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Ohel Shalom Torah Center Newsletter
Parashat Tzav-Shabbat HaGadol 5777

Contact Us

 Ohel Shalom 


Check out our new and improved website at 

To determine if the Eruv is operational either click on the phone number link below, or call
 1-773-74-ERUV-2 (743-7882) after 2pm every Friday afternoon or every Erev Yom Tov.

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In This Issue
This Week at Ohel Shalom
Pesach Information
Shabbat HaGadol Dinner
Kollel Weekly Recap
Amazon Smile
Eruv Check- In
Kollel Korner
Davening Times
Candle lighting 
7:03 pm
Mincha 6:15 pm
Shacharit 8:15 am
 Mincha 6:38 pm 
Shabbat Ends
8:13 pm

Regular Weekdays


Monday, Thursday
6:15 am

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
6:30 am 
Sunday -Thursday
7:13 pm
Late Arvit following Kollel 
10:00 pm
meeting BE"H tonight and then resuming BE"H on April 23rd
Regular Shiurim  

 Open Seder  

Rabbi Olstein
Parasha Shiur
Wed 8:30pm (Hebrew)
Thurs 8:00pm (English)
Rabbi Yosef Asayag
Monetary Issues in Halacha
 Shabbat Afternoon
45 min. Before Mincha (Hebrew) 
Ateret Chaya 
Simcha Hall 

Men and Women

Ner Foundation 
Rabbi Raccah 
Parashat HaShavu'a
Wednesdays at 8:30pm   
Personalities in the Bible
Motza'ai Shabbat at 
7:30 pm



Seuda Shlishit






Breakfast Fund

Day- $15 

Week- $75 

Month- $250 

Year - $2400  


Fish Fund

$20 month 


Hamin Fund

Monthly contribution 



Chair Sponsors

(127 sold - 133 left)

$20 each  


New Set of Artscroll Talmud Yerushalmi  

$35.00 for Talmud Yerushalmi




Siddurim Shaarim Ba'Tifilla

($15.00 each) 


Chumash w/simanim  

($20 each) 

20 New Talitot  

(4 sponsored - 16 left)

$75.00 each 


This Week at Ohel Shalom

This Friday Night Early Mincha

Please note this Friday night there will be early Shabbat Mincha at 6:15pm inorder to accommodate the attendees of the Shabbat HaGadol Dinner.  There will be NO later Mincha minyan.
Shabbat HaGadol Dinner - Approximately 7:15pm

This year B"H we are sold out and filled to max capacity for the Shabbat HaGadol Dinner! Reservations are now closed.

Kiddush Sponsorship

The Kehillah would like to thank the anonymous sponsor for Kiddush this Shabbat.

Rabbi Raccah's Parashat HaShavua Shiur
Please note that the Shiur this Wednesday night will BE"H be held upstairs in the Shaarei Ezra Main Sanctuary because the Ateret Chaya Simcha Hall will BE"H be set up for the Shabbat HaGadol Dinner. There will be NO Wednesday night shiur on Wednesday Chol HaMoed and Wednesday Isru Chag.
Children's Groups
Please note, there will be NO children's groups the first days of Pesach. Groups will BE"H continue on Shabbat Chol Hamoed.

Please make sure to clean out your area in the Beit HaKinesset from any candy or chametz that is in your cubby or that your children have hidden. Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

Security Update
In order to increase security in the Beit HaKenesset, the codes on the entry doors were changed. Please refer to the hints posted on the doors for the new code. 
Pesach Information

Kollel Break

Kollel will BE"H resume on Sunday, April 23rd. Remember that when the Kollel is on break, the 10pm Arvit does not meet. Please come in and learn though, even if the Kollel is not in session.

UPDATED: Dedicated Hours for
Mechirat Chametz/Selling Your Chametz
Rabbi Raccah is once again available BE"H to aid you in the sale of your Chametz. As is years past, he has set aside some specific times when you will be able to come to sell your Chametz. This is in addition to selling your Chametz when you see him at the Beit HaKinesset after Tifilot.

The dedicated hours for now are:

Due to last minute travel plans for Rabbi Raccah, this  Wednesday night chometz selling will be cancelled . In place of Wednesday's cancellation,  Rabbi Raccah will be available for selling chometz at the Rabbi's home 7400 N. Albany on Thursday and Motzei Shabbat

Thursday, April 6th from 9:00-10:00pm at the Rabbi's home

Motzei Shabbat, April 8th from 9:15-10:00pm at the Rabbi's home

Please do not come either early or late. Additional dedicated times may be added. Please look for more details.

The many additional Rabbinic responsibilities that Pesach requires place an increased burden on the rabbi's schedule, so please respect Rabbi Raccah's time and do not request time outside of these to sell you Chametz.

Maot Chitim - The Geshem Fund

As we all know, Pesach is an unusually beautiful but expensive holiday. For some families struggling with ever mounting bills and little or no income, Pesach can be daunting. To help alleviate the stress of the financial constraints, the Geshem Fund provides some relief. Many families turn to the Geshem Fund year-round for help. Please help us help these families. To participate in relieving some stress and enhancing the holiday of your friends, please make out a check to the Geshem Fund today. The checks can be dropped off at the office or given to the rabbi or any other officer of the Kehilla.


Shabbat HaGadol Dinner

This Friday, April 7th 
- Approximately 7:15pm

  Reservations are now closed for this dinner.

For a printable version of this flyer  click here

This Week with the Sephardic Community Kollel

Kollel will BE"H resume on Sunday, April 23rd. Remember that when the Kollel is on break, the 10pm Arvit does not meet. Please come in and learn though, even if the Kollel is not in session.

Amazon Smile

Do you purchase items from Amazon? If so, you are in a perfect position to provide the Kehilla with much needed financial support with zero cost or additional effort from you, beyond following a few easy steps just one time.

Amazon has a philanthropic branch called Amazon Smile. All you need to do is sign up (no cost) and select our Kehilla as your charity of choice and Amazon will give the Kehilla 0.5% of all your eligible purchases! There are millions of eligible items.

Please take advantage of this opportunity
and sign up immediately.

Click here to get started.

The Geshem Fund

It has been very busy for the Geshem Fund. Significant sums of money have been distributed to dozens of people to help with rent, utilities, food and many other purposes. This has depleted the fund. Please help us help those in need.

Please open your hearts and your wallets and make checks out to the order of GESHEM FUND and give to Rabbi Raccah or put in the mailbox of the office or the shul and Ayelet will give it to Rabbi Raccah.  As you thank Hashem for all that He has blessed you with, remember the less fortunate who are struggling and in desperate need of assistance. Thank you.
Eruv Check-In
Is the Chicago Eruv up and operational for Shabbat? If you utilize the Eruv, it is your responsibility to check each week before Shabbat if it is up. There are now some new and easy ways to do this.

The Chicago Eruv has set up a website with this information, as well as other pertinent halachot and information about the eruv. The web address is

You can call the hotline on Erev Shabbat after 2pm and listen to the recorded message or sign up to receive a weekly e-mail update on the status of the eruv.

Click here to sign up to have the eruv weekly email update sent directly to you! 
To Determine if the Eruv is Operational either click on the phone number link here, or call 1-773-74-ERUV-2 (743-7882) after 2pm every Friday afternoon or every Erev Yom Tov.

Kollel Korner of the Sephardic Community Kollel
Sephardic Community Kollel
Come learn with the Sephardic Community Kollel from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, Sunday through Thursday. Please contact the Kollel Coordinator, Rabbi Yosef Olstein to arrange a learning partner or to receive information about the Kollel and its programs. Rabbi Olstein can be reached at 773-338-8046 or by email at Sephardic Community Kollel

Donations to the Kollel
Donations to the Kollel can also be made via credit card. Please call the shul at 773-465-5274 or email the Kollel for details.
Sponsor Learning in the Kollel
Our Rabbis tell us of the great power and merit associated with supporting Torah learning. To that end, consider sponsoring a night, a week or a month of learning in the Kollel. Examples of sponsorship purposes include: in memory of a deceased loved one for their Azkarah, to merit a Rifuah Shilamah, or to honor a loved one or friend. In addition to the great merit of supporting Torah in our community, your sponsorship will be marked with printed pages noting the intent of your support that are placed in stands on the tables in the Beit HaMidrash for the duration of your sponsorship period. 
Here are the costs for the various sponsorships:
A night of learning -  $52
A week of learning -  $100
A month of learning - $400
The Kollel appreciates the following sponsors of learning:     
A month of learning has been sponsored anonymously for the month of April. The Kollel thanks the patrons for their generosity. 
Halacha of the Week  
The Pesach Seder-"Maror", "Shulchan Orech", and "Tzafun"
Everyone is obligated to eat a  Kezayit  (olive's volume, approx. 27 grams) of  Maror  on the night of Pesach. There are several kinds of vegetables that one may use for  Maror , however, the predominant custom today, especially among Sephardic Jewry, is to use the leaves and stalks (spines) of Romaine lettuce to fulfill the Mitzvah of  Maror .
Some Acharonim point out that one should not use romaine lettuce to fulfill the Mitzvah of  Maror  since it is not especially bitter. Indeed, the Talmud Yerushalmi states that the characteristic of  Maror  is that it is sweet in the beginning but has a bitter aftertaste; however, lettuce is not bitter at all. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef  zt"l  deals with this matter lengthily and concludes that halachically speaking, one should use romaine lettuce to fulfill the Mitzvah of  Maror  and it is indeed preferred over any other vegetable. With regards to the Talmud Yerushalmi's statement that  Maror  has a bitter aftertaste, this refers to the beginning stages of the lettuce's growth when it is sweet; however, when left to grow for a long time, the leaves become extremely bitter and inedible.
Caution Regarding Worms and Insects 
One should be extremely careful when eating lettuce leaves to only use lettuce that was specially-grown to be worm-free, in which case a thorough washing to remove flies and the like will be sufficient to permit it for consumption. (When buying these leaves, one must be extremely careful that this lettuce should be under reliable Kashrut supervision, for unfortunately it is common in certain places that lettuce will be packaged in a plastic bag and marketed as though it were worm-free.)
However, if such lettuce which was specially-grown is not accessible, it is better not to eat the lettuce leaves at all; rather one should eat only from the white lettuce stalks after checking them well for worms. Even if one feels that he is able to inspect the lettuce leaves for worms should know that in truth, it is almost impossible to check these leaves, for even after repeated checking, if one places the lettuce leaves on a piece of paper in the sun, after a few minutes he will be able to notice tens of worms crawling out of the leaves and onto the paper. Therefore, such an inspection should not be relied upon even in a place where no specially-grown lettuce is available. This has been the custom of Maran  zt"l  for many years, dating back to when there was no specially-grown lettuce, that only the white stalks of the lettuce should be eaten after a thorough inspection for worms. It is proper to make sure that the stalks of lettuce that are used for  Maror  come only from the part that was above ground, for there are those that maintain that one does not fulfill his obligation of eating  Maror  with the part of the spine which was underground during growth.
"Shulchan Orech"
One should set his table beautifully on Erev Pesach and partake joyously of the holiday feast. Nevertheless, one should take care not to fill himself up too much with different delicacies so that he will be able to partake of the  Afikoman  later on with appetite, and not that he should be so stuffed that eating it will be a burden, in which case one has not fulfilled the obligation of eating the  Afikoman . Therefore, it is also important for the women in charge of preparing the festive meal for the Seder night to go easy on the preparation of heavy and numerous foods so that the members of the household do not come to a point where they will not fulfill their obligation of eating the  Afikoman . The bulk of the culinary delights should be left for the Pesach-day meal.
After eating the festive meal, the " Afikoman " (which is the Matzah kept under the tablecloth; if this is not enough, another Matzah should be added) is eaten. This is a  Kezayit  (approx. 27 grams) of Matzah which is in commemoration of the Korban Pesach (Pesach offering) which was eaten with appetite. Some are stringent and customarily eat two  Kezayit s (approx. 54 grams) of Matzah, one to commemorate the  Korban Pesach  and one to commemorate the Matzah that was eaten along with it. However, halachically speaking, one  Kezayit  is sufficient.
One must be certain to eat the  Afikoman  with appetite and while leaning (without reciting a blessing on it). If one was so satisfied that he is repulsed by eating anymore, he has not fulfilled his obligation of eating the  Afikoman , for excessive eating is not considered eating at all. Thus, one must pay attention to this fact during the meal, as we have mentioned. Similarly, one must make sure to eat the  Afikoman while leaning, for if one did not, he must once again eat the  Afikoman  and this may lead to a point of excessive eating.
Machshava of the Week
by Rabbi David Shamsi
Don't Pass Over Tisha B'Av

It is an interesting phenomena that Pesach and the following first day of Tisha B'Av always fall on the same day of the week.  In fact, the Rema in the Shulchan Aruch says that some have the custom to dip an egg in salt water on the Seder night to express some level of  mourning for the Beit HaMidash, as we do on Tisha B'Av.  What is the thematic connection between Tisha B'Av and Pesach?

Perhaps the link is as follows:  The Talmud tells us that the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed due to baseless hatred.  If so, the ultimate remedy is "baseless" love and unity.  The defining Mitzvah of Pesach in the times of the Beit MaMikdash was not eating Matzah but the slaughtering and eating of the Pesach Offering.  The unique quality of the Pesach Offering was that, unlike all other offerings, it had to be eaten as part of a group.  In fact, since the entire animal had to be eaten before midnight, it would have been impossible for an individual to eat it alone (-with the possible exception of the skinny Asian guy who keeps winning all the hot-dog eating contests.)  Thus we see that the defining characteristic of the central mitzvah of Pesach is unity - the remedy for Tisha B'Av.

April 7 - Shabbat HaGadol Dinner
April 10 - Pesach

If you have a Simcha occurring within the next few months that you would like to have added to the calendar, please call the off ice at 773-465-5274 or email the office with the link provided in the sidebar at the top of the email.  

Pesach Services 
Be'ur Chometz: April 10, 8:00 - 11:00 am, JDBY corner parking lot (Jersey & Peterson) and YOB, 2828 W. Pratt parking lot - enter off Pratt only. 
Shaimos in Oorah Auction
Please be aware that shaimos was mistakenly included in the Oorah Auction Purim book. You may have received the book already or will be receiving it shortly. 
The sefer torah picture on page 6 included pesukim and the shem Hashem. PLEASE DO NOT THROW IT OUT!

You can tear out the page or just the picture in the corner and put it in your sheimos box. You can also drop it off at the Oorah office or mail it to:
Oorah att Sheimos
1805 Swarthmore Ave
Lakewood NJ, 08701

We'd appreciate your publicizing this information to others it may be relevant to. We apologize for the mistake and for any inconvenience.

Rabbi Chaim Reichman
Director of TorahMates
Oorah Inc 
1805 Swarthmore Ave 
Lakewood New Jersey 08701 
United States 
Many families struggle, but this family is collapsing beneath a combined weight of daily stressors and astronomical medical expenses. Drained of money, drained of hope, the parents forge ahead. Both are hard-working employees, and with tight budgeting, they can nearly cover their elevated basic expenses - but any extra need can become a catastrophe.

All of their children are diagnosed with ADHD, with a multitude of requirements. In addition to ADHD, one sweet child has also been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (ASD), a form of autism. This child needs numerous services, including a full-time shadow in school. Scheduled doctor visits, therapists and support group appointments for the family come to about ten appointments a regular week, with frequent trips back and forth to various offices. This is besides for other periodic and vital appointments.
Facing these difficulties and a grueling schedule, both parents are overwhelmed to the point of mental illness and heart failure. About thirty bottles of medication are dispensed to this family on a monthly basis.

Due to these myriad medical needs, it is crucial for the family to have a superior insurance plan to cover all the services, both in the mental and medical health fields. The state in which they live provides very few services for special need children. Insurance costs are exorbitant, while the deductibles and premiums just keep increasing every year.

This year, in order to save money long term, the family had to switch insurance plans in December. Their deductible of $7800 started in December, for a second 2016 deductible, and another $7800 needed to be paid in January for the 2017 deductible. The HSA funds that were meant to cover one deductible went to several root canals the family had last year, leaving only $3000 left to pay for the deductible. Due to all of the constant psychological and medical needs, this means that after all claims are submitted, the deductible will be close to fully met in December. This year it will cost the family nearly $14,000, of which $11,000 has yet to be raised.

However, there are so many other essential expenses that must be met. The child diagnosed with ASD needs to attend a special needs camp in the summer. Besides for giving some respite to the family, the experience gives him much-needed support. The cost of this camp, including traveling expenses and tips, equals $9,000. The same child needs braces in order to have healthy, presentable teeth. Another child in the family will also need braces, but with braces being about $5,000 per child, this seems like an impossible feat.

In addition, the precious child with ASD is becoming bar mitzvah this year. The parents would like this to be a memorable event, for they are not sure whether the boy will be able to get married. This might be the only simcha of his own that this boy ever experiences. Yet there is no money to cover even the cheapest bar mitzvah, let alone a decent wardrobe.

Tuitions are owed to the school because the parents cannot afford to pay.

The overall financial stress, as well as the multitude of crucial family needs, has sent the father to the hospital five times in the last six months. He has spent thirty days in the hospital over the past half a year, unable to cope with the stress, which is affecting him both physically and mentally.
PLEASE open your hearts and pockets and help this family in their crisis. In the merit of helping them regain financial and emotional stability, Hashem should ensure that you never have to beg money from other people.
Thank you very much.
Tizku L'mitzvos. 
This campaign is endorsed by
Rabbi Efraim Friedman Rav of Mekor HaChaim
Rabbi Efraim Twerski Rav of Khal Chassidim

Donations can also be made via phone or check:

Congregation Khal Chasidim
c/o Rabbi Efriam Twerski - Chesed campaign
6634 N. Mozart St.
Chicago IL 60645
Congregation Khal Chasidim is a 501(c)3 organization.