Tag Archives: Passover-Rav

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The Art of Liberation

(Shabbat Chol haMoed Pesach, Exodus 33:12 – 34:26) The Haggadah tells of our people’s journey from the suffering of slavery to our wild, sea-splitting-open redemption. Around the seder table last week, our observance of the holiday began with a question: “How is this night different from all other nights?: As we discuss and unfurl into our newfound freedom, our questions about the particular night of Passover blossom into new and… Read Article →

Pluralistic Perspectives Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“Questions Unite People, Answers Divide Them” (Elie Wiesel)

Dear friends, “The essential questions have no answers. You are my question, and I am yours — and then there is dialogue. The moment we have answers, there is no dialogue. Questions unite people, answers divide them.” I can’t think of a time when we have more needed to hear these wise words from our teacher Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory. We are living in a world where we are… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

Sacred Clean-up (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

When my wife and I lived in Jerusalem, we had good friends who would often invite us for Shabbat meals. This particular couple had a very specific division of labor in their marriage, because while one partner loved to cook elegant, multicourse meals, the other partner, Abe (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) had no interest in cooking. So while Cora would be in the kitchen cooking, Abe… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Nehemia Polen

Passover Bares the Anatomy of Miracles

The story of the exodus from Egypt is filled with descriptions of signs, wonders and miracles. The Nile turns to blood, the waters of the Red Sea split, manna falls from heaven. Yet most contemporary celebrations of Passover do not emphasize these occurrences, preferring rather to focus on the concept of freedom and its social, psychological and political implications. Talk of miracles is quite out of fashion in our day… Read Article →

Community Blog daniel-schaefer

Counting the Omer: Cultivating Gratitude & Responsibility

When I first heard about Sefirat Ha’Omer (Counting of the Omer), I was intrigued by the notion that the seven weeks, or 49 days, between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot could be a time for personal and communal transformation. The more I learned about these holidays, the more sense it made to me to envision this period as a journey. Just as the ancient Israelites traveled from Egypt to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Arthur Green

Liberation: A Sacred Moment

(Passover; Readings for First Days–Exodus 12:21-51 and Leviticus 22:26-23:44) On the second day of Passover, Jews begin a period called sefirat ha-omer, when we publicly count off each day for the next fifty, concluding with the holiday of Shavuot. (Hence the Greek term Pentecost, for the fiftieth day.) While originally a practice used for calculating the agricultural season, the rabbinic tradition used it to establish a deep connection between these… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

The Mitzvah Of Getting Dirty

Parshat Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:3 I am an unabashed lover of Leviticus. And not just the “Be holy,” “Love your neighbor as yourself” second half of Leviticus, but especially the “slaughter the cow…sprinkle its blood” first half. “Be holy” sounds great, but what does it actually mean? What am I supposed to do to fulfill this vague entreaty? But the first half of Leviticus, which deals with how to perform sacrifices… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah passover-usa

The Time of Our Freedom: A Text Study for Pesach

Celebrating freedom is often a challenge. For much of Jewish history, Jews celebrating Pesach had to respond to the challenge of celebrating freedom while living as an oppressed minority. As a result, our tradition is full of teachings and stories about celebrating Pesach and connecting to the essence of freedom even in the most oppressive conditions. Celebrating Pesach in the great Jewish centers of Israel and the USA in the… Read Article →

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The Routine Call of the Shofar

I know that we’re about to begin the month of Tishrei, the opening of the Jewish year, with Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, but humor me for a bit while I write about Pesah. In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Rabbi Levi says that “anyone who eats matzah on the day before Pesah is like a man who has sex with his fiancée in his father-in-law’s house,” i.e., prior to the… Read Article →

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A 21st Century Hassidic Teaching on Shabbat Zachor

Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt…and when YHVH your God brings you to a place of rest from your surrounding enemies in the land YHVH your God is giving you as your portion, blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens — do not forget. (Devarim 25:17-19) To understand why, the paragraph begins by telling us to remember what Amalek has done but… Read Article →