Newsletter – Parashat Noach – Rosh chodesh Mar Cheshvan

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Q & A on Parashat Noach

All references are to the verses and Rashi’s commentary, unless otherwise stated.

  1. Which particular sin sealed the fate of the flood generation?
    6:13 – Robbery.
  2. Why did Hashem tell Noach to build an ark, as opposed to saving him via some other method?
    6:14 – So that people would see Noach building the ark and ask him what he was doing. When Noach would answer, "Hashem is bringing a flood," it might encourage some people to repent.
  3. The ark had three levels. What function did each level serve?
    6:16 – The top level housed the people, the middle level housed the animals, and the bottom level, the refuse.
  4. What indication do we have that Noach was familiar with the Torah?
    7:2 – Hashem told him to take into the ark seven of each kosher-type animal, and two of each non-kosher type. "Kosher" and "non-kosher" are Torah concepts.
  5. Why did Hashem postpone bringing the flood for seven days?
    7:4 – To allow seven days to mourn the death of Metushelach.
  6. Why did the first water of the flood come down as light rain?
    7:12 – To give the generation a chance to repent.
  7. What did people say that threatened Noach, and what did Hashem do to protect him?
    7:13,15 – People said, "If we see him going into the ark, we’ll smash it!" Hashem surrounded it with bears and lions to kill any attackers.
  8. What grouping of creatures escaped the punishment of the flood?
    7:22 – The fish.
  9. How deeply was the ark submerged in the water?
    8:4 – Eleven amot.
  10. What did the olive branch symbolize?
    8:11 – Nothing. It was a leaf, not a branch. (The olive leaf symbolized that its better to eat food "bitter like an olive" but which comes directly from Hashem, rather than sweet food provided by humans.)
  11. How long did the punishment of the flood last?
    8:14 – A full solar year.
  12. A solar year is how many days longer than a lunar year?
    8:14 – Eleven days.
  13. When did humans receive permission to eat meat?
    9:3 – After the flood.
  14. What prohibition was given along with the permission to eat meat?
    9:4 – The prohibition of eating a limb cut from a living animal.
  15. Why does the command to "be fruitful and multiply" directly follow the prohibition of murder?
    9:7 – To equate one who purposely abstains from having children to one who commits murder.
  16. Name two generations in which the rainbow never appeared.
    9:12 – The generation of King Chizkiyahu and the generation of Shimon bar Yochai.
  17. Why did Noach curse Canaan specifically? Give two reasons.
    9:22,24 – Because Canaan is the one who revealed Noachs disgrace to Cham. And because Cham stopped Noach from fathering a fourth son. Thus, Noach cursed Cham’s fourth son, Canaan.
  18. Why does the Torah call Nimrod a mighty hunter?
    10:9 – He used words to ensnare the minds of people, persuading them to rebel against Hashem.
  19. The sin of the generation of the dispersion was greater than the sin of the generation of the flood. Why was the punishment of the former less severe?
    11:9 – They lived together peacefully.
  20. Why was Sarah also called Yiscah?
    11:29 – The word "Yiscah" is related to the Hebrew word "to see." Sarah was called Yiscah because she could "see" the future via prophecy. Also, because of her beauty, everyone would gaze at her.

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Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz’l

דין הזכרת משיב הרוח

מתחילין לומר "משיב הרוח"
"משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם", הוא שבח להשם יתברך, שאנו אומרים אותו בימות החורף, בתפלת העמידה, בברכת "מחיה המתים". וכפי שמופיע בכל הסידורים.

מתחילין לומר "משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם" החל מתפילת מוסף של חג שמחת תורה, והזכרה זו, אינה שאלה ובקשה על הגשם, אלא היא שבח להשם יתברך, ולכן הזכרה זו נקראת "גבורות גשמים", שמדברת מענין גבורותיו של השם יתברך בעולמו.

אבל שאלת "טל ומטר" שבברכת השנים, (כלומר, בברכת ברך עלינו, או ברכנו, שאומרים "ותן טל ומטר לברכה"), היא בקשה מהשם יתברך על הגשם. וישנם כמה הבדלים בהלכה, בין הזכרת גבורות גשמים שבברכת "אתה גבור", לבין שאלת טל ומטר שבברכת השנים, והשינוי הראשון הוא, שמזכירין גבורות גשמים, כבר מתפילת מוסף של שמחת תורה, ואילו שאלת גשמים, אינה אלא מליל שבעה במרחשון כפי שיתבאר בהלכות הבאות.

מדוע מזכירים משיב הרוח בברכת מחיה המתים?
אמרו בגמרא (ברכות לג.), שמזכירין גבורות גשמים ("משיב הרוח") בברכת "אתה גבור", שהיא ברכת "מחיה המתים", משום שהיא ברכה על תחיית המתים, ומתוך שירידת גשמים שקולה כנגד תחיית המתים, לפיכך קבעוה בתחיית המתים. ושאלת גשמים ("ותן טל ומטר לברכה"), קבעו בברכת השנים, משום שברכת השנים היא ברכה על פרנסה, וירידת גשמים גם היא ענין פרנסה לעולם.

מי ששכח להזכיר "משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם"
מי ששכח להזכיר משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם, ונזכר לאחר שסיים את ברכת "מחיה המתים", יש לבאר, האם עליו לחזור לתחילת תפלת העמידה ולהתפלל שנית, או שהוא רשאי להמשיך בתפלתו. והנה הדין בזה הוא תלוי, שאם אמר "מוריד הטל" במקום "משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם (כפי מנהג הספרדים בימות הקיץ), אינו חוזר לראש התפלה. כיון שאמר "מוריד הטל".

אבל אם לא הזכיר כלל, לא "מוריד הטל", ולא "משיב הרוח", (כפי מנהג חלק מעדות האשכנזים בימות הקיץ), ונזכר בטעותו מיד לאחר שסיים את ברכת "מחיה המתים", עליו לומר מיד "משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם", ואחר כך ימשיך בברכת "אתה קדוש". ואם התחילה כבר בברכת "אתה קדוש", ונזכר שלא אמר "משיב הרוח", הרי אין לו תקנה, ועליו לחזור שוב לראש התפלה.

The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach
Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim.

We begin reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” in the Mussaf prayer of Simchat Torah (outside of Israel from Shemini Atzeret). This recitation does not constitute a request or plea for rain; rather, it is merely meant as praise to Hashem and is therefore dubbed, “Powers of Rain.” The actual request for dew and rain can be found in the ninth blessing of the Amidah prayer referred to as the “Blessing of the Years” (Barech Aleinu). There are several halachic differences between mentioning the “Powers of Rain” in the second blessing of the Amidah prayer entitled, “Ata Gibor,” and the actual request for dew and rain in the ninth blessing. Firstly, whereas we begin mentioning the “Powers of Rain” from Mussaf of Shemini Atzeret, we do not actually request dew and rain until the night of the Seventh of Marcheshvan (outside of Israel from the night of the Fifth of December), as we shall discuss in following Halachot.

Why is “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” Mentioned in the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” Blessing?
The Gemara (Berachot 33a) states that we mention the “Powers of Rain” in the “Ata Gibor” blessing for this blessing deals with the Resurrection of the Dead and since rainfall is tantamount to The Resurrection, our Sages thus established this sentence to be mentioned in the blessing dealing with The Resurrection. Our Sages established the actual request for rain in the “Blessing of the Years,” for this is a blessing regarding one’s livelihood and rainfall is a matter of sustenance for the entire world.

One Who Forgets to Mention “Mashiv Ha’Ruach
If one forgets to recite “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” and becomes aware of his mistake only after concluding the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing, we must analyze whether one must return to the beginning of the Amidah prayer and begin it again or may one continue his prayer as usual. This law indeed depends on one important factor: If one inserted “Morid Ha’Tal” instead of “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” (as is the Sephardic custom during the summer months), one would not return to the beginning of the Amidah prayer since one has said “Morid Ha’Tal.”

However, if one mentioned neither “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” nor “Morid Ha’Tal” (which is indeed customary among several Ashkenazi communities during the summer months), if one has not yet begun the “Ata Kadosh” blessing, one should recite “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” between the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” and “Ata Kadosh” blessings and then just continue his prayer as usual. If, however, one has already begun the “Ata Kadosh” blessing and only then realizes his mistake, one must begin his Amida prayer anew.

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