From the Vaad HaRabbonim of Raritan Valley: One may not eat or derive benefit from chometz which was owned by a Jew during Pesach. This is a partial list of local stores and their status regarding the purchase of chometz.Read More
As we prepare to celebrate Pesach with our families, there are families in our community for whom purchasing even the basic necessities for Pesach is a crushing financial burden. Tomchei Shabbos helps ease this burden by ensuring that these families can enjoy the holiday in a dignified manner.
In the weeks leading up to Pesach, over 5,000 pounds of food are purchased and distributed to needy families in our community. Families are counting on this food, but to make it happen requires your support. Help give the gift of Pesach to families in need.
Donations can be sent through our website, by mailing to: Tomchei Shabbos of Middlesex County, c/o Cong. Ohr Torah, 48 Edgemount Road, Edison, NJ 08817.
Please consult with your physician and Rabbi before eliminating or changing any prescription medication, since questions of age, physical health and special diet are involved in the final decision.
General Sephardic Position
If medication is needed for a dangerously sick person then all medications are permitted. If not dangerously sick, the medications that contain only kitniyot are permitted. If the medications contain wheat, it might be permitted in specific circumstances since it is not in a form that is considered edible, and by eating it a person does not mean to give importance (Ahsheveh) to it as food, it is permitted. However, an adult should refrain from eating sweet tasting medicine, usually made for children, if it contains a grain mixture.
All processed products including vitamins and medicines should be bought before Pesach.
Some General Guidelines for Medicinal Items:
Someone suffering from a potentially life threatening illness, may use any medication necessary and may even consume chametz on Pesach. If possible, such chametz should be owned by a non-Jew. Also, wherever possible, the chametz should be consumed in an indirect and abnormal way, such as in a capsule, dissolved into a liquid, etc.
If someone is ill, but their life is not endangered, they may not directly consume chametz on Pesach. However, with some restrictions, they may take required medications – even those containing chametz components.
Medication in pill (tablet) form that is swallowed (not chewable, liquid, or “sucking”) – even if it contains chametz is permitted without special Passover certification.
Chewable pills may contain chametz or kitniot. A healthy person should consult a reliable list of approved medications.
For a person who is ill, if the chewable pills contain chametz or kitniot and no alternative is available, consult your Rabbi.
Liquid medications containing chametz should not be used. These often contain grain alcohol and problematic flavorings and require Passover supervision.
All Pre-natal vitamins that are taken as directed by a doctor, should be used without hesitation.
In other cases when your doctor prescribes a specific vitamin that must be taken on Passover, (even if it does not have Passover supervision) it may fall into the category of a pill medication. Each situation must be individually reviewed with your doctor and your Rabbi.
This guide was created by Rabbi Yehuda Boroosan who works for the Orthodox Union, the largest Kosher certification agency in the world, as the Rabbinic Field Representative and Mashgiach for the southeast region of the United States. He has over 20 years of experience working in the food industry and has extensive knowledge regarding the commercial production of food and household products.Read More
After Purim is the beginning of our Pesach preparations. We are thinking about what we'll serve for our seders, who we'll invite, and cleaning the house. On Pesach, we aren't merely refraining from eating chametz or even not benefiting from chametz, we are not even allowed to own chametz. Food that we have and the dishes that we cook with must be disposed of in some manner.
In the Middle Ages, Jews who owned bakeries and breweries were left with large inventories of chametz, so in order to get around the prohibition of owning chametz, they sold their inventories to non-Jews. Over the centuries, as people became richer and owned more, individuals followed the businessmen's lead and also sold their chametz to non-Jews. Even in the 19th century, it was common for individual Jews to sell their chametz to non-Jewish friends.
However, the laws of the sale must be performed in a particular manner in a particular order. To prevent individuals from doing invalid sales (and thus still owning chametz on Pesach), the local Rabbis started to handle this function. We now give the local Rabbi the Power of Attorney to sell our chametz for us.
SELL YOUR CHAMETZ
For the last two years, we are the only congregation in the area that allows you to sell your chametz over the Internet. No need to find a stamp or remember to mail in your form. It’s quick and convenient. You can find the form by looking for the Sell Your Chametz link on the top of our webpage. No need for a stamp, and we’ll email you before Pesach with the information and when the sale is complete. You can also download the paper form if you prefer.
If you are planning to be in Israel or Europe for Pesach, please contact Rabbi Bassous.
Now that Purim is over, we need to start thinking about Pesach.Read More
Ta’anit Esther (Fast of Esther) - Wednesday, March 20
From 5:48am to 7:22pm. Both men and women including boys 13 years of age and older and girls 12 years of age and older, must fast. Sick and elderly people are not required to fast. Pregnant women who experience discomfort because of the fast may eat.
Megilla Reading - Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00pm
It is customary to give before the reading of the Megillah. Ashkenazim give three half-dollars before the reading of the Megillah. Sephardim give six dollars. This is reminiscent of the half-shekel given yearly in the Bet Hamikdash at this time, to fund public sacrifices.
Al Hanisim is recited in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon. If you forget to say Al Hanisim, you do not have to repeat the Birkat Hamazon or the Amidah.
Both men and women are required to hear the Megillah read from a kosher Megillah - both on the night and on the day of Purim. Preferably, one should hear the Megillah read in the synagogue, or at least in the company of ten people. If that is not possible, one may read the Megillah themselves or hear it from someone else privately. Children should be educated in hearing the Megillah, and they must be instructed to remain quiet so that the adults can hear every word.
Three berachot are said before reading the Megillah and one berachah after reading it. The berachah after the Megillah is said only if a Minyan is present.
One must hear the entire Megillah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. If one missed hearing even one word, one does not fulfill the mitzvah. If one misses a word, one should read from the Chumash or kosher Megillah the word he missed and the following words until they catches up to the one reading the Megillah.
One who is following the Megillah in a Chumash should not read aloud with the one who is reading the Megillah, but should merely follow the reading silently.
It is best if one follows the reading in his own kosher Megillah so if he misses a word he can say it from his own Megillah.
Join the Celebration
Following the Megillah reading, join in the celebratory Seuda. Please send in a donation to be a sponsor.
Purim Day - Thursday, March 21
The Megillah is read again during morning services at 7.15am and again at 9:00am. It may be read, when necessary, any time from sunrise (or if in great need, from seventy two minutes before sunrise) until sunset, with the berachot.
It is a Mitzvah incumbent on both men and women on Purim Day to give a monetary gift to at least two poor people. This is known as Matanot Laevyonim. This monetary gift should be enough to buy a decent lunch.
It is likewise a Mitzvah to give at least two types of food or drink to at least one person on Purim Day. This is known as Mishloach Manot. These foods must be ready to eat and must require no further preparation. The foods must be sent and received on Purim Day itself. The two foods must be two different kinds of food (such as two kinds of fruit, or cake and fruit, etc.).
It is likewise a Mitzvah to eat a large meal on Purim day before sunset. One should try to invite friends and relatives to enjoy this Seuda in a festive manner.
One should drink wine at this meal, since the miracle of Purim came about through wine (Vashti was killed when Achashverosh got drunk, and Esther revealed Haman’s plot to Achashverosh at a wine party). One, however, should not imbibe to a point that he may, G-d forbid, say or do something contrary to Torah principles.
Israel May Be Fourth Country with Moon Lander
Ruth Englash – Washington Post – February 20, 2019
TEL AVIV —Israel is aiming to become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon with the scheduled launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., of Beresheet, the first homegrown Israeli spaceship.
At stake are not only $100 million of investment and eight years of hard work, says the team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs involved in the venture, but also possibly the future of independent privatized space travel.
Beresheet, named for the Hebrew word for Genesis, will be the smallest and least expensive spacecraft ever to attempt the journey from Earth to the moon, say those behind the project. Measuring only 1.5 meters in height and two meters in diameter, the vessel is aiming to make a lunar landing on April 11.
Previous moon landings — including the first by the former Soviet Union in 1966, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969 and China in 2013 — were all government-sponsored endeavors. This initiative, spearheaded by Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL, is being funded mainly by Jewish donors and foundations from around the world.
SpaceIL’s chief executive, Ido Anteby, said that as long as there are no last-minute hiccups on Thursday night — the launch has already been postponed at least once — Beresheet will leave the Earth’s atmosphere by hitching a ride on a Falcon 9 commercial rocket belonging to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Once the spaceship disengages from the Falcon 9 rocket, the craft will travel a roundabout route to the moon, covering a total distance of about 4 million miles, orbiting both the Earth and the moon several times. As it reaches the moon’s orbit, Beresheet will reduce its speed, with the goal of being picked up by the moon’s gravity.
There are still challenges before it reaches a lunar landing and puts Israel on the space industry’s map. Israelis have already experienced their share of disappointment and tragedy when it comes to space travel. Israel’s only astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was among the seven-member crew of the space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003.
Morris Kahn, SpaceIL’s president and its largest investor, said Monday he hoped the initiative, as the first commercial, nongovernment flight to the moon, would contribute significantly to future space exploration.
He also said he was “gifting” the project to Israel and declared it a national project. “Not only every Israeli, but also every Jew will remember where he was when the Israeli spacecraft landed on the moon,” said Kahn, a South African-born Israeli billionaire.
If all goes according to plan, future visitors to the moon will also have a reminder of Israel’s inaugural space flight because the craft, which is making a one-way journey, is carrying capsules filled with Israeli national symbols, Jewish cultural items, and digital files detailing how this project came about. It is also carrying a tiny nanotech version of the Bible.
As part of its mission, Beresheet will engage in scientific research for Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, measuring the moon’s magnetic fields with specially installed computers and cameras, said SpaceIL’s Anteby.
The seeds of the Beresheet initiative started to sprout in 2010, when three young Israeli entrepreneurs signed up to compete for the now defunct Google Lunar X Prize. Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub hoped to win the $20 million prize by landing an Israeli-built unmanned spaceship on the moon — and to turn Israeli schoolchildren on to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Though the three Israelis did not win the prize — no one did — they went on to create SpaceIL. Since then, the project not only gained financial backing from private investors but also support from Israeli government agencies such as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Israel Space Agency. It was these connections that last summer helped facilitate agreements with NASA and Musk’s SpaceX.
Opher Doron, IAI’s general manager, said a goal of this undertaking is to inspire a generation of children to study science and technology.
“We want to make them feel that they can achieve anything,” he said.