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The Mitzvah Of Destroying Chametz

15 Nisan 5773 – March 25, 2013
There is a mitzvah to remove and destroy the chametz from one’s possession before Pesach. This is derived from the pasuk in Parshas Bo, “tashbisu se’or mibateichem” (Shemos 12:15). There are also two lavim associated with owning chametz on Pesach: bal yiraeh and bal yimatzei.

That Extra Box Cover

Question: When a person buys tefillin, the shel yad often comes with a cover within the cover, which many people leave on during davening. Is this proper?

Double Booking

Congregation Toras Yisrael decided to hold a learning program on Friday morning, Chol Hamoed Pesach. Two weeks before Pesach, the gabbai in charge of the program discussed possible guest speakers with the shul rabbi, Rabbi Brick.

Pesach Medication And Alcohol

What is chametz? What are the various categories of chametz? Does the prohibition of chametz on Pesach apply also to non‑food products? Can medication containing chametz be taken on Pesach? Can vitamins produced with no Pesach supervision be used? What about liquid medicine such as cough mixture? Can non- supervised body soap or liquid detergent be used? What about toothpaste? May one use rubbing alcohol? May one eat egg matzah?

I’m Never Wrong

After months and months of Hashem showing the Mitzrim that He alone controls every aspect of Creation, Moshe was instructed to warn Pharaoh that if he still wouldn’t let the Jewish people go, then exactly at the stroke of midnight every firstborn in Mitzrayim would die. Yet when Moshe appeared in front of Pharaoh, he changed the message and said, “If Pharaoh doesn’t free the Jews, then approximately at midnight every firstborn will die.”

Q & A: A Sabbath Desecrator Leading Services (Part VIII)

Question: May someone who desecrates the Sabbath lead the services if he has yahrzeit? If yes, may he replace someone else who has yahrzeit? Hayim Grosz (Via E-Mail)

Mazel Can Happen Anywhere

Living in Staten Island provides us with a certain type of suburban living that is enjoyed and appreciated by most, if not all. We have less congestion of cars, easier parking and more camaraderie, as there are less people than in the other boroughs. We have no alternate parking, and it’s easier to park in all shopping areas. The rabbis know each person individually, and are very familiar with their families and life histories. This is not an advertisement for our neighborhood; it’s simply background to my story.

Giving Up On Rebellious Children? (Part Two)

Last week I published excerpts from a letter written by a suffering mother whose rebellious son had not only turned his back on his family but had also rejected his Jewish faith. This woman’s husband had given up on the young man but she was determined to keep the door open in the hope he would yet come back.

The Month of Yearning for Redemption

11 Nisan 5773 – March 21, 2013
Every year I have a special hope that the Geulah will arrive in Nissan and it appears that once again this year will not be the year. This is why I sigh.

Shabbos – A Day With Hashem: Traversing The Depths With Faith

“Ten Steps to Emunah” was the course Hashem gave us in Egypt. Each of the Ten Plagues was meant not only to punish the Egyptians, but also to teach us a different lesson of faith in the Creator. We might think, therefore, that the Torah would have attested to our great level of faith right when we left Egypt.

Kasher My Kitchen

Taste is everything – ta’am ke’ikar. The taste of forbidden food is treated in halacha as the forbidden food itself and is equally forbidden. If the taste of forbidden food has been absorbed into a cooking vessel, such a vessel may not be used on Pesach unless it undergoes a process known as hechsher or hagalat keilim - popularly referred to as kashering.

Hashem And Man: Master And Servant

One of the daily activities in the Mishkan was taking out the ashes. Chovos Ha’Levavos explains that Hashem commanded Aaron to do this action each day “to lower himself and rid himself of the arrogance in his heart.”

Daf Yomi

A Gadol’s View Confirmed ‘Majority Rules’ (Eruvin 16a)

Q & A: Selling One’s Chametz

Please explain the concept of selling one’s chametz. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to dispose of all of one’s chametz prior to Pesach? Why go through this charade every year? Malka Berg (Via E-Mail)

Grape Juice At The Seder

Question: May one use grape juice for the arba kosos?

Which Mitzvah Comes First?

The Gemara in Pesachim 58b derives from the pasuk in this week’s parshah, “V’arach aleha ha’olah” that the tamid must precede all other korbanos. The drasha is from the letter “hei” that signifies the known one – in this scenario, the korban that is known to be the first korban.

Billionaires

10 Nisan 5773 – March 20, 2013
“If you have children, you are a millionaire. And if all of your children have children, you are a billionaire.”

Giving Up On Rebellious Children? (Part One)

Based on the response to my recent columns, it seems the problem of parents struggling with rebellious children may be more prevalent than even the pessimists among us had assumed. As we approach Pesach, the great yom tov during which we confront the Haggadah’s four sons –one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask – we need to remember that these sons are in our midst in every generation and that we invite all four to join us at the Seder.

Reconciliation vs. Vengeance

Judaism is less a philosophical system than a field of tensions – between universalism and particularism, for example, or exile and redemption, priests and prophets, cyclical and linear time, and so on.

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