GOOD MORNING! The first Passover Seder is Wednesday night, March 27th - about three weeks away. What would make this Pesach different than all other Pesachs? Perhaps all other Pesachs have been "Maxwell House Hagaddahs and let's hurry up and eat." How can we make this one more meaningful?
Like everything in life first must come a decision, then a plan and finally the discipline of sticking to the plan. The more you prepare and understand the more you will benefit from the Seder and be able to help others grow from the experience.
First, get a copy of The Passover Survival Kit by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf. Also, get one or more Hagaddahs. Picking a Hagaddah is a personal thing. There are many commentaries and orientations that you'll find something to fascinate you. There is a Sephardic Hagaddah, A Family Hagaddah, A Children's Hagaddah (with beautiful pictures to keep them interested!), Hagaddahs with commentaries of great Sages like the Vilna Gaon or the Abarbanel. Go to a Jewish book store and browse. My personal favorites are the Artscroll Hagaddah by Rabbi Joseph Elias which has a lucid and concise commentary and the Lehmann Hagaddah which has greater depth and development of themes. Check out artscroll.com and feldheim.com.
Go to your Jewish bookstore to browse for Hagaddahs, tapes, even videos. You can go on line to aish.com/holidays for a wealth of information on Passover. There are many other great websites to explore, too. If you don't have a Jewish bookstore or you want the speed and convenience of ordering by phone, call toll-free 877-758-3242 with credit card in hand.
Make it a family affair. Ask each of the people coming to your Seder to take a section and to study the commentary on those pages. It will empower the participants and transform them from spectators to participants in the Seder!
There are cassette tapes to help you with the Seder and the songs. Turn drive time into preparation for the Seder time! Here are some Aish tapes that you can get either on line at aish.com or by calling toll-free 800-Voices3 (864-2373) by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz: "Passover: The Birth of a Nation" (BY520A-B) and "How To Run a Traditional Seder" (BY524B) or Rabbi Ari Kahn: "Pesach Hagaddah: Why Egypt?" (KI520E) "Pesach Hagaddah: Tasting the Redemption" (KI520A), "Pesach Seder: The Wicked Son" (KI520B), "Pesach Hagaddah: Its Structure" (KI520D). Ask for topics that interest you.
Set a time each day to learn and to prepare for the Seder. Before you know it will be upon you. If you don't start now, soon it will be too late to put in the necessary time to prepare. The more you invest in understanding the Hagaddah, the Exodus from Egypt, the concept of Freedom the greater your dividends and the dividends for your family.
A parent only owes his child three things - example, example, example. Which example do you wish to imprint upon your child's soul? The parent who loves Pesach and is involved with every aspect of his being in preparing for the Seder - or the parent who exudes "I don't know what this means, I don't understand it, I'm embarrassed and feel inadequate - so let's hurry up and eat!"
The story is told of a young boy who heard about a "miracle rabbi" who could see to the depths of your soul and could perform wonders. Deciding to expose the rabbi as a fraud, the boy devises a plan -- he will hold a bird in his hands behind his back and ask the rabbi what he has. If the rabbi happens to guess correctly that he has a bird, then the boy will ask "Is it alive or dead?" If the rabbi says "Alive," he will kill the bird and drop it to the ground in front of him; if the rabbi says "Dead," he will hold up his hands and let the bird fly away.
Brought before the rabbi, the boy asks, "What do I have in my hands?" "A bird" says the rabbi. The boy then asks, "Is the bird dead or alive?" The rabbi looks the boy straight in the eye and is quiet for several seconds. Then the rabbi says, "That depends upon you. The decision is in your hands."
What kind of Seder will you have this year? That depends upon you. The decision is in your hands!
Portion of the Week
Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) 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!
Pekudei 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 (another translation of Mishkan) is completed, Moshe 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. Thus ends the Book of Exodus!
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Moshe teaches Betzalel the order of construction of the Mishkan (Portable Sanctuary) starting with the Ark. Betzalel respectfully maintains that first one builds the home, then one makes the furnishings. Moshe replies that Betzalel is correct and the Almighty Himself had thus commanded Moshe, though Moshe conveyed instructions regarding the Ark first because of its primary importance. The Torah praises Betzalel for his intuitive understanding of the Almighty's will with the verse, "And Betzalel, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Yehudah did all that the Almighty commanded Moshe" (Exodus 38:22).
Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz comments that we see from here the importance of doing things in their proper order. One always needs to clarify his priorities and to have the organizational skills to do things in their proper order.
This is an important tool for accomplishing anything in life. One needs to know what he must do and then he must have an order of priorities. We will never have enough time to do everything we would like to do. By being aware of the order of importance of what you have to do, you will ensure that you will effectively accomplish the most possible within the limitations of the time allotted to you.
Each day make a list of the various tasks you need to complete. Then decide on a proper order in which to do them. If you don't prioritize and don't set aside the time you won't accomplish what's most important in life - spending time with your family, growing as a human being, helping others or even preparing for the Seder. No one on his death bed ever wished he spent more time at the office.
PIRKEI AVOT 1:10
"... Love work, despise positions of power and do not become overly familiar with the government." -- Shemayah
CANDLE LIGHTING - March 8:
(or go to http://aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:53 Hong Kong 6:12 Honolulu 6:21
J'Burg 6:13 London 5:34 Los Angeles 5:37
Melbourne 7:33 Miami 6:08 Moscow 5:59
New York 5:37 Singapore 7:00
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Every generation thinks it's smarter
than the last generation ...
and wiser than the next generation.
In loving memory of