Archives for category: Elul

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Machnisei rachamim – do we need Protekzia to reach god?

This Motzei Shabbos,we begin the recitation of Selichos, supplications begin for forgiveness in the advent of the Yomim Noraim. Amongst the many Selichos and piyutim included in the Selichos is the piyut of Machnisei Rachamim. Machnisei Rachamim is a piyut that is said at the end of Selichos, asking the Malachim to please bring our supplications and cries before Hashem.

מכניסי רחמים הכניסו רחמינו לפני בעל הרחמים משמיעי תפלה השמיעו תפלתנו לפני שומע תפלה משמיעי צעקה השמיעו צעקתנו לפני שומע צעקה מכניסי דמעה הכניסו דמעותינו לפני מלך מתרצה בדמעות השתדלו והרבו תחינה ובקשה לפני מלך רם ונש. הזכירו לפניו השמיעו לפניו תורה ומעשים טובים של שוכני עפר יזכור אהבתם ויחיה אותנו בטרם שלא תאבד שארית יעקב כי צאנו של רועה נאמן היה לחרפה. ישראל גוי אחד למשל ולשנינה מהר עננו ופדנו מגזרות קשות והושע ברחמיך הרבים משיח צדקך ועמך

This has not been without controversy and has caused much confusion as to whether or not we should indeed say this piyut.

I would like to explore the history of the controversy and attempt to clarify if it is correct to say this piyut.

Much of this is based on an article in Yeshurun by Rav Shlomo Sprecher Vol #3

As an aside, it is interesting, that there have been many piyutim that we skip in Selichos or which simply do not appear anymore, as the Gedolim felt they were improper. Machnisei Rachamim, of unknown origin, always managed to sneak back into the Machzor. This only deepens the curiosity to understand the nature of this piyut and the history of its controversy.

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The Torah in Parshas Shoftim recounts Moshe Rabbeinu instructing the Jewish people what they should be doing when they get across the border into Eretz Yisrael. Moshe told them that they should appoint Shoftim to judge the people properly as well as Shotrim to enforce the law. Additionally, the Jewish people are given a mitzvah to appoint a Melech.

Sandwiched between the Parsha of the Shofet and the Parsha of the Melech, the Torah describes, once again, the severity and prohibition of idolatry.

The Daas Sofrim explains the connection: Once the Shoftim can eradicate idolatry from Eretz Yisrael, which was populated by idol worshippers, they can then appoint a king who can build up his malchus on a pure slate.

Amongst the prohibitions mentioned regarding Avoda Zara, is that of planting an Asheira tree, which is a tree used for the purpose of Avoda Zara. Likewise, one may not use a tree as a source to construct the Mizbeach.

The Meshech Chochma explains the connections of these two concepts. He explains the idea of Korbanos. A Korban is not something that we are giving to Hashem to give him energy and power. Rather a Korban is intended to help perfect a person to be more complete and to grow to be a better more spiritually aligned individual.

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Today is the 80th Yartzeit of Rav Kook Zt’l. I thought it would be appropriate to share some words of wisdom he shared in his Drasha on Rosh Hashanah in Beis Knesses HaChurva in 1933.

We find that the Tefillah for the Geula is accompanied with the Tefillah of  תקע בשופר גדול לחרותינו or והיה ביום ההוא יתקע בשופר גדול. What is the idea behind the Shofar HaGadol? Why specifically do we daven for the blowing of a big Shofar as opposed to a regular one?

Rav Kook explains that we can understand the Shofar of Mashiach by understanding the main 3 halachos regarding the Shofar of Rosh Hashanah:

  1. The Mitzvah to blow Shofar is on the Shofar of a ram.
  2. If one does not have a rams horn, any other kosher animal horn is kosher.
  3. A horn of an animal used for Avoda Zara or of a non-kosher animal is Passul and you may not make a bracha on it, but if you use it, you are יוצא.

The function of the Shofar of Mashiach is to awaken us and push us to do the ‘רצון ה, thereby bringing the full Geula. This re-awakening comes through the Tekia which will call everyone and cause everyone to gather en-masse to Yerushalayim.

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