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Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin



The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 95:2; 98:1) halachically requires that you feel the following prior to commencing your Shemone Esrei:

  • As if you were standing in the Beis HaMikdosh

  • As if the Shechina is directly in front of you

  • As if you are carefully speaking before an earthly king

 For the weekday Shemone Esrei, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 98:3) adds that your tefillah should be in the form of supplication (“tachanunim”), as a poor person stands at the door, pleading before one who can grant his request.


Remember, through the gift of tefillah, Hashem places in our hands the key to the Heavenly Storehouse of Brocha, and gives us the precise words that can release these treasures into our lives.


The Gemara in Bava Basra (116A) teaches that if someone has a sick person in his home, he should go to a Chochom to plead for mercy, as the posuk in Mishlei ( 16:14 ) states “The anger of the King, the Angels of Death, and a wise person will bring forgiveness.”  The Ramo brings this ruling in Hilchos Bikur Cholim (Yoreh Deah 365:10).  In fact, the Rabbeinu Chananel on the Gemara adds the explanatory words: “…and he [the Chochom] will save him.”

Also see the Maharasha on the Gemara there and the G’RA on the posuk in Mishlei there.

Let us truly appreciate our Chachomim!



The non-Jewish world may investigate three or even four topics in sixty minutes.  Keren Ner Tomid, a very special organization in Eretz Yisroel, gives us the Torah’s view of sixty minutes.  It has instituted the “Shishim Dakos B’li Hafsaka” program.  The simple rule of the program is that for sixty consecutive minutes you engage in uninterrupted learning.  No cell phone, no phone calls, no drinks, no shmoozing, no witticisms -- just you and the Torah that you are studying.  All you need is two things:

  • Before you start, say “B’li neder, the next sixty minutes I will be learning b’li hafsaka,” and

  • Willpower


The G’RA (Peah 1:1) and the Chofetz Chaim (Collected Writings) write that one attains 200 mitzvos per minute for studying Torah.  Multiply this by sixty minutes, and you have achieved 12,000 consecutive mitzvos.  Imagine earning $12,000 for one hour of work -- and the difference between a mitzvah and a dollar is, at the very least, infinite!


We can only use a vivid imagination to ponder how our ancestors entered Yerushalayim and the Har HaBayis -- in their Shabbos finery, in their chasunah best.  HaKodosh Boruch Hu, through the Navi Yechezkel, teaches us that in our current state of churban, our Shuls and Batei Medrashim, yes, our shuls and study halls, are today’s “Mikdash Me’at”.  It becomes a bit wondrous, then, that some may choose to enter Mincha/Ma’ariv in a baseball cap (even if the emblem depicts last year’s world champion), or in Indian moccasins (even if the Indians are one of the Ten Lost Tribes) or with “GAP” or “Old Navy” embossed across their shirt or jacket (even if the brand owners give sizeable donations to tzedakah).  At the very least, we should show Hashem Yisborach that we anxiously await the return of the full Beis Hamikdash -- and will act properly upon its return.


When making a brocha, is it “melechaolam” (what does this mean?), or is it “Melech HaOlam”?

The difference, quite literally, is rulership over the world!




The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 47:1) poskens “One must be very careful reciting Birchos HaTorah.”  The Mishne Berurah (ibid., seif katan 1) writes that many Rishonim, including the Ramban, Chinuch and Rashba, rule that Birchos HaTorah daily is mi’doraysa.


We present some suggestions to assist in properly reciting the Birchos HaTorah:

  • When saying V’haarev Na, have in mind your request that Torah study be sweet for you today.

  • When saying V’Tzeetzainu, picture your children in your mind and ask that they be b’nei Torah and talmedei chachomim.

  • Allot ample time to make the Birchos HaTorah in a proper manner—should such brochos be recited in pajamas, or while walking out of the house, or while walking into shul?  Shouldn’t such meaningful brochos be recited from a Siddur?  How many brochos do you know that are mi’doraysa?


Let us treasure our daily, invaluable opportunities!


The Gemara (Pesachim 87A) teaches that the Navi Hoshea was severally punished because when Hashem told him “Your people have sinned,” he responded with forthrightness that sinners should be punished.  How should he have responded?  The Gemara says that he should have said, “Ribono Shel Olom, they are Your children… the children of the Avos.  Bring Your mercy upon them.”  Judgment and the letter of the law is the easy answer.  Pleading for mercy from the Source of all mercy is the effective answer.  (This is one of the Thirteen Attributes of Hashem, see Shemos 34:6).

The Orchos Tzaddikim (Sha’ar HaZrizus) writes that we should be especially careful in Shemone Esrei to plead for forgiveness for all of Klal Yisroel when we ask for forgiveness in the brocha of S’lach Lonu Aveinu, the sixth brocha, and beg that all of Klal Yisroel do Teshuvah in the brocha of Hashiveinu, the fifth brocha.

Helpful Point:  Think of a relative, friend, neighbor or coworker who is not yet religious and daven for them in S’lach Lonu Aveinu and Hashiveinu.

Yes, you can do your part to bring mercy upon Klal Yisroel!


Recently, General Mills cereals have newly advertised as being "whole grain".  We have checked with competent Rabbinical authorities who have studied the process utilized, and the brochos on all of these cereals remain unchanged.

From One of Our Readers:

I found your email Bulletin on Simcha to be very important.  I would like to add that the Chazon Ish, in his Collected Letters (II:93), writes explicitly that the ikar performance of a mitzvah is the joy one feels in being zoche to it.


The Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim 669, seif katan 11) brings from the Arizal that all he attained in the openings of the Gates of Wisdom and Ruach HaKodesh resulted from his boundless joy in performing mitzvos.  As the Pele Yoetz (II-3:4) writes: “Every mitzvah which presents itself is a gift sent by HaKodesh Boruch Hu...”

Helpful Point:  The next time an unexpected mitzvah comes your way, try to feel the same joy as if you had won a million dollars in the lottery.


The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:1) writes the following succinct halacha:

Before starting a brocha, know how it will end, so that when you say the name of Hashem, which is the main part of the brocha, you know what the brocha is referring to.

This is especially relevant to the Birchos HaShachar where you are reciting a series of 15 consecutive short, important, but varied, brochos.

Helpful Point: Look at the last words of the brocha before beginning.


As we together commence the meaningful forty-day period from Rosh Chodesh Tammuz to the Tenth of Av, we provide the following timely recommendation that is spreading through our community worldwide:

As you recite the fourteenth bracha of Shemone Esrei, V’lirushalayim Ircha three times daily, spend just an extra few seconds of time and effort to concentrate on the plain meaning of the words, and on the nachas and simcha Hashem and Klal Yisroel would have with the rebuilding of Yerushalayim and the Bais Hamikdash.

Some Helpful Points:

  • You may want to highlight the bracha in some way in your siddur to remind yourself

  • A tear from time to time, if possible, is also meaningful

  • Try to keep a running record of the times you had kavana (maximum three times per day!)



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