Special Note Three:  We continue with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos series. The Sefer Rimzei Shabbos brings the following Halachos:


  1. The Kavanos HaArizal teaches that when one sweats in preparing for Shabbos, it is as beneficial as tears in forgiving of sin.  Hakhel Note: You can’t do physical exercise on Shabbos--so why not work up a sweat on Erev Shabbos!
  2. One should attempt to personally purchase something on Erev Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos, and have in mind that he is fulfilling the Torah’s teaching of “V’Haya BaYom Hashishi V’Haychinu…” (Shemos 16:5)--on the sixth day prepare what you need to for Shabbos.
  3. When one specifically expresses that he is doing something L’Kavod Shabbos, through his speech he causes the Kedushas Shabbos to rest upon that item.
  4. When one makes HaMotzi, he is actually alluding to the shem HaVaya--the Yud Kay Vuv Kay.  The Yud is symbolized by the cutting of the Challah.  One’s five fingers on each hand in which he holds the Challah are the two Hays, and the long (as opposed to circular) Challah is the shape of a Vuv.  When one makes HaMotzi he brings together the full name of Hashem!
  5. Shabbos is Rashei Teivos, an acronym, for Shishi B’Nachas Tinaheg--when one prepares for Shabbos on Erev Shabbos, it should be in a calm and collected manner, speaking softly, respectfully and kindly--bringing Shalom Bayis into the home--with Shalom Bayis!!



We received the following note from an important reader:


“The Ben Yehoyada (The Ben Ish Chai's commentary on Shas) explains why Chanukah is called Chanukah.  According to Shabbos 21B which expounds on the history of Chanukah, it would seem logical that the holiday Chanukah be called “Nachukah” (Nachu; kaf, hey)--Bnei Yisroel rested from war during this time similar to the respite they enjoyed in Megillas Esther.  Thus, it would seem more suitable for the prefix of the holiday to be nachu to correspond to Bnei Yisroel being nach on the fourteenth day of Adar.


“Chanuka, however, is not called Nachukah because if it were so named then it would be assumed that these days were prohibited to do creative work rather than days of Hallel and Hodaah.  Thus the letters of nachu were spun to make chanu and therefore it is Chanuka that we enjoy today!”



By clicking here, you can find the Megilas Antiochus in English.  Why not read it after Hadlakas Neiros? 



Special Note One: In Friday’s Hilchos Shabbos note, we pointed out that it is permissible for regular mail to be delivered to one’s home on Shabbos, primarily in order to contrast receipt of regular mail with special delivery services.  As we have provided in previous notes, mail is, nevertheless, muktza on Shabbos.  We received the following concise  correspondence from dailyhalacha@aol.com, which is a free service providing two Halachos a day by email. 


“Halacha L'kovod Shabbos – "Handling Mail on Shabbos"

Mail delivered on Shabbos is Muktzah, and may not be moved.  {Either because it was brought from out of the Tchum, and/or because it has no predetermined permitted Shabbos use}.  Therefore, if a (non-Jewish) delivery person brings a letter to one's home requiring a signature one should state that he is not permitted to sign, he permits the delivery person to sign (but not instruct him to sign), and ask that the package be placed in a convenient location.  {If the delivery person is Jewish, one may not even permit him to sign}.  Under no circumstances may one accept the letter or package in one's hand because by doing so, one may be completing the melocha of Hotza'ah from a one domain to another.  Letters that had been delivered before Shabbos are also Muktzah except if one has already set aside the letter for a permitted use (i.e. as a bookmark).  {Reading letters on Shabbos is not permitted according to some poskim, and therefore that would not constitute a permitted use}.  Shulchan Aruch w/Mishna Brurah 307:14, Tiltulei Shabbos citing Rav Moshe Feinstein, Sefer 39 Melocho”



Special Note Two:  Brief notes on Chanukah:


a.       The Sefer Taamei Dinim U’Minhagim brings from the Tashbatz (Siman 258) that before the Chashmonaim went to war, they recited the Pasuk of “Vihi Noam Hashem…” (Tehillim 90:17 ) seven times, and then the Pasuk “Orech Yamim Asbiayhu…” (91:16) two times, and were then victorious in war!  It is for this (great) reason that some have the custom of reciting these two Pesukim these specified number of times after Hadlakas Neiros.


b.      When one lights a candle, it is used as a source of light and especially used to search for something.  In fact, Chazal at the outset of Mesectha Pesachim utilize the Pasuk “Achapes Es Yerushalayim B’Neiros--I will search Yerushalayim with candles” to teach that one uses candles for bedikas chometz.  This being so, what does one search for with the neiros Chanukah?  The Sefer Zerah Kodesh suggests that it is Yiras Shamayim that one can find in the Neiros!


c.       Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita writes the following: “If someone did you 10 favors, would it suffice to only thank him for only 1 or 2 of them?  On Chanukah we need to wake up and see the lights to thank Hashem and appreciate the countless favors He is always performing for us.”  Thank you Rabbi Goldberger for this truly enlightening thought!  Based upon this teaching of Rabbi Goldberger, it would be difficult to imagine that a person could forget Al HaNisim in any one of the three Shemone Esrei’s daily (or in Birchas HaMazon) on Chanukah.  Additionally, in times which we are threatened (and rachmana l’tzlan) attacked by those murderous enemies in Gaza, we must particularly daven during these auspicious days for Yeshuos and further Nissim for our people.  This should be a high priority during these Days of Light.





1.  Why do we light 36 Neiros over Chanukah?


2.  Why can we not use the Neiros of Chanukah--even to study Torah by?! How beautifully we use the Neiros Shabbos to eat our  Seudah by--and they  are also Neiros Mitzvah!


3.  To what Yom Tov does the Gematria of Mattisyahu match and why?


4.  When did the Chashmonaim win the war --on the 24th or the 25th of Kislev--if on the 25th--should not we begin to light on the 26th?


5.  Is there a Hiddur Mitzvah if you put more oil in the cup than you need?


6.  If one did not light at night, does he light in the day without a bracha?


7.  On the second day, if one does not have enough oil, is it better to light one cup of oil or light two wax candles?


8.  How many words are there in the Bracha of V'liYerushlayim Ircha?  What is the next brocha?  Similarly, how many letters are there in Baruch Sheim Kvode Malchuso LeOlam Voed ?  What is the next word in Shema?  What does this tell you about today--the 25th of Kislev!!



Kashrus Alert from the Chicago Rabbinical Council:  Please be aware that Tropicana Brand Orange Juice with Omega 3 correctly bears an OK-Fish certification and should not be used together with meat or poultry.  Consumers should always check each label before purchasing.




Special Note One:  We continue with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos Series.  The following is excerpted from The Sanctity of Shabbos (Artscroll), an entire Sefer by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita on the Halachos of Amira L’Akum:


1)         It is permitted to receive regular mail on Shabbos.  It is common knowledge that the Postal Service dictates the delivery and not the recipient and, therefore, maris ayin does not apply.


2)         UPS, FedEx and other overnight courier pick-ups are obviously forbidden, since they make pick-ups only on the days for which they are called to pick up.  Deliveries from them may be accepted on Shabbos without concern for maris ayin because it is common knowledge that packages are shipped by stores and businesses to private homes without the recipient being aware on which day they will arrive.  One may not instruct the deliveryman to sign for the delivery on your behalf.


3)         If one’s oil furnace ran out of oil on a very cold day, the cold is considered to pose a risk to one’s health.  Consequently, one may tell a Gentile directly to call the oil company to deliver oil.  The prohibition of amira l’akum does not apply in cases of possible health hazards.


4)         One may instruct a maid to clean up a spill on a wood or tiled floor even though she may use a sponge mop.  This is permitted because it could have been done in a permissible way by gently blotting the spill with a towel in a manner which does not cause the absorbed liquid to be squeezed out of the towel.


5)         A Jew is forbidden to buy or sell anything on Shabbos.  He is also forbidden to tell a Gentile to buy or sell for him on Shabbos because of Amira L’Akum.  However, he is permitted to tell a Gentile to buy or sell during the week, even if the Gentile may buy or sell the item on Shabbos, as long as the Gentile could have conducted the transaction on a day other than Shabbos.  It is prohibited for a Jew to tell a Gentile even during the week to buy or sell for him, if the only possible time for the transaction is on Shabbos.



Special Note Two:  We continue with our series on the Halachos of Chanukah.  The following Pesakim of HaRav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, are found in his Shailos U’Teshuvos Teshuvos V’Hanhagos:


1.      Some have the custom for a child under the age of Bar Mitzvah to light the Menorah in Shul.  In fact, lighting in Shul is Pirsumei Nisa D’Rabim.  Accordingly, it is a great honor to light the Menorah in Shul, and adults should run after the opportunity.  Moreover, one has the opportunity to make additional brachos that he would not otherwise have at home (Volume 1: p. 282; Volume 4:p.163).


2.      Children below Bar Mitzvah may light with wax candles (Volume 3: p. 240).


3.      The Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 677:3) writes that one is “chayav liros es haneiros--one must see the candles.”  HaRav Shternbuch brings the opinion of the Chavos Yair (in his Sefer Mekor Chaim), who writes that the Ikar Mitzvah of Ner Chanuka is for the one who lit to “stay near” the candles for one half-hour after lighting to see them and to be happy with them--“for they are part of the remembrance of the Simcha of how the menorah was lit as a result of the miracle…and it is not appropriate for a person to light and go away…”  (Volume 1: p. 270).


Hakhel Note:  In his recent shiur for the Mumbai Kedoshim, HaRav Shmuel Dishon, Shlita, said that he had recalled several years ago that a terrorist attack in Eretz Yisroel, rachmana litzlan, had occurred immediately prior to Chanukah.  It is the custom in his family to dance after lighting the Chanukah Licht.  One of his grandchildren asked whether they would dance that year after what had just happened.  His response to his grandchild was “Of course, all the more so, because this is just exactly what they are trying to stop us from doing!”  Let us use the time after the Hadlakas Neiros--in front of the Neiros--to thank Hashem for the nissim and yeshuos he has granted us in the past, and to pray for further nissim and yeshuos in the near future.



Special Note Three: We provide below additional points in preparation for Chanukah:


1.  There is a beautiful short tefillah from the Pele Yoetz (p. 426) to be recited prior to Hadlakas Neiros.  If you have (or can purchase) this wonderful Sefer, we highly recommend this meaningful tefillah.


2.  Chanukah celebrates the incredible military victory by a sacred few.  We are reminded of GILAD BEN AVIVA.  Perhaps it would be appropriate to recite a Kepital Tehillim for him every day of Chanukah--to symbolize our faith that he can be returned to his family unscathed in spite of his current situation.  Please spread the word.


3.  The Magen Avraham (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 676, seif katan 2) writes that one recites 36 words in Haneiros Halulu (corresponding to the 36 neiros lit on Chanukah).  In most editions of the Siddur that we know of, the Nusach contains more than 36 words.  A copy of the published nusach of the prayer consisting of exactly 36 words, which is found in the Siddur Rashban, is available by clicking here


4.  The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Hilchos Chanukah, 139:1) writes, “We increase our Tzedakah during the days of Chanukah, for these days are especially endowed with the ability to rectify shortcomings of the soul through tzedakah--and especially Tzedakah which supports Torah Scholars in need.”  HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, explains that the custom to give Chanukah Gelt to children comes from this concept of Tzedaka on Chanukah--putting oneself into a frame of mind to help all those who can not subsist on their own.  In fact, Harav Kanievsky notes, his father, the Steipeler Gaon, Z’tl, would give the Chanukah Gelt to children in his family every year on the fifth day of Chanukah--apparently because it can never occur on Shabbos!


5.  The days of Chanukah are days especially dedicated “L’Hodos U’Lehalel--to thank and praise”, for when all is said and done we remained and remain separate and distinct as a people--unaffected by the false ideologies, philosophies, and beliefs of the outside world.  Of course, both thanks and praise involve the spoken word.  However, when we speak, our words are intended to emanate from our hearts.  Everyday, when reciting Al Hanisim and Hallel, they should not be viewed as an “extra” which lengthens the davening in honor of the Holiday, but rather as an opportunity to demonstrate your “Avoda Shebalev--your service of the heart” in true thanks and sincere appreciation for our lives--and for the ordinary and extraordinary miracles that we have, and B’ezras Hashem will continue to be blessed with.



Relating to yesterday’s Bulletin:  An important reader noted that Hashem’s name is mentioned three times in a row in the first Pasuk of Shema.  Please see the following note from the Ramchal for the tremendous impact of our daily Krias Shema.



Special Note One:  We conclude today our series on the Sefer Derech Hashem, with the following excerpt:


“When a person actually gives his life for Hashem, it results in a very great Illumination.  This in turn has a tremendous effect in rectifying all creation, increasing its sanctity and enlightenment.  When one resolves to give his life for Hashem, this has a very similar effect, although it is not as powerful.  We accomplish this when we recite the Shema [uttering the words, ‘Hear O Israel, Hashem is our Hashem, Hashem is One,’ and resolving to sacrifice our lives for Hashem].  When one does this, it causes sanctity and enlightenment to be transmitted to all creation, raising it by some degree from the worldly darkness that exists in its fundamental level.”


Hakhel Note:  We must realize that we affect all of creation with the proper recitation of Shema!



Special Note Two:  In light of the recent allegations relating to $50 billion or more being lost as a result of suspected dishonesty, with charity organizations losing hundreds of millions of dollars, we must realize that this is more than a sad news headline.  It is something for each and every one of us to act upon.


The simplest and clearest lesson that we can all take is to be honorably honest in all of our business dealings.  A great lesson from Chanukah is that a little bit of light can eliminate and help to eradicate even the greatest of darkness.  We can, should, and must do our part in lighting that light!



Special Note Three:  There are certain Seforim in our generation which are mainstays for the Shul and/or the home.  One such Sefer is The Laws of Kashrus by Rabbi Binyomin Forst, Shlita (part of the Artscroll Halacha Series).  We provide below some of the very important halachos we can learn about our kitchens from this wonderful Sefer:


  1. A Shabbos Blech must be considered a meat utensil since meat foods commonly spill upon it.  Accordingly, a dairy pot (even if containing only pareve foods) should not be placed on the blech.
  2. A blender is essentially a knife, and is thus subject to the Halachos regarding knives.  Accordingly, among other matters, a pareve blender should not be used with onions cut with a meat or dairy knife.
  3. Most canned goods are pareve and, accordingly, one can get by with one can opener.  However, one who uses canned meat or canned dairy should use a different can opener for each type, since it is difficult to clean a can opener properly.
  4. One who wears plastic or rubber gloves while washing dishes, should use separate gloves, preferably of separate colors, for meat and dairy use.
  5. A grate used to broil meat may not be used to broil fish.  A grate used to broil liver should not be used to broil meat unless it is kashered.
  6. One should not use the same hotplate for both meat and dairy foods.  One may warm dairy foods on a meat hotplate if the hotplate is cleaned and covered with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  7. If gravy splattered on a hot pareve kettle or coffee urn, the kettle should not be used for coffee to be served with milk.
  8. A warming drawer reaches temperatures that are considered yad soledes bo.  Thus, using one drawer for meat and dairy poses a basar b’chalav problem.  Foods often drip on the surface and their taste is absorbed in the drawer bottom.



Special Note Four:  We continue with our Halachos of Chanukah series.  The following questions and answers are culled from Derech Sicha (Teshuvos of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita).


  1. In the HaNeiros Halalu, we recite, “V’Chol Shemonas Yemai Chanukah…”--and on all eight days of Chanukah, the Neiros are holy, and we cannot use them for any another purpose.  Why do we need to emphasize that this restriction on use is true on all eight days?  After all, Chanukah is eight days.  Why would any day be different?  Is it because I would think that the first day is different because it celebrates the miracle that oil burns in the first place, as there was a container of oil that was found for the first day?


Answer:  One can also suggest that the first day celebrates the miraculous victory in war, and that, nevertheless, even on the first day one may not use the neiros of Chanukah for any other purpose.


  1. Is it better to prepare your own wicks, or to purchase the pre-packaged wicks?  If you buy the pre-packaged wicks, you can save ten minutes or more in preparation time!


Answer:  For someone who would otherwise be learning, he should buy the pre-packaged wicks.  If not, let him spend the time on the Mitzvah!


  1. If one arrives home late, is it permissible to wake up his parents, so that he can light candles in the presence of his household?


Answer:  It depends upon whether they (or either one of them) would appreciate it.  If you are in doubt, do not wake them up.


  1. What is preferable:  To purchase a Menorah which is made of silver but is not so aesthetically pleasing, or to purchase one made of a cheaper metal, but which appears nicer?


Answer:  The silver menorah is preferable.


  1. Did they light the Chanukah menorah in the Bais HaMikdosh as we do in our Shuls?


Answer:  They could not do so in the Azara, for that would be a question of Baal Tosif, but in a place(s) where they slept and ate (in the Lishkos--the side chambers), it would appear that they did light--Pirsumei Nisa even in the Bais HaMikdosh!


Special Note One:  A reader provided the following important comment: “It is interesting that, in this week’s Parsha, the Torah says that Potiphar, a far removed gentile, realized that Hashem was with Yosef.  Rashi explains that he realized it because Hashem’s name was constantly being mentioned by Yosef.  This was the basis for Yosef’s success in Galus.  We should take the lesson from the Torah (this week’s Sidrah, as you always point out), and be successful by constantly having Hashem on our lips with the words ‘Baruch Hashem’, ‘Thank You, Hashem’, ‘I realize this is from You, Hashem’, ‘I love You, Hashem’, ‘Hashem please help me with’, ‘Hashem please guide me’…  ‘Hashem please bring the Geulah!’”


Special Note Two:  There is a Pasuk that we recite in both Shacharis and Maariv in which three names of Hashem are mentioned consecutively.  Imagine the privilege of saying the name of Hashem three words in a row!  Can you identify the Pasuk?  Hint: It is in Sefer Tehillim.  When we recite this Pasuk twice daily we should treasure it and the message it conveys (which you will find, when you find the Pasuk!)


Special Note Three:  Kavannah Tip--In our fast-paced society, we, perhaps more than previous generations have a hard time focusing on 19 brachos of Shemone Esrei in order to recite them with the proper Kavannah.  May we suggest the following?

Although there is much obvious and hidden significance behind the order and relationship of the 19 brachos of the Shemone Esrei, try to view each brocha before its recitation as a separate, stand-alone brocha.  Each brocha then becomes the equivalent of an appreciative but short Shehakol Nehiyeh B’Dvaro before drinking the much-needed liquid.  Attempting this over a few Shemone Esreis may help you to give the chashivus, the sheer importance, to each brocha that it deserves.


Special Note Four:  B’EH, we hope to conclude our short series of excerpts from the Sefer Derech Hashem by the Ramchal over the next several days.  For those who do not have this classic Mussar work, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Zt’l, one can find it in the Feldheim Chanukah Catalog, which, together with the Artscroll Catalog, and the Israel Bookshop Catalog are certainly something for the Jewish people to be proud of!  These are the meaningful and precious words of the Ramchal:

“In order to have its desired effect, study of the Torah must conform to two conditions.  These are reverence for the study itself and the constant rectification of one’s own deeds.

“The only reason why the Torah has any power at all is because Hashem bound His most precious Influence (Hashpa’ah) to it, making it dependent on the Torah.  It is for this reason that reciting and comprehending it can transmit this Influence.  If Hashem had not made it so, then the Torah would be no different from any other educational book involving the various aspects of natural inquiry.  These books may contain accurate and valuable information, but they do not incorporate any significance and excellence in the soul of a person who reads, recites or comprehends them.  Books such as these, furthermore, have absolutely no power to rectify Creation.

“It is imperative that one should have reverence and awe when involved in the Torah.  What one is then doing is approaching Hashem and involving himself in the transmission of the great Light from Hashem to himself.  The individual involved in the Torah should therefore be abashed by his human lowliness and tremble before Hashem’s loftiness.  He should rejoice in what he can attain, but even this should be combined with the greatest possible awe.  It is all the more important that one not behave frivolously when involved in the Torah, and not show any disrespect for its books or their words.  When occupied with the Torah, one must realize before Whom he stands.  When one fulfills these conditions, then his study of the Torah is as it should be.  He can then draw down the Influence discussed earlier and incorporate in himself G-dly excellence, as well as rectify and illuminate all Creation.”

Hakhel Note:  As Chanukah approaches, in which we more intensely bring the light of Torah into our lives, let us take these words of the Ramchal to heart, and consistently demonstrate a greater reverence, respect and appreciation during our Torah study.


Special Note Five:  Chanukah is a day closer!  We begin a series of Halachos relating to Chanukah.  This first Halacha is provided by The Vaad L’maan Yahadus of Los Angeles (Rabbi Gershon Bess, Shlita). The Vaad can be contacted at 323-933-5031.

Time Zone:  The Poskim discuss the situation in which a person is traveling by plane (unable to light) and is in a different time zone than his wife.  According to the Minchas Yitzchok, if he is in a time zone “ahead” of his wife (candle-lighting has already arrived for him), she may light and he will thereby fulfill the mitzvah.  If, however, he is in a time zone “behind” his wife (candle-lighting time has not yet arrived where he is), it is questionable whether he can fulfill his obligation with her lighting (before it is the time for him to light).  HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, holds that he will not fulfill his obligation, unless his wife lights at a time when he is traveling over land, where it is candle lighting time below, on the ground.  If his wife lights at that time, he will fulfill his obligation.  HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Z’tl, is of the opinion that, since the mitzvah is light in his home, and his wife is lighting in his home during the proper time (for her), he thereby fulfills the mitzvah, no matter where he is.  Obviously, one should try to avoid such a situation.


Special Note One:  The following Kashrus issues apply especially in the winter months.

1.  Chapstick®

There is a difference of opinion among Poskim as to whether Chapstick® and similar lip care products would need kosher supervision.  Some Poskim are of the opinion that they do not need a Hashgacha, because they are not a food and are not swallowed.  Other Poskim are of the opinion that the unique and tasty lip products, are, truth be told, really tasted, and that the there is no reason to take something not kosher in your mouth--even if they may not be actually swallowed.  Every person should consult his own Posek regarding the permissibility of their use.


2.  Cough Drops

According to the OU, cough drops and throat drops would not be considered a medicine, and are more akin to candies and therefore require a reliable Kosher supervision.

There are numerous kosher cough drops.

The following link provides a listing of cough drops and throat drops which are certified as kosher when bearing the OU symbol.  We especially highlight that certain of these products are dairy.

We note that the OU has a fully-functional product search for most OU-Certified Industrial, Consumer, In-house and Private Label products.  The product search can be accessed online by clicking here.


3.  Liquid Cough Syrups, Pain Relievers and Anti-Histamines

We once again provide the following advice previously issued by a national Kashrus agency relating to certain products more commonly taken at this time of year:


“The public should be aware that many liquid medicines such as cough syrups, pain relievers and anti-histamines contain non-kosher ingredients.  They are present in substantial amounts and are generally pleasant-tasting and thus are neither batel nor pogum.  As such it is assur to use them unless taken to protect against a life-threatening condition.  Common opinion that permits their use is based, by and large, on misinformation.  We are fortunate that comparable kosher products have become available to us, which are produced under Rabbinical supervision and are of the same degree of effectiveness as the finest alternate non-kosher medications…  No one should

assume that anything else is permitted without first asking a competent Rav…  Heaven

forbid that the issur of ‘prohibited foods which clog the heart’ should be taken lightly, and allowed to be condoned by public apathy.”


One should consult with his Posek regarding these issues, and should generally be aware of the many Kosher over-the-counter medications, and the Jewish companies which produce health-related products.



Special Note Two:  We received the following from Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita, relating to this week’s Parsha:


“Yosef brought bad reports to Father.  The Medrash says we learn to avoid Loshon Hora.  What were the costs of those words?  Yosef was in prison for 12 years.  His father who had listened suffered for 22 years.  Words can be very costly!”



Special Note Three:  At the outset of World War II, the Brisker Rav was housed in Vilna.  The Russian army was taking over the good apartments for their army chieftains, and the Rav was advised that his apartment might soon be exchanged for a cramped apartment outside of town with no windows.  If the order came through, he would have to evacuate in 48 hours.  Although his family was worried, the Rav advised them that it was most important to know what “they said in Shamayim” about the situation and not what people were postulating or planning down here.  If everything was in order in the Heavens, nothing could happen on Earth.  Ultimately, the Rav was able to remain in the more comfortable apartment with his family for as long as he was in Vilna.  As he was leaving the apartment, he received notification that the army was requisitioning it!


The world, although appearing to move in natural ways and on natural terms, really only moves based on what is decreed in Shamayim.  In fact, Chazal teach that even for a person to hurt his finger must be decreed in Heaven (Chulin 7B).  This, of course, means that not only is the decree on a finger coming from heaven, but also which finger it is that will suffer, and exactly how much blood will be spilled from that finger.


The Sifsei Chaim (Emunah V’Hashgacha 1, p. 433) explains that “HaTeva” (nature or natural events) has exactly the same Gematria as Elokim because Hashem hides His conduct in the ordinary course of things.  This is especially intended to provide us with the Nisayon of proper Emunah in HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  As the Ramban (at the end of Parshas Bo) exclaims, “A person does not have a part in the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu until he believes that all events and occurrences (personally and collectively) are all miracles.  The only difference between them is that some may be more revealed than others.  There is no ordinary way of the world….”


During a period in which we sense uneasiness and rockiness, whether it be on a personal, local, countrywide, or worldwide basis, we must recognize that this is not part of an economic cycle, particular social mores in world history, or perhaps part of a change in worldwide political course, but rather that the events and occurrences are Heavenly-ordained to have a particular impact and effect upon each and every one of us in a specific way.  Ignoring or denying the events around us is clearly an inappropriate response.  Even if one has been affected less than others--how can he say “Shalom Alai Nafshi”--I have not been particularly moved, the messages are not for me.  Whatever our station in life, we must work on our Emunah--bringing Hashem into our daily lives.


As with any relationship, the more close we feel and sense HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the closer will He make His presence felt to us (see Chovos HaLevavos, Introduction to Shaar HaBitachon and Moreh Nevuchim 3:51).


The very days cry out to us--on Chanuka a few Kohanim finally defeated the mightiest army in the world.  The days before Chanuka, are the days in which the battles were actually waged with the proper resolve and belief.  As we recite in Shacharis every morning “Not in the strength of the horse does He desire, nor does He favor the legs of man.  Hashem favors the ones who fear Him, those who long for his kindness” (Tehillim 147:10, 11).


Let us properly use these times to take the lesson of the Chashmonaim, of the Pesukim, of the Ramban...and bring Hashem’s Presence into our lives more than we ever have before.  We can accomplish this by associating everything that goes on around us, our hurt and our happiness, with Hashem, by improving our Brachos, and by monitoring the way we speak, which is indicative about the feelings really going on within us.


As Moshe Rabbeinu exclaimed “Mi Lashem Ailai--Who is for Hashem, come with me!” (Shemos 32:26)  With a little bit of effort we can join in!


Special Note One: We received the following comment from a reader:

“May I respectfully add to your Special Note One of yesterday?  Just after we say, ‘Boruch Hagever’ we have ‘Na’ar hoyeesee’--I was a youth and now I have aged, and I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread (Tehillim 37:25).  This posuk seems very odd as there are so many people who are poor in our community.  However, I have heard it explained as follows.  Yes, there are many people who are poor and forsaken but when I do see them, I make sure I do something about it.  Hamelech Dovid tells us in these words that he would not allow a poor person to perish.  Indeed, it is so heartwarming to see around us as I do in Netanya where I live, thousands of children who come from poor families being fed daily at their schools with sandwiches made fresh daily by volunteers who have these words in mind.  These words from Tehillim said daily in Benching are truly inspirational.”

Hakhel Note:  Every day, we recite the pasuk of “Poseach Es Yodecha U’Masbea L’Chol Chai Ratzon--You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Tehillim 145:16).  The Steipeler Gaon, HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, Zt’l, was asked to explain the Pasuk in light of the people around us who do not appear satisfied with their lot.  The Steipeler (in his Sefer Ta’ama Dikra, Tehillim), explains that when a person puts his hand into his pocket to take out three coins, and only takes out two, this is considered Yissurin, affliction which effects Kapara for sin.  So, in reality, Hashem does satisfy the desires of every living being, but first collects from this that which is owed to Him.

This may be compared, the Steipeler writes, to a king who stated that on his birthday he would give ten gold coins from his treasury to every resident in his country.  There was one person who already owed the kingdom nine gold coins, and, accordingly, received only one gold coin from the treasury.  He would have received all ten coins…but for the payment of his debt.  Based upon this teaching of the Steipeler, if one feels that he if is not falling within the “Masbia L’Chol Chai Ratzon,” he should consider his situation as Yissurin, effecting a Kapara on his behalf.

Of course, all of the above must be additionally balanced with Chazal’s teaching of “Aizahu Oshir...--Who is rich, he who is happy with his lot” (Avos 4:1).  Not everyone can, should and will be among the more successful members of his community, for that simply may not be not his purpose in life.  The two teachings, that of Kapara, and being Someach BeChelko, and coincide and join together with the words “Baruch HaGever Asher Yivtach ...Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem....”


Special Note Two:  We continue with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos Series.   As we are now in the shortest days of the year in the northern hemisphere, one of the great Mitzvos of Shabbos may be more  difficult to perform—the Great Mitzvah of Shalosh Seudos—the third meal.  Accordingly, we provide the following notes relating to the Third Meal:

1)     The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 291, writes that a person should be “Zohir Meod--very careful,” to fulfill this Mitzvah of Shalosh Seudos, and should eat more than a Baitza (ibid., Mishne Berurah, seif katan 2) of bread at this meal, unless it would pain him to do so.  The Shulchan Aruch continues that a chacham, a wise person, will not fill his belly at the noon meal, so that he can properly fulfill the mitzvah of Shalosh Seudos.

2)     One who was not able to eat the Leil Shabbos meal, must nevertheless eat three meals during the day (making the full Kiddush before the first meal in the morning).

3)     One should wash for Shalosh Seudos before Shekia.  If one did not wash before Shekia, he has at least a little bit of time after Shekia to wash as well (see Orach HaShulchan, Orach Chaim, 299:1, and see Mishne Berurah, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 299, seif katan 1, who provides for a longer amount of time after Shekia to wash if one has failed to wash before Shekia.  Also see Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim IV: 69:6, in which HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Z’tl, appears stricter with going beyond Shekia to wash for Shalosh Seudos).

4)     It is preferable to wash on Lechem Mishna (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 291:4).

5)     It is preferable that one drink wine during the Meal (ibid., Mishne Berurah, seif katan 21).

6)     It is also a Mitzvah “LiHarbos B’Maadanim L’fi Yichalto--to have delicacies at this meal, according to one’s ability” (ibid., seif katan 22).

7)     For potential substitutes for bread at Shalosh Seudos, the Shulchan Aruch brings opinions of “Yesh Omrim” (there are those who say...), which are not accepted by the Shulchan Aruch unless one is “sovea beyoser--overly satiated.”  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 295:5.

8)      Women are not only obligated in the Mitzvah of Shalosh Seudos, but also in the Mitzvah of Lechem Mishna for Shalosh Seudos (ibid., 295:6 and Biur Halacha, d’h Nashim).


Special Note Three:  This Sunday, 17 Kislev, is the Yahrzeit of the Alter of Navardok, Rav Yosef Yozel Hurwitz, Z’tl.  We present below a few of his great teachings, excerpted from the Sefer Sparks of Mussar, by Rabbi Chaim Zaitchik, Shlita:


1.  The quality of a person’s prayer demonstrates his level of Mussar.


2.  A person who focuses his mental ability on worldly pursuits instead of for understanding the true Heavenly Light of our existence is like a villager who uses a magnificent sculpture as a scarecrow.


3.  One should make it a special point to go to the Beis Medrash in the cold and rain, fog and snow, lest it is your Yetzer Hora, rather than reason, that advises you to stay home.

4.  A person should give up his whole future for today, so that he will not waste all his todays for one tomorrow.

5.  The advantage of Teshuva over all other ventures is that even losses are converted into profits.  Hakhel Note:  What a sensible business for today’s times--and one can even engage in it on Shabbos!!



Special Note One:  Yirmiyahu HaNavi (17:7) teaches: “Baruch HaGever Asher Yivtach Bashem V’Haya Hashem Mivtacho…--Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem, then Hashem will be his security.”  The Meforshim ask--what does the second half of the Pasuk--“and Hashem will be his security”--add to the first part of the Pasuk, as it seems to repeat the theme of Bitachon a second time (see the Malbim there)?


The Metsudas Dovid explains that there is indeed a great lesson for life to be learned here--in direct proportion to the amount of Bitachon that a person has in Hashem, will Hashem be for him a source of assistance and security.  In other words, the degree of Hashgacha Pratis that you receive is proportional to the true Bitachon that you have!


This teaching, of course, is something that we can, and must, apply through our day both inside and outside of the home.  We must add, however, that as Rebbe Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl, used to teach, another’s Gashmius is our Ruchniyus.  Thus, if Hashem has blessed us with a Parnassa, a job of any kind, this does not mean that we should tell others who currently do not have a job or source of parnassa that they should rely on their Bitachon.  Rather, we should do what we can to assist those we know who are without a sufficient source of livelihood.


One important reader advised us that he makes sure--on a daily basis--to circulate a job opportunity that he receives, comes across or actively finds to those whom he knows are seeking employment.  What a thoughtful undertaking--and what an important Chesed--for the times in which we live!



Special Note Two:  Now that even those outside of Eretz Yisroel have become accustomed to reciting “V’Seyn Tal Umatar LiVrocha,” we should begin to focus on what these four words mean and what they add to the words “V’Sayn Brocha” previously recited.  According to the Sefer Avodas HaTefillah, with these additional words we pray that **in addition to** the regular brocha of tal--dew--that rain fall for us: a. in the proper time; b. in the places that need it; and c. in the measure that it is needed, for these three factors are what constitutes the brocha from the winter season that we seek.


With this explanation, how can we ever forget to say these additional words, and instead request only the smaller brocha of “V’sayn Brocha” instead--when our request is so important, not only to ourselves and to our extended families, but literally to the entire world!



Special Note Three:  We received the following from Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita, relating to this week’s Parsha: Why did Eisav’s angel say to Yaakov, “Why do you ask for my name?” (Bereishis 32:28)?  Rabbi Goldberger suggests that the angel did not want to divulge his name because it was simply not important--as it is Hashem who truly runs the entire world.  We should not focus on the agents and miss the bigger picture.



Special Note Four:  The following description is written on the label of Reese’s Popcorn Salt: “This is a super fine grained salt especially made for popcorn.  Also enhances the flavor of french fries, corn on the cob and other vegetables.”  This is a real product--and is even certified kosher by the OU.


This product will help us better understand one of the most common brachos that we make every day, the brocha of “Borei Nefashos”.  The Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 208, Seif Katan 5, based upon the Tur) explains the brocha as follows: We give praise to you Hashem for providing the “Chesronam--the basic staples” (such as bread)--to so many living things--and beyond that for providing the world with “Al Kol Ma Shebara L’Hachayos”--with foods which are not absolutely necessary to our existence, and yet appear in abundance all over the world.  This brocha then, although short, is extremely powerful, for it thanks Hashem not only for the two or three meals that we have daily, but for all of those “extras” that we are blessed with.


Oh!--how full of Kavannah it should be!  Before reciting this brocha, think about what you just ate, and whether it fits into the “V’Chesronam” part, or the “Al Kol Ma” of the brocha, and have Kavannah accordingly!


Note: It is important to point out that although there are different nuschaos in different siddurim and publications for the brocha of Borei Nefashos, the Mishne Berurah is very definitive as to what the Nusach should be (many current siddurim do not present the Mishne Berurah’s nusach accurately).  This is the Nusach:


“…Borei Nefashos Rabos V’CHESRONAM, al kol ma SHEBORA l’hachayos bahem nefesh kol chai..”


The Mishne Berurah adds that some say Sheborasa, but this does not appear to be his nusach.  (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 208, Mishne Berurah Seif Koton 3).


Begin your “Borei Nefashos” anew--today!



Special Note One:  We received the following important communication from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, and make it available for all those who did not receive it directly:

1.  Please click here for an audio file (MP3 format) by Rabbi Wachsman that inspired thousands at the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Kinus Hisorerus.

2.  For a complete listing of tapes and CD’s by Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman please send an email to editorial@chofetzchaimusa.org  and write “cd list” in subject, or call 845-352-3505, extension 116

 3.  Thousands are joining the Shabbos Table Machsom L’fi-a powerful kabbalah for Ahavas Yisrael and tremendous shmirah for your family.  Empower YOUR family by joining today.  Call 212-444-9898 ext. 1 for more information or send an email to shabbostable@chofetzchaimusa.org

Special Note Two:  Additionally, for those who did not view the one minute response to Mumbai video from Aish HaTorah, we provide this important video by clicking here (which should be distributed to your not-yet-frum acquaintances, as well).

Special Note Three:  A reader had asked us about infestation in seaweed typically served with sushi.  We presented this question to a nationally recognized Kashrus expert on insect infestation.  He advised us that from time to time very small sea horses may be found in the seaweed, and suggested that the Kashrus organization supervising the sushi product or establishment must make its own determination as to the necessity of inspection for this obviously unkosher item.

Special Note Four:  We congratulate our affiliate, The V’Ani Tefillah Foundation, on Artscroll’s recent publication in French of its best-selling sefer, Praying with Fire, by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita.  There are very few Seforim in English that attain this distinction, and it is certainly a mark of the excellence of the Sefer, and impact that the Sefer it is having in the Torah world.  We now understand that shuls and communities will be studying the new remarkable Sefer Praying with Fire 2 on a daily program together.  To obtain further details on how your Shul or community could improve its Tefillah through the study of Praying with Fire and/or Praying with Fire 2, contact prayingwithfire@yeshivanet.com

Special Note Five:  At the Hakhel gathering last week in memory of the Mumbai Kedoshim, HaRav Shmuel Dishon, Shlita, pointed out that the kedoshim were killed in the week of Parshas Toldos.  The Parsha, in one Pasuk, remarkably teaches us both the proper and improper reaction to the tragedy.  The Pasuk states “VaYazed Yaakov Nazid--and Yaakov prepared a stew,” and Eisav came in from the field and he was exhausted (Bereishis 25:29).  Chazal teach that Avraham Avinu, the Gadol HaDor, was just taken from this world, and, in the aftermath of his passing, Yaakov Avinu prepared a Seudas Havra’ah to comfort and to give chizuk for his father, understanding that Avraham’s Petira was HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s will, and that it would be up to those remaining to carry on what Avraham Avinu represented and stood for.  Eisav, on the other hand, was exhausted from the gross aveiros that he committed upon hearing of Avraham’s passing, responding to the tragedy with despair and rejection.

This is a great lesson for us.  Unquestionably, one must react to what happened in Mumbai in some way that will leave not a passing, but a lasting impression and affect upon him [see and hear, for example, the Chofetz Chaim and Aish videos above referenced above].  The reaction should not, however, Chas V’Shalom be of a weakening in Emunah, a “there’s nothing you can do” attitude, a ye’ush, a disregard of what happened as if it were not a message from Hashem.  Rather, our conduct should be like that of Yaakov Avinu, strengthening our Emunah and embracing and strengthening the sacred trust that we have in these turbulent times.

Indeed, it is none other than Yaakov Avinu, the symbol of the Jew in Galus (Maaseh Avos Siman L’Bonim) who affords us this great lesson.  HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Shlita, Rosh HaYeshiva in Lakewood, teaches the importance of the description of Yaakov Avinu in the Torah as a “Yoshev Ohalim--one who dwells in tents” (Bereishis 25:27).  After all, the Torah’s description of Yaakov focuses on his difficulties with Lavan, with Eisav, and with Mitzraim, his encounters and his travels, and does not appear to spend even one precious word describing his Torah studies.  How could this be so?  In fact, however, Yaakov was the true “dweller of tents” because he took his Torah teachings wherever he went and in every situation that he encountered.  This is why the Torah does not state that he dwelled in a “house”--but in a “tent”--through the sojourns of Galus.  A tent of Torah is impregnable, indeed unconquerable, by Eisav.  The tent separates us from the apathy, lethargy, and lack of real responsiveness by the outside world to the recent events.

In this week’s Parsha, Yaakov once again distances himself from Eisav, teaching him that the B’nei Yisroel do not use Olam Hazeh in the same way as the B’nei Edom.  We should each make sure that we are following the lead of our leader in Galus, Yaakov Avinu, and do our part--properly and meaningfully reacting to the trials and tribulations around us--and bring the world with us to the next step--the Geulah Sheleima, Bekarov, Amen.



Special Note One:  The Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 59, seif katan 15) explains why the shliach tzibbur cannot be motzi another who is able to read Loshon Hakodesh with chazaras hashatz--because everyone who is capable must ask for mercy for himself!  Indeed, Chazal (Brachos 20B) teach that women are obligated to daven for this reason--women, too, must ask for their own for mercy.  It would be helpful for our kavana if we could remind ourselves that we are pleading for abundant mercy before the Heavenly Throne--and we cannot rely on anyone else--not the shliach tzibbur, nor even our parents, spouse or children for this awesome and momentous task.



Special Note Two:  Below we provide a listing of some of the Shailos asked to HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, in a recent Sefer published by Rav Gumbo, Shlita.  Because of the tremendous effort expended in producing this sefer, the author does not permit us to provide the answers to the questions…  So, you can either purchase the Sefer at a small cost, or ask your Rav any of the Shailos to which you do not know the answer!


  1. Do you answer Amen to a Brocha on the telephone?

  2. If you recite an Al Netilas Yadayim and then hear a child recite Al Netilas Yadayim before you recite your HaMotzi, do you answer Amen to the child’s brocha?

  3. Can you step on a wet doormat on Shabbos?

  4. If your refrigerator or freezer door has Muktza items on it--can you open and close the door?

  5. Can you set a security alarm for Shabbos--knowing that the police will come on Shabbos if it goes off?

  6. Can a Baal Teshuva sell paintings that he had painted on Shabbos before he became frum?

  7. Can a gathering recite Sheva Brachos if the Chassan did not eat bread?

  8. If you wash one hand can you talk until you wash both hands?

  9. Can you make a copy of a tape that you “definitely would never have bought” otherwise?

  10. Do you make a brocha rishona on ice cream as dessert at a meal?  If not eaten during the course of a meal, is ice cream treated as a liquid, or solid--i.e., is the after brocha based upon the shiur of consumption of a reviis, or the shiur of consumption of a kezais?  (Note that this could have real impact on whether an after bracha is made at all, as it may be difficult to have a shiur of reviis of ice cream in the amount of time it takes  to drink a reviis of liquid.)



Special Note Three:  The following is an excerpt from the most recent issue of “Halachically Speaking”--The Halachos of Coffee Part 2.  To subscribe to “Halachically Speaking,” you can visit the website by clicking here.


Walking into a Coffee Shop--Maras Ayin:

The question arises if there is a concern of maras ayin with walking into a coffee shop to get a coffee, since people will see you walking in and they sell non-kosher in the store, as well.  L’maseh, since a coffee shop sells kosher items (coffee) as well as non-kosher, there is no maras ayin concern (HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita; Refer to Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 1: 96).  This is common when walking into a rest stop store (HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita).  Walking into a store which sells only non-kosher according to some poskim would be a problem (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 2:240).  Those who are makpid to only drink Cholov Yisroel, should be careful not to drink from an opened Cholov Yisroel bottle on a road stop unless you see the person in the store opening it.  This is because we can not verify that Cholov Yisroel milk is in there.



Special Note Four:  We provide below a sampling of brief Responsa in Choshen Mishpat provided by the Mechon Hahoyroa of Monsey, New York.  These particular Shailos were presented in Volume 19 of a series of Halacha Journals in Hebrew and English issued by the Mechon.


Question:          A person gave his minor son a one hundred dollar bill and sent him to the store to buy an item that costs fifty dollars.  The storekeeper sold the item to the boy and gave him fifty dollars change.  The son lost the fifty dollars change on his way home.  Should the storekeeper reimburse the father for the lost fifty dollars, since it was wrong for him to give large change to a minor?


Answer:            In the times of the Talmud, the storekeeper would have been required to reimburse the purchaser.  But nowadays, it is common and accepted practice to send children under Bar Mitzvah with money.  Therefore, if the money involved is an amount that people typically allow a child of that age to carry on their behalf, the seller has no obligation to reimburse the parent for the lost funds.



Question:          Reuven owes money to Shimon, who lives in another city.  Reuven gave the money to Levi to bring to Shimon.  Is Levi permitted to use the funds while he is traveling to the other city, with the intention to pay back Shimon with other funds when he arrives?  If it is forbidden for him to use the money without permission, from whom does he ask permission, the borrower or the lender?  What if he just wants to exchange the money for other cash that he has with him?  Finally, does the halacha change if Reuven sent the money as a gift (and not as repayment of a debt) to Shimon?




a.         When someone deposits money for safekeeping, the guardian of the funds has the right to borrow the money for his own use without asking permission unless the person who deposited the funds gave it to him wrapped up or sealed.  However, if the money was given to him to bring to a specific individual, it may be forbidden to use funds without permission (this, in fact, is the ruling of the Nesivos Hamishpat, Choshen Mishpat, 292:121).


b.         When the messenger has to ask permission, whose permission is required?  If the messenger is returning borrowed money or a borrowed item to the lender, the messenger must ask permission from the lender to whom he is bringing it.  If, on the other hand, the money is a gift and the messenger was told, “Please bring money to so and so,” he should seek permission from the sender.  If different instructions were used when the messenger was asked to deliver the funds or item, Rabbinic authorities should be consulted.


c.         All of the above applies when the messenger wants to temporarily borrow the funds.  If he is only exchanging the funds for other money which he has in his possession, it seems permitted without permission, unless there is strong reason to assume that the sender will be upset.



Question:          A worker frequently travels on behalf of his company.  The airline tickets which the company purchases receive mileage which is in the worker’s name.  To Whom does the mileage belong?  May the worker use the mileage for himself or must the mileage be used only for travel on behalf of the company?




a.         If this is a business that requires an employee to travel, the benefit of the mileage is something that naturally comes with the expenses of the business and belongs to the owner of the business.  This is true even if the owner never thought about the mileage, because the air travel and bonus miles are part of the operating expenses of the business.


b.         What about a case where the company would not necessarily receive the mileage?  For example, the employee may have inconvenienced himself in order to receive mileage, or the type of business did not necessarily require a lot of airline travel but it just worked out this way for this employee?  In this case, the mileage belongs to the employee provided that the mileage is given in the name of the passenger.  If the airline allows anyone from the business to use the mileage, the employee has to pay the owner a portion of the value of the bonus ticket.  The value of the bonus depends:


i)          If the employee had to travel anyway, even without the bonus ticket, he should reimburse the business owner for half of the retail value of the ticket.


ii)         If the employee would not travel unless he had the mileage bonus available, he should reimburse the employer for a third of the value of the ticket.


Perhaps the greatest lesson of these three shailos for us in a wider sense, is that we must become accustomed to asking Shailos in Choshen Mishpat.  In thisweek’s Parsha, we find that Yaakov Avinu is careful even with Pachim Ketanim--the smallest of vessels that are in his possession.  We must, most certainly follow in the footsteps of our Avos.  The Mechon Hahoyroa has a 24 hour Shaila hotline, which answers Choshen Mishpat questions, as well.  The number is 845-HALACHA (845-425-2242).


This week, let’s remember to take care of our pachim ketanim!



Special Note One: We received the following from an important reader, and have independently verified its contents with one of the leading independent Kashrus authorities in the United States:

“Unfortunately, there are some people who are more concerned with turning a profit than remaining honest.

“With Chanukah around the corner, we must be increasingly careful to know where we are purchasing oil. A reputable store in a religious neighborhood usually uses the same dealers and he can trace the source of a product.

“I have loaded the latest Chief Rabbinate bulletin which gives a listing in Hebrew of oils, company details, barcodes and so-forth. Please click here for the link  Perhaps more helpful is the four page section showing actual photos of forged labels on the market, showing many certifications one might normally rely on. Shopper beware! I spoke with Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, and one tip he gave me is that “If it is too cheap, don't trust it.” He explained that if everyone is selling olive oil for NIS 40 a liter and one store has is for a considerable discount, it usually means it is not what it says.”

Hakhel Note: we have mentioned this issue in the past--please warn those who you can, as well!

Special Note Two: In this week’s Parsha, VaYeitzei, we learn how Yaakov Avinu dealt with business matters--with complete reliance on Hashem. In today’s economic climate, many of us may be faced with financial strain, and be placed in situations in which our honesty and integrity are put to the test--sometimes to a smaller, and sometimes to a larger, extent. We must understand that whatever happens to each one of us on a financial basis is--just as the rest of our lives--Hashgacha Pratis for us, and that if we were meant to lose $3,156.23, that is exactly what we are to lose, or to gain $7,248.99, that is exactly what we are supposed to gain. Of course, even who we lose the money to--or gain the money from--is part of the very same unfathomable Divine Providence.

HaRav Matisyahu Solomon, Shlita, points out that our current financial situation, as opposed to our financial situation a year ago, is relative. Indeed, on the whole, many have not gone over the last several months from one extreme of wealth to the other extreme of rachmana litzlan, poverty. He relates that he walked into a Shul in which someone was reading Parshas HaMan on the Tuesday of Parshas B’Shalach, as is the custom in some Chassidic circles. Another individual walked in and noticed that he was reading Parshas HaMon. He exclaimed, “You might as well stop doing that. I have been reading it for 50 years on this very day, and nothing has ever happened for me!”

HaRav Solomon reprimanded this person. “How could you say that it hasn’t helped you?! Have you had what to eat for the last 50 years? Have you made Shabbos and Yom Tov? You are wearing clothing, aren’t you?...”

What we have to understand, deeply understand, from the perceived financial crisis, is that everything comes from One Source and Only One Source. If we remember Hashem by reciting Tehillim Chapter 23 before we eat, and by reciting Birchas HaMazon with Kavannah, by realizing that every ounce of food, our shelter, our clothing, all comes from Hashem Yisborach. By understanding and appreciating our relative wealth, we will move closer to the great accomplishment of a close relationship with Hashem Yisborach.

In order to bring this point home, we provide the following mashal from the Sefer Orchos Tzadikim in Shaar HaSimcha:

“This may be likened to 100 blind individuals walking one after the other, with each one placing his hand on the shoulder of the one in front of him, with one person who can see at the head of the line leading all in back of him. Every one on line knows that though he is placing his hand on the shoulder of his friend, and that his friend is in front of him, he, is not really being led by his friend. Rather, all are being led by that one man who could see at the head of the line. If this first man would move away...they would all stumble and fall.”

This, the Orchos Tzadikim teaches, is what every thinking person must take to heart. He must realize that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is the Leader, and that we are the people who cannot see following in back. Although we may have our hand on the shoulder of the one in front of us, we may be helped by our “friends” (i.e., bosses, business colleagues, partners, customers and clients, etc.), in fact, no one of these friends could succeed but for Hashem Yisborach at the beginning of the line, Who lovingly, unswervingly, and with limitless omnipotence and omniscience, knows how to lead.

Neither the employee nor the employer, the service provider or the customer, the seller or the purchaser, should be either haughty or humbled by his position--for they are all led by the True Leader at the head of the line--the One who sees--and will always see--for all of us!


Special Note One:  In memory of the Kedoshim, we provide the following reminder from the Shaarei Teshuva (2:5):


“It is for him who trusts in Hashem to hope, in the gloom of his anguish, that the darkness be the cause of light, as it is written (Micha, 7:8), ‘Rejoice not against me, Oh my enemy, though I have fallen, I shall arise; though I sit in darkness, Hashem is light onto me.’  Chazal explain this Pasuk as follows:  ‘If I had not fallen, I would not have risen, if I had not sat in darkness, it would not have been light onto me’ (Medrash Tehillim, 22).”


Hakhel Note A:  Is it any wonder then that we are reminded of this with night preceding day--every single day?


Hakhel Note B:  We must remind ourselves to take action every single day as well!



Special Note Two:  Two relatively unknown websites that may be useful for anti-missionary and Kiruv activity are:






Special Note Three:  We had recently issued a Kashrus Alert, dispelling a rumor that all Crest products were Kosher.  A reader asked for further details on the necessity of Kashrus Supervision on toothpaste and mouthwash, if they are essentially expelled from the mouth after use.  Click here for a discussion of this issue by a Rav from the OU.


We additionally provide a listing of OU-certified toothpastes by clicking here.



Special Note Four:  Yesterday, we provided the profound and practical wisdom of the Ramchal in the Sefer Derech Hashem on the Hashgacha Pratis that each and every one of us experiences in our life, which relates uniquely and directly to our own personal life’s goals and purposes.  We provide below a sample listing of real-life situations.  Can you identify which one of these is **not** Hashgacha Pratis?  Can you come up with any other similar situations that are--or are not--Hashgacha Pratis--and send them on to us?


  1. Your suit just got ripped

  2. You need a new roof

  3. You have a flat tire

  4. Your car doesn’t start

  5. Your made four traffic lights in a row

  6. You forgot to save the document you worked on all day and closed it

  7. Your cell phone doesn’t work

  8. You have a job

  9. You wake up and you can get out of bed

  10. Your shower has hot water early in the morning

  11. A poor person asks you for a donation

  12. You pass a work advancement test

  13. You try to make a shidduch between a boy and girl that you know

  14. You get bumped from your flight and/or you make your flight

  15. You know how to drive and you have a car

  16. You didn’t inherit a lot of money from a rich uncle

  17. You received a check in the mail/you received a bill in the mail

  18. You found a parking spot near the supermarket (not only for New Yorkers)

  19. You have a tissue when you need one

  20. You have something that you like for supper



Special Note One:  We received numerous comments from readers on yesterday’s note, Responding to the Tragedy:


  1. “It might also be good to stress that we have a tefilla entitled Re’ey Na V’anyenu--where we can daven for deliverance while still in Galus.  In other words, until the Geula comes--and may it come quickly--we still need protection.  Many people mistakenly think this seventh bracha is about davening for the Geula Sheleima, but as the author of Praying with Fire, Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita, has told me, it’s about deliverance from the challenges we face in this Galus--including terrorists and all else we face.  And this is an important thing to daven for, or it wouldn’t have been in Shemone Esrei.”


  1. “I have a problem with this Hakhel message.  You mention our Acheinu Bais Yisroel who perished, but make no mention of all the non Jews who did.  The great majority of the victims were non Jews who also met terrible deaths.  When you mention only Jews and no others it is not correct and decent…”


Hakhel Note:  The reader is, of course, correct, as what occurred was a tragedy for all humanity, and no nation more than the Jewish people can empathize more.  All of creation is the handiwork and treasure of Hashem, and especially human beings who are created “b’tzelem elokim.”  (See Avos 3:18).  Our intention was to emphasize the Kedoshim, our Galus, and how we can and should react and act.


  1. “Some time ago I read that when we say the Modim d’Rabbanan, that we often say “Amen Modim Anachnu’ as if it was one phrase [without taking a breath in between].  I consciously make a pause between answering Amen and starting Modim Anachnu.  This usually puts me out of synch with the rest of the kehillah and, in so doing, reminds me to focus on the Hoda’ah inherent in this bracha.”



Special Note Two:  We provide the following excerpt from the essential Sefer Derech Hashem by the Ramchal (beautifully translated by Feldheim Publishers).


“Every man’s predicament in life is his challenge.  The Highest Wisdom divided these challenges among the human race in a manner decreed fitting and proper to fulfill its profound plan.


“Thus, every individual has his own challenge in the battle with his [Evil] Urge.  This is his assignment and responsibility in this world, and within its framework, he must strive for success.  His deeds are then judged by Hashem’s Attribute of Justice with true precision, depending on the particular responsibility that was given to him.


“This situation can be compared to a government, where the king’s many servants must obey his orders.  All of them together must fulfill the task of running his government, and the king therefore gives each one a particular assignment, so that between them all, everything necessary is accomplished.


“Each of these servants then has the obligation to complete his particular assignment.  He is then rewarded by the king according to how he functions in his particular area of responsibility.


“The manner in which this is accomplished [with regard to the entire human race] is beyond our intellect’s ability to grasp, and we can never understand it fully.  The Highest Wisdom, however determines and arranges these things in the best possible manner.”


Hakhel Note:  From the Ramchal, we see that Hashem, in a way unfathomable to us, provides each and every one of us on a particular, individualized basis, with the needs, goals, and challenges necessary to fulfill our life’s purpose.  Our job, then, is simply to do our job in a superlative way.  If we do, our promotions will continue--eternally!



Shocked and stunned by the murder and plunder Al Kiddush Hashem of our Acheinu Bnei Yisroel in Mumbai, India, we realize that all that transpired is based only in and upon Ain Od Milvado--everything emanates from Hashem for the unfathomable purposes and reasons that He, and only He, the One and Only, can determine and order.  The Reshoim who perpetrated these heinous crimes will definitely be punished in accordance with their evil intent and horrible and malicious actions, as we are taught in the Av HaRachamim Tefillah that we recite every Shabbos.  In fact, the last words of what constitutes the Shira in Parashas Ha’azinu are, “Ki Dam Avadav Yikom…--For He will avenge the blood of His servants, He will bring retribution on his enemies, and He will appease His Land and His People” (Devorim 32:43).

Now, let us look at ourselves.  What can we do?

  • To demonstrate our love for these Kedoshei Elyon?

  • For the scorn and disgrace heaped upon Torah Jews--and the defilement of the Makom Torah that they were in--because they were Torah Jews?

  • For the piece of Nishmas Yisroel that has been torn from each and every one of us?

  • For the Shearis Yisroel that is left in this terribly long and screechingly painful Galus?

What is our response to another Holocaust-like experience?

Chas V’Shalom, Chas V’Shalom that this becomes yesterday’s news to us, as it already is to the Gentile World.  One reader advised us that on one of the New York City news stations, after mentioning the tragedy of the orphaned child, R’L, the reporter immediately continued, “Now back at home, the local sports teams are in action tonight…”

How can we indelibly etch the Kiddush Hashem of our Chaveirim--and the Chillul Hashem perpetrated by the Sonei Yisroel into our hearts?

May we suggest the following?


  1. On the shloshim of a Tzaddik who was recently niftar in the United States, it was reported that the Noviminsker Rebbe, Shlita, had told the niftar Z’tl when he was sick to be especially careful to be Mekabel Ol Malchus Shamayim--to accept upon himself the Kingship of Hashem and complete dedication to the Service of Hashem---before and when reading the first Parsha of Shema.  We should reflect upon the fact that no matter what happens, under all circumstances, in all events, and at all times, Hashem is in control, and our sole purpose here is to follow His instructions.  We are servants in the King’s Palace--there is no greater privilege, and there is no greater responsibility.


  1. Once and for all, taking it upon oneself to daven for the Geulah properly in Shemone Esrei--whether it be in any or all of the following brachos:  Tekah BeShofar, V’LYerushalayim, Es Tzemach, Retzai or Sim Shalom.  Make sure that not even one Shemone Esrei passes in which you haven’t davened for the Geulah in a meaningful way.


  1. In Modim, thank Hashem for life, health, and the goodness that you have.  Our enemies want to take it away from us--make no mistake about it!  Similarly, when reciting Tehillim, Chapter 91 (Yoshev B’Seser Elyon--otherwise known as the “Shir Shel Pegaim”) in Krias Shema Al HaMita make sure to recite it with Kavannah, knowing that it is only Hashem who can save us from danger (and perhaps try to recite it from a Siddur, even if you are tired).


  1. When someone is taking a trip, even if only a short distance or for the day, wish them a heartfelt “LeChaim U’LeShalom!--May Hashem bless you with life and peace.”


  1. Make a conscious effort to be Mekadesh Shem Shamayim in your waking moments.  At the end of your day, look back and ask--what Kiddush Shem Shamayim did I make today?  If you can’t think of any, maybe try to make it up tomorrow.

One Final Note: Many recite Tehillim Chapter 79 daily, describing our state in Exile.  For those who at this time do not regularly recite this Chapter, take the time out today to recite this Kepitel carefully from a Siddur.


In the zechus of our taking some action, may we know of no future such events, and may Hashem rid us of this bitter exile and bring the Geulah Shelaima in happiness--BiMeheira VeYomainu--Amen!

Other email archives