Shabbos in the Parashah
The period referred to as Bain Hametzarim, the Three Weeks, is almost upon us, and it is worth our while to reflect on our current situation. This week we heard about the Israeli and terrorist group prisoner swap, where the Israelis received the bodies of two soldiers who were killed al Kiddush HaShem, sanctifying G-d’s Name, while the terrorists received in exchange live murderers with Jewish blood on their hands. Although I normally refrain from using current events and politics as a springboard for insights in the weekly Torah portion, it is noteworthy what the terrorist declared when he reached his safe haven in
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Composed by the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria
Uzeir anpin viatika kadisha asyan lisaada bahadei, the Miniature Presence, and the Holy Ancient One. Come to feast with it. The Arizal writes that zeir anpin is in the image of a man. Perhaps the idea being expressed here is that although we cannot see HaShem, we know that HaShem comes to feast at the Shabbos meals, and He arrives, so to speak, in the form of zeir anpin.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Koach ugevurah nasan bahem lihyos moshlim bikerev teivel, strength and power has He granted them, to be dominant within the world. The Mishna (Avodah Zara 4:7) states that the gentiles asked the Sages in
The Sabba Kaddisha of Radoshitz, in his sefer, Niflaos (vol. 1, pp. 21–22), recorded an amazing story about the formulation of this “Prayer before Praying.” The story goes like this: When he was a child, the Sabba Kaddisha was once visiting Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. He was conversing with chassidim from the Rebbe’s inner circle in front of the Rebbe’s home when several extremely tall men came and hurried into the house. When they reached the doorway, they had to stoop down to enter since they were so unusually tall. The holy Rebbe closed the door behind them before the chassidim could catch a glimpse of their faces. They waited outside until the visitors left to see if they could recognize them. Again the chassidim were astonished when the men left. They did so in such a hurry that they could not make out the men’s features and just saw their backs; they left so fast they almost vanished. The chassidim realized that something unusual had just taken place, and they decided to investigate and find out what had occurred. The elder chassidim among them approached the Rebbe and asked him to explain the strange incident. This is what the Rebbe told them: “When I realized that most people cannot concentrate properly on their prayers anymore due to the awesome burdens of earning a livelihood, and they lack the time and the understanding to concentrate fully, I decided to rewrite the standard formula for the prayers. I would write a new, short and concise version that would be equally understood and grasped by everyone. The holy Members of the Great Assembly, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah (the original authors of the standard prayers from the time of the Talmud), realized what I intended. They came here to ask me not to change even one prayer from their established formula. I took their counsel and discussed the matter with them. They advised me to establish a prayer to pray before the formal prayer service. This would help anyone who lacks the concentration and proper devotions that are necessary for all formal prayers.” This “prayer before prayers” is the Yehi Ratzon prayer printed in many siddurim in the name of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. [Reprinted from a Free Download from the book “Mipeninei Noam Elimelech” translated and compiled by Tal Moshe Zwecker by permission from Targum Press, Inc.]
There is a story told of the Rebbe’s brother the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli. After Rebbe Elimelech passed away he was approached by his brother’s students to be their new leader. Rabbi Zisha declined and explained his reason with a parable. “The possuk in Bereishis 2:10 states “And a river went forth from
Shabbos in Navi
In this chapter we learn how the Jewish People allowed the tribe of Binyomin to intermarry with the other tribes. The tribes were concerned that an entire tribe from the Jewish People would become extinct, so they allowed fro the men of Binyomin to grab a wife from the daughters of
Shabbos in Agadah
The Sfas Emes (Yisro 5643) quotes Rabbeinu Bachye who cites the Rambam who writes that it is said (Shemos 20:9) sheishes yamim taavod viasisa kol milachtecho, six days shall you work and accomplish all your work. The Rambam writes that this verse means that one should serve HaShem for six days by performing all of ones work, similar to the Avos who also performed actions. On Shabbos, however, the service of HaShem is without action. The Sfas Emes explains that similar to the six days of creation which were six days of action, so too the world is sustained from the service of the righteous in the form of work and labor. Thus, when it is said that HaShem rested on the seventh day, this means that the work on Shabbos is not performed through action. Despite the fact that on Shabbos there is no labor, it is the Shabbos that sustains the six days of the week. (See further in Sfas Emes how he connects this concept with the idea of everyone being in agreement that the Torah was given on Shabbos).
Shabbos in Halacha
The Poskim mention one exception to the requirement of covering the flame. One can place raw meat in a pot on an open flame immediately prior to the onset of Shabbos, as it is not possible that the meat will be cooked in time for the evening meal. In this instance there is no concern that one will increase the heat as the food will anyway not be ready until the morning meal. This ruling will only apply nowadays to a crockpot which cooks slowly. Regarding other methods of cooking, however, since the food can generally be cooked in short period of time, one should not rely on this leniency. Thus, one would be allowed to place raw meat in a crockpot, without the use of a blech, immediately prior to the onset of Shabbos, as long as one is certain that the food will not be ready for the evening meal. Moreover, even if the pot contains partly cooked food, it is sufficient for one to place in the pot one piece of raw meat so that the entire pot will not require a blech.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
It is said regarding Shabbos (Shemos 20:11) al kein beirach HaShem es yom haShabbos vayikadsheihu, therefore HaShem blessed the Shabbos day and sanctified it. It is noteworthy that the words beirach HaShem es yom equal in gematria the word haShabbos.
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