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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
  Pesach and Shabbat Shemini  
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs






































































All times listed are NY times.
For worldwide times on the web please visit my website

If anyone still needs to sell their Chametz, follow the instructions on the above website.
The search for Chametz is Tuesday night, April 7th after 8 p.m.
The Blessing on the Sun Birkat Hachamah should be said by 9:42 a.m. April 8th. The latest time is 12:57.
The blessings are Barcuh Atta Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam Oseh Maasei Breishit. Baruch Atta Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’kiymanu V’higyanu Lizman Hazeh.,
Chametz may be eaten until 10:47 a.m. Wednesday, April 8th
Chametz must be burnt or sold before 11:52 a.m. Before 11:52 one must declare “All Chametz (leavening or leavened products) in my possession are hereby null, void, and without owner like the dust of the earth.”
Pesach extends from the night of April 8th through April 16th at 8:18 p.m. April 9th, 10th, 15th, and 16th are holidays.
Tefillin are not worn the entire week according to the Chabad custom.
Because Shabbat follows immediately after Yom Tov, we have a special Mitzvah called Eiruv Tavshillin. A Matzah and a boiled egg should be taken by the head of the household sometime Wednesday. The blessing Baruch Atta Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mizvotav V’tzivanu Al Mitzvat Eiruv should be recited followed by the declaration “By this Eiruv it will be permissible for us to cook, bake, light candles, and carry on Yom Tov for the sake of Shabbat.”
Candle lighting is 7:09 on Wednesday
Please endeavor to include as many Jews as possible in the Pesach Seder both nights.
The Kabbalah teaches that the Matzah of the first Seder is the bread of faith and the second Seder is the bread of healing.
Thursday during Musaf we stop praying for rain and begin to pray for dew throughout the summer.
Candle lighting Thursday night is after 8:10 from an existing flame.
Counting the Omer begins Thursday night. Every night until Shavuot we count the days after nightfall.  The blessing is Baruch Atta Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mizvotav V’tzivanu Al Sefirat Ha’omer. On Thursday night we say today is one day of the Omer. May the All Merciful return to us the Temple service in it’s place speedily in our days. Amen. Selah. On Friday night we say the blessing and count today is two days of the Omer etc. Next Wednesday we count today is seven days, which are one week of the Omer etc. Next Thursday we count today is eight days, which are one week and one day of the Omer etc. If the Omer wasn’t counted at night, we count during the day without a blessing. Thereafter, we continue to count with a blessing. If we miss an entire day, we continue to count without a blessing. To receive a daily reminder via e mail, contact me at RabbiBiggs@gmail.com
For a lengthy discussion of counting the Omer, please visit my website

  The Seder has a lesson for each of us in our lives. Mitzrayim (Egypt) represents limitations and boundaries. In our lives, it represents our inhibitions and obstacles that prevent us from reaching our goals. Pesach is the time Hashem gave us to rise above our obstacles. The way to do so is Matzah. Matzah is the bread of humility. It has the same grain and nutritional components of bread, but it doesn’t rise. What is the true meaning of humility? Faith. Humility is not ignoring our accomplishments or abilities. It is recognizing that these are gifts of G-d and we must question if we have used His gifts to the utmost. Moshe was called the humblest of all men. Didn’t he know that he was the ultimate prophet and redeemer? Of course he did. He saw these as G-d’s gifts. Had they been bestowed on someone else, they would have done a better job. Matzah is the bread of faith. Humility is recognition that everything comes from Hashem. That is the key to overcoming impediments. We aren’t working with our powers we are working with his. Matzah is the bread of faith. When we are imbued with ego, we are plagued with grief for everything we think we deserve. Humility teaches us gratitude which is the foundation of joy.
  In merit of faith may this Pesach be the celebration of the final redemption with the coming of Moshiach who will heal all of the wounds of Galut (exile).
  Chag Kasher V’sameach

Rabbi Biggs


Shabbat Chol Hamoed

Candle lighting Friday is before 7:10 from an existing flame. Shabbat ends 8:12

  This Shabbat is very special in that it comes as part of three days of continuous sanctity, Two days of Yom Tov and then Shabbat. Three represent a Chazakah, a continuing bond of sanctity that permeates the days thereafter.
    This Shabbat we read about the giving of the second tablets. After begging Hashem’s forgiveness for the Jewish people for having made the golden calf, Moshe asked that Hashem show him His glory. (Moshe’s goal was not a selfish one. He knew that by rising to a higher spiritual plane, he would be able to share his spiritual wealth with the Jewish people.) The Rambam explains that although Hashem has no physical form, Moshe wanted to reach the pinnacle of human awareness of Hashem. Hashem acceded to his request. From this we see a powerful lesson. By begging for forgiveness for other Jews, although they were involved in lust, idolatry and violence, Moshe was elevated to a new spiritual plane.
  This is reminiscent of a story of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, The Tzemach Tzedek. The Tzemach Tzedek studied a great deal under his grandfather, the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. Even after his grandfather’s passing, he would appear to him and answer his questions in Torah. One time, his grandfather had not appeared for a long time, causing the Tzemach Tzedek great anguish. The Tzemach Tzedek was on the way to synagogue and a poor man asked for a loan, because it was a market day. The Tzemach Tzedek told him to meet him after prayers. After entering synagogue and going through spiritual preparation for prayer, the Tzemach Tzedek donned his Tallit. He then thought that he was wrong for delaying the loan. In the interim, as the Tzemach Tzedek was praying, the man could be making a living. He took off his Tallit, went and got the money, and sought out the man in the marketplace. (One can only imagine the distraction of such a Tzaddik searching the marketplace before prayers.) When he returned to synagogue, and again donned his Tallit, his grandfather appeared to him and explained all of the questions the Tzemach Tzedek had saved since their last meeting. He then explained to him the tremendous spiritual heights one can reach by doing a fellow Jew a physical favor and certainly a spiritual favor.
  The Haftara describes the prophecy of Yechezkiel when Hashem brought him to a valley of dry bones and told him to bring them back to life. Upon doing so, Hashem told him that the dry bones represent the Jewish people.
  Many parts of our life can be represented by dry bones. Often, when we pray, or do another Mitzvah, it is without life. We say the words and go through the motions, but they are without life. We help poor people or study the Torah, but it is without life. Hashem is telling us to arise and feel the beauty of every Mitzvah we do.
  This also applies to our relationships with our friends and family. The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneerson, once said that a Shalom Aleichem used to be a heartfelt greeting. Now, in the greeting there is a hint of when are you leaving already? We need to put life into our dry bones. A kiss good morning to our children, a hello, must be full of life.
  Through our breathing new life into our dry bones, may Hashem speedily grant the coming of Moshiach and the resurrection of the dead.
  Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Biggs


Shevi’i Shel Pesach

Tuesday night Sefirah is 6 days of the Omer
NY City Candle lighting Tuesday 7:15 p.m.
Candle lighting Wednesday after 8:17 p.m. from an existing flame
Yizkor Thursday
In NY City, Pesach ends 8:18 p.m. Thursday
Shalom and Bracha!
Wednesday and Thursday we celebrate the last two days of Pesach. On the Seventh day of Pesach we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea. As the Jewish people fled Egypt, Hashem hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he pursued them. As the Jews reached the Red Sea, they found themselves completely surrounded. The sea was on one side, and the approaching army was on the other. The people were thrown into a panic, and were divided as to what to do. Some felt it was better to commit suicide by jumping into the sea rather than capitulate. Some felt it was better to return to servitude. Others felt it was better to try their hands at war, and still others felt they should dedicate themselves to prayer.
  Moshe answered the Jewish people “Fear not. Stand strong and you shall see the salvation of Hashem that He will perform today. You will never again see Egypt as you have seen them today. Hashem will battle for you. Be still.” Thereafter, Hashem told Moshe “Speak to the Jewish people and they should go forward.” Nachshon Ben Aminadav, the leader of the tribe of Yehudah, bravely entered the waters and proceeded forward until they split.
  The four approaches mentioned above represent different reactions to problems in following Hashem’s direction in life. Suicide represents the inability to fulfill one’s mission. Although more idealistic than returning to Egypt, it rejects the principle purpose of our existence, to make the world a divine place. Returning to Egypt represents a lack of faith in the ability to fulfill Hashem’s direction. Battle represents attempting to deal with the world with only our own finite powers. By only praying, we ignore Hashem’s directive to accomplish things ourselves.
  We left Egypt with the goal to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. However great the obstacles were, Hashem told us not to lose focus on our mission. All of the above approaches did nothing to advance us towards receiving the Torah, and as such were wrong. Only by pressing forward with Hashem’s mission with full faith in success can we progress.
  Often, we find it difficult to follow the Torah while living within society. Challenges lead us to feel we must either escape the world or forgo certain Mitzvot. The splitting of the sea teaches us that we must face and overcome challenges by focusing only on the mission of Hashem and we will then surely succeed.
Nachshon was the head of the tribe of Yehudah, from whom Moshiach stems. On the eighth day of Pesach, we celebrate the coming redemption. May our resolve to follow the Torah in an unwavering manner hasten his coming and may we conclude this Pesach in Yerushalayim.
The Baal Shem Tov instituted a custom to conclude the holiday with a meal celebrating the coming of Moshiach. Matzah is eaten and four cups of wine are consumed. The Rebbe added that each cup should be consumed with the intent to hasten Moshiach’s coming. May the continuation of this meal be the great feast Hashem has prepared for the coming of Moshiach!
Chag Sameach,
 Rabbi Biggs

April 17th NY City Candle lighting 7:18 Shabbat ends 8:20
Friday night Sefirah: Today is 9 days, which are one week and 2 days of the Omer
Shabbat Mevarchim Iyar - Rosh Chodesh is next Friday and Shabbat
The Molad is Friday Afternoon 7:07 and 2 Chalakim

Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Shemini. The word Shemini means eighth and the portion begins with the special instructions which Moshe gave Aharon on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Although the Mishkan had been consecrated for seven days, Hashem’s presence had not been felt. On the eighth day, special sacrifices were offered and the Fire of Hashem’s glory appeared and consumed the offerings. The experience was so intense that everyone fell too the floor in amazement and praised Hashem.
The number eight has a special connection to the revelation of Hashem. The Brit is done on the eight day. On Yom Kippur, all of the offerings in the Holy of Holies were in the number eight. The world was created in seven days. Eight represents the step beyond nature. In service of Hashem this teaches us that to reach Hashem’s infinite presence we have to transcend our own nature.
Thereafter, two of Aharon’s children, Nadav and Avihu, brought an offering that was forbidden. A fire consumed them and they died. The death of Nadav and Avihu teaches us that Hashem must be served as He wants, in the manners prescribed in the Torah. If we seek to have a spiritual experience outside the parameters of Torah, we are not serving Hashem, but rather ourselves. As such we are embracing death instead of life. The reason this occurred shortly after the revelation of the fire of Hashem’s glory is because their egos grew when Hashem accepted their offerings. Recognition by Hashem must increase our humility, not our ego. The Torah continues that Aharon was silent, because he accepted the decree of Hashem. His acceptance was pure self nullification, the antithesis of their error. Aharon’s silence was their Tikkun, the correction for there error and the healing for their souls.
Thereafter the Torah teaches at length about the Kosher laws. This comes in sequence to the revelation of the Divine presence because by sanctifying our bodies through keeping Kosher we allow Hashem’s presence to dwell within us. The Torah teaches us that by eating non kosher food we defile ourselves and chase away the divine presence.
Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai told his students before his passing that their fear of Heaven should be as strong as their fear of flesh and blood. A deeper perspective in his words is that we should be as concerned with the health of the soul as we are with the health of our flesh and blood. When a product is found to be tainted, it is recalled. Until there is clarity which exact product, and from which factory it came, people remove all products that might be tainted from there homes and tables. This applies whether the tainting causes fatality, injury, or occasional injury. Even when clarity is reached, we are wary. We should treat our souls with the same respect. Instead of eating and then asking, (or not asking), we should be positive that this food is suitable for our soul.
Eight (Shemini) is a very special number in connection with Moshiach. The harp in the Temple had seven strings, whereas the harp in Moshiach’s time will have eight. Let us pray that we will merit this Shabbat to again see the revelation of the Divine presence and hear the harp of Moshiach.
Shabbat Shalom,
 Rabbi Biggs

Rabbi Yonassan Biggs is from Chabad of Great Neck, NY. His website is: http://www.chabadgn.com/

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