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March 05 Kosherpages launches 

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Chanukah

Wednesday, 13th December 2017

Chanukah is an eight day holiday which begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. It marks the miraculous victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against Greek persecution and religious oppression.

In addition to being victorious in war, another miracle occurred: When the Maccabees came to rededicate the Temple, they found only one flask of oil with which to light the Menorah the candelabra in the Temple). This small flask lasted for eight days instead of the usual one day.
In order to commemorate this miracle, we light a Menorah for the eight days of Chanukah.
On the evening before each one of the days, the corresponding number of Chanukah candles are lit, one candle for the first night, 2 candles for the 2nd night etc.

Lighting the Chanukiah

Friday, 8th December 2017

All Jews are obligated in the Mitzvah (commandment) of lighting Chanukah candles. 

This applies to men, women and children (who have reached the age of Chinuch - being educated - approximately 5 or 6  years of age), as all Jews were saved in the miraculous victory of the Macabbees over the mighty Greek army. Additionally, women are specifically  obligated in the Mitzvos of Chanukah, due to their being saved from the harsh decrees levied against them, via the heroic act of Yehudis, a woman.

The prevalent Minhag/custom is for the male head of household to exempt all the female members of the house (adults and children alike), through the lighting of his menorah.(Amongst Sephardim, the head of household exempts everyone in the house, even other males)

The females being exempted should make sure to be present and listen to the recital of the Brachos/blessings [and answer Amen] while the menorah is kindled.

 
If no man is available to exempt her, a women may light [and make the blessings over] her own menorah. A woman can also exempt other people with her lighting, when no man is available to do this. 
[Ashkenazic] Boys who have reached the age of Chinuch should preferably light their own menorahs [with all the Halachic details involved] and not rely on the head of the household's lighting.

Blessing on fruit pips

Thursday, 30th November 2017

 

If one eats fruit pips that are bitter and inedible, one does not make a Brocha (blessing) when eating them.

If one improved bitter pips by roasting them (or otherwise), one says the Brocha of "Shehakol".

If one eats fruit pips that are naturally edible, one says the Brocha of "HoAdomo".

If one eats the pips while eating the fruit , then they are included in the Brocha of HoEtz that one made on the fruit.

Returning an Object

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

When returning an object that you were asked to safeguard, or when returning a loan, it must be returned to the person who gave it to you.

Giving it to a member their household is not acceptable; if something happens to the item you would be held responsible.

However, giving it to the owner's spouse is permitted, unless you were explicitly asked not to do so, since spouses trust each other to look after each other's property.

Insults

Thursday, 16th November 2017

It is wrong to insult or belittle someone due to their having a physical handicap or otherwise having a less than pleasant appearance, even if this is said not in their presence. It is also wrong to harbour such demeaning thoughts about the person even if they aren't verbalised.

The reason for this is that if one has an issue with the vessel, i.e. the handicapped person, he should express his grievances with its creator, G-d.

In general it is important to know that every single human being has Ma'alos (good attributes) and Chesronos (flaws). Nobody is perfect, be it in intellectual properties, physical attributes or personality traits.

Why then should a person focus on the negative, when it's much wiser to seek and find the positive about our fellow Jews and accentuate that positive?

People who never find the positive about others are themselves flawed people.

Bleeding gums

Wednesday, 8th November 2017

If you bit into food - a piece of bread or fruit, for example - and some blood (from your gums or elsewhere) gets onto the food, one has to remove the bloody part before eating the rest.

However, you may swallow your own blood originating in your mouth - from bleeding gums or a cut tongue, for example - if it did not leave your mouth.

Diverting trouble

Thursday, 2nd November 2017

One may not divert trouble if it will then go to a fellow Jew.  However, before the damage arrives, one may protect oneself from being damaged, even if somebody else may suffer as a result.

For example:  If a river overflows into one's garden, one may not divert nor drain it, in a manner that will then flood a neighbour's garden.

However, before the river arrives near one's property, one is allowed to create a barrier, even if it would then go to a neighbour should it overflow, since the neighbour could also protect himself beforehand.

Sharing the same table

Wednesday, 25th October 2017

Two acquaintances are not allowed to share the same table, if one is eating a meat meal and the other is eating a milky meal.

This applies to friends, family and even casual acquaintances who wouldn't feel comfortable sharing their food.

If there is some sort of separation on the table, then they are allowed to share the table. For example, if they each have their own place mat, or there is something between them on the table that normally is not on the table.

They should not share the same cup, jug or bottle, since food can get stuck on it and passed from one to the other.

They also should not be sharing the same loaf of bread. The custom is that they do not even share the same salt cellars.

Cutting nails on Shabbos

Thursday, 19th October 2017

One may not cut off nails on Shabbos, not with an instrument, not by hand and not even by biting it off.

If a nail is partly disconnected it may not be detached on Shabbos.

If a nail is almost completely detached - and will eventually fall off - and it is causing discomfort, one can remove it by hand but not with an instrument.

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.

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