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the media, our parents, the way we were brought up, society, bad luck or Feeling guilty, they say, is bad for us. It lowers self esteem. Who does it any more? We have finally reached the age Shelley dreamed of in his poem Prometheus Unbound. We are ―free from guilt or pain.‖ All of which makes it difficult to understand - except as some relic of the past - what Jews throughout the world are now doing, getting ready for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, what we call ―the Days of Awe.‖ Yom Kippur could almost be defined as a festival of guilt. We repent and confess our sins repeatedly in long alphabetical lists. ―We have been guilty, we have betrayed, we have robbed, we have spoken slander.‖ ―For the sin we committed through hardness of heart, for the sin we committed through utterance of the lips,‖ ON ROSH HASHANA / HAAZINU - 5771
Yom Kippur itself is the culmination of a process that begins forty days before with the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, our moral early In our 16th year! To receive this parsha sheet, go to and click warning system. Then come Selichot, the special penitential prayers said for Subscribe or send a blank e-mail tPlease also copy me at a week before the New Year, then the New Year itself with its symbolism A complete archive of previous issues is now available at of the world as a courtroom in session, with our lives on trial. It’s hard to It is also fully searchable. ________________________________________________ think of anything less in keeping with the zeitgeist, the mood of now. I think, though, that Judaism gets it right and the zeitgeistgets it To sponsor an issue (proceeds to Tzedaka) email spectacularly, dangerously wrong. Consider: guilt enters the world hand in ________________________________________________ hand with the spirit of forgiveness. G-d forgives: that is the message emblazoned all over Yom Kippur. G-d doesn’t expect us to get it right all A K'siva v'Chasima Tova
the time. The greatest of the great, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, had TORAH ON THE INTERNET. Please send donations to any or all of their faults and failings, defeats and doubts. There is only one person in the the following institutions. Thanks. Chaim Hebrew Bible who is said to have committed no sin: Job. And look what - (Project Genesis), 122 Slade Avenue, Suite 250, Baltimore, So, because G-d forgives, we can be honest with Him and therefore with - Ohr Somayach International , Attn. Internet Department , 1399 Coney ourselves. Unlike a shame culture, a guilt culture separates agent from act, Island Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11230, the person from the deed. What I did may be wrong, but I am still intact, - Torah Web Foundation, c/o Judah Diament , 94 Baker Ave, still loved by G-d, still His child. In a guilt culture, acknowledging our Bergenfield, NJ 07621, mistakes is doable, and that makes all the difference. - Rabbi Riskin, Ohr Torah Stone , Executive Director North America, Today’s secular environment is a shame culture. It involves trial by the 49 West 45th Street, Suite 701, New York, NY 10036, media, or public opinion, or the courts, or economic necessity, all of which are unforgiving. When shame is involved, it’s us, not just our actions, that - Aish HaTorah, American Friends of Aish HaTorah , 400 South Lake are found wanting. That’s why in a shame culture you don’t hear people Drive, Lakewood NJ 08701-3167, saying, ―I was wrong. It was my fault. I’m sorry. Forgive me.‖ Instead, - Yeshivat Har Etzion Virtual Beit Midrash , American Friends of people try to brazen it out. The only way to survive in a shame culture is to Yeshivat Har Etzion , 160 Broadway, Suite #1000 , New York, NY 10038, be shameless. Some people manage this quite well, but deep down we know that there’s something rotten in a system where no one is willing to - Shema Yisrael Torah Network, POB 708, Lakewood, N.J. 08701, Ultimately, guilt cultures produce strong individuals precisely because - Dafyomi Advancement Forum, (Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld), D.A.F., they force us to accept responsibility. When things go wrong we don’t waste time blaming others. We don’t luxuriate in the most addictive, destructive drug known to humankind, namely victimhood. We say, - Many thanks to Michael Fiskus for helping distribute Internet Parsha honestly and seriously, ―I’m sorry. Forgive me. Now let me do what I can Sheets in Jamaica Estates. , Send donation to, Belz Institutions in Israel, c/o to put it right.‖ That way we and the people we offend can move on. Michael Fiskus, 85-22 Wicklow Place, Jamaica Estates, NY 11432 Through our mistakes we discover the strength to heal, learn and grow. This is not an all-inclusive list. See individual divrei torah for other Shame cultures produce people who conform. Guilt cultures produces people with the courage to be free. The Talmud says that the Day of _______________________________________________ Atonement was one of the happiest days of the year. That’s an odd thing to say about a day of fasting and confession. But the rabbis were right. Matzav Editor <> date Wed, Sep 8, In place of a low dishonest culture where everyone blames someone else and no one admits responsibility, Yom Kippur offers a world of honesty and responsibility where guilt melts in the flames of G-d’s forgiveness and G-d Does Not Expect Us To Get It Right All the Time
we are made new in the fire of His unconditional love. By Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
____________________________________________ Guilt is out of fashion these days, like sports jackets, courtesy, humility and handkerchiefs. It has a sepia-tinted Matzav Editor <> date Wed, Sep 8, Victorian air about it. It belongs, so it seems, to that foreign country, the past. They do things differently there. For us, when things go wrong, it was someone else’s fault: the boss, the colleague, the system, the government, Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira - Is Rosh Hashanah a Day of Teshuva? required to memorize this parsha of Haazinu. This song is our constitution, We all know that Rosh HaShana is not a day where we bombard Hashem our history and our destiny all rolled into a, relatively speaking, minimum with our wish list for the upcoming year. But is it a day of Tshuva? On one amount of verses. The failure to realize this, to really pay attention to its hand we don’t say Slichos and avoid all mention of any reference to aveiros words and prophesies, has exacted a terrible toll on our nation over these on this day, but on the other hand we blow the Shofar which is very much past many centuries, but especially so in the last century of Jewish tied to tshuva. We also know that there are Aseres Yimei Tshuva of which experience. We hear the covenant every day in our media and news Rosh HaShana is part of. So is it a day of tshuva or is it just a day to reports but rarely do we put any of this in proper perspective – into the coronate our King and kick off our new year?Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro demands and consequences of the covenant’s enforcement by Heaven says that indeed it is a day of Tshuva but a special kind of Tshuva. On Yom upon us. As we near the completion of our annual reading of the Torah we Kippur we do tshuva for each and every one of our aveiros. Not so on Rosh also hope that we are nearing the end of the enforcement of the negative HaShana. The Rambam says that the blast of the Shofar is to awaken us parts of the covenant upon us. Great things are promised as part of this from our slumber and remind us to do tshuva. What kind of tshuva? The covenant to us and God’s promises certainly may be relied upon. Rambam continues that we must remember our creator and stop sleeping Shabat shalom. Gmar chatima tova. Rabbi Berel Wein through life indulging in all the silly pleasures of this world. We need to ____________________________________________ peer deeply into our hearts and change our outlook. Rav Moshe Shmuel says that on Yom Kippur we do tshuva for all the A Rosh Hashana Sermon Elul 5766 [from 4 years ago] actual aveiros that we did. On Rosh HaShana we repair our character and By Rabbi Dr. Zalman Kossowsky Zurich, Switzerland
out outlook on life. We need to repent for our anger, hatred, jealousy, lust after money and food, and so on, says the Rambam (Tshuva 7:3). Rosh Dear Zelva landsleit & friends the world over, HaShana is a day to reflect on the year that was and to chart a course for the It is indeed a pleasure to stand here before you on this, my fifteenth new year. Once we’ve made that change over the next ten days we then look at the details. We assess the actual damage and make repairs. On Rosh Hashanah, in particular, we are sensitive to what we call On Rosh Hashana we don’t need viduy and all the outward ―simanim‖ or signs. This expresses itself clearly in the apples that we dip in manifestations of Tshuva. We need deep and honest contemplation. We honey as well as all the other special foodstuffs that we enjoy and on which need to recognize who is the boss, who created the world on this day, and we recite special prayers and blessings. For me personally this year has an what our job is. This we do on the first day of the year and we start by additional message. The number 15 has a very special significance in the crowning our King and pointing our eyes and thoughts towards him. Jewish weltanschauung. There were, in the Temples in Jerusalem, 15 steps __________________________________________ between the open public courtyard and the inner sanctuary. There are, in the Book of Psalms, 15 ―Shir Hamaalot‖ psalms that today we recite every winter Shabbat afternoon. 15 is also the gematria (the numeric value) of Home > Weekly Parsha > September 2010 > HAAZINU – SHUVAH the smallest of the names which we use for G’d, namely – yud he. I have a sense, therefore, that this Rosh Hashanah is calling for something special from me and I have been nibbling at this question for weeks now. I Rabbi Berel Wein
keep coming to the notion that Rosh Hashanah is, as we say in the blessing recited immediately after each of the sets of the Shofar tones: Moshe calls upon heaven and earth to hear his message of the eternity of Hayom harat olam, hayom ya’amid ba’mishpat kol yetzurei olamin – the covenant between God and Israel, a covenant that has influenced all of today is the birthday of the world, today He will judge all the creatures of human history for over three millennia. But with all due respect, it is not only the heavens and earth that need to listen and pay attention to Moshe’s I feel almost overwhelmed by this sense of ―being judged‖. Indeed, we message. Rather, it is for us, the people of Israel that needs to listen and call this day in Hebrew - yom hadin the Day of Judgment. And it is my thoughts and feelings about being judged that I would like to share with you All of Jewish history is contained within this week’s parsha. The parsha grants us a sense of perspective regarding current events and has the ability If I am being judged, then it is very important to know – in what areas to vitalize us in our attempts to achieve physical and spiritual successes. But am I being judged? Obviously all of my life and all of my activities during the prerequisite for all of this is the ability to listen, to recognize, and to the past year are being reviewed. Obviously I am responsible for all those learn from the words of Moshe. In Tehilim we read that the Lord, so to Mitzvot of the 613 that still apply to me here in the Diaspora today. But speak, bemoans the inability or unwillingness of Israel to listen and to hear that is a huge number, just under 300. I understand that I am liable for all the Godly message. The verse says: ―If my people would only listen to of them, but in truth that is just too big a number for me to come to grips Me….and walk in My paths….then I would destroy their enemies and My with. So my question becomes: - is there any way to distill these 300 hand would smite their enemies.‖ Apparently we could be spared all of the terror and doubtful peacemaking that currently characterizes our minds A possible answer occurred to me. Today is the birthday of the world. and emotions. The prophet Yeshayahu bitterly complains that the Lord has Does there exist a teaching which specifies the basic principles upon which told him: ―Stop up the ears of this people so they can hear no longer…lest the world was created? Would not such a teaching help me find the they begin to understand and return [to Me] and be healed.‖ One of the elements upon which I must focus more narrowly? great keys to life is the ability to hear other opinions, to listen to valid And I found such a teaching. In fact I found two such teachings. I also criticisms, to be a true listener and not just a constant talker. The found that there are differences between the two teachings and these covenant between God and Israel requires ―pay attention‖ listening. Moshe differences are possibly the greatest teaching of all. previously in the book of Dvarim uses the word ―haskeit‖ meaning ―pay All through the summer, every Shabbat afternoon after Mincha, we learn attention‖ to introduce subjects that he wants Israel to hear and listen to. Pirke Avot – the Ethics of our Fathers. The first Mishna that is attributed to The covenant is not merely background music to our lives and to current an individual Rabbi is the teaching of Shimon haZadik who declares: events. It is the single supreme factor that guides our lives and forms the ―al shelosha devarim ha’olam omed – al haTora v’al haAvoda v’al events in the lives of Jews individually and the Jewish people nationally. It was not for naught that Jewish children throughout the ages were which I would translates as on three things the World is based (or indicators of what it takes to create Emet shel Shalom - Truth that stands) – on G’d’s Word, on our acting out (or fulfilling) that Word, and on our relationship with G’d’s other children. The primary indicator is in Chapter 18, verses 12 and 13 in the narrative Shimon haZadik lived and taught at the time that the Second Temple was between Sarah, Hashem and Avraham after the Angels come to tell them built and consecrated. Three centuries later another Teacher, also named that in a year Sarah will give birth. The Hebrew term zaken is the critical Shimon, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel – who undoubtedly knew and point. The Talmud in Bava Metzia 87a sums it up as follows: - understood the teachings of his namesake, formulated another great In the School of Rabbi Yishmael it was taught, gadol haShalom – great statement of this Truth, but from a different perspective. The Editors of the is Peace and even the Almighty adjusted His words . . . (so that Avraham Mishna so valued these two teachings that they made them into the should not blame Sarah and Sarah should not blame him, lest they come to ―bookends‖ of the first chapter. Shimon haZadik at the beginning and quarrel and fight [Torah Temimah op.cit.]) A second possible indicator can be found in the narrative when Eliezer I believe that Rabban Shimon was possibly confronting the same question goes to Avraham’s homeland to find a wife for Yitzchak. The verse tells us that challenges me, namely, yes, we know the basic principles upon which that when the siman the sign that Eliezer specified is fulfilled, he gives the the World is created and based. But how do we make it work for us? How maiden jewelry and asks her for her name (Chapter 24, verses 20 through do we consolidate these hundreds of elements into something that can stand 24). However this is not the sequence that Eliezer tells the family in verse in front of us and guide as well as challenge us? Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel’s teaching is the following: - In our own daily reality it is not a simple matter to find such correct Al shelosha devarim ha’olam ka’yam – al haEmet v’al haDin v’al formulations, but for the wellbeing of our families and community it is CRITICAL that we learn how to do speak Truths that contribute to Peace. Which I would translate as three things sustain the existence of the World So to come back to my initial question – in what areas am I being judged today on this Yom Hadin – this Day of Judgement? Had the Mishna ended here, I would have found this Teaching The answer, so I believe, lies in the Prophetic verse with which Rabban profoundly insightful. However Rabban Shimon adds an element that does Shimon ends the last Mishna of the first chapter of Pirke Avot. not exist in any of the other Mishnayot of the First Chapter. Namely, he Have I – to the extent that it lies in my power to do so - adjudicated Emet cites a Biblical verse from the Prophet Zecharia as a support. More so, the shel Shalom - Truth that contributes to Peace and Mishpat Shalom the verse that he cites only superficially supports his teaching. On closer inspection it reveals a different message of its own that in my opinion is My friends, what is very important to remember and what makes it even harder for us is that it is not only Judges and Rabbis that adjudicate. Each one of us, within our own circles, continuously sits in judgment on others. . . . she’ne’emar Emet uMishpat Shalom shiftu b’sha’a’reichem And we know clearly, we are judged midah k’neged midah - as we do to which usually translates as - Truth and the Justice of Peace shall you . . . Hayom harat olam, hayom ya’amid ba’mishpat kol yezturei This verse and its inclusion by Rabban Shimon generates a great deal of olamin –today is the birthday of the world, today He will judge all the discussion in the Talmud. The Sages clearly understand that Rabban Shimon in his teachings identifies three separate and independent values I wish each and every one of us – first of all - that today we will be that help the World to continue to exist, namely Truth, Justice and Peace. judged fit to be inscribed in the Book of Ge’phe’n – the Book of Gesund The Prophet, on the other hand, admonishes us to administer two things – (health), Parnoseh (sustenance) and Nachas. Truth (Emet) and the Justice of Peace (Mishpat Shalom – which in the But more importantly, I wish you that you so live this coming year that Hebrew is in Genitive form). The Talmud recognizes that Truth and next Yom Hadin may you be similarly inscribed. Justice as absolute values, when imposed on a community, can often ____________________________________________ generate further conflict rather than bring peace. The Prophet is therefore seen as proposing a modified form of Justice, namely – pesharah – From Jeffrey Gross <> reply-To, compromise as THE necessary value to be adjudicated so as to bring Peace. To Subject Weekly I would like to interpret this verse somewhat differently. After all these Halacha - Parshas Terumah by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
years as a community Rabbi, I am very aware that Emet – Truth can often ( Yoshev Rosh - Vaad HaRabanim of Detroit be a brutal thing, resulting in much pain and suffering. In many languages Weekly Halachah Rabbi Doniel Neustadt ( there is in fact an expression – the brutal Truth. I believe that of the three Yoshev Rosh - Vaad HaRabanim of Detroit values that Rabban Shimon identifies as necessary for the continued A Basic Understanding of the Tekios
existence of the World - gadol haShalom – Shalom takes priority. In my One of the most important mitzvos of Rosh Hashanah is the Biblical view the Prophet is not saying (Emet) and (Mishpat Shalom) – (Truth) command to blow the shofar. Although the significance of this mitzvah has and (Justice of Peace). Rather what he is proposing that we adjudicate been expounded at length – Rav Sa’adiah Gaon enumerates ten different within our gates so as to promote the continued existence of our reasons for blowing shofar1 – still many people are unfamiliar with the communities and of the World is – ( Emet uMishpat ) of ( Shalom ) – basic procedures involved: how many blasts are sounded, how long or short (Truth and Justice) of (Peace). In Hebrew this would be a legitimate must they be, etc. While the tokea (the one who blows the shofar) and the construction (Auslegung) of the sentence. And in this sense what the makri (the individual who instructs the tokea which blast to sound) must be Prophet is calling us to do is not only Mishpat Shalom but also Emet thoroughly versed in these intricate laws2 – since it is they who determine if shel Shalom - Truth that contributes to Peace. a particular blast was invalid and must be repeated – still it is important for My friends, as I already indicated, the Talmud promotes the use of the entire congregation to have some degree of familiarity with the general pesharah – compromise as a methodology which promotes both Justice and laws governing this mitzvah. The basic mitzvah The Biblical command Peace. But what is Emet shel Shalom - Truth that contributes to Peace? is to blow three sets of blasts on Rosh Hashanah. A set of blasts means one For this answer we have to go to the first Book of the Torah, Bereshit teruah sound preceded and followed by a tekiah sound. Thus, the sum total (Genesis) which is the recorded moral history of the Jewish People. In the of blasts which one is required to hear on Rosh Hashanah is nine – six narratives of the life of Avraham Avinu, our ancestor Abraham – there are tekiah sounds and three teruah sounds. The tekiah sound was always well defined and agreed upon by all authorities – a long, straight (without a but fails to produce the proper sound. The general rule is that the tokea break or pause) blast. The teruah sound, however, was not well understood ignores the failed try, takes a breath, and tries again.17 and the Rabbis were unsure of how, exactly, it was supposed to sound.3 type of mistake is that the tokea blows the blast properly, but loses track and The Talmud4 describes three possibilities: 1. Three short, straight blasts – blows the wrong blast, e.g., instead of shevarim he thinks that a tekiah is in what we commonly refer to as shevarim; 2. Nine5 very short, staccato order, or instead of teruah he thinks that a shevarim is due. In that case, it is blasts – what we commonly refer to as teruah; 3. A combination of both of not sufficient to merely ignore the wrong blast; rather, the tokea must repeat the above sounds – a shevarim- teruah compound. To satisfy all of the the tekiah that begins this set of tekios.18 above opinions, the Rabbis established that the three sets of tekios be blown be repeated, it is proper that the makri notify the congregation (by banging in three different ways, alternating the teruah sound in each set. Thus we on the bimah, etc.), so that the listeners do not lose track of which blasts are blow tekiah shevarim-teruah tekiah (TaSHRaT) three times; tekiah shevarim tekiah (TaSHaT) three times; and tekiah teruah tekiah (TaRaT) stringencies pertaining to various aspects of tekias ha-shofar, one who three times. All together that adds up to thirty different blasts: eighteen wishes to be extremely particular in this mitzvah may blow (or hear) tekios, three shevarim-teruahs, three shevarim and three teruahs. This is the additional blasts after Musaf is over in order to satisfy all opinions. These minimum number of blasts that every adult male is required to hear on include the following hiddurim: * There are several ways of blowing the Rosh Hashanah. These are called tekios d’myushav, since the congregation shevarim sound; while some blow short, straight blasts, others make a slight is permitted to sit while they are being blown. In practice, however, it is undulation (tu-u-tu). * Some opinions maintain that l’chatchilah, each almost universally accepted to stand during these tekios.6 [A person shever should be no longer than the length of two beeps.19 * Some who is in dire circumstances (a patient in the hospital, for example) and is opinions hold that when the shevarim-teruah sound is blown, there may not unable to hear (or blow) thirty blasts, should try to hear (or blow) ten be any break at all between them (even if no breath is taken); the last shever sounds: one TaSHRaT, one TaSHaT and one TaRaT.7 No blessing, must lead directly into the teruah.20 * Some authorities insist that the however, is recited over these blasts.] In addition to these Biblically tekiah sound be straight and clear from beginning to end, with no required blasts, we blow seventy more. Thirty more are blown during fluctuation of pitch throughout the entire blast.21 Musaf, ten each after the Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofaros divisions of Notes - 1 The most fundamental reason to perform this mitzvah, however, is simply Shemoneh Esrei. Every adult male is Rabbinically obligated to blow or hear that Hashem commanded us to do so. 2 Mateh Efrayim 585:2. 3 While the basic definition of a teruah is a ―crying‖ sound, it was unclear if that resembled short these blasts in their designated places during the Musaf service. They are ―wailing‖ sounds or longer ―groaning‖ sounds. called tekios d’meumad, since one is required to stand while they are being Rishonim who hold that a teruah is three short beeps. B’diavad, we may rely on that blown.8 Finally, it is customary to blow forty more blasts for a sum total view to fulfill our obligation (Mishnah Berurah 590:12). 6 Mishnah Berurah 585:2. of one hundred blasts. While this custom is based on several early sources9 A weak or elderly person may lean on a chair or a table during these sets of tekios and has been almost universally adopted, there are various practices (Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 585:2). 7 Based on Mishnah Berurah 586:22 and 620:7. See regarding when, exactly, they are blown. Generally, these blasts are blown also Mateh Efrayim 586:7 and Ktzei ha-Mateh 590:1. See, however, Mateh Efrayim towards the end of as well as after the Musaf service, and one should 593:3, who seems to rule in this case that three TaSHRaTs should be blown. 8 Mishnah Berurah 592:2. B’diavad, one fulfills his obligation if he sat during these refrain from speaking10 until after all one hundred blasts have been tekios; ibid. 9 See Mishnah Berurah 592:4. 10 Asher yatzar, however, may be recited; Minchas Yitzchak 3:44; 4:47. 11 Chayei Adam 141:9. 12 This is based both before and after the shevarim or teruah, must be at least as long as the on the minimum length of time required for the teruah, not on the actual time it took shevarim or teruah which it accompanies.12 Thus, since it takes about two to blow a particular teruah. 13 Mishnah Berurah 587:16; Ha-tekios k’Halachah to three seconds to blow a shevarim or a teruah, the tekiah before and after u’Behiddur 1, quoting several sources. 14 Shulchan Aruch Rav 590:7. 15 O.C. must be at least two to three seconds long. Since it takes longer than that to 590:4. 16 Mishnah Berurah 590:20 and Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 18. The makri, too, should take a breath between the announcement of shevarim-teruah, so that the tokea blow the combination shevarim-teruah sound, the tekiah which precedes will follow his lead (Elef ha-Magen 22). 17 Based on Mishnah Berurah 590:34, and follows these sounds must be longer as well. Most congregations allot Aruch ha-Shulchan 590:20, and Da’as Torah 590:8. 18 Another example is when about four or five seconds for each of these tekios. The makri is responsible the tokea mistakenly blows [or begins to blow] two sets of shevarim or teruos in a [It is important to remember that each tekiah must be row. The original tekiah must be repeated. 19 See O.C. 590:3. 20 Avnei Nezer heard in its entirety no matter how long it takes. If, for example, a tekiah is 443; Chazon Ish, O.C. 136:1. This is difficult to perform properly. 21 Rav Y.L. blown for seven seconds, which is much longer than required, the entire Diskin, based on Rishonim; see Moadim u’Zemanim 1:5. Chazon Ish, however, was seven seconds’ worth must be heard by the congregation. Care must be not particular about this; Orchos Rabbeinu 2:183. ______________________________________ taken not to begin reciting the Yehi ratzon until after the blast is A teruah is at least nine short blasts (beeps), although in practice, many more beeps are sounded when the teruah is blown. No Ohel Avraham September 2010 Volume 3 Congregation Beth Abraham breath may be taken between the short beeps; they must be blown Each shever should be about three teruah-beeps long. B’diavad the shever is valid even if it is only two beeps long, provided that The Procedure for Tekias Shofar According to the Minhag of
Congregation Beth Abraham

all three shevarim are of that length.14 No breath may be taken between Dr. Barry Finkelstein
each shever; they must be blown consecutively.15 Shevarim-teruah – how There are many opinions regarding the kolos of shofar on Rosh Hashanah. The practice in our shul1 is ideally to blow ―bent‖shevarim shevarim-terurah combination. Some opinions hold that no breath may be during the first 60 kolos and ―straight‖shevarim during the final 40 kolos. taken between them and even b’diavad, a breath between them invalidates Shevarimteruah during the tekios demeyushav are blown with one breath, the blast. Others hold that a breath should be taken between the shevarim while shevarimteruah during the tekios demeumad are blown with two and the teruah [provided that it takes no longer than the split second that it breaths. During the final 40 kolos, the first set of shevarimteruah are takes to draw a breath]. The custom in most congregations is to do it both blown with one breath and the final set of shevarimteruah are blown with ways; the tekios before Musaf are blown with no breath taken between the shevarim-teruah, while the tekios during and after Musaf are blown with a break for drawing a breath between the shevarim-teruah.16 Mistakes A. ShevarimTeruah There is a machlokes in the Rishonim whether the There are basically two types of mistakes that the tokea shevarimteruah should be blown with one breath or two breaths. can make while blowing shofar. The most common is that the tokea tries Rabbenu Tam and the Rambam maintain that it need not be blown with one breath; while the Ritz Geus, Rosh and Ramban maintain that it must 1. The Maharil says that Yitzchok smelled an apple orchard when he be blown with one breath.2 The basis for the dispute is our doubt about commented on the beautiful smell as Yaakov came in to him to receive the the meaning of the word ―teruah‖ in the Torah. The pasuk3 instructs us Brachos. The Vilna Gaon in the Biur HaGra says that this happened on ―yom teruah yihyeh lachem.‖ The gemarah4 explains that we are not sure whether ―teruah‖ means ―genuchi‖ (longer moans that we call 2. The Ben Ish Chai says that apples give three pleasures Smell, ―shevarim‖) or ―yeluli‖ (shorter sobs that we call ―teruah‖) or both. Appearance and Taste which correspond to three Brachos we’d like to Therefore, we blow ―shevarim,‖ ―teruah‖ and ―shevarimteruah.‖ 5 All receive for the next year Bini (Chidren and Nachas from Children), Chayai agree that people generally do not moan and then sob without breathing in between and the position of Rabbeinu Tam and the Rambam is, therefore, 3. The Zohar says that wine symbolizes Din or judgment. Apples are understood. However, the Ritz Geus, Rosh and Ramban maintain that the eaten after strong wine in order not to be harmed by the strength of the ―teruah‖ must be performed with one breath even if it involves two wine. Therefore since Rosh HaShanah is a time of Din we eat apples in different types of sounds.6 Even according to the first opinion, if one blew the shevarimteruah with one breath, he fulfills the mitzvah,b’dieved.7 4. Rosh HaShanah we want Hashem to remember the ashes of Akeidas The Shulchan Aruch8 writes that a yerai shamayim should conduct himself Yitzchok. The ashes that accumulated on the mizbei’ach from all the according to both opinions and should blow shevarimteruah with one breath during the tekios demeyushav and should blow the shevarimteruah 5. ―Tapuach‖ has the same gematria as ―Piru V’Rivu‖ and ―Dvash‖ has with two breaths during the tekios demeumad. 9 This is the basis for the same gematria as ―Isha‖. Rosh HaShanah is a special time for barren our practice to blow the shevarimteruah with one breath in the tekios women to be remembered by Hashem and blessed with children. We demeyushav and with two breaths in the tekios demeumad. B. Shevarim There are various minhagim regarding the shevarim. Many Russian and Lithuanian communities have the tradition to blow ―bent‖ _________________________________________________ shevarim (TuUTu). Polish and Hungarian communities have the tradition to blow ―straight‖shevarim.10 Many German communities also have the tradition to blow ―bent‖shevarim. This is the basis for our practice to blow ―bent‖ shevarim for the tekios demeyushav and for the Rav Moshe Shternbuch - Crying On Rosh Hashanah: Is it
tekiyos demeumad and to blow ―straight‖shevarim for the final 40 kolos. Permitted?
C. The Number of kolos According to Torah law, one must hear 9 kolos to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing shofar on Rosh Hashanna, i.e. three ―Teruah‖ sounds, preceded and followed each time by a Tekiah.11 As It is written in the Maaseh Rav that the Vilna Gaon said that one is not explained above, there are three possible explanations for the word permitted to cry on Rosh Hashanah. His mekor is the posuk in Nechemia ―Teruah‖ referred to in the Torah, i.e. what we colloquially refer to as which states, ‖Al tisablu ve’al tivku…lechu Iichlu Masmanim - Do not shevarim, teruah or shevarimteruah. We, therefore, blow each one three mourn and do not cry… go eat good food.‖ Rosh Hashanah is a day of times, preceded and followed by a Tekiah12, for a total of 30 kolos. This procedure fulfills the requirement for sounding the shofar during The Arizal, on the other hand, says that every person with a good malchios, zichronos and shofros of the mussaf shmoneh esreh13; neshama must cry on Rosh Hashanah. Are they arguing?Rav Moshe however, the gemara teaches us that this procedure should be duplicated Shternbuch in his teshuvos (2:268) says that they do not argue. The Vilna earlier in davening as well14 for a total of sixty kolos.15 The minhag is to Gaon is talking about crying from the fear of Yom Hadin and having the blow 100 kolos.16 The final forty kolos are blown at the end of davening. overall mindset that Rosh Hashanah is a day of gloom and doom. However, Summary As explained earlier, the core obligation on Rosh Hashanah is if the tears come automatically from inspiration and longing for Hashem to hear 30 kolos. According to the practice in our shul, most opinions are during tefillah, then not only is it permissible, it is praiseworthy. Outside of satisfied. The first set of 30 kolos is blown with shevarimteruah done in tefillah, the mood of the day must be happiness and celebration of the Yom one breath, while the second set of 30 kolos is blown with shevarimteruah in two breaths. All 60 kolos in these first two sets are blown with ―bent‖shevarim and, thus, bent shevarim are blown for shevarimteruah with one breath and for shevarimteruah with two breaths. During the final 40 kolos, we blow ―straight‖ shevarim. The first 30 of these kolos are Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future Rabbi Isaac Elchanan blown with shevarimteruah in one breath. As explained earlier, even Theological Seminary presents Rosh Hashanah To-Go 5771 YESHIVA UNIVERSITY • ROSH HASHANA TO-GO • TISHREI 5771 according to the dissenting opinion, one fulfills his mitzvah if the To Forgive is Divine, and Human: The Bilateral Obligation of
shevarimteruah was blown with one breath. Therefore, the mitzvah is likewise satisfied according to the opinion that ―straight‖shevarim is the Forgiveness
Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman
Faculty, Stone Beit Midrash Program The
proper form. The final 10 kolos are blown with ―straight‖shevarim with Obligation to Ask Forgiveness It is abundantly clear that the halakhic view places great import on influencing the individual’s interaction with others in society. The _________________________________________________ relationship of man to his fellow stands as a formidable component of any Jew’s spiritual record, an irreplaceable element of one’s overall standing. It is thus not surprising that any reckoning of one’s religious status is considered incomplete if 5 Reason Why We Dip Apples In Honey Wednesday September 8,
lacking a thorough analysis of this interaction, along with whatever methods are necessary to rectify any aberrations or disturbances that may arise within this context. The Talmud introduces this concept clearly in the course of a discussion of The minhag to eat special fruits in Rosh HaShanah is from the Gemara in the laws of Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement effects forgiveness for all Horiyos 12a. While the gemara gives a list of recommended fruits dipping transgressions, under the appropriate circumstances and accompanying devices. apples in honey is not mentioned. The earliest source for the apple in honey Nonetheless, we are told: ―Sins that are between man and God, Yom Kippur atones is from the Abudraham as quoted by the Rema (OC 583:1). What is the for them; Sins that are between man and his fellow, Yom Kippur will not atone until significance of this famous minhag? The Moadim L’Simcha brings a he appeases his fellow.‖ 4 This notion, the imperative to attain mechilah, forgiveness, from an aggrieved party, is more innovative than it may initially seem.5 While impositions upon the rights of others constitute a significant portion of prohibited behaviors, the necessity to beg the pardon of the victim is by no means the case; however, Yom Kippur is noted as the final deadline for this obligation. R. obvious. It might equally have been assumed that just as God issued commands as to Pinchas A. Z. Goldenberger (Responsa Minchat Asher 3:32) suggests an approach the behavior of one individual toward another, He, too, serves as the aggrieved in line with this. If an interpersonal violation is committed, pardon must be sought party Who must forgive when these commands are trod upon. The very fact that this immediately; nonetheless, if the victim bears no grudge, then this action is of less role is placed in the hands of the human being reflects profoundly upon the halakhic necessity. However, the impending arrival of Yom Kippur imposes an additional recognition of the individual as an independent entity, presiding over the requirement of obtaining mechilah that is not suspended in the event of unsolicited circumstances of his standing with others and of theirs with him. Through this forgiveness.16 This added element may explain the reluctance of many authorities reality the oppressor becomes subject to the mercy of his victim, the expiation of his to allow reliance on the prayer composed by R. Avraham Danzig, the Chayyei sins contingent upon the good graces of those who have suffered at his hands. The Pri Adam, known as tefillah zakkah.17 In this invocation, recited by many immediately 3 Exerpted from ―The Right and the Good: Halakhah and Human Relations‖ before the onset of Yom Kippur, all nonmonetary grievances are forgiven. As such, (Yashar Books, 2009) 4 Yoma 85b; see Mishneh Torah 2:9 and Shulchan Arukh, the widespread adoption of this prayer should render the requests for mechilah Orach Chaim 606:1. 5 Although some did consider this idea self-evident; see Shlom obsolete. Nonetheless, this has not been the view of many decisors. As R. Meir Yerushalayim, cited in R. Nachum Kahana’s Orchot Chaim 606:1. Megadim6 Isaacson (Responsa Mevaser Tov 2:55) observes, while the prayer plays a valuable explains that the control of the offended party extends beyond the damage incurred to role in strengthening the resolve to genuinely forgive others, the latter’s obligation him personally. The Talmud’s statement that interpersonal violations are not atoned to actually apologize is not at all diminished. Along similar lines, R. Zilber for without mechilah is absolute; even to the extent that these same actions are to be (Responsa Az Nidbaru 7:65) advises against depending on the nightly recitation considered for whatever reason an affront against God, He, too, will not grant His found in the Talmud (Megilah 28a ) in the name of Mar Zutra, ―I forgive all who pardon prior to the attainment of that of the aggrieved person.7 R. Shmuel have anguished me‖ (noting further that it is usually pronounced without much Germaizin8 puts forward a more extended version of this position; as suggested thought). However, in another responsum (8:68) he does acknowledge the tefillah earlier, every transgression against man by definition contains an aspect of rebellion zakkah as a last resort, but only in an instance where the aggrieved party cannot be against God.9 Attaining the forgiveness of man is a prerequisite to being excused for reached. The Focus on the Process Thus, it seems that the appeal for forgiveness the offense against God present in every sin. This formulation goes further in accomplishes a goal above and beyond the absolution of the victim. R. Zilber dealing not only with multileveled transgressions, as does the Pri Megadim, but also provides a technical spin in his formulation, writing that the obligation is the request by identifying two elements automatically in every interpersonal wrongdoing.10 itself, and the aim of attaining the pardon of the offended party is only a method of Moreover, the Vilna Gaon11 and others claim that no transgressions at all are measuring what degree of apology is necessary. Many rabbinic scholars felt that the forgiven until forgiveness is asked of offended people.12 Thus, the acquisition of operative element is the embarrassment experienced by the aggressor who comes, hat mechilah fulfills a vital goal, the securing of a pardon from the party empowered to in hand, 14 Yeshayahu, ch. 58, as per Yevamot 49a. 15 See also R. Shlomo grant it. However, it seems that the actual role of the request for forgiveness Zalman of Volozhin’s Toldot Adam. 16 See the similar interpretation in R. Moshe encompasses more than this. While the consent of the aggrieved individual is Shternbuch, Responsa Teshuvot V’Hanhagot 2:285. 17 See Chayyei Adam, Klal indispensable for spiritual housekeeping, indications exist that additional elements 144. to beg forgiveness; it is this act itself that effects atonement.18 The Talmud are present in the necessity of appeasing the offended. The Problem of Unrequested (Berakhot 12b) states as much: ―Whoever commits a sin, and is embarrassed of it, Forgiveness Were a waiver of claims the only goal of the process, it would follow he is forgiven all of his transgressions.‖19 R. Shlomo Wahrman (Orot Yemei that if the victim would forgive of his own initiative, without waiting for his HaRachamim 37) suggests that it is contrary to the nature of the hardhearted sinner oppressor to seek his pardon, the latter gesture would become redundant. to admit wrongdoing to his victim; in conquering his nature, he earns his pardon.20 Nonetheless, many authorities who concern themselves with this issue indicate that Interestingly, while forgiveness without the formality of the request is apparently a request for forgiveness is necessary even if the other party has already excused the insufficient, a case for the reverse circumstance is found in the writings of R. offense. R. Binyamin Yehoshua Zilber, (Responsa Az Nidbaru 2:65) among others, Shlomo Luria (Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 8:49). His discussion centers on a maintains that the obligation to seek mechilah is operative regardless. However, R. traditional procedure of appeasement, which involved the guilty individual standing Yehoshua Ehrenberg (Responsa D’var Yehoshua 5:20) is inclined to believe that before the congregation and declaring, ―I have sinned against God and against this unrequested forgiveness is enough. A story related by the Talmud (Yoma 87a) is man.‖ The confession for the offenses against God, preceding that for the crime cited by those who agree with R. Zilber as support for their position. Rav had been against man, seems premature; it has already been established that Heavenly offended by a certain butcher, and, following the passage of some time, they had forgiveness comes only after human forgiveness. R. Luria suggests that once the still not reconciled. As Yom Kippur was approaching, Rav took pains to make offender has shown his willingness to beg the absolution of his victim and himself available to the butcher so that the latter may apologize. R. Yitzchak commenced the process, even though he has not actually received the pardon of the Blazer13 6 Mishbitzot Zahav, Orach Chaim 606. 7 See also K’tzaih HaMateh to wronged individual, God’s reprieve is forthcoming. More so, even if the attempt at Mateh Ephraim 606, citing Birkei Yosef. 8Quoted in Pri Chadash, ibid. Note forgiveness is not successful, some authorities feel that the effort is sufficient.21 The Rashi, Vayikra 5:21; see also Kerem Shlomo in Orchot Chaim. 9 See also Pri Pri Chadash explains in this manner the fact that the offender is not obligated to Megadim in Eishel Avraham, Orach Chaim 156; Sefer Me’irat Einayim, Choshen make his application more than three times.22 The existence of an exemption after a Mishpat 272:10; R. Moshe Schick, Maharam Schick Al Sefer HaMitzvot 272; certain point indicates that the process is more the concern than the result. The Torat Chaim, Bava Kama 90a; R. Yosef Babad, Minchat Chinnukh 364; R. element of subordination in the seeking of forgiveness comes into play as well in Elchanan Wasserman, Kovetz Ha’arot, Biurei Aggadot 7:7; R. Moshe Yechiel considering the issue of the effectiveness of a request for mechilah carried out by a Epstein, Be’er Moshe to Bereishit, p. 39; R. David Cohen, V’Im Tomar2:503; and third party. R. Baruch Rakovsky (Birkat Avot, 62) notes that the lack of R. Gedalya Felder, Yesodei Yeshurun, Avot 4:1. 10 See R. Yesed Shaul confrontation results in a limited sense of submission, and to that effect cites the Nathanson’s Responsa Shoel U’Meishiv, Mahadurah Revia 3:64, for support for this Derekh HaMelekh (Hilkhot Teshuvah 2:9) as discouraging such a practice; position. See also Peirush HaRif to Ein Ya’akov, Binyan Ariel, and R. Chaim although the Yefei Mareh allows it, cited approvingly by the Matteh Moshe and Pilagi’s Birkat Moadekha L’Chaim, Teshuvah Drush 15, all cited in R. Shlomo skeptically by the Pri Chadash. The Pele Yo’etz, however, does warn against letting Wahrman’s Orot Yemei HaRachamim 37. 11 See Siddur HaGra; see also R. the stigma of embarrassment deter one from seeking mechilah.23 Another concept Chaim Yosef David Azulai, Birkei Yosef, and R. Ya’akov Chaim Sofer, Kaf drawing relevance from this idea is that cited by the Gaon of Vilna (Biur HaGra, HaChaim, Orach Chaim 606. 12 See R. S. T. Shapira, Meishiv Nefesh to Hilkhot Orach Chaim 606) in the name of the Midrash Tanchuma: ―If he has gone to appease Teshuvah 2:31. Note, overall, his discussions in 30:43. 13 Kokhvei Ohr 5. him, and the latter has not accepted, what should he do? R. Shmuel says, Let him observes that in doing so, Rav was engaging in a form of imitatio Dei, as God also bring ten individuals, and form a line, and say to them, there was a quarrel between brings Himself closer to facilitate repentance during the Ten Days of Penitence me and my friend, and I tried to appease him, and he did not accept… and God will between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.14 That aside, the very necessity of see that he lowered himself, and he will have compassion.‖ Here, too, the accessibility on the part of Rav is troubling; as he is clearly prepared to forgive and embarrassment experienced by this public confession is 18 See R. Yosef Cohen, forget, there should be no need for the butcher to ask. It seems, then, that the act of Be’eri BaSadeh to Hilkhot Teshuvah;, and R. Mordechai Carlebach, Chavatzelet apologizing is integral to the forgiveness granted on Yom Kippur.15 Similarly, R. HaSharon al haTorah, (Bereishit pp. 722-5). 19 See also Hasagot HaRa’avad, Eliezer Ginsberg (V’Atah B’Rachamekha HaRabim, Hilkhot Teshuvah 2:9) writes Hilkhot Teshuvah. 20 See also Moadim U’Zmanim 1:54, at length. 21 See R. that the mechilah would be ineffectual, lacking genuine penitence on the part of the Yitzchak Sorotzkin, Gevurat Yitzchak to Hilkhot Teshuvah. 22 As to whether this sinner. This element is relevant to another issue of concern among authorities. Yom is an exemption or a prohibition, compare Bayit Chadash and Pri Chadash; see also Kippur, mentioned as a motivation to seek mechilah, is seemingly superfluous; if an Sefat Emet, Yoma 87. Many of the commentaries to Shulchan Arukh maintain offense has been committed, forgiveness must be sought irrespective of the time of there is no prohibition as long as no ―disgrace to the Torah‖ is involved; see R. year. R. Ephraim Zalman Margoliyos, in his classic collection of the laws relevant Dovid Ariav, L’Reakha Kamokha (vol. 3, sec. 3, ch. 4, Nir L’David, 575), and R. to the High Holy Day period, Matteh Ehpraim, 606, writes that this is, of course, Mordechai Eliyahu, in his Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (p. 38). 23 See also R. Mordechai Eliyahu in his Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (p. 39). integral to the it may follow that in determining the need for a request, the focus is more on the atonement.24 To this end, R. Yosef Chaim ben Eliyahu (Responsa Rav Pe’alim 63) disturbance of interpersonal equilibrium than on the act of transgression itself. The questions whether it is necessary that the ten be men, as is required for communal Rambam, in discussing the imperative of mechilah, includes theft among the prayer, or perhaps women are equally effective. He analyzes whether the publicity offenses necessitating such action.35 However, elsewhere in his code (Hilkhot will be diminished, and whether equal embarrassment is felt in front of different Choveil U’Mazik 5:9), he comments about such a person who has damaged the social groups, in deciding the issue. R. Yechiel Michel Epstein, (Arukh property of another: ―Once he has paid the damages, he is forgiven.‖ The HaShulchan, Orach Chaim 606:4) however, understands the role of the minyan implication is that no request is necessary. R. Avraham De Boton, the Lechem differently; the purpose is to evoke the Divine presence, and thus to encourage Mishneh , suggests that the distinction is due to the fact that theft benefits the forgiveness.25 This notion of personal redemption through the process of apology perpetrator, while damaging property does not; thus, the former offense is more of a may also explain a difficult phrase in the Rama. After recording the admonition to deliberate affront; while the latter, technically a crime, is less likely an intentional an offended individual not to cruelly refuse forgiveness, the Rama adds that impingement.36 Thus, it is assumed that theft causes a greater 30 Tanchuma, mechilah ―may be withheld if it is for the good of the sinner.‖26 The meaning Parshat Tzav 7, and Bereishit Rabbah 38:6; see Bamidbar Rabbah 11:7; Derekh behind this is suggested by R. Yisrael Meir Kagan (Mishnah Berurah 606:9): the Eretz Zuta, ch. 9; Sefer Mitzvot Katan 8; Sefer Charedim, ch. 7; Peirush HaGra to more the oppressor finds it necessary to appeal for absolution, the greater his sense Mishlei 26:20 and 29:22; and Torah Temimah 19:6. See Birkat Ya’avetz (ibid., pp. of submission and thus, his atonement. R. Epstein, however, notes that such an 59-60) for a different formulation of this idea. 31 See also an analysis of this attitude is more theoretically noted than practically recommended.27 The Ultimate position in R. Carlebach’s Chavatzelet HaSharon al haTorah, (ibid, pp. 644-6 and p. Goal In any case, it might be suggested that an additional function is contained 718). 32 See Responsa Mishpetei Shmuel , # 119. and R. David Binyamin within the imperative of seeking mechilah, beyond the sense of submission that Brezacher, in the journal Kol Torah, vol. 20, pp. 68-69. 33 Derashot Chatam Sofer, accompanies the ordeal. Even after an individual who has suffered at the hands of Shabbat Shuvah. 34 See also R. Fishel Avraham Mael, Shivtei Yisrael, pp. 484- another forgives his oppressor, the scars of the offense remain. It is comparable to 487. 35 Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Teshuvah 2:9. Compare Sha’arei Teshuvah 1:44 one who has incurred physical injury and pardons his attacker; although the and 4:18. 36 R. Brezacher, Kol Torah, ibid., pp. 66-67, offers support for this assailant receives his absolution, the painful effects of his violence are left in full suggestion; see, however, the mafteach of R. Shabtai Frankel to Mishneh Torah, force. The imperative of seeking mechilah is as much the appeasement as the citing Ma’aseh Rokeach; Darkhei David, Bava Kama 92a; Tosafot Yom forgiveness.28 It is possible for the latter to exist without the former; the emphasis HaKippurim, Yoma 85b, s.v. aveirot; and Responsa Shtei HaLechem 15, who on process as well as result is to ensure that both are obtained.29 Thus, the disagree. See also R. Y. M. Charlap, Beit Zvul, Bava Kama 5; R. Zalman Uri, in Shulchan Arukh rules that an unsuccessful attempt at reconciliation must be the journal HaPardes, vol. 35, no. 5:21-22 (45); and R. Zevulun Zaks, in the journal followed by a second, and then a third; and, as the commentators on the Shulchan Moriah, vol. 24, no. 3-4, p 114-8. On asking forgiveness for theft, see R. Alon Arukh observe, each time employing a different method of self-ingratiation, Avigdor, Responsa Adnei Paz 28. rift between men and is therefore more subject to earnestly attempting to find the one that succeeds. Apparently, this too is a requiring mechilah. For this reason, the Butchacher Rav37 wrote that although prerequisite for achieving atonement on Yom Kippur, that harmonious relationships ordinarily forgiveness should be sought immediately at any time of the year, one among men must resume, that strife and discord be eliminated. This idea is explicit valid reason does exist for intentionally delaying it until just before Yom Kippur. If 24 See also commentary of the Mordechai, Yoma 8:723. R. Mordechai Eliyahu, in the passage of time preceding the request will contribute to the healing, if the more his Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (p. 38), also mentions the submission as the operative deliberate scheduling will lend greater permanency to the reconciliation, then it factor in effecting the atonement, but implies the motivation for this particular ritual justifies a postponed appeasement.38 Along similar lines, R. Yechezkel is to avoid ―suspicion‖ among the public that the offender had not attempted to Levenstein39 cautioned against issuing perfunctory, less than sincere pardons.40 obtain forgiveness. 25 See also the analysis of both possibilities in R. Shamai Kehat Counterproductive Apologies In this light, one must also take into consideration Gross, Responsa Shevet HaKehati (5:104). 26 OC 606:1; see Nezirut Shimshon in those circumstances in which a request for mechilah would do more harm than Orchot Chaim, and R. Ya’akov Yichizkiyah Fish, Titten Emet L’Ya’akov, p. 195. good. R. Yoel Sirkes, Bayit Chadash , writes that in apologizing, one is required to The source for the Rama’s ruling is discussed in detail by R. Natan Note Kahana, specify the offenses of which one is aware, rather than mouthing a general Responsa Divrei R’nanah, 2. 27 Arukh Hashulchan, Orach Chaim 606:2. See also confession lacking any recognition of the particular manner in which harm has been the comments of his son, R. Baruch Epstein, Torah Temimah, Bereishit 20:17, and done to the other. In this vein, R. Yisrael Meir Kagan, in his classic work on the R. Yosef Cohen, Ikvei HaSadeh to Hilkhot Teshuvah. R. Mordechai Eliyahu in his laws of lashon hara (malicious gossip), (Chafetz Chaim, part 1, Klal 4:12) rules Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (p. 40) recommends that even in such an instance, the that one who has spread damaging information about another must seek his offended party should forgive the offender in his heart, only maintaining an outward forgiveness, basing his comments on those of Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha’arei Teshuvah, appearance of rigidity. 28 For an interesting discussion of certain aspects of this Sha’ar 3:207). R. Yisrael Lipkin (Salanter), revered founder of the modern Mussar concept, see R. Yedidiah Monsonigo, Responsa D’var Emet 18. 29 Interestingly, R. movement, disagreed, noting that this would require informing the victim, who was Mordechai Carlebach (Chavatzelet HaSharon al haTorah, Bereishit, pp. 645-6) until now blissfully ignorant. In inflicting emotional pain, such a gesture would be recognizes this distinction, but assumes that appeasement generally precedes a manifestly counterproductive.41 R. Binyamin Yehoshua Zilber (Responsa Az waiver of claims (and he then proceeds to analyze this waiver). See also R. David Nidbaru 8:68)42 was of the opinion that R. Kagan would certainly agree that the Cohen, Birkat Ya’avetz (Vol. 1, pp. 57-9). 17 YESHIVA UNIVERSITY • ROSH victim should not be informed of negative talk against him that he is unaware of;43 HASHANA TO-GO • TISHREI 5771 in the Pirkei D’Rav Eliezer (ch. 15), where it is only when he knows of the gossip but not the source that he would advocate it is stated that at the time of Yom Kippur, Samael argues for the defense of Israel, confession.44 Similarly, R. Shlomo Aviner (Am K’Lavi 1:181) writes that lashon noting their similarity to the ministering angels. Among the comparisons is ―What is hara that has ―succeeded‖ in having a negative effect must be owned up to, but that true of angels? There is peace between them, so too Israel.‖ This argument is so which has not is better left alone.45 R. Yochanan Segal Vosner46 proposes that R. compelling that God forgives the Jewish people their sins. R. Yechiel Michel Kagan was referring to a situation in which the offense would have eventually Epstein identifies this idea as being behind the practice of asking mechilah, the become known to the victim, and thus it is better heard from the antagonist than conduit to peace. The Midrash states similarly: ―Great is peace, for at a time when from anyone else. R. David Binyamin Brezacher (Kol Torah, ibid., pp. 67-68) the Jewish people are united, even if they have worshipped idols, God forgives suggests that anguish to the victim is sufficient reason to dispense with asking them.‖ 30 In this spirit, Rashi (Responsa Rashi 245) notes that a show of mechilah, but that the embarrassment of the offender is not. When seeking mechilah reconciliation is as valuable as expressing the forgiveness : ―If he hugged him and and specifying the offense is indeed contraindicated, options still exist. The first is to kissed him, there is no mechilah greater than this.‖31 However, absent some such ask for a general forgiveness, without identifying a particular wrongdoing. This 37 display, some verbal forgiveness must be expressed.32 This notion is similarly Eishel Avraham; see Orchot Chaim 606:2. 38 See R. Chaim David Weiss’ manifest in a homiletic observation of R. Moshe Sofer.33 Addressing his followers Responsa VaYa’an David 1:26. 39 Cited in R. Avraham Tobolsky’s Hizharu between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, he commented, ―In the time when the B’Khvod Chaveirkhem, p. 99. 40 See also R. Shammai Ginzberg, Imrei Shammai, Beit HaMikdash stood, we do not find that there was an obligation for every Jew to pp. 90-91. 41 It is said that R. Lipkin withheld his approbation of R. Kagan’s work seek mechilah from his friend on the eve of Yom Kippur. For the nature of the out of concern for this issue. See R. Eliyahu Lopian, Lev Eliyahu, vol. 1, p. 108, sacrifices is to bring closer the hearts of men, and to make peace among them on and Meorot HaGedolim 141. 42 A similar suggestion is made by R. Yisrael Isser their own.‖ 34 R. Baruch Leizerofsky (Responsa Ta’am Baruch 21) notes the Hertzog in the journal HaDarom 52:62-67. 43 See also Sh’eilat Shmuel, in Orchot difference of expression in various talmudic sources; in one, (Bava Kama 92a) the Chaim. 44 Earlier authorities did make exception for situations that would be process of attaining mechilah is called a ―request‖; in another (Yoma 85b ) it is embarrassing to the victim; see Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 606:1, and ―appeasement.‖ These two descriptions appear to address specifically the twin goals Machatzit HaShekel; note also Elyah Rabbah. 45 See also R. Yitzchak Ben of the process: the seeking of absolution and the bringing about of reconciliation. If Shoshan, Responsa Toldot Yitzchak 1:29. 46 Responsa Chayei HaLevi 3:100. the goal of asking mechilah is more reconciliation than a technical release of claims, Note, in Chafetz Chaim, Be’er Mayim Chaim 48. does tend to arouse suspicion, and in this vein R. Wahrman offers another approach to explain the relationship above discussion concerning lashon hara)? Further, some of his hypotheticals build between requesting mechilah and Yom Kippur. Ordinarily, it is difficult to ask upon the notion of the rules of monetary law governing the mechilah process, if forgiveness without naming a crime; however, on the eve of Yom Kippur, when such an inference can be drawn from the Meiri. Can mechilah be revoked? If a everyone is asking mechilah of everyone else, it is expected and raises no questions. victim forgives mentally, but does not express it, can he deny forgiveness later, This approach is found also in the writings of R. Moshe Shternbuch,47 and to some when asked? Can a child (who is not empowered to release monetary debts) fully extent in those of R. Avraham Erlanger,48 who also suggests that this may be one express mechilah, or must the offender wait until the victim attains maturity? R. situation in which it is preferable to rely on the zakkah prayer. R. Ahron Ariav’s essay weighs all of these questions, and concludes54 that it is evidently Soloveichik (Parach Mateh Aharon, mada, pp. 186-189) suggests that in the crucial for the victim to take into account the necessity of both approaches, and to instance of lashon hara, in place of begging absolution, it is appropriate to disperse clearly express forgiveness, while at the same time doing his utmost to create an information that will counteract the negative effects of the gossip; in this case, such inner reality that is consistent with that expression. The relationship between men action is more consistent with increasing harmony than seeking the victim’s pardon. serves as a barometer of their standing before Heaven. As the Mishnah (Avot 2:1) The Obligation of the Victim Further, it is with this perspective that some motive states, ―What is the right course that a man should choose for himself? One which is can be offered for the victim to initiate the process that is the responsibility of the an honor to the one doing it, and honorable to him from men.‖ Any time the social aggressor. R. Aviner (Noam, vol. 25, pp. 202-213) considers the case of a man equilibrium is disrupted, repairing the rift becomes a spiritual necessity of utmost whose acquaintance burst into his home and behaved in an offensive manner. After urgency. 53 L’Reakha Kamokha, vol. 3, Kuntres haBiurim, 7. 54 In the following being removed from the premises, the intruder developed a grudge that remained powerful for months afterward, avoiding all interaction with this man, even as Yom ___________________________________________ Kippur loomed closer. R. Aviner advised the man that even though the blame lies with the aggressive individual, it is still recommended that he take the initiative in asking mechilah, as that is the only way reconciliation will be forthcoming. Thus, Outlooks & Insights on the Weekly Torah Portions HaRav Zev Leff
while forgiveness flows primarily from the victim to the oppressor, appeasement Parshas Nitzavim-Valelech
may go in either direction when indicated.49 Therefore, we find, not surprisingly, Parshas Nitzavim Do Not Separate Yourself from the Community Today you that mechilah is formulated as an obligation not only for the offender to seek but are all standing before Hashem your G-d (Devarim 29-:9). After the ninety-eight also for the aggrieved party to bestow. The Mishnah (Bava Kama 92a ) warns that curses that Bnei Yisrael heard at the end of Ki Savo, they were devastated and one who refuses to forgive is call akhzari, ―cruel.‖ The Meiri explains that he is questioned whether they could possibly withstand such terrible punishments. Moshe apparently unconcerned about the punishment that will befall the now-penitent Rabbeinu encouraged them with the opening words of this week's parashah: — individual who wronged him. Such callousness is not befitting a descendant of Today you are all standing." Although you have sinned many times, all of you still Avraham, cited by the Talmud as the model of forgiveness. The text of the Mishnah stand today before Hashem. Was Moshe trying to minimize the severity of the as found in the Talmud Yerushalmi states the halakhah as a prohibition, noting the Divine reproof or imply that it was only a threat that would not be carried out? source for the halakhah that ―one may not be cruel and refuse to forgive.‖50 The Furthermore, how could Moshe say that all were alive and well despite their sins, necessity for harmonization demands that the imperative of mechilah be bilateral; when in fact tens of thousands had perished in the Desert? Rather Moshe's intention granting forgiveness is as mandatory as requesting it.51 In this light, some authorities was to assure the Jewish people that the purpose of the curses was not to wreak discuss the status of those who swear in anger never to forgive. It is possible that vengeance on them for their sins, but to insure their survival as a nation. And, this is considered an oath in violation of the Torah and is thus null and void.52 therefore he told them collectively — kulchem — you still stand today. After all the Rabbeinu Asher, the Rosh (Responsa HaRosh, Klal 15:5), rules that a father who sins and all the punishments , the tzibbur (community) is eternal. The concept of forbids his son to forgive a penitent adversary is commanding a violation of the death does not exist with respect to the community. Those who perished died not as Torah and thus forfeits his parental right to honor. 47 Moadim U’Zmanim 1:54. individuals, but as a part of Knesses Yisrael, which is eternal, and therefore they still See also the discussion of this in R. Mordechai Babad, Minchat Machvat (2:132). survive. Conversely, one who separates himself from the community and says, — I 48 Ma’or HaSha’ar to Sha’arei Teshuvah. 49 See also Sefat Emet, Yoma 87b, s.v. will do as I see fit," will not be forgiven and will be utterly destroyed. Our ikpid; Piskei Teshuvot, Orach Chaim 606:1; R. Mordechai Eliyahu, Bein Adam relationship to Hashem is only through the tzibbur. The Torah was not given to L’Chaveiro (p. 38) 50 See also Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Teshuvah 2:9, and V’Atah individuals; nor were the covenants made with individuals. Our relationship to B’Rachamekha HaRabbim. 51 Although there are specialized instances in which it Hashem is as members of Knesses Yisrael. Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:24) is permissible to maintain some type of grudge; an analysis of these cases can be classifiers an apikores (heretic) as one who keeps all the mitzvos but separates found in the journal Torat HaAdam L’Adam, vol 4, (pp. 283-91). 52 R. Yoel himself from the Jewish people. Without a link to Klal Yisrael, there can be no link Sirkes, Responsa HaBach HaChadashot 46, considers this possibility and rejects it on to Hashem and Torah. Hillel taught (Pirkei Avos 2:5): "Do not separate yourself technical grounds. See also Responsa Rashi 245, Responsa Geonei Batrai 40, and from the community." The Mishnah then continues with what seems on the surface to R. Yosef Engel, Gilyonei HaShas, Pesachim 4a, and Yoma 87a. Concerning the be additional, unrelated teachings of Hillel. However, a surface to be additional, perspective of the victim, R. David Ariav53 (referencing the writings of R. Joseph unrelated teachings of Hillel. However, a deeper study of the Mishnah reveals that Epstein) relates an analytical theory of the nature of forgiveness that parallels the they are in fact the rebuttal of various arguments for cutting oneself off from the above theories concerning asking for mechilah. This theory builds on a difference in community. "Do not believe in yourself until the day you die." Do not think that wording between the commentaries of Rashi and the Meiri in interpreting a you are strong enough spiritually to function on your own without the supportive Talmudic passage discussing forgiveness (Bava Kama 92a). In Rashi’s community of Torah observers. Do not rely on your apparent spiritual security, for it understanding, the forgiveness is needed because the victim ―worries‖ (present is never guaranteed. "Do not judge your fellow until you have reached his place." tense) about his suffering; while in the Meiri’s rendering, the issue is that the victim In your criticism of the other members of the community, don't convince yourself that ―worried‖ (past tense) over his suffering. While apparently a narrow distinction, this you would be better off separated from them. Rather judge them favorably and theory builds upon the difference to create two models of forgiveness. One is an understand the circumstances that generate those actions which offend you. See their emotional reality, the dissipation of bad feeling; this goal is indicated by Rashi, who good points. Avoid what is negative without separating yourself entirely. "Do not looks for forgiveness to undo a current state of ―worrying‖. Such an interpretation is make a statement that cannot be easily understood on the ground that it will be consistent with the aforementioned position of Rashi in his responsa that any show understood eventually." People are sometimes frustrated that their views and of reconciliation is sufficient. The second, that of the Meiri, refers to a past situation, opinions are not accepted by the tzibbur, but one must realize that the fault may lie in which may not have any current presence; thus, it is best compared to a monetary his views and not in the tzibbur. Perhaps his opinions are not fit to be heard and claim, that forgiveness removes as a ―waiver‖. R. Ariav notes that examining accepted. And finally, "Do not say, 'when I have time I will learn,' for perhaps you whether mechilah is to be viewed as an emotional reconciliation or as a release of will never have time." There ar those who feel that the community responsibilities debt is helpful for considering a number of hypothetical queries. Among them: Does infringe too greatly on their time and potential for personal development. They one need apologize for anguish that has been forgotten? Is forgiveness effective if the therefore conclude that disassociating themselves form communal involvement will victim expresses absolution, but does not genuinely feel it? Is there a formal give them more time to learn. Never reckon that time can be generated by avoiding a language for granting mechilah? What if a victim forgives quickly for a semi- mitzvah. That time might never materialize. Hashem will not permit one to benefit forgotten offense, and then later regrets, after recalling the acute pain that was felt? by neglecting his communal responsibilities. One of the benefits of being part of the What if forgiveness was granted under false pretenses, for example to one who klal is that as part of a united entity one's individual failings may be overlooked. claims an intentional slight was unintended? What if the victim grants a Knesses Yisrael is eternal, pure, and holy, and one benefits by strengthening his perfunctory, general mechilah, in response to an unspecific request (as is common connection to it. But he cannot reap the benefits from the tzibbur without accepting on the eve of Yom Kippur), not realizing that the perpetrator actually committed a the concomitant responsibilities. Do not delude yourself that "Lema'an sfos harava es genuine offense, for which significant appeasement would be needed (as with the hatzeme'a" — that two adjacent fields are of necessity irrigated together, even though only one of them deserves the water. That is a fantasy. Although each individual Mesorah Publications, ltd. This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah must be concerned with his personal judgment on Rosh Hashanah, as a tzibbur we dress up and eat as a sign of confidence that Hashem will exonerate us as members of the klal. The Ten Days of Repentance are days for intensifying our link to the tzibbur. For that reason, every individual during that period has the same assurance that his entreaties to Hashem will be heard that the tzibbur does year round. During those days the individual and the tzibbur become one. Thus, the shaliach tzibbur on Rosh Hashanah is granted a special power to represent every individual, even those who are proficient in prayer, and therefore not included in the shaliach tzibbur's prayers the rest of the year. Elisha offered to pray for the childless Shunamite woman on Rosh Hashanah. But she responded, "I dwell amongst my nation." Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz explains her response: "Don't single me out, for the power of the tzibbur is greater even than the prayer of G-d's chosen prophet." Parshas Vayelech Yom Kippur - Confession and Redemption Beset by many evils and troubles, the will say, "It is because Hashem is no longer with me that these evil things have befallen me." On that day I will utterly hide My face because of all the evil that they have done.(Devarim 31:17-18). Rambam says that this admission of guilt and regret is still not a full confession, and therefore Hashem continues to hide His face. But the hiding is different: no longer is it a hiding of Hashem's mercy, allowing evil to befall them, but rather a hiding of the ultimate redemption. That change in Hashem's relationship contains a hint to their ultimate redemption when their repentance is complete. To better understand this Rambam, we must first understand the function of verbal confession in the teshuvah process. Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzvah 363) offers two explanations of the benefit of verbal confession. First, verbalizing one's repentance creates the feeling of conversing with a second party, which, in turn, sensitizes a person to the reality of Hashem's presence, Hashem's awareness of his every deed, and the need to render an account before Hashem. The greater a person's awareness that his sin was one in Hashem's presence, with His full knowledge, the greater His shame and regret. Secondly, verbal expression intensifies the process and leaves a more lasting effect. In addition to regret over the past, teshuvah also requires a commitment not to repeat the sin again. That commitment must be so decisive, resolute, and firm that Hashem Himself can testify that at the moment of confession, the sinner does not contemplate ever committing that sin again. Just as a vow to do or not to do something in the future requires verbal expression, so, too, does the commitment not to repeat past sins. Sefer Yereim specifies another dimension to verbal confession -- supplication for atonement. There must be a clear recognition of the seriousness of the damage caused by the sin, both in terms of the damage to one's soul and one's relationship to Hashem, and in terms of the effect on the world by closing the conduits of blessing. For this, one must entreat G-d to forgive, heal and repair the damage. Just as prayer and supplication must be verbalized to establish a feeling of communication, so, too must one's entreaty for atonement. There is yet another aspect of confession that relates to the nature of sin itself. Sin, says the Maharal, is one neshamah of the Jew. It cannot blemish the neshamah itself. Rather it superimposes layers of impurity that separate one from his essence. Since the Jew's connection to Hashem is through that untainted essence, when he becomes distant from his essence, he also becomes estranged from Hashem. Teshuvah, then, is the return of the Jew to his essence and the breakdown of the barriers that separate him from Hashem. Hashem does not leave the Jew when he sins; rather the Jew loses contact with Hashem, Who still resides within the essence of his soul. As Chazal say on the verse, "I am asleep, but my heart is awake" (Shir HaShirim 5:2), my heart refers to Hashem. Though the Jew sleeps and loses consciousness of Hashem, Hashem still occupies his heart. By articulating his sin in vidui, the Jew makes it something external to himself. Then he is able to detach those layers of sin that have accreted on his neshamah. Vidui itself becomes an act of purification. Thus, Targum Yonasan translates the word "purify" in the verse "Before Hashem should you purify yourself" (Vayikra 16:30), as "confess." The confession is itself the act of purification. It is this last aspect of full vidui which is lacking in the confession, "Because G-d is not with me, all these misfortunes have befallen me." Although this statement expresses regret, recognition of the devastation resulting from sin, and even hints to a commitment to avoid this state in the future, it is still lacking. There is no recognition that it is not G-d Who has deserted us, but we who have become detached from ourselves and therefore from Hashem. When a Jew feels Hashem has abandoned him, says Sforno, he gives up hope, since he thinks that it is G-d Who must first return. But in truth it is man who has strayed from his essence, and he can find G-d where he originally left Him. Teshuvah is thus literally redemption: "Return to Me for I have redeemed you" (Yeshayahu 44:22). One redeems his untainted essence from the layers of sin and impurity that encrust it. As long as we fail to comprehend this aspect of redemption, G-d continues to hide the face of redemption from us. When we appreciate all the aspects of vidui, including that recognition that Hashem remains where He always was, waiting for us to strip away the barriers, we can look forward to both personal and national redemption. Reprinted with permission from Artscroll


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