Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: HANHAGOS Category:MINHAGIM Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Going to the Cemetery on Tisha B'Av

The Rema (OC 559:10) says that there is a Minhag to go straight after davening to the Bais HaKvaros on Tisha B'Av. The Mogen Avrohom brings from the Arizal that one should never go to a Bais Kvaros unless it is for a Levaya. The reason is because there are bad spirits in the cemetery. The Mishna Brura says that based on this Mogen Avrohom, on Tisha B'Av one should go near the cemetery to fulfill the minhag but not into the cemetery in accordance with the Arizal.

The Nimukei Orach Chaim says that the Mogen Avrohom only concerns himself with the Arizal by Hilchos Tisha B'Av since Tisha B'Av is a time when bad spirits have the upper hand. The Taamei Minhagim says that Tisha B'Av is a particular danger because we do not learn Torah and therefore are more vulnerable. In fact many are noheg not to go at all.

The Piskei Tshuvos brings that the Chazon Ish would go to the cemetery on Tisha B'Av. Some years he would go in between the graves and other years he would stay by the entrance without going in. The Steipler Gaon on the other hand would never go in, and in his later years would not even go to the Bais HaKvaros at all, not on Tisha B'Av nor any other time of year.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Erev Rosh Chodesh Av - Eating Meat Right Before The Nine Days The Yesod V'Shoresh HaAvodah writes that he sees a scandalous custom that not only do people not fast on Erev Rosh Chodesh Av for Yom Kippur Katan, but they even have a seudah with meat and wine. "Oy Vavoy" to this minhag!   This practice, he says, is Chukos HaGoyim.

On the other hand the Chavas Yair (Mekor Chaim 551) brings that there was a perfectly legitimate minhag in the large Kehilos to announce on Erev Rosh Chodesh Av for everyone to eat meat.  The Taamei HaMinhagim explains that some people like certain milchig dishes even better than meat.  In order to show that we are not eating meat because of aveilus and not for any other reason we specifically eat meat for before the nine days and then stop.  

This minhag is also brought by the Sdei Chemed and the Mishnas Yaakov.  This is similar to the minhag to eat Chometz on Erev Pesach to show that on Pesach we are not eating Chometz for the sole reason of fulfilling Hashem's command.  (See Minhag Yisroel Torah OC 551:7)

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Greeting Protocol For Hoshana Rabba On Hoshana Rabba we wish people a Gmar Tov.  The Minhag Yisroel Tovah brings from the Eretz Tzvi that this means that although our fate, whatever it is, is already sealed, it should turn out for the best.  Koheles says sometimes great wealth is bestowed upon his person for the bad.  We therefore wish each other that whatever they were granted should be for the good.

The Darkei Chaim V'Shalom says we should not wish people Gmar Tov because the word Gmar means "final end" and telling someone  to have a "good end" is quite ominous sounding.  He suggests saying Gmar VChasima Tova.

Her also says that when someone give you a bracha you should not respond "V'Chein L'Mar", as in same to you.  Mar also means bitter and we do not want to wish the person giving us a bracha that he should have a bitter year.  For a response to a bracha, he recommends saying "Gam Atem".

The Chasam Sofer however was very makpid that when he gave bracha to his talmidim they should answer the words V'chein L'Mar.  The source for this is the gemara (Megila 27b), where Rav complained to someone whom he gave a bracha to that he did not say V'Chein L'Mar.

Wed, 29 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Why Kreplach On Erev Yom Kippur? There is a minhag to eat Kreplach, meat covered with dough, on Erev Yom Kippur.  The Minhag Yisroel Torah brings from the Geulas Yisroel that the reason is because Erev Yom Kippur is a Yom Tov, but it is a hidden Yom Tov as we are allowed to do Milacha on this day.  Therefore we eat meat which is a Mitzva to eat on Yom Tov.  However we hide it inside the dough, as our Yom Tov is concealed in a day of Milacha.  

This also explains why we eat Kreplach on Hashana Rabba and Purim which are also Yamim Tovim although work is permitted on those days.

He also brings from the Zera Kodesh that meat symbolizes Din and the dough represents Rachamim.  We take the din of Yom Kippur and we wrap it in a layer of Rachamim to ask Hashem that even if we are given a harsh judgement it should be coated in mercy.

Fri, 17 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Taking A Break Before Tekias Shofar
The Minhag Yisroel Torah says that the Minhag of taking a break before Tekias Shofar is accepted and practiced across the entire spectrum.  Why do we take a break?

He brings from the Nefesh Chaya who says that it is assur to daven more than three hours straight.  He brings proof to this from the Vilna Gaon in Mishlei as well as the Ramban in Mishpatim where Moshe lifted his arms to fight Amaleik.  Therefore every shul has at least a short break where people go out and then come back in, or some other clear sign that davening is over and a new davening will begin.   

The issue is that the Minhag is to leave the Sefer Torah on the Bimah during the break, since we only put it back after Tekias Shofar, and it is assur to leave Shul while the Sefer Torah is out.  The Pri Megadim says that it is permitted to leave it out as long as a Minyan stays in Shul but the Elef HaMogen says even if a minyan remains it is still assur.  However people leave even if there is no minyan remaining.

Therefore the Ktzei HaMateh says that the Sefer Torah should be put back in the Aron during the break. Others say that covering the Torah with a Talis is like putting it back in the Aron.  However the Shu"t Bais Yisroel argues and says that even if there is no minyan it is okay.  The issur, he says, is only if davening is over and the people leave to go home and not come back.  Since here they are planning to return shortly to resume davening there is no problem of leaving the Torah outside the Aron.  

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Why Do We Say Selichos At Night On Motza'ei Shabbos?
The Shulchan Aruch (581:1) says that the Minhag is to say Slichos early in the morning.  The Mogen Avrohom says that the ned of the night right before the morning is a special Eis Ratzon.  Others are noheg to say at night but not before Chatzos.  Some say that this time is less preferable.  

If so, why on the first night of Slichos do we start Motza'ei Shabbos at Chatzos, why not wait until the morning?  One of the reasons is that the Piyut starts B'Motza'ei Yom Minucha, which refers to Motza'ei Shabbos.  But even so this minhag needs clarification.

The Leket Yosher brings from the Trumas Hadeshen that on Shabbos we have simcha from the Torah we learn.  Since the Shechina only rests when a person is happy and not sad, we start Slichos while the joy of Shabbos is still with us.  

Similarly the Vayaged Yaakov brings from Rav Yisachar Dov of Belz that it is hard for us to ask for Hashem to forgive us since our heads should be buried in shame.  However the Medrash says that Hashem's bracha to Shabbos was "Me'or Panim", a radiating face.  Therefore we hurry to start Slichos as close to Shabbos as possible so that we can show our face and not be embarrassed.  (Minhag Yisroel Torah 581:8)

Fri, 03 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
L'Dovid Hashem Ori - The Vilna Gaon And Many Chasidim Didn't Say It
Starting the first day of Elul there is a Minhag to say each day Tehilim 27, "L'Dovid Hashem Ori".  The Matei Ephraim says to say it until Yom Kippur because the Medrash says that "Ori" is Rosh HaShana and "Yishi" is Yom Kippur.  Most are noheg today to say it until Shmini Atzeres because the pasuk says, "Ki Yizpineini B'Succoi" which is a remez to Succos.

There are also various minhagim when exactly to say it by Shacharis.  Some say it after Aleinu, while some say it after the Shir Shel Yom.  There is also a minhag to say it after Chazaras HaShatz before Kaddish.  On days that there is Krias HaTorah some say it when the Aron is opened.

There were many great tzaddikim that did not say it at all.  It is known that the Chozeh of Lublin, Rav Naftoli of Ropshitz, and the Divrei Chaim of Tzanz among others did not say it because they did not consider the source of this minhag to be reliable, at least not the minhag to say it publicly by davening, according to Rav Moshe Halberstam zt"l.

The Maaseh Rav brings that the Vilna Gaon did not say L'Dovid by davening since he was makpid not to say things that were not part of the main davening, since it is Tircha D'Tzibura to add more than is already required. (Minhag Yisroel Torah)

Mon, 16 Aug 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Going To The Bais HaKvaros On Tisha B'Av
The Rema (OC 559:10) says that on Tisha B'Av right after davening there is a minhag to go to the Bais HaKvaros.  The Mishna Brura says that at the Bais HaKvaros you should stay four amos away from the actual grave so that the Koach HaTumah will not attach itself to you.

The source for this worry is the Arizal who said that one should not go to a cemetery unless it is to bury a Mais.  Because of this Arizal, says the Minhag Yisroel Torah, many tzadikim do not go at all to the Bais HaKvaros on Tisha B'av.  

The question is what about the rest of the year, would the Arizal approve of going?  The Nimukei Orach Chaim says that the Arizal's hakpada against going to a cemetery was only on Tisha B'Av.  He proves this because the Arizal says that you should not go twice to the same Kever in one day.  It seems that to go the first time is not a problem.  The reason why Tisha B'av is problematic is because it is a bad day and the Koach HaTumah has more power on Tisha B'av.  Furthermore said the Minchas Elazar, the Arizal surely didn't suggest that one should not to go to Kivrei tzadikim, because that is a Mitzva and no harm can come from it.

The Shaar HaMelech on the other hand takes a different approach and says that the Arizal was against going to the Bais HaKvaros on any day.  However we are only makpid on this on Tisha B'av, since we have no Torah or Tefilin to protect us, we are more vulnerable.  He adds that those who do go, have a minhag to bring garlic cloves and throw it to ward off evil spirits, since garlic stops jealousy (Bava Kama 82a).  

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Adar & Purim - Covering Aveilus With Simcha The Piskei Tshuvos (686:5) brings from the Yalkut Avrohom that when Chodesh Adar begins, there is a minhag to put signs on the wall of Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B'Simcha.  Where so we put these signs?  The Yalkut Avrohom says these signs should be put on the part of the wall that is left without paint Zecher L'Churban.  In Adar we block out our sadness and mourning and instead concentrate on happiness.

This is consistent with the Ramchal who says that since a Jew is in a constant state of mourning of the Churban and Purim is a day of happiness, we get drunk on Purim since it is the one day a year that we must be happy without even thinking about the Churban.

Tue, 16 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
When Should We Eat The Challah From The Eiruv Tavshilin? The Gemara in Shabbos (117b) says that Rebbi Ami and Rebbi Asi would eat the Challah from Eiruv Tavshilin for Lechem Mishna.  Since they already did one mitzva with it, they wanted to do another.

The Minhag Yisroel Torah brings from the Maharil that he would use the challah from Eiruv Tavshilin for the second uneaten challah of lechem mishna on Friday night and on Shabbos day, and then finally eat it by Seudah Shlishis.  However another minhag is to eat it by the Shabbos day seudah.

The Minhag Yisroel Torah asks what would be the logic in eating it in the morning.  if we want to do as many mitzvos as possible with it then we should have it present at all three meals like the opinion of the Maharil.  The other logical alternative is to eat it right away at the first seudah on Friday night so as to show our love for the mitzva by not delaying.  He offers that the rationale for this minhag is that since Kavod HaYom Adif, the Shabbos day seudah is the most special and honored, therefore we wait for this seudah to honor the Eiruv Tavshilin.

Thu, 28 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Shavuos: The Name Shavuos - Tna'im, Kesuba, And Wedding Vows Why don't we call the Yom Tov Shavuos, Chag Matan Torah?  What is the significance of the name Shavuos?  The Chida says that Shavuos means to swear.  It was the day that Hashem swore we would be His nation and he would never trade us for another.  We also swore to Hashem that w would never trade Him for another.

Just like when a Choson and Kallah get married they read the Tna'im the promises that each side makes to the other, so too on the first day of Shavuos some have a Minhag (Minhag Yisroel Torah) to read the Tna'im between Hashem and Am Yisroel written by Rav Yisroel Najara, (the composer of Kah Ribon Olam from Friday night zemiros).  On the second day there is a minhag to read the Kesuba between Hashem and Am Yisroel.

Wed, 27 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Hagada On Shabbos HaGadol, To Say Or Not Say? There is a minhag to say the Hagada from Avadim Hayinu until L'Chaper Al Avonoseinu on Shabbos HaGadol after Mincha.  The Levush writes that the reason is because that is when the geula started.  The Maharshal writes that the reason is to acquaint yourself with the hagada in preparation of the Leil HaSeder.

However the Vilna Gaon writes that we should not do this because it goes against what we say in the Hagada in "Yachol MeiRosh Chodesh" which says that we should not say the hagada only on the night of the seder itself when the Matza and Maror are before us.  Rav Yaakov Emden in his tshuvos and his siddur also wonders about this seemingly contradictory minhag.

To justify this minhag the Yad Yosef says that the hagada means, that you do not have mitzva of Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim before Pesach, but does not forbid it.  The Chasam Sofer and the Maharal both answer that the Hagada is specifically referring to the mitzva to teach the story to your children.  That should only be done on Pesach when the story comes to life with the matza and maror are before you.  Telling the story earlier will make the Seder very boring for them.  However adults who enjoy a fresh perspective and delve deeper with every reading, certainly may say the hagada beforehand.  (Minhag Yisroel Torah)

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Special Treats For Shabbos HaGadol The Minhag Yisroel Torah brings two interesting minhagin regarding special food to eat on Shabbos HaGadol.  The first is a minhag from Frankfurt where the people would save a piece of the afikoman each of the nights of Pesach and hold it by them the entire year.  On Shabbos HaGadol they would put the afikoman into one of the Shabbos foods and eat it.

Another minhag was to save a food from the Mishloach Manos received on Purim and eat it on Shabbos HaGadol.  They would eat a little bit of the Mishloach Manos each day from Purim until Shabbos HaGadol, when they would finish the last remnants.  The reason for this is because the kedusha of Pesach start thirty days before Pesach which is the day of Purim.  We want to connect the kedusha of the two Yomim Tovim of Geula together.

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Maos Chitim In Honor Of Avrohom Avinu Our of all the Yamin Tovim there is a special minhag before Pesach to make sure that the less fortunate have all the provisions needed for Yom Tov.  Why specifically Pesach?

The Minhag Yisroel Torah brings from Rav Yaakov Aharon MiAlexander who quotes his rebbe the Yehudi HaKadosh MiPeshischa, who explains the enigma of why the great tzaddik Avrohom was so concerned that Bnei Yisroel leave Mitzrayim with great wealth.  The reason is that there are two tests a person can face in Avodas Hashem, poverty and wealth.  Wealth is a far greater challenge than poverty.  In Mitzrayim Bnei Yisroel faced the test of poverty, and Avrohom, who wanted them to ascend a higher level, insisted that Hashem bestow on the them the wealth he promised for them to achieve this elevated status.

Therefore since Yetzias Mitzrayim was a transition to the difficult challenge that accompanies great wealth, in order for everyone to participate, we give Maos Chitim to make sure that every Jew has all the adequate means and does not lack anything for the Yom Tov. 

Sun, 29 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
What Do You Eat, Round Matza & Square Matza? Rav Yehuda Assad was makpid to eat only round Matza just like the matza that was eaten in Mitzrayim.  "Vayofu Es Habatzek... Ugos Matzos" (Bo 12:39) means round matzos, as in Choni HaMi'agel who stood in a circle.  Not for nothing did the torah write they were round says Rav Yehuda Assad.  He gives a number of reasons.  The matza is Lechem Oni, the bread of poverty and the circle symbolizes the "Galgal HaChozer BaOlam" poverty and wealth runs in cycles.  Also the Mitzrim ate bread with three or four corners to represent the multiple gods that they worshipped.  Therefore Bnei Yisroel was commanded to bake round matza.  Similarly Rav Shloime Kluger also says that throughout history round matzos were always used.

On the other hand the Sdei Chemed brings from Rav Tzvi Hersh Orenstein of Lvov that machine matzos cannot be made round because that would require taking a square matza and carving off the edges during the process which leads to halachic complications.  Additionally the She'arim Metzuyanim BaHalacha brings from Shu"t Zichron Yehuda that one need not be makpid to have round Matzos.

That is why we find today that hand matza is round like is preferable, and machine matza is square to preserve halacha over a debatable minhag.  The question of hand vs. machine will continue to rage and maybe one day someone will come up with a way to make a round machine matza with all the chumros and hidurim!

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
A Square Wedding Ring, A Segula For Children It is written in Tikunei Zohar that a ring is a square made up of four straight lines like the letter "Mem Stumah".  The Arizal says that a ring is round like the letter "Mem Stumah", and he refers to this same Zohar.

The Masok MiDvash brings that the Gaon HaKadosh from Komarna said in the name of his rebbe Reb Tzvi Hersh MiZiditchov that the wedding ring should be square and round, perfectly square on the outside and round on the inside.  He goes on to say that this is asiman tov and a mazal tov that the couple should not be two opposites and that they should be able have children together.

The Gaon HaKadosh from Komarna adds that this is the proper thing to do.  If this is done specifically from the husband's money, he says that the couple is guaranteed that the woman will not be barren her whole life.

Mon, 08 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
What Day Is Your Ushpizin? The Minhag Yisroel Torah brings from the Sefer Toras Emes L'Succos that there is a minhag among tzaddikim that the day that the ushpizin is their own name they connect to the Kedusha of that person.  This is based on the Arizal who says that when a person is given a name, his inner root comes from the original person named by that name.  On Succos, says the Zohar, a person can connect to his root.

Even someone who does not have the name of one of the ushpizin can find his root in one of the ushpizin.  For example, Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa says that someone whose name is Zvi should heed to ushpizin of Yitzchok since it says by Yitzchok that the taste of the goat was like the taste of a Zvi.

The Elef LaMateh (625:19) says that it is good to say divrei torah about the ushpizin of that day.

Fri, 17 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000 The Toras Chaim says that his father, the Machaneh Chaim, told him that the Machatzis HaShekel would leave his Kinos in Shul every year afte he finished saying them.  The next year he would always purchase a new one.  This was to show his confidence that Moshiach would come that year and he wouldn’t need it again.

Similarly the Levush says (OC 559) that the reason we don’t use a Klaf for Eicha and we just read it from a printed text, is because if it were written on parchment it would take on an air of permanence and be seen as a sign that we have given up hope on the Geula.

Rav Hillel Keiser Hy”d (killed in Auschwitz), a talmid of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, wrote that it might be a good idea to keep the Kinos.  This way when Moshiach comes we will have a remaining artifact from the Galus which we could use to stimulate us to greater thanks for Hashem for the redemption, similar to the way we eat Maror on Pesach.  (Minhag Yisroel Torah)

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Dress Code For Shabbos Chazon: Weekday Or Shabbos Clothing? The Rema says (OC 551:1) that on Shabbos Chazon we do not change out of our weekday clothing into Shabbos clothing except for an undershirt.   The Sefardim follow the minhag of the Bais Yosef who says to wear Bigdei Shabbos on Shabbos Chazon.  The Mishna Brura (6) says that in Vilna they wore Bigdei Shabbos in accordance the Vilna Gaon’s opinion.  This is also the opinion of Rav Yaakov Emden in his siddur.  

The Arizal also wore Shabbos clothing.  The Chasam Sofer, commenting on the Arizal however said, that when the Arizal wore Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon it caused him more pain than wearing his weekday clothing.  If we wear Shabbos clothing and don’t dress differently, we will completely forget the Churban.

The Aruch HaShulchan explains that in the olden days there Shabbos clothing and weekday clothing looked identical.  The only difference was in the quality of the garments.  Therefore it was appropriate to wear weekday clothing on Shabbos Chazon.  However once the weekday and Shabbos clothing started looking different it was not Kavod Shabbos to dress in weekday clothing on Shabbos.  

The Dvar Yom B’Yomo tells the following fascinating story about a walk he took with famed Rov of L’vov the Baal Sho’el U’Meishiv on Shabbos Chazon.  The Sho’el U’Meishiv who wore his weekday, complained about another Tzaddik who wore Shabbos clothing that he broke from tradition.  While they were talking someone came running with a terrified look on his face and said that a man came to Shul carrying his Tallis and Tefilin.  When the people started screaming at him he said that he forgot that it was Shabbos when he saw one of the Dayanim of the city wearing his weekday hat.  The Dvar Yom B’Yomo being a child started laughing.  The Sho’el U’Meishiv shouted, “I know you are telling me this so that I should institute that Shabbos clothing should be worn on Shabbos Chazon, but this will not happen!” (Minhag Yisroel Torah)

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000 Our minhag is to wear Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon.  But surely we cannot wear these clothing on Tisha B’Av itself.  So when do we change when Tisha B'Av fall out on Motza[ei Shabbos?  With regard to taking off our shoes, the Rema (OC 553:2) says that when Tisha B’Av is Motza’ei Shabbos we take off our shoes after Borchu at Maariv, except for the Chazan who takes it off before Borchu after saying Boruch HaMavdil Bein Kodesh L’Chol.

Based on Rav Yaakov Emden who writes in his Siddur HaYaavetz to go to Shul in worn out clothing for Maariv on Tisha B’Av, the Minhag Yisroel Torah writes that this applies to Motza’ei Shabbos as well since you cannot daven Maariv on Tisha B’Av in Shabbos clothing, nor can you change in Shul after Borchu.  Before changing out of your clothing to go to Maariv you must say Boruch HaMavdil Bein Kodesh L’Chol just like the Rema requires of the Chazan who changes shoes before Borchu.

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Minhagim: In Sickness and in Death, After Mommy or Daddy?

When someone is sick, the minhag when we daven for them is to use the mother's name.  When they die and we do things L'Iluy Nishmasam, we use the father's name.  Why?

The Minhag Yisroel Torah (OC 119:1) brings a number of answers.

  • 1) Since we cannot be sure who the father is with 100% certainty when there is Pikuach Nefesh we are Choshesh for the rare case where it may not be the real father and ask for Rachamim in the mother's name. After death when the person is in Shamayim, we go after the majority and assume that he is the son of his known father. (Divrei Torah Mahadura 2:4)
  • 2) Generally speaking there are more complaints against a man in Shamayim than a woman. This is by virtue of the fact that men are obligated in more mitzvos including learning Torah and bitul torah is almost impossible to avoid. (Shu"t Torah Lishma 399)
  • 3) The Ramban says that the mother provides the substance of the child and the father provides the form. Therefore when it comes to physical health we use the mother's name. But when dealing with the welfare of the neshama we use the father's name. (Mekor Chaim on Sefer Chasidim)

It should be noted that in Germany and parts of Hungary the minhag was the opposite.  Another Minhag is to mention both parents names under all circumstances.  This was requested by the Maharam Ash and the Sdei Chemed in their respective Tzava'os.

Mon, 14 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000