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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Beit Hamikdash’

Opening Hearts And Winning Over A New Generation: A Profile Of Chazzan Netanel Hershtik

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Netanel Hershtik wears many hats but perhaps the one he is best known for is a soft, puffy headpiece known as a mitre, traditionally worn by chazzanim.

While the Teaneck resident is a former combat paramedic in the Israeli army and a graduate of both Israel’s Shaarei Mishpat College of Law and the University of Miami School of Law, it is his prodigious musical abilities that have made him a household name. Hershtik, the official chazzan at The Hampton Synagogue, has performed at numerous venues worldwide, delighting and inspiring countless people in both concert halls and synagogues around the globe.

Hershtik at the UN Holocaust remembrance ceremony.

Descending from a long line of cantors, Hershtik is a fourteenth generation chazzan, who began singing with his father, the legendary Cantor Naftali Hershtik, at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue when he was just five and toured with his father through Australia, Europe and the United States at age seven. A graduate of the prestigious Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, Hershtik has performed in prominent concert halls including Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House and Casino de Paris and was the first chazzan invited to perform at a United Nations Holocaust remembrance ceremony.

But for Hershtik, a regular participant in Kosherica’s popular cantorial cruises who has recorded two albums in addition to his many appearances, chazzanut is first and foremost about inspiring people in their prayers, not about performing.

“As much as these cruises and cantorial concerts are celebrated and successful, I still believe that in order to understand chazzanut and to appreciate it, one needs to listen to a real chazzan on a proper amud, accompanied by a good choir, where the chazzan is afforded the opportunity to open his heart and to daven properly,” said Hershtik. “To me, there is no way to truly be inspired as a congregation in prayer other than the use of music under the musical leadership of the chazzan. The strongest argument I can offer is the constant use of music in the Beit Hamikdashas a tool to elevate and focus people to their Father in heaven.”

Hershtik at a Holocaust memorial event at Avery Fisher Hall earlier this year.

Hershtik acknowledges that cantorial music is an acquired taste, but one that is well worth developing.

Chazzanut is not easy listening,” explained Hershtik. “One should give it time and patience in order to love it, but the reward is far greater than any easy listening pop music. Let’s face it, classical music, jazz and opera are also in the same category and require some listening effort and openness to be truly appreciated.”

The 34-year-old Hershtik, who tries to incorporate contemporary musical styles including pop, jazz, Broadway and gospel into his traditional services, suggests that many of the negative associations people have with chazzanut are the product of poor choices by today’s chazzanim.

“I blame many cantors for not accommodating ‘younger ears’ with a shorter, less heavy davening and for not updating their melodies and style of davening to today’s world,” said Hershtik. “It is a pity they try to prove what great cantors they are to empty shuls. A great chazzan must feel his congregation at any given time of the service. It is the cantor’s greatest challenge to feel when people are with him and when they are lost or not paying attention. The cantor must immediately determine the right balance for that specific day in this specific congregation.”

Hershtik at the Tel Aviv Opera House in 2011.

A self-taught musician who plays several instruments, Hershtik loves to experiment musically as well as record in his studio. While he says his children are “extremely musical” he isn’t making plans for them to become the fifteenth generation of Hershtiks to daven for the amud.

“It makes me happy to see that they understand and enjoy all kinds of music. But it doesn’t mean they will become chazzanim. I do not push them to sing in shul just as my parents didn’t push me. It would be lovely if they chose to continue the family legacy of chazzanut, but I will be happiest if they feel fulfilled and accomplished in whatever profession they chose.”

Sandy Eller

Music During The Nine Days (Part I)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Question: Is it prohibited to listen to music in the privacy of one’s home (or car) during the Nine Days?

Answer: This issue has intrigued me for some time. HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah, II:137), rules that it is indeed prohibited.

He explains that after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, our sages enacted a number of ordinances to manifest a degree of sadness and mourning. One such decree was the prohibition to listen to music throughout the year. The Rema (Orach Chayim 560:3) contends that this prohibition applies only to people who formerly awoke in the morning and retired at night to the accompaniment of music, i.e., kings. In addition, the Rema notes that those in attendance at a beit mishteh were also included in the ban. The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 560:12) explains that this prohibition is due to the presence of wine at a beit mishteh.

All this suggests that a person who did not listen to music on a daily basis and did not attend a beit mishteh would be permitted to listen to music year-round. Rav Moshe, however, disagrees with this inference. He contends that even the Rema would prohibit Jews from attending public musical events during the year since one derives excessive simcha from such events.

If public music is thus forbidden year-round, what additional music were the rabbis prohibiting when they enacted the laws against music during the Nine Days? Perforce, they were prohibiting listening to music even in the privacy of one’s own home (or car).

(To Be Continued)

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, has written several works on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

First Of The Land

Friday, June 29th, 2012

There are 613 mitzvoth – we all know that. We also all know it is impossible for one person to perform all 613. Twenty-five mitzvot can only be performed in the Land of Israel, which leaves many Jews out in the cold, shall we say. After all, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined; they are in fact dependent on one another for survival. But Judaism has a solution or as a modern Israeli would say, a “patent.” Mitzvot can be performed by proxy; by taking a part in a mitzvah one merits a share in the whole.

For example, let’s say you want a share in the mitzvah of reshit hagez, the first wool of the first sheep shearing that is brought to the Kohen. No problem, you just contact, Reshit Ha’aretz, a farm established in Beit El, a community that also fortuitously has a stellar Yeshiva. They sheer the sheep on the farm and bring the first wool to the rabbis who are also Kohanim in the yeshiva there.

Reshit Haaretz, now in its fourth year was established for the precise purpose of performing the mitzvot that can only be performed in the Land of Israel. And the cooperative also offers you the opportunity of performing these mitzvahs virtually. It’s an opportunity Moshe Rabbeinu would have treasured.

“We thought that we were really missing out because so many important mitzvot, obligatory me’de’oraita, are so very distant from every Jew, and we began to think of a practical way to enable every Jew to participate in their performance,” explains Rabbi Ronen Zer, 46, the founder of the Reshit Ha’aretz farm. Zer means bouquet, so it appears his agricultural calling was predestined.

“After receiving blessings and approval of the endeavor from the most prominent rabbis, I left Tzfat together with my family and settled in Bet El. Here in the region designated for the tribe of Binyamin, we decided to establish the Reshit Ha’aretz farm.”

The farm enables any Jew, no matter where in the world he resides, to be a partner in the purchase of the farm and the performance of the 25 land-related mitzvot. The farm spans an area of several dunams and contains fields of crops, vineyards and olive groves, enclosures for animals and livestock and a winery where the biblical mitzvot are performed using the fruits and produce of the farm. For example- setting aside terumot and maasrot (tithes), neta revai (the eating of fourth year produce in Jerusalem), peah, leket, shichecha and others. And the holy animals of Israel are also not neglected. For example, The rarely performed mitzvoth of Peter Chamor, the aforementioned reshit hagez, and the gifts of zeroah, lechayayim and keiva to the Kohen among others. During a Shemittah year, of course all the laws are stringently observed and the fruit orchards are open for the public at large, who are free to help themselves. The fruit is hefker, after all.

“With the establishment of the farm, we intended to grant merits to the residents of Israel living in cities and urban areas, who wouldn’t have an actual opportunity to perform these important mitzvot personally,” explains Rabbi Zer, as he plants a new vineyard on one of the farm’s slopes. “Afterwards, we thought that if we can grant merits to Jews in Israel, why not also grant the same privilege of these mitzvot to our brothers and sisters overseas, as well? We approached Torah leaders and they gave us their blessing for this holy enterprise. The Institute Machon HaTorah VeHa’Aretz cooperated with us and we composed a monetary contract that is halachically binding and a means by which our brothers and sisters abroad can also become partners in the farm.”

A few weeks ago a festival celebrating reshit hagez was held at the farm, as well as the mitzvot of zeroah, lechayayim and keiva, with the participation of rabbanim and an appreciative crowd of participants. The wool of an entire of flock of sheep was sheared, the parts of the animals undergoing ritual slaughter were presented to the Kohen amid a festive atmosphere, and the celebration also included hands-on activities and creative workshops for children, music, and a food market. It was a grand festival celebrating the performance of mitzvot ha’teluyot ba’aretz, reinforcing our attachment to and ownership of the land of Israel and our joyful adherence to its mitzvot.”

Rosally Saltsman

How Much Matzah?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Question: How much matzah must one eat at the Pesach Seder?

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 486:1) rules that one must eat at least an olive’s worth (kzayit) of matzah to fulfill the mitzvah. It states that an olive is equivalent to half of an egg. The Noda B’Yehudah argues that eggs in Talmudic times were much larger than eggs nowadays. Accordingly, whatever amount one comes up with for a kzayit must be doubled. The Mishnah Berurah rules that people should follow this stringent opinion when observing biblical mitzvot.

Rav Moshe Shternbuch (Haggada of Pesach p.42, rule 5) notes that, practically speaking, this stringency means that one should eat 30 grams, or the size of a whole matzah, to fulfill the mitzvah. Since there is a debate whether the kzayit should come from the broken matzah or the whole one, Rav Shternbuch notes that one should eat a kzayit from both the whole and broken matzot.

But is this the minhag of klal Yisrael? Many people who have spent a Pesach Seder with chassidic Rebbes report that they hand out very small pieces of matzah to those at the table. In addition, many people don’t recall eating so much matzah when they were growing up. They received relatively small pieces from the head of the family and that was it. Was everyone just ignorant of basic halacha?

Based on the belief that that there must be a halachic rationale for such a widespread custom, the following is suggested as a possible explanation:

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 271:13) rules that a person who makes kiddush on Friday night should drink at least a mouthful (melo lugmav) of wine. If he doesn’t drink the requisite amount but everyone collectively does, the Shulchan Aruch writes: “some say they have fulfilled their obligation since their collective drinking combines to complete the required measure.” The Mishnah Berurah (271:72) rules that this is only true post facto (bidi’eved). Initially, though (l’chat’chila), the person making kiddush should drink the requisite amount himself.

The Aruch HaShulchan (271:36) discusses this issue at length. Those who argue that the person making kiddush must drink the required amount himself reason that a person doesn’t derive pleasure from drinking less than this amount. Those who argue that it’s not necessary reason that a person derives pleasure even from a sip (which is why drinking even a small amount of wine requires a blessing). This is the position of the Ritva.

In an attempt to find support for this latter position, the Aruch HaShulchan notes that the Talmud (Yoma 39a) states that kohanim in the Beit Hamikdash ate less than a kzayit of the lechem hapanim even though the verse, “And they shall eat it in a holy place” (Vayikra 24:9), requires the eating of at least a kzayit. The Aruch HaShulchan argues that the only way this Gemara makes sense is if it maintains that the requisite kzayit may be eaten collectively.

Thus, if a group can combine to drink the minimum amount of kiddush wine and if a group of kohanim can combine to eat the minimum amount of lechem hapanim bread, perhaps everyone sitting at the Pesach Seder may combine to eat the minimum amount of matzah. If that is the case, no single individual at the Seder would need to eat very much matzah.

Rabbi Cohen, a “Jerusalem Prize” recipient, has just published “Jewish Prayer The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

Parshat Mishpatim: Location! Location! Location!

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The Inauguration of the President of the United States has become both a complicated and expensive process. It begins with a meeting at the White House between the incoming and outgoing First Families, followed by a joint drive to the Capitol for the actual ceremony. Weather permitting, the inauguration is followed by a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. At the conclusion of the parade the new First Couple must quickly change attire in order to attend the many galas and balls being held in their honor that evening.

Interestingly enough, much of what transpires is dictated by tradition. The Constitution itself dedicates a very limited amount of space to the inauguration. The current date is set as January 20th, as per the 20th Amendment, ratified in 1933. The text of the oath of office is presented in Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution. It is a mere 35 words. Yet this almost matter-of-fact item in the Constitution has become one of the hallmarks of our democracy.

Congressional historian Donald Kennon explained: “It’s probably safe to say that the presidential inauguration is the transcendent ritual associated with the rise to power of a representative government. Unlike the coronation of a monarch or any ritual associated with the rise to power of a dictator or autocrat, the inauguration of the American President is a cyclical, regularly scheduled event held every four years. The regularity of presidential inaugurations lends a sense of reassuring stability, continuity and permanence to a political system that permits turnover in office holders and change in policy agendas. Moreover it is a peaceful change in government, unlike the violence that so often has accompanied a change in head of state elsewhere” (www.fpc.state.gov).

Among the many customs that have developed with respect to the inauguration is its location. Aside from extenuating circumstances, it has almost always taken place at the location of the legislative branch of government. Weather permitting, the President is escorted by a Congressional delegation from within the Capitol confines outside to take the oath in front of the American people. It is this fact, that the president takes the oath at the Capitol which interested me in this topic. My research question was, why?

A Google search found quite a non-scholarly suggestion (who knows? Perhaps it contains a kernel of truth). A person suggested that due to the previous president moving out of the White House and the new president and his staff moving in, the White House would be way too busy of a place to have the ceremony there. Therefore a different venue needed to be chosen – so why not the Capitol. However, Dr. Kennon offers the following possibilities.

The first reason he suggested is precedent. When George Washington took his oath of office, he went to Federal Hall in New York City where Congress was meeting at the time. A second reason Kennon suggested has to do, “with the fact that Congress is the first branch of American government. The first Article of the Constitution created Congress. It was the Continental Congress, after all, which led to the American Revolution. It was a legislative revolution, if you will.” It is held outside, in front of the people, to declare to the world that ultimately the president is answerable to the American people.

This idea, that when it comes to people in power the symbolism of location matters, is highlighted by the commentators at the beginning of this week’s parsha. The Torah begins the parsha with a discussion of the laws that Moshe needs to teach Bnei Yisrael. Rashi, in his commentary on the first pasuk, addresses why the discussion of societal and judicial laws is placed immediately following the Torah’s discussion of the mizbayach at the end of the previous parsha. Rashi explains that with this juxtaposition, the Torah is instructing us that the seat of the Sanhedrin must be established within the confines of the Beit Hamikdash. The anthology Iturei Torah relates the following explanation in the name of the Shlah Hakadosh’s son. Rav Horowitz explains that a major function of the Sanhedrin was to ensure the genetic purity of the Kohanim who served in the Beit Hamikdash. To effectively carry out this responsibility, the Sanhedrin needed to be located in close proximity to the Temple.

The Mei’ana Shel Torah quotes the following explanation from the work Avnei Eizel (which was actually an unpublished manuscript of the compiler of this anthology, Rav Zusha Friedman). For most of the nations of the world, the laws governing interactions between people are conventions set up by citizens to enable their society to function. They are bereft of any Divine influence. However, such laws within a Jewish society are very much religious laws as well. To demonstrate this point the Sanhedrin, which was ultimately responsible for all legal aspects of society, was housed in the Temple. By being there it was made clear to all that, for Jewish society, the interpersonal societal laws were Divine in origin, just as the ritual laws were.

Rabbi David Hertzberg

Q & A: Biblical Blue Fringe: Will the Real Chilazon Please Stand Up!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

In February we conducted a thorough discussion of the mitzvah of techeilet. The following guest piece by Baruch Sterman, marking 20 years since the establishment of the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation (www.tekhelet.com), is a follow up to that discussion.

For the last 20 years, the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation, under the leadership of Rabbi Eliyahu Tevger, has worked to spread awareness of all areas of study relating to techeilet, as well as to make techeilet strings available to the public. Techeilet is the sky-blue wool that was worn by the Kohen Gadol, whose garments included a robe (me’il) that was completely techeilet and a band worn on his forehead from which the golden tzitz with the name of G-d hung. The regular priests also wore a sash embroidered with the precious blue wool.

Each Jew is commanded to tie a thread of techeilet to the corners of his garment to remind him of all the commandments. Tzitzit, the emblem and uniform of the Jew, is his everyday priestly garb that signifies his bond to the Almighty and his membership in a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Techeilet was fantastically expensive and one of the most sought after treasures in the ancient world. Often worth as much as twenty times its weight in gold, the blue dye was a driving economic commodity in the Mediterranean domain. The source of the dye was a sea creature called the chilazon by the Talmud, porphyros by the Greeks and murex by the Romans and has been identified as the species of mollusk named Murex trunculus.

Shellfish dyeing dates back 5,000 years; the first mention of “takhiltu” predates the written Torah and is found in the Tel el Amarna tablets in Egypt from the times of Abraham. The murex snail is depicted on coins from Tyre (the capital city of the Phoenicans, who were expert dyers, located in what is now Lebanon) .The Tanach records that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his best craftsmen and dyers to help Shlomo build the Beit Hamikdash.

The demand for techeilet, and its sister dye argamman (knows as Tyrian Purple), and the status associated with those who could afford to wear them, led to state monopolies in the dye production, and severe restrictions were placed on their use. In Roman times, only the emperor and the governing elite were permitted to own and wear shellfish dyed robes and to disobey this regulation was “an offense similar to high treason.”

Though Jews tried their best to produce and wear techeilet on their tzitzit, the expense, difficulty, and danger associated with obtaining it prevented most of them from fulfilling the commandment. In the turmoil and tragedy of the seventh century in Israel, when the holy land was conquered by Persians, Christians, and finally Arabs, the secrets of dyeing techeilet were lost, and the Midrash (in approximately the year 720) laments, “and now we have only white, for the techeilet has been hidden.”

For the next 1,300 years techeilet would remain lost, not only to the Jews but to the secular world as well. The exact details regarding the identity of the chilazon faded into obscurity, and only a few vague descriptions or other clues remained scattered throughout the Talmud. In the mid-nineteenth century the first attempts were made to renew the mitzvah of techeilet. Within the secular world it was generally accepted that the source of the ancient blue and purple dyes was some sea snail, although the exact species was unclear. The Tiferet Yisrael, Rav Yisrael Lipschitz, considered that option, but rejected it since the color produced by those snails was purple-blue or violet. Techeilet, according to halachic tradition, had to be sky blue.

Influenced by the Tiferet Yisrael, the great hasidic Rebbe of Radzyn, Gershon Henokh Leiner, devoted his life to searching for an alternative candidate, and after a trek across Europe to the newly opened aquarium in Naples, he settled upon the cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, as the true chilazon. Using a bit of chemical magic to turn the black sepia ink into blue, the Radzyner began to produce techeilet, and within a year tens of thousands of his followers wore the blue strings on their tallitot. Most contemporary rabbinic authorities, however, rejected the Radzyner techeilet.

The final blow to the identification of the cuttlefish as the chilazon would come in 1914, more than 20 years after Rabbi Leiner’s death. That year, Rabbi Yitzchak Halevi Herzog, later to become the first chief rabbi of the State of Israel, wrote his doctoral dissertation for the University of London on the topic of Hebrew Porphyrology (the study of purple – a word Rav Herzog invented). He requested samples of the dyed strings from the Radzyn dye masters and sent them for chemical analysis in laboratories across Europe. The conclusion was that Radzyn techeilet was a synthetic dye known as Prussian Blue, and that the color in fact came from the chemicals added to the mixture as part of the process, and was not based on the ink obtained from the cuttlefish. It was inconceivable, argued Rav Herzog, that the Talmud would insist on the dye coming from the chilazon, if that creature did not provide any essential ingredient to the color forming process.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

The Joy Of Torah

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

                  One of the most popular of our chaggim is Simchat Torah, which falls on the last day of Sukkot. As its name suggests, Simchat Torah celebrates the joy of the Torah. There is no record of this holiday before the 11th century, and its origin may have been in Spain. 
 
                  The highlight of the chag is when all the sifrei Torah are removed from the Ark and there is a joyful procession with them around the shul.  This circling is called hakafot, and it is necessary to make seven circuits.  It is a mystical imitation of a chuppah, symbolizing the marriage of Bnei Yisrael to the Law.  There is even a Chatan Torah and then a Chatan Bereishis who buys the privilege of reading the first portion of sefer.  
 
                  As the hakafot progress, different members of the congregation are given the opportunity to hold the sifrei Torah and dance with them.  The procession resembles the custom of a kallah, at the beginning of a chuppah, walking around her chatan seven times to form a closed circle.   
 
                  A special feature of the day is when all the boys under bar mitzvah age are called up for a special aliyah.  The final verses of the Torah are read while the children stand under a large tallit spread above them like a canopy.  The children are blessed with the words Yaakov used to bless Ephraim and Menashe (Genesis 48:16) “Hamalach hagoel osee me kol rah, yevarech es hanearim – The angel who redeemed me from all evil, bless these children.”
 
                  There is a lovely Simchat Torah custom in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem, where I live.  At a certain designated time, all the local shuls meet (there are four) with their sifrei Torah in Kikar Denya, the square in front of the supermarket.  There, with singing and dancing, they invite all the passers-by – secular and religious alike, and particularly the children – to join in the merriment.  For me, this is the highlight of the day, with toddlers being carried on their fathers’ shoulders, and many people, possibly for the first time ever, joining in to dance with the Torah, before eventually all return to their own shuls to continue with the service.
 
                  The prayer for rain in Israel is an important part of Simchat Torah liturgy.   “When do Jews and Gentiles rejoice together?  Only when it rains!”  No this is not a recent quotation in response to our current water shortage and the dangerously low level of Lake Kinneret.  It was written by Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi in Bereshis Rabbah (13.6)  “For drought is the scourge of the earth, and rain its greatest blessing.”
 
                  Tishrei, the seventh month, is linked to the start of Israel’s winter rains, and crops will fail without it.  We plead for rain in the merit of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaacov, Moshe, Aharon and the 12 shevatim … “For a blessing and not a curse; for life and not for death; for plenty and not for famine.”
 
                  The Mishna tells us “the world is judged through water.” To this day we recite a prayer for rain on the last day of Sukkot, as rain is Israel’s life-blood.  Good rains mean prosperity, drought means ruin for the country’s kibbutzim, moshavim and agricultural settlements.
 
                  Linked to the prayer for rain is another Sukkot ceremony emphasizing the value of water.  It is known as Simchat Beit Hashoeva, the Joy of the Drawing of the Waters. When the Beit Hamikdash stood it was practiced with great enthusiasm and zest.  It is first mentioned in Sefer Yeshayahu.  It began on the second night of Sukkot and continued for six nights.  Jerusalemites and pilgrims flocked to the outer court of the Beit Hamikdash.  An enormous golden menorah was fed with vessels of oil by kohanim until flames leapt towards the sky.
 
                  The most pious men led a torch dance, and the Leviim led the people in chanting hymns and psalms to the music of flutes, harps and cymbals.  They danced and sang until dawn, when the long procession wended its way to the pool of Shiloah.  This pool was formed by the overflow of water in Chezekiah’s tunnel which led from the Gihon spring into the city.
 
                  At the pool, a golden ewer was filled with water and brought back to the Beit Hamikdash, where the Kohen Gadol poured it over the mizbayach.  Today there is no Beit Hamikdash, no mizbayach and no water in the pool at Shiloah, but the “Drawing of the Waters” is symbolically recaptured every year with singing, dancing and rejoicing in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, near the pool of Shiloah at the base of the City of David.
 
                  And today, on Simchat Torah, Jews all over the world remember Israel’s need for rain on the last day of chag.  It is a long prayer which begins with the words: “You cause the wind to blow and the rain to descend.  From the heavenly source He sends down rains softening the earth with their crystal drops.  Water You have called the symbol of Your power. It refreshes with its drops all breathing creatures and it will someday quicken those who exalt the power of rain.”
 
                  After six more verses, the prayer for rain concludes with the reader chanting, and the congregation responding: “For You are the Lord our G-d who causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.  For a blessing and not for a curse. Amen. For life and not for death. Amen. For plenty and not for famine.”
 

                  It is a fitting bracha with which to end Simchat Torah and Sukkot, in which three times we are commanded to rejoice.  After the solemness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, this gives us its blessings:  “May you  have nothing but joy!”

Dvora Waysman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/devora-waysman/the-joy-of-torah/2011/10/18/

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