The Shabbat of Hol HaMo’ed Pesakh: The Door is Still Open

The parashat hashavua for this Shabbat depends on which day of Pesakh we are in. This year, since Pesakh began on Monday night, we are deep into the hol hamo’ed part ofPesakh, the “normal” part of the Festival of our Freedom (and our Matzah). “Normal”, in this context, means neither the first two days nor the last day of theContinue reading “The Shabbat of Hol HaMo’ed Pesakh: The Door is Still Open”

Pesakh: You Must Remember This

The following is a teaching of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger (1847-1905), author of the Sefat Emet, a book of his insights into the parashat hashavua and also the Jewish holy days. This is an edited paraphrase of one of his Pesakh teachings:   Of Pesakh it says, “this day will be a remembrance for you” (Ex.12.14) and “so thatContinue reading “Pesakh: You Must Remember This”

The Shabbat before Pesakh: a Big Deal

This Shabbat is called HaGadol (“The Great Shabbat”) because it is the last before Pesakh and there is so much to review and reinforce of the halakha of Pesakh. It is also the Shabbat on which we read parashat Tzav, “command”. In a neat little nutshell these two terms cover much ground.   gadol – the word means “big”, and alsoContinue reading “The Shabbat before Pesakh: a Big Deal”

The Meaning of Sacrifice

On this Shabbat we begin the Book VaYikra (in English, “Leviticus”, because the book is really an instruction manual for the Levites and Kohanim, priests). This book records for us the ancient ritual of sacrifices as they were offered to our G-d (other sacrifices offered in specifically different ways were offered to other gods). What are we, two thousand yearsContinue reading “The Meaning of Sacrifice”

parashat Ki Tisa/Parah 5773

The coincidence of reading parashat Ki Tisa and the special text for Shabbat Parah on the same Shabbat brings us, among other things, an embarrassment of cows.   The weekly parashah has brought us to the narrative of Moshe on the mountain with G-d, receiving the teaching that will serve as the document of the Covenant between G-d and the Israelites.Continue reading “parashat Ki Tisa/Parah 5773”