Drash – כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה – “all Jews (or all the people of Israel) are responsible for one another” (Shevuot 39a). (No coincidence that this is in the Tractate of the Talmud that discusses swearing as we have a standing “shevuah” to be responsible for our brethren.)

Based on drash, we can say:

כל ישראל ערב זה לזה – “All of Israel is a beckoning sunset (ערב)  for another,” as we can bring others to a new level of existence through our actions.


Redemption And Poverty

גָּאַל (redeem) equals in gematria דָּל (poor). This can allude to חמורו של משיח (the donkey of Moshiach), where the redeemer will enter Jerusalem as a pauper on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9). This is because Moshiach will be a man of humility and self effacement that utilizes all physicality (חמור) towards serving the Creator. The times of Moshiach are described as days of oppressing inflation and many destitutes begging (Midrash Tehilim 45:3). To survive these times that are coming, we are told: “What is man to do to be spared the pangs of Moshiach? Let him engage in Torah and acts of loving-kindness!” (Sanhedrin 98b).



Rabbi Binyomin Adler – On Shabbos One Indulges In The Physical On A Higher Plane


At the end of last week’s parashah it is said (Devarim 7:11) vishamarta es hamitzvah vies hachukim vies hamishpatim asher anochi mitzvavcha hayom laasosam, you shall observe the commandment, and the decrees and the ordinances that I command you today, to perform them. Rashi writes that that the inference of the words hayom laasosam, today to perform them, is that today, i.e. in this world, one is obligated to perform the mitzvos, whereas the reward is only in the World to Come. The Baal HaTurim in this week’s parashah, Eikev, notes the juxtaposition of the words hayom laasosam to the words vehayah eikev tishmiun, this shall be the reward when you hearken… This teaches us that the reward for the mitzvos that we perform is eikev, loosely translated as the end, i.e. in the World to Come. The Gemara (Brachos 57b) states that Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come. One must wonder that if Shabbos is truly a semblance of the World to Come, then why is it that all of our actions on Shabbos revolve around the physical, such as eating and drinking, and according to some, sleeping? Is not the World to Come a place where there is no physical indulgence, as the Gemara (Ibid 17a) states: in the World to Come there is no eating and no drinking? Rather, the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and delight in the radiance of the Divine Presence. This being the case, it would seem that there is no need to indulge in physical pleasures on Shabbos, as one should seek to maximize this ether-worldly experience.

Walking on Shabbos is Different Than the Week

Perhaps the resolution of this enigma can be found in the word eikev. Rashi quotes the Sifri that states that the word eikev means heel, and thus the verse can be interpreted as follows: vehayah eikev tishmiun, if you perform the mitzvos that are normally trampled on by ones eikev, heel, then you will receive all the blessings that I have promised to your forefathers. There are various opinions regarding the nature of these mitzvos that one tramples with his heel. Some opinions maintain that the mitzvos referred to here are the mitzvos that one literally performs with his feet, such as plowing and threshing and other mitzvos which relate to tilling the land. Other opinions maintain that Rashi is referring to mitzvos that people may consider routine, such as reciting blessings and donning tzitzis and Tefillin. I would like to suggest in the context of these verses that the Torah is alluding to Shabbos, as regarding Shabbos it is said (Yeshaya 58:13) im tashiv miShabbos raglecho, if you restrain your foot because it is the Shabbos. The Gemara (Shabbos 113a) derives from this verse that one should not walk on Shabbos in the same manner as he walks during the week. Furthermore, the commentators write that the word regel, literally defined as leg, can also allude to hergel, that which one is accustomed to. On Shabbos one is supposed to indulge in physical actions, albeit in a different manner than during the week.

The Shabbos Connection

This can be the explanation of the statement that Shabbos is a semblance of the World to Come. On Shabbos one may eat, drink and sleep, but by declaring that his actions are lekavod Shabbos Kodesh, for the sake of the Holy Shabbos, he has deviated from his normal routine, and thus he is akin to one who resides in the World to Come. The reason for this is because essentially, the World to Come is a reflection of how one elevated the physical in this world to a spiritual plane. When one acts in a different manner on Shabbos than during the week, he is elevating the physical to the realm of the spiritual, and this is akin to the World to Come. May we all merit the day that will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Dror Yikra

The composer was Dunash ben Librat, the famed medieval grammarian and paytan who lived from 4680-4750 (920990 C.E.). He was born in Baghdad and, except for twenty years in Fez, lived there his entire life. He was a nephew and disciple of Rabbeinu Saadiah Gaon and was acquainted with many of the Sages of his time. Rashi and Ibn Ezra quote him extensively. His name appears four times as the acrostic of the stiches in stanzas 1,2,3, and 6. This zemer is a prayer to HaShem to protect the Jewish People, destroy its tormentors, and bring the Nation peace and redemption.

נְטַע שׂוֹרֵק בְּתוֹךְ כַּרְמִי. שְׁעֵה שַׁוְעַת בְּנֵי עַמִּי, plant a branch within my vineyard, turn to the outcry of my people! What is the association between planting a branch in a vineyard and listening to the plea of the Jewish People? I believe I found the answer to this question while reading the Book INCREDIBLE! By Rabbi Nachman Seltzer. The narrative is about the life of the CEO of Arachim, Rabbi Yossi Wallis, and the INCREDIBLE events in his forebear’s history. I strongly recommend that you read the book, and you will see how powerful it is for a Jew to “plant a branch” in the vineyard of Judaism, i.e. to adhere to the Torah’s principles and to faith in HaShem, so that one’s progeny will flourish. When one plants that branch in the vineyard, one can then expect HaShem to listen to the outcry of His people.

Shabbos Stories

Fish for Shabbos

It was Sivan of 5567/1807, and thousands of joyous Chasidim were anticipating the wedding that would unite two illustrious dynasties. The chassan, Reb Yekusiel Zalman, was the son of Reb Yosef Bunim Wallis, who was the son-in-law of the great Jewish defender, Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. Reb Yekusiel was soon to be wed to Baila, who was the daughter of Reb Dov Ber, later known as the Mittler Rebbe, who was the son of the Baal HaTanya, Reb Schneur Zalman of Liadi. The town of Zhlobin was chosen as the setting for the wedding, as many of the Baal HaTanya’s Chasidim resided in Zhlobin, which was also equidistant from the towns of Berditchev and Liadi. The Chupah was going to take place on Friday afternoon, as was the custom in those times, and the festive meal would follow on Friday night. On the morning of the wedding day, the Rebbetzen of the Baal HaTanya had a complaint. While the Rebbetzen was willing to prepare the entire Friday night meal, as the custom was that the meal would be prepared by the kallah’s side, there was one slight problem. There was no fish available, and what would a Shabbos wedding meal be without fish? Furthermore, the Rebbetzen had heard that Reb Levi Yitzchak had a custom to always eat fish at a Seudas mitzvah, a festive meal, and if there was no fish, he would recite Kiddush and HaMotzi and not partake in the remainder of the meal. This would surely be unfitting for such a joyous occasion. When Reb Schneur Zalman heard of the dilemma, he declared that Reb Levi Yitzchak himself should be consulted. When Reb Levi Yitzchak heard about the problem, he asked in wonder, “Could it be that there will not be fish for Shabbos? Are there no rivers in this town?” The messenger of the Rebbetzen responded, “the Dnieper River flows nearby, but the river does not have fish.” The Heilegeh Berditchever summoned a horse and buggy and he then sent a message inviting his mechutan, The Baal HaTanya, to join him at the banks of the river. When they arrived at the river, Reb Levi Yitzchak removed a handkerchief and waved it over the river, all the while murmuring verses from the zemer Azamer b’Shvuchin, the famous zemer of the Arizal that is sung Friday night. Reb Levi Yitzchak then called out the words “vinunin urachashin,” which is Aramaic for fish and meat. Suddenly, schools of fish cane swimming towards them from all directions. People ran to get their nets, and soon their buckets were filled with fish, in honor of the Holy Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

קושר ומתיר, – Tying and Untying Knots

Tying and untying knots are forbidden under the Avos Melachos of קושר, tying, and מתיר, untying. The halachos of tying and untying involve many details, including what is deemed a knot and differences between permanent and temporary knots. Such a discussion is beyond the scope of this work; we will merely point out several common applications of these prohibitions in the modern kitchen.

Untying Knots

One is prohibited to untie a plastic bag that has been tied with one of the forbidden knots mentioned above. Rather, to remove the contents of such a bag, one must tear open the bag. (One must avoid tearing any letters or pictures that are printed on the bag).

One may not untie a string that is tied around a parcel. One should, if possible, slide the string off the parcel without tearing it. If this cannot be done, one may tear the string or cut the string in a destructive manner.

Yacov Nordlict – Heels Of Moshiach

This week’s parsha begins with the words “V’haya eikev tishme’oon”, “And it will be because of your listening…” Rashi explains these words on a more esoteric level. If a person listens and performs the small mitzvos which people normally trample with their feet (their “eikev”), it will translate into the brachos of the following pesukim.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky (as well as many of the Chassidic Rebbes of the past generations such as the Ruzhiner Rebbe and the Slonimer Rebbe) points out that this pasuk isn’t just revealing how to attain bracha from Hashem, rather the pasukim are also an allusion to our avodah to bring moshiach. The word “eikev” alludes to our generation, the ikvesa d’mshicha. The pasuk is teaching us that if we want to bring moshiach, our avodah is to be meticulous in all the small mitzvos.

This needs an explanation. What is it specifically about performing small mitzvos that will be the catalyst for the coming of moshiach? Why does a small miztva make a more significant impact than that of a big mitzva?

In order to realize the purpose of our generation, we need to comprehend our greatest fault. The Gra in “Ev’en Sh’leima” says that a person’s sole purpose in creation is to fix himself. Just as this exists on an individual level, it also applies in a more general sense. Every generation of klal Yisrael exists only to fix a certain fault, yet in order to know what to fix, we need to know what it is that needs fixing.

As we know, our generation is called the “Ikvisa d’misheecha”, the heel of moshiach. This isn’t telling merely us that we happen to be on the “heels” of Moshiach, that Moshiach is at our doorstep. It’s a description of our generation. Our essence is likened to that of a heel. Just like a heel is dead skin and has very little feeling, so too our generation lacks feeling. People walk around every day without any sense of love or fear of HaShem. We’ve become the numb generation.

With this yesod, the answer to our original question is quite simple. To help bring out the idea, I remember when my wife and I first got married. Everything was so new and exciting. But I remember the thing which flattered my wife the most wasn’t the big things. It wasn’t running back and forth to the store because she couldn’t decide what she wanted. It was remembering the little details. If she would ask me what I thought she would wear, I would say “how about the black dress you wore on our fourth date?” or something of the sort. It was never the big things. It was always the little details which showed I really cared.

Logically, it should be the opposite. The greatest gage of love is when one is willing to go the extra few miles for the loved one, to sacrifice ourselves for someone else. But if we think a little deeper about it, we find that it’s not true. Remembering big things show that you’re conscious; remembering all the little details show that you care.

Our greatest fault is that we exist as an Eikev, as a heel. We just don’t feel like we should. This is the problem we have to fix. And the only way to start feeling is to start caring about the small stuff.

I think this is the allusion of the pasuk of “V’haya Eikev tishme’oon.” As Chazal pointed out, the pasuk alludes to moshiach. And as Rashi stated, the verse is talking about the small mitzvas which people trample with their feet. Why? Because if you want to be able to feel Hashem’s light in all the darkest places, you have to really care about the small things. That’s the lesson from the pasuk. It isn’t so much a warning for that generation, but it’s a counsel for even the lowliest of generations. If we want to feel His presence, we need to care about everything.

The Rema begins the Shulchan Aruch with “Shvisi Hashem L’negdi Tamid”. That is, to first and foremost put Hashem in front of us always. And the only way to do this is by learning to feel. By counteracting the yesod of the heel, and in this way we can each do our part to bring the Moshiach.


Genack/Genechovsky Torah – Lekavod Parsha Eikev – Inyanei Brachos

Rabbi Menachem Genack

Shiur of Achila For Birchat Hamazon Deorita

The verse says, “When you have eaten and are satisfied…” (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Baal HaTurim notes that the gematria of  “Veachalta” isZehu Kzayit.” There’s an argument among the Rishonim if one has to make a Birkat Hamazon mideorita after eating a Kzayit. Rambam, Tosefos and many other Rishonim hold a Kzayit is only miderabanan, because mideorita you need “seviah.” The Raavad and Ramban hold a Kzayit obligates one mideorita. Therefore, according to the Rishonim who say “seviah” is needed, if one ate a Kzayit and was in doubt whether he said Birkat Hamazon, he would not repeat it as it will be a safek miderabanan lekula, for only eating to “seviah” would require one to repeat. In that case, the words of the Baal HaTurim need explanation, for he says “Veachalta” equals in gematria “Zehu Kzayit,” which should only be mederabanan.

We must say the Tur holds like the Raavad, that a Kzayit is mideorita. In Orach Chaim (Siman 184) the Tur writes with no differentiations, “if one ate and he doesn’t know if he said Birkat Hamazon, he must repeat it.” It would seem to apply then even to a Kzayit, because the Tur holds a Kzayit is mideorita. However, the Shulchan Aruch (Siman 184: Seif 4) writes the same language of the Tur and the Magen Avraham understands this only to apply to a case of “seviah.”

We may however say that even if the Tur holds Kzayit is miderabanan (like his father the Rosh), there is still an aspect of deorita, because besides “seviah,” “achila” is needed. The Minchat Chinuch writes (Mitzvah 430), that if one ate less than a Kzayit and he was satiated, he is not chayav in Birkat Hamazon because a Kzayit is needed to be yotze a “shem” achila because “veachalta” is written. The Minchat Chinuch further writes that he is in doubt in a case where one ate a Kzayit “bechdai achilas pras” and the rest to reach “sevih,” but it wasn’t done “bechdai achilas pras,” whether one is then obligated in Birkat Hamazon deorita or not. For indeed a Kzayit is deorita, for you need “bechdai achilas pras,” but you also need to be full. This must be what the Baal HaTurim means when he alludes to the fact that Kzayit is mideorita, because according to everyone there is an aspect of a Kzayit deorita by Birkat Hamazon.

Tosefos (Brachot 39a  s.v. Batzar) brings two opinions regarding one who ate a “predah” of a grape that was less than a Kzayit, if this person must make a bracha achrona since it was a “beriah” (the fruit in totality). It would seem this in fact is the machlokat about a Kzayit for bracha achrona. If the reason for a Kzayit is that “achila” is necessary, then a “beriah” is considered “achila” even without a Kzayit. But if the Kzayit for the bracha achrona is not only because a shem achila is necessary but because “seviah” and benefit is needed as well, then the fact that it’s a “beriah” won’t help.

From the Baal HaTurim it seems there is more of a Kzayit by Birkat Hamazon than “achila” in all of the Torah, because the Baal HaTurim’s remez just relates to Birkat Hamazon even though by “maachulos assuros” and Matzah that are mentioned in the Torah, a Kzayit is required as well, but Rabbi Genack concludes that it is possible to refute this proof.

Birchat Yitzchak – Pages – 257-258



Rav Avraham Genechovsky Zt”l

Shulchan Aruch: Siman 184 Seif 4

A Safek Whether One Ate to a Level of “Seviah” – Must He Make Birkat Hamazon Mesafek

The Aruch Hashulchan writes (Siman 184, Seif 6) that the only time one must repeat Birkat Hamzon mideorita from a safek is when he knows he ate but he remains in doubt whether he actually bentched, for then there is a “chezkat” chiyuv. However, if he is unsure whether he ate, he would not repeat Birkat Hamazon. (As will be mentioned, his sevara is that there is a safek deorita which would go lechumra, but there is also a safek issur derabanan of a bracha levatala which is also assur due to a safek [derabanan] and since he might not have eaten there is no chazaka to bentch).

This opinion of the Aruch Hashulchan is not agreed to by most other opinions. The Beir Heitev (Siman 184, Seif Katan 6) brings in the name of the Tshuvat Kol Ben Levi that one would be required to repeat bentching in the scenario of the Aruch Hashulchan. Also, Rabbi Akiva Eger says that in such a case there is no concern about a bracha levatala in a case where he is unsure whether he bentched since he is obligated me’safek and not based on a chezkat chiyuv. The Pri Megadim echoes this idea as well.

However, the Aruch Hashulachan’s sevara is still worthy, since on the one hand there is a safek deorita but there is also a safek issur derabanan of a bracha levatala which is also assur from a safek. But since we hold like those that say in such a case, me’safek deorita one must bentch again, the sevara of sefaka deorita lechumra will take hold.

(Rav Avrohom then brings a further proof that one must bentch me’safek from another Magen Avraham and a Mate Ephraim).

Rav Venkin Shlita asks on the Aruch Hashulchan that since he has a chiyuv Birkat Hamazon me’safek, but he can’t say it because of the chashash of bracha levatala, let him eat a Kzayit of “pas” or be yotze from someone else, for who exempted one from searching to complete the mitzvah, as we find by shofar, where in a case of safek one must travel to another city.

The Halachos Ketanos argues that this should be a sefek sefeka for maybe he didn’t eat at all and if he did maybe he didn’t eat a Kzayit. However, Rav Avrohom wants to suggest that the safek of Kzayit doesn’t have “mamashos” and in fact there’s only one “shem” here.

In a case where he is in doubt whether he is still within the shiur “ikul” or not, and he ate to a level of “seviah” he would definitely have to repeat bentching, even though it could be a bracha levatala, just as we see in the case of when one is not sure whether he ate and we established most opinions say a repetition is necessary.

Sefer BarAlmugim – Siman 56 – Pages – 292-294



Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Genack)

Brachos Perek 6 Mishna 1

Lechem Min Hashamayim U’min Ha’aretz

Though the Mishnayos of brachos begins with discussing Kriyat Shema, it is not named for that nor is it named for Tefillah, even though it is discussed often. Instead it’s named for the sixth Perek, Mishna Aleph regarding the topic of how one recite blessings for fruits. On fruits growing on a tree, one says, “Who created the fruit of the tree,” for wine; one says, “Who created the fruit of the vine.” On fruits growing from the earth, one says, “Who created the fruit of the ground,” on bread, one says, “Who brings forth bread from the earth.” On vegetables, one says, “Who created the fruit of the ground.” Rabbi Yehudah says: [One should say instead,] “Who created various types of herbs.” (For a deeper discussion of this theme see Nishmat Hamishna: Pages 81-82).

It’s clear that one central aspect gleaned from this Mishna is that the fruits of Eretz Yisroel are the point of emphasis. The brachos in the Mishna are discussing blessing G-d for his creations. The question then remains, what is the connection between blessing creation and the land of Eretz Yisroel. The answer can be found in the manna that sustained Bnei Yisroel in the desert. The manna is called “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4).

Deutoronomy tells us the lesson we must take form this manna upon entering Eretz Yisroel, as it says: And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy G-d chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy G-d, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy G-d bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy G-d for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy G-d, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;  And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;  Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy G-d, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. (Deuteronomy 8: 3-17).

The story of “creation” and the blessings on the foods of creation teaches about the direct connection of the giving between G-d and man.  However, as generations passed man forgot that G-d was the provider of everything. Towards that end, G-d changed nature and brought manna from the heavens, teaching us what we forgot from the beginning of creation. Upon entering the land therefore, we must remember this miraculous giving and realize all fruits from the ground are given directly from G-d as well. This is the foundation of these aforementioned pesukim, to make a blessing after we eat, as it says, “thou shalt bless the LORD thy G-d for the good ‘land’ which he hath given thee” (Id. 8:10).

Further, it can be noted, the bracha we say before we eat bread is “hamotzei lechem min haaretz,” (for not only does G-d deliver bread from “shamayim” but also min “haaretz”).

Translated excerpt from Nishmat HaMishna Pages – 89-90