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Parshas Vayeitzei 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 4:32 pm
November 8, 2014
Volume 10 Issue 5
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Dvar Torah

The Proper Place to Pray 

 

By Rabbi Shmuel Grunberger

           

                 

The Gemara in Pesachim (88a) says: "We don't follow Avraham about whom the pasuk says he davened 'on a mountain,' and we don't follow Yitzchak about whom the pasuk says he davened 'in a field.' Rather, we follow Yaakov who called the place he davened in a 'bayis,' a house. As the pasuk says, "Vayikra es shem hamakom hahu Beis Al," "And he called the name of that place the House of the Almighty."

 

Rav Shimshon Pincus, zt"l explains that there was a fundamental disagreement between the patriarchs as to the ideal place to connect oneself to Hashem through tefilla. They all agreed that in the street or a park was definitely not an option because davening, where one connects intimately with Hashem, needs to be more private and personal. Avraham Avinu felt that high up on a mountain was far from all the mundane matters of the world and therefore would be fitting for a private relationship with the Almighty. Yitzchak Avinu, however, felt that a mountain wasn't enough, because even though there aren't many people found on top of a mountain, it is still a "shetach hefker"- an open property for all to enter. Therefore, Yitzchak decided the more proper setting is a "sadeh"- a private field. Yaakov Avinu felt that even a private field isn't good enough to form one's intimate relationship with Hashem. The ideal place is a "bayis"- a house. No one enters a house without knocking on the door. Even if the door is unlocked, one still knocks knowing it is a private property and that permission is needed to enter.

 

This is what the Gemara means, "Not like Avraham on a mountain, and not like Yitzchak in a field, but rather like Yaakov - in a house." Yaakov has taught Klal Yisrael a very important lesson. When it comes to the relationship with our Father in heaven, just dveykus (attachment) itself is not enough. It needs to be dveykus in a private place where nothing can distract us. Not on a mountain and not in a field, but rather only in a bayis - a Bais Hamikdash.

 

The Beis Hamikdash was a place where we lived together with Hakodosh Baruch Hu in holiness and purity. One had to be completely pure and clean from all mundane thoughts and activities to enter the Beis Hamikdash.

 

Rav Shimshon continues, that because we don't have a Beis Hamikdash nowadays, the need arises for us to strive to become talmidei chachmim and yireishamayim. Talmideichachamim and yireishamayim live intimately with Hashem, not allowing any outside influences to hinder the relationship. The closest we come to a Beis Hamikdash nowadays, is our own bayis/house (which is referred to as "mikdash m'at"), a beishaknesses/shul, and a beismedrash. It is therefore essential to be extremely careful while in such places to remember this Gemara. We have to enter our house, shul or beismedrash holy and pure, and of course maintain the "kedusha and tahara" while inside.

 

With this new understanding of the pasuk, let us strengthen ourselves and work on removing whatever distractions are weakening our relationship with Hashem. Let us introspect and discover if anything is distancing us from our private and pure dveykus with Hashem.  If we keep this in mind, hopefully Hashem will answer our tefillos and bring Mashiach along with the real "Bayis" - the third and final BeisHamikdash!

 

 


Dvar Halacha

 Halachos of Chanukah  part 3

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

 

 

 

We recite brachos before lighting the menorah (Rama 676:6). Each night 2 brachos [Lehadlik ner shel Chanukah and She'aseh neisim] are recited (Shulchan Aruch 676:2). On the first night one lights, a third brachah [She'hecheeyanu] is recited. If one forgot She'hecheeyanu, 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 1 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 1 candle, this is considered a hefsek (interruption) and he would be required to recite the brachah again before lighting (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 6:6).  Therefore, one has to be very careful not to start saying Ha'neiros hallalu until at least 1 candle was lit (Koveitz Halachos 6:6).  If a person, after reciting his own brachah but before he lit 1 candle, answered amen to someone else's brachah on the menorah, this is not considered an interruption and is not required to recite another brachah (Koveitz Halachos 6:9).  One should 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 & Be'ur Halacha 676:5 s.v. k'day).   There is a halachah, ain maveirin al hamitzvos (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).  One should preferably not use the shamash when it is together with the other candles, for 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 mitzvashadlakah [ad shetichlehregel min hashuk] (Mishneh Berurah 673:21).  It is also prohibited to light other things from the neiros Chanukah (Shulchan Aruch 674:1). One may 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). It is still prohibited to light other neiros shel mitzvah [for example, Shabbos candles] (Mishneh Berurah 674:9).

 

 

 

 

  

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