Parshas Vayeitzei 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 4:23 pm
Nov 20, 2015
Volume 12 Issue 6
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Dvar Torah


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

There are verses in the Torah where a slight nuance in the wording can be explained in a way that would work with the simple understanding of the verse. Or, one can take the approach that any variance in a verse's wording alludes to something beneath the surface, waiting to be revealed. This week's parsha, Parshas Vayetzei, is one such example. We are told of how Yaakov, upon arriving at Har Hamoria, prepared for sleep by placing stones in a semi circle around his head to protect him from wild animals. Rashi points out that when Yaakov wakes up, the verse states that he took "the stone," and not "the stones," from under his head. Rashi explains that it is written in singular form to allude to a dispute between the stones that occurred that night. Each stone desired the merit of having the righteous Yaakov rest his head upon it. The end result of their argument was that they all merged into one. The Maharal laments, that unfortunately, since such an event is hard to believe, there are those who prefer to explain the use of the singular form in a way that wouldn't conflict with the simple understanding of the verse. Therefore, since one cannot ignore the words of the Medrash, how is this phenomenon to be explained? After all, it is well known that stones aren't capable of speech, nor can they transform into one entity.
One may prefer to avoid the hidden and mysterious elements of the Torah, but because it is all truth one must attempt to extrapolate that which can be understood and apply appropriately. The Maharal reveals that the soul of Yaakov was a lofty one. Yaakov had worked upon himself until he eventually rose to a high level of holiness and was by definition removed from all that was physical. The spiritual plane that Yakov was on demanded that all that related to him be in a unified form. While in the physical world there is diversity, in the spiritual world there is only unity. We find the children of Yaakov, in responding to his concern of the possibility of sin amongst them, saying, "just as in your heart there is only 'one' so too in our heart there is only one." (Pesachim 56a) There are other additional to this concept.
With this in mind we can now understand how stones can argue. They don't argue verbally, rather there was conflict that arose as a result of the need to unify in their connection with Yaakov. Because Yaakov's spiritual nature demanded that the stones somehow combine, the stones therefore morphed into one entity. It is for this reason all Jews are unified under one name - Klal "Yisrael," the name of Yaakov. "Yisrael" signifies the spiritual accomplishment of Yaakov. We are only "Klal Yisrael" when we are "K'ish echad b'lev echad," one body and one heart.
We can now understand why the holiday of Succos represents Yaakov. The Sukah is referred to as "Sukas Shalom," the Sukah of Peace. R' Eliyahu Dessler explains this is because the transitory nature of the Sukah reminds us that all in life is temporary. If one contemplates and internalizes this lesson, one will learn to focus on what is truly important in life: Torah and service of Hashem. If we live that way there will be no reason to fight, because our priorities and goals will be the same. As a result there will only be peace and unity, which is the attribute of Yaakov. May we merit true unity through the guidance of Torah, thereby meriting the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day.  

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Chanukah      
Part 3  
  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i
The brachos  are recited before lighting the menorah  (Rama 676:6). Each night two brachos  [1) Lehadlik ner shel Chanukah and 2) She'asah neisim ]  are recited (Shulchan Aruch 676:2). On the first night one lights ,  a third brachah  [ Shehecheeyanu ] is recited . If one forgot Shehecheeyanu on the first night he lit , he may recite it on the first night he remembers (Shulchan Aruch 676:1).
One should light immediately [within toch k'dai dibbur (a few seconds )] of reciting the brachos .   The minimum  mitzvas hadlakah  is to light one candle on each night.   It is preferable that the one who starts a mitzvah  completes it.   Therefore, the one who recited the brachos should light all the candles himself.   If one did not, as long as he lit at least one candle it is not a brachah l'vatalah  (Mishneh Berurah 671:48-49).
After lighting the first candle the minhag  is to say Ha'neiros hallalu (Mishneh Berurah 676:8 & Aruch Hashulchan 676:8).   Others say it only after all the candles have been lit (Mishneh Berurah 676:8).   It is important to note, that if one talked before lighting at least one candle, this is considered an interruption and he would be required to recite the brachah  again before lighting.   Therefore, one has to be very careful  not to start saying Ha'neiros hallalu  until at least one candle was lit (Koveitz Halachos [ Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a ] 6:6).   If a person, after reciting his own brachah,  but before he lit one candle answered amen to someone else's brachah  on the menorah, it is not considered an interruption, and therefore he is not required to recite another brachah (Koveitz Halachos 6:9).   When lighting, it is proper to have in mind that he is lighting to give thanks and praise to Hashem on the miracle of the war [of the Chashmonaiyim ] (Halichos Shlomo Moadim 1:16:9).
There are different opinions as to which direction one should light the neiros .   Whichever way one lights he has fulfilled the mitzvah;  the difference of opinions is only which way is the most preferable (Mishneh Berurah 676:9 & Beur Halacha 676:5 s.v. k'day).    There is a halachah, ain maveirin al ha mitzvos (we do not "pass over" mitzvos ) (Gemara Pesachim 64b).   Therefore, if one is lighting starting from the left, one should stand towards the left side, as not to pass over candles on the right side (Mishneh Berurah 676:11).    A lefty should light with his left hand (Koveitz Halachos 5:4).
It is prohibited  to use any of the neiros Chanukah  for personal use (Shulchan Aruch 673:1) in order that it should be recognizable that these are ner mitzvah (Mishneh Berurah 673:8).   Another reason suggested is that the neiros  are lit as a remembrance  to the miracle  that was done with the menorah  of the Bais Hamikdash which was prohibited  to use for personal use (Mishneh Berurah 673:8).   In order to avoid using the light, the common custom is to light a shamash  , so that if one accidentally does use the light we consider it as if he is using the light of the shamash  and not of the mitzvah candles (Shulchan Aruch 673:1).   It is preferable that the shamash  be higher than the other candles (Rama 673:1).   Nevertheless, even when one lit a shamash, one should preferably not use the shamash  when it is together with the other candles, since it appears as if he is using the mitzvah candles (Mishneh Berurah 673:15).   It is prohibited to use the neiros  starting from the time that they are lit through the time of the mitzvas hadlakah  [ ad shetichleh regel min hashuk ] (Mishneh Berurah 673:21).   It is also prohibited  to light other things from the neiros Chanukah  (Shulchan Aruch 674:1), including lighting other neiros shel mitzvah  [e.g. Shabbos candles] (Mishneh Berurah 674:9).   It is permitted to light other Chanukah candles from the shamash , because since it is the same mitzvah  it is not considered a "disgrace" for the mitzvah  (Shulchan Aruch 674:1).

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