Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Interpersonal relationships are of the most intricate of the many facets of life. Much takes place in this delicate area, yet behind everything stands mainly the question of “how am I related to.” More than anything that one can receive from his fellow man, one is most in need of the simple feeling that ‘I am needed’ and that ‘I am taken notice of’.

A person seeks only one thing – that others relate to him. Many are the ways that people find to attain this, whether explicitly or indirectly, through hints or outright verbally; whatever it takes to get a dose of this most essential vitamin – some attention.

The first of the believers

Ur-Kassdim – the cradle of foolish beliefs and idol worship. Terach, Nimrod and the masses of worshipers; some found a mighty deity in the form of a clump of clay, others identified the creator with a statute carved of wood. Nature’s forces, the stars and constellations, illusions and warped traditions; each man chose his faith as he pleased. Amidst this darkness wandered one small child who was simply not satisfied and asked again and again: “who created all this?”

The first of our forefathers, Avraham Avinu, recognized his creator at the age of three. He searched, contemplated and investigated until he was able to declare with clarity: “this is it!” Initially, the creation had shown no hint of an answer to his question, nothing seemed to indicate the existence of The Creator, of His will and His providence, yet the more he searched, the more The Creator revealed Himself to him. The veil of concealment gradually faded, the false beliefs began to crumble and emunah began to shine forth in the world.

Avraham had no tradition from his ancestors, no leader and no guide. He embarked on his path completely alone and prepared the way for the rest of the world. He taught da’as (holy intellect) and emunah to the masses and brought thousands under the shelter of the shechinah (divine presence). Torah had not yet descended into the world, neither had the mitzvos, yet nevertheless his entire life was one complete succession of d’veikus (cleaving to Hashem). Day after day, night after night, through winter and summer, ups and downs, challenges and opposition; how did Avraham endure all this, around what was his wondrous connection with the creator woven?

Yearning – this is the secret.

Avraham Avinu was the first one to bring knowledge of Hashem to the world. It is he who brought down the first strand that connects the created to The Creator and his whole life was just one long endless desire – to know Hashem.

At the beginning of any book one can find an introduction that outlines the purpose for which it was authored and in essence gives the reader “the bottom line”. The Torah too, has an introduction. Before the Torah describes 613 mitzvos, the positive and negative commandments, it precedes them with the purpose; the main point and intention that is meant to result from fulfilling all that follows.

Avraham Avinu is the introduction. If you desire to know what the focal point of the fulfillment of the Torah is, take a look at our first forefather; on what hinge did the life of the father of our nation revolve, around what where all his thoughts, words and actions centered?

Avraham Avinu directed his entire life to The Creator, even the minutest motion, thought or action was carefully weighed on the scale of: “I place Hashem before me always” (Tehillim). At every possible moment the desire to know Hashem burned inside him and no perception that he attained could quench his soul’s endless thirst. With ten tests did The Creator test his dedication and sincerity, and he stood up to them all with his clear and wondrous conviction of Hashem’s presence.

The first of the circumcised

How does one merit to such an awakened soul? – we all ask ourselves. The drowsiness that envelopes our senses almost constantly transforms our lives into something dark and heavy, how can we be freed from it? The soul is meant to be naturally aflame with passion for every holy thing, if one would know how much he is wanted above, how much they anticipate every truthful thought on his part and how much weight just one word of truth carries, his legs would take him of their own from the shul to the Beis Medrash, from there to the fields and back in a never ending cycle. Yet our blind eyes see nothing of all this.

Sins, transgressions and iniquities are what form this barrier; they do not allow a person to receive that most essential sustenance – to be related to from above.  The most desired feeling, the deep sense of “The Creator needs me”, is generally buried beneath a thick layer of wrongdoings and the like.

Avraham Avinu was the first of the creation to identify emunah from within the world of physicality; he achieved this through the bris mila (circumcision). The arlah (foreskin) is the barrier that overshadows the senses and does not allow them to perceive anything beyond dark fantasies of evil. When the arlah is removed the soul is aroused to life. The first of the believers was also the first of the circumcised; he was the first man who was sensible enough to remove the barriers of evil.

Lech Lecha – Go to yourself.

Through yearning and desire, searching and request, Klal Yisroel was born. The yearning that burned inside Avraham Avinu is to be found by way of inheritance inside each one of us. This together with the recognition of Hashem’s existence he passed on to us. Inside every one of us is an awakened soul that is full of desire and searching. We need just remove from upon it the layers of arlah, of forgetfulness and tiredness. The ability for this too we inherited. Every tiny drop of arlah that is removed, every piece of evil, of sadness, of illusion and bewilderment that we cast off, reveals in the heart another hint of spiritual alertness.

Everyone has a soul, everyone has desire and yearning, we need just go there – to ourselves. Nothing can prevent the searching soul from attaining its desire. We must cast aside all that seems imperative, unchangeable or “a part of me” and simply get going.

“Lech Lecha” – is said to each one of us: leave aside all the calculations and fears, the heaviness and depression that are rooted in “ארצך” (your land); the corporeality of the element of earth. Leave a little “מולדתך” (your birth place); the negative character traits and natural tendencies that seem to be an inheritance that threatens to accompany us throughout our lives. Abandon somewhat your “בית אביך” (father’s house); the negative influences and philosophies of your surroundings. Go forth towards your soul’s desire, to where you truly yearn to be.

To this place you will be accompanied by your nekudos toivos (good points), by emunah, bitachon and the ancient call of “lech lecha”.  For to your root only you can go, in the light of Hashem’s hashgacha (Divine providence).

By HaRav Shimon Anshin shlit”a

1] The Schach of the Sukkah as well as the Lulav should not be treated in a disrespectful manner after the time of their Mitzvah has passed, and they should not be disposed of into a disgraceful place. Still, they do not require genizah, to be specially set away as seforim do. They should not be thrown directly into the garbage, but if they happen to get thrown out as a result of lack of genizah, there is nothing to worry about.

It is wrong for people to leave their schach after Sukkos outside, in places where people step all over them, even though they are not in the trash. One should not even use the walls of the Sukkah for inappropriate use after Sukkos. (summary of Rem”a and Mishna Berura 21:1, ibid: 6-7, and Mishna Berura 678:24)

2] We learn the following Halachos from the above:

A] It is forbidden to dispose of schach into the trash can. Even though this halachah is clearly stated, still, many people don’t realize this and throw out their schach into the garbage, without knowing that it is absolutely forbidden!

B] Similarly, it’s prohibited to place them around the area of trash cans. There are people who are careful not to put the schach directly into the garbage cans yet they place them around the cans. Seemingly they should be able to rely on the Mishna Berura which says, “If as a result of not putting them specially away they get thrown out, there is nothing to worry about.” Nevertheless, I feel that they really don’t have what to rely on, because that’s only referring to schach getting thrown out because of their not being placed into genizah, not putting them around the garbage where they will certainly be taken afterwards into the trash. Sometimes they end up sitting there for a couple of days, and end up being totally neglected.

C] One is not allowed to place the schach where people will step on them. Besides causing others who don’t know better to mistreat the schach, it is also bothering those people who know to be careful in that they have to now go around it.

D] It is forbidden to step on schach, even if the owner already transgressed the above and put them in a place where people walk.

E] As for Sukkah decorations, there are those who say that it’s fitting that they not be thrown into the garbage; nevertheless, if they are well wrapped in a bag, they can then be put into the garbage.

3] The Shulchan Aruch writes in 664:8, “There are those who say that the Hoshana (Arava) in the Lulav as well as the Arava of Hoshana, even though they have been disposed of, they should not be stepped upon. It’s Halachos are as explained above 21:1.”

The Halachos which arise from the Shulchan Aruch as well as Mishna Berurah ibid: 28-29 are as follows:

A] The Four Minim – it’s forbidden to mishandle them, and they therefore should not be placed in the garbage or stepped upon, as we explained above.

B] Hoshanos – have the same rules as the Four Minim. Therefore, it’s befitting to sweep up the floor of the shul from the Hoshana leaves immediately after their use, in order that no one comes to step on them.

The custom to throw them on top of the ‘Aron Kodesh’ has no source in the ancient works. There are those who have questioned it because of the prohibition to make use of an Aron Kodesh, of which the rules of properly respect of its sanctity are very strict. The responsibility falls on the gabbaim that care should at least be taken that they do not afterwards end up thrown in the garbage.

People cannot be expected to act otherwise, since they have already become accustomed to this.

C] The Rings and Holders- should not be treated in an inappropriate way, since they are easily recognized to have been used for a Mitzvah.

D] The Esrog box and Lulav holder – it is better not mishandle them, especially if pesukim or parts of pesukim are written on them, which would require genizah. (The words pri eitz hadar do not require genizah)

E] Keeping the Four Minim in the house – It is brought in seforim that keeping the Four Minim in a home serves as a protection for it. It is also well known that the Rebbe says that Hoshanas are a protection while travelling.

Therefore, it’s better not to dispose of them in any way, on the contrary, to keep them in the house.

Why even burn them with the chametz and lose their protection? However, in order to keep this custom, it is possible to burn the Four Minim from

last year and to keep the ones from this year.

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).

By Rabbi Shimon Anshin shlit”a

In order to know when “Mezonos” must be eaten in a Sukkah, and when a blessing is required, we must differentiate between eating a bread-like food such as cake or a cooked dish whose blessing is Mezonos (for instance, kugel), as well as the amount eaten, how it is being eaten, and why, as we will explain.
[1] When eating a bread-like food such as cake in an amount more than a k‟beitza (the size of an egg), in a casual manner on Chol HaMoed, Shabbos or Yom Tov not after Kiddush:

[a] It should be eaten in a Sukkah, [and it may be that one who is lenient and eats it outside a Sukkah has on whom to rely]. Still, the blessing, “Leyshev BaSukkah” should not be recited.

[b] The designation of a “casual manner” in this context is that he is just snacking – meaning he is just enjoying a snack and not eating it to satiate his hunger. Or, even if he is hungry, if he is eating with the intention of eating a small amount in order to hold off his hunger until the mealtime, as the Rambam details in Perush HaMishnayos, Sukkah 2:5.

[c] However, if he is planning on staying in the Sukkah for a significant amount of time after eating, then he can recite the blessing, having in mind both the eating as well as the sitting in the Sukkah. This is because in actual fact, we should be reciting a blessing on just spending time in the Sukkah, as we will explain.
There are those who hold that in such a situation one should first recite “Leyshev BaSukkah” and then Mezonos.

[d] I have not yet found a clear designation of “a significant amount of time”. It would seem that it refers to both quality and quantity. This would
mean spending a slightly extended period of time in the Sukkah, as well as actually making oneself comfortable, and not being in a hurry to get out – i.e. spending the time there just in order to “fulfill the requirement” of spending time. Therefore, just a couple of minutes would not be enough. However, if one studies a little bit, or reads a book for fifteen minutes, it would seem that that is enough to be considered “spending time” in the Sukkah and would already require a bracha.

[e] All this is in one own‟s Sukkah. But when one goes to someone else‟s Sukkah, it would seem that any visit, even just for a few minutes, i.e., for a Yom Tov visit, or a Shalom Zachor, would be already considered spending time [this is in conjunction with the opinion that requires a blessing upon using someone else‟s Sukkah even when not spending time there at all.]

[2] When partaking in a proper meal, during Chol HaMoed:

[a] One is obligated to eat in a Sukkah and to recite “Leyshev BaSukkah”

[b] The designation “proper meal” is for example, to eat cake or pastry in the morning together with a cup of coffee; or without coffee, but instead of breakfast; or to eat together with other people [all these would render the meal to not be any less proper than eating a cooked item which would be considered a proper meal according to the Shulchan Aruch.]

[c] A thoroughly proper meal, which would mean to eat more than three or four beitzim, or entirely with the intention of eating a meal, would require a hamotzi, Birchas HaMazon and would require a Sukkah and a “leyshev BaSukkah.” It would seem that even in such a case, hamotzi and Birchas HaMazon would not be required, still, in regard to Sukkah, he would still be obligated in Sukkah and “leyshev BaSukkah”.

[3] Eating “Mezonos” on Shabbos and Yom Tov after Kiddush, in order to fulfill the obligation of Kiddush being in the same place where a Seudah will be:

[a] Must be eaten in a Sukkah, and a bracha (“Leyshev BaSukkah”) may be recited even if he‟s not staying there a while, and even if the amount eaten is a little bit more than a beitzah.

[b] However, if not eating for this reason, then the Halachos of Chol HaMoed apply.

[4] All this is when eating cake, but when eating a cooked dish made out of any of the 5 grains, i.e., kugel, then the halacha is as follows:

[a] More than a beitzah, in a casual fashion- should be eaten in a Sukkah, but without a Bracha “Leyshev BaSukkah”, [and even if one chooses to be lenient and not eat in the Sukkah, he has on whom to rely.]

[b] More than a beitzah, together with other people – requires a Sukkah with a beracha “Leyshev BaSukkah”.

[c] More than a beitzah, and is eating it as a proper meal – would require more research to establish whether or not a blessing is needed, especially Shabbos after Kiddush.

[d] Someone who eats a considerable amount as a proper meal – requires a Sukkah and a beracha “Leyshev BaSukkah”.

In addition, a cooked item may be eaten in large amounts without requiring HaMotzi or Birchas HaMazon, unlike “mezonos”. Kugel would be in the category of „cooked‟ even though there are those who are of the opinion that since it is also baked it falls under the category of mezonos.

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).

Rosh Hashanah 5772

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Wishing you a Kesiva v’Chasima Tovah

A. Music

Dancing and Musical Instruments: During this period it is forbidden to dance, play musical instruments or listen to them live or pre-recorded.

Vocals-only music:  Even though such music has no musical instruments, if the music is of a joyous nature, it follows the same prohibition as listening to instrumental music. If the music however is of the type that awakens one to deveykus and is required by one specifically for this purpose, then it is permitted as long as it is listened to in private.

Recorded Cantorial music without musical instruments:  Here to, if there is a specific need it is permitted as long as it is in private.

Recordings for Children:  If the content contains both singing and music it is forbidden for children of chinuch age to listen.  However, if the content is primarily stories etc. with some musical accompaniment, there is room to permit this.  However, if the children are not of chinuch age, then it is permissible for them to listen to instrumental recordings.

Nursery schools for children at the age of chinuch:  It is forbidden to play musical instruments to children of chinuch age even if there is a fixed schedule for doing so.  One who’s livelihood depends on playing them musical instruments and stands to loose money from not doing so, should ask the opinion of a Posek.

Singing:  With regards to joyous melodies, there are those that are stringent especially when there are a group of people together.  In the context of a Seudas Mitzvah though, it is permissible to sing, however those present should be cognizant of not becoming exceedingly joyous.

The Poskim allow singing in all of the following cases:

1. On Shabbos.

2. While Learning.

3. When the melodies are of an awakening nature – whether alone or in a group of people who have joined together to strengthen themselves in Yiras Shamayim.

4. In order to keep one awake behind the wheel while driving.

Listening to music against one’s will: With regards to instrumental music that one happens to hear, be it on a bus, while on-hold on the phone or cell phone, is not prohibited on condition that one does not intend deriving enjoyment from the listening.   With regards to one’s own cell phone, it is however correct to change the ringtone to a non-musical one.

Listening to Music while exercising:  In this regard, one should consult with a Posek.

B. Shehechiyanu

One does not make a Shehechiyanu during Bein Hametzarim. According to the essential law, though it is permissible on Shabbos.  Yet according to the Arizal it is forbidden even on Shabbos.

One should not purchase a new item of clothing or a new fruit doing this period in order that one should not have to make a Shehechiyanu .  If however such items will not be available after the three weeks or specifically in regards to a child’s desire for such an item, then it is permissible to allow the purchase and to make a Shehechiyanu. However, it would be preferable if possible to postpone eating the new fruit or wearing the new item of clothing until Shabbos.

A pregnant or sick individual who needs to wear or eat a new fruit, is permitted to do so but without making a Shehechiyanu .

Bris Milah, Pidyon Haben or seeing one’s daughter for the first time:  It is permitted to say in all these cases to make a Shehechiyanu .

HaTov v’Hameitiv:  With regards to an item that requires the blessing of HaTov v’Hameitiv i.e. there are those who are partnered in the joy, such as one’s wife or children, it is permissible to purchase the item as well as make the blessing.

C.  Things that are permitted according to the essential law:

New Clothes and objects (Keilim) :  There is no prohibition in purchasing items or new clothing that do not require a Shehechiyanu during this period, however there are those that hold neither to buy nor to wear such new clothing.  There are those that are stringent only when it comes to purchasing very expensive items that bring one tremendous joy.  And so, if there are items that one does not need specifically during this time, it is correct to be stringent and not purchase them until afterwards.

Dwellings:  There is no prohibition in moving into a new apartment during this time whether rented or purchased.  But there are those that are stringent to refrain from doing so for the sake of a “good omen” (“siman tov”).

Alterations and painting:  There is no prohibition against alterations made to, or painting a dwelling during this time, however, the “Eliya Rabba” writes that is it is correct not to do so.

Outings (tiyulim):  There is no prohibition during this time to go on outings, however one should be careful not to go to places of danger.

Washing: There is no prohibition to bathe during these days in the ocean etc.  However due to the “fear of danger” during this ominous period, it is preferable to refrain from doing so unless there is a specific need.

A.  The Fast of Tammuz

a) According to the letter of the law it is permissible to wash on 17 Tammuz.  However, those who are stringent do not wash the entire body with hot water, but either wash the entire body in cold water or just the face, hands and legs with hot water.  However, on all accounts, no-one should wash for the pleasure of it alone.

b) It is permissible to launder on the 17th of Tammuz.

c) Children under Barmitzvah do not need to fast at all – not even a few hours – and can eat as per usual. However, they should prevent themselves from eating candies.

d) Pregnant and nursing women do not need to fast at all and can eat as per usual, however, they should prevent themselves from eating meat or poultry.

e) The fast starts at dawn (Alos Hashachar).  However, those who want to eat at night before dawn in order to alleviate the difficulty associated with the fast should do as follows:

i. One should make a condition (t’nai) before going to sleep that he intends to eat or drink before dawn.  Should one forgot however to make such a condition, he is permitted to drink but NOT eat.  Should one not sleep at all or sleep less than what is considered a “shanas keva” (20 minutes or more), one is not required to make such a condition before eating or drinking.

ii. Since there is a prohibition to eat before praying, the law therefore is as follows:

1. Drinking coffee or tea etc. is allowed until dawn.

2. “Tasting” bread or mezonos less than a kasayis (approx. 29 grams) is permissible until dawn.

3. With regards to eating bread or mezonos more that a kazayis, if one started to eat a half-hour before dawn or more, he can continue to eat until dawn.  However, from half an hour before dawn, it is prohibited to start eating bread or mezonos.

In certain calendars there are 2 times for dawn [based on the differing Halachic Opinions] and one should therefore finish his eating or drinking according to the earlier of the two times [90 minutes before sunrise]. With regards to not starting half an hour before dawn, one can however be lenient in an “emergency” (shaas hadechak) and use the later time of dawn.

f)  According to the Zohar HaKadosh, if one slept and woke up before dawn, he cannot eat in all accounts.  Therefore, with regards to those who follow the customs of the Kabbalists, should it be extremely difficult for them to fast without having eaten before dawn, they have on whom to rely and may eat according to the points outlined above.

B.  Laws of Bein Hametzarim from 17 Tammuz to Rosh Chodesh Av

This period of mourning (Bein Hametzarim) is named after the verse in Eicha: “all of her [Tzion’s] pursuers overcame her between the straits”, which we commemorate by diminishing our joy by refraining to perform weddings, haircuts, blessings of Shehechiyanu and music.  This period of time starts from sunset before 17 Tammuz.  However, one who has an urgent need to have a haircut at this specific time should ask a Posek.

C.  Marriages and Seudos:

Marriages – We do not perform marriages from the 17th of Tammuz until after the 9th of Av.

Engagements – It is permissible to make Shidduchim and Seudas T’naim, however without musical instruments.

Seudos Mitzvah – Barmitzvahs, Bris Milahs and the Completion of Mesechets of Talmud are permitted except without musical instruments.

D.  Haircuts:

Adults – Both men and women are prohibited from haircuts even in honor of Shabbos. [If the hair is long and one’s only intention of cutting is for Shabbos, there is room to be lenient].

Children – Adults are not permitted to cut the hair of children. However if there is a specific need to cut the hair of a child, there is room in which to be lenient.

“Baalei Bris” – Baalei Bris, a Mohel and Sandak, are according to the letter of the law allowed to cut their hair.

Barmizvah, Pidyon Haben, Chalaka (Upshirin) – One should ask a Posek if it is permissible to have a hair cut or not.

Specific Needs – with regards to Shidduchim, Modesty, Barriers (Chatzitzos), Healing, Mustaches which interfere with one’s eating, is it permissible to cut hair.

Brushing/Combing hair – is permissible.

E.  Cutting Nails – is permissible

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