Passover!

The Chesed-El Synagogue invites you to join us on:

Monday 10 April

Minha and Arvit services at 6.45pm, followed by complimentary Passover 1st Night Seder and dinner

 

Tuesday 11 April

Shaharit (morning service) at 9.30am followed by Kiddush and lunch

 

Minha and Arvit services at 6.45pm, followed by complimentary Passover 2nd Night Seder and dinner

 

Friday 14 April
Minha, Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit at 6.45pm followed by complimentary Kiddush and dinner

 

Saturday 15 April
Shaharit (morning service) at 9.30am followed by Kiddush and lunch

 

Monday 17 April
Shaharit (morning service) at 9.30am followed by Kiddush and lunch

 

 

Please make your Seder and meal reservations via this e-mail address or by SMS at 86413570 by 31 March.

Kindly let us know the number of adults, children and helper (if any).

Reservations will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and we seek your understanding.

Shabbat Hagadol

Join Chesed El Synagogue on Friday, 7 April to commemorate Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Sabbath) which is the Shabbat that precedes Passover.

The history of Shabbat Hagadol is as follows. In ancient Egypt, it was on the 10th day of Nissan, when the Jews were commanded to take a lamb and designate it for the paschal offering. Each Jewish household did so and tied the sheep to their bedposts. The Egyptians, upon hearing the Jews were bringing the sheep as a sacrifice, did not protest, even though the lamb was an Egyptian idol.

That year, 10 Nissan occurred on the Sabbath that was five days before the Jews were freed of slavery. In commemoration of this miracle, we call it Shabbat Hagadol.

This year, Shabbat Hagadol – a time to think about how we prepare ourselves for Passover – begins at 6.45pm on Friday, 7 April, followed by complimentary Kiddush with dinner.

Please make your meal reservations via this e-mail address or by SMS at 86413570 by 31 March. Kindly let us know the number of adults, children and helper (if any).

Reservations will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and we seek your understanding.

Simchat Torah celebration!

Celebrate our Torah at Chesed El Synagogue on Monday, 24 October.

Minha is at 6.30pm followed by a light meal in the Sukka (or in the Dining Room if it is drizzling). Songs, dancing and L'chaim (drinks) follow!

It's going to be the first Simchat Torah celebration at Chesed El since several years, so prepare yourself for an awesome night of dancing and drinking to celebrate our beautiful Torah scrolls.  

Halakha of the day

כיצד מתוודה? אומר אנא ה 'חטאתי עוויתי פשעתי לפניך, ועשיתי כך וכך, והרי ניחמתי ובושתי במעשיי, ולעולם איני חוזר לדבר זה

 

 

Today we will examine the last part of Viduy which also represents the final step of Teshuba, repentance.

 

After an individual confesses his sins and expresses his regret and shame for what he has done, he or she must say: ולעולם איני חוזר לדבר זה "And never again will I repeat that which I did wrong." The Viduy concludes with our commitment to ourselves, expressed before HaShem, to never commit this offense in the future. 

 

The idea of Teshuba is that at the end of the process there will be a change in our behavior. At this time this change occurs at the level of commitment: I promise not to do this transgression anymore. The final test of Teshuba will take place when I face a similar scenario to the one in which I committed a transgression, but this time, I act differently. 

 

To illustrate this point let us imagine that we are talking about a person who drinks too much and gets drunk. He repents, he verbalizes his regret (Viduy) and sincerely feels ashamed of what he had done. The question is whether this man is still considering drinking in the future or has decided to leave alcohol forever. Without this determination for a changed behavior, his Teshuba process will be incomplete or even meaningless.

 

Of course, as explained by our rabbis, the final verification of this commitment will be tested when the individual is confronted again with the opportunity to drink. If he refrains from drinking, NOT because someone is preventing him from doing so, but because it was determined and decided by him that he won't do so, then his Teshuba is complete.

 

On the other hand, if one repents, confesses and is embarrassed by what she did wrong, but plans to continue with the same habit, then the process of Teshuba is not completed. 

 

The Sages give the following example: at the time of Bet haMiqdash there were all sorts of ritual impurities. Purification was performed by immersing in the Mikve, or ritual bath. The body of a reptile, for example, was a source of ritual impurity or tuma. Our Rabbis asked - What if someone immerses in the Mikve and emerges from its waters while still holding the dead body of a small reptile? On the one hand, he immersed himself in the Mikve; on the other hand, he still has in his hands a source of impurity! Is this individual purified or still impure? The answer is very simple: this person is still impure. The same is true, our Sages argue, with regards to an individual who does Teshuba, confesses and repents of what he has done but still holds in his mind the same thoughts that led him to act badly. He has not made the decision to stop these destructive habits that are actually the source, the cause, of his "impurity" or transgression.

 

Teshuba should include the decision to change. For Maimonides, bad habits are often rooted in mental disorders. I must change my thinking, my attitude. Think about the effects and consequences of my bad habits. The roots of my problematic behavior, as well as the solutions, are in my mind.                                            

 

Rabbi Yosef Bittón