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
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!