Parshas Vayechi 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 4:40 pm
January 13, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 9
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Dvar Torah

An Unobstructed View
 By Rabbi Yisroel Ackerman

The passuk says, "His sons carried him to the land of Canaan and they buried him in the cave of the Machpelah field, the field that Abraham had bought as a burial estate from Ephron the Hittite, facing Mamre."(50:13) Unmentioned in the Torah is the showdown between Eisav and Yaakov's sons. The Gemara ( Sotah 13a) as well as Targum Yonason recount Eisav's appearance at the cave and his attempt to bar Yaakov's burial with the claim that as the firstborn he, Eisav, was entitled to the coveted burial plot. When the brothers tried to remind Eisav that their father had legally acquired the firstborn rights from him, Eisav denied their argument and demanded proof of the sale. Fleet-footed Naphtali was dispatched to Egypt to retrieve the bill-of-sale. Meanwhile, Chushim the son of Dan, who was deaf and therefore unaware of the situation, asked what was causing the delay. When informed that his not-so-great-uncle Eisav was denying his grandfather access to the cave, he exclaimed, "And until Naphtali returns from Egypt my grandfather will lie here in disgrace?!" He promptly drew his sword and decapitated Eisav.
The obvious question begs to be asked: What did Chushim see so differently from the others at the scene that resulted in him taking action while the others stood by passively? Further, why does the Gemara stress that he was deaf?
Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz Zt"l ,a past Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir, in his monumental work "Sichos Mussar ", explains using a fundamental principle. As human beings, our nature is that we easily get "caught up in the moment" and lose sight of the broader picture. It can be a slow and insidious process, but before we know it we can get sucked into and accustomed to the recently established status quo. Yaakov's sons were caught up in the conversation with Eisav and as they attempted to reason with him, they began to get "comfortable" with the situation without realizing it. Chushim, being deaf, was completely uninvolved in the conversation and was therefore able to step back and see the problem for what it was, that Eisav was illegally blocking passage for his grandfather whose corpse was lying in disgrace. Therefore, to him the course of action was clear, removing the obstruction.
This situation is something that is quite common in our lives. We can get caught up in an issue and lose sight of the forest and be unable to see the obvious course of action. It is precisely for this reason that it is imperative to "make for yourself a Rav and acquire for yourself a friend" (Avos 1:6) because an outsider has the ability to view the situation from an objective, unbiased standpoint. Let us strive to acquire for ourselves a Rabbi and faithful friends who can help guide us through our lives and the challenges we will inevitably face.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of V'Sein Tal U'Matar  part 2
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi
It was mentioned previously, if one forgot to recite vsain tal u'matar in the brachah of Baraich Aleinu and did not remember until after he completed Shemoneh Esrei, he is required to repeat the entire Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 117:4-5). If one is in doubt whether he said the right text, the assumption is that he said what he is accustomed to saying. The halachah tells us that for the first 30 days or until one has said the new way 90 times, he has to assume that he said what he was used to saying until now (Shulchan Aruch 114:8 & Mishneh Berurah 114:37). Therefore, if it is within 30 days of when he started saying v'sain tal, unless he "practiced" saying v'sain tal u'matar liv'racha 90 times, he must assume that he said the incorrect phrase of v'sain brachah and would be required to repeat Shemoneh Esrei. It is important to note, when "practicing" one should say the whole phrase v'es kol menay tzi'vuasah l'tovah v'sain tal u'matur l'vrachah and not just v'sain tal u'matur l'vrachah (Mishneh Berurah 114:40). If one practiced in increments [i.e. he did not say 90 all at one time], whatever number he already did counts towards the total of 90 (Mishneh Berurah 114:42). Therefore, it one wants to do 30 three different times etc. it would count.

It is only considered a safek (doubt) if one knows that at some point while davening Shemoneh Esrei he planned on saying the correct text, and immediately after davening he is unsure. However, if some time has passed and then he is unsure, we assume he recited the proper text (Mishneh Berurah 114:38).

Since we recite the brachah of Baraich aleinu many times each week, it is befitting to understand some background of this brachah. The Tur (OC 116) explains this brachah has 30 words, which corresponds to two different verses that are asking Hashem to be generous with our livelihood. The Posuk [Devarim 28:12] "Yiftach Hashem luch es ohtz'roh ha'tov" etc. has 23 words, and the Posuk [Tehillim 145:17] "Po'sayach es yadecha" etc. has 7 words.

At first glance, it appears that Chazal established as one of the brachos of Shemoneh Esrei that we ask Hashem that this year we should be blessed with livelihood. Harav Shimon Schwab, zt"l, points out that the literal explanation of this brachah cannot be correct, for we know that a person's livelihood for the year is decided on Rosh Hashana (Gemara Beitzah 16a). As an aside, this Gemara helps us understand an idea expressed by Shlomo Hamelech "One's livelihood is not based on intelligence" [Koheles 9:11], how we see many smart individuals that no matter how hard they try are not successful at bringing in a decent income and we find many people with limited intellect and become wealthy sometimes with only minimal effort; for it is all predetermined. If so, why are we davening each day for livelihood, if seemingly we cannot affect that which was already been decreed? Rav Schwab, zt"l, explains it must be that if Chazal established that we recite a brachah for parnassah each day, that one can assume that each day there is indeed potential to enhance one's parnassah. The Gemara [Beitzah ibid] teaches there are a few "exceptions" that are not determined on Rosh Hashana; money spent on Shabbos and Yom Tov needs and also on his children's Torah education. Although the Gemara does not explicitly state this, according to some opinions, included in this list is money spent on any mitzvah (see Ritva ibid.). Therefore, the meaning of this brachah is that we ask Hashem to bless the efforts that we have made to earn our livelihood, so that we will be able to use them for these other things, to be able to make a beautiful Shabbos and Yom Tov meal and paying to educate our children in the proper way of life (Rabbi Schwab on Prayer pg. 461- 463).

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