March 26, 2020 — 1 Nisan 5780

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Rabbi's message

March 26, 2020 — 1 Nisan 5780

Shalom Chaverim,
     The Ritual Committee, Cantor, and I have decided to institute pre-Shabbat (Kabbalat Shabbat) and post-Shabbat (Havdalah) virtual services during this time when we cannot be together physically.
     We hope you will join us. We are using Zoom meeting. At the times shown below, join us on your PC, tablet, or smartphone by clicking on the link (If this is the first time you are accessing Zoom on your device, you will be prompted to install the Zoom app or client before joining the meeting). Alternatively, you can join us via phone by dialing 646-558-8656 and inputting the Meeting ID: 628 081 3362 when prompted to do so.
Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Steven Saks

Friday, March 27 at 6 p.m. (Kabbalat Shabbat)

  1. Kabbalat Shabbat led by Cantor Redfern
  2. Pre-Shabbat Sermon presented by Rabbi Saks
  3. Candle lighting with the Saks family

Saturday, March 28 at 8:15 pm (Ma’ariv and Havdalah)

      Led by Cantor Redfern

Halachic Q & A from Rabbi Saks


Doesn’t Shabbat begin when the candles are lit?

     No. It is permissible to join us for an online candle lighting because, contrary to conventional wisdom, candle lighting does NOT begin Shabbat. The mitzvah to light candles is a mitzvah of Kovod Shabbat (honoring Shabbat) which is performed before Shabbat begins. Candles are lit before Shabbat to ensure the home has light at night, making Shabbat more enjoyable.


So when does Shabbat actually begin?

     According to some opinions, Shabbat begins upon the recitation of Mizmor Shir L’yom Shabbat (the psalm for Shabbat), which is recited at the end of Kabbalat Shabbat. For this reason, we will omit it and end Kabbalat Shabbat with Lecha Dodi. Others are of the view that Shabbat has not been accepted until one begins reciting Ma’ariv. Certainly, the recitation of Kiddush constitutes an acceptance of Shabbat.
     If none of these acceptances of Shabbat has been performed before sunset, Shabbat commences at sunset. However, since the concept of candle lighting has become conflated with the beginning of Shabbat, some authorities hold that, if one intends to perform melacha (work) after candle lighting, he/she should have in mind that his/her lighting is not an acceptance of Shabbat. All authorities agree that by keeping this condition in mind one can perform melacha up until sunset or accept Shabbat through one of the previous mentioned means.


How can I end Shabbat before Havdalah?

     Simply recite baruch hamavdeil ben kodesch lechol (blessed be he who distinguishes between the holy and mundane) upon reaching Shabbat’s end time. After that it is permitted to perform melacha including turning on your computer.