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Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #325 on: November 10, 2013, 06:36:20 PM »
B"H I'm being kosher in most of my endeavors, I stopped eating meat at home all together, since I can't afford kosher meat, I stopped making all kinds of the sex "crimes" from the Torah, even looking, and while it's hard to work and be very normal all the time, I am doing it for the past month about. Despite that, one thing I can not seem to bring myself to do is all the prayers in my siddur. I get to shema with tefillin on, and I can't stop looking at the time, and eventually I get frustrated. It's like two hours or more. Even on shabbat, I eventually get so fustrated, I just give up. How do you manage to do all the prayers every day, how do you stay concentrated, and how do you find time for that?

Shalom LKZ,

I am very impressed with how much you have progressed since we first met. It takes a lot of emmunah and bitachon to motivate a person to make so many changes in their lifestyle. I was talking about this topic with a friend of mine after the Shabbat lunch yesterday. Indeed it is very difficult for some, present company included, to keep Kosher. In my neck of the woods there are no Kosher restaurants, and very few outlets to buy Kosher meat. This is one of the tougher ones to keep for many Jews today. When I first started I first made the effort to not eat milk and cheese products, and I never liked shellfish or pork so those were not difficult for me. Again I would recommend you finding the closest thing to a Jewish community in your area. This is how I can get what I need, I ask my Chabad Rabbi who makes sure that the community can keep the mitzvot.

Regarding keeping concentration during the prayers. I have a couple of comments on this. I think two hours to complete Shachris (the morning prayer) is a little long. I am one who believes that a person should say all the words of the blessing in a way which one can understand, not just muttering the words in rapidfire succession. In the group I daven with I am one of the slower daveners, who does try to say each word in my mouth in a whisper I can hear. I sometimes fall behind by as much as a page at times, although other times I find myself ahead of the chazan (one who publicly reads (sings) before the minyan).

It usually takes me about an hour to do the entire Shachris service...


I do not know the sources but there are some who say that when time is not available to say the entire siddur, that some prayers can be skipped. I do not know the source for this but I will ask my Rabbi about it.

What is important is that you are making the effort to keep the laws, and you will improve with time. Do not become distracted that you do not do things exactly right at this time, as you desire to make the improvement, you will accomplish it.

You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #326 on: November 10, 2013, 06:38:38 PM »
On the ask JTF i never got an answer to my question, "why is beastiality listed next to witchcraft [in Torah], [what is the connection], and how do you make teshuva for both [for the purposes of comparing]. Is death the only redemption? If someone did witchcraft, would it be better that he died in this life and worked to correct it in the next one ASAP, or can he do something in the life that he has now to make complete teshuva for it? From what I've heard, it's because it's all about yourself, but I don't really get it.

I will look into this question. I do not know off the top of my head...
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #327 on: November 10, 2013, 08:36:49 PM »
Shalom LKZ,

I am very impressed with how much you have progressed since we first met. It takes a lot of emmunah and bitachon to motivate a person to make so many changes in their lifestyle. I was talking about this topic with a friend of mine after the Shabbat lunch yesterday. Indeed it is very difficult for some, present company included, to keep Kosher. In my neck of the woods there are no Kosher restaurants, and very few outlets to buy Kosher meat. This is one of the tougher ones to keep for many Jews today. When I first started I first made the effort to not eat milk and cheese products, and I never liked shellfish or pork so those were not difficult for me. Again I would recommend you finding the closest thing to a Jewish community in your area. This is how I can get what I need, I ask my Chabad Rabbi who makes sure that the community can keep the mitzvot.

Regarding keeping concentration during the prayers. I have a couple of comments on this. I think two hours to complete Shachris (the morning prayer) is a little long. I am one who believes that a person should say all the words of the blessing in a way which one can understand, not just muttering the words in rapidfire succession. In the group I daven with I am one of the slower daveners, who does try to say each word in my mouth in a whisper I can hear. I sometimes fall behind by as much as a page at times, although other times I find myself ahead of the chazan (one who publicly reads (sings) before the minyan).

It usually takes me about an hour to do the entire Shachris service...


I do not know the sources but there are some who say that when time is not available to say the entire siddur, that some prayers can be skipped. I do not know the source for this but I will ask my Rabbi about it.

What is important is that you are making the effort to keep the laws, and you will improve with time. Do not become distracted that you do not do things exactly right at this time, as you desire to make the improvement, you will accomplish it.

A connection with Hashem is worth more then any physical pleasure I gave up, in this life, and from what I can understand, certainly in the next.

I also have another question. All my taps in my house are one faucet that moves up and to the side, and in order to turn it on, it will be using hot water. I have to wash my hands before prayer. What can I do? Also, do i need the 2 handled cup to do ritual washing, or can i just put my hands under the water three times each?
The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of knowledge

Offline Ephraim Ben Noach

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #328 on: November 10, 2013, 09:11:53 PM »
A connection with Hashem is worth more then any physical pleasure I gave up, in this life, and from what I can understand, certainly in the next.

I also have another question. All my taps in my house are one faucet that moves up and to the side, and in order to turn it on, it will be using hot water. I have to wash my hands before prayer. What can I do? Also, do i need the 2 handled cup to do ritual washing, or can i just put my hands under the water three times each?
I'm really sorry if you're serious! But come on, really?

You could shut off the hot water valve, ahead of the faucet...

And I don't think if you swing the handle in the cold water direction, the hot water valve will open...
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 09:44:08 PM by אפרים בן נח »
Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the horn, and the people be not warned, and the sword do come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

Offline Binyamin Yisrael

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #329 on: November 10, 2013, 09:51:15 PM »
Is the issue for Shabbat? If I wash my hands with hot water on Shabbat, I turn on the left side in the bathroom sink. There are 2 separate switches. On the kitchen it is the same switch so putting it on warm mixes hot and cold and therefore cooks the cold water. So in the kitchen I only use cold water on Shabbat. On Yom Tov it is not an issue because you can even take hot showers on Yom Tov.


Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #330 on: November 10, 2013, 09:58:03 PM »
Is the issue for Shabbat? If I wash my hands with hot water on Shabbat, I turn on the left side in the bathroom sink. There are 2 separate switches. On the kitchen it is the same switch so putting it on warm mixes hot and cold and therefore cooks the cold water. So in the kitchen I only use cold water on Shabbat. On Yom Tov it is not an issue because you can even take hot showers on Yom Tov.

Yeah Shabbat. There is only 1 faucet. One direction is hot, the other is cold and a millimeter makes the difference.
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Offline Ephraim Ben Noach

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #331 on: November 10, 2013, 10:00:30 PM »
Yeah Shabbat. There is only 1 faucet. One direction is hot, the other is cold and a millimeter makes the difference.
Shut the hot water valve off under the sink!
Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the horn, and the people be not warned, and the sword do come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #332 on: November 10, 2013, 10:05:55 PM »
Shut the hot water valve off under the sink!

Ypu're level 10 Ephy. Good call.
The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of knowledge

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #333 on: November 21, 2013, 02:40:06 AM »
I will look into this question. I do not know off the top of my head...

Did you hear something?
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Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #334 on: November 23, 2013, 09:46:27 PM »
Did you hear something?

Shalom LKZ,

I hope you had a meaningful and restful Shabbat, I had a wonderful time with my community...

I am going to offer a possible answer to the question as to why witchcraft and bestiality are mentioned together in the Torah. It is a sensible one although I do not know who said it first.

Both of these sins were sins which the inhabitants of Canaan engaged in. One of the main reasons Hashem gave the land to the descendants of Abraham is because Abraham promised that his children would avoid immorality, the things which are abominations in the 'eyes' of our G-d. These wicked Canaanites engaged in all sorts of idolatry, dark magic, talking to the dead, sexual immorality, homosexuality, and of course bestiality. They also engaged in a rather sadistic ritual of passing their babies through the fire of Molech.

The commandment to avoid engaging in these practices lists several of the sins of Caanan, forbidding them to the Jewish people.

Here is an article which discusses some of this:


http://www.torah.org/advanced/shem-meshmuel/5764/achareimos.html

Parshat Acharei Mot

Rabbi Dr. Meir Tamari

“After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein you dwelt you shall not do and after the actions of the land of Canaan to which I shall bring you, you shall not do; neither shall you walk according to their ordinances. You shall do My Judgments-mishpatim [social laws] and keep My ordinances- chukim (Vayikrah18: 3-4).

The Midrash (Vayikrah Rabbah, chapter 23) explains that the Egyptians were steeped in sexual immorality, and the land of Canaan was replete with immorality and witchcraft.

Now both countries were indeed filled with immorality and idolatry that is witchcraft. Regarding Egypt we read about the nakedness of the land (Bereishit, 42:12) while we are told that their flesh is the flesh of donkeys [a euphemism for homosexuality]; and their witchcraft was infamous so that Hashem declared that He would render judgment against their gods- sorcerers. “For in all these- [incest, homosexuality, bestiality]- the nations of that land [Canaan] are defiled which I cast out before you” (Vayikrah, 18:24). Our sages tell us that there was not a mountain nor a hill in Eretz Yisrael where the Emorites- Canaanites did not worship idols. Though the 2 nations were similarly sinful, nevertheless the Egyptians primary pull was towards immorality while the Canaanites were a stronger force leading to idolatry. The MaHaral writes (Gevurot HaShem) that the Egyptians were material [chomer] while the Canaanites were form [tzurah], both of them in a disoriented perverted way. Now the mind is the form relative to the matter, so that the idolatry was a product of their wisdom and minds albeit a perversion. “ In the days of Enosh (Bereishit, 4 26), Mankind’s idolatry was caused by their intellect and minds which judged that it was for the King’s –G-d’s honor that people should worship His servants [the forces of nature]. It was their minds that led them to this evil”(Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Avodat Cochavim, chapter 1, halakhah1h). The Egyptians being matter were more steeped in sexual perversions and immorality, a distortion of the natural and the material; “Even as their actions are animalistic” (Sotah, 14a). [The Shem Mi Shmuel writes that he dealt extensively with this matter since he saw that others had written the opposite, yet he held that his presentation is in accordance with Chazal].

The conclusion of the verse, “You shall do My judgments and keep My ordinances”, is meant to counteract the actions of the people of Egypt and of Canaan. The Mishpatim [social laws are products of the mind and the intellect, as Rashi points out that if the Torah had not commanded them Mankind’ wisdom would have led them to these laws. Therefore, they come to cure and purify the minds that had been perverted and falsified by the Egyptian induced errors of idolatry. On the other hand sexual immorality is a question of social mores and customs of a society. This is as the Ramban explains (verse 6] that intellectually there is no such thing as proper marriage and improper laws of sexual relationships; incest, for instance would seem to be a logical way to make certain that property remained within the family. What prevents immorality are simply the social rules of that society; Hashem gave as chukim and rules that make for a moral sexuality. According to this, Israel’s observance of Hashem’s ordinances will cure and guard them from immorality in general and the perverted mores and sexual immorality in particular, of the people of Canaan.

Because of the tendency of the Egyptians to idolatry and the power of sexual immorality of Canaan, the 2 verses follow each other, with the Mishpatim, against errors of the mind [Egypt ] and then Chukim, providing against the behavior of Canaan to which they were destined to come.

When they entered Eretz Yisrael, they needed to have the means of conquering these same 2 forms of yetzer harah- idolatry and sexual immorality, propagated by the Canaanites. So Joshua was commanded to circumcise the males, mitzvah of milah, and to observe korban Pesach, that they had not been able to keep during their wanderings in the desert. These same 2 mitzvot had been given top them in Egypt, to similarly cleanse them; milah to cure them of sexual immorality and the Pesach against idolatry. The taking of the pascal lamb was an act of the mind, knowingly “draw your hands from idolatry ” while milah was a chukah to grant them correct mores and forms of behavior.

In Torat Cohanim, we read that we know that the living of Israel on the land of Egypt caused them to sin, because our verse reads, “The actions of the land of Egypt wherein you dwelt”. As the sins of Egypt multiplied they sought to infect Israel with them. However, as the Shem Mi Shmuel comments on Parshat Kedoshim [5674] that G-d watches over Israel and leads them, He alone is their yetzer. While the yetzer harah infects Cain and his descendants with evil thoughts, Hashem inserts holy and pure thoughts into Israel. Despite this, the evil ones try with all their might to infect us. For this purpose, it is not even necessary for us to be interspersed among the nations in order for us to be influenced by their actions. Even when we live separate from them and in our own closed communities, the very air that we breathe is full of their immoral practices and evil actions. In the material world, if one breathes polluted and diseased air, one contracts illness and disease. So it is with spiritual matters; breathing in air contaminated with evil, infects the heart and distorts the mind, leading to unholy behavior and immoral mores. That is why it was the settlement of Israel in the land of Egypt that made it possible for the nations to stifle the hearts and minds with impure thoughts and unholy actions. In contrast the air of Eretz Yisrael is pure cleanses the mind and makes one wise.

Shem Mi Shmuel, 5674 5673.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #335 on: November 25, 2013, 05:12:05 AM »
Shalom LKZ,

I hope you had a meaningful and restful Shabbat, I had a wonderful time with my community...

I am going to offer a possible answer to the question as to why witchcraft and bestiality are mentioned together in the Torah. It is a sensible one although I do not know who said it first.

Both of these sins were sins which the inhabitants of Canaan engaged in. One of the main reasons Hashem gave the land to the descendants of Abraham is because Abraham promised that his children would avoid immorality, the things which are abominations in the 'eyes' of our G-d. These wicked Canaanites engaged in all sorts of idolatry, dark magic, talking to the dead, sexual immorality, homosexuality, and of course bestiality. They also engaged in a rather sadistic ritual of passing their babies through the fire of Molech.

The commandment to avoid engaging in these practices lists several of the sins of Caanan, forbidding them to the Jewish people.

Here is an article which discusses some of this:


http://www.torah.org/advanced/shem-meshmuel/5764/achareimos.html

Parshat Acharei Mot

Rabbi Dr. Meir Tamari

“After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein you dwelt you shall not do and after the actions of the land of Canaan to which I shall bring you, you shall not do; neither shall you walk according to their ordinances. You shall do My Judgments-mishpatim [social laws] and keep My ordinances- chukim (Vayikrah18: 3-4).

The Midrash (Vayikrah Rabbah, chapter 23) explains that the Egyptians were steeped in sexual immorality, and the land of Canaan was replete with immorality and witchcraft.

Now both countries were indeed filled with immorality and idolatry that is witchcraft. Regarding Egypt we read about the nakedness of the land (Bereishit, 42:12) while we are told that their flesh is the flesh of donkeys [a euphemism for homosexuality]; and their witchcraft was infamous so that Hashem declared that He would render judgment against their gods- sorcerers. “For in all these- [incest, homosexuality, bestiality]- the nations of that land [Canaan] are defiled which I cast out before you” (Vayikrah, 18:24). Our sages tell us that there was not a mountain nor a hill in Eretz Yisrael where the Emorites- Canaanites did not worship idols. Though the 2 nations were similarly sinful, nevertheless the Egyptians primary pull was towards immorality while the Canaanites were a stronger force leading to idolatry. The MaHaral writes (Gevurot HaShem) that the Egyptians were material [chomer] while the Canaanites were form [tzurah], both of them in a disoriented perverted way. Now the mind is the form relative to the matter, so that the idolatry was a product of their wisdom and minds albeit a perversion. “ In the days of Enosh (Bereishit, 4 26), Mankind’s idolatry was caused by their intellect and minds which judged that it was for the King’s –G-d’s honor that people should worship His servants [the forces of nature]. It was their minds that led them to this evil”(Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Avodat Cochavim, chapter 1, halakhah1h). The Egyptians being matter were more steeped in sexual perversions and immorality, a distortion of the natural and the material; “Even as their actions are animalistic” (Sotah, 14a). [The Shem Mi Shmuel writes that he dealt extensively with this matter since he saw that others had written the opposite, yet he held that his presentation is in accordance with Chazal].

The conclusion of the verse, “You shall do My judgments and keep My ordinances”, is meant to counteract the actions of the people of Egypt and of Canaan. The Mishpatim [social laws are products of the mind and the intellect, as Rashi points out that if the Torah had not commanded them Mankind’ wisdom would have led them to these laws. Therefore, they come to cure and purify the minds that had been perverted and falsified by the Egyptian induced errors of idolatry. On the other hand sexual immorality is a question of social mores and customs of a society. This is as the Ramban explains (verse 6] that intellectually there is no such thing as proper marriage and improper laws of sexual relationships; incest, for instance would seem to be a logical way to make certain that property remained within the family. What prevents immorality are simply the social rules of that society; Hashem gave as chukim and rules that make for a moral sexuality. According to this, Israel’s observance of Hashem’s ordinances will cure and guard them from immorality in general and the perverted mores and sexual immorality in particular, of the people of Canaan.

Because of the tendency of the Egyptians to idolatry and the power of sexual immorality of Canaan, the 2 verses follow each other, with the Mishpatim, against errors of the mind [Egypt ] and then Chukim, providing against the behavior of Canaan to which they were destined to come.

When they entered Eretz Yisrael, they needed to have the means of conquering these same 2 forms of yetzer harah- idolatry and sexual immorality, propagated by the Canaanites. So Joshua was commanded to circumcise the males, mitzvah of milah, and to observe korban Pesach, that they had not been able to keep during their wanderings in the desert. These same 2 mitzvot had been given top them in Egypt, to similarly cleanse them; milah to cure them of sexual immorality and the Pesach against idolatry. The taking of the pascal lamb was an act of the mind, knowingly “draw your hands from idolatry ” while milah was a chukah to grant them correct mores and forms of behavior.

In Torat Cohanim, we read that we know that the living of Israel on the land of Egypt caused them to sin, because our verse reads, “The actions of the land of Egypt wherein you dwelt”. As the sins of Egypt multiplied they sought to infect Israel with them. However, as the Shem Mi Shmuel comments on Parshat Kedoshim [5674] that G-d watches over Israel and leads them, He alone is their yetzer. While the yetzer harah infects Cain and his descendants with evil thoughts, Hashem inserts holy and pure thoughts into Israel. Despite this, the evil ones try with all their might to infect us. For this purpose, it is not even necessary for us to be interspersed among the nations in order for us to be influenced by their actions. Even when we live separate from them and in our own closed communities, the very air that we breathe is full of their immoral practices and evil actions. In the material world, if one breathes polluted and diseased air, one contracts illness and disease. So it is with spiritual matters; breathing in air contaminated with evil, infects the heart and distorts the mind, leading to unholy behavior and immoral mores. That is why it was the settlement of Israel in the land of Egypt that made it possible for the nations to stifle the hearts and minds with impure thoughts and unholy actions. In contrast the air of Eretz Yisrael is pure cleanses the mind and makes one wise.

Shem Mi Shmuel, 5674 5673.

Maybe they both did them, but they are listed together, therefore, there is a connection. Also, could people that did this make Teshuva, or should they be destroyed?
The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of knowledge

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #336 on: December 11, 2013, 05:04:19 AM »
Do you have to wear shoes when saying shema at night?
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Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #337 on: December 13, 2013, 02:03:10 AM »
Do you have to wear shoes when saying shema at night?

Shalom LKZ,

I do not know the answer off hand. I do know I heard a halacha concerning davening without shoes or socks and it forbids it. I believe the reason I heard was because when we daven we are to have in our concentration (kevanah) that we are standing before the Melech (King) and we would surely wear shoes and socks when standing before the King.

But concerning the nightly Shema... I do not know...

Here is a WebYeshiva lesson on how to dress for prayer...

You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #338 on: December 13, 2013, 02:15:45 AM »
I suspect even when davening alone one should dress appropriately.

Here is an article I found which summarizes the topic...


https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.parshapages.com/Gemara/Shabbos/Proper%2520Attire.doc&sa=U&ei=UbCqUpiuJYqwygGx9oG4BA&ved=0CAcQFjAB&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNHlLpUEk9_ZKsUK0sin2hZVBiC7Pw

"Hakon Likras Elokecha"

PREPARING FOR DAVENING WITH PROPER ATTIRE

The Sages teach that one should prepare oneself, both physically and spiritually, for prayer. One’s appearance and attire should be appropriate for an encounter with G-d; in addition, one should mentally and spiritually prepare for such a meeting. One should also limit certain activities before praying, in order to emphasize the centrality and significance of prayer in one’s daily religious routine.

The Gemara (Shabbos 10a): Rabba son of R. Huna put on stockings and prayed, quoting, hikon likrat elokecha “Prepare to meet your G-d” [Amos 4:12]. Rabba removed his cloak, clasped his hands and prayed, saying, “[I pray] like a slave before his master.”

Similarly, the Rambam (Hilchos Tefillah 5:5) writes: How should one prepare his clothes? First, one should adjust one’s clothes, and distinguish and beautify oneself, as it says “You should prostrate yourselves to His holiness in beauty.” One should not stand for Tefillah in an undergarment, with a bare head, or with bare feet, if the local custom is to appear before important people with shoes… The ways of the wise and their students is to pray while they are wrapped [atufin] in a tallis. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (12:1) adds that even one who prays alone in one’s house should dress appropriately.

The Poskim discuss whether one is merely required to dress as one would dress when meeting an important person, or whether one should do something extra, such as wearing a special belt, or gartel. This question arises from different understandings of the Talmud’s position regarding wearing a belt during prayer.

On the one hand, the Gemara (Berachos 24b) teaches: R. Huna said: If a man’s garment is girded round his waist he may recite the Shema. It has been taught similarly: If his garment, whether of cloth or of leather or of sacking, is girded round his waist, he may recite the Shema, but he may not say the Tefillah [Shemoneh Esreh] until he covers his chest. Apparently, the Gemara requires that one wear a belt in order to create a demarcation between one’s chest and one’s lower body. Seemingly, standing before G-d in prayer without this demarcation is viewed as inappropriate.

Another Gemara (Shabbos 10a), however, relates: R. Sheshes demurred: Is it any trouble to remove the girdle [before prayer]! Moreover, let him stand thus [ungirdled] and pray!? — Because it is said, “Prepare to meet your G-d.” According to this source, wearing a belt is an expression of “preparing to encounter G-d in prayer.”

The above two passages seem to disagree regarding whether one wears a belt in order to separate one’s upper and lower body during prayer, or whether it serves as an additional gesture in preparation for prayer.

Subsequently, the Rishonim debate whether one who does not ordinarily wear a belt must wear one for Shemoneh Esreh. The Ran (Shabbos 4a s.v. u-meha) and the Hagahos Maimoniyyot (Hilchos Tefillah 5:8) insist that even one who wears pants must wear a belt for the Shemoneh Esreh. On the other hand, Rabbeinu Yerucham writes that only one who is accustomed to wearing a belt daily must wear a belt for Shemoneh Esreh. Seemingly, these opinions disagree as to whether one’s attire for prayer should match, or should exceed, one’s usual standard.

R. Simcha of Vitry, a student of Rashi, records that Rashi would pray without a belt. When questioned about this practice, he responded that the Amoraim’s clothing was similar to our robes, without any demarcation between the upper and lower body. Nowadays, he explained, since it is customary to wear pants, no further separation is required. Rashi, apparently, viewed this halakhah in the context of the requirement to demarcate one’s chest from one’s lower body. Apparently, Rashi did not believe that one must wear a belt to fulfill hikon, preparing to greet G-d, either because he holds that separating between the upper and lower body fulfills this obligation, or because he believes that one fulfils the obligation through other preparations, such as netilat yadayim.

The Shulchan Aruch (91:1–2) cites both reasons for wearing a belt, in order to demarcate between one’s upper and lower body, and in order to prepare properly for Tefillah. The Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berurah, however, cite Rabbeinu Yerucham, who states that only one who normally wears a belt must wear one for Tefillah, but that one who does not ordinarily wear a belt need not wear one for Tefillah. The Mishnah Berurah does add, however, that there may still be a middat chasidut in wearing a belt. In addition, the Mishnah Berurah cites the Zohar, which states that it is appropriate to cover one’s head with a tallit during Shemoneh Esreh.

In modern times, some authorities have revisited this issue, questioning the propriety of wearing short sleeves, or even shorts, during prayer (see R. Ovadyah Yosef in Yechavveh Da’at 4:8). The Shulchan Aruch (90:5), for example, writes “One should not stand up for prayer… with exposed feet, if the accepted practice is to greet important people with shoes.” The Mishnah Berurah (91:11–13) points out that in hot countries where it is customary to stand before important people barefooted, one need not be concerned even if one is wearing “short clothing through which the legs are visible.” He also writes that one should not pray in sleepwear (pajamas), or other clothing that one would not wear to greet “important people.”

The concept can be better illustrated based on the last Brisker Rav in his sefer on Parshas Bereishis. The Brisker Rav takes note of the fact that Adam and Chava tried to hide from HaShem after eating from the eitz ha'da'as. Although HaShem expresses anger at them for being eating, He never accuses them of being so foolish as to think that they can hide from G-d. This implies that the hiding was actually an appropriate behavior under the circumstances (they had no clothes). The Brisker Rav explains this based on a Rashi in Berachos 24a that one can read Shema with a cloth wrapped around their waste (when the upper part of their body isn't covered), but cannot daven that way.

Rashi explains:

דלתפלה צריך הוא להראות את עצמו כעומד לפני המלך ולעמוד באימה, אבל ק"ש אינו מדבר לפני המלך.

Davening is essentially standing before HaShem, and when one does that they need a greater level of tznius and covering. When Adam and Chava ate from the tree and realized their nakedness, they at first were able to just cover the bottom half of their bodies. But when they heard HaShem's sound passing through the garden, they were obligated to hide themselves before G-d's presence to cover the top of their body as well, just as one would when davening to HaShem.

The black belt you refer to is called a gartel in Yiddish (similar to the English word "girdle").

A. Jewish law mandates that the "heart does not see the nakedness" when one recites the Shema and other prayers. This means that the upper body (more specifically the heart) be separated from the lower half, which has a coarser function. In ancient times, when common clothing consisted of a simple, loose robe, it was necessary to tie a belt around one's waist to insure that the nether region was out of view of the heart.

B. We read in Amos, "Prepare yourself toward the L‑rd your G‑d." 3 Our sages infer from here that one must dress himself up before facing his Maker in prayer. Part of this preparation is to gird oneself with a special belt. Hence the custom of wearing the gartel even though modern clothing ensures that that the "heart does not see the nakedness."

C. The gartel is reminiscent of the belt which the priests would wear during their service in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is for this reason that many are particular to wear their gartel at elbow height, just as the priests of old did.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #339 on: December 24, 2013, 06:26:54 PM »
Shalom JTF Readers,

It has been 4 complete years (starting sundown today) since my father was gathered to our people (may his Neshama/soul make aliyah). Tonight is the yartzeit of my father and I am remembering him for the good. I would like to share with the readers some images I took during my visit to my fathers house the week before his death when I saw him in his hospital bed.

My father was diagnosed with a very aggressive prostate cancer. Besides suffering for several years with failed kidneys which required weekly dialysis treatments, once the cancer was discovered he was told he had a year to live. My father visited me the summer of 2009, taking a train from Los Angeles valley where he lived. He was unable to drive at that time because he usually visited me while driving from LA.

It was the summer of 2009 I spent several hours with him, discussing our lives and the mistakes we had made. Everyone has family problems, and my family was no exception. My father divorced my mother when I was eight and my brother was five. We lived on the east coast with my mother in Connecticut, my father first moved back to New York, then he took a job in Jamaica, eventually settling down in California. I remember when I was a kid visiting my father in California, and going to the sight-seeing places all along the coast of California.

It was a tough divorce on me. I realize it is a common psychological condition for the oldest son to feel some discomfort at the separation of his parents. I yearned for them to get back together at some time. My mother remarried and I, as many oldest sons do, did not get along with my step father. We often got into yelling matches, my step father the master yeller (his excuse was his mother was deaf so he had to yell). At one point my mother took me to a psychologist when they found papers I wrote where I discussed dreams of pushing my stepdad off the Empire State building.

Eventually I became a man (age 18 in America) and my mother could not put up with my rebellious behavior (although I never felt I was such a bad son) and sent me to go live with my father in California. It was all of the sudden and all my friends (all four of them) where I grew up never really knew why I suddenly disappeared. I called a couple of them and told them...

Anyway, to make a long story short I lived with my father from 1984-1989 (5 years) in a very nice Condo on the beach (Marina Del Rey). My dad drove a nice car, had a 27 ft sailboat in the marina, and was a lifelong conservative republican in the land of Los Angeles. Of course coming from my moms home (an almost-lifelong leftwing democrat) I did not share politics with my pops.

In 1989 I moved out from my dads and got a job which could sustain my lifestyle. I moved to Long Beach (45 mins from dads) and got my own place on the beach, a nice car, and a friend with a boat in the marina.

Things changed for my family drastically in the year 2001, on the event of September 11th we lost our brother, our son, our husband, our father.

I had been pursuing the path of pleasure and hedonism. I considered myself a 'Hippie-type' wearing tie-dyes, driving a VW bus, going to Grateful Dead shows and indulging in the 'substances' which deadhead engage in. I lived in 'Yuppie Heaven' among beautiful boats and beaches (and babes) just like was being portrayed on the TV screens (Baywatch). All of this came to a crashing end shortly after 9/11 when I started a period of mourning for my brother.

I was not religious at the time (although the voice of the 'bar mitzvah boy' inside me continued to speak to me) but I felt that I was responsible for my brothers death in the towers. That is another story...

We moved from Los Angeles to the San Francisco bay area in 1998. A company which hired me moved my family (me and my wife at the time) up to the Marin area. Eventually we found a house and moved in....

What the point of my long story is is this... By the year 2004 my politics had shifted far to the right, all my hippie 'peace and love' ideas had been brought down to size, and while I still believe in the ideals of 'peace and love' I see them through the vision of the Torah and Jewish thought now. My politics aligned perfectly with my fathers at this point.

When he came to visit me in 2009 we were in agreement on everything political. The failure of the Obama administration (it was only 2009) and the ill will of the administration toward Israel were issues which we discussed. We hugged and cried when we realized that we had come to forgive each other for our failings. When I lived with my father in the 80s I was not kind to him. I took advantage of his kindness, having beer and drug parties in his condo when he was out on business. Some of his valuable possessions were stolen when I had these parties.

I forgave him for leaving my mother, which he apologized greatly to me virtually begging me for forgiveness. I apologized to him for taking advantage of him while living with him those five years.

When I visited my father in the hospital it was 'New Years Eve' 2009-2010. I did not celebrate because I was driving the eight hours down to LA to see him. I took some photos of my fathers home which exhibit my fathers great patriotism and his love of country and his Jewish pride.

This photo was when he came to visit me in the SF Bay area:



And this one is a flashback to when I was 10 (my brother only 7) with our family dog 'Jason':



When I first moved from the east coast to California (age 19) with my dad:



Ok, this picture is a little 'scary' because you can see how long I let my hair go back in 1998... That is my ex-wife...


(saved draft)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 06:46:55 PM by muman613 »
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #340 on: December 24, 2013, 06:57:56 PM »
Now for the photos I took from my fathers home:

My fathers home was decorated with 'Coca-Cola' imagery and 'American Flags' imagery and 'Chanukah Menorah' imagery...

Coca-Cola:





American Flags:























My dad had a picture of him standing amid the living republican presidents:













In my fathers foyer were images of my brother along with the memorial which was erected before his remains were found:










You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #341 on: December 24, 2013, 07:27:36 PM »
In conclusion I would like to remember my father for all the good things he did. He was a brilliant man, accomplished in his field. He worked as an executive for many large corporations in 60s-70s and gained excellent experience to start his own consulting firm. In California he was able to sustain a lifestyle which many are not able to sustain. Baruch Hashem my father was blessed with a mind which always learned. Everywhere my father lived the walls were covered with book-shelves, and every book on his shelves he read. He read many books on history, the history of nations, the history of wars, he was very brilliant when it came to history and finance.

My father wrote three books which were published (one I recall was published by the AMA)... He worked briefly as a professor of Business Finance at Pepperdine University in Malibou, CA. My father never ceased learning and he provided me with the inspiration to learn about our Jewish faith. Before my father died he told me how proud he was of my 'Teshuva/Return' to Judaism. Although he himself was not observant he grew up during a time when all Jewish kids were given a basic Jewish education. He made sure both my brother and I were Bar Mitzvahed.

I hope that those reading my story can realize what I am trying to instill in the reader. Please attempt to reconcile differences with your families. Though I know this is not always possible, the effort must be made before it is too late. My brother died before I could apologize to him, and hopefully he would want to ask forgiveness from me for the things he did to me (long story)... Like in the story of Jacob and Joseph, the reconciliation itself is meritorious.

You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline muman613

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #342 on: December 24, 2013, 07:35:59 PM »


D A V I D    B E N    Y E H U D A
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Ephraim Ben Noach

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #343 on: December 24, 2013, 08:26:37 PM »
G-D bless you Muman, all your relatives, and your past loved ones!
Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the horn, and the people be not warned, and the sword do come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #344 on: December 26, 2013, 06:17:28 PM »
Dear Muman, can I ask you about intermarriage. Suppose god forbid, you were born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother. In that situation, are you considered Muslim or Jewish?

 
Dan - Stay calm and be brave in order to judge correctly and make the right decision

Offline Israel Chai

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #345 on: December 26, 2013, 10:08:55 PM »
Dear Muman, can I ask you about intermarriage. Suppose god forbid, you were born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother. In that situation, are you considered Muslim or Jewish?

You don't need Muman for this. Jews will consider you 100% Jewish, and mudrats will consider you to be one of them.
The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of knowledge

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #346 on: December 27, 2013, 03:20:31 AM »
You don't need Muman for this. Jews will consider you 100% Jewish, and mudrats will consider you to be one of them.

Yes, that is true. Judaism believes that the Jewish faith is passed through the mother. While the Muslim faith believes that the faith is passed through the father.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline Binyamin Yisrael

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #347 on: December 28, 2013, 09:52:36 PM »
Yes, that is true. Judaism believes that the Jewish faith is passed through the mother. While the Muslim faith believes that the faith is passed through the father.


They also say everyone is Muslim unless they choose otherwise. I guess that's how they can claim the people of the Bible were Muslim even though Islam didn't exist for over 1,000 years after the Biblical Era ended.


Offline fibrogirl

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #348 on: December 29, 2013, 04:33:00 PM »
I just want to say how touching that was to read, Muman. Thank you.

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Re: Ask MUMAN613! almost live!
« Reply #349 on: December 29, 2013, 05:47:37 PM »
I just want to say how touching that was to read, Muman. Thank you.

You are most welcome fibrogirl...
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14