Parshas Vayishlach 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 4:19 pm
Nov 27, 2015
Volume 12 Issue 7
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Dvar Torah


Yaakov Avinu's Secret
By Rabbi Shmuel Sussman

  Our forefather, Yaakov had a rough couple of years. For twenty years he lived with Lavan and had to deal with trickery and scams. After he left Lavan's house he had a near-death encounter with Esav's Angel and a "reunion" with his brother, Esav. It was a difficult stretch. Finally, the Torah relates to us (33:18) "Vayavo Ya'akov Shalem", and Yaakov arrived intact. What does this mean? Rashi comments that the verse refers to three things. He was physically intact. He didn't have any lingering effects from his fight with Esav's Angel. He was financially intact. He didn't lose any money from his gift to Esav. He was spiritually intact. He didn't forget any of his learning during his twenty years in Lavan's house. The Midrash relates that he was also intact in terms of his children. None of his children were affected by Lavan or Esav.

How did Yaakov achieve this? Why did he deserve this? The Midrash answers that this was due to something that we learned a few weeks ago. The Posuk tells us "V'Yaakov ish tam yosheiv halim", Yaakov was a simple man who sat in the tents. Rashi explains that this refers to Yaakov sitting in tents and learning Torah. That was the secret. That was the merit that allowed Yaakov, after going through so much, to arrive intact and complete.

Rav Pam derives a powerful lesson from this Midrash. Torah study is the way to bounce back and recover from whatever life throws at us. We see that in the merit of Torah study Yaakov was able to remain complete physically, spiritually, and financially. It even trickled down to his children who weren't affected by their evil surroundings. We know that "Maseh Avos Siman Labonim", the happenings of our forefathers is a sign for their children. Just like our forefather, Yaakov used Torah learning as an antidote to combat any lack, this is the way we can also remain complete and whole, on many different levels.

We see this concept in the Chanukah story as well. The Greeks tried to destroy us spiritually. They enacted decrees against learning Torah and keeping the mitzvos. The Chashmonaim responded by not listening and vigorously learning the Torah and keeping the mitzvos. They internalized the message of Yaakov. They understood that it was only through Torah that they would survive. The Torah study allowed the defeat of the "mighty through the hands of weak and the many through the hands of the few".
This message is especially appropriate for our times. We live at a time when there are constant threats to our physical safety all over the world. The financial markets are in a state of flux. The spiritual dearth in our day cannot be overstated. We need to fortify ourselves to make sure that we always remain undamaged in every possible way. We must take the message from Yaakov and involve ourselves with dedication to Torah study. In this merit, may we see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.  

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Chanukah      
Part 4  
  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i
If a candle extinguished unintentionally, one is not required to relight it, since the lighting is the fulfillment of the mitzvah (Shulchan Aruch 673:2).  However this is only true if the candle had the ability to stay lit for the proper amount of time [i.e. it was set up with enough oil and in a place where it was not likely it would blow out] (Shulchan Aruch 673:2 & 675:2 & Be'ur Halachah 673:2 s.v. im kuvtzu).  If one of the candles went out while one was in the middle of lighting, it is proper to relight it (Be'ur Halacha 673:2 s.v. im kuvtzu).  If one extinguished a candle intentionally, one is required to relight that candle [without a brachah] (Shaar HaTziyon 673:32).  If in the middle of lighting, one of the candles extinguished, one may relight it even though he has not completed lighting all the candles (Koveitz Halachos 5:9).
Beginning thirty minutes before the time to light the menorah, it is prohibited to be eat a seudah [which means eating either hamotzei or a k'beitzah of pas haba b'kisnin], learn, or get involved in any melachah which can be very time consuming.  The reason being, Chazal were afraid that one may get distracted and forget to light in the proper time (Mishneh Berurah 672:10).  Additionally, one should not go to sleep (Koveitz Halachos 2:1).
There is a machlokes haposkim if women who are fulfilling their obligation with their husbands' lighting are prohibited from these activities.  Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, holds that they are also prohibited (Halichos Shlomo Moadim vol. 1 16:3).  Other Poskim disagree (see Shloshim Yom Kodem Hachag pg. 265 ftnt. 42 & Koveitz Halachos 2:5).
Preferably one should not light neiros Chanukah while it is still day, since it is not as recognizable that he is lighting for the mitzvah.  If one is preoccupied [and he will not have any time to light later], then b'dieved one may light from plag haminchah (Shulchan Aruch 672:1).
The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] says that the preferred time to light neiros Chanukah is at "shkiyas hachamah", in order that the candles are lit at the time when people are still outside which creates more parsumei neisa (publicizing the miracle).  In halachah, there are different times that could be known as "shkiyas hachamah"  (see Gemara Shabbos 34b- 35a, Gemara Pesachim 94a and Tosfos Shabbos 35a s.v. trei there are different parts of shkiyah- beginning, end, etc.).  In regards to lighting neiros Chanuka, there is a machlokes which time the Gemara is referring to.  The different opinions are shkiyah (sunset)(Gr"a quoted in Mishneh Berurah 672:1), 15 minutes before tzaitz hakochavim (nightfall)(Mishneh Berurah 672:1), or tzaitz hakochavim (Shulchan Aruch 672:1).  In Chutz L'aretz there is no universally accepted minhag and there are differing opinions as what to do [i.e. what would be the best time to time to try to be yotzei all the opinions].  Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, held that one should light 10 minutes after shkiyah (Igros Moshe OC 4:101:6).  Harav Aharon Kotler, zt"l, held 25 minutes after shkiyah (Shu"T Az Nid'baru 7:70).  Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, suggests to light approximately 20-30 minutes after shkiyah (Koveitz Halachos 3:1 & ftnt. 2).
The Gemara [Shabbos 21b] writes that if someone for whatever reason [i.e. either on purpose or by accident] did not light the menorah during the proper time, he may [preferably] light until the time of "ad shetichleh regel min hashuk" (that people are coming home- i.e. people are still commonly found outside), because this is still parsumei neisa.  As an aside, this means at the time that most people have finished coming home from work even if they plan on going out again later (Shu"T Teshuvos V'hanhagos 2:342:4).  The Shulchan Aruch [672:2] rules this is approximately 30 minutes after tzais hakochavim.  However according to the reasoning that the time of "ad shetichla regel min hashuk" is later, this would affect two halachos, both as a leniency and as stringency.  The leniency is that the preferred time to light is extended until people practically are returning home.  The stringency is, one is supposed to have enough oil to last until that time.  Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, holds there is no obligation to have one's neiros lit until people are returning home, however it is parsumei neisa to have them lit for that long (Koveitz Halachos 3:2).  Therefore, if one is going out to a Chanukah party, as long as it was lit for 30 minutes, one may blow them out even though people are still coming home.
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