A Really Brief Guide to Pesach

The Seder – Seminar in a Meal The Seder is structured around the fulfillment of a number of Biblical and Rabbinic commandments – The Paschal lamb -- During the times of the Temple, the Jewish people were commanded to roast a whole lamb on a spit and eat it on the first evening of Pesach.  The lamb was a symbol of Egyptian idolatry, specifically representing the ram god, Khnum who, according ...

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Four Cups, Four LeChaims

The Meshech Chochmah on the Four Cups (Parshas VaEirah) Our Sages instituted 4 cups of wine at the seder and the Talmud Yerushalmi says that each one of the cups of wine symbolizes a different expression of redemption. In Shmos 6:6 there are four expressions of redemption.  They are: Vehhotzeisi—I will take them out Vehitzalty—I will save them Vego’alty—I will redeem them Velakachty—I will take them to me as a people. Each expression ...

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Pesach: Live It!

Merely remembering the pivotal events of Jewish history or reading about them occasionally is not sufficient to imbue ourselves with these messages. God established Pesach and the other festivals as interludes in time designed to focus our attention and pick up on specific ideas and values that the ordinary activities of life usually prevent us from contemplating.  They are times when we are totally immersed in a specific concept basic ...

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How Saving a Haggadah Saved a Life

One of the most famous Haggadahs in the word, is the Sarajevo Haggadah.  It is believed to have been taken out of Spain by Jews who were expelled in 1492. It was sold to the National Museum in Sarajevo in 1894.  During the Second World War, the Haggadah was hidden from the Nazis by the Museum's chief librarian, Derviš Korkut, who at risk to his own life, smuggled the Haggadah out of ...

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Some of My Favorite (Seder) Things

The Exodus is mentioned numerous times in the Torah, and our calendar is based on the first month (Nissan) as the month of the Exodus. The Torah tells us not to oppress the stranger because we were strangers in Egypt, do not hurt the downtrodden, do not cheat in business etc. because we were slaves in Egypt. The Ramban (Shmot 12:12) says that the reason there are no names for ...

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