Mar 31, 2020

Interesting Psak: messenger to burn chametz

While hagala seems to be out of the question this year before Pesach, except for things you can do yourself at home, burning of the chametz, for some reason, has been particularly worrying for many people.

There really are easy solutions for getting rid of chametz, without burning it and having a conflict with the ban on gatherings, or even just going outside. One can crumble it up and flush it down the toilet, one can eat it, one can pour bleach on it in the garbage, one can burn it on his personal property, and there are probably a few other solutions.

Yet people are still worried - what about burning the chametz? How will we be able to burn the chametz?

And I am pretty confident that on Erev Pesach we will still see images of large groups of people burning their chametz out in public, the police trying to break them up, handing out fines, arresting some...

Rav Chaim Kanievsky has come up with an innovative solution in a psak he issued today on this matter.

According to Behadrei, Rav Kanievsky said that because of the overcrowding and population density in the Haredi neighborhoods, burning the chametz as is normally done will be a significant pikuach nefesh situation. Rav Chaim said that arrangements should be made to burn chametz using a shliach, an appointed messenger, to burn everyone's chametz together and it will be done without gatherings of people. And God Forbid anybody should breach this protocol. Community representatives should make arrangements for this to be done so that no danger to life will be caused.

I don't know if it is connected to this psak or not, but I saw a notice on a Whatsapp group I am on that city leadership is working on a plan now to deliver bags to every home in the city for people to put their chametz in. The chametz will be picked up and collected by designated people and will then be burned on behalf of everyone together. We'll see if it happens or not, but even if not, there are enough alternate solutions available that every person should be able to figure out a way to rid his home of chametz.




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Israel safest country

Good Job Israel! Let's hope we stay at the top of the list of safest countries.. though this almost feels like the Eurovision rankings...




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Bet Shemesh and CoronaVirus

the City of Bet Shemesh, led by Mayor Dr Aliza Bloch and Deputy Mayor Rena Hollander are working hard to get the city through the CoronaVirus crisis with as little damage as possible, and also to help as many people as possible, especially the elderly population, get through it as well.

There is constant encouragement to keep to the Ministry of Health guidelines, and city leadership is working closely with the Ministry of Health and security forces to keep the virus contained and slow the spread as much as possible. The City also sends out a car blasting music with a singer, every day to the streets of a different neighborhood, to bring some cheer and fun to the residents, who are encouraged to sing along and dance on their porches.

But specifically, the city is working hard to support and take care of the elderly. The elderly are encouraged to stay indoors and avail themselves of other people's assistance to do anything that is needed outside the home, such as shopping and whatever. The city made a list of elderly residents and said - we will deliver meals to your door every day so you do not have to go outside and buy food. I registered my parents for this, and they got the meals delivered to their door.

they set up a war room in the RBS Sport Center to deal with the logistics of the meal delivery program, and in conjunction with various chessed organizations and flocks of volunteers, they got it done.


The City of Bet Shemesh also sent out letters to residents letting them know that the city staff is available to assist them in whatever they need and they should not hesitate to call the municipal hotline in this challenging time.

Kudos to the city leadership for working hard to get its residents through this as well as possible!



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Live Tefilla event for Eli Beer's recovery from CoronaVirus

Eli Beer, Director of United Hatzalah, has been in a Miami Hospital being treated for CoronaVirus. His situation was pretty bad for a while and then started to improve. I have not seen any official update in a few days, though I did hear a rumor of a worsening of his situation.

Regardless, it was pretty bad at least at some point and he clearly is not out of the woods yet - there are calls for a nationwide tefilla event for his recovery.

Eli's name for tefilla is Eliezer Yehuda ben Chaya
Join together with thousands of Ichud Hatzala members, friends and supporters LIVE to pray for his full recovery.

The event will include:

  • the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, HaRav Dovid Lau Shlita 
  •  The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, HaRav Amar 
  •  The rav of the Kotel, HaRav Shmuel Rabinowitz Shlita 

The event will be broadcast live from the Kotel TODAY, Tuesday March 31st, at 4pm

Click here to join on Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UneplZQUndM
To join through the phone, call: 0723181719, 0765980010, 0799716522




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the old trope of haredim/Jews carrying disease

So, the City of Ramat Gan will not be building a wall on the border of Ramat Gan and Bnei Braq to protest its residents form the virus possibly spreading from Bnei Braq.

Instead they are just appealing to the Supreme Court to force the State to impose a full closure and lock-down on the city of Bnei Braq. Mayor Shama Hakohen does not want the wall, or realizes he cannot build it, but he also does not want the COVID-19 virus spreading from Bnei Braq, and a full closure might be the only way to do that. If the State won't impose it on its own, even though, reportedly, the Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman has requested it of the Prime Minister, perhaps the Supreme Court will mandate it.

It is not just Ramat Gan. It seems that it is possible that many infected residents of Bnei Braq might be headed to Tzfat for their isolation period, and the people there don't want the Bnei Braqis to come and bring the virus to their city.
source: Actualic

There was also a post on Facebook (in a closed Kfar Saba group so I cannot link to it) in which someone writing, and warning the community, about the area in the Industrial Zone near an egg factory saying the area is packed with Haredim from Bnei Braq (probably having gone there to buy eggs) - while not wanting to be racist or discriminatory, she also wants to prevent them from bringing the virus in massive numbers to the people of Kfar Saba.

Is she being "racist" against Haredim? Is Mayor Shama Hakoen being "racist" against Haredim? Are the people of Tzfat being "racist" against Haredim? Or do they legitimately want to prevent a disease from spreading? Nobody is accusing the Haredim of spreading the disease as if they created it ina  malicious way, but according to all reports, the Bnei Braq population is extremely infected in staggering numbers disproportionate to their place in general society and it is understandable that people would want to keep them at an extra long arm's length and not come into contact with them right now.




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Bennett to the Jewish World: “This year we do a REMOTE Passover Seder. That’s an order! :-)" (video)

I forbid it!






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Orthodox Jewish Couples Get Creative to Celebrate Weddings (video)







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Eretz Nehederet | Fauda VS Corona 馃樂 (video)


this is funny and I don't even watch Fauda




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Synagogues of Israel Part 15 Beit Shemesh B (video)







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Shir Halel - Ana B'choach (video)







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Mar 30, 2020

Picture of the Day




As much as they are breaking the law and not following the guidelines (no beach allowed, no sport, not leaving house beyond 100 meters except for certain defined essential reasons), this is just weird. What exactly is the mask going to be doing in this scene?


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Bnei Braq Corona Drive-Thru

Itai Gadassi, a reporter for Kol Hai News, is reporting that because of the ridiculously high COVID-19 infection rate in Bnei Braq, the Ministry of Health has decided to set up a "drive-thru" complex for rapid Corona testing. Supposedly the mayor of Bnei Braq, Avraham Rubinstein, has already instructed his people to prepare the drive-thru.

With so many residents of Bnei Braq not having cars, I am not sure how much a drive-thru helps - that is, unless they want to catch the matinee and get some good old McDonalds... I would guess it is actually more like a walk-thru than a drive-thru.



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PSA: burning chametz

On Pesach we ask why is this night different than all other nights, but this Pesach we are actually going to have much more differences than in normal years, because of CoronaVirus.

Selling of the chametz will be done mostly using online services, though I am sure some people will still do it the traditional way, just as some people are still insisting on davening in shuls. There are many services online for selling chametz, but here is the one offered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

I don't yet know how hagalat keilim will happen. Maybe it will be performed as normal but with restrictions on how many people can be present and distance kept between them. I guess it is possible, but it seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Additionally,the threat of an even tighter closure in the coming days might make that impossible. Though, again, I am sure some people will do this no matter what the closure situation is and no matter what the Ministry of Health allow or does not allow.

Many people buy new dishes or pots and other utensils before Pesach. That is likely true especially this year when people who normally go away will be staying home and making Pesach. With the mikvahs closed, mostly, many people are finding other solutions due to the inability to tovel the stuff. Tzohar is offering a service of selling your dishes to a non-Jew so they wont need to be toveled. Others are making their dishes hefker. And I heard another psak about simply not needing to because of the absurd situation we are in with the inability to tovel. After the situation calms down, no matter which solution you avail yourself of now, you will later have to tovel the dishes (speak to your rabbi if you are in this situation, but this is what I have heard in multiple shiurim about this). Kosharot has also paskened that selling to a goy is not a good long term solution. Kosharot says there is no problem toveling dishes now and it should be done with care (gloves, etc), but if someone can't or is too woried too, base don psak by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, he can use those utensils without tevila temporarily and the dishes should be marked so he remembers to tovel them later.

Burning chametz is an issue. It will be an even bigger issue in the event of a full closure, but for now it is only an issue. Of course one can solve the problem for himself by burning his chametz in his own yard or porch in a safe manner. Another solution is not burning any chametz but disposing of it in other ways, or by selling it all.

But if you want to burn chametz, as of now, the City of Bet Shemesh just released instructions on how to do so in light of the CoronaVirus restrictions and guidelines.

Shemesh posted the rules from the city information:

Biur Chametz will only be carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, which are constantly being updated.
As of March 25th, there can be up to 2 people at each location so that no gathering is formed.
The Chametz should be thrown into the fire and after saying the Nusach, residents are requested to return home immediately.
Please wear personal protective equipment (gloves and masks).
Keep a distance of two meters from person to person.
Children should not be brought at allAdditional guidelines:A. The containers will be put out in various locations throughout the city on Wednesday, April 8, 讬"讚 谞讬住谉, until 11:00 AM, after which they will be collected.
B . The public is asked to burn the Chametz only in these containers and not in any other areas.
C. Only food items related to the Mitzvah should be discarded. Other items are prohibited. The issue will be enforced.
D. Fire safety rules must be followed; no fuel should be used to light the fire.
E. Municipal employees will carry out strict supervision and enforcement at the Biur Chametz stations
Please observe the rules to avoid any unpleasantness.
Click here for a list of sites for burn Chametz around the city: https://go.aws/2UNH3my

So, yes, due to the situation, this year's Pesach is looking a lot different than in previous years. There are solutions for every issue and situation. If you are not sure what to do or what can be done, ask your rabbi for guidance and pay attention to the safety rules publicized by the Ministry of Health.







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All the gas but nowhere to go

With nowhere to go and nothing to do, and not even being allowed to be out of your house for almost any reason, the government is lowering the price of gas.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday night, the price of regular unleaded gasoline will be lowered to 4.89nis per liter. Since I have been in Israel with a car, nearly 25 years, I do not remember the price of gas being this low. This price drop would be slashing 17.3% off the current price.

It seems to be a result of the CoronaVirus causing the prices of oil and benzine to drop drastically.
source: Ynet

Just our luck. The normally high price of gas drops significantly but there is no real reason to fill up your tank because there is no way to take advantage of it.



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We Will Not Build That Wall!

The quick spread of COVID-19 through the population of Bnei Braq is troubling, and seemingly even more troubling among the neighboring population of Ramat Gan. The people of Ramat Gan seem to be concerned that the spread won't just stop at the municipal border of Bnei Braq but will move form there and ravage them in Ramat Gan.

To that end, many residents in Ramat Gan have been writing to the mayor, Carmel Shama Hakohen, demanding that he build a wall between Ramat Gan and Bnei Braq, to prevent the entry of COVID-19 from one to the other.

As funny as that is, the Mayor of Ramat Gan responded with a Facebook post saying it ain't gonna happen.

Shama Hakohen explained that only the police and the army have the authority to seal off a city or neighborhood. He said people can stop writing to him demanding he build such a wall or separation fence on the border with Bnei Braq, because he does not have the authority to build it, and definitely not the time to build one now.

Hakohen goes on to talk about the spread of the virus and the necessity to stay in to avoid infection and further spreading and says the best wall is the walls of your house along with adherence to the rules of the Ministry of Health. In conclusion, Shama Hakohen adds in the comments, walls are built to keep terrorists out, not brothers, and definitely not brothers in a time of need.

It's a funny request, troubling as it is, based on panic created by the incessant news cycle focusing 24/7 on CoronaVirus that people are glued to. His response means nobody will confuse him with Donald Trump.




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Yoeli Dikman - Sheas Rahamim (video)







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Palestinian prisoners: Why were you in prison in Israel? (video)

the jails are full of innocent people...





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Man in quarantine does FULL IRONMAN!! (video)

Inspired by Elisha Nochomovitz, the man that succeeded in running a full marathon on his balcony in France, Ezra Weiser decided to take it 2 steps further. In light of the recent Covid-19 or Coronavirus outbreak, with everyone spending their time in lockdown, Ezra didn't want to let this epidemic prevent him from overcoming is self-implemented challenge. This triathlete spent a the better part of 6 months training for the Jerusalem marathon 2020 that takes place in Israel. Sadly due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many were forced to find other means of exercise and self fulfilment. Ezra had already run the marathon at least twice during lockdown and needed to find home activities to not become a couch potato. He implemented home workouts that already require social distancing. Ezra felt that this challenge helped him overcome his cabin fever and sees this as a more beneficial alternative to watching Netflix and Youtube as a daily activity. An Ironman race is a triathlon consisting of swimming, cycling, and running. In that order. It's a huge endurance feat that requires a lot of motivation and helps improve your mental health. Although it was tough to do a full Ironman in the confines of his own apartment, Ezra believes that it's imperative to take social distancing seriously during this Coronavirus outbreak and prevent the spread of Covid-19, and in doing so, we can flatten the curve. SYKE!! Its all a joke! We just wanted to make a funny video that has little to do with coronavirus. A little comedy in this dark time doesn't hurt anyone. If anything it helps improve mental health during this global health and economic crisis. But seriously take part in the social distancing, you save lives that way. Otherwise you can cause someone else to die do to the coronavirus. So, STAY HOME!






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Oklahoma Senator James Lankford reads Psalms 121 during CoronaVirus Stimulus Bill vote #covid19 (video)







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Avi Beer- Anyone (feat. Eli Dachs) [Official Music Video]







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Mar 29, 2020

Yom Haatzmaut celebrations logo revealed


Can you imagine thinking about Yom Haatzmaut celebrations now? We are barely making it to Pesach. Nobody knows if there will be eggs or not  (supposedly a million trays of eggs have been imported and are waiting at the docks for the distribution to the supermarkets), nobody knows if there will be a full closure and lock-down imposed in the coming days keeping us indoors for supposedly up to 3 weeks, nobody knows anything. We can barely plan for Pesach, let alone Yom Haatzmaut.

How free and independent are we anyway, if we are locked up in our homes under quarantine, as a nation? I guess we'll be asking that on Pesach as well when we saying that once we were slaves but now we are free people - are we really?

So, celebrating our freedom and independence while not being able to go outside. Can you imagine the ceremonies, with social distancing in effect and no crowds? No concerts throughout the neighborhoods, no fireworks, no going to the forests and trails for hikes, picnics and barbecues. Will there be the annual International Bible Quiz? How will that work in the middle of the battle with COVID-19?

I don't know how any of this will work, but it seems weird to me that instead of just cancelling the celebrations for this year they are still making plans... they even just came out with a logo for the Yom Haatzmaut theme..
source: Kipa





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coronavirus forum for men

 friend asked me to post this forum for men to talk about the emotional effect of CoronaVirus and social distancing, so here it is..

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mendel-horowitz-ms-08b7586b_coronavirus-supportgroup-amudim-activity-6649043618088665088-ZAdK

Interesting Psak: daven at home

The city of Bnei Braq has been hit by the CoronaVirus particularly hard and the Haredi community there, and elsewhere, is reeling from it. It is not just from events like the funeral yesterday of a Peleg-associated rabbi that has hundreds in attendance not keeping any of the social distancing rules, but the minyanim and mikvas and general population density of Bnei Braq makes it troublesome. I don't know what reports are exaggerated and what is real, but they are talking about many people there having caught the virus and it spreading like wildfire. Only now are the community leaders there finally taking notice and changing their tune as far as behavioral instructions.

To that end, Rav Chaim Kanievsky just issued a psak a short while ago that they hope will be more effective in making people stop and take notice.

Rav Kanievsky paskened, currently specifically for Bnei Braq and not in general, that people should daven alone at home and not in any shul. People should NOT make private minyanim. It is pikuach nefesh.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky adds that anyone not davening at home but in a minyan has the status of a rodef and if you are aware of such a minyan or person you must report him to the authorities, even with the knowledge that this might lead to him being arrested or slapped with a large fine. If you are aware of someone who is meant to be in quarantine but is not following the quarantine rules, you are allowed to shame him publicly over this.

Rav Kanievsky also added that this is not just for davening, but people should also learn Torah at home and not in shuls, even alone in shuls and batei medrash.
source: Behadrei, Kikar, among others

Many people find interesting and creative ways around this in other cities in which this has already been in practice, such as balcony or porch minyanim with people each on their own porch davening together with someone central they can all hear leading the services. It is cute, but the rabbonim did not say to find a way around it. They said daven at home. As innovative as such solutions might be, and seemingly safe, they create an atmosphere of looking for ways around the rules, and even if this or that person is careful to do it while following the guidelines strictly, maybe other people will take example without being as careful. Additionally, I myself have seen such minyanim that seem to be ok, but then other people join in below in the center in the parking lot between the buildings and porches, and invariably those people often are not keeping the guidelines carefully. Stop trying to outwit the system. Just daven at home, as the rabbonim say to. Right now be machmir on pikuach nefesh.


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empty streets

I saw this last night. It just happens to be that yesterday morning I went out to the porch for some fresh air and I was looking down at the [mostly] empty streets. I was thinking that if the streets stay empty for a few good days, we will soon see the wildlife come in from the hills surrounding Bet Shemesh and wander the streets curiously... Sure enough just then a few people walked by, and then a few more, so I guess we are not there just yet, but maybe if the threat of a full lock-down actually happens...






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Headlines Podcast: 3/28/20 - Show 265 - Contemporary Corona Halacha questions (audio)






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Coronavirus Q & A with Rav Herschel Schachter (video)







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How Do You Make Matzah? (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 14 Beit Shemesh A (video)







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Hanan Ben Ari: Missing People (official music video)







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Mar 26, 2020

I don't get it

Every day in the news, including today, there are reports of the police discovering schools still in session and breaking them up, or shuls still meeting for services and locking them up. This is true in both Israel and in the USA (and maybe other places as well, though I pay less attention to them). Yes, other gatherings as well by other types of people - same issue, whether some form of protest or prayer vigil or just lackadaisical whimsy behavior (beach goers and general entertainment).

I just do not get it. I am not going to argue about how important minyan is and if it should supersede pikuach nefesh or not. I am not going to go on a rant about people who insist on davening with a minyan in these times. But I don't get it. Do they not see what is going on around them? Do they not see people are getting sick all around, and plenty are dying?

Even if they are not concerned about being involved in the spread of the disease to other people, do they not care about themselves? Do they really think they are immune to it and can congregate and hold services or lessons together and they will just be ok, as if they know where eve other person has been and with whom they have been in contact?

I just don't get it.




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Speaker

Netanyahu and his Likud MKs have scoffed at Gantz's speaking abilities to no end, throughout 3 electoral campaigns, and now the Likud and Netanyahu are supporting Gantz for the position of "Speaker" of the Knesset

That's called irony


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Drama in the Knesset

There is a lot of drama going on in the Knesset right now. Bibi might have finally succeeded in finding a way to break up Kachol Lavan. I am not going to speculate on how this will turn out until it is done, as it can turn so many ways, but the reports are that we are likely headed to a unity government with Yesh Atuid breaking off from Kachol Lavan.

High drama

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Quote of the Day

He who saves one person it is as if he saved an entire world. With Corona this has a second side - whoever infected one person it is as if he infected an entire world. Not "as if" but literally.

  -- PM Benjamin Netanyahu



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Goral HaGra for CoronaVirus

Rav Binyamin Elyashiv performed the Goral HaGra for the CoronaVirus. According to the results, he says in Israel it will be over quickly. People abroad who support Israel (not sure in what way or what this means) will also be considered in Israel and will be protected and saved.

As always, with such matters, all I can say is Halevai, from his mouth to God's ears.





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Jeremy Saltan on Speaker Edelstein & The Supreme Court (March 24 2020) (video)







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best job ever to survive a recession (video)

funny that he considers this a job to list on his resume among his jobs...

This is Robert Largan, in discussions of the CoronaVirus Bill.





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Cantor Yudi Cohen | Birchas HaChodesh Nissan | COVID-19 (video)







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Ari Goldwag - Bitchu - Trust in Hashem [Official Video]

Ari Goldwag returns with another touching song and video, reminding us to look through our own personal lives to see how much Hashem has taken care of us every single day - this contemplation can help us be sure that He will continue to support and care for us.






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Mar 25, 2020

Tocho Ratzuf Ahava by Merav Brenner and the Hallel Choir (video)







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Picture of the Day


Rav Mordechai Gross from Bnei Braq took a minyan to Meron to the Kever Rashbi with sets of 4 minim, lulav esrog hadas and arava. They circled the kever 7 times while holding the 4 species and while chanting tehillim and whatnot. This ceremony was held in order to bring the plague to its conclusion.

I just want to know where they got such nice lulavs and esrogs at this time of year...




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Facebook Status of the Day

I find Rav Yoni Rosenzweig to be very thoughtful in his psak and discussions, and he raises some interesting points here talking about the ZOOM psak..






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Interesting Psak: conducting the Pesach seder via ZOOM to include elderly grandparents

The rabbis of an organization called "Igud Chachmey HaMaarav", which seems to be an organization of rabbis of Moroccan descent, has issued an interesting psak very relevant to the upcoming Pesach.

The question posted to the group of rabbis was because of the CoronaVirus, elderly people will not be able to join their children and grandchildren at the Pesach seder this year and will have to celebrate the seder alone. The question is if the families could set up a ZOOM connection to video broadcast the seder between the family and the elderly grandparents, thus allowing the families to celebrate together and not be alone. Obviously no actual action would be taken during the holiday to work the system - the screens would be set up and activated in advance in each house before the holiday begins and be ready and waiting for them to just sit down at the seder and begin. Would this be allowed in this time of need and emergency?

The group of rabbis issued a psak in response that because of the tense situation we find ourselves in, it would be allowed to conduct the seder jointly using ZOOM video conferencing as a medium. They stress that the allowance is for this year alone due to the situation. Adding to that is the seder night being one that facilitates many people performing mitzvas they would otherwise not do simply if not for the connection with their grandparents, and that is very important.

Further, it is necessary to lighten the burden and stress on the elderly and infirm, and to give them purpose and motivation to avoid depression and weakness but to fight to continue.

The letter is signed by 14 rabbis, some of whose names I am familiar with, and most of whom I have never heard of, and are very significant rabbis and poskim.
source: Kipa

I am surprised. This sort of takes the "heter kiruv" to an extreme. I get the extenuating circumstances, and I am still surprised by the psak. Also, I was surprised to learn that, according to the letter, sefardi rabbonim generally allow one to turn on lights and activate electricity on yomtov. I did not know that.

As to the issue itself, using ZOOm would require a paid subscription. The free account cuts off after 40 minutes or so, so that would not even make it to the seder if you turn it on before the holiday begins. The only way would be to use a paid subscription. Or you can use a different platform like skype or Google Meet or something else.

Another issue would be the concern of someone trying to adjust the screen or turn it back on if the connection gets cut off, or if sound quality drops. If turning on electricity is not a concern for sefardim, it might not be an issue though that is not what the psak allowed - the psak only allowed turning it on before chag, not during chag. Ashkenazim relying on this would have a problem in such a situation, and the concern that this might happen could be enough of a reason to not allow it.

ZOOM also might not be the best platform for this because of the way it works, with the screen adjusting between the cameras based on who is talking. So when a person talks at the seder, he or she will be causing the screen to adjust and something in zoom to activate and change. Again, a different platform might not have this issue. And again, for sefardim this might be less of a concern.

UPDATE:
since the letter was published yesterday evening, two of the rabbis signed on it have backed out, each for his own reason. One because he says it was not supposed to be published yet but he had expected it to be sent to gedolim for approval, and since it was not he backs out. The other because it was not supposed to be published publicly but to be kept private and only used in the most extreme situations upon personal consultation with the rabbi. The cat may already be out of the bag, but we'll see how this progresses.




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Quote of the Day

The mitzva of 'honor your father and your mother" in our time now is to not visit your parents and grandparents. My father will make his own Pesach seder, alone. It pains us, but that is what will keep him alive.

  -- MK Ayelet Shaked (Yamina)




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Inside Israel Today: Comedy in quarantine? (video)







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Latma is back! (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 13 Beer Sheva (video)







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Yonina- I Can Do It (video)







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Mar 24, 2020

Corona Bonds might save the economy

The Israeli response to the COVID-19 threat might be necessary for containing the virus, or for "flattening the curve", as they like to say, but it is wreaking havoc on the Israeli economy and on the workforce. Reports have more than 615,000 new filings for unemployment since the beginning of March, businesses are collapsing due to the closures, freelancers are collapsing and are not even included in unemployment figures, and small businesses are struggling to stay open...

But the government has a plan to fix the economy. The government needs cash to pay the unemployed and get through this, but they can't really raise taxes. They have come up with a plan to issue "Corona Bonds" - the people of Israel will have to buy these bonds, thereby lending the Israeli government money, which will be paid back over time, with interest and adjusted for cost of living, when the bonds come due.
source: News13

The only problem I see with this program is that they think the public has money to lend the government. The problem is caused by so many losing their jobs, so many people being forced to close their businesses, etc.. where is the public going to get the money to pay for this when so many have no idea how they will get through the crisis and continue putting food on the table and paying the rent and their bills?





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the weddings should outlast Corona

Last night the police broke up a wedding in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem that had too many guests present, against the guidelines and allowances of the Ministry of Health. They had more than 30 guests present, at least when the police arrived. The police broke up the wedding party and fined the chosson 5000nis for the violation.

These ad hoc, on the sly weddings, and minyanim, kind of make me, and many other people, think back to the stories of the days of the Crypto Jews (aka Marranos), or the days of Soviet Russia, or other times when Jews had to sneak around and do their mitzvahs as best they could but in secret. The difference is that now the government is not hostile and the reason for the restrictions is due to a serious health crisis and danger to life, not an anti-religion edict.

Back to our joyous groom in Jerusalem...Even after paying the 5000NIS fine, he still saved a ton of money by having his wedding now, during the days of COVID-19, with these guests, and he probably thinks it was worth it even with the fine! He paid 5000nis vs ~50000nis a regular wedding would have cost...

After all this will be over and the danger to people's health and life will be nothing but a memory, I hope the one thing that remains is that we don't go back to make big weddings in halls with parties that we can barely afford, at best. These small intimate weddings taking place in homes with just family and select friends seem lovely, joyous and the simplicity is appealing...



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Covid Habriyos vs CoronaVirus

MK Moshe Abutbol (Shas) has sent a letter to the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Eli Cohen, asking for an exception granted to the closure of businesses due to the COVID-19 [partial] lock-down that includes non-essential businesses.

Abutbol's request is that Cohen grant an exception to the non-essential business closure to the barbershop industry. Currently, Cohen's order prevent barbershops from opening and doing business until after Pesach - at which point I assume the situation will be re-evaluated in general and restrictions will be either lifted, left in place or even possibly made stricter. I think the danger in opening barbershops is obvious, with customers in close proximity to each other and to the barbers, the threat of spreading COVID-19 is significant.

Abutbol wants barbershops excepted because after Pesach people who keep Torah and mitzvos have the custom of not getting haircuts, to commemorate the death of Rabbi Akiva's students (ironically, who may have died of a plague). If barbershops cannot open between now and Pesach, and then people can't get haircuts for 5 or more weeks (as some wait all the way until Shvuos), that is too much time to be reasonable and would be a burden on the people who normally rush to get haircuts before Pesach, before the Omer customs set in.

From the perspective of people needing haircuts, it seems like a reasonable request. Going at least 3 weeks now, plus at least another 5 weeks, is a long time to go with no haircut for most people. From the perspective of the risk of helping CoronaVirus spread, the haircut seems petty and unimportant. And some/many people can cut their own hair at home if they really need to before the holiday.

Maybe a better solution would be asking the Chief Rabbis, either Rabbi Lau or Rabbi Yosef or both, to give an allowance for people to get haircuts after Pesach, during the Omer, when necessary, due to the extenuating circumstances combined with the danger of COVID. They already gave an allowance for weddings during the Omer because of COVID, maybe they can do the same for haircuts.

Covid Habriyos, pun intended, is a serious thing, though I am not sure it is more important than a health danger.




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Quote of the Day

Instead of my children going to school and being with 16 kids in a room, they are home with 24 kids in in a closed room

  -- Yoelish Krausz

haha!



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Natan Sharansky gives advice from the gulag how to function in quarantine (video)

this is great




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Zusha - Be Yourself, No One Else Can - ( The Great Day Podcast ) Episode 11 (video)







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Halev Sheli Cover l Devorah Schwartz & Bracha Jaffe l KOL ISHA (video)

Right now all of Klal Yisroel's hearts are ripped in two. But thankfully there are ways today where we can still bring ourselves together and connect , like this split screen Cover that Bracha and I, are presenting to you.






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SIMCHA LEINER | We Go On! | (Official Music Video)







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Mar 23, 2020

The Corona has not "passed over" a single house

This article in Kikar is about how bad the CoronaVirus situation has gotten in New York. According to the people interviewed in the article, it has gotten so bad that, and the title of the article is based on this, the Corona has not passed over a single house in the city (referring to the Jewish community) and every family has someone affected by it. They are all afraid for their elderly, for the young, etc.

As sad as that is, and I wish them all a refuah shleimah, it makes me think of Pesach and the agent of destruction that did not pass over a single house to kill the first born. The Jews were told to put blood on the doorposts so the agent of destruction would know to pass over their houses.

I don't think blood on the doorposts would go over very well in New York right now, but maybe some sign would be helpful to keep the agent of destruction away...



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Kashrut Alert on Quarter Lamb

The Rabbanut has issued a kashrut alert on packages of "quarter lamb" puchased in osher Ad.

The only packages affected by the this alert are those that say the shchita was done on January 10, 2020. The packages were sold in Osher Ad, and possibly elsewhere. If you bought this, it should be returned to the store immediately.

The packages of quarter lamb in question are under the hechsher of the Rabbanut and under the hechsher of Beit Yosef. It seems that the treiboring was not done properly on one batch and some traces of prohibited fats were left on the meat. The importer is Net Melinda, and the shchita was done in Snata Cruz.

If you have this specific item, return it.







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Facebook Status of the Day






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Pesach will be right on schedule

In case yesterday's post about the petition to the Supreme Court to postpone Pesach by a month by forcing the Rabbanut to declare a leap year, to ease the burden on families already weighed down by partial lockdown due to COVID-19, threw you out of whack not knowing whether to clean and prepare for Pesach or not, you can get back to schedule now.

The Supreme Court heard the case to delay Pesach. They decided against.

According to the Supreme Court judges, they do not have the status of Sanhedrin and do not have the authority to make such a decision.

Justice Noam Solberg basically told Meshulami that he was reading the Rambam wrong and that you cannot just take the declaring of a leap year lightly. The authority was given to the Sanhedrin or an authorized beit din in Eretz Yisrael, and the Court will not overstep its bounds into the territory o the Sanhedrin.

Basically, it aint happening. Just in case you thought there was a chance.

sources: Calcalist, JPost





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DST goes into quarantine because of CoronaVirus

There was a lot of fallout from COVID-19 yesterday.

One of the bigger victims, perhaps the biggest, was Daylight Savings Time. Or maybe I should say, potential victims, as it is unclear what exactly will happen.

The government has decided that if some farmer in Itamar is not going to be able to force them to push Pesach off by an entire month, the government will at least delay Daylight Savings Time by a month.

DST was set to go into effect in Israel this Thursday night (Friday morning), moving the clock from 2am to 3am. That would instantly make sunrise an hour "later", and sunset as well. The benefits and detriments notwithstanding, Israel has for the past decade or so had DST dates set in law rather than the annual horse trading over it, and DST has since always been set to start before Pesach.

The government decided that DST would give more opportunity for people to break the rules of social distancing in the evenings, which would remain sunlit later, and that goes against what the government is trying to accomplish with the partial lockdown to help contain the COVID-19 virus.

So the government debated it, Aryeh Deri, Minister of Interior pushed for it, and it was decided to approve it. The problem is that there is no legal government, so there is no real way to do this. It went to the Attorney General, and he approved it, setting in motion the actual change of DST to May 1. That means Pesach will not have a late evening start and we'll all be able to start our seder by 7pm or so.

This all happened late yesterday.

This morning we woke up to the news that officials in various state institutions are claiming that they are not going to be able to put this into effect, and it will create chaos. According to what they are saying, the DST has been put in place and is part of the systems all set to take effect this week, in just a few days. It is in the computers and cellphones and websites and servers and businesses and hospitals and all sorts of machinery all over the country is designed to run with the DST date as part of its systems. Changing it now does not give them enough time to make all the necessary changes, and come Friday morning we will see chaos and some things get changed properly and others do not. Reminds me of Y2K, but we'll see if this affects the decision or if they move ahead with it anyway.

I also saw last night that some Haredi leaders were protesting the change saying that calendars were already printed taking DST into effect and changing it now will create chaos in the communities with some people knowing what happened and adjusting accordingly and others going according to the printed luach and not realizing it was changed and doing things on the wrong times.

Whatever ends up happening, and I suspect that DST will remain switched to May and they will overcome these obstacles, I do not really see much of a difference. We are all in partial lockdown anyway - does it really matter if sunrise and sunset is an hour earlier or an hour later? We have nowhere to go and nothing really important to do anyway.I dont think this is something to get worked up about.

UPDATE:
DST is officially going into effect on schedule, this Thursday night - Friday morning at 2am. Too many government offices said it is too late for such a change and it cannot happen.



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Quote of the Day

The run to shut down the shuls bothers me a little bit. Supermarkets are open, and that is a good thing, as people need food. The shul is spiritual food.

  -- Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau

Even if it is necessary, it bothers me a bit too. People are very zealous about shutting the shuls. Again, even if necessary, and it is, it should pain us more and many of us seem to take that project on with tremendous vigor and no second thought. And Rabbi Lau is not saying we should not close the shuls, but it should at least be troubling and painful.


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Underdo: Mr Fudelman: The Kashrut Certificate (video)







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The Lenny Solomon Ruach Sessions (video)



Recorded on March 19, 2020 Lenny Solomon went into the Daniel Aloni Studio in Moshav Yishi and recorded the first ever Ruach Sessions. A 47 minute video with the purpose to lift your spirits and get you closer to God! The band consisted of Lenny Solomon on Keyboard and Vocals, Mike Roth on Drums, Rami Strosberg on Sax and Vocals, Avrahom Berk on Trumpet and Vocals and Menachem Herman on Guitar. The engineer was Jeff Horvitch and the video men were Dani Wetzler and Natan Phillipson from the Video Eden company.




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Chaim Dovid Berson with Nissim Black (video)




讞讬讬诐 讚讜讚 讘专住讜谉 讘讚讜讗讟 注诐 谞讬住讬诐 讘诇讗拽 from 讞专讚讬诐 10 on Vimeo.



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Mar 22, 2020

circumcisions delayed because of Corona

People are so concerned about the CoronaVirus that they are pushing off circumcisions because of it.

According to Arutz7 many mohels are reporting on cancellations because of CoronaVirus. Parennts are concerned and figure they will wait until later when everything calms down.

While mohels are encouraging parents to do it now with small ceremonies with just family and everyone staying more than 2 meters apart (though I am not sure how the mohel, baby, sandek, at minimum, can be far enough apart), and even to have a younger sandek  - younger than 50 years old - it is becoming a common theme for parents to decide to wait and not do it now.

Also, according to a Haredi news twitter feed called "Haskupim", Rav Chaim Kanievsky has decided that now he will not attend any more bris ceremonies even as sandek, because of the CoronaVirus issue. He normally is sandek multiple times every day. According to the news blurb, 4 bris ceremonies that were scheduled for tomorrow have been canceled. I hope, but am not sure, that "canceled" just means canceled in relation to it being in his shul and having Rav Kanievsky as sandek, but it will still go on elsewhere.

This is a big problem. I don't know if it is practical to perform the bris mila in one of those protective hazmat suits. Metzitza b'Peh, if done, would be difficult with the mask and whatnot. Maybe a number of mohels could be screened in advance and given the all clear to be used for circumcisions now, with testing or follow-up weekly visits to make sure nothing has changed.


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lawsuit against Chief Rabbinate to postpone Pesach

I got a kick out of this

Someone from the town of Itamar, Yedidya Meshulami, filed a lawsuit with the Israeli Supreme Court to force the Chief Rabbinate to change 5780 into a leap year, adding a second Adar, thus pushing off Nissan and Pesach by a month.

Meshulami says that the CoronaVirus crisis with all the restrictions on movement placed by the Ministry of Health is making it very difficult for so many people to prepare properly for Pesach. The public sector and government institutions will also have a very difficult time preparing properly for Pesach.

Meshulami says declaring a leap year was always up to the people of Israel in the land, and it was done for numerous reasons and keeping public order.

Meshulami is suing to force the Rabbinate to declare a leap year at any point up until the last possible moment - Wednesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan, at 5pm (17:00). Doing this would postpone Pesach by a month. Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Hashoah would also all be postponed similarly. All this will help us all, and the State, prepare properly for these upcoming holidays.
sources: Kikar, Kipa, Jewish Press

I am not sure how this works once we have all "bentched" the new month already this past Shabbos. Is that just symbolic and it can still be changed?

I also wonder if he asked the Rabbanut and what their response was prior to going to the Supreme Court.

Somehow I don't see this happening...



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Amazon free shipping to Israel no longer shipping

It looks like the free shipping to Israel promo on Amazon has come to an end... at least for now.

With no fanfare and no announcement, the "this items ships to Israel for free on orders of over $49" has simply disappeared.

Had they announced an end date they probably would have had a million or so last minute orders in an attempt by people to get that last thing in under the deadline. Now there are many forlorn expats and Israelis upset and frustrated that they have been sitting on a few items in their shopping cart that they were just waiting to order...

Hopefully it is just because of logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis and when that settles down the promo will be back, but the reason is unclear. Amazon has been silent on the matter as of now.




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Headlines Podcast: 3/21/20 - Show 264 - Covid 19; pressing Halacha and hashkafic questions discussed (audio)







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LAKEWOOD MOTHER CORONAVIRUS IS A GIFT (video)

a gift? tell that to the many people who are sick and especially to those at higher risk of dying from it.

Honestly though, while she is being mocked online for being a nutcase, I don't really care what she thinks or believes as long as she keeps to the rules of social distance and hygiene and does not do anything to possibly spread the virus further. Some people who believe things like this also say that they do not need to follow the rules - she is not doing that, so I really don't care..





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Netanyahu: daven to Hashem for a solution (video)







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Synagogues of Israel Part 12 Beer Sheva (video)







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