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
Passover is a time of 'planting Jewish seeds' within our
children. What type of seeds will we plant?
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
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!
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
roots by air-freight to Madrid. Apparently, the Spanish rabbi knew
that Collinsville, Illinois, is the horseradish capital of
Two days before Passover, 10 crates of Grade A
tear-jerking horseradish roots were loaded at Lambert
Airport for Madrid. Upon arrival
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
daily paper) read .......... The Chraine in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plane!