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"You shall command Benei Yisrael to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting." With this command our parashah begins. The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 36:1) comments, "Hashem named you verdant olive tree, fair, with choice fruit (Yirmiyahu 11:16) - were Benei Yisrael referred to only as this olive? Weren't Yisrael likened to all beautiful, choice fruits? To a vine - as it says, 'You plucked up a vine from Egypt' (Tehillim 80); to a fig - as it says, ‘like the first fig to ripen on a fig tree' (Hoshea 9); to a date - as it says, 'Your stately form is like a palm' (Shir Hashirim 7); to a nut - as it says, 'I went down to the nut grove' (Shir Hashirim 6); to a pomegranate - as it says, 'Your limbs are an orchard of pomegranates' (Shir Hashirim 4). But what does Yirmiyahu say? 'Verdant olive tree, fair, with choice fruit.' "Rather, just as this olive, while it is still on the tree it is picked, and then it is taken off the olive tree and crushed, and after it is crushed it is brought to the press and ground, and once it is ground it is wrapped in ropes and stones are cast on it, and only then does it yield its oil - so is it with Israel. Gentiles come and crush them, exile them, imprison them, and bind them in chains, and warriors surround them, and then they do teshuvah and are redeemed. As it is written, 'When you are in distress because all these things have befallen you in the end of days, you shall return unto Hashem your G-d and obey His word. For Hashem your G-d is a compassionate G-d, He will not fail you nor will He let you perish, nor will He forget the covenant of Your forefathers that He swore to them' (Debarim 4:30-31)."

These are the comments of the Midrash, and how relevant they are for our times - as if this was said today! What else must occur for us to conduct introspection - "He will say on that day: It must be because my G-d is not with me that these evils have befallen me!" (Debarim 31:17). When will we understand, that we are the olives. The troubles that have befallen us are the olive press. Whether we want it or not, in the end we will produce our fine oil, we will repent, we will accept upon ourselves the yoke of misvot. This all depends solely on us - whether the press will continue to turn and crush us, whether it will descend upon us again and again. And it has crushed us in every way possible - economically, in terms of security, diplomatically, medically, in any way imaginable. So why haven't we become wise, we do we not learn from the past? What did Pharaoh gain from his intransigence, what did Yonah gain by escaping, what have we gained until now? We have but one point of consolation. We have the power to determine how much longer the process of "oil production" will last, whether it will continue much longer or soon come to an end, and we can decide which press will fall upon us. In the end, we will become clear, pure oil.

The Hafess Haim zs"l has taught us (Shemirat Halashon 2:11) that this is how our kind, merciful Creator runs the world. Every bit of anger and punishment, every trouble and time of anguish, ends with consolation and happiness, with blessing and prosperity. Yehudah tore Yosef's garment after selling him, he dipped it in goat's blood and presented it to his father, claiming, "This we have found; please check it to see if it is your son's cloak." How much pain did this cause! Immediately, the attribute of "middah ke'neged middah" (measure for measure) was activated. Yehudah's two sons died and he had to rend his garments for them. He decreed a death sentence upon his daughter-in-law, Tamar, and she sent him a message saying, "Please check to see to whom this stamp, cord and staff belong." As the Gemara (Sotah 10b) observes, he was informed with same expression he used to inform his father about Yosef's alleged death. What humiliation he suffered at that moment; what pain did this cause him!

But this incident resulted in the birth of Peress and Zerah, Yehudah's two righteous sons. Peress' descendants were kings, and those of Zerah became the important members of the nation (Yebamot). The entire tribe of Yehudah, the royal line of the messianic king, which will lead the nation for eternity, comes from these two sons. In retrospect, how fleeting and insignificant was the punishment, and how great and eternal were its positive results!

Similarly, Elimelech and Naomi, who were exceedingly wealthy, lived in Bet Lehem when famine struck. The poor people of the city looked to them for assistance. Fearing that their resources will be depleted as a result of helping the poor, they left and settled in Moav. They married off their son, Mahlon, to Rut, the daughter of the Moavite king, Eglon. Elimelech and Mahlon died, the famine in Bet Lehem ended, and Naomi returned empty-handed with Rut. She had hoped to return secretly, anonymously, but as they approached the city the entire population came to greet them. What happened? That day Boaz, the most prominent man of the generation, lost his wife, and the entire city participated in the funeral. Along the way they met Naomi, the lonely, tormented, impoverished widow: "The entire city wondered with astonishment, and said, 'Is this Naomi?' She said to them, 'Do not call me Naomi; call me Marah [from the Hebrew word for bitterness].'" Here, too, the Hafess Hayyim zs"l says, Hashem worked middah ke'neged middah. As they left to Moav, the entire city accompanied them, wailing, pleading with them not to abandon them, to stay and help them. But they hardened their hearts and left. Now, Naomi once again finds herself surrounded by the entire city, but the roles have been reversed. And yet, nevertheless, in the end, it turned out that this funeral worked to her advantage. Boaz the widower married Rut, Naomi's daughter-in-law, who gave birth to Oved, the father of Yishai, himself the father of David Hamelech. Moreover, the pasuk tells that Naomi took Rut's child and became its nursemaid. A moment of humiliation turned into consolation for the rest of her life and for all eternity.

This is how our compassionate Father deals with us. We long for the day when all our troubles will turn to joy and celebration, into happy occasions and festivals, speedily, in our times, amen!


Dear Brothers,

We waited so many years for the Iron Curtain to open, for the rule of oppression and evil to collapse. Even at its prime, when hundreds of millions were blinded by the false propaganda and fell captive to inspiring slogans, when they dreamed of a worldwide revolution and sang of the establishment of a new world that would replace the old world which they would destroy down to its foundations - even then, our sages knew the pasuk, "When the wicked flower like grass, all evildoers blossom - only to be destroyed forever." They are but a withering bud, dried-out grass; their period of bloom was awfully short.

During those days a woman came before Rabbi Issar Zalman Melsser zs"l, the rabbi of Slutzk. Her husband was a high-ranking officer in the red army. A week earlier she bore a son, and she wanted to have him circumcised, to bring him into the covenant of Avraham Avinu. Her husband, however, opposed the idea on principle. He believed that religion and misvot belonged to the old world. But now a new light has shone, ushering in a new era where all people are equal, all workers are brothers. There is no longer any room for distinguishing between Jew and gentile through the sign of circumcision. The rabbi told her to tell the husband to come to him. He wants to speak with him. The officer came, firm and resolute in his decision which he presented to the rabbi.

The rabbi listened patiently and said, "Please listen, young man, to the words of an elderly gentleman. The idea of communism is opposed to human nature and doomed to failure. No, do not respond to me yet; please let me finish what I have to say. It resembles a spinning top which will ultimately fall; it stands in the meantime only by force of its acceleration. So long as the idea is new and exciting, it will capture people's hearts. Once the acceleration wanes, it will slow down and collapse. This will happen, by my estimate, in around seventy years. And then the glue that unites the nations of the Union of Soviet Republics will be removed, and each nation will demand its independence. Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, not to mention Poland and Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia - each will seek its identity, will look for its roots, will express an interest to return to its origins. Among them will be the Jews. Their children - and your children. If you circumcise him, he will know he is Jewish, he will know to where to return."

"What is the rabbi talking about!" the officer bellowed. "You are caught in an illusion; communism will conquer the world and last forever!"

We know full well who was caught in illusions and who was correct. But in truth, who can blame the officer? Communism was then at its peak, it trampled and trounced with all its vigor. It was confident in its might and justness. Hundreds of millions of people embraced it and took upon themselves its yoke. Communist cells operated in all countries of the world in order to move along the revolution. Who could have envisioned such a rapid decline, who would have imagined such an absolute collapse? Only someone who has the perspective of the Torah.

And this so closely resembles our situation today. We are held captive by the conditions of our lives and view the future as a carbon copy of the present. But when we look from the perspective of the Torah we see that soon everything will collapse, "and suddenly the Master, whom you seek, will enter His palace" (Malachi 3:1). Suddenly the shofar of Mashiah will be sounded, suddenly everything will change to blessing and goodness, joy and celebration, salvation and consolation. Let us return to our topic. We felt the pain of the detachment of three million Jews from their heritage, and we longed for the day when the Iron Curtain would be lifted, the wicked empire will fall, the day when the Jews could return to their heritage and have the opportunity to emigrate to the land of their forefathers. We rejoiced at their arrival, but we did not imagine that the authorities would intentionally encourage the emigration of many who are not Jewish - neither according to halachah, neither according to their lifestyle. They are avowed Christians and avowed anti-Semites. We are sincerely concerned about the character of life in Israel, in the land of the Jews, the country considered safe against intermarriage, where we thought we would create an authentic Hebrew culture. I, too, was concerned about the future, until I saw the Midrash at the beginning of our parashah: "Hashem named you verdant olive tree, fair, with choice fruit (Yirmiyahu 11:16) - why did Yirmiyahu compare our forefathers to an olive? All liquids blend with one another, but oil does not blend in; it stands by itself. Similarly, Yisrael does not blend with gentiles." We have here neither a berachah nor a promise, but a reality, a factual observation. Am Yisrael will preserve its purity, and the gentiles will leave it just as they joined it. There is nothing that ties them to this land, and the difficulties facing the country right now will soon chase them away from here. And who knows if the current situation has developed specifically for this purpose?

Shabbat Shalom

Aryeh Deri


"You shall place inside the breastplate of judgment the 'Urim Ve'tumim'"

The hoshen (breastplate) was a double sheet, twenty-five centimeters lengthwise and widthwise. In the outer sheet was placed a strip of gold with twelve precious stones - corresponding to the twelve tribes, with the names of the tribes engraved on the stones. The interior sheet was made from other assorted materials and dyes, including techelet. The "Urim Ve'tumim" were placed in between the two sheets of the hoshen. Rashi explains this expression to mean the sacred Name of Hashem, the "Shem Hameforash."

When a question of public concern arose, the people would turn to the kohen gadol. He would be infused with ru'ah hakodesh, and he would then look at the hoshen and see the answer in a prophetic vision, in the letters that would protrude towards him from the hoshen, telling him the answer (Rambam, Hilchot Kelei Hamikdash 10:11). The answer would be clear and straightforward, final and absolute (without any possibility of having the decree changed through tefilah and teshuvah - Yoma 73a).

"You shall place inside the breastplate of judgment the 'Urim Ve'tumim'"

The Name of Hashem placed in between the two sections of the hoshen was unique. It was a "secret transmitted to Moshe from the Al-mighty, and he wrote it with sanctity. It was the handiwork of the heavens, and from its power the letters of the stones of the hoshen would illuminate the eyes of the inquirer" (Ramban). The Ramban also writes that there were in fact two sacred Names. One was called "Urim," through the power of which certain letters would light up. The second was called "Tumim," through which the kohen gadol knew how to combine the illuminating letter properly so as to receive the answer. This also emerges from the translation of Yonatan Ben Uziel: "You shall place in the breastplate of judgment the Urim, which would illuminate their words and make known the secrets of Benei Yisrael, and the Tumim, which through their action make complete the kohen gadol who seeks information from the Al-mighty through them. For upon them was clearly engraved the great, sacred Name through which three hundred and ten worlds were created. It was clearly engraved on the 'shetiyah' stone with which the Master of the world closed the mouth of the great abyss. Whoever mentions this sacred Name at the time of his trouble is saved, and secrets are revealed through it."

"You shall place inside the breastplate of judgment the 'Urim Ve'tumim'"

The Urim Ve'tumim was not available during the time of the Second Temple, as it had been hidden before then; therefore, during the time of the second Mikdash Benei Yisrael could not consult the Urim Ve'tumim (Sotah 48b). The reason why this occurred is taught to us by the Rashbam zs"l. When the Torah prohibited consulting with sorcerers, magicians, and false, pagan prophets, who prophesied with the power of impurity (see Sanhedrin 65b), it declared, "A prophet from among you like me shall Hashem your G-d establish for you; him you shall obey" (Debarim 18:15). Although ideally one should obey the misvah of "You shall be complete with Hashem your G-d," and avoid inquiring about the future (Rashi, Debarim 18:13), we were nevertheless promised that whatever knowledge could be attained through the forces of impurity could be attained as well through kedushah. Therefore, so long as the prophets of impurity had the means at their disposal to tell the future, it was preferable that Benei Yisrael consult the kohen gadol who sees hidden things through the help of the sacred Names of the Urim Ve'tumim. In the time of the second Bet Hamikdash, however, the power of idolatry had already been eliminated (Yoma 69b), together with its sorcerers and magicians. Therefore, the Urim Ve'tumim were hidden, as well, and we are commanded not to concern ourselves with the future, but rather trust in Hashem, our Father and Shepherd, that He will guide us along the proper path.

"You shall place inside the breastplate of judgment the 'Urim Ve'tumim'"

The Gemara (Shabbat 139a) says that Moshe Rabbenu initially refused to accept the appointment as redeemer of Israel because his brother, Aharon, had been the prophet in Egypt, and Moshe did not want to insult him by infringing upon his position. But the Al-mighty promised him that to the contrary, Aharon will rejoice over Moshe's appointment and prestige. The Gemara then asks, what reward did Aharon receive for this? It answers that in this merit he earned the privilege of wearing the hoshen. The Ran zs"l (in his third "derush") asks, the hoshen was but one of the eight special garments of the kohen gadol. Why did the Gemara single it out as the specific reward for Aharon's joy over his brother's honor?

He explains that the Urim Ve'tumim in the hoshen helped Aharon respond to those who brought him inquiries regarding the future. This job seemingly belongs to a prophet, not a kohen. Why, then, was this role assigned to Aharon and his descendants - the kohanim? This was Aharon's reward middah ke'neged middah. Since he harbored no jealous feelings towards his brother, Moshe, who overshadowed him, having become the greatest of the prophets, he therefore earned this privilege of prophesying through the Urim Ve'tumim, which was on a higher level than any prophecy. (A prophecy of calamity could be annulled through repentance and prayer, whereas the prediction of the Urim Ve'tumim could never be overturned.)

A Summary of the Shiur Delivered on Mossa'ei Shabbat by Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a

Halachot of Tefilah

A person has four misvot aseh that he must fulfill upon rising in the morning: sisit, tefillin, shema, and tefilah. (Even tefilah constitutes a Torah obligation - see Ta'anit 2a, interpreting the pasuk in Devarim 11:13.)

The ssissit threads must be spun for the sake of the misvah of sisit. Meaning, before spinning the threads one must verbally state that he does so for the purpose of the misvah of sisit. Preferably, the threads should be spun by hand. However, one who wishes to be lenient and use threads spun by an electric machine has authorities on whom to rely; the one spinning should state before pressing the button to activate the machine that he spins for the purpose of the misvah. Rashi and Rabbenu Tam argue as to the correct sequence in which the four parshiyot in the tefillin should be written. The widespread practice is to adopt Rashi's position, that they are written in the sequence in which they appear in the Torah, and this is indeed the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch (34:1). However, the Shulhan Aruch adds that a G-d-fearing person should acquire as well a pair of Rabbenu Tam tefillin and wear both pairs in order to satisfy both views. He writes that one should do so only if he has achieved a reputation of piety. It would seem, however, that nowadays, when wearing Rabbenu Tam tefillin has become very widespread among G-d-fearing people who aren't necessarily well known for their special level of piety, it is proper for everyone to adopt this stringency and wear Rabbenu Tam tefillin. When wearing both pairs of tefillin, one must have in mind that he fulfills the misvah with the correct pair of tefillin and the second pair is not to be considered as tefillin, but rather normal straps.

Although ideally one should wear both pairs of tefillin at the same time, this would necessitate having very small tefillin in order for both pairs to fit on the place in the arm where one must wear tefillin. Since it is very difficult to find kosher tefillin of such a small size, one should wear the two pairs of tefillin one after the other. Meaning, one first wears Rashi tefillin with a berachah and keeps them on for shema and tefilah, and then after tefilah he should take them off and place Rabbenu Tam tefillin. He should then recite the first two paragraphs of shema while wearing Rabbenu Tam tefillin.

Before reciting the first pasuk of shema, one must have in mind to fulfill the Torah obligation of the recitation of shema; if one did not have this in mind he has not fulfilled his obligation. Additionally, one must concentrate on the meaning of the words during the recitation of shema and the berachot preceding and following it. When saying the words "Shema Yisrael," he must think, "Understand, Israel." If one did not concentrate on the meaning of the words during the pasuk of Shema Yisrael, he has not fulfilled his obligation. In the rest of shema, if one did not concentrate on the meaning of the words he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation "bedi'avad."

When reciting Amidah, one must concentrate on the meaning of all the words throughout the entirety of the prayer. If one cannot do so, he must at least concentrate on the meaning of the words in the first berachah. If one did not concentrate on the meaning of the words even during the first berachah, then according to the Shulhan Aruch (101) he must repeat Amidah. In practice, however, we do not nowadays repeat Amidah if we did not properly concentrate on the words, because it is probable that someone in such a situation will not properly concentrate the second time, either, and there is thus no reason to repeat the tefilah.

Nevertheless, one who normally does have kavanah when he prays - at least for the first berachah - who happens one time to recite the first berachah without kavanah, may repeat Amidah so that he will recite it with kavanah. Preferably, he should repeat it on condition that if he in fact has no obligation to repeat Amidah his repetition should be considered a tefilat nedavah (voluntary prayer).

One who realizes before concluding the first berachah that he has not recited it with kavanah should return to the beginning of Amidah, to the words, "Elokenu ve'Elokei avotenu… " If, however, he realizes only after he concluded the first berachah - meaning, he already recited, "Baruch Atah Hashem Magen Avraham," then he should preferably think silently in his mind the entire first berachah with kavanah and then continue with "Atah gibbor."


The Hippopotamus

In the "identification card" of the hippopotamus it says that it is capable of staying underwater for longer than ten minutes, its weight reaches 4.5 tons, and it has teeth around one meter long. The hippopotamus is not a quiet, low-key animal. Quite to the contrary, it causes more death in Africa than do lions. It is told that people once thought that the hippopotamus sweats blood. Today, however, we know the truth. The hippopotamus has glands that secrete a reddish liquid that works like ultraviolet, protecting the delicate, exposed skin of water-animals against the sun. The males in a herd of hippopotamuses conduct among themselves battles of control for several months. The battles take place in the water, with the two hippos standing facing one another with jaws gaping wide open, exposing their enormous teeth. If the enemy is not yet convinced of the strength of his opponent, the bloody fight begins, replete with roars and frightening shrieks. The results of the battle determine the status of the hippopotamus.

Our acquaintance the hippopotamus plays an important role in clearing rivers and lakes from vegetation that would otherwise block the flow of water. In the Victoria Nile, the hippopotamuses clear the vegetation from the channels. In places where the hippopotamuses were hunted, rivers were clogged, causing epidemics of various diseases, including malaria. Villagers were forced to abandon entire regions as a result.

Who would have believed? Who would have thought that as a result of hunting hippopotamuses rivers would be blocked and diseases would break out? But this is how the Al-mighty created His world. Nothing is for naught, nothing is without reason, nothing is without some value and worth. And there is nothing that happens by chance. For good reason the hippopotamus lives by the rivers, as it plays a crucial role in the rivers' ecological system. The same can be said regarding every step in life. Even if the human being often cannot understand, he can live his life with the confidence and assurance that there is a reason for everything, and he must hope that the day will come when all his troubling questions are finally resolved. This notion becomes all the more meaningful when dealing with our lack of understanding with regard to misvot. Every misvah has a purpose and reason; it was not given just by chance, and its ultimate purpose is for every Jew to earn blessing and goodness through its performance.


The Sin and Its Punishment (8)

Flashback: Berona, the merchant who fell captive and was sold as a slave in Spain, earned his master's trust and was ultimately named his inheritor. He purchased a slave who was the exact situation in which he had been: he was a Jew who was taken captive and sold in Spain and now feared that his Jewish identity would be discovered. While Berona had waited for the slave to reveal to him his secret such that he could free him, the slave feared for his life and fled.

In Spain, a slave that fled was sentenced to death. This was standard procedure, and even before Berona was notified, the city patrol was informed and began the hunt. When Berona heard, he shuddered. If he is caught by the police or citizens and handed over to the authorities, he will be killed mercilessly as a warning to all slaves. If Berona wanted to save the slave's life, he must catch him before anyone else does. He immediately ordered a group of sniffing dogs that excelled in pursuing refugees. Although he was already not a young man anymore, Berona himself nevertheless got on a horse and joined the search. The pursuit lasted a full day and night, over mountains and through valleys, and the following day they noticed the figure of Salmah, the fleeing slave, from a distance. With whatever strength he had left, he continued fleeing, occasionally looking over his shoulder to see his pursuers. He knew what awaits him as a fleeing slave, he knew what would happen to him if he is caught.

"Stop!" called Berona. He called with all his strength, with a full throat. But the slave paid no heed. "Turn yourself in," Berona called, "and we will pardon you!" the master cried. The slave stopped, confused and bewildered. Berona tried convincing him, but the slave feared for his life and continued his flight. Berona was determined to stop him no matter what it took. He drew his bow and shot an arrow as a warning, to frighten him, to stop his escape; an arrow to fly over his head and deter him from continuing.

The arrow made its way and passed over the slave's head, but the slave pressed onward. Berona sent another arrow, and this time it stopped the slave - it hit him in the back.

"Go to him, quickly!" Berona ordered. They turned him over and found that he had died. The arrow and pierced his heart. From that day on, Berona knew no rest. His gut told him that this slave was a Jew, and he wanted so badly to save him. He wanted to give him half his wealth and set him free. He wanted to save his life. He wanted so much to help, and in the end it was he who killed him. Unintentionally, but nevertheless. Berona fell into depression and deteriorated steadily from one day to the next. He couldn't eat anything, he lost interest in everything, and two months later he died. On the same day that Berona died, alone and tormented, in Spain, his wife, Hannah, died in Alexandria, Egypt. When she found out that her first husband was still alive, she immediately separated from her second husband. What terrible humiliation she suffered! It seemed to her that she was the subject of every conversation, that everyone sat and gossiped about her. She closed herself off in her home and lived alone, and she, too, fell deeper and deeper into depression until she finally passed away - on the same day that her husband died.

The two souls ascended to the heavens on the same day and stood trial.

The heavenly prosecutor claimed: "Berona killed a man. Why did he have to shoot an arrow? He and his servants rode on horses, while the slave ran by foot, tired and weary. In just a few minutes they would have caught up to him. He shot and arrow, and the arrow took the fugitive's life. As we know, whoever has on his hands the sin of murder is considered a complete rasha. All the misvot he performed during his lifetime cannot counterbalance this grave transgression; they cannot save him from punishment (Rambam, Hilchot Rose'ah 4:9)."

Turning his attention to the wife, the prosecutor argued, "Hannah is responsible for her situation. She knew that there was but weak testimony to the alleged death of her husband. She should not have been so hasty to remarry." The prosecutor supported his claim with sugyot in the Gemara (Yebamot 88) and demanded that she pay the price for her mistake. She, and her husband. Eliyahu Hanavi then came and asked to respond to the prosecutor's claims.

To be continued


Rabbi Moshe Pardo zs"l

His efforts to establish the "Or Hahayyim" institutions brought Rabbi Mosheh Pardo zs"l to Brazil. One of the most prominent donors insisted that Rabbi Moshe come to him for the Shabbat meals, and he agreed. They decided they would meet in the Bet Kenesset, after tefilah. When the time came, however, the host disappeared. Rabbi Moshe did not know what to do. He left the Bet Kenesset, and suddenly a beautiful car stopped next to him. The wealthy man called to him from inside the car, "Rabbi Pardo, please… "

Rabbi Moshe's face turned white. "Today is Shabbat," he reminded the man.

The wealthy man calmly replied, "It's okay, the driver is not Jewish!"

"This is absolutely forbidden," Rabbi Mosheh sternly insisted.

"Do as you wish," the wealthy man arrogantly replied. "But it is a long walk to my house from here. We'll wait for you." "Don't wait," Rabbi Mosheh said. "I am not coming."

"But my wife went through so much trouble preparing; you cannot insult her!" the wealthy man protested.

"I will go with you only if you join me by foot and promise me that from now on you will observe Shabbat meticulously, according to halachah, and will not go into a car - even if the driver is not Jewish!" Rabbi Moshe demanded. The wealthy man refused, and Rabbi Moshe went in the other direction, to his dark room in the motel. He always had with him a bottle of wine, massot and canned fish to be prepared for any circumstance. Now, he figured, he will use them for his Shabbat meal. He walked into his dark room, and suddenly it became light. A neighboring non-Jew had gone out onto the balcony and turned on the light. Rabbi Moshe immediately recited kiddush with great joy, ate and sang zemirot. When he completed birkat hamazon, the non-Jew turned out the light on the balcony and returned to his room…

After Shabbat, the wealthy man called. He expressed his respect for the way Rabbi Moshe kept to his principles, and he asked to compensate him generously for his simhat Shabbat that was ruined. Rabbi Moshe said, "My Shabbat joy was complete. In your home Shabbat is not happy; it is saddened by its desecration… You need not compensate me. Even if you want to, I will not accept, because I do not accept money for the support of the sacred institution from Shabbat violators." The wealthy man then promised to properly observe Shabbat in order that he could continue donating money to the institutions!

(Taken from the book, "U'Mosheh Hayah Ro'eh")

According to the Order of the Shulhan Aruch, Based on the Rulings of Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a
by Rav David Yossef shlit"a

The Laws of "Hefsek" in Pesukei D'zimrah

In the middle of Pesukei De'zimrah, one may respond to the first five "amen's" in kaddish, meaning, through "da'amiran be'alma… " The other "amen" responses to kaddish (after "Titkabal"; "Al Yisrael"; "Yehei shelama"; and "Oseh Shalom") are not considered part of the main body of kaddish, and one may therefore not interrupt Pesukei De'zimrah for these responses. Nevertheless, one who does respond "amen" even to these parts of kaddish during Pesukei De'zimrah has authorities on whom to rely.

If one hears the congregation answering "Yehei Shemeh Rabbah mevarach" while he is in the middle of Pesukei De'zimrah, then if he generally follows the practice of the Sefaradim to respond through "da'amiran be'alma," he may do so in this case, too, even in the middle of Pesukei De'zimrah.

If one hears kedushah as he recites Pesukei De'zimrah, shema, or the berachot before and after the shema, he stops and recites with the congregation only the pesukim of "Kadosh kadosh" and "Baruch Shem." During Pesukei De'zimrah, one may interrupt to recite as well the final pasuk of kedushah - "Yimloch Hashem… " This applies as well to someone who is in between paragraphs of Pesukei De'zimrah, shema or its berachot. Similarly, if one hears the kedushah of musaf as he recites Pesukei De'zimrah, shema or the berachot of shema, he may not interrupt to recite "keter… "; he may recite only the two pesukim (or three pesukim, during Pesukei De'zimrah) as mentioned.

However, if this occurs after one has completed yishtabah but before he has begun the berachah of "yosser or," he may recite the entire text of kedushah.

One should not respond, "Baruch Hu u'baruch Shemo" while he is in the middle of Pesukei De'zimrah, even in between chapters, not to mention the fact that one should not do so in the middle of shema or its berachot, even in between chapters. One may, however, respond, "Baruch Hu u'baruch Shemo" when he is in between yishtabah and "yosser or." (One may not respond, "Baruch Hu u'baruch Shemo" in between the final berachah of shema and Amidah of arbit, and certainly not of shaharit.)

If one hears the congregation reciting Hashem's thirteen attributes of mercy in the pasuk of "vaya'avor" while he recites Pesukei De'zimrah, shema or its berachot, he should not interrupt to join their recitation. The same applies if one in this situation hears the congregation reciting the kedushah in the berachah of yosser or, or the kedushah in "U'ba le'Ssiyon."


"The sacred garments of Aharon shall be for his children after him… For seven days shall the kohen replacing him, from among his sons, who comes to the Tent of Meeting for the sacred service, wear them" (29:30). This pasuk commands that the kohen appointed as kohen gadol first wears the garments of the kohen gadol for seven consecutive days. But Rashi makes an additional comment, noting the expression, "hakohen tahtav" - translated here as, "the kohen replacing him." Rashi writes that in truth, the word "kohen" here is used as a verb. "This proves," Rashi writes, "that the term 'kohen' always means an employee, an actual worker."

What a beautiful insight this is, what a penetrating lesson emerges! Until now we thought that the term "kohen" denotes authority, honor and prestige, such as in the expression, "kohen on" (Bereisheet 41:45), or "kohen Midyan" (Shemot 3:11), and "uvnei David kohanim hayu" (Shemuel II 8:18). There, the Targum indeed translates the term to mean "they were great," of noble stature. The Messudot translates it as, "leaders and officers."

Rashi comes here and illuminates for us the concept of "kehunah." True, there is honor and prestige involved. But first and foremost, "kehunah" denotes work; a "kohen" is a worker. How much work, labor, and exertion is involved in authority and positions of honor! "Do you think that it is power I am giving you?! It is servitude that I am giving you, as it says (Melachim I 12:7), 'If today you will be a servant to this nation'" (Horiyot 10b). The Hafla'ah (Ketubot 17a) describes the leader of the generation as "serving" the people. Any rabbi, rabbinical judge, Rosh Yeshivah or maggid shiur knows this very well. Everyone involved in community service and running organizations knows this very well. May Hashem assist us in all our efforts on behalf of our nation, in our work as His messengers, that all our efforts and service will prove successful!

Yaakob Ben Senyar and Yis'hak Shaul Ben Leah

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