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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Shabbos Nachamu’

Comfort And Consolation

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

We’ve all seen the ads in the papers.

Shabbos Nachamu is one of the biggest getaway weekends of the entire “frum” summer. There has long been a long-standing American tradition for people to go up to the mountains for Shabbos Nachamu.

This phenomenon makes the haftorah of parshas VaEschanan, probably the most famous haftorah of the entire year (though Shabbos Shuva comes in at a close second) with its well-known opening verse from Yeshayah (chapter 40), where Hashem instructs the Navi to “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami,” go and console, console, my nation.

So, Nachamu is one haftorah with which we are all familiar. We know that when Tisha B’Av and the entire Three Weeks mourning period is over we are to take a breather, relax a little, and get comfort.

But are we familiar with the details of the messages which the Navi wishes to convey about what true comfort, true nechama, is?

Yeshaya describes the ultimate power of Hashem and how future events will be happier for the Jewish people. This is our comfort.

Here’s a small sampling of the theme of the perek:

“Behold, the Lord, Hashem will come as a Mighty One, and His arm will rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His reparation before Him.” (40:10)

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see, who has created these? He that brings out their hosts by number, He calls them all by name; by the greatness of His might, and for that He is strong in power, not one fails [to be called by Him – Rashi] (40:26)

But true consolation for tragedy can never come in this world.

Rav Tzadok HaKohen (Tzidkas HaTzadik, os 170) explains that true consolation only occurs when the problem and suffering one experiences is shown to have never really been a tragedy. Rav Tzadok writes that this is what Dovid HaMelech means when he says in Tehillim, “Min hameitzar karasi Kah, anoni b’merchav kah.” I call out to Hashem from pain, but he answers me by widening my experiences and my view. I see that my problem was not a problem after all.

A friend of mine who lost his father at a young age to a debilitating disease once told me something unbelievable, a testament to my friend’s bitachon in Hashem. He said, “What kept me going during shiva and what keeps me going now? I keep telling myself that now my father, in Shamayim, knows why the illness happened, and what’s more, he’s happy it happened.”

When will we, in this world, experience a true nechama for all the tragedies that have taken place during Klal Yisrael’s history? When we will see, as Rav Tzadok explained, that all of our problems were never really problems at all? The Tzelach tells us when, based on Pesachim 50a.

The Gemara there says that in this world upon hearing good news, besuros tovos, we say the bracha of hatov v’hameitiv, whereas upon hearing bad news, we say the bracha of Dayan ha’emes. L’asid lavoh, in future times, says the Gemara, whether hearing good news or tragic news, we will only say one bracha: that of hatov v’hameitiv. Asks the Tzelach, in future times, when Moshiach comes, there won’t be any tragedies. What then does the Gemara mean that we will make hatov v’hameitiv on the tragic events?

The Tzelach (a commentary on Shas written by the Noda B’Yehuda) explains that the tragic events the Gemara is referring to are not ones which will take place during the days of Moshiach. Rather, we are discussing the tragedies that have occurred throughout world history. When Moshiach comes, we are going to be shown that all of the events that we saw as tragic were really all for the good. It will become clear to us that all of the besuros ra’os were actually besuros tovos. This will be the true nechama.

Presently, we make a bracha of Dayan ha’emes upon tragedies. At least, we have faith and we know there is a bracha, some blessing, some ultimate goodness involved. But in the future, it will become apparent. We will see the unity between Hashem’s din and rachamim, justice and mercy.

This is why we conclude the HaMakom tefila/bracha to mourners with b’soch she’ar aveilei Tziyon V’Yerushalayim. When will Hashem offer all mourners the true consolation and show them that all was for the best? When Moshiach comes, when all of Klal Yisrael is comforted with the return of the Beis HaMikdash—this is when all things and events will be understood, b’soch she’ar aveilei Tziyon V’Yerushalayim.

Parshas VaEs’chanan

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 31 5772

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
August 3, 2012 – 15 Av 5772
7:48 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:58 NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: VaEs’chanan
Weekly Haftara: Nachamu, Nachamu (Isaiah 40:1-26)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 2
Mishna Yomit: Chullin 3:7-4:1
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 94:4-6
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Bias Mikdash chap. 2-4
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 4:52 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:28 a.m. NYC E.D.T. Pirkei Avos: 3

This Friday, Erev Shabbos, is Chamisha Asar B’Av – the 15th of Av – which our Talmud (Ta’anis 26b) refers to as a special festival that was celebrated when our holy Temple existed in Jerusalem. We do not say Tachanun. This Shabbos, is referred to as Shabbos Nachamu as we read the Haftara Nachamu Nachamu.

All tefillos as ususal, except that we do not say Av Harachamim or Hazkaras Neshamos before Musaf, or Tzidkas’cha following Mincha. We resume the study of Pirkei Avos (chap. 3).

Summer Weekend

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Mr. Blank worked through the summer, so his family stayed in the city. “It would be nice to get away to the country for a weekend,” his wife suggested.

“Great idea!” Mr. Blank replied. “If we can find a place, it would be nice to go away for Shabbos Nachamu weekend.”

Mrs. Blank searched the classifieds for summer home rentals. “Here’s one,” she said to her husband. “Summer home available for weekends. Reasonable rent. Call Mr. Zimmer for details.”

Mr. Blank called Mr. Zimmer. “We saw your ad for the summer home in the newspaper,” he said. “Is it available for Shabbos Nachamu? How much is it?”

“It is available and costs $400 for the weekend,” replied Mr. Zimmer. “You’re welcome to come already Thursday evening.”

“I’ll discuss with my wife and confirm with you tomorrow,” said Mr. Blank.

The following day, Mr. Blank called Mr. Zimmer again. “Yes, we are interested in reserving the house for the weekend,” he said.

“Excellent,” said Mr. Zimmer. “Payment is due when you arrive. I’ll see you in a week.”

A few days later, Mrs. Blank received a call from her sister, who was spending the summer in their summer home. “We have a bar mitzvah back in the city on Shabbos Nachamu,” she said. “Our house is available that weekend if you’d like to use it.”

“That’s so nice of you,” said Mrs. Blank. “We actually are planning on going away that Shabbos. We reserved a summer home, but if yours in available that would save us the expense. Thanks a lot!”

“Guess what?” Mrs. Blank said to her husband. “My sister just offered us her summer home for Shabbos Nachamu. Can you call Mr. Zimmer and cancel the reservation?”

Mr. Blank called Mr. Zimmer. “This is Mr. Blank speaking,” he said. “We reserved the summer home for Shabbos Nachamu. In the end, we do not need it and would like to cancel the reservation.”

“But we already confirmed the reservation,” said Mr. Zimmer. “You can’t just back out now; that’s dishonest.”

“We just received an offer from my sister-in-law to use her house,” explained Mr. Blank.

“You’re still breaking you reservation,” objected Mr. Blank, “but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Mr. Blank was troubled. He saw Rabbi Dayan in shul that evening and asked: “Is it acceptable to cancel the reservation?

“Just as a sale requires an act of acquisition, a kinyan, to make it legally binding, so, too, a rental agreement requires a kinyan to make it legally binding,” said Rabbi Dayan. “A verbal agreement alone does not carry legal responsibility. Therefore, although you reserved the bungalow over the phone, since no kinyan or payment was made you have the legal ability to cancel the reservation. To prevent this, it is wise for landlords to demand a deposit payment.” (195:9; 315:1)

“The words alone mean nothing?!” Mr. Blank asked astounded.

“Words are meaningful, and a person has a moral obligation to honor his verbal commitments,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “One who does not uphold his words is called lacking trustworthiness (mechusa amana) and, possibly, even wicked.” (204:7)

“So then it is wrong to cancel the reservation?” asked Mr. Blank.

“It would be if you hadn’t received the offer from your sister-in-law,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “There is a dispute between the authorities if a verbal commitment is morally binding when there was a change in market conditions. The Rama [204:11] cites both opinions, and sides that one should not retract even in this case. However, later authorities lean towards the lenient opinion [Pischei Choshen, Kinyanim, 1:5].

“When the rental is no longer needed because another unit was received for free, the Chasam Sofer [C.M. #102] writes that this is certainly like a change in market conditions, so that it is not considered a breach of integrity.”

“What if I wasn’t offered the other bungalow for free, but found a better deal?” asked Mr. Blank. “Would that also be considered a change in market conditions?”

“The SM”A [333:1] indicates so,” answered Rabbi Dayan, “but this is questionable unless there was some new development in the market, so that one who is scrupulous should be careful.” (Emek Hamishpat, Sechirus Batim, #8)

“What if Mr. Zimmer had turned away other potential renters meanwhile?” asked Mr. Blank. “Perhaps he might not be able to find other renters now?”

My Machberes

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Honoring New York’s Chief Rabbi

Rabbi Jacob Joseph, zt”l

The 24th of Tammuz (Shabbos Pinchas, July 15) will mark the 110th yahrzeit of Rabbi Jacob Joseph, zt”l, chief rabbi of New York in the latter years of the 19th century. Thousands will be praying and reciting Tehillim at the gravesite in Union Field Cemetery, Cypress Hills, Queens, on Sunday, July 16. The cemetery will keep its gates open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate the anticipated flow of visitors. Shuttle buses, organized by Rabbi Yonah Landau, will be leaving from Lee Avenue at the corner of Ross Street in Williamsburg throughout the day and ample parking space is available alongside the cemetery.

* * * * *

On June 13, 1852, Beis Hamedrash Hagadol was established at 60 Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Its first rav was Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Asch, zt”l, who had arrived in the United States earlier that year.

After the passing of Rabbi Asch, a new rav was sought for Beis Medrash Hagadol. At the same time, there was a growing consensus among New York’s many congregations that a chief rabbi was needed for the city. Requests for recommended candidates were sent to Europe, the seat of religious Jewry at the time, with letters hand delivered to Rabbi Chaim Berlin of Moscow, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin of Brisk, Rabbi Ezriel Hildesheimer of Berlin, Rabbi Eliyahu Levinson of Krottingen, Rabbi Hillel Lifshitz of Suwalk, Rabbi Eliyohu Chaim Meisels of Lodz, Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor of Kovno, and Rabbi Jacob Joseph of Vilna.

A delegation of congregational leaders was dispatched to Europe to consult with leading rabbis. Rabbi Joseph’s name was repeatedly suggested.

After much deliberation, an offer was made to and accepted by Rabbi Joseph. The invitation was from fifteen leading New York City congregations to serve as the accredited chief rabbi of New York City. Rabbi Joseph was offered annual remuneration of $2,500, a princely sum in those days; a large apartment; and the allegiance of most of America’s observant congregations. In addition, Rabbi Joseph was presented with $5,000 as a signing bonus to settle debts he had personally incurred on behalf of indigent individuals he privately sustained.

* * * * *

Rabbi Jacob Joseph was born in Krozhe, a province of Kovno. He studied at the yeshiva in Volozhin under Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin and in Kovna under Rabbi Yisroel Salanter. After teaching in Slabodka, Rabbi Joseph, a brilliant Talmudist, was elected rav of Vilon (1868), Yurburg (1870), and Zhagovy before becoming maggid and acting rav of Vilna in 1883. He authored the sefer L’beis Yaakov, published in 1888 in Vilna.

On Shabbos Maatos-Maasei, July 7, 1888, the trans-Atlantic ship Allaire docked at Hoboken, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. After Havdalah, at approximately 10 p.m., the chief rabbi was taken to a nearby hotel. The leaders of the appointing congregations and more than 100,000 people crowded the streets for an opportunity to catch a glimpse of him. Hoboken had never before seen such a large crowd.

The chief rabbi delivered his first public speech in New York on Shabbos Nachamu, July 28. The beis medrash was filled to capacity and tens of thousands stood outside. Police were there for crowd control.

Rabbi Joseph, sadly, was accorded great honor only twice during his tenure as chief rabbi. When he first arrived in 1888 he was heralded as an ecclesiastical giant by The New York Times. New York City newspapers continued for months to report on the huge crowds he drew for his Shabbos sermons – often in the tens of thousands.

In his brave attempts to organize kashrus, Rabbi Joseph waged war with unlearned poultry business owners who were quite pleased with the low level of kosher supervision they were happily and very profitably providing. Rabbi Joseph was unable to persuade his congregations to pay the salaries of the kosher supervisors he appointed. So he imposed a one cent per-pound surcharge only on kosher poultry. This ignited the wrath of “kosher” butchers. The populace, as a consequence, was influenced to turn against Rabbi Joseph.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/my-machberes/my-machberes-25/2012/07/11/

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