Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Zooom Classes at CBT and more...

Upcoming schedule and important information:
1. Classes on Zoom and Facebook Live Zoom "Minyan"
2. Sale of Chametz

Dear All, 

1. We have resolved the technical issues with the Zoom platform.  Please join us tonight and the following nights as well as Wednesday morning. its truly interactive and we can see, hear and interact with each other
We are offering the following classes:

Our Facebook Live Page is  https://www.facebook.com/bnai.torah.1

I. Topic: The Haggadah  
(also on our Facebook Live page)
Time: Mar 31, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every day, 3 occurrence(s)
        Mar 31, 2020 07:00 PM
        Apr 1, 2020 07:00 PM
        Apr 2, 2020 07:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 660 147 928

One tap mobile
+16465588656,,660147928# US )

Dial  in  +1 646 558 8656 US  +1 253 215 8782 US +1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 660 147 928
Find your local number: https://us04web.zoom.us/u/fydI0azf9
II. Zoom "Minyan"
Topic: Zoom Minyan -its not a real minyan but we will pray and study a bit together 
Time: Apr 1, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 613 312 5845

III. Two classes class with Rabbi Wolff -Rabbi of our Forest Park Minyan
Topic: From Slavery To Freedom
Time: Apr 1, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/8518983163   Meeting ID: 851 898 3163
Rabbi Yakov Wolff is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Take a Break From Chometz!  Eat Matzah
Time: Apr 2, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting  https://zoom.us/j/8518983163
Meeting ID: 851 898 3163

III. Midrashim on Exodus Class Thursday 4/2 1PM on Zooom and Facebook Live
On Zoom and Facebook live
Shlomo Yaffe is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: So you thought you knew the Exodus Story? A Midrashic Journey 
Time: Apr 2, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 887 683 742

2.  Please don't forget -we are doing Sale of Chametz online this year if possible -you can still mail it in if you need to -the form is coming in your April CBT mailing
For information about Chametz sales etc. please go to this link. https://tinyurl.com/vwc3t6d
We much prefer you sell Chametz online this year. If you can’t please mail in the form by April 5th.
There will be no Public Chametz Burning this year -do it on a Chametzdig BBQ etc in your own yard etc 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tonight's online interactive class (if you use zoom)

Text for tonight's FB live class 7PM! - but try zoom:
it's much better!

First of Four special Pre-Passover classes

Good morning everyone Zoom and FB live class on the Passover Seder and preparations tonight 7PM Zoom is easy to use, interactive, and you can participate

 Here's the link to the zoom class - just click S

Yaffe is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 Topic: Passover and the Seder, the practical and the spiritual

 Time: Mar 30, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 Shlomo Yaffe is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: Shlomo Yaffe's Personal Meeting Room Join Zoom Meeting

 https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6133125845 Meeting ID: 613 312 5845 One tap mobile +16465588656,,6133125845# US (New York) +13126266799,,6133125845# US (Chicago) Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 720 707 2699 US (Denver) +1 253 215 8782 US +1 301 715 8592 US +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 613 312 5845 Find your local number: https://us04web.zoom.us/u/fydI0azf9 Here's the link to the text: https://www.sefaria.org/Pesach_Haggadah?lang=en It will also be on our FaceBook Live page

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

Shabbat Shalom - Important Announcements and a sermon for this week

Dear Friends,
As we enter the second Shabbat of our physical separation from each other and shul I would like to share several items

  1. Important announcements about how we can stay together virtually and prepare for upcoming Passover holiday
  2. A schedule of our online Torah study opportunities including the introduction of our new zoom platform
  3. A sermon – you can read now or print out to read on Shabbat
 1. A) IMPORTANT:  If anyone needs handmade Shemurah Matzah or other Passover needs or financial help with getting what you need for Passover please contact Rabbi Yaffe.

If you know of anyone who may need help of any sort please contact Rabbi Yaffe 
B) I miss seeing you all, but please do stay in touch. Everything we do is available on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bnai.torah.1 and listed on our  blog https://bnaiblog.blogspot.com/  the blog is updated regularly and accessible from our webpage www.bnaitorahma.org
 C) For information about Chametz sales etc. please go to this link. https://tinyurl.com/vwc3t6d
We much prefer you sell Chametz online this year. If you can’t please mail in the form by April 5th.
There will be no Public Chametz Burning this year -do it on a Chametzdig BBQ etc in your own yard etc 
2. A) We are launching our interactive online classes using the zoom platform this Sunday. This platform is easy to use, and you can participate, ask questions and see the other participants. Our first class is “Mastering Talmud” Sunday 930AM. Please do join us on: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/727921137 Meeting ID: 727 921 137
We also plan to have a Zoom “Minyan” from time to time  
Join us on our Facebook live page Motzei Shabbat  / Saturday March 28th at 815 PM for Havdalah and a few words of Torah   https://www.facebook.com/bnai.torah.1
3. A Sermon on Vayikra 
The book of Leviticus devotes much space to the korbanot, sacrifices, that were offered in the Tabernacle and subsequently in the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem.

Inasmuch as the Torah is continually relevant, and the third Temple has not yet—as of this writing—been built, what is the personal relevance of the korbanot to us? After all, we already have the ability to bring G‑dliness into our lives via Torah study, prayer and the mitzvot, comprising intellect, emotion and action—the full gamut of human expression. What more can korbanot contribute to our relationship with G‑d?

Let us look at the particular text in Leviticus (1:2) that introduces us to korbanot. Bear in mind that the word korban literally means to “draw near,” not “sacrifice.” So, the following is a literal translation:

“When a person shall draw near—from you—a drawing-near to G‑d, from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall draw near your drawing-near."

The word korban literally means to “draw near,” not “sacrifice. This verse is speaking of a voluntary offering, and it teaches us a fundamental idea about korbanot: if you want to come near to G‑d, it must come “from you.” Once that is accomplished, bring your personal sheep too.

If we seek to draw close to the G‑dly, to find meaning and depth in all the mundane activities of life, we need to bring ourselves close, and in particular our “animal.” The animal refers to all the aspects of life we share with every creature: getting sustenance, nesting, securing our habitat, caring for our young, recreation and so on.

What comes “from you” that is “yours”? All the categories discussed above—Torah, prayer and mitzvot—are mandatory. They are commands from G‑d. Most of the time in our lives, however, is spent at work, commuting, grocery shopping, cooking, fixing things, filing taxes, etc. Much of these activities are not encompassed by actual obligations—they are “of you.”

The key to bringing our entire life “close” is the understanding that every obligation in Judaism is assembled from the components of everyday life. Charity is fueled by economic activity, the material we use for the Shabbat is mined from the week’s efforts, and the mind we use for Torah study is fueled by glucose derived from our nourishment. Hence, we can be mindful of the ultimate power of ordinary activity and be aware as we engage in it.

For example:

Our preparation and consumption of food nourishes us and gives us strength to live as G‑d challenges us to live.

Our work provides the resources to help others and educate our children.

Seeing the potential for holiness in that which we do is in itself holiness.

Our recreation gives us calmness and respite, giving us the ability to have the patience and energy we need to use our minds, emotions and bodies as we are directed in the Torah.

By being aware of the ultimate potential of our hitherto ordinary actions—this act of personal korban—we make all parts of ourselves and lives that seem just to be a road to somewhere else, into an end in themselves. They do lead to mitzvot and all that, but it is a “scenic route.” The journey itself is uplifting.

If we are aware and mindful of all this whilst engaged in these activities, the ordinary ceases to be ordinary—it becomes part of the holy. The “animal”—e.g., the commute, the work, the dashing through an airport, the putting together of some household object—becomes a profound and meaningful end in itself. Because seeing the ultimate potential for holiness in that which we do is in itself holiness.

For that matter regarding the present situation of “lockdown”, our isolation and changed schedules give us opportunities to connect with our family and look out for each other -and study Torah don’t have in normal times
Let's hit the (conceptual) road!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sale of Chametz Online This Year /Passover Needs/Classes Today

This year due to the COVID19 pandemic, we much prefer you sell Chametz online.

We have worked with Rabbi Willig, a Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshiva University Please use this 

or scan QR code with your phone:

All sales must be in by the end of April 5th!

If you can't do it online please go to this link:

and print the form and mail it to us ASAP

IMPORTANT:  If anyone needs hand made Shemurah Matzah or other Passover needs or financial help with getting what you need for Passover please contact Rabbi Yaffe.

If you know of anyone who may need help  please contact Rabbi Yaffe 

Today is Rosh Chodesh Nissan - remember all the special prayers Yaaleh Veyavo, Hallel, Musaf etc

Today's Classes on Bnai Torah's Facebook page


via Facebook Live

Not Just Stories: The real Midrash - Haggadah Edition 1:00 PM

Great Themes of Jewish Thought: The Exodus as the Focus of Judaism  -  7:00 PM Please Note New Time

Monday, March 23, 2020

Torah in Depth is at 8PM

On Facebook Live: What's so holy about a huge BBQ? - the problem of Sacrifices in the Torah

Online classes Torah in Depth 8 PM tonight

Tonight is our Torah in depth class if you don't have a Chumash with you, you can use these online Chumashim



See you tonight  G-d willing at 730PM


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Talmud Class handout begins 740PM


Find class on our facebook page

Advice for cleaning surfaces for Corona Virus protection curated by Rutgers University

Hat tip to my colleague Rabbi Levi Welton for posting this

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends daily disinfection for frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
The CDC also recommends the use of detergent or soap and water on dirty surfaces prior to disinfection.
If someone in your home is sick with flu-like symptoms, consider regularly disinfecting objects in your home, since SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to survive for 16 hours on plastics.
Whatever cleaning solution you use, let it remain in contact with the surface long enough to kill viruses and other pathogens. The time needed will depend on the chemical.
Don’t use different cleaning agents at the same time. Some household chemicals, if mixed, can create dangerous and poisonous gases.
Bleach can be diluted with cold water to make an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi, and many viruses including coronaviruses. You can typically use one-quarter cup of bleach per 1 gallon of cold water—but be sure to follow the directions on the label of your bleach.
Make dilute bleach solution as needed and use it within 24 hours, as its disinfecting ability fades with time.
Non-porous items like plastic toys can be immersed in bleach for 30 seconds. Household surfaces that won’t be damaged by bleach should get 10 or more minutes of exposure.
Bleach solutions are very hard on the skin, and should not be used as a substitute for handwashing and/or hand sanitizer.
Alcohol in many forms, including rubbing alcohol, can be effective for killing many pathogens.
You can dilute alcohol with water (or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Many hand sanitizers have a concentration of about 60% alcohol, and Lysol contains about 80%; these are all effective against coronaviruses.
Solutions of 70% alcohol should be left on surfaces for 30 seconds (including cellphones—but check the advice of the phone manufacturer to make sure you don’t void the warranty) to ensure they will kill viruses. Pure (100%) alcohol evaporates too quickly for this purpose.
Containers of 70% alcohol should be sealed to prevent evaporation. But unlike bleach solutions, they will remain potent as long as they are sealed between uses.
A 70% alcohol solution with water will be very harsh on your hands and should not be used as a substitute for handwashing and/or hand sanitizer.
Hydrogen peroxide is typically sold in concentrations of about 3%. It can be used as is, or diluted to 0.5% concentration for effective use against coronaviruses on surfaces. It should be left on surfaces for one minute before wiping.
Vinegar, tea tree oil, and other natural products are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses.
A study on influenza virus found that cleaning with a 10% solution of malt vinegar was effective, but few other studies have found vinegar to be able to kill a significant fraction of viruses or other microbes.
While tea tree oil may help control the virus that causes cold sores, there is no evidence that it can kill coronaviruses.
Source: Rutgers University

Talmud Class moved to 730PM tonight

Our Mastering Talmud class will take place 7:30 PM tonight Sunday 3/22 at 730  PM for one hour
Texts will be posted bli neder by 6:30 PM

Class will be on Facebook live

We are on Twitter!

Tweet Tweet: Spring is here, and the birds are tweeting , and so are we

You can now follow our Twitter account here:


Offer - Bespoke Torah Study

Good morning All
Shavuah Tov.

Just finished a one on one Torah study session

If anyone has ideas for any Torah study with a group or one on one just fire me an email at rabbi@bnaitorahma.org

We can use WhatsApp video, Duo, or any other platform you'd like - even a plain old phone call

Have a healthy and holy day


Saturday, March 21, 2020

An interesting perspective, by an interesting guy...


Funeral of Matalie Hamburg ob"m - Sunday / 930 AM Talmud Class postponed.

Dear All,

As you may have seen in the email from CBT, Our long-time member, Matalie Hamburg passed away. Due to the COVID19 virus, the funeral will be family only. Information about virtual Shiva - if possible, will follow.

We are postponing the Sunday 930 AM Talmud class.  Rescheduling information will be posted on this blog and the CBT Facebook page

Mrs.M Hamburg's obituary follows below

Shavuah Tov

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe
 Matalie G. Hamburg 1928-2020

Matalie (Goodman) Hamburg, 91, formerly of Springfield passed away March 19, 2020 at the Jewish Nursing home.  She was born on November 28, 1928 in Springfield, to Joseph and Beatrice (Alpert) Goodman.  Matalie was raised in Springfield and graduated from Classical High School in 1946.  Early on Matalie enjoyed spending time with her family at her parents Hardware Store and participating in activities through the Junior Hadassah. In 1950 she met her future husband Gerald at a party.  A year later in February 1951, Matalie and Gerald married beginning a long and happy life together. Soon after she was home raising two daughters, Gail and Susan.  When the girls were school age, she became a Girl Scout leader and a Girl Scout camp leader, and was known as ‘Mattie Madd Moon’.  In 1968, Matalie, always supportive of her husband, decided to buy and run Hardware Service Center together in Chicopee for the next 20 years.  In her leisure time, she enjoyed playing bingo, mahjong, crossword puzzles, clipping coupons and newspaper articles, while watching her beloved Red Sox.  The best moments were spending time with her family, including her grandsons and great grandchildren.  Matalie was predeceased by her husband, Gerald Hamburg 2017 and sister Charlotte Goodman Konick 2005. She leaves her beloved daughters, Gail Antokal of Wilbraham and Susan Johnson of West Springfield, five grandsons, Michael Foint and his wife Michelle of Southwick, their daughters Gina, Gabriella and Grace, Aaron Foint and his wife Julie of Webster, and their son George and daughter Anna, Noah Foint and his wife Sara of Enfield, CT and their sons Brody, Paxton and Gavin, Caleb Foint and his daughter Anjali of East Hartland, CT and Avi Foint of Cambridge, brother in law Marvin Konick of Silver Spring, MD and brother Dr. Jack Goodman and his wife Fredrica Simon Goodman of Poughkeepsie, NY, and many nieces and nephews.  The family would like to thank Baystate and Spectrum Health and Hospice for their compassionate care of Matalie.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Congregation B’Nai Torah.  All services for Matalie will be private and being handled by Ascher-Zimmerman Funeral Home.

Volunteers to shop etc

Hi All,

Shavuah Tov. I don't yet have "customers"as  were.

But it's entirely possible that older people or otherwise mobility limited people will have trouble getting out and shopping.

Indeed they may simply not want to go out of the house because of their pre-existing health conditions.

 I am looking for volunteers to sign up to be available to shop and leave things on people's doorstep please contact me when you can on rabbi@bnaitorahma.org

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe

Shavuah Tov to all

It was a strangely quiet Shabbat, the Shul was empty on Shabbat for the first time in its history.
We will be doing Havdalah on CBT's Facebook Live in 7minutes at 830pm. You should all do your own Havdalah ,this is a way of staying in touch around our rituals.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Eruv is Up!

Eruv is up for Shabbat Mevorchim Parshiyot V'Yakhel-Pikudei & HaChodesh 3/20-21/20. 
Keep social distance and stay safe. Shabbat Shalom!

I miss you all! Some ways to be together

Hi All,

I miss you!

We are separated from each other by the need to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, a disaster who proportions we do not know yet.

Yet - we do know that with G-d's help -in particular through the help of us engaging in the mitzvot of kindness and caring for our fellow He has commanded us with, we will make it through this and emerge stronger.  This is the first time so many shuls on so many continents  have been closed on a Shabbat for ages and ages.

However by this temporary ceasing of all the wonderful and  holy things we do to together -though we will do them ourselves is for a very positive reason there is a minority -many people but a small minority who are in danger. Most of us are not in danger even if we catch the virus.

The 90% of us are rightfully - turning our lives over to protect the 10%.. We recognize that the value of our lives is truly related to the value we place on other people's lives. I do not claim these ratios are precise- I am using these numbers as a figure of speech.

As it is stated in the Mishnah,  Tractate Sanhedrin Chapter 4, "It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam] (Note: Eve and Adam were one person later divided into two according to he Midrash), to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world."

We are suspending important obligations for an even greater one:  to save life -perhaps indeed our own.

Some ideas for this Shabbat

We are not joining together in Shul but we can do shacharit at the same time between 9 and 10 and read the weekly Torah portion  and commentaries  between 10 and 11 as we do every week when we are physically together. Then Bless the New Moon (in your Siddur) and do Musaf.

We can pray in any language -read commentary, go slow and savor a prayer. When we do return to services our prayer will be the better for it

Discuss the Torah portion  with whoever you are "locked down " with.

Say the prayer for the ill, include those you know and those you don't -anywhere on this planet 

Short Sermon:
This week we read a double Torah Portion:  Vayakhel and Pekudei. They complete the discussion of the Mishkan -the movable Sanctuary, its building and dedication.  We have spent about 4 and 1/4 portions on this. A reason for this focus  is because the Mishkan is collective but made of each individual's contribution. once everyone gave there were no more donations requested - everyone has participated. Even after we no longer have a Temple - that collective contribution by each individual expressing themselves for G-d's sake remains as an unbreakable Temple. The synagogues are called a "Miniature Temple"  - so too our communal Temple remains strong.

We shall bridge the gap of space by the our togetherness of purpose and continuing to contribute to our work as Jews.

Staying in touch

1. This  situation creates numerous hardships. If any member of CBT or anyone else  needs help with food, deliveries or other matters they are in need of -please get in touch with me and I and I am sure, many others, will seek to do all I can.
Hi All,

Welcome to Congregation Bnai Torah's new blog.

We are separated from each other by the need to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, a disaster who proportions we do not know yet.

Yet - we do know that with G-d's help -in particular through the help of us engaging in the mitzvot of kindness and caring for our fellow He has commanded us with, we will make it through this and emerge stronger.  This is the first time so many shuls on so many continents  have been closed on a Shabbat for ages and ages

Please stay in touch. Please do subscribe to this blog on bnaiblog.blogspot.com so others and I can share thoughts links, advice culled from many places and websites and much else. I will be posting links on facebook etc and the occasional email, but subscribing and visiting this blog will be the most efficient way of staying on touch

Please call, text ,email we can meet face to face using any of the video apps, and of course  all classes are posted on facebook live on B'nai Torah's facebook page here:

It would be wonderful to speak to each of you on a regular basis - even just to have the kind of schmooze we have at kiddush or  breakfast. This will go on for a while and want our congregations life and bonds tp go on as they always have -it"ll just have to be via various electronic "gaboim"

I will be posting regularly - please comment.

With my best wishes for your good health

(Rabbi) Shlomo Yaffe