Newsletter Parshat Shelach – Shabbat Mevarechim

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Learning 1 Halacha and 1 mishna
Meeting ID: 743 6266 1737


The Sephardi Heritage Project

Meeting – Sunday 21st June 2020
Jarrett Ross – the GeneaVlogger – is a well-known personality in the world of Jewish genealogy, especially through his YouTube channel. Jarrett has been researching his Nunes Vaz ancestors for over a decade, and has traced back to 17th century Italy. The Nunes Vaz family spread from Iberia, via Livorno, across the Sephardic world including to Amsterdam, London, North and South America, and elsewhere.

As well as being genealogy celeb and co-administrator of The Sephardic Diaspora Facebook group with Ton, David and Michael, Jarrett is an administrator on Geni and has established himself as an expert on Jewish genetic genealogy. Jarrett is also standing as a candidate for the IAJGS Board.

Topic: Family Nunes Vaz – A Journey of Western Sephardic Genealogy
Time: Jun 21, 2020 07:00 PM London
(This is 7pm British summer time; GMT +1)

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Sephardic World


לוח זמני תפלה לקיץ תש"פ

Summer Timetable 5780 – 2020

מוצאי שבת



סוף זמן קראת שמע

זמן שבת

פלג מנחה (תה״ד)

פלג מנחה (לבוש)

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת




to be read before

to be
lit by


Candle lighting

& Kabbalat Shabbat



















19/20 June

שלח (ש''מ)

For those not in the Bet Hakeneset, but wishing to bring in Shabbat with the Kahal, candles should be lit about 30 minutes after the time listed for Minha and Kabbalat Shabbat. (Unless the time listed in the ‘latest candle lighting’ column is earlier, when candles should be lit by that time, in all cases.  


Q & A on Parashat Shelach

All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated

  1. Why is the portion about the meraglim written immediately after the portion about Miriam's tzara'at?
    13:2 – To show the evil of the meraglim (spies), that they saw Miriam punished for lashon hara (negative speech) yet failed to take a lesson from it.
  2. To what was Moshe referring when he asked the meraglim "Are there trees in the land"?
    13:20 – Were there any righteous people in the land whose merit would "shade" the Canaanites from attack?
  3. Who built Hebron?
    13:22 – Cham.
  4. Which fruits did the meraglim bring back?
    13:23 – A cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig.
  5. How many people carried the grape cluster?
    13:23 – Eight.
  6. Why did G-d shorten the meraglim's journey?
    13:25 – G-d knew the Jews would sin and be punished with a year's wandering for each day of the spies' mission. So He shortened the journey to soften the decree.
  7. Why did the meraglim begin by saying the land is "flowing with milk and honey"?
    13:27 – Any lie which doesn't start with an element of truth won't be believed. Therefore, they began their false report with a true statement.
  8. Why did the meraglim list Amalek first among the hostile nations they encountered?
    13:29 – To frighten the Jews. The Jewish People were afraid of Amalek because Amalek had once attacked them.
  9. How did Calev quiet the people?
    13:30 – He fooled them by shouting, "Is this all that the son of Amram did to us?" The people quieted themselves to hear what disparaging thing Calev wished to say about the "son of Amram" (Moshe).
  10. Why did the Land appear to "eat its inhabitants"?
    13:32 – G-d caused many deaths among the Canaanites so they would be preoccupied with burying their dead and not notice the meraglim.
  11. Besides the incident of the meraglim, what other sin led to the decree of 40 years in the desert?
    13:33 – The golden calf.
  12. On what day did Bnei Yisrael cry due to the meraglim's report? How did this affect future generations?
    14:1 – The 9th of Av (Tisha B'av). This date therefore became a day of crying for all future generations: Both Temples were destroyed on this date.
  13. "Don't fear the people of the Land…their defense is departed." (14:9) Who was their chief "defender"?
    14:9 – Iyov.
  14. Calev and Yehoshua praised Eretz Canaan and tried to assure the people that they could be victorious. How did the people respond?
    14:10 – They wanted to stone them.
  15. "How long shall I bear this evil congregation?" G-d is referring to the 10 meraglim who slandered the Land. What halacha do we learn from this verse?
    14:27 – That ten men are considered a congregation.
  16. How is the mitzvah of challa different from other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael?
    15:18 – The obligation to observe other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael began only after the possession and division of the Land. The mitzvah of challa was obligatory immediately upon entering the Land.
  17. What is the minimum amount of challa to be given to a kohen according to Torah Law? Rabbinic Law?
    15:20 – No fixed amount is stated by the Torah. Rabbinic Law requires a household to give 1/24 and a baker to give 1/48.
  18. Verse 15:22 refers to what sin? How does the text indicate this?
    15:22 – Idolatry. "All these commandments" means one transgression which is equal to transgressing all the commandments – i.e. idolatry.
  19. Moshe's doubt regarding the punishment of the mekoshesh etzim (wood-gatherer) was different than his doubt regarding the punishment of the blasphemer. How did it differ?
    15:34 – Moshe knew that the mekoshesh etzim waliable for the death penalty, but not which specific means of death. Regarding the blasphemer, Moshe didn't know if he was liable for the death penalty.
  20. How do the tzitzit remind us of the 613 commandments?
    15:39 – The numerical value of the word tzitzit is 600. Tzitzit have eight threads and five knots. Add these numbers and you get 613.

Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l    

נרות של חשמל
– תשובת מרן זצ"ל לגבי אור החשמל בבית מלון

במשנה במסכת שבת למדנו, שאין מדליקין נרות שבת
אלא בפתילה ובשמן הדולקים יפה
כלומר שהאש דולקת יפה ואינה
מסכסכת ומהבהבת בנר), ולפיכך מצוה מן המובחר להדליק בשמן זית הדולק יפה. ואם אין
לו שמן זית מדליק בשאר שמנים הדולקים יפה, ואם אין לו שמן יכול להדליק בנרות שעווה

דנו הפוסקים בדורות האחרונים, האם יוצאים ידי
חובת הדלקת נרות של שבת בנורות של חשמל
כי יש סוברים שמכיוון שנורות החשמל
יש בהם אש ממש, ודאי שניתן לצאת בהם ידי חובת הדלקת נרות. אולם לדעת כמה פוסקים
אין לסמוך על זה לעניין  הדלקת נרות שבת. ובפרט בנורות החשמל הקבועות בבית אף
בימות החול, שאז אין הדבר ניכר שהודלקו הנרות לכבוד שבת. ובפרט בארץ ישראל שעבודת
ייצור החשמל נעשית בעוונות הרבים בשבת על ידי יהודים, שאז יש פוסקים שסוברים שבכלל
אסור ליהנות מן  החשמל בשבת, ובודאי שאי אפשר לברך על הדלקת נר כזה

ולעניין הלכה פסק מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף
זצוק"ל, שבמקום שאפשר להשיג נרות שמן או שעווה
, בודאי שעדיף לצאת
בהם ידי חובת הדלקת הנרות של שבת ויום טוב, כיוון שהדבר ניכר שהודלקו הנרות לכבוד
שבת. אולם במקום שאין שום אפשרות להשיג נרות שמן או שעווה, אפשר לברך ולהדליק
מנורות של חשמל, ויוצאים בהם ידי חובת ההדלקה

ואגב נזכיר, כי נשאלנו מתלמיד
חכם מובהק, שמתארח מידי פעם בבית מלון, ושאלתו היתה, האם הוא רשאי להדליק את אור
החשמל בחדר השירותים של חדרו, ולברך עליו להדליק נר של שבת

ושאלנו על כך את מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף
זצוק"ל, והשיב לנו מרן זצ"ל בפשיטות, שאי אפשר לצאת ידי חובת ההדלקה
באור החשמל של חדר השירותים. (שהרי אפילו בנר של עיטרן, שהוא מפיץ ריח רע, אסרו
חכמים להדליק בו, וכל שכן בנר שהוא דולק בחדר השירותים, שאין לצאת בו ידי חובת

ויש להעיר, שכל האמור נכון
לגבי הדלקת נר שבת, אבל לגבי נר ההבדלה, אין יוצאים ידי חובה באור של חשמל, וטעם
הדבר יבואר בעזרת ה' בהזדמנות אחרת

ובהלכה הבאה נבאר עוד פרט היוצא מדין זה

Lighting Shabbat Candles Using Electric Lights

The Mishnah in Masechet Shabbat teaches us that one may
only light Shabbat candles with oil and wicks which burn nicely; it is
therefore a particularly great Mitzvah to light with olive oil which burns
beautifully. If one does not have olive oil, one may use other oils which burn
nicely; if one has no oil at all, one may use wax.

The Poskim disagree whether or not one may use electric
lights to fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles. Some are of the
opinion that since these electric lights contain actual fire, one may certainly
use them to fulfill one’s obligation. Nevertheless, according to other Poskim,
one should not rely on this with regards to the lighting of the Shabbat
candles. This is especially true with regards to light fixtures which are in
place during the rest of the week as well, for it is indiscernible that these
lights have been turned on in honor of Shabbat. Additionally, there is even
less room for electric lights to be used in Israel where, unfortunately, the
electricity is produced by Jews on Shabbat in which case there are Poskim who
rule that one may not benefit from this electricity and one may certainly not
recite a blessing upon turning on such a light.

Halachically speaking, Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l
rules that when one is able to obtain oil or wax, it is certainly preferable to
fulfill one’s obligation of lighting Shabbat and Yom Tov candles with this
since in this way it is noticeable that the candles have been lit in honor of
Shabbat. It is proper to turn off the electric lights in the house before
lighting Shabbat candles and to have in mind when reciting the blessing before
lighting to exempt the electric lights around the house that one will turn on
after lighting Shabbat candles (this is especially true nowadays when the
primary lighting in the house comes from the electric lights and not the
Shabbat candles).

Nevertheless, if one has no way to obtain oil or wax
candles (or if one is in a situation where he absolutely cannot light with
these candles, such as if one is spending Shabbat in a hotel and the management
does not allow one to light fires in one’s room) one may light with and recite
a blessing on electric lights and one will sufficiently fulfill one’s
obligation of lighting Shabbat candles.

As a side note, we were once asked by a great Torah
scholar who occasionally spends Shabbat in hotels whether or not he would be
permitted to turn on the light of the bathroom in his room and recite the
blessing of “Le’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat” before doing so.

We then posed this question to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia
Yosef zt”l who replied that clearly, one does not fulfill one’s
obligation to light Shabbat candles by turning on the bathroom light (for our
Sages forbade lighting Shabbat candles with the waste of tar because it gives
off a bad odor; certainly by lighting in the bathroom, one does not fulfill
one’s obligation).

We must nevertheless point out that this applies only to
the lighting of Shabbat candles; however, with regards to reciting the “Boreh
Me’orei Ha’esh
” blessing in Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat, one may do so only
on an actual, open flame (the reason for which we shall, G-d-willing, explain
another time).

In the next Halacha we shall explain another detail
related to this law


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