Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…