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Thought for the Day: Preparing Today to Act Correctly Tomorrow

"Sheina b'shabbos ta'anug" -- it's a pleasure to sleep on Shabbos; and if it's not Shabbos there is not pleasure?  The correct way to read this ma'amar Chazal is rather, "to sleep simply for the pleasure of it is permitted on Shabbos."  If you are thinking there is an inference to be made that a pleasure nap is not permitted during the week... go to the head of the class; that is correct.  During the week one is permitted to sleep in order to be able to function efficiently, but not for pleasure.  Not only is it permissible to take a pleasure nap on Shabbos, one is not permitted to announce that he is taking a nap Shabbos afternoon to be rested for his motzai Shabbos activities.  Taking the nap is not the issue, it's the announcement of the intent behind the nap.  That announcement constitutes a kind of hachana (preparation) on Shabbos for after Shabbos which is forbidden by divrei sofrim (by decree of the prophets; a notch more stringent that regular d'rabanans).

At musaf of the first day of Pesach, we will no longer be saying "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'gashem"; it is the springtime holiday, after all.  We will also, as of the first ma'ariv of chol ha'mo'ed, switch from "v'sein tal u'matar livracha" to "v'sein bracha" in "bareich aleinu".  We are always nervous when making changes to our shmone esrei because we tend to keep saying what we have heretofore become accustomed to saying.  In fact, for the first 30 days after the switch over, if one is in doubt about what he said, shmone esrei must be repeated (there are several important details here... CYLOR).  In fact, some have the minhag, when changing like this, to repeat the new phrase 90 times.  That 90 time is supposed to "reset" what is called "usual" so if you are in doubt about what you said you can now rely on your new hanhaga and be spared the necessity of repeating shmone esrei.  Halichos Shlomo paskens that you are permitted to say "v'sein bracha" 90 times during yom tov to change your habit so that you are prepared for that first chol ha'mo'ed shmone esrei.

"Hang on!", you say, "We just learned that you are not allowed to speak out something on Shabbos for after Shabbos, so what makes this different?"  You are already at the head of the class, so now you get a gold start.  Good question.  The Halichos Shlomo has a spectacular answer.  You are not preparing for after Yom Tov; rather you are preparing yourself right now to say what is appropriate for this time of year.  For the same reason, he says further, the gabai can change the sign in shul on yom tov to publicize the correct nusach.  In other words, saying "v'sein bracha" is not the goal, but actually the result of mentally preparing yourself for the new situation (spring time, yay!).

By the way, the Halichos Shlomo, while permitting this minhag, actually discourages using it.  Not all poskim agree that you can habituate yourself to not say something (as opposed to the switch at winter when you are adding a petition for rain, where everyone agrees you can use this "trick").  So according to the poskim who don't allow this, in case of doubt you would end up no be repeating a shmone esrei that should be repeated.

So what is his recommendation that will work according to all poskim?  Pay attention to what you are saying during t'fila.  Oh.


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