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GOOD MORNING! Less than two weeks to Pesach and counting ... Saturday evening, April 23rd is the first Seder! 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 his Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or his 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:
- 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 ... or via judaicaenterprises.com. Also, excellent materials including "How to Conduct the Passover Seder" cassette are available at chadishmedia.com! 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 ... or via judaicaenterprises.com.)
- 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?
- On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
Also, check out aish.com and http://www.shabbatshalomaudio.com/ ... and for more on Pesach!
FEED THE POOR OF JERUSALEM!
Hundreds of families in Israel are unable to afford groceries for Yom Tov (the holiday). This group gives them coupons redeemable only for food. They arrange with the supermarket to get an extra 10% on every dollar you give them. I know they are legitimate and I give them money! Send your tax-deductible contribution to:
805-A Roosevelt Ct.
Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Fulfill the special mitzvah of Maos Chitim, helping the poor for Pesach!
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:
- Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue") - making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth.
- Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") - telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him.
Check out http://www.chofetzchaimusa.org/ 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".
This week's portion continues with the purification process for the metzora, the person afflicted with tzora'as and then the home afflicted with tzora'as. The portion ends with the purification process for discharges from the flesh.
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And the Lord spoke to Moshe saying: This shall be the law of the metzora in the day of his cleansing; he shall be brought to the priest." (Leviticus 14:1-2)
The Midrash (Vayikra Rabba 16:2) informs us that the word metzora (a person afflicted with tzora'as - see first paragraph of TORAH PORTION above -is derived from motzi shaim ra (the Hebrew words for a slanderer), since the disease of tzora'as is a punishment for speaking against others. Because of the relationship between tzora'as and loshon hora, the Midrash on our verse relates the following incident:
A peddler traveled from village to village in the area of Tzipori (in the Land of Israel) calling out, "Who wants to buy an elixir of life?" Rabbi Yanai heard the peddler and told him that he was interested in purchasing his wares. The peddler, however, told him, "You and people like you do not need what I am selling."
Rabbi Yanai, however, insisted that the peddler sell him the special elixir. Taking out a book of Tehillim (Psalms), the peddler showed Rabbi Yanai the verse:
"Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see the good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit." (Psalms 34)
Rabbi Yanai exclaimed, "My entire life I have been reading this verse and never knew its full meaning until this peddler came and told me, 'Who is the man who desire life...' "
A question on this Midrash arises: What novel idea did Rabbi Yanai learn from the peddler? The peddler merely recited a familiar verse from Psalms without adding any new interpretations.
The Ksav Sofer explained thus: Rabbi Yanai noted the peddler's method of announcing he was selling something that would give a person long life. This aroused the interest and curiosity of people, and quickly a large crowd would gather around him. Only then did the peddler cite the verse, "Guard your tongue from evil." From the peddler's method, Rabbi Yanai concluded that King David, the author of Psalms, must have also gone from person to person posing the question, "Do you want long life?" Anyone asked this question would invariably reply. "Yes." Then King David would say, "Guard your tongue."
Rabbi Yanai learned that it is not sufficient for a person to be careful with his own speech. He must also impress upon others the importance of refraining from loshon hora.
CANDLE LIGHTING - April 15:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Guatemala 5:57 Hong Kong 6:25 Honolulu 6:31
J'Burg 5:33 London 7:37 Los Angeles 7:06
Melbourne 5:31 Mexico City 6:39 Miami 7:25
Moscow 7:17 New York 7:17 Singapore 6:52
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
It takes your enemy and your friend,
working together, to hurt you to the heart:
the one to slander you and
the other to get the news to you.
-- Mark Twain
In loving memory of our father,
Mazal Tov on the Marriage of