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Oh Vey, Goyim!!!

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ID: 294f0  No.2767[View All]

At least one Sefer Torah should be placed on the Tebah (Bimah), during the Haqqafoth on Simhath Torah, as well as the Haqqafoth that are held at the conclusion of the Festival (Haqqafoth Shenioth). A G-d fearing man should hold it throughout the Haqqafoth. The custom of Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, was to circle the Tebah while holding a Sefer Torah.

Some congregations take the Sifrei Torah out to the street. This is permitted, since it is for the honor of the Torah. However, there must be a Minyan (quorum) of ten men present with it, in order to do this. The congregation must stand during the Haqqafoth. Sometimes this may take several hours, with the singing and dancing, and those who are elderly, unwell, and so on, are unable to remain standing for such a long period of time. In this case they should only stand during the actual Haqqafoth, and sit the rest of the time.

Clapping is permitted for the honor of the Torah, when rejoicing on Simhath Torah. This is true even when Simhath Torah falls on Shabbath (which it can do in the Land of Israel, and for the Haqqafoth done on Shemini 'Asereth in the Diaspora). It is, however, forbidden to play any musical instrument (other than during the Haqqafoth Shenioth, which are held after the Festival is over).

(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wezoth Habberakha, 18, 35. Dibrei Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 55:26, 27, 29, 31)
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ID: 294f0  No.3209

The Ben Ish Hai writes that Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, would leave the table covered with the table cloth, after the meal on Friday night. He would also leave the cup of Birkath HaMazon, with a little wine still in it, on the table, as well as a few pieces of bread, covered by a cloth. One should not leave a whole loaf, however.

Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, was asked what one should do with the wine that remained in the cup. He answers that it should be drunk at the morning Qiddush. The reason is that the wine which was left over from a Miswah, one does an additional Miswah with it.

It is important, however, to keep the wine covered overnight. The custom in our home is to use a special silver cup for the Qiddush, with a matching cover on it. This was the custom in Baghdad and is a custom that was subsequently adopted by some Hasidim also.

(See Ben Ish Hai, 2nd year, Parashath Wayyera, Oth 22. Qol Eliyahu, 9:7, 8)

ID: 294f0  No.3216

Ribbi Lewitas said (Aboth 4:4) that a person should be of "very very" lowly spirit (humble). The holy Pele Yo'es comments that we see the extent of the obligation to be humble by the fact that he did not say "very" once, but twice. Our Rabbis tell us (sanhedrin 88b) that one who inherits the world to come is one who is humble, bends when he enters, bends when he leaves and constantly studies Torah without taking credit for it.

One's external behavior influences one's inner feelings and emotions. When a person behaves with humility, and does not go after praise and honor, does not sit where important people sit and does not wear clothes that will add to his importance, this will guide him to be a true humble person. On the other hand, one must be careful not to overdo this.

If the person is considered to be important in the eyes of others, he should not sit where the downtrodden sit, nor should he wear clothes that are tattered and torn. To do so would just appear to be arrogance by one who wishes to show his greatness by just how humble and perfect he can be. It is a balance that a person must find. What G-d desires is what is in the heart, and it is on this that he will be judged. And he must find a way to find grace in the eyes of both G-d and man.

(See Pele Yo'es Shifluth)

ID: 294f0  No.3220

In the last request in the Yehi Rason in the morning, we beseech G-d to save us from the judgment in Gehinnam (Hell). We might think that this is referring to after one dies. In fact, it is speaking about being judged in Gehinnam while one is still alive.

It says in Sha'ar Maamarei Rashbi (Noah), that even when one is still in this world, one can be judged in Gehinnam. When a person sins, a portion of his soul is pulled down to Gehinnam, while he is still alive. Each time he sins, the same thing happens. As a person becomes steeped in sins and transgressions, bit by bit, all of his soul gets pulled down to Gehinnam.

This explains the saying of our Sages, z"l, that the wicked are considered to be dead. This is so, even though they are still alive, in the sense that we see them moving about and talking. Nevertheless, even though their physical body is still functioning, their soul has already been judged in Gehinnam. This hopefully moves us all to look closely at our deeds, every day.

(See 'Od Yosef Hai, Wayyesheb, Oth 15)

ID: 294f0  No.3222

The blessings on the Torah that one recites every morning, comprise three Berakhoth (blessings). Each one is separate and distinct, and one who hears them must respond "Amen" to each one. When reciting them, one should have in mind that they will cover all the Torah that one learns that day, into the night, till one's night sleep. Before one recites the blessing of "Weha'areb Na", one may not study Torah SheBikhthab or Be'al Peh (Written or Oral Law).

One may, however, decide Halakha, such as advising someone if a matter is permitted or forbidden, but one may not provide the reasoning, before reciting the blessings. Writing words of Torah, or even listening to them, is likewise forbidden.

While simply thinking of words of Torah is permitted, there are those who say that this only applies to thinking without looking in a Sefer (book), but if one reads from a book, it is forbidden. These laws apply equally to women as they do to men.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 47:1-6, 14. Ben Ish Hai 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 12. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 16)

ID: 294f0  No.3232

We mentioned that when one recites the Torah blessings, every day in the morning, one must have in mind that they will cover all Torah that one will be learning that day. Both Torah Shebikhthab (Written Law) and Torah SheBe'al Peh (Oral Law), should be included. One should also have in mind that it will even cover Torah learned at night, before one has one's night's sleep.

If one takes a nap or nods off during the day, it doesn't make any difference, and the blessings are not repeated. We run into a difference of opinion, however, if a person has a proper bed sleep, equivalent to the kind of sleep he might have at night. There are those who are of the opinion that this is considered to be a Hefseq (interruption), which would require him to recite the blessings again. Not everyone agrees, however.

Since we have a difference of opinion, we apply the concept of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is doubt about a blessing, it is not recited). As such, one should recite the blessing without Shem Umalkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom), to satisfy all opinions.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 47:1-6, 12. Hesed La-alafim, Oth

ID: 294f0  No.3233

The "A Torah Minute" Weekly Bulletin.

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Wayyaqhel: How the Yeser Hara' Srikes on Shabbath
by Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe

(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)

לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל משְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת "You shall not light a fire in any of your dwelling places on the Sabbath day" (Shemoth 35:3).The way of the Yeser Hara' (evil inclination), is to light the fires of strife and quarrel between people, and especially between husband and wife. The number one time for this is 'Ereb Shabbath, when there is a lot of stress in the home as everyone prepares for Shabbath. Shabbath day can also present particular difficulties in this area.

Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, zs"l, writes that during his time as a Dayan in the Beth Din (Jewish religious court) in Be-er Sheba', he noticed that every Sunday morning there would be an inordinate amount of files opened for people wishing to divorce. To make matters worse, they seemed to be the result of unimportant things. He investigated and understood that the reason was that on Shabbath, these families had nothing to do.

The husbands didn't go to Synagogue or study Torah. As a result, they had plenty of time to sit at home and argue with their wives. The next day they came to the Beth Din to file for divorce. In his wisdom, Maran Mordekahi Eliyahu, zs"l, instructed the secretary of the Beth Din to delay the process of any divorce file that was opened on a Sunday, by several months. This gave the two parties time to cool off. The net result was that many of the files were closed without the parties ever coming to the Beth Din.

(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayyaqhel, Parparaoth)

ID: 294f0  No.3239

Wine is always the preferred beverage for Qiddush on Shabbath. If none is available, one should make Qiddush on bread, on Friday night. During the day, however, since there is no specific Berakha to sanctify the Shabbath, doing Qiddush over bread would appear as if one is merely having a meal with bread and the sanctification of Shabbath would not be obvious.

If no wine is available for the morning meal on Shabbath, one should make Qiddush on Hemar Medinah (a national beverage). A national beverage is a drink that is commonly consumed in that country. Included in the list would be whisky, brandy, beer and the like. Tea and coffee are commonly accepted in Ashkenazi circles, but Sephardim do not have the custom to use them. In extreme circumstances, if nothing else is available, one may be lenient.

Popular sodas are also considered Hemar Medinah. Orange juice and other natural juices should not be used if something else is available, but in a case of need they may also be used. It should be noted that there is an opinion that it is preferable to use an alcoholic drink. In practice, however, any national beverage is considered acceptable.

(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:13. Da'ath Torah 296:2. Halakhoth Qetanoth 1:9)

ID: 294f0  No.3243

If one sleeps one's main night sleep before midnight (and awoke before midnight), some say that he does not say the Birkath HaTorah (blessings on the Torah before Torah study). However, according to the Kabbalists and the Zohar, one may recite the Birkath HaTorah, even before midnight. If it was just a temporary sleep, however, one should not recite the blessings, but may continue studying Torah.

The Birkoth Hashahar (morning blessings), on the other hand, may not be recited before midnight. If one wakes close to midnight, it is preferable to wait till after midnight, and recite the Birkoth Hashahar together with the Torah blessings. This way they will be said in the correct order.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 47:7, 13. Maghen Abraham, 47:13. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 12, 13. Kaf Hahayyim 47, Oth 27, 29. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 28.)

ID: 294f0  No.3248

(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)

There is a difference of opinion as to whether or not the blessings on the Torah (Birkhoth HaTorah), in the morning, need to be followed immediately by some form of Torah study. In practice, we follow the opinion of the Rambam (Maimonides) who says that this is like all other blessings where we have to follow the blessing by the action.

The custom is to follow the Birkhoth HaTorah with the three verses of the Birkath Kohanim (Priestly blessing). There are those, however, who recite more than this. It says in 'Od Yosef Hai that the Minhath Aharon states that after the Birkhoth HaTorah one should recite Midrash, Mishnah and Talmud, so that one will have recited all aspects of the Torah. If one has some knowledge in Kabbalah, one should add a paragraph from Sefer HaYesira.

Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes that his custom is to recite the first Mishnah of Pirqei Aboth, followed by "Tana Debei Eliyahu, Kol Hashoneh Halakhoth", then, "Amar Ribbi El'azar Amar Ribbi Hanina, Talmidei Hakhamim Marbim Shalom Ba'Olam", and finally, "Ribbi Hananya Ben Aqashya Omer". On Shabbath he would add the beginning of the first Mishnah of Shabbath and on Yom Tob, the first few lines of the first Mishnah of the Mishnah of Beisah.

(See 'Od Yosef Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 17)

ID: 294f0  No.3250

There was a Minyan that forgot to read the special readings on Shabbath for Parashath Sheqalim. They approached me the next day, when they realized their error, as to whether they could make it up the following Shabbath.

The Maftir of Sheqalim can only be read on the day itself. Rabbenu the Hida, 'a"h, writes that it can only be read on that Shabbath, and furthermore, it must be read in the morning. If it is read any other time, one does not fulfill one's obligation.

If the congregation realized the error, the same Shabbath, while it was still morning, even if the Sefer Torah had been returned to the Hekhal (Ark), they may take it out again and read the portion with the blessings before and after. This is true, even if they already prayed Musaf. It would appear that the blessings should not be recited over the Haftarah.

(See Yosef 'Omez:27. Mishpatei 'Uzziel, Orah Hayyim 15. Hazon 'Obadia, Purim)

ID: 294f0  No.3253

When reading the Meghillah in a Minyan, there are blessings that are recited both before and after the reading. If it is read where there is no Minyan present, there is a difference of opinion. The Shulhan 'Arukh writes that even if there is no Minyan, all the blessings, before and after the reading, should be recited.

The Rama disagrees, however. According to him, when reading the Meghillah without a Minyan, one reads the blessings before, but omits the blessing after the reading. The Ben Ish Hai writes that even one who reads the Meghillah on his own, must say the blessings before and after.

He adds that this is the custom in his city and is what one should do everywhere. He writes that one who reads on his own should not lose this precious blessing.

(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Tesawweh, Oth 13. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 64:17)

ID: 294f0  No.3255

אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן "These are the accountings of the Mishkan" (Shemoth 38:21). The Ohr HaHayyim comments that the Midrash tells us that the erection of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was considered to be atonement for the sin of the golden calf. The Gemara tells us that the sin of 'Abodah Zara (idolatry), is equivalent to transgressing the entire Torah (all 613 commandments).

Quoting Onkelos (Wayyiqra 27:34), the Ohr HaHayyim says that אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי (these are the accountings), should be translated as "These are the orders/commandments", and, since the Mishkan represented all the commandments, it was atonement for the golden calf, which transgressed the entire Torah.

A hint to this can be found in the Gematria of the words פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן (accounting of the Tabernacle). The numerical value of the words is 615. There are 613 commandments and 2 tablets of stone on which the 10 Commandments were written. We can now read the verse as saying, "These" will allow G-d to forget the 613 commandments which were transgressed in the matter of the golden calf.

(See Ohr HaHayyim on the Torah)

ID: 294f0  No.3258

If a person makes Qiddush on Shabbath morning on an alcoholic drink, such as Whisky or Arak, how much does he need to drink? Dos he need to drink a Rebi'ith (3 ozs.) as he would if drinking wine, or, since it is not customary to gulp down 3 ozs. of hard liquor in one go, is it sufficient if he drinks only a little, which is the normal way of drinking it?

The Taz mentions that we go according to what the majority of people do and, therefore, do not require a full Shi'ur (quantity) as we would with wine. It says in Qol Eliyahu, that we do not follow the Taz in this matter and we do require a full Shi'ur.

The rules of the Shi'ur are the same as for wine. If one will be eating bread immediately after the morning Qiddush, then it suffices to drink "Melo Lughmaw" (a cheekful), since Birkath HaMazon will cover the drink as well as the meal. On the other hand, if the person only intends to have Mezonoth (cakes, cookies and the like), then he must have a full Rebi'ith in order to say Berakha Ahronah (the after blessing) according to all opinions. Additionally, he must drink it in one gulp, or in not more than three, one after the other.

(See Qol Eliyahu 9:14. Mishnah Berurah 272:30. Taz 210:1)

ID: 294f0  No.3260

One of Three Coins for the Half Sheqel
by Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe

(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)

The custom of giving the Mahasith HaSheqel (half Sheqel) is based on a Rama. He says that there is a custom to give a half coin of the currency of the country one is in, before Purim, in memory of the half Sheqel that used to be given in Adar. He adds, that since the Parasha mentioning the half Sheqel (Ki Thissa), uses the term Terumah (donation), three times, one should give three coins.

Many Ashkenazim adhere to the custom of giving three coins, though not all. The Gaon of Vilna used to give only one coin. The Kaf HaHayyim disagrees with the position of the Rama, z"l, for the following reasons.

He states that the fact that the Parasha says the word "Terumah" three times is not relevant. Of the three times, one is for the Adanim and the other for the Mishkan, neither of which were connected to the Mahasith Sheqel. Not only that, but these two only applied to the time of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), in the Wilderness and not later. Sephardim use one half coin of the local currency.

(See Kaf HaHayyim, 694, Oth 23. Ma'asei Rab 233)

ID: 294f0  No.3263

According to the Shulhan 'Arukh, at night, before reading the Meghillah, one recites 3 blessings: 'Al Miqra Meghillah (on the reading of the Meghillah), She'Asah Nissim (Who performed miracles) and Sheheheyanu (Who gave us life). Maran Yosef Qaro, z"l, adds that during the day one does not repeat the blessing of Sheheheyanu when reading the Meghillah.

The Rama, z"l, in his gloss on the Shulhan 'Arukh, writes that the blessing of Sheheheyanu is also recited during the day, and that this is the Ashkenazi custom. The question then is, what does a Sephardi do if he did not hear the blessing of Sheheheyanu at night?

Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, writes that if a Sephardi did not hear the blessing of Sheheheyanu at night, he should try to hear the blessing from an Ashkenazi during the day. If this is not possible or practical, he should wear a new article of clothing (of the type that requires a Berakha of Sheheheyanu), and have in mind that it covers both the new clothes and the reading of the Meghillah.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 692:1. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 63:13)

ID: 294f0  No.3265

We mentioned that Sephardim only recite the Berakha (blessing) of Sheheheyanu on the Meghillah at night, whereas Ashkenazim recite it in the morning also. When hearing the blessing of Sheheheyanu, it is good to have in mind that it covers not only the reading of the Meghillah, but also the Mishlowah Manoth (sending of gifts of food) and the Se'uddath Purim (festive meal).

Mishlowah Manoth and Se'uddath Purim are practised during the day of Purim. Sephardim must obviously have them in mind when hearing the blessing at night, since it is the only time they recite it. Ashkenazim, however, should have it in mind when hearing the blessing in the morning.

If the Hazzan forgets to say the blessing of Sheheheyanu before starting the reading, he can recite it anytime he remembers during the reading. Having said that, once he reads the portion of the ten sons of Haman, he may not say the blessing any more.

(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Tesawweh, Oth 5. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 63:14-15)

ID: 294f0  No.3270

The obligation to hear the Meghillah reading applies to both men and women. Despite this, a woman should hear the reading by a man and not read for herself, even if she is fluent in reading. The man should hear it read in the Synagogue and can then read it for the women, even though he already fulfilled his obligation.

There is a difference of opinion about reciting the blessing when reading for women. A Sephardi who already heard the reading should not recite a blessing when reading for women. In fact, the women do not recite a blessing either. According to the Mishnah Berurah, the custom for Ashkenazim is that the one reading for women, recites the blessing of "Lishmowa' Meghillah" (to 'hear' the Meghillah), as opposed to the blessing for men which is " 'Al Miqra Meghillah" (on the 'reading' of the Meghillah). The reason is that there is an opinion that women are not obligated in reading, but only to hear.

Despite this, if there is no man present who is able to read the Meghillah for her, she should read it for herself. She does not recite a blessing in this case.

ID: 294f0  No.3273

וְהִקְרִיב מִן הַתֹּרִים אוֹ מִן בְּנֵי הַיּוֹנָה "He shall bring an offering from a turtle dove or a young pigeon" (Wayyiqra 1:14). An adult turtle dove is fiercely loyal to it's partner. When a turtle dove loses it's mate, it never mates again with another.

This is a clear case of Debequth (cleaving to one's partner), and represents the cleaving of the Jewish people to G-d. Just like the turtle dove will never accept another partner, so too the Jewish people, once they have partnered with the Holy One blessed be He, will never accept another god.

By the same token, the reason why young pigeons are required is because adult pigeons are known to be jealous in nature. Jealousy is the opposite of Debequth. It causes strife and separation which is not the message we are trying to give when offering a sacrifice. That is why the pigeons have to be ones that have never had a partner.

(See Rabbenu Bahya on the Torah, Wayyiqra)

ID: 294f0  No.3277

When making Qiddush, strictly speaking, even though it is preferable to drink a full Rebi'ith (3 ozs., though there are varying opinions), it is sufficient to drink 'Rob' (the majority of a) Rebi'ith. What should a person do if he finds it difficult to drink that amount, because he cannot take the alcohol, or for some other reason?

In such a case, he should taste some of the wine and have another man present drink a Rob Rebi'ith. This is the preferable way of doing it under these circumstance, however, if he does not taste the wine himself, he has still fulfilled his obligation according to the Shulhan 'Arukh. Ideally, everyone will taste the wine.

If there is no one present who can drink the majority of a Rebi'ith, each person should drink a little so that together they will have drunk the required quantity. In a situation where there is no other option, this method is acceptable, even though it takes some time for everyone to drink.

(See Ben Ish Hai, 2nd year, Bereshith, Oth 23. Qol Eliyahu, 9: 15)

ID: 294f0  No.3279

The preferred method of giving Matanoth LaEbyonim (gifts to the poor) on Purim, is to give something that they can enjoy on Purim itself. Suitable gifts would be money or food that they will use on the day of Purim. The gifts should not be given before Purim. The concern is that if we give the gifts before Purim, the poor person may use them before Purim.

If the poor person is in a different city and the Mattanoth need to be sent or shipped to him, one should ensure that the gifts arrive on Purim itself. In this case one fulfills one's obligation because the requirement is that the gifts arrive on Purim and not that they need to be sent on Purim.

Mattanoth LaEbyonim may not be take from one's Ma'aser that one must set aside, every year, for charity. In fact, neither may the Mahasith HaSheqel be taken from one's Ma'aser. In places where they have the custom that the congregation donates a certain amount to give to the Hazzan on Purim, the money given may not be considered as Mattanoth LaEbonim, but is considered as part of his salary.

(See Kaf Hahayyim, 694, Oth 14-17)

ID: 294f0  No.3287

We mentioned that Mattanoth LaEbyonim may not be take from one's Ma'aser that one must set aside, every year, for charity. In fact, neither may the Mahasith HaSheqel be taken from one's Ma'aser. If someone made a Neder (vow) to give money to a poor person, but now finds himself in a difficult financial situation, he may not give that money as Mattanoth laebyonim instead.

His Neder still stands and he must give the amount he promised to the poor person. This does not absolve him of his obligation of giving Mattanoth Laebyonim, which is a separate requirement.

Mattanoth LaEbyonim may be given to a poor person of any age. One fulfills one's obligation even if one gives to a minor. This is not the case with Mishlowah Manoth. It says about Mislowah Manoth in Meghillath Esther, "Ish LeRe'ehu" (a man to his friend). From this we learn that Mishlowah Manoth must be given to adults.

(See Kaf Hahayyim, 694, Oth 12, 13)

ID: 294f0  No.3290

There are differences of opinion as to who, exactly, is obligated to give Mahasith HaSheqel (the half Sheqel). The Rama, z"l, follows the opinion that only those 20 and above are obligated to give. Others, however, are of the opinion that it applies to boys over the age of 13.

As to whether or not women are also obligated to give, is also a matter of some disagreement. There are those who hold that women are exempt whereas others hold that they are obligated. In any case, the general consensus is that women should also give towards the Mahasith HaSheqel.

There is also a difference of opinion as to whether very young children should be included in the giving of the Mahasith HaSheqel. Since there are those who are of the opinion that they should, it is better to include them, if a person is able to. Since it says that it is an atonement for ones soul (Lekhapper 'Al Nafshothekhem), it is good to include them also. Once a father starts giving on behalf of a child, he should continue every year.

(See Rama, 694:1. See Mishnah Berurah, 694:5. Kaf Hahayyim 694, Oth 27, 28)

ID: 294f0  No.3295

Of all the holy written items, such as Sefer Torah and Tefillin, a Meghillah has the most leniencies, and that is why a Sofer Sta"m (scribe), first writes a Meghillah before moving on to other holy items. However, there are rules that need to be followed for it to be considered Kasher.

It must be written with ink on parchment (גויל or קלף), like a Sefer Torah. It also requires Sirtoot (lines scored into the parchment). It cannot be written on paper and the one who writes it must fear G-d. If it is written by one who denies G-d, it is Pasul (ritually invalid). When copying from another Meghillah, the one writing must say each word before writing, just like a Sefer Torah. After the fact, we do not consider a Meghillah invalid, if it contains extra letters or is missing some.

The portion of the 10 sons of Haman is written differently to the rest of the Meghillah. The name of each son is written on the right hand side and the word "We-eth" (ואת) is written on the left, with empty space between them. Not doing so renders the Meghillah Pasul (invalid).

(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 691:1-3)

ID: 294f0  No.3299

On the day of Purim, it is important to have a special Se'uddah (festive meal). In fact, one is exempt from going to the Beth Midrash, because one is occupied with the preparations for the meal. Having said that, it is good to study some words of Torah before starting the meal. This is based on the Pasuq, "Layhudim Haytha Orah WeSimha" (the Jews had light and happiness). Orah (light) is the Torah.

Fasting is not permitted on Purim. The exception is if one had a dream and feels the need to fast over it. In this case one must end the fast after Minha. If one fasts, one must fast again after Purim. However, it is preferable not to fast but to redeem the fast with money.

It is preferable to eat the meal with bread. However, if one did not eat bread, one will still have fulfilled one's obligation.

(See Rama 695:2. Kaf Hahayyim 695:3)

ID: 294f0  No.3303

צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר "Command Aaron and his sons" (Wayyiqra, 6:2). Rashi mentions that the term צַו (command), implies that it requires Zerizuth (urging and without delay). This verse is speaking about the 'Olah sacrifice. The Torah does not mention any specific sin that it atones for.

Quoting the words of the Hakhamim, Rashi tells us that that the 'Olah sacrifice comes to atone for positive commandments (Miswoth 'Aseh) that a man was supposed to do, but didn't. It also comes to atone for a sin that a man committed which could have been atoned for had he done a specific action, but didn't do it. An example of this would be if he left over some of the meat of the sacrifice till morning, which he is forbidden to do, the Torah tells us that he could have rectified it by burning it in fire.

Not doing an action that one is supposed to do is a form of laziness. That is why it needs to be rectified with Zerizuth. Had he been quick to do what he was supposed to do, he would not have had to bring the sacrifice. That is why the Kohanim were also commanded to perform the sacrifice with Zerizuth, so that the people would learn from them.

(See Abihem Shel Yisrael 'Al HaTorah, Parashath Saw, pages 29, 30)

ID: 294f0  No.3306

If Hamess (חמץ - leaven) becomes mixed in with other food on Pesah (Passover), the entire mixture becomes forbidden to be eaten or to benefit from. This applies whether the Hamess is of the same type as the rest of the food, or of a different type. An example of the first case would be, if flour that was Hamess got mixed in with flour that was Kosher for passover, and an example of the second case would be if the non-Passover flour got mixed in with some other kind of food.

The amount of Hamess that mixed with the food is irrelevant. even the smallest amount renders it non Kosher. The normal rule of nullification in 60 times (Bitul BeShishim) does not apply in this case and even if the Hamess fell into Kosher food of a 1,000 times greater quantity, it remains forbidden. Whether the Hamess dissolved into the other food or whether it could still be seen and was removed and discarded, all the food that it fell into remains forbidden.

The value of the Hamess may not be redeemed by throwing the equivalent money into the sea and then giving or selling the food to a non Jew. Rather, the food must be burnt and it it is forbidden to leave it till after Pesah. The vessels that the food was cooked in, however, do not need to be destroyed, and may be used again, after Pesah.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama, 447:1. Kaf HaHayyim, ibid., Oth 4, 6, 12. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 3, 4)

ID: 294f0  No.3312

Even though one may have studied the laws of Pesah (Passover) in detail in previous years, one is still obligated to learn them again, starting from 30 days before Pesah. This does not mean that if one has a regular Shi'ur (Torah class) that he attends, that he must stop it and only learn the laws of Pesah. What it means is that some part of the day must be dedicated to studying Hilkhoth Pesah.

When one studies a specific Halakha (law), one creates an angel who will protect him in that particular Halakha. This is very important on Pesah, with the plethora of laws and the strictnesses associated with them.

Effectively then, the laws of Pesah are to be studied on the last month of the year, which is Adar, and on the following month which is Nissan, the first month of year. The first day of Pesah, of course, falls on the 15th of Nissan. Anytime that one mentions that Nissan is the first month of the year, one fulfills the Torah commandment of, "This month shall be to you, the first of the months".

(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 429:1. Maamar Mordekhai Haggim, 2:2, 3, 4,6)

ID: 294f0  No.3314

If a person has all his Hamess (חמץ - leaven) that he wishes to sell before Pesah (Passover), in one room, but is unable to sell the entire room, because he still needs to use some of the space over Pesah, he should make a partition in front of the Hamess. He should then rent out to the non Jew, the space up to the partition.

When selling the Hamess to the non Jew, he must specify in the contract that he is renting him the space up to to the partition. He must also stipulate in the contract, that the non Jew has the right to come and go to that place, should he wish to access the Hamess.

If a person wishes to leave his Hamess in a room belonging to his friend, which his friend is selling with his own Hamess, he must let him know that he is leaving it there so that he will be his Shaliyah (agent) and sell it for him. If he did not specify to him, there is a difference of opinion as to whether that Hamess is permitted after Pesah or not and one should consult an Orthodox Rabbi.

(See Kaf Hahayyim, 448, Oth 59 & 80)

ID: 294f0  No.3318

If one finds Hamess (חמץ - leaven) in his premises, on Shabbath or Yom Tob during Pesah (Passover), what should one do? There is the prohibition of Bal Yeraeh and Bal Yimaseh (Hamess may not be seen or be present) in one's premises. On the other hand, it may not be removed and burnt on Shabbath or Yom Tob.

One should cover it with a vessel till after Shabbath and/or Yom Tob, and then burn it right away after that. In addition to covering it, it is good to say the following:

"Master of the Universe, the reason why I am not burning the Hamess is because our Hakhamim forbade us to move it on account of Muqseh, and we are commanded to do what our Sages instruct us to do. Therefore, I am fulfilling your commandment".

(See Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 3:32)

ID: 294f0  No.3320

דַּבְּרוּ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ "Speak to the Children of Israel saying, [these] are the beasts that you shall eat" (Wayyiqra 11:2). The Torah commands many foods which we may eat and which we are forbidden to eat. All these come as a result of the great love that the Holy One blessed be He, has for his people Israel.

G-d knows what foods cause impurities in a man's heart and harm his soul, apart from foods that are harmful to the body itself. There is a story in the Aggadah about a certain illness that came to a town that affected all the people, but did not touch the Jewish community. After some investigation, it was found that the source was a type of fish that Jews were not permitted to eat.

Among the types of animals that are forbidden are ones that are known to have no mercy even on their own children. This could cause an aspect of cruelty in a person. That is why the Torah forbids a cow born of a female donkey, even though it displays all the external signs of a Kosher animal. This is in keeping with what our Rabbis of blessed memory said, that whatever comes from that which is impure, is itself impure.

(See Barukh Ta'am, Shemini)

ID: 294f0  No.3325

It would appear that, just as when making Qiddush, the one reciting it fulfills his obligation by drinking Melo Lughmaw (which is the majority of a Rebi'ith for an average person, but is dependant on the size of a person's mouth), so too, when making Habdalah, the one reciting it would fulfill his obligation with Melo Lughmaw.

The problem we run into, however, is that for the Berakha Ahronah (after blessing), there is a difference of opinion as to whether one may recite the blessing on the majority of a Rebi'ith or only on a full Rebi'ith. Since we apply the rule of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is doubt about a blessing, we do not recite it), we cannot say it on less than a Rebi'ith. As such, when reciting Habdalah, the one reciting it must drink a full Rebi'ith, and follow it with the Berakha 'Ahronah.

(See Qol Eliyahu, 9: 15)

ID: 294f0  No.3331

The difference between Massah Shemurah (מצה שמורה) and Massah that is not Shemurah is that the Shemurah Massah was guarded from the time it was harvested and not just from the time it was taken to the mill. It is guarded to ensure that it does not come into contact with any water, and for that reason, it needs to be harvested on a dry day.

This is the type of Massah that should be eaten at the Seder, and many have the custom of eating only Massah Shemurah throughout Pesah. One who does this should make a Tenai (stipulate) that he is not taking this on as an obligation but is doing so on this occasion only. If one needs to eat non Shemurah Massah, but always only ate Shemurah, without making a Tenai, he needs to make Hatarath Nedarim (annulment of vows).

As with all stringencies on Pesah, one should not feel that there is any question of arrogance or of separating from the congregation. One may not deride any stringency that a person takes upon himself on Pesah.

(Kaf Hahayyim 453, Oth 62-65)

ID: 294f0  No.3337

One may not do Melakha on 'Ereb Pesah after Halakhaic midday, even without remuneration. An exception is a worker who wouldn't have anything to eat over Pesah (Passover). He is permitted to work on 'Ereb Pesah after Midday. Even if the work in question is only a light form of Melakha, one may not do it for payment. If it is Melakha Gemura (complete Melakha), one may not even do it for free.

An example of Melakha Gemura would be doing laundry. One may not do this on 'Ereb Pesah after midday, even if one wishes to use the items on the Holiday, even in a washing machine. Starting a wash in a washing machine, before midday, may be permitted if one needs the clothes for the holiday, even if the wash continues passed midday. However, whatever is permitted to be done on Hol Hammo'ed (the intermediate days of the festival), is permitted to be done on 'Ereb Pesah.

Fixing items that one wishes to use on Yom Tob is permitted on 'Ereb Pesah. If one has clothing that tore, or a button that came off and one needs the clothes for Yom Tob, one may stitch them. One may even sew them for others, provided it is done without payment.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 468:1, 2. Kaf HaHayyim, ibid., Oth 18, 20, 21, 24. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 6, 7, 8. Pisqei Teshubah, ibid., 6)

ID: 294f0  No.3343

The month of Nisan has special importance attached to it. It is the first of all the months of the year, it is the month in which the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was established and it is, of course, the month in which we were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is for this reason that our Rabbis of blessed memory ordained that we should add the special reading for Shabbath HaHodesh.

The portion that we read is "Hahodesh Hazeh Lakhem" (this month shall be to you the first of the months). The word "Lakhem" (לכם) has the same letters in Hebrew as Melekh (king). Nisan is the "king" of all the months.

Shabbath Hahodesh is always the one just before Rosh Hodesh Nisan. If Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on Shabbath, then that Shabbath is designated as Shabbath Hahodesh.

(See Sefer HaToda'ah, Parashath HaHodesh)

ID: 294f0  No.3347

When Rosh Hodesh (the 1st of) Nisan falls during the week, the Shabbath before it is Shabbath HaHodesh. Two Sifrei Thorah are taken out. 7 people read the regular Parasha of the week from the first Sefer Torah. After the Mashlim (7th portion) is completed, a half Qaddish (Qaddish Le'eilla) is read as usual. The second Sefer Torah is then opened, and the portion of HaHodesh Hazeh Lakhem, from Parashath Bo (Shemoth 12:1), is then read as the Maftir. In Sephardi Synagogues, a half Qaddish is recited after this also.

When Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on Shabbath itself, that Shabbath is Shabbath HaHodesh. Three Sifrei Thorah are taken out in this case. Only six people read from the first, but complete the reading till the end of the Parasha. There is no Qaddish after this. The second Sefer Torah is opened and we read from the portion for Rosh Hodesh. After that reading a half Qaddish is recited.

The Maftir is HaHodesh Hazeh Lakhem and is read from the third Sefer. In Sephardi Synagogues, it is followed by the reading of a half Qaddish. The Haftarah is also a special one from Yehasqel (Ezekiel 45) which likewise speaks about Rosh Hodesh Nisan.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 685:4. Kaf Hahayyim 684, Oth 19)

ID: 294f0  No.3353

וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי יִמּוֹל בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ "And on the eighth day shall he be circumcised" (Wayyiqra 12:3). Ribbi Shim'on Ben Yohai's disciples asked him why a Milah must be on the eighth day (Niddah 31b). The answer was so that it wouldn't be that everyone was happy except the father and mother who were sad. This is because a woman was impure for seven days, after giving birth, but on the eighth day she was purified to be together with her husband, which was the day of the Milah of their son.

Rabban Shim'on Ben Gamliel said (Shabbath 130a) that any commandment that they accepted in happiness, such as Milah, they still do in happiness. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, said that he heard in the name of the holy Ben Ish Hai, that he asked why Hazal said "they 'still' do in happiness". They should simply have said, "they do in happiness".

He answered that one might have thought that these words of our Rabbis only applied in those days when a woman was permitted to her husband on the eighth day. However, since nowadays, it takes much longer for a woman to become permitted to her husband, one could think that the parents would be unhappy. Stating that they "still do in happiness", comes to tell us that even though the mother is still forbidden to her husband on the day of the Milah, nevertheless, they perform the commandment in happiness.

(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Tazria', Parparaoth)

ID: 294f0  No.3359

It says in Qol Eliyahu, that one may use any type of cup for Qiddush. However, one should use the best cup available, in order to glorify the Qiddush. This means that if one has a goblet made of gold, one should use it for Qiddush.

If one doesn't have a goblet made of gold, but has one made of silver, he should use the silver one for Qiddush. If he doesn't have a silver one, but only a glass one, he should make Qiddush with the glass cup. Having said that, if he has a large family and his glass cup is larger than the silver one, and will be sufficient for the entire family to drink from, he can choose the glass one over the silver one.

If the only type of cup he has available is a one-time use cup, he may use that for Qiddush, provided it holds a Rebi'ith of wine. He does not need to go to his neighbors to ask if he can borrow a different type of cup.

(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:18)

ID: 294f0  No.3366

The month of Nisan is an auspicious month, and no fasting is permitted the entire month. The obvious exception is the Ta'anith Bekhoroth (fast of the firstborn), which is directly connected to Pesah. Therefore, one should not fast even for a Yahrzeit of a parent.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether the Hathan (bridegroom) should fast on the day of his wedding (or both bride and bridegroom according to Ashkenazi custom), or not. The Mishnah Berurah states that the bride and groom do fast on the day of their wedding in the month of Nisan, even on Rosh Hodesh. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, a"h, writes that the groom should not fast in Nisan.

According to the Ben Ish Hai, those who ordinarily fast on the eve of every Rosh Hodesh, may still fast on the eve of Rosh Hodesh Iyyar, even though it is the last day of Nisan. One who had a bad dream and feels the need to fast in order to annul any bad portend that it may contain, as opposed to redeeming it with charity, may do so in Nisan.

(See Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 2:13)

ID: 294f0  No.3371

Pots, pans and other vessels that were used during the year for חמץ (Hamess), that one will not use over Pesah (Passover), should be washed and scrubbed, in order to remove any חמץ (Hamess) from them. They do not require Hagh'alah (purging), however. This should be done before the sixth hour on the eve of Pesah.

The Shulhan 'Arukh mentions that such vessels should be put away in a place that one does not ordinarily go to. In fact, it is preferable to place them in a room, lock it with a key and hide the key till after Pesah.

Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, writes that one should avoid storing these vessels in the kitchen. However, if one has no other option, one should tape up the cabinets in which they are placed, with a strong tape. That way, should one inadvertently try to open the cabinets on Pesah, the strong tape will remind him not to. He writes that it is not sufficient to simply stick a sign on it saying "Hamess".

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 451:1. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hilkhoth Hagim, 3:16-17)

ID: 294f0  No.3376

Because of the miracle that only the firstborn of the Egyptians died, but none of the Children of Israel, a firstborn male, whether of the father or the mother, must fast on 'Ereb Pesah (the eve of Passover). The plague of the firstborn applied to all firstborns, whether of the father or the mother, and that is why all firstborns must fast. The Shulhan 'Arukh mentions that some say that firstborn women should also fast, however, that is not the prevalent custom.

The firstborn of a Kohen or Lewi must also fast, even though they are exempt from Pidyon HaBen. One who was born after a miscarriage, does fast. However, if the mother gave birth to a child after a full term, but the child died within thirty days, then the child who was born after that is not considered to be a firstborn, as far as this fast is concerned.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama 470:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Saw, Oth 25. Kaf Hahayyim 470 Oth 1-3, 8. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 1-3)

ID: 294f0  No.3380

The Seder is conducted in a manner that will pique the children's curiosity, so that they will ask why this night is different (Mah Nishtannah). For example, the head of the household's second cup is refilled right after he drinks the first. Since this is before the meal, and is the only time it is done this way, it should prompt the children to ask why that is so.

If the father finds that his son does not think to ask these questions, he should teach him to ask. He should make him aware of the kinds of changes and encourage him to ask about them when he sees them.

If he has no children, the wife should ask him. If that is not an option either, he should ask himself. Even Talmidei Hakhamim (Torah scholars), sitting together, should ask each other, "Mah Nishtannah?".

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 473:3)

ID: 294f0  No.3383

The Gemara tells us ('Arakhin 15b) that the rectification for one who speaks Lashon Hara', is to study Torah. The Rambam divided speech into 5 different categories.

1) מצוה (a Miswah). Speech that is used for studying Torah and praying.
2) נזהר (to be careful). One must be careful not to speak Lashon Hara' and other forbidden speech.
3) נמאס (detested). This refers to idle chatter and exaggeration.
4) אהוב (beloved). This is speech which is praise of higher attributes.
5) מותר (permitted). Speech to do with business and other bodily matters.

If a person uses his speech for the first category, which is the study of Torah, he will be saved from Lashon Hara', as the Gemara explains. A person should, therefore, try to elevate all aspects of his speech, even if needed for business, or the like, to the level that eventually, it is all for the purpose of Torah study.

(See Adereth Eliyahu, Taharoth 14:8)

ID: 294f0  No.3387

On Shabbath morning, before Shahrith, men may have a cup of tea or coffee in order to calm their minds, and take medication, if necessary. They do not make Qiddush beforehand, since their obligation for Qiddush starts after they pray Shahrith. Women, on the other hand, may drink, eat cake and the like before Shahrith, but need to make Qiddush first.

The question is asked in Qol Eliyahu, as to whether a man who is thirsty or hungry on Shabbath morning, may eat and drink before Shahrith. The response is that if the person would not be able to pray without eating or drinking, he is permitted to eat or drink because, in this case he is like one who is unwell.

According to the Mishnah Berurah, he must make Qiddush before he eats and drinks. The Kaf Hahayyim, on the other hand, is of the opinion that he does not need to make Qiddush beforehand. And this is the custom of Sephardim. It should be noted that the eating should be done in private. Also, once the person is no longer hungry or thirsty, he should stop eating.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 289:1. Qol Eliyahu, 9:22. Rambam Shabbath 29:10. Mishna Berura 287:7. Kaf Hahayyim, 289, Oth 16. Shemirath Shabbath Kehilkhatha 40:45, also 52:12.)

ID: 294f0  No.3390

G-d tells Moses to instruct the Children of Israel to ask the Egyptians for objects made of silver and of gold. This was done before G-d brought the plague of the firstborn, as part of his war against the Egyptians. Normally, the winning side in a war, takes its spoils after the victory against the enemy. How is it that G-d instructed them to take the spoils before the plague of the firstborn?

When G-d goes to war on behalf of the Jewish people, any spoils of war become sanctified to Him. G-d's purpose in instructing the Children of Israel to take the vessels of silver and gold before He smote the Egyptians, is so that they would not be considered spoils of war, per se, and would belong to the Children of Israel themselves.

Had they asked for these items afterwards, they would have been consecrated to G-d and they would not have left Egypt with the great wealth (Birkhush Gadol) that G-d had promised.

(See Ben Ish Hai Derushim, Parashath Bo 11:1, 2)

ID: 294f0  No.3391

If, when praying the 'Amidah on Yom Tob, one forgot to mention the name of the Holiday at all (Pesah, Shabu'oth, etc., but only said, "Eth Yom Tob Miqra Qodesh HaZeh", and ended the blessing, "Barukh Meqaddesh Yisrael, We HaZemannim", one fulfills one's obligation. One does not have to repeat the blessing, since one did say that it is a Holiday.

If one prayed the weekday 'Amidah instead of the Holiday one, and only after saying, "HaMahazir Shekhinatho LeSion", but before saying the word "Modim", realized the error, one should say, "Ya'aleh WeYabo", and complete the prayer.

If one realized the error before taking three steps back, one must go back to "Attah Behartanu" and repeat the 'Amidah from that point. However, if one said the last "Yihyu LeRason", or took three steps back, one must go back to the beginning of the 'Amidah".

(See Kaf HaHayyim, 487, Oth 5 and 6)

ID: 294f0  No.3393

We start to count the 'Omer from the second night of Pesah (Passover). Ordinarily, whenever there is a specific commandment that comes yearly, we recite the blessing of Sheheheyanu on it. In the case of Sefirath Ha'Omer (the counting of the Omer), however, all agree that Sheheheyanu is not recited. Why is that?

There are several reasons for it. The Kaf HaHayyim mentions that the reason is because it is only something that is done as a remembrance. It is in memory of the Miqdash. Furthermore, we only find the blessing of Sheheheyanu when there is pleasure associated with the commandment. For instance, in the case of the Lulab, it comes for rejoicing, or blowing the Shofar, which comes as a remembrance of our Father in Heaven, or the reading of Meghillath Esther which tells how G-d had mercy on us. This commandment does not remind us of any pleasure. On the contrary, it reminds us of the sadness of the destruction of the Beth HaMiqdash (Temple).

The opinion of the Lebush is different. He mentions that the counting is for the purpose of the Yom Tob (Festival), and that the Sheheheyanu of the Festival covers it also. Additionally, since it is counting up to Shabu'oth, it isn't logical to say Sheheheyanu on something that hasn't come.

(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 489:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 3. Lebush ibid., 1)

ID: 294f0  No.3398

The table should be set during the day before Pesah starts, so that one can start the Seder as soon as it becomes dark. The reason is that we don't want the little children to go to sleep. However, Qiddush must not be made till the stars come out.

Even though on Shabbath and other holy days, one may add from the 'profane to the holy' and make Qiddush before nightfall, Pesah is different, because the time to eat the Massah (מצה), is at night. We learn this from the fact that the Pesah sacrifice was eaten with Massah and bitter herbs, and the Torah commanded that the Pesah sacrifice must be eaten at night.

Even though one may argue that even if we started Qiddush before nightfall, by the time we make Qiddush and read the Haggadah, it will be well into the night when the time comes to eat the Massah, nevertheless, we cannot start till the stars come out. The reason is that the four cups and all other aspects of the Seder, including the Haggadah itself, need to be after dark, because it must all be "בשעה שמצה ומרור מונחים לפניך" ('at the time when the unleavened bread and bitter herbs are placed before you').

(See Shulhan 'Arukh 472:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 4)

ID: 294f0  No.3404

The actual cups that are used for the four cups (Arba' Kosoth), must be rinsed out, inside and out before using, even if they are clean. This applies to the first cup. However, ideally, they should be rinsed before every cup, and this is the appropriate custom. If the cup is dirty, or someone else drank from it or there is some food left in it, it must be rinsed. The cups must be whole with no nicks or the like.

Each cup should be at least the size of a Rebi'ith, which is 3 ozs., according to the Ben Ish Hai. There are differing opinions, including 5.3 ozs., according to the Hazon Ish. When choosing a cup, one should bear in mind that one is obligated to drink the majority of the cup, irrespective of how large it is. As such, it would be most prudent to use a smaller cup, provided it holds at least a Rebi'ith.

(See Maamar Mordekhai, Hagim, 11:39, 40, 42)

ID: 294f0  No.3405

The smiting of the firstborn was not carried out by an angel, but by the Holy One blessed be He. The holy Zohar explains that the level of impurity in Egypt was so great, that the angels were afraid to go there. That is why G-d had to smite them himself.

Another reason as to why G-d himself carried out the slaying of the firstborn, is on account of His love for Israel. The fact that He went himself, demonstrated that it was not out of hatred for the Egyptians, because then He would have sent an Angel. Since it was on account of His love for the Jewish people, G-d came down Himself, to smite the Egyptians.

(See Hayyim WeShalom, 92:5. Zohar Bo, 35b)

ID: 294f0  No.3407

We read "Anna H' Hoshi'ah Na" (Please, O L-rd, save, please), in the Hallel. The question is why does the beginning of the verse use the word "Anna" (אנא) in full, but at the end of the verse it says "Na" (נא) in its diminutive form, which is just half of the word "Anna"?

The Haggadah, "Abihem Shel Yisrael", quotes Rabbi Meir Waqnin, 'a"h, who was the Chief Rabbi of Tiberius, who asked how we can understand the Gemara of Sanhedrin (98a), which says that Mashiyah (Ben Dawid) will only come when the generation is fully worthy, or completely unworthy. Such a thing could never occur. There will never be a situation where the entire Jewish people will be wicked, Heaven forbid, because there will always be those who are righteous. On the other hand, there will never be a generation which is entirely righteous, because there will always be those who will be going down the wrong path.

The answer is that when we request G-d to save us, by using the diminutive "Na" (נא), we are asking that even if just half of the Jewish people are worthy and half are unworthy, G-d will still save us. This akin to the Qorban Pesah (Passover sacrifice), which was also offered "Na", half roasted and half cooked.

(See Haggadah Abihem Shel Yisrael)

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