Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 121

Friday, March 7 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 00:12:38 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: chovat kriat hatorah

On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 11:58:51AM -0500, Brown, Charles.F wrote:
: Inyana d'yoma of mes. Megilla. The Ba'al HaMaor writes that the machlokes
: on daf 5 as to whether mikra megilla needs 10 people is m'din pirsumei
: nissa, but the din of keriya can be fufilled b'yachid acc to all...

I'm confused. There's a din of qeri'as megillah that is NOT pirsumei
nisah? I thought that megillah was a matbei'ah for qiyum of the
de'oraisah of lefarseim.

Can someone please bring a maqor for this tzvei dinim?


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 23:59:50 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Re: rambam yisachar zevulun

On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 04:46:31PM -0500, David Riceman wrote:
:> My training was to read the words of the rambam
:> in every specific halacha independently rather than take the rambam out
:> of context.

: Reading each halacha independently is taking the halacha out of context.
: That's precisely what the phrase "out of context" means...

There are two context necessary for understanding a halachah in the Yad:
the context of the text in the sefer, and the context from which the
text was derived.

RMGofman was saying that the latter was how he was trained to see the
Rambam. After all, each halachah tends to be a quote or paraphrase of
his maqor. And when it's a paraphrase, R' Chaim can go to town on the
differences... I think this is how yeshivos teach us to focus on a

Yes, it's important to step back and see the context in the sefer
too. You make an important point.

: That it can not do so directly is from H. Yesodei haTorah. Here's my
: translation of selections from H. Yesodei HaTorah 4:8-9:

: The soul of any creature is the form which God gave it. The form
: of a person of fully developed intellect is the additional knowledge
: found in the soul of man.... This is often called nefesh or ruach....
: This form/soul is not composed of the elements ... nor is it a function
: of breath ... instead it comes from God. THEREFORE (my emphasis)
: when the body decays and the breath breath ceases ... this form is not
: destroyed ... instead it knows disembodied intellects and the Creator,
: and it survives forever.

: In summary what this says is that the human soul is precisely his
: knowledge, and what survives death is knowledge of forms not bound
: to substance.

I would agree except for one point: The Rambam seems to say that knowledge
is form. This is the yichud hayodei'ah vehayadu'ah. The knowledge of X
has elements of X's form.

There is a parallel in modern information theory. Information is bits of
data, regardless of whether those bits are recorded as the edges of holes
in a CD, patterns of filings on a floppy, current in a telecom wire,
or black and white balls in a row. Information is form, regardless of
implementing substance.

That is not to say information is necessarily yedi'ah. I'm not arguing
for artificial intelligence -- that manipulating bits is necessarily
sufficient for manipulating ideas.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 00:04:46 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mah Tovu

On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 05:31:37PM -0500, MPoppers@kayescholer.com wrote:
: In Avodah V10 #118, GStudent quoted RWolpoe:
: > Mah Tovu is what we say when we enter a shul. Should we say this if
: > we are davening outside of a shul? The Artscroll Mourning Siddur has
: > it even though it is meant for a shiva house.

: I don't think that a bais avail qualifies as a mini-Bais Hamiqdosh.

Given chazal's peshat on the pasuq, as quoted by Rashi, why does the
pasuq need a BhM me'at? After all, the tzeni'us of how the "common"
home was aligned is also included in the praise of "tovu"!

:                                             ...which brings a different
: question to mind: can one say "Mah Tovu" (or, to consider another example,
: "boruch ata b'vo-echa..." when passing by the entrance/exit of one's
: home or someone else's home) before saying the b'rachos of "la'asok"
: through "asher bochar bonu"? ...

R' Dovid Lifshitz told me to say birkhas haTorah first thing in the
morning, despite modern custom. Pas nisht that you'd get as far as shul
without hirhurei Torah. And while hirhurei Torah don't obligate one in
the berakhah, it's still preferable to be mevariekh first. And, as R'
Dovid noted, if r"l one falls out of the habit of having such thoughts,
at least one ought remember one is supposed to!

That said, how many people say "Torah tzivah lanu Moshe..." before
those berakhos? Does the fact that there is a 2nd chiyuv, a matbei'ah
tefillah -- which is therefore derabbanan -- not make it also a qiyum
of limud TSBK?


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 13:27:08 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@fandz.com>
Re: shalach manos

On 3 Mar 2003 at 20:14, S Goldstein wrote:
>> The item in question is this. I was told that the mishloah manot
>> must consist of at least two different berakhot!
> ...
>> What is the source for this????

> Since it is so common, though not codified, maybe it is based on
> shitas/girsas Rashi Megilla 7a Rabbi Yehuda Nesia sent Rabbi Oshiya
> meat AND wine to fulfill the mitzva of mishloach manos.

I don't have a makor but I know that there is a shita that says that the
whole idea of Mishloach Manos is to send someone a MEAL that they can
eat on Purim. That would presumably include foods which have more than
one bracha. I was discussing this with a couple of chaverim last night
(one who is subscribed to this list and one who is not) but they didn't
know a makor either.

My old chavrusa in Passaic used to bring me a full meal every year in
the middle of the Purim Seudah. If any of the Passaic people know who
that is (or want to drop me a note so that I will tell you), maybe you
can ask him if he has a makor.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

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Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 19:56:02 -0500
From: "sba@iprimus.com.au" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
Shoshanas Yakov

On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 10:11:16AM -0500, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote: 
: LAD, the reference to a shoshana ..Yahad is because there are two ways 
: a people can be constituted. 

I don't know if this has already been mentioned. 
One of the meforshim says the reason for using 'shoshanas' was to also
be meramez on Shishan habiroh..


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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 12:06:17 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>

Micha writes
> There are many questions where one is pasqening for gantz klal 
> Yisrael until the end of time. Such as in mamzeirus cases. It is 
> therefore quantitatively and perhaps even qualitatively different 
> than an eiruv question. And would need a poseiq who is a maran dekhol 
> Yisra'el, not just the mara de'asra. Assuming you could find such a 
> poseiq...

> What I mean is: I have no idea what to do.
> Best we can do is find a poseiq that nearly all observant Jews would
> respect, and hope.

Does this mean that a childless couple should not use IVF because 
RSYE prohibits it even though most poskim do allow it?

Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 06/03/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 12:22:18 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: mamzer

On Thu, Mar 06, 2003 at 12:06:17PM +0000, Eli Turkel wrote:
: > What I mean is: I have no idea what to do.
: > Best we can do is find a poseiq that nearly all observant Jews would
: > respect, and hope.

: Does this mean that a childless couple should not use IVF because 
: RSYE prohibits it even though most poskim do allow it?

No, what it means is: I have no idea what to do. Best we can do is find
a poseiq that nearly all observant Jews would respect, and hope.

I have no idea why you're pressing for an answer after I said I don't
know how to get a definitive one.

The question you're asking isn't relevent, though. RMFeinstein was also
"a poseiq that nearly all observant Jews would respect" and he is meiqil.
The issue I raised is at best balanced on both sides; more likely the
minyan that are lehaqeil ought to factor. Then hope.

I was /not/ proposing being chosheid for every shitah lechumrah given
by every noted poseiq.

Rather, I was questioning using a poseiq that you know many or most
of the people effected by the pesaq would not follow (if they knew).

A side issue about your example: I wonder how many actually would consider
the child of IVF to be a mamzer. AFAIK, this is the shitah of the Satmar
Rav zt"l -- a noted poseiq, but a da'as yachid. The question I raised was
that of getting a pesaq that in effect is binding to all Jews, not just
the sho'eil. That's true of the status of the child and his descendents,
not of the issur veheter of IVF itself.


Micha Berger                 When we long for life without difficulties,
micha@aishdas.org            remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary
http://www.aishdas.org       winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                            - Peter Marshall

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 16:08:49 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
[Off-topic] Astronomical instruments: nitpick

Someone from Ohr Somayach wrote:
> One day, the atheist came to visit Newton in his library, and his eyes
> fell upon a most beautiful sight. Sitting on Newton's desk, reflecting
> the rays of the afternoon sun, was an exquisite astrolabe, a brass engine
> which depicted the solar system in three dimensions.

That's not an astrolabe, that's an orrery.

An astrolabe is a sort of brass chart of planetary motions against the
fixed stars.  It's flat.

See <http://www.astrolabes.org/astrolab.htm> and

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 15:54:25 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: [Areivim] Re: Har Ha'Bayis

From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
> For an exhaustive review of the subject of entering Har HaBayis, see
> Tzitz Eliezer 10:1:50-69 who concludes that it is assur.

Rav Yisrael Ariel discusses this Teshuva and presents further information,
map and Eduyot that result in a partially different conclusion.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 11:31:12 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Re;krias hatorah

Rashi writes that "porsin al shema" can be done by any yachid as long
as a tzibbur is present; even though it is mentioned in that mishna on
23b it must be (acc to rashi) a chovas hayachid, against the Ramban.

Since acc. to Rosh, R' Eliezer freed his eved to make a minyan for parshas
zachor, that at least must be a chovas hayachid of keriya b'tzaibbur.
If every keriyas hatorah worked this way, it would fit nicely as a a
"ke'eyn d'orasya tikkun".

R. YBS has a distinction between t'fila shel tsibur and t'fila
b'tsibur. If you apply this to krias hatorah, there would be no proof
form the above. It might also remove the proof form the milchamos;
perhaps, even, that is how R. Chaim obviated that proof.

In other words, pores al shma is chiuv of t'fila of an yachid in the
tsibur and so is parshas zakhor. It is not quite the same as having
to call a minyan together to hear it once again in a setting where the
Torah had already been read.

M. Levin

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 18:43:52 +0200
From: "Mishpachat Freedenberg" <free@actcom.co.il>
RE: mamzer

: Does this mean that a childless couple should not use IVF because 
: RSYE prohibits it even though most poskim do allow it?

RYSE does NOT prohibit IVF. He has ruled that he cannot forbid it nor
can a woman be forced to go through it. Do you mean, maybe, Rav Kanievsky?


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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 18:23:00 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: apikorsus

In a message dated 3/2/2003 1:45:12 PM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> Similarly, Torah and science speak to very different domains. Each handle
> their own domain quite well. ... Therefore, if I see a conflict in some
> area that isn't central to either I figure there is an answer even if
> I don't know it.

> On Mon, Feb 24, 2003 at 03:08:27PM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
> : Setting aside apikorsus for a moment, how about honesty and consistency.
> : Do we REALLY believe it when we recite: 
> : Chanun v'Rachum Hashem 
> : and 
> : Tov Hashem Lakkol v'racham v'RAchamav al kol Ma'asav?

> This speaks to the difference between mo'ach and leiv. As the Chidushei
> haRim, quoted in the Sefas Emes, teaches "veyadata hayom, vehasheivosa el
> levavekha" -- there are things you know (bemo'ach) today that you still
> have to answer to your heart. The means to this is "vesamtem es devarai
> eileh al levavchem" -- keep on placing these words /on/ one's heart. As
> the Sfas Emes puts it, eventually they will enter /in/. Sounds like an
> ad for learning behispa'alus...

the last 2 comments of Micha's are quite inter-related.

Remember the Churban Bayyis Rishon controversy?
In the Halachic/Talmudic universe the Churban was 420 BCE
In the realm of History 586 BCE works better. v'ein kan mekomo

Similarly today's Torah model might be THE definitive model for gmeatria
and Kabbalh but not the historically accurate one from Sinai. E.G:
it is likely that the original Torah was in ksav Ivris and NOT ksav
Ashuris and that Ezra chagned it, af al pi the Bavli is amibguous on
this point... Nevertheless dorshie resumos darshen the shape of the
current ksav Ashuris. Even though it is most likely the Torah was not
given historically in ksav Ashuris in the realm of dras hand sod it is
likely that we CAN darshen this way. An easy way to understand this is
to view it as HKBH foresaw the inevitable metamorphosis into Ashuris.

And thus any perceived dissonance between hard historical fact and
alleged Alegorical Aggadic history can be explained as existing on 2
separate planes.

And so the planes of intellect and feeling.

Tangentially While I just got up from aveilus I was reading George
Zelde's book "The Great Thoughts" In it is a quote soemthing as follows:
"To the thinking person life is a great comedy To the feeling person
life is a great tragedy."

I was saying on Shabbas of my Mom's Shiva that my Dad used to say "a
Mench Tract und Gott Lacht" The listener rejected it as being both cynical
and he dismissed HKBH as being humorous and postied HBKH as serious

But I see HBKH as being very myrthful, and the above quote helps to
support how I as Litvak by heritage and a Yekke by affiliation sees the
Divine Comdey in life while my friend - having a Chasidishe background
and as a holocaust survivor - feels the pain of life more acutely and
thereby experiences HKBH wih a more dour face.

Intellectually knowing that Hashem is tov lakol helps. and as Micha so
correctly notes one must put this upon one's heart - early and often

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe <RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com>

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 19:09:14 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Mah Tovu

In a message dated 3/3/2003 6:09:19 PM EST, djhavin@alphalink.com.au writes:
> Is the recitation of Mah Tovu restricted to Shacharith? It would
> seem to be appropriate to recite it whenever entering a shule to pray.
> Many German shules have the custom to sing Mah Tovu on Yomtov evenings as
> an introduction to Ma'ariv when Kabalat Shabbath is not said. (Minhag
> Frankfurt, which recites Kabbalat Shabbath even when Yomtov coincides
> with Shabbath does not, IIRC, sing Mah Tovu in that circumstance.)

The Roedelhim has one saying a few psukim before mah Tovu and Mah Tovu
when entering the shul. It is printed in the Siddur ONLY in shacharis
however the Roedelheim Machzor has it printed before Mincah on Yamim
Tovim, too.

The idea that Mah Tovu is tied to shuls davak and not to homes is
implicitec in many siddurim

As a Chazzan at weddings, I only sing Mah Tovu at shuls. At halls one
does not sing mah tovu, so I sing something like Baruh Haba besheim
Hashem, instead.

I meant to imply to Gil that the way Artscroll presents it, the Mah Tovu
seems to have morphed from davka upon entering a shul to something one
should say every day in the mroning even at home. This is not an unusual
evolution. Baruch Hashelm L'olam at Ma'ariv originated in the fields AIUI
and has been kept on, and said even at home by those who still say it.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe <RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com>

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 19:11:38 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Mah Tovu - Aveilus

In a message dated 3/5/2003 12:04:10 PM EST, MPoppers@kayescholer.com writes:
> That's my recollection, too...and "Breuer's" always used the same tune
> for it. (BTW, I would be happy to sing the opening bars upon request,
> but I'll need RW and a few other volunteers in order to form a choir and
> give the entire piece a semi-proper rendition :-), and I'm not so sure
> RW can help us until Nisan 5764.)

I think the 25th of Shevat wil end the 12 months

I'm not sure if singing Mah Tovu Acappella with a choir is a problem, but 
it's worth looking into. 

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe <RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com>

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Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 19:19:51 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Re;krias hatorah

In a message dated 03/06/2003 4:56:16 PM EST, Mlevinmd@aol.com writes:
> In other words, pores al shma is chiuv of t'fila of an yachid in the
> tsibur and so is parshas zakhor. It is not quite the same as having
> to call a minyan together to hear it once again in a setting where the
> Torah had already been read.
Which would also call into question the efficacy of the practice in
some shuls to lein parshat zachor in the pm with 10 men who have already
heard it in the am so women can be yotzeh.


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Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 07:45:13 -0500
From: "Berger, Mitch" <mberger@mlp.com>
FW: Hakhel Community Awareness Bulletin

[Along with this bulletin, Hakhel sent a flier advertising a
his'orerus betefillah campaign for 5 Adar through Ta'anis Esther. See
<http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/faxes/tefilah.jpg> and print up some
copies to leave in shul. -mi]

Reviewed by HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita	Volume III, Number 2
Adar II 5763

The purpose of this Bulletin is to alert the public regarding important
issues, so that the informed person can ask his Rav the right questions.
It is also intended to heighten each member of our community's awareness
of important contemporary shailos, and to receive his own p'sak on each
of these issues.

How to Wait. HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein Z'TL (Or Yechezkel, Emunah p.
292) states that he remembers the Chofetz Chaim's mashal as to how
we should wait for Moshiach: Imagine a person who is very unwell and
who is waiting for the expert doctor who will give him the medication
needed to cure him of his illness. When will he arrive? Every knock
at the door...Is it the doctor?... And every delay in his coming causes
a greater longing for him.

A Special Siyum Opportunity. This year, if you start on Shabbos Parshas
Pekudei (March 8th) and learn only three Mishnayos a day, you will make
a siyum on the entire Mishnayos Mesechta Megilah on Purim (only 11 days
later), and if you then continue learning only three Mishnayos a day
starting from the day after Purim, you will make a siyum on the entire
Mishnayos Mesechta Pesachim on the first day of Pesach. Let us utilize
our special opportunities!
NOTE: For those who plan in advance-if you start on 5 Elul (September
2nd) to learn just three Mishnayos a day of Mishnayos Mesechta Rosh
Hashana, you will finish Mesechta Rosh Hashana before Rosh Hashana and
Mesechta Yoma before Yom Kippur!

Medications. A very special Shiur on "THE KASHRUS OF MEDICATIONS"
(prescription, over-the-counter, year-round and Pesach) jointly sponsored
by Ask-OU and Hakhel will be presented on Sunday, March 9 at Agudath
Israel Bais Binyamin, 2913 Avenue L, Brooklyn, New York. For tapes of
this and any other Hakhel Shiur, please call 718-252-5274.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE ALERT: Fruits and vegetables bearing the labels
"Carmel," "Elite" or "Arava" (sold at ShopRite and produce markets)
are imported from Israel and therefore require ma'aser to be taken
before eating.

What is the Brocha?

a. Pringles. This snack product is made from denatured potatoes.
According to Rav Moshe Feinstein Z'TL, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Z'TL
(The Halachos of Brochos, page 407), and Y'BLCHT Rav Elyashiv, Shlita
(V'zos Habrocha, page 239), the appropriate brocha is Borei Pri Ha'adoma.

b. Falafel Balls. If one partakes of a "falafel," which is
falafel balls and salad in pita bread, the bracha rishona is a Hamotzi
(notwithstanding the use of "mezonos pita"). However, if one eats falafel
balls by themselves, and not as part of a bread meal, the appropriate
bracha may either be a Borei Pri Ha'adoma (See The Laws of Brachos,
page 367), or Borei Minei Mezones, since they are made from a mixture of
flour and chumus (See V'zos Habrocha, page 283, note 58). The bracha
achrona would likewise be a machlokes (Al Hamichya or Borei Nefashos).
Accordingly, consult your Rav.

c. Soy Bread. What is the correct brocha rishona and brocha
achrona on the new product Soy Bread, which is made of "soy flour,
wheat vital gluten, filtered water, oat bran, wheat bran, yeast, salt and
baking powder"? Nevertheless, according to the manufacturer, the brocha
rishona is Hamotzi and the brocha achrona depends on the amount you eat:
if you consume four slices or more, the brocha would be Birchas Hamazon.

d. Matamim Onion Rings. The Matamim Onion Ring snack product lists
potato flakes and wheat flour as its first two ingredients. According to
the Rav HaMachshir, the appropriate bracha rishona is Mezonos, and,
if a full bag is consumed, the bracha achrona is Al Hamichya.

e. Fiber-One/All-Bran Cereals. We note that bran cereals contain
the bran of the wheat, and are not made of wheat flour. Accordingly,
the proper bracha combination is Shehakol and Borei Nefashos.

Practical Outlook on Kibud Av V'Aim. In addressing a crowd of many
middle-aged adults, Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz, Shlita, provided the following
amazing insight. The Torah (Vayikra 19:3) states that "a person must
fear his mother and father and observe the Shabbos." Why does the Torah
relate the honor of parents to Shabbos observance? Although there may be
several answers to this question (see, e.g., Rashi and the Sifra there),
Rabbi Faskowitz, a scion of the great Novordaker dynasty, suggested
the following novel approach: When it comes to Shmiras Shabbos, one
cannot be too busy, too taken, to do what he has to in order to observe,
and not Chas V'shalom violate, the Shabbos. When Shabbos arrives,
one cannot say he needs "another five minutes" or that he "will do it
later" because he is too busy now. So too, when it comes to parents
(especially elderly parents), no matter how busy one is-even if he is
the busiest person in the world-HE CAN NEVER BE TOO BUSY to have time
for his parents.
Every person must apply this great insight to his own circumstances.
Your parents are like your Shabbos. This is what the Torah instructs.

Six Constant Mitzvos in the Car. We received correspondence as to how
someone in Atlanta, Georgia is mekayem the Six Constant Mitzvos (see
Bulletin Volume II, Number 2, Teves/Shevat 5762). Each time he enters
his car he: 1) looks up to the One and Only Hashem; 2) looks down to
demonstrate that Hashem created the world and its fullness (ma'aseh
bereshis) and continuously supervises it (yetzias Mitzrayim); 3) looks
to the right and thinks of his love for Hashem; 4) looks to the left
and thinks of his fear of Hashem; 5) looks through the rearview mirror
in back of him to demonstrate that there is no other force "in back of"
Hashem; 6) looks in the front of him and commits not to look at things
he need not, or should not, be looking at.

What a beautiful way to start your drive!

Not Left Out.  How does a left-handed person do the following:
    * Hold food when making a brocha?
    * Wash his hands when arising or for a bread meal?
    * Hold the shofar/ the lulav and esrog?
    * Cover his eyes for K'riyas Shema?
    * Put on/remove his shoes?

The sefer Kuntres Ish Itar, based on the p'sokim of, and published with
the haskoma of, Rav Chaim Kanievski, Shlita, contains these and many
other important halachos for lefties. Those with left-handed children
should be especially careful to learn these halachos in order to properly
instruct them.

What to Say. When someone you know suffers damage or loses money or
an object of value, one should feel his pain (Avos 2:17) and should
give him the following brocha "Hamakom Yemalei Chesroncha (May Hashem
replace what is missing)." Rav Pam Z'TL once told over that when he
was a boy, he found a $10 bill in the street and brought the treasure
home to his mother. However, his mother was pained instead of elated.
She explained, "Think of how the person who lost the money now feels!"

In a similar vein, Rav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, asked during a Hakhel Shiur
on Choshen Mishpat issues, "If someone comes to you with an investment
opportunity in which you can earn 50% profit on your money in only
three months guaranteed, what is the first question you should ask?"
Think about it. Rabbi Belsky's answer, "If I am making the 50%, who
is losing the 50%?" We should not permit our halachos and hashkafos to
be filtered through, and diluted by, the outside world and its business

Interest on Gas Refill. In our Tishrei 5763 Bulletin, we raised the
shaila as to whether a person who borrows his friend's car is paying
ribbis if he refills it with more gas than was in the tank at the time
of the rental. A Rav contacted us and advised us that he poskened it
was definitely not ribbis, as he was not borrowing the gas, but the car.
The sefer The Halachos of Ribbis by Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, poskens
this way as well, but in a footnote brings the opinion of the Chayei
Halevi who in certain circumstances requires that the borrower state
explicitly that the extra gas is in gratitude for the use of the car.

Taking Note. When borrowing/lending money, the halacha (Shulchan Aruch,
Choshen Mishpat 70) requires that the borrower deliver a written IOU
to the lender, in order to avoid the Issur D'Oraysa of Lifnei Iveir Lo
Setein Michshol, because if no written evidence of the loan exists,
the lender is tempting the borrower to deny the loan even existed.
We note that there is not even a dispensation for talmidei chachim or
tzaddikim in this regard, as it is ossur to tempt anyone.

Other practical examples of lifnei iveir are:
    * Starting a conversation which will lead to loshon hara (Sefer
      Chofetz Chaim, Introduction, Lo Sa'aseh # 4).
    * Distracting a person who is in the middle of learning.
    * Listening to someone who starts a conversation with you during
    * Giving someone business advice, when the recipient of the advice
      is unaware that the person giving him advice will earn a
      commission or referral fee if the advice is followed.

Looking for Z'chusim? R' Yehoshua ben Levi (Brachos 47B) teaches that
a person should arrive early to shul so that he is among the first ten,
"..for even if 100 come after him, he receives the reward k'neged kulam
(equivalent to them all)." The Maharsha there incredibly explains that
the first ten actually bring the Shechina to shul, and all the rest
that come after them are only davening together with the original ten
who had brought the Shechina to shul.

Washing Before Davening. A halacha that may be forgotten from time
to time is that one is required to wash his hands before davening -
whether it is Shachris, Mincha or Maariv (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim
92:4; 233:2). One must even travel in certain instances in order to
obtain water (See Orach Chayim 92:4; 233, Mishne Berurah seif katan 20;
and Brachos 15A for details). In fact, the Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim
92, seif katan 13) brings the opinion of the Pri Megadim that according
to the Rambam, if one did not wash his hands (or at least thoroughly wipe
his hands in the absence of water), he must repeat the entire Shemone
Esrei (!). Although this is not the halacha (Mishne Berurah ibid.),
we certainly see that netilas yodaim before Tefilla is not merely a
"nice practice", but an absolute requirement (for men and women).
For further details as to the requirements for one who initially washes,
davens Mincha then learns and davens Maariv, see Mishne Berurah, Orach
Chayim 233, seif katan 16-18.

Ethnic Slurs. If one in his haste to keep up with a minyan or otherwise,
unwillingly slurs the words of Shema together, he may say "alevovacha",
"becholevavchem", "eschemearetz." (See Shulchan Aruch 61:15-23 for
many other examples). The Mishne Berurah (62, seif katan 1) writes that
one should be very careful with the proper recital of the words of the
Shema, for as the Gemara (Brachos 15B) states: the fires of Gehinnom are
cooled for the person who is especially careful in his recital of Shema.
The Mishne Berurah explains the Midah K'neged Midah involved-since he
takes the effort to cool (slow) himself down, Hashem will cool Gehinnom
for him (ibid.).

Don't Skip This. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 52) devotes an entire
Siman to the halachos of one who came late to shul, and is forced to skip
parts of P'sukei D'zimrah in order to begin Shemone Esrei together with
the tzibbur (which is the ikar of Tefilla b'tzibbur). The Mishne Berurah
(ibid., seif katan 1) writes that l'chatchila one should come to shul
early so that he does not have to skip, because the seforim write that
the Maggid [Eliyahu HaNavi] warned the Bais Yosef (R' Yosef Karo Z'TL)
to come to the Beis Hakenesses early so that he would daven in order,
without skipping, because one who skips is Mehapech Tzinoros (upsets
the channels of prayer to Heaven).

There is a machlokes haposkim if one is allowed to or to the contrary
must make up the P'sukei D'zimrah that he missed in skipping. The Aruch
Hashulchan (52:5) brings the opinion of a number of Rishonim and Baalei
Kabala who hold it is an "Issur Gadol", (a great prohibition) to recite
the skipped P'sukei D'zimrah after davening. The Mishne Berurah (52: seif
katan 9), however, poskens that one is obligated to repeat the skipped
P'sukei D'zimrah after davening. It certainly would be best to avoid
this great machlokes and not to upset the channels of prayer, by coming
to shul on time in order to properly recite all of the P'sukei D'zmirah.

We also note that coming late to davening could also result in Chillul
Hashem, as others may feel comfortable to follow your lead. See Yoma
86A, Rashi D'H' Chillul Hashem, and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 90,
Mishne Berurah seif katan 33.

Davening for Others. The classic Mussar sefer, Orchos Tzaddikim, in Shaar
Ha'Ahava urges everyone davening Shemone Esrei and making requests such
as Slach Lonu, Hashivenu, Refuenu to have in mind all Yidden-whether or
not they are his friends-and through this he will fulfill the Mitzvas
Aseh D'Oraysa of V'ahavta L'reacha Komocha.

A Loaded Question. What Tefillah do you recite approximately 1,200
times a year (comprising approximately 25,000 brochos a year), and 85,000
times in a lifetime (comprising over 1,500,000 brochos)?

NOW IS THE TIME to make hundred of thousands of brochos over your
lifetime meaningful by putting effort into having simple kavana (for
meaning of the words) in the brochos of Shemone Esrei. The Chofetz
Chaim Z'TL (Introduction to Shmiras HaLoshon) provides the following
heartfelt practical advice for kavana in Shemone Esrei: For just a
moment or two before each bracha think about what you are saying in
the bracha and what you are asking Hashem for. The Chofetz Chaim goes
out his way to reassure you that this mental process will only involve
a minimal investment of your time and its rewards will be astounding.
See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 98, 101 for further details.

Tosefes Shabbos - A Nusach. In a previous Bulletin (Volume II, Number 3,
Adar 5762), we discussed the Mitzvah D'Oraysa of Tosefes Shabbos-for men
(and not only for women, who are m'keyem the mitzvah at hadlakas neiros
when they are mekabel Shabbos before shkiah). Rav Moshe Shternbach Shlita
(Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 3:83) provides the following nusach for being mekabel
Tosefes Shabbos: "Hareini Mekabel Olai Bozeh Tosefes Shabbos Kodesh."
It would seem appropriate for women (other than the woman lighting)
and for other members of the household to recite this nusach after
hadlokas neiros.

Erev Shabbos Notes.
a. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 250:1) poskens that one should awake
early ("Yashkim") on Erev Shabbos to prepare for Shabbos. According to
the Biur Halacha there, this may even be a Mitzvah D'Oraysa. The Mishne
Berurah (seif katan 1), however, notes that if one can purchase items or
otherwise prepare after davening Shachris, one should wait until after
finishing davening.

b. The Mishne Berurah (ibid., seif katan 2) adds that there is
a second part to the mitzvah-to prepare something in the afternoon.
Even if you are doing this anyway, you should nevertheless have specific
intent to fulfill this second part of the mitzvah. As we have noted
in a previous Bulletin (Volume II, Number 5, Elul 5762), the Mishne
Berurah writes that upon purchasing an object for Shabbos, one should
state "Zehu L'chavod Shabbos", because hadibbur poel harbeh b'kedusha
(speech effects much for holiness).

c. The Mishne Berurah also brings that on Erev Shabbos one should
dedicate some time to thinking about Teshuva and look into his deeds,
because Shabbos is called Royalty-and going to greet Shabbos is as if one
is going to greet the King, Yisborach Shmo. It is therefore inappropriate
to meet the King in clothing which is full of sin (ibid., seif katan 3).

d. The Mishne Berurah there additionally gives the following instruction:
"One should picture in his mind that if an earthly king was coming
to visit, how he would clean the house, make the beds, etc... and all
the more so when Shabbos Malkasa comes." This is important for us to
recognize-we are not mechabed Shabbos by our subjective standard, but
by the King's standard. Thus, statements such as "It is clean enough
for me." "I don't shine my shoes even on special occasions." "I don't
mind my nails not being cut." are simply not halachically correct in
fulfilling the Mitzvah D'Oraysa of Kovod Shabbos.

e. For those responsible for buying "Shabbos Nosh" for the children,
we note that the Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim 242, seif katan 6 and
Shaar HaZion note 18) writes that pas (bread) products used on Shabbos
should be Pas Yisroel. Thus, not only challahs, but cakes, cookies and
pretzels should come from an appropriate source. This may rule out many
national bread, cookie and pretzel products on Shabbos.

Kiddush Levana Notes.  
a. If you make Kiddush Levana outside of shul in an urban area, care
must be taken that you are not within close proximity to trash or
trash containers from local homes, apartment buildings or stores, all
of which can be assumed to contain unclean matter. Moreover, any Dovor
Hamasriach (item which emits a foul, spoiling odor) would have the din
of unclean matter. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 79:8, Mishneh Berura,
seif katan 29). We recently observed a group of individuals reciting
Kiddush Levana outside of their shul and in front of the garbage of a
grocery store containing smelly spoiled fruit which would seem to fall
within this prohibition.

b. In addition when reciting Kiddush Levana, one should be careful not
to be facing passersby on the street, as they may not be properly dressed
(Orach Chayim 75).

c. The Rema (Orach Chayim 426:2) writes that Kiddush Levana, contains
the yesod of K'nesses Yisroel reuniting with Hakodesh Boruch Hu "...and
therefore we perform joyous acts and dance at Kiddush Hachodish, as at
a simchas nesuin." Accordingly, one should be careful to perform the
mitzvah of Kiddush Levana with joy, and in a place where he can properly
exhibit his joy.

Preparing for the Mitzvah. Sometimes in life we have to look up, sometimes
we must look down. Instead of looking down at the seemingly ravenous
person at a smorgasbord who eats hovering near the serving trays or
sits down with two to four plates of various delicacies in front of
him, we suggest looking up and aspiring to the following description of
how Rav Moshe Aharon Stern Z'TL (The Mashgiach of Kamenitz, page 383)
conducted himself:
"The preparatory steps he took before eating were a true divine worship.
He said a supplication not to stumble by eating forbidden foods, that
his eating be kosher, that his Creator would consider it like a Mincha
offering and a sacrifice. He would then meditate intensely on the
exalted purpose of eating-to strengthen one's body to serve the Creator."

If the above seems way out of reach for the average individual, perhaps we
can try it at least occasionally. We note that the Mishne Berurah (Orach
Chayim 231, seif katan 5) writes in the name of the Chayei Odom that he
saw men of good deeds who would say "Hinini rotzeh le'echol v'lishtos
k'dei she'eheye boree v'chazak l'avodas Hashem Yisborach (I now would
like to eat/drink in order to be healthy and strong in the service of
Hashem, Blessed be He)." Only with aspiration, inspiration and effort
(and davening) can one turn the mundane into the spiritual.

Shedding the Fat. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Z'TL once asked his students
in which Tefillah they had more kavana-Birchas HaMazon or Shemone Esrei.
The students responded "Shemone Esrei." He asked rhetorically why this
was so-after all was not Birchas HaMazon a Mitzvah D'Oraysa and Shemone
Esrei a Mitzvah D'Rabbanan? He then commented that Birchas HaMazon is
recited after eating. Once a person eats, his immediate response is to
reject ("VaYishman Yeshurun VaYivat"-Devarim 32:15). Accordingly, great
efforts should be placed into bentching properly because it demonstrates
the recognition that all of our good comes from Hashem.
NOTE: Birchas HaMazon is only recited if one consumes a shiur (minimally
a k'zayis) within k'dei achilas pras-in two to nine minutes. On a
practical level, this means at some point in the seudah (preferably at
the outset-Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 167, Mishne Berurah seif katan 15)
you should consume a k'zayis in the short period of time, and not merely
"nibble" at your break throughout the meal.

When Solids and Liquids Don't Mix. If a person eats less than a k'zayis
of a food, and drinks less than a r'eviis of a drink, he does not make
a brocha achrona, because we do not combine the shiur of food and drink
for the purpose of brocha achrona (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 210,
Mishne Berurah seif katan 1).

Enjoy! The Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim 225, seif katan 19) brings
from the Achronim in the name of the Yerushalmi...that it is a mitzvah
to eat a little from every newly-ripened fruit in order to demonstrate
that Hashem's creations are dear to you.

Spice Store and Flower Store. When walking into a spice store, one
should make the bracha "Borei Minei V'somim" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach
Chayim 217:1). When smelling flowers, whether your own or those of a
street vendor, or those found in public, one must make the appropriate
bracha: "Borei Atzei V'somim" (if the source is from a tree), "Borei
Isvei V'somim" (if the source is not from a tree, such as a carnation),
or "Borei Mimeni V'somim" (on a bouquet or mixture of flowers, when one
does not smell the individual flowers) (Orach Chayim 216:2).

Visiting the Zoo. Those who take a "Chol Hamoed"-type of trip to the zoo
should note that the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, 225:8) poskens that on
monkeys and elephants, one should recite the brocha of Meshane Habriyos.
The Meiri to Brochos 58B and other Meforshim explain why monkeys and
elephants are unique in this regard among all of the animals. One should
be careful to teach his children to be alert to making brochos at these
and other special opportunities.

Don't Tell. The Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim 229, seif katan 1) writes
that if one sees a rainbow, he should not relate it to others, because the
rainbow is a sign that Hashem is upset with the world and is withholding
His wrath because of the covenant He made at the time of Noach. Thus one
who relates this information is speaking badly of the world and violates
the principles of "Motzei Dibah Hu K'sil".

Thanks for a Miracle. When one personally experiences something that
is "yotzi mederech hateva," commonly referred to as a "miracle," one
makes the bracha of "sheoso li nes bamakom hezeh" when passing the
spot (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 218:4). If one passes the spot more
frequently than every 30 days, it should be said without "Shem U'Malchus"
(ibid. Mishne Berurah seif katan 15). Additionally, the Chayei Odom
(Conclusion) writes that one should make a Seudas Hodaah (Thanksgiving
Meal) on the anniversary date of the miracle every year. The Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch (61:3) adds that one who was miraculously saved should
set aside money for tzedaka according to his ability and distribute it
to those who study Torah and should daven to Hashem that his giving
to tzedaka should be considered as if he brought a Korban Todah. In
fact, the Mishne Berurah (Orach Chayim 218, seif katan 32) adds that,
in recognition of the miracle, one should actually recite the pesukim
of the Parshas Todah (See Vayikra 7:11)from the Torah.

A Note of Thanks. When servicemen perform work for us in our homes, we do
not discharge our "Bein Odom L'Chaveiro" obligation with payment alone.
A warm "hello," "could you please," "thank you" and respect for the
person, as well as hospitality, such as offering him something to drink
are all matters which fall within the code of conduct of K'lal Yisroel.
We also note that just as a doctor's payment is due at the time of the
visit, and a lawyer's payments is due at the closing, B'Yomo Titein
S'choro requires that other people providing services receive payment
at the time they performed the services. (See Shulchan Aruch, Choshen
Mishpat 339).

Pain Relief. When one is experiencing pain or suffering (by moving,
walking, sitting in a certain way, etc.) he should:
1. First, one should not feel upset as a result of the pain , realizing
that every iota of pain experienced is from Hashem Yisborach, and
have in mind that it should be a kapara for his sins (Brachos 62B,
and Rabbeinu Yonah and Tosfos Yom Tov on the Mishne Brochos 54A).
In fact Dovid Hamelech express this very thought explicitly in Tehillim
(25:18). It is said in the name of the Apter Rav Z'TL that one should
specifically recite the posuk when experiencing pain. The Mishne Berurah
(Orach Chayim 222:4) adds that, in truth, yissurin in this world actually
replace yissurin in the next world which are many times more severe
"Sheshum Haonesh Hu Harbeh Yoser Gadol."
2. Daven to Hashem Yisborach that in the future, to the extent possible,
pain should be replaced by other means. As Mishlei (16:6) teaches
B'chesed V'emes Yechuper Avone, through acts of Chessed and Torah study
will aveiros be wiped out.
3. Realize that the pain could always R'L be worse. However, if you see
someone else suffering, your response should not be to belittle the pain
by statements such as "others have had it much worse," "the pain will go
away in a few days," or "grin and bear it." Instead, one should express
empathy, attempt to feel the pain, even if it is true that the pain
will pass, and daven for, and give a bracha to, the unwell person.

On the Way to Greatness. One of HaRav Avigdor Miller's Z'TL most famous
tapes is entitled "Ten Steps to Greatness" (Tape #706). The first step
is that "every day, think about Olam Haba for half a minute or more."
Perhaps now we know why Hakodesh Boruch Hu has given us the power of

Note: We received a very positive response to our prior Bulletins and
we thank all those who have given us chizuk in this matter. If you
would like a copy of one or all of our prior Bulletins please send a
self-addressed, stamped envelope for each Bulletin requested to Hakhel,
1327 East 26th Street, Brooklyn, NY  11210

A current Hakhel tape list is available by calling 718-252-5274.

This issue of the
Hakhel Community Awareness Bulletin
Is sponsored by
Mr. and Mrs. "P.K." Koenisberg
of Miami Beach, Florida
In Honor of their Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary
Mazel Tov and Much Nachas!

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