We conclude today our excerpt from the
excellent new Guidelines Sefer, “Questions and Answers About the Laws of
Brachos”. The website to
obtain the Sefer is http://www.targum.com.
We present below several
important Halachos relating to a meal and to bentching. Enjoy!
foods require a Bracha Acharona before washing?
If there will be a reasonable break before
the meal, all foods require a Bracha Acharona.
If the meal will be eaten in a different
location all foods require a Bracha Acharona.
If the meal will be eaten in the same
location and there will not be a reasonable break, all regular meal type
foods require a Bracha Acharona. For example, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables.
mezonos foods eaten before a meal require a bracha acharona?
Baked mezonos foods, such as cakes,
cookies, and pretzels, do not require a bracha achrona [if eaten in close
proximity to the meal, and at the same location], since they are considered
to belong to the bread family and are covered by bentching. It
is preferable to have specific intention to include these foods when
Boiled or fried mezonos, such as pasta and
blintzes, require a bracha acharona, since they are not related to bread
[and thus will not be covered by the bentching on the bread eaten later]. Rice
requires a bracha achrona for the same reason.
the second paragraph of Shema we read, “And I shall give plants in you
field for your animals, and you shall eat and be satisfied” (Devarim
). The Sages derive from this
verse that one must first feed his animals before he himself eats (Brachos
40A).Does this also apply to
birds and fish?
there an obligation to feed stray animals?
There is no obligation to feed a hungry
ownerless animal, but there is a mitzvah to do so out of compassion to
Hashem’s creatures. One may
certainly eat before feeding such an animal.
do some people avoid eating the ends of the loaf?
The popular view is that eating the very
tip of the loaf is bad for the memory, but the source for this is unknown.
one sprinkle salt on the bread rather than dip the bread into the salt?
According to Kabbalah, one should dip the
bread into the salt and not sprinkle salt onto it. Therefore, if he is using
a salt shaker, he should shake some salt onto the table or plate before
Hamotzi in order to dip the bread into it. The
bread should be dipped in the salt three times.
one hum a tune after washing but before Hamotzi?
forbidden to talk, one may not hum a tune or make any type of sound.
one answer Amen during Bentching?
applies even if one is between brachos, and even if one hears another person
concluding the same bracha of bentching that he has just recited.Certainly, one must not answer amen to the phrases in the middle of
Yaaleh Veyavo, which is of less importance. The
only exception is that one may answer amen to the leader of the Zimun after
each Bracha provided that the listener has reached the same place.
Special Note One:Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita wrote the following: “When Adar
begins we increase our joy. This
alone is a great lesson.HaRav
Avigdor Miller, Z’tl, explained that we have the capacity to choose to
learn how to increase our joy.
Special Note Two:This morning in Musaf, we recited the words “Roshei Chadashim
LeAmcha Nossata--You have given Your people the gift of Rosh Chodesh.” If
someone today had given you a designer’s gold watch, wouldn’t you feel
uplifted--perhaps even joy--for the rest of the day?! Today,
not only being Rosh Chodesh, but Rosh Chodesh Adar(!!), we should try to
internalize a special feeling of elation for the special gift that, on top
of all else, Hashem Himself has given to us directly.
Special Note Three:If you begin today and study just three (3) Mishnayos a day of
Mesechta Megillah, you will make a Siyum Mishnayos on the Mesechta before
Purim. If you continue on with
Mesechta Pesachim, you will make a Siyum on Mesechta Pesachim for Pesach!
Special Note Four: Several
sources indicate that consumers should be on the alert for fruits and
vegetables from Eretz Yisroel which may still even be from Shemittah--and
are being distributed worldwide. Peppers,
tomatoes, avocados, and the usual Israeli fruits may be sold in as large a
concern as Costco, and as locally as your neighborhood fruit store. Your
special care is certainly warranted.
Special Note Five: One
of our readers asked us to once again remind everyone about the great
service of Torahanytime.com, which currently has available for immediate
viewing over 3,000 video Shiurim online. This
is an incredible accomplishment, with a library that is growing daily. A
Torah Shiur that you can view is available to you six days a week!
Special Note Six:As we have noted previously, the Yerushalmi teaches that the Aserses
HaDibros are contained within the Krias Shema that we recite daily.In fact, Tosfos writes that the reason that we recite these three
Parshios is to remind ourselves of the Aseres HaDibros (Shulchan Aruch,
Orach Chaim 61, Be’er Haitev, seif katan 1). There
is one of the Aseres HaDibros which is alluded to not once, but twice. Can
you guess which one? Yes, you
are right--Lo Sachmod--do not covet that which is not yours--apparently
because we need a double reminder of this important guide in life. The
Pasuk in Shema that reminds us of this is “U’Chesavtam Al Mezuzos”--the
Mitzva of Mezuzah (which is repeated at the end of both the first and second
parsha of show), which teaches us that Hashem is carefully watching over
us--and so there is no need for us to “watch over” what our friends and
neighbors have and compare them and theirs--to us and ours.
Special Note Seven: The
following questions and answers have been excerpted from the newest volume
of The Guidelines Series, “Questions and Answers About the Laws of Brachos”
by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Shlita, and Rabbi Yitzchok Jaeger, Shlita. This
excellent Sefer is published by Targum Press and is available in your local
book store, or at http://www.targumpress.com.
The questions presented below relate
specifically to Netilas Yadayim before eating bread:
type of vessel should be used for Netilas Yadayim?
The vessel may be made from any type of
material, e.g. metal, glass, wood, china, plastic, stone. However,
all of the following conditions must be fulfilled for the vessel to qualify:
-It must hold at least a Reviyis.
-It must be intact.
-It must be capable of standing upright
-It must be designed to hold liquids.
-It must be shaped like a container.
is meant by an intact vessel?
The vessel should not be chipped, cracked,
or have a hole in its side or base. In
certain circumstances, a vessel with such a flaw may be suitable, but the
details of these rules are complex.It
is therefore advisable to always use an intact vessel.
one use a disposable cup?
Since opinions differ about this, it
should only be used in emergencies. The
same applies to an empty juice carton.
if the water has a cloudy appearance?
This phenomenon occurs when high water
pressure creates air bubbles in the water. If
the water is allowed to stand in a vessel, the air bubbles rise, leaving the
water clear. Such water may be
used for Netilas Yadayim, but according to some opinions, one should wait
until the water becomes clear.
one use sea water?
If the water is so salty that even a dog
cannot drink it, one may not use it for NetilasYadayim. Nevertheless,
it is permitted to purify the hands by immersing them in the sea, despite
its being extremely salty.
one use seltzer?
if a woman forgot to remove her rings before Netilas Yadayim?
If the rings are slightly loose, she does
not need to wash again. However,
if the rings are well-fitting, she must remove them and wash again. If
she realized after reciting the Bracha, she should not repeat the Bracha.
one say “nu” after having made the Bracha?
is forbidden to make any sound, especially one that has a well known
meaning, such as “nu” or “sha”. You
are also not allowed to say “nu” or “sha” during Bensching.
Special Note One:The Bais HaVaad L'Inyonei Mishpat has recently produced a fascinating
Choshen Mishpat Audio Shiur Series. Each
15-20 minute shiur, given by world recognized Dayanim, Poskim and Maggidei
Shiur covers the practical application of the principles discussed in sugyas
throughout each Daf of Mesechtas Bava Kama. The
series, B’EH, will continue through mesechtos Bava Metziah and Bava Basra
in the same format. The Bais
HaVaad produced this series in an effort to raise the awareness of the
importance of studying the Halachos of Choshen Mishpat especially in today's
complex financial world. They
also offer a free Choshen Mishpat consultation line, and various halachic
financial services including: contract/iska draft and review, business
review, Halachic estate planning and educational seminars.
For more information on the Archives of
Ethics Choshen Mishpat Shiur Series or the various services of the Bais
HaVaad you may contact their office at 732 276 1344, email email@example.com
or view their website at www.baishavaad.com.
Special Note Two:We received the following in response to our message about what could
go wrong at a Mashgiach-less Shabbos Kiddush or Seudah:
“I was once at a Bar Mitzvah of a close
family member, and the cholent was spoiled.The non-Jewish waitress who had come early to “set the tables,”
said that she noticed the plug of the warmer had fallen out during the night
and promptly plugged it right back in (although not soon enough to save the
cholent).This was an affair
with a supposed “reputable” caterer that is used throughout Flatbush.Had the cholent not been spoiled no one would have ever known.So yes, either have a mashgiach at the shul or hall or ensure that
all workers are Sabbath observant.”
Special Note Three: We
received the following from an administrator at WebChaver, which had learned
of our recent Note on Internet Filters:
WebChaver is a powerful tool that assists
people in using the Internet in a safe and effective way.It allows a person to self-monitor the websites he visits and adds
the element of accountability to the Internet experience.WebChaver has received the endorsement of leading Rabbonim in helping
to protect the Jewish community from the dangers of the Internet.
WebChaver utilizes the cutting-edge
Covenant Eyes software, which logs all web activity and sends a weekly
report to the head of the household or another designated partner (Shomer)
for monitoring.The Covenant
Eyes software is user-friendly, reliable, extremely difficult to bypass, and
does not affect surfing speed nearly as much as a filter does.Additionally, the WebChaver Group program allows a designated monitor
to oversee that his group members are indeed using the Covenant Eyes
software. WebChaver offers this service for a steeply discounted price, by
assisting groups and allowing individuals to sign up to a group rate.Please see www.webchaver.org for more information.
Special Note Four:The last two issues of Halachically Speaking have related to
the Halachos of Kashrus and Medications. Examples
of important items discussed include Gelcaps, chewable tablets, liquid
medications and the rules of medications for children. Here,
we simply highlight two other important notes in this important publication.
First, for a listing
of medicines with dairy ingredients, please click here. Second,
“Even though many use Scope mouthwash, it is filled with glycerin and is
not permitted.” The only
mouthwash that Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, permits without a hechsher is
the brown Listerine (original flavor). Some
poskim do not permit even original Listerine, and require a hechsher on all
mouthwashes.As a reminder, Halachically
Speaking is now available for free “to your email box” by contacting
firstname.lastname@example.org or by
clicking on this link.
Special Note Five: Perhaps
one of the longest brachos we recite daily is the last bracha of Birchas
HaShachar which begins with “Hama’avir Shaina MaiAinei”, then
continues with no less than 15 requests of Hashem, and concludes with the
words “HaGomel Chasadim Tovim….” The
bracha--from beginning to end seems so diverse in scope--how/why is it an
“all-in-one” bracha? We
invite your thoughts and comments.
Special Note Six: We
are about to enter the last month of the Year, as the Torah teaches that
Nissan is the “Rosh Chodoshim” (Shemos 12:2). Chazal
teach us that the last month of the Year is a happy one, as we are “Marbin
BeSimcha.” As we look back
over the last 11 months, we realize that many historical developments have
occurred. Today, we should spend
just a little bit of time in reflection--what has happened, where is it
leading to, and how can I be sure that I will be one of the “happy” ones
at the end. Many out there are
clueless. We really do know what
we each can do to meet our personal potential and role in life.Even if we don’t, we are blessed with Rabbonim, Poskim, and
Maggidei Shiur who can share their Torah-imbued wisdom with us. Let’s
work on being “Marbin BeSimcha”--for the month of Adar--and for
everything else that follows!
Special Note One:Kol Haloshon’s 75 daily live shiurim can
be viewed by clicking here. If
you know anyone who can’t get out of the house, this information may be
doubly helpful. Please spread
Special Note Three: It
is said in the name of HaRav Yerucham Levovitz, Z’tl, that the definition
of “Nature” is miracles that happen more often!
Special Note Four: There
are oh so many practical lessons for life to be gleaned from Parshas
Mishpatim. We present in summary
form just three of those lessons below, as presented in the incomparable
Sefer Tallilei Oros:
punishment for cursing a parent (skila, or stoning) is a more severe
punishment than that of hitting a parent (chenek, or choking).The G’ra to Mishlei (18:8) explains that hitting only affects the
body, whereas speech penetrates through to the soul. Additionally,
the wound from a physical smite can heal, but the effect of those words….
Hakhel Note:It is no coincidence that three of the seventeen negative
prohibitions that a person can violate for speaking lashon hora (listed at
the outset of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim) are found in the Parsha!
story is told of how a Gadol of our generation visited someone in the
hospital, who told the Gadol, “I am not worried, Hashem will help.” The
Gadol corrected the patient, “Actually, Hashem will heal you, it is the
doctor who will help.” The
Torah, with the words VeRapoh Yerapeh (Shemos
), simply allows the doctor to be involved in the process (See Shulchan
Aruch, Yoreh Deah 336:1). Modern
technological advances test our Emunah in this regard. Sickness
comes from Hashem, who also heals us in the very same way. The
purpose of the sickness may very well be for us actually to come closer to
Hashem through Tefilla. HaRav
Yechezkel Sarna, Z’tl, when in the hospital in
, wrote that all physical ailments are related to spiritual matters. Through
a particular zechus that a person may have he may be healed, but the
spiritual cause may still exist--this is called, he writes, a refuah,
without a yeshua, and could lead, chas veshalom, to a recurrence of the
illness again. It is for this
reason that in the brocha of Refaenu in the Shemone Esrei we ask not only
for “Refaenu Hashem Venerapheh”--but also for “Hosheanu Vanevashea”--with
the Refuah accompanied by everything we need for it to be permanent--for the
yeshua as well!
someone creates a “bor”--a pit--or stumbling block, in the public
domain, he is responsible. For
the Torah Jew, there is a more refined lesson from “bor”.The Chofetz Chaim was once walking on the street and saw a paper on
the floor. Thinking it was
shaimos, he rushed to pick it up. When
he realized that it was not meaningful, he simply discarded it again in its
place. A moment later, he
stopped, turned back and picked it up again in order to dispose of it
elsewhere. The onlookers must
have been stunned--a Gadol HaDor picking up rubbish in the street! The
Chofetz Chaim explained--If I don’t pick it up, someone else will--why
can’t I save the next person the effort!
Hakhel Note: As
we have pointed out in the past, HaRav Avigdor Miller, Z’tl, would advise
people to do private chesed everyday that no one else knew about. How
about taking the Chofetz Chaim’s lesson and picking up that unwanted item
from the floor--in the office, dining room, staircase, etc.--aside from
ridding others of a potential hazard--**you** have bent down and exerted the
effort instead of the next person. You
will never in this world know the beauty and breadth of your accomplishment.
Special Note One: Do you want your
entire Shul to be a better place to daven in? Do you personally want
to feel closer to heaven when you pray? You can help implement the
Praying with Fire Initiative in your Shul anywhere in the world. The
V’ani Tefillah Foundation, an affiliate of Hakhel, is launching its Shul
Initiative in scores of shuls worldwide. Each Initiative is customized
to the Shul’s schedule, and fliers and calendars are provided. Even
the book Praying with Fire is provided at a discount, if necessary.
For further information about a truly outstanding opportunity for your
Shul (or organization), please contact: email@example.com,
or call 201-837-0354.
Special Note Two: Today is the
Yahrtzeit of the Taz (Rabbi Dovid HaLevi Segal, Z’tl) who wrote the great
commentary known as Turei Zahav on Shulchan Aruch. The Luach Bnei
Yaakov (5769) brings a special and moving p’sak of the Taz to the Shulchan
Aruch, Even Haezer, siman 2. There, the Shulchan Aruch describes what
one should seek in a Shidduch, and strongly advises in favor of marrying a
“Bas Talmid Chochom” and against a man marrying a “Bas Am Ha’Aretz”--the
daughter of an unlearned person. The Taz rules that the phrases “Bas
Talmid Chochom” and “Bas Am Ha’Aretz” used in the Shulchan Aruch
here are not to be taken literally to be the physiological daughter of a
Talmid Chochom or Am Ha’Aretz. Rather, the Shulchan Aruch means that
one should marry a “Bas Talmid Chochom”--i.e., a woman who realizes that
Torah is not only given for the sake of Olam Haba, but also for the sake of
Olam Hazeh. A Bas Am Ha’Aretz, on the other hand, is one who
unfortunately believes that Torah is only given for Olam Haba purposes.
Accordingly, she will take her husband away from Torah to spend more time on
material concerns--so that she will have what she perceives as “Olam Hazeh.”
The Bas Talmid Chochom realizes that Torah study is the epitome of Olam
Hazeh as well--and acts accordingly!
An important p’sak to contemplate and
relate to others--not only when you are involved with Shidduchim!
May the merit of the Taz serve as a shield
for us and all of K’lal Yisroel.
Special Note Three: We continue with
our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
A Ba’al Simcha may think: What
could go wrong at my Mashgiach-less Shabbos Kiddush or Seudah? After
all, my caterer has a good Hashgacha in his commissary, and there will be at
least one Shomer Shabbos waiter for sure. I am also sure they know in
the kitchen what a Goyish waiter can do (even though I don’t)--after all
they do this every week. At the recent Hakhel Yarchei Kallah, Rabbi
Yosef Eisen, Shlita described the following scenario, of which he had
personal knowledge. The scene is the Simcha hall in a highly reputed
Shul with an excellent caterer under a well-regarded Hashgacha. The
Ba’al Simcha, decided to spend the “extra few dollars” on a Mashgiach
to make sure that he could sleep well knowing he was providing Kashrus of
the highest quality to those relying on him. The Shomer Shabbos
manager for the caterer protested, saying that it was a waste of money, that
he knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and in his four years managing
of Kiddushim and Seudos in the hall, he never had a Mashgiach overseeing
Here are the results: The Mashgiach
found the Manager instructing a non-Jewish worker to turn down the fire on
the stove (“What are they there for?”), then trying to take bay leaves
out of the soup when on the fire (possible Hagassa and Borer issues), and
attempting to put food back into the Shabbos warmer on Friday night for
Shabbos day, when he realized he took out too much for the Friday night
Seudah. He also had hired a non-religious Jewish worker to serve as a
waiter who was Mechalel Shabbos in traveling there (although this is not
necessarily prohibited, the better choice is to use religious waiters or
There may have been other issues, but this
was enough of a “flavor.” The lesson from this to a Baal Simcha:
He should go the extra mile to hire a Mashgiach in order to make sure
that the cholent and kugel…is truly Shabbasdik. The lesson to a
Simcha invitee: Before partaking make sure that you are comfortable
enough with the Kashrus situation in order for it truly to be an Oneg
Special Note Four: This Shabbos is
Parsha Shekalim. We can begin to feel the aura of Purim and Pesach in
the air. Let’s also begin to appreciate it!
In honor of Parshas Shekalim, we provide
the following splendid insight on “Parshas Shekalim In Our Time” by
Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Z’tl, as presented in the excellent English language
version of the Sefer Hatoda’ah, known as The Book of Our Heritage (Feldheim,
I, p. 352). Rabbi Kitov writes: “There is benevolence in
action and benevolence in desire. Because of our sins, we have no Beis
Hamikdash, the sacrifices have ceased, and the mitzvah of half a shekel no
longer applies. Nonetheless, the mitzvah of reading the portion of
Shekalim has not been annulled, for the primary purpose of the mitzvah of
the half-shekel is to awaken the spirit of benevolence so that man might
stand ready to give what he has, to fulfill his Creator’s Will. This
awakening of the heart’s desire is forever pertinent and is achieved when
a Jew reads or hears this portion from the Torah.
“Moreover, there are times when the
desire to contribute is even greater than the contribution itself. Though
we are not capable of contributing towards the Divine service, we still
yearn to do so. Because we rejoice in this mitzvah and read its
details from the Torah, it is considered as if we have fulfilled it. May
we thereby once again merit to perform the mitzvah, speedily and in our
We should read and re-read these very
Special Note Five: The Torah teaches
us in this week’s Parsha that the meat of a treife animal cannot be eaten,
and that, instead, “Lakelev Tashlichun Oso--it should be thrown to the
dogs for their benefit.” (Shemos 22:30) Chazal teach that the dogs
received this great reward of fresh meat for so many generations because at
the time of Makkas Bechoros, as the Torah records, “Lo Yecheratz Kelev
Lishono” (Shemos 11:7)--they did not utter sharp or frightful cries when
the Makka was taking place. Many ask the question--but look at the
Tzefardi’im, the frogs, didn’t they jump into the ovens--ready to give
up their lives for the Makka and the honor of Hashem? Shouldn’t they
have received a special reward such as this--after all, the dogs only
refrained from barking! The frogs were willing to give up their very
lives by jumping into the ovens! Harav Eliyahu Mann (Derech Sicha II,
p. 115) writes that one learns a great lesson for life here--sometimes it is
harder to remain quiet when you have something to say--than to jump into the
Let us reflect upon the greatness of our
accomplishment the next time we remain silent--when we could have said
something--and the unfathomable Nachas Ruach we are giving to Hashem when we
do so--and then let’s do it more often!
Special Note One:We are familiar with the Chazal (Shabbos 119B) that “One who
answers ‘Amen Yehei Shemei Rabbah’ with all his Koach (‘bechol kocho’)
will have the negative gezar din against him torn up.”The phrase “bechol kocho” is usually explained as either reciting
“Yehei Shemei Rabbah” with one’s strength--i.e., with a loud voice--or
with all of one’s Kavannah--i.e., with a better understanding of the
meaning of “Yehei Shemei Rabbah.” To
this end, we provide by
clicking here some detail as to the meaning of this treasured phrase.
Interestingly, in the Sefer Nefesh HaChaim (Shaar Aleph) in
which this Chazal on the importance of “Yehei Shemei Rabbah” is
discussed, a third explanation of the words “bechol kocho” is presented.
The words “bechol kocho” can
also refer to Hashem’s strength, meaning that when we recite
“Yehei Shemei Rabbah,” we should be contemplating Hashem’s infinite
and unfathomable power. See
there for a discussion al pi kabbala, if you are able. In
all events, our focus and concentration on “Yehei Shemei Rabbah” daily
should be with a very special appreciation of the opportunity of the moment.
Incredibly, the Halacha is that
if one is faced with the choice of either answering “Yehei Shemei Rabbah”
or Kedushah (in which one fulfills the Mitzvah of Kiddush Shem Shomayim!),
the “Yehei Shemei Rabbah” response takes Halachic precedence! (Shulchan
Aruch, Orach Chaim 109, Mishne Berurah, seif katan 4).
Special Note Two: Today
is the 126th Yahrzeit of Rebbe Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl. In
his memory, we provided the following meaningful incidents, which should
serve as practical, lesson-filled teachings for us. They
are culled from Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita.Even if you are familiar with the incidents, it certainly pays to
Yisroel once witnessed someone running swiftly into Shul to recite Kedushah.
In his haste, the man stepped on
someone’s newly polished shoes.After
davening, he told the man that he has a financial responsibility to pay for
the shoes to be repolished.He
added, “The entire merit of reciting Kedushah is lost if its recital
causes someone a loss.” (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 359)
on the day of the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Yisroel’s father, another person had
Yahrtzeit for his daughter and wanted very much to say Kaddish (the custom
was for only one person to recite the Kaddish). Although
the obligation to say Kaddish for a father takes precedence over kaddish for
a daughter, Rebbe Yisroel allowed the other person to say Kaddish to save
him anguish. Someone asked him
“How could you give up your right? Saying
Kaddish is an honor for your father and a merit for his soul.” Rebbe
Yisroel replied, “The merit of doing chessed is an even greater merit for
my father.” (Chayai Hamussar,
vol. 2, p. 218).
Yisroel used to say, “If a person says that a Rav cannot sing and a Chazancannot learn, he is guilty of speaking lashon hora.But if someone says that a Rav cannot learn and a Chazan cannot sing,
it is tantamount to murder.” (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 305)
hearing someone making a lot of noise in the morning while going to wash his
hands, Rebbe Yisroel reproved him saying, “The obligation to wash one’s
hands in the morning was instituted Mid’Rabbanan, while stealing sleep is
a violation of Torah law.” (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 357)
Rebbe Yisroel came to the city of
, he saw Jewish longshoremen working on the port on Shabbos.He knew that if he told them to refrain entirely from working on
Shabbos, they would reject his advice. Therefore,
he advised the workers not to do any writing on Shabbos.They agreed.A few weeks
later he told them that they should omit another detail of their work on
Shabbos. To this they also
agreed.A few weeks later he
told them to refrain from yet another detail.He influenced them step-by-step until they finally became complete
Shabbos observers. (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 184) Hakhel
Note: If you would like to
undertake something similar, you should be guided by a Rav or Posek as to
what may be said or not be said to a non-observant Jew in this regard.
Yisroel used to say, “Just as a person always checks his eggs for
bloodspots… so, too, he should check to see that his money that it is
always ‘kosher.’” (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 304)
Rebbe Yisroel would say: “It is worthwhile for a person to study Mussar
his entire life…if it will save him from speaking lashon hora even
once.” (Tenuas Hamussar, vol. 1, p. 305)
May his memory and teachings inspire us
Special Note One:We
received the following fundamental insight from a reader:“I have seen in Sifsei Chaim and R. Pincus, Z’tl, that the way to
achieve what you wrote about realizing and admitting that Hashem is the
Creator and the Omnipotent One is through 100 daily brochos. Every
time we say the words “Boruch Atoh” we admit that Hashem is the only
Source of all.Each time we say
“Hashem Elokeinu” we admit Hashem was, is and always will be, is Master
over all, all-powerful, with complete hashgacha protis.... “Melech
H’olom”....... The constant repetition of Brachos (which we really do
anyway) WITH PROPER KAVONOS can literally change a person and his connection
to Hashem….” Hakhel Note: The
reader is obviously speaking from personal experience. Even
if we are good at making Brachos now--we can always get better.If not now--when??
Special Note Two:Perhaps
one of the world’s most abused Pesukim is found in this week’s Parsha. “An
eye for an eye” (Shemos
) is misinterpreted as the Torah’s allowance for exacting revenge, and may
even be taken literally by some malevolent groups or communities. Chazal,
of course, teach us (as we will soon learn in Daf Yomi in the eighth perek
of Bava Kamma) that the phrase refers to payment of the value of the eye, in
accordance with a specific formula. We
would like to add another dimension to the Torah’s holy words, as there
are, indeed, “Shivim Ponim,” seventy faces, approaches, meanings, to
each of the Torah’s words.If
Hashem has blessed us with an eye that can see--with all of the
ultra-complex physiology, engineering and chemistry underlying the most
basic sight, than it is our duty and obligation to use that eye--for its
intended purpose. What is that
purpose--what is the eye--for the eye? HaRav
Moshe Cordevero, Z’tl, in the classic sefer Tomer Devorah, Chapter
2, writes as follows:
“One’s eyes should not gaze at all at anything
despicable. Rather, they should always be open to watch over unfortunates in
order to have as much mercy on them as possible.And when he sees the suffering of the poor, he should not close his
eyes at all.Rather, he should
give as much thought to their predicament as possible, arousing the mercy of
both Heaven and man upon them. He
should distance himself from noticing evil, just like the Eye above, which
is open, and forever sees only good.”
As we conclude the days of Shovavim this week, we should at
the very least come away with the commitment, bli neder, to dedicate our
eyes for their intended purpose!
Special Note Three: We
are blessed with 53 Mitzvos in this week’s Parsha, with many governing the
laws of our conduct and responsibilities towards each other. We
present below several details, culled from the wonderful Sefer Love Your
Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, relating to the lending of
a.You fulfill the Mitzvah of Chesed when you
lend any article to another person, even if it is as minor as a comb or can
opener.This form of chesed is
easy for everyone to fulfill, even someone who is not wealthy (Ahavas Chesed
b.One should not view the actions necessary to
lend (going down to the basement to look for it, etc.) as a burden, but as a
privilege. A person is willing
to walk to shul to daven or hear shofar, he should also be willing to walk
to do Chesed.
c. It is a very big Mitzvah to lend your seforim.
The merit of the Torah which the borrower gains will be to your credit (Sefer
d. You should act in a friendly manner toward someone
who wants to borrow your possessions, so the person should not hesitate to
e. Every loan is a Mitzvah, and the greater the bother, the
greater the reward for fulfilling the Mitzvah.
f. It is a good idea to write down the names of people who
borrow your possessions. One should also write his name on his
belongings, so that the borrower will remember who the owner is.
g. When you lend money, the Halacha requires that you either have
witnesses present, or that the borrower sign an IOU. This is necessary
even when the person is beyond suspicion, since he may inadvertently forget
that he borrowed the money.
Special Note One:We provide the following wonderful update on www.kolhaloshon.com:Kol Halashon now has over 120,000 Shiurim in its archives, available
to listen and to download.75
new Shiurim are added daily! Topics
include Halacha, Tanach and Parshas HaShavua, Mishna and Gemara, and a broad
range of women’s Shiurim.Several
languages are also available, and there are local access numbers in Eretz
. For further information,
please call 718-906-6400, or 718-701-5157, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Note Two:In his masterful Shiur at yesterday’s Hakhel Yarchei Kallah, Rabbi
Yaakov Salomon, Shlita, related the following powerful message from HaRav
Shach, Z’tl, to Rabbi Noach Weinberg, Z’tl, “If one person can kill
six million Jews, one person can also save 6 million Jews.”Each of us can start on this great project--one Jew at a time. Project
Inspire is giving us the opportunity--for free--to learn how to inspire
others--and inspire ourselves in the meantime. For
further information on this incredible opportunity, visit www.kiruv.com.
Special Note Three:We continue with the words of the Ramban at the end of Parshas Bo (Shemos
), which provide such essential guidance on our role in life. The
Ramban writes (slightly paraphrased), “For the ultimate objective of all
of the Mitzvos is that we should believe in Hashem and acknowledge that He
created us.Moreover, this is
the ultimate objective of the Creation itself…for we have no other
explanation for the Creation , and Hashem has no desire for the lower world
except for this, that man should know and acknowledge that Hashem created
him. Indeed, the purpose of
raising one’s voice in prayer, and the merit of tefilla b’tzibbur, is
for people to gather and acknowledge to Hashem that He created them--where
we can declare before Hashem: “We are Your creations!” [See
Ramban Commentary on The Torah—Shemos (Artscroll, p.299-300) for
the actual, full text, annotations and footnotes].
In a recent shiur, HaRav Mattisyahu
Salomon, Shlita, explained the relevance and scope of these words in our
daily lives. The Mashgiach noted
that the Ramban here uses the word “modeh”, to admit that Hashem is our
Creator, no less than seven times in the course of his advice to us at the
end of Parshas Bo. The more we
admit, and admit again, and again and again, that Hashem is our Creator, the
easier it will be for us to do battle with our Yetzer Hora who constantly
tells the individual that he is a creator and is in control of his life and
his goals. We must, instead,
constantly repeat and reinforce the words of Dovid HaMelech (recited in the
weekday Shacharis--Tehillim, 100:3), “Hu Asanu VeLo Anachnu--He has made
us, and we are His.”Indeed,
the ksiv of the word “VeLo” here is with an Aleph (the word Lo, with
this spelling, meaning “nought”)--so that we admit and confess that we
are Hashem’s Creations, and that, concomitantly, by ourselves we are
simply powerless. When we daven,
as the Ramban cited above teaches, we demonstrate our helplessness, because
we ask (or should ask!) Hashem for help in every last detail of our lives.
HaRav Salomon notes that there are really
three points included in the words of the Ramban. First,
that Hashem does everything. Second,
that Hashem can do everything. Third,
that everything that Hashem does is for the person’s good. What
man thinks is good for him may not really be good for him at all. It
is interesting to note that the first of the Aseres HaDibros states
definitively who Hashem is, and the last of the Aseres HaDibros teaches us
not to make or follow our own determinations as to what we should have and
what we shouldn’t--seeming to teach us the lesson of the Ramban--that this
awareness and appreciation of Who Hashem is and who we are--is the beginning
and end of the Mitzvos, and, indeed, of creation itself. If
one reviews these three points at various times throughout the day, he will
most definitely feel more at peace, serene, and fulfilled.
Imagine walking boldly over to a King who
is sitting on his throne--and swiping away his crown. The
audacity! The absurdity! The
inanity!When we act with
ga’avah--with haughtiness--when we view or place ourselves in charge, we
foolishly take away the very crown that belongs only to Hashem, as we recite
in Tehillim (93:1):“Hashem
Melech Gayus Lovesh--only Hashem dons ga’avah, grandeur”. He
is the Creator and the Omnipotent. He
is the One Who can do and does. And
all of this is for our benefit! It
is no coincidence, as it never is, that we recite the kepitel of “Hashem
Melech Gayus Lovesh” as the Shir Shel Yom for Friday--the day of man’s
creation--to remind us of life’s true purpose, and of our true role.
Special Note One:In last week’s Parsha, the Torah teaches; “Vayesaper Moshe
LeChosno (Shemos 18:8)--And Moshe told his father-in-law everything that
Hashem had done….” There is
a fascinating and important lesson derived from these words by HaRav
Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, Z’tl, (the Brisker Rav) as reported in the
Sefer MiShulchan Govoha. On
the Shabbos of Sheva Brachos for one of the Rav’s sons, the Chosson was
saved from an apparently life threatening situation by a miracle.HaRav Soloveitchik, otherwise known for his assiduous dedication to
Torah study, spent the day recounting time and again and again to those whom
he met the miracle that had happened to his son and his family. Relating
and reliving the miracle was a kiyum, a fulfillment, of “SichuB’Chol Nifliosav--one must speak about all His wonders.” This
idea was first taught to us by Moshe Rabbeinu in the pasuk referred to above
when he recounted to Yisro all of the miracles that had occurred for Bnai
Yisroel since he had last seen him. Until
Yisro arrived, Moshe Rabbeinu had no outside persons or parties to relate
the miracles to, for all of B’nei Yisroel had themselves witnessed and
experienced the wonder-filled Nissim. Moshe
Rabbeinu, then, was not simply telling stories--he was thanking and praising
Hashem in a new way that he was very eager to do. If
one studies the pasuk (ibid.), he will note that the word “Kol--all” is
mentioned twice in describing Moshe’s recounting of the events--Moshe
wanted Yisro to know it *all**--every last miracle and yeshua that
Hashem had wrought on our behalf!
We are all familiar with perhaps the most
famous Ramban in Chumash at the end of Parshas Bo (Shemos
). There, the Ramban writes
starkly and clearly: “For a
person has no share in Toras Moshe unless he believes that all our affairs
and experiences are miracles, that there is no element of ‘nature’ or‘the ordinary course of the world’ in them at all, whether
regarding the community or the individual.” [Translation
from the outstanding English translation Ramban Commentary on the Torah
We definitely want to have a chelek, a
portion, in the Toras Moshe Rabbeinu. It
is perhaps for this reason that in the Modim we recite three times daily we
say that “Nodeh Lecho U’nesaper Tehilasecha--we thank you and tell the
story of your praise , for our lives…for our souls…for the daily
miracles, and for the wonders and favors at all times--evening, morning and
afternoon.” We should recite
these words slowly and thoughtfully, for, the Ramban teaches, they go to the
heart of our faith.
The additional teaching of Moshe Rabbeinu
in last week’s Parsha, as understood by the Brisker Rav, is that when
those extraordinary situations come up--the miracle beyond miracle, if you
will--we must be sure to recognize, appreciate and express the miracle to
others in detailed gratitude--thereby teaching yourself and others the
greatness of Hashem--and His love for His creations!
Special Note Two: The
monumental occasion of Har Sinai is relived in Shul four times a week at
Kriyas HaTorah. How so? The
Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 141, seif katan 16) writes that
the Ba’al Kriyah is the Shul’s equivalent of Moshe Rabbeinu, relating
the Torah to all assembled--men and women, young and old--at the behest of
the Gabbai, who kevayachol, is “in the place of” Hashem, designating
whom he wants to call to the Torah to hear its teaching. The
person receiving the aliyah represents K’lal Yisroel, serving as their
special, designated representative! With
this in mind, and for the rest of our lives, the Kriyas HaTorah we
experience--whether on a Monday or Thursday, Shabbos or Yom Kippur must take
on new and precious meaning, as we feel the unique privilege of our
participation in an absolutely incomparable event!
Special Note One:We provide the following Hatzalah Erev Shabbos Alerts--please help
Erev Shabbos Alerts
Consult a Rav concerning where to light Shabbos candles
when young children are present.
Never leave children unattended with burning candles.
After lighting candles, have someone place matches
Place the spout of a hot water urn away from counter
edge.Do not use an
extension cord or leave it within a child’s reach.
Start Shabbos preparations early.Last-minute rushing causes hazardous and hectic situations.
While drinking a hot liquid, never hold a child.
Take all phones off the hook before bathing children.
Have all necessary equipment with you before putting
your child in a bath.
Never, under any circumstances, leave a child alone in
the tub--not even for a moment!If
you need to leave the room, take the child with you!
Special Note Two:We continue with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos series.The following practical applications of Hilchos Borer are culled from
the great work The 39 Melochos by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, Shlita (Feldheim).
preparing egg salad, chopped liver with eggs, etc., one must remember to
peel the eggs just before the meal, because an eggshell is treated in the
same way as a nutshell, or the peel of a fruit.
that adhere closely to a food and must be peeled off are halachically
classified as peels and may be removed for immediate use of the food only
(examples include candy and chocolate wrappers, waxpaper wrapped muffins or
cupcakes, and kishke wrapping).
still attached to the stem are likewise considered a Borer combination and
the grapes may be detached only just prior to eating. Only
desired grapes (and not spoiled or inferior grapes) should be removed from
Special Note Three:Hallel Hagadol (Tehillim 136), which we recite every Shabbos Morning,
contains 26 Pesukim, each of which concludes with the words “Ki LeOlam
Chasdo--for His kindness endures forever.”The kindnesses of Hashem found in this chapter especially focus on
Yetzias Mitzrayim and our subsequent entry into Eretz Yisroel.There appears to be a glaring omission in the kindnesses
mentioned--actually, what seems to be the greatest kindness of all--Hashem
giving us the Torah while in the Midbar--is omitted, as the Pesukim in the
chapter skip from Hashem throwing Pharoh and his army into the sea, to
leading us with the Clouds of Glory through the Midbar, and then on to
defeating the Mighty Kings, Sichon and Og, followed by our entry into
EretzYisroel.What happened to
Matan Torah itself --the great event of this week’s Parsha, and indeed one
of the greatest events in History?!We
invite your thoughts. As a
starting point, may we suggest the words of HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer,
Shlita in his work on Tehillim (Artscroll, p.1608).
Special Note Four:In the first of the Aseres HaDibros, we are taught that Hashem took
us out of Mitzrayim, the House of Bondage.What does the phrase “House of Bondage” add--we all know what
Mitzrayim was, and what happened to us there?HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon, Shlita, explains that it is intended for us
to especially focus--at the *outset* of the Aseres HaDibros--on the Hakaros
HaTov that we owe to Hashem for His freeing us from bondage. HaRav
Salomon explains that the Kabalos Ol Malchus Shomayim that took place at Har
Sinai could not have been based on “Anochi Hashem”, on Emunah, alone. There
is an absolutely essential, second prerequisite--and that is thoroughly and
absolutely appreciating Hashem’s gifts to us in this world. Indeed,
HaRav Salomon notes that the Mitzriyim, who “forgot” what Yosef did for
them, represent the antithesis of Hakaras HaTov--and that is why Hashem not
only literally--but figuratively--took us out of there! We
must accordingly understand that Hakaros HaTov is not simply a Midah Tovah,
a good character trait, concludes Rav Salomon, but a precondition to our
daily Kabalas Ol Malchus Shomayim!
Hakhel Note: Based upon this essential
teaching, we must be careful to have Kavana daily in the brachos which
precede Kriyas Shema in Shacharis and Ma’ariv daily, as they are infused
with the Hakaros Hatov necessary to boost us to the proper recitation of
Special Note One:We received the following important notification from HaRav Y.
Jaeger, Shlita:“I must relay
an important reminder regarding bi'ur of esrogim.If anyone has esrogim from Eretz Yisroel that are still fresh enough
to be considered edible, and has at least two esrogim, or esrog jelly made
from esrogim, with kedushas sheviyis, bi'ur needs to be done.Bi'ur is done by taking the esrogim to the street, and being mafkir
them in front of three men.The
esrogim keep their kedusha after bi'ur.The bi'ur should have been done on Tu Bishvat.If it was not done then, it should be done at the first possible
opportunity.Once bi'ur has been
done, the esrogim may be taken back into the house, but one should not
intend to acquire them completely, since the time of bi'ur continues for
some time.The complete process
is outlined in Guidelines to Shemittah, Chapter Eleven.”
Should you have any questions regarding
bi’ur of Eretz Yisroel produce, please consult with your Rav or Posek as
soon as possible.
Special Note Two:Two questions as we prepare for Matan Torah:
Sinai has six names.Can you
provide them, and the meaning behind each name? See Medrash Tanchuma,
Bamidbar, Piska 7.
Yerushalmi teaches that each one of the Aseres HaDibros is alluded to in
Kriyas Shema.Can you find them?See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 61, Mishne Berurah, seif katan 2.
Special Note Three:We provide two additional important points related to the Parsha,
excerpted from Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita:
the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu himself personally served a meal to Yisro,
Aharon and the Ziknei Yisroel:“At
the Baranovich Yeshiva, only the very best students were selected by the
menahel ruchani, Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Lubchanski, Z’tl, to serve the meals
in the dining hall.Since the
Talmud likens the dining table of Torah scholars to the altar in the Bais
Hamikdosh, it follows that those who serve a meal to Torah scholars are in
the category of serving at the altar. This
actively also develops the attributes of kindness and benevolence; so Rabbi
Lubchanski selected only the most scholarly and disciplined men to wait on
the tables.(Rabbi Chaim Shapiro
in The Jewish Observer, January, 1973).”
the Mitzvah of Honoring Parents:“Even
if a parent foregoes [is mochel] his honor, a child still fulfills a mitzvah
by **nonetheless** honoring him, but in such a case he will not be punished
for failure to do so.(Chidushai
Rebbe Akiva Eiger).”
Special Note Four: Rabbi
Moshe Goldberger, Shlita teaches the following essential lesson in his book Treat
Yourself Right (Targum Press, pp. 84-85):“It is helpful to periodically review the Halachos of eating
properly. Rambam states emphatically: ‘Overeating
is like poison to all people and it is a primary cause of illness.Most illnesses are caused either by eating harmful foods or by
overeating even healthy foods.’ (Hilchos De’os 4:15).This is the meaning of Shlomo Hamelech’s teaching: ‘One
who guards his mouth and tongue saves his soul from troubles’ (Mishlei
).It is essential to guard
one’s mouth from eating unhealthy foods and from overeating.One of the first commandments given to mankind involved food: ‘From
the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, do not eat from it’ (Bereishis
).We see that food temptations
have been influencing mankind since the beginning of history.Perhaps because of this Hashem has given us so many commandments
regarding food. Most of our
daily domestic Halachic concerns revolve around food, to remind us that even
though we must eat to care for our bodies like the rest of mankind, we are
still a holy, special nation.”
Special Note Five: The
following Driver Safety Test was initially published by Hatzalah. Please
make sure that you always, always pass with flying colors:
Are you driving like a mensch, or are you endangering
your life and the life of others? Hakhel
addition 1--Do you honk the horn almost every time you drive? Hakhel
addition 2--Do you drive holding on to your cell phone, hoping the
police won’t catch you--even though Hashem does every single time?
Are you a speed driver?
Do you signal when necessary?
Do you begin driving when the light is red?Hakhel addition--Do you make it your practice to speed up a bit
to get through yellow lights?
Do you and your passengers buckle up?
Is your vehicle in proper working condition?
Do you watch out for children playing in the street?
Let us take special care of our lives--and
the lives of those around us as well!
Special Note One:What will the World be like when the Moshiach comes? The
Rambam in Hilchos Melochim Chapters 11 and 12 (the last two perakim of the
Rambam’s entire Mishne Torah) provides the Rambam’s rulings in this
area. May we soon witness these
Pesakim as Halacha LeMa’aseh!
Special Note Two:Do you want to witness a miracle? It’s
simple. Close your eyes. Then
open them. If you are blessed
enough to see, you have just experienced millions of cells working in tandem
to produce a unique vision of the world in front of you--and the miracle
then continues and changes by the millisecond. Incredibly,
over the last several Parshios, we have witnessed nissim veniflaos--miracles
and wonders of perhaps an even greater magnitude by virtue of the
exclusivity of their occurrence. This
Shabbos, we will perhaps be witness to the greatest miracle of all--the
delivery of the infinite Blueprint of Creation--at no charge--to each and
every one of us! The Torah
describes in unusual detail the awe of the event, and this description is
also a primary focus of the brocha of Shofaros on Rosh Hashanah. Indeed,
Discovery Seminars have used the incontrovertible historical, worldwide
knowledge of the event as a proof of the Divinity of the Torah to erstwhile
non-believers. Every morning,
when we recite the words “Asher Bochar Bonu MiKol Ho’amim VeNosan Lonu
Es Toraso” in Birchas HaTorah, it behooves us to treasure the wonder and
awe of the event, for at that irreplaceable moment in history we became
forever distinguished as a People, and each of our very souls became infused
with the kedusha, the unparalleled holiness, of a Nishmas Yisroel.We provide below from the Sefer Ma’amad Har Sinai (by Rav
Shlomo Rosner, Shlita, Fifth edition, 5765) a small portion of the
description of Matan Torah, as culled from the Gemara and Medrashim--which,
we reiterate, forever changed world history, our history--and each of our
lives. The import, extent and
unparalleled nature of the event is described in and by the Torah itself (Devorim
4:32, 33) with the words: “Ki
She’al Na …--When you ask of the earlier days from the day Hashem
created man on the earth, and from one end of the heaven to the other…has
there ever been anything like this…has a people ever heard the voice of
Hashem speaking from the midst of a fire as you have heard….?!”
Just some of the wondrous events brought
by Rav Rosner, Shlita
The lightning bolts and thunder were not uniform and
consistent, but were different from each other to add to the reverence
and uniquenes of the occasion. The
thunder could be seen, and the lightning bolts heard.
The Shofar sound did not weaken--but strengthened as it
continued--and the blast could be heard worldwide.
600,000 ministering Melachim came to attend, and rested
on Har Sinai itself.
Har Sinai was raised from its place, and was suspended
in midair with the B’nei Yisroel standing underneath it.
Although many were wounded and maimed from the years of
slavery in Mitzrayim, they were all healed. Moreover,
they were healed from spiritual and mental illness as well, and there
were no zavim, metzoraim, or shotim. The
zuhama, the spiritual contamination planted in man by the nachash was
removed from us, so that we would have the quality of Adam before the
The mountain itself was burning, with its fire reaching
The Seven Heavens opened up to the Kisei HaKavod--with
more being revealed to the B’nei Yisroel than was revealed to
Yechezkel HaNavi and Yeshaya HaNavi in their visions of the Merkava.
The Seven Tehomos (Depths) below also opened , so that
B’nei Yisroel understood that Hashem was singular in all worlds, and
“Ain Od Milvado--there is nothing else but for Hashem.”
The mountains of Tavor and
in Eretz Yisroel were uprooted from their place and came to Midbar
The World was still and silent--the sun remained in one
place, seas did not move, birds did nor chirp or fly, the animals were
silent. Even the Serafim did
not say “Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh….”
Tal, a special Dew, fell to revive the B’nei Yisroel
after their souls had left them from the awe of the Dibros.
The letters of each of the Aseres HaDibros could be seen
as they were said.
Every nation heard each Dibur in its own language, so
that it could not later claim that “had it heard…”
With each Dibur, the World became filled with the aroma
We have provided above 14 special details
of Matan Torah at Har Sinai. In
fact, there are 14 Azkaros--Hashem’s name is mentioned a total of 14
times--in the Aseres HaDibros. The
Tashbatz writes that there are also 14 Azkaros in the Sheva Brachos that we
recite at a Chasuna and the days following in celebration. Indeed,
a Great Wedding is taking place this Shabbos--and **you ** are one of the
Ba’alei Simcha--so prepare--and celebrate!
Special Note One:What a wonderful way to start the work week--with a Rosh Hashana!We
provide by this link the Tefillah of the Ben Ish Chai to be recited
on Tu B'Shevat for a beautiful Esrog and a successful Mitzvas Arba Minim.This truly needs our Tefillos!We
additionally note that many have the custom of reciting the brocha of
Shehechiyanu on new fruits in season today. The
recitation of this brocha has become a bit more complicated in today’s
times because of the availability of many fruits all-year round, taking them
out of a particular season, and also because of grafted fruits (See Piskei
Teshuvos II, p. 911-918 for further detail).We therefore recommend that you consult with your Rav or Posek prior
to making a Shehechiyanu for a final P’sak on whether or not to recite the
bracha on a particular fruit in your area. Of
course, if one intends to eat dates, figs or carob, he should make sure that
he knows how to properly check them for tolaim, and that dried fruits
(banana chips, apples, etc.) he is given to partake of “in order to make a
Hoetz” have an acceptable hashgacha.We
do not intend to be party poopers--we just want to ensure that it is a party
that in which Hashem is honored!
Special Note Two: We
truly value our readers careful reading and comments:
One reader **correctly pointed out** that one can make
the special brocha achrona of ‘Al Haetz” only if he has eaten at
least a kezayis of a fruit requiring an Al Haetz (grapes, pomegranates,
olives, etc.).If he has
done so, than the one bracha of “Al Haetz” will also cover all other
fruits such as oranges and apples for which a Borei Nefashos would
otherwise have been necessary.However,
if one eats only one-half of a kezayis of grapes, and one-half of a
kezayis of apples, then the only after brocha one can and does make is a
We had written that that one should choose a food item
which is chashuv to make his brocha rishona on, so that if one apple was
cleaner or more pleasant-looking than another fruit he intended to
consume, he should make the brocha on the nicer/nicest item. One
reader pointed out that the situation could get complicated if an
inferior looking fruit was of the Shivah Minim. One
should, as always, consult with his Rav or Posek on any particular
shaila that he has in this area.
Another reader pointed out an additional lesson from
Rabbi Soloveitchik’s anecdote: If
one does not know the answer to a question, he should admit that he does
not know the answer, thank the questioner for bringing it to his
attention, find out the answer…and share his new-found knowledge with
as many people as possible!
Special Note Three:We are only 30 days away from Purim!If you start with Mesechta Megillah today and learn one blatt a day,
you will arrive at the final Amud of Mesechta Megillah on Purim. You
can then complete the extra Amud immediately prior to the Purim Seudah, and
make a siyum to start the meal! In
the alternative, you can begin your study of the Megillah itself with any
one or more of the wonderful Peirushim--so that you are really prepared for
preparations for the Mitzvah often take longer than the Mitzvah itself--so
let us do our part in demonstrating how precious Purim is to us!
We continue with our Erev
Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos series.The
following is excerpted from the monumental work The Shabbos Kitchen
by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita (Artscroll).
Borer (sorting) is unique among the melachos in that it
applies with great frequency not only in food preparation, but also
during the meal itself.Hardly
a meal passes without one being faced with a question of borer.
Instruments of borer which may never be used on Shabbos
include: an apple corer, a vegetable peeler, a perforated spoon, and a
salt shaker that contains rice (because the cap on the shaker prevents
the rice from escaping, thereby sorting salt from rice).
Examples of food/waste mixtures to which borer applies
may be shelled only for immediate use.After shelling, one may not sort the shells from the nuts, but
must select the nuts themselves.
Oil may be squeezed from tuna for immediate use only.
A fruit or vegetable that has fallen in dirt may be
rinsed off for immediate use only (but may not be placed in a bowl of
water so that the dirt rises to the top or falls to the bottom).
Fat attached to meat:one must either cut away part of the fat, leaving a thin layer
attached to the meat, or remove all of the fat by cutting away some of
the meat along with the fat.
Special Note One: For
all those who wanted answers to the Az Yashir Quiz, we refer you to the
Mishne Berurah, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 51, seif katan 17.See how many answers to the questions we posed you can find in just
one seif katan of the Mishne Berurah!
Special Note Two:We continue with our series on the Halachos of Brachos.The following Halachos are found in the Sefer Pischei
Halacha--Hilchos Brachos, by Rabbi Binyomin Forst, Shlita.
If one heard two brachos at the same time, he should
respond with the words “Amen V’Amen”.
If one tastes a food in order to determine whether it
needs salt or spices, he makes no brocha rishona or achrona.
One should make a brocha on a ma’achal choshuv--on an
if one believes that the food is lacking salt or spices, he should add
them prior to making the brocha.Similarly,
if one intends to eat several fruits, he should make the brocha on the
cleanest and nicest one.
If one does not know what brocha to make on an item, and
accordingly recites a Shehakol out of ignorance, he is referred to as a
“boor”, a halachically ignorant individual.
If one is eating a fruit salad comprised of some fruits
whose brocha rishona is a Borei Pri Haeitz, and other fruits whose
brocha is a Borei Pri Hoadomo, and both fruits typically come up in
every spoonful, (i.e., he is eating and enjoying all of the fruits
alike), one should make the brocha on the fruit which is in the
the fruit in the majority is a cantaloupe, then one would make a Borei
Pri Hoadomo.On the other
hand, if the majority fruit is orange, then one would make a Borei Pri
Haeitz.If one eats the
fruits separately, and not in spoonfuls, he would make a Borei Pri
Haeitz and a Borei Pri Hoadomo.
Special Note Three: Chazal
teach “One who teaches the son of his friend Torah is considered as if he
gave birth to him”
Rabbi Herschel Zolty, Shlita, provides his
insight as to what Chazal mean by “giving birth” to him.The Torah that one teaches to another person is not limited by time
or matter.It will affect not
only the person who was taught for the rest of his life, but will also be
passed on to those who he shares it with, and to his progeny, as well.Thus, one who teaches another Torah is truly a spiritual grandfather
of that person’s descendants.
For example, if one teaches another how to
properly wash Netilas Yadayim, and that person has children, his children
will know how to wash Netilas Yadayim.If
these children then have children, they, too, will properly know how to wash
Netilas Yadayim…and it all started somewhere--with that spiritual
Special Note Four:Chazal (Bava Kama 30A) teach that if one wants to be a chossid, he
should fulfill the words of brachos.The
Sefer Ben Yehoyada, based upon the Sefer Yaaros Devash (by
Rabbi Yonasan Eibushutz, Z’tl), provides a remarkable teaching here.What brachos are Chazal referring to when they say that if you
fulfill them you become a chossid?Remarkably,
he writes, that they are referring to the brachos of Shemone Esrei--each
brocha also referring to how we should conduct ourselves, as well.For instance:a.In Birchas Avos--we, too, should follow in the footsteps of Avraham
Avinu and pursue Tzedaka and Chesed.b.
In Birchas Gevuros--we, too,
should help Cholim and help to free those who are “asurim.”c. In Birchas Kedusha--we,
too, should act with holiness.d.In Birchas Daas--we, too, should share our knowledge with others.e. In Birchas HaTeshuva--we, too, should attempt to bring ourselves
and others to Teshuva.You can
fill in the remainder of the middle brachos-- just realize how these brachos
apply to you, as well.Jumping
to the end--at Shema Koleinu--we, too, should listen to the pleadings of
others.In the brocha of
Hoda’ah--we, too, should make sure that we have proper hakaras hatov to
all.Finally, in the brocha of
Sim Shalom--we should come to the realization that we must steer far from
machlokes and pursue peace.
Every single Shemone Esrei--when you
really think about each brocha--includes a Mussar lesson for each and every
one of us--until the next Shemone Esrei!
Special Note One:One of our readers pointed to the Sefer Shmiras HaGuf V'Hanefesh (Siman
70, end of footnote 1), which provides a discussion as to which shoe is tied
first if one is left-handed, but not left-footed.
Special Note Two: Regarding
the suggestion on the “one-minute Aleinu” (a total of three minutes a
day), one reader wrote:“Every
year I am always struck by this contrast: on Yom Kippur in Musaf we recite
Aleinu slowly with kavannah, and bring our faces to the floor, yet by Maariv
on Motze’ei Yom Kippur….” Hakhel
Note: So let’s reduce that
Special Note Three: Short
Quiz on Az Yashir:
According to the Mishne Berurah, what Kavannah should a
person have when he begins to recite Az Yashir in Shacharis daily?
Which Pasuk in Az Yashir has twelve words, and why?
Which phrase in Az Yashir is repeated by Dovid HaMelech
Which Pasuk of Az Yashir has five words in a row which
begin with the letter Alef?
What does the phrase “B’Mayim Adirim” mean?
Which phrase in Az Yashir refers to the splitting of the
With what words does the Shira conclude?
Special Note Four:A fascinating fact:The
Hallel HaGadol--the Great Song of Praise (Tehillim 136), lists 26 things for
which we thank Hashem with the words “Ki L’Olam Chasdo--for his Kindness
endures forever.”Six of the
26 (at least!) are mentioned in this week’s Parsha.Accordingly, especially this week, let us work on our recognition of
“Ki L’Olam Chasdo--for His Kindness endures forever”!
Special Note Five:We continue with our series on the Halachos of Brachos.
one is not thirsty at all, but drinks water because he is going out on the
road for awhile, or because it is the evening before a fast day, or, if for
health purposes, one must drink water, or to flush down something stuck in
his throat, one should not make a brocha rishona or brocha achrona on the
water if he is not at all thirsty for it.It is best in these instances to make a Shehakol on something else to
avoid any questions as to whether or not a person is thirsty or can make a
brocha.However, one who drinks
warm water on an empty stomach for health purposes must make a brocha, for
it is not possible that he will not derive pleasure from the warm drink even
if he does not necessarily feel thirsty.(Piskei Teshuvos 2: pp. 721-722).
Special Note Six:Another monumental item in this week’s Parsha is the description of
the Mon, how and when it fell, and what it tasted like.Specifically, the Torah states “V’Taamo K’Tzapichis B’Dvash--and
its taste was like a tzapichis in dvash” (Shemos
).HaRav Joseph B. Soloveitchik,
, RIETS), once related the following important anecdote relating to these
There was once an experienced melamed
teaching young children Parshas Beshalach.When he came to the words “K’tzapichis B’dvash” he realized
that he did not know what the words meant, so he fuddled over it in
describing how incredible the Mon was.As
he was about to go to the next Pasuk, one student stopped him and said,
“But Rebbe, what does ‘tzapichis b’dvash’ mean?”He responded, “Don’t you understand?We left
, there was no food in the desert, and Hashem sent Mon down from the
Shamayim.Not only that--it was
incredibly delicious like tzapichis in dvash!Let’s move on to the next Pasuk!”The student stopped him again, “Rebbe, I still don’t get it--what
is a ‘tzapichis b’dvash’?!”The
Rebbe responded, “I’ll say it once more, and only once more: Our
forefathers were enslaved in
for hundreds of years.Hashem
took them out with all kinds of Makkos and Nissim.When it came to the desert there were even more miracles--even
unbelievably tasting Mon that came from Heaven!“But Rebbe, I still…”The
Rebbe waved off the student, and moved on to the next Pasuk.
For the record, “Ktzapichis b’dvash”
is translated in the Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash as “Like a
cake fried in honey”. The
great lesson here, however, is that each and everyone one of us must be
honest with himself and realize that there may be/are words, and, perhaps,
even phrases, in the Parsha every single week that he simply does not
understand on a simple level, perhaps not even knowing the simple
translation of the words.Before
getting to the more advanced Peirushim or “nice vortlich”, he must make
sure that he understands all of the **words** of the Parsha.Even if we are not a Rebbe in front of his young students, let us at
least avoid the embarrassment after 120 years of not being able to properly
translate before the Beis din Shel Ma’ala every Pasuk in Chumash.Indeed, the entire concept of Shenaim Mikra V’Echad Targum,
supplemented by Peirush Rashi, is intended to give us a complete knowledge
of each and every Holy Word of the Torah.
Practical Suggestion: Take
the few minutes that are necessary to go through each week’s Parsha and
identify the words that you do not know or understand…and understand them!
There are many basic
translations of Chumash and related Seforim that can help us here, including
all of the wonderful English Seforim by all of our well-known publishers. This
way, you will not only have reviewed the Parsha--but will have actually
**gone through it**--for which you will may very richly deserve--“sweet”
Special Note One:We received the following communication from a reader, and welcome
your insights, or insights that you may have heard from your Rav in response
to the question:“I’m
curious to know a proper hashkafic perspective on why in the past few years
various tola’im issues have come up: water, blackberries, strawberries,
raisins, etc. Of course we have
to do ratzon HaShem, but the question is, why all of a sudden within the
last few years?”
Special Note Two: We
received the following suggestion: “Why
not try to ensure that such an important and great Tefillah as Aleinu
LeShabeach takes you at least one minute to recite?Typically, because it is at the end of each of our three Tefillos, it
is rushed.It is such a
beautiful and essential Tefillah--we must really fight the Yetzer Hora here.I also try reading this Tefillah from a Siddur to make sure it is not
rushed and that it is with some level of Kavannah that it so richly
Special Note Three:We continue with our Halachos of Brachos series--The Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch (51:4,12) rules as follows:
a. All foods may be accumulated together
towards the shiur of a kezayis for a brocha achrona.Food and drink, however, are not accumulated together for the shiur
of a brocha achrona. If one ate
one-half a kezayis of a food which requires a Borai Nefashos, and one half a
kezayis of food which requires an Al Hamichya, one recites a Borai Nefashos.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
continues that it is his opinion that the same is true if one ate one half a
kezayis of fruits for which the brocha achrona is Al Haeitz, and one-half a
kezayis of food which requires an Al Hamichya--one recites a Borai Nefashos.The Mishne Berurah does not provide his opinion on this latter ruling
of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
b. If one ate one kezayis of fruits
for which the brocha achrona is an Al Haeitz (such as grapes, pomegranates,
olives, etc.), and other fruit for which the brocha achrona
is Borei Nefashos (apples, oranges, etc.), one recites one brocha achrona--Al
Haeitz--on all the fruits together.
Special Note Four:When a woman puts on her shoes, which one does she put on first and
which one does she tie first?It
is interesting to note that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, Z’tl, (Halichos
Shlomo-Tefila 2:20) rules that unlike a right-handed/right-legged man who
puts on his right shoe first, and then his left, and then ties his left and
then ties his right, a right-handed/right-legged woman puts on her right
shoe and ties it immediately, and then puts on her left shoe and ties it. The
reason: The left shoe is tied
first by a man because he ties his Tefillin on the left hand; he therefore
attributes importance when tying his shoe to the left.Since women do not put on Tefillin, they put all of their chashivus
into the right side.Of course,
one should ask his own posek for a final psak in this area.
Hakhel Note:A left handed/left-legged man would put on his right shoe and tie it
first, since he ties his Tefillin on his right arm.(Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 2, Mishne Berurah seif koton 6).
Special Note Five:Many of us will undoubtedly receive several emails today reminding us
to recite the Parshsas HaMon, it being the third day of the week in Parashas
Bishalach.We would like to
remind everyone of the story that we related from HaRav Matisyahu Salomon,
Shlita, just a few weeks ago.HaRav
Matisyahu related:“I walked
into a Shul in which someone was reading Parshas HaMon 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?”
We must remember, whether or not we recite
Parshas HaMon today, that every ounce and morsal of parnassah and kalkala
that is gifted to us by Hashem--whether or not we are millionaires or
multi-millionaires--is part and parcel of the Mon that began falling for us
more than 3,300 years ago!