Passover I 5782-2022

Chametz, Matzah and Faith in Redemption”
(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 exact same ingredients, flour and water. However, chametz is allowed to ferment. The dough for Matzah, on the other hand, is not permitted to stand still and ferment, but must be constantly kneaded. Flour and water become chametz automatically if the mixture is allowed to stand. We learn from the matzah that a truly meaningful life never comes effortlessly, but only through significant effort and labor.

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B’ha’a’lot’cha 5781-2021

“Is This What the Torah Predicted?”
(updated and revised from B’ha’a’lot’cha 5762-2002)

In parashat B'ha'a’lot'cha we find two extremely telling stories concerning two groups of ancient Israelites. The first, the "mixed multitude," cry out, "Our souls are dried up, there is nothing at all!" The second group protest to Moses that they do not wish to miss celebrating the ritual of the Pascal sacrifice together with their families and the entire people of Israel. These two groups may very well represent the millions of alienated contemporary Jews who have declared that their souls are dried up, as well as another growing number of contemporary Jews who love their Judaism and wish to engage and inspire their turned-off brothers and sisters who are ignorant of their heritage.

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Passover 5781-2021

“The Final days of Pesach - Days of Unity”
(updated and revised from Passover 5761–2001)

For Jews who live in the Diaspora, the last day of Passover is meant to be a day of unity, הִתְחַבְּרוּת, hit’chab’rut, of coming together. Just as the ancient Children of Israel go down to Egypt as 70 souls, as members of 12 disparate tribes, and emerge as one united nation, so are contemporary Jews bidden to emphasize the many common bonds we have, rather than the differences. Passover, after all, is in the month of Nissan, the month of redemption. Only through unity, will the Jewish people be fortunate enough to achieve ultimate redemption.

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Tzav 5781-2021

Understanding Shabbat Hagadol
(updated and revised from Tzav 5762-2002)

Our commentators offer a host of reasons to explain why the Sabbath prior to Passover is called by the grand name "Shabbat Hagadol," the Great Sabbath. Whatever the reason for this Sabbath to be given such a distinguished name, it is always a very special Sabbath for the Jewish people.

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