Thursday, May 29, 2008

L'maancha Elokeinu

לְמַעַנְךָ אֶלֺקֵינוּ עֲשֵׂה וְלֺא לָנוּ, רְאֵה עֲמִידָתֵנוּ, דַּלִּים וְרֵקִים. הַנְּשָׁמָה לָךְ וְהַגּוּף פָּעֳלָךְ, חוּסָה עַל עֲמָלָךְ

"Act for Your sake, our G-d, and not for ours, behold our [spiritual] position - destitute and emptyhanded. The soul is Yours and the body is Your handiwork; take pity on Your labor." (Yom Kippur Night - S'lichos)

The same question we asked by "Lemalla" we can ask again here (but this time ill give an answer). What does it mean "Act for Your sake, our G-d??" Hashem doesn't need us to tell Him what He needs to do for His own sake! Who are we?!
In the question we can see the answer... When B'nei Yisrael are on a low level, looking at hard times, non-believers mock and ask "Where is their G-d?!" Therefore on Yom Kippur night, when we are begging for our lives, we ask Hashem to help us for His Own glory. We don't deserve His mercy on our own merit because we are spiritually destitute, we are totally dependant on Him...Who are we?!
Teshuva is such a beautiful gift that Hashem has given us. In human court, we can beg, plead and apologize all we want, but if we damaged someone, the damage has been done, you can't take it back. Ma she ein kein Hakadosh Baruch Hu, with his limitless mercy, gave us the ability to totally erase any wrongdoing we've done! To not take advantage of this opportunity (which we have all day everyday, not just during the Yamim Ne'oraim) would be a real shame. Hashem is just waiting for us to return to Him(Teshuva- the root is shuv; to return). Don't let this amazing opportunity slip by!
(Pic courtesy of Amit)
I've been informed by my mac-user friends that they are no longer having trouble reading the Hebrew. That being the case I think I'm going to stop doing the transliterations. I don't mind doing them, but if there is no need then its just a waste of time. If ANYONE still wants the transliterations please leave a comment and I will gladly continue to write them...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh

בִּלבָבִי מִשְׁכַּן אֶבְנֶה לְהַדַר כְּבוֹדוֹ, וּבְמִשׁכַּן מִזְבֵּחַ אָשִׂים לְקַרְנֵי הוֹדוֹ, וּלְנֵר תָּמִיד אֶקַח לִי אֶת אֵשׁ הָעַקֵדָה, וּלְקָרְבַּן אַקְרִיב לוֹ אֶת נַפְשִׁי הַיְחִידָה

Bilvavi mishkan evneh lahadar k'vodo, Uv'mishkan mizbei'ach asim l'karnei hodo. Ul'ner tamid ekach li ess aish ha'akeidah, Ul'korban akriv lo ess nafshi, Ess nafshi hayechidah.

In my heart a sanctuary I shall build, to the splendor of His honor, and in the sanctuary an altar I shall place, to the rays of His glory. And for an Eternal Flame I shall take me The fire of the Akei'dah [Yitzchak's would-be sacrifice]; And for a sacrifice I shall offer Him my soul, My one and only soul. (A piyut from "Sefer Chareidim" by R' Elazar Az'kari- author of Yedid Nefesh)

In his sefer "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh," R' Itamar Shwartz emphasizes the important point that our existence in this world is for the purpose of being davuk to our Creator; to be close with Hashem. As Dovid Hamelech says "V'ani, kirvas Elokim li tov" "And as for me, closeness to G-d is good" Also- as we say by every kriyas haTorah "V'atem ha'dveikim ba'Hashem Elokeichem, chaim koolchem hayom" "And you who cling to Hashem your G-d, you are alive, all of you, today." Meaning to be alive means to cling to G-d. One who isn't constantly concentrating on getting closer to his/her creator, isn't living in the truest sense. As the Zohar Hakadosh says, all the 613 Mitzvos are eitzos (advice) for us; each an opportunity to get closer to Hashem. If one looks at it that way, Yiddishkeit is never a burden, with 613 commandments that we must do, but rather its an amazing opportunity for us to serve Hashem through His 613 Mitzvos; each of which being another way we can gain a closer relationship with Him.
A he'ara of my own: In this physical world, limited by space and time, "closness" is judged by distance between 2 things; inches, feet etc. But if we look at the olam haruchni, the spiritual world, there is no such thing as space and time. So how is closeness measured there? I was taught that it is by similarity. By ruchniyus, the more similar one thing is to another, the closer they are. That being the case, it would seem that for us to be closer to Hashem, we must become more like Him. Now this is a well known concept. "B'tzelem Elokim nivra es ha'adam" Man was created in the image of G-d-so we are like Him already and we have the ability to become more like Him. "Ma Hu rachum, af ata rachum..." "Just as He is merciful, so too you should be merciful." We see how we should live our lives based on imitating the different attributes of Hashem. So here's my he'ara- I'd like to suggest that on Shabbos Kodesh we are closest to Hashem; more than any other day of the week. Of course that alone isn't my chiddush b/c tons of sefarim speak about the holyness of Shabbos and how Hashem comes and "chills" with us here, more on Shabbos than any other time. My chiddush is as follows: We work 6 days a week and rest on the 7th and we recognize that Hashem created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. SO: during the week when we work, our work is nothing compared to the work Hashem did during sheishes yi'emei be'reishis! He created the world!! Ay, but the rest that Hashem did on Shabbos, that we can actually come close to doing. One thing ca'nt be more at rest than another. If ur not working, then your not working! So I'd like to submit that b/c of that fact, that we rest on Shabbos just like Hashem rested on Shabbos- that makes us so similar to Him and therfore gives us the opportunity to feel real closness to Him each and every Shabbos.[I just wanted to throw that out there- if you like it take it, if not, just throw it right back...]
(Mishkan pic courtesy of Messianic Torah Truth Seeker)
(To buy Bilvavi Mishlan Evneh click
here)-I highly recommend it!
(Hat tip to DixieYid)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Amar Rabbi Akiva!

אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: אַשְׁרֵיכֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל! לִפְנֵי מִי אַתֶּם מִיטַהֲרִין? מִי מְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם? אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם! וְאוֹמֵר:"מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל ה'." מַה מִּקְוֶה מְטַהֵר אֶת הַטְּמֵאִים, אַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְטַהֵר אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל

Amar Rabbi Akiva: Ashreichem Yisrael! lifnei mee a'tem mee'taharin? Mee mi'taheir es'chem? Avichem She'bashamayim!...Vi'omer: "Mikvei Yisrael Hashem." Ma mikveh mi'taheir es hat'mei'im, af Hakadosh Baruch Hu mi'taheir es Yisrael.

"Rabbi Akiva said: Fortunate are you Yisrael! Before Whom do you cleanse yourself? And who cleanses you? Your Father in Heaven!...And it also says: "The mikveh of Yisrael is Hashem." Just as a mikveh cleanses the contaminated, so does The Holy One Blessed Be He cleanse Yisrael." (Yuma 85b-Mishnah)

[Sorry this is a little late-this is probably the most sung song on Lag Be'Omer]
Many times when you're in Yeshiva, and you are having a hard time accomplishing what you want to accomplish, depression and yi'ush sets in; you just wanna throw in the towel. You're Rabbeim give you chizuk, telling you not to look at what has happened in the past, and don't look at what may happen in the future, you have to look at right now; right now what does Hashem want from you? What can you do to bring yourself closer to Him (obviously i don't mean to be foolish and not plan ahead, rather I mean sometimes one tries to be misgaber (strengthen himself) over something but they think about how, even if right now they will be able to control themselves, in the future, they'll probably fall again, so they think "What's the point?"). You're given a guarantee by your Rebbi that if you keep pushing it, constantly working on yourself in learning and perfecting your midos etc. then there is no way you won't succeed. It's a guarantee! Do what Hashem wants from you and you will be matzliyach(successful); Hashem wouldn't ask of us something we are unable to do! It's that simple! But, even after hearing this, sometimes we just don't see the hatzlacha (success). We think we are really giving it our all and its just not clicking! We start thinking "Maybe this whole Ben-Torah thing isn't for me..." RABOSAI!! How long have we been "giving it our all?!" 1,2, maybe 3 or 4 years?! And when did we start searching for the emes and living a true Torah life? At 18, maybe 20 years old? GUYS!! Rebbi Akiva was 40 years old when he first picked up a sefer! 40!!! And through his hasmada (consistent effort) he became the one that Hashem chose to continue Torah among Klal Yisrael! He was zoche to have a talmid by the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who was megaleh (revealed) the deepest ysodos (foundations) of Torah to us with his writing of the Zohar! Chevra!-we have a 20 year head start!!! And we are considering defeat after just a few years?!! And we all know that the older you get, the harder it is to drop the habits and routines you have acquired. And still, Rebbi Akiva did it right and pushed himself, and because of him we still have Torah today! He taught us the greatest lesson we can take as bnei Torah, or as any ben/bas aliyah (someone wanting to grow in their yiddishkeit- i.e. everyone): IT'S NEVER TOO LATE! DON'T GIVE UP!!-Hashem wants to help us grow so badly, but unfortunately we tend to give up right before He was going to give us that big push we've been waiting for to make us soar! "B'derech sh'adam rotzeh lei'leich, kach me'halichin oso" The path that a person wants to take, it is that path that Hashem will help him/her on(for either good or bad). All we have to do is truly want it, and put in the effort; real effort. It's a guarantee...

(Top pic courtesy of CrossPointe Youth)
(Bottom pic courtesy of

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ein Aroch Lecha

אֵין עֲרוֹךְ לְךָ ה' אֶלֺקֵינוּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְאֵין זוּלָתְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. אֶפֶס בִּלְתְּךָ גוֹאֲלֵנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ, וְאֵין דּוֹמֶה לְךָ מוֹשִׁעֵנוּ לִתְחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים

Ein aroch lecha Hashem Elokeinu ba'olam ha'zeh, vi'ein zoolusicha malkeinu li'chayei ha'olam habba. Efess beel'ticha go'aleinu leemos ha'mashiach, vi'ein domeh lecha moshy'einu lees'chiyas ha'meisim.

"There is no comparison to you Hashem, our G-d, in this world; and there will be nothing except for You, our King, in the life of the World to Come; there will be nothing without You, our Redeemer, in the days of Mashiach; and there will be none like You, our Savior; at the Resuscitation of the Dead." (Birchos Kriyas Shema, Shabbos day (Nusach S'fard)

The basic message in this Tefillah is simple: "Ein Od Milvado," There is nothing other than Him (Hashem). Our existence is totally reliant on Hashem's constant outpouring of mercy and kindness; in this world and the next. Its all in Hashem's hands.
My friend Joey pointed out to me that R' Chaim Volozhin, in his well known sefer Nefesh HaChaim, says a yesod pertaining to this idea that I find absolutely and profoundly incredible. Instead of cheapening it by telling it over in short, I'm going to try, with Hashem's help, to write it out in English as best as I could. R' Chaim writes: "In truth, there is a big and amazing concept that has the ability to remove any will and control that anything in the world can have on a person, and as a result nothing can have any affect on a person (who thinks about the following concept). When a person establishes in his heart to say 'Behold Hashem, He is the True G-d, and there is no strength in the universe other than Him, and everything is full of only the simple Oneness of the Blessed One,' and he nullifies his heart, a total nullification, totally ignoring the existence of any other strength or desire that there may be in the world, and he makes his pure thought totally subservient and attached only to the One Master Blessed be He, THEN Hashem will automatically nullify from him all the strengths and desires in the world, such that nothing can do him any bad whatsoever." (Nefesh HaChaim, Sha'ar 3, Perek 12) This is a very lofty concept, and I don't claim to understand it completely, but to my limited understanding, this is what I have come up with: R' Chaim is trying to drive home the important point that EVERYTHING is constantly under the supervision of Hashem; that Hashem gives everything that ever existed its strength. Without Hashem, nothing could ever exist. For something to no longer exist Hashem doesn't have to will it not to exist, but rather stop willing it to exist. This being the case, Hashem can, whenever He so wishes, change what we call "nature" in any way. So the Nefesh HaChaim is saying that if we internalize this reality, that nothing is out of Hashem's control, then nothing can harm us.
There is a story told of the Brisker Rav that illustrates exactly What R' Chaim Volozhin is saying. Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik ZT"L was attempting to escape during WWII in a car. The car was stopped and he was sitting in it as a Nazi soldier began to walk over. As the story is told, The Brisker Rav just sat there saying to himself "Ein Od Milvado, Ein Od Milvado..." over and over again, internalizing the same massage given over in the Nefesh HaChaim. The Nazi came up to the car, reached for the door handle, and then just turned and walked away... "Siz Duch Altz Hevel Havalim, Ein Od Milvado!!!"
(Pic courtesy of Tzfat-Kabbalah)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Amein Yi'hei Shi'mei

It came to my attention recently, from speaking with some friends, that some people don't pronounce the words to Kadish properly. I too, until a little while ago, was pronouncing these words incorrectly. They are very important words said many times a day, how can it be that we've been mispronouncing them? Aside from the fact that we barely look in the Siddur, especially during things we are constantly saying, like Kadish, I think a big factor is that the words are in Aramaic, which could be very similar to Hebrew except with different pronunciations. So i think many people are used to Hebrew so they get mixed up. Here are the words with the nekudos. Just take a nice hard look right now-especially at the nekudos, and you may be surprised (hopefully not)
אָמֵן.יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָא

I transliterated them as best as I could but I'm afraid with these words its a little more difficult.
"u" is pronounced like "u" in "up." Also "i" is like "i" in pit (unless its part of "ei"). And "a" is like "a" in far...I hope its understandable.

Amein. Yi'hei shi'mei rabu mi'vurach li'ulam ooli'ulimei uli'mayu

"Amen. May His Name that is great be blessed forever and for all eternity." (Kadish-duh)

A few common mistakes: Its "Mi'vurach," NOT "Me'vorach. And- li'ulam ooli'ulimei uli'mayu, NOT li'olam ooli'olimei oli'mayu.

I just recently learned the Halachos of Kadish in the Mishna Berura so I'd like to share some things from there that are noteworthy. (Listed in the order they appear in Siman 56)

  • Chazal say that anyone who answers "Amein. yi'hei shi'mei..." with all of his strength, his (evil)decrees are torn up.
  • The Rishonim explain "All of his strength" to mean all of his concentration, with his whole body; with heart and soul. It shouldn't be just words coming out of his mouth without feeling.
  • One must be very careful to refrain from speaking during Kadish (The M"B brings down a couple of spooky stories about what happened to certain people who spoke during Kadish-its not pretty)
  • One should pause between "Amein" and "yi'hei" because the "Amein" alone is responding to what the Chazan said, and then we continue with out own statement of praise-"yi'hei..."
  • Although, as mentioned before, it is recommended for one to say it in a loud voice, one must still be careful not to do it in such a way that it will cause people to sin by poking fun at it.
  • Answering "Amein. yi'hei shi'mei..." is a huge Mitzvah; greater than Modim and Kedusha!
  • If one walks into Shul when the congregation is in the middle of saying "yi'hei shi'mei rabu..." he should answer also, starting from "yi'hei" but leaving out the "Amein", because he didn't hear the first part which is what the "Amein" is responding to.
  • Remember- Concentrate on the words and their meanings!! These words are incredibly powerful! (This one I threw in myself...)

(Pic courtesy of

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Va'ani B'chasd'cha Ba'tachti

וַאֲנִי בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי, יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ; אָשִׁירָה לַה', כִּי גָמַל עָלָי

Va'ani b'chasd'cha ba'tachti, yagel libi bi'shua'secha; ashira la'Hashem, ki gamal a'lie.

"But as for me, in Your kindness I trust; my heart will exult in Your salvation. I will sing to Hashem, for He has dealt kindly with me." (Tehillim 13:6)

The introduction given to this chapter in Artscroll's interlinear Tehillim says: "Exile is like a long, dark, seemingly endless night. But as long as faith and trust in G-d are maintained, one is not defeated." In this psalm, Dovid Hamelech prophetically speaks on behalf of all of Klal Yisrael in galus. It is also a prayer of an individual in a time of distress when the suffering seems unbearable and endless. Dovid asks Hashem "For how long will you forget me?...Until when will you hide your face from me?" He is asking Hashem until when will klal Yisrael have to suffer by the hand of its enemies. If one looks at the History of the Jewish nation, it is clear that we have been oppressed on a consistent basis for basically our entire existence. Dovid goes on-"Until when will my enemy be ascendant over me?...Answer me Hashem...Lest my enemy boast: I have overcome him!; [lest] my tormentors rejoice when I falter." And then he adds the beautiful words of our song-"But as for me, in Your kindness I trust..." Dovid is telling Hashem that although our enemies declare that we have no savior, we know better. We see from Hashem's unbelievable kindness, which we graciously accept although we may be undeserving, that we can put our trust in Him to save us. However bad things may seem to get, we turn to Hashem and sing "We trust You!!" Because we have no doubt that our Father in Shamayim will never sell us short. We just think about how Hashem gives us everything- our health, sustenance, understanding... every second of every day, and we can rest assured that no matter what we are going through, its ALL good!
-Akuna ma'tata!

(Top pic courtesy of
(Other pic courtesy of

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ana Hashem

אָנָּה ה' כִּי אֲנִי עַבְדֶּךָ; אֲנִי עַבְדְּךָ בֶּן אֲמָתֶךָ, פִּתַּחְתָּ לְמוֹסֵרָי

Ana Hashem ki ani avdecha; Ani avdicha ben amasecha, pi'tachta le'mosei'roy.

"Please, Hashem, for I am Your servant; I am Your servant, son of Your handmaid; You have released my bonds." (Tehillim 116:16)

Rashi here comments that we compare ourselves to slaves who are sons of maidservants because a slave who is born to a handmaid is far more submissive than a slave who was born free.
Another explanation that I heard from my friend Moshe K. during my first year in Israel goes as follows: Many of us were born into frum homes. We were brought up with all the values a Jew should have, all the practices, all the obligations etc. But when we stop and think about it, its a scary realization that many of the things we do, we do ONLY because of the fact we were brought up that way. We never actually gave it any real thought! But this shouldn't be the case. Each person should come to their own realization that Yiddishkeit is pure emes. And that it is the best most wonderful way of life, because that's what living emes is.
So when we sing this song we are thanking Hashem for releasing us from our bonds. By being brought up frum we are "servants born into slavery," with the bonds of our routine way of life(solely as a result of our upbringing) tight around our wrists. We are thanking Hashem for giving us the ability and opportunity to break free of these shackles; to find Him and His Torah and way of life on our own, through our own introspection and investigation. And once we accomplish that, or rather- once we begin on the path of accomplishing that, then we can consider ourselves true Ovdei Hashem.
(Top picture courtesy of
(Bottom picture courtesy of
Aish Denver

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tefilla Le'ani

תְּפִלָּה לְעָנִי כִי-יַעֲטֹף, וְלִפְנֵי ה' יִשְׁפֹּךְ שִׂיחוֹ. ה' שִׁמְעָה תְפִלָּתִי, וְשַׁוְעָתִי אֵלֶיךָ תָבוֹא. אַל תַּסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי בְּיוֹם צַר לִי

Tefillah le'ani ki-ya'atof, ve'lifnei Hashem yishpoch sicho. Hashem, shema se'fillasi, ve'shav'asi ei'lecha savo. Al tas'teir panecha mi'meni be'yom tzar li.

"A prayer of the afflicted man when he faints, and in front of Hashem he pours forth his supplications. Hashem, hear my prayer, and my cry -to You let it reach! Do not hide Your face from me on the day of my distress." (Tehillim 102:1-3)

The Rambam writes, "It is a Mitzvah from the Torah to cry out to Hashem for help...whenever trouble strikes the community." When we daven during troubled times, we aren't just performing the Mitzvah Deoriisa of praying to Hashem, but we are confirming our belief that only Hashem can help us. the Sefer Ha'Ikrim comments that somone who doesn't pray in his hour of need must either be lacking faith that Hashem is watching, or lacking faith that Hashem is all-powerful, and that both of these are utter heresy. The Sefer HaChinuch adds: "And someone who is in difficult circumstances and does not call out to Hashem to save him has violated this mitzvah of prayer...for it is as if he has removed himself from the overseeing of Hashem."
Sometimes people don't daven, not because of lack of belief in Hashem, but rather because of lack of belief in themselves; doubting if they are worthy of their prayers being accepted. Truthfully though, Hashem is available to every person, whether he is worthy or not. As the Sefer Ha'Ikrim explains, Everything we get from Hashem everyday isn't a result of man's righteousness but rather it is an expression of Hashem's benevolence and compassion. As it says in Daniel 9:18- "Turn Your ear, Hashem, and listen...For not because of our righteousness do we pour out our supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion."
To be worthy of Hashem accepting our prayers we don't need to be perfect, or even close to it. We simply need to reach for the lifeline He is extending to us, and to grasp it gratefully, confident that at the other end is the One Power Who can save us. (From Praying With Fire by R' Heshy Kleinman)
(Top picture courtesy of Lazer_Beams-From the movie Ushpizin)
(Click here to buy Praying With Fire- I Highly recommend it!)

I Love Kumzitzes

Since we aren't in Wedding season currently(or at least I'm holding we aren't) I think ill post some kumzitz songs. If I'm not mistaken, the purpose of a kumzitz is to bring feelings and emotion into our yiddishkeit; to help us accomplish a closer relationship with Hashem. Unfortunatly, shuckeling and closing our eyes in deep concentration, only takes us so far without having a clue what the words we are singing mean. So lets see if we can remedy that. (once again- requests are of course welcome and highly recommended)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Da Kani Ma Cha'ser

דָּא קָנֵי מַה חָסֵר דָּא לֺא קָנֵי מַה קָּנֵי, זֶה (מַה) מַה שֶׁנֶאֱמַר בְמַעֲרָבָא. דְּדָא בֵּיה כּוּלָא בֵּיהּ, (וּ)דְּלֺא דָּא בֵּיהּ מַה בֵּיהּ

Da kani, ma cha'ser? Da lo kani, ma kani? Ze ma (ma)she'ne'emar be'Mar'ava. Di'da bei, kula bei. (U)de'lo da bei, ma bei?

"If he acquires this, what does he lack? If he does not acquire this, what has he acquired? This is what they said in the West (Eretz Yisrael). He who has this within him, has everything within him. He who does not have this within him, what is within him?" (Nedarim 41a- The order of the words is changed)

This Gemara is talking about the importance of "understanding." Before this it says how understanding is one of a person's most essential possessions, and that there is no truly poor person except one who is impoverished of understanding. But it seems pretty repetitive. "If he acquires this...If he does not acquire this." And then "He who has this within him...He who does not have this within him." What's the deal??
So the Eitz Yosef explains that the two parts are referring to two different types of people: Those who are born with intelligence, and those who are not. It is telling us as follows: Someone who is born without understanding, and he works hard and acquires it, then what does he lack? But if he doesn't work and therefore doesn't get it, then what has he acquired? And for one who is born with understanding, he has it all. But again-if he isn't born with it, and he doesn't work to acquire it, then what is within him?
Understanding distinguishes humans from animals(Rav Nissan Gaon). Without understanding what are we? How can we praise Hashem without understanding His amazing world that He placed us in? One must always be thinking; always questioning; always searching for the emes. Never be afraid to ask a question- "Lo habayshan la'med." "The embarrassed person doesn't learn"(Avos 2:6). We also see this concept in Tehillim 121:1. Dovid Hamelech asks: "I raise my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?" How can the holy Dovid Hamelech be asking where his help comes from? What kind of question is that?! He doesn't know that all help comes from Hakadosh Baruch Hu?!? Of course he does!(He goes on to say "My help is From Hashem...")- He's simply giving over to us this same message; never hold back from asking a question; you're just depriving yourself of truth.
(Top picture courtesy of
(Bottom picture courtesy of

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ve'zakeini Le'gadeil

I've been trying to stick with fast wedding songs, but this one seems to be in high demand so ill throw a chuppah song your way...

וְזַכֵּנִי לְגַדֵּל בָּנִים וּבְנֵי בָנִים חֲכָמִים וּנְבוֹנִים, אוֹהֲבֵי ה', יִרְאֵי אֶלֺקִים, אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת, זֶרַע קֺדֶשׁ, בַּה' דּבֵקִים, וּמְאִירִים אֶת הָעוֹלָם בַּתּוֹרָה וּבְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים, וּבְכָל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבוֹדַת הַבּוֹרֵא

Ve'zakeini le'gadeil banim u'vnei vanim chachamim u'nivonim, o'havei Hashem, yir'ei Elokim, anshei emes, zerah kodesh, ba'Hashem de'veikim, u'mi'irim es ha'olam baTorah u've'ma'asim tovim, u've'chol mi'leches avodas ha'Borei.

"Privilege me to raise children and grandchildren who are wise and understanding, who love Hashem and fear Hashem, people of truth, offspring that are holy, who to Hashem are attached, (who) illuminate the world with Torah and with deeds that are good, and with every labor in the service of the Creator." (Yehi Ratzon said over the Shabbos candles)

One source for lighting Shabbos candles is found in Parshas Beha'aloscha. Klal Yisrael was in the midbar and they started complaining about the monn. "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt free of charge..." (11:5) The Medrash Pliah remarks on this Passuk "Mi'kan she'madlikin neiros be'Shabbos." "From here we know that one is obligated to light candles for Shabbos." The obvious question is-what's the connection??
The Chida explains this Medrash Pliah as follows: First we have to understand what bnei Yisrael were complaining about. We know that the monn was able to taste like whatever one wanted. If that is the case then what are they complaining about? They could just will the monn to taste like the fish back in Mitzrayim and then it would! Whats their problem?? So the Gemara in Yuma (74b) says that although they were able to make the monn taste like anything they were craving, nevertheless, the monn still just looked like monn. Even though they were able to make the monn taste like fish, they lacked the enjoyment and satiety which comes from seeing the food which they wished to taste. (The Gemara there even says that a blind person won’t enjoy or become as full from a meal as a person with normal vision who consumes the same food!)
So based on this complaint the Medrash Pliah was concerned how someone would avoid the same problem on Shabbos. Since one can't light a fire on Shabbos, how will one be able to enjoy the delicious food he is eating Shabbos night? The Medrash therefore concludes that that from our Passuk we may derive that one is obligated to light candles on Shabbos!
(Shabbos Candles pic courtesy of
(Fish pic courtesy of