Characteristics Of Those Who Fear G-d

“It has been taught: Pumpkins are shown in a dream only to one who fears heaven with all his might” (Berachos 56b).

Rav Kornfeld shlita explained the meaning of this passage in profound fashion. The characteristic of a pumpkin is that the more it grows the deeper it sinks into the ground. So to, the true sign of one who fears G-d is that as he grows and becomes greater, he sinks more into the ground with utter humility.

Rav Mordecai Kornfeld Rosh Kollel, Kollel Iyun Hadaf

Heard firsthand in Yeshiva Ohr Yerushalayim – 1992

Changing The Pasuk You Were Going To Be Mevarech On While Reciting Birchat HaTorah


Rav Avrohom zt”l poses the question regarding Birchat HaTorah that is mi’diorita, what would be the halacha if one had in mind a specific pasuk he was referencing before he started to say Birchat HaTorah and then changed his mind to use a different verse. Does he have to make the bracha again?

We know in a case of lulav or shofar if one had in mind a certain lulav and shofar then changed his mind to use that specific lulav or shofar, replacing it with another, he must make another bracha. Rav Avrohom says initially one can argue the cases are different because Birchat HaTorah goes on all the Torah that one learned.

However, he asks what if it’s compared to a case where one is planning to make a bracha on one fruit and he has in mind to cover a second fruit that he has in his hand and that fruit falls to the ground. The Mechaber holds a new bracha would be necessary whereas the Rama says a new bracha isn’t required.

However, the Rama might be lenient because of safek brachos lehakhel, but by Birchat HaTorah that is deorita perhaps he would require another bracha. However, Rav Avrohom says the sevara might only exist by brachos on a fruit and not Bitchat HaTorah. He leaves it in a tzarich iyun.

Sefer Bar Almugim – Siman 11

Sanctifying The Hands And Feet

It is an obligation of the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet from the kiyor in the Beis HaMikdash every day (Tamid 1:4). This idea transported itself to all of Bnei Yisroel who must wash their hands upon awakening (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 2:1).

This, my cousin, Rabbi Nagen (Genack), says is appropriate for indeed we are compared to the Kohanim, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:6).

If every man is a Kohen then the world he lives in is akin to a Mikdash and therefore when he washes his hands in the morning, he must remember the purpose of his life and the mission he must carry out.

Once, in a Shiur at Yeshivat Otniel , my cousin asked the question, ‘Why is there a specific mitzvah to wash the “hands” and “feet” in the morning?’” One of the students answered based on the verse, “Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the Lord” (Exodus 30:20). The student explained that to “come” to the Mikdash, one must propel his feet and to “serve” in the Mikdash one must use his hands correctly. In summation the student said, one must cause his feet to go in the right direction and prepare his hands properly so as to carry out the mission properly.

The student who gave this answer was Staff Sergeant Noam Apter A”L, who along with Gabriel Hoter A”L, Zvi Ziemen A”L and Corporal Yehuda Bamberge A”L, were murdered on December 27, 2002 when militants entered the kitchen of Yeshivat Otneil where these men were preparing the food for the rest of the yeshiva that was dancing in the dining room.

The militants never made it to the dining room because Staff Sergeant Noam Apter A”L locked the sliding door separating the kitchen and the dining room.

Indeed, that night Staff Sergeant Noam Apter A”L used his hands and feet properly to carry out the highest of missions, to die on Kiddush Hashem and save over 100 students and faculty.

*Excerpted from Nishmat HaMishna by Yakov Nagen (Genack) 436-438