Tuesday, 25 January 2011 | AP | Shabat
16 Shebat 5771 – Jan. 21, 2011. – Perashat Yitro
Shi’ur on Moroccan Minhagim by Rosh Kollel e”h Ribi Mordekhai Lebhar s”t at Yismah Moshé in Toronto Monday nights at 8:45 :
“If You would have only brought us to Har Sinai”
In the Hagada of Pesah we say “If You had only brought us before Har Sinai and not given us the Tora, it would have been enough.” This begs the question of what good it would have done to bring us to Har Sinai without giving us the Tora. Was not the whole purpose of bringing us there to receive the Tora? A possible explanation could be that HaShem could have given us the Tora without the whole production of Har Sinai. HaShem could have given the Tora to Moshé Rabenu a”h who in turn would transmit it to the Nation. However, the actual atmosphere of Har Sinai instilled fear of Heaven into the Nation and it would have been worth it even just to be there without receiving the Tora. Before Har Sinai, the Nation had to separate and purify themselves for three days. The Nation learned from this that one must approach the Tora with holiness and purity.
When the Nation was before Har Sinai, HaShem commanded Moshé Rabenu a”h to border off the mountain, and warn the Nation not to approach the mountain and not to let animals graze the mountain, because it is there that HaShem will reveal Himself to give over the Tora. This happening at Har Sinai taught the Nation of Israel a kal vahomer: If they had to be careful with the honour of Har Sinai where the Tora was given over once, how much more so does one have to honour the Tora and those who learn it, as well as synagogues and houses of study.
Also present at Har Sinai was a unity of the Nation of Israel as it says “vayihen sham Yirael neged hahar” (“and Israel camped opposite the mountain”). Rashi explains in the name of the Mekhilta that they were “like one man with one heart”. Here the Nation learned that in order to receive the Tora one of the requirements is unity and love of Israel for the Tora is acquired through the coming together of friends.
The essence of the occurrence at Har Sinai was enough to teach the people purity, holiness, love of Tora, and love of Israel. Just being there instilled fear of Heaven in the hearts of Israel through seeing the sounds and the smoke on the mountain.
In the book of Debarim we are commanded never to forget what happened at Har Sinai: “פן תשכח את הדברים אשר ראו עיניך ופן יסורו מלבבך כל ימי חייך והודעתם לבניך ולבני בניך יום אשר עמדת לפני ה’ אלהיך בחרב“. It is prohibited to forget the awakening of receiving the Tora at that time and this must be a remembrance.
It should be His will that we should merit for the Tora never to leave our mouths or the mouths of our offspring forever!!
Maghen Abot – e”H Ribi Mordekhai Lebhar s”t
3. The “Yir-u ‘Enenu” blessing
The minhag is to say the blessing “Yir-u ‘Enenu” (insert blessing) after Hashkibenu; some say it every night, others only on Saturday nights. Some preceed the blessing with the verse “Vayar…” and Tehilim 23 (Mizmor leDavid Ado-nai Ro-i). Some hold that the blessing should not be said in the Land of Israel; others hold that it can be said there.
 This custom probably originated before the Middle Ages. The Rosh in his halakhic rulings on Berakhot, writes that in generations preceding his own, it was customary during ‘Arbit to replace the regular ‘Amida with a series of verses (beginning Barukh Hashem bayom, see Livorno sidurim such as Bet ‘Obed, Tefilat Hahodesh and Bet Menuha), each of which has the theme of each of the blessings of the ‘Amida, and then to say Yir-u ‘Enenu and end with Qadish. The reason for this was because the synagogues at that time were in the fields, away from the houses, and at night there was the danger of bandits, so people did not wish to stay late. The Moroccan minhag, however, is to say only the paragraph beginning Yir-u ‘Enenu and not the set of verses. The explanation for this is as follows: According to the above-mentioned reasoning for why the verses and blessing were instituted originally, it is unnecessary to say them nowadays because we pray the full ‘Arbit service in synagogues that are not in dangerous fields; however, the Rashbash (Responsa 329) implies that it is only the verses that are superfluous- the blessing should still be said.
 This was the custom of Ribi Shalom Messas zs”l, who said that there is no reason to make any distinction between Mosa’é Shabat and any other night. Despite this logic, the general minhag is to say Yir-u ‘Enenu only on Saturday nights.
 This is the custom of most Moroccan communities. There are two reasons for saying this blessing only on Saturday night. The first is that during the week people are preoccupied with their various affairs and do not have time to add an extra blessing to the prayers, but on Mosa’é Shabat, they had the time to lengthen the service. The second reason is that on Mosa’é Shabat it was customary to lengthen the prayers so that the congregation would feel the holiness of the Shabat longer.
 See Ribi David ‘Obadia zs”l in Nahagu ha’Am, who writes that this was the custom in Sefrou. This was also the custom in Marrakesh.
 Ribi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv; the reason is that this custom was specifically meant to be in force outside the Land of Israel and not in it.
 Ribi Shalom Messas zs”l, who says that there is no difference between the Land of Israel and any other place with regard to this custom.
Our Holy Sages, Hazal, teach us that “One who studies [at least two] Halakhot (laws) daily is guaranteed a portion in ‘Olam Haba (the world to come).” -Masekhet Meghila 28b