Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Shabbos And Chanukah

Shabbos and Chanukah: Extending Miracles into Nature


In this week’s parashah it is said (Bereishis 37:1) vayeishev Yaakov bieretz migurei aviv bieretz Canaan eileh toldos Yaakov Yosef, Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan. These are the chronicles of Yaakov: Yosef…. Rashi cites the Medrash that states that Yaakov sought to dwell in peace and the agitation of Yosef sprung upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility, and HaShem says, “is it not enough for the righteous what is prepared for them in the World to Come and they still seek to dwell in tranquility in this world?”

The righteous are not connected to this world

The Sfas Emes (5632) writes that the entire separation of a righteous person is to draw holiness into this world and into nature. Prior to drawing the holiness into this world the righteous person must perfect himself to the level that he himself is not connected to this world. This, then, is the meaning of the words of the Medrash that the righteous seek to dwell in tranquility. When the righteous are attached to their roots and are totally disconnected to a place of separation, i.e., this world, only then can they seek to dwell in tranquility in this world also. Yaakov was above nature, and because of his dissociation from this world, he was not able to draw holiness into this world. The only way for Yaakov to draw holiness into this world was through Yosef HaTzaddik. This is the reason that after deriving from the first verse that Yaakov sought to dwell in tranquility in this world, the Torah states eileh toldos Yaakov Yosef, these are the chronicles of Yaakov: Yosef…. It was through Yosef that Yaakov was able to channel the holiness to the brothers and to all the worlds. It is for this reason that Rashi writes (Bereishis 30:25) that Yaakov was prepared to depart from Lavan once Yosef was born. Yaakov is compared to fire, Yosef is compared to the flame and Esav is likened to the straw that is consumed by the fire. Fire by itself does not travel far. The flame, however, allows the fire to consume even matter that is far away. Similarly, once Yosef was born, Yaakov felt confident enough to return to his father. The Sfas Emes explains that the nature of fire is to ignite anything in its proximity and it is for this reason that the fire requires the flame which extends the fire’s ability to consume.

Yaakov was above nature and Yosef was more connected to his brothers than Yaakov

It is said that Yaakov loved Yosef more than all the brothers. Yosef was able to elevate the good deeds of the brothers to Yaakov, because Yosef was more connected to the brothers than Yaakov. The reason for this is because Yaakov was above nature. Based on this idea, the meaning of vayeishev Yaakov is that Yaakov was connected to his roots, which is the idea of repentance and Shabbos, when everything ascends to its roots above.

Chanukah teaches to reveal the miracles into the realm of nature

We can extend this amazing idea of the Sfas Emes even further. The miracle of Chanukah was that the Chashmonaim found oil that was sufficient for the lighting of the Menorah for one night, and HaShem made a miracle and the oil burned for eight nights. The Sfas Emes (Chanukah 5631 Third Night) writes that the idea that we express in the passage of al Hanisim that Chanukah is a time lehodos ulihallel, to thank and give praise, corresponds to Yehudah and Yosef. The Sfas Emes explains this idea in various places and I would like to suggest a novel interpretation to this idea. The words Hallel and hodaah appear to be similar. Yet, we know that every word in Scripture and in rabbinic literature is used for a specific reason. Hallel is similar to mallel, speech, and hodaah means to give thanks. Yehudah reflected the idea that one must thank HaShem for miracles, as we find that Leah named her son Yehudah because she received more than her share of sons being born. Yosef, however, symbolizes the idea that one must constantly be seeking ways to praise HaShem, even when things are not going well and one feels that there are no miracles occurring. We know that even what is referred to as nature is essentially a miracle, and it was Yosef who brought out this idea. Regarding the first dream that Yosef had, it is said (Bereishis 37:7) vihinei anachnu mialmim alumim bisoch hasadeh vihinei kamah alumasi vigam nitzavah vihinei sisubenah alumoseichem vatishtachavenah laalumasi, “behold! – we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field, when, behold! – my sheaf arose and also remained standing; then behold! – your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” This verse alludes to the idea that while the brothers were gathering their bundles in the field, Yosef would reveal that even nature, reflected in the growth of grain, is a miracle. It is for this reason that the Torah states that Yosef’s bundle arose and remained standing, as we find that the word used for miracle, nes, also is used for something held high, as it is said (Bamidbar 21:8) visim oso al nes, and place it on a pole. Thus, Yosef reflects the idea that nature itself can be extended into the realm of miracle, as nature is also a miracle.

The Shabbos connection

The entire week we live, in a sense, under the guise of nature, as we work to earn a livelihood and all our successes and failures appear to be the result of our efforts. When Shabbos arrives we discover that even the natural order of events is essentially miracles, as Shabbos provides all the blessing of the week. It is noteworthy that Yaakov reflects Shabbos and Yosef reflects the idea of Tosefes Shabbos, adding on to Shabbos. By bringing Shabbos into the week we declare that all our natural efforts are facilitated by the light of the Holy Shabbos. Thus, Shabbos is akin to a pole standing high as one can see clearly that Shabbos is the source of all our blessings. HaShem should allow us to observe the Shabbos properly and we should witness miracles with the arrival of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

מָרוֹם נֶאְדָּר בְּכֹחַ וּגְבוּרָה. מוֹצִיא אוֹרָה מֵאֵין תְּמוּרָה, the lofty One adorned with strength and power, He draws forth light from the unequalled Torah. This passage implies that HaShem draws forth light from the Torah, which is puzzling, as one would think that the Torah, so to speak, draws its light from HaShem. Yet, the answer to this question is that the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 1:1) states that HaShem looked into the Torah and created the world, so in essence, Hashem draws the light of the world from the Torah.

Shabbos Stories

This is my baby!

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: A man once approached my grandfather, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky, of blessed memory, quite distraught.

“I know this may not sound like a major problem,” he began, “but my 17- year-old daughter is very upset with me. It has come to a point that she hardly talks to me. It began a few nights ago. My wife and I were with a number of old friends at a wedding when my daughter walked by. I introduced her to them by saying, ‘his is my baby.’

“I could see that at the moment she became very upset. Moments later she pulled me to aside and was crying. ‘You still think I’m a baby!’ she sobbed. ‘I am almost eighteen already, and all you do is call me your baby! Won’t I ever be a grown-up in your eyes?’ Ever since then she doesn’t want to talk to me.”

The man shrugged as he pleaded with the sage. “I really don’t want to make this into a major issue, but I’m not sure how to resolve this. Perhaps the Rosh Yeshiva can guide me.”

Reb Yaakov put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “You live in Flatbush, don’t you?”

At the time Reb Yaakov was staying at his youngest son, Reb Avraham’s home, and he invited the man to visit him there together with his daughter. He assured him that he would not discuss the incident but was confident that by the time the visit was over the matter would be resolved.”

The next day the man and his daughter visited Reb Yaakov at Reb Avraham’s home. Reb Yaakov invited the man and his daughter into the dining room where they discussed a variety of issues from school work to life in pre- war Europe, everything but the incident at the wedding.

About 10 minutes into the conversation, my uncle, Reb Avraham, came down the stairs. Reb Yaakov looked over to him and invited him to join the conversation. But first he introduced Reb Avraham to his guests.

“This is my baby!” exclaimed the revered sage as he gave a warm hug to his 55-year-old son. (www.Torah.org)

Dr. Henry Heimlich: Saving Lives, Saving Worlds

The maneuver of Dr. Heimlich, who recently passed away at age 96, wasn’t his great contribution to saving lives.

by Menucha Chana Levin

Dr. Henry Heimlich, inventor of the famous Heimlich maneuver, was once described as “the man who saved the lives of more human beings than any other person.”

Henry Heimlich, born into a working-class Bronx Jewish family, struggled through the Depression.

Heimlich first saved a life at age 20 while returning to New York after working as a summer camp counselor in Massachusetts. The train derailed, pinning a fireman underneath one of the cars in a swamp. Heimlich held the man’s head above water for an hour until help arrived.

He joined Navy ROTC in medical school and, after being inducted in 1944, was sent on a top-secret mission to the Gobi Desert. The plan was to establish a medical camp that would later treat injured American soldiers during the expected invasion of Japan.

Meanwhile, in his spare time, Heimlich began treating the local Chinese farmers. At first they were suspicious, but when he cured a young girl of a huge stomach abscess, the camp suddenly found itself facing a line of Chinese peasants at its door each morning seeking treatment for various ailments. Heimlich soon recognized a local epidemic of trachoma, an eye infection that eventually causes blindness. He cured it by pulverizing a recently developed antibiotic and mixing it with shaving cream.

When he returned to the U.S. after the war, Heimlich had difficulty finding a position. Doctors who had not been in the military had already built large practices.

Finally landing an internship with a thoracic surgeon, Heimlich began to take interest in patients whose esophagus had been damaged by drinking household lye. This was unfortunately a common accident before child-proof bottles. He developed a procedure in which a strip of the lower stomach was used to construct a new esophagus so these people could eat normally again.

Ironically, Heimlich’s greatest contribution to life-saving was not the renowned Heimlich maneuver. He was curious about the complex hospital equipment needed to drain the fluid from injured chests to prevent a potentially fatal lung collapse. The old method involved an electrically powered suction machine that presented problems moving it from room to room. Heimlich, observing that chest injuries drain naturally, wondered if a type of valve could prevent the deadly backflow.

He bought a flutter valve – a flexible “Bronx cheer” rubber tube – in a five-and-dime store and attached it to a hypodermic inserted into the chest of a patient. Then he kept vigil at the patient’s bedside for two nights. The device worked successfully and in 1965 the Army ordered thousands. The Heimlich Valve became standard equipment in every soldier’s pack in Vietnam, saving thousands of lives. When Dr. Heimlich visited Vietnam 24 years later he was astounded to find that his name was familiar there. The Quakers had supplied Heimlich Valves to North Vietnam, saving thousands lives there too. Heimlich felt that was the one of the most emotional experiences of his life.

In the early 1970’s, he was disturbed to learn that nearly 4,000 Americans die each year from choking on food or small objects. He researched ways to use diaphragmatic pressure to save victims of choking. In 1974, he developed a method that allowed air trapped in the lungs to be used to expel the object from the victim’s airway. This method would be called the Heimlich Maneuver. Simple and easy to perform, the Maneuver has saved countless lives around the world including President Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale, New York Mayor Ed Koch, and news anchorman John Chancellor. It is estimated that his famous Heimlich maneuver saves one choking victim in the United States each week.

Heimlich, who demonstrated the “Heimlich Maneuver” numerous times over the years, had never personally used it in an emergency situation. Not until a week ago.

The 96-year-old Heimlich was sitting at a communal dining table at Cincinnati’s Deupree House, an upscale senior living center where he has lived for the past six years.

Then he noticed fellow resident, Patty Ris, 87, was choking while eating a hamburger.

Immediately Heimlich jumped up, put his arms around her and pressed on her abdomen below the rib cage, as per his own instructions displayed on posters in most American restaurants.

Commented Dr. Heimlich afterwards: “I sort of felt wonderful about it.

After three compressions, this piece of meat came out, and she just started breathing, her whole face changed. I just felt a satisfaction.”

Ris said she randomly selected the seat in the dining room on Monday because she is a new resident at Deupree.

“When I wrote my ‘thank you’ note to him for saving my life, I said, ‘God put me in that seat next to you, Dr. Heimlich, because I was gone, I couldn’t breathe at all,’” stated Ris gratefully.

As Dr. Heimlich explains in his biography:

“My interest in saving lives goes beyond simply being fascinated with science. As my parents taught me from a young age, we each have an obligation to give back, to help others in whatever way we can. True happiness comes from giving of oneself.”

Judaism believes that, “He who saves a life saves an entire world.” In that case, Dr. Heimlich has been saving countless worlds throughout his lifetime. (www.aish.com)

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

Activities Affected by this Prohibition

Cleaning a Stained Tablecloth

Tablecloths that are made of absorbent fibers, i.e. linen, may not be moistened at all, for wetting them is, by itself, a form of laundering.

Plastic and vinyl tablecloths may be wet and rubbed lightly to loosen dirt, but not scrubbed forcefully even with one’s hand. One must also avoid wetting any trimming made of absorbent fibers.

Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Lech Lecha

No Evil on Shabbos


In this week’s parashah the Torah records a dispute between Avraham and his nephew Lot. Avraham discovers that Lot is allowing his shepherds to graze the sheep in other people’s property. It is said (Bereishis 13:8-9) vayomer Avram el Lot al na sehi mirivah baini uveinceho uvein roay uvein roecha ki anashim achim anachnu, halo chol haaretz lefeonecho hipared na maalay im hasemol vaiminah veim hayamin viasmeilah. So Avram said to Lot; “Please let there be no strife between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not all the land before you? Please separate from me; If you go left then I will go right, and if you go right then I will go left.” The commentators wonder what happened to Lot, who at the time that Avraham set out on his journey, was righteous. How could Lot have turned sour so suddenly? The standard answer to this puzzle is that Lot was blinded by the wealth that he gained in Egypt. Once a person becomes wealthy, his worldview changes, and Lot was no different. What is interesting is that Avraham chose to abandon Lot at this juncture. Although no one seeks strife, it is difficult to understand why Avraham did not attempt to reconcile his differences with Lot regarding the grazing of the sheep. The Torah merely states that immediately subsequent to the quarrel, Avraham requested from Lot that he depart from his midst. It would seem that Avraham felt that until now Lot was dependent on him, whereas now, with his newly acquired wealth, Lot would be able to fend for himself. This being the case, Avraham decided that he could no longer tolerate Lot’s presence. This idea is reflected in the words of the Ramban (Shemos 19:1), who writes that it is likely that HaShem only gave the Torah to the Jewish People and the Erev Rav (the rabble that left Egypt-see Rashi to Shemos 12:38) were separated from the Jewish People. This teaches us that when the righteous are on a mission, they must separate themselves from evil.

The Shabbos Connection

Similarly, in the prayer of Kegavna that is recited Friday night by those who pray Nusach Sefard, it is said: when the Shabbos arrives, she unifies Herself in Oneness and divests herself of the Other Side (any trace of impurity); all harsh judgments are removed from her, and she remains alone with the Oneness of the holy light… All wrathful dominions and bearers of grievance flee together-and there is no power but she in all the worlds. Despite the fact that during the week we may encounter people and ideologies that bespeak evil, on the Holy Shabbos there is no place for evil. Given the fact that we have just emerged refreshed and purified from the Yomim Noraim, the Days of Awe, and the great joy of Sukkos and Simchas Torah, it is worth taking stock of how we honor the Shabbos. I once heard a Rav say that we are prohibited from bringing into the Sukkah utensils that will violate the sanctity of the Sukkah. Yet, are we as particular as to what we allow into our homes?! The same principle should apply with regard to the Holy Shabbos. We welcome the Shabbos by declaring that HaShem is our King and that Shabbos is the source of all blessing. In order to be true recipients of that blessing, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we do not engage in mundane talk on Shabbos and that we are preoccupied with prayer, Torah study and offering songs and praises to HaShem. In this manner we will surely merit to honor and delight in the wonderful gift of Shabbos that HaShem bestowed only upon His Chosen People, and then we will merit the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and a place in the World to Come, which will be a day that will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

בְּרֵאשִׁית תּוֹרָתְךָ הַקְּדוּמָה. רְשׁוּמָה חָכְמָתְךָ הַסְּתוּמָה, in the beginning there was Your preexisting Torah, inscribed with Your mysterious wisdom. While we acknowledge that HaShem’s wisdom is a mystery, we must be also cognizant of the fact that HaShem has granted His Beloved Nation the ability to plumb the depths of the Holy Torah. Indeed, Dovid HaMelech prayed (Tehillim 119:18) גַּל עֵינַי וְאַבִּיטָה נִפְלָאוֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶךָ, unveil my eyes that I may perceive wonders from Your Torah.

Shabbos Stories

Shabbos Food from Heaven!

There was once a salesman from Deal, New Jersey, whose business required him to travel around the country for several weeks at a time. He was an observant Jew, and he always tried to schedule his trips around stops for the Sabbath in places where kosher food was more readily available. This way he could stock up for the coming week. One of his usual stops for Shabbos was in Memphis, Tennessee. On one of his trips to Birmingham, Alabama, he contacted the president of a company which he was hoping to get an account with. His attempts in the previous years had been unsuccessful. However, this particular year he was pleasantly surprised. The president wanted to meet with him, and he made an appointment for that day. Unfortunately, the president was in a meeting which took longer than he had expected, and the salesman was told to return the next morning, which was Friday. The same scene repeated itself the next morning, and the salesman needed to get to Memphis, pick up his food, and check into his hotel before sundown. He burst into the president’s office and told him it was now or never. He received a small order, and left. He made it to Memphis too late to get his food, but he decided to at least spend the Sabbath in the better hotel across the street. Embittered by the “mess” he had gotten himself into he took a room and began to unpack. To his utter disbelief, he found in the closet of room a certified kosher meal enough to serve ten people. He even found wine! He could not imagine where it came from, but it had obviously been abandoned. He thanked G-d for the wonderful gift and enjoyed the Sabbath. Some weeks later he was back home with some friends, and he overheard them speaking about their trip to Memphis, and how it had been cut short by a health problem. “What ever happened to all that food we brought in?” one of them said. The salesman interrupted. “I know what happened to it.” All eyes were now on him. “I ate it.” [The story is taken from the book Visions of Greatness, by Rabbi Yosef Weiss.]

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

Activities Affected by These Prohibitions 

Cleaning a Wet Surface

One may clean an area that is slightly wet with a dry rag. On the other hand, one may not clean an extremely wet area with a dry rag, as the water will saturate the rag and will, in turn, be squeezed out.

One must use discretion in this matter, as that amount of water needed to saturate varies from item to item. Therefore, one should not wipe or scrub a wet surface unless one is certain that no sechita will occur.

Note: One may never use a sponge on Shabbos, as mentioned earlier. In addition, we will see later that sponges are deemed to be muktza.

Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Noach And Shabbos


This week the Torah discusses Noach, a person who is depicted as a righteous person and who is saved from the Great Flood that destroyed the populated world. Noach appears to be a mystery, however, as the commentators and even the Medrash struggle to understand what it was about Noach that he merited salivation. One Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 29:1) even goes so far to say that Noach himself should have been destroyed, but he found favor in HaShem’s eyes and thus he was saved.


Why does the Torah elaborate on the sins of the Generation of the Flood?

Let us understand what occurred in the Generation of Noach and then we can begin to gain an appreciation for Noach’s salvation. The Medrash and the Gemara tell us that the Generation of the Flood was corrupt and immoral. Yet, we know that the Torah does not enumerate the sins of mankind just for the sake of running a daily blotter. The Torah is coming to teach us how to act, so what lesson is there for us to learn from the behavior of that generation?

Answer part 1:

Rashi in Devarim offers us a brand-new perspective on the behavior of the Generation of the Flood.

There is an interesting Rashi that may pass under the radar screen regarding Noach and the people of his generation but it would seem that within this Rashi is the key to the whole puzzle. In the parasha of shema that we read twice daily, it is said (Devarim 11:16-17) hishamru lachem pen yifteh livavchem visartem vaavaditem elohim acheirim vihishtachavisem lahem vicharah af HaShem bachem viatzar es hashamayim vilo yihyeh matar vihaadama lo sitein es yevulah vaavaditem miheira meial haaretz hatovah asher HaShem nosein lachem, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and prostrate yourselves to them. Then the wrath of HaShem will blaze against you; He will restrain the heaven so there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its produce; and you will be swiftly banished from the goodly Land that HaShem gives you.

Rashi comments that from the fact that the Torah states that the Jewish People will be swiftly banished, we learn that HaShem will not tolerate the iniquity of the people. Why, then, did HaShem tolerate the misdeeds of the Generation of the Flood for one hundred and twenty years? Rashi answers that the Generation of the Flood did not have who to learn from, whereas the Jewish People had who to learn from.

Answer part 2

Two questions on Rashi in Devarim

This Rashi should strike us as puzzling. First, what does it mean that the Generation of the Flood did not have who to learn from? Were those people created wicked and without any conscience that we could say that they were helpless? Furthermore, Rashi tells us in this week’s parasha that HaShem instructed Noach to build the Ark for one hundred and twenty years so they should see him building it. When they would ask Noach regarding the purpose of the Ark, Noach would respond that HaShem was bringing a flood to the world and they should repent. How can it be said that they did not have who to learn from?

Answer part 3

Hashem only made a pact with the Jewish People.

The answer to this question is that although he Generation of the Flood could have learned from Noach how to serve HaShem, it would have been futile, because HaShem did not make a pact with that generation. In fact, it is noteworthy that it was specifically with Noach that HaShem made several pacts to ensure his survival. Regarding the Jewish People, however, HaShem had promised the Patriarchs that He would give them the Land of Israel, but this pact was conditional on the Jewish People observing the Torah. Were the Jewish People to violate this agreement, they would immediately be banished from the Land.

Answer part 4

Noach was only deserving of a pact for himself and not for his generation.

Rashi points out in the beginning of the parashah several contrasts between Noach and Avraham. One difference between them is that Noach needed HaShem to help him spiritually whereas Avraham was able to walk by himself. One must wonder, though, why there is a need to contrast Noach with Avraham. It would seem that the contrast is teaching us something regarding the reason that HaShem only saved Noach and not his generation. The explanation for this is that while Noach was seeking spiritual growth, he did not demonstrate a great concern for his generations or even for future generations. This idea is highlighted by the fact that the Torah states that he was a righteous and perfect man in his generations, i.e. he only was concerned for himself and not is generation or for future generations. Avraham, however, walked ahead, i.e. he was looking for the future of his generation. It was for this reason that Avraham prayed that Sodom and Amorah not be destroyed, as Avraham presumed that there would be some potential for good that would arise from the inhabitants of those cities. Hashem saw that Avraham was concerned for the people of his own generation and future generations, and HaShem specifically made a pact with Avraham, referred to as The Pact of the Parts.

Summary of answer

We have seen that Noach perfected himself but in a sense he abandoned his generation and future generations. Hashem will save a righteous person for his own merits, but the generation could not possibly be saved, as they did not have who to learn from. They could have watched Noach build the Ark and then reflect upon their misdeeds, but they could not learn from Noach how to save others. Although this may sound strange, the truth is that every person has a societal pull, and unless he sees people who are attempting to help others, it will be very difficult to help himself. Avraham, however, maintained that one has to be concerned about others, both in the present and in the future. It was for this reason that HaShem made a pact with Avraham only.

The Shabbos connection

What does Noach have to do with Shabbos? The Zohar states that Noach is in the category of Shabbos. In a simple sense this means that the word Noach means menuchah, rest, and Shabbos also means rest. On a deeper level, however, perhaps the association between Noach and Shabbos is that Shabbos is a part from the rest of the week. One must always seek to reach out to others, but at the same time one has to be careful not to be influenced by other’s misdeeds. In this regard Noach is compared to Shabbos, as it is logical to suppose that Noach did not wish to be influenced by their corruption and immorality. HaShem should allow us to reach out to our fellow Jews and to observe the Shabbos in a state of holiness and purity.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Kel Mistater

This mystical Zemer was composed by Avraham Maimin, whose name with the addition of chazak, is formed by the acrostic. Avraham was a student of Rabbi Moshe Kordevero, a member of the Kabbalistic school of the Arizal, and he lived from 5282-5330 (1522-1570 C.E.)

עִלַּת הָעִלּוֹת מוּכְתַּר בְּכֶתֶר עֶלְיוֹן. כֶּתֶר יִתְּנוּ לְךָ יְ-ה-ֹו-ָה, Primary Cause, crowned with the most exalted crown – they give You a crown, O HaShem. We can interpret this passage in the following manner. The Maharal writes that the reason we pray is so that we show our dependence on HaShem. When we pray, writes the Baal HaTurim (Devarim 26:19) we are crowning HaShem, and in the future HaShem will return those crowns to us. Thus, HaShem, Who is the Primary Cause and we are dependent on Him, is crowned with the most exalted crown, the crown that we give Him when we pray.

Shabbos Stories

Belief in HaShem

Rabbi Shimshon Sherer, Rav of Congregation Kehillas Zichron Mordechai, tells the following story. In a small town there was a severe drought. The community synagogues each prayed separately for rain, but to no avail. The tears and prayers failed to unlock the sealed heavens, and for months, no rains came. Finally, the town’s eldest sage held a meeting with prominent community rabbis and lay leaders. “There are two items lacking in our approach, faith and unity. Each one of you must impress upon his congregation the need to believe. If we are united and sincere, our prayers will be answered!” He declared that all the synagogues in the city would join together for a day of tefillah. Everyone, men women and children would join together for this event. “I assure you,” he exclaimed, “that if we meet both criteria – faith and unity – no one will leave that prayer service without getting drenched!”

There was no shul large enough to contain the entire community so the date was set to gather and daven in a field! For the next few weeks all the rabbis spoke about bitachon and achdus (faith and unity). On the designated day the entire town gathered in a large field whose crops had long withered from the severe drought. Men, women, and children all gathered and anxiously awaited the old sage to begin the service. The elderly rabbi walked up to the podium. His eyes scanned the tremendous crowd that filled the large field and then they dimmed in dismay. The rabbi began shaking his head in dissatisfaction. “This will never work,” he moaned dejectedly. “The rain will not come.” Slowly he left the podium. The other rabbis on the dais were shocked.

“But rebbe everyone is here and they are all united! Surely they must believe that the rains will fall! Otherwise no one would have bothered to come on a working day!” The rabbi shook his head slowly and sadly. “No. They don’t really believe,” he stated. “I scanned the entire crowd. Nobody even brought a raincoat.” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

Wringing and Laundering

Activities Affected by These Prohibitions

 Cleaning a Dirty Surface

One is prohibited to rub a dirty surface with a wet rag (or any other wet material) because, while cleaning, water will be squeezed from the rag. However, one may use a damp rag from which the water cannot be wrung.