Newsletter – Shabbat Vayelech

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Overseeing Community Engagement

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& A on Parashat Vayelech

  1. Moshe said, "I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in…" How do we know this does not refer to physical inability?
    31:2 – Because verse 34:7 says "His (Moshe's) eye never dimmed, and his (youthful) moisture never departed."
  2. Which of Moshe's statements to Yehoshua was later contradicted by Hashem's command?
    31:7 – Moshe told Yehoshua to share his leadership with the Elders. Hashem later commanded Yehoshua to rule alone.
  3. Why does the Torah refer to Succot of the eighth year as though it occurred during the shemita year?
    31:10 – Because the laws of the seventh year still apply to the harvest.
  4. Why does the Torah command that babies be brought to the Torah reading?
    31:12 – To give reward to those who bring them.
  5. What does it mean that Hashem "hides His face?"
    31:17 – He ignores their distress.
  6. What function does the song Ha'azinu serve?
    31:21 – It warns what will befall the Jewish People if they abandon Torah.
  7. Which verse promises that the Torah will never be totally forgotten?
    31:21 – "For (the Torah) will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring."
  8. What is the difference of opinion regarding the placing of the Torah scroll which Moshe gave the levi'im?
    31:26 – Whether it was placed outside but adjacent to the Ark, or inside next to the Tablets.
  9. On the day of Moshe's death, why didn't Moshe gather the people by blowing trumpets as he normally would have?
    31:28 – Blowing the trumpets expressed Moshe's dominion, and "there is no dominion on the day of death." (Kohelet 8)
  10. Moshe said, "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly," but, in fact, this didn't occur until after Yehoshua's death. What does this teach us?
    31:29 – That a person's student is as dear to him as himself As long as Yehoshua was alive, it was as though Moshe himself




  1. Passover commemorates the going out of Egypt. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah. What historical event can Yom Kippur be said to commemorate?
  2. For what kinds of sins does Yom Kippur not atone?
  3. What should someone do if the person he wronged does not forgive him the first time?
  4. Why is the Vidui confession included during the mincha prayer the afternoon before Yom Kippur?
  5. On Yom Kippur we refrain from: Working, eating, drinking, washing, anointing, family relations and wearing leather shoes. Which three of these prohibitions are more severe than the others?
  6. In what two ways does the prohibition against eating food on Yom Kippur differ from the prohibition against eating pork the entire year?
  7. Who wrote the prayer "Unesaneh Tokef" said during the chazan's repetition of musaf?
  8. Why do we read the book of Yonah on Yom Kippur?
  9. In what two ways does havdala after Yom Kippur differ from havdala after Shabbat?
  10. Ideally, what mitzvah should one begin immediately after Yom Kippur?


  1. Moshe came down from Mount Sinai on the tenth of Tishrei with the second set of Tablets, signifying forgiveness for the sin of the golden calf. Yom Kippur can be said to commemorate this event, the first national day of forgiveness for the Jewish People.
  2. Sins committed against other people, including hurting someone's feelings. Yom Kippur does not atone for these sins until the perpetrator gains forgiveness from the victim himself. (Orach Chaim 606:1)
  3. He should try at least two more times to gain forgiveness.(Orach Chaim 606:1)
  4. Lest one choke while eating the pre-Yom Kippur meal and die without atonement, or lest one become intoxicated and unable to concentrate on the prayers at night. (Mishneh Berura 607:1)
  5. Eating, drinking, working. (Mishna, Kritot 1:1)
  6. (i) Although any amount is forbidden, eating on Yom Kippur is not punishable by a Sanhedrin until one has eaten food equal in volume to the size of a date. Eating pork, on the other hand, is punishable for eating even an olive-sized piece, which is smaller than a date. (Mishneh Berura 612:1) (ii) Eating on Yom Kippur incurs the punishment of karet – spiritual excision, whereas eating pork does not.
  7. "Unesaneh Tokef" was written by Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, Germany, about 1000 years ago.
  8. The repentance of the people of Ninveh serves as an inspiration to us to repent, and shows us that repentance can overturn a Divine decree. (Shelah Hakadosh)
  9. After Yom Kippur, the blessing over spices is omitted from havdala. Also, the source of the flame used for havdala after Yom Kippur must be a fire kindled before Yom Kippur. (Orach Chaim 624:3,4)
  10. Building the succah. (Rema, Orach Chaim 624:5)

Question: On one historic Yom Kippur, the entire Jewish people ate and drank and were praised for it by Hashem. When did this occur?

Answer: When King Solomon built the Temple, Yom Kippur occurred during its seven Inauguration Days. The Sanhedrin decided that not only must the Inauguration Sacrifices for the Temple be offered, but, moreover, the people must cook, eat, and drink on Yom Kippur or else the happiness of the Inauguration would be incomplete. (See Tractate Mo'ed Katan 9a.)


from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

אכילה ורחיצה ביום הכפורים

מדיני יום הכפורים

חייבים להתענות ביום הכפורים, ובכלל החיוב גם נשים מעוברות ומניקות שחייבות
להתענות בו. וכל אשה שיש חשש לבריאותה מחמת התענית, תעשה שאלת חכם הבקיא בדינים
אלו, שיורה לה אם תתענה. ואסור לשום אדם להחמיר על עצמו
, ולהתענות כאשר מצב בריאותו אינו מאפשר זאת. שהרי
התורה הקדושה אמרה, "וחי בהם", ולא שימות בהם. ואסור לאדם להמית עצמו או
אפילו להכניס עצמו לספק סכנה בשביל תענית יום הכפורים. וכאשר מרן רבינו הגדול
שליט"א היה רבה הראשי של תל אביב, וכן בשנים שאחר כך, היה מטריח עצמו ונוסע
בכל ערב יום כפור
, בשעות
יקרות אלו, לבית החולים, בכדי לדבר על לבם של החולים שהתענית מסוכנת להם, לבל
יתענו, והיה מזכיר את דברי הרדב"ז, שמי שאינו שומע לרופאים מפני שאומר שהוא
בוטח בה', הרי זה חסיד שוטה, שהרי התורה אמרה שניתנה רשות לרופא לרפאות, וממילא
אדם חייב להתנהג בכל דבר על פי כללי הרפואה, לאחר התייעצות עם מורה הוראה

חולה שעצם החולי אינו מביאו

לציין, שגם חולה שעצם החולי שלו אינו סכנה ממש, מכל מקום לפעמים מחמת תרופות שהוא
נוטל, הרי הוא חייב לשתות. ואם לא ישתה עלול הוא להכנס בחשש סכנה. וגם באופן כזה
יש להתייעץ עם רופא ומורה הוראה בכדי לדעת כיצד לנהוג
. ומצוי מצב זה בחולים הנוטלים תרופות פסיכיאטריות,
ואצלם לעתים גם עצם החולי מוגדר חולי שיש בו סכנה

מי שהוצרך לאכול ביום הכפורים

שהוצרך לאכול ביום הכפורים מחמת מחלה, אם הוא מוכרח לאכול ולשתות כדרכו ממש, הרי
שהוא רשאי לעשות כן. שאין לך דבר העומד בפני פיקוח נפש. אולם בדרך כלל, אין הדבר
כן, אלא הוא יכול להסתפק באכילה ושתיה באופן שאינו אוכל או שותה בבת אחת כמות
גדולה, אלא יעשה הפסקות בין אכילה לאכילה, ובכל פעם לא יאכל יותר משיעור של כשלשים
גרם מאכל, או ארבעים גרם משקה. ולאחר כעשר דקות יאכל או ישתה שוב כמות זהה. ולפני
יום הכפורים יכין לעצמו מאכלים מסודרים ושקולים בשיעור של כשלשים גרם. ויכין לעצמו
כלי המכיל כארבעים גרם משקה
, ובכל
פעם ימלא אותו וישתה ממנו (כמו בקבוק של תינוקות וכדומה

רחיצה וטבילה ביום הכפורים

לרחוץ במים ביום הכפורים, ואפילו להושיט אצבעו במים אסור, ולא אסרו אלא רחיצה של
תענוג, אבל אם היו ידיו או שאר גופו מלוכלכים בטיט וכדומה, מותר לרחצם, כיון שאינה
רחיצה של תענוג . וטבילה במקוה טהרה, אסורה גם היא ביום הכפורים

ביום הכפורים שחרית יטול ידיו
עד סוף קשרי אצבעותיו בלבד, ויטול שלוש פעמים לסירוגין כדרכו בכל ימות השנה, ומברך
על נטילת ידיים

ירחוץ פניו במים ביום הכפורים בבוקר, ואם היו פניו מלוכלכות, כגון שיש לו לכלוך
ליד עיניו, מותר לרחוץ המקום המלוכלך. ומי שהוא מפונק, ואין דעתו מיושבת עליו
כשאינו רוחץ פניו בשחרית, מותר לו לרחוץ פניו בשחרית
. והאשכנזים מחמירים בזה שלא לרחוץ הפנים ביום הכפורים
אפילו מי שהוא איסטניס, אלא אם כן להעביר הלכלוך סביב עיניו וכיוצא בזה

אסור לצחצח שיניים בתשעה באב. ואפילו מי שמיקל בדבר
בזהירות ביום תשעה באב, לא יעשה כן ביום הכפורים


Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur

All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women.
Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent
Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling
whether or not she must fast. One whose medical condition does not allow him to
fast may not be stringent and fast, for our holy Torah writes, “That he shall
live by them,” and not that he should die by them. One may not cause himself to
die or even place himself in a possibly dangerous situation because of the fast
of Yom Kippur. When Maran Shlit”a served as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and for
several years after this as well, he would spend the precious hours of every
Erev Yom Kippur by travelling to the hospital in order to convince patients
whom the fast of Yom Kippur posed a danger to not to fast. He would quote the
words of the Radbaz who writes that one who does not listen to doctors claiming
that he places his complete trust in Hashem is a pious fool, for the Torah
gives doctors permission to heal and by default, one must follow the rules of
medicine after consulting with a prominent halachic authority.

One Suffering from an Illness which in Essence does not Pose any Danger
We should point out that even if one suffers from an ailment which in essence
is not necessarily life-threatening, nevertheless, sometimes the medications he
takes make it necessary for him to drink, and if he does not, this may pose a
danger to him. In such a situation, the patient should consult his doctor and a
prominent halachic authority to discern the proper course of action. This
situation is common in patients taking medications for mental illnesses;
indeed, sometimes, some of these illnesses can be considered life-threatening
in and of themselves.

One who Must Eat on Yom Kippur
If one must eat on Yom Kippur due to an illness, if he must eat and drink in a
regular manner, he may do so, as the is nothing that stands in the way of a
life-threatening situation. Nevertheless, usually this is not the case and one
can make do with eating or drinking in a way that he does not consume large
amount of food or beverage in one shot. Rather, one should take breaks between
eating and every time he eats or drinks, he should consume no more than thirty
grams of food or forty grams of beverage. After approximately ten minutes have
elapsed he should eat or drink a similar amount. One should prepare organized
and measured portions of food of approximately thirty grams before Yom Kippur.
One should prepare himself a utensil that holds approximately forty grams of
liquid (such as a baby bottle and the like) and every time one needs to, he
should fill it up and drink from it.

Washing and Immersing One’s Self on Yom Kippur
One may not wash himself with water on Yom Kippur. Even to place one’s finger
into water is prohibited. Nevertheless, only a pleasurable washing is
prohibited; however, if one’s hands or any other body part were soiled from
mortar and the like, one may wash them, as this does not constitute a
pleasurable washing. Immersing one’s self in a Mikveh is also forbidden on Yom

On the morning of Yom Kippur, one should wash his hands only until his knuckles.
One should wash each hand three times while switching off hands and recite the
“Al Netilat Yadayim” blessing, as he would any other day of the year.

One should not wash his face on the morning of Yom Kippur; if one’s face is
dirty due to eye residue and the like, one may wash the dirty place. If one is
finicky and cannot relax until he has washed his face in the morning, he may do
so on the morning of Yom Kippur. Ashkenazim are stringent in this matter and
rule that even one who is finicky cannot wash his face; rather, he can only
wash off the dirt around his eyes and the like

One may not brush one’s teeth on Yom
Kippur. Even one who acts leniently and bushes one’s teeth carefully on Tisha
Be’av may not do so on Yom Kippur at all.



Shabbat Shalom

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