Shabbat in Pesakh II: Bring Your Memory

Holidays are special. Families gather, or they don’t, and either way, the past is more present with us. Pesakh occurs during the full moon and, like the ocean under that same moon, the tides of life grow more intense. It is not unusual for older people to die on the eve of a holiday. ThereContinue reading “Shabbat in Pesakh II: Bring Your Memory”

Shabbat of Pesakh I: How Long Should It Take?

In the Talmud, the ancient compendium of Jewish law and lore, we find that our ancestors the Sages envisioned our Pesakh Seder to have one primary motivation: prompting our children to curiosity. No modern expert in pedagogy would disagree that the key to meaningful learning is in being curious, in caring about learning the answer to someContinue reading “Shabbat of Pesakh I: How Long Should It Take?”

Shabbat haGadol: What’s So Great About It?

This Shabbat, on which we read parashat Metzora, is called the Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat, because this year it is the last Shabbat before Pesakh. There are several possible reasons why it got the moniker. One is that Jews spent more time than usual in the shul getting a refresher on all things Pesakh, especially theContinue reading “Shabbat haGadol: What’s So Great About It?”

Shabbat HaHodesh: The First Month For You

“This month shall be for you the first of months”. This is the way the special Torah reading for this Shabbat begins. With Rosh Hodesh (“the head of the month”) tomorrow begins the first Jewish month, Nisan.  If so, why is it that, even though the Torah clearly indicates that the High Holy Days are observedContinue reading “Shabbat HaHodesh: The First Month For You”

Shabbat Parah: This Calf Makes Sense, This Cow Does Not

This Shabbat is called Shemini, “eighth”, because the parashah begins with an account of the eighth and final day of the ritual of ordination into the priesthood for the very first High Priest, Aaron, and his sons, who were now his assistants. For seven days they have carried out a precise order of sacrifices andContinue reading “Shabbat Parah: This Calf Makes Sense, This Cow Does Not”