Haggadah Series - Part I - Teaching the Foundations of Faith

We have constant reminders in our daily tefillos and throughout the Torah that Hashem is our G-d Who took us out of Mitzrayim. There are four explanations to the fundamental question of why it is so important to remember Yetzias Mitzrayim. These concepts form the building blocks of what we are supposed to gain from the seder, and the essential principles of our faith which we give over to our children on seder night.

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Haggadah Series - Part II - Questions & Answers - Slavery & Freedom
The haggadah is written in question answer format in order for us to explain the mitzvos that we are doing on Pesach. Even if a person is alone, he is required to explain the mitzvos of the night through questions and answers. As servants of Hashem, we have the freedom to ask questions, and are told how what we do is the best thing us. This is true liberation--receiving answers to our questions, with the knowledge and understanding that the mitzvos we are doing can help us to reach our full potential.

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Haggadah Series - Part III - Identifying with the Jewish People

In the haggadah we read that every person is supposed to view themselves as if he himself left Mitzrayim. This does not require imagination; rather, we need to view ourselves as part of the chain of Klal Yisroel, part of a whole entity that was redeemed from Mitzrayim. It is a matter of our identity. Our tool for conveying this is the power of speech, as we tell over the story to our children. Through the positive power of speech, we are able to build a sense of connection and identity, and know that we are part of something greater, a nation that is bound by a covenant with Hashem that spans time. 

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Haggadah Series - Part IV - The Home and the Mikdash

Throughout the geulah process of Sefer Shemos, we are getting back to a place where Hashem's shechinah rests among us, just like it did with the Avos. However, there is a difference between the centralized mishkan, and the presence of Hashem on each and every home. On the original night of Pesach, each home served as the mishkan, with the doorposts serving as the mizbeach, We try to build this special, unique environment of Pesach, bringing people together in the home, united by the presence of Hashem and a greater goal.

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Haggadah Series - Part V - The Core Text of the Haggadah - Bikkurim
The body of the haggadah mainly consists of the concise story of Mitzrayim found in Parshas Bikkurim, rather than the more elaborate descriptions of Sefer Shemos. There are 3 elements that we discuss: a springboard for drashos (deeper explanations), our appreciation for Hashem's miracles, and the answer to the mystery of the missing 5th cup for “V'heiveisi�?. We also discuss how to celebrate the Seder without the Beis Hamikdash and Eretz Yisroel.

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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 19, 2019 - BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Rabbi Yisrael & Mrs. Batsheva Neuberger on the birth of a son Mazel Tov to grandparents Rabbi Moshe & Rebetzin Mindi Hauer and Rabbi Meir & Mrs. Rivka Neuberger (Atlanta) and great-grandparents Rabbi Yaakov & Rebetzin Freda Hopfer and Mrs. Edith (Rabbi Ari, ZTL) Neuberger יה"ר שיזכו לגדל בנם לתורה, לחופה, ולמעשים טובים. אמן!
Possible Public Exposures at Location in Pikesville; Outbreak Localized to Zip Codes 21208, 21209 and 21215 Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed a fourth measles case in a Maryland resident. The MDH wants to inform anyone who visited 4000 Old Court Rd in Pikesville on Tuesday, April 16 from 9:15 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. that they may have been exposed to measles. Individuals who may have been exposed at additional locations are being notified directly. Measles cases in Maryland have been localized to a small geographic area within zip codes 21208, 21209 and 21215. “While the outbreak is currently localized to a small area of the state, the best way to prevent measles in Maryland, or anywhere people might travel, is through vaccination,”...
Nirtzah: Not Just the closing Ceremonies There are two major concepts which form the driving force of the Hagaddah and the Seder in general.  First, is the Chiyuv Sipur Yitzias Mitraim,  and the second is that one must feel as if he himself is being taken out of  Mitzraim on the night of Pesach, as discussed more fully in the Hagaddah. With these two concepts being the principal themes, how then does the final part of the Seder, Nirtzah, fit into this framework?  These intriguing, yet seemingly unrelated songs, raise a significant question as to exactly what role they play in the Seder and by extension, the Yom Tov of Pesach.  On a simplistic level one could answer their function is similar to that of the Afikoman and Mah Nishtana - to heighten the interest and...
Trash/Recycling on Friday: Baltimore City: No, Baltimore County: Yes!  Good Friday, April 19, 2019, is a City holiday. Department of Public Works’ offices and yards will be CLOSED. There will be no solid waste or recycling collections on Good Friday. Baltimore City Councilman Yitzy Schleifer has arranged for recycling dumpsters to be available at no charge at the public Chometz burning at Pimlico Trash or recycling that is normally collected on Fridays, will be collected on the make-up day, Saturday, April 20, 2019.  No bulk trash collections are scheduled for that day. All Citizen Convenience Drop-off Centers will be closed, including Quarantine Road Landfill. Mechanical street sweeping will not take place that day. Street sweeping no parking signs will not be in ef...
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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 9, 2019 - Reposted upon popular request:Baltimore, MD - April 14, 2015 - 24 Nissan - The following bracha is said only once a year, during the month of Nisan, on fruit trees in blossom. Baruch ato Ado...Elo...Melech haolam shelo chisar b’olamo klum u’vara vo b’riyos tovos v’elanos tovim l’hanos bahem b’nay adam. The G’ra in his siddur substitutes the word davar instead of klum. The ideal time to recite the bracha on ilanos/trees is during the month of Nissan, however, once the buds fall out and the fruits emerge, it is too late to recite the bracha.This year Nissan 5779, the last day of Nissan will be May 5 – a relatively late day. Depending on the upcoming weather, by the end of Ni...
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Erev Pesach 5779 / Baltimore Zmanim / Eruv is UP!   Baltimore, MD – Apr. 19, 2019 End time for eating chametz: 10:18AM End time for burning (biyur) chametz: 11:34 AM Today:    14 Nissan Chatzos: 1:06 PM Hadlakas Nairos: 7:30 PM Shkiah:                   7:48:11 PM Tzais HaKochavim:  8:39/9:01 PM Chag Kasher V’Sameach
Louisville, KY - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 nationally. The Senate leader said Thursday his bill will cover all tobacco products, including vaping devices. The Kentucky Republican represents a state that for generations was a leading tobacco producer in the U.S. But tobacco production has dropped dramatically in Kentucky in the past decade. McConnell said his bill will continue to hold retailers responsible for verifying the age of anyone buying tobacco products. He said 12 states have already enacted laws raising the minimum legal age to 21. McConnell made the announcement at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in Louisville, an organization that promotes health initiati...
France - Paris police investigators think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, a police official said Thursday, as France paid a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the world-renowned landmark. A judicial police official told The Associated Press that investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral Wednesday but don’t have a green light to search Notre Dame’s charred interior because of ongoing safety hazards. The cathedral’s fragile walls were being shored up with wooden planks, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak by name about an ongoing investigation. Investigators so far believe the fire was accidental, and are questioning both cathedral st...
New York - - A Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order, rejecting their arguments that the city’s public health authority exceeded its authority. In a six-page decision rendered hours after a hearing on the matter, Judge Lawrence Knipel denied the parents’ petition seeking to lift the vaccination order, imposed last week to stem the worst measles outbreak to hit the city since 1991. The judge sided with municipal health officials who defended the order as a rare but necessary step to contain a surge in the highly contagious disease that has infected at least 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in the borough of Brooklyn. Another ...
Parsha Hashavua
Pesach 5779 -The Seder "What's It All About?"

Nirtzah: Not Just the closing Ceremonies

There are two major concepts which form the driving force of the Hagaddah and the Seder in general.  First, is the Chiyuv Sipur Yitzias Mitraim,  and the second is that one must feel as if he himself is being taken out of  Mitzraim on the night of Pesach, as discussed more fully in the Hagaddah.

With these two concepts being the principal themes, how then does the final part of the Seder, Nirtzah, fit into this framework?  These intriguing, yet seemingly unrelated songs, raise a significant question as to exactly what role they play in the Seder and by extension, the Yom Tov of Pesach. 

On a simplistic level one could answer their function is similar to that of the Afikoman and Mah Nishtana - to heighten the interest and enjoyment of the Seder for the children.  However, upon more careful analysis, it becomes clear that not only are these songs in tune with the  Hagaddah’s two major ideas, but are actually an intrinsic and indispensable part of these very concepts.

Upon reflection, it is easy to understand why Sipur Yitzias Mitraim  is an appropriate topic for Pesach night.  However, it is not as easy to understand why we are obligated to feel as if we ourselves were redeemed on the night of Pesach.  An insight into this quandary will also clarify how Nirtzah fits into the Seder.

The reason for the  Chiyuv Sipur Yitzias Mitzrayim  is not to teach us history, nor even to train us in gratitude.  This requirement comes to emphasize the character of the Pesach season - a time of year especially designated as a time for Geulah.  The Gemarah in Rosh Hashana (11b) says that just as the Geulah from Mitzrayim occurred in Nissan so too will the eventual Geulah from present day galus take place in Nissan.  For this reason the Hagaddah stresses this point - the obligation to feel as if we ourselves are going out - to illustrate that the same potential for redemption which came to fruition with Yitzias Mitzraim, exists every Pesach.  Thus the potential for Geulah from present day Galus is at its highest during this time.  With this explanation we can also understand what function the songs of Nirtzah have in the Seder

In the first poem,  Vayehi Bachatzi Halayla, an extensive list is composed of many past great things that Hashem has done in the midst of the night.  Only one future event is added to this list - Hashem’s eventual bringing of Moshiach.  Similarly, in Ki Lo Naeh, a list of adjectives ranging from distinguished and glorious to mighty and merciful are used to describe Hashem.  Yet again, in this song the Haggadah slips in “that he is truly the redeemer.”  Obviously, if the Haggadah felt it necessary to squeeze these lines in, then they are of major significance.  This becomes clear in  Adir Hu, which is nothing short of an all out appeal for the Geulah.    Adir Hu                                             takes all the descriptions used in the previous songs and follows each one with “May he soon and speedily rebuild his house in our days.”   This is the central theme throughout Nirtzah. 

However, just as Yitzias Mitraim  was not possible before Bnei Yisroel performed the Mitzvos of  Karban Pesach and Bris Milah, so too today’s Geulah cannot come before our total acceptance of Hashem’s dominion over the world.  This is where Echad Mi Yodeah  and  Chad Gad Ya fit in.  In Echad Mi Yodeah, we list the building blocks that the Jewish world is built upon - the basic necessities for all of Judaism.  Finally in Chad Gad Ya we are taught the single most important lesson - that of humility.  The idea that everything and everyone has something above him/her and therefore we must reflect on all of our actions, as we alone are accountable for them.  In concluding Chad Gad Ya, the final connection is made to Geulah with the slaughtering of the Malach Hamaves.   The Gemmarah in Succah (52a) says that at the time of the Geulah, Hashem will take the Satan (The same entity as the Malach Hamaves - Baba Basra 16a) and slaughter it.

Thus we understand how the progression of Nirtzah mirrors the link between Yitzias Mitzraim and the Geula Ha’asida.  This interpretation adds a significant aspect to our Seder.  Not only are we celebrating the Geulah from Mitzraim but we are also injecting the necessary elements for the eventual Geulah from galus today.  May we be Zoche to capitalize on the potential for geula present this Pesach and share next year in Yerushalayim.

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Boston - As thousands of Stop & Shop workers remain on strike in New England, some Jewish families are preparing for Passover without the region’s largest supermarket chain, which has deep roots in the local Jewish community. A number of rabbis in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have been advising their congregations not to cross picket lines to buy Jewish holiday essentials at the store that one analyst says has the highest sales of kosher products among New England grocery stores. More than 30,000 Stop & Shop workers walked off the job April 11 over what they say is an unfair contract offer, a claim the company disputes. “The food that you’re buying is the product of oppressed labor and that’s not kosher,” said Rabbi Barbara Penzner, of...
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 18, 2019 - It's that time of year when  you can benefit Shomrim & Hatzalah by bidding on the Second Post-Pesach Tov Pizza.  Click here to bid now and help support Shomrim & Hatzalah
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An out-of-town family who was to spend Pesach in Lakewood has canceled after learning about the measles outbreak, TLS has learned. The family had booked a place to stay in Lakewood just after Purim, and had already paid for the stay before they canceled upon learning there was an ongoing measles outbreak in Lakewood. According to the latest count for this outbreak, there were six confirmed cases of measles being reported by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) in Ocean County. The first outbreak had a total of 33 confirmed cases and ran from October 2018 to mid-January 2019.
Everyone is familiar with the practice of eating a small piece of vegetable at the beginning of Seder Pesach.  Some eat celery.  Some eat parsley.  Some eat potato.  The Mishna wanted to actively involve the children in the Seder ritual so it directed us to use this small piece of “borey pri ha-adamah” food to stimulate the curiosity of the children at the Seder table in order that they will ask questions about the Seder observances.  Today, this part of the Seder is called, “karpas.”  This word, karpas, caf, reish, pay, sav does not look like a Hebrew word.  It does not have three osios in a shoreish.  However, it does appear in Tanach.  In Megillas Esther, the word appears in the description of the king’s palace....
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April 18, 2019י”ג ניסן תשע”ט Thank you to all of those who participated in the vaccination clinics from both Friday and yesterday. As a result of the clinics and other community efforts, well over 1500 members of our community have been vaccinated in the past week and a half alone. As Pesach approaches and travel to and from the community shifts into high gear, it is recommended that anybody between the ages of 30 and 62 who cannot confirm they have received 2 MMR vaccines or immunity through a Titers test reach out to their physician to discuss whether they should be vaccinated for their own protection as well as the protection of their family and community. Vaccinations continue to be available in various pharmacies and the Minute Clinics. Any individual, parent ...
Washington - Robert Mueller’s 448-page investigative report into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election includes 23 unredacted pages of Mueller’s written questions and Donald Trump’s written responses, the only direct exchange between the special counsel’s office and the president. Mueller’s team writes that it tried to interview the president for more than a year before Trump submitted written testimony in response to questions on certain Russia-related topics in November 2018. An introductory note included in the report said the special counsel’s office found the responses indicative of “the inadequacy of the written format,” especially given the office’s inability to ask follow-up questions. Citing d...
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Baltimore City Firefighters are on the scene of an incident involving a person struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Northeast Baltimore. The incident occurred on the tracks east of the I-895 overpass and just north of the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus just before 11 a.m. on Thursday. Because of the activity on the tracks, all Amtrak and MARC Penn line train traffic has been stopped in both directions near the scene. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation. It's unclear when rail traffic will me moving again.
New York - New York City’s Department of Health defended its mandatory measles vaccination order in a state court on Thursday after a group of anonymous Brooklyn parents sued, arguing that the order was unconstitutional. The department issued the order last week, saying it was an unusual but necessary step to contain the worst outbreak of the highly contagious virus seen in the city since 1991. The outbreak has infected 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. The order, which was extended this week, requires unvaccinated people living in certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine if they cannot otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a $1,000 fine. Five people who said they were parents...
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New York - Private school parents throughout New York State are heaving a collective sigh of relief today as controversial educational guidelines have been struck down by a New York State Supreme Court judge. In a decision dated April 17th, Judge Christina Ryba declared regulations announced late last year by New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia that would have mandated significantly increased secular study hours in all nonpublic schools to be “null and void.” As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2UsfJYO) five yeshivos with a collective history of more than 500 years of Orthodox Jewish education in New York City, Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah and Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools sued Board of Regents Chancellor ...
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 18, 2019:Dear Mispalelim, We would like to keep everyone apprised of the latest information regarding the safety of our community and congregants.  The potential exposure was limited to April 13th, 2019  from 11:30am - 3:00pm, when Naftali may have been brought into shul. We recommend that anyone concerned with potential exposure consult their physician for further guidance. Yesterday, at the request of Rabbi Eichenstein, a team from the Baltimore City Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health visited the shul to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the separation between the residence and the shul.  They confirmed through a battery of testing, that there is no air flow between the residence and the shul and that there is complete separa...
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The past few days, Daf Yomi has been learning the last perek in Chulin, Shiluach Hakan.  STAR-K would like to draw the attention of Daf Yomi learners to an article on the subject in its Kashrus Kurrents publication. Written by Rabbi Zvi Goldberg and reviewed by Rav Moshe Heinemann, shlit"a, it is a concise review of the halacha l'maaseh of Shiluach HaKan. SHILUACH HAKAN By: Rabbi Zvi Goldberg Published Spring 2017 Shiluach Hakan1 (sending away the mother bird before taking her young) is a mitzvah that is infrequently performed. Its reward is the blessing of a long life – similar to the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents. Let’s examine how, when and where to perform the mitzvah of Shiluach Hakan.&ldq...
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