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Yoram Raanan: Amazing Shabbat candle-lighting prints

Yoram Raanan: Amazing Shabbat candle-lighting prints

I haven't been in contact with Yoram Raanan many years ago, and didn't hear about the devastating fire damage he went through. Shattered, but pulled himself back together. I came across four or five fabulous prints depicted the warm glow of the Shabbat candle-lighting experience. "Shabbat, the seventh day, has a double sanctity: elevation of the earthly, and descent of the heavenly," Raanan explains. "The candle flames become a golden aura reflecting the uplifting power of Shabbat. But Shabbat is also a gift from Above, crowning us with Divine light..." When we right the Shabbat candles, Raana writes, "the room fills with the radiance...

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How to keep your Shabbos calorie-count down

How to keep your Shabbos calorie-count down

The day of rest should not also mean taking a break from healthy eating habits, writes licensed nutritionist Shira Isenberg in Jewish Action. Long meals and an abundance of delicious food are a recipe for relaxing one’s usual vigilance over food intake, which can easily lead to over-indulgence. There is a mitzvah from the Torah delineated in the Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 242) to enjoy extravagances on Shabbos to elevate it from the weekdays. Although “this may sound like the antithesis of dieting,” writes Isenberg, “you can treat yourself on Shabbat and still stay within traditional nutrition guidelines.” In fact, dietitian...

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Challah history

Challah history

In a fascinating historical article in Family First (reprinted on Kosher.com), I was astonished to read that challah is relatively new on the block, and Jews ate very different types of bread on Shabbos a few centuries back.The Hebrew word “challah” is mentioned in several places in the Torah, generally referring to the mitzvah to set aside a portion of your dough for Kohanim. For instance, in Bamidbar 15:20, reads, "Of the first of your dough you shall set aside a cake (challah) as an offering; as the offering of the threshing-floor, so you shall set it aside."In the Gemara,...

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What was the blessing in Sarah Imeinu's challah dough?

What was the blessing in Sarah Imeinu's challah dough?

There's a well-known Midrash on Genesis 24:67, that discusses the legacy of Sarah which was carried on by Rivka, namely a sheltering cloud over her tent (i.e. hospitality or transparency), a flame burned from one Shabbat to the next and there was blessing in her dough. What was the blessing in her dough? Rav Pinchas of Koretz offers a novel interpretation. Sarah's husband, Avraham, was a man of means, he explains. Eking out more dough was not a real concern in their household. They could afford all the flour they needed. Therefore the blessing was not about quantity. Rav Pinchas argues that the blessing must...

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Keeping Shabbat in the US Army

Keeping Shabbat in the US Army

A fascinating website called the Jewish-American History Foundation has a remarkable letter a father wrote to President Abraham Lincoln, enjoining him to allow his son, then a Jewish soldier in the US Army, to observe Shabbat. To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States. By your order of the 16th day of November, 1862, you recommend that the officers and men of the army shall observe the Sabbath and do no work on Sunday, because we are a Christian people. But according to the Declaration of Independence and according to the constitution of the United States, the...

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