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MISHLOACH MANOT FORMS!
Thursday, February 21st
Fast of Esther
● Fast begins at 5:17 AM
● Shacharit at 6:30 AM
● Mincha at 5:15 PM
● Fast ends at 6:08 PM
Halachah How To
On Thursday February 21st, we will observe Taanit Esther (the Fast of Esther). Of all of the fast days of the year, Taanit Esther is the one of the least certain origin. The Megillah reports the three-day-fast undertaken by the Jews of Shushan at Esther's behest, but there is no suggestion that this was intended to translate into an annual fast day. The Gemara as well makes no reference to an annual Taanit Esther fast day.
The earliest mention of it appears to be in the Gaonic period, in an interpretation of a Talmudic comment concerning the Jews of Shushan and the 13th of Adar. The Talmud refers to the 13th of Adar as the "day of gathering" for Shushan's Jews. While Rashi, for example, understood this to mean a day of gathering for military purposes (this was, after all, the day that they had been given permission to destroy their enemies in the Persian kingdom), the Gaonic-authored She'iltot suggests that they must also have gathered for fasting and prayer on so weighty a day. Thus, concludes the She'iltot, we should all fast on the 13th of Adar as well, as part of our commemoration of the events of Purim.
The relative historical lateness of Taanit Esther leads the Shulchan Aruch to rule that women who are pregnant or nursing, as well as anyone who is sick, is exempt from the fast. However, everyone else is required to participate in the fast, as the community of Israel has accepted it as an important dimension of our religious experience of Purim. Purim is not merely a celebration of deliverance. It is also a remembrance of the fragility of our national being, and the importance of our covenant with God.
Please look carefully at the schedule for Taanit Esther above.
Megillah Readings on Purim February 23 & 24
Motzei Shabbat, February 23rd
· Ma’ariv at 6:12 PM * Shabbat Ends at 6:22 PM
· Two Megillah Readings, 6:50 PM (SHARP)
1 Main reading in the Social Hall. Costumes are highly encouraged.
2 Family-friendly Megillah Reading in the Main Sanctuary featuring the “Purim Players.” This is the reading which children 11 and under should attend. See description below.
● Operation PB&J follows Main Reading, in Social Hall
● There will be an additional readings at approximately 8:15 PM PM in the Beit Medrash
Join BDJ’s Family Friendly
Interactive Megillah Reading
The idea is to provide a halachically kosher reading for parents, while at the same time, keeping it fun for the kids. This reading will feature a variety of interactive moments (in addition to the standard “Haman” moments!), as well as special appearances from our favorite Purim Players. Kids will also be provided with some quiet Purim-related activities to keep them busy.
Parents: please make sure your children are sitting with you during the reading, and not running around the room.
*If you are in need of a private reading, please contact Robby Helperin.
Sunday, February 24th
● Shacharit at 8:00 AM
● Megillah Reading at approximately 8:30 AM
● Shirat Chana Shacharit at 10:00 AM, with Megillah Reading at
approximately 10:30 AM in the Main Sanctuary Women Only
● Late Megillah Reading at 11:30 AM in the Main Sanctuary
● Operation PB&J deliveries, 11:30 AM– 1:00 PM
● Community Purim Seuda at 12 noon
● BDJ & Chaverim Purim Party at 1:30 PM
● Mincha/Maariv at 5:30 PM
JOIN IN AND HELP MAKE PURIM A DAY OF SERVICE AND CHESED AT BDJ!
We have TWO major projects planned!
I. The return of Operation PB&J
GOAL: To package and deliver food, and supply Mishloach Manot bags—with a personal touch—for L.A.’s neediest.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(1) Families with kids - Join us after the Family Megilah Reading and have your kids fill out Purim cards for the Operation PB&J bags. This is a beautiful way to personalize each bag and include Purim good wishes from BDJ. We’ll have the markers and crayons and cards – you bring the artists!
(2) Bring a donation to the shul of a closed jar of jelly or peanut butter, brown paper bags and sandwich bags. You can also bring your donations on the night of Purim itself.
(3) Following the Megillah Reading, come to the Social Hall for the making of the PB&J sandwiches and survival kits, and the packaging of the Mishloach Manot bags.
II. The Chaverim/BDJ Purim celebration
GOAL: To truly "make Purim" for the members of Chaverim, a program committed to providing activities for adults with developmental and other disabilities. The goal of Chaverim is to help their members become active and vital members of the community and this is a perfect activity in which BDJ members have a chance to join with the Chaverim organization and participate in and assist with their inclusive work.
Over the course of Succot, we are required to eat all of our meals in a Succah. If we find ourselves without easy access to one (e.g. at work), we can take advantage of the leniency in the Halachah, which permits "casual” eating outside of the Succah. "Casual eating" includes even large quantities of foods that are not comprised of grain. In other words, dairy products. meat, fish, fruit and vegetables may all be consumed outside the Succah in whatever quantities one desires. At the same time, whenever we do have access to a Succah, it is always meritorious to eat these items in the Succah as well.
Notes on assembling and using
the lulav and etrog
To assemble the lulav, hadasim and aravot, begin by holding the lulav so the thick green spine is facing you. The hadasim (of which you have three) go on the right side of the lulav, and the aravot (of which you have two) go on the left. The hadasim should extend just a little higher than the aravot and the lulav should extend at least three inches higher than the hadasim.
The procedure for performing the mitzvot of lulav and etrog is as follows: We take the lulav (with the hadasim and aravot) in our right hand and the etrog—with pitum facing downward—in our left. (If we were to take the etrog right-side-up, we would at that instant be fulfilling the mitzvah, even before we had a chance to recite the bracha.) Thus holding things, we recite the bracha “al netilat lulav,” and, on the first day, Shehechiyanu. After we’ve recited the brachot, we turn the etrog right-side-up, and wave the entire package in front of us, then to the right, then behind us, then to the left, then upward and finally downward.
I’d be delighted to address any questions you might have either about technical procedure of lulav or about the reasons for why we do this the way we do.
The Halachot of Tisha B’Av
The Seuda Hamafseket
The experience of Tisha B'Av actually begins before Tisha B'Av. Unique in all of Jewish life is the special meal we eat before the fast begins, סעודה המפסקת (Seuda Hamafseket). There is no meal, not even a meal eaten in a shiva house, that is designed to be more miserable than the סעודה המפסקת. Neither meat nor wine, nor more than even one cooked food, may be consumed. (Traditionally, we eat bread and a hard-boiled egg.) The meal is not only to be eaten while sitting on the floor, it is to be eaten in isolation. The bentching afterward is specifically not to be preceded by a zimmun. It is the meal through which we imagine the meal of someone who is sitting at the lowest point of the circle of history. There is even a custom to dip the food in ashes.
The סעודה המפסקת is also the subject of a whole historical back-and-forth that plays out on the pages of the Shulchan Aruch. This is because the Shulchan Aruch insists that this meal is intended to be a real meal, not merely a symbolic or ritual PS to the dinner we will have eaten before the fast. Which is to say, there should be a meaningful lapse of time between our last meal, and the סעודה המפסקת, so that we are actually hungry again when we sit to eat the סעודה המפסקת (just like we would be when we would sit down to eat any regular meal). But it’s clear that historically this was a struggle, as people wanted to eat their “real” meal as close to the beginning of the fast as possible, for obvious reasons. Rama writes that the minhag in his land was to eat a regular meal, go and daven mincha, and then eat the סעודה המפסקת (which I think we should do next time Tisha B'Av falls out on a Sunday). Others object that this is too short an interval between the two meals. Eliyahu Raba attempts to justify the popular practice by pointing out that people are in any case acting for the sake of heaven, i.e. are eating their “regular meal” late in the day because they want to insure that their fast can be about reflection and prayer, rather than hunger. But Eliyahu Raba cautions that, at very least, a person mustn’t be full when sitting down to eat the סעודה המפסקת. Eating when full is not recognized as eating at all in the eyes of Halachah.
Bottom line: the סעודה המפסקת is a vital part of the overall experience of Tisha B'Av. We should plan to stagger Monday night’s dinner and the subsequent סעודה המפסקת to the greatest degree that is feasible.
The Halachot of TISHA B'AV
(1) The restrictions of Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av is similar in many ways to Yom Kippur. The fast is a full “24+” hours, and the restrictions of the day include not washing one’s body (except for hand-washing in the morning), not wearing leather shoes, and refraining from marital relations, in addition to not eating and drinking. Additionally, on Tisha B'Av, all those who are physically able to do so sit on the floor or on low stools rather than chairs. [This last custom extends only until midday—see below.] All of this is included to help generate a shiva-like feeling of loss and grief. This feeling can then serve as the framework for the prayer and kinot of the day.
Tisha B'Av does not have the status of Shabbat. Nonetheless, the less time we can spend at “work” work, the better. Also, if going to work can be delayed until midday, that option should be pursued.
Perhaps the most awkward custom of Tisha B'Av is that of not exchanging greetings throughout the fast. This too is borrowed from the laws of shiva. Though it feels odd to not say "hello" to the people we see in Shul, the pointed avoidance of exchanging pleasantries helps to create the atmosphere of sad reflection.
(2) סעודה המפסקת (Seuda Hamafseket)
Please see previous HALACHAH HOW TO.
(3) Tallit and tefillin
Neither tallit nor tefillin are worn on the morning of Tisha B'Av. Both are symbols of Israel’s glory, and neither is appropriate as we sit on the floor in the depths of dismay. Tallit and tefillin are worn at Mincha, as the gloom of the day slowly begins to lift.
(4) Chatzot (Midday)
As was mentioned above, the custom of sitting on the floor ends at midday. Solar midday this year will be at 12:59 PM.
חֲבֵרִים כָל יִשְרָאֵל
On Tisha B'Av day, we will again have two opportunities to express and experience Jewish brother- and sisterhood. In the morning hours, we will have our traditional kinot with YICC and Beth Jacob.
Preview and download the music from the Yom Hashoah seder here.
Erev Yom Kippur – Friday, Erev Shabbat, September 17th
Selichot 6:45 AM
Shacharit 7:00 AM
Mincha 4:00 PM
Candlelighting by 6:40 PM
Kol Nidre - Friday, September 17th 6:35 PM
Yom Kippur - Shabbat, September 18th 8:00 AM
Yizkor 11:30 AM
Mincha 4:50 PM
Havdalah 7:34 PM