Category Archive: Devorim

Sep 27

Caring Attention!

(Torah Portion Devorim) Caring Attention! Every so often we hear someone saying, “That person has it all.” Let’s think about this. Does anyone have it all? Although at times it might appear that way, one who is true to himself knows that there are areas where he is lacking and needs to strive to accomplish …

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Sep 27

With All Your Heart

(Torah Portion Va’eschanan) With All Your Heart! Probably the Torah verse most well-known by all Jews, is the declaration of Shema Yisroel Ado-noy E-lo-hai-nu Ado-noy Echad. In these six words a Jew declares his allegiance to the Almighty, proclaiming that G-d was, is, and always will be, the One and only. A Jew carries the …

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Sep 27

Tablets!

(Torah Portion Eikev) Tablets! Greetings from the holy and beautiful City of Jerusalem! Malki and I are here to attend the upcoming wedding of Tali Rutta, daughter of our friends Richie and Julie Rutta. We also have the pleasure of seeing our son Chaim who is studying at Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. ~ In the …

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Sep 27

The Way We Look!

(Torah Portion Re’eh) The Way We Look! Greetings again from the holy and beautiful City of Jerusalem! We are spending time in Israel which allows us to reconnect with relatives and friends in Israel and to bask in the atmosphere of this holy land. It also allows us the opportunity of being with our brethren …

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Sep 27

Ain’t That the Truth!

(Torah Portion Shoftim) Ain’t That the Truth! Honesty and integrity are essential to our existence and ability to coexist. Even where the ideals of honesty take a back seat, such as news media outlets which report biasedly and inaccurately on events, if someone is caught lying, they capitalize on the offence. So too, in our …

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Sep 27

Partners!

(Torah Portion Ki Seitzai ) Partners! The other day I had a conversation with a professed atheist who has a terrific and wry sense of humor. I asked him if he can prove his atheistic position to me. His priceless response … “That, I can’t – thank G-d!” Needless to say, we both had a …

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Sep 27

With Warmth

(Torah Portion Ki Savo ) With Warmth! This week’s Parsha is called “Ki Savo” – “when you come.” Last week’s Parsha was called “Ki Seitzai” – “when you go out.” Life is filled with goings and comings, but because we are so busy and distracted, we seldom stop to think about our goings and comings. …

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Sep 27

Right Here

(Torah Portion Nitzavim ) Right Here! Mendel, a known vagabond in the Brooklyn area, was content with the condition of his life, a life that would have been unbearable for just about anyone else. When Mendel became weak and frail, a generous and caring family took him into their nursing facility and provided him with …

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Answered

(Torah Portion Vayailech ) Answered!

Because Avinu Malkainu is recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the most popular days for Synagogue attendance, we are all familiar with the prayer of ‘Avinu Malkainu’ and inspired by the tune sung to the last stanza.

Let’s explain the Avinu Malkainu prayer and trace and examine its source.

Avinu means our Father and Malkainu means our King. Note that when we beseech G-d, we refer to Him first as a Father – which implies that G-d is loving, compassionate and sympathetic to us, and then we refer to Him as our King, which connotes G-d’s power and ability to do and affect everything.

The Talmud relates an incident of an extreme drought in the Land of Israel and they recited extra blessings to the fixed Amidah prayer. Rebbe Elazar led the prayers reciting the additional blessings, yet it did not rain. Rebbe Akiva then recited a few prayers beginning with the words Avinu Malkainu and it immediately began to rain.

Because of the effectiveness of the words Avinu Malkainu, the sages of that time formulated additional prayers beginning with Avinu Malkainu.

The Talmud tells us that when the rain began, a Heavenly voice echoed and proclaimed that Rebbe Akiva’s prayers were answered not because he was greater than his teacher Rebbe Elazar, rather it was because Rebbe Akiva excelled in overlooking what others did to annoy or disturb him. Rebbe Akiva was extremely humble and therefore did not answer back or hold grudges when he could have.

G-d withheld the blessing of rain due to the iniquity of His children, yet He decided to overlook their bad behavior and accept their repentance in accordance with Rebbe Akiva’s way of overlooking the hurt others caused him.

This prompted our commentaries to point out that prayer is most effective when we stir up our sense of humility and let go of negative feelings we have towards others.

The Avinu Malkainu is so important that, in the Synagogue, we open the curtain and doors to the holy Ark that houses the Torah scrolls during its recital.

Because we ask for personal needs in Avinu Malkainu we do not recite it on Shabbos for it is a day of pleasure and mentioning our personal needs on Shabbos can cause one anguish and concern. The only exception is that the Avinu Malkainu is recited during Neila – the final prayer of the holy day of Yom Kippur, even when it falls on Shabbos.

During all Ten Days of Repentance – spanning from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur – when G-d is extremely close to us and avails Himself for us to repent – we recite the Avinu Malkainu in the morning and afternoon prayers.

When we recite Avinu Malkainu during the Ten Days of Repentance, we ask G-d to inscribe us in five books:
The book of: 1. Good life. 2. Redemption and salvation. 3. Sustenance and livelihood. 4. Merits. 5. Forgiveness.

The question raised is, What are these ‘books’ that we are referring to? After all, our liturgy refers to only two Books, the book of life and the book of death.

The commentary Aitz Yosef proposes that these five books align themselves with the essence of each of the Five Books of the Torah.

In the Book of Genesis, life was created – it corresponds to the book of good life.

In the Book of Exodus we were redeemed from Egypt – it corresponds to the book of redemption and salvation.

The Book of Leviticus describes the Temple’s offering which afforded atonement – it corresponds to the book of atonement and forgiveness.

In the Book of Numbers, the Jews were sustained in the desert through the miraculous Manna and water – it corresponds to the Book of sustenance and livelihood.

The Book of Deuteronomy speaks of the death of Moshe and his everlasting merits – it corresponds to the book of salvation.

We are essentially asking our Father and King, that in the merit of each of the written Books of the Torah – we be inscribed in the Book of Life!

Wishing you a most enjoyable & uplifting Shabbos
Rabbi Dovid Saks