Torah Tidbits

A Happy and a Kosher Passover!  featured-rabbi

Shabbat Parashat Tsav

Shabbat Hagadol

March 28, 2015- 8 Nisan 5775

Dear Friends,

This is Shabbat Hagadol [The Great Shabbat] in which we focus on the upcoming holiday of Pesah [Passover]!  It is almost here!  I know our minds are on all the preparations and on the food and on the people we might hope to see around the Seder table.  And, we may be thinking of those who will not join us this year…Lots of emotion and lots of energy is associated with Passover preparation and celebration!

As Passover approaches, I am reminded that we are “the people of the book.”  Yet, the reading of the book most associated with Passover, the Haggadah, on the Seder night is often eclipsed by all the commotion and all the emotion that goes with the traditional gathering of family and friends at the Seder Table.   Sometimes we rush to get to the meal because the children are getting tired…or bored…And maybe the adults are as well…

While the celebration and meal are truly wonderful, the fact that we actually have the opportunity to read the Haggadah, or a significant part of it, together at the Seder table is a very special part of the Seder night.   Reading together – children and adults – can be surprisingly special on any night.  But, at the Passover Seder, if we are blessed to be together with family and friends of all generations, we model sitting and reading with those of us who love to read, and with those of us who have less interest in reading.  We read with those who are familiar with the rituals and with the story of Pesah, and with those who are not so familiar with the rituals and with the story.  And we share conversation around the text we read.

In a world in which we are always in a hurry, the Passover Seder can bring us together, in “pause mode” and help us to remember that no matter where we stand, no matter what we know or don’t know, and whether we believe more or less – we are all part of one people.  We all have a share in our history.  And, we all have a part in molding our future as a people.

The Passover Seder is a marvelous opportunity to bring us together and to remind us that despite our differences, we are one people, united by a story which we read together year after year and which we interpret and re-interpret in many different ways as we grow, as we change, and as the world around us changes as well!

I look forward to Passover and take this opportunity to wish each and every one of us a meaningful, a happy, and a kosher Pesah!

Shabbat Shalom and a Happy and Kosher Passover to all!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

Pesah [Passover] Tips 5775

Dear Friends,

Following are some tips on traditional Passover observances:

Thursday Evening, April 2-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 [leaven] 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 3-

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 mitzvah, 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 -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 [Festival]:

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 both 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!

Rodef Sholom Temple