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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘davening’

Davening During A Meal

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Parshas Acharei Mos (17:13) contains the mitzvah of kisui hadam – covering the blood of a bird or chaya (wild animal) that is shechted. The mitzvah does not apply to beheimos (domesticated animals). Today, most people only partake or witness this mitzvah during kapparos. However, in earlier times, when it was common to bring a chicken to the local shochet, many observed this mitzvah on a daily basis. A berachah is recited on this mitzvah, as is the case with most mitzvos.

The Gemara (Chullin 86b) says that if someone is going to shecht many chayos or birds he should not cover the blood of each animal after it is shechted; rather, he should shecht all the animals and then cover all the blood at once. There is a dispute in the Mishnah whether this halacha only applies if one is shechting chayos by themselves, or birds by themselves, or if it applies even if one is shechting both birds and chayos together. Rabbi Yehuda argues that if someone is shechting both birds and chayos, he should first cover the blood of each type before shechting the other type. The Chachamim, however, maintain that he should shecht both kinds and then cover the blood of both of them together.

The Gemara says that Rabbi Yehuda agrees that the berachah on shechita said at the beginning suffices to cover both types. One need not recite another berachah on the second shechita despite the fact that there was a kisui in between.

The Gemara, though, notes that this ruling seems to contradict another halacha. If a group is eating a meal and one person says “Hav le’varech” (or, as it is common to say today, “Rabosai nevarech” or “Rabosai mir velin bentchin”), the group can no longer eat without a berachah. Saying, “Let us bentch” is considered an interruption and the berachah of hamotzi said at the beginning of the meal no longer exempts one from having to make berachos on the food one eats at the meal. Similarly, the Gemara argues, kisui hadam should be considered a hefsek that should necessitate a new berachah for any subsequent shechita performed. Why isn’t it then?

The Gemara answers that there is a distinction. One cannot bentch and eat simultaneously. Therefore, when a person says, “Let us bentch” he is demonstrating that he has decided to stop eating. However, one can shecht and perform kisui hadam at the same time. Therefore, kisui hadam is not considered a hefsek of the shechita process.

Based on this distinction, Tosafos (Chullin 87a d”h Mishta”) quotes Rav Yom Tov who rules that a person who gets up in middle of a seudah to daven must bentch and recite a new berachah on the food when he returns. This is because one cannot eat and daven at the same time. Therefore, the davening is considered a hefsek.

Tosafos, though, disagrees. Tosafos explains that the Gemara’s distinction was made between ki’sui hadam and a person saying, “Let us bentch.” Both of these have something in common. They are both conclusions. Bentching concludes a meal, and kisui hadam concludes the mitzvah of shechita.

Davening, however, is not a conclusion. Therefore, even though one cannot daven and eat at the same time, davening is not considered a hefsek such that one needs to make another berachah on the food of the seudah.

Tosafos supports this reasoning from the fact that it is absurd to think that a person who makes a berachah on lightning or thunder, or even a borei pri hagafen, during his meal would have to bentch and recite a new berachah on the food at the seudah. Clearly, then, not everything one does during a seudah, during whose performance one cannot eat, constitutes a hefsek.

Rabbi Raphael Fuchs

Challenges And Creative Responses To Tefillah Education

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

“I myself often feel that tefillah is the most exhausting part of my day…. Yet I desperately seek to create a space where students can have a personal and meaningful connection with God…. I am very concerned that I have gradually become a warden, always looking for someone who might be talking, and have drifted far away from being a model of the joy and warmth of davening…”

These words, written by a fine, sensitive educator, are echoed by scores of others I have encountered. For years it felt like it was one of those closely guarded secrets that educators only whispered to one another: Tefillah in the morning with kids is hard: “It takes me the first couple of hours of the day just to recuperate.” “It puts me in a bad mood.” “The kids don’t appreciate it.” “I work so hard the rest of the day working on becoming closer to the students, and I feel that policing in tefillah hinders my ability to connect with them.”

I recall that in the early years of my career, we thought the siddur was the answer. Then we thought that If only kids would understand the words, they surely would appreciate tefillah so much more. But our minyanim did not get any quieter despite the bilingual siddurim we were using at the time. As one student wrote, “Even if I read the prayers in English I still don’t feel them. I feel really bad though – I want to understand; I just can’t get there.”

Many students struggle with the distance they feel from the words and concepts of the siddur. Indeed, the very meaning of prayer is not something we have spent a lot of time explaining to kids. In elementary school there is a heavy emphasis, as there should be, on children learning to read, on correct pronunciation, on singing, and on “learning” ever more prayers to add to their repertoire. By the time they get to middle and high school, we often just assume they “get it.”

But the truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about. We don’t ask them to ask themselves what prayer means to them and how it might make a difference in their lives.

For many of us as adults, our knowledge combines with our life experience to bring meaning to those words, but that is something we learned over time as we came to realize the siddur could help us express our innermost feelings and aspirations. But why should we have to wait until we’re adults to appreciate the words? Surely young children and adolescents have their own feelings, thoughts, and aspirations. Should the siddur not speak to them as well?

Yeshiva University and Koren Publishers have come together to suggest a paradigm shift in tefillah education. They envisioned a siddur that would be age-appropriate both in form and content, that would be aesthetically pleasing and functional, that would preserve the integrity of tradition and, above all, that would encourage students to find their own meaning in the words.

Thanks to the support of the Magerman family, we’ve developed a new series of siddurim for students: the Koren Magerman Educational Siddur Series. Each siddur, developmentally-designed for each age group, focuses on the critical goals of meaning making and connection building. The first in the series (for K-2nd grade) and the fourth (for 9th -12th grade and beyond) were published earlier this year. The two middle siddurim (for 3-5th grade and 6-8th grade), will form the bridge between them. They will be available in the coming months.

Rabbi Jay Goldmintz

A Very Athletic Religion

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

I’m looking at this picture of Muslim worshipers on their hands and knees in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma’ale ha-Zeitim (Ras al Amud) last Friday. In order to prevent riots on Temple Mount, police limited entry to Muslim men over 50, so everyone you see here must be younger. But still, I find the notion of falling down on my hands and knees five times a day both physically demanding and socially awkward.

I can’t stand it when the guy sitting next to me in shul leans too close to my area during davening. In fact, our tradition requires maintaining a bit of open space in front of each person during the Amida—STANDING prayer. I can’t imagine being down on the floor, tight with the guy and the whole shul – what is this Swedish gymnastics?

We do it a few times on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur every year, and it’s very special and inspiring, and I get that this is the way they used to do it in the Temple—once a year, when the High Priest called out the full name of God. But every day? Not happening.

When we do the holy bending on the Days of Awe, I get the submission thing. And I know that Mohammed or someone like him borrowed the falling on the knees thing from the Jews. Nevertheless, if this ever becomes the way we daven all the time, I’ll be davening at home.

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Yori Yanover

Davening–Praying Can Be Good for your Health

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Davening – praying – may not top physicians’ prescribed regimens for boosting health, but it benefits both mind and body beyond the spiritual elevation that comes with it.

Davening provides mental stimulation that helps keep the brain healthy, as an active mind has less chance of memory loss over time. With prayer services of substantial length, davening requires focus, concentration, discipline, and proper articulation, not only to get through the prayers and passages but to finish them on time, since in a minyan you’re praying together with others.

It could be argued that with the repetition of the same prayers week after week, year after year, the congregant is more or less able to daven by rote. That may be true, but there are a lot of words to recall, so even when the prayers are recited by rote, the mind is still stimulated. Indeed, whether one davens from memory or finds new challenges with each recitation, davening, for those of us who do so regularly, is like a daily mental workout.

If Hebrew is not your native language or one in which you are fluent, carrying out this endeavor has additional mental benefits; the recitation is even more challenging and therefore provides a better workout for the brain.

Davening is not a sedentary act; there are specific motions that accompany particular passages. During the course of the service the davener stands, sits, stands, bows, straightens up, turns, takes steps backward and forward, sits, stands, sits, stands, bows, and so forth. It’s not running, it’s not bench pressing, it’s not a high-energy workout, but it’s movement – and that can only be counted as positive.

For some people, particularly the elderly, davening may be one of the few forms of exercise they get. Done multiple times daily or weekly, it contributes to the minimum daily exercise recommended by various health authorities to increase longevity.

There are ancillary benefits that may be associated with davening. How does the davener get to synagogue? Walking is, of course, always healthy, particularly at a brisk pace. Davening at shul is a communal activity, and the camaraderie can lead to higher self-esteem and well-being and thus to better mental health. Singing prayers as part of a group can have similar benefits.

Some who daven are able to read or recite the Hebrew in the siddur but don’t know what the words mean. It behooves the davener to be able to translate the words properly in order to get the full benefit of davening. This provides further mental stimulation.

Because the text has so many layers of meaning, even the seasoned davener who understands what is being recited may discover new interpretations or challenges, which also helps keep the mind active.

Of course, correlations have been made between faith and well-being, and some elderly people have attributed their long lifespan to their faith. So these are benefits on top of the act of davening itself.

Davening can be a conduit to a sharp mind and a limber body. For religious fulfillment and mental and physical stimulation, it is a win-win practice. It’s never too late to start davening your way to good health.

Harvey Rachlin

‘Mincha Starts in 3 Miles’

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Motorists on Highway 6, or Kvish 6 as it is known even to English-speakers, has cut the travel time from the area east of Haifa to towns slightly north of Be’er Sheva to 75 minutes. Most motorists can easily pray morning and evening prayers at their homes or destinations, but they often are stuck without a minyan for afternoon mincha prayers.

Stopping along the shoulder to daven is common, but it poses a safety problem and does not allow fulfilling the mitzvah of praying in a minyan.

Rabbi Shmuel Rosenberg solved the problem on a northern highway several months ago by putting up two Chabad stations for public prayers, but there was no solution for the privately-operated Kvish 6.

Rabbi David Grossman of Migdal HaEmek asked the operators of the toll road for permission to allow a “prayer station.” Security officers did not object, and drivers on Sunday found that a small structure serving as a synagogue was placed at a rest stop on the northern part of the highway, under the supervision of Rabbi Rosenberg.

He said it will operate 24 hours a day and will include books for study, enabling motorists not only to daven in a minyan but also to take a break from driving and learn Torah.

Kvish 6 said that signs will be erected so that drivers know they will have a place to pray.

The highway’s director Udi Saviyon, said, “I promised Rabbi Grossman that we also will operate a synagogue in the opposite direction,” for southbound drivers,” and we will try to do this as soon as possible.”

Rabbi Grossman stated, “Drivers need prayers to arrive safely to their destination, and I have no doubt that this synagogue will protect them.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

When One Forgets To Say Vesein Tal U’matar

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The Jews living outside Eretz Yisrael began reciting vesein tal u’matar in the Shemoneh Esrei this week. If one does not say vesein tal u’matar (instead continuing to say “vesein berachah”) and finishes the Shemoneh Esrei, he must repeat the Shemoneh Esrei. If one accidentally does not daven at all, he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis during the following tefillah. If one did not say vesein tal u’matar and finished davening and only remembers this fact at the time of the next tefillah, he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis at the next tefillah.

If one does not recite ya’aleh veyavo during Shacharis and only remembers to do so during Minchah, he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis during Minchah. Tosafos, in Berachos 26b, says that if one forgets to say ya’aleh veyavo at Minchah on Rosh Chodesh or on any other day that we recite ya’aleh veyavo, he does not repeat Shemoneh Esrei during Ma’ariv. This is because at Ma’ariv he can no longer say ya’aleh veyavo since Rosh Chodesh is over, and he already davened the 19 berachos of Shemoneh Esrei. As the only reason why he would repeat the Shemoneh Esrei would be to say ya’aleh veyavo, he should not repeat the Shemoneh Esrei at all since he cannot recite ya’aleh veyavo during Ma’ariv (which is the next day).

Reb Chaim Soloveitchik (stensils 1) says that the halacha of Tosafos does not apply to one who forgets to recite vesein tal u’matar on Friday by Minchah. For even though he will not be able to say vesein tal u’matar by Ma’ariv (since it is Shabbos), he must nevertheless repeat the Shemoneh Esrei. He explains that this is because when one fails to say vesein tal u’matar it is different than when one does not recite ya’aleh veyavo. Even if one forgets to say ya’aleh veyavo, he has fulfilled his obligation in davening – except that he lacks having recited an external prayer, namely ya’aleh veyavo.

On the other hand, when one fails to mention vesein tal u’matar he lacks having said the actual berachah of “bareich aleinu” and has therefore not fulfilled his obligation in davening. Vesein tal u’matar is not an external prayer that we insert into the Shemoneh Esrei; rather, it is part of the actual berachah. So when one does not say it he has not fulfilled his obligation in davening and it is as if he had not davened at all. As a result he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis at Ma’ariv on Shabbos, even though he will not be reciting vesein tal u’matar in those Shemoneh Esreis.

Many have asked the following question on Reb Chaim’s halacha: The Gemara in Berachos 29a says that if one does not mention vesein tal u’matar in its proper place (in “bareich aleinu…”) he can say it in “…shomeia tefillah.” The halacha follows this Gemara, as it is found in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 117:5. If vesein tal u’matar is indeed part of the actual berachah of “bareich aleinu,” how can one say it in a different berachah?

If one only remembers that he forgot to mention vesein tal u’matar after he has already passed the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” but before he has finished Shemoneh Esrei, there is a machlokes Rishonim as to where he must return to in the Shemoneh Esrei – “bareich aleinu” or “shomeia tefillah.” Tosafos, in Ta’anis 3b, says that one should return to the berachah of “shomeia tefillah.” The Rambam (Hilchos Tefillah 10:9) and the Shulchan Aruch say that one must return to the berachah of “bareich aleinu.”

It seems that the Rishonim who opine that one should return to the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” do not believe that vesein tal u’matar is part of the actual berachah of “bareich aleinu” They believe that it is an added request (bakashah) that can either be inserted in the berachah of “bareich aleinu” or “shomeia tefillah.” Therefore, when one realizes that he did not say vesein tal u’matar and has already passed “shomeia tefillah,” he should go back to the nearest berachah where he may recite this request.

The Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, who both say that one should return all the way back to the berachah of “bareich aleinu,” seemingly hold that vesein tal u’matar is part of the berachah of “bareich aleinu” Hence they say that one should return to “bareich aleinu” even though the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” is closer. The reason why we allow one who forgot to say vesein tal u’matar in “bareich aleinu” to recite it in the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” (if he remembers before he gets there) is because the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” serves as a tashlumin for all the middle berachos of Shemoneh Esrei. Similarly, if one forgot to say any of the integral parts of any other middle berachah, he would be able to make it up in the berachah of “shomeia tefillah” (see Be’er Halacha 117:5 d”h im). But when one forgets to mention it even in the berachah of “shomeia tefillah,” the halacha of tashlumin no longer applies and he must return to the berachah of which it is a part – namely “bareich aleinu.”

Rabbi Raphael Fuchs

Events In The West

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Prayers for Israel: All over the West Coast, from San Diego to San Francisco to Los Angeles inland to Arizona, and from Las Vegas to Texas to Utah, prayer sessions are taking place daily in shuls and yeshivas for the state of Israel and its IDF. Those who can’t attend the public sessions are saying those same prayers at home. We all hope that by the time you read this, peace will prevail in Israel.

Events In The West: On December 14, YICC will hold a freilich Kabbalat Shabbat davening, led by Yehuda Solomon… From December 24-28, Merkaz HaTorah Community Kollel in the Pico-Robertson area of L.A. will host a yarchei kallah.

Shul News: The latest strategy to get teens to come to minyan on their days off from school and on Sundays is the offer of raffles, featuring sports clothes from hometown teams with snacks following the davening.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Raphy and Michal Shapiro, a daughter… Adam and Joy Kushnir, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Eitan Feifel, son of David and Meira Feifel.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yosef and Sima Bondi, a daughter (Grandparents Howard and Gity Gluck; Great-grandmother Shirley Gluck)… Noah and Marissa Streit, a son (Grandparents Aric and Mary Streit)… Rabbi David and Dr. Ayala Levine, a son (Grandfather Dr. Robert Levine)… Richard and Charlotte Glaser, a son (Grandparents Joseph and Laurene Agi)… Seth and Jenna Rubin, a son… Avi and Aliza Gruen, a daughter (Grandparents Jeff and Judy Gruen; Manny and Sharon Saltiel)… Katriel and Sonia Green, a son… Yosi and Menucha Burston, a daughter… Yoel and Vani Hess, a daughter… Alon and Orlie Zak, a son… Yoni and Chaya Udkoff, a son (Grandparents Drs. Ranon and Rivkah Udkoff of Westlake Village, CA)… Joe and Rochel Socher, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Jonah Kaye, son of Barry and Nancy Kaye… Yuval Harary, son of Avishay and Ravit Harary… Avi Klein, son of Kolev and Shoshi Klein… Yochanan Gabaie, son of Albert and Fardeih Gabaie… Benjamin Goldstein, son of Joey and Tracy Goldstein… Jacob Weiss, son of David and Michele Weiss.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Bracha Stolz, daughter of Joseph and Judith Stolz, to Moshe Hildesheim of Lakewood, NJ… Toby Weiner, daughter of Rabbi Avraham and Frumie Weiner, to Yosef Perkal… Daniela Mordecai, daughter of Dr. David Mordecai, to Dov Kracoff… Chaim Abramson, son of Naftoli and Susan Abramson, to Devorah Elefant… Ayla Simons, daughter of Dr. Steve and Doni Simons, to Betzalel Levin, son of Daniel and Nancy Levin.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Harry Etra, son of Don and Paula Etra, to Daniella Schwartz… Tzivya Isaacs, daughter of Yaakov and Rayme Isaacs, to Yehuda Newman.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Jacob Rubenstein, son of Zev and Janet Rubenstein.

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yechiel and Chavi Leifer of Lakewood, NJ, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Shelaim and Esther Furst)… Avi and Yael Pinsky of Teaneck, NJ, a daughter (Grandparents Barry Pinsky and Linda Scharlin).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Simcha Rauch, son of Rabbi Zev and Rochel Rauch.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Birth: Rabbi Marc and Sara Gitler, a daughter.

Jeanne Litvin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/west-coast-happenings/events-in-the-west-18/2012/11/29/

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