Parshas Vayigash 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 4:19 pm
Dec 18, 2015
Volume 12 Issue 9
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Dvar Torah


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

In this week's Parsha, Yaakov finds out the unbelievable news that his son Yosef was not only alive, but he is the viceroy of Egypt. Yaakov then makes the decision to join his son and move to Egypt. Although excited to be reunited with Yosef, he was not so comfortable with the thought of have to leave Eretz Yisroel. Understandably so, he had already demonstrated his great love of the land by piling up all the wealth he acquired while working for Lavan and handing it over to Eisav, in order buy off Eisav's share in the Mearas Hamachpeila. Yaakov did that stating that anything attained outside of Eretz Yisroel was of no value to him. In order to alleviate his distress Hashem appeared to Yaakov the night before he left to assure him that he was doing the right thing. There aspect of this prophecy that is troubling, we know only non reputable characters such as Bilam and the like received visions at night. This demonstrated their lowliness. Why is Hashem appearing to Yakov at night? The Meshech Chochma addresses the question and responds with the following.
Hashem appears to Yaakov at night to show him that even at night, in the darkness of exile, He will be with him. This idea goes even deeper. We attribute the Shachris prayer to Avraham, and Mincha to Yitzchak, and Ma'ariv to Yaakov. This is represented in the Temple with Morning Continual-offering (Korban Tamid) representing Shachris. The Afternoon Continual-offering representing Mincha. Those sacrifices that had been slaughtered during the day but not yet been burnt on the Altar and are instead burnt throughout the night, are represented by Ma'ariv. Only sacrifices slaughtered during the day, can be burnt at night. For after the Afternoon Continual-offering all slaughtering ceased. Only those sacrifices which are connected to the day, by virtue of being slaughtered prior to that last sacrifice, may be brought up at night to be burnt. Yaakov, who instituted Ma'ariv, which represents those night sacrifices, remained connected to what he was in Eretz Yisroel by virtue of he already achieved in while living in the land of Israel.  
                    We find the same concept with Prophecy. Only a prophet who had received prophecy while being in Eretz Yisroel can the continue to receive prophecy outside of Eretz Yisroel for he now remains linked to that level or state he was on in Eretz Yisroel. This was the message Hashem had for Yaakov upon his leaving the land. Yaakov will remain linked and He will be with him even in Egypt.
                   The Meshech Chochma comments that we learn from the above a valuable lesson. Only those who follow in the of their forefathers, maintain the link that forefathers established. They merit Hashem's continual protection even in exile, during the "night," for they are the same people who once lived in Eretz Yisroel. But those who don't head in the ways of their forefathers, demonstrate that they are not the same people, and therefore are severing their connection. They do  not merit the Protection promised to their forefather.
                  There is a powerful story documented by Yonasan Rosenblum, a noted author and journalist, which brings this lesson home. A certain Palestinian Legislature once related the reason for his devotion to the Palestinian cause. A while back, when he was languishing in an Israeli prison for terrorist crimes he had committed, he started thinking of giving up terrorism and the Palestinian cause, in order to live a normal life. One day, while he was contemplating the futility of fighting the Israelis, he noticed his prison guard eating a pita. Usually there is nothing with eating a pita. However, it was Pesach and he knew that eating a pita wasn't part of the Holiday. He asked his guard why he was eating a pita on Pesach. The guard laughed and responded, "Pesach happened thousands of years ago, what does that have to do with me now?" When the Palestinian heard that he thought to himself, "their whole claim to Land is that they are the same people who lived here two thousand years ago. This guard just demonstrated that there is no connection and therefore must not be the same people. They don't deserve the land more than my people." At that moment he decided not give up and continue his struggle for his cause. May we strengthen our connection and merit the Redemption speedily in or day.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of V'Sein Tal U'Matar      
Part 1 
  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi
This year we began reciting the phrase v'sain tal u'matar liv'racha by Maariv on December 5th.  The Tur [OC 117] writes that the main request of this brachah is that we are asking Hashem that He prepare our parnassah (livelihood) with ease and in a permissible way.  In this brachah we praise Hashem the Life giver who controls the elements and provides wind and moisture as needed in the seasons when they generally occur.  We are asking Hashem for rain and therefore it is recited only when rain is actually needed in the agricultural cycle [which is in the winter months] (see Artscroll Siddur).
                In this brachah, there are 2 possible texts that one says: either V'Sain Brachah (give a blessing) or V'Sain Tal U'mahtar L'vrachah (give us dew and rain as a blessing).  Depending on whether it is the time of the year that we need the rain will determine which phrase we ask for.  During the yemos hagishamim (winter months), we recite the words asking for the rain.
                Since we only ask for rain when it is needed, there is a difference in halachah as to when to start asking for rain in Eretz Yisroel and in Chutz L'aretz.  The Gemara [Kiddushin 69a] says that Eretz Yisroel is gohveh mekol ha'aratzos (higher than all the other lands) (this means either physically [Ma'arumei Sadeh] or spiritually [Marharsha & Maharam]).  The Poskim explain that since Eretz Yisroel is higher it needs rain earlier (Mishneh Berurah 117:5).  In Eretz Yisroel they begin saying V'Sain Tal at Maariv of 7 Cheshvon.  In Chutz L'aretz, we start saying it at Maariv 60 days after the tekufas tishrei (autumn equinox), which comes out to either December 4 or 5  (Shulchan Aruch 117:1).
                The Aruch Hashulchan [117:2] explains that really in Eretz Yisroel they should have started saying V'Sain Tal etc. immediately after Sukkos, however, since there were people travelling home after being oleh regel, they waited some time (see Mishnah Taanis 10a).  Once it was enacted this way, even nowadays that there [unfortunately] is no longer aliyah l'regel, the halachos of when to start remain the same.  Furthermore, Aruch Hashulchan [117:3 & 4] explains from numerous Rishonim that even though 60 days after the equinox was specifically when Baval (Babylon) needed rain, it was enacted that all of Chutz L'aretz starts asking then even though different countries need rain at different times.  We continue to recite V'sain Tal thru Mincha on Erev Pesach (Shulchan Aruch 117:1).
                If during the winter months one forgot, depending where in Shemoneh Esrei he or she is will determine the halachah.  If one is still davening the brachah of birchas hashanim [and did not say Sheim Hashem at the end of the brachah], should go back to where he was supposed to say V'Sain Tal etc. and continue normally. (Mishneh Berurah 117:16).  If he has already finished the brachah of Birchas Hashanim [i.e. he has already said the Sheim Hashem], one should say V'sain Tal during birchas Shema Koleinu as a bakashah (request for rain) (Sefer Ishei Yisroel 23:44 & ftnt. 175 quoting Harav Chaim Kaneivsky shlit"a).  If one has finished saying the brachah of Shema Koleinu but did not start saying birchas Retzei, he should say V'sain Tal before reciting Retzei (Shulchan Aruch 117:5).  If one already started saying Retzei, but did not finish Shemoneh Esrei [i.e. he has said Yehei L'ratzon after Elokei Netztor, should go back to the beginning of the brachah of Birchas Hashanim and continue straight (Sefer Ishei Yisroel 23:43).  If one already finished Shemoneh Esrei, he would be required to repeat Shemoneh Esrei entirely (Shulchan Aruch 117:4-5).

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