The Shulchan Aruch says that it's appropriate to fast today - Monday 27 Sivan - since about 2,000 years ago on this date, the Romans wrapped the great Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon in a Sefer Torah, and burnt him to death. Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon was one of the 10 martyrs. King David started Tehilim - Psalms - by declaring: Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the gathering of the scornful. Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon taught (Avot 3:3): - A gathering of the scornful is when Jews sit together and don't discuss Torah-related topics. - When Jews do discuss Torah then the Shechina - G-d's presence - is with them. - Even when a lone Jew learns Torah (like a Halocho a Day), Hashem takes note and rewards him. Source: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:2 Read about the 10 martyrs at http://www.answers.com/topic/ten-martyrs Read about Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon at http://www.answers.com/topic/haninah-ben-teradion - Danny
Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
We always make the Bracha before doing the Mitzva. The Bracha said on Shabbat candles ushers in the Shabbat, after which one cannot light candles. Therefore the candles are lit first, and then one hides them from sight by putting ones hands in front of ones face. One then says the Bracha and looks at the candles, seeing them for the first time on Shabbat. This is as close as one can get to saying the Bracha before "lighting" the Shabbat candles. Similarly, since one cannot make a Bracha with unwashed hands, one first washes, and then makes the Bracha of Al Netilat Yadayim and then dries ones hands. Since drying is an integral part of "washing", it's as close as one can get to saying the Bracha before washing. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 75:4, 40:5 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny
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Thursday, June 26, 2008
Today - Thursday - is the 23rd day of the month of Sivan. Today - 2,362 years ago - was the day that Esther and Mordechai sent the second royal decree informing the Jews that they may defend themselves against Haman's original decree of total annihilation. When finding out joyous tidings or upon hearing good news from a reliable source, one says a Bracha. If it only affects oneself, then one says Shehechiyanu; "... who has kept us alive, sustained us and permitted us to reach this occasion."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Yesterday we learnt that it's a Mitzva to lend money to a fellow Jew. If you know that the borrower cannot pay back then you are not allowed to ask him to repay the loan. Even walking by him intentionally is forbidden. There's a Mitzva to repay a loan; if the borrower already has the ability to pay back then he's forbidden to ask the lender to come back another time. A person who does not repay a loan is called a Rasha - a wicked person. A borrower may not waste the money he borrowed if that will prevent him from repaying the loan. One should not lend money to people who have a reputation of not repaying their debts; since one transgresses every time one nudniks them to repay. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 179:4 - 6 - Danny
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It's a Mitzva to lend money to a fellow Jew. Included in the Mitzva is providing moral support and giving sage advice. Even lending money to wealthy people - if they are short of cash - is a Mitzva. One should not lend money without witnesses, unless the borrower provides collateral. Even better is to have the lender sign an IOU - a promissory note. One may not demand collateral after the loan has been given to the borrower, except in a Bet Din (Jewish Court). One may not use the collateral, as that would be a form of interest. One may rent out the collateral and deduct the rental from the loan, under certain circumstances. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 179:1-3, 7-8. - Danny Please daven for a little girl - TAMAR bat NAAMA - תמר בת נעמה - who is undergoing chemotherapy
Monday, June 23, 2008
This week's Parsha - Korach - teaches us the bitter end of people who argue with Torah authorities. A person has to respect and honor his Rav - his Torah teacher - more than his parents; his parents look after his needs in this world and his Rav is ensuring him a good place in Olam Habah (Heaven). Degrading a Torah scholar is so severe that a person can loose his place in Olam Habah (Heaven) for it. If a Torah scholar has goods to sell, he is given a monopoly until his stock runs out. This does not apply if the monopoly cannot be enforced. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 144:1, 4, 5 - Danny ========================= Please daven for a little girl - TAMAR bat NAAMA - תמר בת נעמה - who is undergoing chemotherapy. =========================
Thursday, June 19, 2008
In this weeks Parsha we learn about the Mitzva of separating Challa from dough made from any of the 5 types of grain: wheat, barley, oats, spelt or rye. Challa should be separated before the dough is baked. If this was not done then the baked goods are forbidden to be eaten until Challa is separated from them. The Mitzva of separating Challa rightfully belongs to the housewife. However, if waiting for the housewife would cause the dough to spoil, then anybody above Bar/Bat Mitzva take Challa. The piece of Challa that was separated should be burnt. Since nowadays we don't have fires readily available, my Rabbi suggested we freeze the Challa (in a well marked container that nobody should eat from it) and whenever there's a bonfire (Lag B'Omer and Erev Pessach) we should burn the accumulated Challa. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 35 Shabbat Shalom - Danny
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
On each of the 4 corners of a Tallis there are 4 strings threaded through the hole. The resulting 8 strings are knotted and twisted one-third of their length and two-thirds is left as tassels. If one of the 8 tassels gets cut off - even completely - the Tzitzis are still Kosher. If two of the 8 tassels get cut off the Tzitzis may no longer be Kosher. A tassel shorter than 4 "thumbs" - about 8-10 cm is considered "cut off". Each tassel of the Tzitzis is made of multiple strands of wool twisted together. If Tzitzis start untwisting then the frayed section doesn't count as part of the minimal length. If the Tzitzis get ripped out of the hole they are hanging on, they cannot be put back in; they have to be untied and then re-tied after the hole is repaired. If a Tallis rips into 2 pieces - or a corner gets ripped off - then the Tzitzis on the smaller piece have to be re-tied after the pieces are sewn back together. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:13, 15. - Danny
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
This week's Parsha - Shlach - ends with the third paragraph of Shma which talk about the Mitzva of Tzitzis. Wearing Tzitzis is supposed to remind one of all 613 Mitzvos - as it says in this week’s Parsha "...make Tzitzis, and see them and thereby remember all the Mitzvos of Hashem and do them". Once a boy is toilet-trained he should wear a Tallis Katan - a 4-cornered garment with Tzitzis from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep. This is besides the Tallis worn in shul. Women are exempt from the Mitzva of Tzitzis, as it's a time-bound Mitzva; it only applies during the day. When putting on Tzitzis in the morning, the Bracha cannot be made until it is light enough outside to recognize a casual acquaintance from 4 Amos (2 meters) away. This is about an hour before sunrise in Israel. Men must put Tzitzis on all 4-cornered garments they wear, including ponchos. Bed sheets do not need Tzitzis. Tzitzis may be worn even when going into a bathroom, however the Tallis used for davening should not be taken into the bathroom. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:9-10 - Danny
Monday, June 16, 2008
Yesterday's Torah reading ended with Miriam's punishment for discussing her brother Moshe's life with their brother Aaron.
This week's Torah reading starts with the sin of the spies who spoke evil about the Holy Land.
The Torah prohibits us from talebearing; telling one person what another person did, or what they said, or where they went.
Talebearing is forbidden even if the all the information is 100% true; the entire truth and nothing but the truth.
Talebearing is forbidden even if nothing derogatory is said.
An extreme example of the destructive power of talebearing is found in Shmuel-1 (Ch. 21 and 22).
Do'eg told King Saul that Achimelech had given [future King] David supplies and a sword.
Even though it was the truth - later Achimelech himself told King Saul about it - nevertheless King Saul ordered the city of Nov to be destroyed along with eighty five Cohanim and their families.
Friday, June 13, 2008
This Shabbat morning we will read the weekly portion of Beha'aloscha which begins with the Mitzva of the Cohen lighting the Menora in the Bet Hamikdash every afternoon with pure olive oil. The popular custom is to use light Shabbat candles on Friday afternoon. However, a Hidur Mitzva (a "deluxe" way of performing the Mitzva) is to use olive oil. Whatever one decides to use, it has to create a flame that burns steadily without flickering or spluttering and does not generate an unpleasant odor. The Mishna lists wicks and oils that are disqualified, e.g. wicks from silk or seaweed as well as cottonseed oil. We already learned in Halocho #44 that one may not use a 7 branched candelabra. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 75:3, Mishna Shabbat, Ch. 2 Shabbat Shalom, - Danny
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In the time of the Bet Hamikdash (may it be rebuilt speedily in our days) all men above Bar Mitzva have a Mitzva to appear in the Bet Hamikdash thrice yearly; during the Yom Tov of Pessach, Shavuoth and Sukkoth. This Mitzva includes offering 2 sacrifices; a Korban Re'iya ("appearance sacrifice") which was completely burnt, and a Korban Chagiga ("festive sacrifice") which was eaten. These sacrifices cannot be offered on Shabbat. Preferably this Mitzva should be fulfilled on the first day of each Yom Tov. If the first day of Yom Tov is Shabbat, or if the person has other reasons to delay, then the Mitzva can be done during the remaining days of Sukkoth and Pessach. Even though Shavuoth is only one day long (in Israel) this Mitzva can be fulfilled during the 6 days following Shavuoth. This is the reason why some congregations do not say Tachanun during the entire week following Shavuoth. Source: The Book of our Heritage, Vol III, Page 50 - Danny