Jewish Holidays

The Fifteen Steps-The Last Four

June 29, 2006, by

In this Section, the Afikoman (the “Tzafun,” or Hidden One) will re-appear, Grace After the Meals is said, the Second Part of Hallel, oriented towards the future, will be sung, and the Seder will be concluded and (we hope) accepted by G-d. The specific steps are: 12. “Tzafun” 13. “Barech” 14. “Hallel” 15. “Nirtzah” They […]

The Fifteen Steps – The Middle Six

June 29, 2006, by

Actually, the means of accomplishing the “Mitzvot,” the Obligations, encountered in the next six steps, is primarily eating and drinking. But, as always, in Judaism, there is a lot of meaning baked into those lean and mean(ingful) Matzot! The six steps discussed in this section are: 6. “Rachtzah” 7. “Motzi” 8. “Matzah” 9. “Marror” 10. […]

The Fifteen Steps-The First Five

June 29, 2006, by

The word “Seder” means “order.” It suggests structure and internal meaning. The Pesach, or Passover, Seder follows a definite structure. Perhaps an aspect of this construction of the Seder was to assure the Jew who, throughout his centuries of Exile, was, in every generation, the victim of outrageous persecution. Though these persecutions came with no […]

The Four Sons

June 29, 2006, by

Who are the Four Sons? The Haggadah continues the Q & A format in the Section dealing with the “Four Sons.” Here we meet the four personality types which exist within the Jewish People. It is clearly not simply an intelligence measure, because one of the sons is called a “Rasha,” a wicked person. Presumably, […]

The Four Expressions

June 29, 2006, by

In Shemot (6:6-7), there appear four expressions of Redemption: “Therefore, say to the Children of Israel, ‘I am Hashem and I shall take you out from under the burdens of Egypt; I shall save you from their service; I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great punishments; I shall take you to […]

The Four Questions

June 29, 2006, by

The Baal HaHaggadah records four questions, which are to be asked by the youngest person present at the Seder capable of doing so, to the person who is conducting the Seder, whose duty it then is to respond. Fortunately, the Haggadah itself provides a broad array of answers, understandable on many levels, from the level […]

The Four Cups

June 29, 2006, by

In the Hebrew Calendar, Pesach follows close behind Purim, where Pesach occurs in the month of Nisan, which is immediately preceded by the month of Adar, which is the month of Purim. It parallels Purim in another aspect as well, namely that wine plays a crucial role in its celebration. Yet there is a difference […]

The Number “Four”

June 29, 2006, by

One of the fascinating and suggestive features of the Haggadah is the prominence of the number “Four,” which appears in connection with the following elements of the Haggadah: The Four Cups of Wine The Four Questions The Four Sons The Four Expressions of Redemption Why the number “Four” is given this prominence, and what its […]

The Haggadah

June 29, 2006, by

What is the Haggadah? The Haggadah is the text which is used for the Seder, and which has been used for at least a thousand years, though its elements are clearly mentioned in the Talmud, and the Seder itself goes back to the first Pesach, celebrated in Egypt. Who was its author? The actual author […]

Glossary of Common Passover Terms

June 29, 2006, by

1. Chametz: Fermented or leavened wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley. When these grains come in contact with water, they leaven within 18 minutes. In the case of hot or salted water, leavening takes place instantly. Chametz may not be consumed either by eating or drinking, and may not be held in one’s possession, nor […]

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