Rabbi's Message


Preparation for Passover 2020/5780

Please see the below items regarding this years unique situation.

Tevilat Keilim

If you need to tovel any items, please follow the below options.

  1. Utensils could be toveled in Lake Ontario just as you would in the mikva. Please note: not all rivers, lakes and streams qualify for tevilla.
  2. Contact a gentile neighbor whom you know (and who will not ridicule the process) and give him possession of the utensils. Then borrow them from him. He should acquire them through a valid kinyan. You could place the item on the ground and have him pick it up while having in mind to acquire it. Then you could borrow it from him and use it. This method should only be used this year given the circumstances. When everything becomes “normal” again ask him to give you the item as a gift by performing the same actions and then you should tovel the item with a bracha before use.

Biur Chametz

Due to the current situation, this year, there will be no public chametz burning as in previous years. Please note the following procedures:

  • Before searching for chametz on the night before Erev Pesach (Tuesday night), put out 10 very small pieces of bread and search for chametz as you normally do.
  • If you own a barbeque grill, on Wednesday morning – Erev Pesach, burn these 10 small pieces on the grill and recite Kol Chamira (the statement nullifying ownership of any chametz). If you do not have a grill, do the following: In a bag, carefully break up the small pieces of bread into tiny crumbs. Flush the crumbs, without the bag, down the toilet. Dispose of the bag in the outside garbage can and then recite Kol Chamira.
  • Before burning or flushing the crumbs, place all remaining chametz (that was not sold to a non-Jew) in your outside trash cans and recite the following in front of anyone (even a relative and even on the phone): “I hereby declare that my garbage cans and all of my chametz garbage are hefker (ownerless) and I relinquish all ownership thereof. ”If possible, before making the above statement, bring your garbage cans to the curb for pickup.

Siyum Bechorim

As is well known, it is customary for first born males (or their father) to fast on Erev Pesach, or attend a siyum, which allows them to break their fast. Since shuls are closed, there will be multiple live siyumim available online and/or via telephone. Due to the current situation, if a b’chor listens to the siyum – although he is not present he is considered a participant and should then break his fast by eating something special in honor of the siyum. We will be sending out times and information. 

“Seder in a Box”

The Federation with Jewish Family Service are working to provide a free “Seder in a Box” to anyone who is unable to shop for themselves and has no access to Passover food. Inspired Catering (certified by Vaad Hakashrus of Buffalo) is preparing a complete Seder dinner menu (soup, chicken etc.) plus a seder plate with all of the seder items, a box of matzo, and grape juice.

Please email or call the Helpline at 585-461-0114 by Friday, March 27 at 4:00 p.m. to let them know if you, or someone you know, is in need of this support for Passover. Be sure to include name, address, email, phone number, and number of persons requiring a meal. Please note that this program is for those that are in need of a meal and unable to access food without assistance. To volunteer to deliver Passover packages email

For Inspired Catering’s full line of Passover catering, contact, 347-524-2433.

Rabbi's Message

Passover Rabbi's MessageWhat is the point of Eliyahu’s Cup, what exactly is its function?

Pesach is the time of Redemption and the Rabbis describe Elijah as being the Angel of Redemption. We believe that in the same way that we were redeemed from Egypt, so too will we be redeemed from our present lengthy exile. Tradition teaches that it is Elijah who will announce the coming of the Mashiach, and the cup is prepared as a sign of our desire that he should come as speedily as he can to do so. Our Sages tell of a certain Rabbi in Talmudic times who met Elijah and asked him when the Mashiach would come. Elijah told him that he would come immediately. When he didn’t materialize the Rabbi was very upset and the next time he met Elijah he berated him for not having been accurate in his assessment. Elijah, after hearing him out, explained to him that he had meant every word. But, ultimately, it was entirely up to us whether the Mashiach comes or not. If we truly want him to come he will come without delay. And if we are not too enthusiastic about the idea, well, Elijah will have to wait until we change our minds.

So what can we do to change the state of affairs? There is an anecdote that might help us attain a better perspective. Once the famed Chassidic Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, sent one of his followers to open the door after filling Elijahs Cup on Seder night. However the man was frozen to the spot and couldn’t do it. When he was asked why, he said that he was scared stiff as he was absolutely certain that Elijah the Prophet must be waiting outside the door of such a pious and august person as the Rebbe, just waiting to be invited in.

Answered Rabbi Menachem Mendel, You’re wrong! Elijah the Prophet enters through the heart, not the door!

And it is in exactly the same way that we can allow Elijah to appear and proclaim to everyone that the Mashiach is on his way. This Seder night, as we all fill up our cups for Elijah the Prophet lets fill them right up to the very top. Lets turn Elijahs Cup into the symbol of all our hopes and aspirations for the future brimming over with optimism that this year we can make all the difference. Like the Rebbe from Kotzk let us open our hearts to allow Elijah to enter into our lives.

And, who knows? Perhaps if we do so there wont be any need to pour the wine back into the bottle this Pesach after the Seder.

And Next Year in Jerusalem will become a reality rather than just a song.

Miriam and I wish you a happy, healthy and kosher Pesach.