Posted on | April 16, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 4 Comments
Professor Jack Wertheimer recently penned a good article in Commentary Magazine called The Outreach Revolution. Although he clearly read the Klal Perspective’s issue on the subject, he adds much worthy information to the discussion and his extremely positive assessment of the Kiruv enterprise was a refreshing change from KPs gloomier editorial assessment.
By fully including Chabad in the Outreach Revolution, Wertheimer states that 5,000-7,000 Kiruv workers in the US, lead an estimated 2,000 Jews to Orthodoxy each year, which comes to about 1 Orthodox person for every 3 kiruv workers. He also makes the point that Chabad and many other Kiruv professionals don’t consider Orthodoxy the goal of Kiruv, and by assuming that each Kiruv worker reaches about 100 people a year, outreach touches 500,000-700,000 Jews a year, an impressive figure.
Posted on | April 15, 2013 | By Administrator | 10 Comments
Yom Ha’atzmaut (Hebrew: יום העצמאות yōm hā-‘aṣmā’ūṯ) is the national independence day of Israel, commemorating its declaration of independence in 1948.
Celebrated annually on or around the 5th of the Jewish month of Iyar, it centers around the declaration of the state of Israel by David Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar, 5708), and the end of the British Mandate of Palestine.
It is always preceded by Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day on the 4th of Iyar.
An official ceremony is held every year on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem on the evening of Yom Ha’atzmaut. The ceremony includes a speech by the speaker of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), a dramatic presentation, a ritual march of soldiers carrying the Flag of Israel, forming elaborate structures (such as a Menorah, Magen David and a number which represents the age of Israel) and the lighting of twelve torches (one for each of the Tribes of Israel). Every year a dozen Israeli citizens, who made a significant social contribution in a selected area, are invited to light the torches.
Links for 4/11 – Making Rules to Prevent Digital Shuls, The Outreach Revolution, Don’t Blame Women for Shul No-Shows
Posted on | April 11, 2013 | By Administrator | 2 Comments
Posted on | April 10, 2013 | By Administrator | 3 Comments
It’s not uncommon for boys who are dating to have a list of girls who they are interested in. This is often because the boy’s parents get showered with resumes and a list is a good way of keeping control of the process. The list helps the boy and his parents organize the research of potential matches.
When my two married daughters were dating, I made a list of potential boys that they would be interested in dating. Many people thought I was crazy, as girls do not make lists. However, if I could give one piece of Shidduch advice, it would be to compile a list of potential dates for both your sons and your daughters.
To create such a list, you need to call whatever contacts you have in the various frum communities. You must be very persistent in this effort and call everybody you can think of, even friends of friends. Describe your son and daughter and ask the contact if they can think of anybody who might be suitable. Write every name on your list and start researching who might be appropriate, and who could arrange the shidduch. Then on a regular basis call the people who can arrange to ask about the potential date. Try to keep your list at 6 to 10 names at any time.
It’s important to be proactive in the dating process and make regular calls, and managing your list gives you a practical framework to be proactive. It makes the process much less haphazard.
Have you made potential shidduch lists for your sons?
Have you made potential shidduch lists for your daughters?
Would you consider making a list? Why or why not?
Posted on | April 9, 2013 | By Rabbi Max Weiman | 14 Comments
Mystical writings make this time period analogous to a woman preparing for union with her lover. She purifies herself for seven days. Seven is also the number of types of impurity that must be eliminated, and in our case linked to seven weeks, the time period between Passover and the Biblical holiday of Shavuot, forty-nine days called Sefirat HaOmer, “Counting the Omer”. God reveals all wisdom that there is to know on the fiftieth day, Shavuot, symbolized by the consummation of a marriage. In other words, to learn wisdom is to become one with the Infinite.
Therefore “spiritual purification” is a theme of these fifty days. Each day is designated for us to pray for and work towards a small piece of spirituality.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone who wants God’s wisdom can have it. He loves everyone and wants to give to them. But the more we are equipped to deal with it the more useful it will be.
There’s an old story of a person who seeks to speak with a wise Zen master.
As the proposed disciple sits before the master, the disciple begins to expound on his own knowledge to impress the master. The master stays quiet and begins to pour tea into a cup for the visitor. After the cup is full the master continues to pour until the tea is pouring over the sides causing the disciple to jump up and yell “Stop, the cup is full and can hold no more!”
The wise Zen master replies, “And what about you? Are you full of wisdom? If so, there is no more room for me to teach you anything.”
Wisdom is being poured out from above, but we have to be ready to receive it. Are we humble enough to know how little we know about marriage, parenting, happiness, and meaning? If so we will hit the jackpot.
Posted on | April 8, 2013 | By Guest Contributor | 8 Comments
By Sharon Mizrachi
The frum community at large has been inundated with articles, lectures, strategies etc. about the current “Shidduch Crisis”. Many have opined the evolution, source, cure, etc., and yet, the crisis continues. Is the problem a result of the influence of the hedonistic & materialistic secular world in which we live? The economy? The sense of entitlement of our young adults? The individuals who perpetuate the crisis? The shadchanim? The parents? The peers? The rabbaim? The milkman??
Of course, there is no simple answer or solution to the “crisis”, but there is one issue I have never seen or heard discussed which is a fundamental problem in the way shidduchim are conducted. That is, communication & yashrus.
As a shadchan, I have experienced a lack of communication in shidduchim. In one shidduch, the girl would only speak to me (the shadchan) through her mother and all communication was based solely on “rules” learned in seminary. The boy would only communicate to me via text and was adamant that his Rebbe in Yeshiva said there should be an engagement by the 5th date or the shidduch must be broken off. The outcome? They are, BH, happily married with children! Even though I, as the shadchan, did not subscribe to their dating philosophy, they were 100% in sync (which is why I thought of the shidduch in the first place!). Clearly, this approach worked for them & I had to facilitate the shidduch accordingly. Although their communication was less than optimal for me, it worked for them. This was an interesting exercise for me in learning how to speak to your audience, a tool useful far beyond the realm of shidduchim.
As a parent, I have experienced both a lack of communication & yashrus. Was the girl/boy even told about the potential shidduch? Parents should not muddle through the minutiae of every prospective shidduch with their children, but how about telling them “I’m looking into someone for you”? Or, giving your children a few details about the shidduch, sans names, and asking them if they are interested in moving forward? Have you made a reasonable effort to research the shidduch? Was your child involved in that research? As the parent, have you communicated with the shadchan in a timely manner?
When you’re the one waiting for an answer, it’s hard to know at what point that waiting time goes from reasonable to ridiculous. Were you yashar in stating your interest (or lack thereof) in the shidduch? Someone who is truly interested will jump on it. If not, do a chesed to everyone involved and tell the shadchan either “it’s not a shidduch”, “my child is busy now”, “this shidduch is not quite what we are looking for”, “the timing isn’t right”, “our goldfish died and we’re observing aveilus through shloshim” or simply “we’re not interested now, but thank you for your efforts?”. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes; are you conducting yourself b’derech eretz?
The damage to the self esteem of a young adult (yes, even boys) by leaving them hanging affects future shidduchim. Anyone in shidduchim can tell you it’s difficult to ascertain what constitutes reasonable hishtadlus, but be mindful that we are dealing with living, breathing, feeling human beings here, so please don’t leave a fellow Yid…
Hanging On a Shidduch
Posted on | April 4, 2013 | By Administrator | Add Your Comments
Posted on | April 3, 2013 | By Guest Contributor | 12 Comments
Blast from the Past. First posted on 11/13/2006.
I’ve written before about what started me on my journey to observant Judaism, and I’ve been thinking lately of another incident (pothole?) on this long road of mine.
My brother decided to become observant also, and we both attended Yeshiva University. At some point in our learning of the various halachot (Jewish laws) we realized that the upcoming holiday of Pesach (Passover) might be problematic. The laws of kashrut (what foods are permissable to eat) are very strict when it comes to Pesach, and we both knew that what we thought was acceptable to eat in past years in my parent’s house wasn’t going to be acceptable for us anymore. We also knew that refusing to come home for the Pesach seder wasn’t an option – it would hurt my parents too much.
The issue of Kibbud Av V’Em (honoring your father and mother) is very complex, and is an extremely sensitive issue among Baalei Teshuva (those who aren’t born in religious homes but become observant later on). My brother and I became observant through NCSY (an Orthodox youth group involved in outreach), and we had some excellent Rabbis and counselors give us advice. They told us that except in cases where your parents ask you to do something which explicitly demands you break Jewish law, then you should listen to them. (Like most issues of this sort, it is important to ask a Rabbi if you have a specific case in mind and need an answer. I am just giving the outline here).
This complex situation touches on an issue that unfortunately is misconstrued by many who are not intimately familiar with observant Judaism. Most people know that there are myriad laws governing the “ritual” aspects (laws between man and G-d) of Orthodox Judaism – what you can and cannot eat, what you can and cannot do on the Sabbath, how you dress, how you pray, etc. At the same time there are just as many laws concerning the “ethical” aspects – how one treats other people (laws between man and man). The second type of laws are just as binding on Orthodox Jews as the first. There is no concept of the “letter” of the law referring to the first type, and the “spirit” of the law referring to the second.
Posted on | March 28, 2013 | By David Linn | 8 Comments
Once, on a short chol hamoed day, my wife and I took our kids to a botanical garden not far from the house. We simply walked through the gardens taking in the fresh air and enjoying the diversity of the various blooming trees. On the way home, we appropriately stopped by a fruit tree in the neighborhood to make Birkas HaIlan, the Blessing over trees.
The blessing over trees is mentioned in the Talmud (Brachos 43b) and can be found in most siddurim in the section of brochos listed after Birkas HaMazon (Grace after Meals). It is a blessing that is made only once a year and the optimum time to make the blessing is in the month of Nisan. The blessing is only made on fruit bearing trees and can only be made after the tree has begun to blossom, preferably before the fruit has begun to grow. The Blessing loosely translates as: Blessed are You, Hashem, Our G-d, King of the world, for nothing is lacking in His world, and in it He created good creatures and good trees, in order for mankind to take pleasure in them.
There are three things that have always struck me as interesting about this blessing. First, why, of all blessings, does this one state that “nothing is lacking in His World”? Second, why does the blessing on trees mention “good creatures”? Third, what does making good trees and creatures have to do with “mankind taking pleasure in them”?
I have heard it explained that the reason that it is preferable to say the blessing after the tree has begun blossoming but before the fruit has begun to grow is that we are thanking G-d for the beauty of the blossoms. G-d could have easily created a fruit tree that is ugly and simply squeezes out fruit. But G-d wanted the world to be beautiful for us “to take pleasure in”. So, we thank Him for providing us these beautiful often aromatic, flowers. That is why the blessing says “nothing is lacking in His world” and that is why the blessing says that these things were created for mankind to take pleasure in.
The Ben Ish Chai (Chacham Yosef Chaim, Chief Rabbi of Baghdad in the mid to late 19th Century and renowned Sephardic Halachic decisor) explains why the blessing for trees includes the statement that Hashem created “good creatures”. The Ben Ish Chai explains that just as dry, withered and seemingly lifeless trees burst forth with beautiful flowers and bountiful fruit, so too can we as individuals shake off our spiritual slumbers and stagnating depressions to a blossoming, reinvigorating renaissance.
First Published 4/23/2006
Posted on | March 25, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | Add Your Comments
The Events of the Exodus
The process of the Exodus began when our forefather Abraham was told by G-d that his descendents would be enslaved in Egypt and subsequently freed. It was two generations later when Jacob, the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham, and his family settled in Egypt as the honored guests of the Pharaoh at that time.
The process continued through: the subsequent Jewish enslavement by the Egyptians; the ten nature-defying plagues prophesied by Moshe and activated by G-d over a period of twelve months; the subsequent release of the approximately three million Jews to freedom after the plague of the death of the first born; the splitting of the Red Sea seven days after their release; and the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai seven weeks after their release.
Our Focus on the Exodus
The centrality of the Exodus in Judaism is predicated on the fact that the Jewish people were freed and separated as a unique nation through the clear actions of G-d Himself. In addition to the physical freedom achieved, G-d chose us to be the world’s spiritual leaders by giving us the mitzvos of the Torah at Mount Sinai The mitzvos free us from a purely animal-like physical existence, to one in which we can elevate all our actions to be spiritual and G-d connected. Passover is a time where we commemorate the Exodus and renew our spiritual focus.
The Seder, with its primary mitzvah of the telling of the story, enables us to experientially reconnect with the slavery and freedom of the Exodus and express our appreciation to G-d for our redemption and selection as His chosen people. The salt water, into which the green vegetable is dipped, and the bitter herbs are associated with our bondage. The four cups of wine and the festival meal help us relive our freedom.
The Holiday of Matzah
Matzah is a prime component of both the Seder and the eight days of Passover. Consisting of just flour and water, matzah was our no-frills food when we were slaves in Egypt. It is also a symbol of our freedom because we hastily left Egypt without enough time to bake bread.
From a spiritual perspective, the leaven enhances breads physical aspects by adding flavor and digestibility to its life sustaining core. As such, bread is appropriate for the rest of the year when our main challenge is to integrate the physical into the spiritual. On Passover, however, we eat only matzah and abstain from the physically oriented leavened bread. A matzah diet allows us to keep spiritually oriented as we refocus on our mission of spiritual leadership of the world.
Posted on | March 25, 2013 | By Azriela Jaffe | 20 Comments
My children, ages 10 – 13, feel sad every year when Pesach comes around, because they are in yeshivas where they are surrounded by friends who talk about their excitement about Pesach Sederim, and all the extended family who will be there. My children have grown up with their grandparents never at the Seder table, or any extended family for that matter, and this is how it will be until Moshiach comes. Sometimes I would try to console my children with the tried and true BT speech: “Some day you’ll be grown up with children, and I’ll be the Bubbe at your Seder table!” Lately, I don’t give that speech. I just hug them and say, “I understand. I miss having family at the Seder table too. I wish Grandma and Grandpa, and Nana and Papa, and your cousins could be there too.”
The key is, I miss the concept of having family at the Seder table. It’s a beautiful, sentimental idea that belongs with Pesach, like it was written into the script. But I don’t miss having my family at the Seder table, or my husband’s family either for that matter. That’s when the rosy picture breaks down. When I wrote the book, “What Do You Mean, You Can’t Eat in My Home, a Guide for Newly Observant Jews and Their Lesser Observant Family Members,” I had a conundrum when I got to the chapter on Pesach. First I tackled Pesach as a cheerleader: You can do it, you can have Seders even in your mother’s non-observant home, or you can join together with your secular sister and her kids. Here’s how! And for some families, these compromises and adjustments are a small price to pay for the pleasure of being with family on Pesach, and it is a goal that can be accomplished and relished. To those families who have figured out how to bring together observant and non-observant (or lesser observant) families at the Sederim, G-d bless you. In some families, compromises won’t work, and true harmony is only reached by making a mutual decision that on this holiday, or for this simcha, or in this circumstance, we just can’t be together. We still love each other, but we have to separate from each other at this time. And so it is, in our family, for Pesach.
I remember when my husband pointed out to me that all of my life, I had never actually experienced a Pesach Seder on Pesach. When we were growing up in our secular home, we knew we were Jewish because we celebrated Hanukkah instead of Christmas, and Passover instead of Easter. Our Seder took all of twenty minutes. We used a booklet produced by the Reform movement called, “The Concise Family Seder”, and my mom cooked a delicious (non-kosher of course) brisket and bought a box of matzoh. We dipped the parsley, recited the plagues, ate the horseradish, sang “Dayenu”, and got right to the meal. Every Seder, and its accompanying meal, was over before Passover actually began, because who’s going to wait until 9 PM to start? I’m sure we were eating bagels the next morning, and there was no meaningful discussion at the table. What was meaningful was that this completely secular family was still holding on to this annual ritual of the Passover Seder. It wasn’t what the Seder stood for that really mattered; what mattered is that we still identified as Jews, who therefore, did three things: circumcised our babies, avoided Christmas, and then sat around a Seder table reading stories of our ancestors to remember that we are Jews. Even when I was away at college, and an adult in my twenties before marrying my husband, I came home for the Seder.
For the past fifteen years, my husband and I have been conducting the Pesach Seder in our own home. We don’t join with other BT families (as many do, to relieve the sadness of loss of family and to celebrate together in friendship), but instead, we give our three children ample time at the Sederim to share over the volumes of learning they have brought home from Yeshiva. Getting together with family is not an option for us. Going there is impossible because there would be nothing kosher about it, and no willingness to accommodate to the extent we’d need. So then, why not invite family to our Sederim? We’ve always done so, but the answer is always no, and I understand. To them, it looks like a punishment. You don’t start until 9 PM? You spend two hours with all of the rituals before you get to the meal? Instead of nachas over the children’s excitement and learning, there is something between distaste and disdain, and who needs that at the Seder table?
I feel sad when I see the children’s excitement at the Seder table, and I know that their grandparents are missing out on all this nachas. I feel sad when I know that all of our family members choose to separate from us on the most family-centric holiday of the year. I feel sad when I’m going through the sometimes-exhausting Pesach preparations, and I dream about what it would be like to have a mother or sibling to share it with, or at least someone who could even relate. It can be a lonely time, Pesach, one that really reminds me how far we have moved away from our families of origin.
I’m not going to end this essay with a “rah rah” sentimental speech about how good my husband and I feel as observant Jews, and how this makes up for all of the sadness, etc. This is what is true for me. Sometimes the path of the BT is a lonely one, especially when it comes to family. Sometimes I ache for my family to join me. Sometimes I’m angry that they aren’t here. Sometimes they are angry that I am not there. Sometimes I miss the good old days when I didn’t know any better, and I didn’t have to clean out the whole house for Pesach, and the Seder was over in twenty minutes. . . let’s eat. But there’s no going back. What there is, after fifteen years on this path, is increased pride and conviction of where my husband, children, and I have gone – no turning back – and increased acceptance that this has meant a necessary separation from our families of origin. This is what it is. It isn’t perfect, but this is it, so we live with it and make the most of it. And sometimes we cry. While my husband’s eyes are brimming over from too much horseradish, mine are sometimes teary from being lonely for observant family to join us. G-d receives all of our tears, whatever their origin. A very famous alcoholic came up with an expression I find very true everytime Pesach rolls around: “G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Amen!
First Published April 14, 2008
Posted on | March 22, 2013 | By Guest Contributor | 4 Comments
The significance of matzah is related to the Exodus from Egypt.
Until the Exodus, Israel was assimilated among other peoples, one nation in the midst of another. With the Exodus, they were redeemed and separated.
Until that time, every aspect of the human being was darkened by the spiritual opaqueness and pollution that overcame it. With the Exodus, the Jews were set aside so that they would have the opportunity to purify their bodies and prepare themselves for the Torah and for dedication to God. In order for this to be possible, they were commanded to rid themselves of leaven (chametz) and eat matzah.
Bread which is designated as man’s primary food, is appropriate to the state that God desired for man in this world. Leaven is a natural element of bread, making it more digestible and flavorous, thus adding an element of pleasure and desire to its primary purpose of nourishment. This element feeds the Evil Urge (yetzer ha-ra) which is a necessary component of man in this world.
At a particular determined time, however, Israel was required to abstain from leaven, and be nourished by matzah, which is unleavened bread. This reduced the strength of each individual’s Evil Urge and inclination toward the physical, thus enhancing his closeness to the spiritual.
It would be impossible, however, for man to constantly nourish himself in this manner, since this is not the state desired for him in this world. This practice is therefore observed only on certain designated days, when he must be on an appropriately higher level. This is the main concept of Pesach as the Festival of Matzos.
The other rituals of the Seder night are also all details paralleling various particular aspects of the redemption from Egypt.
Posted on | March 21, 2013 | By Administrator | Add Your Comments
The Malbim Haggadah – one of our favorites for the structure
Posted on | March 20, 2013 | By Administrator | 16 Comments
It’s Pesach time, and it’s time to start measuring the wine, matzah and maror.
What do you do at your seder?
a) give out the more stringent measurements to each participant
b) give out a lenient measurements to each participant
c) discuss the measurements and let people take their own
d) say nothing and let people take their own
e) assume everybody at your seder knows all the halachos
Posted on | March 19, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 19 Comments
Some people want to have a very fast seder. This guide is for them.
Last year a non-observant friend asked if I could put together a five minute seder. I pared down the Beyond BT Guide to the Seder and produced the instructions below. Pass it on to anyone for whom it might be helpful.
1) Kaddesh – Sanctify the day with the recitation of Kiddush
*Leader says Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen and 2 other blessings whose text can be found in the Hagadah
*Drink the 1st cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.
2) Urechatz, – *Wash your hands before eating Karpas.
3) Karpas – *Eat a vegetable dipped in salt water.
*Leader says Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ho-adomah –
*Everybody eats the vegetable Lean to your left while eating.
4) Yachatz. -* Break the middle Matzah. Hide the larger half for Afikoman.
5) Maggid – *Tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt
Here is a summary of the story. (Alternatively go around the room reading in English from a translated Haggadah.)
The main mitzvah of the night is telling about the Exodus from Egypt.
*Pour the 2nd Cup of Wine
*Four Questions are asked
*The answer to the four questions is given.
It’s broken up into 6 parts based on the verse in the Torah which describes the mitzvah of telling the story at the Seder:
“And you shall relate to your child on that day saying: it is because of this Hashem acted for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”
a)– And you shall relate to your child – four types of chidren/people with different belief levels
b)– on that day – explains when we should tell the story (the answer is on Passover night)
c)– saying – the actual story:
Our ancestors were idol worshippers;—– through Abraham;—– Egyptian Enslavement;—– We cry out;—– G-d hears our cries
G-d saves us with the 10 plagues;—– We express our thanks for G-d saving us
Dip your finger in the wine for the 10 plagues
1) Water, which turned to blood and killed all fish and other aquatic life
4) Wild animals
5) Disease on livestock
6) Incurable boils
7) Hail and thunder
10) Death of the first-born of all Egyptian humans and animals. To be saved, the Israelites had to place the blood of a lamb on the front door of their houses.
d) — It is because of this — “Rabban Gamliel explains why use the Passover offering, Matzah and Maror.
The Passover lamb, represented in our times by the roasted bone, recalls the blood on the doorposts and the terror and anticipation of the night of the plague of the first born.
Matzah is what we ate in the morning when Israel was rushed out of Egypt with no time to let their dough rise.
Maror captures the bitterness of the enslavement.
e) — Hashem acted for me…” – “In every generation, we should see ourselves as having gone out from Egypt.
f) – when I came forth out of Egypt.” –We recite 2 songs of praise to G-d similar to the songs recited when we left Egypt.
*Leader of Seder recites Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 2nd cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.
6) Rachtzah – *Wash the hands prior to eating Matzah and the meal.
*After washing and before drying say
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melcch Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov V’tzivonu Al N’tilas Yodoyim.
7) Motzi – *Recite the Hamotzi blessing over eating Matzah before a Meal
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Hamotzi Lechem Min Ho-oretz.
8) Matzah – *Recite the blessing over eating Matzah
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov Vtzivonu Al Achilas Matzah.
*Eat the Matzah. Lean to your left while eating.
9) Maror – *The Maror is dipped in Charoscs
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov Vtzivonu Al Achilas Maror.
*Eat the Maror.
10) Korech – *Eat a sandwich of Matzah and Maror.
*Eat the Sandwich.
11) Shulchan Orech – *Eat the festival meal
Find the Afikoman.
12) Tzafun – *Eat the Afikoman which had been hidden all during the Seder.
*Pour the 3rd cup of wine
13) Barech – Recite Birchas Hamazon, the blessings after the meal
*Leader of Seder recites blessing Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 3rd cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.
*Pour the 4th cup of wine;
*Pour the cup for Elijah
14) Hallel – Recite the praises of G-d
*Leader of Seder recites Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 4th cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.
15) Nirtzah – Pray that G-d accepts our praise speedily sends the Messiah.
Sing the songs of the Haggadah
Posted on | March 18, 2013 | By Guest Contributor | 8 Comments
One Shabbos afternoon, after eating Shalosh Seudos and waiting for bentching, I went to the Shul to learn. An acquaintance walked in and the conversation turned to him making negative comments about speeches in Shul.
I related that Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss said that each week we have a golden opportunity to listen to the words our Rav prepared for us.
He replied, “the drasha is a good time to take a nap”.
I said, “a good shiur can be remembered for life”, and I related a Rabbi Frand Teshuva drasha in which he said we should think about how we want to be remembered. What three words would we want on our matzevah (monument)?
He asked me, “So what three words do you want to be remembered by?”.
Without hesitation, I said “a Baal Teshuva”.
He said “Why stop there? Why not strive to become a tzaddik? Be remembered for that.”
I told him “That’s ridiculous as that word is insanely overused and most likely beyond my reach. Besides, being a Baal Teshuva constantly energizes me. Looking forward to every Shabbos. Not getting bored and set in my davening. Feeling the excitement of every Yom Tov. Powered by being a BT, that’s how I feel.”
I later called a friend to discuss the incident. We came to the conclusion that he probably pictured BTs as know-little types. We both agreed that unfortunately some BTs do stay in the beginners phase and never learn their way beyond it.
However, as an FFB, he probably never could relate to the aspect of a BT to which I was referring. The energy that we can bring to every aspect of our Avodah, because that’s how we approached Judaism. I want to be remembered as someone who was always growing, and to me being a BT is what set my on that path.
Zev From Baltimore
Posted on | March 14, 2013 | By Administrator | Add Your Comments
Posted on | March 13, 2013 | By Administrator | 3 Comments
As you’ve advanced your observance, how have your Pesach issues changed over the years?
- Focusing on cleaning
- Focusing on running the seder
- Focusing on non-religious relatives
- Focusing on keeping the children involved
- Focusing on make it more meaningful each year
Posted on | March 12, 2013 | By Administrator | Add Your Comments
Here is the Beyond BT Guide to the Seder which goes through the basic halachos of each step of the seder.
Check out YU Torah’s Pesach to Go.
Don’t forget Torah Anytime’s Pesach Shiurim.
The Haggadah relates that:
In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Mitzrayim, as it is says: “You shall tell your child on that day, it is because of this that The Haggadah relates that:
In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Mitzrayim, as it is says: “You shall tell your child on that day, it is because of this that Hashem did for me when I left Mitzrayim.”
In this mp3, Rabbi Moshe Gordon explores some of the classical approaches to understanding and fulfilling this Mitzvah. You can download it here.
By the way, Rabbi Gordon is opening his own Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel in Elul Zman. Here’s the link http://www.yishrei.org/faculty/
And here is an amazing series of Shiurim by Rabbi Gordon on the Seder and the Haggadah which covers the major Rishonim, Achronim and Poskim on the mitzvos of Pesach night and the Hagaddah.
TEN WAYS to help you and YOUR CHILDREN have a more Meaningful and Inspiring PESACH SEDER
Use these suggestions to infuse new meaning and excitement into your seder and create a lasting experience for you and your family.
1.Make the most of your Seder and best fulfill the mitzvah of V’higadita L’vincha by staying focused on telling the actual story of Yetzias Mitzrayim; concentrate on the events and their lessons.
2. Transform Yetzias Mitzrayim from a story into a reality by celebrating the Seder like you celebrate a Simcha in your own family. Speak about it vividly, personally and enthusiastically…you’ll inspire yourself and your children.
3. Prepare for the Seder! Spend time studying books and Midrashim that elaborate specifically on the details of each miracle to help your children appreciate the extent of Hashem’s kindness.
4. Make Pesach personal and relevant to your children. Use your discussion about the amazing miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim as a means of opening their eyes to the miracles Hashem performs for us every day.
5. Show your children how so much of the Pesach Seder revolves around them, demonstrating how much Hashem cares about every child and values each one as an essential member of Klal Yisroel.
6. Involve your children in the Pesach Seder. Prepare stimulating and challenging questions that will guide them to understand the lessons of the Haggadah and be an active participant in the Seder.
7. Practice the lesson of the Four Sons during your Seder by making a particular effort to involve each child (and adult!) in a way that best suits his or her unique personality, style and level.
8. Take the time to patiently answer your children’s questions. If you don’t know the answer, create a powerful Chinuch experience by asking a rabbi and exploring the issue… together with your child.
9. Reinforce their Emunah through the Pesach Seder by explaining that the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim irrefutably demonstrated Hashem’s complete control over the world to millions of eyewitnesses. We attest to this truth every year on the Seder night.
10. Inspire yourself by remembering that tonight Jewish parents around the world are passing on a glorious 3,320 year old legacy to their children as their parents and ancestors have done before them. Realize that the Seder that you create for your children will inspire them for the rest of their lives and shape the future Seder that they will make for their children.
The Pesach Seder:
A Unique Opportunity to Instill Emunah in Our Children
The Mitvah of telling the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim is primarily focused on our children and family. Its main purpose is to instill in their hearts the full knowledge of Hashem’s sovereignty and the magnitude of His strength and miracles. One should explain the story to them in the language that they understand to make them aware of the extent of the wonders that Hashem performs. It is not sufficient to explain just the main points of Yetzias Mitzrayim written in the Haggadah. Instead, we should describe all of the miracles vividly as they are depicted in the Gemara, Midrashim and other Seforim. (Based on Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avoda 9:6)
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Posted on | March 11, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 22 Comments
David Brooks had a very positive article about Orthodox Jews in Thursdays’s NY Times called “The Orthodox Surge”. He even found a number of ways to praise the Orthodox consumerism prevalent at Pomegranate, the upscale Kosher Supermarket in Flatbush.
Brooks points out that Orthodox Jews seem destined to become the majority NY denomination in the not too distant future:
Nationwide, only 21 percent of non-Orthodox Jews between the ages of 18 and 29 are married. But an astounding 71 percent of Orthodox Jews are married at that age. And they are having four and five kids per couple. In the New York City area, for example, wile Orthodox Jes make up 32 percent of the overall Jewish population, they make up 61 percent of Jewish children. Because the Orthodox are so fertile, in a few years, they will be the dominant group in New York Jewry.
In the section of the article where Brooks supported his praise of the Orthodox, he nicely described what Torah observance accomplishes:
The laws, in this view, make for a decent society. They give structure to everyday life. They infuse everyday acts with spiritual significance. They build community. They regulate desires. They moderate religious zeal, making religion an everyday practical reality.
It was a very positive article, but the comments were overwhelmingly negative in dismissing Orthodoxy. The criticisms included women’s rights issue, the need for conformity in the community, the classification of Orthodoxy as fundamentalist and many of the other classic issues people have with Torah Observance.
Perhaps critical people are much more likely to comment, and the hundreds of thousands of people who sympathized with the articles thrust on a whole, disagreed with the 446 mostly negative comments. Or perhaps there’s still a lot of education needed to show people the depth, meaning and beauty of Judaism.« go back — keep looking »