What is the idea of Mishloach Manot?

3-4-5_recipe_box1 At Eichlers.com we offer many types of Shalach Manot Baskets to fulfill each and every need and taste. Check out our vast selection after you read a little about what is the idea behind giving Mishloach Manot.

Mishloach manot are gifts of food that Jews send to each other during the holiday of Purim. “Mishloach manot” literally means the “sending of portions” in Hebrew and this mitzvah is meant to ensure that everyone has enough food to enjoy the traditional Purim feast. It is also seen as an opportunity to strengthen relationships among people. The custom comes from the biblical Book of Esther, where the Purim story is recounted. Esther 9:22 reads: “as days of feasting and gladness, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor”

In order to fulfill the mitzvah one must send at least two different items of food to one person. Any kind of food can be sent so long as it is ready to be eaten immediately. For instance, fruit or baked goods that are ready to eat would be acceptable but raw meat that requires cooking would not be appropriate. Drinks are also acceptable. Often mishloach manot take the form of gift baskets that contain an assortment of edible goods. Anyone bar or bat mitzvah age is required to fulfill this mitzvah, though of course younger children should be encouraged to participate in the custom.

In addition to the food, a second part of the mitzvah of mishloach manot involves making two donations to charity. Many Jews will fulfill this portion of the mitzvah by contributing funds to an organization.

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Artistic Dreidels Make Brilliant Judaica Gifts

Eichler's Judaica Store - Metal and Stone DreidelNot all dreidels are intended for spinning endlessly around the house in an effort to acquire all the money in the pot. Some are collector’s items, art, intended for display on mantelpieces, in breakfronts, or on bric-a-brac shelves. Such dreidels can be handcrafted, stone encrusted, and of a fragile creation.

At Eichler’s Judaica store, located in the heart of Midwood, Brooklyn, we feature the dreidels of many up and coming and already famous Jewish artists. Yair Emanuel’s collection features a metal structure worked into a floral motif and topped with polished blue stones. Israeli artist Tamara Baskin opts for glass as an artistic medium. Her collection of dreidels features a slightly flattened base in a variety of vibrant colors. Several of the models also feature artistically worked stems.

Gary Rosenthal combines metals with glass in his Chanukah collection. In addition to the traditional dreidels, Gary created a line of hanging dreidels, ornately worked metal frames with glass dreidels dangling from them. For an example, the Miniature Musical Dreidel set features a music note and dreidel bound together into a seamless whole.

Stop by our flagship store or check us out online and take advantage of our dreidel collections and other great Jewish gifts for Chanukah!

 

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Secret of the Bookshelves at Our Judaica Store

Eichler's Judaica Store - Bar Mitzvah BookendWhen people take a look at a bookcase, they usually zero in on the volumes on the shelves. They comment on the rare books, whistle over the expensive sets, and wonder aloud whether the owner has actually read all the books. Some more discriminating observers may comment on the unique bindings of a set of seforim or the interesting patterns on a wooden shelf. However, the backbone of the presentation often remains unrecognized.

Bookends are a pivotal part of the bookshelf ecosystem, for they save the books from tumbling this way and that. Sometimes they unobtrusively melt into the background, and sometimes their unique composition begs attention.

Bookends can be of simple plastic design or elaborately carved from a piece of mahogany imported specifically for that purpose.

At Eichler’s Judaica store, we sell bookends in several styles for a variety of different occasions. We have bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah styles; they are perfect Jewish gifts for a coming of age party. Best of all, they make a unique gift because no one else will think to get them!

Come by our Midwood-based flagship store or check us out online and pick up some nice bookends and other great products!

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Jewish Gifts for Grandma’s Chanukah Party

Eichler's Judaica Store - Chanukah Hostess SetChanukah has become a time for family get-togethers with near and distant relatives gathering for food, drink, cheer, and a few rounds of dreidel. Gifts are exchanged, secret family recipes swapped, and wallets of pictures unveiled.

We put together a short list of Jewish gift recommendations for some of the family members sure to be in attendance at the party.

Whether our customers choose our recommendations or any other options from our vast selection of Jewish gifts, this year’s family Chanukah party will be one of joy, laughter, and fun. Head on over to our flagship Midwood Judaica store to take advantage of the amazing prices at our massive Chanukah sale!

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Dreidels Spin Uncontrollably at Judaica Store

Eichler's Judaica Store-White DreidelsWe have often wondered what would happen if we spun hundreds of dreidels on the floor of our Coney Island Avenue Judaica store. Beyond the inevitable tripping and falling, it would probably be a pretty cool sight.

The dreidel has steadily become symbolic of the holiday of Chanukah, rubbing shoulders with the menorah and sufganiyot, or fried jelly donuts. Its origins are murky, but tradition indicates it was used by Jewish people as early as the Maccabee revolution.

The four-sided dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters, which serve as a reminder for the miracles of Chanukah. On a deeper level, they may also correspond to the four exiles of the Jewish people.

The traditional rules of dreidel are simple. Rolling a gimmel nets the whole pot, a hay nets half, a nun nets nothing, and a shin requires the player to deposit back into the pot. The pot can be anything from jellybeans to cash, depending on preference and the intensity of the game.

Avid dreidel players argue incessantly about the virtues of wooden dreidels versus the cheaper plastic models. Like many gamblers, serious dreidelers tend to have a preferred dreidel.

Come by Eichler’s and take a look at our vast display of dreidels, menorahs, and other Judaica gifts for Chanukah.

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Chanukah Comes Early to Local Judaica Store

Eichler's Judaica Store - MenorahsChanukah comes rather early on the Gregorian calendar this year. Its occurrence during the fall season is markedly different from its usual arrival in the cold winter months. The calendar change doesn’t affect the traditions of Chanukah, but it does provide two side benefits. First, it’s less likely to be as cold outside this year, so there’s no excuses for missing Aunt Bessie’s Chanukah party. Second, people will not get as easily confused between Chanukah menorahs and other holiday lights.

Eichler’s Judaica store makes a practice of being prepared for everything. In fact, we are pretty convinced that if aliens ever land in Brooklyn, we will be there to greet them with specially made Welcome To Earth kippas. In the area of Chanukah, we are fully stocked with everything from oil for the menorah to themed paper goods for the family party (sorry Aunt Bessie).

We are particularly proud of our extensive menorah collection with varieties made of tin, brass, aluminum, nickel, and ceramic. We even carry children’s models with fun themes, including soccer, castles, and ballet.

Give us a call today and we’ll spend some time discussing our great prices on menorahs, Chanukah gifts, and shelves of splendid seforim.

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The Yarmulka: From Artsy to Zany

Suede KipaThe yarmulka, or kipa, is a basic part of Jewish life. It has become so second nature that many people don’t notice it, unless it’s an unusual model.

The basic concept of this head covering is to inspire its wearer to remember G-d everywhere and behave accordingly. However, the material, color, and style of this head covering is more or less up to personal choice. With that said, communities have developed accepted styles that their adherents choose to wear.

The black or blue velvet model is the mark of the mainstream Orthodox Jew with a “yeshivish background.” The suede version, in a variety of colors, is the hallmark of Modern Orthodoxy, while the satin style is more popular with non-Orthodox groups. Crocheted skullcaps are popular with religious Zionists, among others. White crocheted covers are the sign of a Breslover chassid.

Some cultures have also developed distinct styles. A famous example is the fantastically patterned and slightly taller caps of Jewish people originating from Bukhara in Central Asia. Yemenite Jews wear a velvet model with a wide border decorated with a floral or similar pattern.

Whatever style of yarmulka a person wears, he is emphasizing his connection to G-d and the rest of the Jewish people around the world. Eichler’s Judaica store is a proud supplier of this essential unifying product!

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Celebrate the Cycle of Life with a Local Judaica Store

Seforim on Bris MilahWilliam Shakespeare once wrote, “The wheel is come full circle. I am here.” (King Lear: Act 5) In our current vernacular, the phrase is an acknowledgment that in the circle of life, everyone receives their just deserts. Other people refer to this concept in other ways, but the intent is the same.

This idea of what goes around comes around is not restricted to karma. It is also used as a reference to life as a continuous wheel of death and rebirth, without end. In practice, these seemingly unrelated ideas are one and the same. The overarching concept is that nothing in this existence stands alone. Every action, occurrence, and event is connected to the larger wheel of life which turns without end.

Judaism expands considerably on this concept. For example, souls of the deceased can be reincarnated in a new body. Shiva, the Jewish mourning period, has a prescribed end because Judaism views death as part of the natural order instituted by G-d.

Eichler’s Judaica store helps its customers to prepare for every step in the cycle of life. We have seforim and books on birth, matrimony, and death from a Jewish perspective. We feature everything from bris pillows to Yartzeit candles in our Midwood store.

Give us a call and let’s talk about our extensive supply of Judaica from kippas to Talmud Bavli.

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Buy Gift Certificates for Jewish Gifts

Eichler's Judaica Store Gift CertificatesWhen a celebration arises and ideas for Jewish gifts have been exhausted, some would be gift givers are stymied by indecision. They linger over display cases at our Judaica store hoping the featured items will miraculously change into something they imagine the recipient will enjoy.

Eichler’s has a suggestion for indecisive gift shoppers. Why not purchase a gift certificate for the bar mitzvah boy, bride and groom, or loved one?

We’ve heard all the objections to our idea. Gift certificates are not personalized enough, they involve extra work for the recipient, and no one remembers who gave them a gift card, to name a few issues.

The truth is that most people appreciate the option to pick a gift for themselves, especially if the alternative is something they don’t want, don’t need, and have to return. Furthermore, every time they look at the item they purchased with the gift certificate, they will be reminded of the gift giver. Additionally, the experience of shopping in Eichler’s is a pleasant one, so we are pretty confident the recipient will be thankful for that as well.

We offer two types of gift certificates valid for purchase on seforim and other items in-store and online, respectively. Contact us today to purchase one and experience true happiness on the face of the recipient!

 

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Does a Judaica Store Need a Mezuzah on Its Door?

Eichler's Judaica Store-MezuzahThe positive commandment of affixing a mezuzah to the doorpost applies to dwellings and stores. The commandment is Biblical in nature, but a lot of the minutiae of the commandment has arisen from Rabbinic teachings.

The mezuzah is a small case that contains a parchment inscribed with the famous paragraph of Shema Yisrael. Some of these cases are fairly simple while others are elaborately carved and decorated. Some mezuzahs created over the centuries have earned the status of art and can be found in galleries and museums.

In many traditions, the mezuzah is inscribed with the Hebrew letter Shin, the first letter of one of God’s appellations. Some groups add another inscription, but that custom is more hotly contested.

The Bible only indicates that the mezuzah must be placed on the doorpost; it doesn’t state how the mezuzah should be placed. A debate between two medieval sages, Rash”i and Rabbeinu Tam, as to whether the mezuzah should be placed horizontally or vertically has prompted many Ashkenazic Jews to adopt the custom of affixing it on an angle.

The ink on the parchment tends to crack over time, so most people have their mezuzahs checked every three years or so by a scribe. A scribe is a specially trained calligrapher who knows how to write and maintain Sifrei Torah and other parchment-based sefarim, as well as tefillin, and mezuzahs.

Head on over to Eichler’s Judaica store to check out our selection of beautiful mezuzah cases ranging from simple to elaborately ornate!

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