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GOOD MORNING! Three weeks to Pesach and counting ... It's time to give some thought to making the Seder more enjoyable and effective in creating a warm family experience. Most Jews would like their 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. Anyone I have ever met who loved 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!
Q & A: 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's Passover in a Nutshell:
- As mentioned last week, invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! See what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. Check out the Passover in a Nutshell, Passover Survival Kit Haggadah, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242. NO EXCUSES!
- 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!!
- 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!)
- 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 call toll-free 877-758- 3242, they have a special: Bag of Plagues + an Artscroll Hagaddah for $19.95 including postage).
- 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?
Also, check out http://www.aish.com/stopLH for "The 4 Questions of Loshon Hora" for the Seder!
Torah Portion of the Week
The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin - unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.
There are two types of speech transgressions: (1) Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue") - making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth. (2) Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") - telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out http://www.chofetzchaim.com for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech - or call (800) 867-2482 for books and tapes! Also, check out http://www.aish.com/stopLH for "The 10 Rules of Loshon Hora".
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states regarding tzora'as (see above in Torah Portion for definition):
"All the days the plague is in him ... he shall dwell alone; outside the camp shall his dwelling be." (Leviticus 13:46)
Why is the person who is afflicted with tzora'as (who is called the metzora) commanded to dwell outside of the camp?
The Sages teach us in the Talmud (Erchin 16b) that since the metzora caused the separation of friends by speaking against others, he too should be separated from others.
This is not revenge, but to teach a lesson. Being all alone is a great distress. Everyone needs other people. While some people have a greater need to be around others, being in isolation causes much suffering. When the metzora spoke against a person he caused bad feelings and the isolation of that person from friends and family. By feeling the isolation himself, he will be more careful with his speech.
PIRKEI AVOT 2:20
"The day is short, there is much work, the workers are lazy, the
reward is great, and the Master is insistent."
-- Rabbi Tarfon
CANDLE LIGHTING - April 4:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:55 Hong Kong 6:21 Honolulu 6:27
J'Burg 5:45 London 7:18 Los Angeles 5:57
Melbourne 5:48 Miami 6:20 Moscow 6:54
New York 6:05 Singapore 6:54
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Watch your thoughts,
for they become words.
Choose your words,
for they become actions.
Understand your actions,
for they become habits.
Study your habits,
for they will become your character.
Develop your character,
for it becomes your destiny!
With Thanks tof