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!