Shabbat Parshat NITZAVIM-VAYEILECH
Candle Lighting and Havdala times - Regular and (earliest)
Further explanations and notes on Z'manim are available on the website www.ou.org/torah/tt - click on Halachic times
WORD OF THE MONTH
Since we don't announce Rosh Chodesh Tishrei (several reasons why not), we will leave the TT Mazal graphic for Elul for this issue and change it IY"H for the Rosh HaShana issue.
Even though we will not announce the molad of Tishrei this Shabbat (or any other time), it is an important molad for our calendar. Perhaps the most important of moladot. Our fixed calendar depends upon the molad of Tishrei. It will determine on which day Rosh HaShana begins. The molad of Tishrei 5767 will be next Friday night, 19h 37m 6p. In Rambam's notation, the molad is SHABBAT 1h 672p. The rule for RH is that it is fixed on the day of the molad of Tishrei. There are four different "unless" rules, but none of them apply this year. Rosh HaShana 5767 is Shabbat (and Sunday). Simple, this time.
G-d's Rosh HaShana Card to us
He writes: "My dear children - You are all standing before Me this day - all of you. Together. The great and the near great. And the not so great. Men, women, and children. All of the Jewish People. And you all will be principals in the renewal of the covenant between us. By us, I include you who are living now, those who preceded you and those who will follow you.
"But beware, My children, not to turn away from Me. Each of you and all of you collectively.
"If you do stray - and you will - and are punished and exiled because of your sins, you will be able to come back to Me - and you must. And I will help you with your T'shuva, and I will bring you back to the land I gave to your ancestors. This return might involve hard work, but it is very doable.
Return is accessible to you; take advantage of the opportunity. And do it with heart and soul.
"For you see, My children, I have given you the ability to choose between Life and Death, between Good and Evil, between Blessing and Curse. And I implore you to choose Life. (Remember, I will always be there for you - sometimes My presence will be obvious; other times, when you will have angered Me, I will hide My face. But I'll be there.
"You might not always understand what's happening, but trust Me and in Me.
"I want only good things for you. Just keep faith with Me and you will always have the Land I promised and gave to your ancestors and to you."
It doesn't say it exactly like this, but one can see G-d signing the letter or card (so to speak) with an "I love you very much, my dear children."
What a feeling to take into the Yamim Nora'im.
MITZVOT 0* 2 2
Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma respectively. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p'sukim in the parsha.
Kohen - First Aliya - 3+3+14 p'sukim - 29:11-28
Nitzavim therefore, begins on the positive, reassuring note that we are ALL standing before G-d and entering again into a covenant with Him. These opening p'sukim call our attention to the "inclusiveness" of the People of Israel. We are made up of scholars and leaders, judges and functionaries, men, women, and children, converts, wood cutters and water gatherers (Ashkenazim and S'faradim, religious and secular, Mitnagdim and Chasidim). But together they all stood to reaffirm their commitment to G-d. Jewish Unity has always been our strength, its lack, our greatest weakness.
SDT: Rav Aharon of Karlin pointed out that ATEM is made of the letters of the word EMET, truth. This, he said, is the only way to achieve LIFNEI HASHEM, to stand before G-d.
SDT: The Alshich points out that the Torah describes the People as "all of you, before G-d", and then proceeds to delineate different types of Jews. Before G-d, we ARE all the same. Whatever differences might exist pale into insignificance in comparison with the fact that we are all G-d's creations. Differences become important from our perspective. We view some people as more valuable than others. But we really have no way to know how G-d views us. In His eyes we are all standing erect this day...
And there is more. The second three-pasuk set proclaims that it is not just the entire People of Israel who were alive at the time, who are making this covenant with G-d, it is also our ancestors to whom G-d made His special promises, and to the generations of Jews in the past AND the future, whose spirit (souls) were present at this covenant.
Perhaps this is the meaning of the prophecy to Avraham Avinu that his descendants will be as countless as the stars of the heavens. Take the millions of Jews alive today, add the millions who have preceded us, add the - how many more? - future generations, and we can truly be called "without number". Nations that have come to an end, can be numbered. An eternal people cannot ever be counted.
As he has done several times before, Moshe Rabeinu presents both sides of the covenant with G-d before the People: You have been in Egypt and you are aware of their abominable practices and those of the other nations which you have encountered. Perhaps there is a rebellious individual among you who will turn from G-d and embrace another faith.
SDT: The phrase describing what we would today refer to as a "rotten apple" is "Shoresh Poreh Rosh V'laana", literally a poisonous root of gall and wormwood. The initial letters of this phrase rearrange to spell SHOFAR, the antidote to this negative facet of Jewish life. The Shofar must awaken the one who stray and start him on the road of T'shuva.
A person who turns to another religion will be severely punished, even if he thinks otherwise. These p'sukim are a miniature version of the Tochacha from last week's reading.
The portion concludes with the statement that there are mysteries of this world that are G-d's and there are revealed truths that belong to us and our children. Our challenge is to remain faithful to the Torah.
Rashi interprets this pasuk in the narrow context of the punishments presented in the previous p'sukim. However, this pasuk also has wide applications. In all areas of human knowledge - science, math, history... - there are mysteries and there are revealed truths. But remember, today's mysteries can be revealed tomorrow, next year... or never.
And/or we can apply the concept of the pasuk to things that happen in this world that we don't understand. Whether it is the classic, "TZADIK V'RA LO...", that righteous people some- times have a very hard life, and wicked people seem to enjoy their lives, or coping with the death of a child, or 9-11 questions, and a myriad of things that strike us as unfair, things that prompt us to "question G-d" - for all of the above, this pasuk succinctly tells us that there are mysteries in this world that are understood by G-d only, and that which He chooses to reveal to us, become ours to understand. This concept does not "answer" nagging questions, but it must become part of our belief system, because it is a truth that can help us cope, and understand that we are not capable of under- standing everything. People resist this notion, but it is no less true because of that.
Levi - Second Aliya - 6 p'sukim - 30:1-6
The wayward Jew turning back towards HaShem and the Torah, and the exiled Jew to a distant land coming back to Israel are presented simultaneously. This represents the dual nature of T'shuva. What a wonderful opportunity beckons each Jew - and the Jewish People as a whole - in being given a second chance to live a true Torah life.
The mixing of Return in a spiritual sense and the physical return to Eretz Yisrael is more than a play on words. Torah and Eretz Yisrael were the two gifts offered by G-d to the Jewish people. They are the reasons for our existence. When we turned our back on G-d, we were exiled from the Land. Therefore, Return is on both levels.
MitzvaWatch: Rambam and Sefer HaChinuch (and others?) do not count T'SHUVA per se among the 613 mitzvot. Sefer HaCharedim, the SMa"K, and others do count T'SHUVA as one of TARYAG.
One can say that Rambam counts only specific, distinct mitzvot. A command which is all-inclusive, such as "Keep My mitzvot", "Be holy", "Be straight- forward with G-d", is not numbered on its own, because it is really part of all other mitzvot. T'shuva can be viewed the same way. Part of the mitzva to Recite the Sh'ma is that if one does not, or does it without kavana, then he must repent his ways and say the Shma correctly. Part of the prohibition of eating non-kosher is that if one does, then he must repent. More than T'shuva being its own mitzva, it is an add-on to all the others.
Or, we can look at T’shuva as a gift from G-d. He doesn’t HAVE to command it. He just has to let it be possible. And we should jump at the opportunity. The Torah does not have to command us to breathe. We do it because it is helpful to living. So is T’shuva. The Torah doesn’t have to tell us to repent, just how to do it. On the other hand, there is one aspect of T'shuva that IS counted by Rambam as a mitzva among the 613 - Vidui, verbal confession. This is a specific aspect of T'shuva that DOES "qualify" for the Rambam's count. And yet, as mentioned earlier, some mitzva-counters DO count T'shuva among the 613. Just know that whether T'shuva is numbered among the 613 or not, it is an extremely important mitzva, always applicable - but especially at this time of year.
The last pasuk of the portion contains one of several ELULs, in the form of Rashei Teivot, initial letters. And G-d will circumcise ET L'VAVCHA V'ET L'VAV zar'echa, your heart and the heart of your children. Baal HaTurim actually says that this is why we say Slichot during Elul.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 4+4 p'sukim - 30:7-14
[S>30:11 (4)] But how can we hope to keep our part of the agreement? Is not the Torah so exalted and remote that a mere mortal has no chance of attaining spiritual heights? The answer is eloquently stated in the famous words of the Torah - For this mitzva is not in the heavens nor is it across the ocean. It is so very close and attainable that every Jew can feel confident in taking up its challenges. It is up to us to make the commitment, feel it in our hearts, and ACT upon it.
R'VI'I - Fourth Aliya - 6+3+3 p'sukim - 30:15-31:6
[S>30:15 (6)] The concept of Free Will is beautifully expressed in the concluding portion of Nitzavim. It marks the difference between human beings and all other creations. The sun and the moon "fulfill" G-d's commands without conscious decisions. A bee doesn't think things out and decide to pollinate a flower. Nor does a lion attacking a weak zebra evaluate the morality of his act. Only humans have the choice to do good or evil. G-d recommends and pleads with us to choose Life and Good, but He leaves the choice to us. That is why we are accountable for our actions; and that is why we stand before G-d in judgment on Rosh HaShana - animalized not. The choice is offered, but not only does G-d "command" us to choose Life, He warns us again of the devastating results of the wrong choice. Heavens and Earth are called upon to witness this most significant fact of human existence. It is the Land of Israel that is the "prize" for choosing wisely, as G-d had promised Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. G-d reconfirms His covenant and promises to us.
We have Free Will. We can be whatever kind of people we choose to be. We have His recommendation and encouragement to choose Life over Death, Good over Evil. Our proper choices will earn us long life and a firm hold on the Land that He promised our ancestors.
[P>31:1 (6)] Moshe Rabeinu concludes his words to the People and tells them that at his age of 120 years, he is no longer able to lead them.
And that G-d has told Moshe that he will not be crossing the Jordan River, so his journey is truly over. He tells them that G-d will be with them, destroy the nations that they will encounter in Eretz Yisrael, and that Yehoshua will be the one to lead them. Moshe reminds the People of the victories they have had, and tells them to be strong and courageous. G-d won't abandon them.
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 3+4 p'sukim - 31:7-13
When Moshe finished writing the Torah, he gave it over to the Kohanim, "the carriers of the Ark".
Shishi - Sixth Aliya - 6 p'sukim - 31:14-19
G-d tells Moshe that after his death, the people will rebel against Him, stray from the proper path, and embrace other gods. G-d announces that He will show His anger by "hiding His Face" from them. This is a reference to the well-known "hester panim" which manifests itself as G-d "working behind the scenes" only, in hidden, subtle ways.
This prophecy by no means “obligates” that generation, or any generation, to turn to idolatry. It is possible for the prophecy never to come true. And this would not impugn the truth of Torah or Moshe’s status as a prophet. We always have the challenge not to turn away from G-d, and the ability to remain faithful to Him.
Next is the command to write "The Song" (namely the whole Torah), to teach it to the people, so that it should serve as a testament among the People of Israel. This is the last mitzva of the Torah [613, A18 31:19], to write a Sefer Torah.
MitzvaWatch: Our Sages include in this mitzva the significance of acquiring Sifrei Kodesh (holy books) from which to learn. Since the Torah itself specifies that the "purpose" of writing a Torah scroll is to learn and teach from it, then writing, buying, acquiring all learning texts would be in the spirit of this mitzva.
The RO"Sh (Rabeinu Asher) takes this idea one significant step further - he says that since in our day, the Torah scroll has been relegated to the Aron Kodesh in shul and is used for public reading, but not as a teaching text - the MAIN fulfillment of this mitzva "to write a Sefer Torah" is the building of a personal Torah library (that will be used). Buy Torah texts from which to learn and teach. He adds that it is also praiseworthy if one is privileged to write a Sefer Torah as well. This is an unusual turn-about, which emphasizes the importance of buying sforim - AND USING THEM.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 11 p'sukim - 31:-20-30
Haftara - 23 p'sukim - Yeshayahu 61:10-63:9
THE JERUSALEM INSTITUTE OF JEWISH LAW - Rabbi Emanuel Quint, Dean
Most of these lessons have focused on various aspects of what is called substantive law, that is, what is the law in this particular field. I thought that I would embark on some lessons on what is know in law as procedural law, that is what is the procedure in which rights are enforced in Beth Din. Some of these matters have been included in passing in prior lessons, but I think it would be worthwhile to familiarize the readers with the procedure in enforcing the rights of the parties in getting to an adjudication of rights. Also the readership of Torah Tidbits have expanded tremendously the last few years.
I thought we can begin with a historical overview of the court system as envisioned in the Torah, both Oral and Written. The judicial system as set up in the Torah was three tiered.
We shall begin with the Great Sanhedrin. In the first chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin, the Mishnayot describe the composition and jurisdiction of the highest Jewish court, known as the Great Sanhedrin. The court’s jurisdiction is broad and varied, serving numerous significant functions in the maintenance of the nation. There is general agreement that the number of individuals comprising the Great Sanhedrin is 71. However, there is a difference of opinion as to whether all 71 are judges or whether only 70 serve as judges and the 71st is the court’s presiding officer.
These differing views appear in a Mishnaic text, in which the proponents of both view- points derive their views from an analysis of G-d’s command to Moshe to create a Great Sanhedrin “Gather unto Me seventy men” (Bamidbar 11:16). The opinion that all 71 are judges holds that Moshe was also to be included in the Great Sanhedrin, making a total of 71 judges. The other opinion holds that the 70 were to be appointed but that Moshe was not to be counted as a judge; rather he was to be considered a presiding officer. One of the commentaries that explains the latter view maintains that there are only 70 judges in total, with no presiding officer over them. The prevailing view is that the Great Sanhedrin is comprised of 71 judges and all of them are members of the court. The court sits in a semi-circle so that each judge can see the other judges.
The Great Sanhedrin has a permanent meeting place in the city of Jerusalem, the meeting site is known as the Chamber of the Hewn Stone. In its construction, half of the Chamber was situated on holy ground in the Holy Temple, and half was located on unconsecrated ground. Thus the court fulfilled the commandment of the Torah to sit in the place where the Lord would choose, close to the altar and the Divine presence, the source of Justice. In addition, Yaakov’s blessing to Yehuda that a lawgiver would not depart from Yehuda was fulfilled by the chamber’s location in the geographic area belonging to the tribe of Yehuda. The exact area in the Chamber where the court sits is in the unconsecrated section, since only kings descended from the House of David are authorized to sit in the consecrated part. On Shabbat and Holy Days when no trials are permitted to be held, the Great Sanhedrin does not meet in the Chamber of Hewn Stone; otherwise it might appear that they were sitting in judgment. On those days the Great Sanhedrin meets in the study hall on the Temple Mount. The importance of the place where the Great Sanhedrin meets is that if the Great Sanhedrin does not meet in the Chamber of Hewn Stone, there may not be capital punishment meted out by any court in the judicial system. As a result, the Great Sanhedrin can by this procedural device, vary the imposition of such sentences. Thus in approximately 30 C.E., forty years before the destruction of the Second Holy Temple, the Great Sanhedrin left the Chamber of Hewn Stone and began to meet at Hanuth. The reason for this move was the judges of the Great Sanhedrin saw that the lawlessness attendant upon the extreme Roman oppression was both inevitable and prevelant, they did not wish to permit their courts to become instruments of capital punishment. Accordingly, they decided “Rather let us be exiled from place to place than pronounce them guilty of capital offenses.” After the Great Sanhedrin left the Chamber of Hewn Stone, it wandered to ten different places of banishment, the last being Tiberias, from which, according to Rabbi Yochanan, they are destined to be redeemed. As described in the Mishna, the court of 71 judges has a broad and varied jurisdictional base. Its jurisdiction may be conveniently divided into three general functional categories: judicial functions; nonjudicial functions; and administrative functions. In all three categories, the Great Sanhedrin deals with the most important and difficult cases. In the Mishna, the judicial functions of the great Sanhedrin are discussed first, beginning with the most serious of crimes, major transgressions by groups or individuals. The first such case mentioned in the Mishna is the case of a tribe which has sinned.
The Talmud, in discussing the Mishna, tries to ascertain the specific violation of which the tribe is accused. After eliminating a number of possible transgressions, the Talmud concludes that the Mishna must be referring to a trial where a majority of the tribe is accused of idolatry, a capital offense. This sin of idolatry striking at the very essence and existence of the Jewish people, is so serious a national matter when it involves such a substantial group that it must be deal with by the highest court. The jurisdiction of the Great Sanhedrin in this area is an extension of the jurisdiction that court has over a city which is accused of being guilty of idolatry. If a majority of a city is accused of idolatry their trial is before the Great Sanhedrin, because of the seriousness of the breach and its possible repercussions to the nation. The Talmud finds support for these views based on Torah verses. Based on the foregoing it can be said that perhaps the most serious matter over which the Great Sanhedrin has jurisdiction is over a tribe or city accused of being guilty of idolatry.
IYH next lesson continues the jurisdiction of the Great Sanhedrin.
1. The Divine Wisdom created for us a halakha within which the earning and spending of money could become not merely moral but holy.
THEFT: Not to steal money or possessions, to have courts to judge and punish thieves; to consistently see that one has true weights and measures; not to do injustice with weights and measures; not even to possess defective weights and measures; not to encroach on another's property [under- stood to include competition that deprives another of his livelihood]; not to steal humans and sell them (Rambam, Torah, introduction to Hilkhot Geneiva)'.
ROBBERY: Not to forcefully take another's property, not even a debt owed to one; not to oppress by denying a debt or to abuse funds entrusted to us; not to withhold wages; not to badger and press people legally to sell some- thing which they do no wish to sell; not to covet; to return a lost article [which applies also to the protection from loss due to conniving of others] (Rambam, introduction to Hilkhot Gezeila).
ONA'AH: Price fraud through over- charging; oppressing workers through withholding wages and benefits; not to prevent a worker eating of the produce he is working with but forbidding gluttony and transfer of the benefit [this seems relevant also to benefits provided by modern labor relations]; not to muzzle animals to prevent them eating.
SHOMRIM - BAILIES: This refers to a person's degree of responsibility for property entrusted to them whether as agents, craftsmen, executive officers and certain classes of employees; for imposing responsibility for damages to property or causing financial loss. It is essential to pay for bodily damage, however, that is insufficient for T'shuva. For that we are required in addition to appease the injured person.
It should be noted that one is equally obligated to prevent damage caused by his body or property, but also to the removal of dangerous objects even from the public thoroughfare.
BORROWING & LENDING: The obligation to make interest free loans [this includes rich people suffering from temporary illiquidity]; not to oppress by demanding repayment from one who cannot repay; not secure debts through coercion; to return an essential article taken as security whenever the poor require it; not to demand a lien from a widow, irrespective of whether she be rich or poor; not to insist as security, tools and equipment required for sustenance; not lend money at interest or to serve an agent or a scribe or a witness for such transactions (Rambam introduction to Hilkhot Malveh v'Loveh).
LAWS OF BUYING AND SELLING: Not to defraud the buyer or the seller by false advertising or by non-disclosure of defects, nor by creating the illusion that the goods or services confer status or any other desired but irrelevant effects.
2. "AND YOU SHALL DO THAT WHICH IS RIGHT AND GOOD IN THE EYES OF G-D" (D'varim 6:18-19).
"Reuven has been operating a liquor store for many years, now Shimon, who is wealthy and has no dependents, wishes to open a similar firm. By law, Shimon cannot be prevented. However, according to the Bach (Teshuvot sec 12) the court can force Shimon to refrain from opening, LIFNIM MI SHURAT HADIN, since to act otherwise is an act of Sodom. Even were it not so, the court should at least use verbal pressure not to permit the store" (Tsemach Tzedek, Choshen Mishpat 418:11).
"If the buyer has not yet drawn the merchandise into his possession, either party can withdraw. Nevertheless the person who retracts at this point is subject to the public imprecation of 'He who punished'" (Choshen Mishpat 198:1, 204:1).
"One has a benefit and the other suffers no loss": "One who dwells without permission in a house that is not normally for hire and now the owner tells him to leave, does not have to pay rent, since the owner suffered no loss" (Choshen Mishpat 367:6).
Upon entering the Land, the Tribes made 10 enactments, all based on this principle. For example, everybody, irrespective of tribe, may catch fish in the Kinneret [even though it belonged to the tribe of Naftali] provided they only use a line and hook, ensuring that there is no loss; it is permissible for anyone to graze their sheep in a privately owned forest [without permission from the owner or payment to him] provided the grazing does not harm the trees. (Rambam, Nizkei Mamon 5).
"When one sells ground or a house or a store, then if the adjoining neighbor wishes to buy it, he has precedence before all people. It is G-d's desire that people do to each other that which is good and honest and there is nothing more honest or correct than this since the seller suffers no loss by giving preference to his neighbor" (Aruch Hashulchan, Chosen Mishpat 175:1).
"'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Vayikra 17:18) is a major principle in Torah. One who loves his neighbor will not steal his money, will no commit adultery with his wife, will not oppress him financially, will not encroach on his livelihood and will not harm him in any way" (Sefer HaChinuch, mitzva 243). "These are the generations of man' is a greater mitzva, for G-d made man in His Image" (Sifra). When we oppress, defraud, or harm others, we are acting against Him, in whose Image man was created.
"One who wishes to sensitize himself spiritually, will break his yetzer for money and will extend his hands gracefully to others. Everything he does for their welfare he will do with pleasure and grace" (Yoreh De'ah 248:8).
It is of this merger of these two ways that Maimonides writes in his will; "Nothing can protect one like the helmet of TRUTH and the shield of JUSTICE".
MISC section - contents:
 From the virtual desk of the OU VEBBE REBBE
A: Much of the issue of the timing of the minhag to recite Selichot in the days before Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur is based on mystical considerations. These can be found in the Gemara and in kabalistic writings, which are not within our area of expertise. However, we can discuss the basic ideas as filtered through the poskim.
Different times of the day have different characteristics, making them more or less appropriate for certain types of religious activity. The first part of the night possesses the characteristic of DIN (strict judgment). The second part of the night is an EIT RATZON (a time when requests are more readily accepted). Thus, the latter is the time when Selichot, which are specially formulated prayers to elicit mercy from Hashem, are most appropriate. Several of the piyutim (liturgical pieces) even refer to the timing as late at night.
Several classical sources (including Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 581:1) talk of Selichot at ASHMORET HABO- KER, the few hours leading up to ALOT HASHACHAR, which itself is around 72 minutes before sunrise. At this time, Hashem is hovering specifically over our world (Magen Avraham 581:1, based on Avoda Zara 3b), making it an EIT RATZON. There are also sources that indicate that CHATZOT (astronomical midnight) is a special EIT RATZON (see Yechave Da’at I, 46). Therefore, the optimal times to say Selichot are either at CHATZOT or in the pre-dawn hours. Rav M. Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, OC II 105) points out that when people were “early to bed and to rise,” the latter was more convenient and common, whereas nowadays it is often easier at CHATZOT. One should not infer a clear preference between these times. Only on the first night (for Ashkenazim), on Motza'ei Shabbat, there may be a preference to say Selichot at CHATZOT, when more of Shabbat’s impact remains (see Piskei Teshuvot 581:(15).
The main objection is to saying Selichot at night before CHATZOT, a time of DIN. Selichot, and especially the Yud Gimmel Midot (13 Divine Attributes), which is their most basic component, request mercy in a manner that incites the MIDAT HADIN. Therefore, kabalistic sources say that it is spiritually dangerous to recite them at that time (Magen Avraham 565:5; Birkei Yosef, OC 581:1). One can identify Rav Feinstein with the camp that does not put a strong emphasis on kabalistic sources in making halachic decisions. He rules (Igrot Moshe, ibid.) that even though much positive effect is missing at Selichot in the early night, it is better to recite them then, lacking a feasible alternative, than to deprive the congregation of their inspiration in preparing for the YAMIM NORA'IM. If one does so, he prefers reciting Selichot at a change of ASHMOROT, one of which is approximately 2 hours before CHATZOT. However, others say it is better to avoid the strongly detrimental situation that the kabalists describe even when there is no easy alternative (Yechave Da’at, ibid.). Some suggest that early night in America is not so bad because it is after CHATZOT in Israel. However, it seems that most authorities relate DIN and EIT RATZON to each place according to its astronomical situation (see ibid.).
The more “pareve” approach is to say the Selichot in the morning (or even before Mincha - ibid.) While it is not especially an EIT RATZON, it is not a time of DIN either and the time of the year is itself an EIT RATZON (see Igrot Moshe’s (ibid.) reaction to the questioner’s thesis). The general approach is that it is worthwhile to sacrifice a modest amount of quality and quantity of learning to enable one to say Selichot (Sha’arei Tehsuva 581:1). However, one has to make the difficult evaluation of whether he is capable of fulfilling his daily responsibilities while dedicating time to reciting Selichot at the right time.
Ask the Rabbi Q&A is part of Hemdat Yamim, the weekly parsha sheet published by Eretz Hemdah. You can read this section or the entire Hemdat Yamim at www.ou.org or www.eretzhemdah.org. And/or you can receive Hemdat Yamim by email weekly, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the message: Subscribe/English (for the English version) or Subscribe/Hebrew (for the hebrew version). Please leave the subject blank. Ask the Vebbe Rebbe is partially funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel
 Candle by Day
 CHIZUK and IDUD (for Olim & not-yet-Olim respectively)
Rabbi Yehoshua further adds that the first verse relates not only to a return to God, but also to a return to Eretz Israel out of desperation and suffering in the lands of the dispersion. The last verse relates to a return to Eretz Israel out of a love and longing for the Holy Land.
In our time, we have seen both expressions of Aliya; those who have returned to Eretz Israel because of oppression, and those who have returned out of an inner love of the Land.
Rabbi Yaakov Zev, Jerusalem
TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union's 'Torah Insights', a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a
 A Touch of Wisdom, A Touch of Wit
Each one tried to show how he had lofty thoughts that were rooted in the kabbala, and yet R' Levi Yitzchak was not satisfied.
Finally, one answered, "Rebbe, I'm not a learned man. I have four daughters who are all of marriageable age. When I blow the shofar, I think: 'Lord of the universe! I have done whatever You wanted, and have obeyed all Your commandments. Now, please do what I want, and help me find husbands for my daughters."
R' Levi Yitzchak was overjoyed, and said, "Your thoughts are true ones. You will blow the shofar for me this Rosh Hashana."
Shmuel Himelstein has written a wonderful series for ArtScroll: Words of Wisdom, Words of Wit; A Touch of Wisdom, A Touch of Wit; and "Wisdom and Wit" — available at your local Jewish bookstore (or should be).
 Parsha Points to Ponder - NITZAVIM-VAYEILECH
2) Why does the Torah mention the word V'SHAV - referring to our return to Israel - twice in the same verse (30:3), implying that there will be two returns at the time of the redemption?
3) Why was Sukkot after the sh'mita year chosen as the time for the mitzva of Hakhel when all the Jews would gather to hear the king read from the Torah? (See 31:10)
THESE ARE THE ANSWERS
1) The Chatam Sofer explains that while a person is in the presence of their Rebbi, the growth of the student is stunted. Thus, for example, we find that G-D's presence did not rest on Yitzchak until after Avraham's death and Yaakov did not encounter G-D directly until after leaving Yitzchak's presence. As long as Moshe was functioning as the teacher of the Jewish people, as he was at Har Sinai, his presence prevented the Jews from growing to be right in front of G-D. However, now, at the time of his death, Moshe was moving to the side and the people could emerge and achieve full growth. Hence, his declaration that they now stand in front of G-D.
2) The Meshech Chochma teaches that there will, in fact, be two different types of returning to the Land of Israel in the time of the redemption. First, people who are fleeing the exile will return. These are people who want to return either because they are being persecuted or they simply feel like strangers in foreign lands. They come because they no longer want to be in exile and G-D has compassion, as the verse relates and brings them back to Israel. Then, at some point, there will be a second returning of those who became comfortable in the lands of exile and had no real desire to return to Israel. G-D will bring those people back as well, regardless of their lack of desire or need for it.
3) The Kli Yakar answers that the essence of the mitzva of Hakhel was the unity of the Jewish people, and Sukkos right after sh'mita was the best time for a mitzva of unity. Why so? During the year of sh'mita, the most impoverished person and the wealthiest person were on equal footing. In addition, all loans were forgiven. All of this led to a general feeling of peace among the people. Sukkos adds to this feeling even more since we all leave our permanent dwellings for temporary ones. Thus, Sukkos after a year of generating this feeling of equality which led to unity, was! the best time for this mitzva of unity.
Parsha Points to Ponder is prepared by Rabbi Dov Lipman, who teaches at Reishit Yerushalayim, Tiferet, and Machon Maayan in Beit Shemesh and RBS and is the author of "DISCOVER: Answers for Teenagers (and adults) to Questions about the Jewish Faith", soon to be re-published by Feldheim email@example.com
 Portion for the Portion by Rakel Berenbaum - FEEDback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many commentators have been perplexed by the wording at the end of verse 10. It says "from the woodcutter to the water drawer". Usually when it says "from...to", the examples that are brought are from opposite extremes. We would have expected here to have examples from the highest person in society to the lowest person in society, but that doesn't seem to be the case in our verse. Both a woodcutter and a water drawer are at the lower end of society.
Harav Shmuel Avidor in his book Likrat Shabbat brings an interesting explanation on this question. If we look carefully at the two types of people mentioned, we will see that their actions are very different. The tree cutter destroys living trees by chopping them down. He destroys the view and nature by uprooting them. He uses an ax, a tool of destruction to accomplish his job. Alongside the benefits of his actions are many detriments.
The water drawer on the other hand, brings up the water from the depths where we wouldn't have been able to benefit from it at all. The water that he brings up brings life to people as well as animals and plants.
If we look deeper at how these two people actually carry out their specific tasks we will also find a difference. A woodcutter has to distance himself from the tree in order to swing the ax. The further he is able to lean his body backwards away from the tree, the stronger his blow will be on the tree. Not so with the water drawer. When he wants to draw water he has to get closer to the water and bends in towards the well. The more water he wants to bring up the more he must bend and lower himself.
Now we can understand better why the Torah brought these two laborers as an example. The woodcutters symbolize the lowest elements of society that only know how to destroy the world around them. The water drawers, on the other hand, symbolize all the creative people who try to save the world and others around them. Both types of people as well as all the other types in between stand before Hashem on Rosh Ha-shana and must give a reckoning of their actions with the hope that Hashem will forgive all and write them in the Book of Life for a good year.
Cauliflower (tree) Salad
Shred lettuce in bowl, break cauliflower into small pieces. Thaw peas and drain, place on top of lettuce and cauliflower. Sprinkle package of dry salad dressing mix all over the mixture. Seal by spreading mayonnaise over top. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours. Toss before serving.
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My Grandsons and their War Effort
 Divrei Menachem
It is the last day of Moshe's life when he makes this statement. It is as if he is conveying to us in one final breath the summation of all that he has taught us up to this point. It is clear from the conciseness of the message (and the following text) that no-one is excluded from this existential state. The loftiest of people share the same destiny as the lowliest in the social strata.
The Ohr HaChayim suggests that by including every member of Bnei Yisrael under the banner of His Covenant and by indicating later that the "revealed [sins] are for us and our children forever" (D'varim 29:28), Hashem is signifying that we are all responsible for each other to maintain the high standards demanded from us as Jews.
Moshe mentioned the people by categories as if to say that each of us within our own particular domain has the power to affect others. While our rabbis may sway over large congregations, the rank and file can influence family, friends and co-workers - each within his or her power to do so. And as we consider the state-of-the-nation today, this unquestionably presents us with an incredible challenge.
Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff
Towards Better Torah reading and Davening
SHEYIBANEH BEIT HAMIKDASH...
Yom Kippur is on the Horizon - a Story 
It was very early morning and it was just getting light. "Meir, come! They're waiting for you at the Lishkat Tela'ei Korban." Located in the southwest corner of the Beit Hamokeid, north of the Azara (Midot 1:6), Lishkat Tela'ei Korban was a small stable where at least six lambs destined for sacrifice were always kept. The Kohanim checked these animals daily to ascertain that they remained physically perfect and that they did not somehow acquire any disqualifying Mumim, blemishes. When Meir and his escort entered the Lishkat Tela'ei Korban, they saw several young white-clad Kohanim inspecting one lamb in particular. Meir smiled as he recalled the Mishna, "…they gave the [lamb that was to be] the Tamid to drink from a cup of gold. Although it [the lamb] had been inspected in the evening of the day before, they inspect it again by the light of torches" (Tamid 3:4). How extraordinary! In this era of laser beams, cell phones, computers and whatnot, they still inspected the sacrificial lambs by the light of torches! And there, in the flickering light, a Kohein offered the lamb water in a golden cup! As the lamb was drinking, Dovid Yehuda, the Segan, dispatched a young Kohein to the night watchmen's command post "to see if the time for slaughtering [the Tamid] has come." After a few moments, a cry reverberated through the silent Azara. It was the watchman. "Barkai! Barkai! The whole of the eastern sky is lit up!" Noting approvingly the brightening glow in the east, the Segan cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted back, "Has the light reached Chevron?" "Y-e-s-s-s-s" was the distant reply. (Meir chuckled. Just a couple of days ago, his wife Yehudit had put him in his place about that very subject. She had asked him why they "Dafka" mentioned Chevron. He had patiently explained to her that they mentioned Chevron as a means of invoking the Zechuyot, the merits, of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya'akov who were buried in Chevron. "Indeed?" Yehudit had retorted, "Didn't the Imahot, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah have Zechuyot as well?" Shouldn't their Zechuyot be invoked as well?") Thoroughly inspected and found to be blemish-free, a young Kohein led the lamb to the Beit Hamitbachayim, the place of slaughter north of the Mizbei'ach.
After the Levitical choir finished singing Shir Shel Yom, the Segan and Meir ambled over to the Lishkat Hagazit, the seat of the Sanhedrin. Meir: "How is the Kohein Gadol doing?" Segan: "No change." Meir: "Dovid Yehuda, as Segan, you must start thinking about the Avoda of Yom Kippur. You must prepare just in case the Kohein Gadol IS incapacitated," Segan: "Meir old friend, I've been thinking of nothing else. Even contemplating the responsibility of representing Am Yisrael before HaKadosh Baruch Hu on Yom Kippur is overwhelming." Meir: "I'm sure. Come to my office. It's less hectic there and we'll review the Avoda together."
They sat down and Meir pulled out a dog-eared copy of the "Order of the Avoda of the Kohein Gadol on Yom Kippur" He turned to "The Avoda" and glanced at it. "Beit Avtinas will teach you how to enter the Kodesh Hakodashim and offer Ketoret. It's difficult but I don't see any real problem there." The Segan was quiet. Meir let his mind roam and he recalled a heart-warming incident that happened three or four years earlier. Once while in the Azara, he saw a Ba'al Hakorban slaughter an Olah incorrectly. Sacrifice invalidated, the Ba'al Hakorban was visibly devastated. Then suddenly a kindly Oleh Regel standing next to him who had not yet slaughtered his own sacrificial animal, came over and asked him if he would like to become his partner; they would offer up his Olah together, in partnership. The Ba'al Hakorban jubilantly agreed and the two men performed Semicha on the head of the sacrificial animal, first one and then the other, both saying words of praise. The kindness of that Oleh Regel had brought tears to Meir's eyes. Meir turned to the Segan, "Dovid Yehuda, tell me the truth. When is the last time YOU slaughtered a sacrificial animal?" "It's been a while", the Segan confessed. The Segan, busy man that he was, never got around to attending the mandatory refresher courses for Kohanim that he himself had instituted. "OK. We're calling in Naftali to give you a crash course in Shechita. Naftali teaches Shechita in Avoda 101." When Naftali finally arrived, he did not waste time. "No philosophizing now! We're talking 'Tachlis', practicalities. If you serve in place of the Kohein Gadol, you'll have to slaughter all Korbanot ordained for Yom Kippur. The knives used for slaughter, must be extremely sharp, smooth and without notches. I will be responsible for them. To be valid, the Shocheit - the slaughter - YOU - must cut through both the animal's windpipe and gullet. The Sages have condensed Hilchot Shechita into five classifications. If you, while slaughtering, make any of the following errors you invalidate the Shechita."
Naftali continued. "Shehiya (delay or pause). You may not pause or delay in the act of slaughtering. You must keep the knife in continuous motion forward and backward until the windpipe and gullet are completely cut through. Derasa (pressing the knife). You must gently draw the knife horizon- tally across the neck of the sacrificial animal. Do not press down! Chalada (passing the knife under cover). Your knife must be drawn over the throat. Every part of the knife must be visible at all times. Hagrama (cutting in a slanting direction). The knife may only be drawn across the area between the large ring in the windpipe to the upper lobe of the lungs when they are inflated. Slaughtering above or below these limits invalidates the slaughter. Ikur (uprooting or tearing loose). If either the windpipe or the gullet is removed or torn from its regular position during the Shechita, the slaughter is invalid. Hey! Are you with me?" The Segan coughed and rolled his eyes heavenward. Not noticing, Naftali went on, "Normally the Shocheit must examine his knife again after slaughtering. If he found a disqualifying notch on his knife, the Shechita was invalid. In addition, the Shocheit must examine the throat of the animal and ascertain that the windpipe and gullet were indeed cut through completely. And of course, the innards and especially the lungs must be thoroughly checked for disqualifying flaws. However, you do not have to worry about that. I will be doing it for you." <tbc>
Catriel's book in progress: The Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrim’s Perspective; A Guided Tour through the Temple and the Divine Service
Last issue’s (KI TAVO) TTriddles:
NachKwestion of the Week
This week's TTriddles:
Israel Center Miscellany
Help young couples (evacuees and children of evacuees) from Gush Katif and N. Shomron get ready for the arrival of their newborn babies - Tzedaka - Matan B’Seter - The money collected will be used to buy carriages, cribs, layettes...Make checks out to the Israel Center. Write on the envelope: Gush Katif - Baby Fund, Also collecting good second-hand baby items, For more info. call Sara 0505-444-397
Chesed Fund: As Rosh HaShana approaches, help us help families in need to celebrate the High Holidays. Your contributions are greatly appreciated by those in need who are unable to support themselves and their families due to illness. Please send contributions to: ‘Chesed Fund’, c/o Menachem Persoff, Israel Center, P.O. Box 37015 Jerusalem 91370 Make checks out to: “Chesed Fund”
NESTO Native English-Speaking Teen Olim
Jr. NESTO is for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders,
Travel Desk: 566-7787 ext. 261
And to help you - whether you live in Israel or abroad -make hotel reservations throughout Israel (thru Efrat Tours - www.efratour.co.il).
At your service SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY
Call Naomi at the Israel Center Travel Desk, 566-7787 ext. 261; fax: 566-0156 • email@example.com - *if you call outside Travel Desk hours, or if we miss your call for any reason, please leave a message and we will return your call.
LUNCH? When a tiyul says “bring your own lunch”, you can order one instead from the Israel Center Cafe. When you make your reservation for the tiyul, request a box lunch, or call the CAFE (ext. 257) up to the day before the TIYUL. 18? will get you a sandwich (your choice), a refreshing drink (regular or diet) and a dessert. Your lunch will be ready for you when you board the bus.
BOOKED? When a tiyul is listed as BOOKED - you can call to be wait-listed; if you call, you will be called back if there is a cancellation, if we add a bus, or when we fix a new date for the tiyul.
CANCELLATION POLICIES: We reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee in case of last-minute cancellations. Also... Price of tiyul is based on a minimum number of participants.
STUDENTS FROM ABROAD: Parents visiting you this year? If so, speak to us! (566-7787 ext. 261) to see if we have any tiyulim or Shabbatonim (call Ita Rochel ext. 204) that they might be interested in.
KASHRUT POLICY: Food for Israel Center In-House programs is supervised by OU-in-Israel-Mehadrin. Israel Center sponsored trips and programs are Mehadrin. Hotels, restaurants, and tiyulim advertised by outside parties are not necessarily Mehadrin and are not endorsed by the OU or the Israel Center.
Calls from abroad: Due to time differences, we recommend that people from abroad fax 972-2-5660156 for attention of Travel Desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include email or fax number for reply, in addition to phone number.
The Next Israel Center In-House Shabbaton - SHABBAT SHUVA Sept. 29,30 - Shiurim by: Rabbi Eddie Abramson, Rabbi Shimon Altshul, Rabbi Sholom Gold who will deliver the Shabbat Shuva Drasha, Timely Shiurim, mini-shiuring, Divrei Torah, Warm camaraderie, delicious meals, 5:51pm Candle lighting • Mincha 6:00pm, 225/250NIS p.p. - Participation limited, Registration for the whole Shabbaton only, Indicate dietary needs, seating preferences, housing situation, and other requests at time of registration, (registration for part of the Shabbaton accepted depending upon numbers, and after Rosh HaShana only), Call 566-7787 ext. 204 - Motza'ei Shabbat reminders: 9:00pm Rabbi Riskin's Drasha at Yeshurun Synagogue. 2:00am Turn the clocks back an hour
Travel Desk Specials:
Jerusalem Month by Month - TISHREI TOUR with exceptional licensed guide DAVID MAGENCE - "In the Footsteps of Nisuch HaMayim", Tuesday, September 26th; 2:30-5:00pm (approx) "Join" Kohanim in Bringing water from the Gichon Spring (ancient Jerusalem's major water source) via the Shilo'ach Reservoir (built originally by King Hizkiyahu, 2700 years ago) through the Hulda Gate of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount to the Altar. Retrace the path of the WATER LIBATION Sukkot ceremony, which the Mishna describes as the greatest Simcha of all times, Visit the Gichon Spring and the Shiloach Reservoir in Ir David which has been highly developed and excavated in recent years, We will arrange for a ride back up to the Dung Gate ,Cost: 36/40NIS • Call the travel desk, 566-7787 ext. 261, Shulamit's tiyulim are always treats; Come - You will surely enjoy her delicious sweets!
The Palmach Museum, Tel Aviv with Nachman Kupietzky • Sunday, October 16th, Check-in 11:30am • Leave Center 11:45am PROMPTLY • Return 4:30pm (approx.) - See the newest state-of-the-art museum vividly portraying the pre-state defense army of Israel; 85NIS (100NIS non-members) • must pay in advance, Limit: 25 people • Call Travel Desk (ext. 261) to reserve
Tour of the world-famous Belz Synagogue FOR MEN, FRI Oct 20, 10:30am, 18NIS members (26NIS non-mem.), Advance registration & payment required, Participants will be informed of the meeting place upon registration
The Back Page of TT732
Schedule for Erev Shabbat to Erev Shabbat, 22-29 ELUL (September 15-22)
SUN-Thu in the Ganchrow Beis Medrash (first floor)
Monday - N'SHEI LIBRARY 10:00am-12:30pm
The Israel Center will close on Thursday at 7:00pm and remain closed on Friday, Erev Rosh HaShana. Keep this in mind for Torah Tidbits pick-ups
Upcoming at the Israel Center
Morning shiurim resume as usual
4:30pm - Shiur by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher in memory of his father z"l - Why Halacha marks date of death (yahrzeit) and not birthdays
Tuesday, Sept. 26th, 8:00pm - Senior Services Plus, Int'l (SSPI) - a care management agency that will arrange for all of your needs… invites you to attend a lecture at the Center by: Dr. Sol Grazi MD; Forgiveness, Heart Disease and Longevity during the 10 Days of Tshuva. For further information about SSPI: R' Avi Scharf, 054-490-6816
In-house Shabbaton on Shabbat Shuva - details in the Tiyulim section
Motza'ei Shabbat Shuva Drasha by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Yeshurun Synagogue, Motza"Sh, Sept. 30th, 9:00pm
Israel Center's Annual Arba'a Minim Sale - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; October 3,4,5- 09:00-22:30, Friday, Erev Sukkot - 08:30-12:00 in the garden of the Israel Center, 10% discount for Israel Center members, Wide selection of Etrogim Eida Hashgacha, El Arish Lulavim, and sets of mehudar hadasim
New Mother-Daughter Bat Mitzva Series with Mrs. Pearl Borow. Mondays, starting after the Chagim. Call 671-3567
OU ISRAEL CENTER