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Parshas Vayera 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 5:41 pm
November 7, 2014
Volume 11 Issue 2
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Dvar Torah


 Jew by Defintion 
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas


When concluding this week's parsha, and reading the climactic ending of Avraham's tenth test, we come to a well known question. Why is the test of the Akeida (the potential sacrificing of Yitzchak) attributed solely to Avraham. Did not Yitzchak play at least an equal role? Additionally, history unfortunately is replete with examples of parents during times of religious persecution having to actually slaughter their children. What makes the Akeida unique?


To answer, let us understand an interesting Gemarah in tractate Kesubos (8b). "He [Reish Lakish] said to [his spokesman], 'Arise and say something about those who comfort mourners.' He began 'My brothers, those who bestow kindness, and sons of those who bestow kindness, who hold onto the covenant of our forefather Avraham.'" Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner points out that from this Gemarah we see that chessed, (kindness) is not merely a good attribute. Rather it defines our essence, inherited from our forefather Avraham. What does this mean?


We are taught that the purpose of creation was so that G-d could bestow his infinite kindness upon a deserving being. As it says in Tehillim, with the explanation of our sages, "Olamchessedyibaneh," "A world of kindness was built." The path that Avraham took to discover the "Builder" of this world was the path of chessed. By examining G-d's "palace," he came to realize who it was that made the "palace." Through contemplating and understanding that there was an inner purpose to the magnificent universe around him, he came to recognize the Oneness of Hashem. He then realized that it was his obligation to spread the knowledge of G-d, based on this principle of kindness and giving. He did this in spite of knowing that he was taking the exact opposite approach of the entire world. He preached and taught despite the dangers involved, so strong was his conviction in his message. He did this all this before G-d appeared to him.


The source for Avraham's concrete belief in a non-physical G-d came from understanding the depth of G-d's chessed. He understood that just as it is a greater kindness to give a person a job rather than a stipend, so too G-d sends tests our way in order that we should "earn" His goodness. This was the theme of Avraham's lectures and the motto of his very being; solid belief in the existence and kindness of G-d.


But the test of the Akeida, the potential human sacrifice challenged that. It challenged not only that belief, but everything the Avraham represented and stood for. The very path that Avraham took to recognize G-d, now headed in the opposite direction. What can destroy and shatter a person emotionally more than that!? The NesivosShalom tell us that this is why the Akeida was such a powerful test and unique to only Avraham, even more than to Yitzchak. For it was Avraham whose essence was at stake. Later acts of full belief in G-d with self-sacrifice were only possible because of the ironclad belief and trust in G-d performed by Avraham at this moment. It is as if Avraham's act implanted something special in the DNA of the Jewish people. It was his unwavering understanding that the chessed of G-d only came through choosing G-d. The very thing that could have been his undoing, served to solidify his faith through his choosing G-d and therefore G-d choosing us as His people. This attribute of Avraham came to define our essence and our covenant with G-d. May we never be tested, but if we are, may we stand true and strong in its face, like our forefather Avraham, with the understanding of what it means to be a true Jew.




Dvar Halacha
Halachos of Mashiv Haruach part 2


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


We mentioned last week that beginning Shemenei Atzeres at Mussaf we begin reciting mashiv ha'ruach in the second brachah of Shemoneh Esrei [Gevuros]. In certain instances, if one forgets to insert this phrase, or said the wrong phrase, he would be required to repeat Shemoneh Esrei. It is important to note that if one recited morid ha'tal without mentioning morid ha'gashem he is not required to repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 114:5). The reason is, in the brachah of Gevuros we are praising Hashem's Awesomeness. When one mentions morid ha'tal one is praising Hashem, thus fulfilling this obligation (Mishneh Berurah 114:27).


If one made no mention of either mashiv ha'ruach or morid ha'geshem, he is required to repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 114:5).   Therefore, if one is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei and realizes he forgot to mention mashiv ha'ruach, depending on which point he is at will determine the halachah: if he is still in the brachah of Gevuros and did not start the brachah of m'chayei ha'meisim, he should say the words morid ha'geshem and then continue from where he was up to (Shulchan Aruch 114:6). If he has already said v'neeman atah l'hachayos meisim [but did not start reciting the brachah mechayei ha'meisim],he should say morid ha'geshem and then continue v'neeman atah (Mishneh Berurah 114:29). If one started the brachah of mechayei ha'meisim: if he said Hashem's Name but did not finish the brachah, he should say lamday'nee chu'kecha, then return to mashiv ha'ruach and continue (Mishneh Berurah 114:32 & Be'ur Halachah 114:6 s.v. b'lo). If one remembered after completing the brachah of mechayeh ha'meisim but before starting the next brachah of Atah Kadosh, he should mention it before starting atah kadosh and then continue normally (Shulchan Aruch 114:6 & Mishneh Berurah 114:30). If one already started the brachah of Atah Kadosh, he must go back to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 114:5 & 6).


If one is uncertain whether he mentioned mashiv ha'ruach, it is assumed that until one either mentions the new phrase 90 times or 30 days has passed [i.e. 22 Cheshvon], he said what he was accustomed to saying (See Shulchan Aruch & Rama 114:8). Therefore, if one does not normally insert morid ha'tal during the summer [which is the custom of many bnei ashkenaz], when in doubt, one is required to repeat shemoneh esrei. If one normally says morid ha'tal during the summer [which is the custom of bnei sefard], then he would not need to repeat shemoneh esrei.

If one is unsure whether he recited mashiv ha'ruach, however he remembers that at some point while davening Shemoneh Esrei he was conscious of the fact that he needed to say it, if his doubts were not immediately after finishing Shemoneh Esrei, then he does not need to repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Mishneh Berurah 114:38). If immediately after Shemoneh Esrei he had his doubts, then one would be required to repeat (Mishneh Berurah 114:38). Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, says that if one remembered that when he started davening the brachah of Atah Gibbur he was aware that he needed to recite mashiv ha'ruach, even if his doubts began immediately after Shemoneh Esrei, he can assume that he said the proper text (Sefer Ishei Yisroel 23: ftnt. 134).


As mentioned, one may practice 90 times to accustom himself to say the correct phrase. One does not need to recite the 90 times all at once, rather one can divide it up into increments (Mishneh Berurah 114:42). Practically, regarding this specific halachah of mashiv ha'ruach, one should say me'chayei maisim atah rav l'hoshea mashiv ha'ruach u'morid ha'geshem (Rama 114:9 & Mishneh Berurah 114:44).



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