Monday, March 25, 2013


Ta'anit Bekhorot (Fast of the first born) 
In order to persuade Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go out of Egypt, the Almighty inflicted upon them ten plagues.  The last one, the plague that finally persuaded Pharaoh to let the people go, was the death of the first-born.  While every Egyptian first born was killed the Jewish first-born were saved because the Almighty  (Ex. 11:27)  "...protected (=pasah) the houses of the people of Israel, at the time the angel of death (=mashchit) was inflicting the Egyptians first-born with death".  In remembrance of this special protection, this festival is named "Pesah", and the first-born fast on Pesah eve.

 If on the fast day there is a Berit Mila, a Pidion or a Siyum Masekhet (=the conclusion of a Talmudic treatise) and the first-born is present at the event, he will be exempted from the fast.  It is customary that the Rabbi of the community arranges for a Siyum Masekhet for that day so the first-born would circumvent the fast and thus won't feel weak at the time of the Seder.

In most communities this fast is only customary for first-born males, not females.  In case the first-born is a young boy, many communities follow the tradition that the father fasts on his son's behalf. Many families  have the tradition that when the first born breaks the fast they do not eat Hametz anymore and the females first-born also refrain from eating Hametz.

Each community should follow their own traditions and customs. 

Akhilat Matza  (Eating Matza  on Pesah Eve)

On Pesah eve we should not eat Matza .  We keep the taste of the Matza for its ideal moment: the night of the Seder. We are allowed to eat Matza 'ashira or egg Matza  (see HERE) .  In general, today we should eat light at noon and afternoon so we reserve our appetite for the Seder. 

LAST TIME TO EAT HAMETZ TODAY: 10.14 am (in some communities they set this time at 10.00 am)
LAST TIME FOR BI'UR HAMETZ  (getting rid of Hametz by burning, throwing away, to the sea, etc. see this) , and LAST TIME for stating the second and last BITUL HAMETZ  (see this) is 11.23 am (in some communities they set this time every year at 11.00 am).

The text for the last bitul is: 
"KAL CHAMIRA DEIKA BIRSHUTI DECHAZITEH VEDELA CHAZITEH DEBI'ARTEH VEDELA BI'ARTEH LIBTIL VELEHEVE HEFKER KE'AFRA DEAR'A" All kind of Hametz or fermenting agent that belongs to me, that I have seen or that I haven't seen,  that I have eliminated or that I haven't eliminated, should be considered ownerless as the dust of the earth."
Candle lighting tonight:   6:53pm