Newsletter Parashat Achare – Kedoshim



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Is there genetic evidence of Jews in Portugal?

Portugal was the crucible of the Western Sephardim. Not everyone left. Can members of diaspora Sephardic communities be linked to individuals in Portugal? What can genetic studies in Portugal tell us about Sephardic migration? Can genetics be a tool in unravelling the history of the Sephardic diaspora? Is there such a thing as Sephardic DNA?

Inês Nogueiro was born in north-eastern Portugal, a region with a rich Jewish history. For the last 15 years she has studied Iberian Jewish history from a population genetics perspective. She has a PhD in Biology (Population Genetics of Jewish populations) from the University of Oporto. In 2018 she started a project with Prof Karl Skorecki at Bar Ilan University in Israel to construct a genetic database for the Iberian Sephardic Jews. She volunteers for a number of local initiatives to promote interest in Sephardic history.

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Best wishes,

Ton and David


לוח זמני תפלה לקיץ תשפ״א

Summer Timetable 5781 – 2021

מוצאי שבת



סוף זמן קראת שמע


פלג מנחה (תה״ד)

פלג מנחה (לבוש)

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת




Shema to be read before

Candles to be
lit by


Earliest Candle lighting

Minha & Kabbalat Shabbat*



















23/24 Apr


*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 the Parasha 

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

Acharei Mot

  1. Why does the Torah emphasize that Parshas Acharei Mos was taught after the death of Aaron's sons?
    16:1 – To strengthen the warning not to enter the Kodesh Kodashim except on Yom Kippur.
  2. What is the punishment for a Kohen Gadol who inappropriately enters the Kodesh Kodashim?
    16:2 – Death.
  3. How long did the first Beis Hamikdash exist?
    16:3 – 410 years.
  4. What did the Kohen Gadol wear when he entered the Kodesh Kodashim?
    16:4 – Only the four linen garments worn by an ordinary Kohen.
  5. How many times did the Kohen Gadol change his clothing and immerse in the mikveh on Yom Kippur?
    16:4 – Five times.
  6. How many times did he wash his hands and feet from the Kiyor (copper laver)?
    16:4 – Ten times.
  7. The Kohen Gadol offered a bull Chatas to atone for himself and his household. Who paid for it?
    16:6 – The Kohen Gadol.
  8. One of the goats that was chosen by lot went to Azazel. What is Azazel?
    16:8 – A jagged cliff.
  9. Who is included in the “household” of the Kohen Gadol?
    16:11 – All the Kohanim.
  10. For what sin does the goat Chatas atone?
    16:16 – For unknowingly entering the Beis Hamikdash in the state of tumah.
  11. After the Yom Kippur service, what is done with the four linen garments worn by the Kohen Gadol?
    16:23 – They must be put into geniza and not be used again.
  12. Where were the fats of the Chatas burned?
    16:25 – On the outer Mizbe'ach.
  13. Who is solely responsible for attaining atonement for the Jewish People on Yom Kippur?
    16:32 – The Kohen Gadol.
  14. From one point in history, installation of the Kohen Gadol through anointing was no longer used but was conducted by donning the special garments of that office. From when and why?
    16:32 – Anointing ceased during the kingship of Yoshiahu. At that time, the oil of anointing was hidden away.
  15. What is the penalty of kares?
    17:9 – One's offspring die and one's own life is shortened.
  16. Which categories of animals must have their blood covered when they are slaughtered?
    17:13 – Non domesticated kosher animals and all species of kosher birds.
  17. When a person eats a kosher bird that was improperly slaughtered (a neveilah), at what point does he contract tumah?
    17:15 – When the food enters the esophagus.
  18. The Torah commands the Jewish People not to follow the “chukim” of the Canaanites. What are the forbidden “chukim”?
    18:3 – Their social customs.
  19. What is the difference between “mishpat” and “chok“?
    18:4 – A “mishpat” conforms to the human sense of justice. A “chok” is a law whose reason is not given to us and can only be understood as a decree from Hashem.
  20. May a man marry his wife's sister?
    18:18 – Yes, but not during the lifetime of his wife.


  1. Why was Parshat Kedoshim said in front of all the Jewish People?
    19:2 – Because the fundamental teachings of the Torah are contained in this Parsha.
  2. Why does the Torah mention the duty to honor one's father before it mentions the duty to honor one's mother?
    19:3 – Since it is more natural to honor one's mother, the Torah stresses the obligation to honor one's father.
  3. Why is the command to fear one's parents followed by the command to keep Shabbat?
    19:3 – To teach that one must not violate Torah law even at the command of one's parents.
  4. Why does Shabbat observance supersede honoring parents?
    19:3 – Because the parents are also commanded by Hashem to observe Shabbat. Parents deserve great honor, but not at the “expense” of Hashem's honor.
  5. What is “leket?”
    19:9 – “Leket” is one or two stalks of grain accidentally dropped while harvesting. They are left for the poor.
  6. In Shemot 20:13, the Torah commands “Do not steal.” What does the Torah add when it commands in Vayikra 19:11 “Do not steal?”
    19:11 – The Torah in Vayikra prohibits monetary theft. In Shemot it prohibits kidnapping.
  7. “Do not do wrong to your neighbor” (19:13). To what “wrong” is the Torah referring?
    19:13 – Withholding wages from a worker.
  8. By when must you pay someone who worked for you during the day?
    19:13 – Before the following dawn.
  9. How does Rashi explain the prohibition “Don't put a stumbling block before a sightless person?”
    19:13 – Don't give improper advice to a person who is unaware in a matter. For example, don't advise someone to sell his field, when in reality you yourself wish to buy it.
  10. In a monetary case involving a poor person and a rich person, a judge is likely to wrongly favor the poor person. What rationale does Rashi give for this?
    19:15 – The judge might think: “This rich person is obligated to give charity to this poor person regardless of the outcome of this court case. Therefore, I'll rule in favor of the poor person. That way, he'll receive the financial support he needs without feeling shame.
  11. When rebuking someone, what sin must one be careful to avoid?
    19:17 – Causing public embarrassment.
  12. It's forbidden to bear a grudge. What example does Rashi give of this?
    19:18 – Person A asks person B: “Can I borrow your shovel?” Person B says: “No.” The next day, B says to A: “Can I borrow your scythe?” A replies: “Sure, I'm not stingy like you are.”
  13. The Torah forbids tattooing. How is a tattoo made?
    19:28 – Ink is injected into the skin with a needle.
  14. How does one fulfill the mitzvah of “hadarta p'nei zaken?”
    19:32 – By not sitting in the seat of elderly people, and by not contradicting their statements.
  15. What punishment will never come to the entire Jewish People?
    20:3 – “Karet” — being spiritually “cut off.”
  16. What penalty does the Torah state for cursing one's parents?
    20:9 – Death by stoning.
  17. When the Torah states a death penalty but doesn't define it precisely, to which penalty is it referring?
    20:10 – Chenek (strangulation).
  18. What will result if the Jewish People ignore the laws of forbidden relationships?
    20:22 – The land of Israel will “spit them out.”
  19. Which of the forbidden relationships listed in this week's Parsha were practiced by the Canaanites?
    20:23 – All of them.
  20. Is it proper for a Jew to say “I would enjoy eating ham?”
    20:26 – Yes.
Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

עוד מנהגים השייכים לימי הספירה

יש נוהגים בימי ספירת העומר (עד יום ל”ד בעומר) שלא ללבוש בגד חדש
שצריך לברך על לבישתו ברכת שהחיינו (דהיינו בגד חדש שיש שמחה בלבישתו כמו חולצה
חדשה וכדומה, אבל בגד כמו גופיה שאין מברכים עליו שהחיינו, לכל הדעות מותר ללבשו
בימי הספירה). ויש מקילים בזה ללבוש בגד חדש

יש מחמירים שלא לתפור ולתקן בגדים חדשים בימי ספירת העומר, ומנהגינו להקל בזה,
ואף להנוהגים איסור בזה, מכל מקום אם עושה כן לצורך חתן שעומד לינשא בל”ד
לעומר, אין בזה מנהג להחמיר כלל

לדעת מרן הרב עובדיה יוסף זצ”ל, אין כל איסור או חומרא, להיזהר שלא
לברך שהחיינו על פרי חדש בימי ספירת העומר, ואותם שנהגו כן, באו לידי מנהג זה
בטעות מפני שכך הדין בימי בין המצרים, שבהם אין לברך שהחיינו על פרי חדש, אך בימי
ספירת העומר אין מנהג להחמיר בזה כלל, מפני שימי הספירה אינם ימי אבל, כימי בין
המצרים שבהם אירעו חורבן בית המקדש ושאר פורענויות, ולכן אין לברך שהחיינו וקיימנו
והגענו “לזמן הזה”, על זמן שנועד לפורענות לכלל האומה, אבל ימי הספירה
אינם נחשבים ימי פורענות, ואדרבא, כתב הרמב”ן שקדושת ימי הספירה כימי חול
המועד, ולכן אין להחמיר בזה כלל

אבל לעניין לבישת בגד חדש בימי הספירה, ראוי להחמיר בזה בימי הספירה שלא
ללבוש בגד חדש, ואם יש צורך בלבישתו, נכון להדר וללבשו ביום שבת, ואז גם יוכל לברך
עליו שהחיינו. וכן במקום שמחת בר מצוה או ברית מילה יש להקל ללבוש בגד חדש בימי

More Customs Observed During the Omer
Counting Period

Some have the custom that during the Omer counting
period (until the 34th day of the Omer), one does not wear a
new garment which requires the recitation of the “Shehecheyanu” blessing
(i.e. a new garment which causes the wearer joy, such as a new shirt and the
like; however, a new garment which does not require a “Shehecheyanu
blessing, such as an undershirt and the like, may be worn during the Omer
period according to all opinions). Some rule leniently and allow wearing new

Some act stringently and abstain from sewing and
altering new clothes during the Omer period; however, our custom is to be
lenient in this regard. Even according to those who are customarily stringent,
nevertheless, if this is being done for a bride or groom who is getting married
on the 34th day of the Omer, there is no custom to be stringent
at all.

According to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l,
there is no reason to be stringent and abstain from reciting a “Shehecheyanu
blessing on a new fruit during the Omer counting period. Those who have
observed this custom have done so in error, for they have confused this period
with the “Three Weeks” prior to the Ninth of Av during which time one should
not recite a “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new fruit. However, during the
Omer counting period, there is no such custom to be stringent, for the days of
the Omer are not days of mourning as are the “Three Weeks” during which the
destruction of the Bet Hamikdash and other tragedies occurred. It is for this
reason that it is inappropriate to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing
which translates to “Blessed is He… Who has allowed us to live, to exist, and
to reach this time” about a period which is designated as a time of
national tragedy. On the other hand, the period of the Omer is not considered a
tragic time; on the contrary, the Ramban writes that the holiness of the days
of the Omer counting is tantamount to that of Chol Hamo’ed. There is therefore
no reason to act stringently in this regard.

Nonetheless, it is proper to act stringently with
regards to wearing new garments during the Omer. If there is truly a necessity
to wear a new garment, one should try to wear it on Shabbat in which case one
may also recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing. Similarly, one may act
leniently and wear a new garment during the Omer period in honor of a Bar
Mitzvah or Berit Milah celebration.

שמיעת מוזיקה וכלי נגינה בימי הספירה

היום הוא יום השואה, וכבר דיברנו בענין זה בשנים הקודמות, ניתן לראות בקישור.

מזמן שנחרב בית המקדש, אסרו רבותינו לשמוע קול שיר בכלי נגינה (כן מבואר
בגמרא במסכת גיטין דף ז.). כלומר, לשיר בפה, מותר. אך לשמוע מוזיקה בכלי נגינה
אסור. אלא אם מדובר בשמחה של מצוה, שאז יש להקל בדבר, וכפי שנהגו בכל תפוצות
ישראל, שבשמחות של מצוה, כמו שמחת נשואין של חתן וכלה וכדומה, מביאים נגנים ושרים
שם שירות ותשבחות לכבוד ה' יתברך

ובדורות האחרונים רבותינו הפוסקים האריכו בדין זה, והעלו למעשה שמותר מן
הדין לשמוע מוזיקה מלווה בכלי נגינה כשהיא מוקלטת, ברדיו או טייפ וכדומה, אפילו
שלא בשמחה של מצוה. וכן המנהג פשוט אפילו אצל גדולי עולם חסידים וצדיקים, ששומעים
שירי קודש ונגינות מוקלטות שמעוררים את הלב להדבק בה' ונותנים מרגוע ומנוחת הנפש

אבל לגבי ימי הספירה, שכפי שביארנו, אירעו בהם מאורעות מצערים של פטירת
עשרים וארבע אלף תלמידי רבי עקיבא, כתב הגאון רבי משה פיינשטיין זצ”ל (אגרות
משה או”ח סימן קסו), שיש להחמיר שלא לשמוע מוזיקה אפילו כשהיא מוקלטת.
וכדבריו כתבו עוד מגדולי האחרונים, ובתוכם גם מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצ”ל

ולפיכך למרות שבכל ימות השנה אנו מיקלים לשמוע מוזיקה מוקלטת, אך בימי
ספירת העומר נכון להחמיר בדבר

אולם בשמחה של מצוה, כגון במסיבת בר מצוה, או ברית מילה, או סיום מסכת
וכדומה, מותר לשמוע שירי קודש ונגינות המלוות בכלי נגינה, שמאחר ומדובר בשמחה של
מצוה, יש להקל בדבר. שהרי אפילו בעיקר תקנת חז”ל שלא לנגן בכלי שיר מאז שנחרב
בית המקדש, במקום שמחה של מצוה היקלו, ואם כן הוא הדין בימי הספירה

ומרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצ”ל כתב בזה עוד (בספרו על יום טוב, עמוד
רנט), שאם מעונינים לערוך שמחת הכנסת ספר תורה בתוך ימי הספירה, מותר לעשותה אפילו
בכלי זמר, שהרי מדובר בשמחה של מצוה גדולה

Listening to Music During the Omer

From the time the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed, our
Sages prohibited listening to songs accompanied by musical instruments (see
Gittin 7a). This means that while merely singing vocally is permissible,
hearing songs with musical accompaniment is forbidden, excluding a celebration
of a Mitzvah in which case there is room for leniency. Indeed, the prevalent
custom throughout the entire Jewish nation is to bring musicians who play and
sing songs of praise and gratitude to Hashem at celebrations of a Mitzvah, such
as at weddings and the like.

In more recent generations, the great Poskim have
discussed this matter lengthily and they conclude that, according to the letter
of the law, it is permissible to listen to songs with musical accompaniment
when this music is recorded, such as on the radio, tape, etc. even if this is
not being done in the context of a celebration of a Mitzvah. This custom is
widespread among many great and pious luminaries who listen to recorded holy
songs and music which uplift one in the service of Hashem and bring peace an
tranquility to the soul.

Nevertheless, regarding the days of the Omer
counting period when, as we have explained previously, the tragic event of the
death of Rabbi Akiva’s twenty-four thousand students occurred, Hagaon Harav
Moshe Feinstein zt”l (see Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim, Volume 1,
Chapter 166) writes that one must act stringently and not listen even to
recorded music. Several other great Poskim rule likewise, including Maran
Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l.

Thus, although we rule leniently throughout the rest
of the year and allow listening to recorded music, during the Omer period, one
should act stringently and abstain from doing so.

Nevertheless, during a Mitzvah celebration, such as
a Bar Mitzvah, Berit Milah, Siyum Masechet (meal marking the
completion of a Talmudical tractate), and the like, it is permissible to play
and listen to songs of holiness with musical accompaniment since even when our
Sages prohibited playing instrumental music after the destruction of the Bet
Hamikdash, they ruled leniently regarding Mitzvah celebrations. Thus, the same
would apply to the days of the Omer in that there is room for leniency in this

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l adds
(in his Chazon Ovadia-Yom Tov, page 259) that if one wishes to hold a Hachnassat
Sefer Torah
 (Torah dedication celebration) during the Omer, it will be
permissible to do so even with musical accompaniment since this celebration is
considered a great Mitzvah.