Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Men who pray for rain, Parsha Mekeitz, Chanucha

Next week I am entering the NIH for tests for a Parathyroidectomy I would appreciate prayers on Shabbos Vayigash and Vayehi – Rachamim ben Charlotte Jacqueline especially Monday morning in Schul Vav Teves = Dec. 13th.

The story of Choni HaMagel (buried in Hatzor HaGalil) Aba Hilkiaya – Tanis 23 A and B

Aba Hilkiaya was a very poor Tzaddik and the Gadol HaDor in that respect. Once there was no rain in Israel similar to today and the Sages came to him to ask him to pray for rain. He was working in the field as a simple hired peasant (not like many Torah Scholars today learning for money and not working). He was the Grandson of Choni so I take the story from the on line Soncino Talmud translation to learn some Mussar from these men.

IT HAPPENED THAT THE PEOPLE SAID TO HONI, THE CIRCLE DRAWER etc. Once it happened that the greater part of the month of Adar had gone and yet no rain had fallen. The people sent a message to Honi the Circle Drawer, Pray that rain may fall. He prayed and no rain fell. He thereupon drew a circle and stood within it in the same way as the prophet Habakkuk had done, as it is said, I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower etc.3 He exclaimed [before God], Master of the Universe, Thy children have turned to me because [they believe] me to be a member of Thy house. I swear by Thy great name that I will not move from here until Thou hast mercy Upon Thy children! Rain began to drip and his disciples said to him, We look to you to save us from death;4 we believe that this rain came down merely to release you from your oath. Thereupon he

exclaimed: It is not for this that I have prayed, but for rain [to fill] cisterns, ditches and caves. The rain then began to come down with great force, every drop being as big as the opening of a barrel and the Sages estimated that no one drop was less than a log. (Exactly 4 standard Kiddush Cups or about 15.5 fluid ounces or close to half a quart or 450ml) His disciples then said to him: Master, we look to you to save us from death; we believe that the rain came down to destroy the world. Thereupon he exclaimed before [God], It is not for this that l have prayed, but for rain of benevolence, blessing and bounty. Then rain fell normally until the Israelites [in Jerusalem] were compelled to go up [for shelter] to the Temple Mount because of the rain. [His disciples] then said to him, Master, in the same way as you have prayed for the rain to fall pray for the rain to cease. He replied: I have it as a tradition that we may not pray on account of an excess of good. Despite this bring unto me a bullock for a thanks-giving-offering.] They brought unto him a bullock for a thanks-giving-offering and he laid his two hands upon it and said, Master of the Universe, Thy people Israel whom Thou hast brought out from Egypt cannot endure an excess of good nor an excess of punishment; when Thou wast angry with them, they could not endure it; when Thou didst shower upon them an excess of good they could not endure it; may it be Thy will that the rain may cease and that there be relief for the world. Immediately the wind began to blow and the clouds were dispersed and the sun shone and the people went out into the fields and gathered for themselves mushrooms and truffles. Thereupon Simeon b. Shetah sent this message to him, Were it not that you

are Honi I would have placed you under the ban; for were the years like the years [of famine in the time] of Elijah5 (in whose hands were the keys of Rain) would not the name of Heaven be profaned through you?6 But what shall I do unto you who acts petulantly before the Omnipresent and He grants your desire, as a son who acts petulantly before his father and he grants his desires; thus he says to him, Father, take me to bathe in warm water, wash me in cold water, give me nuts, almonds, peaches, and pomegranates and he gives them unto him. Of you Scripture says, Let thy father and thy mother be glad, and let her that bore thee rejoice.7 Our Rabbis have taught: What was the message that the Sanhedrin8 sent to Honi the Circle-Drawer? [It was an interpretation of the verse], Thou, shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee, and light shall shine upon thy ways etc.9 ‘Thou shalt also decree a thing:’ You have decreed [on earth] below and the Holy One, Blessed be He, fulfills your word [in heaven] above. ‘And light shall shine upon thy ways:’ You have illumined with your prayer a generation in darkness. ‘When they cast thee down, thou shalt say: There is lifting up:’ You have raised with your

prayer a generation that has sunk low. ‘For the humble person He saves:’ You have saved by your prayer a generation that is humiliated with sin. ‘He delivers him that is not innocent:’ You have delivered by your prayer a generation that is not innocent. ‘Yea, He shall be delivered through the cleanliness of thy hands:’ You have delivered it10 through the work of your clean hands.

R. Johanan said: This righteous man [Honi] was throughout the whole of his life troubled about the meaning of the verse, A Song of Ascents, When the Lord brought back those that returned to Zion, we were like unto them that dream.11 Is it possible for a man to dream continuously for seventy years?12 One day he was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree; he asked him, How long does it take [for this tree] to bear fruit? The man replied: Seventy years. He then further asked him: Are you certain that you will live another seventy years? The man replied: I found [ready grown] carob trees in the world; as my forefathers planted these for me so I too plant these for my children. Honi sat down to have a meal and sleep overcame him. As he slept a rocky formation enclosed upon him which hid him from sight and he continued to sleep for seventy years. When he awoke he saw a man gathering the fruit of the carob tree and he asked him, Are you the man who planted the tree? The man replied: I am his grandson. Thereupon he exclaimed: It is clear that I slept for seventy years. He then caught sight of his ass who had given birth to several generations of mules;13 and he returned home. He there enquired, Is the son of Honi the Circle-Drawer still alive? The people answered him, His son is no more, but his grandson is still living. Thereupon he said to them: I am

Honi the Circle-Drawer, but no one would believe him. He then repaired to the Beth HaMidrash and there he overheard the scholars say, The law is as clear to us as in the days of Honi the Circle-Drawer, for whenever he came to the Beth HaMidrash he would settle for the scholars any difficulty that they had. Whereupon he called out, I am he; but the scholars would not believe him nor did they give him the honor due to him. This hurt him greatly and he prayed [for death] and he died. Raba said: Hence the saying, Either companionship or death. For here we learn that a Talmud Chacham needs a learning partner in order to sharpen his mind.

If one is truly doing everything for the sake of heaven and gives his all for HASHEM he can obtain the will of HASHEM to do favors for Am Yisrael.

Abba Hilkiah was a grandson of Honi the Circle-Drawer, and whenever the world was In need of rain the Rabbis sent a message to him and he prayed and rain fell. Once there was an urgent need for rain and the Rabbis sent to him a couple of scholars [to ask him] to pray for rain. They came to his house but they did not find him there. They then proceeded to the fields and they found him there hoeing. They greeted him


(1) People did not venture out on Wednesday evenings as there was a belief that demons were about. Cf. Pes. 112b.

(2) Jer. V, 25.

(3) Hab. II, 1.

(4) The meaning of the Hebrew phrase is doubtful. (3) [Rashi: ‘for confession of sins’.]

(5) Cf. I Kings XVII, 1ff.

(6) [Honi would not have hesitated to force, so to speak, the hand of Heaven even in the face of an oath such as Elijah had made in the name of God that there would be no rain for years (1 Kings XVII, 1ff).]

(7) Prov. XXIII, 25.

(8) Lit., ‘the Men of the Hall of Hewn Stone’. The Sanhedrin met in the Hall of Hewn Stone.

(9) Job XXII, 28ff.

(10) The nation.

(11) Ps. CXXVI, 1.

(12) Cf. Jer. XXV, 11; XXIX, 10.

(13) [MS.M. omits the last sentence.]

but he took no notice of them. Towards evening he gathered some wood and placed the wood and the rake on one shoulder and his cloak on the other shoulder. Throughout the journey he walked barefoot but when he reached a stream he put his shoes on; when he lighted upon thorns and thistles he lifted up his garments;

From this we learn that he was a paid worker and refused to talk or be distracted on the Job – as Rav Boyer Shlita taught us after work at IAI just like the people nowadays in a sarcastic joke.

We also learn that he was so poor that he had one garment and it was easier for him to scratch himself on the thorns and thistles then repair or damage the material. It is all the more so from the answer that he gave below and we can see the level of his poverty even more.

when he reached the city his wife well bedecked came out to meet him;

From this we learn that when the husband/wife come home that the partner should greet them as if they were still dating prior to marriage with make-up and perfume and perhaps a smile on the face. But his answer below gives another even more important reason.

when he arrived home his wife entered first [the house] and then he and then the scholars.

He did not trust the Rabbis to be alone in his house with his wife even for a few seconds.

He sat down to eat but he did not say to the scholars, ‘Join me’. He then shared the meal among his children, giving the older son one portion and the younger two. He said to his wife, I know the scholars have come on account of rain, let us go up to the roof and pray, perhaps the Holy One, Blessed be He, will have mercy and rain will fall, without having credit given to us.

From here we see the Halacha in the Rambam that it is forbidden to take food or participate in a meal from a person who is so poor he barely has enough to feed his family. He then went to pray modestly on the roof so as not to get credit for making it rain.

They went up to the roof; he stood in one corner and she in another; at first the clouds appeared over the corner where his wife stood. When he came down he said to the scholars.

The reason for the clouds on her side is because she gives charity to beggars that knock on the door while he is working or learning Torah.

Why have you scholars come here? They replied: The Rabbis have sent us to you, Sir, [to ask you] to pray for rain.

Thereupon he exclaimed, Blessed be God, who has made you no longer dependent on Abba Hilkiah.

He was trying to fool them into believing that the miracle of rain came from the merit of Am Yisrael and not from his merit.

They replied: We know that the rain has come on your account, but tell us, Sir, the meaning of these mysterious acts of yours, which are bewildering to us? Why did you not take notice of us when we greeted you? He answered: I was a laborer hired by the day and I said I must not relax [from my work]. And why did you, Sir, carry the wood on one shoulder and the cloak on the other shoulder? He replied: It was a borrowed cloak; I borrowed it for one purpose [to wear] and not for any other Purpose. Why did you, Sir, go barefoot throughout the whole journey but when you came to a stream you put your shoes on? He replied: What was on the road I could see but not what was in the water. Why did you, Sir, lift up your garments whenever you lighted upon thorns and thistles? He replied1: This [the body] heals itself, but the other [the clothes] does not. Why did your wife come out well bedecked to meet you, Sir, when you entered the city? He replied: In order that I might not set my eyes on any other woman. Why, Sir, did she enter [the house] first and you after her and then we? He replied: Because I did not know your character.2 Why, Sir, did you not ask us to join you in the meal? [He replied]: Because there was not sufficient food [for all]. Why did you give, Sir, one portion to the older son and two portions to the younger? He replied: Because the one stays at home and the other

is away in the Synagogue3 [the whole day]. Why, Sir, did the clouds appear first in the corner where your wife stood and then in your corner? [He replied]: Because a wife stays at home and gives bread to the poor which they can at once enjoy whilst I give them money which they cannot at once enjoy.4 Or perhaps it may have to do with certain robbers In our neighborhood; I prayed that they might die, but she prayed that they might repent [and they did repent].

Hanan ha-Nehba was the son of the daughter of Honi the Circle-Drawer. When the world was in need of rain the Rabbis would send to him school children and they would take hold of the hem of his garment and say to him, Father, Father, give us rain. Thereupon he would plead with the Holy One, Blessed be He, [thus], Master of the Universe, do it for the sake of these who are unable to distinguish between the Father who gives rain and the father who does not. And why was he called, Hanan ha-Nehba? — Because he was wont to lock [mihabbeh] himself in the privy5 [out of modesty]. One should not leave himself in a situation that others might walk in on him.

1) no.

(2) Therefore he would not leave his wife unprotected.

(3) [For instruction. The School, in Talmudic days, was attached to the synagogue.]

(4) Immediate relief is best.

Parsha Mekeitz

41:1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

It is the custom of Kings to release prisoners on their birthday and so the cup bearer was released and the baker was murdered. I always wondered if some underling slipped a small pebble into the bread or cake of the baker to rise up in the ranks? So it was precisely two years later that this dream(s) occurred. 1) It was a birthday dream and therefore more pretentious. 2) It was a repeating theme and therefore a message to the King in it. 3) It was impossible for the best hieroglyphic geniuses, magicians and scholars to interpret.

… 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that when you hear a dream thou can interpret it.' 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'

Yosef has become more mature at the age of 30 and is humble after his stay in jail. This time he gives full credit to HASHEM. This is an instant of Kiddush HASHEM and selflessness.

17 And Pharaoh spoke unto Joseph: 'In my dream, behold, I stood upon the brink of the river. 18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven cows, fat-fleshed and well-favored; and they fed in the reed-grass. 19 And, behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. 20 And the lean and ill-favored cattle did eat up the first seven fat cattle. 21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favored as at the beginning. So I awoke.

This is the first dream.

22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up upon one stalk, full and good. 23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 24 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.' 25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh: 'The dream of Pharaoh is one; what God is about to do He hath declared unto Pharaoh. 26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

The second dream is on the same dream as the first.

27 And the seven lean and ill-favored cattle that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind; they shall be seven years of famine. 28 That is the thing which I spoke unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He hath shown unto Pharaoh. 29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. 30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 31 and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine which follows; for it shall be very grievous. 32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

Double dreams indicate that it is happening shortly.

33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven years of plenty. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 And the food shall be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.'

Pharaoh not only has had the dream interpreted but the solution to the dream has been given to him too. Now Pharaoh sees that this fellow standing before him is wiser and more capable than the Sages of Egypt combined and now it is a matter of managing the gathering in and stowage of wheat so that the population can store it and then be used to feed the people in the next seven years. Physically what happened is that Africa and the Middle-East were in a drought/famine cycle that would last 7 years after the previously blessed years. By storing a reasonable amount, the people would in combination to the poor crops of those years survive.

37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'

All of Pharaoh’s yes men and unoriginal thinkers.

39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou. 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.'

See how HASHEM works and marvel. On Rosh Hashanah it is written who will rise and who will fall. From a lowly slave in the filthy dungeon to the Prime Minister under Pharaoh in a matter of a morning.

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.' 42 And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him: 'Abrech'; and he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.'

Pharaoh has given him power that neither Moshe, David or Shlomo ever had that people were not allowed to move their hands of feet without Yosef’s permission. Moshe and David had rebellions during their reigns and Shlomo had some problems too.

45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah;* and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.—

* My guess is that the name means interprets the hidden. Like Zafoon on Pessach and Paneach means interpret.

Zaphenath-Pa’neach: He who explains hidden things, and Pa’neach has no parallel in Scripture. — [from Targum Onkelos] Poti-phera: He is Potiphar, but he was called Poti-phera because he became emasculated since he desired Joseph for homosexual relations. — [from Sotah 13b]

46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.--And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47 And in the seven years of plenty the earth brought forth in heaps. 48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 49 And Joseph laid up corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until they left off numbering; for it was without number. 50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On bore unto him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: 'for God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.' 52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: 'for God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.' 53 And the seven years of plenty, that was in the land of Egypt, came to an end. 54 And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said; and there was famine in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians: 'Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.' 56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth; and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine was sore in the land of Egypt. 57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn; because the famine was sore in all the earth.

The Parsha ends with two tests the first was that of the brothers with Shimon as they see the main instigator against Yosef as getting now Measure for Measure from HASHEM so they realize that. The second was the accusation against the Jews of being Spies. The Rosenberg(s) and Pollard are examples and the second is a vengeful act as a Chinese spy was captured on the same day as Pollard and released shortly afterwards. The great test was how they would react to the enslavement of Benyamin. The brothers realized immediately that this was not from HASHEM but from the ruler as previously he gave the youngest five garments. Yehuda who negotiated the sale of Yosef was about to negotiate his enslavement instead of Benyamin. This showed recognition that Benyamin was not under the influence of the brothers and that Yehuda was willing to take his lumps in this world rather than in the next. Now the brothers return to Egypt to the house of the man they dined with to be humble and get on their knees to beg for their brother for the sake of their father the servant of this Egyptian.

In the futher I have plans for telling the story of Rabbi Manashe ben Yisrael 1604 – 1657 and his relationship with Rembradt 1606 – 1669 and negotiating with Oliver Cromwell 1599 -1658 to let the Jews return to England in a future blogspot.

Flying High – A Traveler’s Guide to Kindling the Menorah By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

Question #1: “Rabbi…” I recognize Shlomo Rabinowitz’s voice on the phone. “My company is sending me to Japan next week, right in the middle of Chanukah,” he continues, “and to top it off, one of my flights has me on the plane the entire candle lighting time. How do I fulfill the mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lights five miles above earth? Furthermore, in Japan I will be busy at conferences all day long. Where and when will I light my menorah there? Can I kindle in a corner of the conference room?”

Question #2: Rav Mordechai, a fundraiser acquaintance of mine, asked me how to fulfill the mitzvah of hadlakas Ner Chanukah when he is out of town soliciting tzedakah until late in the evening.

Question #3: The Schwartz family is spending Shabbos Chanukah with friends on the other side of town. May they kindle the menorah at their friends’ home on motzei Shabbos, or must they wait until they return home? (Although all names have been changed, each of these cases reflects an actual shaylah people asked me.)

True, most of us will not be collecting funds all of Chanukah or flying to Japan. However, resolving these shaylos provide a good opportunity to explain the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah in greater depth. First, we will go through the basics of the mitzvah, and then we will examine the details that apply to travelers.

Every Jew must light Chanukah lights or have an agent kindle for him (see Rambam, Hilchos Chanukah 3:4). Many people do not know that the basic mitzvah requires kindling only one flame, whether oil or candle, for the entire household on each night of Chanukah, regardless of which night of Chanukah it is, and regardless of how many people live in one’s house (Gemara Shabbos 21b). Kindling the additional lights is in order to observe the mitzvah according to the exemplary standard that the Gemara terms Manhedrin min HaManhedrin.

In places where the custom is that the entire household lights only one menorah, which is the predominant practice among Sefardim, the person who kindles functions as an agent for the rest of the family. Even in places where the custom is that each individual kindles his own menorah, as is the common Ashkenazic practice, married women do not usually light (Eliyah Rabbah 671:3; Mishnah Berurah 671:9), and most people have the custom that single girls do not either (Shu’t Shaar Efrayim #42; see Chasam Sofer, Shabbos 21b s.v. vehamihadrin and Mikra’ei Kodesh #14 who explain reasons for this practice). According to both the Ashkenazic and Sefardic approach, the head of the household fulfills the mitzvah for those family members who do not light for themselves. In fact, he is their agent not only for the kindling, but also for the brachos he recites before lighting. (The difference between the Ashkenazic and the Sefardic custom reflect different interpretations of Manhedrin min HaManhedrin.)


So far, we discussed how the regular household members fulfill their mitzvah of Ner Chanukah. However, what about a guest who is not a regular member of the household? Does he have his own obligation to kindle Ner Chanukah or does the head of household’s kindling exempt him as it does the regular household residents? If he has his own obligation, how does he fulfill this mitzvah? The Gemara (Shabbos 23a) discusses this question in the following passage:

“Rav Sheishes said, ‘A guest is obligated in Ner Chanukah.’ Rav Zeira said, ‘Initially, when I was in Yeshiva, I paid my host a coin to include myself in his Ner Chanukah. Now that I am married but am still occasionally away in Yeshivah for Chanukah, I do not need to pay my host where I am staying because my wife kindles on my behalf in my house.’”

We see here that a guest must observe the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah himself and not through the head of the household’s lighting. Rav Zeira described two methods whereby the guest can fulfill his requirement without actually kindling his own menorah. The first method is to become a partner in the candles or oil of his host, which he does by purchasing ownership in them. (An alternative way of fulfilling this approach is for the guest to acquire a portion in the items by picking them up with his host’s permission.)

The second method Rav Zeira suggests is when the guest is a member of his own household, although he is not with them for Chanukah. In this case, he is automatically included when his family kindles even though he is not home.

By the way, the guest can fulfill his mitzvah in a third way -- by kindling his own menorah in his host’s house. However in this instance, if he wants to recite a bracha on his own kindling, he should decide that he is following this approach before his wife kindles (Mishnah Berurah 677:15). Otherwise, since he has already fulfilled his responsibility to perform the mitzvah through his wife’s kindling in his house, his own kindling is unnecessary and a bracha recited before kindling them is levatalah, in vain.


What happens in the second scenario if the guest is in a different time zone from his family? Can the guest fulfill his mitzvah with his family’s kindling even though he is in a different time zone?

The poskim who discuss this shaylah dispute whether one fulfills the mitzvah with his family’s lighting if their lighting takes place at a time when there is no mitzvah to kindle Ner Chanukah in his time zone. According to many, an Israeli resident visiting the United States will not fulfill the mitzvah through his family’s kindling and vice versa (Shu’t Minchas Yitzchak 7:46; however, see Halichos Shelomoh Volume 2 pg. 261, that Rav Shelomoh Zalman Auerbach disagrees). Minchas Shelomoh II:56:2 s.v. ומ"מ (red edition) contends that you fulfill the mitzvah with your household, a guest has no household and therefore has his own mitzvah. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Rav Shelomoh Zalman held this when you are east of your family- could be he contended this only when you are west of the family, and thus they have fulfilled their chiyuv already and you never become chayov in the mitzvah; but where the individual is east of his famiy, and thus becomes chayov earlier, that the halacha is different.

Nevertheless, someone traveling within the United States might fulfill his or her mitzvah through the kindling at home if the family kindles when people are still frequenting the streets in the city he/she is visiting.

According to our analysis, if Shlomo Rabinowitz was flying from Chicago to New York instead of Japan, he could rely on the candle lighting in his house since the candles will be kindled at a time that he is obligated in Ner Chanukah. (We will discuss shortly whether he recites the bracha she’asah nissim upon arrival in New York.) However, if he is in Asia, it is unclear whether he can rely on his family’s menorah since his family will kindle the lights at a time when he cannot perform the mitzvah.


Rashi (Shabbos 23a) cites the following case: Someone traveling by boat and unable to light a menorah should recite the brachos of she’asah nissim and shehechiyanu (on the first night of Chanukah) when he sees a kindled menorah even though he is not kindling himself. In other words, one recites the bracha of she’asah nissim in commemoration of the miracle of the lights and not for the actual mitzvah of kindling. Similarly, we recite the bracha shehechiyanu for seeing the lights of the menorah, not for fulfilling the mitzvah of kindling it. However, in both instances one recites the bracha only on a menorah that fulfills the mitzvah, and not on a menorah lit in a shul or other public place. Kindling menorah in a shul or other public place is only a custom and does not fulfill the mitzvah (Shu’t Rivash #111).

However, we still need to explore whether an airplane has the same halacha as the boat discussed by Rashi. To explain the possible difference, we will first discuss a teshuvah authored by Rav Shalom Mordechai Shvadron, the famous Maharsham of Brezan, the posek of his generation (late 19th century- early 20th century Galicia) about kindling menorah while riding a train.


Rav Shimon Valtuch, the Rav of Leipzig, Germany, sent a shaylah to the Maharsham asking whether someone traveling by train should light his Chanukah menorah on board. The Maharsham ruled that since he has paid for the entire night, it is as if he rented a house to eat and sleep, and the obligations of Ner Chanukah apply on the train.


But if so, why does Rashi rule that someone traveling by boat cannot fulfill the mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lights and instead recites the brachos of she’asah nissim and shehechiyanu on the lights he sees on shore. Why does the Maharsham give a different ruling concerning a train than Rashi ruled concerning someone traveling by boat? The Maharsham explains that Rashi’s case involved an unroofed boat which cannot qualify as a house since it does not provide adequate shelter. This implies that someone spending Chanukah on a cruise ship or even on a yacht would have a mitzvah of kindling menorah on board. Since Cruise Ships have smoke detectors it could sprinkle his room or panic a ship yet one could light like I plan to do in the hospital with an electronic light and bless over this. This is the accepted custom today and in the case of the hospital it does make a Kiddush HASHEM without problems because of the oxygen lines and is in a public place where nurses, doctors and visitors pass by.

The Maharsham considers whether the train is the same as a house even though it is constantly moving, and rules that this makes no difference. Thus, someone in a house trailer should kindle a menorah in its window, even if the trailer is on the move. However, it is unclear whether someone spending Chanukah night traveling in a car or truck should kindle Ner Chanukah there, since he has nowhere to sleep properly. Therefore, it might not be considered as lodging. I would take exception to this with a large van or large truck and a station wagon where would to place his whole body in a lying position to sleep.

In addition, we should note that there is evidence that other authorities contemporaneous to the Maharsham did not accept his opinion, but felt that one fulfills the mitzvah only in a proper residence.


There are two common ways of traveling by train –either in a private compartment, or, more commonly, on a seat in a public compartment. Since the Maharsham seems to consider even the second case enough of a lodging to light, this implies that one’s seat on a plane is also considered sufficient “lodging” to require kindling Chanukah lights on board.

Because of safety considerations, no one will permit you to kindle a menorah on an airplane. However, according to those opinions that one may fulfill the mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lights with a flashlight or an electric light (a subject we will iy”H discuss a different time), Shlomo Rabinowitz traveling to Japan in the middle of Chanukah has an interesting solution to his predicament. He can take a flashlight or other battery operated light onto the plane with him, turn it on for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah, and leave it burning for half an hour. Although this is only one light, I noted above that one fulfills the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah by kindling only one light. (If practical, he could bring along a few flashlights and fulfill the mitzvah mehadrin min hamehadrin.) For those interested in following this approach, Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach contends that it is preferable to fulfill the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah with a battery operated light over other electric lights (Halichos Shlomoh Volume 2, pg. 283). On a modern aircraft there is a standard reading light and in some aircraft even another light in the business compartment and this should be sufficient for the blessing and could be left on for half an hour.


Although kindling in the conference room may inform everyone that it is Chanukah, one does not fulfill the mitzvah with these lights, because one fulfills the mitzvah only in one’s residence.


Does Shlomo Rabinowitz fulfill the mitzvah by kindling in his hotel room? Yes, because the mitzvah of Ner Chanukah is fulfilled even in a place that is his home for only one night (Chovas Hadar, Ner Chanukah 2:9).


If people can see the lit menorah from outside, it is preferable to light in a window. If no one can see the menorah from outside, he should simply kindle the menorah on a table in his room.


Ideally, he should kindle the menorah around nightfall wherever he is. However if this is not practical, he may fulfill the mitzvah at any time that it is common to find people in the streets of the town that he is visiting. If he cannot return to his room until even later than this time, he should kindle the menorah without reciting the brachos. This is assuming he is traveling alone. If he is traveling with someone else who is Jewish, he can recite the brachos even late at night provided that both of them are awake to witness the kindling (Teshuvos V’Hanhagos 2:215).

What about Rav Mordechai, our fund raiser? How does he fulfill the mitzvah of hadlakas Ner Chanukah while he solicits tzedakah the entire evening?

I suggested that he appoint an agent (a shaliach) at the place where he is sleeping to kindle the menorah on his behalf. Alternatively, he could acquire partial ownership in the oil of his host’s menorah by paying him a token sum of money.


Where do I light menorah if I visit a friend for Chanukah dinner and I am not staying overnight?

Many people mistakenly think that one may fulfill the mitzvah by kindling the menorah at someone else’s house while visiting. I know of people who invite guests to their house for menorah kindling and dinner. The problem is that one is required to kindle Chanukah lights at one’s own house, and kindling at the friend’s house does not fulfill the mitzvah. Therefore, the guest must kindle the Chanukah lights at his own house and then leave to join the festive meal (Taz 677:2; Mishnah Berurah 677:12).


Remember the Schwartz family that is spending Shabbos Chanukah with friends on the other side of town? Must they come home to kindle on motzei Shabbos, or can they kindle at the home where they were Shabbos guests?

If one spends Shabbos at someone’s house, he may kindle the menorah there on Motzei Shabbos (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 1:391). Some poskim suggest that one remain near the menorah until it has burnt for a half-hour (see Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 1:394).

The Gemara teaches that someone who kindles Ner Shabbos and Ner Chanukah will merit to have sons who are Talmidei Chachomim (Shabbos 23b, see Rashi). This is puzzling -- since all observant Jews kindle these lights, why are there not many more Talmidei Chachomim? The Rishonim explain that this promise only applies to someone who observes the mitzvah carefully in all its details (Sod Hadlakas Ner Chanukah, authored by Rabbi Yitzchok, the son of the Raavad). So it is certainly worthwhile to thoroughly review the halachos of Chanuka lights before the wonderful days of Chanuka catch up with us.

The solutions can be to bring an electric Menorah and bless, your wife or in my case my son or to give money to somebody to participate in his Chanucha lamp. The same could be for a cruise in the same time zone.

Mitzvos and Halachos by Danny Shoemann

Danny has now finished the Mitzvos from next blogspot onwards, this will be Halachos only.

If one finds a bird roosting on her eggs or hatchlings, it is forbidden to capture her. (Compare to Mitzva 232 -
Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: " not take the mother when she is roosting on the eggs" (Devarim 22:6)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 189

It is forbidden to have anything dangerous in one's house, like an unsafe fence (or no fence) around one's roof or pool, or owning dangerous dogs. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: " not put dangerous objects in your house" (Devarim 22:8) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 190

It is forbidden to destroy fruit trees - and one who does so deserves 39 lashes by Bet Din. If a fruit tree is causing damage to other trees or nearby fields, it may be chopped down. Non-fruit bearing trees, and fruit trees that no longer produce a significant amount of fruit can be chopped down without any special reason. By Rabbinical decree it's forbidden to needlessly destroy any item, including vessels, clothes, buildings and food. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "when you besiege a city... do not destroy its trees" (Devarim 20:12) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 191

It's forbidden to live in Egypt; however one may go there temporarily for business. It's forbidden to leave the Land of Israel ever, except to learn Torah, or to get married, or to escape from enemies or to do business. To leave Eretz Yisrael to settle permanently in the Diaspora is forbidden - unless there's a serious famine in the land. Whoever lives in Eretz Yisrael - his sins are forgiven. Even walking 4 cubits in Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "You shall not go back on that way again" (Devarim 17:16) Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 192

Anybody who is Tumay (spiritually impure) is not allowed to go into the "Levite Camp" - which is the Har HaBies; where the Bet HaMikdash stood. Since nowadays we are all Tumay, (for example, having been under the same roof as a corpse,) and we cannot become ritually pure since we don't have the Para Aduma (Red Heifer) ashes, therefore this restriction applies to all of us. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "...who is impure, shall not come into the camp" (Devarim 23:11)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 193

We are commanded to never forget the evil that Amalek did for us when he ambushed us on our journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Mitzva is to never forget our hatred and animosity towards them. Applies to everybody, everywhere, always Verse: "Remember what Amalek did to you... don't forget" (Devarim 25: 17-19)
Source: The Chafetz-Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar; Prohibition 194
This ends the 77 positive and 194 negative Torah commandments that are applicable nowadays.

In this week's Parsha we learn that Yaakov said to Lavan's daughters "with all my might I worked for your father". All employees have to work to the best of their ability. A worker may not fast (besides on obligatory fast days) nor go on a starvation diet, if that will have a negative effect on his work. This includes teachers as well as any other paid employee. If one hires out one's animals, then one may not work with them at night if that will tire them out the next day. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 185:6

A boy becomes Bar Mitzva at age 13 and is then considered a full adult. It is customary to call him up to the Torah as soon as possible after his 13th birthday. After he had been called up to the Torah and said the final Bracha, his father then makes a Bracha: ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר פטרני מעונשו של זה
"Blessed are You, Hashem, our Gcd, King of the universe, Who has freed me from the punishment due this boy." Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:8

It's a Mitzva to celebrate a Bar Mitzva with a meal. If the meal is not on the boy's 13th Hebrew birthday, then the Bar Mitzva boy has to give a Torah-related sermon for it to be considered a Seudas Mitzva. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 61:8

Picking fruit or flowers that are growing in a flowerpot is forbidden on Shabbat; it's no different to plants growing in the ground. Moving a flowerpot from the floor to an elevated surface is forbidden on Shabbat, since the plant draws nourishment from the floor, and this would be similar to uprooting it, which is forbidden. Similarly, moving a flowerpot from a table or other surface to the floor would be similar to planting which is forbidden on Shabbat. The above applies to flowerpot made of any material, and irrespective of whether or not it has a hole on the bottom. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:61

The 8 days of Chanukah always start on the 25th of Kislev; the first candle being lit on the 24th in the late afternoon. This year Chanukah starts on Thursday, 2nd December 2010. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 1st Dec. A week later - (Wednesday afternoon, 8th Dec) we will light all 8 flames for the 8th day of Chanucha.
On weekdays the Chanukah lights should be lit at nightfall and should be able to burn for at least 30 minutes. Chanukah lights can already be lit from Plag HaMincha (75 Halachic minutes before nightfall). Even when lighting earlier, the Menorah has to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1, 10
There are 2 opinions regarding nightfall: Some say it refers to dusk, other say it refers to 3 stars appearing (like Motzei Shabbat). Everybody should follow their family custom.
The Chanukah Menorah has to be lit in the correct place. If the need arises, one can then move it. If the Menorah was lit too high, too low or in a location where the wind will extinguish it, and was subsequently moved, one has not fulfilled one's obligation. One needs to extinguish it and light it again, but without the Berachos. The lights on the Chanukah Menorah must be at least 3 Tefachim (24 cm. - 10") above the floor. The Chanukah Menorah must be no higher than 20 Amos (10 m. - 33 ft. ) from the floor.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:8, 13
If one is in one's hometown, one needs to go home to light the Chanukah Menorah. If one is traveling, and one's wife is lighting the Chanukah Menorah at home, then one should light without the Berachos. If possible, one should try hear the Berachos from somebody else. If one comes home past the time for lighting candles, one should light as soon as possible. As long as some other member of the household is still awake, one lights with a Bracha. If nobody else is awake anymore, one lights without a Bracha.
Bachelors and those living away from home, who don't have a spouse lighting for them at home, preferably should light for themselves with the Bracha. Alternately they can chip in with somebody else's Menorah lighting, by giving them a Peruta (a few pennies). Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:19
Originally the Chanukah Menorah was lit at the entrance closest to the street, in order to publicize the miracle. When put in a doorway with a Mezuzah, the Menorah should be placed opposite the Mezuzah so that one is surrounded by Mitzvos.If the doorway doesn't have a Mezuzah, then the Menorah goes on the right, when walking in.
Nowadays most people light indoors, preferably at a window. If this is not practical, the Menorah should be placed in a doorway.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:6-7
A Chanukah Menorah must be lit such that it could burn for the required half hour. If it didn't have enough oil, or the location was windy, then one has not fulfilled the Mitzva, and one must fix the problem and light them again. No Bracha is said the second time. If it was not a windy place, and it unexpectedly blew out, the Mitzva has been fulfilled, though the Minchag is to light it again. One cannot light one candle from another; one needs to use the Shamash or another source of fire.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1
If one uses clay lamps for the Menorah then one has to replace them every night. When using glass holders one must make sure they are clean; not oily or smoky from the previous night. Best is to use a nice metal Menorah. If one can afford it, one should buy a silver Menorah to beautify the Mitzva. The wicks on a Menorah must all be at the same level; you cannot have some higher and some lower. The Shamash should be higher. Its purpose is to provide light so that you don't use the Chanukah lights which are for "display and not for use". The wicks should be far enough away from each other that they don't join and become a torch. If using candles they mustn't be close enough to melt each other. The wicks do not have to be in a straight line; a Menorah can be shaped as a semi-circular or even a full circle.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:5, 9
For lighting Shabbat candles one may only use a combination of fuel and wicks that together produce a steady non-flickering light. For Chanukah one may use any fuel and wick combination that will burn for the required time. Preferably one should use something that provides a steady light, like our candles. Best is to use olive oil, since the Chanukah miracle happened with olive oil. Wicks should be made of cotton wool. There is no need to use new wicks every night.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:4

For lighting Shabbat candles one may only use a combination of fuel and wicks that together produce a steady non-flickering light. For Chanukah one may use any fuel and wick combination that will burn for the required time. Preferably one should use something that provides a steady light, like our candles. Best is to use olive oil, since the Chanukah miracle happened with olive oil. Wicks should be made of cotton wool. There is no need to use new wicks every night. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:4

During all 8 days (and nights) of Chanukah one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים to the Birkat Hamazon during the 2nd Bracha. If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make amends. However, if possible you should say the following during the HaRachaman's after the 4th Bracha:
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָנוּ נִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹת
כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ
בַּיָּמִים הַהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בִּימֵי מַתִּתְיָהוּ
...and then continue with the rest of the
עַל הַנִּסִּים. During every Amida of Chanukah (including Mussaf) one adds עַל הַנִּסִּים during Modim. If you forgot to add עַל הַנִּסִּים and you've already said 'ברוך אתה ה then you don't have to make amends. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 44:16, 139: 21

This year Chanukah starts on Thursday, 2nd December 2010. We will light the first flame on Wednesday afternoon, 1st Dec. Since both men and women were included in the miracle of Chanukah, they both need to light the Chanukah Menorah. At least one person per household must light. The custom is for everybody to light, including children under Bar Mitzva. However, married couples share one Chanukah Menorah that either the husband or wife lights. Even blind people should light, if they live by themselves.
Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:16

Peter Stuyvesant and the Jews condensed from his biography

Peter Stuyvesant (c. 1612 – August 1672), served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664, after which it was renamed New York. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City.

Stuyvesant's accomplishments as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant's administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal that became Broad Street, and Broadway.

Although conventionally referred to in English today as "Peter Stuyvesant", Stuyvesant's given name was actually "Pieter" or "Petrus"; "Peter" is not found in historical records. ---

In 1657 Stuyvesant, who did not tolerate full religious freedom in the colony, and especially the presence of Quakers, ordered the public torture of Robert Hodgson, a 23-year-old Quaker convert who had become an influential preacher. Stuyvesant then made an ordinance, punishable by fine and imprisonment, against anyone found guilty of harboring Quakers. That action led to a protest from the citizens of Flushing, Queens, which came to be known as the Flushing Remonstrance, considered by some a precursor to the United States Constitution's provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of religion was also tested when Peter Stuyvesant refused to allow Jews from Northern Brazil to settle permanently in New Amsterdam (without passports) and join the existing community of Jews (with passports from Amsterdam). Stuyvesant's decision was rescinded after pressure from the directors of the Dutch East India Company; as a result, Stuyvesant allowed Jewish immigrants to stay in the colony as long as their community was self-supporting, but – with the support of the company – forbade them to build a synagogue, forcing them to worship in a private house.

Nice listening or viewing the 5 parts are about 45 minutes:

Nazi Homosexuals in San Francisco expect the big one: The Bay Citizen: Jews Expect Proposed Ban Won't Stop Circumcision
By AARON GLANTZ Jewish leaders in San Francisco expect ritual circumcision will continue, despite an initiative proposed for the 2011 ballot to ban the procedure.

Inyanay Diyoma


Saudis stop Al Qaeda/Hamas not out of the love for Israel but to protect themselves:,7340,L-3990290,00.html

Now is the time to hit N. Korea:

We are fools to ask permission:,7340,L-3991155,00.html

The tooth fairy fable:,7340,L-3992202,00.html

Danny Danon of the Likud was on Huckabee this last weekend and he told everybody that every time Israel gives up territory we get met by missiles.

Pity the poor Arab gunman terrorists. I wonder if Obama will send him a get well card. A Palestinian gunmen was badly injured after an explosive device he planted east of the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis exploded. Palestinian sources reported that the man's leg was cut off as a result of the blast.

Everybody have a wonderful Shabbos, Chanucha and Chodesh Teves and keep healthy. I will be continuing as soon as possible.

Rachamim Pauli