Is Your Oven Kosher?
However, this solution is not always adequate. Because the stream of steam in a microwave is so significant, containers used in a microwave must be vented in order to prevent an explosion. The steam will eventually escape through the vent, and mayfill the oven chamber. Halachically, if there is steam on either side of the container the ta'am may pass through the walls of the container and affect the inner contents. As such, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, shlita, recommends the use of a double wrap in a microwave to minimize the rate at which steam passes into the oven.The food can be covered by a paper towel, paper bag or plastic wrap. (Note: Plastic wrap may be carcinogenic when used in a microwave.) In addition, the food should be placed on a hard surface that will not leak through to the oven floor. This approach is adequate to solve the zeiah problem in all situations.
How is a microwave oven kashered to change the dairy or meat status, or to kasher from non-kosher use? A microwave can be kashered by placing a bowl of water in the oven. The oven is filled with steam by operating the microwave at the highest setting for approximately ten minutes. The bowl is refilled and moved to anotherlocation, and the above procedure is repeated in order to kasher the area where the bowl previously rested. If there is a glass plate on the oven floor, it is preferable to cover or change the plate since it is questionable how the halacha views glass. If the oven surface is plastic there are different opinions whetherkashering is effective, but in case of necessity many poskim follow the lenient view. Kashering between meat and dairy can be done immediately after the previous use, while kashering a non-kosher oven requires a 24-hour downtime. In all instances, kashering must be preceded by a thorough cleanup. As is true of a conventionaloven, kashering can be bypassed (even for a non-kosher microwave) by double wrapping the food.
One more installment to come...
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
NOAM Productions has music shops with extensive selections of tapes and CDs - finest collection in town, at terrific prices. They are located at 6 Malchei Yisrael, near Kikar Shabbat and even nearer to Uri's Pizza in Geula and at 59 Rabbi Akiva Street in Bnei Brak (Landau Tikshoret). Those shops are perfect if you are lookingfor musical gifts for friends, family... or yourself.
But you are in for a real treat when you visit their newest shop in the new Rav Shefa Mall in Jerusalem (down the street from T'nuva). They too have a full line of tapes and CDs, plus computer software, including their own productions. The shop features a sound studio and other "goodies". Special offers to Torah Tidbitsreaders during Adar (tell them that you saw this notice in TT).
A PARTING Purim Message for Our Time
What is the message in the fact that Purim happened in Chutz LaAretz?
Megilat Esther "emphasizes" the fact when it introduces us to Mordechai. He is a Jewish person, the son of Yair son of Shim'i, son of Kish, a Benjaminite (there are other interpretations of Ish Y'mini). Then we are told that he was EXILED from Yerushalayim (the only mention in the Megila of Jerusalem or Eretz Yisrael) with the EXILE that was EXILED with Yechonya, king of Judah, that was EXILED by Nevuchadnetzar, king of Bavel. Emphasis on EXILE. And the prevalent custom is to read this pasuk in the tune of Eicha. This further accentuates the point: The story you are about to hear did not take place in Eretz Yisrael; it took place in Galut. And because of the Exile.
When the Sages decided who will celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar and who on the 15th, their criterion was unwalled or walled cities from the time of Yehoshua. This allowed Yerushalayim to be honored among the cities that commemorate the extra special aspect of the Purim redemption. Shushan was the epicenter of the Purim story. Jerusalem was in ruin. A smudge on the backdrop of the story. Chaza"l focused our attention on Jerusalem because of the significance of Eretz Yisrael to the Purim message.
(Yehoshua was the first one to do actual battle against Amalek when they first attacked Bnei Yisrael. It is appropriate that he is linked in this special way to the commemoration of the successful continuation of the battle against Amalek by Mordechai and Esther.)
What was the sin that allowed the Jewish People to be threatened by Haman? The standard answer is that they Jews of the kingdom attended the parties of Achashveirosh at which he flaunted his possession of the plunder of the Beit HaMikdash, the parties at which he paraded around wearing the holy garments of the Kohein Gadol,the party at which he boasted that he was greater than the G-d of Israel.
There are interesting discussions by different commentaries on this issue. Was it actually forbidden to attend? Or was it allowed, or even required to attend. This debate aside, there is something deeper involved here. A relatively short while ago, the people of Israel were carried into captivity in chains and they swore never to forget Jerusalem. Over the following years, they became accustom to their Exile. They became comfortable in their new locale and they began to forget their promise. When Jews get too complacent in Exile, when they can live it up at the royal parties of their captors and tormentors, then a Haman comes along and reminds the Jews that they are in Exile.
Mordechai was saying to the Jews: we don't belong here. We must continue to protest our Exile.
Chaza"l built this message into Purim by giving Yerushalayim an unusual focus. Whether you live in Jerusalem or not, its schedule for Purim accentuates its special role in Jewish life. There are other cities that have Purim on the 15th or on both days because of doubt. Chaza"l were telling us never to forget Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael, even when thanking G-d for miracles that happened elsewhere.
More on B'CHOR (from the sedra)
Picture this: Today, a person owns a ewe (female sheep) who is expecting her first offspring. It's a boy! Kadosh. The lamb is sacred from birth. Whether the owner proclaims it (which the mitzva requires him to do) or not. He is required to raise it for 30 days, and then to give it to the kohen of his choice. If the lamb is blemish-free (if not there are some difficulties, as well), the kohen must bring it as a korban within its first year.
Problem. No Beit HaMikdash. Okay, the kohen must take care of the lamb, never deriving benefit from it. It's sacred. Even today. When the lamb needs shearing for its own health and comfort, the wool must be buried. No benefit. just the burden of caring for its entire lifetime. This kind of situation is considered so tempting for the kohen to do something he may not (sell it, slaughter it, maim it, etc.) that our Sages did a sad thing. They command us to avoid this mitzva. With all the mitzvot that don't apply in our time, it is sad that they have to tell us to avoid a mitzva that technically does apply. It is easily accomplished. Sell a minor share of the pregnant sheep to a non- Jew. Then the firstborn has no sanctity as a B'chor. After the birth, buy the token share back and there are no problems.
What about the donkey? Maybe I'll sell a share in the mother to avoid losing a sheep in the redemption process. Forbidden. Having just taught us how to avoid the birth of a sacred B'chor of a kosher animal, the Shulchan Aruch must forbid us from using the same halachic technicality to avoid the mitzva of Pidyon Petter Chamor, the redemption of the firstborn donkey. The reason for the difference is that there is no sanctity problem, no Beit HaMikdash and korban issue with the donkey. There is a mitzva to perform. It can be done with no problems. So it shoud be done.
If one avoids this mitzva, he is in violation of a Rabbinic law, but the baby donkey would have no restrictions and no redemption would be needed. If, on the other hand, a person were to not avoid B'chor of a cow, goat, and sheep, the mitzva would apply and impose serious restrictions, and instead of saying Yasher Ko'ach to the person, we'd point out that he violated a Rabbinic prohibition.