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March 05 Kosherpages launches 

December 05 - KP goes national.

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January 07 - 1st B2B tradeshow

January 08 - 1st Kosher Lifestyle Show

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- Launch of new film review section

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Sukkah Decorations and Shach

Tuesday, 10th October 2017

Since the S'chach (branches covering the Sukkah) were used for a Mitzvah, they deserve some respect even after having done their duty.

After Sukkoth when the S'chach is taken down, one should not trample on it.

One may throw them away, but one may not use them for disrespectful purposes like building an outhouse.

One may burn S'chach.

Care should be taken with decorations that have Torah verses written on them.

Preferably one shouldn't hang up such decorations, but if one did, then they need to go into Geniza/Sheimos or otherwise carefully looked after.

Mitzvos of Sukkos

Tuesday, 3rd October 2017

1.     Whilst most Mitzvos (Commandments)  are performed with specific parts of the body - e.g. tefillin (Phylacteries) with the hand and head - the mitzvah of Sukkah is done with the entire body, where your whole body sits in the Sukkah.

2.     Whilst most Mitzvos are carried out for a limited period of time only, a person can remain in the Sukkah for virtually the entire holiday, and the longer you stay in the Sukkah, the greater the Mitzvah.

3.   The routine activities of eating, sleeping etc. are not generally Mitzvos, but during Succos, if these activities are done in the Sukkah, they acquire the status of Mitzvos

Eating Erev Yom Kippur

Wednesday, 27th September 2017

There is a Mitzvah to eat on Erev (the eve of) Yom-Kippur. 

The Mitzvah exists during the entire day.

One may not fast on Erev-Yom-Kippur.

One must eat at least the seudas Hamafsekes (the meal in the afternoon prior to the beginning of the fast). 

There is a largely accepted minhag (custom) to eat two seudos (meals) on Erev Yom-Kippur: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

One should eat meat for the Seudas Hamafsekes. 

There are those that eat Dairy for the morning meal, but many eat meat for both.

If one ate the Seuda Hamafsekes and then wishes to eat or drink more after the Seuda (meal) but before the start of the fast, that person should make a stipulation to that effect before or while he is still eating the Seuda Hamafsekes. 

If one didn’t make a verbal stipulation, but did intend to eat after the Seuda Hamafsekes, then they may continue eating.

If one didn’t stipulate or intend to eat (i.e. didn’t give any thought as to whether or not one wished to eat again) it is advisable not to eat. If, however, there is a significant reason for eating more, one can do so.

If one thought that he was not going to eat more, then even if one didn’t verbally say so, one should refrain from eating. If there is a need to eat, one can do so.

If one actually said that he was not going to eat again then one may not eat again until after the fast.
Although it is a Mitzva to eat Erev Yom Kippur, we must stop eating some time before the fast begins, as we are obligated to add onto the Kedushas Hayom (holiness of the day).

The blast of the Shofar

Monday, 18th September 2017

The blast of the Shofar should remind us to awaken from our spiritual slumber and start taking our Torah study and Mitzvah observance seriously.

However, hearing the Shofar being blown on Rosh Hashanah is a Torah commandment! All of the other various symbolic reasons given for Shofar blowing are significant but the main reason that we blow the Shofar is because of the Torah Commandment.

Selichos

Friday, 15th September 2017

The prevalent Minhag (custom) amongst Ashkenazic Jewry is to begin reciting Selichos(a series of penitential prayers and liturgy - prayers for forgiveness and mercy)from the Sunday morning before Rosh Hashana, unless Rosh Hashana falls out on a Monday or a Tuesday, in which case Selichos begins a week earlier, as we require at least four days of Selichos before Rosh Hashana.
 
The reason for this requirement: Since a Korban (sacrifice) in the Bais Hamikdash (Temple) required four days of examinations to ensure it was blemish-free and acceptable for the Mizbeach (altar), so too each Jew should consider themselves as a Korban on Rosh Hashana and be ready to sacrifice themselves in atonement before Hashem (G-d), and thus utilize these four days (or more) to examine their deeds and do Teshuva (repentance) for their sins and thus be pure when approaching Hashem on Rosh Hashana.

Excel in one Mitzva

Thursday, 7th September 2017

Let us excel in one Mitzva

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

Even though Hashem – G-d -  is prepared to accept our Teshuva all year round, the days from Rosh Chodesh Elul (this year 1stSeptember) until Yom Kippur (this year 12th October) are an auspicious period for improving one's ways.

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

At the very least let us choose one Mitzva or Halacha to improve on, during this period.

Choti U'Machti

Thursday, 31st August 2017

One of the harshest sins imaginable is to be a "Choti U'Machti", a sinner who causes other Jews to sin as well. 

Chazal - our Sages - teach us that one who is a Choti U'machti forfeits his portion in Olam Haba - the world to come!

One who caused another Jew to sin along with them, must not only do Teshuva - repentence - for his own sin but must also try to get the other person to do teshuva as well.

Elul

Thursday, 24th August 2017

During Elul one gets ready for the upcoming Days of Judgement (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) with a three-pronged approach:

1. Teshuva; repenting. Improving one's Mitzva observance.

2. Tefilla; praying. Asking Hashem for help and praising and thanking Him for being good to us.

3. Tzedakah; giving charity to those less fortunate than ourselves.

In order to pray properly, one needs to understand what one is saying. If one is not fluent in Hebrew, one should get a Siddur and Machzor with an English translation.

One should remember that one is praying - talking - to the One Above. If one's thoughts wander during prayers one should pause and recollect one's thoughts.

Checking Mezuzos and Tefillin

Thursday, 17th August 2017

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

Brachot

Wednesday, 9th August 2017

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

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