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Passover

Pesach Update 5781 - #3

Dear Netivot Family:
 
I hope you are all well. I wanted to share this last update with you as we head into the last week before Pesah.
 
1. Preparing For the Seder
 
 I wanted to share with you a tweak to my original guidance about preparations for the Seder on Saturday devening based on more research and discussion with other Talmidei Hakhamim.
Based upon the ruling of the Shulhan Arukh and a good number of rishonim and ahronim, there are legitimate grounds in halakha, in cases of need or for a mitzvah, to allow for one to engage in hakhanah- (preparatory activity)- that is not technically categorized as melakha on shabbat, during bein hashmashot- the liminal time between sunset and nightfall when which we are not sure is part of the previous day or part of the next day. As such this year when Erev Pesah falls out on shabbat, if one has young children or older parents or grandparents and is concerned about starting the seder too late and would have to rush through, one would be allowed to begin non- melakha preparations such as setting the table and the room, plating various dishes or food, etc. after 7:25 PM on Saturday evening. 
One would only be allowed to do melakha such as warming up food or putting it in then oven or lighting candles after shabbat concludes at 7:58 PM and one has recited havdalah in Maariv or the blessing of  "Barukh Hamvadvil bein Kodesh leKodesh".
 
2.  Community Resources

For anyone who is experiencing financial challenges and food insecurity Please be aware that the Jewish Federation of Northern NJ  is providing Kosher for Pesach items and Shop Rite gift cards available for those who are in need. They are being distributed from now through Chol Hamoed by appointment only. The link  to the Corner Market is:  https://hipaa.jotform.com/202585158949166 , or the person can call 201-978-8492. 
Anyone in need is encouraged to also reach out to me in a private manner for confidential assistance.
 
3.   Taanit Bekhorim

Due to Erev Pesah falling on shabbat, this year the fast of the first born takes place on Thursday, March 25. I will hold an on-line siyum bekhorot on Thursday, March 25 at 9:00 AM:  zoom id:  https://zoom.us/j/99459067369  for those first- borns who would like to participate.
We will be sending the full schedule of times for Shabbat and the first days of Yom Tov later this week.
 
4. Some Inspiration
 As we head into Pesah and the first inklings of spring and renewal, here is a beautiful song with words from Shir HaShirim-The Song of Songs that we read this year on the last day of the holiday.
The song is called אני חבצלת השרון-" I Am the Lily of the Valley" and is from the album כי אתה עמדי-For You Are With Me (2003) by our member Ravital Kranzler and her father Dr. Elli Kranzler.
 
פרק ב-Ch. 2
א  אֲנִי חֲבַצֶּלֶת הַשָּׁרוֹן, שׁוֹשַׁנַּת הָעֲמָקִים. 1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
ב  כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת. 2 As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
ג  כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר, כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים; בְּצִלּוֹ חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי, וּפִרְיוֹ מָתוֹק לְחִכִּי. 3 As an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delighted to sit, and its fruit was sweet to my taste.
ד  הֱבִיאַנִי אֶל-בֵּית הַיָּיִן, וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה. 4 He hath brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me is love.
See the attachment below.
 
With Best wishes for a חג כשר ושמח,
 
R. Nathaniel Helfgot

 

Pesah Update 5781- #2

Dear Netivot Family:
I hope everyone is well.  Here is the second Pesah Update for this year. You can access the first one here .

For those who are new to our community I am including a few of my piskei halakah from over the years to share with you.

1. Kitniyot

There is a long standing Ashkenazic custom to refrain from eating Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesah. (There is no prohibition to own or have kitniyot in your possession on Pesah). The exact definition of Kitniyot foods and what form the medieval and modern era rabbis prohibited is a matter of dispute and continues to this day. A number of years ago I gave a detailed Shabbat Hagadol derasha outlining my current views based on a number of poskim. Here I will just list some of the foodstuffs and derivatives of said foodstuffs, that one should not use and the ones that can be eaten. (It is not an exhaustive list)

a) One should refrain from consuming rice, corn, chickpeas, and lentils, buckwheat (kasha) and their products on Pesah.

b) One is permitted to consume raw and cooked green beans, snow peas, peas, quinoa, edamame and snap peas on Pesah. 

The custom is to refrain from eating Kitniyot on Erev Pesah from the time that one stops eating real Hametz.

2.   Power of Attorney

Here is this year’s power of attorney form authorizing me to sell your hametz. Please print and complete  this form  and scan or take a picture of it and email it to me back no later than Thursday, March 25 at 6:00 PM. There will be no in person mekhirat hametz in my home or the shul this year. Please do not wait until the last minute to take care of this.
 
3.     Maot Hitim 

It is traditional to donate funds to maot hitim or other tzedakah at the time of selling one’s hametz. This year it is especially important to donate to help all those who are experiencing challenging situations. Please donate via the shul form on-line:   https://www.netivotshalomnj.org/rabbi-discretionary-fund.html 

4.   Community Resources

For anyone who is experiencing financial challenges and food insecurity Please be aware that the Jewish Federation of Northern NJ  is providing Kosher for Pesach items and Shop Rite gift cards available for those who are in need. They are being distributed from now through Chol Hamoed by appointment only. The link  to the Corner Market is:  https://hipaa.jotform.com/202585158949166 , or the person can call 201-978-8492. 
Anyone in need is encouraged to also reach out to me in a private manner for confidential assistance.
 
5.   Taanit Bekhorim

Due to Erev Pesah falling on shabbat, this year the fast of the first born takes place on Thursday, March 25. I will hold an on-line siyum bekhorot on Thursday, March 25 at 9:00 AM:  zoom id:    https://zoom.us/j/99459067369   for those first- borns who would like to participate.
 
6.  Times for Erev Pesah

This year Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat which creates some interesting halakhic dilemmas.  Bedikat Hametz is done on Thursday evening, March 25 with a blessing and the recitation of the kol hamira at its conclusion. On Friday morning, March 26 one can burn or dispose of any remaining Hametz (except that which will be consumed on Shabbat) but one does not recite kol hamira.
 
7..    Erev Pesah that Falls out on Shabbat
 
The best course of action is to have one’s home and kitchen ready for Pesah by Friday evening and eat a Pesahdig meal for Friday night while reserving hallah rolls for that meal and the next day. On Shabbat morning, Erev Pesah the latest time for eating Hametz in our area is 10:56 AM and the last time to own Hametz is 11:59 AM. You can dispose of any Hametz that you want to count for biur hametz (destruction of the hametz) by flushing all remaining hametz down the toilet before 11:59 am or disposing it in your trash bags that you put outside for collection before 11:59 am and reciting the Kol hamira text that removes it from your possession. 

8. Preparation for the Seder

Please remember that we do not honor Pesah at the expense of the Sabbath.  No preparations for the seder (including setting the table and warming food; grind that horseradish before Shabbat!) can be made on Shabbat before shabbat concludes on Saturday night, March 27 at 7:57 PM.

9.  Karpas

As I have mentioned in past years, while most printed haggadot state that one should not eat more than a small amount of karpas so as not to engender a question of berakha aharona, I follow the view of my revered teacher, Rav Lichtenstein z"l and others who maintain that one can eat a larger amount and there is no issue. As such one can continue to nibble on vegetables or veggie chips throughout maggid which helps ensure that there are no hunger pains or need to rush through anything.

10. Minyanim for First Days of Yom Tov

For mincha and maariv we will have one minyan at the shul.
  
On Sunday and Monday mornings, the first and second days of Yom Tov, we will have two minyanim, 
a) One at the shul: 9:00 AM
b) One outside in the yard of Tammy and Josh Rapps (address is in the directory); 10:00 AM (starting at Nishmat)

11.  Checking in On Relatives, Friends and Shut-Ins Over Shabbat and Yom Tov
 
This year, we once again will experience a three-day Yom Tov. For people who will be alone again this year over the three-day Yom Tov, it can be a very challenging time. If you know of people in such a situation please make sure to check in on them, share social distanced walks and visits with them over Yom Tov.
          
Those who are at risk of physical or mental deterioration must not wait for severe symptoms, such as suicidal ideation (thinking about committing suicide) to develop before calling for help; preventative calls are Halachically obligatory. One who feels at any risk of physical danger or depression due to mental, physical, substance abuse, or abuse issues, or other grave disorders, is required to use a phone on Yom Tov or Shabbat to call for help.

In cases of immediate danger, call 911. 

In other cases, some may prefer to call a therapist, friend, family member, the hotline at Amudim (888-7-AMUDIM, 888-726-8346 or 718-972-3000), or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

If you prefer to speak to me, I will monitor my phone and answer any call on Shabbat or Yom Tov. My phone number can be found in the shul membership directory and should be written down in advance for easy access.

Those with a friend or family member who might call them for such a reason, must leave their phones on during Shabbat and Yom Tov and monitor the caller ID of calls received. They should not hesitate to answer the phone or return a call when that person calls on Shabbat or Yom Tov and may speak as long as is necessary.

Those who know someone who is at risk—a family member, friend or neighbor—should reach out to him/her in person in a way that maintains the restrictions of social distancing. It is permissible to call him/her on the telephone on Shabbat or Yom Tov if that is what is necessary.

In non-emergency situations, one should make and answer calls with a shinui (for example, using one’s weaker hand or a knuckle). In emergency situations, one should call for help in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
 
With Torah blessings,
R. Helfgot

 

 

Rabbi Helfgot's Passover Message 1

Dear Netivot Family:
 
I hope everyone and their family is well. Below is the first of this year’s Pesah Updates.
 
1.    Last year as we came upon the Pesah holiday, we were gripped with tremendous uncertainty and lack of knowledge about COVID, as well as shortages in some common Pesah goods. In addition, the ability to shop was severely restricted and getting a slot for delivery services was uncertain and difficult. As such, we relied on many leniencies that we normally would not use for Pesah.
This year we are, unfortunately, still in the throes of the pandemic and many people are still suffering. At the same time there is great hope on the horizon with the rollout of vaccines and therapies. We are also much more knowledgeable about protecting ourselves with masks and social distancing and there are no shortages or serious delivery issues in our area. In light of that, please treat this year as a regular Pesah year, unless you have a specific situation that you need to contact me about. As such, I once again recommend that families do not sell Hametz Gamur (real Hametz) such as bread, cakes, cookies, pasta etc. but consume them before Pesah or donate unopened boxes or packages of those goods to non-Jewish food pantries before the holiday. Only products that may potential mixtures with hametz or are derivatives of Hametz must be sold or consumed before Pesah. Kitniyot do not need to be sold and only are restricted from being eaten on Pesah.
 
 
2.    Here is this year’s power of attorney form authorizing me to sell your hametz 
Please print and complete this form and scan or take a picture of it and email it to me back no later than Thursday, March 25 at 6:00 PM. There will be no in person mekhirat hametz in my home or the shul this year. Please do not wait until the last minute to take care of this.
 
3.     It is traditional to donate funds to maot hitim or other tzedakah at the time of selling one’s hametz. This year it is especially important to donate to help all those who are experiencing challenging situations. Please donate via the shul form on-line: https://www.netivotshalomnj.org/rabbi-discretionary-fund.html
 
4.     Due to Erev Pesah falling on shabbat, this year the fast of the first born takes place on Thursday, March 25. I will hold an on-line siyum bekhorot on Thursday, March 25 at 9:00 AM:  
 
5.      Times for Erev Pesah

This year Erev Pesah falls on Shabbat which creates some interesting halakhic dilemmas.  Bedikat Hametz is done on Thursday evening, March 25 with a blessing and the recitation of the kol hamira at its conclusion. On Friday morning, March 26 one can burn or dispose of any remaining Hametz (except that which will be consumed on Shabbat) but one does not recite kol hamira.
 
6.    Erev Pesah that Falls out on Shabbat
 
The best course of action is to have one’s home and kitchen ready for Pesah by Friday evening and eat a Pesahdig meal for Friday night while reserving hallah rolls for that meal and the next day. On Shabbat morning, Erev Pesah the latest time for eating Hametz in our area is 10:56 AM and the last time to own Hametz is 11:59 AM. You can dispose of any Hametz that you want to count for biur hametz (destruction of the hametz) by flushing all remaining hametz down the toilet before 11:59 am or disposing it in your trash bags that you put outside for collection before 11:59 am and reciting the Kol hamira text that removes it from your possession.  
 
What’s the best way to go about preparing and eating meals on Shabbat that is Erev Pesah?  There are a number of concerns: issues related to hametz removal and hametz pots, muktzah rules, the obligation to make hamotzi at dinner and the Shabbat day meal, the practice not to eat actual matzah on Erev Pesah, and the prohibition on eating hametz after the end of the 4th (halakhic) hour of the day.
 
In light of those concerns, I would suggest the following courses of action:
 
a)    The meals themselves: Go Pesahdik!  Cook Pesahdik meals, in Pesah pots. I would suggest disposables (nice environmentally friendly disposables!) for Shabbat meals.
Ashkenazi custom is not to eat Kitniyot after the time
b)    For hamotzi –
a.    Set up a small table in a corner of the room with hallah rolls sufficient for your dinner (and early lunch, if having at home).  Eat the hallah, clean up (shake outside, if in the eruv), and continue your otherwise Pesahdik meal back at the main table.  Watch out for your toddler (or Fido) walking off with any hallah… Remaining challah should be flushed.
b.    OR: use egg matzah instead of hallah (note: healthy Ashkenazim are not permitted to eat egg matzah during Pesah itself, but one need not dispose of it…).
c)    Shabbat morning: all Hametz (and for Ashkenazim, even egg matzah) must be consumed before 10:56 am.  To enable this, we will daven Shaharit at 8:30 AM regular time to allow for lunch with hallah rolls to conclude before 10:56 AM.
 
d)    After 1:00 PM you can eat the “third meal” of Shabbat without any hamotzi products made of matzah, but can have fruit and cheese or vegetables and poultry etc. Do not eat matzah (egg or regular) at this point, although cooked-boiled matzah products (e.g. a kneidelach) can be eaten until the 10th halakhic hour of the day which is around 5;00 PM on Shabbat afternoon.
 
e)    We don’t honor Pesah at the expense of the Sabbath.  No preparations for the seder (including setting the table and warming food; grind that horseradish before Shabbat!) can be made on Shabbat before shabbat is concluded.
 
7.    Checking in On Relatives, Friends and Shut-Ins Over Shabbat and Yom Tov
 
This year, we once again will experience a three-day Yom Tov. For people who will be alone again this year over the three-day Yom Tov, it can be a very challenging time. If you know of people in such a situation please make sure to check in on them, share social distanced walks and visits with them over Yom Tov.
          
Those who are at risk of physical or mental deterioration must not wait for severe symptoms, such as suicidal ideation (thinking about committing suicide) to develop before calling for help; preventative calls are Halachically obligatory. One who feels at any risk of physical danger or depression due to mental, physical, substance abuse, or abuse issues, or other grave disorders, is required to use a phone on Yom Tov or Shabbat to call for help.

In cases of immediate danger, call 911. 

In other cases, some may prefer to call a therapist, friend, family member, the hotline at Amudim (888-7-AMUDIM, 888-726-8346 or 718-972-3000), or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

If you prefer to speak to me, I will monitor my phone and answer any call on Shabbat or Yom Tov. My phone number can be found in the shul membership directory and should be written down in advance for easy access.

Those with a friend or family member who might call them for such a reason, must leave their phones on during Shabbat and Yom Tov and monitor the caller ID of calls received. They should not hesitate to answer the phone or return a call when that person calls on Shabbat or Yom Tov and may speak as long as is necessary.

Those who know someone who is at risk—a family member, friend or neighbor—should reach out to him/her in person in a way that maintains the restrictions of social distancing. It is permissible to call him/her on the telephone on Shabbat or Yom Tov if that is what is necessary.

In non-emergency situations, one should make and answer calls with a shinui (for example, using one’s weaker hand or a knuckle). In emergency situations, one should call for help in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
 
With Torah blessings,
 
R. Helfgot

Fri, April 16 2021 4 Iyyar 5781