Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim – Associate Rosh Yeshiva – Passaic Torah Institute – Yom Kippur – The Opportunity Of Neila

This Shabbos there will be no Kiddush, no challah and no cholent.   For many, there will be no Shabbos nap either. This Shabbos is Yom Kippur.  And because it’s Shabbos, we will also be omitting a tefillah that is normally a hallmark of our Yom Kippur davening:  Avinu Malkeinu, our Father our King, since we do not make personal requests on Shabbos.

However, during the final tefillah of the day, during “Neilah,” we will nonetheless recite Avinu Malkeinu.   Why does Neilah trump the power of Shabbos, which silences us from reciting Avinu Malkeinu all the other times in the Yom Kippur davening?

The following moving story suggests an answer.  Yoni often visited the Jewish patients in the local nursing home, helping the elderly men attend the minyan and don their tefillin. There was one Jewish man, Mr. Neumann, who refused to attend the minyan. Yoni always greeted him with a cheerful, “Good Morning,” only to receive a curt reply.  One day, the minyan was short one man, and Yoni decided he had no choice but to ask Mr. Neumann.  “Mr. Neumann, we need a tenth man for the minyan; can you please come?   You don’t need to do anything, just be there,” said Yoni.   Mr. Neumann hesitated, but finally agreed.  “I’ll just sit in the back.  And don’t ask me to put on tefillin!” he said emphatically.

While wheeling out of his room with Yoni, Mr. Neumann suddenly said, “Wait!  Please take that bag along for me.” “Ok” replied Yoni, grabbing the bag.  They reached the back of the minyan room, and everyone came over to thank Mr. Neumann for joining them. Half way through davening, Mr. Neumann motioned to Yoni to come over.  Yoni was taken aback as he saw Mr. Neumann pulling up his sleeve and removing a pair of tefillin from the bag he had taken.  “Can you help me put this on?” he said. Yoni helped Mr. Neumann, and soon, both had tears in their eyes.  Mr. Neumann was now a full participant in the minyan.

Back in his room, Mr. Neumann’s demeanor had clearly improved. You could tell he wanted to talk.  “I made my father very happy today,” said the 83-year-old Mr. Neumann to Yoni.  “When I was 12 years old, my father and I were captured by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz.  My Bar Mitzvah was approaching and my father told me he was going to find me tefillin to wear.  The night before my Bar Mitzvah, my father told me he found tefillin, but they were across the camp.  It was dangerous, but there was no stopping him. He silently snuck to other side of the camp and I waited nervously for his return. He loved me and wanted me to wear tefillin on my Bar Mitzvah.  I caught sight of him across the yard, holding a bag and making his way back. I was hoping and praying he would be safe. Suddenly, lights went on, a guard yelled out, and there was the sound of gunfire.  My father was gone.  I cried my eyes out.  When the guards left, I ran over. My father was still clutching the bag of tefillin. With tears still in my eyes, I took the bag and went back to my barracks.  The next morning was my Bar Mitzvah day.  I looked at the tefillin, but I couldn’t put them on.  All I could think about was the tragedy that I experienced on the previous day.

It has now been 70 years.  These are the tefillin my father gave his life to obtain for me.  Today I took the tefillin just in case, and after I came to the minyan, I was inspired to put them on.  Today I made my father happy,” said Mr. Neumann.

We are concluding a 40-day time period, spanning Elul, Selichos, Rosh Hashanah, and the Aseres Yemei Teshuva (ten days of repentance).   The last prayer of Yom Kippur is Neilah, when Hashem, our Father, is waiting for us to return to him.  He has been waiting patiently for us, just like Mr. Neumann’s father was waiting. Like Mr. Neumann, we also have certain circumstances and personal issues holding us back.  But Hashem, our Father, is still waiting for us to do what we know is right and thereby be close to Him.  That’s why we say Avinu Malkeinu at the close of Yom Kippur, even on Shabbos, calling out to our Father to take us back. We can no longer restrain ourselves. That is the time He awaits us with outstretched arms.  Let’s make our Father, and ourselves, happy.

Featured Rosh Hashana Guest – Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, C.M. – Spiritual Leader – Congregation Machzikei Hadas In Ottawa, Canada – It Is Up To Us, More Than We Think


If we are not in the vicinity of Houston, or Florida, we have it easy. No blown roofs, no submerged homes, no displacement, no lives turned upside down. No worries, at least not hurricane related worries. Unless living in the vicinity of the ravaging fires around Los Angeles. Or British Columbia.

So, no worries,, and therefore a clear path to the Yamim Nora’im, the Awesome Days.

Not so fast. No one wishes upon anyone to live under the doomsday threat, and the upheaval, of the Texans and the Floridians. But it is they who have a more clear path to the Rosh HaShana – Yom Kippur period. With all they have endured, they emerge grateful to be alive, and fully aware that material matters, including having a safe, secure, and comfortable domicile, are secondary to life itself.  

It is they who have inspired us with their courage, their heroism, their camaraderie, their resolve, their gratitude, their unyielding faith. It is they who come into these most meaningful days with a perspective on life that thousands of well meaning speeches and lessons could not create.

What about all of us, the lucky ones who were spared the wrath of Harvey & Irma? What are the lessons for us? Are  they any different this year than other years? Should they be any different?

This is somewhat akin to asking if someone else going through a near death experience should have any affect on us?

It is in a way unfair for our own lives to be even partially governed by what happens to others. There are disasters and traumas happening all the time. If we let everything affect us, how will we be able to live?

Good question. But the answer is clear. How will we be able to live if we let everything affect us? We will be able to live better. That is how.

How does this dynamic actually work? It goes like this. These massive, destructive hurricanes could have perpetrated even greater damage. They could have been even larger than the record breaking (as far as we know since records were being kept) Hurricane Irma, they could have stayed longer, gone in different directions, been even more destructive. It was not merely those in the south who were spared the ravages of the hurricanes who avoided disaster.

We all avoided disaster. The fact that we may have been hundreds of miles away does not change that reality. And it leads to the unavoidable conclusion that we are all survivors of sorts, and  therefore of necessity should be full of gratitude for that.

Yes, it sounds preposterous to think of ourselves in the same way as the Houstonians – as fortunate to be alive. But we are all fortunate to be alive. The Houstonians know it because they were so perilously close to losing everything, including life itself. We were not that close, so we may not feel it. But that does not change the simple reality that we too are fortunate to be alive.

How does that affect the way we enter the Aseret Yemay Teshuva, the ten days of return, or as I like to refer to it, the ten days we focus on getting better? It can, and arguably should, help us enter these days full of gratitude for our good fortune, full of appreciation, and  therefore ready to translate these sentiments into action on all fronts.

Obviously, gratitude for those who continue to face enormous rebuilding challenges but who are alive to do so, means that we do whatever we can to help them – kind words, kind deeds, continuous prayers. Gratitude, contrary to what some may think, is more than a passing sentiment. For gratitude to be genuine, it must translate into meaningful expression.

Consider the following – can someone legitimately claim to be a grateful person and at the same time be mean, insulting, uncaring? Phrasing the question in this manner exposes the glaring nonsense of a claim to gratitude  that is devoid of appreciative behavior. Gratitude, to be real, must be the  prelude to action.

We make an interesting adjustment for the Ten Days of Teshuva, the Ten Days of Repentance, the Ten Day of Getting Better. In the first part of the main prayer, the Shemoneh Esray, we conclude the three-blessing introductory by referring to God as the “Holy Majesty,” instead of the “Holy God.” Majesty, or King, seems to be a demotion in status from  God. Only God is God, but there can be, indeed there are,  many kings, or monarchs. Precisely at the time that we are more sensitive to the sacred, and to Godliness, we make what seems to be a peculiar turn in a questionable direction.

What exactly are we doing by extolling God as THE Melekh? As is clear from the works of Rav Yonasan Eybishitz and Rav Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad, and further developed in Honeycombs (by Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka and Rikki Ash, Ktav Publishing House, 2017, p. 8), to praise God and the Godly attributes, but to ignore the obligation to embrace those very attributes makes a mockery of the praise. The praise of God’s holiness comes with the challenge to emulate God, to embrace a life of holiness.

In carrying this idea through as it applies to the ten days that extol God’s holy Majesty, we are challenged to bring majesty to our lives. But what exactly is majesty? Perhaps more than anything else, majesty means taking the lead, taking the initiative, and not allowing oneself to be governed by circumstance. To hide behind convenient excuses such as “I got busy,” “I forgot,” etc., is anything but majesty. Majesty sets the agenda.

For all of us entering the majesty phase of these ten days, it means that we have the capacity, and therefore the responsibility, to set the agenda, and to keep to it. An agenda of meaningful gratitude, profoundly expressed, is an inspired way to begin the year. It will include gratitude to God, gratitude to parents and grandparents, gratitude to spouse, gratitude to anyone and everyone, institutions included, that have helped us, followed by this simple question – in addition to conveying a genuine thank you, how can I translate this gratitude into an enduring expression

The question is the same for everyone, the answer differs according to our situation, our capacity. Yes, we enter this penitential period with many “asks” to God. But if we come into this period in the fullness of gratitude, and with “asks” that we pose to ourselves, we will provide answers that spread blessing, appreciation, and goodness.

After all, is this not what we all want, and need?

Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967. In addition to being an accomplished author of more than 30 books and countless articles in the fields of religion, health, and psychology, he is also host of Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka on CFRA and regular contributor to “Ask the Religion Experts” in the Ottawa Citizen.

A dedicated grass-roots volunteer, he is renowned for his tireless commitment to the Ottawa community through service on charitable and civic boards and regular participation in charity events. He has received numerous awards including the prestigious Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Service Award for his exemplary service to the Jewish Community of Ottawa and was the inaugural recipient of Scouts Canada’s National Salute Award. He was cited by Canadian Blood Services for more than 300 blood donations and is actively involved in the promotion of organ donation programs. Rabbi Bulka serves as Honorary Chaplain of the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, is the chair of the Trillium Gift of Life Network (responsible for organ and tissue donation in Ontario), and chairs the Hospice Ottawa West campaign.

He received his Semikhah (Rabbinic ordination) from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary, New York, in 1965 and his Ph.D. (concentrating on the Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl) from the University of Ottawa in 1971. He received an honourary Doctor of Laws from Carleton University in 2006 for his community and humanitarian service, and was awarded the “Key to the City” in February, 2010. In June 2013, Rabbi Bulka was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.


Moshe Stempel – Day Of Judgment

Chazal tell us in numerous places that our fates for the upcoming year are predetermined on Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, it is appropriate to approach this Day of Judgment with trepidation. Indeed, R’ Yisroel Salanter recalls how many Jews in Europe would tremble when they heard the word “Elul” mentioned. Unfortunately, as time wore on, it may be said that, the general sensitivity of people declined steeply, and the word “Elul” no longer carries the significance that it once had.

There is a concept in accounting called “zero-based budgeting.” Under zero-based budgeting, no department within a company receives automatic allotments from the CFO based on past performance. Rather, every department has to prove to the CFO on a yearly basis why they should be entitled to receive a given amount of funding. Otherwise, they receive nothing. On Rosh Hashanah, our situation is the same. Just because we received certain blessings in the past year doesn’t mean that we will receive them again in the following year.  

On Rosh Hashanah G-d decrees whether we will live or die, whether we will be rich or poor, whether we will be healthy or sick, and whether we will experience any type of joy or pain in the upcoming year. Therefore, there is obviously a lot at stake on this auspicious day. R’ Eliyahu Dessler points out that the existence of the Jewish people is under constant threat by anti-Semitic governments. The purpose of those threats is to stimulate us to do teshuvah. When we feel too secure in our lifestyles, we tend to forget about G-d and seek to satisfy our physical desires.

The Chofetz Chaim emphasizes that even natural disasters are predetermined on Rosh Hashanah. In the early 1900s, two deadly earthquakes struck Eretz Yisroel and Russia. In a letter that he wrote addressing the catastrophe, the Chofetz Chaim attributed the disaster to a message from G-d to do teshuvah. The Chofetz Chaim stressed that everything that happens in this world is directed by G-d and nothing happens by mere chance. The Rambam espouses the same view in Hilchos Ta’anis. In fact, the Rambam writes that someone who attributes natural disasters to “mother nature” demonstrates cruelty.

When a massive tsunami struck Southeast Asia in 2004 and claimed a quarter of a million lives, R’ Aharon Leib Shteinman warned people to be more careful with their speech. The Mashgiach of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, R’ Dov Keilson, offered the following explanation for Rav Shteinman’s words: A person’s faculty of speech is supposed to be governed by certain boundaries. Similarly, the water in the ocean is not supposed to flow past the boundaries of the dry land. However, when people abuse their faculty of speech and disregard those boundaries, so too does the water in the ocean overflow its boundaries and brings massive destruction to the world.

The name “Elokim” for G-d refers to G-d’s role as an Omnipotent Being. No power exists outside of G-d. We also know that Man is created in G-d’s image. But how can Man be perceived as being omnipotent? The Nefesh HaChaim explains that Man influences all the events of this world through his actions. When Man is righteous, good comes to the world. When Man sins, he brings death and destruction to the world. Therefore, Man is omnipotent in the sense that he can influence all the events of this world through his ethical decisions.

In the book of Yonah, the captain of the ship that Yonah the Prophet was traveling in found Yonah sleeping in the ship’s cabin as the ship was in danger of sinking. Thereupon, the captain asked Yonah why he was sleeping and not praying to his G-d for salvation. The Chofetz Chaim writes that every Jew today is like the captain of that ship. It is our job to ask ourselves why we are not paying attention to the awesome judgment that we will be facing on Rosh Hashanah.

The sound of the Shofar is supposed to awaken us to the call for teshuvah. However, as R’ Yisroel Salanter zt”l noted in his generation, people have become completely desensitized to the sound of the Shofar. Today we need mussar to direct us on the right path. Therefore, it is crucial that every Jew set aside time every day to study mussar.

The Rambam writes that the avodah of a Jew during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is to do teshuvah. R’ Itzele Peterberger asks why the Rambam singles out teshuvah from all the other mitzvos in the Torah. If the purpose of doing teshuvah is simply to tip the balance of the Scale of Judgment in favor of our mitzvos, why shouldn’t any mitzvah suffice?

In his sefer Shaarei Teshuvah, Rabbeinu Yonah answers that rejecting the opportunity to repent for our past misdeeds demonstrates that we don’t really believe in G-d’s system of reward and punishment. Such a demonstration is in itself cause for severe punishment.

R’ Aharon Kotler alternatively explains that the mitzvah of teshuvah is unique, since it has the ability to change the past. When a person does teshuvah, he transforms all of his past sins into mitzvos. However, all other mitzvos only accord a person merit for the future.

When we repent for our sins, there are two forms that our repentance can take: repentance out of fear and repentance out of love. Repentance out of fear requires that one regret his past misdeeds, completely reform his behavior, and break his negative attitudes and habits. This is a very difficult form of repentance to do. Repentance out of love, on the other hand, is motivated by our appreciation of the miracles that we experience. When G-d performs a miracle to give us a new lease on life, we should be inspired to mend our ways and to thereby atone for all our past misdeeds. When a person reaches the recognition that everything he has in life is a G-d-given gift, he will undoubtedly repent out of love for G-d. 

R’ Moshe Bamberger related that he once witnessed a large black SUV skid on a patch of ice and slam into six cars. There was broken glass everywhere, and car parts littered the entire street. R’ Bamberger was amazed when the driver of the SUV walked out of his vehicle a few seconds later and called his employer using his own cell phone. Unfortunately, the driver was completely unfazed by the miracle that he experienced.

During “Elul” the doors are wide open for us to mend our ways through the vehicle of teshuvah. When we do teshuvah, we declare that our real desire in life is to be servants of G-d.

From The Archives – Lekavod Rosh Hashana – Genack/Genechovsky Torah

Rabbi Menachem Genack

Shofar On Yovel

By the Mitzvah of Rosh Hashana, the verse says (Numbers 29:31), Yom teruah yehiye lachem, “A day of blowing shall it be for you,” but there’s no mention that the teruah must come through the shofar; that is learned from agezara shava of Shevii Shevii from the shofar of Yovel.

Based on the principle of tadir vesh’eno tadir, it may be argued that the Torah should have placed the word shofar by the yearly holiday of Rosh Hashana and the shofar of Yovel, a blowing that occurs only once in fifty years, should have been derived from Rosh Hashana.

To explain this discrepancy, we could look at the Rambam to see how he differentiates between the tekiah of Rosh Hashana and the tekiah of Yovel. By Rosh Hashana (Hilchot Shofar 1:3), the Rambam writes that one is yotze his obligation of hearing the sounds from a stolen shofar (not infringing upon the Halacha: mitzvah haba be’avera) because the cheftza shel mitzvah on Rosh Hashana is only in hearing the sound of the shofar, and there’s no din ofgezel by sound.

However, the Rambam (Hilchot Shemittah VeYovel 10:10) says it’s a mitzvah to “blow” the shofar on the tenth of Tishrei in the year of Yovel and this was first given over to beis din and each person must blow for it says “taaviru shofar” and you blow nine blasts like on Rosh Hashana and a shofar is taken in all borders of Israel.

Rabbi Genack heard from his Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik  zt”l, that the language of the Rambam is very specific (as echoed in the Rambam’s Teshuvos) to indicate the difference between the shofar of Rosh Hashana and that of Yovel, for on Rosh Hashana the mitzvah is on the shemia and that’s why the blessing is over the “hearing” of the shofar not the “blowing” of it whereas by Yovel the mitzvah is on the “blowing” of the shofar, and through this, the Rav explains why the Rambam says each person must blow and one can’t be yotze with the kol of someone else. However, on Rosh Hashana the mitzvah is on the shemia of the kol to which we can say shomea keone. And this is what Rambam means when he says that a shofar by Yovel is taken to all the borders because each individual must blow for himself.

The Rav further says that since by Yovel the shofar is meakev like the Rambam wrote, you need a Ma’ase De’mikdash and that is the tekiah. Therefore, it would seem that by the blowing of shofar on Yovel the brachawouldn’t be Leshmoa but Letkoa Beshofar.

The Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvos; Mitzvah 137) further differentiates between the blowing’s of Rosh Hashana and Yovel, for by Rosh Hashana the blowing is a remembrance before G-d whereas by Yovel the purpose of the blowing is to free the slaves. Once again we see the distinct halachic difference between the blowing on Rosh Hashana and Yovel, as Rosh Hashana is a remembrance and has an element of prayer to it whereas shofar de’yovel is to free the slaves and to sanctify the fiftieth year.

Therefore, according to the Rambam, by the shofar of Rosh Hashana – that is for a remembrance – the mitzvah is in the shemia whereas by Yovel the mitzvah is in the blowing, and therefore by Yovel if you stole a shofar and blew from it, you would violate the halacha of mitzvah haba be’avera. (And this explains why the Torah didn’t mention the shofar at all by Rosh Hashana, as the chefsa shel mitzvah is the sound that comes through the shofar, whereas by Yovel, the shofar is specifically mentioned, for in that case the chefsa shel mitzvah is the shofar, mandating the gezera shava of Shevii Shevii from Yovel.)

The Rambam (ibid.) wrote that tekiat shofar be’yovel is to free the slaves, as it says we are obligated to blow the shofar on the tenth of Tishrei of this year to proclaim the slaves to be free so that every slave goes free on the tenth.

Also the Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvot Hakatan: beginning of Hilchot Shemittah VeYovel Mitzvah 12) writes that we blow the shofar on the tenth of Tishrei so as to free the slaves. It would seem the Rambam’s source is based on the Gemara (Rosh Hashana 8b), where it is written, “Rav Yishmael the son of Rav Yochanan ben Broka said, from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur the slaves didn’t leave to go to their houses and were not subservient to their masters, but rather they would eat drink and be jubilant with crowns on their head…and once Yom Kippur came beis din would blow the shofar and the slaves would return to their homes..and the fields would return to their original owners” (and so is written in Rambam, Hilchot Shemittah VeYovel 10:14).

There now seems to be a difficulty in the Rambam for in Sefer Hamitzvot he said, when explaining the blowing on Yovel that it has the specific purpose of setting the slaves free, yet he omits the second aspect of the fields returning to the owners, though the Gemara and the Rambam, himself, express that these two phenomenon’s go hand in hand. Therefore, why didn’t the Rambam mention this in his Sefer Hamitzvot by the blowing of the shofar on Yovel?

Perhaps it can be said in the Rambam that he understood the pasuk (Leviticus 25:10), ukratem dror beeretz le chol yoshveha, “And proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” that dror refers to freedom of slaves. Rashi takes this approach as he says on the words ukratem dror, that if refers to “slaves,” whether a nirtza or whether the six year period was still not complete from the time they were sold.  This is also consistent with the Gemara (Rosh Hashana 9b) where “Rav Yehuda says, what’s the lashon “dror”? kemedayer bei dira, as those who have the freedom to dwell (dur) anywhere.

The conclusion of the pasuk says, veshavtem eish el achuzato, “One of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.” This phenomenon of the return of fields is exclusively dependent on the freeing of the slaves and not the shofar, thus explaining why the Rambam said when explaining the blowing on Yovel that it has the specific purpose of setting the slaves free and doesn’t mention the aspect of the fields returning to the owners (for it’s the freedom of the slaves and not the shofar that is meakev the fields returning.)

*Sefer Gan Shoshanimm Chelek Beit, Chazon Nachum – Siman 31- Pages 78 -80

Rav Avrohom Genechovsky Zt”l

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 271:4)

Is Borei Pri Hagefen A Chelek Of Kiddush Or Birkhot Ha’nehenin

In a case where a kos is needed, for instance by kiddush and havdalah, is the bracha of Borei Pri Hagefen a part of the kiddush itself or does it exist separate and apart from kiddush as Birkhot Ha’nehenin?

The difference would be in a case where one said kiddush and forgot to say Borei Pri Hagefen. If it’s a part of kiddush, then the kiddush was not complete and would have to be repeated, however, if it serves the purpose of Birkhot Ha’nehenin to just allow one to drink then kiddush wouldn’t have to be repeated.

One can’t proffer the argument that if he leaves out Borei Pri Hagefen and he’s allowed to drink that this would be a mitzvah haba be’avera, for we don’t say that in unintentional cases (see Teshuvos Machaze Avraham Chelek 1 Siman 49). Also, the Yerushalmi in Shabbos, Perek Haoreg says, only when the chefetz itself is assur do you say mitzvah haba be’avera, and therefore one who rips on Shabbos is yotze hiskriya, similar to our case, where the cheftza of wine is not assur.

There are seemingly two contradictory proofs regarding this matter that are brought down by the Imrei Yosher  (Chelek 2 Siman 173). The first proof indicates that Borei Pri Hagefen is not a part of kiddush(rather it’s a Birkhat Ha’nehenin). The Gemara (Pesachim 100a,b 102a) says that one who drinks wine before Shabbos doesn’t have to say Borei Pri Hagefen for kiddush later that night (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 271:4) indicating that it’s not a part of kiddush, but Birkhot Ha’nehenin.

Another proof indicates that Borei Pri Hagefen is a part of kiddush and thus must be repeated if left out. The Gemara (Eruvin 40b) discusses whether saying shehecheyanu on Yom Tov needs a kos similar tokiddush and havdalah. A proof is bought from Yom Kippur as a kos wouldn’t be relevant for one can’t drink from it. The Gemara (ibid.) answers, however, that a taste of the wine can be given to a child. The Gemara (ibid.) is then doche this for maybe the child later in life will think such a practice is permitted. One can conclude, however, that it would work. In fact Tosefos says the problem regarding the child would only exist in accustomed times but if it was a happenstance occasion like a brit on Yom Kippur or Tisha B’Av or a chuppah on Asarah B’Tevet a taste can be given to the child.

The poskim argue if this is applicable to a child who did not yet reach chinuch. According to the poskim that hold that it applies to a child who didn’t even reach chinuch, then Rav Avrohom doesn’t understand the bracha for it’s impossible to say shomea keone and therefore why would there be a bracha.

The Imrei Yosher believes the second proof from the Gemara in Eruvin is correct, and in terms of the first proof, he says in reality the bracha of Borei Pri Hagefen made before Shabbos is metztaref to the later kiddush, so it’s as if he made the bracha at the time of kiddush.

Rav Avrohom believes the fundamental proof to be from the Gemara in Pesachim, in that Borei Pri Hagefen is not a chelek of kiddush but rather in the category of Birkhot Ha’nehenin. In terms of the proof from Eruvin, Rav Avrohom says that it’s a machlokes haposkim. Therefore, according to the poskim who say that we are dealing with children who didn’t reach chinuch a proof exists that the bracha is a chelek of the Kiddush, however according to the other poskim, that for a katan who didn’t reach chinuch, it doesn’t help to give them to drink then there’s no proof and therefore how can one mechadesh then that it’s achelek of Kiddush to require one to say kiddush again.

(Regarding the proof from giving a baby to taste, the Beit Meir (Yoreh Deah Siman 265) says the reason we say Borei Pri Hagefen is because when you touch a Kos Shel Bracha for Kiddush, it’s as if your touching a kos for drinking for just as you bless Borei Pri Hagafen on that G-d created the wine for the pleasure of drinking so do we say Borei Pri Hagefen for the fact that G-d created the wine that enables is to say on it the bracha of kiddush. And this explains why you can give it to a baby to taste who hasn’t reached chinuch. Rav Avrohom said that the Beit Meir’s explanation in this halacha of the baby tasting isTzarich Iyun on whether it’s agreed upon.)

The Ritvah (Pischei Ritvah; Brachos 2:24) writes that if one is in doubt as to whether he made kiddush, he should make kiddush again and drink without the bracha of Borei Pri Hagefen. If Borei Pri Hagafen is Birkhot Ha’nehenin, it’s logical, but if it’s a chelek of the Kiddush, why should he be exempt from the bracha? Perhaps it can be answered that it is only rabbinic in nature. The issue with this is when one is in doubt whether he said Birkat HaMazon and he ate to a point of being full he goes back also on hatov vehameitiv, so the Rav says it needs to be investigated further.

Two differences arise depending on whether you hold like the Imrei Yosher.

Firstly in a case where one, in between the bracha of Borei Pri Hagefen and kiddush, was in a situation where, for instance, he waited too long in between the bracha of Borei Pri Hagefen and kiddush, according to the Imrei Yosher this pause disavows the whole kiddush and he would have to repeat it. However, if Borei Pri Hagefen is considered Birkhot Ha’nehenin then even if one had to wait beyond the allotted time, it doesn’t nullify the bracha similar to a case where one who made a bracha on food near the end of a taanis, where according to the Pri Megadim (Siman 206) one should wait until the fast ends and use that bracha to eat.

Another difference can be in a case where Yom Tov falls on Shabbos and the proper conclusion of the bracha is mekadesh haShabbat veYisrael vehazmanim. In a case where the mekadesh was sayingkiddush and the listeners mistakenly said amen after the words mekadesh haShabbat but before the final words veYisrael vehazmanim, the question is whether this is considered a hefsek to the previously saidBorei Pri Hagefen? In general, talking in the middle of kiddush doesn’t nullify the kiddush and therefore this would be one long bracha arucha according to the Imrei Shefer and it would not be a problem.

*Sefer Bar Almugim – Siman 184 – Page 858-862

Rav Avrohom Zt’l

The Biblical Zoo

As was his custom, Rav Avrohom would pass by the Biblical Zoo while preparing for his shiur. One day he came across a young child crying whereupon he asked what was wrong. The child said his parents were in the zoo and he couldn’t find them. To solve the problem and not infringe upon tzinius issues, Rav Avrohom decided to put the child on his shoulders as a scout so that he could face downward. Finally, the mother identified the child and Rav Avrohom let the child down. Rav Avrohom later said that this was the only time he gave a shiur in yeshiva without preparing for it.

As Seen In Torah Tavlin – Parsha Shelach – June 14, 2014

Notes From The Editor

I once was walking to shul with Rav Avrohom in Bnei Brak whereupon we came across a sobbing child. He consoled the child until the situation was brought to a resolution.
In the summer, one time I visited Rav Avrohom and Rebbetzin Esther. Upon departing to the airport, Rav Avrohom, as was his usual custom, escorted me to the taxi station. I had a bag with me, perhaps the size of a duffle bag. Counter to my arguments, he refused to let me carry it. He tossed it over his shoulder and walked with it all the way to the taxi station greeting passerby’s on the way.

Rabbi Eliyahu Levine zt”l (Great-Great Grandfather Of Rav Avrohom Genechovsky Zt”l and Rabbi Genack)

The Halacha If One Concluded On Shabbos And Yom Tov Only Mekadesh Yisrael In Tefillah or Kiddush

The Gemara (Pesachim 117b) says that on Shabbos, Saba de’pumbadisa, concluded their prayers and kiddush with mekadesh haShabat and on Yom Tov with mekadesh Yisrael vehazmanim. Rava said that in the public davening on Shabbos and Yom Tov the conclusion would be mekadesh haShabat whereas by kiddush of an individual on Shabbos, the conclusion would be mekadesh haShabat and on Yom Tovmekadesh Yisrael vehazmanim, and the halacha is like Saba de’pumpadisa. The Magen Avaraham (Siman 487: 2) writes that if one concluded on Shabbos and Yom Tov just mekadesh Yisrael, he is yotze, for according to Rava it’s better and even according to Saba de’pumpadisa it’s fine, only they hold it’s enough with mekadesh haShabat.  However, in terms of kiddush, everyone agrees you must conclude withmekadesh haShabat.

In consistent fashion the Magen Avraham (Siman 271:1) says elsewhere that min haTorah you are yotze your kiddush deorita in tefillah even if you concluded in the prayers mekadesh Yisrael. Therefore, even though kiddush deorita on a cup requires a bracha and chatima, nonetheless when being yotze your kiddush deorita during prayers you only need conclude with the words mekadesh Yisrael.

This must be the halacha, otherwise a question would exist on Rabbeinu Tam who says without wine you can’t make kiddush. How could the mitzvah of kiddush be uprooted? It must be that you have beenyotze in tefilla. And even though Rava himself holds you must conclude mekadesh haShabat that’s only as the Magen Avraham (Siman 487:2) writes when it pertains to kiddush on wine.

The Chavos Yair (Siman 487:4) argues on the Magen Avraham and says that in tefilla as well you are not yotze with just concluding mekadesh Yisrael because even according to Rava you must concludemekasesh Yisrael veyom haShabat and the Gemara really choose a shortened language by saying mekadesh Yisrael is enough.  Rav Levine doesn’t believe this is medayek with the language of the Gemara, because it says for kiddush on Yom Tov the conclusion is mekadesh Yisrael vehazmanim seeming to indicate that on tefillah by Shabbos and Yom Tov only mekadesh Yisrael is required.

Rav Levine brings a proof to the Magen Avraham from the Yerushalmi (Pesachim 10:2) where it written that Rav Zeira said you can say havdalah without wine but you can only make kidddush with wine. Rav Yossi bar Bun says, in Teman, it was their minhag that when there was no wine the sh’liach tzibur would say the bracha mein sheva and conclude mekadesh Yisrael veyom haShabat. An explanation is given that because we’re talking about a place where there is no wine and dealing with a congregation of am haratzim who don’t know how to daven as well (meaning they  didn’t mention kiddush in tefillah either), for this the sh’liach tzibur would say the bracha mein sheva and be yotze them for their kiddush deorita.

Rav Levine asks why the Gemara had to tell us how they concluded the bracha. And in addition shouldn’t the chatima have been mekadesh haShabat? Why was mekadesh Yisrael added? Also, it is said in the conclusion that in a place where there is wine the sh’liach tzibur doesn’t descend. This is a direct contradiction to a Gemara (Shabbos 24b) that says it’s an established takana now to extend the tefillah be’tziburbecause of danger and for that reason the sh’liach tzibur would say it even when wine is available (see Tur Shulchan Aruch Siman 268).

Rav Levine understands that the Yerushalmi is holding like Rava in Pesachim (Bavli 117b), that in tefillah we conclude mekadesh Yisrael and for kiddush mekadesh haShabat. Therefore, in the case of theYerushalmi, they concluded in the tefillah mein sheva with the first ending mekadesh Yisrael for there’s a takana to extend davening, and it has the halacha of a regular davening where you conclude mekadeshYisrael. However, in a place where there’s no wine and the sh’liach tzibur is being yotze the kiddush deorita for the am haratzm who don’t know how to daven either, for this the sh’liach tzibur adds on veyom haShabat, so that now the end of the bracha, mekadesh Yisrael veyom haShabat covers everything.

Therefore, we may say according to Rava that in tefilla you need only conclude with mekadesh Yisrael.

Yad Eliyahu – Siman 5 – Pages 17-18

Rabbi Eliyahu Levine Zt”l – Drush

19. And he went from there, and he found Elisha, the son of Shafat, as he was plowing; twelve yoke were before him and he was with the twelfth, and Elijah went over to him and threw his mantle over him.

יט. וַיֵּלֶךְ מִשָּׁם וַיִּמְצָא אֶת אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן שָׁפָט וְהוּא חֹרֵשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָֹר צְמָדִים לְפָנָיו וְהוּא בִּשְׁנֵים הֶעָשָֹר וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵלִיָּהוּ אֵלָיו וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אַדַּרְתּוֹ אֵלָיו:

20. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said: “Let me, please, kiss my father and my mother, and I will go after you,” and he said to him, “Go, return, for what have I done to you?”

כ. וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת הַבָּקָר וַיָּרָץ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶשְּׁקָה נָּא לְאָבִי וּלְאִמִּי וְאֵלְכָה אַחֲרֶיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֵךְ שׁוּב כִּי מֶה עָשִֹיתִי לָךְ:

21. And he returned from after him, and he took the yoke of oxen and slaughtered them, and with the gear of the oxen he cooked the meat for them, and he gave the people and they ate, and he rose and followed Elijah and ministered to him.

כא. וַיָּשָׁב מֵאַחֲרָיו וַיִּקַּח אֶת צֶמֶד הַבָּקָר וַיִּזְבָּחֵהוּ וּבִכְלִי הַבָּקָר בִּשְּׁלָם הַבָּשָֹר וַיִּתֵּן לָעָם וַיֹּאכֵלוּ וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיְשָׁרְתֵהוּ:

Rav Levine asks numerous questions on these pesukim. Firstly, why was it relevant to mention that Eliyahu found Elisha plowing, and that Elisha was the twelfth in line? Also, what was the message of Eliyahuthrowing his Aderet to Elisha? Furthermore, why did Eliyahu say “Go Return,” did Eliyahu not want Elisha to follow him, and wasn’t that Eliyahu’s whole mission, and indeed Eliyahu accepts him in the end. Additionally, what is meant by Eliyahu saying, “What have I done to you?” Lastly what is the work Vayakam hinting at?

Rav Levine brings down commentators that explain that the Aderet was at the cave where Eliyahu encountered G-d, and therefore had a high level of kedusha as it had the light of the Shechinah upon it, so Eliyahu threw this coat to Elisha, and Elisha wore it and it was a spiritual match, further propelling Elisha to want to follow after Eliyahu.

There’s another insight about the Aderet brought down by a commentator. At the end of Vayera in name of Zohar, it is darshened based on the pasuk (Eichah 1:4), darchei tzion avelut “The ways of Zion mourn”to mean that the roads of Yerushalayim mourn when Bnei Yisrael fails to walk upon them for aliyat ha-regel, for if the mitzvah would be performed upon the roads, holiness would descend upon them. In a similar vein, the coat was given extra kedusha by the mere fact that Eliyahu (who dedicated his natural passions to G-d) wore it. The Drashot haRan (Drash 8) says a similar idea (relating to the first point that whatever is exposed to a G-dly presence rises in kedusha) pointing out that when Moshe appeared at the sneh with his stick, the stick rose in kedusha by being in the presence of G-d

To explain the episode with the plows, it may be said that Elisha had the opposite temperament of Eliyahu, in that he was a calmer individual. Therefore, Elisha was twelfth in line; meaning eleven plowers were ahead of him, for his nature wasn’t as inclined to rush and be the first, but even someone with that nature has the capacity for passionate service compelling Eliyahu to throw him the Aderet.

After Elisha put on the Aderet, he felt a feeling of zrizut, but Eliyahu wanted Elisha to prepare on his own for his upcoming duties, for we know, based on a commentator it is said, the influencer will influence based on his power but the one who is receiving the influence will only receive in proportion to how much he prepared. Therefore, Eliyahu told Elisha to go prepare; implying that Eliyahu’s action of throwing the Aderet was of no use if Elsiha doesn’t take his own action, prompting Eliyahu to say “So what” you must prepare on your own. Understanding the message, Elisha took the cattle and slaughtered it in order to prepare. That’s what the verse means when it says Vayakam, a term indicating preparedness, readiness and an urging to depart. Only then did Eliyahu fully accept Elisha and crown him as the next prophet.

Yad Eliyahu Drush 5 Pages 190-191

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen (Genack)

To Each Man Owns A Letter

A couple of years ago I was hosted for parsha H’Aazinu in a school for officers of the army. At the Friday night meal two officers that were not religious gave a Dvar Torah on the parsha. One cadet quoted Rashi on the parsha who asks why the eagle carries its offspring on its shoulders. Rashi says (Deuteronomy 32:11), “For the Eagle thinks, better that the arrow from below hit me than my offspring.” The cadet aligned this attitude of the eagle with the attitude that a commander must have towards his subordinates.

The second officer made a connection to the parsha as well (this specific connection can be seen in להתעורר ליום חדש קריאה מתחדשת של התורה ושל החיים Page 355).

Rabbi Nagen (Genack) points out the wonderment in his eyes to see how the weekly portion can speak to the heart of each person exactly where they are, and offer a perspective that fits into their own lives.

An accepted view holds that each person in Bnei Yisrael has a letter of the Torah that his neshama is connected to (Zohar Chadash, Song of Songs 91b), and the word “Israel” can be read as an acronym for “Yesh Shishim Ribo OtiotLaTorah”, (there are 600,000 letters in the Torah) a number that corresponds to the number of souls in Israel.

From here we can deduce that every Jew has a connection to his own letter in the Torah, and in truth this letter is not set either, but rather as a person changes in life so does the reading of his individual letter change and when he reads it anew he receives a new influence from that letter.

The greatness of G-d, according to the Mishna (Sanhedrin 4:5) is that from one man G-d created a new and diverse civilization where each person is unique and different from the other.

As the Mishna (ibid.) says, “Therefore man was created alone..to show the greatness of G-d, for man creates numerous coins from one seal and they all look alike whereas G-d created all men out of the one image of Adam and yet none look alike. Therefore, each person must say to themselves, ‘For me was the world created.”

This principle applies to Torah as well. The verse (Psalms 62:12) says, “Once has God spoken, twice have I heard this; that strength belongs to God.” The Gemara (Sanhedrin 44a) derives from this that one verse can be interpreted in many ways. This is the “strength” of G-d that from the same words uttered everyone hears something different. There exist a plurality of explanations to the Torah and none of them resemble each other.

In truth this is learned from the previously mentioned Mishna in Sanhedrin (4:5), for a myriad of faces on the Torah is born out of the fact that there are myriads of people where no one looks alike, and since no one is alike every person can explain the Torah in his own way and pen his own imprint.

*A Translated Version from the book:
להתעורר ליום חדש קריאה מתחדשת של התורה ושל החיים – Pages 355-356

Notes From the Editor

Rav Avrohom told me a drash in relation to Pesach that I believe has relevance to Rosh Hashana and all holidays. He said regarding the words in the Haggadah, Rebbi Yehudah haya nossen bo simanim, desach adash ba-achav. He said that the word desach comes from the words desa u’rena; merriness, adash, refers to the lentil bean that Esau sold his birthright for and ba-achav, if broken into two words would mean ba chov, the debt will be repaid. The explanation of the drash is that one who engages in worldly happiness and merriment similar to the type that Esau did will have to repay the debt for such conduct (perhaps it may be said all debts may be released year to year on Rosh Hashanah).