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2010-04-02 Beyond Twelve Gates (BTG) by Rabbi Zeev Smason
Passover - Pesach


Beyond Twelve Gates -  Rabbi Ze'ev Smason

Passover    April 2, 2010



Beyond Twelve Gates            Passover               April 2, 2010


Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates -- special Passover edition. When we were children most of us had the experience of sinking our hands into the earth to plant seeds. Over the following weeks we watched with wonder as those seeds grew into green plants, edible vegetables and beautiful flowers.  As adults, we can plant 'seeds' in our children that will lead to responsible and enlightened adulthood.


When I became Bar Mitzvah (a few years ago) I received the usual gifts -- US savings bonds, record albums, etc.   My Uncle Reuben, however, gave me a nice copy of Roget's Thesaurus.  At the time, I looked at the gift with the equivalent thrill of a thirteen year old boy receiving underwear for his birthday.   With disappointment and mild distaste, I put the book on a shelf and forgot about it. Later in college I 'found' the book, began to use it frequently, and appreciated the wisdom and thoughtfulness of my uncle and his gift. 


Passover is a time of 'planting Jewish seeds' within our children. What type of seeds will we plant?


Shabbos Chol HaMoedPassover   Exodus 33:12 - 34:26


On the Shabbos that falls during the intermediate days (Chol HaMoed) of Passover the regular cycle of Torah readings is interrupted with a reading that reflects the theme of the holiday.  Our reading this Shabbos is a section of the book of Exodus.  Specifically, it is the text from divisions (aliyos) three through six of Parsha Ki Sisa, but newly divided into seven aliyos for a complete Shabbos reading.

Ki Sisa, you will remember, is when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the first set of tablets to find that the Jewish people had made a golden calf. Moses breaks the tablets and G-d punishes the guilty.  This Shabbos' reading begins right after that.  Toward the end of this Torah reading,  G-d gives the commandments to observe the three festivals of Passover, Shavuos, and Succos and to appear in Jerusalem on those three occasions.  Then various additional commandments are given, including not to eat chametz on Passover.


The seventh day of Passover begins on Sunday evening, April 5.  On Monday the Torah reading is from Exodus 13:17-15:26.  This reading contains the description of the splitting of the Red Sea, and the Song of the sea.   On Tuesday, the eighth day of Passover, the Torah reading is from Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17.  In chapter 16, the pilgrimage festivals (including Passover) are discussed.

A way of summarizing these three major festivals is:  Passover is the holiday where you can't eat WHATEVER you want, but you can eat WHEREVER you want.  Succos is the holiday where you can eat WHATEVER you want, but you can't eat WHEREVER you want. And Shavuos is the holiday where you can eat WHATEVER you want, WHEREVER you want, but you can't eat too much because it's only two days long!


Rabbinic Ruminations


Blessed be G-d, blessed is He who gave the Torah to His people, Israel.  The Torah responds to the four types of children: the wise, the defiant, the simple and the ignorant (Haggadah)


At the Seder we read from our Haggadah about four types of children: the wise, the defiant, the simple and the ignorant.  It has been suggested that in this day and age we have a fifth child to discuss; the child who doesn't attend a Passover Seder.  It was inconceivable to earlier generations that a Jewish child would not be present at a Seder.  Yet sadly, due to a lack of positive Jewish education and upbringing, this year some of our children were at the movies (or elsewhere) while we celebrated Passover in our homes. What could be said, then, to this 'fifth child'?


The 'fifth child' can best be reached when that child sees family members who themselves are role models of active and joyous Jewish living.  When our children observe that we 'walk the walk' of a committed Jewish lifestyle, there's no doubt that it will make a positive impression.  Modeling the behavior we hope to see in our children is the prescription for a next generation that is Jewishly committed.  Next year, may all Jewish children be at a Seder!


Quote of the Week


And I've learned at times it's best to bend, 'cause if you don't, well those are the breaks -- Jim Croce



Joke of the Week


The winter of 2005 was tough on many of Europe's root crops. A week before Passover the Jewish Community of Madrid found that the shipment of horseradish (known in Yiddish as chraine) it had ordered from Bolivia wouldn't arrive until ten days after Passover ended. The community needed the horseradish for its traditional Passover ritual of maror.  In desperation, Rabbi Pablo Cohen phoned Rabbi Smason in St. Louis and begged him to organize the dispatch of horseradish roots by air-freight to Madrid. Apparently, the Spanish rabbi knew that Collinsville, Illinois, is the horseradish capital of world!


 Two days before Passover, 10 crates of Grade A tear-jerking horseradish roots were loaded at Lambert Airport for Madrid. Upon arrival at Madrid, two crates were unloaded, and all seemed to be going well. Unfortunately a sudden baggage handler's strike broke out, stranding 8 crates of horseradish on the airplane. The following morning, the headlines in El Mundo (Madrid's daily paper) read ..........  The Chraine in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plane!





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