Midei Shabbos B'Shabbato

Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Yom Kippur Supplement

Tears and Joy!

†The Pirkei de'Rebbi Eliezer states that throughout the last forty days that Moshe spent on Har Sinai praying for forgiveness on behalf of Yisroel, Yisroel fasted during the day. When the final day arrived (the tenth of Tishri), they fasted overnight too. On that day, Moshe descended with the new set of Luchos. Yisroel burst into tears and Moshe did likewise, and their combined cries pierced the Heavens.

Immediately, Hashem was overwhelmed with mercy and He swore by His Throne of Glory that this day would be designated for future generations, as a day of pardon, forgiveness and atonement until the end of time.

Now that every Jew knows that this is so, it is appropriate to celebrate on Erev Yom-Kipur with a festive meal.

Others explain that, in reality, this meal ought to be eaten on Yom Kipur itself, to celebrate the occasion of our atonement at the Hand of G-d. This is not possible however, since the Torah has ordered us to fast. So we arrange the festive meal in advance - on Erev Yom Kipur.

Interestingly, the exact opposite idea exists on Rosh Chodesh, when we ought to fast because, as we say in the Amidah, it is 'a time for atonement for all their generations'. This is not possible however, since Rosh Chodesh is a Yom-tov and it is not befitting to fast on a Yom-tov. So what do we do? We hold Yom Kipur Kotton on erev Rosh Chodesh, treating it as a voluntary fast-day.


The Mishnah at the end of Ta'anis, explains the posuk in Shir ha'Shirim (3:11) "Go out and see, daughters of Tzion... on the day of his wedding and on the day of the rejoicing of His heart". "On the day of His wedding", the Tana explains, refers to the giving of the Torah, and "the day of the rejoicing of His heart", to the building of the Beis ha'Mikdosh. 'The giving of the Torah' would appear to refer to Ma'amad Har Sinai, but that is not how Rashi interprets it. Rashi comments 'This is the giving of the Torah - Yom Kipur, on which the second set of Luchos were given'. The joy of Ma'amad Har Sinai was marred by the sin of the Golden Calf, as the Gemoro explains in Shabbos (88) 'How miserable is the bride who commits adultery whilst standing under the Chupah'. It was only after Yisroel had done teshuvah, their teshuvaah had been accepted and Moshe descended with the seocnd Luchos, that the 'marriage' can be said to have really taken place.


Rashi in Chumash (33:11) goes even further. Describing the events that took place from the breaking of the Luchos until the Mishkon was erected nine months later, he writes 'On Rosh Chodesh Elul Moshe was told that he was to ascend Mount Sinai in the morning, to receive the second Luchos. He spent forty days there, as it is written "And I stood on the Mountain like the first days ... ". Just as the first ones (set of forty days) were with good-will, so too, were the last ones, from which we can deduce that the middle ones (the nineteenth of Tamuz until the twenty-ninth of Av), Hashem was angry.

On the tenth of Tishri, Hakodosh Boruch Hu was pacified with joy and wholeheartedly. He said to Moshe 'I have forgiven you like your word," and He handed him the second set of Luchos ... ' What was the catalyst that caused this change of heart? According to the Pirkei de'Rebbi Eliezer that we quoted earlier, there can be no doubt that it was the tears that Klal Yisroel shed. Teshuvah and tefillah without tears can bring about forgiveness. Teshuvah and tefilah with tears have the power to bring about reacceptance with joy.

One of the reasons that we light extra lights on Yom Kipur is because Torah is compared to light, as Shlomoh writes in Mishlei "Because a mitzvah is a lamp and the Torah, light" and, as we just explained, it is on Yom Kipur that the Torah was ultimately given.


(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchok)

Feasting and Fasting

We wrote earlier why it is appropriate to celebrate on erev Yom Kipur with a festive meal. Many other reasons are given as to why we should do so. First and foremost, among the reasons is because it is a mitzvah to do so, as the Gemoro in B'rochos (9b) explains, based on the posuk in Emor (23:32) " ... and you shall afflict your souls on the ninth of the month". This teaches us that 'anyone who eats and drinks on the ninth, the Torah reckons as if he had fasted on the ninth and on the tenth'.


And it is because the Torah conveys the mitzvah to eat using an expression of 'affliction', that Chazal conclude that the mitzvah to eat is in preparation of the fast, and is therefore considered as if one had fasted on the ninth as well as the tenth.

This reason (of mitzvah) overrides all other reasons, because there is no more noble reason for performing a mitzvah than the fact that we are obeying the command of our Father in Heaven. Incidentally, we can learn from here the importance of preparing for a mitzvah, and that the preparation is even considered an intrinsic part of the mitzvah itself.


Others give the reason as being that eating a lot before a fast increases the affliction when one fasts. And others, because one deliberately stops eating before Yom Kipur actually begins, on the ninth. They compare it to erev Pesach, where the Torah forbids the eating of chometz only after midday. It is a Chesed Hashem that He considers part of the day like the whole day as regards fasting.


Another theory is that when a person sins, it is due to a joint effort of his body and his soul. Consequently, the atonement must be a joint one too. So Hashem arranged for the body to be afflicted by fasting, not washing etc., and for the soul to suffer by feasting, which to the soul is an alien occupation.


Eat, Drink and Repent

One of the reasons that the Torah in Mishpotim (24:11) prescribes fasting on Yom Kipur is because, by the first Luchos, the Torah describes how "they saw G-d and they ate and drank", and it was as a result of that eating and drinking that they went on to worship the Golden Calf. So it is befitting that on Yom Kipur, the day that they received the second Luchos, they should atone for their sin by fasting.



The five afflictions, the Maharal explains, correspond to the five names of the soul - Nefesh, Ru'ach, Neshomoh, Chayah, Yechidoh.

Eating and drinking correspond to'Chayah'; Marital relations to 'Yechidoh'; Washing to Neshomoh'; Anointing to 'Nefesh'; Wearing shoes to 'Ru'ach'.


No Options

The reason that we read Maftir Yonah on Yom Kipur Minchah is, not only because of the lesson of the power of teshuvah that it teaches us, but also because from it we can learn that it is impossible to run away from G-d.


Just Like Angels

The minhag to stand throughout the Tefilos on Yom Kipur, both at night and by day is based on a charming Medrash in Pirkei de'Rebbi Eliezer. The Medrash describes how none other than Samo'el (the Sotton) testifies before Hashem on Yom Kipur.

'Master of the world,' he says 'You have a nation in the world who are like angels!

Angels go bare-foot - so do Yisroel.

Angels do not have knee-caps (which enables one to sit down) - Yisroel remain standing all day (as if they had none either).

Angels are free of sin - so are Yisroel.

Angels cohabit peacefully - so do Yisroel.'


And Hashem hears Samo'el's testimony, and pardons Yisroel's sins.


(Continued from last year)
Translated from the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch Si'man 133)

M.B. Mishnah B'rurah
M.H. Misgeres ha'Shulchan
25. A Bris Milah

If there is a bris, it takes place before 'Ashrei'. One recites the b'rochoh over the miloh without wine. In these countries however, the minhag is to recite the b'rochoh over a cup of wine and to give some of it to the baby (or better still, to the baby's mother, in the event that she is not fasting - see above 14-16 M.B.). This is in addition to the wine that one gives him when saying 'Vo'omar loch be'domayich chayi').

One does not give the wine to another child (like one does during the nine days), because (Yom Kipur is more stringent than Tishoh be'Av and) we are afraid that the child will adopt the habit of drinking on Yom-Kipur - and will continue to do so even when he grows up.

Nevertheless, those whose minhag is to give the wine to another child may continue to do so - M.H.

And those whose minhag it is to perform the metzitzah (sucking up the blood) with wine should sprinkle the wine by hand and not with the mouth. The actual metzitzah is done by mouth as usual.


26. To Spread Grass in Shul

It is customary to spread grass in shul (though this is not done nowadays, as we shall see). This is because of our minhag to bow down and to fall on our faces during the 'avodoh' (to commemorate the avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdosh) and it is strictly forbidden to bow down onto a stone floor directly. Even where the floor is not made of stone, there is a slight prohibition. If there is no grass, then one divides between oneself and the floor with one's tallis or with something else. (Nowadays, we tend to use tissues, handkerchiefs or towels etc.)


27. Ne'ilah

The time to daven Ne'ilah is when the sun is just above the tree-tops, so that one concludes it with nightfall (slightly before nightfall, according to the M.B., though it does not matter if one goes on into night). Should the tefilah extend into night, one nevertheless says "chosmeinu' (seal us!), because the judgement in heaven is not concluded before Yisroel have concluded their tefilos on earth. However, the phrase 'The day is passing' should be changed to 'The day has passed', and 'The sun is setting' to 'The sun has set' (according to the M.B. these changes should already be made from sunset), in order not to lie in our tefilos. The Shatz says 'birchas Cohanim' and 'Sim sholom', even though it is already night. (In some communities, the Cohanim actually duchen at Ne'ilah - this minhag is prevalent in Eretz Yisroel.) In that case, they must daven Ne'ilah quickly in order to do so before sunset, because duchening is forbidden after sunset - Sha'ar ha'Tziyun. If time is short, one leaves the Piyutim for after the Shemoneh-esrei in order to duchen - M.B.)


28. 'Ovinu Malkeinu' and the Subsequent Ritual

After Ne'ilah, one recites 'Ovinu Malkeinu', even if Yom Kipur falls on Shabbos and it is still day. One says 'Sh'ma Yisroel' once and 'Hashem Hu Ho'Elokim' 7 times, to accompany the Shechinah, which was with us throughout the day, on its return journey to beyond the 7 heavens (M.H.).

The Shatz then recites Kadish - a joyful time, after which one blows one long teki'ah (as a signal that the Shechinah is departing), as they did at Har Sinai, where the Torah writes "when the Shofar blows a long blast, they are permitted to ascend the mountain". And it is also written in Tehillim "G-d ascended with the Shofar blast". In some communities, the Shofar is blown before Kadish - M.B. - (and yet others blow it in the middle of Kadish before 'Tiskabeil').

It is permitted to blow Shofar even though it is not yet nightfall, even if it is Shabbos, though not before sunset.

After the blowing of the Shofar, one says three times 'le'shonoh ha'bo'oh bi'Yerusholayim'.


29. Ma'ariv

After nightfall, one davens Ma'ariv. (Washing, anointing and wearing shoes is permitted immediately, even before havdoloh, as long as one has added a few minutes onto Yom Kipur - M.H.) One appoints a respectable Shatz, and davens slowly and with kavonoh.

In the Amidah, one inserts 'Atto Chonantonu', and if Yom Kipur fell on Shabbos, 've'yiten lecho' (those whose minhag it is to say it every week) but not 'vi'Yehi no'am' or 've'Atto Kodosh'; le'Dovid Hashem Ori ve'Yishi. After Ma'ariv, one says Kidush Levonoh (after putting on one's shoes and reciting the b'rochoh of 'she'osoh li kol tzorki') and wishes one another 'Good Yom-tov' (or "Piska tovo') with joy and a good heart.


(Adapted from the Elef ha'Mogel, Siman 646-7)

A hadas requires eight qualifications to be called a mehudar:

1. That it should be moist with green leaves, without a trace of dryness.



2. That it should have attained a length of at least 12 'agudlin' (three tefochim - 28.8 cm. according to the Chazon Ish, 24 cm. according to R. Chaim Noah). Bedieved, it is kosher if it is ten agudlin long.


3. That its leavces should grow in groups of three along its entire length, and the tip of the one set of leaves should reach the foot of the one above it. -Bedieved, it is kosher if the leaves grow in threes along most of its length, preferably at the top.


4. That the leaves should be not smaller than the size of a barley and not larger than that of a thumb-nail.


5. That the tops of the leaves should be vertical, lying on the stem to cover it, so that the wood of the stem is not visible. - Bedieved, if the majority of the stem is covered, the hadas is kosher.


6. That one is absolutely certain that the tree was not grafted - though bedieved, the hadas is kosher, even if it was.


7. That it should not grow in a pot that was not holed - though bedieved, the hadas is kosher even if it did.


8. That there should be three complete hadasim, whose tops have not been cut.


What Constitutes an Arovoh Mehuderes

An arovoh requires four qualifications to be called a mehuderes.

1. That is should be moist with green leaves, without a trace of dryness. A dry arovoh is one that has completely lost its green colour or that cracks when one sticks one's nails into it. If most of its leaves have lost their colour, it is posul.


2. That it should be complete (with all its leaves). If some of its leaves are missing, it remains kosher as long as the majority remain.


3. That itshould have grown by a river or a brook - though bedieved it is kosher even if it did not.


4. That its minimum size should be the same as a minimum size hadas (though the hadasim should protrude slightly above the arovos).


If the top of the arovoh breaks, one may not recite a brochoh over it on the first day of Yom-tvo. He may however, recite a b'rochoh over it from the second day and onwards, provided no other arovoh is available.


The poskim give three signs that help to determine the autehenticity of an arovoh: that the leaves should be elongated and have jagged edges, and that the stem should be a reddish colour.


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