Torah Tidbits

Sinkers or Floaters???headshot white 2015cropped

Shabbat Parashat Metsora

Shabbat HaGadol

(and Pesah Tips)

April 16, 2016 – 8 Nisan 5776

Dear Friends,

One of the most meaningful mystical teachings of Judaism is that Elijah, the prophet, will one day return and resolve all of our differences of opinion in regard to Jewish life and customs. Until that time, we must continue to live in community with a certain degree of uncertainty.

It is interesting to note that even our wisest Sages were not able to resolve all of the questions that arose in their time, to everyone’s satisfaction. Even the wisest of Sages had to find a way to live with integrity in community, often deciding halakhic questions for their community, yet honoring diverse but equally weighty responses to real life questions.

And, following their example, we too must remind ourselves that eventually, when Elijah makes his appearance, things may become clearer. But, in the meantime, we must simply do our best to stay connected to God, and to one another, even as we live with a certain degree of uncertainty.

On the Shabbat preceding the Seder, Shabbat HaGadol, we read an ancient Biblical prophecy about Elijah: “He shall reconcile parents with children and children with their parents, so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction!” (Malachi 3:24) And, on the Seder night, as we open the door…Elijah “appears” at our Seder tables, to take a sip of wine from “Elijah’s cup.”

Each year, we invite Elijah to our Seder table, with the hope that Elijah will help us to navigate our celebration through the sometimes choppy waters of uncertainty, and into the more redemptive spirit of mutual respect and appreciation, even before the Messianic Era arrives.

How comforting it is to know that Elijah’s mystical presence at the Seder will help us to have a meaningful and fun-filled Seder even when we cannot fully resolve all the disagreements within our own families (sinkers or floaters???)!

Please enjoy the Pesah Tips below.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah Tips 5776

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 21-
Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset. This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

a) Make sure all Hametz (leaven) has been removed or locked away, with the exception of what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast…
b) Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.
c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.
d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 22 –
Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!
Biur Hametz -The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”
Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov (Holiday), kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.
On Friday night, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!