It's 1 p.m. on Friday, Erev Pesach. The rabbi had already sold the chametz at 10 a.m. But I forgot to sell mine. Now the synagogue office is closed and I can't get hold of the form the rabbi uses to sell the chametz. The Torah requires me to remove all chametz from my house on Pesach. But I just cannot bring myself to throw out that Glenfiddich. Is there a way the whisky can remain in my house during Pesach, and would I be able to drink it after Pesach?
Question: In the Torah’s description of the ten plagues Hashem inflicted upon Egypt, we find the Hebrew preposition “beit” [meaning “in” or “with”] only in connection with the plague of locust: "Neteh yadcha al eretz Mitzrayim ba'arbeh." Why is this so? And why do most of the commentators on Chumash ignore this question. Menachem (Via E-Mail)
Yishai Fleisher takes us to Beit El in Israel’s heartland, the location of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) ladder, to bake matzot (unleavened bread) the old fashioned...
I have been sharing personal testimonies on the subject of hashgachah pratis, chosen from a plethora of letters that have reached my desk. Each of these stories reflects a different challenge ranging from problems of health, parnassah, shidduchim and loss of dear ones (some of which I have yet to publish). These difficulties, to one extent or another, at one time or another, have challenged all of us.
The number four seems to play a major role in the Pesach Seder. We have four questions, four sons, four terms of endearment and, of course, one of the major features we soon will be enjoying – the drinking of four cups of wine.
It has been said ‘It is easier to take the Jew out of the Exile, than to take the Exile out of the Jew’. While in Egypt, the Jewish people could not even hear Hashem’s promise of Redemption because of their “shortness of spirit.” Their bondage wasn’t merely a physical bondage, but a mental one. And so, while still in Egypt, Hashem began the process of taking the Jew out of the psychology of Exile, ridding him of his slave mentality.
Dear Gary, As Pesach approaches, I get worried because I want to have a great Yom Tov, and yet, every year, the seder ends in some sort of fighting and arguing. My husband wants the seder to be all about divrei Torah and so do I, but between the younger children (who we want to be awake for the whole seder) and guests, we somehow end up in stern looks and squabbles. I'm happy we have guests or else we'd probably start yelling at each other and even Eliyahu Hanavi would bail. I know everyone jokes about how tough Pesach is, but I can't see the humor anymore – and neither can my children. What can we do to manage a calm (I don't even wish for happy) seder? A Sad Mom
After a long and detailed description of the avodah (service) to be done in the Mishkan, the parshah ends with statement that “Aaron and his sons did as they were told.”
The evil inclination likes to tempt us to indulge in material delights. It is important to know that these delights may have another purpose, too: kedushah (holiness).
Question: What is the basis of the custom to refrain from eating matzah for a period of time before Pesach?
On the bima of the beis medrash stood a maos chittim "pushka" (collection box) on behalf of "Matzos Chesed Organization." The gabbai emptied the box every few days, typically finding $200-$500.
Is Halakhic Judaism rational and rooted in reality, or is it a hypothetical construct unconducive to engaging the real world?
Most of the No-Potato Passover recipes are as casual as the title’s spelling: some include only six ingredients and limited prep time - half to one full hour. They’re good for heart health and waistlines, too.
In this week’s parshah the Torah teaches many of the halachos of the korbanos. Each of the korbanos has a limited amount of time when they may be eaten, after which they become nosar and forbidden.
Seizing An Opportunity? ‘A Person Is Believed Regarding Himself More Than 100 Witnesses’ (Kerisos 11b-12a)
In last week’s column I shared the remarkable story of hashgachah pratis that two terrific young yeshiva boys, Yedidya and Yaakov, experienced. Their story evoked an enthusiastic response. Many were motivated to reassess their own lives and discover their own hashgachah pratis.
Question: Why do we read four special Torah sections between Purim and Pesach. Also, why do we call each of the four Shabbatot on which we read these sections by a special name – such as Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor etc.? Celia Gluck (Via E-Mail)
In her book The Watchman’s Rattle, subtitled Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, Rebecca Costa delivers a fascinating account of how civilizations die. Their problems become too complex. Societies reach what she calls a cognitive threshold. They simply can’t chart a path from the present to the future.
The Schwartzes had three vehicles but only two drivers. At any given time the third vehicle, the 2005 red Ford van, could be seen on different driveways throughout the neighborhood – and sometimes even in Miami Beach and Hollywood, Florida. The Schwartzes kept a third vehicle, knowing that not everyone had a car.
As one that has trained and followed rabbis throughout their careers, I can generally say that rabbis gain detractors not so much because of their sermons, vision, lectures or the like, but rather when they fail to return phone calls, when they avoid bikur cholim, and when they fail to respond to emails. One can deal with refusal, disagreements, debates and the answer 'no', but how should one deal with being totally and utterly ignored?!
“At the time that my wife and I made aliyah, the Ministry of Interior required certification through the chief rabbinate that any new immigrants were Jews in order to qualify for citizenship and immigrant benefits. After an hour-long wait at the ministry to be interviewed, my wife and I sat before a hard-faced clerk. I did not have a letter from a rabbi certifying to my Jewishness, but I felt confident that since I was on the chief rabbinate's list of approved rabbis whose letter would be accepted to verify the Jewishness of others, I would suffer no problem.
Question: If someone passes away on one day but is buried the next day, when does the son stop saying Kaddish and when should he observe the yahrzeit – 11 and 12 months, respectively, after the day of death or 11 and 12 months, respectively, after the day of burial?
To the modern mind, korbanos may seem foreign or hard to understand. Yet they were a key component of the service of Hashem. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that offerings served many purposes, including a primary purpose of expressing thanks to Hashem. Thus, following the book of Exodus comes the book dealing with sacrifices as an expression of thanks for the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
The popularity of the rise of chassidus did not go unnoticed by those who did not share the same allegiance. As long as the movement was limited to the commoner and isolated in a few pockets of Poland no one perceived it as a threat. But all of this had changed by 1772.