Who rules that we do not recite Tachanun on Yom Ha-Atzmaut – especially against
the great Rabbis of the generation, including Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv?
The question is incomprehensible.Ha-Rav
David Cohen (Rav in our Yeshiva) told me that in his youth he davened at the
Tiferet Bachurim shul and when they wanted to recite Tachanun on Yom Ha-Atzmaut,
Ha-Rav Elyashiv did not allow it.
I learn in a Charedi yeshiva in which Tachanun is said on Yom Ha-Atzamaut. I
disagree with this practice.Should I
leave when the others say it?
It is permissible to stay and not recite Tachanun yourself.But not in a defiant way, since you are
required to honor the Torah, and this is the place where you learn.
and a Haircut
Is it permissible to shave and get a haircut for Yom Ha-Atzmaut?Are all of the laws of mourning of Sefirat
Ha-Omer suspended on Yom Ha-Atzmaut?
Yes, it is a holiday.Responsa of Ha-Rav
Yitzchak Nissim (former Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Israel).One should shave before Maariv on Yom
Ha-Atzmaut and wear holiday clothing.
Is it permissible to get married on Yom Ha-Atzmaut?
Same answer as for getting a haircut and shaving.
Should we recite Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzmaut?With a blessing?
Yes (Ruling of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel) with a blessing (Ha-Rav Shlomo
Should we recite Hallel on the night of Yom Ha-Atzmaut?
This is the opinion of Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren, but the majority does not do so.And
this was the decision of our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook.
Ve-Yavo" and "Al Ha-Nisim"
Why don't we recite "Ya'aleh Ve-Yavo", or "Al Ha-Nisim" on
Our Sages decreed in the Gemara that "Ya'aleh Ve-Yavo" is recited on
Torah holidays, "Al Ha-Nisim" is recited on rabbinic holidays and
Hallel is recited on future miraculous salvations.
Why should we celebrate Yom Ha-Atzmaut when there is so much darkness in our
We give thanks to Hashem for the light in the State.We cry on Tisha Be-Av for the darkness which
still remains from the Exile.
Where is it possible to find halachic responsa regarding Yom Ha-Atzmaut?
The book "Hilchot Yom Ha-Atzmaut Ve-Yom Yerushalayim" of Ha-Rav
Is one obligated to shave before Yom Ha-Atzmaut (since there is a custom not to
shave during the period of Sefirat Ha-Omer)?
Yes, just as one shaves all year long to honor Shabbat, it is a mitzvah to
shave in honor of Yom Ha-Atzmaut.Obviously, if a person does not shave his beard at all, he does not do
so, but if he generally does so for Shabbat, then he also shaves for Yom
Ha-Atzmaut.The same applies to getting
a haircut.Ha-Rav Yitzchak Nissim,
former Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Israel, rules in Shut Yayin Ha-Tov (vol.2, Orach
Chaim #11) that it is it is permissible to get a haircut and shave in order to
honor the day based on various authorities who allow haircuts and shaving
during Sefirat Ha-Omer for similar reasons.For example, Ha-Rav Chaim Palagi (Sefer Moed Le-kol Chai siman 6, pg.
36) wrote that in his city of Izmir there were families who experienced
miracles during Sefirat Ha-Omer and established them as days of joy and
thanksgiving like Purim and cut their hair and shaved on them.Ha-Rav Nissim therefore concludes that on a
day when a miracle occurred during Sefirat Ha-Omer - like Yom Ha-Atzamaut -
when the State of Israel was declared after 2000 years it is certainly
permissible, and even a Mitzvah, to have a haircut and shave on that day (see
also Ha-Rav Yaakov Ariel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, in Siddur Ga’al Yisrael for
Yom Ha-Atzmaut p. 32, #13.And Ha-Rav
Shlomo Goren ruled that it was permitted for soldiers to have haircuts and
shave on Yom Ha-Atzmaut as indicated in a Command of the General Staff of the
Chief Rabbinate of Tzahal #34.0207 brought in Hilkhot Tzava of Ha-Rav Zechariah
Ben Shlomo, p. 861). The Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, Ha-Rav Tzvi Pesach
Frank, also gave permission to trim one's beard on this day (See Luach
"Shana be-Shana" published by Heichal Shlomo, 5752, p. 145.For those who disagree, see Ha-Rav Ovadiah
Hadaya in Shut Yaskil Avdi 6:10 #2 and Ha-Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik in Nefesh
Ha-Rav, p. 94). I remember that some students once asked our Rabbi,
Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, before Yom Ha-Atzmaut if it is permissible
to shave for this day.Our Rabbi did not
answer.Later he responded: "Tomorrow
there will be an exam on your faces."On Yom Ha-Atzmaut he saw that some students had been strict with
themselves and had not shaved.He said
of them: "Their faces show their character" (Yeshayahu 3:9, i.e. they
had not absorbed the true joy of the day). He added: When there is faith, there
is joy, and when there is joy there are no halachic doubts.How long will we speak out of both sides of
our mouths (see Melachim 1 18:21)?!Do
we believe in the Revealed Redemption or not?!"
Q: When should
one get a haircut or shave, since Erev Yom Ha-Atzmaut is Remembrance Day for the
Fallen Soldiers of Tzahal?
A: One should do
so a little bit before the holiday begins.For example, if Ma'ariv is at 7:00 PM, he should shave at 6:00 PM.
Question: How is
it possible to establish a new holiday on Yom Ha-Atzmaut?
Moshe Sofer of Pressburg ruled that there is a Torah obligation to establish a
holiday for every deliverance of the Nation of Israel (Shut Chatam Sofer Orach
Chaim #191). And yet perhaps there is a question of "Bal Tosif" (a
prohibition against adding commandments), as the Ramban wrote that Yerovam ben Navat
transgressed this prohibition by creating a holiday. The Chatam Sofer responds:
a transgression only occurs when we create a holiday on the same level as a
Torah holiday, i.e. with a prohibition against work and similar things.Otherwise, there is no prohibition of
"Bal Tosif." The proof is
Purim and Chanukah.
There are those
who ask: Why wasn’t Yom Ha-Atzmaut established when Yehoshua conquered the Land
of Israel or when Ezra and Nechemiah returned to the Land? The "Yom
Ha-Atzamaut" after Yehoshua's conquest is Pesach.This holiday does not only celebrate the
Exodus from Egypt, but also our arrival in the Land, which is the whole point
of the Exodus.This is explained by the
four phrases of the Redemption (Shemot 6:6-8): "And I will remove, and I
will save, and I will redeem, and I will take," which is followed by the
fifth phrase: "And I will bring you [to the Land of Israel]." Regarding
the return to the Land by Ezra and Nechemiah, the answer is simple: They did not
celebrate Yom Ha-Atzmaut because they did not have independence.They only achieved independence on Chanukah. Their
"Yom Ha-Atzmaut" is Chanukah.
question arises: Isn't it stated in the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (18b) that after
"Megillat Ta’anit was abolished" one cannot add any holidays?Megillat Ta’anit is a work of the Men of the
Great Assembly that preceded the Mishnah (and it is mentioned in Mishnah
Ta’anit 2:8). It enumerates approximately forty holidays which were established
during the Second Temple Period, some for military victories and others for
spiritual victories.All of these
holidays, except for Purim and Chanukah, were abolished after the destruction
of the Second Temple, so who are we to add new ones (Rosh Hashanah ibid.)? Furthermore,
since we are in a general spirit of sadness and mourning over the destruction of
the Temple, and it is forbidden for us to fill our mouths with laughter
(Berachot 31a), how then can we rejoice on new holidays? Purim and Chanukah
were permitted only because they contained commandments, and it is impossible
to abolish commandments (Rosh Hashanah ibid.).There are Rabbis, however, who argue persuasively that holidays continued
to be established even after the destruction of the Temple. Rabbi Moshe Sofer
of Pressburg held a middle position: The prohibition applies only to establishing
a holiday for the entire Jewish People, but an individual may establish a
holiday for himself or an entire community. In fact, the Rambam established a
holiday for himself on the day he arrived in the Land of Israel (brought at the
end of Sefer Charedim of Rabbi Eleazar Azkari), and so too many communities established
a holiday for themselves commemorating the day of their deliverance. There are
approximately two hundred special "Purims," such as "Purim Borghel"
celebrated by the Jews of Tripoli (29th of Tevet, for being saved in 5554 from
destruction during occupation by Borghel Pasha of Turkey), "Frankfurt
Purim" (20th of Adar, for the readmitting of expelled Jews being to the town
in 5376, and the execution of the Chief Jew-baiter, Fettmilch), "Lepanto
(Greece) Purim" (11th of Tevet, for Jews saved from destruction during the
Turkish War in 5460), "Tiveria Purim" (7th of Elul, for Jews saved
from danger of war in 5503), etc. etc.
The Chatam Sofer,
on the other hand, permitted establishing a holiday for the entire Jewish
People, with the condition that the deliverance was from death to life. His
proof is from the words of our Sages: Purim should certainly be a holiday based
on Pesach, since Pesach was a deliverance from slavery to freedom. Should we
not celebrate a holiday all the more so for Purim which was a deliverance from
death to life (Megillah 14a)? He claims that in exile there is no possibility of
being delivered merely from slavery to freedom, since in exile we are slaves to
the nations of the world.Any
deliverance, therefore, could only be from death to life.We may thus establish a new holiday. In
truth, on Yom Ha-Atzmaut in the Land of Israel there was a double-deliverance:
from slavery to freedom, from the British authority to Jewish authority, and
from death to life, from all of the Arab Nations who tried to destroy us at the
time of the War of Independence.
There are those
who claim that before the War of Independence we were not really slaves and there
was therefore no deliverance to freedom. This is incorrect - we were slaves in
the full meaning of the word, since the Talmud explains that we do not recite
Hallel on Purim, since it is written in Hallel "Praise, servants of
Hashem" and even after the miracle of Purim we were not servants of
Hashem, but still servants of Achashverosh (Megillah ibid.).Before the establishment of the State, we
were slaves to the British authorities.And now – through Hashem's kindness – we are a free Nation in our Land.
Is it forbidden to walk under a ladder which is leaning against the wall?
Not walking under a ladder is a Christian superstition.The leaning-ladder makes a triangular shape
that recalls the Trinity, and walking under it is considered a desecration of
their faith.One should, however, be
careful when walking under a ladder that no object falls on him, and
all-the-more-so that the ladder itself doesn't fall on him or anyone else (Ner
Be-Ishon Laila p. 234).
in Musaf of Rosh Chodesh
During a leap-year, we add "U-le-Chaparat Pasha" into the Shemoneh
Esrei of Musaf.When do we stop saying
There are three opinions.Mishnah
Berurah (423:6).The custom is to cease
at the end of Adar Bet (This is also the custom mentioned in Luach Eretz
and Son - Yaakov and Yisrael
For Ashkenazim, who are particular not to name a son after a living father, is
it permissible for a father with the name Yaakov to name his son Yisrael, or
It is permissible.It is not the same
Named after a Rabbi
When a street is called after a Rabbi, does one have to call the street Rabbi X
or Y, or is it permissible to just say the last name?
Rabbi (see Tuvcha Yabi'u Vol. 2, pp. 17-19).
as the Center of the Solar System
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov held firmly that the sun revolves around the
earth.How can we understand this?
It is indeed difficult to understand.
a Family about the Death of a Tzahal Soldier on Shabbat
Is it permissible to drive on Shabbat in order to inform a family of the death
of a soldier in Tzahal?
Yes, out of a fear that the family will find out on their own, and this could
be life-threathening to an elderly or ill person.It is obviously preferable that the driver be
on Yom Tov
Is it permissible to smoke on Yom Tov?
It is forbidden to smoke even on a weekday (Shut Tzitz Eliezer 17:21.Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky in She'eilat Rav
1:52.Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 4:115.Ha-Rav Nisim Karelitz in a letter at the
beginning of the book "Chaim Le-lo Ishun".Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef in Maran Pe'er Ha-Dor p.
Tefillin Straps around One's Fingers
Sefardim put on the hand Tefillin while seated.Does the same apply for wrapping the straps around one's finger?
This is done standing.The same is true for
removing them (Mishnah Berurah 27:8.Kaf
of Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah
What are the central tenets of the teachings of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah?
Love and faith.Love of Hashem and
Israel and faith in Hashem.Orot p. 69.
Question: Is it good, worthwhile and
appropriate to go to see the extermination camps in Poland in order to remember
what Amalek did to us, and to thereby become stronger in one’s fear of G-d? While
one is there, one can also visit the graves of the great Rabbis.
Answer: No, for seven reasons, any one of
which would suffice:
1. There is a halachic prohibition against
leaving the Land of Israel. It is brought down in the Talmud, the Rambam
(Hilchot Melachim Chapter 5) and the Shulchan Aruch. This is a prohibition like
any other, and it cannot be overridden due to human emotions. Rambam takes the
strict approach, and only permits leaving the Land temporarily for two great
Mitzvot: learning Torah and marrying. The Tosafot permit leaving for any Mitzvah,
but visiting extermination camps is not classified anywhere as a Mitzvah, just
as there is no Mitzvah to visit Egypt to see where we were enslaved, or to
visit Spain to see from whence we were exiled, or to visit any of the many
other countries where we suffered. Were there such a Mitzvah, it would have to
be defined in the Shulchan Aruch. Were there such a Mitzvah, we would expect to
have seen our greatest Torah luminaries going there, and even taking the strict
approach of going there many times.
2. People claim that such trips have
educational value, hence the trips are integrated into the school curriculum. And
yet it cannot be that there are activities for wealthy students capable of
paying 6,000 Shekels ($1700) that are closed to poor students who will have to
suffer financially to attain such a sum.Is this educationally sound?
3. And all the more so, it’s not educationally
sound that the Poles are going to benefit financially because of the
extermination camps were located in their country. It was no accident that the
Nazis chose this country, because the vast majority of Poles were anti-Semites.The Poles were happy to see us in these
camps.They did not blow up the train
tracks that led to them.They did not
provide shelter to those who fled from them. They even carried out a pogrom
after the Holocaust. They stole our homes and refused to return them to the
Jews who came back from the extermination camps.Until today trials are going on over this.
4. Furthermore, fleeting emotions or transient
shocks do not educate one to fear G-d or to adopt any other important
characteristic. Emotions are easy come, easy go. Education involves a long-term
yoke and constant hard work.
5. True, there are Rabbis who accompany their
students and give them important Torah lectures along the way, yet for that
there is no reason to leave Eretz Yisrael. We have Yad Vashem and similar sites
here. We have got films and books, and camp survivors to whom we can listen
directly, instead of seeing an artificial reconstruction of the shacks that
6. As for those survivors, we must realize
that some of them are still living. Many are alone, poor, sick, suffering, and short
of money to buy medicine, food or heat. It seems a lot more educational to give
them the six thousand Shekels. In fact, it seems very uneducational to look for
"thrills" far from here, instead of showing kindness to those who are
suffering, which is a clear Mitzvah of the Torah. Locating the organizations
that help the survivors takes five minutes on the Internet.
7. As for those holy Rabbis who are buried
abroad, without a doubt, if anyone were to ask them, they would prefer that
time and money be invested in learning their books rather than leaving Eretz
Yisrael to visit their graves.
Here’s a general principle to remember: Devote
yourself to the Mitzvot G-d commanded us, and don’t invent other Mitzvot.
[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Metzora 5774 –
translated by R. Blumberg]
The ideal is, "They shall beat swords
into ploughshares," but in the meantime, it is G-d's will that there
should be wars, here in Israel and throughout the world. And if this be the
will of G-d, Who “is master of wars and causes salvation to flourish” [Morning
Prayers], then a blessing shall derive from this as well. True, that blessing
derives through suffering, but it is a blessing for all – Charedim, religious
and secular. “For G-d is good to all, and His mercy is over all his works” (Tehilim
145:9). And indeed, how many fine virtues our army has!
1. The Mitzvah of saving lives. It is a
great mitzvah to save someone who is in danger. “Do not stand by when your
friend’s life is in danger” (Vayikra 19:16, Sanhedrin 73a, Rambam, Hilchot
Rotzeah U-Shemirat Nefesh Chapter 1).It
is also a great Mitzvah to endanger oneself to save someone who is in possible
danger (Hagahot Maimoniyot and KesefMishneh), all the
more so for the sake of the Jewish People as a whole.
2. Protecting the Land of Israel. The
Mitzvah of settling the Land is equal in weight to all the other Mitzvot of the
Torah combined. We were commanded to conquer the Land and not to leave it in
the hands of any other nation (Ramban’s fourth footnote on Rambam’s Sefer Ha-Mitzvot).
3. Sanctifying G-d’s name. “I shall be
sanctified amongst the People of Israel” (Vayikra 22:32). When the nations
smite and wound us, pillage and rape us, exile and murder us, it is a
profanation of G-d’s name, for we are G-d’s people. Yet when we defend
ourselves, smiting our enemies fiercely, we sanctify G-d’s name (see Yechezel
4. Holiness. Mitzvot hallow a person.
As our sages said, “Blessed are You, O G-d… who has sanctified us through His Mitzvot.”
Obviously, not everyone who does one Mitzvah thereby turns into a Kadosh,
a saint as defined in Mesilat Yesharim, yet every Mitzvah increases holiness,
all the more so such a great Mitzvah as saving the Jewish People and
sanctifying G-d’s name. Many of the Charedi newsmen and politicians are
intentional liars, unfortunately no better than those in other camps. They say
that the secular want to draft the Charedim in order to make them secular. This
is a bold lie that does not deserve to be dignified by a response.
Unfortunately, every Gadol, every Torah
luminary, has his Gehazi, and even several Gehazis. Every Charedi camp claims
that the Gedolim of the other Charedi camps have Gehazis who deceive
them, and that they also deceive a large portion of the public, who are naïve.
They lie to their Gedolim and they lie in the name of their Gedolim,
they incite and corrupt and cause divisiveness, as do a great many of the
newsmen and politicians in the rest of the Nation.
In the Nachal Charedi and in the Charedi Army
unit “Shachar” there are no female soldiers, and the Kashrut there is on
the highest level.The standards here
are even higher than inductees adhere to in their private lives. The Army meets
the needs of the Charedim on every issue, and keeps its promises, even without
an agreement in writing.
5. Becoming stronger in Torah. People
become stronger in Torah in the army. True, there are some who deteriorate in
the army, but that is due to their low level of commitment before they arrive
there. The fact is, however, that most yeshiva dropouts become religiously stronger
in the Nachal Charedi. Unfortunately, the “Yeshivot for strengthening people”
have almost no success in strengthening anyone religiously. That is not the
case with the Nachal Charedi. Thank G-d, the relationship between the Nachal
Charedi and the Charedi public is improving.
6. Good character. Responsibility,
seriousness, helpfulness, determination, steadfastness. In a word, army service
turns you into a “Mentch”, a decent human being. And the more combat-oriented
the unit is, the more it builds the soldier’s character. This is what I meant
when I said that in any case, the army also infuses the soldier with blessing
and holiness.The army is not just a
duty. It is a privilege. It is painful to see how much those Charedim who do
not go to the army lose out. Certainly the Torah is our life, but good character
is our life as well.
7. Torah for the sake of heaven. One
has to learn Torah sincerely, and not just go through the motions to evade army
service. Rambam said (Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10): "It is forbidden to
benefit from Torah learning in this world. Our Sages said, 'If someone benefits
from Torah learning, it removes him from this world.' They further commanded
us, ‘Make it not into a crown for self-aggrandizement, nor an ax with which to
chop.'"Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yechezkel
Abramsky said that if someone does not learn and does not enlist, the laws of
the “Rodef” [assailant] apply to him. In other words, he is considered
to be endangering all the others who learn Torah sincerely.
8. Learning a trade. In the Nachal Charedi,
soldiers learn a trade during the third year, and the same is true with the
Charedi “Shachar” program.
The army likewise saves people from poverty.
Poverty is a terrible thing that causes religious and moral deterioration. It
poses a grave danger which cannot be circumvented through spiritual shortcuts
or superstitions. Poverty deprives a man of his senses and of a knowledge of
his Creator. What man’s intellect does not do, not even the intellect of Torah,
necessity will accomplish. Yet how much better is it for one to plan on his own
to learn a profession in the army.
9. Gratitude. We must show our
gratitude to the soldiers. Ingratitude is a terrible thing. See Chovot
HaLevavot. We must say the “Mi Sheberach” blessing for soldiers presently
serving, as well as the Yizkor for the soldiers who have fallen in
battle. And one has to enlist himself. One should not say, “Anyway there are
too many soldiers, so I’m superfluous.” That isn’t true. There’s no
unemployment in the army aside from the “functional unemployment” of any
gigantic system. There is a shortage of soldiers required to bear the security
burden. It is therefore ethical for everyone to join up.
10. Loving One’s Fellow Jews. In the
army, everyone gets to know one another and everyone admires one another.
Otherwise, we are in danger of becoming two peoples who are entirely alienated
from each other, each group viewing the other as having horns. In the army,
they can get to know one another. The Charedim will see the good traits of the
secular, their values and ideals, and they will cease their systematic defamation
which desecrates G-d’s name and causes the secular to respond in kind. It is a
mistake to think that the Torah will be strengthened by our blackening the name
of the secular. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter said, “If you want to grow taller, don’t
dig a pit for your fellow man. Instead, build him a mountain.” Such an approach
will lead the secular, as well, to see that the Charedim are very fine people,
that they provide a healthy, natural foundation for the Jewish People, and that
ultimately, everyone is going to have to be Charedi. This will end the false,
mutual estrangement between the secular and Charedi worlds. If you repeat a falsehood
enough times, it becomes the truth. It is true thst every group has people who
are not normal. Yet they represent a minuscule minority.The exception to the rule, not the rule
A story is told of a Polish landowner who got
drunk in a tavern and came to an agreement with another landowner that the
following week each one would bring his bear and the bears would fight each
other. When the first landowner returned to his estate and sobered up, he
remembered that he did not own a bear, so he summoned a Jew to go to the
marketplace, buy a bear skin, and disguise himself with it so that he could pretend
to be the bear. The Jew begged him not to make him do this, arguing that it
represented a death sentence for him, yet the landowner insisted, threatening
the Jew that he would expel his family. On the appointed day, the Jew stood in
the bear suit trembling with fear before a frightening bear, freezing in place.
Yet the crowd of gamblers pushed him towards the awesome creature.
Understanding that his last moments had come, he cried out, “Hear O Israel,
Hashem is our G-d…”Much to his
amazement, the other bear completed the passage, “Hashem is One!” No one is
really a bear. Everyone is amicable. “Who are like Your people Israel, one
Nation in the Land!” (Shmuel 2 7:23).
I am Ashkenazi.Is it permissible for me
to spend Seder night at the house of a Sefardi, who eats Kitniyot?
Yes, but don't eat Kitniyot.It is
permissible, however, to eat: food which touched Kitniyot, food which absorbed
Kitniyot, food in which the Kitniyot are no longer recognizable and are
nullified in a majority, and food cooked in Kitniyot pots and pans (Shut
She'eilat Shlomo 3:141).
a Glass under the Chuppah
Why do we break a glass under the Chuppah?
A Remembrance of the destruction of the Temple in order to show that our joy is
still incomplete.Berachot 31a.Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 560:2.
Should the glass be expensive or perhaps inexpensive to avoid "Bal
Tashchit" (wantonly destroying items)?
An argument can be made both ways: Expensive to bring a bit of sadness, or
inexpensive to avoid "Bal Tashchit".Sedei Chemed, Asifat Dinim Marechet Zayim #12.One should therefore take a regular
glass.Shut Yabia Omer 4:19.
Chametz over the Internet
Is it possible to sell Chametz over the internet?
Yes.It is a form of appointing an
in Granting a Furlough
I am an officer in Tzahal.If I am able
to grant some of the soldiers a furlough, should I give precedence to married soldiers?
Definitely.A married soldier has a
great need (see Shut Keshet Nechushah Vol. 1, p. 136).
When one wraps the Tefillin around his arm 7 times, do 2 half loops combine and
count as one of them?
It is a dispute (Petach Ha-Dvir 27:2.Kaf Ha-Chaim 27:35).
Hand-Made or Machine-Made Matzah
Q: According to Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, which is preferable:
hand-made or machine-made Matzah?
A: Our Rabbi was particular to use machine-made Matzah since it
was decided by the halachic authorities that machine-made Matzah is Kosher, and
there is, in fact, greater care regarding the concern of Chametz than with
hand-made Matzah (and once when our Rabbi was asked this question, he answered:
In the same amount of time that we exert ourselves to make one hand-made Matzah
it is possible to make Reb Noson’s [our Rabbi’s brother-in-law], his own and
many other people’s Matzah for the entire holiday).
Should one sign up for the Korban Pesach in anticipation of the coming of the
No.There is no need.We anticipate the coming of the Mashiach
every day, but the building of the Temple will not be today.See Rambam, Melachim 1:2.
in the Wrong Direction
If I began Davening in the wrong direction, i.e. not towards Yerushalayim.May I turn around?
Yes, walking for the needs of Davening without speaking is not considered an
interruption (Mishnah Berurah 104:2.Piskei Teshuvot ibid.).
What is the connection between freedom and the prohibition of Chametz
(leaven)? The entire process of ridding ourselves of Chametz seems like a
heavy burden which robs a person of his freedom. And in general, all of
the Mitzvot seem to deprive the natural movements of a person.
Rav Kook explained that true freedom includes two aspects:
a. Freedom of the body:
Physical freedom from any foreign subjugation: Anything which forces the image
of G-d within a person to be subjugated to any other power lessens that
b. Freedom of the soul:
Spiritual freedom from anything which turns it from the straightness which is
its essential existence. G-d created man upright, and He cleanses man
from any inner refuse which sullies his inner holiness.
these two aspects, each morning we recite the blessing, "who has not made
me a slave." The Mitzvot are not foreign entities which are forced
upon a person, rather they reveal his inner essence. Before the Mitzvot
were engraved on the tablets that were given at Mount Sinai, they were written
on the “tablets” of every Jew's soul. Our Sages therefore said: They were
"Charut" (engraved) on the tablets – do not read the word as "Charut"
(engraved) but as "Cherut" (freedom) (Pirkei Avot 6:2). By
slightly changing the vocalization of the word, we learn an incredible lesson:
In order to truly be a free people, it is not enough to be liberated from
physical slavery. On the contrary, it is possible to have an enlightened
slave whose spirit is full of freedom, and a free person whose spirit is
enslaved. We were transformed into free people on Pesach, but we do not
become truly free until we rid ourselves of anything which robs us of our
natural essence. This is the reason for destroying the Chametz.It symbolizes the evil inclination and called
"the yeast in the dough," because it ferments in the heart of people
and causes them to transgress (see Bereachot 17a). The destruction of our
internal Chametz is what allows us to raise the flag of freedom (Olat Re'eiyah
vol. 2, pp. 244-245).
[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Tazria
5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]
May He who blessed our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak
They were our ancestors and we follow in their path. They were holy, and,
simultaneously, they were fighters. Avraham fought against the four kings, and Yaakov
fought “with his sword and bow” (Bereshit 48:22, regarding the battle for
The same goes for Moshe and Yehoshua Bin Nun,
Otniel ben Kenaz and King David. They were not just soldiers from the ranks,
but army generals. When a war is imperative to our survival, it is a war of G-d
Also bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense
For they are performing a great Mitzvah, a three-fold Mitzvah of the Torah
incorporating: 1. Defense of the Nation.2. Defense of the Land.3. The
sanctification of G-d's Name. When we are being beaten and murdered, robbed and
raped, it is a desecration of G-d's name. And when we fiercely respond to our
enemies it is a sanctification of G-d's name (Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Le-Nitivot
Yisrael 1:118). Essentially, when a
person does a Mitzvah he declares G-d's
oneness, and when he does so, G-d causes holiness and even blessing to envelop
that person. When Yaakov was preparing for war with Esav, he traversed the “Yabok
Crossing” (Bereshit 32:23). Yabok stands for Yichud [declaring
oneness], Berachah [blessing] and Kedushah
The Israel Defense Forces: The
I.D.F. is not an occupation force. Our intent is not to plunder foreign lands,
but to defend our own Nation and Land. We are an army of defense. That is our
essence. Ours is a Milchemet Mitzvah according to all opinions, a moral,
Who stand guard over our land: How
fortunate we are that through G-d's grace we received our Land, but we must
protect it day and night, and not fall asleep while at watch. Rashi comments on
the words, “May your doorbolts be iron and copper” (Devarim 33:25), “This
refers to the entire Jewish People, whose warriors would sit in the border
towns closing them off from enemy attack, as though those towns were locked
with iron and brass locks and bolts.” Sure enough, we have 350 million enemies
all around us, and they are assisted by some billion Moslems and some billion Christians,
plus several more million Arabs helping them from within. The Guardian of
Israel, and His faithful emissaries, will neither rest nor sleep.
And over the cities of our G-d: This
Land is the Land of G-d. It is the holy Land. It is the Land of holiness. It is
“the Land which G-d keeps His eyes on from the start of the year to the end of
the year” (Devarim 11:12). It is the Land in which G-d is returning His Divine
presence to Tzion. Every people sacrifices its life for its Land, all the more so
we for our holy Land.
From Lebanon to the Egyptian Desert, and from
the Great Sea to the wilderness: We are commanded regarding this
entire Land not to abandon any part of it to any other nation (Ramban's
Addendum 4 to Rambam's Sefer Ha-Mitzvot).
Wherever they are, on the land on the sea or
in the air:
This is a holy army. This is a beloved army.This is an army full of love for Israel, one which sacrifices its life
for the sake of Israel. This is an army full of friendship and camaraderie and
unity. This is an army in which every soldier is infused with a new spirit, a
spirit of self-abnegation for the sake of the Jewish People. This is an army in
which it is both a supreme duty and a lofty privilege to participate.
G-d will leave our enemies who rise up against
us smitten before them: Our enemies are the enemies of G-d. “When
the ark was to set out, Moshs would say, ‘Advance, Hashem! May Your enemies be scattered,
and may Your foes flee before You!” (Bamidbar 10:35).
Your enemies: “These are the enemies of
Israel, for whoever hates Israel hates the One whose word brought the world
into being” (Rashi).
To Enrich the spiritual life of the English-speaking World through the Torah of Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. By offering English translations of Rav Aviner’s written and oral Torah, this division of the yeshiva aims to expose English speakers to a powerful, sensitive and poetic voice unparalleled in our time. His unfailing optimism, his tolerance and love all Jews, his guidance for harmony within the Jewish family and his dedication to Eretz Yisrael, the State of Israel and Tzahal will inspire and enrich the lives of all who may now have access to his words.