Oneg Nitzavim

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  • ?? Quiz Time?? Answers can be found on back page 1. When does Parshas Nitzovim take place during Moshes lifetime?

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    AHTaking Stock of the Nation when the Time

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    Parshas Nitzavim begins with the words: "You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your G-d: Your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers - all the men of Israel". [Devorim 29:9].

    Rashi comments (in his second interpretation): "Since Israel was going out from leader to leader, from Moshe to Yehoshua, therefore he made a standing assembly (matzeivah) of them in order to exhort them. And so did Yehoshua do (before he died). And so too, Shmuel, who said 'Stand and I shall contest with you', when Israel left his hand and entered the hand of Shaul."

    In other words, whenever a leader would prepare for the handing over of the nation, so to speak, to the next generation of leadership, he would make them into a "standing assembly" (matzeivah).

    What does it mean to make the people into a 'matzeivah'? Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his published thoughts on Chumash, introduces an interesting concept. The thought is based on a somewhat homiletic idea. The Torah commands elsewhere: "Do not set up for yourselves a pillar ('matzeivah') that the L-rd your G-d despises" [Devorim 16:22]. Many masters of 'derush' (homiletics) interpret this pasuk [verse] to mean that a person should never make HIMSELF into a 'matzeivah'.

    A 'matzeivah' is an altar made of one piece of stone as opposed to a 'mizbeach' that is an altar made of many stones. The symbolism of a one-piece stone is: This is where the person is now and this is where he is always going to be. A person is not a 'matzeivah'. A person should never make himself into a 'matzeivah' saying: "this is all that I am." A person must try to grow. Either we grow or we regress. Spiritually, there is no such thing as standing still.

    A person should never say: "What do you want from me? I have my wife. I have my kids. I learn my daf. I daven three times a day. I am a good guy. Leave me alone!" A person must never stagnate spiritually and thereby make himself into a 'matzeivah'.

    Our Sages comment on the words "Vayelech Moshe" [And Moshe went] at the beginning of next week's parsha that the word "Vayelech" indicates chastisement (tochacha). We understand that there is plenty of tochacha in Parshas Ki Savo and so too in Parshas Nitzavim. But where is the tochacha in the word "Vayelech" at the beginning of Parshas Vayelech?

    The answer is that Parshas Vayelech was written on the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu's life (the Seventh day of Adar). The Torah is indicating to us that

    even at the age of 120, Moshe Rabbeinu was still a 'holech' (a mover). There are two types of beings in this word -- a stationary being (an 'omed') and a dynamic being (a 'holech') -- someone who is always on the move.

    Moshe Rabbeinu did not walk into his retirement party dressed casually, without a tie, looking forward to giving up the tremendous burden of leadership that he bore on his shoulders all these years. Even to the very end, Moshe was a 'holech'. This is the chastisement -- to the rest of us!

    The Vilna Gaon comments on a pasuk in Zecharia [3:7]: "And I will place before you movers (mehalchim) between these stationary people (haOmdim haEleh)". The Gaon states that the only being that should be spiritually stationary is an angel. The pasuk is teaching that a person -- sometimes -- can even be a mover after his death, moving amongst the 'omdim', i.e. -- the angels!

    If a person works and accomplishes something while in this world and leaves a legacy, then even after death, he can be a 'holech'. However, the time when a person is on this planet is certainly not the time to relax. There will be plenty of time to relax... in the next world.

    As we get older, we look ahead to the generation older than us. I am strengthened by the fact that I see many people older than I, past retirement age, who remain dynamic and creative. They are still 'holchim' well into their seventies and eighties. They never allow themselves to become merely

    "omdim" (stationary). Some people go on to even greater life accomplishments after they "retire" from their professional careers than during that "productive period". This is the way it should be with all of us. We must remain 'holchim.'

    To return to our point of departure, Rav Moshe interprets "Atem Nitzavim" [You are standing] as "he made them into a 'matzeivah'." As he is about to hand the nation over to Yehoshua, Moshe gives his disciple a status report on the nation. "Yehoshua, this is where they are spiritually right now. It is your responsibility to take them to the next level." It is necessary to have such a measure, a snapshot in time, against which future progress can be compared and calibrated.

    This is why, throughout Biblical history, every leader would make the people into a 'matzeivah' at the time when he was about to hand over the nation to the next generation's leadership. This was to create a sort of snapshot, as if to say, "Where do they stand at this moment in time?" The past leader "took stock of the nation" before handing them over to the next leader. This is the meaning of "he made them into a 'matzeivah.'"

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    12 September 15 "

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  • ?? Quiz Time?? Answers can be found on back page 2. How is this bris, covenant, dierent to all the previous ones? Why the need for an additional bris?

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    AHInterruptions and breaks during

    Rosh Hashanah daveningJoseph FaithNishmas Yisroel H

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    Halachos reviewed by R. Dovid Tugendhaft. For final rulings please consult your rav.

    I LEFT SHUL FOR A FEW MINUTES AND MISSED A FEW PIYUTIM. DO I HAVE TO SAY THEM TO MYSELF WHEN I COME BACK?

    Although when you are in shul you should make every effort to say the piyutim, you are not required to make up what you missed1.

    IN MY SHUL THEY MAKE KIDDUSH BEFORE TEKIAS SHOFAR. IS THIS ALLOWED?

    This is the subject of longstanding debate. Although there is no explicit prohibition against eating before tekias shofar in the Shulchan Aruch, the Magen Avraham, cited by the Mishnah Berurah2 rules that it is forbidden to eat more than an eggs volume (kebeitza) of mezonos, and implies that even eating less than that is only permitted in cases of great need (tzorech gadol)3.

    However, in recent generations, it has become customary in many places to make kiddush before tekias shofar, with some suggesting that this was instituted by R. Yisrael Salanter4. Many poskim encourage those who are able to concentrate fully without eating until after davening to do so5 and most accept the Magen Avrahams prohibition against eating more than a kebeitza of mezonos6, although there are some sources that would seem to justify eating more7. Others add that there is greater room for leniency on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, when the mitzvah of tekias shofar is rabbinic in nature8.

    ARE WOMEN ALLOWED TO EAT BEFORE HEARING TEKIAS SHOFAR?

    Several poskim write that ideally they should abide by the same restrictions as men, as outlined above, although they may eat if not doing so causes discomfort9.

    SHOULD I SAY BARUCH HU UVARUCH SHMO IN RESPONSE TO THE BRACHA ON TEKIAS SHOFAR?

    No. However, if you did, it is not considered an interruption (hefsek), as long as you heard all the words of the bracha10.

    MAY I TALK ONCE TEKIAS SHOFAR HAS BEGUN?

    No, you should be careful not to talk until after chazaras hashatz11.

    1 Mekadesh Yisrael: Yamim Noraim (Harfenes) 119,2 Mishnah Berurah 692:153 Magen Avraham 692:74 Shut Hisorerus Teshuva 225, Olas Shmuel 82, Mikraei Kodesh: Yamim Noraim 29, Shut

    Tzitz Eliezer 6:7, 7:32 & 8:21, Shut Az Nidberu 1:10, Moadim Uzmanim 1:4, Shut Teshuvos Vehanhagos 5:179, Hilchos Hechag Bechag: Yamim Noraim 8:25

    5 Mateh Efraim 588:2, Shut Minchas Yitzchak 5:111, Shut Betzel Hachochma 4:147, Shut Shevet Halevi 4:54, Shut Lehoros Nasan 1:29, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited in Shalmei Moed p.37

    6 Mateh Efraim 588:2, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, cited in Shalmei Moed p.38, Piskei Teshuvos 585:2

    7 Nitei Gavriel: Rosh Hashanah p.4578 Hilchos Hechag Bechag: Yamim Noraim 8:259 Chayei Adam 141:7, Eishel Avraham 589:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:19, Piskei Teshuvos 585:2,

    Hilchos Hechag Bechag: Yamim Noraim 8:2610 Mishnah Berurah 124:21, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:14, Piskei Teshuvos 585:3, Shut Shraga

    Hameir 5:55, Hilchos Hechag Bechag: Yamim Noraim 8:1711 Orach Chaim 592:3, Mishnah Berurah 593:11

    The Chayei Adam writes that you should not talk until the tekios that are blown after musaf have concluded12. Although his ruling is cited by some poskim13, others believe that this is not required14.

    WHAT ABOUT SAYING THE YEHI RATZONS PRINTED IN MY MACHZOR DURING THE FIRST SET OF TEKIOS (TEKIOS DEMEYUSHAV)?There are divergent prac