Illuminations #86, Av 5776, Parshat Re’eh

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Illuminations #86, Av 5776, Parshat Re’eh

Torah Gems

“You are children to the L-rd your G-d” (Devarim 14:1).
Rabeinu Bahya explains that the custom of the Amorites was to make this world the sole focus. Therefore, according to this, when someone passed away he was lost forever.
The Jewish people, however, are not like this, because we are the “children to the L-rd your G-d.” The way of the world is that a father wishes to bequeath to his son the best of what he has. So, too, G-d, who created the world to come, keeps it for the Jewish people, his children, to inherit in the future. That is why we are not permitted to copy the Amorites’ abhorrent customs, such as making incisions in the flesh, or tearing out the hair between the eyes, as a sign of mourning.
We know that the primary focus is the world to come and not the body in this world. So when a person passes away, even though we are commanded to mourn, it must be done with dignity and within the boundaries that were given to us. This is because we are aware that this world is not of primary importance, and our Father in Heaven has kept aside a valuable inheritance which is waiting for us in the world to come.

Parsha Pearls

It says in the Pasuk, והיית אך שמח, “And you shall be totally happy.” The Ben Ish Hai says we see from this how important your happiness is to G-d and to what extent we must be careful to perform this commandment.
When a person performs any commandment, he should not say, “What difference does it make if the performance is accompanied by happiness or sadness?”  Rather, he must know that happiness is, first and foremost, a commandment in its own right. In addition, when joy is lacking, it also detracts from the commandment that was performed, and actually hurts it.
That is why we have a specific commandment here of happiness, to teach us that it is a commandment on its own, and that a person gets rewarded specifically for it. For this reason the Men of the  Great Assembly instituted individual blessings connected with happiness, such as Shehechiyanu, that we recite on new clothing and the like.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Elyashiv’s son-in-law relates that after his marriage, he wanted to give his father-in-law a gift. His mother-in-law suggested that he would appreciate a new Tallit, and heeding her advice, he went out before Pesah and purchased a brand-new Tallit as a gift for Rav Elyashiv.
Immediately after Pesach, he was astonished to receive a check made out for the precise value of the Tallit! The son-in-law was perplexed, but Rav Elyashiv’s wife explained in amusement, “Did you think he’d accept a gift for free?” (Adapted from Learning to Live)

Halacha Weekly

Q. When does one need to say Tefilat HaDerech (Prayer for Protection of Travelers) when traveling?

A.  One does not say Tefilat Haderech (The Prayer for Protection of Travelers) more than once a day. If one stays overnight in a city and continues the next day on one’s way, or returns home, he needs to say Tefilat Haderech again for that day.

One should not say the blessing until one has absolutely established as a certainty one is going to leave the city, the reason being that one may come to say a beracha levatala (blessing in vain mentioning the Divine Name without purpose). Another reason given is that there is no danger which would require one to say this prayer while yet within the city limits.

Some opinions hold that one can say  it immediately upon leaving one’s home to travel. However, the Mishnah Berurah(110:5-29) holds that one must leave the city limits entirely. According to Rav Moshe Feinstein, Z”L, one must travel 2.8 miles before saying the blessing.

One need not say the blessing at all if one is traveling on a trip which will takes less than 72 minutes (according to Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Z”L).  If the trip is longer than that, one should say the blessing after leaving the city limits.


In honor of the Eightieth Birthday of Rabbi Dr. Barry Broyde, By Rabbi Michael and Channah Broyde, Joshua and Suzanne Broyde, Aaron, Rachel, Deborah and Levi Broyde