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The Correct Bracha on Sushi (part 1)
Reprinted from The Halacha Hotline of Five Towns and Far Rockaway:

During the last decade, sushi has become quite a popular food, served at many types of venues and in people’s homes. Since sushi contains several ingredients, a question arises as to the proper b’rachah to recite when eating it. Certainly, when one eats sushi as part of a bread meal, one does not recite a b’rachah on the sushi, since the b’rachah on the bread exempts most other b’rachos (see notes).[1],[2] The question arises when one eats sushi not as part of a bread meal.

In order to resolve this question properly, we must first discuss some basic hilchos b’rachos. When one eats a food that is a composite or mixture of two distinct food items, each of which generally requires a different b’rachah, a question arises as to whether to recite one b’rachah before eating the composite food or two b’rachos – one b’rachah before eating a bit of one of the food items and a second b’rachah before eating a bit of the second food item. The proper procedure depends on several factors, some of which will be discussed here. It should be noted that these halachos are extremely complicated; in this article we will present only the main factors, and we will limit our discussion to cases in which there is no presence of one of the five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye) in the composite food. See The Laws of B’rachos (ArtScroll, chapter 7) for a more extensive discussion.

Often times, one of the foods in the composite food can be classified in halacha as the ikar (main [ingredient]), and the other(s) as a tafeil (subordinate [ingredient]) to the ikar. In such cases, generally a b’rachah is made on the ikar and not on the tafeil;[3] the b’rachah on the ikar effectively covers the tafeil (see note).[4] Two simple applications of this principle are: a) When one eats a bread meal, the bread is considered the ikar and (most of) the other foods eaten during the meal are considered tafeil to the bread; b) When one eats one food that has added to it a second food merely to enhance the taste of the first food (such as jelly on a rice cracker). In such a case, the first food is considered the ikar and the second food is considered the tafeil, and one recites only the b’rachah of the ikar.[5]

For example, if one wishes to eat a bowl of rice cereal – whose b’rachah is borei minei mezonos – and adds to the cereal small pieces of banana – whose b’rachah when eaten independently is borei p’ri ha’adamah, and adds milk – whose b’rachah when drunk independently is shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro, one recites only the b’rachah of borei minei mezonos since the rice cereal is considered the ikar whereas the bananas and the milk are considered tafeil (unless one added a considerable amount of banana or milk to the cereal, or the pieces of banana are large and eaten separately).[6] The reason is that the motivating factor in eating the mixture of cereal, milk, and bananas is the interest in the cereal; the milk and banana serve merely to enhance the cereal.

Sometimes, deciding which food is the ikar and which is the tafeil is not as clear-cut. For example, let us say one has a mixture of tree nuts – whose b’rachah is borei p’ri ha’eitz – and peanuts – whose b’rachah is borei p’ri ha’adamah. Are the tree nuts considered the ikar and the peanuts the tafeil, or vice versa? Halacha dictates that the food that one prefers is considered the ikar, and the other food is considered tafeil.[7] Thus, in the case at hand, if the motivating factor in one’s eating the mixture is the presence of the tree nuts, the tree nuts would be the ikar and the peanuts would be the tafeil, and the b’rachah on the mixture would be only borei p’ri ha’eitz. Conversely, if the motivating factor in one’s eating the mixture is the presence of the peanuts, the peanuts would be the ikar and the tree nuts would be the tafeil, and the proper b’rachah would be only borei p’ri ha’adamah.

If one has no preference for one over the other, and has an equal desire to eat the tree nuts and the peanuts, which should be considered the ikar? In such a case, halacha dictates that the food type that comprises the majority (that is, more than 50%) of the mixture is considered the ikar.[8] Thus, in the case at hand, if tree nuts comprise the majority, the proper b’rachah would be borei p’ri ha’eitz, whereas if the peanuts would comprise the majority, the proper b’rachah would be borei p’ri ha’adamah. This ruling holds true even if one is only the majority by a small margin.

It should be noted that this ruling holds true even if there are several types of tree nuts in the mixture such that no one type of nut comprises more than 50% of the mixture, but the tree nuts in total comprise more than 50% of the mixture.[9] For example, let say the mixture contains 35% cashews, 30% filberts, and 30% peanuts. No single item comprises the majority of the mixture. However, since the b’rachah on both cashews and filberts is the same – borei p’ri ha’eitz, the mixture consists of a majority of food whose b’rachah is borei p’ri ha’eitz (cashews and filberts) and a minority of food whose b’rachah is borei p’ri ha’adamah (peanuts), so the proper b’rachah for the mixture is borei p’ri ha’eitz. This principle is not limited to foods of the same food group (e.g., two types of nuts); it applies just as well to foods of different food groups but have the same b’rachah. For example, if a food dish contained fish, eggs, and vegetable, and the fish and eggs (whose b’rachah when eaten independently is shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro) comprised the majority of the food dish, the b’rachah would be shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro, even though neither the fish nor the eggs alone comprise the majority and they are from different food groups.

It is important to stress that – as mentioned above –halacha dictates determining the ikar based on the majority food in the mixture only if one does not have a clear preference for one of the foods in the mixture. However, if one has a clear preference for the minority – such that one is really eating the mixture only due to the presence of the minority – the minority is considered the ikar and the majority is considered the tafeil, and one would make only the b’rachah of the minority.[10] For example, let us say one is eating a mixture of tree nuts – whose b’rachah is borei p’ri ha’eitz – and chocolate chips – whose b’rachah is shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro, and the tree nuts comprise the majority of the mixture, but one has a preference for the chocolate chips, such that one is eating the mixture primarily for the chocolate chips and not for the tree nuts. In such a case, the chocolate chips would be the ikar and the proper b’rachah would be shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro. See note for an interesting application of these points.[11]

If there is no “b’rachah type” that comprises the majority, none of the food items that comprise the mixture is considered an ikar in relation to the others. Which b’rachah or b’rachos should be said in such a case? The resolution will be discussed in a subsequent article.

In next week’s article, IY”H,[12] we will discuss how the principles presented in this article apply to sushi.
[1] Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 177:1. The reason for this halacha will be explained below in the article. It should be noted that according to many Poskim (halachic authorities) the b’rachah over bread only exempts the b’rachah over the other foods if one eats a k’zayis (olive-size piece) of bread. See Mishnah Berurah 177:3 and Aruch Hashulchan 177:2. Cf. Dirshu Mishnah Berurah n.e. 177:3 note 4.
[2] One who drinks wine (or grape juice) in middle of a bread meal must recite a b’rachah over the wine, unless one drank wine for Kiddush and expected to drink more wine during the meal. See S.A. O.C. 174:1,4. Also, a b’rachah might be required when eating fruit in middle of a bread meal and when eating dessert following a bread meal. The discussion of these scenarios is beyond the scope of this article.
[3] S.A. 212:1.
[4] Such is the understanding of the majority of the Poskim (halachic authorities). See Introduction to chapter 7 of The Laws of B’rachos, with note 3.
[5] M.B. 212:1.
[6] Igros Moshe O.C. 4:43; see also Be’er Moshe 5:53. Even if during the course of eating the cereal one ate a piece of banana from the bowl independently, one would not recite a b’rachah on the banana. Similarly, if during the course of eating the cereal one sipped a spoonful of milk from the bowl independently, one would not recite a b’rachah on the milk. See M.B. 168:46. see also note in Dirshu Mishnah Berurah for more examples.
[7] See M.B. 212:1.
[8] S.A. 208:7; M.B. 212:1.
[9] Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, cited in V’zos Hab’rachah page 94.
[10] M.B. 202:31 and 212:1; Bi’ur Halacha 212:1 s.v. Im ha’ikar me’urav.
[11] Chocolate covered peanuts: If one were to eat them primarily for the chocolate, one would recite only a shehakol nih’yeh bidvaro – the b‘rachah over the chocolate, whereas if one were to eat them primarily for the peanut, one would recite only a borei p’ri ha’adamah – the b‘rachah over the peanuts. If one eats them for both the chocolate and the peanuts, there is a dispute amongst the Poskim as to the proper b’rachah. See The Laws of B’rachos page 215 for a discussion.
[12] Im Yirtzeh Hashem (G-d Willing).

Posted 5/31/2018 11:42 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Practical Pesach Pointers – 5778/2018
Part 1 – Preparing for Pesach
Reprinted from Halacha Hotline of Five Towns and Far Rockaway Community. 

Although we clean our homes thoroughly before Pesach, we are still required to perform a proper bedikas chameitz (search for chameitz) in every place in which chameitz might have been brought.[1] This includes all rooms regarding which there is reason to suspect that one might have brought in chameitz or into which one walked during a meal or during the course of a snack. Closets, shelves and drawers regarding which there is no reason to imagine that chameitz was brought in their vicinity do not require bedikah. If small children walk around the house carrying chameitz, one must check any area (even drawers) accessible to them. After rooms have been cleaned for Pesach, children should not be permitted to walk around with chameitz. Until Erev Pesach, one may give children Pesach macaroons or the like from a hechsher (Kashrus supervision) on which one relies during the year even if would not rely on it that hechsher on Pesach (due to one’s personal Pesach stringencies). One may also give them egg-matzos or rice cakes, even though – according to Ashkenazic custom – these foods are not eaten on Pesach.

Since our homes are large and difficult to check properly in one night, one may begin bedikas chameitz several nights earlier, checking one or more rooms each night – without a b’rachah. One may certainly use an electric flashlight to check at such time (see note 4). At least one room must be left to be checked on the night of bedikas chameitz,[2] at which time the b’rachah is recited.

On the night of bedikas chameitz, other members of the family (who are responsible adults), may assist in the bedikah, each checking one room or more. The ba’al habayis[3] recites the b’rachah and all those who are assisting must listen to his b’rachah. They should (preferably) answer Amen, but not Baruch Hu U’varuch Shemo. (See note regarding the usage of a flashlight on the night of bedikas chameitz.)[4]

The custom is to place ten pieces of chameitz around the house on the night of bedikas chameitz (see note).[5] It is preferable that they be placed by someone other than the one who will be performing the bedikas chameitz (see note).[6] However, they should not be placed by young children, who are liable to forget where they placed the pieces, unless an adult (or at least a responsible child) keeps track of where the pieces are placed. Each piece should be less than a k’zayis (olive size),[7] and preferably wrapped in a tissue wrap, and sealed with tape. Collectively, the pieces should add up to at least the size of a k’zayis.[8] One should not place the pieces in unusual places that do not require bedikah.

When cleaning for Pesach, one is not required to move heavy appliances such as a refrigerator or washing machine (unless it is easy to do so, such as if they are on wheels).[9] (See note for exception.)[10] One should merely clean and vacuum under and around such appliances as best as possible. If it is possible to remove the bottom drawer of the oven or the bottom panel of the refrigerator and clean underneath, one should do so.

One who will be away from home for Pesach must nevertheless perform bedikas chameitz and must, therefore, rid one’s home of chameitz. If doing such is difficult, one may sell the entire house to the non-Jew to whom one is selling one’s chameitz. Note: Even if the house no longer requires bedikah, one is required to somehow fulfill one’s personal obligation of performing a bedikah. One should discuss with one’s Rav whether to exclude one room of the house from the sale to the non-Jew, and to perform bedikah on that room or/and perform bedikah where one is staying for Pesach on the night of bedikas chameitz. To access an article relevant to one who is going away for Pesach, click here.

Burning the chameitz: One should dispose of most of one’s chameitz before Erev Pesach. Only a small amount of chameitz should be kept for burning, but one should make sure that it is at least the size of a k’zayis (see note).[11] One should not attempt to burn flour, vacuum cleaner bags, bagels, macaroni, or anything wrapped in a plastic bag, since these are difficult to burn and are likely to not be consumed completely by the fire. Such items, if remaining, should be thrown into a public garbage bin before the sof z’man bi’ur.[12]

One may not eat matzah on Erev Pesach, but one may eat Pesach kneidlech (matzah balls) until the end of the ninth proportional hour of the day.[13] There is a dispute amongst the Poskim (halachic authorities) whether one may eat matzah-meal cakes on Erev Pesach even before the end of the ninth hour of the day.[14]

There are different standards regarding the matzos one eats on Pesach. L’chatchilah (preferably/initially), one should eat only hand-baked shmurah matzos for the Pesach Seder. However, some have the custom to use machine matzos even for the Seder; the matzos must still be machine-shmurah matzos.[15] There is a worthwhile chumrah (stringency) to eat only shmurah matzah (hand or machine) the entire Pesach. Those who use non-shmurah matzos for the remainder of Pesach should try to use only “18-minute” matzos with a reliable hechsher. One should note that all products containing matzah-meal or cake-meal should be of the same standard as the matzos that one eats. Most Pesach cakes, snacks and cereals that contain matzah-meal are not made from “18-minute” matzos.

It is preferable to use red wine for the four kosos.[16] However, one who dislikes red wine may drink white wine (see also note).[17] Before Yom Tov, one may mix white wine with red wine to give it a red color. If one did not mix the wines before Yom Tov, the custom is to allow mixing them on Yom Tov if one first pours the red wine into the receptacle and then adds the white wine, thereby avoiding a concern of the melachah[18] of tzove’a (“coloring”) on Yom Tov (see note).[19]

IY”H,[20] next week, we will discuss the halachos of the Pesach Seder.

[1] See Rema, Orach Chaim 433:11 with Mishnah Berurah #46. Cf. Sha’arei Teshuvah on Rema (ibid.).
[2] That is, the night before Pesach (unless Pesach begins on Motz’ei Shabbos, in which case the night of bedikas chameitz is Thursday night, not Friday night).
[3] Literally: the head of household.
[4] In our houses, using a candle often poses a fire hazard. However, the minhag (custom), based on the Gemara (Pesachim 7b-8a) is to use a candle. It is possible to preserve the minhag yet remain safe by reciting the b’rachah and beginning the bedikah with a candle – in a non-flammable area, and then switching to a flashlight shortly thereafter.
[5] The reason is as follows: The purpose of performing a bedikah is to search for chameitz. If one does not find any chameitz, there is concern that the b’rachah on the bedikah is a b’rachah l’vatalah (blessing in vain). To prevent such a scenario, we put out bread before beginning the bedikah so that we are assured of finding at least those pieces (Rema O.C. 432:2). (Putting out specifically ten pieces of bread is based on the Kabbalistic writings of the Arizal; see Kaf Hachayim 432:13.) The Poskim (halachic authorities) write, however, that putting out chameitz before the bedikah is actually not required according to halacha, since the mitzvah is not to locate chameitz, but merely to search for chameitz (Rema ibid.; see also Taz, cited in Mishnah Berurah ad loc.). Nevertheless, the Poskim write that one should act in accordance with the custom (M.B. ibid.). [In fact, nowadays that we follow the ruling of the Rema (O.C. 433:11) that prior to the bedikah one should clean one’s house well, it would seem that we should be required according to halacha to put out the pieces of bread even when doing bedikah at home (see Sha’arei Teshuvah ad loc.). Indeed, Sha’ar Hatziyun (432:12) writes such in the name of the Eimek Halacha. Cf. Dirshu Mishnah Berurah note to Sha’ar Hatziyun (ibid.) and Koveitz Halachos chapter 5 note 8.]
[6] See Dirshu Mishnah Berurah n.e. 432:12 note 17. Nevertheless, it would seem that one who will be performing the bedikas chameitz and has no one else to place the pieces may place the pieces oneself.
[7] Sha’arei Teshuvah 432:7.
[8] See M.B. 445:10.
[9] See Koveitz Halachos, Pesach 6:25, based on Shulchan Aruch O.C. but see note that follows).Likewise, any piece of furniture that might become damaged or cause damage (to the floor or carpet) by moving need not be moved for bedikas chameitz.
[10] If, however, one places a large appliance within 30 days before the night of bedikah in a location, the leniency does not apply (see S.A. ibid.). Thus, if within 30 days before the night of bedikah one wishes to place a large appliance, one should perform a proper bedikas chameitz on that location before placing the large appliance (Koveitz Halachos, Pesach 6:26).
[11] Due to the doubt as to the precise measurement of a halachic k’zayis, one should burn chameitz at least the size of an egg. See M.B. 486:1.
[12] The time before which all chameitz must be destroyed, sold or disposed of. (This year, in the Five Towns/Far Rockaway vicinity, sof z’man bi’ur according to the opinion of the GR”A (see note that follows) is at approximately 11:56 AM, and according to the opinion of the Magen Avraham is at approximately 11:43 AM.) The Mishnah Berurah (443:8) writes that with regard to achilas chameitz one should l’chatchilah (initially/preferably) follow the more stringent opinion of the Magen Avraham. Perhaps the same ruling applies to bi’ur chameitz.
[13] M.B. 471:20. One proportional hour is calculated by dividing the hours of daytime into twelve equal portions. There is a dispute among the Poskim (halachic authorities) whether daytime for this purpose is defined as beginning at alos hashachar (daybreak) and ending at tzeis hakochavim (nightfall – when three stars medium are visible) (Magen Avraham), or as beginning at haneitz hachamah (sunrise) and ending at sh’kiah (sunset) (GR”A). See M.B. 233:4. Nine proportional hours into the day translates into three proportional hours before the end of the day (as defined above.) (According to the opinion of the GR”A, nine “proportional hours” into the day on Erev Pesach this year is at approximately 4:09 PM in the Five Towns/Far Rockaway vicinity. According to the opinion of the Magen Avraham it is at approximately 4:45 PM – if calculating presuming alos hashachar to be 72 minutes before haneitz hachamah and tzeis hakochavim to be 72 minutes after sh’kiah; and approximately at 4:18 PM – if calculating presuming dawn to be when the sun is 16.1 degrees below the horizon and nightfall to be when the sun is 36 degrees below the horizon.)
[14] See Rema O.C. end of 471:2 with M.B. #20; see also Koveitz Halachos, Pesach 16:7 note 9 at length.
[15] See S.A. O.C. 460:1 with Bi’ur Halacha s.v. matzas mitzvah.
[16] Cups of wine at the Pesach Seder. S.A. O.C. 472:11.
[17] If one has both red wine and white wine and the white wine is superior to the red wine, one may use the white wine (S.A. ibid.).
[18] Labor forbidden on Shabbos/Yom Tov.
[19] Sh”ut Sheivet HaLevi 10:56. However, Rav Elyashiv (cited in Hilchos Shabbos B’Shabbos, vol.1 page 749, with note 61) rules that pouring red wine into white wine on Yom Tov solely for the purpose of creating red wine for the Seder is forbidden Biblically. Accordingly, he would likely hold that even pouring white wine into red wine for such purpose would be forbidden. (See also See Mishnah Berurah 320:56 and 318:65.)
[20] Im Yirtzeh Hashem (G-d Willing).

Posted 3/9/2018 10:12 AM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Kigel Shalom Bayit Thought of the Week #330
One of the best things that can happen to you before Rosh Hashana is that you get insulted. (!) The Chofetz Chaim explains that when we are insulted and don't answer back, and try to judge the person favorably (making excuses for them as we would easily do for ourselves), then we are forgiven for all of our sins, even the ones we did on purpose!!

Our sages teach that G-d judges us how we judge others. If we are exacting and critical and unforgiving vis-a-vis other people, then Hashem treats us the same way. With a few days until Rosh Hashana, let us try harder to judge others favorably and treat them with compassion.

May Hashem bless us with a New Year filled with abundant revealed goodness!
For more tips & resources, check out my website

Posted 9/15/2017 10:46 AM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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How to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah - 5778
Erev Rosh Hashanah: Reprinted from Westmount Shul.  Rabbi Michalowicz
1. It is customary [but not mandatory] to fast until Halachik mid-day. [1:10 PM]
2. Additional Selichos are said in the morning.
3. No Tachanun is said during the morning service.
4. We do not blow the Shofar after the morning service.
5. One should nullify his / her vows before 3 people in a language that you understand. See Artscroll
Siddur pg. 762. This procedure only helps for vows and good deeds that one may have been committed
to do, that one does not remember having made.
6. Women can appoint their husbands as their agents to nullify their vows for them. Other women rely on
the Kol Nidrei ceremony to nullify their vows.
7. It is customary to visit the cemetery.
8. One should spend time doing Teshuvah, giving charity, learning, and asking forgiveness from other
people. Before Rosh Hashanah actually begins, one should resolve to strive to focus on improving a
specific area on conduct during the New Year.
9. One should be well groomed in honor of the Yom Tov.
10. One should preferably take a shave and haircut before Halachik Mid- day. [1:10 PM]
11. Men should immerse in the Mikveh no earlier than one hour before Halachik Mid-day. [12:10 PM]
12. One should familiarize oneself with the Machzor.
13. One should wear festive clothing, but in moderation. Save new clothing for the Shehechiyanu blessing
on the second night of Yom Tov.
14. It is customary to bake or purchase Challah in the form of a circle, ladder, or bird.
15. One should be careful not to display anger or even become angry during these special days.
16. Remember that on Rosh Hashanah one is permitted to cook or bake from a pre-existing fire. You need
not have all your food cooked before Yom Tov. [Which is generally required to be done for Shabbos.]
Consult with your Rabbi to learn more of the Halachik details involved.
17. It is preferable and practical to light a 24 hour Yartzeit candle before Yom Tov, so that you will have a
pre-existing flame to use throughout the first day of Yom Tov. This flame will be the one that you can
light candles from on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. Since the second day of Yom Tov is followed
by Shabbos, which also requires candle lighting, it is advisable to light a 48 hour Yahrzeit candle
tonight. Alternatively, you can light a new 24 hour Yahrzeit candle on Thursday night from a preexisting
18. Remember to make an Eruv Tavshilin before Yom Tov in order to be able to cook on Yom Tov for the
Shabbos which immediately follows Yom Tov this year. See Artscroll Siddur pg. 654. (you must use
foods (one baked & one cooked) that one usually eats as part of bread meal, such as fish, meat, and
eggs. A dessert may not be used.) Most people use a challah or matzah and an egg.
19. If you do not plan on cooking any meals for Shabbos (i.e. you are eating out for all your Shabbos
meals), you still are required to make an Eruv Tavshilin in order to light candles in your home. In
such a situation, the Eruv Tavshilin should be made without reciting a blessing.
First Evening of Rosh Hashanah:
1. Women light candles either at the regular time of candle lighting [7:00 PM] or from a pre-existing flame
when the men come home from Shul and are ready to eat. They make 2 blessings: One for the Mitzvah
of lighting the Yom Tov candles and the other “Shehechiyanu” blessing. [If a woman forgets to light
candles at these two times, she may light them from a pre-existing flame the entire evening.]
2. Men should daven Mincha with a Minyan and everyone should say Mincha with extra concentration, as
it is the final prayer of the year 5777.
3. The earliest time to either light candles or make Kiddush is after 6:01 PM.
4. 4 insertions are made in the Maariv Amida [and for all Amidahs through Yom Kippur], which are found
in the Artscroll Machzor on pages 62, 64, 66, and 72. One need not repeat the Amida if one forgot to say
any or all of the insertions.
5. We change the ending of the third blessing from “Ha-el Hakadosh” to “Hamelech Hakadosh” One must
repeat the Amida if one forgot to say “Hamelech Hakadosh.”
6. Special greetings are given to friends and family members after Maariv and before Kiddush. “May you
be inscribed and sealed for a good year [immediately, for a good life and for peace].” See Artscroll
Machzor pg. 90 for the Hebrew text. This greeting should only be said on the first night. Greetings
for the remainder of Rosh Hashanah should be limited to “Shana Tova”, “Happy New Year”, “Chag
Samayach”, or “Good Yom Tov.”
7. After making the special Yom Tov Kiddush and washing our hands, we make a Brocha over two
Challahs, and cut the top Challah.
8. Challah is dipped in honey [some have the custom to dip the Challah into salt as well].
9. Symbolic foods are eaten at the evening meal. See Artscroll Machzor pg. 96-98. The first symbolic fruit
to be eaten should be the date. You should make the blessing “Borei Pri Ha’etz” on that fruit, keeping in
mind the other fruits you will be eating on this night. Eat a little of it, followed by the special “Yehi
Ratzon” prayer, and then finish the date. If dates are not eaten, then the pomegranate should be eaten
before the apples. There are no other blessings made on the symbolic foods. One does say the special
“Yehi Ratzon” prayer before eating each of the symbolic foods.
10. It is optimal to eat symbolic foods, that normally would require the blessing of “Borei pro Ho’adama,
during the course of your meal, to avoid the doubtful necessity of making that blessing during the meal.
11. If one is not able to eat any of the symbolic foods, one may look at them and say the special “Yehi
Ratzon” prayer.
12. Some have a custom to avoid eating sour or bitter foods and nuts.
13. One should not say the blessing of Borei Pei Ha’etz on fruits that one eats for dessert if one had dessert
in mind when one made the blessing on the symbolic fruits at the beginning of the meal.
14. Remember to make the proper insertion of Ya’aleh Veyavo” during the Birchas Hamazon.
15. It is a custom to learn one Chapter of Mishnayos from Tractate Rosh Hashanah after each of the Yom
Tov meals.
First Day of Rosh Hashanah:
1. Men should come on time to Shul and say the Amidah with a Minyan.
2. The Shema should be recited before 10:07 AM.
3. Although there is no obligation to stand when the Aron Hakodesh is opened during the prayers, there is a
Mitzvah to stand if one has the strength to do so.
4. One should optimally listen to each sound of 100 blasts of the Shofar on both days of Rosh Hashanah.
30 are blown before Mussaf. 30 are blown during the repetition. 40 are blown at the end of the service.
5. Men are obligated to hear the Shofar. Women are technically exempt from hearing the Shofar; however,
it has become customary for women to hear at least 30 blasts of the Shofar. If possible, they should hear
both the 30 blasts before Musaf and the 30 blasts during the repetition of the Amida.
6. If you are not able to go to Shul, you should hear a minimum of 30 blasts blown privately for you. The
listener should preferably make the blessings on the Shofar.
7. Children, who are old enough to silently listen to the Shofar, should be encouraged to do so. Little
children, who will disturb the service, may not be brought to Shofar blowing.
8. It is forbidden to talk while the Shofar is being blown. One should not speak from the time that the
blessings on the Shofar are made until after hearing the 100th and final note. Only under extenuating
circumstances may one talk after hearing the first 30 blasts. Women may be more lenient in this matter
after hearing 30 blasts.
9. During the Musaf Amida, one should bow when they say “Modim” in the “Aleinu" prayer.
10. If one chooses to kneel on the floor during Aleinu of the reposition of the Musaf Amida, one should put
some material between their face and the floor.
1. One should leave Shul feeling relaxed and confident that Hashem has accepted his prayers with mercy.
2. One is obligated to eat Challah and have a festive meal on both days of Rosh Hashanah.
3. One should not sleep in the afternoon. [One may be lenient on the second day.] A person who is very
tired should sleep a little rather than sit around idely and waste time.
4. It is not the custom to visit friends in the afternoon.
5. Any free time in the afternoon should be spent learning Torah, saying Tehillim, doing Teshuva or doing
acts of kindness. It is not a time for idle chatter.
6. After Mincha, it is customary to go to Tashlich.
7. If you don’t think you will have enough time to say Tashlich after Mincha, you can say it before Mincha.
8. The custom is to recite Tashlich preferably at a body of running water [i.e. a river or stream] where fish
are found. If that is not possible, one can say it by any body of water – even a well.
9. When reciting the word “Vesashlich”, it is customary to shake out the corners or pockets of your outer
garments, which are empty.
10. It is forbidden to throw any crumbs of food into the water. [or to feed the ducks]
11. Tashlich was not designed to be a venue for socializing. [One is permitted to invite guests for meals
and should make an effort to keep the discussions focused on the theme and spirit of Rosh Hashanah.]
Second Evening of Rosh Hashanah:
1. One should pray the evening service after Tashlich. It is preferable to say Maariv after the stars come
out, or at least after sunset.
2. One may not make any Yom Tov preparations for the second night, light candles, or make Kiddush until
after 7:59 PM. (with the exception of taking food out of the freezer.)
3. There are lenient opinions who permit asking a non-Jew to make preparations for the second night, that
do not involve actual work ( e.g. setting the table ) that can be relied on, especially when necessary.
4. If the first day of Rosh Hashanah is not a Shabbos, there is no need for women to say “Baruch Hamavdil
Ben Kodesh Lekodesh” before making preparations for the second night.
5. Candle lighting and Kiddush are done in the same way as on the first night.
6. One should wear a new garment for candle lighting / kiddush at the second evening meal. Have this in
mind when making the “Shehechiyanu” blessing.
7. It is questionable as to whether one can make a “Shehechiyanu” blessing on any fruits. The only fruit
that one, who lives in Toronto, can definitely say the “Shehechiyanu” blessing is on pumpkins and
Ontario concord grapes.
8. If you do have such fruit, it should optimally be eaten immediately after Kiddush.
9. No one else besides the one who lights candles and / or makes kiddush says the “Shehechiyanu”
10. Some people have the custom to eat the symbolic foods and recite the special prayers at this meal as
Second day of Rosh Hashanah:
1. The procedures for this day are the same as the first day. The exception being that we do not go to
Tashlich again. If it rained on the first day or you were not able to go to Tashlich [or the first day was
Shabbos], you should do so on the second day. [If one does not have the opportunity to go to Tashlich on
both days of Yom Tov, you are permitted to do it until the seventh day of Succos – Hoshana Rabbah.]
2. If you have made an Eruv Tavshilin on Wednesday, you may make Shabbos preparations on Friday.
3. Since Rosh Hashanah ends on Friday afternoon, we do not make Havdalah. We welcome the Shabbos no
earlier than 5:58 P.M. Candle lighting and Kiddush for Shabbos can begin after this time. The latest time
for candle lighting is 6:56 P.M.
4. During the Prayer of “Magen Avos” we substitute with the words “Hamelech Hakadosh.”
Rosh Hashanah: Yehi Ratzon – Symbolic Foods Text and Instructions
All of the Yehi Ratzons start out the same way:
"Yehi Ratzon Mil’fa’necha, Ad-noi El-heinu Vei’l-hai Avosainu..."
(The "-" represents the letter "o," which was purposely left out so as not to write out the name of G-d.)
"May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers..."
Listed below are the various foods and the endings, which are appropriate to them:
For dates: "...She’yitamu son’ainu." "...that our enemies be consumed."
For pomegranate: "...she’nirbeh ze’chu’yos k’rimon"
"...that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate."
For the apple in the honey: "...she’tichadesh aleinu shana tova u’m’tuka."
"...that you renew us for a good and sweet year."
For fenugreek (or carrots - as the Yiddish word for carrots - Mehren - can also mean "to increase," this Yehi
Ratzon is appropriate as well):
"...She’yir’bu ze’chuyo’sainu." "...that our merits increase."
For leek or cabbage: "...She’yikar’su son’ainu." "...that our enemies be decimated."
For beets: "...She’yistalku oy’vainu." "...that our adversaries be removed."
For gourd: "...She’yikora g’zar de’nainu v’yikaru l’fanecha zechu’yosainu."
"...that the decree of our sentence be torn up and may our merits be proclaimed before you."
For fish: "...She’nif’reh v’nir’beh ki’dagim." "...that we be fruitful and multiply like fish."
For the head of a fish or sheep: "...She’ni’hiyeh l’rosh v’lo l’zanav."
"...that we be as the head and not as the tail."
All of these Yehi Ratzons are said on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, after Kiddush has been made, after the
blessing over the Challos (breads) has been made and the bread has been eaten. (There are those who have the
custom to eat these foods and recite the Yehi Ratzon on the second night as well.) After the bread has been
eaten, one should take the date, make the blessing that one would normally make on fruit [“Borei Pri Ha’etz’],
and then take a bite of the date. Before one has eaten the whole date, one should recite the Yehi Ratzon. After
the date, one can then have all, none, or some of the other foods.

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Kigel Shalom Bayit Thought of the Week #329
Women often come to speak to me about their dating or marital problems, and when I ask them if they're davening (praying)in their own words to enlist G-d's help, they often respond 'no'.

Hashem is our partner in life, and if we don't ask Him to help us achieve whatever we're working on, it is self-defeating. Part of hishtadlut (our effort) is prayer. Try it and see what amazing things can be accomplished!
For more tips & resources, check out my website

Posted 9/8/2017 11:55 AM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Kigel Shalom Bayit Thought of the Week #325
The great Rav the Vilna Gaon stated that the main reason we came into this world is to do tikkun hamiddot (fix our bad character traits). It is usually the people closest to us (husband, kids, in-laws) that push our buttons in such a way as to make us work on those character traits (compassion, patience, tolerance). Therefore, we should not be surprised or dismayed when we hit bumps in the road in our marriage, as it is through overcoming those challenges that we perfect ourselves.
For more tips & resources, check out my website

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The Laws of Tisha B’av – 2017
Erev Tisha B’av:
by Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz
1. Mincha is said earlier than usual, in order to have time to eat the “Seudas
Hamafsekes.” We will be davening Mincha on Monday, July 31st at 6:30 P.M.
2. No Tachanun is said at Mincha.
3. The final meal before Tisha B’av is called the “Seudah Hamafsekes” and has
special requirements. This meal must be eaten after noon with the intention of not
eating anything thereafter
4. The Seudah Hamafsekes may be preceded by a regular meal. However, one
should not fill himself at this meal, in order to allow room for the Seudas
Hamafsekes. One should take at least a 20-30 minute break between the regular
meal and the Seudas Hamafsekes.
5. The custom is to eat the Seudas Hamafsekes while seated on the ground. If one is
weak, he may sit on a pillow. There is no requirement to remove one’s shoes for
this meal – since mourning does not begin until evening.
6. The custom is for the Seudas Hamafsekes to consist only of bread, cold hardboiled
eggs, and water. A portion of the bread should be dipped in ashes and
eaten. One should say: “This is the Tisha B’av meal.”
7. Everyone says the Birchas Hamazon by themselves, when this meal is concluded.
Three adult males should avoid eating this meal together in order not to be required
to recite the Grace after meals as a “Mezumin” [invitation to bentch].
8. Since mourning does not begin until the evening, one may sit on a chair until
9. One may eat and drink after this meal until sunset, unless you expressly decided,
verbally or mentally, not to eat any more on that day, or said that you are accepting
the fast. If one plans on eating or drinking after this meal, it is preferable to either
verbally or mentally express that you are not accepting the fast until sunset.
Tisha B’av Evening:
10. All the prohibitions of Tisha B’av begin just prior to sunset. Sunset is at 8:41 P.M.
this year [2017].
11. One is permitted to drive to Shul and sit normally in the car.
12. On Tisha B’av it is prohibited to:
▪ Eat or drink
▪ Bathe or wash for pleasure
▪ Anoint oneself
▪ Have intimate relations
▪ Wear leather shoes
▪ Learn Torah [except for those portions which sadden the heart.]
13. You should deprive yourself somewhat from a comfortable sleep - i.e. to sleep with
no pillows or one pillow less than usual. You may use a c-pap machine when

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The Laws of the Nine Days - 5777
© 2017 Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz

1. The Talmud teaches us “When the Jewish month of Av enters, we decrease our happiness.
2. The Jewish month of Av begins Sunday night, July 23rd at sunset. This begins a more intense period of national
mourning, which concludes the day after Tisha B’av, which is the day after Tuesday, August 1st.
3. All the restrictions that began at the beginning of the Three Weeks are still in force, but they are now intensified.
4. The Talmud explains that one decreases happiness by:
▪ Decreasing one’s business activities
▪ Refraining from construction and planting intended for joyous reasons.
▪ Not conducting weddings or making a festive meal to celebrate an engagement.
5. Any construction not necessary for one’s dwelling but performed for expansion is prohibited. Similarly,
any improvement to the appearance of a house such as painting, hanging new drapes, wall papering and
all house decorating can not be done during the Nine Days.
6. Certain types of expansion building would be permitted if it were for necessary living space to accommodate more
people living in the home. Consult your local Rabbi in this issue.
7. If you hired a non-Jewish contractor to build an addition, and the contractor wants to work during the Nine Days, the
Jew is not required to prevent him from doing so. Preferably, one should offer the contractor some financial
compensation to refrain from working during the Nine days, but one is not required to offer a significant amount of
money to get him to wait until after Tisha B’av.
8. It is permitted to weed, water, or mow the lawn during the Nine Days, since these activities are not for enhancement. It
is also permitted to plant and maintain a vegetable garden during the Nine Days.
9. One may not wear new clothes during the Nine Days, nor may one tailor or purchase new clothes or shoes.
10. One who does not have appropriate shoes to wear on Tisha B’av may buy them during the Nine Days.
11. Similarly, it is prohibited to dry-clean clothes or iron them.
12. We refrain from changing tablecloths, towels, and bed linens during the Nine Days, unless it is absolutely necessary.
13. It is permitted to repair shoes and clothes during the Nine Days.
14. We refrain from doing laundry and wearing freshly laundered clothing during the Nine Days.
15. Therefore, one should prepare before Sunday night, July 23rd at sunset sufficient clothing already worn since it was
last laundered. This is ideally accomplished by putting on and wearing a garment for at least a short while [1/2 hr.]
Towels should also be used at least once before the Nine Days begin in order to be able to use them.
16. If one’s clothing becomes sweaty or soiled during the Nine Days, one is permitted to change into clean clothes.
17. It is permitted to launder children’s clothes and linens during the Nine Days.
18. It is permitted to spot-clean a garment if one is concerned that the stain will set. Furthermore, it is permitted to soak a
garment that is dirty without completing its laundering in order to make it easier to clean after Tisha B’av.
19. We do not bathe or go swimming for pleasure during the Nine Days, but bathing for hygienic and health purposes is
permitted. One may go to the Mikveh. Washing only one’s face, hands, or feet with cold water is permissible at all
20. We do not eat meat or drink wine or grape juice during the Nine days. A sick person may eat meat, under doctor’s
orders. It is permitted to eat meat or drink wine for all Shabbos meals or at a Mitzva meal [such as a Bris or Siyum,
21. One may not eat fleishig [meat] leftovers from Shabbat meals or of a Mitzva meal during the remaining Nine Days. One
may not eat meat for Melava Malka.
22. It is permitted to use wine vinegar for cooking. It is also permitted to drink beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic
23. One is permitted to bathe and to put on freshly laundered clothing in honor of the Shabbat.
24. One can make Havdalah on wine or grape juice. If a young child present is old enough to make a blessing but not old
enough to understand that we do not eat meat during the Nine Days, that child should drink the Havdalah cup. If there
is no such child available, the person reciting Havdalah should drink the wine or grape juice himself. Others have a
custom to use beer for Havdallah.
25. A Jew should avoid scheduling litigation / adjudication during the Nine Days, since this is a month in which the Mazel
for Jews is bad.
26. Polishing shoes is permitted. Shining shoes in honor of the Shabbos is also permitted.
27. The Midrash teaches that Hashem will bring forth ten new creations in the era of Moshiach [e.g. death will perish
forever, everyone will be joyful, and there will be an end to all sighing and worry]. The Kaf HaChayim states that
everyone who meticulously observes the laws of the first ten days of Av, thereby demonstrating his personal mourning
over the destruction of Yerushalayim, will merit witnessing these ten miracles. May we all merit seeing these miracles
speedily and in our days.
© 2017 Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz

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Laws of the 17th of Tamuz, and Laws of the Three Weeks::
Laws of the 17th of Tamuz, 5777:
by: Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz
1. The Talmud teaches us that five tragic events occurred on the 17th of Tammuz, the most notable being that: a.) The tablets, containing
the Ten Commandments, were destroyed; and b.) The walls of the city of Jerusalem were breached, leading to the destruction of the
Second Temple. To commemorate these tragic events, the Jewish people observe this day as a fast day. In addition, the custom
developed to observe some mourning practices from this day until Tisha B’av.
2. The 17th of Tammuz is observed this year of 5777 on Monday evening and Tuesday of July 10 - 11. The fast begins Tuesday
morning at 4:34 A.M. and ends at 9:50 P.M. One who finds it difficult to fast may eat at 9:43 P.M. The purpose of a fast day is to
stir our hearts in order that we utilize the paths of Teshuva, returning to Hashem, and to serve as a reminder to us of our own actions
and those of our forefathers. These mistaken actions are responsible for the terrible events, which befell our people. Remembering
these tragedies should lead us to examine our conduct and return to Hashem.
3. One should not mistakenly assume that the abstinence from food and drink alone fulfills the requirement and purpose of a fast day.
The true purpose of a fast day must be evidenced in one’s improved deeds.
4. Pregnant and nursing women are not required to fast, if they find it difficult.
5. A person who is ill or suffering is not required to fast – even if there is no fear of danger to health.
6. One is permitted to eat before the fast, provided that one explicitly states before going to sleep that he/she plans to wake up early to
eat before the fast begins.
7. Although it is permitted to bathe, it has become customary not to take a hot shower or bathe for pleasure. [One may certainly bathe or
shower if one is dirty / perspired.]
8. It is proper for adults to refrain from swimming, unless it is needed for a medical condition or to cool off on a hot day. [Minors, however,
may swim.]
9. One is permitted to rinse one’s mouth, provided that you only rinse the front part of the mouth, taking care that no liquid enters the
throat area. One should make sure to rinse with less than 3.3 fl.oz. of liquid at a time. [There is a stringent view that permits this only
when in distress.]
10. You may take medications prescribed by a doctor. One, who has difficulty swallowing pills without water, may drink the amount of
water required to swallow them.
11. When suffering from a severe headache, etc., aspirin or Tylenol, etc., may be taken. One may drink water as described above in #10.
12. There are other restrictions that begin on this day, as it begins the period of the three weeks. This will be discussed later on.
13. During the reading of the Torah on a fast day, the custom is that certain verses are read aloud by the congregation. The individual who
is called up for that Aliya should not read the verses aloud with the congregation. Instead, he should wait until the reader says them
aloud and read along with him.
14. One who mistakenly ate on a fast day must resume and complete the fast. He may say the Aneinu insertion during the Mincha Amida.
15. One, who is not fasting altogether, should not say Aneinu.
16. We add the Avinu Malkeinu prayer for Shacharis and Mincha, even when praying alone at home without a Minyan.

Laws of the Three Weeks:
1. Although the Talmud mentions that the mourning of the Tisha B’av season begins on the first day of the month of Av, the accepted
custom amongst Ashkenazic Jews is to begin mourning from the 17th of Tamuz.
2. There are different levels of mourning in terms of restrictions, with the mourning intensifying as we get closer to Tisha B’av:
➢ From the 17th of Tamuz
➢ From the 1st of Av
➢ The week that Tisha B’av falls [i.e. from the Sat. night before Tisha B’av]
➢ Tisha B’av
3. We do not make weddings during the three weeks.
4. It is permitted to celebrate an engagement with a festive meal during the three weeks, provided there is no music and dancing. From
Rosh Chodesh [1st of Av] one should only serve light refreshments.
5. Dancing on weekdays is prohibited during the three weeks.
6. Generally speaking, it is prohibited to shave or get a haircut during the three weeks.
7. It is permitted to trim one’s mustache if it interferes with eating.
8. If one shaves daily, one may shave during the Three Weeks if one may lose one’s job or may lose customers because one does
not shave. However, if the only concern is that people will make fun of him, one is not permitted to shave.
9. Shaving is prohibited during the week that Tisha B’av falls, even if one suffers financial loss.
10. Adults may not give minor children a haircut during the week that Tisha B’av falls. There is a minority opinion that prohibits this for the
entire Three Weeks.
11. Women may not cut their hair during the Three Weeks. She may trim the hair on her temples, for the sake of modesty. A woman may
tweeze her eyebrows and perform similar cosmetic activities.
12. A Shaitel [wig] may be washed /cut or professionally cleaned and/or set during the Three Weeks - but not during the Nine Days.
13. It is permitted to cut your fingernails during the Three Weeks.
14. Playing or listening to music for enjoyment is prohibited during the Three Weeks. Listening to recorded music is also prohibited.
Playing is permitted on a professional basis in order to make a living.
15. It is not prohibited to hear background music, such as what one hears while waiting in a doctor’s office.
16. It is permitted to take music lessons if the lessons are not for pleasure and there will be a loss of skill because of the time lost. The Kaf
HaChayim writes: “Those who teach music during these days, should teach sad songs, and it would be even better if they did not
teach any music at all.”
17. There are opinions that permit singing during the weekdays. Everyone agrees that it is permitted to sing sad or moving songs, similar
to what we sing on Tisha B’av. For that matter, one should only listen to recorded acappella music of sad or moving songs.
18. One may not recite the Shehechiyanu blessing during the Three Weeks for purchases or new fruits. However, you may say it on
19. Therefore, one should not purchase items during the Three Weeks that would require that blessing being said. [e.g. buying a new
suit.] One may purchase new items that do not require a Shehechiyanu. [e.g. a pair of new shoes or underwear.]
20. One should not purchase a car for pleasure or convenience until after the Three Weeks. One may purchase a car if it is for work;
however, the Shehechiyanu blessing should not be recited until after the Three Weeks.
21. You may purchase a necessary appliance, such as a refrigerator, washing machine or bed, to replace one that broke during the Three
22. One should not engage in dangerous activities during the Three Weeks. For this reason, some follow the practice not to schedule
surgery during the 3 weeks, and certainly not during the 9 days, unless the doctor insists that it cannot medically be postponed.
23. It is permitted to bathe, shower, or swim for pleasure until the 1st of Av. It is prohibited during the Nine Days.
24. Although a parent should not strike one’s child at any time of the year, a parent should be extra cautious and refrain from striking one’s
child during the Three Weeks.
25. There are no mourning practices conducted on the Shabbos.
26. One need not decrease business activity, construction, or planting until the Nine Days begin.
© 2017 Rabbi Yossi Michalowicz

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How to Celebrate Shavuos 5777:
How to Celebrate Shavuos 5777:
by Rabbi Michalowicz
1. Women light candles either at the regular time of candle lighting [8:33 PM] or from a pre-existing flame when
the men come home from Shul and are ready to eat. They make 2 blessings: One for the Mitzvah of lighting
the Yom Tov candles and the other “Shehechiyanu” blessing. [If a woman forgets to light candles at these two
times, she may light them from a pre-existing flame the entire evening.]
2. Usually, when Holidays begin, and when Shabbos begins, it is generally permitted to begin the Holiday early,
and indeed, sometimes it is preferable. But we may not begin the Holiday of Shavuos early, so that the Count
of Omer should be a complete seven weeks. Therefore, on the first night Shavuos we wait until the stars come
out, and do not begin Kiddush until then. For this year of 5777, the earliest time to make Kiddush on
Tuesday night is 9:41 PM.
3. There is a well known minhag to bring flowers into shul and one's home as a remembrance that on Shavuos
we are judged on "Peiros Ha'ilon" - fruits. However, one should not cut off branches from fruit bearing trees for
this purpose because of the Torah prohibition of "Bal Tashchis".
4. Many have the minhag to eat a milchige [dairy] meal (and milk and honey) on Shavuos. However, one is also
obliged to eat fleishig [beef] to be yotze [discharges his obligation of] Simchas Yom Tov with meat.
5. In order to satisfy all opinions, it is preferable to have a meat meal both in the evening and in the day of both
days of Yom Tov [4 meals], and to have a dairy meal or snack in the day before your meat meal.
6. However, if one finds it difficult to eat meat so late at night, there are opinions to rely on that permit you to eat
dairy meals at night.
7. All agree that you should have meat meals at least one time on each of the two days of Yom Tov.
8. If one eats milchig but not "hard cheese" (which requires one to wait six hours before eating meat) one need
not bentch and wash again before eating meat. However, one should wash his /her mouth well and the
tablecloth should be changed. (Other poskim require one to bentch).
9. There is a custom to stay up the night of Shavuos and learn Torah. This is based on the Midrash which says
that the Jewish people overslept the night before Matan Torah and Hashem had to awaken them to receive the
Torah. Therefore we stay up all night to rectify their oversight.
10. The Arizal [The Kabalist Rabbi Yitzchok Luria] writes that one who does not sleep the night of Shavuos and
toils in Torah is assured to live out the year and no harm will occur to him.
11. There is a compilation of torah learning known as "Tikkun Lay'l Shavuos" which has The Zohar and the
writings of The Ari'zal as its source, and many have the minhag to say/learn this on Shavuos night.
12. Generally women should not say the "Tikkun Lay'l Shavuos". However, some say that a woman who counted
all the days of Sefiras Ha'omer may learn the portions of the Tikkun which are from Tanach.
13. One who stayed awake all night of Shavuos should immediately, at Alos Hashachar wash one's hands for
Netilas Yadayim without a beracha, and listen to Birchas Hatorah from someone who slept, before one
continues to learn.
14. Before Shachris one should use the restroom, wash his hands and then make the berachos of "al netilas
yadayim" and "asher yotzar".
15. One who stayed awake all night should not make a beracha on his tzitzis. Rather, he should make the beracha
on his Tallis Gadol and have in mind to be yotze for his tzitzis with the same beracha. Someone who does
not wear a Tallis Gadol, should hear the beracha from someone else who will discharge his
16. One who stayed awake all night should listen to the berachos of "Elokai Neshama" and "Hamaveir Shayna
Mayeinoi" from someone who slept during the night.
17. One who goes to sleep after Alos Hashachar Shavuos morning (or on any day) does not say the beracha of
18. For those who have stayed awake all night, the minhag of Ashkenazim is that after Alos Hashachar one goes
to the bathroom, washes ones hands, makes al netilas yadayim, and asher yatzar, and then listens to and is
yotze [discharges his obligation of] Birchas Hatorah, Elokai Neshama, and birchas Hamaavir Chevlei
Sheynah, from someone who slept, and then one says all rest of the usual morning berachos for oneself.
19. While reciting Birchos Hatorah on Erev Shavuos, one may clearly stipulate that his berachos should be in
effect only until the next morning. In this case, he may recite the berachos on Shavuos morning although he
did not sleep.
20. If no person who slept is available, many poskim rule that the berachos of Elokai Neshama and Hamaavir
Chevlai Sheynah may be recited even by one who did not sleep.
21. One may not make any Yom Tov preparations on the first day of Yom Tov for the second night, light candles, or
make Kiddush until after 9:42 PM.
22. Candle lighting and Kiddush are done in the same way as on the first night.

Posted 6/2/2017 5:45 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Dvar Torah # 572 - Sefiras Ha'Omer (Shemini)
Sefiras Ha'Omer (Shemini)

Chazal dispute what should be done when Klal Yisrael read the Megillah on Purim and subsequently the Sanhedrin added another month of Adar: Should the Megillah be read a second time on the fourteenth of Adar II? Reb Elazar ben Reb Yosi is of the opinion that it should not be read again. Since halacha dictates that one should not pass up the opportunity to do a mitzvah, the first Adar is the proper time to read the Megillah. However, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel asserts that it should be read once again in the second Adar "because adjoining the geulah [redemption from Haman] to the geulah [redemption from Mitzrayim] outweighs the principle of not passing over a mitzvah."
How do we understand Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel's reasoning? Why is it necessary to connect the two geulos to each other? Rav Wolbe explains that not passing up an opportunity to perform a mitzvah is a manifestation of the trait of alacrity, while the idea of connecting the geulos is based on the trait of continuity, and continuity takes precedence over alacrity. Connecting the different times of the year to each other, turns the interim time periods into a single continuous timeline of spirituality wherein one climbs from one rung of holiness to the next.
This idea is common throughout the Jewish calendar. The three weeks connect Shivah Asar B'Tamuz to Tisha B'Av. The Shivah D'Nechemta (the haftoros of consolation read for seven consecutive weeks after Tisha B'Av) connect Tisha B'Av to Rosh Hashana, and the Aseres Yimei Teshuva connect Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur. Yet, the most obvious example of this idea is sefiras ha'omer where we literally count the days in between Pesach and Shavuos.
Pesach has ended, but it is not over yet. Every Yom Tov is a stepping stone to the next Yom Tov as we climb the ladder through the year and year after year. How does one make Pesach a catalyst for continued spiritual ascension? One possibility is to take the fundamentals of emunah discussed on Leil HaSeder and crystallize them by learning a sefer on the topic. The Kuzari, Chovos Halevavos, Emunah U'Bitachon of the Chazon Ish and Alei Shur are just a few of the possibilities. With a small investment of time you can enjoy the spiritual highs of Pesach all year round!

* * *

The forty-nine days of Sefiras Ha'Omer are days laden with opportunity. It was during these days that Bnei Yisrael rose from the lowest levels of spirituality and reached the loftiest levels - climaxing with Kabbalas HaTorah, and each year one can tap into this spiritual wellspring. Conversely, the inauspiciousness of these days also seems quite evident since it was during this exact period of time that the twenty four thousand disciples of Rebbi Akiva died. So are these days auspicious or inauspicious?
Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II p. 396) explains that indeed both are true. Chazal tell us (Avos 6:2) "One who toils in Torah becomes elevated." If one's Torah study only produces a sharper mind and great knowledge but does not generate character improvement, then his Torah study is grossly lacking. The elevation produced through Torah is evident in the refinement and nobility of those who toil in its study.
The twenty four thousand disciples died because "they did not honor one another." Giving honor is the attribute which expresses the refinement of an individual. One who is not inclined to honor other people demonstrates that despite his Torah knowledge he has not become elevated. When Hashem revealed Himself on the night of the redemption from Mitzrayim, Bnei Yisrael experienced a tremendous, albeit fleeting, elevation. The following day Bnei Yisrael reverted back to their previous lowly state, and the days of the Omer were given to them to try to regain the awesome spiritual level which they had experienced. Thus, this time is opportune for achieving true elevation, and the disciples of Rebbi Akiva who lacked this critical aspect of spiritual elevation were punished specifically during this time period.
These are days that contain within them a generous dose of Heavenly assistance to elevate oneself and refine his character. If Hashem is offering us His hand, how could we ignore it?

Posted 4/21/2017 6:36 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Remembering Hashem, How? Mezuzah -A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #373
Parshas Tzav 5777


How can we remember to remember Hashem?

If we practice up on a Mezuzah - now this is for people who want to live successfully as Jews. It's a tragedy, we have Mezuzahs and sometimes expensive ones, and sometimes we remember enough to kiss theMezuzah, but that's such a minor achievement in comparison to what the Mezuzah actually must do. There's no question that the purpose is to make us think of the contents of the Mezuzah. To think Hashem echod as you pass by a Mezuzah, every time in and out.

Here's a man coming back from work and his nerves are ragged. Inside the house his wife has been dealing with little children all day long, and her nerves are jangled, and in one minute they're going to have an encounter. So he stops at the Mezuzah, and he stops for a moment and thinks, Hashem echod; think about Me, Hakadosh Baruch Hu says, that's what the Mezuzah is for. And he walks inside with the Mezuzah still in his mind, and he saves the evening.

Now let's say his wife as she's going to open the door for him, she passes by the Mezuzah too, there's a Mezuzah in the kitchen, and she looks at it too, both of them are armed. They have the weapons for this great battle, milchomo chazoko, it's a great battle. The battle of living properly in a house is a milchomo chazoko, and that's the way that idealistic Jews could live.

You should know, that if you put in efforts into the Mezuzah, the Mezuzah is going to give you surprisingrewards, it'll pay you back with interest. Adam mekadeish es atzmo me'at, mekadshim oso harbei, you put in a little effort and you're going to get out a great deal of results.

Good Shabbos & Chag Kasher V'Sameach To All

Questions from previous years

Question #130

Why was Matzoh chosen to be the symbol of chipazon?

Matzoh is the food, bread is the mainstay of a person’s nutrition. Bread is called the mashein lechem, the staff of life. The most important nutrition of a person is his mind. Because as we said before, the purpose of the whole story of Mitzraim was to createsiechel in us; deiah, emunah, understanding. That's what Mitzraim is for. We were in Mitzraim, and all the nissim were lamaan teidah, you should know. And just like bread is the most important item of our menu, so we have to know that the most important thing that we have to get out of life is emunah.

And therefore the Matzoh is the vehicle that brings us this lesson. So as you eat the Matzoh, chew the Matzoh and swallow it, and think of the lesson of chipazon the lesson ofmamleches kohanim. You're a kohain eating a korban minchah. Also by the way, Matzoh tastes good, too. As you enjoy the Matzoh and you say mechalkail chaim b'chesed, You’re feeding the living with kindliness; it's for a purpose, too. Bread as you eat it and you enjoy it, it gives you nourishment. It’s what the purpose is of you enjoying the bread: Ba'avur shmo hagadol, for the sake of His Great Name, ki hu kail zun umefarneis lakol, that He is the one that feeds everyone.

So as you’re eating the bread and it causes you to thank Hashem, bread has to give you emunah. If you eat bread without getting emunah, so the bread is wasted. It says openly: Hazon es haolam kulo, what's the purpose? Ba'avur shmo hagadol, for the sake of His Great Name. It means that we should recognize His Great Name and speak about Him. So the purpose of the bread is, to arouse within us a recognition of the wonders that Hashem performs when He creates bread.

Where does bread come from? Bread is nothing but carbon dioxide that comes from the air, mixed with some sunlight, and some water, and a small amount of materials from the earth; that's bread. And now it becomes a life giving substance called bread, that's Hashem. So when you eat bread it's supposed to give youemunah. So besides Matzoh which gives you all these lessons, Matzoh is also hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz. So you can enjoy the Matzoh, too, and think how good the Matzoh tastes. It's a pleasure to eat Matzohs, certainly, it's a good change from eating bread all the time. And as you're enjoying the Matzohs you're enjoying all the lessons that Matzoh and bread give you.

Question #177

Ein maftirin achar haPesach afikoman, after eating the Korban Pesach you can not conclude with eating desert. Now today, we don't have the Korban Pesach so we eat a piece of matzoh called afikoman.Which means that after that piece of matzah we can't eat anything. Why?

The reason is given as follows: When you eat the korban pesach, it was the end of the seudah. Pesach ne'echal al hasova, it was eaten at the end of the seudah. Pesach night first they ate everything else, and then they ate that kezayis, the piece of the Korban Pesach, broiled meat. They wanted that, that taste should remain in their mouth's as long as possible. The taste of the mitzvah should not be washed away by other things.

That's what the father says, when the chochom says, muh ha'aidos v'hachukim, tell us my father, something about Korban Pesach. The father says my son, I'm going to teach you things about Korban Pesach, about the Torah, about Hashem, but one thing I want you to know, what I tell you should remain in your mouth forever. The taste should not depart. Sometimes in the beginning the child is interested, but later on as he gets older, he's sophisticated, no! The taste should always be in your mouth. And so the Korban Pesach should remain as long as possible, even when you wake up in the morning after Pesach night, you still have the taste of the Korban Pesach in your mouth.

And that's a remez, that when you learned the great ideals that Hashem wants us to learn in our youth, ein maftirin, don't let anything wash it out of your head. Literature, business, whatever else there is in the world, watch out! Nothing should wipe out the lessons that you imbibed when you were idealistic, when you learned them in your youth.

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210

Posted 4/7/2017 4:53 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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The Shmuz Joins Hundreds of Parents of Special Needs Children at Hamaspik’s Annual Support Weekend
Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier of the Shmuz joined 250 couples, proud parents of families affected by disability, sharing a joint Shabbos together March 24-25 weekend at the Sheraton Crown Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut. It was a Shabbos of inspiration that fortified the parents with the strength to carry on daily with caring physically and spiritually for their loved ones—and themselves.
Rabbi Shafier invoked inspiration from his shmuz titled “Understanding Life Settings” which focused on some of the big picture issues of life, helping to understand “life settings” as they apply to each person. Why is there autism in the world? Why Down Syndrome? If in fact G-d is just, why not mete out talents and abilities in an equal manner to all people? Why are some people blessed with success and others not? Is there a reason for suffering in the world? What about pain? What about death? Rabbi Shafier addressed this using the backdrop of a famous event brought in the Talmud.
On Motzei Shabbos there was a beautiful Melava Malka which went on close to dawn. The highlight of the Melava Malka was its panel discussion, a feature returning for the third consecutive year. Rabbi Shafier was one of the four panelists that responded to the anonymous written questions sent by the parents on actual daily scenarios encountered in the regular course of special-needs parenting.
The four panelists responded to the questions, each with their own take and perspective, shedding fresh light and providing most-welcome clarity and direction. Guests went home from the weekend invigorated for themselves and their families.
The Shmuz is a Torah lecture that offers a worldview on major life issues ranging from working on our middos to learning to be a better spouse, from understanding the meaning of our davening to what our purpose is in this world. Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier is direct, daring, and downright funny, providing audiences with essential Torah principles packaged in an enticing, enjoyable way. The Shmuz is expanding its reach by launching a new Shmuz website. Originally designed for post-yeshiva working guys, The Shmuz now influences thousands of Jewish people around the world through Rabbi Shafier’s online videos, articles and live webinars. The new website can be found at

Posted 3/31/2017 5:25 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Why no mention of Shabbos in Mizmor Shir L'yom Ha'Shabbos - A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #370 (
Parsha Ki Sisa


Mizmor shir L'yom Ha'Shabbos, a song of poetry to the day of Shabbos. And then he goes on and forgets about Shabbos. In the whole song there is not one word about Shabbos; a good question. This question I asked, it took me many years to ask this question, not one word about Shabbos! When we want to talk about Shabbos, we take the prayer book and find a song, every song talks about Shabbos, all the songs are Shabbos,Shabbos, Shabbos, and here is one song that our pious king Dovid made a song, and the only place you find Shabbos is in the title?

He understood Shabbos better than we do; I'll give you an example. This example comes from Reb Simcha Zisel zichrono livroho, he doesn't use it in connection with this. A mother sends her daughter to the store to buy something, but she knows her daughter is forgetful, scatter brain, so she ties a string around her finger and she tells her, make sure you don't lose the string. So the whole way the daughter is making sure that the string is tied tightly and she is tightening it the whole time and making sure it's exactly in position. By the time she gets to the store, she's so immersed in the idea of the string, that she doesn't know what the string was for anymore.

Now, we are told Shabbos. We are very busy with Shabbos, there's a big Shulchan Aruch, there's also a Gemara Shabbos, Shabbos is a very important subject and you have to learn it. It's impossible to be a Shabbos observer if you haven't learned the laws of Shabbos, because it's very important and very complex; everybody must know them.

But we're so busy, and rightfully busy thinking about Shabbos that we forget what Shabbos is all about. But Dovid didn't. And he told us what Shabbos is about. You know what Shabbos is about? Shabbos is the celebration that the Creator gave us the greatest gift that could be given: this world. Vayar Elokim es kol asher asa v'henei tov meod, Elokim saw all that He had made. He didn't merely say it was good, He said it was very good, we say it's very very very good sometimes, and maybe it is good but the Almighty when He says good it's already very good, but when He adds very good, then there is no limit to how good it is.

It's a very good world, it's not what I'm telling you, He said, the manufacturer knows His product, and He doesn't get any money for it either. Therefore Dovid starts out, he says tov lhodos La'shem, how good it is to give thanks to Hashem, ulzamer lshimcha elyon, and to sing to Your name You most high. You know what's good...lhagid baboker chasdecha, to relate at morning at length Your kindleness, v'emunascha balielos, and Your steadfastness to relate in the night, that's what's good. If you're looking for a career - you want to be a career man? That's your job in life: speak day and night about the kindliness and steadfastness of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, talk about how good the world is, that's a good career.

Talk about how good the rain is and how good the snow is.
Talk about how good the air is and how good the wind is.
Talk about how good the sun is, how good the day is, how good the night is and how good the moon is.
Ki simachtani Hashem b'fuelecha, You Hashem made me happy with Your handiwork, Bma'asei yodecha aranein, I sing at the deeds of Your hands.
That's what Shabbos is for, Shabbos is the day when we look at the creation because Shabbos commemorates the creation, and we see how good it is, how marvelous it is.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210

Posted 3/16/2017 9:38 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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How to Celebrate Purim - 5777:
Reprinted from Rabbi Michalowicz:
Purim is celebrated this year on Saturday evening March 11th and Sunday March 12th.
1 – Fast of Esther:
1. The fast is on Thursday, March 9th.
2. The fast begins at 5:28 A.M. and ends at 7:07 P.M. Those who find fasting very difficult may eat at 6:52
3. All adult males and females over Bar/Bat Mitzvah are obligated to fast.
4. Pregnant and Nursing women are exempt from fasting.
5. A person who is ill [even if it is not serious] is not permitted to fast.
6. One should not fast even if one only has a severe headache.
7. Children under bar/bat Mitzvah do not need to fast even for a few hours. Nevertheless, they should not be
given treats.
8. You may take medications prescribed by a doctor. One, who has difficulty swallowing pills without water, may
drink the amount of water required to swallow them.
9. One may rinse the mouth only if bad taste causes discomfort. Only a small amount of liquid should be used
while leaning forwards in order to minimize the chance of it being swallowed.
10. One is permitted to eat before the fast, provided that one explicitly states before going to sleep that he/she
plans to wake up early to eat before the fast begins.
11. Bathing is permitted even with hot water.
12. It is permitted to listen to music.
13. The special “Aneinu” prayer is said during the Mincha Amida by those who are fasting.
14. “Avinu Malkeinu” is said during Shacharis and during Mincha.
2 - The Half Shekel:
1. On the Fast of Esther [usually around Mincha time], there is a custom to give three coins to charity. Each coin
should be the denomination of ½ the standard currency in that country [e.g. ½ a dollar].
2. If one does not have the correct coins, he should purchase them [optimally for approximately $15] from the
charity box, and then put them back into the charity box.
3. All adult males are obliged in this Mitzvah. The custom is that a father gives on behalf of his sons, whatever
their ages.
4. The custom is that women are not obliged to give.
5. The money collected should be given to the poor.
6. If one forgot to give it on Erev Purim, he should give the money on Purim morning before the Megilah reading.
7. One may not use his “Ma’aser [charity] money” to fulfill this Mitzvah.
3 – Prayers on Purim:
1. We recite the “Al Hanisim” prayer during all 3 Amidas and for Birchas Hamazon. If one forgets to say it, he
need not repeat the Amida or Birchas Hamazon.
2. ‘Tachanun” and “Lamenatzeach” are omitted during Shacharis.
3. The Torah is read during Shacharis – before the Megilah reading.
4. One should not pray while dressed in a costume. One must dress respectfully during davening.
5. If a person is intoxicated to the extent that he would not be able to speak respectfully to an important official,
he may not pray. If he is only slightly intoxicated, to the extent that he would be able to speak respectfully to an
important official, it is nonetheless not correct to pray. However, the custom is to be lenient and allow prayer in
this state, although ideally he should wait until he is sober.
4- Work on Purim:
1. All forms of work are permitted on the evening of Purim.
2. The custom is to prohibit going to work on the day of Purim. The Rabbis of the Talmud tell us that
whoever works on Purim will not see any blessing from it.
3. Work is permitted in the following situations:
• If not working will cause financial loss
• Work that is necessary for a Mitzvah
• Work that is required for Purim
4. One may ask a non-Jew to do all forms of work for the Jew.
5. Laundering is prohibited unless the clothes are necessary for Purim.
6. It is permitted to shave or take a haircut if it is done in order to look presentable on Purim itself.
7. It is forbidden to cut one’s nails.
8. The custom is to wear Shabbos clothes on Purim. One should keep his Shabbos clothes on through
the evening of Purim while hearing the Megilah.
5 – Reading /Hearing the Megilah:
1. Men and women over bar/bat Mitzvah are obligated to hear the Megilah twice – one time at night and one time
in the morning.
2. Children who are mature enough to listen attentively to the Megilah reading should do so. Preferably, such
children should be brought to hear the public reading. However, they must be properly supervised during
the reading and should understand that they have not been brought to Shul simply for the fun of banging at
Haman. Young children who are likely to cause a disturbance and prevent others from hearing the
Megilah should not brought to Shul for Megilah reading.
3. The earliest time to read the Megilah is after nightfall – 7:10 P.M. The earliest correct time to read the
Megilah in the morning is after sunrise – 7:34 A.M. The Megilah can be read all day long until sunset.
4. Before reading or listening to the Megilah one should have in mind that they are fulfilling the Mitzvah of reading
or hearing the Megilah. Additionally, the reader should have in mind to include all the listeners who wish to
fulfill their obligation.
5. Three blessings are made by the reader before reading the Megilah in the evening and in the morning:
• “Al Mikra Megilah”
• “She’asa Nisim”
• “Shehechiyanu”
6. One should stand when saying or hearing the blessings.
7. When listening to the blessings, you should have in mind that you are fulfilling your obligation. When hearing
the “Shehechiyanu” blessing in the day, one should have in mind to include all the special Mitzvos of Purim.
The reader should have in mind that he is reciting the blessings on behalf of the entire congregation.
8. If a person arrives to Shul in the middle of the blessings:
• If there is sufficient time, he should quickly say the blessings himself, taking care that they are
completed before the reading begins.
• If there is insufficient time to say all the blessings, he should say as many of the blessings that he can.
• If there is not enough time to recite any of the blessings, he should preferably attend another reading
where the blessings will be heard.
• If this is very inconvenient, he may listen to the Megilah without hearing the blessings.
9. A special blessing is made after the evening Megilah reading in the presence of a Minyan. “Shoshanas
Yaakov” is sung after the Megilah reading.
10. The listeners may sit during the reading of the Megilah. The reader should stand when reading to a minyan,
but may lean if necessary.
11. One must hear very word of the Megilah. If a person missed even one word he has not fulfilled his
obligation. Therefore, it is mandatory to arrive on time for Megilah reading.
12. If a person did not hear some words, he should immediately say the words himself. However, this creates a
problem since the reader continues to read the Megilah while the person is saying the missed words, thereby
causing him to miss further words. Therefore, he must say the missed words and continue reading until he
overtakes the reader, at which point he may resume listening.
13. It is forbidden for both the reader and listener to speak from the beginning of the first blessing until the end of
the after blessing. Parents must be aware of this when bringing young children to the reading.
14. There are four verses of the Megilah which are read out loud before the reader. They are the following:
• Chapter 2, verse 5
• Chapter 8, verse 15
• Chapter 8, verse 16.
• Chapter 10, verse 3
15. In addition, it is customary for the congregation to say the names of the ten suns of Haman out loud.
16. It is a time honored tradition to bang / make noise every time the name of Haman is mentioned in the Megilah.
Nevertheless, excessive noise and tumult should be discouraged since this often prevents people
from hearing clearly.
17. In order to enhance the Mitzvah and make greater publicity of the miracle, both men and women should make
every effort to attend a public reading in Shul. Even if one can organize a minyan at home, it is better to join
the congregation.
18. If it is impossible for a person to attend Shul, he must hear the Megilah read at home from a Kosher Megilah.
6 – “Matanos Le’Evyonim” – Gifts to the Poor:
1. One must give one gift each to at least two poor people. The gift may be either money or food. The Mitzvah
should be performed on Purim during the daytime. It is preferable to do it after the Megilah reading without
2. One may give money to a charity collector before Purim if the charity collector will distribute the money to the
poor people only on the day of Purim for the purpose of fulfilling this Mitzvah.
3. Each person should be given at least the amount of food that is eaten at a regular meal or the amount of
money required to buy this. [approximately $25 per poor person]
4. It is recommended to give more than this minimum amount of money and amount of poor people. It is better
to spend more on this Mitzvah than on the other Mitzvos of Purim.
5. A check may be given if it can be easily exchanged for cash.
6. “Ma’aser [charity] Money” may be used for any of these donations, except for the minimum two gifts [valued at
7. Women and children over bar/bat Mitzvah are also obligated in this Mitzvah. Although a married woman may
rely on her husband to give on her behalf, nevertheless it is preferable for her to perform the Mitzvah
personally. The same applies for the children. A practical solution would be to do the following: The husband
could give some money to a poor person or charity collector stating that it is on behalf of his wife. The poor
person / charity collector should have in mind to acquire the money on behalf of the woman, and she should
know that the procedure is being used for her. The same applies for the adult children.
8. Children aged six or seven should be trained to perform this Mitzvah. The above methods can be used as well
for them.
7 – “Mishloach Manos” – Sending Food:
1. On the day of Purim, one must send two items of food to at least on person. It is praiseworthy to send to many
people, but see 6:4 above.
2. Preferably, one should send food that is ready to be eaten immediately
3. The two food items must be different. However, it is not necessary for the items to require two different
blessings. Drinks are also suitable. One may send two different food items or two different drinks, or one food
and one drink.
4. The food should be a respectable quantity according to the standards of the sender and recipient. Therefore,
one should send a nicer package to a wealthy person than to a poor person, and a wealthy person should
send a nicer package than a poor person.
5. One should send at least one nice package to one person and any additional packages may be ‘token’
packages. This is better than sending a large number of small ‘token’ packages.
6. One is not permitted to use his “Ma’aser [charity] money” for this Mitzvah. If a person wishes to send several
packages to poor people he may use his “Ma’aser money” for all but the first package.
7. Women and children over Bar/Bat Mitzvah are obligated in this Mitzvah.
8. According to some opinions, a package may be sent on behalf of the entire family. That package should have
two food items for every family member sending the package. According to another opinion, only a husband
and wife can send together, but children should send on their own. If children prepare their own packages from
food in their parents’ home, they should be allowed to acquire the food before sending it.
9. Children aged six or seven should be trained to perform the Mitzvah.
10. It is praiseworthy to send packages to Jews who know little about Torah. This will arouse their interest
in Jewish practices and increase love and friendship between Jews. In a similar vein, this is an ideal
opportunity to repair broken relationships by sending packages to people with whom one has ill
11. One may not send a package to a mourner. If another family member is not in mourning, the package may be
addressed to the family.
12. A mourner is obligated to send one package, but the package should not be too elaborate.
13. If a person receives a package, it is praiseworthy to reciprocate and send one in return, but it is not an
14. According to the prevalent custom, one may give the package personally. According to some opinions, it is
preferable to send the package via a third person. One may use a child as a messenger, but must confirm that
the package was delivered. A reliable delivery service may be used.
15. Anonymous packages should be avoided. The recipient should know who has sent them the package.
8 – “Seudas Purim” – Feasting & Rejoicing:
1. The main Mitzvah is to have a festive meal on the day of Purim. In addition, one should have a nicer meal than
usual on the evening of Purim.
2. The table should be set nicely for the evening meal. Some have a custom to light candles.
3. There is a custom to eat seeds and pod foods such as rice, peas, and beans. It is not necessary to eat bread
at this meal.
4. It is customary to eat “Hamantashen” with a filling made of poppy-seed.
5. The prevalent custom is to eat bread and beef at the daytime meal.
6. Some women have a custom to drink a little wine in honor of the day. It is not necessary for children to drink
7. One should set a spiritual tone for this meal by doing the following:
• Spend a little time studying Torah before the meal. There is a special Mitzvah to begin studying the
laws of Pesach on Purim.
• Have in mind that eating the meal is a Mitzvah.
• Relate the Purim miracles and sing praise to Hashem during the meal.
8. It is a Mitzvah for men to drink wine. According to some opinions there is an obligation to become dunk until he
can no longer distinguish between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be Mordechai.’ According to other
opinions, one is only requite to drink more than the usual, but not to the point of getting drunk. One should
then go to sleep and thereby be unable to distinguish between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be
9. The Sages certainly did not want people to make a fool of themselves and behave with frivolity and
disgrace. The intention is to come closer to Hashem, using joy to reach great heights of love and
praise for Hashem. A person who knows that intoxication will prevent him from making blessings or
praying properly, or will lead him to light-headedness, should follow the second opinion. Everything
that one does should be purely for the sake of Heaven.
10. It is preferable to fulfill this Mitzvah by drinking wine only. A person who wishes may have other alcoholic
drinks after some wine.
11. The main obligation is to drink during the festive meal. If a person wishes to fulfill the Mitzvah by sleeping, he
should drink a little wine during the meal and go to sleep after Birchas Hamazon. Sufficient time should be left
to sleep before nightfall.
12. One should refrain from drinking too much if alcoholic drinks are harmful to him.
13. It is customary to wear costumes and masks on Purim.
14. One should refrain from dressing in costumes of the opposite gender. The same applies for children.
15. If a person insulted someone while intoxicated, he is required to ask for forgiveness.
16. Although it is customary to have Purim ‘shtik’ [plays, skits, songs, etc.] – it is forbidden to insult or embarrass
people even in jest.

Posted 3/9/2017 10:14 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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U'babiza Lo Sholchu Es Yodum-A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #369
Parshas Tetzaveh 5777


Why is it repeated three times that the Jews did not take any spoils, U'babiza lo sholchu es yodum?

So why it's exactly three times, this I have to investigate. But why it's so important and has to be emphasized, was for the purpose of showing it was Am Kadosh. We say that, ki Am Kadosh ato La'shem Elokecho, it was a holy nation. They were doing a mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek, they wanted to wipe out Amalek as much as they could, and they didn't want it to be shelo lishama. If you destroy the Amaleiki and take his money then it's an ulterior motive. And it's emphasized; it was a kiddush Hashem to the Umos Haolam. The Umos Haolam saw that the Jew was not out for money; he was out for justice. Those who wantedhis blood, he avenged himself justly, and that's all. And the money was lying there for the people to take.

And by the way, it was good politics too. So when the whole populace came and the Jews allowed them free reign, the people walked into the homes of the slain Amoleikim and they took whatever they wanted, everybody now was happy with the Jews. So from all sides it was a smart move to do. Therefore, U'babiza lo sholchu es yodum, it was a kiddush Hashem, and was lishmo, and it got them in good with the Umos Haolam.

Question #23

M'shenichnas Adar Marbim B'simcha. When Adar comes in we increase joy. Does it apply even after Purim?

I want to say something to you. It applies to all year around, until next Erev Purim. Now I will explain that. When Adar comes in, you are expected to stockpile Simcha. You have to gain so much happiness, so much optimism, so much fire of enthusiasm in your blood, that it's going to last you until next year Adar. It doesn't mean that you have to stop Simcha. Truth is, if you try to create Simcha, at first it's easier. As the days go by, the effort finally weakens and subsides, because the Gevuros Hanefesh, their will power, finally weakens. So eventually people again, slip back into the humdrum of everyday life, and forget about Simcha.

Every year we renew the effort. But it doesn't mean that it stops at a certain time. M'shenichnas Adar , we renew the effort to gain Simcha. Adar, it's Purim and it's Pesach, we should continue all year round, like they sing in the Yeshivos on Purim. "A'gantz Yor Frieliech", all year you should be Happy. And that's why the Rama, at the end of Hilchos Purim, he says, Vtov Lev Mishteh Tomid. A man of a merry heart, is always at a party. That's how he concludes the laws of Purim. So when people see the laws of Purim, and they come to the end, they might be sad, it's finished with the period of joy. No, he says, it's just the beginning, you have a Tov Lev, it's Deah, you will learn the truth of Hashem , the truths of the Torah. You will learn how to live properly, then you are happy all the days of your life. It will be Kol Rinah V'yeshua B'ohelai Tzadikim.

Question #24

What should be the attitude of Tzedaka, especially on Purim?

I must admit I don't understand the question, but Tzedaka, you have to know, is taking not giving. The truth is, whenever you put in money in Tzedaka, it's a deposit in your account. When Munbaz, who was a prince of a wealthy house, a royal house, he inherited a great deal of property. And he started distributing his money to poor people, so, "Chuvru Uluv Echad Ubais Uchiv",(Baba Basra 11a) his relatives came together and said "Avosaicho Ganzu", your forefathers stored up all this wealth, and you are wasting it? He said "My forefathers stored up the wealth in a place where it wasn't safe. I am depositing in a place where it's going to keep". So you put money in the bank of Heaven, it's your money. All the other money is not yours, Oh No.

Here is a rich man, and he suddenly dies, or he slowly dies, it makes no difference. He becomes a pauper. By law he doesn't own a thing, by law he is a pauper. But when a man has put money in the bank of Heaven, he never can become pauperized, he remains rich forever. The money is there. And not only is it there, but is gaining great interest constantly, compounded every day. And therefore that is the attitude towards Tzedaka.

On Purim, Purim is a time, when we want to help first of all the poor people celebrate Purim, not only we should be happy, we want everybody to be happy. So that's why its important to help people be happy on Purim. If they need money, give them money. But in addition , Purim is a time to show, that we want to acquire the merit of being redeemed, we were redeemed by Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and Tzedaka is a redemption. Everybody knows the Passuk.."Tzedaka Tatsil Memaves", Tzedaka is redemption money. And therefore we pay redemption money for Pidyon Nafsheinu, for Pedus Nafsheinu.

Good Shabbos To All

This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210

Posted 3/9/2017 10:07 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Jacobs Catering
Dear Friend,

R' Kalman Lowenthal has been an icon in this community for many years. He has loyally catered many of our simchos and has been involved in many Tzorchei Tzibur initiatives from Hatzoloh to the Eruv, supporting institutions and more.
As he has been displaced as the official caterer of the BAYT, we have no doubt that Hashem will find other parnassah avenues.
In the meanwhile we are suggesting for us to all sign the attached letter as a matter of chizuk and moral support to him and his family, showing them that they have not been forgotten by their many friends. The letter has been already signed by leading Rabbanim of the Yishuv such as Horav Shlomo Miller, Horav M.M. Lowy, Horav Dovid Pam Shlit'a etc. to mention only a few. (Copy attached).

As we are trying to get as many names as possible. we would ask you to approach your friends and neighbors (aim for at least ten if possible). We do not necessarily require the actual signatures, rather the names of the people who agree. However, you do have to ask them and they have to agree. (Please don't include names of children).

As an act of hakoras hatov and simple mentchlachkait, take a moment and add your name or signature including the others you collected to the attached document or just as an answer to this email.

Tizku Lemitzvos. May Hashem show chessed and compassion to those who do so for others.

One of the many friends of R' Kalman Lowenthal.

Dear R' Kalman Lowenthal

We were all profoundly dismayed and saddened when we heard that you will be leaving your position as caterer at the BAYT.
Throughout many years you have served not only the BAYT but also the Toronto community at large with great distinction, care in Kashruth and good taste to the benefit and pleasure of many. We all will miss your excellent and friendly service at the BAYT.
All the undersigned friends, grateful loyal clients and guests, thank you and wish you great hatzlacha and bracha in all your present and future endeavours. May we all share many future simchas together.

Posted 12/17/2016 9:00 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (20)

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Weight Loss smooothie
Beet Treat

50% spinach
1 small beet raw cut into cubes
1 organic apple, seeds removed
1 lemon peeled
8-10 oz of water or better yet green cooled tea
combine in blender or even better nutribullet

Surie Weinberg RHN

Posted 11/7/2016 10:23 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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Weight Loss
With the Holidays behind us, many of us want to shed some pounds.
There are many diets out there, that might work on a temporary basis.
The best way is to educate ourselves about our body and learn how we can boost our metabolism naturally.

B. Vitamins are crucial for optimal health, handling stress, assist your body with carbohydrate metabolism and are crucial in working as a team member to weight control.

Detoxifying your body is another easy way to help control weight.
Lemon water first thing in the morning will help flush out unwanted toxins from the body
helps stimulate bowel movements and aids in weight loss.

Parsley also detoxifies the blood and aids in weight control

Keeping the glycemic level balanced throughout the day will assist with weight control.
schizandra berries and matcha powder will assist in this area.

Steel cut oats, barley, and broccoli will have high chromium which will keep glycemic levels balanced.

Adding more fibre will assist in losing weight as well.

A healthy lifestyle is the best holistic approach to losing weight and to maintain it.

Surie Weinberg RHN

Posted 11/7/2016 10:14 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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# 1182 Keep The Faith
Q. Is it permitted to daven in a multi faith room in an airport?

A. Beis Avi (4: 31), Shevet Hakehosi (6: 83), Menuchas Emes (3: 6: n.24) rule not to pray in a multi-faith space, so is it amply quoted in the name of Rabbi J. D. Zoloveichik zt'l. (See also Remoh O.H. 94: 9, on davening in a non-Jewish hotel).
Horav Shlomo Miller's Shlit'a is similar, he suggests to daven outside of the non-denominational room.
Care should be taken as an array of diverse faith symbols may be exposed at the entrance of the room.

Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit'a

Posted 10/28/2016 5:06 PM | Tell a Friend | Articles of Interest | Comments (0)

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