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Rabbi Norman Lamm

Matzah and Maror

March 4, 2010, by

Matzah — The festival of Passover is the celebration of our freedom. Passover not only commemorates an act of liberation in the dim past, but reminds us that the aspiration to and striving for freedom are unending tasks. Freedom is quixotic. One is never sure of it. It is not something which, once achieved, is

The Authentic Word of Torah

February 4, 2010, by

In a well-known passage, the Mechilta relates that the Holy One offered the Torah to the various nations of antiquity, but that all of them rejected it because of specific objections they raised to certain of its precepts. When He offered the Torah to Israel, and Israel accepted it with alacrity. This is more than

A Leap of Faith

January 28, 2010, by

The first days and last days of Passover are related to each other, but are not identical. Each commemorates a different historic event. The first days of Passover celebrate the Exodus from Egypt. The last days, however, recall a somewhat later event: the splitting of the Red Sea, which enabled the Israelites to escape and

The Wicked Son

January 18, 2010, by

The wicked son, what does he say? “What is this service to you?!” (Ex. 12, 26, from the Passover Haggadah). There are many people today who openly violate many sacred Jewish institutions yet are “proud to be a Jew.” They may dismiss Jewish observances as medieval anachronisms in the age of the internet, yet they

Have a Heart: Lessons from 3 Plagues

January 14, 2010, by

The Plagues of Blood and Frogs It is ironic: what the Egyptians trusted most became the source of their travail and woe. The Nile was a deity for Egypt — and it turned into blood. They worshipped the frog, sign of fertility — and God gave them so much fertility that the population explosion amongst