ID: 294f0 No.2767[Last 50 Posts]
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)
ID: 294f0 No.3108
It says in the Yerushalmi, in tractate Qiddushin that one will have to give judgement on that which he saw and didn't eat. There are those who quote this as the source for the custom of eating fruits on Tu Bishbat. The Kaf Hahayim quotes the Sefer Tashbes who explains this Yerushalmi as meaning that the importance of eating what we see is so that we can make more Berakhoth (blessings). Therefore, at least once a year, we make an effort to eat the fruits and make Berakhoth on them.
There is a nice hint to Tu Bishbat, which is said in the name of the Hatham Sofer. We know that the Makkoth (plagues) given to the Egyptians, were given once a month. On the 15h of Adar, the Makkath Hoshekh (the plague of darkness) was given. In that plague it says that there was an intense darkness in Egypt, but for all the Jews there was light. This corresponds to the rejoicing we have on that day, which is Purim, as it says in the Meghilla, "LaYehudim Haytha Orah WeSimha" (the Jews had light and happiness).
The plague of Arbeh (locust), which was a month prior to this, was on the 15th of Shebat (Tu Bishbat). It says regarding this plague (Shemoth 10:15), "Welo Nothar Kol Yereq" (no green thing remained in the trees). Based on that we rejoice with the eating of fruits to remember Hashem's miracles.
(See Kaf Hahayyim 225, Oth 23)
ID: 294f0 No.3109
As we have previously mentioned there is a dispute between the Shulhan 'Arukh and the Rema, z"l, whether stipulating that one will move a candle after it goes out on Shabbath, permits one to move the candles after they go out ( http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-01-16
Even though the Rema is stringent, nevertheless, he says that in any circumstance where one is permitted to move the candles after they are no longer burning according to Maran, z"l, of the Shulhan Arukh, then he too allows one to ask a non-Jew to move the candles. He says that this is the Minhagh amongst the Ashkenazim.
The Hida, z”l, wites in Birkei Yosef, that according to the custom of Sephardim, that stipulating allows one to move the candles after they are extinguished, it is sufficient to stipulate once a year that any candle that one lights, on any Shabbath of that year, one is lighting on condition that when it goes out he will be permitted to move it. The Kaf Hahayyim brings this down as well. The Pele Yo'es had this custom also, and he writes that his custom was to make this stipulation before Shabbath Shuba.
(See Birkei Yosef 308:4-6. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 16-18)
ID: 294f0 No.3110
Maran, z"l, writes in the Shulhan Arukh, that if one has a Keli (an object with a use) whose door fell off, that door is permitted to be moved whether it fell off before or on Shabbath. The reason for this is that since it is going to be reattached to the original object, it doesn't lose its status of being a vessel. As a result, it is not Muqseh on Shabbath.
This does not include doors of a house, however, because a house doesn't have a status of a vessel. As such, the fact that one intends to reattach the door to the house, doesn't give the door the status of a vessel (since the house was not a vessel in the first place). Based on this Halakha the Menuhath Ahaba states that if a button falls of an article of clothing, one is allowed to pick the button up and put it in a safe place. Since the button will be going back to its original article of clothing, the button does not lose its status of a vessel and is allowed to be moved on Shabbath.
It is important to note that if one isn't planning on sewing it back to that article of clothing, then it is Muqseh on Shabbath. The opinion of Rav Moshe Feinsten, z"l, however, is that since the button has no use the way it is now, it is Muqseh and it is not similar to the case of the Shulhan Arukh. In the case mentioned by the Shulhan 'Arukh, the door can be used for something else, like covering something, and even though you may have no intention of doing so, it is better than the case of button which has no use other than being reattached to a garment.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 308:8. Menuhath Ahaba ח"א פי"ב אות מ. Rav Moshe Feinstein אוח ח"ה סי'כב אות כ)
ID: 294f0 No.3112
בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ֙ הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לְצֵ֥את בְּנֵֽי יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה בָּ֖אוּ מִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי "On the third month when the Children of Israel left the land of Egypt, on this day they came into the wilderness of Sinai" (Shemoth 19:1). Rashi states that it should have said ביום ההוא "on that day", so why does it say ביום הזה "on this day"? He answers that it is to let us know that the words of Torah [that were given to us at Mount Sinai], should be as fresh for us, as if they were given to us today.
It goes without saying that the advances in technology, since Benei Yisrael stood at Har Sinai (Mount Sinai), are huge. Some people claim that, in view of this, many of the laws that were given then, do not apply anymore. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, z"l, mentions the fact that lighting fire in those days involved striking two flints together (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2018-03-01
). Then they had to make sure that it ignited the straw, and was a major undertaking. Today, flicking a light switch takes less effort than opening the front door to go to Synagogue.
Be that as it may. The Torah tells us that we may not decide that any of the laws do not apply anymore. We cannot use the argument that what once seemed like Melakha or work, no longer applies anymore. On the contrary, we have to consider it as if every law of the Torah was given to us on this day, today, and will be so till the end of time.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Parashath Yithro, Parparaoth, BaYom HaZeh)
ID: 294f0 No.3116
In the Qiddush of Friday night, before reciting the blessing on the wine, we add the words, "Sabri Maranan" (depending on custom, one may have different versions). Wine may sometimes have a negative connotation. It was, at one time, given to people before carrying out a death sentence.
The term "Sabri Maranan", is a request for those present to pay attention and effectively ask them what the purpose of the wine is. Those present at the table respond, "LeHayyim", meaning that this wine is for the purpose of giving life.
The question then is, if one is reciting Qiddush on one's own, should one include the words "Sabri Maranan", or, since there is no one present to answer, should one omit the words altogether? It says is Qol Eliyahu, that even one who is reciting Qiddush for himself, with no one else present, should say the words "Sabri Maranan". One should say it on account of the two angels who accompany a person every Friday night and are present during the Qiddush.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:5)
ID: 294f0 No.3118
The Berakha (blessing) of Zoqef Kefufim (straightening those who are bent), must be recited after the blessing of Mattir Asurim (freeing the bound). According to the Shulhan 'Arukh, if one recited Zoqef Kefufim before Mattir Asurim, one should no longer say the blessing of Mattir Asurim.
The Be-er Heteb says that this is because giving thanks for 'straightening the bent', includes 'freeing the bound'. However, not everyone agrees. The Maharshal and the Ba"h disagree and say that even if one said Zoqef Kefufim, one should still recite Mattir Asurim.
It says in 'Od Yosef Hai, that one should recite the blessing of Mattir Asurim, with G-d's Name and Kingdom, even if one said Zoqef Kefufim first. The reason is because of the opinion of 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 Shulhan 'Arukh 46:5. Be-er Heteb, ibid., 9. 'Od Yosef Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 4)
ID: 294f0 No.3126
The Hayyei Adam says that if one started saying the blessing of Zoqef Kefufim and said "Barukh Attah H' ", but realized that he should first say Mattir Asurim, he may not change it to Mattir Asurim, but must continue saying Zoqef Kefufim, even though he will no longer be able to say Mattir Asurim any more.
The Ben Ish Hai disagrees and says that one should not say Zoqef Kefufim, but should say Mattir Asurim instead, and then recite the blessing of Zoqef Kefufim in the correct order. It should be noted that this is Bedi'abad (after the fact), because one should know exactly which blessing one is saying before starting to bless.
It says in 'Od Yosef Hai that if, in error, one started saying the Berakha (blessing) of Zoqef Kefufim before saying Mattir Asurim, and while one was saying the words Zoqef Kefufim, one realized the error and said "Mattir Asurim" right away, it is considered as if one said both blessings. In other words, if one said the blessing and ended it with the words "Zoqef Kefufim, Mattir Asurim", even though one only said the beginning portion of the blessing once, it is considered in all respects as being two full blessings.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 7. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 5)
ID: 294f0 No.3128
After the Berakha (blessing) of Malbish 'Arumim (Who clothes the naked), one recites the blessing of HaNothen Laya'ef Kowah (Who gives strength to the weary). It is interesting to note that the Shulhan 'Arukh is not in favor of saying this Berakha, however, it is the custom among both Sephardim and Ashkenazim to recite it.
According to the Kabbalah, both these blessings were instituted in reference to the clothing of the soul. There are some people who, through their sins, lose the clothing of their souls completely. The Holy One blessed be He, in His infinite kindness, gives them new clothing for their souls which are naked.
On the other hand, there are others who do not sin so much. Their clothes are weakened, but not removed entirely. G-d, in His mercy, gives them strength every morning, to fortify them when he returns their souls to them in the morning.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 46:6. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 8)
ID: 294f0 No.3133
The simple understanding of the blessing "She'asah Li Kol Sorki" (Who provides me all my needs), is that it refers to wearing shoes. One who is barefoot is unable to attend to his needs and the needs of his household. Once he wears shoes he is able to go about his business, wherever he wishes, and it is as if he has already been provided with all his needs, as is explained in the Shalmei Sibbur.
In 'Od Yosef Hai, Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, expresses surprise at this opinion. He comments that the benefit that one obtains by wearing shoes cannot be compared to the benefit that one gets from, for example, "Poqeah 'Iwrim" (opening the eyes of the blind), or "Mattir Asurim" (freeing the imprisoned), and so on. In those cases, a man would be unable to carry out his affairs if it weren’t for the blessings. In the case of shoes, however, the benefit is minimal. Many people in the world walk barefoot and take care of their matters. Not only that, but all these blessings must be recited daily, even if one doesn't leave one's room. If one remains in one's room, there is no hardship involved in not wearing shoes.
He gives a detailed explanation that the reason is Kabbalistic in nature, and connects this blessing with the blessings of Malbish 'Arumim (Who clothes the naked) and HaNothen Laya'ef Kowah (Who gives strength to the weak), as mentioned previously ( http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-01-29
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 9. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 8)
ID: 294f0 No.3135
According to the Ari, z"l, the 18 morning Berakhoth (blessings), from 'Al Netilath Yadayim, till the last blessing on the Torah, are recited because of the blessings that occur in the world, and not specifically to the individual. The exceptions to this rule are, " 'Al Netilath Yadayim", "Asher Yasar", and "She'asah Li Kol Sorki". The latter is not recited on Tish'ah BeAb or Yom Kippur, since no one wears shoes on those days.
This is the custom of Sephardim and some Ashkenazim, not to recite "She'asah Li Kol Sorki" on those fast days. It was also the custom of the Gaon of Vilna. However, he recited the blessing at night, when the fast was over, when he wore his shoes. The Ben Ish Hai comments that according to the Kabbalah, this blessing should not be recited at night and rules in Rab Pe'alim that it should not be recited at all on those fast days.
The Mishnah Berurah, on the other hand, is in favor of reciting the blessing even on a fast day where one does not wear shoes. This is the practice followed by many Ashkenazim.
(See Rab Pe'alim 1:54, 2:8. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 9. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 8. Kaf Hahayyim 46, Oth 17. Tur, O.H. 613. Ma'aseh Rab 9. Mishnah Berurah 554:31)
ID: 294f0 No.3137
וְהִגִּישׁוֹ אֶל הַדֶּלֶת אוֹ אֶל הַמְּזוּזָה וְרָצַע אֲדֹנָיו אֶת אָזְנוֹ בַּמַּרְצֵעַ וַעֲבָדוֹ לְעֹלָם "And he shall bring him to the door, or to the door post, and his master shall drive an awl through his ear, and he shall serve him forever" (Shemoth 21:6). The Gemara of Qiddushin tells us that the reason that the ear is the part of the body that was chosen, is because it heard on Mount Sinai, "כי לי בני ישראל עבדים" (that Benei Yisrael would be servants to G-d). And the ear that heard that we were to be servants to G-d and not servants of servants, went and acquired a master for himself.
It asks in Ben Yehoyada', why Hazal said such a thing. Nowhere in the 10 commandments does such a phrase appear. It appears much later in Sefer Wayyiqra. He answers that while it is true that those words were not said, nevertheless, the sense can be found in the first commandment. It says, "I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage". What was the reason to mention both Egypt and bondage? Surely we would have understood one from the other.
The answer is that G-d mentions both to make it clear to us that the reason for taking us out of Egypt was in order to free us from slavery. The reason for that, was so that we could be servants of G-d, alone. We see from this, that even though the words that Benei Yisrael would be servants to G-d were not actually in the 10 commandments, the meaning was clear from the first commandment.
(See Ben Yehoyada', Qiddushin 22b)
ID: 294f0 No.3141
It is well known that a person is never satisfied with the money he makes. If he has one hundred, he wants to add to it and make it two hundred, and so on. While in monetary matters, one needs to temper this desire, this same concept is very important in the spiritual realm.
We are commanded to add to Shabbath and Yom Kippur, in order to add from the profane to the holy. The Pele Yo'es comments that this is not something that applies only to Shabbath and Yom Kippur, but to all matters pertaining to Torah commandments. A person sanctifies himself by even keeping away from things that are permitted to him.
One must never be satisfied with the Torah and Miswoth that one does, but must constantly strive to increase. Having said that, however, there is a danger, which we sometimes witness, where the additions that one takes on become so important, that one loses track of what the actual Halakha is. One must always consider carefully all the additions that one takes on, and ensure that they do not negatively affect or dilute the importance of the actual Halakhoth (laws).
(See Pele Yo'es, Tosefeth)
ID: 294f0 No.3144
Based on the fact that many are of the opinion that the Berakha (blessing) of שעשה לי כל צורכי "She'asah Li Kol Sorki" may not be said on Tish'ah BeAb and Yom Kippur, because we do not wear leather shoes, we might think that a mourner may not recite it either (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-01-31
Based on the Ari, z"l, however, who says that these blessings are not connected to the individual, but to the custom of the world, the blessing must be recited by a mourner during the seven days where leather shoes are prohibited, because the rest of the world are wearing shoes.
If someone is an Onen (one who lost an immediate relative, but before burial), and unable to recite the Birkoth HaShahar blessings in the morning, he should do so after the funeral. If the funeral is at night, however, he should not recite them at night. Similarly, one who forgot to recite the morning blessings, should recite them when he remembers, even if he has already prayed Shahrith or Minha. In this case also, they should not be recited once it becomes night.
(See Rab Pe'alim 1:54, 2:8. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 9)
ID: 294f0 No.3149
The three blessings of "Shello 'Asani Ghoy, Shello 'Asani 'Abed, Shello 'Asani Isha", are all written in the negative form. They do not say, "for making me a Jew, a free man and a man", but say, for not making me a non-Jew, a slave or a woman". What is the reason?
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes that these three blessings show our acceptance of the additional commandments incumbent on the one who reads them, vis-a-vis those who do not have the same amount of obligations. Along the same lines, the Maghen Abraham says that it is to praise G-d for different levels of Miswoth. If we would praise G-d "for making me a free man", that would not indicate that we have more commandments than one who is not free.
The Taz comments that if we said it in the positive, one might mistakenly think that non-Jews or women are on a lower level. By stating it in the negative, we are saying that all of G-d's creations are required and have their own purpose in the world. The reason for blessing G-d is because one's obligation is higher than the other's. It says in 'Od Yosef Hai, that the reason for stating the blessings in the negative, is Kabbalistic.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 10. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 9. Maghen Abraham, Oraha Hayyim 46:9. Taz, ibid., 4)
ID: 294f0 No.3152
As we have previously mentioned things that don't have a status of a vessel are Muqseh on Shabbath. Another example where this Halakha is found, is when someone is eating fruits, nuts, eggs, meat and the like. As long as it is food, obviously there is no problem of Muqseh. The question arises after one has finished eating and all that is left are the pits, seeds, shells or peels.
The Shulhan Arukh says that if what is left over is fit to be fed to an animal, one may remove it from the table, even with one's bare hands. If the remnants are not fit to feed an animal, then they are Muqseh. The Shulhan Arukh explains that one may tilt the table or the table cloth until they fall on the floor.
If however, one needs the space around the table to walk, and the like, (which is the the most likely scenario, assuming that we are not speaking about only a small seed or the like), one may raise the table or table cloth and let the shells and other remnants fall in an appropriate place. If however, one has bread on the table, in addition to the pits and shells, then one may move the table or table cloth to the place where one wants to dispose of the shells, even if one has no need for the area around the table.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, 308:27)
ID: 294f0 No.3157
"And you shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell amongst you" (Shemoth 25:8). One sometimes hears certain people complain that the Rabbis added laws that were not given by the Torah. It says in Benayahu on the Torah that G-d gave us the Miswoth (commandments), but it is up to us to show Him that we desire to do them of our own volition and not because we were forced or are fearful of retribution, Heaven forbid.
It says in the Gemara of Shabbath (14b), that when King Solomon instituted the laws of 'Erub and Netilath Yadayim (ritual washing of hands), a Heavenly voice proclaimed, "My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will be glad". By all these stringencies and additions to the laws that G-d commanded, we demonstrate that we are willingly performing the commandments that G-d has given us, and not because we were fearful or forced.
G-d is saying in this verse that when the Jewish people demonstrate their desire for the performance of the Miswoth, by adding to what is holy, beyond that which is required, G-d responds measure for measure. He makes their profane holy, by dwelling among them and resting His Shekhinah (Holy Presence) on them.
(See Benayahu on the Torah)
ID: 294f0 No.3160
The reason we said that one is permitted to tilt the table cloth and let the shells, peels and the like fall on Shabbath, is because one is not moving the items with one's hands, and also because one needs the space on the table. There are other exceptions where one may move shells, bones and the like off a table.
The Taz says that the same applies to a stick or the like and therefore allows one to move the shells off the table with a knife. This is also the ruling of the Kaf Hahayyim and the Mishnah Berura.
Another exception for moving bones is in a case where there is still some meat remaining on the bone. Since that meat is edible, one may move the entire bone because of the meat remaining on it. This is true even if one has no intention of eating the meat, but rather intends to throw it out. Since it is edible it is permitted to be moved.
(See Taz, Siman 308. Kaf Hahayyim, 308, Oth 184. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 115)
ID: 294f0 No.3162
The Berakha (blessing) that one makes on wine, is Borei Peri HaGefen. If one drinks the required minimum amount, one is required to make an after blessing (Berakha Aharonah) of 'Al HaGefen. If one mistakenly recited the after blessing of 'Al Hamihiya or 'Al Ha'es on the wine that he drank one will have fulfilled one's obligation Bediabad (after the fact).
The amount that one is required to drink in order to make the after Berakha, is a Rebi'ith. However there are those who say that if one drinks even a Kezayith of wine one must make an after blessing. Therefore, one should avoid drinking wine between a Kezayith and Rebi'ith.
If one ate grapes and drank wine, one must mention in his after Berakha both 'Al Ha'es for the grapes as well as 'Al HaGefen for the wine. If he only said 'Al Hagefen, but had in mind that it should cover the grapes as well, he will have fulfilled his obligation, after the fact.
(See Kaf Hahayim 208, Oth 79. Biur Halakha Siman 208)
ID: 294f0 No.3166
The Shulhan 'Arukh writes that raw meat is permitted to be moved on Shabbath and is not Muqseh. The reason he gives is that even though it would seem like it doesn't have any use on Shabbath, nevertheless, since it is fit for eating small amounts (it is clear from the Gemarah that in those days they would, at times, eat a little raw meat), therefore, it has a use and isn't Muqseh, even if one has no intention to eat from it.
The Maghen Abraham says this is only permitted in the case of soft meats, because only those are eaten raw. The Taz disagrees and is of the opinion that all meats are permitted to be moved.
The question arises that, whether these days, since people do not eat raw meat, does raw meat become Muqseh. There are those who opine that the ruling of the Shulhan 'Arukh still applies and meat is not Muqseh. This is the opinion of some Posqim, including Sefer Menuhath Ahaba and Sefer Hut Shani. Other Posqim rule that since these days raw meat doesn't have any use, it is Muqseh. This is the opinion of the Ben Ish Hai, the 'Arukh Hashulhan and Rav Moshe Feinstein.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 308:31. Maghen Abraham, ibid., 51. Taz, ibid. 2. Be Ish Hai, 2nd year, Pequdei, Oth 9. 'Arukh HaShulhan 58. Iggeroth Moshe 5, 25)
ID: 294f0 No.3169
The Gemara in Masekheth Ta'anith tells us that just as we must minimize our rejoicing in the month of Ab, so too we should increase our happiness and rejoicing in the month of Adar. If one has a court case with a non jew he should refrain from having it in Ab and try having it in Adar. The question arises in a Shana Me'ubbereth (Jewish leap year), where we have two months of Adar, does adding to our rejoicing apply to the first Adar as well, or only to the second one which is the more important of the two.
There is a difference of opinion. Rabbi Haim Kanievsky is of the opinion that adding to our rejoicing applies to the first Adar as well. One of the proofs he brings is that the Mishna in Meghilla (6b) mentions differences between the first and second Adar, but doesn't specify "Marbim Besimha" (increasing enjoyment) as being one of them. Also, the Hatham Sofer signed a letter in his responsa on the first day of the first Adar, with the words that we add to our rejoicing. We see from this that his opinion was also that on the first Adar we add to our rejoicing.
On the other hand, there are others, including Rabbi Ya'aqob 'Emden, who rules, based on a Rashi on this Gemara of "Mishenikhnas Adar Marbim Besimha" (from when Adar enters, we increase our rejoicing), that it only applies to the second Adar. This is also the opinion of Rabbi Haim Phalagi in Mo'ed Lekhol Hai.
(See Hatham Sofer חו"מ סי' ב'. Mo'ed Lekhol Hai סי' ל"א אות נ"ב)
ID: 294f0 No.3173
If one ate a certain food and is uncertain if he had enough for the Berakha Ahronah (after blessing), he may not make an after blessing because of the general rule of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is a doubt, we do not recite a blessing). The Shulhan 'Arukh writes that the same applies, even if it will not cause Hashem's Name to be said in vain.
When one eats the required quantity of grapes, one must make the after blessing of Me'ein Shalosh of 'Al Ha'es. If one drank a Rebi'ith of wine, one must make the after blessing of Me'ein Shalosh of 'Al HaGefen. He says if one ate grapes and now is obligated to make the after blessing of Me'ein Shalosh of 'Al Ha'es, but is not certain if he drank the required quantity of wine or not, he may not include 'Al Hagefen. Even though he is not saying Hashem's name any more times than he would have, since both 'Al HaGefen and 'Al Ha'Es are included in the same blessing, nevertheless, he may not include the wine since there is a doubt.
The Aharonim say, however, that initially he should not put himself in this situation but, after the fact, if he already is in doubt, then he should add it to the after blessing on the grapes. And indeed, even if he only drank a quantity of wine that put him into a doubt, he can, nevertheless, go ahead and eat the required quantity (Kezayith) of grapes, in order to add the 'Al HaGefen in his after Berakha.
(See שו"ע סי ר"ח סעיף מ"ב ס"ק פ"ב. כף החיים אות צ"א)
ID: 294f0 No.3178
וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד "And they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, for the candle to burn always" (Shemoth 27:20). The Ba'al HaTurim writes that this Pasuq (verse) contains a hint to the amount of time that the Menorah burned in the two Batei HaMiqdash (Temples). The word כתית (Kathith) contains the letters ת"י and ת"כ, which have the numerical equivalent in Gematria of 420 and 410 respectively.
The burning of the Menorah was limited to the two Batei Miqdash. The first lasted 410 years and the second 420. In other words, the Menorah burned for a total of 830 years, which is the Gematria of Kathith.
It says in Toldoth Yis-haq (authored by the uncle of Maran Beth Yosef, z"l), that the burning of the Menorah will not be limited in the future, because the Third Temple will exist forever. There is a hint to this in the continuation of the Pasuq. It says "for the candle to burn always", to let us know that in the third Beth HaMiqdash the Menorah will burn for ever.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Parashath Tesawweh, Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.3181
On Friday night, after the Qiddush, it is customary for the father to bless all the children, both young and old. This is done before Netilath Yadayim for HaMosi, however, some have the custom of blessing the children when they return home from Synagogue. Is it necessary for him to bless each of the children individually, or is it sufficient for him to recite one blessing and include all of them together?
It says in Qol Eliyahu that the ideal way of blessing the children is for the father to place his hands on the heads of each one of his children separately and to bless them. However, if he has many children and grandchildren and it is difficult for him to bless each one individually, it suffices to bless them all together, in the same way that the Kohanim bless the entire congregation.
It should be noted that the prevalent custom is to place both hands on the child's head. Some have the custom of placing only one hand. According to the Kabbalah, both hands should be placed on the child's head.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 262:17. Qol Eliyahu 9:6)
ID: 294f0 No.3182
On Friday night, after the Qiddush, it is customary for the father to bless all the children, both young and old. This is done before Netilath Yadayim for HaMosi, however, some have the custom of blessing the children when they return home from Synagogue. Is it necessary for him to bless each of the children individually, or is it sufficient for him to recite one blessing and include all of them together?
It says in Qol Eliyahu that the ideal way of blessing the children is for the father to place his hands on the heads of each one of his children separately and to bless them. However, if he has many children and grandchildren and it is difficult for him to bless each one individually, it suffices to bless them all together, in the same way that the Kohanim bless the entire congregation.
It should be noted that the prevalent custom is to place both hands on the child's head. Some have the custom of placing only one hand. According to the Kabbalah, both hands should be placed on the child's head.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 262:17. Qol Eliyahu 9:6)
ID: 294f0 No.3186
There is a difference of opinion as to whether women should recite the blessings of "Shello 'Asani Ghoy" and "Shello 'Asani 'Abed" in the masculine form, as do the men, or whether they should say it in the feminine gender (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-02-05
). Rabbi Ya'aqob 'Emden, 'a"h, is of the opinion that these two blessings should be said by women in the same form as they are said by men. This is the prevalent custom among Ashkenazim.
The prevalent custom for Sephardim, however, is in accordance with the Ben Ish Hai. He rules that women should say, "Ghoyah" and "Shifhah", both in the feminine form. The blessing of "Shello 'Asani Isha", is different.
All agree that it is not possible for a woman to recite it in the same form as men and should say "She'asani Kirsono" (Who made me according to His will). However there is a difference of opinion as to whether the blessing should be recited with Shem Umalkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom), or not. Ashkenazim recite the complete blessing. The Sephardi custom is that that the women recite it without Shem Umalkhuth, but should simply have the Shem Umalkhuth in mind, at the appropriate place.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 10. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 9)
ID: 294f0 No.3191
The morning blessing of HaMa'abir appears to end with the words "HaMa'abir Shenah Me'einai Uthnuma Me'af'appai" (Who removes the bonds of sleep from my eyes and sleep from my eyelids). This is incorrect, however. In fact, the entire paragraph, including the Yehi Rason that comes next, ends with the blessing of "HaGomel Hasadim Tobim Le'ammo Yisrael" (Who does loving kindness to His people Israel).
In other words, this entire paragraph is, effectively, one long blessing. As such, if someone hears the blessing up to the words, "HaMa'abir Shenah Me'einai Uthnuma Me'af'appai", one should not answer "Amen". That is why the Yehi Rason that follows it, begins with the letter ו' (Waw [and]), to show that it is a continuation of the blessing that went before.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 46:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 11. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 9)
ID: 294f0 No.3195
Since the Jewish calendar is a combination of both lunar and solar, every nineteen years we have a Shanah Me'ubbereth (lit. pregnant year), seven times. In order to synchronize the lunar and solar calendars we add a month to our calendar. That month is always the month of Adar, and not any other month. The reason is that the Torah tells us that the following month, the month of Nisan, must always fall in the spring. Indeed, the Torah refers to it as Hodesh HaAbib (the month of spring). Therefore, the correction to the calendar is made just before it, to ensure that it corresponds with the spring.
Purim is always celebrated on the second Adar, in a Shanah Me'ubbereth. One reason is that on Purim we were redeemed through Queen Esther, 'a"h, and in Nissan we were redeemed from the servitude in Egypt. In order to place the two redemptions next to each other, Purim is celebrated on the second Adar.
Even though Purim is celebrated on the 14th of the second Adar, there are a few observances that apply to the same date in the first Adar. Tahanun is not recited on the 14th of the first Adar, nor on the 15th. Additionally, fasting and eulogies are prohibited. The exception is a eulogy for a Talmid Hakham (Torah scholar) at the funeral.
(See Meghillah 6b. Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 697:1. Sefer HaToda'ah, Adar Sheni)
ID: 294f0 No.3206
הֶעָשִׁיר לֹא יַרְבֶּה וְהַדַּל לֹא יַמְעִיט מִמַּחֲצִית הַשָּׁקֶל "One who is rich may not increase and one who is poor may not reduce from the half Sheqel" (Shemoth 30:15). When it comes to the giving of the half Sheqel, the Torah commands that one may neither give more nor give less. This lesson can also be applied to spiritual matters. One who has the merit to be rich in Miswoth, because he has done many good deeds, should not be arrogant about what he has achieved.
By the same token, one who is poor in Miswoth, should not say that there is no hope for him. This would lead him to say that since he will not inherit the world to come, let him, at least, taste the pleasures of this world, Heaven forbid. We must remember that a man is not judged by what he achieves vis-a-vis others, but by what he achieves vis-a-vis his own capabilities.
It's one's heart which makes a man feel rich or poor. The word for heart in Hebrew is לב (Leb). If we look at the letters before them, we have אך (only), which is a word which comes to minimize. The letters after the word for heart form the word גם (also), which is a word which denotes an increase. We see from this that there are times when the heart must minimize the person, but there are times when it must build him up.
(See Ben Ish Hai Derushim, Parashath Ki Thissa
ID: 294f0 No.3209
The Ben Ish Hai writes that Rabbenu the Ari, z"l, would leave the table covered with the table cloth, after the meal on Friday night. He would also leave the cup of Birkath HaMazon, with a little wine still in it, on the table, as well as a few pieces of bread, covered by a cloth. One should not leave a whole loaf, however.
Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, was asked what one should do with the wine that remained in the cup. He answers that it should be drunk at the morning Qiddush. The reason is that the wine which was left over from a Miswah, one does an additional Miswah with it.
It is important, however, to keep the wine covered overnight. The custom in our home is to use a special silver cup for the Qiddush, with a matching cover on it. This was the custom in Baghdad and is a custom that was subsequently adopted by some Hasidim also.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 2nd year, Parashath Wayyera, Oth 22. Qol Eliyahu, 9:7, 8)
ID: 294f0 No.3216
Ribbi Lewitas said (Aboth 4:4) that a person should be of "very very" lowly spirit (humble). The holy Pele Yo'es comments that we see the extent of the obligation to be humble by the fact that he did not say "very" once, but twice. Our Rabbis tell us (sanhedrin 88b) that one who inherits the world to come is one who is humble, bends when he enters, bends when he leaves and constantly studies Torah without taking credit for it.
One's external behavior influences one's inner feelings and emotions. When a person behaves with humility, and does not go after praise and honor, does not sit where important people sit and does not wear clothes that will add to his importance, this will guide him to be a true humble person. On the other hand, one must be careful not to overdo this.
If the person is considered to be important in the eyes of others, he should not sit where the downtrodden sit, nor should he wear clothes that are tattered and torn. To do so would just appear to be arrogance by one who wishes to show his greatness by just how humble and perfect he can be. It is a balance that a person must find. What G-d desires is what is in the heart, and it is on this that he will be judged. And he must find a way to find grace in the eyes of both G-d and man.
(See Pele Yo'es Shifluth)
ID: 294f0 No.3220
In the last request in the Yehi Rason in the morning, we beseech G-d to save us from the judgment in Gehinnam (Hell). We might think that this is referring to after one dies. In fact, it is speaking about being judged in Gehinnam while one is still alive.
It says in Sha'ar Maamarei Rashbi (Noah), that even when one is still in this world, one can be judged in Gehinnam. When a person sins, a portion of his soul is pulled down to Gehinnam, while he is still alive. Each time he sins, the same thing happens. As a person becomes steeped in sins and transgressions, bit by bit, all of his soul gets pulled down to Gehinnam.
This explains the saying of our Sages, z"l, that the wicked are considered to be dead. This is so, even though they are still alive, in the sense that we see them moving about and talking. Nevertheless, even though their physical body is still functioning, their soul has already been judged in Gehinnam. This hopefully moves us all to look closely at our deeds, every day.
(See 'Od Yosef Hai, Wayyesheb, Oth 15)
ID: 294f0 No.3222
The blessings on the Torah that one recites every morning, comprise three Berakhoth (blessings). Each one is separate and distinct, and one who hears them must respond "Amen" to each one. When reciting them, one should have in mind that they will cover all the Torah that one learns that day, into the night, till one's night sleep. Before one recites the blessing of "Weha'areb Na", one may not study Torah SheBikhthab or Be'al Peh (Written or Oral Law).
One may, however, decide Halakha, such as advising someone if a matter is permitted or forbidden, but one may not provide the reasoning, before reciting the blessings. Writing words of Torah, or even listening to them, is likewise forbidden.
While simply thinking of words of Torah is permitted, there are those who say that this only applies to thinking without looking in a Sefer (book), but if one reads from a book, it is forbidden. These laws apply equally to women as they do to men.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 47:1-6, 14. Ben Ish Hai 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 12. 'Od Yosef Hai, ibid., Oth 16)
ID: 294f0 No.3232
We mentioned that when one recites the Torah blessings, every day in the morning, one must have in mind that they will cover all Torah that one will be learning that day. Both Torah Shebikhthab (Written Law) and Torah SheBe'al Peh (Oral Law), should be included. One should also have in mind that it will even cover Torah learned at night, before one has one's night's sleep.
If one takes a nap or nods off during the day, it doesn't make any difference, and the blessings are not repeated. We run into a difference of opinion, however, if a person has a proper bed sleep, equivalent to the kind of sleep he might have at night. There are those who are of the opinion that this is considered to be a Hefseq (interruption), which would require him to recite the blessings again. Not everyone agrees, however.
Since we have a difference of opinion, we apply the concept of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is doubt about a blessing, it is not recited). As such, one should recite the blessing without Shem Umalkhuth (G-d's Name and Kingdom), to satisfy all opinions.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 47:1-6, 12. Hesed La-alafim, Oth
ID: 294f0 No.3233
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Wayyaqhel: How the Yeser Hara' Srikes on Shabbath
by Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe
(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)
לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל משְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת "You shall not light a fire in any of your dwelling places on the Sabbath day" (Shemoth 35:3).The way of the Yeser Hara' (evil inclination), is to light the fires of strife and quarrel between people, and especially between husband and wife. The number one time for this is 'Ereb Shabbath, when there is a lot of stress in the home as everyone prepares for Shabbath. Shabbath day can also present particular difficulties in this area.
Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, zs"l, writes that during his time as a Dayan in the Beth Din (Jewish religious court) in Be-er Sheba', he noticed that every Sunday morning there would be an inordinate amount of files opened for people wishing to divorce. To make matters worse, they seemed to be the result of unimportant things. He investigated and understood that the reason was that on Shabbath, these families had nothing to do.
The husbands didn't go to Synagogue or study Torah. As a result, they had plenty of time to sit at home and argue with their wives. The next day they came to the Beth Din to file for divorce. In his wisdom, Maran Mordekahi Eliyahu, zs"l, instructed the secretary of the Beth Din to delay the process of any divorce file that was opened on a Sunday, by several months. This gave the two parties time to cool off. The net result was that many of the files were closed without the parties ever coming to the Beth Din.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Wayyaqhel, Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.3239
Wine is always the preferred beverage for Qiddush on Shabbath. If none is available, one should make Qiddush on bread, on Friday night. During the day, however, since there is no specific Berakha to sanctify the Shabbath, doing Qiddush over bread would appear as if one is merely having a meal with bread and the sanctification of Shabbath would not be obvious.
If no wine is available for the morning meal on Shabbath, one should make Qiddush on Hemar Medinah (a national beverage). A national beverage is a drink that is commonly consumed in that country. Included in the list would be whisky, brandy, beer and the like. Tea and coffee are commonly accepted in Ashkenazi circles, but Sephardim do not have the custom to use them. In extreme circumstances, if nothing else is available, one may be lenient.
Popular sodas are also considered Hemar Medinah. Orange juice and other natural juices should not be used if something else is available, but in a case of need they may also be used. It should be noted that there is an opinion that it is preferable to use an alcoholic drink. In practice, however, any national beverage is considered acceptable.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:13. Da'ath Torah 296:2. Halakhoth Qetanoth 1:9)
ID: 294f0 No.3243
If one sleeps one's main night sleep before midnight (and awoke before midnight), some say that he does not say the Birkath HaTorah (blessings on the Torah before Torah study). However, according to the Kabbalists and the Zohar, one may recite the Birkath HaTorah, even before midnight. If it was just a temporary sleep, however, one should not recite the blessings, but may continue studying Torah.
The Birkoth Hashahar (morning blessings), on the other hand, may not be recited before midnight. If one wakes close to midnight, it is preferable to wait till after midnight, and recite the Birkoth Hashahar together with the Torah blessings. This way they will be said in the correct order.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 47:7, 13. Maghen Abraham, 47:13. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 12, 13. Kaf Hahayyim 47, Oth 27, 29. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 28.)
ID: 294f0 No.3248
(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)
There is a difference of opinion as to whether or not the blessings on the Torah (Birkhoth HaTorah), in the morning, need to be followed immediately by some form of Torah study. In practice, we follow the opinion of the Rambam (Maimonides) who says that this is like all other blessings where we have to follow the blessing by the action.
The custom is to follow the Birkhoth HaTorah with the three verses of the Birkath Kohanim (Priestly blessing). There are those, however, who recite more than this. It says in 'Od Yosef Hai that the Minhath Aharon states that after the Birkhoth HaTorah one should recite Midrash, Mishnah and Talmud, so that one will have recited all aspects of the Torah. If one has some knowledge in Kabbalah, one should add a paragraph from Sefer HaYesira.
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes that his custom is to recite the first Mishnah of Pirqei Aboth, followed by "Tana Debei Eliyahu, Kol Hashoneh Halakhoth", then, "Amar Ribbi El'azar Amar Ribbi Hanina, Talmidei Hakhamim Marbim Shalom Ba'Olam", and finally, "Ribbi Hananya Ben Aqashya Omer". On Shabbath he would add the beginning of the first Mishnah of Shabbath and on Yom Tob, the first few lines of the first Mishnah of the Mishnah of Beisah.
(See 'Od Yosef Hai, 1st year, Wayyesheb, Oth 17)
ID: 294f0 No.3250
There was a Minyan that forgot to read the special readings on Shabbath for Parashath Sheqalim. They approached me the next day, when they realized their error, as to whether they could make it up the following Shabbath.
The Maftir of Sheqalim can only be read on the day itself. Rabbenu the Hida, 'a"h, writes that it can only be read on that Shabbath, and furthermore, it must be read in the morning. If it is read any other time, one does not fulfill one's obligation.
If the congregation realized the error, the same Shabbath, while it was still morning, even if the Sefer Torah had been returned to the Hekhal (Ark), they may take it out again and read the portion with the blessings before and after. This is true, even if they already prayed Musaf. It would appear that the blessings should not be recited over the Haftarah.
(See Yosef 'Omez:27. Mishpatei 'Uzziel, Orah Hayyim 15. Hazon 'Obadia, Purim)
ID: 294f0 No.3253
When reading the Meghillah in a Minyan, there are blessings that are recited both before and after the reading. If it is read where there is no Minyan present, there is a difference of opinion. The Shulhan 'Arukh writes that even if there is no Minyan, all the blessings, before and after the reading, should be recited.
The Rama disagrees, however. According to him, when reading the Meghillah without a Minyan, one reads the blessings before, but omits the blessing after the reading. The Ben Ish Hai writes that even one who reads the Meghillah on his own, must say the blessings before and after.
He adds that this is the custom in his city and is what one should do everywhere. He writes that one who reads on his own should not lose this precious blessing.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Tesawweh, Oth 13. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 64:17)
ID: 294f0 No.3255
אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן "These are the accountings of the Mishkan" (Shemoth 38:21). The Ohr HaHayyim comments that the Midrash tells us that the erection of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was considered to be atonement for the sin of the golden calf. The Gemara tells us that the sin of 'Abodah Zara (idolatry), is equivalent to transgressing the entire Torah (all 613 commandments).
Quoting Onkelos (Wayyiqra 27:34), the Ohr HaHayyim says that אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי (these are the accountings), should be translated as "These are the orders/commandments", and, since the Mishkan represented all the commandments, it was atonement for the golden calf, which transgressed the entire Torah.
A hint to this can be found in the Gematria of the words פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן (accounting of the Tabernacle). The numerical value of the words is 615. There are 613 commandments and 2 tablets of stone on which the 10 Commandments were written. We can now read the verse as saying, "These" will allow G-d to forget the 613 commandments which were transgressed in the matter of the golden calf.
(See Ohr HaHayyim on the Torah)
ID: 294f0 No.3258
If a person makes Qiddush on Shabbath morning on an alcoholic drink, such as Whisky or Arak, how much does he need to drink? Dos he need to drink a Rebi'ith (3 ozs.) as he would if drinking wine, or, since it is not customary to gulp down 3 ozs. of hard liquor in one go, is it sufficient if he drinks only a little, which is the normal way of drinking it?
The Taz mentions that we go according to what the majority of people do and, therefore, do not require a full Shi'ur (quantity) as we would with wine. It says in Qol Eliyahu, that we do not follow the Taz in this matter and we do require a full Shi'ur.
The rules of the Shi'ur are the same as for wine. If one will be eating bread immediately after the morning Qiddush, then it suffices to drink "Melo Lughmaw" (a cheekful), since Birkath HaMazon will cover the drink as well as the meal. On the other hand, if the person only intends to have Mezonoth (cakes, cookies and the like), then he must have a full Rebi'ith in order to say Berakha Ahronah (the after blessing) according to all opinions. Additionally, he must drink it in one gulp, or in not more than three, one after the other.
(See Qol Eliyahu 9:14. Mishnah Berurah 272:30. Taz 210:1)
ID: 294f0 No.3260
One of Three Coins for the Half Sheqel
by Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe
(Links to the audio and video appear after the text)
The custom of giving the Mahasith HaSheqel (half Sheqel) is based on a Rama. He says that there is a custom to give a half coin of the currency of the country one is in, before Purim, in memory of the half Sheqel that used to be given in Adar. He adds, that since the Parasha mentioning the half Sheqel (Ki Thissa), uses the term Terumah (donation), three times, one should give three coins.
Many Ashkenazim adhere to the custom of giving three coins, though not all. The Gaon of Vilna used to give only one coin. The Kaf HaHayyim disagrees with the position of the Rama, z"l, for the following reasons.
He states that the fact that the Parasha says the word "Terumah" three times is not relevant. Of the three times, one is for the Adanim and the other for the Mishkan, neither of which were connected to the Mahasith Sheqel. Not only that, but these two only applied to the time of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), in the Wilderness and not later. Sephardim use one half coin of the local currency.
(See Kaf HaHayyim, 694, Oth 23. Ma'asei Rab 233)
ID: 294f0 No.3263
According to the Shulhan 'Arukh, at night, before reading the Meghillah, one recites 3 blessings: 'Al Miqra Meghillah (on the reading of the Meghillah), She'Asah Nissim (Who performed miracles) and Sheheheyanu (Who gave us life). Maran Yosef Qaro, z"l, adds that during the day one does not repeat the blessing of Sheheheyanu when reading the Meghillah.
The Rama, z"l, in his gloss on the Shulhan 'Arukh, writes that the blessing of Sheheheyanu is also recited during the day, and that this is the Ashkenazi custom. The question then is, what does a Sephardi do if he did not hear the blessing of Sheheheyanu at night?
Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, writes that if a Sephardi did not hear the blessing of Sheheheyanu at night, he should try to hear the blessing from an Ashkenazi during the day. If this is not possible or practical, he should wear a new article of clothing (of the type that requires a Berakha of Sheheheyanu), and have in mind that it covers both the new clothes and the reading of the Meghillah.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 692:1. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 63:13)
ID: 294f0 No.3265
We mentioned that Sephardim only recite the Berakha (blessing) of Sheheheyanu on the Meghillah at night, whereas Ashkenazim recite it in the morning also. When hearing the blessing of Sheheheyanu, it is good to have in mind that it covers not only the reading of the Meghillah, but also the Mishlowah Manoth (sending of gifts of food) and the Se'uddath Purim (festive meal).
Mishlowah Manoth and Se'uddath Purim are practised during the day of Purim. Sephardim must obviously have them in mind when hearing the blessing at night, since it is the only time they recite it. Ashkenazim, however, should have it in mind when hearing the blessing in the morning.
If the Hazzan forgets to say the blessing of Sheheheyanu before starting the reading, he can recite it anytime he remembers during the reading. Having said that, once he reads the portion of the ten sons of Haman, he may not say the blessing any more.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Tesawweh, Oth 5. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu] 63:14-15)
ID: 294f0 No.3270
The obligation to hear the Meghillah reading applies to both men and women. Despite this, a woman should hear the reading by a man and not read for herself, even if she is fluent in reading. The man should hear it read in the Synagogue and can then read it for the women, even though he already fulfilled his obligation.
There is a difference of opinion about reciting the blessing when reading for women. A Sephardi who already heard the reading should not recite a blessing when reading for women. In fact, the women do not recite a blessing either. According to the Mishnah Berurah, the custom for Ashkenazim is that the one reading for women, recites the blessing of "Lishmowa' Meghillah" (to 'hear' the Meghillah), as opposed to the blessing for men which is " 'Al Miqra Meghillah" (on the 'reading' of the Meghillah). The reason is that there is an opinion that women are not obligated in reading, but only to hear.
Despite this, if there is no man present who is able to read the Meghillah for her, she should read it for herself. She does not recite a blessing in this case.
ID: 294f0 No.3273
וְהִקְרִיב מִן הַתֹּרִים אוֹ מִן בְּנֵי הַיּוֹנָה "He shall bring an offering from a turtle dove or a young pigeon" (Wayyiqra 1:14). An adult turtle dove is fiercely loyal to it's partner. When a turtle dove loses it's mate, it never mates again with another.
This is a clear case of Debequth (cleaving to one's partner), and represents the cleaving of the Jewish people to G-d. Just like the turtle dove will never accept another partner, so too the Jewish people, once they have partnered with the Holy One blessed be He, will never accept another god.
By the same token, the reason why young pigeons are required is because adult pigeons are known to be jealous in nature. Jealousy is the opposite of Debequth. It causes strife and separation which is not the message we are trying to give when offering a sacrifice. That is why the pigeons have to be ones that have never had a partner.
(See Rabbenu Bahya on the Torah, Wayyiqra)
ID: 294f0 No.3277
When making Qiddush, strictly speaking, even though it is preferable to drink a full Rebi'ith (3 ozs., though there are varying opinions), it is sufficient to drink 'Rob' (the majority of a) Rebi'ith. What should a person do if he finds it difficult to drink that amount, because he cannot take the alcohol, or for some other reason?
In such a case, he should taste some of the wine and have another man present drink a Rob Rebi'ith. This is the preferable way of doing it under these circumstance, however, if he does not taste the wine himself, he has still fulfilled his obligation according to the Shulhan 'Arukh. Ideally, everyone will taste the wine.
If there is no one present who can drink the majority of a Rebi'ith, each person should drink a little so that together they will have drunk the required quantity. In a situation where there is no other option, this method is acceptable, even though it takes some time for everyone to drink.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 2nd year, Bereshith, Oth 23. Qol Eliyahu, 9: 15)
ID: 294f0 No.3279
The preferred method of giving Matanoth LaEbyonim (gifts to the poor) on Purim, is to give something that they can enjoy on Purim itself. Suitable gifts would be money or food that they will use on the day of Purim. The gifts should not be given before Purim. The concern is that if we give the gifts before Purim, the poor person may use them before Purim.
If the poor person is in a different city and the Mattanoth need to be sent or shipped to him, one should ensure that the gifts arrive on Purim itself. In this case one fulfills one's obligation because the requirement is that the gifts arrive on Purim and not that they need to be sent on Purim.
Mattanoth LaEbyonim may not be take from one's Ma'aser that one must set aside, every year, for charity. In fact, neither may the Mahasith HaSheqel be taken from one's Ma'aser. In places where they have the custom that the congregation donates a certain amount to give to the Hazzan on Purim, the money given may not be considered as Mattanoth LaEbonim, but is considered as part of his salary.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 694, Oth 14-17)
ID: 294f0 No.3287
We mentioned that Mattanoth LaEbyonim may not be take from one's Ma'aser that one must set aside, every year, for charity. In fact, neither may the Mahasith HaSheqel be taken from one's Ma'aser. If someone made a Neder (vow) to give money to a poor person, but now finds himself in a difficult financial situation, he may not give that money as Mattanoth laebyonim instead.
His Neder still stands and he must give the amount he promised to the poor person. This does not absolve him of his obligation of giving Mattanoth Laebyonim, which is a separate requirement.
Mattanoth LaEbyonim may be given to a poor person of any age. One fulfills one's obligation even if one gives to a minor. This is not the case with Mishlowah Manoth. It says about Mislowah Manoth in Meghillath Esther, "Ish LeRe'ehu" (a man to his friend). From this we learn that Mishlowah Manoth must be given to adults.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 694, Oth 12, 13)
ID: 294f0 No.3290
There are differences of opinion as to who, exactly, is obligated to give Mahasith HaSheqel (the half Sheqel). The Rama, z"l, follows the opinion that only those 20 and above are obligated to give. Others, however, are of the opinion that it applies to boys over the age of 13.
As to whether or not women are also obligated to give, is also a matter of some disagreement. There are those who hold that women are exempt whereas others hold that they are obligated. In any case, the general consensus is that women should also give towards the Mahasith HaSheqel.
There is also a difference of opinion as to whether very young children should be included in the giving of the Mahasith HaSheqel. Since there are those who are of the opinion that they should, it is better to include them, if a person is able to. Since it says that it is an atonement for ones soul (Lekhapper 'Al Nafshothekhem), it is good to include them also. Once a father starts giving on behalf of a child, he should continue every year.
(See Rama, 694:1. See Mishnah Berurah, 694:5. Kaf Hahayyim 694, Oth 27, 28)
ID: 294f0 No.3295
Of all the holy written items, such as Sefer Torah and Tefillin, a Meghillah has the most leniencies, and that is why a Sofer Sta"m (scribe), first writes a Meghillah before moving on to other holy items. However, there are rules that need to be followed for it to be considered Kasher.
It must be written with ink on parchment (גויל or קלף), like a Sefer Torah. It also requires Sirtoot (lines scored into the parchment). It cannot be written on paper and the one who writes it must fear G-d. If it is written by one who denies G-d, it is Pasul (ritually invalid). When copying from another Meghillah, the one writing must say each word before writing, just like a Sefer Torah. After the fact, we do not consider a Meghillah invalid, if it contains extra letters or is missing some.
The portion of the 10 sons of Haman is written differently to the rest of the Meghillah. The name of each son is written on the right hand side and the word "We-eth" (ואת) is written on the left, with empty space between them. Not doing so renders the Meghillah Pasul (invalid).
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 691:1-3)
ID: 294f0 No.3299
On the day of Purim, it is important to have a special Se'uddah (festive meal). In fact, one is exempt from going to the Beth Midrash, because one is occupied with the preparations for the meal. Having said that, it is good to study some words of Torah before starting the meal. This is based on the Pasuq, "Layhudim Haytha Orah WeSimha" (the Jews had light and happiness). Orah (light) is the Torah.
Fasting is not permitted on Purim. The exception is if one had a dream and feels the need to fast over it. In this case one must end the fast after Minha. If one fasts, one must fast again after Purim. However, it is preferable not to fast but to redeem the fast with money.
It is preferable to eat the meal with bread. However, if one did not eat bread, one will still have fulfilled one's obligation.
(See Rama 695:2. Kaf Hahayyim 695:3)
ID: 294f0 No.3303
צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר "Command Aaron and his sons" (Wayyiqra, 6:2). Rashi mentions that the term צַו (command), implies that it requires Zerizuth (urging and without delay). This verse is speaking about the 'Olah sacrifice. The Torah does not mention any specific sin that it atones for.
Quoting the words of the Hakhamim, Rashi tells us that that the 'Olah sacrifice comes to atone for positive commandments (Miswoth 'Aseh) that a man was supposed to do, but didn't. It also comes to atone for a sin that a man committed which could have been atoned for had he done a specific action, but didn't do it. An example of this would be if he left over some of the meat of the sacrifice till morning, which he is forbidden to do, the Torah tells us that he could have rectified it by burning it in fire.
Not doing an action that one is supposed to do is a form of laziness. That is why it needs to be rectified with Zerizuth. Had he been quick to do what he was supposed to do, he would not have had to bring the sacrifice. That is why the Kohanim were also commanded to perform the sacrifice with Zerizuth, so that the people would learn from them.
(See Abihem Shel Yisrael 'Al HaTorah, Parashath Saw, pages 29, 30)
ID: 294f0 No.3306
If Hamess (חמץ - leaven) becomes mixed in with other food on Pesah (Passover), the entire mixture becomes forbidden to be eaten or to benefit from. This applies whether the Hamess is of the same type as the rest of the food, or of a different type. An example of the first case would be, if flour that was Hamess got mixed in with flour that was Kosher for passover, and an example of the second case would be if the non-Passover flour got mixed in with some other kind of food.
The amount of Hamess that mixed with the food is irrelevant. even the smallest amount renders it non Kosher. The normal rule of nullification in 60 times (Bitul BeShishim) does not apply in this case and even if the Hamess fell into Kosher food of a 1,000 times greater quantity, it remains forbidden. Whether the Hamess dissolved into the other food or whether it could still be seen and was removed and discarded, all the food that it fell into remains forbidden.
The value of the Hamess may not be redeemed by throwing the equivalent money into the sea and then giving or selling the food to a non Jew. Rather, the food must be burnt and it it is forbidden to leave it till after Pesah. The vessels that the food was cooked in, however, do not need to be destroyed, and may be used again, after Pesah.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama, 447:1. Kaf HaHayyim, ibid., Oth 4, 6, 12. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 3, 4)
ID: 294f0 No.3312
Even though one may have studied the laws of Pesah (Passover) in detail in previous years, one is still obligated to learn them again, starting from 30 days before Pesah. This does not mean that if one has a regular Shi'ur (Torah class) that he attends, that he must stop it and only learn the laws of Pesah. What it means is that some part of the day must be dedicated to studying Hilkhoth Pesah.
When one studies a specific Halakha (law), one creates an angel who will protect him in that particular Halakha. This is very important on Pesah, with the plethora of laws and the strictnesses associated with them.
Effectively then, the laws of Pesah are to be studied on the last month of the year, which is Adar, and on the following month which is Nissan, the first month of year. The first day of Pesah, of course, falls on the 15th of Nissan. Anytime that one mentions that Nissan is the first month of the year, one fulfills the Torah commandment of, "This month shall be to you, the first of the months".
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 429:1. Maamar Mordekhai Haggim, 2:2, 3, 4,6)
ID: 294f0 No.3314
If a person has all his Hamess (חמץ - leaven) that he wishes to sell before Pesah (Passover), in one room, but is unable to sell the entire room, because he still needs to use some of the space over Pesah, he should make a partition in front of the Hamess. He should then rent out to the non Jew, the space up to the partition.
When selling the Hamess to the non Jew, he must specify in the contract that he is renting him the space up to to the partition. He must also stipulate in the contract, that the non Jew has the right to come and go to that place, should he wish to access the Hamess.
If a person wishes to leave his Hamess in a room belonging to his friend, which his friend is selling with his own Hamess, he must let him know that he is leaving it there so that he will be his Shaliyah (agent) and sell it for him. If he did not specify to him, there is a difference of opinion as to whether that Hamess is permitted after Pesah or not and one should consult an Orthodox Rabbi.
(See Kaf Hahayyim, 448, Oth 59 & 80)
ID: 294f0 No.3318
If one finds Hamess (חמץ - leaven) in his premises, on Shabbath or Yom Tob during Pesah (Passover), what should one do? There is the prohibition of Bal Yeraeh and Bal Yimaseh (Hamess may not be seen or be present) in one's premises. On the other hand, it may not be removed and burnt on Shabbath or Yom Tob.
One should cover it with a vessel till after Shabbath and/or Yom Tob, and then burn it right away after that. In addition to covering it, it is good to say the following:
"Master of the Universe, the reason why I am not burning the Hamess is because our Hakhamim forbade us to move it on account of Muqseh, and we are commanded to do what our Sages instruct us to do. Therefore, I am fulfilling your commandment".
(See Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 3:32)
ID: 294f0 No.3320
דַּבְּרוּ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ "Speak to the Children of Israel saying, [these] are the beasts that you shall eat" (Wayyiqra 11:2). The Torah commands many foods which we may eat and which we are forbidden to eat. All these come as a result of the great love that the Holy One blessed be He, has for his people Israel.
G-d knows what foods cause impurities in a man's heart and harm his soul, apart from foods that are harmful to the body itself. There is a story in the Aggadah about a certain illness that came to a town that affected all the people, but did not touch the Jewish community. After some investigation, it was found that the source was a type of fish that Jews were not permitted to eat.
Among the types of animals that are forbidden are ones that are known to have no mercy even on their own children. This could cause an aspect of cruelty in a person. That is why the Torah forbids a cow born of a female donkey, even though it displays all the external signs of a Kosher animal. This is in keeping with what our Rabbis of blessed memory said, that whatever comes from that which is impure, is itself impure.
(See Barukh Ta'am, Shemini)
ID: 294f0 No.3325
It would appear that, just as when making Qiddush, the one reciting it fulfills his obligation by drinking Melo Lughmaw (which is the majority of a Rebi'ith for an average person, but is dependant on the size of a person's mouth), so too, when making Habdalah, the one reciting it would fulfill his obligation with Melo Lughmaw.
The problem we run into, however, is that for the Berakha Ahronah (after blessing), there is a difference of opinion as to whether one may recite the blessing on the majority of a Rebi'ith or only on a full Rebi'ith. Since we apply the rule of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is doubt about a blessing, we do not recite it), we cannot say it on less than a Rebi'ith. As such, when reciting Habdalah, the one reciting it must drink a full Rebi'ith, and follow it with the Berakha 'Ahronah.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9: 15)
ID: 294f0 No.3331
The difference between Massah Shemurah (מצה שמורה) and Massah that is not Shemurah is that the Shemurah Massah was guarded from the time it was harvested and not just from the time it was taken to the mill. It is guarded to ensure that it does not come into contact with any water, and for that reason, it needs to be harvested on a dry day.
This is the type of Massah that should be eaten at the Seder, and many have the custom of eating only Massah Shemurah throughout Pesah. One who does this should make a Tenai (stipulate) that he is not taking this on as an obligation but is doing so on this occasion only. If one needs to eat non Shemurah Massah, but always only ate Shemurah, without making a Tenai, he needs to make Hatarath Nedarim (annulment of vows).
As with all stringencies on Pesah, one should not feel that there is any question of arrogance or of separating from the congregation. One may not deride any stringency that a person takes upon himself on Pesah.
(Kaf Hahayyim 453, Oth 62-65)
ID: 294f0 No.3337
One may not do Melakha on 'Ereb Pesah after Halakhaic midday, even without remuneration. An exception is a worker who wouldn't have anything to eat over Pesah (Passover). He is permitted to work on 'Ereb Pesah after Midday. Even if the work in question is only a light form of Melakha, one may not do it for payment. If it is Melakha Gemura (complete Melakha), one may not even do it for free.
An example of Melakha Gemura would be doing laundry. One may not do this on 'Ereb Pesah after midday, even if one wishes to use the items on the Holiday, even in a washing machine. Starting a wash in a washing machine, before midday, may be permitted if one needs the clothes for the holiday, even if the wash continues passed midday. However, whatever is permitted to be done on Hol Hammo'ed (the intermediate days of the festival), is permitted to be done on 'Ereb Pesah.
Fixing items that one wishes to use on Yom Tob is permitted on 'Ereb Pesah. If one has clothing that tore, or a button that came off and one needs the clothes for Yom Tob, one may stitch them. One may even sew them for others, provided it is done without payment.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 468:1, 2. Kaf HaHayyim, ibid., Oth 18, 20, 21, 24. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 6, 7, 8. Pisqei Teshubah, ibid., 6)
ID: 294f0 No.3343
The month of Nisan has special importance attached to it. It is the first of all the months of the year, it is the month in which the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was established and it is, of course, the month in which we were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is for this reason that our Rabbis of blessed memory ordained that we should add the special reading for Shabbath HaHodesh.
The portion that we read is "Hahodesh Hazeh Lakhem" (this month shall be to you the first of the months). The word "Lakhem" (לכם) has the same letters in Hebrew as Melekh (king). Nisan is the "king" of all the months.
Shabbath Hahodesh is always the one just before Rosh Hodesh Nisan. If Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on Shabbath, then that Shabbath is designated as Shabbath Hahodesh.
(See Sefer HaToda'ah, Parashath HaHodesh)
ID: 294f0 No.3347
When Rosh Hodesh (the 1st of) Nisan falls during the week, the Shabbath before it is Shabbath HaHodesh. Two Sifrei Thorah are taken out. 7 people read the regular Parasha of the week from the first Sefer Torah. After the Mashlim (7th portion) is completed, a half Qaddish (Qaddish Le'eilla) is read as usual. The second Sefer Torah is then opened, and the portion of HaHodesh Hazeh Lakhem, from Parashath Bo (Shemoth 12:1), is then read as the Maftir. In Sephardi Synagogues, a half Qaddish is recited after this also.
When Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on Shabbath itself, that Shabbath is Shabbath HaHodesh. Three Sifrei Thorah are taken out in this case. Only six people read from the first, but complete the reading till the end of the Parasha. There is no Qaddish after this. The second Sefer Torah is opened and we read from the portion for Rosh Hodesh. After that reading a half Qaddish is recited.
The Maftir is HaHodesh Hazeh Lakhem and is read from the third Sefer. In Sephardi Synagogues, it is followed by the reading of a half Qaddish. The Haftarah is also a special one from Yehasqel (Ezekiel 45) which likewise speaks about Rosh Hodesh Nisan.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 685:4. Kaf Hahayyim 684, Oth 19)
ID: 294f0 No.3353
וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי יִמּוֹל בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ "And on the eighth day shall he be circumcised" (Wayyiqra 12:3). Ribbi Shim'on Ben Yohai's disciples asked him why a Milah must be on the eighth day (Niddah 31b). The answer was so that it wouldn't be that everyone was happy except the father and mother who were sad. This is because a woman was impure for seven days, after giving birth, but on the eighth day she was purified to be together with her husband, which was the day of the Milah of their son.
Rabban Shim'on Ben Gamliel said (Shabbath 130a) that any commandment that they accepted in happiness, such as Milah, they still do in happiness. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, said that he heard in the name of the holy Ben Ish Hai, that he asked why Hazal said "they 'still' do in happiness". They should simply have said, "they do in happiness".
He answered that one might have thought that these words of our Rabbis only applied in those days when a woman was permitted to her husband on the eighth day. However, since nowadays, it takes much longer for a woman to become permitted to her husband, one could think that the parents would be unhappy. Stating that they "still do in happiness", comes to tell us that even though the mother is still forbidden to her husband on the day of the Milah, nevertheless, they perform the commandment in happiness.
(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Tazria', Parparaoth)
ID: 294f0 No.3359
It says in Qol Eliyahu, that one may use any type of cup for Qiddush. However, one should use the best cup available, in order to glorify the Qiddush. This means that if one has a goblet made of gold, one should use it for Qiddush.
If one doesn't have a goblet made of gold, but has one made of silver, he should use the silver one for Qiddush. If he doesn't have a silver one, but only a glass one, he should make Qiddush with the glass cup. Having said that, if he has a large family and his glass cup is larger than the silver one, and will be sufficient for the entire family to drink from, he can choose the glass one over the silver one.
If the only type of cup he has available is a one-time use cup, he may use that for Qiddush, provided it holds a Rebi'ith of wine. He does not need to go to his neighbors to ask if he can borrow a different type of cup.
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:18)
ID: 294f0 No.3366
The month of Nisan is an auspicious month, and no fasting is permitted the entire month. The obvious exception is the Ta'anith Bekhoroth (fast of the firstborn), which is directly connected to Pesah. Therefore, one should not fast even for a Yahrzeit of a parent.
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the Hathan (bridegroom) should fast on the day of his wedding (or both bride and bridegroom according to Ashkenazi custom), or not. The Mishnah Berurah states that the bride and groom do fast on the day of their wedding in the month of Nisan, even on Rosh Hodesh. Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, a"h, writes that the groom should not fast in Nisan.
According to the Ben Ish Hai, those who ordinarily fast on the eve of every Rosh Hodesh, may still fast on the eve of Rosh Hodesh Iyyar, even though it is the last day of Nisan. One who had a bad dream and feels the need to fast in order to annul any bad portend that it may contain, as opposed to redeeming it with charity, may do so in Nisan.
(See Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 2:13)
ID: 294f0 No.3371
Pots, pans and other vessels that were used during the year for חמץ (Hamess), that one will not use over Pesah (Passover), should be washed and scrubbed, in order to remove any חמץ (Hamess) from them. They do not require Hagh'alah (purging), however. This should be done before the sixth hour on the eve of Pesah.
The Shulhan 'Arukh mentions that such vessels should be put away in a place that one does not ordinarily go to. In fact, it is preferable to place them in a room, lock it with a key and hide the key till after Pesah.
Maran Mordekhai Eliyahu, 'a"h, writes that one should avoid storing these vessels in the kitchen. However, if one has no other option, one should tape up the cabinets in which they are placed, with a strong tape. That way, should one inadvertently try to open the cabinets on Pesah, the strong tape will remind him not to. He writes that it is not sufficient to simply stick a sign on it saying "Hamess".
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 451:1. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hilkhoth Hagim, 3:16-17)
ID: 294f0 No.3376
Because of the miracle that only the firstborn of the Egyptians died, but none of the Children of Israel, a firstborn male, whether of the father or the mother, must fast on 'Ereb Pesah (the eve of Passover). The plague of the firstborn applied to all firstborns, whether of the father or the mother, and that is why all firstborns must fast. The Shulhan 'Arukh mentions that some say that firstborn women should also fast, however, that is not the prevalent custom.
The firstborn of a Kohen or Lewi must also fast, even though they are exempt from Pidyon HaBen. One who was born after a miscarriage, does fast. However, if the mother gave birth to a child after a full term, but the child died within thirty days, then the child who was born after that is not considered to be a firstborn, as far as this fast is concerned.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama 470:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Saw, Oth 25. Kaf Hahayyim 470 Oth 1-3, 8. Mishnah Berurah, ibid., 1-3)
ID: 294f0 No.3380
The Seder is conducted in a manner that will pique the children's curiosity, so that they will ask why this night is different (Mah Nishtannah). For example, the head of the household's second cup is refilled right after he drinks the first. Since this is before the meal, and is the only time it is done this way, it should prompt the children to ask why that is so.
If the father finds that his son does not think to ask these questions, he should teach him to ask. He should make him aware of the kinds of changes and encourage him to ask about them when he sees them.
If he has no children, the wife should ask him. If that is not an option either, he should ask himself. Even Talmidei Hakhamim (Torah scholars), sitting together, should ask each other, "Mah Nishtannah?".
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 473:3)
ID: 294f0 No.3383
The Gemara tells us ('Arakhin 15b) that the rectification for one who speaks Lashon Hara', is to study Torah. The Rambam divided speech into 5 different categories.
1) מצוה (a Miswah). Speech that is used for studying Torah and praying.
2) נזהר (to be careful). One must be careful not to speak Lashon Hara' and other forbidden speech.
3) נמאס (detested). This refers to idle chatter and exaggeration.
4) אהוב (beloved). This is speech which is praise of higher attributes.
5) מותר (permitted). Speech to do with business and other bodily matters.
If a person uses his speech for the first category, which is the study of Torah, he will be saved from Lashon Hara', as the Gemara explains. A person should, therefore, try to elevate all aspects of his speech, even if needed for business, or the like, to the level that eventually, it is all for the purpose of Torah study.
(See Adereth Eliyahu, Taharoth 14:8)
ID: 294f0 No.3387
On Shabbath morning, before Shahrith, men may have a cup of tea or coffee in order to calm their minds, and take medication, if necessary. They do not make Qiddush beforehand, since their obligation for Qiddush starts after they pray Shahrith. Women, on the other hand, may drink, eat cake and the like before Shahrith, but need to make Qiddush first.
The question is asked in Qol Eliyahu, as to whether a man who is thirsty or hungry on Shabbath morning, may eat and drink before Shahrith. The response is that if the person would not be able to pray without eating or drinking, he is permitted to eat or drink because, in this case he is like one who is unwell.
According to the Mishnah Berurah, he must make Qiddush before he eats and drinks. The Kaf Hahayyim, on the other hand, is of the opinion that he does not need to make Qiddush beforehand. And this is the custom of Sephardim. It should be noted that the eating should be done in private. Also, once the person is no longer hungry or thirsty, he should stop eating.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 289:1. Qol Eliyahu, 9:22. Rambam Shabbath 29:10. Mishna Berura 287:7. Kaf Hahayyim, 289, Oth 16. Shemirath Shabbath Kehilkhatha 40:45, also 52:12.)
ID: 294f0 No.3390
G-d tells Moses to instruct the Children of Israel to ask the Egyptians for objects made of silver and of gold. This was done before G-d brought the plague of the firstborn, as part of his war against the Egyptians. Normally, the winning side in a war, takes its spoils after the victory against the enemy. How is it that G-d instructed them to take the spoils before the plague of the firstborn?
When G-d goes to war on behalf of the Jewish people, any spoils of war become sanctified to Him. G-d's purpose in instructing the Children of Israel to take the vessels of silver and gold before He smote the Egyptians, is so that they would not be considered spoils of war, per se, and would belong to the Children of Israel themselves.
Had they asked for these items afterwards, they would have been consecrated to G-d and they would not have left Egypt with the great wealth (Birkhush Gadol) that G-d had promised.
(See Ben Ish Hai Derushim, Parashath Bo 11:1, 2)
ID: 294f0 No.3391
If, when praying the 'Amidah on Yom Tob, one forgot to mention the name of the Holiday at all (Pesah, Shabu'oth, etc., but only said, "Eth Yom Tob Miqra Qodesh HaZeh", and ended the blessing, "Barukh Meqaddesh Yisrael, We HaZemannim", one fulfills one's obligation. One does not have to repeat the blessing, since one did say that it is a Holiday.
If one prayed the weekday 'Amidah instead of the Holiday one, and only after saying, "HaMahazir Shekhinatho LeSion", but before saying the word "Modim", realized the error, one should say, "Ya'aleh WeYabo", and complete the prayer.
If one realized the error before taking three steps back, one must go back to "Attah Behartanu" and repeat the 'Amidah from that point. However, if one said the last "Yihyu LeRason", or took three steps back, one must go back to the beginning of the 'Amidah".
(See Kaf HaHayyim, 487, Oth 5 and 6)
ID: 294f0 No.3393
We start to count the 'Omer from the second night of Pesah (Passover). Ordinarily, whenever there is a specific commandment that comes yearly, we recite the blessing of Sheheheyanu on it. In the case of Sefirath Ha'Omer (the counting of the Omer), however, all agree that Sheheheyanu is not recited. Why is that?
There are several reasons for it. The Kaf HaHayyim mentions that the reason is because it is only something that is done as a remembrance. It is in memory of the Miqdash. Furthermore, we only find the blessing of Sheheheyanu when there is pleasure associated with the commandment. For instance, in the case of the Lulab, it comes for rejoicing, or blowing the Shofar, which comes as a remembrance of our Father in Heaven, or the reading of Meghillath Esther which tells how G-d had mercy on us. This commandment does not remind us of any pleasure. On the contrary, it reminds us of the sadness of the destruction of the Beth HaMiqdash (Temple).
The opinion of the Lebush is different. He mentions that the counting is for the purpose of the Yom Tob (Festival), and that the Sheheheyanu of the Festival covers it also. Additionally, since it is counting up to Shabu'oth, it isn't logical to say Sheheheyanu on something that hasn't come.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, O.H. 489:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 3. Lebush ibid., 1)
ID: 294f0 No.3398
The table should be set during the day before Pesah starts, so that one can start the Seder as soon as it becomes dark. The reason is that we don't want the little children to go to sleep. However, Qiddush must not be made till the stars come out.
Even though on Shabbath and other holy days, one may add from the 'profane to the holy' and make Qiddush before nightfall, Pesah is different, because the time to eat the Massah (מצה), is at night. We learn this from the fact that the Pesah sacrifice was eaten with Massah and bitter herbs, and the Torah commanded that the Pesah sacrifice must be eaten at night.
Even though one may argue that even if we started Qiddush before nightfall, by the time we make Qiddush and read the Haggadah, it will be well into the night when the time comes to eat the Massah, nevertheless, we cannot start till the stars come out. The reason is that the four cups and all other aspects of the Seder, including the Haggadah itself, need to be after dark, because it must all be "בשעה שמצה ומרור מונחים לפניך" ('at the time when the unleavened bread and bitter herbs are placed before you').
(See Shulhan 'Arukh 472:1. Kaf Hahayyim, ibid., Oth 4)
ID: 294f0 No.3404
The actual cups that are used for the four cups (Arba' Kosoth), must be rinsed out, inside and out before using, even if they are clean. This applies to the first cup. However, ideally, they should be rinsed before every cup, and this is the appropriate custom. If the cup is dirty, or someone else drank from it or there is some food left in it, it must be rinsed. The cups must be whole with no nicks or the like.
Each cup should be at least the size of a Rebi'ith, which is 3 ozs., according to the Ben Ish Hai. There are differing opinions, including 5.3 ozs., according to the Hazon Ish. When choosing a cup, one should bear in mind that one is obligated to drink the majority of the cup, irrespective of how large it is. As such, it would be most prudent to use a smaller cup, provided it holds at least a Rebi'ith.
(See Maamar Mordekhai, Hagim, 11:39, 40, 42)
ID: 294f0 No.3405
The smiting of the firstborn was not carried out by an angel, but by the Holy One blessed be He. The holy Zohar explains that the level of impurity in Egypt was so great, that the angels were afraid to go there. That is why G-d had to smite them himself.
Another reason as to why G-d himself carried out the slaying of the firstborn, is on account of His love for Israel. The fact that He went himself, demonstrated that it was not out of hatred for the Egyptians, because then He would have sent an Angel. Since it was on account of His love for the Jewish people, G-d came down Himself, to smite the Egyptians.
(See Hayyim WeShalom, 92:5. Zohar Bo, 35b)
ID: 294f0 No.3407
We read "Anna H' Hoshi'ah Na" (Please, O L-rd, save, please), in the Hallel. The question is why does the beginning of the verse use the word "Anna" (אנא) in full, but at the end of the verse it says "Na" (נא) in its diminutive form, which is just half of the word "Anna"?
The Haggadah, "Abihem Shel Yisrael", quotes Rabbi Meir Waqnin, 'a"h, who was the Chief Rabbi of Tiberius, who asked how we can understand the Gemara of Sanhedrin (98a), which says that Mashiyah (Ben Dawid) will only come when the generation is fully worthy, or completely unworthy. Such a thing could never occur. There will never be a situation where the entire Jewish people will be wicked, Heaven forbid, because there will always be those who are righteous. On the other hand, there will never be a generation which is entirely righteous, because there will always be those who will be going down the wrong path.
The answer is that when we request G-d to save us, by using the diminutive "Na" (נא), we are asking that even if just half of the Jewish people are worthy and half are unworthy, G-d will still save us. This akin to the Qorban Pesah (Passover sacrifice), which was also offered "Na", half roasted and half cooked.
(See Haggadah Abihem Shel Yisrael)
ID: 294f0 No.3415
The Haftarah that is read on the seventh day of Pesah (Passover), is "Waydabber Dawid (Shemuel 2, 22:1-51) and on the eighth day, " 'Od HaYom" (Yeshayah 10:32-12:6). The reason is that the downfall of Sanherib (Sennacherib) occured on the eve of Pesah, and we wish to connect it to the downfall of Pharaoh, which occured on the seventh day of Pesah, when Pharaoh's army perished in the sea.
The Maftir portion that is read on the last two days of Pesah, is "Wehiqrabtem", which is the same portion that is read on Hol HaMo'ed. On the first two days of Pesah the same Maftir is read, except that it starts earlier.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh with Rama, 490:6, 8. Kaf Hahayyim 490, Oth 54, 55, 64)
ID: 294f0 No.3419
On 'Ereb Shabbath (Friday evening), or even 'Ereb Yom Tob (eve of a Festival) that falls on Friday night, the custom is that when women light the candles, they say the blessing on the lighting of the candles after they light. They first light the candles, close their eyes, and then recite the blessing.
When lighting the candles on 'Ereb Yom Tob that does not fall on Shabbath, however, the order is different. When it is not Shabbath, they should first recite the blessing and then light the candles. This is an age old custom followed by both Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and one should not deviate from it.
In both cases, they must not extinguish the match after lighting.
(See Hagadah Abihem Shel Yisrael, הדלקת נרות, 7)
ID: 294f0 No.3420
When Yom Tob falls on a Friday, such as when the 7th day of Pesah falls on Friday, one must make an 'Erub Tabshilin in order to be able to cook food on Friday for Shabbath. Without an 'Erub, one is forbidden to cook on Yom Tob for Shabbath. One who forgot to make an 'Erub, should ask a Hakham whether he may rely on the 'Erub made by the Rabbi of the community.
The 'Erub may be made by a man or a woman, with the Berakha (blessing). It must be made with bread (Massah מצה on Pesah) and a cooked food. The amount of bread must be at least a Kebeisah (2 oz.). The minimum quantity of the cooked food (generally an egg) is a Kezayith (1 oz.). They should be wrapped together and hidden away so that no one will eat them by mistake. They are eaten on Shabbath, generally during Se'uddah Shelishith (the third Shabbath meal), but there are differing customs about this.
If one forgot to make the 'Erub before sunset, it may still be made Bein Hashemashoth, provided one did not accept Yom Tob yet. If one answered Barkhu, it is considered that he accepted Yom Tob.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, 526:1-3. Haggadah Abihem Shel Yisrael, 'Erub Tabshilin)
ID: 294f0 No.3428
It is an obligation for all men to count the 'Omer, as it says, "You shall count for yourself" (Wayyiqra 23:15). Each man should, therefore, count for himself. However, after the fact (Bedi'abad), if he had in mind to fulfill his obligation by hearing someone else count, and that person had him in mind also, then he fulfills his obligation.
Similarly, a man must count the 'Omer while standing (Debarim 16:9). The Torah says, "Behermesh Baqamah", and the word 'Baqamah' can be read as 'Beqomah', which implies standing. Nevertheless, if one sat and counted, one will have fulfilled one's obligation, after the fact.
Before starting the blessing, one should know what the count is for that night. Nevertheless, if a person says the blessing for the counting, and has the intention to say the amount of days that the others will say, he fulfills his obligation, after the fact.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, 489:1. Hikhoth HaGim, Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], 20:6, 8, 9
ID: 294f0 No.3429
The ideal time to perform the commandment of counting the 'Omer, is when the stars are visible, at the beginning of the night. One should make the effort to count at that time or very soon thereafter. If one did not count at that time, because one was unable to, or for any reason, one may count at anytime during the night, after the fact. Once dawn has broken, however, one may no longer count with a blessing.
Even though one may count throughout the night, if one did not count when the stars became visible, one should count as soon as one remembers. One should not say that since one is delayed, one can wait and count even later.
Even though, normally, one prays 'Arbith and counts afterwards, if one prays a late 'Arbith and is concerned that he will forget to count, he may count before. The only proviso is that it should be after the emergence of the stars.
(See Kaf HaHayyim 489, Oth 12. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 20:10)
ID: 294f0 No.3431
Women are exempt from positive commandments dependent upon time (מצות עשה שהזמן גרמה), such as the counting of the 'Omer which is a commandment that falls at a specific time. Having said that, may a woman count the 'Omer if she wishes to?
According to the Maghen Abraham, women have accepted it as an obligation. However, others disagree and say women should not count. According to the Birkei Yosef, women who have the custom of shaking the Lulab and Ethrogh may also count the 'Omer. There is also a difference of opinion, if a woman counts, whether she may also recite the blessing on the Sefirath Ha'Omer.
In the final analysis, Ashkenazi women may count the 'Omer, with the Berakha (blessing), according to many opinions. Sephardi women, on the other hand, do not count. If they wish to count, they should not recite a blessing. They may hear the blessing from a man and have the intention to be included.
(See Kaf Hahayyim 489, Oth 9. Birkei Yosef, ibid., Oth 22)
ID: 294f0 No.3432
Sefirath Ha'Omer (counting the 'Omer), may be done in any language that one understands. That means that one may count in French if that is the language that one understands, but may not do so if one only understands English. The question arises, whether or not one fulfills one's obligation, if one counted in Hebrew, but did not understand what one was saying.
According to the Maghen Abraham, if one counted in Hebrew, but does not understand Hebrew, one has not fulfilled one's obligation. The Ya'abas (Rab Ya'aqob 'Emden, a"h), and others, disagree with the Maghen Abraham and say that even if one didn't understand when one counted in Hebrew, one fulfills one's obligation. This is in keeping with the general concept that one must understand what one is saying, but if one prays in Hebrew, one still fulfills one's obligation.
The Kaf Hahayyim writes, that in order to satisfy all opinions, the ideal situation, if one counted in Hebrew without understanding, is to say it again in the language that one understands. It is important to note that the Berakha (blessing) must not be repeated.
(See Kaf Hahayyim 480, Oth 20)
ID: 294f0 No.3439
וְכָל נֶפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל נְבֵלָה וּטְרֵפָה בָּאֶזְרָח וּבַגֵּר וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד הָעֶרֶב וְטָהֵר "And any soul who eats Nebelah or Terefah (a carcass or torn flesh)…shall wash his clothes and himself in water and shall be impure till the evening, when he becomes pure" (Wayiqra 17:15).
Knowingly eating a little bit of blood from a Kosher animal, results in the serious penalty of Kareth, being cut off from the Jewish people. The only hope for such a person is complete repentance from his sin. On the other hand, one who eats an entire non-Kosher animal, only receives lashes. This shows us clearly that G-d's logic is beyond our grasp and comprehension.
The instruction here that one who eats a carcass or an animal which was torn by a wild beast, can purify himself by immersing himself and his clothes, illustrates it clearly. Only if he doesn't immerse himself will he carry his sin. One who ate blood, on the other hand, will be cut off from his people unless he makes complete repentance.
(See Alsheikh on the Torah, Aharei Moth)
ID: 294f0 No.3441
וִיהִי מוֹרָא שָׁמַיִם עֲלֵיכֶם "And let the fear of Heaven be upon you" (Aboth 1:3). This can be explained as coming to tell us that, for some people, fear of Heaven is like their wallet. In general, the wallet is kept in a pocket and is hardly ever seen. When the owner needs to buy something, then he takes it out of his pocket in order to pay.
That is how it is with their fear of Heaven. In general, it is tucked away and doesn't see the light of day. It is only when the person sins that he suddenly remembers that he has to fear Heaven and repent, lest he has to pay some form of punishment. This is not how it is meant to be.
Fear of Heaven must be "upon one", like one's clothes. One must see it at all times and never take his mind off it. One must be careful not to stain it just like one is careful not to stain one's clothes. It must not be like a wallet that is out of sight and one only takes it out when one is obligated to pay a debt.
(See Hasdei Aboth, 1:3)
ID: 294f0 No.3443
אֵיזוֹ הִיא דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיִּדָּבֵק בָּהּ הָאָדָם…הָרוֹאֶה אֶת הַנּוֹלָד "Which is the straight path that a man should cling to? [He should] see the outcome of his actions" (Aboth 13). Not everything that is permitted should be done. Sometimes one does something that is permitted, but finds that the result of the action is a negative one. If one does it again, knowing that the result was a bad one on the previous occasion, then there will be consequences for him.
An example of this is the situation with Lot and his daughters. When the first daughter got him drunk in order to do something forbidden with him, he was not aware of it before the act. However, when the second daughter caused him to get drunk, he was already aware of the consequences of the first occasion. Nevertheless, he drank the wine.
Drinking wine, per se, is a permitted action. However, once he saw the terrible outcome of the first occasion, he should not have indulged a second time. When the Tanna says that we should see the result of our actions, we must realize that just because a specific action is a permitted one, doesn't mean that we can always do it.
(See Aboth 2:13. Hasdei Aboth)
ID: 294f0 No.3446
There are those who have the custom to fast on Monday, Thursday and Monday, after Pesah (Passover) and Sukkoth. The fasts are not held right after the Festivals, but after the respective months of Nisan and Tashri are over.
The custom to fast on these days was found in Ashkenazi lands and France. It was not the custom to fast in Sephardi countries, however. The reason for the fast is that we are fearful that Festivals are days of rejoicing and festive meals, and we are concerned that we may have committed a transgression as a result.
If a Milah should fall on one of these days, it is considered a Miswah to eat and Hattarah (annulment) is not required. This assumes that the person fasting didn't accept the fast the day before at Minha time. If he did, however, then annulment is required. Also, if he doesn't wish to fast for health reasons, he should annul the fasts in front of three men.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, with Rama, Orah Hayyim, 492:1)
ID: 294f0 No.3451
There is a difference of opinion about vegetables that are eaten raw. If, when they are boiled in water they taste worse, but if cooked in water with something else, such as meat, they taste good, what blessing should be recited if they are cooked?
According to the Mishnah Berurah, one should say Borei Peri Ha-adamah on them, even if the nature of the vegetables is that they taste worse if boiled in only water without meat. This is in accordance with the Maghen Abraham and others. However the Taz disagrees.
The Ben Ish Hai is of the opinion that if the vegetables are better raw than when boiled in water alone, one should only recite Shehakkol on them if they are cooked. This applies even if they were cooked with meat or other food which gave them a good taste. The reason is because there is a difference of opinion about which blessing to recite and we apply the concept of Sefeq Berakhoth Lehaqel (when there is a doubt about a blessing, we do not recite it) and the blessing, therefore, defaults to Shehakkol.
In practical terms, Ashkenazim can say Ha-adamah, but Sephardim should say Shehakkol, for the reasons we have outlined.
(See Mishnah Berurah 205:7. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Pinhas, Oth 7)
ID: 294f0 No.3453
Maran, z"l, states in the Shulhan 'Arukh that if one says Borei Peri Haadamah over a fruit which requires the blessing of Borei Peri Ha'Es, one fulfills one's obligation. However, the reverse does not apply. If one recites Ha'Es instead of Haadamah, one does not fulfill one's obligation. In a case of doubt as to whether the blessing is Ha'Es or Haadamah, one should recite Haadamah. In all cases, if one recites the blessing of Shehakkol, one fulfills one's obligation.
The Ben Ish Hai comments on a situation where there are three types of food before a person. One is definitely Ha'Es, the second is definitely Haadamah, but there are doubts about the third and the blessing, therefore, he writes, should be Shehakkol. In what order should they be recited.
After quoting various opinions, he rules that on weekdays one should say the blessing on the foods which are definite, i.e., the 'Es and the Adamah, and intend to include the doubtful one with those blessings. On Shabbath, however, since we have to increase the amount of blessings we recite, we should start with Shehakkol on the doubtful one and then recite the blessings on the other foods that we are certain about. He adds that this does not constitute causing unnecessary blessings on Shabbath and Yom Tob.
(See Shulham 'Arukh, Orah Hayyim, 206:1. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Pinhas, Oth 16)
ID: 294f0 No.3458
קְדשִׁים תִּהְיוּ… אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ "You shall be holy…A man must fear his mother and father" (Wayyiqra 19:2-3). It mentions in Ben Ish Hai Derushim that anywhere you find a fence around immorality, you find holiness. Through separating from immorality a person raises his level of holiness.
In order to reach this level, a man must first adopt modest behavior. We see this from Abraham Abinu and Sarah Immenu, 'a"h. After many years of marriage, Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, says to Sarah Immenu, 'a"h, "I never knew you were a beautiful woman". This is the connection between being holy and fearing our parents. We must learn modesty from the example of our holy patriarch and matriarch.
The holy Ohr HaHayyim quotes the Gemara of Qidushin (39b), which states that when a person sits and refrains from committing a sin, he is rewarded as if he had performed a positive commandment. If an opportunity to sin presents itself, but the person refrains from it, he has performed the commandment to be holy. Clearly, by adopting a path of modesty and not watching and listening to inappropriate thoughts and behavior that much of the world around us espouses, it will be much easier to fulfill this commandment.
(See Ben Ish Hai Derushim. Ohr Hahayyim on the Torah. Parashath Qedoshim)
ID: 294f0 No.3461
If there is a Milah in the Synagogue on Shabbath, does the congregation fulfill its obligation of Qiddush through the blessing on the wine that the Mohel recites at the Milah? It says in Qol Eliyahu, that the congregation need to make a separate Qiddush for the obligation of Qiddush during the day of Shabbath. One should not connect the Qiddush on the Milah to the Qiddush for Shabbath morning.
The reason is based on the Gemara of Pesahim (102b), which discusses the cup of wine for Qiddush and the cup for Birkath HaMazon (Grace after meals). It says that two separate cups must be used for the two separate sanctities. The reason for that is that Miswoth are not done in bundles (Habiloth Habiloth).
Regarding the Mohel himself [or the one reciting the blessing on the wine], see http://www.atorahminute.com/2013-06-28
(See Qol Eliyahu, 9:23)
ID: 294f0 No.3464
רִבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי קַל לְרֹאשׁ, וְנוֹחַ לְתִשְׁחֹרֶת "Ribbi Yishamel says, be quick to a superior and pleasant to one below" (Aboth 3:16 ). This can also be read as, "Be easy when you are on top so that it will be pleasant when you are below". Life has a habit of never staying the same. The fact that a person is on top today, and that it appears that everything is working in his favor, and he has wealth and importance, doesn't necessarily mean that it will be that way tomorrow.
When a man is riding high, he should not be particular about always having the best food. He should take it as it comes. If it is some exquisite haute cuisine, he should eat it in the same way as if what was placed before him was "quick food". He shouldn't be concerned about what he sleeps on. If it is a comfortable bed or on a mattress on the floor, it shouldn't make any difference to him.
In that way, if his fortunes should turn for the worse, Heaven forbid, he will be able to adjust to his circumstances. But if a person always demands the best when he has money and position, if his circumstances change, he will have great difficulty living under his new conditions.
(See Birkath Aboth)
ID: 294f0 No.3468
The Shulhan 'Arukh rules that anything that one recites a Berakha (blessing) on, whether to smell or eat, must be held in one's right hand when one recites the blessing. The question is, does this mean one's right hand in the literal sense, or is it in the sense that the right hand really means the primary hand. In the case of Tefillin, for instance, the left hand of a left handed person, is called his right hand.
The Mishnah Berurah comments that a person should hold the item in his right hand based on which his primary hand is. In other words, as in the case of Tefillin, one who is left handed holds it in his left hand, because in Halakha, his left hand is considered his "right hand" in this case.
The Ben Ish Hai writes that anything that one is reciting a blessing on, must be held in the right hand, without differentiating between one who is right handed and one who is left handed. In the case of the cup for Birkath Hammazon, he comments that the Posqim write that the "right hand" is the primary hand of the person (left or right). However, according to the Qabbalah, even a left handed person must use his right hand, in the literal sense, even though it is not his primary hand. The Kaf Hahayyim, in making a similar ruling, comments that this also appears to be the opinion of the Shulhan 'Arukh, that it is the actual right hand, in all cases.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh, Orah Hayyim, 206:4. Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Balaq, Oth 4, Shelah Lekha, Oth 19. Kaf Hahayyim, 206, Oth 30)
ID: 294f0 No.3472
It's not only when holding food to say a blessing that one should use one's right hand (see http://www.atorahminute.com/2019-05-13
). The Ben Ish Hai, quoting the Sefer Hasidim, mentions that even when passing a book to someone, the one receiving it should take it with his right hand.
The Mishnah Berurah mentions that one should not stick a knife into food and say a Berakha (blessing) even if one holds the knife in one's right hand. Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, comments in Ben Ish Hai that the right hand symbolizes life, whereas a knife shortens it, as is mentioned in Eshel Abraham.
The Ben Ish Hai comments further that it is preferable to use a fork made of silver (or any material other than iron), in order to hold the fruit while reciting the blessing.
(See Ben Ish Hai, 1st year, Balaq, Oth 4. Mishnah Berurah, 206:18)
ID: 294f0 No.3474
Some feel that leaving out one of the Samamanim (ingredients) when reading Pitum Haqetoreth makes a person liable for the death penalty, Heaven Forbid. This is based on the fact that we read that when it was offered in the Beth HaMiqdash (Temple), if one of the components was left out, the person would be punishable by death.
The Rama, z"l, writes that there is an opinion that Pitum Haqetoreth should be read and not recited by heart, because reciting it is in place of offering it, and there is a concern that the person reading it will be in a hurry and will omit one of the spices. We are worried that the person would be punishable by death.
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes in 'Od Yosef Hai, that if a person leaves out something in his reading, G-d does not punish him. On the contrary, G-d makes up what is missing. We must also realize that we do not consider the reading of Pitum Haqetoreth to be in place of the actual offering. Rather, we say before reading it that it is an account of what our forefathers used to do.
(See Rama 132:2. 'Od Yoseph Hai, Parashath Miqqes, Oth 7)
ID: 294f0 No.3477
It asks in the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 16a), why did the Torah say that the 'Omer should be brought on Pesah (Passover)? It answers, because Pesah is the time of the produce. Therefore, the Holy One blessed be He told us to bring an 'Omer before Him on Pesah, so that the produce in the fields would be blessed.
If so, why do we bring the 'Omer the day after Pesah (on the second day) and not on the first day of Pesah itself? After all, the judgment on the produce is made on the first day of Pesah. Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes in Sefer Benayahu, that if we were to bring the 'Omer on the first day of Pesah, we would give the accuser the opportunity to say that the only reason the Jewish people are bringing it, is so that the produce will be blessed. In other words, they are not doing it for the sake of Heaven.
As a result, we wait till the day after the produce is blessed, to prove that the only reason we are bringing it is because we were commanded to do so, and not for any ulterior motive. In any case, the produce will be blessed, because G-d knows from the first day of Pesah, that we intend to bring it, and He takes any good thought and considers it as if the action was already done.
(See Benayahu, Rosh Hashanah, 16a)
ID: 294f0 No.3480
Qiddush must be made where one is eating the Shabbath Se'uddah (meal), and the meal must be eaten right after the Qiddush. The question is whether one can fulfill one's obligation with the Qiddush made in the Synagogue, on Shabbath morning, after the prayers.
In order to fulfill one's obligation, one must eat a Kezayith (1 oz.) of Mezonoth or drink a Rebi'ith (3 ozs., according to the Ben Ish Hai) of wine, apart from the wine that one drank for the Qiddush itself. (After the fact, if there is no more wine, one may rely on the wine drunk for the Qiddush, assuming it was a full Rebi'ith and drunk right away, without interruption). If one does so, one will have fulfilled one's obligation of Qiddush, but not of the Se'uddah.
One must, therefore, eat the meal later, even if some time passed, in order to fulfill one's obligation. It should be noted that one may not taste anything till one makes Qiddush. As such, if one does not intend to eat the required amount of Mezonoth (cakes, cookies and the like), or drink the required amount of wine, one may not taste the wine or anything else, during the Qiddush.
(See Shulha 'Arukh 273:1, 5. Qol Eliyahu, 9:24, 25)
ID: 294f0 No.3487
אֵיזֶהוּ גִבּוֹר, הַכּוֹבֵשׁ אֶת יִצְרוֹ "Who is the one who is mighty? The one who conquers his inclination" (Aboth 4:1). (The word "Kobesh" can also be translated as 'making unable to move'). There are three very powerful desires in a person, envy, lust and a craving for honor, which the evil inclination works on.
There are two different types of evil inclinations (Yeser Hara'). One comes from a bad angel, but the other is part of a person's nature. This latter type causes much harm when allowed to roam free. Even if it is trapped in a person's body, it is still at liberty to move around and cause a person to get angry and behave in an inappropriate manner.
The term "Kobesh" implies that it is trapped in its place and unable to move, even a little bit. It is like a stone cemented in a wall. This is how one must treat one's Yeser Hara' (evil inclination). We must not allow it any movement whatsoever. Not only must we not permit it to do something that is wrong, but we must not let it even affect our thoughts or cause anger in our hearts. The word for steamroller in Hebrew, מכבש, comes from the same root. We must trap our Yeser Hara', as if we placed it under a steam roller.
(See See Hasdei Aboth, 4:1)
ID: 294f0 No.3493
Lighting a gas stove on Yom Tob may only be done by using an existing flame ( see http://www.atorahminute.com/2013-05-01
). Even though one may not strike a match or use a lighter, in order to light a gas stove on Yom Tob, one may, nevertheless, ignite a match by making it touch an existing flame or ember.
One may not ignite it by placing it against a hot surface, however, such as an electric stove element. The match may not be extinguished, but must be allowed to burn itself out. An electric stove must be turned on from before Yom Tob and may not be adjusted.
A gas oven or range that can be controlled by a timer, may be used to turn off the oven or range. However, one must ensure that it is plugged in and set up to do so, from before Yom Tob.
(See Rab Pe'alim 2, Orah Hayyim, 58-59. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 17:29, 30, 35)
ID: 294f0 No.3498
When cooking on Yom Tob (this obviously assumes that it is not Shabbath, since cooking would be forbidden then), one may increase the intensity of an existing gas flame. An electric range may not be adjusted in any manner, because of one or more of the forbidden labors of Boneh, Sother and Molid.
Even if the existing flame is too high for the item that is being cooked, there are those who do not permit turning it down unless there is no other flame available. However, the prevalent opinion is that if the flame needs to be lowered in order to correctly cook the food, without it burning, one may do so.
A gas flame may be extinguished on Yom Tob indirectly (Gerama), by boiling water in a pot so that the water splashes over the sides and extinguishes the flame. However, one should only resort to this if one legitimately requires the water, such as to boil water in order to drink coffee.
(See Shulhan 'Arukh Shulchan Aruch 502:1. Shemirath Shabbat Kehilkhatah 13:10. Maamar Mordekhai [Eliyahu], Hagim, 17:36, 37. Iggeroth Moshe, Orah Hayyim 1:93, 1:115, 4:103)