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Happy Passover! -- Chronicle Online/The WORD 04/6/23

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

April 6, 2023

15 Nisan 5783


Tonight, at our Passover Seders, we will (hopefully) remember to read the words of Rabban Gamliel, who taught that in order to meet the minimum requirements for a Seder, we need to mention three things: Pesah, matzah & maror. We must remember the Passover sacrifice that our ancestors offered beginning on the very first Passover in Egypt, the flat breads that they baked in their rush to leave Egypt and the bitterness of their servitude in Egypt. If we mention those three things, then we can legitimately call our Passover meal a “Seder.” But, why are those three things the most important three things? What about the salt-water? What about the haroset? What about the WINE? One answer is that the Torah says so (and that is always a good answer!): “They are to eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire, and matzot with bitter-herbs they are to eat it (Ex. 12:8).” But, I think that there is more to it than that. To me, the Pesah offering represents all of the rituals which bind us together as a community. The matzahreminds us to tell the stories of our people, which helps us understand our national identity. Then, the marorcomes to those rituals and stories can elicit a strong reaction – sometimes painful and sometimes joyous. So Rabban Gamliel was, perhaps, suggesting not only a way to observe Passover properly, but an approach to being Jewish in general. Nearly 90% of people who identify as Jewish celebrate Passover. I think Rabban Gamliel was trying to tell us that observe more rituals and tell more stories so that we can experience to full flavor of Judaism. Wishing you a wonderful Passover – Shalom, RAF.

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