Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin
NOVEMBER 2008 DAILY EMAIL ARCHIVE
Special Note One: Before
taking leave of the amazing book Our Amazing World, referred to
yesterday, we bring another one of its teachings:
“Take a look at the human
brain. The average brain has about 30 billion nerve cells. Each nerve cell
sprouts between 10,000 to 100,000 fibers in order to contact other nerve
cells in the brain. Taken together, the number of these connections is
approximately 10 trillion. Numbers of this magnitude are difficult to
imagine, but there they are. Despite all these connections, this forest of
fibers is not a chaotic, random tangle, but actually a highly-organized
network, where most fibers have specific communication functions, and follow
regular pathways through the brain. It has been calculated that if only
100th of the brain’s connections were specifically routed, that would still
add up to more connections than in the Earth’s entire communications
Thank you Hashem! Thank you
Special Note Two: We continue
with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos Series. These Halachos are
excerpted from The Shabbos Home (Volume 1) by Rabbi Simcha Bunim
Cohen, Shlita (Artscroll)--truly a must for the Shabbos Home!
For Places without an Eruv:
One may not put plastic bags over feet or
shoes to enable oneself to wear boots outdoors more easily. These
plastic bags are not considered garments, and it is therefore
If gloves are secured to a garment with
clips or the like, it is permitted to wear the coat outdoors even when
not wearing the gloves on the hands. However, if the gloves are not
fastened to the coat, but are attached to each other, with an elastic or
string that is run through the sleeves of the coat, it is forbidden to
go outdoors with the coat unless he wears the gloves on his hands. The
same halacha applies to children.
Earmuffs may be worn on Shabbos. Likewise,
it is permitted to go outdoors with cotton stuffed into one’s ear, if
the purpose of the cotton is to absorb fluid excreted by the ear, or to
protect the inner ear from cold. However, if the purpose of the cotton
is merely to block out noise, then one may not go outdoors with it.
forbidden to give a gift on Shabbos, since the transfer of ownership
resembles a transaction. It is even forbidden for a husband to give a gift
to his wife and for a parent to give a gift to his child. [There is a
dispute among the Poskim as to whether the prohibition applies to giving a
gift to a gentile.] There is, however, one exception to this prohibition.
It is permitted to give a gift on Shabbos to enable the recipient to
perform a mitzvah. To illustrate: The mitzvah of tzitzis requires that a
person wear his own garment that has tzitzis attached. Thus, if a guest who
comes to a Shul has no talis, you may give him a spare tallis as a gift (on
condition that he return it), thereby enabling him to properly fulfill the
mitzvah of wearing it.
Special Note Three: Tomorrow,
2 Kislev, is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Aharon Kotler, Zt’l. Below are a few
rememberances, described in Bimchitzasam, the two-volume work on
gedolim of our generation by Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz, Shlita:
“In order for us to further appreciate what
truth means, Rebbetzin Kotler related the following about her husband:
A receipt book for the Yeshiva was printed with a picture of the
Yeshiva on the receipt. In actuality, there were five trees outside the
Yeshiva--three on one side and two on the other. The printer “fixed the
picture up a bit,” and put a third tree next to the two, so that both
sides had three trees. When HaRav Kotler saw the receipts, he ordered
them destroyed, and ordered new receipt books, stating: “A Yeshiva must
be based on pillars of truth, and I am not ready for even an iota of
sheker to be mixed in to the Yeshiva.”
Once, HaRav Kotler fasted an entire day.
When he was asked why he had done so, he replied as follows: “I believe
I will am going to be asked information about a student in our Yeshiva,
and I do not know how to answer. On the one hand, I cannot lie and
praise him for attributes he does not possess. On the other hand, it
would be painful for me to speak the truth about him, because it is
possible that the negative things that I saw in him will be straightened
out in married life. In my opinion, my comments could ruin the Shidduch
from happening. Because of this great responsibility, I took it upon
myself to fast and daven to Hashem that He have mercy on me and have no
inquiries made of me regarding this young man.”
There was an elderly person who became weak
on Yom Kippur, and he was placed into a special room in the Yeshiva.
HaRav Kotler checked into him throughout the day, and asked one of his
students to daven Neila with the elderly person in this room. The
surprised Talmid asked: “Do you mean that I should not daven Neila with
the tzibbur?! HaRav Kotler answered, “To do Chesed with another Jew is
HaRav Kotler held that the greatest Chesed
that one could do with another was a Chesed Ruchni--spiritual Chesed,
whether it be assisting a person to learn, or any other proper spiritual
influence. As Rav Kotler put it, “Torah is Life--Is there any greater
Chesed than giving life to another?!”
Special Note One: In order to
get a better appreciation of the Chesed of our Avos and what we have to
strive for, the Sefer Our Amazing World by Rabbi Avrohom Katz, Shlita,
and Tuvia Cohen, Shlita, writes that a camel drinks more than 34 gallons at
one time! Since Eliezer had 10 camels, this would mean that Rivka as a
young girl, supplied more than 340 gallons of water--to Eliezer’s camels
While we are talking about the
great Chesed of the Avos and Imahos, we note just one of the millions of
Chasodim that Hashem showers upon us, also mentioned in Our Amazing World:
“If all the veins and
capillaries that transport blood in an individual would be laid end to end,
they would encircle the world twice. We are talking about a distance of
approximately 72,000 miles!”
Thank You Hashem! Thank You
Special Note Two: We received
the following thoughts from a reader:
“Rav Solomon’s thought about
remembering Hashem is very important for living every day life. I have seen
in the name of Rishonim and Achronim, that the more Hashgacha Pratis that
you feel, the more you will receive (or perhaps, the more you will feel even
in situations which are more sublime). Also, living with Hashem helps your
middos tremendously--you can seriously curb and control your anger,
arrogance, laziness and all those other bad middos--simply by having Hashem
with you throughout the day. I remember that you once mentioned about
sitting up straight from time to time throughout the day. I have found this
to be tremendously effective.”
Special Note Three: We
received the following insight from Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita: Of all
parts of Eisav’s body, why did Yaakov grab hold of Eisav’s heel? We can
suggest that it is to teach us a secret of greatness--hold on to those
things that others may be stepping on!
Hakhel Note: There are (at
least) two other great lessons to be learned from Eisav himself in this
First, the Pele Yoetz brings
the Medrash that “All of the good, and all of the rulership of the
descendants of Eisav comes from the importance that he ascribed to the
brocha of his father, and his crying out “Barcheni Gam Ani Avi--Bless me,
too, Father.” We see the extent to which a person should respect his
parents, and strive for their brachos. Indeed, the Medrash (Bereishis Raba
65:16) states that since Eisav served his father with royal clothing (bigdei
malchus), he was rewarded, measure for measure with malchus in his
Second, the Torah’s first
description of Eisav’s evil relates to the way he spoke and ate. Eisav
tells Yaakov “HaLiteni Na--Pour into me now some of that very red stuff…”
thus, it appears, that the early warning sign of Eisav’s evil related to his
mouth--what came out of it and how he put things into it. We had recently
provided some important rules of conduct while eating. Readers supplied
some additional lessons, based upon the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 167 and
170. They include the following:
One should not stare at someone or look at
his food while he is eating.
One should not drink an entire cup in one
One should not bite from a piece of bread
and put the remaining bread on the table.
If you are a visitor, wait to be served; do
not asked to be served.
The older person at the table should be
served first, or take his portion first.
Other readers asked for
parameters on overeating. This is a personal and subjective topic, and
should be discussed with one’s Rav.
Special Note Four: To put
things in their proper perspective, tomorrow, Rosh Chodesh, is the fortieth
day from Hoshana Raba (i.e., the same distance traveled between Rosh Chodesh
Elul and Yom Kippur). It will also be a full two months since Rosh Hashana.
Today, as Yom Kippur Koton, is the time for us to evaluate and re-evaluate
our kabalos, goals and accomplishments thus far--and make the great part of
the year ahead of us--just that--great!
Reminder: We urge
everyone to eat their Seudas Rosh Chodesh tonight or early tomorrow morning
so that there are no conflicts with the short Erev Shabbos day.
Special Note Five: As many in
America begin the extended weekend, we provide the following teaching of
Eliyahu HaNavi, from the Tanna D’Bai Eliyahu Zuta, Chapter 14:
“Bnei Yisroel will not be
redeemed because of their pain, their captivity, their exile, their crisis
or other difficulty, nor for their lack of food…but rather the Redemption
will come because of ten people sitting near each other learning Torah
Let us use our time wisely
over the next several vacation days…bringing the Geulah oh so much closer
through our Torah Study!
Special Note One: We received the following wonderful insight from a reader
regarding yesterday’s note on Bentching: “Another benefit in
Bentching, which shouldn’t be minimized, is the opportunity to be makayaim
the mitzvah of Kibbud Av V’Aim, in the section where we ask that our parents
Special Note Two: Chazal (Shabbos 50B) teach that a person should wash his
face, hands and feet every day in honor of Hashem. Thus, just as eating
with the proper approach can become a sanctified activity, so, too, can
cleaning one’s body serve a spiritual need. Indeed, the brocha in Birchos
HaShachar of “HaMaavir Shaina Mayeinoi” was originally instituted upon one’s
washing of his face in the morning (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 46:1).
Thus, above and beyond Rav Scheinberg’s, Shlita, ruling relating to the
study of Torah while taking a shower in a clean bathroom (see Hakhel email
of 30 Tishrei), we find that the shower itself has proper kavannos
associated with it. Additionally, the Mishne Berurah writes that, one
should rinse his mouth upon arising in the morning--in order to mention
Hashem’s name in holiness and purity (ibid, 4; Mishne Berura Seif Katan 37).
Indeed, there is even a method for a person to wash his body--the Mishna
Berura (ibid, 2; Seif Katan 7) writes that the head is washed first because
it is the “Melech”--the King of all the other limbs of the body, and that
the right side is washed before the left (See Darchei Moshe to Tur, ibid.).
we attempt to elevate and sanctify the things that we do every day anyway,
we are demonstrating a proper and defined focus and Kavannah to accomplish
life’s goals and purpose!
Special Note Three: HaRav Matisyahu Solomon, Shlita, recently provided the
following insight on how we should react to the current world situation:
don’t know what is going on in the world.”
However, we can take some instruction from the Tefillos of Rosh Hashana.
Rosh Hashana, although it is the Yom HaDin in which everyone’s thoughts,
words and actions are carefully scrutinized by the Heavenly Court, does not
contain very many tefillos which instill great fear in a person. The
longest and most serious discussion of judgment in the Rosh Hashana Tefillos
is contained in the Zichronos, where the Anshei Knesses HaGedola teach us
how Hashem remembers the actions of every individual and every country, and
describes how Hashem metes out judgment to the countries--who for war, who
for peace, etc.
these Pesukim of Zichronos , however, amazingly conclude with the words
“Ashrei Ish Shelo Yishkacheka…--praiseworthy is the person who does not
forget You and who takes strength in You, for those who seek You will not
stumble, and those who believe in You will not be disgraced….”
Chizuk! What consolation! What hope!! Hashem does not want us to remain
scared, panic, depressed or give up. Yei’ush--despair--has no place even in
a time of the most serious judgment! Rather, the Tefilla here teaches us
that we must take strength in Hashem--we must remember Hashem by constantly
mentioning His Name, thinking of His constant Chasodim to us, and that “Ayn
Od Milvado--there is no source of anything but Him”--and all that is
happening is to remind us to turn to Him.
fact, the Alter of Kelm teaches us that people make a big mistake in their
perception of what cowards and heroes really are. In reality, heroes on the
battlefield have as much fear as the cowards, except that their fear
motivates and energizes them--it propels them forward, while the coward’s
fear makes them run in the opposite direction, towards defeat. Any
immediate uncertainty or fear which may be generated within us should lead
us to come close to Hashem, and not to be despondent, anxious or afraid.
these turbulent times, in everything that we do, we must bring Hashem into
the picture, into the equation, into the forefront. If one studies the
Parsha of Eliezer and Rivka, one will find that Hashem is constantly
mentioned by Eliezer throughout the event. Eliezer was, as a result,
successful--to the extent that even Lavan himself exclaimed “MaiHashem Yutza
HaDovor--This is Hashem’s doing!”. This is the extent to which Hashem
should accompany our thoughts, our words and our actions--even those really
distant from the feeling of Hashhgacha Pratis should be brought closer to it
as a result of our behavior!
this zechus, we will--middah k’neged middah--see the day in which the world
and all of its inhabitants will be filled with the Knowledge of Hashem as
the water fills the sea--speedily and in our days! AMEN!
Great News!! We are now less
than thirty days away from Chanuka.
Special Note One: We received
the following from a valued reader: “I enjoyed reading your comments about
Modim. One sometimes wonders why the beracha “Shehecheyonu” is not recited
daily every morning! In actual fact, we say in the Modim D’Rabbanan “Al
shehecheyesonu V’keeyamtonu--for keeping us alive and sustaining us”--which
are similar words three times daily.
Special Note Two: We received
the following Kashrus Alerts:
1. Apple & Eve White Grape
Juice drink box UPC 7630184001. This product bears an unauthorized OU
symbol and is not certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union. The product is
being withdrawn from the marketplace. Consumers spotting this product are
requested to contact the Orthodox Union at 212-613-8241 or via email at
2. A complete line of
America’s Choice frozen vegetables are being sold bearing an unauthorized
Star-K. These items have been seen at Pathmark and A&P stores in New York
and New Jersey. Corrective action is being taken.
3. BrainSavers Fruit and Nut
Bar-Chocolate Coated, UPC 094922965974. This product contains dairy
ingredients as listed on the ingredient panel but the dairy designation has
been inadvertently omitted. Future packaging will no longer bear the OU
Special Note Three: Regarding
the recent events relating to Anheueser Busch Beer Products (Budweiser and
Budweiser Light), we note that the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) has
issued a statement regarding these products and their permissibility. It
appears that investigation of the plant was made by the CRC itself (not by
an independent expert). In all events, we have been advised by an
independent authority in Kashrus that any Budweiser or Budweiser Light
products canned before November 10th are not acceptable. This is an
important lesson for the kosher consumer--how would anyone have assumed that
beer would be in any manner processed on the same equipment as “Clamato”,
which contains clam powder, or “Chelada,” which is a mixture of Budweiser
beer and Clamato?!
Recently, a Beth Din in Europe
announced that “all beer is permissible.” The announcement does not mention
flavored beers, stouts and other beer beverages that can be 100% treif, such
as Chelada! For all those who drink beer--and all those who attend Shalom
Zachors--let the kosher consumer beware!
Special Note Four: J-LINK is
an organization of lawyers which seeks to coordinate legal pro-bono
activities in our community. J-LINK’s latest project is to establish a
foreclosure sub-committee in the face of the rising incidence of
foreclosures in our community. To stay on top of this situation, J-LINK is
looking to find attorneys with foreclosure experience who can get involved
either by leading this sub-committee or mentoring other attorneys. “Even if
you already do probono work, your expertise and qualifications would go a
long way in helping to develop a broad network of attorneys willing to
assist in this area and in shaping our current endeavor. Of course, we
continue to seek all attorneys for general probono and mentoring
assistance. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. We
can be reached at email@example.com”
Special Note Five: The
Eliyahu Rabba (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 170) makes the following
important points about eating:
a. A person’s personal
meal can be turned into a Seudas Mitzvah simply by consciously eating to
keep his body strong for Avodas Hashem--not overeating or eating the wrong
foods. [Incredibly, your meal then becomes the equivalent of a Chasuna meal
or the meal at a Siyum….]
b. If a person
overeats, even if it is at a Shabbos meal, he violates three negative
c. A form of “Teshuva
Meulah” (elevated Teshuva) is when a delectable food or drink is before
someone--and it is something that one very much desires--and one refrains
from partaking of it, “and this is a Teshuva one can do at any time and is
desired by Hashem.”
d. When one eats,
whether it is a little or full meal, he should eat b’simcha, with joy.
e. It is Derech Eretz
not to eat or drink standing, not to wipe the plate clean, not to lick your
fingers, and not to eat and abruptly rise.
Hakhel Note: These are
methods which relate to the meal itself. We add that one can elevate
Bentching itself, in simple and straightforward ways, as well:
a. Rather than acting
as a child, and figuring out ways to avoid bentching (a drop less than two
slices, and the like), one should view the act of Birchas HaMazon as a
privilege and opportunity--the ability to recite four brachos simply because
you have eaten a staple such as bread! We can even suggest that Pas
Shacharis is so important because it starts off your physical day with a
good meal--and a good bentching!
b. Last week, we
brought the teaching of the Sefer HaChinuch that one who is careful
to bentch with concentration is assured Parnassah in a respectable way all
his life. There are great tools to help one bentch with Kavannah. Gadi
Pollack’s “Birchas HaMazon” (Feldheim) is beautifully illustrated with
pictures, with English translation closely placed next to every phrase, and
is an incredible method for increasing your appreciation of Birchas HaMazon.
Because it is so colorful, one may mistakenly--very mistakenly--believe
that this Bentcher is for children. If it is, it is for the child in each
and every one of us. Similarly, perhaps for the more advanced, Rabbi Meir
Birnbaum’s Kuntrus Birchas HaMazon provides a phrase-by-phrase
translation of Bentching, with commentary and footnotes. The more time and
effort one puts into something, the more he can appreciate it. In just a
few extra minutes, one can elevate a Mitzvah from the Torah to an infinite
degree. Most certainly, you will never be ashamed, or sorry, for it!
c. May we especially
suggest that when bentching, one should himself think about the meaning of
what he is saying. For instance, when reciting the words “Yisborach Shimcha
B’fi Kol Chai--that Hashem’s name should be blessed by all of the
living”--what is one referring to--all human beings? All animals and other
creatures, as per Perek Shira?…. As we have noted in a previous Bulletin,
the Yesod V’Shoresh HoAvoda in his Tzavooh (will) to his children, writes
that he would daven before bentching that no one would knock on his door and
disturb him or his Kavannah…and with good reason.
Let us take the time out to
eat--and to bentch--in a manner which befits the Tzelem Elokim that we each
represent--and that we each are!
Special Note One: The world enjoys papaya for
its unique and sweet taste. The Torah world additionally enjoys the hidden,
spiritual world of the papaya, because of all of the Halachic discussions it
engenders. One of our important readers referred us to the Teshuvos
VeHanhagos (3:333) in which HaRav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, goes through a
serious and lengthy analysis of the Halachic issues which arise from this
fruit--rendering it not only beautiful from without--but from within as
Special Note Two: We continue
with our Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos Series:
How can one benefit his Parnassah even on
Shabbos? The Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 185: Seif Katan
1) brings from the Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 430) that one who is always
careful to bentch with concentration is assured of his parnassah in a
respectable way all of his life. One can--and should bentch with
concentration on Shabbos as well!
Is one permitted to place a new shoelace in
his shoe on Shabbos, or to reinsert his old shoelace? One may reinsert
his old shoelace, provided that it is not difficult to slip through the
holes (i.e., the plastics at the end of the shoelace are still on, the
holes are large enough, etc.). If one’s shoelace broke and he would
like to insert a new shoelace (or a shoelace from another shoe), he may
only do so if the new shoelace is inserted in a manner which indicates
that it is temporary--such as putting it only through the top loops, or
putting in a different color shoelace--and even then only if it is easy
to insert (plastics at end of the shoelace are still on, etc.). One may
likewise insert a belt through belt loops on Shabbos, provided that he
is not inserting a belt for the first time, intending to leave it there
on a permanent basis. Thus, a matching belt for a dress which is
intended to remain in the dress once inserted should not be inserted for
the first time on Shabbos. (Shmiras Shabbos KeHilchasa 15:60, 62).
Other examples of activities which are
prohibited because of Makeh BePatish, according to The 39 Melochos
by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, Shlita, (Feldheim) include: Straightening a bent
clasp of a necklace or bracelet so that it will open or close;
straightening the bent handle on a spoon back into shape; rubbing off
chalk marks left by a tailor; making paper airplanes; fashioning paper
napkins into flowers, hats and the like; and inserting a new pendant
into a necklace where it is meant to remain there permanently.
Special Note Three: Two important thoughts on
this week’s Parsha:
a. We find the brocha (Bereishis
24:60)given by Rivka’s family to her prior to her departure--a huge brocha
that came true! This is yet another example of how powerful brachos can
be--even if they do not come from the best of sources. All the more so,
when the brocha comes from a Talmid Chacham or Tzaddik. One never knows
when they may meet a Tzadik or Talmid Chacham; accordingly, one should
always have his thoughts organized as to what brochos he would ask for when
the opportunity arises!
b. We also find in this week’s Parsha that
Yitzchok Avinu instituted the Tefillah of Mincha (Bereishis 24:63). The
Piskei Teshuvos (2:232) writes that Tefillas Mincha is unique. When one
davens Shacharis, he clearly has in mind to thank Hashem for returning his
Neshama to him, and at Maariv he knows that he will soon be placing his soul
into Hashem’s trust for the evening. At Mincha, however, his prayers are,
as the word Mincha implies, an unfettered gift--a free will offering--with
neither of these thoughts in mind. Moreover, one understands that he davens
Shacharis upon his arising in the morning, and Maariv upon the arrival of
darkness. However, Mincha is recited in the middle of the busy workday, and
a person leaves all of his thoughts and actions--and prays. It is for this
reason that the Tur (ibid.) writes that one’s reward will be very great for
davening Mincha with Kavannah. Indeed, it is telling that Yitzchak Avinu,
the Av who symbolizes Avodah VeYirah--service and fear of Hashem--especially
instituted Mincha of the three daily prayers. Let us take the lesson from
the Parsha--and dedicate the next week to a more pristine, focused and
sincere Mincha prayer.
Special Note Four: The following beautiful
thought on the tefillah of Modim which we recite three times daily is
offered by HaRav Shimon Schwab, Z’tl, in Rav Schwab on Prayer (Artscroll,
“V’Al Nifliosecha V’Tovosecha Shebichol Eis,
Erev Vuvoker VeTzaharayim…--and for Your wondrous deeds and bestowal of
goodness, which occurs at all times, evening, morning, and afternoon.” This
important phrase has a double meaning. The first is its simple, literal,
meaning of thanking Hakadosh Baruch Hu for all the hidden miraculous events,
which constantly occur all the time, for which we express our thanks,
evening, morning, and afternoon--referring to the Tefillos of Maariv,
Shacharis, and Mincha. In this sense it would be similar to that which was
said by Dovid HaMelech, “Erev Vuvoker V’Tzaharyim Asicha…--I pray to You
evening, morning, and afternoon (Tehillim 55:18).”
However, “Erev Vuvoker VeTzaharayim” also has a
secondary meaning, relating to the moods or circumstances in which one may
Erev--One may find himself in an emotional state
of “erev.” He feels that his life is declining, either because of age or
lack of mazal; everything is getting darker and darker, he feels more and
more hopeless, until eventually it will all come to an end.
Boker--Or a person may be in a “boker” state of
life, in which he sees some light coming into his life, and little by little
things begin to turn around for him.
VeTzaharayim--Or one may be experiencing the
“tzaharayim” of his life; there is bright sunshine all around him; he is
successful in whatever he does; he has the feeling that he is “on top of the
In this sense, we give thanks to HaKadosh Baruch
Hu for “Al Chayeinu HaMisurim BiYadecha--for our lives which You hold in
Your hand,” and “Nifliosecha V’Tovosecha Shebichol Eis,” whether we are
experiencing, or have experienced, a life of erev, or boker or tzaharayim.
There is even a third, deeper explanation of
Erev Vavoker VaTzaharayim. These words actually characterize the three
forms of our existence.
First, this world, Olam Hazeh, is characterized
as “erev,” evening, because it eventually ends up with nighttime, at the
time of death. No matter how happy a person is in life, eventually he faces
his inevitable demise when his neshamah leaves his guf.
After the neshamah is separated from the guf,
there follows an existence of “boker,” in which the neshamah--as well as the
guf--must go through a purification process, the neshamah in Gan Eden, and
the guf in the earth. This is the “break of dawn” for the ultimate form of
everlasting life, that of techiyas hameisim, the tzaharayim, the “bright
noontime” of existence.
We give thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu for the
three forms of our existence, Erev Vuvoker VeTzaharayim—all of which He
holds in His hand.
The underlying idea of all these interpretations
is that regardless of in which station of life, physical or spiritual, one
may find himself, he expresses a genuine and sincere Modim to HaKadosh
Baruch Hu--“Al Chayeinu HaMisurim BiYadecha V’Al Nishmoseinu HaPekudos Luch,”
and “Nisecha Shebichol Yom Emanu” and “Nifliosehca VeTovosecha Shebichaol
Hakhel Note: As we recite the words Erev
VaVoker VeTzaharayim every day, we should attempt to encapsulate at least
one of these interpretations of Rav Schwab--as we show our appreciation of
what Hashem does for us at all times, in all spheres--and for
everything--every single thing!!
Special Note One: We received
the following comments from readers relating to our note on Brachos:
1. “I disagree that the
brocha on granola, which is toasted, is Hoadomo, the brocha of Hoadomo on
toasted grains is only if it is toasted whole with its shell, and this is
not the case with granola.”
[Hakhel Note: One should
consult with his own Posek on this matter.]
2. “Although granola cereal
or bars (etc.) is Hoadama, it could also depend on the other ingredients in
the cereal (or if you are eating with yogurt it could be Shehakol).
Additionally I believe the bracha achrona is a big safek. I only eat
granola cereal in a seuda or if I am having all the brachos anyway.”
Special Note Two: The Kuntrus
“Shomer Yisroel”, published by Rabbi Mordechai Potash, Shlita, provides the
following Principles of Bitachon, culled from the Sefer Chovas HaLevavos,
Shaar HaBitachon, Chapters 2 and 3. May we recommend that you have this
sheet handy on your desk or table so that you can frequently remind yourself
of its contents?
1. The Creator is more
merciful than any of His creations. Any kindness or mercy I receive
emanates from Hashem.
2. Hashem is
constantly aware of all my needs, desires and struggles and always seeks to
3. Hashem is
All-Powerful and nothing can stop Him from executing His decree.
4. Hashem knows what
is best for me and how to help me.
5. Hashem is with me
throughout my entire life and has already done countless acts of great
kindness to me.
6. There is no one who
can help me or harm me other than Hashem, because I am totally in His hands.
7. Hashem generously
does Chesed for those who deserve and for those who don’t deserve, and His
attribute of Kindness is everlasting.
8. Hashem is the only
real cause of everything that exists and happens in the world. He
constantly causes each thing to exist and determines its quality, size, time
and place. No other force can ever interfere with His will.
Special Note Three: Pesukei
DeZimra begins with the opening brocha of Boruch Sheomar, and concludes with
the concluding brocha of Yishtabach. Therefore, from the time that one has
recited the words “Boruch Ata Hashem” of Boruch Sheomar, he can no longer
voluntarily speak in any language, including Lashon HaKodesh. If one must
speak because of an “ones” (he is forced to), then before he speaks, he must
recite the Pesukim of “Boruch Hashem L’Olam Amen V’Amen” (which we typically
recite before “VaYivarech Dovid”), both before and after his forced
interruption. The reason one must recite these Pesukim is because they
serve as a constructive “concluding brocha” for the portion recited before
the forced interruption, and then a constructive “opening brocha” for the
remaining portion of Pesukei D’Zimra about to be recited (Shulchan Aruch,
Orach Chaim 51, Mishne Berura, Seif Koton 7).
Hakhel Note: From this ruling
of the Mishne Berura, we learn of the power and greatness of the four
Pesukim of Boruch Hashem L’Olam which we all recite daily between the
Halelukas and VaYevarech Dovid. They can be deemed to be Brachos in and of
themselves! Indeed, the word “Boruch” is mentioned four times, the word
Amen is mentioned four times, and names of Hashem are mentioned six
times--all in these special four Pesukim! One should take the lesson and be
sure to recite them slowly and carefully, and with the concomitant joy and
reverence they deserve, every time we recite Pesukei D’Zimra.
In this merit, may you never
be forced to interrupt your Pesukei D’Zimra--to remind yourself of the
importance of these Pesukim!
last week’s Parsha, we find that Lot accomplished something that even
Avraham Avinu could not accomplish. Although Avraham davened for each one
of the five cities to be saved, Hashem advised him that there was an
insufficient number of Tzadikim in any city for the city to be saved.
However, we find that Lot requested that he be saved in the city of Tzoar--and
he was, together with the entire city! How was Lot, the recalcitrant
nephew, was able to save a city that his incomparable Rebbe could not?
HaRav Yecheskel Levenstein, Z’tl, derives two essential lessons from this.
First, we see how much more effective it is for the affected person to daven
for himself than for a third party (no matter how great) to daven for him.
Here, Lot was asking for his own life. No matter how genuine and sincere
the entireties of Avraham Avinu were, nothing can match the depths of
someone pleading for his own life. As we indicated from the Derech
Hashem yesterday, no one can act on your behalf more than you and you
alone. Of course, one should always ask a Talmid Chacham to daven for him,
but this cannot replace or substitute for one davening for himself.
second great lesson teaches us the extent of HaKoras HaTov that one must
demonstrate if someone has even attempted to do good towards them. Lot
showed hospitality to the Malochim (who really didn’t need it), and their
expression of HaKoras HaTov went to the degree of saving an entire city in
order to save Lot. Similarly, HaRav Daniel of Kelm, Z’tl, HY’D, the last
Rosh Yeshiva of Kelm, explained that Elisha HaNavi, in last week’s Haftora,
was actually bound by his Hakoras HaTov to the Isha HaShunamis, to go to the
extent of bringing her son back to the living--the greatest of miracles
Thus, within one event, we learn vital lessons both on a Bein Odom L’Makom,
and a Bein Odom L’Chaveiro, level. In Bein Odom L’Makom--establish your own
personal relationship with Hashem in Tefillah because no one can daven
better for yourself than you. Work on it, because no one can as you can.
On a Bein Odom L’Chaveiro level, make sure that you constantly and
consistently demonstrate your HaKoras HaTov for the many kindnesses you
receive from those around you.
Special Note One: The
following is the last in our series of rulings of HaRav Kanievsky, as
presented in the Sefer Shailas Rav. We remind you that although the
Sefer expressly states that one is not to Paskin Halacha L’Maaseh from the
Sefer, the answers (and the questions!) certainly provide a valuable basis
for one to ask his own Shaila.
1. Q: If
while washing Netilas Yadayim for a meal, he inadvertently washed his left
hand before his right, should he start over again with his right hand?
A: No, bideved, he fulfilled
2. Q: Is
it permissible to lean on a tombstone in the cemetery while praying at the
graves of Tzadikim or others?
3. Q: If
one flies in a plane over water, and intends to return next day, should he
just bentch gomel once after completing his return trip?
should bentch gomel twice [i.e., once upon his arrival, and once upon his
4. Q: The
Mishna Berura writes that after sneezing, one should recite the Pasuk
“Lishuasicha Kivisi Hashem” (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 230:Seif Katan
7). If one sneezes twice in succession, should he recite the Pasuk twice?
once is sufficient.
5. Q: If
one davened Maariv and recited Krias Shema before Tzes HaKochavim, and
forgot to recite Krias Shema again after Tzes HaKochavim, does he need to do
Teshuva and does he need a Kapara?
Special Note Two: We provide
the following Brachos Bee(for adults), based on the Brochos Handbook
contained in the Sefer The Halachos of Brochos by Rabbi Pinchos Bodner,
brocha do you make on the following?
1. On fruit flavored yogurt,
the brocha is a Shehakol, as the fruit is only added to enhance the yogurt.
2. The brocha on kasha is
Hoadomo--although Kasha is known as “buckwheat kernels”, it is not a grain.
On Kasha Varnishkes (i.e., kasha with noodles), the brocha is of course, a
3. The brocha on fruit
leather, as well as all pureed fruits and vegetables, is Shehakol. Thus, if
an adult was to eat pureed baby food, the brocha would also be Shehakol.
4. On marzipan, the brocha is
Shehakol. Although the major ingredient is ground almonds, it is
unrecognizable in the marzipan paste.
5. If the corn chips are made
out of milled corn, the brocha is Shehakol. This Halacha is true of any
milled corn product. Thus, the brocha on various brands of cornflakes may
differ, depending upon whether it is made out of milled corn or not.
6. The brocha on granola
cereal is Hoadomo, because the grain is toasted and not cooked.
7. If the onion soup is made
from flavoring, the brocha is Shehakol; if the onion soup is made from
sautéed onions, the brocha is Hoadomo.
8. Because the meat/mushrooms
and the vegetables are separately eaten, one should first make a Hoadomo on
the vegetables, and then a Shehakol on the meat and mushrooms.
Hakhel Note: We note that a
current popular snack is dried papaya. Some Poskim rule that the papaya
tree is halachically considered to be a tree, and that the brocha on papaya
is Hoetz. Others rule that it is not a Halachic tree and that one recites
Hoadomo on papaya. Accordingly, one should consult his Rav for a ruling on
the appropriate brocha for papaya.
Special Note Three: The
Ramchal in Derech Hashem (translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Z’tl) (Feldheim
Publishers, II:2) teaches us what life is in but a few words: “Hashem’s Plan
was that man himself should be the complete master of his own good...man
cannot attain good unless he achieves it through his own effort. This is
also true of each element of this good, which is only meted out
according to the individual’s precise deeds. Each individual’s ultimate
level is therefore the result of his own choice and attainment. The members
of the Perfected Community [those who merit Olam Haba] will be divided into
many levels, high and low, great and small. Each individual’s level will
not result be the result of anything other than his own choice, and no one
therefore will have any complaint against another....”
Hakhel Note: The Perfected
Community referred to by the Ramchal will be everlasting. As the Ramchal
teaches, our level--for all of eternity--is the product of nothing else but
our choices, efforts and actions. Let us take the time out now to focus and
direct, or refocus and redirect, our thoughts, words and/or actions in some
way which will bring us to a higher and more meaningful level in that
wonderful Perfected Community--forever, and ever, and ever!
The wonderful Nach Yomi
Program, in which one Perek of Nach is studied daily togerther across the
world, began Perek Aleph of Tehillem just two days ago--on Shabbos. Today,
the Perek is Perek Gimel. One can easily make up the first two chapters,
which are relatively short, and related. You can study each Perek with
Rashi, the Metsudos, any other commentary, the Artscroll in English, or by
even just becoming more familiar with the words of the Chapter of the Day by
studying an interlinear translation. In any manner that you select, you
will have completed Sefer Tehillem in 150 days--on Pesach. What a splendid
goal and accomplishment! Start Today!
popular request, and by important need, we provide the following Note
originally published two years ago:
this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sarah, we learn more about Chesed and how to
perform it properly. The Parsha specifically details two distinct chasodim--that
of Halvoyas Hameis and of Shidduchim/Hachnosas Kallah. These two kinds of
chesed would appear to be the most public types of Chesed possible. The
deceased is eulogized and buried in public, and one usually comforts
mourners when there are other (sometimes many other) people around.
Similarly, weddings typically involve large gatherings of diverse people in
a happy setting. Yet, Chazal (Sukkah 49B), based upon the Posuk in Micha
(6:8), specifically highlight Halvoyas Hameis and Hachnosas Kallah as two
mitzvos that should be performed “b’tznius--discretely”. Rashi there
explains that one need not necessarily weep in public, nor on the other
hand, balance three balls on his nose, in order to demonstrate that he truly
feels the pain or, hopefully, the joy of another. It is up to us to think
about how we can truly empathize, or truly rejoice, with another without the
world, or a good part of it, having to know about it.
us now focus for a moment on the first step--the necessary prerequisite--for
Hachnosas Kallah, which is the sometimes easy, but usually not so easy, the
process of finding a bashert. Each one of us is probably familiar with at
least one couple who were each other’s first date. The much more common
experience, however, is the difficulty and struggle of mixing and
matching--especially for those who are not well-connected, and those who are
kind enough not to hound family, friends, and/or shadchonim with their
frustrations and their needs. The Torah incredibly goes out of its way
to teach not only how Yitzchok Avinu was paired with Rivka, but also how
Adam was given Chava, Yaakov Avinu introduced to Rochel, and Moshe Rabeinu
to Tziporah. It is rare (to say the least) for the Torah to repeat one kind
of event, albeit important, more than once. Here, however, the basic reason
for the repetition seems clear: the primary importance of shidduchim as a
basis for humanity, and for the continuation of Klal Yisroel. In assisting
others--whether they are immediate family, distant family, friends or
acquaintances, to find their zivug hagun--their proper mate, we are
participating directly in a most sublime Chesed. As far as we know, the
only human state that the Torah expressly calls “not good” is for man to be
alone (Bereishis 2:18). If we are truly looking to help others, we should
certainly help them to rid themselves of a “not good” status. Moreover, if
it is not good for them, it is not good for us, because all of our lives,
and all of K’lal Yisroel, are inextricably bound together.
what can we do? We are not professional Shadchonim, we are not social
butterflies, and we barely have the time to take care of our own little
needs, let alone having the time to actually work on, and sometimes
convince, two families that your recommendation is solid, or two
“out-of-towners” to “go out” with each other.
modest proposal: As this week is the parsha of shidduchim, and, as Chazal
teach that privately performed chesed is especially meaningful, we suggest
that you, together with your spouse or close friends, undertake b’li neder,
to make just one date--just one good attempt at a match--in the year 5767.
Let the Torah, let the actions of our Avos, let your G-d-given and inspired
feelings for others be your guide.
week’s Parsha is before us. It is talking to us. The task may be daunting,
time-consuming and embarrassing--but this really means that your efforts are
all the more worthwhile.
Note: If you are unsure about what to say in proposing a Shidduch, we
highly recommend and urge you to contact the Chofetz Chaim Shmiras Halashon
Shaila Hotline at 718-951-3696.
our Year be replete with…“Mazel-Tov!!”
Two additional Hakhel Notes on this topic:
This past Friday (16 Cheshvan) was the Yahrtzeit of HaRav Shach, Z’tl.
The following story excerpted from Rav Shach on Chumash (Artscroll,
page 38) beautifully highlights the concern that HaRav Shach had with
“One time, an acquaintance of
Rav Shach from Petach Tikva came to consult with him regarding a certain
Shidduch that had been suggested for his son. The Rosh Yeshiva told him
that he would find out some information, and would clarify a few points
about the person involved, before giving an answer.
“The man returned to Petach
Tikva, and Rav Shach set himself to the task. That evening, he got the
information he was seeking and as soon as the buses started running in the
morning, he traveled to Petach Tikvah--a trip that involved taking two
buses. Since it was still early in the morning when he arrived, and the
Rosh Yeshiva did not want to disturb his acquaintance, he wrote down his
answer, put it in the man’s mailbox, and headed back to B’nei Brak. By 7
o’clock he was in the Yeshiva for Shacahris!”
If Rav Shach, the Rosh Yeshiva
and Gadol Hador, acted with such alacrity when involved with a Shidduch for
another, shouldn’t we?!
B. We provide a wonderful
project undertaken by the balabatim of Kollel Bnei Torah, a Shul in
Flatbush. The Balabatim put together all of the names of singles in the
Shul that needed Shidduchim, and distributed them on a card, asking all of
their members to be mispallel with Kavannah for the sake of their chaveirim
in their very Shul. What a great project!
The card can be viewed
by clicking here. This card was first distributed on Yom
Kippur of this year, and one person on the list is already engaged! May we
highly recommend that you undertake this project in your Shul (or block, or
other group), as well.
Special Note One: We
remind everyone that Gilad Shalit is being held in captivity by enemies of
our people. Please take a minute out today to recite a Kepital of Tehillim
with Kavana for the release of Gilad Ben Aviva.
Special Note Two: If one has
various bills to pay--his mortgage, his workers, expenses and he cannot pay
them all--which bills take priority l’halacha? These were the kinds of
topics discussed in the recent Hakhel Shiur given by Rabbi Ari Marburger,
Shlita, entitled “Halachos for a Bear Market and the Contemporary Economy.”
For a tape or CD of the Shiur, please contact 718-252-5274. For a complete
list of Hakhel shiur available in audio format (through August 2007),
please click here.
Special Note Three: We
provide below two rulings of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch which constantly
affect many of us:
“It is forbidden to write Hashem’s name in a
letter in any language. Many people mistakenly write Hashem’s name in
German, or write the word “ad-ieu”--which is the French word meaning
“with G-d”. This is an issur gamur (completely forbidden), because in
time the letter will end up in the trash, and this will cause poverty to
the people of Israel as it puts the name of Heaven in a disgraceful
“It is a Mitzvah to run to Shul, to the Bais
Medrash or to do any Mitzvah…. When one arrives at Shul and approaches
the entranceway he should wait a moment and not enter suddenly.
Instead, he should feel awe for the Greatness of Hashem as he is about
to enter, and recite the Pasuk (in Ma Tovu) of ‘Va’Ani B’rov Chasdicha…’
which is the equivalent of obtaining permission to enter the Shul, and
he should then enter, as if one is entering before the King….” (12:11)
Special Note Four: We
continue with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos series. Specifically, we
present below rulings of HaRav Kanievsky, Shlita,
relating to Hilchos Shabbos, as presented in the Sefer Shailas Rav.
We once again remind our readers that although the Sefer expressly states
that one is not to Paskin Halacha L’Maaseh from the Sefer, the answers (and
the questions!) certainly provide a valuable basis for one to ask his own
Shaila. Rav Kanievsky’s Teshuvos are as follows:
one use a frozen Challah for Lechem Mishna?
A: If it
will be fit for consumption that day, it is possible.
one walk in the street on Shabbos with his shoelace untied (assuming it is
otherwise safe), or, because it is untied, is it considered a masoi--not
part of your clothing--and prohibited, i.e., must you stop in the street to
tie an untied shoelace right away?
A: It is
permitted to walk with an untied shoelace.
Q: Is it
permissible to touch an article of clothing when you believe that it will
create static electricity?
one’s Shalosh Seudos continues past Shekia into the evening, and one wanted
to eat something which requires a Brocha Rishona in the course of a meal
(such as a fruit or wine), would it be permissible to eat that item, as one
will be making a new brocha on food after Shekia?
it is permissible in the course of a meal.
does one look at his nails at Havdallah--before the brocha of Borei Meorai
Hoaish, or after (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 298:3)?
are different opinions, and those who are careful look at their nails both
before and after the brocha.
Melave Malka there is a Tefillah entitled “Ribon HaOlamim.” Should women
also recite this tefillah?
Motze’ei Shabbos at Melave Malka, does one say Shir HaMaalos or Al Naharos
Bavel? Likewise, does one recite Migdol or Magdil at Melave Malka?
recites Al Naharos Bavel and Magdil.
Note Five: In this week’s Parsha (Bereishis, 18:19), Hashem states
regarding Avraham Avinu, “For I have loved him, because he commands his
children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem that
they do Charity and Justice….” As this week’s Parsha contains so many
aspects of Chesed, and describes Avraham as instructing his children to
follow in his ways in this regard, we provide below several important
teachings relating to Tzedaka, found in the Sefer Derech Emunah by
HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita (in the Section entitled Hilchos Matnos Aniyim,
Chapters 7 and 10):
When giving Tzedaka, as with any other
Mitzvah, one should do it “B’Lev Shalem U’Vtuv Levav--with a complete
and happy heart.”
The Mekubalim write that one should give
Tzedaka every day, and the Arizal adds that one should give Tzedaka
standing and with his right hand (even if he is a lefty!)
If a person gives Tzedaka to someone before
being asked, he merits Hashem taking care of his needs before being
One should give Tzedaka before going on his
way, as the Pasuk states “Tzedek Lefanav Yehalech, VaYosem LeDerech
Pa’amav--Righteousness will walk before him, and set his footsteps on
the way.” (Tehillim 85:14)
From the money that one gives to Tzedaka, a
garment is fashioned for him in Olam Haba which protects him from danger
and takes him out of Gehennom.
The fourth level of Gehennom is called “Tit
HaYavan”, and there all those who treated poor people harshly are
Tzedaka pushes aside “Gezeiros Kashos--difficult
decrees,” and turns the Midas HaDin--the measure of strict Divine
Justice--into Divine Mercy.
The minhag to give Tzedaka for the deceased
is an ancient minhag, and helps the neshamos attain atonement, for the
Heavenly Court rules that if he were still alive he would have given
this Tzedaka, as well….
One should take to heart that just as one
asks from Hashem that He should provide Parnassa to him, and asks of
Hashem that He listen to his cries, so, too, should the person listen to
the cries of the poor.
If one collects Tzedaka for others he saves
his future generations from becoming poor (the middah k’neged middah is
Note: Chazal (Gittin 7A) teach “If one sees that his Parnassa is tight
(mezonosav metzumzamim), he should give Tzedaka…. One who gives Tzedaka can
be compared to the situation of two ewes attempting to pass over the
river--the one that is shorn passes through, and the one that is not shorn
does not. In the same vein, one who shears off from his money and gives
Tzedaka with it, will be successful!
follow in the footsteps of Avraham Avinu, bringing blessing on the
world--and on ourselves!!
Special Note One: We
received the following question from a reader relating to our note on
“leaving some bread over” while making Birchas HaMazon:
“Should you leave over bread
even if that means that you will end up throwing it out? For example, if
you bring a sandwich to work for lunch and eat at your desk?”
“The Guidelines” Halacha
Series, B’EH, will be coming out with a new volume in a few weeks entitled
“Guidelines to Brachos,” which covers the halachos of a bread meal, from
Netilas Yadayim through Zimun and Birchas HaMazon. This new sefer (we have
a preview as to this Halacha) rules that yes, you should leave over only a
small amount (even crumbs), then wrap it in a plastic bag and then dispose
of it in the trash. Every person, of course, should ask their own Posek for
Special Note Two: We continue
with several more rulings of HaRav Kanievsky,
Shlita, as presented in the Sefer Shailas Rav. We remind you that although
the Sefer expressly states that one is not to Paskin Halacha L’Maaseh from
the Sefer, the answers (and the questions!) certainly provide a valuable
basis for one to ask his own Shaila.Rav Kanievsky’s Teshuvos.
Q: Should children’s books which contain
stories of Chazal be treated with the Kedusha of Seforim?
Q: If one wants to daven for a person who
is not well, but does not know his mother’s name, should he say the
family name instead?
Q: If a person smokes approximately seven
cigarettes a day, would it be permissible for him to smoke on Yom Tov?
A: It is
prohibited to smoke on weekdays, as well.
Q: After one has made the brocha on his
talis and has wrapped the talis around his head, and is waiting the
shiur of Daled Amos before removing his atifa, is he allowed to answer
“Amen” and “Yehai Shemai Raba.”
Q: Those who are among the first ten in
Shul are “Notel Schar Kneged Kulam”--receive a reward equivalent to all
of the others who come after them. Is this true only with respect to
the Tefillah itself or with respect to each Kadish and Kedusha, as well?
Yitachen--This appears to be the case.
Special Note Three: This
week’s Parsha is perhaps the premier Parsha in the Torah relating to Chesed.
One can never be too big, or too small, to perform acts of Chesed. As today
is the Yahrtzeit of the Chazon Ish, we present below three short lessons on
Chesed from the Chazon Ish, as presented in Love Your Neighbor by
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita:
Chazon Ish once heard that a yeshiva student in Bnai Brak was suffering from
a throat disease, and was not receiving adequate attention. The Chazon Ish
bought a jar of honey and took a taxi to visit the ailing boy. Just as he
had planned, his visit aroused the necessary concern and attention for the
plight of the student. (Biography of Chazon Ish, p. 236)
2. A friend
of the Chazon Ish who lived in a different city came to visit him in Bnai
Brak in the early afternoon. The Chazon Ish asked him, “Did you eat lunch
yet?” Realizing what the Chazon Ish had in mind, the man said, “Chas
vecholilah (Heaven Forbid)! I don’t want to trouble you.” “What’s the chas
vecholilah?” asked the Chazon Ish with a smile. “It’s not every day that I
am able to fulfill the mitzvah of inviting guests. You’re from out of town
and haven’t eaten yet….” He set the table, brought his guest water and a
towel to wash his hands, and waited on him throughout the entire meal (P’air
Hador, Vol. 4, p.49).
Chazon Ish writes about a truly pious man who joyfully announced to his
family that they would entertain a guest that Shabbos. The entire family
treasured the opportunity to be helpful to a fellow Jew. After davening,
however, through some misunderstanding, the stranger went to another home.
The would-be host came home with his usual Shabbos radiance, but without a
guest. When he noticed his family’s disappointment, he explained what true
Chesed is: “Our concern must be that the stranger should have a meal, but
it should not matter who serves as the Almighty’s agent.” The Chazon Ish
adds that too many people who themselves perform acts of kindness, are
envious when they see someone else doing good deeds. They do not appreciate
seeing others engaging in what they consider to be “their job.” This
attitude is unfortunate. (Emunah U’betochon, Part 1, Ch. 13)
Each and every one of these
points is a lesson that we can draw into our daily lives!!
Special Note One: In
connection with yesterday’s Yarchei Kallah, in which one of the topics was
“Making Sense of the Economic Downturn,” we received notification from the
Midwood Development Corp. that they provide free counseling relating to
housing, debt, mortgage loans and foreclosure. They can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org , or at 718-376-0999 or 718-859-3011.
Special Note Two: HaRav
Eliyahu Dessler, Z’tl, (Michtav M’Eliyahu 1: p. 203) sheds much light
for us on the current world situation. The Michtav M’Eliyahu writes
“The way of the world is for
the leaders of countries to be particularly expert and adept at how to run a
country. Is it possible, in the natural way of things, that it could happen
that a group of incompetent people who were previously employed in kitchens
or bars, no-names so to speak, could suddenly come to power and rule
countries?! Yet, we saw this with our own eyes with the Nazi--Yimach Shemam--leadership,
who for tens of years were simple, small people, and suddenly sprang into
positions of great authority, accomplishing unparalleled evil. This cannot
be explained other than as ‘Hashgacha Gluya’ (Divine Providence), and as a
Miracle revealed in order to put us on the right path and open our eyes.
“Now, there are many people
who will not recognize this Hashgacha Gluya being sent from Heaven as part
of the Chevlei Moshiach, but will take the approach that “Lais Din V’Lais
Dayan--there is no Law, and there is no Ruler” [in other words, this is the
way the world goes]. Indeed, the circumstances of Chevlei Moshiach can be a
difficult test for everyone [as ignoring the lessons may be the cozier way
out], but a person must try to take the lessons by foregoing any “olam hazeh”
philosophy within him, and turning his heart solely to Avodas Hashem. This
is what Hashem wants us to learn, and to accomplish, from the Chevlei
“There are people who may
always talk about Miracles and Hashgacha Pratis, but even when talking about
it all the time it could amount to nothing more than lip service. Only if
one’s actions actually change as a result of what he sees is it a sign that
he has taken the lessons of the world around him to heart.
“With this in mind, we can
begin to understand the words of Rochav to the spies of Yehoshua who came to
spy out Yericho: ‘I know that Hashem has given the Bnai Yisroel this land,
and that all the inhabitants of this land are melting before you, because we
heard what happened at the Yam Suf, to Sichon and Og....’ If, in fact, the
people of Canaan really understood what happened at the Yam Suf, in the
desert, etc., how in the world could they have thought about fighting Bnai
Yisroel?! How is it that only Rochav understood to make peace with us? It
must have been that for all they saw and heard, it did not penetrate deeply
enough and make any real change within them--except, that is, for Rochav,
who took the lessons affecting her world to heart.
“There is an additional
important lesson. If a person takes the lessons from the ‘Negative’
Miracles to heart and adjusts his conduct accordingly, the Miracles
themselves can suddenly be changed from Negative Miracles to Positive ones.
Many sources teach us that if we do Teshuva from the Chevlei Moshiach, the
Moshiach himself will be immediately revealed.
“If a person does Teshuva from
his true recognition of the Hashgacha G’luya in the difficult world
situation around him, he will rise to a high spiritual level. We see, for
instance, that Rochav herself merited marrying Yehoshua as a result.
Indeed, if we want to know our madreiga in recognizing Hashem in difficult
situations or circumstances, we should review how much we have changed our
ways as we travel through the Chevlei Moshiach.”
May the words of Rav Dessler
penetrate through to our hearts, and may we begin making the actual changes
we need to make in our daily lives. It is clear that Rav Dessler feels that
we too can (and must) be the Rochavs of our generation!
Special Note Three: We
continue with several more rulings of HaRav Kanievsky,
as presented in the Sefer Shailas Rav. We remind you that although
the Sefer expressly states that one is not to Paskin Halacha L’Maaseh from
the Sefer, the answers (and the questions!) certainly provide a valuable
basis for one to ask his own Shaila.
1. Q: Where
is the Medrash that in the future the Kedushas Yerushalayim will spread to
all of Eretz Yisroel, and the Kedushas Eretz Yisroel to the entire world?
A: Pesikta Rabosi, Perek
Aleph, Siman Gimel
2. Q: If
one makes a Siyum and his parents are alive, should he say the Kaddish which
is printed at the end of the Mesechta?
3. Q: If
Reuven asks Shimon to borrow his hammer and Shimon refuses, and the next day
Shimon asks Reuven to borrow his hammer and Reuven responds: “Truthfully, I
can now violate ‘Lo Sitor’ by taking revenge…” has he violated the
prohibition with these words alone?
A: Yes (this statement is
revenge in and of itself).
4. Q: With
respect to the Halachic Principle of “Aniyei Ircha Kodmim--giving to the
poor of your city takes precedence,” how much precedence do they take--all
or only a part?
A: Not all, but a “chelek
chashuv,” a significant portion, but not a majority.
5. Q: Is it
permissible for a young child to wear a red garment--even if she is under
three years old?
A: One should be careful.
Similarly, it is best for an adult not even to wear red pajamas (see
Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 178:1 and Shach Seif Koton 3).
Special Note One: Please call
the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 and urge President Bush to
grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard, before Mr. Bush’s presidency ends. The
period before the inauguration of a president-elect is the time when sitting
presidents frequently grant pardons. Please forward this message to others.
Special Note Two: Despite
rumors to the contrary, there are Crest toothpaste products which may/do
contain animal derivatives. One should consult with his Rav before using
any toothpaste or mouthwash products which do not possess formal Kashrus
Special Note Three: The first
Sefer of Teshuvos of HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, in English, has recently
been published. The Sefer is known as Shulchan HaLevi (Rabbi Belsky
is a Levi), and is the first in a planned series. HaRav Belsky writes the
following with regard to dried fruits:
chips: Banana chips are produced by deep frying slices of banana in oil.
Often, companies use the same oil for meat and other products. Therefore,
a reliable hechsher is always required.
b. Dried apples:
Dried apples are also processed with antioxidants that are sprayed on the
slices. Though most antioxidants used for apples are kosher, there are
enough non-kosher formulas used in the industry to make it important to look
for reliable supervision. Kosher anti-oxidants include; ascorbic acid,
citric acid, and sodium sulfate. Non-kosher varieties include: sorbic acid
and calcium stearate.
and other tropical fruits: Pineapples are dried in a sugar solution and
present no problem. Dried mangoes most likely contain added flavorings,
because the taste is all in the juice, which is lost in its drying. Other
tropical fruits may have similar problems. Use these with hashgachah only.
Special Note Four: A reader
had asked about the need of leaving a piece of bread on the table at the end
of the meal until after Birchas HaMazon. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim
180:1,2) explicitly rules that one is not permitted to remove the tablecloth
and bread from the table until after Birchas HaMazon. In fact, the Shulchan
Aruch continues that one who does not leave bread on the table during
Birchas HaMazon, does not see a “siman brocha”. The Mishna Berura (ibid.,
Seif Katan 1 and 2) gives the following reasons for this Halacha:
So that it is clear to all that we are
thanking Hashem for His kindness and great goodness in feeding all of
His creatures, to the extent that we have been satiated and there is
even food left over for us.
Brocha does not come into a void, an empty
place or thing--there has to be something there to begin with for the
Brocha to be “chal”, to rest upon--just as the pitcher of oil of Elisha
required some oil in it in order for the oil to keep flowing.
By leaving some bread over, you are
demonstrating that you are ready to share what you have with others,
such as the poor.
Hakhel Note: After Birchas
HaMazon, one removes the extra bread, and can save it for consumption in the
future. In the alternative, as we have published in the past, HaRav Belsky
rules that one can share leftover bread, if inedible for humans, with
animals, as well.
Special Note Five: In his
discussion on the topic of Brachos, the Sefer Pele Yoetz writes that
it is important for one not only to recite brachos to Hashem, but also to
give his personal brachos to other people.
On the topic of reciting
brachos to Hashem, he quotes Chazal’s teaching (Brachos 50A) that from the
manner in which a person recites a brocha, one can tell whether he is a
“Yodea Sefer” (a knowledgeable person) or a “Bor” (an ignoramus).
Moreover, the Abarbenel (to Avos 2:13) writes that a bracha without
Kavannah is like a guf (body) without a Neshama. It is for this reason, the
Pele Yoetz writes, that a person should think about the meaning of the words
as he recites a brocha (to aid in this, some suggest that one close his eyes
when making a brocha).
In furtherance of this simple,
yet outstanding, concept of undertaking the consistent recital of brachos
with Kavannah, we note that:
the Medrash Tanchuma (Bereishis) writes that
in the measure that a person blesses Hashem, so does Hashem bless him;
The Zohar (to Parshas VaYechi) writes that
through one’s brachos to Hashem, the Elyonim and the Tachtonim (both the
Upper Worlds and Lower Worlds) are blessed as well! Your “little”
bracha resounds in the spheres above you. Try visualizing this from
time to time as you make brachos throughout the day!
respect to the second point noted above, that is, blessing other people, the
Sefer Pele Yoetz writes as follows, “In last week’s Parsha, Hashem
advised Avraham “V’Avarecha M’vuracheca--those who bless you, I will bless”
(Bereishis 12:3). This means, Chazal teach (Sota 38B), “Kol HaMevorech
Misborech--that one who blesses others will be blessed himself” [this is how
the Kohanim derive blessing after blessing us with Birchas Kohanim]. The
converse is also true. “UM’kalelach A’or”(ibid.)--one who curses a member
of Klal Yisroel, will likewise bring a curse upon himself. It therefore
behooves everyone to bless others not only from a Bein Odom L’chaveiro
perspective, but also from a personal perspective, as well, as one literally
brings blessing upon himself by blessing others. The Pele Yoetz adds that
your blessings may actually have been given in an “Eis Ratzon” and may bear
true fruit. Even if they don’t bear noticeable results immediately, one is
still giving Nachas Ruach to Hashem, because it is good in the eyes of
Hashem to see members of Bnei Yisroel bless each other (see Bamidbar 24:1).
furtherance of this concept, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, rules that if
one is a guest in someone else’s home, he should recite the special Yehi
Ratzon for guests (found in almost every Siddur and bencher) even if he is
not the mezamen--the one leading the bentching. As we have noted in
previous bulletins, our Gedolim teach that a brocha given out of HaKaras
HaTov to someone (such as that of a guest to a host) is more potent than a
increase in heartfelt and meaningful brachos to Hashem and to others, bring
never-ending brachos to us in this world and the next!
Special Note One: We have
recently received a large amount of correspondences from our readers.
Mentioned below are only a specific few, because of their special interest
1. From a
noted Posek, we received the following: “You wrote, ‘After all, Yom Tov was
over a little over two weeks ago, and many seem to be back to the same
drudgery without visible signs of improvement. The Torah, in these recent
Parshios, however, shows how much, much greater obstacles were overcome by
those who met the individual challenges that faced them.’
“An insight is offered by the
Dubno Maggid. He gives a moshol of a man who went to a doctor with a very
serious skin condition. The doctor prescribed medicine and instructed him
to return two weeks later. Two weeks passed, and the man returned but
complained that his skin condition had not improved. The doctor examined
him and told him the following: ‘I can promise you that the medicine was
effective and the illness has completely left your body. What you see on
your skin is only an external symptom that will disappear with the passage
“So too, when we stand before
Hashem on Yom Kippur, he completely cleanses us of all our spiritual
‘illnesses.’ When we see that our behavior seems to have no visible signs
of improvement, we must be comforted in the knowledge that we have been
purified, and the external symptoms will surely disappear with time. It is
encouraging to know that the cleansing of the Yomim Noraim and Yomim Tovim
of Tishrei are slowly taking their effect... Let us never give up!!”
2. A Rav
who apparently is involved in gittin (divorces) wrote to us that when a
sofer writes a get, he writes the month Mar Cheshvan with only one vuv. The
Rav also felt that two vuvs in the word “Cheshvan” is not grammatically
warranted, whether or not the word is written with nukodos.
“According to HaRav Scheinberg’s ruling relating to Torah thoughts in the
shower—would it make a difference whether your shower has a shower door
(perhaps thereby making it a separate room), or just a shower curtain?”
Hakhel Response: We understand from a Rosh Kollel close to Rav Scheinburg in
Eretz Yisroel that the P’sak is based upon a clean bathroom not having the
din of a Bais HaKiseh. Therefore, there should be no difference in this
4. “I was
just thinking that maybe this whole Obama campaign about CHANGE is supposed
to be a message for US - the JEWS!! We should be the ones thinking about
CHANGE and how we can improve and become better people!!!! This is what
should be a constant thought in our minds--how can we change to become a
better person?! And if each person thinks about one way to change and
become better, the world will be zoche to see the biggest change of all!
The day when all of the world will notice and recognize that Hashem Echod
maaminim bnei maaminim, we always need to recall a pasuk in Mishlei (21:1)
which is the basis of a major yesod in our hashkafa: ‘Palgei mayim
lev melech b'ad Hashem, al kol asher yachpotz
yatenu- Like brooks of water, a king’s heart is in Hashem's hand to sway it
toward what He desires.’ (This pasuk is often summarized as ‘lev
melachom b'yad Hashem,’ but the actual words are ‘lev
melech b'yad Hashem.’) The Malbim explains: ‘Although it is true
that every individual possesses the power of free will in his hand, this is
not the case concerning the heart of a king. Being that the entire
kingdom's success is dependent on each of the king's decisions, and if the
king chooses wrongly, multitudes of people will be ruined, therefore, the
king's heart is in Hashem's hand when it comes to public policy
decisions…Since the king's actions affect the entire public, whether he acts
with a punishing rod, or with kindness, for war or for peace, these
decisions are all in Hashem's hands and He will sway them according to His
will. When it comes to public concerns, if the public merits, Hashem will
turn the king's heart toward the public's benefit. HaKadosh Baruch Hu will
not wait until the decision is carried out to act against it, according to
His will, but He will turn the king's heart in the beginning of the king's
thought process, like those who direct water in the beginning of its flow
(before the water does damage).’ Ralbag says similarly: ‘A king's actions
and thoughts concerning the public are directed from Hashem; he is like
Hashem's agent…if the king was given free will like regular individuals, it
would put everyone within the kingdom in great danger. Therefore, Hashem
has not abandoned the nation to the whims of the king; the Exalted One
watches and guards.’ May we merit that the Shomer Yisrael always protect us
from all potential harm.”
Special Note Two: We continue
with our Erev Shabbos Hilchos Shabbos Halacha Series. The following
Halachos relate to hatmana (enwrapping hot food), and are excerpted from the
monumental work The 39 Melochos, by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, Shlita:
All forms of insulating a food or container
of foods are considered hatmana--whether it be by wrapping in materials,
enclosing with a close-fitting enclosure, or submerging in a hot liquid.
Some forms of hatmana are prohibited even if
the food was insulated before Shabbos. For example, one may not enwrap
a hot water urn with an insulator jacket or towel, even if this was done
Hatmana is only prohibited if the wrapping
material is in direct contact with the food itself, or the outer walls
of the pot or urn containing the food. If the towel or wrapping are not
touching the walls of the pot, it is permitted. Accordingly, one may
place a large plate or tray on top of a pot or urn and then drape a
towel over it, as the urn will then not be enwrapped.
If one (especially in the winter months!)
desires to wrap a pot of hot soup in a towel, one should consult with
his Rav in order to determine in what manner and when this is
One may pour hot water, coffee, soup, etc.
into a thermos to retain its heat because the thermos is a kli sheni
(i.e., not the container in which it was originally cooked) and is not
made of a material that produces or provides a source of heat (“Mosif
Hevel”). One may cover a hot bowl of soup (i.e., not the original soup
pot) to keep it warm for the same reason.
Special Note Three: The term
“Kel Elyon” uniquely appears four times in this past week’s Parsha (Bereishis
14:18-22). Interestingly, the term then reappears in our first brocha in
Shemone Esrei, Birchas Avos. While the basic translation of the term would
be “Supreme G-d,” there seems to be something more underlying the phrase, as
it is repeated several times after the Torah describes Avraham Avinu’s war
against the superpowers, and then again in Birchas Avos. The Avodas
HaTomid, a commentary on Tefillah, writes that the phrase uniquely
describes that Hashem is the cause of everything--everything comes from
Him. Rav Schwab, Z’tl, in his peirush on the siddur adds that we are to
understand from “Kel Elyon” that Hashem’s knowledge is beyond that of any
man. He writes, therefore, that he advised people not to think about how
something like the Holocaust could have happened because we simply cannot
fathom Hashem’s supremacy over us. Can one man defeat the four superpowers
of the World? Can a group of Kohanim quash the seemingly invincible Greek
army? More recently, could the Six-Day War or the Yom Kippur War...or more
recent events... make sense to the common man? The term “Kel Elyon” is
therefore placed in the Birchas Avos, for it is part of the legacy from our
Avos, one of the foundations of our faith, which is immutable by time,
place, or occurrence. Let us not only recite but feel them, every time we
recite the first Bracha of Shemone Esrei!
We received the following from
an important reader:
“Please tell your readers that
7 MarCheshvan [TODAY] is the yahrzeit of the man who brought the mitzvah of
Shatnez to America--R’ Yoseph ben R’Moshe HaLevi Rosenberger--from whom I
had the privilege of learning how to check for Shatnez when I became YU's
first Shatnez tester. He also died without children--and requested that
Mishnayos be learned in his memory.” Hakhel Note: We understand that
he did have a daughter. We, too, remember this man, a
Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to this Mitzvah, and we ask that
you learn Mishnayos or say Tehillim in his memory.
Special Note One: Chazal
teach (Megilla 14A) that Achashveirush’s removal of his ring from his finger
and giving it to Haman moved K’lal Yisroel to Teshuva to a greater extent
than the 48 Neviim and seven Nevios had. We hope and pray that yesterday’s
event will not, chas v’shalom, constitute a “removal of the ring.” There is
no doubt, however, that these events could make us more edgy and uneasy with
our current Galus. We must move closer and closer to Hashem as our Galus
wanes. We must rely upon Him, and daven with genuine sincerity for Yeshuos,
both individually and collectively, in the United States and abroad. Perhaps one should make special effort
to find the word “Yeshua” throughout davening and have kavanah for Hashem to
save us from danger and harm in all situations. May we be zoche to see the
Geulah speedily and in our days.
Special Note Two: As a person
sits down to eat a meal, many different thoughts can go through a person’s
mind, including thoughts about what one is about to eat, what one has just
done, and what one intends to do after he completes his meal. May we
suggest that the following thoughts come to forefront before beginning the
Who you are about to make a brocha to--the
Source of everything, including the chain of events that may have begun
thousands of miles away that brought this food to your plate.
That this very Source is present in front of
you as you make the brocha (sit up straight, perhaps!).
What you are making a brocha on--do you
intend for the brocha to cover only the item in front of you or do you
have kavanah for it to cover anything within the realm
of the brocha that you have available in the house? (This may be the
preferred method, as it will obviate your doubt as to whether a new
brocha is required when you decide, for instance, to drink a glass of
soda after having already made a Shehakol on a mushroom omelet.)
That you intend for your brocha to be
effective within the entire house that you are in, so that, l’chatchila
(in the first instance), you can go from one room to another in the
house without necessitating a new brocha. B’dieved (i.e., if you did
not have it in mind), you still would not have to make a new bracha from
room to room in the same house--but why not do it right in the first
That you also need to daven to Hashem for
your continued sustenance. The Mishna Berura (Shulchan Aruch, Orach
Chaim 166, Seif Katan 3), writes in the name of the Zohar HaKadosh that
it is a mitzvah for a person to daven every day for his sustenance
before he eats. Accordingly, there is a Minhag to recite Tehillim
Chapter 23 (Hashem Roei Lo Echsar) before eating.
That you are eating L’Shem Shamayim--so that
you are healthy and strong in order to serve Hashem (Shulchan Aruch,
Orach Chaim 231, Mishne Berura Seif Katan 5).
Special Note Three: Two other
thoughts about thoughts:
As we have previously noted, the Sefer
Tomer Devora writes that one should think about Teshuva every day,
so that he remains in constant awareness of the need to grow and
improve. HaRav Dessler, Zt’l, (Michtav Me’Eliyahu 3, p. 293) writes
that his eitza to accomplish Teshuva is not to be satisfied with “kabalos
but rather to “burn the bridge” that connected you with the
inappropriate thought, word or conduct. This is why, when describing
our leaving Egypt, the Torah records: “And Hashem did not lead them
through the land of the Plishtim because it was close” (Shemos 13:17).
With this, the Torah is teaching us that we should choose the road which
keeps us away from sin. Even if it means harder work--such as traveling
through the desert--instead of through cities, it is well worth it so
that we put ourselves into the proper environment for personal
HaRav Dessler, Z’tl, (ibid., p. 290) brings
the Chazal which states that Elisha, while he was on the mountain by
himself, is referred to as the “Ish HoElokim” (MelochimII, 4:27),
although, while in the city, he is referred to simply as “Elisha.”
This is because, Chazal explain, in the city his students, the “Bnai HaNeviim,” were
the company of his students turn him from an “Ish HoElokim” into only an
HaRav Dessler explains, and derives a
great lesson from this. Even a Navi as great as Elisha (and even while
he is teaching his students to come close to Hashem) cannot be referred
to as an Ish Elokim, because, when surrounded by others, he cannot
arrive at his true essence as a person. Only when he is on his own--on
the mountain--can he sufficiently reflect upon his true madrega--and
achieve a true understanding of himself. What does he need to improve
upon? What does he need to correct? What should he change? Where
should he be going? This--“Hasagos Mabat HaEmes”--Rav Dessler
incredibly teaches, is what makes a person an “Ish Elokim(!)” Taking a
true look at oneself--this is something we all can and should do. Take
some time out with yourself--today!
Tomorrow, the seventh day of
Cheshvan, is the yahrtzeit of HaRav Meir Shapiro, Z’tl, R’ Yehuda Meir ben
R’Yaakov Shimshon, who dedicated his life to passing the light of Torah on
to future generations. To all those who have benefited from the study of
Daf Yomi, or from the students of the Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, we urge you
to do any or all of the following on his yahrtzeit l’ilui nishmaso:
Dedicate your Daf Yomi Shiur
or Daf Yomi study, or review the Daf one extra time, in his memory.
May his memory be for a
Blessing, and may he daven for us to merit the Geulah Shelaima!
This Sunday, the eleventh of
Cheshvan is the Yahrzeit of Rochel Imeinu. There will be a Sixth Annual
Worldwide Event for the Yahrtzeit of Rochel Imeinu--For Women--at locations
worldwide. Hakhel will be co-hosting the event in Flatbush, Brooklyn, which
this year is entitled “The Lifegiving Power of Prayer” with video shiurim
given by Rebbetzin Tehila Jaeger and Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller. Please
click here for further information.
We also note that there is a
for Kever Rochel. We should be sure to take special note of Rochel Imeinu--especially
on her Yahrtzeit, for “Rochel Mivaka Al Boneha--Rochel Imeinu cries for her
children.” May she soon rejoice together with them!
Special Note One: We received
the following from Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, Shlita: “Noach was a very great
man. The names he gave his three sons were intended to guide them and us to
succeed in life.
1. Shem--always keep Hashem’s
name in mind. Noach was always thinking about how to emulate Hashem’s ways
and come closer to Him.
2. Cham--always be warm and
excited about serving Hashem.
3. Yafes--always be nice to
Hashem and to people (see Avos 2:1).
Special Note Two: The Sefer
Derech Sicha, based upon the teachings of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky,
Shlita (Volume 2, p. 10) explains that Noach did not daven for the people of
his generation to be saved because he felt that it was only through the
beneficence of Hashem that He himself would be saved, so it would be
inappropriate to ask Hashem that others be saved as well. This is similar
to the concept of “Ayn Oreach Machnis Oreach--one guest should not invite
another guest” on his own volition. Nevertheless, as we noted last week,
Noach was criticized for this, with the floodwaters being known as the “Mei
Noach,” because he should have still asked for mercy--especially when lives
were at stake.
The Sefer, however, gives a
second explanation as to why Noach was criticized, based upon the following
incident. HaRav Shach, Z’tl, once related that a Karlin Chosid had the
occasion to spend Shabbos in Vienna with the Chutkover Chassidim. The
Karlin Chassidim recite the davening very loudly, and the Chutkover
Chassidim, softly and calmly. The Karlin Chassid asked the Chutkover Rebbe
whether he could shout his davening, as was his tradition. The Chutkover
Rebbe responded that the Chutkov custom was not to daven loudly, and that he
should adhere to this custom while davening with Chutkov. The Karlin
Chassid was able to adhere to the rebbe’s ruling, and restrain himself
through Kabollas Shabbos and the beginning of Shacharis on Shabbos, but when
it came to Nishmas, he could no longer restrain himself and burst out the
remainder of the davening, crying out with great fervor and intensity.
After Shabbos, he came to the Rebbe to ask his forgiveness, for he had
violated the Rebbe’s ruling. The Rebbe responded that he had nothing to ask
forgiveness for, for the Rebbe had only prohibited him from crying out his
regular Tefillos. However, a Tefillah which is cried out from within, that
is a different kind of Tefillah, and his ruling did not apply to that
special kind of prayer. Based upon this distinction between “Regular
Tefillah” and “Aroused Tefillah,” HaRav Kanievsky explains Chazal’s teaching
(Brachos 32B) that Tefillah is greater even than the bringing of Karbanos.
How could this be? After all, the process of bringing a Korban involves
many, many more mitzvos than Tefillah! HaRav Kanievsky explains that yes, a
Korbon is greater than Tefillah if one is praying because he is commanded to
pray--for a Korbon involves so many more Mitzvos. However, if one prays
from the depths of his heart--crying out to Hashem with sincerity and
feeling--this, Chazal teach, is greater than the tens of Mitzvos
accomplished by Karbanos! Noach may have felt that his Tefillos could not
save his generation, because they would have been inadequate to save even
himself. Nevertheless, the status of Man and the World at the time--and
what was going to happen to them--should have in all events brought him to
that special, Aroused Tefillah which may have saved the generation!
Hakhel Note: In the United
States, today is Election Day. Every one in the United States, and our
brethren outside the United States, should be mispallel in this second kind
of way that we are saved from Gezeiros Raos, and that we merit the Geulos
and Yeshuos that we so desperately need.
Special Note Three: We
continue with several more rulings of HaRav Kanievsky, as presented in the
Sefer Shailas Rav. We remind you that although the Sefer expressly
states that one is not to Paskin Halacha L’Maaseh from the Sefer, the
answers (and the questions!) certainly provide a valuable basis for one to
ask his own Shaila.
If two people go to be tovel many kailim together, and they divide up the
task, should they each make their own brocha, or should one be motzi the
other with his/her brocha?
person should make the brocha and exempt the other.
If it is known that a landlord does not like his tenants to disclose how
much rent they are paying, but did not make confidentiality a condition of
the lease, can one disclose how much rent he is paying (especially if many
people are asking)?
A: What is
hateful to yourself, do not do to your friend.
If a person sees a poor person, and intends to give him a donation, but the
poor person does not see him and leaves, what should one do with the money
that he had intended to give? Should he hold it until Eliyahu HaNavi comes,
should he give it to another Tzedaka…?
should give it to another poor person.
Note: We had previously published another Posek’s advice in this area,
which was that he states at the beginning of the year that he does not
intend to give Tzedaka to any one person until it reaches the person’s
After a person passes away, can he still daven, or is it only Tzadikim who
can continue to daven after they pass away? If a deceased person can still
daven in the next world--does this mean that through Tefillah he can still
obtain additional merits for himself after his passing?
deceased person can daven for the sake of the living. See Sefer Chassidim,
Do women also have to wash their hands before Tefillah (such as Mincha or
A: There is no
difference between men and women in this regard.