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Rosh Hashanah - Eruv Tavshilin

Tuesday, 7th September 2010

 A fundamental difference between Yom Tov (festival) observance and Shabbos (Sabbath) observance is the allowance of food preparation on Yom Tov. 

The Torah permits us to cook, bake, and prepare food on Yom Tov proper, in order to eat the prepared food on that day of Yom Tov. One is not permitted to prepare from one day of Yom Tov for the second day of Yom Tov or for after Yom Tov. 

This prohibition of preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next, presents a problem when the second day of Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos or when Shabbos follows a two day sequence of Yom Tov. Can one halachically prepare food on Yom Tov for the Shabbos Yom Tov or for Shabbos?

To deal with this issue our Rabbis instituted a procedure known as eruv tavshilin. The process of eruv tavshilin works in the following manner. On Erev (the eve of) Yom Tov, the head of the household, or his designee, should set aside a baked item such as bread or matzoh, and a cooked item such as meat, fish, or eggs (i.e. a food that is eaten along with bread). He or she should then recite the blessing:

 בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל מִצְוַת עֵרוּב

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melach HaOlam, Asher Kidishanu B`Mitzvotov, Vitzivanu, Al Mitzvat Eruv  

 One continues with the following, which must be said in a language one understands:

בַּהֲדֵין עֵרוּבָא יְהֵא שָׁרֵא לָנָא לַאֲפוּיֵי, וּלְבַשּׁוּלֵי, וּלְאַטְמוּנֵי, וּלְאַדְלוּקֵי שְׁרָגָא, וּלִמֶעְבֵּד כָּל צָרְכָּנָא מִיּוֹמָא טָבָא לְשַׁבְּתָא

"With this Eruv we are permitted to bake, cook, keep things warm and light fire and do all that is needed from Yom Tov to Shabbat".

 This proclamation states that the cooked and baked items should permit us to continue baking, cooking, lighting a flame from an existing fire and do all the necessary preparations from Yom Tov proper to Shabbos. It is now viewed as though meal preparations for Shabbos have already begun before Yom Tov and Shabbos meal preparations may continue on Friday Yom Tov, Erev Shabbos.

Once done, the eruv covers all household members and guests.

The foods set aside for the eruv should be saved and may be eaten on Shabbos but not prior to Shabbos..

If one forgot to make an eruv tavshilin one should consult a competent Rabbinical authority for further instructions.

The symbolic Rosh Hashanah menu

Tuesday, 7th September 2010

At the Rosh Hashanah (new year) evening meal it's customary to eat foods that symbolize a Good New Year. The bread is dipped in honey and after eating it the Yehi Ratzon (May it be Your will....) is said, praying for a sweet new year.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ שֶתְחַדֵש עָלֵינוּ שָנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה

Yehi Ratzon Mil'fa'necha, she'tichadesh aleinu shana tova u'm'tuka.

May it be Your will, that You renew us for a good and sweet year."

Then one dips an apple in honey, says the Bracha (blessing) on the apple ("Borei Pri HaEtz") and eats some. One then says the Yehi Ratzon again. 

There are various other foods that are eaten with their appropriate Yehi Ratzon; one may even add new ones. 

One tries to have only sweet items on the menu; no food cooked in vinegar, for example. The custom is to not eat nuts. 

One should remember to learn some Torah at the Yom Tov (festival) meals; some learn a chapter of Mishna-Rosh-Hashanah, which has 4 chapters; one for each meal. 

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9 

Ktiva Vechatima Tova
כתיבה וחתימה טובה
Wishing you a sweet new year 


Thursday, 2nd September 2010

The blessing of Shehechiyanu ("... who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion") is recited during Kiddush (literally, "sanctification" - is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Sabbath) on all nights of Yom Tov (Festivals), except on the last days of Pessach (Passover).

There are two Minhagim (customs) regarding Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting on Yom-Tov candles. Some women have the Minhag of saying Shehechiyanu when lighting Yom-Tov candles (except on the last days of Pessach). Others never say Shehechiyanu at candle-lighting but rather listen or say it with Kiddush. If a woman makes her own Kiddush she must be careful to only say Shehechiyanu once, either at candle-lighting or during Kiddush.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah (New year) there's a Halachic debate if Shehechiyanu is required. To be on the safe side, one should wear a new item of clothing, or see a new fruit (that one hasn't tasted yet this season) while saying Shehechiyanu on the second night of Rosh Hashanah; both during Kiddush and during candle lighting (if applicable). If one does not have a new item of clothing, nor a new fruit, on the second night of Rosh Hashanah, one still says Shehechiyanu.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 103:4, 129:23 See Halocho #109

Excel in one Mitzvah

Thursday, 26th August 2010

Doing Teshuva - repenting - is a Mitzva (commandment) mentioned in the Torah.

Even though Hashem (G-d) is prepared to accept our Teshuva (repentance) all year round, the days from 1st day in Elul until Yom Kippur are an auspicious period for improving ones ways.

This dates back to when Moshe (Moses) went up to Har (Mount) Sinai to receive the second set of Luchos (Tablets); Moshe went up on the 1st day of Elul and returned 40 days later on Yom Kippur with the second set of Luchos.

At the very least one should choose one Mitzva or Halacho to improve on during this period.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128: 1

Checking Tefillin and Mezuzos

Thursday, 19th August 2010

Some people have the custom to get their Tefillin (phylacteries) and Mezuzos checked yearly during the month of Elul.

At the very least one should check ones Mezuzos twice every 7 years.

Tefillin that are used daily, do not need to be checked unless they get wet. However, one should check them every few years since they do wear out eventually.

Tefillin that are only used occasionally should be checked twice every 7 years.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3, 11:25, 10:26 


Thursday, 12th August 2010

Yesterday - Wednesday - was the first day of the month of Elul.

The next 40 days, from yesterday, correspond to the 40 days that Moshe (Moses) spent on Har Sinai (Mt Sinai), to receive the 2nd set of Luchos (Tablets with the 10 commandments written on them).

Moshe came down with these Luchos on Yom Kippur. Ever since, these 40 days are especially auspicious for Teshuva (repenting).

The custom is to blow the Shofar (Ram's horn) after Shacharis (the morning prayers) from yesterday, until Tuesday 28th Elul (7th September), as a reminder to start improving one's Torah observance and to repent for past misdeeds.

On Erev (the day prior to) Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year), the Shofar is not blown, in order to create a break between the custom of blowing Shofar in the month of Elul and the Torah-commandment to blow Shofar on Rosh Hashana.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:1, 2

When seeing the ocean

Thursday, 5th August 2010

When seeing the ocean one says the Bracha (Blessing) of "Baruch... Oseh Ma'aseh Breishith" - "Blessed... Who makes the work of creation".

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית

When seeing mountains that are famous for their height one says the same Bracha.

These Brachot (Blessings) can only be said if one hasn't seen the ocean or that specific mountain for 30 days; excluding the day one last saw it and excluding the day of the current sighting.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 60:5, 12


Thursday, 29th July 2010

One does not say Tefilat HaDerech (the traveller's prayer) unless the trip is one Parsa (4 Km / 2.5 miles) long - outside the city.
Preferably Tefilat HaDerech should be said during the first Parsa of the journey.
If forgotten, Tefilat HaDerech can be said as long as one still has at least one Parsa to travel before one's destination city or overnight resting place.


Thursday, 22nd July 2010

 If possible, one should not travel more than 3 Parsa on Fridays, unless one is sure that Shabbos (Sabbath) preparations are ready at ones destination.

(A Parsa is either 4 KM, or the equivalent time to travel 4 KM by foot, which is assumed to be 72 minutes. Thus on Fridays one should not undertake trips longer than 3.5 hours unless one is sure that Shabbat preparations are ready at one's destination.)

It's important to plan one's trip such that even with unexpected heavy traffic one arrives at one's destination long before candle-lighting, so that one has time to wash before lighting.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:11


Thursday, 15th July 2010

Unless Moshiach (the Messiah) comes first, the fast of 9th of Av will start next week on Monday afternoon and will last for about 25 hours until after nightfall on Tuesday.

The fast of 9th of Av commemorates 5 tragedies that befell the Jewish people on that date:

It was decreed that the generation which left Egypt would remain in the desert for 40 years and not enter the land of Israel, after believing the inaccurate report of 10 of the 12 spies over 3,000 years ago.

The first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9th of Av almost 2,500 years ago.

The second Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9th of Av about 1950 years ago.

The city of Betar was captured and tens of thousands of Jews were killed about 1,800 years ago.

The wicked Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Bet Hamikdash  (Holy Temple) and its surroundings and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, about 1,800 years ago.

Since these tragedies occurred on 9th of Av, it was decreed as a day of fasting and mourning.

Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 121:5


Other tragedies that happened on 9 B'Av:

4,000 Jews were expelled from England by King Edward I in the year 5050 (18 July 1290).

300,000 Jews were expelled from Spain by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in the year 5252 (2 August 1492).

Word War 1 started in 5674 - 1 August 1914 - with Germany declaring war on Russia.



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