Rabbi Lazer Gurkow
Dear Members and Friends,
Yasher koach to all of you who participate regularly, and to some of you on occasion, to make our small shul vibrant and spiritual. Your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Chag Kosher V'Sameach.
We would like to share our condolences with: The Goose Family on the passing of Fanny
May you be comforted by the heavenly source of comfort and may you find solace in the embrace of your family and friends. May your dear departed loved ones always be a source of inspiration to us all and may we live together for many happy and healthy years.
The following is a brief synopsis of the laws pertaining to the preparation for the Passover holiday. This article is meant only as a cursory overview. For more detailed information, please contact the Rabbi.
The Torah tells us that one may not possess, or harbour in one's home, food articles that fall under the category of Chametz, leavened bread. Our sages have instituted the obligation of Bedikat Chametz, search for Chametz, on the evening of the thirteenth of Nissan, the evening of Erev Pesach.
In order to lighten the load that is sure to fall upon the shoulders of the searchers on the day before Pesach, it has become customary to clean the house thoroughly of Chametz several weeks before Pesach.
Many people clean the entire home and all of its nooks and crannies in preparation for Pesach. There are two reasons for this: (a) one can never know where a piece of Chametz may lie hidden and (b) it is an opportunity to beautify the home in honor of the holiday.
From a purely obligatory point of view, one is only required to clean the area of the home that is usually used in association with Chametz, for example, the kitchen and dining room area, kitchen cabinets, pantry, children's play room, bedrooms, etc. Note that even if you have a no food rule in certain areas of your home, you can not be certain that food was not brought into those rooms through the year.
Unfurnished basements and attics that are used for storage purposes only and are not used on a regular basis may be considered Chametz free. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to generally clean these areas as well, just in case.
It is important to clean the pockets of clothing, especially children's clothing, since crumbs are also liable to fall into pockets while eating. In addition, many also put food wrappers, etc. in their pockets. Books should also be cleaned if they are left on the table together with food.
When cleaning your Kitchen and dining room chairs, care should be taken to clean under the cushions since Chametz crumbs naturally fall into these cracks. When cleaning your car, make sure to clean under the seats and in all places into which Chametz may have dropped
Many families have a separate set of pots and cutlery for Pesach. However, if you need to Kasher your pots for Pesach, the Shull kitchen will be open on Sunday afternoon, April 9 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. for this purpose. Rabbi Gurkow will be on hand during this time to help you with any questions you may have
Kashering your sink, oven and stovetop for Pesach are also options that will allow you to use them during Pesach. This is a complicated procedure, and the Rabbi should be consulted before Kashering
There may be certain food items that you do not wish to dispose of or certain utensils that you find difficult to clean thoroughly. These items may be sold to a non-Jew for the duration of Pesach.
These items should be stored in separate closets or rooms that are locked or at least taped shut for the duration of the Chag.
It is also possible to sell the Chametz of an entire building such as an office building that will not be used for Pesach or your home if you will be away for Pesach.
Since there are many legal intricacies regarding the laws of this sale, one should entrust a competent rabbi with the execution of the sale. The rabbi acts as your agent both to sell the Chametz to the non-Jew before Passover begins and also to buy it back on the evening after Passover ends.
Once sold, one may not make use of these articles since they have technically been sold to someone else. However, an assumption can be made that the rabbi did not sell the Chametz more than an hour before the deadline and that he has repurchased the Chametz about thirty minutes after Yom Tov.
Please look for the sale of Chametz form here.
All items, not just food items, used in the kitchen during the holiday must be Kosher for Passover. There are many items that we do not usually associate with Chametz but that contain starch or other manner of Chametz. It is important to look for the Kosher for Passover sign on the products that you purchase during this time.
There are also many products that are not listed as Kosher for Passover but that have particular brands that are kosher. The list includes hand soap, dish and laundry detergent, paper towels, etc. If you have any questions with regard to a particular product, please contact the Rabbi.
The mitzvah of searching for Chametz begins on the evening of the 13th of Nissan. This year the thirteenth will fall on Tuesday, April 11. The obligation to search for Chametz begins at nightfall, which in London, Ontario will be at 8:47 p.m. It is important to refrain from engaging in activities that have the ability to preoccupy one's mind for thirty minutes prior to nightfall. This is for fear that one may forget to perform the Mitzvah.
The search begins with the recitation of the appropriate blessing, which can be found in the Siddur. It is important to begin the search immediately upon the conclusion of the B'racha and to avoid unnecessary interruptions throughout the course of the search.
It important to search for Chametz in all the places described above in the section for cleaning Chametz, especially the corners and the carpet lines where Chametz is often left unnoticed.
At the conclusion of the search, we place all the Chametz that has been found into a bag and place the bag out of reach of small children and pets. The "Kol Chamira," which can be found in the Siddur, is recited immediately after the search for the Chametz.
The prohibition against harboring and eating Chametz begins at midday of Erev Pesach. For precautionary purposes our sages ordained that we dispose of Chametz a little more than one hour before noon and refrain from eating Chametz a little more than two hours before noon.
These hours are determined in the following manner. The total number of daylight minutes of a given day are divided into twelve equal segments with the resulting number comprising the length of each hour. In this way, every day of the year is divided into twelve daylight hours.
Midday on Erev Pesach this year will fall in London, Ontario at 1:26 pm. Chametz must be disposed of by 12:08 pm and Chametz may no longer be consumed after 10:50 am.
Disposal of Chametz is traditionally done by fire. The second prayer of "Kol Chamira," which can be found in the Siddur, should be recited during this time.
It is a tradition for all first born beyond the age of Bar Mitzvah to fast on the day before Pesach to commemorate the miracle of being passed over during the plague of the first born. (Fathers fast for first-born children who are still under the age of Bar Mitzvah.) Since Erev Pesach is a festive day, it is customary to avoid fasting on this day through participating in a meal connected to a Mitzvah such as a Bris or a Siyum (conclusion of study) of a tractate of Talmud. Having broken the fast for the purpose of this meal, we may now continue through the day without fasting.
This year this fast will take place on Wednesday morning and a Siyum breakfast will be arranged at the Shull immediately following morning services. Morning services are scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM.
Though it is permissible to cook on the Chag (Jewish holiday) it is only permissible to cook that which one might reasonably expect to consume on the day of cooking. It is forbidden to cook for the needs of the following day. When a Chag falls on Friday it is forbidden to cook food on Friday for Shabbos unless one has previously performed an Eiruv Tavshilin.
To perform the Eiruv one must take a cooked food and a baked food in hand before the Chag begins and read the text that is found in the Siddur. One then hands the food over to another Jewish person who recites the blessing (also found in the Siddur).
Though the rabbi performs the Eiruv on behalf of the entire community every household must perform a seperate Eiruv. Please contact the rabbi if you have forgotten to perform the Eiruv.
The following lecture series are available from Rabbi Lazer for $10 per audio CD. As more lectures become available, they will be posted here.
Please note that each lecture series is also available on a single CD in MP3 format, at a cost of $30 per series ($18 for Relationships).
We thank Dansanman Studios who provide a discount on CD duplication costs for Rabbi Lazer's lectures.
The Rabbi maintains a discretionary fund that is used almost exclusively for London-based charities. This fund is also used for a variety of family needs and, in the recent past, has helped families in dire straits with basic household needs, helped to send children to Jewish camp experiences and has helped to arrange for Kaddish to be recited on behalf of Jews who passed away and left no one behind to recite Kaddish.
This account is funded by the charitable donations of our members and the community. The last six months have been particularly busy because many families have applied for assistance. If you would be so kind as to consider making a tax deductible contribution to the discretionary fund, you would be in a position to help others discreetly.
The Talmud teaches that the highest level of charity is one performed anonymously, where the donor has no knowledge of the recipient and the recipient has no knowledge of the donor. The Rabbi's discretionary fund allows for one such opportunity, as both donations and charities are held in the strictest confidence.
You may either send your tax deductible donations directly to the Rabbi or addressed to him at the shul office. Cheques should be made out to the Beth Tefilah Rabbi's Fund.
Thank you very much!
We appreciate the support given to us by our Friends. A minimum donation of $18.00/year will put you on our Friends list. This donation is used to help offset the cost of compiling and mailing this newsletter as well as other programs undertaken by the Shul. All donations are eligible for a tax receipt. Call the Shul office at 433-7081 if you need more information.