Sanctify yourself through the permissible... Yevamos 20a

Divrei Torah to provide Chizuk in the struggle to balance spiritual and physical needs.

L'Iluei Nishmas Mirkah Bas Yosef

Monday, March 29, 2010

Have a Great Yom Tov!

Have an abstinent Yom Tov!

As I walked into my pantry to take some fruit from one of the many cases there I suddenly understood one of the reasons that Pesach is so hard to stay abstinent.  We have a tendency to reward ourselves for our limited diets by eating unlimited permitted food, since we can't have chometz we eat tons of apples and oranges and potato chips and on and on.  It is hard not to indulge when you are used to indulging.

Hashem should bless all of us to drive the chometz and the yetzer hara out of our houses.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Seder Overveiw

בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו

הוא יצא ממצרים. שנאמר והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא

לאמור בעבור זה עשה ה' לי בצאתי ממצרים

"In every generation, each person must feel as if he personally had come out of Mitzrayim (Egypt), as the Torah says: "You should tell your child on that day, 'When I left Mitzrayim, Hashem did miracles for me .....'" [The Pesach Haggadah]

It is customary to use our most beautiful silver, dishes and tableware. At the head of the table, in front of the person leading the Seder is the Seder plate and a matza bag that holds the three matzot. Others use a Seder plate that looks like a three-tiered structure that holds three matzot with a place for 6 items on its roof.

The 6 items have special meanings.

1. Z'ro'a - A Roasted Bone (roasted chicken wing or shank bone) to remind us of the Pesach offerings that would be brought in the Bait Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).

2. Beitzah - A Roasted Hardboiled Egg to remind us of our mourning at the destruction of the Bait Hamikdash, may it be rebuilt soon, in our lifetime.

3. Maror

4. Chazeret
Two types of bitter herbs (vegetables). We eat bitter herbs twice during the Seder.
1. once by themselves as MAROR
2. the second time with matzah as KORECH

Two kinds of bitter vegetables are placed on the Seder plate. Most people use romaine lettuce (whole leaves or the stalks) and raw horseradish (whole or grated). Either may be used for MAROR or KORECH.
5. Charoset - a mixture of ground apples, nuts, ginger, cinnamon, and red sweet wine. The look and feel of mortar symbolizes the bricks and mortar which we were forced to use when we were slaves in Egypt.

6. Karpas - A vegetable, other than marror, (most use boiled potato, celery or parsley), which is dipped into salt water and eaten.

To remind ourselves of the sweat and tears we shed as slaves, we place a bowl of the salt water near the Seder plate.

To continue reading go to:

Practical Ideas for the Seder-From Rebbetzin Heller

The word Seder literally means order. This night open your mind to seeing “order” in a different light. Most of the time that word conveys the concept of putting things in a rational design. This can mean in terms of time priority (first things first) or aesthetic design (taller plants behind shorter ones). Time and space can be tough masters. The order of the seder is not bound by time and space, but rather by Hashem’s design for you personally, for the Jews, and for the world as a whole. You begin with Kadesh, which means sanctification, since this is the first step toward freedom. You move from there to Urchatz which is washing your hands ritually but without the usual blessing. This is done in preparation for the next step which is eating the vegetable that is dipped in salt water. The entire procedure is highly unusual and is designed to almost force a question out of your mouth. What that tells us is that there is another step towards freedom which is being willing to ask questions
 To read more go to:

Insight from a Shabbos Afternoon Smooze

This Shabbos I was discussing OA with a friend.  I mentioned to her that OA is very big on helping us to accept our share of responsibility for the problems in our life.  Sometimes it is hard to know what our part of the problem is.  My friend gave me a great insight.  She said , "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

A Tip for Keeping Salad Fresh for the Two Days of Yom Tov

Since I eat a pound of salad a day, fresh salad  is really important to me.  I like to add wet vegetables to my salad but then the dry vegetables tend to wilt when you store them together.  I now weigh and store the wet and dry vegetables separately. It takes a few seconds more but makes the Shabbos and Yom Tov meals much nicer.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pesach Is family time-keep cool.

Judge Every Person Favorably. 
The Mishnah uses the term Kol Adam, which can mean "every person" and also "the whole man".  Even if your friend does not always behave the way he should, consider the whole man.  Surely he has many other fine qualities which outweigh the bad (Sfas Emes).

Breslov Pirkey Avot  page 39
A beautifully compiled compendium of Breslev commentaries and insights on Pirkey Avot, including illuminating stories and examples. Highly, highly recommended.

This is a time of year when we are in close contact with a lot of family members so this insight really hit home.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A practical tip for Pesach Cooking

Chochmah B' Goyim Taamin -Wisdom from the Nations Believe
Many years ago when I took out my Pesach Cooking Utensils, my Chinese housekeeper took a look at my knives and said, "You can't cook with those knives, you need a good knife".  Every year I buy a good knife and I wind up loving it so much that I keep it out for year round.  I just bought a new knife after struggling for a few days with junk knives.  DON'T GO CHEAP ON KNIVES-it makes a big difference.

Also, when you are buying a good knife, I recomend Global knives.  The distictive look makes them great for Parve. My family knows if it looks like that its parve, and it stays parve.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Checklist for Weighed Portions for Pesach

NOTE: Every Food Plan is different- this is just an example

First Days:

5 portions of starch 4oz each
5 portions of cooked veg 8 oz each
5 portions of raw veg 8 oz each
7 portions of protein 4 oz each
5 portions of fruit 6 oz each
5 portions of oil 1/2 oz each

Shabbos Chol Hamoed:
3 portions of starch 4oz each
3 portions of cooked veg 8 oz each
3 portions of raw veg 8 oz each
4 portions of protein 4 oz each
3 portions of fruit 6 oz each
3  portions of oil 1/2 oz each

Last Days:

5 portions of starch 4oz each

5 portions of cooked veg 8 oz each
5 portions of raw veg 8 oz each
7 portions of protein 4 oz each
5 portions of fruit 6 oz each
5 portions of oil 1/2 oz each

Hint: Your oil can be weighed in advance, it does not spoil, do it all now.
Do as much as you can as early as you can, it is a lot of weighing.

Ffifteen steps of the Passover Seder

There are fifteen steps in the Passover Seder, and fifteen steps leading to the Bais HaMikdash. This is because they are both leading to the same destination, closeness to Hashem.

from a Shiur:
(Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky)
Redefining Pesach cleaning
on Torah Anytime

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is the secret of Yachatz?

Rebbi Nachman says that the secret of Yachatz is brokenness. The only way to achieve wholeness is through cycles of brokenness. The baalie Musar say that there is nothing as whole as a broken heart. In our lives we will go through periods of falling, brokenness, in order to grow. It is only after Yachatz that we can move on to Motzie Matzah. Even after Motzie Matzah, there will be marror again. This is why we have Matzah and Marror together, to learn that this is the path of growth, brokenness and wholeness together. Falling and getting up again is the process of life, and we can not have despair. We have to hold on and continue through these cycles to go higher and higher. The fifteen steps of the seder are about using the seder of life to go higher and higher using our relationship with Hashem to grow.

From the Shiur:
Pesach Seder: Higher Order
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)
Added: March 23, 2010 Time: 61:57

Using the Seder to find our spiritual way home.

Why do we do such small seemingly insignificant things to celebrate such a major event as the Exodus. We might have thought intuitively that we should have something major like fireworks to celebrate the Exodus,. Rav Bloch says that major things do not impact us as much as small detailed conversations. These small detailed actions have to ability to change our neshomos in a major way.

Just like a person sometimes uses small pebbles or stones to help themselves find their way home, we use the simanim of the seder to find our spiritual way home.

From the Shiur:
Pesach Seder: Higher Order
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

Added: March 23, 2010 Time: 61:57

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What is the meaning of "Passover"?

What is the meaning of the word "Passover". Passover is a time when we can skip spiritually ahead. It is a time when we can make spiritual gains that are not possible at other times.

If this is the case, why is the night of Passover known as "Seder Night", a night defined by order. The essence of the Seder is doing things exactly in the correct order.

The answer to this is that even though Hashem created a world of nature, with its perceived rules that seem to define the world, but Hashem also created a spiritual world that follows completely different rules.

By saying the Hagadah correctly, we are tapping into the spiritual rules that enable us to advance spiritually.
Just like we drive a car without understanding all of the details of how it works, we just know that it works, we have to believe that by doing all of the actions of the seder, we are creating spiritual miracles that we can not see or feel.

from the Shiur:
Pesach Seder: Higher Order

Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles

Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

Added: March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is freedom?

Pesach is a time of freedom.  What is freedom?  Is it to be free to do whatever you want?  No, it is to be free to do the right thing, Hashem's will.  Hashem took us out of Egypt to become his people, to do his Mitzvot, not to do what ever we want.  Freedom brings responsibility.

How free do you want to be.  Do you want to be weighed down by your old baggage, that prevents you from doing the right thing, or do you want to be truly free?

We can use the power of the month of Nisan to be truly free to do Hashem's will.

From an OA meeting.

‘I am God, your God, Who took you out of Egypt’

The Sefer Mitzvos HaKatan wrote in his explanation of the Positive Mitzvah of, “I am God, your God, Who took you out of Egypt,” that it means one must know that He Who created Heaven and Earth alone controls above and below. However, to this he added, “This is the basis for what the rabbis teach: At the time of a person’s judgment after death, they ask him, ‘Did you anticipate redemption?’ (Shabbos 31a). Where is this mitzvah written? Actually, it comes from here, for, just as, ‘I am God, your God, Who took you out of Egypt’ means that we are expected to believe that God redeemed us from Egypt, it also means: Just as I want you to believe that I took you out [from Egypt], I also want you to believe that I, God your God, will gather you in and redeem you in mercy a second time.” (Ohr Yechezkel, Emunas HaGeulah, 1960; p. 287)

from the website:

Where is Hashem?

Where is Hashem? Where ever you let him in. (a saying from Kotsk)

It seems like everyone I know is having some extra Nisyonot -problems-this Erev Pesach. As I sit here davening to Hashem to make it easier for my children(and for me) I became aware that things are MUCH harder when I forget to see Hashem in my problems and know with my heart that Hashem has a solution. When I try to share this knowledge with others I meet resistance so I have to remember what my sponsor says,"keep your side of the fence clean" and "don't make other peoples problems yours". In short-I can be aware that these Nisyonot are from Hashem and gain strength from it, but they have to learn it for themselves.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Truth Obligates Us

From a Shiur by Rabbi Daniel Mechanic

The Truth of Judaism My Conversation With Hollywood
From Torah Anytime
Truth Obligates Us-Why is it that even when we recognize the truth it is often very hard for us to change our lives.  This is one of the most important jobs of our life- to make our lives coincide with what we believe.  That is why the Torah tells us. "You should know it today, and place it in your heart"  People very seldom make major changes immediately after they see the truth.  They have to review the information and slowly assimilate it into their lives.  Rabbi Mechanic gave the example of a person who knows that they have high cholesterol, yet they can not stop eating foods that are bad for them.  This is an avodah that we have to work on.
The longer that I am on OA the more that I see the major difference that eating like this is making to my health, I daven to Hashem that I should continue to be able to follow the program, because Truth Obligates Us.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prevent Suffering

From the Sefer "Misilat Yesharim" by Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzato p.94

Even more at risk is a person who has acustomed himself to be satiated through eating and drinking. If he just once lacks what he is used to he will suffer and will be keenly aware of his deprivation.

We see from this that while we control ourselves it is difficult, we are really helping ourselves in the long run.

Delaying immediate gratification for a higher goal .

From "Two Nissan" by Rabbi Chaim A Weinberg
From Hamodia Magazine March 17th,2010

In this week's Parashah, Vayikra, we read, "Adam Ki yakriv,"... when one person brings a korban-which includes sacrificing immediate gratification (it would be so gesmak to share a tidbit of personal or communal news in shul!)- it generates a trememdous tidal wive of Teshuvah and Kapparah not only for himself but for the entire klal. This is apparent form the last half of the passuk, which is expressed in the plural: "takrivu es korbanchem." meaning, in essence, that all of Klal Yisrael benefits, as if that had brought a collective korban to Hashem.

Delaying immediate gratification for a higher goal is a very difficult, but rewarding thing to do. At fist it seems insurmountable, but once you begin to practice doing it, it is possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

כל המתפלל בעד חברו והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחילה

Recently I had a startling realization, my sponsor is human too! I always think of her as a rock solid person who has no problem following the OA program. I told her that, and she laughed and said that she is just like me, just a bite away from losing abstinence. I have been davening that I should stay abstinent, now I daven that we both should stay abstinent. My sponsor told me that she davens for me too. Wow! What a powerful feeling

.כל המתפלל בעד חברו
והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחילה

check out:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Something to keep in mind while Pesach Cleaning

Similarly we find in the holy sefer Kav HaYashar Part II Chapter 89:
"It is proper to teach the women of Beis Yisroel to have the following in mind while they are kashering their utensils from Chametz for Pesach through hagalah and libun that [just as they are removing the Chametz ] so should the Holy One should remove and destroy the evil inclination, evil and wickedness from the land. And we trust in the Holy One to removed idolatry from our midst.


The Light of the Night

The Light of the Night
by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com

Understanding why G-d performed such great miracles during the Exodus and not constantly through out history

This is a very good article from Ohr Somach at:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rosh Chodesh and Women

From the Shiur
Rosh Chodesh and Women
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jewish Calendar I (Elul and Rosh Hashana)

The women did not worship the golden calf. They were able to use the attribute of Mulchut, seeing Hashem as king instead of themselves. When they saw the men worshiping the golden calf, they were able to say, "But Hashem said not to worship graven images" The reward for this was that the women were given Rosh Chodesh as a partial holiday.

Since we are taught that real reward is not in this world but in the world to come, what is the meaning of a reward in this world?

A reward in this world is the means to move further.

Rosh Chodesh is the time when the spiritual powers for the month is coming down. We can use this time to grow spiritually.

What brought the Jews to worship the golden calf?

From the Shiur
Rosh Chodesh and Women
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jewish Calendar I (Elul and Rosh Hashana)

What brought the Jews to worship the golden calf? They had a sub conscious agenda that they wanted to do what ever they wanted. Once they created their own object of worship, they could justify anything they wanted.

One of the hardest things in the world is surrendering our will to Hashem, but that is what we are in the world for. As we make an effort to really change and do Hashem's will, we have to be careful not to let our own agenda creep in.

A Rosh Chodesh Insight

From the Shiur
Rosh Chodesh and Women
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jewish Calendar I (Elul and Rosh Hashana)

When Hashem created the sun and the moon, the moon asked Hashem, "Can there be two great lights in the sky" and Hashem said the moon was right and made the sun less. We always think that the moon was asking to be greater, Rebbetzin Heller says we have to look at it from the other perspective and realize that the moon was offering to be the lesser light. This is a true sense of greatness, when someone is willing to make them self less in order to build up another.

One of the greatest female qualities is malchus, putting the crown on Hashems head and not on our own. The moon was willing to give away its greatness in order to let the sun be greater. We should always strive to put the crown on Hashem and not on ourselves.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Tips for an abstinent Pesach from several sources

  • Realize that other then the sugar you are eating pretty much like everyone else

  • There is A LOT of weighing to do-do not leave it to the last minute

  • Take a large roasting pan and roast a lot of vegetable for several hours this way you will not have to worry about having a cooked vegetable ready

  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

  • Portion your food into multi compartment containers so that you just have to pull it out of the fridge and you don't have to think about it.

  • Wax turnips are the hot cooked vegetables - bake it at 400 for a few hours and it tastes like french fries

  • Beets last a long time in the back of the fridge and you will have your veg when you need it

  • Make sure to discuss the seder in advance with your sponsor so that you know what you are doing

  • Don't leave your 3rd meal for the seder, eat it early and leave your soup and a small part of your protein for the meal, no one wants to eat that much that late

Monday, March 15, 2010

Abstinence is the first step toward piety.

From the Sefer "Misilat Yeshurim",The Path of the Just by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato

Abstinence is the first step toward piety....
Our sages of blessed memory expressed the underlying principle of abstinence (Yevamos 20a) as follows: "Sanctify yourself through the permissible." This is what the word abstinence actually means- to abstain and distance oneself form something, i.e., to deny oneself what is permissible, with the aim of (setting up a barrier,) preventing any contact with the actual prohibition.

First of all I want to say that I spent many hours studying this in the past and I never connected to it. It seemed like something for Malachim, angels. Now that I have been abstinent for about a half a year, I feel like it is talking directly to me.

As I sit there weighing out my food, taking one little string bean off the plate because the scale says 8.1 instead of 8.0 ounces, sometimes I wonder why I need to be so strict. After all its just vegetables. But that is the point, where is your nekudot habichirah (decision point). Is it going to be with how much vegetables I can eat, or is is going to be with how many pieces of cake I am going to eat.

It is like that with everything in life. We are all fighting an up hill battle and we have to draw a line somewhere.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Using the light of Pesach to create a new and better reality for ourselves

From the Shiur:

Pesach: Transformation
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

The night of Pesach is a time of great potential. We have the potential to grow more on the night of the seder then we normally could grow in months (from the Sefas Emes) When we take advantage of this potential and really grow in our Emunah from the experience of the Seder night we can transform ourselves into a different person.

Sometimes Hashem sends nisyonos to cause us to grow. If we use the opportunity of Pesach to grow we are making ourselves into a person who is deserving of a better mazal. A person who does not need nisyonos to grow.

Thus, by taking advantage of the spiritual light of Pesach, and growing in our Emunah, we are creating a new and better reality for ourselves.

An Invitation for Frum Women Working a 12 Step program

After Pesach we would like to start a phone conference of frum women who want to learn Torah sources together and strengthen our 12 step program. I will share more information as it becomes available, but please let me know if you are interested in participating. You can contact me at:


Internal Pesach Cleaning

From the Shiur:
Chometz: Moving Beyond Self
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

Chometz of the soul is Gaivah- hautiness. When we get rid of the Chometz we have to clean out the hautiness from our souls. We get rid of the Chometz by burning it. How do we get rid of the hautiness from our souls? How do we tell the difference between high self esteem and huatiness? Hautiness is thinking, "I did it", positive self esteem is knowing that Hashem gives us talents to use.

Our passion for Hashem is like a fire, we have to let this fire burn up our internal chometz. If we do this we will find that our Pesach preparations will be a tikun of our inner self.

The pre-Pesach Dilema --Bal tashkhis

We are all facing the same dilema- how am I going to use up my Chometz before Pesach.  We don't want to waste, but we want to move on and start emptying our cabinets, and our homes of Chometz. 

It is often a time when we have to reflect on things like, "what ever possesed me to buy so much junk", or "who did I think was going to eat that!".  Often shopping in the market was a release for my desires, my creativity and a security blanket.  A well stocked kitchen means a well fed family and of course, a well fed me!  But all to often my eyes were bigger then my stomach, and my pantry was bulging beyond usefullness.  Pesach cleaning meant giving aways a fortune worth of food, promising myself next year would be different.  Well this year was different-Baruch Hashem. 

The longer that I am on OA the more that I have come to see the difference between needs and desires.  Baruch Hashem, I can walk into a market and buy what I came for and nothing else!  My pantry really reflects it.  This year my cleaning lady will be going home with so much less then other years.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

!יש רבונו של עולם

יש רבונו של עולם! אני נברא! אם אני נברא בהכרח שיש בורא

Zerisus (alacrity) va Pezizus (haste)

From the Book, "Building a Sanctuary in the Heart (part 2)"  By Bilvavi Miskan Evneh  page 51

Although zerisus (alacrity)  is a holy quality, pezizus (haste) is not.  Haste prevents a person from developing the trait of patience, and deprives him of the simple understanding that our efforts are like palnting a seed in the earth.  It can take half a year until a plant sprouts.

One of the amazing side effects of joining OA has been to learn to develop more patience.  I joined a group that follows that rule that until you have 90 days of abstenence you can not get up and share.  I never waited so long to be able to express myself before, and I grew so much from it.  There are many other ways that I am learning to develop patience, and I am very grateful for that.

Crossing the Narrow Bridge

From the book, "Crossing the Narrow Bridge" by Chaim Krammer

...Rabbi Nachman teaches us that eating excessively give strength to the body while at the same time weakens the soul. (Likutei Moharan II,8:1)

Many of us have observed that when we are involved in compulsive overeating we become numbed and are unable to make correct life choices.    The title of this book is a good description of how I feel about my life now- I do not want to stray from the path that I have chosen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pesach cleaning made easy-from Aish.com

By knowing what and how to clean, Passover cleaning needn't be a chore.

by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz


This article is worth reading. It is also available is a tape on Aish Audio.

10 Tips for Easier Passover Cleaning

My Top 10 of the Top 10 Tips for Easier Passover Cleaning from

CLEANING MODE #1, QUICK AND EASY: Cleaning Things that will not come into Contact with Food during Pesach: For example, this includes most objects/places in your bedrooms, playroom, closets, entrance, bathrooms. In these places (where you will not eat during Pesach) you are on the lookout for Chametz which is the size of a KeZayit (i.e., 30 grams, a square inch. I envision a mini pretzel.) I.e., You are NOT worrying about the grains of sand in the turned-inside-out corner of your daughter’s dress from last Rosh Hashana. You ARE looking for the forgotten cookie in the lego box.

This mode of checking should be quick and easy.

CLEANING MODE #2, THOROUGH AND VERY SERIOUS: Cleaning Things that Could/Will come into Contact with Food during Pesach: This includes places like your tables and kitchen, and any other places you will be eating/preparing food. In these places, you must find and get rid of even the teensiest crumb of chametz. These are the rooms/things which should be checked VERY VERY seriously for every last bit of chametz.

BUT, don’t worry Jewish mom! In these food-contact places as well, you have other options which will NOT require any cleaning.

A: Lock up that closet/pot/ toaster over and sell to a non-Jew for Passover

B: Make the chametz inedible by going over it with a sponge filled with Ajax/bleach or covering it over with strong, sticky tape. This is a good solution for the stubborn guck in the back corners of kitchen cabinets and drawers.

OK, I hope that understanding the 2 Cleaning Modes and reading these 10 tips below will help to make these weeks before Passover a bit easier for all of us Jewish moms…Pesach Kasher v’Sameach

So, here goes, my Top 10 of the Top 10 tips. Enjoy!

The Top 10 of the Top Ten Tips to make Pesach Cleaning Easier

1. Cobwebs and Curtains: “Cobwebs and curtains are not chametz. While it’s nice to have sparking walls and dust-free window coverings to beautify our homes, it is not vital to clean these areas before Pesach. The mitzvah of Pesach cleaning is to remove chametz from our homes — not dust. You don’t gain spiritual reward for staying up until midnight sweeping the corners of your ceiling. Instead, focus your efforts on the areas you know contain chametz, like the toy box, china closet, car seats and kitchen drawers. Save the spring-cleaning for another time.” Stephanie Savir, Aish.com

2. Jewish Mom, Put Down that Pin!: “We are looking for something that is more than a kezayit… (CJ Weisberg explains: a kezayit is approximately 30 grams. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner explains a kezayit is 3 centimetres or a little over an inch square. I personally imagine a mini pretzel) When you’re cleaning for Passover, all the goodies in your freezer and cabinets — bread, cakes, crackers — all of that is chametz. You have to get rid of it one way or another. But aside from that, you probably won’t find much edible chametz in your house. Bedikat chametz [checking for Chametz], therefore, is not so difficult. In the bedrooms, for example, you don’t have to sit with a pin scraping the corners!” Rabbi Yitzhak Berkowitz, Aish.com

3. Bring out the Ajax!: “Chametz that is not sold should be removed. If this isn’t possible, wet, spray, or pour a strong household cleaner or bleach on the chametz. The detergent must be such that a dog would not eat the chametz after it was treated. Another method is to cover the chametz with strong, sticky tape.” Sara Glaser, Innernet.org.il

4. Get out of that Bathtub, NOW!: “Rooms into which chametz is not normally brought need not be thoroughly cleaned, as the chance of finding a piece of chametz the size of a k’zait (3 centimetres or a little over an inch square) is negligible. Chametz which is less than this size may not be eaten of course, but it is not included in the Torah prohibition of “bal yeira’eh” [it should not be seen] (Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim, I: 145, Mishna Brura, and Chazon Ish), especially if one has sold his chametz. Usually, only rooms in which children are allowed to bring sandwiches or cookies are likely to contain such big pieces of chametz.” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, www.RavAviner.com

5. Excellent Advice I Wish I’d Followed LAST YEAR: “One must take care not to hide large pieces of chametz before B’dikat Chametz, in case one of the pieces should get lost” (Responsa Yechaveh Da’at 5:149). Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, www.RavAviner.com (I did not follow Rabbi Aviner’s advice last year, and we lost one of the hidden pieces of chametz. It was NOT PRETTY!)

6. Leave those Books Alone! “One must only search for chametz in places in which there is a reasonable chance of finding chametz. It is nearly impossible for an inch square of chametz to be hidden inside a book! If there is a chance that the book has chametz in it, it must be thoroughly checked. However, most books do not need to be cleaned or checked. Cleaning and checking a sample [of your book collection] is sufficient. It is customary not to place books that have not been checked for chametz on the table during Pesach.” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, www.RavAviner.com

7. Cleaning = Family Bonding: “Involve your children in as many ways as possible. The educational aspect of Pesach doesn’t begin at the Seder table. It starts many weeks before, when we teach children to stop eating chametz in certain areas of the house, and when we let them help clean and shop. This is not so easy to do unless we’re organized and prepared for how children can slow down our progress. Buy little ones sponges to help wipe counters, cabinets, and their own bedroom dressers. Older children can sweep, vacuum and mop. The oldest ones can help cook and shop. Your family can feel like a team coming together to rid the home of chametz and prepare for the exciting Seders and holiday week.” Stephanie Savir, Aish.com

8: Sell it, forget about it! “…if the chometz is sold, then washing the pots, pans and dishes which are going to be locked away is not necessary…Any article or place which is not used on Pesach, which is closed up and sold, does not need to be checked for chametz.” Rabbi Mordechai Becher, www.Ohr.edu

9. Doing More is Doing Less: “One might be tempted to insist on doing the extra work anyway — to be machmir (stringent). However, in these stringencies lies the grave danger of causing many laxities and brushing aside many mitzvohs completely, including Torah and Rabbinic obligations which women are required to do on Passover and particularly during the Seder.

Many women like to do more “cleaning” than the bare minimum, to such an extent, that some even incorporate their general “spring cleaning” into their required pre-Passover chores. These extra exertions should not prevent them from fulfilling their obligations on Passover, and particularly on the Seder night.” Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, www.Orchos.org

10. Passover is NOT Tisha b”Av!: “Passover, like every other holiday, must be enjoyed by every member of the family, including women. This is an obligation clearly defined in the Torah as explained by our Sages. We can understand a person dreading Tisha B’Av but Pesach is to be looked forward to and anticipated with joy. Every woman should be well rested, relaxed and alert at the Seder table so that she can fulfill all the Torah and Rabbinic obligations and follow the Haggadah with the rest of the family. Clearly, the performance of her pre- Passover duties must be balanced against her Passover obligations.

Pre-Passover cleaning is required to avoid the danger of transgressing any Torah or Rabbinic prohibition of having chometz in the house on Pesach. It is evident from the responsa of the Rosh Hayeshiva shlit”a that this need not be excessive.” Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, www.Orchos.org


CLEAN FOR PESACH AND ENJOY THE SEDER! by Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg
Edited By Rabbi Moshe Finkelstein Kiryat Mattersdorf, Jerusalem
Pesach 5765
Print Version

These notes are based on the responsa of Moreinu veRabbeinu HaGaon HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, shlita, rosh yeshivas Torah Ore, to questions posed by women attending his regular talks. They have been compiled by a group of his students. The notes also include Hebrew sources and footnotes, which are not reproduced here.


In former times, wealthy people who had large houses also had many servants who did their bidding, while poor people, who could not afford servants, lived in small homes with one or two rooms. Understandably, the pre-Passover chores of the rich were performed by the servants, while the poor, who had only their one or two rooms to clean, a few pieces of furniture, a minimum of utensils, and some clothing, took care of their needs themselves.

In those days, cleaning was hard. Tables were made of raw wood, requiring them to be scrubbed or even to be shaven to ensure that no pieces of food were hidden in the cracks. Earthen or wooden floors also needed to be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed.

Today, we seem to be caught in a trap. The average modern home is larger than formerly. Furniture, utensils and clothing are much more plentiful. The average home today can compare with the more affluent homes of previous generations. However, we do not have the servants that they had, so that today, all the chores fall on the woman of the home. At the same time she still feels obligated to clean and scrub as they did formerly, even though she has laminated furniture and tiled floors, making this type of cleaning unnecessary.

As a result of this, the pressure of pre-Pesach cleaning has reached unnecessary and overwhelming levels. The housewife often becomes overly nervous, unable to enjoy the holiday joy of Passover and unable to perform the mitzvos and obligations of the Seder night.


Passover, like every other yom tov, must be enjoyed by every member of the family, including women. This is an obligation clearly defined in the Torah as explained by our Sages. We can understand a person dreading Tisha B’Av but Pesach is to be looked forward to and anticipated with joy. Every woman should be well rested, relaxed and alert at the Seder table so that she can fulfill all the Torah and Rabbinic obligations and follow the Haggadah with the rest of the family. Clearly, the performance of her pre- Passover duties must be balanced against her Passover obligations.

Pre-Passover cleaning is required to avoid the danger of transgressing any Torah or Rabbinic prohibition of having chometz in the house on Pesach. It is evident from the responsa of the Rosh Hayeshiva shlita that this need not be excessive.

It is not the intention here to abolish traditions which have been passed down by Klal Yisroel from generation to generation. Nevertheless, some practices adopted by women in the Passover cleaning today are not an actual continuation of the old traditions. For example, if a person does not sell his chometz, of course it is necessary to check his utensils and to wash off any chometz left on them, or to render the chometz inedible. But if the chometz is sold, then washing the pots, pans and dishes which are going to be locked away is not necessary.

One might be tempted to insist on doing the extra work anyway — to be machmir (stringent). However, in these stringencies lies the grave danger of causing many laxities and brushing aside many mitzvohs completely, including Torah and Rabbinic obligations which women are required to do on Passover and particularly during the Seder.

Many women like to do more “cleaning” than the bare minimum, to such an extent, that some even incorporate their general “spring cleaning” into their required pre-Passover chores. These extra exertions should not prevent them from fulfilling their obligations on Passover, and particularly on the Seder night.


A. All property and possessions must be cleaned and checked to make sure that they are free of all chometz, except in the following cases: B. If, during the year, chometz is not brought into a place, that place does not have to be cleaned out or checked for chometz. C. Any article which is not used on Pesach does not need to be checked for chometz, provided it is put away properly and the chometz in it is sold. D. Crumbs which have been rendered completely inedible [C.J. Weisberg explains: by coating with small amount of household cleaner] to the extent that they are not fit to be eaten by a dog are not considered chometz. E. The general obligation to check for and destroy crumbs does not apply if the crumbs are less than the size of an olive (kezayis) and are dirty or spoiled enough to prevent a person from eating them. F. The household cleaner (mentioned below) used must spoil the crumbs slightly to the extent that people would refrain from eating them. G. It is customary that any item to be kashered should not be used for 24 hours prior to kashering, in order that it should not be a ben- yomo.


1) CLOTHING CLOSETS: If there is some significant possibility that chometz went into them, they should be checked for fully edible crumbs of chometz, besides large pieces of chometz. If the probability that chometz entered these places is remote, a rav can be consulted to clarify the conditions under which they do not have to be checked. This includes chests, dressers, basements, and all other similar places (see General Note E).

2) FLOORS: We don’t have earthen floors with deep cracks in them. It is sufficient for tiled or covered floors to be swept and washed with a household floor cleaner. Cracks and spaces between tiles do not have to be checked if the cleaning solution reaches into them.

3) FOOD CABINETS: If the cabinet is not going to be used on Passover, then you just have to lock it or seal it in a manner that will remind you not to use it on Passover and sell it with the chometz (see General Notes C & E ). If the cabinet is going to be used on Pesach, take out all the food and wash it with a rag soaked in a household cleaner. Be sure the cleansing agent reaches into all the cracks and soaks into any crumbs that might be left there. The usual practice is to line the cabinets.

4) REFRIGERATOR: Take the food out, and wash it with a rag soaked in a household cleaner. The racks are usually covered. (It is advisable to leave holes for air circulation.)

5) KASHERING SINKS: Clean the sinks (see General Note G), and pour a kettle of boiling water into them and on their sides. Some people pour hot water mixed with bleach down the drain. The usual practice today is to use an insert, or line the sinks (e.g. aluminum foil, contact paper). If not difficult, this practice should be followed.

6) FAUCETS (TAPS): Cleaning, without any other kashering procedure, is sufficient.

7) MARBLE AND STAINLESS STEEL COUNTERS: If they were used for hot chometz they should first be cleaned well. They should either be completely covered so that nothing Pesach’dik touches them or (if it will not ruin the countertop) pour boiling hot water on them (see General Note G). Many people do both.

8 TABLETOPS: Wash them with a household cleaner. The usual practice is to cover the tables.

9) KASHERING RANGE/OVEN/STOVE-TOP: Wash the top and side surface areas with a rag soaked in a strong household cleaner. Clean the knobs well. Grates can be kashered by first cleaning them well (see General Note G), then put them back on the stove, and then lighting all the burners, raising them to their maximum heat, putting on a blech while the burners are on. This spreads the heat over the whole top and intensifies the heat on the grates. Let it burn for 5 – 10 minutes. [Be careful that the knobs don't melt.] After kashering, the usual practice today is to cover the stove-top with aluminum foil (being extremely careful not to block the air inlets around the burners and on the back of the stove, as this could create poisonous fumes in the room).

* OVEN: If you want to use the oven: (a) First clean the oven well with an oven cleaner (e.g. Easy-Off). Make sure that it reaches into all the cracks and around the screws. (After using the oven cleaner, there is no need for further cleaning). (see General Note G). Then heat the inside of the oven by turning the oven on to its highest temperature for about one hour. (b) If your oven has a turbo option (a fan which circulates the heat ), consult a rav about your particular type. (c) After kashering, if the oven door has a glass window, preferably cover the entire inside of the door with aluminum foil. (d) If a closed oven insert is available, this would be preferable. In this case, only washing and cleaning are necessary. (e) Do not use the chometz-dik oven racks for Pesach. If this is difficult, then one can kasher the racks with the same procedure as for the oven, placing them as close as possible to the heating element.

If the oven is not going to be used: None of the above is necessary. Just make certain that there is no edible chometz inside, tape it closed well and see below #10.

10) POTS, PANS, DISHES, & SILVERWARE (CUTLERY): Whatever is not going to be used for Pesach should either be locked up, or put away and sealed in a manner which will remind you not to use them on Pesach. If there is a possibility of actual chometz in them, the chometz should be sold (see General Note C.). If you do not sell chometz, then they should be either washed or soaked in a household cleaner; it is not necessary to scrub them. (Concerning kashering utensils for Pesach consult a rav.)

11) FOOD PROCESSOR/MIXER: A rav should be consulted.

12) DISH TOWELS: If one does not have a Pesach’dik set of dish towels, then one’s regular dish towels may be used if they are washed with a detergent and no food remains attached to them. (It is customary to have a set of Pesach’dik dish towels.)

13) PESACH TABLECLOTHS: These can be ironed with the same iron as is used during the rest of the year.

14) CLOTHES, BLANKETS, POCKETS, ETC.: If they have been washed in detergent or dry cleaned, then there is no need for them to be checked (see General Note E). Otherwise they need to be cleaned and checked thoroughly by brushing or shaking them out well. However, if there is a possibility of crumbs between the stitches or in a hidden crevice which cannot be shaken out, then they must be wiped with a rag which has been soaked in a detergent. Clothes which will not be worn on Pesach do not have to be checked, but they should be put away and the chometz in them sold (see General Notes C. and Sec. 10 on Pots and Pans).

15) SIDDURIM, BENCHERS, SEFORIM, BOOKS: If there is a chance that they contain chometz, then they should either be put away and sold with other chometz utensils (see General Notes C.), or cleaned and checked well.

16) TOYS: If there is edible chometz, then it should be either removed, or rendered inedible (see General Notes E). There is no need to scrub them.

17) TECHINA & OTHER KITNIYOS (legumes): May be used after the house has been cleaned for Pesach. They should not be cooked in utensils that will be used on Pesach, and certainly not on Pesach itself (according to the Ashkenaz minhag).

20) LAST MINUTE PREPARATIONS: For example, setting the table, etc., should be completed early enough in the day, so that you will be able to rest a little bit. Be ready to start the seder immediately after ma’ariv, to ensure that the children won’t fall asleep at the Seder.

21) ENJOY PESACH! Try to make the Pesach chores easy for yourself. Don’t do unnecessary hard work. Don’t do unnecessary cleaning. You can be like a Queen and you must enjoy your Pesach!

Reprinted from www.Orchos.org. All Rights Reserved. Revised Edition. Permission is given to reprint for non-sale purposes only.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You can make a differnce

Thank you Hashem.

After nearly 20 years of type 2 diabetes, my doctor just told me, "you're cured" A fifty pound weight loss, and an extemely healthy diet, has reversed many of my health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gerd,and sleep apnea, just to name a few.

I used to think that I was powerless over my health and it was a natural part of getting older. Now I see that we do have the ability to take control of our lives. Hashem sent me the gift of OA and I am extremely grateful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How does Matzah build our Emunah?

From the Shiur on Naaleh:
Chometz: Moving Beyond Self
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

How does Matzah build our Emunah?

Suffering wakes us up and helps us to look outward. When we look outward we begin to look towards Hashem. Matza is the bread of our suffering. Matza reminds us of our suffering and helps this process to happen.

An important thought about davening.

We do not daven to get what we need.
We have needs to get us to daven.

From an  source who chooses to remain anonymous.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parshat Vayakhel & Pekudei

From the Shiur:
Parshat Vayakhel & Pekudei: Integral Ingredients
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles
Class: Parsha for Our Lives 5770

Why was the Miskan buried, and never destroyed by foreign hands, and the two Batei HaMikash were? Because the Miskan was built by righteous people and the Batei HaMikdash had foreign labor. This is to teach us that in anything we do the final result, the external beauty, is not as important as the process. In a way, Hashem values the effort more then the result.

In OA we talk about the physical recovery and the emotional recovery. Our efforts at developing self control and inner strengths are more important then what the scale says.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why is it important to talk about yitzias Mitzriam a lot?

From a Shiur on Aish Audio:
Insights into Pesach from the Sefas Emes by Rebbetzin Heller

Why is it important to talk about yitzias Mitzriam a lot?

The kind of Geulah that it was touched every generation. The consequence of Yitziyas Mizriam changed our relationship with Hashem. To this day we are trying to use this insight to deepen our relationship with Hashem.

Each one of the plagues opened up a door to a different type of awareness of Hashem. This same light is there every year. Even though we may not feel it, it is there.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spiritual and Physical Redemption

From the Shiur:
Spiritual and Physical Redemption
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

How can we say that if Hashem did not take us out of Egypt we would still be slaves. Wouldn't someone else have concurred Egypt and liberated us. Rabbi Schwab says that the thing that we are celebrating is the concept of freedom. if Hashem had not taken us out of Egypt, we would have been slaves to someone else. Hashem didn't just take us out, he created the concept of freedom.

If you want to be free you have to fist know that you are a slave.

In order to begin to overcome compulsive overeating you have to know that you are a compulsive overeater.

An insight into the Kos Shel Eliyahu (the cup of Elijah)

From the Shiur on Naaleh:
The Fourth Dimension
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar III (Pesach-Shavuot)

What is the reason for the custom that some of us have to pour some of the wine from the Kos Shel Eliyahu into everyone's cup. To teach us that the real essence of receiving is sharing.

In OA we always say that the more service(chesed) you do, the stronger your program is. The more that we help others the the more we can receive from Hashem.

Getting Rid of the "Busy Voices" of the Week

On the Torah 12 step meeting this week we discussed ways of making Shabbos more meaningful despite controlling our overeating. One of the things that was addressed was the realization that sometimes it is difficult to face ourselves when the business of the world is taken away. This is the essence of Shabbos- the distractions of the false world are taken away, and we have the chance to really reach out and bound with Hashem. This is the best time for Hitbodedut. Rabbi Lazer Brody once said in a Shiur that time spent talking to Hashem on Shabbos is even more precious to Hashem.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why do we have maror on Pesach?

from the Shiur:
The Fourth Dimension
Teacher: Mrs. Shira Smiles Class: Jewish Calendar

Why do we have maror on Pesach? The Chidushei HaRim says that the maror is the begining of redemption. If we dont know that there is something wrong we will never change. The moror is to wake us up and say that there is something wrong with being a slave to something other then Hashem. If we are as leap we will not change.

Every night on Erev Pesach Hashem is polishing our neshamah, as long as we believe that we can change. The night of seder is about recognizing that we all have tremendous potential, and that we can change dramatically.

It is not easy to make changes, but if we believe in our ability to change, and are willing to work hard, we can really turn our lives around.

Public Safety Notice

For the last day or 2 my blog was redicecting to deplayer.net. After emailing blogger, I was told to remove gadgets. I was not able to remove the mini clock through the layout section. Every time I hit remove it went to deplayer again. I had to remove it through the html section. It seems to be ok now (with Hashems help) Baruch Hashem. Please let me know if you are having any problems.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pesach insight from Rabbi Reichman

From the Shiur on Naaleh:
Four Stages of Exile
Teacher: Rabbi Hershel Reichman Class: Galut Mitzrayim: Lessons for Today

What aveirah (sin) did the Jews do that brought Hashem to bring such great suffering onto the Jews, that caused us to go from being a Ger (stranger) in Mitzrayim to being an Eved (slave). The Bais Halevy says that it came from hiding the physical sign of our being Jews. We might think that by derech Hatevah the more we appear Jewish the more antisemitism that we will cause, but this is the opposite of the truth.

Hashem put us into the world to be a light to the nations, and when we fulfil our purpose Hashem makes us successful. When we hide our Jewish identity Hashem brings tragedy to the Jewish people.

Dvar Torah from a Torah 12 Step Meeting

This mornings meeting was about ways of making Shabbos meaningful without indulging in food. One woman shared that she uses Shabbos as a time for gratefulness. She talks to Hashem and expresses all of the reasons that she is grateful, going through all of the blessings of her life. She said that she often takes a walk and spends the whole time telling Hashem how grateful she is.

There were so many people sharing that I was not able to get on the conference call so I will share here. Just like some people put a lot of time into planning their food, I plan my learning. I will buy myself a new sefer L'kovod Shabbos, or a Magazine. I give myself something to look forward to that way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dvar Torah from a Phone Call

Dvar Torah from a Phone Call from Chaya R from Monsey

The Hebrew word for Character trait, Midah, is also the word for measurement. We learn from this that everything has to be in the correct measure. If we want to have good midot we have to watch the amount of everything. The word midah in Heabrew also means size. We learn from this that in we want to be the right size, we have to control our quantities and our character traits.

Learning self control is a key to many things.

Avoiding tempation.

From a Shiur by Rabbi Ayreh Carmell about Ki Tisa from Aish Audio

How did the Yetzer Hara get so much power over the Eruv Rav that they came to do the sin of the Golden Calf. They had just had an experience of divine revelation that even prophets don't have and get they fell so far. Their problem was that they let the Yetzer Hara in the door. When it first approached them it was in the guise of wise men discussing the amount of time that Moshe was gone. They never should have entered into a discussion with the Yetzer Hara. Once they let the Yetzer Hara in the door they were powerless.

We have to learn from this that we should keep entirely away from temptation. Even just a little bit can cause destruction. This is why we put so much emphasis on abstinence, it helps us not to let the yetzer harah in the door.
From the Shiur "No Bad in the world" by Rabbi Lazer Brody based on the teaching of Rabbi Shalom Arush

Ingratitude is heresy.

Often a person has one of 3 responses to problems:
1) They blame themselves
2) They blame someone else.
3) They blame "nature"

All 3 of these responses are heresy, because everything, even our problems, come from Hashem.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are we serving Hashem or Ourselves?

From a Shiur by Rabbi Lazer Brody, "The Letter"

When we serve ourselves we take the path of least resistance. When we serve Hashem things get difficult. But we have to remember that -no pain, no gain. I f we want to grow, we have to be ready to struggle.

It is really interesting that the theme of last night's meeting was "the more I surrender, the more I am serene". The person speaking pointed out that when we are doing Hashem's will we do not have to obsess about whether we are doing the right thing, and how are people going to think about me. If we are doing Hashem's will then we know that we are doing the right thing. This ties int a previous post from Rabbi Tatz


Happiness is the experience of the soul to be doing what it should be doing. When you are doing what you are supposed to be doing - you will be happy. The inner experience of the soul when it achieves its goal is true happiness. Growth always takes place against resistance.

Real sadness is not knowing what road you should be on. If you are walking along the right road and your neshamah knows it is the right road you will be happy.

Having our prayers answered.

From a Shiur Based on the Writing of Rabbi Shimshon Pinchus
(teacher requests not to be quoted)

We can learn from the laws of Tzedakah, the way that Hashem answers our Tefillot. Just like we give Tzedakah first to the person who needs it the most, Hashem answers the prayers of the person who needs it the most. If we want our prayers to be answered, we have to let Hashem know that we really need what we are davening for. We do this by davening with all of our heart.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Key to Redemption

From the Shiur
Pesach: Redemption through Faith
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

The key to redemption is a broken heart. This means that the smaller we are the more open we are to the suffering of others. When we are real, we are open to Tefilos. When our Tefilos are real, they have more power.

Nothing can change you until you empower it to change you.

Pesach is a time for humility.

From the Shiur
Pesach: Redemption through Faith
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Pesach is a time of humility. The Matzah is a bread without yeast. It is not puffed up. We have to try to conduct ourselves with humility while preparing for Pesach.

None of this I'm frummer then you because we keep more Chumras.

Staying Sane durring Pesach Cleaning

From the Shiur
Pesach: Redemption through Faith
Teacher: Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

The light of Pesach begins to shine immediately after Purim (30 days). The light of Pesach is the light of Emunah and Geulah.

Emunah is the awareness that everything comes from Hashem, and everything is good. Geulah is returning to self, being able to peel away all of the externals and getting to know oneself.

During this time of getting rid of chametz it is important to focus on what is important and what is not. Spring cleaning is wonderful but it is not Pesach cleaning. True Pesach cleaning does not have to take more then a day.

The most important thing is not to loose our emunah. The main symptom of losing our emunah is anger. The nisayon of Pesach is to say, I have emunah, this is exactly the way it is supposed to be, even if it is not the way that I want it to be.

Keep the Taste of Purim going



Monday, March 1, 2010

"Taste and See that Hashem is good."

From the Sefer "Building A Sanctuary in the Heart" Part Two- Bilvavi Miskan Evneh

"Taste and See that Hashem is good". Once you feel this "taste" , it will be no less enjoyable then a food enjoyed time and again.

This Purim I felt like I got a little taste, if only we could bring that closeness to the rest of the year.

Reflections on an abstinent Purim

The Yetzer Hara has ways of making every Nisayon seem bigger then it really is. Once we withstand the test we can look back and say that it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Even when we have to "white knuckle" it, we usually find that our nisyonots are worse in our imagination then in reality.

On the opposite side, the Nachas from a Yomtov or a Simcha is often greater then we can anticipate.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could occupy our thoughts with contemplating the good, instead of dreading the bad.

This Purim was a perfect example. Food does not have to be part of a great Purim. A great Purim comes from the nachas of sharing with family and friends. The warm feeling of giving a Shalach Monos that will add to someones Simchas Yomtov, and the ability to give Tzedakah. But most important the ability to get close to Hashem on this special day, far outweighs the difficulty of doing the right thing.
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