Newsletter Parashat Chukat Balak

Corona Virus Covid -19 

Dear Members and friends of our Kehillah


On the morning of 18th March the Mahamad came to the decision to introduce social distancing rules in our בית הכנסת.  National guidelines developed so swiftly that by the very same afternoon the decision was made to close our doors altogether and a period of in excess of 14 weeks of closure commenced on שבת ויקהל-פקודי.


We are now pleased to announce the re-opening of our בית הכנסת on 4th July, שבת חקת-בלק, with HaShem’s help.  However, please note that this is a phased process, with evolving procedures.  We are therefore opening this week to men only.  Ladies and children are therefore asked not to attend this week.  Following this week’s run we will have a better understanding of capacity and hope to be open to ladies shortly thereafter.


Please work with us to uphold our responsibility to abide by Government Guidelines at all times.  Adherence to the guidelines should in no way be seen as optional.  The guidelines are put into place to protect the individual as well as others.




The following people should not attend at all:

(1)  Those displaying symptoms of Covid-19;

(2)  Those asked to self-isolate by the Track and Trace programme

(3)  Those in quarantine having recently arrived in UK

(4)  Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

(5)  Children (under Bar Mitsvah) until further notice


Those over seventy or otherwise unsure about health risks of attending should not feel pressured in any way to do so and should ensure that they are completely comfortable with their own situation before attending.


On 4th July social distancing will be reduced to 1+ meter.  It is on this basis that the seats in the בית הכנסת will be arranged in such a way to ensure that this distancing is maintained.  Please adhere to the guidelines set in the בית הכנסת on arrival.  In particular please ensure:

(1)  Hands are washed on arrival.  Hand sanitiser will also be made available.

(2)  Social distancing is maintained on arrival and on departure.  Attendants will be guided regarding departure but on arrival please ensure that there is no congregating in the entranceway.

(3)  You do not interfere in any way with the seating arrangement and restrictions set.

(4)  You bring your own Siddur, Chumash and Talit.  In case you wish to use those belonging to the בית הכנסת a Siddur/Chumash set will be placed on each available seat.

Please leave the set designated to you on your seat to prevent sefarim being handled by different people.

(5)  You do not wander around the בית הכנסת thereby invading other people’s space

(6)  You do not kiss the Sefer Torah or the Aron Hakodesh (or anything else for that matter).  Almost needless to say that there should be no physical contact between anyone at any time

(7)  There are guidelines restricting singing and these will be clarified and conveyed nearer the time


Pre – Booking


This Shabbat (from Shachrit) we expect that we should be in a position to accommodate our usual number of men.  However please note that in order that we can plan and prepare seating correctly we ask that that you inform us of your intention (including number of family members) to attend by Wednesday evening.  If an unexpectedly high number of people attend, priority will be given to full and country members and we will have to refuse access when there are no longer any available seats.


With all the best intentions this is a situation we have not been presented with in the past and we therefore kindly request that all are as accommodating and understanding as possible.


Going Forward


Matters under constant consideration and which we will advise on an ongoing basis include: opening up for ladies, weekday Minyamin, Yamim Nora’im, permitting attendance for children, Semachot and Kiddushim.


On a final note, we feel more than ever that it really is a privilege to be able to attend Minyan in a בית הכנסת.  Let us please therefore express this appreciation by way of a heightened sense of awareness of the שכינה.  Thankfully we enjoy a beautiful and sincere atmosphere and one that we can and should be proud of.  Perhaps there is room for reducing on unnecessary talking.  One other area which perhaps may require some attention is attendance during weekday services.  Each person needs to consider these points and take them to heart as much as possible/necessary.


We are very much looking forward to sharing each other’s presence once again.


Yours sincerely




The Mahamad ק״ק שערי תפילה – The Manchester Congregation of Spanish & Portuguese Jews

for more information please contact a member of the Mahamad
  Avot Ubanim
Summer Season
in the comfort of your own home, 
you choose the times (and the nash)! 
3 lucky winners a week 
1st prize £5.00 + 2 prizes!!  
to enter the raffle, learn for 30 minutes with each child 
between Erev Shabbat and Motsae Shabbat. 
Then text names of children to 
raffle on Monday TBA.  
Best wishes & for more information
R' David Shasha and Rafi Marshall.  

1) Shelomo Lewis
2) Ariel Jacobs
3) Yoni

Anyone who is owed a prize from a previous week should please contact
  R' David Shasha and Rafi Marshall.  
attached to this email

HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Hillel – Straight from the Heart – 16 – Our Essence



 YOUTH minyan for Shachrit EVERY DAY
All welcome 
Please say Korbanot on your own. 
Hodu at 8:20am
Meeting ID: 305 561 402 Password: 18
Rabbi Stamler's Moor Lane Daily Shiur
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet 8-8.05 pm

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


The Sephardi Heritage Project

Meeting – Sunday 5th July 2020

Portugal and Spain both introduced laws offering citizenship to descendants of Sephardim. The Spanish scheme has now closed. The Portuguese National Assembly will debate the future of their scheme later this year.

One voice missing from the discussion has been that of the Western Sephardim, the Nação Portuguesa. This meeting is a round-table at which David will make some introductory comments and then we invite attendees to share their thoughts and experiences. Do you think the laws were a good idea or not? Is this an overdue step or 'virtue signalling'? Have you applied? We want to hear your thoughts. If you want to pre-prepare some comments and then speak for a few minutes, please contact us at the email above.

Topic: The Portuguese Nationality Law
Time: Jul 5, 2020 07:00 PM London
(This is 7pm British summer time; GMT +1)

Join Zoom Meeting

We are grateful for our supporters on Patreon who enable this series. We need to upgrade our tech. If you don't already support us but are able to make a small monthly donation, it would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,

Ton Tielen and David Mendoza
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



















3/4 July


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 Chukat – Balak


    • "Take a perfect para aduma (red heifer)." What does the word "perfect" temima mean in this context?

    • How many non-red hairs disqualify a cow as a para aduma?

    • A man dies in a tent. What happens to the sealed metal and earthenware utensils in the tent?

    • What happens to the one who: a) sprinkles the water mixed with the ashes of the para aduma; b) touches the water; c) carries the water?

    • Why was the mitzvah of the para aduma entrusted to Elazar rather than to Aharon?

    • Why does the Torah stress that all of the congregation came to Midbar Tzin?

    • Why is Miriam's death taught after the law of para aduma?

    • During their journey in the midbar, in whose merit did the Jewish People receive water?

    • Why did Moshe need to strike the rock a second time?

    • When Moshe told the King of Edom that the Jewish People would not drink from the well-water, to which well did he refer? What do we learn from this?

    • The cloud that led the Jewish People leveled all mountains in their path except three. Which three and why?

    • Why did the entire congregation mourn Aharon's death?

    • What disappeared when Aharon died?

    • Which "inhabitant of the South" (21:1) attacked the Jews?

    • For what two reasons did G-d punish the people with snakes specifically?

    • Why did the Jewish People camp in Arnon, rather than pass through Moav to enter Eretz Canaan?

    • What miracle took place at the valley of Arnon?

    • What was the "strength" of Amon that prevented the Jewish People from entering into their land?

    • Why was Moshe afraid of Og?

    • Who killed Og?

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


    • 19:2 – Perfectly red.

    • 19:2 – Two.

    • 19:14,15 – The metal utensils are impure for seven days, even if they are sealed. The sealed earthenware vessels are unaffected.

    • 19:21 – a) Remains tahor; b) He, but not his clothing, contracts tumah; c) He and his clothing contract tumah.

    • 19:22 – Because Aharon was involved in the sin of the golden calf.

    • 20:1 – To teach that they were all fit to enter the Land; everyone involved in the sin of the spies already died.

    • 20:1 – To teach that just as sacrifices bring atonement, so too does the death of the righteous.

    • 20:2 – Miriam's.

    • 20:11 – After he hit it the first time, only a few drops came out since he was commanded to speak to the rock.

    • 20:17 – To the well that traveled with the nation in the midbar. This teaches that one who has adequate provisions should nevertheless purchase goods from his host in order to benefit the host.

    • 20:22 – Har Sinai for receiving the Torah, Har Nevo for Moshe's burial, and Hor Hahar for Aharon's burial.

    • 20:29 – Aharon made peace between contending parties and between spouses. Thus, everybody mourned him.

    • 20:29 – The clouds of glory disappeared, since they sheltered the Jews in Aharon's merit.

    • 21:1 – Amalek.

    • 21:6 – The original snake, who was punished for speaking evil, is fitting to punish those who spoke evil about G-d and about Moshe. And the snake, for whom everything tastes like dust, is fitting to punish those who complained about the manna which changed to any desired taste.

    • 21:13 – Moav refused them passage.

    • 21:15 – The Amorites hid in caves in the mountain on the Moabite side of the valley in order to ambush the Jews. When the Jews approached, the mountain on the Eretz Canaan side of the valley moved close to the other mountain and the Amorites were crushed.

    • 21:24 – G-d's command, "Do not harass them" (Devarim 2:19).

    • 21:34 – Og had once been of service to Avraham. Moshe was afraid that this merit would assist Og in battle.

    • 21:35 – Moshe.


    • Why did Moav consult specifically with Midian regarding their strategy against the Jews?

    • What was Balak's status before becoming Moav's king?

    • Why did G-d grant prophecy to the evil Bilaam?

    • Why did Balak think Bilaam's curse would work?

    • When did Bilaam receive his prophecies?

    • G-d asked Bilaam, "Who are these men with you?" What did Bilaam deduce from this question?

    • How do we know Bilaam hated the Jews more than Balak did?

    • What is evidence of Bilaam's arrogance?

    • In what way was the malach that opposed Bilaam an angel of mercy?

    • How did Bilaam die?

    • Why did the malach kill Bilaam's donkey?

    • Bilaam compared his meeting with an angel to someone else's meeting with an angel. Who was the other person and what was the comparison?

    • Bilaam told Balak to build seven altars. Why specifically seven?

    • Who in Jewish history seemed fit for a curse, but got a blessing instead?

    • Why are the Jewish People compared to lions?

    • On Bilaam's third attempt to curse the Jews, he changed his strategy. What was different?

    • What were Bilaam's three main characteristics?

    • What did Bilaam see that made him decide not to curse the Jews?

    • What phrase in Bilaam's self-description can be translated in two opposite ways, both of which come out meaning the same thing?

    • Bilaam told Balak that the Jews' G-d hates what?


    • 22:4 – Since Moshe grew up in Midian, the Moabites thought the Midianites might know wherein lay Moshe's power.

    • 22:4 – He was a prince of Midian.

    • 22:5 – So the other nations couldn't say, "If we had had prophets, we also would have become righteous."

    • 22:6 – Because Bilaam's curse had helped Sichon defeat Moav.

    • 22:8 – Only at night.

    • 22:9 – He mistakenly reasoned that G-d isn't all-knowing.

    • 22:11 – Balak wanted only to drive the Jews from the land. Bilaam sought to exterminate them completely.

    • 22:13 – He implied that G-d wouldn't let him go with the Moabite princes due to their lesser dignity.

    • 22:22 – It mercifully tried to stop Bilaam from sinning and destroying himself.

    • 22:23 – He was killed with a sword.

    • 22:33 – So that people shouldn't see it and say, "Here's the donkey that silenced Bilaam." G-d is concerned with human dignity.

    • 22:34 – Avraham. Bilaam said, "G-d told me to go but later sent an angel to stop me. The same thing happened to Avraham: G-d told Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchak but later canceled the command through an angel."

    • 23:4 – Corresponding to the seven altars built by the Avot. Bilaam said to G-d, "The Jewish People's ancestors built seven altars, but I alone have built altars equal to all of them."

    • 23:8 – Yaakov, when Yitzchak blessed him.

    • 23:24 – They rise each morning and "strengthen" themselves to do mitzvot.

    • 24:1 – He began mentioning the Jewish People's sins, hoping thus to be able to curse them.

    • 24:2 – An evil eye, pride, and greed.

    • 24:2 – He saw each Tribe dwelling without intermingling. He saw the tents arranged so no one could see into his neighbor's tent.

    • 24:3 – "Shatum ha'ayin." It means either "the poked-out eye," implying blindness in one eye; or, it means the "the open eye," which means vision but implies blindness in the other eye.

    • 24:14 – Promiscuity.

Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l    

הוספת מים לתבשיל בשבת

שאלה: כשרואים את סיר החמין בשבת הולך ומתייבש, האם מותר להוסיף
מעט מים רותחים, לסיר החמין

תשובה: שאלה מצוייה היא, שבבתים רבים נוהגים להניח עוד מערב שבת,
סיר "חמין" על הפלאטה של שבת. והוא הולך ומתבשל על גבי הפלאטה עד ליום
שבת בבוקר. ופעמים רבות מחמת טעות, לא שמו מספיק מים בסיר, והתבשיל הולך ומתייבש.
ויש המוסיפים מים רותחים לתוך הסיר, כדי למנוע את שריפת החמין

רבינו יונה

ראש המדברים בדין זה, הוא הרב רבינו יונה, באגרת התשובה שלו, שכתב בזו הלשון:
מכשלה גדולה בידי מקצת העם, שטומנים מערב שבת קומקום של מים חמים
, כדי לתת לתוך הקדירה
(הסיר) בשבת כשהתבשיל מצטמק (נשרף). ואפילו אם המים החמים הם רותחים, מכל מקום,
כשמְעָרִים (שופכים) אותם מתוך הקומקום, פסקה רתיחתם לאלתר, ואינם יכולים לבשל,
וחוזרים להתבשל בקדירה. ויש בדבר איסור משום בישול

מאחר וכאשר שופכים את המים מהקומקום, הם מתקררים מעט, ואחר כך חוזרים לרתוח בסיר,
יש בדבר איסור משום בישול בשבת
. (ויש אריכות בהסבר הדברים בדברי הפוסקים).

רבינו נסים

הרב רבינו יונה, דעת רבינו הר"ן (שבת קמה:), שאין בדבר איסור, משום שהמים
רתחו כבר לפני שבת, וכלל גדול בידינו "אין בישול אחר בישול", כלומר,
מאחר והמים נתבשלו כבר, שוב לא שייך איסור לבשל את אותם המים, אף על פי שהם
מצטננים כשמערים אותם לתוך הסיר

כדעת רבינו יונה

ביארנו כבר, שאנו פוסקים להלכה ש"אין בישול אחר בישול", היינו דוקא בדבר
יבש, כגון בשר, דגים, פת לחם וכיוצא בזה. אבל דבר לח, כגון מרק, או מים
, שייך בו איסור בישול אף
על פי שנבשל כבר. (וכל שכן במים, שיש אומרים שלכל הדעות שייך בהם איסור בישול
כתב מרן השלחן ערוך (סימן שי"ח), שיש למחות ביד המיקלים לערות מים רותחים
לתוך התבשיל בשבת, משום שיש בדבר איסור בישול

האשכנזים, והמנהג שנהגו במרוקו

יש נוהגים להקל בדבר, בפרט מאחינו האשכנזים, ונוהגים כן על פי הוראת הרמ"א
(שהיקל בזה במים רותחים
, אבל לא במים צוננים). אבל למנהג הספרדים יש להחמיר, שלא להוסיף מים רותחים
לסיר החמים בשבת

ואף על
פי שבכמה מערי מרוקו נהגו להקל בדבר, ובודאי מנהגם הוקבע על פי דעת גדולי רבותינו
חכמי המערב, שהיו גדולים בתורה וצדיקים וחסידים. מכל מקום מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף
שליט"א האריך לדון בזה, (בספר חזון עובדיה שבת חלק רביעי עמוד שצ), והעלה
שמאחר וכאן בארץ ישראל נהגו להחמיר בדבר כהוראת מרן השלחן ערוך, לכן על כולם לנהוג
כמנהג ארץ ישראל ולהחמיר בדבר. עד כאן דבריו

להוספת מים ללא איסור

שיש עצה לצאת מן הספק, להניח שקית ("קוקי" וכדומה) עם מים בתוך סיר
החמין עוד לפני שבת, ואם יחסרו מים בתבשיל, יהיה ניתן לנקב את השקית, והמים ישפכו
על התבשיל ויצילוהו מן השריפה

ולסיכום: אין להקל ולשפוך מים רותחים על
גבי סיר החמין בשבת. ויש להקל בזה, אם מניחים בערב שבת שקית מים בתוך סיר החמין,
וכאשר רואים שהתבשיל מתייבש, מנקבים את השקית, והמים נגררים מאליהם לתוך התבשיל


  Adding Water to a Pot of Food on Shabbat

Question: If one sees the Chulent pot
drying out on Shabbat, may one add some boiling water to the pot?

Answer: Many households customarily leave a pot of Chulent cooking on
the electric hotplate (or crockpot) from Friday afternoon until Shabbat
morning. Many times, people mistakenly do not put enough water in the pot at
which point the Chulent begins to dry out. Some individuals add boiling water
to the pot to prevent the Chulent from burning.

The Opinion of Rabbeinu Yonah
The first one to address this issue is Rabbeinu Yonah in his Igeret Ha'Teshuva
where he writes as follows: "Some people have the mistaken practice of
preparing a pot of hot water before Shabbat in order to pour this water into a
pot of food when in begins to burn. Even if the water is boiling, when the
water is poured out of the teapot, the boiling subsides immediately wherein it
is no longer capable of cooking and it then gets cooked (boiled) again in the
pot. This is included in the prohibited work of cooking on Shabbat."

This means that since the water in the teapot cools off somewhat when it is
poured out and later becomes reboiled in the pot of food, this constitutes a
forbidden form of cooking on Shabbat. (The Poskim offer explanations of this
opinion at length.)

The Opinion of Rabbeinu Nissim
As opposed to Rabbeinu Yonah, the Ran (Rabbeinu Nissim, Shabbat 145b) writes
that this is not prohibited, for this water has already been boiled before
Shabbat and we have a great rule that "there is no cooking after
cooking," meaning that since this water has already been cooked, there is
no longer a prohibition to cook this water again, even if it cools off somewhat
as it is being poured into the pot.

The Halacha follows Rabbeinu Yonah's View
Nevertheless, as we have discussed above, although we rule that "there is
no cooking after cooking," this only applies to dry foods, such as meat,
fish, or bread. However, the prohibition of cooking does apply to liquid foods,
such as soup or water, even if has already been cooked. (This applies
especially to water, for according to some opinions, all opinions agree that
the prohibition of cooking applies to them.)

Maran HaShulchan Aruch (Chapter 318) therefore rules: "One should protest
against those who pour boiling water into a pot of food on Shabbat, for this
constitutes a forbidden form of cooking."

The Ashkenazi and Moroccan Customs
Some communities indeed act leniently in this regard, especially our Ashkenazi
brethren, based on the ruling of the Rama (who rules leniently only regarding
boiling water but not regarding cold water). However, the Sephardic
custom is to be stringent and not pour boiling water into the Chulent pot on

Although several Moroccan cities customarily rules leniently in this regard and
this custom was certainly instituted by great and pious Moroccan luminaries,
Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a deals with this matter lengthily (in his
Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Part 5, page 390) and concludes that since the custom in
Israel is to act stringently in accordance with the ruling of Maran HaShulchan
Aruch, thus, all must rule in accordance with the custom in Israel and act

Advice for Adding Water in a Permissible Fashion
There is indeed an idea by which one can avoid all doubt and that is by placing
a cooking bag filled with water into the Chulent pot before Shabbat. If the
Chulent is lacking water on Shabbat, one may puncture the bag and the water
will thereby flow into the food and prevent it from burning.

Summary: One should not act leniently and pour boiling water into the
Chulent pot on Shabbat. There is room for leniency, however, if one leaves a
cooking bag filled with water in the pot before Shabbat and if one sees that
the Chulent is burning, one may puncture the bag and the water will flow out
into the Chulent on its own


Shabbat Shalom

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