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Kosherpages Updates

March 05 Kosherpages launches 

December 05 - KP goes national.

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January 07 - 1st B2B tradeshow

January 08 - 1st Kosher Lifestyle Show

August 08 - Parent & child networking event at the Odeon Manchester

September 08
- Launch of new film review section

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November 08 - Launch of new Medical Blog By Dr. Martin Harris

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Thursday, 16th November 2017

Yaakov (Jacob) gave Esav bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, got up and left; and Esav belittled the birthright. Ch.25/34

Esav had only asked for the lentil stew. Why did Yaakov add bread to the menu?

The answer is that Yaakov wanted to close the deal for the rights of the firstborn with Esav being required to take an oath. The problem was that because of Esav’s extreme hunger, his oath would have been considered “under duress” and therefore invalid according to Jewish law. So, Yaakov first fed Esav bread to take away his raging hunger, so that Esav could take his oath with a clear mind, thus making it binding.


Chayei Sarah

Wednesday, 8th November 2017

“And G-d blessed Avrohom (Abraham) with all.” (Bereishis 24:1)

What is the meaning of “all”? If G-d blessed him without specifying a particular area, surely that means that he was blessed with all?

The true tzadik (righteous person) is, by definition, a model of selflessness. His main concern is what G-d wants of him, and what other people want and need. His own material substance, beyond maintaining his health and strength to serve G-d, is of little concern to him.

Therefore, when the tzadik prays, he doesn’t pray to G-d only for himself, he prays for the welfare of the whole community. Even if his prayers are answered, and G-d blesses him, it’s not a blessing in his eyes if others are not included.

Therefore, if G-d wants to really bless the tzadik, He will bless the whole community, as well. That’s the meaning of the verse, “And G-d blessed Avrohom with all.” G-d acceded to Avrohom’s wishes, and blessed all the people, not just him. 


Thursday, 2nd November 2017

Verse 1. Now the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.

Verse 2. And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.
Why are the words “from the entrance of the tent” repeated in verse 2, what is the Torah trying to teach us?

The Gemoro (Talmud) in Brachos 6b says: One who  leaves Shul (the synagogue) shall not take large steps while leaving.

The reason for this is that he shouldn’t be happy when leaving from doing a mitzvah (positive commandment).

The rule brought down in Shulchan oruch in Orach Chaim Siman 90 Seif 12 writes: It is a mitzvah to run towards a shul, or to do any other mitzvah.

Now,  if someone is running from one mitzvah to a second, should he run or not? If he runs, he is “embarrassing” the first mitzvah. If he doesn’t run, then he isn’t doing the mitzvah of running to perform the second mitzvah!

Rather we must say: If the first mitzvah is greater than the second, then he shouldn’t run; so as to not embarass the first and greater mitzvah. If the second mitzvah is greater, the he should run in order to fulfill the second greater mitzvah with Zerizus (eagerness). What if the 2 mitzvos are equal? He should walk the first half of the journey and run the second half, in this way he fulfills both his obligations.

The Gemoro in Shabbas 127a writes:
Taking in guests is greater than speaking to Hashem (G-d).
If this is true, then when Avraham (Abraham) went to take in guests although he was speaking to Hashem, then since the second mitzvah was greater than the first, Avraham had to run the entire journey, as we learnt before.
Therefore the possuk (verse) writes that ”He ran towards them from the entrance of the tent “, because he had to run towards the second mitzvah the entire journey; from the entrance of the tent

Lech Lecha

Wednesday, 25th October 2017

Those who bless you I shall bless and those who curse you I shall curse
The weeks Torah portion opens with G-d telling Avram (Abraham) to leave his home town and blessing him that ‘I will make you into a great nation …... those who bless you will be blessed and those who curse you, I shall curse’ (12;2-3). 
In fact, this latter blessing of ‘those who bless you I shall bless and those who curse you I shall curse’ is quite evident and openly manifest over the course of history. 
The following is something quoted from Professor Huston Smith’s ’The Religions of Man:’

“…Western civilization was born in the Middle East, and the Jews were at its crossroads. 
In the heyday of Rome, the Jews were close to the Empire’s centre. 
When power shifted eastward, the Jewish centre was in Babylon.
When it skipped to Spain, there again were the Jews. 
When in the Middle Ages the centre of civilization moved into Central Europe, the Jews were waiting for it in Germany and Poland. 
The rise of the United States to the leading world power found Judaism focused there. 
And now, today, when the pendulum seems to be swinging back towards the Old World and the East rises to renewed importance, there again are the Jews in Israel…” 
The converse is true also. 
When Jewish persecution under the Roman Empire rose, Rome began its permanent demise from centre stage. 
When, in 1000ce, Jewish life in Babylonia became unbearable and previous tolerance was ignored, Babylonia’s fall began. 
Spain too, initially welcomed the Jews, rose to a world power, and less than a century after the Jews’ 9th Av 1492 expulsion from Spain, Spain too had fallen into decay. 
Europe then became the power focus, and many Jews were there, and after the holocaust - which was preceded by mass Jewish immigration predominantly to America, the USA is currently the world superpower and not Europe.
“Those who bless you I will bless and those who curse you I will curse.”


Thursday, 19th October 2017

Our sages teach us that the construction of the ark took 120 years. Although Hashem (G-d) could have saved Noach (Noah) and his family in many ways, which would have saved much time and energy, the sages teach us that He specifically chose to have Noach go through this arduous task to arouse the curiosity of all who passed by. This would enable Noach to have a chance to explain to them that Hashem was planning a flood that would destroy the entire world because of the evil that had pervaded it. The passerby would, hopefully, be impressed enough to change his behaviour and begin to live a more ethical lifestyle. 
Is it not odd that from the thousands of people who must have passed by and seen Noach hammering away, not even one person allowed themselves to be inspired and to be saved from death? We know that only Noach, his wife, his sons, and their wives were protected in the ark throughout the flood. Apparently, no one else had decided to repent. If they had, they would have been saved. How could this be?

Perhaps the answer lies in another teaching of the sages. The Torah says that Noach and his family went into the ark "because of the waters of the flood" (Genesis 7:7). From here the sages derive that Noach was mediocre in his belief because it took the pushing of the waters to force him into the ark. 
Obviously, this statement is not to be taken at face value. The Torah itself states that "Noach was righteous and walked with Hashem" (ibid. 6:9). There is no doubt that he was aware of Hashem and knew that His word was to be taken seriously.
However, we are being told that Noach was lacking in his belief, a belief that was to be expected of him. Perhaps this is the explanation for Noach's inability to convince anyone to repent. One who, himself, is not totally knowledgeable of the truth he is teaching will not succeed in convincing others of its importance. They will sense that he is not firm in his own belief and will, ultimately, be turned away because of it.

In order for a change to take effect, one must have the intent in his heart, as he speaks with his words. Words do not have an effect until they are spoken with sincerity. Noach had something important to teach, which should have been taken seriously, but his lack of belief (on whatever level it may have been) was enough to take the effect out of his warnings to the people. 


Tuesday, 10th October 2017

Even if we did not commit as we should have on Yom Kippur, the Teshuva (repentance) via actions of Sukkos/Shmini Atzeres can see us ‘released.’

This is seen by the parable of Chazal (our Sages) of a king sending his messengers to fetch a certain person who has been convicted for the crime of disobeying the king. When the messengers arrive, they see a man who is happily fulfilling the king’s decrees and return to the king saying that the king must have got it wrong; this cannot be the convicted person, and the king agrees.

So too, continues this Chazal, that even if we are convicted in the judgment of Yom Kippur, the fact that we have acted as we should have throughout Sukkos and Shmini Atzeres makes us new people and we escape conviction. It is a Teshuva via action.


Tuesday, 3rd October 2017

The basic understanding of the verse (Vaikra 23:42,43) as explained by Talmud in Succah (11b) is that we are commanded to commemorate that we lived in “Succos” in the desert referring to Annanei Hakavod (the Clouds of Glory that protected us in the desert) so too now we live in Succos nowadays.
The holiday really should be in the Hebrew month of Nissan, Pesach (Passover) time, which is when the Clouds first appeared, upon the beginning of our journey in the desert, so why are we celebrating it on the 15th of (the Hebrew month of) Tishrei six months later?
The Vilna Gaon (Rabbni of Vilna) explains that we celebrate Succos in the month of Tishrei not because of the commemoration of the Ananei Hakavod themselves but rather their return on the 15th of Tishrei. Where did they go? Well, it all started when the Jews panicked, because they thought that Moshe (Moses) died since he appeared to be taking a bit longer to get the luchos (tablets) when he went up to Har (Mount)  Sinai for 40 days after receiving the Torah. Consumed by panic, people decided to build the golden calf. Now, of course, that was a miscalculation on their part and their failure to maintain commitment to the relationship with Hashem(G-d). Therefore, Hashem withdrew his presence from the Jewish people including the Ananei Hakavod. 
At the beginning of the (Hebrew) month of Elul, Moshe went back up onto the mountain and after 40 days (which falls on Yom Kippur) he obtained forgiveness for the whole nation from Hashem and brought down the new set of luchos. Right then, he was commanded to build the Mishkan (the Tabernacle). Five days later, all the materials were donated by the Jewish nation and on the 15th the building of the Mishkan began. At the commencement of the building the Ananei Hakavod returned reflecting the return of Hashem’s presence among the Jewish nation.

Yom Kippur

Wednesday, 27th September 2017

On Yom Kippur we wipe away our sins. On Rosh HaShana we proclaim HaShem (G-d) as King (but no sin-mention). 

Surely Yom Kippur should go first so we can proclaim HaShem as King in a state of sin-free purity? 

The Rambam - Maimonidies - (hil melachim 1;1) comments that we were commanded 3 commandments upon entry to the land of Israel; 1st to appoint a king, then to wipe out Amalek, and finally to build a Beis Hamikdash (Temple). The order is very precise here. 

So too, Rosh HaShana is compared to appointing a king (we 'appoint' HaShem as King), Yom Kippur to the removal of Amalek (Amalek is the embodiment of sin), and Sukkos to the Beis Hamikdash (a surrounding sanctuary of HaShem's Presence) .

Thus, for the same reason a King is needed to beat amalek, so too is Rosh HaShanah needed to have a successful Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashana

Monday, 18th September 2017

Why isn’t Yom Kippur before Rosh Hashana?

On Yom Kippur we wipe away our sins. On Rosh HaShono we proclaim HaShem (G-d) as King (no sin-mention). Surely Yom Kippur should go first so we can proclaim HaShem as King in a state of sin-free purity?

One can answer based on Gemorro (Talmud) Sukkah (52b) that says that the yetzer hara (evil inclination) is too strong for us - and we can only overcome it with the help of HaShem. This means that essentially it is not in our hands solely to overcome the yetzer hara. Thus, we must have a Rosh HaShana first, for that is the way of ensuring that HaShem will help us so we can cleanse ourselves of sin culminating on Yom Kipur. 

Another answer is based on a lovely comparison. The Rambam (Maimonides) (hil melachim 1;1) comments that we were commanded 3 mitzvos (commandments) upon entry to the land of Israel; 1st to appoint a king, then wipe out amalek, and finally to build a beis hamikdash (Temple). [and that is the order that they occurred in nach (Scriptures).] 

The order is very precise here. So too, Rosh HaShono is compared to appointing a king (we 'appoint' HaShem as King), Yom Kippur to the removal of amalek (amalek is the embodiment of sin), and Sukkos to the beis hamikdash (a surrounding sanctuary of HaShem's Presence).


Thursday, 14th September 2017

Whenever we are given blessings and curses for following HaShem’s (G-d’s) Mitzvos (commandments) or not, the blessings are always put first. In our sedra of this week,  this is apparent in the pasuk/verse (30;15) ‘See, I have placed before you today life and good, and death and evil.’ When the Torah is informing us that we have a choice of how to live our lives, we are given the good and positive options first. Similarly, the next two psukim (verses) follow this pattern - they first describe that if we ‘cling’ to HaShem and His Commandments we will prosper, and only then do they briefly describe our (not so positive) fate if we betray HaShem. Perhaps the best example of this is something the Midrash picks up on in Parshas (Torah portion of) Shmini.

The Torah gives the signs of a Kosher animals as split hooves and chews the cud. The Torah then gives four animals which only have one of the two signs and are thus non-Kosher. In each of these four cases the Torah first mentions the positive sign that the animal does have, and only then mentions that it does not have the other sign and is thus not Kosher. Thus, even the epitome of ‘treifness (non-kosher),’ the pig, is described in the following light: ‘And the pig, for its hoof is split…but it does not chew the cud - it is unclean to you’ (Vayikra 11;7). From the fact that the Torah goes out of its way to first mention the positive qualities of even the pig before prohibiting it, we can see the importance of finding the positive in others even if we might think they possess much negative characteristics.

The Chofetz Chaim quotes a midrash, that if one speaks good and positively of other people, the angels will speak good of you to HaShem. We said that this is a great way to build up towards Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, when we are looking for HaShem to show mercy and good favour to us in judgment.