Newsletter Nitzavim Vayelech



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 TODAY Wednesday 9th September 2020. 
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  HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Hillel 
 Straight from the Heart
 26  Elul and the Beauty of the Soul  
Sephardic World

Meeting – Sunday 13th September 2020

The Amsterdam Notarial Archives (1578-1915) contain millions of documents with largely unknown details about Amsterdammers and their international networks. These include records of trade with Inquisition Spain and Portugal. It is speculated that almost every Sephardic Jew in Amsterdam during the Golden Age may get a mention. Often unremarked, the notarial archives also contain a lot of information on Amsterdam’s Ashkenazi community. These documents are being digitised and indexed.

Harmen Snel is an expert on the subject. He is an archivist at the Amsterdam City Archives and eminent specialist on Jewish records, including those of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam. Dutch and British audiences will recognise him from his appearances on TV genealogy shows. His early work with Dave Verdooner is foundational to modern Sephardic genealogy, including Harmen continues to teach, work and publish on the subject.

Topic: Amsterdam Notarial Archives
Time: Sunday September 13, 2020 07:00 PM London (This is 7pm British summer time; GMT +1, which is 2pm in New York)

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Ton Tielen and David Mendoza
Sephardic World

Amud Yomi Flyer_Makos_1.jpg

לוח זמני תפלה לקיץ תש”פ

Summer Timetable 5780 – 2020

מוצאי שבת



סוף זמן קראת שמע

זמן שבת

פלג מנחה (תה״ד)

פלג מנחה (לבוש)

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת




to be read before

to be
lit by


Candle lighting

& Kabbalat Shabbat



















11/12 Sep



*    For those not in the Bet Hakeneset, but wishing to bring in Shabbat with
the Kahal, candles should be lit about 30 minutes after the time listed for
Minha and Kabbalat Shabbat. (Unless the time listed in the
‘latest candle
lighting’ column is earlier,
candles should be lit by that time, in all cases.


Q & A on Parashat Nitzavim Vayelech


  1. What is the connection between the verse “atem nitzavim” and the curses in the previous parsha?
    29:12 – The Jewish People asked, “Who can survive such curses?” Moshe responded, “You’ve done a lot to anger Hashem, and yet “atem nitzavim” you’re still standing before Him.”
  2. Who were the wood-choppers and water-carriers?
    29:10 – Canaanites who joined the Jewish People under false pretenses.
  3. Why can Hashem never “swap” the Jewish people for another nation?
    29:12 – Because Hashem swore to their ancestors that He would never do so.
  4. One who ignores the Torah’s warnings “adds drunkenness to thirst.” What does this mean?
    29:18 – He causes Hashem to reckon his unintentional sins alongside his intentional ones, punishing him for all.
  5. What two cities were destroyed along with Sedom and Amorah?
    29:22 – Admah and Tsevoyim.
  6. “The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d, and the revealed things are for us…” What does this mean?
    29:28 – There is collective culpability only for “open” sins, but not for “hidden” ones.
  7. According to Rashi, how will the day of the ingathering of the exiles be “great and difficult?”
    30: 3 – It will be as if Hashem needs to take each individual by the hand and lead him out of exile.
  8. Where is the Torah not to be found? Where is it to be found?
    30:12-15 – The Torah is not found in heaven nor across the ocean. Rather, it is “very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart.”
  9. When and where did the Jewish People become culpable for each other’s sins?
    30:28 – When they crossed the Jordan and accepted the oath on Mt. Eval and Mt. Grizim.
  10. How do the earth and sky remind us to keep the mitzvot?
    30:19 – The earth and heavenly bodies, although receiving neither reward nor punishment, always obey Hashem’s will. How much more should we, who stand to receive reward or punishment, obey Hashem.


  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 were alive.

Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz’l

ההכנות לימי הדין

הסמוכים לימי לראש השנה, על כל אחד ואחד מעם ישראל, להתבונן על מעשיו,לעשות
“חשבון נפש”, כדי לבחון במה יוכל לתקם את מעשיו ולשפרם, על מנת שלאחר
מכן, יעמדו לו סניגורים טובים ליום הדין

השם “אלול

מרן הרב עובדיה יוסף , ש”אלול”, כלומר, משמעות השם של החודש “אלול
“, היא מלשון “יאללוןשהוא התרגום הארמי למה
שנאמר אודות המרגלים “ויתורו
את ארץ כנען, “ויאללון” ית ארעא דכנען, כלומר,
לשון ריגול וחיפוש אחר מעשיו. כי בחודש אלול, מנהג ישראל קדושים לתור אחר מעשיהם,
ולבקר את עצמם
, כי הם
הימים המיוחדים והמסוגלים לתיקון העונות, לחזרה בתשובה שלימה, ולעלות מעלה מעלה
בדרך העולה בית אל


תפלות ימי חודש אלול

ספק, ריבוי התפלה והתשובה מסייעים הרבה מאד לכל אדם, והם שיעמדו לו אחר כך בימי
הדין, ראש השנה ויום הכפורים הבאים עלינו לשלום, כדי שיזכה להכתב ולהחתם לחיים
טובים, לעושר ואושר ולמלוי כל משאלותיו

לאדם לעורר את עצמו ולהתנער מתרדמת השגרה הנופלת עליו במסע החיים האפלוליים, כי
כמה השתדלויות כל אחד עושה כדי לשפר את מצבו החומרי, בקניית בית או רכב, ובהשקעת
כוחותיו עבור מאכלות ערבים, טיולים ובילויים וכיוצא בזה, וכל מה שפועל ועושה, הכל
כאין וכאפס לעומת מה שישפר את מצבו החומרי והרוחני כאחד, בעזרת התפלות לאל נורא
עלילה בימים הנוראים הללו. וכמו שכתב הגאון החזון איש, שעל ידי התפלה, האדם פועל
להטיב את מצבו יותר ממה שיוכל לפעול על ידי השתדלות טבעית שנראה לעין כל שהשתדלות
זו מועילה


תשובה ותפלה וצדקה

רבותינו בתלמוד ירושלמי (תענית פ”ב), אמר רבי אלעזר, שלשה דברים מבטלין את
הגזרה, תפלה (קול), צדקה (ממון), ותשובה (צום). והביא ראיה לזה מן הפסוק
. ולכן יש להרבות מאד בימים
אלה בכל אלו השלשה, צום, קול, ממון, וכמו שאמר הפייטן “ותשובה ותפלה וצדקה
מעבירין את רוע הגזירה”, ומקור הדברים בתלמוד הירושלמי כנזכר. וכתב מרן רבינו
הגדול שליט”א, שאף על פי שבדורות הקודמים היו מרבים מאד בתעניות בימים אלה,
בבחינת “תשובה”, מכל מקום בזמנינו שקשה לרוב בני האדם להתענות, יש
להרבות עוד ועוד בצדקה יתרה, ומוטב להרבות בצדקה ומעשים טובים בזמנינו יותר
מלהתענות, שעל ידי התענית הוא ממעט במלאכת שמים

כתבנו כמה פעמים שיש להזהר להעביר את כספי הצדקה לאנשים אחראים, בכדי שיעבירו את
המעות לעניים אמתיים, ואין לסמוך בזה על כל אדם, אפילו אם הוא מתהדרכביכול בהמלצות
גדולי הדור



Preparing for the Day of Judgment

During the days preceding Rosh
Hashanah, every single member of the Jewish nation must contemplate his/her
actions and perform some sort of self-introspection in order to ascertain how
one can improve one’s actions and Mitzvah observance so as to guarantee one’s
self powerful defenders on the Day of Judgment.

Definition of the Name, “Elul”

Harav Ovadia Yosef writes that the word “Elul” is similar to the
Aramaic word ” Ve’Alilu ,” which is the Aramaic translation of the
verse which is said regarding the spies sent to the Land of Israel, ” And
they spied the land.” This means that “Elul” connotes searching
through and probing one’s actions. During the month of Elul, it is the custom
of the holy Jewish nation to probe their deeds, for these days are auspicious
for atonement of sin , attaining full repentance, and reaching loftier levels
of spirituality and service of Hashem.

During the Month of Elul

Certainly, praying copiously and repenting for one’s sins are extremely
beneficial for every individual and these things will defend a person of the
upcoming Days of Judgment of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These will be one’s
gu arantors that one will be inscribed in the books of life, wealth,
satisfaction, and the fulfillment of all of one’s requests.

One must awaken himself from
the slumber which comes along with one’s daily routine throughout one’s life;
one should stop and think how much we invest on increasing the quality of our
physical lives by purchasing new cars or homes, focusing on obtaining only the
finest culinary delights, and going on all sorts of trips and vacations. All of
this is nothing compared to the Heavenly key to advancing one’s physical and
spiritual status as one through deep and heartfelt prayer to Hashem during
these Days of Awe. Similarly, Hagaon Chazon Ish writes that a person can
improve his situation much more through prayer than through any other natural
means that he believes may help him.

Prayer, and Charity

Our Sages teach us in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta’anit, Chapter 2), “Rabbi
Elazar says, three things nullify harsh decrees: Prayer, charity, and
repentance.” He continues to bring proofs to this idea from the
scriptures. Thus, one should practice these three things, i.e. prayer, charity,
and repentance, profusely during these days, as the hymnist writes,
“Repentance, prayer, and charity shall annul the harshness of the decree.”
The source for this is the aforementioned Talmud Yerushalmi. Maran Harav
Shlit”a writes that although in previous generations, people would fast
many times during these days in the spirit of “repentance,”
nevertheless, in our times when it is difficult for people to fast, one should
increase one’s donation of charity instead. Indeed, it is better to give more
charity in our times than to fast, for by fasting, one decreases in his service
of Heaven (for fasting weakens the body).

We have already mentioned
several times that one should take care to pass along charity funds to
responsible individuals so that they will in turn dispense these funds to truly
needy people and one should not rely on every individual regarding this matter
even if one seemingly comes with the recommendation of the generation’s leading
Torah leaders.


Shabbat Shalom

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