Parshas Ki Savo 5777
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September 8, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 31
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Dvar Torah

Today Is The Day...
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas 
As we get closer to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur some of us get really nervous wondering how we will make it on Rosh Hashanah, while others prefer not to think about it. Fortunately, and not coincidently, this week's Parsha contains words of comfort and encouragement that can direct us in the right course in our preparation for the High Holidays. There are two verses that inspire a fresh approach.
In the first verse (26:16) Moshe tells the Jewish Nation, "This day, Hashem, your G-d, commands you to perform..." Rashi explains that "This day," conveys that "each day [the commandment] should be new in your eyes as if you were commanded that day." Similarly we find later in the Parsha Rashi comments on the verse (27:9) "This day you have become a people," that "everyday [the commandments] shall be in your eyes as if you had entered the covenant that day." The commentaries explain that both verses teach us that our covenant and the commandments should not become routine.
Perhaps we can add a new perspective to the above, based on what can be accomplished with Teshuva, repentance. Rabbi Meir Belsky zt"l in his Sefer "Citadel and Tower" quotes a Yalkut Shimoni (Bamidbar 29:1) which states: "Says R'Tachlifa Kisiri, by all other sacrifices the verse writes "and you have offered," whereas here (by the sacrifices of Rosh Hashanah) it is written "and you shall make..." [Why is this so?] Says The Holy One Blessed He, "Since you have come before Me today and you have been acquitted, consider it as if 'today' you were made - as if today you were formed a new creation..." From this Yalkut we can infer that if Teshuva accomplished the recreation of a person, it would also mean that he received all the commandments anew that day. Therefore instead of looking back at the year with an attitude of resignation, it is better to harness the power of Teshuva, become a new person with a fresh set of commandments. Additionally, Teshuva is possible everyday as we strive to be better people. This can be an alternative approach to the concept that "each day [the commandment] should be new in your eyes as if you were commanded that day." 
But we ask ourselves how can genuine repentance be accomplished? G-d may be willing to forgive us, but what of all the people we've wronged that we don't even know about or we are too embarrassed to approach? Aren't we told that if we haven't received forgiveness from our fellow even repentance of Yom Kippur won't help us?
The answer lies in a very encouraging Meshech Chochma at the end of this week's Parsha. After describing the initial effort required from the Jewish People to vanquish Amalek, with the proper trust, G-d will assist us. The Meshech Chochma goes on to say that this procedure is also applicable in regards to our battle with the Yetzer Horah and repenting. If one makes sincere initial effort towards repentance, Hashem will help us with the rest. He will even place the thought in the minds of our friends to forgive us.  May we make that initial effort and may Hashem bless us with His assistance, so that we achieve true Teshuva.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Hataras Nedarim
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

The custom is to matir nederim (annul vows) on Erev Rosh Hashanah in order to free ourselves from the punishment of not fulfilling a vow (Chayei Adom 138:8).  If one was not matir nedar on Erev Rosh Hashanah, he should do so during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva (Ten Days of Repentance)(See Mateh Ephraim 581:49).  One may matir nedarim at night (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky shlit"a] 5:3).  The prevalent custom is to be matir after shachris.
The Gemara [Nedarim 23b] says, "One who wants that his nedarim should have no force throughout the year, at the beginning of the year should proclaim that this coming year my vows should be nullified."  The Rishonim explain that one may make this proclamation any day of the year.  The Gemara is merely mentioning that if one wants that his nedarim should not take effect for the entire year, then one should proclaim this at the beginning of the year ­(Ritva & Rosh ibid).  Even though the case of the Gemara is not the exact case of what we do by hataras nedarim, many Rishonim understand that this Gemara is the source for this custom (See Tosfos s.v. tanna mistam (1) & Ran s.v. u'linyan).
By saying Hataras Nedarim a person is nullifying all previous vows that he has forgotten about (Koveitz Halachos 5:ftnt. 1).  However, any nedarim that a person remembers are not nullified, unless he specifies it (Shulchan Aruch YD 228:14).  If one began performing a good practice at least three times without saying "bli neder" (without taking a vow), it is considered as if he took a vow to preform that act (See Shulchan Aruch YD 214:1).  The opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l is when we recite hataras nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah, it helps to annul vows these practices as well (Shu"T Minchas Shlomo 1:91:20).
All agree that men are obligated.  Whether or not women are obligated is a dispute amongst the Poskim.  Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l held that the custom is that women are not matir neder rather they rely on Kol Nidrei to annul all vows (Halichos Shlomo 1:10 & ftnt. 13).  Children do not need to recite it (Halichos Shlomo Moadim 1:1:ftnt. 38 & Koveitz Halachos 5:10).
One may not matir nedarim thru a shaliach (messenger) (Shulchan Aruch YD 228:16).  The one exception is that a married man may act as a messenger for his wife (Shulchan Aruch YD 234:56), even if his wife did not specifically appoint him as long as he can assume that she would want him to be (Halachically Speaking 1: pg. 239 quoting Harav Yisroel Belsky zt"l).  In a case where the husband is acting as his wife's messenger, he should mention this to the Dayanim (judges). This can be accomplished by adding the words "v'chein l'ishtee kain" (and same for my wife) (Halachically Speaking 1: pg. 239 quoting Harav Yisroel Belsky zt"l).
The recitation of hataras nedarim, will only nullify one's vows if he understands what he is saying (Chayei Adom 138:8).  Therefore, if one does not understand the text, he should either read through a translation beforehand (Halachically Speaking 1: pg. 240) or say it in the language that he understands (Chayei Adom 138:8).
The Bais Din that is nullifying the nederim should consist of at least three men (Shulchan Aruch YD 228:1 & Shach YD 228:4).  If possible, he should try to make sure that all the Dayanim are full halachically men [i.e. are 13 years of age and have physically matured] (Hagaos Rebbe Akiva Eiger YD 228:3 & Pischei Teshuva YD 228:3).  The Bais Din may consist of relatives of the one annulling his vow or to each other (Shulchan Aruch YD 228:3).  Although generally practice is the person annulling his vows stands and the Bais Din sits, neither is required.  Therefore the one annulling his vows may sit and the Bais Din may stand (Shach YD 228:9 & Koveitz Halachos 5:7-8).

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