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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pesach’

EasyJet Claims ‘Disruptive Passengers’ to Blame for Separation, Removal from Flight

Monday, May 9th, 2016

EasyJet Airlines categorically denied having removed and separated Jewish passengers from the rest of the travelers on board a flight from Barcelona to Paris on May 1, in a statement to media on Monday by Andy Cockburn, the airline’s director of public relations.

“Flight EZY3920 from Barcelona to Paris Charles de Gaulle on 1 May 2016 with 180 passengers on board returned to the gate in Barcelona and was met by police due to a group of passengers behaving in a disruptive manner,” said Cockburn, as quoted by JTA in several Jewish publications.

“All passengers were asked to disembark at the request of the police so they could speak to a small number of passengers in order to investigate the incident…. [EasyJet] does not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior on board,” he added.

JewishPress.com and Cockburn exchanged phone calls numerous times on Monday but each time JP returned the call, Cockburn was unavailable or could not be reached. Messages were left on both sides and emails were exchanged as well, but contact was elusive.

Even if some passengers were “disruptive” it still is not clear why an entire flight was forced to disembark, nor why only the Jewish passengers were required to remain secluded for six hours in a separate section of the terminal under armed police guard, nor why their captors refused to answer their questions.

Cockburn’s contention that the Jewish passengers were separated at the request of the police so they could be questioned under investigation does not make much sense, unless the police were only probing Jews. However, the spokesperson’s final comment that the airline “does not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior on board” seems to imply that Jews were behaving in an abusive or threatening behavior on board prior to takeoff.

Hana Levi Julian

Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

The post was originally published in 2011, but as this is the week some might bake shlissel challah, we are republishing the article.

JUDAIC STUDIES ACADEMIC PAPER SERIES, Authored by Shelomo Alfassa: The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of “Shlissel Challah” (Key Bread) “The Loaf of Idolatry?

You can read it all here, or see the following key point from the research paper:

– Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in the Ashkenazi custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake. This custom is known as shlissel challah—shlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.

– The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, ―let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.

– Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity, a physical item all Christian commoners would posses in their home. On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus “rising” from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.

– The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women practice this observance.

– In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called “Easter breads,” and in Europe they are also known as ‘Paschals,’ as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as “Pascha” or “Pascua.” This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.

– While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the Apter Rav: 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah.

And while people will say there is a passuq (Biblical verse) attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source.

Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic “reverse engineering,” it‘s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bulls-eye. The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it‘s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature.

– Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim19 of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed… Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula… baking challas with brachos cannot help… segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit‘s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous. – On the far end of the scale, it can be said that shlissel challah observance is a nothing less than “the way of the Amorites.” It is precisely this type of behavior and observance which Jews are supposed to separate themselves from, so it doesn’t go on to influence our thoughts and deeds. Am Yisrael was not created to lose itself in such folklore, and Judaism without disciplined study is nothing but folklore. Judaism allows and encourages the use of our minds. It‘s never too late to realign our path with Torah sources, not blind faith practices which are trendy, in, or cool.

– Educated Jews should help to promote Torah sources to our friends and neighbors, not false practices which are of non-Jewish origin and have nothing to do with Judaism.

100 Amens to that!



Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Moroccan Jews (and friends) celebrate Mimouna – the colorful Pesach after-party where chametz (leavened bread) is cooked and eaten alongside other Moroccan pastries and delicacies, and always with music.





And here’s the Ashkenazi version at Angel’s Bakery:

Ashkenazi Mimouna

Photo of the Day

Last Days Pesach

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Vol. LXVII No. 18                                                             5776
New York City
April 29, 2016 – 21 Nissan 5776
7:32 p.m. NYC E.D.T.


Sabbath Ends: 8:36 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 9:04 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Last Days Pesach (see below)
Weekly Haftara: Last Days Pesach (see below)
Daf Yomi: Kidushin 49
Mishna Yomit: Pe’ah 1:4-5
Halacha Yomit: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 196:20 – 197:2
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Ma’aseh Ha’Korbanos chap. 13-15
Earliest time for tallis and tefillin: 5:02 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Sunrise: 5:56 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:25 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Sunset: 7:50 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Sefiras HaOmer: 6


Friday morning, Shvi’i shel Pesach: Shacharis for Shalosh Regalim including ancillary tefillos, half hallel, Kaddish Tiskabbel. We then remove two Sifrei Torah from the Ark. In the first we call five aliyos and read in Parashas Beshalach (Shmos 13:17-15:26) from “Vayehi Beshalach” until “ki Ani Hashem rof’echa.” We place both scrolls on the Bimah and the Reader recites half kaddish. We then call the Maftir to read in the second Sefer in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:19-25) from “Vehikravtem” until “Kol meleches avoda lo sa’asu.” We read the Haftara (II Samuel 22:1-51) from “Vayedaber Dovid” until “u’lzar’o ad olam. The chazzan then recites half- Kaddish. Musaf as the day before, the Shalosh Regalim Shemoneh Esreh with insertion of Vehikravtem, and before the conclusion of the chazzan’s repetition the Kohanim duchan. Following the repetition the chazzan recites Kaddish Tiskabbel, Ein K’Elokeinu, Aleinu and Shir shelYom. The mourners proceed with Kaddish recitals.

Mincha: as the day before, Ashrei, U’va LeTziyyon, half kaddish, the usual Festival Shalosh Regalim Shemoneh Esreh and the chazzan’s repetition followed by Kaddish Tiskabbel, Aleinu and Kaddish Yasom, the Mourner’s Kaddish. As we have made an Eruv Tavshillin we commence with all Sabbath preparations. As we say Yizkor on Acharon Shel Pesach, it is customary to light Yizkor memorial candles for the departed at this time.

Friday eve, Acharon Shel Pesach: We must take care to light Shabbos candles not later than the times listed for each locality – as opposed to Yom Tov (7:32 p.m. E.D.T. N.Y.C.). Negligence in this regard can lead to an Issur de’Oraisa – a Biblical violation. The blessing is “…l’hadlik ner shel Shabbos v’shel Yom Tov.”

Kabbalas Shabbos: We do not say Lechu Neranena but greet Shabbos with an abridged liturgy. Nusach Ashkenaz begins with Mizmor Shir, Nusach Sefarad includes a longer text beginning at Mizmor LeDavid, followed by the first, second and last two stanzas of Lechah Dodi, then Mizmor Shir. Maariv of Festivals follows with inclusion of all Shabbos references – Sefira is counted after it is definitely dark. Kiddush of Shalosh Regalim with inclusion of Shabbos references. We wash for the Shabbos Seuda. Birkas Hamazon includes Retzeh and Ya’aleh VeYavo.

Shabbos: Shacharis of Festivals follows with inclusion of all Shabbos references, half Hallel, Kaddish Tiskabbel. We read Shir HaShirim, preferably from a Klaf (a scroll) – but we do not make a beracha over this reading – followed by Kaddish Yasom. We remove two Sifrei Torah from the Ark. In the first Sefer we call seven Aliyos and we read in Parashas Re’eh (Devarim 14:22-16:17) from “Aser teaser” until “asher nasan lach.” For Maftir we read from the second Sefer in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 28:19-25) from “Vehikravtem” until “Kol meleches avoda lo sa’asu.” We read the Haftara in Isaiah (10:32-12:6) from “Od hayom b’nov” until “k’dosh Yisrael.” We follow with Yekum Purkan, following which we place the Sifrei Torah on the Bimah, we send all the children (those who have parents) out of the shul and we begin to recite the Yizkor prayer. In most synagogues there is a custom to make a Yizkor appeal prior to the recitation of Yizkor due to the text of the prayer, which clearly states, “Ba’avur she’eten tzedaka – because I am donating to charity” (see Ta’amei HaMinhagim, Hilchos Pesach 587). We then say Av HaRachamim (due to the solemn mood we do not chant Kah Keili), Ashrei. We chant Yehalellu as we return the scrolls to the Aron HaKodesh.

Musaf for Festivals – Shalosh Regalim with mention of Shabbos. We include Shabbos in chazzan’s repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh as well, and we conclude with Kaddish Tiskabbel, Ein K’Elokeinu, Aleinu, Shir shel Yom and their respective Kaddish recitals. Kiddush of Shabbos and Yom Tov, we wash for Shabbos Seuda, Birkas HaMazon includes Retzeh and Ya’aleh VeYavo.

Mincha for Festival with mention of Shabbos: Ashrei, Uva LeTziyyon, chazzan recites half Kaddish – we remove the Torah from the Ark (Vayehi Binso’a) we call up three Aliyos and read Parashas Acharei Mos until “v’chipeir ba’ado u’v’ad beiso.” We return the Sefer to the Ark and the chazzan recites half- Kaddish, all say the Shemoneh Esreh of festivals with mention of Shabbos. Following the chazzan’s repetition (we do not say Tzidkas’cha) he concludes with Kaddish Tiskabbel, Aleinu and finally Kaddish Yasom – Mourner’s with Kaddish. (As it is Shabbos we wash for the Seuda Shelishis; in Birkas HaMazon we include Retzeh and Ya’aleh VeYavo.)

Maariv: Yom Tov [and Shabbos] concludes at 8:36 p.m., N.Y.C. E.D.T. [or for those who wait 72 minutes, 9:04 pm., N.Y.C. E.D.T.], the usual weekday Maariv Tefilla, with the inclusion of Ata Chonantanu,Vi’Yehi Noam v’Ata Kadosh, followed by Sefiras HaOmer. [After Alenu, or for some before, we say V’yiten Lecha.] We make Havdala at home. (Some are accustomed to recite Havdala in shul as well.)

Sunday morning: Isru Chag – Shacharis as usual, but we do not say Tachanun until the end of Nissan.

The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapter 83, 130, 142. –Y.K.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Rav Herzog’s ‘Rabbits’ And Other Rabbinic Pesach Correspondence

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Most any historical documents collector can try, but never fully succeed, to explain to non-collectors the electrifying charge one can experience when handling a true paper treasure: “Abraham Lincoln actually held this paper in his hands!” “Can you believe that these are the actual words written by Albert Einstein?”

But there is a whole other transcendental level of delight, enchantment, and reverence that applies to collectors of Judaica documents.

For example, I can never forget the sublime feeling I had when I actually merited to own and hold a letter fully handwritten by the Chofetz Chaim, or when I first added a correspondence by Rav Chaim Brisker to my assemblage of great rabbanim and gaonim. These are far more than important historical artifacts; they are true devarim she-b’kedushah (holy items) that must be treasured and respected as such.

With that in mind, and to mark the final days of Pesach, I thought I’d share some of my rabbinical letters on the subject of Passover. However, I must first note that presenting the very brief biographical summaries that follow proved particularly daunting and is in no way intended to provide any compressive presentation of the holy lives and great deeds of these Torah giants.

* * * * *

Rav Isaac Halevi Herzog (1888-1959) received semicha from the Ridbaz and his doctorate in literature from the University of London. After serving as the rav of Belfast, as chief rabbi of the Irish Free State, and founding the Mizrachi Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, he succeeded Rav Kook as chief rabbi of Eretz Yisrael (1937). He enacted takkanot in matters of personal status and effected significant advances by reconciling the necessities of modern living with halachic demands, but he was perhaps most renowned for his belief in the importance of every Jew, regardless of level of observance, and for his loving outreach to the non-religious elements and kibbutzim, which proved highly controversial in some haredi circles.

In the 28 Adar 1942 correspondence on his Chief Rabbi letterhead reproduced on this page (exhibit 1), Rav Herzog writes:

We are honored to ask you to warn all the owners of the dairies in your place to extinguish all the shefanim and unleavened bread from their homes and properties from the 14th of Nissan and onward. Otherwise, do not give them a Certificate of Kashrut on their milk.

We already provided this notification to the management of the “Tenuva” company.

And we hereby bless you with a kosher and happy Passover.

Though “shefanim” is usually translated as “rabbits,” contemporary scholars agree that this cannot be correct because of the most basic principle of biblical zoology: geographical distribution. That is, all the animals mentioned in the Tanach were familiar to the Jewish people because they either lived in Eretz Yisrael or were brought there (including, for example, monkeys and peacocks which, although not native to the land, were brought in as gifts for King Solomon).

Rabbits, which lived only in southern Africa and Spain, have never lived in Eretz Yisrael and there is no evidence that they were ever imported there. On the other hand, hyraxes – which, interestingly, are called “shafan” in local Arab dialects – may be found in Eretz Yisrael but not in Europe. See Regarding the Identity of the Shafan, by Rabbi Natan Slifkin – the famous “zoo rabbi.”

The word “shefanim” appears only twice in Tanach, Proverbs 30:26 and Psalm 104 – the beautiful Barchi Nafshi, in which King David describes the wonders of all creation from the perspective of Jew living in Eretz Yisrael. At 104:18, he writes: “The high hills are for the ibex, the rocks are a refuge for the shefanim.” In this context, as Rabbi Slifkin argues, King David cannot be describing the rabbits of southern Africa, which, as noted, were not native to Eretz Yisrael. Further, Samuel I 24:2 describes how King David spent time in Ein Gedi among the ibex, and it defies credulity to believe that in Psalms he would neglect to describe the hyrax, which hides in the rocks in the very same area, in favor of the rabbit that lives in South Africa. In fact, both the ibex and hyrax may be seen even today in the mountains of Ein Gedi.

Saul Jay Singer

Chamets on Pesach

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Energy minister Yuval Steinitz created a headline this week when he was quoted as saying, “I eat hametz on Passover”.
He had to keep a low profile after that admission.

There was a time when this was not a situation one had to wiggle out of but a part pf the proud ‘Red” flag held high by those who ruled Israel for fifty years (before and after the establishment of the state).
The current controversy over the actions of sergeant Elor Azaria, the soldier charged with manslaughter for killing a subdued Arab terrorist, is another sign that the times, they are a changing. As soon as he finished off the wounded but potentially threatening terrorist in Hebron, the military and political establishment proclaimed that a very serious infraction was committed and will be investigated and prosecuted rigorously.
The film taken by the EU funded. pro Palestinian NGO, Betzelem, catapulted the establishment and media into the usual knee jerk frenzy of breast pounding and self flagellation: ‘What will the world say? How do we look in the eyes of such a caring, concerned world…?’

The Jewish public felt differently. Polls show that two thirds of them support the soldier, who was immediately arrested and put into chains.
PM Netanyahu, like many politicians know how to smell the political winds and in the wake of the immediate public fury promptly made a call to the soldier’s father explaining that he too is the father of a soldier and understands….

He and minister of education Bennet got into a sharp exchange over rumored plans to relinquish security control of parts of “area A” from where waves of terror had emanated before Israel allowed herself a free hand there. Israel is toying with the idea of giving the PA another chance-to please the caring world.
Opposition MK Lieberman also continues his attacks on the PM for his less than resolute actions vis-a-vis the Hamas tunnel threat from Gaza.

It was not only the Right that was heard this week. Opposition leader Herzog said that the Labor party is seen by too many Israelis as ‘Arab lovers’ (true) and that “we must set the record straight that we are not for our enemies.”

This was very interesting. The Labor party of Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and Rabin, never openly sought Arab support. It was not what they were about then. However as the Right came to power they sought a wider base and began a continual slide away from their classic Zionist stand to a more “liberal” one. This did indeed attract Arab voters and MKs (one, MK Balul who said that “the Arabs who attacked the soldiers in Hebron were not terrorists but were fighting an illegal occupation”).

The Jewish population has increasingly given up on Labor. “Left” is becoming a nasty word in Israel (thanks to the Oslo fantasy/addiction and it’s consequences.) Poor Herzog. He is under attack from his party Left stalwarts and still the Jewish majority just do not trust or like those “Arab lovers.”
Polls taken this week indicate that two thirds of Israeli support sergeant Elor Azaria and interestingly enough, another poll showed equal numbers of Jews who do not eat chametz on Pesach. The groups are probably identical. They are the ones more likely to spend the holiday in Israel than abroad. The ones seeking chametz abroad are mostly the ‘1.7 children and a dog population.’

There is indeed a palpable shift in the demographics of Israel. Now all we need is a true leader to channel this awakening of common sense and self respect to a clear direction.

This too will happen , God willing.

Happy Holiday of Freedom to all.

Shalom Pollack

Passover Pesach Technion 2016 Breakdance High Tech Haggadah

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Video of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/video-picks/passover-pesach-technion-2016-breakdance-high-tech-haggadah/2016/04/25/

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