Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Archive for December 19, 2009

Carrying Belongings on Shabbos where there is no Shabbos Boundary (Eruv) – Part II

Weekly Halacha Series

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

Laws pertaining to Carrying Belongings on Shabbos where there is no Shabbos Boundary (Eruv)

PART II

a. Hooks: A hook that is torn and remains attached on one side, and a “loop” torn on one side – for instance as found on trousers, as used to thread a belt –  should one intend to repair it after Sabbath, it is forbidden to go out with it, as the loop is of importance and is not worthless to the garment.  Although, should one intend for it to remain as is, then one is allowed to go out with, as it is no longer of value and it is unimportant to the garment.

b. Bottons: A regular button, although not currently being used, is permitted to go out with.  An “ornamental” button is permitted to go out with too.  A button that is loose, should it not be possible to button up with, or should one not wish to button up with it, one must not go out with it. However, should the button add beauty to the garment, in in a way that the garment look odd with its absence, then one may be lenient and go out with it.

If the button has already fallen off and only the thread remains, in any event, one may go out with the garment. (And not to remove the thread on Sabbath.  Note: If a button falls off and it is one’s intention to sew it back after Sabbath, it is not considered “muktze” (object forbidden for use on the Sabbath) and it is allowed to be picked up and placed aside for safekeeping. 

With regards to a “spare” button that is attached to the garment, there are those who forbid it as it does not have any use for the garment. And there are those who permit it since it is attached to the garment and as it has no value to the garment.  And there are those who say that this is only permissible should the button be regular and not of importance, which is not in the case of a special button that is not common since it is important and is of value to the garment.

In fact, one who is stringent, and one who is lenient, has whom on which to rely upon.  Although, should the button be placed in the pocket of a garment, then according to all opinions (knowledge) it is forbidden to go out with.

a. Labels: A label showing the type of fabric, laundry instructions, price, tested for “shatnez” (checking for linen /wool) should it be sewn or glued to garment it is permitted to go out with, although, should one wish to remove it after Sabbath, then it is forbidden.

b. Towels:  If one wears it on one’s head or shoulders and it protects one from the wind or cold or sun, it is permissible to go out with, in this manner. Although, if one wears it only in order to carry it, it is appropriate to be stringent, as nowadays, it is no longer carried in this way at all.

Shoes that become dirty with mud

a. If the mud is still damp, and if the sole is made from leather, then one may drag ones shoes, but not vigorously. And also one should not scrape it off with a knife as there is a prohibition to “erase” as the leather is smoothed in this manner.

If the sole is made from rubber, then one may drag the mud even vigorously and one may use any object for this purpose in order to remove the mud, as this is not a prohibition to “erase” as this law does not apply to plastic.

a. If the mud has still not completely come off, then one may pour water over it, but not rub it.  However this is only allowed on the sole itself, which is not the case with the remainder of the shoe as doing this may constitute the prohibition of pouring water and rubbing and this would be the prohibition of “washing”.

b. If the mud has already dried, then it is forbidden in any event to drag the shoes, as this would fall within the prohibition of “grinding or mincing”, but one may remove by water as mentioned above. (And know that likewise there is a possibility of prohibition of grinding or mincing while removing dry dirt from a garment.  And G-d willing there will come a time to clarify this.)

Going out with an object forbidden to go out with: Should one realize that one has gone out with an object forbidden to go out with, one should do as follows:

One should NOT stand still.  Rather, one should continue to walk and let go of the object in a different manner.  In other words, if one was holding the object in one’s hand, one would let go of the object and not place it on the ground. And if placed in one’s pocket, one would turn the pocket inside out in order that the object would fall out, and should leave the object there until Sabbath has exited.

This should be done even if one has stopped walking, although, from the outset, one should not stand. Should the object be of value and one cannot leave it there, there are a few suggestions how to return the object to a guarded place but this is not the place to elaborate.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: 

As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you are unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any  way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).

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Laws pertaining to Yaaleh V’Yavo, Al Hanissim and Moving the Menorah on Shabbos

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

1)  If someone forgets Rosh Chodesh’s “Ya’ale Ve”yavo” on Mincha of Erev Shabbos, and realized it when it was already too late to repeat Mincha – he should not daven two Shmonei Esrei on Ma’ariv. 

The reason is as follows:

If this was to happen on a weekday, there are divided opinions on whether one can daven Shmone Esrei on the following Ma’ariv as a repayment prayer.  Some say that since it is no longer Rosh Chodesh, an additional weekday Shmone Esrei can not repay the lost Rosh Chodesh Mincha.  Other authorities contend that it is possible.  As a result of the dispute, the halacha is that one should daven the extra Ma’ariv Shmone Esrei twice – but aim that his second Shmone Esrei to be considered a voluntary prayer, akin to the korban Nedava that was brought in the Beis Hamikdash.  This solution cannot apply when Shabbos follows a Rosh Chodesh because one cannot daven voluntary prayers on Shabbos. (Mishna Brura, 108, 36)

2) “Al Anissim” during Seuda Shlishis.  One says “Al Hanissim” when reciting Birkas Hamozon – even if the seuda continues into the night.  The Eshel Avrohom (Butchatch, 188) contends that this applies only if an amount of Kazais of bread was eaten while it was still daytime.  But if one started eating after Shkiya (sunset), one shouldn’t say “Al Hanissim” during Birkas Hamozon.  This is why it is very important to eat a Kazais of bread before Shkiya.

3) Moving the Menorah on Shabbos.

A Menorah used for Chanukah is muktze and cannot be moved even if one needs the place its standing on, or even if one needs the body of the Menorah for a permissible use.

Further more, if the Menorah stands on a table of some sort, that table too becomes muktze like the Menorah and is forbidden to move as well.  This is because the table becomes “A base for a forbidden object”.

However, it is permissible to move the Menorah and its base if the following conditions are met:

1) During bein hashmoshos (between sunset and when the stars come out) a permissible object was on the tray or table where the Menorah is standing.  This makes the base “A base for a permitted object”.

Such permitted object would be Challa or wine for the Shabbos seuda.  Some say that this applies to anything needed for the seuda as well.  But anything that isn’t meant to be used for Shabbos cannot be used for this purpose, because we say that the Menorah is more important to him now than an object he cannot use on Shabbos.  Some say that if the Menorah is made of silver, one needs to put jewelry that is more expensive than the Menorah on the base.

If one didn’t put the permissible object before bein hashmoshos, one cannot place it anymore and the Menorah and its base may not be moved during Shabbos.

2) The reason why one wants to move the Menorah must be for a “permissible objective”, such as needing the table to be elsewhere, or needing the place where the table is now, or the table and the Menorah are in a place where they will obstruct passage.  “Non-permissible objectives” would be guarding the Menorah from damage or theft.

Some say that if one fears the Menorah will fall, spilling the oil and breaking the glass cups, it constituted a permissible objective.  However, if simply passing with care can prevent that from happening, the Menorah and the table may not be moved.

3) For the Menorah to be moved, the neros of the Menorah must be out.  If they are not, the halacha depends on the type of neros one uses.

If one uses oil and wick, one may not move the table while they are still burning burning.  Movement may bring more oil to the wick and increase the fire, which constitutes “flame creation” – or drive oil away from the wick, which constitutes “putting a flame out” (moving such candles gently without making this happen is virtually impossible).

But if the neros are wicks floating in oil or solid candles, movement is permissible as long as it is done gently and with great care.

More details about the above issue:

a)  Even though we would regularly not permit moving,  if the mukze object can be shaken off, here we don’t require that condition.  The reason is that the Menorah will likely get damaged if it is shaken off the table – be it to the Menorah itself or spilling the oil or breaking the glass cups.  However, if it is possible to shake the Menorah off without damage, it should be done.

b) Some contend that all the above relates only to Shabbos candles, but the Chanukah Menorah may not be moved no matter what.

c)  However, everything we said about not being able to move relates to moving in the usual manner.  It is permissible to move the Menorah in an unusual manner (ki’leachar yad) by pushing it with the elbow or the foot.  Obviously this can be done only if the neros are out as such pushing will surely affect the flame in a forbidden manner.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: 

As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any  way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).

The Power of a Candle

Everyone in the neighborhood knew Motte’le, he was labeled with many titles, his mother called him ‘the delinquent with no hope’, the children called him ‘the wild one’, even the teacher in cheder defined him ‘a creature the like of which I’ve never seen.’ Without a doubt it could be said that these titles and the many others were suitable to him, it is as if they were created specifically for him. He was the paradigm of “his hand against everyone” (Beraishis 16,12). If one heard the sound of fighting and screaming he could be sure that  Motte’le was at it again. He also had a very good mind, although not too involved in what they taught him in cheder. In the hour that his classmates where involved in sugya (Talmudic topic) Motte’le was hard at work conjuring up ingenious new ways to cause mischief, the likes of which one couldn’t even imagine.  His mother’s Tehillim book was already completely soaked in tears. They had tried everything with him, endless efforts, promises, punishments, what else was there. The best mechanchim (educators) had tried to get through to him, hoping to implant in him some seriousness and responsibility, some sense. Motte’le made them understand very quickly that they where wasting their time, no educational tactics where going to work on him. With time Motte’le became a figure that no one wanted to get too close to. People tried to keep their distance from him as much as possible, their glances of disdain and wonder were the only things that accompanied him.

This is how things continued until that one day when a new figure appeared in the neighborhood, an avreich with a ray of light in his eyes. No one could explain what Motte’le found in that refined young man that made him cling to him like a student to his Rebbe. When Motte’le was in his presence it was as if he had been possessed by something, his eyes that were so dim began to shine, and in place of the arrogance and brazenness an aura of humility enveloped him.  There was no hidden secret to the success of that avreich, no patented or unique ‘method’. He was simply the first person who related to Motte’le as a person. It was from him that he heard for the first time in years, a word of praise, that he felt any pride of holiness, he was the first person that allowed him to feel like he had any true value. And so it was that Motte’le started to make his journey back to the light and began to climb the ladder of meaningful growth.

The question of all questions that bewilders the mind of every person is, how is it possible to change? How is possible to begin to educate ourselves, to change our bad habits and to acquire proper and good middos (character traits)? The answer to this is provided by the Chanukah candles. A little spark of light, the small flicker of a candle, is able to consume and destroy all evil.

Is this really true, does this really apply to each and every person in whatever circumstance he may be, even to one who has fallen tremendously low and has drowned in the darkness of ‘chochmah Yevanis’ (Greek philosophy)? To one who has managed to forget the sweetness of a daf Gemarah (page of Talmud), to one who has lost all connection to Emunah and da’as (holy awareness) and into whose heart have foreign values and outlooks taken root?

Greek philosophy is similar to quicksand; it deceives a person into thinking that it is permissible but when one sets in one foot it sucks in one’s entire being, swallowing the mind and the heart together, hurling on a person heaviness and toil, consuming one’s every limb with the pursuit of money and with bad habits. The chains of the imagination entrap the weak souls, luring them to the depths of fantasy; their blinded eyes leave them groping in the dark, unable to differentiate between good and evil.

That was and still is the ‘the evil kingdom Yaavan (Greece)’- quicksand of evil. The Greeks exerted themselves to destroy and eradicate every trace of Judaism from the world and when there was only one way left to draw Emes (truth) and Rachamim (mercy) into the world, they strengthened themselves to nullify that too. The one remaining point of truth fell into their filthy and impure hands. They managed to implant confusion, doubt and bewilderment everywhere; they made sure that no path of finding true eitzah (guidance) remained.

This is the nature of the long Gallus (exile) in which we still remain – a cloudy and tangible darkness. Do we have a chance to escape such a concealment of Hashem’s presence and to rise up from such a great downfall?

“The Eternal One of Israel does not lie” (Shmuel 15,29). There surely is a way to arise from every downfall, to throw off the burdensome weight of the kingdom of evil. For even in our gallus Hashem has not abandoned us. At the very time that the chochmos chitzoniyos (external wisdoms) began to spread through the world, those same chochmos that strengthen themselves anew in every generation, that fill the chambers of the heart and mind with empty illusions and try to deter us from thoughts of Emunah and da’as; at that very time of such a tremendous downfall and such terrible decrees one after the other to the extent that it seemed as if God forbid the Torah would be forgotten from the Jews, just then was revealed the awesome way in which we too can exit the gallus and engender in ourselves true change for the better.

Within the very depth of the gallus burst forth a spark of light to uplift our souls. The Greeks breached the Walls of the Beis Hamikdash and defiled the Holy of Holies; they defiled the holiness of da’as and prevented all ways of drawing Rachamim (mercy) into the world. Just then when it seemed as if all hope was lost, Hashem, in His great mercy, did wonders and forged for us a completely new path, a wondrous way that draws awesome levels of mercy down to the very place in which we are.  If we only connect ourselves to the holiness of the Tzaddikim – the Chashmona’im, a spark of the light of truth will be drawn down and shone upon us, a spark that can remove and eradicate all the forces of evil and impurity.

When we stand before the Chanukah candles, which shine upon us the light of chein (grace) of Kedusha, at that moment we draw upon ourselves an influx of tremendous mercy which has the power to rectify everything. This is the spark that brings Motte’le closer and draws him the loving-kindness to begin again and reinitiate himself into Kedusha. (In Hebrew the word for initiation is chinuch which comes from the same root as Chanukah). This spark is what ignites our souls afresh with love for Hashem, warms our hearts with the memory of how dear we are to Him and how valued and special we are to Him. This was the entire purpose of the miracle of Chanukah, for in truth the miracle was not necessary since it became permissible to use oil even if it was impure (Chiddushei ha’Pnei Yehoshua Shabbos 21). The miracle took place only to show us how dear we are to Hashem. This was Hashem’s will – to shine upon us a spark of His desire for us – from the very source of truth and from the attributes of mercy – so that we should see with our own eyes what true chein and Kedusha are, so that a ruach chayim (spirit of life) be renewed within us – one that has the power to destroy all illusion and uplift us from the quicksand of Yaavan in which we are sunk until the neck.

This is a power that radiates and arouses the fear of Heaven within our hearts and reveals the glory of Hashem to all, so that every person can see how Hashem’s name is uplifted and made precious by him too. From within this, we will find the gateway to a form of fear of Heaven that should bring us only to joy and liveliness, to reinitiate ourselves and to always remember Hashem  through finding our good points and knowing that the main pleasure in Heaven is generated by us, even when we are truly below.

There always exists an illumination of the light of the Tzaddikim who shine upon us Emunah and da’as. All that we have to do is arouse ourselves to light the Chanukah candles with hischadshus (renewal) and with connection to the Tzaddikim that shine truth into the world, until we too are ignited with its light. For this reason the days of Chanukah always fall out at the time that we read about Yosef Ha’tzaddik, for the concept of the Tzaddik has become hidden and we must search for it like the hidden light of the Chanukah candles that were hidden.

When we too arouse ourselves to recognize the importance and the greatness of the Tzaddikim, we will become incorporated in the aspect of ‘Chashmonayim’.

The recognition of the importance of truth is a powerful point and a beginning that has the strength to change nature, to shine Rachamim to a place which they could never have reached. This is the power of Chanukah, to change the natural order and create for us a way to be healed.

The light of Chanukah is drawn from a very lofty place, from the very root of the attributes of mercy, down to our lowly place to enlighten our path to return to Hashem from every downfall and distance.

Each day we light an additional candle – we take it step by step and become accustomed to initiating ourselves into avodas Hashem at the right pace. And so, slowly, slowly, we will abandon that past, become pure, and in our hearts we will begin to burn a fire of true yearning and desire for holiness. We will learn to wait, to anticipate and yearn for Hashem’s salvation until the point where even if the light is extinguished we will just light it anew. We will learn to always look at the good points and little by little to build up our da’as –  another holy thought, another good deed.

And so we will progress from day to day with yearning and desire until we merit the full illumination of da’as and begin to thank and praise Hashem with all our heart and soul.

 

Dearness & Pride

The many long months of preparation, organization and rehearsals finally came to their end and the excited celebrations and breathtaking ceremonies leading up to the coronation day made their long awaited beginning.

Long before the great day, the glorious festive feasts had been arranged by the tens of thousands of appointees carefully selected for the task. Thousands sat each day at the enormous tables that filled every available spot of the royal city and partook of the festive meals consisting of nothing but the finest delicacies.

The following days brought with them the beginning of the parades with thousands of soldiers marching in unified formation through the streets, the sound of their steps resonating throughout the city and bringing great excitement to the hearts of the masses who cheered enthusiastically as the parade passed by. And then, finally, the great day arrived – the day the people would crown their new king.  All that had taken place until that moment seemed to melt away into the past, the streets shed their previous appearance and seemed to take on a completely new form. Every corner radiated with splendor and glory, every stone polished afresh and every pathway sparkled with majesty. The sounds, the smells and even the breeze seemed to indicate the imminent arrival of some awesome and majestic occurrence.

The eyes of the masses were fixed upon the entrance of the royal palace that stood in the center of the decorated city. There, in just a few moments, will appear the king himself in all his glory. And then, with a silencing hush that swept through the crowd all the voices ceased to be heard and everyone came to a standstill, it was as if everything just froze, even the waving branches of the trees.

At the entrance to the palace appeared the king himself, exalted and adorned in his splendid royal garments, his entire being radiating glory, goodness and strength with a graceful humility emanating from his shinning face. He raised the golden staff in his hands in a majestic motion and from amidst the silence the sound of trumpets burst forth followed by a symphony of instruments as the roaring crowd proclaimed: ‘long live the king!’

Who could begin to imagine that awesome and overpowering feeling that enveloped the soul when the king cast his gaze upon his people, as his eyes rested upon each and every person individually.

At the moment that the king’s merciful gaze rests upon you, you lack nothing, it’s as if all the good in the world is yours and it doesn’t matter to you where you are, whether you’re standing on a lamp post on the corner of some street or on a balcony of the palace itself. And when the king comes down to the people and passes through the crowd lending an ear to each and every person and promises each one individually that he will always be there for him, doesn’t the entire world just melt away into nothingness? …

There is no event that will leave such a deep impression on a person as the coronation day of the king. Anyone who was witness to such a sight would never forget it as long as they live. It is then that a person begins to realize that there IS a king.  He begins to internalize the fact that he is a part of something awesome and wondrous, he begins to find meaning and purpose and he realizes that there is awe so great that it can actually make one forget that he even exists. If he really thinks about it he will realize that what was renewed inside him was a feeling of awe and love that was aroused by the sight of the exceptional unity that accompanied the great event – So many people, with all their different outlooks and lifestyles nullified themselves to each other and united as one in admiration of the king with a burning desire to do his will; it was witnessing this event that created within him these feelings of awe and love he had never before experienced. He also suddenly realized how greatly valuable he is – how there is someone who receives glory and splendor because of him; this gives new meaning to his life – he lives for something so awesomely great. This is what can be caused by such an event, and the whole kingdom is dependent upon it.

Rebbe Nachman teaches in Likutey Moharan 17 that every single thing in the creation reveals the pride that Hashem takes in his people, the Jewish nation. For Hashem takes pride in the Jewish people as a whole and also in each person individually to the extent that even the smallest motion of a Jew invokes Hashem’s pride in him. This is because the entire creation was created and continues to exist only for the pride that Hashem takes in the Jewish people.

This pride is always renewed during the days of Chanukah. In that wondrous and awesome miracle Hashem expressed how dear we are to him and how much pride he takes in His people.

The wicked kingdom of Greece wished to create an equal status for all the people of the world and thus to nullify and completely conceal the pride that Hashem takes in his holy people in general and in specific. They issued decrees against Shabbos, millah (circumcision) and Chodesh (sanctifying the new moon) and tried to make every Jew forget his identity and hide from him the fact that Hashem is exalted and glorified by him. They exerted themselves greatly and defiled all the oil in order that there should be no way to shine the light of the Beis Hamikdash into the world and to see the truth – the entire reason for our existence.

They wanted to make it forgotten that there is someone to serve and someone to honor. This is how they cast Jewish souls down into kefirah (apostasy) and emptiness, clogging their hearts and making them feel as if man’s actions don’t make any difference for better or for worse, as if G-d forbid there was no one interested in our efforts in the performance of mitzvos and in the sanctification of our thoughts.

With this falsehood they conquered almost the entire world and blew a spirit of apostasy into the hearts of the masses. Thousands of souls sank, as a result of this, into the depths of kefirah, bewilderment and emptiness.

The miracles that occurred during Chanukah revealed the dearness of Yisrael (the Jewish people) is Hashem’s eyes. They showed us that Hashem always helps, causing us to open our eyes to see the splendor and glory of the Kingdom of Heaven and enabling us to feel the pride that Hashem takes in us.

The pure oil that was poured from the small remaining jar shines and lights up the darkness of the gallus (exile) revealing the truth to every Jew – that to wherever we have fallen, Hashem is with us watching over us with perfect providence, rejoicing and taking pleasure in every good point within us.

This is the influx of light that shines at the time of the lighting of the candles – an influx of the attributes of mercy which is the light of the great and awesome Tzaddik who reveals the pride that Hashem takes in his people.

At the time that the soul is aroused with the awareness that Hashem takes pride in us, it is the right time to move forward and light the candles again, to begin everyday anew and to understand more and more the concept of this pride. We must also know that even if we have forgotten and fallen from the awareness of this pride it is our duty to continue and not to become discouraged, until we merit to the pure Emunah that will fill our lives with endless simcha and meaning. So we can go from strength to strength until we merit to “our souls have yearned for Hashem” – that we should be filled with a powerful desire and yearning for Hashem that will create within us true awe and fear of Heaven. This will then enable us to constantly cling to the knowledge of Hashem’s love for us.

Despite all the distractions and the fact that our hearts are clogged and cold to the extent that awe and love of Hashem are hidden from us, there is a hidden light that shines on Chanukah that enables even us to experience an inkling of the coronation of the King – to see the pride that Hashem takes in us.  And through this, to receive some notion of love and deveikus to Hashem and thereby experience a taste of true awe of Heaven.

In the Rebbe’s teachings (L.M. 14) we find that on Chanukah one should light a candle of remembrance of the glory of Heaven and awe of Hashem. It is further taught (L.M 54) that the meaning of the lighting of a candle is the lighting of memory and awareness, that we should light up our minds to always remember Hashem. This is what really happens on Chanukah, for the miracles and wonders that we commemorate during the days of Chanukah reveal to us how dear we are to Hashem and the light that shines forth from the Chanukah candles is a tremendous light of Hashem’s pride like that of the day of the coronation of the king.

These candles are in order to remove us from the kefirah and the illusion created of distance of Hashem – that there is no one who takes pride in us, G-d forbid. It is through the power of the awesome miracle, that we return to Emunah and discard all thoughts of the past and focus only on the good that can be done now. With the light of Chanukah, it is surely appropriate to move forward and add a light each night until the light of Chanukah brings us to a tangible and powerful feeling of Hashem’s pride in us just like on the day of the coronation of the king.

When the heart is aroused with true awe of Hashem, then the mind too is kindled and one’s thoughts begin to gain clarity until they come to a clear awareness of Hashem’s existence and the awe and fear of Heaven become tangible, bringing about a true acceptance of the yolk of heaven. And through the thanks and praise to Hashem for all the tremendous kindness and revelation of His love for us, a true love of Hashem can be aroused in our hearts too.

 You can download the entire Parasha Sheet here: Miketz_5770

 

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