Illuminations #196, Adar A, 5779, Parshat Ki Tisah

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Illuminations #196, Adar A, 5779, Parshat Ki Tisah

Torah Gems

“I will dwell among Bnei Yisrael and I will be their G-d” (29:45).

To what can this be compared? The Chafetz Chaim says it is like a person whose house is dirty and full of mud and dust. Even if he were to bring gold and silver vessels into the house, they would not beautify it!

In order to beautify the house, the person must first remove the dirt, and only then can he bring in the elegant furnishings.

So too says the Chafetz Chaim. Hashem gave each person the power to accommodate kedusha inside himself, as it says: “And I will dwell among Bnei Yisrael and I will be their Gd!

But when does the holiness rest in the heart of a person? When he does not allow the yetzer hara to take up residence there with his false opinions or bad thoughts.

This is implied in the Torah’s words, “And do not stray after your hearts and after your eyes so that you will remember and do all the mitzvos.” This means that when you will be careful not to stray from the proper path, when you do a mitzvah it will be dedicated and holy to Hashem. But if, chalila, “sasuru, you stray,” then the mitzvos will not be effective in helping you be kadosh.

Parsha Pearls

In the time of the Chafetz Chaim, a system was installed in Radin that provided electricity to the homes. Until those days, everyone used candles, but from then on, homes became powered by electricity. “You see,” the Chafetz Chaim said to his students, “the power of electricity exists, but one needs to press the switch to illuminate the house, so that one will not remain in darkness. The same is true with Torah learning, which Hashem brought down into this world, and it is ready and waiting for anyone who seeks it. The only thing that is incumbent on each person to do is to press the switch and learn so that the light of Torah will illuminate the darkness.”

Glimpses of Greatness

We are surrounded by a culture that has rejected, in large part, the sacred Jewish concept of “an eye is watching, and an ear is listening,” which teaches that a human being is held accountable for his actions. Public schools are even prohibited from teaching the existence of God. Therefore, in the world we live in, each individual has his own challenges that he must overcome in working out his own relationship with Hashem. Therefore, especially in our times, we should have the kavana, when bowing to Hashem during shemoneh esrei at the first bracha (ie: magen Avraham), that in addition to our G-d and the G-d of our Fathers, we thank him for protecting us, as he did Avraham Avinu, against the onslaught and pressure of the powerful influences of the world filled with kefira surrounding us, which could have a devastating effect on our belief and trust in Hashem. Similarly, on seder night, in every generation, each individual expresses thanks to Hashem that He has assisted him in his own efforts to come close to Him. We say in the Haggadah, and NOW (not then), Hashem is constantly bringing us close to His service.

Halacha Weekly

Q. If we do not know the name of the mother, what should we say when praying for the sick? [I-18- YD-383]

A. We mention the name of the mother of the sick person  when praying for the sick. Sefer Ishei Yisrael  (RavAvraham Yeshaiah Pfieiffer), in the name of the Rav Chaim Kanievsky, writes that if one does not know the name of the sick person’s mother or his father  one should mention the name of his family or some name by which they are known.   Sefer Halichot Chaim (44, Klausenberger Rebbe) writes that if he does not know the name of the mother of the sick person, it is better to mention the name of his father than to mention the Matriarch (Sarah Imeinu) (instead of his mother).

Sefer Ben Yehoyadah (Berachot 55b, Ben Ish Chai) writes the reason that [it is preferable that] we mention the name of a sick person’s mother and not the name of his father [is] …it appears…that … the woman does not have forces of accusation [acting] on her to the extent a man does. [The reason for this is] because she is exempt from the time bound positive mitzvoth and, even more so, she is saved from the two serious sins of neglecting Torah study and causeless destruction of seed…[so] the [force of] accusation is not as zealous on her as it is on a man.  Therefore, [it is preferable] to mention the sick person in the prayer with the name of his mother and not [to use] the name of the father.