Tidbits of Torah

Pesach – Food for Thought and for Discussion on Passover

Dear Friends,

I share with you my free translation of the contents of my son’s recent text message which contained an excerpt of the testimony of Ben Gurion in 1946.   It is great food for thought and for discussion for Passover….

In 1946 Ben Gurion testified (as head of the Jewish Agency) before a Joint Anglo-American Investigation Committee regarding the Jewish refugees of that time, as follows:

“Three hundred plus years ago a ship set sail to the new world and its name was the Mayflower.   This was a major event in the history of England and of the United States. But, I am curious to know whether there is even one Englishman who knows exactly when that ship set sail; do they know how many people were aboard that ship; and exactly what kind of bread they ate when they set out on that journey?  In contrast, over three thousand three hundred years before the Mayflower set sail, the Jews left Egypt, and every Jew around the world today knows the exact date of the Exodus – the fifteenth day of Nissan; and everyone knows exactly what bread they ate: Matzahs; and to this very day, Jews the world over eat Matzah on the fifteenth day of Nissan, in America, in Russia and in other countries.  And they retell the story of the Exodus and the stories of the troubles the Jews endured since they were scattered once again in the Diaspora.  And they conclude with two statements: “This year we are slaves; next year may we be free.  This year we are here; next year may we be in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the Land of Israel. ” That is the nature of the Jewish people.”

Food for thought and for discussion…

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy and kosher Pesah!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

  1. a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….
  2. b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.
  3. c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.
  4. d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!

Sacred Connectors!

Dear Friends,

What inspiration can reading Parashat Metsora impart to us…especially as we prepare for Passover and for the Passover Seder?

Parashat Metsora reminds us that we must care for the vulnerable members of our communities.  The Metsora [person afflicted with something akin to Leprosy] is literally sent “outside” of the camp.  But, the kohen [priest] regularly maintains contact with the Metsora, visits with that person, and ultimately brings that person back into the community.

The Torah teaches us that ideally our people will become a mamlechet kohanim – a priestly nation.  As such, our goal will  be to become a nation that appreciates not only our own humanity and freedom, but also the humanity and freedom of others.  Passover reminds us that we can all strive to be “connectors”, much as the priest who maintained contact with the Metsora was in ancient times.

As we are getting rid of the Chametz at this time of the year, let’s not forget that ridding ourselves of  Chametz is not only ridding ourselves of leaven and all sorts of breads and cakes that rise as we bake them. Ridding ourselves of Chametz is also a spiritual metaphor for pushing aside our sometimes overblown egos!  It is both a spiritual metaphor for developing our gratitude for the simple things in life and a powerful reminder of the importance of humility.

When we sit down at the Seder table we say that all who are hungry are invited to join us.

Passover is a time to remember that reaching out to a person who feels like an “outsider” is truly a sacred task.

We were redeemed from Egypt not only for ourselves, but also that we may become a nation of “sacred connectors!”

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy and kosher Pesah!

 

Rabbi Gilah Dror

 

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….

b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.

c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.

d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!

Spruce Up Your Seder (And, Pesah Tips for 5779)

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us at services this Friday night and Shabbat morning as we have the opportunity to meet a High Holiday Cantor candidate!  Cantor Luke Hawley will join us for services and looks forward to meeting as many of us as possible!

Looking for ideas to spruce up your Seder?  How about this idea…?

We say: “B’chol dor va’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo ke’ilu hu yatza mi mitzrayim In every generation, each of us is invited to see our individual self as if each of us, personally, was there and experienced the redemption and the Exodus from Egypt.”

Imagine if each of us had a small hand held mirror available as part of our table setting for the Seder.  Imagine if each of us held up our mirror as we recited this very significant part of the Seder and had a chance to contemplate how our individual enslavement and our individual redemption connected with the collective enslavement and collective redemption of our people in ancient times….

Now, imagine if we allow ourselves a bit of time to imagine how each one of us is currently enslaved in some way.  And, time to imagine how we might currently be able to see a way forward to greater freedom and to greater purpose in our lives…What would that look like?

And, moving from individual redemption to communal redemption….We might ask ourselves to think about how our individual story relates to the collective story of who we are today as a community and as a people….

If you do try this idea at your Seder, I would be interested to hear how it went and any thoughts or comments on this idea.

Also, I would be interested to hear any of your thoughts and suggestions for sprucing up the Seder!

And, please see the Pesah Tips for 5779 below….

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov [wishes for a good Jewish month of Nisan]!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah Tips 5779

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 18 –

Bedikat Hametz – (Search for leaven): This is customarily done on the night before Passover immediately after sunset.

This ritual is especially effective and enjoyable for children…This is what we do:

a) Make sure all Hametz has been removed or locked away, with the exception of  what will be needed for the morning for early breakfast….

b)    Place several pieces of bread (of visible size) in various locations throughout the house.

c) Make the following blessing: Baruch ata Adonai, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al biur Hametz. Then, proceed (traditionally with lighted candle, feather or brush and a box or cloth for the bread collected) to look for any leaven that may be found in the house.

d) After all the bread pieces are found and gathered, make the following declaration: “All manner of leaven that is in my possession which I have not seen or have not removed, or have no knowledge of, shall be null and disowned as the dust of the earth.”

Friday Morning – April 19 –

Ta’anit Bekhorim (Fast of the Firstborn) – This daytime fast applies to the firstborn of either a mother or father. If you participate in a siyyum, completion of study of a tractate of rabbinic literature, this may be followed by a se’udat mitavah, a meal accompanying the performance of a mitzvah. Here, the performance of the mitzvah is the completion of study. All firstborn in attendance at a siyyum are then permitted to eat!

Biur Hametz (Disposing of the Hametz)-The container of hametz, gathered the evening before, is to be burned. The burning of the hamtez should be completed by the fifth hour after sunrise. No blessing is recited. However, a slightly modified version of the formula for nullification of hametz is recited, as follows: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, which I have or have not seen, which I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

Preparation for Yom Tov:

On Yom Tov, kindling a new fire is not permitted; however, the use of an existing fire for cooking or other purposes is permitted. On Shabbat, neither kindling a new fire nor transferring an existing fire is permitted.

To allow you to light candles for the second day of Yom Tov (Saturday night) ensure you have a fire burning before the beginning of Shabbat that will continue to burn at least until after dark when Shabbat ends. A pilot light or a long-burning (25-hour-plus) candle may be used for this purpose. During Yom Tov, one can light successive candles by transferring the flame.

On Friday night when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”

On Saturday night, after dark, when lighting the candles, we recite the blessings: “Barukh Attah Adonai eloheynu melekh ha-olam asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov” and “…Shehecheyanu…”  

On Friday night the candles are lit before sundown. On Saturday night the candles are lit at least 25 minutes after sunset, by transferring the fire from an existing flame.

Most importantly, have a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Pesah and may this year be a year of true redemption and peace for us and for all of Israel and for all peoples everywhere!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Kosher Passover!