Posts

, ,

Protecting a Life is Always a Priority

(Published in Jewish Journal March 27)
The Torah commands us protect our lives, and those of others. Based on the verse, “Guard yourself and guard your soul very much” (Deut. 4:9). According to Jewish law, it is a duty to take all due precautions and avoid anything that may endanger life. “Anyone who violates such prohibitions, saying ‘I’m only putting myself at risk – what business is that of anybody else?’ or ‘I’m not particular about such things’ deserves a lashing, while those who are careful about such things will be blessed” (Choshen Mishpat 427, 8-10).”

Every family that cares for keeping the sanctity of the Sabbath also must care for the sanctity of life and take extra precautions to ensure the safety of our homes.

Below are some guidelines in accordance with Jewish law:

  • All families must install dual-sensor smoke and fire alarms and additional carbon monoxide alarms around their homes, test them weekly, and gently vacuum them monthly. They should be installed in bedrooms, hallways, attics, basements, and you can check the National Fire Protection Association website for details.
  • Never use cracked, worn or sheared electric chords – whether on a hot plate, Sukkah lights, lamps etc.
  • Do not overload sockets or improperly use extension chords.
  • Keep candles under adult supervision, use self-extinguishing Shabbat and Hanukkah candles – and extinguish menorahs before going to bed.
  • Never leave flammable material (curtains, hand towels etc.) in proximity to heat sources such as hot plates, Shabbat, Hanukkah or Yom Tov candles.
  • While we are not permitted to extinguish a fire without reason on Shabbat, it is a mitzvah to extinguish a unintentional fire in a home on Shabbbat as it is a direct threat to people in adjacent homes. Even in an isolated home, with no apparent neighbors, the fire must be put out because it could spread to the field or forest and harm someone else.

Food Safety Guidelines for Shabbat Observance in accordance with Halacha:

  • To enjoy warm food on Shabbat, electric hot plates should be used with an appliance timer, which turns off at bed time and back on in the morning. On Shabbat, solid foods should remain on the cold hotplate overnight. On Yom Tov, when it is permitted to cook, any food can be placed back on the hot plate in the morning.
  • Chulent or Hamim can be cooked safely in an electric slow-cooker overnight. Reminder to remove the pot insert from the slow cooker before serving the chulent in order to avoid stirring a cooked food in a cooking vessel. Also the slow cooker can be put on a timer to turn off after your meal time.
  • Leaving on a gas-range on a low flame is common practice whether on Shabbat or on Yom Tov among orthodox families – please be very cautious. Try to find alternatives. On Shabbos use a metal “blech” to cover a low flame. On Yom Tov, any time the flame is not being used for cooking, covered with a pot of water. If a flame goes out – turn off the gas immediately.
  • Ovens that have built-in Sabbath modes – which overrides the auto-shut-off function for the duration of a three-day holiday – have been tested for this use and are designed to safely operate for 72 hours.

We have a sacred duty to protect life. By educating ourselves, and protecting our families and communities with diligence in these and other safety issues, we are fulfilling that mitzvah.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

,

Podcast: 100 Blessings Brings us Closer to the Divine

By blessing Hashem 100 times daily, we are connecting in the deepest way. Mindfulness of our actions makes us more aware of the Divine. It also serves to prevail over the forces of negativity, by attaching ourselves more closely with Hashem.

King David instituted 100 blessings when there was a plague in Jerusalem killing 100 people a day. After people began saying 100 blessings, the plague subsided. The plague as explained by Kaballah is representative of the sitra achra, the “other side” or in our terms “the dark side”. The power of each blessing, which invokes the four-letter name of Hashem, protects against the power of the the sitra achra, and draws us into a closer connection with Hashem.

This class based is based primarily on the work of the Ben Ish Chai discussing 100 blessings in greater detail and also outlining the way to achieve saying 100 blessings a day according to Jewish tradition.

, ,

Kabbalah and Halacha of Summer Classes Online

summer time cotton

1280px-Cotton_fields,_Tensas_Parish,_Louisiana,_USA_5I am currently teaching a four-part class on the Kabbalah and Halacha of summer. Each class is dedicated to a different Jewish month – Sivan, Tammuz, Av, and Ellul – and the Kabbalistic meanings embedding in each month. In addition, we are learning Halacha that is connected to summer time. Everything from what to do with a bee in the house to the laws of Tisha B’a Av and much more. Each class is between 1 and 1.5 hours long.

If you are in LA and want to attend the class please email jason.j.isaac at gmail.com.

Kabbalah & Halacha for Summer: Sivan

“The month of Nissan is connected to the right leg, while the month of Sivan is connected to the left leg. During these months, from Nissan to Sivan, the nation was “walking” to Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. Thus we see the interconnection between the two months and the two legs.” Walking is called in Hebrew “holech” with is the root of the word “halacha” which is the system of laws which govern Jewish ritual.