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A Pesah different than all others. 

04/02/2020 09:55:57 PM


Rabbi A. Allpert

Sweet friends, as Pesah soon approaches, there are more than just four questions this year: 1. This year some ask, “Will we find all the special foods we use for the Hag?” This year we might ask, “What’s the appropriate way to remove our Hametz?” This year we are certainly asking “How will family and friends be together?” This year we ask, “When will we return to our regular lives?”


I’m going to suggest that we all get back to the simplicity of Torah living, peeling away the extra stringencies with which we have become so familiar. “Will we find all the the special foods we use for Passover?” Remember that even the ceremonial seder plate foods can be taken from many different sources (anything that grown in the ground can be karpas, and lettuce and onions can be marror. As for the holiday in general, consider following the example of our Sefardic brothers and sisters by eating Kitniyot (beans, corn, rice etc.). The Torah absolutely allows it and our great rabbis of old had no problem eating such items. Also please understand that many of our regular food products are actually kosher for Passover use! I highly recommend using the list at based on Halakhic decisions by Rabbi Yitzhak Abadi. Their list has almost 30 pages of food items that do not need special Passover symbols. This information is especially important as shopping is challenging this year. 


Usually, in a typical year we attempt to clear out most of our food items that are Hametz based. Whatever is necessary to keep, we stow away and sell before Passover and regain possession after the holiday is complete. This year we should conserve our non-Passover food. Lock up and sell more than you normally would because after Pesah it may not be easy to replace items. Sell your Hametz here. 


I’ll be symbolically burning some of my Hametz Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. and you can join me on Zoom. Before that, we will say our morning prayers beginning at 8:15am followed by a virtual festive ceremony or siyum with Yosef Lopez on Zoom. Yosef is celebrating along with his class the completion of studying part of the Mishneh Torah and this celebration cancels the Fast of the First born. His siyum will be on Zoom, but if you are unable to join us and you are a first born son please do not fast. We want to make sure everyone is extra healthy and has their strength to fight the virus.


A huge concern for all of us is the fact that we must not host anyone for seders this year. So I want to emphasize, do not invite anyone to your home for a seder and do not be a guest in someone else’s home. It’s not safe or permitted to assemble. You may have seen that some rabbis in Israel have given permission to use video conferencing at the seder this year. I agree with this leniency. If you want to be with family, friends, and others this year please use a computer or device to join together electronically. 


Ordinarily I do not recommend using cell phones and other such multimedia devices on Yom Tovim, but there is actually no problem doing so according to halakha (Torah conduct). Yom Tov is different from Shabbat. Cooking, carrying, and manipulating fire are permitted for the sake of the holiday. I agree with the opinion of Rabbi Haim Ovadia whose grandfather who lived in Baghdad did not treat electricity as fire. Ordinarily it is good to have a break nonetheless from our phones and other screens during holy days. This year these screens are important for holiday use, psychologically. We have to be careful though not to use our screens to buy and sell items, to watch commercials, or to be overly invasive on the holy days. What about the Seders? You can use Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, or simply call your guests on the phone to create virtual seders. If you are looking to be a part of a larger group, Yosef Lopez will be leading virtual seders both nights, email him if you would like to join:


I will be using Zoom on Yom Tovim this Passover for prayer services in the mornings. We will hold virtual miyanim Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10, Wednesday, April 15 and Thursday, April 16 beginning at 9:30am on Zoom Meeting ID: 765-742-241. In addition to the Yom Tov days, we will hold morning services during the intermediate days (April 12,13,14 at 8:15am. Though we are not Zooming on Shabbat we will have virtual Saturday night services at 7:45pm April 11th.


This is not an easy time for us or for most people around the globe. We certainly did not expect to be dealing the 11th plague this Passover or this year in general! The challenge will be make sure we continue to care for each other, to stay healthy and to have a strong community in spite of this situation. I must tell you how encouraged I am to see so many Bet Shalomers coming to our virtual classes and miyanim. We are continuing to add more and more opportunities for our souls to be together. And we will continue to respond to your needs. Hashem is counting on us to make this world befitting for Geulah Shelemah for complete redemption. Let’s have a joyous Pesah. Blessings to you and your family.


Only blessings, 


Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Mon, April 19 2021 7 Iyyar 5781