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 From the virtual desk of the OU VEBBE REBBE
Q: I was in the middle of davening Mincha when I realized that I had already davened earlier. What was I supposed to do under those circumstances and why?
A: The answer is straightforward, but it is worthwhile to analyze the rationale.
The gemara (B'rachot 21a) states: “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: If one was standing in prayer (in the midst of the Amida) and he remembered that he had already davened, he should stop, even in the middle of a b'racha.” Thus, in your case, when you realized that you had already davened, you should have stopped immediately (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 107:1).
The question is how this ruling is reconciled with the previous segment of the gemara (ibid.). R. Elazar says that one who is not sure if he davened or not, should not daven out of doubt. R. Yochanan argues, saying “if only a person would daven all day long.” Thus, according to R. Yochanan, whose position is accepted as halacha (Shulchan Aruch, ibid.), it is not a problem to daven even if it turns out that he already davened. (If it were a problem, we should say safek b'rachot l’hakel). A further complication is a subsequent gemara (ibid.) that one who already davened and comes into a shul where people are davening may join them as long as he adds a personal request (during the middle part of the Amida - Shulchan Aruch, ibid.:2) to Sh'moneh Esrei. Why then can’t one who realizes in the middle that he is in that situation, continue by adding something?
The Rosh (B'rachot 3:15) reconciles matters as follows. R. Yochanan did not mean that one can literally daven all day long without any further conditions. Rather, he may daven an additional time only if he adds something new to the Sh'moneh Esrei. The rationale is that one can daven a second time but only as an optional t'fila (n'dava), which he undertakes in order to add something that he neglected to include in the first one. If it is just a repeat, it is deemed to be a second, mandatory Sh'moneh Esrei. Since t'fila corresponds to the korban tamid which could be brought only once during a given time period, he cannot repeat. Only if he does it in a way that shows that it is a n'dava, by adding something, is it permissible, as an individual can offer a korban olah in a manner similar to the korban tamid. The congregation may not repeat Sh'moneh Esrei beyond the standard obligation because, in the Beit Hamikdash, a communal olah was not permitted. Similarly, one cannot daven an extra Musaf, as an individual could not bring such a parallel korban in the Beit Hamikdash.
When one is unsure whether he already davened, he need not add anything to the t'fila because the prospect that he may need this t'fila is equivalent to adding something new (ibid.). However, one should make the possibly superfluous Sh'moneh Esrei conditional in the follow- ing manner. “If I did not daven, this should be an obligatory t'fila. If I already davened, it should be deemed optionafl” (Mishna Berura 107:2, based on Chidu- shei HaRashba, B'rachot 21a).
If one starts out Sh'moneh Esrei thinking it is a normal, obligatory t'fila and realizes in the middle that he already davened, he is stuck. It cannot be turned in the middle into a n'dava and, therefore, there is no framework with which to continue even if he wants to add something (Rosh, ibid.). Only if he began with a doubt and a condition that envisioned n'dava from the outset can he continue even after realizing that he had already davened, as a n'dava (see Mishna Berura 107:7).
Regarding one who remembered in the middle of Sh'moneh Esrei of Maariv, there are poskim (especially S'faradi- see Kaf Hachayim 107:12 and Yalkut Yosef, T'fila 68) who say that he can continue in the framework of n'dava, as Maariv always has an element of being optional. However, the Mishna Berura (Bi'ur Halacha to 107:1) says that now that Maariv is treated as an obligatory t'fila, it is no different from other t'filot.
Ed. note: T'filat N'dava is applicable only during the week; based on no voluntary korbanot on Shabbat.
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 Candle by Day
 CHIZUK and IDUD (for Olim & not-yet-Olim respectively)
The idea that Aliya is specific to moving to the Land of Israel from Egypt is reiterated in our parsha, where we find God's twice-repeated promise to bring Bnei Yisrael to the "land flowing with milk and honey." In both instances the promise is expressed in terms of Aliya - "ul-ha'aloto... el eretz tova urchava" (Sh'mot 3:8) and "a'aleh etchem... el eretz zavat halav u'devash" (3:17).
On a simple level, this is merely a question of geography. Egypt is to the south (although the concept that all maps face northwards is a relatively modern concept) and most of Egypt is physically lower than most of Israel. Throughout Tanach, someone who travels from Israel to Egypt is "yoreid" - goes down; someone who travels in the other direction will, by definition, be "oleh" - go up. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that there are other connotations to the term, as well. The "fleshpots of Egypt" are symbolic of many communities in exile, and the recognition of a calling towards a more spiritual life represented by the land chosen by God for His people, is, indeed, an Aliya - towards which we should all be striving.
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
 Wisdom and Wit
The Chafetz Chayim’s words had an opposite effect, and the students became to learn with even greater enthusiasm. Seeing this, the Chafetz Chayim went over to the kerosene lamps (this was in the days before there was electricity in Radin), and turned each of them down. Again the Chafetz Chayim repeated, "My children, you need to sleep..."
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).
 Portion for the Portion by Rakel Berenbaum - FEEDback to email@example.com
We now begin the book of Sh'mot with 70 of the descendants of Yaakov settling in Egypt. Yosef and his brothers die and we are told that the children of Israel were prolific and they became so numerous that the land was filled with them “VATIMALEI HA'ARETZ OTAM” (1:7). There are many Midrashim that interpret this verse to be referring to multiple births.
Rashi explains that the women gave birth to six at one time. Other Midrashim say 12, and one goes as high as 60 infants at once. It seems like the Rabbis were trying to explain how the Jewish people increased from only 70 to 600,000 souls (12:37) in such a short time.
They found hints in the verse itself. There are six words that refer to abundance “PARU VAYISHR'TZU VAYIRBU VAYA'AZMU BIM-OD, M'OD” hinting to six being born each time. Or the use of the word, VAYISHR'TZU sounds like SHERETZ, insects, who deliver many insects at once. Also the gematriya for PARU VAYISHR'TZU VAYIRBU VAYA'ATZMU is the same as YALDAT SHISHA B'KERES ECHAD, giving birth to six at one go. But doesn't this sound very much out of the ordinary? How many women are able to give birth to six healthy babies?
Some of the commentators try to explain to those who might find these Midrashim far fetched that there is logic to them. The Ibn Ezra says that he saw a lady who had 4 children at once, and he quotes doctors from his day who said the womb could hold 7. Rav Shmuel Matot (14th century) quotes a doctor from his day who saw a lady who had 20 children - 4 sets of 5 and he saw a lady who miscarried 60 person-like figures. He says that anyone who doesn't understand the potential in nature will not appreciate the Midrashim. Chazal who understood the powers that Hashem put into nature interpreted the excess words in the verse to refer to the blessings available in nature. The miracle then becomes that ALL the women in Egypt gave birth to so many children at once.
Rav Midan gives an interesting interpretation. He says we are not talking about women who gave birth to sextuplets , but each mother (keres) gave birth to six children during the course of her life.
The miracle in the reproduction and growth of Israel in Egypt was a hidden one that we take with us throughout our exiles.
Despite the difficult time they had as slaves each woman continued on the Jewish people by having six children.
KUBEH- MEAT FILLED DUMPLINGS
 Parsha Points to Ponder - SH'MOT
THESE ARE THE ANSWERS
1) The Kli Yakar answers that the Torah is trying to convey the new attitude of the Egyptians which crept in following Yosef’s death. They no longer viewed the Jews as veteran residents of Egypt who had lived there for some time. Rather, they were treated as newcomers who were just now COMING TO EGYPT. That was the first step along the road towards slavery and grave persecution.
2) The Ohr HaChayim points to the teaching of our Sages that Yocheved gave birth to Moshe after only six months of pregnancy which is why the Egyptian authorities were not present to deal with the newborn immediately. Typically, a baby born that early would not have been healthy enough to survive and the mother would not have a reason to hide and save the baby. However, Yocheved saw that Moshe was TOV - he was a healthy child who would be able to survive. Thus, she reacted by hiding him in case the authorities would come to check on her status.
3) The Meshech Chochma teaches that Moshe continued to suspect that the Jewish people would not believe him. He figured that the fact that he brought his wife and sons into this dangerous situation would convince the Jewish people that G-D did, in fact, promise that he would redeem them from Egypt. This, according to the Meshech Chochma, was a failure on Moshe’s part and played a role in his son’s life being in danger during the trip to Egypt.
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",just re-published by Feldheim, firstname.lastname@example.org
What's your name? Your Hebrew name, of course. Were you named after someone? Do you know whom? Is it important? Of course it is! Our names are very important.
Sefer Sh'mot begins with the sentence: And these are the names of the Children of Israel who came down to Egypt. The Torah want us to know the name of each one of the seventy Jews who first came to Egypt because each was important. Each was an entire world, different from the others.
A Jewish boy's name is first announced at his brit mila. A girl's name is announced during the weekly Torah reading. Our names have meaning. They help us understand who we are. They tell us what hopes and dreams our parents have for us.
Names in Lashon Hakodesh - Hebrew - remind us that we are part of Am Yisrael. And they become part of us. My name and I are one. (Which explains why people with funny names like Kronkerhaus or Maybelline refuse to change their names!)
Once, a young girl in a public library was investigating the origins of her family name - Levy - for a school assignment. She had never heard of Leviyim or the Bet Hamikdash, but when she discovered that all Levys may be descendants of the tribe of Levi, and that the Leviyim worked in the Beit Hamikdash, she was overwhelmed.
Wow," she cried. "Think of that! Imagine! My family worked in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem!" Her name suddenly became something to be proud of, something to remind her that she was a Jew.
When Avram became Avraham, Sarai became Sarah, and Yaakov became Yisrael, their new names meant that they had become "new" people with a special, new status. And when the seventy sons of Yaakov - Bnei Yaakov - went down to Egypt at the beginning of Parshat Sh'mot, they received a new name as well. For the first time, they were called Bnei Yisrael.
 Torah from a Talmid(a)
"…[the Jews] are lazy (NIRPIM)! Therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our G-d.' Let the labor fall heavy upon the men and let them work at it, and let them not talk about false matters" (Sh'mot 5:8-9).
In order to combat his slaves' laziness, Par'o increased their labor. However, the tyrant's reasoning seems quite foolish and counterproductive; if the Jews are lazy and thus want a break, the harder they are pushed, the more they will want time off!
Rashi, translating NIRPIM as lax, solves our problem. He explains that Par'o reasoned that since the Jews had free time, they could think of "idleness/false matters" such as wanting to serve G-d. By driving the Jews harder than ever, Par'o hoped to deny the Jews the ability to contemplate anything other than their immediate task at hand. The Torah tells us that Par'o's tactic worked; in Sh'mot 6, G-d commanded Moshe to relay words of comfort and inspiration to the exhausted Jews but they "did not hearken to Moshe because of [their] shortness of breath and because of [their] hard labor" (6:9) which Rashi understands to mean that "they did not accept consolation".
Given that Children of Israel's broken state, why would G-d command Moshe to comfort them if they were simply too worn out to listen? It must have been that, as difficult as it was, the Jews in fact had the ability to pay heed. In fact, the S'forno views the Jews' failure in accepting Moshe' words as a lack of trust; had they trusted in G-d, they would have found the strength for listening.
How exactly did the Jews' inability to concentrate stem from a lack of trust? According to Gur Aryeh's interpretation of Rashi, the Jews' shortness of breath, one of the factors preventing them from listening, resulted from stress. What exactly is stress? It is worrying about a situation beyond one's physical control. One who trusts in G-d will accept conditions beyond their physical control, regardless of their fairness and justice. Despite the cruelty inflicted on them, had the Jews fully trusted in G-d, instead of worrying, they would have accepted their current situation. By doing so, their thoughts would have remained free to contemplate spiritual matters and they would have accepted G-d's comfort.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Headed by Rabbi Scott Kahn and Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah is designed to provide a serious, skill-based and student-centered curriculum in Gemara and other central texts; developed by serious educators and talmidei chachamim, with an eye towards helping our students become independently skillful bnei torah.
Correction: The "Torah from a Talmid(a)" column in TT #745 was inadvertently attributed to the wrong student from Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi. It was, in fact, written by Eric Israeli.
 Torah from Nature
Of 16-19 species of penguin (depends whom you ask), only 2 or so live on Antarctica. All are native of the southern hemisphere, but their habitats include cold regions near Antarctica, and some species live in temperate and even tropical climates.
 Divrei Menachem
Here, for example, the Sforno indicates that unlike Ya'akov's grand- children, his 12 sons are listed again as a commendation for maintaining their spiritual fiber and moral integrity within the corruptive Egyptian environment. Rashi suggests that the repetition follows the common practice of mentioning significant figures when they pass from the scene, while the Gur Aryeh adds that the Torah, like people, would [consistently] repeat the names of departed dear ones.
And like things that are dear to us, the fathers of the 12 tribes are counted again and again. They are compared to the constellations of the stars that are counted by number and by name by Hashem (cf. Isaiah 40:26). For both the tribes and the constellations are composed of individual units that complement each other. And in our time, we pray that each of our names be worthy and that, in the spirit of the sons, we as a collective continue to be dear to Hashem.