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April 2, '20
Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mechiras Chometz
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Chief Rabbis of the World: Keep Shabbos
• Maos Chitim 5780
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 10 Nisan-17 Nisan
• Divrei Torah: Tzav
• Tosfos Yom Tov Nisan 5780
• Rav Yitzchak Yosef: Divrei Chizuk
• Algemeiner: Limit Passover Prep
• Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5780 Conference
• Rav Klass: Preparing For Passover In Light Of Covid19
• Kovetz Gilyonos Pesach 5780
• Rav Grunwald: Preparing for Pesach While Dealing With COVID-19

Please let us know about your family simchos and l"a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to

Mechiras Chometz

If you wish to sell Chometz with the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud Horabbonim and to have Rabbi Jacob Klass act as your agent, please send us as a list which includes:
– Names
– Addresses
– Locations where Chametz is kept
– List of new Peasch utensils and silverware that were not yet Toveled in a Mikveh. (You can use these
on Pesach, as they remain in the possession of the non-Jew for the duration of the holiday.)

Please note: No emailed lists can be accepted after Tuesday April 7th at 12:00 Noon.

All orders should be sent to
Payments can be made via Zelle or Paypal to:

Thank you.


Chaplaincy Commission Update

From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS,BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
April 2, 2020



Included in this week’s newsletter are updates from President Trump, a letter from Rabbi Yanky Meir, President and COO of Misaskim, a letter from Rabbi Dr. Steinberg from Israel, a copy from the National Council of Young Israel regarding the impact of the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill on non profits AND a new, meaningful and exciting collaboration with OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services . I have attached a link for important video webinars and an important OHEL press release and other information.

Last evening the Rabbinical Alliance of America participated with the Rabbinical Council of America on a conference call for Health Care and Military Chaplains with Rabbi Mordechai Willig shlita . Many thank’s to Rabbi Mark Dratch Executive Vice President of the RCA and Rabbi Doniel Kramer, Chairman of the RCA Healthcare Chaplain Committee and the Orthodox Jewish Chaplains Roundtable.

I received information from a number of chaplains about the wonderful Kiddush H where the Jewish communities have set up catered food deliveries for the hospital staffs and other caring programs of appreciation they are doing for the patient’s 24/7. It is truly heartbreaking with so many who are ill with the Coronavirus in the hospital, many in critical condition and family members are not permitted to be with them especially if they are in their last hours of life. Yet, we cannot and must not give up any hope. I will be sharing with you (now and in the future) some parts of my presentation I gave at the RCA convention a few years ago where I also received the Healthcare Chaplaincy of the Year award.

What Does Hope Bring (Author Unknown)

  • Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.
  • Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.
  • Hope draws its power from a deep trust in G and the basic goodness of human nature.
  • Hope opens doors where despair closes them.
  • Hope “lights a candle” instead of “cursing the darkness”.
  • Hope regards problems, small and large as opportunities.
  • Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.
  • Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks.
  • Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit.
  • Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others.
  • Hope is a good loser because it has divine assurance of final victory.

When my sister a”h was at NYU Medical Center a few years ago, her cardiologist Dr. Arthur Schwartzbard who is a tzadik, gave her a certain type of hope she was seeking. Even during her last days of her life she did not give up hope and her love in the Aibershta, her btachen and emunah remained very strong. He spoke to her with such gentleness and compassion. He gave her Hebrew names ( no last names) to be mispallel when she recited her Tehilim. She was so appreciative as were her family.

I have been asked in my own life -what keeps me going and my responses are; Tears – Supplications -Hope -and Caring for others. We all often need to cry, to be mispallel, to have hope and to care for others . We also must be strong and have btachen and emunah in the Aibershta.

But, it is not a sign of weakness or lack of knowledge to seek advice in caring for yourselves or for others. One of the RAA and NCYI programs was at Lenox Hill Hospital which included self-care for rabbonim (click here for the recording). Ohel recently had a webinar in collaboration with the RCA with Dr. Norman Blumenthal that is important for rabbonim. Click here for the webinar that is included in this newsletter.

Misaskim Pleads: Stop the Toxic Spread of Information

By Rabbi Yanky Meyer

As head of Misaskim, I am on the front lines in dealing with the multitude of tragedies in recent days. Misaskim has been inundated with calls and emergencies. With an unprecedented amount of niftarim in such a short period of time – and dozens of young, innocent yesomim added to our list – it has been a very tough week at Misaskim. Misaskim’s mission is to alleviate tragedies with compassion – which is ever more important at a time when the traditional sense of shivah is not fulfilled. In addition to ensuring kvod hameis, each niftar has a family that he or she leaves behind, who need comforting in such trying times.

Recently, our mission went from difficult to impossible. The coronavirus – along with the self-quarantine and isolation requirements – became a cause for sensational news and social media obsession. Everyone wants to be the first to declare “Breaking News,” and boredom generates tumult and gossip. In recent days, Misaskim was called to notify family members about the passing of their loved ones, only to discover that the family already found out via WhatApp – without the available support or crisis intervention team. In another disturbing instance, an unsubstantiated and inaccurate message went viral about a woman supposedly in critical condition – whose husband passed away merely hours before and was not even brought to kevurah yet. How can we properly assist in the grieving and healing process if a young almanah or family of yesomim sees such a message? Our comforting presence, promises of assistance, and hours of hard work of planning and logistics gets nullified in an instant!

I am reaching out today to ask for your assistance in helping us fulfill our mission. We do not expect everyone to witness tragedy the way we do or enter into quarantined homes to assist bereaved families. We do not even anticipate you to pay a personal shivah call because of social distancing and in accordance with the psak halacha of our Rabbanim. However, you can fulfill the mitzva of nichum aveilim by waiting before forwarding a message, by stopping the spread of false, unsubstantiated posts, and by refraining from commenting carelessly on news websites. Instead of being the first to know when someone passed away, be the first to say Tehillim, accept upon yourself a Perek Mishnayos, or make a phone call – in a sensitive and respectful manner – to a mourner.

In this zechus, may we be zocheh to the prophecy of Yeshayahu Hanavi that bilah hamaves lanetzach and may we speedily merit to eat min hazvachim umin hapsachim .

Rabbi Jack Meyer
5805 16th Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11204 718-854-4548

Thank you for taking the time to read this and all the other articles and information in this newsletter.

Sincerely, Yehuda Blank

Click here for a talk by Rabbi Professor Avraham Steinberg, MD on Coronavirus, Public Health and Jewish Law

Click here to learn about President Trump’s Coronavirus response efforts

Click here to learn about how the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Bill will affect non-profits

Click here for information about OHEL’s new Tele-mental health support service, now available nationally


Chief Rabbis of the World: Keep Shabbos

Multiple chief rabbis around the world encourage all Jews to keep Shabbos HaGadol

Click here if you do not see the letter below


Maos Chitim 5780


Upcoming Yahrtzeits 10 Nisan-17 Nisan


Divrei Torah: Tzav

Special audio:
Rabbi Katz – Vayikra 5780

Rabbi Ziegler - Tzav 5780

Tzav - Rabbi Eisner 5743

Tzav - Rabbi Kirsh 5769

Tzav - Rabbi Kirsh 5771

Tzav - Rabbi Kirsh 5772

Tzav - Rabbi Mandel 5771

Tzav - Rabbi Rokeach 5770

Tzav - Rabbi Rokeach 5773

Tzav - Rabbi Singer 5740

Tzav - Rabbi Ziegler 5770

Tzav - Rabbi Ziegler 5771

Tzav - Rabbi Ziegler 5773

Tzav - Rabbi Ziegler 5774

Tzav – Liska Rebbe 5779


Tosfos Yom Tov Nisan 5780

A new issue is available of Ma’adanei Melech, with Torah from the Tosfos Yom Tov

Click here to download

Madanei Melech Nisan 5780


Rav Yitzchak Yosef: Divrei Chizuk

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel Harav Hagaon R’ Yitzchak Yosef shlit”a offers divrei chizuk


Algemeiner: Limit Passover Prep

The Algemeiner, March 30, 2020, discusses the public statement issued by RAA/Igud and other organizations regarding staying home and limiting Pesach preparations in order to save lives

Matzah. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Leaders of six major Orthodox organizations released a joint statement last week asking Jews …


Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5780 Conference

RAA/Igud helds its Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5780 conference on March 26, 2020. Due to the global health situation, the conference was held entirely remotely. Speakers include Rav Ya’akov Klass, Rav Moshe Weiner and Rav Yosef Serebryanski. MC’ed by Rav Moshe Schmerler.


Rav Klass: Preparing For Passover In Light Of Covid19

by Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Question: In light of the current Covid19 pandemic is it possible to address the preparations one need undertake to provide for one’s kosher and healthy Pesach.

Wolf Sender
Deerfield Beach, FL


Answer: It is with a heavy heart that we address this question. We are living in what is, for most of us, one of the most difficult times of our lives. Yet, let me remind readers of the plight of our brethren who perished in the smoke-filled chambers of the Holocaust or who miraculously survived them. Let me remind readers also of those who died in or survived the Soviet gulags. 

In the Haggadah, we praise Hashem for delivering us from slavery to freedom. This Pesach, we will be barred from publicly assembling unless a miracle cure is found. Many will be forced to conduct a Pesach Seder for the first time in their lives.

One must expend a certain degree of effort in readying the house for Passover, but one need not fall into a never-ending spring-cleaning quicksand – especially this year. Remember, dust is not chametz

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 433:11) states that a person who cleans his rooms on the eve of the 13th of Nissan with the intention of searching for chametz and destroying it must still search for chametz by candlelight on the eve of the 14th of Nissan. (Some authorities state that if one is worried about causing a fire, an electric lamp or a flashlight suffices.)

The Rema (Orach Chayim, ad loc.) adds that before the final search, every person must clean all his rooms thoroughly and also check the pockets and sleeves of garments in which he occasionally puts chametz. (Check trouser cuffs too.)

Based on the Mechaber’s comment about cleaning on the 13th of Nissan, it would seem that one night’s cleaning is sufficient. Perhaps, however, people had fewer physical possessions in earlier time, so insuring that one’s home was chametz-free did not take as long. 

The current practice is to thoroughly clean one’s home prior to Pesach, particularly if there are young children around. Ironically, we tend to clean so thoroughly that there is no chametz to search for on the night of the 14th. Hence the age-old custom of putting pieces of chametz in various places that night (Rema, Orach Chayim 432:2). That way, the berachah on bedikat chametz won’t be in vain.

The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc.) cites opinions that are critical of this practice, as some might look for these pieces in lieu of doing a cleaning and searching thoroughly. However, he notes that the Havvot Ya’ir states that we should not void a minhag Yisrael, and the Mishnah Berurah agrees that saying a berachah on the night of the 14th would be problematic if the house is already completely clean and one didn’t hide pieces of chametz.

He cites the Arizal, who says one should place 10 pieces of chametz around the house, taking care to note their location so that one doesn’t accidentally leave chametz in one’s home on Pesach. 

Preparing the kitchen properly is most crucial if one is to have a truly kosher home for Pesach. All cabinets (and the refrigerator) should be thoroughly cleaned and lined with shelving material – paper or plastic. Countertops (formica) and sinks (porcelain) should be thoroughly washed down and covered. Granite countertops and stainless steel sinks, however, can be cleansed via purging (see below).

Many gas or electric ranges and ovens are quite easy to kasher; clean them thoroughly and then simply start a self-clean cycle. Ovens and ranges without self-clean cycles should be thoroughly scrubbed and then heated at the highest temperature for an hour. Only someone properly trained in the use of blow torches should considering using them. 

Chametz sold to a gentile must be removed from cabinets that will be used on Pesach and stored in sealed cabinets. Only chametz is sold to the gentile – not the actual utensils – so they should be thoroughly cleaned.

Numerous English publications are available at Jewish bookstores on kashering utensils for Pesach (e.g., the OU Guide to Passover and Kovetz Hilchot Pesach – The Laws of Pesach: A Digest). Of course, your greatest resource is your rabbi, who I am sure will be willing to help you.

In Responsa of Modern Judaism, Vol. 1, my uncle HaRav Sholom Klass, zt”l, writes the following about purging items:

“(1) You can purchase disposable dishes and paper plates, which can solve many of your problems. The cost is nominal.

“(2) You can purge your utensils, which basically means…to cleanse them for Passover use by means of hagalah – scalding hot water….

“Earthen vessels and chinaware cannot be purged and may not be used. Wooden [implements, for cold usage only], metal and stone utensils may be used after having been purged by means of hagalah, but if it is an article that will be damaged by hot water, such as a vessel glued together, even if only the handle is glued on, purging is of no avail.

“Before the vessel is purged, it should be thoroughly cleansed of rust and the like, and made perfectly clean, but stains do not matter. If the vessel is dented, it should be carefully scraped. If it is made of metal, hot coals should be placed upon the dents until they glow, and the vessel should be purged thereafter. If, however, it is impossible to thoroughly cleanse the dents and cracks, or to ‘glow’ them, it cannot be made valid for use. Hence it is necessary to carefully observe whether purging will avail for knives with handles. It is best, if one can afford it, to buy new knives for Passover.

“Utensils into which water is not generally placed when used over the fire (such as frying pans and the like) require libun gamur – heavier glowing. One should glow them to the extent of making them emit sparks. A wooden spoon, obviously, cannot be made valid for use.

“Any article that requires purging by means of hagalah cannot be made valid by scraping, but must be purged. A vessel that cannot be thoroughly cleansed, such as a sieve, the receptacle of a mill, a basket used for leaven, and a grater, as well as any vessel that has a narrow neck which makes it impossible to cleanse it from within, e.g., tubes, cannot be made valid by purging.

“Purging is done only in boiling water and nothing should be mixed therewith, not even ashes and the like. If one has purged many vessels in one boiler, so that the water becomes turbid, no more purging should be done therein.

“One should not purge a vessel unless 24 hours have passed since leaven was cooked therein. Likewise, the boiler in which the purging is done should not have been used for leaven that same day. Also, carefully observe each time you put a vessel in the boiler that the water comes up boiling hot. If it is necessary to purge the boiler, then it must be full when the water is boiling therein and hot stones should be thrown therein in order that the boiling water should overflow its edge. Purging should only be done until noon on Passover eve.

“After the purging it is customary to wash the vessels with cold water.”

Drinking and measuring vessels also need to be purged. Glass vessels don’t need to be purged according to the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 451:26), even if they were used for hot liquids, because they do not absorb; mere rinsing suffices. The Rema notes that some people are stricter and opine that even purging doesn’t suffice. The Ashkenazic custom reflects these opinions. 

Vessels used for cold liquids or non-heated storage may be purged via iruy – soaking for three days (i.e., pouring in water and letting it stand for 24 hours, then pouring it out, refilling and letting it stand again for 24 hours, and repeating the same procedure a third time). This method of purging can be used for glassware that isn’t used for heat. 

Many communities kasher vessels for those who find it difficult to do so themselves, but this year they might not due to social distancing restrictions. 

May I take this opportunity to extend you and yours good wishes for a joyous and kosher Pesach. All of us will be sitting secluded in our homes in much the same way our ancestors sat when they were redeemed. May this Pesach bring us the final and ultimate redemption.


Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at


Kovetz Gilyonos Pesach 5780

A 144-page collection of divrei Torah from a variety of collections

See below or click here

Kovet Gilyonos Pesach 5780


Rav Grunwald: Preparing for Pesach While Dealing With COVID-19

Brief Questions and Answers by Rabbi Yehoshua Grunwald
Q. Can one appoint a rav to sell the chametz on his behalf through a phone call, email, or text?
The contemporary poskim permit appointing the rav via phone call, text, or email. Although in normal situations it is preferable to appoint the rav in person and perform a kinyan, nonetheless, due to the current environment it is certainly preferable to appoint the rav via form of technological-distant communication. It is preferable that the rav has documentation from you that you are appointing him, the amounts and types of chametz, and the locations of the chametz. Speak to your rav how he advises to go about this. Lastly, it can mentioned that it is customary to give some compensation when appointing the rav, which can be done even when not coming in person.Q. I have never made Pesach before, and now because of COVID-19 I am forced to stay home and make Pesach. Can you offer me some guidance?
Firstly, it is recommended that you buy 2 new sets of pots for all your Pesach cooking: one for milchigs and one for fleishigs. Although, technically many pots can be koshered, however, the halachos of doing it are intricate, the process is tedious, and there is a lechatchila to buy new ones in any case. As such, where ever possible it is my recommendation to buy new ones. The chametz flatware and dishes also cannot be used for Pesach, but for those you can mostly manage with disposable. Secondly, remember that you will need to toivel your new pots. (Usually when toiveling a new pot you will be required to make a beracha for the tevila, when in doubt ask a shaila.) Thirdly, you will need to ask your rav how he advises you to kosher the kitchen. You will certainly have to clean down the sinks, countertops, cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, and anywhere else where the Pesach food or utensils will be touching so that there shouldn’t even be a crumb of chametz there. Following that, everything will need to be covered or kashered. As for the counters, refrigerators, freezers, and tables, most poskim are satisfied with covering them. Additionally, most poskim are satisfied with koshering a self clean oven by running it through a full self clean cycle. Pertaining sinks, stove tops, and non-self clean ovens, there are many varying opinions, so ask your rav. On a final note, when you start cooking for Pesach make sure all your chametz dishes are stored away so that you don’t mistakenly use a chametz utensil.

Q. Usually I go to a hotel for Pesach and perform a mechiras chametz on my entire home. As such, I usually don’t clean my house for Pesach. This year that I will be staying home, I seek guidance how much I must clean my house to rid it of chametz. Please advise.
A. You must clean in a way that you rid your house of any chametz that is approximately the size of a cheerio or greater, so that you shouldn’t come to mistakenly eat chametz on Pesach. Use your common sense where such chametz may be found. For example, you may likely expect chametz to be found under the pedestal of your dining room table, in pockets or pocketbooks, in the crevises of your couch, or in your baby’s carriage. After performing your best efforts of cleaning, the remaining chametz will be covered by your bittul and/or mechiras chametz.

Q. I had a reservation at a hotel for Pesach and already paid a deposit for it. Am I halachically entitled to demand that the deposit be returned?
A. Questions pertaining to payments for cancelled jobs and rentals due to COVID-19 are very intricate. Many of the shailos need to be asked by both parties accepting a mutually accepted rav or dayan/im. During the time that it is difficult to deal with approaching a rav or dayan/im, the money can remain in the hands whose it’s in. It should be mentioned that the one holding on to the money has greater chances of winning and an early return of the money may forfeit those rights.


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