Archeological evidence for the Exodus? Movie night April 16 - details below
Watch one minute trailer:
Question of the Week:
I am running our family Seder this Pesach so I want to be prepared. One part where we always get lost is the eating of the egg. I have looked through the Haggadah, and it doesn't say anywhere why we eat the egg. The matza and bitter herbs are all well explained, but the egg not. So why do we eat it?
Chickens and eggs are the subject of some of the greatest philosophical conundrums. Like which came first? And why did one cross the road?
Here is yet another poultry riddle:
When is a chicken's birthday? When the egg was laid, or when it hatched?
There is a strong argument to say that a chicken should celebrate its birthday on the day the egg was laid. After all, that is when it became detached from its mother. On the other hand, one could argue that it is not really born until the day the egg was hatched. Only then is it a chicken, not an egg.
If I were a chicken I would celebrate both. The day my egg was laid is significant. That's when my mother gave birth to me. But the day my egg hatched is the day I came out into the world. An egg is a birth yet to happen. But it is the start of something. So I'd have a small party on the earlier date, and the main event on the latter.
Pesach is the like the laying of an egg. It is when we were redeemed from slavery, when G-d took us out of Egypt and led us into the desert. But that was just the beginning of a big story, the first step in a long journey that goes on until today. We gained freedom, but we are still fighting for freedom. Our oppressors were conquered, but we are still fighting oppressors. Pesach is when the egg of redemption was laid, but it hasn't hatched yet. Complete freedom can only be when all evil is vanquished. That will be when Moshiach comes.
The Jewish people are at the centre of a global drama, the struggle to liberate the world from all negative energy and allow goodness to prevail. The struggle began in Egypt, continues today and will end in Jerusalem. On Pesach, when we eat the egg, we celebrate the laying of the egg of freedom, and we pray the complete redemption be hatched - next year in Jerusalem.
Source: Izhbitz Haggadah. There it is explained further, the name of G-d revealed to Moses at the burning bush before the Exodus was Eh-yeh, literally meaning "I will be." It is in the future tense, because although the Israelites were being redeemed immediately, the true and complete redemption was yet to come. That name of G-d has the numerical value of 21, which is the exact number of days it takes for an egg to hatch after it is laid....
Thank you to everyone who helped ensure the success of our Purim events. Between our kids party, Glow in the Dark adult party and four Megillah readings, over 400 people celebrated Purim with Nefesh. Huge thanks to our volunteers and supporters: Loren Suntup, Catherine de Picarda, Libby Moss, Larry and Ashlyn Diamond, Dana Korn, Jack and Leyat Reuben, Batya Moss, Michelle Brenner, Ariel and Aviva Morris, Maxine and Lance Radus, Baruch and Samantha Garcia, Keshet Kessel, Stuart Shaw and Moshe David.
Is there archeological evidence for the Exodus from Egypt?
Does Pesach celebrate a historical event or just a nice folk tale?
This award winning documentary presents all sides of the debate with a new twist
Don't miss this one-time showing that every Seder will be talking about:
This is out of left field but maybe you can help. A religious Jewish guy works in the office next to me. I just bumped into him as he was walking out of the men's room, and I said hello. But he was talking to himself. He held up his finger to tell me to wait until he finished his "conversation" and then greeted me back. No one else was around, and he wasn't on the phone. At first I thought it was bizarre behavior but have come to learn that maybe there is something religious behind it. Is there?
You have just witnessed one of the most powerful religious moments in the universe. And it usually happens outside the men's room.
Your colleague was not talking to himself, he was talking to G-d. He was saying thanks for the ability to go to the bathroom. There is a short prayer of gratitude recited by observant Jews every single time they relieve themselves:
Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has formed man in wisdom, and created within him numerous orifices and cavities. It is revealed and known before the Throne of Your Glory that if but one of them were to be blocked, or one of them were to be opened, it would be impossible to exist even for a short while. Blessed are You, Lord, who heals all flesh and performs wonders.
This is nothing short of amazing. Going to the bathroom is not usually seen as a transcendental experience. And yet here we take this less than pleasant bodily function, and use it as a means for appreciating the miracle of our existence.
Many people thank G-d after surviving a serious illness. We thank G-d after going to the bathroom.
You don't need to lose your health to appreciate it. What a relief.
My mother insists on inviting my brother for Shabbos dinner every week. This is the brother who opposes everything Jewish, makes a point of not participating in any traditions and refuses to even cover his head for Kiddush. All he does is eat, grumble and leave. He has no respect. Is there any point in having him there?
You say he does nothing more than eat. But he does eat? That may be enough. We know this from the Purim story.
Back in ancient Persia, a plot to kill the Jews arises. The Jewish Queen Esther invites her husband the king and Haman the wicked anti-Semite to a meal. She serves them food that she had prepared, and Haman, who doesn't know she is Jewish, is described as being "happy and good hearted" after the meal.
This is a strange way to describe such an evil person. Can a man who intends to annihilate an entire nation be called "happy and good hearted"?
Our mystics explain, Haman was indeed a rotten man. But something touched him on this one occasion. The experience of sitting at Esther's table, eating her food, being in the presence of a righteous Jewish woman, was enough to reach even that most cold and hateful heart, and for a fleeting moment Haman was good.
Of course that goodness was short lived. He went straight back to being the murderous villain that he was a moment before. But a spark of goodness can never be lost. The Talmud says that Haman's great-grandchildren ended up converting to Judaism and becoming Torah scholars. Those souls were the sparks of goodness Haman experienced at Esther's table. The impact of that one meal only surfaced generations later.
Never underestimate the transformative power of a Shabbos table, the spiritual impact of a Yomtov meal, the embracing warmth of a Jewish home, and the profound influence of a Jewish mother. Just being there and eating her food is enough to touch you forever.
Your brother is no Haman. He's not wicked, just disenfranchised. If Haman could be moved by just one meal, your brother can certainly turn around. You might not see immediate results. It might take years. It might take generations. You and I are only Jewish today because of the Shabbos tables of our great-grandparents.
Your mother has the wisdom of Esther. Your brother deserves his place at her holy table.