Pesach to Shavuos

A critically important aspect of life, if not the ikur of life, is working on ourselves, changing, growing. On Pesach, we both recognize and appreciate the deepest levels of change, geula, and we learn how enormously detrimental guiva is to growth, to change. To an outsider, our eight day obsession with chometz is nonsensical, a … [Read more…]

Base Needs

Our base needs are food (and water), shelter/warmth, and sleep. On Yom Kippur we fast and on Pesach we alter our diets dramatically. On Sukkos we sleep outside in a shelter with, so to speak, no roof. On Shavuos we stay up all night learning Torah. No small part of being a Torah Jew is … [Read more…]

Night Holidays

Pesach is obviously a night and day holiday. We eat matza at the seder as well as at the daytime meal and throughout the entirety of the yuntiv. But the heart of Pesach is the seder which occurs… at night. (The first song we sing at the conclusion of the seder is about… laila.) Shavuos, … [Read more…]

Karpas, the Potato

Pesach is enormously important. It is our spiritual new year. Rosh Hashana is our physical new year. But, as Jews, Pesach is our, so to speak, Jewish new year. Pesach is where we begin. Without Pesach, there is no Sukkos, there is no Shavuos. There is no Chanukah, there is no Purim. One could argue, … [Read more…]

Karpas and Charoses

On the seder plate, at 11 and 1 o’clock are two simonim that represent the korban pesach. Next to the seder plate are two (and a half) matzahs. In the center of the seder plate as well as at 6 o’clock are two simonim that represent maror. Pesach, matza, maror. And then there are two … [Read more…]

Brachos & Amida

A (possibly) tenuous connection between the morning brachos and the sh’mon esrai: In the first bracha of the morning brachos we thank G-d for giving us bina (understanding) to distinguish between yom v’laila (day and night). The sh’mon esrai starts with three blessings of praise to Hashem and then the fourth blessing, which in some … [Read more…]

Chanukah and DEI

DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), a perspective and movement that is common in American universities and colleges, seems to stem from Greek thought. Thus, apropos for looking at during Chanukah. Especially with what is happening on college campuses post October 7th. To this day, the Greeks are fighting for our mindshare.

Shmini Atzeret

Shmini Atzeret is a hidden holiday. We tend to treat Shmini Atzeret like the eighth day of Sukkos. Similar to the eighth day of Pesach. But the eighth day of Pesach is actually the eighth day of Pesach. Shmini Atzeret is not the eighth day of Sukkos. Shmini Atzeret immediately follows the seven days of … [Read more…]

Tisha b’Av

On Tisha b’Av, we speak extensively about terrible things that have happened to the Jewish nation and the Jews within our nation. This includes the destruction of the first and second bais hamikdash. But why have these terrible things happened to us? Hashem explicitly tells us because our averas, our sins, our doing things that … [Read more…]

Fasting

A person can live at least one week without water. For many, longer. A person can last two to three months without food. For many, longer. This being the case, why are so many people so uncomfortable when they fast? A medical doctor can tell a person that their current hunger during a fast is … [Read more…]