Tonight (Tuesday) is the last night before the arrival of Passover and the first seder tomorrow night. That means that tonight is the traditional time for the ritual of bedikat chametz—the searching out and removal of all the chametz from the house. ("Chametz" is all the bread and leavened products that are traditionally forbidden on Passover.)
It is traditional to conduct the search by candlelight, using a feather and wooden spoon to gather up the last crumbs of chametz. In one version of this tradition, ten pieces of chametz are hidden around the house, for children and other chametz seekers to find.
I'm going to be honest: My house is literally covered in chametz. There are crushed Cheerios between the couch cushions, abandoned pasta elbows under every table. Somehow there's Play-Doh residue on every surface, which—believe it or not—is also chametz!
My point is: There is no way I will be removing all the chametz from my house this year. It's not going to happen. It probably isn't going to happen at your house either.
But later tonight, I am going to get my family together to gather up as many crumbs as we can. I am going to try to move the cereal boxes and animal crackers off the kitchen counters. I am going to do a little bit—as much as I have energy for—to prepare my house for the arrival of one of our Jewish community's most holy days. For this year, it will be enough. Because it's not really about putting the house in order—it's about sending a message to ourselves that something special and significant is about to happen. Shalom, Rabbi Noah Fabricant
Kol Dorot Community Online Seder Second Night of Passover | Thursday, April 9th at 6:00pm | REGISTER NOW *Announcement* We have arranged for the seder to include real-time captioning, to be more accessible to people with hearing loss and many others!
Nearly 100 households (almost 250 people) are already signed up for our Kol Dorot Online Seder on Thursday. Join us!
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED: You should have received an email with instructions and login information. (From this point forward, we will send emails out to people as they register.)
Torah for Today Rabbi David S. Widzer
There’s a text in Jewish tradition that teaches that, in each and every generation, people must look at themselves as if they had personally gone out from Egypt. (It’s in Pesachim 116b, if you’re curious.) I’ve often taken this to be a bit of rabbinic hyperbole, a call for imaginative role playing. I wasn’t really there when we were slaves, when we finally went free, when the sea parted miraculously, but I can pretend as if I had been.
This year, there may be no need for pretending. The word for Egypt in Hebrew is “Mitzrayim,” from the root meaning “narrow place.” We are surely in a narrow place these days, constricted from movement, confined in small spaces. It’s not the horrors of slavery, thank goodness, but the anxiety, the fears, the weariness, and, not least of all, the very real dangers of the disease, have us bound in a metaphorical Egypt as we approach Passover. But if we feel that we, ourselves, are now in Egypt, the text reminds us that we can also see ourselves as if we are freed from that narrow place. We can imagine a time (may it come speedily and soon) when the emotional and physical dangers are passed and we are no longer subjugated to the virus. We aren’t there yet – the road to freedom is never smooth or easy – but Passover brings us the message that leaving Egypt is possible. With hope and faith, then, we pray that this Passover heralds a season of redemption for us all. __________
Especially this year, there are so many free resources available to add richness to the Seder and the whole week of Passover. Here are our top recommendations: 1) Passover Resources from the URJ A huge rundown of online resources from the Union for Reform Judaism. Worth browsing, especially if you are putting together a seder. 2) Haggadah Options Due to the current crisis, several publishers have made their copyrighted haggadahs available for free online. If you use one of these, we recommend also ordering a hard copy from an independent bookstore. a. Sharing the Journey (CCAR Press) This is the haggadah used for the last several years at the Temple Beth Or Community Seder. Offered in full and abbreviated online versions. b. A Night To Remember (The Haggadah Store) This is a wonderful haggadah for groups of all ages and sizes, offered here in a PDF version. The publisher has also prepared a wonderful Seder Planner, to choose parts of the haggadah that best fit your particular seder. c. The PJ Library Haggadah Fill out a quick form to receive a PDF version of this simple, beautiful haggadah. Great for all ages. 3) Passover Catering (Food!) When we can't travel to our usual seders, the most urgent question may be: Who's going to cook for Passover? Don't worry: We have options. The North Jersey Board of Rabbis has compiled a list of Passover Catering Options. __________
In Case You Missed It
Catch up on Shabbat: 1) Live Candle Lighting and Shabbat Blessings 2) Friday Night Service 3) Havdallah with Anat Katzir (+ Yoel, Ynon, and a Ukelele!) Passover Preparation Sessions: 1) Seder Basics Refresher with Rabbi Noah 2) Guide to Seder Resources Online with Rabbi David — For Rabbi David's Seder Resources Sheet, click here. 3) Passover Seder Songs with Cantor Sarah 4) Making an Online Seder with Rabbi Noah