ID: 294f0 No.2767
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)
ID: 294f0 No.2774
During the Festival of Sukkoth, the Sukkah is used for a holy purpose, that of fulfilling the commandment of dwelling in booths. Therefore, after the Festival, one must be careful how one treats it, even after it has been dismantled.
One must treat it with respect, even after it has been dismantled, in the same way that one must treat respectfully, any item which has been used for a Miswah, such as Sissith (ציצית). One should not step on the boards or treat the Sukkah in any other disrespectful manner.
Wood from the Sukkah, that is no longer needed, and will not be used again the following year, must also be treated in a respectful manner. There are those who use it to heat the oven for baking Massah (מצה) on Pesah (Passover). Others use them as firewood for the Hagh'alah (purging) of vessels before Pesah.
(Seee Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hilkhoth Haggim, 55:34)
ID: 294f0 No.2778
וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֱ-לֹ-הִים לֹא־טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂה לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ "And the L-rd G-d said, it is not good for the man to be on his own, I will make a help for him, against him" (Bereshith 2:18). Rashi explains that this is so that they won't say that there are two authorities (Rashuyoth). G-d, who is a Yahid (on His own), in Heaven, with no partner, and Adam who is on earth with no wife.
ID: 294f0 No.2779
וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֱ-לֹ-הִים לֹא־טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂה לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ "And the L-rd G-d said, it is not good for the man to be on his own, I will make a help for him, against him" (Bereshith 2:18). Rashi explains that this is so that they won't say that there are two authorities (Rashuyoth). G-d, who is a Yahid (on His own), in Heaven, with no partner, and Adam who is on earth with no wife.
The Maharal MiPrague writes that the words "Lo Tob" (not good), are not referring to the fact that, without a wife, man could not beget children, because that is a side point that is incidental to him not having a wife. Lo Tob is referring to the fact that it is not good for man to be alone, because if he were made to be alone, he would have been a god. And since he is not a god, it goes without saying that he needs a partner.
Obviously, when G-d created man, he intended for him to have a wife, and through that, he would beget children. However, having children is not the main reason and it is possible, that if a man were meant to be on his own, he would never have been created. That is why, even if a man has children, he must have a wife and not live by himself.
ID: 294f0 No.2782
Even though, according to Halakha, one may cut one's hair the entire day, even with a Jewish hairdresser, nevertheless, the ideal situation every Friday, is to cut one's hair before Halakhaic midday. Indeed, the holy Ari, z"l, was particular to always cut his hair before midday. He would do so, irrespective of whether he cut his hair on Friday or any other day of the week.
It says in Meqabsiel, that in light of this, even though one is permitted to cut one's hair after midday – and many do cut their hair on Friday afternoon in honor of Shabbath – nevertheless, one who is careful in all the Miswoth will be particular to cut his hair before midday, at all times.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year, Lekh Lekha, Oth 30)
ID: 294f0 No.2784
The rules of reciting the blessing (Berakha) of HaTob WehaMetib over wine are very complex. For that reason, one should avoid being in a situation that might require it, but if one feels that it is required, one should only recite the blessing in one's heart. We will enumerate the conditions, B'E"H, over the next several Halakhoth.
The fundamental requirement for this blessing is that the blessing of Borei Peri HaGefen was said on a wine, and that subsequently, a superior quality wine was brought to the table. The blessing is recited on the latter superior wine.
If the two wines were of equal quality, however, the blessing may not be recited. If it is possible, but not certain, that the second wine is superior to the first, then, if all the other conditions which we will lay out, B'EH, are met, the blessing may be recited.
(To be continued).
(See Qisur Sh. A., Rabbi Raphael Toledano, 173:16)
ID: 294f0 No.2788
If one has two wines in front of him, one better than the other, he should not say the blessing of Borei Peri HaGefen on the inferior one, in order to subsequently recite the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib on the superior one. By reciting Borei Peri HaGefen on the superior wine, one avoids getting into the difference of opinion as to whether one should or should not recite HaTob WehaMetib on the better wine, if one said Borei Peri HaGefen first, on the inferior wine.
In any case, even if one incorrectly recited Borei Peri HaGefen on the inferior wine, one should not say HaTob WehaMetib when drinking the superior wine because of the concept of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (not reciting a blessing when there is a doubt).
Even if the superior wine was not in front of him when he recited the blessing of Borei Peri HaGefen, but he had requested that it be brought to the table when he recites Borei Peri HaGefen, he should not recite the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib when drinking the second wine, even if he knows it to be superior.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 175:3. Kaf Hahayyim, 175, Oth 9)
ID: 294f0 No.2791
If they finished the wine on the table and, since no more of the same wine was available, they brought a superior wine, the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib should not be recited. There is a difference of opinion in a case where they were drinking wine and it finished, and they could have brought more of the same wine, but brought a better wine instead.
There are those who are of the opinion that HaTob WehaMetib should be recited on the better wine. However, since others disagree, it would appear that one should apply the concept of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel, and not recite HaTob WehaMetib.
If someone was drinking wine and decided not to drink any more, but later they brought him more wine, he must say the Berakha (blessing) of Borei Peri HaGefen, because, in his mind, he had finished drinking wine. If the new wine that they brought him was of a superior quality, there are those who say that he must recite both Borei Peri Hagefen and HaTob We haMetib. However, others opine that only Borei Peri HaGefen should be recited. In view of this, one should only recite HaGefen and not recite any blessing about which there is a doubt.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 175, Oth 6 and 7)
ID: 294f0 No.2798
If a person is drinking white wine and they later bring him red wine which is of a superior quality, he recites the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib. We mentioned previously that if it is possible, but not certain, that the second wine that is brought to the table is superior to the first, the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib, may be recited (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-10-07
). However, if he was drinking white wine and they subsequently brought him a red one, and there was a doubt whether or not it was superior to the white, the blessing should not be said.
An additional requirement which must be met for a person to be able to say HaTob WehaMetib on wine, is that he must not be drinking alone, but that someone else must be drinking with him. His wife and children qualify for this purpose, and if they are drinking with him, the blessing may be recited if the other conditions are met. If they are not drinking with him, he may not recite the blessing.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 175:4. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid, 21)
ID: 294f0 No.2802
וַתָּבֹא אֵלָיו הַיּוֹנָה לְעֵת עֶרֶב וְהִנֵּה עֲלֵה זַיִת טָרָף בְּפִיהָ וַיֵּדַע נֹחַ כִּי קַלּוּ הַמַּיִם מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ "And the dove came to him, in the evening, and behold, a plucked olive leaf was in its mouth, and Noah knew that the waters had abated on the earth" (Bereshith 8:11). According to the Ramban, the simple meaning is that the trees did not get destroyed in the flood, because there was so much water on the earth that it was not possible for there to be any raging torrents.
In Midrash Rabba, however, Rabbi Levi says that the leaf came from Har HaZeithim (the Mount of Olives), because the Land of Israel did not get flooded. Rabbi Bibi said that the leaf came from Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). The Ramban asks on this how it is possible to learn that the waters subsided, if the leaf came from a place that was never flooded and offers explanations.
The Alshikh HaQadosh comments that if the leaf was brought from the Land of Israel, the distance that the dove would have to travel was substantial. As such, it could not have done it without stopping. This proved that the waters had receded somewhat, permitting the dove to perch on something en route.
(See Ramban on the Torah, 8:11. Alshikh on the Torah 8:7-12)
ID: 294f0 No.2804
One should cut one's fingernails and toenails every Friday. If they do not grow fast enough, one should cut them every other Friday. One need not be concerned about cutting them on the same day, since this was the custom of the Ari, z"l. (See http://www.atorahminute.com/2010-11-07
concerning when Rosh Hodesh falls on Friday).
It says in Meqabsiel that when cutting one's nails, one must take care not to let any of the nails fall on one's clothes. It goes without saying that one should not cut them directly on one's clothes, because we are told that one causes harm to oneself, by doing so. Both men and women should be concerned about this.
The Hesed La-alafim writes that one must be careful not to place nails on any clothing. It makes no difference if they are fingernails or toenails.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year, Lekh Lekha, Oth 31, 34)
ID: 294f0 No.2809
The reason why there must be someone else drinking with him ( http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-10-10
), in order for a person to be able to recite the Berakha (blessing) of HaTob WeHametib, on a better wine that was brought later to the table, is because it implies that HaTob (the good), refers to him, and WeHaMetib (does good) applies to the one drinking with him.
It is not sufficient that two people are sitting together and drinking wine during the meal, but they have to be drinking the same wine. Even in a case where they drank separate wine initially, but when the better wine was brought to the table, they both drank from it, they should not recite HaTob WehaMetib.
There is also a question as to whether or not the blessing should be recited in a case where they both drank from the first wine, but only one of them drank from the second. As such, in both these cases, the blessing of HaTob WehaMetib should not be recited.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, 175:4. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 26)
ID: 294f0 No.2812
The blessing of HaTob WehaMetib may only be recited if a full Rebi'ith (3ozs.) was drunk from the first wine. Additionally, it has to have been drunk in one go, and not sipped or drunk in several gulps. Furthermore, the second, superior wine must also be drunk in the same manner.
If a full Rebi'ith of either one of the wines, was not drunk in one go, the blessing may not be recited. It mentions in the Kaf HaHayim that there is an opinion that it would be sufficient to drink a cheekful of each (Melo Lughmaw) on one go, but that one should not rely on that opinion.
An additional complication with reciting HaTob WehaMetib over wine, is when there are guests. Under normal circumstances, in such a case, neither the guests, nor the host should recite the blessing. If they wish to recite the blessing, they should place the bottle on the table and give it as a gift to all those who are at the table, so that they all own a portion of it. If this is not done, they should not bless.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 175, Oth 10 and 23)
ID: 294f0 No.2816
In addition to all the rules that we have previously mentioned, that must be met in order to be able to recite HaTob WehaMetib on wine, is that the wine must be drunk during a Se'uddah (proper meal). In other words, one must be eating a meal with bread, and drinking the wine during the meal.
If all the conditions are met and one is able to recite the blessing with Shem Umalkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom), but forgot to recite it, as long as there is more wine in the bottle or decanter, one may still recite the blessing and continue drinking.
It is apparent, however, when considering the multitude of conditions that need to be met that we have been enumerating, that it is very difficult to ensure that one meets all the criteria necessary, to permit the recitation of the blessing. I sometimes see people gleefully recite the blessing Hatob WehaMetib on a different bottle of wine that is brought to the table, without considering whether they are taking G-d's Name in vain, Heaven forbid. As such, as mentioned previously, unless one is absolutely certain, one should recite the blessing without Shem Umalkhuth, and should say those words in mind alone.
(See Mishna Berurah, 175:2, 15)
ID: 294f0 No.2819
One of the most dangerous times for not remembering what part of the prayers one has said, or not said, is in the morning after one wakes up. This is true, all the more so, when one is particularly tired. The question is, what should one do if one nods off during the Birkhoth Hashahar (morning blessings) and doesn't remember where one was.
Whatever blessing one is uncertain about, whether one said it or not, should not be recited. Even though one must be very careful not to speak words of Torah till one has recited the Birkhoth HaTorah (blessings on the Torah), one should not recite them if one is uncertain whether one said them or not. Instead, one should make the effort to hear them from someone else who is reciting them, and each one should have in mind that the one who is listening will fulfill his obligation through his friend's Berakha.
If this is not possible, one should recite the Torah blessings without Shem or Malkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom). It seems to me that the same would apply to all the blessings that one is uncertain about, that one should say them without Shem or Malkhuth.
(See Meqabsiel, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 32)
ID: 294f0 No.2822
לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ, G-d tells Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, to leave his homeland, to go to another land where he would make him into a great nation. It would seem, quite likely though, that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, could have been effective at converting people where he was, to believe in the existence of G-d. What was the necessity to leave?
The Alshikh writes that the people in his home town of Haran, were not his progeny and would not be able to reach the high spiritual level required. In the land that G-d would show him, he would be able to have children of his own, who will be able to reach a much higher moral standard.
It would seem to me that the instruction of לֶךְ לְךָ (Lekh Lekha) itself, hints to the fact that the great nation that G-d is referring to, must come from Abraham Abinu's, 'a"h, own descendents. The Gematria of Lekh Lekha in Hebrew is 100. The word ממך Mimmekha (from you) is also 100. This hints at the fact that going to the Land that G-d would show him, would guarantee that the great nation that G-d was promising, would descend "from him".
(See Alshikh on the Torah, Parashat Lekh Lekha)
ID: 294f0 No.2823
Our Rabbis of blessed memory tell us (Niddah 17a), that when cutting nails, one who burns the nails that he cut off, is considered pious, one who buries them is righteous, and one who throws them out is wicked. Today, the prevalent custom is not to burn or bury the nails, but to flush them down the toilet.
Based on what is written in Meqabsiel, it would appear that flushing them away is considered the same as burying them, and may even be preferable to burying them. The reason is that if they are buried, there is the the fear that it could be that some time in the future, they would become unearthed.
If, while cutting one's nails, one of them should fall to the floor, one should make a concerted effort to find it. If one cannot find it, the floor should be swept and, since it will have moved away from where it fell, one need not be concerned anymore. However, it is good to follow the stricter opinion and throw out all the dust that one swept.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year, Lekh Lekha, Oth 35)
ID: 294f0 No.2825
אַךְ טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּי וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית ה' לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים "May good and loving kindness follow after me, all my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the L-rd for the length of days" (Tehillim 23:6). G-d could easily give a person his livelihood at the beginning of the year, to use, bit by bit, throughout the year.
At first, this might even appear to be preferable, because a person will know exactly what he is getting, and will not have to be worried throughout the year. By getting it daily, however, we have the opportunity to thank G-d on a daily basis for the good that He does for us. This shows our love for Him.
Additionally, it shows G-d's love for us. If He gave us everything at the beginning of the year, it would be as if He were saying, "Here's your gift, thank me once, then leave Me alone for the rest of the year". The fact that He gives it to us daily, demonstrates that He gets pleasure in seeing us every day.
(See Ben Ish Hayil 1, Shabbath HaGadol, 3)
ID: 294f0 No.2828
The famous Amora (early Talmudist) Shemuel, said that compared to his father he was like vinegar, the son of wine (חלא בר חמרא) (Hullin 105a). Why did he say this? Because his father used to inspect his property twice a day, whereas Shemuel inspected his, only once a day.
When G-d blesses us with Parnassah (income), we are obligated to give charity from it, to those who need. We are also entitled to benefit and enjoy it (without flaunting it, obviously). However, we may not waste it.
The reason is that G-d is the One who gave it to us. In view of this, taking care of our money and doing what we can, not to lose it, shows that it is very dear to us (see Hullin 91a). Checking up on our possessions and ensuring that they are protected is considered to be serving G-d. We can learn this from Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, who returned to the other side of the river to retrieve comparatively unimportant flasks, that he had left behind.
(See Ben Yehoyada', Mas. Hullin)
ID: 294f0 No.2832
May food or drink be used to clean clothes, or would that be considered to be treating food with disrespect? This question is asked in Dibrei Mordekhai.
One must know that there is a fundamental difference between bread and any other kind of food. Bread must be treated with great respect and may not be used for any purpose, other than eating. That is why one must be careful not to let bread get wet, either by pouring water near it which may splash on it, or by placing something wet on it, and so on. The reason is, that if bread gets wet, people are repulsed by it and will not eat it.
Other foods, if they are being used for a specific purpose, such as to clean clothes, or to remove stains with vinegar, such a use is permitted. The reason is that it is not demeaning to the food and, on the contrary, serves a specific purpose or need. However, to merely take food and throw it away in a disrespectful manner, is not permitted.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayhi, Halakha)
ID: 294f0 No.2836
Throwing food away in a disrespectful manner, is not permitted. Even when throwing candies in a Synagogue, when there is a Simha or other celebration, it is preferable to only throw wrapped candies. If they are not wrapped it is not so respectful to the candies. Additionally, they land on the ground where people walk, and most people would be repulsed by it and unwilling to eat them. They can also dirty the Synagogue if they are not wrapped. In all cases, one must be particular to clean the Synagogue, so that it does not remain dirty.
One may throw food, however, if it doesn't render it repulsive in the eyes of people. One may, therefore, pass food to a friend by throwing it to him. Bread, however, may not be thrown under any circumstances (see "Not Throwing Bread to Others" http://www.atorahminute.com/2010-06-15
It is appropriate to mention that while food, other than bread, may be used for purposes other than eating (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-10-23
), the Shulhan 'Arukh states that one may not use wine to wash one's hands.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 171:1. Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayhi, Halakha)
ID: 294f0 No.2838
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר עָמַד שָׁם אֶת פְּנֵי ה "And Abraham arose early in the morning, and went to the place where he stood before the L-rd" (Bereshith 19:27). Our Rabbis of blessed memory, learn from this Pasuq (verse), that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, instituted the morning prayer (Berakhoth 26b).
Does this mean that he only prayed Shahrith, but not Minha and 'Arbith? Clearly not, because Hazal tell us in the Gemara of Yoma (28b), that the Aboth (Patriarchs) kept the entire Torah, even the commandment of Eirub Tabshilin.
It says in Benayahu that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, surely prayed all three prayers, every day. However, he only established Shahrith as an obligation upon the rest of his household, but not Minha and 'Arbith. The reason being that he was a Prophet, and saw that in the future, Yis-haq Abinu, 'a"h (Isaac), and Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h (Jacob), would institute those prayers, respectively. As such, he wanted them to have the merit to have those prayers associated with their names.
(See Benayahu on Berkhoth 27b)
ID: 294f0 No.2839
Every Friday afternoon, Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, would cut his fingernails and toenails. He would cut them in order and was not concerned about cutting them in the order mentioned by the Abudarham. After that, they would bring him hot water and he would wash his face and then his hands, and dry them with a towel. He would then wash his feet and dry them.
It says in Meqabsiel that we have several things to learn from this. In particular, even though we take showers and baths instead nowadays, nevertheless, the point about him drying his feet is significant. It says in the Gemara of Pesahim (111b), that putting on one's shoes while one's feet are still wet, is harmful to one's eyesight.
We also learn from this, that the feet must be dried with a towel and not with one's clothes. It should be noted, however, that if one's feet are wet because one just stepped out of a Miqweh, then the rule about not wearing one's shoes while one's feet are still damp, does not apply, and we are not concerned about it.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year, Lekh Lekha, Oth 39)
ID: 294f0 No.2844
The Shebet Mussar, provides the following explanation of Gan 'Eden (the Garden of Eden). In each corner of the Garden there are 800,000 trees of different types. The smallest of them is the finest of all scent producing trees. In each corner there are also 600,000 ministering angels, singing loudly.
The tree of life is in the center and it's body covers the entire Garden of Eden. It contains 500,000 tastes, and no two tastes are the same. Neither are any two scents the same. There are seven clouds of glory above and four winds blow on it. It's sent carries from one end of the world to the other.
Beneath it, Talmidei Hakhamim (Torah scholars) elucidate the Torah. Each one of them have two Huppoth (canopies), one of stars and one of the sun and moon. Inside it, there are 310 worlds. Within it, there are seven groups of Saddiqim.
To be continued.
(See Shebet Mussar, ch. 25)
ID: 294f0 No.2847
In Gan 'Eden (the Garden of Eden) there are 7 chambers of צדיקים (the righteous). In the first one are those who died for the faith, such as Ribbi 'Aqiba, 'a"h, and his friends/associates. Second, are those who drowned in the sea. Third, Ribbi Yohanan Ben Zakkai and his disciples. Fourth are those upon whom the cloud descended and covered them.
In the fifth chamber are all Ba'alei Teshubah (those who repented), as we say, in a place where Ba'alei Teshubah stand, the completely righteous are unable to stand (במקום שבעלי תשובה עומדים, אין צדיקים גמורים יכולים לעמוד). In the sixth chamber are those who are single but never tasted sin in their lives. In the seventh chamber are the poor who studied Miqra, Mishnah and Derekh Eres.
The Holy One, blessed be He, sits between them and explains His Torah.
(See Shebet Mussar, ch. 25)
ID: 294f0 No.2850
One is forbidden from buying stolen items from the one who stole it. Not only that, but one is forbidden to assist the robber in creating some change in the object, because doing so, somewhat changes the status of the object, inasmuch as the item may not have to be returned, but only the value. Whoever does any of these things strengthens the hand of the the perpetrator, and also transgresses the negative Torah commandment of Lifne 'Iwer (not placing a stumbling in front of the blind).
There is a concept of "Ye-ush", where a person gives up hope of ever retrieving a lost object, and this has implications to do with its ownership. One who finds such an object is permitted to keep it. In the case of a stolen item, however, one may not benefit from any stolen object, if he knows for certain, that it was stolen. The example that it given is that if an animal is stolen, one may not ride on it or plow with it.
(See Rambam, Hilkhoth Gezelah We'abedah, 5:1,2)
ID: 294f0 No.2851
One may not receive any benefit from one who steals. If some of what one is benefiting from actually belongs to the one he is benefiting from, then it is permitted. It is even permitted if the percentage of what belongs legally to the one who stole, is much smaller than the percentage of what he has stolen. However, if one knows that the item that one is benefiting from was, in fact, stolen, then one may not benefit from it.
The Hakhamim made many other things fall under the category of robbing (Gezel), and are thus forbidden. Among them is gambling with dice or other items. Agreeing that the winner takes money from the others, is considered to be robbing the others, according to Rabbinical law. The fact that the losers willingly parted with their money, is irrelevant. The fact that the money was taken from them for nothing, and just as a game, makes it considered to be robbery.
Betting on animals, such as on chickens or horse races, is likewise forbidden. Anyone who indulges in it is considered to be involved in robbery, in accordance with Rabbinical law.
(See Rambam, Hilkhoth Gezelah We'abedah, 5:8, 6:7, 10
ID: 294f0 No.2856
אֲשֶׁר לֹא תִקַּח אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי מִבְּנוֹת הַכְּנַעֲנִי "that you will not take a wife for my son, from the daughters of Canaan" (Bereshith 24:3). Rabbenu Bahya tells us that Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, is warning Eliezer not to take a wife for Yis-haq Abinu, 'a"h, from a nation which is cursed. The fear is that she is likely to drag her husband down with her.
He writes that a man must not marry a woman on account of her beautiful looks. King Solomon, 'a"h, testifies to the fact that beauty is vanity (Hebel HaYofi - Mishlei 31:30). He should not marry a woman on account of her wealth, either. Money has the ability to grow wings and fly away. A man might be tempted to marry a woman because she is of important standing and hopes that he will achieve status and power because of her. This is also a mistake. If he does, he will be punished and will be unlikely to succeed in any of these three cases.
Instead, he must seek out a wife who fears G-d and hails from a family with a good name. He would do well to look closely at her brothers, because it is often the case that a girl bears similar character traits to her older brothers.
(See Rabbenu Bahya, on the Torah, Bereshith 24:3)
ID: 294f0 No.2859
If a Sheloshim (the 30th day of mourning), falls on Shabbath, there is a difference of opinion as to whether one may cut one's hair on Friday (which is only the 29th day), or not. While some permit it, others do not. Rabbenu the Hida, z"l, writes that the custom has become not to permit it. It says in Meqabsiel, that if a person finds it very difficult, and it causes him headaches, he can rely on those who are lenient and cut his hair on Friday.
This refers specifically to cutting one's hair. As far as cutting one's nails is concerned, however, one may cut one's nails on Friday. The reason is that there is a Sefeq Sefeqa (double doubt) in this matter. Some Rishonim say that it is permitted to cut one's nails after the Shib'ah (not the accepted custom). That opinion combined with the fact that cutting one's nails on Friday is in honor of Shabbath, is sufficient to permit it.
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, adds that there is an additional reason to permit it. For Kabbalistic reasons, one's nails should not protrude over the flesh, and since by the end of the Sheloshim they will be protruding substantially, they may be cut on Friday.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year, Lekh Lekha, Oth 46)
ID: 294f0 No.2863
How can one attain the delights of Gan 'Eden and the world to come? The Shebet Mussar gives us an intriguing explanation. As we know, a human being cannot survive without sleep. If a person stopped sleeping he would not be able to live. That is why our Rabbis of blessed memory stated (Sukkah 53a), that if one makes a vow not to sleep for three days, he is punished, and may sleep right away. This is because a person cannot go three days without sleep.
On the other hand, when a person sleeps he lives. What is almost contradictory, however, is that our Rabbis of blessed memory tell us that sleep is a one sixtieth part of death. In other words, a man's life in this world is dependent on death. Or to put it another way, when a person is willing to kill himself one sixtieth, by sleeping, he gets life, but when he keeps away from it, he dies.
What we learn from this is that, in order to attain the life of the world to come ('Olam HaEmeth), one must afflict oneself, by "killing oneself" (metaphorically), over the study of Torah. This is in keeping with the Pasuq in Parashath Huqqath, אדם כי ימות באוהל "A man who will die in a tent". "Tent" can refer to the place where Torah is studied (Berakhoth 43b).
(See Shebet Mussar, ch. 25)
ID: 294f0 No.2869
We live at a time where acts of terror are committed by perpetrators who happily blow themselves up, because they are promised the fulfillment of all their desires in the world to come, and/or that their families will be provided for, as a result of their actions. Hakham Eliyahu HaKohen, 'a"h, writes that he heard of a nation where the people considered their king to be a god.
The king only appeared in public once a year. He decreed that anyone who sacrificed himself for the king, would be assured that the king would provide the livelihood for his family after him. So on the day that the king appeared in public and did the rounds of the town, people would sacrifice themselves in front of him, in order to guarantee income for their children.
While such behavior is repulsive and categorically forbidden by the Jewish religion, nevertheless, there is something to be learned from it. The Shebet Mussar mentions that G-d is Emeth (truth) and so is His Torah. The world to come is for us and our children. By metaphorically killing ourselves over the study of the Torah and performance of the Miswoth, we guarantee ourselves a portion in the fruits of the world to come and for our children after us.
(See Shebet Musssar 25, Oth 15)
ID: 294f0 No.2873
A witness is commanded to provide testimony to the Beth Din (religious court), of all information that he is aware of. He is obligated, whether his testimony would cause his friend to be found guilty or whether it would cause him to be vindicated. In a case of testimony in a financial matter, this only applies if he was summoned by the Beth Din to testify.
If the witness is a great Torah scholar, and the Beth Din is on a lower level than he is, in wisdom, since it is not honorable for him to appear before them, on account of the honor to the Torah, he should decline to appear before them. This refers only to financial cases, however.
In cases of testimony to separate someone from doing something forbidden, or in matters pertaining to capital punishment, or corporal punishment, he must go and be a witness. This is because in any place where there is desecration of G-d's holy Name, we do not "hand out honor to the master".
(See Rambam, Mishneh Thorah, 1, 2)
ID: 294f0 No.2877
It says in the Gemara of Ta'anith (11a) that a man might say that there is no one to testify against him. It says that the stones and beams of his house will testify against him. It was taught in the school of Rab Shila, that the two ministering angels who accompany each person, testify against him. Rab Hidqa says that a man's own soul testifies against him and another opinion states that his own limbs will testify against him.
It asks in Ben Yehoyada', how it could be that a person's limbs could testify against him, if they themselves are being judged. The answer is that the Gemara is speaking about the impression that the sin makes on the parts of the body that were responsible for committing the sin. Therefore, it is not like a verbal testimony that one makes in court, but is like evidence that is brought for the court to see, such as a signed contract.
(See Ben Yehoyada', Ta'anith 11a)
ID: 294f0 No.2883
For a more in-depth video on this topic by Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe, please visit the NonstopTorah.com link above.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִצְחָק מַדּוּעַ בָּאתֶם אֵלָי וְאַתֶּם שְׂנֵאתֶם אֹתִי וַתְּשַׁלְּחוּנִי מֵאִתְּכֶם "And Isaac said to them, why did you all come to me, when you hated me and drove me away from you" (Bereshith 26:27). The Ohr Hahayyim writes that Yis-haq Abinu, 'a"h, (Isaac) says to Abimelekh and his friends, that it is not possible that they would not hate him anymore.
Regular hatred of another can dissipate in time. Hatred that is based on jealousy, however, never ends, as long as the jealousy remains. He is telling them that their hatred of him was on account of jealousy, and in view of that, their hatred for him could not disappear, but would remain, contrary to what they would have him believe.
This should be a cautionary tale for all of us, not to behave in such a manner, as would cause others to be jealous of us. Whatever our blessings are, we should be careful not to flaunt them, whether they are financial blessings, or children, and so on. In particular, as the Jewish people, we must also act with modesty in all areas, so as not to arouse unnecessary jealousy in the hearts of others.
(See Ohr Hahayyim, Bereshith 26:27)
ID: 294f0 No.2886
Even though one should wash one's entire body before Shabbath, if, for whatever reason, one is unable to take a bath or shower, one must at least wash one's face, hands and feet in warm water. Indeed, the order is important. One must first wash one's face, then wash one's hands and, finally, wash one's feet. It is also important to use warm water. There are hidden reasons for this, according to the Ari, z"l.
One should know that the palms of one's hands and one's feet, are the extremities of the body. As a result of this, the Qelipoth (evil husks), attach themselves to them. The Qelipoth attach themselves more strongly to the feet, because the full force of their attachment is found there. Nevertheless, the merit of the holiness of Shabbath is so strong, that it is able to push away the Qelipoth, through the washing, even from there.
(See Meqabsiel, 2nd year Lekh Lekha, Oth 38)
ID: 294f0 No.2887
מִשְׁלֵי שְׁלֹמֹה בֵּן חָכָם יְשַׂמַּח אָב וּבֵן כְּסִיל תּוּגַת אִמּוֹ "A wise son makes a father glad; but a foolish son is the grief of his mother." (Mishlei 10:1). The Gemara of Niddah (36b), asks why a woman should bring a Qorban (sacrifice), after childbirth. It answers that when she is giving birth, she [her Nefesh/soul] makes a Shebu'ah (swears), that she will have no more relations with her husband.
Later, she regrets it and wishes to transgress what she swore and be with her husband again. She brings a sacrifice on account of the desecration of the Shebu'ah. This is something that is repeated every time. Each time she gets pregnant and gives birth, she swears not to repeat it and every time she regrets it and brings a Qorban.
And so it is with everyone. The way of man is to sin and then repent. At that moment he says that he will never return to his foolish ways. But then he sins again, and once again returns to Teshubah (repents). In fact, what he is doing is following and imitating the pattern set by his mother, by doing something wrong and regretting it, but doing the wrong thing again. This is the explanation of "a foolish son is the grief of his mother".
(See Ben Ish Hai Derashoth, Tazria', 12:4)
ID: 294f0 No.2892
Mishlei (Proverbs), was written by Shelomo HaMelekh (King Solomon), 'a"h. When he writes in Mishlei that a foolish son is the grief of his mother, the Ben Ish Hai explains it as meaning that the foolish son mimics his mother's example, after she suffers the intense pains of childbirth, of swearing not to have any more children, but some time later, regretting it, but then again swearing not to have more children when she gives birth again, repeating the same process over and over again (see).
That is why Bath Sheba', King Solomon's mother, said to him that if he should sin, and then regret it and sin again, and then regret it again, and, nevertheless, sin once more, people would say that she was the cause of his behavior in this matter. The reason is because she swore at childbirth that she would never be in this position again, but regretted it later and wished to be with her husband. Then when she gave birth again, she once again swore never to do this any more.
This is an explanation of "a foolish son is the grief of his mother".
(See Ben Ish Hai Derashoth, Tazria', 12:4)
ID: 294f0 No.2895
The seven days of festivities during which the Sheba' Berakhoth (7 blessings) are recited for the Hathan and Kallah (bride and groom), start immediately after the first set of Sheba' Berakhoth that are recited at the wedding. The days are not calculated on a 24 hour basis and do not need to be seven complete days either. Even if the period in question started just one hour before the end of the day, that day is counted as being one complete day.
If, on the seventh day, a Se'uddah (festive meal with bread) was held at the Hathan's house (where, according to all opinions, all the seven blessings may be recited), the meal must be completed before the end of the day. If it continued past the end of the day, into the evening, the Sheba' Berakhoth may not be recited.
Not only that, but even if the meal ended while it was still day, but only the Sheba' Berakhoth would be said in what is considered to be the next day, in Halakha, the Sheba' Berakhoth may not be recited. However, in both these cases, "ShehaSimha Bim'ono", may be recited in the Zimmun before the Birkath HaMazon.
(See Meqor Hayyim 5:238:7)
ID: 294f0 No.2896
When a couple get married, and neither of them have been married before, they celebrate the Se'uddoth (festive meals) with the Sheba' Berakhoth, for seven days. When a widower marries a widow, they recite the full seven blessings on the first day only.
If a man who was never married before marries a widow, they recite the full seven blessings for the entire week (7 days). Similarly, if a widower marries a woman who was never married, they keep the full seven days. In all cases, the term "widowed" (Almon/Almanah) in Halakha, is the same for all second marriages, whether the person was widowed or divorced.
When we say that when a widower marries widow, the seven blessings are only recited on the first day, this refers to only the first Se'uddah of the first day. Therefore, if the wedding is done during the day, but the Se'uddah takes place in the evening when it is already the next day in Halakha, the full 7 blesssings should not be recited.
(See Meqor Hayyim 5:238:8-9)
ID: 294f0 No.2900
וְהָיָה זַרְעֲךָ כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ … וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כָּל־מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה וּבְזַרְעֶךָ "And your seed shall be like the dust of the earth … and in you and your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed"(Bereshith, 28:14). Why does G-d liken the generations of Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, (Jacob), to the dust of the earth? It would appear, at first glance that this is demeaning. After all, the dust of the earth is beneath everything and everyone tramples over it. Wouldn't it have been better to only compare them to the stars in the sky?
It says in Dibrei Mordekhai, that the dust of the earth has the advantage of being something that never finishes ever. It also allows fruits and vegetables to grow from it, which give life to man and animals. Anything a man can build, often disintegrates in time and becomes dust, itself. Therefore, G-d is promising Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, that his seed would give life to the world.
Additionally, the nature of the dust of the earth is that when one adds water to it, it becomes one clump. The Torah is referred to as water (Mayim). From this we learn that when the Jewish people study the Torah, they join together and become like "one man with one heart".
(See Dibre Mordekhai, Wayyesei, Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.2904
The following question is asked in Qol Eliyahu. It says in Ben Ish Hai that the reading of the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum (the reading of the weekly Torah reading, twice in Hebrew and once with the Aramaic translation), is one of the preparations for the receiving of the holiness of Shabbath. If so, is it preferable to help with the actual preparations for Shabbath, or would it be better to read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum?
He answers that it was not the intention of the holy Ben Ish Hai to say that a man should read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum instead of helping his wife. On the contrary, there is a very special Miswah involved in preparing for Shabbath, and a man must assist his wife in the Shabbath preparations. This is particularly true in the winter months when the days are short.
After he has helped his wife, he should read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum. If there is insufficient time left to read it before Shabbath, he should read it before the Shabbath morning meal.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 8:15)
ID: 294f0 No.2906
עַד־מָתַי פְּתָיִם תְּאֵהֲבוּ פֶתִי וְלֵצִים לָצוֹן חָמְדוּ לָהֶם וּכְסִילִים יִשְׂנְאוּ־דָעַת "Till when, will you simple ones, love being simple, and scorners desire their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" (Mishlei 1:22). The question is, why did HaQadosh Barukh Hu place in the heart and nature of youth, the desire for emptiness that has no value?
The dwelling place of all love and desire is in the heart. The outcome of desire is the happiness of receiving what one desires, or the sadness of its absence. Also, a person feels love towards one who gives him what he desires, and hatred towards one who takes it away from him. In fact, all the emotions that one feels, are awakened in a person's heart on account of these desires of the empty vanities of the world.
Once all these emotions have taken their place in the heart of a man, when he reaches the age of understanding, he will be used to these emotions and know how to use them in the service of his Creator. So when a person reaches the time to dedicate himself to the service of G-d, he will use these emotions and character traits for the right reasons and chase away all the emptiness that he chased after in the past.
(See Dibrei Hayyim, on Qoheleth)
ID: 294f0 No.2909
In a case of a second marriage for both the bride and the groom, if the Huppah was done during the day, and there was time to do the Se'uddah after the wedding while it was still day, but it was delayed till the night, the full seven blessings of the Sheba' Berakhoth, may not be recited. If there was no time to do the Se'uddah while it was still day, according to the Rama' MiPano, the full Sheba' Berakhoth may be recited.
There are those who are lenient in a case where the Se'uddah started while it was still day, but continued into the night, to permit the reciting of the Seven blessings. Wherever possible, one should avoid getting into this situation.
The prevalent custom is that if a man remarries the wife he divorced, they recite the seven blessings at the first meal. It should be noted that a man may not remarry the wife he divorced, if she married someone else in the interim.
(See Hayyim Shaal, 2:38:56. Mekor Hayyim, 5:238:9,12)
ID: 294f0 No.2911
During the seven days after a first marriage, if there are not Panim Hadashoth (2 people present who were not at the Huppah or previous Sheba' Berakhoth), the seven blessings of the Sheba' Berakhoth may not be recited after a Se'uddah (festive meal with bread). Instead, only the last one, Asher Bara, is recited. The same applies if there is no Minyan, but at least three men present, that only the blessing of Asher Bara, may be recited.
In the case of a second marriage for both the bride and groom, the full Sheba' Berakhoth may only be recited on the day of the wedding (as explained previously). However, the blessing of Asher Bara, is recited for up to three days, after a meal with bread. In this case also, there must be at least three men present, but a Minyan of 10 men is not required.
(Mekor Hayyim, 5:238:9,12)
ID: 294f0 No.2915
When reciting Birkath Hammazon, for the entire week of the Sheb'a Berakhoth of a wedding, the Zimmun (invitation to recite Birkath Hammazon), includes the words "Sehasimha Bim'ono" (in Whose dwelling place there is joy [and from Whose food we have eaten]). In the case of a second marriage for both bride and groom, the words are inserted during the three days, counting from (and including) the day of the wedding. It is obvious that when including these words, that for there to be joy in His dwelling place, the entire marriage must be performed in a spirit of sanctity and purity.
The Birkath Hamazon and Sheba' Berakhoth are recited on two separate cups of wine. There is a difference of opinion concerning whether one should use one cup or two cups of wine when only the the last blessing of "Asher Bara" is recited. In general, Ashkenazim use two cups in this case also, whereas Sephardim use only one.
(See SH. 'A, 'Eben Ha'Ezer 62:13. Hayyim Shaal, 1:44)
ID: 294f0 No.2921
וַיְהִי בְהַקְשֹׁתָהּ בְּלִדְתָּהּ וַתֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמְיַלֶּדֶת אַל תִּירְאִי כִּי גַם זֶה לָךְ בֵּן "And it came to pass that when she was having difficulty giving birth, that the midwife said to her, 'Do not be afraid, this one is also a son for you" (Bereshith 35:17). Rahel Immenu, 'a"h, is going through extreme difficulty in labor, and is afraid that she is going to die while giving birth. The Midwife, in attempting to comfort her, tells her that she is having another son. Why would this be a source of comfort to her?
It says in the Mishnah of Shabbath (2:6), that there are three reasons why women die in childbirth: that they were not particular in the observance of separating the Hallah, the laws of family purity, or the lighting of the (Shabbath) candle. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, writes that Rahel Immenu, 'a"h, said that the observance of the candle and Hallah, is obvious to everyone and that everyone could see that she was particular in their observance. Keeping the laws of family purity, however, is a private matter. It could be, therefore, that people would suspect that she died because she was not careful enough in this area, Heaven forbid.
That is why the midwife told her not to fear, because she was having a boy. The Midrash tells us that a woman who keeps the 7 days of family purity, merits to have the eight days of the Berith Milah. The fact that she gave birth to a boy would be testimony that she kept the laws of family purity in all their aspects.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayyishlah, Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.2924
May a mourner, who is in the middle of the Shib'ah (7 days of mourning), read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum (the reading of the weekly Torah portion, twice in Hebrew and once with the Aramaic translation), on Shabbath, or does he have to postpone it till the Shib'ah is over?
It says in Qol Eliyahu, that for Ashkenazim, it is permitted for a mourner to read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum on the Shabbath that falls during the Shib'ah. The custom for Sephardim, however, is different. Sephardim should not read the the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum on that Shabbath. Instead, they should make up the reading after the period of the seven days of mourning is over.
According to all opinions, however, if the Shabbath that falls on the Seven days of mourning, is the last day of the Shib'ah, the mourner may read the Shenaim Miqra WeEhad Targum, after he has completed the prayers in the morning.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 8:16)
ID: 294f0 No.2929
כִּי אִם לַבִּינָה תִקְרָא "For if you call out for understanding" (Mishlei 2:3). There is a discussion in the Gemara of Qiddushin (40b) as to whether the study of Torah is greater, or whether the action (performance of the Miswoth) is greater. In the final analysis, all agreed with Ribbi Aqiba, that the study of Torah was greater because it leads to action.
What we see is that the study of Torah is the "mother" of the action, because through the study, the action is born. In Hebrew the word for "if", is very similar to the word for "mother". Our Rabbis of blessed memory said about this verse, 'For if you call out for understanding', "Do not say אִם (Eem [if]), but say אֵם (Em [mother])".
The reason is that the understanding (בִּינָה), is the study of the Torah. This understanding is like the "mother" who gives birth to the action.
(See Derushei Hayyim, 5650)
ID: 294f0 No.2933
As we know, the Halakha that we follow, when lighting the Hanukkah candles is that we start with one candle on the first night, and add one candle each night, till we light eight candles on the last night (apart from the additional candle that is lit every night). Rabbenu the Hid"a, 'a"h, gives us some enlightening insight into this.
This method of lighting the candles alludes to the custom one must adopt in the keeping of the commandments. After all, it is said that the Hanukkah candles symbolize the Miswoth (commandments), as it says, כי נר מצוה ותורה אור "For a candle is a Miswah, and the Torah is light". It hints to the fact that a person must add a Candle of Miswah every day. He should sanctify his soul and give it light.
The fact is that even the Neshama (soul) is likened to a candle, as it says כי נר ה' נשמת אדם "the candle of G-d is the soul of man".
(See Debarim Ahadim - Hid"a)
ID: 294f0 No.2936
There is always a danger that we could become complacent in the performance of the Miswoth, and say, "I am already doing so many, I don't need to increase". We mentioned that from the custom of Beth Hillel, which we follow, of adding one Hanukkah candle every night, Rabbenu the Hid"a, 'a"h, learns that this is the way we must keep the commandments, adding to them daily.
He says further that a man must not be satisfied with the Miswoth and good deeds that he does. Rather, he must improve on and add to them at all times, day after day, hour after hour. The concept of adding a candle with each passing day, hints at the increase in the Miswoth that one does, which should come on account of the days and years that have passed and will never return.
What this means is that a person must look at the days that have passed and see if there was anything he did wrong in that time. If there was, and that certainly is the case for most mortals, then he must increase his Torah and Miswoth. This is in keeping with what the Hakhamim, z"l, tell us, that if you did bundles of sin, you should now do in their place, bundles of good deeds – just like the candles that are increased on account of the days that have passed.
(See Debarim Ahadim, Hid"a)
ID: 294f0 No.2938
The Hanukkah candles may not be lit till it becomes certain night (Layla Wadday), which is when there are three medium stars in the sky (Seth HaKokhabim). One should, strictly speaking, not light before that time or after that time. One must not light before the stars come out, even if it is after sunset.
In a case where one is uncertain whether it is certain night or not, one may light. This could happen in a case where one doesn't know what the time for lighting is, or doesn't know what the time is and is unable to see the stars because it is cloudy outside.
Be that as it may, in a case like this, it is preferable to light a little early, rather than a little late.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 672:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., 2)
ID: 294f0 No.2942
וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל בְּנוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים "And he mourned his son for many days" (Bereshith 37:34). Rashi tells us that the time that Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, mourned his son Joseph, corresponded to the 22 years that Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, didn't fulfill the requirement of honoring his father and mother (Meghilla 16). We learn from this how serious the commandment of honoring one's parents is, yet there are many who do not understand the severity of failing in it.
Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, zs"l, tells the story of a man who was very miserly. He lived in Jerusalem, but his father lived in Tel Aviv. One day his father wrote him a letter saying that he was not feeling well and needed him to come and assist him. The son told the father that he was exempt of the obligation to honor his father, because he had no money and the trip to Tel Aviv was very expensive. He told him further, that honoring one's father only applied if it was with the father's own money.
He spoke about it to his Rabbi, who understood that the son had no comprehension of the importance of honoring one's parents. The Rabbi was quick to give the son the appropriate advice. "Of course", he said, "you are exempt from paying for a bus to Tel Aviv. But who said that the commandment of honoring parents could only be done by bus? Go to Tel Aviv on foot and take care of your father!"
(See Abihem Shel Yisrael 'Al HaTorah, WaYesheb)
ID: 294f0 No.2946
It says in Ben Ish Hai, according to the Ari, z"l, that on Friday night, when a man returns home after 'Arbith and enters the dining room, he should say loudly and with great happiness, "Shabbath Shalom". He should then kiss the hands of his father and the hands of his mother, if they are still alive.
The question is how we understand the wording, when he writes the "kiss the hands", in the plural, of each of his parents. It says in Qol Eliyahu, that the word "hands" is not to be taken literally. The custom is that one kisses only one hand, and it should be specifically the right hand.
The fact that the parent might be left-handed is not relevant. One should kiss the right hand in all cases.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:1)
ID: 294f0 No.2954
Even though one should ideally wait till the emergence of three stars (Seth HaKokhabim) before lighting the Hanukkah, if one lights after Pelagh HaMinha (1.25 halakhaic hours before nightfall), one still fulfills one's obligation, after the fact.
There is a difference of opinion, in this case, whether the lighting should be done with or without a Berakha (blessing). In view of this one should endeavor to only light when it becomes night. In the Synagogue, however, where they pray while it is still day, the lighting is done with a Berakha.
On Shabbath, the lighting must be done before Shabbath starts, since it is forbidden to light after sunset. In this case also, the lighting is done with a blessing, even though it is before sunset. In all cases where the Hanukkah lights are kindled before nightfall, one must ensure that there is enough oil, or that the candles are long enough, to last for at least a half hour after nightfall.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 672, Oth 7, 9, 14)
ID: 294f0 No.2960
Before lighting the Hanukkah, one must ensure that there is enough oil for the candles to burn for at least half an hour after the emergence of three stars (צאת הכוכבים). If one lights with insufficient oil (or uses a candle which will not last for half an hour), the Berakha is considered to be Lebatalah (a blessing recited in vain).
If one lit and then realized that one did not put sufficient oil, one must extinguish the flame, add more oil and light again. However, the second lighting should be without a blessing.
If one does not have enough oil to last the required amount of time and is unable to obtain it prior to lighting, should do the following. If there is enough oil for at least one candle to last the required time, one should light with the blessings, because, strictly speaking, one candle is sufficient. If there isn't even enough oil for that, one should light without a blessing.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 672:2. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 16, 17)
ID: 294f0 No.2963
If one lights the Hanukkah candles but, after lighting, realizes that he lit one candle less than he should have, he must light the one that is missing. He does not, however, recite another blessing. If one didn't light the candles at the correct time, which is with the emergence of three stars (צאת הכוכבים), one can light till people have stopped coming back from the market place, and there will be no one to see the candles.
Nowadays, however, we do not light for people outside but for the people in the home, instead. Therefore, as long as one of the other members of the household is still awake, one may light the entire night, with the blessings. If no one else is awake, however, one must light without a blessing.
If the entire night passes without having lit, there is no make up for the lost opportunity. The following nights one lights the same amount of candles as everybody else
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 672:2, with Rama. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 19, 20, 26)
ID: 294f0 No.2964
The choicest way of performing the precept of lighting the Hanukkah lights, is with pure olive oil. However, if one does not have olive oil, or if one is disturbed by the smell of burning oil, one may use another type of oil, or wax or paraffin candles.
Since, if one places food under a bed, an evil spirit rests on it, if one would place oil under the bed, it would become forbidden to be consumed. Once it is forbidden to be eaten, one may not perform any commandment with it, including using them for Hanukkah candles.
If the oil is unfit for consumption, such as if it is bitter, placing it under the bed does not render it unfit for commandments and it may be used for the Hanukkah lights. Similarly, wax or paraffin candles which were placed under the bed, do not become unfit and may be used as Hanukkah candles.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, WaYesheb, Oth 12, 13. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 58:65-67)
ID: 294f0 No.2970
וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה שֵׁם יוֹסֵף צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ "And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Safnath Pa'neyah" (Bereshith 41:45). Pharaoh commanded that Joseph would no longer be called by his old Hebrew name, but by a new Egyptian one. Yet later, we see that Pharaoh does use the name Joseph again. Why is that?
A name of the 'Hebrews', had a very low connotation in the eyes of the Egyptians. Pharaoh wished to remove any association with Joseph's Hebrew name, so that, upon emerging from prison, he would not be looked upon as a lowly slave, but as a king.
When the famine commenced, however, Pharaoh tells the people, "Go to 'Joseph' ", using his Hebrew name. His intention in doing so was to tell his people, that this person who was just a slave, a Hebrew, had the wisdom and understanding to store the produce that will save you. But you Egyptians, who pride yourselves on your importance and intelligence, couldn't do the same.
(See 'Od Yosef Hai, Derashoth)
ID: 294f0 No.2974
On Shabbath Hanukkah and Rosh Hodesh, the one who goes up for the Maftir, reads the portion for that day of Hanukkah, followed by a half Qaddish right after it. After that he reads the blessings of the Haftarah.
It should be noted that the Qaddish after the Maftir is the only Qaddish that Ashkenazim read during the Torah reading, whereas Sephardim also read one after Mashlim (Shebi'i - the 7th portion). On Shabbath Rosh Hodesh Hanukkah, that reading is the one for Rosh Hodesh.
The Haftarah that is read is the one for Hanukkah. However, in this case, Sephardim also add the first and last lines of the Haftarah for Rosh Hodesh. If Rosh Hodesh is on both Shabbath and Sunday, the first and last lines of the Haftarah of Mahar Hodesh (tomorrow is Rosh Hodesh), are also read. Most Ashkenazim, however, do not read these additional verses for Rosh Hodesh and Mahar Hodesh.
(See Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], 60:32)
ID: 294f0 No.2987
On the last day of Hanukkah, which is the eighth day, the portion that is read from the Torah starts with "BaYom HaShemini" (on the eighth day). The reading continues into the next Parasha of Beha'alothkha (which is also connected with the kindling of the lights in the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
If, in error, the Hazzan ends the reading with "BaYom HaTeshi'i" (on the ninth day), and the one called up to the Torah read the final blessing, one has still fulfilled one's obligation of the Torah reading for the last day of Hanukkah. However, if when they realize the error, the Sefer Torah has not yet been removed from its place to return it to the Hekhal, it is appropriate for them to read the remaining portion, till, "Ken 'Asah Eth HaMenora". In such a case, however, no blessing should be recited on this make up reading.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 684:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 12)
ID: 294f0 No.2995
The month of Tebeth is the ninth month of the year, according to the calculation of the Jewish months. It is always 29 days long. There are three calamities that are commemorated by fasting, in this month.
On the 8th of Tebeth the Torah was translated into Greek. This occurrence, under the orders of King Ptolomey, is considered to be akin in gravity to the day the Golden calf was made, since there is no such thing as a satisfactory translation of the Torah. On the 9th of Tebeth 'Ezra HaSofer (the scribe), passed away. He was the one who led the Jewish people out of the Babylonian captivity, and his death clouded the eyes of all Israel. The fasts on these two days are private fasts, not held by all.
The 10th of Tebeth, however, is a public fast, incumbent upon everyone. On this day, Nebuchadnezzar commenced the siege of Jerusalem. This continued till the third year when, on the 17th of Tammuz, the walls of the city were breached. It should be noted that on the 1st of Tebeth, Yekhonia, Melekh Yehudah (king of Judah), was exiled to Babylon together with the Torah sages and some 10,000 of his people. This day was not, however, established as a fast day.
(See Sefer HaToda'ah, Tebeth)
ID: 294f0 No.2997
When a person eats a Kezayith (3 ozs., but there are differing opinions) of food within 4 minutes (Kedei Akhilath Peras, which some hold Bedi'abad, is up to 6 minutes), according to all opinions, he becomes obligated to recite the final blessing (Berakha Ahronah) over it. The difficulty occurs if a person ate at least a Kezayith, but ate it slowly, pausing a lot between bites, so that the amount of time he took to eat it was more than Kedei Akhilath Peras. In this case, should he recite the after blessing or not?
The opinion of the Mishnah Berurah, in accordance with Maran, z"l, is that the various bites he took do not join together in this case, and he cannot recite the after blessing. The Ben Ish Hai rules the same way. However, he quotes the opinion which says that if it is food that one is not obligated to eat (unlike Massah on the first night of Pesah, for example, which is an obligation), even if one took longer than Kedei Akhilath Peras to eat it, one still recites the after blessing.
While the Ben Ish Hai does not subscribe to this opinion, he comments that, nevertheless, it would be preferable to recite the blessing, but to only say G-d's Name and Kingdom in one's heart and not aloud. Even better would be if he could eat more within the allotted time period and then recite the full blessing.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 210:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Mas'ei, Oth 7. Mishnah Berurah, 210:1. Ohr LeSion, 2, 14:17)
ID: 294f0 No.3000
קְחוּ לָכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עֲגָלוֹת "Take for yourselves wagons, from the land of Egypt" (Bereshith 45:19). Pharaoh commands Joseph to tell his brothers to take wagons from Egypt, to bring their family back with them. Additionally, Joseph gives them wagons, as it says, וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם יוֹסֵף עֲגָלוֹת "And Joseph gave them wagons" (Bereshith 45:21).
When the brothers returned to their father, he only saw Joseph's wagons. What happened to the ones of Pharaoh? Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, quotes Hazal who explain that Yehuda burned them because they contained images of 'Abodah Zara (idolatry). Yehuda couldn't possibly travel in such wagons and, especially, could not bring them to his father. However, burning the wagons of the king of Egypt takes incredible inner strength and bravery.
Seeing this strength, Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, (Jacob), sent Yehuda to establish Yeshiboth in Goshen. Yissakhar would be the one to teach the Torah, but building Yeshiboth requires a unique strength, especially in a place of Tumah and other impurities. One must be able to do what is right, no matter what environment one is in. It is this strength that led Yehuda to the Kingship of Israel.
ID: 294f0 No.3002
It says in the Gemara of Shabbath that when a person returns home from Synagogue on Friday night, two ministering angels accompany him, one good and one evil. When he arrives home and finds the lamp burning, the table set and the bed made, the good angel exclaims, "May it be so next Shabbath also!", and the evil angel is forced to answer, "Amen". If the opposite is true, however, then it is the evil angel who exclaims, "May it be so next Shabbath also!", and the good angel is forced to answer, "Amen".
Based on this, we recite the Shalom 'Aleikhem on Friday nights, to the two angels. The first stanza says "Shalom 'Alekhem" (peace be upon you), to the angels. The second is Boakhem Leshalom (may your coming be in peace). The third is Barkhuni Leshalom (bless me for peace). Some insert an additional verse here which starts with "Beshibtekhem Leshalom" (may you sit here in peace).
There are two versions of the final stanza. One, favored by Ashkenazim, is "Sethkhem Leshalom" (may you leave in peace) and the other, favored by Sephardim. is "BeSethkhem Leshalom" (May your leaving be in peace). There is a difference of opinion whether or not this final verse should be said, since it might seem inappropriate to speak to a guest, especially an angel, about departing, because it might be construed as asking them to leave.
(To be continued)
(See Mas. Shabbath, 119b)
ID: 294f0 No.3005
The Pele Yo'es writes that according to the Mequbbalim (Kabbalists), it's not just the desecration of Shabbath that one needs to be concerned about on Shabbath. Rather, anything that is a sin or transgression, even one that if an ordinary person does it during the week, he causes a blemish in the lower spiritual world of 'Asiyah (action), on Shabbath the same sin causes a blemish even in the highest world, that of the Asiluth. That is because on Shabbath, all the spiritual worlds combine together.
Included in these sins is the sin of speech of forbidden matters, which is very serious. This sin is found more on Shabbath than on weekdays. The reason is that people have more free time and thus gather together in groups and speak about all manner of forbidden things. It is very important to keep away from such groups. On the contrary, one must join together with those who fear G-d and are involved in the study of Torah.
(See Pele Yo'es, Shabbath)
ID: 294f0 No.3007
The Tenth of Tebeth is a fast day of great seriousness. It is the day when Nebukhadnezzar, the king of Babylon, commenced the siege of Jerusalem. This was the beginning of the attack on Jerusalem, which would be followed, over two years later, by the breaching of its walls. Finally, on Tish'ah BeAb (the 9th of Ab), the Beth HaMiqdash (Temple) would be destroyed and the Jews sent into exile in Babylon.
It behooves us to remember, on this day, the multitudes who perished through starvation and lack of water and other amenities, during the siege. It is a day when the other calamities that fell in the month of Tebet, should also be remembered (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-12-11
). Many commemorate the Holocaust on this day.
Since, based on the fixed calendar that we have today, the 10th of Tebeth is the only fast that could fall on a Friday, when it does, we must fast till the stars come out, even though it is already Shabbath. In the future, however, when the months will again be determined by the testimony of those who sighted the new moon, the dates will once again fall on the days of the week, based on the sighting. By then, the 10th of Tebeth will be a day of rejoicing.
(See Ner LeSion, 16:5, 6)
ID: 294f0 No.3010
According to the Shulhan 'Arukh, if one slept one's night sleep on the night before a public fast day, if one awoke before dawn, one may not eat, unless one specified [verbally], before sleeping, that one would eat then. According to the Zohar, however, once one has had one's night sleep, it is forbidden to eat, whether it is a fast day or a regular day. Specifying that one intends to eat does not help. On a fast day one may not eat till one breaks one's fast, and on a regular day a man must wait till he has prayed Shahrith.
If a person is unwell or weak, even according to the Zohar, these rules do not apply if it is necessary for him to eat, and on a normal day, he may do so, even before praying Shahrith. The question is, how this affects a person who is unable to fast unless he eats early morning, before the fast starts.
According to Rabbi BenSion Abba Shaul, 'a"h, Rosh Yeshibah of Porath Yoseph, if it is a private fast and the person is unable to fast without first eating, it is preferable for him not to eat before dawn and not to fast, rather than transgress the words of the Zohar. On a public fast, however, if he must eat before the fast he should do so, and then fast from the beginning of the fast. In all cases, drinking a cup of coffee before the fast begins, in order for one's mind to focus, is permitted, even without stipulating before going to bed.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 564:1. Ben Ish Hai 1st year, Nisabim, Oth 1. Ner LeSion, 16:16, 17)
ID: 294f0 No.3012
In the morning blessing of Elo-hai Neshama, we say, "In the future You will take [my soul] from me, and return it to me in the future". How do we understand reciting a blessing in the future and not also mentioning the fact that it has been returned now also?
Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, explains that when we sleep, the soul goes up to Heaven and returns to us upon awakening. When the soul returns it is spiritually refreshed. The blessing is thanking G-d in advance that, on the following night, the same thing will occur.
The blessing also refers to 'Olam HaBa (the world to come). This is clear from the addition of the words "La'athid Labo" which refers to the future time. It should be noted that in the Siddur of the Rashash (Sar Shalom Sharabi, z"l), he actually altered the text to read, "will return it to me every morning and in the world to come).
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Parashath WaYesheb, Oth 1. Peri 'Es Hayyim, pg. 9)
ID: 294f0 No.3016
וַיִּקְרְבוּ יְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָמוּת "And the days of Israel drew near to die" (Bereshith 47:29). The Zohar tells that the days in which a man was involved in the study of Torah, go up to Heaven and come before him in the world to come. By contrast, the days in which he did not study Torah, do not go up to him. Those days are lost to him. The righteous, who studied Torah all their days, find all the days of their lives come up to them and become fine clothing for their souls.
Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, who was an "Ish Tam Yosheb Ohalim" (perfect man who sat in the tents of Torah), had all the days of his life come up to him. When it says "the days of Israel drew near", this is referring to all the days of his life which came up together to him when he died.
In truth, even the days when he was in his mother's womb, should have been added to these days, after all, he was already in a battle with Esau and overcame him. However, there is no concept of reward and punishment in the womb. Therefore, it refers to the "days" of Israel, which are the actual days that he lived in this world.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayhi, Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.3018
Concerning whether it is appropriate to say the last stanza of Shalom 'Alekhem on Friday night, or whether it sounds as if we are hinting to the angels to leave, the Tosefeth Shabbath mentions an important person who removed the last stanza of Sethkhem Leshalom ("when you leave"). The Tosefeth Shabbath comments that he is right to do so.
Rabbenu the Hid"a, z"l, quotes this opinion but adds that the custom is to say BeSethkhem. He states that this is the common practice and, as such, one should not abandon the custom.
It says in Qol Eliyahu, that when one says BeSethkhem, as opposed to just Sethkhem, the meaning changes. Sethkhem implies that one is telling the angels to leave in peace, whereas Besethkhem means, "when you leave". Nevertheless, if one wishes to leave out this last verse one may, and he adds that there are those who do not say it.
Indeed, the custom in our home, which is also the custom of the 'Edah HaBablim, is to only recite the first three verses. The final stanza of Besethkhem Leshalom is omitted entirely.
(See Mahziq Brakha 262:2. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., 16. Qol Eliyahu 9:2)
ID: 294f0 No.3019
The holy Pele Yo'es points out how critical it is for everyone to inquire about and study the laws of Shabbath from the holy books and the Hakhamim. By not doing so, they stumble and transgress the laws of Shabbath, without even realizing.
These transgressions include, the laws of Shebuth (Rabbinical laws pertaining to Shabbath), Muqseh, trapping, separating, cleaning, and especially, in the area of warming food. This is particularly noticeable during celebrations where the stumbling blocks are many. The heads of the community also need to be very alert to avoid this.
In truth, many spend their life sinning in multiple areas every Shabbath, but are firm in the belief that they are keeping Shabbath in a complete manner. If a person does not make an active effort to seek out and learn the numerous laws of Shabbath, even when he is old, he will not know that these things are forbidden.
(See Pele Yo'es, Shabbath)
ID: 294f0 No.3021
The way we recite the morning blessings has changed from how it used to be. The Shulhan 'Arukh, quoting how it used to be, writes that when waking up in the morning one must say the blessing of Elokay Neshamah. When one hears the rooster crow, one says "HaNothen LaSechwi Bina" (who gives the heart [rooster] understanding. When dressing, one says "Malbish 'Arumim" (who clothes the naked). When placing one's hands on one's eyes one says "Poqeyah Iwrim" (lets the blind see).
When one sits up one says the blessing of "Mattir Assurim" (releases the bound). When one stands upright, one says "Zoqef Kefufim" (straightens the bent). When he places his feet on the floor he says "Roqa' Ha-ares 'Al HaMayim" (spreads land over the water). Upon wearing one's shoes, one says "She'asa Li Kol Sorki" (who provided for me all my needs). When he walks, he says "HaMekhin Mis'adei Ghaber" (prepares the steps of a man). When he wears his belt (girdle), he says "Ozer Yisrael Bighburah" (girds Israel with strength). When wearing a hat or turban, one says "'Oter Yisrael Bethifara" (crowns Israel with glory).
When washing one's hands, one says the blessing of " 'Al Netilath Yadayim" (on the washing of the hands). When one washes one's face one says "HaMa'abir Shenah Me'appay" (removes sleep from my eyelids).
(To be continued)
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 46:1)
ID: 294f0 No.3024
After Maran Yosef Qaro, z"l, specifies when each of the morning blessings should be recited (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-12-24
), he writes in the Shulhan 'Arukh that since, nowadays, one's hands are not clean after one has slept, and also because of those who are not learned and do not know how to say the blessings, the custom has become to say them in the Synagogue.
In fact, there are various customs concerning how and when they are said. The Rosh would say the blessings till 'Oter Yisrael Bethifara and then don his Tefillin. The Tur writes that after one has worn one's Tefillin, one should recite the blessings. In general, Ashkenazim wear the Tefillin and recite the Birkath HaTorah (morning blessings of the Torah), followed by Elo-kai, Neshama and the morning blessings. There are those who recite the blessings of 'Al Netilath Yadayim and Asher Yasar, in the morning, as soon as the opportunity for each arises, whereas others recite them before the blessings of the Torah.
The custom of the Ari, z"l, was to recite all the morning blessings in the morning, up to the 'Aqedah portion at the beginning of the Shahrith prayer. He then wore his Tallith Gadol and Tefillin and read the morning prayer. This was also the custom of the Rashash, z"l, (Shar'abi) and this is the custom of Sephardim, to read all the blessings in the morning, ending with the blessings on the Torah, before going to Synagogue.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 46:2. Mishnah Berurah, 46:11, 13. Kaf Hahayyim ibid., Oth 2, and Siman 25 oth
ID: 294f0 No.3026
One must be careful not to speak (many hold, not even think) words of Torah till one has said the morning blessings of the Torah. Rabbenu the Hida, z"l, states that (concerning those who wear their Tefillin before saying the blessings of the Torah), that if one wears one's Tefillin before the Torah blessings, one should not say the Pesuqim of We-erastikh Li. As mentioned previously (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-12-25
), the custom of the Ari, z"l, as is practiced by Sephardim, was to recite all the morning blessings, including the Torah blessings, before wearing his Tefillin.
The Birkoth Hashahar (morning blessings) may be recited while seated or standing. In general, Ashkenazim stand for these blessings. Hakham Hayyim Falaji, 'a"h, writes in his Kaf Hahayyim (which predates the Kaf Hahayyim of Hakham Ya'aqob Sopher, 'a"h), that when reciting the morning blessings one may not be putting on one's clothes, taking care of any other matters, or walking to and fro.
Instead, one must be seated and concentrate intently on the blessings that one is reciting. In fact, the predominant custom among Sephardim is to recite the Birkoth Hashahar (morning blessings), while seated.
(See Qesher Guddal 5:31. Penei Yehoshuwa', Meghillah 21a. Yehawweh Da'ath 5:4)
ID: 294f0 No.3029
אִם בֵּן הוּא וַהֲמִתֶּן אֹתוֹ וְאִם בַּת הִוא וָחָיָה "if it's a boy, you shall kill him, but if it is a girl, you shall let her live" (Shemoth 1:16). Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, comments in Addereth Eliyahu, that logically one would think that Pharaoh should have instructed the midwives to do the exact opposite, or to kill both the baby boys and girls. The same question applies to his order to cast the males into the Nile. Logically he should have commanded that all of them should be cast into the Nile.
When one thinks about it, it would appear to make more sense to tell the midwives to kill the girls and let the boys live. After all, since Pharaoh's intention was to prevent the children of Israel from becoming numerous, one must consider that one man is capable of making 100 women reproduce, whereas the reverse is not true, since a woman can only undergo one pregnancy at a time.
It would appear that the answer is that Pharaoh knew that the strength of the Jewish people lies in the fact there is peace among them. By causing there to be a shortage of males, one man would have very many wives. This, in turn, would create much discord, argument and jealousy among them. It behooves us to undo his intent and the intent of those who have subsequently attempted to follow in his footsteps, and work diligently on increasing the level of love and harmony among us.
(See Adereth Eliyahu, 1:16 [WeHinnei])
ID: 294f0 No.3031
There is a Torah prohibition of Bal Tosif, which means that one may not add to a Torah commandment. This would apply, for instance, to adding to the fringes on a Sissith, or adding to the four species on Sukkoth. It does not apply to any safeguard (Seyagh) to the Torah that was instituted by the Sages.
Just as there is a prohibition against Bal Tosif (adding to Torah commandments), so too, there is a prohibition of Bal Tighra', which means that it is forbidden to detract from a Torah commandment. The Rambam, z"l, is of the opinion that stating that a Rabbinical commandment is actually a Torah one, comes under the prohibition of Bal Tosif. Stating that a Torah commandment is a Rabbinical one, would fall under Bal Tighra'.
There is a practical issue with this on Friday nights. From the perspective of the Torah, one may sanctify the Shabbath (Qiddush), with words alone (using wine was instituted by the Rabbis). Those who say the Leshem Yihud before Qiddush on Friday night, must be particular to say "We are coming to fulfill the positive Torah commandment of sanctifying the Sabbath with words (לקים מצות עשה דאורייתא לקדש את השבת בדברים), and to fulfill the positive Rabbinical commandment of sanctifying with wine (לקים מצות עשה דרבנן לקדש על היין)".
(See Qol Eliyahu 9:3. Rambam, Mamrim 2:9)
ID: 294f0 No.3032
The holy Hakham, Rabbi Eli'ezer Papo, 'a"h, writes in Pele Yo'es that very many people keep Shabbath and "call it a delight", but it is painful that so many of them are not particular about avoiding speaking about mundane matters on Shabbath. In Yeshayahu (58:13), delighting in the Shabbath and not speaking about mundane matters, are juxtaposed in the same verse. From this we learn that only if you watch your speech, will you delight in G-d.
He comments that many people do not comprehend that speaking about mundane matters on Shabbath is considered to be a desecration of Shabbath. In truth, if we go back to the original source of keeping Shabbath, we will see it explained quite clearly.
The commandment to rest on Shabbath, the Torah tells us, is because G-d created the world in six days, and on the seventh, He rested. From this we learn that we must rest in the same manner that G-d rested. And how did He rest? He rested from speech, as it says in Tehillim (33:6), בדבר ה' שמים נעשו "Heaven was created by the 'word' of G-d".
(See Pele Yo'es, Shabbath)
ID: 294f0 No.3035
The portion of "WeAttah 'Athid Littelah Mimmeni" in the Elo-hai Neshamah of the morning blessings, refers to G-d taking one's soul during sleep and returning it upon awakening (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-12-19
). According to the Kabbalists, however, the soul of a child under thirteen does not ascend when he goes to sleep. If so, it might appear that one should not allow children to read this praise in the morning blessings.
It says in Ben Ish Hai, however, that this is not a valid reason for not permitting them to say it. On the contrary, children are included with the adults and, as a result, may also recite this blessing, because the blessing is relevant to the adults whom they are included with. This is in the same way that a person recites all the morning blessings, even though some of them may not apply to him personally.
Even though the blessing is recited in the first person, it does not negate the fact that a child may still recite it. This is no different to a blessing that an adult recites in the first person even though it doesn't apply to him. Examples of this are the blessings of "HaMa'abir" (Who removes the bonds of sleep from my eyes), that one recites even if one did not sleep, and "She'asah Li Kol Sorki" (Who provided all my needs for me), even if he is a mourner and not wearing leather shoes. The same rule applies to children regarding reciting the blessing.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Parashath WaYesheb, Oth 1)
ID: 294f0 No.3039
The Berakha (blessing) Asher Yasar, in the morning, should be immediately followed by Elo-hai Neshama. Elo-hai Neshamah does not start with the normal formula of "Barukh" etc., and needs a blessing to be recited before it (Berakha HaSemukha Lehaberta, according to the Rosh). Sephardim follow this Halakha as do some Ashkenazim, whereas other Ashkenazim do not. In addition to the reason mentioned, there is also a Kabbalistic reason to do so, according to Sha'ar HaKawwanoth.
Asher Yasar is recited after each occasion when one has used the bathroom. According to the Rama, z"l, the custom for Ashkenazim is to recite Asher Yasar in the appropriate place in the morning blessings, irrespective of whether one has used the bathroom or not. Sephardim should recite this blessing, only after using the Bathroom.
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes in 'Od Yosef Hai, that if one does not have a need to use the bathroom, one should skip Asher Yasar and start Elo-hai Neshamah, even though it will not be preceded by an actual blessing.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama, 4:1, 6:1, 2. Rosh Teshuboth 4:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 2. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 7. )
ID: 294f0 No.3043
The ending of the blessing of Elo-hai Neshamah is "HaMahazir Neshamoth Lifgharim Methim" (Who returns souls to dead bodies). How do we understand this?
It says in Ben Ish Hai that 'Paghar' (פגר), which is the root of the word 'Lifgharim', means cessation from activity. The fact that it uses the word 'Methim' which means dead, is referring to the fact that sleep is considered to be one sixtieth of death.
This blessing, which thanks G-d for restoring our souls to us in the morning, is actually a reference to the Tehiyath HaMethim (revival of the dead), in the future, as is explained in the Siddur of Rab Ya'aqob Emden, 'a"h.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 2)
ID: 294f0 No.3046
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֵן הַחַרְטֻמִּים בְּלָטֵיהֶם לְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַכִּנִּים וְלֹא יָכֹלוּ "And the sorcerers did likewise with their incantations, to bring out lice, but they could not" (Shemoth 8:14). The sorcerers were able to reproduce the plagues of the blood and the frogs. What changed, that they were unable to produce lice?
The Ramban (Nachmanides), z"l, explains that the first two plagues, of blood and frogs, did not entail creating a new entity. For instance, the Torah tells us that the Egyptian sorcerers merely "brought up frogs", not that they created new ones.
In the case of the lice, however, G-d commanded that Aharon HaKohen, 'a"h, would strike the dust of the earth which would turn into lice. Dust doesn't turn into lice and that is why the sorcerers were unable to create lice. Only the Creator of the Universe, the Holy One, blessed be He, can create new creatures. That was the difference between the plague of the lice and the preceding ones.
(See Ramban on the Torah, Waera)
ID: 294f0 No.3047
Does a person fulfill his obligation of Qiddush, if he hears it from another person but doesn't understand the words? One must first understand that if a person recites Qiddush in a language that he is familiar with, other than Hebrew, he fulfills his obligation. If he reads it in a language he does not understand, other than Hebrew, he does not fulfill his obligation.
Similarly, if anyone hears it in a language he does not understand, other than Hebrew, he does not fulfill his obligation. This is in keeping with what is mentioned in the Shulhan 'Arukh that if a Meghillah is written in a non-Jewish language, only someone who is familiar with that language can fulfill his obligation by reading it (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2010-02-23
When the Qiddush is recited in Hebrew for people who do not understand the Hebrew words, it is appropriate for the one reciting it to first explain to them, in a language that they understand, the content of what he will be saying. However, since there are those who say that if it is recited in Hebrew, one fulfills one's obligation even if one does not understand the words, then Bedi'abad (after the fact), if the words were not explained, the listeners will still have fulfilled their obligation.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 193:1. 690:8, 9. Kaf Hahayim, ibid, Oth 56. Qol Eliyahu 9:4
ID: 294f0 No.3050
There are both "do's" and "don'ts" regarding speech on Shabbath. Included in the "don'ts" is speaking about something that is prohibited on Shabbath and many stumble in this area. The Tosafoth (Shabbath 113b) write that one should even minimize speaking about things that are required on Shabbath. One should be aware that it was with great difficulty that the Hakhamim even permitted greeting another person on Shabbath and learn from this how important it is to not speak about matters forbidden on Shabbath.
Asking a non-Jew to do a Melakha (forbidden Shabbath labor) is included in the "don'ts" of speech on Shabbath. Even if the non-Jew does a forbidden labor for the Jew without asking him, it is likewise forbidden to benefit from it. There are many instances of this where people benefit from the Melakha of a non-Jew and treat it as if it is permitted. One must be very careful in this area.
What one must be particular to do on Shabbath, however, is to study both the Written Law as well as the Oral Law (Torah SheBikhthab and Torah SheBe'al Peh). These hint at HaQadosh Barukh Hu and His holy Presence (HaQadosh Barukh Hu and His Shekhinah). This is important because Shabbath is the time of their unification.
(See Pele Yo'es, Shabbath)
ID: 294f0 No.3053
The morning blessing of HaNothen Lasekhwi Binah, blesses G-d Who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night. This refers to the ability of the rooster to distinguish between midday and midnight. This is an ability which is above that of other animals who can tell the difference between day and night.
The following question arises. If someone is unable to hear, may he recite this blessing? Nowadays, it is recited together with the other morning blessings, but it was instituted to be recited after one hears the rooster crow in the morning.
The answer is that there is no question that even if someone is deaf, R"L, he still recites the blessing. This is in keeping with the opinion of Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, that all the morning blessings are recited by everyone, since they refer to occurrences in the world every day, and are not specifically for the individual.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 4. Sha'ar HaKawwanoth, 2d)
ID: 294f0 No.3056
The morning blessing of Poqeah Iwrim, is thanks to G-d for opening the eyes of the blind. This is referring to the fact that a person's eyes are shut during sleep and when he awakes, he opens his eyes and sees. In this blessing also (see Understanding HaNothen Lasekhwi http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-01-07
), there is a difference of opinion as to whether one who is blind may recite this blessing.
The Hida, z"l, the Mishnah Berurah and others are of the opinion that it should be recited. In truth, since there is a difference of opinion, we would think that it should not be recited if a person is unable to see (on account of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel - when there is a doubt, the blessing should not be recited). In fact, even one who is unable to see should recite this blessing.
One reason is that the opinion of the Ari, z"l, is that all the morning blessings are recited by everyone, since they refer to occurrences in the world every day, and are not specifically for the individual, and we do not say Sefeq Berakhoth against the Ari, z"l. Another reason is that our Rabbis, z"l, tell us that even one who is unable to see benefits from the fact that others around him do see and can help him.
(See Shi'urei Berakha 46:14. See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 5. Mishnah Berurah 46:25)
ID: 294f0 No.3059
At night we are not upright, but crouched or bent over in our beds. As part of the morning blessings (Birkhoth Hashahar) we recite the blessing of thanks to G-d, of Zoqef Kefufim (Who straightens the bent). If someone is unwell or bedridden, Heaven forbid, he still recites this blessing.
It should be noted that the Shulhan 'Arukh is concerned about the opinion of the Rambam, that one for whom this blessing does not apply personally, should not recite it. As such, the Shulhan 'Arukh states that it should be recited without Shem Umalkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom).
The Rama, z'l, however, comments in his gloss, that the custom is to recite it, since we are blessing G-d for the needs of the world and not just for the individual. This is in keeping with the opinion of the Ari, z"l, mentioned previously (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-01-07
), and is the accepted custom.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama, 46:8. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 6)
ID: 294f0 No.3061
וִיהִי חֹשֶׁךְ עַל אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם "And there shall be darkness over the land of Egypt" (Shemoth 10:21). We learn from this Parasha how important it is not to cause someone embarrassment, however wrong his actions may be. On account of His incredible love for 'Am Yisrael, G-d goes out of His way not to bring any shame or disgrace on them.
There were wicked people among the Children of Israel, who wished to remain slaves under the hand of Pharaoh. The punishment for this was death, but G-d did not mete it out right away. Instead, He waited till the plague of darkness. During the plague the Egyptians were unable to see and unable to speak, on account of the thick darkness that surrounded them.
It was only then that G-d caused them to perish, during the three days of darkness. Even though they were wicked and deserving of the punishment, G-d did not wish to bring upon them disgrace, by making it known that they were wicked and transgressed the word of G-d. If G-d acted in this manner towards those who transgressed His honor, we must learn a great lesson from this, not to embarrass anyone, however much we may feel that they deserve it.
(see Barukh Ta'am, Parashath Bo)
ID: 294f0 No.3064
There are different types of Muqseh on Shabbath. One category is Muqseh Mehamath Gufo which refers to something that doesn't have a status of a vessel, such as rocks, branches and the like. This category of Muqseh is forbidden to be moved, even if the person is interested in using the place where it is placed, or to use it for a permitted usage. (A permitted usage would be, for example, moving a rock to sit in its place or to use a rock to crack open walnuts.)
One of the exceptions to this rule is if one has a vessel that broke (such as a barrel) and the pieces still have a usage (for example to cover other vessels), even thought they are just pieces of wood that are usually Muqseh, since they came from something that has the status of a vessel it doesn't lose that status and is not considered to be Muqseh, as would a regular piece of wood.
Maran, z"l, writes in Beth Yosef, that the only time the broken piece is permitted is when the original vessel is no longer usable for its original use. If the vessel is still usable for its original use, however, there are certain cases where the broken pieces may not be used on Shabbath.
(See Beth Yosef 308. Maghen Abraham 308:17. Mishnah Berurah 308:32. Rama 308:6)
ID: 294f0 No.3076
According to Maran, z"l in the Beth Yosef, the only time that a broken piece from a vessel may be used is when the original vessel from which it broke, is no longer usable for its original use. But if the vessel is still usable for its original usage then the broken piece is Muqseh because it is Nolad (something that was created on shabbath)
However, the Beth Yosef says that if the broken piece has the same type of usage as the original vessel, (for example, if a piece broke off a barrel and that piece is also suitable for containing things like the barrel) then it is not Nolad and is permitted. The Maamar Mordechai says that this is also the ruling of Maran in Shulhan Arukh.
The Maghen Abraham and Darkei Moshe and others argue on this ruling of the Beth Yosef. Their opinion is that even if the original vessel is still usable, the part that broke off is permitted to be used as long as it has a usage. This is true, even if isn't the same type of usage as the original vessel. This is also the opinion of the Mishnah Berurah for Ashkenazim.
(To be continued).
(See Beth Yosef 308. Maghen Abraham 308:17. Mishnah Berurah 308:32. Rama 308:6)
ID: 294f0 No.3080
We mentioned that Ashkenazim may use a broken piece of a vessel, even if the original vessel is still usable, and even if the use for the broken piece is different from the original use of the vessel. Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, rules that if the vessel is still usable and the broken piece is only usable for a different type of usage (for example a piece of a barrel that broke and the broken piece cannot contain anything only cover a vessel) then the broken piece is Muqseh.
This goes in accordance with ruling of Maran the Beth Yosef. The Kaf Hahayyim also says that one should try to be stringent like the Beth Yosef. Sephardim should be strict in this matter.
We mentioned that the only time that a vessel which broke on Shabbath is permitted, is when it has some usage. The Rama, z"l, qualifies this and writes that even if the broken pieces do not have any usage what so ever, if they can harm someone, it is permitted to move them, even with one's hands. Therefore, if glass breaks in a place where people walk and they can get harmed, one can pick up the glass even with ones hands.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 2nd year, Miqqes, Oth 10. Kaf Hahayyim 308:66. Rama, 308:6)
ID: 294f0 No.3088
There is another set of circumstances which permits one to use an item, that doesn't have the status of a vessel, on Shabbath. The Shulhan 'Arukh writes that one may use a rock or the like on Shabbath, by designating it, before Shabbath, for use on Shabbath.
The way we designate it for use on Shabbath, depends on what one is planning on using it for. If one wants to designate a rock for a use that is common to use a rock for, then all one needs to do is to designate it for that purpose, even for that Shabbath alone. The Shulhan Arukh adds that there are those who are more stringent and require one to designate it for that use, permanently.
If one is designating a rock for a use that one does not ordinarily use a rock for, then one must designate it for that use permanently. The Shulhan Arukh adds that there are those that are more strict in this case and require one to do some actual action or change to the rock, in order to render it a vessel.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 308:22)
ID: 294f0 No.3092
Another type of "Muqseh Mahamath Gufo" which is not permitted to be moved even if one needs it's place, is a lit candle. Since the flame is not a vessel and the candle is there to support the flame the entire candle and candlestick are Muqseh Mahamath Gufo. Even when the flame goes out the Shulhan 'Arukh writes that the candle is forbidden to be moved even for the need of using its place.
The reason for this is that since it was lit during Ben Hashemashoth (twighlight), and at that point it's status was the same as that of the flame, that status of muqseh remains the entire Shabbath. Maran, z"l, writes further in the Shulhan 'Arukh, that if one wants to move the candle after it goes out, a person may do so by making a stipulation.
He must stipulate before sunset that he should be allowed to move the candle after the flame is extinguished. The Hida, 'a"h, writes that this the Minagh of the Sephardim. The Rema, z"l, however rules that making this stipulation does not help and one is not allowed to move the candle even after it goes out.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 279:1, 2, 4)
ID: 294f0 No.3097
וִידֵי מֹשֶׁה כְּבֵדִים וַיִּקְחוּ אֶבֶן וַיָּשִׂימוּ תַחְתָּיו וַיֵּשֶׁב עָלֶיהָ "And the hands of Moses were heavy and they took a stone and placed it under him, and he sat upon it" (Shemoth 17:12). When a community is undergoing suffering, even those who are not affected by the suffering must also share in the pain of those who are. We first see this from Yoseph HaSaddiq, 'a"h, (Joseph).
The Torah tells us that even though Joseph was not harmed by the famine, and did not experience any hunger because he was a king and everything was provided for him, nevertheless, he did not get close to his wife for the entire duration of the famine. This was so that, he too, would feel the pain of those suffering of the indignity of the famine.
From this Parasha we also see the same with Moshe Rabbenu, 'a"h, where the Torah tells us that they placed a stone under him and he sat upon it. Why did he sit on a stone? Couldn't anyone bring him a cushion or a pillow to sit on? The answer is that even though Moshe Rabbenu, 'a"h, had no doubts that he would be saved from the war with 'Amaleq, and would cause Israel to win, nevertheless, he felt the need to share in the pain and suffering of the people.
(See Barukh Ta'am, Parashath Beshallah)
ID: 294f0 No.3100
Should a mourner change out of his mourning clothes that he is wearing, for Shabbath? The custom is that a mourner does not sit in his normal seat in the Synagogue during the year of the passing of a parent. The custom of the Ari, z"l, was not to change his place on Shabbath, but to sit in the seat that he always sat in, every Shabbath. The reason was that by sitting in a different seat, he would be publicly observing the laws of mourning on Shabbath, which is forbidden.
Based on this, it says in the Kaf Hahayyim that we should learn from this custom of Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, that a mourner should change his clothes for Shabbath, because if he doesn't do so, it would be as if he were mourning on Shabbath.
Rabbenu the Hid"a, 'a"h, writes that a mourner must change his clothes for Shabbath, because otherwise, it would be a case of observing the practices of mourning on Shabbath. The reason is that there is no poor person who doesn't change into better clothes for Shabbath, and not doing so would make it obvious that it was on account of mourning.
(See Kaf Hahayyim 262:27)
ID: 294f0 No.3102
Tu Bishbat, the 15th of Shebat, is the Rosh Hashanah (new year) of the trees. It falls during the period of the Shobabim, where many righteous fast. On Tu Bishbat itself, however, fasting is not permitted.
The calculations for tithing of Ma'aser and Ma'aser Sheni are based on Tu Bishbat. If a fruit ripened before Tu Bishbat, it is considered as belonging to the previous year for the purpose of Ma'aser, but if it ripens after Tu Bishbat, it belongs to the upcoming year.
One should make the effort to eat the 30 fruits that are mentioned in Peri 'Es Hadar. If that is not possible, one should eat at least 12. If for some reason, even that is not possible, one should endeavor to eat the fruits that the Land of Israel is praised over. They are: olives, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, and one should also eat some Mezonoth.
(See Peri 'Es Hadar, Haqdamah. Ben Ish Hai, Parashath Pinhas, 1st year, Haqdamah. Maamar Mordechai of HaRab Mordechai Eliyahu, 'a"h Hilkhoth Haggim 61:13-14)