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25 Kislev 5778 -
? Tuesday, December 12, 2017


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When One Forgets To Say Vesein Tal U’matar

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.

The Maccabees’ Response To ‘World Opinion’

“Israel has bad public relations.” This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”

Shabbat Chevron: On The Deepest Level

On the Shabbat when we read the portion of Chayei Sarah, Chevron residents are joined by thousands of people from all over Israel and around the world in celebrating Father Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah and its surrounding fields as a burial place for Sarah Imeinu.

Z’man Simchasenu – The Time of Our Happiness

Sukkos! What an exciting Yom Tov! So many different mitzvos, each with their own color and flavor. Dwelling in the sukkah, taking the 4 species, dancing at the simchas beis hashuava and on Simchas Torah … Nevertheless, there is one theme which runs through all these aspects. “Vesamachta bechagecha atah uvincha, uvitecha, ve'avdecha, va'amasecha, vehaLevi, vehager, vehayasom. veha'almanah asher bish'areycha - You shall rejoice on your festival along with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite, proselyte, orphan and widow from your settlements” (Devorim 16:14).

Kavanah In Davening

In this week’s parshah the Torah gives us the mitzvah of tefillah – davening to Hashem – for as the pasuk says, “oso sa’avod – you shall serve Him.” The Torah repeats this mitzvah several times, with another mention further in this week’s parshah: “uleavdo bechal levavchem – serve Him with all of your heart.” The Sifri explains that one serves with his heart by means of tefillah.

Renewing The Face Of The Earth

I sleep every Tisha B’Av night on a narrow cushion in front of the Me’aras HaMachpelah in Hebron. I do this because the following chiddush came to me many years ago: When the spies went to Israel, the pasuk says “vayavo ad Chevron” – “and he came until Hebron.” He instead of they. Rashi says only Calev ben Yefuneh went to Hebron, to pray to Avraham Avinu that he not fall for the plan of the spies.

May One Finish Davening After The Z’man?

In this week’s parshah Balak hires Bilam to curse the Jews. The Gemaras in Berachos 7a and Avodah Zarah 4a say that there is a very brief moment during each day when Hashem allows himself to get angry. The Gemara says that no one was ever able to exact that moment except for Bilam the rasha, as it says: “veyode’a das elyon – and he knew Hashem’s knowledge.”

Getting Back Together

We all know we have to take the Three Weeks seriously. But at the same time we all just want the time between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av to pass already.

Counting The Previous Day’s Sefirah

One who forgets to count sefirah at night may count during the day without a berachah, and then continue counting the rest of the days with a berachah. If one forgets to count sefirah at night and does not remember to count by day, he may not count with a berachah thereafter.

Sefira And The Battle With Our Evil Inclination

During Pesach we experience liberation from slavery, followed by the dramatic encounter with Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. Then we trek through the desert to the great moment at Har Sinai.

If I Only Had One Jewish App On My iPhone

This past week I saw a video preview of an upcoming iPod app that excited and inspired me to the point of near tears. It was for RustyBrick’s jaw-dropping ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud app. Unfortunately that app won’t be out for another few months (but take the time to check out the preview at www.rustybrick.com), yet I realized after months of writing this column that I had yet to give the due attention to RustyBrick’s Siddur app.

Is Ma’ariv Really Optional?

In the beginning of this week’s parshah the Torah writes about Yaakov Avinu’s departure from his father’s house in Beersheva.

Counting Our Blessings

This week we read Parshas Vayeitzei, the parsha in which Yaakov Avinu meets Rachel and Leah, marries and begins a family. What an appropriate time to take a look at our own lives and focus on all the good we have been blessed with.

The Sword In The Tongue (Conclusion)

In last week's column I published letters from two women who wrote about the terrible ordeal from which many of our people suffer. In the Torah, such an affliction is called "onas devarim" - verbal abuse. While we are all familiar with the prohibitions regarding lashon hara (gossip), the prohibitions regarding onas devarim are less known. In fact, most people are not even aware of them. The following is my response:

Mourning in the Morning

Regarding the positive Torah commandment to pray, Rambam writes, "This commandment obligates each person to offer supplication and prayer every day and utter praises of the Holy One, blessed be He; then petition for all his needs with requests and supplications; and finally, give praise and thanks to God for the goodness that He has bestowed upon him - each one according to his own ability" (Mishneh Torah 1:2).

Guests Or Residents? Women In Our Shuls

A few weeks ago I was completing the silent amidah at the morning minyan I attend in my local shul. Suddenly, a cold breeze shot through the room. I headed back to the door of the bet midrash where we pray and saw that a young observant woman I know had propped the door slightly ajar in order to hear the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei and the reading of the Torah.

Title: Shemoneh Esrei: The Depth And Beauty Of Our Daily Tefillah

Rabbi Leff's Shemoneh Esrei is a magnum opus on the central prayer of our davening.

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