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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Al Hanissim’

Shabbos – A Day With Hashem: Shabbos and Chanukah: It Is Good to Praise Hashem!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

If you ask ten people what the main focus of Chanukah is, nine would probably answer, “lighting the menorah.” While that is certainly an integral part of the chag, the Gemara (Shabbos 21b) tells us, “The next year they established these days as a Yom Tov, l’hodos u’lihalel – to thank and praise.” What an eye opener! There is more to Chanukah than lighting the menyorah, playing dreidel and eating latkes? Yes! These are days established primarily to thank and praise Hashem!

The connection between Chanukah and our series on Shabbos is now clear. Thanking and giving praise to Hashem is a main theme of Shabbos as well. As we have mentioned previously, on Shabbos morning we add a pasuk to the bracha of yotzer ohr: “V’yom hashev’ee mishabeach v’omer mizmor shir l’yom haShabbos, tov lehodos l’Hashem – And the seventh day praises and says: ‘let us sing a song about the day of Shabbos – It is good to praise Hashem!’” Let us understand why giving thanks is an integral part of both Chanukah and Shabbos and how we can fulfill this obligation with joy.

The Darkest Exile

The Torah relates (Bereshis 1:2) that in the beginning of creation “v’choshech al penei tehom – there was darkness on the face of the depths.” The Midrash says that the “darkness” refers to the Greek exile. Why was this exile considered darker than any of the other exiles?

We explained in our first Shabbos article (Revealing Hashem’s Presence, 11-2) that Hashem has placed a darkness in this world in order to hide His existence. However, with a little bit of effort, we can find the Creator by examining the many different wonders of His world. Why is it then that so many people deny His existence? The number one reason is that they allow themselves to be influenced by science, which does not see past a superficial cause-and-effect system. They fail to realize that Hashem is the true cause of all these phenomena. The founders of this belief were none other then the Greeks. Unfortunately, at that time, most of the Jewish nation got caught up in Greek culture and this mistaken outlook did not leave room in their lives for Hashem or Torah, which reveals His Will. By extinguishing the light of Torah, which shows us how to navigate this world, they left themselves “in the dark.” Thus, the precise description of the Greek exile is “darkness.”

The small handful of Chashmonaim knew that a life without Torah was worthless, and they fought against the powerful Greek Empire. Hashem performed miracles for them, and they won battle after battle. Finally they liberated the Bais HaMikdash and purified it. When they discovered enough non-defiled oil for one day of lighting, Hashem performed another miracle and the oil burned for eight days. The darkness in which the Greeks had placed us was now removed and we “saw the light.” Once again we acknowledged Hashem’s dominion over the world and rededicated ourselves to His Torah.

However, this raises a difficult question. What was the need for the miracle of the oil? Couldn’t Hashem have hidden enough oil for eight days in the same way He hid a single flask?

Oil and Wars

Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l, Mashgiach of the Ponovezh Yeshiva, answers that the miracles of the war would not have been enough to motivate Bnei Yisrael to do teshuvah. There would always be those who believed we won because of our guerrilla tactics and the fact that we knew the terrain better, etc. Therefore, Hashem performed the miracle of the oil – an open miracle that could not be denied. Only then would everyone be compelled to realize that Hashem is the One Who orchestrated all of the wondrous events that led to their victory. In other words, the clear miracles open our eyes so that we can see the non-obvious ones.

My father, Rav Ephraim Niehaus, pointed out that this lesson was also learnt in our time – the hard way. Initially, most people admitted that the Six Day War was won through open miracles, but soon afterwards, many began to pat themselves on the back. The victory was because of our preemptive strike, our superior weaponry and strategy, and so forth. Hashem, therefore, taught us a painful lesson a few years later with the Yom Kippur War. Many warnings were ignored and we were taken totally by surprise; as a result there were many casualties. It then became clear, to those willing to see, that the victory in the first war was only because of Hashem.

Parshas Tetzaveh

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 9                                       5772

 

March 2, 2012 – 8 Adar 5772

New York City

CANDLE LIGHTING TIME

5:29 p.m. NYC E.S.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 6:43 p.m. NYC E.S.T.

Weekly Reading: Tetzaveh

Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar Hashem (I Samuel 15:2–34)

Daf Yomi: Temurah  16

Mishna Yomit: Rosh Hashanah 4:2-3

Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 23:1-3

RambamYomi: Hilchos Melachim u’Milchamoseihem  chap. 10-12

Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:34 a.m. NYC E.S.T.

Latest Kerias Shema: 9:18 a.m. NYC E.S.T.

 

This Shabbos is Parashas Zachor. At Shacharis some say Yotzros in the Reader’s repetition. We take out 2 Sifrei Torah. In the first we read the weekly Parasha of Tetzaveh and call up seven Aliyos. For Maftir we read from the second Sefer in Parashas Ki Tetzei, from Zachor until the end of the Parasha. This Torah reading is DeOraisa. We don’t say Hazkaras Neshamos and Av Harachamim, nor do we say Tzidkasecha at Mincha.

This Wednesday is Ta’anis Esther – the fast begins at dawn, 5:08 a.m. E.D.T. For those who experience any problems fasting, see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 686:2 – Rema – for leniencies in this regard. Nevertheless, it is always preferable to ask a competent Orthodox rabbi for a ruling.

Purim starts Wednesday evening – Maariv as usual with Al Hanissim added after Modim, before Ve’al Kulam. [We also add Al Hanissim in Birkas Hamazon on Purim.] Following the Shemoneh Esreh the chazzan says Kaddish Shalem with Tiskabbel. We then take out the Scroll of Esther. The Baal Keriah spreads out his Megilla completely, folding it over and over, and he says the three blessings: Al Mikra Megilla, She’asa Nissim and Shehecheyanu. At the conclusion of the reading the Baal Keriah says Harav es rivenu, the congregation then says Asher heini and Shoshanas Yaakov. Kaddish Shalem (no Tiskabbel), Aleinu.

Thursday morning, Shacharis – As at night, we add Al Hanissim in the Shemoneh Esreh. In the repetition we say Krovetz le’Purim, no Tachanun, half-Kaddish. We take out a Sefer Torah and we call up three people. We read from Vayavo Amalek in Parashas Be’Shalach until the end of the Parasha – half-Kaddish. After returning the Torah scroll to the Ark we again take out the Megilla and the Baal Keriah recites the same three blessings as at Maariv. It is also customary to announce that all should have in mind, during the recitation of Shehecheyanu, the other mitzvos of Purim – Mishlo’ach manos and Seudas Purim (see Mishna Berura, Orach Chayyim 692:1). We read the Megilla (we do not remove the Tefillin until the Megilla has been put away and the conclusion of Tefilla). At the conclusion of the reading, the Baal Keriah recites Harav es rivenu and the congregation then says Shoshanas Yaakov. We give mishlo’ach manos: two portions to at least one person (preferably readily edible foods). We give matanos la’evyonim – a minimum of one matana – to each of two poor people, but one who gives more is praised. At Mincha we also add Al Hanissim. The Seudas Purim must start while it is still day, and we set a festive table with meat and wine. We say Al Hanissim in Birkas Hamazon even if the seuda concludes at night. Friday is Shushan Purim – no Tachanun or La’menatze’ach.

   The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142. –Y.K.

Parshas Miketz

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Vol. LXII No. 51 5772
New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
Dec. 23, 2011 – 27 Kislev 5772
4:13 p.m. NYC E.S.T.

Sabbath Ends: 5:24 p.m. NYC E.S.T.
Weekly Reading: Miketz
Weekly Haftara: Roni VeSimchi (Zechariah 2:14-4:7)
Daf Yomi: Bechoros 39
Mishna Yomit: Yoma 6:5-6
Halacha Yomit: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:2-6
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Mechirah chap. 19-21
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:18 a.m. NYC E.S.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:37 a.m. NYC E.S.T.

This Shabbos is Shabbos Mevarchim. We bless the new month of Teves. Rosh Chodesh is two days, Monday and Tuesday. The molad is Sunday morning, 20 minutes and 17 chalakim (a chelek is 1/18 of a minute) after 7:00 a.m. (in Jerusalem).

This is Shabbos Chanukah as well. Friday night we light the Chanukah candles first, and then the Shabbos candles. We use larger candles or more oil to assure that these candles, which we lit earlier, remain lit at least a half hour after shekia. Following Shacharis we recite whole Hallel. We then take out two Sifrei Torah: in the first we read from Parashas Miketz, we call up 7 aliyos. We then place both Sifrei Torah on the bimah and recite half Kaddish. Following the Hagbaha, we read the Maftir in Parashas Naso, from Vayehi Beyom Chalos Moshe (Bamidbar 7:42-47). Haftara same as above. We do not say Av Harachamim. Otherwise the order continues as usual, with the exception of the inclusion of Al Hanissim in the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh. We conclude the service with Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis. Mincha: usual Kerias Hatorah, then we add Al Hanissim in the Shemoneh Esreh. At Maariv we say Vi’yehi Noam. Motza’ei Shabbos, in shul we first light Chanukah candles, then Havdala. At home the order is reversed.

The order of the day for Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday (the last day of Chanukah) is as follows: in the Shemoneh Esreh and Birkas Hamazon we say Al Hanissim, no Tachanun or E-l Erech Appayim, whole Hallel followed by half Kaddish (except on Rosh Chodesh, when we say whole Kaddish and Musaf). We then read from the Torah, beginning [on the fourth day] in Parashas Naso (Bamidbar 7:30), each day the first two Aliyos from the Nasi of that day. The third Aliya is from the Nasi of the following day. On the eighth day, the third Aliya concludes in the beginning of Parashas Beha’aloscha (Bamidbar 8:4), half Kaddish, no Yehi Ratzon. After the Torah reading we say Ashrei, U’va LeTziyyon, we omit Lamenatze’ach and at the usual conclusion of tefilla we add Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis.

Rosh Chodesh Teves (two days this coming Monday and Tuesday): Sunday evening; Maariv, we add Ya’aleh VeYavo as well as Al Hanissim.

Monday morning: Shacharis we add Ya’aleh VeYavo as well as Al Hanissim. Since it is Chanukah we recite whole Hallel, we then call the first three aliyos and read from Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:1-15) and the fourth aliyah from the Nasi of that day (Bayom Hashi’shi – Bamidbar 7:42-47) followed by Musaf of Rosh Chodesh. Tuesday second day Rosh Chodesh same as yesterday.

Kiddush Levana at first opportunity, or at the latest until Tuesday January 10th at night.

The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142. – Y.K.

Parshas VaYeshev

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Vol. LXII No. 50 5772
New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
December 16, 2011 – 20 Kislev 5772
4:10 p.m. NYC E.S.T.

Sabbath Ends: 5:20 p.m. NYC E.S.T.
Weekly Reading: VaYeshev
Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar (Amos 2:6-3:8)
Daf Yomi: Bechoros 32
Mishna Yomit: Yoma 4:4-5
Halacha Yomit: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 203:3 – 204:2
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Sanhedrin chap. 10-12
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:15 a.m. NYC E.S.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:34 a.m. NYC E.S.T.

This coming Tusesday is the first night of Chanukah. We light Chanukah candles each night for the next eight nights – increasing the number of candles according to the number of days. We make the following blessings upon lighting: Lehadlik Ner Shel Chanukah and She’asah Nissim, and on the first night, Shehecheyanu. We add Al Hanissim to our Shemoneh Esreh in all our prayers and in Birkas Hamazon.

The order for every day of Chanukah is as follows: in the Shemoneh Esreh and Birkas Hamazon we say Al Hanissim, no Tachanun or E-l Erech Appayim, whole Hallel followed by half Kaddish (except ons Rosh Chodesh, when we say whole Kaddish and Musaf). We then read from the Torah, beginning in Bamidbar (7.1), Parashas Naso, each day the first two Aliyos from the Nasi of that day. The third Aliya is from the Nasi of the following day. On the eighth day, the third Aliya concludes in the beginning of Parashas Beha’aloscha (Bamidbar 8:4), half Kaddish, no Yehi Ratzon. After the Torah reading we say Ashrei, U’va LeTziyyon, we omit Lamenatze’ach and at the usual conclusion of tefilla we add Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis.

The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142. – Y.K.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/weekly-luach/parshas-vayeshev/2011/12/15/

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