Dear B’nai Shalom friends, members, and families:

In connection with a recent sermon I shared with the congregation just a few weeks ago in which I shared a more “instructional” style in my remarks than a more typical “preacher’s” discourse, in my desire to be the truest definition of a rabbi as teacher and to be as helpful in this role and position, I share with you the following information which I hope will be helpful and meaningful.


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 in addition 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.

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).

There are six public fast days on the Jewish calendar (“public” as opposed to “private” fast days which a person may impose on one’s self for a variety of reasons). They are the two “full” fast days (which begin at sunset of one day and conclude at darkness of the next, creating a 25 hour fast) of Yom Kippur and Tisha B’av; and the four “partial” fast days (beginning at dawn on the day of the fast and concluding at darkness of the same day) of: Tzom Gedalyah (the Fast of Gedalyah on the 3rd of Tishrei), Asarah B’Tevet (the 10th of Tevet), Taanit Esther (the Fast of Esther on the 13th of Adar), and Shiva Asar B’Tammuz (the 17th of Tammuz).

When attending a formal prayer service – even if one has ALREADY attended a previous service of the same portion of the day (maariv, 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 (maariv, shacharit, or mincha).

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.

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.

B’Kavod Rav,
Rabbi Dr. Yaacov Dvorin