web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Chodesh Elul’

In The King’s Presence

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

We all know that there are some synagogues that, unfortunately, only reach full capacity several days a year. There is something about these days that arouses even many unaffiliated Jews to attend High Holiday Services. In fact, each one of us also feels the holiness, and it helps us to be on our best behavior. We make sure to come on time to davening and we daven slower than usual. We are extra careful in our observance of halacha and how we treat the members of our family. Indeed, in Shulchan Aruch (OC Siman 603) we find that during the ten days of repentance, even those who usually eat “Pas Palter” (i.e. bread from a non-Jewish bakery that is kosher), should now be stringent and refrain from doing so. However, a thought may sneak into our minds – is this all just a game? Who am I kidding? Hashem knows exactly how I have been acting until now, so why should I put on a show?

But in truth, this approach is our salvation, as the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16b) states. “Rav Yitzchok said, a person is judged according to his actions at that moment. As it says concerning Yishmael, ‘ki-shama Elokim el-kol hana’ar ba’asher hu-sham – because Hashem has heard the boy’s voice, there, where he is’.” Rashi cites the Midrash Rabba that before Hashem caused a well to miraculously appear in order to save Yishmael from dying of thirst and fever, the angels in heaven protested. “How can You perform a miracle to save the one who’s descendants will cause Your children to die of thirst?!” To which Hashem answered, “since at this moment he is a tzaddik; I will not look at anything else.” On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem also judges us based on how we are at that time. Our past is not examined, nor our future. However, all this is quite perplexing. We all know that in a normal judgment the judge takes every fact into consideration. Why on the great Day of Judgment does Hashem ignore everything besides the present moment?

The Costume Or The “Real McCoy?”

Let us explain with the following parable. There was once a successful Jewish businessman named Getzel who had many dealings with non-Jews. On Shabbos he would don his streimel and bekeshe and walk down the street. “Hey Getzel,” one of his business associates called out to him. “What is that rabbit doing on your head? I thought you were from our day and age – not one of those Jews from the shtetel!” Greatly humiliated, Getzel lowered his head and ran home. This continued week after week until he decided to stop wearing his special Shabbos clothing. When he went to his Rebbe, though, he was too embarrassed to show that out of shame he had forsaken the ways of his forefathers. He would take out his streimel, dust it off and once again look like all the other Chasidim. One year he decided that this game had gone on long enough and he will show the Rebbe who he really is. When he came to the Rebbe for a brocha, wearing his weekday clothing, the Rebbe exclaimed, “Getzel, what happened to your Shabbos garb?” “Rebbe,” answered Getzel, “I’ll tell you the truth, this is how I always dress on Shabbos. I decided that it is time to act honestly and show you who the real ‘me’ is.” “Getzel, Getzel,” chided the Rebbe, “do you really think I didn’t know how you dressed every Shabbos? But until now I thought that Getzel in a streimel is the real Getzel and all year long you were dressed up. Now you tell me that the opposite is true!?”

This is what the above Gemara is teaching us. Even though we may have distanced ourselves from Hashem all year long, and not acted as befitting sons of the King, there is hope. If on this day we raise ourselves to where we are supposed to be, we will have shown that until now it was just a costume, and now the real “Me” is showing. Hashem will therefore judge us favorably, as we now deserve special treatment. True, we still need atonement for our past sins, but we will deal with them during the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur.

Parshas Ki Tavo

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Vol LXIII No. 36 5772
NYC Candle Lighting Time
September 7, 2012 – 20 Elul 5772
6:57 p.m. E.D.T.
Sabbath Ends: 8:02 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Ki Tavo
Weekly Haftara: Kummi Ori (Isaiah 60:1-22)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 37
Mishna Yomit: Nedarim 3:9-10
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 117:5 – 119:1
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Shegagos 9-11
Earliest Tallis and Tefillin: 5:33 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:41 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 3-4

This Saturday night after midnight (12:53 a.m. E.D.T. NYC), or in the early hours of the morning, we start to recite Selichos daily until erev Yom Kippur. The Sephardic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mediterranean and Oriental) communities already started on the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Elul. Rosh Hashana will be Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

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

Elul – Entering The King’s Palace

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I can probably read your thoughts: “Elul? I’m still in the Catskills! We haven’t even gone shopping at the Back-to-School sales yet!” That is true, but on the other hand, this week is Shabbos Mevorchim Elul, when we announce Rosh Chodesh Elul. Before you know it, we will be deep into Elul! Let us see how we can utilize this Shabbos to start getting ready.

Rav Chaim Brim zt”l, an exceptional Yerushalmi talmid chochom and tzaddik revered a generation ago, describes Elul with the following parable: The high walls surrounding the King’s palace loom over you, warning: “Do not even attempt to climb over!” The gates are securely locked, with soldiers armed to the teeth guarding them. Being granted permission to enter is something only the extremely wealthy and powerful can even hope for – and then only after months of efforts and special connections. This time, though, as you stand outside all the guards disappear. The doors swing open and a voice announces, “Beginning today, for the next 40 days, anyone who wishes may enter the palace.”

This is the drastic change that takes place beginning on the first day of Elul. Throughout the year, we have created barriers between us and Hashem, like those great walls around the palace. As a result it is very difficult to get close to Hashem, and change our ways. But once Elul starts there is a great transformation. In one swift moment all the doors open, and a voice calls out, beckoning us to enter. These days are called Yimei Ratzon, “Days of Goodwill.” In these days we are able to freely enter the King’s Palace. We will be welcomed with open arms, like a prince who has been away on a long trip. When he finally comes back, they are so happy to see him that any request he makes will be fulfilled. So too, any small action we do in Elul will be accepted with love by Hashem. Not only that, once the barriers have been lowered, it will be easier to accomplish and do mitzvos.

But you may be thinking, I have been through Elul many times in the past and didn’t feel anything unique. What is the reason for that?

In The Palace The answer is that you may have been lacking two important steps: First, the desire to enter. We all know the famous acronym for Elul: “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li – I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me.” Before our Beloved turns to us, we must first turn to our Beloved. Therefore, the first step is to turn to our Beloved, Hashem. In the parable note above this can be compared to coming to the palace and desiring to enter. This is what we should be doing now, when the chazzan announces in shul that next Shabbos will be Rosh Chodesh Elul. Let us yearn with all our hearts for that great moment, when we will be able to enter the palace. This coming week should be one filled with great anticipation.

The second step is to actually walk in. This means imagining ourselves in the king’s palace and recognizing that we are now in a special environment. Even the simplest person realizes that in the palace we must act differently. Before he comes into the king’s inner chambers, he is awe-stricken by the fabulous surroundings. He sees massive halls and archways, expensive rugs and fabulous tapestries. Servants scurry from place to place in hushed silence and guards stand in every corner. Automatically, just by being there, he is stimulated to act with dignity. After a month of living in this dignified manner, he will finally be ready to meet the King himself. So too, we must enter the palace in Elul, and realize that we are getting ready for the big meeting with the King on Rosh Hashanah. By acting in an uplifted manner, we will have begun the preparations for that great and terrifying moment, when we pass one by one in front of the Master of the Universe.

Hashem Is My Light And My Salvation During Elul, we say a special mizmor of tehillim twice a day, which unfortunately is not always appreciated. Some people say it as they run out the door or while folding their talis. And even those people who say it properly sometimes run out of steam by the time they get half way through. Let us examine parts of this special tefilla, in light of our parable.

Parshas Ekev

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 32 5772

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
August 10, 2012 – 22 Av 5772
7:40 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:48 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Ekev
Weekly Haftara: Vatomer Tziyyon (Isaiah 49:14-51:3)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 9
Mishna Yomit: Kesuvos 8:6-7
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 98:5-99:2
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Ma’aseh Ha’Korbanos chap. 7-9
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:00 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:30 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 4

This Shabbos is Shabbos Mevorchim – we bless the new moon. Rosh Chodesh Elul is two days next Shabbos and Sunday. The Molad was yesterday, Friday 13 minutes and 7 chalakim (a chelek is 1/18 of a minute) after 1:00 p.m. (in Jerusalem).

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-ekev/2012/08/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: