Friday, September 7
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 06:45 pm – Mincha
- 06:49 pm – Candle lighting
Saturday, September 8
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:29 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:00 pm – Ladies’ Torah class
- 05:30 pm – Men’s Derech Hashem class
- 06:20 pm – Mincha and Se’udah Shlishit
- 07:40 pm – Ma’ariv
- 07:55 pm – Shabbat Ends
Sunday, September 9
- 12:41 am – Selichot Program
September 9 – 14
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday – Friday (selichot)
- 06:40 pm – Sunday – Thursday
- 06:35 pm – Friday
- 07:10 pm – Sunday – Thursday
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Weekly Words of Torah
Insights into Parshat Ki Tavo of Mr. Michael Djavaheri of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Yeshivat Sha’alvim.
Night after night, the beauty of Selichot turns rote and few actually pay attention and attempt to understand the holy words themselves. In the Tefillah of “Anenu” we sing to Hashem with colloquial titles for Him, such as Pachad Yitzchak and Avir Ya’akov. Interestingly, one of the verses has two Nuschaot (texts): “עננו אלקא דרבי מאיר עננו” and “עננו אלקא דמאיר עננו”.
To gain a greater understanding of the meaning of the words and possibly determine the more correct Nusach, we look at where they come from and whom they refer to. Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNess was one of the greatest of the Tannaim, one of the five students of Rabbi Akiva to survive the plague, and the accredited author of every anonymous Mishnah! Much of the Torah SheBa’al Peh that we have today comes from him and his name isn’t even on the cover!
The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 17a) speaks of Rabbi Meir’s father-in-law, Rabbi Chananya Ben Teradyon, who was one of the Asarah Harugei Malchut (The Ten Martyrs): the Romans put wet wool over his heart, wrapped him up in a Sefer Torah, and burned him alive, allowing him to suffer because the wool held the fire over him without killing him immediately. They also killed his wife and sent his unmarried daughter to a brothel. His other daughter, Bruria, was married to Rabbi Meir, so she was safe. Rabbi Meir risked his life to save his sister-in-law. He took a sack of gold and headed out to the brothel, and, after a short conversation with her, found that she was still pure. He approached the guard and asked if he could take her “to keep,” not just temporarily. The guard responded that that would be impossible because she was the property of the Roman Empire. Every month he had to pay the empire from her “earnings.” Rabbi Meir took the sack of gold and instructed the guard to take half for himself and half for his employers, and if any trouble started he should just say the words “אלקא דמאיר ענני” – “G-d of Meir, Answer Me!” and he would be saved. Sure enough, when the money ran out, the Romans sent dogs after the guard, caught him, and tried to strangle him with a rope. As they tightened the rope around his neck, he said the words “אלקא דמאיר ענני,” and the rope snapped, leaving the bewildered Romans to stay away in heed of the Hand of G-d.
Rabbi Meir saved the day! What a miracle, right? But one can’t help but wonder, what’s with this “אלקא דמאיר?” Why does Rabbi Meir prescribe that we remember Hashem as his? What kind of humility is this? The answer, says the Maharsha, is quite simple: that’s not Pshat in the Gemara! It’s not אלקא דמאיר, the G-d of Meir; rather, it’s as we say before Shema every morning in Shacharit: “המאיר לארץ ולדרים אליה ברחמים ובטובו מחדש בכל יום מעשה בראשית” – “(G-d) Who illuminates the earth and those who dwell upon it with compassion; and in His goodness renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation.” It’s not, חס ושלום, an obnoxious statement about Rabbi Meir; rather, it’s an acknowledgement of Hashem’s greatness and constant renewal of Creation! Rabbi Meir’s real name was Misha or Nehorai; he was called “Meir” because he illuminated the Bet HaMidrash with the vast knowledge of Hashem’s Torah which he possessed.
Perhaps, with the above point illustrated by HaRav Yitzchak Ba’al HaNess (of Brooklyn), we can understand the truth behind the two Nuschaot. Those who add the word “Rabbi” in עננו אלקא דרבי מאיר עננו associating the Piyut with R’ Meir may just be mistaking the servant for the Master, המאיר לארץ, the Ribbono Shel Olam, אלקא דמאיר, himself. May we all be privileged to truly recognize the Yad Hashem in all our daily occurences, open and concealed.
לע”נ הרב אשר בן מאיר בעל-הנס