Friday, 30 October 2009

Shabbat Candles - Some Tips and Information

One of our readers wanted to know how long Shabbat candles are lit for.

Shabbat candles are generally lit 18 minutes before sunset in most places and 40 minutes before sunset in Jerusalem and some other cities in Israel. The candles are left to burn themselves out.

In days gone by, the candles or fire were the main form of light in the home as there was no electricity. The candles were therefore needed to burn throughout the night. The reason being, that Shabbat is a time of peace and we do not want someone to bump into something and hurt themselves due to not having light during the night.

In today's times, where there is electricity and the possibility to leave a light on during the night, the custom is to have candles that will burn at lesat until you start your meal, i.e. throughout the evening prayers, reciting Kiddush and the blessing on bread - but ideally should burn throughout the entire meal. From this we see that the candles need to burn for a good 3-4 hours, not the kind of candles that will burn for only half an hour to an hour.

Many who choose to light using wax candles, will use the tealite candles. Others who use oil, purchase a glass insert for the candle sticks and use a combination of oil with a little water and a special wick one can purchase to put into the oil. This form is closest to how Sarah our mother would have lit her candles.

If you go into any Judaic store, they should have the glass inserts and be able to tell you how to prepare the oil, what kind of oil to use, which wicks to purchase etc.

There are some who use the longer white candles that have been manufactured for Shabbat candles. When doing so, do make sure that the candles you buy have a heksher (a valid accepted kosher authority approving the candles for Shabbat lighting purposes.) There are laws as to what materials are permissible to use for Shabbat candles and the manufacturers who have a heksher do follow these laws.

When lighting your Shabbat candles, do take care as to where you place your candles. In times gone by, some had a custom to place the candles on the dining room table that you will eat at. If you do so, please note, once lit, the Shabbat candles cannot be put out by a person and cannot be moved for the entire  duration of Shabbat. The table also cannot be moved, unless the candles are placed on a tray. The laws of how to do this are found in the laws for Shabbat. If you need help, either ask your own rabbi or contact Reb Eliyahu for guidance.

It is a better practice to place your Shabbat candles on another table or side board. Once again, please do make sure there are no curtains that could blow in the direction of the lit candles and that there is no window open directly near the candles that would either blow the candles out or cause the flame to travel to other items.

Many have a special shelf for their Shabbat candles with a glass fronted door that enables the candles to be seen and enjoyed while protecting them from falling over, being blown out, being put out or having a draft carry the flame, which is potentially dangerous.

I hope the tips above answer your questions about Shabbat candles. If you have any further questions, please do post a question to this post or email Shoshanah. To find out the correct time for candle lighting in your city, the best place to look is on . The link provided here will take you directly to the correct page to find the city you live in and the corresponding Halachic time to light Shabbat Candles.

Shabbat Shalom

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Learning from Helen Keller

Working as an Occupational Therapist and Healing Facilitator opens ones eyes to a side of society that is hard to break through. It is very sad to hear and witness those who believe that if someone can not speak they must function like a child. So I was asked by someone just a few days ago who asked "if an adult lost their speech through a stroke or head injury does their thought become like that of a child? Would you now regard them as a child?"

It is impossible for anyone to enter the mind of another, even someone with Ruach HaKodesh will have limitations to everything the other thinks or feels. However, children, although little people and still developing and learning about life are mostly filled with energy and an eagerness to discover all they can about their world.

The woman who asked me if someone who loses their speech begins to think like a child was determined to get me to label someone who lost their speech to function on a lower level. Her comment was made in the negative, but the truth is that to see the world as a child does is truly a wonderful and exciting thing to do.

When I was studying occupational therapy, I took a patient in a wheelchair for an outing to the central business district to learn how to maneuver her wheel chair on and off pavements, how to get in and out and around shops, stores and various places of interest. She elected to use this outing as an opportunity to purchase a garment she needed. Why not since we were trying out how to shop in a store anyway. Then came 2 hurdles.

1) The isle was too narrow for a wheelchair and
2) Every question she had or when she wished to pay, the shop assistants insisted on talking to me rather than her. When I refused to answer and asked the shop assistant to talk to their client, interested in purchasing a garment, there was silence and then "Can she understand me? Can she manage her money?" Why not, she is only in a wheelchair, her legs don't hold her but her mind is perfectly fine.

On one occasion, while attending a ward round, the doctor heading the ward round was amazed to hear that occupational therapists can actually evaluate a blind persons level of function and teach him or her to become independent. The doctor's refusal to believe a blind person can actually do anything resulted in this little 6 year old not being referred for Occupational Therapy until an OT, who happened to be on a ward-round, insisted on at least giving him a chance by starting with an evaluation.

It is sad that today, with so much advance in the world, people still look down on anyone with the slightest hint of something different. Occupational Therapy is all about working with another to assist them to become all that they can, within the confines of their limitations and to learn or find news ways to do things so that a disability or hurdle or limitation whether physical or other is transformed into a part of who they are, a vital member of society and our world.

It is very hard to convince someone who does not want to believe that another can actually do what they can. Thanks to the internet and video / documentaries, we now have all manner of teaching tools that can open the eyes of those blind on a different level. Those who are blind to the fact that someone without speech can still think. Someone without physical sight can still read. Someone without hearing can still know when you enter a room.

Here is a powerful documentary about a single lady who opened the eyes of so very many. The documentary is 9 minutes long and teaches amazing lessons on very many levels.

Amongst other lessons, this documentary highlights how much is possible by believing in another and giving them a chance to be who they are.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Rebbe, Family Purity and Tefillin

This story was on of the recent ones sent out by Ascent, it has been adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles:
A certain well known Jewish lecturer-professor in Europe was very dedicated to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He had had several private audiences with the Rebbe since the seventies and after Summer 1994 was accustomed to visit the Rebbe's grave (called the 'Ohel') in the Montifiori Cemetery in the Queens section of New York City every time he was in the area.
In 2002 he was flown to New York to give a lecture. The organizers sent a driver to pick him up from the airport. After the lecture he told the driver that on the way back to the airport he wanted to stop in at the 'Ohel' for just five or ten minutes to pray at the Rebbe's gravesite.
The driver became interested and began asking questions. He said that he was Jewish, but admitted that he had never in his life done anything Jewish. Nevertheless he was sure that both he and his wife were Jews and their parents were Jews.
The driver then said that he was considering going into the Ohel as well. He asked the professor if he could get him a ticket to enter. When he heard that it was open 24 hours a day to everyone, for free, he announced that he definitely was going.
He parked the car. The professor gave him a yarmulke for his bare head and together they entered the cemetery and then to the grave.
As soon as they found a place to stand, the taxi-driver closed his eyes for a moment and then burst into uncontrollable crying. His body was shaking as he held his face in his hands, weeping aloud like a child.
The professor was astounded but he managed to ignore the sobbing for a few moments and say his own prayer. When he finished he tapped the driver on the shoulder and they both returned to the taxi.
The driver blew his nose, wiped his eyes and started the car. "What was that about?" asked the professor. "What happened? What is wrong? Why were you weeping?"
"My dog!" He was barely able to say it. "Our dog, Freddy, is having an operation!" His eyes still were all red and puffy and he seemed almost about to begin crying again.
"Your what?" asked the professor incredulously. "Your DOG?! Are you kidding?" he said, covering his mouth so the driver wouldn't see his smirk, staring at him to see if it was really true. "Really? I can't believe it!"
'Yes," the driver said sadly as he started driving. "The doctors all say that I and my wife can't have children, so we adopted a dog. Such a special, wonderful dog! He is everything to us. But last week he had a stroke." He was in tears again. "And the vet said that there's no chance he will ever be well. The best he can do is try to save his life by an operation, and he has doubts if even that will work. The operation is tomorrow and my wife and I are going crazy! That's what I prayed for; that the operation should succeed."
The professor was trying to empathize but he wasn't doing a good job, especially when he said, "Listen my friend, if worse comes to worse you can always buy another dog." The driver began whimpering so heavily he almost had to pull over to the side of the road and stop.
When they got to the airport the professor gave the driver a nice tip together with his calling card and said. "Listen, I wish you and your family the best. Please excuse me if I said anything that upset you. I'm really interested to know what happens to your dog. Here is my number. Call me after the operation. Call collect." The driver thanked him for everything and they parted.
A year passed and the entire incident was forgotten…almost.
One year later the professor received a collect call from New York. Not recognizing the caller and not expecting any collect calls, he didn't accept. But after the same person called five times he decided to accept the charges.
It was the taxi driver.
"Hello professor. How are you?"
Thank G-d, fine, my friend. It's been a long time. I apologize for not accepting the charges right away, I forgot your name completely. Tell me, how was the operation?"
"Thank G-d, Thank G-d. It was a miracle. A real miracle! Our Freddy came back to life and is healthier than ever. You should see him! You have no idea how grateful we are to you and the Rebbe. He is so healthy and happy. Even the doctor said it was a miracle!"
Well, that is really good news. I'm so happy for you," responded the professor enthusiastically. "But why did you wait for a year? Why didn't you call immediately like I asked you to? Why did you wait so long?"
"Well," the driver answered. "I saw back then that you really didn't understand about my dog, so I figured that I wouldn't waste your money calling you collect or your time by calling direct. I figured that I had bothered you enough."
"Oh, a shame," replied the professor. "I certainly would have liked to have heard the good news back then and I'm happy to hear it now." He hesitated a second and continued. "But, tell me, if you didn't call back then when it happened, why are you calling now, a whole year later?"
The driver answered. "Aha, that's the point.
"See, after Freddy got better my wife and I were so happy that we went back to the 'Ohel' to say thanks, and when we were there we asked one of the chasidim what we could do to show our gratitude. We had in mind a donation, but he said that what the Rebbe wants most is for every Jew to do the commandments. He suggested that we each take on at least one commandment.
"So we discussed it for a while and finally decided that I would put on tefilin every day and my wife would keep family purity, you know, going to the mikveh and all that. The chasid even set up a time to come to our house and teach us.
"So that's why I'm calling you. After we started doing all this, keeping the tefilin and mikveh and everything, well.... my wife got pregnant!
"That was months ago, professor, and, well, you won't believe it, but we had a baby boy and today is the bris mila of our son! And it is all thanks to you and the Rebbe!
And that is why I am calling now. Maybe you don't understand dogs, but I knew you would appreciate this!"
P.S. Today the taxi-driver and his wife are completely observant Jews.

We have several mitzvah projects on the go. Amongst them is our Mikvah Project - Purity with Dignity, and a project to help Jews coming back to Torah to obtain a pair of Tefillin, including Rabeinu Tam Tefillin as is the Chabad custom. The above story illustrates the power of these mitzvos.
Please give generously to either assist Jewish women with their mitzvah of Family Purity or Jewish men with their mitzvah of Tefillin.
Thank you for your kindness.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Building a Bayit Chadash.

Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov! When is the Chuppah? So Wonderful to Hear the Good News!

These are typical responses to hearing of an upcoming wedding.

Every Chatan and Kallah deserves their Wedding Day to be Special. Every Chatan and Kallah deserves to enjoy their first year, a time to build the foundation to their home and life together. In truth, the more effective the building of this foundation during the first year, the more effective the couple will be together. It is for this reason that we are given the Mitzvah to make the Chatan and Kallah happy both on their wedding day and throughout the first year.

Any transition is difficult. As much as there is joy, there are also major adjustments to be made.

The first week is a very active one. As the couple goes from Sheva Brachos to Sheva Brachos, they are treated as King and Queen. Given special meals, words of Torah, singing and more all to bring them joy and blessings as they begin their married life together.

This time is often so busy that couples might forget or simply do not have the time to purchase basic food items. For this reason, our Chatan and Kallah Package provides a few basics necessary. Pasta, Tins of Tuna, Bottle of Oil, dried beans or chick peas and more.

As you can see from the above photograph, other items are slowly coming in. We are very excited to add to the books, two of the editions of B'Or HaTorah, donated by the Chief Editor of B'Or HaTorah.

The toiletries needed are gradually increasing and other kitchen necessities are coming in too.

However, we still require containers. We recommend either storage containers that will later help to keep their cupboards neat and organized; a washing basket; other basket or a bathroom cupboard.

We still require donations to give a gift to the Chatan of a new hat, new suit, new shoes. For the Kallah a new outfit or Shabbos dress and some kind of head covering.

We would love to add more to this package, see our previous post for more information. Our estimated cost for each package is NIS 4500. Please help us to bring Simchah to Jewish couples who are in need.

Donations are welcome in US Dollars or Israeli Shekkels. You can make a donation right here via PayPal or email us to send a check or direct deposit to a bank account.

Donations can be of any amount. We encourage you to give generously. Think of the joy and relief you will give to a new couple in helping them to build a solid foundation, and make your contribution right now, today.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Courses Re-Starting in Infant Massage for Moms

Moms? Moms!
Do you have a baby 0 - 1 year?

Here is a special treat for you. Yes it takes doing a short fun course, but the benefits last and last and give one so much joy.

You don't need to believe me, here, you can hear from a fellow Mom. Oh, we encourage Dads to learn too. So come read the info below, come with your hubby and your baby, or make an arrangement to teach your hubby what you learn on the course.

I mentioned to a friend that I am in the process of arranging groups of Moms to learn to massage their babies. She responded that she took the course when her second daughter was a baby and 7 years later is still enjoying.

I asked her what she found beneficial and whether she would recommend the course to other Moms and she responded as follows. "My youngest was a reflux baby and so she was physically uncomfortable and seldom relaxed. It seemed to help the colic too and helped her poop because the medication she was on for reflux made her very constipated. Most important was the emotional side, the massage helped her to relax and it gave me time to relax and enjoy her and bond with her. That is so important to take time out for love when a baby is not easy and you are most of the time just surviving.

She still enjoys massage today! It is always a treat. I also massaged her big sister and it was also good to reconnect in a loving way to a little person who was feeling displaced by the demanding baby. Now they are bigger they like to massage my feet too after I have given them a massage. It is a really special thing and makes us all feel close to each other and loved." (C. R)

This friend of mine highlighted many of the benefits to infant massage that we teach in the course and the reasons why we encourage all Moms to learn this wonderful technique as a gift to both your babies and to you.

Since everything has settled a bit after the Yomim Tovim, I am courses are starting once more for Moms to learn the art and gift of Infant Massage. The course is 5 sessions of 1 - 1 1/2 hours each. The courses are run regularly so please email Shoshanah or post a message to this blog to join the next group.

Groups consist of 4 - 7 Moms together with their babies. We encourage Dads to learn to massage too. Groups are held either from Shoshanah's Private Practice in Beitar Illit or in Jerusalem.

For those living in Jerusalem, why not host a group and receive a major discount.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Experienced Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Repairing a Sefer Torah

If you have been following this blog, you might have picked up that we are working on repairing a 150 year old Sefer Torah. We plan to use this Sefer Torah to start a minyan, as you will see in our info on beginning a minyan as the start towards a Heimish Shul that focuses on praying.

We finally have a quote for the amount of the remainder that is required in order to check and repair this Sefer Torah. We had thought the whole job would be very expensive. Thank G-d, the Sefer Torah is in quite good condition. We only need a final US$1300 to enable us to have the Sefer Torah thoroughly checked, repaired and to go through a computer Check.

As you will see on our page regarding the Healing Sefer Torah, we are offering for those who require healing or have a friend or relative who needs a healing, that you make a donation towards the repair of this special Sefer Torah and that this be the avoda required to provide the merit in Shamayim for a complete healing in every respect.

Your generous donations would be most welcome. We look forward to being able to invite all donors to a special Hachnosis Sefer Torah when the Sefer Torah is once again in a Kosher, working condition.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Purity with Dignity Gains Publicity

Our Mikvah Project has gained publicity on You are welcome to check it out. As Rabbi Fischel Jacobs wrote in response to a comment on to the post on

Rabbi Fishel Jacobs
B"H I'm happy to see this article posted here. Can there be any more heartbreaking situation than a Jewish wife, simply wishing for purity yet lacking the minimal means to do so? For many in chutz l'aretz, and some even here, it may seem impossible. After all, what are the actual costs involved. Those of us living here, though, know the day-to-day facts are different. I know personally couples who do not have the money for bus travel, baby sitter, or entrance fees. Very simple. I hold dearly before my eyes on a constant basis the Yom Yom of Yud Nissan. "The efforts one invests in spreading Family Purity is comparable to nothing less than saving an entire Jewish city." Please, I encourage the reading public to go to the Shear's site, above, and help them help Jewish wives. Do it now. Rabbi Fishel Jacobs"

It might be hard to believe, but the kinds of statistics coming in range from 5 - 16 women each month at certain Mikvaot to 1 - 3 each night. If you have managed to pay your own mikvah costs this month, please think of your Jewish sisters who have not managed to and sponsor them to fulfill their mitzvah with Dignity.

We also have an exciting addition to Purity with Dignity, our Chatan and Kallah Package - Beit Chadash.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Read All About It! Read All About It!

For our readers who are considering making Aliya, have made Aliya or have friends or family who have, we now have a new blog. This new blog is all about Welcoming Olim ! We aim to offer articles to provide chizuk to those who have come here, articles to provide information to help you in gathering facts as to whether to make Aliya or not.

Articles with practical tips and with experience shared by other Olim that is aimed to Welcome Olim and ease the process or returning to the Land of Israel.

Please do visit the website. Let us know what thoughts, topics, issues you would like to see covered. If you offer a service, specifically for Olim, please let us know about it. You can add an article as a guest writer, for more info on this please be in touch either with a comment to this post, on Welcoming Olim Blog or by contacting Shoshanah

We hope you will enjoy the new blog. Please do return to visit this one as the types are articles do differ.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Our Chatan and Kallah Package Continues

Our Chatan and Kallah Package is progressing slowly but steadily. Here are further items sent in thus far.

What you can see in the above image includes:

  • 4 cakes of soap and 3 liquid soap
  • Shampoo
  • 1 packet of 50 tea candles for Shabbat
  • 2 Havdalla candles
  • Some dry ingredients - beans, chickpeas, oats, pasta
  • Hand cream
  • 2 of the books by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
This is as the package is at present. In order to complete the package, we still require the following:

  • a nice container, either a basket or small cupboard for the bathroom, or drawers to place all the items into
  • a new hat for the Chatan
  • something to make the Kallah feel special - either a head covering or scarf or gift voucher
  • a white sheet
  • Further toiletries
  • Another 1-2 packets of tea candles and or bottles of oil together with the wicks for those Kallot who use oil to light for Shabbat
  • Another Havdalla Candle
  • Sponsoring of the Kallah going to the Mikvah for her first year
Our aim is to provide a supply of items that a Chatan and Kallah would require during their first year, thus fulfilling the mitzvah: לשמח את החתן ואת הכלה To bring Joy to the Chatan and Kallah throughout their first year.


The book, Family Purity by Rabbi Fischel Jacobs is being included.

We welcome donations of other books necessary for a strong Jewish home, such as Rabbi Jacobs Blech Book, More Precious than Pearls by Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller and others.

Thank you for your generous contribution towards this special package. This particular Package is to be given to a Chatan and Kallah in need, where one or both either do not have living parents or the parents are unable to assist with the needs for the wedding and Shanah Rishona.

For those women in need, unable to meet their Mikvah expenses, where the situation is more than a few months, we would love to also give a parcel of toiletries as a gift.

The items sent in thus far have been from individuals. We welcome companies making a contribution and happy to provide advertising within the package in return for items donated.

Any donation of NIS 513 or US$513 can also receive a mention either in the merit of a loved one or a company. The numerical value of Chatan and Kallah is 513.

Please help to increase this very special work. Your assistance is very greatly appreciated and the greatest thanks will come to you from Shamayim.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Progress of Paying off the Debts of a Jew

US$4500 needed to help a Jew get out of debt from Medical expenses. Please be in touch if you can help or visit our Mitzvah Projects on our Website

We have had US$54 come in thus far. Our Target is to raise this amount by November 1st 2009. We can do that if we get just 23 caring Jews to donate US$10 each day for the month of October. For Fridays and Saturdays - Please make your donation either before candle lighting or after Havdalah.

Help us meet this goal to help a Jew in need. We have already paid off the debts of 3-4 Jews to the Mikvah. These amounts were smaller ranging from US$70 - close to US$200. We have also helped 100 Jewish women with their Mikvah expenses thus preventing them from getting into debt.

Please help us further. Your kindness will be appreciated both in this world and in the next.

Please give generously in actual donations. In today's time, many enjoy clicking on a button to show that they liked this post. We ask you to go 1 step further. If you like the idea of helping another Jew, please make your donation TODAY. It could be $1 it could be $100 it could be $1000. Any amount is welcome.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Treasure by Rabbi Nachman

"A man once dreamed that there was a great treasure under a bridge in Vienna. He traveled to Vienna and stood near the bridge, trying to figure out what to do. He did not dare search for the treasure by day, because of the many people who were there.

An officer passed by and asked, "What are you doing, standing here and contemplating?" The man decided that it would be best to tell the whole story and ask for help, hoping that the officer would share the treasure with him. He told the officer the entire story.

The officer replied, "A Jew is concerned only with dreams! I also had a dream, and I also saw treasure. It was in a small house under the celler."

In relating his dream, the officer accurately described the man's city and house. He rushed home, dug under his cellar, and found the treasure. He said, "Now I know that I had the treasure all along. But in order to find it, I had to travel to Vienna."

The same is true in serving G-d. Each Person has the treasure but in order to find it, he must travel to the tzaddik."

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was famous for telling stories. The one listed above is just one of the stories that he would tell. As you see from the last line, each of his stories had a hidden message, probably several layers to his stories and their messages.

Today, in the Hebrew calendar is Rebbe Nachman's Yartzheit, 18 Tishrei. Rebbi Nachman (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810) lived a short but full life. You can read more of his stories in the wonderful compilation Rabbi Nachman's Stories translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. For other stories of Rabbi Nachman's please browse the books section of our Shopping For Goodness Store
or the books by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum available through our Yeshiva

Uniting the Old and the New

The days that fall between the Yomim Tovim of Pesach and Sukkot, known as Chole Moed, have a very special practice. On one of these days, the Kohanim offer a brachah from the Kotel / Western Wall to all. This very special event is enjoyed by Jews both here in Eretz Yisrael and, thanks to modern technology, to those in the diaspora too.

The image shown above, was taken during one of these very special times. On the woman's side, while the Kohanim gaven their blessings, a Jewish woman participating, presented a very powerful message. While she modestly immersed herself in her prayers, facing the Western Wall, she held up her cell phone. In this way, she acted as an important link in the chain of transmitting a message for all ages.

The Western Wall or Kotel represents the Holy Temple, a place on earth where spirituality and physicality met. Our Holy Temple is so important to us that we remember it even at a wedding, many in Israel have a block on a wall of their home to remember the ruins of Jerusalem and the as yet unbuilt Temple. There are other laws and customs to help us remember the Holy Temple in our days, constantly.

While she faces the old and the promise of redemption, the cell phone represents the modern technology that enables a friend or relative to listen to the blessings from the Kohanim simultaneously.

As we look at this image, we can realize the significance of the Temple and the role the Kohanim played and will play once more in our Holy Temple. May this reminder help us, as we enjoy our days in our Sukkah, to maintain our focus on where we are heading. A time for the Final Redemption and the enormous JOY for Am Yisrael and all the Nations when the Third Temple will be rebuilt and once again provide the link between Heaven and Earth. Spirituality and Physicality. The house where the Shchina Dwells, right here in this the lower worlds.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Help a Jew get out of Debt!

US$4500 needed to help a Jew get out of debt from Medical expenses. Please be in touch if you can help or

Our Target was to raise this amount by November 1st 2009. Sadly in more than a year since then, we have only raised US$1000.

Help us meet this goal to help a Jew in need. We have already paid off the debts of 3-4 Jews to the Mikvah. These amounts were smaller ranging from US$70 - close to US$200. We have also helped 100 Jewish women with their Mikvah expenses thus preventing them from getting into debt. We have helped a number of needy Kallot with a gift package and money towards her wedding expenses.

Please help us further. Your kindness will be appreciated both in this world and in the next.


Related Posts with Thumbnails