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Thursday, January 28, 2016


Har Sinai


·        Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law, comes to join Bnei Yisrael after learning of the miracles Hashem performed for them.

·   Yitro sees that Moshe works day and night judging Bnei Yisrael and listening to their problems and he suggests that Moshe appoint judges to take care of most of the cases. Moshe asks Hashem if he can take Yitro’s advice and Hashem agrees.

·   Bnei Yisrael are about to receive the Torah. They get to Har Sinai on the third of Sivan and spend three days purifying themselves and doing teshuva while preparing to receive the Torah. No one is allowed to go near the mountain, except Moshe.

·   Hashem calls Moshe up the mountain to tell him to tell Bnei Yisrael to prepare themselves in order to receive the Torah. On the sixth day of Sivan, Hashem gives Bnei Yisrael the Ten Commandments 

Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other.  
( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
"וישמע יתרו כהן מדין חתן משה את כל אשר עשה אלקים למשה ולישראל עמו כי הוציא ה' את ישראל ממצרים:" (שמות יח, א)
The Parsha starts off by telling us that Yitro heard. Rashi tells us: “What did he hear that he came? Yitro heard of the splitting of the Red Sea and the war against Amalek.”
Yitro heard, but so did everyone else.  What was the big deal??
When kids for example, sit in class, some hear what the teacher is saying but do not fully grasp it.  Others might be hearing but are not paying attention. Yitro was able to hear and also understand what was being said.
Another example is the story we heard in last week's Parsha about Kriyat Yam suf (the splitting of the sea). There, it tells us that the nations heard and trembled with fear.  Yet shortly after, they went back to their old ways.  They did not change.  It was as if they heard it, but  kind of forgot about it and went back to what they were doing before.  They were not willing to change and it was as if they did not understand and forgot about what happened.
We can learn a very important lesson from Yitro.  He heard and came.He grasped the concept and was able to change and make the change.  It is not enough to just sit on the side and hear; he listened, grasped, changed and made a difference!

A famous story that we know,
Is in this week’s Parshat Yisro.
Hashem went to every nation to ask,
Will you consent to an important task?

Will you accept the Torah out of love,
He asked Amon and asked Moav.
“What does it say” they all did fear,
Would they accept what they would hear?

“You cannot kill and cannot steal,”
They could not believe that was for real.
“We do not accept, we have free will,
We choose to steal and choose to kill.”

Hashem went to the Bnei Yisrael,
And asked if they would like the Torah as well.
“Naaseh Venishma” was their reply,
And they all gathered round on Har Sinai.

On the third day there was noise of thunder and light,
The Bnei Yisrael caught such a fright.
The Aseret hadibrot were presented to them,
The Bnei Yisrael heard part from Hashem.

Which did they hear, what about the rest?
If you know the answer, you past this test.

This week’s Parsha is a very exciting one.  The Bnei Yisrael received the Torah at Har Sinai.  Listen carefully in shul as the baal koreh reads the aseret hadibrot. 
Every one of the aseret hadibrot is important. The fifth commandment is honoring your mother and father.  Here is a nice project that you can make before Shabbat and surprise your parents at the Shabbat table. Make coupon booklets for your parents to redeem.  Use your imagination.  Your parents will love these suggestions.
 Here are some examples: 
·         This coupon allows you (your parents) for a free dinner.  You will be able to make your parents a nice dinner.
·         This coupon is good for washing the floors in the house.
·      This coupon is good for free babysitting while you nap.
You can come up with many creative ideas and talk about the mitzvah of kibbud av vaem.
  • Write each of the Aseret Hadibrot (Ten Commandments) on separate pieces of paper.  Have a contest and see who can arrange them in the correct order first.
  •  Choose an activity during the week which will demonstrate the mitzvah of ben adam lachavero (between man and his friend).  You could visit a sick person, make cards for sick kids in the hospital, help someone etc…
  •    Call a close friend or relative before Shabbat to wish them a Shabbat Shalom.   

Thought of the week:
Matan Torah at Har Sinai was a very special time for the Jewish people and was a pivotal point in Jewish history. The Midrash Tanhuma teaches us that when the Jewish people stood at Har Sinai and accepted the Torah, Hashem elevated our status and we became the nation of Hashem. Because of its importance, Chazal learn many important lessons from Matan Torah. For example, when the Torah tells us that the Jews camped at Har Sinai, it uses the wordויחן  which is singular rather than plural. Rashi explains that the singular was used to teach us that the Jews came united to accept the Torah united, as one people with one heart.
Achdut of the Jewish people is not to be underestimated. As our Father, there is nothing more pleasing to Hashem than to see his children love and care for each other. Alternatively, there is nothing more upsetting to Hashem than to see his children not get along with each other. It is no wonder then that the Beit Hamikdash which is the symbol of our special connection to Hashem was destroyed because of שנאת חינם. It stands to reason that with אהבת חינם, we will help hasten the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash. 

What a great Har Sinai Cake!  Use your imagination.  Everyone will want a piece of your cake.  They will gladly say “Naaseh Venishma”.

Har Sinai:
What you will need:
1. Round deep Pyrex bowl
2. One cake recipe
3.Chocolate mold of the luchot
4. Baking chocolate to melt
5.  Icing for cake
6. Colorful sprinkles to put around the mountain
·        Bake the cake in the pyrex bowl.
·        When it is cool, invert it onto a plate.
·        Frost the cake with white frosting.
·        Put the chocolate luchot on top.
·        Sprinkle with colorful sprinkles.
Luchot Habrit:

What you will need:
1.     A cake mold of Luchot Habrit or a rectangular cake that you will cut into the shape of the luchot
2.     Frosting
3.     Chocolate mold of the aleph bet
4.     Baking chocolate to melt
·        Bake the cake in the mold.
·        When cool, take it out and place it on a big rectangular tray.
·        Frost it (mix different colors to make it look gray).
·        Melt the baking chocolate.
·        Pour the melted chocolate into the Aleph until Yud slots. Freeze.
·        Remove the chocolate and place it on the appropriate spots in the cake.
           Enjoy!  Have a great Shabbat!

Answer to educated guess: (When Hashem began to speak the commandments; it was too powerful and overwhelming for the Bnei Yisrael to hear. So they begged Moshe to receive the Torah from Hashem and then tell it to them. )

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BESHALACH Shabbat Shira and Tu B'shvat

Parshat Beshalach

Minhag on Shabbat Shira to leave crumbs for the birds. (Pretzels, chocolate and candy treat)
Tof Miriam
Kriyat Yam Suf

Chur, Moshe and Aharon - fighting Amalek
"split" pea soup

Tu B'shvat Fun


  • Moshe takes Yosef's remains as they leave Mitzrayim.                 
  • Meanwhile, Pharaoh and the Egyptians regret their decision to free Bnei Yisrael. They chase after them and almost catch up to them at the Red Sea.                                  
  •  When Bnei Yisrael see the Egyptians approaching them they start to complain to Moshe.                                                       
  • Hashem tells Moshe to lift his staff over the sea. Moshe does so and the sea splits in half and Bnei Yisrael cross over.                                                                                                           
  • When the Egyptians try to follow them, the sea closes over them and drowns the whole army.                                         
  • When Bnei Yisrael see that they were saved they sing a song of Praise to Hashem.                                                                     
  • Bnei Yisrael travel to two places and in both places complain to Moshe about something they are missing. Hashem provides them with water and meat. Finally, Hashem decides to give Bnei Yisrael heavenly food every day (except Shabbat; on Friday they gather double) called Manna.                                                                                               
  • When Bnei Yisrael travel to Refidim, they encounter Amalek who attack Bnei Yisrael. Yehoshua, Moshe's student, leads the army, while Moshe stands on a mountain with his hands raised supported by Aharon and his nephew Chur. Bnei Yisrael defeat Amalek. Bnei Yisrael are then commanded to wipe out Amalek.

    Something we are taught both at home and school,
    That we should follow every rule.
    And appreciate all that we’ve got,
    Because Baruch Hashem we have a lot!

    Sometimes it might be hard to tell,
    That we do have it really well.
    We might complain and want some more,
    And not be happy with what we had before.

    Eizehu Ashir Hasameach Bichelko,
    Be happy with what you have, that for sure you know.
    If your friend has more than you,
    Be happy for them, that is what you should do.

    In this week’s parsha we can see,
    That Bnei Yisrael were not so happy.
    Even though they should be in awe,
    From all the nissim that they saw.

    They felt something was missing, that it was a pain,
    And then they started to complain.
    What 2 things did they miss? That they had none,
    And because of this Hashem brought the Munn.
    If you know the answer, then I am glad to say,
    You really know your Parsha today!

    • Then Moshe and the Children of Israel will sing this song. . ." The Shabbat of Parshat Beshalach is known as Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song, because the parsha contains the SHIRAT HAYAM, the "Song of the Sea" which was sung after the miracle of the parting of the red sea.
    Singing at the Shabbat table is a beautiful way to enjoy Shabbat.  Why not make a fun game out of singing in honor of Shabbat Shira.  The first person starts a song and everyone joins in.  When the song ends listen for the last letter of that song.  Try to start another song beginning with that letter.  Keep trying different songs and even have someone stop a song in the middle and use the last letter of the word that you stopped at.

    Go around the table and each person should say something good that happened to him this week and something good he did to someone else. This is an activity we like to do every week at our Shabbat table.  Sometimes it is hard to think about the good that has happened and it is important to appreciate the good things in life!

      Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
     "ויקח משה את עצמות יוסף עמו", and Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him. Gemara Sotah 13/1 teaches us, how beloved the mitzvot are for Moshe Rabbeinu.  While all of the Bnei Yisrael were busy gathering the gold of Mitzrayim, Moshe was busy doing the mitzvah of taking care of Yosef's bones.

    Even though, taking the spoils of Mitzrayim was also a mitzvah, Moshe was not interested in the riches.  In Mishlei 10/18 it says "חכם לב יקח מצוות".    A smart person will take mitzvot.  If Moshe was such a smart person, he could have done both, gather the wealth and the bones.

    Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to teach Bnei Yisrael a valuable lesson.  Yosef was the man who had all the gold and silver in the world, yet when he left the world the only thing he had left were his bones. The riches and wealth did not matter.

    Every day is important in life and everyday counts.  At the end of the day, a good name is what will remain.  Make every day count.  Do an act of kindness and good deed.  That will always be remembered.

    Thought of the week:

    Why was it significant for the Torah to specify that Miriam and the women went out with Tupim to thank Hashem after Kriyat Yam Suf? Rashi explains that the women were sure that Hashem would make miracles for the Jewish people and they therefore brought tupim with them from Egypt in order to have the means to thank Hashem for those future miracles. The Tupim therefore symbolize the women's steadfast emuna that Hashem constantly watches over us and will even break the ironclad laws of nature to save the Jewish people.

    In fact, the Gemara in Sota informs us that we were redeemed from Egypt through the merit of the Jewish women who had steadfast emuna that Hashem would keep his promise and take us out of Egypt. That emuna allowed them to continue having children despite the evil decrees of Pharaoh to drown all the male Jewish babies. We see that the power of emuna is immense. That is why Habakuk tells us that the foundation of Judaism is:  וצדיק באמונתו יחיה      

    Tof Miriam:

    What you will need:

    1.     Round cake
    2.     Frosting
    3.    Round cookies

    ·   Insert the round cookies into the cake all around.
    ·   Frost the cake
    There you have Miriam’s tambourine!

    Splitting of the Sea:
    Since this parsha talks about splitting of the sea, why not create your own kriyat yam suf cake.  It will be hard to “split” this cake, you will want it all for yourself!   Watch out, this cake can disappear in a “split” second! 
    What you will need:
    1.     One big rectangular cake
    2.     Blue frosting
    3.     Cookie dough
    4.     Horse-shaped cookie
    5.     People-shaped cookies
    6.     Fish gummies

    ·        Cut the cake in half.
    ·        Fill in the middle with the blue frosting (whip with blue food coloring).
    ·        Put the cookie people upside down to resemble the mitzrim.
    ·       Stick the fish gummies in the frosting
    ·        Place the horse cookies on their sides.

    Chur, Aharon and Moshe:

    What you will need:

    1.   Cookie dough
    2. People shaped cookie cutter
    • Make three people cookies.
    ·Put up their hands and attach it to each other.
    ·Bake and enjoy.

    Discuss with your kids about how when Moshe’s hands were raised that was a sign from Hashem that Bnei Yisrael will win the war over Amalek.

    Added Suggestion:
    ·        Make split pea soup (For the “splitting” of the sea).

    Split Pea Soup:

    1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
    1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
    4 cloves garlic crushed
    2 cups dried green peas
    8 cups stock
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. black pepper
    Fry the vegetables in the oil for 10 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
    Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
    Add the peas, stock,  and seasoning.
    Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  
    Simmer on low for at least 1 hour 15 minutes.
    (answer to parsha puzzle:  Water and meat)

                                   Have a wonderful Shabbat!  

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

    Dafna Meir z"l

    Dafna Meir.
    I cannot stop thinking about you.  I didn't know you and don't think I ever met you. I wish I did.  You were an inspiring incredible woman.

    You had many hardships in life and a difficult childhood.  You could have felt sorry for yourself, make excuses, be angry at the world.  Yet you chose the opposite.  You chose to help others, to save lives, to bring new life into this world.

    You chose to inspire women, to give others confidence, to lend a helping hand and ear.

    I imagine you as the Shifra and Puah of this generation.  Courageous and confident in the face of fear.

    You were painting your doorpost while you were murdered. Murdered in cold blood. The doorpost that the mezuzah is on, the one we place the Chanukia , a reminder and declaration of our faith and our Judaism.  God passed over the Jewish homes with doorposts stained by blood from the Paschal lamb. We cannot stop crying. Amazed at how you managed to save your children's lives while you were bleeding to death by your doorpost.

    Your beautiful family who spoke so poignantly, touched all of our hearts.  Your husband lovingly described you as one in a million. He was grateful for every minute he had with you. Your beautiful redheaded daughter, Ranana, called you her best friend.

    Your adoptive mother Atara, spoke about how you overcame your hardships. She recalled how she just recently asked you how do you accomplish so much?  And you answered so amazingly.  That you live your life as each day was your last.  That way you finish what you want to do and what you need to do.

    We all have so much to learn from your very short life.  Even though you accomplished so much, you never took the credit.  You composed a beautiful prayer that God should always guide you and help you in your most amazing missions.

    You are like Miriam the prophetess. Even in the darkest hour, Miriam believed in salvation.

    We will never forget you Dafna.  We hope and pray that God will watch over your beautiful and special family and give them strength to move on.  Please pray for them and for all of us to have the final redemption speedily in our days.

    May your beautiful pure soul rest in peace. תהי נשמתך צרורה בצרור החיים.

    יהי רצון מלפניך, בורא העולם המנהלו בחסד וברחמים
    שתזכה אותי לחלק תרופות לעמך ישראל הזקוקים לישועה
    וגם לבני עמים אחרים הנמצאים תחת הטיפול המסור של שליחיך הנאמנים
    העושים עבודת קודש בימים ובלילות, בשבתות ובחגים, ללא לאות
    זכני נא להבין, לדעת ולזכור תמיד, כי התרופות הן מתנה ממך, ופועלות בשליחותך
    זכני נא לחזות ולשמוח בהשפעתן המיטיבה של התרופות אותן אחלק לחולים ברחמים
    זכני נא לתת את התרופות מתוך ריכוז, ומתוך הבנת מנגנון פעולת התרופה על המחלה
    זכני נא להבחין בזמן בכל טעות, שלי או של חבריי, בשרשרת מתן התרופה, ולפעול במהירות לתיקונה
    בטרם תגיע התרופה לגופו של החולה
    זכני נא לפעול תמיד מתוך ענווה, ללמוד וללמד אחרים על ההצלחות והכשלונות בחלוקת התרופות
    זכני נא לתת תרופות לחולים מתוך בריאותי האיתנה
    ולהודות על כך שאיני נוטלת תרופות אלו בעצמי
    זכני נא ללמוד להזדהות, מתוך בריאות, עם סבלו של החולה
    ולעזור לו ככל יכולתי בכלים שאתה נותן לי יום יום ושעה שעה
    May it be thy will, Creator of the World, who manages it with mercy and compassion,
    that you entitle me to distribute medication to those of Israel, thy nation, who need to be rescued,
    and also to those of the other nations who are receiving the treatment of your faithful messengers,
    that keep up the holy work, day and night, on the Sabbath days and on holidays, tirelessly,
    Please grant me the privilege to understand, to know and to always remember that the medicines are your gift, and act under your vocation,
    Please grant me the privilege to observe and rejoice in the beneficial effects that these medicines, which I will distribute with mercy to the ill patients, will have,
    Please grant me the privilege to distribute the medication while being aware and fully concentrated, and while understanding the underlying therapeutic mechanisms by which the medicine affects the disease,
    Please grant me the privilege to notice any and every mistake and error, of my own and those of my friends in the line of medication distribution, and to act rapidly to correct it, before the medicine reaches the body of the ill patient,
    Please grant me the privilege to always act humbly, to learn and teach others of the successes and failures in medication dispensing,
    Please grant me the privilege to distribute medicine to ill patients from the state of my own robust and excellent health, and to give thanks for the fact that I, myself, am not taking those medications.
    Please grant me the privilege to sympathize, from the standing point of my own health, with the ill patients and their suffering,
    and to help them, in the very best way I can, with the tools that you give me, day after day and hour by hour.
    dafna (1)

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    PARSHAT BO Cakes and Games

    Delicious Seder Plate, Zroah, Beitza, Karpas, Maror, Charoset, Chazeret

    The sheep tied to the bed


    • Hashem brings another two plagues on the Mitzrim: locusts and darkness.
    • Hashem tells Moshe of his plan for the last plague: Makat Bechorot, death of the first born. He explains to Moshe that this will push Pharoah to let Bnei Yisrael go free.
    • Moshe and Aharon learn about the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh from Hashem and teach it to Bnei Yisrael.
    • Bnei Yisrael slaughter lambs to use as a Korban Pesach, and use the blood to mark their doorposts so Hashem passes over the Jewish houses as He kills all the first born Egyptian boys.
    • At midnight, Hashem passed over Egypt and killed all the      firstborn Egyptian boys. Pharoah panics and rushes to find Moshe to tell him that the Jews are free to go and that they should leave immediately.
    • Bnei Yisrael left Egypt the next morning and left with lots of gold and silver and cattle. They traveled to Ramses and Sukkot, until they reached the Red Sea.
    • Hashem commands Bnei Yisrael to sanctify all the firstborn males, in remembrance of makat bechorot


    In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Bo,
    There are a lot of things we know.
    Pharaoh said “no” as was predicted,
     three more plagues Hashem inflicted.

    First came  locusts, destroying the crop,
    The Mitzriyim screamed, please make this stop!
    And once it stopped, without a doubt,
    Paraoh did not allow the Jews to go out.

    And then came darkness no one could see,
    But the Jews all saw just perfectly.
    Pharaoh was stubborn he said o.k.,
    He will let the Jews out right away.

    He then said no, so each first born male will die,
    The Mitzriyim all began to cry.
    Just let them go, and do it quick,
    That last makka seemed to do the trick.

    There is a date and a certain holiday,
    The Jews made something quickly and were on their way.
    Do you know the answer, do you know this clue,
    You are a Parsha Wiz then if you do.


    At midnight of the appointed night, the last plague falls upon the Mitzriyim, with every non-Jewish firstborn dying, including Pharaoh's own son. Pharaoh quickly sends the Jewish people from Egypt. The Bnei Israel travel forth in a hurry with the great wealth they have just been given by the Egyptians.
    Give each child an empty plastic bag.  Without warning them, tell them they have one minute to fill it up with what they think is important.  When they come back to the table, have each one show what they placed in their bag.  Each person can also make up a story with the items in their bag.  See how many different stories you could come up with, with the same items.  Discuss how Bnei Yisrael left in such a hurry.  How does it feel?  What would you take with you if you had to leave in a hurry?  Why? What would you leave behind?

        Blindfold each child and spin them around.  Have them try to walk around the room without banging into anything.  Discuss how it feels like to be in darkness.

    · Look at the moon this week.  Describe the different phases of the moon and how it pertains to Rosh Chodesh.


    Korban Pesach:
    What you will need:
    1.     Cookie dough
    2.     Cookie cutter in the shape of a sheep
    3.     Small rectangular cake
    4.     Long thin licorice
    5.     4 round wafer cookies
    ·   Make Sheep shaped cookies.  Add chocolate chip to make an eye.
    ·   Once they are cool, you could add marshmallows to them (using marshmallow fluff to stick it together) to make it look like sheep skin.
    ·  Place the rectangular cake on a plate or covered cookie sheet.
    ·   Place the round wafer cookie on each side to make it look like a bedpost.
    ·   Lean the sheep cookie against the rectangular cake and tie a licorice piece around its neck.
    ·   Tie the other end to the bedpost.
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 1/4 cups sugar
    5 eggs
    4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/4 cup water
    1 cup orange juice
    zest of 1 orange, minced
    3 1/4 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

    Chocolate paste:
    4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons warm vegetable oil
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans
    Prepare the chocolate paste by placing the cocoa and oil in a small bowl
    and mix well. Add a drop or more of oil if the mixture appears too thick.
    For the cake, in a large bowl, blend the oil with the sugar , scraping the bowl often.  Blend in the eggs and stir in the vanilla, water, orange juice, and zest.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients.

    Pour one third of the batter into a smaller bowl. Stir the chocolate paste to make a chocolate batter and add the chocolate chips. Pour alternating portions of white and chocolate batter into the prepared pan.

    Bake the cakes for 35 to 40minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
    Seder Plate:

    What you will need:  

    1.     10 inch round cake.
    2.     Frosting
    3.     Fondant or paper muffin holders
    4.     Bone candies
    5.     Candies that look like eggs
    6.     Praline candies
    7.     Green candies
    8.     Marshmallows
    9.     Green candies
        ·        Frost the round cake. 
    ·        Either take 6 paper cups and place it around the cake or make the holders out of fondant.
    ·        Your Seder plate is now ready.  Add each of the candies to their place.  Put the egg candies- symbolizing the beitza  on the top right, the bone candies- symbolizing the zroah on the left and so on.  Use your imagination….

    Thought of the week:

    In Parshat Bo, Hashem commands the Jews in Egypt and all future generations to fulfill the mitzvah of the Korban Pesach. The Ramban discusses the significance of using a lamb for the Korban Pesach. He explains that when Hashem punishes a nation, he also destroys their god. This helps teach the nations of the world that Hashem is the true God. Therefore, since the lamb was the god of Egypt, Hashem commanded the Jews to use the lamb for the mitzvah of Korban Pesach. It is also no coincidence that Hashem vanquished the Egyptians during the zodiac of aries (whose symbol is a ram) since that is the time of the year when their god was at its strongest. Rashi explains that this is why Hashem destroyed Sdom at daybreak when both the sun and the moon were present since both were worshipped by the people of Sdom. Looking back at history can help strengthen our belief in Hashem which is why the Torah writes:    "זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך".

    Have a wonderful Shabbat!  Ruchie