Archive for May 2017

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: Chatzot...Purifying One's Hands

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 · Posted in , ,

Because a man rising in the morning from his bed is like a new creature in as far as the service of the Creator is concerned, Baruch Hu, it is incumbent upon him to purify himself and wash his hands out of a vessel, just as the Kohen was accustomed to purify his hands daily out of the wash-basin prior to his service (in the Temple). This washing may be supported by a Biblical verse; for it is said: "I will wash in innocence my hands, and I will compass Your altar O Hashem; That I may publish with a loud voice" etc. (Tehillim 26:6-7). There is another reason for this morning washing, when a man is asleep the holy soul departs from his body, and the unclean spirit comes down upon him. When he rises from his sleep the evil spirit departs from his entire body excepting from his fingers. From there the unclean spirit does not depart unless he spills water on them three times alternately. One is not permitted to walk four cubits without having his hands washed, except in extreme cases of necessity. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning) ============== Baruch Hu - Blessed is He Kohen - Priest Tehillim - Psalms

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: Chatzot...Up At Midnight

Thursday, May 11, 2017 · Posted in , ,

If one is able to rise at midnight and preform the midnight service, there is nothing more pious than this.

As it is said, "Arise, complain aloud in the night, in the  beginning of the watches" (Eichah 2:19); just as the HKB"H, laments at that moment, as it is written: "Hashem will cry aloud from on high, and from His holy habitation will he send forth His voice; He will cry very loudly over His habitation" (Yirmeyahu 25:30; and He then says: "Woe to my children on account of whose iniquity I destroyed My house and burnt My Temple, and them I exiled among the nations."

But if one is unable to rise at midnight, he shall at least make an effort to rise before dawn; as David HaMelech said: "I will wake up the morning-dawn" (Tehillim 57:9), which means I awaken the dawn, but the dawn does not awaken me.

One my perform the midnight ceremony even after midnight, and after that engage himself in the study of the Torah, everyone according to his knowledge. The study of a portion of the Mishnah is preferable to any other study, but if he is not so learned, he shall read Tehillim, Ma'amodot, or books of instruction. A little with devotion is better than much without devotion.

Rabbi Hiya taught: "The Ruach Hakodesh is in the presence of the one who studies the Torah at night; as it said: "Arise, complain aloud in the night, in the beginning of the watches; pour out like water your heart before the Face of Hashem." (Eichah 2:19); which means that the Ruach Hakodesh is then in your presence.

Our Rabbis, obm, said again: "He who engages in the study of the Torah at night is called 'a servant of Hashem' as it is said: 'All you servants of Hashem that stand in the house of Hashem in the night'" (Tehillim 134:1).

In the short nights, when it is impossible to rise so early, he shall at least try to rise early enough to have sufficient time within which to prepare himself to go to the Synagogue to pray together with the congregation.  (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning)



Eichah - Lamenations
Yirmeyahu - Jeremiah
David HaMelech = King David
Ma'amodot - a compilation of readings from the Bible and Talmud
Tehillim - Psalms
Ruach Hakodesh - Divine Inspiration
obm - of blessed memory

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: Run Swiftly to Do Good

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 · Posted in ,

Yehudah, the son of Tema, said, "Be strong as a leopard, light as an eagle, fleet as a hart, and strong as a lion, to do the will of your Father Who is in heaven." (Pirkei Avot 5.23).
"Strong as a lion" means that no man should be ashamed of the people who mock him when engaged in the service of G-d, B"H.

"Light as an eagle" refers to the vision of the eye, i.e. be swift in shutting your eyes not to look at evil things, because vision is the inception of sin - the eye sees, the heart covets, and the instruments of action complete it.

"Fleet as a hart" refers to the legs, i.e. your feet shall always run swiftly to do good.

"Strong as a lion" refers to the heart, because the seat of strength to do the service of G-d, B"H, is in the heart. It is the duty of man to strengthen his heart to do His service, and to prevail over his yetzer ra, just as the hero makes every endeavor to prevail over his enemy, subdues him, and throws him down to the ground. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning)


Transliteration / Translation:

Pirkei Avot - Ethics of the Fathers (literally "Chapters of the Fathers"), a section of the Mishnah.

B"H - Baruch Hashem - Blessed be/is His Name

yetzer ra / - evil inclination

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: Modeh Ani

Monday, May 8, 2017 · Posted in ,

While a man lies in his bed he should also be mindful in Whose Presence he is. As soon as he awakes, he must be mindful of the mercy of HKB"H, in that, He has restored to him his soul of which he had given Him charge when it was weary, and which He restored to Him refreshed and invigorated, so that he may worship Him with all his might, and minister to Him the whole day, for this is the object of every man as it is said: "They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Eichah 3:23), which means, every morning the man becomes a new creature; and for this he has to thank HKB"H, with all his heart.

While still in his bed, one must say:

"I thank You,
O Living and Eternal King,
because You have graciously restored my soul to me;
great is Your faithfulness"

מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ
מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם
שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה
רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ

Modeh (fem. Modah) Ani L’fanecha
Melech Chai V’kayam
Shehechezarta Bi Nishmati B'chemlah
Rabbah Emunatecha

*One may say this prayer although his hands are yet unwashed, since the Name of G-d is not mentioned.
When saying this prayer, it is necessary that one should make a pause between the words "graciously" and "great." (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning)

Transliteration / Translation:
HKB"H = HaKodesh Baruch Hu - Holy One, Blessed is He
Eichah = Lamentations

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning

"I have set Hashem always before me" (Tehillim 16:8)

This is an important principle in the Torah as well as one of the superior virtues of the righteous who walk before G-d.

For, the manner of sitting, movements and affairs of a mankind, when alone in his house, are not the same as when in the presence of a great king. One's manner of talk and boasting when among his own family and friends is likewise not the same as when in the company of a king. In the latter case a man would certainly take precautions that his movements and manner of speech be properly prepared.

So much the more (would a man be cautious) when he would consider the Great King, HKB"H, whose glory fills the whole earth, always stands near him and observes his doings; as it is said: "Can a man hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Says Hashem. Do not I fill the heaven and the earth?" (Yirmeyahu / Jer. 23:24).

Upon considering this, awe and humility will at once overtake him because of the fear of G-d, B"H, and he will be abashed before him. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Laws Relating to the Conduct Upon Rising in the Morning)


- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried was written in the later part of 19th century. It starts a new format and was composed in a very terse format for the layman, and picks the relevant sections of Jewish Law that a layman would focus on. This format has made it a very popular starting point for a student first delving into Halachic works. It has several prints that put in references to other Halachic works like the Mishna Brurah, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and one with notes by former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu who references the later Sefardi decisions in these areas.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch was meant to bring out the bottom line, which it so elegantly does.

On a deeper level, the very brevity of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch brings out a greater unification of the Jewish people. For while halachah in general is a common denominator that unites us all - the obligations of Shabbat, kashrut, and the like apply to all indiscriminately- how the law is learned can vary from person to person. The greater ones understanding and level of education, the deeper he can delve. In the realm of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, the halachah has been distilled to its essence, on this level every Jew can open the book and easily understand the halachah. Even more so since Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is probably the most translated book next to the Chumash and Siddur. Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried's sefer represent the advantage of klal over prat, of the general principal over what is derived from it. It is the yechida of the soul where we all stand the same with Hashem. (Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe -12 Sivan, 5744)

G-d is a Refuge

Thursday, May 4, 2017 · Posted in ,

G-d is a refuge and strength for us, a help in distress, very accessible. Therefore, we shall not be afraid when the earth is transformed, and at mountains' collapse in the heart of the seas; when its waters rage and are muddied, mountains quake in His majesty, Selah.

A river: Its streams will gladden the City of G-d, the most sacred of the dwellings of the Most High. G-d is in its midst, it shall not falter; G-d will help it towards morning. Nations are in turmoil, kingdoms totter; He has raised His voice, the earth dissolves. Hashem, Master of Legions, is with us, a stronghold for us is the G-d of Yaakov, Selah.

Go and see the works of Hashem, Who has wrought devastation in the land. He causes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He will break the bow, and cut the spear; He will burn chariots in fire.
Desist and know that I am G-d; I shall be exalted among the nations; I shall be exalted upon the earth.
Hashem, Master of Legions, is with us, a stronghold for us in the G-d of Yaakov, Selah. 

(Tehillim / Ps. 46)

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