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Seder Night And Back Seat Drivers (Pesachim Perek 10)

6 Heshvan 5774 – October 9, 2013
There are lots of back seat drivers at the Seder. Your kezayit (portion) of matzah is not big enough, they chide. Red wine only; shmurah matzot or nothing; don’t start the Seder before nightfall; must finish the meal before midnight; don’t drink wine between the four cups; the Seder plate set in the wrong order. This article is intended as a defensible guide for the brave volunteer who leads the Seder (the ba’al haseder).

Celebration Versus Serenity

1 Heshvan 5774 – October 4, 2013
It’s 12:30 on a Yom Tov, Monday morning. You are about to leave the synagogue for the third day in a row. As you look around, you notice, even as you try to ignore it, a certain wilting of the spirit. A belabored pace. How good you felt on Friday night, with the onset of Shabbat. An effortless serenity set in then.

Verbal Stipulation

Chaim had an old car that he would regularly rent to the fellows of his kollel for a nominal fee. Moshe asked if he could use the car for the afternoon to do a couple of shopping errands. "With pleasure," Chaim said. "However, before you take the car, I'd like you to read this statement of terms."

Daf Yomi

An Expression Unique in Shas “I Am Neither Wise…” (Pesachim 105b)

Bitachon And Effort: Finding The Balance

Hashem appeared to Noach and told him the world had turned to wicked ways and was to be destroyed by a deluge. Hashem commanded Noach to build a teivah, an ark, so that he and his family would be saved.

Naming Children (Part II)

It is important to note that not all names may be designated. There is, for example, a tradition that Ashkenazic Jews do not name their children after a living person. Yet, neither the Bible nor the Talmud make any reference to this prohibition. Indeed, just the opposite. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Sha’arei Halacha U’Minhag, Yoreh De’ah, Volume III, p.298) notes that from verses in Genesis (See Genesis 11:24-26) it is evident that Terach (father of Abraham) named his son Nachor during the lifetime of his father, Nachor.

Pasul Esrog

22 Tishri 5774 – September 25, 2013
After davening on Hoshana Rabbah, Mr. Hadar fondly packed away his esrog. "Maybe I'll fill it with cloves and use it for spices at Havdalah," he thought. "Or maybe I'll make jelly out of it."

Naming Children (Part I)

Designating proper names for one’s children is not always easy. When my wife, Shoshana, gave birth to our first child in Chicago – a girl – she informed me that according to tradition, the wife is entitled to name the first child. I didn’t agree, but recognizing that this was her tradition and not wishing to cause any controversy or anguish, I readily submitted.

Daf Yomi

He Might Extinguish It ‘A Torch Is The Best Way Of Performing The Mitzvah’ (Pesachim 103b)

Daf Yomi

The Letter Of The Law? ‘If He Was…Unable to Enter Because of the Camels’ (Pesachim 94a)

Open Parking Lots On Shabbat (Part II)

Question: Is it proper for Orthodox synagogues to have their parking lots open on Shabbat?

Mixed Tzedakah

Mr. Sender was the gabbai of Congregation Tiferes Yisrael. He was in change of aliyahs, would organize the siddurim after davening, and make the announcements. His special joy, though, was walking around the shul on weekdays with the pushka (tzedakah box). "Tzedakah tatzil mimavess," he would quietly declare. "Charity saves from death."

Open Parking Lots On Shabbat (Part I)

9 Tishri 5774 – September 12, 2013
Question: Is it proper for Orthodox synagogues to have their parking lots open on Shabbat?

Confused Cell Phone

Yossi and Ezra shared an apartment. They had many things in common, which made them good roommates. One thing they shared that sometimes caused problems, though, was identical cell phones.

Daf Yomi

Hashem’s House Is No Different ‘Everything…But To Leave’ (Pesachim 86b)

Sweeter Than Honey

29 Elul 5773 – September 4, 2013
One of the beautiful customs of Rosh Hashanah is to eat an apple dipped in honey and other sweet foods as a way of asking Hashem to make things sweet for us in the coming year. People also wish each other a healthy and sweet New Year. However the best way to make the year sweet for ourselves and for others is to become “sweet” people, remembering to smile and treat each other in a sweet and friendly way.

Daf Yomi

Location! Location! ‘On and Off His Forehead’ (Pesachim 77a)

Why Is Everyone Standing?

Question: Why does the congregation stand every time the shofar is blown?

Virus Attachment (Part Two)

Rabbi Dayan asked Ruby and Zev to sit down. "Remind me what the issue was," he said. "It's been a while since we spoke." "Zev sent me a computer virus as an email attachment," said Ruby. "Supposedly, the file was a 'helpful computer program,' which he told me to install. The file was a virus, though; when I clicked on it, it attacked my computer! The repair cost $250. I think that Zev should pay for the repair.”

Daf Yomi

Against The Tide? ‘How Do We Roast The Paschal Sacrifice?’ (Pesachim 74a)

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