Jewish Holidays

Pesach

June 29, 2006, by

The Haggadah’s narrative of “Avadim Hayinu” states, “And had the Holy One not taken us out of Egypt, then we, our children and grandchildren would still be slaves to Pharaoh…” What does this mean? Even if the Exodus had not occurred, how can we attest that we surely would still be enslaved to Egyptian monarchy? […]

The Inner Meaning of Matzah

June 29, 2006, by

Anyone who eats chametz, that individual will be cut off from the Jewish people (Shemos 12:15). Why is Matzah so basic to the celebration of Passover? Why is Passover called by the Torah and in the Siddur, the holiday of matzos? Why is this simple food a foundation of Jewish experience and ideology? Why has […]

Pesach: Birth and Rebirth

June 29, 2006, by

Two unique moments of high emotional intensity punctuate the Jewish year, Neilah on Yom Kippur and Kiddush at the beginning of the Passover Seder. To the spiritually sensitive person no other moments of the year compare to these special experiences in sheer depth and overwhelming emotion. Each of these moments arrives after we have invested […]

Pesach Insights from Parshat Yitro

June 29, 2006, by

“You are My Witnesses” The “Aseret HaDibrot,” the Ten Utterances, or Commandments, of G-d to the Jewish People, begin “Anochi Hashem Elokecha Asher Hotzaticha Me’Eretz Mitzrayim Mi’Bait Avadim”, “I am the L-rd your G-d, Who brought you forth from the Land of Egypt, from the House of Bondage.” A famous question is asked, “Why did […]

Pesach Insights from Parshat Shemot

June 29, 2006, by

“And a New king Arose Over Egypt, Who Did Not Know Yoseph” (Shemot 1,8) It is difficult to imagine any king in Egypt who reigned at that time not being aware of Yoseph’s great accomplishments. After all, it was Yoseph whose handling of the Crisis of the Famine had saved the country and preserved, and […]

Wine – Connection Between Purim and Pesach

June 29, 2006, by

Purim is the beginning of the period when one is required to begin reviewing the laws of Pesach. Purim and Pesach are related in a number of ways, but here I’ll discuss the role of “yayin,” wine, in the celebration of each. In connection with Purim, the Talmud says, “A person is obligated to drink […]

From Shame to Praise

June 29, 2006, by

The Talmud records (Pesachim 116) the opinions of two of our great sages as to how the above principle is to be implemented in the Haggadah. The two famous scholars were Rav and Shmuel, each of whom , during one particularly fruitful period of creativity in our intellectual history, headed academies of learning in Babylonia. […]

“Shir HaShirim” – The Song of Songs

June 29, 2006, by

“Shir HaShirim,” The Song of Songs, is one of the five “Megilot,” or Sacred Scrolls, that are part of the Hebrew Bible. It is a timeless allegory of the relationship between HaShem and the People of Israel, in terms of the love between a man and a woman. It is recited on “Pesach,” the Holiday […]

Haggadah Insights

June 29, 2006, by

The Seder night is the yearly exhibition of Jewish education in the home. We discuss the four types of children which make up Jewish families, their questions, and some answers. As we sing and eat our way through the night there are plenty of customs and rituals to give definition and meaning to the evening(s). […]

And You Shall Tell Your Children

June 29, 2006, by

We are rapidly approaching the night of the Seder. On that night, the Jewish People observe a unique command, the command of communication, of education, “haggadah.” In Shemot 13:8, we find, “And you shall tell your child on that day as follows: ‘Because of this, HaShem did for me, when he took me out of […]