Newsletter Parshat Vayera



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letter attached to this email
to the new elected

President: Mordechai Maman

Vice president: Benjamin Hassan

Hon Treasurer: Yamin Ibgui

Hon Secretary: David Marshall

Gabbai: Eli Shoshana

Ladies Committee Chair: Mrs. Elaine Marshall

Non-Executive Mahamad members:


David Menashe

 Community Liaison

Loretta Hodari  

Youth Liaison

Rafi Marshall  

May Hashem guide them in taking our 
Bet Hakeneset forward into the coming year 
would like to take this opportunity
to thank 
David Menashe 
for his many years of service to the kahal as
Parnas Presidente
and wish him much hatzlacha for the future

To our very dear friends
Jonny & Emma Jacobs
on celebrating the wedding of their son
שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל

Mazel Tov to families Jacobs & Modiano

would like to take this opportunity 
to wholeheartedly thank BOTH
Jonny & Emma
for their countless hours & years 
of continuous committed service 
in all aspects of the running of our Bet Hakeneset,
we owe you so much Hakarat Hatov. 

May Hashem bless you both with 
good health, beracha, mazal & hatzlacha
and many semachot in their house 

Special Mazal Tov
to our very dear
Emily Jacobs
on the occasion of her grandson's wedding
May Hashem grant her good healthy & long life 
to see all her grandchildren under the Chupah 

35 – The Four Pillars of the Divine Throne – 

HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov HIllel‏

Sephardic World  
Menasseh ben Israel vs. The Rabbis

Do you think conflicts within Jewish communities are something new? It is possible that the re-admission of Jews to England was a consequence of a squabble between Amsterdam's leading rabbis.

With the merger of the three original Amsterdam Sephardic communities, the city found itself with four rabbis. All of them were strong characters. Inevitably, there were disputes over who had religious authority and who should be paid the most. 

It is possible that Menasseh's trip to London, and the establishment of a Jewish community there,  partly had its roots in his differences with Saul Levi Morteira, Isaac Aboab, David Pardo.

Our expert speaker this week, Professor Steven Nadler, is Professor of Philosophy and of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on philosophy in the seventeenth century. He has written extensively on Descartes and Cartesianism, Spinoza, and Leibniz. He also works on medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy. His publications include biographies of Spinoza and Menasseh ben Israel.

Topic: Menasseh ben Israel vs. The Rabbis

Time: Nov 8, 2020. 2pm NYC, 7pm London, 8pm Amsterdam/Paris, 10pm Jerusalem.

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Best wishes,

Ton Tielen and David Mendoza
Sephardic World  


לוח זמני תפלה לחורף תשפ״א

Winter Timetable 5781 – 2020/21

מוצאי שבת



מנחה שבת

סוף זמן קריאת שמע

הדלקת נרות

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת






Shema before

Candle Lighting

Minha & Kabbalat Shabbat



















6/7 Nov


Q & A on Parashat Vayera

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

  1. Why did G-d appear to Avraham after the brit mila?
    18:1 – Avraham was sick, so G-d came to “visit” him.
  2. Why was Avraham sitting at the entrance to his tent?
    18:1 – He was looking for guests.
  3. What were the missions of the three angels?
    18:2 – To announce Yitzchak's birth, to heal Avraham and to destroy Sodom.
  4. Why did Avraham enjoin the guests to wash the dust off their feet?
    18:4 – He thought they were among those who worship the dust, and he didnt want any object of idolatry in his home.
  5. Why did Avraham ask specifically Yishmael, and not someone else, to prepare food for the guests?
    18:7 – To train him in the performance of mitzvot.
  6. Why did the angels ask Avraham where Sarah was?
    18:9 – To call attention to Sarahs modesty, so as to endear her to her husband.
  7. When G-d related Sarahs thoughts to Avraham, He did not relate them precisely. Why?
    18:13 – For the sake of peace.
  8. What “cry” from Sodom came before G-d?
    18:21 – The cry of a girl who was executed for giving food to the poor.
  9. How many angels went to Sodom?
    19:1 – Two; one to destroy the city and one to save Lot.
  10. Why was Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom?
    19:1 – He was a judge.
  11. Lot served the angels matza. Why?
    19:3 – It was Passover.
  12. Why did Lot delay when he left Sodom?
    19:16 – He wanted to save his property.
  13. Why were Lot and his family not permitted to look back at Sodom?
    19:17 – As they, too, deserved to be punished, it wasnt fitting for them to witness the destruction of Sodom.
  14. Lots wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Why was she punished in this particular way?
    19:26 – She was stingy, not wanting to give the guests salt.
  15. In what merit did G-d save Lot?
    19:29 – Lot had protected Avraham by concealing from the Egyptians the fact that Sarah was his wife.
  16. Why did Avraham relocate after the destruction of Sodom?
    20:1 – Because travel in the region ceased and Avraham could no longer find guests.
  17. Why did Avimelech give gifts to Avraham?
    20:14 – So that Avraham would pray for him.
  18. Why was Avraham told to listen to Sarah?
    21:12 – Because she was greater in prophecy.
  19. Why did G-d listen to the prayer of Yishmael and not to that of Hagar?
    21:17 – Because the prayer of a sick person is more readily accepted than the prayer of others on his behalf.
  20. Who accompanied Avraham and Yitzchak to the akeidah (binding)?
    22:3 – Yishmael and Eliezer.

Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

דין הנשים בסעודות שבת – מנהג מרן זצ”ל

שאלה: האם נשים חייבות לאכול שלוש סעודות בשבת, כפי שהאנשים חייבים?

תשובה: בהלכות הקודמות ביארנו את עיקרי הדינים הנוגעים לסעודות השבת, ובכללם, שכל אדם חייב לאכול שלוש סעודות בשבת, האחת בליל שבת, והשנייה ביום השבת, והשלישית ביום השבת בצהריים.

כמו כן ביארנו, שיש לברך על “לחם משנה” בסעודת הללו, כלומר, יש לברך המוציא על שתי כיכרות. וכפי שנתבאר.

ולענין נשים, אם הן חייבות בסעודות הללו או לא. כבר עמד בשאלה זו רבינו משה מפונטיזא (שהיה מבעלי התוספות לפני יותר משמונה מאות שנה), ושלח את ספקו בפני רבינו תם, האם נשים חייבות בשלש סעודות? שהרי כלל גדול בידינו, שנשים פטורות ממצות עשה שהזמן גרמא, כלומר, נשים פטורות מכל מצוה שהיא ב”קום ועשה”, ושהיא תלויה בזמן. כגון, מצות לולב, שהיא ב”קום ועשה” (ליטול לולב), והיא תלויה בזמן (רק בחג הסוכות). והרי גם מצות סעודות השבת, היא מצות עשה, והיא תלויה בזמן, שאינה שייכת בימות החול אלא בשבת דוקא. ולפי זה לכאורה נשים פטורות ממצוה זו.

והשיב לו רבינו תם, שנשים חייבות במצות סעודות השבת, משום שמצוה זו היא זכר לנס שירד מן מהשמים לבני ישראל במדבר, והיתה יורדת להם מנה כפולה לכבוד שבת, ומאחר ואף הנשים היו באותו הנס של ירידת המן, הרי שאף הן חייבות לעשות שלש סעודות לשבת, זכר לנס. וכשם שהן חייבות במצות נר חנוכה, ובמצות מקרא מגילה וארבע כוסות, שאף הן היו באותם הנסים, כן הדין לגבי סעודות שבת, שגם הן מחוייבות בסעודה זו. (ספר הישר סימן ע אות ד). והוסיף רבנו תם, שלאור האמור, נשים חייבות גם במצות “לחם משנה” בסעודות השבת, כדין האנשים ממש.

ועוד הוסיף רבינו תם לחזק את דבריו, שמאחר ועיקר הדין של סעודות השבת ושל לחם משנה הוא מצוה מדרבנן, ולא מן התורה, הרי שבמצוות דרבנן נשים חייבות בלי שום חילוק מהאנשים. והרמב”ן (קיז.) כתב שלענין מצוות השבת, אין חילוק כלל בין נשים לאנשים. ועוד הובאו בדברי רבותינו הראשונים טעמים אחרים בענין זה, אך כולם שוים במסקנתם, שנשים חייבות במצות שלש סעודות ובמצות לחם משנה.

ואמנם הגאון רבי שלמה קלוגר כתב שנשים אינן חייבות בלחם משנה, וכתב לחלוק בזה על דברי רבותינו הראשונים מטעמים שונים. אולם מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצוק”ל כתב לדחות את כל דבריו, והוסיף עליהם בזו הלשון: “ונוראות נפלאתי, איך הרהיב עוז לדחות את דברי כל גדולי הפוסקים הנ”ל, חבל נביאים, שכולם שוים בעיקר הדין שהנשים חייבות בשלש סעודות ובלחם משנה”. (חזו”ע ח”ב עמ' קעב).

ולכן העיקר להלכה, שאין שום חילוק בין אנשים לנשים, הן לגבי עצם החיוב לסעוד שלש סעודות, והן לגבי החיוב בלחם משנה, שהנשים מחוייבות בדינים אלו לגמרי.

ואמנם בכמה מקומות בזמנינו נוהגים שהאנשים סועדים סעודה שלישית בבית הכנסת, ומחמת כן מתרשלות הנשים ואינן אוכלות סעודה זו, או שמסתפקות באכילת פירות וכדומה. ואין נכון לנהוג כן, ומה יפה מנהג מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצוק”ל, שאף על פי שהיה אומר כמה שיעורים ודרשות בימות השבת, מכל מקום היה סועד סעודה שלישית בביתו עם רעייתו הרבנית, בניו ובנותיו, לחנכם ולהדריכם בסעודה זו, כדעת הפוסקים וכפסק מרן השלחן ערוך.

Women and the Shabbat Meals-The Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: Are women obligated to eat all three Shabbat meals as are men?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have explained the primary laws regarding the Shabbat meals, including the obligation to eat three meals on Shabbat: One on Shabbat night, one on Shabbat morning, and one on Shabbat afternoon.

We have also discussed that one must recite a blessing on “double bread” during these meals which means that the “Hamotzi” must be recited on two loaves of bread.

Regarding whether or not women are obligated in these meals, indeed, Rabbeinu Moshe of Fontaiza (one of the great Tosafists who lived approximately eight-hundred years ago) inquired this of Rabbeinu Tam. The root of his question is based on the rule that women are exempt from all positive, time-bound Mitzvot, such as the Mitzvah of taking the Lulav, for this is a positive Mitzvah (taking the Lulav) and is bound by time (as it can only be performed during the Sukkot holiday). So too, the Shabbat meals are likewise positive Mitzvot and are time-bound for they apply only on Shabbat and not on any other weekdays. Based on this, it would seem that women should be exempt from this Mitzvah.

Nevertheless, Rabbeinu Tam replied to him that women are indeed obligated in the Shabbat meals, for this Mitzvah is in commemoration of the Manna that fell from Heaven for the Jewish nation in the desert and they would receive a double portion of Manna in honor of Shabbat. Since women were also included in this miracle of the falling of the Manna, they are likewise obligated to partake of three Shabbat meals in commemoration of the miracle. Just as they are obligated in the Mitzvot of lighting Chanukah candles, reading of Megillat Esther, and drinking of the Four Cups of wine on Pesach because they were also included in the miracles these Mitzvot commemorate, they are likewise obligated in all three Shabbat meals for the same reason (see Sefer Ha’Yashar, Chapter 70, Section 4). Rabbeinu Tam adds that based on this, women are also obligated in “double bread” during each of the Shabbat meals exactly as men are.

Rabbeinu Tam strengthens his opinion by saying that since the Mitzvot of partaking of Shabbat meals and having “double bread” during these meals are merely rabbinic and not Torah law, women are obligated in all rabbinic Mitzvot with no difference than men. The Ramban (Shabbat 117a) writes that regarding the Mitzvot of Shabbat, there is no distinction at all between men and women. Several Rishonim explain varying reasons for this law, but they all agree that women are obligated in all three Shabbat meals and “double bread” at every meal.

Although Hagaon Harav Shlomo Kluger writes that women are not obligated in the Mitzvah of “double bread” and disagrees with several Rishonim for varying reasons, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rebuffs his opinion and wonders how he has the courage to reject the opinions of all of the above Poskim who all agree that women are indeed obligated in three Shabbat meals and “double bread” during each one (see Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Part 2, page 172).

Thus, halachically speaking, there is no distinction whatsoever between men and women regarding the obligation to eat three Shabbat meals and to have “double bread” during each of these meals, for women are completely obligated in these Mitzvot.

Nevertheless, it is customary in many communities nowadays that men eat Seuda Shelishit in the synagogue and as a result, women are lax and do not eat the third Shabbat meal or eat only some fruit and the like. This is an improper custom. The fine custom of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l was that although he delivered many classes and lectures throughout Shabbat, he would nonetheless make it a priority to eat Seuda Shelishit at home with his wife and family in order to educate them and make sure they ate this special meal, in accordance with the Poskim and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch.