Friday, June 4, 2010

SHABBAT: Understanding the Kiddush (especially if you don’t say it!)

Today is the 22nd of Sivan , 5770

Shomea ke’one is an Halakhic principle which says that if we both have an obligation to recite certain prayer or blessing, I can say it out loud, on behalf of us both and you have fulfilled your obligation. For example, we both have the obligation to say the Kiddush, I can say it aloud and by listening to me your obligation is fulfilled.

There are a few conditions that have to be met, however, for this law to be applicable.

1. The one that says the Kiddush has to have in mind that he is reciting the Kiddush on behalf of all those who are listening to it and the ones listening have to consciously intend to fulfill their obligation by listening to the one who recites the Kiddush and of course, at the end, they have to answer :Amen.

2. When you say the Kiddush you fulfill your obligation even if you don’t understand the meaning of the Hebrew words you’re saying. But when you are fulfilling your obligation by listening, according to the Shulchan Arukh, you must understand what has been said.

So, if you are listening to the Kiddush, either you have to whisper word by word while you’re listening or, ideally, you need to learn what the Hebrew words of the Kiddush mean.

For translation and transliteration of the Kiddush see:

Hadlakat Nerot 8:04 PM. Shabbat Shalom!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

LASHON HARA and innocent bystanders

Today is the 21st day of Sivan, 5770

You are sitting at someone's table in a party or at a reception and several people start speaking Lashon haRa. What do you do? As we have learned, listening to Lashon haRa is as bad as speaking Lashon haRa; how, then, can you avoid transgression?

You have a few options:

1. You can rebuke the gossipers -making sure, of course, to do it in a very respectful way. You can remind them that this is a Torah prohibition, Halakhically equivalent to munching on shrimp or bacon.

2. If you know that they will not listen to rebuke then "it is a great mitzvah," according to the Chofetz Chaim, to get up and leave the table.

3. If you find this impossible, then you should prepare yourself to stand firm so that you will not be guilty of a great sin.

Make sure to fulfill the follow­ing requirements:

a. Decide firmly in your mind that you will refuse to give credit to any Lashon haRa.

b. Make sure that your facial expression does not convey any hint of approval of whatever, is being said. If possible, your expression should convey strong discomfort.

The above applies if one is innocently sitting at one's place when the Lashon haRa conversation is taking place. However, if someone strolls through an area where he overhears such a conversation and stops to listen, then it is considered a willful sin, even if one takes no part in the conversation and does not approve of it.

Adapted from: “Chofetz Chaim, a daily companion”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Today is the 20th of Sivan 5770

In our Wednesday’s KASHRUT section HOTD is introducing the reader to the world of reliable Kashrut certifications. We already talked about OU and OK, two major companies in the Kashrut world.

As all KASHRUT symbol, KOF –K symbol (see their web site: is protected under Federal law against unauthorized use.

Today we will discuss the KOF-K, one of the foremost Kosher certification agencies in the United States.

KOF (or KAF) is the name of the 11th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet and the first letter of the word KASHER in Hebrew. .

The Kashrus policies of KOF –K are governed by a Rabbinic committee who reviews and decide all questions of Halacha (Jewish law) which may arise in the course of food production

From KOF –K home page:

KOF-K is directed by a staff of Kosher food production specialists, each an expert in various aspects of the food industry. Always available for consultation are flavor chemists, dairy and bakery professionals, meat processing advisers and computer experts. The KOF-K has an international network of regional coordinators and Rabbinic representatives based in major American cities, Canada, South and Central America, Australia, Western and Eastern Europe, the Orient and Israel. These representatives conduct frequent visits to major manufacturers and their suppliers at every location where Kosher supervision is needed. Confidentiality of all proprietary information is assured.

Watch the KOF-K presentation video:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eloke Yitzchak. The God of our father Yitzchak.

Today is the 19th of Sivan 5770

From Abraham Abinu we've learned that God is one, the He does not have a body and that He cares about us as a father cares about his children.

Yitzchak, Abraham’s son, revealed an additional layer of God/Israel - Father/son relationship: same as a father, God is also the authority.

Yitzchak experienced this matter "literally" in his own flesh. Although we always think about Abraham’s great courage when he was ordered to sacrifice Yitzchak, we should also bear in mind Yitzchak’s thoughts and feelings at the time of his sacrifice (which after all is called Akedat Yitzchak, the sacrifice of Yitzchak!). Yitzchak was not a baby but a fully conscious adult man. Our Rabbis explained that Yitzchak knew exactly what Abraham’s intentions were and far from rebelling against his father he was willing to offer his life to fulfill God’s commandment.

While Abraham discovered God’s love (Chesed) for His children, Yitzchak discovered God’s power (Gebura) over our lives. Abraham saw that HaShem gave us our lives, Yitzchak also realized that it is God who determines when our lives end.

From Abraham and Yitzchak we've learned that God is simultaneously our father and our King (abinu malkenu). As a father, we owe God our appreciation, as a King we owe God obedience.

Same as our parents, we love haShem but we must also revere Him.