Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Translation of Tefilla Composed by Rav Yitzchak Yosef - By Rabbi Yehuda Rapoport

Translation of Tefilla Composed by Rav Yitzchak Yosef, The Rishon Lezion Chief Rabbi of Israel
Translation by: Rabbi Yehuda Rapoport

A Prayer for the Cessation of the Coronavirus, Hashem Should Guard us and Save Us

May it be Your will Hashem our God and the God of our fathers, that you should have abundant mercy upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and upon all the inhabitants of this land, and shield them from all harsh and evil decrees that are arising and coming upon the world. And save us from all affliction, plague, sickness and disease. And all those who are sick, who have been infected by the disease, heal them with a complete healing.

Yours, Hashem, are the greatness, and the might, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom and You are He Who is exalted over everything as the Leader.

And in Your hand is the life of every living thing and the spirit of the flesh of every man, and in your hand is power and might to make great and strengthen and heal every downtrodden individual, every oppressed soul. Nothing is too wonderous for you!

Therefore, may it be Your will, the Almighty, trustworthy, compassionate Father, who heals all of the illnesses of His people Israel. You, the trustworthy Healer, send cure and healing and arise with abundant compassion, mercy and caring for all of those who are sick, that have been infected with this illness.
Please Hashem, grant your kindness upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and upon all of your people Israel. Please rise up from your throne of judgement and sit upon the throne of mercy, and go beyond the strict law, and nullify from upon us all harsh and evil decrees. “And Pinchas stood and prayed, and the plague was stopped.”

Decree upon us decrees of goodness, salvation, and consolations for the sake of your kindness and tear the evil decree of our judgement and let our merits call before us: Raise up help for us and redeem us for the sake of your mercy!

Please hear the voice of our supplications, for you are the One who hears the prayers of every mouth, blessed is He who hears prayer.

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be desirous before you, Hashem, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Let the words of the verse be fulfilled for us: “All of the diseases that were put upon Egypt, I shall not put upon you, for I am Hashem your Healer.”

Cleaning for Pesach Refresher Course!

This year's Pesah is going to be like no Pesah we have had in living memory. Please read this refresher on how to clean Pesah and please try to stay calm I know this won't be as hard as you think it is.

Pesah cleaning doesn’t have to be a full spring cleaning and it doesn’t have to take from Purim just to get it all done. Here is a quick guide for Pesah cleaning which can be done with a medium of fuss.  It is incumbent upon us to clean before Pesah but we are not required nor is it recommended to arrive at the Seder exhausted.

In order to change our attitudes, we must know the halakha. There are so many Pesah preparations that are done unnecessarily, where if you want to do them for extra credit, that's fine. But it's important to understand what is necessity and what is voluntary.

Here is a guide based on Rav Aviner on How to get ready for Pesah in just one day!

If you are going away for Pesah and will not be at home during the entire holiday, you can be lenient and not clean for Pesah. You should sell all of the hametz in the house, including all of the crumbs - but not just the crumbs on their own, because that would have no halachic value. It is possible, however, to sell the food in the cabinets and closets including the "hametz dirt." If someone is staying in your house, you need to clean the rooms which will be used. The remaining unused rooms must be closed off with tape, and you must sell any hametz which is in them.

There is still the question of how to fulfill the mitzvah of Bedikat Hametz (the search for hametz). If you arrive at your Pesah destination by the fourteenth of Nissan, perform the search there. If you arrive on the morning of the fourteenth, you should clean well and check a small room, i.e. the entrance way and not sell the hametz in that room. You must also perform the search for hametz, with a blessing, in the rooms in which you will live during Pesah - if no one else has done so.

Hametz which is less than a "Kezayit" may not be eaten, but it is not included in the Torah prohibition.  Usually, only rooms in which children are allowed to bring sandwiches or cookies are likely to contain such big pieces of hametz. A room in which people do not walk around with food does not need to be cleaned at all.

Only search for hametz in places in which there is a reasonable chance of finding it. It is nearly impossible for hametz which is an inch square to be hidden inside a book! Everybody knows their kids' habits. Peek, and open here and there. Regarding crumbs in the corners of the house:

1. They are not a "Kezayit."

2. They are inedible to a dog. If there is bread behind a cabinet in an unreachable place, nobody will get to it on Pesah and it is as if it is buried - just as you do not have to search under stones or under the house's foundations, since nobody will take hametz from there.

By the way, start "Bedikat Hametz" in a place where hametz was used, so the blessing will apply to it.


There may be cookies in your kids' pockets. Even the crumbs must be removed, since a child may put his hand into his pocket and then into his mouth. Toys must also be checked. However, you may put some or all of the toys away, and buy new toys as a present for the holiday! This serves a double purpose of saving work and making the children happy.

Bathroom Cabinets: These may contain hametz, such as wheat germ oil and alcohol derived from wheat. What a waste to clean it. Close and tape the cabinets and include it in the sale of hametz.

Couches: You have to check between the pillows. It is an interesting experience to find lost objects.

Dining Room: You do not have to clean everything, just the place where people eat, i.e. the chairs and the table. Chairs: If the chairs are clean, there is no need to clean them. If the kids throw cereal or other things on them and they do not look clean, clean it with a wet rag. Table: Covering with tablecloths.

High Chair: If it is plastic, it may be immersed in a tub with boiling water and cleaning agents. Clean the cracks with a stiff brush. It is unnecessary to take the chair apart, because whatever is in the cracks and holes is inedible to a dog.

Kitchen: This room must be thoroughly cleaned and not one crumb of hametz left.

For all the appliances see the Vaad Guide pages 17-20

Refrigerator: Clean it, but it does not have to be a lot of work. It is best to eat up all hametz before Pesah, but if expensive hametz food products are left over, i.e. frozen foods, they may be wrapped up well, labeled "hametz," stored in the back of the freezer/refrigerator and included in the list of hametz sold before Pesah.

Food Pantry: Do not clean. It is a waste of time. Seal, put sign or sticker not to use and include it in sale of hametz.

Dishes, shelves, and drawers that will not be used on Pesah may be sealed, and need not be cleaned. There are those who are strict to clean even the things which are used for hametz, but one can be lenient on account of three reasons, each of which would be enough:

1. We sell all the crumbs together with the sale of hametz.
2. The dishes are clean - nobody puts a dirty dish away in the cabinet.
3. Even if there is "hametz dirt," it is definitely less than a "Kezayit."

Humrot - Being Strict

If you know that you are being stricter than Halakhah requires, and you choose to be strict, you deserve a blessing. If you have a strong desire to clean a lot, you deserve a blessing, especially for Pesah, "whoever is strict deserves a blessing." You should not, however, force a stricture on yourself, but accept it with love.

Pesah Allegre!

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Laws of Purim

Shabbat Parshat Zachor, 11 Adar, March 7th
The Shabbat immediately preceding Purim is called Shabbat Zachor. It is very important that everyone comes to synagogue to hear the Torah reading of this special Maftir, since it is a fulfillment of a law found in the Torah. Please bear in mind that hearing Parshat Zachor is a fulfillment of this mitzvah.

Fast of Esther, 13 Adar, Monday, March 9th
This fast commemorates both when the Jews fasted at the behest of Queen Esther in response to the evil decree from the Persian empire and when the Jews fasted on the 13th of Adar in preparation for their defense against Haman's decree. There are leniencies for women who are pregnant, nursing or anyone not feeling well. If you have any questions about whether to fast, contact Rabbi Hassan.

Machatzit Hashekel: In remembrance of the half-shekel given by all males to the Beit Hamikdash in Adar, it is customary to give three coins with a denomination of half of the primary local currency. In the United States, the custom is to give three half-dollars. The machatzit hashekel is given in the synagogue after Mincha on the Fast of Esther or during Purim. 
Reading the Megillah
Both men and women must hear the reading of the Megillah at night and day. It is customary to bring children to the synagogue to hear the Megillah. However, they should be prevented from making a disturbance. One who is unable to go to the synagogue, should hear the Megillah from someone who is reading from a kosher parchment scroll. Each word of the Megillah must be heard to fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the Megillah. Even missing one word invalidates the mitzvah.
Mishlo'ach Manot
On Purim day (and not at night), men and women must send to a fellow Jew at least one food parcel containing two kinds of food or drink which are ready to eat without further preparation. Although one is required to send only one parcel, it is praiseworthy to send parcels to many friends. It is preferable that one parcel is sent via someone else and not delivered personally. Do not send a parcel to a person within one year of the death of a parent, or within thirty days of the death of other immediate relatives. However, one can send to the person's family members who are not in mourning.
Matanot La'evyonim
All men and women must give gifts to the poor on Purim day. The minimum requirement is to give gifts (money or food) to at least two poor persons. Those who are liberal with their giving on Purim will be blessed. The Nathan Etkin Chesed Fund distributes Matanot La'evyonim to local poor people on Purim day.
The Purim Feast
Men and women are obligated to have a festive bread meal on Purim day. It is preferable to have a meat meal. A man should drink a little more than usual at the Seudah. 

Purim Allegre and Purim Sameach