Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Elul

The Need to be Vigilant Throughout the Month of Elul

The month of Elul is approaching. What is required of us in this month of awe? The Medrash (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer §46) states that on the first Rosh Chodesh Elul that the Jewish People were in the Wilderness, Moshe blew a Shofar, signifying to the Jewish People that they should be on guard when Moshe ascended upon high. This sounding of the Shofar would ensure that they would not succumb to the temptation of sinning through idolatry as they had a mere few months earlier. This Medrash reflects on the essence of Teshuva, repentance. The Jewish People had committed a grievous sin by worshipping the Golden Calf. Moshe entreated HaShem that He should not destroy the Jewish People and that He should grant them forgiveness. Yet, prior to ascending to Heaven to receive the second Luchos, Moshe still felt it necessary to warn the Jewish People not to sin again. Was Moshe really concerned that after experiencing severe repercussions upon worshipping the Golden Calf, the Jewish People would actually have the audacity to commit the same sin again?
Constant state of repentance
The answer to this question is that although there may not have been a serious concern that the Jewish People would sin again, Moshe sought to demonstrate to the Jewish people that one must always be cognizant of the possible temptations to sin. Teshuva is not merely a once a year obligation. Rather, one must constantly aware that the temptation to sin lurks just around the corner. In a similar vein, it is well known that Rabbeinu Saadia Gaon said that he felt the need to repent daily for his lack of recognition on the previous day of HaShem’s greatness. This form of repentance is also an indication of vigilance, in that one does not rest on his laurels. Rather, he constantly seeks to improve his relationship with HaShem.
The sounding of the Shofar reminds us to be vigilant
The sounding of the Shofar, in addition to arousing us to repentance, is also a signal of vigilance. It is said (Amos 3:6) im yitaka shofar bair viam lo yecheradu, is the shofar ever sounded in a city and the people not tremble? This refers to the initial arousal that one experiences with the sounding of the shofar. Yet, there is another dimension to the sounding of the shofar, and that is the cognizance of being vigilant from the attack of the Evil Inclination. It is said (Bamidbar 10:9) vichi savou milchama biartzichem al hatzar hatzoreir eschem vahareiosem bachatzotzros, when you go to wage war in your Land against an enemy who oppresses you, you shall sound short blasts of the trumpets. In the simple sense, the purpose of these trumpet blasts is to arouse the nation to battle against their enemies. On a deeper level, however, the Torah is teaching us that when one is vulnerable to the enemy, he must be vigilant so that the enemy cannot attack. Perhaps this is why the Torah states al hatzar hatzoreir eschem, against an enemy who oppresses you. It would have been sufficient to state against your enemy, as it is obvious that the enemy oppresses. The reason that the Torah states that the enemy “oppresses” alludes to the Evil Inclination, who is constantly seeking ways to destroy his opponent. When one is vigilant, he will not allow his Evil Inclination to gain a foothold in his territory. Evidence to this idea can be found in the words of the Lev Simcha (Ki Savo) who writes that when the Torah instructs a person regarding building a fence around his roof, it is said (Devarim 22:8) ki sivneh bayis chadash viasisa maakeh ligagecho, if you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof. The words a new house allude to Rosh HaShanah and the words you shall make a fence allude to the month of Elul. Thus, we see that the month of Elul is a time for one to be extra vigilant so that he does not become tempted by sin.


The Shabbos connection

HaShem, in His infinite kindness, granted His beloved children one day a week, and that is the Holy Shabbos, when we do not have to be concerned for the overtures of the Evil Inclination. On Shabbos we are engaged in spiritual pursuits, and sin should be the last thing that is on the mind of a Jew. HaShem should allow us to enter into the month of Elul with recognition of the seriousness and awe that these days entail, and we should merit repenting completely before HaShem, Who desires our repentance.
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.
דְּרוֹךְ פּוּרָה בְּתוֹךְ בָּצְרָה. וְגַם בָּבֶל אֲשֶׁר גָּבְרָה, tread the press in Bozrah, and also Babylon which overpowered. Why do we focus so much in our literature on the destruction of the nations? Is it not more important to focus on our strengths and triumphs than on the harm that nations of yore sought to inflict on us and on the retribution HaShem will mete out to the nations? The answer to this question is that in the Hagadah Shel Pesach we commence our narrative with how we suffered at the hands of our oppressors, Lavan and Pharaoh in Egypt. This is deemed to be the denigration of the Jewish People, and we conclude with praising HaShem for all that miracles that he wrought for us. We can only appreciate HaShem’s kindness by first mentioning the suffering that we have endured from the nations of the world. When we witness their punishment, we can truly praise HaShem for all the kindness that He has performed for us.
Shabbos Stories

Washing His Hands Saved His Life
Another mosquito to swat at! Would he have any ears left a month from now? Wondered Robert Burns. He never had enjoyed hot weather, even in Bayside, New York. And, he had to admit, his hometown couldn’t compete in this league. In all his young years he had never felt sweat and humidity like what he was currently feeling. From where he was squatting he was able to see only the thicket of trees and a glimpse of the sky. The clouds were sweeping in front of the full moon, temporarily blocking its beams. It didn’t matter; Viet Nam’s jungle wasn’t much to look at anyway, and you couldn’t spot the enemy by day or night until they opened fire. The real question just now was, should he do the traditional Jewish hand-washing or not? There was a stream about 800 feet away; he could get water there. Then again, the Vietcong weren’t far away either. Crawling even that far could cost him his life. As Robert weighed the options, he swatted another mosquito from his ear and wondered how he had ended up in such a bizarre situation. Until shortly before being drafted he had heard neither of Viet Nam nor of “netilat yadayim,” the traditional Jewish hand-washing. He thought back to Bayside and childhood. He had attended public school, and three times a week went for “Hebrew instruction.” The main purpose was simply to learn enough Hebrew to read his “half-Torah,” which he eventually learned from a venerable and rather friendly tape recorder… Graduation from Hebrew School followed his Bar Mitzvah and marked his abandonment of what little Judaism he had ever known. He never set foot in a synagogue again until his grandfather passed away. Then his father, by no means a religious man, suddenly started going to minyan every day. When Robby questioned his father about his sudden resurgence of interest in religion, his father replied, “I’m saying Kaddish for my father. His soul won’t get rest unless I say Kaddish every day for him.” Robert figured that his father would abandon this ritual after a week or two. To his astonishment he was mistaken. His father took the responsibility quite seriously, and made sure to go to synagogue every day, even if it conflicted with a football game on TV. A few times Robert accompanied his father; he sometimes slept late, and he was impressed that his father took on such consistency for 11 months.
In the fall of 1965 Robert left for college in Oneonta, New York. The student protests against American involvement in Viet Nam drew little interest from him. The summer following his graduation Robert was hit with another misfortune: his father’s sudden heart attack. Robert rushed from his job in the rope factory to the hospital. He could barely recognize his father with the tubes and wires all around him — he felt as though he was gazing at an octopus ensnared in a fisherman’s net. Looking down at his father, Robert knew the condition was serious. Resolutely he took a seat at his father’s right. “Dad. I’m here. Can you hear me?” Mustering the little strength left in his body, Mr. Burns responded in barely audible tones, “Bobby. Thank G-d you’re here.” The strain of talking seemed too much for him. Yet like so many times before, he persevered: “I want you to make one promise to me. You’re my only son. Say Kaddish for me if I don’t make it this time.” Through his tears, Robert said he hoped the occasion wouldn’t arise for many years to come. But he knew he could not refuse the request, and finally choked out, “I promise.” His father seemed suddenly at peace, and closed his eyes in easy sleep. Robert sat at his father’s bedside for about half an hour, watching the heartbeat on the monitors. The nurse entered: “I’m sorry, but visitor’s hours are over now.” Robert left Pine Meadow Hospital and returned to the rope factory. Unfortunately, his Kaddish duty took effect only a few days later. Robert felt the loss, and also remembered the promise he had made. Just as his father had, following the seven-day mourning period (shiva) he went to synagogue to say Kaddish. He found that the only synagogue in his neighborhood which had daily services was the local Orthodox synagogue, Ahavas Torah.
Robert’s Hebrew was like the buried vessels of the Holy Temple: existing somewhere, but not visible. Rabbi Jacobs immediately took a liking to the young man who struggled so hard with his Kaddish, and seemed so intent on keeping his father’s last wishes. During services the young man seemed lost, only catching himself when it came time for Kaddish. He even needed signals from Rabbi Jacobs to know when to start; the rabbi willingly gave them. “I hope it all went smoothly today,” said the rabbi. He was in his early forties, with streaks of gray in his light brown beard, which reached below his neck collar. It occurred to Robert that he didn’t even know what the Kaddish meant. Looking his elder companion in the eye, he asked what would be the first of many inquiries. “Can I ask you something?” “Certainly,” replied the Rabbi. “What does this prayer mean? I mean, why do we say anything for the dead?” “You asked a very good question. Kaddish represents your commitment to Judaism. By saying the Kaddish you connect with the Jewish people, and announce publicly your commitment to keep the 613 mitzvot. For the recently departed there can be no greater merit in Heaven.” “613 mitzvot? I didn’t know they had a number. Uh, I also didn’t realize there are so many.” “There are many more than just 613, the number only represents the main ones. You know, we could talk more later. Why don’t you come to the class that I’m giving tonight in Chumash?” “Chumash? What’s that?” asked Robert. “Bible.” Robert froze. He was starting to get interested, but that term, “Bible,” brought images to his mind of a televangelist begging his audience to send him money and repent their sins, in that order. He shrugged his shoulders, and mumbled “I’ll try to make it.”
Tuesday night came and went, but Robert never showed up for the class. Eventually Robert got to know Rabbi Jacobs well enough to know that he wasn’t a fanatic. It helped him get over his apprehension to discover that the term “Bible” is hardly ever used among Jews. He first attended a few of the rabbi’s classes, then began accepting Shabbat invitations. This was the year Uncle Sam began drafting by birth date, and Robert’s date, May 7th, was number 35. The top 196 birth dates meant almost guaranteed conscription. The expected notice arrived shortly thereafter, ordering him to report for a physical. Far from wanting to flee the inevitable, Robert was proud to serve the USA. He felt that the country could use a dose of patriotism. Shortly following his 11 months of Kaddish, Robert knocked on Rabbi Jacobs’ door. “Rabbi, I just came to say goodbye. It looks like they’ll be shipping me to South Carolina soon for basic training. It’s going to be real hard for me to keep any of the 613 mitzvot. So tell me, Rabbi — pick one for me. Which one of the mitzvot should I keep no matter what?” The rabbi thought for a while. Who could answer such a question? Too difficult an assignment would end in failure. Shabbat? Kashrut? Tefillin? Robert clearly wasn’t ready to tackle these. Suddenly the Rabbi’s face lit up. “Robert, I have just the right one. Make sure you do “netilat yadayim,” the traditional hand-washing every time you eat bread — even if you don’t say the blessings over the food, even if you don’t say the Grace after Meals, and even if the bread is not kosher.” “Netilat yadayim?” “Yes. It’s a mitzvah that won’t put undue pressure on you, since nobody will think twice about your washing your hands before eating. Keep that one mitzvah as well as you can, and remember, any mitzvah will protect you even in the direst circumstances. Best of luck to you, and write me when you get the chance.”
During basic training, and even when he was shipped out to the base in Viet Nam, Robert had little difficulty in performing this mitzvah. Nobody noticed anything strange about his desire to wash his hands before eating bread. But finally, about six months after being stationed in the jungles of Southeast Asia, the first real difficulty developed. The platoon was sent for a late-night raid on the fringes of the enemy lines. It wasn’t long before the shooting began, and it soon developed into a full-scale battle. A few of his comrades had dropped and the remainder of the unit was trapped behind enemy lines. After a few hours’ lapse in the fighting, some of the soldiers recalled their hunger. In fact, they hadn’t eaten for the major part of the day. They began to take out their combat rations of oranges, sardines, and bread. Robby was about to join a few of his colleagues when he remembered “netilat yadayim.” He quickly and quietly broke from the camp, his destination a small stream he had seen about 800 feet away. It didn’t matter that this excursion was insanely dangerous; no argument could convince Robert to abandon it. He had promised the rabbi, and it was in memory of his father, too. That was that. He slipped, silent and alone, toward the stream. Traversing the ground like a snake slithering through the forest, Robert quickly reached his destination. He poured water over his hands, delighted that even in this combat situation he was able to keep his mitzvah.
It was just after he finished pouring the cup of water over his other hand when he heard the gunfire. Rapid-fire machine guns, piercing the stillness of the jungle in a long barrage of thunderous noise. For what seemed to him hours, Robert remained hidden in the grass, long after the last sounds of the bullets had faded. Mustering up his strength, he slowly slithered back to his unit to find not one of them alive.
Shabbos in Halacha

הכנה – Preparing for a Weekday


One is prohibited on Shabbos to engage in any post-Shabbos preparation. This prohibition, referred to as הכנה, preparing, was instituted by the sages because it is a זלזול בכבוד השבת, a disparagement to the honor of Shabbos – to utilize this Holy Day in preparation for a weekday. Thus, one cannot perform in preparation for Mo’tzai Shabbos even seemingly ordinary activities that do not involve melacha and are perfectly permissible when performed for the purpose of Shabbos.

As an example, one is prohibited on Shabbos from preparing foods or setting the table for a Melave Malka. Similarly, when Yom Tov falls on Mo’tzai Shabbos, one is prohibited from preparing for the evening Seudah until Shabbos ends.

What Are You Talking About And What Is On Your Mind

משיח (Moshiach), when broken into two words as they sound, spells מה שיח (What are you talking about?). It’s crucial that our discussion should be about Moshiach.

We find this in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 98a), Once, Rabbi Joshua met Moshiach and asked him: `When are you going to come?’ Moshiach replied: `Today!’ Rabbi Joshua then met Eliyahu, who asked him: `What did he (Moshiach) tell you?’ Said Rabbi Joshua: `He lied to me, for he told me that he is coming today, but he didn’t come!’ Said Eliyahu: `He didn’t lie, but this is what he really meant: He will come “Today, if you hearken to the voice of G-d.”

Rabbi Joshua only was interested to know when Moshiach was coming so he found out where to find him and asked him when he is coming.

Not only must we discuss his whereabouts but also await him as the Rambam says waiting for Moshiach, anticipating his coming, is not simply a virtue but a religious obligation. Rambam thus rules that whoever does not believe in and whoever does not await (eagerly looking forward to) the coming of Moshiach, in effect denies the whole Torah, all the prophets beginning with Moses. In the popular formulation of his thirteen Principles of the Faith (the hymn of Ani Ma’amin) this is put as follows:

“I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach. Though he tarry, nonetheless I await him every day, that he will come.”

We know it is the fourth question asked to us when we enter heaven as it says, “Did you anxiously anticipate the redemption?” (Shabbos 31a).

It could be the fourth question representing the last time-period of the 6,000 year (Sanhedrin 97a) cycle of the world.

Lekavod Rosh Hashanah – 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).

Our Darkness Is G-d’s Light

We end the evening with the Bracha of Hamapil. The last sentence is, “Blessed is G-d ……who lights the world with his honor.” A contradiction seems to present itself as we are entering a time of sleep and darkness, an occurrence the Talmud refers to as one-sixtieth death, yet we Bless the creator who lights up the world. It can be suggested that there is no darkness in G-d’s world, only “we” live in darkness due to our base human experience.

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).