Thursday, March 29, 2012

Parsha Tzav, laws of Pessach, two great stories

Last week I accidently omitted the Rosh Yeshiva of Torah V’ Daas R’ Chaim Yisrael ben Chana Tzirel
Pessach is in the air and since this Drasha will be the last one out prior to Erev Pessach or checking for the Chometz in the house I am hereby giving out times for Eretz Yisrael. Please check with your local Orthodox Rabbi for times for your area. Remember to sell your Chometz preferably via the Rabbi to a non-Jew where the Rabbi is your agent. Over the past years Chabad has had an on-line or fax form for people with no local Orthodox Rabbis to sell to such as Mississippi, Montana far out places in Utah or Alaska etc. One should also mention one’s Chometz crumbs or other things that may remain in his place of work such as a personal locker or desk in the sale. One should check also his brief case, air plane carry-on and other places where crumbs may be present. A point to remember is that if Chometz falls into a crevasse like a sliding window or door and cannot be removed one can nullify it with the formula in Aramaic at the beginning of the Haggada having in mind the Hebrew or English translation to read outloud also so that we know precisely what we are saying and not mumbling some hocus pocus.
Parsha Tzav
I found no better a commentary this week to explain both the word Mitzvah and the word Tzav all in one than that of Rabbi B. Wein Shlita from the Torah Organization.

Parshas Tzav Tzivanu Applies Today

The basis for observance of mitzvoth and ritual lies in the word tzav. The Torah does not present us with many options when it comes to observing God’s explicit commandments. Before the performance of a mitzvah, we are to recite a blessing that clearly states asher tzivanu – that we have been commanded and instructed to perform this mitzvah. We naturally retain our free will as to whether we wish to perform the mitzvah or not.

But we are to understand that the ultimate reason for the performance of the mitzvah is not because we deem it to be pleasant or worthy or any other rational human explanation for its performance. We observe and perform the mitzvah ultimately and perhaps solely because God has commanded us to do so and we committed ourselves at Sinai that we will do what we are instructed to do.

Now all of this flies in the face of contemporary wisdom, custom and mores. We live in a time when the right to do what I want to do supersedes all instructions and guidance - parental, school or just plain good old common good sense. This contradiction in values and worldview lies at the heart of much of the divisions that exist within the Jewish world.

Our generation is permanently stuck in the teenage years; it resents anyone telling it what to do. And since this feeling is part of the general package of free will that the Lord has endowed us with, it is difficult in the extreme to understand vtizvanu in the absence of training, habit, intensive Jewish education and historical perspective.

It should be obvious that people would wish to follow good, proven, beneficial instructions. But that certainly is not the case with human nature. Millions of people engage in harmful activities that have been conclusively proven medically to be life shortening.

Over the long run of Jewish history all of the groupings that have rejected the idea of vtizvanu have eventually disappeared from the Jewish scene. History is always unforgiving as to human foibles and grievous errors. Yet just as anti-Jewish hatred resurrects itself in all generations no matter that history records what a terrible toll it always takes on the haters, so too does the tzivanu rejecters constantly reappear amongst us in different guises and with ever more populist names.

The rejecters are “progressive,” “democratic,” “peace and love people.” The only problem is that they are wrong and ultimately harmful to themselves and to the Jewish people as a whole. Again, all of Jewish history and experience shows how truly wrong they are. The Lord does not allow Himself, so to speak, to be second guessed and His commandments to be improved upon. The prophet Malachi states the matter quite succinctly: “I, the Lord, have not changed and you, the children of Israel have not been exterminated.”

Since the Lord has not changed and the Jewish people are still around to serve as His special people, the tzivanu imperative still applies. That is why the very existence of this Parsha of Tzav is of such vital importance.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi B. Wein

We continue in our Parsha the laws of the Korbanos. The Korban Olah which literally means one that goes up. Translated into English from everything goes up we have a burnt offering. The term sweet savor before HASHEM is often used to describe the Korbanos. Psychologically I believe for the modern man a deep concentration on prayer and even a good cry in troubled times does a lot instead of the Korban which is supposed be a sacrifice instead of the person. However, the Korbanos had and will have a deeper spiritual meaning. We have the fire smoking the animal into going up to heaven. To put things in Kabbalistic or even Physics terms is mind boggling. We have the description of heaven as fire eating fire in Hebrew describing the higher regions. When we physically look at the sun through filtered telescopes we see the lightest element Hydrogen compressed so hard on the sun that despite the fact that it is the lightest element and a gas it does not fly out into space. The Hydrogen essentially now about fuel is being burned by a fusion fire turning it into Helium and perhaps in some reactions carbon. I have always maintained from the morning Shema that “HE renews the Maaseh Beresheis each and every day” and everything is held into place by Ratzono or HIS will.
1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2. Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: That is the burnt offering which burns on the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall burn with it.
Command Aaron: Heb. צַו. The expression צַו always denotes urging [to promptly and meticulously fulfill a particular commandment] for the present and also for future generations. Rabbi Simeon taught: Scripture especially needs to urge [people to fulfill commandments,] where monetary loss is involved. — [Torath Kohanim 6:1] This is the law of the burnt-offering…: This passage comes to teach us that the burning of [sacrificial] fats and parts [of an animal] is valid throughout the entire night [following the day it is offered up]. — [Meg. 21a] And [this passage also] teaches us regarding invalid sacrifices: which one, if it has already been brought up [on the altar], must be taken down, and which one, if it has been brought up [on the altar], need not be taken down. [And how do we know the latter case from Scripture?] Because every [instance of] תּוֹרַת [in the Torah] comes to include. [Thus here, it comes] to say that there is one law (תּוֹרָה for all sacrifices that go up [on the altar], even invalid ones, namely, that if they have already been brought up [on the altar], they need not be taken down. [However,] That is the burnt-offering: Heb. הִוא הַָעֹלָה [While the words תּוֹרַת הַָעֹלָה include invalid offerings, the words הִוא הַָעֹלָה come] to exclude the case of animals which have cohabited with a human, whether the animal was an active or a passive party to the transgression, and similar cases, in which their becoming invalid did not occur within the Holy [Temple precincts], but rather, they became invalid before they even arrived at the courtyard [of the Holy Temple]. - [Torath Kohanim 6:3]

3 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes whereto the fire hath consumed the burnt-offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.

I cannot comprehend this commandment to rack my brain to explain the Kabbalistic reason for why the burnt offering and what it has to do with a linen garment vs. a woolen garment. Perhaps that linen is nobler to serve with. The only Kabbalistic connection that I possibly have is that man places a formerly living animal wearing a plant garment burning on a plant wood on an earthen Mizbayach. This is the Kabbalistic State of things - inanimate, plant, animal and talking. It is sort of combining things in the spiritual cosmos to complete the connection to making holiness. Rather one has to accept the Mitzvos as they are defined. I can put in terms by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson: Not to ask the reason why but for us to do and die! It is like a Yiddishe Mama saying, “Eat your chicken soup it is very good for you.” (Mama London of blessed memory used to say this to the Yeshiva Boys)

4 And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.

The whole ceremony with the change of clothes is according to Rashi proper etiquette as the closes in which he slaughters the animal and puts the parts on the Mizbayach are most likely soiled with blood or something else. The Mitzvah here is the removal of the ashes.

He shall then take off his garments: This is not an obligation, but proper practice, that, by taking out the ashes, he should not soil the garments in which he constantly officiates. [By analogy:] The clothes worn [by a servant] while cooking a pot [of food] for his master, he should not wear when he mixes a glass [of wine] for his master. Hence, [the verse continues,] “and put on other garments,” inferior to those [garments of the kahuna he had been wearing till now]. — [Yoma 23b] and he shall take out the ashes: [By contrasting verse 3, “And he shall lift out (וְהֵריִם) the ashes,” with verse 4 here, “And he shall take out (וְהוֹצִיא) the ashes,” we see that there were two distinct obligations with regards to removing ashes from the altar: a) תּרוּמַת הַדֶּשֶׁן, “lifting out” some of the innermost ashes from the altar and placing them next to the altar, and b) הוֹצָאַת הַדֶּשֶׁן, “taking out” the heap of ashes from atop the altar when they became overflowing, to a place “outside the camp.” Thus, our verse here, “And he shall take out the ashes,” refers to those ashes] which were heaped up in the apple-shaped pile [of ashes on top of the altar]. When this pile became so large that there was no longer any room on the wood-pile, he [the Kohen] would take it out of there. Now, this was not a daily obligation (Tamid 28b), but lifting out [some innermost ashes] was a daily obligation. — [Tamid 20a]

5 And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning thereby, it shall not go out; and the priest shall kindle wood on it every morning; and he shall lay the burnt-offering in order upon it, and shall make smoke thereon the fat of the peace-offerings.

A eternal light on the Mizbayach 24/7 and if the flame got low only for the most holy would it over-ride the Shabbos (see the next Pasuk).

And the fire on the altar shall burn on it: Heb. תּוּקַד. [In this passage,] we have many phrases employing the term יְקִידָה, “burning: ” עַל מוֹקְדָה, וְאֵשׁ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ תּוּקַד בּוֹ (verse 2), הַמִּזְבֵּחַ תּוּקַד בּוֹ וְהָאֵשׁ עַל (verse 5), and אֵשׁ תָּמִיד תּוּקַד עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ (verse 6). All these are expounded on in Tractate Yoma (45a), where [it is discussed how] our Rabbis differ regarding the number of wood-piles [that had to be arranged on that altar].and upon it, he shall arrange the burnt-offering: [This teaches us that] the תָּמִיד עוֹלַת, the [morning] daily burnt-offering, must come first [in the order of sacrifices offered up on the altar]. - [Pes. 58b]

6 Fire shall be kept burning upon the altar continually; it shall not go out.

A continuous fire: Heb. אֵשׁ תָּמִיד, the fire regarding which it says, “[to kindle the lamps] continually (תָּמִיד)” (Exod. 27:20) this fire must also be kindled from [the fire] on the outer altar. — [Yoma 45b] [Since “it shall not go out” is stated twice, once in verse 5 and a second time here,] anyone who extinguishes the fire on top of the altar, transgresses two negative commandments.

7 And this is the law of the meal-offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, in front of the altar.

The meat offering(s) had wine for libation and now comes the meal offering. All this symbolic of sort of inviting HASHEM to partake with us even though the Creator of all does not need our measly planet in the vast cosmos.

And this is the law of the meal-offering: Heb. וְזֹאת תּוֹרַת הַמִּנְחָה. [Since the תּוֹרַת (law) is always inclusive, the Torah teaches us that there is] one law for all meal-offerings, to require that they have oil and frankincense, as explained in this section. For one might think that only meal-offerings of ordinary Israelites [i.e., non- kohanim] need oil and frankincense, because their meal-offerings require scooping out (קְמִיצָה). How do we know [that] meal-offerings of Kohanim, which are burned in their entirety (see verse 16 below), [also require oil and frankincense]? Scripture, therefore, [an inclusive term, in this case coming to include all meal-offerings in the requirement of oil and frankincense]. — [Torath Kohanim 6:24] shall bring it: This refers to bringing the offering near the south-western corner [of the altar]. [And how do we know that it must be brought near this specific corner? Because the verse says:] before the Lord: This refers to the western [side of the altar], which faced the Tent of Meeting, [and then it says:] to the front of the altar: This refers to the south [side of the altar], which is the front of the altar for the ramp-כֶּבֶשׂ, [leading up to it] was placed on that side [of the altar. Hence, the south-western corner of the altar]. — [Torath Kohanim 6:26]

8. And he shall lift out of it in his fist, from the fine flour of the meal offering and from its oil and all the frankincense that is on the meal offering, and he shall cause its reminder to [go up in] smoke on the altar as a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.

Rashi taking his material from the Gemara writes down the oral tradition of how the Cohanim acted in the Beis HaMikdash or Mishkan.

And he shall lift out of it: i.e., out of what is attached, meaning that [the amount of the mixture from where he lifts out,] should be a complete tenth [of an ephah,] at one time, namely at the time of the scooping. — [Torath Kohanim 6:27] in his fist: [This teaches us that] he may not make a measure for a fistful [but rather, he must use his fingers directly]. - [Torath Kohanim 6:27] from the fine flour of the meal-offering and from its oil: [Now, we already know that the flour to be scooped up is mixed with oil, so why does the verse specifically mention oil here?] From here, we learn that the fistful [must be taken] from a place [in the meal-offering] where there is an abundance of its oil [i.e., where the oil is mixed thoroughly with the flour]. — [Sotah 14b] the meal-offering: [I.e., from that particular meal-offering;] it must not be mingled with another [meal-offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 6:27] המנחה: שלא תהא מעורבת באחרת: and all the frankincense that is on the meal-offering, and he shall cause to [go up in] smoke: [meaning] that he must gather up [all] its frankincense after the scooping, and cause it to go up in smoke. And since Scripture specifically stated this law only in one case of the meal-offerings mentioned in וַיִּקְרָא (see Lev.2:2), Scripture found it necessary to repeat this section [including this law], to include all [kinds of] meal-offerings, in accordance with their law.

9 And that which is left thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat; it shall be eaten without leaven in a holy place; in the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it. 10 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as the sin-offering, and as the guilt-offering.

It shall not be baked leavened. [As] their portion: [literally, “It must not be baked leavened, their portion.” I.e., from the juxtaposition of these words, is derived the law that] even the leftover portions [of the meal-offering, which go to the kohanim,] are prohibited to be leavened. — [Men. 55a] like the sin-offering and like the guilt-offering: [This refers to two different cases:] “Like a sin-offering” refers to the meal-offering of a sinner. [How is this sacrifice like a sin-offering? Insofar as just as the sin-offering must be sacrificed for that specific purpose, so too, the חוֹטֵא מִנְחַת] if [the kohen] performed the scooping while having in mind that should not be for the purpose of this sacrifice, it is invalid. And “like a guilt-offering” refers to a meal- offering brought as a voluntary donation. Therefore, if [the kohen] performed the scooping while having in mind that it should not be for the purpose of this sacrifice, it is still valid. — [Torath Kohanim 6:35]

The Mizbayach was Kosher Le Pessach all year around and the Cohanim ate Matzos in different shapes.

11 Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as a due for ever throughout your generations, from the offerings of the LORD made by fire; whatsoever touches them shall be holy.

12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 13 This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed: the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal-offering perpetually, half of it in the morning, and half thereof in the evening. 14 On a griddle it shall be made with oil; when it is soaked, thou shalt bring it in; in broken pieces shalt thou offer the meal-offering for a sweet savor unto the LORD.

First the Torah gives us the material for the meal offering and now how it is baked-cooked:

Scalded: Boiling water is poured over it [i.e., over the dough], until it is thoroughly scalded. — [Torath Kohanim 6:46] מרבכת: חלוטה ברותחין כל צרכה: repeatedly baked: Heb. תֻּפִינֵי, baked many times over, namely, after the scalding (חֲלִיטָה), he bakes it in an oven and afterwards fries it in a shallow pan. — [Men. 50b] תפיני: אפויה אפיות הרבה, שאחר חליטתה אופה בתנור וחוזר ומטגנה במחבת: a meal-offering of broken pieces: [This] teaches [us] that it requires breaking up. [Old Rashi edition continues: But not really breaking of the offering into separate pieces and crumbs, since it is not scooped, but he folds it in two, and folds it again in four, [first] vertically and [then] horizontally. However, he does not separate it [into pieces]. In this form, he burns it as a fire-offering. This is explained in Torath Kohanim. — [see Torath Kohanim 6:48, Men. 75b]

15 And the anointed priest that shall be in his stead from among his sons shall offer it, it is a due for ever; it shall be wholly made to smoke unto the LORD. 16 And every meal-offering of the priest shall be wholly made to smoke; it shall not be eaten.

This is followed by the Korban Chatas and other Korbanos describing each and what the Cohanim have to do during the dedication of the Altar and establishing the Kahuna for all generations.

… 8:35 And at the door of the tent of meeting shall ye abide day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not; for so I am commanded. 36 And Aaron and his sons did all the things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.


Since this year the Seder (outside of Israel the first Seder) starts on Shabbos, the Seder table should be prepared before candle lighting except perhaps if you want the wine cold and the horseradish cold at the start. The start of the holiday is delaying in prayer at the Synagogue by the fact that the Korban Pessach and the Seder have to be at night therefore we start Maariv when it is dark and followed by Hallel. When returning home the master of the house often puts on his Kittle and Tallis and then sits down. This is a sign of kingship. This is the one day a year that the household is filled with a king, queen, princes and princesses as we are free men and rulers of our house. This night HASHEM especially watches over us.

Gluten Free Matzos: and by clicking the subject.

The spelling below has been changed from the original to comply with my spelling. The original writer wrote with an Ashkenazi pronunciation not only the Saf which should have been a soft TH like the word this but the Camatz is pronounced awe instead of the Israeli ah that I decided to go by the Israeli Pronunciation Yisrael vs. Yisrael or HaGefen vs. HaGofen. Because we often hear outside of Israel the Saf as an S such as Toras Emmes vs. Torat Emmet that I prefer to use the more standard among international Ashkenazi Kehillos vs. how I speak Hebrew and give my Torah Drasha or Mussar in Modern Hebrew. Where I have no standard I left the original author’s Ashkenazic writing.

The laws of Pessach do not change from 5767: From the Torah Org.

The following is not a reflection of my censorship of Halachos for the preparation for Pessach such as the koshering of dishes, baking of Matzos and selling Chometz to a bona fide non-Jew. It is what is readily available for cutting and pasting.

Chapter 111:1
The Search and Nullification of Chometz

1. One should search for "Chometz" (1) on the night before Erev Pesach (that is, the night of the 14th of Nissan) (2). We are obligated to conduct the search at the beginning of the night (3). One should not eat (4), nor perform any work, from a half hour before nightfall onward [until he finishes the search].


(1) "Chometz results when one of the five species of grain - wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt, or one of their derivatives - is allowed to remain undisturbed in contact with water for 18 minutes or more. Chometz results instantly when these grains are exposed to hot or salted water." ("Laws of Pesach" by Rabbi Blumenkrantz). Foods like bread, cake, cereals, noodles, whiskey and beer are Chometz.

(2) Based on a verse in the Torah (Exodus 12:15), on the morning of the 14th of Nissan, before Midday, there is a mitzvah to mentally view all Chometz in one's possession as owner-less ("Hefker") and as useless as dirt. This activity is called "Hashbasah" (or "Bitul") and if done correctly, with full mental commitment, will prevent one from violating the prohibition to possess Chometz on Pesach (we articulate this mental commitment verbally). However, the Sages were concerned that not everyone would be able to perform the "bitul" with full mental commitment, and therefore, they ruled that in addition to mental bitul, we are all obligated to search ("Bedika") for the Chometz in our possession, and to dispose ("biur") of what we find (Mishna Berura 431:2). As we shall see in Chapter 14, one can sell his Chometz to a Gentile before Pesach.

(3) Immediately after the appearance of three stars (Mishna Berura 431:1).

(4) A small snack is permitted (Ibid 431:6).

Chapter 111:2
The Search and Nullification of Chometz

2. [When searching for Chometz on the night of the fourteenth] one should use only a single-wick beeswax candle for the search (1). One should not use a braided candle, because it is considered like a torch ("avukah") (2). In a pressing situation, when there is no beeswax candle available, one may use a tallow ("Chelev") candle (3).


(1) The sages of the Talmud enacted that a candle should be used for the search, because daylight is insufficient for searching in holes and crevices. Nowadays, a flashlight may be used, however, in order not to deviate from the traditional custom, many begin the search with a candle and then use the flashlight for places where the candle would be inadequate or dangerous ("Halachos of Pesach" by Rav Shimon Eider VII D7).

(2) A torch is too large to be brought into holes and crevices. Alternatively, the light produced by a multi-wick candle is not conducive for this type of search. If one conducted the search using only a multi- wick candle, the search is invalid and must be conducted again (See Pessachim 8 and Mishna Berura 433:8 and 10).

(3) When other types of candles are available, one is not permitted to use a tallow candle because people would be concerned that the fat would drip on the dishes and render them non-kosher. Consequently, one would not search properly in cabinets containing dishes (Mishna Berura 433:9)

Chapter 118:1
Preparations for the Seder

1. One should do one's best to obtain choice wine for the mitzvah of drinking four cups of wine [during the Passover Seder] (1). If red wine is available that is of the same quality and level of kashrut (2), as the available white wine, then the red wine is preferred for the mitzvah; this is because the verse states: "Look not after wine, when it is red" (Proverbs 23:31), which implies that red wine is considered more significant (3). In addition, [red wine] reminds us of the blood of the Jewish children Pharaoh slaughtered (4).

In countries where the ignorant population foolishly invent slanderous accusations, the Jews refrain from using red wine for the Passover seder.


(1) It is a mitzvah on the night of Passover to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt. The Sages established the mitzvah of drinking four cups of wine during the seder, as an outward expression of this newfound freedom (Rambam, 'Yad', Chometz U' Matza 7:7). Even if drinking four cups of wine will cause someone slight discomfort, such as a mild headache, one is still obligated to do so. One may dilute the wine with grape juice or water (preferably grape juice), but one should try to do it in a way that the alcoholic taste of the wine remains. Also, when diluting with water, one must be careful to use the ratio required to retain the blessing of "Borei Pri HaGefen" (more than one part wine to six parts water; the fact that some modern wines are already diluted must be taken into account). One is not obligated to do anything that will cause him to become bedridden. Therefore, if one is unable to drink any wine (or can only drink a small amount), one may fulfill the mitzvah of the four cups using just grape juice. If one is allergic to grape juice, one may fulfill the obligation by drinking four cups of "Chamar Medina" ("beverage of the country"), which is generally defined as a drink one would serve to a guest even when he is not thirsty, such as alcoholic beverages (make sure they are not Chometz), tea, and coffee ("Halachos of Pesach" by Rabbi Shimon Eider, Vol II, pg 220-225; for further details, ask your local orthodox rabbi).

(2) That is, the kashrut supervision of the wine is just as reliable.

(3) Tokay wine is considered red for this mitzvah ( "Halachos of Pesach" by Rabbi Shimon Eider, Vol II, pg. 220-225).

(4) According the Midrash, Pharaoh developed "Tzora'at" ( a specific skin disease mentioned in the Torah), and would slaughter Jewish babies and bathe in their blood as a remedy.

Chapter 118:2
Preparations for the Seder

2. For the first dipping [at the Seder] (1), which is called "Karpas", many people use parsley. It is preferable to use celery, which also tastes good when eaten raw. The choicest vegetable to use is a radish (2).


(1) The Sages instituted this dipping of a vegetable in salt water before the meal begins (that is, before eating the Matza), something that is not done on other nights of the year, in order to stimulate the children's curiosity and draw them into asking why this night is different from all other nights - "Ma Nishtana Halaila HaZeh..." Asking the "Four Questions" during the Seder is not supposed to be a ritual formality; rather, there is an obligation to do things that will stimulate actual curiosity and questioning, because answers do not make a difference to people who don't have questions (See Rambam, Yad, Chometz U' Matza 7:3).

(2) The species called "Karpas" includes both celery and parsley; one of the reasons this species was originally chosen for this dipping, is because if we reverse the Hebrew letters of the word "Karpas," we get the letter "Samech," which has a numerical value of sixty, alluding to the sixty myriad (60 times 10,000) of Jewish males above 20 years old who left Egypt, and the word "Perech" (lit: "break-apart") which alludes to the "back-breaking" labor. We dip it in salt water to allude to the fact that the Jews walked through the split Red Sea in order to escape the Egyptian army. The salt water also alludes to the tears and sweat of the bondage.

Since this pre-meal dipping was instituted primarily to arouse the curiosity of the children, one may use any vegetable not included in the family of bitter herbs, that requires a blessing of "Boray Pri HaAdamah," and that is used as an appetizer. The potato was introduced in some countries where there were no other affordable vegetables; those whose ancestors used a potato for "Karpas," continue to do so at present.

Chapter 118:3
Preparations for the Seder

3. For "Marror" ("bitter herbs") (1), it is customary to use horseradish ("Tamcha") (2). Since it is very strong, one may grate it, however, one should be careful that it does not completely lose its strength. [For this reason,] one should grate it when one returns from the synagogue [after the evening service]. (See Chapter 98, Law 3, which states that one should grate it in an abnormal manner). [When Pesach falls] on Shabbos, and thus, it is forbidden to grate it [after nightfall], one should grate it during the day and cover it until the evening (3).

It is, however, preferable to use "chazeret" ("romaine lettuce"), which is also called "chasah," because it is easy to eat, and can be defined as "Marror" ("bitter herbs"), because when it is left in the ground for a long time, its stem becomes bitter (4). One may also fulfill one's obligation with "la'ana," which is called wormwood. ([One may also use] endives (5) ("Alushin") or date ivy ("charchavinah"). These, however, are uncommon in our lands (Hungary in the late 19thC).

All the [five species mentioned above which] may be used to fulfill one's obligation of "Marror," may be combined [to make up] the size of an olive ("Kezayis") [ that one is obligated to eat at the Seder]. One may fulfill one's obligation by eating either the leaves or the stem [of these vegetables]. The obligation cannot be fulfilled by eating their roots.

The exclusion of the roots applies to the small roots that branch off in either direction, [but not to] the main root, from which the leaves grow. Although it grows within the ground, it is considered part of the stem. Nevertheless, if possible, it is preferable to use the leaves and the portion of the stem that protrudes from the ground, because some authorities maintain that any portion that grows in the ground is considered a root.

A person can fulfill his obligation with leaves only when they are fresh. In contrast, one may fulfill his obligation with stems whether they are dry or fresh, but one may not use them (or leaves) if they are cooked or pickled.


(1) Exodus 12:8 states: "...and they must eat [the meat of the Pesach sacrifice] along with Matza and bitter herbs." Although nowadays, without a Temple in Jerusalem, there is no Pesach sacrifice, the Sages instituted the eating of bitter herbs at the Pesach Seder as an allusion to the fact that the Egyptians embittered the life of our forefathers in Egypt.

(2) The Mishna lists 5 species of plants with which one can fulfill the obligation of bitter herbs on Pesach: a) Chazeret (Romaine lettuce) b) Alushin (endives or escarole) c) Tamcha (horseradish) d) Charchavinah e) Marror (many authorities feel that these last two species are no longer known to us through tradition).

(3) So that it doesn't lose its strength.

(4) According to the Jerusalem Talmud, the development of the species "chazeret" parallels the development of the bondage in Egypt. Just as the "chazeret" is at first sweet, but then becomes bitter after being left in the ground for a long time, so too the Jews in Egypt were at first treated royally and lived luxuriously, and then gradually descended into slavery.

Also, the other name for "chazeret" is "chasah," which means "mercy" and alludes to the fact that Hashem had mercy on the Jews and saved them from the bondage. Actually, the word, "Pesach," which some say comes from the root which means " to pass over," is translated in Targum Onkelos as "Eichos," which comes from the root meaning "mercy" or "love" (See Targum on Exodus 12:13 and Rashi). It would have been interesting had this second meaning been accepted as the primary one - we would then be celebrating the festival of "Love" rather than "Passover."

Although many authorities use the word "salatim" to refer to "chazeret", which could include all kinds of lettuce (crisp-head and iceberg lettuce), nevertheless, the common practice is to use Romaine lettuce. Whatever lettuce one uses, it must be checked thoroughly for bugs before using it.

The reason is was customary in many communities to use horseradish was either because lettuce was hard to find, or because it was hard to check it for bugs.

(5) The endives sold in the U.S are apparently not the true endive or escarole, but rather what is known as French (Witloof) or Belgium endive, which is grown on the chicory root. Since there is a question as to whether or not our endives are included in the species called "alushin" listed in the Mishna, it is recommended that they not be used for the mitzvah of marror ("Laws of Pesach" by Rav Avrohom Blumenkrantz).

Chapter 118:4
Preparations for the Seder

4. The "Charoses" must be thick to commemorate the mortar [used by our ancestors in Egypt]. Before one dips the Marror into it, one should pour wine or vinegar into it so that it will be soft and serve as a reminder of the blood [of the Jewish children slain by the Egyptians]. This also facilitates the use of [the Charoses] as a dip.

The "Charoses" should be made from fruits that were used as metaphors for the Jewish people, for example, figs, as [the Song of Songs 2:13] states: "The fig tree has blossomed forth with tiny figs"; nuts, as [ibid. 6:11] states: "I descended into the nut garden"; dates, as [ibid. 7:9] states: "I will climb up the date palm"; pomegranates, as [ibid. 6:7] states: "As a split-open pomegranate..."

Apples should also be used as an allusion to [ibid. 8:5]: "I aroused you beneath the apple tree," for [in Egypt, the Jewish] women would give birth to their children in such places without the natural birth pains. Similarly, almonds should be used [because the Hebrew for almond, "shakeid", comes from the root meaning "to diligently apply oneself]. G-d "diligently applied Himself" to bringing the end [of the exile].

It is also proper to include spices that resemble straw, for example, cinnamon and ginger. They cannot be ground thoroughly and have strands that resemble straw. This commemorates the straw [the Jews were forced] to mix into the mortar.

On Shabbos, one should not pour wine or vinegar directly into the Charoses (1). Rather, one is required to do this in an abnormal manner - for example, one should pour the wine [into a dish and] place the Charoses in it.

(Even when Pesach falls during the week,) it is proper to prepare the salt water [in which the Karpas is dipped] before the commencement of Yom Tov. [If this was not done and one is required] to prepare the mixture on Yom Tov itself, one must do so in an abnormal manner, for example, one should pour the water [into a dish] first, then add the salt (2).


(1) When Yom Tov does not fall on Shabbos, the Charoses should ideally be prepared before Yom Tov begins, but if one forgot, one may prepare it on Yom Tov itself (Mishna Berura 473:47).

(2) Misgeres HaShulchan (4) states that if Yom Tov falls during the week, there is no necessity to prepare the salt water beforehand.

Chapter 118:5
Preparations for the Seder

5. After the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was destroyed (70 CE), the Sages ordained that two cooked foods should be placed on the table while the Haggada is being recited, one to commemorate the "Korban Pesach" (1) and one to commemorate the "Korban Chaggigah" (2), which were offered [on Pesach] when the Beit HaMikdash was standing.

It is customary that one of these cooked dishes be meat. Generally, the foreleg ("Zeroa" - commonly referred to as the "shank bone" (3)) of an animal is used, as an allusion to the outstretched ARM ("zeroa netuyah") with which G-d redeemed the Jewish people. It should be roasted directly over coals (or fire) to commemorate the Korban Pesach, which had to be "roasted by fire" (Exodus 12:9).

The second dish should be an egg, because the Aramaic term for egg is "be'ah", which also means to "want" or "desire." [Thus, the combination of the egg and the zeroa can be interpreted to mean]: "The Merciful One DESIRED to redeem us with an outstretched ARM." The egg may be cooked or roasted (4).

Both [the egg and the zeroa] should be cooked or roasted before the commencement of Yom Tov. If one forgot, or the fourteenth of Nissan fell on Shabbos, one may roast or cook them at night (after Yom Tov has begun) (5). One must, however, eat them on the first day of the festival. Similarly, on the second [Seder] night, one should roast or cook them at night, but one must eat them on the second day of the festival.

[The rationale for having to eat it on the same day (6) is that] it is forbidden to cook on one day of a festival in order to eat the food on the second day or on a weekday. The zeroa should be eaten during the day only, since it is forbidden to eat roasted meat on the [first] two nights [of Pesach] (7). Nevertheless, even if the Zeroa and the egg were roasted before Yom Tov began, they should not be discarded afterwards. Rather, they should be placed in a dish that is cooked on the second day of Yom Tov, and eaten then. The egg also represents the Korban Chagigah (3 holidays have 3 Korbanos) and some people do have the custom of eating the egg the night of the Seder as it is usually boiled and not roasted by them and there were no egg Korbanos.


(1) On the afternoon of the 14th of Nissan, the Pesach sacrifice, owned and prepared by each family or group of Jews, was offered in the Beit HaMikdash, and its meat was eaten that night, the first night of Pesach, at the Seder, along with Matza and Marror.

(2) There was a Biblical obligation for every male to appear in the Beit HaMikdash on the first day of each of the three "Regalim" ("pilgrim festivals" - Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos), and to bring a peace offering ("Korban Shelamim") called a "Korban Chaggigah." On the afternoon of the 14th of Nissan, it was customary to offer a Korban Shelamim along with the Korban Pesach, and to eat the meat that night at the Seder. This Korban Shelamim, offered on the 14th of Nissan, was called the "Chaggigas Arabah Assar."

(3) If one uses a bone, it should have some meat on it.

(4) The egg is a mourner's food. Therefore, another reason the egg is used, is as an expression of mourning over the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, and our subsequent inability to offer the Korban Pesach. Also, Tisha B'Av (the day we mourn over the loss of the Beit HaMikdash) always occurs on the same day of the week as the first night of Pesach (Ramah 476:2).

(5) Cooking is permissible on Yom Tov.

(6) The Jewish "day" is from sunset to sunset.

(7) The reason for this custom, is so that one should not assume, in error, that he is eating the meat of the Korban Pesach. The custom includes not eating meat or poultry (or anything that requires ritual slaughter), whether roasted, barbecued or broiled over an open fire. Most authorities also prohibit eating pot roast (meat roasted in a pot without water). Meat which was roasted and then cooked is permissible (See Halachos of Pesach by Rav Shimon Eider, Chapt 24: K3).


Chapter 118:6
Preparations for the Seder

6. One should prepare one's seat [at the Seder table] with the finest cushions one can afford, before the commencement of the festival, arranging it in a manner in which one can lean on one's left side (1). Even a left-handed person should lean to the left (2).

Similarly, one should prepare the Seder plate before the commencement of the holiday, so that as soon as one returns from the synagogue, one can begin the Seder without delay (3).


(1) It is a mitzvah on the night of Pesach to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt. The Sages established the mitzvah of leaning to the left during the seder, as an outward expression of this newfound freedom; royalty and nobility in those days reclined while eating (Rambam, 'Yad', Chometz U'Matzah 7:7).

(2) Leaning to the right was considered a health risk because doing so might cause the food to enter the windpipe instead of the esophagus (Mishna Berura 472:10).

(3) It is a mitzvah for a father to communicate the story of the Exodus from Egypt, to his children, on the first night of Pesach. Furthermore, as we saw earlier (HY 118:2), there is an obligation to do things during the Seder that will stimulate the children's curiosity and prompt them to ask "why is this night different." Therefore, one should start the Seder without delay, after nightfall, so that the children will be as awake and aware as possible.

Chapter 118:7
Preparations for the Seder

7. Although throughout the year it is proper to minimize one's use of fine utensils ("Keilim na'im") in recognition of the loss of our Beit HaMikdash (1), on Pesach, however, it is preferable [to set the table] with as many fine utensils as possible. Even attractive utensils that are not necessary for the meal itself should be placed on the table for the sake of beauty, as a symbol of freedom (2).


(1) See Rambam, Yad, Hilchos Ta'aniyos 5:12

(2) As we saw in HY 118:1, it is a mitzvah on the night of Pesach to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt.

Chapter 118:8
Preparations for the Seder

8. The Seder plate should be arranged in the following manner: One should place three matzos (1) on a plate and spread a beautiful cloth over them; above them, one should place the "Zeroa" (shank bone) on one's right side, and the egg on one's left side; the "marror" (bitter herbs) over which the blessing [for the mitzvah of marror] is recited, [should be placed below them], in the center; the "Charoses" should be placed below the "zeroa" (in the next row down), and the "Karpas" below the egg; the "marror" to use for the "kricha" (sandwich with Matza) goes [below them] in the middle (2).


1) On every Shabbos and Yom Tov, it is a mitzvah to begin the meal with two loaves of either bread or Matza ("Lechem Mishna"). On the Seder night, however, we add a third Matza to be broken in half during the Seder ("Yachatz"). The reason we recite the Haggada over a broken piece of Matza, is because the Torah calls Matza "Lechem oni" ("bread of oppression" or "poor man's bread") (Deut. 16:3); since a poor man is accustomed to sustaining himself only on a morsel, so too, we use only a morsel, as a reminder of our poverty and oppression in Egypt.

(2) This is the order of the Arizal, and is based on Kabbalistic teachings (see Beer Hatev 473:8). The Ramah 273:4 has a different order based on the principle of not passing over one mitzvah in order to get to another mitzvah. As a result, according to the Ramah, those items used first should be closest to you: bottom row - Karpas (right), salt water (left) (the Arizal doesn't have salt water on the plate); then the matzos in the next row, in the center; third row - Marror (R), Charoses (L); top row - zeroa (R), egg (L).

It seems that most people follow the order of the Arizal (See Orach HaShulchan 473:11, and Mishna Berura 473: 26).

Chapter 118:9
Preparations for the Seder

9. The [wine] cups (1) must all be whole, without any cracks or chips. They should be carefully washed and should be able to contain at least a "revi'is". (2)


(1) As we saw in HY 118:1, it is a mitzvah on the first night of Pesach to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt. The Sages established the mitzvah of drinking four cups of wine during the seder, as an outward expression of this newfound freedom (Rambam, 'Yad', Chometz U'Matzah 7:7).

(2) A "revi'is" literally means "one quarter" because it is equal to the volume of one quarter of a "log." There is a dispute among the authorities as to what a revi'is equals in modern measurements. The opinions range from 88.7 ml to 150 ml (5.07 fluid ounces).

If the cup is capable of containing only a revi'is, one should preferably drink the entire cup of wine for each of the four cups. However, if one is unable to complete the cup, one can fulfill one's mitzvah by drinking most of the revi'is, a measure referred to as "Maaleh Lugmav," which literally means a "cheek-full" (a quantity of liquid which fills one cheek of an average person).

If the cup is capable of holding more than a revi'is, the Ramban rules that one must drink most of the contents of the cup, whereas the Ran rules that it is sufficient to drink most of a revi'is. One should preferably conduct oneself in accordance with the Ramban, however, if one only drank most of a revi'is of a large cup (containing more than a revi'is), one has fulfilled his obligation ("Halachos of Pesach," by Rav Shimon Eider Vol II, pg 230 (Ch20 E1))

One should make sure to drink an entire revi'is for the fourth cup, because the "Bracha Acharona" ("after-blessing"), recited after the fourth cup, may only be recited after drinking a revi'is.

Chapter 118:10
Preparations for the Seder

10. It is customary [for males] to wear a kittel (1) (white robe) at the Seder, and it should be prepared before Yom Tov begins. A mourner, may G-d protect us, should not wear such a garment (2). He is, however, obligated to recline at the Seder (3). Nevertheless, if he has not observed any aspects of mourning before the commencement of Yom Tov, for example, if he buried his dead on Yom Tov itself, it is customary not to recline. He must, however, recite Hallel (4), for Hallel is an obligation.


(1) The kittel is worn in honor of Yom Tov. According to the Midrash, it resembles the "clothes" of Angels, and is therefore a symbol of joy. Another reason for wearing it is proposed by the commentators: since it is customary for a Jewish male to be buried in his kittel, wearing it is a reminder of the day of death, and prevents a person from becoming too haughty and frivolous as a result of the obligation to act and feel like royalty during the Seder.

(2) Since the primary reason for wearing the Kittle is for the joy and honor of Yom Tov, it is not fitting for a mourner to adorn himself in such a garment.

(3) As we saw in HY 118:6, it is a mitzvah on the night of Pesach to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt. The Sages established the mitzvah of leaning to the left during the Seder, as an outward expression of this newfound freedom; royalty and nobility in those days reclined while eating (Rambam, 'Yad', Chometz U'Matzah 7:7).

(4) "Hallel" consists of selected paragraphs from Psalms.

Chapter 118:11
Preparations for the Seder

11. A son attending a Seder in his father's presence is obligated to recline (1). In contrast, a student attending a Seder in his Rebbe's (teacher) presence need not recline (2).


(1) It is a mitzvah on the night of Pesach to act and feel as if you, yourself, were just freed from slavery in Egypt; this is derived from the verse "and you shall remember that YOU were a slave..." (Deut 5:15), and the verse which tells us to tell our children that "He took US out of there" (Deut 6:23). The Sages established the mitzvah of reclining to the left during the seder, as an outward expression of this newfound freedom, because royalty and nobility in those days reclined while eating (Rambam, 'Yad', Chometz U'Matzah 7:7).

There is one authority who rules that since nowadays it is not the custom of nobility to recline, we are not obligated to recline during the Seder. However most authorities disagree and rule that if one did not recline while performing the mitzvah of eating Matza (including "Korech" and "Afikomen"), and drinking the four cups of wine, then one has not fulfilled his obligation and must eat or drink again. It is preferable (but not obligatory) to recline while eating and drinking the entire Seder meal.

Although it would be generally considered disrespectful for a son to recline in his father's presence, we assume that the father forgoes this outward sign of respect on the Seder night, so that his son can perform the mitzvah (this is true even if the father is also his son's teacher) (Mishna Berura 472:14).

(2) According to the Talmud, the reverence a student must have for his Rebbe is comparable to the reverence he must have for G-d. Therefore, if the student has not received permission from his Rebbe to recline, it would be prohibited for him to recline. Some authorities rule that if the Rebbe gives permission for the student to recline, then the student is obligated to recline ( Mishna Berura 472:16).

Chapter 119:1
Laws of the Seder

1. Although in general, one may recite Kiddush and begin eating one's meal before nightfall on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and thus add from "non-holy time" to "holy time" (1), this is not allowed on Pesach.

[The rationale is] that the mitzvah of eating Matza must be fulfilled at night, [at the time] when the Pesach sacrifice [was to be eaten], as [Exodus 12:8 states]: "And they shall eat the meat on this night." Similarly, the mitzvah of drinking the four cups of wine must be fulfilled at night. Since the cup [of wine] over which Kiddush is recited is one of the these four cups, the Kiddush should not be recited until it is definitely "night" (that is, after the appearance of three medium-size stars). On all other nights, I have no problems with my vegetarian readers and whether they eat Kitniyos (beans, rice, corn, chick-peas, mustard, canola, peanuts [permitted to Chabad], and others) but on this night when G-D requires us to eat meat, I think that they should make an exception to their custom. Of course consult your local Orthodox Rabbi as he may have a Heter since the Beis HaMikdash has

not been rebuilt yet. Certainly an infant or a person being tube or inter-stomach fed is exempt but a healthy person has a different Din.

[Shortly after nightfall], one should put on the kittle and sit at one's place for the Seder. It is a mitzvah to give children almonds, nuts, and the like to play with, so that they will notice that something is different about this night, and ask about it. [Hopefully,] this will motivate them to ask other questions concerning the Matza, the Marror, and the reclining (2).

When a child is old enough to be educated (3), and he appreciates the sanctity of Yom Tov, and understands the narrative of the exodus from Egypt, he should also be given a cup [of grape juice, or wine] to drink from (4). It is customary to pour an additional cup of wine, besides the cup given to each of the Seder participants. This is called Elijah's cup. (5)


(1) This concept is called "Le'hosif Mechol al Hakodesh," which generally means to "bring in" Shabbos or Yom Tov before nightfall; once one has consciously accepted Shabbos or Yom Tov, all their laws and restrictions apply.

(2) It is a mitzvah to do something at the start of the Seder that is not done on other nights of the year, in order to stimulate the children's curiosity and draw them into asking why this night is different from all other nights - "Ma Nishtana Halaila HaZeh..." Asking the "Four Questions" during the Seder is not supposed to be a ritual formality; rather, there is an obligation to do things that will stimulate actual curiosity and questioning, because answers do not make a difference to people who don't have questions (See Rambam, Yad, Chometz U'Matzah 7:3).

(3) That is, when he reaches the age of "Chinuch," which varies according to the individual child's level of awareness.

(4) It is a mitzvah to have the child perform the mitzvah of the four cups, however it is not an obligation, because many authorities ruled that the mitzvah of the four cups was not ordained for children.

(5) From the wording of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, it appears that Elijah's cup should be poured at the beginning of the Seder. This is the custom in many communities. In others, however, Elijah's cup is not poured until after the meal is concluded.

Chapter 119:2
Laws of the Seder

2. One's servant or another member of the household should pour the wine into the cups. Similarly, each time the cups are filled, they should be filled by these individuals and not by the person leading the Seder himself; this is an outward expression of freedom (1).

One should instruct the members of one's household to drink the majority of the cup in one gulp, and to drink at least a revi'is (2) for the fourth cup (3). They must also have the intent to fulfill [four different] Mitzvos: the drinking of the four cups of wine, the relating of the story of the exodus from Egypt (4), and eating Matza and Marror. Women are also obligated to fulfill these Mitzvos, but it is not customary for them to recline.

One should recite Kiddush as it is printed in the Haggada and drink the cup while reclining on the left side.

If possible, it is proper to follow the opinion of the authorities who require that one drink the entire cup of wine for each of the four cups (See note 2).


(1) Royalty and nobility never pour their own cup of wine. Each person at the table who is performing the mitzvah of drinking four cups, should have someone else pour the wine each time.

(2) A "revi'is" literally means "one quarter" because it is equal to the volume of one quarter of a "log." There is a dispute among the authorities as to what a revi'is equals in modern measurements. The opinions range from 88.7 ml to 150 ml (5.07 fluid ounces).

If the cup is capable of containing only a revi'is, one should preferably drink the entire cup of wine for each of the four cups. However, if one is unable to complete the cup, one can fulfill one's mitzvah by drinking most of the revi'is, a measure referred to as "Maaleh Lugmav," which literally means a "cheek-full" (a quantity of liquid which fills one cheek of an average person).

If the cup is capable of holding more than a revi'is, the Ramban rules that one must drink most of the contents of the cup, whereas the Ran rules that it is sufficient to drink most of a revi'is. One should preferably conduct oneself in accordance with the Ramban, however, if one only drank most of a revi'is of a large cup (containing more than a revi'is), one has fulfilled his obligation ("Halachos of Pesach," by Rav Shimon Eider Vol II, pg 230 (Ch20 E1))

The preferred manner of drinking the revi'is is by drinking most of the revi'is in one gulp, and completing the revi'is in the second gulp. If it takes him more than nine minutes to drink the revi'is, he must drink the cup again, with a new blessing, in order to fulfill the mitzvah ("Halachos of Pesach," by Rav Shimon Eider Vol II, pg 233 Ch20E3).

One should make sure to drink an entire revi'is for the fourth cup, because the "Bracha Acharona" ("after-blessing"), recited after the fourth cup, may only be recited after drinking a revi'is.

(3) Even if drinking four cups of wine will cause someone slight discomfort, such as a mild headache, one is still obligated to do so. One may dilute the wine with grape juice or water (preferably grape juice), but one should try to do it in a way that the alcoholic taste of the wine remains. Also, when diluting with water, one must be careful to use the ratio required to retain the blessing of "Borei Pri HaGefen" (more than one part wine to six parts water; the fact that some modern wines are already diluted must be taken into account).

One is not obligated to do anything that will cause him to become bedridden. Therefore, if one is unable to drink any wine (or can only drink a small amount), one may fulfill the mitzvah of the four cups using just grape juice. If one is allergic to grape juice, one may fulfill the obligation by drinking four cups of "Chamar Medina" ("beverage of the country"), which is generally defined as a drink one would serve to a guest even when he is not thirsty, such as alcoholic beverages (make sure they are not Chometz), tea, and coffee ("Halachos of Pesach" by Rabbi Shimon Eider, Vol II, pg 220-225; for further details, ask your local orthodox rabbi).

(4) Relating the story of the exodus on the night of Pesach is a Biblical commandment.

Chapter 119:3
Laws of the Seder

3. Afterwards, [each person] should wash his hands without reciting the blessing (1), and then dry them. [The person leading the Seder] should cut a piece of the "Karpas" (2) for himself and for all the members of his household. Each person should receive a piece [of the vegetable which is] less than a "Kezayis" in size (Lit: "like an olive") (3).

The pieces are dipped in salt water and the blessing "Borei Pri HaAdamah" is recited. While reciting this blessing, one should have in mind that it should also apply to the marror (a vegetable to be eaten later in the evening). One should also eat the "Karpas" while reclining on one's left side (4).

Afterwards, one takes the middle Matza and divides it into two portions, placing the larger portion next to him so that it can be used later as the "Afikomen". It is customary to wrap the Afikomen in a cloth to recall [Exodus 12:34]: "Their left-over dough was wrapped up in their clothes." There are some who place the Matza in the cloth on their shoulders to recall [the manner in which our ancestors] left Egypt.

The Afikomen takes the place of the Pesach sacrifice. Therefore, the greater portion of the Matza should be used for it. The smaller portion should be returned to its place on the Seder plate. The matzos should be uncovered slightly and the plate lifted up. We then say the passage beginning "Ho Lachmah Anya... " ("This is the poor man's bread") until its conclusion with "next year we will be free people."

[Certain versions of the Haggada read] "K'ho lachmoh anya... " [instead of "Ho lachmah anya..."]. According to these versions, the passage continues, "…Acholu avhosono..." [rather than "di acholu avhosono..."].


(1) That is, the blessing for washing one's hands - "Al Netilas Yadayim." There is a Halacha that before eating (with one's hands) any food that has been washed or dipped in water (and is still wet), one has to perform the same ritual washing that one would perform before eating bread. However, many authorities rule that this Halacha only applied when the Beis HaMikdash (Temple) was standing; nevertheless, even these authorities rule that this washing must be performed on Pesach, as an additional means of arousing the curiosity of the children.

(2) See HY 118:2

(3) Volume of approximately one fluid oz, 28.8 cubic centimeters.

(4) Many authorities do not require one to recline while eating the karpas. Unless one's custom is to the contrary, it is preferable to recline.

Chapter 119:4
Laws of the Seder

4. After reciting the paragraph beginning: "This is the bread of affliction..."], the second cup of wine is poured. A young child should ask [the four questions, beginning] "Ma Nishtana...". If there are no young children present, another son or daughter, or a friend or one's wife should ask the questions (1). After that, [the Haggada continues with (2)] "Avadim hoyinu.." ("We were slaves...").

It is proper to explain the HaGadol to the members of one's household in a language that they understand. If [the person leading the Seder] does not understand Hebrew, he should recite the Haggada from a text with translation. After reciting each passage of the Haggada [in Hebrew], he should translate it. In particular, this applies to the passage beginning: "Rabban Gamliel would say, " for it is essential for the participants to understand the reasons for [the Mitzvos of] the Pesach sacrifice, Matza, and Marror.

When one reaches the passage beginning: "V'hi she'omdoh...", one covers the matzos (so the matzos will not be "shamed" when the cup of wine is lifted) and raises the cup. One should hold it upraised until the word "miyodom" [at which point, it is lowered] and the matzo uncovered again.

When the passage beginning: "Matza zoo…" ("This Matza") is reached, the person leading the Seder should lift up the broken piece [of the middle Matza] from the Seder plate and show it to the members of his household. Similarly, when reciting "Marror zoo", one should lift up the marror. When, however, reciting the passage "Pesach shehoyu avoseinu ochlim...", one should not lift up the "zeroa," even though it commemorates the Pesach sacrifice. Doing so would make it appear that this meat was being consecrated for sacrificial purposes (3).

When one reaches the passage beginning: "Lefichoch..." ("Therefore..."), one should cover the matzos and raise the cup until one concludes the blessing "Go'al Yisrael". One then recites the blessing "Borei Pri HaGefen" and drinks this second cup of wine while reclining on one's left side.


(1) If one is alone, one must ask oneself the four questions.

(2) One does not recline while reciting the Haggada.

(3) Which is impossible when there is no Beis HaMikdash (Temple) standing in Jerusalem.

The Counting of the Omer

Chapter 120:1
The Counting of the Omer

1. On the second night of Pesach, one begins "counting the Omer" (1). One must count while standing (2). The mitzvah is to count immediately at the beginning of the night (3), as soon as [three medium-size stars] become visible (4). If one did not count at the beginning of the night, the time for counting extends throughout the entire night.

On Shabbos and festivals nights, the counting takes place in synagogue after the recitation of Kiddush (after Maariv, the evening service), in order to give precedence to the [proclamation] of the sanctity of the day. At the conclusion of Shabbos or a holiday, we count before the recitation of Havdalah in order to delay the departure of the [holy] day. Should the final day of Pesach fall on Saturday night, and hence Kiddush and Havdalah are recited over the same cup of wine, we count beforehand in order to delay the recitation of Havdalah (which signifies the end of Shabbos).


(1) When the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was standing in Jerusalem, there was a mitzvah to begin the grain harvest season by harvesting a certain amount of barley on the second night of Pesach, and bringing the amount of one "omer" (approx. 2 quarts) as a meal offering ("Korban Mincha") in the Beit HaMikdash the next day (See Leviticus 23:9-14).

There is another mitzvah for each male to verbally count seven weeks (counting each of the 49 days and seven weeks), beginning from the day the "Omer" offering is brought (hence the name "Counting of the Omer"), that is, the second day of Pesach, and ending on the day before the festival of Shavuos (lit: "weeks" - because it is the culmination of 7 weeks of counting) (See Leviticus 23:15-22).

Now that there is no longer a Beit HaMikdash, and hence, no longer an "Omer" offering brought on the second day of Pesach, there are many authorities who rule that the mitzvah of counting is only a Rabbinically ordained obligation.

As with most mitzvos that have to be performed at a specific time, women are exempt from the mitzvah of counting; however, women in many communities accepted this mitzvah upon themselves, as they did the mitzvah of lulav and shofar; therefore, if a woman desires to count, she may do so, however, some authorities question whether a blessing may be recited (See Mishna Berura 489:3).

(2) But if one counted while sitting, one has fulfilled one's obligation and need not count again.

(3) The verse says to count "seven COMPLETE weeks", therefore we try to count as soon as the new day begins (that is, at the beginning of the night), so that each counting is for a "complete" day.

(4) After the Maariv Shemona Esrey, before Alaynu.

Sifra Counting Page:

This year’s calendar counting:
From Keren a great investment for a non-Jew:
One of the students who is becoming a Giyores asked me about Koshering the house for Pessach. My wife already cleaned the deep freezer and fridge. She put towels under the Chometz stuff. We have outside of vegetables bought all our Kosher L’Pessach food. I did the rugs with a vacuum turned them upside down vacuumed the other side then after a day or so turned it over and used Sano Rug cleaner scrubbed it in and after about two hours revacuumed and rolled up the carpet. For wall to wall carpets or a bedroom where one does not eat, we don't do the rug so thoroughly. The blogspot has the Halachos. Do you have Pessach Kosher pots and pans and the burners on the stove have to be either replaced by new ones for Pessach or cleaned and fired red hot to burn off all Chometz. Motzei Shabbos we hope to switch over everything pour boiling water on the kitchen counter and put either thick aluminum foil or in our case a pre-cut base which we use each year. We kosher the sinks and use a hand washing sink near the toilet to wash dishes for a week or use paper or plastic plates for a week.
On Wednesday or Thursday we stop using the Microwave and we put into a Styrofoam cup some soap and water assuming that we thoroughly cleaned it and let it go for 5 minutes 3 times as usually a 7 minute or 15 minutes which we need boils off all the water too soon.
The over has to be cleaned and then left on for an hour at top heat.
The same procedure is done if the oven is milky, meaty or non-kosher for koshering.


Passover desserts are always a challenge, especially those that are made without any matzo products and still taste delicious. Here are some terrific desserts from some of my favorite cookbooks (including my own)! These Passover desserts are too good to pass over!

When I asked cookbook author Gil Marks to share one of his favorite Passover dessert recipes, he suggested this versatile chocolate mousse with its intense flavor. The recipe comes from his cookbook “The World of Jewish Entertaining.” An added benefit is that this dessert is non-gebrochts.

Gil Marks believes that dairy ingredients mute the flavor of chocolate. His motto is “Never serve a dessert on Passover that you wouldn’t eat the rest of the year!”

Gil Marks offers 3 different, delicious ways to serve this delectable mousse. The simplest method is to serve it in individual dessert dishes. A second option is to bake part of the mousse mixture in a pie plate. It will cave in after baking, forming a chocolate shell that is then filled with the reserved mousse. A third option is to bake part of the mousse mixture as a sheet cake, then fill it with the reserved mousse mixture and roll it up to make a scrumptious chocolate-filled log. The choice is yours - so why not make all 3 versions! Enjoy!


8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup water
8 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar

1. In the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and water, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until stiff and glossy (3 to 5 minutes). Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites.

3. Pour into a bowl or individual serving dishes, cover, and chill until set (at least 4 hours).

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and dust with sugar. Pour 4 cups of mousse (above) into prepared pan, reserving remaining mousse in refrigerator. Bake until set (about 25 minutes). Cool for 30 minutes, then chill. (Center will fall, forming a shell.) Pour reserved refrigerated mousse into chocolate shell. Refrigerate until serving time.

JELLY ROLL MOUSSE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon 4 cups of mousse into a 15 1/2- by 10 1/2-inch jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until firm (about 15 minutes). Transfer to a rack and let cool. Invert onto a piece of parchment paper placed on a flat surface, peel off the paper, and spread with the remaining mousse. Roll up from a long end. Refrigerate until needed. Slice and serve.


This show-stopping non-gebrochts dessert is one of the signature Passover recipes in Divine Kosher Cuisine: Catering to Family and Friends, by co-authors Rise’ Routenberg and Barbara Wasser. The cookbook, published by Congregation Agudat Achim in Niskayuna, NY, is available online at This chocolate nut delight is guaranteed to please your guests!


A frequent visitor over the years to her local family who belongs to Congregation Agudat Achim, Dr. Ruth Westheimer calls this nut torte her favorite Passover dessert. (image shown above)


Potato starch for dusting pan
12 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups finely ground walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans with removable bottoms. Line each pan with parchment paper, grease again and dust with potato starch.

2. Beat yolks on high speed with electric mixer until thick. Add sugar and lemon juice and beat until light yellow. Mix in nuts.

3. Beat whites in separate bowl at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into yolk mixture.

4. Divide batter into pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown or until tester inserted in center comes out mostly clean but moist. Loosen edges with knife immediately after removing pans from oven.
5. Cool completely. Remove from pans and peel off parchment.


16 ounces heavy cream
4 teaspoons sugar

1. Whip cream at high speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.


8 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1. Combine all ingredients and whip at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.


1. Place 1 cake layer on plate and top with scant half of Frosting #1.

2. Top with 2nd layer and spread with Frosting #2. Top with 3rd layer.

3. Frost top and sides with remainder of Frosting #1. Decorate with chocolate curls and chill until serving.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.


Each year, I get many requests for Passover recipes that are suitable for people with diabetes, especially since the festive meals are so high in carbohydrates. I also get requests for recipes that are non-gebrochts - a double challenge!

Nechama Cohen, founder and CEO of the Jewish Diabetes Association, has written a wonderful diabetic cookbook, Enlightened Kosher Cooking: More Than 250 Good-Carb, Healthy-Fat, Sugar-Free Recipes, From the Simple to the Elegant (Feldheim).

Packed with magnificent photographs and recipes for all year round, Enlightened Kosher Cooking also contains a chapter with enticing Passover diabetic recipes and tips, as well as a list of common Passover ingredients and their nutritional values. Many of the flavorful recipes throughout the book can also be used for Passover (
Read Nechama's column in Shabbat Shalom).

Nechama writes: "Holidays are an integral part of Jewish life. One of my favorite parts is that they afford me the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends, creating many cherished memories. And much of this time, especially during Passover, is spent sitting down together for festive holiday meals. Surprisingly, eating healthy foods and feeling good on Passover are not so difficult. With a little bit of advance preparation, and after discussing with your health-care team the recipes and suggestions in my book, you can enjoy Passover to the fullest, while remaining within your dietary boundaries."

Enjoy these tasty diabetic desserts from Enlightened Kosher Cooking during Passover and forget about feeling guilty!


This dough also makes a great pie crust. For biscotti-like cookies, turn off the oven after they are baked and leave them in overnight. Then store in an airtight container.

Low Carb, Low Fat

2 1/2 cups ground almonds
Sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar
1 tsp almond and/or vanilla extract
2 egg whites
Almond halves, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend the almonds and sugar substitute together in a food processor with the knife blade.

2. Add the almond and/or vanilla extract and egg whites, and blend until it forms a paste.

3. Roll into small balls in the palm of your hands. Shape each one like a crescent or keep round and place half an almond in the center.

4. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with baking paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be slightly golden and soft to the touch. Remove from sheet and cool.

* Variation: Melt 2 small squares of bittersweet or baking chocolate and dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate. Place on cookie sheet to harden.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cookie (1/2 ounce) contains 70 calories, 2 g protein, 2.5 g carbs, 6.1 g fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.5 mg sodium, 0 mg calcium, 0.3 g fiber.

Yield: 20 servings. Exchanges: 1 fat.

Low Carb, Fat Free

1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
Sugar substitute equal to 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp liquid sweetener
Dash of salt
1 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp potato starch

1. In a saucepan, mix the cocoa, sweeteners, salt and vanilla extract with the hot water until smooth.

2. In a separate bowl or cup, mix the starch with some of the liquid until smooth and return to the saucepan. Constantly mixing with a wire whisk or wooden spoon, warm over low heat until it starts to thicken.

3. Cool and refrigerate. It will thicken more as it gets cold.

Nutrition Facts: 2 tbsp (1 ounce) contains 44 calories, 2.6 g protein, 4.2 g carbs, 0.3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 mg sodium, 14 mg calcium, 3 g fiber.

Yield: 2 cups. Exchanges: 1/2 starch.


And for the easiest Passover cookie, try this quick and easy meringue cookie from my cookbook HEALTHY HELPINGS (Whitecap). For more Passover recipes, visit my website at and eat to your heart’s content. Wishing all my readers a happy and delicious Passover!


These guilt-free treats taste a lot like lemon meringue pie! They’re easy to make and fat-free.

3 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon juice
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 250 F. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. In a large glass or stainless mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Drizzle in lemon juice and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue beating until stiff and shiny. Fold in lemon zest.
3. Drop cookie mixture from a tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet in small mounds. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off heat but don’t open the oven door. Leave cookies in the oven 1 hour longer. Remove cookies from oven and cool completely.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies. Can be frozen or stored in a tightly covered container.

14 calories per cookie, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, trace protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 13 mg sodium, 7 mg potassium, 0 mg iron, 0 g fiber, <1 mg calcium

Passover Blintzes (Crepes) and “Noodles”
Carb Free, Low Fat / Yield: 12 crepes or 2 cups noodles

These marvelous crepes are great on Passover and all year round. Once you get the hang of it, they really are easy to make. You can also use this recipe to make kosher for Passover noodles.

7 eggs plus 7 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 cup water, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or walnut oil for sweet blintzes)
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs and egg whites together with salt and set aside. Mix potato starch with part of the water to form a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and beaten eggs and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well again. (A blender or food processor is handy for mixing the batter, but be careful to mix just until blended. Over mixing will create a foam that must be removed, or it will affect the texture of the finished crepes.) Transfer batter to a pitcher that is wide enough to allow mixing.
Heat olive oil and non-stick spray in an 8- inch, non-stick frying pan. Pour off extra oil into a dish. Keep a paper towel in this dish to use for wiping the pan after every few crepes (this helps keep the amount of oil needed down to a minimum), or spray with non-stick cooking spray. When the pan is hot, lower the heat to medium and pour in 1/4 -1/2 cup of batter. Tilt pan to cover the bottom and pour any extra batter back into the pitcher. This will ensure very thin blintzes. As soon as the batter is firm, loosen the edges and turn over onto a dish towel or slightly greased piece of aluminum foil. Then return it to the pan to cook on the other side. (You can flip it with a spatula, but most people find it easier to turn it out and then return it to the frying pan.) Cook on the second side for no more than a few seconds and remove to a towel. Before making the next crepe, mix batter with a fork in order to blend in any potato starch that settles.

Unless you’re a real pro, the first 1 or 2 blintzes will probably not come out easily and will tear.

For Noddles:When blintzes are cool, roll up a few at a time and slice into ultra-thin strips. For smaller noodles, slice down the length as well. Allow noodles to dry a bit and then store in an airtight container or plastic bags. These freeze well.

For crepes (blintzes):
Use the filling of your choice (see next page) and either fold the crepe around it blintz-style (like an envelope) or roll up. The unfilled crepes freeze well, either stacked or in layers divided by wax paper.

You can certainly use the standard mashed-potato filling, but if you want a lower crab count and something more interesting, here are a few suggestions:

Low-carb potato:
Mix equal amounts of cooked potato with cooked cauliflower and some fried onions. Add salt to taste.

Mix ground meat and/or chicken with fried onions and seasoning.

Grate apples; add sugar substitute, cinnamon and ground nuts.

Beat 1 egg white just until shiny and starting to stiffen. Add ground nuts to form a paste. Add sugar substitute, cinnamon (optional) and juice from half a lemon.

Mix farmer cheese with 1 beaten egg white, sugar substitute, cinnamon and vanilla flavoring.

If you’re cooking for a crowd and want to save time, use a large frying pan and make extra-large crepes. Pile up cooled crepes, slicing off the sides to use for noodles. You will be left with nice-sized rectangles that can be used for folded blintzes.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size 1 crepe - 2–3 (Tbsps noodles) 1(oz) 30 (g)
Calories 37
Protein (g) 3.1
Carbs (g) 0.7
Fat (g) 2.3
Sat. Fat (g) 0.6
Cholesterol (mg) 85
Sodium (mg) 37
Calcium (mg) 11
Fiber (g) 0
Exchanges: Lean protein ½

Fresh and Natural Applesauce Low Carb, Fat Free / Yield: 20 servings

It’s hard to go back to store-bought applesauce after tasting this delicious, refreshing dessert. The trick to this great dish is tea bags. Be daring and try a variety of different flavors.

10 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into eighths juice of half a lemon dash of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3-4 flavored tea bags of your choice water sugar substitute, optional for fruit compote: use fruit of choice
Place apples in a 5-quart pot. Add lemon juice, salt, vanilla, tea bags and water, covering not more than half the apples so that the end result will not be too watery. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until apples are soft. Hand-blend and mash to desired consistency. For additional sweetness, you can add sugar substitute.

For a crunchy fruit compote: Bring ingredients to a boil and cook on high heat for 7 minutes. Turn off heat and cover. Let stand overnight. In the morning, put into a jar and refrigerate. This can be frozen in an airtight container.

For a strawberry-rhubarb apple compote: Add 11/2 cups of sliced strawberries and 1 cup of sliced rhubarb to the apples. Rhubarb is quite tart, so add sugar substitute according to taste. Blend well and refrigerate.

For cinnamon applesauce: Add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon to blended apples. For a beautiful crimson color, as well as additional flavor and fiber, add 1-1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries.

Nutrition Facts Serving size - ½ (cup) 2⅔ (oz) 80 (g)
Calories 34 Protein (g) 0.1 Carbs (g) 8 Fat (g) 0.2 Sat. Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Sodium (mg) 0 Calcium (mg) 5 Fiber (g) 0 Exchanges: Fruit 3/4

About The Jewish Diabetes Association
The Jewish Diabetes Association (JDA) was founded in 1985, less than one year after Nechama's diagnoses of diabetes. What began as a small support group in her home has now grown to an inter-continental organization with a growing world- wide membership. JDA is a leader in bringing the public the message about the correlation between obesity and diabetes, and the higher risk factors in the Jewish population. The JDA Connection for Healthy Living is proud and grateful to bring to the public this landmark book of Enlitened Kosher cooking. Please visit our website at:

© Orthodox Union - All Rights Reserved.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Orthodox Union and its agencies

One of the few times I take something from Daniel E. G. who wrote in Spanish and use Google Translate which appears off so I left the original is below: Despite recent developments the attack happened in France, despicable, my mind still think that in us this pave the way, who to call us back to our Israel, attacks yet, maybe there are many to come, but we must be strong and united those who are starting out and find our being Jewish, or those in Israel or in the communities in the world, we may discuss Halacha, we discuss the clothing, many things but if we have to have unanimity is in bind-us into one, only we can defend ourselves with Hashem ahead of us, is the maximum pool. with a beautiful Shabbat Shalom. A pesar de los últimos acontecimientos del atentado que aconteció en Francia, repudiable, mi mente seguirá pensando que, en nosotros esta allanar el camino, a aquel que nos llamara a retornar a Nuestro Israel, atentados todavía, a lo mejor hay muchos por venir, pero debemos ser fuertes y unidos aquellos que estamos empezando y descubrimos nuestro ser Judío, o los que están en Israel o en las comunidades en el mundo, podemos discutir sobre halaja, podemos discutir la vestimenta, muchas cosas pero si en lo que tenemos que tener unanimidad es en aglutinar-nos en uno solo, solo nosotros podremos defendernos con Hashem adelante de nosotros, aunar es la máxima. que tengan un Shabat Shalom hermoso.

A Heartfelt Plea from Mrs. Chava (Eva) Sandler of Toulouse

My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

My husband's life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G‑d's creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.

He and I raised Aryeh and Gavriel to live the ways of Torah. Who would have known how short would be their time on this Earth, how short would be the time I would be with them as their mother?

I don't know how I and my husband's parents and sister will find the consolation and strength to carry on, but I know that the ways of G‑d are good, and He will reveal the path and give us the strength to continue. I know that their holy souls will remain with us forever, and I know that very soon the time will come when we will be together again with the coming of Moshiach.

I wholeheartedly believe in the words of the verse: "The L-ord has given, and the L-ord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the L-ord." I thank the Almighty for the privilege, short though it was, of raising my children together with my husband. Now the Almighty wants them back with Him.

To all those who wish to bring consolation to our family and contentment to the souls of the departed: Let's continue their lives on this Earth.

Parents, please kiss your children. Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and with love of their fellow man.

Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone.

Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night. (Please do so a bit earlier than the published times as a way to add holiness to our world.)

The holiday of Passover is approaching. Please invite another person into your homes so that all have a place at a Seder to celebrate the holiday of our freedom.

Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell over how "in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us." We all will announce in a loud and clear voice: "G‑d saves us from their hands."

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.

May it be G‑d's will that from this moment on, we will all only know happiness.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the Monsonego family for the loss of their daughter Miriam, and I pray for the speedy recovery of Aharon ben Leah, who was injured in the attack.

Thank you for your support and love.

Rambam Laws of Kings and their wars Chapter 7


Halacha 1

In both a milchemet mitzvah and a milchemet hareshut, a priest is appointed to address the nation before the battle. He is anointed with the oil of anointment and is called, the meshuach milchamah.

Halacha 2

The meshuach milchamah speaks to the nation twice: Once, at the border, as the army is leaving before they assume battle positions. At that time, he tells the nation: 'Is there a man who has planted a vineyard and has not redeemed his first crop?...' (Deuteronomy 20:6). When these individuals hear his words, they should retreat from the battlefront.

He speaks a second time when the army has assumed battle positions: Then, he declares: 'Do not be afraid. Do not panic...' (ibid. 20:3).

Halacha 3

When the armies assume battle positions and will shortly join in war, the meshuach milchamah stands in an elevated place before the array of the entire army. He addresses them in Hebrew:

Listen, Israel, today you are about to wage war against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted. Do not be afraid. Do not panic and do not break ranks before them. God, you Lord, is the One accompanying you to do battle for you against your enemies to deliver you (ibid. 20:3-4).

These words are related by the meshuach milchamah. Afterwards, another priest of a lower rank, proclaims them to the people in a loud voice. Then, the meshuach milchamah announces:

Is there a man who has built a new house?... Let him go home...

Is there a man who has planted a vineyard?... Let him go home...

Is there a man who has consecrated a woman?... Let him go home... (ibid. 20:5-7).

These words are related by the meshuach milchamah. Afterwards, an officer proclaims these words to the nation in a loud voice. the officer announces on his own initiative: 'Is there a man who is afraid or faint-hearted? Let him go home...' (ibid. 20:8). Another officer proclaims these words to the people.

Halacha 4

After these individuals depart from the battlefront, the army is arrayed again and commanding officers are appointed at the head of the nation.

Powerful officers with iron axes in their hands are placed in the rear of each array of troops. If a person wants to leave the battle, they have permission to chop off his legs, for flight is the beginning of defeat.

In which instances are the above-mentioned individuals sent away from the battlefront? In a milchemet hareshut. By contrast, in a milchemet mitzvah, the entire nation must go out to war, even a groom from his chamber, and a bride from her pavilion.

Halacha 5

Those who leave the battlefront include a person who builds:

a house to dwell in,

a barn for his cattle,

a woodshed, or

a storage house.

A person who builds one of the latter is deferred because those structures are also fit for dwelling.

Just as a person who builds a home is deferred from military service; so, too, one who buys a home, receives one as a present, or inherits one should also return from the front.

However, one who builds (a silo,) a gatehouse, an excedra, a porch, or a house that is less than four cubits by four cubits, and similarly, a person who steals a house does not return from the war.

Halacha 6

Just as a person who plants a vineyard is deferred from military service; so, too, one who plants five fruit trees, even though they are of five different species recieves a similar deferment.

This applies to one who plants a vineyard, one who extends, one who grafts, the extensions and graftings must be significant enough to obligate the vine in orlah, one who buys, one who inherits, and one who received one as a present.

However, one who plants four fruit trees or five trees that do not bear fruit and similarly, one who steals a vineyard does not return from the battlefront because of it. Also, when a vineyard is planted by two partners, neither may return from the battlefront because of it.

Halacha 7

Just as a man who consecrates a virgin is deferred from military service; so, too, a deferment is granted to one who consecrates a widow and similarly, to a man to whom a yevamah becomes obligated. Even if there are five brothers and one of them dies, all should return from the battlefont.

If a man consecrates a wife on the condition that the Kiddushin take effect retroactively from the day they were given after a year has passed and that time period is completed during a war, he should return from the battlefield.

Halacha 8

A person who remarries his divorcee and one who consecrates a woman whom he is forbidden to marry, for example, a widow for a High Priest, a divorcee or a woman who has undergone chalitzah for a common priest, or a mamzer or a natinah to an Israelite, or an Israelitess to a mamzer or natin, should not return from the battlefield.

Halacha 9

All those who return from the army camp, return when they hear the proclamation of the priest. They must supply food and water to their brethren in the army and fix the roads for them.

Halacha 10

The following should not go out to the army camp at all and should not be bothered for any obligation whatsoever:

one who builds a house and dedicates it;

one who marries the woman he consecrated or his yevamah;

one who redeems his vineyard.

They are not conscripted until the completion of one year as Deuteronomy 24:5 states: 'He must remain free for his home for one year and rejoice with the bride he took.' The Oral Tradition teaches that the one-year deferment applies whether he purchased a house, married a woman, or began to benefit from the fruit of his vineyard.

Halacha 11

During this entire year, he is not obligated to supply the troops with food or water. He should not fix the roads, guard the walls or pay the levy for beams for the gates of the city, as ibid. states: 'He shall not enter military service or be assigned any duties.'

The repetition of the prohibition teaches that the transgression of two prohibitions are involved. He is not obligated to his city, nor to the army.

Halacha 12

If a person builds a house and rents it to others, in the event the tenants pay the rent beforehand, it is considered as if he has already benefited from it. If they do not pay him rent until after twelve months have passed, it is considered as if he has not yet derived benefit.

Halacha 13

The following rules apply when a man built a house, placed his belongings inside, and locked them within: If he has to spend time guarding them, it is considered as if he derived benefit from the home and began dwelling there. If he does not have to sit and guard them, he is considered as one who has derived no benefit from his home as of yet.

Halacha 14

Anyone that builds a house or plants a vineyard outside of the land of Israel, is not sent back [from the battlefront].

Halacha 15

To whom does the phrase 'Is there a man who is afraid or faint-hearted]?' refer? The phrase should be interpreted simply, as applying to a person whose heart is not brave enough to stand in the throes of battle.

Once a soldier enters the throes of battle, he should rely on the Hope of Israel and their Savior in times of need. He should realize that he is fighting for the sake of the oneness of God's Name. Therefore, he should place his soul in his hand and not show fright or fear.

He should not worry about his wife or children. On the contrary, he should wipe their memory from his heart, removing all thoughts from his mind except the war.

Anyone who begins to feel anxious and worry in the midst of battle to the point where he frightens himself violates a negative commandment, as it is written (Deuteronomy 20:3): 'Do not be faint-hearted. Do not be afraid. Do not panic and do not break ranks before them.'

Furthermore, he is responsible for the blood of the entire Jewish nation. If he is not valiant, if he does not wage war with all his heart and soul, it is considered as if he shed the blood of the entire people, as ibid. 20:8 states: 'Let him go home, lest he demoralize the hearts of his brethren like his own.' Similarly, the prophetic tradition explicitly states: 'Cursed be he who does God's work deceitfully. Cursed be he who withholds his sword from blood.' Jeremiah 48:10

In contrast, anyone who fights with his entire heart, without fear, with the intention of sanctifying God's name alone, can be assured that he will find no harm, nor will bad overtake him. He will be granted a proper family in Israel and gather merit for himself and his children forever. He will also merit eternal life in the world to come as I Samuel 25:28-29 states: 'God will certainly make my lord a faithful house, for my lord fights the wars of God and evil will not be found with you... and my lord's soul will be bound in a bond of life with God.'

I will not have time to read this but it sounds interesting.
From B. Levy - A Mohel prefers the Bris in a modern way to prevent health dangers:
Faya sent this story to Rabbi A.L. I shall call it to live and return thousands to Judaism for being willing to die on a Kiddush HASHEM: What a people we are!

How My Parents Met

Rabbi Yosef Wallis, director of Arachim of Israel, talks to Project Witness about his father, Judah Wallis, who was born and raised in Pavenitz, Poland:

“While he was in Dachau, a Jew who was being taken to his death suddenly flung a small bag at my father, Judah Wallis. He caught it, thinking it might contain a piece of bread. Upon opening it, however, he was disturbed to discover a pair of tefillin. Judah was very frightened because he knew that were he to be caught carrying
tefillin, he would be put to death instantly. So he hid the tefillin under his shirt and headed for his bunkhouse.

“In the morning, just before the appel [roll call], while still in his bunkhouse, he put on the tefillin. Unexpectedly, a German officer appeared. He ordered him to remove the tefillin, noted the number on Judah’s arm, and ordered him to go straight to the appel.

“At the appel, in front of thousands of silent Jews, the officer called out Judah’s number and he had no choice but to step forward. The German officer waved the tefillin in the air and said, ‘Dog! I sentence you to death by public hanging for wearing these.’

“Judah was placed on a stool and a noose was placed around his neck. Before he was hanged, the officer said in a mocking tone, ‘Dog, what is your last wish?’

“’To wear my tefillin one last time,’ Judah replied.

“The officer was dumbfounded. He handed Judah the tefillin. As Judah put them on, he recited the verse that is said while the tefillin are being wound around the fingers: ‘Ve’eirastich li le’olam, ve’eirastich li b’tzedek uvemishpat, ub’chessed, uv’rachamim, ve’eirastich li b’emunah, v’yodaat es Hashem—I will betroth you to me forever and I
will betroth you to me with righteousness and with justice and with kindness and with mercy and I will betroth you to me with fidelity, and you shall know Hashem.’

“It is hard for us to picture this Jew with a noose around his neck, wearing tefillin on his head and arm — but that was the scene that the entire camp was forced to watch, as they awaited the impending hanging of the Jew who had dared to break the rule against wearing tefillin. Even women from the adjoining camp were lined up at the barbed wire fence that separated them from the men’s camp, forced to watch this horrible sight.

“As Judah turned to watch the silent crowd, he saw tears in many people’s eyes. Even at that moment, as he was about to be hanged, he was shocked. Jews were crying! How was it possible that they still had tears left to shed? And for a stranger? Where were those tears coming from? Impulsively, in Yiddish, he called out, ‘Yidden, don’t cry. With tefillin on, I am the victor. Don’t you understand, I am the winner!’

“The German officer understood the Yiddish and was infuriated. He said to Judah, ‘You dog, you think you are the winner? Hanging is too good for you. You are going to get another kind of death.’

“Judah, my father, was taken from the stool and the noose was removed from his neck. He was forced into a squatting position and two huge rocks were placed under his arms. Then he was told that he would be receiving 25 lashes to his head — the head on which he had dared to position his tefillin. The officer told him that if he dropped even
one of the rocks, he would be shot immediately. In fact, because this was such an extremely painful form of death, the officer advised him, ‘Drop the rocks now. You will never survive the 25 lashes to the head. Nobody ever does.’

“Judah’s response was, ‘No, I won’t give you the pleasure.’

“At the 25th lash, Judah lost consciousness and was left for dead. He was about to be dragged to a pile of corpses , after which he would have been burned in a ditch, when another Jew saw him, shoved him to the side, and covered his head with a rag, so people didn’t realize he was alive. Eventually, after he recovered consciousness fully, he
crawled to the nearest bunkhouse that was on raised piles, and hid under it until he was strong enough to come out under his own power. Two months later he was liberated.

“During the hanging and beating episode, a 17-year-old girl had been watching the events from the women’s side of the fence. After liberation, she made her way to the men’s camp and found Judah. She walked over to him and said, ‘I’ve lost everyone. I don’t want to be alone any more. I saw what you did that day when the officer wanted to
hang you. Will you marry me?’”

The rest is history. Rabbi Yosef Wallis’ parents (for this couple became his parents) walked over to the Klausenberger Rebbe and requested that he perform the marriage ceremony. The Klausenberger Rebbe, whose Kiddush Hashem is legendary, wrote out a kesubah by hand from memory and married the couple. Rabbi Wallis has that handwritten kesubah in his possession to this day
Inyanay Diyoma

Wikileaks claims Netanyahu was a Stratfor source, disclosed 2 Iranian nukes on missiles in 2009

DEBKAfile Special Report March 28, 2012, 7:24 PM (GMT+02:00)

Wikileaks Wednesday, March 28 published mails indicating that Binyamin Netanyahu may have been a source ol the US Stratfor research site. Its Vice President for intelligence Fred Burton claimed in e-mails he was in contact with Netanyahu from May 2007 up until 2010 after he became Prime Minister. One e-mail said that in Dec. 2009, “BB” told him Iran has “two nukes on missiles ready to go.” The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem has not commented on the publication.

An act of bigotry that in the end exempted Yeshiva Students:
What lengths Teheran will go to:
Iranian plot to attack Israeli ships in Suez foiled:
Do you know why I would have a hard time voting for Mr. Flip-Flop on Nov. 6th:
How Obama treats friends:
Damned if you do and damned if you don't:
Another great piece by Audrey Russo:
US President waves democracy requirements in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Western world is blind Op-ed: Despite Muslim murderousness, West refrains from admitting Islam is the problem Shaul Rosenfeld,7340,L-4207022,00.html

West Bank of what?,7340,L-4206945,00.html
George Tsoros's J. Street:
This week I bought Dial Soap manufactured in W. Europe rather than Palmolive which is manufactured in Turkey:
A few weeks ago I drove past this area near me:
I do not know if this will even slow down the Iranians
In Morocco a 72 year old Jew was beat to death with a hammer but it may not be an anti-Semitic attack his name was Binyamin Srirou and he was a rent collector (for various Jewish landlords) When he went to Saad Selmouni home to collect the rent, the dude didn't want to pay... they got into a fight and Saad Selmouni hit Binyamin with the hammer... might not as anti-Semitic as we think. Rent collector is a dirty job and there are nut jobs out there.... Still I can’t help but wonder if he was a member of the “Religion of Peace” if he would have been murdered but they often kill each other. In France again,7340,L-4208904,00.html
Iran flies suicide squads to Syria and Lebanon to advance to the Israeli Border:

What the Russians are talking about: While many U.S. mainstream media outlets spike news about the Obama eligibility investigation, Russia’s government radio is keeping the world abreast of the scandal that has caused “the biggest censorship and blackout in the history of journalism.” The Voice of Russia – successor of Radio Moscow, the official station of the Soviet Union – published an exclusive interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio March 26 titled, “Obama’s birth certificate may be forgery.” As WND reported, Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse announced there is probable cause indicating the documents released by the White House last April purported to be Obama’s original, long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration card are actually forgeries.

A feather in the Israeli Bonnet against Iran:,7340,L-4209567,00.html
An Ed-Op:,7340,L-4208840,00.html
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story from last week in the former Communist Soviet Union.
Good Shabbos Everyone. In our portion this week Vayikra, the Torah describes the various korbanos - sacrifices which were brought in the tabernacle and later in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The root of the word korban - (sacrifice) is karov which means close. The essence of the korbanos was that they brought Jews closer to Hashem. The korbanos are sacrifices for Hashem. Our lesson this week is therefore the following: Whenever we make sacrifices for Hashem, we grow closer to Hashem and His Holiness. The following amazing and touching true story illustrates how a few Jews grew closer to Hashem.
About ten years ago a young rabbi was invited to a town in the former Soviet Union to arrange and conduct a Passover Seder for the area residents.
The recently ordained Rabbi arrived several weeks before the holiday to prepare. Trying to make the event as big as possible, he went to the town's mayor to find a suitable place to hold the festive ceremony. After exploring several options, the Mayor decided that the best place in town to serve their purpose was the Communist meeting hall.
When the Communists were in power, their party hall was usually the biggest building. The Rabbi and the Mayor went to look at the place, and sure enough, it was perfect. Publicity and posters went up, people were invited, and food was brought and prepared. New vessels were bought, the Pesach cooking was supervised, and the whole building was cleaned and decorated with Pesach themes.
All the hard work paid off. Three hundred people arrived for the Seder! Young and old, men and women came, all dressed in their nicest clothes with shining faces. Some came from nostalgia, some out of curiosity, and some to enjoy a good meal. But everyone, whether they knew it or not, came because they were Jews and tonight was Pesach. It took a while to get everyone seated and settled.
The Rabbi made a short welcoming speech telling them what to expect. For some of them it was their first "Seder" in fifty years, and for many the first in their lives. Haggadahs translated into Russian were handed out, cups were filled with wine, Matzos were distributed, and the evening began. Everyone followed the Rabbi's instructions, and listened to his explanations with great interest. They read aloud from their books how Hashem performed great miracles thousands of years ago, and how He took the Jews out of Egypt. They ate the Matza, drank four cups of wine, finished their holiday meal, sang, and even danced at certain times. All went smoothly until the cup of Elijah. Rabbi explained that this fifth cup represents the future Redemption, when Moshiach will gather all Jews and make a beautiful new world with the revelation of Hashem everywhere.
Suddenly one of the older men stood up, banged on the table and said in a booming voice, "Young man! Excuse me please, young Rabbi!" The place fell silent. As they listened earlier to the Rabbi, they now turned to the impromptu speaker. "We are very grateful to you for this beautiful evening with the wonderful food and wine you brought us. Everything is very nice, very beautiful and very tasty." Everyone in the room shook their heads in agreement and wondered what he was getting at. "Everything you said is also very interesting and nice." The man continued. "Beautiful stories; about miracles... nice Bible stories. We all love stories. But what you said about Messiah coming and making a utopia, building a Holy Temple and all this. Please Rabbi, we are grown up people. We are not little children to believe such nonsense! You are a very nice man and we are very grateful, but please save such foolish superstitions for your children, not for intelligent grown-ups. Please understand, dear Rabbi, this is nothing personal but you are naive. You are locked up in Yeshiva and we live out here in the real world."
Many of the assembled shook their heads in agreement. The looked pitifully at the Rabbi as though to say, "We are sorry, but he's right."
The young rabbi however did not lose his composure. He waited a minute and replied. "My friend," he said with a warm smile, "My friends!" he opened his arms and looked around the room. "Do you realize where we are? Do you realize what we are doing? Do you realize what you are saying!? If someone would have told you fifteen years ago that you would celebrate a PESACH SEDER in the COMMUNIST MEETING HALL, would you ever have believe him? Fifteen years ago there was nothing more powerful than Communism, and nothing weaker than Judaism! Communism was the chief antagonist and enemy of Hashem, everyone in Russia was sure that Communism was right, and would win in the end. Yet here we are! The impossible has happened! Communism has not only fallen, its hall now serves Judaism! Is it really so far-fetched that Moshiach can change the world?" The man looked at the crowd then back at the young rabbi, straightened up, smiled broadly and said..."BRAVO!!" And the crowd broke into applause. Good Shabbos Everyone.
Wishing everybody a Good Shabbos and a Chag Kosher v’ Samayach,
Rachamim Pauli