From the desk of The Rabbi – Parashat Vayikra-PARSHAT Hachodesh: As we are engaged in preparing for the Pesach holiday, we are reminded about the severity of consuming and preserving chametz, leavened bread and its byproducts, during the holiday itself. Commentators and Kabbalists have identified chametz as reflective of the Yetzer Hara, or evil inclination of the individual. Therefore, not only do we eliminate the presence of chametz on our properties, we should eradicate the chametz in our souls by performing mitzvoth.Lest it be thought that the Yetzer Hara is truly evil, one must remember the Talmudic statement that without an “evil inclination”, so to speak, no one would get married, have children, work or contribute in other positive ways to society. Instead, there would be an overflow of people in the Batei Midrash of our communities, and concomitantly, the end of Jewish society in short order.Interestingly, our Torah portion this week is seemingly inclined to support the notion that we should eradicate the chametz in our lives and refrain from the pleasures of life. The Torah describes the bringing of the Mincha, a meal offering brought by the indigent to the sanctuary. This offering can contain no honey or leavening.
Symbolically, in the words of the Kli Yekar, (note new spelling), honey symbolically reflects the luxuries of life, while the leaven represents the evil inclination, the utilization of which could abuse the property and the well-being of others. The Mincha offering is by definition one that is plain and bland. The Torah calls this type of offering a “first fruit offering,” unembellished and untreated.
The Kli Yekar writes that the plainness of the offering emphasizes the importance of Torah and its observance. However, while the Torah declares that one may not use honey or leavening in the composition of the Mincha, it does not negate the efficacies of luxuries, and does not disparage the necessary power and promise of the evil inclination, or Yetzer Hara. As we may well be aware, we are to love G-d with both our good and evil inclinations.
Had chametz reflective of the evil inclination been intrinsically evil in the dictionary definition of the word, it would have been forbidden to consume it at any time of the year. Instead, we, through Jewish law, establish the parameters of when we can and cannot consume chametz, as Halacha guides us in the way we conduct our lives.
(Addendum: The spelling of the commentary, Kli Yekar, as opposed to the normative Kli Yakar, is due to the fact that this phrase quoted by Rabbi Ephraim Lunshitz, the author of this monumental work is found in the book of Proverbs. There the Hebrew is pronounced as Kli Yekar. Hence, the change. Thanks to Barry Walfish for pointing this out to me.)
Shabbat HaGadol: Shabbat afternoon, March 24th at 5:55 pm
Rabbi Finkelstein’s Drasha Topic, “What’s for Dessert?”
A halachic understanding of Afikoman
Shabbat afternoon, March 17th between Mincha & Ma’ariv, Topic: Jewish owned stores that sell their chametz before, during and after Pesach-Halachic analysis
Please note there will be NO Studies in Melachim this Sunday. The class will resume on Sunday, March 25th.
Rabbi Yehuda Simes zt”l Sefer Torah
We have been so pleased with the response to Rabbi Yehuda Simes ztâ€l Torah Project and with the responses so far. We wanted to share with you the launch of a dedicated website for friends in the United States to help us reach our goal. https://www.jewcer.org/project/rabbisimestorahproject/We hope you will support this worthy initiative and help us spread the word to all those who knew Rabbi Simes.Please share this link with your family, friends and people who knew Rabbi Simes and who live in the US.The Rabbi Simes Torah Project is a celebration of the man who positively affected so many lives. His lasting influence on the Ottawa Jewish community and his Congregation is immeasurable. Rabbi Simes loved his family. He loved Judaism. He loved his community and he loved learning.
A Torah scroll dedicated in his memory will honour his love of teaching, learning and commitment to a life of Torah. This Sefer Torah will be housed at Beit Tikvah, the shul Rabbi Simes attended. In recognition of the fact that Rabbi Simes reached the entire community, the Sefer Torah will be made available and brought to other locations for Simchas and sadly, during times of sorrow.
Help us reach our goal. Donations can be made by Interac eTransfer, cheque, credit card, and PayPal or by calling the Shul office at 613-723-1800.
PESACH IS COMING! HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO HELP YOU PREPARE:
PESACH SEDERS GIVE AND GET Do you have room at your seder? Would you like to be invited to a seder?
Do you know of someone who could use an invitation?
Please call the Rabbi, Rivka or Elisheva (at the Shul office)
Room at Rabbi and Rivka’s for 2nd seder ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sale of Chametz
A copy of the Sale of Chametz form can also be found in pdf form on our website.
* Please Note: If you will be out of town for Passover be sure to return forms to the office before you leave.
Donations: * General Donations: $18
* Siddurim: Koren/Artscroll $50
* Koren Talmud Bavli: $100
* Wall of Honour/brick: $118
JFS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: JFS is in need of Friendly Visitors for a few clients. All are isolated seniors in need of a little companionship, whether visits at home, over the phone, or going on outings. Some will be replacements for volunteers gone south for the winter. Students welcome. Commitment is for only 1 hour at a time, every week or twice a month. East and West end locations. 613.722.2225, ext.315 to help. ESL teacher needed beginning January 2018. Beginners’ conversational English for Russian-speaking seniors, on Mondays 1:00-2:30pm, at JFS on Carling Ave. Lesson prep, room set-up/clean up, and attendance taking. Occasional replacement for 10:30am-12 class, as well. Conversational Russian an asset, but not required. Call 613.722.2225, ext. 315 to volunteer. Russian-speaking volunteer needed to help plan and organize monthly day trips, cultural activities, picnics, and potlucks for Russian-speaking seniors. To help, please call Gohar at 613.722.2225, ext.425. Drivers urgently needed to transport clients to/from Adult Day Programs, medical appointments, and social programs. All areas of the city needed. 613.722.2225, ext.315.LIMMUD OTTAWA: offers another outstanding day of Jewish learning and culture on Sunday, March 18, 2018, at the SJCC. Limmud is truly a magical recipe of art, tradition, religion, spirituality and Jewish life, sprinkled with creativity and served to participants from all backgrounds, religious affiliations and age groups. Choose from multiple sessions every hour run by educators, artists, academics, performers, experts, and enthusiasts. We offer hands-on workshops, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and this year a very special Leonard Cohen musical tribute. Registration (Early Bird $25.00; Regular $36.00) covers all sessions, performances, refreshments, and lunch. Specials for family and children. Go to limmudottawa.ca for information, registration, and programs.OTTAWA KOSHER FOOD BANK: Looking for empty resealable egg cartons to be used for the OKFB food distributions. Please contact Michelle for further information at 613-728-3501 x 235 or drop them off at the OKFB office.