House of Seven Beggars Synagogue Schedule for the Week of April 15, 2018:

(All times EDT)

Monday, April 16, 2018:
8:00 – 9:00 PM – Zeyde’s Story Corner.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018:
8:00 PM – 9:30 PM – Torah Study with Rabbi A and Reb Reuven.

Friday, April 20, 2018:
8:00 PM – Kabalat and Maariv Shabbat Service.

Shabbat, April 21, 2018:
10:00 AM – Shacharit and Musaf Shabbat Service – Parshah Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1 – 15:33). Haftorah – Kings II 7:3-20. 

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From Slavery to Freedom – The Ritual of Passover Cleaning.

Moshe leading the Children of Yisrael out of Mitzraim

Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chiam – 11 Nissan 5778

 I got up this morning and realized that … I am getting old! Two weeks of Pesach cleaning has left he tired and every muscle aching.

 As I dragged my body out of bed I think “First things first.”, dress, tallit, tefillin and shacharit, and then (maybe) I can face another day of lifting, pushing, pulling, washing and rearranging; right after coffee that is. And still, the Pesach dinner still has to be planned and prepared! OY, I can’t even think about that right now, it will have to wait.

While I am getting ready, taking out my siddur, tallit and tefillin, I am thinking about the cleaning and bewailing my situation, ok, kvetching about it! As I am checking my tzitziyot the phrase from the Haggadah pops into my head “… from slavery to freedom.” I put on the tallit and wrap the tefillin and as I am trying to concentrate on the prayers, it keeps buzzing around in my head “… from slavery to freedom.” OK, this is just getting annoying! I have prayers to do, a client meeting to conduct and then I have to get back to the drudgery of cleaning …. Ugh!

As I am reading the Akaida it suddenly it suddenly hits me! “… from slavery to freedom!”

For years I have made a point of telling people that they have to infuse the Pesach Seder with meaning, so that we can somehow experience what our ancestors experienced. Make the Seder come alive by telling the story of the Exodus, not to just drone on through the Haggadah.

So, back to cleaning. Why do we do it to ourselves every single year? All the mishegas of cleaning. We tear the whole house apart in order to clean out all the chametz, plan the meal, do the shopping, prepare the meal. We work ourselves like …….. SLAVES!

All these years I have been telling people to experience the Exodus when we have been doing it all along! We work ourselves to near exhaustion doing something we would not do if we didn’t have to, just like our ancestors:

 “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses.” (Shemot 1:11)

 Weeks of cleaning, planning the seder, cooking the festive meal, working ourselves to the brink of collapse, and then, we finally get to sit with family and friends and enjoy the Pesach Seder. We have literally gone “… from slavery to freedom!”

After 62 years on earth, I finally get it (never too late and never too old!). Pesach cleaning has now taken on a whole new meaning. I still don’t like it, but I now get it! How amazing is HaShem!

 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for in haste didst thou come forth out of the land of Egypt; that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.” (Devarim 16:3)

 And how better to remember then by experiencing, in some small measure, what our ancestors lived through by purging our homes.

 “ And there shall be no leaven seen with thee in all they borders seven days;…”

 Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to cleaning (Ugh!).

To you and your family, Chag Pesach Kasher Vesame’ach !

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Chag Pesach Sameach!

We hope you all have a Pesach that is full of joy, wonder and meaning!

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Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s Advice on Pesach Cleaning

First off, I have to give a “Hat Tip” to HaRav Gutman Locks for his post that inspired me to write this piece.

Pesach will soon be upon us; and, as usual, it will arrive quicker that we expected.

 Each year we go through the exercise of cleaning for Pesach. Each year it seems like an overwhelming and endless task (maybe not for you, at least for me it does!). Cleaning all the rooms, making sure every corner is clean, everything is dusted, everything has been scrubbed within an inch of its life, everything that needs to be kashered is done, and finally, everything is put away. But, somehow, every year, it all gets done by the last few hours before Pesach (Again, at least this is my experience.).

When it is done, our muscles are sore, we are exhausted and short tempered. Remember your mother? “Hey! get that food out of here, I just finished cleaning!” “Don’t put that there, put it away!” “I don’t intent to clean this over again because you are eating chametz in your room!” And, of course, my favorite, when mom would find something unexpected, like a cereal bowl found under a bed that had milk which now resembles something akin to cottage cheese, “What? You were born in a barn!” Ahh, the memories of being a kid during Pesach cleaning!

Through all of the mishegas, we find that we have somehow diminishing the joy of Pesach.

So, today I am looking at the house and trying to prepare my mind to start Pesach cleaning; and hoping for some extra ambition and energy to appear out of nowhere to get it all done. Immediately my mide goes to the Big Picture. WOW! I have ten rooms to clean. That’s 1904 square feet of floor space; 17,136 square feet of interior space that has to be vacuumed, washed, dusted, scrubbed and/or kashered! Sure, there is a lot of empty space included in that number, but ….. Are you kidding me? 17, 136 square feet! I am going to need an army and a bulldozer to get this done! The only thing I am grateful for is that I don’t live in a two-story house!

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Chag Purim Sameach 5778!

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How to Participate in Shabbat Services at the House of Seven Beggars Synagogue

By: Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim – Senior Rabbi HOSBS

It is always a concern of mine that people will break the Sabbath in order to join us in out broadcast services for Shabbat. That has weighed heavily on my mind for a long time. I have a number of options to address this:

  • I can stop broadcasting services on Shabbat. This is not a viable option for me since the whole intent of the synagogue was to make Shabbat, Festival and Holy Days accessible to Jews who are home-bound.
  • I can ignore how people are viewing the broadcasts and leave it to the individual’s conscience. This is not an attractive option either, as it leaves out those who wish to attend services, but not break Shabbat.
  • I can give people a guide on how to attend the services and remain as close to Shomer Shabbat as possible based on a persons michag or personal adherence. This is the most viable option I could come up with.

These instructions or for desktop and laptop computers. They probably will not work for tablets, and definitely will not work for phones.

To be able to attend services without worrying about using the computer on Shabbat, Festivals or Holy Days, requires a bit of set up, but I think you will find it worth the time and effort to ease your mind.

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The Semoneh Esrei Project

By: Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim

Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim and Richard D. Ruttenberg announce the just released Shemoneh Esrei Project. Nineteen original compositions by Richard D. Ruttenberg and mastered by Joe Berger of JoeZilla Studios. Available at:

Based on the original concept and descriptions of Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim, Richard D. Ruttenberg has masterfully looked into the heart of each of the benedictions of the Shemoneh Esrei, and composed a unique piece of music that brings out the depth, emotion and passion of each benediction.

The album is not intended to accompany the prayers when they are actually being recited during the prayer service, it is intended to be used to enhance the study of the benedictions to gain a deeper understanding of the benedictions.

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Chassidic Uniform?????

Satmar Chassidim (Credit: Reuters)

I have been told, as have many of you, that; because I don’t wear a white shirt and black pants, black coat and black hat when I am out and about, I cannot possible be a Chassid. OK, I must have missed the memo that said Chassidshe had a uniform and dress code! If you have a copy of the memo, please send it to me!

Back in the early days, black dye was very hard to make and very expensive. Most Chassidim back then wore dark greens, browns and blues. Black was reserved for Shabbat and special occasions. This concept of wearing a white shirt and black pants, black hat with a black coat is a relatively recent phenomenon. It was Chassidim emulating the dress of their Rebbes in order to be an impetuous toward attaining a higher level (not that that is at all a bad thing). However; a lot of Jews work in professions where dressing that way would be inappropriate and expensive (farmers, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.).

I choose to wear blue, brown or green during the six mundane days of the week and save my white shirts and black pants for Shabbat, when I am teaching and on special occasions. Heck, even the hat I wear during the week is either my brown or green hat. Why? Because, if I wore the white shirt, black pants, black hat and black coat during the six mundane days, what makes wearing them special when they are worn on Shabbat?

No, there is no Chassidic uniform or dress code other than to dress modestly.

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Back From Vacation

Well, we are back from vacation and it is time to get prepared for the High Holy Days. We will be posting the schedule soon, so keep coming back. In the mean time, here is a picture of the Tawas Lake at sundown.

Tawas Lake

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Composition of the Soul and Physical Matter

By Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim – 20 Kislev 5772

All souls are comprised of sparks. The sparks composing the soul in this transmigration are not all the same sparks that composed the soul in previous transmigrations. Based on what the soul is to learn and accomplish in the current transmigration determines the composition of sparks.

Sparks are like energy, it is the basis of the souls; just as matter is made up of energies (m-theory, string theory, superstring theory, etc.). Combinations of energies form protons, neutrons, electrons, isotopes, quarks, leptons, etc. Combinations of protons, neutrons, etc. form Elements. Combinations of elements form molecules. Continue to combine and we get to this corporal world as we know it.

The sparks were created by HaShem manifesting out of Ein Sof (B”H). The sparks are then combined to form the ruach, nefesh and neshomah resulting in the various attributes, and combining the various attributes composes the soul that exists in this transmigration. All this is contained within a vessel, or universe, which composes the physical self.

An element can be changed in and of itself through the process of decay, emission or fission; as inherent within the nature of the element. An element can also be changed by an external source or force; colliders and particle accelerators being the most obvious example. As an example, by simply passing an electrical current through water, you get hydrogen. However, all the components of the element continue to exist within the universe (or vessel) according the first law of thermodynamics.

So too, the soul can be changed by external sources: HaShem can cause a change. Study, knowledge and wisdom can cause a change. Interaction with others, or experiences we have, can cause a change. However, unlike matter and elements; which have no conscious awareness of internal change by decay, emission or fission, we are able to affect changes within ourselves. We, as conscious beings, can accomplish change intentionally by adding sparks, casting off sparks, and rectifying sparks. And, just as with the first law of thermodynamics, the sparks that are cast off, or sparks that are rectified and not incorporated into our being, are returned to the source (B”H).

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