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Parshas Yisro 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 5:07 pm
February 5, 2015
Volume 11 Issue 13
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Dvar Torah


The Song That Never Ends  
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas  


In last week's Parsha, the Jewish people fled from the Egyptian army only to find the YamSuf blocking their path of escape. They pleaded to Hashem and Hashem miraculously split the sea before them, allowing them to escape. The Egyptians, who had followed them drowned. Their bodies were spat out by the sea, onto the shore by the feet of the Jewish people. Upon seeing their enemies dead in front of their eyes, and realizing the great miracles that were performed for them, the Jewish people broke out in song, thanking Hashem for their salvation. The Song, as we all know, is AzYashir, the ultimate expression of praise and thanks to Hashem. Although there is much to be learned from the words of this song, there is something about its structure that needs clarification.


In Tefillah there is a general rule that the doubling of the last stanza signifies the conclusion of a song. For example, Pesukei D'Zimrah ends with the doubling of the verse "Kol neshama tihallel  kah hallelukah," "Let all souls praise G-d, Hallelukah!" But in AzYashir this rule is not followed exactly. After the doubling of "Hashem yimloch li'olam va'ed," "Hashem shall reign for eternity." The song continues with the words "Ki vahsus Paroh..." When Pharaoh's cavalry came..." Why?


Rav Hutner in his sefer Pachad Yizchok quotes the Maharal in answering this question. The Maharal says that for a song of praise of Hashem to have an ending implies that there is a finite amount of praise available to be given. That would be a disgrace to Hashem, because it is impossible to adequately express praise of Hashem. To rectify this issue, the last passuk of "Az Yashir" is links the end of the song to the beginning. It is to be read like this; "When Paroh's cavalry came... into the sea and Hashem turned back the waters of the sea upon them the children of Israel walked on dry land amid the sea.... (go back to the beginning) Then (Az) Moshe and the children of Israel chose to sing (Yashir)...." The result is one endless circle of praise of Hashem. The ultimate song that never ends - constantly expressing our appreciation of everything Hashem does for us.


Now that we know that Az Yashir is the greatest expression of thanks that we can possibly give, we can ask the following question. In this week's Parsha we find that Yisro the convert is the first to say "Baruch Hashem." The Gemarah in Sanhedrin (92a) quotes Rabbi Papyas,"It is to the discredit of Moshe and the six hundred [Jews who experienced the Exodus] that they did not say Baruch Hashem [upon being saved from the Egyptians], until Yisro came and said Baruch Hashem." Rabbi Dovid Goldberg in his Sefer "Shiras Dovid" asks if "Az Yashir" is the ultimate expression of gratitude, isn't that a lot better than "Baruch Hashem"?


It is possible to answer with the following Abudraham (circa 1340). The Abudraham explains that the seven praises cited in the Tefillah "Ubimakheilos" (recited as part of the Morning Prayers on Shabbos) represent the seven levels of Heaven. We learn from this, that praising Hashem has to be on all levels. It is not enough to go to the highest and seemingly all encompassing level of praise. One has to touch on all levels, in order to express true appreciation for what Hashem does for us. From this we can learn a lesson concerning all areas of service of Hashem. All too often as we grow in our observance we tend to focus on the "bigger and better" while giving less significance to "minor" aspects of Judaism. May we fully appreciate all aspects of Judaism and in that merit help to bring Moshiach, speedily and in our days.






Dvar Halacha
The Laws of Purim  part 1


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi



There are 4 rabbinic mitzvos on Purim: Krias HaMegillah (reading the Megillah), Matanos L'evyonim (gifts to the poor), Mishloach Manos (sending food to one another), and Seudas Purim (meal).


Both men and women are obligated in all these mitzvos (Shulchan Aruch 689:1, Mishneh Berurah 694:1, Aruch Hashulchan 695:18). The reason why women are obligated even though these are all mitzvos asei she'hazman grama (positivecommandments that have a set time [that generally women are exempt from]), is because they too were saved from death at the time of Purim (Mishneh Berurah 689:1). Children who have reached the age of chinuch (to be educated) are also obligated (Shulchan Aruch 669:1 & Mishneh Berurah 669:3).


Each person is required to read [or hear] the Megillah both at night and day (Shulchan Aruch 687:1). The reason is to remember the neis (miracle) that the Jewish people called out to Hashem at day and night (Mishneh Berurah 687:2).


In order to fulfill one's obligation of hearing the nighttime Megillah, one needs to hear the Megillah after tzaitz hakochavim (nightfall), for only at tzaitz is it definitely considered halachically night. If one heard the Megillah earlier, even it was after shkeiyas hachama (sunset) it is unclear whether one has fulfilled his obligation. However, b'shas had'chak (pressing situation) one may rely on the opinion that after shkiyah is acceptable (Mishneh Berurah 692:14). If one started reading the Megillah before tzaitz hakochavim, even if he ended up hearing most of the Megillah after tzaitz hakochavim, he might be obligated to repeat the Megillah again (Mishneh Berurah 692:14, Be'ur Halachah 692:4 s.v. me'plag). However, if he needs to rely on the leniency of starting before tzaitz, is unclear whether to recite the brachah before the reading because of safek brachos l'hakel (when in doubt do not recite the brachah) (see Sefer Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 301 ftnt. 69 quoting Shu"T Mikdash Yisroel 63). The Megillah may be read any time during the night until amud hashachar (dawn). (Mishneh Berurah 687:3).


The proper time to read the Megillah during the day is from neitz hachamah (sunrise) (Shulchan Aruch 687:1). If one read the Megillah before neitz hachamah, even if it was after alos hashachar (dawn), he nevertheless fulfilled his obligation (Shulchan Aruch 687:1). If one is oines (has no choice), he may ideally read it from alos hashachar (Mishneh Berurah 687:6). The Megillah may be read until shkeiyas hachamah (Mishneh Berurah 687:5).


Before reading the Megillah, it is prohibitedto eat or sleep, because one may accidentally forget to hear the Megillah (Rama 692:4 & Mishneh Berurah 692:15). This applies to both the Megillah at night and at day and to both men and women. One may drink [e.g. coffee] before (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 8:2 based on Aruch Hashulchan 652:5). If one appoints someone else to remind him to stop eating or to wake up, he is permitted to eat or sleep (Koveitz Halachos 8:3&6). An alarm clock seemingly would not suffice (Koveitz Halachos 8:3).






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