GOOD MORNING! Many Jewish holidays have been humorously described as: "They wanted to kill us. We won. Let's eat." If you'd like to have your Pesach (Passover) Seder to be more than "Can we skip this part of the Hagaddah ... and Let's eat!", then this week's edition might be of help. The first Pesach Seder is Friday night, April 22nd. Your seder can be an even more enjoyable, memorable and warm family experience.
How does one get his/her children to feel positively about being Jewish? You cannot transfer your 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 or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!
HOW DO I MAKE MY SEDER ENJOYABLE,
CREATIVE AND MEANINGFUL?
Remember that the Seder is for the kids, 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 theplaguesbag.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?
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47
Concluding the 7 days of inauguration for the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary), Aaron, the High Priest, brings sacrifices for himself and the entire nation. Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aaron, bring an incense offering on their own initiative, and are consumed by a heavenly fire (perhaps the only time when someone did something wrong and was immediately hit by "lightning").
The Cohanim are commanded not to serve while intoxicated. The inaugural service is completed. God then specifies the species which are kosher to eat: mammals (those that have cloven hoofs and chew their cud), fish (those with fins and scales), birds (certain non-predators), and certain species of locusts. The portion concludes with the laws of spiritual defilement from contact with the carcasses of certain animals.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah commands the Cohanim that "Wine and other intoxicating beverages you shall not drink" (Lev. 10:9) before coming to do the service. The Midrash Vayikra Rabbah (a collection of homiletical stories and insights) warns against alcoholism: "If a person drinks too much wine, he will end up selling all that he owns to keep up his addiction to drinking."
The Midrash continues: The children of a drunk were worried that they would soon be penniless. They tied up their father when he was drunk and placed him in a cemetery; they hoped that when he became sober he would be shocked by the experience and become aware of the dangers of drinking to excess.
That day a caravan carrying vats of wine was attacked and sped past the cemetery to outrun the attackers. A barrel rolled off the wagon and when the man woke up from his drunken sleep, he was surprised to find the spigot of the barrel next to his face. And he continued to drink.
The Almighty leads us in the direction we desire to go. The greater your desire to do something, the more successful you will be. Therefore, choose well what you desire in life. When you wish to accomplish in spiritual matters, build up a strong desire to accomplish and the Almighty will lead you in that path!
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
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Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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