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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Erev Yom Tov’

An Appeal To Readers

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Dear Readers:

It is Motzei Rosh Hashanah as I write this letter. I have been a therapist for over thirty years and devote a large part of my practice to marital and pre-marital therapy. This year I have had many clients seeking my services after they sought help from other frum therapists. Regarding this, I wish to address the following phenomena:

The frum therapist told many of these couples during the first or second session that they should get divorced. This situation, which has taken place throughout my years in practice, has recently become more prevalent. Yes, there are many frum therapists who do not advocate divorce, but I have to wonder why any therapist would push divorce as an option when clearly the couple is attending therapy to receive help in saving the marriage? If the couple wanted to get divorced they would go to a beis din to secure one. Even the rabbanim who run the batei din try to get the couple to first seek therapy before possibly (and unfortunately) proceeding with a divorce.

Please, readers, tell others as you would advise yourselves: do not continue seeking counsel from a therapist who sees you once and advises you, based on that sole session, to get divorced. Just this Erev Yom Tov I ran into a couple that I treated 20 years ago. At that time this issue was not as common, but they had also gone to a frum therapist who in one session told them to get divorced. They were then referred to me and I had them undergo extensive therapy for six months. It was a difficult case, with the husband needing to work out his anger issues. After teaching anger management techniques to him and effective countermoves to offset his anger to her, they remained married and had several more children.

So 20 years later, they said to me, “We just had our fifth grandchild! We can’t believe we are meeting you!”

This newest grandchild was from the child they had after therapy, a child who would never have been born had they gotten divorced. They told me that they were basically happy and were friends with divorced couples whose lives turned out to be a big mess. They described how the other couples’ children had problems or were off the derech, and how they had so much nachas with their amazing children.

“Being married is not easy and we work on it every day, but we see the fruits of our labor and we share a deep love and conviction. In spite of all obstacles we work things out,” they said. They joyfully told me all the great techniques that they use until this day to ensure that they keep their marriage intact. They continue, even after they stopped going for therapy, to have a date night once a week. They work on complimenting each other and, for the most part, the anger is no longer an active force in their marriage. They still have disputes, but they are manageable and are not of the same nature as the ones they had pre-therapy. This couple learned conflict resolution and the husband has kept his anger in check all these years. For her part, the wife knows how to avoid making her husband angry and how to keep him calm.

It is not easy to be married, but it is surely not easy to be divorced. In certain situations there is no alternative to divorce, but if a couple is willing to work together, a therapist has an open door for the possibility of success. If the husband or wife, however, refuses to seek help or to work on his or her deficiency, the situation becomes more difficult. But even in such cases, I have taught the cooperative spouse (usually the healthier one) how to use effective countermoves to make a difficult marriage work. Other great techniques include imago therapy, with the couple learning how their childhood issues are affecting their marriage and how to deal with those issues.

So, my dear readers, if you go to a therapist one time – with your spouse or alone – and the therapist tells you to get divorced, please seek out another therapist. You can always get divorced, but first try as hard as possible to save your marriage. This may entail not always getting your way; it may mean giving in at times. You may have to learn to agree to disagree on certain issues, and you will have to work on dealing with your anger more effectively – in the process learning self-control. But all this will make you a better person and better able to work on developing good middos.

It’s All From Above

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

We know that there are no random happenings…. everything is orchestrated from above. From the minor to the most major, nothing escapes Hashem’s attention. Our sages teach us that a man does not stub his toe without Hashem being aware of it. Behind every incident there is a wake-up call. Every morning, we recite the brachah, “HaMeichinmitzadei gaver,” and thank G-d for “guiding our footsteps.”

While the ways of Hashem are hidden from us, and most of the time, we are not conscious of His guiding Hand or His intent, we are nevertheless sustained by faith and trust that everything that befalls us is “l’tovah” – for our benefit, even if that tovah – benefit, is beyond our understanding. In a small way, I saw this unfold this past Pesach.

As some of you may be aware, this year, I split my time between two venues so that I might celebrate Yom Tov with as many of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as possible. So it was that in the beginning of Pesach, I was in Connecticut and for the last days, I was in California.

I was scheduled to take an early Sunday morning flight from JFK to LAX. We arrived at the Delta terminal 45 minutes before our departure, tired and bleary-eyed. We made our way to the ticket counter, only to be told by the woman behind the desk that we were late and could not get on the flight. Shocked and taken aback, we tried to protest, pointing out that we still had 45 minutes, that we were observant Jews and that evening ushered in the concluding days of Passover, when travel is forbidden.

“There is nothing that I can do for you,” she replied tersely. “Delta has new rules, and if you are taking luggage, you must check in one hour before the flight,” and with that, she dismissed us and called the next person on line.

What to do? What to do?

At an adjacent ticket counter, we spotted another woman with a kind, warm, smiling face, and we decided to try our luck with her. As we explained our predicament, she shook her head sympathetically, but reaffirmed Delta’s rule. “Nevertheless,” she said, “I’ll check it out with my supervisor.” And with that, she went over to the same woman who had just given us the dismal news.

We realized that indeed, if she was the supervisor, there was not much hope of getting on the flight. As expected, we saw her shake her head emphatically, indicating a big “No!”

Our smiling agent returned and confirmed our suspicion. “I’m sorry, I tried, but my supervisor said that the flight is closed.” But she added, “I’ll re-ticket you for the next flight out which will be at 11:00 a.m.”

My friend Barbara, who always travels with me, decided to give it one more try. “Do you know who this lady is?” she said, pointing to me. “She is an important international Jewish preacher and she simply must get on this early flight.”

“Oh,” the agent exclaimed excitedly, “I always wanted to meet a Jewish preacher. I have many questions. You know what I will do?” she went on, “I’ll take my lunch break now and walk you to the gate so that we can talk!”

“But,” I protested, trying again, “we have to get on this flight!”

“Oh,” she said, “don’t worry. You’ll arrive in plenty of time. You will be in L.A. by 2:30, but rules are rules and I can’t change them for anyone.” And with that, she walked us to another counter where she told the clerk to re-ticket us, and then she proceeded to accompany us to our gate.

“Tell me,” she asked, “what is the most important fruit that G-d gave to the Jewish people, which, if eaten regularly, is guaranteed to protect them from all difficulties? I’ve asked this question of so many Jews, and none of them could answer me. But if you are a Jewish preacher, surely you know the answer.”

“What a question!” I thought to myself… “What is the most important fruit that G-d gave us? … I had better come up with a good response, and even as I was arranging my thoughts, I made a mental note to tell Barbara not to do me any favors with grandiose introductions.” But my newfound friend was waiting for a response.

“Pomegranates.” I told her.

“Right! but can you tell me why?”

“Pomegranates” I explained, “have 613 seeds and they remind us of the 613 Commandments that G-d gave us. If we remain loyal to them, if we steadfastly cling to them, then no harm can befall us.”

“That is beautiful,” she said enthusiastically. “But there is one thing I don’t understand – I always thought that G-d gave Ten Commandments.”

“Absolutely,” I responded, “but think for a moment…. what does 613 add up to? Six and one are seven, plus three, equals 10! All of the 613 commandments have their seed in the 10.”

“That’s awesome!” she said excitedly.

“But wait,” I told her. “There is more. The Hebrew word for pomegranate is ‘rimon’ and that word has the same letters as ‘a flock of sheep,’ teaching us that through these commandments, we become G-d’s holy flock, and He becomes our Loving Shepherd. As King David so beautifully wrote in Psalm 23: ‘G-d is my shepherd, I shall not want….’”

No sooner did she hear these words than she proceeded to recite the Psalm. And when she came to the words, “Even if I have to walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me,” her eyes glistened with tears.

“Now let me ask you another question,” she continued. “Why did G-d choose the Levites to be the special tribe to minister to His people?”

“Actually,” I said, “G-d did not choose the Levites. It was the Levites who chose G-d. At the incident of the Golden Calf, Moses called out to the people: ‘Whoever is for G-d, come unto me!’ The tribe of Levi heeded that call and rushed forth to signal their readiness to serve. There is a profound lesson to be drawn from that incident,” I explained, “and that is that whenever life challenges us to choose between two divergent paths, we would do well to follow the example of the Levites and stand firm with G-d.”

She went on with some more questions, and as we bonded in friendship, I said to her, “Tell me truthfully, if your supervisor had truly wanted to, couldn’t she have gotten us on the earlier flight?”

“She really couldn’t have. Delta is very strict about these new rules,” she responded. “It takes them an hour to process the luggage and they do not want any delays in their flights.” And then she added a thought that left me nonplussed. “Isn’t it G-d who arranges our steps?” she asked. “For the longest time I’ve been praying to have the privilege of meeting a Jewish preacher from G-d’s holy flock, and the Good L-rd granted me this blessing today. You changed my life…. Am I not also one of G-d’s children? Don’t I count?”

“You’re right,” I answered. “Of course you count and everything does happen from G-d.”

When she left us and we readied ourselves to board our 11:00 a.m. flight, in my heart I was still reviewing the whole incident and wondering what I might glean from this experience. We arrived in L.A. at 2:30, in ample time to make it to our hotel for Yom Tov. In the taxi, I decided to make some Erev Yom Tov phone calls to New York, and it was on one of these calls that I learned that there had been an earthquake in L.A. and we had just missed it by minutes!

I thought about the entire incident – there was a lot to digest. I cannot tell you with certitude why it all occurred, but I do know that everything that befalls us is orchestrated by the One Above. In all situations, under all circumstances, we must never forget that we have a calling – to be Hashem’s witnesses and to be aware of His constant guiding Hand directing our steps on life’s long, arduous, and often bumpy road. No matter where that road takes us, we are never to forget the response of the Levites of old and stand firm with our G-d.

Q & A: Hachana (Part I)

Friday, June 20th, 2003

QUESTION: Is it halachically permissible to pack on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on the next day?

Moishe Halberstam
Brooklyn, NY


ANSWER: Your question is quite relevant in today’s fast-paced lifestyle where we travel much often than in previous times, and where the need for a trip may come up quite suddenly. It is certainly advisable not to pack on the Sabbath or on Yom Tov for a trip to be taken on a later day, and several halachic authorities rule that to do so is prohibited. To better understand the situation, we will examine the general concept of the prohibition of hachana, that is, preparation on the Sabbath or Yom Tov for a weekday.

The Talmud (Beitza 2b) cites Rabbah, who rules that the concept of muktzeh (i.e., items one may not touch on the Sabbath because they were not prepared before, “devarim she’einam min hamuchan”) is of biblical origin. It is derived from the verse in Parashat Beshalach (Exodus 16:5) regarding the manna, “Vehaya bayom hashishi veheichinu et asher yaviu [vehaya mishneh al asher yilketu yom yom] - And it shall be that on the sixth day [Erev Shabbat], when they prepare what they shall bring [it will be twice as much as what they pick up every day].” Rabbah explains: “A weekday may prepare for Shabbat and a weekday may prepare for Yom Tov, but Yom Tov does not prepare for Shabbat, and [surely] Shabbat does not prepare for Yom Tov.”

According to the Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 550:1), this rule also applies from one day of Yom Tov to the second day - added for those living outside of Israel – or even from the first day of Rosh Hashanah to the second (also observed in Israel). The Taz (ad loc.) explains that though Rosh Hashana is considered to be one long day, that does not apply to matters of leniency.

Rashi (Beitza 2b) s.v. “Ve’ein Yom Tov meichin leShabbat” explains that Yom Tov is also referred to as “Shabbat” [as we see in Parashat Emor (Leviticus 23:15), "You shall count from the morrow of the Sabbath (i.e., Passover)," and also further {23:39}, "On the first day a
Sabbath (Shabbaton) and on the eighth day a Sabbath" (i.e. Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret)] and thus it, too, requires preparation.

Tosafot s.v. “Vehaya bayom hashishi” explain that by means of an eruv tavshilin one may prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbat even though Rabbah rules that hachana is a concept of biblical origin, whether for the Sabbath or for Yom Tov. Thus, even though we might ask how the Rabbinical enactment of an eruv can nullify the biblical hachana, such is the case, and he reasons that since guests could arrive at any time now, the food would be ready now on Yom Tov for immediate consumption. Rabbah rules – as does R. Eliezer (Pesachim 48a) ? that we say “ho’il… – since…” (since guests may possibly arrive, we may prepare food). Thus the preparation is not for the next day (Shabbat), but rather for immediate use (on Yom Tov).

The commentary Ran (see Pesachim ch. 3, also quoted by the Magen Avraham, Orach Chayyim 527) states that biblically one may not cook on Yom Tov for Sabbath, and surely not for a weekday. Yet we are permitted to cook for Shabbat using the rule of ‘ho’il’ (i.e., since guests may arrive now), although there is still worry of transgressing the law. Establishing an eruv, however, obviates any possible transgression.

The Magen Avraham thus explains the Mechaber, who states that by means of an eruv one cooks in effect, a priori, for Shabbat.

The Rema explains the concept of the eruv, which is based on the mishna (Beitza 15b). There we learn, “[If} a holiday falls on the eve of the Sabbath, one may not cook on the holiday for the Sabbath but one may cook for the holiday itself, and if any [food] is left over, it remains for the Sabbath. One prepares a cooked food on Erev Yom Tov, and relies on it [to prepare food] for the Sabbath.” Rashi (ad loc., s.v. Lo yevashel bit’chila) explains that the food he cooks on Yom Tov must be intended for Yom Tov itself, with the stipulation that what is left will remain for the Sabbath… Beit Shammai say [that the prepared food must consist of]
two dishes, and Beit Hillel say – one dish. Both agree that a fish with an egg upon it (Rashi explains this to be fish roasted with an egg batter on it) is [considered] two dishes (thus satisfying Beit Shammai’s requirement)…”

Today we prepare a cooked item, usually an egg, and a baked item, such as matza, to serve as an eruv when necessary.

Thus, in effect, a forbidden labor (hachana) is not started on Yom Tov, but rather the labor which began on Erev Yom Tov is finished on Yom Tov, and the remainder of the food is saved for the Sabbath, and this is permitted. Were it not for the eruv, the issue of hachana would certainly be a concern, preventing Yom Tov preparations for Shabbat.

We thus have somewhat of an idea about hachana as it relates to food preparation for Shabbat or Yom Tov. Now we will be able to discuss your question, packing clothes on
Shabbat in anticipation of a departure after Shabbat.

(To be continued)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/q-a-hachana-part-i/2003/06/20/

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