Chometz (leaven) symbolizes kelipa (separation from holiness). That is why we keep our distance from even the tiniest amount of chometz, just as a person takes every possible precaution to protect himself from robbers who wish to take his life.
While getting rid of all the chometz, we should have in mind our desire that just as we are scrubbing and scouring away even the minutest amount of chometz, HaShem should destroy every last bit of the yetzer hora (the evil inclination) from the world. We are certain that HaShem, Who sees all the work the Yidden invest in cleaning for Pesach, will do away with the kelipa and the golus we are in.
All the work we do for Pesach must be carried out with love and simcha, with no room for anger and arguments. And the money which which we buy the Yom-Tov necessities should be honestly earned. Otherwise, one would be feeding the kelipa with kedusha.
Zeroah: A Roasted Bone This reminds us of the Pesach offering we used to bring in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Zeroah in depth
Beitzah: A hard-boiled Egg This reminds us of the festival offering which was brought to the Holy Temple on Pesach. Beitzah in depth
Maror: Horseradish Root These bitter herbs symbolize the harsh suffering and bitter times we endured when we were slaves in Egypt. Maror in depth
A mixture of chopped apple, walnuts and red wine. Ground up together,
Charoset resembles bricks and mortar, reminding us how hard we were
forced to work when we were slaves in Egypt. Charoset in depth
This can be a small slice of onion, boiled potato or sprigs of parsley.
We dip the Karpas into salt water at the beginning of the Seder,
representing the salty tears we cried when we were slaves. Karpas in depth
Chazeret: Romaine Lettuce
This is the second portion of bitter herbs which we eat during the
Seder. This is eaten in a Matzah sandwich together with Maror.
A man who shall bring near of you an offering to G-d (Vayikrà 1:2)
The verse does not say, "a man of you who shall bring near an offering," but, "a man who shall bring near of you an offering"--the offering must come from within the person. It is the animal within man that must be "brought near" and elevated by the divine fire upon the Altar.
years ago, Palestinian terrorists broke into the Fogel family home, in
the small Israeli community of Itamar. They brutally murdered Ruth and
Udi Fogel, and three of their children. The IDF and the Israel Security
Agency brought the terrorists to justice. Today, we honor the memory of
the Fogel family.
"Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon in the Land of Egypt, 'This month shall be for you the beginning of the months; it shall be for you the first of the months of the year.' " (Shemot, 12:1-2)
The first commandment given by G-d to the Jewish People was to establish the beginning of the Month of Nisan (which wasn't yet called "Nisan," but, rather, the First Month). Until now, the Calendar was, so to speak, in G-d's hands. From this point on, the Hebrew Calendar was placed in the hands of the Jewish People. Inauguration of the Mishkan This day was chosen by Hashem as the day of the Inauguration of the Mishkan, the temporary Temple which was used in the desert and in the Land of Israel, before the building by Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon, of the first Bais HaMikdash. The Midrash discusses the Inauguration of the Mishkan in BaMidbar Rabba, Chapter 13, as follows: "Rabbi Yossi used to say, 'When did the Inauguration of the Mishkan occur? It began on the twenty third of Adar, and concluded on the first of Nisan. And on all of the first seven days, Moshe used to set up the Mishkan and take it apart at the end of the day. On the eighth day, he set it up, and did not take it apart. And that eighth day was Shabbat, and it was the Rosh Chodesh of Nisan. On that day, Aharon and his sons arose and washed their hands and feet from the sacred fountain, they worshipped the Divine Service in proper order. On that very day, the People of Israel made vows and donations, sin-offerings and guilt-offerings, brought the first-born of their flocks, and their tithes. Regarding that day it is said (in "Shir HaShirim," the Song of Songs) " 'Awake, O North Wind, and Come, O South Wind, Perfume my Garden, let its Spices Flow, May my Beloved come to His Garden, and eat of its Delightful Fruit - I have come to My Garden, My Sister, My Bride' - this was the Eighth Day."
On March 11, 2011, Israel reeled from the news of the
shocking deaths of five members of the Fogel family, brutally
slaughtered in their family home in the Israeli community of Itamar. On
that night, two Palestinian terrorists from the nearby town of Awarta
infiltrated the small Israeli community and broke into the Fogel's home
while they slept, stabbing to death the parents and three of their
children, including Hadas – just three months old.
The IDF responded quickly to the incident, conducting investigations
alongside the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) which led to the
capture and arrest of the two terrorists – Hakim Awad and Amjad Awam –
who were subsequently tried and convicted of five counts of murder. They
are currently serving five consecutive life sentences in prison.
The examination into the incident revealed that the men had links to
the PFLP terror organization. Hamas sources praised the vicious attack
The Fogel family's tragic story reminds us that the IDF has no option
other than constant vigilance against the endless attempts of agents of
terror to harm Israel's citizens.
The Military Police Corps' Erez Battalion has recorded a sharp
increase in seizures and apprehensions at crossings and barriers in the
Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem regions in recent years. This alarming
trend represents both the evolving methods of would-be illegal
infiltrators, as well as the battalion's growing effectiveness in
preventing such intrusions.
Among the apprehensions and seizures have been countless cases of
forged identity documents, as well as attempts to illegally smuggle
weapons. In a recent incident, IDF forces apprehended a terrorist
released during the Shalit deal who was attempting to infiltrate Israeli
In 2012 soldiers from the Erez Battalion apprehended 1,450
Palestinians attempting to enter Israel illegally, a sober reminder that
IDF forces are the line of defense, every day preventing the entry of
terrorists planning to carry out attacks against Israeli citizens.
What if you want to prepare for Pesach properly through Torah
study and prayer, but instead find that you need to be busy with
cleaning and shopping?
Of course, you should try to grab time for Torah study in middle of
everything you’re busy with, and to be firm to daven at set times with a
But don’t become overwhelmed by all the obstacles that you have to
endure. They are there for a purpose, and they are actually the only
reason why you’re here in this world.
This can be understood with the analogy of a watch. In a watch, there
is a spring which is bent backwards and naturally tries breaking free
to jump forward, but is held back by the gears. The gears only allow the
spring to be released forward bit by bit at the pace of seconds and
minutes. If we would allow the spring the freedom to bounce forward
straight away, the watch wouldn’t be able to keep time. Many machines
are made in this fashion, by taking two opposing forces and creating a
harmony between them.
This is the purpose of man in this world. Naturally, a person’s soul
burns for Hashem. But Hashem wants us to declare His Kingship inside
this world together with all of its problems and difficulties. Therefore
He created an opposing force which separates a person and forcefully
severs him from Torah and Tefilah and keeping his mind focused on a
connection with Hashem. It’s all in order that a person should live in a
reality which prevents him from serving Hashem and hides Hashem from
him, and from within this reality to free oneself forward little by
little. He thereby pulls the “gears”, the opposing force, with him to
come closer to Hashem. Only in this way can we make wonderful Tikkunim
above with our Avodas Hashem.
What should if you don’t see yourself becoming free at all?Sometimes
the force which is keeping us away from holiness is so strong that a
person can become overwhelmed. It seems to him as if it’s impossible to
serve Hashem in the place where he is. But this is a mistake.
source After senior Lithuanian rabbis order yeshiva students not to report to draft office due to 'humiliating physical checkups,' army assures them that ultra-Orthodox will be interviewed and checked exclusively by men Israel Defense Forces officials have assured senior Lithuanian rabbis that ultra-Orthodox men reporting to the draft office will be interviewed and examined exclusively by men. The promise was made after the rabbis ordered yeshiva students not to report to the draft office after receiving the first notice from the army following complaints of "humiliating physical checkups." Knesset Members Yakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) met last week with Defense Ministry representatives in a bid to guarantee that yeshiva students will continue reporting to the draft office.
By the Grace of G‑d Motzoei Shabbos Kodesh, Vayakheil-Pekudei,
25 Adar, Mevorchim Chodesh Nissan, Parshas HaChodesh, 5742
To the Sons and Daughters of Our People Israel, Everywhere,
G‑d bless you all!
Greeting and Blessing:
Coming from the days of Purim, we turn our attention to the preparations for Pesach; especially when it is already after Shabbos Mevorchim Chodesh Nissan, Shabbos Parshas HaChodesh, and one begins to feel the presence and influence of the spirit of the Korban Pesach and Yetzias Mitzrayim, about which we read in the special Torah portion this Shabbos.
Our Sages of blessed memory connect the Geulo of Purim with the Geulo
of Pesach, although the two deliverances were quite different. Yet the
two also have certain features in common. One of them is the emphatic
imperative to remember and observe these days to all posterity. Thus, in
regard to Pesach the Torah declares (in Parshas HaChodesh): “And this
day shall be unto you for a remembrance . . . unto your generations.”
Similarly, in regard to Purim it is written: “And these days shall be
remembered and done in every generation and generation.”
It has often been emphasized that a remembrance in Torah, as in
Jewish life in general, is not meant for the purpose of merely recalling
an important event, and the like; but the real purpose of it is to
learn from the event that happened in the past—to learn, especially,
specific practical lessons for today and tomorrow.
In this respect, too, there are points of instruction that are common
to Pesach and Purim, and one of these will be spotlighted here.
of Korban Pesach required that every man individually take a lamb (or
kid) for an offering, for himself and his household. In complying with
this Mitzva, each person, each family, each chavurah (group)
acted as separate entities, distinct from the whole Jewish people—each a
world in itself. But at the same time they were all unified within “the
whole congregation of Israel” which had received the same Divine
commandment, to carry out the same Mitzva, at the same time, in the same
manner, as emphasized again: “The whole assembly of the congregation of
Israel,” all unified in the performance of a Mitzva that is connected
with Yetzias Mitzraim—the Geulo from the first Golus,
when all Jews came out of the Golus together as one nation, and came
out triumphantly;—the first Geulo which is also the harbinger of the
ultimate and complete Geulo, the Geulo from the present and last Golus.
Chametz is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, or their derivatives, which has leavened (risen). Our sages have determined that flour from any of these five grains that comes in contact with water or moisture will leaven, unless fully baked within eighteen minutes. As we are commanded by the Torah, if a food contains even a trace of chametz, we don’t eat it, we don’t derive benefit from it, and we make sure not to have any of it in our possession for all the days of Passover. To be certain that a product is kosher for Passover, it must have rabbinical certification. Otherwise it is possible that it contains chametz ingredients, or traces of chametz if it was processed on the same equipment as chametz products. Thus, unless a product is certified Kosher for Passover, we consider it chametz, and make sure not to have it in our possession on Passover. Note: Matzah used all year round might be pure chametz, and not for Passover use. Only matzahs baked especially for Passover may be used on Passover. Source
At the beginning of this week's Parsha, the discussion of the
construction of the mishkan and its avodah is abruptly interrupted.
Inserted there is a summary of the raw materials collected from Klal
Yisrael. The Torah proceeds to delineate the exact sum of each material
collected, followed by a precise accounting of how each material was
employed in the construction of the mishkan. Finally, the Torah
continues its description of the elements of the mishkan by describing
the bigdei Kehunah worn in the Mishkan.
But why do we need this summary? The Torah devotes two full Parshios
(the previous one as well as our current portion) to a detailed
explanation of every element of the mishkan and its service. Concerning
each and every component, the Torah provides us with its precise
dimensions, its function and role in the mishkan, as well as the
materials necessary in its construction. What then is the purpose of the
synopsis detailing the utilization of the raw materials themselves?
Rav Moshe Feinstein, suggests an intriguing solution which provides us
with an invaluable lesson about our own lives. Rav Moshe proposes that
since each material was donated for the specific intent of the
construction of the mishkan and its avodah, any misappropriation of the
donated funds would be tantamount to stealing from the Bnei Yisrael who
had generously offered the materials.
Therefore, a final tally of all the contributions was necessary to
ensure that in fact every donation collected from the Jews was used for
its designated holy purpose.
Rav Moshe continues that we can apply the same idea to our daily
conduct. We are all born with certain innate talents and abilities
"donated" to us by Hashem for the specific intent of performing His
will. However, how we use those G-d given talents is up to us. We may
choose to use our talents for their intended purpose -- to serve Hashem
-- or we may choose to utilize those abilities for evil.
After the locust storm destroyed crops in Egypt, the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture made the decision to spray 7,500 dunam of land. The Health
Ministry was consulted as well. Most of the locust have been stopped as
of Wednesday insuring minimal damage to crops and to the environment.
Rav Yitzhak Yosef Shlit"a, son of Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a and author of the multi-volume set Yalkut Yosef, reiterates what he said in Yalkut Yosef
that those who are not part of the communities with a tradition of
knowing what the signs of a locust are - even if you know the signs and
you know that its name is "Hagav" - may not eat them.
huffington post From al Durah to Badawi: Lethal journalism and Palestinian Propaganda's Manufacturing of Consent
It was a defining image of the last conflagration in Gaza. Hamas
prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and Egyptian prime minister Hashim Kandil held up a Palestinian child's corpse to the cameras,
his face bloodied, his lifeless eyes a compelling entreaty to the
world: "Will you not stand against Israel for killing this child!?"
But it wasn't Israel that murdered 4-year-old Mohammed Sadallah, it appears to have been Hamas. In a grotesque irony, one of the thousands
of rockets Hamas had aimed at Israeli children reportedly landed on the
4-year-old Gazan boy instead. The Islamist group thought nothing of
turning the child into a PR weapon -- and the international press
obliged. That same week, Palestinian activists repeatedly tried to pass
off photos of dead Arab children as Israel's doing. The photos were in fact of Syrian children massacred weeks earlier by Bashar Assad. And this month, following unprecedented public criticism, the UN fired
Kulhood Badawi, one of its senior public affairs officers in Jerusalem.
Badawi had tried to peddle a photo of a girl killed in an accident in
2006 as a victim of Israel. These activists, Badawi and Hamas -- whose
in 2009 of its use of "human shields of the women, the children... to
challenge the Zionist bombing machine" -- assumed that the international
press would simply take them at their word, as it had always done.
Bloggers exposed their lies,
but the damage had been done. And the damage when journalists help
certain Palestinian activists abuse public compassion to demonize Israel
is counted in lives lost -- on both sides.
In the war for hearts and minds, some propagandists for the
Palestinian cause understood long ago that feelings trump facts. Images
and accusations that molest the emotions and exploit
the public's natural empathy are irreplaceable ammunition to coerce
sympathy with the Palestinians and hostility to Israel. Yasser Arafat
himself in January 2002 -- two days before his own Fatah organization murdered six guests at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Israel -- cynically underlined the value of dead Palestinian children
as propaganda tools: "the Palestinian child holding a stone, facing a
tank - is that not the greatest message to the world, when that hero
becomes a 'martyr'?"
"This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall
be for you the first of the months of the year." (Shemot 12:2)
This coming Shabbat, the final Shabbat in the Hebrew month of
Adar, is also known as Shabbat HaChodesh. An additional Torah scroll is
taken out on this Shabbat and Exodus 12:1-20 is read, announcing the
arrival of the month of Nissan. Shabbat Hachodesh is the last of four
special Shabbatot that surround the festival of Purim. Shabbat Shekalim
and Shabbat Zachor precede Purim, and Shabbat Parah and Shabbat
HaChodesh follow Purim. The first day of Nissan is a historic day
for the Jewish people. It was the day when we received our first
commandment as a nation: sanctify the new moon. The new month could only
be declared by a Beit Din (rabbinical court) after hearing the
testimony of two witnesses. This ritual has a profound spiritual and
historic significance for Jews living all over the world. The
establishment of when chagim (holidays) fall, how many days they are and when we celebrate in and out of Israel all relate back to this commandment. By
virtue of this commandment, the Jewish people are given mastery over
time. From that moment the calendar with its cycle of Shabbat, chagim
and festivals could exist only when human witnesses declared the new
month. This signifies more than control over the determination of time
and the everyday events of daily life. It represents the potential for
change and renewal, for rebirth and growth, and for the waning and
waxing of the moon each month. The concept of Rosh Chodesh is
one that connects holiness with time. Sanctifying time and marking it is
central to our lives as Jews. As Abraham Joshua Heschel states,
"Judaism is more concerned with time than space" and Judaism is "a
religion of time aiming at the sanctification of time." The law
also instructs as to count the coming month of Nissan as the first month
of the year. Not Tishrei, not Rosh Hashanah, but Nissan. If the world
was created in Tishrei, then why is Nissan considered the first month of
the year? Ramban understood the rationale of this law in the following way: