Tag Archives: Passover

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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

Speaking Torah: “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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Jonathan Wittenberg

Violence and Vision

Passover: seventh day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; eighth day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17 The ancient rabbis chose Isaiah’s vision of peace on earth as the prophetic reading to accompany the Torah reading for the 8th day of Passover, the Festival of Freedom. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, calf and young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them…(Isaiah 11:6) “Indeed!” observed one of my teachers… 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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Break-Chains

Getting Unstuck

For the second Shabbat of Passover. There have been many times in my life when I just felt stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck in my family’s circumstances, stuck in a particular emotional state. It just didn’t seem like anything was ever going to change. We all feel that way at some point or other in our lives. As larger groups or national entities, we can feel stuck in political… Read Article →

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Behold, the Table is Set

The publication of the Venice Haggadah of 1609 was a grand event. One of the first-ever printed books to accompany the Passover seder, it boasted intricate woodcuts framing every page, illustrating the story of the Exodus as well as the domestic scenes of men and women, preparing for Passover (mostly women) and celebrating it (mostly men). Even more, it was a multi-cultural enterprise, produced with three sets of instructions and… 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 →