Shalom uvracha to all of the wonderful B’nai Shalom members, families, and friends:
I hope and trust that, following the inspiring and moving Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, the holidays of Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, brought additional pleasure and joy to all of you.
Following the close of the holiday of Simchat Torah, we have the longest stretch on the Jewish calendar of “down time” in which there are no holidays or fast days, (naturally NOT COUNTING the weekly celebrations of Shabbat Kodesh and the beginning of each month with Rosh Chodesh – the semi-holiday observances of the first day of each Hebrew month).
There are two months and two days following Simchat Torah until the next holiday of Chanukah, and no fast days until Asarah B‘Tevet, one week AFTER Chanukah has concluded. AND while Chanukah IS the next holiday, it is NOT a Yom Tov, (a designated holiday mentioned in the Torah Shebichtav –the written Torah). The designation of the next Yom Tov, believe it or not, goes to Pesach, which, this year, will take place seven months after Sukkot. This is a month longer than in most years since the current year is a Hebrew leap year, which includes two months of Adar, both preceding Nisan, the month that includes Pesach.
This gives me an opportunity to address questions and issues which have been presented to me during my weekly Shabbat shiur (afternoon class) and informally during Kiddush time. Therefore, ON WITH THE ANSWERS:
DID YOU KNOW:
The prayer “Yaaleh V’Yavoh” is added to each Amidah in every prayer service (Maariv, Shacharit, and Mincha) and each recitation of Birkat HaMazon (the Grace After Meals) on all days mentioned in the Torah (not including Shabbat, which has its own designated Amidah and additional paragraph in the Birkat HaMazon). This includes the Shelosh R’galim (the Three Pilgrimage Holidays) of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and even Rosh Chodesh, the semi-holiday marking the beginning of every Hebrew month.
The prayer: “AL HaNissim” is added to each Amidah in every prayer service (Maariv, Shacharit, and Mincha) and each recitation of Birkat HaMazon (the Grace After Meals) on the two “holidays of miracles:” Chanukah and Purim. We recognize these two holidays as post-Torah holidays in which G-d showed mercy and kindness to us, his people Israel, in providing miracles for our salvation when our lives were in peril. We believe that on Chanukah, Hashem provided the miracles in an overt, irrefutable way while on Purim, G-d’s miracles were covert and far more subtle.
The “Musaf” additional service is added to the three daily services of Maariv, Shacharit, and Mincha on all days mentioned in the Torah. This includes Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and all the days listed above pertaining to the inclusion of the prayer: “Yaaleh V’Yavoh.” Typically, the Musaf service is appended to the morning Shacharit services.
Torah reading takes place on all of the following days, assuming a kosher minyan is in attendance at that prayer service: all Mondays and Thursdays; every Shabbat morning and Shabbat afternoon; all days on which Musaf is said (see above); all days on which Al HaNissim is said (see above); and on all fast days at Shacharit and at Mincha (assuming there are at least seven men present who are still fasting.
Talking is not permitted during the following times during the prayer services: throughout ALL versions of Kaddish; during the repetition of the Amidah; during the Torah and haftarah readings [including the blessing(s) before and after the readings]; and throughout all of Hallel.
Because opening an umbrella over one’s head is likened to providing or building a “tent” over one’s head, doing so on Shabbat or Yom Tov is strictly forbidden, making the handling of an umbrella, “muktzah,” forbidden itself. Therefore even in an overwhelming downpour of rain, one should refrain from using an umbrella on Shabbat or Yom Tov, and certainly should not bring an umbrella to the synagogue in order to maintain the requisite respect of those days, no different from cellphones or any other forbidden item.
The Yizkor Memorial prayer is included on the following days: Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of Pesach, the second day of Shavuot. In Israel, Yizkor is recited on the ONLY day of Shavuot (since Shavuot is a one-day holiday in Israel) and on the seventh day of Pesach (since Pesach is a seven-day holiday in Israel).
When attending a formal prayer service – even if one has ALREADY attended a previous service of the same portion of the day (ma’ariv, shacharit, or mincha), one responds to and/or recites the following prayers together with the congregation:
Barchu, Kedushah, Kaddish, Shema, Birkat HaKohanim, and Aleinu. This applies even if one has ALREADY attended multiple previous services of the same portion of the day (ma’ariv, shacharit, or mincha).
I hope these points are helpful and instructive in everyone’s fulfillment of these mitzvot and in better understanding the manner in which these prayers, rituals, and ceremonies are fulfilled.
Rabbi Dr. Yaacov Dvorin