Passover 5780-2020

“The Essential lessons of Chametz and Matzah”
(Updated and Revised from Passover 5763-2003)

A major theme of the Passover holiday is the elimination of chametz-–leaven, and the substitution of matzah, unleavened bread, in its stead. Oddly enough, both chametz and matzah are made of the same ingredients, flour and water. Flour and water become chametz automatically if the mixture is allowed to stand. Matzah, on the other hand, before it is quickly baked, must be constantly kneaded and is not permitted to stand and ferment. We learn from the matzah-making process that truly meaningful life experiences never come effortlessly, but only through significant exertion and labor.

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Emor 5779-2019

“The Gift of Celebration”
Revised and updated from Emor 5761-2001)

Parashat Emor features the celebration of Shabbat and the Jewish holidays--the festivals of G-d and the holy convocations that the people observe at their appropriate times. Proper celebrations are necessary for healthy living. It is important for the community to salute all the seasons of the year, and acknowledge that Shabbat and the Jewish holidays are truly remarkable gifts from the Al-mighty.

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Passover II 5779-2019

“On the Seventh Day the Walls of Water Split”
(Revised and updated from Passover 5765-2005)

According to tradition, the Children of Israel marched through the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea) on the seventh day of Passover. The Torah, in Exodus 14, declares twice that “the waters were a wall for them on their right and on their left.” This unusual repetition of the phrase begs elucidation, and, of course, there is much to learn from this repetition.

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Passover 1 5779-2019

“The Passover Seder–Focus on the Children”
(Revised and updated from Passover 5760-2000)

Even before the enslavement of the Jews began, Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill all the newborn Jewish babies. The Midrash goes further, asserting that Pharaoh’s disproportionate hatred of Jewish children led him to try to remedy his leprosy affliction by bathing in the blood of Jewish children. On Passover night, every Jew is a child, and every Jew becomes a parent, to underscore the importance of nurturing the next generation.

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