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Now that the Yomim Tovim has passed, Project Kavey is continuing its Live Telephone Conference Parenting workshops with the world-renowned Rabbi Dov Brezak, Shlita.  The new Workshop will be on "Motivating our Children to Cooperate and Reach Their Potential."  For further information, please call 732-886-8821.  For a sample Parenting Line Message 212-990-6160.


For those who requested, by clicking here you can find the Daf Yomi Schedule for this year.


Right before Yom Kippur, we presented a link to a video file containing a shiur given in Teaneck by Rabbi Reisman, Shlita.  For those who prefer the convenience of listening to an audio of the shiur, a MP3 file of the same shiur is available by clicking here.



Special Note One:  In response to the numerous requests, we have triple checked regarding HaRav Scheinberg's, Shlita position--one may think Torah thoughts while taking a shower--even if the room has a toilet in it--provided that the room is clean.



Special Note Two:  In response to the many comments we received about the Gematria of Mar Cheshvan--yes, the gematria of Mar Cheshvan (with the word), is in fact 611--the gematria of Torah.  Cheshvan, when written without nekudos, is spelled with two Vuvs and not one, so that it is not read as Cheshone, but Cheshvan.


One of our innovative readers wrote that if we take the second “Vuv” out of Mar Cheshvan and you don’t include the word as part of the gematria; the gematria becomes 604, which is the gematria of “Shas Gemara.”  This teaches us, our reader wrote,” that we must take the increased Torah commitment we made on Simchas Torah as we celebrated the completion of Torah She'Bichsav and also find opportunity to increase our learning of Torah She'Baal Peh!”


From all of the above may we should take the lesson to especially increase our Torah learning this month.



Special Note Three:  We continue with our Erev Shabbos Halachos of Shabbos Series.  The following Halachos relate to Boneh (building) and Makeh B’Patish (the final hammer blow), and are exccerpted from “The 39 Melochos” by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, Shlita--a “must have in the home” Sefer:


  1. It is forbidden to reinsert a chair leg that became detached from its joint, even though there is no gluing or nailing, and even if this is done in a temporary fashion.


  1. The handle of a broom that came out may not be inserted, even loosely, and is Muktza as well.  The same applies to the handle of any tool or accessory.


  1. An unattached chair seat or cushion may be placed on the frame of the chair because the risk of nailing or screwing it on is unlikely.  The loose seat or cushion may likewise be removed.


  1. A ball, inflatable mattress, or toy may not be filled with air for the first time, because transforming the limp material into a usable item is considered an act of Makeh B’Patish.  If the inflatable toy or mattress had already been filled with air, but then had become deflated, it may be refilled with air on Shabbos or Yom Tov, provided that it can be sealed with a plug or the like, and does not require any kind of tying to seal in the air.


  1. One may not fill a balloon with air on Shabbos, because this requires tying a knot to seal the balloon, which is prohibited.  The balloon is also Muktzah in its deflated state.


  1. One is forbidden to insert plastic or rubber caps of the kind that are ordinarily fitted at the bottoms of metal frame chairs or table legs to protect the furniture and the floors.  Doing this is Makeh B’Patish, because it makes the furniture complete both aesthetically and functionally.



Special Note Four:  The floodwaters described in this week’s Parsha are sometimes called “Mei Noach--the waters of Noach” (see, for example, Yeshaya 54:9).  In some sense, Noach was held accountable for not bringing his generation with him to Teshuva, and so the punishing waters are titled with his name.


In order to better understand this concept, we provide the following Mashal  adapted from the Chovos HaLevavos (Shaar Ahavas Hashem, Chapter 6), which is brought by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita (“Love Your Neighbor”, p. 34):


“Two businessmen come to a particular fair at the same time.  One has merchandise which cost him $10, marks it up 10 times, and sells it for $100.  He makes $90 clear profit!  The second businessman has merchandise which cost him $5,000.  He marks it up only two times, and sells it for $10, 000, leaving him with a profit of $5,000.  Although the second businessman’s percentage of profit was 8 times less than that of the first, he earned $5,000.00, as opposed to $90.”


This parable illustrates that if someone’s improvement of only himself will pale in comparison to the one who improves himself and others, for his merits are increased by the merits of everyone else that he has improved.  We should try to make an effort to help someone else (even a family member) with a Halacha or Torah thought to benefit from everyday--let the new merchandise continue to flow in!



Special Note Five:  Someone once asked HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, how he managed to meet so many people during the course of an hour.  He responded, “What do you mean?  There are sixty minutes in an hour, and sixty seconds in each minute, that means that I have 3,600 seconds in an hour.  That is a tremendous amount of time!”


If only we could somehow value our time in this way….


The Sefer Shailas Rav presents hundreds of questions asked by Rabbi Yechiel Rothschild, Shlita, to HaRav Kanievsky.  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.  We hope to provide some of these questions from time to time in the near future.  We begin with the following five responses:


a.       Q:  If one learns for the zechus of a Choleh, does he lose his own sechar for learning, and if he retains his sechar, does the Choleh have any zechus at all?


A:  The person learning does not lose his sechar, and the choleh has the sechar of having caused someone to learn.


b.      Q:  Is it better to give Tzedaka directly into a poor person’s hand, or to use “Horaas Keva”--direct deposit into a bank?  Based upon the Halachic principle of “Mitzvah Bo Yoser MiBishlucho”--it is better to do a mitzvah yourself than to have someone else to perform the mitzvah on you behalf, it would seem that you should deliver cash directly.

      A:  One should do whatever is better for the poor person.


c.       Q:  What is the source for the saying that one should not sit on the table “for the table is like the Mizbeach”?


       A:  It is based in Kaballah


d.      Q:  If one promised a child candy, and the child forgot about it, should you give it to him anyways?


      A:  One should.


e.       Q:  Is the obligation to judge someone favorably an obligation which is Bain Odom L’Makom or Bain Odom L’Chaveiro?


      A:  Both!


Special Note One:  In honor of Rosh Chodesh Mar Cheshvan, we provide the following two insights:


a.       The gematria of Mar Cheshvan is 610, which, together with the word Cheshvan itself, is equal to 611.  This is, of course, also the gematria of Torah, which teaches us that we must take the increased Torah commitment we made on Simchas Torah with us, even into a month which does not at this moment possess any special holidays.  This is especially so as the nights become longer, which provides us with increased opportunity for Torah study.  Perhaps we can undertake a “Mar Cheshvan Project,” such as going through a particular Mussar Sefer during the course of the month on a daily basis (Derech Hashem, Orchos Tzadikim, etc.).  True commitment is the key to success!


b.      There is a Halacha relating to Rosh Chodesh (found in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 188:7), which is not well-known.  That is, if one is reciting Birchas HaMazon on Rosh Chodesh and realized that he forgot to recite Yaaleh V’Yavo after he has already recited the brocha of Bonei Yerushalayim, but prior to reciting the brocha of HaTov V’Hameitiv, he is entitled to (and should) add a new, complete brocha to his Birchas Hamazon, which is: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Nosan Roshei Chodoshim L’Amo Yisroel L’Zikaron--Blessed are You Hashem…Who gave New Moons to His People Israel as a remembrance.”  This incredible Halacha (based upon Chazal--Brachos 49A), allows for a fifth brocha in Birchas HaMazon if it is timed just right.  Of course, it is better not to forget Yaaleh V’Yavo, but Chazal do allow for one to mend the situation in this way.  In fact, there are similar instances where an additional, similar brocha is recited at this point in Birchas HaMazon (between the third and fourth brocha)--for example, if one forgot Retzei on Shabbos, Yaaleh V’Yavo on Yom Tov, etc.  The exact text of these Brachos are found in most siddurim at the end of Birchas HaMazon, but the page is typically skipped over as we move through the Siddur.  For example, see page 196 of the Artscroll English Siddur (Ashkenaz).


From this Halacha relating to Rosh Chodesh, we get a sense of the importance of eating a Seudas Rosh Chodesh--a meal on Rosh Chodesh for which Birchas HaMazon is recited--after all, a new brocha is provided for Rosh Chodesh, just as a new brocha is provided in a similar situation on Shabbos and Yom Tov!  In honor of this Halacha, may we suggest that you partake of a fine Rosh Chodesh meal today--but remember Yaaleh V’Yavo!



Special Note Two:  The Sefer Michtav M’Eliyahu (4:77, 226) teaches that the Gates of Prayer for Ruchniyus are never closed.  Just as a steakhouse will not run out of steaks, or a bakery out of cake, the Heavens are ready to fulfill the sincere request of a person seeking true spiritual growth.  In fact, HaRav Dessler teaches that praying for spirituality is the remedy for “Timtum Halev--for spiritual blockage” caused by foods which were really unkosher, and perhaps other causes.  He also writes that one should be sure to daven for continued spiritual growth when in a spiritually elevated state for those times in a person’s life in which he feels less elevated or may be otherwise tempted to sin (out of the home, at work, when with specific people, etc.).


May we suggest that a good place to daven for increased Ruchniyus daily--whether it be for Yiras Shamayim, increased understanding of Torah Study, or even assistance in having more Kavannah in davening(!) is in Elokai Netzor at the end of each Shemone Esrei, especially as we recite the words “Pisach Libi B’Sorosecha.”


If the store is open--one should go in and get what he needs!



Special Note Three:  We provide (by clicking here) a beautiful method developed to reinforce the Six Constant Mitzvos through daily brocha recitation.  Even if one begins to utilize this program just a couple of times a day, all of his brachos will necessarily be improved, for one will realize how important each and every word of a brocha truly is.


The link is available in a color hard-copy stock by contacting 917-551-0150.


As Chazal teach, Mitzvah Goreres Mitzvah--one mitzvah leads to another.  This is a perfect example--as the daily recitation of brachos (which are being made in any event)--can lead to fulfillment of the great Six Constant Mitzvos as well!


We ask our readers to recite Tehillim for HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, Shlita, Mordechai Tzemach Ben Mazal Tov whose condition is reported as very serious.



Special Note One:  Yesterday we made reference to Yom Kippur Koton in the month of Cheshvan.  Although the Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 417, Seif Katan 4) does not list any months in which Yom Kippur Koton is not recited, there are four months in which the custom has become not to recite Yom Kippur Koton on Erev Rosh Chodesh, which are the months of Nissan (i.e., immediately prior to Iyar), Elul (i.e., immediately prior to Rosh Hashana), Tishrei (i.e., immediately prior to MarCheshvan), and Kislev (i.e., immediately prior to Teves).  The Sefer Ishei Yisroel (39:11, and footnote there), explains that the reason that Yom Kippur Koton is not recited at these four times is because no Tachanun is otherwise recited on these particular days for other reasons.  For example, no Tachanun is recited in Nissan at all, and no Tachanun is recited at the end of Kislev because it is Chanuka.  Based upon this reason for the elimination of the Yom Kippur Koton service during these four months, one would think that Yom Kippur Koton should have been recited yesterday to those of Minhag Ashkenaz who did, in fact, recite Tachanun immediately after Isru Chag until today.  Yet, it was probably difficult to find a Yom Kippur Koton Minyan yesterday.  In all events, may Hashem grant to those who desired to recite Yom Kippur Koton yesterday their requests and their forgiveness, as if they had in fact recited it!



Special Note Two:  One of our important readers asked us to advise our readers that, according to some Poskim, Haddasim imported from Eretz Yisroel have Kedushas Shvi’is, much the same as scented flowers.  Accordingly, he requested that readers ask their Rav or Posek what should be done with their Haddasim after Sukkos. 



Special Note Three:  Rabbeinu Yonah in the Shaarei Teshuva (4:15) provides the following poignant insight regarding a “minor” aveira: “When one removes a sin from before his eyes, and it is small and slight to him, it is similar to his having been stung by a scorpion in his heel, and, minimizing the sting, pressing his foot upon the earth to remove the poison.  The onlookers cry out: “Don’t you know that it will travel from your sole to your forehead?!  Clearly, the Rabbeinu Yonah is teaching us that what a small amount of venom is to the body, a small amount of sin is to the soul.  Equipped with this knowledge, we should beware of the ‘little’ sins that the Yetzer Hora attempts, such as just one word, just one thought, just one more piece of cake….



Special Note Four:  We received the following question from a reader:  “I wondered if we are allowed to think about all the good that Hashem does for us in the shower ("To some it may seem "childish", to others "spiritual", to actually take a minute or two during the day (while taking a shower in the morning or eating lunch, or perhaps when walking to the subway or bus, or before retiring at night) to think, feel and appreciate Hashem's gifts to us").  The shower is a place where I do my best thinking but I assumed it was off limits to think about Hashem in the shower. 


In response to our reader’s question, we provide the following:


1.      HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Shlita writes that it is permissible to think about Hashem in the shower, provided that one does not do so L’Shem Mitzvah, for the sake of fulfilling the mitzvah of “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” (which is one of the six constant mitzvos mentioned in the Sefer HaChinuch, and listed in the Bi’ur Halacha to Chapter 1 of Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim).  As Rabbi Zilberstein writes: “When one thinks about the wonders of his body or the beautiful flowers growing in the garden, in his heart he is thinking that Hashem has created a very beautiful world, and is probably fulfilling the words of ‘Shivisi Hashem L’Negdi Somid’… and it is not prohibited to think the truth!”

2.      We asked this question to Rabbi Yitzchok Jaeger, Shlita of the famous Guidelines Halacha Series.  He responded as follows:  “In the shower, one may NOT think about Divrei Torah, but one MAY think about the many gifts Hashem gives to us”.

3.      Students of HaRav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, Shlita, may be familiar with Rav Scheinberg’s P’sak, which is that one may think even Torah thoughts while in the shower, provided that the room is otherwise free of unclean matter.  In fact, we are advised by a Rosh Kollel in Eretz Yisroel that there are students who listen to Torah tapes while in the shower, based upon this Psak. HaRav Scheinberg rules that a clean bathroom today does not have the Halachos of a ‘Bais Hakisey’ of prior times in this regard.


Based upon the above rulings, it is clear that one can think about the wonders of Hashem while taking a shower, and one should consult with his Rav or Posek about thinking Torah thoughts if the shower room is clean. 


Special Note Five:  As we all continue to improve our Tefillos and Brachos this year, we once again provide by clicking here the Important Message issued by the Committee to Encourage the Proper Recitation of Amen.  Please spread the word!


Special Note One:  Today is Yom Kippur Koton.  The months ahead appear pivotal in the history of the World.  For all those for whom it is possible, we urge you to recite the tefillos of Yom Kippur Koton today with a Minyan near you.  The additional one half-hour spent can truly bring incredible yeshuos to you--and the world at large!


Additional Note: As we study the Parshios in Bereishis, we remind ourselves that the Torah is not, Chas V’Shalom, a history book, reminding us of the events of early Man.  To the Torah Jew, history is not an interesting study, something that satisfies our curiosity as to past cultures and civilizations.  Rather, it represents the continuing Hashgacha Pratis of Hashem to Whom “One thousand years is like one year” in his guidance and supervision of feeble man as he attempts to conquer the world.  The Navi teaches that, when the Moshiach comes, there will no longer be wars among people.  The commentaries explain that this is so because the Moshiach will resolve all disputes among people, making war obsolete.  As noted above, it appears that we are living in a time of what the world would call “history in the making,” as the world financial markets shake, and political uncertainty stretches 6,000 miles from Eretz Yisroel to the United States.  We should not view this as “history in the making,” but should instead utilize it as an advanced opportunity for coming closer to Hashem through tefillah, and by replacing all of the secular analyses of current world events with an awareness of Hashem’s pervasive presence.  It all brings us back to the first Siman in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim--Shivisi Hashem LeNegdi Samid--let us keep Hashem before us **all the time** as we navigate our course through these pages in the history books.



Special Note Two:   We received the following thought from a reader:


“We say in our tefillos of Yom Tov:  ‘Vehasienu’ which is derived from the word ‘shi,’ i.e. a gift.  On Yom Tov, we receive a gift from Hashem, as a sample--like the chocolate dealer who wants to sell his product by giving a piece of chocolate for all to sample.  If a person likes it and wants more, he has to pay for more.  So too, during the Yomim Tovim we receive a sample of madreigos and uplifting times.  In order to keep those lofty feelings we so tastefully sampled, we must work on ourselves for the next eight weeks until Chanukah comes to infuse us with more inspiration--and when it is truly the gmar chasima!


“One practical way of doing this is by trying to do mitzvos with Simcha because that transforms every mitzva into a loftier level.  This will also bring genuine Simcha and Hakoras Hatov for all that Hashem bestows upon us.  May we be zoche to feel these lofty feelings until then.”



Special Note Three:  Rabbeinu Yonah in the Shaarei Teshuva (3:229) writes that: “Chazal (Shabbos 33A) have said ‘if one speaks obscenely (Nivul Peh) even if seventy good years were decreed for him, they are converted to evil.  And because of this, one who speaks obscenely is heavy with sin and detestable and abhorrent, for he has departed from and forsaken shame and modesty…’  Furthermore, he has desecrated the holiness of Israel, as it is said, ‘And they shall say, “Surely this Great Nation is a Wise and Understanding People”’ (Devorim 4:6).  Additionally, the punishment of one who gives ear to obscene speech is great because he does not block his ear and does not separate himself from the speakers of obscenity.”  [Hakhel note--steer away from lower class elements as they converse even routinely on the street or in the office].


From these words of Rabbeinu Yonah, we see how repugnant Nivul Peh is to Hashem, and how carefully the Torah Jew must avoid it.  Those inappropriate words that you know you shouldn’t be saying are certainly included within Nivul Peh.  May we suggest, additionally, that there are other words which are “nicknames” for Nivul Peh, which are simply used in replacement for the Nivul Peh intended to be expressed, because you believe you are cleansing it in this regard.  By this, we mean expressing the Nivul Peh in other languages (whether it be Yiddish, or even Arabic) and in words that sound like the Nivul Peh (with a vowel or two changed) , and which otherwise convey the Nivel Peh intended, but not specifically expressed.


Especially in our times, as many of us seek to improve our Tefillos, and the Brachos that we make, we must be especially careful to purify and cleanse our throats and mouths, so that our words of Holiness come out unimpeded, providing the full measure of their import and impact in this world, and in the Heavens above.



Special Note Four:  In the recently released Sefer Borchi Nafshi, which contains the rulings of HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Shlita, the Rav of Ramat Elchonon, the son-in-law of HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, and a foremost Posek in Eretz Yisroel, HaRav Zilberstein provides the following Halachic insights:


  1. When one visits a sick person who is sleeping, he has accomplished the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim, because the sick person will be told that he was visited, and this will bring him nachas ruach.  Indeed, HaRav Zilberstein states, it may well be that even an unconscious person may realize that you have come to visit in some situations, and that you have accomplished the Mitzvah in this situation, as well.  We note that, as the Shechina rests above the head of the ill person, the site itself--in all events--is especially auspicious for prayer.


  1. If someone gives charity for the sake of a deceased person, he should ask the recipient to pray for the deceased.  (See Devorim 24:13, Tehillim 72:15).  Specifically, one should pray that the deceased’s sins be forgiven and that he be counted among the Tzadkim for good.  HaRav Zilberstein writes that these tefillos should be recited by the recipient constantly, especially during the first year after passing.  Our Tefillos help in all worlds.


  1. If one is riding his bicycle to Shul, it is permitted to put his Tallis/Tefillin in a bag, and place them on the handles of the bike.  One should not place the Tallis/Tefillin in back of him, for he would be sitting on the same object as them which is prohibited, and it is also a “gnai”--disrespectful, for the Talis/Tefillin to be in back of him.  We may add here that it would likewise appears to be disrespectful for a person to swing his Tefillin in his hand as he walks to and from Shul, or to keep his Tefillin close to the lower parts of his body, rather than hold them with his hand close to his chest, as he would a precious object.


  1. Also relating  to Tefillin, if a person’s ancestor’s Tefillin are Pasul, HaRav Zilberstein rules that one can still utilize the materials (matlis) that cover the Parshios, or the hairs from the Pasul tefillin and with this there will be a “ktzas zikaron” to the Tefillin of his ancestor, even if he is unable to use the Parshios themselves.


This Sefer (in Hebrew), also contains remarkable stories including miracles, of which the Rav was personally aware, organized in the order of the Parshios (currently available for Chumash Bereishis), and is highly recommended to our readers.  Other Shailos presented relate to Kiddush Hashem, and Emunah.


Special Note One:  Less than a week ago, we began reciting "Mashiv HaRuach U'Morid HaGeshem--He causes the wind to blow and brings down the rain."  The Kuntres Avodas HaTefillah adds a bit more depth to its recitation.  Hashem causes the wind to blow--bringing the clouds to where they are needed, and brings each drop down to its proper place at its proper time to fulfill its purpose--be it for punishment, be it for pleasure, or be it to maintain life itself.  We must understand that each and every drop of rain has a place and a purpose, and we should reinforce this understanding every time we praise Hashem with these words.  The added benefit to this one additional second of Kavannah at Mashiv HaRuach U'Morid Hageshem is that you will definitely remember whether you recited Mashiv HaRuach in your Shemone Esrei!

Special Note Two:  If one takes care of his bodily functions after eating something--which Bracha comes first--the Bracha Achrona on the food previously consumed or Asher Yotzar? The Mishne Berura (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 7, sif katan 2)  rules that the Asher Yotzar comes first because it is 'tadir', it occurs more often.


Special Note Three:  Although many items in the physical world remind us of spiritual roles and goals as well (e.g., food for the body teaches that we must always feed the soul with Torah and Mitzvos; physical ailments represent spiritual ailments, the beauty of nature provides an inkling of the beauty of Olam Haba, etc.), there appears to be at least one item in which the physical in no way resembles the spiritual.

Here on earth, our streets and our highways are paved with tar, and our sidewalks with tar or cement.  Yet, in the spiritual world, our path is paved with precious jewels, silver, and gold.  The opportunities for Torah and Mitzvos, Emunah and Chesed, Teshuva and Maasim Tovim, impact and abound from all directions as we march through our day.  Unfortunately, all too often, we write off the opportunity as a hindrance, annoyance, obligation, or as time that could have otherwise been spent doing something "productive" instead.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, provides a perfect example of this misperception in commenting on last week's Parsha ("Love Your Neighbor", p. 34).  Rabbi Pliskin notes that the Torah goes out of its way to teach us that Hashem clothed Adam and Chava.  We, by this, are taught to emulate Hashem's ways in providing clothes to the needy.  However, Rabbi Pliskin writes that emulating Hashem in this area goes way beyond giving clothes to the needy when we clean out our closets.  It also includes other activities such as helping elderly relatives on with their clothing, making sure that they are warm for winter, and dressing toddlers and little children--even if they may be your students or your children.  When viewed in this light, going shopping for the family or for an elderly parent or neighbor on a frigid winter night, or earning the money to pay a credit card bill become glittering diamonds in place of a banal drudgery, a necessary and seemingly thankless task.


Hashem, in his great and incomparable beneficence, gives us whatever each and every one of us needs every single day  in order to build  a great eternity for ourselves.  We just have to identify, appreciate and cherish each and every opportunity for the special and precious jewel that it is.  World economics may be in turmoil, but we remain as spiritually affluent as ever--and these are the riches that last forever!


Special Note One:  Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, Shlita (in The Laws of Daily Living, Volume 1, p.17) writes that HaRav Moshe Feinstein, Zt’l, told him that even if one washes Netilas Yadayim four times on each hand every day of the year, on Yom Kippur (where there is an Isur Rechitza), one should wash only three times on each hand.



Special Note Two:  Let us remember that “Ata Nosein Yad Laposhim--Hashem extends His hand to those who have sinned.”  Let us extend our hand in return and try as best we can tomorrow (and every day!) to give HaKadosh Baruch Hu Nachas Ruach from our thoughts, words, and deeds!  Before doing something--try to think--will this give Hashem nachas?


Special Note One:  Among the messages received from our readers, we received the following thoughts:


  1. “URGENT

It is a few days before Yom Kippur and some people are still not on talking terms.  Brothers who don’t speak, sisters, spouses etc.  It is a very serious issue to make peace as soon as possible.  It is crazy to wait any longer.  We must say I'm sorry, apologize and ask for forgiveness.  And agree to focus on working out the detailed issues with Hashem’s help.  When we take action to forgive others Hashem will do the same for us.  Have a great year.  Gmar Chasima Tova.”


  1. “I have long felt that one reason we say HaMelech HaKadosh in the Aseres Yemei Teshuva is that we prove to ourselves that we can change the hergel--habit pattern of davening all year long.  If we are forced to change our habit and not daven on autopilot, we prove to ourselves three times a day that we **CAN** change our ways if we just put our mind to it.”


Special Note Two:  More Pre-Yom Kippur Notes

  1. Please click here for a detailed “Ashamnu” excerpted from the Sefer HaDerech L’Teshuva by HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, Shlita.  This Ashamnu provides additional depth behind each word of the Ashamnu Bagadnu.  Please feel free to further distribute.

  2. Available by clicking here is the Great Reminder found in the Sefer Yesod V’Shoresh HoAvodah relating to our thoughts on the Holy Day of Yom Kippur.  Please try to internalize the message--and feel free to distribute on as well.

  3. In conjunction with The V’Ani Tefillah Foundation, we provide by clicking here a description of the 5769 World Wide Yom Kippur Initiative, which each and every one of us can--and should--join!  By being part of this incredible Initiative, you could be joining with thousands upon thousands in a great act of spiritual unity and Kiddush Hashem!

  4. Please click here for information on Hakhel’s Yeshiva “MaiChayil El Choyil”--a special Yeshiva for the study of Torah on Motze’ei Yom Kippur from 9:30 PM to 10:30 PM( based upon the Avos U’Bonim model in Eretz Yisroel).  After spending most of the day in Teshuva and Tefillah--we move into Torah!  Please join in the Kiddush Hashem.  The Yeshiva is open to boys and men from ages 10 to 120.  Great Prizes!  The Yeshiva will be hosted by Kollel Bnei Torah, 2748 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.  For further information, please contact us.  You can bring the Program to your Shul as well!

  5. Over the next several days, we should make a special effort to give others sincere brachos, and to seek the sincere brachos of others, and answer a heartfelt Amen to these brachos.  We simply cannot appreciate the great impact sincere brachos make in Shamayim.  The Mishne Berura (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 215, Seif Koton 9), writes that when one hears someone davening for something or blessing another Yid, he is **obligated** to answer Amen!

  6. We must remember to do one final search of our monetary matters before Yom Kippur.  The Mishne Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 606, Seif Katan 1), writes that improperly holding other people’s money is, rachmana l’tzlan, the mikatreg b’rosh--the lead prosecutor.  The Mishne Berurah adds that one should not rely upon his own decisions in monetary matters with others, “Ki HaYetzer Hora, Yesh Lo Heterim Harbe--for the Yetzer Hora finds many leniencies”!  In monetary matters or issues with others, one should consult his Rav.

  7. In the Igeres HaTeshuva (1:7) Rabbeinu Yonah provides a means which we can be extricated from the great sin of Bitul Torah.  He writes that one should take an active part in supporting Torah study by Rabbonim and Talmidim.  This, he writes, is the meaning of the Pasuk (Mishlei 3:18), “Aitz Chaim Hi LaMachazikim Buh--it is the Tree of **Life** to those who support it.”  Accordingly, if f you have not already done so, we urge you to send checks for Talmidei Chachomim/Torah institutions today!

  8. We must remember and spend some time working out the “Aveiros Kalos”--the so-called lesser transgressions.  The Shaarei Teshuva (1:38) writes that we should not look at the “smallness of the transgression” but the Greatness of He Who warned against it.  Secondly, if one persists in a small transgression, the successive accumulation of Sin could be analogized to a delicate and weak strand of silk which, through constant redoubling, becomes a stout rope.  Moreover, even as to a “small transgression,” a person can be considered, rachmana l’tzlan, a “mumar--an apostate”--in this particular respect(!).  Finally, Rabbeinu Yonah writes, if the Yetzer Hora gains a “small victory” over a person today, it can gain a greater victory tomorrow--so you must stop him today!

On Yom Kippur itself, before reciting Viduy on each occasion, we should have Kavannah that we are being Mekayem a Mitzvas Asei (see Minchas Chinuch, Mitzvah 364).  HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Zt’l, calls Yom Kippur a “Yam Shel Rachamim--a Sea of Mercy,” and Teshuva is the focus of the day.  Importantly, two of the four parts of Teshuva--Remorse, and Resolving Not To Do the Sin Again in the future are based solely on our thought.  [The other two parts to Teshuva, Viduy, which is the verbal expression of our thoughts, and Azivas HaChet, not actually doing the sin, are the follow-up to our thoughts.]  As Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, teaches us in Mishlei (4:23), “M’Kol Mishmar Nitzor Libicha, Ki Mimenu Totzaos Chaim--More than you guard anything, safeguard your heart (your thoughts), for from it, are the sources of life.”  Accordingly, we should pay special attention to purifying our Teshuva thoughts on this Holy Day so that we are blessed with a long and continuous, meaningful life!



Special Note One:  In the Yom Tov davening, we recite that Hashem is the “Don Yichidi L’Buai Olam--the Sole Judge of the World.”  Is there not a Bais Din Shel Maaleh, a Heavenly Court?  Yes, there is, answers HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, and they review the matter with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  However, the final P’sak--the final ruling--is in the hands of Hashem!



Special Note Two:  We received the following from a reader: “On the inyan of segufim mentioned in Friday’s bulletin, The Manchester Rosh Hayesihva, Zt’l, told me that the biggest segufim for a ben Torah is ‘to not be mafsik in the middle of learning’!!!”



Special Note Three:  The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 603) writes that we are more careful, and search our ways in Aseres Yemei Teshuva.  Hakhel has hosted a Tefillin Awareness Program in many Shuls in the Metropolitan area, in which qualified Sofrim check individual Tefillin placement of the Shel Rosh and the Shel Yad.  If you would like to bring this program to your Shul, please contact us.  We provide by clicking here at least some direction as to the proper placement of the Tefillin Shel Rosh.  At this time of year, we urge that you check your Tefillin placement with your Rav, if necessary (don’t be ashamed!).  Yesterday (Sunday morning), our Tefillin Awareness Program was hosted at the Young Israel of Teaneck, New Jersey.  Yasher Koach!



Special Note Four:  We note that, when reciting “Avinu Malkeinu Kera Roa Gezar Dineinu,” the Mishna Berura rules that one should put the words “Roa and Gezar” in the same breath--that is that the evil of the decree should be ripped up, and what is left should only be mercy (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 584, Mishne Berurah, Seif Katan 3).



Special Note Five:  Several particular points in our daily Shemone Esrei:


a.       In the first Brocha, we recite that Hashem is Kel Elyon, which is commonly translated as the “Supreme G-d.”  The Sefer Avodas HaTefillah writes that it also means that Hashem is the “Sibas Kol HaSibos--the Source and Cause of everything.”  This short phrase in the first Brocha, then, should put us into the proper frame of mind when reciting the entire Shemone Esrei.

b.      The Sefer Avodas HaTefillah translates the words “HaMelech HaMishpat” not simply as the “King of Judgment”, but as the “King Who **now** sits in judgment.”  This should serve to move us towards proper behavior--and at least to greater concentration at this point in the Shemone Esrei--where Kavannah could sometimes fail because one is in the middle of the Amidah.

c.       It is fascinating to note that word “Barech” (or a form of the word) appears most often in the Brachos of Request (the fourth through sixteenth brachos) of Shemone Esrei in the Brocha in which we request prosperity.  Even the first word of the Brocha begins with “Barech”.  Perhaps this is to remind us that each and every aspect and part of our sustenance and prosperity comes from Hashem.



Special Note Six:  Over the last while, with the turbulent financial markets, many of us may have directly or indirectly suffered minor or substantial monetary setbacks or losses.  Chazal teach us that putting your hand into your pocket and not taking out the coins that you had intended to, is considered yissurim, affliction which brings kaparah.  Most certainly, then, the financial setbacks one may have recently suffered should be viewed as yissurim as well, which will bring kaparah.  To express this thought, one could state, for example, “Tihei Yisurai Kaparah Al Kol Avonosei--may my affliction bring kaparah for my sins.”  As Dovid HaMelech himself exclaimed in Tehillim (25:18), “Re’eh Anye V’Amuli--See my affliction and toil,” and bear all my iniquity.  Indeed, it is said in the name of the Apter Rav, Zt’l, that one should specifically recite this Pasuk when experiencing pain.  We can definitely analogize here.

Additional Note:  One can give a brocha to someone who has suffered a financial loss as follows: “HaMakom Yimaelei Chesronech--May Hashem replace [refill] that which you have lost.”



Special Note Seven:  If you study/review one Perek of Sefer Yonah starting today (with Rashi, from a Sefer about Yonah, etc.), you will complete Sefer Yonah by Yom Kippur.


Please continue to daven for Rav Scheinberg, who is back in the hospital, R’ Chaim Pinchas Ben Yuspa


We continue with our Erev Shabbos Hilchos Shabbos series.  The following Halachos are excerpted from the Sefer Meoros HaShabbos:


1. The mitzvah of Shabbos candles is fulfilled primarily with the candles lit in the place of the Shabbos meal.  Eating by their light is considered Oneg Shabbos, as discussed above.  Therefore, one should eat his Shabbos meal where the candles are lit.  One may not leave them to eat in a different room or in the yard, unless there is good reason for doing so.


2. Since the meal must be eaten where the candles are lit, Kiddush must also be recited there, since Kiddush must be recited where the meal is being eaten.  If one lights candles at home but eats at someone else’s house where candles are lit, his candles must burn until he returns home, so that he may benefit from them.  If the candles go out before he returns, he did not fulfill the mitzvah, and his berachah is levatala.


3. Some hotels forbid lighting candles in the guest’s rooms or even the dining area, for safety reasons.  Instead, they designate a common area where everyone may light together.  If this area will not be used that night, and no one will benefit from the candles, it is uncertain whether she can fulfill her obligation to light her candles there.  A competent halachic authority should be consulted in such a case.

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