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Parshas Chayei Sarah 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 5:49 pm
October 25, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 3
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Dvar Torah

What You're Looking For


By Rabbi Yakir Schechter


                 As the time for Yitzchak's marriage approaches, Avraham charges his servant, Eliezer, with the important task of finding a spouse for his son.  Although we might have expected the Torah to mention the qualities that were important to Avraham in a potential spouse (surely they would include the most pious traits), the Torah, does not.  Interestingly, the only thing the Torah does mention is Avraham's insistence that Yitzchak's wife not be from the Canaanite women.  Even more interesting is the absence of any reason why Avraham denied his son a spouse from Canaan.


  The Ran in his D'rashos (D'rush 5) indicates that the attribute that was most important to Avraham was middos tovos.  Avraham was well aware of the nature of the women where he lived.  He saw that their middos were not up to par and therefore would not allow his son to marry them.  With this understanding we can appreciate the pasuk later in the Parsha.  While davening to Hashem that He guide him in choosing the right wife, Eliezer makes the following statement: "Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say 'Please tip over your jug so I may drink,' and who replies, 'Drink, and I will even water your camels,' her will You have designated for Your servant, for Yitzchak...."(24:14).  The act that Eliezer wished to see was the manifestation of the midda of chessed, and as the Kli Yakar explains, chessed is the quintessential midda tova.  Having been in the constant presence of Avraham, Eliezer knew quite well which traits Avraham deemed necessary for Yitzchak's wife.


  However, one question still remains.  So what if the woman had great middos.  Maybe she was an idol worshiper!  Why didn't Eliezer feel the need to ascertain whether she was a yarei shamayaim (one who has awe/fear of Heaven)?  In his sefer Lev Eliyahu, Rav Eliyahu Lopian posits a beautiful idea.  Without question, the main ingredient for avodas Hashem is yiras shamayim.  This is obvious from last week's parsha.  After Avraham passes the test of the akeida, Hashem responds: "Now I know that you are G-d fearing."  But even one who does not possess yiras shamayim, as long as he has middos tovos, he already has the tools to easily acquire yiras shamayim.  When this person will be exposed to exemplary role models who excel in yiras shamayim, they will easily absorb that yira and it will become a part of them.  Eliezer knew that Rivka had sterling middos and was confident that once she would be exposed to Avraham and Yitzchak, the yira would easily become part of her as well.


  From the words of Rav Lopian, we see the importance and greatness of middos tovos.  So important are middos tovos, says Rav Chaim Volozhiner, that if one lacks them, even if he learns Torah all day, he is frowned upon by Hashem. May Hashem help us grow in our middos, and ultimately develop into true yirei Hashem.

Dvar Halacha

 Halachos of Chanukah


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


It is important to learn the halachos of Chanukah in proximity to the Yom Tov, in order to familiarize oneself with the relevant laws (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 18:1).


There is a difference between the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of Purim.  With Purim,Haman decreed that the Jewish people should all be killed.  He would not have allowed them to live even if they converted.  If he would have succeeded there would no longer be mishteh v'simcha (feasting and being joyous).  Therefore, Chazal instituted that Purim is a day of praising Hashem through feasting and joy.  However with the miracle of Chanukah, Antiochus Harashah did not plan to kill them.  Rather he wanted them to cease practicing their religion.  Therefore, Chazal instituted that days of Chanukah should be days that we praise Hashem and be thankful we have the merit to serve Him, but not days of feasting (Shulchan Aruch 670:1 & Mishneh Berurah 670:6).


In view of the fact the days of Chanukah are days of hallel v'simcha (praise and joy), generally one may not say a hespid (eulogy) or fast [even if one has yahrtzeit for a parent] (Shulchan Aruch 670:1 & 3 & Rama 670:3).  If one did fast, he is required to fast another day after Chanukah for fasting on Chanukah (Mishneh Berurah 670:11).  Similarly, Tachanun is not recited beginning at Mincha of Erev Chanukah (Rama 683:1), nor do we say Lamnatzei'ach (Shulchan Aruch 683:1) or Kel Erech Apayim before taking out the Torah (Mishneh Berurah 683:1).


On Chanukah there is no mitzvah of having a seudah (festive meal) (Shulchan Aruch 670:2).  The Rama [670:2] comments that if one makes a seudah and sings zemiros v'tishbachos (songs and praises) to Hashem, this would have the status of a seudas mitzvah.  The Chafetz Chaim adds that one should be careful to say divrei Torah (Be'ur Halachah 670:2 s.v. v'nohagin).


We recite the complete Hallel all 8 days of Chanukah (Shulchan Aruch 683:1).  There is a machlokes whether women are also obligated to recite Hallel throughout Chanukah (see Sefer Ishei Yisroel 48:11).  If one accidentally said chatzi-Hallel on Chanukah, one would be required to repeat the complete Hallel (Koveitz Halachos 17:12).


Chazal established that we say Al Ha'neesim during bentching [in the brachah of nodeh lecha] and in Shemoneh Esrei [in the brachah of Modim] (Shulchan Aruch 682:1) since these 2 brachos are birchos ho'daah (blessings of praise)(Mishneh Berurah 682:2).  We do not mention Al Ha'neesim in the brachah mei'ain shalosh [Al Ha'michya] (Mishneh Berurah 682:2).  If one forgot to mention Al Ha'neesim one does not go repeat Shemoneh Esrei (Shulchan Aruch 682:1).  However, if one did not yet say Hashem's Name, he should go back and say it (Shulchan Aruch 682:1).  It is important to note, even in cases where one skipped Al Ha'neesim, one may add it later as a ba'kasha (request); in bentching during the Harachamuns and in Shemoneh Esrei during Elokei Netzor (Mishneh Berurah 682:4).  If one accidentally mentioned Be'may Mordechaiv'Esther [which is recited on Purim] instead of Be'mayMattisyahu [and finished the brachah] he does not need to repeat (Koveitz Halachos 17:8).

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