Rav Moshe Twersky zt”l On Elul

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By Rabbi Yehoshua Berman

If Yaaleh V’Yavo Was Forgotten

In Brachos (26b) there is a machlokes Rishonim brought down in Tosafos and the Rosh regarding someone who forgot to say yaaleh v’yavo in Mincha of Rosh Chodesh, and only realized after nightfall.  By then, it was no longer Rosh Chodesh.  One shitah holds that there is no reason to daven a teffilas tashlumin (a make-up Shmoneh Esrei which immediately follows the one he is currently davening), because what will he gain by doing that?  The whole reason he needs to daven again is in order to get the missed yaaleh v’yavo, and he is not going to get that since tashlumin is always the same Shmoneh Esrei as that of the current teffilah.  The other shitah, though, says that having missed yaaleh v’yavo is as if he did not daven, and he must daven a teffilas tashlumin to make up for that lost teffilah.

The first shitah holds that missing yaaleh v’yavo is not as if you didn’t daven.  Yaaleh v’yavo, according to the first shitah, was not enacted as an inherent part of the Shmoneh Esrei; rather, it is a separate obligation of b’chol yom v’yom tein lo mei’ein birchosav – a requirement to mention mei’ein ha’meorah, the specialness of that particular day.

To sharpen the point, consider the following question.  In general, when one has to daven again because of forgetting yaaleh v’yavo, is he allowed to eat before davening again?  The answer is that it depends if he is considered to have already davened or not.  According to the first shitah, it makes sense to say that he is allowed to eat since he davened already, just he has a chiyuv to daven again in order to facilitate the recitation of yaaleh v’yavo.  Whereas according to the second shitah that it is as if he has not davened, then the issur of lo sochlu al ha’dahm should still apply.

Another nafkah minah that sharpens the point: when someone forgot yaaleh v’yavo, are all the brachos of his first Shmoneh Esrei l’vatalah?  According to the first shitah no, and according to the second shitah yes.  There is a maaseh that Rav Meir Soloveitchik once forgot yaaleh v’yavo on Shabbos.  His father, the Brisker Rav said to him, “Nu, so now you have another seven brachos towards your meiah brachos.”  Such “offhanded” comments from the Brisker Rav contained hilchesah gevirtah.  What he meant is this, that the brachos are not l’vatalah (like the first shitah); although there is a chiyuv to daven again in order to be able to say yaaleh v’yavo, it doesn’t mean that the first teffilah was not a teffilah, it was.

(Audio recording)

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ובשירי דוד עבדך הנשמעים בעירך האמורים לפני מזבחך

 

Why is it that specifically in the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh we say “and with the songs of Your servant Dovid, which are heard in Your city that are said before Your altar”? This can be understood according to the opinion of the Ramban (Sefer HaMitzvos, Hasagos al HaRambam, paragaraph: Ve’hapliah) that Hallel sung in the Beis HaMikdash on Rosh Chodesh is a mitzvah min HaTorah. As such, the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash will restore not only our ability to bring the korbanos of Rosh Chodesh, but also the full-fledged mitzvah of saying Hallel on Rosh Chodesh — and so we make explicit mention of it in the musaf of Rosh Chodesh.”

(Conveyed by R’ Meshulam Twersky)

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Elul – A Time of Kvod Shamayim

The primary theme of Yamim Noraim is kabalas ol malchus Shamayim, accepting the yoke of Heaven. The whole Elul leads up to the day on which Hashem tells us, “Recite before Me verses of kingship so that you will make Me king over you (Rosh HaShana 16a).”

It follows, then, that one of the main things we should be focusing on during Elul and Aseres Yemei Teshuvah is to be more careful with matters that pertain to kvod Shamayim, the honor of Heaven. When you use a sefer, for example, treat it with respect. Put it back on its shelf when you’re finished, and don’t leave haphazard piles of sefarim lying around. Another example of being more careful with kvod Shamayim is to in general try to be conscientious of coming on time to davening and davening in a respectful manner.

(Recollection of the editor)

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A Formula for Being Zocheh B’Din

We all fervently hope for a favorable judgment on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. Of course, we each need to work on whatever it is that we need to work on. At the same time, there is a very important point that can oftentimes get overlooked. And that is the importance of each individual Jew to identify himself with the tzibur, with the greater entity of Klal Yisrael as a whole. Elisha ha’navi asked the Shunamis woman — in gratitude for her great hospitality — if she would like for him to put forth a special request to the king. The Zohar explains that it was Rosh Hashanah and Elisha was offering to daven for her. Her response, though, was, “I sit among my nation.” The Zohar explains this to mean, “I don’t want that any special attention should be focused on me, for, if so, who knows what type of judgment I may get. Rather, I just want to blend into the community so that I should not receive any negative judgment.” This is not merely a nice piece of advice, it’s a tremendous koach towards being zocheh b’din! So try to not stick out. Blend in with the tzibur so that you will be judged favorably together with the community as a whole.

(Recollection of the editor)

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Quote of the Week

If one looks forward with excitement and anticipation — to cherish every moment of the forty-eight hours of Rosh Hashanah — then the month of Elul goes by quite quickly. However, if Rosh Hashanah feels overbearing and burdensome, what will be with the whole Elul?! Of course, this is not to minimize the fact that Rosh Hashanah is the Yom HaDin. Someone who has fear of the upcoming judgment, it is in place, it is appropriate, and, indeed, it should be so. After all, our lives are hanging in the balance. However, one should not emphasize the fear of Yom HaDin to the extent that it disables a person from connecting to the main theme of the day. Namely, our tefillos that revolve around malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros; and, the mitzvah of tekias shofar. If you focus too much on the fear of the judgment, you can miss out on Rosh Hashanah, and it would be such a shame to miss out on Rosh Hashanah.

(Audio recording)

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Featured Story

On the first day of winter zman 5758 (1998–99), Rav Twersky sat down to begin delivering his shiur. His opening words were, “Rabbosai, it’s eleven months until Elul.”

(Reb Elie Ciment)

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{Matzav.com}

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