Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
THURSDAY APRIL 5th, 2012
√ You have until 8.00 PM tonight to submit the forms for mekhirat Chametz (see HERE). You can hand this forms to Mr. Adam Sabzevari, Mr. Morris Aziz, Mr. Moshe Aziz, Mr. Said Hakimian, Mr. Edward Dilamani, Mr. Robert Livi, or Mr. Herbert Livi or leave in the box in the small Kanissah in Shaare Shalom.
TO AVOID PROBLEMS WE ENCOUNTERED PREVIOUS YEARS, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL A FORM BE ACCEPTED AFTER THIS TIME.
√ Tonight after 8.00 PM we proceed to do the bediqat Chametz (see HERE) saying the berakha before we begin "Baruch Ata A-donay E-lohenu Melech ha'Olam Asher kiddeshanu beMitzvotav veTsivanu 'Al Bi'ur Chametz" . This is the last inspection to search for any Chametz that we might have involuntarily left in our homes. We have to inspect our houses, cars, workplace, etc. You can check with a candle or flashlight. Whatever chametz you will consume until tomorrow, keep in a safe place. The rest, get rid of it the way we have explained previously.
After the bediqa, you do the Bitul (see HERE) . Declaring that all unfound chametz should be considered ownerless, and does not belong to you anymore:
"KAL CHAMIRA DEIKA BIRSHUTI DELA CHAZITEH VEDELA BIARTEH LIBTIL VELEHEVE HEFKER KEAFRA DEARA"
FRIDAY APRIL 6th, 2012
√ Fast of the first born begins at 5:04 AM.
After Shacharit, you can break the fast if you participate of a Siyum, which is done in every Minyan.
Our community Minhag is that: 1. Parents fast for their firstborn sons, until they reach 13 years old. 2. First born don't eat Chametz during Pesach eve (Friday), male and female.
√ Except for the firstborn, the rest can eat chametz until 10.00 AM
√ Before 11.00 AM we have to get rid of the chametz (throwing, giving away, selling, etc) THERE CANNOT BE CHAMETZ THAT BELONG TO US AFTER THIS TIME.
√ No later than 11.00 AM we pronounce the last bitul: "KAL CHAMIRA DEIKA BIRSHUTI DECHAZITEH VEDELA CHAZITEH DEBIARTEH VEDELA BIARTEH,
LIBTIL VELEHEVE HEFKER KEAFRA DEARA"
"All kind of Chametz or fermenting agent that belongs to me, that I have seen or haven't seen or that I have eliminated or haven't eliminated, shall be considered ownerless, as the dust of the earth."
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS TODAY OR TOMORROW, PLEASE, SEND THEM BY EMAIL ONLY (NOT TEXT, NOT VOICE MAIL BOX): firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
We start the Seder with the Holiday consecration and its official inauguration: the Kiddush. This year, 5772, we integrate the Kiddush of Yom Tob with the Kiddush of Shabbat. Upon concluding the Kiddush and the blessing shehecheyanu everyone shall drink his or her first cup of wine, while leaning on the left side. Each cup should contain at least 3 ounces. Throughout the Seder we drink four cups of wine. Symbolizing a celebration for the four expressions of freedom found in the Tora. If one cannot drink wine, it could be substituted by grape juice.
We wash our hands without saying any Berakha. In our community it is customary that the children help with the Netilat Yadaim bringing a bowl of water and a towel to the adults. This Netilat Yadaim is done in order to eat the Karpas dipped in vinegar. Our sages instituted that the night of the Seder we should dip the Karpas not once but twice to awake the curiosity of the children and stimulate their questions. These questions are already integrated into the famous text: Ma Nishtana. One of the questions refers to the double dipping of the Karpas.
We eat a small piece of Karpas, (celery). In ancient times it was common for affluent people to have an aperitif (celery or another vegetable) before the meal to induce the appetite (poor people did not need appetizers!). In this night we should feel that we are free and all our needs are covered, as if we were royalty. This is also the reason why we sit leaning: the slaves use to eat sitting on the floor, and the dignitaries would lean in luxurious chairs. Now, we also dip the Karpas in vinegar (or salted water) to remind us of the misery of our slavery and the tears we shed in captivity. As you will see once and again: the Seder is a balance between remembering our past as slaves and celebrating our God-given freedom, for which we should be infinitely thankful to Hashem. Before eating the Karpas we recite the blessing Bore Peri haAdama. As we have explained, all these deviations from the ordinary dinning habits are meant toward one single goal: to motivate the children to ask questions in order to ensure their active participation during the entire Seder.
Read more HERE
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
What is the secret for a successful Pesach Seder? What do you have to do to enjoy a memorable Seder with your family, while learning about our history and identity?
The 'secret' for the Pesach Seder could be summarize with three words: "Preparation. Preparation. Preparation."
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Write an email today to each member of your family. Assign to each one of them one part of the Hagada.
1. Ask the little ones to read, sing, explain 'Ma Nishtana'.
2. Ask every member of the family to read and/or explain at least one short text of the Hagada in Hebrew, English, Farsi, etc.
3. Ask a few members of your family to prepare a meaningful (2-3 minutes long, max.) debar Tora. Suggest them to search in:www.torah.org, www.aish.com, www.ou.org. For more scholarly ideas see HERE (Search: "Pesach seder") and HERE.
CONNECT THE PAST WITH TODAY
1. Ask the young adults to organize a brief debate. "Although they were only a small minority, Pharaoh feared (or pretended) that the Jews were "too powerful" and will eventually betray Egypt." (Shemot 1: 9-10) VS. "Although Jews are less than 3% of the American population, Atlantic Magazine's "50 Most Influential Commentators in America" included 26 Jews". Are Jews too powerful in America? Why? Is that good , bad or indistinct? Should we worry or be proud?
2. Or to search online about Gilad Shalit. Describe his anguish in captivity and the joyce of his freedom.
3. Read and debate The Reality of Freedom
MAKE IT FUN
1. Ask the funniest guys of the family to play some parts of the Hagada. You must play the Ten Plagues for the children, to make it memorable! First, someone should explains briefly each plague. Then, the play. Have one person in the role of Moshe (his head covered with a Talit) and somebody starring as Pharaoh... Make it visual. Get plastic frogs, animal masks for 'arob and ping pong balls for hail.
2. Have 20 questions ready and most importantly 20 (or more) small prizes. So anytime it gets out of control, or boring or you want everybody's attention you can ask one of your questions (show the prize first!) and give the prize to the winner.
3. Have a game, a Pesach treasure hunt or Pesach trivia.
For HUNDREDS of ideas for your Seder, see the following links with educational tips, stories, questions, activities and games:
Monday, April 2, 2012
In some communities it is customary to sell the Chametz, through the local rabbinate, to a non-Jew. This is the way this selling is done: the community member signs a paper (virtually, a power of attorney) authorizing a Rabbi to sell his Chametz to a gentile. The rabbi sells the Chametz to a non-Jew Pesach eve. The buyer gives a down payment for the Chametz and commits to pay the balance up to a few minutes after Pesach is over. During Pesach, then, the buyer is the legal owner of the Chametz, even if the Chametz remains in the property of the Jewish seller. When the buyer fails to pay the balance, immediately after Pesach, the Chametz belongs back to the seller.
In Sephardic communities it was not customary to sell the Chametz, except for an exceptional case: someone who owned a food store. Traditionally, Sephardic Jews got rid of all their Chametz, as prescribed by the Rabbis of the Talmud, and if some Chametz accidentally had not being detected, the bitul--renouncing to our ownership of Chametz-- would prevent the transgression of owning Chametz. Whenever possible, this is the best way to proceed, preserving our ancient Minhaguim. Remember that you only have to get rid of a food item (medicines, perfumes or any non edible items could be kept, regarding of its composition. Pet's food cannot be kept!). For food items: you could keep anything that does not contain any of these five grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt. For those community members who wish to continue with the tradition of removing all Chametz from your premises, today and tomorrow only, you can email me (email@example.com) a list of food you wish to keep and I will email back the status of that food (K: Keep. D: Discard or give as a gift to a non Jew)
For those community members who would keep their valuable Chametz products (whiskey, vodka or liquors made from grain alcohol), in order to avoid transgressing the prohibition of owning Chametz during Pesach, our UMJCA Religious Council arranges a Chametz selling. The form has to be summited to the Gabbayim, named in the form, until Thursday April 5th at 8.00 PM. This year the forms cannot be sent by fax.
Click HERE to download the Selling of the Chametz form.