GOOD MORNING! Pesach is coming! Monday night, March 25th is the first Seder. What kind of Seder will you have for your family and friends? Will it be "Let's hurry up and get to the food" -- or something more meaningful, uplifting, impactful? There are 3 types of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen ... and those who ask, "What happened?" The kind of Seder you have is up to you and depends on what you do starting NOW! Make it more than -- "They wanted to kill us. We won. Let's eat."
The Seder should help your children to feel positively about being Jewish. You cannot transfer feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Many people who love being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table and the Seder or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!
Q & A: HOW DO I MAKE MY SEDER
ENJOYABLE, CREATIVE AND MEANINGFUL?
Remember that the Seder is to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:
1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! Visit a Jewish book store and see what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. A few suggestions: Judaism in a Nutshell: Passover, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242 ... or via JudaicaEnterprises.com. Also, excellent materials including an audio guide "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" are available at ChadishMedia.com!
2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Hagaddah!
3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name: the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery -- make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)
4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (You can also order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore -- or Amazon.com or plaguesbag.com -- or assemble your own!)
5. Delegate. Give your kids or guests a small part of the Haggadah to prepare. They can look at a Haggadah with commentary -- or go to Aish.com and search. It involves them and makes them a part of the Seder rather than being an observer.
6. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:
- On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
- If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?
- If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?
- What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
- Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?
7. Spend time at Aish.com/pesach and AishAudio.com ... and for more on Pesach! And be sure to see the Aish video "The Google Exodus" -- What would the Exodus have looked like if Moses had the internet?
Torah Portion of the Week
Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle or Portable Sanctuary) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!
Pekudey includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the making of the Mishkan and details of the construction of the clothing of the Cohanim. The Tabernacle is completed, Moses examines all of the components and gives his approval to the quality and exactness of construction, the Almighty commands to erect the Tabernacle, it's erected and the various vessels are placed in their proper place.
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states with regard to Betzalel, the artisan in charge of creating the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), that the Almighty filled him with wisdom, insight and knowledge ... "and to think thoughts to make with gold and with silver and with brass (Exodus 35:32). What can this verse teach us about our own lives?
There are two types of skillful artisans. The first type of craftsman is one who is able to picture new designs in his mind. His fertile imagination enables him to create original works of art. This, wrote Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, is what the present verse is expressing. "And to think thoughts," that is, Betzalel had the ability to visualize entirely new artistic creations.
The second type is an expert in making fancy vessels with intricate designs though he may not be creative or original. After he sees what someone else has done, he learns to make similar things -- perhaps even better than the original designer.
Our lesson: Whatever abilities the Almighty has blessed you with can be utilized for the honor of the Almighty. One does not need to be a Betzalel to serve the Almighty -- or to make a creative Pesach Seder!
CANDLE LIGHTING - March 8
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:53 - Hong Kong 6:12 - Honolulu 6:20
J'Burg 6:13 - London 5:34 - Los Angeles 5:37
Melbourne 7:33 - Mexico City 6:26 - Miami 6:09
New York 5:36 - Singapore 7:00 - Toronto 5:56
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Children have never been very good at
listening to their elders,
but they have never failed to imitate them
-- James Baldwin
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An Amazing Story!
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
Copyright © 2015 Rabbi Kalman Packouz