These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: CD # 385, Fasting On Rosh Hashana. Good Shabbos!
The Best Preparation For The Days of Awe: Try A Little Kindness
I once heard the following incident from Rabbi Kulefsky (zt”l), who personally observed it one Erev Rosh Hashanah when he was learning in Yeshivas Torah V’Daas.
Rav Shlomo Heiman (the Rosh HaYeshiva of Torah V’Daas) asked two of the most outstanding students of the Yeshiva of that era (who were later well known as Rav Simcha Schustel and Rav Moshe Shisgal) for a favor. He requested that they write L’Shanah Tova cards for him and mail them to him.
Rav Shlomo Heiman then told them, “and if you question – is there not anything better and more spiritual that we should be doing on the eve of Rosh HaShanah other than writing Shanah Tova cards – I have an answer for you. It may in fact not be so appropriate for me to write my own Shanah Tova cards today. However, if you will write the cards for me, then you will be doing me a great favor (Chessed) and what could be more important to do on Erev Rosh Hashanah than an act of kindness for someone else?”
In a similar vein, I heard a very poignant story from a disciple of the Klausenberger Rebbe (Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, zt”l 1905-1994), which involves his Rebbe. One year, right after the Holocaust, the Klausenberger Rebbe was preparing himself on Erev Yom Kippur. One can imagine the preparations that the Rebbe would engage himself in before the holy Day of Atonement. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. A young girl came to him and said, “Rebbe, I do not have a father anymore. I do not have anyone to ‘bless me’ before Yom Kippur.” The Rebbe took a cloth, placed it upon her head, and blessed her the way a father blesses his daughter on Erev Yom Kippur.
Five minutes later, there was another knock on the door. It was another girl, again without a father, again without anyone to ‘bless her’ before Yom Kippur, again with same request. Again, the Rebbe went through the same routine. He took the cloth, he placed it upon her head, and he blessed her the way a father blesses his daughter.
This is what the Klausenberger Rebbe did the entire Erev Yom Kippur until he blessed over eighty orphaned girls. This is the best preparation for Erev Yom Kippur. What could be a greater preparation for the High Holidays than to do a favor for another Jew?
Gemar Chasima Tova.
Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]
This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Nitzavim/Vayeilech is provided below:
- CD# 022 – Reading Haftorah: Scrolls vs. Book
- CD# 112 – Shoteh: Mental Incompetence in Halacha
- CD# 158 – Schar Shabbos: How Do We Pay Rabbonim and Chazzanim?
- CD# 205 – Kiddush Before T’kiyas Shofar
- CD# 252 – Buying Seforim
- CD# 295 – Burying the Dead on Yom Tov Sheni
- CD# 341 – The Brachos on the T’kios
- CD# 342 – Is Building a Succah a Mitzvah?
- CD# 385 – Fasting on Rosh Hashana
- CD# 386 – Succah Gezulah
- CD# 429 – Treatment of an Invalid Sefer Torah
- CD# 473 – Seudas Siyum Mesechta
- CD# 517 – What Exactly Is Mitzva of Shofar
- CD# 561 – Lo Bashomayin He
- CD# 605 – Selling A Sefer Torah
- CD# 649 – Minhagim of the Yomim Noraim
- CD# 693 – My Father’s Chumros
- CD# 737 – Borrowing and Lending Seforim
- CD# 781 – I’m the Baal Tokeah and Not You!
- CD# 825 – The Shuls of Gaza – A Halachic Perspective
- CD# 826 – Yom Kippur: Women and the Shehecheyanu; Women and Kor’im
- CD# 869 – The Mitzvah of Chinuch-Whose Responsibility? Mother or Father?
- CD# 870 – Yom Kippur – The Yom Kippur That They Did Not Fast
- CD# 913 – The Tefilah of Oleinu
- CD# 957 – Coming Late for Tekias Shofar and Other Rosh Hashana Issues
- CD# 1000 – Ta’amei Hamikra – The Tropp – How Important Is It?
- CD# 1044 – Must You Stand for Chazoras HaShatz on Rosh Hashana?
- CD# 1088 – Learning During T’kias Shofer?
- CD# 1131 – Asking For Personal Needs On Rosh Hashana?
- CD# 1173 – Oops! I Forgot Ya’Aleh Ve’Yavo in Bentching on Rosh Hashana
- CD# 1217 – Fascinating Halachos Pertaining to a Choleh on Yom Kippur
A complete catalogue can be ordered from the Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511. Call (410) 358-0416 or e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information.